Youth and Education News
October 15, 2003 Issue 120 Volume 1
"Build coalitions among Indian Nations. There is strength in numbers. Your vote counts now as never before." Leonard Peltier
No Cheers for Columbus, Says Venezuela's Chavez
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged Latin Americans not to celebrate Columbus Day. "Christopher Columbus was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity," Chavez said. He added that foreign conquerors massacred South America's Indian inhabitants at an average rate of "one every 10 minutes." The Venezuelan leader hailed as heroes Indian chiefs who had fought against the invaders, such as Guaicaipuro who resisted the Spanish founders of Caracas, and Chief Sitting Bull. "Long live Sitting Bull!" Chavez declared, drawing applause from his audience, many of whom wore traditional native clothes and headdresses.
From all directions, they came to march in peace
Hundreds of people had gathered at Denver's Cuernavaca Park to celebrate the third annual Four Directions, All Nations March. Nearly 200 people joined the march which countered Columbus Day celebrations. A crowd favorite was Richard Castaldo, one of those injured in the Columbine High School massacre. "As Italian-Americans, we can celebrate our heritage, but we don't need to be celebrating Columbus," he said. The first Four Directions, All Nations march in Denver was organized in 2001, a year after 147 people were arrested for protesting Columbus Day.
MEXICO CITY'S URBAN INDIGENOUS CALL FOR AUTONOMY
Twelve Indigenous communities in Mexico City are demanding that the government recognize them as independent towns. The groups insist on electing their own representatives and using their lands and other resources according to custom. "We have been arguing with the city government that they must recognize us as owners of communal land," said representative Silverio Arroyos. But the city has barely noticed their demands, said Francisco Garcia from the Party of the Democratic Revolution. "There has been little response from either the local government or the federal government; meanwhile urban sprawl is encroaching on us." Indigenous activists say greater autonomy would be key to preserving their cultures using their own resources and customs. "At the end, one is proud to have a culture thousands of years old," said teacher Humberto Jurado.
Congressman Introduces Bill to Help Osage Nation
The Osage Nation of Oklahoma has just four members -- all older than 96 -- who are recognized by the federal government. U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas from Oklahoma has introduced a bill allowing the Osage Nation to set its own membership criteria. With BIA approval, the tribe has spent a year documenting descendants as new members. About 4,000 Osages have received their new membership cards, but still aren't legally recognized as members. If the law changes, young Osages could receive voting rights, as well as get access to funding such as federal education grants.
The Associated Press
Iranian Activist Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Human rights activist Shirin Ebadi won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her work fighting for democracy and the rights of women and children. She is the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to receive the accolade. Ebadi, Iran's first female judge, was once jailed on charges of slandering government officials. The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored her for promoting peaceful, democratic solutions in the struggle for human rights. ''As a lawyer, judge, lecturer, writer and activist, she has spoken out clearly and strongly in her country, Iran, far beyond its borders,'' the awards committee said in its citation. Ebadi said she was completely surprised by the award. ''This prize doesn't belong to me only -- it belongs to all people who work for human rights and democracy in Iran." Later at a news conference, Ebadi appeared without a Muslim headscarf. In her view ''there is no difference between Islam and human rights... Therefore, the religious ones should also welcome this award. The prize means you can be a Muslim and at the same time have human rights.'' Ebadi believes Iran's most pressing human rights crisis is the lack of freedom of speech. She urged her government to immediately release prisoners jailed for expressing their opinions. Ebadi also hopes the award sends the Iranian government a message, which has been accused of pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The International Atomic Energy Agency has given Iran a November deadline to prove it has no plans to produce nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for generating electricity.
Leave Luna alone, says First Nation
A First Nations group on Vancouver Island says Luna, the killer whale, should not be moved. Mowachaht Chief Mike Maquinna calls the orca a spiritual guide and protector because it appeared when his father, the grand chief, died. But Maquinna says decision makers aren't listening. "It's hurtful to us. This seems to be a lack of understanding of the significance we have been expressing to those in authority," he said. Many residents of Gold River say Luna has become a nuisance, nosing up against float planes and boats. The plan calls for Luna to be held in a pen near Pedder Bay in hopes that his family pod will swim into the area.
Richardson, ENMU begins Navajo tribute
New Mexico officials have broken ground near Fort Sumner for a Bosque Redondo Memorial for the Navajo and Mescalero Indian Tribes. The memorial comes more than 100 years after the U.S. military forced 8,500 Navajos to relocate from their homelands during 1863-1868. Over 1,000 Native Americans died in the 350-mile Long Walk led by Kit Carson after he destroyed the tribes' crops and animals. “This recognition is a long time coming,” said New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. “We’re not here to celebrate this historic event. What we’re here to do is pay tribute to the Navajo and Mescalero Apaches that persevered and overcame diversity.”
Veterans Homecoming honors Native American Soldier
America's largest Veterans Day celebration is honoring the Native American soldier. Legends and Legacy, the ninth annual Veterans Homecoming, will be held November Nov. 5 - 11 in Branson, Mo. "We are especially pleased to dedicate this year’s homecoming to Native Americans who have participated with distinction in United States military actions for more than 200 years," said Bill Groninger, executive director of the Branson Veterans Task Force. "Historically, Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. As early as the 18th century, American military leaders recognized their courage, determination, and fighting spirit. The warrior tradition exemplified by qualities of strength, honor, pride, devotion and wisdom are elemental to most Native American societies and make a perfect fit with military tradition."
Haida Head to Chicago Museum in bid to Recover Ancestors' Bones
30 Haida natives from British Columbia are traveling to Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. The Haida are seeking the return of about 140 bones, skulls and some nearly intact bodies. The Haida remains in the Field Museum were collected by archeologists during three expeditions to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1897, 1901 and 1903.
American Indian bones found at construction site to be reburied
Hundreds of American Indian bones were unearthed at a home construction site in Macinaw City, MI. Enzo Lieghio, the site owner, contacted Mackinaw City police. He said he wanted to be discreet about the discovery. "They're people, not animals, and whatever is done with them has to be respectful," Lieghio said. The bones had been buried about 1,000 years ago in an "ossuary" where several bodies were burned. After being inventoried, all the bones were wrapped in sage, tobacco, sweet grass and cedar and given to the Little Traverse Band for proper burial. "We might say a few words, asking for forgiveness for them being disturbed, but there are no frills or fancy stuff," said Joe Mitchell, from the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. "We try not to leave them out of the ground too long and try to get them put back with Mother Earth where they were in the first place."
Shelter Island Surprise Is Likely an Indian Grave
The skeletal remains of at least five people, most likely American Indians buried in a communal grave, were found by a homeowner in Shelter Island, NY. The remains are probably this week are rare. "It's uncommon to have them so close," said Green, who noted that the island's Indians were usually buried individually in unmarked graves before the 18th century. The Manhansets occupied villages throughout the island, said Ms. Walz, who believed an attack by Connecticut tribes or an epidemic of smallpox or influenza were possible causes for the communal grave.
The New York Times
Ancient rock begins pilgrimage to museum
A 4,000,000,000 year old ambassador for the Tli Cho people is on its way to Washington D.C. A team from the Smithsonian Institute collected the 8,000 pound dacasta gneiss rock which will sit outside the Museum of the North American Indian. Tli Cho negotiator, John B. Zoe, accompanied the Smithsonian team to the outcrop with two Tli Cho elders. The elders made an offering and a prayer as a helicopter hauled the rock off the lake shore. "By next year there will be millions of people, maybe six million in one year or even more than that, who will get a chance to touch this untouched rock so far. It's very significant," Zoe said. The museum is collecting four boulders, one from each corner of the American continents.
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