Category Archives: Education

Climate Change Hits Native Americans Harder than other Americans

“Many Native people were forced into the most undesirable areas of America, first by white settlers, then by the government. Now, parts of that marginal land are becoming uninhabitable.” C. Flavelle, The New York Times, June 27, 2021

Chefornak’s preschool sits on stilts in thawing permafrost. At high tide, water reaches the building, which needs to be moved to safer land.Credit…Ash Adams for The New York Times

Excerpt:Dispossessed, Again: Climate Change Hits Native Americans Especially Hard, By Christopher Flavelle, The New York Times, June 27, 2021

“In Chefornak, a Yu’pik village near the western coast of Alaska, the water is getting closer. The thick ground, once frozen solid, is thawing. The village preschool, its blue paint peeling, sits precariously on wooden stilts in spongy marsh between a river and a creek. Storms are growing stronger. At high tide these days, water rises under the building, sometimes keeping out the children, ages 3 to 5. The shifting ground has warped the floor, making it hard to close the doors. Mold grows.

‘I love our building,’ said Eliza Tunuchuk, one of the teachers. ‘At the same time, I want to move.’ The village, where the median income is about $11,000 a year, sought help from the federal government to build a new school on dry land — one of dozens of buildings in Chefornak that must be relocated. But agency after agency offered variations on the same response: no.

From Alaska to Florida, Native Americans are facing severe climate challenges, the newest threat in a history marked by centuries of distress and dislocation. While other communities struggle on a warming planet, Native tribes are experiencing an environmental peril exacerbated by policies — first imposed by white settlers and later the United States government — that forced them onto the country’s least desirable lands.

A home that collapsed into the eroding coast. Credit- Ash Adams NYT

And now, climate change is quickly making that marginal land uninhabitable. And now, climate change is quickly making that marginal land uninhabitable. The first Americans face the loss of home once again.

A totem pole in Taholah, Wash., that was carved to commemorate the 2013 Tribal Canoe Journey, an annual event for Pacific Northwest tribes.Credit…Josué Rivas for The New York Times

In the Pacific Northwest, coastal erosion and storms are eating away at tribal land, forcing native communities to try to move inland. In the Southwest, severe drought means Navajo Nation is running out of drinking water… Many tribes have been working to meet the challenges posed by the changing climate. And they have expressed hope that their concerns would be addressed by President Biden, who has committed to repairing the relationship with tribal nations…FEMA said it is committed to improving tribal access to its programs.

Taholah is exposed to storms and flooding but the tribe has struggled to get enough federal help to relocate.Credit…Josué Rivas for The New York Times

Chefornak’s efforts to relocate its preschool illustrate the current difficulties of dealing with the federal government.

While FEMA offers grants to cope with climate hazards, replacing the school wasn’t an eligible expense, according to Max Neale, a senior program manager at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, who helped Chefornak search for federal aid.

Damian Cabman, a member of the Navajo tribe, filled buckets of water to take home at the Bataan water loading station in Gallup, N.M. Kalen Goodluck:NYT

Twice a week, Vivienne Beyal climbs into her GMC Sierra in Window Rock, a northern Arizona town that is the capital of Navajo Nation, and drives 45 minutes across the border into New Mexico. When she reaches the outskirts of Gallup, she joins something most Americans have never seen: a line for water… The facility, which is run by the city of Gallup, works like an air pump at a gas station: Each quarter fed into the coin slot buys 17 gallons of water. Most of the people in line with Ms. Beyal are also Navajo residents, crossing into New Mexico for drinking water…But unlike nearby communities like Gallup and Flagstaff, Navajo Nation lacks an adequate municipal water supply. About one-third of the tribe lives without running water…The drought is also changing the landscape. Reptiles and other animals are disappearing with the water, migrating to higher ground. And as vegetation dies, cattle and sheep have less to eat. Sand dunes once anchored by the plants become unmoored — cutting off roads, smothering junipers and even threatening to bury houses…As a presidential candidate last year, Mr. Biden highlighted the connection between global warming and Native Americans, saying that climate change poses a particular threat to Indigenous people…[President Biden] appointed Deb Haaland, the first Indigenous cabinet secretary, to run the Interior Department…Ms. Haaland’s role as interior secretary gives her vast authority over tribal nations. But the department declined to talk about plans to protect tribal nations from climate change…Instead, her agency provided a list of programs that already exist, including grants that started during the Obama administration… In Northern California, wildfires threaten burial sites and other sacred places. In Alaska, rising temperatures make it harder to engage in traditions like subsistence hunting and fishing.”

 

Native Tribe Prioritizes Covid-19 Vaccines for those who Speak Native Languages

“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota is prioritizing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to those who speak Dakota and Lakota languages. Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Mike Faith tells KXMB-TV it’s about keeping customs alive.” Associated Press, Time Magazine, January 1, 2021

Jesse Jay Taken Alive died on Monday, Dec. 14, after contracting the coronavirus in October. [He taught Lakota culture and language at a school in his hometown of McLaughlin, South Dakota.] Lakota Language Consortium

“It’s something we have to pass on to our loved ones, our history, our culture our language. We don’t have it in black and white, we tell stories. That’s why it’s so important,” Faith said.

The Standing Rock reservation straddles the North Dakota and South Dakota border and is home to about 8,000 people, more than half of whom live in North Dakota. Faith said only about 300 people on the reservation are fluent in the language.

Frontline health care workers already have begun receiving he vaccine at the Fort Yates hospital, but starting next week priority will be for those who speak their native language.”

In Response to the Attack on Our Capitol By Cowards:

“My message to my fellow Americans and friends around the world following this week’s attack on the Capitol.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger~ January 6, 2021

Chickasaw Nation President Jefferson Keel Endorses Joe Biden!

‘Vice President Biden is a proven leader with exceptional grace and diplomacy’Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation, ICT

Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation, is the former president of the National Congress of American Indians. (File photo)

Excerpt: Electing Joe Biden stops Trump’s termination policies, By Jefferson Keel, Chickasaw Nation, ICT

“Indian Country is at a crossroads as deep divisions take shape within our country. Native people have borne the brunt of racism for hundreds of years and have seen Presidents attempt to eliminate tribal rights and our communities.

Additionally, the pandemic is impacting Natives at alarmingly high rates, highlighting disparities that have long existed in healthcare and other services.

I witnessed huge strides to foster tribal self-determination during the eight years of the Obama-Biden Administration, elevating tribal voices to unprecedented levels and prioritizing Native issues to heights we had never experienced (or even dreamed of) before… But the sad truth now is that many of the achievements and progress we made during the Obama-Biden Administration have been erased in the last four years… Tribes have been alienated and ignored…[Joe Biden] has shown through his decades of public service a respect and commitment to tribal sovereignty. He is a spiritual man who truly understands and respects the service of Native veterans, and will never disparage them in any way.”

5 key takeaways from Joe Biden’s town hall with ABC News, By Meg Cunningham and Quinn Scanlan, October 16, 2020 NYT   

Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden and moderator George Stephanopoulos participate in an ABC News town hall event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Biden’s persistent message of concern for others, which he follows up with action, is a stark contrast to the actions of the current president.

“I’m less concerned about me than the people, the guys with the cameras, the people working in the, you know, the Secret Service guys you drive up with, all those people.”~Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden

“With less than three weeks until Nov. 3,…Already, more than 18 million voters have cast their ballots, and while that’s an unprecedented turnout this far out from Election Day, many more Americans have yet to officially make their voices heard.”

Tribal Community Sub-Grants

“The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is committed to American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) exercising their right to vote in all tribal, local, state, and federal elections through nonpartisan activities and education. To meet this commitment, we rely on our tribal nations, partner organizations, and tribal citizens to become actively engaged in the campaign. Community Mini Grants – NCAI is offering Community Mini Grants for projects in support of its Native Vote campaign for the 2020 election cycle. Please note: NCAI will consider funding projects/events in whole or part up to a maximum of $2,000 per tribal organization. For More information Visit:  Native Vote 2020 Community Grants Application

*A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19  By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe   NOTE:  “This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments.” October 15, 2020

STAY HEALTHY During Flu Season!

The Navajo Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises Navajo citizens to get a flu vaccine this fall to protect yourself, your family, and your community and help reduce the strain on healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The flu vaccine can prevent influenza (flu) and is not a COVID-19 vaccine. Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the country every year, usually between October …See More

Also Visit: Navajo Department of Health for COVID-19 Updates

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

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.”

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~