Canada’s Natives Help The Spirit Bear Survive

“Adept at catching salmon because they blend into the daylight, the white bears are small in number – yet First Nations are stepping in to help.” A. Harvey, The Guardian

“Adept at catching salmon because they blend into the daylight, the white bears are small in number – yet First Nations are stepping in to help.” A. Harvey, The Guardian

Excerpt:Long kept secret, Canada’s ghostly spirit bears are even rarer than thought, By A. Harvey, The Guardian

“When Marven Robinson was a kid, any mention of spirit bears was met with hushed dismissal from the elders in his community, the Gitga’at First Nation of Hartley Bay, British Columbia.

Since the 19th century, Indigenous peoples in the area learned to keep the bears with ghostly coats a secret to protect them from fur traders.

As the ancient legend goes, the Wee’get (meaning the “raven,” known as the creator of the world) turned every 10th black bear white to remind people of the pristine conditions of the Ice Age.

Known as moksgm’ol, meaning ‘white bear’, spirit bears are sacred to the Indigenous people who live in the Great Bear Rainforest, a 6.4m-hectare swath of land in central and northern British Columbia…First Nations and academic researchers has revealed that the white bear is rarer and more vulnerable than previously thought…Urgently, about half of spirit bear hotspots fall outside of British Columbia protected areas, making their habitats vulnerable to logging, mining and drilling projects.

Spirit bears have long been present in First Nations traditional song, dance, and storytelling, but it wasn’t until 1905 that they were recognized by Western science and named Kermode bears, after Francis Kermode, former director of the British Columbia Provincial Museum… On top of their cultural, economic and genetic significance, spirit bears, along with their black counterparts, enrich the forest by spreading marine nutrients through the transportation of salmon from the stream to the forest where they eat it, away from the more aggressive grizzly bears.

Spirit bears are white-coated black bears that inherit their pale fur from a rare recessive gene. Photograph- Kyle Breckenridge

Equipped with new information about the vulnerability of spirit bears, the question now is how best to protect them… Leave it up to the First Nations, the original stewards of the land.

The bears help enrich the forest by spreading salmon nutrients. Photograph- Jack Plant

In 2018, the Edéhzhíe Protected Area in the Dehcho region of the Northwest Territories became Canada’s first Indigenous Protected Area. The land is now co-managed by the Dehcho First Nations and the Canadian government, who must make decisions by consensus, a process with roots in indigenous culture. They share a mandate to protect the land, support the relationship between the First Nations and the land, and contribute to reconciliation.”

“On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went down to Florida in an attempt to help secure the Latino vote in November.”

“I’ll tell you what, if I had the talent of any one of these people, I’d be elected president by acclamation,” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Biden was referring toLuis Fonsi  [the artist who performed the Spanish song ‘Despacito’] as well as singer Ricky Martin and actress Eva Longoria, who also spoke ahead of Biden in Kissimmee, Florida.”Ed O’Keefe reports.

Election 2020: What to know

How to vote: Find out the rules in your state. Some states have already started sending out mail ballots; see how to make sure yours counts. Absentee and mail ballots are two terms for the same thing, mostly used interchangeably. Barring a landslide, we may not have a result in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Electoral college map: Who actually votes, and who do they vote for? Explore how shifts in turnout and voting patterns for key demographic groups could affect the presidential race.

Battlegrounds: Want to understand the swing states? Read about Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and sign up for The Trailer and get more states, plus more news and insight from the trail, in your inbox three days a week.

Coming up: Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate three times this fall; here’s what to know about the 2020 presidential debates.

RELATED:

A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19 By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe  Click on your state in the map to see a lot of the information you need in order to cast a ballot this fall — by whatever method you choose. This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg August 10, 1993 – September 18, 2020

Rest In Love and Peace – Talking-Feather

Indian Country’s Updated COVID-19 Syllabus

Coronavirus Q&A: What is it? The symptoms. And how it spreads
An explainer of every frequently asked question in relation to 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

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

Native Vote Declines Due to Covid-19!

“After the COVID-19 pandemic ripped through Indian Country in New Mexico this spring, voter turnout among Native Americans declined… according to a new report from Common Cause New Mexico.” M. Gerstein, Santa Fe New Mexico Press

Excerpt: Native American vote suppressed by pandemic, By Michael Gerstein, Santa Fe New Mexico Press

“The report shows while the rest of the state experienced a voter turnout increase of 8 percent as county clerks grappled with a record flood of absentee ballots, turnout among Native Americans declined by 1 percent compared to the 2016 primary.

The tribal communities with the lowest turnout lined up with some of the areas of the state hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Turnout among Zia Pueblo members decreased 29 percent from the 2016 primary, while a number of precincts in the New Mexico portion of the Navajo Nation saw turnout drop 17 percent or more from the 2016 primary, according to the report.

‘COVID-19 hit Native American communities disproportionately, and people faced new obstacles to voting,’ said Amber Carrillo, Native American voting rights organizer for Common Cause New Mexico, in a statement…Many Native voters who tried to cast their ballot during the June 2 primary election did not know where to go in person, and although voting was considered an essential activity and exempt from lockdown requirements on the Navajo Nation, many had to travel longer distances to vote, the report said.

Carrillo said one of the biggest hurdles for Native American voters was a lack of information about where to cast a ballot.‘There just needs to be a lot more information on radio and TV,’ Carrillo said. ‘Those are probably the primary places where tribal folks in rural [communities] are going to be engaged with.’

Voters also faced mail delays, long distances to drop off absentee ballots at post offices or post office boxes and in some cases had absentee ballots rejected due to signatures not matching or missing information…‘With less than 100 days until the 2020 general election, this is an urgent call for action,’the report said.

‘New Mexico’s leadership has taken several commendable steps to promote safe and accessible elections, but Native American voting rights will not be upheld unless best practices … are implemented and maintained.’

For the 2020 general election, the report urged every tribal administration building have a drop box where people can deposit absentee ballots.

It also calls for legislation to allow the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail at non-conforming addresses, audio recordings that translate and explain ballot items in tribal languages, prepaid postage on absentee ballots, counting ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and keeping in-person polling locations open on tribal lands, among other changes. The new emergency election law that passed during the special session this year, Senate Bill 4, allows tribes to keep polling locations open even if they’re closed to the general public…NM Native Vote has encouraged county clerks to create ballot drop boxes to ease ongoing worries over how turmoil within the U.S. Postal Service might affect absentee voting.”

“The right to vote is the most sacred American right there is — exercise it. Make your voice heard this November.”

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

~Democratic Vice-Presidential Leader Kamala Harris~

YOUR VOTE IS NEEDED

Indian Country’s Updated COVID-19 Syllabus

Coronavirus Q&A: What is it? The symptoms. And how it spreads
An explainer of every frequently asked question in relation to 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

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

Category: Culture, Health, Politics | Tags:

Navajo Nation Extends Lockdown for Labor Day

“With the Labor Day weekend approaching, we have to remain focused and be diligent to avoid another surge” Navajo President Jonathan Nez

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez speaks at a virtual town hall in May. (Screenshot from Facebook)

Excerpt: Navajo Nation Extends Partial Lockdowns

“Navajo Nation officials are extending partial weekend lockdowns and daily curfews through September to help control the spread of the coronavirus on the tribe’s reservation. The lockdowns on the vast reservation in the Four Corners region start at 9 p.m. Saturday and run until 5 a.m. Monday.

They were shortened in August from previous versions that began on Fridays… tribal President Jonathan Nez said the public should avoid traveling to nearby towns and cities on weekends. Travel increases the risk of contracting the virus and bringing it home, potentially exposing family members…All businesses, including stores, gas stations, restaurants, drive-thru food establishments and hay vendors, are required to shut down during the lockdowns and curfew hours.”

2020 Election Live Updates: Biden Visits Kenosha and Meets With Jacob Blake’s Family

Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill Biden, arrived in Milwaukee on Thursday, where they met with the parents of Jacob Blake, who was shot and paralyzed by a Kenosha police officer. Credit: Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

“Mr. Biden met privately with several of Mr. Blake’s closest relatives for an hour as soon as his plane landed in Milwaukee. He then convened a community meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, which is still reeling after the shooting of Mr. Blake and subsequent protests that saw sporadic outbreaks of violence and looting.

“Hate only hides,” Mr. Biden said, as he described the ways, in his view, Mr. Trump has emboldened bigots. But he predicted that the country had reached an “inflection point.”

“Get off Twitter,” Mr. Biden scolded Trump in a speech on Wednesday, urging him to engage with congressional leaders to help support schools and pass an economic aid package.”

Resource Sites for the COVID-19: Indian Country today

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

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

From Cartoonist Ricardo Caté : Wash Your Hands!

“New Mexico has a colorful way of spreading a strong message. The state’s Indian Affairs and Human Services departments have partnered with cartoonist Ricardo Caté to create a COVID-19 coloring book for tribal youth. Caté’s cartoon ‘Without Reservations’is published daily in the Santa Fe New Mexican and The Taos News.” P. Talahongva, ICT

Santo Domingo Pueblo artist Ricardo Caté’s thought-provoking cartoons remind us there is always a different point of view.

 

Excerpt: Indian Country Today newscast for Thursday August 27th, 2020 Without reservations: Wash your hands By Patty Talahongva, ICT

Cartoon Book by Ricardo Cate

“He’s [Ricardo Caté] on the newscast today to discuss the coloring book with Lynn Trujillo, the Indian Affairs Department Cabinet Secretary.”

A few comments:

Ricardo Cate:

“I started with the lockdown and as the whole pandemic progressed, whatever was on the news, I started drawing on a day to day basis.”

Lynn Trujillo:

“As we all know, unfortunately, many of our Native American Alaska Native relatives continue to be disproportionately impacted and really suffered from high prevalence and mortality rates. Luckily here in New Mexico, the latest statewide data shows that, 32.9 percent of positive cases here in New Mexico are Native American and Alaska native. We seen a flattening of that curve, which I think has been phenomenal… And what is the goal of this coloring book?

Cartoon by Ricardo Caté

Ricardo Cate:

“…I come up with these ideas and like I said, I’ve already been drawing them. And so from not only a parent or a community member standpoint but from a teacher standpoint. I’m also a teacher and I work a lot with kids. In fact, I had been passing out art supplies in our community the same week that they had asked me. So when this fell into my lap, so to speak, it was a very opportune time for that to happen because I was thinking of kids at the time and wondering how I could help them a little more and this coloring book seemed to be right up that alley. So it was a very opportune time…I’m glad this coloring book turned out really nice. And hopefully it makes a huge impact on what we’re trying to do here to educate everyone. Yeah one time I had a (dance) partner and she was (staying) six feet away but it just turned out that she didn’t like me.”

Credit: Ricardo Caté, ICT

Lynn Trujillo:

“The coloring book is available on our website. We’re also really excited because we’ve been approached by a foundation to pay for another reprinting that we would really like to get out to our urban Indian centers and different organizations. The first round of books went out to the sovereign nations here in New Mexico that we would really love to get those out to our centers and communities. Ricardo can talk to you about what ‘stoodis’ means. I think we also want to make sure that there’s an opportunity for everyone not only little ones, but everyone to draw their own cartoon and to share it and use the hashtag. We love to share people’s cartoons and their artwork.”

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

The 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, at the close of the Democratic National Convention Thursday night. [8/20] Photo: Olivier Douliery

On Thursday night, [8/20] he was introduced by a video that referenced the loss of his first wife and daughter early in his Senate career and, years later, of his son Beau to brain cancer. “I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes…your loved one may have left this earth, but they’ll never leave your heart. They’ll always be with you. You’ll always hear them.”

Vice President Biden with his son Beau at Camp Victory on the Baghdad outskirts in 2009.Credit…Pool photo by Khalid Mohammed

As president, the first step I will take will be to get control of the virus that’s ruined so many lives… Because I understand something this president doesn’t. We will never get our economy back on track, we will never get our kids safely back to school, we will never have our lives back until we deal with this virus.”

Brayden Harrington, 13, spoke about how former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. helped him overcome his stutter in a speech on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.

“As God’s children, each of us has a purpose in our lives… And we have a great purpose as a nation: to open the doors of opportunity to all Americans; to save our democracy; to be a light to the world once again; to finally live up to and make real the words written in the sacred documents that founded this nation that all men and women are created equal. Endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Biden and Harris For The American People!

“I will have a great vice president at my side, Senator Kamala Harris,” Biden reminded his listeners. “She is a powerful voice for this nation. Her story is the American story. She knows about all the obstacles thrown in the way of so many in our country: women, Black women, Black Americans, South Asian Americans, immigrants, the left out and left behind. But she’s overcome every obstacle she’s ever faced. No one’s been tougher on the big banks or the gun lobby. No one’s been tougher in calling out this current administration for its extremism, its failure to follow the law, and its failure to simply tell the truth.” 

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

~Democratic Vice-Presidential Leader Kamala Harris~

From Indian Country Today (ICT):

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

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

Tatanka Means Uses Humor to Ease Covid-19 Pain

“Actor and comedian Tatanka Means reflects on healing with laughter in a Native way amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.” ICT

Actor and comedian Tatanka Means

Excerpt:Healing through humor with Tatanka Means, ICT

“Tatanka Means is arguably one of the best-known Native actors and comedians in Indian Country, who in early 2020, had a jam-packed schedule filled with comedy gigs, acting jobs and speaking engagements.  When COVID-19 hit, Means had all of his plane flights, and gigs canceled. But he pressed on. Aside from acting he’s also a stand-up comedian and a motivational speaker and he’s still going strong through this pandemic. Means described how he has coped.The answer is healing through humor.”

Tatanka Means:

“It was really by surprise. I heard the news around the world what was happening but I’m on the road every other week and I was just kind of concentrating on booking my shows, things I had coming up with the film industry and graduation speeches of course, cause you know, May’s always really busy April and May with graduations and all of a sudden it just stopped. All my flights were canceled and we kind of went into quarantine… Communities are being hit hard but you know through comedy, through history, with Indian people, we always laugh when we’re having hard times. That’s why I say the humor brings us back up when we’re at funerals. You know, we’re laughing hard, sometimes telling stories those good old times, you know what I mean? And it’s just finding the humor right now in what’s happening in everyday life and how it’s changed… I don’t know what they think of some of us that are laughing at funerals hard, but, you know, it’s healing because we let those feelings out…That’s what I love about traveling Indian country and going to all different communities…It’s not really set up as a joke yet but it’s something that amuses me that I find very entertaining because you know, right when masks came out, masks are mandatory… N-95s, what did we do? We started beading our masks. We started quilling our masks. You have seen people with the fanciest masks. That’s what Indians do. That’s what we do. We can’t have a regular key chain. We bead the key chain. You know what I mean? We had beaded masks, full-on beaded masks, all the best bead makers out there were getting orders. I don’t even know if these things were protective or not but they sure did look good…This is the time for people at home to hone your skills, to get better, to write and do things like that. That’s certainly what I’ve been working on and just kind of watching the world.”

“Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., join hands as they watch fireworks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 20, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Jill Biden is seen on the left.” (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

 

From Indian Country Today (ICT):

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

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

Global Warming and Climate Change Are Affecting Kodiak Bears in a Bad Way

“Alaska’s Kodiak bears, also known as grizzlies, have been passing up their famous salmon hunts due to climate change.”J. Tetpon, ICT

Alaska Kodiak bear (Alaska state Fish and Game photo)

Excerpt:Global warming and climate change are real, and Kodiak bears are saying so, by John Tetpon, [Inupiaq] ICT

I’m a firm believer in global warming and climate change. There’s too much evidence that firms up that conclusion. Alaska’s permafrost is melting, coastal villages have had to move further inland to avoid being washed away by seasonal storms, and Kodiak bears are hanging out on the streets of that town longer and getting labeled ‘nuisance bears.’

Alaska wildlife officials in Kodiak are considering killing the bears if they don’t go into hibernation soon. That’s the word from Kodiak City Manager Mike Tvenge. That’s according to a news report from the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Biologists say Kodiak bears usually get into their dens by the end of October but some haven’t done so yet and are wreaking havoc among townspeople.

‘Kodiak Police Department is working closely with Alaska Department of Fish and Game to deter the bears from getting into the (trash) roll carts, but those efforts have had short-lasting effects,’ Tvenge recently told city officials. ‘The bears are now becoming used to the non-lethal bullets and pepper shots.’

Bears will eat trash. Credit- Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Tvenge also told the city council last week that state Department of Fish and Game officials working with Kodiak police will likely kill these bears, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.   According to Larry Van Daele, Kodiak Area Wildlife Biologist, Kodiak bears are a unique subspecies of the brown or grizzly bear and live exclusively on the islands in the Kodiak Archipelago and have been isolated from other bears for about 12,000 years.

There are about 3,500 Kodiak bears on the island and are the largest bears in the world. A large male can stand over 10′ tall when on his hind legs, and 5′ when on all four legs. They weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Females are smaller and lighter than males. Only one person has been killed by a bear on Kodiak in the past 75 years. About once every other year a bear injures a person, Van Daele said in a report.

According to a recent report, climate change can be tough on specialist animals, whose focus on specific foods may backfire as seasons shift…Alaska’s Kodiak bears, also known as grizzlies, have recently given up their famous salmon hunts due to climate change, according to a new study, but not because salmon are scarce. Warmer weather led a different food source to overlap with the annual salmon run, presenting the bears with an unusual choice between two of their favorite foods at the same time.

Kodiak bears are known for their famous salmon hunts. Credit- destination 360.com

While they love salmon, bears seem to want the other food even more. When it made an early debut, they left the salmon streams — where they typically kill 25 to 75 percent of the salmon — and moved onto nearby hillsides for elderberries…Data from tracking collars showed the bears were on nearby hills instead of fishing in streams. Hills with red elderberry seemed most popular, and a survey of local bear droppings revealed lots of elderberry skins and little sign of salmon. Kodiak bears are already big elderberry fans, but the berries usually ripen in late August and early September — the end of salmon season. The bears are used to eating these foods in order, switching to elderberries after the salmon are gone.

A brown bear with two cubs along the Cook Inlet. (Bob Hallinen : ADN)

But using historical temperature data, the study’s authors found that rising temperatures have been helping Kodiak elderberries move up their schedule… ‘As climate change reschedules ecosystems, species that were once separated in time are now getting a chance to interact — in this case the berries, bears and salmon. This is going to have large impacts that are hard to predict.’

Kodiak police say killing a bear in a residential area is not an easy task…Making the decision to dispatch a bear is not something ADF&G often endorses, as this does little to curb the fundamental problem of bears getting into easily accessible and unprotected trash.”

 

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

“2020 Election Live Updates: Democratic convention speakers will include the Clintons and Obamas, along with Sanders and Kasich. 

The big names will be augmented by testimonials from “from voters of all kinds — delegates, parents, teachers, small-business owners, essential workers, activists and elected leaders,” culled from “1,000 crowdsourced videos,” officials with the convention’s organizing committee announced on Monday.” The New York Times

The Democratic Convention Begins:  Monday August 17 — Ends Thursday August 20  Visit  The Democratic National Convention  Schedule Information Here

Kamala Harris Is Biden’s Choice for Vice President!

Biden taps Kamala Harris as his pick for vice president-New York Times

“A former rival for the Democratic nomination, she will be the first woman of color to be nominated for national office by a major political party.” By A. Burns and K. Glueck, The New York Times

Joe Biden with his VP choice Kamala Harris

From Indian Country Today (ICT):

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

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates