Category Archives: Native Fish and Wildlife

Tribal Nations Still Caring for Buffalos and the Land

“The Rosebud Sioux nation in South Dakota aims to build the largest Indigenous owned herd to help food security and restore the land.” M. Krupnick, The Guardian, Feb 20, 2022

The Wolakota Buffalo Range in South Dakota has swelled to 750 bison with a goal of reaching 1,200. Photograph- Matt Krupnick

Excerpt: Matt Krupnick, The Guardian, Feb 20, 2022

“A trio of bison has gathered around a fourth animal’s carcass, and Jimmy Doyle is worried. ‘I really hope we’re not on the brink of some disease outbreak,’ said Doyle, who manages the Wolakota Buffalo Range here in a remote corner of south-western South Dakota in one of the country’s poorest counties. The living bison sidle away as Doyle inspects the carcass, which is little more than skin and bones after coyotes have scavenged it. ‘If you don’t catch them immediately after they’ve died, it’s pretty hard to say what happened,’ he said.

So far, at least, the Wolakota herd has avoided outbreaks as it pursues its aim of becoming the largest Indigenous American-owned bison herd. In the two years since the Rosebud Sioux tribe started collecting the animals on the 28,000-acre range in the South Dakota hills, the herd has swelled to 750 bison.

The tribe plans to reach its goal of 1,200 within the year…With their eyes on solving food shortages and financial shortfalls, restoring ecosystems and bringing back an important cultural component, dozens of Indigenous tribes have been restoring bison herds. Tribes manage at least 55 herds across 19 states,  said Troy Heinert, executive director of the InterTribal Buffalo Council.

The pandemic, which has hit tribes particularly hard, added to the urgency of bison restoration, said Heinert, who is also the minority leader in the South Dakota state senate. The first animal harvested by Wolakota helped feed homeless residents of the Rosebud Sioux reservation…Although the words are used interchangeably, bison and buffalo are different animals. Bison – named the US’s national mammal in 2016 – are found in North America and Europe, while buffalo are native to Asia and Africa.

‘I used to be a stickler for calling them bison, but I’ve heard them called buffalo a lot around here,’ said Doyle, who is also a wildlife biologist. ‘I feel like it rolls off the tongue more easily, and it’s just fun to say.’

‘For Indian tribes, the restoration of buffalo to tribal lands signifies much more than simply conservation of the national mammal,’ said Ervin Carlson, president of the InterTribal Buffalo Council, at a House hearing last year. “Tribes enter buffalo restoration efforts to counteract the near extinction of buffalo that was analogous to the tragic history of American Indians in this country.’

While food security is most often cited as the reason for the recent interest in bison, tribes also hope that returning bison to the land will restore ecological balance. At Wolakota, for instance, bison have been eating the yucca plants that became plentiful after native grasses disappeared, tearing them up by the roots and allowing grasses to return. The grass regeneration increases carbon capture.”

Click here to see the tribes of the Intertribal Buffalo Council

Mendocino California Redwood Forest Returned to Tribes!

“Ownership of more than 500 acres of a forest in Mendocino County was returned to 10 sovereign tribes who will serve as guardians to ‘protect and heal’ the land.” I. G. Paz, The New York Times, Jan. 26, 2022

A portion of the 523 acres of redwood forest in Mendocino County, Calif. Credit…Max Forster:Save the Redwoods League, via Associated Press

 

Excerpt: Redwood Forest in California Is Returned to Native Tribes, By Isabella G. Paz, The New York Times

“Tucked away in Northern California’s Mendocino County, the 523 acres of rugged forest is studded with the ghostlike stumps of ancient redwoods harvested during a logging boom that did away with over 90 percent of the species on the West Coast. But about 200 acres are still dense with old-growth redwoods that were spared from logging.

The land was the hunting, fishing and ceremonial grounds of generations of Indigenous tribes like the Sinkyone, until they were largely driven off by European settlers. On Tuesday, a California nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving and preserving redwoods announced that it was reuniting the land and its original inhabitants…As part of the agreement, the land, known before the purchase as Andersonia West, will be called Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ (pronounced tsih-ih-LEY-duhn), which means “Fish Run Place” in the Sinkyone language…Since 2006, the Redwoods League had been in conversations with a California logging family who had owned the land for generations. Mr. Holder explained that after years of building a relationship with the family, the league was able to purchase the land in 2020 for $3.55 million. The money for the purchase was donated by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company as part of its program to mitigate environmental damage.”

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.”

 

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

Tribes in Conflict over Killing Bald Eagles

Johnson stated the First Amendment prohibited the federal government from burdening one American Indian tribe’s exercise of religious rights to benefit another tribe…The government keeps eagle feathers and body parts in a federal repository in Colorado that tribal members may seek to use in religious ceremonies.

Northern Arapaho Tribe members have said it’s unacceptable for them to use an eagle carcass from the federal repository for the Sun Dance. They have emphasized that tribal religious leaders strictly regulate and limit the killing.The Eastern Shoshone Tribe had filed a friend of the court brief in the federal appeals court supporting the Fish and Wildlife Service’s appeal of Johnson’s ruling.”

CLICK TO WATCH LIVE EAGLE CAM:  In 2014, a pair of mated Bald Eagles chose the most idyllic of nest sites within the United States’ National Capital (Washington, DC), nestled high in a Tulip Poplar tree amongst the Azalea Collection at the U.S. National Arboretum, which is operated by the United States  Department of Agriculture. © 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG. We appreciate your cooperation!

Photo of the two baby eagles.

Photo of the two baby eagles.

 

Bald Eagle 3