Native Village 

Youth and Education News

April 1, 2007 Issue 177  Volume 3

"A vision without execution is nothing but a hallucination."
Kim Krokodilo, Elk Valley Rancheria

Native American trackers to hunt bin Laden

Washington, DC: The Shadow Wolves is an elite group of Native American trackers who have mainly tracked smugglers along the US border with Mexico.  Now they will travel to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to hunt for Osama Bin Laden and members of the Taliban and al-Qa'ida.  They will also pass on ancestral sign-reading skills to local border units.  The Shadow Wolves include Navajo, Sioux, Lakota and Apache men. They are experts at "cutting sign," the traditional Indian method of finding and following tiny clues from a barren landscape. For example, they can detect twigs snapped by passing humans or hair snagged on a branch and tell how long a sliver of food may have lain in the dirt.   "If I were Osama bin Laden, I'd keep looking over my shoulder, " said Robert M. Gates, US defense secretary.
photo: Smithsonian,20867,21364526-2703,00.html

Hunt is on for thousands of Indians owed $63 million
WASHINGTON — The Federal government has $63,000,000 ready to give to 54,000 native people -- if only it could find them.   In addition, about $330,000,000 a year in royalties and leases is owed to 300,000 Indians. Some of those Indians can't be located, either.  For three years, the Interior Department has hired private investigators and trust officers to work on the cases.  It has also publicized a list of people owed money and created a Web site and a toll-free number to provide information about the unclaimed money. The money is from land held in trust for individual Indians. So far, officials have distributed $79,000,000 to about 60,000 people.

Locating IIM Account Holders
Toll Free Number: 888-678-683
Search the Names List:

Inuit seek answers to Arctic sun quirks
Nunavut: For several years, Inuit residents in the High Arctic have noticed changes in the winter dark seasons and the sunrises.  "There are notices of more daylight earlier, and the dark season is not the real dark season that we used to know,"  said Grise Fiord resident, Larry Audlalu.  Further south, Igloolik Mayor Paul Quassa said hunters have noticed the same phenomenon.  "This year, the sun started coming up so fast that it's almost like April when it's mid-February," he said.  Wayne Davidson, a meteorologist in Resolute Bay, said the "rising sun" mystery is due to a temperature difference between very cold air over the snow and the air above, which has been warmer than usual. Glaciologist, Dr. Roy Koerner, agreed and compared it to putting a fork in a glass of water:  the fork appears to bend where it enters the water. "So you get the same effect: you get this bent effect," Koerner said.  "Except in this case, the sun, which is just below the horizon, looks as if it's above the horizon, just a bit of it."

World's Warmest Winter on Record
This has been the world's warmest winter since record-keeping began more than a century ago. "Contributing factors were the long-term trend toward warmer temperatures as well as a moderate El Nino in the Pacific," said Jay Lawrimore of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  "The warming trend is due in part to rises in greenhouse gas emissions."
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature from December-February was 1.3° F (0.7° C) above the 20th century mean;
During these months, temperatures were above average in Europe, Asia, western Africa, southeastern Brazil and the Northeast half of the United States; Temperatures in Saudi Arabia and the central United States were cooler than average;
A record-warm January was responsible for pushing up the combined winter temperature;
The next-warmest winter on record was in 2004, and the third warmest winter was in 1998;
The ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1995;
Global land temperatures during the northern hemisphere winter was the warmest on record;
Ocean-surface temperatures tied for second warmest after the winter of 1997-98;
In the last 100 years, global surface temperatures have increased by about 0.11° F (0.06° C) per decade;
Rates have increased 300% since 1976 - around 0.32° F (0.18° C) per decade. The biggest temperature rises include the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.
Inuitindianart Digest

Major U.S. businesses support national global warming action

Ten major U.S. businesses and four environmental organizations have joined to attack global warming.  This alliance, called the United States Climate Action Partnership, includes:
Major Businesses Environmental Organizations
BP America
Duke Energy
DuPont, Florida
Power and Light, General Electric
Lehman Brothers
Pacific Gas & Electric
PNM Resources

Environmental Defense
the World Resources Institute
Pew Center on Global Climate Change
 Natural Resources Defense Council

The partners will work together in support of six recommendations for national action:

1. Account for the global dimensions of climate change – the U.S. government must join International efforts to fight global warming.
2. Recognize the importance of technology – using existing energy-saving technologies should be a priority.
3. Be environmentally effective – create mandatory emission limits that target the worst offenders and force them to cut emissions. 
4. Create economic opportunity and advantage –  use the power of the market to establish clear targets and time frames.
5. Be fair –solutions must consider the disproportionate impact of global warming and emissions reductions on geographic regions and income groups.
6. Encourage early action – effort should be made to reduce emissions before the effective date of mandatory pollution limits.

Learn More:

Amazon tribes to get free Internet
Brazil: Brazil is a relatively poor country the size of the continental United States.  It struggles to protect its vast Amazon rain forest from illegal miners, loggers and ranchers. Now Brazil is offering free satellite Internet connections to Amazon's tribes.  Land protection is a key aim of that plan.  "It's a way to open communications between indigenous communities, former slave villages, coconut crackers, river fishermen and the rest of society," said Environment Minister Marina Silva. The plan will bring the Internet to 150 small remote communities, such as an Ashaninka village which has already experienced success.  "Internet helped us bring in the police [when we had illegal logging in our area]," said Benhi Piyanko.  "We managed to spread the message widely.  We even reached the president."  While indigenous leaders support the program, many worry that computers could erode native cultures in a country with more than 200 tribes, said Ailton Krenak, an indigenous member of Brazil's national Forest People's Network.  "I don't like computers but I don't like planes either," he said.  "What can you do?"

Advocates for Wild Bison Testify in Washington
Washington, DC:  Members of the Buffalo Field Campaign testified in Congress about Congress's responsibility to protect Yellowstone's bison.  In 1999, Congress paid $13,000,000 for the 6,770 acre Royal Teton Ranch.  The Royal Teton Ranch sits in a migration corridor for wild bison accessing their crucial winter ranges just outside Yellowstone National Park. The RT Ranch was meant to "protect critical wildlife habitat, particularly ... winter ranges and migration corridors, and improve the flexibility for management of those species."  The seven-year-old agreement promised "a safe haven for the bison" but has failed to materialize -- in just one winter, (2005-06,)  849 wild bison were captured and sent to slaughter from the Stephens Creek capture facility. "It's scandalous that so much taxpayer money has been spent to protect critical wildlife habitat, yet not one wild bison has benefited," says Darrell Geist from the BFC.  "... there is a lot more habitat that wild bison need for winter range.  It's going to take a clear directive from Congress to our National Forests and Parks that bison belong on public lands." Representative Raul Grijalva, (D, NM), who chaired the meeting held before the House Natural Resources Committee, agreed that changes needed to be made.  "The slaughter of bison needs to stop."  His comment was echoed by Rep. Nick J.  Rahall II (D-WV) who said, "Slaughter is not management; it is the approach of a bygone era."  American Bison once spanned the North American continent and numbered between 30,000,000 - 50,000,000.  The Yellowstone bison are America's only continuously wild herd, numbering fewer than 4,000 animals -- .01% of the bison's former population.  Wild bison are ecologically extinct everywhere outside Yellowstone National Park.
More hearing information and testimony available online:

Wild at heart

South Dakota:  People on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation call Karen Sussman "the medicine horse lady," or sometimes, "the crazy horse lady."  Sussman, 60,  lives alone on a 680-acre ranch where she has rescued 300 wild horses from the slaughterhouse.    While most horse sanctuaries save all types of horses, Sussman is rescuing rare herds in danger of extinction.  Sussman's organization, the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, is the nation's only program that manages intact herds. Two of those herds, the Gila herd and White Sands herd, exist nowhere else in the country. "If we don't save these herds, we're going to lose something that will never, ever exist in our country again," Sussman said.  The widespread slaughter of wild horses was banned in 1971.  But in 2004, Senator Conrad Burns attached a rider to a bill that allowed the killing of horses ages 10 or older and not rescued by adoption.  And for those horses that ARE adopted, the buyer can sell them to slaughterhouses for a profit.  Sussman and the ISPMB, which consists of volunteers and about 1,000 financial contributors, save as many as possible.  Harry Charger, an elder with the Cheyenne River Tribe, said he knew that someone like Sussman would show up someday. One of the Lakota prophecies is the return of wild horses to the prairies.  "Karen is a visionary," said Charger. "She has this dream to preserve these horses and she's following it. I told her she can't save every horse but she shouldn't worry, because the prophecies say they will be back."  With a severe drought across the state, Sussman is struggling to pay for enough hay -- which has doubled in price in the past two years -- to feed her horses. But she has dreams of more land, returning more wild horses to reservations, and ways to teach people about the horses and their link to native culture.
Learn more and how you can help:   

Wild Horse Protection Bill Approved by Committee
Washington, DC:  Members of the House Natural Resources Committee have voted to reinstate a ban on the commercial sale and slaughter of wild, free-roaming horses and burrows.  "Horses have long been a living symbol of the American West,"  said U.S.  Rep. Nick J.  Rahal, chief sponsor of the legislation.  "When Americans picture the West, I highly doubt they envision wild horses being rounded up and sent to commercial slaughterhouses to be processed into cuisine for foreign diners.  I am pleased that this Committee recognizes the irreplaceable value that Americans place on our wild horses."

Frog in Amber May Be 25 Million Years Old
Mexico:  In 2005, a miner in Chiapas found a tiny tree frog preserved in amber for 25,000,000 years. The chunk of amber containing the frog was less than half an inch long and was bought by a private collector, who lent it to scientists for study.  The frog appears to be of the genus Craugastor, whose descendants still inhabit the region. To verify the find, scientists would have to drill into the stone to extract the frog's DNA. However, they doubt the owner would give them permission.  "I don't think he will allow it, because it's a very rare, unique piece," said Gerardo Carbot of the Chiapas Natural History and Ecology Institute.  A few other preserved frogs have been found in chunks of amber -- a stone formed by ancient tree sap -- mostly in the Dominican Republic.
AOL News

Dolphins Name Themselves With Whistles, Study Says
Dolphins use distinctive whistles to give each other names. What's more, the marine mammals recognize and identify individual names even when the sound is produced by an unfamiliar voice.  Bottlenose dolphins appear to develop so-called signature whistles as infants. Scientists say it's the first time wild animals have been shown to call out their own names.


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