“..blood of Mexicans is primarily American Indian.”

As a previous editor of the Classic Progressive Historians, I was trying to get a historian I had met on line to post there. He was in Mexico and as we corresponded, he told me that at least 80% of “Mexicans” are Lipan Apache. Who is Arizona wanting to “send back to where they came from?”


http://www.indiancountrytoday….

The privileges of citizenship were slow to come for Indians while the responsibilities came right away. It’s hard not to think of the island-hopping campaign in the Pacific, some of the toughest combat of WWII. The Navajo code talkers served though that campaign at a time when Arizona was still denying them the vote. Now, it appears that Arizona Indians who visit the cities will have to be careful about being brown in a no-brown zone, whether or not they are veterans.

The man talked about how his people were forced into speaking Spanish as the result of the Spanish Conquest, and that they were trying to get their language back.


This law is not aimed at Europeans without papers, even though by its plain words a German tourist could be locked up for leaving her Phoenix hotel without her passport. This law is aimed at Mexicans and the blood of Mexicans is primarily American Indian.

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Spanish Conquest 1492-1580 by Sanderson Beck

In December 1511 Fray Antonio Montesinos preached a sermon at Santo Domingo in which he warned the conquistadors they were all in mortal sin because of the cruel way they were oppressing innocent people. He asked them,

Tell me, by what right do you hold these Indians

in such cruel and horrible servitude?

By what authority did you make unprovoked war

on these people, living in peace and quiet on their land,

and with unheard-of savagery

kill and consume so great a number of them?

Why do you keep them worn out and down-trodden,

without feeding them or tending their illnesses,

so that they die-or rather you kill them-

by reason of the heavy labor you lay upon them,

to get gold every day?

What care do you take to have them taught

to know their God and Maker, to be baptized,

to hear Mass and keep their Sundays and holy days?

Are they not men? Have they no soul, no reason?

Are you not required to love them as you love yourselves?

Do you understand this? Do you not feel it?

How can you be sunk so deep in unfeeling sleep?1

And lookie here, looks like the historian was right after all.


Lipan Apache Targeted for More Abuse at Border

The US made new threats about the condemnation and seizure of Lipan Apache lands in Texas for the US/Mexico border wall, as the abuses of Indigenous Peoples in the borderzone continues unabated. President Obama continues the genocidal borderland policies of the Bush administration.

The Lipan Apache announcement came this week at the same time that a US Border Agent shot and killed a man, Solis Palma, 28, throwing rocks east of Douglas, Arizona. The practice of US Border Agents murdering rock throwers mirrors the genocidal practices of Israeli soldiers shooting rock throwers, including children, at the border of Palestine.

The Lipan Apache in Texas have been targeted for the seizure of their land, while wealthy white land owners in the Texas borderlands benefit from US white supremacist policy.

Fray Antonio Montesino’s words are still relevant today.


Are they not men? Have they no soul, no reason?

Are you not required to love them as you love yourselves?

Do you understand this? Do you not feel it?

How can you be sunk so deep in unfeeling sleep?1

“and the blood of Mexicans is primarily American Indian.”

Indians as People Under American Law

Very soon after the Spanish began their invasion of this continent, both the European courts and clergy declared Indians to be “people” in a biological and spiritual sense. However, the concept of Indians as “people” in a legal sense was tested in the United States in 1879.  

In 1879, Standing Bear and about 30 Ponca left their Oklahoma reservation and traveled to Decatur, Nebraska where they were welcomed by the Omaha (the tribe, not the city) and given food and shelter. Standing Bear explained why he left Oklahoma:

“My boy who died down there, as he was dying looked up to me and said, I would like you take my bones back and bury them where I was born. I promised him I would. I could not refuse the dying request of my boy. I have attempted to keep my word. His bones are in that trunk.”

At this time, Indians were not allowed free movement outside of their reservations. In order to leave the reservation they were required to have the written permission of their Indian agent. The Department of the Interior (the federal agency in charge of Indian affairs) notified the War Department that the Ponca had left without permission and the army was ordered to return them to the reservation. The Ponca were then detained by the army under the command of General George Crook at Fort Omaha. Illness among the Indians and the poor condition of their horses made it impossible to return them to Oklahoma immediately. During the delay, a local newspaper story about the plight of the Ponca stirred up interest and support which resulted in an historic court case.

In an interview with newspaper editor Thomas Henry Tibbles, Ta-zha-but (Buffalo Chip) asked:

“I have done no wrong, and yet I am here a prisoner. Have you a law for white men, and a different law for those who are not white?”

In defending the arrest of Standing Bear’s people, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs wrote:

“If the reservation system is to be maintained, discontented and restless or mischievous Indians cannot be permitted to leave their reservation at will and go where they please. If this were permitted the most necessary discipline of the reservations would soon be entirely broken up, all authority over the Indians would cease, and in a short time the Western country would swarm with roving and lawless bands of Indians, spreading a spirit of uneasiness and restlessness even among those Indians who are now at work and doing well.”

Under American law, everyone, including non-citizens, who is held by U.S. authorities has the right to challenge the legality of the custody through a writ of habeas corpus. The attorney for the Ponca filed a writ of habeas corpus to free them from Army custody. The U.S. Attorney argued that Indians were not persons under the law and therefore were not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus. According to the government an Indian was neither a person nor a citizen within the meaning of the law, and therefore could bring no suit of any kind against the government.

After hearing the case of Standing Bear v Crook, the United States District Court found that if Indians must obey the laws of the land, then they must be afforded the protection of these laws. In other words, Indians are “people” under United States law and therefore have the right to sue for a writ of habeas corpus. The judge observed:

“On the one side, we have a few of the remnants of a once numerous and powerful, but now weak, insignificant, unlettered and generally despised race. On the other, we have the representatives of one of the most powerful, most enlightened, and most Christianized nations of modern times.”

The Court’s ruling ordered Crook to release Standing Bear and his people.

The Commissioner of Indian Affairs responds to the judge’s ruling by noting that it–

“is regarded by the Government as a heavy blow to the present Indian system, that, if sustained, will prove extremely dangerous alike to whites and Indians.”

Not all Americans agree with the Court’s decision. One writer in New York City, asked of the Ponca:

“What right have they to be in the country, anyhow?” The writer goes on to say: “They are nothing but barbarians; they have no vote; while we are Christians and voters. Therefore, the land they occupy is unprofitable, and I for one cannot see why any white man who is a voter, and desires the land, should not make a claim to it, and if necessary, get help from the Government to obtain it.”

In theory, this ruling should have changed the legal relationships for Indian people on reservations throughout the United States. However, it was almost universally ignored by the Indian Service (later known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs), Indian agents (the people in charge of the reservations), the army, and the local courts. The ruling was not appealed as it was felt that it would probably be upheld by the Supreme Court and this would only give it more weight in American law.

Following the Standing Bear versus Crook decision, newspaper editor Henry Tibbles arranged a six-month lecture tour of eastern cities for Standing Bear. When Standing Bear traveled, he would wear European-style clothing. On stage, however, he would wear buckskins, feathers, beaded belt, claw necklace, and red blanket. In Boston, Standing Bear’s lecture was attended by Helen Hunt Jackson, Senator Henry Dawes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and other notables who were so moved that they formed the Boston Indian Citizenship Committee to fight for the rights of the Ponca and other Indians.

Arizona Boycott Hysteria

The state of Arizona has a leadership problem, but that doesn’t mean that all of the residents share their view, or want to be hurt by their actions.  

How many Native Americans and businesses will be hurt by the proposed boycott of Arizona?

I haven’t been to Supai, but tourists come from all over the world to visit their village and stay at their camps.

Canyon de Chelly brings many visitors who shop at  stores in towns like Chinle, and you can  buy jewelery and peridot on the San Carlos Reservation, but I doubt that many small towns or tribes are celebrating in today’s economy.  

There are many old mining towns like Jerome where progressives moved in and opened restaurants,   bicycle shops, and other businesses that benefit from tourism. Those dollars help the entire region, but I doubt that many are celebrating today.

Choose your targets wisely, don’t hurt those who are just trying to make a living.  

American Indian Women: Sarah Ainse

( – promoted by navajo)

Sarah Ainse (who often called herself Sally and sporadically used the last names of her husbands: Montour, Maxwell, and Willson) was a powerful Oneida trader in the Great Lakes area during the eighteenth century. Like many other Indians of this time period, she spoke several languages fluently (including English, Ojibwa, Shawnee, and Mohawk) and moved comfortably among many different cultural groups, including those of the European settlers. She appears to have attended a colonial school and was very literate in English.  

In 1753 Sarah Ainse married the son of an Oneida warrior who called himself Andrew Montour. Montour was a prominent trader and interpreter on the western Pennsylvania frontier. He was fluent in French and English as well as Oneida, Delaware, Shawnee, and Miami. In addition to being an Oneida chief, Montour also worked for the colonists as a scout, interpreter, and consultant in native affairs. Sarah’s marriage to Montour is generally described as short-lived (three years or less), and tempestuous (he drank a lot and she liked to spend money).

By 1758, Sarah Ainse had established herself as a trader at Fort Stanwix. She understood the colonial property system and in 1762 persuaded the Oneida to grant her a tract of land six miles square in a prime location for commercial development. While the Oneida chiefs favored her, the colonists did not. The British governor rejected her deed and gave her land to a cartel of powerful friends.

Frustrated with her treatment by the colonial government in New York, Sarah Ainse moved to the Great Lakes area and by 1766 she had established herself as a trader among the Mississauga on the north shore of Lake Eerie.

In 1774, Sarah Ainse moved her trading operations to Detroit. The scale of her trading operation is seen in the fact that she was able to borrow more than £3,000 based on her good credit and her extensive Indian contacts. She purchased a town lot and several slaves.

In 1783, she picked up another short-term husband, John Willson, who paid off at least £1,256 of her debts before they parted.

Always open to new opportunities, she found a prime tract of land on the lower Thames River. The land fronted a navigable river, was close to Detroit, and appeared to be fertile. In 1780 Sarah Ainse then purchased the land-150 square miles along both banks of the river-from the Ojibwa for £500 in goods.

In 1787 Sarah Ainse moved onto her tract of land, built a house, fenced in an old Indian field, and planted an orchard. She encouraged her Oneida relatives to join her. Her land was in Upper Canada and thus could serve as a refuge for those Oneida who had been loyal to the British during the American Revolution.

In spite of the fact that she had purchased the land, colonial squatters moved on to it and the government ignored her title. In 1790, the local Indian Department agent purchased the valley for the Crown from the Ojibwa. In spite of the fact that the Ojibwa had specified the reserve for Sarah Ainse, the agent denied it. Eighteen Ojibwa chiefs then certified her reserve, but the agent still denied her right to the land.

In 1792, Sarah Ainse appealed her case to the Executive Council of Upper Canada. The Council ordered a compromise by awarding her 1,600 acres which included her farm. The local board, however, procrastinated in enforcing the Council’s decision, protesting that this action would bring insecurity to the settlement.

In order to obtain title to her land, Sarah Ainse would first have to have the land surveyed, setting accurate boundaries. The Executive Council directed the local land board to employ Patrick McNiff to conduct the survey. McNiff then reported that he did not know any woman by the name of Sally Ainse (Sarah often used the name Sally) nor did he know of any land claimed by such a person. He did, however, report that an Indian woman named Sarah Willson claims the land, but that this woman cannot claim it as she is a married woman. Under common law, no married woman could hold legal title to real estate.

Furious at the delays, Sarah Ainse charged the local land board with dragging its feet in order to help the squatters. She writes: “I see no reason why I should be openly plundered of my property.” Mohawk leader Joseph Brant then begins to press the colonial government for a resolution to the situation.

In 1798, the Executive Council reserved their former decision and awarded Sarah Ainse only a single farm of 200 acres.

While Sarah Ainse was a fairly successful farmer, disaster struck in 1798 when her barn, filled with her annual harvest, burned down. Destitute, she appealed to the Moravian mission for help. Twenty bushels of corn were collected for her. By 1805, she was a charity case, begging local merchants for whiskey.

Sarah Ainse went from a young bon vivant, a successful farmer and trader, to an old woman reduced to begging to stay drunk. In spite of this, she continued to appeal her case, asking the Executive Council in 1808, 1813, and 1815 for compensation for the land taken from her. Repeatedly, the Canadian colonial government rejected her claims. In 1815, the Executive Council insisted that Sarah Ainse was dead and refused to rule on her petition. Unfortunately, she was still alive: she died in 1823.

The story of Sarah Ainse illustrates the problems faced by strong Indian women who attempted to pursue their property rights in the colonial world. They faced discrimination because they were Indian and they faced discrimination because they were women. In Iroquois society-the Oneida are one of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy-women were the land owners, while in Colonial English and American society women, and particularly married women, had fewer legal rights than either slaves or people who had been declared insane.  

News from Native American Netroots

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

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

A special thanks to our team for contributing the links that have been compiled here. Please provide your news links in the comments below.

Vanishing Words, Vanishing World: ‘When we lose a culture, the whole world loses’

PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION — Skin has gathered at the corners of her eyes into soft brown wrinkles, and the tattoos on her forearms have faded into an inky blue.

Bernice Spotted Eagle rests on a couch in her three-bedroom house, her feet protected from cold linoleum floors by red slippers. The house is warmed by space heaters, one of which almost burned the house down.

But it is this house, she says as she gestures with small hands, that used to be so packed with relatives and friends, sleeping bags littering the floor every night.

Judge says no to mistrial in reservation slaying

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) – Tempers flared in a 34-year-old South Dakota murder case Friday when the government’s key witness described the defendant as an enforcer for a leader of a militant American Indian group that clashed with tribal and federal agents in the 1970s.

Arlo Looking Cloud took the stand for the second day in the federal trial of Richard Marshall, who is charged with aiding and abetting the 1975 slaying of Annie Mae Aquash on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Aquash, a member of Mi’kmaq Tribe of Nova Scotia, participated in the American Indian Movement’s 1973 armed occupation of the Pine Ridge village of Wounded Knee, a two-month siege that included ferocious gun battles with federal officers.

EPA Awards Nearly $80 Million to Cleanup and Revitalize Our Communities: Neighborhoods to gain health, environmental and economic benefits

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has selected $78.9 million in brownfields grants to communities in 40 states, four tribes, and one U.S. Territory. This funding will be used for the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields properties, including abandoned gas stations, old textile mills, closed smelters, and other abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. As of March 2010, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding, and 61,277 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment. These investments and jobs target local, under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. Cleaning up our communities is one of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priorities, which leads not only to health and environmental benefits but also economic development and prosperity.

Navajo Nation Council Calls on Obama to Protect Sacred Places

On April 22nd Earth Day, the Navajo Nation Council passed a resolution calling on Obama to protect sacred places. The document also calls on the US to immediately sign onto the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Navajo Nation Council additionally urges the US President to meet with the tribe to discuss the protection of the holy San Francisco Peaks & other sacred places before May 8th 2009.

Bolivia: Being Present to Honor the Earth

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — At the close of the World Climate Conference, the Hall of Shame award goes to the mainstream US media, which usually pretends to be covering world events. In the case of the World Climate Conference, the mainstream US media was not only noticeably absent, but the armchair journalists pumped out spin articles to discredit Bolivian President Evo Morales. Take note of who wrote the ‘chicken’ articles and other negative articles, and follow their writing. Whether it is CIA-inspired, or just journalists attempting to make themselves look clever, the intent is to distract from the real purpose of the climate conference.

The real purpose is to rescue this planet from destruction by corporations and personal indulgence. President Evo Morales had the vision to bring people from all over the world here, people ready to rely on the wisdom of Indigenous Peoples to guarantee the protection of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Ninth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will be held April 19-30 at the UN headquarters in New York. This year’s special theme is development with culture and identity. Cultural Survival is organizing two side events:

Thursday, April  22   1:15-2:45 PM

Persuading the US, New Zealand and Canada to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

1 UN Plaza

Conference Room DC2,  12th floor

New York, New York

Participants will consider how to persuade the US, New Zealand, and Canada to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this year.

Friday, April 23 1:15-2:45 PM  

Mapping Community-Based Protected Areas: a model for sustainable development and cultural and environmental protection

UNICEF Conference Room

1 UN Plaza

New York, New York

This event examines how taking a community-based approach to setting up protected areas can promote sustainable development. Such an approach integrates indigenous knowledge with solid science. By respecting traditional livelihoods, tenure, culture, and access to resources it also conserves ecosystems and biodiversity.

Cosponsors: CORALINA and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University

EPA awards Cheyenne River Sioux $200,000 to clean up school property in White Horse

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe a $200,000 brownfields grant to clean up and revitalize the Old White Horse Day School property on BIA Route 4 (White Horse Road).

“Strengthening our nation’s Tribal communities is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Carol Rushin, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator in Denver. “This grant will help the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe transform a contaminated property into a community asset that provides new economic opportunities and jobs.”

From 1952 to 1995, the Bureau of Indian Affairs maintained and ran the school. The site is contaminated with metals, PCBs, and inorganic contaminants. Following cleanup, the Tribe is interested in constructing a new community building at the site, along with space to house a fire truck.

Bloody Oil

George Poitras, member of Mikisew Cree indigenous First Nation talks about the issues of pollution and cancers suffered by many of the First Nations people as a result of the Oil companies action extractive industries.

“My people are dying, and we believe British companies are responsible. My community, Fort Chipewyan in Alberta, Canada, is situated at the heart of the vast toxic moonscape that is the tar sands development. We live in a beautiful area, but unfortunately, we find ourselves upstream from the largest fossil fuel development on earth. UK oil companies like BP, and banks like RBS, are extracting the dirtiest form of oil from our traditional lands, and we fear it is killing us.” – George

BP has been prompted to disclose much information that has not been publicly available before. Tar sands has become a hot topic among the investment community and BP has been subject to a far higher level of investor scrutiny on the issue than ever before.

Chocolate’s Indigenous history makes for sweet, spicy tale

WASHINGTON – Chocolate is a flavor as old and varied as the Americas, says Richard Hetzler, executive chef at the acclaimed Mitsitam Cafe at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Mayans transplanted the cacao tree from the rainforest to their villages and fermented, dried and roasted its seeds to concoct a decidedly unsweet drink involving chilies and lots of froth.

The Aztec were drinking the bitter brew when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the 1520s. Although the Spaniards didn’t like the beverage, they hauled the cacao seeds back to Europe. A century later, when someone thought to add sugar-a luxury the ancient Mayans didn’t have-this indigenous American flavor became a lasting worldwide sensation.

Native ties to making chocolate continue into the 21st century via Bedré Fine Chocolates, a company the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma bought in 2000. Bedré, sold in Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s department stores, is particularly proud to provide the guitar-shaped chocolates to three of the Seminole Nation’s Hard Rock© hotels. Guests find the delicious products of the only Native American-owned chocolate company in the United States on their pillows.



Archaeological Program opportunity for EBCI Teachers, Students

A unique program will allow EBCI high school students and teachers a chance to learn about the world of archaeological field work.

Students from Robbinsville High School work in 2008 excavating an historic Cherokee winter house in the Smokemont area during a High School Archaelogy Field School. (Photos courtesy of Melissa Crisp/GSMA)

A Teacher Workshop, designed for teachers from Cherokee High School or teachers from other schools who are EBCI tribal members, is slated for June 14-16 with a deadline to apply of May 21.  The program is sponsored by Parks as Classrooms in conjunction with Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the EBCI Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO).  

Mount Rushmore National Memorial Superintendent to Oversee Indian Relations For National Park Service

Under Gerard Baker, the National Park Service hopes to make up for lost time, an awful lot of lost time. In less than two weeks Mr. Baker will become the agency’s very first assistant director for American Indian Relations, and he sees a lot of opportunities to improve relations between Native Americans and the agency that, in many cases, took control of their homelands.

“I think that now we take the opportunity to start creating dialogs, we start taking the opportunity to really start coming together as a nation to heal in many ways. And I guess I’m very thankful for that opportunity to be involved in that,” Mr. Baker said Monday evening from his office at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, where he’s been the superintendent for the past six years. “I know there are a lot of things that we can do as a National Park Service under the direction of the director, and there’s a lot of things that we can do as American Indians. To come forth in education, to come forth in positions, to come forth in establishing once again that contact with the homeland that is now within Park Service boundaries in some cases.

“So there’s a lot of opportunity here to, again, I guess the best word that I could use is to start that healing process.”

California Native American Economic Development Conference

Native Nation Events is proud to announce the First Annual California Native American Economic Development Conference at the US Grant Hotel in San Diego, California this April 27th, 2010. This premiere event will cover an extensive range of topics affecting Tribal Nations, including current legal issues and diversification options, with a focus on financial strategies for continued success. This conference will connect Tribal Leaders from around the state with key professionals in the industry to generate ideas and formulate solutions.

Thousands of New Mexico Navajo Residents Will Soon Get Running Water

(April 12, 2010 Counselor, NM) USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner was in Counselor, New Mexico today to help dedicate the new water system that will provide water to thousands of residents of the Navajo Nation living in northwest New Mexico.

During the celebration, Brunner told the crowd, “This project represents the federal government’s commitment to meeting our obligations to ensure the health and welfare of the people of the Navajo Nation.” Brunner added, “Providing clean drinking water to these communities offers them the opportunity for a better quality of life and paves the path towards the sustainability of New Mexico’s rural communities.”

The new water line will serve 10,000 members of the Navajo Nation.  Currently, four thousand of these residents drive up to 100 miles round trip to haul water for their home use and to provide water for their livestock.

Bolivia’s indigenous women continue struggle for land

Sandra Fernandez is a Quechua Indian from Cochabamba, Bolivia. Her grandparents raised corn and flowers, but like many other families here, the family grew and the land didn’t suffice to support them all. Fernandez is 40, a single mother of four; she has left her children behind and come to Bolivia’s jungle frontier in search of land.

Land is a hot commodity in impoverished agrarian Bolivia, where much of the country’s 60 percent indigenous population lives by farming small parcels.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, the country’s first Indian leader, was re-elected to a second term in December 2009. Morales makes land redistribution and titling a cornerstone of his presidency. The majority of the country’s land has long been owned by a powerful non-indigenous fraction of the population, whose holdings are concentrated in the country’s fertile eastern lowlands. Morales’ government is now giving government-owned and unused land to poor and landless people, like Fernandez, in an attempt to combat this monopolization of Bolivian soil.

Black Mesa mine mess

A controversial clean water permit for a coal mine complex sited at a Navajo and Hopi sacred mountain is once again up for review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Peabody Western Coal Company seeks a renewal of its water quality permit for the Black Mesa/ Kayenta Mine Complex, despite the mine’s impact on water quality and local public health over several decades because of discharges of toxic heavy metals and pollutants into the water supply. EPA invites the public to submit comments through April 30th on the previously-withdrawn National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit pursuant to the Clean Water Act, which requires that all industrial dischargers of wastewater obtain and maintain a permit.

EPA granted the contested polllution permit in August 2009 and then withdrew it in early December 2009, after an appeal from a coalition of environmental and indigenous groups cited the mine’s numerous and egregious violations of the Clean Water Act and other federal environmental statutes. Appellants asserted that in granting the permit, EPA failed to adequately analyze the environmental impacts of leaking waste ponds, properly account for the discharge of heavy metals and pollutants into the water sources for nearby communities as well as the concomitant acidification of water and soil, or provide local residents with meaningful opportunities for public participation.

Videographer: A Portrait of Nathan Young IV

“I absolutely love my job and feel like I’m one of the luckiest people in the world,” states Pawnee filmmaker, Nathan Young IV, during a recent interview. “But honestly, and I know this may sound cheesy, I’ve always wanted to serve my culture and it seems that this is the best way for me to try and do that.”

Young, a member of the Pawnee nation, began his filmmaking career while teaching at Fort Gibson Public Schools in Oklahoma. While emphasizing cultural studies and bilingual education in Native American languages, Young encountered Joe Erb, who taught him the techniques needed to create stop-motion claymation movies.

“I had the opportunity to work on The Messenger to learn animation and I was lucky that Fort Gibson was so supportive in giving me the resources and freedom to learn,” recalls Young. Young, whose passion for Native American languages led him to pursue the study of Creek, Cherokee, and Choctaw during his studies at University of Oklahoma, viewed claymation films as an opportunity to educate and to inspire.

Indigenous leaders flee Colombia seeking protection

Three indigenous leaders from Colombia fled to Venezuela in early February fearing for their lives after more death threats from paramilitaries and harassment from the Colombian Army, according to supporters in Venezuela and other Colombian and international agencies.

The Wayuu activists are seeking protection for their people who live across northern Colombia and Venezuela. Wayuu communities have been under attack for several years in Colombia, according to Amnesty International.

Karmen Ramirez Boscan, Leonor Viloria and Linnei Ospina of the Force of Wayuu Women Organization (OFMW) are among the most recent group of indigenous activists to apply to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for protection from “armed actors” in their region, specifically from the Colombian Army, paramilitaries and others. The IACHR is an autonomous entity, affiliated with the Organization of American States

red_black_rug_design2

Back to the Artificial Environment & Back Again

I drive home from having been with the Earth Mother for any length of time and feel clarity about our artificial environment. The longer I’ve been with her, the more profound the clarity is. I stare straight in the face of “progress” as phone lines, gas stations, and eventually the hazy horizon over the city appears.

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I can’t help the feeling of wrongness I feel, though I can see some progress is useful, schools are for example. Still, I can’t help the feeling of wrongness. This isn’t meant to be a judgment of the wrongness of civilization, but by the time I describe this feeling; it probably will be.

I feel freedom when in the loving arms of the Earth Mother, and I try unsuccessfully to hang on to it. I see trees in wooden floors,

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rocks in buildings, and I think of how steel is made that constructs buildings.

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Steel

A generally hard, strong, durable, malleable alloy of iron and carbon, usually containing between 0.2 and 1.5 percent carbon, often with other constituents such as manganese, chromium, nickel, molybdenum, copper, tungsten, cobalt, or silicon, depending on the desired alloy properties, and widely used as a structural material.

When it strikes me again that all these things are from the Earth Mother, I catch myself thinking, “What for?”

I believe she promised to take care of us and support life, but it’s up to us to be respectful of her. I’m not going to list all of the ways I think we as a human race have been disrespectful and destructive, but here are some words from Chief Arvol Looking Horse.


Source

Look around you. Our Mother Earth is very ill from these violations, and we are on the brink of destroying the possibility of a healthy and nurturing survival for generations to come, our children’s children.

Our ancestors have been trying to protect our Sacred Site called the Sacred Black Hills in South Dakota, “Heart of Everything That Is,” from continued violations. Our ancestors never saw a satellite view of this site, but now that those pictures are available, we see that it is in the shape of a heart and, when fast-forwarded, it looks like a heart pumping.

The Dine have been protecting Big Mountain, calling it the liver, and we are suffering and going to suffer more from the extraction of the coal from there and the poison processes used in doing so.

The Aborigines have warned of the contaminating effects of global warming on the Coral Reefs, which they see as Mother Earth’s blood purifier.

The Indigenous people of the rainforest relay that the rainforest are the lungs of the planet and need protection.

I think the decisions to use her flesh should be made with the eyes of the heart, for it is only by using her
flesh that we can continue the artificial environment, or quite frankly, the fake environment. Not much else to say, except that after I’ve returned to her loving arms; I dread leaving.

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Because I know the feeling of wrongness and confinement will start feeling normal, so I get back to her as soon as I can.

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And when I leave it starts all over again; back to the artificial environment and back again.

ROLLCALL for Netroots Nation 2010

NN10 Netroots Nation Logo

American Indian Caucus

Thursday, July 22nd 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Connect with like-minded folks and talk with others from your community in our identity, issue and regional caucuses.

Panel: Neeta Lind aka navajo and T. Lee Lange aka Meteor Blades

Please leave a comment if you are attending.

Who’s else is going?

RSVPs so far:

1. Neeta

2. Oke

3. exmearden

4. Ojibwa (had to cancel)

5. Kitsap River + Charles

6. Meteor Blades

7. 4Freedom

8.

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http://www.democracyforamerica…

The Democracy for America scholarship program is back and bigger than ever. Check out all the details and get those applications in! Deadline for round 1 of 3 is April 30th.

We’re looking to send 40 progressive activists to Netroots Nation with compelling stories, who are active online and offline, and who will thrive from their Netroots Nation experience. Our goal is to find people who will expand the Netroots Nation community with fresh ideas and energy.

The DFA Netroots Nation Scholarship covers the cost of one all-access pass to Netroots Nation 2010 and hotel accomodations for one from July 22 – July 25, 2010 as well as a few select meals and outside events sponsored by Democracy for America. Scholarship winners will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from the convention and should bring enough money to cover all remaining meals.

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Chief Yonaguska Holloway Addresses the UN

( – promoted by navajo)

On April 20, 2010, Chief Yonaguska Holloway of the New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians was invited to address the Assembly at the UN. I have been blogging about his case for the past two years. In February of 2009, Chief Holloway filed a lawsuit on behalf of his tribe because the State of New Jersey is trying to write them out of existence along with the Ani Tsalagi Onaselagi Northeastern Band (the oldest Cherokee tribe in NJ) and the federal judge appears to be stalling the case on purpose. The following is the entire text of Chief Holloway’s speech:

 

“Over sixty years ago, the General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Afterward, the Country members were called upon to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read, and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories .” It is this very reason I stand here before you today.  The violation of basic human rights as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

   Over six hundred years ago, my ancestors lived and thrived along the shores of what is now the eastern seaboard of the United States of America.  The New Jersey Sand Hill Band of Lenape and Cherokee Indians are the direct lineal descendants of the original inhabitants of the land now known as the State of New Jersey.  Human remains, dating back almost two thousand years have been uncovered in this area.  DNA testing of these remains has linked them to me personally.

   We are a sovereign people, as were our ancestors at the time of the arrival of the first Europeans.  First the Dutch, then later, the British.  This is testified to by the fact that the early Europeans entered into and signed treaties with us, sovereign to sovereign.  These treaties kept certain rights unto us, including land, water, hunting, fishing and coastal areas being amongst them. The United  States, at the end of the Revolutionary War, as part of the agreement to end hostilities, agreed to honor and maintain these international treaties by accepting to act as a trustee.  They even went as far as to enact federal legislation to ensure that our rights would be protected.

   However, by 1802, the newly formed “State” of New Jersey had completely disregarded these treaties and federal laws, and most importantly, our basic human rights to even exist.  Over the next few decades, in an unsolicited invasion, our ancestral lands were seized, our people forcibly removed or slaughtered.  Those that survived were forced into hiding, in and around the lands that for millennium sustained us.  Not only were federal laws completely ignored by New Jersey, but they had no legal right to even act as a state, as they had not ratified their own state constitution until 1842.  All the while, the United States Federal Government turned a blind eye toward us, refusing to exercise their trust relationship with us that they had decades before accepted.

   As the only remaining “First Contact” Indian people on the eastern seaboard to legally address this gross misconduct, the stakes are very high.  We claim rights to the land and vast natural resources along the entire coastline of New Jersey, inland to the Delaware River.  Our ancestral home for thousands of years include, what is now called Port Elizabeth, Newark, Atlantic City, and Trenton. Just to name a few.  Also of importance is the fact that under these seized lands lies the largest fresh water quifer along the north east seaboard.  Other “First Contact” tribes have settled their claims after decades of legal battles, but none have had the tremendous impact of ours.

   After years of failed attempts to reconcile with the State of New Jersey, we were forced to take the state to Federal Court to prove our claim.  Unfortunately, because of the magnitude and the implications of the case, it has been purposely stalled and ignored in an attempt to defraud us and dispense with our international treaty rights.  We have even, in the course of the case, brought forth evidence that the State of New Jersey itself, in court, legal opinion and internal documents, admits that our lands have been seized illegally.  Various major archaeologists, universities, historians and other specialists are in agreement as to our claim and rights.

   It is not our intention to interfere with the continuity of the United State, or its national security.  However, it is our intention to take every avenue available to us up to and including international intervention, and the World Court if necessary.

   It is the very existence of our people that it at stake. And we have no intention of going into the night quietly!  I stand here to ask the international community for its support, assistance in whatever manner available to assist us in having our International rights respected and restored.

   It is our hope & prayer that this astute body and the global community will hear our long suppressed cry, and come to our aid!”

After Chief Yonaguska Holloway delivered his speech and the lunch break, U. S. Ambassador Susan Rice, in a moving speech, reiterated some of the points Chief Holloway had made earlier that day when he addressed the audience of Indigenous Leaders.

The ambassador announced that the U.S. is reconsidering its position on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights immediately on the heels of New Zealand’s reversal of its previous denial of the same rights. Australia,  Canada, New Zealand and the United States refused to sign the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Australia and New Zealand reversed their decisions.  The US and Canada are the only two countries left that have not reversed their position to guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples in their countries.  

Ambassador Rice’s statement was met by a standing ovation by Chief Holloway’s Entourage, various Chiefs of the Iroquois Nations and other Indigenous Nations who were in attendance during the General Assembly of the United Nations.

For more information on the UN Forum on Indigenous People:

http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/u…

The Text of the Declaration:

http://iwgia.synkron.com/graph…

The timeline of the Sand Hill case against the State of New Jersey and documents involved in the case:

http://secretnj.net/2852/4501….

Here is the text of Ambassador Rice’s speech at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, April 20, 2010

   

“In his Presidential Proclamation last fall honoring Native American Heritage Month, President Obama recognized that the “indigenous peoples of North America–the First American–have woven rich and diverse threads into the tapestry of our Nation’s heritage.” What is true in the Americas is true around the world. There is no true history that does not take into account the story of indigenous populations–their proud traditions, their rich cultures, and their contributions to our shared heritage and identity.

   But in the United States and many other parts of the world, indigenous communities continue to feel the heavy hand of history. Our first nations face serious challenges: disproportionate and dire poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, health care gaps, violent crime, and bitter discrimination. Far more must be done–at home and abroad–to tackle these challenges, expand the circle of opportunity, and work with our Native communities to ensure they enjoy the security and dignity that all citizens deserve.

   President Obama is deeply committed to strengthening and building on government-to-government relationships among the United States and our tribal governments. Our Administration has moved quickly to launch programs to improve the lives of Native Americans. Shortly after his inauguration, the President appointed my colleague, Kimberly Teehee, as his Native American policy advisor and began extensive outreach to tribal leaders. In November of last year, President Obama invited representatives from each of our 564 Indian tribes in the United States to attend a White House Tribal Nations Conference. Nearly 500 tribal leaders participated–the most widely attended White House tribal meeting with the President, Cabinet Secretaries, senior officials, and members of Congress in U.S. history. The President signed a Memorandum on November 5, 2009, directing every federal agency to develop plans to implement fully the Executive Order on “Consultation and Coordination with Tribal Governments,” which mandates that all agencies have an accountable process for meaningful and timely input by tribal officials in the development of regulatory policies that have tribal implications. The level of tribal consultation is now at historic levels–marking a new era in the United States’ relationship with tribal governments.

   Last month, President Obama signed a historic reform of the U.S. health care system that includes important provisions to reduce the gaping health care disparities that Native Americans still face. Signing and implementing this landmark law constitutes a major step toward fulfilling our national responsibility to provide high-quality, affordable health care to all citizens, including American Indians and Alaska Natives.  

   The U.S. government has also made improving public safety in tribal communities a high priority. The Department of Justice supports an initiative to hire more Indian country Assistant U.S. Attorneys to prosecute cases of violent crime on Native lands. This initiative will also provide additional federal agents to support law-enforcement efforts in tribal communities. Combating crimes involving violence against women and children on Native lands is a particularly high priority for the U.S. government.

   Last year, in the face of a global economic crisis, President Obama took swift action to spur economic activity and create new jobs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act specifically allocates more than $3 billion to assist tribal communities. These funds are being used to renovate schools on reservations across the country, to create new jobs in tribal economies, improve housing, support health care facilities, and bolster policing services. The President’s Fiscal Year 2011 budget request also proposes a 5 percent increase in federal funding for Native American programs, to a total of $18.5 billion.

   The United States also supports programs that help indigenous communities around the world. We are especially committed to promoting corporate social responsibility, particularly with extractive industries whose operations can so dramatically affect the living conditions of indigenous peoples. The United States has therefore engaged in a multi-stakeholder initiative to encourage firms to operate safely within a framework that fully respects the rights of surrounding communities. We support the Initiative for Conservation in the Andean Amazon, a regional program designed to strengthen indigenous efforts to protect and conserve the Amazon Rainforest. In Peru, our common efforts focus on the conservation of the Manu National Parks, together with the Yanesha and Ashaninka peoples, by providing training in sustainable resource management and expanding environmental conservation capacity. The United States also participates fully and actively in the Arctic Council, a high-level intergovernmental forum of the eight Arctic states where Arctic indigenous peoples — represented by Permanent Participant organizations — have a co-equal role.

   Consistent with President Obama’s call for a new era of U.S. engagement with the world, the United States applauds the Permanent Forum’s efforts to raise awareness of issues affecting the world’s indigenous peoples and to generate ideas for substantially improving their livelihoods and communities.

   Thus today, I am pleased to announce that the United States has decided to review our position regarding the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We recognize that, for many around the world, this Declaration provides a framework for addressing indigenous issues. During President Obama’s first year in office, tribal leaders encouraged the United States to reexamine its position on the Declaration–an important recommendation that directly complements our commitment to work together with the international community on the many challenges that indigenous peoples face. We will be conducting a formal review of the Declaration and the U.S. position on it. And as we move ahead, we look forward to consulting extensively with our valued and experienced colleagues in the federally recognized Indian tribes and interested nongovernmental organizations.

   While many steps have been taken in the Administration’s first year, we are not satisfied. We seek to continue to work together with our partners in indigenous communities to provide security, prosperity, equality, and opportunity for all. There is no American history without Native American history. There can be no just and decent future for our nation that does not directly tackle the legacy of bitter discrimination and sorrow that the first Americans still live with. And America cannot be fully whole until its first inhabitants enjoy all the blessings of liberty, prosperity, and dignity. Let there be no doubt of our commitment. And we stand ready to be judged by the results. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”

The Removal of the Ponca Indians

( – promoted by navajo)

In 1877 the United States government informed the Ponca that they were going to be removed from their traditional homelands in Nebraska and reassigned to a reservation in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). The Ponca, a nation which had been at peace with the United States and was considered friendly, were to be moved from their reservation on the Nebraska-Dakota border to Oklahoma because their reservation had been given to their traditional enemies, the Sioux, in the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

The Ponca first heard about their proposed removal a year earlier. At this time, the chiefs called a great council to discuss the matter. Speaking to the representatives from the American government who attended the council, Standing Bear said:

“This land is ours, we have never sold it. We have our houses and our homes here. Our fathers and some of our children are buried here. Here we wish to live and die.”

The representatives from the American government simply told the Ponca that Indian Territory was a better country.

In 1877, the Ponca were informed of their impending relocation during a Christian church service. During the service, the Indian agent addressed the Ponca and painted a glowing picture of their new lands in Oklahoma. Standing Bear responded to the announcement by pointing out to the agent that they had never sold their land nor had they ever asked to go to Indian Territory. He also reminded the agent that the Ponca had kept their treaty with the United States and that they had harmed no one.

Standing Bear, White Eagle, Standing Buffalo, Big Elk, Little Picker, Sitting Bear, Little Chief, Smoke Maker, Lone Chief, and White Swan were then taken to Oklahoma to see their new lands. For the journey south, the government purchased “civilized clothing” (primarily shirts and vests) for the chiefs. Once in Oklahoma, the Ponca chiefs found that the land did not suit them. They felt that this was not a land where corn and potatoes would easily grow. The land did not compare favorably with their lush green homeland in Nebraska. At this point, the Ponca chiefs realized that once again the Indian agent had lied to them.

The Ponca leaders informed the government that the heat, humidity, and poor soil conditions did not suit them. The Indian agent told them that they were to select land in Indian Territory or starve. The government then refused to take them back north. The chiefs were stunned to find that they were going to be stranded in a strange land because they disagreed with the government. They had visions of dying here without ever seeing their families again.

They had only $8 between them and only the clothes on their backs, They had almost no understanding of English. In spite of this, the chiefs made the 500 mile walk back to Nebraska where the Indian agent had them arrested.

The Ponca chiefs met with Omaha chief Iron Eyes (Joseph La Flesche) and his daughter Bright Eyes wrote out a statement from the chiefs which tells of their ordeal. She then wrote a telegram to the President.  

In response to their complaints, an inspector from the Indian Office and the Indian agent called for a council with the Ponca. Before the inspector could address the council, Standing Bear came to his feet. Pulling his red council blanket around his shoulders, he asked why the Indian Affairs men had come to the Ponca reservation when they had not been invited. He concluded by telling the Indian Office men to leave at once.

Standing Bear and his brother Big Snake were then arrested, placed in chains, and jailed for resisting the removal order. The other Ponca chiefs, however, defiantly told the Americans that they would not be removed. The Indian Office inspector simply informed the council that they could move of their own volition or the Americans would use force against them.

At sunrise, army troops-four detachments of cavalry and one of infantry-surrounded the Ponca village. The troops dragged men, women, and children from their cabins. There was no discussion, no negotiation, and no toleration of resistance. The Ponca left behind their homes, their farms, and their farm equipment.

The Ponca were marched south under escort. They were deluged with rain and two Ponca children soon died from exposure. The army showed them no mercy, forcing the wet, cold people to travel along mud-clogged byways and across swollen rivers. When a tornado struck the camp, destroying tents, damaging wagons, and injuring several people, the army simply ordered the march to continue with no delay, except for burying the dead.

It took the Ponca 50 days to reach their destination. They were informed that they were now prisoners and they would be punished if they attempted to leave the reservation. The Ponca disliked their new home, and the chiefs petitioned the authorities in Washington to return to their ancestral lands.

Nearly one-fourth of the Ponca died during their first year in Indian Territory.

A delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. where four Ponca chiefs met President Rutherford Hayes. Each of the chiefs expressed dissatisfaction with their land in Oklahoma and their desire to return to their homeland. Standing Bear reverently, respectfully told the story of how his people had been wronged. He pointed out that they were now in a bad place, and that he hoped the President would do something for them. President Hayes was astonished at the story of their forced march and told the chiefs that this is the first he has heard of it.

At a meeting in the Department of the Interior, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs informed the Ponca chiefs that there was no way that their request to be returned to the north could be honored without Congressional action. At a second meeting with President Hayes, who had now been briefed by the Department of the Interior, the President told them that the Ponca must stay in Indian Territory. He assured them that they would be treated well.

Chief Standing Bear is shown below:

Standing Bear

Teabaggers, You’ve Got A Right To Be Mad?

( – promoted by navajo)

Insanity is the key to the teabagger’s “success” stupidity, and if you look at recent history,


Some of the nation’s top tea party leaders, are using you.

history is merely repeating itself.


A People’s History Of The United States. Zinn. p. 62.

http://books.google.com/books?…

It was one of those moments in which fury against the rich went further than leaders like Otis wanted. Could class hatred be focused against the pro- British elite, and deflected from the nationalist elite?

Or today, the GOP might ask, “Could class hatred be focused against a black president, and deflected from us, who support Wall Street and Blackwater?” They’ve done an outstanding job. So the primarily Caucasian teabaggers should be upset, but don’t they have a right to be as angry as they think they do.

“The Choctaw experienced the first concentration camps,” a Choctaw man said while lecturing.

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He was formerly an employee of the federal government and it was an educational setting. What’s that conspiracy theory FEMA is being used to round up people into concentration camps? This country never
put Caucasians in concentration camps. They put the American Indian in concentration camps, the African into living conditions wherein they would barely survive, and they “brought” women over just to reproduce. Death, blood money, and gratuitous sex: the tools of the historical White Man.


http://scholar.google.com/scho…

“This agency participated in the ethnic cleansing that befell the Western tribes,” Gover said. “It must be acknowledged that the deliberate spread of disease, the decimation of the mighty bison herds, the use of the poison alcohol to destroy mind and body, and the cowardly killing of women and children made for tragedy on a scale so ghastly that it cannot be dismissed as merely the inevitable consequence of the clash of competing ways of life.”

http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPort…

Photobucket


http://www.montpelier.org/expl…

Archaeological evidence suggests that aside from nails and door hardware, the Madisons provided little resources for slaves to build these simple structures. The homes of the field slaves stand in marked contrast to the enslaved domestics’ homes directly in sight of the Montpelier mansion.


http://www.oah.org/pubs/magazi…

Slaveholders thought of the men, women, and children they held in bondage as property. Masters and mistresses considered the slave’s most important relationship to be that maintained with an owner. They worried that children reared to respect other authority figures, such as parents, might question the legitimacy of the southern social order, which granted slaveholders sweeping power over the people they held in bondage.


A People’s History Of The United States. Zinn. p. 103.

http://books.google.com/books?…

It seems that their (women’s) physical characteristics became a convenience for men, who could use, exploit, and cherish someone who was at the same time servant, sex mate, companion, and bearer-warden-teacher of his children.

I forgot to mention one tool other than death, blood money, and gratuitous sex: lies.

I can’t begin to describe what I went through learning in my mid 30s that I was a little over 1/6 Native American, and I had already begun following those ways. But here are some lies they had to have told my ancestors who lost their heritage, thus my specific heritage, to being Christianized.  

They would’ve told them their religion wasn’t good enough, that they were going to hell unless they “accepted Jesus.”

Photobucket

They would’ve told them to go to the cities and be “normal.”

They would’ve told them they could stay on their lands after promising to not take anymore, but they used pen and ink witchcraft.

They would’ve hunted them down like animals to steal the natural resources on it, while being convinced they weren’t human beings. O the joy that must have come when they were made “citizens” with the right to vote. Maybe they were slaves depending on their location.

I’ve felt angry, but I don’t project all of that onto present situations, and I don’t condone violence. I believe it was a Comanche man, who criticized young men wanting to go to war. He said his ancestor wore the War Bonnet, but refused to wear it again. He got sick of war.

Teabaggers in the violent mindset need an example of legitimate self defense.


http://www.jewishvirtuallibrar…

The Germans ordered the Jewish “police” in the Warsaw ghetto to round up people for deportation. Approximately 300,000 men, women, and children were packed in cattle cars and transported to the Treblinka  death camp where they were murdered. This left a Jewish population of between 55,000 and 60,000 in the ghetto.

In April 1943, the Jews learned the Germans planned to deport all the people who remained in the Warsaw ghetto to Treblinka. A group of mostly young people formed an organization called the Z.O.B. (for the Polish name, Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa, which means Jewish Fighting Organization). The Z.O.B., led by 23-year-old Mordecai Anielewicz, issued a proclamation calling for the Jewish people to resist going to the railroad cars.

In January 1943, Warsaw ghetto fighters fired upon German troops as they tried to round up another group of ghetto inhabitants for deportation. Fighters used a small supply of weapons that had been smuggled into the ghetto. After a few days, the troops retreated. This small victory inspired the ghetto fighters to prepare for future resistance.

Thus, teabaggers do have a right to be upset over being used and lied to by their party, but there it ends. Teabaggers have a right to be mad? Please. And their women are with the wrong party.

The Removal of the Flathead Indians

( – promoted by navajo)

During the nineteenth century the United States pursued a policy toward American Indian nations which mandated their removal from their homelands if these homelands were desired by non-Indians. It was not uncommon for this removal to be accomplished through military force and for men, women, children, and elders to be force-marched for hundreds of miles without adequate provisions. Sometimes, the American government forced removal on a single nation several times.

While the most famous removal was the Cherokee Trail of Tears, many other Indians-ranging from the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek in the southeast to the Ponca and Cheyenne on the Plains to the Navajo in the Southwest-also went through an often brutal removal process. Often the Indian nations which were removed were friendly toward the United States and had served as American allies. One of the least known removals involves an Indian nation known as the Flathead or Bitterroot Salish of Western Montana.  

In 1855, territorial governor Isaac Stevens met in treaty council with the Bitterroot Salish (Flathead), Pend d’Oreilles, and Kootenai in western Montana. Governor Stevens considered these tribes to be unimportant but wanted to consolidate them, together with other tribes, on a single reservation. While the Flathead and the Pend d’Oreilles were both Salish-speaking tribes with a great deal of cultural similarity, the Kootenai speak an unrelated language and did not have a peaceful relationship with the Flathead. Stevens and the other Americans were unaware, or unconcerned, that the Kootenai were not related to the other tribes.

All of the tribes were friendly with the United States and had not committed any acts of violence against the Americans who intruded into their country. Big Canoe, a Pend d’Oreilles, pointed out that his people had offered the hand of friendship to the Americans since first contact. He questioned why there was a need for a treaty, saying that treaties were used to settle differences between enemies. While he still offered friendship, he felt that the Americans did not have the right to come into his territory and take away his lands.

The Treaty of Hellgate established a reservation for the three tribes, as well as others, in the Jocko Valley. This included the homeland for the Pend d’Oreilles and part of the homeland for one Kootenai band. The homeland for the Flathead, however, was in the Bitterroot Valley, about 100 miles to the south. In the treaty council, the Flathead made it very clear that they did not want to leave their homeland and consequently the treaty closed the Bitterroot Valley to non-Indian settlement.

When Flathead Chief Victor refused to sign the treaty until it included provisions for a separate reservation for his people in the Bitterroot Valley,  Governor Stevens called him an old woman and a dog. Victor replied: “I sit quiet and before me you give my land away.” Governor Stevens ambiguously promised them two reservations, a promise he knew he could not keep.

The treaty promised the tribes that the United States would provide them with provisions as part of the payment for the lands which they ceded. However, it was not uncommon for these provisions to arrive late or not arrive at all.

Following the Civil War, many non-Indians began to invade the Bitterroot Valley and establish farms in spite of the fact that this was prohibited by the 1855 treaty and they did not have title to the land. Soon the squatters began to resent the Flathead farmers and to covet their lands as well. The government refused to honor the treaty and soon took a position that the rights of the recently arrived squatters were superior to those of the Indians who have lived in the valley for thousands of years.

In 1866, the Indian agent for Western Montana called a council with the Flathead to discuss the non-Indian encroachment on their lands. The agent discussed with Chief Victor and about 100 other tribal members the possibility of their removal to the Jocko Reservation about 100 miles to the north. While no solutions were attained, the agent considered the council to be successful.

In 1868, the non-Indian squatters in the Bitterroot Valley met and drew up a petition requesting that the government remove the Flathead from the area. In response, the Flathead met in council to discuss the matter. Chief Ambrose recommended removal. On the other hand, Chief Adolphe reminded the people that Governor Stephens had promised that the Flathead could remain unmolested in the Bitterroot Valley.  

In the meantime, the Indian agents for the Flathead in the Bitterroot Valley reported to the Indian Office on the agricultural potential of the area. They noted that American settlers were moving into the area and recommended to the government that the Flathead be removed.

In 1869, Flathead Chief Victor dictated a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in which he discussed the problems facing the Flathead in the Bitterroot Valley. He asked for justice for his people.

At the same time that Chief Victor was asking for justice, the petition of the non-Indian settlers in the Bitterroot Valley requesting the removal of the Flathead was forwarded to the Secretary of the Interior. The petition simply argued that it would cost less to remove the Indians than to move the non-Indian squatters out of the area. The squatters, who had settled the land illegally, would have to be paid for their improvements, while the Indians could simply be removed with no concern regarding any improvements or rights to the land.

In response to government concerns, General Alfred Sully, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for Montana Territory, negotiated a new treaty with the Flathead. While Sully favored the removal of the Flathead from the Bitterroot Valley, the Flathead were determined to remain in their homeland. The new treaty, however, permitted both Indians and non-Indians to live in the Bitterroot. The non-Indians objected to the treaty as it allowed the Indians to remain in the Valley. Influential Montana citizens complained, stating that each Indian family should get a farm and all other land be turned over to non-Indian settlers.

Under the new treaty, the Flathead were to have a reduced reservation. The treaty allowed non-Indian squatters to remain in the valley, but required that any new settlers obtain permission from the chiefs and the Indian agent. The treaty also promised each Indian family a wooden house and a farm wagon for every two families. The Flathead retained their right to hunt, fish, and gather in any reservation area not fenced. The treaty was signed by chiefs Victor, Arlee, and Joseph.

Non-Indians throughout Montana condemned the treaty. The prevailing attitude among non-Indians was that no land should be retained by Indians. As a result, the treaty was not ratified by the U.S. Senate.

In 1870, the non-Indian settlers ignored the treaty with the Flathead and asked the government to evict the Flathead. There were now more than a thousand Americans in the Bitterroot. Chief Charlo insisted that the Flathead had never relinquished their rights to the valley.

At this time most of the Flathead in the Bitterroot Valley were engaged in agriculture. Their farms produced 5,000 bushels of wheat, 650 bushels of potatoes, and 60 bushels of corn. With regard to livestock, they had 600 head of cattle, 100 hogs, and about 1,100 horses. They were seen as more agricultural than other tribes.

In 1871, seven Flathead chiefs met with Father Jerome D’Aste and dictated a letter to President Ulysses S. Grant concerning the situation in the Bitterroot Valley. The chiefs were concerned about non-Indian settlement as well as the growing liquor trade which the non-Indians promoted.

In response to the concerns regarding the non-Indian settlement in the Bitterroot Valley,  President Grant authorized the eviction of the Flathead from their homeland. James A. Garfield was then sent to persuade Chief Charlo to move to the reservation. Grant’s action was based on reports that only a handful of Indians-some reports cited only three Indian farms in the valley-were holding up the development of a fertile valley.

The following year, Congressman (and later President) James A. Garfield visited the Bitterroot Valley to negotiate the withdrawal of the Flathead from the valley and their resettlement on the Jocko (Flathead) Reservation. The Flathead were reluctant to enter into a new agreement since none of the provisions of their 1855 Treaty of Hellgate had been carried out by the government.

Two sub-chiefs, Arlee and Adolph, signed the agreement, but Chief Charlo refused to sign. Everyone  who was at the council witnessed his refusal. His signature is not on the original on file in the Department of the Interior; neither did it appear on the duplicate left with the Indians.

Somehow, as if by magic, Charlo’s mark appeared on the document. When Charlo complained about the blatant forgery, the United States simply appointed Arlee as the head chief, ignoring the fact that Arlee was not Flathead, but Nez Perce. When confronted with the evidence of the blatant forgery, Garfield claimed that he had reported the document signed because he thought that Charlo would agree and sign it once he saw that his people were actually being moved. The Flathead Culture Committee would later report:

“This apparent fraud caused the Chieftain (Charlo) to become further embittered against the whiteman who had taken his country and was making a strange life for him.”

The two sub-chiefs selected the Jocko Valley as the future home of the Flathead. This location was not particularly favorable for agriculture, but it offered other advantages which seemed more important to the Indians. These advantages included good pasture, running streams and an abundance of timber.

In 1873, a report on the Flathead in the Bitterroot Valley found that most of the non-Indian settlers in the area advocated the removal of the Indians to the Flathead Reservation. However, the report found little evidence of any crimes committed by the Flathead against the non-Indians.

In 1877, the Flathead friendship with the Americans was reaffirmed. During the Nez Perce War, Chief Looking Glass led his people into the Bitterroot Valley seeking refuge from the American army with their old friends and allies. When Looking Glass met with Flathead Chief Charlo, he extended his hand in friendship, but Charlo refused it. Charlo told him:  

“Why should I shake hands with men whose hands are bloody? My hands are clean of blood.”

The Flathead refused to assist the Nez Perce and cast their lot with the Americans.  Flathead Chief Charlo told the Nez Perce: ”

“If you kill any of my people or the white people, or disturb any of the property belonging to my people or the white people in my country, I will fight you.”

Chief Charlo visited Washington, D.C. in 1883. Charlo refused the gifts of the government which wanted his band to move from their ancient home in the Bitterroot to the Jocko (Flathead) Reservation. Finally, the Secretary of the Interior told him that his people could continue to live in the Valley as long as they lived in peace with the American settlers.

After meeting with Charlo, Senator George Vest concluded:

“In any event, deeply as we sympathize with these people, and deplore the manner in which Charlo has been treated, we are satisfied that the welfare of both the whites and the Indians in the Bitterroot Valley absolutely demands the removal of the latter to the Jocko reservation. Their presence in the valley is a continued source of danger and disgust.”

The following year, the Flathead make another attempt to get the federal government to listen to their side of the controversy. A delegation of Flathead chiefs-Charlo, Antoine Moise, John Hill, Abel-traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with government officials about their removal from the Bitterroot Valley. Charlo indicated that his people were free to move if they so desired.

In 1884, a group of 18 families from Moiese’s Bitterroot Salish (Flathead) band moved to the Jocko Reservation where they were given houses.

In 1889, a drought wiped out the farms of the Flathead and their non-Indian neighbors in the Bitterroot Valley. With this disaster, Chief Charlo agreed to move his Flathead band to the reservation in the Jocko Valley.

“I will go. I and my children. My young men are becoming bad. They have no place to hunt. My women are hungry. For their sake I will go.”

To support their decision to move, the government promised to provide the Flathead with food. The government’s promised supplies did not arrive and starvation set in.

In 1891, Charlo’s band of Flathead are finally moved from the Bitterroot Valley to the reservation in the Jocko Valley. Charlo had been told that if he did not give up his lands and move that the soldiers would come for him. Finally, Charlo called his people together. They prayed together and then he announced that they would go. Several days later following an all night feast, the Salish assembled at dawn, loaded horses and wagons and started for the Jocko Reservation.

The Salish were well-received by the other Indians on the reservation. However, the government failed to provide the promised houses for those who made the move.

Mount Graham: Science and Apache Religion

( – promoted by navajo)

For many Native American nations there are certain geographic places which have special spiritual meanings. These sacred places are often portals to the spirit worlds. For the Apache in Arizona, one of these sacred places is Mount Graham: this place is called Dzil Nchaa Si An (Big Seated Mountain) and is mentioned in 32 of the sacred songs which have been handed down through the oral tradition for many generations. It is here that the Ga’an, the guardian spirits of the Apache, live.

In 1873, Mount Graham was removed from the boundaries of the San Carlos Reservation and placed in public domain. The spiritual value of Mount Graham to the Apache was not considered. This action set the stage for conflict a century later.  

In 1984, the University of Arizona and the Vatican selected Mount Graham as a site for a complex of 18 telescopes. The fact that this is a sacred place for the Apache was not taken into consideration. To get around the legal barriers of the American Indian Religious Freedoms Act, the University hired a lobbying firm to put pressure on Congress to remove this, and other, roadblocks.  The area in question is administered by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Vatican has an observatory staff which is officially support by the Vatican City State. The Vatican Observatory Foundation is supported by private donations. One of the important duties of the church is to maintain an accurate calendar and this requires astronomical observations. Hence the involvement of the Vatican with astronomy. The first Vatican observatory was established in 1774.

Congress passed the Arizona-Idaho Conservation Act in 1988. In response to lobbying by the University of Arizona and the Vatican, the Act included a provision to allow the construction of three telescopes on Mount Graham without having to comply with the American Indian Religious Freedoms Act or with environmental laws.

The following year the Apache Survival Coalition was started by Ola Cassadore-Davis, the daughter of Apache spiritual leader Phillip Cassadore. The purpose of the Coalition was to save Dzil Nchaa Si An from desecration by a telescope complex to be built by the University of Arizona and the Vatican.

In 1991, the San Carlos Apache Tribe passed a resolution stating that Mount Graham is sacred to them. Furthermore, the resolution stated that the tribe supported the efforts of the Apache Survival Coalition to protect the religious and cultural beliefs of the tribe.

Following the declarations of the sacredness of Mount Graham by the Apache Survival Coalition and the San Carlos Apache Tribe, the Vatican in 1991declared that Mt. Graham was not sacred because it lacked religious shrines. Jesuit Father George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, indicated that he could not find an authentic Apache who thought the mountain was sacred. Father Coyne stated that to convince him that the mountain was sacred he would need to see evidence of shrines and that he would not accept Apache oral history or statements by Apache-speaking Euro-American anthropologists.

Father Coyne further declared that Apache beliefs were “a kind of religiosity to which I cannot subscribe and which must be suppressed with all the force we can muster.”

The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) reports that the Jesuit Father Charles W. Polzer calls opposition to the construction of the telescope complex on top of Mount Graham  “part of a Jewish conspiracy” and comes from the Jewish lawyers of the American Civil Liberties Union who are out to undermine and destroy the Catholic Church.

In spite of opposition by the San Carlos Apache tribal council, Apache spiritual leaders, and environmental groups, actual construction of the project began in 1991.

With flagrant insensitivity to American Indians, the University of Arizona announced that it intended to name its new telescope on Mount Graham the Colum¬bus telescope in honor of the European explorer. The University was apparently unaware that Columbus is not considered to be a hero by American Indian people. Ultimately, the University withdrew the name following public response against it.

The San Carlos Apache tribal council in 1993 reaffirmed reso¬lutions opposing the construction of the telescope on Mount Graham. The council resolution stated that the telescope “constitutes a display of profound disrespect for a cherished feature of our original homeland as well as a serious violation of our tradi¬tional religious beliefs.”

After meeting with Apache elders and spiritual leaders at the San Carlos Apache Reservation, the National Council of Churches in 1995 passed a resolution calling for the removal of a telescope from Mount Graham.

The President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 1996 declared the entire Mount Graham observatory project to be in violation of the National Historic Preservation Act because of the project’s harm to Apache culture and spiritual life, but the telescope was not removed.

In 1997, the spokesman for the Apaches for Cultural Preservation was arrested for praying on Mount Graham. The Apaches for Cultural Preservation feel that the Forest Service, the University of Arizona, and the Vatican developed the project on Mount Graham knowing that it would violate Apache religious beliefs.

President Bill Clinton, using the line item veto, deleted $10 million in federal funds for the operation of the University of Arizona’s Mount Graham telescope project. San Carlos Apache Chairman Raymond Stanley and the White Mountain Apache Cultural Resources Director Ramon Riley sent letters to the President thanking him for the veto.

Beginning in 1998, the University of Arizona began requiring Indians to obtain prayer permits before they crossed the top of Mount Graham near the University’s telescopes. The University’s prayer policy required that the permit be requested at least two business days before the visit and that it include a description of where on the mountain the prayers will take place. Only people who were enrolled members of federally recognized tribes were allowed to pray.

In 1999, the University of Notre Dame, a Catholic university, announced that it would also build a telescope on Mount Graham. The University president claimed that he was unaware that Mount Graham was sacred to the Apache and that the Apache opposed the desecration of this sacred place. This was in spite of the fact that the building of telescopes on this sacred mountain by the University of Arizona and the Vatican was a controversial issue and had been the subject of many news stories.

In 1999, the White Mountain Apache tribal council passed a resolution urging the U.S. Forest Service to “honor its duties to protect the physical integrity of Mount Graham and its long-standing and ongoing historical, cultural and religious importance to many Apaches.”

Realizing that they were making little headway with the bureaucracies of the American government (Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture) and Congress, the Apaches took their cause to the United Nations in 1999. Ola Cassadore Davis testified before the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. She stated:

We Apache wish to bring to the people of this world a better understanding of Indian people, in order that we are able to preserve and freely live by our traditional culture and religious beliefs.

Source: http://www.envirolink.org/exte…

She asked that the special use permit by the Department of Agriculture Forest Service be terminated. She concluded:

In conclusion, we Apache would respectfully urge this body of the United Nations to recognize and acknowledge that the disrespect and suffering caused by the nations and governments mentioned above be terminated forthwith. We Apache petition you for a resolution consistent with the National Congress of American Indians of 1993, 1995 and July 1999. They stated that the public interest in protecting Apache culture is compelling, and that the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture should accordingly require the prompt removal of the telescopes from Mount Graham.

In 2004, the San Carlos Apache rejected an offer of $120,000 from the University of Arizona, calling it a bribe. Saying that the University had done nothing but tell lies to the Apache people, the San Carlos Apache indicated that they would continue to honor their sacred mountain. One tribal council member indicated that if the University did not have a telescope on Mount Graham they would have no interest in the Apache people.

The conflict over this sacred site is still not resolved. On the one hand it can be viewed as a conflict between two different cultures. On the other hand, it can also be seen as a conflict between science and religion.

The Mount Graham International Observatory is home to three telescopes: the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, the Heinrich Hertz Submillimeter Telescope, and the Large Binocular Telescope. On their website, their version of the  history of Mount Graham focuses on James Duncan Graham and mentions the Spanish Conquistadores. There is no mention of the Apache. Their section on the legal actions necessary for the building of the complex mentions environmental concerns, but there is no mention of the Apache spiritual concerns.

The telescopes sit on land which has been leased from the Forest Service and the lease must be regularly renewed. Efforts by American Indian people and various environmental groups have so far been unsuccessful in convincing the Forest Service to deny the renewal of the leases.  

The Cherokee Prior to the Trail of Tears

( – promoted by navajo)

In 1830, the United States passed the Indian Removal Act which called for the removal of all Indians to lands west of the Mississippi River. The rationale for removal rather than “civilizing” the Indians in their homelands is explained in one letter to the Cherokee agent:


An Almighty hand has stamped upon every creature a particular genius, propensity and leading traits of character. The polish of education may improve, but cannot change, for the imperishable seal is there; bars and dungeons, penitentiaries and death itself, have been found insufficient, even in civilized society, to restrain man from crime, and constrain him to the necessity of moral and virtuous action. How then are we to look for, or expect it, in a community made up of savage and illiterate people?”

In 1838, the United States Army rounded up the Cherokee who were living in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama and forcibly removed them to their new home in Indian Territory. This became known as the Trail of Tears.  

The Cherokee were not nomadic hunters and gatherers depicted in the most common stereotypes of Indians. They were farming people and had been farming people for more than a thousand years. They did not live in teepees, but had permanent villages with substantial houses. At the time of their removal, the Cherokee had a higher literacy rate than the non-Indian Americans. However, they were literate in Cherokee which doesn’t count as literacy in the minds of many Americans.

Like most Indian people, the Cherokee were progressive and eagerly borrowed new things from their neighbors, including the European settlers. The Cherokee adopted many things from the Europeans and have been often characterized as a “Civilized Nation” because of this.

In 1808 the Cherokee enacted their first written laws. The laws provided for the organization of a national police force to protect property and to insure the inheritance rights of widows and orphans. Since the Cherokee held real estate in common, the protection of property refered to chattel and improvements.

A census of the Cherokee nation done by the Indian agent in 1809 counted 12,395 Cherokee, 583 Negro slaves, and 314 Europeans living in the nation. The census also found that the Cherokee had 19,165 black cattle, 19,778 swine, 6,519 horses, and 1,037 sheep.

In response to the Cherokee chiefs who visited Washington, D.C. in 1817, the Niles Weekly Register reported:

“These chiefs, by their manners and deportment, exhibit a practical proof, to those who may have had doubts on that head, that the natives of this country only want the means of improvement to place them on an equality with the intelligent part of our citizens.”

The paper went on to call for the “civilizing” of the Cherokee through a commitment to agriculture and Christianity.

In 1820 the Cherokee reorganized their government by dividing the nation into eight districts and organizing a new standing legislative body. The legislature, with a 13 member upper house and a 32 member lower house, was to meet each October in Newtown, the newly created Cherokee capital. In this reorganization, the villages were no longer recognized as the primary political unit.

The federal government completed a new census of the Cherokee Nation in 1824. It found that the Cherokee population had increased by 30% since the 1809 census and was now 16,060. The number of Negro slaves in the Cherokee nation had increased by 119% and was now 1,277. Spinning wheels were found in nearly all Cherokee homes; the number of wagons had increased by 473%; and the number of plows had increased by 416%. The character of the material goods possessed by the Cherokee clearly suggests that they were becoming a nation of Anglo-style farmers.

In Oklahoma, the Cherokee “Old Settlers” (those who had moved from the southeast in 1810 and in 1817) formed a constitutional government with an elected chief and legislature in 1824.

In 1825 the Cherokee National Council authorized the treasurer to make loans to Cherokee citizens. The loans required “two good and sufficient securities”.

The Cherokee National Council also passed a law decreeing the death penalty for those who sold land to non-Indians. All Cherokee land was held in common and was not privately owned by individual tribal members.

The Cherokee Nation became a republic in 1827 with a president (called “chief”), a bicameral House (called the “council”), a constitution, and a codified body of laws. While the constitution called for an annual tax of fifty cents per family, this was seldom collected. Funding for the government came from the United States as income from old land sales. John Ross was elected president.

In opposition to the new Cherokee Constitution, tribal traditionalists spoke out against the Constitution, the move to acculturate, and the Christian missions. The rebellion was non-violent. The two Cherokee factions met and reconciled some of their differences.

In 1829 the Cherokee National Council passed a law that forfeited the rights and privileges of Cherokee citizenship to all Cherokee who emigrated or agreed to emigrate. In addition, Cherokee who sold their improved property to anyone who had enrolled to emigrate was to be fined and punished with 100 lashes.

In an 1830 article published in the Niles Weekly Register, Colonel Gold (whose daughter was married to Elias Boudinot, the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix) reported that the Cherokee afforded

“strong evidence that the wandering Indian has been converted into the industrious husbandman; and the tomahawk and rifle are exchanging for the plough, the hoe, the wheel, and the loom, and that they are rapidly acquiring domestic habits, and attaining a degree of civilization that was entirely unexpected, from the natural disposition of these children of the forest.”

In 1835 a new census counted 8,936 Cherokee in Georgia. The average size of the Cherokee family was 6.6 persons and the family cultivated an average of 11.1 acres. About one-fourth of the Cherokee corn crop was sold.

The Cherokee in Georgia owned 776 slaves, but only 7% of the Cherokee families had slaves. Most of the slaves were owned by mixed bloods.

News From Native American Netroots

Native American Netroots Web Badge

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

A special thanks to our team for contributing the links that have been compiled here. Please provide your news links in the comments below.

                           

Wilma Mankiller, women’s rights heroine, walks on

WASHINGTON – Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, passed away at age 64 in the morning hours of April 6 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Mankiller was best known for her leadership of her tribe, at which she served 12 years in elective office, the first two as deputy principal chief followed by 10 years as principal chief.

Endangered Language Fund

Endangered Language Fund Announces 2010 Request for Proposals

The Endangered Language Fund provides grants for language maintenance and linguistic field work. The language involved must be in danger of disappearing within a generation or two.

The work most likely to be funded is that which serves both the native community and the field of linguistics. Work which has immediate applicability to one group and more distant application to the other will also be considered. Publishing awards are a low priority, but will be considered.

Grants in this round are expected to be less than $4,000 each, and to average about $2,000. Eligible expenses include consultant fees, tapes, films, travel, etc. Overhead is not allowed. Grants are normally for a one-year period.

Researchers and language activists from any country are eligible to apply. Awards can be made to institutions, but no administrative costs are covered.

Visit the fund’s Web site for the complete RFP.

Contact: http://www.endangeredlanguagef…

http://foundationcenter.org/pn…

Unique community housing project opens on Navajo Nation

A new community-owned and -operated apartment complex will house nearly a hundred Navajo families.

The new Chaco River apartment complex in Shiprock is the first of its kind on the Navajo reservation because of a joint community-private partnership.

With the help of various funding, the local non-profit Shiprock Community Development Corporation owns and manages the apartments.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Selects Atlantic Tele-Network For 4G LTE Service

Providing a new era of wireless network services to the residents of Navajo Nation, Atlantic Tele-Network, a subsidiary Commnet Wireless LLC, will develop and operate a 4G Long Term Evolution wireless network in that area.

The 4G Long Term Evolution increases the capacity and speed of mobile telephone networks. The next-generation mobile broadband gets a superior user experience and simplified technology with Long Term Evolution.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority received a $32.1 million federal stimulus grant on March 25, by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

Treaty Days to be annual celebration

WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation will no longer be celebrating the Fourth of July with a fair – but it will begin annually celebrating the signing of the Treaty of 1868 that established the tribe’s relationship with the federal government.

Fighting Sioux nickname fight ends in relief, fatigue

For at least three decades the University of North Dakota and its fans, and Native Americans and their supporters, struggled to determine whether the school’s Fighting Sioux nickname properly referred to green-clad athletes or demeaningly characterized Northern Plains tribes.

As other colleges across the country and high schools in South Dakota and elsewhere gave up similar nicknames and logos, UND found itself standing more alone. In isolation, it became a target of public judgment on the general treatment of tribal culture by the dominant society.

Fire shuts down Native treatment facility

The only substance abuse treatment facility for Native Americans in the area is closed after a fire broke out Saturday on the Sioux San Hospital campus, officials say.

The fire-alarm system went off at 1:07 p.m. in the Native Healing Program building, formerly known as Hope Lodge, according to Capt. Mark Enright of the Rapid City Department of Fire & Emergency Services. Stations three and five responded to the fire.

A 33-year-old male patient was injured in the fire and was taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital, but his injuries were not life-threatening, according to Enright. Sioux San officials said he was treated for smoke inhalation.

Cronkite student wins coveted Edward R. Murrow Award

   An ASU journalism student won an Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the most prestigious honors in professional broadcast journalism.

   Colton Shone, 21, a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, won the Murrow Award for a story he reported and produced for KTAR-FM in Phoenix. The winning story, a Halloween feature on a haunted maze in Glendale, won in the “Use of Sound” category for large market radio stations in Region 3, which covers Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming……

….Shone, who is Navajo, said the underrepresentation of Native American journalists leads to a lack of coverage of issues important to those communities. He has traveled around the state to talk with Native American students and with the few Native American television journalists.

Gathering of Nations goes outdoors

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The world’s largest gathering of Native American and indigenous people will take place in Albuquerque, N.M. April 22 – 24. The 27th Annual Gathering of Nations, considered the most prominent Native American powwow in the world, will host more than 150,000 people and more than 500 tribes from throughout the United States, Canada and around the world celebrating their culture and traditions through dance, music, food and indigenous dress including feathers, bells, jingles and fringes.

The three-day event will include more than 40 indigenous bands performing musical genres including country, reggae, rhythm and blues, hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll. In addition, more than 3,000 Native American singers and dancers will entertain, and more than 600 Native American artisans, craftsmen and traders will display and sell their work. Dozens of vendors in the Native Food Court will offer guests a wide variety of food choices including Southwestern-style cuisine and traditional Native American fare.

MT’s Rehberg (R) Vulnerable: Facing Progressive Tribal Opponent

This is not the greatest time for me to run for political office; I have young children, a teenage daughter that need my attention. I am midway through the goal of proceeding to law school. I have lived a life of delays, disappointments, and dreams deferred. I come from a background of sheer poverty; I lived on Hill 57, a mostly Ojibwe camp for 20 years. My teens were spent in a two room house during the height of Reaganomics; a member of a class of forgotten Americans–urban, non-reservation Native Americans. My own parents were disabled. My father suffered from a heart weakened by a childhood bout of rheumatic fever, my mother was an insulin-dependent diabetic.

Program Aims To Find Victims Of Radiation Exposure

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) Some toiled in uranium mines, transported the extracted ore and carried it home on their clothes. Others participated in nuclear weapons testing or lived downwind from test sites.

Not all have been compensated, let alone know about a federal program that does so.

Larry Martinez knows of thousands of them who live on the Navajo Nation, and this summer he hopes to get some help finding more in the towns that dot the 27,000-square-mile reservation.

A new U.S. Department of Justice program will select 30 students to travel the vast reservation and other communities in the Four Corners region to identify potential participants in the federal compensation program.

        red_black_rug_design2

Posted in Uncategorized

News From Native American Netroots

Native American Netroots Web Badge

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

A special thanks to our team for contributing the links that have been compiled here. Please provide your news links in the comments below.

                           

Wilma Mankiller, women’s rights heroine, walks on

WASHINGTON – Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, passed away at age 64 in the morning hours of April 6 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Mankiller was best known for her leadership of her tribe, at which she served 12 years in elective office, the first two as deputy principal chief followed by 10 years as principal chief.

Endangered Language Fund

Endangered Language Fund Announces 2010 Request for Proposals

The Endangered Language Fund provides grants for language maintenance and linguistic field work. The language involved must be in danger of disappearing within a generation or two.

The work most likely to be funded is that which serves both the native community and the field of linguistics. Work which has immediate applicability to one group and more distant application to the other will also be considered. Publishing awards are a low priority, but will be considered.

Grants in this round are expected to be less than $4,000 each, and to average about $2,000. Eligible expenses include consultant fees, tapes, films, travel, etc. Overhead is not allowed. Grants are normally for a one-year period.

Researchers and language activists from any country are eligible to apply. Awards can be made to institutions, but no administrative costs are covered.

Visit the fund’s Web site for the complete RFP.

Contact: http://www.endangeredlanguagef…

http://foundationcenter.org/pn…

Unique community housing project opens on Navajo Nation

A new community-owned and -operated apartment complex will house nearly a hundred Navajo families.

The new Chaco River apartment complex in Shiprock is the first of its kind on the Navajo reservation because of a joint community-private partnership.

With the help of various funding, the local non-profit Shiprock Community Development Corporation owns and manages the apartments.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Selects Atlantic Tele-Network For 4G LTE Service

Providing a new era of wireless network services to the residents of Navajo Nation, Atlantic Tele-Network, a subsidiary Commnet Wireless LLC, will develop and operate a 4G Long Term Evolution wireless network in that area.

The 4G Long Term Evolution increases the capacity and speed of mobile telephone networks. The next-generation mobile broadband gets a superior user experience and simplified technology with Long Term Evolution.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority received a $32.1 million federal stimulus grant on March 25, by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

Treaty Days to be annual celebration

WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation will no longer be celebrating the Fourth of July with a fair – but it will begin annually celebrating the signing of the Treaty of 1868 that established the tribe’s relationship with the federal government.

Fighting Sioux nickname fight ends in relief, fatigue

For at least three decades the University of North Dakota and its fans, and Native Americans and their supporters, struggled to determine whether the school’s Fighting Sioux nickname properly referred to green-clad athletes or demeaningly characterized Northern Plains tribes.

As other colleges across the country and high schools in South Dakota and elsewhere gave up similar nicknames and logos, UND found itself standing more alone. In isolation, it became a target of public judgment on the general treatment of tribal culture by the dominant society.

Fire shuts down Native treatment facility

The only substance abuse treatment facility for Native Americans in the area is closed after a fire broke out Saturday on the Sioux San Hospital campus, officials say.

The fire-alarm system went off at 1:07 p.m. in the Native Healing Program building, formerly known as Hope Lodge, according to Capt. Mark Enright of the Rapid City Department of Fire & Emergency Services. Stations three and five responded to the fire.

A 33-year-old male patient was injured in the fire and was taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital, but his injuries were not life-threatening, according to Enright. Sioux San officials said he was treated for smoke inhalation.

Cronkite student wins coveted Edward R. Murrow Award

   An ASU journalism student won an Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the most prestigious honors in professional broadcast journalism.

   Colton Shone, 21, a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, won the Murrow Award for a story he reported and produced for KTAR-FM in Phoenix. The winning story, a Halloween feature on a haunted maze in Glendale, won in the “Use of Sound” category for large market radio stations in Region 3, which covers Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming……

….Shone, who is Navajo, said the underrepresentation of Native American journalists leads to a lack of coverage of issues important to those communities. He has traveled around the state to talk with Native American students and with the few Native American television journalists.

Gathering of Nations goes outdoors

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The world’s largest gathering of Native American and indigenous people will take place in Albuquerque, N.M. April 22 – 24. The 27th Annual Gathering of Nations, considered the most prominent Native American powwow in the world, will host more than 150,000 people and more than 500 tribes from throughout the United States, Canada and around the world celebrating their culture and traditions through dance, music, food and indigenous dress including feathers, bells, jingles and fringes.

The three-day event will include more than 40 indigenous bands performing musical genres including country, reggae, rhythm and blues, hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll. In addition, more than 3,000 Native American singers and dancers will entertain, and more than 600 Native American artisans, craftsmen and traders will display and sell their work. Dozens of vendors in the Native Food Court will offer guests a wide variety of food choices including Southwestern-style cuisine and traditional Native American fare.

MT’s Rehberg (R) Vulnerable: Facing Progressive Tribal Opponent

This is not the greatest time for me to run for political office; I have young children, a teenage daughter that need my attention. I am midway through the goal of proceeding to law school. I have lived a life of delays, disappointments, and dreams deferred. I come from a background of sheer poverty; I lived on Hill 57, a mostly Ojibwe camp for 20 years. My teens were spent in a two room house during the height of Reaganomics; a member of a class of forgotten Americans–urban, non-reservation Native Americans. My own parents were disabled. My father suffered from a heart weakened by a childhood bout of rheumatic fever, my mother was an insulin-dependent diabetic.

        red_black_rug_design2

Posted in Uncategorized

News From Native American Netroots

Native American Netroots Web Badge

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

A special thanks to our team for contributing the links that have been compiled here. Please provide your news links in the comments below.

                           Eagle Feather

Wilma Mankiller, women’s rights heroine, walks on

WASHINGTON – Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, passed away at age 64 in the morning hours of April 6 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Mankiller was best known for her leadership of her tribe, at which she served 12 years in elective office, the first two as deputy principal chief followed by 10 years as principal chief.

Endangered Language Fund

Endangered Language Fund Announces 2010 Request for Proposals

The Endangered Language Fund provides grants for language maintenance and linguistic field work. The language involved must be in danger of disappearing within a generation or two.

The work most likely to be funded is that which serves both the native community and the field of linguistics. Work which has immediate applicability to one group and more distant application to the other will also be considered. Publishing awards are a low priority, but will be considered.

Grants in this round are expected to be less than $4,000 each, and to average about $2,000. Eligible expenses include consultant fees, tapes, films, travel, etc. Overhead is not allowed. Grants are normally for a one-year period.

Researchers and language activists from any country are eligible to apply. Awards can be made to institutions, but no administrative costs are covered.

Visit the fund’s Web site for the complete RFP.

Contact: http://www.endangeredlanguagef…

http://foundationcenter.org/pn…

Unique community housing project opens on Navajo Nation

A new community-owned and -operated apartment complex will house nearly a hundred Navajo families.

The new Chaco River apartment complex in Shiprock is the first of its kind on the Navajo reservation because of a joint community-private partnership.

With the help of various funding, the local non-profit Shiprock Community Development Corporation owns and manages the apartments.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Selects Atlantic Tele-Network For 4G LTE Service

Providing a new era of wireless network services to the residents of Navajo Nation, Atlantic Tele-Network, a subsidiary Commnet Wireless LLC, will develop and operate a 4G Long Term Evolution wireless network in that area.

The 4G Long Term Evolution increases the capacity and speed of mobile telephone networks. The next-generation mobile broadband gets a superior user experience and simplified technology with Long Term Evolution.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority received a $32.1 million federal stimulus grant on March 25, by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration.

Treaty Days to be annual celebration

WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation will no longer be celebrating the Fourth of July with a fair – but it will begin annually celebrating the signing of the Treaty of 1868 that established the tribe’s relationship with the federal government.

Fighting Sioux nickname fight ends in relief, fatigue

For at least three decades the University of North Dakota and its fans, and Native Americans and their supporters, struggled to determine whether the school’s Fighting Sioux nickname properly referred to green-clad athletes or demeaningly characterized Northern Plains tribes.

As other colleges across the country and high schools in South Dakota and elsewhere gave up similar nicknames and logos, UND found itself standing more alone. In isolation, it became a target of public judgment on the general treatment of tribal culture by the dominant society.

Fire shuts down Native treatment facility

The only substance abuse treatment facility for Native Americans in the area is closed after a fire broke out Saturday on the Sioux San Hospital campus, officials say.

The fire-alarm system went off at 1:07 p.m. in the Native Healing Program building, formerly known as Hope Lodge, according to Capt. Mark Enright of the Rapid City Department of Fire & Emergency Services. Stations three and five responded to the fire.

A 33-year-old male patient was injured in the fire and was taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital, but his injuries were not life-threatening, according to Enright. Sioux San officials said he was treated for smoke inhalation.

Cronkite student wins coveted Edward R. Murrow Award

   An ASU journalism student won an Edward R. Murrow Award, one of the most prestigious honors in professional broadcast journalism.

   Colton Shone, 21, a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, won the Murrow Award for a story he reported and produced for KTAR-FM in Phoenix. The winning story, a Halloween feature on a haunted maze in Glendale, won in the “Use of Sound” category for large market radio stations in Region 3, which covers Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming……

….Shone, who is Navajo, said the underrepresentation of Native American journalists leads to a lack of coverage of issues important to those communities. He has traveled around the state to talk with Native American students and with the few Native American television journalists.

Gathering of Nations goes outdoors

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The world’s largest gathering of Native American and indigenous people will take place in Albuquerque, N.M. April 22 – 24. The 27th Annual Gathering of Nations, considered the most prominent Native American powwow in the world, will host more than 150,000 people and more than 500 tribes from throughout the United States, Canada and around the world celebrating their culture and traditions through dance, music, food and indigenous dress including feathers, bells, jingles and fringes.

The three-day event will include more than 40 indigenous bands performing musical genres including country, reggae, rhythm and blues, hip-hop and rock ‘n’ roll. In addition, more than 3,000 Native American singers and dancers will entertain, and more than 600 Native American artisans, craftsmen and traders will display and sell their work. Dozens of vendors in the Native Food Court will offer guests a wide variety of food choices including Southwestern-style cuisine and traditional Native American fare.

MT’s Rehberg (R) Vulnerable: Facing Progressive Tribal Opponent

This is not the greatest time for me to run for political office; I have young children, a teenage daughter that need my attention. I am midway through the goal of proceeding to law school. I have lived a life of delays, disappointments, and dreams deferred. I come from a background of sheer poverty; I lived on Hill 57, a mostly Ojibwe camp for 20 years. My teens were spent in a two room house during the height of Reaganomics; a member of a class of forgotten Americans–urban, non-reservation Native Americans. My own parents were disabled. My father suffered from a heart weakened by a childhood bout of rheumatic fever, my mother was an insulin-dependent diabetic.

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News From Native American Netroots

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

A special thanks to our team for contributing the links that have been compiled here. Please provide your news links in the comments below.

                           

Wilma Mankiller, women’s rights heroine, walks on

WASHINGTON – Wilma Mankiller, former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, passed away at age 64 in the morning hours of April 6 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Mankiller was best known for her leadership of her tribe, at which she served 12 years in elective office, the first two as deputy principal chief followed by 10 years as principal chief.

Endangered Language Fund

Endangered Language Fund Announces 2010 Request for Proposals

The Endangered Language Fund provides grants for language maintenance and linguistic field work. The language involved must be in danger of disappearing within a generation or two.

The work most likely to be funded is that which serves both the native community and the field of linguistics. Work which has immediate applicability to one group and more distant application to the other will also be considered. Publishing awards are a low priority, but will be considered.

Grants in this round are expected to be less than $4,000 each, and to average about $2,000. Eligible expenses include consultant fees, tapes, films, travel, etc. Overhead is not allowed. Grants are normally for a one-year period.

Researchers and language activists from any country are eligible to apply. Awards can be made to institutions, but no administrative costs are covered.

Visit the fund’s Web site for the complete RFP.

Contact: http://www.endangeredlanguagef…

http://foundationcenter.org/pn…

Unique community housing project opens on Navajo Nation

A new community-owned and -operated apartment complex will house nearly a hundred Navajo families.

The new Chaco River apartment complex in Shiprock is the first of its kind on the Navajo reservation because of a joint community-private partnership.

With the help of various funding, the local non-profit Shiprock Community Development Corporation owns and manages the apartments.

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Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Hearing re: Youth Suicide

This is my summary of the OVERSIGHT HEARING on The Preventable Epidemic: Youth Suicides

and the Urgent Need for Mental Health Care Resources in Indian Country
held Thursday,

March 25, 2010. WEBCAST here. [172 mins.]

Senator Franken called the hearing to order, he was visibly exhausted from a voting session that lasted until 3 AM the

night before. He spoke for a few minutes until Chairman

Dorgan arrived. On behalf of the tribes in Minnesota, Franken thanked Dorgan for his leadership in getting The Indian Healthcare Improvement Act included the Health Reform Law. Senator Franken explained that he and Dorgan would only be able to stay a short time since another vote was due to start soon.  

The last hearing regarding this issue was February 26, 2009.

Randy Grinnell, Deputy Director of the Indian Health Service was the next testimony. He gave some requisite statistics regarding the IHS and youth suicide.

Chairman Dorgan arrived and thanked Grinnell for his testimony. Dorgan explained that he would have to leave soon and that he and Senator Franken had read the prepared testimony of each participant. It’s too bad they had to leave early because important testimony was given after they left.

Coloradas Mangas a sophomore at Ruidoso High School, Mescalero Apache Reservation, New Mexico read his poignant statement of personal numerous losses among his friends.



When I look at the resources that our neighbors have in the town of Ruidoso, I can’t help but notice how limited our I.H.S. hospital is when it comes to basic care and more importantly, mental health services. We have a mental health clinic, with only one full time psychologist. One psychologist to serve a community of 4,500 children, youth and adults. It is my understanding that she is currently on administrative leave – indefinitely. With her gone, we have a huge gap in the continuity of care.

What troubles me is that law enforcement and the court have a larger role to play during an attempt or completed suicide compared to our mental health clinic. Most attempters don’t seek help and some are court ordered to attend therapy. This role of the courts and law enforcement criminalizes their behavior and makes their recovery seem less important.

I applaud our community though. The tribal administration finally understands that our community-based services are not connecting in a vital way to meet the challenges of children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families. With this said, our tribe has applied for the SAMHSA Systems of Care grant. It is my hope that we can fundamentally change the way our services are delivered. Due to the most recent rash of suicides, a new program started in the community called the Honor Your Life Program. It is a SAMHSA funded program that is designed to implement and evaluate a comprehensive early intervention and suicide prevention model.

[snip]

We desperately need a shelter for the youth if they need a place to stay at certain times when the home life becomes very toxic. We have heard from other youth that if they just had a place to go for the night, that they would not have made an attempt on their life.



Dr. Paula Clayton
, Medical Director, American FoundatIon for Suicide Prevention, New York City, New York was up next. She also talked about statistics and causes, her conclusion was that it was all about mental illness and screening for these illnesses among our nation’s youth.




Culturally sensitive but sustained efforts with multiple approaches offer our best hope to get students into treatments. Obviously, if there is a shortage of treatment resources, than dollars need to be allocated to develop innovative new treatments for Native American youths. We must reduce this fatal outcome. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is ready and willing to offer our expertise and advice to this Committee and to all members of Congress as you make the important decisions on how to reduce suicide in the Indian nations.

Ms. Laurie Flynn, Executive Director, TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University, New York, New York:

Recommendation – Expand Telemedicine with focus on mental health of youth

Identifying youth in need of mental health services through screening is of little utility if

we are unable to connect them to necessary services. As we referenced earlier, the IHS

suffers from a provider shortage for all types of providers, and child and adolescent

psychiatrists are in short supply, not just in the IHS, but the system more generally.

Furthermore, the rural and often isolated locations in which many American Indian and

Alaska Native youth reside contribute to the difficulty of connecting them to appropriate

mental health providers.

An important solution to addressing these challenges has been the expansion of the use of

telemedicine services, including telepsychiatry. For example, the University of New

Mexico’s Center on Rural Mental Health has been providing telepsychiatry services, also

referred to as tele-behavioral health services, to the Mescalero tribe and others in New

Mexico. Through a contract with the IHS and the State of New Mexico, the Center is able

to offer patient diagnosis, treatment, and supervision services. The Center is also able to

help address the workforce shortage by providing additional training and supervision to

mental health providers, such as social workers.

The success of such programs has spurred an increased investment in tele-behavioral

health services. The Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI)

included funding to establish a National Tele-Behavioral Health Center of Excellence,

and at least 50 IHS and federal sites are using or in the process of creating tele-behavioral

health services. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) also

provided funding to expand the infrastructure necessary to support telemedicine.

The health care reform legislation signed into law earlier this week also includes

provisions that will help expand access to services for American Indian and Alaska

Native youth. New grant moneys for telepsychiatry projects are included in the

legislation, as well as provisions targeted toward addressing IHS workforce recruitment;

improving rural health services; reducing health disparities; and expanding access to

preventive services.

These are all steps in the right direction, but we remain far from being able to serve all

youth who are in need of mental health services adequately. We must continue to address

the shortage of services through common-sense, proven approaches such as telemedicine.

In my opinion, the most compelling testimony came next. Mr. Hunter Genia, Behavioral Health Administrator, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Mt Pleasant, Michigan provided what I considered to be the best recommendations for the committee and for tribal governments. His prepared statement did not include all of his actual testimony so Oke transcribed it for me. I must post most of it because it is worth the read. Mr. Genia works at the tribal level of government. Mr. Genia’s testimony begins at 64:24 into the webcast. The two previous speakers definitely had a non Indian perspective. I felt that Hunter really pin pointed what is causing the trouble in Indian Country.

[emphasis mine]



I also work for a coalition of tribes in Michigan that are recipients of a SAMHSA grant called “Access to Recovery.”  I believe that was originally started under the Bush Administration and hopefully is continued under the Obama Administration, I’ll talk about that briefly as well. I also recognize where I come from, the Ottawa and Ojibwa Nation, that I descend from Pontiac, who in the 1700’s was the Great Lakes tribal leader who tried to thwart the expansion of western civilization because his fear was that we would adopt too many of the non-Native ways. We would lose ourselves and become lost.

I think what we are seeing in Indian Country is a deep psychological wound that has not healed for many, many generations and hundreds and hundreds of years. We have seen this in the Indian boarding schools that often go untalked about here in America, and in history books. We have not recovered here in Indian Country in full as a result.  

People believe the Indian Boarding Schools were only from the 1870’s to the 1930’s. In Michigan we had one boarding school that remained open until the 1980’s. My own brother and my own sister attended these schools. You want to talk about trauma, it has only been disclosed in recent years that sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, has occurred in these boarding schools, often led by a lot of the church institutions and missionaries.

But as Administrator I’ve been asked to try and address some of the lack of resources that we have regarding mental health services.  So for the last four years I have been the Saginaw- Chippewa Behavioral Health Services Administrator, prior to that for six years our clinical mental health director. Prior to that for ten years I worked in the American Indian urban population where there is virtually zero dollars for Indian health care for a majority of Indian population that live in non-reservation communities.

The Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe is providing nearly 70% of our funding just to operate our own programs, so the amount of dollars coming from Indian Health Services, and other grant funding, is much less than that, so I just want to point that out. Right now our tribe is putting over 1.5 million dollars into our mental health programs.  We offer outpatient mental health, substance abuse, residential program, but we are very unique as a tribe. I want to point out that a majority of gaming tribes are not profitable. A majority of gaming tribes are in the red and cannot do what we are doing and providing, so in Michigan our tribe is very unique. One of the things I want to point out about the “Access To Recovery” grant is that it recognizes our cultural and spiritual beliefs, our teachings and our ceremonies; they are actually utilized in our efforts in recovery. Whether we’re working with adolescent children, adults, or our elders, the majority of our people are asking that traditional and cultural practices be a part of their treatment process. And that is one of the beautiful things about the Access to Recovery program under SAMSA; it actually acknowledges and respects who we are as an Indigenous people here in this country.

And I just want to point out and remind people that it wasn’t until 1978 that the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act was even passed, which took a special act by Congress. So until then many generations of our people had to live in hiding and privatize, really, who we are as an Indigenous people. And I just want to point that out because I think a lot of theses programs are great, but they are not really talking about where these wounds are originating.  Many times what we have is a band-aid approach to addressing American Indian health needs, especially the mental health needs.

During the 2008, 2009 fiscal years, at any given time we had an average number of 60 tribal members waiting to access behavioral health services. During this time they would wait up to an average of three months before they could even see a counselor or clinician, and I just point that out because if we had more funding we could add more staff to our programs and our resources and be able to address some of those needs.

The Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe also made a decision to build our own residential treatment facility. Before we even laid the first brick down to build this facility we had phone calls from all of the Michigan tribes asking if our facility would be open to their tribes, and unfortunately they’re not, and some of that has to do with the Indian Health Services policies regarding funding and some of the access to care. But one of the reasons we built the residential treatment facility on our own reservation is because other than our tribal residential program, our community members had to travel at least 6 to 8 hours or out of state to even access culturally sensitive approach to trauma in facilities and treatment programs. Otherwise they would go to non-native programs that often times were not sensitized to our values, our traditions, and our culture. Therefore a lot of the non-native institutions and approaches were utilized to treat our people and a lot of our people were discriminated against or bias in those treatment settings if they were non-native.

So I think since we opened up our own residential program over 250 of our own tribal members have gone through our residential program, and if that residential program was not there, probably the majority of them would have never even gone into treatment, at all. So, one of the things I want to point out is our tribe is footing the bill for most of our Indian health care, not the United States, or the Federal government, or the Indian Health Services for that matter.  We are very fortunate that all the tribes in Michigan are part of the Access to Recovery grant, under SAMSA, but it still is not adequate funding to provide resources at the level we need in our tribal communities to provide services.

I am 40 yrs old; I got my Masters in Social Work from Grand Valley State University. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, and I don’t smoke. But I’m very much, in a non-conceited way, unique in that regard. I was talking to a young man here earlier before the meeting started that is from Pine Ridge, I think the difference is that someone along the way said I can be somebody, and I had an opportunity. We can call it mental health illness, but the fact is the majority of the Native American youth in this country doesn’t see the opportunity; they’re not given a chance to see what dreams they can aspire to.

If you look across the nation here, how many of our people do you see who are in politics? How many do you see in sports? How many do you see in entertainment?  Virtually none, and until we are able to place our own people in places of leadership that our young people can turn on the radio and TV and see all they see its what’s in their own community, and they don’t understand that coming to Washington D.C. is a possibility for them.  To be a Governor, to be a Senator, to be a Congressman. It’s very far and few in between.

I think what we’re trying to do and address in our community. I’ll give you two examples, last October we had G.O.N.A., Gathering of Native Americans, it was a four-day training actually facilitated by our own people actually initiated under SAMSA.  And it brought all of our community together in a good way, in a good place to talk about what we needed to heal, as a community.  

Because that is one thing we all have as universal truths in Indian country. There is a lot of walking wounded people in our community that have not healed from post traumatic historical trauma. Until we address some of those things and give it a name and acknowledge those then I’m not sure that all the programs in the world are going to help. We need to focus on healing and wellness in our tribal community and look at those kinds of things that are generated from multi-generational traumas.

The other thing that happened in our community, with the assistance of White Bison, that we had a journey for forgiveness hosted in our community. That for the first time in a Mt. Pleasant community addressed the impact Indian Boarding schools had on our people. As you know, Indian Boarding schools were very good at taking away our language, our cultures, and our traditions. Basically their goal was to Americanize us. So I think a lot of what’s happening is a big “who am I”?, “Where do I belong?”,  “How do I fit in?”, ” Are we invited to the table?”, ” Are we important?”,  I think a lot of our young people don’t feel that.

So a lot of things we’re trying to do in our community is to let them know that they are important and to help setup programs like that.

But I will say that a majority, 60 to 70 percent of our behavior health funding is because our tribe made it a priority, the Saginaw-Chippewa tribe. If we were to rely on the Indian Health Services funding or the Federal government we would not have a majority of the programs available to our own community.   So we need more funding, we need more resources. We need more American Indian, Native American leaders, to step up and be a part of our tribal communities and lead these efforts and be seen and be visible in this country, in our communities.

I’ve had a couple of email exchanges with Hunter and he has more to say:

My understanding why this hearing was scheduled was due to a lot of factors.  It appears on the surface that under the Obama administration Native American issues in general have become more discussable along with some movement towards increasing dollars for Indian Health care in general.  Suicide in our Native American population has been coming to light more in the just the last few recent years; I think what bothers me is that it has been an ongoing issue though in Indian Country for some time. As we know it seems like we have to have a shooting or massacre to occur before attention is drawn to some of the health issues and disparities in Indian Country, otherwise no one really cares it seems.  It is sad though that so many of our people have died at such a young age that we are an elder at 40 and if we made it to age 50, we’ve managed to do some thing right.  We should expand the definition of suicide in my opinion to include the slow drowning of ourselves via alcohol, pain meds, and drugs, these modalities of feeling better are not the answer.  

When I testified at the Senate Committee about the walking wounded, lets be real its 2010 and we are just now getting at the table to address health disparities and issues after how many centuries.  Our region of Indian Health Services is the lowest funded health care region in the United States but overall it’s terrible and unthinkable but we are allowing it to happen in our original homeland.  I give Obama credit for putting up the dollars to try and address this however it is going to take more than that.  We can’t throw money at the problem and expect a cure or miracles we need to combine people, programs, and healing in combination and working with one another.  It needs to be a multi faceted approach to start to put a small dent into the problem.  The people that need to help are in the communities but they need to be empowered and the red tape or bureaucracy surrounding who qualifies to be a helper needs to be decided at the local level.  Having said that, the local tribal communities need to avoid the crab in the bucket issues and focus on the healing and future generations in order to avoid or manage through.  

What has happened in our community is that some of our people have become easy targets by tribal and non-tribal citizens due to gaming revenues that tribal members receive.  We’ve had tribal community members become victimized by people who are like professionals at it from outside the local community.  We have to be very careful because our population is at an increased risk for vulnerability and we haven’t been at the table long on how to deal and address some of these problems, mostly education and prevention are going to be the key and being creative, empowering, and community based focus probably are the best solutions and that is what we are trying to do here.  

I love our people very much and we are a proud nation of people who have survived so much abuse in every sense of the word.  We can do this, we can get better and it just saddens me when I know there are people hurting and the courage to ask for help and desire change within ourselves seems to be the biggest hurdle.  We can do better and we will but its not going to happen overnight.  One person at a time, one community at a time, it starts with us.

Hunter Genia

Hunter also pointed out in the open discussion that:

-half of the native population is under age 18.

-U.S. Education standards need to be addressed, many graduates don’t know what they should know about Indians. We will remain an invisible people as a result.  

-Indian culture and tradition needs to be tied into Indian Country’s health care.

The final speaker was Novalene Goklish, Senior Research Coordinator, Celebrating Life Youth Suicide Prevention Program, White Mountain Apache Tribe/Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, Celebrating Life/ Johns Hopkins Project, Whiteriver, Arizona:



Native American communities have tremendous resiliency. We have survived untold adversity by blending our traditional wisdom with new technologies. Culturally appropriate research is a great example. We must harness the power of traditional understanding and rigorous scientific research to stop youth suicide. Tribal university partnerships that are built on trust and longterm commitment-such as the White Mountain Apache Tribe and Johns Hopkins–are the most powerful means for achieving renewed health. Federal funds are well spent in the arena of suicide prevention to reduce the high toll of medical costs and human suffering and to ensure our most precious asset-our youth-live to full maturity and potential. In our belief system, every human life serves a purpose to maintain the health and well-being of Mother Earth. We must find the means to re-learn as a human race that life is sacred; that life is precious; that life is meant to be lived out serving our greater common purpose.

I was unable to find out how long this hearing had been scheduled. Many believe it was a result of the Facebook Call the Whitehouse campaign. I do agree with Hunter Genia that many things that are happening now for Indian Country are because Obama is in office. I think it’s really too bad that Senators Dorgan and Franken missed Hunter Genia’s testimony. I hope that publishing his words here will help more people to see how this issue needs to be addressed.

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 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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