Youth and Education News
February 1, 2008 Issue 184 Volume 3
"It's important to teach people, both tribal members and other communities, about our history because we want our culture to continue. I think all cultures should share like that; they'd become less intimidating to each other."
Barry Phillips, Potawatomi
Alcatraz flag is sold for $60,000
Texas: "Old Glory's Helper Flag," a banner that flew at Alcatraz during the 1969-71 Indian occupation, has sold for $60,000. Designed by Lulie Nall, Penobscot, the flag has red and white stripes and a black-outlined teepee made up of yellow stars. Bill Butler, 61, who lives near Houston, bought the flag for his collection of 1960s artifacts. "I felt that Old Glory's Helper Flag needed to be in friendly hands," Butler said. "I'm not an American Indian, but I have always supported the American Indian movement. I think this flag is an important part of that history." However, several participants of Alcatraz questioned the banner's importance. "That flag was never a symbol of Indian resistance and not a symbol of Alcatraz," said Adam Fortunate Eagle Nordwall, a 78-year-old Chippewa Indian and organizer of the Alcatraz occupation. "It was simply an accessory as far as I can tell." The $60,000 selling price was less than the $100,000 - $150,000 experts had expected the flag to fetch. Butler will store the flag temporarily and is considering lending the flag to a museum.
No treaty withdrawal says Lakota elder
Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota: Last December the Lakota Freedom Delegation declared that the Lakota people were withdrawing from their treaties with the United States. The LFD declared their sovereignty as an independent state. But Floyd Looks-For-Buffalo Hand, spiritual leader in the Lakota religion, refutes their actions. "There was no treaty withdrawal. It was three people," he said. "Russell Means and Duane Martin and that lady [Phyllis Young], they do not speak for the nation. You've got to have consensus." Hand also called the treaty withdrawal event a "publicity stunt" and those involved were not authorized to act on behalf of the Lakota people.
Native News Digest
Inuit Truth Commission Begins Hearings On Sled-Dog Deaths
Nunavut: The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is holding public hearings to explore allegations that thousands of Inuit sled dogs were slaughtered by the RCMP. "The mandate that has been given to us by QIA is to investigate and do some hearings and interviews ... to find out about the dog slaughter, " said Joanasie Akumalik from the truth commission. Some Inuit have long claimed that the RCMP killed about 20,000 sled dogs in Nunavut from the 1950s-1970s. The RCMP says some dogs were killed because they were sick or posed a danger to residents. The RCMP also denied allegations of an organized, mass slaughter, and an RCMP investigation cleared the police of any wrongdoing. The QIA formed their own truth commission claiming the RCMP report gave a one-sided view of what happened. The QIA panel will travel to communities in the Qikiqtani (Baffin) region this year to hear from the people.
First privately-owned American Indian bank in U.S.
Turtle Mountain Reservation, North Dakota: The Turtle Mountain State Bank has opened in Belcourt. It is the first American Indian-owned bank in the state and the first privately-owned American Indian bank in the U.S located on a federally-recognized Indian Reservation. TMSB offers all types of deposit products as well as consumer loans, business loans and home loans. It will soon offer online banking.
NativeNews] Digest Number 3542
Drinking water troubles on reserves improving, report says
A federal report says the number of native reserves with high-risk drinking water has been cut by more than half over 2 years. Of 21 communities originally listed as risk-water priorities, only four continue are still waiting for construction of new facilities.
Mardi Gras Tribes Still Follow Suit
Louisiana: Darrly Montana is chief of the Yellow Pocahontas, one of nearly 60 groups calling themselves the Mardi Gras Indian tribes. They aren't Native Americans, but mostly African-Americans who perform the ritual as a tribute to the Chickasaw, Choctaw and other American Indian tribes that sheltered runaway slaves. During the Mardi Gras celebrations, these tribes wear colorful, extravagant costumes which are hand-stitched, a technique taught from one generation to the next. The tradition of black New Orleanians honoring American Indians began in the 19th century. The two cultures, both suppressed under French, Spanish and American rule, worked and lived together and often intermarried. Indian tribes often sheltered runaway slaves in the swamps surrounding the area.
Bringing Things into Focus
Navajo Reservation, Arizona: Thousands of Navajo students may need eyeglasses, but their families lack the insurance or funds to find out. Recently, the Navajo council gave $495,000 to fund eye exams and glasses for 9,000 low-income Navajo students in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. The Nation will work closely with Bishop Optical, which already helps the tribe to provide eyeglasses for elders. "Really, we're not making a profit off of this," said Julie Smith from Bishop Optical. "We are carrying all our expenses. The Nation just pays for the services and glasses. When there's a difference, we pay that." Students attending school on and off the reservation are eligible for services. "The No. 1 thing from the education perspective is we want the children to succeed, to be able to read and write and to meet the personal and individual goals they have," said Leonard Anthony from the tribal council. "The other piece is to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress goals in the schools."
Low-energy bulb disposal warning
The Department of the Environment says low-energy bulbs contain small amounts of mercury and that safe recycling is important. "Because these light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury, they could cause a problem if they are disposed of in a normal waste-bin," said Dr. David Spurgeon. "That's a concern, because mercury is a well known toxic substance." Official advice from the DOE says:
If a low-energy bulb is smashed, the room needs to be vacated for at least 15 minutes;
Do not use a vacuum cleaner to sweep up broken bulbs, and don't inhale the dust. Instead, use rubber gloves and put the broken bulb into a sealed plastic bag;
Unbroken used bulbs can be taken back to the retailer if the owner is a member of the Distributor Takeback Scheme;
Many waste disposal sites have facilities to collect and dispose of these old bulbs.
Rare blood type discovered by OBI lab
OKLAHOMA CITY— Studies show some members of the Choctaw Tribe have a blood type called ENAV(MNS42). Also known as "Avis", this blood characteristic is not found anywhere else in the world. Very few studies have been done on blood groups in Native Americans. Some believe Natives may have their own unique combinations of minor red blood cell antigens, and new groups may yet be discovered. “With increased Native American [blood] donations comes more opportunity to explore ways in which we can provide safer transfusions and gain knowledge that will ultimately benefit future generations.” says John Armitage.
Greenhouse Gas Makes Food Less Nutritious
Texas: As carbon dioxide levels accumulate in the atmosphere, nutritional value of many food crops will decrease. Max Taub of Southwestern University analyzed more than 200 experiments that tested how greenhouse gas affects the protein in barley, rice, wheat, soybean and potatoes -- key foods in poorer countries whose residents get most of their protein from plants. Tests show that potatoes lose 14% of their protein, barley loses 15%, and wheat and rice lose 10%. Soybeans had the smallest reduction: 1.4%. As carbon dioxide levels rise in our atmosphere, most plants accumulate more carbon in their tissues. This reduces other elements, such as nitrogen, a key component of proteins. "This is just one more example of the impact global changes could have on us," Taub said.
Photos and Facts: Diet and Cost of Food Around the world
Tradition of the Red Road Digest
Tribe banishes four
Saginaw Chippewa Reservation, Michigan. The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe is using an ancient tribal practice for dealing with problems: banishing troublemakers from tribal lands. So far, the Tribal Council has banished at least four people. Those four include one member of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, two members from other tribes, and a non-Native man. Kent Jackson said banishing a person is "an extreme response to extreme behavior" and is not a decision taken lightly by Native leaders. Formal banishing orders the people to stay off tribal lands. Other reservations which have banned people:
Red Lake Band and Portage Lake bands in Minnesota: banished drug dealers
Lac du Flameau Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin: banished gang members and drug dealers
Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina: banished gang members and drug dealers
Minnesota: Oyate Tawicohan means "The Way of the People." It's also the name of a funeral home run by Claudia Windal who's been involved in death care since 2000. At the time, an elder asked how she might have her cousin's remains transported from Chicago to Minneapolis. The Chicago funeral home wanted almost $2,000. Claudia and the elder rented a van and brought the remains home. The cost: about $400. The elder then turned to her and said "now you must do this for our people." This began the Indian Burial Assistance Project which provides no cost transportation of Native remains to many reservations in Minnesota and elsewhere. Claudia has since earned her degree in mortuary science, became licensed in 2004, and opened Oyate Tawicohan in 2006. Oyate Tawicohan is in Minneapolis. It welcomes native individuals and families struggling with the high cost of funerals in most funerals homes.
Oyate Tawicohan: http://naotw.biz/native_american_indian/products_services/death_care/oyate_tawicohan_funeral_home
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