Native Village Youth and Education News
September 1, 2008 Issue 189 Volume 4

Fall Camp by Urshel Taylor, Ute/Pima

"If you do not stand with what is right, you become a collaborator in acts of injustice. We need the moral courage to stand and be counted. It is about the power of one. And when the power of one meets other powers of one, there is a collective voice."
Tome Roubideaux, Lakota


111-Year-Old Reptile Will Finally Be a Dad

New Zealand: Maybe he was just waiting for that special female. Or maybe he's feeling better after successful cancer surgery.   Whatever the case, Henry, a tuatara born in the 19th century, mated for the first time in decades. In March, he and his younger mate, Mildred, produced a dozen eggs.  Soon this New Zealand reptile --one of the last living remnants of the dinosaur -- will become a father at age 111.  Henry has lived at Southland Museum's Tuatara enclosure since 1970. For years, he had shown no interest in females. Now he is enjoying the company of three females and might breed again next March.

One Wing honored with songs and celebration
Alaska: One Wing, the one-winged bald eagle who survived the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, died in Early May at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage. Many in Alaska's Native Eyak community call One Wing a special eagle brother because of his strong spirit.  "We had to amputate his entire wing from his shoulder down when we rescued him, because he tore it fighting so hard to fly away free,"  said Veterinarian Cindy Palmatier. After surviving surgery, One wing served as a blood donor to hundreds of birds suffering from anemia and blood disorders caused by Exxon's spills. Despite the huge amounts of blood One Wing was transfusing, he continued to grow stronger each day. "That bird gave and gave and gave way beyond what any bird should be able to accommodate, and we really utilized him heavily to help other birds," Palmatier said. One Wing had a large following thanks to poems written by retired veterinarian, Dr.  Jim Scott. Another author, Joan Harris, also wrote a popular children's book: "One Wing's Gift: Rescuing Alaska's Wild Birds." A special memorial ceremony released One Wing's ashes back to the Eyak Nation and into the Prince William Sound. "People came from all over the country to check up on One Wing, so it's only right that we finally release him in such a special way," Palmatier said.
http://newsminer. com/news/ 2008/jul/ 27/one-wing- honored-songs- and-celebration/

When Fences Make Bad Neighbors
Texas: Once common across south Texas, America's "little leopard," the ocelot, is in grave danger. Today fewer than 100 of the endangered animals survive. Now the Department of Homeland Security wants to build a 700-mile-long fence on the U.S.-Mexico border. This fence would cut through and destroy much of the ocelot's habitat and prevent them from swimming across the Rio Grande to mate.  However, options to protect the region's security and habitat have been proposed. They include:

Clearing the river corridor to replace dense thickets of nonnative salt cedar with native vegetation. This would improve sight lines and help the Border Patrol's enforce the law.

Creating backwater channels (riverine wetlands)  to benefit birds and wildlife and help impede illegal border crossings.

A few such projects are already underway with many successful examples. Local Homeland Security officials like these ideas and are considering such alternatives. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security has waved all federal environmental laws in its rush to build the border fence

Elephants' Memories Help Herds Survive

Africa: A new study suggests female elephant leaders have memories of distant life-sustaining sources of food and water. "Understanding how elephants and other animal populations react to droughts will be a central component of wildlife management and conservation," said Charles Foley of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "Our findings seem to [suggest]  that older females with knowledge of distant resources become crucial to the survival of herds during periods of extreme climatic events." The WCS study examined calf mortality during 1993's severe drought in Tanzania's Tarangire National Park. During a 9-month period,
16 of 81 elephant calves in three study groups died -- a mortality rate of 20%.  During non-drought years, the rate is only 2%.
Two elephant groups left the park for outside sources of food and water, while the third group remained at Tarangire. That group had a much higher death rate -- 63%.
The two groups that left Tarangire had older mother elephants who may have memories of earlier drought periods and how they survived them. Some of these matriarchs had, as calves, survived a drought from 1958 - 1961, whereas the group that stayed behind had no elephants old enough to remember that event.

"It's enticing to think that these old females and their memories of previous periods of trauma and survival would have meant all the difference," Foley said. "The data seem to support the speculation that the matriarchs with the necessary experience of such events were able to lead their groups to drought refugia." The researchers hope their study proves the importance of elephant herds leaders and as well as the vulnerability of the herds to increased drought due to climate change.
graphics: Heather's animations

Judge: Glades cleanup ignored

Florida: U.S.  District Judge Alan Gold has struck down parts of Florida's Everglades cleanup law and slapped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to enforce the federal Clean Water Act. Judge Gold said the EPA ignored the law and it's own recommendations when it failed to meet a December 2006 deadline to clean up farm-tainted water flowing into the Everglades from Lake Okeechobee.  Gold made the ruling in a lawsuit filed by the Miccosukee Tribe and the conservation group Friends of the Everglades.

Biofuel use 'increasing poverty'
According to an Oxfam report, more than 30,000,000 people have been dragged into poverty by replacing traditional fuels with biofuels. Rob Bailey, Oxfam's biofuel adviser, pointed to rich countries that use financial incentives to create new energy sources from food crops. This includes corn used to produce ethanol.  "If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead," he said.  "Rich countries... are making climate change worse, not better. They are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process."   Oxfam's report also says biofuels will not combat climate change. It's urging the European Union to drop plans that would make 10% of transportation run on renewable resources by 2020.  Oxfan says this  plan would multiply carbon emissions 1,400% by 2020 due to changes to the land.

Gwich'in Renew Their Fight to Preserve Wildlife Refuge
Canada: Gwich'in tribal members are renewing their fight to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and its coastal plain from oil and gas development. Gwich'in leaders say drilling would severely damage one of the last intact Arctic and sub-Arctic eco-systems and destroy their peoples' way of life. This includes the runs of caribou, which still feed their people. Gwich'ins also stress that such development is only a temporary fix; it does not address the long-term problems of the oil and gas crisis. "Proponents of the development are preying on the fears of the American public by destroying this wildlife sanctuary," said Sarah James. "They are not saying that there would be only a few pennies difference at the pump 10 years from now."  For the Gwich'in, the Arctic refuge is "the sacred place where life begins." "We cannot allow ourselves to sit back, we must become involved with all issues that affect our lives," said Gwich'in leader, Clarence Alexander.  "... since 1988, the younger people have been continuing the work we put in place for them and new efforts are being stressed."  Currently there are about 24 bills in Congress that include drilling in the Arctic Refuge.

SIFA Children's Choir visits the Oaks Indian Mission for Cultural Exchange

Oklahoma: SIFA Children's Choir visited the Oaks Indian Mission for a Cultural Exchange conference. The choir members came from  many churches and represented 35 tribes. Their songs and dress reflected this diversity among Oklahoma's Native nations.  Rehearsals lasted for a month and gave the young people an opportunity to learn Native American languages together. "They sing one another's songs in Choctaw and Creek," said choir director, Kimberly McKinney, Choctaw.  "And `The Heleluyn Song' is universal -- all tribes sing it," added Pearl Thomas, co -director and a Muscogee Creek.  Choir member Shelby Parnacher, a 12-year-old Chickasaw, sings Choctaw hymns during worship at her church.  She plans to share the Creek words with the congregation.  "Now we can sing some of these songs in Creek, too," she said.   McKinney said the choir would learn songs in Kiowa and Ponca for future events.

2008 Native American Music Awards
Seneca Territory, NY: The 10th annual Native American Music Awards will be held on October 4 at the Seneca Nations Events center in Niagara, New York.  Nominees are posted at A NAMA media player enables you listen to each son, watch each video, and vote for your choices. 
And the 2008 nominees are:
2008 Native American Music Award Nominees
2007 Native American Music Award Nominees and Winners

2006 Native American Music Awards Nominees and Winners

Institute and Major TV networks launch American Indian National Center for Television and Film
California: The Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Development has joined ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC to create the American Indian National Center for Television and Film. Located in Los Angeles, the center “will serve as a bridge between Native American talent and opportunities in the entertainment industry.  From independent producers to filmmakers, editors, screenwriters and actors, the center will foster professional development and industry networking.” The center serves those seeking a career in television and film at all industry levels.  In a joint statement, the four network partners said, “We are proud to join together with IAIA on this historic outreach.  This is an affirmation of our shared belief in the importance of diversity.  The intent of this initiative is to increase the presence of American Indians in all aspects of our industry.”

Seminole Star Search combs the state for top talent
Seminole Reservation, Florida: Seminole country is a big, talented place, so Micki Free came up with the idea of a Seminole Star Search. Free and three judges toured Florida's reservations in an open call for performers to share their talents. Contestants were evaluated for their stage presence, vocal or instrumental ability and presentation.  Twenty contestants were selected to appear in the final show in Hollywood, FL during May. "Our aim is only to encourage the talents of all Seminoles,” said Sallie Tommie.  The array of talent ranged from  girls as young as 7 to elder Seminoles playing flute. The judges found something good in every performance.  “It’s not like American Idol,” says judge Jon Brant. “We want to find the best of the best and encourage the rest. This can be a real platform for these artists, and we need to be as constructive in our evaluations as we can.” 

The three top prize winners were:
Spencer Battiest, a soul singer with a voice like a young Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder;
David Billy for his rendition of Garth Brooks' “More Than a Memory;”
Zachary “Truth” Battiest, a rappist with flashy dance moves, a killer black and silver outfit, and dead aim style.
The winners each received a crystal trophy and will record a full CD to be distributed to every Hard Rock Café in the world.  Spotlight trophies were awarded to four promising talents who are automatically eligible to be in the finals next year.

Indigenous Games end amid hugs and praise

Cowichan Reservation, British Columbia: The 2008 North American Indigenous Games were held from August 3-10 on the Quw'utsun Center Grounds in Duncan. The games encourage indigenous youth to participate in athletic completion that promotes healthy lifestyles and  positive relations among all cultures. Hosted by the Cowichan Tribe, more than 20 teams, 5,000 athletes and an estimated 5,000 spectators a day attended the events.  "This is the largest international multi-sport games delivered in Canada on an ongoing basis," said Rick Brant, the chief executive officer of Cowichan 2008. "We have almost 10,000 participants between sports and culture." A 50-person staff with more than 2,000 volunteers worked a total of 125,000 hours during the 8-day event. Besides the medals, two awards were handed out at the closing ceremonies:
The Best Overall Team: Team Saskatchewan;
The John Fletcher Spirit Award: Team Eastern Door and the North. 
The Fletcher Award is the ultimate 2008 Indigenous Games award. This high honor goes to the team that best represents the values of the games - teamwork, sportsmanship and spirit.  "I trained the kids hard to always be gracious of victory, humble of defeat," said team coach, Dave Canadian. "This award means so much, because our team exemplified it. If a kid needed something, even if they were on another team, we helped them out. Everyone did."  The first-ever North American Indigenous Games were held  in 1990, with approximately 3,000 participants. In less than two decades, the number of sport and cultural participants has tripled, to over 9,000.
2008 Results: North American Indigenous Games

 Visit the 2008 Indigenous Games photo gallery:
Watch the video archives:
The North American Indigenous Games

Six Nations Native helps Syracuse win national college lacrosse championship
New York: Defenseman Sidney Smith helped Syracuse University's men's lacrosse team win the NCAA Division I championship. Syracuse beat Johns Hopkins University 13 - 10.  During the tournament, Smith held two of the nation's best offensive players to just two goals and one assist. Syracuse's defense held the John Hopkins power play offense to only one goal out of five chances. They also held the Hopkins offense for a 12-minute stretch during which Syracuse gained a five-goal advantage. Smith earned All-Tournament honors for his efforts. Sidney is an Iroquois from the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada. He transferred from Onondaga Community College to Syracuse as a junior last fall.  This year, he was named an Honorable All-American by the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association.   Lacrosse is  the most popular Native sport in the world and the oldest game played in North America. Today's field game resembles the lacross games played by Northeast tribes, including the Iroquois. Other tribes from the Southeast to the Great Lakes play related lacrosse games.

The American Indians of America’s Pastime
New York: "Baseball’s League of Nations: A Tribute to Native Americans in Baseball,” is open through  Dec. 31, 2008 at the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, N.Y. The exhibit features 47 American Indian baseball players who have contributed to the game since its earliest years.  "Since this exhibit opened, we have had some of our largest crowds in recent years,” said Erynne Ansel-McCabe, museum director. “People have been staying for hours, looking at artifacts and reading all about these players, many of whom suffered from the same kind of racial discrimination as American Negro league players.”
The exhibit’s roster includes:
  Moses Yellowhorse (Pawnee), believed to be the first full-blooded American Indian to play professional baseball. Yellowhorse, who pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1920s, was often called Chief. He once hit Ty Cobb with a pitch between the eyes. “This was probably as much a result of Cobb’s crowding the plate as it was a retaliation for his racist remarks,” said Todd Fuller, author of “60 Feet Six Inches and Other Distances from Home.”
  Louis Sockalexis (Penobscot), known as the deerfoot of the diamond.  In 1897, he became the first Indian to play in the majors. The outfielder played three seasons with the Cleveland Spiders, batting .313.
  Hall of Fame pitcher Charles Albert (Ojibwe), also known as Chief Bender, broke in with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1903.  His 14-year career pitching record was 212-127. It included a no-hitter and three complete World Series games to help win the 1911 title.
  Hall of Fame outfielder Zach Wheat (Cherokee), who starred for the National League’s Brooklyn Superbas early in the 20th century. Wheat batted .312 in 1916, hitting safely in 29 consecutive games.

Other notables are:
  Jim Thorpe (Sac/Fox), outfielder, New York Giants, the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Braves (1913 to 1919);
  Ben Tincup (Cherokee), pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies (1914 to 1918) and the Chicago Cubs (1928);
  Jim Bluejacket (Cherokee), pitcher, Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League (1914-15) and the Cincinnati Reds (1916)

Currently, three Native Americans are playing in the majors:
  Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo, Red Sox Nation, outfielder;
  Kyle Lohse, Nomlaki, St. Louis Cardinals, pitcher;
  Joba Chamberlain, Winnegago, New York Yankees, pitcher.

“I think it’s wonderful to have a place where people can go to see all the accomplishments made by these great players,” Chamberlain said from the Yankee's locker room.  “I can tell you that the three of us playing in the majors are all proud to be carrying on this great tradition. ...  The one thing we do know is that everybody has obstacles, no matter their race or gender, and the beauty of baseball is that it is a sport filled with so many different people who have overcome those obstacles.”
Iroquois Museum:
Recently featured on NPR's "Only A Game."

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