Youth and Education News
November 26, 2003 Issue 123, Volume 3
"Popular culture seems to represent Native Americans as these mythical beings of the past and the Heritage month activities are trying to break down those stereotypes. People should know that we aren't a monolithic group of people. We are comedians, authors, singers, and our cultures are very much alive today." Nickole Fox
U.N. Finds 'Massive' Use of Kid Soldiers
Children are used as soldiers "on a massive scale," according to a report by the United Nations. "Children continue to be the main victims of conflicts," the report said. "Children are killed, made orphans, maimed, abducted, deprived of education and health care, and left with deep emotional scars and trauma." The report singles out 15 places where minors are fighting in armed conflicts:
Burundi, Colombia, Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Myanmar, Sudan and Uganda, Afghanistan, Nepal, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Russia's Chechen Republic, Somalia and Sri Lanka.
In Colombia alone, close to 7,000 children are found among the ranks of the main armed groups while an equal number belongs to urban militias.
The report singled out the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the National Liberation Army and United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.
GEORGE W. BUSH: BAD FOR NATIVE AMERICANS
President Bush has failed to fight for the more than four million Native Americans. Among the charges:
1. BUSH HAS MENTIONED NATIVE AMERICANS TWICE, AND ONCE WAS TO ATTACK THEM
*A search of White House documents finds that Bush has spoken about Native Americans exactly twice while in office. On one of the two instances, Bush attacked Native Americans for getting preferential treatment at the University of Michigan.
2. BUSH BUDGET HURTS NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATION:
*Despite growing numbers of American Indian college students, Bush's 2004 budget cuts education funding through the Bureau of Indian Affairs by 10%;
*Bush tried to eliminate all $3,000,000 in federal funding for the United Tribes Technical College in North Dakota. The college serves students from over 40 tribal nations
*In the 2002 Bush budget, he froze grants to local education agencies and special programs for Native American children;
*The budget cut all funding for several important Indian education programs, including Indian Fellowships, Gifted and Talented Programs, grants to tribal education departments, and adult education;
*While unemployment rates exceed 50% on some reservations, the Bush 2003 budget failed to provide funding for vocational training.
3. BUSH BUDGET CUTS FUNDING FOR VITAL NATIVE AMERICAN PROGRAMS:
*The 2002 Bush budget increased funding for the Indian Health Service by only 3%, the minimum level needed to keep on pace with inflation;
*Bush's budget cuts tribal housing subsidies and loan guarantees by 50%, or $1,000,000;
*The budget cuts the Clean Water State Revolving Fund by $362,000,000
4. BUSH ADMINISTRATION FAILED TO PROTECT SACRED NATIVE LANDS:
* Bush budget contains no funding for task force to protect Native Sites;
* The Bush Administration has threatened sacred sites by opening lands to development.
5. BUSH ADMINISTRATION FAILED TO PROPERLY MANAGE INDIAN TRUST FUND:
* The Bush 2004 budget requested 15 additional attorneys to fight tribal trust lawsuits;
* Bush appointed trust fund leader In spite of mixed reviews from tribes.
Native Foster Girls may Stay With "Mom, Dad"
A British Columbia judge has agreed to the requests of two native Indian girls to remain with their foster parents. The child welfare agency Xyolhemeylh was fighting to have the girls repatriated to Sto:lo culture. The girls say they want to keep visiting the three Sto:lo three half-siblings living with their mom, but seldom visit with their extended family members and aren't included in Sto:lo cultural activities.
PATH, Inc. Awarded Up To $2 Million For Rural Adoption Program
Almost 1,000 youth from rural areas in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin are waiting to be adopted. PATH, Inc. recently received a $2,000,000 grant to help rural families find and adopt special needs children. PATH's new program is a Special Parents Adoption Network (SPAN) Program. The program will help those in rural areas by providing access to web adoption resources. SPAN will also reach out to Native American and other communities of color in rural areas.
Tohono O'odham look to traditional diet to fight diabetes
Members of the 28,000-strong Tohono O'odham community are returning to a farming tradition that died out in the 1950. The group is part of a small but growing movement that believes traditional crops and desert plants contain substances that regulate blood sugar and protecting them from diabetes. "If we're ever going to win this diabetes, this sickness upon us, it's got to come from the heart, the faith that we have and our ancestors had," Christine Johnson said. The Tohono O'odham initiative is part of a wider movement advocating a return to native foods. In Wisconsin, the Oneida Nation is trying to revive bison herds, while in Illinois, a Seneca leader is attempting to reintroduce Iroquois white corn, once a diet staple. American Indians with Type 2 diabetes rank among the highest incidence in the world. People with diabetes can't produce enough insulin to regulate glucose, which then builds up in the blood and can damage the eyes, kidneys and heart. The chronic disease is linked to obesity, and scientists attribute the Native American diabetes epidemic to a modern diet high in fat and calories, lack of exercise and genes;
Center dedicated to reviving cultural and healing traditions
In Winnepeg, a $250,000 sweat lodge facility opened on the grounds of the Circle of Life Thunderbird House. The maa-doo-do-son, "the place of creation," is dedicated to reviving cultural and healing traditions for the city's homeless Native Americans. The initiative, along with a Rights of Passage program, a gang program, and an Aboriginal education and employment center, are some area programs working to help the city's homeless aboriginal people. Hopes are for the community to becomes a model of economic and social development centered on traditional culture and wellness. When asked about the criticisms of ceremonies being held in an urban environment, Douglas Cardinal, Thunderbird's designer, said, "Why shouldn't Spirit come into the city?"
Healing the wounded body and soul
In October, Dr. Robert Pretlow spoke to the United Native Nations about how combining traditional ways with modern technology can improve Native health. For those suffering from diabetes, it is important to help youth develope good habits and make good choices. Pretlow suggests children and teens visit blubberbuster.com. He says the website is helping young people make better food choices and reduce their weight through exercise. "The real power of this is the kids interact with one another," said Pretlow. Blubber Busters is now used by 45,000 children and adolescents around the world. It focuses on changing health behaviors and self-monitoring.
Law gives Newtok land for town site
President Bush signed a land exchange bill that allows Newtok, Alaska, to move to higher ground. The Ninglick River has been chipping away at Newtok since the village was established by the U.S. government around 1949. The river is now less than 1,000 feet from the nearest cluste of houses. "We knew that this erosion was going to go on for a very long time, and we needed to come up with some solutions," said Nick Tom Jr., administrator of the Newtok Traditional Council. Relocation seemed like the best option. Under the exchange, Newtok will gain title to 10,943 acres on Nelson Island that is part of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. In return, the refuge will receive 12,101 acres of prime waterfowl habitat near the existing village. Now the Western Alaska community, population 330, has an even bigger financial challenge -- finding the $50 million to $100 million needed to establish the new town site eight miles away.
Brain may control type 2 diabetes
A new study shows that altering a single gene in the brains of mice with type 2 diabetes has helped them completely normalize blood sugar levels. Researchers say it's the first study to show that glucose controlmay be regulated by the brain.
An affordable-housing program has begun on the Salt River Reservation. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community has committed $121,000 per year over the next five years to renovate or build 20 homes. Gail Gianndrea, program director, said the program is a response to federal legislation requiring tribes to work with government agencies and the private sector to improve housing. "The majority of the homes built on the reservation were funded with federal money," Gianndrea said. "The federal government has always told Native Americans where, when and how to build housing. Now we need to seek out other resources." The tribe will seek matching funds from the private sector.
Center For Rural Health to Study Indian Elders
The University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health is using a $150,000 federal grant to study chronic disease among American Indian elders. More than 10,000 elders will be evaluated for health risks such as smoking and lack of exercise.
Tribe launches youth intervention program
The Quapaw Tribal Youth Intervention Program was formed in September with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice. The program provides counseling about the dangers and effects of alcohol and substance abuse. It also provides patients with cultural activities such as drum making, storytelling, and traditional American Indian signing. “Our goal is to make our youth grow up to be happy, productive people,” said coordinator Rhonda Duncan. “The program is designed for youth ages 12-18 who have been in trouble because of alcohol or drugs. It is free to patients with Certification Degree of Indian Blood cards.
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