Youth and Education News
February 4, 2004, Issue 127, Volume 3
"We did not cross any land bridge like the scientists tell us. Our religion tells us we were created here. Period." Armand Minthorn. Umatilla
Long Awaited Recognition for Schaghticoke
The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation has received federal recognition. The decision, signed by acting BIA head Aurene Martin, immediately caused political turmoil in Connecticut, and even impacted the Democratic presidential campaign. But for the day it brought an outburst of celebration at tribal headquarters in Derby. About 100 tribal members cheered, and a drum group beat a victory song as the news emerged from a tribal council conference call with the BIA. A statement from Indian Affairs said the Schaghticoke meet the regulatory requirements for a government-to-government relationship with the United States. The 200-page report summary will be published in the Federal Register in February, making it official.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
West Coast Mi'kmaq Feeling out in the Cold
The Ktaqamkuk Mi'kmaq Alliance feels shortchanged by the French Heritage 2004 celebrations held throughout Atlantic Canada. Chief Bert Alexander says the lack of recognition for his people -- about 7,000 members -- is upsetting because of their long presence in Newfoundland and Labrador. "I have frustration because the French community seems to be able to get funding whenever they want it, and we're being denied funding of any type," he said. "That's blatant discrimination for a large group of people. There are far more Mi'kmaq people in western Newfoundland than the French community."
Workers From Mandaree Company Helping Rebuild Iraq
A Three Affiliated Tribes business, Mandaree Enterprise Corp, ND, is helping rebuild the infrastructure in Iraq. Three of the company's computer specialists are in Iraq, and a fourth will soon join them. The employees are working to help Iraqis with supplies from food to machinery
A Passion for Politics
Most people didn't vote for Timothy Bearheart in September's primary election in Duluth, MN. He was a 21-year-old Lake Superior College student running in an eight-way race for a seat on the City Council. He was up against well-known incumbents. And he didn't even have a driver's license. So it was no surprise Bearheart placed second-to-last. Still, he captured 2,100 votes and the eye of Herb Bergson who was running for mayor. After Bergson won, he asked Bearheart to lead his transition office. "I was immediately impressed with Tim's kind personality and tenacity," Bergson said. "He is a gentle giant of a young man I nicknamed 'Bigheart.' He's also a champion for the less fortunate, a cause I find very attractive in him." Bearheart, a 6-foot-2, 310-pound American Indian, was given the birth name of "Nahgahwahdun," which means leader. His persistence is commendable. He ran for several student offices in junior high and high school, losing more than he won. But he always returned with a bigger smile on his face. The Duluth primary loss reminded him of that. "Decisions are made by those who show up, and by those who decide that they won't quit until they've made a difference," Bearheart said Wednesday. "I want to be one of those people."
Has Your Life Become Too Much A Game of Chance?
Washington is supposed to help all Americans achieve better lives. But some enjoy much better odds than others. Overall, many claim Washington has structured "the game" so there are a few winners but a lot more losers. Donald Campbell, a computer specialist, earned $60,000 a year, but had to give up his job unless he transferred to India. "When you take the high-tech industry and send it overseas, where's your economy going? They pay $5,000 to $6,000 a year. How can you compete with that?" he asked. Campbell decided to apply for Trade Adjustment Assistance, a program for manufacturing workers when they began losing their jobs to imported goods. The idea was that a worker who lost a job could receive up to two years of retraining, a cash allowance when unemployment benefits ran out, and money to cover relocation expenses. When Donald was refused assistance, the Labor Department basically said: if you work in a factory and lose your job to imports, you get help. If you are in a service industry and your job is moved abroad, you don't qualify. Campbell says that's the way Congress runs it. They rig it, which is also why the health care problems are increasing:
44,000,000 people have no health insurance;
Tens of millions who do have insurance don't understand what it doesn't cover until it's too late;
You pay more for your prescription drugs than do people anywhere else in the industrialized world;
The biggest losers in the healthcare lottery are middle-income folks and the working poor, who can least afford to pay for medical services;
If you are uninsured and admitted to a hospital in an emergency, you are charged at higher rate than seniors covered by Medicare or working people with health insurance through their employers;
And if you fail to come up with the money, you may lose your house or have your wages attached.
In 1992 the 400 individuals and families with the highest income in the U.S. averaged $12,300.000 in "salaries and wages."
By 2000, the latest year available, the income had more than doubled to $29,000,000 .
In 1992 the combined wages of 287,400 retail clerks at, for example, Wal-Mart, equaled the pay of the top 400 employees;
By 2000 it required the combined pay of 504,600 retail clerks to match the pay of the top 400 employees.
Regional paper points finger at Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
In December 2003, the (Portland) Oregonian ran a series of articles which has sparked widespread reaction. The series began with the sentence: "The Warm Springs Reservation is the deadliest place in Oregon for a child to grow up." The articles reported that death rates for Warms Springs children age 1-19 is 300% that of Oregon’s total population and almost 200% that of other American Indian tribes. "Things are grave on the reservation. They really are. I have felt despair over these issues forever," said Warm Springs Elementary principal Dawn Smith. "Maybe now something’s going to be done." The Oregonian cited traffic accidents and domestic neglect and abuse as the main causes of child mortality. Reporters also pointed the finger at the tribal council who spent $147,000 for a yearly skybox for the NBA's Portland Trailblazers' games. The Oregonian claims the tribal council approved skybox expenses while cutting back on sobriety checkpoints and programs designed for children. Jacqueline Peterson, history professor at Washington State University, felt the series had an unnecessary accusatory tone that embarrassed the Warm Springs people. "The articles felt short on the tragic history of this community," she said. "They did not convey the struggle it has gone through maintaining its culture and building an economic base. As a result the idea that the public needs to be understanding and support the Warm Springs people as they work through these problems seemed overshadowed." Warms Springs, one of Oregon’s poorest communities, has a population of 3,800. Unemployment and alcohol and drug abuse runs high.
Man travels cross-country in a wheelchair
Brian Eaglehelper, 40, is traveling across America in an electric wheelchair. His goal is to raise awareness and funds for better healthcare and medical equipment for those living on America's Indian reservations. "I became a person with physical disabilities, Eaglehelper explains. "I was raised in the Indian and white world and I walked in both of them. I saw the health care that I was getting in the urban areas. They have all these agencies and you just pick up a phone and they can help you. Out on the rez, you can't do that. You don't have independent living centers and the United Way." Brian, a member of the Iroquois Nation, has been riding for over 16 months through icy winds, sweltering heat, torrential downpours--and even a brief encounter with a black bear. His goal is to reach Washington D.C. where he plans on giving an ear-full to government officials. "I will try to meet with all of them. I am trying to raise awareness. I am trying to save lives." Brian's project is called the American Indian Freedom Ride.
American Indian Freedom Ride: http://www.freedomride.bizhosting.com/
More dentists turning away native patients
Increasing numbers of Canada's dentists are refusing to accept native patients. "Our people are being turned away from dental offices throughout British Columbia because they cannot afford dental services," said Soowahlie Chief Doug Kelly, chairman of the province-wide Chiefs Health Committee. "Dentists don't trust the federal plan, so they either demand up-front payment or refuse to accept aboriginal patients altogether." Dr. Wayne Halstrom, president of the Association of Dental Surgeons in B.C., said the federal dental insurance plan for natives is "appalling" and "badly mismanaged." "I couldn't agree more with Chief Kelly," he said. "This is one federal bureaucracy that needs a good jerk on its choke chain.
Natives Pin Hopes on Martin
Rapid Lake, a 29-hectare reserve in Quebec, is now home to the displaced Algonquins of Barriere Lake. Postcard-pretty views clash with third world conditions, showcasing a housing crisis faced by native people across Canada. Prime Minister Paul Martin says aboriginal poverty must be a national priority "like never before." Toddlers there risk infectious splinters from playing on crude and sagging plywood floors. Toxic mould is blamed for asthma and chronic, hacking coughs. Three phone lines connect a community of 400 people. And a cluster of 61 run-down houses and trailers draws power from an overworked diesel generator that frequently conks out.
Brazil orders hospitals to obey Indian birth rites
Sao Paulo, Brazil, has ordered public hospitals near Indian villages to abide by ancient tribal customs when delivering the babies of Guarani Indian women. This obliges hospitals to allow tribal midwives to assist in childbirth. Hospitals must also respect the Indians' traditional diet by serving chicken, rice, corn and a porridge made from the cassava root. Hospitals will also preserve the mother's placenta so it can be buried in the tribe's village or kept with the community's most prized possessions, in accordance with Guarani traditions. "The Indians believe the ritual of burying the placenta has an impact on the rhythm of life of the newborn baby. We're just respecting their wishes," said Augusta Sato, who tracks Indian health issues for Sao Paulo.
City doc gives boy from Ariz. new ear
Nature blessed little Edmund Hobbs with a right ear. Recently, medical science took care of the left. Curly-haired Edmund from the Hopi tribe in Arizona was born with microtia, a small flap of skin in place of his left ear. His plastic surgeon, Dr. Thomas Romo 3rd, pioneered synthetic ears, an alternative to using rib bones. He has performed the surgery some 300 times but noted that Edmund weighs just 41 pounds. "He's one of the tiniest we've ever had," he said. After sculpting the ear, Romo used stitches and staples to attach it to Edmund's head. Minutes after the surgery, the boy awoke to his mother's voice: "Mama's here." Edmund;s expenses were covered by Romo's Little Baby Face Foundation. The operation was performed free of charge
NCAI spearheads effort to stop violence against women
Native women are the most victimized group in the country. Indian women are assaulted at more than twice the rate more of women from other races. The Department of Justice says the violent crime rates against women from 1992-1996were:
98 per 1,000 Native American women;
40 per 1,000 among white females;
56 per 1,000 among black females.
"We are trying to get national leadership to look at this," said Cecelia Fire Thunder, Lakota, of Pine Ridge, S.D. "As a Lakota woman, my voice is not as strong as having the weight of national leadership. We need more resources in Indian communities to respond to these women." Women’s safety is inextricably tied to the sovereignty issues of Native people, said Karen Artichoker, director of Sacred Circle, a national resource center in Rapid City created to end violence against Native women. "As women, we’re visionaries," she said. "Our goal is restoration of individuals and families. As Native people we have the advantage because we have these teachings. But until women have access to safety, they won’t be in an environment for self-growth."
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