Native Village 

Youth and Education News

January 1, 2008 Issue 183  Volume 4

During the first Gulf war a group of native Americans in Oregon wrote an open letter to President George Bush, Sr., ridiculing his pretext for attacking Iraq:
"Dear President Bush,"
it read. "Please send your assistance in freeing our small nation from occupation. This foreign force occupied our lands to steal our rich resources ... As in your own words, 'The occupation and overthrow of one small nation is one too many.' Yours sincerely,
An American Indian."

Yucca Mountain in Danger
Yucca Mountain is sacred to the Shoshone people as an herb gathering site, for rituals, and as a part of their stories. In the Shoshone language, Yucca Mountain is called Snake Mountain because it looks like a snake that was headed north and froze where it is. It is said that Snake Mountain will move
again and "flip around," and many geologists agree because there are 13 different fault lines running through it.

Now, despite its sacredness and instability, the Department of Energy wants to turn Yucca Mountain into a Nuclear Waste Repository. Environmentalists say Yucca Mountain is a dangerous site for nuclear waste.  25-years of analysis reveals:
1. The region is seismically active and open to earthquakes;
2. The rock is already highly fractured, which allows a “fast” pathway for water to escape. Radioactive water would eventually reach drinking wells.
3. The DOE (Department of Energy) changed or eliminated safety regulations to accommodate the site. Now, 99.9% of the
waste would be contained in unverifiable metal canisters and drip shields.

4. If the water inside Snake Mountain combines with an oxidizing chemical environment, Yucca Mountain would become corrosive. Many have strong doubts that the waste will be contained for the hundreds of thousands of years that it will be toxic.

Since the 2007 death of Yucca Mountain protector, Corbin Harney, nuclear reps have regained their confidence that the Waste Dump is a done deal. However, Indian Country is stepping up its efforts to gain public support and outreach.  Citizens can make an oral statement at a public hearing, write directly, or email their concerns to the Energy Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management.  The Deadline is January 10, 2008
Email your concerns:
Papbullslist/Native Village

Tree achieves heroic stature
Michigan: The National Cultural Landscape Foundation has named a Dearborn burr oak as one of 21 national "Heroes of Horticulture.  The 300-year-old tree is located on Henry Ford's Fair Lane estate. It still grows, baring leaves and acorns despite scars from lightening storms and the ravages of winds, droughts, and ice storms. "I used to sit under that oak tree. They had a picnic table under there, and at lunchtime some of the gardeners would sit under it to have their lunch," said Louie Hagopian, 84,  the last surviving staff gardener from the lifetimes of Henry and Clara Ford.  "It was pretty big already at that time. It looks three times as big now as what it did, but it was struck by lightning a few times. It's pretty well damaged now, but it's still there."  Photos of the tree will be featured in national exhibits and the January issue of Garden Design magazine.

White House accused of censoring global warming reports
Washington DC:   After a 16-month investigation, Democrats say the Bush administration censored and edited scientists' testimony to Congress on global warming.  The report says the White House:
Was "particularly active in stifling discussions" of a possible link between climate change and strong hurricanes;
After Hurricane Katrina, the White House steered journalists toward government scientists. The scientists denied a link between climate change and increased hurricane intensity;
Has engaged in a "systematic effort to manipulate climate-change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warning;"
The report also accused Senate Committee staffers of influencing the public testimony of climate experts.  
Republicans say the report is "seriously flawed," and a White House spokesperson called the report "rehashed rhetoric."  Henry Waxman, D-Calif., defended the panel's findings and said science should be above the influence of politics.

Deadly Walrus Stampede

Alaska – Scientists say another alarming consequence of global warming is the death of thousands of Pacific walruses above the Arctic Circle. The walruses were  killed in stampedes earlier this year after the disappearance of sea ice caused them to crowd onto the shoreline in extraordinary numbers.  Unlike seals, walruses cannot swim indefinitely.  The giant, tusked mammals need the sea ice for rest or to haul themselves onto land. They  are vulnerable to stampedes when they gather in such large numbers.  Polar bears, a hunters or a low-flying airplanes can send them rushing to the water.  Biologists estimate 3,00 0- 4,000 walruses out of 200,000 died, two or three times the usual number, on shoreline haulouts.  Many of the youngest and weakest animals, mostly calves born in the spring, were crushed.
[inuitindianart] Digest Number 1929

Quest for Oil Clashes with Hunt for Whales
Alaska:  For thousands of years, the Inupiat have hunted whales.  Kills are celebrated throughout villages as whalers share their catches among the people.  Not only is this part of Inupiat tradition,  but whales are a subsistence food important to tribal survival.  Now, however, that traditional way of life is in jeopardy.  Royal Dutch Shell wants to exploit possible oil reserves off the Alaskan coast.  President Bush supports the idea and has issued offshore leases for an area nearly the size of Maryland.  Those leases could be far more damaging than any efforts to search in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve.  Inupiat whalers have filed a suit, arguing that noisy drilling would disrupt migration routes for whales.
H-Amindian Listserve

Northern Cheyenne Tribe Submits Plan to Enhance Ferret Survival
Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Montana: The Northern Cheyenne are applying for funds to help enhance survival of the black-footed ferret on tribal lands. The tribe also hopes to:
Restore the native prairie ecosystem consistent with Northern Cheyenne and Native American traditions and values;
Help establish a viable, self-sustaining ferret population in South-central Montana;
Test the effectiveness of vaccination and flea-control.
The U.S.  Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service has received the application from the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
Read the application:

photo: Wyoming Game and Fish Department

Woolly Mammoths Were Killed Off by Trees
While it's widely believed that woolly mammoths were hunted to extinction by early man, some scientists now suggest that trees wiped out the animals.  The frozen grasslands where the animals lived and ate started to be replaced by expanding forests from the warmer climates. Then temperatures started to rise.  No more frozen grasslands meant no more food.  Adrian Lister from University College in London analyzed mammoth DNA and thinks the story went something like this:

30,000 years ago, there were millions of mammoths roaming over a huge area.  20,000 years later there were hardly any left.  As the forests moved in, the mammoths were pushed out of their normal habitat. These animals were governed by plant life rather than climate and were squeezed into very small groups in the remaining frozen grasses. He didn't believe people played a major role in wiping them out.

There have been other recent suggestions as to how the mammoths became extinct.  An American research team suggested that meteorites bombarded the earth, causing their deaths.  Recently, tusks were found in Alaska that had been hit with shrapnel from meteorites.
[NativeNews] Digest Number 3526

Festival During Super Bowl Will Honor Native Americans
Arizona: The state's 22 Indian tribes are collaborating on  "Super Celebration Series," a 3-day series of public events sanctioned by the Super Bowl.   The events are set for Jan. 18 - 20 in Phoenix, which is also hosting the Super Bowl the same weekend.  "It's a monumental event to see this many folks come together and plan a celebration of this stature," said Robin Fohrenkam, a member of the Gila River Indian Community and Tohono O'odham Nation.  "It is an unprecedented event." Attendees can wander through seven Native American "villages" and observe the craftsmanship of traditional dwellings, listen to tribal elders and storytellers, sample traditional foods, and enjoy the arts, dance and music. The festival will also share the wide range of business enterprises that help sustain Native American tribes. About 50,000 people are expected to attend.
[Indigenous Peoples Literature] Digest Number 3000

Adrienne Begay earns second place in Arizona Pack Off championship
Navajo Reservation, Arizona: Adrienne Begay, Diné, is the first Native American courtesy clerk to participate in the state's Pack Off Competition. In addition to bagging groceries quickly and efficiently, competitors must display personal pride in their work. Begay, who works at Bashas' Diné Market in Kayenta, worked her way through local, regional and state competitions to earn second place overall.  "I've learned a lot from this competition," Adrienne said.  " ... it means a lot to me.  A lot of courtesy clerks don't take the competition seriously when it comes to their store-thinking that it's a waste of time, but it really is exciting and to me, being part of the Diné Market going that far is something that I'll always remember."  Begay is now a junior at Northern Arizona University majoring in criminal justice with a minor in social work. icleID=6449

Kinder Surprise Toy Sparks Outrage
Nova Scotia: The Kinder Surprise is a chocolate egg with a small toy inside. When 3-year-old Shawn Pellissier-Lush recently opened his Kinderegg, the surprise upset his mother.  "As soon as I saw what it was, I just took it and said, 'No, this is not something you're going to be playing with,' and put it away," said Shawn's mother, Julie Pellissier-Lush.  The tiny plastic toy was a figure of a native man brandishing a tomahawk. He comes with a frowning, war-painted face in the form of a tee pee.  Julie, who works at the Mi'kmaq Friendship Centre in Halifax, showed the toy to her uncle, native activist John Joe Sark. He then e-mailed the Kinder Surprise company to complain. "The toy is going to be played with by kids from four years on," Sark commented, "and what you do is you perpetuate a stereotype at that age."  Sark was pleased by the company's reply.  "We are very sorry that a toy from our Kinder Surprise collection has been found to be offensive to individuals in the Canadian aboriginal community," Kinder Surprise said.  They pulled the toy from their stock and asked about appropriate materials to share with the community.
CBC News

Picasso of the North" Morrisseau Dies at 75

Ontario: Artist Norval Morrisseau has passed away at age 75. The great  Anishinabe painter, once called "the Picasso of the North" signed his canvases 'Miskwaabik Animiki' or Copper Thunderbird.   "I've always wanted to be role model,"  he said several years ago. "I've always wanted to stay an Indian.  I wanted the little kids to know that."  They do.  "He certainly was a role model for me as an art student" said one curator.  A groundbreaking retrospective of the Morrisseau's work is now at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.
Artwork: Observations of the Astral World by Norval Morrisseau

Native American Photojournalist wins Fellowship and Award
The National Newspaper Association Contest awarded Ken Blackbird first place for Best Breaking News Photo, 2007.  Blackbird will place this plaque with his other awards earned during his 15 year career. Although being recognized from peers is nice, Blackbird is most intrigued with a 2007 fellowship awarded him by the Cody Institute for Western American Studies.  It enables Blackbird to travel to the Czech Republic, Belgium, Poland, and Germany and document how Europeans embrace Native American Plains cultures. An exhibition of photos called Tribal Crossroads will be created from Blackbird’s new research along with his Indian Country work.   Tribal Crossroads will compare and contrast the cultural and social understanding between these peoples.  Ken Blackbird is Assiniboine and a member of the Fort Belknap community in Montana.

Smithsonian Museum Presents 2008 Native Arts Program Participants
Washington DC: The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian has selected eight artists to participate in its 2008 Native Arts Program. Participants were selected through a competitive application process and a review panel of international artists and arts administrators.  The 2008 selections are:
Michael Belmore, sculpture, Ontario, Canada:  Belmore will research the iconography of large and small stone markings across the Americas, then incorporate these concepts in new works.
Chloe French, Chilkat weaver, Washington: French will help to coordinate the Northwest Coast Artists' Gathering in Juneau, Alaska, in June 2008.  "Our symposium topic is a complex one, involving the relationship of art to tradition, heritage, clan ownership, contemporary Native society and the mixing of cultures," she said.  "The symposium panel will work hard to bring all of this together and to find and build common ground."
Terrill Hooper O'Brien, beadwork, Virginia: Hooper O'Brien will search East Coast museum collections for beaded amulet bags made before 1840 to verify that these bags were first made in North America before becoming popular in Europe during the Victorian era.
Annette Jimenez, painter, traditional craft and mixed media artist, Minnesota: Jimenez will create and coordinate "New People/Seventh Generation Be Strong," a youth mural project involving about 15 youths from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.
Robin McBride Scott, basketmaker, Indiana:  McBride Scott will examine the museum's ancient basketry collections and it's relationship to tribal languages. "One must spend a considerable amount of time studying a weaving technique, its designs and the specific materials used before that person can really understand and actually "think" in that language," she said.
Guillermina Ortega, painting and ceramics, Veracruz, Mexico:  Ortega will study ceramics from Ancient Mexico and complete a ceramics project in a Veracruz community with a group of Totanaca potters who still use the traditional ceramics techniques.
Cody Sanderson, metal smith, New Mexico: Sanderson will document metal smithing for personal adornment and jewelry from different world cultures and periods.

The sixth visiting artist is Ned Bear from Canada. He is returning for a second time.
Photo: Robin McBride Scott

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