Category Archives: Social

Natives Join March For Our Lives in Remembrance of Red Lake Shooting in 2005

“Hundreds of thousands of people came together Saturday as over 800 cities all over the world participated in organized #MarchForOurLives protests. The movement was spawned by the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month in Parkland, Florida. The movement also honors any of the schools affected by shootings to include Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Columbine and Red Lake.” V. Schilling, ICTMN

March 21, 2005 — Red Lake tragedy.

Excerpt: Hundreds of Thousands Gather for #MarchForOurLives Protests Regarding Gun Control- V. Schilling, ICTMN

“Cities that have had major gatherings of thousands of people include Washington, D.C., New York City, London, Amsterdam, Houston, Los Angeles and others.

‘The kids are leading the movement,’ said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy in a news release. Murphy is from Connecticut, the state where 20 children aged between six and seven were killed in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In New York, marchers wore bright orange to represent the official color of a gun control advocacy group and walked toward Central Park. In Washington D.C.,  protesters held signs with with hundreds of messages and images of shooting victims…In Parkland, Florida, chanters shouted ‘Enough is enough!’

Barack and Michelle Obama released a letter to the students of Parkland, praising their ‘resilience, resolve and solidarity’ and said they helped ‘awaken the conscience of the nation.’

Former U.S. President Barack Obama

Barack Obama also tweeted: ‘Michelle and I are so inspired by all the young people who made today’s marches happen. Keep at it. You’re leading us forward. Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change.’

In relation to Indian country, the #MarchForOurLives movement takes places 13 years after the Red Lake tragedy. On March 21, 2005, a 16-year-old Native youth Jeff Wiese shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s partner and several of his classmates and adult employees at Red Lake High School before taking his own life. Including Weise, 10 people died.”

 

Category: Social

An Offensive Native Statue Comes Down!

“San Francisco will take down a controversial statue depicting a submissive Native American man after an outcry sparked by a deadly rally last summer in Charlottesville, Va., led the city’s arts commission to vote unanimously this week to remove it. The statue, known as ‘Early Days,’ shows a Native American man at the feet of a Catholic missionary, who towers over him and gestures toward the ground…”  M. Gold, The New York Times

The sculpture shows a Native American man at the feet of a Catholic missionary. Credit Jeff Chiu:Associated Press

Excerpt: San Francisco Will Remove Controversial Statue of Native American Man — By Michael Gold, The New York Times

“Critics have called the statue racist and disrespectful, saying it promotes genocide, portrays Native Americans as inferior and relies on inaccurate stereotypes. (Among the specific critiques: that the person depicted in the statue is styled like a Plains Indian rather than a member of any California tribe.)

“It’s more than just racist,” said Mariposa Villaluna, who helped organize a grass-roots campaign to remove the statue. ‘It celebrates human subjugation.’

The statue has been the focus of heated debate in the past. In the early 1990s, when the city announced a plan to move the Pioneer Monument to its current location, Native American activists urged the city to leave ‘Early Days’ behind.

After years of debate, the city kept the statue but installed a plaque meant to add historical context…But the decades-long effort to move “Early Days” to storage was reinvigorated in August, after a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the potential removal of a statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee…The city is planning to remove the statue sometime this year, according to Kate Patterson, a spokeswoman for the arts commission. It will be moved to storage and replaced with a plaque that details the reasoning behind the decision.”

Category: Social

Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Predator!

“The Native American Carnegie Medal award-winning writer of 26 books and writer and producer of the movie Smoke Signals, Sherman Alexie (Spokane-Coeur d’Alene,) has been accused of sexual predatory behavior and sexual harassment by several dozen women. Since last Saturday, allegations against the author have reached a fever pitch on social media.” V. Schilling, ICTMN

Sherman Alexie. The
Current

Excerpt: Sherman Alexie Called Out For Sexual Misconduct For Over A Twenty-Year Period, By Vincent Schilling, ICTMN

“[According to Litsa Dremousis—a close friend of Alexie for over 15 years] ‘In multiple instances, he explicitly threatened to end women’s careers if they told anyone he had sexually harassed them… It seems—at least so far—that he targeted Native American women writers particularly hard.’

On Wednesday, Alexie issued a public apology amid the allegations of sexual misconduct stating, ‘Over the years, I have done things that have harmed other people, including those I love most deeply. To those whom I have hurt, I genuinely apologize. I am so sorry.’

‘I reject the accusations, insinuations, and outright falsehoods made by Litsa Dremousis, who has led charges against me. Ms. Dremousis has portrayed herself as simply being a friend of mine. She has withheld from the public the fact that she and I had previously been consenting sexual partners.’

Dremousis said women were afraid to confront Alexie due to his prominence in the world of literature. She confided in friends that because she knew him, she would volunteer to confront him…Alexie states Dremousis is only telling a partial truth and claims he has no recollection of making threats.

Dremousis informed Indian Country Today via phone that National Public Radio has the largest reach in the country and she sent several victims of Alexie to NPR who have agreed to come out against Alexie publicly…Several journalists have confirmed NPR will be the first outlet to give reports first-hand from the victims of Alexie.

She also surmises that Little Brown Publishing would most likely not publish a sequel to Alexie’s award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. She also doesn’t think there will be a movie based on the book which is now in pre-production.

Washington DC-based bookstore Duende District has stated they will also no longer be carrying Alexie’s books… Duende District is a WoC-owned business & our mission is to uplift voices of color, esp. women of color, & we do not separate Alexie’s work from his actions.'”

Category: Social

Horse Therapy: Helping Break the Silence of Sexual Abuse

“The old warrior waited patiently for us. Although his magnificent regalia was heavy and it was hot in the practice barn, he showed no signs of irritation. He stood erect, with great dignity, stamping his feet a bit when he saw us approach.The horse was ready for the duty of ceremony, ready to bear whatever spirits needed unburdening…Red Clouds is one of several rescue horses who serve as equine therapists at the Sinte Gleska University’s (SGU) ranch on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Red Clouds is a member of Sunka Wakan Oyate, the horse nation. For Lakota people, Red Clouds is more than a horse, he is a relative, therefore his role as healer and therapist [in the] mental health program is especially potent.” M. Pember, ICTMN

Red Clouds wears his regalia. ICTMN

Excerpt: Horse Therapy Helping Break the Stigma of Sexual Abuse By Mary A. Pember, ICTMN

“Greg Grey Cloud walked up to greet the horse. The big man’s voice was unexpectedly gentle as he spoke to the animal. Outwardly, Grey Cloud could be described as gruff. In his sweat-stained t-shirt and well-worn cowboy boots, he was the very picture of a hard-working, no-nonsense ranch foreman. But standing close to the old warrior, Grey Cloud seemed to change. His bearing softened, and he seemed to grow vulnerable as he stroked the horse’s neck and prepared to share his secrets.

Greg Grey Cloud dresses Red Cloud, therapy horse at Sinte Gleska University’s ranch on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota.ICTMN

The horse stood quietly as Grey Cloud spoke, hardly moving until the man finished his story.

Reclaiming the relationship with the Sunka Wakan Oyate goes far beyond the benefits of therapy. For the Oceti Sakowin peoples, Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, the horse nation is an important bearer of culture and spirituality and represent a means to return to the traditional health and wholeness of their ancestors.

Grey Cloud spoke so I could hear, but it seemed as if it were only he and Red Clouds in that dusty barn. Grey Cloud began his story, an awful memory from his childhood that has haunted and traumatized him for years. It was New Year’s Eve, Grey Cloud recalled. He was 9 years old. His sisters were 7 and 11. Swept up in drunken revelry, his father forgot about the children as he left their home in search of another party. Six teen boys remained behind with the children.

The teens began to drink. As they got drunker and drunker, their talk turned mean and lascivious. They decided it would be a good idea to rape the young girls. When they began ripping off the girls clothing, Grey Cloud stepped forward, shouting, kicking and hitting at the teens. The teenagers turned their attention to him. Taking turns, they raped him, laughing and calling him names he didn’t understand. At the time, he recalls feeling grateful that at least his sisters were spared. When they finished, they urinated on him.

Beaten and bloodied, he laid on the floor as the teens once again turned to his sisters. Somehow, he got to his feet and tried to fight them again but he wasn’t able to stop the teens, who raped his sisters.

The sisters cried for a long time. Grey Cloud tried to comfort them but was hurt and confused by their sudden fear of him, their brother. Speaking of it now, he realizes they now saw him as a man, the enemy.

Greg Grey Cloud speaks to Red Clouds.

Fearful of retribution from the teens and later of how the community might judge him, Grey Cloud kept this horrendous story secret for over 20 years. It was the horses, the Wakan Oyate, however, who healed him as he worked as an equine therapist and foreman with the Tiwahi Glu Kini Pi Program at the SGU ranch. Part of the SGU tribal college, Tiwahi Glu Kini Pi offers clients a wide range of western and Lakota culturally based mental health counseling and services including providing access to Wakan Iyeska (Medicine men), instruction in Lakota men’s and women’s teachings and equine therapy.

‘It was these horses who taught me that it was okay to be afraid, but that it wasn’t okay to remain silent and protect the men who hurt me,’  he says.

‘These horses helped me see that it was important for me to share my experiences so that we can help each other in the community to ensure this doesn’t continue to happen to other children.’

Supporters of equine assisted therapy believe that those who don’t respond well to traditional talk therapy can benefit from interacting with horses. According to an article in The Guardian, since horses are pack animals they are very sensitive to stress and body language. Horses pick up on the way people are feeling, mirroring their emotions and responding, providing feedback for people struggling with troubling emotions, such as fear and anger.

Although many health professionals laud the benefits of this therapy, it does not have the scientific stamp of approval as an evidence-based practice (EBT). Most large granting institutions, such as government and university organizations, will only fund organizations that use EBTs as their primary therapies.

The Oceti Sakowin peoples, however, need no assurance from the scientific world as to the powers of the Suka Wakan Oyate, not only to heal but to also imbue the rider through talking and working with the animal, with the courage and strength to take on risky, even dangerous tasks.

They also know the horse nation is a source of spiritual power. Long ago, according to Grey Cloud, when warriors faced a powerful challenge or adversary, they dressed their horses in fabulous regalia under which medicine people first painted special symbols on the horse’s’ body.

It is only by breaking the silence about violence and sexual assault that the community can heal itself. Greg was the first Native man I ever heard talk in such depth about what happened to him. He let us know that we can no longer be silent.”

Category: Social

Replica of Native Execution Device Is Not Art!

“The Walker Art Center has postponed the opening of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden until 10 June following protests from Native American groups surrounding a work by the artist Sam Durant that references US state-sanctioned hangings. Among the historic gallows recreated in Durant’s wooden sculpture Scaffold (2012) is one used in 1862 to hang 38 Dakota men executed by the US Army in Mankato, Minnesota.” H. Stoilas, The Art Newspaper

Durant’s recreation of hanging scaffold used on Natives in 1862.

Excerpt: Walker Art Center postpones opening of sculpture park after Native American protests

“The work will probably be dismantled after a meeting between the artist, the museum and Dakota elders on Wednesday. Announced in January 2016 as one of the 16 new works acquired for the park’s reopening this June, Scaffold was originally commissioned and shown at Documenta in Kassel in 2012.

Photo- MPR news

[according to a  press release statement] ‘With the death penalty as its focus, Scaffold opens a discussion around criminal law and the politics of incarceration—themes which continue to resonate today.’

On Thursday 25 May, the Walker’s director Olga Viso wrote about the new acquisitions, including Scaffold on a blog post on the museum’s website. This prompted an outcry from Minnesota’s Native American community, over its use of a traumatic symbol of brutality against the Dakota people, the museum’s failure to consult tribal leaders in its acquisition and installation, and the fact that the work was made by a white artist.

Protest signs against scaffold. photo- The Art Newspaper

Signs posted on the fence surrounding the park said ‘Not your story’ and ‘$200 for scalp of artist’.  Both Durant and Viso released statements apologizing for the hurt caused to the community and offering the dismantle the piece.

MinnPost

‘It has been my belief that white artists need to address issues of white supremacy and its institutional manifestations. Whites created the concept of race and have used it to maintain dominance for centuries, whites must be involved in its dismantling,’ Durant said. ‘However, your protests have shown me that I made a grave miscalculation in how my work can be received by those in a particular community.’ Viso said: ‘As director of the Walker, I regret that I did not better anticipate how the work would be received in Minnesota, especially by Native audiences.”

Category: Social

Native Super Moms!

“Among the many tribes of Native Americans throughout North America there were many different roles for the Native American women. The roles of many Native American women were very important to every Indian tribe.” Native Net

‘Super Native Woman’ design by Jared Yazzie and OXDX Clothing

Excerpt: Native American Women, Native Net

“Women are important to any society since they are the bearers of children, but to Native American tribes the women had many other very important responsibilities.

Native women cooking on open fire

Among some American Indian tribes the women would make many of the weapons that were used for hunting and war, and also built the homes they lived in, gathered firewood, as well as herbs for medicine, and nuts and berries for food.

Native arts

Native American women are the ones that made the crafts that have become very popular forms of art worldwide. Some of the crafts they are known most for are the hand woven and quilted blankets, colorful beaded necklaces, handmade and painted pottery.

Native American Women Warriors

No matter what tribe you are referring to, the women were always very important and had many different roles for the survival of the tribe.”

 

Yakama Native American Mother and Child


Category: Social