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.”

 

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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

U.S. Gov. Strips Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Sovereignty…Warning to All Native Nations!

“The federal government has ruled that the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe does not qualify for a reservation, effectively reversing an Obama-era decision to place 321 acres into federal trust for the tribe. The Mashpee Wampanoag say that their ancestors have occupied the land in southeastern Massachusetts since before human memory. Tribal leaders are equating this decision to policies like the 1887 General Allotment Act, which sought to assimilate native people into mainstream American culture by dissolving reservation land.” WBUR Radio

Mashpee Wampanoag protest trump administration ruling. The Boston Globe

Excerpt: Mashpee Wampanoag Confront ‘Loss Of Self-Governance’ After Interior Department Reversal — WBUR

Cedric Woods, director of the Institute for New England Native American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, speaks with Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd about what this decision means for the Mashpee Wampanoag and for Indian Country more broadly.

Interview Highlights

“It’s extremely significant for a tribe to have territory over which it can exercise undisputed civil and criminal jurisdiction. And that’s exactly what the reservation status creates. When you look at federal Indian law as it’s evolved from the 19th century forward, the power to tax tribes is the power to destroy. By having the land in trust, that removes that threat from tribes.

Cedric Cromwell. Wampanoag Tribal leader at senate meeting. Photo- Falmouth Enterprise

 

Relatively recently, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that in order for the federal government to take land into trust in behalf of a tribe, it had to be under federal jurisdiction at the time of the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934.

My preliminary analysis of this ruling is that the Department of the Interior differentiates between federal awareness that the tribe existed, which it absolutely did, at the time of the Indian Reorganization Act, versus federal jurisdiction. And they did not see that the Mashpee Wampanoag met that standard.

Jessie Baird. Jessie (Little Doe) Baird, vice chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag testifies to the U.S. Senate. Photo- Falmouth Enterprise

 

On what the tribe stands to lose:

The loss of self-governance is a way to destroy tribes. Whether it’s civil action or civil activities like the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s language immersion school, or criminal jurisdiction, both of those things are essential powers of self-governance.

Zoning for construction of homes, a civil code to regulate domestic relationships like custody of children, marriages, divorces — all those things that we think of in the general way that governments function, that’s being removed now from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

On the historical relationship between tribal nations and the federal government:

This decision is very much part of a broader pattern. Vine Deloria Jr., one of the foremost American Indian intellectuals of the 20th century, described federal Indian policy as like a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to another, with some federal actions being relatively pro-Indian to those being violently anti-Indian and racist. And we’ve seen the entire spectrum of things even in the 20th century.

On whether lawmakers will support a congressional bill to protect the tribe’s reservation land:

They may not want to, but I’d say they’re morally obligated to do so. The Indian Reorganization Act was passed to undo the harm done by the General Allotment Act. Nothing was ever passed in Massachusetts or at the federal level to undo the harm of the Massachusetts Allotment Act. And both are due for remedies.”

Category: Politics

Natives Say Goodbye to Prospector Pete Statue!

“Towering over the courtyard at California State University, Long Beach, is the statue of Prospector Pete, the epitome of the rugged 49ers who came to the state looking for gold and land. To some, it is an innocuous icon harkening back to the university’s first president, Pete Peterson, who frequently spoke of having ‘struck the gold of education.’ For others, the bearded and weathered statue is an upsetting relic that sanctions the brutish treatment of indigenous people in the state during the Gold Rush.” J. A. Real, The New York Times

The statue of Prospector Pete at California State University, Long Beach.CreditCreditThomas R. Cordova:The Orange County Register

Excerpt: Icon or Insensitive Relic? Prospector Pete Is On Its Way Out! By Jose A. Del Real

As scholars and students on campuses across the country grapple with debates over free speech and political correctness, Prospector Pete has emerged as a divisive symbol in California.

“Walking by a statue that’s put in a prominent place on campus, in an almost honorary way, that’s another type of trauma that’s being imposed on me. This is a part of our family history,’ said Miztlayolxochitl Aguilera, 20, who is of Tongva Indian descent. ‘I heard the stories of murder and rape and genocide growing up. Somebody else, they might not notice the statue. They might not feel what I feel as a California Indian when I see that symbol on campus.’

The school was built on the former site of the sacred village of Puvungna, where the Tongva indigenous people lived long before European contact…Now, after years of activism and a formal committee inquiry, Jane Conoley, the university’s president, announced last month that the statue will be formally moved. The cartoonish Prospector Pete costume mascot used at athletic games, which has been slowly phased out in recent years, will also be formally retired.

Ms. Aguilera, who recalled when her grandmother forbade her from acknowledging her indigenous ancestry, out of fear that it would lead to further marginalization, praised the move.

‘This is an acknowledgment of our trauma as indigenous people who suffered,’she said. ‘And it’s also an acknowledgment that we have to learn about these histories, about what’s going on around us.’

While the decision has not drawn the sorts of controversy and protest seen on other campuses and in other parts of the country, some alumni have questioned whether the university is merely catering to students and, in the process, severing ties with part of its past. ‘We have heard from some who believe we are censoring the history of our campus and bending to political correctness,’ said Terri Carbaugh, a university spokeswoman…Prospector Pete will be moved to a new alumni center after the university breaks ground on the project, which it intends to do next spring. The precise timeline and location have yet to be announced.”

Category: Culture, Native Rights

Native Frank Waln live in Cambridge MA, Harvard Square

“Lakota Hip-Hop artist Frank Waln will perform in Cambridge MA to mark this first public celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day.” City of Cambridge

Frank Waln live in Harvard Square.

Excerpt: Cambridge Celebrates First  Indigenous Peoples’ Day

“Lakota hip hop artist Frank Waln will perform in Cambridge MA, Harvard Square at Winthrop Park.

Frank Waln is an award winning Lakota Hip Hop artist, producer, and audio engineer from the Rosebud Rez in South Dakota. A recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, he attended Columbia College Chicago where he received a BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics.

Frank Waln – Lakota- with his ride on the Love Water, Not Oil tour!

His awards include three Native American Music Awards, the 3Arts Grant for Chicago Artists, and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation 2018 NationalArtist Fellowship for Artistic Innovation.

Native Frank Waln (c) Photo- Bandcamp Daily

He has been featured in The Fader, Vibe, NPR, Paper Magazine, ESPN, and MTV’s Rebel Music. Frank Waln travels the world sharing his story through music and presentations focusing on healing and reconnecting to our roots. This concert is open to the public.”

Frank Waln by Shepard Fairey (for MTV’s Rebel Music)

Friday, October 5, 2018: Frank Waln live in Harvard Square,  Cambridge MA, Winthrop Park 7pm  –Admission is Free

Additional Events for Indigenous People’s Day in Boston MA

Saturday, October 6, 2018: Boston Marches for Indigenous Peoples Day 

Rally at 1:00pm at Park Street Station, Boston, followed by march to Columbus statue. 

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/275381606436747/

Monday, October 8, 2018: Indigenous Peoples Day Walk – Celebrating Culture and Resistance

Starting Point: NAICOB, 105 South Huntington Avenue, Jamaica Plain, MA  11:00 am

All are welcome to walk with NAICOB and Indigenous students from Harvard University in celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day! NAICOB will open our doors at 11:00 am to prepare for the walk with a light breakfast. The first stop is the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The final stop is Matthews Hall in the Harvard Yard in Cambridge, MA, where the Harvard Indian College once stood. Once in Harvard Yard, highlights include Native American performers and speakers, handmade Indian tacos, cultural appreciation, and community building.

Co-Sponsors: Harvard University Native American Program

 

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