Category Archives: Culture

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

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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

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)

Here are new rules for schools across the entire state

Click here to learn more about child care.

Click here to find nutritional assistance near you.

current public health order

following COVID-safe measures

For Personal Help – please visit  http://www.newmexico.gov/i-need-assistance/

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

“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

 

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

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