Happy Birthday Leonard!
The International Peltier Forum is sending Leonard Peltier a
worldwide birthday card. It will arrive before or on his September
12 birthday. Amnesty International has named Peltier the world's #1
political prisoner. Some call him "The Nelson Mandela of the United
States." Peltier, a citizen of the Anishinabe and Dakota/Lakota
nations, is accused of killing two FBI agents in 1975 as he returned their fire in self-defense and to protect elders and
children. During Leonard's trial, key witnesses were banned from
testifying, and important evidence was ruled inadmissible. The U.S.
Prosecutor could not find a single witness naming Peltier as the
shooter. And it was later discovered that the bullets which killed
the FBI agents did not come from Leonard's gun. Still, the United
States refuses to release him or give him a fair trial. Leonard has
been imprisoned since April, 1977.
How you can celebrate with Leonard Peltier on his birthday:
To sign Leonard's birthday care, email your message with photo
and/or graphic to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline: September 2, 2008
If you miss the deadline, mail a birthday card to:
Leonard Peltier # 89637-132
PO BOX 1000
Lewisburg PA 17837
View the IPF card:
The Leonard Peltier Offense Committee:
Online Petition for Executive Clemency:
From Native Village:
Messages to Youth from Leonard Peltier
Murder on a Reservation: American Justice TV Series:
Murder on a
graphic: Heather's animations
Longest Walk II reaches Washington
Washington, D.C.- After five months of walking across America, the
northern and southern routes of the Longest Walk II joined in the
nation's capital and were greeted by more than 1,000 people. The
2008 walk honored the 30-year anniversary of 1978's Longest Walk
which protested the United States' refusal to honor Indian treaties.
This year's theme was "All Life is Sacred: Clean Up Mother Earth."
Walkers shared warnings about universal issues like global warming
as well as major problems affecting Native communities. After In
Washington, a manifesto was written and delivered to John Conyers,
D-Michigan. "What we have come to understand alarms us greatly," the
manifesto states. "Many of the same issues that were presented to
the Longest Walk in 1978 are ongoing issues that have not changed or
have even worsened."
Researchers, led by UO archaeologist, find pre-Clovis human DNA
Oregon: Human DNA discovered in Paisley Caves is the oldest yet
discovered in the New World. The DNA was found dried human feces
(coprolites) and dates back 14,200 years -- 1,200 years before
Clovis culture. “The Paisley Cave material represents, to the best
of my knowledge, the oldest human DNA obtained from the Americas,”
said Eske Willerslev, who heads the Centre for Ancient Genetics at
the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. “Other pre-Clovis sites
have been claimed, but no human DNA has been obtained, mostly
because no human organic material had been recovered.” The DNA
indicates that the feces came from Native Americans in haplogroups
A2 and B2 --both common to Siberia and east Asia. "If our DNA
evidence and radiocarbon dating hold up on additional coprolites
[being tested] at multiple labs, then we have broken the Clovis
sound barrier, if you will,”said Dennis Jenkens from the University
of Oregon who joined 12 other international scientists at Paisley
Caves. “If you are looking for the first people in North America,
you are going to have to step back more than 1,000 years beyond
Clovis to find them."
New podcasts guide tourists to Ohio's Indian earthworks
Ohio: A new set of podcasts will guide tourists through the
impressive earthworks of southern Ohio. The podcasts were created by
the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Valley Regional Development
Commission. They provide directions to, and information about, 10 of
the most important American Indian earthworks in the country. The
selected sites are:
Hopewell Mound Group
The recorded self-guided tours are available for sale individually.
The Earthworks website also offers information and free downloads.
EarthWorks of Southern Ohio:
Pequot museum team researching old battle site
Connecticut: An area where colonial settlers massacred hundreds of
Pequots may become a National Battlefield site. The Mashantucket
Pequot Tribe and Research Center is searching locations in Groton
for artifacts from the 17th century Pequot War battles. Groton is
near the Pequot's Mystic Fort which was surrounded by colonists and
American Indian allies in 1637. More than 500 Pequots were killed
in the battle. This began what amounted to a cultural extermination
of the tribe, said Kevin McBride, the museum's director of
research. Researchers are also looking at land in Old Saybrook,
Fairfield, Wethersfield and Dover Plains, N.Y., that lay within the
bloody path of the Pequot wars.
Tribe holds its 333rd gathering
Narragansett Reservation, Rhode Island: The Narragansett tribe has
celebrated its Green Corn Thanksgiving on tribal lands for more than
three centuries. “To be able to come back to the same spot … that
our people have been gathering on since the 1700s” is special, said
Wendi Starr-Brown, tribal historian. For visitors, the powwow is a
chance to experience the tribe’s culture and traditions. For tribal
members, it is both a homecoming and reunion. “People can see
what’s changed or stayed the same,” said Wendi, who hasn’t missed a
Narragansett powwow in her 38 years. This year’s festivities
featured arts and crafts, social dances, drumming, children’s dance
competitions, and traditional foods such as succotash, quahog
chowder, corn on the cob and jonnycakes.
Narragansett Tribe: http://00002u9.previewcoxhosting.com/
Alabama-Coushatta tribe linked
Alabama-Coushatta Reservation, Texas: Thousands of people driving
through Texas don't realize that the Alabama Coushatta reservation
exists within the eastern pine forests. Spanish explorer DeSoto
first referred to the Alabama tribe in 1541 when he encountered the
tribe in Alabama. After the tribe moved to Texas around 1787, the
Coushattas joined them. In 1836, when Sam Houston's army was pushed
east by Santa Anna's Mexican Army, a U.S. delegation arrived at Long
King's Village to ask Alabama and Coushatta warriors for help.
While the discussions were proceeding, the battle of San Jacinto was
fought, and the Indians' services were no longer needed. But the
tribe was generous in their efforts to feed and care for settlers
who fled from Santa Anna's army. "We helped them with food, shelter
and crossing the Trinity River," said Arnold Battise. who was born
on the reservation. "Sam Houston was a friend to the Indians, so
when he learned about our assistance, he became instrumental in
having a reservation awarded to our tribe." The Alabama-Coushattas
are the only native American group requiring members to be
full-blooded. "We want to survive and maintain our culture," Battise
said." The tribe is working to maintain it's culture and offers
native language classes for all 1,100 Alabama -Coushatta tribal
members. "We've changed our perspective because of what's going on
in the modern world," said Battise, "but we want to maintain our
long-standing heritage and culture."
Nunavut celebrates 15 years of Inuit land claim
Nunavut, On July 9, 1993, Canada's Parliament passed the Nunavut
Land Claims Agreement Act and the Nunavut Act. The Act granted
Arctic Inuit their own territory and the right to form and run their
own government. In 1999, Nunavut officially came into being.
Recently, Nunavut celebrated its 15 year anniversary of Inuit Land
Claims. "We ... recognize the efforts of our past leaders of the
years - you're looking at [a] 25-, 30-year span - and our Inuit
leaders at that time that worked so hard to get the land claims
underway and trying to get recognition for the Inuit of Nunavut,"
said Paul Kaludjak, president of Nunavut Tunngavik, Inc. "It's been
[an] uphill battle ... It's not all glamour, and it's been
difficult at many times." The Nunavut Day Celebrations were kicked
off by Kaludjak and Nunavut Premier Paul Okalik at Nakasuk School in
Iqaluit. Those attending enjoyed a feast, scavenger hunt, craft
show, chili cook-off and games. Inuit in Yellowknife also celebrated
with a downtown lunch hour barbecue.
Leader of palace break-in could not locate throne
photograph of the original Olani Palace, the grandest
house of its time in Honolulu.
Hawaii: Members of the Kingdom of Hawaii. a Hawaiian pro-sovereignty
group, recently broke into Iolani Palace. One member, James Kimo
Akahi, claims to be the rightful king of the Hawaiian Islands. He
promised to chain himself to the king's throne, but couldn't find
it. 23 KH members were arrested for the break in. Other Native
Hawaiian groups claim sovereignty over the islands, and some condemn Akahi's actions. “That's atrocious, for him trying to sit
on the throne at Iolani Palace,” said Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell,
Sr. “James Akahi is not the king of Hawaii.” Another group, the
Hawaiian Kingdom Government, has occupied the palace grounds since
April and have permits to set up there each week. The HKG claims to
be operating a functioning government from the grounds. King
Kalakaua built Iolani palace in 1882. It was also the residence of
his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, the islands' last
ruling monarch. Liliuokalani later was imprisoned in the palace
after the monarchy fell. Hawaiian activists long have used the
site for protests against U.S. control of the islands. They want
the U.S. Senate to set up a Native Hawaiian governing entity similar
to those of American Indians. By doing so, Native Hawaiians can
negotiate for control of natural resources, lands and assets.
Photos: Original Iolani
Current Iolani Palace: www.dkimages.com/
Devils Tower to open interpretive site, unveil world peace sculpture
Wyoming: Devils Tower is the nation's first national monument. It's
also a sacred site for Native American tribes and a
attraction for visitors. This month the National Park Service will
tie this all together with a new educational site at the monument.
The "Tribal Connections" area will feature programs discussing the
tower's meaning and relationship for 20 affiliated tribes. It also
will showcase "Wind Circle," the latest world peace sculpture by
Japanese artist Junkyu Muto. NPS Superintendent Dorothy FireCloud
saidthe entire Black Hills community joined efforts for the peace
sculpture. The Crazy Horse Memorial donated the base stones, and
Black Hills National Forest workers delivered the stones to the
monument. The Wind Circle sculpture is the third of Muto's world
peace projects. One is at the Vatican. The other is near the Bodhi
Tree in Bodhi Gaya, India.
Native Americans and Paul McCartney
New Mexico: Paul McCartney and girlfriend Nancy Shevell quietly
attended the 87th Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial in Gallup.
According to Sammy Chioda, ceremonial announcer, there had been a
slight buzz in the crowd that McCartney was among the 6,000 in
attendance. But Chioda didn't believe it until he spotted him with
his binoculars. "Nobody was hassling them," said Chioda, 53. "At an
event like that and a time like that you're not thinking about the
Beatles or Paul McCartney." Chioda paid homage to McCartney while
speaking. "I took lyrics from his first and second solo album and
quickly incorporated those into what the ceremonial means," Chioda
said. "I used 'Maybe I'm Amazed' and 'Smile Away' from the 'Ram'
album, like '..Maybe you will be amazed or won't be amazed but you
will walk away smiling away...' When I said that he looked up at
me. Then he gave me a thumbs up ... and then the finger across the
lip, not to say anything."
Indian groups focus on saving languages
Pennsylvania: More than 300 American Indian languages flourished in
North America at the time of Columbus. Each carried a unique way of
understanding the world. Today, only half of those languages
survive, and the pool of speakers has dwindled. It's not just words
at stake -- native languages infer and express the traditions,
religion, medicine and geography, as well different ways of seeing
the world. Recently, members from Indian tribes across the country
met with linguists and other academics in Philadelphia to meet and
join efforts. "We're talking about an emergency situation," said
Richard Grounds, Euchee, speaker and co-organizer of the meeting,
Among the comments:
Richard Grounds, Euchee language, University
of Tulsa: "It's not only about the use of [medicinal] plants, et
cetera, carried in a language, but literally ways people have of
knowing themselves, The youngest person who grew up speaking
Euchee as a first language is now 78. The rest are in their 80s."
Ryan Wilson, Oglala Sioux tribe,
President of the National Alliance to Save Native Languages: "The
quality Oglala Sioux value most in a man is something like courage
but includes a degree of independence and perseverance. It has no
direct English translation. The
loss of that one word would also kill the idea and reason it once
mattered ... There is also a word similar to love that describes the
cannot live without someone. The word's essence is lost in a
Leanne Hinton, UCLA linguist: "Some languages don't give
directions such as 'left' and 'right', because their speakers
navigate with a less self-centered view of the world than we do.
They think more in terms of local geography."
Daryl Baldwin, Director of
Myaamia Project, Miami [Ohio] University: Daryl grew up in
Ohio and was told that the language of his Miami tribe was extinct.
So he dug up all available records and taught himself. "It changed
the way I thought." The Miami language also contains wisdom about
healthy foods - something that could help Indians avoid being
disproportionately affected by Type 2 diabetes.
Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Maskoke
Nation of Florida, Harvard graduate student:
"In the Maskoke language, time and space are very different from
Western perception. In English, time is more linear, whereas it's
more cyclical in Maskoke. There's also a cyclical nature to space,
and some ceremonies focus on the renewal of space."
Oklahoma-based Sauk language: "In the next few years, my tribal
community will either see our language restored to a new generation,
or we will bury it forever in the grave of our last few elderly
Indian Language Usage
1970-2005 Indigenous Languages in Mexico
11th-hour effort to save a
Hualapai Reservation, Arizona: Several dozen Hualapai and Yavapai
youth greet the dawn with raised hands as they stand atop a bluff to
face the morning sun.
The children are speaking Pai, the language of their ancestors.
Almost 40% of the 2,100 Hualapai tribal members speak their ancient
language. Few of those tribal members, however, are under 18. Pai
was almost lost after U.S. boarding schools tried to strip Native
children of their tribal languages. "It was like brainwashing
because when they were sent to Indian boarding schools, they were
taught the language was wrong," said Lucille Watahomigie, Hualapai.
After leaving government schools, many Hualapai refused to speak
their tribal languages because they hoped their children could
better compete in an English dominated world. Now, generations
later, Pai's survival depends upon the elders passing on their
knowledge to children willing to absorb it. "A lot of people don't
realize the implications," says Loretta Jackson-Kelly, a historian
for the Hualapai Tribe. "Language loss means you lose your
Linguists hope modern technology and
dedicated efforts will save the ancient languages, but they're
worried. "We have visions that there will still be the language a
century from now. We have that truth," Watahomigie says. "But, being
realistic, if things keep going the way they are, we won't have any
"I want to learn the language. My grandma and my mom speak Hualapai.
But it's dying out. Most young people don't know how to speak it and
don't want to learn. They'd rather play around." Rivers Wilder, 14
"If we play a gourd, it has a spirit in it. And if we
break it, we have to bury it. It's alive. You've got to take care of
it and all that stuff." Johnathan Siyuja, 10
"Nyims thava hmado we'e."
Boys greet the morning sun.
"Nyima thava masi:yo we'e."
Girls greet the morning sun.
According to the Indigenous Language Institute, only 20
of the 175 surviving American Indian dialects are expected to
survive through 2050.
Another group, Cultural Survival, says 50 Native languages face
immediate extinction: they have five or fewer speakers, all over age
Don Quixote translated into Quechua
Peru: Few people have worked toiled as hard Demetrio Tupac Yupanqui
to give Quechuan language a fighting chance to survive. When
students and visitors visit his Lima home, he greets them with his
Quechua version of the opening words of "Don Quixote": '"Huh k'iti, la
Mancha llahta suyupin, mana yuyarina markapin, yaqa
kay watakuna kama, huh axllasqa wiraqucha." (Somewhere in
La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a
gentleman lived not long ago.) Mr. Yupanqui, 85, says
Quechua was once the lingua franca of the Incan Empire. "When people
communicate in Quechua, they glow," he says. "It is a language that
persists five centuries after the conquistadors arrived. We cannot
let it die." Yupanqui's translation of "Don Quixote" into Quechua is
a pioneering development for the language. "If Latin is said to be
the language of the angels, then Quechua is the language for
expressing the subtleties of existence on Earth," Yupanqui said.
"That is why it is still alive." Nearly 5,000,000 Quechuan speakers
live in Peru, while millions live elsewhere in the Andes, mainly in
Bolivia and Ecuador. Quechua is the most widely spoken indigenous
language in the Americas, but it's use is in decline. Other efforts
to preserve the Quechua language are:
Microsoft software in Quechua;
* Google version of its search engine in Quechua;
* Two Peruvian
legislators have begun using Quechua on the floor of congress;
Peru's President, Alan García, signed a law prohibiting
discrimination based on language;
* Bolivia's president Evo
Morales wants a mandate that requires civil service workers to be
fluent in Quechua or another indigenous language.