Native Village Youth and Education News
November 1, 2008 Issue 191 Volume 3

“Turtle,” 1981
Randy Chitto,

 "In our story of Creation, we talk about each one of us having our own path to travel, and our own gift to give and to share. You see, what we say is that the Creator gave us all special gifts; each one of us is special. And each one of us is a special gift to each other because we've got something to share." 
                                                                          John Peters (Slow Turtle),   Wampanoag   




Washington, DC – The Friday after Thanksgiving will now be designated as Native American Heritage Day. President Bush has signed into law the legislation introduced by Congressman Joe Baca.  Native American Heritage Day honors Native people for their many contributions to the United States.  Americans of all backgrounds are asked to observe the day through appropriate ceremonies and activities.  K-12 schools are also encouraged to enhance Native American studies by focusing on Native history, achievements, and contributions.  "This law will help to preserve the great history and legacy of Native Americans," said Rep. Baca, (D-CA).  "Native Americans and their ancestors have played a vital role in the formation of our nation.  They have fought with valor and died in every American war dating back to the Revolutionary War, and deserve this special acknowledgement."

US Supreme Court to rule on Hawaiian lands
Honolulu: Next spring, the The U.S.  Supreme Court will rule on an appeal made by Hawaii's Supreme Court. Hawaii ruling stopped the state from selling or leasing 1,200,000 acres on Maui and the Big Island once owned by the former Hawaiian monarchy.  They cited a pending vote in Congress that would grant Native Hawaiians federal recognition and rights  similar to those of American Indians and Native Alaskans. This includes the rights to traditional lands.  Hawaiian Attorney General Mark Bennett believe the Hawaiian Supreme Court was wrong. "Prudent management of those lands for the benefit of all of Hawaii's citizens must include, on occasion, the right to sell or exchange land," he said. But Haunani Apoliona from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs expects the high court to back up the Hawaii court's ruling."  We firmly stand behind the state Supreme Court's opinion, which says the state should keep the ceded land trust intact until Native Hawaiian claims to these lands are settled," she said.  Hawaii v. Office of Hawaiian Affairs has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives and now awaits a Senate vote. A decision is expected by June.

Tribe Could Make History
Connecticut: On November 3, the U.S. Supreme Court takes on a case to determine how tribes like the Pequots and the Mohegans might expand their sovereign lands.  The case revolves around the return of 31 acres in Charlestown, R.I., to the Narragansett Indians.  In 1998, The Bureau of Indian Affairs, part of the Department of Interior, placed the 31 acres into a trust for the tribe.  Both Charlestown and the state then sued the department, and it's been in court ever since.  The case is being closely watched by states and tribes everywhere and could have an enormous impact on tribal sovereignty.

Japan Officially Recognizes Ainu 
Japan: In an historic breakthrough, Japan's Diet [legislature] has unanimously passed a resolution to recognize the Ainu as indigenous people.  "We are thrilled," said a tearful Tadashi Sato, director of the Ainu Cultural Centre in Hokkaido. "This is the first time the government has recognized us as indigenous people. We appreciate it." The resolution asks Japan to officially recognize the Ainu as a people with a unique culture and language. They also want Japan  to create policies that address their problems.  If passed, the resolution would end Japan's false claims that it has no minorities and is not practicing discrimination.  "In fact, the treatment of the Ainu over the past 150 years by the Japanese majority is no different from the sad history of aboriginal peoples in the U.S., Canada or Australia," said Andrew Horvat, a professor at Tokyo Keizai University.  About 200,000 Ainu live throughout Japan. Most live on the northernmost island of Hokkaido. According to a 2006 survey, the rate of Ainus living on welfare is more than three times the national average. The proportion of Ainu receiving higher education was 1/3 the national average.
Smithsonian's Ainu people online exhibit:

Brutal Crackdown on Indigenous Protest
La Maria Indigenous Reserve, Columbia: DÌa de la Raza (Day of the Race) falls on Oct.  12, the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas. In La MarÌa, indigenous groups and demonstrators blocked the Pan American highway, the main north-south artery in Colombia. To clear the road, the army imageand police went in with helicopters and armoured vehicles, and opened fire with live ammunition. "It was terrible, and so unfair. We had no weapons. We only have our ceremonial staffs which symbolise authority. At this moment (Oct 15) they are still shooting, although they have removed us from the Pan American highway," said spokesperson Manuel Rozental.  Nevertheless, "the number of protesters is growing. More people are coming down from the mountains to participate in the demonstration, and we estimate there are at least 200,000 indigenous people involved throughout the country."
Active protests are taking place in 16 of Colombia's 32 provinces:
La Guajira, Curdoba, Sucre, Atl·ntico and ChocÛ, on the northern Caribbean coast;
Norte de Santander, Boyac· and Casanare, in the east;
Meta, to the south of Bogot;
Risaralda, Caldas, Quindio and Tolima in the centre of the country;
Cauca and Huila in the southwest;
and Valle del Cauca, in the west.
The indigenous organisations have a list of 12 demands that they want to negotiate in direct talks with rightwing Colombian President, lvaro Uribe. Since 2002, when the Uribe administration took office, 1,253 indigenous people have been murdered and at least 54,000 forced from their ancestral lands, according to the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia.


Dongria Homelands, India: Armed with traditional weapons, hundreds of Dongria Kondh tribal members danced and sang through Bhubaneswar to protest a British company's plan to mine their sacred mountain. The company, Vedanta, has received approval from India’s Supreme Court to mine aluminum ore on the Dongria’s land. The mine would destroy the forests and streams the Dongria depend on, and would turn their sacred mountain into an industrial wasteland.  "We will carry on our struggle to save Niyamgiri at any cost," said Jitu Jakesika, a Dongria tribal member. Stephen Corry of Survival International said.  "If further proof were needed that the Dongria Kondh are determined to stop Vedanta, this would be it. The Dongria know that the mine would destroy them. Vedanta must heed their voices and pull out of this project." Vedanta is owned by London-based billionaire Anil Agarwal. 

The National Children’s Study

The National Children’s Study will follow 100,000 U.S. children from birth to age 21.  Researchers expect the study will help them better understand how environmental factors affect children's health and development.  Ultimately, NCS will be one of the richest research efforts in this field and could form the basis of child health guidance, interventions, and policy for generations to come.
Watch the National Children's Study video:

Orchard serves as health, educational tool for Hopi
Arizona:  First Mesa Elementary School and Moencopi Day School now have their own orchard of 40 trees.  The trees include apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, cherries, pomegranates, persimmons and jujubes. The trees were planted by FruitaBü, Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Hopi Tutskwa PermaCulture. They also built a drip irrigation system for the trees so the orchard would build on the Hopi's historical agriculture.  It also supports and nurtures a healthy lifestyle, responsibility and respect for plant life. First Mesa and Moencopi students are responsible for learning about and caring for their organic orchard.  Three other community orchards were planted in the village of Kykotsmovi.  In all, 320 trees were planted.

Sled dogs could hold clues to human health problems: researchers
Alaska: Most  Alaskan sled dogs are lean -- they only weigh 20 -30 kilograms.  Michael Davis believes when these genetics are combined with the right diet and training, sled dogs are arguably the greatest athletes in the animal world. "For their size, their strength is substantial  ... their capacity for endurance is beyond anything that I've worked with,"  Davis said. "I mean, these dogs are very resilient, very confident dogs." Davis, who is from the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University, took blood samples from Alaskan sled dogs to learn more about the dogs' physical make-up.  Davis said sled dogs can run thousands of kilometres in temperatures as cold as 40 C. This ability to burn up to 12,000 kilocalories per day when racing may have implications for human health. "If we can identify how they are better equipped at dealing with high amounts of fat in their diet, we may be able to find some metabolic strategies that can help humans with obesity and Type 2 diabetes," he said.
Photo: AP

Stop tranquillizing polar bears for research, NTI says
Nunavut :Polar bear research is currently being done in Nunavut hunting areas, including the Davis Strait, Foxe Basin and Hudson Bay.  Now Inuit elders, hunters and Nunavut leaders want scientists to stop tranquillizing polar bears and other wildlife until newer methods are developed. The Inuit worry about the health of the animals and  people who hunt and eat them as subsistence food. Animals that have been drugged should not be consumed for at least one year after being hunted.

Newspaper receives cancer group's award
South Dakota:  Indian Country Today newspaper has received the Media Mark of Excellence Award in Print from the National Cancer Society.  ACS says a 2007 survey of South Dakota tribes revealed their top health concern is lack of awareness about cancer prevention and detection.  Through its regular column in Indian Country Today's newspaper and website,  the American Cancer Society can reach Native Americans with information they need.

Historic garden offers glimpse into early Native American life
Virginia: The Powhatan County Historic Garden honors the 400th anniversary of the establishment of Jamestown colony. The garden plants include native species during pre-Columbus day. Some of the medicinal plants include:
Bee Balm,: used for treating colic, fever and colds and to simply enjoy
Columbine:  the seeds were used for a tea to treat headaches.
Joe Pye Weed: used to cure typhus.
Turtlehead: to remove parasites and for other medicinal purposes. 

Background: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: