Pretty Bird Woman House – first and last call

( – promoted by navajo)

This the annual fundraising diary for the Pretty Bird Woman House, a women’s shelter on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which the Daily Kos community has supported since 2007, when we came together and not only prevented the shelter from going under, but bought it an entire house. It was an incredible thing to see this community do. This is a good time to remember that, to remind ourselves of what we can accomplish when we unite instead of fight.

Christmas TiPi Pictures, Images and Photos

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the history of our involvement with the shelter, I will direct you to a post that Andy T wrote on the Pretty Bird Woman House blog, which pretty much summed up our efforts then.

the shelter, which includes a general (tax deductible) fund for the shelter, and a separate one for gift cards for the staff (not deductible).

This year, for reasons I will tell you about in the update below, I’m just doing a ChipIn for the staff. General donations (the tax deductible kind) can still be made by check, but not on-line.

I apologize for the lateness of this appeal, but like a lot of folks I’ve had a hard time this year. But there is still time to donate. It takes only a few minutes to donate via ChipIn or write a check. This year you might also want to add a couple of kids to your Christmas list. More on that below.

Shelter News

This has been a big year for the shelter, in good and bad ways.

First the good. The tribe has given the shelter a $250,000 grant to start a sexual assault response team and develop education programs. The shelter then hired 2 new staff for this purpose. They work in the Tribal Council building in Ft. Yates. Can’t get much better cooperation from the top than that! The grant signaled the tribe’s recognition of the shelter as a permanent fixture on the reservation. If you contributed to the fund drive, you can therefore be confident that your one-time donation did some permanent good.

Second, the not-so-good. Georgia Little Shield, the shelter’s director, resigned her position as of December 11 due to health issues that were becoming more and more difficult for her to manage with the kind of stress a women’s shelter director endures. She is probably going to be on Social Security disability and Medicaid.  

Right now, Jackie Brown Otter, whose sister is the shelter’s namesake, is working as the interim director until they get a new one.

A few months before Georgia resigned, a key advocate resigned, and the staff member who did the bookkeeping is also leaving. In this case, the old bookkeeper, who also did advocacy and intake work, will return.

As a result of all of this turnover, as well as my new full-time job as an office supervisor at the Census, which came after a very tumultuous year for me personally, I haven’t been in as much contact with the shelter as I had been in the past, and I haven’t been aggressive about holiday fundraising either. I apologize folks. It has just been a tough year.

So, this year I have posted a ChipIn for the staff gift cards only. I took the other ChipIn down after I realized that not only did the new staff not know what a ChipIn was, but it was not properly set up for a new director.

BUT IT’S NOT TOO LATE! If you want to donate to the shelter’s general fund, you can still send a check.

The address is:

Pretty Bird Woman House

P.O. Box 596

McLaughlin, SD 57642

You can also send clothing and other donations to that address using the USPS. To use other delivery services use this address:

211 First Ave W. McLaughlin, SD 57642.

There are four shelter staff aside from Jackie, and two volunteers. That is six people. Plus Jackie that’s seven. Plus Georgia, eight. I did a poll in this diary the first 2 days I posted it, and opinion was nearly unanimous that we should just divide what’s collected among them all. So that’s what will happen with your donation.

Georgia’s not-so-merry Christmas

Even with her terrible back pain, Georgia is now regretting not waiting a couple of more weeks to resign because with her husband being unemployed, there is now no money for Christmas presents for the children she is fostering – two grandchildren and two step nieces, all girls except for the two year old, ranging in age from 2 to 17.

So, if you are so inclined, you could do some last minute Christmas shopping for the kids. I will send her a gift card in any case. I asked Georgia what kinds of things the kids like. She sent me the following email:


Oh The 6 year old any thing tinker bell, the 9 year old any thing Hanna Montana, the 2 year old boy Cars or riding toys he has none. The 17 year old any make up such eye make up eye shadows (brown and Plum) and mascara black eye liner black. Really poor on make up she is.

The Tribe where i live lost there low energy money so those of us who did get that last year will not be getting help with propane, Man if its not one thing its another. I want to just scream.

As you can see, Christmas is not Georgia’s only problem. If you’d like to do some last minute shopping for her kids you can send the gifts to:

Georgia Little Shield P.O. Box 292 Isabel SD 57633.

(the post box number means you have to use the USPS, so I would recommend the flat rate Priority Mail boxes given the late date).

I will have the gift card ChipIn up until COB Tuesday to give anyone who still wants to donate one more chance, and then I’ll get the gift cards after work and send them off Express Mail.

Remember, if you want a tax-deductible donation, you can also send a check to the shelter.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Impressions of the Standing Rock Reservation – Photo Edition

( – promoted by navajo)

Cross-posted on the Daily Kos

For those of you who haven’t followed the Pretty Bird Woman House diaries, to make a long story perhaps too short, last fall I became the shelter’s fundraiser. Last winter, due to the generosity of the Netroots, the shelter bought a 3 bedroom house in McLaughlin SD, and it now a fully-functioning, 3 bedroom women’s shelter.

Georgia Little Shield, the shelter’s director, invited me out to Standing Rock to observe some domestic violence prevention workshops they were doing in the communities with Cecilia Fire Thunder and Carmen O’Leary, two famous activists. Unfortunately, due to some snow and severe cold the workshop was postponed until after I left. So, I had to stay indoors for the first few days and then I got to know the eastern part of the reservation for the rest of the time.

Below the fold you’ll find lots of photos of Standing Rock and some of my impressions. I will follow with another diary strictly about the shelter.

You’ll see that this has taken me a while to write this. I came down with the flu after I got back, and also had some more thinking to do about what I saw.  

Before continuing, I want to add that I had the privilege of accompanying two wonderful French journalists, Anne Senges and Stephane Gladieu who are doing a story on the shelter and Standing Rock for Marie Claire magazine (they found out about the story on DKos!) and Getty images, which will have the story in English along with the photos for editors.

Because they were so taken with the problems on Standing Rock, they will provide us with the entire article and photos to use as a fundraising tool. So, in about March I’ll be doing a diary that’s a reprint of that article, or they will post it directly here. They got some amazing individual stories, and the photographer is one of most well known in France, so I am excited about that.

First, lets take a look at Standing Rock in the winter. I arrived to blowing snow and below zero temps at night. Georgia Little Shield was supposed to pick me up in Rapid City, but sent Tannekkia Williams instead because of a death in the family. Going into Rapid City was bad advice – I would never have suspected that anyone would think nothing of driving 5 hours to pick someone up at the airport (Bismark ND would have been closer to Standing Rock, but Georgia lives on the Cheyenne River Reservation, which is on the southern boarder).

Though Tannekkia, who is a shelter volunteer and board member, grew up in Minneapolis but she married an enrolled member of Standing Rock (and then become a domestic violence victim), and is quite assimilated into the Lakota culture. If you went to the Pretty Bird Woman House panel at the Netroots Nation, you might remember her. She is a very articulate spokesperson for the shelter and anti-domestic violence efforts on Standing Rock.

Tannekkia greeted me with the joyful announcement that she had seen 30 spotted eagles on her trip down, and one even smashed into the side of her car. She considered this a very good omen.  

After we had dinner in Rapid City, Tanekkia took me to nearby Bear Butte, one of the two major Lakota sacred sites in the region (the other being Devilstower), even though it was dark and wet snow was falling. After a drive up a very long hill and a very short hike we reached a clearing near the summit. Despite the weather and the darkness, the area felt incredibly peaceful, and pretty soon the clouds parted to reveal a nearly-full moon, which lit up our surroundings for a few minutes.  The clearing also contained a skeleton of a sweat lodge, next to a large a pile of stones used to heat it. Tannekkia explained that elder men used that lodge when they went up there. She also pointed out tobacco prayer flags along the way, and offered some of her own to a big boulder from a little pouch she had with her. We both left feeling peaceful and refreshed.

Well, during the now six-hour trip back to Standing Rock in the blowing snow, we found out that the workshops for the whole week had been postponed, which also meant that Georgia would be holed up in her trailer on the Cheyenne River Reservation for much of the week as well. The Tribal Offices also shut down for most of the week. Such is winter in the Dakotas.  

Not to worry, there was always the incredible scenery.  

A typical view driving around Standing Rock in the winter.

IMG_0489

Standing Rock house

Little House on the Prairie!

Little House on the Prairir

buffalo on the STanding Rock jan 09

IMG_0631

buffalo cropped

IMG_0505

Frozen Missouri River from Mobridge SD. In Lakota it’s Lake Oahe. This part of the river was originally a stream but was flooded for a damn, which drove dozens of families from their homes and killed a lot of trees, from what I could see of the stumps farther up river. The Tribe receives monies each year in supposed reparations for this. This year they decided to use some of those funds for a sexual assault response team, which will probably transform Tannekkia from a volunteer into a full time staff member with an office in the Tribal Council building. On the hill you can also see the smaller casino on the Reservation.

sitting bull monumnet full autocontrast

Sitting Bull Monument

IMG_0461

Tannekkia in an impromptu shoot

IMG_0468

tannik big sky horses cropped_edited-1

Big sky at dusk

IMG_0478

Prairie Pastels

IMG_0482

Looking at the Sakagawea monument at sunset

IMG_0620

A prairie dog village in winter

General Information from the Standing Rock website

Standing Rock Reservation Eight DistrictsDistrict Population

1. Fort Yates, North Dakota 1,961 5. Little Eagle, South Dakota 695

2. Porcupine, North Dakota 219 6. Mclaughlin (Bear Soldier), SD 758

3. Kenel, South Dakota 259 7. Bullhead (Rock Creek), SD 692

4. Wakpala, South Dakota 707 8. Cannon Ball, North Dakota 847

Tribal/Agency Headquarters: Fort Yates, North Dakota

Counties: Sioux County, North Dakota; Corson, Dewey and Ziebach Counties, South Dakota

Federal Reservation: 1873

Population of enrolled members: 10,859

Reservation Population: 6,171

Density:: 0.4 persons per square mile

Labor Force: 3,761

Unemployment percentage rate: 79

Language: Lakota/Dakota and English

Lakota/Dakota Bands: Hunkpapa, Blackfeet, Yanktonia, Cuthead

Land Status: Acres

Total Area 2,300,000

Tribal Owned 866,072

Tribal Owned Allotted 542,543

Total tribal owned 1,408,061

Non-Indian Owned 1,283,000

Reservoir Taken area 55,993

IMG_0407

Tribal Council Building

IMG_0418

Prairie Knights Casino in Ft. Yates. There is a smaller one near Mobridge.

Housing

One thing we learned during the shelter fundraiser is that there are chronic housing shortages on the reservation. This gave me the impression that all the housing stock would be terrible, but it’s not. There still isn’t enough of it, but at least much of it is not as terrible as I thought it would be. Some of it is bad, but much of it is OK. But since there are shortages often more than one generation must live in a house, and people don’t have a choice of what neighborhood they will live in. It kind of reminded me of the situation in Cuba.

You do see this:

IMG_0500

But it seemed that there was more housing like this:

IMG_0492

Bear Soldier South

IMG_0619

Wakpala

IMG_0597

Wakpala

IMG_0444

Here’s what the Standing Rock website says about the housing situation:

The Standing Rock Housing Authority constructs and manages over 650 homesfor Tribal members living on the reservation. This includes homes on scattered sites built through the HUD Mutual Help home ownership program on individual land or Tribal land leased for homesites. The other housing in the districts is low-income HUD Low Rent for individual Indian residents in reservation communities. As private housing stock is limited, some of the Standing Rock members own their own homes in the rural areas through other private financing. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service have some housing available in McLaughlin and McIntosh for their employees.The Tribe plans to build a number of apartment complexes in the future.

The need for housing is great on Standing Rock. The Tribe is looking into Habitat for Humanity homes and the government Home Grant project The number of persons per household in the Standing Rock Service Area is 4.60 compared to 3.27 for the State of North Dakota and 3.27 for the State of South Dakota. The number of persons per family for U.S. All Races is 3.80.

Social Customs

Sometimes, when you are looking at one thing about a group of people, in this case domestic or other interpersonal violence, it’s easy to lose track of the more basic, and beautiful things about their culture. What I was touched by was the fact that people ascribed great meaning to small gestures or events, such as siting an eagle in the sky, or getting a small gift of tobacco from a visitor.  

I also found people’s appreciation for the earth and its inhabitants profoundly spiritual, no matter what other behaviors they exhibited on top of that.

When we were going around with the journalists, Tannekkia suggested that we take people either a pouch of tobacco or some coffee (Folgers seems to be the only brand around, by the way). So we did, and you could see by people’s faces that this small gesture made a big difference.

For example,as he was setting up a photo shoot at Georgia’s house on the Cheyenne River Reservation, Stephane gave her husband Norman a cigarette, which he thought Norman would smoke. Instead, he put it behind an eagle feather he had propped up inside of a picture in the kitchen so that he could pray on it the next time he was inspired to do so (usually outside in nature).

Here is the cigarette under the eagle feather:

IMG_0580

Two other things common in people’s homes are star quilts and dried prairie turnips.

Here, Rhea sews a star quilt, which she will sell on the Reservation. Some people also sell them on the Internet, at sites like eBay.

Woman sewing star quilt

From what people told me, the turnips are more for decoration, unless you’re really hungry and bother to soak them.

IMG_0582

This is just a taste of what is hidden just below the surface of all the poverty and sickness on Indian reservations.

The Reservation as a Network of Kin and Fictive Kin

Another lovely thing about the Lakota people is their system of fictive kin, as anthropologists would call it. People easily “take” people as adopted brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, etc. You can become someone’s adopted relative by ceremony or just by them saying so. Tannekkia’s father-in-law, for exampl, “took her as his daughter”, so she thought of and referred to him as her father even after her divorce. It did get me a little confused though when people would talk about all these brothers and sisters, sometimes saying “adopted” as a preface and sometimes not. It seemed to me that everyone had adopted kin that they took seriously as such.

I also thought it was lovely that people always used kinship terms when referring to someone they were either close with or respected a lot, perhaps for being an elder. For example, I became auntie to Tannekkia’s kids. However, even with Georgia’s two foster daughters, the youngest one, who was eight, would call her older sister, who was 17, “sister.” Elders are usually called Auntie, Uncle, or Grannie or Grandpa. I really liked that.

Isaac jan09

Tannekkia’s four year old Isaac playing in the back yard.

Tanekkia and Vaughn Edward

Tannekkia and her son Vaughn Edward. Cute kids, eh!

Interpersonal Violence

Yes, this is an endemic problem on all reservations, along with alcoholism, drug abuse, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, etc. Standing Rock was especially bad because it only had 2 officers operating in a place the size of Connecticut. So, people had a lot of impunity, especially if they were near the border town of Mobridge. All you had to was cross the Missouri River, or Lake Oahe, and you were out of the tribe’s jurisdiction.

This was in my face as soon as I got there. Tannekkia and her brother, who live in college housing on the Sitting Bull campus, had been woken up early in the morning a night or two before I arrived by a woman next door who had been battered by her son. She was visiting, and they both started to drink. Well, he ended up punching and kicking her so hard in one of her eyes that it burst. Tannekkia and her brother separtely described the woman as crying, with one eye crying tears and the other one crying blood. That visual was hard to shake. They also told me that it had taken 20 or 30 minutes to convince her to call the police because she was afraid she would get into trouble for being drunk, even though she probably will never see out of that eye again.

The kid finally got arrested two weeks after the incident. The case is being passed up to the federal level (read, FBI) due to the severity of the woman’s injuries.

As if that weren’t enough, the woman in the photo told us a story of how she had been brutally raped and beaten in 1980 – even her pelvis was broken, and she had been dragged around behind a pick up truck. Although she wouldn’t admit it, her current husband was also beating her (he had broken her arm a month or two before, but it had healed before we got there), and they both drank.

Her attacker had gotten 18 years in jail but when he was released, he came to live in her neighborhood, and due to the housing shortage she cannot move away from him or the three pedophiles that live in the neighborhood. She seemed to have PTSD to me, judging by the way she was acting when she was telling this story. I would too, and, I thought, I’d probably drink as well.

The woman’s daughter, she told us, had been a victim of a horrific incident of domestic violence that involved her husband locking her in the basement naked for 2 weeks, and so severely beating her that she suffered brain injuries. After 2 years she still suffers occasional seizures.

And, this is the neighborhood where Jackie Brown Otter lives, remember, with the sister, Ivy (whose Lakota name is Pretty Bird Woman) who was found raped and murdered. Well, there were two more cases of young women being raped, murdered and thrown into the field behind the complex in previous years as well.

And all of this takes place within a social context where people gossip so much about each other that it has destroyed all trust, so it’s very difficult for people to work together to do things like have a healing circle.  

That last element really had me stumped.

In my opinion, having done research on culture and trauma, the community really needs to start paying attention to PTSD much more seriously, since PTSD is also directly related to increased personal violence, depression, and self-medicating behaviors, like drug and alcohol abuse. This is a cycle that began with the boarding schools, and genocide before that, and now it has gone on for generations.

Wellbriety Journey 2009

I like this new movement started by White Bison in Colorado. It’s called the Wellbriety movement, and it uses Native American cultural tools to help people overcome their addictions and other problems. I have an article about it on the Pretty Bird Woman House blog.

This year they are embarking on a cross-country trip called the Wellbriety Journey of Forgiveness. It for one is going to ask President Obama to issue an apology for sending Native Americans to boarding schools. There is precedent for this in Australia and Canada, so it’s not a far-fetched request. However, on the advice of a group of elders, they will be forgiving the U.S. whether or not the government issues an apology. Pretty interesting. It starts to get at the root of some of the cultural trauma that is the original source of the cycle of violence we see on reservations today.

I will not say that I have any kind of in depth knowlege after two weeks on the reservation in the winter, so I’d like to go back in the summer and see what I think then. It’s a very interesting and beautiful place, even though a lot of things about it area also pretty depressing.  

Lets Honor Joe Biden’s Family Like this

( – promoted by navajo)

Yesterday, Clammyc’s diary on the Daily Kos If not for Biden, she (and many other women) may be dead, which is about Biden’s authorship of Violence Against Women Act and a wrenching case of domestic violence from the 1970s, gave me an idea.



Since the Violence Against Women Act is what funds women’s shelters, among other things, and since Senator Biden just lost his mother-in-law, Bonny Jean Jacobs, why don’t we purchase a furnace for the Pretty Bird Woman House shelter in her memory?

Considering that Sarah Palin wants Alaskan women to buy their own rape kits and is against abortion even in case of rape or incest, and John McCain’s pathetic record on women’s issues buying Pretty Bird Woman House a new furnace also draws a stark contrast between our values, shared by the Obama/Biden ticket, and the McCain/Palin horror show.  

So what do you say? Are you in for say $5.

So, in gratitude for Biden’s work for women’s causes, lets honor his family and thank him for his authorship of the Violence Against Women Act by buying a furnace for a women’s shelter in Bonny Jean Jacobs’ name.

A furnace is the only big ticket item Pretty Bird Woman House still needs and it will run about $5,000 (we’ve already jumped up to over $700 of that) – the  board didn’t notice that the furnace was in poor condition when it purchased the house. Since winters in South Dakota can get to 20 below, pretty soon they’re going to really notice how poorly the furnace is working.

So, what do you say? Can you ChipIn something in the Biden family’s name? Even $5 is great, since we have so many people in this community.

I’ll have the shelter send an acknowledgement to Senator Biden when it’s all over.  

Building Momentum For Change: Ending the Maze of Injustice

( – promoted by navajo)

Will Native American women finally get equal protection under the law?

Right now Native American women on reservations are 3 times as likely to be raped as a white woman. Due to an insanely complex series of jurisdictional issues, limited law enforcement, minimal political will and racism, perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence against Native American women often commit their crimes with impunity, knowing they will likely never face prosecution. All of this was documented in sickening detail last year by Amnesty International’s report Maze of Injustice

Today, Senator Byron Dorgan introduced the Tribal Law and Order Act in the Senate.

The legislation is designed to boost law enforcement efforts by providing tools to tribal justice officials to fight crime in their own communities, improving coordination between law enforcement agencies, and increasing accountability standards.

Will this legislation stop the violence?

The Tribal Law and Order Act has three primary goals:

First, it would make it easier for tribal police… to arrest non-Indians who commit federal crimes on tribal lands, including sexual assault. Second, it would increase the sentencing power of tribal courts by allowing them to put convicted tribal members behind bars for three years instead of one – and even send them to federal prison. Third, the bill would increase accountability for U.S. attorneys by requiring them to keep a record of every case on tribal lands they decline to prosecute.

Truthfully, to me, these sound like baby steps in the right direction. Allowing tribal police to arrest non-Indian perpetrators is a start… but how about letting tribal prosecutors actually be the ones to bring charges?

Right now, if a perpetrator is convicted of a crime in a tribal court, the maximum sentence the tribal court can impose is one year in jail. Murder, rape, torture… a maximum of one year in jail. This bill will expand that to three years – an improvement to be sure, but three years for rape? Three years for murder? Still very weak.

Georgia Little Shield, Director of Pretty Bird Woman House spoke about the importance of that final accountability plank for US attorneys with NPR:

“I sit with women who cry and are mad because the feds didn’t want to pick up the case. This bill, I think, would give women more of a right, that the prosecutor’s got to be more accountable for federal jurisdiction on these cases. And he’s going to have to be accountable for the cases he doesn’t prosecute,” Littleshield said.

Overall, the bill looks like a promising step forward. But the reality is that this is a journey of a thousand miles, and this is just one step. There is much more to do.

Props to the bills cosponsors: Senators Murkowski, Biden, Domenici, Baucus, Bingaman, Lieberman, Kyl, Johnson, Smith, Cantwell, Thune, Tester. Who the hell would have guessed I’d ever give props to Murkowski and Lieberman? To her credit, Murkowski has actually seemed to be somewhat proactive on these issues.

Hat tip to Pager from Daily Kos. I would have missed this without her.

Audio of the NPR story is right here.

How To Rape A Woman And Get Away With It

( – promoted by navajo)

This title is not an exaggeration or misstatement, although I really wish it were. I did not go to Netroots Nation to learn that it was possible to rape a woman, right here in the United States and walk away with absolutely no consequences to the rapist. But that’s what I learned in a panel discussion on Friday morning.

Come over the fold and I’ll tell you exactly how this happens – and you can take an action, a small first step towards ending this nightmare.

How to rape a woman and get away with it – a step by step guide:

NOTE: this method works best for white perpetrators.

1. Go to an Indian reservation.

2. Choose your victim.

3. Rape her.

4. Leave the reservation.

At this point the police may get involved. This is not a problem for the rapist at all; in fact, it is kind of an additional rape of the victim, a two-for-one violation. Let me illustrate how the police investigation will likely go down:

A rape victim sits on a Indian Health Services clinic bed as the police discuss the situation:

Tribal officer to local white police: The perpetrator is white, I don’t have jurisdiction. Do you?

Local police: Nope, the victim is Native American. I don’t have jurisdiction. How about you Mr. State Trooper?

State Trooper: Not my problem. According to Public Law 280 I have no jurisdiction. This is a tribal or federal matter.

Tribal Officer: But there aren’t any FBI agents on the reservation right now.

Local police: Well, the victim will just have to wait until one comes.

State Trooper: This Indian Health Service clinic doesn’t even have a rape kit, so there won’t be any forensic evidence.

Local police: I guess this is the end of it. (Tips his hat to the rape victim) You have a nice day ma’am.

Tribal officer, Local Policeman and State Trooper exit.

Victim: Isn’t anyone going to do anything?

Indian Health Service physician assistant: Hey, I can give you some ibuprofen before I send you home!

Georgia LittleShield, Director of Pretty Bird Woman House knows all about this. It happened to her daughter years ago. The rapist is free, has never faced charges and is on the reservation – where he can encounter and threaten his victim. No consequences, not a single one.

Let me tell you something: perpetrators, predators and sex offenders know all about this! They target Native American women! They travel to reservations to choose their victims! It is rape tourism, right here in Oklahoma, South Dakota, Alaska and any place where the confusing mess of jurisdictional issues allow perpetrators to hide.

Are there even words to describe this evil?

There is something you can do right now to help:

Use Amnesty International USA’s form to contact the newly appointed Director of Indian Health Services Robert G. McSwain and tell him to make sure IHS has free rape kits available for victims of sexual assault – CLICK HERE TO CONTACT IHS DIRECTOR ROBERT MCSWAIN

Join Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign

Small things, but it is a start.

Get Informed:

Read/Download the original Amnesty International Report: Maze of Injustice and the recent updates.

Visit Pretty Bird Woman House website and read the amazing story of how this women’s shelter was helped by the netroots!

A Brief Personal Note

I know there are other issues of great importance. I know we must elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America. Our top short term policy priority must be to end the illegal war in Iraq. Our top long term priority must be to halt global warming.  

But, like torture, this is simply evil. It must be stopped.

Our panel on this topic at Netroot Nations was a failure. We only had at most fifteen people there. The topic is one most people prefer to avoid and I did not promote it enough.  

But we have to speak up. We must. This is not a case where we simply teach Native Americans how to blog and suddenly they have their own voice to speak on these issues. Many reservations have only very limited internet access – pretty much only dialup. They don’t even have computers in most cases!!

Someone has to help give these women a voice. Amnesty International has done a tremendous amount of work on this. But we need more. Please, help me with this. Spread the word.

As a result of this diary I

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Pretty Bird Woman House Needs a Coat of Paint +

( – promoted by navajo)

This diary is an update on the Pretty Bird Woman House and a request for a few small donations. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this project, it’s a women’s shelter on the South Dakota side of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation that the netroots came together to help in its time of need.  

Anyway, the shelter has been operating for about a month, and wonderful things have been happening since they closed on the house in February.

One exciting development has been that many members of the McLaughlin community have gone from being suspicious to being supporters. That’s one reason we’re raising money right now: a youth group from a local church as volunteered to paint the house.

More below the fold.

The Pretty Bird Woman House is Up and Running!

As I said above, the shelter officially opened for business about a month ago.

Despite the fact that they haven’t been able to get the fence up due to an incredible amount of inclement weather, it has been full.  Until the fence is installed (which it should be by the end of the month) the staff are taking women who feel that their spouses might stalk them to another one farther away. The security system was installed a while ago, so the women who do stay at the house are safe anyway. The local police department has also been increasing its patrols around the house.

In April, Pretty Bird Woman House also co-sponsored a domestic violence workshop for all residents of the reservation, which was the first time something like that has happened there.

In addition to being extremely successful as a conference, afterward two  elder women approached Georgia with the idea of doing talks at local schools on what love really is and developing self-respect, so the girls especially don’t think they have to put up with any kind of abuse. This group is still in the planning stages, but I thought it was a wonderful indication of the ripple effect that the shelter can have on the reservation.

A couple of weeks ago, a youth group from local church approached Georgia with an offer of volunteer time this summer. As you will see from the photos below, since the house is sorely in need of a coat of paint, she asked them to paint it.

Even Georgia was was surprised at how badly the paint is peeling when she took a closer look at it.

peeling paint

Photobucket



The youth group will be painting the house July 8th – 11th.

Since this church doesn’t have affluent members, and therefore can’t send housepaint along with their kids, I have started a fundraiser for the paint and painting supplies.

So far we have $175.01. To buy about 20 gallons of paint and brushes, scrapers, etc., I figure we’ll need about $800 more. That’s only 80 people giving $10 each, or 40 giving $20 each. I know people have been stretched thin by donating to the campaigns and $4 a gallon gas, but this is really just the price of a bottle of wine. So how about it?

You can donateat the ChipIn page here,or by clicking the ChipIn widget at the Pretty Bird Woman House blog here

A few more words about community support

As some of you might remember, when the Pretty Bird Woman House board was in the process of buying the house, the City of McLaughlin, which is a non-Indian town in the middle of the Reservation, passed an ordinance mandating that all non-profits that were sheltering people get a permit first. This was in response to problems with a homeless shelter, but it also affected the PBWH. The first Town Council meeting was tense, and comments by a few Council members seemed to have racial overtones. We were worried. I diaried that here.

However, afterward the Mayor and Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD) came out publicly in support of the shelter. By the next meeting, the Council made a 360 degree turnaround, and unanimously approved the permit for the shelter.

All of that made me wonder how the community would respond afterward.

When Georgia told me what has been going on, I felt as if she were telling me about some Disney movie.

The first time they needed their lawn cut, a woman from the Lutheran church, which had been the owner of the house, came over and mowed it herself.

The next time it needed to be cut, the MAYOR himself showed up on his riding mower. Heh heh, when’s the last time your mayor cut YOUR lawn?

And, then we had the youth group volunteering to help as well.

So, let’s buy some house paint!

Go here.

Since more than 1,000 people donated to the first fundraiser, I figure this one should be a cinch.

Another subject: anybody have any advice?

Since I started this project, everything I see turns out to be an illustration of a larger problem.

Georgia is having such severe back pain now that a doctor at a private clinic suggested she go on disability. Why? The Indian Health Service is refusing to approve a CAT scan or any other diagnostic test so the doctors can tell exactly what is wrong with her. Is it a disc issue, or arthritis, or something worse? If we leave it up to the IHS, she’ll never find out.

Because the IHS has refused to either permit her to be properly diagnosed or send her to a chiropractor, or give her the proper amount of pain medication Georgia finally went to a private clinic, where at least they would give her an x-ray (don’t know the results).

Just as bad, the IHS will only give her a prescription for a few pain killers at a time. That means that she has to drive 2 hours to the IHS office, or put up with more pain. If she doesn’t get proper medical attention soon, she might not be able to walk, in which case she might have go on disability anyway. Since Georgia lives for her job, that would be terrible on a number of levels.

I know some of you will have some expert opinions I can pass on to her.

I wanted to say “another WTF moment brought to you by George Bush,” but it’s just typical IHS behavior.

So the larger issue is the IHS’s terrible medical care. We can see how local doctors recognize that Medicaid and Medicare both provide better service. How can we let this go on?

I advised Georgia to call Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin’s office to see if one of the LAs there can help. The Congresswoman has been so supportive of the shelter, even buying it a washer and dryer, that I’m sure they’ll  help.

Can anyone else think of something else Georgia could do to get proper medical care?

What she had wanted to do was get Aflac or some other type of supplementary health insurance for the entire shelter staff just for these types of things, but their federal grant doesn’t cover that cost. She’s going to apply for a foundation grant for that, but that’s a crap shoot sometimes.

So, if anyone has any ideas, let me know, and I’ll pass them on to Georgia.

Again, thanks so much for all your support. Now I wish we could also help Georgia get some decent medical care.

And, don’t forget. The shelter needs a new coat of paint. No contribution is too small not to be greatly appreciated. You can contribute here.

If you like to shop, think shampoo and diapers!

Pretty Bird Woman House Update: It’s a GO!

( – promoted by navajo)

Cross posted from the Daily Kos

First of all, I want to express my deepest gratitude to all the Kossacks and other members of the netroots community for your commitment to the survival of the Pretty Bird Woman House.  Helping this shelter has been one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever done, and some of that has to do with the outpouring of caring and compassion that I witnessed while I was doing this project.

This morning I received an email informing me that the McLaughlin City Council had unanimously approved the shelter’s petition to operate in the house it wants to purchase. This was a wonderful accomplishment given some initial misgivings that some of the City Council Members had expressed.  

For those who haven’t been following the story of the Pretty Bird Woman House, instead of pointing you to the numerous (and I mean NUMEROUS)diaries that Kossacks have written on the subject since May, I will simply direct you to the Pretty Bird Woman House blog, since it contains links to many of those diaries in addition to the essays that Andy T and I wrote as part of the fundraiser.

Here’s the situation in a nutshell: On December 28th, a full month early, we met our goal of raising the $70,000 that we figured the shelter needed for a new house and security system. By that time, Georgia Little Shield, the director, had placed a bid on a house near the police station. The closing would have taken place on January 4th.

Unfortunately, while all this was happening, the City of McLaughlin had passed an ordinance that required nonprofits seeking to establish a shelter or boarding house in a residential neighborhood to get the City’s permission first. This action was in response to drunk and disorderly conduct by the men in a homeless shelter in another neighborhood,

On January 7th, the City Council held a hearing on the shelter’s petition. There was some initial opposition to the shelter by some of the Council members and neighborhood residents, so they put off voting on the issue in order to gather more information and give people more time to consider the issue.

This made us all very uneasy, and I for one was waiting on pins and needles for the final decision.

But as with everything involved in this project, the best in people finally came out.

Last night, the Council unanimously voted to approve the shelter’s request. Unlike the first meeting, only positive remarks were made about the shelter staff and its future residents. As Georgia just told me:

At that meeting, everybody was for us, nobody spoke up against us.

This included the Chief of Police, who testified that the police really need the shelter to help them with women who are victims of domestic violence.

So, in the end, it seems that the mayor recognized that the shelter’s opponents just needed more information, and that his move to postpone the vote was a wise one. Here’s what he told the Rapid City Journal today.

“I think it’s going to be good. I think their hearts are in the right place,” Dumdei said of shelter officials. “Everyone’s trying to do what’s right. We just wanted to make sure that we had public input and everybody understands it.” …snip…

Dumdei said it was important to give citizens time to ask questions and feel comfortable with the planned relocation of the shelter, which is the only domestic-violence sanctuary on the Standing Rock reservation.

Amnesty International also provided a letter in support of the shelter, which the mayor cited at the meeting. Here is part of that letter (sorry I don’t have a link, it was emailed to me):

Programs run by Native American and Alaska Native women are vital in ensuring the protection and long-term support of Indigenous women who have experienced sexual violence. Shelters operated by Native American women are particularly important in order to provide the culturally appropriate supportive environment needed.  However, lack of funding is a widespread problem all over the US, including in South Dakota – and in many locations no such support is available. In our report, we highlighted the work of Pretty Bird Woman House, a sexual assault and domestic violence program on the Standing Rock Reservation. At the time of Amnesty International’s report in April 2007 Pretty Bird Woman House did not have funding for direct services for its clients, but helped women to access services off the Reservation. Amnesty International believes that it is imperative that the Reservation have its own shelter.

….snip….

The support that Pretty Bird Woman House has received from individuals all over the US is indicative of the response that Amnesty International has seen to this issue in general. Many people feel deeply touched by the injustices suffered for decades by Native American women, and want to help. Authorities at all levels are responding as well – at the U.S. Senate level, legislation will be introduced within the next few weeks. In Oklahoma, state laws ensuring the availability of rape kits for all women have already been passed.

The advocates, who have been running Pretty Bird Woman House for the past years with few funds but a lot of determination, have been fighting alone for too long. It is time that we stand up together and say no to violence against women – and time to support a shelter which will make all the difference in the world to women at a time when a helping hand is desperately needed.

Today, they also issued a press release that contained this information and thanked the City Council for approving the shelter.

It seems to me that the netroots worked really well in tandem with Amnesty International on this whole project, taking up the call they issued about the shelter in their report, United States of America: Maze of injustice: The failure to protect indigenous women from violence as its own cause.

On Friday, Georgia is going to set a closing date on the house. When I find out exactly what it is, I’ll post it on the blog.

Fundraiser Update

Grand total of the money we raised: $87,000.

People have also sent hundreds of pounds of clothes. SallyCat alone sent 350 pounds from a drive and party she conducted in San Francisco.

The shelter is also going to be receiving a flurry of small checks because a retiree in Florida who read the Rapid City Journal articles asked that everyone who attended his birthday party last week send checks to the shelter in lieu of presents for him. Awwww…

The official house fundraiser ends tomorrow. I will be putting up a new ChipIn with no goal amount for people who still want to donate.

Work left to be done

One snafu has come up. We were basing our estimate of the cost of a security system on the one the neighboring shelter has. Bad idea. For a system that has 24 hour monitoring, the estimated cost was $24,000. Yipes! And they will still need a fence as well.

This means that the security system and fence will eat up a lot of the money they had set aside for furniture and a washer and dryer. So, when I spoke with Georgia today, she gave me a new wish list.

I know most people have given all they can, but I also know from experience that other people will want to know how they can help some more. So this is for them (I don’t want guilt trip everyone else, you all have been amazing). Some of these are replacements for items that didn’t hold up too well either in the move or in storage.

So for anyone so inclined to buy what I will call housewarming gifts, here’s what the shelter needs.

Wishlist

washer and dryer

8 bunk bed sets, and sheets to go on them

couch and chairs

television and stand

dining room set (the one they had collapsed in the move)

pillows

full and twin-size sheets

8 dressers (2 for each bedroom)

dishes and related kitchen supplies

Again, Kossacks, on behalf of the shelter staff, I want to extend my deepest gratitude for all your support, compassion, and kind words.

You know, a lot of us are tired of the sniping and griping that has been going on around here about the candidates, but take break from that for a second and think about what you have all done to help hundreds of women and children on the Standing Rock Reservation. It’s incredible. Pat yourselves on the back.

One more note considering this is a Democratic blog. I want to pubically thank Representative Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-SD) for her support. She spoke out publicly in support of the shelter when there was opposition on the City Council, has visited it at least twice, and whenever anyone calls her office about it, her staff members are extremely helpful. This is exactly the kind of commitment we need from our representatives in Congress. Thank you!

Photobucket

Pretty Bird Woman House Update: Why Isn’t Anything Easy in Indian Country?

(crossposted on the Daily Kos and Street Prophets under betson08 and Docudharma under PiledHigherand Deeper – I guess I have an unstable identity!)

I want to update everyone who has been involved in the Pretty Bird Woman House fundraiser on the situation with the house purchase.

After you read this you might also ask: Why isn’t anything easy in Indian Country?

While we were running this fundraiser, the City Council of McLaughlin, which exists as a separate entity within the boundaries of the Standing Rock Reservation, passed an ordinance requiring that any nonprofit wishing to establish a boardinghouse or shelter in a residential area get the approval of the City Council first.

This means that  even though Pretty Bird Woman House could have closed on the house on January 4th, they had to wait for a Council meeting on January 7th.

Everyone was certain that after hearing about the shelter, the City Council would just say “of course you can” to their request.

Not so.  

Unfortunately, Georgia Little Shield, the shelter director, was attending a mandatory federal training associated with their new grant, so she was unable to go to the hearing. However, six representatives of PBWH and neighboring shelters did attend, including Jackie Brown Otter and a lawyer from the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Someone from the Lutheran church, the owner of the house the shelter bid on, also attended in support of the shelter.

The new ordinance that is affecting the shelter was passed in response to complaints about the men residing in a homeless shelter in another neighborhood, since they were making nuisances of themselves. While I can’t blame the residents for wanting drunken men off of their lawns, the measure does seem draconian in relation to the size of the problem it sought to address.

In general, reports from people who attended the meeting indicated that the ratio of support to opposition on the Council was about 60/40. Instead of voting on it that night, however, they decided to take the full 30 days allowed by the ordinance, and have another hearing.

The problem they are having, which has definite racial overtones, generally seems to stem from the fact that some of the members of the community could not conceptually distinguish between a homeless shelter, which houses men with emotional and drug problems, and a women’s shelter, which houses women who are escaping abuse, and want nothing more than a safe place to stay and to be as unobtrusive as possible. This is quite the opposite of a homeless shelter.

One reason for hope for a positive resolution was that Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth publicly came out in favor of the shelter in a recent Rapid City Journal articleabout the shelter. By the way, that paper also carried a very nice article about the shelter and the netroots fundraising efforts, which you can see here.

The Congresswoman seems to have become a champion of this cause, and programs to assist domestic violence victims in Indian Country in general. Kudos and applause to her!

And, without trying to dictate to the city council, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., nonetheless has made it clear that her heart is with the shelter as it searches for a permanent home.

“I’m not going to get involved in that (council vote),” Herseth Sandlin said earlier this week. “But I do hope that our efforts in making greater resources available to those isolated reservations will be a factor in the decision making — to know that a member of their congressional delegation is paying particular attention and wanting to be partners in their effort to have a safer community.”



Herseth Sandlin visited the Pretty Bird Woman House twice last year and supported Congressional bills with additional financial resources for law-enforcement and domestic-violence programs on reservations.

But she went further. The article notes that after visiting the burned shelter back in October:  

…Herseth Sandlin returned to McLaughlin with Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, as well as congressional staffers. They stopped by the shelter apartment, which had by then been abandoned, and met with federal and local law-enforcement officials, shelter representatives and Dumdei.

After the visit, Dicks inserted language into an omnibus appropriations bill expressing his concern that “methamphetamine use, violence against women and other serious crimes have reached epidemic levels in certain areas of Indian Country,” and directing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to increase the level of law enforcement and criminal prosecution in such areas.

That doesn’t provide more money specifically for Standing Rock but directs BIA to focus more resources on isolated areas where law officers are scarce. Herseth Sandlin said the October Congressional stop was part of the inspiration for adding that language into the spending bill. It also helped raise awareness in Congress about the issues of domestic violence and inadequate law enforcement on isolated reservations, she said.

“I think it has been very important to keep raising awareness about the epidemic of various crimes, especially domestic violence, and the inadequate staffing levels of BIA officers,” she said.

Again, thank you Congresswoman Herseth!

Additionally, the Mayor, who is in somewhat of a bind here, was quoted in the same article:

Mayor Ron Dumdei said this week that he and council members appreciate the value of the shelter but also must consider the concerns of members of the community. Some citizens worry that the shelter could again be victimized by vandals and pose other potential threats to the community in its new location.

“I understand their need for a shelter, but I also have to be sensitive to the other community folks who have concerns about it,” Dumdei said. “We’ll do what we can to make things right.”

He seems to have good intentions here, so that’s another good sign.

Another issue that arose during the meeting was what seems to have been a misconception about the local police authority to arrest Indians. Because McLaughlin has a white police department operating inside an Indian reservation, according to one opponent of the shelter, the white police officers have no jurisdiction, so it wouldn’t matter whether or not the shelter is close to a police station (was that a wtf moment for you? It was for me).

This is plainly not true. There are jurisdictional issues that make it difficult to hold people, but they can be arrested, as the Mayor’s statement to the Rapid City Journal reflected:

Jurisdiction issues between the tribe, federal agencies and state and local law enforcement officers create problems as well, Dumdei said. Non-Native officers who apprehend tribal lawbreakers may only hold them until they can be picked up by the federal officers, Dumdei said.

The jurisdictional issues make it difficult for nontribal law enforcement to be effective, he said.

“It creates some problems here. But we’re trying to work it out,” Dumdei said. “What we want to do is provide a safe community. It’s a complicated issue, but we’re going to do the best with what we’ve got.”

Unfortunately, though, the original argument was not quashed at the meeting. In any case, as Georgia told me by phone yesterday, there has not been one case in South Dakota of a batterer attacking a women’s shelter. What happened to the shelter was vandalism, and we do not know the race of the vandals. The shelter needs to be in a safe area for the safety of the women inside it, just in case they are stalked, as well as to to deter  vandals, but not because any batterers are likely to attack the shelter.

During the upcoming 30 days, the Council will hold another town meeting and give Georgia a chance to talk about the shelter. That will also give the women’s shelter advocates in the area some time to educate the residents about exactly what a shelter is and does.

One thing IS certain. WE WILL HAVE A SAFE HAVEN FOR WOMEN ON THE STANDING ROCK RESERVATION, NO MATTER WHAT. Compassion WILL win.

Georgia also told me that one other thing they will immediately do is create a Plan B for purchase of a house. Since they could not close on a house on Jan.4th, as originally planned, they are now technically out of compliance with the grant that provides for operational expenses for the house. Thank God for the fundraiser. If they have to renovate some other house farther away from town, they will now be able to. Lets hope that doesn’t happen.

Right now, we’re not asking for letters to anyone in McLaughlin, except thank yous to Congressional Reps. Herseth and Dicks for their support. I think it is entirely possible that the members of the Council who oppose the shelter will come to their senses after they have been educated about what a women’s shelter really is, especially with more press coverage of the situation. This may just be another bureaucratic delay.

While I wait, what I am going to do is research the history behind these  towns on Indian reservations in the Dakotas. Some of the social relationships that have been described to me since I have become involved with this project are so oddly 19th century that sometimes I have difficulty overcoming my disbelief at what I’m hearing. I need to educate myself on this.

And things are just as messed up at the federal level too, which reinforces these problems.  Senator Dorgan has developed a concept paper with ideas for legislation to improve law enforcement in Indian Country. We really need to change federal laws that create conditions where people are treated differently by law enforcement just because of their race. You can read that paper here

Senator Dorgan is requesting comments on this paper.

Well, there you have it. This situation still embodies what Native American women face when they try to make change in their community. I feel so great to be able to say that now they’ve got the netroots behind them.

P.S.You can still get lots more information, and until the end of the month donate too, at the PBWH blog

Pretty Bird Woman House: Raises Over $80,000 for a New House

( – promoted by navajo)

My apologies; I only learned of the existence of this blog today when someone at Daily Kos suggested I crosspost this announcement. I hope this is not inappropriate. Thank you.


In October, Betsy Campisi, a volunteer on the last Pretty Bird Woman House fundraising drive called Georgia Little Shield, the shelter director to check in. After all, after the previous May fundraiser, things looked great – Pretty Bird Woman House had a building, funding from the Netroots until a grant kicked in in… things were going well. But when Betsy spoke to Georgia she heard grim news.

Our shelter was burned down. They stole everything. Then they burnt it down.

Betsy asked; how much to buy a new house with a security system? The answer: $70,000. Worse, all the grants Pretty Bird Woman House depended on required a physical building to use as a shelter. They needed the money FAST. It seemed so unlikely back in October that it could even be done…

Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and just hope that the net is there to catch you. This time there was no net. But you wonderful people… you wove that net even as everything was falling off the edge. You wove the net out of blog posts and $5 donations, out of human love and compassion.  

If you are not familiar with the story behind Pretty Bird Woman House you can get a pretty complete history right here.

Wow, I don’t cry often but today when I surfed over to the Pretty Bird Woman House Blog and saw we had met our goal of $70,000-well, I pretty much lost it…

The timing could not have been better – Pretty Bird Woman House had a Board of Directors Meeting today. All of the Board of Directors and the advocates who work for the Pretty Bird Woman House had come into town for the meeting. Shelter Director Georgia Little Shield checked the Chip-In before the meeting started:

Everybody broke down in tears… thank you, thank you, thank you! The Board of Directors was shocked. The girls (the advocates) were crying they were so surprised.

Even more amazing – they have not finished counting the checks that have arrived in the mail yet – we have really raised more than $77,000 for Pretty Bird Woman House… in fact, it might be well over $80,000 by the time the counting is done. You did not just buy a women’s shelter – you bought furniture, paid some of the energy bills, got a top notch security system… Georgia has promised me she will keep us updated on how the money is used. They have a donated digital camera and she will photograph things as they happen so that we can see.

Georgia went on to tell me that her life experiences with domestic violence and abuse as well as the horrors she sees on a day to day basis sometimes catch up to her and darken her world.

But this.. this has totally amazed me and given me hope – that there are so many good people out there. Strangers who actually care.

Now the voices of these women will be heard!

A new energy fills Pretty Bird Woman House; the staff does not spend its time trying to figure out how to make ends meet for tomorrow, unable to see how they can function next week, let alone the next month. Already things are falling into place. They have a bid in on a house across from the police station; if that does not work out for any reason, they have other buildings in mind.

Georgia is expanding the services offered by Pretty Bird Woman House – she has applied for two new grants and wants to hire two advocates who will specialize in working with victims of sexual assault. And Pretty Bird Woman House has a new volunteer advocate.  Those of you who followed this story will remember her. Back in October Georgia told us about the situation this remarkable woman was in:

I recently attended a court sentencing of man that pled guilty to a charge of sexual assault against a Native American Woman and the Mayor of his town testified that he was an up standing community member and that the community would except him back with open arms and to just give him probation.

That’s right; the new advocate for victims at Pretty Bird Woman House is the woman who was raped by this man. She is completing this circle and as part of her healing is reaching out to help others.

So who did this? Who is behind this amazing achievement?

The person who started Pretty Bird Woman House is Jackie Brown Otter. She did it in memory of her sister, Pretty Bird Woman, who was raped and murdered. Georgia Little Shield is the director of Pretty Bird Woman House. About seven Lakota Sioux (some may be Dakota Sioux – my apologies if I have gotten this wrong) women have been the core of this whole project, they nurtured the dream and made it reality.

The progressive netroots would probably never have heard of this if Daily Kos user Norman Bier had not heard a National Public Radio story on an Amnesty International Report detailing how terrible the plight of Native American women was with regard to sexual assault. Norman Bier diaried on Daily Kos about the fact that without funds, Pretty Bird Woman House would close – and over 600 people responded with $27,000 to keep the shelter running until grant money kicked in.

That’s how Betsy got involved. I only got involved after reading a diary by Winter Rabbit called Pretty Bird Woman House: Let’s Unbury some Hearts. Daily Kos frontpager Devilstower gave the fundraising a jolt of lightning when he frontpaged a fundraising diary.

Raw Stats

  • 14 people gave over $1,000
  • 14 people donated over $500 but less than $1,000
  • 150 people donated over $100 but under $500
  • 66 people made mutiple donations
  • Very rough estimate is that about 60% of donors were female, 40% male… not all names are clear, several donated as a family, etc. but overall, much more even numbers than I had expected.
  • 934 individuals donated via Chip-In – that number will go up when checks are counted
  • Blogs Honor Roll:

    All Spin Zone

    Angry Black Bitch

    Bitch PhD

    Black and Missing but not Forgotten – this blog exists to publicize missing black women in the hope that they can be found, or at least not forgotten. It’s terrible to know there is a need for a blog like this, but it’s wonderful that Deidra has chosen to to this. I know she is a Christian, but I hope she won’t mind me wishing that the Goddess bless her and hold her.

    Coleen at livejournal

    Nezua Limon Zolagrafik-Jonez on Corrente

    Daily Gotham

    Daily Kos

    Docudharma

    ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES

    elynross

    Feministe

    Nezua Limon Xolagrafik-Jonez on Jesus’ General

    Left In The West

    Melekakimaka: Christmas in Hawaii

    Mole333 at Culture Kitchen

    My Left Wing

    Nezua Limon Xolagrafik-Jonez at Culture Kitchen

    Obsidian Wings

    Offsprung: Lock the Bedroom Door

    one tenacious baby mama

    Other Guild? Whatever that may be

    Our Bodies, Our Blog

    RadGeek

    Radical Doula

    Shakesville

    Street Prophets

    Flux at Suicide Girls – this website is NSFW!

    The Unapologetic Mexican

    Vox ex Machina

    Wampum

    Women’s Health News

    Zillah’s Gin

    The Future For Pretty Bird Woman House

    This time around we won’t lose touch; Georgia is planning on launching a regular newsletter… if you donated, you will get it (I will work with her so that you can opt out; Georgia is an incredible woman but she is not net savvy). We’ll do periodic diaries on Daily Kos and Street Prophets. Betsy and I are hoping to take a trip out and visit the new house when it is set up.

    Hopefully we have put Pretty Bird Woman House in a position to be self-sustaining. It is great that we helped, but they must be able to thrive and grow on their own. We provided extraordinary assistance at a time of extraordinary crisis, which is appropriate. Personally, I think they are on the way. I expect them to keep growing.

    The Future For Native American Women: Obtaining Equal Justice

    Well, truthfully I have been so busy with the fundraiser I have not really thought about this but I am going to make this a part of my life. How can we expect justice in Iraq when our own people are treated this way? We have to put an end to it.

    I am starting my research with Senator Byron Dorgan’s concept paper on improving law enforcement in Indian country. More information and places to submit comments are here. But that’s about as far as I have gotten with this. Maybe in comments people can suggest other places to go.

    So the fight is not over by any means… but for now we celebrate an amazing victory!

    WE DID IT! WE BOUGHT PRETTY BIRD WOMAN HOUSE A NEW HOUSE!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR PROGRESSIVE NETROOTS!!

    You can still Donate here!.

    Pretty Bird Woman House is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization.

    More info here:

    Pretty Bird Woman House Blog – many more resources and links here!!

    Amnesty International Report-Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA

    Why traditional fundraising avenues are closed to Pretty Bird Woman House

    A Fairly Complete History of Pretty Bird Woman House.

    Pretty Bird Woman HouseYahoo Group.

    Pretty Bird Woman House: Giving Hope (Update)

    ( – promoted by navajo)

    ccamp made a comment over at Native American Netroots that I want to share and focus on. I then want to share a personal story of how much I think this fundraiser being successful will save lives by giving hope, and conclude with what betsyny has already told us.

    One of the things ccamp mentions at Native American Netroots is “an epidemic of child suicides and other social ills all of which can be traced to the grinding poverty and its lack of a solution.”

    (Bold & underline mine)


    From “I Want Olbermann to Cover PBWH” at NAN

    each rez has one

    I’ve read about the help being given to PBWH and I also think Olbermann would be a good reporter if you can get him. The sad thing is that each and every rez in South Dakota has an under funded, desperate woman’s house that is struggling to survive on pitiful funds. Some on larger reservations where the needs are even greater, at least in numbers, than Cheyenne River.

    Here where I live on Rosebud, the “White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman’s Society” is doing the same hard job on very limited resources. Tribes are doing what they can but with winter coming on they’ll be spending their discretionary funds on heating needs. Private and foundation funding is hard to get and even harder to maintain for the long run, yet the needs are increasing with the population.

    Welfare reform has been a disaster on the rez because the poverty is endemic in a population where 75% of the population is unemployed. We’re seeing an epidemic of child suicides and other social ills all of which can be traced to the grinding poverty and its lack of a solution.
    I hope someone like Olberman can use the PBWH to highlight the whole problem.

    Next, I want to share a personal story, because I think this fundraiser being successful will save lives by giving hope. How many, I don’t know. I wouldn’t share it unless I thought it would be helpful to others. Suffice it to say, hope through someone to talk to would’ve been the difference between a 20 gauge shotgun to my head or not at 17.

    I was 17 years old and my codependence combined with normal adolescent neurosis and feelings of abandonment left me feeling absolutely hopeless. I was raised in a good family and we had a good house, but New Years Eve of ’87 found me calling suicide hotlines – but nobody answered.

    I further spiraled into hopelessness thinking, “New Years Eve, they know it’s a night of higher suicide rates, that’s it.” I made the decision to end my life.

    It was really a strange feeling going into my parent’s room, putting a shell in a 20 gauge shotgun with tears streaming down my face, and pointing it to my head. I had taken the safety off. I just wanted someone to help me and talk to me. Nonetheless, I put enough pressure on the trigger for it to go off, but I saw something out of the right corner of my right eye. The gun didn’t fire and I was amazed that it didn’t. I put it to my head again and these thoughts seemed to be streamed into my mind, “If you do this, you’re one selfish bastard.”
    I put the gun up.

    I sponsored someone 13 years later, and when he committed suicide via an overdose I understood why. However, many were at his funeral and I still remember thinking, “I wish you could have seen then how many people care now.”

    As I stated in the beginning, I think this fundraiser being successful will save lives by giving hope. I really believe that.   Caroline Myss talked about a man on a bridge who thought, “If one person isn’t kind to me, I’m jumping (paraphrasing),” and how giving hope and kindness can literally save someone’s life. That’s precisely what I see PBWH doing, giving hope that will save lives. Furthermore, I don’t ever want to have to think “I wish you could have seen then how many people care now” again.


    Source

    Rape survivors are also 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than not crime victims and 6 times more likely than victims of other crimes.


    Violence against women prompts many Rosebud Reservation suicides

    Some of them have also been raped and contemplated suicide, she said.

    Please donate,read what betsyny has to say about it,


    Pretty Bird Woman House Update: YOU are buying THIS house!

    If you haven’t donated yet, you can make a huge difference right now because they’re at a crucial point in the house purchase process, and things are still a little shaky. Go here to donate and get all the info you could possibly want on the shelter if you have missed the story up until now.

    There will be needs after the house purchase, which is why I am keeping the goal at $70,000 despite the fact that of the 2 houses available, they’re bidding on the lower-priced one.

    and as ccamp says, let’s “use the PBWH to highlight the whole problem.”


    Source

    A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

    Mohandas Gandhi

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Artwork by Tigana.

    [Update]


    betson08 reminds us about this challenge from Bubbanomics.


    Bubbanomics issued a challenge this weekend – he’ll match all contributions up to a total of $1000 through today. So, if you donate right now it counts double!

    If you donate, leave a comment here or for bubbanomics about how much you donated.

    Pretty Bird Woman House Update: YOU are buying THIS house!

    ( – promoted by navajo)

    I thought I’d give you an update on what was going on with the fundraiser for this shelter. Georgia Little Shield, the director, has used the money we have raised so far to place a bid on the house you see in the photos below.

    We need donations urgently right now since there was only enough money for a really low bid, so that makes things still a bit tenuous. And then there will be closing costs and a security system. But even though we haven’t sealed the deal yet, we’re coming very close!

    The amazing part of this project is that the individual efforts of a bunch of bloggers are making such a big difference to a group of women. This is what a community is really about.  And were else can you see donations doing something so huge so fast?  

    Here are the photos of the house. Isn’t it great!

    Front View:

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Living Room:

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Kitchen, View 1

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Kitchen, View 2

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Dining Room:

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    There is also a huge basement, which will house a children’s playroom, and a small thrift shop to support the shelter, and has great general potential.

    The next large item is a security system. With security cameras. A good one (which is a must in this situation) is at least $7,000 installed. And then we’ll need a fence. That’s going to be another large chunk of change. Since this is a one story house, and we don’t want batterers to try to get into those bedrooms at night, the fence is vital in addition to the security system. We don’t want a repeat of the theft and vandalism either.

    If you haven’t donated yet, you can make a huge difference right now because they’re at a crucial point in the house purchase process, and things are still a little shaky. Go here to donate and get all the info you could possibly want on the shelter if you have missed the story up until now.

    There will be needs after the house purchase, which is why I am keeping the goal at $70,000 despite the fact that of the 2 houses available, they’re bidding on the lower-priced one.

    Because of the prior theft they’re also going to need a TV, VCR, DVD player, and the entertainment center to put them on. Boy it really sucks that they got so much stuff stolen! They’re also going to need a washer and dryer, as well as new dressers, 2 more bunk beds, and 2 more double beds, since more women and children will be housed here than in the other shelter. They also will need extra couches and chairs because the living room is so big, and the outside of the house needs a new coat of paint.

    Those items are all important, but the money to seal the deal for the house and buy the security system is the most urgent.

    So please everyone, keep passing the word. We are SO close.

    I want to raise $10K more by Christmas. If the sellers accept the current bid that much will cover closing costs and the security system so the women can move right in. If they don’t accept the bid, it will allow them to increase it slightly and still cover closing costs. In any case, we’re SO close to this being a huge netroots coup for the shelter!

    P.S. The shelter also just received another federal grant. If we can get this house, that grant will pay for utilities, food and other expenses. It’s also funding another advocate. So, we’ve got great long-term viability here, we just need to help them with their infrastructure! They are also planning a domestic violence conference for April that will be free for all Standing Rock residents. Georgia just never quits, even in the middle of all this house chaos!

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    (by Tigana)

    Sioux Scalp Needs Coverage by Olbermann

    ( – promoted by navajo)

    If someone had told me that someone would be selling a Sioux scalp online on the 143rd Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre; I would have hoped, “Surely nobody would be that barbaric and seeped in genocide denial.” Right? Wrong.

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    (Photos will be deleted after the scalp is in the proper tribal hands. For verification only)

    Olbermann’s contact information

    The situation has been this. Somebody attempted to make blood money off of the Great Indian Holocaust.

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    I discovered this by a bulletin.

    (From a Mysace bulletin. Private citizens info. has been taken out. News organization info. is left intact throughout)

    ———– Bulletin Message —————–

    Knowing the historical aspect that has happen to native people and the misconception of what “Scalping” mean is wrong… Scalping is what the Europeans’ brought to kill Native people — The policy by the U.S. Government was to “Scalp” Native for money as a form of genocide against native people… Yes… GENOCIDE!!!!  To decimate, destroy, demolish a group of people like they have done to other countries…. What is seen on Ebay is racist and wrong!!!!

    Please write to Ebay and tell them if they would also sell “noose” because selling Scalps is just the same!!!!

    (name removed)

    RE: Native scalp for bid again on Ebay

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
    —————– Bulletin Message —————–
    From: SAVE THE SACRED SITES
    Date: Nov 29, 2007 5:07 PM

    I wanna puke and then kick ass.
    (name removed)

    Sioux Scalp on auction at EBAY
    tamra@ndnnews.com

    Hello everyone, I have received emails from various folks today about the scalp.

    Hello everyone,

    I have received emails from various folks today about the scalp on auction at EBAY.
    So, I wanted to post some info and provide a update about this issue for you all.

    Asking EBAY to remove this item, is a good step, however it doesn’t stop
    Allard Auctions from selling it elsewhere. They can turn around and sell it
    at one of the many auctions available throughout the country, there are
    dozens of auction sites and different houses. If they sell it elsewhere,
    then this scalp may never be returned to the proper place, back to the
    Lakota people.

    It is a violation of NAGPRA and federal offense to be in possession of human
    remains of any kind.

    Title 18, United States Code, Section 1170 – Illegal Trafficking in Native
    American Human Remains and Cultural Items: Prohibits the sale of the human
    remains or cultural artifacts of Native Americans without the right of
    possession of those items in accordance with the Native American Graves
    Protection and Repatriation Act.

    I have alerted the proper agencies and people at NAGPRA of this item, they
    are going to take immediate action and will be proceeding in confiscating
    this item, from these )(*&^%$#@!, that have this on auction. The auction
    ends on Dec 2nd, so they are going to need to move very quickly on this,
    which they stated they will. From what I was told, this Allard Auctions has
    already had previous violations for attempting to sell illegal items, such
    as this scalp. So, this should be interesting to see what consequences that
    they receive for another violation. There could be a substantial fine
    involved. Personally I hope that they take away their auction license, ban
    them from EBAYall together, throw their sorry butts in the pen and throw
    away the key. Somehow stiffer penalties and prison sentencing needs to be
    enacted, to stop these grave robbers and collectors, instead of a slap on the
    hand. The lack of enforcement and resources in each state is part of the
    challenge with this issue. Unless it gets reported by someone, they usually
    don’t get caught. I am sure glad that the person who did catch this, sent
    out the plea request! This is a never endless battle.

    The first step will be, to get this item authenticated, confirm it’s what
    they are saying it is. Then, once the scalp is confiscated from Allard,
    NAGPRA will go thru the process of getting it repatriated back to the Tribe.
    That of course can take some time, but at least it will happen eventually,
    instead of it being sold to some other yahoo collector to put on display.

    The other option would have been to contact these folks directly and attempt
    to get them to donate the item back to the tribe, where it belongs. I
    couldn’t see that happening, from the looks of their auction site, they are
    greedy people making a buck off of selling various artifacts. If they were
    just a private person, this was a one time deal, then maybe we would have
    had a chance at the other way. I remember a couple years ago, there was a
    full set of remains of a young ndn girl on auction at EBAY. I don’t
    understand why EBAY can’t monitor these people somehow…..sheesh…….they
    need a serious policy revamping I would think!

    I am suppose to follow up with them on Tuesday for a update what has been
    done, if I don’t hear from them prior to that.

    Here is the direct link for the item on EBAY
    http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320179572299#ebayphotohosting.
    And the link to report this to EBAY
    http://pages.ebay.com/help/contact_us/_base/index_4.html?tier0=report_listing.js&item=320179572299

    Hope it helps………….I will do what I can with this one.

    In peace & solidarity,
    Tamra
    www.NDNnews.com
    www.protectsacredsites.org
    “Providing news and information about Native American Issues & Causes”
    “Helping to make a difference for our people in Indian Country, one day at a time. What will you do today to help make a difference?”

    “Our sacred lands are all that remain keeping us connected to our place on Mother Earth, to our spirituality, our heritage and our lands; what’s left of them. If they take it all away, what will remain except a vague memory of a past so forgotten?”

    I then posted a quick diary about it here.

    To the fantastic efforts of all involved, which touched my heart enormously, it was taken off eBay and Allard. However, this generally remains the case as far as I know,


    They (Allard Auctions) can turn around and sell it at one of the many auctions available throughout the country, there are dozens of auction sites and different houses. If they sell it elsewhere, then this scalp may never be returned to the proper place…

    while this specifically is the case today.
    (another bulletin citing someone at www.UnitedNativeAmerica.com).

    Steve Allard of Allard Auctions, Inc. returned my call this morning (Sat.) and stated to me that the Indian scalp had been pulled and other items from the auctions list to be sold. He also stated the FBI had been there checking all items that they had up for auction and they will most likely be at the auction to make sure any items that are not on the list are not sold at the event.

    The auction starts today at 12:00 AZ. time and tomorrow at 10:00 (Sunday) at the Holiday Inn Mesa AZ. Steve also stated that this was a privet collection and part of a museum that is having financial problems, this also happen to a museum some years back in Flag Staff AZ. Steve stated that he had been contacted by tribal leaders about the scalp and they also plan to be at the auction, they are working with Steve to see that the scalp is return to a tribal nation. Tribal leaders will also be buying items to keep them out of the hands of privet collectors.

    Allard Auctions, Inc.

    888-314-0343

    (406) 745-0502

    e-mail: info@allardauctions.com

    Steve Allard, President email: steve@allardauctions.com

    Please don’t contact Allard, the information is for Keith Olbermann.

    Keith Olbermann (email here)

    Now, I’ve already written thatI Want Olbermann to Cover Pretty Bird Woman House,


    I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of the main television media ignoring American Indian issues in general, and I’m even more sick and tired of conservative personalities spewing their racist venom towards American Indians. I think Olbermann would cover the critical issue of Pretty Bird Woman House  if he were asked to by enough of us…

    and many wrote letters after that request. Thankyou from my bottom of my heart. Furthermore, to my knowledge he hasn’t covered it yet.
    So if I understand this correctly, today through Dec 2nd are crucial times to recover the scalp.

    So come on Olbermann, what do you say?

    Kill the Indian, save the man

    ( – promoted by navajo)

    This was official U.S. government policy towards the education of Indian Children for decades.

    A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.
    Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans

    In one sense I agree with Pratt’s sentiments. But only in the belief that education is critical for all peoples. But an  education that destroyed cultures, families, self-worth and identity is what Pratt proposed, what Congress agreed with and what is a large part of the problems found in the native community up to this day.

    The first schools weren’t so bad in that they were on the Reservations where the kids could live at home and be with their families. However, these schools soon gave way to Indian Boarding schools. These boarding schools were set up with the express purpose of separating Indian children from their families, the communities and their traditional beliefs, their whole world in fact.  The government believed the only way to make the Indian what they thought he should be was in fact to kill the Indian in him. Unfortunately, all the really succeeded in doing is destroying the man (or woman) in many cases.

    Most of the Indian parents had no problem with schooling for their children. They fought for it, even knowing that their kids would be taught in English and would to an extent begin to adopt White ways. Being forced onto lands which could not support the traditional ways of life, these parents knew that it was impossible to live in all the traditional ways and that the only way out of the extreme poverty forced upon was through education. But they were also determined that their children would hold onto their traditions, beliefs and culture while learning to function in the “white” world.

    The government vehemently disagreed with this. Their belief was that only way to take care of the Indian “problem” was to take generations of Indian children, remove them from their families and all they had ever known and loved and in this way destroy their culture.  For the many Native families whose kids were forced to attend boarding schools all the government really accomplished in many cases was to destroy Indian communities and families. I do not the exact number of Indian children who attended boarding schools. I can tell you that in the 1930’s there were approximately 300,000 Native Americans in the U.S. Of these about 100,000 had attended boarding schools for some period of time.

    The boarding schools were definitely not the type that white people sent their kids to get the best education possible. The Indian boarding schools were often run like the Russian gulag camps set up for political dissidents with a bit of education thrown in.  Only in the case of Indians, it was children who were being raised by “cultural dissidents” who were sent to be reeducated.  And the farther from home they could sent the better. In many cases the children would not see their families for years. And some never saw their families again. The conditions in the boarding schools were deplorable more often than not.  The nutrition was inadequate, they were often filthy and there was next to no healthcare. Disease was rampant,  and children with TB  and other contagious diseases often not only lacked medical care,  they were in many cases left to live in the same dormitories and attend classes with the kids who would then be exposed to these diseases. When parents tried to prevent their children from being sent away, food rations were cut, arrests made and the children were literally kidnapped and sent away.  Once at boarding schools, many children tried to run away.  Punishment for them was harsh, from beatings to starvation and isolation. In one case at Wrangell Institute boarding school which my father attended, a girl who had runaway was caught and forced to stand tied up in a hallway for hours. When she grew tired and leaned or tried to sit she was beaten with a stick. When she fell, she was beaten until she managed to get up again.
    Many children died at these boarding schools, and the extent of these deaths is just now being investigated. For example:

    During the first decades of the federal government’s Indian boarding schools, stories of morbidity and mortality among students were prevalent. Don’t Know How, a Lakota father, shared an all-too-common experience. Anticipating the return of his daughter from Hampton (Virginia) Institute, Don’t Know How constructed a new house, purchased a store, and adopted to the extent he could the trappings of white America. His daughter, meanwhile, returned from Hampton suffering from consumption. Within days she succumbed to the scourge of Indian Country: tuberculosis. Soon thereafter, Don’t Know How’s other daughter departed for Hampton, where in a few years she followed her sister “to the little cemetery on the hill.” In Hampton’s first ten years of educating American Indian students, one of every eleven students died (31 of 304) at school and one of every five died as did Don’t Know How’s daughters soon after returning home.

    http://muse.jhu.edu/…

    “A more complete history of the abuses endured by Native American children exists in the accounts of survivors of Canadian “residential schools.” Canada imported the U.S. boarding school model in the 1880s and maintained it well into the 1970s-four decades after the United States ended its stated policy of forced enrollment. Abuses in Canadian schools are much better documented because survivors of Canadian schools are more numerous, younger, and generally more willing to talk about their experiences.
    A 2001 report by the Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada documents the responsibility of the Roman Catholic Church, the United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the federal government in the deaths of more than 50,000 Native children in the Canadian residential school system.
    The report says church officials killed children by beating, poisoning, electric shock, starvation, prolonged exposure to sub-zero cold while naked, and medical experimentation, including the removal of organs and radiation exposure.”

    Recent invesitigations of U.S. boarding schools have reported the following:

    Both BIA and church schools ran on bare-bones budgets, and large numbers of students died from starvation and disease because of inadequate food and medical care. School officials routinely forced children to do arduous work to raise money for staff salaries and “leased out” students during the summers to farm or work as domestics for white families. In addition to bringing in income, the hard labor prepared children to take their place in white society-the only one open to them-on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder…
    Native scholars describe the destruction of their culture as a “soul wound,” from which Native Americans have not healed. Embedded deep within that wound is a pattern of sexual and physical abuse that began in the early years of the boarding school system. Joseph Gone describes a history of “unmonitored and unchecked physical and sexual aggression perpetrated by school officials against a vulnerable and institutionalized population.” Gone is one of many scholars contributing research to the Boarding School Healing Project.
    Rampant sexual abuse at reservation schools continued until the end of the 1980s, in part because of pre-1990 loopholes in state and federal law mandating the reporting of allegations of child sexual abuse. In 1987 the FBI found evidence that John Boone, a teacher at the BIA-run Hopi day school in Arizona, had sexually abused as many as 142 boys from 1979 until his arrest in 1987. The principal failed to investigate a single abuse allegation. Boone, one of several BIA schoolteachers caught molesting children on reservations in the late 1980s, was convicted of child abuse, and he received a life sentence. Acting BIA chief William Ragsdale admitted that the agency had not been sufficiently responsive to allegations of sexual abuse, and he apologized to the Hopi tribe and others whose children BIA employees had abused.
    The effects of the widespread sexual abuse in the schools continue to ricochet through Native communities today. “We know that experiences of such violence are clearly correlated with posttraumatic reactions including social and psychological disruptions and breakdowns,” says Gone.

    The abuse has dealt repeated blows to the traditional social structure of Indian communities….. Today, sexual abuse and violence have reached epidemic proportions in Native communities, along with alcoholism and suicide. By the end of the 1990s, the sexual assault rate among Native Americans was three-and-a-half times higher than for any other ethnic group in the U.S., according to the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. Alcoholism in Native communities is currently six times higher than the national average. Researchers are just beginning to establish quantitative links between these epidemic rates and the legacy of boarding schools.

    http://www.amnestyus…

    In my family’s case, my dad was sent to a boarding school about 800 miles from home. This was in the early 1930’s and that was an incredible distance to cover in those years.
    His sister was sent from Alaska to a boarding school in Kansas. My grandmother was not able to stop this. It was only when her husband (who was white) returned after several years in Sweden that he was able to get the kids back. In my mother’s case, she and her brothers and sisters were lucky because a church had started a local school for Indian kids in the town of  Saxman which they were able to attend.
    As I said they were among the lucky ones. The kids and parents who were separated throughout their school years were harmed in two ways people don’t always consider. First, children learn to parent by being parented. When they do not have role models to parent, they literally do not know how. So when they have kids, they are often lost as to how to raise them.

    In interviews with some of the individuals who had ateended boarding school, comments like this were heard”

    We heard from several respondents that their time away at boarding school, even when a good experience, contributed to their lack of parenting skills. One respondent said the following:

    Although we had some chances to do things, but we did miss out a lot that we could’ve learned from our parents. And then one thing that I often talk to my friends about is the fact that we missed out on being raised by our parents, being taught by our parents. And we missed out in having the opportunity to observe our parents raise kids our age. Because we were kids, we were 12 years old, 11, 12, 13 year old kids being away. The guidance, we missed out the guidance that we could have received from them… So when I see parents not doing anything with their children,
    not talking to their children, not disciplining their children, parents that are my age, I think about that. Because when I look at the parents, I see they’ve gone to St. Mary’s or Bethel or Edgecumbe or Chemawa, Oregon, Chilocco, Oklahoma, all those boarding schools that were popular at that time, they’re the parents that went.

    The phenomenon of children being removed from their homes affected not only the students, but their home villages as well. One respondent described the phenomenon of a healthy village being turned upside down: When the children were taken away to boarding school the parents turned to
    alcohol for solace. Three other interviewees, from two additional communities, shared similar tales about the adults from their villages becoming alcoholics after the children were sent away.

    http://www.iser.uaa….

    When the kids were taken from their parents, many times the parents just gave up. I’m sure most of us realize that when we have kids, we (hopefully) realize we have to grow up, become responsible, and work for our kids future. However, when kids on the reservation were taken away, that incentive was lost for many parents. With their kids torn from them, leaving them depressed and despondent, without hope, it was not unusual for the parents lives to also spiral downward. It has led to cycle of despair for many families on many reservations. Fortunately, many  The thing people should be surprised about concerning the level of abuse and neglect on, (and often times off) reservations is that it is not worse than it is.
    The work of women like Georgia Littleshield is what is going to turn this type of thing around. I thank all of you who support her.

    I Want Olbermann to Cover Pretty Bird Woman House

    ( – promoted by navajo)

    Olbermann’s contact information


    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


    Artwork by Tigana.

    I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of the main television media ignoring American Indian issues in general, and I’m even more sick and tired of conservative personalities spewing their racist venom towards American Indians. I think Olbermann would cover the critical issue of Pretty Bird Woman House if he were asked to by enough of us, but let’s look at some spewing of racist venom towards American Indians by conservative personalities first after a generalized observation of mine.

    Ironically, conservative personalities seem to actually “mention” Indian issues more than non – Indian liberal ones by my observations alone. Take for example, Anne Coulter’s “The little

    Injun that could.” Why?

    I think it’s because conservative personalities such as Coulter, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly find American Indians to be easy targets towards which they can project their racism, having accepted the lies of colonialism.

     


    Colonial Education

    The process of colonization involves one nation or territory taking control of another nation or territory either through the use of force or by acquisition. As a by-product of colonization, the colonizing nation implements its own form of schooling within their colonies. Two scholars on colonial education, Gail P. Kelly and Philip G. Altbach, help define the process as an attempt “to assist in the consolidation of foreign rule” (Kelly and Altbach 1).

    Coulter, Limbaugh, and O’Reilly all seem to have accepted the lies of colonialism by my estimations of them; consequently, Limbaugh spewed anti – Indian rhetoric, while O’Reilly didn’t know what hit him. We’ll address Limbaugh first.


    What in the hell was the uncompassionate, climate – disintegrating – denying – bully Limbaugh thinking when he spewed his racist venom towards eighteen year old Cheryl Charlee Lockwood  ofSt. Michaels, Alaska?

    (Bold and underline mine)


    A crying shame: Rush Limbaugh adds Alaskan to polarizing efforts

    The young woman, Cheryl Charlee Lockwood, 18, of St. Michaels was one of several young leaders to speak during the “Youth Leadership on Climate Change” hearing. It coincided with Power Shift 2007, a national youth summit involving thousands from across the nation on what the student organizers called “the climate crisis.”

    – snip –


    Mr. Limbaugh’s first-day reaction was to inaccurately and insultingly describe Ms. Lockwood as a 13-year-old Inupiat (she’s Yup’ik) girl from Alaska and cast her on par with the white actor who played the “crying Indian” during 1970s TV commercials aimed at littering. He decried her emotional testimony as a nauseating Democrat ploy.

    – snip –


    The coup de grace was Mr. Limbaugh laughing with a woman caller who claimed to be a former Alaska resident, now “a Texan by choice.” Of Ms. Lockwood’s testimony she said, “if they’re losing their way of life, that would probably mean the liquor store was closing.”

    What a disgusting and vile expression of modern racism. Add that to the truths that at least in Tulsa, “American Indians are more likely to be regarded with prejudice than are other minorities by white TU students, a study shows,” and this racist remark that was spewed after the Oklahoma Centennial protest –

    Indians mark centennial with protest march at state Capitol

    To all my Indian brethren – for those who are unhappy with what the “imperialists” did to your culture – move to the panhandle, set up teepees, and hunt for your food. If that’s what you want to go back to, quit whining and protesting and JUST DO IT!

    – and the picture of racism against American Indians just keeps becoming larger and more complete. So,  what was Limbaugh thinking?

    He was thinking anti – Indian and racist thoughts. Glaringly obvious, he would never cover Pretty Bird Woman House, except in a racial and discriminatory manner. What about O’Reilly?

    O’Reilly might still be in an emotional hangover from being put aptly in his place.

    TWEAKING BILL O’REILLY

    As it turned out, Bill O’Reilly himself was among those to see the video. Television’s angriest talking head was not pleased. O’Reilly responded to the video by airing it on his Fox News cable program and calling the Fairies “nutso” and “child abusers,” among other things, while suggesting that social services open a case to track down the little girl. Thankfully for the little girl, social services stayed away, but the attention did not. The video exploded across the blogosphere, and a million and a half hits and several death threats later, these child-abusing atheists became the 18th most subscribed-to band in the history of YouTube, right behind platinum-selling MC Mike Jones.

    So, scratch racist, conservative, Bush Republicans off the list for possibly helping; I think Keith Olbermann (email here) is the one to contact, don’t you?


    Please make a donation to the Pretty Bird Woman House if you can, and let’s get Keith Olbermann in on this.


    Mr. Olbermann,

    I respectfully request that you seriously consider covering the Pretty Bird Woman House in a future broadcast.


    The vital information that you need to know is at the internet location listed below.


    http://www.prettybir…


    Thankyou for your time and consideration. Please help.


    Sincerely,


    Anonymous

    Pretty Bird Woman House: Let’s Unbury some Hearts

    ( – promoted by navajo)

    Herstories on the issue of violence against women

    A Cheyenne proverb states, “A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors or how strong its weapons.” Our hearts are not on the ground. Our feet are. And we are moving forward.

    A travesty to the true spirit of justice is taking place on the Standing Rock Reservation that covers North and South Dakota. Predominantly white male rapists are sexually assaulting American Indian women and getting away with inadequate consequences or no consequences whatsoever.

    Show me a rapist of an American Indian woman and I’ll show you an upstanding member of society. That’s what the Major said about a man who plead guilty to raping an American Indian woman. Maybe the thieves and vandals who have caused property damage so severe that Pretty Bird Woman House had to close its doors for now are “upstanding citizens” as well.

    Thieves have stolen food and a television set from Pretty Bird Woman House. The very walls were smashed through to break inside or destroy it; then, it was set on fire.

    (Not Pretty Bird Woman House)
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    What if this occurred in a Caucasian controlled city or county? Allow me to share a story from my personal experience.

    I left a gig with horn and stand in hand; I was walking to the parking garage. I witnessed a couple fighting when I got to the elevator. “A little unusual, but none of my business,” I thought. However, next the man called his girlfriend a slut and slammed her up against the wall. It became my business. While three others were standing around, wondering if they should call 911, I said “Stop” firmly to him. Ignoring me, he became more violent; so, I commanded her to get out of the elevator.  One of the others was calling 911 at that point. She did not get out of the elevator, “My keys are in his truck.” He lowered his head and pushed his hand towards me for me to back off; he couldn’t look me in the eye. I told her to get out again. The doors closed.

    I told the others with cell phones to follow me up the stairs and to be calling 911. They bailed. I went to the second floor and waited. Nothing. I didn’t know which floor they went to, “Battered wife syndrome” I thought as I went down the stairs and found a police officer on the street. I told him what happened and he went into the parking garage to investigate. That is the difference between what happens on the Standing Rock Reservation and a Caucasian controlled city or county – justice.

    Source

    In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Oliphant v. the Suquamish Indian Tribe that tribal governments have no criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians. When a crime is committed, tribal police and their non-Indian counterparts must hash out whether the suspect is Indian or not.

    I have two primary reasons why I did what I did. The first one is that violence against women doesn’t happen in front of me; I won’t allow it. The second one is that that woman, whatever her name, is my cousin. She is my relative.

    Here is a CHIPIN CAMPAIGN from PiledHigherandDeeper, who asked me to do this here.

    Please make a donation at the CHIPIN CAMPAIGN for the Pretty Bird Woman House to help keep the hearts of the women off the ground.

    Source

    “I prefer to characterize rape simply as a form of torture.  Like the torturer, the rapist is motivated by the urge to dominate, humiliate, and destroy his victim.  Like a torturer, he does so by using the most intimate acts available to humans — sexual ones.”

    Helen Benedict, Virgin or Vamp, 1992