Teens Mock Native Elder During Friday’s Indigenous Peoples March

“A group of high school teens surrounded and jeered at Native American elder Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Jan. 18. The images in videos that went viral on social media Saturday showed a tense scene near the Lincoln Memorial.” The Washington Post

Nathan Phillips trends on social media.

Excerpt:  Teens mock Native American elder on the Mall-The Washington Post

“A Native American man steadily beats his drum at the tail end of Friday’s Indigenous Peoples March while singing a song of unity urging participants to ‘be strong’ against the ravages of colonialism that include police brutality, poor access to health care and the ill effects of climate change on reservations.

Surrounding him are a throng of young, mostly white teenage boys, several wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ caps. One stood about a foot from the drummer’s face wearing a relentless smirk.

Nathan Phillips, a veteran in the indigenous rights movement, was that man in the middle.

In an interview Saturday, Phillips, 64, said he felt threatened by the teens and that they swarmed around him as he and other activists were wrapping up the march and preparing to leave.

Phillips, who was singing the American Indian Movement song that serves as a ceremony to send the spirits home, said he noticed tensions beginning to escalate when the teens and other apparent participants from the nearby March for Life rally began taunting the dispersing indigenous crowd.

A few people in the March for Life crowd began to chant, ‘Build that wall, build that wall,’ he said.

‘It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’ Phillips recalled. ‘I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.’

The encounter generated a wave of outrage on social media less than a week after Trump made light of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre of several hundred Lakota Indians by the U.S. Cavalry in a tweet…

In a statement, the Indigenous Peoples Movement, which organized Friday’s march, called the incident ’emblematic of our discourse in Trump’s America.’

‘It clearly demonstrates the validity of our concerns about the marginalization and disrespect of Indigenous peoples, and it shows that traditional knowledge is being ignored by those who should listen most closely,’ Darren Thompson, an organizer for the group, said in the statement.

Some of the teens in the video wore sweatshirts from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Ky., which sent students to Washington to participate in Friday’s antiabortion March for Life event, according to an archived page of the school’s website that was taken down Saturday.

School officials and the Catholic Diocese of Covington released a joint statement Saturday.

‘We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general,’ the statement said. ‘The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.’

The diocese’s statement expressed regret that jeering, disrespectful students from a Catholic school had become the enduring image of the march…[Philips] said ‘It was an aggressive display of physicality. They were rambunctious and trying to instigate a conflict. ‘We were wondering where their chaperones were. [I] was really trying to defuse the situation.’

Phillips, an Omaha tribe elder who fought in the Vietnam War and lives in Michigan, has long been active in the indigenous rights movement. He said he hopes the teens will find a lesson in all of the negative attention generated by the videos.”

Category: Politics, Social

Homeless Urban Natives Receive Help From Rez Natives

“There were overdoses nearly every day in the grim homeless encampment near downtown. Diseases spread, with upward of 200 people cramming into dozens of tents. Fears rose among activists and the mostly Native American population living there that the city would crack down, which for them would have echoed the country’s dark history of treating indigenous people with force and contempt.” J. Eligon, The New York Times

Homeless. photo-mprnews.org

Excerpt: Native American Homeless Crisis in Minnesota Inspires an Unlikely Alliance, by J. Eligon, NYT

“But then, an unlikely solution surfaced.

Red Lake Nation, a tribe some four and a half hours’ drive north, offered to help build temporary shelters on land it had bought two years ago for a permanent housing development in the city. Other tribes in Minnesota supported Red Lake’s shelter proposal, forming a partnership to help win concessions from local officials and secure emergency relief.

James Cross comforts Yvonne after she became emotional while talking about her situation. Star Tribune

It was a rare show of unity by tribal nations to resolve an urban crisis, Native advocates said. And it represented a potential turning point in the sometimes distant relationship between Native Americans who live in urban areas and those who choose to remain on reservations…The majority of American Indians live in cities, although very little federal funding is directed specifically toward them. Tribal governments do receive federal dollars, but they usually go toward life on the reservation. There is rarely enough to expand resources and services needed in urban areas, where Native Americans often lack basic housing.

The homeless encampment in Minneapolis.

Clarista Johnson, 20, lived on the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe reservation. When her grandfather died, she said, she left drug treatment to mourn with her family, but then fell out with her aunt and boyfriend. Both of her parents were incarcerated. She considered her prospects on the reservation to be bleak, so she left for Minneapolis, about two hours south. ‘I thought maybe the cities would have more resources, more options,’ she said. Instead, she continued her struggles with meth and heroin addiction, and had no place to live.

For the past five months, she had been staying here at the encampment, in the city’s Native American corridor. Orange buckets for disposing used needles were scattered about and mangled tents were pitched beneath a noisy thoroughfare, the scent of burning wood choking the air. An elderly man limped around barefoot, his feet stiff…Roughly eight out of 10 American Indians do not live on reservations. The mass migration to cities, experts say, was prompted by the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, when the federal government, attempting to assimilate Native people, offered them incentives to leave their reservations. But assurances of opportunity gave way to discrimination, isolation, dead-end jobs and poor living conditions that continue today.

In September, after negotiations between Native-led nonprofits and the city failed to yield an agreement on a site for temporary shelters to address the homeless encampment, Sam Strong, the Red Lake Nation secretary, offered the tribe’s property, a solution that was quickly accepted…The parcel of land is just south of downtown. The tribe plans to build a complex with 110 units of affordable housing, and is expected to break ground next summer. It will also offer social services and cultural events, such as drum circles, Mr. Strong said…Ms. Johnson moved into the new temporary shelter late last week, and she now sleeps in one of its heated dome-like tents.  She can come and go as she pleases 24 hours a day and not be turned away, even if she is high — a policy that Native leaders pushed for to ensure a welcoming environment.

But Maggie Thunder Hawk, 56, worried that officials would eventually introduce onerous restrictions. She said that the facility ‘looks and feels like jail.’ She would give it a try, she said, but if she did not like it, ‘I’m going right back outside.’

When Red Lake breaks ground on its housing complex next summer, the temporary shelters will have to come down, and many former encampment dwellers, including Ms. Johnson, may find themselves back on the streets.”

Category: Culture

2019 Native Students: “Broken promises — that’s all you get from the school.”

“At Wolf Point High School in rural Montana, Native American students face the same neglect Native students across the U.S. do as they navigate a school system that has failed American Indians.” E L. Green and A. Waldman, The New York Times

Ms. Fourstar, center, spending time with friends at the Wadopana celebration in August.CreditAnnie Flanagan for The New York Times

Excerpt: I feel Invisible: Native Students Languish in Public Schools By E L. Green and A. Waldman, The NYT

The faint scars on Ruth Fourstar’s arms testify to a difficult life on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation: the physical and emotional abuse at home, the bullying at school, the self-harm that sent her rotating through mental health facilities and plunged her to a remedial program from the honor roll. A diploma from Wolf Point High School could be a ticket out of this isolated prairie town in eastern Montana. Instead, Ms. Fourstar, 17, sees her school as a dead end.

The tutoring she was promised to get her back on track did not materialize. An agreement with the high school principal to let her apply credits earned in summer courses toward graduation fell through, Ms. Fourstar said. The special education plan that the school district developed for her, supposedly to help her catch up, instead laid out how she should be disciplined. Her family fears that she will inflict the pain of not graduating on herself. ‘I’m just there,’ Ms. Fourstar said. ‘I feel invisible.’

Jayden Joe, who attended Wolf Point High School, fatally shot himself last year. Credit A. Flanagan NYT

Her despondency is shared by other Native students at Wolf Point and across the United States. Often ignored in the national conversation about the public school achievement gap, these students post some of the worst academic outcomes of any demographic group, which has been exacerbated by decades of discrimination, according to federal reports. The population is also among the most at risk: Underachievement and limited emotional support at school can contribute to a number of negative outcomes for Native youths — even suicide. Citing these factors, in 2014, the Obama administration declared Native youths and their education to be in a ‘state of emergency.’ While the Interior Department’s Bureau of Indian Education runs about 180 Native-only schools, more than 90 percent of Native students attend integrated public schools near or on reservations, like Wolf Point.

Annette Henderson, 18, is a senior at Wolf Point High School. Credit A. Flanagan-NYT

In June 2017, the Tribal Executive Board of Fort Peck filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights requesting a federal investigation into the tribe’s contention that the Wolf Point school system discriminates against Native students…According to the complaint and to interviews with dozens of students and families, Wolf Point schools provide fewer opportunities and fewer social and academic supports to Native students, who make up more than half of the student body, than to the white minority. The junior and senior high schools, which together have an enrollment of about 300, shunt struggling Native students into a poorly funded, understaffed program for remedial and truant students, often against their will…One of the few places where Ms. Fourstar has flourished at the high school is the Opportunity Learning Center, an ‘alternative’ program with more than 50 students — about 95 percent of them Native. They spend a couple of periods to most of the school day there.

Cookie Ragland, the program’s director and only full-time staff member, is white and grew up just west of the reservation. She has devoted her career to students who ‘don’t fit into mainstream, traditional educational classrooms’ and was drawn to Wolf Point in 2003 because it had the only alternative program in northeastern Montana.

For her classroom, Ms. Ragland procured a refrigerator, which she stocked with sandwich supplies, and a washer and dryer for students who did not have homes. She allowed Native students to earn a biology credit for going fishing and bringing back their catch to dissect. She spurned worksheets and encouraged students to do research papers on topics that interested them.

In recent years, though, the school administration has given Ms. Ragland ‘little financial or other support,’ according to the tribal board’s complaint. It has ordered her to stop developing Native-centered curriculums and taking students on field trips. At one point, it required learning center students to enter the school through a back door. 

Because she considers the school ‘toxic,’ she said, she encourages some Native students to take a nontraditional path to graduation, such as a training program called Job Corps or the Montana Youth Challenge Academy. Ms. Ragland’s approach has been criticized by parents who say that steering students toward outside programs can set them back even further, and by some Native students who say Ms. Ragland appears to have lower expectations for them. ‘I’m not saying I’m a miracle worker,’she said. ‘I’ve lost students, and there are students that aren’t happy with me. I try to be consistent and fair, but I’m not perfect.’

Andrew Youpee, 16, practiced basketball behind Wolf Point High School. A. Flanagan NYT

Over her grandmother’s objections, Ms. Fourstar wants to complete her high school education at a Native boarding school in Oregon. She sees the faraway school as the only way out of Wolf Point and the issues plaguing her community.”

Category: Education

Native Veterans Honor Their Culture and Fallen Comrades

“There are few things more pride inspiring than our native brothers and sisters reclaiming our love of country. These veterans danced their way around the circle in uniform at the Lame Deer Powwow in 2018.” C. Oestreich, Pow Wows

 Click Here to see the Warriors Dance

 

 

Manataka American Indian Council

Category: Culture, Holidays, Military

“Missionary’s Killing Reignites Debate About Isolated Tribes: Contact or Stay Away?”

“The recent killing of an American missionary by members of an isolated tribe on a small island in the Indian Ocean has reignited questions about the fate of the last few groups of people living off the grid…experts say they may not survive undisturbed for much longer.” E. Londono, The New York Times

A tribesman aiming his bow at an Indian helicopter in 2004, as it flew over North Sentinel Island. Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Excerpt: Missionary’s Killing Reignites Debate About Isolated Tribes: Contact, Support, or Stay Away? By Ernesto Londono, The New York Times

“In an era when people across the globe are hyper-connected by technology and increasingly interlocked economies, the survival of a few dozen groups of hunter-gatherers living in complete isolation may seem extraordinary. Because most of these groups are small and highly vulnerable, anthropologists and indigenous activists have been debating whether it makes more sense to leave them alone — or try to establish contact with them to offer basic medical care, such as vaccines.

Members of an isolated tribe in the Amazon basin, where most such groups live. G. Miranda-Funai:Survival International

Here are some basic facts about the world’s remaining isolated tribes.

How many are there, and where?

Anthropologists and activists who study the issue say it’s hard to know for certain. But based on satellite images and field research, experts believe there are more than 100 communities living in isolation. The only relatively large community outside of South America belongs to the Sentinelese, who live on North Sentinel Island. It is nominally part of India, but technically a sovereign territory.

That is where John Allen Chau, the American, was killed on a mission to convert the local residents to Christianity.

Why do these communities choose to remain isolated?

Based on accounts from people who have ceased living in isolation, and those who have had fleeting contact with these societies, experts say members of these communities are fearful that contact with outsiders would bring disease and mistreatment.

‘Many tribes in the frontier region of Brazil and Peru are probably survivors of the rubber boom who witnessed the enslavement and atrocities against indigenous peoples and fled to the headwaters of the Amazon to evade capture,’ said Jonathan Mazower, an expert on isolated communities at Survival, a London-based organization that advocates greater protection for the groups. ‘The historical memory of this era is likely to have been passed down to the current generation,’ he said.

Are these communities endangered?

Loggers, miners, cattle ranchers and drug traffickers have encroached on the territories of these groups, exposing them to violence and disease.

Anthropologists at the University of Missouri who study the size and resilience of these groups, based on satellite images and photos shot from aircraft, classify the ones they track as either ‘vulnerable’ or’critical.’

Is there a safe, ethical way to contact and support indigenous people?

Robert Walker and Kim Hill, two prominent anthropologists who study isolated societies, argued in an essay published in 2015 that it was time to reconsider the no-contact policy that governments like Brazil and Peru have maintained in recent years…Mr. Walker and Mr. Hill wrote in the essay, published in the magazine Science. ‘Disease epidemics, compounded by demographic variability and inbreeding effects, makes the disappearance of small, isolated groups very probable in the near future.’

Survival disagrees, and instead calls on governments to redouble efforts to keep outsiders from the territories where these communities live.

‘These uncontacted peoples make a judgment that they are better off remaining uncontacted and independent, fending for themselves,’ Mr. Mazower said. ‘Where their lands are protected and their right to remain uncontacted is upheld, they live healthy lives and are totally self-sufficient.’

Category: Native Rights, Social

Native Humor: Native Christmas Memes

“We all love the internet cannon fodder known as memes. Those sarcastic, funny, one-panel comic photos that people make and share on social media. Some are pretty famous even…here are a few Native-style, we found some, we made some.” V. Schilling, ICT

V. Schilling-ICT

Excerpt: Native Christmas memes and comics to get you into the holiday mood By Vincent Schilling, ICT

“In order to get you into the holiday spirit, albeit a bit spiced with a bit of sarcasm, here a a collection pf Native-themed Christmas memes or one panel comics we found or were made.

Meme V. Schilling: J. Anderson

If we have the photographer’s name we will include it, otherwise we found the meme in the annals of the internet. Enjoy! And happy holidays!”

V. Schilling ICT

 

Category: Holidays