Youth and Education News
April 6, 2005 Issue 150 Volume 1
"Whoever designed [NCLB] wasn't thinking anything about the history of Indian education. We feel an effective education is one that's defined primarily by the goals of the community. But [education in the US] is still a strongly assimilative system ... and in my opinion, No Child Left Behind is just another one of those roadblocks." Denis Viri, Arizona State University's Center for Indian Education.
Work walkout called to enact Indian holiday
Ohio: Danielle Willmott wanted to help get Congress to establish a holiday for Native Americans. The 22-year-old University of Washington senior and Choctaw tribal member has organized National Work Walkout Day for April 11, 2005. At 3 p.m. EST, workers are asked to walk off their jobs for 15 minutes, the equivalent of a break, and stand outside in support of a holiday for Native Americans. Joyce Mahaney, president of the Toledo American Indian Intertribal Association, said of the protest: "It's about time. We still struggle for recognition. I think it's a great accomplishment that we have survived all these years." Some are hoping to make National Work Walkout Day an annual event.
Learn More: http://www.itistime.us/walkout.php
Wounded Knee '73 revisited
|People's Weekly World.|
South Dakota: On Feb. 27, 1973, a handful of American Indians took over
a church to protest racism and corruption in the Oglala Sioux government. Traditional Oglala people claimed they were
ignored, and some were afraid to go into town (Pine Ridge village) for essential items such as food. That's when Severt
Young Bear, Lakota elder, called in the American Indian Movement, and traditional people and AIM members stood together
in a standoff that attracted the media and gathered nationwide support. The events brought thousands of protesters to
the area. Arrests were made and buildings burned. The demonstrations spilled over to the Pine Ridge Reservation,
the occupation of Wounded Knee began, and a a 71-day war took place. A new documentary film, ''A Tattoo on My
Heart,'' presents the warriors' point of view through actual film footage from the occupation and contemporary
interviews. The film tells their story and their feelings about their stand against the most powerful military in the
world -- and how they became heroes.
Learn more about the film: www.warriorsofwounded knee.com
Cloud people run for the rain
Arizona: In March, 2006, American Indian runners will carry the sacred message of water to the 4th World Water Forum in Mexico City. Their journey will begin in the Hopi village of Moencopi. ''Every person represents a cloud and the more people that come, the more clouds will come to make it rain,'' said Hopi run organizer Ruben Saufkie, Sr. Hopi from each of the 13 villages will join members of other Indian nations to carry their water message 2,000 miles. On their journey south, runners will accept water samples that will be poured into a lake at the end of the run. Runners will also carry water from Mount Fuji in Japan in celebration of Black Mesa Trust's ''Decade of Water.'' ''We Hopis run not only for the Hopi people, but for all of humankind and all living things. We all need water. We need renewing and healing of ourselves, our villages and our world,'' Saufkie said.
Indian Country Today
Tribe uses chemistry to serve heritage
New York: For more than 25 years, G. Peter Jemison had led the Seneca's efforts to get back ceremonial masks and other objects held for generations by museums. To traditional Iroquois people, the masks are powerful, living objects and part of the private religious practices shared among the six Iroquois nations, including the Seneca. In 1998 Jemison brought back more than 150 masks from the National Museum of the American Indian but was unable to return them to the elders. The reason: the masks were contaminated with pesticides. In an effort to preserve artifacts made from natural materials, museum staffs had applied pesticides to them. "At the time, no one fully understood the science to know what these numbers meant," Jemison said of the chemical test results. But the Iroquois are making progress on the contamination issue. A graduate-level chemist from the Tonawanda Seneca Reservation is working on scientific ways to safely test and clean the masks so they are safe to use again. In a few months, the Senecas may announce newly discovered methods for dealing with chemical contaminations, including lead from paint originally used by the masks' makers. "It's really some kind of cutting-edge research that we're doing that could benefit the whole field," said Rick Hill, head of the Haudenosaunee Standing Committee on Burial and Repatriation.
Some contaminants likely to be found in artifacts being returned to Native Americans:
Arsenic — Arsenic can cause death, skin discoloration, and warts. Exposure can cause cancer.
Lead — Lead can harm the central nervous system and most organs, especially in children.
Mercury — Mercury can damage the brain, kidneys, developing fetuses, and the central nervous system. Some forms are suspected carcinogens.
Naphthalene — This moth repellent can damage or destroy red blood cells, causing anemia.
Benzene — Benzene can cause death, cancer in humans, and can lead to anemia and leukemia.
Carbon disulphide — This can cause nerve damage, sleeplessness and headaches.
DDT — DDT causes central nervous system damage and is a suspected cause of cancer.
Spring Archaeological Dig At Angel Mounds
Indiana: The first archaeological dig in more than a decade will take place in May and June at Angel Mounds. Located on the banks of the Ohio River, the park was the site of a prehistoric Native American city that flourished from 1100 - 1450. Underground image devices have shown the remains of more than 100 homes and a stockade wall. The new dig will try to determine how the settlement developed.
U-M set to turn over artifacts to tribe
Michigan: - For 67 years, the University of Michigan has housed a collection of old human bones, copper kettles, iron knives and beads unearthed from Lake Huron's Birch Island. Now UM is giving the collection to the Whitefish River First Nation, a community of 300 Canadian Indians. "Those are our ancestors, and we have a duty to respect them, and that's what we're trying to do," said Franklin Paibomsai, chief of the Whitefish River First Nation. "We're trying to bring them home." In 1990, Congress passed legislation requiring museums to notify American Indian communities about the Indian artifacts in their collections. The legislation is not binding in UM's case, but it was used as a guide to returning the items.
Inuit artifacts uncovered in Vatican
Italy: A collection of Inuit artifacts have been discovered in the Vatican, 80 years after being taken from Canada's Arctic. The pieces, acquired for an exhibition in 1925, have been in storage in Rome ever since. Some objects – including a kayak from the Western Arctic – are rare. They were uncovered last fall when a Toronto business person decided to investigate the collection. Ken Lister from the Royal Ontario Museum also looked over the artifacts. He says poor documentation makes it difficult to find who took the items or where they came from. He's hoping to get a loan to be able to examine them further. He says the Vatican seemed interested in the possibility.
Delaware tribe to lose federal recognition
Oklahoma: Delaware Indians are stunned to learn they will soon lose their status as a federally recognized tribe. A court rules the tribe gave up independent sovereignty when they signed a treaty with the Cherokee Nation back in 1866. Officials from the Cherokee Nation, which pursued the case against the Delawares, say the ruling is “a vindication of our statement and sovereignty. This case was about whether another tribe could claim part of our sovereignty.” But Delaware Chief Joe Brooks characterized the case as a fight between his tribe and the Cherokees. "It's been a battle, up and down, between the Delawares and the Cherokees. There's room in Northeast Oklahoma for all Indians. Not just one tribe. We're Delawares, not Cherokees. We've always been Delawares; from this point forward we'll remain Delawares,” he said.
Report: Brazil Not Respecting Indian Rights
Brazil: Brazil's indigenous population continues to face threats of violent attacks and discrimination. Amnesty International says that "while there have been some advances in respect for [Indian groups] rights over the years," Brazil's native population is treated unfairly by the government, land-owners, and agro-business interests in the Amazon. "The continuous failure of Brazilian governments to act effectively to protect indigenous communities has exposed them to human rights violations and has laid the foundations for the violence of the present," said Amnesty International. Among violent acts include the January beating to death of 72-year-old Marcos Veron, a Guarani-Kaiowa leader, during a reported attempt to remove him from ancestral land.
American Indians Award Former POW With Warriors Medal Of Valor
Arizona: As the sun crept over a saguaro and wildflower-covered mountain named Piestewa Peak, The Native American Veterans Council presented former POW Jessica Lynch with a warriors medal of valor. The award was presented as part of a ceremony honoring fallen warrior Lori Piestewa. "She was a very strong-minded woman," said Lynch of Piestewa. "Her strength rubbed off on me." Lynch and Piestewa were best friends and served together in the 507th Maintenance Company in Iraq. Piestewa died and Lynch was captured when their unit was ambushed March 23, 2003. Piestewa, a member of the Hopi Tribe and a single mother of two, is the first American Indian woman killed while fighting for the U.S. military in Iraq. She was 23.
The Associated Press State & Local Wire
Apalachicola Leader Dr. Mary Sixwomen Blount
Texas: Dr. Mary Sixwomen Blount has been tribal leader of the Apalachicola Band of Creek Indians for more than 30 years. She is a descendant of Chief John Blount/Blunt who brought the Apalachicola Band from Florida to Texas in April 1834. As tribal administrator and director of the Tribal Council, Blount is regarded as a "beloved elder." With the help of Council and clan members, she manages a wide range of affairs for the Apalachicola band including grant writing, fund raising, health and human services and Indian Child Welfare matters. "Our membership puts their full trust in tribal leaders to act in the best interest of the people at all times," she said. "And we have not let them down in the last 185 years since our 1823 Treaty with the U.S. Government." Tribal members select their leaders after years of watching, testing and teaching as a child grows. This cautiousness ensures tribal leadership is in trusted hands. "... it is important that leaders not become arrogant with power and dishonor the peoples' trust," she said. "Apalachicola Indian leaders never place themselves above the tribal membership. Rather, youngest to eldest members must rely on the strength of their chosen leader's shoulders and feel safe as they ride the wind on the leader's wings." Blount said her goal has been to keep the tribe active, together and strong in their traditions. She especially wants to keep alive the cultural value of respect for elders and children through community awareness training.
Mexico compiles visual dictionaries of indigenous languages
MEXICO: The old Indian languages and dialects of Mexico are being collected by linguists for inclusion in visual trilingual dictionaries. The National Anthropology and History Institute is compiling indigenous language dictionaries with images and Spanish and English translations. By the end of 2005, completed dictionaries should be completed for:
Chontal (spoken in Tabasco);
Oreme ( north Mexico);
Zapoteco ( Juchitan, Oaxaca);
Popoluca and Tepehua (in Veracruz),
Huastec (in Veracruz);
Nahuatl (in central Mexico);
Tepehuan (in north Nayarit and south Sinaloa),
Mame (in Chiapas);
Chichimeco Jonaz (in Guanajuato).
Linguist Benjamin Perez said that each dictionary will average 4,000 terms "that illustrate the present vitality of the language and its users," as well as everyday manners used by different ethnic groups.
Trademarked Inuit word irks language czar
© A. Eicher
Nunavut: Nunavut's language commissioner is unhappy with Qimmik
Manufacturing. The company plans to trademark the Inuktitut word qimmik [dog] for its line of dog food. Company
spokesperson Ann Yourt said the the company has nothing but respect for Inuit culture. "And this is one of the
reason that we chose the qimmik word because it pays tribute to the plight of the beautiful and majestic Canadian Eskimo
dogs," she says. But Johnny Kusugak, Nunavut's Languages Commissioner, doesn't see it as an honour, nor is he
surprised. He says other companies have used Inuit cultural symbols to sell everything from banking services to rubber
boots. However, Kusugak says this company's move is more disturbing. By trademarking the word, no one--not even
Inuit -- can use it to name their business or organization. "There are words out there that identify who we
are. Just like the inuksuk identifies the Inuit, qimmik fits in with that," he says.
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