Welcome to News from Native American Netroots, a Sunday evening series focused on indigenous tribes primarily in the United States and Canada but inclusive of international peoples also.
A special thanks to our team for contributing the links that have been compiled here. Please provide your news links in the comments below.
Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley, Jr., today ordered flags on the Navajo Nation to be flown at half-staff from June 3 through June 6 in honor and recognition of the late Navajo Code Talker Lemuel Bahe Yazzien of Whitecone, Ariz., who died Friday. [May 28, 2010]
He was 91. He was born on June 2, 1918, and would have turned 92 today.
“The late Reverend Lemuel B. Yazzie was a renowned Navajo Code Talker who served the United States of America, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the Navajo Nation during World War II with courage, honor and distinction,” President Shirley said in a proclamation to be issued Thursday.
“The Rev. Yazzie endured the horrors of combat during the occupation of China and was in a radio platoon in a forward echelon against hostile forces. The Navajo Nation unites and offers prayers and deepest condolences to his family during this time of grief.”
In 2002, he received the Congressional Silver Medal for his Marine service.
Seven teen suicides around the small towns of Thoreau and Prewitt in McKinley County have led state, federal, school and Navajo officials to join forces, the Albuquerque Journal reported over the weekend.
Agencies, especially those of the Navajo Nation, are providing counseling and staffing a 24-hour hotline to deal with the fallout from seven suicides by teens 17 and younger, the Journal tells us.
Michelle Linn-Gust, president-elect of the American Association of Suicidology, told Journal reporter Olivier of the unimaginable pain left in the wake of the teens’ suicides and how important it was for health professionals to help the communities grapple with that reality.
In April, three Farmington men used a heated coat hanger to brand a swastika into the arm of a mentally challenged Navajo man. The community was shocked, but the branding was part of a recent spate of violence against Navajos that began in 2006, just a few years after the New Mexico Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights returned to the city to assess how things have changed since another violent incident 30 years ago.
Farmington has struggled with racial violence
In the mid-1970s, an economic boycott and weekly protests by Navajos brought attention to the city after three young Anglos were sent to reform school rather than jail after torturing and killing three Navajo men.
In 1975, the Commission on Civil Rights produced The Farmington Report: A Conflict of Cultures, which described a city ill-equipped to handle a “crisis in race in relations&rdsquo; and detailed the discrimination faced by Navajos. In its 2005 follow-up, The Farmington Report: Civil Rights for Native Americans 30 Years Later, the commission noted continued discrimination in the city but also said significant progress had been made.
ELKO, Nev. (AP) — The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs plans a northeast Nevada meeting ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline for Western Shoshone tribe members to apply for government land loss settlement money.
A Bureau of Indian Affairs official, Matt Crain, tells the Elko Daily Free Press the June 19 meeting at the Elko Colony Gymnasium will be about the distribution of about $185 million in settlement money.
A 2004 law authorizes distribution of money set aside in 1978 by the federal Indian Claims Commission for lands acquired through so-called “gradual encroachment.”
Lawmakers on the country’s largest American Indian reservation have voted to formally oppose Arizona’s tough new immigration law.
Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay sponsored the measure. He says he sees the immigration law as an attempt to harass American Indians, who can resemble Mexican nationals.
Flagstaff, Ariz » A proposal to swap reclaimed wastewater for more expensive drinking-quality water for snowmaking at a northern Arizona ski resort got a cold reception Thursday before the Flagstaff Water Commission.
Under the proposal, the city of Flagstaff would allow reclaimed wastewater to seep into the ground and be pumped from city wells for use at the Arizona Snowbowl, instead of shipping the water directly from a wastewater treatment to the resort just outside Flagstaff.
Members of the public spoke overwhelmingly against the commission making an immediate recommendation to the City Council on the plan. They instead pushed for more time to allow residents and area tribes to weigh in.
The Nez Perce Tribe is again challenging a plan that decides how much water is diverted from Webb and Sweetwater creeks to a Lewiston irrigation district, saying it does not leave enough for the threatened steelhead.
The Lewiston Tribune reported the tribe filed a federal lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division on Tuesday in Moscow.
Tribal Chairman McCoy Oatman argues the agency’s plan prioritizes water for lawns and landscaping for residents of Lewiston Orchards over the needs of the fish.
In April, the federal agency issued a new plan that requires 2.5 cubic feet of water per second be allowed to flow past a diversion dam on Sweetwater Creek from June through October, while leaving 1 cfs in Webb Creek. The tribe successfully challenged an earlier plan.
A Wyoming senator says he won’t withdraw an amendment to a proposed $3.4 billion government settlement with American Indians. That’s despite both sides in the class-action lawsuit saying the changes could scuttle the deal.
The lawsuit accuses the government of mismanaging revenue held in trust for Indian landowners. The proposed agreement calls for the Interior Department to distribute money to hundreds of thousands of Indians.
The Senate faces a June 15 deadline to approve the deal.
Republican Sen. John Barrasso has suggested some revisions, including capping attorney fees at $50 million.
The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians has been granted a restraining order in the Superior Court of California-San Diego County to halt the Padre Dam Municipal Water District from “further desecrating a recently-unearthed Kumeyaay burial and ceremonial ground,” a statement issued by Viejas announced. Padre Dam Municipal Water District is constructing a new reservoir and pumping station at the site, which is on approximately two acres south of I-8 near Lake Jennings Park Road and Old Highway 80.
In a hearing yesterday, Judge Judith Hayes ordered the District to avoid construction over roughly two-thirds of the construction site until at least June 25, when the hearing for a permanent injunction is scheduled. A representative for California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office appeared at today’s hearing and spoke in favor of the restraining order.
On June 1, the Tonto Apache Tribe and the United States Department of Interior completed a lands to trust acquisition that added 293 acres of land adjacent to the tribe’s existing reservation to be held in trust for the benefit of the Tribe.
The acquisition will more than quadruple the size of the tribe’s existing 85-acre reservation which was originally set aside for the tribe by federal law on Oct. 6, 1972. The tribe’s present reservation and the additional 293 acres are all lands within the vast aboriginal territory occupied by the Tonto Apache.
The road to obtain the 293 acres has been long and arduous, and is a testament to the perseverance of the Tonto Apache people to survive in the face of all odds. During the early 1900s, many tribal members were returning home after being incarcerated on the San Carlos Apache Reservation as the result of a forced march of hundreds of miles by the United States Cavalry in the winter of 1875, where many died of exposure. This imprisonment at San Carlos in the late 1800s cleared the way for Anglo settlers to move into the Tonto Apache territory — making the Tonto Apache unwelcome in their own homelands.
For as long as anyone can remember, Churro sheep have been central to Navajo life and spirituality, yet the animal was nearly exterminated in modern times by outside forces who deemed it an inferior breed. Now, on a Navajo reservation of northern Arizona and New Mexico, the Churro is being shepherded back to health.
The Navajo Nation is the size of West Virginia, and at last count, 175,000 people live here. Most people are spread out in small clusters that you see off in the distance from the highway. Amongst modern prefab houses and hogans, the multisided traditional homes of the Navajo, are often corrals with small bands of sheep grazing nearby.
“Sometimes you find me, and I just want to sit in the corral with them,” Navajo weaver Roy Kady says. “Just find a corner and I sit there. They motivate me, even just to see them; it’s that strong to me.”
A former Penobscot Indian Nation chief is calling on national indigenous organizations to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery and all laws and policies based on it.
Penobscot elder and former Chief Jim Sappier has drafted an identical resolution for the United South and Eastern Tribes and the National Congress of American Indians in support of the Episcopal Church’s “Call for Justice for Indigenous Peoples” to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery.
The resolutions have been forwarded and will be presented at USET’s semi-annual meeting June 14 — 17 in Mobile, Ala., and NCAI’s mid-year conference June 20 — 23 in Rapid City, S.D.
Oglala Lakota College has a Plan A and a Plan B in the works for expanding its increasingly popular He Sapa College Center on Knollwood Drive in Rapid City.
The center started offering classes here in leased spaces in 1983, and has grown from about 30 students in the beginning to 565 today. Its current campus opened in 1999, and had a four-classroom expansion three years ago.
“We are growing with each semester,” campus director Shirley Lewis said.
If the Red Earth Pow-Wow is a statement of multi-tribal diversity, then painter Matt Bearden is a poster boy for the cause. The Citizen Potawatomi Nation member went to school in Cherokee Country in Tahlequah, Okla. lives in Osage Country in Hominy, Okla. and paints primarily Southern Plains subjects.
“You see a lot of different influences in my work.”
Native American artists can learn strategies for protecting and promoting their authentic Indian-made works at an upcoming workshop on Sunday, July 11, hosted by the Cherokee Nation and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, U.S. Dept. of the Interior.
Experts from the IACB will provide an overview of laws that govern the sale of Indian art and craft work, as well as how to protect an artist’s work using patents, copyrights and trademarks. Additional information will be shared about Internet marketing strategies and related business advice.
Letting the Arrows Fly at Hollywood Stereotypes
Setting off in his barely road-worthy “rez car,” Mr. Diamond films a series of bittersweet, and sometimes bitingly funny, encounters. A husband and wife, Navajo elders who worked as extras in John Ford westerns, see themselves on screen for the first time and recall how the Indian dialogue in those films was often significantly different from (and more obscene than) what was in the script. At the Pine Ridge reservation, the activist Russell Means remembers being in the trading post during the 1973 stand-off at Wounded Knee and watching on television as Sacheen Littlefeather turned down the best actor Oscar on Marlon Brando’s behalf, citing “the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry.”
In a more somber and troubling sequence, Mr. Diamond’s camera watches the faces of grade-school students at the Crow Agency as they watch the scenes of Indians being slaughtered in “Little Big Man.”
Clips from decades of Hollywood westerns illustrate Mr. Diamond’s points; one withering sequence shows white actors in red face: Burt Lancaster, Charles Bronson, Elvis Presley, Burt Reynolds. The gallery of talking heads includes American Indian artists like the director Chris Eyre, the artist-activist John Trudell and the comedian Charlie Hill, who over a montage of death-by-arrow scenes says: “The best part of any movie was when you heard pffffft. Oh, I loved that.”
It’s powwow season and dancers and singers are gearing up for one of the biggest powwows in Oklahoma — the Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival that takes place this weekend in Oklahoma City. Young Buffalo Horse Singers, an Oklahoma northern drum group, is one of this year’s invited drums.
“It’s kind of weird to see a northern drum group in Oklahoma,” Robert Lincoln said. He is Ojibwe, Choctaw and Cherokee and he grew up singing northern drum songs.
“Northern style singing is a lot higher pitched, and the drum beats are a lot different,” Lincoln said. “But a similarity between northern and southern drum groups is that we all have a respect for songs.”
Thanks to the Zapatistas
The indigenous peoples of Mexico became visible at last on New Year’s Day 1994, and forced the entire country to listen, thanks to the legendary cry of ‘enough’ from the Zapatistas, when they opened a crack in history, rose up in arms and said ‘here we are’. Never before had the country’s indigenous peoples, their demands and protests, taken centre stage in the national debate. The national civil society now knew that they had much to learn from the indigenous peoples, whether those of Mayan descent or all the others.
Thanks to the Zapatistas, new hope was reborn in the left, demoralised following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Mexico and other countries gave birth to a new generation of activists and social thinkers born out of new ideas of liberation and democracy, and new ways of expressing the old good ideas.
The Indians became confident, they stopped merely asking, they were determined to demand and to resist. The epicentre of this great explosion onto the world stage was the recovery of lands, which had been taken over by farmers and ranchers who despised the people and despised their workers, whether or not they were in bonded serfdom…..
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake and tsunamis that battered south-central Chile in February inflicted widespread suffering on that region’s native Mapuche. Yet for many Mapuche, the worst natural disaster to hit Chile in 50 years was just another setback in their decades of struggle to recuperate lost land and defend their culture.
Three months after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake fractured south-central Chile, President Sebastian Piñera, who took office less than two weeks after the quake, is focused on coordinating reconstruction. But Chile’s new president — one of the country’s richest men and its first leader from the right in 20 years — may also be steering the government toward greater conflict with that region’s Mapuche.
After two months of relative calm following the quake, Mapuche activists have resumed demonstrations to pressure the government to return ancestral lands and free their jailed leaders. On April 23, approximately 200 members of the Mapuche Territorial Alliance protested in the southern city of Temuco to demand the government restart negotiations for the purchase of approximately 24,000 acres of land claimed by dozens of communities. Protest organizers warned that Mapuche activists would occupy some of those properties in one month if the government didn’t resume the negotiations, which were suspended after Piñera won the presidency.
Ecuador could soon become the fourth country in the Western Hemisphere to have indigenous languages included in the list of the nation’s official languages.
In late July, the National Constituent Assembly — the political entity that is writing what could become the country’s new constitution — decided to include Quechua and Shuar, along with Spanish, as official languages. The proposed constitution will be put to a national vote Sept. 28.
Originally, assembly members had only listed Spanish in the first draft of that section of the constitution. This exclusion provoked a quick reaction from indigenous participants and their allies.
The bottom line of real climate change is that it is being censored and distorted in the news.
I’ve been busy trying to give away articles on the Native American delegations to the Bolivia Climate Conference. As far as I can tell, none of the newspapers in and around Indian country published the articles. This is unusual. Normally newspapers are anxious to publish articles on local people involved in newsworthy events, especially when they have been working diligently with Bolivian President Evo Morales.
There is a reason to take note of this. In the United States, Indian Nations are financially dependent on gouging out Mother Earth’s liver for coal and power plants and depleting natural resources for other exploitative industries.