Youth and Education News
November 1, 2006 Issue 173 Volume 3
is] the nearest and dearest, No. 1 issue in Indian Country. It's not something that was given to us. As
tribes, we see sovereignty as something we've always had."
Jacqueline Johnson, National Congress of American Indians
Some voting machines will speak Navajo this election
New Mexico: The number of registered American Indian voters in New Mexico has been growing. In 2000, 49,000 voters were registered. By 2004, the number had risen to 51,000. Many voters are member of the Navajo Nation. For the first time, voting machines can translate election ballets from the English into Navajo -- in audio. Sounds easy enough -- but not really. Navajo is a variable language. "You get into different areas, and people will talk a little different," said Zane James, Native American election coordinator. "It's really hard to nail down one particular word."
Among the translations between English and Navajo:
Political party: "Group of planning individuals."
Democratic Party: "Long-ear planning group."
Republican Party: "Animal-that-ropes-with-his-nose planning group."
Governor: "Head leader of New Mexico sitting in office."
Election: "Casting your ballot. "
In addition to the Navajo recordings, Navajo translators will be on hand -- as they have in the past -- at certain polling stations for New Mexico's elections on Nov. 7.
Housing council unveils Web site for home buyers
The National American Indian Housing Council launched a Web site for Native home buyers. The NAIHC resource is a first stop for Native people and others ready to explore the process of owning a home. ''This Web site will guide Native American home buyers through basic considerations such as how much home they can afford, and steer them away from predatory lenders and toward their tribe's home buyer counselors,'' said NAIHC Chairman Marty Shuravloff.
The Web address is www.nativeamericanhomebuyer.com
Indian Country Today
Celebrity Cruises Removes Ad That Offended Hawaiians
Hawaii: Celebrity Cruises will stop using a magazine ad showing King Kamehameha's statue holding a glass of champagne to promote trips to Hawaii. The advertisement caused outrage among Native Hawaiian groups who were insulted by the photo illustration. "We are terribly sorry that we have offended anyone," said Lynn Martenstein, spokeswoman Celebrity Cruises. Created by Arnold Communications in Boston, the ad also shocked Hawaii tourism leaders, who say it underscores the need for more efforts to educate tourism companies about Hawaii's culture.
Columbus Day Likely to Lose Holiday Status
Minnesota: October 9, 2006 was the last time Duluth employees got Columbus Day off as a holiday. The city's five unions told Mayor Herb Bergson they would rather take another day off than one honoring Columbus. So, Berger proclaimed the second Monday in October as a day to honor Indigenous Peoples instead of a man whose legacy is historically contentious. "We can't honor a murderer," Bergson said, following a march organized by the Native Youth Agenda. Bergson called Columbus a slave trader and tyrant and suggested that American Indians organize boycotts of department stores and car dealerships that hold Columbus Day sales.
Database Tells The Stories Of 100,000 Mission Indians
California: Historians have created an immense data bank which includes more than 100,000 Indians in California's 18th and 19th century Spanish missions. Researchers used marriage and death certificates from Catholic missions and other sites to create a cross-referenced computerized library now open to public access. Named "The Early California Population Project," its creators hope to enlighten people about the West's Spanish colonial and Mexican eras which are often overshadowed by the East Coast's English colonies. "What we are trying to do here is to say these people have a history, and it's not a history that can be caricatured," said historian Steven W. Hackel. "It's a history that emerges from a deep native past and a deep Spanish past and shows how the two came together for better or worse." Conducting searches on the site can be complicated at first because of the many choices involved. For example, visitors can track how many descendants of a Miwok Indian survived into the era of U.S. statehood, how many people died in an earthquake or a measles epidemic, how frequent intermarriage was between Spanish soldiers and Indian women, or how many Indians worked in farming or became skilled artisans.
Early California Population Project: http://www.huntington.org/Information/ECPPmain.htm
Native Americans by the numbers
The U.S. Census Bureau has updated and released a fact sheet detailing the current status of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal members living in America. As of July, 2005:
5,000,000 (1.5% of total U.S. population);
Native population growth from July 2004-July 2005: 43,000;
Median age: 30.7;
AI/AN under age 18: 1,300,000;
AI/AN over age 65: 336,000;
States with most AI/AN populations: California (696,000) - Oklahoma (401,100) - Arizona (334,700);
States with largest percentage of IA/AN: Alaska (20%) Oklahoma and New Mexico (11% each);
Largest AI/AN populations per region: Los Angeles County (CA), Maricopa County (AZ);
The region with the largest Native population: Los Angeles County (CA), 154,000 tribal members;
Families and Children, Language and Education:
AI/AN families: 535,800;
154,900 are married couples with children under age 18;
Number of people in average native family: 3.41;
Preschoolers make up 26% of Alaska's AN population;
25% of Native people 5 years and older are bi-lingual;
76% of AI/AN people ages 25 and older have at least a high school diploma. 14% have bachelors degrees.
AI/AN U.S armed forces veterans: 170,000.
AI/AN who lacked health insurance: 30%
AI/AN living at or below the national poverty rate: 25%
Business (2002 stats)
Receipts for AI owned business : $26,900,000,000;
Native companies with receipts of $1,000,000 or more: 3,631
Total Native businesses: 201,387;
Median income of AI/AN households: $33,627;
State with most Native owned businesses: California: (38,125) followed by Texas, Oklahoma and Florida;
24,498 Native-owned firms paid 191,270 employees;
Areas with the most Indian run businesses: New York, Los Angeles and Gallup, New Mexico.
Native dyes studied as alternative crops
New Mexico: Researchers from New Mexico State University are studying the parts of native plants used by traditional American Indian and Spanish weavers to dye wool. Demands for natural textiles and fiber art have increased by people concerned about the harsh chemicals and dyes used in commercial textiles. Agricultural specialist Charles Martin says NMSU already works with medicinal herbs and culinary herbs and spices. He says it seems natural to expand into dye plants.
Oil Protests in Northern Peru Jungle Ends
Peru: Peru's government and the Pluspetrol oil-company have agreed to end the dumping of contaminated oil waste into Peru's northern rain forest by July 2008. The decision follows protests by the Native Federation of the Corrientes River, who demanded a cleanup of pollution after three decades of oil drilling. "This is an important achievement for the indigenous people, for the Achuar, because it is the first time the population protested like this, for 15 days, against the grave contamination," said Petronila Chumpi, a spokesperson for the NFCR. "Today the company is working normally again. The residents are back in their homes." The decision is a major victory for the Indians whose protests shut down the company's jungle operations.
Hole in Ozone Layer Now the Size of North America
South Pole: In 1987, most of the world's countries agreed to phase out the chemicals (CFCs) destroying earth's protective ozone layer. They realized that commonly-used chemicals were escaping into the stratosphere and eating away at the ozone there. However, the hole is now at it's largest ever: 10,600,000 square miles, about the size of North America. Does that mean the 1987 Montreal treaty has been a failure? Hardly, say scientists who have worked on the issue -- if nothing had been done, the ozone loss would be much greater. Even if those CFCs are no longer made, the gases survive in the upper atmosphere for 40 to 100 years. So the ozone hole has appeared again, bigger than ever. Ozone molecules form about 12-20 miles above the Earth's surface and protect us from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the Sun. If ozone is destroyed, the effects will include increased rates of skin cancer, cataracts, and death of tiny plankton in the oceans, which are a base in the world's food chain.
Hole in Ozone Layer Now the Size of North America
NW Coast: 17,000 gray whales are missing, and scientists are concerned. For the last two years, the whales haven't turned up at their traditional feeding grounds. "We've just come off a second summer in Canada in which we've had next to no whales show up," said William Megill of Bath University in the United Kingdom. "Not only in our little area, but apparently throughout the traditional feeding areas from Washington on up north. We have no idea where the whales all went this year." Each summer, gray whales feed in the waters from northern California to the Bering and Chuckchi Seas, because these areas are rich in plankton. But lately these regions haven't seemed to provide enough food for the whales. Megill said the Bering Sea area has "taken a beating" over the last 10 years, forcing the whales into new habitat. But researchers haven't yet found where these new feeding grounds might be. "This suggests they may be quite lean this winter, particularly as this is now the second summer they've had to deal with this problem, " Megill said. Generally, the whales rarely feed in their winter breeding grounds, but researchers observed them trying to feed from the lagoon bottoms last winter. "How much they were getting out of the mud they were sifting, I don't know," Megill said. "But there was a lot of it going on, more than I'm used to seeing. We're expecting to see the animals feeding even more in Mexican waters this year." The gray whales face an uncertain future.
Video of the whale research in Baja, California: http://www.livescience.com/php/video/player.php?video_id=grey_whale
Scientists track disappearing salmon from N.B. rivers
New Brunswick: The numbers of wild salmon in Eastern Canada's rivers have dropped dramatically in the last two decades. Now the Atlantic Salmon Federation is trying to learn why wild salmon are disappearing. "I've likened this to a murder," said ASF scientist, Fred Worisk. "The smolts are heading out to the ocean and there's a murder and we don't know when or where the murder is occurring. So it's awfully difficult to finger the culprit." Last spring, the ASF tagged 200 salmon smolts with microphone receivers to track their movements from New Brunswick rivers to the Strait of Belle Isle. Some salmon died in the rivers, while others died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Only 7 salmon made it to the Straight, and they appear perfectly healthy. "They're bigger," said scientist Paul Brooking. "They've been feeding. They're growing and on their way to their winter feeding grounds." The scientists will conduct further tests to pinpoint specific areas along the water routes where the salmon have died.
Should Albin the white moose die? Norway torn
Norway: Scandinavia is home to 450,000 moose. Now residents and hunters are at odds over the fate of a rare albino moose spotted in the forests of Ostfold province. Locals have named the moose "Albin." They want the moose protected from hunters and have created t-shirts and bumper stickers supporting their cause. Some hunters and scientists, however, want the moose shot. Albino moose usually have inferior sight or hearing and their lack of pigmentation makes them more visible to predators. If Albin breeds, the hunters say the genetic abnormalities could spread throughout the herd. Morten Brommdal, from the University of Oslo, calls Albin a genetic "mistake... That so many people want the white moose to live is an emotional issue," he said. "It is exciting to have such a rarity rustling around. But if it is spared, we risk the moose's breeding qualities spreading." Sigmund Lerheim, the head of a local wildlife committee in Ostfold, can't guarantee the moose will be protected. Hunting quotas are limited by age and sex, not colour, he said. In March, Ontario passed a law to protecting white moose near Timmins. That decision was made to encourage eco-tourism and to mark the cultural significance of the white moose to First Nations people. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ottawa, Dene agree to create vast national park
Northwest Territories: Thirty years ago, the tiny Dene community of Lutsel K'ein turned down a federal proposal to create a National Park on their lands. The Dine feared it would interfere with their hunting rights.The community now views ParksCanada as an ally and is working with the federal government to create new national park. The proposed park is 25,000 -38,000 square kilometres and includes the most pristine part of Great Slave Lake, the deepest lake in North America. It is also home to moose, grizzly, black bears and caribou, the Dene's main food source. The Dine are hoping the National Park will stop the region's mining claims from disturbing the caribou. "We've noticed that the caribou are much skinnier. They're not coming around as much as they used to," said James Marlowe of the Lutsel K'e Dene. "And the elders say the mines are polluting the area through emissions from their oil stoves, the noise, the dust." Aboriginal people want to call the new park ThaydeneNene National Park, which means "land of the ancestors." "For thousands of years our grandmothers and grandfathers lived off the land and the land is very much a part of our people, and it's very important to protect that," said Sayese Catholique.
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