Youth and Education News
March 17, 2004, Issue 130 Volume 3
"Please do not touch the forest, because it gives us life. Please stop the bulldozers." Ayoreo Indians, Paraguay
News from Native Village, March 2004
Native Village has been very busy during the past few months, and we'd like to share our progress with you!
Native Village is honored to join the
Internet Community. Native Web is a project of many people whose vision touches
ancient teachings and modern technology. Their purpose is providing a cyber-place for Earth's indigenous peoples. Native
Web has been called "the premiere website on native peoples" and was named by the National Endowment for the
Humanities as one of their original 21 top Humanities sites on the Internet.
* The National Heritage Foundation has taken Native Village under its wing. The National Heritage Foundation promotes project activities that help restore, maintain and extend national heritages in the U.S. and cooperating countries throughout the world. Native Village's acceptance into the NHF is truly wonderful, and we thank them.
* Gina Boltz, Native Village Director, has been named one of the Top Ten Online Educators 2004 by Surfaquarium. The award is given to educators singled out by their peers as being an inspiration to educators both locally and across the online community. Walter McKenzie and his first-rate Surfaquarium website are being praised by educators, universities, and educational institutions across the country.
* Mrs. Boltz has also joined the Board of Advisors for the Ready to Learn for Infants Initiative. This project, supported and created by Mesa, AZ United Way, educates families and friends about the importance of proper brain development for children Pre-birth-6. Ready To Learn also offers online materials and a wonderful free video called "What We Have Always Known." The video focuses upon Native American communities, their youth, and the wealth of learning experiences within Native cultures.
To learn more, visit: http://www.mesaunitedway.org/
Native Village Publications
Ben Nighthorse Campbell retires
Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, 70, will be leaving the U.S. Senate after "much soul-searching and reflection." After a brush with prostate cancer last year and suffering chest pains this March, Campbell wants to "return to my ranch with my family that I love." Campbell, the only American Indian senator in Congress, is a Northern Cheyenne tribal chief, a rancher and a distinguished artist. He is among only eight Indians to ever serve in Congress. Colorado elected Campbell to the Senate as a Democrat in 1992 In 1995 Campbell switched parties. He won again in the 1998 election as a Republican.
Judge again orders shutdown of Interior computer systems
For the third time, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth has ordered the Interior Department to shut down most of its Internet connections to protect oil, gas, timber and grazing royalties held in trust for the Indians. "The interest of the 300,000-plus current beneficiaries of the individual Indian trust outweigh the potential inconvenience of those parties that would otherwise have access to Interior's Internet services," Lamberth wrote.
Housing awaits elders
Pokagonek Edawat means "where Pokagons live,'' and it's taking shape as housing development in Dowagiac, MI. Spread across 40 acres, the $4,000,000 development will provide housing for elderly members of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. Work on the first 17 houses began in September, and it's expected tribal elders will begin moving in as soon as July. Each three-bedroom, two-bath home will be about 1,300 square fee. Each will have a two-car garage, full basement, sun room and patio. The development is laid out in a traditional village-type setting. "The homes are clustered together to increase the common spaces around the homes,'' said Jeff Fullhart, building inspector. Including the environment also follows tribal tradition. "We are currently growing about 18,000 plugs of native grasses and plants that will be incorporated in the landscaping around the homes and in the common areas. The common areas will include walking paths and gathering areas with fire pits for socializing and cultural ceremonies.'' The project is largely funded through a grant under terms of the Native American Self Determination Act.
Unique alcohol treatment center to rise on rez
Thanks to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, the Navajo Nation is now $2,000,000 closer to its projected $8,000,000 for a Department of Behavioral Health refurbishing project. The new project, housed in Shiprock's old IHS hospital, will include a 20-bed male unit, a 12-bed female bed unit, an 18-bed unit for six women and their children and a 12-bed unit for patients who transition out of the facility. In addition, women at high-risk for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can live there and receive treatment. The facility will provide kitchens so patients can eat with their families. The new programs also includes traditional healing and medicine, an on-site sweat lodge, and Navajo-speaking psychologists and traditional counselors. "The most important thing is this is located within the vicinity of the Navajo Nation," Lynette Willie, information office. "Families who want to participate no longer have to travel to Albuquerque to get treatment."
Traditional Iroquois way of growing works for today’s farmers
Jane Mt. Pleasant from Cornell University studies traditional Iroquois planting and cultivation methods for the "three sisters:" beans, corn and squash. These staples of Iroquois cropping are grown together on a single plot, known today as polyculture planting. Corn provides protection from weeds and insects and acts as a scaffold to support twining bean plants. The beans, in turn, produce nitrogen, essential for plant growth. Adding squash also controls weed growth. After harvest, recycling crop residues back into the soil promotes fertility. Mt. Pleasant believes polyculture agriculture is more connected to earth than monocultural planting, which is growing only one crop in a field, making it more vulnerable to disease and insects. Iroquois people have always recognized their role in an ecological system, she observed. "As we watch a lot of the ecological problems coming, like global warming and water contamination, we recognize that we have a contract with the Earth, not domination over it," she said. This realization has fueled an upsurge in interest in native science. "More and more young native people are … questioning conventional science" as tribal colleges include native teachings in their curriculums, said Mt. Pleasant.
MAPLE Syrup Festival draws a sweet crowd
More than a 1,000 years before Europeans landed in North America, Native American discovered that boiling down the sap from maple trees would produce a sweet, brown sugar. During a recent festival at Malabar Farms, OH, Roger Moore explained how his people hollowed out huge logs, filled them with sap and added heated rocks to create evaporation. The result, he said, was very filthy, sweet stuff... "the only sweet stuff we had." He explained to visitors that honey was not available. "Bees are not native to the Americas. They were brought here, and we called them English flies," he said. Between 50-60 gallons of maple syrup was harvested this year at the farm. During the best years, 150 gallons are produced
Yellowstone Lures More than 30 Buffalo into Trap with Hay
Yellowstone National Park is the only place in America continuously occupied by native buffalo. The Yellowstone herd--which was reduced to only 23 individuals after massive slaughters--is now the largest remaining population of genetically pure bison. In the recent months:
Last week, using a trail of hay through Yellowstone Park, rangers have lured more than 150 buffalo into the Stephen's Creek area INSIDE Yellowstone for capture;
At Stephens Creek alone, the Park Service has captured 463 wild buffalo in the past month.
Since November, over 165 Yellowstone buffalo have been killed.
The Park Service is now holding 154 healthy buffalo, including calves and yearlings, which could be release back into the herd.
"Buffalo slaughter is becoming an almost daily routine in Yellowstone," said Dan Brister of the Buffalo Field Campaign. The slaughter has prompted members of Congress to introduce the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act (H.R. 3446). The act would place a three-year ban on the capture and slaughter of Yellowstone buffalo, dismantle the Stephen's Creek trap, and allow buffalo to roam public lands next to the park. It currently has 75 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.
National Call-In Week: Join national efforts by calling your representative and urging them them to support the Yellowstone Buffalo Preservation Act (H.R. 3446)
Find your reps at: http://www.house.gov/writerep
Check to see if your Representative has signed on http://www.wildrockies.org/buffalo/politico/3446.htm
Scientists Back Navajos Fighting Uranium Mining
Navajos fighting a proposed uranium mine near Yucca Mountain in Nevada have gained strong support from scientists. The area, once devastated by a radioactive spill, has been approved for a new mine by the Nucear Regulatory Commission. The new mine could contaminate drinking water and lead to kidney failure for 15,000 Navajos. "I've never seen such poor science, poor accountability and poor traceability,’ said Mike Wallace, a groundwater hydrologist who has worked in the nuclear industry at the Yucca Mountain site. In 1998, Shlomo Neuman, world-respected water hydrologist, disputed the U.S. government's environmental studies in the same area. After the NRC issued a statement saying Neuman had changed his mind, Neuman wrote another statement saying that he has not changed his mind and confirmed the data is flawed. "There are very suspicious things going on here," Wallace said. ‘We don’t want that uranium mining polluting our clean water, our clean air."
Indian Country Today
Where have all the big fish gone?
Salmon are smaller, and there are fewer females salmon in the Yukon River. "They were around 65, 70 and 80 pounds," said Tlingit elder Pearl Keenan. "We could hardly lift them. We don't get them anymore. There's something wrong there we have not got those big ones in quite a while now." The Yukon's Federal Fisheries manager Gord Zealand says biologists are at a loss to explain. "We've got good water conditions, normal summers, good rain - but at the same time the oceans are changing and mother nature just keeps throwing new variables at us," Zealand said.
bigfoot sightings reported
Several people on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation have reported seeing a Bigfoot-type creature in recent weeks. Paul Danks from the Three Affiliated Tribes has marked the sightings on a map, and tribal officials have taken pictures of the tracks. No conclusive evidence has been found.
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