During Covid-19, The Navajos Are Planting and Sharing

“As the pandemic has brought home the importance of the global movement for food sovereignty, members are planting and sharing.”  A. Nierenberg, The New York Times

Artie Yazzie grows produce for his community in the Arizona section of the Navajo Nation. Credit- J. Burcham- NYT

Excerpt;  For the Navajo Nation, a Fight for Better Food Gains New Urgency . Amelia Nierenberg, The New York Times

“When Summer Brown lived in Phoenix, she had no problem finding fresh produce. If the Sprouts supermarket near her home didn’t have what she was looking for, she would just drive somewhere else. This winter, Ms. Brown, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, moved back to her childhood home in Cornfields, Ariz., to start a small business as a leatherworker. Now, healthy food is harder to find for her two children, Paisley, 6, and Landon, 7. The entire Nation, which stretches 27,000 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has fewer than 15 grocery stores.

The Teesto Community Garden, which Mr. Yazzie tends, has remained opened through the pandemic.Credit: John Burcham for The New York Times

The small gardens and cornfields rising across the Nation are attempts to correct legacies of historical wrongs. Once, the Diné were prosperous gardeners, hunters and stewards of the land. Then the United States government colonized the land and displaced the Diné in the mid-1800s, during what is now known as the Long Walk, to an internment camp at Fort Sumner, N.M. Livestock were killed off. Fields were trampled. And some orchards were lost forever…Many households do not have running water, at a time when hand washing is critical.

Many multigenerational families live together in compounds, which makes social distancing impossible. And for the Diné and many other Indigenous nations, the public health crises caused by food inequality are generations old… After seeing food shortages during the pandemic, many Diné have started gardens. Normally, they would work communally, but social distancing has required some innovations.

Mr. Earle keeps corn pollen in a pouch for his morning prayers.Credit: John Burcham for The New York Times

Many Diné also receive federal food benefits. ‘You’ve got to stretch those funds, and the cheapest out there is junk food,’ said Artie Yazzie, a community gardener, who grows produce for his neighbors.  ‘People come in here and pick whatever they want,” Mr. Yazzie said. ‘I just leave a sign.’ Some programs are working to get fresh produce to Diné children. The Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment program, a nonprofit health partnership, provides vouchers for families with young children that are good for buying only fruits, vegetables and traditional foods. The amount, depending on family size, can go up to $35 a week…Felix Earle, 43,  has been advising gardeners growing Indigenous seeds. In 2015, he found a handful of white corn kernels in a jar, 35 years after his grandmother hid them for safekeeping…This year, Mr. Earle, a fashion designer, planted his biggest crop ever. Across his property, stalks of corn are rising, almost 1,000 in all. He turned his discovery into a business, Red Earth Gardens, and gives kernels to interested members of the Nation. This year, for the first time, he ran out…It took a deadly virus to make people realize just how important this is, how important it is to grow your own food, he said.’ Some gardens at schools and senior centers have been closed since March.”

Notices From the Office of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (Democratic Party)

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“The Democrats bowed to the realities of the pandemic and canceled the major in-person speeches that were still planned for their convention this month.” By Reid J. Epstein and Katie Glueck, The New York Times

Credit: M. V. Agins/The New York Times

“I’ve wanted to set an example as to how we should respond individually to this crisis,” Mr. Biden said at a fund-raiser on Wednesday. “Science matters.” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Tribe Buys Back Ancestral Land After 250 Years!

“The tribe purchased the 1,200 acre ranch near Big Sur as part of a $4.5m deal and will use it for educational and cultural purposes.”M. Koran, The Guardian

The Esselen Tribe of Monterey county now owns a small piece of their ancestral land along California’s north central coast.. Credit- Doug Steakley:AP

Excerpt: Northern California Esselen tribe regains ancestral land after 250 years,Mario Koran, The Guardian

“Two-hundred and fifty years after they were stripped of their ancestral homeland, the Esselen tribe of northern California is landless no more.

This week, the Esselen tribe finalized the purchase of a 1,200-acre ranch near Big Sur, along California’s north central coast, as part of a $4.5m acquisition that involved the state and an Oregon-based environmental group…Tribal leaders say they’ll use the land for educational and cultural purposes, building a sweat lodge and traditional village in view of Pico Blanco peak, the center of the tribe’s origin story.

The deal by the Esselen tribe will protect the Little Sur River. Photograph- Doug Steakley:AP

‘We’re the original stewards of the land. Now we’re returned,’ Tom Little Bear Nason, chairman of the Esselen tribe of Monterey county, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel… Since the 1950s the property, known as Rancho Aguila, had been owned by Axel Adler, a Swedish immigrant. After his death in 2004, his family put it up for sale for $15m.

After years-long negotiations, the Western Rivers Conservancy, a Portland-based environmental group, etched a deal to purchase the land and hand it over to the US Forest Service.

Working on behalf of the tribe, the conservancy secured a $4.5m grant from the California Natural Resources Agency to cover the land purchase and studies of the area.

Nason said the 214-member Esselen tribe will share it with other groups also native to the area, including the Ohlone, the Amah Mutsun and the Rumsen people – all of whom were devastated by the arrival of white settlers.”

‘This Is About Justice’: Biden Ties Economic Revival to Racial Equity

In the last of four proposals laying out his vision for economic recovery, Joseph R. Biden Jr. pledged to lift up minority-owned businesses and to award them more federal contracts”. – By T. Kaplan and K. Glueck , The NYT

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. released the fourth piece of his “Build Back Better” proposal in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday.Credit- M. Agins-NYT

 

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Joe & Jill Biden Address Indian Country

“A week after the Biden campaign hires national tribal engagement director, Jill Biden speaks to Native leaders #NativeVote20” A. Chavez, ICT

Dr. Jill Biden. ICT

Excerpt: Joe Biden campaign steps up in Indian Country, A. Chavez, ICT

“Former Second Lady Jill Biden spoke to Native leaders Tuesday afternoon affirming a commitment to ‘uphold tribal sovereignty’ under a Joe Biden administration. She spoke as a surrogate for her husband who is the Democratic nominee for President.

Jill Biden’s virtual remarks were given at the July meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s Native American Caucus.

‘Joe believes in you [Indian Country]. And so do I. We believe in your strength and your hope and your sovereignty. We will work hard to earn your trust. And we will always stand with Indian Country,’ Jill Biden said.

Her roughly 8-minute speech highlighted Joe Biden campaign’s pledge to invest in clean water and broadband access while protecting natural and cultural resources in Indian Country…Another topic of significance was the impact of the Native vote in the 2020 election… The call comes more than a week after Clara Pratte, Diné, was hired as the national tribal engagement director of the Biden presidential campaign… Also working on the Biden campaign is PaaWee Rivera, Pojoaque Pueblo, who is the western coalition director and formerly worked on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign as the Colorado state director…The Biden campaign says it plans to hire more Native staff as the campaign progresses. In the meantime, Pratte says she is passionate about the Biden campaign because “he knows Indian Country.”

“Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. joined forces with his top surrogate Thursday morning [July 23, 2020], releasing a video of a conversation with former President Barack Obama that cast the current occupant of the White House as unworthy and Mr. Biden as the perfect leader to replace him.” A. W. Herndon, The New York Times

 

IN MEMORY: John Robert Lewis

Born: February 21, 1940 — Died: July 17, 2020

Category: Culture, Healing, Health

NM Tribe Turns Casino into a Movie Studio!

“A small New Mexico tribe has opened a movie studio in a former casino that it hopes will lure big productions.”  R. Contreras, Indian Country Today

Cheyenne and Arapaho filmmaker Chris Eyre, talks about Tesuque Pueblo’s new film studio in Santa Fe, N.M.-Photo- AP: Russell Contreras.

 

Excerpt: Tribe transforms old casino into movie studio, Russell Contreras, ICT

The Tesuque Pueblo recently converted the building near Santa Fe into a movie studio campus called Camel Rock Studios with more than 25,000 square feet of filming space.

The tribe’s lands feature stunning desert and the iconic Camel Rock formation in the red-brown foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and tribal officials said outdoor filming can take place on 27 square miles of the reservation.

The tribe with about 800 members decided to open the studio after scenes from the Universal Pictures western movie ‘News of the World’ starring Tom Hanks were filmed last year in the Camel Rock Casino, which closed in 2018.

Universal’s use of the casino for filming helped convince tribal officials to transform the empty building into studio space, said Timothy Brown, president and CEO of the Pueblo of Tesuque Development Corporation…Cheyenne and Arapaho filmmaker Chris Eyre, a Santa Fe resident and an advisor to Camel Rock Studio, said the studio’s unique aspect is that its former makeup as a casino provides the site with pre-made infrastructure that can be used for filming different types of movie scenes…Older movies filmed on the Tesuque Pueblo include the 1955 western ‘The Man from Laramie’ starring James Stewart and the 1988 ‘Young Guns’ with Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland…Tribal officials plan to create internships and movie training programs for Tesuque Pueblo members and hope that the studio will foster a new storytelling movement, Eyer said.”

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~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

“European diplomats and foreign policy experts say that a Joe Biden presidency would restore the United States’ strained alliances with Europe.” Business Insider

STAY STRONG– STAY HEALTHY– STAY SAFE!

Buffy St. Marie’s Book for Kids Shows Her Love for Animals

“Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie’s long career includes an expansive catalogue of music, art and work in activism. And now she can add children’s book author to that list, with the publication of Hey Little Rockabye.”CBC Radio

Excerpt:Buffy Sainte-Marie’s loveof Animals Shines through her first Picture Book for Kids CBC Radio

“Featuring illustrations by Ben Hodson, Hey Little Rockabye conveys an important message about finding love and acceptance: a young girl rescues a little dog and tries to convince her parents to let her keep him. 

An accompanying song was released and the book features sheet music for readers to sing along… 

Hey Little Rockabye is about the many wonderful pets who need a forever home. We’re hoping that people will consider adopting a little Rockabye of their own through shelters. There are all kinds of reasons why a pet may need a home… Over the years, I came to be not only a dog people but a cat people. So I’m both. Cats and dogs are very different. Most people who start out with dogs they think that a cat is going to speak the same language as a dog. But you can’t train cats, you just have to learn a different language…’As a little girl, I had rabbits. There was a dog and there was a cat that everybody ignored. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a zookeeper — and would envision that would get me close to animals!’

“I’m always longing for a pet. When I’m on the road —I like to go down to the local shelter or the local pet stores where they have pets out for adoption. I like to go in to socialize with the animals who are there…It’s a major commitment and I’m so proud that people are finding forever homes for these animals.”

Indian Country Today:

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

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.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

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“I’ve said from the outset of this election that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. Who we are. What we believe. And maybe most important — who we want to be. It’s all at stake.”~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

STAY SMART — STAY STRONG — STAY SAFE!

A Native Tribe Wants to Build a Medical Center…Non-Natives Are Opposed

“A classic not-in-my backyard fight has erupted in the Pacific Northwest over a recovery and medical center for [Natives] in an area hit hard by addiction and overdose deaths.”D. Stone and A. MauchThe Washington Post

Tribe Chairman Ron Allen, standing at the site of the proposed opioid treatment center in Sequim. Credit- Ricky Carioti The Washington Post

Excerpt:A Native American tribe plans to build an opioid treatment center, but neighbors have vowed to block it —ByDebbie C. Stone and  Ally Mauch– The Washington Post

“One morning last year, Brent Simcosky stepped out of a pickup truck in the middle of a sprawling field off Highway 101, stood in grass that brushed his knees and imagined an oasis from the scourge of opioids.

The epidemic had struck particularly hard here in Clallam County, where generations of families from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe live along the waterways of the Salish Sea…Jamestown tribe leaders invested in schools, farming and aquaculture, spreading shells along the tidelands so that oysters could grow. Now, Simcosky had multimillion-dollar tribal and state commitments to finance a state-of-the art outpatient opioid treatment and healing center that would combine native practices with counseling, medical care and medications known to block the euphoric effects of opioids…In Washington, with 29 federally recognized tribes, Native Americans have died of opioid overdoses at a rate nearly three times higher than that of nonnatives. For heroin alone, it was four times higher, federal data shows. The tribe planned to offer treatment to residents — native and nonnative — across two counties…In May 2019, the tribe bought the land. The purchase initially drew little attention in Sequim, population 7,000, a town of retirees, artisan shops and an annual lavender festival that brings flocks of tourists every summer.

Clinical supervisor Erik Ostergaard has a counseling session with patient Lila Williams, 29, of the Swinomish Tribe…Williams has been sober for two years. Ricky Cariotihe Washington Post

But a group of local residents rallied to block the project, arguing that tiny Sequim was no place for a regional drug treatment center. When tribe leaders called a public meeting to present their plan, more than 1,000 people spilled into a steamy room at the civic center and onto hundreds of folding chairs set up outside.

Scores came from a newly formed group: Save Our Sequim, a name that became a rallying cry. Jodi Wilke, one of the founders of SOS, said the issue has never been about need, the importance of helping to root out addiction in the community. The problem, she said, is location.

SOS members worry a treatment facility would draw too many outsiders struggling with addiction into a small community without adequate law enforcement and social services. Tourism could falter. Housing prices could drop. Schools could quickly become overwhelmed, SOS members have argued.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe intends to build a 17,000-square-foot outpatient clinic for medical and addiction treatment on this land in Sequim, Wash.

The site itself, Wilke said, is too close to a neighborhood and senior housing…Jamestown tribe leaders have been careful to sidestep conversations about race even though supporters of the center point out that nearly all of their opponents appear to be nonnative.

Instead, tribe leaders have stressed that many communities have woefully inadequate resources for addiction treatment and that helping those with substance abuse disorder will ultimately strengthen Sequim and the surrounding region.

“We want to be sure that they understand,’ Allen, the tribe chairman, said of the center’s opponents. ‘We were basically born here before you guys ever showed up.’

The tribe’s public health officer pointed out that Clallam County had experienced a series of opioid overdoses and that, nationally, an average of 130 people die of opioid overdoses each day.”

 

Presidential Leader Joseph R. Biden and his advisers see 2020 largely playing out as a referendum on Trump. Credit- Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. Please stay safe. Please take care of each other.” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

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Where to begin? After extensive research, the most comprehensive and user-friendly website for finding assistance from a multitude of programs is arguably Benefits.gov.

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