Native Village 

Youth and Education News

January 11, 2006 Issue 162  Volume 4

"Only when all our children understand the truth can they be better human beings.  It's not about blaming one another, but working together as human beings. All of us." Sheldon Peters Wolfchild,  Sioux

Woman gives advice about solar power to people on Indian reservations
Arizona:  Debby Tewa spent her first 10 years living without electricity, water, or a telephone in a small remote house on the Hopi Reservation.  Since the cost of installing electricity was so high ($27,000 per square mile grid), electric companies refused to invest in expansion.  Debby and other remote residents depended upon firewood, kerosene, and generators. Today, Debby is a contractor for the Sandia Tribal Energy Program. She provides technical advice about maintaining photovoltaic (PV) units to people on Indian reservations who live remotely like she did.  For many, it’s the first time they’ve had electricity in their homes.  “I can identify with the people I’m helping,” Tewa says.  “Many live the way I grew up, and I fully appreciate their excitement in having electricity and light at night.”  Currently, photovoltaic units have been installed at more than 300 homes on the Navajo Nation.  “There is still a long way to go,” Tewa says.  “It’s estimated there are 18,000 families in the Navajo Nation without electricity.”

After a decade, band's "food store" is stocked once more
Minnesota: The well-aerated basins of Upper and Lower Red Lake form a natural walleye fishery.  For the Red Lake Ojibwe, tribal fishery was an economic mainstay for centuries.    In 1987,  test nets yielded 1,277 walleyes.  In 1997, the count was 12.  With the walleye supply nearly depleted, the Ojibwe and state agreed  to a fishing moratorium.  In 2005, when the test nets were brought in again, the fish count was 1,230. "The lake is back," said biologist Pat Brown.  "... fishing the lake out again, we're not going to let that happen."  The lakes are closed to non-members except for the northeastern corner of the upper lake -- land the Red say was stolen when the reservation borders were set in 1889.  There, non-Indian resorts are preparing for walleye angling in the spring.

American pika seen headed toward extinction
Washington: Human activity and climate change is pushing the tiny American pika toward extinction.  The small rabbit-like mammals live in rock-strewn slopes n the mountains of western North America. However, they are gradually being pushed to higher elevations and are running out of places to live. "Human influences have combined with factors such as climate change operating over longer time scales to produce the diminished distribution of pikas in the Great Basin today," said archeologist Donald Grayson.  Seven of 25 pika populations in the Great Basin -- the area between the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains -- became extinct in the 20th century. Among the most destructive intrusions are roads built close to their habitat and pressure from grazing livestock.  Pikas, which are very sensitive to high temperatures, are considered to be one of the best early warning systems for detecting global warming in the western United States.

Polluted Town Alarmed by Shortage of Sons
Canada:  For nearly half a century, land around the Aamjiwnnang First Nation, has been almost completely surrounded by Canada's largest concentration of petrochemical manufacturing. While growing up, Ada Lockridge never thought much about the pollution from smokestacks or by oil slicks in creeks. But now, because of a shocking discovery,  she worries all the time:  there are two girls born in her small community for every boy.  Experts say this ratio is so out of normal that it indicates serious environmental contamination by harmful chemicals.The question: Which ones? And another, even more pressing question: What else are these pollutants doing to the 850 members of this Chippewa Indian community? Statistics indicate that:
25% of Aamjiwnaang children have behavioral or learning disabilities;
Aamjiwnaang children suffer from asthma at three times the national rate;
40% of women on the reserve have had at least one miscarriage or stillbirth;
The Aamjiwnaang are getting increasingly worried and obsessed about the pollution of their reserve. With every new baby, "we have to worry what's the matter with that child, five years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now." said Ron Plain, a member of the Aamjiwnaang environment committee.  Some have suggested that the whole band should simply leave the reserve for a healthier place. But Plain wants to stay and fight by using the band's veto power over pipelines as a bargaining chip.  In allowing companies a right-of-way, Plain says the Aamjiwnaang could require funds be established for air monitoring, cleaning up hazardous waste, and other environmental projects. 
AOL News`

Teen DJ enlivens O'odham airwaves
Arizona:  Each Wednesday afternoon,  13-year-old Isaiah Chico hosts a live, four-hour radio show on KOHN (91.9-FM).  Broadcast across the Tohono O'odham Nation, Isaiah's music of choice is waila, the tribe's lively dance music.  "We'll get into the Christmas spirit,"  he recently told listeners before playing a waila version of "Frosty the Snowman."  Chico, an 8th grader at Santa Rosa Boarding School,  became interested in radio after helping out aunts and uncles who volunteer at the tribal-owned station.  Sial Thonolig, KOHN general manager, noted that Chico's involvement sends a positive message to young people in the community.  "Yes, there is hope and there is opportunity.  But it's up to you to grab it;  Isaiah took the opportunity and he's making something of it,"  Thonolig said.

Listen to a historic performance from the 1997 Waila Festival in Tucson: Waila.html (

Pine Ridge golf program gets First Tee chapter status
South Dakota:  First Tee, a Florida-based organization, has granted chapter status to Pine Ridge's fledgling golf program. The announcement surprised Lawrence Eagle Bull from  the Lakota Golf Association, which plans to expand the game on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  ''They said we were the first chapter in South Dakota and their first affiliation as a Native American chapter in the United States," he said.  First Tee's  mission is ''to impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character-development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.''  Chapter status gives  the Pine Ridge program credibility as a nonprofit, meaning fund raising plans can proceed for building programs and a full golf course.  Golf professional Dave Noble said the Pine Ridge program is a model for the state's other reservations.  Program expansion for young players could change the region's landscape.  ''I think 10 years from now we'll see some golf courses that will knock people's socks off,'' Noble said.    Currently, Pine Ridge plans to build an 18-hole course with an additional nine-hole course for kids.  Also planned is a classroom building, not only for teaching elements of golf, but for life instruction as well. 
The Associated Press

NFL players tackle Indian youth issues
WASHINGTON DC: The Football Players Association and the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health have partnered 9 years to raise money for Native Vision, a program where professional athletes mentor American Indian youth. More than 500 children from 25 tribes, 40 professional athletes and 1,500 Native community members attend the camp.   "…I think it's so awesome to be able to go in there and introduce the kids to positive role models, to show them that they can do something other than just barely making it out of high school," said wide receiver Jason Thrash, who has ties to the Seminole Black Freemen.
Native American Times

The Olympics of Indian basketball
South Dakota: In 1976, it began with an 8-team tournament to prepare American Indian youth for the basketball season ahead. Today, the Lakota Nation Invitational has grown to 30 teams, with 15 boys and 15 girls teams competing.  The LNI is more than just a basketball tournament. It has turned into the social event of the year for the Lakota people. Thousands travel from all of South Dakota's nine Indian reservations and from reservations in bordering states.  Besides basketball, the tourney now includes traditional hand games, language contests, volleyball and wrestling. Many educational organizations plan their winter meetings in and around the tournament. The LNI brings as much as $5,000,000 to the Rapid City economy at a time when tourism is low. 

2005 Lakota Nation Invitational Results
Mato Sica Bracket:
1st- St. Thomas More
2nd- St. Francis
3rd- Cheyenne-Eagle Butte
4th- Pine Ridge
5th- Little Wound
6th- Lower Brule
7th- Red Cloud
8th- Custer
Paha Sapa Bracket:
1st- McLaughlin
2nd- Crow Creek
3rd- Standing Rock
4th- Crazy Horse
5th- Dakota Oyate
6th- Todd County
7th- Hill City
8th- Takini

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