Native Village 

Youth and Education News

December 8, 2004,  Issue 143  Volume 3

"This Earth is in trouble. ... That's why I'm a firm believer in teaching the children. You never know who you are going to touch, that one person who may grow up to be the president or secretary of state, and who cares about the environment."   Cryinghawk Tarbox, Passamaquoddy/ Micmac

Tribe’s envoy to U.N. urges selfless action
Oklahoma: Geri Wisner-Foley had just graduated from the University of Tulsa Law School when she urged her tribe to send a representative to the United Nations. The Muscogee Creek Nation listened. Now Geri is a United Nations ambassador, making the Muscogee Creek the first American Indian tribe with a U.N. representative.   " ... of all these hundreds and hundreds of indigenous peoples from all over the globe, there wasn’t one Native American indigenous representative at the United Nations where they’re talking about treaties, about land rights, about raising our children in our culture and our traditions,” Wisner-Foley said.  “It is work that is necessary, and it is work that I encourage many other tribes to send representatives to do."

Activist is Brazil's first Indian woman lawyer
Brazil: Officially, she is known as Joênia Batista de Carvalho. But that is not the real name of the first Indian woman to become a lawyer in Brazil--just the name a clerk selected when her parents left their Amazon village to have her birth registered. Whether her preoccupation with issues of cultural identity and autonomy stems from that incident, Ms. Batista is not sure. Still, when she went to the U.S.  this year to receive a Reebok Prize for human rights work, she accepted the award as Joênia Wapixana, using the name of her tribe.  "Everything I do is aimed at focusing attention on our community, so that others, outside, can see who we really are," explained Ms. Batista. "Why have we as a people been able to continue to exist? Because we know where we come from. By having roots, you can see the direction in which you want to go."

Menino seeks to repeal 1675 law against Native Americans
Massachusetts: Boston mayor Mayor Thomas M. Menino has asked the City Legislature to repeal the 1675 Indian Imprisonment Act, the Colonial law authorizing the arrest of American Indians who enter the city of Boston.  Enacted during the bloody King Philip's War, the law stipulated that Native Americans seeking entry into the city be escorted around town by two musketeers. The law has not been enforced for centuries;  yet the Legislature has never gotten around to taking the law off the books. "The Indian Imprisonment Act was made to discriminate, made to intimidate, and this law has no place in Boston," Menino said. "As long as it remains on the books, this law will tarnish our image."  Its repeal, the mayor said, "will send the message that hate and discrimination have no place in our city."

Death in custody sparks revolt by Aborigines
Australia: Cameron Doomadgee, 36, died on Palm Island, a former leper colony where 90% of the 4,000 Aborigine population is jobless. When a coroner's report revealed he had four cracked ribs and a ruptured liver following a violent police arrest, crowds attacked and burnt the local police station.  After it emerged that police had used electric cattle prods against rioters, outrage spread to the mainland, and tribal rivalries dissolved as Aborigines united against what they see as white brutality. Tension rose again last week after two white men in Queensland stripped an Aboriginal teenager, put a noose around his neck, and dragged him along a riverbank after catching him trying to steal.  “This is KKK-type stuff,” said Bertie Button, chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, referring to the American Ku Klux Klan. A series of panned marches in cities across Australia is fanning the flames of revolt. Aboriginal leaders have declared next Saturday a national day of action.,,2089-1388592,00.html

Dangerous toys ID'd
A list of the 10 worst toys has been compiled by the World Against Toys Causing Harm. The groups says their list includes toys so poorly designed or tested that they pose a serious safety or health risk to children. The list includes:

Pocket Rocket Miniature Motorcycle
The Megabuster Battle Weapon
Imaginarium Police Car Building Blocks
Dress Me Paz
Fun Slides Carpet Skates
Air Burst Rockets
The 38" Playtime Trampoline
Happy Birthday Bear
Parents Magazine Mirror Pound-A-Ball
The 3 Gun Squad Set -- Uz-1 Commando Machine Gun

Navajo soldier injured in Iraq awarded Purple Heart
Arizona: Following a September 8 car bomb attack in Iraq, Army Specialist Terrell Dawes, Navajo, has been awarded the Purple Heart. "I'm not the hero here," he said, referring to the hundreds of Navajo veterans who attended his ceremony.  "You have these heroes here, you have these heroes there."  Dawes, who attends Central Arizona College, served two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.
The Farmington Daily

Native veterans to be honored
On Veterans Day, hundreds of all-Native honor guards and veterans groups honored the Native men and women keeping the warrior tradition. There is plenty to honor--more Natives per capita have died in foreign wars than any other ethnic group. But these warriors continue to be the most shortchanged by Congress when it comes to homeownership benefits on reservation lands. Authorized in 1993, the Native Veterans Home Loan Program was meant to provide homes for Native veterans who want to live on reservations. But according to most accounts, the program, which issued by the Veterans Affairs Department, has failed. Only about 50 out of 200,000 ( .00025% ) eligible Native veterans have qualified. "It was predestined to fail," David DeHorse says. "I'd say 52 loans is a failure." The program limits home loans on trust lands to $80,000 which leaves Natives almost $45,000 in other expenses. However, veterans who build off reservation can qualify for loans up to $240,000.

Mold session suggests fixes
South Dakota: Representatives from five South Dakota reservations recently attended sessions to learn ways of dealing with a growing problem in reservation housing: mold and moisture. On the Pine Ridge reservation alone, 73% of 1,700 housing units contain mold. Mold, which grows in a moist environment, causes severe health problems, including respiratory and other chronic illnesses.  "Fifteen years ago, we didn't have mold. The problems came from houses wrapped so tight that they couldn't breathe," said Ric Palmier of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Housing Authority. "Basically, it's a moisture problem that needs to be dealt with by the housing authority, tenants and Housing and Urban Development." According to officials, there are approaches to treating mold and preventing it before it begins to grow:
-- Remove mold with soap and water.
-- Check occupancy. Too many people or creatures living in a small space leads to a higher degree of moisture.
-- Immediately check for and repair water and plumbing leaks.
-- Keep cold air exchanges open and avoid blocking bathroom fans or range fans.
-- Use fans while using showers, bathtubs and while cooking.
-- Clothes dryers should be properly vented outdoors.
Other contributors to creating moisture problems include a large number of fish aquariums, an overabundance of indoor plants, constant steaming tea kettles and soup pots and drying clothing indoors.

Indian women in dire straits, report states
New report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research shows that Native American women in the U.S. have lower social and economic status than white women. Native women have lower earnings, less education, more poverty, and worse health status. The Status of Women in the States reports:
25% of American Indian women in the U.S. live in poverty;
38% of families headed by a Native American single mother live in poverty;
The median yearly earnings of Native American women who work full-time are $25,500;
Native women make only 58 cents for every dollar white men make;
Those working full-time in non-metro area average $23,200;
Native women women in metro areas average $27,600;
Native women working part time  in non-metro areas average $15,000;
Native women working part time in metro areas make $18,800;
Native women's earnings range from a high of $38,700 in Connecticut to a low of $19,900 in North Dakota;
American Indian women in Virginia are the least likely to be poor, with 11% living in poverty;
45% of American Indian women in South Dakota live in poverty.

UNICEF Says 170 Million Children Are Malnourished
Lack of food and education affect millions of children around the world.  "Children under the age of 5 are still dying at a rate of nearly 10,000,000 a year from preventable causes like diarrhea, measles and acute respiratory infections," said UNICEF chief Carol Bellamy. More than 170,000,000 children remain malnourished, and more than 120,000,000 young people, many of them girls, "never see the inside of a school," she said.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans a new study in which children from participating low income families will be exposed to toxic pesticides over two years. The EPA's Linda Sheldon says the study is vital, because so little is known about how small children's bodies absorb harmful chemicals. For taking part in these studies, each family will receive $970, a free video camera, a T-shirt, and a framed certificate of appreciation.   As of press time, none of the EPA's employees offered to include their own children in this research project.  The study is partially funded by the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry group that includes members such as Dow, Exxon, and Monsanto.

Indian culture includes tobacco
Raymond Andrews, a Paiute educator, is among a growing number of American Indians who are seeking to revive ancient tribal traditions. One is the use of tobacco as a spiritual tool, not a recreational vice.  "The tobacco plant," he says, "is a magical being, one that can give life -- or take life when abused in its commercial forms."  Now, anti-smoking advocates, including the National Cancer Institute, are trying new approaches that respect tobacco's role in American Indian rituals and traditions. The message: Skip the cigarettes and use tobacco, if you must, in ceremonial ways -- to bless marriages and cropland, to banish malevolent spirits and promote peace.

Study Finds Dangerous Military Waste Near Reservations
Washington: A report by Gregory Hooks of Washington State University and Chad Smith, Texas State University-San Marcos, finds the U.S. military is still dangerous to Indians in the West today.   Remote U.S. military bases near Indian reservations expose Indians to toxic chemicals and unexploded bombs. According to the report, wars have "pushed the United States to produce, test and deploy weapons of unprecedented toxicity. Native Americans have been left exposed to the dangers of this toxic legacy." The Department of Defense has acknowledged the problems, the report said. It quoted a 2001 department report that said Indian lands have "hazardous materials, unexploded ordnance (UXO), abandoned equipment, unsafe buildings, and debris." The counties of Imperial, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego in California and Chaves and Luna in New Mexico were singled out for having large amounts of unexploded ordnance.  The report found that those six counties averaged 10.5 dangerous sites each, compared with 0.12 dangerous sites for each of the other 3,130 counties in the lower 48 states. The study is published in American Sociological Review.
Associated Press

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