Ancient America: Mesa Verde

Our American and Canadian heritage begins long before Columbus supposedly “discovered” the Americas. For thousands of years people have lived in North America and they built cities and towns which were, and still are, architectural wonders. One of these is Mesa Verde in Colorado which is today a National Park. In this diary, I would like to look at what we know about the history of the people who built this place.  

Mesa Verde, located in southern Colorado, is undoubtedly the best-known Native American archaeological site in the United States. Today it is a national park and here the tourists can see the magnificent cliff dwellings built by the Anasazi people. These cliff dwellings were built in shallow caves and under rock overhangs along the canyon walls. The houses, storage buildings, and other structures were built from blocks of hard sandstone held together with adobe mortar. The walls, once constructed, were then plastered with adobe mortar. In the popular press, the Mesa Verde Anasazi were a mysterious people who lived in the area for a short time (about two centuries) and then vanished. Who were these people?

Among the early inhabitants of Mesa Verde are some people called Basketmaker by archaeologists. They arrived in the Mesa Verde area about 600 CE and settled on top of the mesas. The Basketmaker pit house villages had populations of 40 to 150 people. They probably settled in this area because the mesa offered good soils, timber for house construction and plenty of wood for fuel. In addition, the region at this time received more precipitation compared to lower elevations. The mesa is high enough so that passing storms drop rain and snow, while at the same time, the mesa slopes to the southwest, which allows the sun to warm the deep, fertile soils. Other advantages included springs, game, nutritious and medicinal native plants, and quarries for obtaining the materials needed to make tools and utensils.

More than a century later-around 750 CE-Anasazi groups in the Mesa Verde area began building substantial above-group pueblos on the mesa tops and in canyon valleys. They also began construction of domestic water systems. In Morefield Canyon, the farmers began digging a reservoir. A shallow depression was constructed in the canyon bottom that breached the water table and collected runoff from the canyon slopes. In order to prevent the reservoir from filling up with sediment from the periodic runoff, it had to be routinely dredged. This was a labor intensive task that required organized crews.

In order to divert the runoff into the reservoir, the Anasazi created a rock-reinforced inlet channel. This channel, which was 1,400 feet long, had to be regularly cleaned, relocated, and elevated to maintain the proper gradient for filling the reservoir.

About fifty years later, the Anasazi farmers constructed another reservoir at Box Elder. In order to capture runoff, the Anasazi constructed an intake channel that extended up the canyon slope. At this same time, they established a village in the area.

In 950, the Anasazi farmers in Morefield Canyon in the Mesa Verde area were dredging their reservoir less frequently. Consequently, the reservoir began to fill with sediment and eventually formed a mound which was 21 feet high and 220 feet across.

At this same time, the Anasazi in the Mesa Verde area began construction of two mesa-top reservoirs: Far View and Sagebrush. Far View had a storage capacity of 80,000 gallons and Sagebrush 90,000 gallons. Both of the reservoirs were encircled by two parallel sandstone walls which stood about 10 feet apart. These walls were built to contain the sediments which were regularly dredged from the reservoirs.

In the eleventh century, the Anasazi began to construct pueblos in the caves and under the rock overhangs of the canyon cliffs. Construction of Cliff Palace began in 1073. Cliff Palace-this is the name given to the pueblo by modern archaeologists, not by the Indian people themselves-is the largest and best-known of the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings. The pueblo had at least 150 rooms and 23 kivas. It is estimated that Cliff Palace was once the home to about 150 people. The walls of the pueblo were built from large, well-fitted stone blocks. These blocks had to be laboriously shaped with stone hammers to present a uniform façade.

At Cliff Palace (and most of the other Mesa Verde cliff dwellings), both exterior and interior walls were finished by plastering them. The exterior walls which faced a public space were often colored red.

Construction of other cliff dwellings then followed: Oak Tree House in 1112; Spring House in 1115. Balcony House in 1190. While there were many similarities in the architectural design of each of these pueblos, each was also unique because of the individual topography of the different alcoves along the canyon walls. Pueblo architectural forms-kivas, towers, pit houses-had to conform to the allowable space in the canyon alcoves. This meant, in part, that there was a far denser concentration of the Anasazi populations.

Architecturally, there are many motifs and similarities with the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon. This includes features such as the T-shaped doors-these are doors which lead to public areas and are not closed off. There are some archaeologists who feel that these features indicate a direct connection between Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, including the migration of people. There are others, however, who interpret these similarities as simply part of a generalized Puebloan style which might have spiritual significance without implying a socioeconomic allegiance.

In 1180, the Mesa Verde Anasazi abandoned the Far View Reservoir as they moved their community from the top of the mesa to the cliff dwellings below. Here they used groundwater springs, seeps, and hand-dug wells for their water supply.

During the thirteenth century, the region began to suffer from frequent droughts as well as an increase in warfare. Many of the people who had been living on the rim of the mesa moved to the more defensible cliff dwellings.

Construction of Square Tower House began in 1204. The tower for which this site is named is the tallest structure in Mesa Verde. It originally had 80 rooms and at least seven kivas constructed in a south facing alcove. In places, the pueblo was four stories tall. It was only occupied until about 1300.

Construction of Spruce Tree House began in 1216. This pueblo was located on Chapin Mesa and was occupied for less than a century. Today, Spruce Tree House is easily accessible to tourists. In addition to the well preserved ruins, there is also a kiva with a restored roof.

While most of the construction of Mug House (named when early explorers found a cluster of mugs at the site) took place between 1250 and 1266, the first dwelling at this site on Wetherill Mesa-a small house unit with a storage room and a kiva-was actually constructed in the mid-eleventh century. By the time the pueblo was abandoned, sometime between 1276 and 1300, it had grown to 94 rooms on four levels. Included in the structure are towers, storage rooms, meal areas, and terraces. The rooms are clustered around a kiva. The kiva has a keyhole shape with a recess behind the fireplace and a deflector (so that air brought in through the tunnel to the outside does not directly impact the fire).

The entire structure for Mug House is built in a west-facing alcove that is 67 meters (221 feet) long and 15 meters (50 feet) deep. There is no spring or source of water at the site. In the canyon below the site, the Mug House occupants constructed a small reservoir that collected water runoff from the mesa top. This small reservoir is 7 meters (23 feet) long, 3 meters (10 feet) wide, and about 1 meter (3 feet) deep.

Like other Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, Mug House has a wall which divides the pueblo into two units. This suggests to archaeologists, that Mesa Verde society, like that of many contemporary Pueblo groups, was divided into moieties. That is, two groups with different social and religious functions. Each of these two units has its own tower and meal area.

The artifacts uncovered at Mug House show almost no evidence of trade with other areas. Like the residents of the other Mesa Verde pueblos, the people of Mug House made pottery: mugs, jars, ollas, bowls, and ladles. With regard to clothing, they wove cotton cloth, made yucca sandals, and made turkey feather blankets. They also made a wide variety of stone tools, including stone axes for cutting wood, stone arrowheads, and stone mauls for pounding. The milling of corn into flour was done through manos and metates.

Most of the Anasazi communities in Mesa Verde were abandoned by 1300. This abandonment was probably caused by a prolonged drought which lasted from 1276 until 1299. This drought meant that the Anasazi communities could not grow sufficient crops to maintain their population.

While there are still a few people who insist that the Mesa Verde Anasazi mysteriously vanished, it is clear that these communities were carefully evacuated and useful goods were taken with them. Today’s Pueblo people are descendents of those who once lived in Mesa Verde.

According to Pueblo oral tradition, the last Mesa Verde chief was Salavi (whose name means “Spruce.”) This respected elder sent his people away in search of better land even though he was too old to travel with them. As the people left, he told them to return in four years. If he was to blame for the lack of rain and the withering fields, then they would find no trace of him. However, if his heart is pure, they will find a sign. According to Badger Clan history, when the people returned they found a four-year-old spruce tree next to a spring which was gushing water. A clan historian then wrote this story on the rocks at Pictograph Point.

The Lowry War

The popular histories of Indians often focus on the many Indian wars, often fought in the Southwest or on the Great Plains. In 1907, the War Department officially enumerated 1,470 incidents of military action against American Indians between 1776 and 1907. According to the War Department, only two of these actions have the formal status of “war” under U.S. Army terminology: the 1877 Nez Perce War and the 1878 Bannock Indian War.

One of the Indian wars which is often overlooked in the popular histories did not take place in the west, but in the South, more specifically in North Carolina. The Lowry War is one part of the story of complex race relations in the South.  

In the era leading up to the Civil War, the economy of the American South was based on plantation agriculture which was supported by slave labor. As a consequence, the South was segregated along so-called racial lines into “White” (the Euro-American slave owners) and “Black” (slaves, primarily of African descent). American Indians really didn’t fall into either category and consequently were (and still continue to be) a troubling enigma for the racially conscious South. Indians were sometimes slaves, and many were also slave-owners. During the 1830s, Southerners, together with the federal government, attempted to solve their “Indian” problem by removing all Indians from the region. However, not all Indians left.

In the racially divided South, there was a tendency to classify Indians as “free people of color,” thus grouping them with Blacks racially, but recognizing that they were not slaves.

In 1861, the South entered the Civil War. In North Carolina, “free people of color” (meaning Indians) were conscripted to build Fort Fisher on Cape Fear to protect the Confederate port of Wilmington. Conscription was viewed as military service and therefore those who resisted or fled were to be shot for desertion.

The Lumbee resisted North Carolina’s attempts to conscript them and many hid in the swamps to avoid authorities. The North Carolina Home Guard retaliated by burning Lumbee homes and stealing their property. Thus began the Lowry War in which Henry Berry Lowry led the Lumbee along with some blacks and non-Indians in a fight against the Confederacy in Robeson County.

The Lumbee did not simply avoid conscription officers, but actively fought against them. In 1865, Henry Berry Lowry killed a recruitment officer who had killed several of Lowry’s relatives. The North Carolina Home Guard then invaded the Lowry homestead, killing his father and his older brother. In response, Henry Berry Lowry and his followers raided the courthouse in Lumberton. They seized a large number of modern, breech-loading rifles destined for the local militia.

The little band then started a series of raids against upper class land owners. The band often showed up to plunder in the early evening and, posting a guard, would politely dine with their hosts before taking the goods.

In one incident, the band was ambushed by the local militia. When the band counterattacked, the militia fled. The band then stole the safe from the sheriff’s office and another one from a large store. They left both safes open and empty on the main street of Lumberton.  

In 1865, Henry Berry Lowry married Rhoda Strong. In the midst of the wedding feast, the local militia invaded and Lowry was taken prisoner. However, he soon escaped from jail, enhancing the legend of his invincibility. Among local people, particularly Indians, Lowry was seen as a a shape-changer; a culture hero who could not only change his own shape, as legends and contemporary accounts illustrate, but who changed the shape of a whole people.

The Lowry War ended in 1872 when Henry Berry Lowry disappeared and what was left of his group disbanded. Following his disappearance, Henry Berry Lowry was rumored to have been seen in New Mexico. Other rumors had him accidently shooting himself with the implication that no one else had the power to kill him.

One of the tangible legacies of the Lowry War was official acknowledgement that the Lumbee were Indians. Southern culture was-and still is-biracial: it sees only two races, white and black. Southern culture has had difficulty with the idea that “people of color” could wage a war for more than a decade. Therefore, North Carolinians preferred to regard the conflict as an Indian War and its protagonists as Native.

The Myth Of Tribal Sovereignty And Why Twice As Many Native American Women Are Raped

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Diarist’s note- This was originally published at DailyKos and is my first diary here…if I have gotten anything wrong, leave me a comment and I will correct it.

Under American law, the various tribes of the Native Americans are supposed to be sovereign nations. The reality however, is something far less. The Nations are only entitled to govern themselves. This may sound like a trivial distinction, but other sovereign nations can enforce their laws against citizens of other countries.  The Tribal Nations are not given this power. So, the Nations must rely on state and local governments to prosecute crimes committed on their land.

The local response to crimes on reservations is, at best, neglect. This lack of cooperation has led to Native American women being twice as likely to be raped as American women as a whole. Generally, 1 in 6 American women have been the victim ofrape. So, 1 in 3 Native American women has experienced rape. If you are as angry about this as I am right now, follow me over the jump.

The SCOTUS, in 1978

ruled in Oliphant v. the Suquamish Indian Tribe that tribal governments have no criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. When a crime is committed, tribal police and their non-Indian counterparts must hash out whether the suspect is Indian or not.

link

If a Native American man walks into the mini-mart and steals a carton of cigarettes, [Tribal authorities] can arrest him. If a non-native man commits the same crime, [Tribal authorities] would let him go and forward a report to the U.S. attorney’s office.

link

More than 86 percent of rapes against Native American women are carried out by non-native men, most of them white, according to the Justice Department. And despite this fact and the fact that the Tribal Nations cannot prosecute these claims, “a 2003 report from the Justice Department found that U.S. attorneys take fewer cases from the BIA (Buruea of Indian Affairs) than from almost any other federal law-enforcement agency.”  

So, kossacks, what can we do? Keep reading for contact information and legislation that could make a difference.

Idaho is currently considering a bill that would seek to change this situation by allowing tribes to prosecute crimes if the local authorities refuse to do so.

Here’s the contact info for the Idaho Senate and House.

But fixing the issue in one state is not enough! We need federal reform that would allow Tribal governments to prosecute any crime committed on Tribal land. One possible solution has been introduced in the Senate. It is called the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009 .  The summary of the bill is:

Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009 – Amends the Indian Law Enforcement Reform Act to make a variety of changes to increase Native American tribes’ law enforcement powers and increase federal powers and responsibilities regarding crimes on Indian land, including: (1) allowing federal officials, with the consent of the tribe, to investigate offenses against tribal criminal laws; (2) providing technical assistance and training to tribal law enforcement officials regarding use of the National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) database; (3) requiring federal and local officials, when they decline to investigate crimes on Indian land, to report to Native officials and requiring such officials, when they decline to prosecute, to turn over evidence to Native officials; (4) establishing in the criminal division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) the Office of Indian Country Crime to develop, enforce, and administer federal criminal laws in Indian country; (5) authorizing, at the request of a tribe, concurrent federal-tribal jurisdiction; (6) authorizing grants to state, tribal, and local governments that enter into cooperative agreements, including agreements relating to mutual aid, hot pursuit of suspects, and cross-deputization; (7) requiring the Attorney General to allow tribal and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) law enforcement agencies to directly access and enter information into federal criminal information databases (under current law, such access is limited); and (8) increasing the criminal sentences tribal courts may impose.

Unfortunately, the bill has been collecting dust since it was placed on the legislative calendar in October. The House appears to have a similar bill, which is languishing in committee. Please consider contacting your senators and the members of the House Subcommittee on Crime Terrorism, and Homeland Security Membership to urge them to get this legislation moving again and passed into law.

Attorney General Eric Holder has promised reforms and that U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will “work closely with law enforcement to pay particular attention to violence against women in Indian Country and make these crimes a priority.” link.  You can contact the Office of the Attorney General at (202) 514-2001 to remind him of this promise.

I would like to personally thank all of you who will read, comment and/or take action on this diary. As a survivor of rape, and sexual assault advocate I know the trauma that goes along with rape…but I cannot begin to imagine the additional traumas faced by Native Americans because of the additional legal burdens placed upon the prosecution of their rapes. No one should have to live through this. Thank you for taking a stand on this issue.

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

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Chief Ron Yonaguska Holloway on Native America Calling today at 1pm

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I have been blogging about NJ’s Sand Hill tribe for almost two years now and was fortunate to be at the Healing Turtle Island event that will be discussed today from 1pm to 2 pm today on Native America Calling. The story will also be carried on NPR.  At that event in November 2009, 400 years after Henry Hudson floated up the river that now bears his name, Ron Holloway accepted the apology in lower Manhattan on behalf of all four Lenape tribes left:

The Delaware

The Munsee

the Shinnecock

and the Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee – the only Lenape tribe left in NJ.  

Acting Principal Chief Ron Yonaguska Holloway will be on the show with Robert Chase of the Collegiate Church as well as Carmen Ketcher of the Delaware tribe who was also present at the Healing Turtle Island Ceremony.  It should be a really enlightening program which discusses the relationship between the Church and the indigenous tribes of NY and NJ over the centuries and where we go from here.  Reverend Chase is actually descended from one of the very first Dutch families in what is now New York City. Acting Principle Chief Ron Yonaguska Holloway is directly descended from the oldest indigenous Lenape tribe still left in NJ.

The audio stream of today’s interview:

http://www.nativeamericacallin…

My blog of the Healing Turtle Island event:

http://www.nativeamericannetro…

Video of Healing Turtle Island:

http://intersectionsinternatio…

Dam Indians: The Missouri River

The Missouri River has an important place in American history. In 1803 the United States purchased the rights to govern the Louisiana Territory, an area which spread from the Mississippi River west to the headwaters of the Missouri River. The Lewis and Clark expedition was then sent out to find the headwaters of the Missouri, to make contact with the Indians, and to report on the economic potential for the new territory. Soon after, the Missouri became the highway for non-Indian fur traders, explorers, miners, and settlers.  

In 1944 Congress approved the Pick-Sloan Plan for flood control and navigation on the Missouri River. The primary beneficiaries of the Pick-Sloan plan were non-Indian farmers. The Plan involved the construction of four dams – Garrison, Fort Randall, Oahe, and Big Bend – which would impact twenty-three Indian reservations and result in the forced relocation of nearly 1,000 Indian families. Many Indian leaders would later charge that the project selected Indian lands for dam sites rather than non-Indian lands. In carrying out the plan, the Army Corps of Engineers negotiated settlements with the Indians, ignoring tribal sovereignty, Indian law, and treaty rights.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs was fully informed about the project and its impact on Indian reservations. The BIA made no objections to the project while it was debated in Congress. None of the tribes affected by the project were consulted about it.

Former Commissioner of Indian Affairs Philleo Nash would later say that Pick-Sloan “caused more damage to Indian land than any other public works project in America.” The plan ignored Indian water rights and the Winters Doctrine.

In 1946 the Army Corps of Engineers began construction on the Fort Randall Dam in South Dakota. The dam flooded 22,091 acres of Yankton Sioux land and dislocated 136 families. The reservoir also covered Fort Thompson, the largest community on the Crow Creek Reservation. As a result, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Offices were moved to Pierre, South Dakota and the Indian Health Service facilities were moved to Chamberlain, South Dakota. By placing these two services – BIA and HIS – in two different communities it became more difficult and less convenient for the Indians needing these services.

The Army Corps of Engineers, ignoring the Yankton Treaty of 1858, tribal sovereignty, and Indian law, simply condemned the Indian land that it needed. The amount offered to Indian land owners was often significantly less than the amount offered to non-Indian land owners.

The Army Corps of Engineers also entered the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota to begin construction of the Garrison Dam. The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Reservation — Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara — had not been informed of the project. The dam would flood every acre of productive land on the Fort Berthold reservation.

When the tribes informed the Department of Interior that the homes and lands of 349 families with 1,544 people were to be flooded, the BIA simply told them to start looking for new homes.

While the Army Corps of Engineers altered the project’s specifications without Congressional authorization to protect the non-Indian town of Williston, they did nothing to protect the Indian communities. The Fort Berthold tribes protested to Congress and managed to stop the funding for the project until a settlement was reached.

At one reservation conference attended by General Pick of the Army Corps of Engineers, Indians in full ceremonial dress denounced the talks. General Pick flew into a rage, canceled the negotiations, and repudiated all of the agreements which had been reached as of that time. By his failure to understand the situation, the general clearly revealed his basic ignorance of the people with whom he was dealing. General Pick’s contention that the Indians were belligerently uncooperative was used by him as a reason to dictate his own settlement terms to Congress.

In 1948 the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of Oahe Dam in South Dakota. The Oahe Dam would destroy more Indian land than any other public works project in America.  The project destroyed 90 percent of the timber land on the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux reservations as well as the most valuable rangeland, most of the gardens and cultivated areas, and the wild fruit and wildlife resources.

The Department of the Interior (of which the BIA is a part) signed the final agreement in 1948 for the Pick-Sloan plan to build dams which would flood the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. While the Pick-Sloan plan took great care not to drown any non-Indian towns along the Missouri River, it flooded 155,000 acres of the most fertile Indian farmland in the Great Plains.

The agreement denied Indians the right to use the reservoir shoreline for hunting, fishing, grazing, or other purposes. It also rejected tribal requests for irrigation development.

In 1950 Congress enacted legislation which established the guidelines for the negotiation of a settlement for Indian lands taken by the Oahe Dam project in South Dakota. The legislation made the Army Corps of Engineers and the Secretary of the Interior responsible for negotiating favorable settlements with the tribes. The legislation required that the settlement include payment for Indian land and improvements as well as for relocation costs.

The Standing Rock Sioux in 1951 attempted to hire their own attorney, to be paid out of tribal funds, to help in the negotiations regarding lands taken in the Pick-Sloan dam projects. The tribe wanted legal counsel which would be totally independent from the politics of the Department of the Interior. However, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dillon Meyer rejected their choice of an attorney and allowed only a one-year contract.

The attorney selected by the tribe, James Curry, was an outspoken critic of the BIA and was one of a number of Indian claims lawyers against whom Meyer had a personal vendetta. The tribe protested Meyer’s decision to the Department of Interior. The Department of the Interior did nothing as Meyer continued to publicly attack Curry.

Federal representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and the BIA met with the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux in 1952 to seek an agreement over lands taken from them under the Pick-Sloan dam projects on the Missouri River.

The Standing Rock Sioux asked that they be allowed to spend $500 to have their attorney attend the conference with them. Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dillon Meyer refused the request, calling it a “highjacking game.” The Secretary of the Interior overruled Meyer’s decision.

According to one representative from the Cheyenne River Sioux: “This is not a happy occasion. We are here to participate in the gutting of our reservation.”

Representatives of the Cheyenne River Sioux in South Dakota testified before Congress in 1954 regarding land claims from the Oahe Dam of the Pick-Sloan Project. The representatives paid their own way for the BIA would allow them only five days in Washington which was not enough time to cut through the federal bureaucracy. The representatives also realized that Congress was more comfortable hearing from Indian stereotypes than real Indians. Thus, Little Cloud was instructed to speak in Lakota at the hearings, and Chasing Hawk was to translate his remarks into broken English, even though both men spoke their adopted language fluently. Members of Congress were delighted.

In the end, Congress awarded the Cheyenne River Sioux nearly $11 million which was $13 million less what the Indians felt was just compensation for their losses.

In 1958 the Army Corps of Engineers filed suit to condemn Standing Rock Sioux land which was needed for the Oahe Dam. Tribal attorneys countered with a motion to dismiss because Congress had not given specific authorization to condemn tribal land. Support for the Indian’s case was provided in the 1868 Sioux Treaty which stated that land can be taken only upon payment of just compensation and the consent of adult tribal membership.

Judge George Mickelson, a former South Dakota governor, found for the tribe stating: “It is clear to this Court that Congress has never provided the requisite authority to the Secretary of the Army to condemn this tribal land. Such action is wholly repugnant to the entire history of Congressional and judicial treatment of Indians.”

Two weeks after the Oahe Dam was closed and the reservoir began filling, Congress passed a settlement which provided a little more than $12 million to the Standing Rock Sioux. This was $14 million less than they had requested.

In 1959 the Army Corps of Engineers began work on the Big Bend Dam in South Dakota. The project was located on lands belonging to the Crow Creek Sioux and the Lower Brule Sioux and would take 21,026 acres of Sioux land. The reservoir would flood the town of Lower Brule.

In addition, the reservoir created by the dam would flood the reservation lands which had the greatest potential for irrigation and thus destroy the possibility of implementing plans proposed by the BIA and the Bureau of Reclamation for irrigation projects on the two reservations.

The Army Corps of Engineers filed a condemnation suit against the Crow Creek Sioux and the Lower Brulé Sioux in 1960 to obtain land for their Big Bend Project. Congress had not specially designated any power of eminent domain to the Army and the Army ignored the Court ruling regarding the Standing Rock Sioux. The Army Corps of Engineers was allowed to take title to the land. Neither the tribes themselves, their lawyers, the BIA, nor any of the Indian rights organizations protested this decision.

In South Dakota, the Army Corps of Engineers delivered payment to the Standing Rock Sioux for lands needed for the Oahe Dam project in 1960. In the midst of a fierce winter, the tribe was also given an immediate eviction notice. Indian families were forced to gather their possessions and leave the land. However, the government had not yet made available funds for the construction of new homes and the people were forced to live in trailers which they had to maintain at their own expense. The eviction date established by the Corps had been an arbitrary one. Tribal members could have remained in their old homes until the more favorable months of summer without interfering with the completion of the Oahe project.

Under 1944 legislation dealing with the electricity generated by the Pick-Sloan dams, Indians should have qualified as preferential low-cost power customers. However, the government simply ignored this and the Indians did not receive low cost electricity from the dams located on their land. It took Congress nearly 40 years to recognize that a wrong had been committed. Therefore, in 1982 authorized the Departments of Energy and Interior to make Pick-Sloan pumping power available to the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, and Omaha Reservations in South Dakota and Nebraska. However, Congress did not provide for the construction of new transmission lines to these Indian projects. Existing lines owned and operated by Rural Electrification Administration cooperatives were unable to give the tribes a reduced delivery rate.

In 1983 the state of South Dakota attempted to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over hunting and fishing in the Fort Randall and Big Bend Dam project areas on the Lower Brulé Reservation. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Indians and as a result both the state and the tribe enforced their regulations within the area. The state, however, was limited to enforcement over non-Indians.

In 1988 the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe announced that they would no longer recognize South Dakota hunting licenses in the Oahe Dam project area and that hunters must obtain a tribal hunting license.

Congress authorized in 1992 nearly $91 million to the Standing Rock Sioux in compensation for damages caused by the Oahe Dam project. The legislation also established an irrigation area on the reservation and transferred the administrative jurisdiction of the land taken in the project from the Secretary of the Army (Corps of Engineers) to the Secretary of the Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs).

In 1999 Lakota protesters established a camp on LaFramboise Island in the Missouri River in South Dakota. The camp was in protest of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) which would give treaty lands to the state of South Dakota. The lands were taken from the Cheyenne River and Lower Brulé Sioux tribes by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1947 as a part of the Pick-Sloan dam project. The land was no longer needed by the Corps.

In 2000 the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to delay raising water levels in Lake Francis Case in South Dakota to allow the Yankton Sioux Tribe to recover scattered human remains. The Indian burial site was uncovered when the water levels behind Fort Randall Dam dropped. Supposedly the Army Corps of Engineers had relocated all burials in 1950 before the reservoir filled.  

Dam Indians: The Missouri River

The Missouri River has an important place in American history. In 1803 the United States purchased the rights to govern the Louisiana Territory, an area which spread from the Mississippi River west to the headwaters of the Missouri River. The Lewis and Clark expedition was then sent out to find the headwaters of the Missouri, to make contact with the Indians, and to report on the economic potential for the new territory. Soon after, the Missouri became the highway for non-Indian fur traders, explorers, miners, and settlers.  

In 1944 Congress approved the Pick-Sloan Plan for flood control and navigation on the Missouri River. The primary beneficiaries of the Pick-Sloan plan were non-Indian farmers. The Plan involved the construction of four dams – Garrison, Fort Randall, Oahe, and Big Bend – which would impact twenty-three Indian reservations and result in the forced relocation of nearly 1,000 Indian families. Many Indian leaders would later charge that the project selected Indian lands for dam sites rather than non-Indian lands. In carrying out the plan, the Army Corps of Engineers negotiated settlements with the Indians, ignoring tribal sovereignty, Indian law, and treaty rights.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs was fully informed about the project and its impact on Indian reservations. The BIA made no objections to the project while it was debated in Congress. None of the tribes affected by the project were consulted about it.

Former Commissioner of Indian Affairs Philleo Nash would later say that Pick-Sloan “caused more damage to Indian land than any other public works project in America.” The plan ignored Indian water rights and the Winters Doctrine.

In 1946 the Army Corps of Engineers began construction on the Fort Randall Dam in South Dakota. The dam flooded 22,091 acres of Yankton Sioux land and dislocated 136 families. The reservoir also covered Fort Thompson, the largest community on the Crow Creek Reservation. As a result, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Offices were moved to Pierre, South Dakota and the Indian Health Service facilities were moved to Chamberlain, South Dakota. By placing these two services – BIA and HIS – in two different communities it became more difficult and less convenient for the Indians needing these services.

The Army Corps of Engineers, ignoring the Yankton Treaty of 1858, tribal sovereignty, and Indian law, simply condemned the Indian land that it needed. The amount offered to Indian land owners was often significantly less than the amount offered to non-Indian land owners.

The Army Corps of Engineers also entered the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota to begin construction of the Garrison Dam. The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Reservation — Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara — had not been informed of the project. The dam would flood every acre of productive land on the Fort Berthold reservation.

When the tribes informed the Department of Interior that the homes and lands of 349 families with 1,544 people were to be flooded, the BIA simply told them to start looking for new homes.

While the Army Corps of Engineers altered the project’s specifications without Congressional authorization to protect the non-Indian town of Williston, they did nothing to protect the Indian communities. The Fort Berthold tribes protested to Congress and managed to stop the funding for the project until a settlement was reached.

At one reservation conference attended by General Pick of the Army Corps of Engineers, Indians in full ceremonial dress denounced the talks. General Pick flew into a rage, canceled the negotiations, and repudiated all of the agreements which had been reached as of that time. By his failure to understand the situation, the general clearly revealed his basic ignorance of the people with whom he was dealing. General Pick’s contention that the Indians were belligerently uncooperative was used by him as a reason to dictate his own settlement terms to Congress.

In 1948 the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of Oahe Dam in South Dakota. The Oahe Dam would destroy more Indian land than any other public works project in America.  The project destroyed 90 percent of the timber land on the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux reservations as well as the most valuable rangeland, most of the gardens and cultivated areas, and the wild fruit and wildlife resources.

The Department of the Interior (of which the BIA is a part) signed the final agreement in 1948 for the Pick-Sloan plan to build dams which would flood the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. While the Pick-Sloan plan took great care not to drown any non-Indian towns along the Missouri River, it flooded 155,000 acres of the most fertile Indian farmland in the Great Plains.

The agreement denied Indians the right to use the reservoir shoreline for hunting, fishing, grazing, or other purposes. It also rejected tribal requests for irrigation development.

In 1950 Congress enacted legislation which established the guidelines for the negotiation of a settlement for Indian lands taken by the Oahe Dam project in South Dakota. The legislation made the Army Corps of Engineers and the Secretary of the Interior responsible for negotiating favorable settlements with the tribes. The legislation required that the settlement include payment for Indian land and improvements as well as for relocation costs.

The Standing Rock Sioux in 1951 attempted to hire their own attorney, to be paid out of tribal funds, to help in the negotiations regarding lands taken in the Pick-Sloan dam projects. The tribe wanted legal counsel which would be totally independent from the politics of the Department of the Interior. However, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dillon Meyer rejected their choice of an attorney and allowed only a one-year contract.

The attorney selected by the tribe, James Curry, was an outspoken critic of the BIA and was one of a number of Indian claims lawyers against whom Meyer had a personal vendetta. The tribe protested Meyer’s decision to the Department of Interior. The Department of the Interior did nothing as Meyer continued to publicly attack Curry.

Federal representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and the BIA met with the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux in 1952 to seek an agreement over lands taken from them under the Pick-Sloan dam projects on the Missouri River.

The Standing Rock Sioux asked that they be allowed to spend $500 to have their attorney attend the conference with them. Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dillon Meyer refused the request, calling it a “highjacking game.” The Secretary of the Interior overruled Meyer’s decision.

According to one representative from the Cheyenne River Sioux: “This is not a happy occasion. We are here to participate in the gutting of our reservation.”

Representatives of the Cheyenne River Sioux in South Dakota testified before Congress in 1954 regarding land claims from the Oahe Dam of the Pick-Sloan Project. The representatives paid their own way for the BIA would allow them only five days in Washington which was not enough time to cut through the federal bureaucracy. The representatives also realized that Congress was more comfortable hearing from Indian stereotypes than real Indians. Thus, Little Cloud was instructed to speak in Lakota at the hearings, and Chasing Hawk was to translate his remarks into broken English, even though both men spoke their adopted language fluently. Members of Congress were delighted.

In the end, Congress awarded the Cheyenne River Sioux nearly $11 million which was $13 million less what the Indians felt was just compensation for their losses.

In 1958 the Army Corps of Engineers filed suit to condemn Standing Rock Sioux land which was needed for the Oahe Dam. Tribal attorneys countered with a motion to dismiss because Congress had not given specific authorization to condemn tribal land. Support for the Indian’s case was provided in the 1868 Sioux Treaty which stated that land can be taken only upon payment of just compensation and the consent of adult tribal membership.

Judge George Mickelson, a former South Dakota governor, found for the tribe stating: “It is clear to this Court that Congress has never provided the requisite authority to the Secretary of the Army to condemn this tribal land. Such action is wholly repugnant to the entire history of Congressional and judicial treatment of Indians.”

Two weeks after the Oahe Dam was closed and the reservoir began filling, Congress passed a settlement which provided a little more than $12 million to the Standing Rock Sioux. This was $14 million less than they had requested.

In 1959 the Army Corps of Engineers began work on the Big Bend Dam in South Dakota. The project was located on lands belonging to the Crow Creek Sioux and the Lower Brule Sioux and would take 21,026 acres of Sioux land. The reservoir would flood the town of Lower Brule.

In addition, the reservoir created by the dam would flood the reservation lands which had the greatest potential for irrigation and thus destroy the possibility of implementing plans proposed by the BIA and the Bureau of Reclamation for irrigation projects on the two reservations.

The Army Corps of Engineers filed a condemnation suit against the Crow Creek Sioux and the Lower Brulé Sioux in 1960 to obtain land for their Big Bend Project. Congress had not specially designated any power of eminent domain to the Army and the Army ignored the Court ruling regarding the Standing Rock Sioux. The Army Corps of Engineers was allowed to take title to the land. Neither the tribes themselves, their lawyers, the BIA, nor any of the Indian rights organizations protested this decision.

In South Dakota, the Army Corps of Engineers delivered payment to the Standing Rock Sioux for lands needed for the Oahe Dam project in 1960. In the midst of a fierce winter, the tribe was also given an immediate eviction notice. Indian families were forced to gather their possessions and leave the land. However, the government had not yet made available funds for the construction of new homes and the people were forced to live in trailers which they had to maintain at their own expense. The eviction date established by the Corps had been an arbitrary one. Tribal members could have remained in their old homes until the more favorable months of summer without interfering with the completion of the Oahe project.

Under 1944 legislation dealing with the electricity generated by the Pick-Sloan dams, Indians should have qualified as preferential low-cost power customers. However, the government simply ignored this and the Indians did not receive low cost electricity from the dams located on their land. It took Congress nearly 40 years to recognize that a wrong had been committed. Therefore, in 1982 authorized the Departments of Energy and Interior to make Pick-Sloan pumping power available to the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, and Omaha Reservations in South Dakota and Nebraska. However, Congress did not provide for the construction of new transmission lines to these Indian projects. Existing lines owned and operated by Rural Electrification Administration cooperatives were unable to give the tribes a reduced delivery rate.

In 1983 the state of South Dakota attempted to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over hunting and fishing in the Fort Randall and Big Bend Dam project areas on the Lower Brulé Reservation. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Indians and as a result both the state and the tribe enforced their regulations within the area. The state, however, was limited to enforcement over non-Indians.

In 1988 the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe announced that they would no longer recognize South Dakota hunting licenses in the Oahe Dam project area and that hunters must obtain a tribal hunting license.

Congress authorized in 1992 nearly $91 million to the Standing Rock Sioux in compensation for damages caused by the Oahe Dam project. The legislation also established an irrigation area on the reservation and transferred the administrative jurisdiction of the land taken in the project from the Secretary of the Army (Corps of Engineers) to the Secretary of the Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs).

In 1999 Lakota protesters established a camp on LaFramboise Island in the Missouri River in South Dakota. The camp was in protest of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) which would give treaty lands to the state of South Dakota. The lands were taken from the Cheyenne River and Lower Brulé Sioux tribes by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1947 as a part of the Pick-Sloan dam project. The land was no longer needed by the Corps.

In 2000 the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to delay raising water levels in Lake Francis Case in South Dakota to allow the Yankton Sioux Tribe to recover scattered human remains. The Indian burial site was uncovered when the water levels behind Fort Randall Dam dropped. Supposedly the Army Corps of Engineers had relocated all burials in 1950 before the reservoir filled.  

To E.L.L. and Back Again

( – promoted by navajo)

    Questions:  Is there any reasonable argument against the idea that a strong societal need exists for a child to grow up with the ability to function in the broader society?  Is there any reasonable argument against the idea that a strong individual need exists in every person to develop one’s own sense of being in childhood?  Is there any reasonable argument against the idea that these and other diverse childhood needs require time, adult guidance, opportunities for societal interaction, and a place to occur?  Is there any reasonable argument against the idea that the public/private school system has a responsibility to address these and other similar questions?

    Surely, any reasonable person would say that, no, there are no reasonable arguments against these kind of assertions.  Nevertheless, there are arguments that exist about certain aspects of these assertions, such as, what the “broader society” is; what a healthy sense of being within that context appears to be; how much time, in what place, and in what way adult guidance occurs; how much of the work of raising children the job of the school system is.  And in a world of finite resources, the debate swells over how much is affordable.

   It appears that the State of Arizona and the United States have concluded that not much is affordable and therefore, given the immensity that the task of educating all the children is, the economical route of one-size-fits-all mass indoctrination must be followed.  This direction is no more apparent than in the case of Arizona’s new English Language Learner (ELL) directives to all the State schools.

   The loudest voices kept clamoring for English-proficient citizens that can competently read and write in the official language of the US.  Again, there is a very strong argument for English competency for citizens to function in the broader society.  According to these loudest voices, however, nearly two-thirds of a child’s school day must be spent meeting this societal need- apparently at the expense of addressing the other diverse childhood needs.  For nearly two-thirds of a child’s school day to be spent exclusively in an ELL pullout program is an extremely unwise monopolization of time, and yet another example of socialization into mainstream society at any cost- even one’s chance at a well-rounded childhood within the context of their own community.

   For predominantly Native communities particularly, Arizona’s new ELL policy is a throwback to the “bad old days” when schools operated under the philosophy of “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”, only with a new twist:  instead of sending the children off to a boarding school environment, the State is bring the boarding school environment into the public school districts.  

   This may or may not be a case of intentional cultural genocide, but such a complete indifference by State officials to all the other diverse needs of growing children smacks of tyranny to the Native people who have been still struggling to recover from past efforts at eradicating their way of life.  It violates the civil rights of children. It violates existing federal and state laws concerning civil rights, and those of Native people in particular.  It violates the professional educational concept of best practices (pdf).  And, it violates my right as a teacher in a Native community to express myself professionally according to all of the above rights of the community and its people.

   Worse, and so ironically because it is unintentional collateral damage- surely unforeseen- is the growing number of professionally-trained teachers, who, upon being obliquely told that all their years of hard work, study, and experience have been essentially a waste of time, leaving the teaching profession, as the “one size fits all” ELL mandate, along with an increased dependence on programmed, scripted learning programs, have taken over the school systems.  Rural areas are now experiencing a chronic lack of teachers.  Prospective teachers are taking one look at the current state of educational opportunities and are just turning and walking away, shaking their heads in shocked astonishment.

   It is one thing to provide ELL resources to schools, to promote ELL best practices, to offer incentives for districts that are ably moving forward, and/or to create demonstration schools as models for success.  However, Arizona is doing little of that.  Instead, it is dictating a time segment of every day for an ELL pullout program.  And it is not just for one period per day; not just two or three periods per day.  It is for four periods a day, at least half a school day for most public schools.

   A personal experience here:  I spent three years obtaining the 26 credits- nine courses- necessary for an English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement on my teaching certificate, all while working full-time in the classroom.  It was a lot of work, costing hundreds of dollars, but I proved I was able to succeed in an ESL classroom.  Now, I am being told that all the coursework and years of experience count for nothing.  My ELL students will be pulled out of my classrooms, separated from their classmates, preventing my chance to teach to them, preventing  their chance to learn from me, creating likely social divisions and other stigmas within the student body, and potentially shattering the entire community as a result.

   Is there a more pertinent example of cultural genocide than that?  Similar effects were the results of the boarding school days of time gone past.

   Young people suffer compulsory education during school, then grow up to find themselves lost upon graduation.  Human vices prevail for far too long and for far too many people in a shattered community.  Elders want to help, but the children are all herded into schools, sequestered within a permanent soft lockdown environment, mostly inaccessible to their own community during school hours.  People are dying to share their years of accumulated wisdom with the children, but with rare exceptions are being prevented from doing so in any kind of structured way within the school system.  Then along comes another state and federal mandate that monopolizes the available time in a child’s day and narrowly restricts what can be taught, how it is to be taught, who can teach it, and what defines success.

   In some contexts the label ELL is a sign of a language deficiency in a child.  However, in a Native culture, and in other contexts, ELL is an indication of hope that a child is still being raised in a strong, Native cultural environment.  Laws mandating fixed hours of ELL instruction are crushing that hope, as if grinding Native cultural aspirations under the heels of jackbooted thugs, more interested in producing compliant workers serving powerful moneyed interests rather than informed citizens capable of succeeding in life, and making valuable contributions to their own communities.

   Those who would put their ideology over others are practicing a modern version of Manifest Destiny.  This is what is going on in public schools in Native communities.  Indigenous languages are being lost at an alarming rate.  Native people do not wish to lose their language.  When language is lost, cultural practices and traditions follow.  Native people want to retain their culture, not lose it.

   As a teacher, I have met with hundreds of parents, the overwhelming majority of who are Native people.  Did any of our legislators even attempt to listen to these parents as they were writing this ELL law?  I can say with complete confidence that these parents all want their child to succeed, whether in their own community, or somewhere else in the “culturally foreign” world.  In fact, they want both.  Instead, they are continually facing hubris-saturated legislated opposition to their legitimate wishes.

   What the Arizona legislature fails to realize is just how pathetic the State’s school system is in the eyes of not only these parents, but also in the eyes of educators everywhere.  They fail to realize the consequences of their education legislation in terms of financial cost as well as social cost.  The culturally oppressive mandates of the Arizona legislature serve to reinforce the imperialistic roots of the English-speaking power elite in this state.  The reasoning for English-only laws and ELL rules in the classrooms falters in the presence of best practices, further reinforcing its racist nature.  Whenever the spectre of racism is invoked, policymakers vehemently deny it is the motivation behind their policies.  Yet to an oppressed culture, there is little difference between overt racism and the de facto racism these policies engender.

   And make no mistake, ELL policies that monopolize the time children must spend learning English only are culturally invasive, by definition.  It is one thing when an invasive plant or animal (think zebra mussel) takes over a piece of the natural landscape.  But humans are supposed to be able to do better.  History is full of examples of when people do better.  Sadly, this is not one of those times.  The rationale of Manifest Destiny looms again, conveniently obscuring a gross violation of the civil rights of an oppressed people.  In the face of historical facts, how can anyone be okay with that?

   Where is the data that even hints that the Arizona ELL laws are anything but a miserly, money-saving response to the Flores decision (pdf)?  How cynically unfair is the attitude behind legislation that sells out Dine’ and other cultures just to save a buck, and then congratulates itself for being so thrifty!  There are certainly plenty reasons to be thrifty- it is a virtue, after all- but the real truth is that per pupil costs in Arizona (pdf) reflect more than thriftiness.  Per pupil costs in Arizona sadly also reflect a violation of civil rights of minorities, as shown through the ELL laws.

   To whomever asserts that this is a debatable issue, all I can ask is since when are civil rights in the US a debatable issue?

   For the past 13 years, I have had the honor to live and teach in Navajoland.  It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly.  The patience of the people helped me to understand their culture, their community, their hopes and dreams, as well as their expectations for me as a teacher.  The people of Navajoland do not expect me to replace their culture with my own, although they do expect me to prepare their children to participate in the greater (though not necessarily better) society.  There is a difference.  An educational policy that dictates to a community how much time every day is spent in an ELL pullout program is an example of the former.  It not only elbows out community standards, it presumes to judge the community’s culture on that basis.  This is prejudice.  Again, the Dine’ people have acknowledged, all the way back to the days of Manuelito and Barboncito, the importance of public education for their children.  In Navajo culture, prejudice is disrespectful.  What is it today in the greater society of Arizona?

   Why is disrespect for Native cultures considered a necessary evil in today’s society, as it was in the boarding school days?  How much longer must we labor under the philosophy of “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”, that was so zealously followed in the past that entire tribal cultures were destroyed in the process?  Make no mistake about it:  Such an attitude is not only disrespectful, it is genocidal.  This is the shameful legacy we Americans must endure, but surely not prolong.  To follow such a policy toward Native people, and then be in denial about its racist and prejudicial basis bespeaks of indifference, uncaring, cynicism, and disrespect that is hardly any more virtuous than the overt racism of an earlier time.  It is still wrong, and it is astonishing to me how the the ELL policies that are an outgrowth of this attitude(pdf)” became law in this, the twenty-first century.

   If, in fact, the Arizona legislature is sincere about supporting English education in public schools, they would assign their aides the task of reviewing and summarizing for them the professional literature on ELL best practices.  They would establish their own set of standards concerning bills that would correctly address civil rights issues in the lawmaking process.  They would stop calling their lack of fiscal support for public education a virtue, and they would learn to work with Native, and other minority, cultures in a way that benefits all, rather than solely the business community’s need for cheap, urban labor.

More ranting here.

Dam Indians: The Allegheny River

In 1928 the Army Corps of Engineers began to survey the Seneca’s Allegheny Reservation for the building of a large reservoir to reduce flooding on the Allegheny River and to provide recreation for the people of Pennsylvania and New York. This was done without the knowledge or approval of the Seneca.  

In 1953 the Department of the Interior changed its position on the proposed dam: while it had formerly opposed it, it now supported the concept. The newly elected Eisenhower administration supported dam projects, particularly those proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

In 1956 Congress authorized the construction of the Kinzua Dam project on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. The reservoir from the dam would flood one-third of the Seneca Reservation, leaving untouched only the wooded hillsides and the towns occupied by non-Indians under leases executed by Congress during the nineteenth century. In authorizing the Kinzua Dam, Congress did not consult with the Seneca.

The Seneca sought an injunction against construction of the dam, citing the 1794 Canandaigua Treaty. The courts, however, ruled that under the domestic law of eminent domain, the actions of the United States were legal and that the federal government had the power to make treaties and to break them. The Supreme Court refused to review this decision, thus halting all legal means to stop construction of the dam.

In addition to the treaty, the Seneca also had George Washington’s word that they would always have control of their lands on their reservation in New York and Pennsylvania. In 1790, three Seneca leaders – Cornplanter, Big Tree, and Halftown – had journeyed to Philadelphia to complain to President Washington about non-Indian encroachment on their lands. In a letter written in December of 1790 George Washington guaranteed their boundaries and control of their land. George Washington’s word meant more to the Seneca than it did to the United States government.

The Seneca also hired engineers to report on the feasibility of alternative sites. Arthur E. Morgan, the former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority and a longtime foe of the Army Corps of Engineers, and Barton Jones developed several alternatives to the Kinzua Dam that would have spared Seneca land. The Morgan alternatives would have stored more water and generated more electricity. All of these alternatives were rejected by the Corps of Engineers. The reason for rejecting these alternatives was that they would flood out non-Indians.

Congress passed the appropriation bill for the Kinzua Dam ($4.5 million) in 1960 and a few months later a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the dam. The Army Corps of Engineers completed the dam in 1964. As a result of the project 550 Seneca people had to be relocated. In addition to living people, the dam also required the relocation of more than 3,000 Seneca graves.

The dam displaced roads and railroad tracks, items which received prompt attention from both Congress and government bureaucracies. Congress did not turn its attention to the “human welfare” – that fact that people were also displaced by the dam – until 1963. It is interesting to note that the Pennsylvania Railroad received its final payment of $20 million for relocating its railroad tracks six months before Congress began to concern itself with the cost of the “human” relocation of the Seneca.  

News from Native American Netroots

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Welcome to the first edition of News from Native American Netroots, a weekly series focused on indigenous tribes primarily in the United States and Canada, but inclusive of international peoples also.

Our format will be evolving and our focus of coverage will broaden as the series develops.

News from Native American Netroots is unique as a news digest in the fact that this it is based on community contributions.  Articles can be submitted in the commment thread or posted at Native American Netroots each week.

Attorney General Announces Significant Reforms to Improve Public Safety in Indian Country

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced sweeping reforms intended to improve public safety on tribal land. The new directive is part of a larger Justice Department initiative to create better communication and coordination to fight crime and promote justice in Indian Country.

“The public safety challenges we face in Indian Country will not be solved by a single grant or a single piece of legislation,” Holder said. “There is no quick fix. While today’s directive is significant progress, we need to continue our efforts with federal, state and tribal partners to identify solutions to the challenges we face, and work to implement them.”

Taxpayers’ money involved in financing controversial tar sands companies

Indigenous Environmental Network

New report exposes RBS involvement in Canada’s “blood oil

Bank executives meet in Toronto and discuss concerns about public backlash over involvement in tar sands

Environmental and development groups announce a week of protest around the RBS AGM in April over the bank’s tar sands investments.

Sacred Wind donates $35,000

Sacred Wind Communications Inc. is donating $10,000 to the American Indian Graduate Center and $15,000 to the Navajo Technical College.

The Albuquerque firm was voted the most inspiring small business in America in the American Express/NBC Shine a Light contest last October. It received $50,000 in cash, half of which Sacred Wind immediately donated to Native scholarship programs.

Utah Senate OKs more money to oversee Navajo fund


A bill that would double the state’s administrative budget in overseeing the Navajo Revitalization Fund cleared the Senate 24-0 on Tuesday.

According to Utah Housing & Community Development, the goal of this fund is to make the most of the state’s oil and natural gas severance taxes to reduce the impacts of those industries on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County.

“It’s our fund, and we elect to give it back to the Navajo tribe,” said SB169’s sponsor, Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, in explaining the state’s authority to expand the administrative portion.

LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO STRENGTHEN PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF DIABETES AMONG AMERICAN INDIANS, NATIVE ALASKANS


WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, introduced legislation this week that would ramp up federal efforts to prevent and treat diabetes among American Indians and Native Alaskans. Joining Dorgan as lead co-sponsor are Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

The legislation, S. 3058, targets one of the leading health problems among American Indians and Native Alaskans. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, 17 percent of all American Indians and Native Alaskans have diabetes – nearly one in five – the highest rate of any racial or ethnic group in America.

The bill reauthorizes the Special Diabetes Program, which funds both prevention and treatment research for Type I diabetes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a special prevention and treatment program for American Indians and Native Alaskans through the Indian Health Service (IHS). Each of those two programs is currently funded at $150 million annually. The new legislation would increase funding for each program by one third — to $200 million annually — for each of the next five years.

Report: Prospects good for 2010 spring runoff


New Mexico’s spring runoff forecast for March through July is looking good, according to a water-supply report released Friday.

The New Mexico portion of the Rio Grande Basin sports the fifth-best snowpack in 16 years, said Wayne Sleep, snow surveyor for the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Native America Calling

Native America Calling is a live call-in program linking public radio stations, the Internet and listeners together in a thought-provoking national conversation about issues specific to Native communities. Each program engages noted guests and experts with callers throughout the United States and is designed to improve the quality of life for Native Americans. Native America Calling is heard on 52 stations in the United States and in Canada by approximately 500,000 listeners each week.

Utah Senate OKs more money to oversee Navajo fund

A bill that would double the state’s administrative budget in overseeing the Navajo Revitalization Fund cleared the Senate 24-0 on Tuesday.

According to Utah Housing & Community Development, the goal of this fund is to make the most of the state’s oil and natural gas severance taxes to reduce the impacts of those industries on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County.

“It’s our fund, and we elect to give it back to the Navajo tribe,” said SB169’s sponsor, Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, in explaining the state’s authority to expand the administrative portion.

Citgo will once again donate heating fuel to tribal residents


Applications Currently Available

AKWESASNE TERRITORY – The long-awaited fuel assistance program in

partnership with the CITGO Petroleum Corporation will once again be a

reality for the Mohawk Tribe. CITGO’s partnership with Citizens

Programs Corporation recently confirmed that they will be providing

$1,081,000 of financial support for the Akwesasne Community for home

heating.

www.srmt-nsn.gov/…/CITGOToProvideFuelAssistanceToTribe_040709.pdf

“It’s for tribes in the north for whom heating becomes a survival

issue,” said David T. Staddon, director of public information for the

tribe. “We are the northernmost tribe in the state.

Native protesters block road between Crofton and Chemainus

Members of the Halalt First Nation have erected a blockade in front of their Chemainus Road band office as part of an ongoing dispute with the District of North Cowichan.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Cpl. Kevin Day said the Halalt blocked the road between Crofton and Chemainus Thursday afternoon by parking several vehicles across it. A provincial negotiator has been called in, Day said.

The Halalt are peacefully protesting the Chemainus Wells project, said Tyler George, a Halalt Tribe councillor.

South Dakota not a ‘Race to the Top’ finalist


SIOUX FALLS – South Dakota is not one of the 16 finalists for a federal grant that would have helped the state build a residential school designed to improve academic achievement among Native American students.

The U.S. Department of Education named the finalists Thursday in the first round of its “Race to the Top” competition, delivering $4.35 billion in grants aimed at encouraging and rewarding states that help improve student success.

Under South Dakota’s proposal, partners would have established a year-round, residential school — likely in the Black Hills — for ninth through 12th grades and two years of postsecondary education. Curriculum would have focused on science, technology, engineering and math to address the need for scientists and engineers, while infusing Native American family culture.

Special thanks to our new group of researchers, advisors and diarists who make up NATIVE AMERICAN NETROOTS:

4Freedom, Aji, bablhous, Bill in MD, Chris Rodda, Deep Harm, exmearden, KentuckyKat, Kimberley, Kitsap River, Land of Enchantment, No Way Lack of Brain, Oke, ParkRanger, Richard Cranium, Soothsayer99, swampus, TiaRachel, tlemon, translatorpro, Diogenes2008, birdbrain64, lexalou, marthature, meralda.

Advisors:



Rosebud Reservation
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cacamp

SarahLee

lpggirl

Pine Ridge Reservation Photobucket

Autumn Two Bulls

Kevin Killer, State Rep. Pine Ridge SD Dist. 27

     

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

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Decedents of great Warriors – The 7th generation WARRIOR SOCIETYShare

WE ARE THE 7TH GENERATION WARRIOR SOCIETY

“BLIHICHI YA PI KIKTAYE”

BE STRONG & STAND UP

When i was 12 years old i was inducted into a warrior women society, Knowen as the Ka’telas or Tokalas. We are called the Anpo Wi’chapi Winyan’s ( The Morning Star Women ). And there are may of us. At the time when i was being taken into the circle. I did not know true meaning of being a warrior because i was only a child. I seen these old grandmother’s dancing the society dances and singing the women honoring songs. I asked my own grandmotherwhy these women were singing these sonegs. She said ” Well, becasue they are honoring all the warrior’s both man and women for fighting for their way of life”. My grandmother Nellie Two Bulls was known for teaching the lakota taditions and preserving them. She was also widly known for singing real old honoring songs. I asked one time i thought it was only men who sang these songs. She said that alot of the times that the women made these songs for their sons, brothers, husbands and grandfathers.

When the men left to fight in wars. Alot of the them did not return home. The men would train the women how to defend themselves. This is where the women warrior societies come from. When the men where off fighting and a few men stayed behind to protect the village. Sometimes they would be attacked and there wasn’t enough men to fight so the Warrior Women would step forward and fight. They would fight to the death of them at times. In the summers they would honor those warrior faught with feathers and sashes with quilled medelians. Stating the supperioty.

It seems that alot of our tradittions have been lost to colonization. And as native people we are survivors of this. Making us natural warriors in hand. It is time to start now to take back our traditions and start practicing them in a positive way. We come from great people that fought so bravely. Who know what death was all to much. They new that all they wanted to was to protect away of life. Just as would do today if someone broke into your home and tried to hurt you and your family. Tried to take your children from you. What would you do… you would take their life with out thinking twice. I feel that now days are warriors are fighting many different battle’s that all stem from genocide. From our urban natives to those on the reservation. But when it all boils down to it. We are all fighting for the same thing our right to be have our culture and way of life back!!

We need to band togather work togather and stand togather. If we want change it must come from within ourselves. To take courage is to look at yourself. To honor all of those who fight for us. To be brave and fight for our way of life. Help those who can’t help themselves. Speak for those who have been silenced due to Genocide. To give hope back to your nations for the future generations.

By Autumn Two Bulls

Oglala Lakota

Anpo Wachipi Winyan Tokala Ka’tela

Warrior Women Society

“Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am Sioux? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country?

Now that we are poor, we are free. No man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights”

Quote By Sitting Bull

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Taking a Stand – Lakota Way of life and Poverty

There are so many things that the American government do us to us Native people and still are doing. Like keeping us in Poverty, Genocide and Oppression. Which i try to educate the world about. As we as natives were written out of history. They never told the real truth about what they did to us. Or how they keep us. And what can be done to help this.This is the 21st century. Why are the Lakota people living in 3rd world conditions? We desreve to be treated fare. Don’t you think? We have to fully re-educate the world about the Naitves. As we were written out of history from the world. The American goverment LIED to everyone about everything they have ever done to us. Why? because who wants to admitt for something so horrible. They want to justicefy for stealing our lands. And not to mention the horrible treatment of my ansector and the people of today. For thousands or should i say millions of INNOCENT lives lost.

What kinda of justice do we deserve. I don’t think we need to live in Poverty any more, we need economical development here. So the lakota oyate people can help bring them selves out of poverty. It is crutical to our exsistence. Crutical to our way of life. Which is so beautiful in many ways. Such as our culture and spirituality, our language, our dances, our kinship, and our beliefs. They say that Wounded Knee was one of that last fights between the US. Goverments but the failed to remember 1973 wounded knee. And any other nessecry date again.

The Lakota people don’t chose to live in poverty it is something that we are born into. Alot of the little children don’t understand why they have to live like this. They don’t unerstand that’s it’s not their fault. They don’t understand Genocide and oppression or Povery. They innocent children of creator. It saddens my heart to see my people have to suffer like this. I ask my self time after time how can i help. What can i do as a Lakota women of the Oyate? As i am in the struggle with them. We have our spirituality alive, we pray and give our flesh so that one day their will be healing and our people don’t have to hurt any more.

Why do the lakota people have to live in poverty genocide and oppression. The world needs to wake up and see the real truth. We do try to get out of this poverty and every step we take there they are again. And i need not to say as you already know who they are. The Lakota people faught so hard as the world knows. As we stilldo today. We as the lakota Nation chose to keep our rights.

We are poor because we fight for eqaulity. We are constantly punished for that. As are our leaders. Like Uncle Leonerd Peltier. We chose to stand our ground and not sell our rights. And we would lay down our lives for this belief. They American goverment wants us to be scared that is why they keep uncle Leonard in jail. They want us to know that if we try to make a stand this is were we will be also. It’s sad that they treat us like this what have we done wrong to this country?… It was Ours as Native nations to take care of and love. Now that we are not the gaurdians look what is happening. Our mother Earth is being destroyed all in the name of progress and MONEY!

It is time now for healing to come from all colors of people and races and nations. We need to work togather to better the lives of our future generations. We need to help one another with out judgment. As i am only human so are you. No matter our skin color we could live off of one anothers heart. What does that say?.. That we are all the same. Does material well really seperate us as humans? A poor man could give his heart to a rich man. And he would live!

THE TIME IS NOW FOR HEALING AND TAKING BACK WHAT IS OURS * A WAY OF LIFE*

“I was hostile to the white man…We preferred hunting to a life of idleness on our reservations. At times i heardmy people did not get enough to eat and we were not allowed to hunt. All we wanted was peace and to be let alone. Soldiers came…in the winter..and destroyed our villages. Then Long Hair (Custer) came…They said we massacred him, but he would have done the same to us. Our first impulse was to escape…but we were so hemmed in we had to fight. After that I lived in peace, but the government would not let me alone. I was not allowed to remain quiet. I was tired of fighting. All we want is to live in peace as the creator intended for us…They tried to confine me..and a soldier ran his bayonet into me. I fear for my people. These are my Last words. I have spoken” Quote By Tasunka Witko (CRAZY HOSRE)

“We did not ask you white men to come here. The Great Spirit gave us this country as a home. You had yours. We did not interfere with you. The Great Spirit gave us plenty of land to live on, and buffalo, deer, antelope and other game. But you have come here; you are taking my land from me; you are killing off our game, so it is hard for us to live. Now, you tell us to work for a living, but the Great Spirit did not make us to work, but to live by hunting. You white men can work if you want to. We do not interfere with you, and again you say why do you not become civilized? We do not want your civilization! We would live as our fathers did, and their fathers before them.” . . . . Sitting Bull

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The struggle of the rez life- how do we over come it?

As i stood outside this morning and watched my cihildren play on the earth that my ancestors faught and died for. I wondered what the future has instore for them. And it brought tears to my eye’s. I know i have to work harder. To bring awarness and bring economical development about our crucial conditions here on the Pine Ridge reservation. I don’t know that people can possibly understand unless you have to live in poverty and genocide. I fear for the furture generations. I can only do so much to bring AID here for my people. I can travel and speak but if nobody is listening then what. I keep on going to a place where people can hear. I know that there are many people who are of capible of speaking. But we need action behind them words. I am worried everyday for all the Lakota Families here on the rez. And wonder why our tribal government don’t help more. As in a dream i had the grandfather tell me to call out to the four winds for help and he said they will come. Of all colors and creeds. As i do now.

There are many homeless people here on our reservation. Many with out food and heat right now. Many kids have to go with out. Sush as: clothes, food, hygene products, shoes, winter clothing to keep them warm, toys,blankets,beds and safe warm homes. And it makes my spirit hurt. I want to give all i can. But sometimes it’s hard hard when i give all i have.

Pitty is what the greator gave for one another as we ask him for pitty. But courage is what my people need. It’s hard for people of the rez. When they have to wake up and realize they have nothing to feed their families. That has to be hard.Even if they want to work there are no jobs, and if they find a job, they have no car and live so far out that it so hard to get to work. The warriors can’t hunt even if they want to. Mothers and Fathers cry because their children go with out. And it is never ending the struggle. I often wonder if this is why the Sacred Canupa was brought to the Lakota people. Because at times prayer is all we have to get us through the day. No one can possibly know what it’s like here unless you live here. I hear about so many organization saying they help the Lakota. But to many times we don’t see it. If they could all work togather we could really get something done. I am trying to build a shelter here for the Lakota Oyate.

Our people need a safe warm place to go in the winter and a place to have spiritual healing in the summer. So many people can sit and talk all day. But that does not feed the mouths of the people and children. When the women and child is hurting so is the nation. And alot of the warriors are lost in this sickness. Which can be healed it can be lifted. As a Lakota Warrior women i will travel to the ends of the earth for my people. To bring jobs here so that the peole can help themselves out of poverty and bring more housing. Because they can sign up for tribal housing and it could take up to 20 years before they get a house. This saddnes me very much and is heavy. When you care so much and feel helpless. There are many needs short term and long term.

But dispite all the hardship the people do there best. They pray and keep the traditions alive. Thats what the beauty is of our people. That we endure and endure but we continue on. At times we have nothing to eat, no heat. But yet we sing our songs and dance our dances. We teach our children who they are and where they come from. We pray out to the creator wakan tanka to hear us and have pitty on us. We open our home with love and care. Even though we have nothing or maybe little to offer. And for all of you have came here to Pine Ridge know this. One day i pray that the people will not have to struggle as hard as we do now. But that we are allowed to work as every American should. That we can have fair justice. That we will over come what america has done to us and heal from it.

We need a treatment centers that teaches what Genocide, colonization and oppression side are. Re-educating the native people to help them see what has happen to them. Meaning the effects that happen to them. And that they can over come it if we all help each other. That’s where the healing comes from within ourselves.

Wopila Tanka Echichiyapi

Autumn Two Bulls  

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Honoring the Memory of My grandmother and Grandmother to All Nellie Two Bulls

I am taking the time now to remember my grandmother UNCI Nellie Two Bulls who raised me up. I was always told that you honor your teachers and guiders. As this is what i am doing right now. Grandma Nellie was an inspriration in my life. My mother was her youngest daughter who also passed on to the spirit world. Grandma Nellie took me under wing when i was a little girl and took the time to teach me about the Lakota way of life and traditions. She taught me to speak Lakota, dance, bead,sing, the traditional ways of the Lakota women. But the most special teaching i hold close to my heart is to always love people and never judge.As she was kind to all. She would always tell me to not talk bad about others and never judge them because we are all pitiful in Tunkasila’s eye’s. The world knew her a great leader and teacher. I knew her as Unci grandmother. And as much as she taught the world she taught at home. She honored me in one of the most special traditionals ways.

She put me through the women-hood ceremony which is an ancient tradition. It’s when the younggirl becomes a women of moon time. The young girl sits on top of a hill in a TIPI for 4 days and nights. In these 4 days women of all ages come and bring their teaches of life, living,suriving, roles as a women, mothering, skills, stories, guidence, art work, and those most importance idenity as a Lakota women. Then at the age she and many other grandmothers inducted me into a warrior women socity with many other young women. The Tokala or Kate’la Society is called “Anpo Wicha’pi Winyan’s” Morning Star Warrior women Society. It was taught to us that we had to lead our lives by example and always put the people first. And that we would have many hard times defending our people but to always fight and never give up on them.

Grandma Nellie told me as a young girl that she did this for me for the future generations to come. So that one day i may teach them all that she has taught me. At the time i didn’t quit understand the meaning of that. And everytime i would mess up in life she was their to push me back on the Canku Luta (RED ROAD). She never judged me even when i fell into alcohol and the genocidal world that many of the natives live in. She would pulled me right backout and tell me to keep going no matter what. She would tell me i was a Warrior Women and the people are watching you. And i would feel shame for messing up and start over again. She always told me to never be shy or ashamed to speak or sing in front of anyone. To never give up speaking the Lakota language, that the future generation depends on us that can speak. So with her help i continued to have pride in who i am. Then in 1997 i was nominated as one of the youngest Lakota speakers and sent to Washington D.C to represent the Lakota Nation as their was only 7 Native choosen through out the whole United Stated to go represent their tribes. As Native Youth who spoke their Language fluently. As this was a great honor for my family they prepared me with songs and beautiful tradtional Lakota outfits to represent the people.

Grandma Nellie named my children Lakota names and told me to teach them to be proud of they were. Teach them to sing and dance and the traditional ways. As i do now, the names she gave my children are Ohiniyan Wokisuye Oyate Win (Always Helping her People) , my son Wakinyan Ohitika (Brave Thunder) and Canku Luta Win (RED ROAD WOMEN) and my youngest i named after my mother who passed on to the spirit world Ta’te Olowan Win (WIND SONG WOMEN). So with her teachings i changed my life around and devoted my life to the Lakota Oyate. To always teach the traditional way of life. As i am young and i make mistakes i learn from so i can help others. And i would like honor her memory on this day as it is her Birthday. Thank you to allof you who took the time to read this. As i and many others will forever and always have her in our hearts for her endless love and teachings..

O’han Wanagi Oyate Unci hena lila cante tiza ohiniyan omani canku kile o waste wopila tanka ni e cu Lakota Blihichiyapi Winyan he miye he ce tu ye!

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Understanding Historical Trauma Genocide & Opression

 

In the times of our great grands fathers and grandmothers who stood their ground to fight for their land and way of life as Native People. They understood what was coming for us. Even though they would never met us. They loved us. Our ancestors did not want this new way of life. They were happy and had their own way of goverment. Which met the needs of all people. They worked together,not as individuals. Everything they stood for was for everybody and they never left nobody out. Men and Women had their roles. Each person had duty to service the Tiospaye. Working together to benifit all the People. The young men were taught how to be men and fend for the women and children. The Older women taught the young women how to take care of their homes and children. Everybody had a structical society order they followed to create unity. Our Ansectors knew that is was the furture generations that would carry their way of life on. And, they did everything to protect them and teach them the way of life.

Our ansectors would all meet and decide together what was right for the people. They put all their ideas together and chose the best solutions. When the historical trauma began for native people. They put us in a stand still with balance and nature. The wave of destruction had began and our ancestor knew this. We as Native people have been hurt so much in every possible. It was not fair and it was not right. But we know what happen to us. It’s up to us to bring real change for all people. There’s no reason why innocent people should have to suffer. On the Indian reservations many people go unheard. They don’t chose to live in poverty. Without ways to support their families. Generations are born into poverty. I was born and raised her all my life on the Pine Ridge reservation. I seen the struggles of many people growing up and now. I also fell into the genocidal way of living for a short time. I had to come full circle in it to realize how i could support my people.

Growing up we would hear the olds one talk of these bad things that happen to them and could see the fear in them. They feared because they did not want that to happen to us. It was the older generation who paved a way for us young ones to follow. In their days it was frowned upon to be native. They stood their ground and got us our rights. So today we could push for change with in ourselves. In order to be successful in this movement we have to heal with in ourselves. I know i had to take a good look at the way i was living and ask what is it i stand for. I carried hurt and pain from generations before me It is was called Genocide and i gave it back. We understand now what is going on and what has happened to us as Native people. It is a choice now to live that genocidal way or give it back. We have to be strong for each other as one Nation for all Natives. We all pray the same prayer. Not one of us is better than any other. In this movement we need to put ego’s down and be humble as we can. To be teachers to those who don’t understand. And i have been told by many leaders and elders “when you step up to help your people they will attack you because it’s oppression, but do not hate them or condem them, help them see it’s their own hurt and pain their showing. When you want to help your people be humble and don’t make them feel bad for asking for help. It’s called being a warrior! But most important work together.” I honor the Ancestors for their endless courage and the will to fight for us and our land and way of life.

Oglala Lakota

Great- Grand daughter of Chief Smoke and Chief Young Mand Afraid of his Horses treaty signer of the 1868 Fort Lamerie Treaty

Anpo Wichapi Winyan Katela ( Morning Star Warrior Women Society)

Autumn Two Bulls

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The Bigger Picture of the Media attetion- After the storms pass poverty still exsists

Can’te Was’te nape Ciuzape Waniyetu Was’te Win Emachiyapi.

Greetings to all Nations, supporters, relatives and friends.

We would like to Thank all of you in your endless courage to bring AIDE to the Lakota Nations that needed your help during the devastating storms that have been hitting us. On the Lakota Sioux Reservations this winter. With your support many of our rservations have received AIDE. But there still is a bigger picture to the Reservations that we don’t want to forget. It’s about the daily living conditions of the Lakota People. And, the overwhelming hardships that our people face everyday. If you search any where on the internet you will find the negative satistics about the reservations here in South Dakota. I know many people out there don’t quite have the idea of the real situtations here on the reservations. I live on the Pine Ridge reservation and I see everyday what is going on here. It’s a daily struggle just to be heard. And to try to give the people a voice. I have had many struggles to get get us heard as the Lakota People. I mean giving them a voice to be heard. I know we as all nations have our government but we as the people have a right to speak up when we feel we need change. I don’t speak for our tribal government I am not a spokeswoman for them. But I do speak up because I see that our Nation is hurting from Genocide and Oppression.

So the bigger picture is that when the storm passes the people will still have to live in poverty. They will still have many obsticals to over come just to survive. This is a time when the native people shouldn’t have to live like this. So it’s very important to bring awareness about the current living conditions that many of the Lakota people have to live in. I know that there are also people on the Pine Ridge reservation who have jobs and a good source of income. But there’s many out there who don’t. Many don’t even have income, no cars, no way to fend for the families, even if they wanted too. We have to remember these people… it’s only fair. I was listening to the council meeting the other day on the radio and I heard them say we have to work with the system. I was really shocked that they would say that because the systems works us. Look at the statistics.

We have to find change for a better future for the people. And in doing this, those of you who don’t understand what is really going on and shouldn’t jump the gun and should learn. Also we can’t have this whole conquer and divide attitude towards one another. Yes, we as native nations all need help. We need to empower ourselves first, take pride back in our cultures and language. And for people who have been putting out alot of negative about not helping our reservations, you need to come here and see for yourselves. Walk in our shoes for awhile. We all worked hard to bring awareness about the storms that hit our reservations. And got the media’s attention. Now maybe the world will see the bigger picture. I am not slamming our tribal government but trying to work with them. I am a Oglala Lakota who has the right to speak up for change. This is the time now when we all have to work together to bring it.

If you take a drive through our reservations you will see that there is no economical development here. You will see how far you have to go just to get food and suppilies. And for a familiy who wants to help themselves it’s hard for us. This is not about a personal vendeta against any one person. Because we are all working hard towards helping the Nations become healthy again. It saddens my heart that the diversity is taking away from the bigger picture. The families who are hurting from genocide. There are families who do need your support. And maybe the sun is shining today and there is no storm at the moment. But the people have been living in poverty for the past 150 years. Since they put us on these prisons camps. We as native people have to work together as we have always done. With the support of all Nations all colors and creeds. We can get this done. One day hopefully soon I want to see the Native people reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Our way of life to be healthy, mentally, spirituly, physically, and emotionally, and free of this sickness that was laid on us like a heavy blanket.

So let’s remember that there are families who need your support. Let’s not let all the negativity get in our way to help those who need us. I know all the negativity has hit me hard and I had to push it out of the way. And I pray for those people that one day they will join us in the Movement of Change for the future generations. Let’s not work against each other. We need change for the youth, the parents who need to bring themselves out of poverty. To lay down the sickness that was given to us. The Historical trauma that our people suffer from. The time for change is now. I had to grow up in this sickness. Because of oppression genocide, and historical trauma I had to bury many of my family members and friends. But do not judge my people harshly it’s not their fault what has happened to them. We are healing as a Nation now. Let’s work together for the better of the future generations.

Wopila Tanka Autumn Two Bulls  

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Poverty, Genocide still will exsist after the Media lights go off.

Hello my name is Autumn Two Bulls and i am from the Oglala Lakota Nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation. As many of you know on Jan 20, 2010 i wanted to challenge the media’s attetion about the Dakota indian reservations as well as my own (Pine Ridge). About the storms that hit us and not getting any real AIDE and why they wouldn’t put us on the news. I set up a Campaign call in to CNN. Thousands of supporters called in the 3 hour time frame and continued to work hard to get there attetion. I recieved many, many calls from all over the world asking me how they can help and i would tell them to help us bring awareness about the South Dakota reservations. And many friends and supporter have help us be heard. But there’s something i want all of you to remember. That when the storms passes the poverty, genocide, and oppression, will still exsist. The Lakota people will continue to struggle. As a nation we always used to take care of one another never leaving nobody out. But now our tribe is ran like the American government and it’s everyman for him self. But how can every person be for themselves when there’s no jobs, no hope to better your life.

I know the people in the tribal offices will read this and i want you to know that i am not trying to work against you. But it’s time now when change has to come. It can happen real soon. We all have to work together in bringing change. Cause this is not about you. I’s about a Nation who is hurting. About a Nation who has called out for a hand up not a hand out, the Lakota Nation. The Poverty will only get worse if something is not done to better the lives on the Pine Ridge reservation. Honestly i can only speak for mine at this time. Because this is where i from and i live here. I know first hand what it’s like to suffer and hurt from genocide. It’s a constant struggle just to survive here on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Children are born into poverty generation after generation. Teens die every year due to alcoholism, car wrecks, suicides, carelessness. More and More people are getting sick at a faster rate ever seen anywhere in the world. Diabetes, Cancers, and the list goes on. I am not trying to only focus on the negative but the truth needs to be spoken. We need to heal as a Nation. Our people don’t deserve this kinda of treatment. What have we done so wrong to you that you keep innocent generations like this.

We refuse to carry this Genocide. We are taking a stand now as the 7th generation. To empower ourselves to heal from the (Native American Holocust- Historical Trama 150 years of violations of human rights) I am a single mother who has recently adopted another child. I live in poverty as well so i know how it feels to want better. Because i am one of the people who knows the hurt all to well. I stepped up to help my people and started taking calls of people who needed heat. Only because i care and love my people. The calls came like you wouldn’t believe. So i called out to the world to ask for you help to help the Lakota’s on the Pine Ridge reservation. There were many families who hadn’t recieved any help from the strom that was delcared state of emergency on Pine Ridge in December and many families went with out and are still going with out.

I set up a way that the Lakota Families could recieve help with Lakota plains propane Company.They do care about us Lakota’s as they have helped many also in times of need even though they had a buiness to run. They were willing to work with me. So i gave them the list of names through email. And people call them and tell them they want to donate to a family on that list. And i then put the word out here on facebook of the way you could help us with no middle man. So you would know where your money was going. With your help we have helped over 150 Lakota families with propane, food, and eletric. That’s more than any org could do in a year. I worked alone out of my home here on the Pine Ridge reservation. My kids would also help me answer phones. So maybe many don’t know this but i would like to personally Thank All of your for supporting us and loving us. And there are still many families who need your support and love. Let’s remeber those who have been forgotten. There’s still a bigger picture of all this media attetion. It’s about conditions we have to live in all year round. We derserve a right to be treated fair. We don’t want to live like this no more. We want change for the better of the people and the future genertaions now and to come.

I felt it was very important to get the medi’s attention. I am very happy that so many up in Cheyenne River Reservation got help and they raised so much money. But i would also like to remember the people here on the Pine Rige Indian Reservation who didn’t recieve any help at all from the State of Emergency in December. I only want to help my people because i love them I am one of them.

Wopila Tanka Echichiyapi

Oglala Lakota

Autumn Two Bulls

HERE’S MY CALL IN CAMPIAGN THAT WENT OUT TO CNN-THIS WAS THE DAY THAT THOUSANDS OF SUPPORTERS CALLED IN TO CNN AND WE SHOWED THAT WE ALL CAN WORK TOGATHER!

Friends, Relative and supports of the Lakota Nations- Support us in this efforts to bring change. Show your support and call

To all my Relations, friends and supporters:

I have been told that your area news and the National news will not carry the story for my people unless and until CNN carries it. Each day someone has told me they have gone to CNN on Facebook, their website, or called into report our story, since the 12/20/09 State of Emergency was issued.

I am asking that we all come together TODAY, Friday, January 29th, 2010 at 6pm Atlantic; 5pm Eastern time, 4pm Central, etc. pick up your phone and call the direct line to the CNN News Room at 404-827-2658. Someone needs to post here all phone numbers into CNN. We want to inundate CNN with the voices of people who care and you must be relentless in your call. At the same time we want you to handle an email campaign listed below.

When you call, they will try to attempt to move your call to a computerized public info line.

First – tell them what state you are calling from and your name. Then ask them, When are you going to be reporting on the situation of the American Indians of North and South Dakota?

Second, do not let them try to forward you, let them know that you know that the National Guard and the Red Cross have been called into certain Reservations.

Lastly, when you hang up, pick up the phone and call again. The people of this country needs to let CNN know that while you empathize with the situation in Haiti and we know that many of you have rightfully done as the children on Pine Ridge had been doing and collecting food and money to be sent, that you are wondering why money is leaving this country while the only reporting on the AP wires has been from within the states of North and South Dakota AP Presses.

At the same time that those of you who can afford to call CNN are calling, to those of you who can multi-task or be online, please go now to cnn . com and click on the iReport button and register. If you are on or near one of the Reservations in South & North Dakota, please upload your pictures – but wait – lets all do this together for three full hours.

Do not worry about your grammar, do not worry about your spelling, simply tell the truth of the situation from your heart.

Wopila Tanka

Autumn Two BUlls

Lets Work Togather

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The Lakota families on Pine Ridge who you supported would like to Thank You from the hearts!

 

The Lakota families of the Pine Ridge Reservation who have recieved help from all of you would like to Thank You for helping them with propane, eletric, and food. But the most important thing is HOPE. You offered my people hope when there was none for us. And we know that your all out here workng on helping us bring change. This is more important that ever now. As for the elders before us that was involved in the movment in the 60’s,70’s,80’s. They paved the way for us 7th generation warrior to bring change for ourselves.

In their day’s it was not okay to Indian or native. But today everybody wants to be us because of them. So i advise all of the suppoters out their in the world. To help us step this up “The Movment of Change” . When our young warriors are taking their own live or trying that is a wake up call for our Lakota Nations. We all know this can’t hapen over night but it can happen soon if we all work hard togather. This is the time to reach out to every connection you have in the world. One day i hope that i don’t have to call out like this for help instead a call out for a invite to help us celebrate the The positive Change that was brought to our people.

Last i put a huge list of names togather of people who needed support and help. So we put the call out for propane, eletricty, and food. I worked endlessly from my home. Taking calls day after day. Hour after hour hearing my people cry for help. So we called out to all of you. And low and behold all of you came to our aide like true warriors of earth. With all your suppport and help all your efforts totaled up to $16,520. The biggest number was for propane $14,000. People of the world we like to Thank You but let you know that we are no where near the end of this as there are still so many families who need your support right now.

Wopila Tanka

Echichiyape

Oglala Lakota

Autumn Two Bulls  

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Honoring our Lakota of Life – Giving the youth and young warriors back hope to prevent suicide

Honoring our Lakota of Life – Giving the youth and young warriors back hope to prevent suicide

As everyday goes on i feel more impowered to reachout to all the brother and sisters of the world. Our Lakota Youth are the most crucial part of our Nation. As well as all people in the Nation. I sit and wonder what people really know about our reservations beside what the American School taught them. I feel it’s time to re-educate the world about our Native world as we have been forgotten way to long.

The Lakota traditions are alive and theres hope for our people. The youth and Lakota people are handling what is layed upon us the best they can with spirituality and culture. We ride our horses, we sing our songs and practice the ceremonies. The pride in their hearts is keeping them alive. But we need more than just pride to survive. As the Lakota Nations we need to impower one another. This life of being forgotten has to stop now.

In the Old days man and women had their roles they served. They had a place in the Tiospaye (Community). Even down to the children. Elders would teach the young ones. And the adults would take the time to show the young ones how to do things. We all know that we can’t go back fully to the old ways. But we can still be traditional inside our homes and community with the values,ceremonies and culture.

We all know that the systems is designed to work against us as native people. It was never designed to let us be equal. Our native people deserve a chance to be heard. Our children have a right to be succesful and live healthy lives. Why do we have to leave our reservations to be succesful and have jobs? Our ancestors gave their lives to protect us. They did not want to sign the treaties as they knew they would never be honored. And we see it today, the unjustice our people have faced and still face.

And now our children are trying or committing suicide. Something has to be done if now when?

We as the people need to make a change for all future generation. This is not about war or fighting it’s about living in peace and harmony with one another. It’s about bringing hope back the the Lakota communities families. Our young warriors and youth don’t need to take their own lives anymore. I pray that one day soon things will change for us as Lakota’s. Hold your way of life close, it is ours. The creator gave it us! Honoring our way of life we can help the youth and young warriors reclaim their idenities. Through that is healing.

OMAKIYAYO

If i fall would help me get back on my feet?

If i am cying would you wipe my tears?

If i am feeling down would you comfort me?

If i am hungry would you feed me?

If i need a safe place to rest my head would you open the door?

If i am wounded would you leave me behind?

If the world condems me would you do the same?

If my skin is brown would you judge me?

If no one hears my cries would you give me voice to be heard?

if i asked you to show me a better way of life would you?

If needed a teacher would you take the time to teach me?

If nobody understands me would you want too?

If i am in the dark would you give me light to see?

If i wasn’t your child would you love me like your own?

If i didn’t understand my own pain would help me understand it?

If i messed up and hurt you would you forgive me?

If i call out for you to come for the greatest battle would you fight by my side?

If i wasn’t able to fight would you fight for me, and all genrations to come?

” In memory of our brothers and sisters who took their own lives may you alway rest in peace”

By Autumn Two Bulls

some thoughts…..

Hi.  

  My name is Sherry.  I was born and raised on the rosebud (st. francis).  I’m 41, but don’t quite know how to act it – yet. ;)

~~these are all my very own personal thoughts.~~

  I’m a pretty honest and open person, but I do have trust issues.  I can be blunt at times-staight forward and to the point, but I have no intentions on hurting anyone’s feelings.

I apoligize in advance, in case I accidently step-on-some-toes.  

I’m Sorry

.

If anyone has questions about anything, just ask.  I’ve been trying to read minds, but that just isn’t working out for me. :-(

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