Native Village 

Youth and Education News

January 7, 2004, 2003 Issue 125, Volume 1

"What you learn, take it with you and share it with others." Tony Incashola, Flathead

Healing Old Wounds
In February 1973, about 200 militant young Indians seized the tiny village of Wounded Knee, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, S.D. Their mission: to draw attention to the desperate plight of their people and protest the oppressive regime of the tribal chairman.  Most of these Indians were members of the American Indian Movement, a radical civil rights group. One AIM member was Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, a mother of two with a fiery devotion to American Indian rights. In December 1975, Anna Mae was killed with a gunshot to the back of the head. For 27 years, theories have swirled about who killed Anna Mae. Thanks to Bob Ecoffey and others dedicated to finding Anna Mae's murderers, Arlo Looking Cloud is now in jail awaiting trial for Anna's death.  A second man, John Graham, is fighting extradition from his jail cell in Vancouver, British Columbia

Despite 27 years of imprisonment, Native activist Leonard Peltier still declares his innocence. Peltier was convicted of a 1975 double murder involving FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. And despite evidence that the U.S. and Canadia may be withholding evidence, neither country will admit that Peltier was likely railroaded. This adds up to a seemingly hopeless scenario for Peltier, who is serving concurrent life sentences in Leavenworth Prison. Now 59 and in poor health, Peltier is destined to die in jail.  Peltier can't even get a proper parole hearing to tell his side of the story.  He has been denied this basic right, routinely given to prisoners after serving 200 months for a murder charge. The controversy surrounding Peltier's case continues to draw support from high profile individuals including:
Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg, Sara McLachla, members of Blue Rodeo,  former solicitor general Warren Allmand,  and Gerald Heaney,  chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals that upheld Peltier's conviction.
Leonard's only hope is a presidential pardon, which is a problem for President Bush  who is wary of FBI protests.
Sign the ONLINE PETITION (sent direct to the White House) :

Runners' spirit helps transcend tragedy of 1862 execution of Indians 
Relay runners have traveled from Fort Snelling to Mankato, MN, to honor 38 Dakota Indians hanged after the 1862 Dakota uprising. About 60 runners -- mostly American Indians and descendants of those hanged -- carried a staff of eagle feathers and ribbons to remember their ancestors.  "Every step is a prayer," said runner Tim Blue. The relays began 16 years ago when Willie MaleBear was inspired by dreams and visions to honor the dead warriors. He is touched and amazed by what he saw. "I never ever thought it be like this," said MaleBear, a Dakota who was 10 years before his grandparents explained why they always wept the day after Christmas. The 1862 executions were ordered after the Dakota men and boys took up arms when treaties were violated, and money and supplies promised to them never arrived.

Man Who May Be Oldest Living Veteran Tells Some
112-year-old Emiliano Mercado del Toro remembers little about his time as an American soldier. Mr. Mercado's service was not voluntary: he was drafted in 1918 and sent away from his Puerto Rican homelands to Panama, where he remembers learning how to fire a bolt-action rifle. Before he saw action, however, the war ended and Mr. Mercado was discharged. His family is now seeking a formidable honor on his behalf: they want the United States to recognize Emiliano as its oldest living veteran.  Puerto Ricans have served in the military since 1917, when they were made citizens partly out of concern that Allied forces would need more troops. About 18,000 Puerto Ricans served in World War I, more than 60,000 in World War II, 48,000 in Vietnam and 43,500 in the Korean War, which had the largest number of Puerto Rican casualties — about 750, Yet, the nearly 4,000,000 island residents cannot vote in United States elections and have no voting representative in
Congress. Phil Budahn from Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that fewer than 200 W.W.I veterans are still alive.  He took Mr. Mercado's name and birth date, Aug. 21, 1891, promised to do some research, and asked, "Is he a good interview?"

Igorot Leaders Around the World Meet in St. Louis July 1-4, 2004
The Igorots are an indigenous tribe from the North Central Philippines. They were displayed at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis and exhibited simply as dog-eating curious who would be impossible to civilize. A hundred years later, the descendants of these 1904 Igorots--who are now nurses, doctors, engineers, educators, and other professionals--will return to St. Louis to participate in the centennial celebration of the 1904 World's fair. The Igorot International Consultation will meet on July 1 - 4, 2004, with the theme, "Igorot: St. Louis to the World."  
Learn more:

NAME Listserve

Fiji tribes to get control of coastline 
Fiji will give ownership of its tourist-rich coastal areas to indigenous tribes.  Fiji's Government says it is "right" that local tribes get the economic benefits from the hundreds of thousands of tourists who use of their beaches, seas and reefs each year.  The decision has attracted close scrutiny from other nations, including New Zealand's Maori.  The Government there plans to change the law to ensure coastal areas are owned in the "public domain" by all New Zealanders. Tu Wyllie from the Maori group, Te Ope Mana a Tai, said the Fiji Government should be congratulated. "The Fijians do it because they can. The New Zealand Pakeha majority Government can, but it won't. It's quite sad," he said.

Task force nets artifact looters
A two-year investigation has led to the prosecution of four people who looted historic and prehistoric sites.  Bobbie Wilkie, Deanne Wilkie, Frank Embry, and Kevin Peterson stole at least 11,000 artifacts from archaeological sites in Nevada and California.  The stolen artifacts included ancient corncobs, projectile points, woven fiber sandals, pottery fragments, basketry fragments and pendants. "Desecration and looting the past of American Indians has a direct impact on our lives," said Gloria Hernandez, Las Vegas Paiute Tribe chairwoman. "The Paiutes believe that vandalism, looting and selling of our ancestral artifacts creates a disharmony."  Bobbie Wilkie has been sentenced to three years in prison, the longest ever imposed on a first-time offender in a prosecution of this type. He was also ordered to pay $120,000 in restitution.  Embry has been ordered to pay $86,000 in restitution and serve 18 months in prison. Deanne and Kevin are awaiting sentencing.

IN MEMORY AND RESPECT: Michael Two Horses, 1953-2003  
Michael Two Horses, Sicangu Lakhota/Crow Creek Dakhota, recently passed away at his home in Blacksburg, Virginia.  He was fifty years old.  Mr. Two Horses was Visiting Instructor in American Indian Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He was also a brilliant researcher dedicated to human rights, particularly with respect to American Indian treaty rights, spiritual rights, and cultural rights.  He persistently pointed out elements of racism in the non-native perspective on American Indians. He was ruthless toward "plastic shamans," people white or native who hawk Indian spirituality.  "They abstract bits of our culture," he said, "and  then they sell them as the genuine article, something along the lines of taking parts of the Catholic liturgy and extracting the 'cool parts' and  then performing those parts for money.  This is the deepest essence of what  they do, and it is comprised of both 'snake oil sales' and of a deep  disrespect for Native cultures."  Virginia Tech's January 19th Diversity Summit will be dedicated to Mr. Two Horses. The Diversity Summit is a major university gathering intended to promote a climate of diversity on campus.  A scholarship in Mr. Two Horses' name for American Indian Studies will also be created.

Gertrude Webster Schenandoah, 88, Beaver Clan, Onondaga Nation, passed into the spirit world on January 3rd afte battling pneumonia and cancer. Gertrude was a fluent speaker of the Onondaga language, the wife of the late Chief Sanford Schenandoah and the late Chief Clifford Schenandoah. A musician, seamstress and avid bowler she was the grandmother of Joanne Shenandoah of the Oneida Nation, among others.  She leaves many, many  relatives.

Ten years ago, Mexico's 13,000,000 Indigenous lived in abject poverty, ignored by most Mexicans who stereotyped them as dumb servants. Then on Jan. 1, 1994, the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in Chiapas declared war on the federal government in the name of Indigenous rights. A decade later, Mexico's Indigenous still live in poverty--many without running water or electricity. They also have the country's highest illiteracy and child mortality rates. But many Mexican indigenous feel they have at least discovered a voice.  "Due to the armed uprising, men, women and children have become more aware of their situation, learned what we live, what we suffer," said one Tzotzil Indigenous Zapatistas. The Zapatistas main challenge now is to prove that self-determination can work. But with the rebellion no longer a hot issue, charity aid is drying up as emergencies arise worldwide. 

Survivors of a 1997 massacre on Zapatista sympathizers in Chiapas say authorities have failed to pursue those believed to have organized and carried out the attack. "We have spent 2,190 days waiting for justice, but we still haven't received a complete response," said Roberto Perez Santis, spokesman for the Acteal, Chiapas, massacre survivors. On  Dec. 22, 1997, paramilitaries with  ties to government officials attacked a prayer meeting of Roman Catholic activists who sympathized with  the Zapatistas.  Over several hours, the assailants killed 45 people, including infants.
Associated Press

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