INDIAN COUNTRY NEWS

Crow Tribe can't account for $14.5 million

By MATTHEW BROWN
- BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -

Montana's Crow Tribe has been unable to account for $14.5 million it received for transportation programs, marking the second time in less than two years the tribe has been faulted for its handling of federal grant money, government investigators disclosed Monday.

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River Drawdown Reveals 1,000-Year-Old Rock Art

By AD CRABLE
- CONESTOGA, Pa. (AP/LNP newspaper) -

Until Paul Nevin produces a soft bristle brush and bucket of Susquehanna River water from his johnboat, the tip of a softly rounded boulder in the tailrace of the Safe Harbor Dam looks like any other rock.

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Cody museum opens new exhibit on golden eagles

By LEW FREEDMAN -
-
Cody Enterprise CODY, Wyo. (AP) - 

The two golden eagles flew at each other with ferocity, doing aerial battle 300 feet above where Dr. Charles Preston stood in the Big Horn Basin.

Preston was spellbound as the birds grappled with their talons, battling over territorial rights for nesting.

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Native News Update June 29, 2018

This week's stories:  The opening of the 17th Protecting Mother Earth conference; Design selected for the National Native American Veterans Memorial; ‘Native America’ a new series to air on PBS; ‘Bowwow Powwow’ a new children’s picture book told in two languages; The rise of Supaman.

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North Dakota Author Details Comeback of American Buffalo

By YOUSSEF RDDAD
- Associated Press -

North Dakota author Francie Berg’s last book about the American buffalo was a guide for adventurers eager to get out on back roads to see the historic sites where the great animal once flourished. Then she found she had more to say.

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Lakota Language Immersion Expanding In Rapid City, S.D.

By CHRISTOPHER VONDRACEK
- RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP/ Rapid City Journal) -
 
The children speak in Lakota. Their teacher, Savannah Greseth, walks the aisles of seated second graders, counting to 15 with them. “Wanji, n˙npa, y·mni.” Only when she prepares a short video does a child speak up in English.

“Can I turn off the lights?” asked a student.

“Há?,” or “yes,” Greseth responded. The student scampers up to hit the lights, and the video starts. Children softly pat hands on the carpet and sing along with the teacher on the screen, who sings T?awápaha Olówa? or the “Lakota Flag Song.”

“T?u?kásilayapi, t?awápaha ki?há?.”

So opens the Lakota immersion class at General Beadle Elementary School in Rapid City, the Rapid City Journal reported. The class is a year old. Next year, Greseth will move to full-time with her own classroom. But there’s nothing new about speaking and singing in Lakota.

“This language predates Rapid City,” Greseth said.

Around a poster of Charlie Brown pasted on the hallway space of the converted classroom, flags of the nine Sioux nations in South Dakota line the wall. Sometimes the kids point up to tell Greseth which tribe their family comes from. The class comprises Native American and non-Native students.

“They get a sense of pride that they get to share their background knowledge,” said Greseth. “Some kids have said ’Lakota’ is their favorite class.”

Most don’t come from Lakota-speaking homes.

“Some will come in knowing a word or two.”

After the movie, the white boards come out, and Greseth sounds out letters.

“Yah-Yameni,” Greseth said.

The children scribble “Ys” on the boards and hold them up for approval.

Next, the children move to BINGO or WAGMU. Greseth made the cards herself..

“It just has the right amount of letters and,” she claps her hands, indicating syllabic stress, “bin-GO and wag-MU.”

“Same amount of squares. Nothing too special.”

 

Students can enroll in Lakota language at many colleges from the University of South Dakota to Sitting Bull College. On Pine Ridge, students learn Lakota, too. The Lakota classes offered in public schools in Rapid City include an elective at North Middle School and a language class at Central High School. But when Sarah Pierce took over last summer as the city’s director for Title VI, which funds education programs for Native American students, she wanted to implement language programming more regularly at the elementary level.

“I knew all about her expertise in this and asked if she’d be willing,” Pierce said.

Both Pierce and Greseth are enrolled Oglala Lakota. Pierce grew up near Rockyford and took Lakota at Red Cloud Indian School (where she met Greseth), but she envies the instruction students at General Beadle receive from Greseth.

“They’re learning the foundation of the language,” Pierce whispers, while the student sound out letters with their teacher, who uses non-verbal cues such as opening her eyes wide when a student’s answer surprises her.

Greseth loves language. She received degrees at Sisseton Wahpeton College and Black Hills State University and a Lakota Language certificate from Oglala Lakota College. At Central High School in Rapid, she also took French and Spanish. But her study of Lakota - she’s learned from teachers and elders at language programs from Pine Ridge to Standing Rock - began at age 6.

“My unci, or my grandma, she speaks some (Lakota), but she went to the boarding school so not a whole lot,” Greseth said.

Boarding schools, as part of assimilation, forbade and punished children speaking in their native language. Today, Lakota is considered “critically endangered.” The Lakota Language Consortium in 2016 reported that 2,000 first-language speakers were alive, down two-thirds from a decade earlier.

But at General Beadle, and many schools, efforts are underway to preserve the language. It’s more than just learning the diacritics and glottal stops (which creates a popping sound), but values.

“We learn the values of wówachi?t?a?ka, or patience and tolerance, and wócha?tet’i?ze, or courage, and what that looks like from a Lakota lens."


Seventy percent of General Beadle Elementary’s students are Native American, many Lakota. But learning Lakota is not only culture-building, it’s also good training. Studies suggest bilingual students have more brain activity, can more easily make friends, and land better jobs.

“Lakota is a world language,” Greseth said. “And it should be valued as such.”

Lakota has no official orthography, so Greseth uses what she calls “user-friendly” spellings from the Lakota Language Consortium. Materials come packaged with games on the iPad, flash cards, and laminated posters of animals with names highlighted.

This summer, preparing to teach Lakota full-time in the fall (she currently spends half her day in the Jobs for Graduates program at North Middle School), Greseth plans to deepen her curriculum with traditional Lakota stories. She said her own children are even learning, slowly.

“WastÈ! Wagmuluha!” she said, congratulating a student whose WAGMU card filled up.

The other students sit four to a table and reverently wait the next sound.

“Gnus’ka,” Greseth said.

“That’s grasshopper,” Pierce said.

Students who have the “g” sound quickly place markers over the letter.

At the end of class, high school seniors arrive in their graduation gowns to high-five students for the annual graduation walk, trotting past the sign Greseth had posted on the wall of her makeshift classroom: “Tanyá? Yahípi.”

“It means ’welcome,”’ Greseth said. “Literally it said, ’It’s good that you’re all here.”’

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Students Learning Native American Past Through Board Games

By KYLIE MOHR
- JACKSON, Wyo. (AP/Jackson Hole News And Guide) -

Tensions run high when treaties are broken and gold booms turn to busts.

Journeys School fourth- and fifth-graders got a taste of 1800s Wyoming life as they tested The Bozeman Trail, a new game that could teach students about Native American history and the socio-economic forces that led to change on the Northern Plains during the second half of the 19th century.

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Native News Update June 22, 2018

This week's stories:  Healthy kids healthy futures app contest; Pacific lamprey returning to Umatilla River; Gil Birmingham costars in the new TV series ‘Yellowstone’; 2018 N7 collection unveiled; Canadian rapper releases new video about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

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What Enbridge Money Can and Cannot Buy

By Winona LaDuke
- News From Indian Country -

Earlier this year  the Ojibwe Enbridge battle showed the political pressure that $5 million worth of lobbying can buy in Minnesota, and that the Ojibwe still remain opposed to the line.

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Taboo Finds His Stand In Native Roots

By Sandra Hale Schulman
- News From Indian Country -

“I owe it all to my grandmother,” says Jamie Luis Gomez, better known as Taboo, an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor and DJ, best known as a member of the hip hop group Black Eyed Peas.

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European academic conference on American Indians

Submitted by Amy Ruckes

The 39th annual American Indian Workshop (AIW) took place on April 10th through the 13th in Gent, Belgium. It is an academic conference for professors, historians, artists, lecturers, teachers, museum curators, students, workshop organizers, and tribal members.

While searching Twitter,  I came across an announcement about the workshop taking place in Belgium and the call for academic papers.

Upon informing the organizer, Thomas Donald Jacob, about the discovery of AIW on social media, he was unaware of the conference being advertised using that platform. While the Twitter presence was not the foremost concern on this year’s host’s mind, that might change in the coming years considering the usage of social media in connecting Native American groups with each other.

Since the tribes encompass the entire North American continent and the gathering of native voices in a group chorus has had a dramatic effect in recent years concerning protests, legislation, and litigation; we will hope that the conference continues to use the social media platforms to not only inform their academic members of the scholarly references discussed during the conferences, but also seek to continue the dialogue with the native community as a whole about the historical information available and including their critical voices, oral histories, and concerns in the discussion.

The American Indian Workshop has had a long history in Europe. However, the responsibility to host the event has not always been an easy decision. Many hours and more than a few very long nights were spent by Thomas Donald Jacobs, Fien Lauwaerts, Adeline Moons, and Jeroen Petit preparing the theme, the sessions, the moderators, and the schedule.

However, the majority of the time was spent negotiating conference facilities, financial sponsors, and available university assistance. Considering the budgetary constraints and the lack of enthusiasm by many universities and organizations to fund humanities focused projects, the conference was a success and resulted in extensive networking and discussions among attendees.

The enthusiastic response from future host universities further indicated the success of such a gathering by destinations reserving the right to host conferences until 2022.

During the initial reception, I was warmly welcomed by Prof. Dr. Michael Limberger and Thomas Donald Jacobs, who has Cherokee origins.

For the conference opening, the keynote speakers were Elizabeth James-Perry, native artist, marine biologist, and tribal member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe; Camiel van Breedam, Belgium artist who has focused on the Native American theme in his art and literature; and Dr. Lomayumtewa Ishii, tribal member of the Hopi Nation and professor at Northern Arizona University.

The three keynote speakers addressed a range of issues from the tribal traditions, foods, stories, clan structure, economics, environmental issues, ceremonies, and activities of native life to the present issues faced by tribal members and the future survival of language and culture amongst societies that are eager to embrace the Native ideas.

Along with the conference discussion begun by the keynote speakers was a parallel dialogue about the enthusiasm that Europeans unwillingly engage in and the ensuing appropriation of the indigenous culture they are fascinated by and may profit from it through their artistic endeavors. This topic was initiated through the interview with Camiel Van Breedam, who has had a prodigious career as a Belgium artist in Europe and beyond since 1958. His focus is on recycling materials and drawing his inspiration from nature, social change, and the plight of Native Americans. However, his artistic piece, characterized as an ‘environment’, is displayed in Ghent University’s UFO atrium and is entitled ‘’Als het heidens oog vol is’’ (‘’When the heathen eye is full’’).

The artistic depictions of hatred toward the Native Americans which was expressed through violence towards them seems to evoke an austere reflection on the past as the natives were victims of genocide, while the descriptive term ‘’heathen’’ conjures up images of European domination and colonization effects that continue to this day. During the interview with the artist, he revealed a Eurocentric viewpoint influenced by European media accounts and literature.

At the end of the conference, we were elated to learn that the presentation of Mr. van Breedam artistic ‘environment’ at the University would, in the future, contain information from Native Americans who could impart an Indigenous perspective on the atrocities experienced on the North American continent. The dialogue which began with Mr. van Breedam will, hopefully, be a continual one within the university, Belgium, and the European academic scene as a whole.

The conference session extended between Tuesday through Friday. The presentations that took place during those brief four days were centered around the theme ‘’Arrows of Time: Narrating the Past and Present.’’ The expansive spectrum of topics contained within the theme and the limited time frame meant that sessions were overlapping and discussions were held at the end of several related presentations.

Using this method of related subject matter viewed from a multidisciplinary view gave an interesting perspective on topics such as Native American valor and atrocities in war demonstrated through presentations on documentary evidence of World War I and World War II’s Battle of the Bulge contrasted with visual art by Canadian First Nations artist Carl Beam which depicts the similarities between Native American and Jewish genocide.

The first session at the conference began with the presentation by Dr. Karim Michel Tiro, Xavier University in Cincinnati, about the Belgium Catholic missionary, Father Pierre Potier, who served the Native Huron populations at Detroit as military diplomat and ‘’seelsorger’’, a priest highly dedicated to converting souls and actively involved as mediator between the tribes and governmental and military institutions. The manuscripts by Fr. Potier include transcriptions not only on Jesuit theological teachings but also some of the best archival evidence of French North American language along with Huron linguistic documentation.

Potier seemed to be focused on Christian theology and his responsibilities in converting native Wyandots, while Wyandots viewed his presence among them as a status symbol and immediately requested a new missionary diplomat upon Fr. Potier’s untimely death.

The presentation was followed by historian E. Richard Hart, who gives expert testimony in litigation cases concerning the Sinixt tribe and other western tribes in land and treaty disputes with the U.S. government, discussing the European Catholic missionary, Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet, and his travels through the Western regions of America and his continual impact on current tribal litigations occurring in today’s society through his documentary cartographic evidence that he developed during his 39 years and thousands of miles of land and sea travels extending from the American and Canadian Western territory into the Midwestern territory and even to South America.

De Smet used a strategy of inoculation against small pox as a way of converting natives to Christianity. His desire to set up Jesuit missions to serve the educational needs of the native population compelled him to cross the Atlantic 19 times to seek further funding from church officials. Although his intentions were clearly not altruistic in his behavior towards the Salish and Sinixt population, his achievements in negotiating peace between the tribes and the military prevented the utter devastation of war in the region.

The resounding influence of Jesuit missionaries is still felt to this day within the Sinixt tribe as they have an excessively high regard for higher learning.

The conference continued with presentations which discussed genocide; war; Indian residential schools; official public apologies by Canadian political leaders; the Native historical narrative in pedagogical institutions; Indigenous storytelling, music and art; political use of Plains Indian image in European right-wing propaganda; cinema representation of Indigeneity in popular culture; economic influence of Wampum; cultural appropriation of the Native identity in modern Polish and German literature and post-modern entertainment demonstrated in one session by Ojibway author Drew Hayden Taylor’s cinematic depiction of the German Karl May fest in ‘’Searching for Winnetou’’; health concerns of the Native population; native Andean sounds in Ecuadorian music; problems crossing the US-Mexico border during the pilgrimage to Magdalena; climate change and the effect on permafrost in Nunavik; the immense impact of American Indian code talkers and other native soldiers who fought in US military engagements in Europe; Indian protests in the last century; and reflecting on the need for environmental protection for Indigenous territory and reconciliation for past mistakes.

Four days seem barely competent to encompass such a breadth and depth of topics. The many centuries of Anglo interactions with the Native American population documenting their stories, traditions, culture, land, art and ceremonies simply cannot be dealt with in a timespan of a few days. However, the resulting dialogue pertaining to the Eurocentric documentary evidence on Native American culture and the ‘’historical authoritativeness’’, expressed by Dr. Ishii, concerning the indigenous population will continue between academics, historians, and tribal members as they return to their museums, higher educational institutions, and colleagues.

I, as simple observer, will be returning to my home and sharing with my family the knowledge that I gained from such a detailed narrative on my country’s history and my white and native ancestors impact on law, society, trade, food, and environment and the lack of ethical behavior towards indigenous populations. I hope that the enthusiasm will continue to be seen among humanities departments across Europe and America in order to provide a future platform such as this conference in discussing Anglo - and Indigenous history and the issues that still remain. The interactions between native culture, the church, the military, and the US government can still be contentious to this very day. There is much to learn about past interactions in order to grasp the realities of two interconnected nations living side-by-side and truly being interdependent on one another, whether both sides fully recognize it or not.

About the American Indian Workshop

The American Indian Workshop (AIW) was founded in 1980 at the Amsterdam Meeting of the European Association for American Studies. There were nine participants at the first meeting, but the AIW has since become the largest conference in Europe for researchers concerned with topics related to the Native Peoples of North America. The AIW also draws scholars from across the globe, working in diverse disciplines such as history, literature, anthropology, ethnology, art history, gender studies, museology, ethnomusicology, religion, law, linguistics, political science, cultural studies, philosophy, Canadian and American Studies, Native American Studies, Inuit Studies, and performance studies as well as communication and media studies. As such, the AIW provides an important platform for both established academics and young scholars for sharing their expertise, and benefiting form critical engagement.

The 39th edition of the AIW, titled “Arrows of Time: Narrating the Past and Present,” was held in Ghent, Belgium, while the 40th will be held in Poland.
On The Net:
www.american-indian-workshop.org/

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Brent Learned's Native Pop Mission

By Sandra Hale Schulman
- News From Indian Country -

Oklahoma City artist Brent Learned is on a mission. He wants to show Native art on the same plain as art from other genres and parts of the world. He is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapho Tribes of Oklahoma, and wants people to know that “We’re still relevant, we want our voices to be heard.”

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Three New Films Expose Native Music History

By Brian Wright-McLeod, 2018
- News From Indian Country -

Rumble: Indians Who Rocked the World [Smithsonian/Rezolution Pictures]

Perhaps the first in depth overview of Native presence in and influence on popular music in America that influenced the world, is finely detailed through story, song and image. Full of archival photos and footage, interviews with family members, associates, and writers on Native music, Rumble manages to reveal this little known history.

Featured artists include Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, Jimi Hendrix, Pura Fe, Stevie Salas (the film’s executive producer), Redbone, Charley Patton, Monk Beaudreax (the Wild Tchoupitoulas), Taboo (Black Eyed Peas), John Trudell, Randy Castillo (Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue), author John Troutman and others.

One glaring omission was the exclusion of the author of The Encyclopedia of Native Music – the book that was the basis for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian exhibit “Up Where We Belong,” from where the film was derived.

The focus is purely American and belabors Black roots in popular music to the point of exhaustion thus deviating from other cultures that were just as important. For example, the Metis people of Western Canada, who extend predominantly from Cree and French/Scottish roots, and developed their own distinct language with a specific cultural, geographical, and musical heritage.

An award-winner at the Sundance Film Festival Story Tellers Award in 2017, Rumble went on to win the TIFF/Rogers Award for Best Canadian Documentary and Hot Docs Audience Award (Toronto, Canada).

Rumble provides an important overview of a music history that is only just beginning to be understood and told. The doc has since been released to Netflix and other platforms with a forthcoming DVD version to be released later this year.

There is no official soundtrack available, and due to clearance issues, it is doubtful that there will be one. Yet, the three-CD project The Soundtrack of a People (produced by Brian Wright-McLeod with EMI Music Canada) includes the majority of artists featured in the film.

When They Awake [independent]

Produced and directed by Pedro Marcellino and Hermon Farahi, When They Awake celebrates a cross-country overview of current Native music in Canada.

Following a year of filming a variety of artists from traditional drummers of Iqaluit to the club scenes of Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario, the filmmakers have amassed a sweeping documentation of an incredible movement.

Featuring Tanya Tagak (Inuit), A Tribe Called Red, Susan Aglukark (Inuit), Iskwe (Cree), Leela Gilday (Dene), Derek Miller (Mohawk), and Logan Staats (Mohawk), the documentary also profiles more than 20 other artists.

Although Eastern Canada is absent, the omission was not intentional. “The original idea was to focus on the Inuit and other northern people,” Marcellino said. “We had no idea the film would grow to this magnitude. There is much more to come, and we hope to include the East too.”

Utilizing DAPL/Standing Rock, Idle No More and the effects 100 years of residential school system in Canada (1896 to 1996), this backdrop adds a texture to the music and its message. The film’s title is taken from a quote by historic Metis figure Louis Riel.

“As non-indigenous filmmakers, we hope to build bridges between communities, and to provoke thought, discussion, dialogue, and above all, long overdue recognition to the music and culture of Native people,” Marcellino said.

The film premiered at various 2017 film festivals including Las Vegas, Nevada; Montreal, Quebec; and Calgary, Alberta.

“It’s one of the best music docs I’ve ever seen and I’m extremely proud we presented it as our opening film,” said Calgary’s film festival executive director Steve Schroeder.

On The Net:
https://whentheyawake.com    

The Road Forward
[National Film Board of Canada]

Filmmaker Marie Clements’ The Road Forward is a musical that features piano bluesman Murray Porter (Mohawk), songwriter Russell Wallace (Stl’atl’imx), vocalists Cheri Maracle (Mohawk), Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora), and others. Through song and performance, the film spins a tale of indigenous perspectives on history and current events.

On The Net:
www.nfb.ca/film/road_forward/
www.brainwrightmcleod.com


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