Native Village News Articles for Grandmother Margaret Behan
[Below are several articles
selected from Native Village News publications housed in our archives. The
Grandmothers say that in the Spirit World, all time exists at once. To remind us
of this, each article's publication date is omitted.]
For more information about these and other news articles, please visit: News Archives.]
Project teaches Native culture
Montana: The Big Sky Science Partnership is a National Science Foundation program aimed at integrating science with an understanding of Native people. Big Sky unites K-8 schools and science education leaders at Salish Kootenai College, the University of Montana and Montana State University. Equally involved are tribal consultants from the Flathead, Northern Cheyenne and Crow reservations and the Montana State Office of Public Instruction. Iris Pretty Paint from UM served as an adviser to the project. She is helping teachers, tribal members and professors establish relationships and find ways to integrate culture into their classrooms. “It's not easy to talk about culture,” said Pretty Paint, a citizen of the Blackfeet Nation. “But they have to understand we are a people of a place. We all have our places and that makes us unique. You can't take one tribe's place and teach about science and think that will apply to everybody. You have to have that context of their community, their history. If you are going to deal with the Blackfeet, you have to know their treaties, about their sovereignty, what kind of relationships they with the state. How do they view science? What's the translation?” Pretty Paint posed this question to teachers who will soon be returning to their classrooms: “If you don't ever learn other learning styles, whose problem is it that they're not getting science?”
The Big Sky partnership: http://www.umt.edu/bssp/\
'Wolf' is a labor of love for local filmmakers
The latest venture by filmmakers Michael Rosen and Sharon Howard is "Wolf: An Ancient Spirit Returns" Both hope the documentary will air around the country. "We're not expecting to get our money back," Howard admits. "We've just been wanting to do a wolf show for 20 years." Filming took them to Wyoming, Utah, Minnesota and Yellowstone National Park, where gray wolves were reintroduced in 1995. The park is now home to 14 packs, and a recent study shows they actually provide food for the park's other animals. Still, the wolf remains one of the most mysterious, romanticized and misunderstood creatures. "If we couldn't have restored wolves to Yellowstone, as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, what kind of message would that have sent to other nations who struggle with their economies, and at the same time, struggle with their wildlife issues?" said Doug Smith, Yellowstone's wolf recovery leader. "Wolf" also calls upon Arapaho medicine man Mark Soldier Wolf and his son Annin to explain what the creatures mean to Native American culture.
Film Festival to feature 11 works by Native filmmakers
The Sundance Film Festival has announced the 11 Native American and indigenous films to be featured in this year's Festival program, including seven world premieres and one North American premiere. The Festival takes place January 20-30, 2005
Screening in the U.S. Documentary Competition is:
TRUDELL / U.S.A (Director: Heather Rae - Western Cherokee; Screenwriter: B. Russell Friedenberg)— A chronicle of legendary Native American poet/activist John Trudell's travels, spoken word performances and politics. World Premiere.
Screening in World Documentary Competition is:
DHAKIYARR VS. THE KING / Australia (Directors: Allan Collins and Tom Murray - Willi Willi Nation)— Seventy years after his controversial murder trial and subsequent disappearance, an Australian Aboriginal's descendants seek to restore what was denied him: his honor. North American Premiere.
Screening in American Spectrum is:
5TH WORLD / U.S.A. (Director: BlackHorse Lowe - Dine; Screenwriter: BlackHorse Lowe)— Two young Navajos hitchhike through their ancestral lands on a journey home. World Premiere.
Screening in the Shorts Competition are:
FROM CHERRY ENGLISH / Canada (Director: Jeff Barnaby - Mi'gMaq)— A surrealist allegory about the loss of language and identity to the anonymity of an urban wasteland.
GOODNIGHT IRENE / U.S.A. (Director: Sterlin Harjo - Creek/Seminole Nations)— Three Seminole patients share some laughs and poignant truths as they wait for treatment at the local Indian hospital. World Premiere.
NATCHILIAGNIAQTUGUK AAPAGALU – SEAL HUNTING WITH DAD / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean - Inupiaq)— An Inuit father teaches his son to hunt seals on the frozen Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. World Premiere.
PLAINS EMPTY / Australia (Director: Beck Cole - Warramungu Nation)— A woman adjusts to life in a deserted mining camp all alone…or is she? World Premiere.
PURA LENGUA (ALL TONGUE) / U.S.A. (Director: Aurora Guerrero - Xicana)— Reina is a young urban Xicana searching for ways to heal from cold deceptions of the heart and stolen dreams.
TAMA TU / New Zealand (Director: Taika Waititi - Te Whanau a Apanui)— A battalion of WWII Maori soldiers impatiently wait for gunfire to cease while in a bombed out building.
Screening in the Special Screenings are:
A THOUSAND ROADS / U.S.A. (Director: Chris Eyre - Cheyenne/Arapaho Tribes)— The signature film for the National Museum of the American Indian features portraits of four indigenous people living their lives in the far flung lands of Alaska, Navajo Nation, Manhattan and Peru. World Premiere.
GREEN BUSH / Australia (Director: Warwick Thornton - Kaytetye Nation)— An Australian Aboriginal DJ realizes that his job at the country radio station is about more than just playing music. World Premiere.
Bambi in Arapaho is the result of an effort between The Walt Disney company and the Arapaho Nation to preserve the endangered Arapaho language. The film was recorded in Arapaho to help teach Arapaho youngsters their tribal language. (Currently, the youngest Arapaho fluent in the language is 45 years old.) The voices are provided by 20 children and 10 adults from the small Arapaho community of Ethete, Wyoming. Never before has a feature-length children's animated movie been dubbed into an Indian language.
Bambi in Arapaho: http://www.uwyo.edu/wch/bambi.htm
to a culture: Arapaho reinvigorate tribe
Wyoming: Arapaho tribal leaders, are working to return traditional knowledge to their people:
The tribe is considering immersion programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, the fastest language learners. This will give them a solid language base during the rest of their academic career;
Arapaho language is part of the curriculum at Wyoming Indian elementary, junior high and high schools;
This fall, Arapaho Charter High School opened. It's designed to combat high dropout rates among reservation students. The school will focus on Arapaho language, culture and values and will use more hands-on and individual teaching styles to keep teens interested in education;
The Arapaho Council of Elders works to educate tribal members about traditional skills, from daily radio broadcasts of
Arapaho language lessons to subsidized courses in language and nearly lost skills such as meat cutting;
Wind River Tribal University hosts immersion language camps for adults. Included are elements of religion and culture;
The Wind River Indian Reservation has several programs to combat its social troubles, including the Indian Health Service Center, Bureau of Indian Affairs Social Services and an Intergenerational Family Resource Help Center.
Innovators of Our Time
Every genius, said Danish writer Isak Dinesen, is doomed. She meant that geniuses, or those touched with a spark of it, had very little choice in life. Each one, she said, was powerless "in the face of his own powers," compelled to follow a certain path and to do a particular thing with instinctive flair and originality. The Smithsonian Magazine recently chose 35 innovators who make a difference, a contribution, and inspire. Included on that list are:
Jane Mt. Pleasant: Among the six nations of the Iroquois, corn, beans and squash have been known as the Three Sisters—gifts from the Creator that grew well together and provided nutritional sustenance. For more than 30 years, Jane Mt. Pleasant has revitalized interest in the ancient Iroquois tradition of growing food through polyculture, a system where plants grow and florish together. She has used it to help farmers protect their soil. She has also rescued extinction several varieties of corn from extinction--the same corn that sustained Northeast and Canada natives for centuries. Mt. Pleasant's blend of Native knowledge and Western science gives Native Americans a strong presence in sustainability science.
Maya Lin: Artist and architect Maya Lin is best known for her Vietnam Memorial. That accomplishment alone gave her a ticket for fame and a career of designing monuments with high price tags. Instead, she followed her heart. "People ask, 'If you’d never won the Vietnam Memorial award, where would you be?'" she says. "I reply that I'd be making things, same as I am now." Currently, Lin is working on the Confluence Project—a series of artworks that honor the timeline and explorations of the Lewis and Clark journey. But the monuments' text will not say: "Then the great explorers passed through the wilds of what is now Idaho." Instead, she will name the Native American tribes who lived in the places the explorers passed: Nez Percé, Chinook, Shoshone, Sioux, Cheyenne, Mandan and others. She reminds us of a forgotten truth: this land was not unexplored. It was their land. At her monument along the Washington shoreline, Lin describes a visitor's point of view—that of a fisherman. "You're not coming here to see what I've done," she says. "You're coming here because you've always come here. You're coming here because you've just caught a king salmon that's two and a half feet long and you're going to cut your fish here. And then, maybe, you're going to start reading this and you’re going to say, 'What is going on here?' And maybe you'll get a hint that this was the sacred grounds of the Chinook tribe."
Cheyenne-Arapaho Latest to Open Tribal College
Oklahoma: The Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes hopes to operate a tribal college on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University. "This will be a service to the Cheyenne-Arapaho and American Indian community cultures in general," said Radwan Al-Jarrah, a dean at SOSU. "It will help revive culture, language and history." Tribal Colleges educate people about tribal history, heritage, language, accomplishments, and other topics. If approved, this will be the fourth tribal college in the state.
The Associated Press
honors Arapaho, Cheyenne ancestors killed in massacre
Colorado: Arapaho and Cheyenne tribal members are celebrating the creation of the Sand Creek Massacre Trail to remember their ancestors murdered by the U.S. soldiers. On the morning of Nov. 29, 1864, members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes camping along Big Sandy Creek were attacked by Col. John Chivington and his 800 militia troops. Most Indian men were away hunting and had left their women, children and the elderly in the camp. An estimated 150 Arapaho and Cheyenne were killed, and less than a dozen soldiers died. A later investigation concluded that the Indians were "surprised and murdered, in cold blood," but neither Chivington nor his men were ever punished. Gail Ridgley is a Northern Arapaho whose ancestor, Lame Man, survived the Sand Creek Massacre. "This [trail] is about historical and educational awareness and about the spiritual healing of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people," she said. " This is to memorialize and remember those who fell innocently at Sand Creek to memorialize because they're still there, and the trauma is still there."
Arapaho elders learn to teach
Wyoming: Seventeen Northern Arapaho elders have received teaching certificates during an eight-week course at Wind River Tribal College. The elders, all fluent in the Arapaho language, are eager to teach their language to youth. "We need this language in our ceremonies," said Eugene Ridgely Jr. "We've had elders say without this language we don't have a culture - we'll just be like everybody else, but just with different-colored skin. In a sense, you lose your identity." The WRTC classes focused on instruction skills the elders need to help elementary and high schools students learn how to speak and read the Arapaho language. Ridgely, who is the bilingual education director for WRTC, says bringing the language into the schools is not nearly enough. He also envisions a "Master Apprentice Program" in which nearly all Arapaho children would get one-on-one instruction with a tribal elder for several hours a week. The college is currently working on the program.
Fewer young people speak Crow, Cheyenne
A Harvard University study shares that about 54% of 11,500 Crow tribal members are active or passive speakers of Crow. However, the numbers are declining:
Crow still is among the top five strongest American Indian languages, but the only one whose numbers are declining in the percentage of speakers;
In 1968, 84% of all Crow people were active Crow speakers;
Only 10% of people 36 years old and younger speak Crow;
Only 1% of people 15 years old and younger are Crow speakers.
The Crow language is being taught at Montana State University-Bozeman, Montana State University-Billings and Little Big Horn College at Crow Agency.
A decline in the number of Northern Cheyenne speaking their language also is raising concerns:
A few years ago, 70% - 80% of Northern Cheyenne 50 years and older spoke their native language;
A very low percentage of tribal members 30 years and younger speak Cheyenne.
Northern Cheyenne is taught on a limited basis in some schools attended by Cheyenne children. Northern Cheyenne and an advanced class in written Cheyenne is taught at Chief Dull Knife College.
Active speakers are those who are fluent in both speaking and understanding the language. Passive speakers are those who can understand a language, but may not be able to speak it fluently.
Native educators struggle to fund language programs
Montana: From her office at Dull Knife Community College, Verda King is using satellite technology to teach the Cheyenne language to elementary students. “This class has done a marvelous job,” said King. “We've translated nursery rhymes, like Humpty Dumpty. And it's been fun. We've learned Cheyenne songs and I'm learning my own language.” Like other native teachers, King is committed to preserving her tribe's language. But K-12 curricula and a lack of state support prevent many students from receiving language lessons. The most effective method of teaching a language is through immersion schools, which most tribes can't afford to start. Recently, the Montana legislature defeated a bill to help fund three existing language immersion schools for the Gros Ventre, Salish and Blackfeet. Lynn Hinch, the bilingual specialist for the state Office of Public Instruction, is frustrated. “We're doing very little because we don't have any money dedicated to language programs,” she said. “We need a K-12 program. Teachers here talked about teaching three times a week for 15 minutes. You can't teach a language in 15 minutes. Spanish teachers wouldn't put up with that. English teachers wouldn't put up with that. Math teachers wouldn't put up with that.” Language preservation is at a critical level because most fluent speakers are elders. An example is the Flathead reservation, where most living speakers are over age 70.
“Those that came to live with us were steeped in their own cultural world views and wanted everyone else to be like them, to the way we were educated to the way we're supposed to think. In order to accomplish that, they sought to destroy to Native languages. You still have this tendency to want to change us, to homogenize us. It hasn't changed.” Dr. Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne, University of Montana
“We could lose 30 or 40 speakers in a matter of two or three years.” Tachini Pete, executive director of Nkwusm, a Salish revitalization school.
“I think it's a threat to [others]. They feel they can't understand us and they want us all to be equal in their sense of equal, not in ours. They want us all to be in this melting pot of all races. They had a hard time getting us to learn English and now we want to turn around and learn our Native language.” Minerva Allen, 69, a tribal elder and cultural coordinator on the Fort Belknap Reservation
“We got to teach the young adults and teachers to teach the language before the elders are gone. That's why I'm always telling everybody, ‘Hurry, I only have a few years to live.' ” Minerva Allen, 69, Assinibone
Richard Little Bear, president of the Dull Knife Community College believes many don't realize that bilingual speakers have an easier time absorbing knowledge and abstract concepts because they can view and participate in life from multiple vantage points.
Northern Cheyenne honor student lives with humility
Montana: Michael Running Wolf, a Northern Cheyenne graduate student in computer science, is the state's only recipient of a Gates Millennium Scholarship. "Mike's very accomplished," says Jim Burns, adviser for Montana State University's American Indian Club. "For me, the leadership skills that Mike brings to our organization are crucial. He has the skill base and ability to make things happen. And he's very articulate. He's the man you want on your side in a difficult meeting. He's a mover and shaker behind the scenes. I have a lot of respect for him." Running Wolf credits Burns, the "close network" of the computer-science department, and a large support group -- especially his parents, Michael and Florence Running Wolf - for his success. "Education is important in my family" Running Wolf said. His father, Michael Running Wolf, Sr., was an outspoken leader during his days at the University of Colorado-Denver, where there is a scholarship named in his honor. Running Wolf's mother has served on the Northern Cheyenne tribal council and founded a children's charity on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship will provide Wolf with an academic full-ride through the doctorate level.
Oglala youth's science project takes top honors in New Mexico
Montana: Kyla Two Bulls is an 8th grader at St. Labre Indian School on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Recently, Kyla won national recognition with her first place award in the 2006 National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair. Her project was titled "Blood Sugar Chemistry: Determining the enzyme conversion rate of complex carbohydrates into blood sugar for a comprehensive understanding of the effect of food and exercise on the blood sugar levels of horses.'' Horses, like humans, acquire type 2 diabetes from lack of exercise and improper diet, she wrote. She posed the question of what factors affected starch digestion, then set down the hypothesis and laid out in detail the procedure for determining her theories. Kyla learned about horses from her stepfather, Philip Whiteman Jr., who is a horse trainer. Kyla has ridden a lot and uses Whiteman's ''Medicine Wheel Theory" as a method of training her horses every day. ' ''Cheyenne believe that horses are a mirror of their owner..." Kyla said. "The horses show me how to deal with myself. It's like having a mirror. If you are calm or mad the horse will react the same way you do. That taught me to check my emotions. It taught me responsibility.''
taking over tribe's child welfare program
The Bureau of Indian Affairs plans to take over the Northern Cheyenne Tribe's child welfare program. The BIA claims the Cheyenne are unable to provide adequate services. U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull denied the tribe's request to stop the BIA from moving forward with the takeover. The Northern Cheyenne were ordered to hand over records to the BIA.
Indian graduates receive encouragement, opportunities
As graduation season rolls by, tribal leaders across the country are trying to let students know that getting an education is extremely worthwhile.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier advised students to combat negativity by becoming more active in sports and keep busy while setting examples for their peers. He told the adults. "The kids don't ask for much-just to have people work with them, listen to them and encourage them and all of us must do this."
Leonard Chee, Chairman of the Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council: "Receiving your degree reflects a new beginning in your life – a life blessed with happiness, a strong intellect, self-discipline and many riches. I know about the unique challenges a Navajo college student must face when in school, such as homesickness, lack of money or strenuous academic competition. During your graduation ceremony, reflect back on the personal struggles you and your family have overcome to get to where you are today and the strength you are blessed with to overcome future endeavors. Remember your parents, relatives and friends who encouraged and supported you with their prayers. Remember and thank your role models and those who positively influenced your life. Listen and think about your elders' teachings that being blessed with richness is not based on your salary or how many vehicles you own." He also warned against "breaking the law, drinking alcohol or drinking and driving."
Experts say public schools need education reform
Michigan: A recent forum at Central Michigan University explored the impact of public schools on American Indians, and what education American Indians can share with society. Among the comments from the forum, called "Indigenous Survival: Education for the 21st Century:"
"We want to greet you in a good way. Part of our belief is to always say thank you for the world around us," said Sonny Smart, a native court judge who opened the conference;
"People are absent from the pages of history. There is much that we can incorporate into the traditional disciplines. As a grandmother, I would say, 'slow down.' I would also remind you to be kind. You are the ancestors of those who are yet to come," said Henrietta Mann, a Cheyenne-Arapaho and endowed chair in Native American studies at Montana State University
"Our children are being impacted by the curriculum of public schools. We're living in a diverse society. What is the cultural competency of our teachers?" asked attorney Donna Budnick, member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa Indians "Bias in the curriculum is causing stereotypes, discrimination and leads to racism. It also breaks down communication between groups. "
"Students really come out and say, 'No one every told me about these things in history books. People do things to other people and they don't want to talk about it. It's the same thing with history." [Smart]
"When you marginalize culture, you're marginalizing (its people.) I don't see a whole lot of big change occurring. Culture, for me, is defined at home." [Smart]
"Native American history is important to each and every one of us. Why? Because we're in North America. It's important that we get to know and respect and honor. There is much wisdom for you to gain." said Michael Rao, President, Central Michigan University.
Educational center to help Indian pupils
The National American Indian, Alaskan & Hawaiian Educational Development Center has opened in Sheridan, Wyoming. The center provides a network that trains and recruits teachers to help young Indian students excel in reading and writing, two areas where they often struggle to keep up. "The concept of the center is to be a forever thing. We're always engaged in working with their teachers, always engaged in working with their parents and making sure it's a community process," said Craig Dougherty, executive director of the center. Stanford University provides research and evaluation services. California State University and Southern Cross University of New South Wales, Australia, will provide professional development programs. Vanderbilt University in Tennessee will develop a math program. Pilot programs on the Northern Cheyenne, Crow and Wind River Indian reservations already have improved literacy rates for second-graders from 19% to 100%.
Kids Cafe set to feed lunch to
Montana: The Kids Cafe has begun serving after school meals to 50-70 children on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. Sponsored by ConAgra Foods, Kids Cafe is one of the nation's largest programs aimed at feeding low-income children. More than 93% of children in Lame Deer are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school. "We are grateful that we are able to offer nutritious meals to our community's children because we have a demonstrated need for this program," said Rick Robinson from the Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation. The program will also host some evening meals intended for children and their families. About 1,300 Kids Cafes exist around the country. To help with funding, ConAgra provides $20,000 the first year, $10,000 to second and $5,000 the third year. Hopefully by then, local officials will provide funding so it can continue. Organizers hope to start similar programs at other reservations in Montana.
Yellowtail tabbed as MSU endowed
chair in Native American Studies
Montana: Montana State University has named Bill Yellowtail as the new holder of the Katz Endowed Chair in Native American Studies. Yellowtail, a Crow Indian, plans to develop curriculum and leadership activities that center upon the future of Native peoples in the West and on "personal Indian sovereignty." Yellowtail says individual sovereignty differs from tribal sovereignty. "... individual sovereignty has to do with a mindset and point of view of building your own world, charting your own destiny, being in charge of your own self, your family and your future." Yellowtail is the second occupant of the MSU endowed chair in Native American Studies. The first was Henrietta Mann, chair emeritus, an world recognized Indian educator and member of the Southern Cheyenne Tribe. Mann is currently a special assistant to MSU President Geoff Gamble.
Holding on to history: Project
preserving Crow oral histories
Montana: The Battle of Pryor Creek, called Ashkoota's Binnaxchihkuua, or Where The Entire Camp Was Under Siege, may have been the biggest intertribal fight on the Northern Plains. An alliance of warriors from the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes invaded Crow Country to destroy their traditional enemy and take possession of the Crow's bountiful hunting grounds. Ashkoota's Binnaxchihkuua looms large in the history and lore of the Crow Tribe. Now, thanks to a $45,485 grant from the Frontier Heritage Alliance, researchers will visit each tribes' reservations to record their oral histories of the early 1860's battle. Among those stories will be one shared by Elias Goes Ahead, Crow historian. "They came to annihilate us that day,'' he said "They thought our land would be their land at the end of the day.'' The alliance was so confident of victory that women and old men had established cheering sections above the battleground to sing victory songs. "They were watching the battle like a football game,'' Goes Ahead said. Vastly outnumbered -- he estimated 20 to 1 - Crow war leaders asked their women to arm themselves with knives to kill their children and commit suicide if the enemy prevailed. If the battle had been lost, there would be no Crow Tribe today.
Arapaho elders learn to teach
Wyoming: Seventeen Northern Arapaho elders have received teaching certificates during an eight-week course at Wind RiverTribal College. The elders, all fluent in the Arapaho language, are eager to teach their language to youth. "We need this language in our ceremonies," said Eugene Ridgely Jr. "We've had elders say without this language we don't have a culture - we'll just be like everybody else, but just with different-colored skin. In a sense, you lose your identity." The WRTC classes focused on instruction skills the elders need to help elementary and high schools students learn how to speak and read the Arapaho language. Ridgely, who is the bilingual education director for WRTC, says bringing the language into the schools is not nearly enough. He also envisions a "Master Apprentice Program" in which nearly all Arapaho children would get one-on-one instruction with a tribal elder for several hours a week. The college is currently working on the program.
Grant awarded to help tribe combat
infant mortality rate
Wyoming: The Northern Arapaho Tribe will receive a $2,000,000 grant to fight high infant mortality rates on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Wind River has about 17 deaths per 1,000 live births. That is 55% higher than the overall American Indian rate and 138% higher than the U.S. rate. The money will be used to help educate pregnant women and new mothers about ways to improve the health of infants through diet and other means
Back to Back
Wyoming: Wyoming Indian High is located on the Wind River Indian Reservation. Last year the Lady Chiefs of Wyoming Indian High School won the State 2-A Basketball Championship title for the first time. This past March, they did it again and now have back-to-back titles. “It felt good, because the boys always got the attention, even though we have made it to state every year except for three years over the past 15 years,” said head coach Aleta Moss. “The girls work just as hard as the boys, and they deserve to win, too.” The school’s boys team, the Chiefs, gained national attention when a highly acclaimed 2002 documentary, “Chiefs,” focused on the players during the season they won their seventh state championship. Now the Lady Chiefs finally have the respect they, too, deserve. The girls team’s success has resonated across the reservation, which is made up of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes. Player Diana Soundingsides sees the positive effects on the children of the community. “All the kids see us and want to be like us, and they look up to us,” Soundingsides said.
Wyoming: The NAACP [The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People] has spent 97 years fighting for African-American civil rights. Now they are reaching out to Native American tribes. 11,400 Shoshone and Arapaho from the state's Wind River Reservation will soon become members. "This is the first time the NAACP has ever done anything like this and it is going to be a very big story," said Jim Simmons, local NAACP president. "We have spoken with our Native American brothers, and they understand that to fight the big dog, you must be a big dog yourself. We (the NAACP) are a big dog and we have a big bark." Eastern Shoshone chairman Ivan Posey said major Native American issues such as poverty, unemployment and housing could "work up well" as part of the NAACP. However, issues of sovereignty over traditional lands and reservations would remain internal tribal matters.
A Rare and Unusual Harvest
Texas: In the mid-1970s, 27 people were licensed to distribute peyote, a small, round plant that grows wild only in fourTexas counties and the northern Mexico desert. Now, only 4 peyoteros remain to supply the plant to the Native American church, which uses it as the main sacrament in their religious ceremonies. Some ranch owners have stopped leasing land to peyoteros; others have plowed under peyote, and still others have never opened their land. Conservationists are concerned about over-harvesting immature plants as the Native American population and demand for the cactus grow. "Will there be peyote for my children and my children's children?" asked Adam Nez, 35. Efforts are being made to legalize the importation of peyote from Mexico and creating legal cultivation centers in the United States. Peyote, also know as Lophophora williamsii cactus, is classified as a narcotic and outlawed by federal and state governments.