Category Archives: Culture

Homeless Urban Natives Receive Help From Rez Natives

“There were overdoses nearly every day in the grim homeless encampment near downtown. Diseases spread, with upward of 200 people cramming into dozens of tents. Fears rose among activists and the mostly Native American population living there that the city would crack down, which for them would have echoed the country’s dark history of treating indigenous people with force and contempt.” J. Eligon, The New York Times

Homeless. photo-mprnews.org

Excerpt: Native American Homeless Crisis in Minnesota Inspires an Unlikely Alliance, by J. Eligon, NYT

“But then, an unlikely solution surfaced.

Red Lake Nation, a tribe some four and a half hours’ drive north, offered to help build temporary shelters on land it had bought two years ago for a permanent housing development in the city. Other tribes in Minnesota supported Red Lake’s shelter proposal, forming a partnership to help win concessions from local officials and secure emergency relief.

James Cross comforts Yvonne after she became emotional while talking about her situation. Star Tribune

It was a rare show of unity by tribal nations to resolve an urban crisis, Native advocates said. And it represented a potential turning point in the sometimes distant relationship between Native Americans who live in urban areas and those who choose to remain on reservations…The majority of American Indians live in cities, although very little federal funding is directed specifically toward them. Tribal governments do receive federal dollars, but they usually go toward life on the reservation. There is rarely enough to expand resources and services needed in urban areas, where Native Americans often lack basic housing.

The homeless encampment in Minneapolis.

Clarista Johnson, 20, lived on the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe reservation. When her grandfather died, she said, she left drug treatment to mourn with her family, but then fell out with her aunt and boyfriend. Both of her parents were incarcerated. She considered her prospects on the reservation to be bleak, so she left for Minneapolis, about two hours south. ‘I thought maybe the cities would have more resources, more options,’ she said. Instead, she continued her struggles with meth and heroin addiction, and had no place to live.

For the past five months, she had been staying here at the encampment, in the city’s Native American corridor. Orange buckets for disposing used needles were scattered about and mangled tents were pitched beneath a noisy thoroughfare, the scent of burning wood choking the air. An elderly man limped around barefoot, his feet stiff…Roughly eight out of 10 American Indians do not live on reservations. The mass migration to cities, experts say, was prompted by the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, when the federal government, attempting to assimilate Native people, offered them incentives to leave their reservations. But assurances of opportunity gave way to discrimination, isolation, dead-end jobs and poor living conditions that continue today.

In September, after negotiations between Native-led nonprofits and the city failed to yield an agreement on a site for temporary shelters to address the homeless encampment, Sam Strong, the Red Lake Nation secretary, offered the tribe’s property, a solution that was quickly accepted…The parcel of land is just south of downtown. The tribe plans to build a complex with 110 units of affordable housing, and is expected to break ground next summer. It will also offer social services and cultural events, such as drum circles, Mr. Strong said…Ms. Johnson moved into the new temporary shelter late last week, and she now sleeps in one of its heated dome-like tents.  She can come and go as she pleases 24 hours a day and not be turned away, even if she is high — a policy that Native leaders pushed for to ensure a welcoming environment.

But Maggie Thunder Hawk, 56, worried that officials would eventually introduce onerous restrictions. She said that the facility ‘looks and feels like jail.’ She would give it a try, she said, but if she did not like it, ‘I’m going right back outside.’

When Red Lake breaks ground on its housing complex next summer, the temporary shelters will have to come down, and many former encampment dwellers, including Ms. Johnson, may find themselves back on the streets.”

Category: Culture

Native Veterans Honor Their Culture and Fallen Comrades

“There are few things more pride inspiring than our native brothers and sisters reclaiming our love of country. These veterans danced their way around the circle in uniform at the Lame Deer Powwow in 2018.” C. Oestreich, Pow Wows

 Click Here to see the Warriors Dance

 

 

Manataka American Indian Council

Category: Culture, Holidays, Military

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.”

 

Category: Culture | Tags:

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

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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