Native Village 

Youth and Education News

October 15, 2003  Issue 120 Volume 3

"Build coalitions among Indian Nations.  There is strength in numbers.  Your vote counts now as never before."    Leonard Peltier

Voters Elect First Alaska Native Woman Mayor
Denise Michels has been elected mayor of Nome, making her the first Alaska Native woman to hold the post in the town's 100-year history. The 37-year-old Inupiaq hopes to improve communication between Native organizations and the largely non-Native city council.  Nome has about 3,500 residents--58% of whom are Alaska Natives. Michaels joins a growing generation of Alaska Natives in leadership positions, said Democrat State Rep. Mary Kapsner, who is half Yup'ik Eskimo. "I'm really excited about where Alaska is going and where Alaska Natives are going," she said. "I really feel like Alaskans are accepting my generation into leadership positions and helping us be trained to be elders."
H-Amindian Listserv

Senator says Natives threaten state of Alaska
Remarks made by Alaska Senator Ted Stevens are drawing fire from the Native community. Stevens,  chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is defending his efforts to deny federal funding for Native village justice systems.  He said tribes are a threat to Alaska when they exert their sovereignty. "The road they're on now is the road to destruction of statehood because the Native population is increasing at a much, much greater rate than the nonnative population" he said. "...And they want total jurisdiction over what happens in a village without regard to state law and without regard to federal law."  Heather Kendall-Miller, an attorney with the Native American Rights Fund, said Native leaders are outraged and are demanding an apology. "As an Alaska Native person, I take very strong offense to the statements made by the senator. It's unacceptable," she said. "He talks about Native people as if it were 'us versus them.' I haven't heard that kind of talk since I don't know when.  We want him to stop his assault on tribalism." Stevens has already inserted a rider in an appropriations bill to deny federal funding for tribal courts and justice systems in Native villages. He is also considering another rider to consolidate Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination (NAHASDA) funds.

Killing of South American Indians escalates
"It is a crime that more than five centuries after their lands were first invaded, South America's indigenous people are still being killed, and in such large numbers. Only when their rights to their land are respected will these atrocities stop."   Survival International director Stephen Corry.
*Júnior Reis Loureiro, 10, was found strangled to death on September 22. He is among twenty-one Brazilian Indians murdered since Luiz Inácio 'Lula' da Silva took over the presidency in January 2003. Most deaths are related to conflicts over land.
*In Colombia, 118 Indians have been killed in the first half of 2003. Many took place in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, where a group of tourists is currently held captive by left-wing guerrillas.
*In Paraguay, bulldozers are illegally invading the land of the Ayoreo-Totobiegosode tribe of the Chaco region. The Totobiegosode, who are nomadic hunter-gatherers, are  seeing their last refuge squeezed from all sides

Militarization in Chiapas at highest level in three years
The Mexican military is increasing its role in Chiapas in response to new autonomous governments formed by Zapatistas. The occupation has spurred dozens of conflicts in many of the self-governed towns.

BIA to Manage Law Enforcement on Pine Ridge Reservation
Tribal police on the Pine Ridge Reservation will be put under BIA supervision in a program that aims to improve the tribe's law enforcement.  "This is a positive story, a good development," said Robert Ecoffey, deputy director of the BIA Office of Law Enforcement Services. "People will see a difference, a much more professional approach and uniform enforcement.' Ecoffey and Tribal President John Steele negotiated the agreement. It calls for bureau supervision of the tribe's Department of Public Safety and promises on-site technical help to upgrade the tribe's law enforcement programs.
H-Amindian Listserv

Pine Ridge treatment program saved
On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, The Flowering Tree program for women and their children had closed for three months because of funding problems.  But thanks to Sen. Tom Daschle’s office, it has found new life.  Flowering Tree, which had been promised $300,000 by October 1, was surprised by an additional $200,000.  "The staff said they would kiss [Daschle] if he got close," said Illa Red Owl, acting director. "He and his wife have seen the program and know the work we do. When Daschle added that $200,000 to the grant it made us jump for joy."  The program has been honored throughout Indian country. Many tribes come to Pine Ridge to learn how it works. People from foreign countries have also studied the program which includes:
Alcohol and drug treatment program for women; 
Parenting skills program; 
 GED help;
Drug and alcohol abuse counseling; 
Nutritionist and Health assistance;
Classes in household management, bill paying and personal finances;
Children's daycare.
At the heart of Flowering Tree--and the secret of its success--is the spiritual and cultural education the women and children receive.  It uses  Lakota Culturalal  traditions as the basis for treatment and family values. Since its inception in 1992, Flowering Tree has graduated more than 400 women and their families from the program. Many have since moved on to find meaningful jobs and have remained alcohol and drug free.

Diabetes in American Indian youth may be as high as 70%  
American Indians and Alaska Natives suffer the highest rate of diabetes among all ethnic groups.  The Journal of Pediatrics says  70% of new diabetes cases in Montana and Wyoming American Indians are in youth under 20 year old. They appear to have type 2 diabetes,  now the most common form of diabetes in American Indian youth.  Type 2 diabetes is closely related to increasing weight and decreasing  physical activity among both children and adults.  New programs have enabled tribal communities to begin efforts to prevent type 2 diabetes in youth by promoting overall healthy lifestyles, including increased physical activity.

American Indian Tribes Making Leaps in Diabetes Program
American Indian tribes are making significant leaps in diabetes treatment and prevention programs, yet they're not using all the federal resources available to them.  Congress has increased funding for the national Indian diabetes program to $150,000,000 per year through 2008 - a dramatic hike from the $30,000,000 it had earlier set aside. The adult diabetes rate for American Indians is double the national rate (15.3%  for American Indians and Alaska natives versus 7.3% for non-natives.) Of the 320 diabetes grant programs throughout Indian County, more than 80% are tribally run. 
Associated Press 

Advocates name best, worst snacks for kids
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has listed some of the healthiest and worst snacks for children. 

Worst Snacks Best Snacks
  • Chips Ahoy
  • Pepsis and Coca-Colas 
  • Artificial fruit juices 
  • Hostess snack cakes
  • Keebler Club & Cheddar Sandwich Crackers
  • Candy bars like Kit Kat Big Kat, 
  • Snickers, Starburst Fruit Chews
  • Chocolate whole milk 
  • Flavored whole milk 
  • Unsweetened applesauce 
  • Fruit cups
  • Nestle Nesquik fat-free chocolate milk
  • Lowfat and fat-free milk
  • Bottled water 
  • 100% orange juice
  • Traditional Chex Mix
  • Nature Valley crunchy granola bars
  • Raisins

Blood Tribe Chief Urges Alcohol Ban, Curfew
The chief of the Blood Indians may start to ban alcohol and impose curfews on Canada's largest reserve.  The reason:  a 13-year-old boy was charged with killing another teen. "We are preparing to make drastic moves in terms of drugs and alcohol," said Chief Chris Shade. "We are researching these ideas right now and we will use our police force to enforce them. If you're caught with (alcohol), you'll be charged. That will be the law."
Calgary Herald 

Anti-drug group distances itself from ad
The Cleveland Scene and Phoenix New Times ran a false advertisement in February apparently attempting to poke fun at anti-drug campaigns.  The ad featured a photograph of Sioux leader Sitting Bull with the following caption: "Sitting Bull smoked marijuana. He lived in a tent with no cable. Then the U.S. government killed him. Harmless? Partnership for a Drug-Free America". Many Teton Sioux .  In addition to offending Native Americans, the ad may have been illegal.  “They used our name and logo without our permission,” said a Partnership for a Drug-Free America spokesman. "Our lawyers contacted them with a cease and desist order, and they told us they had no intention of running the ad again.”
See the ad at 

In New Brunswick,  considerable public attention is being given to the Native moose hunting policy. The policy allows aboriginal hunters a larger moose quantum than non-aboriginals due to treaty and aboriginal rights.  Current public reports state the moose count is at 20,000, one thousand below the average yearly count of 21,000. Some claim the shortfall is caused by aboriginal hunters. Native people are now protesting a sign that says: SHOOT INDIANS, SAVE OUR MOOSE. The sign sits in a prominent position atop a high peak around the Island Lake Area in  Fraser woods.

Healthy diversity through indigenous vegetables 
Indigenous vegetables, which are mostly leafy greens, are often easier to grow, more resistant to pests and diseases, and acceptable to local tastes. They help diversify food choices, income, and diets for year-round nutrition. However, indigenous vegetables are at risk in many countries--they are being replaced by a few high-yielding commercial varieties. And once an indigenous variety is lost, it is lost forever.  To help ensure that local species survive, AVRDC directs an Asian Development project that collects, characterizes, and preserves indigenous germplasm from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. AVRDC (Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center) was conceived by the United States Agency for International Development in the early 1960s. 

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