World War II & American Indians: The Home Front

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World War II brought many changes to Indian reservations and to American Indians on the home front. These changes began during the war, and then continued following the war.

It should be noted that an American Indian reservation was attacked during the war. In 1945, a Japanese bomb carried by balloon landed on the Hupa reservation in Northern California.

In New York, the Six Nations Iroquois – Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Cayuga – declared war on the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) in 1942.

During the war American Indians showed their support for the war effort in many different ways. For example, many Indians, like other Americans, grew Victory Gardens to show their support for the war. In 1942, Indians planted a total of 36,200 gardens: this is roughly one victory garden for every two Indian families.

The Fort Peck Tribal Executive Board (Sioux and Assiniboine tribes) in Montana passed a resolution supporting U.S. involvement in the war and pledged men, women, and materials to the war effort. The Board asked to use $10,000 of their tribal money to purchase defense bonds.

In Arizona, the Cibeque Apache held a war dance for seven young men who were about to join U.S. combat forces. Each of the men was blessed with bat power which enabled them to dodge bullets with the same ease that bats avoid objects in the dark.

Concentration Camps:

In 1942, the federal government established concentration camps for Japanese Americans on two Indian reservations in Arizona: the Gila Indian Reservation and the Colorado River Indian Reservation (Mohave and Chemehuevi). The tribes were not consulted.

With regard to the Colorado River Indian Reservation, the government promised that the land would be returned to the tribes substantially improved for future agricultural use. The tribes opposed the concentration camp, but understood that if they refused the government’s demands they would lose the land. The tribe did not respond to the government. On the other hand, non-Indian business people in nearby Parker saw the concentration camp as a good thing. According to the local business association:

“The project’s going to be good for the country. It will develop a lot of land, bring in irrigation, so white farmers can use it. White men can’t work out on the reservation now.”  

In 1943, the U.S. Army removed the Unangan people from the Aleutian Islands and placed them in makeshift camps on the Alaska mainland where they suffered from hunger, cold, and disease. Many of the elders died. Their abandoned villages were vandalized by the American military.

Land Loss:

Among the many sacrifices which Indian Nations made during World War II was to give up reservation land for the war effort. Some 876,000 acres of Indian land was used for the war effort.

In 1942, the army expanded Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. No thought was given to the forced relocation of the Cherokee who were living on the land taken by the army. The Cherokee had already planted their gardens and would not have food for the winter if they were removed. None of the Cherokee who were to be relocated had transportation and the army told them that it did not have any available trucks to help them. The Indians had to rely on friends and relatives to help them move.

In South Dakota, the U.S. Army Air Corps “borrowed” part of the Oglala Sioux’s Pine Ridge Reservation for a gunnery range with the understanding that it would be returned after World War II. The army notified 128 tribal members that they had to evacuate their homes within thirty days. Some Indians reported that they were told they would be shot if they did not cooperate.

In another incident, more than 250 Oglala Sioux families were given 10 days’ notice to leave their homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation so that the land could become a bombing range.

In Idaho, the federal government under the War Powers Act condemned 2,100 acres of the Shoshone and Bannock Fort Hall Reservation to be used as an airport. While the land was worth $100 per acre, the government paid the tribes only $10 per acre.

In 1942, the Wanapum fishing villages near the White Bluffs on the Columbia River were closed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a part of a top secret war project called the Gable Project (later called Hanford Engineering Works). The Hanford Nuclear Reservation closed access to an area sacred to the Yakama. Treaty rights were less important than national security.

Bureau of Indian Affairs:

A shortage of doctors and nurses on reservations developed in 1942 as medical personnel joined the armed forces. Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier warned of the potential for a complete breakdown of medical services on the reservations.

The need for office space in Washington, D.C. to support the war effort resulted in moving the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to Chicago. The move reduced BIA influence with Congress and other federal agencies. The BIA budget was slashed and New Deal programs for Indians were dropped.

Employment:

On the home front, many Indian men and women left the reservation to work in defense-related industries. A wave of Indian migration from the rural reservations to urban areas was sparked by employment opportunities in the defense industries. Many worked temporary or seasonal jobs, retaining their home base on the reservation. However, many Indians found that they received less money for the same work when compared with non-Indians. Indians working at Fort Wingate, New Mexico, for example, did not receive the same pay as non-Indian workers. The Navajo tribal council asked:

“We do not understand how a Navajo can be a member of a union paying dues to secure the same benefits and be forced to accept a lower pay rate.”

The war brought many Indians into participation of the larger consumer-oriented economy. The war-time employment brought many Indians steady incomes.

Vision:

In 1945, four Cheyenne men-David Deafy, Albert Tall Bull, Bert Two Moon, Mike Little Wolf-vowed to go to Bear Butte in South Dakota to fast. On the fourth day, Deafy had two visions. In the first vision he saw a horse and rider on the top of the Sacred Mountain facing east. Suddenly, the rider charged and his horse galloped down the mountain at full speed. In the second vision, the horse and rider appeared again and as they charged down the mountain, Deafy saw a young boy seated behind the rider.

When the fasters returned to the camp at the base of the mountain, they broke their fast in the traditional way: a swallow of water every 15 minutes and then a little food every 15 minutes. Following this, Deafy described his vision to Whistling Elk. Whistling Elk interpreted the vision to mean that the United States would first defeat Germany and then Japan.

NN 10-American Indian Caucus

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Life experiences, the knowledge and wisdom obtained from them, and how it pertains to American Indian issues and Progressives were addressed at the American Indian Caucus at Netroots Nation’10. In relation to Progressives Meteor Blades sent a strong message.

“We devour our own, so readily. The right wing doesn’t do that, and why that is the case has something to do that we allow each other to disagreee with each other. We thrive on disagreement. Progress is made on disagreement, but somehow we take it beyond that.

“And I today see some of that happening despite that here we are, fifth year now for YearlyKos/Netroots Nation, at a time, at a flex time let’s say, for the future.  The split within the progressive movement over President Obama is something I think we’ve all seen elements of throughout the blogoshpere and throughout our face to face actions….

Continued below the fold

………I’m not going to take a position on any of that right now, but that’s what’s going on; and that’s a message that I hope everybody ponders carefully.  If we split, if we divide now, if we devour our own now, we could have the greatest impact for future change. We can only blame ourselves for it.” -Meteor Blades

The most effective way to share this with you is the video and transcript below the fold.   Navajo and Meteor Blades gift us with a strong message.

American Indian Caucus on Vimeo.

Navajo and Meteor Blades both talked about the Native American Rights Fund.

Navajo–“One of my next little tasks is to add the Native American Rights Fund to our link list. NARF’s practice is concentrated in five key areas: The preservation of tribal existince, the protection of tribal natural resources, the promotion of Native American human rights,  the accountability of our government to Native Americans, and the development of Indian law and educating the public about Indian rights law and issues, so that’s an important one. NARF’s practice is concentrated in five key areas: The preservation of tribal existince, the protection of tribal natural resources, the promotion of Native American human rights,  the accountability of our government to Native Americans, and the development of Indian law and educating the public about Indian rights law and issues, so that’s an important one.”

Meteor Blades—“I’ve been associated with the Native American Rights Fund in a sort of ad hoc years for forty years. This is their fortieth anniversary, and I wrote the first interview with people at the Native American Rights Fund about three months after they got going. Since then, over those forty years they’ve had personal tragedies.  Five of their members were killed in a horrible car accident almost twenty years ago. They have won some mini cases, most of them small that you would never hear of and they have lost many more cases that they have fought. They continue to battle for Indian rights through the law which can be extremely difficult, if there’s anything more complicated than water law in the United States, it’s Indian law. There’s contradiction, there’s state vs. federal,  there is contradictory decisions made by federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, it’s a morass. So, if you have extra money at some time and you’d like to contribute to an organization that I think is one of the premier ones in terms of native issues, the Native American Rights Fund They’re in Boulder, Colorado and I’m sure they’d be pleased to recieve anything that you’d like to give them”.

Emphasis and links are mine, and to note, NARF is an accredited Better Business Bureau Charity.

Navajo:

We are making a difference.

A wonderful recent development is that Sherry Cornelius, who personally delivered propane for us through her mother’s company, St. Francis Energy, on the Rosebud rez during the S. Dakota ice storm is flying to Las Vegas tomorrow. And I quote, “my purpose for this trip is so that I may be able to meet in person some of the DailyKos people and personally to be able to shake your hands and say “thank you.” So, I’m really looking forward to that, I thought that was quite amazing. Sherry now has a user id at Dkos and NAN and participates in comments now and then. We’ve made her one of us.



Sherry did make it to Las Vegas, she is the fourth one in on the left. I’ll let Navajo comment or write more on that, but many thanks were offered through her from the people of Rosebud.

Given the large number of people involved in NAN who could not afford to be at NN we decided to try to take the caucus to them. This was the first year it was livestreamed. We thirty-five total viewers, two of those were from Europe. Thanks to those who submitted comments and questions before and during the caucus.  

Obama Signs Act to Empower Native Americans to Fight Rape

One in three Native American women will be raped at least once in her lifetime. And that’s why President Obama’s signing of the Tribal Law and Order Act today is so vital. Tribes will now have the right – and the resources – to investigate and prosecute rapes perpetrated by non-Natives on tribal lands.

For 500 years, rape has been used as a tool of conquest and an act of war against Native women. It carries with it all of the perverted power of violence that every rape survivor endures, with the added yokes of colonialism and cultural annihilation.

Sadly, not much has changed.

One in three. At least once.

Think for a moment about the implications. We know that rape survivors are often reluctant to report the attack, for fear of not being believed; of being told that they “asked for it”; of being humiliated and shamed; of reprisals.

But in Indian Country, rape survivors bear additional burdens. They must report their crimes to federal law enforcement authorities, whom long and hard experience has told them to distrust. Cultural sensitivity is often nonexistent. Often, the law enforcement officers, investigators, prosecutors and health examiners are white men, and for many Native women cultural traditions may militate against talking to them about such intimate matters. So when you read that one in three Native women will be raped at least once in her lifetime, you can be assured that those numbers are underreported at even greater rates than in the general population.

Here’s a little context:

• Native Americans are more than twice as likely, compared to all other ethnic groups, to experience some form of sexual assault.

• 90 percent of Native women who report being raped also report being physically battered in other ways during the rape, compared to 74 percent of rape survivors in the population as a whole.

• 50 percent of Native women report experiencing other physical injuries in addition to the rape itself, compared to 30 percent in the population as a whole.

• 34 percent of Native women report that a weapon was used during the commission of the rape-a number more than three times that of the general population.

• While most rapes occur within racial groups, this is not true for Native women. More than 86 percent of the offenders are non-Indians, and more than 70 percent are white.

This last statistic matters a great deal.

Because until today, Native women raped by a non-Indian assailant had virtually no recourse. With rare exceptions, only federal law enforcement authorities have had jurisdiction to arrest and prosecute non-Native offenders on tribal lands. And historically, federal authorities have cared little about such cases: Federal authorities routinely decline to prosecute more than 50 percent of all violent crimes committed in Indian Country; the rate of declination is much higher for sexual assault cases.

Today that will change. The Tribal Law and Order Act will substantially expand tribal jurisdiction over non-Native offenders for crimes of sexual violence, and providing desperately needed resources to tribes to help them prosecute such cases. Introduced in 2009 in the House by Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD) and in the Senate by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), the legislation is a watershed in tribal law. Provisions include:

• Deputizes tribal police to arrest and prosecute non-Natives who commit crimes on tribal land

• Provides tribal police with access to National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and other federal databases containing criminal records and other information

• Requires the Department of Justice to maintain records on all declinations and to share that information, as well as any evidence, with tribal authorities

• Requires federal officials to turn over to tribal authorities any documents and testimony that may aid tribal court prosecutions

• Raises the maximum sentence that tribal courts can impose on an offender from one to three years

• Provides tribal police with targeted training in evidence collection and interviewing of sexual and domestic violence survivors

• Requires the Indian Health Service (IHS) to implement consistent protocols at all facilities for treating sexual assault survivors

• Reauthorizes and enhances programs to support tribal police, courts, and corrections programs

• Provides programs for at-risk young people on reservations.

Is it perfect? Of course not. But it’s an enormously important first step.

Today, we who have worked in our Native communities with survivors of sexual violence have reason to celebrate. Come and dance with us.

NOTE:  This post first appeared at Ms.blog, the blog of Ms. Magazine, here.

A Question Regarding Hispanics and Indigenous Peoples

I am wondering about a phenomenon in identity and ethnicity. Recently I attended a poetry reading at a Hispanic Cultural Center. Each of the poets included a poem about an indigenous person either from Mexico or the Southwest USA and each of these poems was affectionate.

When I asked one of the poets why, with the overwhelming numbers of Meztizo people in the community, no cultural center has been named The National Meztizo Cultural Center, for example. Why does the term “Hispanic” always dominate?

The answer I received did not satisfy me: Because that is what the Census Bureau calls us.

Possibly there are those in this online community who can tell the story or share their concerns about this, what appears to me to be a disrespect for the Native aspect of Hispanic heritage.

I don’t mean to incite discord or display my own ignorance, but to learn from those who know more about this than I do.

Many thanks,

Wild Onion

World War II & American Indians: Serving in the Military

A high percentage of American Indian men served in the military during World War II. During the war, nearly 25,000 American Indians served in the military and received the following awards: Air Medal (71), Silver Star (51), Bronze Star (47), Distinguished Flying Cross (34), and Congressional Medal of Honor (2). More than 480 Indians were killed during the war. While the armed services were segregated by race, Indians were generally integrated into Caucasian units.

A number of Indians achieved high military rank during the war. Brigadier General Clarence Tinker, an Osage from Oklahoma, headed the Hawaiian Air Force. Joseph (“Jocko”) Clark, a Cherokee from Oklahoma, was the only Indian naval admiral.

Navajo Code Talkers

Culture Shock:

Indians often faced culture shock at boot camp. Navajo elders, for example, never raise their voice to obtain obedience and Navajo culture teaches that it is disrespectful to look someone in the eye. At boot camp the Navajo recruits were exposed to drill instructors who shouted at them and forced them to maintain eye contact.

Indians who had been to boarding schools already understood the basics of marching. Navajo code talker John Benally explains:

“We had been exposed to discipline, in some respects, during the old boarding school days within the Bureau of Indian Affairs. We were marched to school, the dining hall and church in formation. We knew how to drill, not in true military fashion, but we knew how to drill.”

The Code Talkers:

Native American “code talkers” who spoke their native languages were used to help facilitate rapid communication without enemy comprehension. The most famous of these are the Navajo Code Talkers. Initially, only 30 Navajo are recruited by the Marines to serve as “specialists” in an experimental unit. The unit developed a new military code which included 413 military phrases which was broadcast in their own language. For example, the Navajo word for “chicken hawk” is used to designate a dive bomber. The code baffled the Japanese. As the war continued, 421 Navajo were trained as code talkers.

It is ironic that many of the men who became Navajo code talkers had been punished, sometimes brutally, for speaking Navajo in government-run classrooms. The government which had punished them for their language prior to the war was now asking them to use their language to help them win the war.

The U.S. Army in both the Pacific and in Europe used Sioux Code Talkers who used Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota Sioux languages as code. As with the Navajo, the Sioux Code Talkers program was classified and the contribution of these soldiers was not officially recognized until long after the war.

Other military units used other tribal members as “code talkers.” This included Oneida, Chippewa, Choctaw, Sac and Fox, and Comanche. The Comanche were recruited by the Army for use in Europe because their language had no written form and could not be easily decoded by the Germans. The Choctaw code-talkers used the phrase posah-tai-vo, which means “crazy white man” as the code term for Adolph Hitler.  

Comanche Code

Action:

In 1942, U.S. Marine Navajo code talkers helped in the conquest of the island of Guadalcanal and patrols found that the code talkers made the difference between life and death.

In 1944, as the German army retreated, Oneida Indians from Wisconsin were the first Americans to enter Germany.

In 1945 the U.S. Marines captured the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima and raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi. One of the marines who raised the flag was Ira Hayes, a Pima from Arizona. As an Indian marine shown in a famous photograph, Ira Hayes received a great deal of attention. For many he symbolized the hoped-for assimilation of Indians into the mainstream of American life.

Following the war, American Indian federal policies focused on assimilation, even though many of the returning vets found that they were denied the right to vote.

World War II & American Indians: The Draft

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In World War I, American Indians had to register for the draft even though they were not eligible to be drafted since they were not citizens. By the beginnings of World War II, however, American Indians had had citizenship conferred on them twice by Congress: once in 1924 and again in 1940. The Nationality Act, passed by Congress in 1940, not only conferred citizenship on American Indians (even though they had be granted citizenship in 1924), but required that Indian men register for the draft. Passage of the Act was opposed by the Indian Defense League of America. Tuscarora leader Clinton Rickard urged those who wished to volunteer for the armed services do so as alien non-residents.

There were a number of concerns, controversies, and conflicts regarding the draft and American Indians.  

At the Tohono O’Odham village of Toapit in Arizona, 30 men under the leadership of Pia Machita refused to register for the draft in 1904. Marshalls and Indian police attempted to arrest the leader, but they were roughed up and forced to release the 84 year old Machita. The Tohono O’Odham escaped into the desert.

In North  Carolina, the Eastern Cherokee tribal council drafted a resolution which argued that the fact that the Eastern Cherokee were denied the right to vote in North Carolina also denied them fair treatment and equal rights by county draft boards. The council asserted that

“any organization or group that would deprive a people of as sacred a right as the right of suffrage would not hesitate to deprive them of other constitutional rights including the three inalienable rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, if the opportunity to do so presents itself.”

The draft board in Gallup, New Mexico decided that non-English speaking Navajo were not eligible to be drafted. Tribal leaders objected to the ruling because many Navajo wanted to serve.  

In Arizona, six Hopi men were arrested for not registering for the draft. The Hopi claimed that registration was against their religious traditions, but a federal judge ruled that these traditions did not have any bearing on draft registration. The Hopi men were sentenced to a year and a day in a prison camp.

In 1941, Warren Green, an Onondaga, was drafted by the Army. His mother petitioned the court for a writ of habeas corpus ordering her son to be discharged because he was not a citizen. While the Iroquois (of which the Onondaga was a member) felt that the Citizenship Act should not apply to them, the courts disagreed.

In Florida, several Seminole men refused to register for the draft claiming that they were not Americans but were citizens of the Seminole Nation.

The Richmond, Virginia draft board ordered three Rappahannock tribal members to report to a black induction station. The Indians refused to go claiming that they were Indians and should be inducted into non-segregated units. The tribe is not recognized by the federal government and so the Bureau of Indian affairs did not support them. The federal court found the three guilty of violating the Selective Service Act and sentenced them to six months in prison.

Six North Carolina Cherokee refused to report for military induction as Negroes. The U.S. District court supported the Indians, overturning the local draft board’s decision and allowing them to join the army as Indians in integrated units.

In spite of the difficulties with the draft, American Indian men were drafted to serve, and many American Indians volunteered for the military. During the WWII, 24,521 American Indians served in the military.

Federal Gov’t DoD Procurement Insourcing Directive & Native American Owned Businesses

I am a college student and I recently found out that my dad’s company will be going out of business due to the DoD procurement insourcing directive. I was wondering if anyone out there knows how to estimate how many Native American owned and small businesses will go out of business as a result of the new Obama Department of Defense insourcing directive?

Long Hair

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One of the issues that many Native American men and boys have faced concerns long hair. For them long hair is not a stylistic concern, but is a religious issue. For many Native Americans having long hair is a symbol of tribal religious traditions which teach that hair is only to be cut when one is in mourning for the death of a close relative. The American government, public schools, and prisons have all forced Indian men to cut their hair in spite of the teachings of their tribal religions.

The most recent long hair case involves a five-year- old Lipan Apache boy in Texas. In 2008, Adriel Arocha was denied admission to school because the school policy did not allow long hair for boys. After a two-year court battle, an appeals court finally ruled that the school’s policy regarding hair length was a violation of his religious freedom rights. According to the court:

Long hair is part of Arocha’s religious beliefs. He wears his hair long, as he did as a young child before he was forced to cut it for school-an experience he describes as “unsettling.” His grandfather wore his hair short, but his uncle wore his hair long and in one or two braids. As an adult and over time Arocha came to find religious meaning in wearing his hair long as he gained greater understanding of his grandfather and uncle’s teachings.

Source: http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/op…

The Texas case is only the latest in a long history in the struggle for the right for Indian men to wear their hair long.  

Federal Government Policies and Actions:

During the Dark Age of American Indian religious freedom (1870-1934), the American government insisted that all Indians convert to Christianity and a part of this conversion process required that Indian men cut their hair. Government agents and missionaries found long hair offensive and un-Christian.

In 1871 the Indian agent for the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho, who ruled the reservation on behalf of the Presbyterians, condemned long hair as a barrier to civilization, Americanization, and Christianization. At this same time, the Indian agent for the Methodist-controlled Yakama reservation in Washington required all Indian men to have their hair cut.

At the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, the Bureau of Indian Affairs ordered John Shangreau, a Lakota who acted as an interpreter for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, to cut his hair because he would be representing “advanced Indians.”

Indian agents, in their attempt to “civilize” and Christianize Indians, focused a great deal of attention on the problem of long hair on Indian men. In 1896 the Indian Office (Bureau of Indian Affairs) issued orders for all Indian men to cut their hair. One Army lieutenant wrote:

“All energies were bent to compel the adult males to cut their hair.”

In 1902 the Bureau of Indian Affairs told all reservation agents:

“You are therefore directed to induce your male Indians to cut their hair.”

According to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs:

“The wearing of short hair by the males will be a great step in advance, and will certainly hasten their progress toward civilization.”

Under the directive from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian men with long hair were to be denied rations. If they still refused to cut their hair, “short confinement in the guardhouse at hard labor with shorn locks, should furnish a cure.”

For many centuries the Hopi in Northern Arizona had grown corn. The corn depended on rain. Hopi men wore-and many still continue to wear-their hair long as a symbol of the falling rain for which they prayed. In spite of this, in 1904 the Indian agent forced a number of Hopi men to have their hair cut. Among the Hopi, for a man to have his hair cut during the growing season was tantamount to asking that the corn stop growing.

Indian Schools:

One important part of the government’s program to strip Indian people of their traditional cultures involved boarding schools where young children could be removed from their people and raised by strangers in an institutional setting. The premier boarding school in the American system was Carlisle, which was opened in 1879. The school, situated in an abandoned army post in Pennsylvania, required the students to take Anglo-Saxon Christian names, cut their hair, and replace their clothes with European-style dress (their old clothes were usually burned).  

A century later, the Bureau of Indian Affairs had completely changed. In 1974 the Bureau issued a statement regarding student rights and due process procedures for all BIA schools. Student rights include freedom of religion and culture, and freedom of speech which includes the right to wear long hair.

Public Schools:

Public schools have a well-deserved reputation for being insensitive to American Indian cultures. For American Indian students school policies have prohibited long hair for the boys. While the Texas case found in favor of the Native traditions, this has not always been the case.

New Rider versus Board of Education was a 1973 case in which three Pawnee students were placed on suspension for having long hair in braids. The Oklahoma school’s regulation which prohibited male students from wearing braids was challenged by the parents who felt that the school was violating their children’s freedom of religion. The court’s denied the parents’ claim.  

Hatch versus Goerke involved a 1974 challenge to a school’s regulation on the length of hair. The parents argued that the school’s regulations violated their traditional religious values, but the court disagreed.

Traditional Apaches believe that the only time one should cut one’s hair is when a relative dies. In 1993, the Wickiup, Arizona schools refused to allow a traditional Apache boy to attend classes be¬cause he has a long braid. Among the Akimel O’odham, people traditionally cut their hair after the death of a loved one. However, the Phoenix, Arizona school system in 1997 did not allow students from the Gila Indian community to attend school unless they cut their hair. Neither of these cases were challenged in court.

Prisons:

During the past 50 years, part of the battle for American Indian religious freedom has involved the prison system. Not only are the prisons a tightly controlled environment, but there is an attitude that conversion to Christianity is good for the prisoners and that Native American religions are not valid.

In 1972 in Minnesota, an Oglala Lakota inmate at a federal prison refused to allow his hair to be cut because of a religious vow and was punished for this refusal. The Court found that the prison’s regulations about hair length were reasonable and questioned the petitioner’s sincerity of belief.

In 1974, the U.S. District Court issued a Consent Decree – a binding agreement between the Nebraska correctional system and the Indian inmates – that provided the precedent for determining how Indian spiritual and cultural needs were to be met within the prison system. Under the Consent Decree, Indian inmates were entitled to wear their hair long and in Indian style as a religious right.

In 1975, Jerry Teterud (Cree), an inmate of the Iowa State Penitentiary, challenged prison regulations that prohibited long braided hair, contending that such a prohibition violated his freedom of religion, as well as his freedom of expression. The Courts found for Teterud and noted that it was sufficient to prove that long hair was rooted in religious practice, rather than being the central tenet of Indian religion.  

A federal court ruled in 1983 that Washington state correctional authorities cannot cut the hair of Indian offenders in the reception units.

In the 1985 Florida case of Shabazz versus Barnauskas, an Indian inmate charged that prison rules regarding hair length violated his religious freedom under the First Amendment and under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. The Court ruled that the state’s need for penal security outweighed religious freedom.

At the 1998 Annual Conference of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences in Albuquerque, a number of Indians leaders called for more consideration for religious freedom for American Indians who were in jail. Indians leaders reported that some states required Indian prisoners to cut their hair which is a form of spiritual castration.

.

In 1999 Arizona, Akimel O’otham prisoner Darrick Gerlaugh was the first American Indian prisoner in Arizona to receive the sweat lodge and a pipe ceremony as last rites before his execution. In addition, he was allowed to wear his hair in braids for the execution.

American Indian Biography: James Welch

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In 1966, Richard Hugo was teaching a poetry class at the University of Montana. One of his students was James Welch who had been born on the Blackfeet Reservation and raised on the Fort Belknap Reservation. Hugo realized that Welch knew nothing of poetry, but he encouraged him to write about what he did know: life on the reservation. As a result, Welch began to write about the reservations and the people on the reservations. These writings resulted in Riding the Earthboy 40.

James Welch was a part of the renaissance of American Indian literature. When he began his writing, Indian authors were unknown. He later noted that D’Arcy McNickle’s The Surrounded was out of print at this time and that the other major Indian authors that are widely studied today were just beginning their careers.  

Welch’s first novel was Winter in the Blood. In this book, the nameless protagonist is the grandson of a woman who survived the Baker Massacre in which the army had attacked a peaceful Blackfoot camp. Reactions to the book are mixed: non-Indians find it depressing, while Indian readers feel that it is very funny and an accurate representation of reservation life in Montana. He continues his descriptions of contemporary reservation life in Montana with his second novel, The Death of Jim Lonely.

In Fools Crow, Welch’s third novel, he sets the story in the nineteenth century. In the Blackfoot world at this time, the animals communicate with the people and people changed their names as their personalities grow.

With his fourth novel, The Indian Lawyer, Welch returns to the present day, but necessarily to the reservation. The hero, Sylvester Yellow Calf, is a contemporary man who simply happens to be an Indian. In this work, Welch breaks into the mystery genre, an area dominated by non-Indian writers even when their main characters are Indian and the mysteries are set on reservations.

During the last part of the nineteenth century, a number of American entrepreneurs, such as Buffalo Bill Cody, organized Indian and Wild West shows which toured in Europe. Some of the Indian performers in these shows got “lost” and did not return home. In The Heartsong of Changing Elk, Changing Elk gets sick in Marseilles and winds up alone in Europe. He has no money, he does not speak any European language, and he has no hope of returning home. The Heartsong of Changing Elk is Welch’s final novel.

Like D’Arcy McNickle, James Welch also wrote non-fiction. Killing Custer is an Indian view of the Indian wars in a historical context.

James Welch died in 2003.  

lost family

 Washte anpo everyone

   I have something that I would ask of all

  out there on turtle Island and maybe I can

  get some answers that have brothered me for   years,

   Several years ago I found out that I was

  adopted off the Standing Rock Reservation

  in North Dakota,I was raisd with a white

  family and it wasn’t untill I was married

  and went to get a copy of my birth record

  that I was told that I was adopted.

   Over the years my wife and I have been

  able to find out that I have 3 brothers an

  a sister but I have no idea where they are

  and I also have found out that my mother was

  Northern Cheyenne and my father was Sioux

  from Standing Rock,I was told that I was

  adopted when I was 8yrs old.

    I do not understand how they can just

  take families apart isn’t there anyway a person

  can find out the truth and get back my

  cuture and what’s left of my family back???

   

Posted in Uncategorized

Lindsay Earls, American heroine

( – promoted by navajo)

  On June 27, 2002, the US Supreme Court rendered a verdict on a case brought by Lindsay Earls, a member of the Cherokee Nation, whom I refer to as a great American heroine. Even though she is an Oklahoma resident, her case received a great deal of coverage in my region (Vermont/New Hampshire border) as she was by then a student at Dartmouth College (whose medical center I am employed at).

I wrote about this several years ago; alas, several links which I cite here no longer work. But here first is her story of courage, followed by what she is doing today.

In 1999, Lindsay Earls was a 16 year-old junior at Tecumseh High School (about 40 miles southeast of Oklahoma City) and was a self-described “goody two-shoes”; being a member of an academic quiz team and a choir singer. One day she was called out of choir practice to submit to a random urine test for drugs; based on a 1998 school board policy that required all students in grades 7 – 12 to submit to a urine test before joining any extracurricular activities.

In order to preserve her right to participate, she complied with the drug testing (and always passed) but filed a lawsuit claiming that the policy violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search/seizure. Her position was denied by the district court, then supported by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and then reached the US Supreme Court in March, 2002.

Lindsay Earls had reason for hope, since the most relevant Supreme Court precedent had to do with a 1995 case called Vernonia School District vs. Acton. This involved a school district that had experienced problems with drugs (performance-enhancing in addition to recreational use, if I recall correctly) on its athletic teams. It instituted a policy that called for random drug-testing of student-athletes only (due to the danger involved in contact sports). Though I regret anytime that we move away from probable cause to guilty-until-proven-innocent: that ruling at least seemed to have been decided judiciously.

By contrast, the Tecumseh policy was not based on a response to drug usage among students involved in extra-curricular activities, and it applied to members of, say, the debate team as well.

Lindsay Earls endured some rather snide remarks from people in her home state who trotted out the old police-state-like “if you have nothing to hide…..” argument, despite her passing the test. Particularly telling was this quote from someone in Congress:

Indiana Rep. Mark Souder (R) said the court’s ruling should drive an expansion of testing nationwide and will not hurt the privacy of students. The testing “is only burdensome on those who want to waste their lives getting high,” he said.

Yes ….. that Mark Souder …. he of marital infidelity fame .. infamy.

                       

She also had to endure this from Justice Anthony Kennedy whom I regarded as a genuine hero himself in “Lawrence vs. Texas”:

Justice Anthony Kennedy drew gasps from the courtroom audience when he appeared to personally attack plaintiff Lindsay Earls. Kennedy posed a hypothetical with one school that had drug testing and one that did not — “the druggie school,” he called it. “Every parent” would want to send his children to the first school”, Kennedy told plaintiff’s attorney Graham Boyd of the ACLU’s Drug Policy Litigation Project, but then added dismissively, “Well, perhaps not your client”.

On that fateful day of June 27, 2002, the US Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeals case and ruled against Lindsay Earls by a 5-4 margin. This ruling sadly seemed to up-the-ante for the guilty-until-proven-innocent standard, as the court seemed to dismiss the fact that the high school in question had no history of drug use among those involved in extra-curricular activities, and now stretched hard to say that anyone who did participate had no right to expect privacy.

One wonders if a future court will take the next logical step and endorse testing for all students (on a loco-parentis basis). Paul Clement – then the deputy solicitor general for the Bush administration – felt school-wide drug testing would be constitutional and has said so in court. Yet as a  commentator for the Daily Texan noted at the time (sadly which is no longer on-line), “But obviously he’ll settle for extracurricular activities now, since it makes for an easier case“.

If there are saving graces to this story (besides the courage of this young woman) it would be:

(a)  Many school districts have not adopted these policies – some doubt their effectiveness, while the majority have decided the cost to be too much. And perhaps in part because …..

(b)  Those authorities realize that a 5-4 majority may fall some day; perhaps a future justice may echo the words of Justice Kennedy when he famously declared that the precedent that he voted to overturn in Lawrence vs. Texas was, “wrongly decided then, and it is still wrong“, and

(c)  Some conservatives felt uncomfortable by the decision, also – consider these words from Debra Saunders – first written in a Town Hall(!) column entitled “Want to join the chess club? Pee In a Cup”:

Liberals and conservatives should be outraged at last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of an Oklahoma school district’s mandatory drug testing policy for students involved in extracurricular activities. That 5-to-4 decision, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, was an assault on parental rights. Since drugs were involved, the justices felt free to indulge in judicial activism — something conservatives such as Thomas are supposed to abhor.

Finally, this story has a happy ending in that Lindsay Earls not only is a 2005 graduate of Dartmouth College, but for a few years held a position of responsibility at the Indigenous Democratic Network (as she no longer works there, this is no longer on-line):

Lindsay Earls, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, hails from Tecumseh, Oklahoma. While at Dartmouth, Lindsay was active in Dartmouth Civil Liberties Union and in DREAM – a Vermont-based mentoring program. Lindsay has been a recipient of the ACLU’s Youth Activism Award and the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union’s Bill of Rights Award.

Currently she is a law student at the University of Tulsa, and this past spring gave an address sponsored by the Oklahoma ACLU on her case.

I was originally tempted to entitle this essay (Native) American heroine …. but upon reflection, I think I have the title just as it should be.

The Third Seminole War

( – promoted by navajo)

During the nineteenth century the United States engaged in three wars with the Seminole Indians in Florida: 1816 to about 1824; 1835 to 1842; and 1855-1858.  

Contrary to some popular opinions, there was no traditional overall governmental or political organization among the Seminole at this time. They tended to be politically organized around busk groups, each of which had its own medicine bundle on which the annual busk (green corn) ceremony was focused. Thus the military actions against the U.S. military did not have a single leader or coordinator.

In this diary, I’m going to look at the Third Seminole War.  

The Third Seminole War (1855-1858) was over American encroachment on Seminole lands. The Seminole who were living in Florida at this time were refugees who had avoided removal to Oklahoma and were living in the Everglades. The war started when Billy Bowlegs retaliated against a crew of surveyors who had looted his camp. Three years later, many of the Seminole accepted the government’s terms of surrender and were removed to Oklahoma. However, some Seminole remained in Florida.

In 1855, army engineers and surveyors were sent into the Great Cypress Swamp to make note of the Seminole villages and their crops. They were under orders not to provoke the Seminole. However, some of the men stole crops and destroyed banana trees belonging to the Seminole under the leadership of Billy Bowlegs. When confronted about these incidents, the army offered neither apology nor compensation. As a result, 40 Seminole warriors began a series of raids known as the Third Seminole War.  Some historians feel that the American intent was to provoke Billy Bowlegs into an armed response which would then justify military intervention. On the morning after the vandalism, Mikasuki Seminole warriors attacked the army camp, killing four soldiers and wounding four others. In response the army marches against the Seminole, outnumbering them by about 14 to 1.

After a series of skirmishes, the final fight in the Third Seminole War came in 1857 when the Seminole camp of Billy Bowlegs was burned by the army. In addition, the soldiers took large quantities of corn and rice, as well as some oxen.

In 1858, the Americans met with Seminole leaders Billy Bowlegs and others to discuss an end to the Third Seminole War. The Americans offered Billy Bowlegs $7,500, $1,000 to each of the other Seminole leaders, $500 to each warrior, and $100 to each woman and child. The money was payable when the Seminole boarded the ship at Egmont Key to leave the state. The Seminole held council and agreed to accept the offer.

It is estimated that the United States spend between $20 million and $60 million on this war against the Seminole. The United States used 30,000 regular army troops and volunteers, as well as the Navy and some Marines.

Aftermath:

About 200 Seminole remained in Florida after Billy Bowlegs and his people had been removed to Indian Territory. The remaining Seminole withdrew from all willing contact with whites and existed for the next twenty years in relative isolation. The Muskogee band under the leadership of Chipco hid in the Lake Okeechobee area and could not be located by the Americans. Mikasuki leader Sam Jones refused to negotiate and his band remained deep in the Everglades. These two hundred were the cultural and biological ancestors of the Seminoles and Miccosukees of today.  

Ancient America: The Aztec

( – promoted by navajo)

When the Spanish began their conquest of Mexico in 1519 they encountered a powerful nation known as the Aztec. The Aztec called themselves Mexica and from this the name Mexico is derived.

According to oral tradition, the Aztec originated in a land known as Aztlan. Some experts feel that Aztlan was actually in Arizona. The Hopi-an ancient Arizona people-are linguistically related to the Aztec. Furthermore, there are some similarities between some of the Hopi stories of origins and those of the Aztec. There are others, however, who feel that Aztlan was in Northern Mexico, perhaps in the present-day state of Sonora.  

According to their oral traditions, the Mexica (Aztec) were to wander the earth looking for the promised land. The promised land would be in a broad valley. In the center of this valley there would be a lake. In the center of this lake there would be an island. In the center of this island they would find an eagle sitting upon a cactus with a snake in its claws. It was here that they were to build the great city which would be the capital of their empire.

The story describes the valley of Mexico and the location of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Today, this story is symbolized on the Mexican flag which shows an eagle on a cactus with a snake in its claws.

When the Aztec arrived in the Valley of Mexico they found it to be densely populated. There were at this time a number of city-states in the valley. Initially, the Aztec did not begin construction of their city, but instead went to work for these city-states as mercenaries (military contractors in today’s terminology). The Aztec soon gained a reputation as fierce and skillful warriors.

The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was founded in 1325, less than two centuries prior to the Spanish conquest. Tenochtitlan was a fully planned city. It was based on a symmetrical layout that was divided into four city sections called campan.  Within each of these four sections were calpolli: groups of related families. Each of the calpolli had its own temple and gods. Leadership of the calpolli was provided by a principal chief who was elected for life.

Each calpolli was subdivided into a hierarchical class system. The elite-also called nobility-formed the top group, and most of the people were commoners. It was possible for commoners to advance to nobility through valor in battle. At the bottom of the class system were the serfs and the slaves. People became slaves because they were unable to pay their debts, which were usually due to gambling losses.

Tenochtitlan was on an island. The Aztec connected it to the mainland with three major causeways. The spiritual and political center of the city was the ritual precinct. Here the Aztec built a great pyramid that rose nearly 200 feet in height. The pyramid and the temples and palaces which surrounded it were built of stone.

The Aztec, like the other American Indian civilizations, did not have draft animals or wheeled vehicles. To facilitate traffic-the flow of people and goods-throughout the city they constructed a web of canals. Canoes provided quick and easy transportation.

To feed the city’s population, the Aztec surrounded their island city with chinampa beds. These floating gardens provided an extremely efficient agricultural system. With this system, the Aztec managed to obtain up to seven harvests each year. A single chinampa hectare would feed 20 individuals per year. It is estimated that the chinampas of Tenochtitlan could feed a population of about 180,000 people.

In the time just prior to the Spanish invasion, the population of Tenochtitlan was estimated at 200,000 and the total population of the area (what we would call the metropolitan area today) was estimated at about 700,000.

The Aztec emperor was selected by a council of nobles, chief priests, and top war officers. However, the emperor was selected from the royal lineage and was usually the brother or son of the previous emperor. This was not a democracy. Once in power, the emperor was an absolute ruler. He was supported in this role by a close link with the god Huitzilopochtli. As a rule he was a representative of this god.

When a new emperor was selected, he was first taken by the chief priests to the Great Temple. Here he meditated, fasted, and prayed. Then the priests would escort him to his palace for a coronation banquet attended by kings from other lands outside the Aztec domains. After his coronation, he was treated as a semi-divine being. When he traveled, a group of nobles would carry him on a litter of feathers. Cloths would be strewn on the ground as he walked so that his feet wouldn’t touch the earth.

Economically, the Aztec are considered to be a pre-capitalistic people. They had a market economy which included the use of several types of currency. For small purchases, cacao beans served as money. These were not native to the Aztec homeland and had to be imported from Mexico’s lowland areas. This increased their value. For larger purchases, the Aztec used standardized lengths of cotton cloth called quachtli. These two forms of money were used primarily when making purchases in the markets.

A typical Aztec town would have a weekly market, but the larger cities held markets every day. According to the Spanish, the central market of Tlatelolco, Tenochtitlan’s sister city, had about 60,000 shoppers per day.

Within a typical market there would usually be several different kinds of vendors. These would include farmers who would be selling some of their produce and potters who were selling their vessels. In addition, there were professional merchants. These merchants would travel from market to market buying and selling different products.

The professional merchants were organized into pochteca, a type of guild. There were 12 of these hereditary guilds, each with their own gods. The pochteca were wealthy and powerful. The pochteca would travel throughout Mesoamerica, seeking goods which they could sell in the various markets throughout the Aztec empire. This was dangerous work for it was not uncommon for them to be attacked and killed for their goods, or to become ill while traveling through unfamiliar country. The pochteca also served as the judges and supervisors of the larger markets.

While the Aztec certainly had a mercantile, commercial economy, it is not considered to be capitalistic. Two items which are important in a capitalistic economy were not for sale: land and labor.

While the Aztec had neither draft animals nor wheeled vehicles, they did interconnect the many cities and towns of the empire with roads. At regular intervals-roughly 10 to 15 kilometers-there were places for the travelers to rest and to eat. There were also latrines at these rest stops. The cost of maintaining these roads was collected through tribute from the communities.

The Aztecs grew to have great political and economic power in Mexico because they were able to conquer many of the other Indian nations in the area. They did not, however, govern these conquered nations directly. Instead, the Aztec political organization was set up to extract tribute from these conquered peoples and to gain wealth for the Aztec ruling class. Each of the conquered nations pledged obedience and tribute to the Aztec empire. The Aztec empire can best be described as a hegemony of city-states. It was a jumble of states under Aztec military control which was supported by Aztec religion.

There were about 38 states in the empire which paid tribute to the Aztec. This tribute included valuable goods (foodstuffs, exotic tropical feathers, gold, jade, turquoise, resin, incense, feathered warrior costumes) and captured warriors to be used in sacrificial rites.

As an example of tribute, the southern province of Techtepec was required to produce 16,000 rubber balls a year for the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. In order to make these balls, the Techtepec would have needed to collect sap from about 50,000 trees.  Each ball took about 15 hours to make.  Thus 16,000 work days would have been needed to produce the balls required for tribute. Once produced, the 16,000 balls, which would have weighed more than 100,000 pounds, had to be carried by human porters to Tenochtitlan which was some 200 miles away.

The Aztec maintained their empire through hard power: through an efficient and well-led army which was constantly waging war. Aztec culture gloried warfare and warriors. All Aztec men participated in war: even the nobility, the priests, and the merchants fought in the battles. Through valor on the battlefield, commoners could raise their social status and obtain great wealth. Death in battle was regarded as a glorious sacrifice to the war god Huitzilopochtli. Aztec warriors were dedicated to die in battle.

The Aztec wars are commonly known as the Flowery Wars. The purpose of the Flowery Wars was to obtain captives who could then be sacrificed to the Aztec gods, primarily Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca.

Aztec religion was centered around a founding warrior hummingbird deity, Huitzilopochtli, and other gods devoted to war.  Huitzilopochtli was the most important of the Aztec gods and the largest temple (pyramid) in the Aztec cities was dedicated to him.

After Huitzilopochtli, the next most important war god was Tezcatlipoca (also called Black Tezcatlipoca). He was called the “smoking mirror” god because he carried with him an obsidian mirror. With this mirror he could see everything that took place in the world. He also carried arrows with him so that he could punish wrongdoers. Tezcatlipoca was able to take on many different guises and to transform himself into other gods.

The Aztec had a god of vegetation and fertility whom they called the Xipe Totec (“Our Lord the Flayed One”). He was worshipped as a god of renewal and thus provided the people with plentiful crops. Priests and warriors honored Xipe Totec by wearing the skin of flayed captives of war.  

Some of the other Aztec gods included Tlaloc, the god of the storms (and thus the bringer of rain), and Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god who was the lord of life. Quetzalcoatl was a lesser deity who was associated with healing, love, and light. Quetzalcoatl’s association with peacefulness and harmony was in stark contrast with the rest of the Aztec pantheon which focuses on war. Thus, Quetzalcoatl had reduced stature in Aztec culture and was even banished to return at some time in the future.

The Aztec also had numerous other gods of the earth, the heavens, and the underworld.

According to Aztec religion and world view, the sacred and special role of the Aztec was to keep the sun in the heavens and thus prevent the final destruction of the world. Every day, the sun would fight off the evils of the night and arise weak in the morning. In order to provide the gods with the sustenance to prevent the total destruction of the world, the Aztec had to “feed” the gods the essence of human life each morning. With the blood and the energy from these sacrificed humans, the gods could continue to maintain the world. Rather than sacrifice their own people, the Aztec preferred to sacrifice war captives.

Huitzilopochtli in particular required the hearts of enemy warriors to keep going and to keep the sun in the sky. Thus, the priests would perform ceremonies each morning on the tops of the pyramids in which they would rip out the hearts from war captives and offer them to Huitzilopochtli.

It should be pointed out that human sacrifice was found throughout Mesoamerica and that the practice pre-dates the Aztec arrival in the Valley of Mexico. The Aztec, however, carried out human sacrifice at an unprecedented level. For example, in 1487 the Aztecs reported that they sacrificed 84,400 prisoners over the course of four days. There are some who feel that this is an exaggerated figure, but it is evident that the Aztec sacrificed lots of people and that the world did not end during their reign.

The weakness of the Aztec empire lay in the fact that it was forged by conquest and held together by tribute. The Aztec were constantly having to put down rebellions within the empire and there were a number of states that remained independent. If the Spanish had not arrived to conquer them, it is quite possible that the Aztec empire would have collapsed anyway.  

NN10: American Indian Caucus

I have terrific news. My dear friends rfall and Oke, who is a contributing editor at NAN, Native American Netroots have come up with a great idea for our American Indian Caucus this year in Las Vegas. rfall took a look at the NAN team who is able to attend NN10 this year.

navajo

Oke

exmearden              

Kitsap River

Meteor Blades        

4Freedom              

TiaRachel

That is only 7 out of 27 of the editorial staff who can attend our caucus this year. We also have many interested readers who cannot attend either. rfall thought it would be great to make the caucus a webinar like event so people who cannot attend in person can participate remotely. rfall will be video taping our caucus and NN10 is going to stream it.

This is a last minute arrangement and we are not on the streaming schedule yet, please check back.

Oke is going to man her IM during the event and we can take questions or comments from remote users. Please send her an email now so she can add you to her IM list.

nativeamericannetroots at gmail dot com

The other reason we are able to stream our caucus is that we have a special presentation that will be given by Meteor Blades. MB is a registered member of the Seminole Tribe and he has an impressive history of Indian Activism that I became aware of from reading his comments over the years. Many people say that MB should publish his biography. Until then we will have a recording of the NDN part of his history taken at our caucus. I’ve asked him to recount his timeline for us during our caucus, afterward we’ll open it up for few questions and comments.

So please tune in and participate in our American Indian Caucus:


Thursday, July 22nd

10:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Miranda 5

 

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

Native American Veterans

( – promoted by navajo)

NATIVE AMERICAN VOTE

Author Unknown

Maybe the Native American vote will be the difference in the upcoming senate elections. If this is possible then below is information that will benefit Native Americans. The SSCRA of 1940 prohibited states from taxing the military wages of Native Americans but this law was ignored by states until 2001.  DD form 2058-2 was not available or even in use until July of 2002. How close is this senate race?  Which candidate is willing to introduce  legislation to correct  this injustice against this states Native American veterans.Do the right thing.You have a veteran in your family. He went places and did things only another veteran could understand and appreciate. How would you feel if your family member was cheated out of money while he or she  served this country and state  or died while in military service?

The state of New Mexico has admitted to this illegal taxation and has begun the process of repaying those cheated veterans in that state. I hope that the money that is repayed is tax free because basically you are just handing me back my money with interest.Most other states also owe money back to the Native American Veterans in that state.

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/direct…

[more below]

This form was not even a form or available until July 2002.  How could the veterans who joined and served and died  from 1940 SSCRA through 2002 be expected to sign a non existant form to exempt ourselves?

How can there be a 3 year statute of limitations placed upon us who served prior to this form July 2002. The president with your insistance should grant exception to this rule and compell the states to repay us all.  Just as New Mexico who has a great number of  Native voters has.

Section 514 of the SSCRA of 1940 prohibited states from taxing the military pay of Native American military .The veterans were to be taxed according to tribal laws and rules.  The DOD and individual states ignored this federal law /act (SSCRA) and should be made to repay these veterans whos money was illegally taken from their military pay. STATE TAXATION OF INCOME OF CERTAIN NATIVE AMERICAN ARMED FORCES MEMBERS

http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/sscra…

According to the following article a bill HR 5275 ( the American Indian Veteran Pay Restoration Act) was introduced by rep Tom Udall when he was a member of the house veterans affairs committee.

Association of the United States Army: Restoring Pay

https://www3.ausa.org/WEBINT/D…

Thousands of Native Americans served with distinction bravery and Honor but were illegally taxed while doing so. Only one state,New Mexico, has admitted to this wrongful and illegal taxation and has begun the process of repayments to the Native American veterans of that state .

ALL OTHER STATES MUST BE REQUIRED TO REPAY THE NATIVE AMERICAN VETERANS  WHOS MILITARY PAY WAS ILLEGALLY TAXED!!

Even though the Native American Pay Restoration Act was not officially passed and made into law when it was first introduced by rep Udall of New Mexico when he was a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, the state of New Mexico set a presidence by admitting to illegally taxing Native American Veterans in that state. They have also begun the process of repaying the Veterans the money that was illegally taxed with interest!.

Myself and the thousands of other  Native American Veterans who were cheated and illegally taxed by our states also deserve to be repayed this stolen money.

I learned of this injustice in 2003 and everyone and every organization or group that I have contacted for help has basically referred me to someone else or gave me a bogus contact or asked me to relace and tighten up my boot straps and do  things for myself. I am just an average american citizen who happens to be a veteran who happens to be Native American.

Almost every state ignored this federal law(SSCRA)where it pertained to Native Americans. We have representatives and advocates and people who hold public offices who are sworn to stand up for and protect the average american citizen.  We just happen to be Veterans and Native Americans.

Below  is an earlier version of the DD form  2058-2  which was in use in 1977 and it refers to and  mentions  the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act!  The SSCRA of 1940 prohibited states from taxing Native American military members however the  DD 2058-2(specifically for Native Americans) was not in use or even an official form until July of 2002. The DD stands for department of defense a branch of the federal government the -2 refers to 2002 the year it was updated or a change was made.

The form was used by the state of Kansas and there is mention of the SSCRA in the form so both the federal government and the state of Kansas are guilty of illegally taxing the Native Americans Veterans in the state of Kansas. The state of Kansas has always taxed  military income according to the office of the secretary Kansas Department of revenue..The original  version of DD 2058  was  used to keep states from competing for and double taxing the average veteran who may have been stationed in several states during his tour. This does not mean states began taxing military income in 1977 it only means the states could not double tax military members beginning in 1977.  Kansas  along with most other states has  always taxed the military income of its veterans.

There was no consideration for the Native American Veteran until  2001 when the DOD  finally complied  with the SSCRA  of 1940  and stopped the illegal taxation of the Native American Veterans.

The DD 2058-2(specifically for Native Americans) was not updated or implemented until July of 2002.

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/direct…

Posted in Uncategorized

American Indian Biography: D’Arcy McNickle

( – promoted by navajo)

For many people in the academic world, one of the major foundations of Native American literature was laid with the publication of The Surrounded in 1936. This novel, written by D’Arcy McNickle, was not the first novel written by an Indian nor was it particularly successful at the time. The book came out in the midst of the depression and found relatively little readership in spite of good reviews. In the 70 years that have passed since the book’s publication, however, it has become one of the most widely read and studied American Indian novels.  

D’Arcy McNickle grew up on the Flathead Reservation in western Montana. The reservation was created with the Treaty of Hellgate in 1855 in which the Flathead, the Pend d’Oreille, and the Kootenai gave up millions of acres of their land. From the viewpoint of the American government, the reservation was intended to confine not only the three tribes who signed the treaty, but other tribes as well, out of the way of the American settlers. The languages of the Flathead and the Pend d’Oreille are related and belong to the Salish language family and thus it is common to refer to these two tribes as the Salish. The Kootenai, on the other hand, speak a totally different language.

D’Arcy McNickle was neither Salish nor Kootenai. His mother was Canadian Cree: her parents, who considered themselves Métis, sought refuge on the Flathead Reservation following the 1885 Riel Rebellion in Saskatchewan.  D’Arcy was born on the reservation in 1904 and was enrolled on the Flathead Reservation in 1905. Most sources refer to his tribal affiliation as Flathead and today the library at the Salish-Kootenai College is named for him.

Like many other Indian children during the first part of the twentieth century, he went to a reservation grade school and then transferred to an Indian boarding school. Chemawa Indian School, like most Indian boarding schools of the day, was run like a military academy. The students wore military uniforms and marched in formations. He would later recall that students at Chemawa were punished for speaking to each other in an Indian language.  

Unlike many other Indian young people during the first part of the twentieth century, D’Arcy McNickle went to college. He attended what is now the University of Montana in Missoula where he majored in literature and history. While at the University, he joined the staff of the University’s literary journal The Frontier in which he published poetry and short stories.

While D’Arcy learned a great deal at the University, he did not do well in his courses and did not graduate. His mentor, Harold G. Marriam, the head of the English Department, encouraged him to expand his horizons and suggested the possibility of earning his bachelor’s degree at Oxford.

The Flathead Reservation underwent allotment in 1910 and reservation land was divided among tribal members. The land which was left over was then declared surplus and opened to non-Indian settlement. As a tribal member, D’Arcy McNickle received an allotment. D’Arcy then sold his allotment so that he could go to England to attend Oxford University in 1925-1926.

In England, D’Arcy found that Oxford would not accept all of his academic credit. He thought that he needed only one more year to obtain his degree, but he found that it would take at least two. Since he did not have enough money to stay in England for two years, he did not enroll at Oxford. Instead, he attended lectures, explored the libraries, and took advantage of many opportunities to study on his own. Then he moved to Paris where he mingled with the expatriates of the “lost generation.” Overall, his European experience was not a happy one and he seldom referred to Oxford in later years.

Upon his return to the United States, he settled in New York and tried to find work as a writer. During one period of several months he moved to Philadelphia where he worked as an automobile salesman. Here he found that automobiles and high-pressure sales were the antithesis of his own personal values. He would later describe high pressure salesmanship as “unintelligent, wasteful, ruthless, animal, intent on driving every vestige of individual preference in matters of taste, modes of living, and cultural pursuits out of existence.” After seven months he returned to New York more determined than ever to make his way in the publishing field. Here he did a variety of free-lance jobs, including writing, proofing, and book make-up.

While in New York, D’Arcy enrolled at Columbia University where he studied American history. However, with the pressures of trying to earn a living he never earned his degree.

While in New York, D’Arcy began work on his first novel. After completing it, he collected a pile of rejection slips from publishers who were not interested in bringing it out. In the meantime, he sold a story to Esquire who labeled him as their “discovery of the month.” However, the money from selling the story was not enough to live on.

In 1934, federal Indian policy in the United States changed dramatically. No longer was the emphasis on the forced assimilation of Indians into “mainstream” American life, but with the Indian Reorganization Act and the administration of Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier there was a respect for Indian culture. For the first time in American history, it was okay to be Indian.

In 1935, D’Arcy applied for work with the Federal Writers Project and was accepted. He moved to Washington, D.C. where the FWP assigned him to the Indian Office (Bureau of Indian Affairs or BIA). The following year, he went to work for the BIA.  

At this time, the Bureau of Indian Affairs was shaking itself free of the advice and guidance of Christian missionary groups which had dominated U.S. Indian policy and was turning toward social scientists, particularly anthropologists, for guidance. The change in the BIA orientation was not without controversy: Christian missionaries labeled the new orientation as atheistic, anti-Christian, and communistic. It was not long before D’Arcy McNickle was drawn into this controversy.

The BIA put out a small newsletter, Indians at Work, and with D’Arcy’s writing background it was natural that he write for this publication. One of his articles was a review of the novel The Enemy Gods, written by non-Indian Oliver LaFarge. LaFarge had won the Pulitzer Price for his early novel about Indians, Laughing Boy. Soon after the publication of D’Arcy’s review of this book, it began being quoted at length as evidence of the BIA’s anti-Christian and pro-communistic orientation.

In his review, D’Arcy writes:

“A dead Indian, they would say, is better off than La Farge’s Myron Begay, at the moment when, frenzied by the cheap rascality of Christian soul-saving, he stood up in a kind of missionary pep-meeting and denied his Gods.”

In response to this statement, the missionaries write:

“Christians! Where are you, that by your silence you deny your Christ and abandon your wards to the onslaught of the atheistic-communistic program … designed to aid in the overthrow of this Government and the Christian religion in America?”

In their publications and in their testimony before Congress, the missionaries claim that the BIA is now an evil influence on young Indians such as D’Arcy McNickle, and is turning them away from Christianity.

As a result of his working with the social scientists, D’Arcy wrote a number of non-fiction books about American Indians. The first of his non-fiction books was They Came Here First: The Epic of the American Indian which was published in 1949. This was the first historical survey of Indian-European relations written by a Native American. The book’s publisher promoted it heavily and within a few years it had gone through several printings.

He followed this with The Indian Tribes of the United States in 1962 and Native American Tribalism in 1973. Working with Harold Fey he wrote Indians and Other Americans which was published in 1959 and was expanded in 1970.

While working for the BIA, he helped organize a meeting in Chicago in 1944 which involved a number of prominent Indian leaders. Out of this meeting emerged the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), which continues today as one of the major Indian organizations in the United States and which works to keep an Indian voice in Indian policy.

In 1951, he took the leadership in having the BIA sponsor a series of community development workshops for Indian leaders in Utah, Arizona, and Oklahoma. The workshops were intended to help tribal leaders discover the internal resources available to deal with tribal problems. While the workshops were a step in the right direction, they actually had little influence and failed to result in any local action.

While he was involved in helping to formulate and execute Indian policy he did not abandon his creative writing. His second novel, Runner in the Sun was published in 1954. Unlike The Surrounded, this novel is set in a time period before the European invasion. It did not sell well and was perceived as a children’s book. Most reviewers of adult fiction ignored it.

His third novel, Wind from the Enemy Sky, finished in 1976, reflects a great deal of his work with tribes such as the Mandan in the years following World War II.

D’Arcy McNickle resigned from the BIA in 1954. He moved his family to Boulder, Colorado and worked on a number of projects, including the Crown Point project in New Mexico to provide the Navajo with health care.

In 1965, the University of Saskatchewan asked McNickle to chair the new Department of Anthropology at their Regina campus. While he never graduated from college and did not have any formal academic degrees, he accepted the position.

His biography of Oliver La Farge, Indian Man: A Life of Oliver La Farge was published in 1971 and hit the book world with a massive thud. The reviews were less than favorable and it did not sell well.

D’Arcy McNickle died in 1977. He did not live to see his novel Wind from an Enemy Sky published or to see the republication of his first novel, The Surrounded. Both of these were released in 1978, a time in which American Indian literature was going through a renaissance. The Surrounded had now been out of print for forty years and was nearly unknown in the academic world. With its reprinting, many began to call it the most significant novel written by an American Indian prior to World War II.

American Indian Women: The Leaders

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The United States government and American historians have been as reluctant to acknowledge women leaders among Indian nations as they have been acknowledging women warriors. The fact is that many Indian nations have had women leaders. In the many treaty councils which the United States held with the Indian nations, it was unusual for the United States to allow Indian women to speak.

In 1831, when the Sauk returned to their traditional village of Saukenuk in Illinois, the Americans called up a force of 700 militia volunteers to protect the citizens of the state from the Sauk invasion. The Sauk were determined to remain peaceful and met in council with the Americans. The Americans wanted the Sauk to move to new lands west of the Mississippi River. Black Hawk informed General Gaines that the women own the fields, not the men. The Sauk then selected a woman to speak for them. She told the Americans that the women owned the fields, not the tribe, and that the women had never sold any of the land nor consented to the transfer of it to the United States. Gaines simply dismissed her comments saying that the President did not send him to make treaties with women nor to hold council with them.

Some of the Indian women leaders which have been recorded by the Europeans are briefly described below.  

In 1656, Anne, also known as Queen Anne, assumed leadership of the Pamunkey in Virginia, a tribe which was a part of the Powhatan Confederacy.

In 1674, Awashonks became the sachem of the Saconnet band of the Wampanoag in Massachusetts.

In 1760, Spanish priest Gaspár José de Solís encountered a Caddo village in Texas, which was governed by a woman whom he calls Santa Adiva. He reported that she was married to five men, lived in a large house, and that people from other Caddo villages brought gifts to her.

In 1785, Toypurina (Gabrielino) convinced Indians from six California villages to participate in a revolt against the San Gabriel Mission. Toypurina was a medicine woman who was considered to have killed people with her magic, but the priests and soldiers had been warned and the insurgents were arrested. At her trial, Toypurina denounced the Spanish for trespassing on and destroying Indian lands. Most of the Indians were sentenced to 20 lashes and Toypurina was deported to the San Carlos Mission.

In the 1780s, Net-no-kwa was an Ottawa who was living among the Ojibwa. She was acknowledged as a powerful traditional leader. Her hunting dreams gave her the power to help her people find food during times of scarcity. She was also a participant in the Midewiwin Society (a formal, religious and healing society) which enhanced her authority.

In the late 1700s, Blue Robed Cloud, Ojibwa, was a spiritual leader who had received great power from a vision during her first menstrual vision quest. This power was used to help male hunters in finding game.

In 1809 Kauxuma-nupika (“Gone to the Spirits”), a Kootenai woman who had been married to a non-Indian for a year, returned to her people in Montana and British Columbia and announced that she had been transformed into a man. He/she claimed to have acquired great spiritual power, including the power to foretell the coming of diseases. Kauxuma-nupika became both a spiritual and political leader and was acknowledged as a chief by the non-Indian traders.  

American Indian Women: The Warriors

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When the Europeans first began arriving on this continent they were amazed that Indian women were very much unlike European women. Indian women were not subservient to men, they often engaged in work – such as farming and warfare – which the Europeans viewed as men’s work, they had a voice in the political life of their communities, and they had control of their own bodies and sexuality. Unlike the patriarchal European societies, Indians were often matrilineal, a system in which people belonged to their mother’s clans or extended families. When Indian people spoke of a neighboring tribe as “women” or as “grandmothers”, the Europeans often misinterpreted this compliment as a derogatory statement.  

During the nineteenth century Indian women, and particularly Indian women leaders, were invisible to the American government. Some Indians have gone so far as to say that the Americans were so afraid of Indian women that they would not allow them to sit or speak in treaty councils with the United States government. Even today, Indian women are conspicuous by their absence in American history.  

When asked to name some famous Indian women, most people have difficulty in recalling anyone other than Pocahontas and Sacajawea. Both of these women have legends which are more based in non-Indian fantasies about Indian women than in the reality of their accomplishments. For both, their fame is based on their association with non-Indians.

Europeans have always viewed war as “men’s work” and their interpretations of Indian warfare, as seen through the writings of non-Indian historians and anthropologists, assume that only Indian men were warriors. They often fail to see that women warriors were common among Indian people. This does not mean that women warriors became like men or that they were lesbians. Women warriors went with their husbands on the war party. Some of the examples of nineteenth century women Indian warriors are briefly described below.  

Fallen Leaf (often called Woman Chief by the Americans): While Fallen Leaf was a Crow warrior, she was actually born to the Gros Ventre nation and was captured by the Crow when she was 12. After she had counted coup four times in the prescribed Crow tradition, she was considered a chief and sat in the council of chiefs. In addition to being a war leader, she was also a good hunter and had two wives.

Running Eagle: she became a Blackfoot (Piegan) warrior after her husband was killed by the Crow. To avenge her husband’s death, she sought help from the Sun and was told “I will give you great power in war, but if you have intercourse with another man you will be killed”. After this she became a very respected war leader and led many successful raids on the large Flathead horse herds west of the Rocky Mountains. She was on a raid in Flathead country when she was killed. She had had sexual relations with one of the men in her war party and for this reason lost her war power.

Colestah: In the 1858 battle of Spokane Plains in Washington, Yakama leader Kamiakin was nearly killed when a howitzer shell hit a tree and the tree branch knocked him from his horse. Riding into battle with Kamiakin was his wife Colestah who was known as a medicine woman, psychic, and warrior. Armed with a stone war club, Colestah fought at her husband’s side. When Kamiakin was wounded, she rescued him, and then used her healing skills to cure him.

Buffalo Calf Robe: In the 1876 battle of the Rosebud in Montana, American troops under the leadership of General Crook along with their Crow and Shoshone allies fought against the Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux. The Shoshone and Crow shot the horse of Cheyenne Chief Comes in Sight out from under him. As the warriors were closing in to finish him off, Buffalo Calf Robe (aka Calf Trail Woman), the sister of Comes in Sight, rode into the middle of the warriors and saved the life of her brother. Buffalo Calf Robe had ridden into battle that day next to her husband Black Coyote. This was considered to be one of the greatest acts of valor in the battle.

Moving Robe: One of the best-known battles in the annals of Indian-American warfare is the 1876 Battle of the Greasy Grass in Montana where Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was defeated. One of those who lead the counterattack against the cavalry was the woman Tashenamani (Moving Robe). In the words of Lakota warrior Rain-in-the-Face:

“Holding her brother’s war staff over her head, and leaning forward upon her charger, she looked as pretty as a bird. Always when there is a woman in the charge, it causes the warriors to vie with one another in displaying their valor.”

It is evident from the words of Rain-in-the-Face, that having a woman lead an attack was not unknown to Lakota warriors.  

Ancient America: The Sinagua People

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One of the important geological features of the Colorado Plateau in Northern Arizona is Sunset Crater, an extinct volcanic cone. The volcano was active-that is, it was erupting-between 1040 and 1100. During this time, a group of Indian people, called Sinagua by archaeologists, were living in this area.

Sunset Crater

Like many other Indian cultures in the Southwest at this time, the Sinagua people were farmers who were growing corn and other crops. The Colorado Plateau area in which they lived provided them with a growing season of about 90 days and the area received about 20 inches of rain per year.

The Sinagua people arrived in the Colorado Plateau area about 1500 years ago. For a long time-archaeologists suggest 600 years-they lived in small clusters of pit houses, circular or squarish huts with sunken floors, stone or wood-lined walls, and adobe roofs. In terms of material culture, the Sinagua resembled the Mogollon people with their pithouses and brown pottery.

The Sinagua lived near two very powerful societies. To the northeast, in what is now New Mexico, were the Anasazi who built a number of pueblos in Chaco Canyon. Anasazi pueblos are characterized by multistory great houses and sophisticated road networks.

To the south of the Sinagua, near the present-day city of Phoenix, were the Hohokam, who engineered hundreds of miles of sophisticated canals to water their desert fields.

Nearly a thousand years ago, the volcano became active. Hopi oral tradition puts it this way: “Long ago the ground trembled, a big black smoke came and a big fire that came out of the ground.” While the eruptions undoubtedly interrupted the lives of the Sinagua people, they soon learned to live with and adapt to the volcano. Archaeologists have found that the Sinagua people built houses on top of ash that had fallen just a few months before. The nutrients in the volcanic ash enhanced the production of the Sinagua fields and appears to have encouraged immigration from other areas of the Southwest.

An interesting adaptation which the Sinagua people made to the active volcano were “corn rocks.” One of the by-products of the volcano were hornitos, which were cones of splattered lava that build up around holes atop crusted-over tubes of flowing lava. The Sinagua people would place corn on the lip of a hornito. The corn would then be covered with lava. Later they would return to break off the cooled stone chunks and carried them back to the village. The “corn rocks” were made from husked cobs and there were at least three different corn varieties used. These three varieties would have been raised in different fields to prevent cross-pollination.

We do not know today what these “corn rocks” meant to the Sinagua people: were they spiritual or religious symbols, or simply works of art, or did they have some other meaning? We only know that they deliberately set about to make them and to carry them back to their villages.

In about 1064, the volcano’s eruptions buried about 100 square miles of the Sinagua’s most productive farmland under more than 10 inches of ash. About 2,000 people had to move.

According to the Hopi, who are the direct descendents of the Sinagua people, Qu’na katsina, the Bringer of Corn who dwells at the crater, caused the eruption because their ancestors were engaged in koyaanisquatsi, or life that is morally imbalanced and corrupt.

Around 1100, both the Anasazi (Ancestral Puebloan) and the Hohokam civilizations began to collapse. At this time, the Sinagua underwent a major transformation. Many of the Sinagua moved downhill almost a thousand feet, from the cinder cones’ cool slopes to the sunbaked desert. Here they built large multistory stone pueblos with ball courts and community rooms.

Sinagua 1

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