Native Village 

Youth and Education News

June 1, 2005 Issue 153 Volume 3

"Every time we carry an eagle feather, that's sovereignty. Every time we pick berries, that's sovereignty. Every time we dig roots ... that's sovereignty."  Billy Frank, Jr.

Beantown finally does away with archaic law
Massachusetts: Governor Romney has signed a bill repealing The Boston Indian Imprisonment Act. Passed in 1675 during King Philip's War, the law made it legal to imprison any Native American entering Boston.  Obviously, it has not been enforced for many years.  "It is our hope that signing this bill into law will provide some closure to a very painful and old chapter in Massachusetts history," said Romney. "This archaic law belongs in the history books, not the law books."
Native Times
Prosperity Eludes Indigenous People Of Latin America
Washington DC:  The World Bank says Indigenous people in Latin America are largely excluded from the region's rising prosperity.  Between 1994 and 2004, the welfare of Latin America's native population stagnated.  "Indigenous people in Latin America have made little economic and social progress in the last decade, and continue to suffer from higher poverty, lower education and a greater incidence of disease and discrimination than other groups," one report said. About 10% of Latin America's population is indigenous. Most live in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. 
The Houston Chronicle

Greed Blamed As Indians Protest Tribal Disenrollment
California: As tribal gambling grows into a $17,000,000,000 industry, disputes over tribal disenrollment have flared nationwide. In California alone, more than 1000 American Indians are fighting their ouster. They contend they have been removed  from tribal rolls so tribal leaders can gain larger shares tribal casino profits. "There needs to be a healing in Indian country and we're going to start it," said John Gomez, Jr., who was removed from the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.  "From this day forward we're not going to play the victim any more." Gomez was recently joined by former members of 16 tribes from California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and New York to protest the trend.   They planned another meeting in Nevada.
Ventura County Star

Man Sentenced To Two Years For Stealing Ute Tribal Artifacts
Colorado: Robert Hanson, 38, has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for stealing pottery and other artifacts from the Ute Mountain Ute tribe. Hanson, who pleaded guilty to violating the Archaeological Protection Act, took an estimated $10,000 worth of bowls, tools, pottery and funerary objects from a tribal museum.  Police found the items and burglary tools after pulling Hanson over in a stolen car. U.S. District Judge Phillip Figa said Hanson's crime was no ordinary burglary. "It adversely affected the cultural heritage of an entire people, it does not just involve the market value of the artifacts concerned," Figa said.
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Tribe decries attempt to remove their name from state contract

Vermont: The Abenaki are concerned for their youth after the word “Abenaki” was removed from a contract between the University of Vermont and the Vermont Department of Children and Families. The contract deals with a program ensuring that Abenaki foster children are placed in homes that honor their heritage and culture. Bill Griffin, an Assistant Attorney General, said he made the change because the contract could otherwise help fulfill Bureau of Indian Affairs criteria for Abenaki federal recognition. “It’s racism... This is all part of the campaign saying the Abenaki don’t exist,” said Chief April Merrill of the St. Francis/Sokoki band of Abenaki.  “He’s trying to erase our culture and our heritage." Approximately 50% of children who wind up in DCF custody are Abenaki. The youth project helped social workers and foster parents understand and respect the cultural and community needs of Abenaki youth. “To the Abenaki, young people are sacrosanct,” said Jeff Benay of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Native American Affairs. “The future is with the children — to have opportunities their elders never had. That’s why this is so painful.”  Gary Widrick, Abenaki Child Welfare Project Coordinator, agrees.  “You don’t just pull a kid out of the Abenaki community and find a warm bed for them anywhere in the state and hope for the best,” he said, adding that doing so breaks their connection with the culture, and they can become disaffected and angry.

Native Class Action OK'd
Ontario: Hundreds of former students at an Ontario native residential school claim they were abused by instructors out to "Christianize" them. Now those students can proceed with a class-action lawsuit against the federal government. "It's been a long time but it's a step in the right direction," said Sylvia DeLeary, one of the students abused at the Mohawk Institute near Brantford in the 1940s.  Ottawa had appealed a previous court ruling allowing the class-action lawsuit. That appeal was dismissed by Canada's Supreme Court. This allows 800 former students and their children to sue as a group instead of individually. The approval is important because many of the 800 claimants are aging, live in remote regions and cannot finance their own lawsuits.
H-Amindian Listserv

Government Acts On Commitment To Improve The Lives Of Aboriginal Women
OTTAWA:  From 2005-2010, the Canadian federal government will provide $5,000,000 to the Native Women's Association of Canada  for activities to help end racism and violence against Aboriginal women.  "Aboriginal women have clearly stated their concerns, and the Government of Canada is responding,"  said the Honourable Liza Frulla, Minister of  Canadian Heritage and Minister for the Status of Women.  "We want Canada to be a nation in which Aboriginal women are free from discrimination, fear and violence.  We must reduce their marginalization by addressing the root causes that put them in danger."
Canada NewsWire

Tobacco summit highlights prevention
Washington:  Patricia Jefferson, Alisha Pierre and Jandy Pierre know a lot of teens who smoke cigarettes. However, they refuse to join their peers. Not only do cigarettes "smell gross" and have the same chemicals found in batteries, toilet cleaners and rat poison, almost 33% of teen smokers die from the habit. The three Lummi teens recently attended ''Untold 4: Taking it to the Streets,'' a tobacco prevention summit hosted by the Swinomish Indian Community.  About 160 American Indian and non-Indian teens participated in the fourth annual summit.

Hawaii: A University of Hawaii study that shows that people who eat processed meats increase their risk of pancreatic cancer by 6,700% over those who eat little or no meat products. Researchers blame sodium nitrite, a chemical used in many processed meats including corned beef, pastrami,  bologna, hot dogs, bacon, lunch meat, and meats in canned soup products.  "Sodium nitrite is a dangerous, cancer-causing ingredient that has no place in the human food supply," said nutritionist Mike Adams. Although these same meats can be purchased without sodium nitrite, consumers must seek the few products that are labeled as such. The USDA attempted to ban sodium nitrite in the 1970s, but was blocked by the meat industry which uses the chemical to color processed meats.

Doctor Brings 'Coyote Wisdom' To Town
New Mexico: Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona says modern medicine can be wonderful. "The medical model is great if you're in congestive heart failure and you are dying. It's a wonderful model; it works," he said. "Once you're out of congestive heart failure, it doesn't work so well because it doesn't explore all the factors that are needed to prevent that next episode from happening sooner than later." Mehl-Madrona believes indigenous healing traditions could help people with chronic ailments truly heal -- not just temporarily relieve their symptoms or pull them out of crisis.  Lewis, who has Cherokee and Lakota heritage, wasn't really aware of the richness of his culture until he got to medical school. "What really struck me (at medical school) was the absence of healing, the complete biological genetic determinism that wasn't at all what I grew up with,"  he said. "I grew up in a world in which spiritual powers healed people and people got better by virtue of their own actions in the world, or the spirits' actions." After graduating from Stanford Medical School at the age of 21, Mehl-Madrona has devoted his career to integrating what he calls Western and Indigenous science. Mehl-Madrona has written three books about his work: Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, and, Coyote Wisdom: The Power of Story in Healing.

Santa Fe New Mexican

BPA gives Tribes $3.5 million for land compensation
Montana:  In a historic agreement, Bonneville Power Administration has given $3,490,000 to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The money is compensation for damages done to habitat, fish and wildlife when the Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir was built more than 60 years ago. Tribal Council Chairman Fred Matt said the money will be used to purchase and manage lands to protect habitat, wildlife and resident fish such as cutthroat trout and bull trout.

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