Category Archives: Social

Navajo Nation Demands Prez Addresses His Daughter’s Drunk Driving Charge!

“Karis Begaye, daughter of Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and probably the second most powerful person in the president’s office, is now on administrative leave after being charged with extreme DWI on April 29. The announcement of her placement on administrative leave occurred on Tuesday, five days after the story of her collision with a semi-trailer near Flagstaff was first reported by a local television station. During those five days, the president’s office only issued a short statement after the accident, saying that Karis Begaye had reported the accident and that it ‘may have’ involved alcohol.” B. Donovan, Navajo Times 

Coconino County Sheriff’s Office booking photo of Karis Begay on April 22, 2018.

 

Excerpt: Karisgate heats up By Bill Donovan, Navajo Times

“The statement did not mention that she was driving a SUV owned by the Navajo Nation at the time of the accident and that the vehicle was severely damaged.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye (R.) and Vice President Jonathan Nez (L.)

After reports began circulating that she had received no disciplinary action and had even been allowed to use another tribal vehicle, many tribal members went on social media to protest, accusing the president of favoritism and failure to follow tribal law.”

Category: Social

Native Tribes Fight for Their Share of Sports Betting

“State officials from California to Connecticut spent last week maneuvering for control of the tens of billions of dollars in projected revenue from sports betting, and joining them was another group of powerful, and familiar, gambling operators aiming to claim their piece of the action: American Indian tribes.” Draper, Arango, and Blinder, The New York Times

Kevin Brown (left) chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, and Rodney Butler (rt.) chairmen of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council. The Boston Globe.jpeg

Excerpt: Indian Tribes Dig In To Gain Their Share Sports Betting  K. Draper, T. Arango, and  A. Blinder, The New York Times

“For three decades, federal legislation has allowed the tribes to operate casinos dominated by slot machines and blackjack tables. Now, after a groundbreaking Supreme Court decision cleared the way for states to allow betting on sports, industry experts say what may become a yearslong fight over control of sports betting will hinge on the fine print of a series of gaming agreements between state governments and Indian tribes.

In Connecticut, for example, where two federally recognized tribes, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe, operate the hugely successful Foxwoods Resort Casino and the Mohegan Sun, leaders of the organizations have insisted they alone have the legal authority to offer sports betting, according to their compacts with the state. They say the state may incur a steep penalty if it violates those agreements…

Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council, said he had met with state legislators and representatives of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to begin negotiations. ‘We have said, ‘We want to work with you,’ Mr. Butler said. ‘Let’s work out an arrangement.’

With billions of dollars at stake, such discussions are likely to represent some of the sharpest negotiations between the tribes and government officials since 1988, when Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. That legislation allowed federally recognized Indian tribes to offer casino-style games like slot machines, blackjack and roulette on tribal land. There are now 238 tribes in 28 states offering some form of gaming, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission. Betting on sports represents a small fraction of that amount, though industry experts say the court ruling will most likely allow that to increase significantly.

In California, dozens of Indian-owned casinos generate close to $8 billion in annual revenue, the most of any state, giving the tribes enormous influence over the gambling industry…Kevin Brown Red Eagle, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut, said that in the interest of expedience, he and his organization were at least willing to include the Connecticut Lottery Corporation and Sportech, the other two entities included in proposed sports betting legislation in the state, in negotiations.”

Category: 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