Youth and Education News
April 28, 2004, Issue 132 Volume 4
"In Alaska, the beaches are slumping so much, people are having to move houses. In Tuktoyaktuk, the land is starting to go under water. The glaciers are melting and the permafrost is melting. There are new species of birds and fish and insects showing up. The Arctic is a barometer for the health of the world. If you want to know how healthy the world is, come to the Arctic and feel its pulse." Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Inuit
Navajo Council hears message on the wind
When the Diné Medicine Men Association met in opposition to plans for turning wastewater into snow on the sacred San Francisco Peaks, it rained and snowed. When the Navajo Nation Council discussed an amendment to the Navajo version of the Clean Air Act, the wind howled. As they opened Council Chamber doors, they were greeted with a blast of sand in the face. What was the message on the wind? "It's Earth Day. Don't forget to honor your Mother." Apparently Council heard the call. In a 68-1 vote, the Navajo Nation Council approved an amendment to the Navajo Nation Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act. The amendment gives the Navajo EPA authority to enter into an agreement with facilities to regulate air pollution in areas where jurisdiction is in dispute.
American Indians prove a powerful force for protecting Michigan's natural resources
Aboriginal peoples with an ancestral home in the Great Lakes Regions are increasing their unique legal leverage as sovereigns to help protect the lakes. The U.S. Constitution and treaties give tribes clout in the courts, and their savvy is giving them a seat at political tables. George Bennett from the Grand Traverse Band is among those leading efforts uniting Midwest tribes on environmental issues. Bennett also serves on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advisory committee. Recently, five tribes met at the Bay Mills Chippewa Indian Community in MI to discuss tribal fishing. Many were also involved in discussions about forming a coalition of tribes and environmental groups to forge united fronts as their power grows. Among their projects:
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, citing lax state and federal standards, was a strong voice in the successful effort to block building of a coal-fueled power plant in Manistee. The tribe will have legal standing if there’s a court challenge.
The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians opposed the 2003 land swap on South Fox Island that was approved by the Department of Natural Resources. However, some of the restrictions it advocated were part of the deal.
Those two tribes, along with the Little Traverse Bands of Odawa Indians, joined in an unsuccessful court effort to block Nestle’s Ice Mountain water-bottling plant in Mecosta.
Zuni Wood Chips Turned Into Energy
Sterling Tipton, manager of Zuni Furniture Enterprise, uses his scrap wood to power half his operation. He's doing it with the BioMax 15, an experimental "bio-powered" contraption that transforms a variety of dry organic matter, from wood chips to coconut shells, into heat and electricity. Tipton's company is among eight sites around the United States, along with the very first BioMax in the Philippines, helping the system's creators work out the bugs before it hits the market.
Indigenous Global Installs First Mag Power Micro Wind Turbine Model
Indigenous Global Development Corporation has installed its first Mag Power micro wind turbine on United States soil. The Mag Power turbine has a double rotor system which produces up to four times the energy output of standard wind turbines. "This joint venture gives us the means to bring a revolutionary low-cost renewable energy source to Native Americans and rural areas," said Deni Leonar from the IDGC. "What is exciting is that this technology can also provide additional needed power to growing urban areas." Indigenous Global Development Corporation is the first and only majority owned and publicly traded Native America company in the U.S.
Indigenous Global and United Native Depository: http://www.igdc1.com
Support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act
The National Park Service and Montana Department of Livestock have already killed 277 wild Yellowstone buffalo this season. The Park Service has killed nearly 500 wild buffalo inside Yellowstone National Park in the past two years. In the past ten years the Montana Department of Livestock and National Park Service have slaughtered 2,778 buffalo in and around Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone buffalo slaughter is slated to cost taxpayers nearly $3,000,000 a year until 2015. During May 1-8, the Buffalo Field Campaign will concentrate efforts on publicizing the buffalos' plight. The public is invited to download their buffalo petition at http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/Buffalo ESA Petition 4-1-04.pdf and collect signatures.
Buffalo Field Campaign
Study Finds Signs of Life in Ancient Lava
Scientists have discovered tiny, bacteria-like organisms which pushed their way into lava some 3,500,000,000 years ago. The microbes, known as archaea, were recently discovered in South Africa. "Our evidence is amongst the oldest evidence for life found so far," said Hubert Staudigel, a research geophysicist.
Greenland Melt May Swamp LA, Other Cities, Study Says
Greenland's massive ice sheet could begin to melt this century and may disappear completely within the next thousand years if global warming continues at its present rate. The melting could raise ocean levels by seven meters (23 feet), threatening to submerge sea level cities including London to Los Angeles "Sea level rise has the potential to affect millions of people living in low-lying coastal regions, particularly the inhabitants of megacities developing on coasts around the world and those living on deltas of major rivers and small island nations," said scientist John Church. The earth's temperature increased 1.8° during the 20th century. As the oceans became warmer, they expanded with the heat. Sea levels have already risen 4 to 8 inches.
Huge Chunk of Amazon Forest Cut Down in 2003
Ranchers, soybean farmers and loggers destroyed a chunk of Brazil's Amazon rainforest about the size of Massachusetts last year. Satellite photos and data showed that 9,169 square miles of rainforest was cut down in the 12 months ending in August, 2003. During 2002, Brazil estimated 8,980 square miles of rainforest had been destroyed. Robert Smeraldi, director of Friends of the Earth, is more concerned that the average annual destruction of the rainforest had doubled since the 1990s. "Never in history has the tropical rainforest disappeared at such a rapid rate," he said.
"The Beginning They Told" by Joseph Erb
"The Beginning They Told, " a computer animated short by Joseph Erb, tells the Cherokee creation story. The film, which has been shown at the Smithsonian, features a talking beaver, a buzzard, and a water beetle. Erb sees computer animation as a way to teach Native children not only their language and heritage, but also computer skills. "We’re competing with mass culture," Erb says. "The kids have a choice; they can watch our animation or they can watch Elmo. You have to compete with all of that so the children will want to know their traditional stories and their language." "The Beginning They Told" is currently available on VHS videotape from the Cherokee Nation Gift Shop.
Music of the past
Set in the Bering Sea 90 miles from Nome, King Island is surrounded by ice nine months of the year. Because of their isolation, the villagers traditional songs and dances were protected for hundreds of years. The songs and dances bonded people together, reinforcing family and village ties. But all that changed in the 1950s when the Bureau of Indian Affairs stopped funding the island's school. Everyone with children was forced to relocate, and the cultural connections began to crumble. Today, Kings Island elderTed Mayac is working with the King Island Heritage Preservation Project. The plan is to document every dance and song elders from the village can remember. "My age group is the last ones to know how to do all this,'' Mayac said. "Every day, the things we did were in cooperation...It was such a peaceful life,'' Mayac said the music resurrects some of those feelings and hopes that by keeping the traditions strong, the ties will remain that way, too.
King Island Bear: Ivory Carving, Artist Fred Pushruk www.quintanagalleries.com/.../ ivory/iv0007.html
Inmates to sell tribal art
South Dakota's Corrections Commission has approved a plan that allows Native American inmates at Sioux Falls penitentiary to produce tribal crafts and artwork. The program allows 10 to 12 inmates to make beadwork, quillwork, ceremonial drums and original paintings. "One of our goals is to help these inmates perpetuate their culture," said Ron Zylstra. "Some of these skills that these young men have learned have come from their elders in a passing on of the culture from individual to individual." Zylstra, director of Pheasantland Industries at the penitentiary, will head the program.
Exhibit touches on concerns of Native Americans
After a sneak preview in Ann Arbor, MI, Artrain USA will travel across country bringing Native American Art to 100 rural and Native communities. The exhibit, "Native Views: Influences of Modern Culture," is a collection of 70 pieces of artwork reflecting a unique national outlook. Housed in three separate train cars, the displays include traditional mediums like painting, basketry, clay and woodwork, to computer animation, flash movies on CD-ROM, aural art and computer-altered photographs. "...the exhibit's structured around commonalities that represent a shared history of being Native American," said curator Joanne Bigfeather. "Add to this a need to show the diversity of contemporary Native American art as being something more than trinkets, rugs, and tapestries, and the challenge has been to find talent illustrating this tight-knit community's spirit and self-awareness."
More information and a tour schedule can be found at: http://www.artrainusa.org/
Courting higher education
Dozens Indians make an annual pilgrimage to metro Denver because their sons, daughters, nieces and nephews are committed athletes. Denver is host to the three-day All West Native American Basketball Tournament. Founded by Mark Ulmer and Dom Nessi in 1986, the tournament is a way to lure dedicated American Indian basketball players off the reservation and out into communities where they might one day go to school. Each winning player receives a $750 scholarship renewed annually as long as the recipient maintains a 2.5 grade point average. The fund has helped 12 students who currently attend college, 12 who have graduated and five who are attending graduate school. Tribes from eight Western states participate.
Inuit writers honoured by government
Nunavut's department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth has announced the winner of its first-ever Inuktitut literary prizes:
First Prize--Morty Alooloo of Arctic Bay for her story about the changing way of Inuit life and how elder's advice must be passed on to strengthen the culture.
Second Prize-- Paul Issakiark of Arviat
Honorable Mention--Leo Tulugajuk, Miriam Aglukkaq and Helen Power
The two winning entries will be produced into an illustrated book expected in the fall of 2004.
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King Island Bear: Ivory Carving, Artist Fred Pushruk www.quintanagalleries.com/.../ ivory/iv0007.html
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