Shakopee Mdewakanton Tribe Donates 4 Million to Help Others

“The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) on Thursday announced a package of donations totaling more than $4 million for Native American causes in Minnesota and six other states. Examples of projects funded by the donations include broadband internet, community center renovations, college scholarships and water treatment facilities.” SWNews Media

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Charlie Vig

Excerpt: Tribe donates $4 million to Native American causes–SWNews Media

“There are so many needs across Indian Country, and the SMSC’s financial support will go a long way toward improving the lives of many people, especially children and future generations,’ said SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig. The SMSC has donated approximately $350 million to organizations and causes in the past 25 years.

The SMSC announced the new multi-million package of donations less than one month after making a $200,000 gift to fund living allowances for AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers working to improve Native nutrition, as part of the SMSC’s $5 million Seeds of Native Health campaign. It was the first time in VISTA’s history in which a tribe provided funding to deploy VISTA members nationally. In an editorial lauding Seeds of Native Health, the Star Tribune called the tribe a ‘philanthropic force.’

Category: Uncategorized

Mississippi Choctaws Adding a New Casino!

“Mississippi’s only Indian casino operator plans to expand to a third site. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians says it will open a casino on the reservation’s Red Water community, on the northern edge of Carthage in Leake County.”

Excerpt: Mississippi Choctaws approve plan for casino near Carthage The Washington Times

“The band operates two interlinked casinos just west of Philadelphia, as well as one at the Bok Homa community near Sandersville in Jones County. The Tribal Council voted 9-7 for the plan Friday, a news release states.

Golden Moon Hotel and Casino

Silver Star Choctaw Casino

The tribe says the new casino will open within a year in a 35,000-square-foot building featuring 500 slot machines, 10 table games, and restaurants. Chief Phyllis Anderson says the proposed casino will help generate more jobs and more revenue for the tribe’s growing population, which now has nearly 11,000 enrolled members.”

Visit Tribalpedia to learn more about the Choctaw Natives

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Tohono O’odham Tribe Will Reject Border Wall in Arizona!

“Donald Trump’s proposed border wall could face a major obstacle in Arizona, where an indigenous tribe has vowed to oppose construction on its land…The Tohono O’odham Nation, a federally recognized tribe with a reservation that spans 75 miles of the US-Mexico border, announced on Thursday that it does not support the wall and criticized the White House for signing an executive order without consulting the tribe.” S. Levin, The Guardian

Excerpt: ‘Over my dead body’: tribe aims to block Trump’s border wall  on Arizona land, By Sam Levin, The Guardian

Verlon Jose Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation

“The Tohono O’odham’s statement calls for a meeting with the president and comes after a tribal vice-chairman declared the government would build the wall ‘over my dead body’. Earlier in his first week in office, Trump also promised to push forward with the the Dakota Access pipeline, which last year attracted an unprecedented gathering of indigenous groups to back the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in its fight against the oil project.

The Tohono O’odham tribe, which has roughly 28,000 members and controls 2.8m acres of a reservation in south-western Arizona, has long struggled with the militarized international border that was drawn through the middle of its traditional lands.

The O’odham people historically inhabited lands that stretched south to Sonora, Mexico, and just north of Phoenix, Arizona, and there are tribe members who still live in Mexico. The tribe today has the second largest Native American land base in the country, and indigenous people say the US Border Patrol has for decades significantly disrupted tribal communities and their day-to-day life.

The tribe has said that Border Patrol agents in the past have detained and deported Tohono O’odham people who were simply traveling through their own traditional lands, practicing migratory traditions essential to their religion, economy and culture.

An effigy of Donald Trump stands on a symbolic wall built by protesters outside the US embassy in Mexico City. Photograph- Edgard Garrido:Reuters

Trump would face numerous legal hurdles if he attempted to build a wall on Tohono O’odham land, which functions under law as an autonomous government…if the government moved to start construction, large demonstrations like Standing Rock could emerge.”

Category: Politics

How Obamacare Repeal Will Hurt Native Americans

“The federal government promised free healthcare to tribes in treaties more than a century ago. The legislation that protects and modernizes those treaty promises was rolled into the ACA when it became law in 2010. With the ACA on the chopping block, this legislation could vanish, tribal leaders say.” N. Subbaraman, BuzzFeed

Healthcare is hard to come for many tribes.

Excerpt: Here’s How Obamacare Repeal Could Hurt Native Americans By Nidi Subbaraman, BuzzFeed

“Nine tribal health boards, the National Indian Health Board, and political groups including the National Congress of American Indians sent a letter to Congress in December [2016], asking to preserve sections that addressed healthcare for tribes.

Pine Ridge ND.

Repealing these provisions and the IHCIA (Indian Health Care Improvement Act) now would have disastrous consequences for the Indian health system, they wrote, with urban and rural health centers losing 3rd party revenue, legal authorities, and life-saving programs.

Of primary concern are a series of amendments to the IHCIA, rules that were bundled in with the ACA. Originally passed in 1976, the law laid out the responsibilities of the Indian Health Service, which provides healthcare to tribes. But it was revised substantially in 2010…Senate Republicans took the first steps towards repealing the ACA by voting for repeal plans as soon as January 27, 2017. Similar actions are expected from the House of Representatives… the result could be a lot of harm to the Indian health care system as it works today, said Geoffrey Strommer…an attorney who works on tribal law and healthcare.

Obama increased support for Naitves. Photo:politicalticker

From my perspective taking away Medicaid would be devastating, said Donald Warne, chair of the Department of Public Health at North Dakota State University. In North Dakota, one of the states that has expanded Medicaid, private insurance has begun to cover many services that the underfunded Indian Health Service cannot provide. If Medicaid were to go away, We can’t even do things like cancer screening or a colonoscopy, Warne said. Taking insurance from American Indians or any other population will kill people.”

Category: Health

Debunking the Myth: Natives Never ‘Sold’ Manhattan!

“The squat clapboard house overlooking the Hudson River in the West Village might not seem like an obvious place for a Native American prayer center. Its graffiti-strewn facade faces the busy West Side Highway, with a city bus stop out front…The house’s ground floor now sits directly on Manhattan soil, said Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, 76, a wealthy activist who bought the property in 2006. He says he is essentially donating it back to its original owners: the Lenape Indians…Mr. Bourgeois said he had always been troubled by the well-known and not quite accurate legend that, four centuries ago, the Lenape sold Manhattan to Dutch settlers for the equivalent of $24 worth of goods.‘It’s quite offensive,’ he said. It’s a form of conquest.” C. Kilgannon, The New York Times

Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, right, wants to turn a house in the West Village into a prayer center. Anthony Jay Van Dunk, left, a former chief of the Ramapough Lenape Nation.Sam Hodgson NYT

Excerpt: Giving Back a ‘Stolen’ Property to the Original Manhattanites, By Corey Kilgannon, The New York Times

“Mr. Bourgeois pointed to a hole recently jackhammered through the thick concrete flooring of the house, which left black soil exposed underneath. You can actually touch Manhattan soil — the idea is to be in touch with Mother Earth, he said, adding that the plan was to remove the concrete and simply have a dirt floor. Anthony Jay Van Dunk, a former chief of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, a tribe based in Mahwah, N.J., is Mr. Bourgeois’s choice to start a prayer house, or a Pahtamawiikan, as it is known in one of the languages spoken by the Lenape.

A hole in the house’s concrete floor exposes soil underneath. You can actually touch Manhattan soil — the idea is to be in touch with Mother Earth. CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times

Mr. Van Dunk, 54, a Brooklyn woodworker who is active in Native American issues, pointed out that, if such a transaction had taken place, the Lenape might have meant it as a good-will exchange for sharing the land, and not as transferring ownership, especially because the tribe did not believe anyone could own land or water. The Lenape tried to embrace and share, Mr. Van Dunk said. And in return, they got everything taken, even their lives.

Mr. Bourgeois said he bought the squat clapboard house, at 392 West Street, in 2006 for $2.2 million. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Now, of course, Manhattan — whose name comes from the Lenape tongue, meaning roughly ‘the land of many hills’ — has been developed to the hilt into a center of global commerce…Mr. Bourgeois said that he bought the building, 392 West Street, in 2006 for $2.2 million, and that it had probably appreciated in value to about $4 million. With three floors and less than 3,000 square feet, it is one of the last wood-frame buildings along the Hudson waterfront.

Ramapough indians enter the powwow by john st john photography

Though some documentation describes the house as being built in the 1830s, Mr. Bourgeois said he believed it may actually date to the 1770s. Over the centuries, it has been home to a saloon, a gambling parlor, an oyster house and a pool hall, Mr. Bourgeois said, and in recent decades it housed bars. He said that when he bought it, there were peep show machines inside, which he had removed. He said he initially hoped to turn the house into a museum dedicated to clean water issues that would include a seven-story waterfall installation designed by his mother.

If Lapowinsa, the Lenape chief (seen here in a 1735 portrait by Gustavus Hesselius), were alive today, he could look forward to hanging out on Weehawken St. at the future Lenape West Village H.Q.

It would also have a waterless composting toilet restricted to people who ate only organic food. He admits now that the plan was ‘a bit too utopian. Mr. Bourgeois lives half a block from the house in an apartment filled with files and books related to his activism. He recently returned from several weeks in North Dakota protesting a proposed oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

The Ramapough-Lenape gathering is the bridge that guides us back to our bond to the earth. Photo Credit- Marire Longo

He said that he donated about $1 million to the campaign against the pipeline, and that he hoped the prayer house would be a way to celebrate and promote Native American ideals and political empowerment.”

Category: History

President Obama’s Last Gift to Natives and Others

“President Obama has designated two areas in the deserts of southern Nevada and Utah as national monuments, after years of fighting and debate over the management of both areas. The newly created Bears Ears National Monument will protect roughly 1.35 million acres of land in southeast Utah from future development. Gold Butte National Monument will give federal protections to roughly 300,000 acres in southwest Nevada…The designation is a win for a number of groups. Environmental activists and Native American tribes have been fighting for protection of both areas for years and are applauding the decision.” N. Rott, NPR

Obama at Tribal Nations Conference

Bear’s Ears. photo- hear2heal

Map of proposed Bears Ears National monument in southeastern Utah. St George News

Excerpt:  Obama Designates Two New National Monuments In Nevada And Utah–By Nathan Rott, NPR

“In a statement, Obama said the designations protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archaeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes. Those protections begin immediately, but how long they’ll last is uncertain.

State and local politicians in Utah and Nevada have vowed to fight any federal designations on state land, calling them land grabs and executive overreach — arguments heard in many parts of the rural West…Obama has used executive power to establish or expand national monuments 29 times during his tenure, most recently in California, Hawaii and the Atlantic Ocean. But the designations in Nevada and Utah, two largely rural, Republican-held states, could prove to be the most contentious.

The Navajo, Hopi, Uintah & Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni all have ancestral ties to Bears Ears. Under the new designation, they’ll co-manage the national monument with the federal government and will still be allowed to access the land for tribal ceremonies, firewood and herb collection, hunting, grazing and outdoor recreation.

Gold Butte. photo- Friends of Nevada Wilderness

As a coalition of five sovereign Native American tribes in the region, we are confident that today’s announcement of collaborative management will protect a cultural landscape that we have known since time immemorial said Alfred Lomahquahu, vice chairman of Hope Tribe.

Gold Butte is home to the Moapa Band of Paiutes and has a number of archaeological sites, which have seen a recent rise in vandalism as anti-federal-government sentiments have simmered in Nevada.”

President Barak Obama

Today, I am designating two new national monuments in the desert landscapes of southeastern Utah and southern Nevada to protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes… Importantly, today I have also established a Bears Ears Commission to ensure that tribal expertise and traditional knowledge help inform the management of the Bears Ears National Monument and help us to best care for its remarkable national treasures.

Thank you all for your partnership. Thank you for this journey.

I’ll see you on the other side. May God bless you. God bless the United States of America. ~President Barack Obama~December 28, 2016

Category: Culture