Native Village Youth and Education News
October 1, 2008 Issue 190 Volume 4


“Indian Landscape” Ca. 1971
Wayne Pushetona,

 "A lot of folks don't realize that Indians still exist in their ancestral homelands east of the Mississippi. That's really the product of an educational system that essentially taught a version of history that excluded who we are. There was a method to that madness -- it didn't happen accidentally. It happened because those folks who approved textbooks and the curriculum of the schools told it their way. The fact that people in [Virginia] didn't realize we existed wasn't happenstance. It was all part of a systematic process to disallow American Indians' existence." 
                                  Stephen Adkins, Chickahominy



Alaska Natives Watch Traditions Melting Away

Inupiat Homelands, Alaska: Hunting walrus is an age-old tradition for the Inupiat Eskimo Native people of King Island on the Bering Sea off Alaska. The walrus provides meat for the long, dark, frigid winters, and its tusks, skin, blubber,  and other body parts are used for watertight parka, "pokes" to store berries, and others.  But the effects of climate change have wreaked havoc with Arctic weather which, for centuries, Arctic Natives could read like a book. Now, indigenous people can no longer predict important climactic changes and events like they used to, causing some to freeze to death when caught in storms or stranded on ice. Some starve as their traditional hunts are interrupted."All living things are going to be affected by global warming," said long-time hunter Sylvester AyekI. " don’t see it getting any better in our lifetime. We’ve got to stop this fossil fuel burning frenzy, instead of going to war for it."  Widely used models predict Arctic temperatures could rise 7 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. This year's summer sea ice reached record lows. IT's predicted the Arctic could be free of summer sea ice within a decade or less. Data released by NASA this spring showed that while in the past more than half the ice in the Arctic had survived multiple years, this spring more than 70% of Arctic sea ice was "young" ice less than a year old. "We’ve lost our air conditioner in the north, because we don’t have all that white ice," said Brenda Ekwurzel, a geochemist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. She noted that in March 1987 sea ice was three meters thick over most of the Arctic, whereas in March 2007 only a quarter of the ice was that thick.

Along the Louisiana coast, indigenous cultures and communities remain in peril
Louisiana: Storms, flooding, and  erosion threatens many communities across coastal Louisiana as the land sinks into the Gulf of Mexico. The Isle of de Jean Charles, home of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, used to be 4 miles wide. Now it's only 1/4 mile wide.  One week after Hurricane Gustav flooded much of Jean Charles, Hurricane Ike brought a 9-foot storm surge that swamped homes once again.  Native American residents can't afford to keep rebuilding, so Albert Naquin, chief of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, says his tribe must surrender their way of life and move farther inland. Other state coastal people -- the Cajun, Creole, and others --risk losing their unique cultures. This land and culture loss is disastrous to the State.  “These communities are cultural and historical assets,” Joel Waltzer, tribal attorney for the Pointe-aux-Chenes Indian. Losing the communities “would mean the end of an entire lifestyle and, in this case, the end of an entire people.”

 Native environmental hero: Jesus Leon Santos
Oaxaca, Mexico: Jesus Leon Santos of Nochixtlan, an indigenous farmer, has been awarded the 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize for sustainable development. The Goldman prize is awarded to grass-roots heroes who protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk.  Leon, 42,  has united the area's small farmers in CEDICAM [Center for Integral Small Farmer Development in the Mixteca].  Together, they have planted more than 1,000,000 native trees, built hundreds of miles of ditches that hold water and prevent erosion, and adapted ancient indigenous practices to restore their ecosystem.  Santos says Oaxaca looked very different before the Spaniards arrived. Some areas had been home to oak forests and shrub lands as well as large fields of corn, beans, squash, chiles, tomatoes, potatoes and  fruit trees.  By the time Santos was born, huge goat farms, farm chemicals, and industry turned the area into "a desert with no water, nor plants, nor trees, nor anything, '' Santos said. The loss of arable topsoil and nutrients had eroded by 83%; 1,235,000 acres were considered severely eroded.  ''The indigenous people have so much to share with this planet," Santos said.  " We are an important part of this earth.  We have been the guardians, and it is an important role with which we must continue.  ...  We cannot let this responsibility fall into other hands.  We must not let the corporations take these resources because this is the legacy for all people, not just a few."
Slideshow of Mr. Santos efforts:
american_indian_news_source_tulanappes_list] Digest Number 1869

Freshwater fish in N. America in peril, study says
A major study by scientists from the U.S. and Canada says about 40% of freshwater fish species in North America are in peril.  The crisis over fish populations has raised extreme concern among scientists. One biologist called it "silent extinctions. "  Others say:
Howard Jelks, U.S. Geological Survey: The number of species in trouble was nearly double to what he expected.  People should be "considerably worried.
Larry Crowder, Marine biologist from Duke University:  Fish "live in a freshwater habitat that's pretty much under assault by people. Things are tanking all around us. When does it have to be bad enough to get people's attention?"
Scientist Anthony Ricciardi:  "A lot of silent extinctions are happening. What we're doing is widespread, it's pervasive and it's rapid."
While they are unaware, humans are the main cause of the problem because we pollute and dam freshwater habitats.  We endangered other fish through recreational fishing for sport or food. 
Invasive species crowding out native fish is also to blame,
  Among the study's results:

Fish in Canada facing extinction
(All fish listed are endangered unless otherwise noted)
Nova Scotia
  Atlantic whitefish and Atlantic salmon (Bay of Fundy, Gulf of Maine population),
New Brunswick: 
Shortnose sturgeon and Atlantic salmon (Bay of Fundy, Gulf of Maine population)
     Striped bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population; possibly extinct)  and Copper redhorse
     Deepwater cisco (extinct), Atlantic salmon (Great Lakes population; extinct), Arctic grayling (Great Lakes population; extinct), Blue pike (extinct); Lake Ontario kiyi (possibly extinct); Blackfin cisco (possibly extinct); Shortnose cisco (possibly extinct) and Aurora trout
Alberta: Banff longnose dace (extinct)
British Columbia
    Western brook lamprey (Morrison Creek, Vancouver Island pop.); Coho salmon (Interior Fraser River population); Sockeye salmon (Cultus Lake, Saginaw Lake populations); White sturgeon; Nooksack dace; Salish sucker ; Benthic Enos Lake stickleback; Benthic Hadley Lake stickleback (possibly extinct) Benthic Paxton Lake stickleback; Benthic Vananda Creek sticklebac; Limnetic Enos Lake stickleback; limnetic Hadley Lake stickleback (possibly extinct); Limnetic Paxton Lake stickleback; Limnetic Vananda Creek stickleback; Misty Lake lentic stickleback; Misty lake lotic stickleback ;
 N.L., P.E.I., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Yukon, N.W.T., Nunavut: 
    None listed as endangered or extinct
New to the Imperiled List
  Striped bass, snail bullhead, flat  bullhead and spotted bullhead catfish living in the Gulf of Mexico, Bay of Fundy and southern
Gulf of St. Lawrence, Sockeye, Chinook, coho, chum and Atlantic salmon populations
Startling Facts
   457 entire species are in trouble or already extinct
  Fish species and subspecies in North America which became extinct rose from 40 to 61 since 1989.
  700  subspecies are vulnerable, threatened, or endangered. That's up from 364 subspecies nearly 20 years ago. 
  33% of the fish that were in trouble in 1989 are worse off
   50% of fish in Mexico are endangered.
  33% of fish in the United States are in peril.
10% of Canada's fish are dwindling.
  More than two dozen trout populations are in trouble.
  Many endangered fish species are small minnows and darters whose absence is little noticed, but they play a vital role in the food chain.

  The most vulnerable fish in the U.S. are in the South East.
  Only 6% of fish populations that were in peril in 1989 have made a comeback

Read the report "Conservation Status of Imperiled North American Freshwater and Dladromous Fishes":

An interactive map showing fish populations in 80 different regions of North America:

Deal to aid endangered sturgeon

Oregon: After 6 years, environmentalists and government agencies have agreed to help save the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon spawn, The sturgeon, which can grow to 19 feet, are North America's largest freshwater fish. They are found only in northern Idaho, northwest Montana and southeast British Columbia.  Kootenai sturgeon have not successfully spawned since Libby Dam was completed in the 1970s. In 1994, they were listed as endangered because dam operations polluted and blocked their water flow and ruined the shallow waters needed to spawn.  The new plan calls for Libby Dam's flow to mimic ideal conditions for sturgeon spawning.  "We hope this leads to recovery," said Noah Greenwal from the Center for Biological Diversity. "This historic agreement helps give the sturgeon a shot at survival."  Only 500 Kootenai sturgeon survive today. Of the world's 24 species of sturgeon, most are threatened with extinction. The local Kootenai population has been decreasing by 9%  per year.

Tlingit helmet sells at auction for nearly $2.2 million

Connecticut: A private collector recently purchased a rare Tlingit warrior’s helmet $2,185,000 at an East Coast Auction “[The buyer] didn’t even understand it to be Native American necessarily,” said Jack DeStories, auction house owner. “She didn’t know; she just thought it was an interesting curiosity.” Only 90-95 Tlingit warrior helmets are known to exist. Little is known about this helmet's history except that the seller had received it as a gift in 1984.  Experts believe this helmet dates to the late 18th or early 19th century. Its existence came as a shock to Tlingit people. "The significance of the helmet to us is it’s not just an art piece, but it represents a tie to our ancestors, a tie to the spirit of our ancestors," said Rosita Worl, a Tlingit of eagle moiety and president of Sealaska Heritage Institute. "So it’s really sad to think of the possibility that it will never come home - unless of course the collector has a soul and heart and knows that the spirit of that helmet wants to come home.” Items from private collections do not fall under the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act.

 October 4: Live  Broadcast of the Native American Music Awards

New York: The 10th Annual Native American Music Awards will be broadcast live over the Internet on Saturday, October 4, 2008 via Single Feather Media, a Native American video and multimedia company. The three hour program includes over 30 Awards categories from every genre of music as well live performances and Hall of Fame inductions. The broadcast can be viewed on October 4th by visiting or

 Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carrying the medicine, sharing a message
Washington DC:  In the 1960s, President Lyndon Baines Johnson staked his reputation on the Vietnam War. Many who "sassed" him were blacklisted by the federal government and the CIA.  Buffy Sainte-Marie was one. "... When I'd have a concert and there'd be, you know, several thousand people at the concert, and they'd all say, 'Well, how come we can't get your records?'" the Cree singer recalls.  "I'd be blaming it on the record company. But the record company always said that they would ship the record, but they wouldn't get to the town." Years later, she discovered the government's ban against her music. "I suppose if I were a business person I'd say, 'Yeah, it hurt my career.' But what really bugged me about it is that my voice was silenced, and I think the things that I was saying and singing in those days was a medicine to help and support ideas, people, healings that could have been happening. ... When you carry the medicine, sometimes you have to carry it a long way.''  Today Sainte-Marie's music is being embraced by all generations. Recently, at the National Museum of the American Indian, Sainte-Marie read a poem reflecting on the War in Iraq.

The War Racket

''And that's how it's done.
About every 30 years
The rich fill their coffers.
The poor fill with tears.
The young fill the coffins.
The old will hang a wreath.
The politicians will get photographed
with their names underneath.''  


Hannah Duston, Passaconaway bobbleheads criticized
New Hampshire: One employee has quit and another refuses to sell or handle bobblehead dolls sold by the New Hampshire Historical Society.  One doll depicts an ax-holding Hannah Duston who, in 1697, escaped from Abenaki Indians by scalping her captors. The other doll is Chief Passaconaway who formed the Penacook Confederacy of more than a dozen tribes. The bobbleheads are considered historically inaccurate and insensitive to American Indians. "To have the New Hampshire Historical Society come out with a caricature of an Indian after all these years of us working on this issue ... is just staggering," said David Stewart-Smith, historian for the state's Intertribal Council. Bill Veillette,  NHHS director, said that while the bobbleheads expose people to history, their real purpose is to raise money for the historical society. "If you want the product to sell, frankly, you have to use the most iconic image that people are used to," he said.  Veillette also said he has no interest in consulting with American Indian Groups on such matters. "We wouldn't and we shouldn't," he said. "For an exhibition we should, absolutely ... but we run our store probably like everyone else ... You don't run it by the entire staff. You don't go out and consult with a bunch of people."

Toronto win 'just sinking in' for Nunavut women's film group
Nunavut: Before Tomorrow, an Inuktitut-language movie co-directed by Marie-Hélčne Cousineau and Madeline Piujuq Ivalu, won best Canadian first feature at the Toronto Film Festival. Before Tomorrow depicts the struggles of an Inuk woman and her grandson after they become trapped on a remote Arctic island. Ivalu, who also stars in Before Tomorrow, did not expect the film to win, and she is still emotional every time she watches it. The 76-year-old woman kept things authentic by recalling her own experiences and incorporating elements from them into the film. Before Tomorrow was co-produced by Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc. and Kunuk Cohn Productions, who also created Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) and The Journals of Knud Rasmussen.  It's expected that Before Tomorrow will be released across Canada this winter.

Stadium plaza to honor all 11 state tribes

Minnesota:  Each of Minnesota's 11 American Indian tribes will be represented outside of the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium. The Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza will lead to the main gate of the new campus football stadium. It will feature 11 "sky markers," one for each tribal nation in the state.  Tribal Nations Plaza was made possible by a large private gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community to the UM Athletic Department.

Depp and Clooney may star in THE LONE RANGER
Rumors are flying that Walt Disney Pictures has signed Johnny Depp to star as Tonto in the Jerry Bruckheimer production of The Lone Ranger.  Depp is reported to be of Cherokee and Navajo ancestry.  Flying alongside the Depp rumor is another claiming George Clooney will play the title character.

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