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

Where is the “Thanks” for The Mashpee Wampanoags?

“A week before Thanksgiving, members of the same tribe who helped the pilgrims survive 400 years ago stood before the nation’s Capitol Building. But instead of celebrating, they spoke out against the Trump administration’s decision to take their reservation away.”  ICTMN

Mashpee Indians. Photo- newsmaven.io

Excerpt: Give Back Our Reservation: Mashpee Wampanoag…ICTMN

“Yesterday morning over 200 members of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, their allies, and supporters marched from the National Museum of the American Indian to the Capitol. They sang traditional songs, chanted slogans and held signs speaking out against the Department of the Interior’s September 7 announcement revoking the trust status of 321 acres of Mashpee land.

‘What we’re seeing is a direct assault and attack on Indigenous people’s sovereignty,’ Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell said. ‘And sovereignty’s a powerful word.’

The Department of Interior approved the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s application to put two parcels of land into trust status in 2015. The land in Mashpee and Taunton on Cape Cod would house a 123-unit elder and tribal housing facility and most notably a $1 billion casino and hotel complex.

Rival business owners and casino developers blocked this by suing the government, saying the tribe was not eligible to have land placed into trust according to a 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Carcieri v. Salazar. In that case the Supreme Court ruled land could only be placed into trust status for tribes that were included in the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.

In the Mashpee case, the court ruled in favor of the rival business owners and developers, saying the Mashpee Wampanoag didn’t receive federal recognition until 2007 and so were not eligible to have trust land. On September 7, the Department of Interior formally took the tribe’s land out of trust status… Mashpee Wampanoag Vice-Chair Jessie Little Doe Baird called on all tribes to fight the Department of Interior’s decision.

‘This is where we’re at. So I’m telling you today, if we don’t stand up together, not just say it and talk about it, but be about it, they’re coming for all of us. We can’t let that happen. And as a Mashpee Wampanoag woman and as an Indigenous person and as a human being-we need to stand together.’

U.S. Representative Bill Keating, D-Massachusetts, co-authored legislation to reaffirm the trust status, H.R. 5244 and S. 2628. He spoke of the bipartisan support the tribe has in Congress. ‘We’re here because the administration has made a decision to go in one direction and Congress is here to try and straighten that out,’ he said.

Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Massachusetts, and another author of the legislation, also spoke briefly about the unfairness suffered by the Department of Interior decision.

Additionally, five representatives from the National Congress of American Indians spoke in support of the Mashpee…Members of other tribes facing land into trust issues were honored, in particular the Mashantucket Piquot Tribe and the Narragansett Indian tribe, including Chief Dean Stanton, as well as tribes from Alaska.

Quinault Chair Fawn Sharp.newsmaven.io

Among the many tribal leaders who spoke, Quinault President Fawn Sharp from Washington gave perhaps the most passionate speech. She pointed out how our country, under the current administration, is moving toward an era of termination, which she compared to a pit filled with flawed beliefs.

A sign the voices are heard

As the Eastern Sons Drum Group led the gathering in the American Indian Movement honor song, people began pointing skyward. Circling high above, a hawk rode thermals, absorbing the prayers and carrying them to the spirits of our ancestors, evidence the gathering had power.

The tribe who once helped the Pilgrims survive their first, harsh winter, now ask the public to help them survive the current season of harsh termination practices brought on by an administration with little compassion for Native people and even less understanding of their cultures.”

 

Category: Culture | Tags:

In Honor of Our Natives Veterans

“Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2017, but the sentiment remains. Today is Veteran’s Day, the day we take a bit of time to remember and recognize the accomplishments of veterans and in the case of Indian Country Today, place a bit of emphasis on Native American veterans…In honor of all the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. This is a blessing to you and your family on this day.” V. Schilling, ICTMN

psischiefs.org

Excerpt: For Veteran’s Day: How to Spot a Native American Veteran, Vincent Schilling, ICTMN

“You might ask, how can we identify Native Veterans in order to give them a handshake, a hug or a tip of our hat? Here are several ways to tell someone is probably a Native American veteran. Some of them lighthearted and some more serious.

We dance in the Veteran’s circle during a pow wow

Seems simple enough, but taking a moment to recognize the veterans in this circle who gave years of their lives in service to their country is respectful. Also keep in mind those veterans who are not in the circle due to disabilities, never returning home or because they are no longer with us. Blessings to you all on this Veteran’s Day.

Dance in the Veteran’s circle. Credit Vincent Schilling,

They have rank, ribbons or service branch worked into their Native regalia

Sometimes at a pow wow or other celebration, you might see a person with a partial uniform, such as combat fatigues, along with pieces or Native ornamentation, such as feathers. This person is a veteran, or a person honoring a family member who served. Please know this is a gesture of honor and not to be taken lightly. Uniforms are only worn as a gesture of remembrance and honor.

Veterans laugh at movies that show people in inaccurate uniforms

Veterans will scream out when we see someone in a movie or TV show with inaccurate rank, ribbons or name-tags. We also notice sloppily worn hats, improperly rolled up sleeves or anything else that screams, Bad movie costuming person! or ‘Lack of military adviser!’

A ​Native American veteran takes a moment to respect the flag. Photo- Vincent Schillingjpeg

We might get a little quiet during the posting of the colors

Our servicemen and women have given so much. So during these moments, it is always right to give honor and respect to those veterans who might be a bit quiet.

Category: Culture, Military

Obstacles Native Voters Face in the 2018 Midterms

“Native Americans have low participation rates in federal and state elections, but the problem doesn’t lay with political passivism.” A. Smith High Country News

A man walks by a mural in Albuquerque that promotes voter rights for Native Americans and other minority groups.Mark Ralston:AFP:Getty Images

Excerpt: 5 obstacles for Native voters in the November midterms , Anna Smith High Country News

In November, voters will see a record number of Native American candidates on the ballot running for all areas of government; state legislatures, governorships and Congressional seats. Today, just 81 Native Americans hold office in state legislatures across the U.S. In Western states, Native voters make up significant voting blocs. The Indigenous voting population is also young and growing, and with that comes political potential.

Still, Native American turnout in the 2012 election was low, between 5 and 15 percent lower than other groups depending on the location. Native Americans still face roadblocks like inequitable voter identification laws. Here are five issues tribal citizens face in casting their votes:

1. Non-traditional mailing addresses and distance to in-person voting

A high number of tribal members live in rural areas far from in-person voting locations, meaning they rely on mail-in ballots. But while those are gaining popularity in some states, they present a myriad of problems for tribal citizens who don’t have mailing addresses, live far from their P.O. boxes and check them irregularly, or who move often.

Native American Rights Fund

2. Limited English proficiency and inadequate translation services

Language barriers in Native communities can lead to lower turnouts in elections, especially if voters do not receive adequate translation services. Under the Voting Rights Act, election information must be translated to the Native language where there are high concentrations of people who only speak an Indigenous language, like in Alaska, New Mexico and Arizona.

Northern Edge Navajo Casino, near Farmington, New Mexico.

3. Restrictive election laws

A number of election laws have effects on people’s ability to participate in elections. That played out this last week when the Supreme Court approved voter identification laws in North Dakota, requiring a street address, not a P.O. box, be displayed on a voter’s ID. But tribal IDs don’t always include addresses, and many tribal citizens, who may live in remote areas with no mail service or have impermanent living situations, use P.O. boxes instead of permanent addresses.

Image- VOA

4. Voter purges

In February, the Navajo Nation purged 52,000 voters from their rolls who did not vote in the 2016 and 2014 elections. County governments have also purged voters from their rolls, meaning voters are no longer registered and cannot vote, such as Apache County in Arizona in 2012…In that case, according to the Native American Voting Rights Coalition, the county purged 500 Navajo voters because their addresses were deemed “too obscure.”

5. Unequal internet access

The broadband disparity in Indian Country also affects election turnout. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 41 percent of tribal citizens living on tribal lands in the U.S. don’t have access to high-speed internet. In some rural areas, that number jumps to 68 percent. That impacts online voter registration, as well as information gathering about candidates and ballot measures.

In Nevada, a measure on the ballot this fall could help with issues of registration, proposing that when people register at the DMV, they would be automatically registered to vote. Such laws already exist in Oregon and California.

Category: Politics