Youth and Education News
October 1, 2006 Issue 172 Volume 3
"The use of American Indian mascots as symbols in school and university athletic programs is particularly troubling. Schools and universities are places of learning. These mascots are teaching stereotypical, misleading and, too often, insulting images of American Indians. And these negative lessons are not just affecting American Indian students; they are sending the wrong message to all students.” Ronald F. Levant, President, American Psychological Association
A life of stories
New Mexico: In the streets of Ohkay Owinge, hundreds of people followed pallbearers carrying the body of Tewa linguist and storyteller, Esther Martinez. Martinez, 94, was on her way home after accepting a National Heritage Fellowship in Washington, D.C. when she died in a head-on crash. "It's very sad. She was almost home -- just a few miles to go," said Herman Ogoyo, 71. Martinez's two daughters survived the accident as did the driver of the other car, who was intoxicated. He was later arrested for vehicular homicide. Martinez had been a Tewa instructor at Ohkay Owingeh for more than 20 years. She published the San Juan Pueblo Tewa Dictionary which was later digitized into a CD-ROM for children to use in the classroom. She also published language-curriculum guides, served as a Native language consultant at other pueblos, and won countless awards. Among the tributes at her funeral.
"She might have been 94 years old, but she was 16 in her heart. The beauty of a story is the way it conveys something universal -- that was the beauty of Esther's stories. ...she was always so humble because she believed the awards were for everyone; they helped everyone." Reverend Terry Brennan.
"I've known her since I was a little boy ... Those lives she touched are here (at the grave site). Not only will her spirit be here with us but also the educational things she left behind as well." Herman Agoyo, 71.
"(My grandmother), my hero, died in a tragic manner. I hope her death will inspire people not to drink and drive." Anthony Martinez, grandson.
"Words and stories can't convey who she was or what she meant to our family." Matthew Martinez, grandson.
Those in attendance at Martinez's funeral included the pueblo's governor, Joe Garcia, and members of the National Endowment for the Arts.
United States House Passes Native American Language Preservation Act
The United States House of Representatives has passed HR4766, the Esther Martinez Native American Language Preservation Act 2006. “Today we are one step closer to reviving the true spirit of Indian Education. The U.S. House of Representatives has listened to Indian country, they have acknowledged that Native Languages have a place in education, they have a place in America,” remarked President Ryan Wilson, president of the National Indian Education Association. “The U.S. House of Representatives needs to be commended for creating time in their final hours of business, before their recess, to acknowledge the tremendous contributions to America from Native Languages. Not only are these languages sacred to Indian Country, they are part of the sacred heritage of America." Wilson encouraged the U.S. Senate to also pass the Language Act. "...the House of Representatives is willing to take a fresh look at Indian Education and accept the documented success of Heritage Language Immersion schools. We respectfully ask the United States Senate to make the same consideration. The eyes of Indian Country are now shifting to the Senate and the hopes of Indian Country are now vested there. We have waited so long, many across Indian Country are hanging on just for this bill. We are almost there.”
Ask your senator to support the Esther Martinez Native American Language Preservation Act 2006: http://www.niea.org/
National Indian Education Association
National Indian Law Library Receives Award
Colorado: The Native American Rights fund and its National Indian Law Library has received the 2006 Public Access to Government Information Award. The American Association of Law Libraries recognized Monica Martens and David Selden for their work in making tribal law available to the public. "A principle tenet of the American Association of Law Libraries is the right of equal access to information for all to ensure an informed citizenry and to promote a just and democratic society," said Johanna C. Bizub, AALL Awards Committee Chair. The library's work has focused on hundreds of tribal codes and constitutions. It offers a variety of user-friendly tools to access this difficult-to-find information including a website, full-text online copies, and unique and thorough keyword searching capability through the library's Internet catalog.
National Indian Law Library: http://www.narf.org/nill/index.htm
2006 Finalists for American Indian Tribal Governance Awards
Massachusetts: Harvard University's Honoring Nations Project recognizes successful American Indian social and economic programs. This year’s 14 tribal finalists will make public presentations to the Honoring Nations Board of Governors on October 3. The Board will then select which programs will receive “high honors” and $10,000 to share their success stories with others. They will also designate as many as seven “honors” programs that will receive $2,000. “There are so many excellent, exemplary programs that are being run or operated by Native American’s in their communities," said Peterson Zah, former President of the Navajo Nation. " What we have this year is only a small percentage of what we have in Indian Country."
2006 Honoring Nations Finalists:
Alternative Sentencing Program
Tulalip Tribal Court, The Tulalip Tribes
Bad River Recycling Solid Waste Department
Bad River Band of Lake Superior Band of Chippewa
Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Cultural Education &Revitalization Program
Makah Cultural and Research Center, Makah Nation
Homeownership: Financial, Credit
&Consumer Protection Program
Umatilla Reservation Housing Authority, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
The Hopi Child Care Program
The Hopi Tribe
Hopi Education Endowment Fund
The Hopi Tribe
Indian Child Welfare Services
Department of Indian Child Welfare Services, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians
Morongo Tutoring Program
Social Services Department, Morongo Band of Mission Indians
Navajo Methamphetamine Task Forces
Navajo Department of Behavioral Services, Navajo Nation
Red Lake Walleye Recovery Program
Red Lake Department of Natural Resources, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Task Force on Violence Against Women
National Coalition of Native Nations and Organizations Affiliated Through the National Congress of American Indians
Tribal Land Title &Records Office
Housing Department, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan
Winnebago Community Development Fund
Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Financial Drive Launched for Walton County Indians
Florida: Laurie Liles is raising funds for the Muskogee Nation of Florida. The Muscogees have been fighting for federal recognition since 1997 and are strapped for cash. In fact, they must borrow money to pay administrative and travel costs to Washington D.C. where the legalities take place. Liles, who is Ojibwe, has mailed hundreds of letters across the country asking for contributions to the tribe. "I recognized their need for support and I hope the community will, too," said Liles. "Part of the fundraiser is making sure they won't have to dip into their personal reserves, and we hope we can get more for whatever else they may need." Muscogee elder Zera Denson and her daughter, Ann Tucker, appreciate Laurie's efforts. "As far as finances are concerned, we're walking a real fine line," said Tucker, the acting Chairwoman of the Muscogee Nation. "As hard as [the recognition process] gets, it's when individuals and the community get behind us that we feel blessed and motivated to continue."
The Walton Sun
Group affirms tribal sovereignty through public education
Maine: When Maine's tribes must assert their sovereignty, they have support from a non-tribal coalition: The Maine Coalition for Tribal Sovereignty. "[We] seek to support tribes,'' Chairman John McKaig said. ''We seek to educate non-Native people about tribal sovereignty, tribal rights and racism.'' The coalition started five years ago when the Penobscots and Passamaquoddy Nation were fighting the state and industries over pollution in tribal waters. The tribes refused a court order, on grounds of sovereignty, to hand over water quality documents to the corporations. In the meantime, Penobscot Chief Barry Dana and two Passamaquoddy governors were threatened with jail sentences and $1,000-per-day fines. Dana enlisted the help of longtime non-Indian friend John Frachella, who organized others into a tribal support group. Those supporters marched alongside tribal members to the state capital. ''I think it took away some of the ammunition from the ... people of the state,'' Dana said. ''When they saw their own people marching with us, they sort of got tongue-tied.'' The EPA ended up conceding its tribal water authority. ''It's a very small ripple in a very large pond,'' McKaig said at the time. Today, the MCTS is educating others about Native rights through information tables and videos.
Nobel Peace Prize Winners Take Aim at U.S.
Colorado: PeaceJam is a Colorado-based program which hosts conventions around the world for teens to meet and talk about what they can do to promote world peace. More than 7,000 youth attended the most recent PeaceJam convention at the University of Denver. Speaking at the event were 10 Nobel Peace Prize laureates who called for world peace. Most demanded that the United States pull back its military, spread its wealthM and offer aid to developing countries. Among the comments:
"After the painful events of September 11, I wish that America would have built a school in Afghanistan in the name of every victim. When someone claims he has a vision from God to bring war to Iraq, this is a kind of terrorism." Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian judge and 2003 Peace Prize recipient.
"Stand up. Take action. Don't try to bring democracy to people you don't understand through the barrel of a gun and leave them with civil war." Jody Williams, American, 1997 Peace Prize recipient for her work opposing land mines.
"You taught us no government worth its salt can subvert the rule of law. We believed you. That's part of what you have as a gift for the world. Then how can you commit Guantanamo Bay? Take back your country." The Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who praised the U.S. for its fight against South Africa's apartheid and its history of justice and democracy.
Only the Dalai Lama did not take a direct jab at the U.S. He called on the world to open itself to religious tolerance.
11 of America's Worst Places to Cast a Ballot (or Try)
Truthout has listed the worst practices and places for American voters:
New Poll Tax
#1 Atlanta, Georgia: Beginning in 2005, voters were required to present either a driver's license or a state-issued photo ID that costs between $20 -$35 and is available only from Department of Motor Vehicles offices. 66% of the state's counties don't even have a DMV office. Atlanta, the state's largest city, has just one, and lines are hours long. Without new IDs, 17.3% of the state's African American voters, and 33% of black voters over age 65, won't be able to vote.
Runner-up: Arizona requires "proof of citizenship" when a person registers to vote -- bad news for Native Americans, the poor, and the elderly, who often don't have the requisite documents. Driver's licenses issued prior to 1996 don't count.
#1 Beaufort, North Carolina; Fort Worth, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: New voting machines used in this spring's primaries have multiple problems.
Runners-up: In Fort Worth, Texas, 150,000 votes were tabulated in a county where only 50,000 people voted.
In Pottawattamie County, Iowa, machines began counting some candidates' votes backward.
In Philadelphia, more than 5% of voting machines broke down on primary day.
#1 Franklin County, Ohio: In 2004, more than 2,500 voters in Columbus were crammed into a single precinct with limited voting machines. Massive lines formed. Some left because they had to work; elderly left because there was no place to sit down. The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is suing Ohio.
Runners-up: New Orleans and St. Louis. In 2000, so many polling places in St. Louis failed to open on time that a judge ordered them to remain open late.
#1 Cuyahoga County, Ohio: In this spring's primary elections, some precincts opened late because poll workers showed up late or didn't have extension cords or three-prong adapters for the machines. There was a shortage of voting machines, confusion over precinct voter lists, and paper jams that poll workers did not know how to fix. It took more than a week to count their votes.
#1 New Hampshire: The director of New Hampshire's Republican Party hired a company to jam the Democrats' phone bank system during the 2002 U.S. Senate election.
Runners-up: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2004, fliers from a fictitious group were distributed in black neighborhoods warning residents: "if anyone in your family has ever been found guilty of anything, even a traffic violation, you can't vote in the presidential election," and that "if you violate any of these laws you can get ten years in prison and your children will get taken away from you."
Franklin County, Ohio: 2004 fliers [falsely] claiming to be from the Board of Elections announced that due to high voter registration, Republicans would vote on Election Day, and Democrats would vote the next day. Also, a Republican group known as the Mighty Texas Strike Force used Ohio hotel rooms to phone ex-prisoners warning them that they would return to jail if they voted. The Texas group also told other Ohio voters that their polling places had changed. Ohio's Republican Party paid the Strike Force's hotel bills.
#1 Travis County, Texas: Travis County, Texas, has longly been represented by Democrats in Congress. In 2003, the Texas Legislature attached various chunks of Travis to other largely-Republican voting districts. This redistricting of state voters pushed a Republican majority in the Statehouse. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this redistricting constitutional, even though it was done "with the sole purpose of achieving a Republican congressional majority."
Runners-up: 27 of New York's 62 Senate districts have been engineered to create Democratic advantages of at least 40,000 votes per district.
A study says 100% of California's legislative districts are noncompetitive thanks to gerrymandering
#1 Mississippi Delta: The state has more than 25,000 prisoners, 2,100 parolees, and 21,000 men and women on probation. Although some felons are not allowed to vote, many are, including those convicted of drug felonies. However, corrections and prison officials have made no effort to get that information out. In addition, some ex-cons were convinced that any actions with authorities would cause them to lose welfare payments.
Runners-up: In the 2000 election, Florida falsely tagged thousands of votErs as felons. Felons are not allowed to vote in Florida.
#1 Charleston, South Carolina: Politicians continue their creative methods to maximize white clout. A favorite is at-large voting, which dilutes minority votes. In Charleston from 1970-2004, 38 of 41 people elected to county council between 1970 (when at large voting replaced district voting) and 2004 were white. A federal lawsuit finally ended at-large voting for council in 2004. But Charleston still has at-large voting for school board members.
Runner-up: Located between two Lakota Sioux reservations, Martin, South Dakota voting districts were drawn up to ensure a white majority. This year, courts found this mapping unconstitutional. Also, South Dakota officials sometimes "forget" to give registration cards to Native Americans. In addition, sheriffs are known to harass Indians
coming into town (often across enormous distances) to vote.
#1 Waller County, Texas: For decades, students from Prairie View A&M (a black school in the heart of east Texas), were denied the right to vote by local leaders who said required students to be full time residents. In 2003, the district attorney warned that any students who tried to vote could face 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. However, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1979 that students could register to vote in the communities in which they attended college.
Runners-up: Students in Arkansas, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, and Virginia have also been prevented from voting.
In Virginia, William and Mary students were denied permission to register merely for acknowledging that they were going home on vacation.
#1 Florida: A new Florida law imposes fines on anyone who registers voters and fails to deliver paperwork to election officials. However, the legislation does not apply to the two main political parties. A company ultimately contracted to to the Republican National Committee destroyed voter registration forms from people trying to register as Democrats. Since the new voters weren't yet Democrats, destroying the forms did not break the law.
#1 Ohio: The current leading candidate for the worst secretary of state is Ken Blackwell. In 2004 Blackwell announced all voter-registration forms must be printed on at least 80-pound weight paper. Blackwell was forced to drop that demand, but a slew of other restrictions remain, including one that requires registration workers to sign in with county officials, and another requiring them to personally mail in the registration forms they collect. "Meanwhile, Blackwell's office has done nothing to let voters know they must now bring photo IDs to the polls. This guarantees that tens of thousands of mostly Democratic voters will be turned away. Ken Blackwell is now a Republican candidate for governor.
Program assists Navajo elders
More than 20 years ago, Linda Myers met Rose Hulligan, a young Navajo woman who collected food to support the Navajo elders. Myers, an artist, donated the proceeds of an art sale to fund a shopping spree to Sam's Club and trip to the reservation. "I thought that would be a nice thing and be the end of it," Myers said. Instead, it was the start of a lifelong journey. With Jeannie Patton, Myers co-founded the Adopt-A-Native Elder program in 1993. "The simplicity of these people and their daily struggles drive me," Myers says. "When I'm with them, I think, 'How can I make a difference in a simple way?'" Today, Adopt an Elder has 450 volunteers -- some as far away as Australia. Food runs are still the heart of the assistance program, but also donated are items such as clothing and over-the-counter medicine. The elders - men and women, many between 95 and 105 - must be at least 70 to be eligible for the program. "We try to serve the very oldest and neediest," Myers said. Adopt-A-Native Elder also has an annual rug show to finance the elders during the harsh winter months. Proceeds buy firewood and give elders a $60 grocery certificate. Last year's rug show yielded $284,000 to 75 weavers. "If we give them wool, they'll weave a rug because they know it will help them," Myers says. "They're not a society where they don't help themselves." Often woven by weavers between 85 and 105, these "heart rugs" may be crooked or imperfect, but they are no less prized. Myers recently bought several. "They weren't perfect, but my gosh, she did a pretty good job," Myers says about the rug she bought from a 103-year-old elder.
Adopt an Elder: http://www.anelder.org
A Border Crackdown Intensifies, A Tribe Is Caught In The Crossfire
Texas: Members of the Tohono O'odham Nation are caught in the middle of immigrant and drug smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border. Each day, almost 1,500 people use the tribe's reservation to cross into the U.S. In the meantime, they leave behind tons of trash. The O'odham are spending about 10% of their budget dealing with border issues, including $5,000,000 in health and other costs. "We are being squeezed," said chairwoman Vivian Juan-Saunders. The U.S. Border Patrol and the National Guard have beefed up their presence on the reservation, but tribal members are often harassed by agents pursuing illegals and drug traffickers. The all-Native Shadow Wolves used to patrol the reservation, but they've been moved to other activities dealing with the war on terror. Some of Shadow Wolves have quit.
Epidemic hits nomadic Amazon tribe
Columbia: The nomadic Nukak tribe, who fled their jungle homes because of Colombia's civil war, have been hit by a flu epidemic. Almost 25% of the tribe have fallen ill. Experts fear that further epidemics are likely unless the Nukak can be returned to their own territory. Their Nukak's new camp is just 2% of the size of their own territory. Health experts warned that settling 200 Nukak there would lead to disease and epidemics because the Nukak are used to living in small, nomadic groups. Also, their wild food is in short supply -- there are few fish in the river and area trees do not provide what's needed to make blowpipes and poison for hunting meat. The Nukak's own territory contains abundant natural resources. "It is absolutely essential that the Colombian government finds a way to let the Nukak return to their own land," said Stephen Corry, Survival International, "otherwise they will not survive in the long term." Flu and malaria have already killed half the Nukak since they were first contacted in 1988; just 500 Nukak survive.
Kokums And Moosoms Trekking For a Cause
Ontario: KAMADA members are concerned and caring elders who use their wisdom to fight the use of intoxicants within native communities. KAMADA means Kokumons (grandmother in Cree) and Mossoms (grandfather in Cree) Against Drugs and Alcohol (KAMADA). In 2004, as many as 200 - 2000 people of all ages marched with KAMADA from Sturgeon Lake to Prince Albert. Once there, they passed on the eagle staff to the Sandy Lake First Nations. In 2005, Sandy Lake led the procession to visit native communities in the Battlefords area, and to present the Onion Lake First Nations with the eagle staff. This year, OLFN visited 11 additional First Nation communities from Saskatchewan to Alberta before handing over the eagle staff to Flying Dust members. Tentative plans for next year include a four-day walk to the Sturgeon Lake pow wow in July.
Volume 2 Volume 4
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