Native Village 

Youth and Education News

January 1, 2007 Issue 174  Volume 3

"In school, I learned that my people were savages. But now I see I come from people who were beautiful and intelligent. I see the sacredness of being Indian." Carol Welsh, Sisseton-Wahpeton

Crushing  Stereotypes
Louisiana:   Jim Warne recently spoke to students Pitkin High School.  Warne's message covered everything from healthy living to racial, religious and cultural tolerance to the importance of education.  “Do you want to soar with the  eagles or hoot with the owls?” was the question that summed up Warne's message.  Warne, who's 6-7 and 300-pounds, is a member of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Tribe of Pine Ridge,  S.D.  He's been a college and professional football player and actor. He also runs several successful  businesses and is currently pursuing his Doctorate at  San Diego  State. “I was able to build my dream home on the beach in San Diego,”  Warne said.  “Did the NFL pay for that?  Did Hollywood pay  for that?  No, it was businesses that I run that paid for that.  Football ... paid for my education, and acting has proven to be a good  source of extra income, but it was my education that has carried me,” he continued.  “It wasn't Hollywood.  If I left it up to  Hollywood or the NFL to decide what  I was going to be, I would either be a bodyguard or a bouncer.  What a waste that would have been.  What a waste of intellect,” Warne said.

Youthful reservations have great potential
Montana: Governor Brian Schweitzer says Indian Country could become the United States' equivalent of the so-called "Irish miracle." Until a few years ago, he said Ireland was among the poorest European countries. They had high unemployment and one of the youngest populations on the continent. "Does that sound like any opportunities we have in a situation in Montana?" Schweitzer asked, referring to the state's seven reservations, which have the highest proportion of young people in Montana, and a winter unemployment rate that can hit 80%.  Ireland's economy, thanks to a plentiful workforce channeled into high-tech jobs, is now booming.  In Indian Country, the governor suggested that "we can train the population of young people to do the work, and then turn them loose."

Pilots Drop Off Food, Gifts and Supplies For Paiute Tribe
Utah: Santa Claus gets a little help each year from pilots who donate their planes and time for the Angel Flight West program. The pilots carried a ton of food, toys and medical supplies to those in need from the Paiute Indian Tribe.  Even Santa gave his sleigh a break and hopped on a plane. Most items were donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Toys for Tots and the Utah Food Bank.The donations are especially important for the Paiute children, said Shivwits Band of Paiutes Leader, Glenn Rogers. If not for Angel Flight West, many wouldn't have had Christmas.
H-Amindian Listserve

Tiny B.C. village loses Christmas hall to fire
British Columbia: It was a sad Christmas for the Nisga'a First Nations community of Kincolith after fire destroyed their community centre. The loss is devastating to the village which used the hall for feasts, weddings, and other community events. "Our basketball players practise in there, starting at 6 a.m. in the morning. The community building is used for the elders' walk; the women do all their cooking in there for the community. It's used for memorial services and big, big feast events like stone movings and it's [used] just for celebrations," said Rose Oscar. The village of 350 held all of its Christmas celebrations in the building. Luckily, the children's Christmas presents had not been moved to the centre.

Hard Rock Cafe sold to Native Americans
Florida: The Seminoles of Florida have purchased the Hard Rock Cafe chain for $490,000. Hard Rock is best known for its music memorabilia-inspired cafes, hotels and casinos.  The tribe plans to expand all three areas. The first Hard Rock Cafe opened in London in 1971, beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar.

Diabetes Breakthrough
Ontario: Scientists at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children have proof that the body's nervous system helps trigger diabetes.  Suspecting a link between the nerves and diabetes, the doctors injected capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot chili peppers, to kill malfunctioning sensory nerves in diabetic mice.  The mice became healthy virtually overnight.  "I couldn't believe it," said scientist Dr. Michael Salter. "Mice with diabetes suddenly didn't have diabetes any more."  Their conclusions upset conventional wisdom that Type 1 diabetes is caused by the body's immune system turning on itself. They also conclude that far more similarities exists between Type 1 and Type 2  than previously thought.  This new study opens "a novel, exciting door to address one of the diseases with large societal impact," said Dr. Christian Stohler, a leading U.S. pain specialist who reviewed the work.  "The treatment and diagnosis of neuropathic diseases is poised to take a dramatic leap forward because of the impressive research."  The researchers expect results from human studies within a year or so.  If the study is successful, this could open the door to a potential near-cure of the disease

Stuck between two worlds, Indian foster kids often seek identity
Washington: The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act gave tribes jurisdiction over their own children.  With a shortage of Native foster parents, however, social workers frequently place American Indian children with non-Indian families where, too often, kids lose their tribal connections.   The children -- whom a 1998 study terms ''Split Feathers'' -- suffer both a loss of Native culture and a more profound sense of isolation.  Today's researchers say the key is to educate non-Indian foster parents about Native culture and history.  ''If the child sees you becoming involved and interested, they will follow,'' said social worker, Chryss James.  For her, the exchange of ideas, as well as the preservation of culture, is crucial. ''I'm half Native American, and I'm half white,'' James said. ''I need both parts to be whole.''

Minister Will Abide By First Nation's Ban
Ontario: The provincial minister for children and youth services is respecting the Wahgoshig First Nation's decision to keep child welfare workers out of its community.  "I do agree with their desire to have their kids cared for according to their traditions and culture and customs," said Mary Ann Chambers from Child and Family Services of Timmins.  "I'll leave it up to the chiefs and the councils to determine who goes onto their reserves or who doesn't go on their reserves."  Wahgoshig Chief Dave Babin is grateful. He says the trend in many Children's Aid Societies is to separate Aboriginal children from their parents based only on the word of concerned citizens.  "There's no investigation," Babin said.  "They take the word of other people.  People don't even know the real situation. Basically, Child and Family Services grabs the kid and the mother never sees the child ...  Our children are being kidnapped from our own communities."
Northern News

Tobacco Use In Native Ceremonies To Be Studied
Ontario:  Researchers have received a $990,000 grant for a five-year project aimed to reduce the number of  First Nations youth abusing tobacco.  Researching the traditional use of tobacco in First Nations religious ceremonies will be an integral part of the project.  "First Nations youth have a rate of smoking that is twice that of the general population of Canada," said Sheila Hardy from Laurentian University. "We are looking at how we can work that tradition in to promote tobacco use in a good way. " She believes advocating tobacco use for spiritual purposes may decrease the number of youth who smoke socially.  It's been reported that very young children are involved with tobacco.  "From some of the calls I've had, they are talking about kids as young as five or six that are socially smoking," said Dr. Peter Selby from the University of Toronto.
tobacco pouch:

Humor beats disease, researchers find
Norway: Scientists have new proof suggesting that having a sense of humor can save your life.  Scientists from the Norwegian University of Science and St. Olav’s Hospital studied 41 chronically-ill patients. The results show that the ability to laugh easily boosts survival chances.  If the patient belonged in the group that scored higher on a sense of humor tests, he or she  "increased their odds for survival by an average of 31%."   Previous research has found that laughter may also be good for the heart. In 2000, cardiologists in Maryland  found heart disease patients were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people without heart disease.  The Norwegian study is published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine.

Garden Project Brings Tribal Tradition Back to Life
Arizona: Nearly a dozen Tohono O'odham children recently dropped pea seeds into a freshly tilled and fertilized reservation garden.  As tribal elders and leaders watched,  The children covered the seeds and patted down the soil just before the irrigation system kicked in. These children were practicing age-old tribal  farming techniques for the new Cucklebur Garden and Landscape Project. "We want this project to help our youth reconnect with the culture," said Nina Jose, 61. Jose said that when she was a child, she and her family planted tepary beans, squash and sugar cane, prayed for rain in special ceremonies, and then harvested the crops. "I would go out and break out a watermelon and just eat it right there in the field," she said.  Bringing back homegrown crops also could help make the O'odham be as healthy as their ancestors were, she noted, alluding to the high rate of tribal members who, like Jose, suffer from diabetes. "In the old days, our diet was a lot healthier. We didn't eat fast food."  The Tohono O'odham tribe lost their consistent supply of irrigation water after the Tat Momolikot Dam,  built in 1974,  began controlling  flood waters to create a reservoir.  The tribe also has faced irrigation-system failures because of old equipment.   "For too long, our spirit and identity has been taken away," said tribal Chairwoman VivianJuan-Saunders.  "This is one way to bring back the spirit of the people."

Tribes, Forest Service Agree on Plant Gathering Rights
Michigan:  The U.S. and four American Indian tribes have made an agreement that allows tribal members access to national forests to gather plants.  The four tribes -- the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians -- may now gather plants within the Huron-Manistee National Forests and the Hiawatha National Forest.  These tribes had been promised fishing, hunting, and gathering rights in an 1836 treaty which ceded a huge swath of western and northern Michigan to the United States.  The agreement ends clashes and court battles between tribal members and non-Indians who interpreted the treaty in different ways.
Amindian Listserve

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