Native Village 

Youth and Education News

March 23, 2005 Issue 149 Volume 3

"We are INDIGENOUS to this land. We didn't come from China, Mongolia, Ireland or Greece.  We traveled around yes, and met other cultures and peoples, but get this:  we are indigenous "native to these lands." Although it's hard for Eurocentric Americans or Europeans to accept this, our cultures and languages are home grown. The Catholic missionaries and [those] who came over from Spain to steal and plunder couldn't--and--wouldn't believe that indigenous peoples could create a "civilization " more advanced that that in Europe at the time, so they began the process of looking to Europe for the source of inspiration for Indigenous culture here on Turtle Island."     Tom Dostou, Makwa, Midewin Society

David Risling, Father of Indian Education, Dies
David Risling, the "father of Indian education" who spent his career opening the doors of higher education to Native American students, has died at 83 . Throughout his career, Mr. Risling was a champion of Indian rights and education, and a teacher who passed along his father's wisdom to generations of Native Americans.  "He was a person of absolute personal integrity, honesty and courage," said Jack Forbes, UC Davis professor emeritus of Native American studies. "He embodied in his life all of the attributes of a Native American leader: warrior, compassionate father, host, pathfinder, caretaker, facilitator, friend and counselor."  A member of the Hoopa tribe, Mr. Risling was also of Yurok and Karuk ancestry. Among Mr.Risling's professional achievements:
  Graduated from California Polytechnic College with bachelor's and master's degrees in vocational agriculture;
Taught agricultural classes at Modesto Junior College;
In the late '60s and early '70s, during the early days of Indian political activism,  Mr. Risling worked behind the scenes, building relationships in Congress and lobbying for Indian rights and educational opportunities. "He was the 'E.F. Hutton' of the Native American community," said Micki Eagle from UC Davis Department of Political Science. "When he spoke, everyone listened;"
  Taught at UC Davis as a senior lecturer from 1970 until his retirement in 1991;
  Played an instrumental role in co-founding DQ University in rural Davis;
  Helped develop UC Davis's Native American studies as an academic discipline. It remains one of only three such departments awarding doctoral degrees in North America;
  Tackled injustices on behalf of California Indians at the state level;
  Was appointed by three U.S. presidents to serve on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education;
  Instrumental in the creation of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian;
  Co-founded California Indian Legal Services and the Native American Rights Fund;
  Was involved in passing the federal Indian Education and Indian Tribal Community College acts which founded 31 Indian community colleges and dozens of K-12 reservation education programs;
  Remained active at UCD and at DQ University until shortly before his death;
"Indians are moving up nowadays," Mr. Risling said last fall in an interview for the UC Davis Magazine. "Indian people now realize that they can expand their destinies positively and recognize that they can live successfully in two worlds."
UC Davis's  Native American studies :

Fort Hall teens may be kicked off reservation
Idaho: Two American Indian teens on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation are due to be kicked off tribal lands. They're accused of several crimes, including the theft of$58,000 from a reservation trading post. The tribe says it's the first time the 137-year-old Fort Bridger Treaty between the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and the U.S. has been used to "exclude" minors. Federal agents usually prosecute reservation felonies but don't prosecute youth.  Idaho and the tribe are in a longtime dispute involving shared jurisdiction over kids. As a result, members of  the Fort Hall Business Council say their only option is to expel the boys from the reservation.

Accord With Tomato Pickers Ends Boycott Of Taco Bell
A group of Florida tomato pickers has ended a boycott of Taco Bell after the fast-food chain company improved the farmworkers' wages.  Farmworkers today usually earn 40 cents for each 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, the same rate as 30 years ago. The agreement with Taco Bell raises the wage by a penny per pound. Taco Bell will also help farmworkers' efforts to improve working and living conditions.  Although they praised the outcome, both Taco Bell and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers stressed that the fast-food industry as a whole needs to do more. "Now we must convince other companies that they have the power to change the way they do business and the way workers are treated," said Lucas Benitez from TCIW.

Reservation Life Worse Than Iraq?
Too many Native American soldiers returning from Iraq come home to subpar living conditions in their reservation communities.  Yet the Bush administration's budget for fiscal year 2006 proposes cutting funds for reservations. Now these servicemen, along with American Indian and Native Alaskan families and friends, are asking some tough questions:
  1.  Why can the U.  S. afford unlimited amounts for the other side of the world but cannot afford resources for historically mistreated people within its own borders?    
2.  Why does Congress cut infrastructure money for needy communities at home while billions of dollars can be spent to help rebuild Iraq?    
3.  Why was the deficit increased by giving tax cuts to the very rich, then cutting money to the poor to help balance the deficit?

Those in Congress aware of the poorer tribes' living conditions agree that Bush's proposed cuts for Indian programs make little sense.  Senator John McCain (AZ) says the dramatic cuts will cause much harm to the most vulnerable and deprived people in Indian Country.  "The federal government has continually reneged on its trust and moral obligations to meet the educational, healthcare and housing needs of Indians and these needs far outweigh the imperceptible contribution that the proposed cuts will make to reducing the deficit," McCain said.

A Navajo soldier who built infrastructure in Iraq may face these circumstances at home    Only 2,000 miles of roads in 25,000 square miles of countryside, many dirt and gravel
 Housing in short supply.  In some cases, 10 people live in a one-bedroom home   Some people live in buses;
Utilities lacking in 85% of homes, many lacking plumbing No telephones in 40% of homes
Using wood fire stoves, which cause asthma and respiratory problems, without ventilators because there is no electricity Grocery stores as much as 40 miles away;
Drinking water hauled in 50-gallon drums Extremely high unemployment
Inadequate schools A health system that provides only 50% of the funds spent on other poor citizens
A trust system where Indian people get little of the money owed them from the land and leases that the federal government "manages" for them.

More details on soldiers returning from Iraq to Indian Country:
Sen. McCain's statement:

Indian murals at EPA building to undergo review
Washington D.C. After years of complaints, the General Services Administration is reviewing six murals at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters.  Indian employees and advocates say their depiction of Indian men scalping white women and murdering white men are offensive.  The paintings also show Indian men and women in submissive positions. "The subliminal message of these is discouraging," said Bob Smith, a member of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin who works at the building.  "What they reinforce is stereotypes and I think that's wrong in a government building.  It creates a hostile work environment for American Indians." The murals, located on two different floors, were installed in the 1930s.  "I wouldn't even bring my daughter here for Bring Your Daughter to Work Day," he said.  "How would I explain to my own kids the depiction of their own people as savages and ... predators and murderers?"  The EPA has about 700 Indian employees.

Gay Native Americans Rediscover 'Two-Spirit' Identity
California: The Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits organization offers support and activities to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Native Americans. "I'd like to discuss just why we're so disgusting," said Gabriel Duncan, an 18-year-old Paiute. "Why we can't marry, and just why the word 'equality' is rusty."  The term "Two-Spirit" refers to a belief among some tribes that there are people who possess both masculine and feminine spiritual qualities.  Many tribes respected Two-Spirits, viewing them as a third gender with a special spiritual connectedness. In these tribes, Two-Spirits filled important tribal roles as counselors, storytellers and healers.  But while Two-Spirits may be respected within one tribe, they can be ignored or ostracized in others. "Homophobia was taught to us as a component of Western education and religion," wrote anthropologist Wesley Thomas, Navajo. "We were presented with an entirely new set of taboos, which did not correspond to our own models and which focused on sexual behavior rather than the intricate roles Two-Spirit people played. As a result of this misrepresentation, our nations no longer accepted us as they once had."  No matter what tribe they belong to, Two-Spirits share a common experience, says Chris Gomora, Anishinabe. Two-spirits "walk with a foot in two different worlds, and that is something that we as Natives are familiar with," he said. "For those of us who walk traditionally in the Western world, our two selves are already in opposition."

Life Survey To Measure Tribe's Needs
Nevada: Hoping to improve the quality of reservation life, a new survey will study the individual needs of tribes nationwide and offer advice on how to better their communities.  The Quality of Life Assessment premiered at February's Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas, where tribal attendees filled out and returned the surveys.  The surveys asked questions to help determine, then rank, what tribal members find lacking in their communities.  "This will be for the people, by the people to get accurate information to help each reservation have a measuring stick for the future," said Marty Hale of Blue Moon Solutions, a telecommunications company working on the survey.  "This is not to just create numbers.  We want to look at where the tribes were yesterday, where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow."  Survey conductors expect a wide range of results--from needs such as police and fire protection, day-care, rubbish collection and public transportation to affordable health care, secure employment, and housing and education.  In the coming months, surveys will be conducted on reservations across the country or can be completed online.  Once the data is collected, it can be constantly updated and used to create a master plan for the tribe, helping them stay on track to reach their goals.
Indian Country Today

Prenatal Exposure Affects Learning, Memory
A study published in the March 2004 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that even light drinking during pregnancy may interfere with learning and memory during adolescence.  "We have known for a long time that drinking heavily during pregnancy could lead to major impairments in growth, behavior, and cognitive function in children," said Jennifer Willford from the University of Pittsburgh.  "This ... clearly shows that even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can have a significant impact on child development." The data examined in this study were collected as part of the Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Project (MHPCD), an ongoing longitudinal study of 580 children and their mothers.
"My Papoose" by Charles Schridde sold-pieces.htm

Smoking Cessation Urged For Native Americans
North Carolina: North Carolina's statewide Indian Unity Conference has gone smoke-free. The state commission is urging adults to quit smoking and set a good example for Native American youths.  Nationally, 40% of Native Americans are smokers, making them twice as likely to die from smoking than any other addiction.  "Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke -- tobacco addiction is an Indian killer," said Lawrence Shorty of the North Carolina Commission on Indian Affairs. Officials also are pushing for smoke-free schools, churches and businesses, and making the annual pow-wow a smoke-free environment for the first time in its 30-year history.

Used to treat diabetes, one herb works like modern-day prescription drugs

Ohio: A study from Ohio State University says Salacia Oblonga, a traditional herb from India and Sri Lanka, lowers blood sugar and insulin levels similar to prescription drugs.  Large doses of salacia given to 39 healthy adults decreased insulin 29% and blood glucose by 23%. "These kinds of reductions are similar to what we might see with prescription oral medications for people with diabetes," said professor Steve Hertzler.  Salacia oblonga binds to intestinal enzymes that break down the body's carbohydrates.  These enzymes turn carbohydrates into glucose, the sugar that circulates throughout the body.  If the enzyme binds to the herbal extract rather than to a carbohydrate, then less glucose gets into the blood stream, resulting in lowered blood glucose and insulin levels. The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Navajo Boy needs bone-Marrow Transplant
Arizona: Diagnosed with leukemia, David Lister has been admitted to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The 16-year-old Navajo teenager needs of a bone-marrow transplant and is searching for a donor match.  The family is encouraging all races ­ especially Native Americans ­ to be tested as donors.  Potential donors then become part of a worldwide bone marrow donor list of over 5,000,000 people. “When you sign up to be a bone-marrow donor all it is, is a pinprick,” said David's father, Ernie Lister. David’s brother’s and sister’s bone marrow matched each other, but did not match his.
The family has set up area bone-marrow drives:
April 1, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Shiprock at The Door Christian Church.
April 2, 9 a.m. to 3 pm at Farmington’s United Blood Services on 20th Street.
April 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Chinle, Ariz., at The Door Christian Church, next to the A & W restaurant.
April 9 in Gallup, with the time and location pending.
There will also be other drives on the Navajo reservation.
Farmington Daily Times

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