Native Village 

Youth and Education News

October 20, 2004,  Issue 140 Volume 3

"It's really important to go and vote and let your voice be heard.  If I didn't vote, my voice wouldn't be heard." Irene James, 60, Lummi Nation
Education Proposals in the 2004 Presidential Campaign
The rhetoric may sound the same, but there are major differences in the education policies offered by the Bush and Kerry campaigns -- from pre-school on through higher education. The Brookings Institution working paper uses the candidates’ speeches and records to detail their approaches.
Read the record:

Bush, Kerry, Answer Connect For Kids
President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry have answered Connect for Kids' questions on a variety of issues affecting kids, families and communities, with no editing and no word limits. This special presentation provides an unfiltered kid-focused lens into both campaigns in the days leading up to the election.

Wounded Navajo soldier faces new challenges with Army bureaucracy
Army Sgt. Terrell Dawes, 22, was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries in Iraq, but the government has done little else for his efforts. After a car bomb pinned him underneath a Humvee, Dawes was flown to a military hospital in Germany. The toes from one foot were amputated and steel pins placed in his hips before he was transported to the Brooks Army Medical Center to treat the burns over half his body.  He said the Army discharged him from the hospital into the care of his mother on Sept. 17 but didn't tell them the Army refused further financial responsibility. "It is pissing me off," Dawes said. "They (Army) left me out hanging. They discharged me from the hospital when I couldn't walk or lift my arms. I could hardly talk or feed myself ... They (Army) told us recently, 'Hey you're on your own and you have to pay for everything.' We have this big bill here to pay and we don't know how we're going to pay it."  Then Terrell discovered that his biological father and father's mother, Michael and Janet Dawes, had collected donations during the recent Navajo Nation Fair rodeo and powwow. Michael hasn't seen his son for 17 years, and is now using Terrell's name to collect money. "It's making me mad," said Terrell. "I haven't seen any of that money."
Send a healing message to Terrell:

Rally in North Dakota aims to "stop"Lewis and Clark

North Dakota: A rally will be held October 21 at the United Tribes Technical College to protest the Lewis and Clark bicentennial commemoration. Organized by the Stop the Lewis and Clark Resistance Group, the event is billed as a way to educate others on the Native viewpoint of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  The group says the expedition led to social problems, a loss of cultural identity and stealing of Indian land. On the day following the rally, the group will protest the reenactment activities at the University of Mary campus in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Stop Lewis and Clark -
photo: National Geographic

LaDuke Switches Support
Winona LaDuke, the American Indian activist that ran as Ralph Nader’s running mate in 2000, has endorsed John Kerry for President. LaDuke, an Anishinabe from the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, says Kerry earned her vote through his stand on issues important to Native Americans. “I am voting for John Kerry this November. I love this land, and I know that we need to make drastic changes in Washington if we are going to protect our land and our communities,” La Duke said. "[Kerry] wants to move federal policies to support Native communities, whether Native farmers, business people or tribal governments. We are on his radar; this is a beginning."

Tribes Looking To Share The Wealth With Other Indian-Run Companies
Wealthy American Indian tribes, including many involved in gaming, are exploring ways to share their wealth with poorer tribes.  Large tribal gaming or business operations are developing a plan to buy at least 10% of their goods and produce from other tribes. "It's long overdue," said Michael Thomas, Mashantucket Pequot.  The move is a means of evening the divide between poor tribes in remote locations that are struggling to survive and those more centrally located that operate successful casinos.
Associated Press

Happy days are here again
On September 16, 2003, Dakota Kwiecinski received a stem cell transplant at Babies Sloane Hospital in New York.  Dakota, who is from the Navajo Water Flows Together Clan, suffered from a rare blood disease known as HLH. After an exhaustive search, a stem cell match was found in the blood of an umbilical cord. One year his surgery, Dakota can play in the apartment, go to the store and do outdoor activities. “He is so amazingly outgoing,” Dakota's mother, Tristin said.  “We were at a group picnic the other day and he told every person that was there his name and gave them a great big hug and kiss and shook their hands.” Umbilical cord blood, the kind that saved Dakota’s life, contains stem cells used to treat a variety of cancers, genetic diseases, blood disorders and immune system disorders. Cord blood is the blood that remains in an umbilical cord after a baby is born and the cord is cut. The blood contains stem cells which are able to create other cells that carry oxygen, fight disease and help stop bleeding. Umbilical cord stem cells are all donated after a child has been born. Native American and Alaska natives rank the lowest of any ethnic group for bone marrow or stem cell transplants:
Anglos had 12,689 transplants in 2002;
Hispanics had 899, blacks 645;
Asian-Pacific islanders 458;
Native Americans 66.
Anglos had 2,563,596 donors in 2002;
Hispanics had 415,383;
African Americans had 388,847;
Asian-Pacific islanders had 316,776;
and Native Americans 60,996.
View Photos and Learn more about Dakota:
Farmington Daily Times

Mitsitam Café features regional Native foods
WASHINGTON - The cuisine at the National Museum of the American Indian’s Mitsitam Café (it means "Let’s Eat" in Piscataway) presents large selections of Native foods. Available at five permanent buffets are foods from South American, Mesoamerican, Northern Woodlands, Northwest Coast and Great Plains. That means quinoa and wild rice salads, buffalo chili, juniper salmon, tortilla and pumpkin soups, corn tamales, tacos, turkey and cranberry, blue cornbread and quahog clam chowder The café is also an opportunity for many Native food suppliers, including the Intertribal Bison Cooperative. ITBC’s Fred Dubray said the organization has a contract with the museum to provide approximately 5,000 pounds of buffalo meat every month, a considerable market for the ITBC member tribes.
2004 Indian Country Today

When Christopher Columbus landed in America, he wasn't in search of a new world; he was looking for a shorter trade route to transport spices from the Far East to Europe. However he found something far more valuable: corn.  Corn as staple and symbol played a major role in all aspects of Maya life.  The Maya considered corn a gift from the gods and cultivating it was a sacred duty.  It was so highly esteemed that jade, the most sacred of stones, was used to symbolize it (its green color reminiscent of tender green corn). In fact, according to the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, humankind itself was made of corn--the gods had tried other materials and failed.
Corn is a source of carbohydrate, which supplies us with energy;
When combined with beans (protein, iron and other minerals), squash (the seeds made into a paste provide a foodstuff as nutritious as cheese) and chile peppers (all the essential vitamins) you have just about everything the human body needs for good health;
Corn soaked in lye absorbs the lye's calcium which is essential to strong bones.  The rarity of rickets throughout Maya land is no coincidence;    
Corn is used in home remedies for hepatitis, hypertension, diabetes, kidney problems, gallstones, rheumatism, warts, tumors, tonics, salves and plasters;
Corn silk —the long silky filaments that grow at the tip of the corncob— are an excellent diuretic.

Corn picture: ArtsConnected

Mt. Hood huckleberries slim pickings for Warm Springs women
Oregon: Suzie Slockish, a member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, took a month off work, without pay, to help harvest huckleberries. She is one of only 25% of the Warm Springs women that still picks this traditional food. 'We're not close to the Creator any more with the land and the water where our food grows naturally," she said. "That's what scares me, because our children aren't taking to the salmon and roots and berries like they should..." Slockish, along with other tribal members, is worried about the overgrown areas that kill off the berries.  "If we didn't have Safeway, we wouldn't have enough to eat because the food's been going away. That's why we have to go clear to Mt. Adams on the Washington side for huckleberries now.''

Native Children on the Front Line in the Battle of the Bulge
Canada:  As Canadian schools encounter an obesity epidemic among youth, native students face the reality of being far more prone to both obesity and its related health problems.   Chief Harold Sappier Memorial Elementary School has now joined the University of New Brunswick to develop a program tacking the problem.  "Obesity, unfortunately, is not very discriminatory, it affects people at every age, every social bracket, every community," says Gabriela Tymowski, an associate professor at UNB. "... First Nation communities are certainly overrepresented...The levels of obesity are startling.  I've met some children myself who are around 11 years of age and who weigh about 220 pounds."  According to a study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 9% of boys and 10% of girls in Canada are considered obese.  Experts believe obesity rates among young aboriginals can be up to 36% for boys and 40% for girls.
The Ottawa Citizen

Indian heart health studied
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Indians and Alaska Natives will more likely die early from heart disease than any other racial or ethnic group. Now, more than 500 Indians from South Dakota, Arizona and Oklahoma are involved in a national study aimed at reducing or preventing heart disease. The study divides the participants into two groups: one receiving medications following national guidelines, and the other receiving more aggressive therapy. Preliminary results show that the aggressive combination of blood pressure and cholesterol medications has improved the health of participants. 
The Rapid City Journal

Indians in North and South America are killing themselves in record numbers as the continent marked Columbus Day.  In the Innu community of Natuashish in Labrador, four young people have hanged themselves in the past three months. Other Innu communities face suicides with epidemics of petrol-sniffing amongst the children, and alcoholism amongst the adults. All ages have been committing suicide in shocking numbers for many years, but this is now at an all-time high. At the other end of the continent in Brazil, over 300 Indians Guarani Indians have killed themselves since 1986, including 26 children under the age of 14. The tribe has been robbed of almost all its land.  Neither government has made much effort to help the tribes.
Survival International

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