Youth and Education News
October 6, 2004, Issue 139 Volume 3
"There were [nearly 50 million] people here who had found the continent tens of thousands of years before [Columbus.] I think he loses the right to be called the discoverer."
Chuck Hunt, Lane Community College
US refuses to sign 110-nation declaration to fight poverty, hunger
The US refused to sign a UN declaration to fight hunger and poverty. The decision was based in part on a discussion to levy a global tax on financial transactions and arms sales. The declaration, signed by 110 heads of state, followed the release of a UN study that found that over 1,000,000,000 people in the world live on less than $1.00 per day. "How many more times will it be necessary to repeat that the most destructive weapon of mass destruction in the world today is poverty?'' asked Brazilian President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva. "We must harness globalization. We must turn it into a positive force for all peoples of the world."
Conditions for children called a "crime"
A survey by the National American Indian Housing Council shows that too many Native children don't get enough sleep, don't finish their homework, suffer from frequent illnesses, and live in overcrowded and substandard housing conditions. The NAIHC blames a lack of federal funding. Its a crime that the government spends more money for health care for prisoners than it does for Native Americans, said NAIHC Executive Director Gary Gordon, adding that the U.S. spends $3,803 a year per prison inmate as compared to $1,914 per tribal member. The survey also states black mold causes such severe problems that some children wear respirators to bed at night. Bureau of Indian Affairs head, Dave Anderson, supports survey results. "The observations by this group are very accurate," he said. "As Indian people, we have been almost like a Third World developing nation. It's unfortunate that America's first people probably experience the bottom rung of every social dysfunction there is." The NAIHC offered several solutions to the problem:
*Ask for a White House committee to examine the problem with input from National Institutes of Health;
*Introduce legislation that addresses the lack of adequate housing;
*Procure block grants for infrastructure funding in Indian Country.
Very few places in our nation have children hurting as much as on our Indian reservations, said NAIHC Chairman Chester Carl. It is up to the federal government to uphold the trust responsibility-an obligation it has made to tribes through treaties and laws-and make good on promises ratified centuries ago. We, as Native people, will also continue to work together to make a better life for our children.
O'odham students to get veggie, fruit snacks
Arizona: The O'odham nation and the Gila River Indian Community are included in a $9,000,000 federal program to give children fruits and vegetables as healthy alternatives to junk food snacks. The program hopes to help control the soaring rates of childhood obesity, diabetes and other health problems. "It's a great introduction to improving their eating habits," said Frank Rogers, principal at San Simon School. "The mere chance that it might have a long-lasting impact is worth the program." The O'odham face an extremely high diabetes rate, with as many as 85% of the nation's members either diagnosed with the disease or living with it unknowingly. American Indians, and particularly the Tohono O'odham, are susceptible to diabetes. Many believe it's because native cultures farmed the land and their bodies stored food to get them through drought and famine, leading to a slower metabolism. That slow metabolism now works against them.
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Tribal police chief promises crackdown on juvenile drinking
MONTANA -- Following a September incident that sent three Flathead tribal youth to the hospital, Tribal Police Chief Craige Couture is "cracking down" on underage drinking. Underage drinking has become a deadly problem on the Flathead Reservation. During last winter and spring, four reservation youngsters, some as young as 11 years old, literally drank themselves to death. And those numbers don't include people in alcohol-related traffic deaths. "We're not going to wait for things to happen," the new chief said. "We will be out in force getting the job done, with more education, more active patrols, and more arrests. We'll go undercover, just like in drug cases, for the buying end of it." He commented that the Tribal Council has been "more than supportive" in efforts to combat juvenile drinking.
Indian Center To Try To Track AIDS Cases, Offer Info And Help
For years, Utah's health agencies have struggled to collect accurate data about the HIV and AIDS rates among the state's American Indians. Only 10 of 30,000 American Indians have reported having HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, out of 721 total cases in Utah. 26 American Indians or Alaska Natives reported having AIDS out of the state's 2,188 total cases. Dena Ned, director of Salt Lake's Indian Walk-in Center, says that's not because American Indians areimmune or less likely to contract the disease. She suspects the number is underreported or individuals may not be receiving information and services they need to save their lives. Ned hopes that's about to change. With a $330,000 grant, the Walk-in Center and the Harm Reduction Project will begin a two-year project searching out data reflecting the extent of HIV and AIDS among Utah's Indians. The Walk-In Center will provide free HIV testing for all tribal members who come to the city seeking services.
Salt Lake City Tribune
One of Its Tribes Look to Buy Canadian Drugs
Maine: Maine wants to import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada and designate the Penobscot Indian Nation as the wholesale distributor to generate income and jobs for the tribe. The Penobscots would keep the drugs in a warehouse and sell them to pharmacies in Maine, which would then sell them to consumers at lower prices. "Our citizens continue to pay more expensive prices for prescription drugs here than what our neighbors to the North pay," Governor John Baldacci said. "This is simply wrong." The governor gave the Penobscots a $400,000 check to build a warehouse and set up a distribution program. But the governor stopped short of saying the state would import drugs without federal permission. Federal officials have refused to authorize such programs, saying there is no way to guarantee the safety of imported drugs. But several states, including Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wisconsin have set up Web sites linking state citizens with Canadian pharmacies so consumers can buy cheaper drugs. A few cities, including Springfield, Mass.; Montgomery, Ala.; and Burlington, Vt., have started programs that import Canadian drugs directly.
Hawaiian Homes Gets $9 Million Federal Grant
Hawaii:: The Department of Hawaiian Homelands has received a $9,400,000 in federal grant for affordable housing opportunities for low-income Native Hawaiians. Most money will be used for housing and infrastructure and for new and renovated homes. The grant is the third Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant since the program started in 2002. Funding amounts were $10,000,000 in 2002 and $9,600,000 in 2003.
Investigators say men bilked Indian tribes out of millions
Washington: Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell says lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations executive Michael Scanlon have bilked Indian tribes of $66,000,000 over the last three years. The two even engineered tribal elections to get contracts, and insisted tribes donate thousands of dollars to their political and charitable projects. Meanwhile, both men exchanged e-mails calling their clients "monkeys" and worse. "It is a story of two already powerful, wealthy men lining their own pockets with the hard-earned money of people whom they held in contempt and disregard," Campbell said during an investigative hearing of the Indian Affairs committee "The allegation that most concerns me is that Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Scanlon may have tried to manipulate the outcomes of tribal elections for their own personal profit." The hearing focused on payments made by two tribes -- the Saginaw Chippewa of Michigan and Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians of California. Bernie Sprague, Chippewa, said Scanlon once had his tribe spend $4,000,000 for a Michigan voter database; he later learned the same service was available for $75,000. "And this type of spending was repeated over and over again, costing our tribe over $14,000,000." The pair are also suspected of exploiting the Tigua tribe in El Paso in 2001 and '02. Abramoff appeared at the investigative hearing with his attorney but repeatedly pled the Fifth Amendment. Scanlon evaded U.S. marshals trying to serve him with a subpoena.
WAL-MART CONSTRUCTION SUSPENDED AT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
Mexico: Mexican authorities have suspended the construction of a Wal-Mart supermarket near the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, about 45 km north of Mexico City. Mexico's state governor, Arturo Montiel, ordered them to look for a new lot for Wal-Mart. Many civil groups, including the Civic Front for the Defense of the Teotihuacan Valley, protested against the construction, claiming it would damage artifacts and pre-Hispanic ruins on the property. The new chain of Wal-Mart was built just one km from the Pyramid of the Sun that has defined the skyline for 2,000 years.
Columbia: Indigenous March Ends
South America: Sixty-thousand of Columbia's indigenous people marched together in a three-day protest against government policies and violence inflicted upon their communities. Columbia is home to 80 indigenous groups containing 700,000 people speaking 64 languages and 300 dialects. Because of their diversity and isolation, Columbia's Indians have not matched the political force of their counterparts in Bolivia and Ecuador. This march is, however, is a sign that the indigenous communities are starting to make their voices heard.
Intelligence Research Ltd
Both Sides Coveting The Indian Electorate
Washington - Peter Pino, governor of Zia Pueblo, has never seen presidential candidates court the American Indian vote like this year. It feels good, because people are starting to fight over our vote, and we feel like we can make a difference," Pino said. Although American Indians make up only 1.5% of the population, their large numbers in some Western and Midwestern states have drawn candidates' attention. "Our numbers are small, but we tend to vote as a bloc," and usually for Democrats, said LaDonna Harris, a Comanche who ran as the vice presidential nominee of the short-lived Citizens Party in 1980. Michael Thomas, chairman Mashantucket Pequot, said Bush could do "fairly well" this year, but it's difficult to forecast with more than 500 federally recognized tribes. In 2000, a nationwide analysis was taken in 17 counties where American Indians make up more than 50% of the population. The results showed Al Gore carried 12 counties and President Bush carried 5.
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