Native Village 

Youth and Education News

January 12,  2005, 2004,  Issue 144 Volume 3

''Whatever the future holds, do not forget who you are. Teach your children, teach your children's children, and then teach their children also. Teach them the pride of a great people ... A time will come again when they will celebrate together with joy. When that happens my spirit will be there with you."
Chief Leschi, Nisqually

Study: Self-governance IS the answer
A Harvard report confirms what tribal officials have been saying for years: self-governance is the key to crucial economic strides made by tribal governments The report is named: American Indians on Reservations: A Databook of Socioeconomic Change Between the 1990 and 2000 Censuses. "The data reflects that when tribes are truly empowered to govern, our communities grow," said Jacqueline Johnson from the National Congress of American Indians. "There has been a ripple of positive change in tribal communities, as tribes make their own sound decisions on what is best for their citizens. Strong, healthy tribal self-governance is not just good for the health of tribal nations, but for the health of the United States as a whole."

Ambassadors to dine at Jamestown S'Klallam event Jan. 15
Washington: Norway's and Namibia's ambassadors to the United States join guests from three continents who will speak at a Jan. 15 cultural-exchange event hosted by the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe.  The "Nation to Nation Relationship"event at the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Center will feature food, traditional drumming, dancing and talks about many in-common topics, including on fisheries and natural-resources dependency. Representatives of the Lower Elwha Klallam, Makah and Quinault tribes, along with five other Northwest tribes, will also be part of the event.

UM student sets example for Natives in politics    
Montana: Brandon Woodenlegs is the first intern assigned to work with the Montana Legislature's Native caucus, a group of eight elected officials from across the state. Brandon, a Northern Cheyenne attending the University of Montana, said he's honored by the selection, which will allow him to assist legislators and witness the role state government plays in shaping the world of Native people.  Montana is at the forefront of Native participation in government with eight Native lawmakers representing the state's 56,000 Native people.  But other states could do better. In Arizona, which has a Native population of 255,000, only three Natives participate in the Arizona Legislature.  Colorado, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming and Washington have between zero and four Native legislators.

Democrat Urging Anti-Bush Boycott on Inauguration Day
On Inauguration Day, David Livingstone will skip work. He also refuses to spend money. He wants President Bush, the Republican Party, big oil, big banking, big box stores and any other ''bigs'' to know they can't push him around or ignore him -- at least not on Jan. 20. "That's money the Bush administration can't tax, and can't use to run the war in Iraq, protect polluters or chip away at the Constitution," he said. '"We've tried marching in the streets to stop the war, we tried writing letters, we tried initiatives on the Web, but Bush doesn't listen. It seems to us the only thing Bush and the Republicans will listen to is money.'' Nationwide, other groups are following Livingstone's lead, including Buddy Spell who is organizing a funeral jazz march through downtown New Orleans to protest the President's second term. The White House is taking all the boycott talk in stride. Bush ''is proud that we live in a society where people are free to peacefully express their opinions,'' spokesman Jim Morrell says.
Black Thursday:
Associated Press

Elders' Sea Knowledge Spares Some Thais
Thailand: Knowledge of the ocean and its currents passed down through generations saved an entire village from the Asian tsunami. Thai fishermen known as the Morgan sea gypsies used the ancient knowledge to save their people.  By the time killer waves crashed over southern Thailand, the village's entire 181 residents had fled to a temple in the mountains of South Surin Island. "The elders told us that if the water recedes fast it will reappear in the same quantity in which it disappeared," said 65-year-old village chief Sarmao Kathalay.


All five isolated tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which were hit hard by the Asian quake disaster, have survived. 
* 270 Jarawa, who lived in complete isolation until recently, have escaped unharmed. They almost certainly were living in the forest when the tsunami struck.
* Most of the 100 Onge fled to high ground as the sea level fell, and so survived. They are currently being supported by a neighbouring community in a school house. Their awareness of the ocean and its movements has accumulated over 60,000 years of inhabiting the islands.
* Reports are that the most isolated tribe, the Sentinelese, have survived.  No-one has any idea of their population (estimates range from 50 - 250)
* Indications are that most of the 41 Great Andamanese have survived.
* It is hoped that the 380, Shompen, an isolated tribe of Great Nicobar Island who live primarily in the forests, have survived.
* The sixth tribe of the islands, the 30,000-strong Nicobarese, have suffered much more. All 12 villages on Nicobar island have been washed away, and many are feared dead. The Nicobarese are much more assimilated  than the other Andaman and Nicobar tribes.
The Jarawa, Onge, Sentinelese and Great Andamanese are thought to have traveled to the Andaman Islands from Africa up to 60,000 years ago.  Because their languages are mutually unintelligible, it's believed that the tribes lived isolated lives on reaching the islands. However, they all live as nomadic hunter-gatherers in the forest and as fishermen in the coastal waters.

Nunavik opens wallets for tsunami relief fund
Quebec - The people of Kuujjuaq have raised more than $11,000 for the victims of the tsunami in South Asia.   The money was raised New Year's day during a bingo game on local radio. "Individuals in Kuujjuaq responded tremendously, even individuals going to us that weren't necessarily playing Bingo wanted to donate," said Johnny Adams from the Kativik Regional government. The money was sent to the Red Cross Relief Fund.

American Indian relief team to tsunami disaster

     A team of American Indian physicians, educators and emergency professionals are coordinating relief efforts for victims of the Asian tsunami disaster. In the Native tradition of reaching out to those suffering, three friends are organizing an emergency response team: Dr. Robert Lame Bull McDonald, Blackfeet and member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Brock Albin, law professor, and Robert Free, Indian rights activist and creator of the Native BEAR AIDS Project.
     Supplies needed immediately include: medications, ointments, anti-anxiety medicine, school materials, building tools, mosquito tents, malaria pills, typhoid and other injections, a way to purify water, materials to entertain kids and dry food. They will also need bandages, shovels, rugged mini-DVD video camera and tripod, extra batteries, mosquito repellent, sun-screen, hats, backpacks, gloves and rubber boots.  It may be more practical to buy supplies overseas, rather than airlift items from the United States.

     Along with medical services, disaster victims need: psychological services, including counseling for victims, volunteers and family members.
     There is also a great need for education facilities; schools must be established and there is a need to educate people about disease prevention. Construction is also a priority, to rebuild roads, buildings and infrastructure.
   For more information, e-mail Dr. Robert Lame Bull McDonald at or Brock Albin at

First Nations Adoption Consent Policy Ruled Unconstitutional
Saskatchewan: A government policy that allows First Nations children to be adopted only with their band's consent has been declared unconstitutional.   "The effect of the policy is to deny these children permanent homes and stable, long-lasting relationships," Justice Jacelyn Ann Ryan-Froslie ruled. In a case involving five Aboriginal siblings, one eight-year-old has lived in 20 different homes, and two others have each lived in at least 13 homes. ‘First Nations bands refused to allow their children to be adopted. As a consequence, these children, who have been apprehended by the department, languish in foster care for years, moving from foster home to foster home to foster home,’ said Saskatoon lawyer Greg Walen.
CanWest Interactive

Massive Cultural Changes in Native Life Tied to Increase in Cancer, Social Problems
Alaska: The way of life for today's Alaska Natives is greatly different from the lives of their grandparents and great-grandparents. Native leaders and health experts say that changes in diet, abuse of tobacco and alcohol, and diseases are symptoms of that great cultural change. "It's a synergistic combination," said Larry Merculieff, deputy director of the Alaska Native Science Commission. Merculieff, an Aleut born and raised on the Pribilof Islands, notes that Alaskan Natives are the poorest population in the state. This results in poor nutrition, high stress, and the psychological burden of losing one's cultural roots and identity. This combination leads to more cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, addictions and other chronic illnesses. Merculieff wants health researchers to consider those factors while studying Alaska Native health.

Healthy food and work part of Pine Ridge gardens
South Dakota: Children and elders on the Pine Ridge Reservation, located in one of the poorest counties in the nation, welcome any extra or special foods, especially those nurtured and grown by families (tiospaye). A garden project called the Slim Buttes AG project has been sponsored by Running Strong for American Indian Youth Foundation. Slim Buttes gives seedlings and seeds to families that host, plant, and maintain the garden. The project also sends in a tractor with a plow or disc to work the plot to be used as a garden.  Last year there were 500 family gardens on Pine Ridge which fed 3,800 people, 10% of the reservation. The average garden was 50 feet by 50 feet (nearly 29 acres)--all dedicated to healthy farming activities and food production. ''The main thing is to get the people's blood moving and to break a sweat every day,'' said Milo Yellowhair. ''We get feedback from little kids. When they get the taste of a cantaloupe or watermelon it stays with them."   Gardens are located in all nine districts on Pine Ridge. The families used 30,000 seedlings and donated seeds. The funding is supplied through several sources, including Running Strong--$90,000, The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe --$15,000; Natural Tobacco company--$40,000; All Tribes Foundation of Minnesota -- $10,000; the Oneida Nation of New York -- $40,000; the Kellogg Foundation -- $5,000 and an anonymous donor -- $5,000.

Communities and their seeds will share a future
Mass: Rowen White, Seneca, is gathering and growing heirloom Haudenosaunee crop varieties for the Akwesasne Seed Restoration Project. This involves finding and cataloging approximately 40 different kinds of beans, two dozen varieties of corn, and half a dozen squashes that are considered Haudenosaunee.  Her goal is to create a network of Haudenosaunee seed growers for the nearly extinct crops. White also has a personal project under way: recording the stories of her grandmother, who was brought up on an isolated island in the St. Lawrence River

ZANN Corp. Teams With Native American Herbal Expert
Michigan: Tis Mal Crow is a Native American of Cherokee and Hitchiti descent. Since childhood, Tis Mal has worked with tribal elders studying the identification and medicinal uses of plants and native root doctoring techniques. Recently, Tis Mal joined Zann Corp. Tis Mal is enhancing their Blue Kiwi product line and has over 200 "Leaves of Light Plants as Teachers" products in the development pipeline to be introduced over the next 2-3 years.
Learn about Tis Mal Crow:
AOL News

Indians maintain monopoly on chickees

Florida: The traditional chickee -- a cypress log frame covered by palmetto thatch -- became necessary in the early 1800s when Seminoles fleeing from U.S. troops needed fast, disposable shelters. Today, despite government attempts to regulate chickee construction, Native Americans still control exclusive access in building the thatched huts.  Indians are not required by the state to be licensed contractors, and Indians are exempt from filing engineering reports necessary to prove a chickee can withstand hurricane-force winds.  Non-Indians, however, have different standards.   ''Trying to calculate wind loads and do the engineering would be cost prohibitive,'' said Marty Conant, Naples' building and zoning director. ``It wouldn't be economically feasible.'' Engineering is just one of many issues that factor into the planning and construction of a chickee, a craft handed down from parents to children for generations. It takes at least four knowledgeable and skilled men to perform the intricate work and skill build the shelter. There are numerous chickees in southwest Florida, and they held up well during the four hurricanes in August and September.  New chickees are constructed of pine instead of cypress,  a protected tree.


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