Five Native Tribes Challenge Trump’s Decision for Bears Ears

“Hours after Trump announced his scaled-back vision for Bears Ears National Monument on Monday, a coalition of five American Indian tribes filed the first lawsuit of many that were promised to challenge the executive action”. By C. Tanner,The Salt Lake Tribune

Harold Cuthair, Chairman of Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, speaks at press conference at the Salt Lake Marriott City Center Monday, December 4, 2017. Photo- (Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune).

Excerpt: Five American Indian tribes, furious over Trump shrinking Bears Ears on his trip to Utah, sue the president-By C. Tanner,The Salt Lake Tribune

“Their argument: Trump does not have the legal authority to shrink the designation…The courts have not weighed in on the matter since the Antiquities Act’s passage 111 years ago. That law authorizes presidents to unilaterally set aside public lands to protect ‘objects of historic and scientific interest,’ which President Barack Obama used to designate the 1.35 million acres in San Juan County last year.

The five tribes — Hopi, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni and Ute Indian — pushed for the monument status and are suing Trump and members of his administration for splitting the designation into two areas that comprise less than 202,000 acres. In a brief visit to Utah, the president also trimmed Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly 900,000 acres.

In their lawsuit, posted late Monday, the tribes argue to the U.S. District Court in Washington that the Antiquities Act does not allow a president to revoke or modify a monument — only to designate one…At a news conference after Trump’s announcement, tribal leaders condemned the president and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for allegedly snubbing their input, criticized the ‘tremendous affront to tribal sovereignty’ and vowed to fight the revised designations…The tribes are asking for injunctive relief ‘requiring Trump to rescind his proclamation, or prohibiting him from enforcing or implementing it in any way.’ That would stop the orders signed Monday from taking effect so that no permits are issued for oil and gas drilling or uranium and potash mining.

Jonathan Nez, vice president of the Navajo Nation, blasted Trump’s announcement-‘What transpired today, it’s just hard for me to understand,’ Nez said. ‘It’s just another slap in the face for our Native American brothers and sisters.’

Jonathan Nez, Vice President, Navajo Nation, speaks during a press conference at the Salt Lake Marriott City Center Monday, December 4, 2017. (Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune)


U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said in an interview earlier Monday that the president’s action is lawful. ‘It’s been done in the past. It can happen again,’ he said.

Zinke, too, said the administration is on firm legal footing, noting that ‘we didn’t do this in an arbitrary fashion.’ Other monuments, he noted, have been changed 10 times in the past.

Ten environmental and wilderness groups are suing Trump, as well as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in federal district court in Washington. They are specifically targeting the cuts to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is to be split into three smaller designations and stripped of nearly 900,000 acres.

‘[Trump wants to] turn the key to these lands over to extractive industries and local interests who really want to see them destroyed,’ said Steve Bloch, legal director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, one of the plaintiffs in the case. ‘No one will look back on this decision in 15, 25 or 50 years and say Trump did the right thing by protecting less of this magnificent place,’ Bloch said.

Puebloan Laguna tribe member Renie Medina weeps during a press conference at the Salt Lake Marriott City Center Monday, December 4, 2017. Photo- (Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune).

Outdoor retailer Patagonia intends to make its case that Trump is ‘taking away recreation areas [from] our customers’ that would financially hurt the company, said its environmental activism manager Ron Hunter.

The Sierra Club called monument reductions a ‘pathetic’ example of Trump’s continued abuse of power.”

Category: Culture

At The Navajo Code Talker Ceremony Trump Demonstrates A Higher Level of Stupid!

On Monday, Trump hosted three Navajo Code Talkers at the White House, troops who used a secret, unbreakable code language to send vital information during World War II. The afternoon should have remained focused on the veterans, their sacrifice and bravery, but it instead became yet another quintessentially nasty Trump moment when, amid some rambling commemorative speech, he went off script and threw an elbow at Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.” S.Moya-Smith, CNN

Photo-Santa Fe New Mexico

Excerpt: Trump’s disrespect for Native Americans is nothing new- By Simon Moya-Smith, CNN

“And here’s another thing: Even if Trump hadn’t used Native Americans as fodder to attack Warren, if he hadn’t used the name of Pocahontas as a slur, the day still would’ve been a hostile display of arrogance and ignorance. In a video of the occasion, you can see him standing just below a painting of President Andrew Jackson, the architect of the Trail of Tears, when 17,000 Native Americans were forced to march from their ancestral homeland in Georgia through freezing temperatures and snow all the way to Oklahoma during the 1830s.

Photo- Perez Hilton

But I still wonder if Trump, who stood beneath the portrait of an Indian killer, made a faux pas prompted by naiveté. Or was this intentional? I wouldn’t put it past him.

The President has a long record of attacking Native Americans… He pushed through the Dakota Access Pipeline, which violates the Native American land and threatens indigenous lives and water. And while that pipeline was already leaking like a garden hose with bullet holes, he resurrected the Keystone XL Pipeline, which again is in direct violation of our sovereign treaty rights. That pipeline, too, has also gushed, seriously impacting Indian country.

Navajo code Talkers. CNN

But what does he care? He doesn’t. That’s the point. No, he doesn’t care about Native Americans. Not me. Not you — unless you’re a billionaire reading this screed, in which case he probably cares a lot about you.

During World War I, Choctaw Telephone Squad consisted of 19 tribal members.

Trump is no Andrew Jackson, but one thing they do have in common is a complete lack of respect for Native Americans. That is incontrovertible. And there’s no sign Trump will cease his anti-Native American tantrums anytime soon.

Category: Code Talkers

A Kind Vet Helps The Native Horses on Standing Rock

“Arlene Grey Bear took Lucky and Rue and Kennedy to the rodeo grounds in Fort Yates, N.D., on the Standing Rock Reservation — Lucky and Rue, her ponies, for a checkup, Kennedy, her 16-year-old granddaughter, to help. And to learn…Ms. Grey Bear is a Lakota teacher at an elementary school nearby… if a lot of our kids don’t know our language, it gets lost. That concern about heritage, and what might get lost, extends to teaching the children about horses. In our culture horses are well respected…We’re supposed to take care of our horses the right way. We teach our kids: You take care of your horse first. The horse’s needs before yours.”V. J. Blue, The New York Times

On a ranch in Mandaree, N.D., stallions in a corral await a visit from the vet.Credit Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Excerpt: The Horses on Standing Rock Get a Checkup, By Victor J. Blue The New York Times

But how do you take care of the horses if there isn’t a vet nearby? There are no full-time veterinarians on the Standing Rock Reservation, let alone specialists in equine health.

Dr. Davis wants young people in Standing Rock to get involved, and perhaps even see veterinary medicine as a career.Credit V. Blue NYT

Enter Dr. Eric Davis, a veterinarian at the University of California, Davis, and the director of Rural Veterinary Experience Teaching and Service, a program that has since 2011 sent veterinary students to clinics at farms, rodeo grounds and homes to provide free or reduced-cost care for horses. ‘We seek out places where other people don’t go,’ Dr. Davis said. ‘I think that you have the opportunity to do the most good if you go to a place that has the least resources.’

There are no full-time veterinarians on the Standing Rock Reservation, let alone specialists in equine health.Credit V. Blue NYT

The care the volunteer vets provide is essential: treating wounds, fixing teeth and trimming hooves — key to keeping the horses healthy on the Plains. Dr. Davis and his students also geld stallions, which can become uncontrollable without the procedure. For the students, Dr. Davis said, it is ‘hands on, get blood on your gloves’ training.’

Dr. Davis uses a headlamp to check the teeth of a pony on a farm on the Standing Rock Reservation.. Credit V. Blue NYT

The goal is bigger than just providing care, though. Dr. Davis wants young people in Standing Rock to get involved and perhaps even see veterinary medicine as a career.’I would love it if I can help get students, reservation youth, more interested in doing things with horses,’  he said. But he added that doing that when ‘you are the old white guy on the reservation,’ can be difficult:  ‘I don’t know what to say or what to do or how to act. And I’d be faking it if I tried to, and I can’t fake stuff.’ He hopes that will change next year, as the first Lakota recruit will join the program from the Cheyenne River Reservation. He also wants his students, many of them from urban areas, to see what rural practice is like.

Dr. Victor Urbiola anesthetizes a horse on a farm in Bottineau, N.D. Credit V. Blue NYT

On a Friday evening after a day of work earlier this year, the students headed to a powwow at Porcupine, on the Standing Rock Reservation. They bought fry bread and tacos and sat in the stands, taking in the traditional Lakota dances. ‘We have very few students that come from a background of farming, where people have to work and struggle,’ Dr. Davis said.

The care the volunteer veterinarians provide is essential- treating wounds, fixing teeth and trimming hooves — key to keeping these horses healthy on the Plains. Credit V. Blue NYT

Credit V. Blue NYT

‘I can give students the chance to look,” Dr. Davis said. “Whether they see or not is kind of up to them.”


Category: Animals

Natives Experience More Discrimination in Majority-Native Areas

“More than half of Native Americans living on tribal lands or other majority-Native areas say they have experienced racial or ethnic discrimination when interacting with police (55 percent) and applying for jobs (54 percent). That’s according to new poll results being released Tuesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” J. Neel, NPR

Excerpt: Poll: Native Americans See Far More Discrimination In Areas Where They Are A Majority By Joe Neel, NPR

“Location appears to have a big influence on whether Native Americans experience discrimination because they are Native American. In the example above, discrimination in police encounters was reported three times more often by American Indians living in majority-Native communities than by those living in more mixed areas.

Even disregarding where people live, our poll found Native Americans reported significant discrimination in their everyday lives — jobs, health care, education and other areas.

‘The poll is important because it allows Native Americans to speak to a broad range of Americans about the serious personal problems they face in dealing with employers, police and the courts,’ says poll director Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School. ‘It shines a light on the very high level of slurs and personal insults this community faces in their day-to-day interactions with others.’

In addition to asking people about their personal experiences, we also asked about their perception of discrimination within their local community. Nearly half of Native Americans in majority-Native areas believe that where they live, other Native Americans are ‘often’ discriminated against because of their race or ethnicity. In nonmajority areas, that perception is much lower.

Some people have asked why we’re dividing our data between ‘majority’ and ‘nonmajority’ areas and not between ‘tribal’and ‘nontribal’ lands. A main reason is that there are many areas that are not tribal lands but still have large populations of Native Americans. Asking about the local neighborhood’s composition tells us more about how people interact in their home environment and the prevalence — or lack of — discrimination.”

Category: Culture

Don’t Miss The Seneca White Deer Tour This Month!

“Bus tours of the former Seneca Army Depot, are about to get going again. The people taking the tours will likely be looking for a particular attraction…it is the white deer, of course, that have generated so much chatter and photos online in recent years.” R.  Gorbman, WSKG-NPR

Seneca White Deer-photo- wikipedia

Excerpt: Seneca Army Depot Tours Begin Later This Month, Randy Gorbman, WSKG-NPR

“The former army depot in Seneca County hasn’t been used for military purposes in a number of years but a local farm equipment company owner, Earl Martin, bought several thousand acres of the former depot and created Deer Haven Park, which he hopes will be a tourist attraction, since there already is a lot of interest in the white deer herd, an unusual genetic variation located at that site.

Seneca White Deer-photo: Ithaca Journal

Dennis Money is president of the organization Seneca White Deer. He says last time they did a count a couple of years ago, there were about 75 white deer, and the number is likely less than that now. But he says tour-goers still have a decent chance to see them.

‘We don’t guarantee you’re going to see a white deer, and I tell people, this is not a Walt Disney movie, we don’t have them tied to every tree. This is real life, some days you’re going to see a bunch and some days you’re going to see one,’ Money told WXXI News.

Money says the whole idea of the tours, which were last held about five years ago, is to not only showcase the white deer, but the rich military and civilian history of that property.

The Seneca White Deer are rare.

“We’re going to be creative, we’re going to come up with different ideas, we’ve already talked about having biking trips and photography trips and teaching classes in wildlife biology.”

The tours begin on November 16. You can get more information at


Category: Animals

“Dennis Banks, American Indian Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 80”

“Dennis J. Banks, the militant Chippewa who founded the American Indian Movement in 1968 and led often-violent insurrections to protest the treatment of Native Americans and the nation’s history of injustices against its indigenous peoples, died on Sunday night at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He was 80.” R. McFadden, The New York Times

Mr. Banks in 2010. He was the 2016 vice-presidential nominee of the California Peace and Freedom Party, which identified itself as socialist and feminist. Credit Chris Polydoroff:Pioneer Press

Excerpt: Dennis Banks, American Indian Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 80 -By Robert McFadden, The New York Times

“Mr. Banks and his Oglala Sioux compatriot Russell Means were by the mid-1970s perhaps the nation’s best-known Native Americans since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, who led the attack that crushed the cavalry forces of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory in 1876.

The American Indian Movement leaders Dennis Banks, seated at right, and Russell Means at a news conference in July 1973. CreditUnited Press International

Mr. Banks, whose early life of poverty, alcoholism and alienation mirrored the fates of countless ancestors, led protests that caused mass disorder, shootouts, deaths and grievous injuries. He was jailed for burglary and convicted of riot and assault, and he became a fugitive for nine years. He found sanctuary in California and New York but finally gave up and was imprisoned for 14 months.

He once led a six-day takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, and mounted an armed 71-day occupation of the town of Wounded Knee, S.D., on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Wounded Knee was the scene of the last major conflict of the American Indian Wars, in which 350 Lakota men, women and children were massacred by United States troops in 1890.

While his protests won some government concessions and drew national attention and wide sympathy for the deplorable social and economic conditions of American Indians, Mr. Banks achieved few real improvements in the daily lives of millions of Native Americans, who live on reservations and in major cities and lag behind most fellow citizens in jobs, housing and education…His severest detractors, including law-enforcement officials, said he let followers risk injury and arrest while he jumped bail to avoid a long prison sentence and did not surrender for nearly a decade.

Mr. Banks and Mr. Means first won national attention for declaring a “Day of Mourning” for Native Americans on Thanksgiving Day in 1970. Their band seized the ship Mayflower II, a replica of the original in Plymouth, Mass., and a televised confrontation between real Indians and costumed “Pilgrims” made the American Indian Movement leaders overnight heroes…Mr. Banks was the 2016 vice presidential nominee of the California Peace and Freedom Party, which identified itself as socialist and feminist. The party’s presidential candidate was Gloria La Riva. As a single-state ticket, they won 66,000 votes.

In recent years, Mr. Banks lived with some of his children in Kentucky and Minnesota. He was an honorary trustee of the Leech Lake Tribal College, a two-year public institution in Cass Lake, Minn. Mr. Means, who also appeared in movies and wrote a memoir, died on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 2012 at age 72.

‘Maybe we opened up some eyes, opened some doors,’ Mr. Banks told The Los Angeles Times. ‘And it was at least an educational process here. Fifteen years ago, there was no newspaper here, no radio station. Now there’s more community control over education.’

In 1990, both men joined a ceremony at the Pine Ridge Reservation commemorating the centenary of the Wounded Knee massacre.”

Category: History