The majority of Americans know little to nothing about Native Americans, our issues, or our contributions
By Crystal Echo Hawk
- First Published by Indian Country Today -
Invisibility of Native peoples to most of America threatens our fundamental rights and the wellbeing of our children. We are invisible within government, Hollywood, the news media, and in our schools. It’s the reason that the president, lawmakers, and the media use derogatory racial stereotypical language about Native people with impunity. Our invisibility and erasure is seen as normal.
The majority of Americans know little to nothing about Native Americans, our issues, or our contributions
By Sandra Hale Schulman
- News From Indian Country -
The first big unveiling in the still under construction Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, FL opened with a guitar smashing ceremony last November.
The new restaurant and retail area of the property’s expanded Hollywood complex are the first finished areas to open as part of the $1.5 billion revamp of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood.
This week's stories: Vice Sports highlights the life of a Navajo cowboy; The United Tribe Technical College celebrates 50 years; Tanksi Clairmont to lead Tribal Solar Accelerator; AIAI plans for research center; Native youth delegation will be attending the National High School Model United Nations Conference.
Interview with Cody Bigjohn by Paul DeMain - #1 of 5
- Pellston, Michigan (NFIC) -
My name is Cody Bigjohn, Odawa/Ojibwe Ndow. I come from the land of the Cricket Tree. I am Odawa and Ojibwe. I grew up in Lansing, which is the state capital of Michigan. I’ve been up here in the northern part of Michigan for about 20 years, now. Outside of camp, I’m a graphic designer, screen printer. I have two children.
GREEN BAY, Wis. - (WBAY)
The estate of a man who was shot and killed in the sally port of the Brown County jail has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming violations of Jonathon Tubby’s constitutional rights.
A complaint obtained by Action 2 News in Green Bay, Wisconsin was filed Jan. 24 by the Estate of Jonathon C. Tubby. The complaint states Tubby was shot multiple times--including a close range shot to the head.
By Doug George-Kanentiio
One of the more admirable traits of the Mohawk people is the ability to shake things up, to disturb the complacent, to agitate, confront and demand.
It was no mere chance that Skennenrahowi, the Peacemaker, decided to enter Mohawk territory first as they had the most formidable reputation, one based on cruelty, vengeance and plain meanness. His reasoning was that if he could shift the Mohawks away from being artists of war to proponents of peace he could effect similar changes in any people, at any time.
Skennenrahowi succeeded but not before he proved to a doubtful people that he was, in truth, a messenger from the Creator. But he did not extinguish Mohawk characteristics such as their innate intelligence, their physical toughness, their willingness to speak out when moved by an issue or to take leadership in the face of adversity. The Mohawks then, and for most of our history, refused to be passive even in times of danger.
In the past century we have many examples of Mohawks who refused to bend to the forces of oppression. These people were not complacent with the ways things were but risked liberty, home security and their personal safety to take a stand in defense of what they believed to be right.
In the first decades of the 20th century Akwesasne in particular was mired in factionalism. The border was set, the elected councils in place and the traditional customs called the “longhouse” virtually invisible. The Nation council leaders had been jailed and one of their supporters killed by the RCMP for resisting the imposition of the Indian Act system. Despite repeated attempts to get rid of the St. Regis tribal council New York actively intervened and kept the “trustees” in place.
Yet the idea, the dream, of a united Mohawk people at Akwesasne would not fade. A new era of activism began after World War I when Iroquois leaders from New York to Wisconsin sought o assert the right to self determination. From the Oneidas of Wisconsin came Laura Cornelius Kellogg, one of the founders of the Society of American Indians, a group of Natives from across the United States who shared their common experiences and adopted a pro-unity strategy. Ms. Cornelius-Kellogg wanted the revival of the Iroquois Confederacy as a recognized entity in the world and the return of lands stolen by New York State. She was the first person to travel to Europe using an Iroquois passport and she came to Akwesasne to help the Mohawks regain control over the territory under the jurisdiction of the Mohawk Nation Council.
Grand councils were held at Akwesasne where Ms. Cornelius Kellogg spoke with passion. She helped win the Paul Diabo case in the US Supreme Court which recognized the aboriginal right to cross the border and thereby saved the economic lives of thousands of Mohawks.
Grand councils were held at Akwesasne where Ms. Cornelius Kellogg spoke with passion. She helped win the Paul Diabo case in the US Supreme Court which recognized the aboriginal right to cross the border and thereby saved the economic lives of thousands of Mohawks. She was a real troublemaker as seen by the US and tribal council supporters. She gave inspiration to the people to reject the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 which in turn led the clanmothers of the Nation to block the entrance of the old tribal building on St. Regis Road and order the tribal council to disband. Those brave ladies were certainly troublemakers.
As were the families who built the longhouse on Route 37 at great personal risk. At that time a family could have lost their jobs, been evicted from their homes and stripped of their enrollment status if they were seen to have taken part in the ancient rituals. But a group of young people refused to concede to the accusation that they were “dancing with the devil” and renewed the ceremonies.
Among these brave ones, these troublemakers, were Alec Gray, Joe Mitchell, Ross and Madeline David, Mike Boots and Ray Fadden. It was Mr. Fadden who added to this fire when he took Mohawk history into the schools and made those stories into a source of pride. He raised a generation of young Mohawks to extract the wisdom and teachings of their grandparents and restore dignity to a people. Among his compatriots was Ernest Benedict, one of the first Mohawk college graduates, the editor of the first Mohawk newspaper and a man who was jailed because he defied the US and said it had no right to draft Mohawks into World War II. Ernie did serve with distinction but he never compromised on his ideals.
Another contemporary was Phillip Cook. Although he remained a Christian throughout his life he was an advocate for the restoration of the traditional government. He was elected as one of the three trustees for the Tribal Council but knew the people wanted that “elected” system out. So after receiving almost universal support he, and the other trustees, disbanded the Tribe in 1948 only to have New York State hold an off territory election and using the threat of the New York State Police return the tribe to power.
In the 1950’s we had the leadership of Frank Thomas-Standing Arrow. He had been taught by his elders that the Mohawk people had never sold their ancestral lands despite the fraudulent Seven Nations of Canada and Joseph Brant “treaties”. Rather than wait for litigation he acted and in 1957 moved his family and other Mohawks to the Schoharie Creek at its confluence with the Mohawk River west of Amsterdam. He held on for two years until New York once again sent in the troopers to burn their longhouse and dismantle the community.
But Standing Arrow was right, direct assertion of Mohawk sovereignty was a possibility. His troublemaking inspired young Mohawks such as Tom Porter to become advocates for traditional knowledge and a group of Kahnawakeronons to act on that knowledge in May of 1974 when they moved to secure a camp at Eagle Bay, NY and give birth to Ganienkeh. What Standing Arrow did was to show the viability of the longhouse in political matters. A Nation Council could govern and was seen as leading the move towards unifying Akwesasne.
Among the people affected by Standing Arrow was Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell. He made serious trouble when he and his friends blocked traffic on Kawehnoke to protest the imposition of import duties on goods taken from the “US” to Mohawk homes north of the border. What Mr. Mitchell did on December 1968 ignited a national movement to assert aboriginal rights across Canada.
From that incident, which received worldwide attention, came the publication Akwesasne Notes, the most influential Native news journal in history, And the White Roots of Peace, the travel troupe which was the most effective advocate for Native sovereignty. Both were sanctioned by the Mohawk Nation Council and made Akwesasne the beacon for the rights of indigenous people worldwide. Now that was epic troublemaking.
Then came the takeover at Alcatraz in November, 1969. The Native peoples of the US were ready for the spark which would ignite the movement and it came from Richard Oakes, the son of Irene Foote (my grandmother’s niece) and Arthur Oakes, both Akwesasnoronons. Richard was schooled in Mohawk nationalism by the White Roots when the troupe visited San Francisco in early 1968. He promoted the ideas of Standing Arrow, Ray Fadden and Ernie Benedict-his edicts read at Alcatraz were absolutely pro-Native sovereignty and when he swam to that island on November 9, in 50 degree water through 250 yards of lethal currents he initiated what we all have benefited from: the principles of Native self determination and the use of direct action to assert those rights. Oakes did not wait for the courts, he did not engage in useless, confidential negotiations with government officials, he would not be coerced by those who wanted to take a more “reasonable” approach to Native rights. He saw the dangers of appeasement so he stripped off his shirt, plunged into the San Francisco Bay and did a perfect Akwesasne backstroke to Alcatraz. Joining Oakes in that epic swim were Joe Bill, Ross Harden, Jim Vaughn and Jerry Hatch.
And so began a truly historic trouble making with international ramifications.
Richard Thariwasatse Oakes would be murdered in 1972 in his 30th year but his legacy is wide reaching. When he was shot and killed a national caravan was organized to go to Washington and demand his death be investigated by the federal government. This caravan, originally named after Oakes, would become the Trail of Broken Treaties and arrive in DC in later October, 1972 on the eve of the US national elections. The headquarters of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (an agency then led by Akwesasne Mohawk Louis Bruce) was occupied and ransacked (some say by government agents). After leaving the BIA with money given by the Richard Nixon reelection campaign many of the occupiers would rally to the call for support at Pine Ridge, South Dakota in February, 1973. With the American Indian Movement in prominence the standoff at Wounded Knee, SD would last for over 100 days and become the longest armed standoff between the US and Native peoples in the 20th century.
There would be other incidents of trouble at Akwesasne and elsewhere across both Canada and the US. To respond to this the Americans would pass new legislation including the 1988 National Indian Gaming Act, a law impossible to conceive of without Native activism with an economic slant. If those troublemakers had not been brave enough to take their stands we would all still be under the heavy hand of Indian agents, hostile courts and oppressive state and federal legislatures.
With Oakes at Alcatraz were the original group: LaNada Means War Jack, Joe Bill, David Leach, John Whitefox, Ross Harden, Jim Vaughn, Linda Arayando, Bernell Blindman, Kay Many Horse, John Virgil, John Martell, Fred Shelton, Rick Evening, Jerry Hatch and Al Miller with prime organizer Adam Fortunate Eagle and spokesperson John Trudell. Peter Blue Cloud Aroniawenrate Williams of Kahnawake would become the poet and chronicler of Alcatraz.
We should all be grateful for those Native patriots even as we look for those in this generation to show the same leadership, to show the same courage and unbending will as their troublemaking grandparents. With Oakes at Alcatraz were the original group: LaNada Means War Jack, Joe Bill, David Leach, John Whitefox, Ross Harden, Jim Vaughn, Linda Arayando, Bernell Blindman, Kay Many Horse, John Virgil, John Martell, Fred Shelton, Rick Evening, Jerry Hatch and Al Miller with prime organizer Adam Fortunate Eagle and spokesperson John Trudell. Peter Blue Cloud Aroniawenrate Williams of Kahnawake would become the poet and chronicler of Alcatraz.
Other events and laws which came about directly because of the new activism coming from Alcatraz:
Wounded Knee 1973
The end of the termination era and the restoration of federal recognition to many nations including the Menominee and Klamath
The enactment of the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act
The passage of the Indian Education Act
The enactment of the American Indian Child Welfare Act
The expansion of Indian Health Services
The enactment of the Indian Self Determination law
The founding of the Indian Water Rights Office
The passage of the Native Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
The passage of the Indian Gaming Act
The founding of the National Museum of the American Indian
The 1978 Longest Walk
The 1977 Native presence at the United Nations Human Rights forum in Geneva
And the 2007 passage of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
And yet there is still no formal recognition of Richard Oakes at Akwesasne. Perhaps on the 50th anniversary of the swim to Alcatraz we can do something tangible to give him and his compatriots the honour they deserve.
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By Mark Trahant
-Indian Country Today-
What’s next? Will there be another government shutdown? And what about the border?
President Donald J. Trump signed into law during Janauary, a three-week spending bill to fund about a quarter of government operations. That ended the longest government shutdown in history. More than 800,000 federal employees did not get paid during the shutdown, plus the interruption in revenue for federal contractors, including tribes and nonprofits.
Yet the White House is already talking about another shutdown unless Democrats on Capitol Hill agree to his original pitch for $5.7 billion wall along the U.S. and Mexico border.
“No one wants a government shutdown, it’s not a desired end,” said Mick Mulvaney, the White House acting chief of staff on “Fox News Sunday.”“But when the president vetoes a bill that’s put in front of him as a spending package, sometimes that has effect of shutting the government down. We don’t go into this trying to shut the government down.” He said the president will push for a wall where it’s needed “the quickest” and not a 2,000 mile structure.
Let’s look at three big questions: What’s next in this fight? Will there be another government shutdown? And what about the border?
The practical takes over the first week. Government agencies have to catch up on a month of work piling up. Contracts, phone messages, decisions, even collecting garbage, basically the works. This will take time.
There will be a lot of demand, for example, from tribes and non-profit organizations to get cash flow restarted to pay for self-governance and other contracts with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.
As for employees, Mick Mulvaney, the White House acting chief of staff, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” that the government will move quickly to pay employees. “Some of them may be later this week, but we hope that by the end of this week, all of the back pay will be made up and, of course, the next payroll will go out on time.”
One issue that must be sorted out: overtime. In in order to make due during the shutdown some agencies required overtime from the employees that did work. How will that overtime be paid? And what will that do to agency budgets since the furloughed employees will also be paid? In the lawsuit filed by federal Indian Service employees, for example, the documents said some law enforcement agents exceeded 70 hours in a work week.
In Congress the next step is a conference committee. The House will argue for its language, which includes funding for border security but not a new wall, and the Senate which would give the Trump administration wide latitude about where to spend $5.7 on a border wall. (A wall along the entire border has additional cost and legal hurdles, as much as $70 billion, plus the cost of buying what is now private property.)
The conference committee will look for language that can pass both the House and the Senate. It could split the difference or try for a larger immigration bill that adds priorities from the Democrats, such as permanent legal status for residents who arrived in the United States as children without authorization.
The committee could ask for more time with an additional temporary spending bill or a continuing resolution.
Will there be another government shutdown?
The president remains a wild card. Any deal that results from the conference committee is likely the product of a give and take between the Senate and the House. It will not be the president’s demand for a wall or else. So will he shut the government again?
The White House is already saying yes. That started Friday, Jan 25th when the president made the announcement about the government reopening. “So let me be very clear: We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” he said. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15th, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency. We will have great security.”
“So let me be very clear: We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” he said. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15th, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency. We will have great security.”
President Donald Trump
That leaves the White House with the option of trying to build a wall using emergency powers instead of an appropriation from Congress.
The potential of a shutdown could unite Republicans who think that is a poor way to govern.
Congress has the power of the purse. It can override the president on spending or on legislation. That could happen if there is another shutdown fight.
There is also a new found support for members of Congress wanting to take federal employees out of the equation, perhaps even coming up with legislation that would prevent a future shutdown.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, for example, apologized to federal workers and said she is supporting measures to make certain that it does not happen again. “If there was every any silver lining to this, it was to understand that there was no good reason for a shutdown ever, but also I think we gained a little bit of appreciation for the good work that our federal employees do for us, -- the work that they do is important and we appreciate it,” she said.
This idea could include the legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Udall, D-New Mexico, that would protect the revenue to tribes through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service. (A measure that tribes have long supported.)
And what about the border?
Later that day the Tribal Border Alliance held a press conference outlining their ideas for the border. There are 26 federally–recognized tribes with homelands that include the southern border.
But in Congress and in the White House there remain deep divisions about immigration policy, enforcement, and even the definition of a crisis on the border. That’s even before there is a debate about the wall.
At the Rose Garden, the president said, “I believe that crime in this country can go down by a massive percentage if we have great security on our southern border. I believe drugs, large percentages of which come through the southern border, will be cut by a number that nobody will believe.”
However as the Brookings Institution reports: “The crime statistics, with few exceptions, tell a very different story. In 2014, 14,249 people were murdered, the lowest homicide rate since 1991 when there were 24,703, and part of a pattern of steady decline in violent crime over that entire period.”
Brooking found no evidence “that undocumented residents accounted for either the rise in crime or even for a substantial number of the crimes, in Chicago or elsewhere. The vast majority of violent crimes, including murders, are committed by native–born Americans.”
Brookings also points out that drug smuggling will continue. Most of it now is through border points and a wall would have to be at least 70 feet deep to prevent tunnels from being constructed.
And this comes at a time when unauthorized immigration is shrinking. According to Pew Research, “the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population grew rapidly between 1990 and 2007, reaching a peak of 12.2 million. Since then, the population declined to 10.7 million. Unauthorized immigrants from Mexico make up half of all unauthorized immigrants and have been a driver of the group’s population decline – the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico fell from a peak of 6.9 million in 2007 to 5.4 million in 2016.”
The White House continues to raise the possibility of declaring a national emergency in order to build the wall without Congress. But that raises other questions, too. An emergency order will be challenged in the court system and that will prevent construction immediately. What’s more an emergency order might only work for this year’s funding, money that would have to be spent before Sept. 30, 2019. After that Congress would have to appropriate more funds. Another concern by many conservatives is that if Trump does use emergency powers to build a wall, the next president could use the same authority to use federal resources for climate change or another priority of the Democrats.
Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on Twitter - @TrahantReports
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Arizona, Fort Defiance – Funeral services for Harrison A. Watchman Sr. 70, were held Jan. 2, 2019 at the Potter’s House in Fort Defiance. Interment followed in Fort Defiance. Harrison was born Oct. 23, 1948, in Shiprock, into the Tachii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan), born for Naaneesht’ezhi Tachii’nii (Charcoal Streaked Division of the Red Running Into the Water Clan). Harrison passed away Dec. 25, 2018 in Gallup.
Harrison is survived by his wife, Elouise Watchman; sons, Harrison Watchman Jr. and Keith Stewart; daughters, Valentina Sallis and Gwen Watchman; mother, Helen Silentman; brother, Phillip Silentman; sisters, Merlinda Miles, Christine Randolph and Linda Church; and grandson, Brayden Watchman. He is preceded in death by his son, Dean Watchman; father, Tony Chicharello; stepfather, Harry Silentman; son-in-law, Keith B. Sallis; sister, Laura Jean Homer; and brothers, Willis Watchman and Henry Watchman.
Harrison attended New Mexico Highlands University. He worked at Navajo Forest Products Industry, and Peabody Western Coal Co., and 26 years at P&M Coal Mine and 10 years at Navajo Transit. (Navajo Times, January 3, 2019)
Arizona, Steamboat – Funeral services for Joshua Michael Sholley, 30, of Sawmill, AZ., were held Jan. 3, 2019 at the Bethel Navajo Baptist Church in Steamboat. Burial followed at the family plot in Steamboat. Joshua was born Jan. 18, 1988, in Yuba City, CA., into the Tsenjikini (Honey Combed Rock People Clan), born for Bilagaana. Joshua passed away Dec. 22, 2018 in Fort Defiance.
Joshua is survived by Tonika Tsosie; son, Jacoby Tsosie; daughters, Kloie Tsosie and Taelynn Tsosie; and grandparents, Genevieve and Johnny F. Attson Sr. He is preceded in death by his mother, Joan M. Attson Sr.
Joshua was employed with Navajo Nation Oil and Gas and also Sawmill Chapter House and Richard Casey Construction Co. (Navajo Times, January 3, 2019)
Arizona, Black Mountain – Funeral services for Marcus Charley, 36, of Cottonwood, AZ., were held Jan. 5, 2019 at the Black Mountain Mission Church. Burial followed at the Black Mountain community cemetery. Marcus was born Jan. 15, 1972, in Fort Defiance, into the Ma’ii Deeshgiizhinii (Coyote Pass Clan), born for Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan). Marcus passed away Dec. 29, 2018, in Chinle.
Marcus is survived by his sons, Joshua B. Charley, Marquis Charley, and Marc Charley; mother, Mary C. Charley; brothers, Virgil and Matthew Charley; and sister, Coranda Whitesheep. He is preceded in death by his father, Thomas Charley Sr.; and brother, Thomas Charley Jr.
Marcus worked with the National Park Service, Mountain State Railroad Company and other construction companies. (Navajo Times, January 3, 2019)
Arizona, Chinle – Funeral services for Lucy Ruth VanWinkle, 78, in Chinle, were held Dec. 24, at the Church o Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Chinle. Interment followed in Nazlini, AZ. Lucy was born Mar. 8, 1940, in Chinle, into the Deeshchii’nii (Start of the Red Streak People Clan), born for Ma’ii Deeshgiizhinii (Coyote Pass Clan). Lucy passed away Dec. 20, 2018, in Albuquerque.
Lucy is survived by her sons, Teddy Draper III, Wendell Draper, Michael Draper Sr., Teddy Draper Jr. and Otto Draper Sr.; daughters, Lorranine Wilson, Theodora Draper, Gloria Begody, Wendy Draper, Theocia Begay, Geneva Stephens and Celia Tsinajinnie; brothers, Daniel Deeshchiinii and Luther VanWinkle; sisters, Cecelia VanWinkle, Lena Nez, Tressia Dedman and Sophia VanWinkle; and 32 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents, Margaret and Jones VanWinkle; sister, Bertha Goldtooth; and brothers, Cecil VanWinkle and Herman VanWinkle.
Lucy received a GED, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree. (Navajo Times, January 3, 2019)
Arizona, St. Michaels – Funeral mass for Richard Gerald Foley, was held Dec. 28, 2018 at the Mother of Mankind Catholic Church in St. Michaels, AZ. A rosary preceded the mass. Richard passed away Dec. 17, 2018 at home in Mesa, AZ. Burial will be in New York.
Richard is survived by his wife, Michelle L. Yazzie; brothers, Greg Foley and Michael Foley; sister, Patricia Foley Hill; and numerous nieces, nephews and grandchildren.
Richard had a passion for coaching and teaching. (Navajo Times, January 3, 2019)
Arizona, Kayenta – Funeral services for Isabel M. Kitsale, 96, were Jan. 5, 2019 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Kayenta. Interment followed at the family site near Chilchinbeto, AZ. Isabel was born June 15, 1922 in Chilchinbeto region, into the To’aheedliinii (Water Flow Together Clan), born for To’ahani (Near the Water Clan). Isabel passed away Dec. 30, 2018 in Gilbert, AZ.
Isabel is survived by her son, Calvin; daughter, Florence; sister, Ruth Luna; grandson, Jim; and granddaughter, Christina.
Isabel was employed for over 30 years with the BIA Boarding School in Kayenta, before retiring. (Navajo Times, January 10, 2019)
Arizona, Fort Defiance – Funeral services for Lee Christopher Bitsuie, 76, were held Jan. 11, 2019 at Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Fort Defiance. Burial followed at the Fort Defiance Veterans Cemetery. Lee was born Aug. 10, 1942, in Steamboat, AZ, to KeaAhene and Irene Bitsuie. Lee passed away between Dec. 29, 2018 and Jan. 5, 2019 in Steamboat Canyon, AZ.
Lee is survived by his daughters, Dorothy, Ruby, Sarah, Cheryl, Cherie, Charmaine, Carolene, Alicia, and Sky; sons, Al, Leland, Adrian, Andrew, and Christopher; sisters, Charlene Yazzie and LaRose Chiquito; brothers, Wallace, Howard, Lester, Paul and Wilbur A. Bitsuie; and 30 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and military comrades. He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Frank KeaAhene; sister, Ida Yellowhair; daughter, Caroletta Bradley; and son, Leroy Gorman.
Lee joined the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam war earning a Purple Heart and other commendations. He served with the 25th Infantry Division. Upon returning to civilian life he held jobs and positions with the Navajo Nation government. He also held a position of commanding the Steamboat Veterans Organization. (Navajo Times, January 10, 2019)
Arizona, St. Michaels – Funeral services for Jerome Thomas Nez, 36, of St. Michaels, AZ., were held Jan. 16, 2019 at the Mary, Mother of Mankind Parish Mission in St. Michaels. Burial followed at the St. Michaels cemetery. Jerome was born Nov. 7, 1962, in Fort Defiance, into the Kiyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan), born for Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan). Jerome passed away Jan. 2, 2019, in Orlando, FL.
Jerome is survived by his father, Thomas N. Nez; brothers, Jamie and Alex Nez; sister, Margarita Nez; and grandparents, Elizabeth Keeto, Tom Nakai Nez and Mary J. Nez. He is preceded in death by his mother, Helen J. Keeto; brothers, Victor Keeto and Jeremie Nez; and grandfather, Henry Keeto.
Jerome worked in construction. (Navajo Times, January 10, 2019)
Arizona, Fort Defiance – Graveside service for Stanley Ben, 76, of Fort Defiance was held Jan. 17, 2019 at the Fort Defiance Veterans Cemetery. Stanley was born in 1943 in Fort Defiance, into the Naakai dine’e (Mexican Clan), born for Totsohnii (Big Water Clan). Stanley passed away Jan. 13, 2019 in Fort Defiance.
Stanley is survived by his wife, Alice Ben; sons, Leon Hunter Sr. and Wesley Harvey; daughters, Yanniibah Brunello, DawnLei Hunter Ben, Nasbah Hunter Ben, Seanna Hunter Ben and Emma Boisselle; brother, Calvin Ben Sr.; and sister, Mary Francis Bedonie. He is preceded in death by his mother, Josephine Bilagody Ben; father, Charlie Chee Ben; sister, Marian Joe; and brother, Leonard Ben.
Stanley was one of the first five students to graduate from Intermountain High School and one of the first students of Navajo Community College. Stanley served in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam and worked in the maintenance and transportation department for O.N.E.O. He also worked with St. Michaels and Oak Springs Head Start bus driver and maintenance for Navajo Housing Authority. (Navajo Times, January 17, 2019)
Arizona, St. Michaels – Funeral services for Milton Bluehouse Sr., 82, were held Jan. 17, at the St. Michaels Catholic Mission Church. Milton was born Feb. 29, 1936, in Ganado, AZ., into the Tl’izi lani (Many Goats Clan), born for Honaghaahnii (One-walks-around Clan). Milton passed away Jan. 14, 2019 in Ganado.
Milton is survived by his wife, Irma Bluehouse; daughter, Bernadette Bluehouse; and sons, Milton Bluehouse Jr., Douglas Lowery and Darwin Lowery. He is preceded in death by his parents, Alice and Sam Bluehouse; sister, Roberta Bluehouse; and brother, Homer Bluehouse.
Milton attended Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and served in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1961. Milton was interim Navajo Nation president, interim Navajo Nation vice president, Navajo Nation Council delegate, Ganado Chapter president, Ganado Chapter Treasurer, Ganado School Board president and Ganado School Board vice president. (Navajo Times, January 17, 2019)
Minnesota, Red Lake – A wake for Gennie Kingbird, “Gezhibaay-aashiik”, “Whirl Wind Woman” 41, of Ponemah began on Jan. 10th 2019 and continued with her traditional service on Jan. 12, 2018 at the Boys and Girls Club in Ponemah, MN. Interment followed in the Kingbird Family Burial Grounds at Ponemah. Gennie was born in Bemidji, MN and Apr. 22, 1977 to Bernice and Alfred Kingbird, Sr. Gennie passed away Jan. 6, 2019 at the Red Lake HIS Hospital in Red Lake, MN.
Gennie is survived by her daughter, Miyah Kingbird; sons, Clarence Patterson, Jr., Damon Patterson, Ethan Kingbird and Jeremiah Kingbird Jr.; father; brothers, Lonny (Bobbi Jo), T’Jay, Tobie (Colette), Patrick Kingbird and Alfred Kingbird Jr.; sisters, Shanna (Alvin Johnson, Jr.), and Leah (Linsey) Kingbird; uncles, John (Rita) and Rudy Kingbird; aunties, Andrea (David) Rosebear and Mona Nelson and Roberta (Sami) Syed, Judy French, Mardel (Roland) Iceman and Elsie (Robert) Rushman and Beverly Cloud; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She is preceded in death by her mother; grandparents, John and Julia Kingbird, Sarah and Fred Kingbird Sr.; aunties, Brenda, Roberta, Carol and Verna Kingbird, Regina French, Elsie Burr, Lillian Jones, and Grace Perkins; uncles, Harlan Kingbird Sr., Francis Stillday, Gerry Kingbird and Fred Kingbird Jr. (The Red Lake Nation, January 25, 2019)
Minnesota, Red Lake – A memorial gathering for Robert Malone III, 82 of Red Lake was held at the Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home Jan. 11, 2019. Robert passed away Jan. 6, 2019 at the Fargo VA Hospital. (The Red Lake Nation, January 25, 2019)
Minnesota, Red Lake – Memorial services for Peggy Nelson, 59 of Clearbrook, MN., were held Jan. 14, 2019 at the United Methodist Church in Fosston. A private interment will be held at a later date. Peggy was born Sept. 28, 1959 to Robert and Lois (Dunning) Ball in Fosston, MN. Peggy passed away Jan. 9, 2019 at the Essentia Health Hospital in Fosston.
Peggy is survived by her husband, Wally; children, Dana (Keith) Wojciechowski, Jolene Nelson, Ben (Jill) Nelson, and Brady (Amanda) Nelson; grandchildren, Kally Wojciechowski, Isaiah Lande, Paxton Gauger, Molly, Maddy, and Gus Nelson, Talia, Harvey, and Elloise Nelson; father, Robert Ball; sisters, Debbie (Ernie) Moen, Judy (Paul) Ophus and Roberta (Paul) Freeman; Norma Erickson; and many family and friends. She is preceded in death by her, mother; brother, Randy Ball; nephew, Bobby Ball and grandparents.
Peggy received her Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics form the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. She taught Family, Home and Consumer Science at the Red Lake High School form 1993 to 2019. (The Red Lake Nation, January 25, 2019)
Minnesota, Red Lake – Services for Paul Thornhill, 39 of St. Paul, MN., were held Jan. 18, 2019 at Gichitwaa Kateri Church in Minneapolis, MN. Paul was born Jan. 21, 1979 to Richard Defoe and Pamela Nelson in Coon Rapids, MN. Paul passed away Jan. 11, 2019.
Paul is survived by his children Sasha Thornhill and Paul Thornhill Jr.; special friend, Holly Beth Johnson; mother; twin brother, Alex (Nikki) Thornhill; siblings, Matthew (Demeri) Thornhill, Patrick (Marie) Blanchard, Carl Nelson, Dylan (Anna) Nelson, Ruby Mitchell, Richard (Annie) Defoe Jr., Brooke Defoe, Crystal (Myron) Cobenais Sr., Richelle May, Danielle May, Shanoah May and Christopher Defoe; many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father; grandparents; grandmother, Priscilla Defoe; brother, Donovan (Sam) Schoenborn; cousin, James Lee Gibbs and aunt, Mary Thornhill.
Paul worked for PROM Catering which let him travel all over the United States doing catering events. (The Red Lake Nation, January 25, 2019)
Minnesota, Red Lake – Funeral services for Harlow Edward Berg, 86, were held Jan. 26, 2019 at Samhold Lutheran Church, in Gonvick, MN. Military Honors were accorded by American Legion Post #304 of Gonvick, MN. Interment followed at Samhold Lutheran Cemetery. Harlow was born Sept. 8, 1932 to Robert and Getta in Gonvick, MN. Harlow passed away Jan. 17, 2019 at Sanford Medical Center, Bemidji, MN.
Harlow is survived by his wife, Tippy; children, Tim (Roxanne), Kevin (Sheryl), and Terri (Keith); grandchildren, Derek (Molly), Matt (Melissa), Jonny (Molly), Megan and Jenna; great-grandchildren, Owen, Evie, Greta, Ethan, Regan, Nora and Charlie; sister-in-law, Virginia (Ginny) Berg and Mavis Eck; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents; brother, Robert Berg, Jr.
Harlow was drafted into the Army during the Korean War (1953-1954). He served in the Heavy Mortar Company 53rd Infantry in Fort Richardson, Alaska. Harlow and his wife owned Gonvick Oil Company and he also was a rural mail carrier. He served with the Gonvick Fire Dept. and Samhold Lutheran Church as a sexton and as a trustee and Gonvick-Trail School Board and Gonvick City Council and he was a member of the Gonvick American Legion. (The Red Lake Nation, January 25, 2019)
Minnesota, Red Lake – A wake for Nancy Lynn Roy, 52, was held on Jan. 22, 2019 and continued until her traditional service Jan. 24, 2019 at the Red Lake Community Center in Red Lake, MN. Burial followed at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Red Lake, MN. Nancy was born Jan. 24, 1966 to Hubert and Alma (Greene) Roy. Nancy passed away Jan. 20, 2019 at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND.
Nancy is survived by her sons, Ricky and Ryan Roy; 4 grandchildren; sisters, Debra Roy, Kimberly Greene, and Rhonda Roy; brother, David Roy; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents; brother, Paul Roy; niece, Denise Thompson; great-nephew, Sylis Thompson, and numerous family and friends.
Nancy worked as a Personal Care Assistant for Home and Heart. (The Red Lake Nation, January 25, 2019)
New Mexico, Gallup – Funeral services for Lewis E. Becenti Jr., 40, were held Jan. 11, 2019 at Rollie Mortuary in Gallup. Burial followed at the Sunset Memorial Park. Lewis was born Sept. 22, 1978, in Gallup, into the Ashiihi (Salt People Clan), born for Kinyaa’aanii (Towering House Clan). Lewis passed away Jan. 5, 2019, in Albuquerque.
Lewis is survived by his step-mother, Darlene Becenti; siblings, Lewianna, Madeline Becenti and Lane Becenti Sr.; children, Anfernee, Jasmine, and Leonissa Becenti; aunt, Harriet Beceny; and grandchild, Jesse R. Charley. He is preceded in death by his mother, Carol Ann Yazzie; and father, Lewis Becenti Sr. (Navajo Times, January 10, 2019)
New Mexico, Gallup – Funeral services for Emmett Cadman Jr., 43, were held Jan. 18, 2019 at the Rollie Mortuary Chapel in Gallup. Burial followed at the Gallup City Cemetery. Emmett was born July 12, 1975, into the Naakai dine’e (Mexican Clan), born for Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan). His nali is Kiyaa’aanii (Towering House); chei is Tachii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People). Emmett passed away Jan. 9, 2019.
Emmett is survived by his daughters, Kayano Lee and Keisha Cadman; sons, Jyrus W., Jarron T., and Noah E. Cadman. He is preceded in death by Mildred Calvin Cadman; brother, Casey K. Thomas; sister, Darvna C. Cadman; grandparents, Marrion J. and Tulley Calvin and Alice R. Jones and Emerson Cadman Sr.
Emmett was a well known carpenter in the Gallup and surrounding areas. (Navajo Times, January 17, 2019)
New Mexico, Kirtland – Funeral services for Lillie Edison, 86, were held Jan. 11, 2019 at the Cope Memorial Chapel in Kirtland. Interment followed at the Kirtland cemetery. Lillie was born Mar. 10, 1932, in Upper Fruitland, NM., into the Bit’ahnii (Folded Arms Clan), born for Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan). Lillie passed away Jan. 2019.
Lillie is survived by her son, Samuel Edison; daughters, Marylou Boone, Pauline Alston, Annie, Darlene, Shirlene Edison; sister, Joanne Barber; eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. She is preceded in death by her father, Naataanii Yazhi Begay; mother, Edith Benally; and brothers, Jimmy Benally and John J. Begay. (Navajo Times, January 17, 2019)
New Mexico, Sheep Springs – Funeral services for Lupita A. Washburn, 54, were held Jan. 15, 2019 at the Sheep Springs Pentecostal Church in Sheep Springs. Interment followed at the Sheep Springs cemetery. Lupita was born Apr. 20, 1964, in Gallup, into the Kinlichii’nii (Red House People Clan), born for Tachii’nii (Red Running Into the Water People Clan). Her nali is Kinyaa’aanii (Towering House); chei is Honaghaahnii (One-walks-around). Lupita passed away Jan. 4, 2019 in Gallup.
Lupita is survived by her sons, Felix L. Washburn and Greg C. Begay; daughter, Laura M. Washburn; father, Harry A. Begay; brothers, Larry, Leonard, Alvin and Robert Begay and Lester Johnson Sr.; and sisters, Alvina, and Veronica Begay, Victoria Williams, Theresa Yazzie and Michelle Foster. She is preceded in death by her mother, Mary R. Begay; and nephews, Sheldon C. Begay and Lester Johnson Jr. (Navajo Times, January 17, 2019)
Washington, Bellingham – A prayer service for Eric Joseph Landsem, 24, was held Jan. 9, 2019 and funeral service was held Jan. 10, 2019 at the Wexliam Community Building. (SQUOL QUOL, January 2019)
Washington, Bellingham – A prayer service for Yvonne Annette “Bon” Solomon, 68, was held Dec. 30, 2018 and funeral service was held Dec. 31, 2018 at the Wexliem Community Building. Yvonne was born Oct. 29, 1950 in Bellingham to William and Rosemary (Washington) Phair. Yvonne passed away Dec. 27, 2018.
Yvonne is survived by her sons, Marvin Phair, Elias Hoskins, and Richard Solomon Jr.; daughters, Sarah Lawerence and Vanessa Jimmy; sisters, Ardellina Johnson, Francine Phair, Nadine Joy, Patty Phair, Janine Hillaire, Wendy Phair, and Lisa Phair; brothers, John Phair Sr. and Murray Phair; 13 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents; husband, Rick Solomon Sr.; son, Hank Hoskins Sr. and brother, William Phair Jr. (SQUOL QUOL, January 2019)
Washington, Yakima – The Dressing Service for Trudi Lee Clark, 55, of Wapato, WA., was held Dec. 27, 2018 in the Toppenish Creek Longhouse with the overnight religious services following. Funeral services were held at sunrise Dec. 28, 2018 in the Toppenish Creek Cemetery. Trudi was born Aug. 6, 1963 to Martin and Sally (George) Hannigan in Toppenish, WA. Trudi passed away Dec. 23, 2018 in the Virgina Mason Memorial Hospital at Yakima, WA.
Trudi is survived by her husband, Gary Clark; daughters, Tashina Thomas and Staci Sam;n4 grandchildren, brothers, Wendall Lee, Lee Hannigan, George Lee, Isaac Hannigan, Martin Hannigan Jr. and Marvin Hannigan; sisters, June Williams, Mabel Pacheco, Marian Dave, Debra Gardee-Lee and Julia Skwanqhqn; numerous nieces and nephews. She preceded in death by her parents and seven siblings.
Trudi worked as an office assistant for the Yakama Nation and accounts receivable-bookkeeper for Yakama Power and she was also an EMT and firefighter. (Yakama Nation Review, January 16, 2019)
Washington, Toppenish – The Dressing Service for Elizabeth Edna Aleck, 53 was held Jan. 8, 2019 in the Wapato Longhouse with overnight religious services following. Graveside services were held in the Simpson Cemetery Jan. 9, 2019. Elizabeth was born Sept. 26, 1965 in Yakima, WA. Elizabeth passed away Jan. 4, 2019 near Toppenish, WA.
Elizabeth is survived by her children, Farrel Aleck, Jasmine Martinez, James Martinez and Rachel Munoz; eight grandchildren; brothers, Byron Wheeler, Buster Wheeler, Arnold Denver and Eddie Aleck Jr.; sisters, Beatrice Kiona, Leah Aleck and Agnes Ketchem; numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents; and sister, Anna Wheeler. (Yakama Nation Review, January 16, 2019)
Washington, Seattle – A graveside service for Rita D. Mendoza, 70 of Toppenish, WA., was held in the 1910 Shaker Church Cemetery Jan. 3, 2019. Rita was born July 18, 1948 in Yakima, WA. Rita passed away Dec. 23, 2018 in the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.
Rita is survived by her husband, Jose Mendoza; sons, Daniel Ross and Jose Mendoza Jr.; daughter, Angelica Mendoza; brother, Don Miller; sister, Linda Pratt; eight grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren.
Rita was a secretary for Yakama Nation Court Services. She is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. (Yakama Nation Review, January 16, 2019)
Washington, Wapato – The Dressing Service for Caroline Adrianna Pacheco (Tulilkwy), 34 was held Jan. 5, 2019 in the Valley Hills Funeral Home at Wapato, WA., with overnight religious services following in the Toppenish Creek Longhouse. Burial services were held Jan. 7, 2019 in the Toppenish Creek Cemetery. Caroline was born Sept. 7, 1984 in Toppenish to Angel G. Pacheco Sr. and Eliza E. Lara. Caroline passed away Jan. 3, 2019.
Caroline is survived by her mate, Joel John, Curtis Yallup Jr., Issiah Johnson, Armanii Yallup, Andre Yallup, Angel Pacheco, Omar Lara, Jorge Lara, Rosanna Phillips, Ryan Phillips, Benny Phillips, Andrew Phillips, Anthony Phillips and Jacob Phillips, Reese John and unborn child, Jerry Meninick, Eliza Lara, Angel Pacheco, and friends and family. She is preceded in death by her grandparents, Caroline Charles, Clarence Charles and Marylou Talpocken.
Caroline worked for Yakama Nation Credit Enterprise Office and the Yakama Nation General Council Executive Board Office. (Yakama Nation Review, January 16, 2019)
Wisconsin, Hayward - The Funeral Service for Stuart Blaine Miller, age 63, of LCO was held Jan. 10, 2019 at Pineview Funeral Service in Hayward. Military Honors will be accorded by LCO AmVets Post #1998. Stuart passed away Jan. 6, 2019 at his home. Stuart was born Jan. 25, 1955 in Hayward, WI to George and Audrey (Gokey) Miller.
Stuart is survived by his daughter, Raeanna (Kevin) Saltz; grandson, Kevin Saltz Jr; granddaughter, Michelle Saltz; brother, Troy Burchfield; sisters, Karen Ackley, Margaret (LaVern) Miller-Timp, Kelli Fowler, Darlene Fowler; many nephews & nieces. He is preceded in death by his three infant sons, Stuart, Anthony & George Miller; parents; brothers, Gary Miller, Dave Miller, Gene Burchfield; sisters, Gloria Miller & Andrea Sparks.
Stuart joined the United States Marines in 1974. While in the service Stuart was an aircraft & engine mechanic. After his military service he worked for LCO Development as a truck driver.
Wisconsin, Hayward – A Mass of Christian Burial for Bradley D. Trepania Sr., age 45, of LCO was held Feb. 5, 2019 at St. Francis Solanus Indian Mission in Reserve. Burial followed in St. Francis Cemetery. Bradley Dean Trepania was born Nov. 8, 1973 in Chicago, IL to Carol (Penass) and Joe “Geeb” Trepania. Bradley passed away Jan. 31, 2019 at Essentia Health Miller Dwan Medical Center in Duluth, MN.
Bradley is survived by his mother; sons, Bradley Trepania Jr, Blake Trepania, Brody Trepania; daughters, Teah Nickence, Nicolette Trepania, Paige Trepania, Mariah Trepania; nine grandchildren; brothers, Robert Trepania, Joseph R. Trepania III, Jason “Buck” Thayer; sister, Stephanie Thayer; grandfather, Gerald Mortenson; many nephews, nieces & cousins. He is preceded in death by his father; sister, Jayme Thayer; grandfather, Joseph Trepania Sr.; grandmothers, Beverly Trepania, Harriet Penass.
Bradley worked various jobs at the LCO Casino and also worked at KOA Campground in maintenance.
Wisconsin, Hayward – A Mass of Christian Burial for Suzanne A. Quaderer, age 69, of Lac Courte Oreilles was held Feb. 7, 2019 at St. Francis Solanus Indian Mission in Reserve. Burial followed in St. Francis Cemetery in Reserve. Suzanne Agnes DeBrot was born Nov. 11, 1949 in Hayward, WI to Earl and Phyllis (Bachand) DeBrot. Suzanne passed away Feb. 2, 2019 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, WI.
Suzanne is survived by her husband, Keith; sons, Jamie (Kim) Fleming of Couderay, Kenneth Jay (Edwina) Quaderer; daughters, Darcie Quaderer and Roxie (Jeff) Quaderer; 13 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren; brothers, Dale DeBrot, Warren DeBrot; sisters, Deanna Baker, Catherine Chambers and Elaine DeBrot; many nephews & nieces.
She is preceded in death by her parents; son, Keith “Sonman” Quaderer; brother, Wayne DeBrot; nephews, Ronald Quaderer, Marlon Carley & Jonathon Baker.
Suzanne attended Globe Business College in Minneapolis and worked for the State of Minnesota. After returning to LCO she attended Mt. Scenario College in Ladysmith, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She worked in the Lac Courte Oreilles School System for 43 years and had planned on retiring this year.
A memorial service for Thomas M. Disselhorst, 71, Bismarck, was held January 20th, at United Tribes Technical College at the James Henry Gymnasium. Thomas passed away Dec. 30, 2018 from injuries sustained in a car accident near Richardton, ND. Tom was born in Seattle, Washington on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1947.
Thomas is survived by his brother, Barry Disselhorst (Tania); sister, Suellen Spencer (Christopher), Lori Wolf (Tom), Cindy Bashford (Gregg), Linda Seymour; several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Tom attended the University of California in San Diego (UCSD). In 1975 he obtained a law degree from the University of California - Berkeley Law School. Tom was brought on as a staff attorney for United Tribes Technical College in 1980. For 39 years he worked in various roles including legislative advocacy, administration, contracts, and policies. He passionately taught courses in Business Law and Federal Tribal Law. Throughout his career, he maintained a private law practice representing many students and others with various legal issues, arguing before tribal courts as well as in civil and criminal courts.
Over the years Tom provided legal counsel to the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa, and the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) as well as others.
He was a founder and board member of the North Dakota Peace Coalition, a member of the North Dakota Martin Luther King Holiday Commission, the North Dakota Progressive Coalition and a recipient of the annual Prairie Peacemaker Award given by the Peace Coalition.
Tom loved to play piano. He played for the Bismarck - Mandan Unitarian Universalist Congregation services for many years. He was civil, ethical, a good listener, cheerful, having an excellent sense of humor, and a passionate advocate of Native American causes. He will be deeply missed by his family, many friends, and all who knew him.
Navajo Code Talker Alfred K. Newman passes on at 94 in New Mexico
WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP)
A Navajo Code Talker who used his native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II has died in New Mexico at age 94.
Navajo Nation officials say Alfred K. Newman passed away January 13th at a nursing home in Bloomfield.
Newman was among hundreds of Navajos who served in the Marine Corps, using a code based on their native language to outsmart the Japanese in World War II.
During World War II, Newman served from 1943-45 in the 1st Battalion, 21st Marine Regiment and 3rd Marine Division and saw duty at Bougainville Island, Guam, Iwo Jima, Kwajalein Atoll, Enewetak Atoll, New Georgia and New Caledonia.
Newman is survived by his wife of 69 years, Betsy. They had five children, 13 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Former Navajo Nation President Milton Bluehouse Sr. walks on
By FELICIA FONSECA
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP)
Milton Bluehouse Sr., who served six months as Navajo Nation president during a time of political upheaval, has died.
Bluehouse died the morning of January 14th weeks after doctors discovered he had late-stage cancer, said his son, Milton Bluehouse Jr. He was 82.
Bluehouse became president in July 1998 after two tribal presidents facing ethics charges left office. Albert Hale agreed to resign rather than face allegations he misused tribal funds. Hale’s vice president, Thomas Atcitty, took over and appointed Bluehouse to be second in command.
Within months, the Navajo Nation Council removed Atcitty for accepting free trips and golf games from companies doing business with the tribe.
Bluehouse was known for his skills as an orator in the Navajo language, ensuring the federal government upheld its obligation to the tribe and maintaining traditional values.
“Mr. Bluehouse was always open-minded,” said Willie Tracey Jr., the manager of the Ganado Chapter where Bluehouse was registered. “He was a caring person (in) what he talked about, what he planned for, what he wanted to do. He always had people in mind. He was a good advocate in doing what he could through his leadership”
Outgoing Navajo President Russell Begaye ordered flags lowered across the reservation.
In his short time as president, Bluehouse outlined an ambitious plan to offer physical training for at-risk youth, create 2,000 jobs in two years and expand policing and community-based prevention programs.
“I’m not about to roll over and play dead just because some people may think I only have four months,” he said.
Bluehouse sought the presidency as a write-in candidate in November 1998, but finished in third place.
He was raised in a traditional Navajo lifestyle that included sheep herding and graduated from the Ganado Mission School in 1958. He then served three years in the U.S. Army.
Bluehouse’s career included consulting and advocacy work. He represented Ganado on the Tribal Council before he served in the tribe’s top elected office. He lost a bid in 2010 to recapture the council seat.
He challenged the Tribal Council when it attempted to use a loan to build a casino and led an effort to recall former Navajo President Ben Shelly over his administration’s support of a settlement for water rights in the Little Colorado River basin in more recent years.
“Honorable Milton Bluehouse, Sr. was a great leader for the Navajo Nation and he will be greatly missed,” said Tribal Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates. ”He was a strong advocate for many issues, especially for upholding and protecting the sovereignty of the Navajo people.”
Within his own family, Bluehouse was a mentor and teacher who brought his children to community meetings. He would wake them up before the sun rose to check on the livestock and get hay for the animals, Bluehouse Jr. said.
”Those were moments when he taught us how to work hard and to learn from hardship for things that come up in life like this,” Bluehouse Jr. said.
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This week's stories: Wells Fargo awards nearly $13 million to projects in Indian Country; The SBA offers workshops to Native American small businesses; American Indian College Fund releases report on higher education equity initiative for Native Americans; Lac du Flambeau youth release album to combat opioid addiction; Basketmaker, Gabriel Frey wins United States Artists fellowship.
This week's stories: First all-Native bull riding team to compete in the PBR Global Cup USA; Cherokee Nation opens office to promote Native American filmmaking; Grammy’s Hall of Fame honors Link Wray’s “Rumble”; Native American actor Michael Greyeyes plays Trash Man in the third season of HBO’s “True Detective”; “Growing Native” four-part series released on DVD.
By Danny Beaton (Mohawk)
We lost our spiritual leader here in Toronto last year. We seem to lose track of everything at times, but it all comes back as we ponder things, even the truth.
Asin, Stone or Grandfather was a Cree healer, medicine man, elder, activist, educator and more, like most of our leaders who are keeping our sacred native culture going.
One of my helpers remembers Vern so well he can recount the words Vern used in his ceremonies and when he repeats them I am embarrassed because I have forgotten. But just the same when I hear Uncle Vern’s words repeated, they are powerful and wonderful.
Vern ran ceremonies at “The Meeting Place” for many years. Almost the entire body - the homeless, alcoholics and drug addicts remember Vern with respect and happiness because Vern cared for everyone. Some people remember Vern from his sacred circles and teachings in the prison system and how he took care of them with his love and how they would meet up again with him at The Meeting Place where he ran ceremonies and gave counseling.
Vern also worked at Aboriginal Legal Services, never giving up on his people while fighting for their human rights and the healing of all. I remember going into the lodge with Vern and hearing him say, “When the flap is closed we are all the same color.”
After visiting The Meeting Place over this past summer and hanging out with staff and members, I learned first hand of the suffering and pain our homeless and addicts live with for many reasons: childhood poverty, domestic violence, neglect or life experiences such as loss of work and accidents/injuries, things that created their pharmaceutical addiction.
Asin was loved by many at The Meeting Place in downtown Toronto, a shelter for the homeless, the needy and people strung out on drugs or suffering from trauma. The Cree elder found it his life mission to be a healing blanket for his people and all people who were suffering or were spiritually broken.
This article is dedicated to all the caregivers and environmentalists, and to our sacred Mother Earth, because I feel that is what has been keeping the life-giving forces nurturing society. When I say caregivers I mean Native ceremonial people, the Indigenous and religious people of the world who have real values.
Vernon Harper, 1991 speaking in Toronto, Ontario. Photo by Danny Beaton
Our oceans are being destroyed now at a fast pace. This has been known to scientists and articulated in the book “Sea Sick” by author Alanna Mitchell, who is a writer for The Globe and Mail. Because we the people and society are faced with a profound crisis due to the rape of the oceans and climate change, the people themselves are suffering with Mother Earth and the poison in her veins and body.
With the crisis of the health and safety of Mother Earth’s blood - rivers, lakes, oceans and aquifers are the real safety of all people, all human beings on this sacred Mother Earth - the leaders of the world must take some kind of action for life if life is to continue here on our sacred planet.
It was my ancestors, Mohawk and other elders, who taught me the little I know about how to give thanks, live with a Good Mind and respect all life on Mother Earth. I never forgot the elders across Turtle Island who shared their wisdom and ceremonies for us while we were young!
At The Meeting Place the wounded mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters look for a shelter or a place of stability, protection, rest and security, where many could get food, coffee, tea, showers, medical attention and help from social workers on site, ready, experienced and educated in care-giving.
The wounded are the many who have carried childhood trauma around inside their minds and spirit for a lifetime. There is help for the homeless; some are lucky and find permanent living space with the help of staff at The Meeting Place. But the homeless crisis is growing every day in Toronto, Ontario Canada and around the world.
There needs to be an example set by the government to address the issue of poverty, if the poor and homeless are to have human rights or justice.
It’s funny how, when all the hype about Climate Change and Global Warming was started by scientists back in the nineteen eighties no one was listening except environmentalists, some of the public and academics.
Now we are going through the same process of apathy, mismanagement and inaction from governments and leaders with the world poverty crisis in Toronto and the world unfolding, which will eventually lead to an increase in crime and depression.
With the support of native elders and the community, caregivers and social workers can do a better job at meeting the needs of people in poverty and stress. Once you get to know the homeless individually, even addicts who are users and you spend time with them every day, you will see the fire and gentleness every person carries in themselves.
Every person has a gentleness once they feel they are wanted and respected. People want to be trusted, but they do fail many times in life especially when they see people give up on them.
There was one woman I met this past summer at The Meeting Place who said: “Danny, I used to be a normal person, I had money in the bank, fifty thousand in my savings and I had a good job in an office. One day I was coming home from work in my car and the next minute I was flying through the air and I woke up with my legs inside my stomach. When I finally went home in a wheelchair, they put me on oxycontin, a painkiller and I was in rehab/therapy for my whole body. Within the same year my daughter had a major surgery and passed away. After getting addicted to pain killers and being traumatized with the loss of my daughter, it was not long before I started using cocaine and this went on for a few years. Then I was introduced to crack and heroin, which devastated me and I am still suffering from withdrawal.
Another woman I got to know very well told me her husband was in prison for life for killing a family friend over crack money, but later found the money in the house. And so her husband killed someone for nothing.
Elder Vern Harper helped her to understand the meaning of life through healing circles and giving thanks to all Creation, plant life, rivers, animals, fish life, and told her that the universe was alive all around us and that our ancestors would help guide us back to a place of peace and healing.
The people at The Meeting Place are not all broken spirits from childhood trauma or physically and mentally abused. There are circumstances in life that we cannot explain: why we fall into tragedy or injury, we cannot explain fate.
It is the poor and poverty that creates the suffering of the earth. My own calculations say 80% of addicts using crack cocaine wish they had never started because of the consequences, loss of family, loss of employment, loss of health, loss of one’s own self all devastating to an individual’s humanness.
What I am saying is society needs to understand how important ceremonial culture is to healing the crisis that is happening to Toronto, Ontario and every province in Canada.
Our elders and ancestors did the best they could to pass our way of life onto us. This is sacred and positive. It is in our minds, body and spirit as is Mother Earth.
When our elders are here on Mother Earth, they fill us up with their love, wisdom and our culture, so we can have a good life, take care of life and give thanksgiving to all life.
Thank you all for listening to me.
All my relations.
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By News From Indian Country - (Transcription by REV)
“Hello, everyone. Thanks again to the Sioux Chef for the wonderful cooking. I’m just gonna say a little bit about why we’re here. My name is Winona LaDuke and I’m the executive director of Honor the Earth, and this is our feast where we are thankful for the water that we have, because water is what brings us life.
“Today as I woke up by the lake and heard the lapping I remembered that this is a fifth of the world’s water, one of the most beautiful and most precious places in the world, and what a great gift it is that we get to be the people who live here by this great lake.
“So, we are just grateful for this moment in the middle of our winter, as it comes during the full moon. A time to be grateful for all of the gifts that the water in our territory has given us, and our opportunity, our spiritual opportunity to be the people that keep our commitment to this territory and our water.
“Take care of our water and take care of our future generations. So tonight is the night when we’re gonna honor some of those people who are doing that, ‘cause there are people everywhere that are doing the right thing and to remember that this is our opportunity to just summon up what we got to do.
“You know, you have that opportunity all the time, but this is a night that we are acknowledging some of those people. So as I thought about what to be grateful about, you know, our water, our territory, the life that was given to us here, I also wanted to make some special thank yous.
“We are headquartered on the White Earth Reservation a bit West of here, but we also have a new office here in Duluth because this is our lake and our territory. And so as Honor The Earth we’ve spent a lot of time... You know, I say I’ve spent most of my life trying to deal with stupid ideas?
“First it’s like this mine or maybe this power plant or maybe this pipeline project or ... You know what? It’s endless. Joe Rose, my uncle here, same thing. A lot of mining projects, things that would hurt our water.
“You know, but our organization has worked on a lot on advocacy issues and supported other organizations through a grant program to many indigenous people on a world-wide scale, but mostly in North America to protect their water and work on their language, protection of sacred sites, and protection of future generations.
“So we’re grateful to be that organization that does that, and a lot of you know that this past five years we’ve been working on these pipeline projects, these bad ideas that come from Canada. It seems like we have a lot of bad ideas that come from Canada these days, I have to say. But in this case it was ... First it was fracked oil pipelines from the Dakotas. Now it’s called the Sandpiper project intended to go here to Superior. We defeated that together in 2016. There is no more Sandpiper Project by the Enbridge Corporation.
Members of the Bad River Ojibwe Tribe join (l-r) Philomena Kebec, Beatrice Matus, (in front), Aurora Conely, elder Joe Rose, Lori Lemieux and Tribal Chairman Mike Wiggins while receiving recognition for their efforts to protect the waters of Lake Superior and the Bad River Watershed from mines, pipelines and corporate farming in the Chequamagon Bay Region of northern Wisconsin. Photos by DKakkak
“That’s what happens when people work hard and work together and you push the system and the social movement change that is going to be history.
“We write our own history. And now we are fighting the Enbridge Line #3, which is the single largest Tar Sands project out there.
“And I just wanted to give a little context, and I like to say this, because it was not my idea that I grow up and be a pipeline fighter. That wasn’t like my plan. But it’s such a bad idea that we had to organize on this one.
“But to give you a little context, a year and a half ago there was five big Tar Sands pipelines proposed. One of those was called Energy East to go from the Alberta Tar Sands to New Brunswick. One of them was called Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline intended to go from the Tar Sands to the Pacific Northwest. One was called the Trans Mountain Pipeline, intended a Kinder Morgan pipeline to go from Alberta to the Pacific Northwest to the west coast.
“And one is called the Keystone Excel Pipeline. You’ve heard of this one, right?
“And then one is called Enbridge Line Three. Five pipelines. Within the last year and a half we have seen most of those pipelines stopped. That is to say that Energy East, the single largest pipeline, never got approval at the National Energy Board in Canada.
Youth Intervenors in the Pipeline #3 permitting process and court cases on several levels were honored by representatives Nina Bergland (r) and her brother Nolan (r).
“That is to say that Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline did not get approval either. And then this fall a project known as the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Project, intended to go from the Alberta Tar Sands to the British Columbia, the Indigenous coast of that territory. In the Canadian appeals court, that court ruled that that pipeline project had not received consent from First Nations, consent from Indigenous people, and all permits for that pipeline were deemed null and void.
“What happened though is that the Premier Trudeau purchased that pipeline. But that is a pipeline without permits that is stuck in legal hell in Canada.
“The fourth pipeline is known as the Keystone XL, and last month (November) the Montana courts ruled that despite that Trump wanted to issue permits for that pipeline, they could not. He had to have a reason to issue a permit. He had to have reason to overturn Obama. And so that pipeline is also stuck.
“So what did I just tell you? That four of the five Tar Sands pipelines are stopped either in court or have never received permits. I’m thankful for that. That is what citizens movements and good political decisions and attorneys will do.
“Well today, something else happened in the state of Minnesota, and I don’t know if you all noticed that, but we have been fighting this Enbridge Line #3, because that 915,000 barrels a day of Tar Sands Oil is a bad idea. A bad idea for Minnesota, a bad idea for the world. It’s the equivalent of 50 new coal fire power plants. We don’t want that pipeline.
“So we’ve all been fighting away, doing our best, a little scrappy group. Honor The Earth. Little, just duking it out with the other citizens of Minnesota. Although that permit was issued by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, they issued the certificate of need and the route permit yesterday. Honor The Earth, White Earth Band, Red Lake Band, Friends of the Headwaters appealed those decisions, and today (Dec. 21st) the state of Minnesota’s Department of Commerce appealed the bad decision of the PUC.
“We’re very grateful. Which means that the state, the DOC is suing to stop this project too. So I just want to thank the state of Minnesota, the Department of Commerce and Governor Dayton for standing up for the little people and the water. Really grateful. Sometimes something good happens. And I just wanna be thankful for every time the system works, ‘cause I’d really like the system to work. That’s my prayer. One of my prayers.
“I’m also ready for the next economy. I wanna mention that. This last one I didn’t like too good, so we’re gonna move on.
“So that’s a little bit of our work at Honor the Earth. First of all I wanna thank the Sioux Chef for making it all happen with the food. You’ve got your dessert coming, so be good and you get dessert. But thank you to the Sioux Chef for this wonderful food.
“Now a lot of people are volunteers for this event and some of you are standing on the side. Can you all stand up? We got all kinds of volunteers that came out from our communities to help serve you and make this event possible, and I’m really grateful, ‘cause our organization ... All of us, this is about all of us working together to make a change and to make the beautiful things our descendants deserve.
“Thank you to Sacred Heart here for helping us with this beautiful site, this beautiful, beautiful location, and for your support for this event tonight.
The Sacred Heart Music Center was the site of the 2018 Solstice Gala for honoring Water Protectors and featuring the Sioux Chef crew. The structure built in 1896 and saved from demolition in 2007 is now days used for concerts, artisans and local gatherings in the Duluth region.
“I also wanna thank my Honor the Earth team. Now ladies, you wanna stand up? I got some water protectors back here. Come on, my ladies. You know, Honor The Earth is blessed with a lot of young people. There’s miss Emily and miss Kylie. You wanna give a wave? Then I got Eva back there and I got Alyssa and Nicolette. And my board chair is here. Do you wanna stand up Paul? This is the board chair of Honor The Earth, Paul DeMain.
“So I was thankful to have a lot of them come over to celebrate things, but I wanna say just a couple words. Emily and Kylie are water protectors. These are water protectors, and these are the kind of people that we honor and recognize.
“First I met Emily and then I met Kylie. But they, like Nicolette, they come from a place that you can’t drink the water any more. They come from Pennsylvania, and you can’t drink the water where those women live. And they came out here because you could still drink the water. And then those young women went to Standing Rock, and they stood with our people at Standing Rock. A lot of us all went to Standing Rock, but those young women they went to Standing Rock and they were arrested and charged. Felony charges for standing to protect the water.
“And I just wanna say there are some pretty courageous water protectors out there, and tonight we wanted to recognizing them, because to be a water protector is a good thing. It’s a good thing for all of us at this moment in time.
“Then I got Rick and Danielle from Wild Crafting. They provided the chaga for us tonight. One of our medicines from a territory, and you only get the medicine if you take care of the land, ‘cause the medicine grows where you take care of your good land, you know?
“And then John and Anne Hamilton from White Winter Winery provided the meat tonight. So I wanna thank and on behalf of the Bear Clan which likes meat very much we’re very grateful for that tonight. And Sarah Agatha Halls, from House of Halls in the back, she helped us with the awards. But she as a designer provided us a lot of support and tonight the awards come from her fine work.
“So that’s what I wanted to say. A little bit of the acknowledgment of that. And speaking of those awards I wanted to just start acknowledging some of the cool people that we came for tonight.
“Suzanne Deider is someone I don’t actually know, but we put out there as Honor The Earth, for people to nominate someone that they thought was a water protector, and this woman received a number of nominations. And so, Suzanne, I know that you checked in, but I don’t know where you are. Would you please come to the front?.
“She’s from the Spirit of the Lake community school, she’s a leader of the grandmother’s gathering at Madeline Island, which seeks to restore our innate human connection to water. She in the school provide important leadership for seven generations, and lead by example with reverence for the sacredness of the land, the people, and how we care for one another and how we show up for what’s important. So she was nominated by many members of the community tonight, so we wanted to honor her with a water protector award.
“Alyssa Hoppe, made a lot of this event possible and she is helping me blanket people tonight.”
Suzanne Dieder (pictured above): Alright, alright, wow. Well thank you. I’m not really worthy to be standing up here in front of you all. I’ve been sitting at a table listening to people talk who are working for water protection ... taught me all about corn tonight. And there are just so many amazing people in this room, so I guess I thank all of you for doing what you’re doing. I know we’re all in this together. We’re all by this big lake, and we love this big lake so much, as well as all the water that comes in. But thank you very much.
Winona LaDuke: So next we wanna honor Water Legacy as an organization. And so Gimiwun Naganub is gonna come up and accept the award on behalf of Water Legacy. And I just wanna say a couple of things about Water Legacy. When I look out there across our territory, Water Legacy is some guys that have been fighting bad guys for a long time. Protected a lot of our water and had a relentless battle against Parliament. And while bad decisions may be made by state agencies to issue permits, and backdoor deals maybe made by politicians to go and trade land, some bodies are standing up for us. And the legal battles ahead are gonna be led by Water Legacy, and we thank you for your hard work.
“And then I just wanna say that his grandmother and I, Esther Naganub, she is a fearless water protector, a great hero of our community, and so I’m really glad that we are able to provide this award to her grandson tonight on behalf of Water Legacy.
We’ll put this cool Sarah Agatha Halls blanket on you. It’s all great.
Gimiwun Naganub: I accept this blanket for Water Legacy, for which there are many more worthy people. I am truly humbled to be with that organization, because just the caliber of people. Paula Maccabbee, she is amazing. So thank you, and let’s keep the fight going.
Winona LaDuke: I had talked to Paula earlier on and she has a lot of commitments, and she was really happy to send Gimiwun, but you know, I thought of Paula Maccabbee who is relentless in her protection of the water here, and she is a Maccabbee. She is a Maccabbee. For those of you who know the story of Channukkah, the family that was holed up in the temple and the miracle of eight days of oil was the Maccabbees. That was the tribe. And that is where Paula’s name comes from. And you know, to think about that miracle ... When Channukkah came around this year I was praying for some miracles, ‘cause we will need some miracles. And so again just express our gratitude to Paula Maccabbee for their fearless work of Water Legacy. So thank you again to Water Legacy.
“So the third award we are gonna give is to the really tough guys of Bad River. Can we call you that? So you look out there across Indian country, and you know, I don’t know how it works out, but it seems like every Indian reservation is, they wanna do some dumb thing to ‘em. You know what I’m saying? Like I’ve been out there wandering around a lot in my life, and like you know, if it’s not a strip mine or nuclear waste dump or a pipeline or some crazy thing that somebody has proposed for some Indian Reservation, it just wouldn’t be the Rez. That’s just the way it is.
“And they’re on the shore of the lake, is the Bad River Reservation, and pretty much in my adult life I’ve seen one bad idea come out of that community after another, and every time these guys have stood up to it. This is the most ... I don’t know if there’s the scrappiest Ojibwe award, but you guys might have it. You guys totally might have it. It was the mines in the ‘80s and building multi-racial alliances to oppose big mines. Bad River has a long history of protecting the waters of our lake, and I’m really grateful for that and your courage. And last year there was the battle against the GTAC mine. Big, big taconite mine proposed just up at their headwaters. It’s like every time some new proposal comes in at Northern Wisconsin I look at that map and they say they’re gonna try to do something to Bad River, I say “Good luck. Good luck, that’s probably not gonna happen, ‘cause those guys are super, super tough.” So here we have the tribal chairman of the Bad River Reservation, as well as Joe Rose, one of their elders have come in.
“And actually, Philomena Kebec is in the back. Aurora, my niece. We’ve got one blanket we’ve gotta wrap you all in, so you gotta figure that out. And thank you all for being, I hate to use this word, but just being badass at Bad River.
“Come on, all Bad River. I mean just look at these guys. You would not wanna mess with these guys, right? I’m gonna give you guys all a hug. Thank you all very much..
“This is Mike Wiggins, who is the tribal chair of Bad River. A good, good friend of mine, and I’m grateful to be his friend and ally.
Mike Wiggins: Excellent. It’s an honor to be here tonight. And could we have a round of applause for Winona LaDuke? You know, I just had a spirited debate with a tribal member that was from a reservation who was receiving royalties from a recent decision for allowing pipeline and oil through their rez. And in some of that debate, there was a few moments where I felt like maybe I was on my heels, and the vision and the determination and the value and the messaging and that I always think of it as Thunderbird Vision, that ability to see the big picture, that birds-eye view of Winona LaDuke, in those moments when I’m on my heels, she arrives and helps me stand back up straight, and I’m just so grateful for that. I just wanted to acknowledge Winona.
“In 2017 we rejected Enbridge Line #5 on a lease renewal. Our tribal council at that time stood up and said Gaawiin (No) to the renewal of a lease for Enbridge Line #5 to operate on our reservation.
“Our tribal council speaks for our whole community. During a public hearing that our tribal council had, we had all of these folks and many more send a very, very overwhelming message of “no way”, to our tribal council, and they responded in kind by hearing us and echoing that with a tribal resolution. And so one of the things that’s happened since then is it’s been kinda quiet. And so quiet that even some of our own members have been wondering like “Hey, what’s going on? I thought we were supposed to be battling Enbridge?” And after that initial rejection, our tribal council chose to enter into a confidentiality agreement, and it went into this dance of mediation. And mediation at first sounds really scary, like man, that seems like an acquiescence to selling out. But it wasn’t. It was a process of allowing Enbridge to look at a couple of, really I guess you would say, scary anomalies, as they call it. But scary sites within the boundaries of our reservation on that pipeline. Allowing them to look at that to check for safety while at the same time allowing our tribal environmental experts to swarm that integrity dig, as they called it.
“So they were taking soil samples and looking at the depth, looking at the pipe, looking at all of the things that they would need to determine if it was safe to just abandon and leave that thing in the ground, or if it ultimately had to be removed. It’s pretty complex, when you’ve got this big haz-mat snake running through your lands and underneath your rivers and stuff. So our tribe was using those opportunities to gather data. Data and intelligence that would allow us to go to war, and eventually battle in the courts and in the media and in the grassroots activism in the spiritual realm, with our ceremonies, to just say gaawiin to Line #5. I’m happy to say that our confidentiality agreement ended back in October, and we pushed hard to get out from underneath that.
“And so we’re at a point where we were gonna do something here tonight. Winona and I talked about that, and obviously we decided not to, but January 15th we’re gonna start telling the technical details, the environmental details of our story of why our land and water are leading us in that effort to reject Line #5.
“I would say really quickly that the power of the Bad River, the, the river itself, is just ... if left alone the Bad River would have that line destroyed in a matter of probably under 10 years. There’s another spot where, I like to look at the world this way. Where the Thunderbirds came and pounded our land and blew out a huge beaver dam that released and slammed right into the Line Five area and created another area where Line Five is compromised and is on its way to disaster. The work of those Thunderbirds, the work of the power of our river, are clear, tangible, animate leadership signals to us that our home says “No, get out”, right? And so we’re gonna follow that up with the work that we have to do as a tribe, as a people, to get Enbridge off of our reservation and remove that imminent threat to our waters and to Lake Superior. So I wanted to share that with you tonight and just give you a quick update.
“And so since I’ve already talked too long, I’ll just go a little bit further. I just wanna acknowledge my elder, Joe Rose. Joe Rose has been in just about every environmental battle our tribe has had for the last 60 years, and his leadership, his grace under pressure, and his tireless effort has just been unbelievable. Not only from I think way back to the Nutralysis Garbage Incinerator, and all this other stuff. Recently the GTAC battle. In moments where all of us were exhausted, Joe would come in with energy and that warrior mentality and just light everybody up, and we’re off and running again. And we hosted legislators that were moved. Some of ‘em, like Senator Bob Jauch, and Dale Schultz, talk about time spent with Joe and our people and ceremony at Waverly Beach, at Joe’s roundhouse, as some of the most significant and important days they’ve ever had in their careers and their lives. And so he’s been that kind of warrior for us.
Bad River elder Joe Rose has been involved in every environmental battle in the Chequamagon Bay area of Lake Superior for the last 60 years. Ran for county office in 2016 and won a seat on the Board of Supervisors. Photos by DKakkak
“Recently, through his efforts on the Ashland County board he led numerous committees head-on into the battle against this 9,000 strong pig CAFO they wanted to locate up in the headwaters of Chequamegon Bay. A pig CAFO that would release about 9,000,000 gallons of pig sewage a year untreated into that system and into the big lake. And you know, over in Wisconsin here, for you guys that may not be from Wisconsin, down by Madison, ironically enough, where Scat Walker ... Did I say “Scat”? Sorry. Where Walker held court there as the governor, you know, their lakes are turning green. Their lakes are turning green with that toxic algae bloom, and you know, I pray that they can find a way to clean that stuff up, but when massive water bodies like Lake Monona and the Waushara River and that, when those are turning pea-soup green, it underscores the importance and the integrity of the work that guys like Joe Rose and all the other folks in Chequamegon Bay region or Lake Superior region by us. The work that they’re doing to say “no” to some of the CAFOs and all of those other issues that are on the wingtips of those types of pig operations, and stuff like that.
“So I just can’t say enough, and I would just like you to give a round of applause to my elder Joe Rose here and all of his water protection work. So. With that I’m just gonna end my comments and just say it’s an honor to be here with all of you. There’s so many heroes and warriors and just amazing folks in a crowd, it’s just really cool to see everybody.
Joe Rose (pictured above): My Anishinaabe name is Rising Sun, I’m Eagle Clan of the Bad River band, and a member of the Midewin, or the Grand Medicine Society. Anishinaabe tradition tells us that we have recently entered into a new age. We refer to it as the Age of the Seventh Fire. And it was prophesied that in the age of the Seventh Fire, the Anishinaabe people would turn and look back and retrace their footsteps. Their footsteps would take them back to ancient times and ancient knowledge. They’d begin to pick up the sacred bundles that had fallen by the wayside, and go to those elders who had to take them underground for generations because of persecution.
“And it was also prophesied that in this age of the Seventh Fire that a new people would arise. The Anishinaabe people were given a very special gift. We refer to it as Maskiki. Loosely interpreted, it means “medicine”, but along with that medicine goes the knowledge and the wisdom of how to live in harmony and balance with the four orders of creation. With the physical world, the plant world, the animal world, and the human world.
“And so along with a special gift goes the responsibility. So it’s a responsibility of the Anishinaabe people to share that knowledge of how to live in harmony and balance with the natural world with the people who come in all four colors on the medicine wheel. Red for the native American people, yellow for the Asians, Black for the Africans, and White for the Europeans. And so it was also said that in this age of the Seventh Fire that a new paradigm will arise, a new way of thinking. Wealth will no longer be measured in terms of money, materialistic good, the insatiable lust for political power and control. But true wealth will be measured in terms of clean water, fresh air, pristine wilderness, and a restoration of the balance. And as I look out here tonight I see you. You are the new people. Mio-minik Indiniwaemagunadug.
Winona LaDuke: Migwetch Joe Rose, for that teaching tool. So, and our last awardees for tonight ... One more time I just wanna thank Bad River. Are they a cool bunch, or what? They came far, too. And our last honorees are dear to my heart. They’re all very dear to my heart, but tonight I wanna in particular Honor The Earth wanted to honor the Youth Climate Interveners. Now these are some young people, as you gathered in the name “Youth”, that have stood up. Teenagers. Teenagers up to in their 20s, and they have stood with us as Honor The Earth, fighting the pipelines. And what they said is, they’ll talk about who they are, but when you’re out there in the state regulatory process at the Public Utilities Commission and you’re looking across the table at Enbridge’s many, many lawyers dressed in white shirts, and you’re the people, and you know that that’s a big corporation that’s got one plan for you, that someone’s gonna have to stand up, and not everybody’s gonna like you when you stand up, and it takes a lot of courage, and they’re gonna try to smack you down in that system as much as they can, and discourage you.
“But you look up there and you see these young people. I went to a lot of hearings. We had a lot of lawyers, and I’m thankful to our lawyers, but what I have to say is the best lawyers there were the Youth Climate Interveners. They spoke their hearts, they asked their questions, and they stood for the youth. And so when I thought of how proud I am of this next generation, and how grateful I am, we really wanted to honor them tonight. So I’m gonna ask Nina and Nolan to come up here. Bring your sister up too. I believe your mother has come. But these two, every hearing. Every hearing. I’m really proud to know them, and really proud to stand with them as water protectors. And the next generation is beautiful. So we’re gonna give you a little blanket. The Nolan family can share the blanket,
Nina Bergland: (Lakota/Northern Cheyenne) Hello, everybody. My spirit name is Northern Lights Woman, and my English name is Nina Bergland. I am 19 years old, and I grew up in the East side of Saint Paul, here in Minnesota.
“I’m really honored to be here, to be able to speak in front of all you guys, to be able to receive this award on behalf of the Youth Climate Interveners. It’s been a long road. It’s been a long road for us, over this past year from having to attend all these hearings, attend all these different meetings and speaking in front of these people with the intimidation factor that they were really trying to push onto us, but we kept going. ‘Cause we cannot let these people make these bad decisions on behalf of our futures. We refuse to accept, defeat at the hands of a corporation that only is controlled by greed, that only cares about money. That our grandchildren deserve such a beautiful future that we will never stop fighting. That we refuse to stand down, because if our ancestors did that we would not be sitting here today.
“So always think about what kind of ancestor do you wanna be? Because I know that the ones who came before me thought, and did, and acted with me and my family, with my grandchildren in mind. So it’s upon us. We take it upon ourselves to enforce that same thought, because that’s what’s going to keep us going. That’s what’s going to ensure our children a beautiful future, it’s if we do every decision, we make every single decision with them in mind. So when we talk about how important it is that we continue on, we would not be able to drink the water now if it was not our ancestors saying “no”. We want our grandchildren to be able to have clean water. We want our grandchildren to be able to hunt and gather in the way in which they were. And so we did everything that we could with this regulatory process. We filed legal briefings. We wrote opinion articles. We spoke in front of these commissioners, in front of Enbridge themselves, and we straight up said “We refuse to let this pipeline go through.” So we fought it in the courts, and you will catch us on the front lines fighting for our future and fighting for our people, ‘cause we will never stand down. Because every day is a good day to die if it’s for your future. Thank you.
Nolan Bergland: Hello, my relatives. My Lakota name is Morning Star. My American name is Nolan Bergland. I’m 17 years old. I grew up here in Minnesota. I’m an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, but I’m also a proud Oglala Lakota. And throughout the last few years me and my family have gotten more into the pipeline movements, and learning more about how what happens to our lands impacts us, and when I look around at my nieces and nephews, I want them to grow up in a future where they can see the beauty that I was able to see. They will be able to breathe the clean air and drink the fresh water, ‘cause like my sister said, that’s what our ancestors thought about us. They wanted us to be able to see that glory that this earth has to offer, and I can only wish that we can continue fighting for our future, for our grandchildren.
Winona LaDuke: My sister here, Liz Jacquela and her family come up and sing again as an honoring for this.
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This week's stories: Damage and lasting impact the Government shutdown is having on Indian Country – Message from Ernie Stevens, Jr.; Raising awareness about disaster aid on reservations; Patty Loew receives Martin Luther King Heritage award; The American Indian Graduate Center launches new brand identity and tagline; 13 year old water protector to speak at the United Nations General Assembly.
By Mark Trahant
- Indian Country Today -
Congress is not quite yet a representative body: Four Native Americans in Congress equals two-thirds of one percent.
January 2nd was all about Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, and Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, the first two Native American women to be elected to the Congress of the United States.
By Sandra Hale Schulman
- News From Indian Country -
Hoop dancers, films, artisans from New Zealand and even alligator wrestling made for a lively weekend Indian Arts festival at the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation nestled in the Florida Everglades this last November. The spacious Ah Tah Thi Ki Museum grounds hosted the Indian Arts Festival with dozens of vendors, regional foods, music and more.
Entering the grounds there were dozens of vendors selling gorgeous Seminole patchwork skirts, shirts, jackets and dresses with capes.
The Seminole have a particular style of dress whose history is catalogued in the nearby museum. Clothing in this hot humid mosquito and gator filled terrain required people to be dressed head to toe in light fabrics but keeping arms and legs well covered.
Heavy rows of bead necklaces and feathered headdresses topped feet clad in animal skin boots and moccasins. When sewing machines were introduced by traders in the early part of the century, a dense colorful row of rickrack and stripes were added into the mix. Inside the museum are mannequins and dioramas depicting how the Seminoles lived in this remote and often inhospitable climate.
As more complicated fabrics made their way into the area the fabrics got wilder with sequins, cartoons, and even camouflage patterns. A narrated fashion show brought out elders and kids alike to parade the history and evolution of the clothing.
Alligator wrestling is a huge part of the Seminole history. These prehistoric beasts have always been a source of food and clothing, now a large part of the tourist attraction with wrestling shows and airboat tours of the Everglades to see them out in the wild. Wrestler Billy Walker demonstrated how to drag them by the tail, mount their backs and hold their jaws open to see the surprisingly white mouth and rows of fearsome teeth as the crowd oohed and aahed. He made it look easy but be warned, many a Seminole have lost their fingers to this game, including former Chief Jim Billie.
Walker finished with the gator show then picked up a machete in a nearby chickee hut to chop open some palm stalks to get at the tasty heart of palm deep inside. Cut up into small pieces, the palm makes a good hot dish boiled with garlic or cold with tomatoes. The Seminole have a pretty rich diet with deer, birds, fish, turtle, gator and many wild plants to choose from.
After the wrestling and food tasting, a major attraction came out – Nakotah LaRance, (Hopi/Tewa/Assiniboine) from OhKay Owingeh Pueblo, New Mexico, the world’s best hoop dancer. With his five hoop routine, he’s acted in movies (three films in three years including Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee), danced in a music video (“Geronimo,” by The Knocks and Fred Falke), and put in a two year stint as a featured artist with the touring company Cirque du Soleil’s Totem, where he played the part of “an Amerindian dancer who traced the evolution of species with his rings.”
In his spellbinding performance, LaRance picked up each hoop and then effortlessly transformed them into a fluttering butterfly, a snapping gator, an elegant eagle, and other animal shapes. The finale turned the hoops into a globe he placed on the ground and danced around to symbolize that we are all one. Accompanied by a hand drummer, he is a top notch performer and a major attraction for the festival.
Miss Seminole and Jr. Miss Seminole
The Seminoles hosted a cultural exchange Wikuki Kingi and Tania Wolfgramm, Maori natives from New Zealand who demonstrated elaborate wood carving in the forms of clubs embedded with abalone shell and a canoe. Tania worked on a painting all week and presented the finished work, “Future intentions”, to the Seminole Tribe Culture Dept. Back in New Zealand, Wikuki created a landmark carved archway that holds symbols of the Maori history.
The Seminoles also hosted the filmmakers of “More Than A Word” a cutting documentary that analyzes various sports mascot and team names, particularly the Washington football team and their use of the derogatory term Redskins. Using interviews from both those in favor of changing the name and those against, “More Than A Word” explores this hot button topic and presents a deeper analysis of the issues surrounding the sports teams names.
The documentary also examines the history of Native American cultural appropriation and how far back this use of native names within sports organizations goes. The two filmmakers went to sporting events, protests, government offices and even to Native Comic Con to get the story on how the various sides feel about the issue. It’s a complex issue, one that works against history and prejudice.
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This week's stories: MMIW campaign launches in South Dakota; Another Native American woman sworn into office wearing traditional regalia; Indigenous People’s March in Washington DC; AARP Oklahoma Indian Elders Honors accepting nominations; Rights of Manoomin has been adopted by the Whiter Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Authority.
By Arne Vainio, M.D.
News From Indian Country
This had been a complicated operation and the incision was long. The sutures needed to come out and this was going to take some time. After any surgical procedure, the sutures need to stay in long enough to allow the incision to heal and stick, but not so long that they become a wick for bacteria and a risk for infection.
By Ricey Wild
News From Indian Country
I bid 2018 no fond goodbyes, not one shred of wistful memories or lump in my throat of Auld Lang Syne. In fact, I tell last year to just piss off and that despite the massive effort to take me out it failed. Pfft! Begone! Begone I say!
Rice Lake, Minnesota - (ICC)
During January the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Authority adopted Rights of Manoomin for on and off reservation protection of wild rice and the clean, fresh water resources and habits in which it thrives. The Rights of Manoomin were adopted because “it has become necessary to provide a legal basis to protect wild rice and fresh water resources as part of our primary treaty foods for future generations” according to resolutions.
By Sandra Hale Schulman
-News From Indian Country-
The 61st annual Grammy Awards will be held Feb. 10, 2019, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and once again Native musicians, despite not having their own restrictive traditional music category, shine in genres from country to roots music to film.