Native Village 

Youth and Education News

February 1, 2008 Issue 184  Volume 4

"It's important to teach people, both tribal members and other communities, about our history because we want our culture to continue. I think all cultures should share like that; they'd become less intimidating to each other."  
Barry Phillips, Potawatomi      

Global Warming by the Numbers
Global warming is the most serious environmental threat of our time, but affordable options are available. America cannot afford to fall farther behind any more in the race to invent clean, renewable energy sources. Facts:

45%:  Increase in world’s solar generating capacity in 2005 2: China as global producer of solar cells, behind Japan (U.S. ranks 4th).
$1,500,000,000: Amount US government spends a year on renewable energy research. $1,000,000,000: Amount ExxonMobil earns in a day.
$2,000,000,000:  Amount GE Energy Financial Services invested in wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy in 2007. $200,000,000,000: Amount China has committed to invest in renewable energy sources over the next 15 years.
0.74%: Projected cost of smart cap-and-trade climate policy on US economic output in 2030. 100%: Projected growth of the US economy by 2030.
53: Number of senators supporting cap and trade legislation. 0: Number of bills passed by Congress to cap and reduce America's global warming pollution.

New York:  Each year the United States uses 88,000,000,000 plastic bags. The plastic litters the land, waters, ands kill whales, sea turtles, birds and other wildlife who eat or get tangled in them.  Bags that end up in landfills enjoy free rent for 1,000 years. Recently, the New York City Council passed a bill requiring large stores and retail chains to collect and recycle plastic shopping bags. New York is the largest American city to enact so broad a measures.  Other cities such as Melbourne and San Francisco have completely banned the bags. Africa is pursuing a continent-wide ban on plastic bags. China's cabinet issued a law that bans their production, prevents stores from handing out free plastic bags, and charges fees on their usage.

Four-lane bypass threatens wetlands near Haskell
Kansas:  Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence is battling to save the Haskell wetlands from a proposed four-lane bypass. In 1985, the city and county wanted to put a bypass through the southern end of campus and create a four-lane road. The road would divide the southern part of campus. In 1999, even after Haskell's Board of Regents voted a resounding ''no'' to the South Lawrence Trafficway, the state and city have continued pressuring the school to give in.  That pressure is increasing. ''It makes you wonder when enough is enough,'' said Esther Geary, former Haskell dean of students. ''It has been going on since I moved here in 1988, and the students just keep taking up where earlier students left off in fighting to stop it. seems almost like the way they used to take our land, always changing the terms of the 'treaty.' As long as this is an issue, the students will ... join in the efforts to stop the bypass. For many of them over the years, it appears that they just don't want to see any more Indian land taken.''  Along with legal battles, years of protests by students and community members have not convinced officials that a better alternative is nearby: south of the Wakarusa River. 
Facts about the Haskell Wetlands:
A small parcel of land is known as the Haskell wetlands.
Some call it sacred ground because of a medicine wheel in the wetlands. 
Some believe that many of the 700 early Haskell Indian School students are buried there.
For more than 100 years, the wetlands area has been a drawing place for Haskell students.
They are one of the last true wetlands in the state of Kansas.
Students had secret reunions with their families on the bordering Wakarusa river

When asked why the SLT project seems to be more intense, current Haskell President Linda Warner said ''I think as the traffic increases around here [Lawrence], they think they can just wear us down on it.''  Warner has appointed a Haskell representative to attend meetings on the SLT. She has also been proudly watching as student organizations and the community continue their own fight to hold on to Indian land.
Haskell University:
From the Sierra Club, Haskell Baker Wetlands:

Yukoners blame Alaskan fishing industry for low salmon numbers
Yukon: Salmon watchers claim Alaskan pollock fishermen are to blame for dwindling chinook salmon stocks and poor salmon runs.  They say trawlers in the North Pacific are disregarding the international Pacific Salmon Treaty. Because of the very low salmon numbers coming from the ocean to the Yukon River, area fisheries were canceled last summer. "We had no commercial, domestic or recreational fisheries.  The aboriginal fishery was allowed to go ahead, but even it only caught about 60% - 70%  of what it normally takes," said Gerry Couture of the Yukon River Panel. "So it was bad, and it was bad because, in part, enough fish didn't enter the river and, in part, our Alaskan colleagues made a mistake in management." Pollock trawlers often catch thousands of chinook salmon as by-catch in their nets.  Biologists estimate that in 2006,  the Alaskans' total by-catch was more than 100,000 chinook. About 26,000 had been bound for the Yukon River.
Inuitindianart Digest Number 1922

Medical plants face extinction
Over 50% of prescription drugs are derived from chemicals first identified in plants.  Now experts say hundreds of medicinal plants are at risk of extinction which threatens future discoveries of cures for diseases.  A report by Botanic Gardens Conservation International say many of these plants are at risk from over-collection and deforestation. The group, which represents botanic gardens across 120 countries, surveyed over 600 of its members as well as leading university experts. They identified 400 plants that were at risk of extinction including:

Yew tree: The anti-cancer drug paclitaxel is derived from the bark. It takes six trees to create a single dose.  Growers struggle to keep up with demand.

  Hoodia: Suppresses appetite, but vast quantities have been "ripped from the wild" to meet demands.

 Magnolia: Used in traditional Chinese medicine for 5,000 year, it fights cancer, dementia and heart disease.

  Autumn Crocus: Romans and Greeks used it as poison, but it's also an effective treatments for gout. 

The report said while future breakthroughs are at risk, the world's indigenous peoples may suffer the most.  5,000,000,000 people still rely on traditional plant-based medicine as their primary form of health care.  "If the ... decline of these species is not halted, it could destabilise the future of global healthcare, " the report says. It also warned that cures for cancer and other life-threatening diseases may become "extinct before they are ever found."
The Hidden People: Video of indigenous Costa Rican peoples and medicines:
[inuitindianart] Digest Number 1966

Folk Artists Honored as Keepers of America’s Cultural Heritage
Washington -- Twelve artists have received National Heritage Fellowships, America’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts. The fellowships recognize master artists who are the “keepers of our nation’s living cultural heritage,” said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. As a group, these folk and traditional artists reflect the diverse heritage and cultural traditions of our national character.  Among the NHF winners are Native American tradition carriers:

Pat Courtney Gold  Wasco sally bag weaver,  Scappoose, OR
Pat Courtney Gold's career is dedicated to the preservation of her cultural heritage. Pat grew up on the Warm Springs Reservation in the mid-Columbia River area of Central Oregon. She has studied and helped revive the making of Wasco sally bags and twined root-digging bags through the Oregon Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. Gold is known across the world as an exquisite weaver who incorporates designs that express the cultural life of her people.

Julia Parker Lee, Kashia Pomo basketmaker, Vining, CA
Julia Parker's early teachers were elder Indian traditionalists and basketweavers of the Sierra Miwok and Mono Lake Paiute people.  Julia also practices the making of acorn meal and mush, which in the traditional way uses a basket for the cooking process.  Julia's work has been featured at the National Museum of the American Indian, the Heard Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History.  In 1983 when Queen Elizabeth II visited Yosemite, Julia gave her one of her basket. Today, that basket is in the Queen's Museum in Windsor Castle. 

Eddie Kamae  Hawaiian musician, composer, filmmaker  Honolulu, HI
Eddie Kamae was raised in Maui.  His grandmother was a court dancer during the reign of King Kalakaua. For more than 50 years, Kamae has been a key figure in the Hawaiian cultural renaissance. He is known as a cultural filmmaker, master of the ukulele  and an artist with a voice that carries the spirit of an ancient traditions into present day Hawaiian music.  Kamae has been named a Living Treasure of Hawaii‘ and received the Hawai'i Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other NHF Fellows:

Nicholas Benson, Stone letter cutter and calligrapher, Newport, RI Irvin L. Trujillo, Rio Grande weaver, Chimayo, NM Sidiki Conde, Guinean dancer and musician, New York, NY
Agustin Lira' Chicano Singer, musician/composer Fresno, CA Violet de Cristoforo, Haiku poet and historian, Salinas, CA Mary Jane Queen, Appalachian musician, Deceased, Cullowhee, NC
Joe Thompson, African American string band musician, Mebane, NC Roland Freeman, Photo documentarian, author, and exhibit curator,  Washington, DC Elaine Hoffman Watts, Klezmer musician, Havertown, PA

Art Museum Scandal Grows: Tax Fraud, Artifact Looting Alleged
California: Four well-known museums and two men were caught in an extensive FBI raids by 500 FBI agents. The raids were to find art looted and smuggled from Thailand, China, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma) and Native American digs within the United States.  The raid came after a 5-year sting operation begun by a National Park Service agent who went undercover in early 2003.The case also alleges charges of tax frauds.
The four museums under investigation are:
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA),
The Charles S. Bowers Museum in Santa Ana
Mingei International Museum in San Diego
Pasadena’s Pacific Asia Museum

CR lecture focuses on importance of Indian bird songs

California: Paul Apodaca recently spoke at UC Riverside about the dying tradition of American Indian Bird Songs.  Bird songs are tribal folk song cycles that tell stories in snippets, one tune at a time, usually in cycles of three.  Performers dance, shake rattles and chant,  but they don't mimic birds sounds or songs.  Instead, bird songs honor specific birds mentioned in mythic journeys. "Bird songs are about creation and migration," said Apodaca, 56 from Chapman University. "They tell of how we traveled to where we are, what we fear, what we love, who we are."  In 1979, when Apodaca began his research, he found only 85 known bird songs and studies on the topic.  Since then, he has recovered and digitized 206 bird songs on CDs. The CDs were distributed to the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, the Malki Museum on the Morongo Indian Reservation, and to the Agua Caliente tribe.  "If everyone will get together, take them and learn them," Apodaca said, "the bird songs won't die out."

An Inuit Adventure in Timbuktu
Mali: Terence Leonard Uyarak is from Igloolik, Nunavut. He recently traveled thousands of kilometres to the Saraha desert in Mali, Africa. He sees the stars, but they aren't where they're supposed to be. Nunurjuk (the north star) and others by which Mr. Uyarak navigates the Canadian Arctic, are skewed down near the equator. He cannot tell his way by them, not here in this desert. Yet for all of that, Mr. Uyarak said this place is not so different from his hometown, Igloolik.  Among his observations:

The people are very calm;
The sand is shaped in the ways that snow shapes when there is a strong wind;
The land and the way they live in it are also threatened by climate change and consumer culture;
Riding a camel is much like kayaking : you can't stiffen up but must roll with the waves;
People here wear layers and layers of clothes to keep cool instead of hot;
They live in tents, just like the people back home who still live out on the land;
The Inuktitut language sounds a bit like the Tamashak;
Their languages and traditions are both oral;
Their written languages are innovations of recent generations;
Both groups navigate by the stars.

Mr. Uyarak is an acrobat and actor with a troupe called Artcirq, which will perform at the Festival au Desert. They were invited to Mali by the Tuareg nomads, one of the world's other great desert peoples.  Both groups hope their performances raise awareness of world-wide threats to their cultures.
Arctic Circus:

Native nominees announced for 50th annual GRAMMY Awards
California: The Nominees for the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony have been announced.  Under the category of Native American Music Album (Vocal or Instrumental), the nominees are:

Walter Ahhaitty and Friends:
''Oklahoma Style''
 Black Lodge:
''Watch This Dancer!''
Davis Mitchell:
''The Ballad of Old Times''
R. Carlos Nakai, Cliff Sarde and William Eaton:
Johnny Whitehorse: ''Totemic Flute Chants''

This year's GRAMMY's ceremony takes place Feb. 10. It will be broadcast on CBS.

2008 Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation Film Fellows
The Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation Film Fellowship supports the next generation Native and Indigenous filmmakers. Each year several Native Americans with working film projects are invited to Sundance to meet with established filmmakers and industry leaders. They also attend a World Cinema screening series and Native Forum activities. After the Festival workshop, the Native American and Indigenous Initiative provides on-going support throughout the year to help bring their projects to fruition.

This year's Fellows are:
Sherwin Bitsui, Diné:  THE WHISPERING - A young man and his family encounter an old woman sitting on the side of the road as they travel home during a snow storm.
Sonya Oberly (Nez Perce/Osage/Comanche): TRIBAL COURT - Sabine Miller, a young professional, questions her career path and choice.
Sherwin Bitsui, Diné (Navajo): Chrysalis - A collaboration with filmmaker Gabriel Lopez-Shaw.
Migizi Pensoneau (Ponca/Red Lake Chippewa) IN A VACUUM - A downtrodden vacuum cleaner salesman scams casino reservations and meets a customer that changes his outlook.
Emerging Producer Fellow
Beau Bassett (Native Hawaiian):   Bassett is a Hawaiian language translator and is committed to its revitalization, especially through the use of Cinema. His first independent film project, "Tewetewe", was produced for PBS.

Dramatic Competition
Director and Screenwriter Courtney Hunt:  Frozen River —
A desperate trailer mom and a Mohawk Indian girl team up to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States from Canada by driving across a frozen river.

International Dramatic Competition: 
A collective collaboration from Panama: THE WIND AND THE WATER (BURWA DII EBO – A young indigenous teen seeks his fortune in Panama City, struggles to adjust, then falls in love with a girl from a wealthy, assimilated family.

Short Films
Canadian Director Kevin Lee Burton: NIKAMOWIN (SONG) – This film experiments with the Cree language to create a linguistic soundscape.
Director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean: SIKUMI (ON THE ICE)–An Iñuit hunter takes his dog team out on the frozen Arctic Ocean in search of seals and becomes a witness to a murder.

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