Youth and Education News
January 21, 2004, Issue 126, Volume 1
"When I thought about who we are as Indian women, I had to take a good look at myself...I was reminded about how life, to me, is a never ending learning process, a journey of discovering ourselves, what we are capable of and what we are not, what we hold in the endless sea of our soul...who are you?" Roxanne Swentzell, Santa Clara Pueblo
Native American tribe sues for Pennsylvania land
Oklahoma's Delaware Nation has filed suit in federal court over 315 acres of ancestral land in Pennsylvania. The tribe says the land was given to their ancestor Chief Moses Tundy Tetamy in 1738 by a son of Pennsylvania founder William Penn. The Delaware Nation said in a statement there is no record of the tribe having relinquished title to the tract. ware chief was promised 315 acres in today's northeastern section of the state. The suit claims the land was stolen from the chief before the Delawares were removed to Oklahoma. The Delaware Tribe, also from Oklahoma, is not a plaintiff in the suit. Officials from both tribes say they are willing to settle the suit for a casino somewhere in the state.
Black Indians Announce Plans To March On Washington
"The Final End Of The Trail Of Tears"
Black Indians have scheduled a march to Washington D.C. on August 6 to present their Congressional Resolution Project to the United States. The act will mark the End Of The Trail Of Tears for black Indians. They are also marching to honor their ANCESTORS and their people. Edgar Molette, President of Black Indians United Legal Defense and Education Fund says, "I will be wearing Black, as should all Black Indigenous Native Americans, to demonstrate that we are in mourning because we are still being negatively affected by the unresolved Trail of Tears." Leaders hope the gathering will be attended by Black Indians and supporters across the country. Eleanor "Gypsy" Wyatt and Angela Molette, both Black Indians, explain that "not only were tribes of Black Indigenous Native Americans and 'Dark Peoples' living freely and unfettered in the United States from what is now known as Florida to America's Interior (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas and even remote Montana) they were also historically documented as having dwelled here as early as the year 1540 by the Explorer Hernando DeSoto and his men. Some of those Black Indigenous Native Americans from the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes migrated out of Mexico some 5,000 to 6,000 years ago and are the authors of the Mobilian Language, the mother tongue of Choctaw and Chickasaw Lingua and the most widely used Trade Language of Pre-European America."
Those marching include:
Freedmen Descendants of the 5 Civilized Tribes, Incorporated;
United Legal Defense and Education Fund;
African Ancestry Native Americans From the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole Nations
Young members at odds with tribal government
A group of Quechan youth on the Fort Yuma Indian reservation are blaming their own tribal government for destroying a newly constructed ceremonial site. At issue is a Sun Dance ceremonial ground that 16-year-old Richard "Tiky" Smith and other Quechan youth and tribal members built just outside the reservation on BLM lands. During a recent ceremony a BLM agent agreed to let the ceremony continue but asked tribal members to secure permission before doing it again. However, Richard "Tiky" Smith, 16, and his aunt said the tribal government had a clean up crew clear the site. "Itís like destroying a church," said tribal elder George Bryant, 82. " Itís a desecration." Vernon Smith of the Quechan Culture Committee said the youth were denied permission to build the site on reservation lands because the Sun Dance is not a Quechan traditional practice. "We wouldnít want to go into the Dakotas and force our ceremonies on them," said Smith. "I donít even think that they are learning how do this ceremony in the right way from their elders. Weíve had seven deaths (on the reservation) since they did that ceremony." Vernon Smith plans on meeting with the youth to work towards a resolution. He said, however, that the site will remain off limits.
Indians invade Brazilian ranches
Thousands of indigenous Indians have invaded several farms close to Brazil's border with Paraguay in an attempt to reclaim ancestral land. Members of the Guarani and Kaiowa peoples appeared with painted faces and bearing traditional weapons. Occupants of the ranches in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul fled in fear. Two farms have been seized.
Cheryl V. Dixon from Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico named Miss NCAI
The 36th Miss National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was recently crowned in Albuquerque, NM, during the annual NCAI Convention. Cheryl V. Dixon from Isleta Pueblo will hold the Miss NCAI title for one year. She will carry her message "sustaining education in American Indian communities" throughout the nation. Cheryl was also awarded a $5000 scholarship towards her studies at the University of New Mexico. Contestants for the Miss NCAI Pageant represent the best and brightest of young Indian women. All contestants are high school seniors or currently enrolled in college. This year, 12 contestants competed for the title over a rigorous 3 day event.
Miss NCAI 2004: Cheryl V. Dixon, Isleta Pueblo, University of New Mexico;
Runner up: Barbara Lynn Abrams, Seneca Nation in New York, United Tribes Technical College, ND;
The Best Talent Award: Maurisa Red Deer Two Two, Tohono O'odham Nation, performance of a traditional Tohono O'odham song;
Miss Congeniality: Tiffany Dawn Stuart, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
Other contestants include:
Daryl Lynn Jay, Gila River Indian Community;
Artistina Sanchez, Salt-River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community;
Tai Simpson, Nez Perce;
Rayma Lynn Adaka, Turtle Mountain Ojibwa/Navajo;
Viola Brooks, Hoopa Valley Tribe;
Santee Lewis, Navajo;
Martina Rae Gallegos, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe;
Gwendolyn Peterson, Tlingit/Haida
For more information on the current Miss NCAI or the 2004 event, please visit: http://www.pageant.net/amerindian2/
Mourners lay 'great warrior' to rest
A Brisbane, Australia, church overflowed with those who came to pay tribute to Aboriginal Elder Aunty Beryl Wharton, "a great warrior," whose weapon of choice was love. Wharton, 78, spent her life promoting and protecting her peoples' cultural and land rights, justice, health, housing, education and childcare. She also paved the way for Aboriginal children to have a better life, free from the difficulties she had faced as a young woman. Aunty Beryl, who was born in 1926, endured a difficult upbringing under the Aboriginal Protection Act. She spent many years housed in dormitories on missions with other young girls separated from their families.
Billy Frank, Jr. A warrior with wisdom and an elder with courage
"I always thought Billy was the model for Billy Jack - the solitary guy who is everywhere protecting the people and their rights. You canít begin to count the times he had been beaten and thrown in jail. Yet, in the end, he has become a senior statesman of the state of Washington, respected and admired by people all over the state who once called for his scalp. He shows what a few people can do when they stand up for principles." Vine Deloria, Jr., Standing Rock Sioux, author, historian, and Billy's friend. Billy Frank, Jr., Nisqually, is being awarded Indian Country Todayís first Visionary Award. Chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for 25 years, Frank is a strong advocate, negotiator and peacemaker. He fought to unite many groups in efforts to preserve and protect salmon, shellfish, trees, endangered species and entire ecosystems. And he is equally successful within his family and community. "Billy is great with adults, but heís even better with children," said Hank Adams, Assiniboine and Sioux. "He talks to a lot of students, from pre-school to college, and of all races. And for 50 years in a large family of relatives, heís missed very few celebrations of birthdays for each of their children." Billy had a comment for Adams. "Thatís it," he said. "Thatís our vision, educating ourselves, making our own people strong. Theyíre there, our Indian kids. Our little guys are talking their own language and teaching it to their parents. These younger kids are waking up and getting ready to take our place."
Return of Sealth's home hopeful sign
Efforts are being made to return the home of Chief Sealth, (Seattle) to the Suquamish Tribe. Chief Sealth's home is on Agate Passage where his people lived for at least 2,000 years. Old Man House, built here in the early 1800s, was the winter home for Chief Sealth and hundreds of Suquamish people. In the 1870s, the 600-foot-long house was burned down by the U.S. military. Today the Suquamish want to take over and maintain the area as a location of singular historic and cultural importance. Chief Sealth is known for his famous words which have inspired people across the world to consider the connections among ourselves and the natural world.
Beware false medicine men
Native American watchdogs are warning people about spiritual frauds and phony medicine men which may lead to financial scams, attacks, and even murder. "The more informed the public is to these types of issues, the safer they are," said Darren McCathern, spokesman for Comanche Lodge in Oklahoma. John Gisselbrecht, from The Native American Resource Research & Cultural Center in Kalispell, MT, is also concerned. "We've had a number of medicine men/women and 'presto' spiritual leaders come to our attention. Their practices are absurd and some border on criminal... [Ceremonies] are not games, and when done incorrectly can result in injury or death, not just looking silly." McCathern and Gisselbrecht's have created a short list to help recognize a true elder from a fake:
1) There is never, under any circumstances, payment for true Native American ceremonies or instruction. It is, however, respectful courtesy to help an elder with travel expenses when he/she travels to perform a ceremony.
2) There are never sexual connotations or expectations in any legitimate Native ceremonies.
3) A true Native elder would never combine other ceremonies with traditional ceremonies. Examples include crystals, gemstones, and using peyote and the sacred pipe together in the same ceremony.
4) There are no priests, shamans, kings, queens or princesses in the Native American culture.
5) Without exception, the elders we have spoken with all say, "Check out your spiritual teacher's traditional background. If they claim to carry animal 'medicine' they are not medicine people."
Shakopee Dakota - A culture of sharing
Much criticism has been leveled against successful gaming tribes for not sharing their wealth with poorer tribes. But the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota has put their excess funds to very good use. In 2003, it put nearly $8,000,000 dollars into education, health care, infrastructure improvements, economic development and more for tribes in the Great Plains and Great Lakes areas. "The Shakopee Dakota have a cultural tradition of assisting others who are in need," said Tribal Chairman Stanley Crooks. "We recognize that we have a unique opportunity to help Native Americans and, indeed, non-Indians, as well." SMSC had donated $31,500,000 to other tribes and local governments and organizations over the past six years and an additional $119,000,000 in loans.
Spiritual Leader of Lakota Sioux Meets With Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich, one of nine candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, met with Chief Arvol Looking Horse during a diversity celebration in Iowa. The Ohio congressman said he would work to heal the breach that exists between the government and American Indians. . . Looking Horse said America needs a president who will honor the original intent of the Constitution. Looking Horse is the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Pipe of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nations.
CNN host accuses Indians of stealing Senate election
Indian leaders, Democrats and Republicans are criticizing TV host Robert Novak who said Indian voters stole the 2002 U.S. Senate election in South Dakota. Novak, host of CNN's "Crossfire" said: "Tom Daschle may have to pay for that theft ... in 2002, [Republican John] Thune would have been elected to the state's other Senate seat, but the election was stolen by stuffing ballot boxes on Indian reservations." On another program, Novak also made other insulting remarks. "The Indians, they got the phony Indian votes out there," he said.
Those speaking out against Novak's remarks include:
*Lower Brule Sioux Chairman Mike Jandreau called the remarks "outrageous, offensive and factually wrong;"
*"For Bob Novak, a seasoned political commentator, to throw around such allegations is yellow journalism at its worst." Spokesperson for Sen. Tim Johnson (D);
*"The false allegations and efforts to intimidate voters on the reservations were a very dark moment in South Dakota politics." Spokesperson for Sen. Tom Daschle (D);
*The comments were "ignorant" South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R);
* The comments were "inappropriate." Spokesman for John Thune (R);
Thune lost the election by less than 600 votes and is running against Daschle this year.
Read the program transcript: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0401/06/cf.00.html
The Rapid City Journal
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