Native Village 

Youth and Education News

February 9, 2005 Issue 146 Volume 3

"I think what we need to start doing is start teaching Ho-Chunk 101 or Native Americans 101 and vice versa. We have to understand the 101 culture of other people. Once we understand each other, we might be able to be at the same level." George Lewis, Ho-Chunk

Floyd Red Crow Westerman

An Inaugural Ball tradition

Washington D.C: Following the inauguration of President Bush, the American Indian Society held its American Indian Inaugural Ball in Arlington, VA.   "[It's] one of the best ones we've had,'' said Michael Nephew, the society president. ''We had over 1,000 [in attendance]. And that's really good for a Republican administration.'' First came an Honor Guard of Indian veterans bearing the colors, followed by a solemn procession of tribal leaders from the many nations on hand. Then came music from Native artists, speeches, and award presentations, including a Lifetime Legacy Award honoring Floyd Westerman.  But between the food and the conversation, visiting seemed to be the priority. According to Maria Canellis, project coordinator, ''It's almost like a little homecoming'' for many Indians from dozens of nations.
Indian Country Today

Anderson resigning as head of Bureau of Indian Affairs
WASHINGTON -- After serving only one year, Dave Anderson is resigning as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Anderson says he can do more to help American  Indians by working in the private sector. "I have concluded that I can have the greatest impact to improve the future of Indian country not by managing the day-to-day operations of BIA programs,  but by focusing my time on developing private sector economic opportunities for  Indian entrepreneurs," he said. Anderson, who is Ojibwe, owns the Famous Dave's barbecue restaurant chain in Minnesota.

Professor Quits A Post Over A 9/11 Remark
Ward Churchill, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has resigned as chairman of UC's ethnic studies department.  Churchill became the target of widespread outrage after he called the Sept. 11 victims "little Eichmanns." Mr. Churchill will remain at UC as a professor.
Read Ward Churchill's statement:  Ward Churchill Responds to "Some People Push Back."

Regents Apologize, Administrators Begin Dismissal Process
Colorado: The University of Colorado Board of Regents has issued an apology for professor Ward Churchill's comments comparing  World Trade Center victims to Nazis. Administrators are also reviewing  Churchill's speeches and writings to determine if the American Indian Movement activist and  professor should be fired.  However, many who deplore Churchill's comments are also defending his right to free speech.  "Please understand you're going to start a new era of McCarthyism if you allow [his removal]," said ethnic studies major Dustin Craun.  Colorado Senator Peter Groff, D-Denver says he disagrees with Churchill, but that Churchill  has the right to free speech.
Associated Press

Image of Ponca chief a finalist for Nebraska quarter
Nebraska: An image of Ponca Chief Standing Bear and an image of Chimney Rock are the two finalists for Nebraska's commemorative state quarter. Chief Standing Bear was among several Poncas arrested for trying to return to Nebraska after he was forced to move to Oklahoma. To seek his freedom, Standing Bear went to federal court where the judge issued a landmark ruling that said Indians had individual rights. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) will make the final choice.

U.S. Is Close to Eliminating AIDS in Infants, Officials Say
Public health officials may be on the verge of eliminating AIDS in infants. In 1990, as many as 2,000 babies were born infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.  Today, that number has been reduced to a bit more than 200 a year. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV has dropped so sharply that public health officials now talk about wiping it out.  "This is a dramatic and wonderful success story," said Dr. Vicki Peters from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The advent of AZT, a drug used to attack HIV was critical. But equally important was simply getting mothers to know their HIV status before they gave birth.  This winter, Dr. Peters presented a report in Bangkok for World AIDS Day documenting the improvement in New York.
New York Times

Troubled Cree youth feel lost, say worried parents
MONTREAL: Hundreds of Chisasibi residents recently packed a school auditorium for an emergency meeting about young people in the community.  Chisasibi, which is home to 3,500 Cree, faces growing incidents of bullying, gang violence, drug abuse and suicide. Among their concerns:
Poorly supervised students stay out late and skip school;
Dozens of students are afraid to come to school because of bullying;
Four syringes were found in the school bathrooms;
During the past 6 months, social services have answered 90 calls linked to suicide;
In the last five years 15 students have killed themselves.
Parents want more Cree culture taught at school for the children feel lost and have forgotten their roots.  They also suggested setting up a website where youth could share ideas and feelings.
CBC 2005

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 sets minimum federal standards for the removal of American Indian/Alaskan Native children from their families and homes.   This federal law is aimed at protecting tribal rights, the rights of Indian families and the welfare of Indian children for now and for future generations.  Furthermore a major portion of its objective is to sustain, maintain and protect tribal and Indian families for future generations.
Statistics from the 2000 Year indicate
Native Americans living below the poverty line is 300% greater than the national average;
4 out of 5 counties with the highest poverty rates are in Indian country.  Two of these counties are on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud in South Dakota;
49% of the population living on or near reservations eligible for BIA funded services are unemployed.  33% of those employed are below poverty guidelines;
Government funded health care for federal prisoners is 200% higher than that for Indian Health Care.
Nationally, Indian children are 300% more likely than Caucasian children to be in out-of-home care;
In, Alaska, that rate is 650%;
In North Dakota, that rate is 600%;
In South Dakota, that rate is 1,500%;
In Washington, that rate is 500% times.
ICW Social Workers' Tutorial

Ancestors' gene may be Responsible for Fat
A new report published in Newsweek says a "thrifty gene" is responsible for the fat which causes diabetes in Indian Country. They believe this gene was acquired from Asians who migrated across the Bering Strait to North America.  It gave people the ability to store fat and metabolize it sparingly, a trait needed to survive the dark, cold winter months when food is scarce. Now that the land bridge has gone, their descendants are stuck with the gene making them vulnerable to the high-fat, high-cholesterol and sedentary American lifestyle. In addition, Mediterraneans and Africans may not have acquired the Arctic people's thrifty genes, but their hunting-and-gathering ancestors did not leave them a whole lot better equipped, the report says.

Tohono O’odham Nation Seeks Grant To Preserve Culture, Farming
Arizona: The Tohono O'odham Community Action group is being considered for a $500,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.   The group's goal is to promote and preserve native arts and create community food services and youth-elder initiatives.   ‘We want to create cultural revitalization,’ said Tristan Reader, 36, who co-founded TOCA in 1996. TOCA leaders have spent endless hours promoting community farming efforts.  "In 1960, no tribal member was diagnosed with diabetes," Reader said. "Now, more than 50 percent have been diagnosed."  TOCA stresses a traditional O'odham diet rich in cactus, corn,  beans, squash and melons. "We're working to make these foods available again," Reader said. "It is possible for the community to once again take over control of its health."  Traditional songs, rain dances and storytelling naturally evolve while tribal members plant and harvest. Families without their own farms often work on others, enabling the conversations and traditions to be passed down.
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Wildlife populations grow on reservation
Wyoming:  Wildlife numbers on the Wind River Indian Reservation have exploded since a new tribal game code began in October 1984. The game code ended unrestricted year-round hunting by members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. Before 1982, estimates showed about 1,000 deer and antelope,  2,000 elk, 150 bighorn sheep and about 70 moose roamed Wind River. Today, elk and antelope numbers have increased 240%, deer numbers are up 260%, moose numbers have grown 100%,  and bighorn sheep populations have increased 200%.   Wild game is important in the American Indian diet not only because of tradition, but also because it's low in cholesterol saturated fat. Many health experts blame a diet high in sugar and saturated fat as the leading cause of adult-onset diabetes.  Some Wind River tribal member say the restricted hunting season has enabled the herds to repopulate and grow, ensuring the food supply is not exterminated.

Judge Rules Against Bush for Wolf Downgrade
Oregon: A federal judge has ruled the Bush administration violated the Endangered Species act when it changed status for the gray wolf.  U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones rescinded a 2003 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that divided wolf range into three areas. That ruling eclassified the eastern and western populations as threatened instead of endangered.  "Interior Secretary Gale Norton tried to gerrymander the entire contiguous 48 states so that wolves in a few areas would make up for the absence of wolves in much larger regions," said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.  "Now, instead of drawing lines on the map based on political considerations, any future lines must be based on science. "  By the 1970s, wolves were virtually wiped out in the lower 48 states. In the 1980s, a few migrated naturally into northwest Montana from Canada. Gray wolves were reintroduced in and around Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and 1996, and federal wildlife officials have declared their recovery a success. Officials estimate there are now 825 or more wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.  A small number of Mexican wolves were reintroduced in the southwest in 1998.
Associated Press

  Wildlife officials to test quarantine of bison
Montana: In the coming months, wildlife agents will take bison 100 calves that leave Yellowstone National Park and put them in an experimental quarantine facility. In quarantine, bison will be tested and monitored for signs of a latent brucellosis infection. Half of the bison would be euthanized while in captivity so tests can be conducted on tissues. Officials hope this system will find brucellosis-free bison to start free-ranging herds elsewhere in Montana and the United States. The proposal could also signal a shift in handling Yellowstone bison that wander out of the park. Mike Mease, of the Buffalo Field Campaign, said the project was a waste of money and time and treats wild bison as domestic animals. "We just want to see them treated like other wildlife," he said.

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