“Native Hawaiian teacher, cultural practitioner, and filmmaker Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu has been gaining international acclaim for her latest short animated film ‘Kapaemahu.’
The film has just garnered a coveted spot on the 93rd Academy Awards Oscars shortlist in the Animated Short Film category. Additionally, and after playing at more than 100 film festivals internationally, ‘Kapaemahu’ received the top award at three Oscar-qualifying festivals…Wong-Kalu told Indian Country Today that her message is one of hope and healing.
“The message that I would like to share with all people, is that in this time of the world needing healing, I hope that this story is perhaps a glimmer of hope for those who may need it. Healing requires us really consider the balance in our lives. Balance is about a duality of spirit in each and every one of us, for some of us … it doesn’t pull one way or the other. It’s very strong on both sides.”
“For most kids, Minecraft is a game they play to unwind after school, but thanks to a new program at the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD), kids can now play it during school hours. The LRSD in Winnipeg, is using the game Minecraft to teach students about Manitoba Anishinaabe culture. It’s a first of its kind education tool using an educational version of the game.The program was made thanks to a partnership between Microsoft Canada, Minecraft: Education Edition and LRSD. Students learn teachings about tobacco, navigating directions using the sun moon and stars, and eventually take a canoe ride to where they set up a community and take part in a bison hunt.
Travel back in time to experience Anishinaabe culture, community and teachings before European contact in North America. Explore three distinct lessons with your students to help them understand the Anishinaabe Worldview through teachings from Knowledge Keepers. Explore the Forks, Manito Ahbee (the Petroforms), and participate in a Bison hunt!
‘It has been really fun for me, I’ve played Minecraft my whole life and it’s fun to test something new and something exciting that they can develop into the game. It was really interesting to learn about all their teachings and things I didn’t know before,’ said Grade 6 student Colin Ciecko from Highbury School in Winnipeg.
‘My favorite part is just being able to run around and be guided through what life was like for the Anishinaabe people.’
Creating the game took 14 months of development with stakeholders located in Canada, the United States and Australia.”
Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.
“…ceremonial gatherings have been scarce over the past year as Native American communities isolate to protect their elders during the Covid-19 pandemic. Reservations have been hit especially hard… These deaths are doubly devastating to Native communities because elders are seen as the keepers of tribal history and culture.”S. Reardon, Kaiser, CNN, February 8, 2021
Native Americans are adapting to the pandemic with online events and educational videos to share their culture.
“Lawrence Wetsit misses the days when his people would gather by the hundreds and sing the songs that all Assiniboine children are expected to learn by age 15.
‘We can’t have ceremony without memorizing all of the songs, songs galore,’ he said. ‘We’re not supposed to record them: We have to be there. And when that doesn’t happen in my grandchildren’s life, they may never catch up.’Wetsit, a tribal elder and former chair of the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, said that his tribe lost one person a day on average to the disease [covid-19] during October and November…Wetsit worries that the combination of deaths and lockdowns will permanently harm the tribe’s ability to share traditional knowledge and oral history…With that in mind, many Native people have found innovative ways throughout the pandemic to continue sharing their culture despite physical distancing restrictions. Social media groups have provided some remedies, in ways that may continue after the pandemic wanes…One Facebook group, known as Social Distance Powwow, has helped its Native members connect through sharing videos of drumming, dancing and other traditions. Since its founding in March, the group has accumulated more than 227,000 members and taken on a life of its own, with people sharing prayer requests, birthday celebrations and death announcements…Social media groups have provided some remedies, in ways that may continue after the pandemic wanes.”
“Navajo Nation health officials on Wednesday reported 70 new COVID-19 cases and six more deaths.The latest numbers raised the totals to 28,544 cases and 1,038 known deaths since the pandemic began…The move will provide the tribe more federal resources to address the pandemic” AP-ICT Feb 3, 2021
President Biden signing executive orders. 2021-Credit- Jim Lo Scalzojpeg
On Tuesday, tribal officials said they received word that President Joe Biden had signed a long-awaited major disaster declaration for the Navajo Nation.
It will provide more federal resources and prompts the release of federal funds for the reimbursement of emergency funds expended to address the COVID-19 pandemic on the Navajo Nation which covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The tribe has tribe extended its stay-at-home order with a revised nightly curfew to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Navajo Department of Health has identified 56 communities with uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus, down from 75 communities in recent weeks.”
“As Covid-19 takes a fearsome toll on our people, it also threatens the progress we have made to save our languages. The average age of our speakers — our treasured elders who have the greatest knowledge and depth of the language — is 70. They are also those who are at most risk of dying from Covid-19.”J. Archambault, The New York Times,Jan. 24, 2021
The husband and wife Jesse (Jay) and Cheryl Taken Alive were buried at a family plot south of Cannon Ball, N.D., overlooking the Missouri River. Credit…Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune, via Getty Images
“Over four centuries, nine out of 10 Native Americans perished from war or disease. Now our people are dying from Covid-19 at extraordinarily high rates across the country. North and South Dakota, home to the Lakota reservations, lead the United States for coronavirus rates per capita. We are losing more than friends and family members; we are losing the language spoken by our elders, the lifeblood of our people and the very essence of who we are…In 2020, there were only 230 native Dakota and Lakota speakers on the Standing Rock Reservation. Two hundred and thirty speakers — down from 350 in 2006, according to the tribe’s surveys. There are only a couple of thousand speakers, in total, in the United States and Canada… Before the pandemic, we had been making progress. Cultural warriors young and old had created immersion schools, including on the Standing Rock, Pine Ridge, and Rosebud Reservations. Now we are mourning the loss of instructors who helped revitalize the language at Sitting Bull College — Paulette High Elk, Delores Taken Alive and Richard Ramsey, all of whom died of the virus last year. We celebrate when others recover: Thomas Red Bird, Earl Bullhead.”
“President Joe Biden put a hold on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic just hours after being inaugurated.
He signed an executive order Wednesday placing a temporary moratorium on all federal activities related to oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge…Biden also reinstated an Obama-era order withdrawing areas in Arctic waters and the Bering Sea from offshore oil and gas drilling and establishing the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area.
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge encompasses calving grounds for the Porcupine Caribou Herd, which includes some 200,000 animals. Pregnant females annually trek to the coastal plain of the refuge to give birth to as many as 40,000 calves.
The Gwich’in Athabascan people call the caribou calving grounds ‘Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit’” meaning the sacred place where life begins…President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation Collin O’Mara, said in a press release, ‘We applaud President Biden for taking these critical first steps on our long journey to rebuild our economy, revitalize frontline communities, improve our health, reduce pollution, restore our public lands, respect Indigenous communities, and protect our wildlife heritage.”