Category Archives: Technology

COVID-19 Is Destroying the Livelihoods of Native Artists

“The coronavirus outbreak has had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of Native American artists. But they are responding with a creative resolve born from centuries of adversity.” P. Leigh, The New York Times

Our great-grand folks went through the Great Depression, the artist Marvin Martinez says. Now I feel like I’m reliving my ancestors. Credit-Ramsay de Give for The New York Times

Mr. Martinez creates pottery blackened by blue smoke that recalls the legacy of his great-grandmother, Maria Martinez. Credit- Ramsay de Give for The New York Times

 

Excerpt: On Tribal Lands, a Time to Make Art for Solace and Survival — By Patricia Leigh, The New York Times

“For over 30 years, Marvin and Frances Martinez have risen with the sun to drive from their home at the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico to the centuries-old Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe.

They arrive early to snag a prime spot beneath the rough-hewed wooden beams of the portal, a colonnade where they sell pottery blackened by blue smoke that recalls the legacy of Maria Martinez, the grande dame of Native American pottery and Mr. Martinez’s great-grandmother.

Native American vendors under the portal of the Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, circa 1925-1945.Credit…Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM:DCA)

They are among the 70 or so Native American artisans gathering here to earn a living…This living museum of craftspeople, a program of the New Mexico History Museum, is a Santa Fe institution that draws 300 to 1,000 tourists a day. That was before the yellow caution tape went up and downtown Santa Fe became a ghost town.

The gathering of Native artisans under the portal is a Santa Fe institution that draws 300 to 1,000 tourists a day. Credit- Palace of the Governors Photo Archives

New Mexico’s 23 tribal communities make up almost 60 percent of reported cases and half the deaths, though they comprise just 11 percent of the state’s population… Last month, Indian Market in Santa Fe, the country’s oldest and most competitive market, announced that it would be going virtual this August, spawning ripples of anxiety among artists untutored in e-commerce or living in isolated areas with little or no internet connectivity.

‘Most Native artists rely heavily on the principal markets as an economic lifeline,’ said W. Richard West, Jr., president and chief executive of the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. ‘To have it all come crashing down is really tough.’

Mark Bahti, who owns galleries in Tucson and Santa Fe, noted that many artists come from large extended families. ‘When people support an artist, they are supporting a community,’ he said. At Zuni Pueblo (pop. 7600), in a hard-hit part of New Mexico, some 77 percent of households have at least one self-identified artist at home. A young cooperative called ARTZ — for Ancestral Rich Treasures of Zuni — includes Zuni fetish carvers, who sculpt small animals and other spirit world figures from alabaster and other stones. But the tour buses and visitors stopped coming after the virus outbreak.

A mural by the street artist jetsonorama on Highway 160 on the Navajo reservation.Credit…Chip Thomas

On Highway 160 on the Navajo reservation, where jewelry vendors once set up stalls, a black and white mural by the street artist jetsonorama uses the haunting image of a masked Indian in a headdress to underscore, in both Dine’ and English, the urgency of following public health protocols…The economic importance of traditional cultural practices extends to regions not widely associated with the arts. A market study of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota by the First Peoples Fund, a nonprofit that supports Native artists and culture bearers found that 79 percent of home-based businesses were in traditional arts like beadwork and quillwork.

Rolling Rez arts, a roving arts studio, credit union, internet hot spot and mini-trading post on wheels, aimed at reaching artists in far-flung settings. Credit- Bryan Parker

A solution was Rolling Rez arts — a roving arts studio, credit union, internet hot spot and mini-trading post on wheels that until the virus struck — fanned out across 11,000 square miles to reach artists in far-flung settings…The Fund, based in Rapid City, is among the organizations stepping up to provide financial relief for Native artists in 25 states, who have reported losses ranging from $150 to $38,000 since March 1.”

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:

COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 06/12/20   Information Here

COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more. 

Where to begin? After extensive research, the most comprehensive and user-friendly website for finding assistance from a multitude of programs is arguably Benefits.gov.

COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basic information. Indian Health Service National Congress of American IndiansNational Indian Health Board

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden delivered a speech at the funeral for George Floyd on Tuesday, calling on his family to turn his death into “purpose.”

“Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America,”Democratic Presidential nominee  ~Joe Biden~

TODAY WE MARCH — TOMORROW WE VOTE!

STAY STRONG — STAY SAFE

COVID19 Resources for Indigenous Peoples

Art by Isaac Murdoch

Hello relatives! During this difficult time, we wanted to put together some links for Indigenous folks north of the medicine line, specifically. We hope that you’re all staying safe; we will get through this like we always have. If you have any other COVID-19 resources that would be good for Indigenous folks to have access to, please send them to lindsey@indigenousclimateaction.com

This page will also be updated with resources as they come out

Every Sickness has a herb to cure it.-BlackCloud

In case you missed it, Indigenous Climate Action and Idle No More hosted a webinar on Covid19 and Indigenous communities. You can watch it here.

Photo- John Locher:AP Photo

Elderly hour started at 6am Bashas in Arizona. Elders really needed this time for their own shopping. Kenny Corona Sanchez

 

HEALTH PROTOCOLS

Symptoms

Cold or Allergies:

Itchy eyes

Stuffy nose

Sneezing

Flu or coronavirus:

Fever

Fatigue

Body Aches

Cough

Worsening symptoms

Coronavirus:

Shortness of breath

History of travel

Exposure to a confirmed person

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, center, meets with other Navajo Nation officials to discuss the coronavirus crisis.Navajo Nation

Symptom Self Assessment Tool

Defining Coronavirus Symptoms – mild, moderate & severe

Common Questions about COVID-19

How to apply for EI sickness benefits and the new emergency worker fund

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response plan – supports for individuals & business

Please call TeleHealth before visiting a doctor or the emergency room:

Tollfree throughout Alberta: 1-866-408-LINK (4565);

Edmonton: 780-408-LINK (4565); Calgary: 403-943-LINK (4565)

Tollfree throughout Manitoba: 1-888-315-9257

Winnipeg: 788-8200

New Brunswick, Quebec, BC, Nova Scotia: 811

Ontario: 1-866-797-0000

Saskatchewan: 1-877-800-0002

Use the SKODEN Protocol (from 4Rs Youth Movement):

If you are displaying symptoms of coronavirus, check-in on the SKODEN protocol: S – Severe symptoms, go to the doctor; K – know the precautions; O – Obey social distancing; D – Don’t touch your face; E – Every time wash your hands for 20+ seconds; N – Nose and mouth should be covered if coughing.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day [Asaf Bitton, Medium]

The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’

How to “flatten the curve”

Slowing The Spread Of Coronavirus Is Easier Than You Think: Just Stay Home [Buzzfeed]

Cancel Everything – social distancing is the only way to stop the coronavirus

When Social Distancing is a Matter of Life and Death

ENTERTAINMENT FOR CHILDREN

Virtual field trips list

Free educational websites

Anaana’s Tent: website with songs, videos and games in English and Inuktut

PBS Space Time

Scholastic offering free online courses for Kids

Giant List of Ideas for Being at Home with Kids

APTN Kids: shows for Indigenous children

EMERGENCY FUNDS

Resources for artists, writers and media workers during shutdowns

A summary of COVID-19 emegency funds

Cherokee Seeds of Life Saved for Future Generations in Arctic vault

“Varieties of corn, beans and squash seen as central to Cherokee identity will be deposited in Norway’s Svalbard seed bank.” N. Lakhani, The Guardian

Cherokee seeds.

Excerpt:Cherokee Nation to preserve culturally important seeds in Arctic vault, N. Lakhani, The Guardian

“The Cherokee Nation will bank corn, bean and squash seeds in the Arctic “doomsday vault”, becoming the first US-based tribe to safeguard culturally emblematic crops for future generations.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault outside Longyearbyen on Svalbard, Norway. Photo- Heiko Junge:EPA

The Svalbard seed vault, the world’s most sheltered storage facility, currently holds 992,039 crop seeds from across the world.

It was created on a Norwegian archipelago about 800 miles from the North Pole in order to safeguard as much of the planet’s unique genetic material as possible. Losing a crop variety is as irreversible as the extinction of an animal or bird. On 25 February, nine Cherokee seeds will be deposited into the vault, deep inside a mountain on permanently frozen ground called permafrost.

Packets of Cherokee corn and other seeds.

The seeds chosen are Cherokee white eagle corn – the tribe’s most sacred corn, used for cultural ceremonies – Cherokee long greasy beans, Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, Cherokee turkey gizzard black and brown beans, Cherokee candy roaster squash and three other varieties of corn. The crops predate European settlement and are a core part of Cherokee identity.  The Cherokee seeds will be only the second deposit from an indigenous community to be stored in the Svalbard vault, following the deposit of 750 South American Andean potato seeds in 2015…There are more than 1,700 food gene banks across the world but many are considered vulnerable to natural catastrophes, war, funding deficits, erratic electricity or poor management.

The Svalbard vault, which has the capacity to hold 4.5m crop varieties, was created in conditions resilient to natural and manmade disasters, in order to safeguard duplicates of samples kept elsewhere. It is well above sea level and the permafrost and thick rock ensure seeds remain frozen even without power. The vault is only accessible via a 120-metre tunnel.

Svalbard includes unique varieties of African and Asian staples such as maize, rice, wheat and sorghum, as well as European and South American varieties of aubergine, lettuce, barley and potato. About 500 seeds of each variety are stored at -18C in sealed foil packages.

The climate crisis is still a threat: the vault has required multimillion-dollar upgrades to prevent flooding caused by extreme rainfall and melting of the permafrost.

‘Svalbard is the ultimate failsafe for biodiversity of crops,” said Stefan Schmitz, executive director of the Crop Trust, which manages the vault with the Norwegian government and the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre. ‘It’s important for the Cherokee nation to have this vital back-up.’

It has been a long road. In 1838, 15,000 Cherokee were expelled by US military and militia from their homelands in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, then forced west to Indian territory, present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee lost about a quarter of their people and their traditional plants and crops.

Inspired by the Svalbard vault, tribal scientists led by Gwin spent several years tracking down “lost” crops in former territories and museums. They started two tribal gardens in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, dedicating one to cultivating 24 of the most significant Cherokee crops. Medicinal and inedible plants such as river cane, a type of bamboo traditionally used for construction, are also grown. Thousands of seed packets are sent each year to Cherokees across the world.”


The Coronavirus: What We Need to Know

“U.S. health officials offered a reality check Tuesday about the scary new virus from China: They’re expanding screenings of international travelers and taking other precautions but for now, they insist the risk to Americans is very low.” Q. Yazzie, ICT

IHS Emergency Management Coordinator Gerald Johnson, Navajo, is being fit tested for an N95 respirator. Credit- R Benally Phoenix IMC 2

Excerpt: Indian Health Service prepares for the Novel Coronavirus By Quindrea Yazzie, ICT

“In the U.S. so far, there are five confirmed patients, all of whom had traveled to the hardest-hit part of China — and no sign that they have spread the illness to anyone around them. The most recent case hit Maricopa County, Arizona, where an adult from the Arizona State University community tested positive for the virus. According to county health departments the patient lives in Tempe, Arizona, but does not live in university student housing. It is not known whether the individual is a student, faculty member or on staff at the university.

Arizona State University is working closely with Maricopa County Department of Public Health to investigate any potential contacts that this individual may have exposed.  A university statement said any direct contacts will be notified. “The university remains open and classes are not cancelled,” said Executive Vice President and University Provost Mark Searle.

Where did the virus Start?

“Early on, many of the patients in the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by Coronavirus in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread,” the CDC reported. “However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring.”

Travelers at a train station in Yichang, China, about 200 miles from Wuhan. Credit- CHINATOPIX, via Associated Press

What is the virus?

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that sicken mostly animals, but six of these cases, like SARS and MERS, are known to infect people. This new type of the coronavirus adds to the list, marking it number seven of now eight cneoronavirus types.

Coronaviruses are named for the spikes that protrude from their membranes, which resemble the sun’s corona. image- NativeAntigen

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms begin after an incubation period of 2-14 days according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those infected have symptoms of a fever, a cough and shortness of breath. Severity of the symptoms could lead to hospitalization and even death.

Source- Center for Disease Control and Prevention-USA Today

What is being done?

Airports in Wuhan, China, are restricting outbound traffic and health screenings are now being conducted at U.S. airports. The CDC announced that at least 20 U.S. airports have also initiated health screens to seek preventative measures against the spread of the virus.

Chartered planes carrying evacuees home to Japan and the United States left Wuhan early Wednesday as other countries planned similar evacuations from areas China has shut down to try to contain the virus. The lockdown of 17 cities has trapped more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease control measures ever imposed.

IHS prepares for the virus

The Indian Health Service’s Phoenix Indian Medical Center has been taking the initiative to prepare for the respiratory illness.

The Indian Health Service will continue to follow normal policies and procedures for evaluation and treatment of respiratory illnesses, said Constance James, director of community relations and tribal affairs.

When asked if Indian Country should be concerned about the virus, Dr. Jennefer Kieran, director of Inpatient & Specialty Services at Phoenix Indian Medical Center, said there is a protocol set in place by the IHS leadership team along with infection control and special rooms are in place for critical respiratory illnesses.

How to Prevent Catching the virus?

The important thing to do right now is to take precautions, continuing to wash your hands and covering your cough.

“While any direct impacts of this outbreak to Indian Country are not yet known, we must be vigilant in our efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of infections among our patients and within the communities we serve,” James said.

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez released a statement on the virus stating, “as we continue to closely monitor the coronavirus, we caution our Navajo people and encourage them to be aware of the growing spread of the virus. This is a serious public health concern that must be shared with all people.

“We ask that you share information with your children, elders and others who may not have access to information via internet, television and other means.”~Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez~

The Inuit Sharing Old Traditions With New App

“A social media app geared toward the outdoor lives of Inuit launched Wednesday with features that tie traditional knowledge to smartphone technology. The Siku app named after the Inuktitut word for sea ice, allows users to trade observations about dangerous conditions, document wildlife sightings and trade hunting stories… It also allows travellers to add in the traditional terms for potentially perilous conditions using their own language.” The Canadian Press

Puasi Ippak tests out the Siku mobile app… (The Canadian Press:HO-Arctic Eider Society)

Excerpt: Inuit sharing ancient knowledge of ice, sea and land with new app  The Canadian Press

“The app was created by a team of developers assembled by the Arctic Eider Society, a charity based in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, and launched at a conference in Halifax on Wednesday.

Joel Heath, the executive director of the society, says the project was born from a desire by Inuit elders to document and share oral history with young people.

Heath said during the launch at the ArcticNet conference that Inuit hunters are out on the ice or land most days gathering food for their communities, and they have unique needs that existing social media like Facebook and Twitter don’t address…Through the app, hunters can upload such information into Siku and tag other areas of interest, such as particular wildlife they’ve tracked.

A file photo of Joel Heath, of the Arctic Eider Society. (Google Canada:Aaron Brindle)

Safety is among the key attractions of the program, said Heath.

During his presentation, he explained how one hunter testing Siku had placed a triangular warning sign on a map of an ice field near Sanikiluaq in the spring, providing a traditional Inuit term for its dangerous condition.

‘It looks like a normal tidal crack … But he knew the difference that if the wind comes across this kind of crack it can break it open,’ he said.

Hours later, the satellite map showed how the crack had widened enough that Ski-Doos on the wrong side of it wouldn’t be able to return.

The hamlet of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut.

‘It shows how [a hunter] taking a few photos and tagging can mobilize Indigenous knowledge,’ said Heath.

The app has four main types of posts: Social, Wildlife, Sea Ice and Tools. There are 80 Arctic species listed under Wildlife, including birds, fish and land animals. Users can make posts that include observations of individuals, groups, tracks, nests and dens, as well as fields such as habitat, diet, body condition and other details about rare or unusual events.

The Social button is where users can post about hunting trips and share photos, tagging them with location and other information.

The project was the winner of the 2017 Google.org Impact Challenge in Canada, bringing $750,000 in funding.”

 

The Next Generation of NASA Natives in 2020!

“NASA’s next generation of Natives: After the moon it’s the 2020 Mission to Mars.” A Chavez, ICM

Aaron Yazzie follows the footsteps of Native pioneers like John Herrington and Jerry Elliot; NASA now has some 21 Native American employees

 

Excerpt: By A. Chavez, ICM

“Aaron Yazzie follows the footsteps of Native pioneers like John Herrington and Jerry Elliot; NASA now has some 21 Native American employees.

Aaron Yazzie sometimes felt like he was in a ‘little bubble’ growing up on the Navajo Nation reservation in Holbrook, Arizona.

He doesn’t remember learning about the exact happenings of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. The bulk of his information came from the movies.

That is, until he graduated from Stanford University, and then became a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Aaron Yazzie and Jerry Elliot in front of the Endeavor Space Shuttle at the California Science Center in 2015. Photo by Aaron Yazzie.)

In November, he played a part in building hardware on the InSight Mars Lander whose mission is to map out the structure of Mars. He built the spacecraft’s pressure inlet, a device that accurately monitors the pressure of the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

While Earth and Mars are a mere 250 million miles away, Yazzie says they are more in common than one would think. For him, this has been an unexpected way to think about the planet.

Yazzie, 33, credits his success to the mentorship he received through the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. He has been a member since high school.

It was at an AISES conference where Yazzie first met other Natives working at NASA like Herrington and Elliott.

‘I’ve always looked up to them,’ Yazzie said. ‘They have been leaders and elders in STEM. I always wanted to follow in their path.’

He is currently working on a new mission: Mars 2020. This time, he is building a tool to be able to drill holes into rocks and pull out samples. Their hope is that the first man (or woman) on Mars will bring the samples back to earth with them.”

Additonal Readings:

“John Bennett Herrington (Chickasaw Nation) is a retired United States Naval Aviator and former NASA astronaut. In 2002, Herrington became the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space.”  -Wikipedia

Jerry C. Elliot (Cherokee,Osage) “Jerry joined NASA in April, 1966, as a Flight Mission Operations Engineer at NASA’s Mission Control Center, and has held progressively responsible technical and managerial positions with highly successful accomplishments in the fields of spacecraft systems, hardware, software, configuration design, trajectories, mission operations, Earth resources, astronaut crew equipment, scientific experiments and technical management.”  -NASA

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