INDIAN COUNTRY MEDIA NETWORK

Utah Rep. Proposes 631-mile Donald Trump Highway Traversing Through Grand Staircase


Utah Republican lawmaker Mike Noel has recently proposed Utah House Bill 481 that would change the name of 631 miles of the Utah National Parks Highway to the Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway.

The bill was introduced by Noel as a gesture of appreciation to Trump who reduced the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase national monuments and opened them up for potential mining and oil-drilling.

“I think he’s done a tremendous amount, and I think with seven more years we can turn this country around,” Noel said during the hearing of House Bill 481, which passed with a vote of 9-2. “I think it’s a small price to pay to name a highway after him when he does in fact protect public lands.”

In 2017, President Trump removed an approximate 1.1 million acres from Bears Ears, reducing it by 85 percent. He reduced an additional 800,000 acres from Grand Staircase-Escalante, reducing it by 46 percent.

“You get people who stand up and say that he took away protections of these lands. It’s absolutely false,” said Noel during the committee hearing.

See Related: Trump Slashes Two Million Acres off of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase: Tribes To Sue

A story from The New York Times titled Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument, Emails Show, showed that Bears Ears reduction was all about oil development, and undermines Noel’s statements.

“Even before President Trump officially opened his high-profile review last spring of federal lands protected as national monuments, the Department of Interior was focused on the potential for oil and gas exploration at a protected Utah site, internal agency documents show,” reads the article in the New York Times.

State Sen. Jim Dabakis (D) has been openly opposed to the bill introduced by Noel. Dabakis took to Twitter threatening If the House passes the bill, he would attach an amendment to rename the road that runs along the proposed Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway.

HB 481, “Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway Designation” passed House Committee 9 to 2. If it gets to the Senate, I will present an amendment that the frontage road be designated as the Stormy Daniels rampway in commemoration of Trump’s affair with the adult film star.

HB 481, “Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway Designation” passed House Committee 9 to 2. If it gets to the Senate, I will present an amendment that the frontage road be designated as the Stormy Daniels rampway. #utpol pic.twitter.com/GvuVv0me98

— Jim Dabakis (@JimDabakis) March 5, 2018

The Navajo Nation Olijato Chapter president James Adakai, has issued a statement of protest to the renaming of the highways which traverse 631 miles of roads through southern Utah and includes Zion National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Canyonlands National Park.

In a letter to Utah Congressman John Curtis, President Adakai asked the congressman’s support in helping to block the bill.

“The highway goes through or to the five national parks in Utah as well as several national monuments. All of it is land where Native Americans have lived for a millennia, and President Trump has not shown respect for tribal nations. As your constituent and a member of the Navajo Nation, I ask that you block efforts to rename this highway for President Trump,” writes Adakai.

Courtesy Navajo Nation, Olijato Chapter

Navajo Nation letter to Congressman Curtis opposing the proposed Trump highway.

Utah Rep. Joel K. Briscoe (D) said during the committee hearing Monday, out 300 emails he received regarding the bill, only one was in support of renaming the highway in Trump’s honor.

CNN’s Jeanne Moos did a humorous report on the proposed highway

The cost to replace signs according to Democrat lawmakers was $124,000.

The possibility of Dabakis’ amendment is far-fetched as the republicans greatly outnumber the democrats in a vote. The probability of Bill 481 passing is currently uncertain.

One interesting comment on Twitter factors in an expense perhaps not considered by Republicans.

The tweet read: “Tell me those road signs won’t be the most stolen or vandalized in history.”

 

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Donations Needed For Montana Communities Suffering From Severe Winter Weather


Governor Steve Bullock today encouraged Montanans across the state to assist Montanans in need suffering from the impacts of severe winter weather across the state. Governor Bullock Tuesday declared a winter storm emergency in Northwestern and Southeastern Montana, including on the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne reservations and in Glacier and Golden Valley Counties.

“In Montana we lend our neighbors a helping hand in times of need. Right now Montanans across the state are dealing with the impacts of severe winter storms and snowdrifts. So whether its food, firewood, hay or a small monetary donation, let’s make sure our fellow Montanans stay safe and warm this weekend,” said Governor Bullock in a release.

Governor Bullock has set up a Donations Management website to assist those in need.

Montanans and other interested people can donate through this link: http://www.readyandsafe.mt.gov

According to the release, items in greatest need include non-perishable food, firewood, and hay. Cash donations are welcome. Areas in Northern Cheyenne and Blackfeet also welcome assistance from area contractors for snow removal.

Video News Report KXLH News

Organizations listed on the website are verified and are working with Donations Management to provide relief to those who need it in Montana.

According to weather reports in the area such as weather.com, “the epicenter of winter has been in Montana this year.
The higher elevations of the Rockies have seen more than 40 feet of snow this season and Montana has been in the bullseye for winter storms nearly all season long.”

In addition to Governor Steve Bullock’s cal for donations, he expressed thanks to Montanans who worked to send a five-day supply of food to the Cheyenne Reservation.

He wrote in part, “Thanks to all those who joined the Montana Food Bank Network and stepped up to send a 5-day supply of food for 600 families on the Northern Cheyenne reservation impacted by Montana’s severe weather. In Montana, we lend our neighbors a helping hand in times of need.”

In addition to the Governor’s call, Montana-based KRTV.com reported that tribal nations in the state were in desperate need of hay due to the extreme winter weather conditions.

“Severe winter weather has strained farmers and ranchers on the Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations,” stated the news report. “The Montana Hay Hotline is calling for donations for both reservations.”

For more information, visit the Montana Hay Hotline website.

 

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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‘It Was Loosely Choreographed Chaos,’ Wes Studi Shares His Experience At The Oscars


On October 4th, 2018, Native American actor Wes Studi, who most recently portrayed Chief Yellow Hawk in Hostiles, wowed audiences all over the world by speaking Cherokee while presenting a tribute to military veterans at the 90th Annual Academy Awards.

Indian country has been blasting social media in the past few days with a wave of positive responses regarding Studi’s appearance.

Studi, still feeling a sense of elation from his glamorous experience at the 90th Oscars, spoke with Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling about his evening, and discussed some of the backstage antics involved, which he called, ‘loosely choreographed chaos.’

Vincent Schilling: It goes without saying there was a tremendous response from Indian country regarding your appearance on the Oscars.

Wes Studi: It has overwhelmed my emails, texts and stuff, yeah. (laughs) It has been great.

Schilling: What are you feeling in the aftermath?

Studi: Well, the awards season is more or less over and I am starting to calm down a bit now. (laughs) It was a very exciting and hectic backstage. There was so many things going on back there and it really was just very exciting. It was nice to eventually hit the stage.

Happy Oscar Day! I ran into the immortal @SamuelLJackson at a pre-event last night. #BucketList #Oscars pic.twitter.com/uZFTFetQSc

— Wes Studi (@WesleyStudi) March 4, 2018

Schilling: Statistics-wise you are among the sincerely elite. Very few people in the world will ever do something like this, and factoring in the Native populus, makes this even more of an exclusive club to which you belong. Online a few people have been speaking of Will Rogers who took part in the Oscars in 1934, Sacheen Little Feather, Graham Greene and and Buffy Sainte-Marie who were part of the Oscars. But this was a first in your instance, as an identified Native American presenting.

Studi: I really do think the show itself got a lot more viewers from what I’ve heard beforehand—by message, text, on my website and you name it—that people said they were going to be watching just because a Native guy was going to be on there for the first time in a good long while. (laughs)

Schilling: Weren’t you supposed to present the Oscar for sound editing?

Studi: Yes, at first they had made a different announcement of what I was going to present. The first announcement is that I was going to present for sound editing. After the first announcement, they decided to do the tribute. Later, they said, ‘let’s keep this quiet.’ They don’t like to announce what the schedule will be, and who is giving out what. We had to quietly apologize about this, but we moved forward with my solo homage. It was very good for me, though I would have loved to present with Laura Dern as well. I did see her when we were putting together the show.

Schilling: Can you walk us through what you experienced on the red carpet and backstage before you presented?

Studi: (Laughs) It was pandemonium. It is loosely choreographed chaos. Once you hit that red carpet, the publicists will take you up and down with your name on a placard, they check to see which press is interested and they guide you along and sort of stick you in front of someone with a camera and boom. When the camera is in front of you, you definitely have to be prepared with an answer or two. It is fun, it really is fun.

Schilling: I’ll bet. I saw you on the red carpet and said out loud, there’s Wes Studi!

Studi: (Laughs) There are several sections to the red carpet. I think the last people that I interviewed with were from a military news organization. From that point on, you have press on one side, and there is a big stand of people that shout your name and you wave at them and they go ‘wow’ and make noise. (laughs) And oh it is loud, it is loud. It is a relief to finish up. They take you back to green room of sorts and at that point they begin seating people. Then you sit and wait for a handler to come get you as you get ready for your stage time. They have a very nice green room back there where you wait. Stage managers are running here and there, and getting this person ready, they are exclaiming ‘quiet, get ready for the next cue, next cue.’ It is definite pandemonium back there, and it is loosely controlled.

Schilling: Did you bump elbows with anyone?

Studi: I had a nice conversation with Helen Mirren, Christopher Walken was also back there at that time. Everyone was about the same as myself in terms of feeling a bit jittery about going on. Many of them have been onstage many, many times. But this was my first one right? (laughs)

See our related coverage:

What Did Wes Say? First Native Presenter Wes Studi, Speaks Cherokee Language At Oscars

Schilling: What was going through your mind just before you presented the military homage?

Studi: I was really glad that there was a teleprompter involved. (laughs) I was right there in the wings and I didn’t really hear when to come out. We had rehearsed the day before of course. I did not hear an introduction of any kind. All of a sudden the guy tapped me on the shoulder, and said ‘go!’ I thought ‘really?’ Then kaboom! I hope I hid my surprise at the time, as it came out a bit shocked. (laughs) I got a cue and walked on out.

Schilling: Did the Oscars know you would be speaking your language?

Studi: We had a meeting before with the writers and everyone. And everything was pretty much planned out.

Schilling: There was tremendous excitement on social media, especially Native Twitter, right after you spoke Cherokee.

Studi: They invited us to live tweet, but admittedly I am not adept at tweeting. (laughs) But, yes I saw all of that. The response has been a lot of great excitement and all very positive remarks that I have seen.

WES STUDI SPEAKS HIS NATIVE LANGUAGE AT THE #OSCARS#IndianCountryAtTheOscars pic.twitter.com/N8Jto8jfp6

— Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling) March 5, 2018

Schilling: Has anyone said to you, ‘Hey, you are the Native guy on the Oscars?’

Studi: (Laughs) Yes.

Schilling: What did you do after the Oscars?

Studi: We jumped into stuffed elevators and climbed staircases filled with people. There are so many people involved. Afterwards we went to the Governors Ball and we had some good food there. We went to the Entertainment Studios Gala and saw Katy Perry perform. I also met some of the activists from Standing Rock. There were a couple of girls there that were part of the activism performance at the Oscars.

Schilling: There are a lot of people applauding you for your accomplishments in presenting at the Oscars. Young people are stating that they think that someday they’d like to do this.

Studi: This is possible. I did not campaign to do this, but it certainly was a great honor to be able to invited to be part of the show. For anybody who is interested in doing this or being in show business, I think, ‘if I can do it, so can they.’

Schilling: Has this exposure given you any opportunity?

Studi: There have been plenty of responses and good comments about all of this. But it has also given me an opportunity to promote a film that we can hopefully find distribution for. We have a meeting set up for later today with a distributor who hopefully will be interested what we have to say about this film called Pipeline. It is listed on IMDb and the filmmakers are trying to get it finished up so that we can pitch it as a theatrical release.

Schilling: Any last words or an overview of this experience?

Studi: (Laughs) Well, I would love to do it again. And I’d like to get one of those little statues myself.

 

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Attending RES 2018 In Las Vegas? Join Indian Country Editor Mark Trahant For An ICT Q&A


This week, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (the National Center) opened its 32nd annual Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Las Vegas. The event is being held at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In addition to providing news coverage while he is in attendance, Mark Trahant, the new editor of Indian Country Today, will be hosting a question and answer session in the hotel’s Starbucks coffee beginning at 6 pm.

“The reason we are hosting this meet-up at with folks in Indian country at the 32nd annual Reservation Economic Summit, is because I believe sincerely in transparency. A lot of business organizations, tribal governments and journalists are asking about the new trajectory of Indian Country Today, and we want to be available to answer those questions,” said Trahant.

Trahant also said Indian Country Today intends to host additional question and answer sessions in the near future on such platforms as Google Hangouts so that the editorial staff (Mark Trahant, editor and Vincent Schilling, associate editor) can answer questions.

For those interested in attending the Q&A and meet up with Mark Trahant, no reservation is necessary.

The Q&A will take place in the Starbucks coffee shop in the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

THE MIRAGE
3400 South Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 702-791-7444

Starbucks Coffee
Meet-up with Mark Trahant
6:00 pm pst

The RES 2018 conference kicked off on Monday morning with a scholarship golf tournament at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. The proceeds from the tournament are used for scholarships awarded by the National Center to deserving students.

RES 2018 will also feature time-honored programs and events such as the American Indian Artisan Market, as well as new offerings essential for any tribal or Native-owned business to be successful.

For additional details about RES 2018, see ICT’s previous detailed report: Indian Country Means Business as RES 2018 Kicks Off In Las Vegas

Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on Twitter

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Indian Country Means Business as RES 2018 Kicks Off In Las Vegas


The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (the National Center) opened its 32nd annual Reservation Economic Summit (RES) on Monday. The largest economic development event in Indian Country will last through Thursday, March 8th at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

RES brings together tribal leaders, entrepreneurs, government officials, suppliers, and many more to do business and learn more about the most important economic development topics facing businesses and Native entrepreneurs.

“RES is where Indian Country comes to do business,” said Chris James, President and CEO of the National Center in a press release. “But RES is also the catalyst for the work the National Center does around the year to promote American Indian and Alaska Native businesses and entrepreneurs. From our award-winning Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, to our partnerships with major corporations, to federal advocacy, the National Center is a force for economic development. RES is where it all comes together, and I’m very excited about what’s in store over the next several days.”

The conference kicked off on Monday morning with a scholarship golf tournament at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. The proceeds from the tournament are used for scholarships awarded by the National Center to deserving students.

RES 2018 will also feature time-honored programs and events such as the American Indian Artisan Market, as well as new offerings essential for any tribal or Native-owned business to be successful.

Premier Economic Development in Indian Country to Take Place in Las Vegas from March 5 – 8https://t.co/dPcyAi7FqK

— The National Center (@ncaied) January 24, 2018

Highlights of RES include:

  • Sessions designed to give business owners and entrepreneurs the basics in business, as well sessions to tackle the most important business topics affecting tribes, Alaska Native and tribal corporations, and Native American entrepreneurs.
  • Keynote speeches from executives at IBM, Walmart, and Lockheed Martin, as well as a former US Ambassador to the UN and high-level officials at the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, Minority Business Development Agency, National Indian Gaming Commission, and the U.S. Department of Interior.
  • A workshop on grant writing to assist businesses on the process of procuring funds from grants and how to navigate the grant process.
  • A session on STEM fields and how the American Indian Science and Engineering Society develops culturally relevant STEM programs for Native students and communities.
  • A “Buy Native” Procurement and Matchmaking Expo to match Native businesses with corporate and federal procurement opportunities.
  • A panel session with other leading Native organizations to discuss their shared agendas and mutual initiatives to advance the interests of Indian Country.
  • Updates on Federal legislation to keep attendees informed on Federal Native American policy with key staff from the U.S. Congress.

Starting Tuesday evening, the RES business trade show will feature stages for exhibitors to feature their products and services to those in attendance. The trade show will also host a marketplace where small businesses can sell their products, from booths purchased at a discounted rate.

On Wednesday, RES will feature 2018 INPRO Awards Gala reception, where the National Center will recognize the accomplishments and contributions made by businesses and individuals that support economic and business development in Native communities. The Master of Ceremony is 2017 Miss Alaska and Miss USA contestant, Alyssa London, and attendees will be entertained by Levi & The Plateros.

All attendees will be able to download the “NCAIED Events” APP at the AppStore or Google Play. With the mobile app, attendees can manage their schedule, send speakers questions, and engage with other attendees to grow their networks. To learn more and to see a full agenda for the conference, please visit the RES home page.

About The National Center:

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With over 40 years of assisting American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development – we have evolved into the largest national Indian specific business organization in the nation. Our motto is: “We Mean Business For Indian Country” as we are actively engaged in helping Tribal Nations and Native business people realize their business goals and are dedicated to putting the whole of Indian Country to work to better the lives of American Indian people, both now… and for generations to come.

 

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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‘He’s Poisonous’ Women Go Public Regarding Sherman Alexie Sexual Harassment Allegations


After issuing a public statement and apology last week admitting he had “harmed others,” Native American writer Sherman Alexie has lost a significant degree of credibility as three women have made statements publicly on National Public Radio (NPR) alleging sexual misconduct.

In an extensive report by NPR’s Lynn Neary, three women who first came forward privately on social media to Litsa Dremousis, decided to go public on the program about their experiences with Alexie. Their sexual allegations against him range from sexually suggestive comments in private and public, intimidation and sexual manipulation and overt sexual coercion.

Dremousis, an author that has admitted she has had an affair with Alexie but was not a victim, says she referred the women last week to NPR. Though three have come forward publicly, NPR says 10 women in all spoke to NPR about Alexie, a married man with children.

Jeanine Walker, who is a Seattle-based teacher and one of three women who came forward on the record, and whose stories NPR has corroborated with several sources, says she was at first excited to meet Alexie because he wanted to read her poems.

But when one day Walker went to meet Alexie for a friendly game of basketball, things turned uneasy when she went to change clothes in his office restroom.

“When I turned around he was right behind me, and just like physically very much in my space. And leaned towards me and said, ‘Can I kiss you?’ I said no and backed away, and he kept moving forward and was like, laughing and smiling and sweaty and whatever, and he said ‘It’s just, we’re playing basketball, you remind me of the girlfriends I had in high school.’ And I just said ‘Well, we’re not in high school, Sherman,'” said Walker in the NPR interview.

Alexie later apologized for an incident that Walker said, ‘just felt very wrong.’

Erika Wurth, a Native American writer who was just 22-years-old at the time she met Alexie years ago says she at first felt Alexie was a hero. She was invited to one of Alexie’s readings in Colorado and walked with him afterwards to his hotel and began chatting in the lobby. When she began to leave, Wurth says Alexie jumped over the coffee table and began to kiss her.

As a young woman, Wurth told NPR she had almost no sexual experience and went into a state of non-reality. Alexie invited her to his room. Wurth did and ended up on Alexie’s bed.

Wurth told NPR, “He’s kind of taking my clothes off and kissing me… and I’m kind of like stock still, trying to convince myself this is OK. It’s not working, and eventually I say, because I am kind of scared of this situation, ‘I’m a virgin.’ But it got really weird, because then he’s still trying to work me over, and I’m just stock still, and I think at that point, in my opinion, he realized that if he wanted to have sex with me he would have to violate me, he’d have to rape me. And he did stop.”

Wurth told NPR that she stayed in touch with Alexie, hoping he would still be her mentor or apologize. Years later, they had a second sexual encounter which also ended badly. Wurth said Alexie did give her a positive quote for her first book, and a letter of recommendation, which she now thinks was to keep her from saying anything bad about Alexie.

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, who also came forward on NPR. Washuta met Alexie when she was going to publish her first book. When going out with a group of people that included Alexie, Washuta says she was simply chatting with him.

“Sherman told me that he could have sex with me if he wanted to,” she said to NPR. “But he used a stronger word, beginning with F. You know, he had not said it quietly, he had not whispered it. It seemed that the men we were talking to could have heard it. I couldn’t believe that somebody would say something to me like that.”

Eventually, Washuta and Alexie became colleagues at the Institute of American Indian Arts. One time, on a work trip to Santa Fe, Washuta says Alexie tried to lure her into his hotel room.

Later, after a disagreement over an essay of Washuta’s, Alexie implied she had plagiarized his work. She later decided to leave the IAIA, because Alexie was a prominent member of the faculty.

“I think we did some really good work there. And I’m sure they continue to do really good work there. But I’m not a part of it. And that feels so lonely. I’m incredibly sad about it.”

When searching his former Twitter handle @Sherman_Alexie, Alexie’s account has either been deleted or had its name changed.

Since that time, the IAIA has made a gesture regarding allegations against Alexie. Last week, the Institute changed the name of its Sherman Alexie Scholarship to the M.F.A. Alumni Scholarship.

Additionally, Alexie has deleted or changed the name of his Twitter account, and his website at www.FallsApart.com has been adjusted so that his landing page is his apology letter.

Alexie, nor his representatives have responded to Indian Country Today’s requests for comments on the allegations.

Read our previous coverage: Sherman Alexie Called Out For Sexual Misconduct For Over A Twenty-Year Period.

 

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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What Did Wes Say? First Native Presenter Wes Studi, Speaks Cherokee Language At Oscars


Just before 11:00 pm est last night, Wes Studi made Oscars history as the first Native American presenter at the 90th Academy Awards. As a solo presenter, Wes Studi talked about his time in the service and introduced a film montage thanking military service members. Before the montage, he spoke Cherokee.

Studi (who played Chief Yellowhawk in Hostiles) spoke about his time in the Vietnam War. “I’m proud to have served there for 12 months with Alpha Company of the 39th Infantry. Anyone else?” Studi asked the audience to a silent response.

“As a veteran, I am always appreciative when filmmakers bring to the screen stories of those who have served. Over 90 years of the Academy Awards, a number of movies with military themes have been honored at the Oscars. Let’s take a moment to pay tribute to these powerful films that shine a great spotlight on those who have fought for freedom around the world.”

Studi ended by speaking in Cherokee.

So #WhatDidWesSay on the #Oscars last night? As Vietnam Vet @WesleyStudi introduced a montage of military movies, he said in our Cherokee language
“Hello. Appreciation to all veterans & Cherokees who’ve served. Thank you!” Learn more Cherokee here! Wado! https://t.co/qc9yAx5ThP pic.twitter.com/aVAs94VRUo

— CherokeeNation (@CherokeeNation) March 5, 2018

ABC also posted the full clip featuring Wes Studi on Twitter:

The 90th #Oscars honor the men and women of the United States military. pic.twitter.com/DoaztJB7fS

— ABC Network (@ABCNetwork) March 5, 2018

When Indian Country Today posted that Studi spoke his language at the Oscars using the hashtag #IndianCountryAtTheOscars, thousands responded with positive excitement. First Nations actor Michael Greyeyes tweeted: “That made me jump out of my seat! Clapping & yellin’ #RepresentationMatters #Indigenouslanguages #cherokee

Charlotte Issyvoo‏ tweeted, My husband and I turned to each other with the same question: “Did we really just hear that?” One woman @Bernadette4858 remarked, A proud moment and true role model for our youth … a true warrior.”

Thousands responded to Wes Studi at the 90th Academy Awards.

WES STUDI SPEAKS HIS NATIVE LANGUAGE AT THE #OSCARS#IndianCountryAtTheOscars pic.twitter.com/N8Jto8jfp6

— Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling) March 5, 2018

List of Winners

The entire list of winners as posted by the Oscars website is as follows:

Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner
Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, and Lucy Sibbick, Darkest Hour – Winner
  • Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard, Victoria & Abdul
  • Arjen Tuiten, Wonder
Costume Design
  • Jacqueline Durran, Beauty and the Beast
  • Jacqueline Durran, Darkest Hour
  • Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread – Winner
  • Luis Sequeira, The Shape of Water
  • Consolata Boyle, Victoria & Abdul
Documentary Feature
  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  • Faces Places
  • Icarus – Winner
  • Last Men in Aleppo
  • Strong Island
Sound Editing
  • Julian Slater, Baby Driver
  • Mark Mangini and Theo Green, Blade Runner 2049
  • Richard King and Alex Gibson, Dunkirk – Winner
  • Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira, The Shape of Water
  • Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Sound Mixing
  • Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin, and Mary H. Ellis, Baby Driver
  • Ron Bartlett, Dough Hemphill, and Mac Ruth, Blade Runner 2049
  • Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landarker, and Gary A. Rizzo, Dunkirk – Winner
  • Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern, and Glen Gauthier, The Shape of Water
  • David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, and Stuart Wilson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Production Design
  • Beauty and the Beast (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)
  • Blade Runner: 2049 (Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola)
  • Darkest Hour (Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer)
  • Dunkirk (Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis)
  • The Shape of Water (Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin) – Winner
Foreign Language Film
  • A Fantastic Woman (Chile) – Winner
  • The Insult (Lebanon)
  • Loveless (Russia)
  • Body and Soul (Hungary)
  • The Square (Sweden)
Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya – Winner
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Animated Short Film
  • Dear Basketball – Winner
  • Garden Party
  • Lou
  • Negative Space
  • Revolting Rhymes
Animated Feature Film
  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Coco – Winner
  • Ferdinand
  • Loving Vincent
Visual Effects
  • Blade Runner 2049 (John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert, and Richard R. Hoover) – Winner
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, and Dan Sudick)
  • Kong: Skull Island (Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, and Mike Meinardus)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan, and Chris Corbould)
  • War for the Planet of the Apes (Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, and Joel Whist)
Film Editing
  • Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver
  • Lee Smith, Dunkirk – Winner
  • Tatiana S. Riegel, I, Tonya
  • Sidney Wolinsky, The Shape of Water
  • Jon Gregory, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Documentary Short Subject
  • Edith and Eddie
  • Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 – Winner
  • Heroin(e)
  • Knife Skills
  • Traffic Stop
Live Action Short Film
  • DeKalb Elementary
  • The Eleven O’Clock
  • My Nephew Emmett
  • The Silent Child – Winner
  • Watu Wote: All of Us
Adapted Screenplay
  • James Ivory, Call Me by Your Name – Winner
  • Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
  • Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green, Logan
  • Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
  • Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, Mudbound
Original Screenplay
  • Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out – Winner
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Cinematography
  • Roger A. Deakins, Blade Runner: 2049 – Winner
  • Bruno Delbonnel, Darkest Hour
  • Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
  • Rachel Morrison, Mudbound
  • Dan Laustsen, The Shape of Water
Original Score
  • Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
  • Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
  • Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water – Winner
  • John Williams, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  • Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Original Song
  • “Mighty River,” Mudbound
  • “Mystery of Love,” Call Me by Your Name
  • “Remember Me,” Coco – Winner
  • “Stand Up for Something,” Marshall
  • “This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman
Directing
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
  • Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water – Winner
Actor in a Leading Role
  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour – Winner
  • Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Actress in a Leading Role
  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

Best Picture

  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water – Winner
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

 

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post What Did Wes Say? First Native Presenter Wes Studi, Speaks Cherokee Language At Oscars appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

Native Legislators in Minnesota Call For Task Force to Stop Violence Against Indigenous Women


Today in St. Paul, Minnesota, two of four Minnesota Native American legislators, Rep. Kunesh-Podein, a descendant of the Standing Rock Lakota Tribe and Rep. Becker-Finn, a descendant of the Leech Lake Ojibwe, called for a Governor’s Task Force to stop violence against Indigenous women.

Nationwide, Native women suffer from violence at a rate two and a half times greater than any other group. In some regions of Minnesota, Native women are murdered at rates that are more than 10 times the national average.

Representative Mary Kunesh-Podein (DFL–New Brighton) called for a Governor’s task force at a press conference this morning to exclusively address the crisis in Minnesota.

I’m calling on @GovMarkDayton to create a task force to exclusively address the endemic crisis of Missing and Murdered Native Women in Minnesota. The violence against our Indigenous women is staggering and heartbreaking-time to remove the invisibility cloak! #mnleg #MMIW pic.twitter.com/LS6WnPF5HE

— Mary Kunesh-Podein (@mkuneshpodein) March 2, 2018

“The violence against our Indigenous women is staggering and heartbreaking,” said Rep. Kunesh-Podein. “These are our sisters, our mothers, our daughters, our aunts, our colleagues, and our neighbors. These women are Minnesotans and we are failing to protect them. No family should watch a loved one walk out the door and not know if they will see them again.”

“My cousin, Rebecca Anderson, was murdered in 2015 in South Minneapolis,” said Korina Barry, a member of the Leech Lake Ojibwe at the press conference. Rebecca Anderson was also a member of the Mille Lacs/Leech Lake Ojibwe.

“Today, her children live without their mother. Our family has not received justice. Rebecca’s story is one of many missing and murdered Indigenous women in Minnesota,” said Barry.

According to Rep Kunesh-Podein’s office, there is no system in place to collect comprehensive data on missing and murdered Native women in Minnesota. The task force will cost less than a $1 million a year and work with the Commissioner of Public Safety, state, tribal, federal, and non-governmental agencies to develop appropriate methods for tracking and collecting data, including better providing a better definition to the coordinated efforts to end the violence against Indigenous women.

The task force will also provide analysis regarding the systemic causes behind the number of missing Native American women in the state to law enforcement, policymakers and the public.

“Violence disproportionately inflicted on Native women is not a new trend,” said Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-Roseville). “This problem has existed for centuries, with sadness and trauma spanning generations. Each one of our Native sisters taken from us had a family and community who is affected by this loss. This violence and loss continues today and it is long past time we do something about it.”

“Today, I want to remember my sister and friend Ingrid Washinawatok, who was murdered 20 years ago,” said Sharon Day. “Also my two-spirit sisters, Marsha Gomez and Faye Wennell, both artists, and Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, transgender. And finally, my blood sister Debbie Porter, stabbed to death in Duluth. There is not one of us who hasn’t felt the grief of losing someone to violence. It’s time for this to stop.”

“When you hide behind who is right or wrong—while another life is taken or goes missing—speaks volumes of how broken this justice system truly is,” said Mary Lyons, an Ojibwe Elder. “The aftermath, the fallout of what happens to the people, the children, the communities they leave behind, they continue to live and breathe the pain. A special investigation unit would cost less than the foster care or adoption costs that will incur for years. The pain of one woman missing or murdered never fades, it is just buried for eternity or until another life is taken or goes missing.  This is a cycle that can be broken if we work together in harmony.”

According to Kunes-Podein’s office, the task force will report annually to the legislature, providing recommendations to reduce and end violence against Indian women and girls in Minnesota, including any proposed legislation that may be needed to confront the problem. When Rep. Kunesh-Podein’s proposed legislation is signed into law, the task force could go into effect as early as July of this year.

 

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post Native Legislators in Minnesota Call For Task Force to Stop Violence Against Indigenous Women appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

Amanda Douglas is the latest candidate for #NativeVote2018 in Oklahoma


Across the country more women than ever are running for office, including Congress, statewide posts, and legislatures. That’s the case in Indian Country, too. So is it a record year? It sure looks to be so. Amanda Douglas is the latest candidate.

“Northeastern Oklahoma is so skewed that not a single non-Republican candidate has officially registered to run for the 1st District in the coming 2018 election,” she wrote on her campaign web site. “Most agree that this is because it is historically a heavily Republican district– it hasn’t seen non-Republican representation since 1987. The thought is that there isn’t enough support for anyone other than a Republican to even bother running.”

Douglas is bothering to run. (This gets to my favorite rule in politics: You gotta run to win.) Two years ago no Democrat bothered to run and the incumbent, Rep. Jim Bridenstine picked up 100 percent of the vote. Not bad, right? He is not running for re-election because he is President Donald J. Trump’s choice to head the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). That means the district will be an open seat.

Amanda Douglass campaign site at amandadouglasforcongress.com.

Douglas and her family are citizens of the Cherokee Nation from Glenpool, Oklahoma, and she’s a graduate of Oklahoma State University.

“Yes, I know,” she writes. “I am not exactly drowning in political experience; however, I want you all to know that I consider that an advantage over other candidates at this point. We need fresh air in Washington. We need representation in Congress that is NOT part of the club– someone who is there for the good of the PEOPLE, not for financial gains or exploitable opportunities.”

There are now three Native American women running for the U.S. House. Deb Haaland in New Mexico, Sharice Davids in Kansas, and Douglas in Oklahoma. All are Democrats. In Arizona, Eve Reyes Aguirre is a candidate for the U.S. Senate running on the Green Party line. There are two Native American women running for state governors, Paulette Jordan in Idaho, and Andria Tupola Hawaii. And Peggy Flanagan is running for Lt. Gov. Minnesota. There are also six Native Americans running for Congress.

Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on Twitter

The post Amanda Douglas is the latest candidate for #NativeVote2018 in Oklahoma appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

Sherman Alexie Called Out For Sexual Misconduct For Over A Twenty-Year Period


The Native American Carnegie Medal award-winning writer of 26 books and writer and producer of the movie Smoke Signals, Sherman Alexie (Spokane-Coeur d’Alene,) has been accused of sexual predatory behavior and sexual harassment by several dozen women. Since last Saturday, allegations against the author have reached a fever pitch on social media.

Litsa Dremousis—a close friend of Alexie for over 15 years—says Alexie has been committing unwanted acts for years, to include kissing women that were not expecting it, making sexual innuendos, grabbing or fondling breasts and imposing himself in private situations.

In addition to Alexie making unwanted advances to women, Dremousis told Indian Country Today, “In multiple instances, he explicitly threatened to end women’s careers if they told anyone he had sexually harassed them… It seems—at least so far—that he targeted Native American women writers particularly hard.”

On Wednesday, Alexie issued a public apology amid the allegations of sexual misconduct stating, “Over the years, I have done things that have harmed other people, including those I
love most deeply. To those whom I have hurt, I genuinely apologize. I am so sorry.”

“I reject the accusations, insinuations, and outright falsehoods made by Litsa Dremousis, who has led charges against me. Ms. Dremousis has portrayed herself as simply being a friend of mine. She has withheld from the public the fact that she and I had previously been consenting sexual partners.”

Dremousis says she learned from colleagues and online posts back in October that eight Seattle women and a woman in Los Angeles were claiming Alexie had sexually harassed them.

“I first started hearing in October that he had been harassing women in Seattle, and then two weeks later I heard he had harassed a woman in Los Angeles. I thought, ‘Okay, we now have eight women in Seattle, one in Los Angeles. There are going to be more.’”

Dremousis said women were afraid to confront Alexie due to his prominence in the world of literature. She confided in friends that because she knew him, she would volunteer to confront him.

“People were afraid to confront him so I volunteered. I sent him an email and asked, ‘What are you doing?’ He did not get back to me, which I didn’t expect him to. Within one day, he took his assistant’s contact information, his literary agent’s contact information and his speaking agent’s contact information off his website. He then also blocked me from his fan page on Facebook,” said Dremousis.

“Four days later a press release went out from Seattle Arts and Lectures announcing that Alexie had canceled the upcoming season of his Sherman Alexie Loves lecture series,” she said.

Alexie states Dremousis is only telling a partial truth and claims he has no recollection of making threats. “There are women telling the truth about my behavior and I have no recollection of physically or verbally threatening anybody or their careers. That would be completely out of character. I have made poor decisions and I am working hard to become a healthier man who makes healthier decisions.”

In addition to his apology, Alexie discussed his alleged affair with Dremousis and explained interactions between the two of them that included Dremousis taking food to his home uninvited, and sending an email to his wife and posting on her Facebook page.

“Ms. Dremousis has continually tweeted and spoken in public about my behavior, making accusations based on rumors and hearsay and quoting anonymous sources,” wrote Alexie.

He finished his statement with, “Again, I apologize to the people I have hurt. I am genuinely sorry.”

Where It All Began – Public Tweets Go Viral

On Saturday February 24th, Dremousis tweeted publicly about the series of allegations she had heard since October. In her tweet she wrote: “For those who are learning about what are now several dozen allegations against Sherman Alexie—all of which are 100% credible—go to my TL [timeline] &/or search for his name on Twitter. Others are sharing their stories, too.”

Good morning, all.

For those who are learning about what are now several dozen allegations against Sherman Alexie–all of which are 100% credible–go to my TL &/or search for his name on Twitter. Others are sharing their stories, too.

Here’s what I’ve learned since last night:

— Litsa Dremousis (@LitsaDremousis) February 24, 2018

Within two days of sending out her tweets to the public. Dremousis said email inbox and Twitter direct messages became overloaded with women claiming Alexie had been inappropriate in a number of ways. She now estimates there are between 60 and 70 women who have told her their stories.

Dremousis told Indian Country Today, “Many of them thought they were the only one. Right now so many women are terrified of him, they don’t want to talk at all, they are sharing their stories with me.”

“One of the Native authors in question was a woman 20 years younger. He boxed her in on all sides, he sexually harassed her and said, ‘if you tell anyone I will end your career.’ One woman said, ‘you are going to have to rape me because it is no.’ He stopped and apologized.”

“It is so sad to read story after story after story but the one thing that keeps coming up most often is that he was manipulative. This is infuriating and it is so much worse than I thought. I knew this was awful, but I did not know he was a full-on monster.”

Reactions To Allegations

As a result of Dremousis’ tweets and a flurry of discussion on social media, Professor of American Indian Studies at University of Illinois Debbie Reese, (Nambé Pueblo) has made a public announcement that her organization, American Indians in Children’s Literature, will no longer list Alexie as an author and she has begun removing Alexie from 11 years of posts.

“Based on private conversations I have had, I can no longer let his work sit on AICL without noting that he has hurt other Native writers in overt and subtle ways, including abuse, threats, and humiliation,” wrote Reese on her website.

“I’ve been studying and writing about children’s and young adult books about Native people since the 1990’s. There’s been so little growth in all those years. Learning of his actions tells me that rather than helping grow the numbers of Native writers who get published, he’s undermined that growth.”

In addition to Reese’s claims to remove traces of Alexie from her site, there have been a slew of tweets and posts on social media of people ridding themselves of the works of Alexie.

Washington DC-based bookstore Duende District has stated they will also no longer be carrying Alexie’s books. They tweeted, “About Sherman Alexie. We learned of his predatory behavior a few months ago. We have not carried his books since. Duende District is a WoC-owned business & our mission is to uplift voices of color, esp. women of color, & we do not separate Alexie’s work from his actions.”

About Sherman Alexie. We learned of his predatory behavior a few months ago. We have not carried his books since. Duende District is a WoC-owned business & our mission is to uplift voices of color, esp. women of color, & we do not separate Alexie’s work from his actions. #MeToo

— Duende District (@duendedistrict) February 24, 2018

Sherman Alexie as a Public Speaker Advocating for Indigenous Women

Dremousis told ICT that she was also dismayed by the fact the Alexie often went on speaking engagements and after speaking about Native Women’s issues, would target the women.

“Sherman and I had more than one discussion about native women facing incredible obstacles, and all the while he was harassing and threatening native women. When he did press last year for You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, at every stop he said he wrote the book to honor his mom and honor indigenous women. It turns out he was harming indigenous women the whole time.”

“There are conversations we had where he was looking me in the eye about the incredible harms done to Native women and he was lying through his teeth. He fooled me.This is a man who spends his career on the road. If he is that reckless in Seattle—and now I know several dozen women outside of Seattle—there is no reason to think he was less reckless on the road.”

Dremousis said Alexie always asked for Indigenous attendees in the audience to stand to be recognized. “At every college he asked the native students to stand up for round of applause.”

In a National NPR interview regarding his latest book You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, Alexie said, “You know, indigenous women in Canada and United States are the single most vulnerable people in terms of domestic violence, in terms of assault, in terms of murder. And my mother was not spared from feeling that powerless against the world – not only against whiteness and colonialism, but against some of the villains inside our own tribe.”

Blaming Actions Based on Mental State

Dremousis says that though Alexie suffered from assault in his own life. It is not a reason for taking the actions he did.

“Sherman has discussed publicly about his rape when he was eight or 10 years old, a few years later he was sexually assaulted by an older teen who later raped and murdered and set fire to the bodies of two women. I thought he was acting out, he has bipolar disorder OCD and PTSD he’s very public about all of that. I told him, ‘you are in therapy, but you are not getting the help you need.’”

Dremousis says there is no excuse. “I have a woman author friend who wants to remain nameless that said, ‘I am a rape survivor, but the sum total of other people I have harassed is zero.’”

What Happens Now

As of yet, there have not been any women who have come forward to Indian Country Today publicly, but Dremousis says this is only temporary. She said there are a few women who are currently speaking with other news outlets that have already agreed to go public.

Dremousis informed Indian Country Today via phone that National Public Radio has the largest reach in the country and she sent several victims of Alexie to NPR who have agreed to come out against Alexie publicly.

Several journalists have confirmed NPR will be the first outlet to give reports first-hand from the victims of Alexie.

She also surmises that Little Brown Publishing would most likely not publish a sequel to Alexie’s award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. She also doesn’t think there will be a movie based on the book which is now in pre-production.

“Part-time diary sold 2.5 million copies, but how are you going to support the next book? I question how Little Brown could stand by him in a sequel. How do you market a YA author who has now been accused of sexual harassment? He is tainted from here on out. There is no way in hell colleges are going to hire him to speak.”

“The film version with Hugh Jackman and Fox Searchlight? As one of my friends in Los Angeles put it, ‘Kevin Spacey is over and he won two Oscars.’ They won’t let Sherman direct anything,” says Dremousis.

“He was being an absolute monster. This story has to come out.”

 

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter.

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Community And Alaska Native Leaders Travel To Juneau, Call For Better Salmon Habitat Protection


Community leaders from around the state of Alaska visited with legislators last week urging them to pass House Bill 199, “The Wild Salmon Legacy Act.”

The bill would update Alaska’s law governing the development of salmon habitats and would also encourage responsible salmon habitat development. Earlier that week, a separate group of community leaders provided testimony against Pebble Mine in a legislative hearing, citing the harmful impacts the mine would have on wild salmon.

The bill was introduced by Fisheries Committee Chair Rep. Louise Stutes (R – Kodiak) at the request of the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

The conversations with legislators highlighted an issue that has become one of the top priorities for Alaskans during this year’s legislative session.

“Wild salmon are everything to me, to my family and to my community,” said Thomas Tilden, First Chief of the Curyung Tribal Council.- in a press release. “We are not saying no development, what we want is development done responsibly. We are asking for an update to a 60-year-old law that has not been adjusted since statehood.”

Community leaders traveling to Juneau in favor of House Bill 199 included Tom Tilden from Nunamta Aulukestai in Dillingham; Tim and Mary Wonhola, New Stuyahok Elders; Mike Friccero, a Kodiak and Bristol Bay commercial fisherman; former State Senate President and backcountry guide Rick Halford from Chugiak and Aleknagik; and Jasmin Ieremia, a Petersburg teen advocate who commercial fishes with her family and other community leaders from Talkeetna, Anchorage, Sitka and Homer.

Tens of thousands of Alaskans from across the state have voiced support for improving salmon habitat protections, an issue that unifies all users – from urban anglers to rural subsistence communities to commercial fishermen.

About Stand for Salmon

Stand for Salmon is a diverse group of Alaska-based individuals, businesses, and organizations united in taking immediate steps to ensure that Alaska remains the nation’s salmon state for generations to come. Learn more at www.standforsalmon.org.

The post Community And Alaska Native Leaders Travel To Juneau, Call For Better Salmon Habitat Protection appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

It’s Official: Indian Country Today Is Back in Business


Indian Country Today has new leadership and will be fully back in business soon. At the beginning of this month, the ownership of the digital platform was transferred from the Oneida Indian Nation in New York to the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C.  Indian Country Today has been on a hiatus since September.

Heading up the Indian Country Today editorial team is Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) as Indian Country Today Editor and Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) as Associate Editor. The digital publication will continue on “publishing lightly” until this spring when there will be a build up of its operation, a shift to a new web platform, and an increased staff.

Mark Trahant, 60, brings a wealth of experience to Indian Country Today as a well-known publisher of Trahant Reports, and is a multi award-winning Journalist and is a faculty member at the University of North Dakota.

Mark Trahant, 60, brings a wealth of experience to Indian Country Today as a well-known publisher of Trahant Reports, and is a multi award-winning Journalist and a faculty member at the University of North Dakota. He will join the staff full-time at the conclusion of the spring semester.

As the former editor of the editorial page for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Trahant chaired the daily editorial board, directed a staff of writers, editors and a cartoonist.

He has also worked at The Seattle Times, Arizona Republic, The Salt Lake Tribune, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the Navajo Times, Navajo Nation Today and the Sho-Ban News. Trahant is also former president of the Native American Journalists Association.

He has been a jury finalist for the Pulitzer Prize as well as a judge for the Pulitzers. This fall, Trahant was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“We are excited to have Mark Trahant on board to help us lead this next chapter for Indian Country Today,” stated NCAI President Jefferson Keel said in a news release. “Mark is respected in and out of Indian Country for his professionalism and journalistic skills.”

NCAI Executive Director Jacqueline Pata said: “We are eager to add to this important platform for Indian Country. We will work to make sure that this next chapter of Indian Country Today is both sustainable and useful while maintaining the primary goal of dedicated service others have forged before us.”

Trahant said, “Schilling has been doing a remarkable job of keeping Indian Country Today vital during the transition. This is important and will make it that much easier to build the next journalistic platform.”

As Associate Editor, Vincent Schilling, 50 brings his 10 years of experience with Indian Country Today as a former Arts and Entertainment, Sports and Powwow’s Editor as well as many years experience as a contributor, photographer and membership in the White House Press Pool.

As associate editor, Vincent Schilling, 50, brings his 10 years of experience with Indian Country Today as a former Arts and Entertainment, Sports and Powwow’s Editor as well as many years experience as a contributor, photographer and as part of the White House Press Pool.

Schilling is also a former contributor to such publications as MSNBC, NBC, Arthritis Today, Woman’s World, Winds of Change, The Tribal College Journal, Children’s Digest, and The Virginian-Pilot, Inside Business and Tidewater Parent in Virginia, an author of four books promoting role models in Indian Country and a U.S Army veteran that served as a Lieutenant in Field Artillery.  

He shared his excitement with the rebooting of what he has long called Indian Country Today, “a much needed voice for Indian country.”

“A lot of readers out there noticed that I was still contributing to the site with breaking news and I want to sincerely thank them for their continued words of support over the past few months.”

“I also want to say thank you to the NCAI for their great work behind the scenes and for making an excellent choice with Mark Trahant as editor. He brings a world of knowledge to Indian Country Today and to be part of such a team as this in incredibly exciting,” said Schilling.

Indian Country Today plans to share its content with tribal newspapers, radio stations, and websites, at no cost with proper credit attribution.

Please also read ICT Editor Mark Trahant’s latest introductory piece and welcoming back to Indian Country Today.

A Letter From The Editor, Mark Trahant: Indian Country Today Enters a New Stage, is Back in Business and We Are Ready to Serve.’

Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. Follow him on Twitter

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

Follow Indian Country Today on Twitter

The post It’s Official: Indian Country Today Is Back in Business appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

A Letter From The Editor: Mark Trahant – Indian Country Today Enters a New Stage


Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) is editor of Indian Country Today.

Many years ago Richard LaCourse and I would sit around and toss ideas about what the perfect Indigenous newspaper would look like. LaCourse, at the time, was trying to create a new publication in Washington, DC. Imagination was his currency. What was possible?

LaCourse had a lot of experience answering that question. He had helped build the American Indian Press Association. He had edited or written for several tribal newspapers, including his own, The Yakama Nation Review. He launched a one-person crusade to raise the standards of Native American journalism.

I even remember the first time I heard him do that. It was on Feb. 24, 1977, at a workshop in Spokane. A workshop speaker was telling tribal editors that they worked for tribal councils and should slant the news accordingly. LaCourse stood up. Angry. Shaking his finger. “Are you aware of the 1968 law that guarantees freedom of the press in Indian Country? Indian newspapers should be professional, straight reporting operations, and your assumptions about cheerleaders for a point of view has nothing do do with the field of journalism. Why are you making this presumption?”

I am thinking of Richard LaCourse as we begin Indian Country Today’s third chapter. The goal is to build on the legacy of LaCourse—as well as from the first two chapters of Indian Country Today. The publication was founded by Tim Giago in South Dakota in 1991 and was followed by the ownership of the Oneida Nation of New York.

It’s hard to think of a better word than legacy, actually. The word is from the 14th century Latin legatus, an ambassador, envoy, a deputy sent with a commission. A century later the word had shifted and become associated with property, a gift. Both definitions fit. The gift is all of the work done before. The commission is the tasks ahead.

Indian Country Today is owned by the National Congress of American Indians—but we will act independently. We are creating a framework to ensure that. But our primary task is the same as LaCourse’s vision: Professional, straight reporting that tells stories about Indigenous people and our nations.

I’d like to thank the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) for engaging in this experiment. It would have been easy to say, “well, “no.” Especially when the challenges of independence are factored into that equation. The NCAI has a long history of working with the Native press (even while our missions are different.) One of the great journalists of her generation, Marie Potts, a Maidu, and editor of California’s Smoke Signals best writing in Washington while on working on a fellowship with NCAI during the late 1960s.

The best way I know how to demonstrate our independence is to produce solid, thoughtful journalism. Every day. So there is a lot of hard work ahead. (And we will need some time to make this so.)

But Indian Country Today is back in business and we are ready to serve.

Our goal is to hire a team in Washington, create (and fund) reporting fellowships around the country, and build capacity for freelance contributors. We want to be partners, not competitors, with tribal newspapers, public media, and web publishers.

I have been teaching journalism for the past seven years and I am always telling students that this is a time of great opportunity. The digital world means that we can reach our audiences instantly. We can communicate ideas. We can explain a complicated process. We can expose wrongdoing. Or write a story of pop culture that makes us smile.

We can invent a new kind of news organizations, one built on the currency of imagination.

Mark Trahant is editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Follow him on Twitter

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YouTube alter-Native Series Highlights A Year With Native Fashion Designer Bethany Yellowtail


A new YouTube series titled alter-NATIVE—that follows a year in the life of Native American fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail as she develops her latest collection inspired by her art, activism, and indigenous women— is now premiering on a YouTube channel called Indie Lens Storycast.

Developed by ITVS, Indie Lens Storycast is a free, subscription-based docuseries channel on YouTube described as a channel of “docuseries’ created by indie filmmakers that showcases stories that reflect the funny, strange, and dynamic world we live in.”

Watch the first episode of alter-NATIVE, on @StorycastDocs right now! The series follows a year in the life of @Byellowtail as she develops her latest collection inspired by her art, activism, and indigenous women! #StorycastDocs @PBSDS @billyluther Watch: https://t.co/y0uNHMM4NN pic.twitter.com/g9MxZ8tLfC

— World of Wonder (@WorldOfWonder) February 27, 2018

Dine’ director Billy Luther told Indian Country Today in an email about his filmmaking process and interactions with Bethany Yellowtail.

“I followed her for a year as she sets about making her dream come true of designing high-end fashion inspired by her culture and heritage,” wrote Luther.

“I followed her from Standing Rock to the Women’s March—through her activism, as she creates and launches RISE— her female Indigenous empowerment line. It is her most socially engaged work to date. It was fascinating to see how on the one hand her designs tell stories and speak to the history of her people while also resonating with the current political climate.”

Courtesy World of Wonder

Native fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail taking part in the National Women’s March.

“Significantly this is also a moment when Native American designs are being shamelessly ripped off by fashion chains and fast clothing lines. Bethany is also a victim of this creative thieving. But rather than be a victim, Bethany manages to take her work to the next level and demonstrating how her traditions and aesthetic are powerfully relevant today – now more than ever,” wrote Luther.

Dressing IS resistance. Give it up for Bethany Yellowtail (@Byellowtail), Crow and Northern Cheyenne fashion designer in L.A.! alter-NATIVE: now playing at #StorycastDocs
WATCH ep. 1 ➡ https://t.co/doEP0jyLze @worldofwonder @PBSDS pic.twitter.com/efdq6C9bDY

— Indie Lens Storycast (@StorycastDocs) February 27, 2018

This ability to rise above prejudice and bigotry has always been a key inspiration and core of my work, and to have the opportunity to follow an artist like Bethany, was a true honor and inspiration”

The first episode of the six-part series featuring Native American fashion designer Bethany Yellowtail starts today, February 27th, 2018.

The episode is described as follows:

“Give it up for Bethany Yellowtail, Crow and Northern Cheyenne fashion designer in L.A.! Bethany pours her traditions and heartbreak into her B.Yellowtail company, including one of her most popular pieces, the Sun Road Woman dress. Along the way she faces cultural appropriation (including having designs plagiarized for a major fashion show) and, as this docuseries will show you in a fashion, finds her own voice as both designer and political activist.  For Bethany, dressing is resistance.”

Subscribe to Indie Lens Storycast: http://bit.ly/StorycastSubscribe

Indie Lens Storycast is a partnership with ITVS, Independent Lens and PBS Digital Studios.

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post YouTube alter-Native Series Highlights A Year With Native Fashion Designer Bethany Yellowtail appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

Remembering an Icon: Longtime Indian Country Today Journalist Gale Courey Toensing Walks On


A well-regarded and longtime award-winning journalist for Indian Country Today, Gale Courey Toensing walked on earlier this month, on February 5, 2018 after a tough battle with Parkinson’s disease.

In addition to her reporting for Indian Country Today since May of 2005, Toensing was also an accomplished poet, having earned an MFA in poetry from Norwich University in Vermont.

Due to her accomplishments in reporting for the service of Indian country, former Indian Country Today Creative Director Christopher Napolitano wrote a eulogy on LinkedIn expressing his appreciation for her efforts over the many years.

“Toensing was nothing short of a powerhouse,” writes Napolitano. “She regularly published more than 100 articles per year on a variety of subjects where, with each report, she demonstrated mastery of the complexities of issues in Indian country.”

Since writing her first article in May of 2005 titled, Schaghticoke Status Attacked, Toensing regularly contributed articles covering the array of issues in Indian country. She served a well-received presence at annual NCAI, NIGA and USET conferences and worked in Washington DC to provide coverage of issues facing tribal leaders and federal policy.

Toensing’s final article for Indian Country Today in 2017 was covering the same tribe of which she wrote in 2005, the Schaghticoke, titled Schaghticoke Tribal Nation’s $610 Million Lawsuit Against CT Inches Forward.

As Napolitano writes in his eulogy, “Though her pieces were written with the immediacy and urgency of breaking news, many of them stand the test of time.”

To read more of Toensing’s work, visit her Indian Country Today author’s page here.

Toensing’s official obituary reads as follows:

“Gale Courey Toensing died peacefully surrounded by family members on February 5, 2018.

She was born on April 7, 1946 in Montreal, the daughter of Mae (Kenmey) and Philip Courey. She emigrated to the United States and became a citizen. She received her MFA from Norwich University.

Gale worked in publishing and journalism. Most recently she was a staff writer for Indian Country Today. Over the years she received many awards for her writing.

Gale was a champion for the welfare and rights of people who needed advocates because of their needs or their mistreatment by others.

She is survived by her husband Craig; her daughter Liz and husband Ethan, of West Cornwall; and her son Seth and his wife Beth, of Somerville, MA; and her brother Jeffrey Courey and his wife Myrna and their two children, of Mississauga, Canada; and her niece Jennifer and her husband, of NYC.

She was predeceased by her sister Joyce.

A celebration of her life will be held in the spring and will be announced once plans are finalized.

Donations in tribute to Gale may be made to the Michael J Fox Foundation to help find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.”

###

In a final tribute to her legacy as a writer, Napolitano posted a poem she had once sent to him in an email. Napolitano writes before the poem, “If you knew her, you know. If you didn’t, reading her work is much better than reading the words of this poor friend trying to describe her. In fact, best to close this remembrance with her words, not mine.”

Personal Belongings

My mother’s nightgown lies furled at the back of the drawer,
flimsy like a shadow someone forgot to pack.
I stashed it there unwashed five years ago,
death cells still clinging to its fibers. I want to take it out
and shake it, run it through the washer by itself
on gentle cycle, small load, dry it with a sheet
of Bounce and fluff it back to when she was a paradox,
a five-foot giantess, reliquary of bad advice.

I remember her pitying stare, poised dressed-to-kill
and dripping jewels on the living room sofa,
her daily exhortations, flipping through fashion magazines—
You look like death warmed over in those black clothes.

Why don’t you make yourself glamorous?
Go get a permanent and learn how to cook,
don’t show how brainy you are, show some cleavage,
that’s the way to catch a man—and the night her own brain,
hooked by a random ruby red hardening of blood, cleft itself
into smooth-surfaced planes between clearing

the dinner dishes and serving the tea, how her body
slid to the floor, fluid as a silk negligee tossed off a creamy shoulder,
the porcelain cups tinkling into shards like the memories
she tried to piece together the next four years, and never could.

I’d enter her room from the coded elevator
and she’d say my name, then Sister! Or, lost somewhere between
Intention and expression, Blue! as she waved the only hand
she could still move to flaunt the diamond rings my father
had given her through the years, until she grew so small they slid
over the bones of her fingers and fell into the safe
deposit box at my bank where I keep them with her gold bracelets
and emerald necklace and other sparkling things,
in a rectangle of steel as dark as the coffin she was buried in
or the drawer where her nightgown lies,
so I can tell her shimmering from mine.

–Gale Courey Toensing (1997)

The post Remembering an Icon: Longtime Indian Country Today Journalist Gale Courey Toensing Walks On appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

Raymond Cormier Found Not Guilty in Death of 15-Year-Old Indigenous Girl Tina Fontaine


Spawning the hashtag #JusticeForTinaFontaine over the past month and more, the CBC has just announced that a Canadian jury has found Raymond Cormier not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a 15-year-old First Nations girl by the name of Tina Fontaine.

Jury finds Cormier not guilty

— Caroline Barghout (@cbarghout) February 22, 2018

Tina Fontaine’s 72-pound body was found in Winnipeg’s Red River, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighted down with rocks, on Aug. 17, 2014.

Cormier, a 56-year-old man seen arguing with the teen days before her death, had been seen with an identical duvet cover and had allegedly admitted on tape that he had committed crimes against the teen, was charged on December 8th of 2015. Cormier has a lengthy criminal record with 92 convictions in  assault, weapons, drugs and fraud.

‘I’m not a saint’: What #RaymondCormier revealed to CBC about the case against him in #TinaFontaine‘s deathhttps://t.co/l5vtcXJGYD

— plainJane (@Mapleleafgirls) February 22, 2018

According to the CBC, The Crown had no forensic evidence or eyewitnesses directly linking Cormier to Tina’s death, and the cause of her death remains undetermined.

Cormier’s defense lawyers, Tony Kavanagh and Andrew Synyshyn challenged recorded evidence and argued the Crown’s case was built on “inferences made from recordings that are difficult to hear.”

CBC News

A memorial to murdered Sagkeeng First Nation teen Tina Fontaine, whose body was pulled from the Red River, wrapped in a bag, on Sunday August 17. She had been missing for just over a week.

At the verdict reading, family members of Tina Fontaine lined the courtroom, according to CBC national news reporter in Manitoba, Karen Pauls on Twitter, “#TinaFontaine‘s biological mother Valentina Duck just walked out of court and said “F&$! you if you think you can get away with this!”

#TinaFontaine‘s biological mother Valentina Duck just walked out of court and said “F&$! you if you think you can get away with this.” #mmiwg

— Karen Pauls (@karenpaulscbc) February 22, 2018

Pauls also said Tina Fontiane’s  great-aunt Thelma Favel, who raised her since she was four-years-old, “#RaymondCormier being led out. Thelma yelled at him before he left, now crying “My baby.” Supporters have circled her and are praying the Lord’s Prayer.”

#RaymondCormier being led out. Thelma yelled at him before he left, now crying “My baby.” Supporters have circled her and are praying the Lord’s Prayer. #mmiwg

— Karen Pauls (@karenpaulscbc) February 22, 2018

Here are reactions as recorded live by the CBC.

LIVE: Reaction to the #RaymondCormier trial verdict in the death of #TinaFontaine https://t.co/FORxE32tBC

— CBC Indigenous (@CBCIndigenous) February 22, 2018

Tweets from all over Indian Country are pouring in regarding the not guilty verdict.

Another Indigenous life failed. #ImSorryTina

— Kori B (@KoriRBaron) February 22, 2018

I don’t know what to do anymore. White friends. What am I suppose to tell my daughters? Serious question because I don’t know anymore. #JusticeforTinaFontaine

— Migizi Bebaayaad (@deejayndn) February 22, 2018

For more details, see the CBC article here.

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post Raymond Cormier Found Not Guilty in Death of 15-Year-Old Indigenous Girl Tina Fontaine appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

Native Actor Wes Studi Just Announced As An Official Presenter at the 90th Oscars


Standing alongside an impressive array of actors and actresses as Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and others, Native Actor Wes Studi is one of the esteemed actors that will be presenting Oscars at this year’s 90th awards.

Producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd today announced 10 more presenters for the 90th Oscars® telecast. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will air live Sunday, March 4, on the ABC Television Network.

The additional presenters announced include Gal Gadot, Mark Hamill, Armie Hammer, Oscar Isaac, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Gina Rodriguez, Eva Marie Saint, Wes Studi, Kelly Marie Tran and Zendaya.

#Oscars News: Welcome our ten new presenters!https://t.co/bOsWNIHERy pic.twitter.com/wlUC4rN1OH

— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 21, 2018

“Together, these artists represent some of the most beloved movies of our generation,” said De Luca and Todd. “It’s an honor to welcome them to the 90th Oscars stage.”

Shortly after the announcement, Wes Studi took to Twitter stating, “Exciting News! I’m going to be presenting the Sound Editing Oscar at the Academy Awards together with Laura Dern! Tune in at 5 p.m. PST, March 4.

Exciting News! I’m going to be presenting the Sound Editing Oscar at the Academy Awards together with Laura Dern! Tune in at 5 p.m. PST, March 4. https://t.co/88QzE0FlKW

— Wes Studi (@WesleyStudi) February 21, 2018

Studi most recently starred in “Hostiles” (2017). His starring credits also include the Oscar-winning films “Avatar” (2009), “The Last of the Mohicans” (1992) and “Dances with Wolves” (1990). Additionally, he appeared in the Oscar-nominated films “The New World” (2005) and “Geronimo: An American Legend” (1993). He will next appear in “A Dog’s Way Home.”

The 90th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be broadcast live on the ABC Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The Oscars, produced by De Luca and Todd and hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, also will be televised in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. Additionally, “The Oscars: All Access” live stream from the red carpet and backstage will begin at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on Oscar.com.

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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National Center Mourns the Passing of Longtime Board Member Larry G. Kinley


The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (The National Center / NCAEID) sends its deepest condolences to Lummi Nation and the entire Kinley family after the death of long-serving National Center Board Member Larry G. Kinley.

Kinley lost his battle with lung cancer on February 13th. A member of the Board since 1988, Kinley worked tirelessly to promote the values and goals of The National Center, the Lummi Nation, and all of Indian Country.

“In his 30-year tenure with The National Center, Larry brought wisdom and vision to our Board of Directors, and helped bring our organization into the 21st Century,” National Center Board Chairman Derrick Watchman said in a release. “He was a leader not only through his work at the National Center but also with the Lummi people and throughout Washington state. He will be missed by all who worked with him and had the honor of knowing him.”

Kinley began his life of service in the United States Army. After his service, he joined the Lummi Indian Business Council, where he served as Chairman from 1974-1975 and 1981-1989. He was instrumental in not only advancing the largest tribal fishing fleet, but also in expanding the Northwest Indian College (NWIC), the Lummi School District, Fisherman’s Cove, the Silver Reef Hotel Casino & Spa, the new Tribal Government administration building, several mini-marts, and a processing plant.

Kinley was instrumental in developing the Centennial Accord, which provided a bridge between the tribes and brought Tribal Leaders to the table with the Governor of Washington State and their agencies.

“Larry’s dedication to bringing economic opportunity to the Lummi Nation was unsurpassed,” National Center President and CEO Chris James said in a release. “He brought that same passion to his work at the National Center, and many tribes and Native entrepreneurs benefited from his expertise. Although he may be gone now, I know the National Center will carry Larry’s legacy through our mission of providing economic opportunity to Indian Country.”

About The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. With over 40 years of assisting American Indian Tribes and their enterprises with business and economic development – we have evolved into the largest national Indian specific business organization in the nation. Our motto is: “We Mean Business For Indian Country” as we are actively engaged in helping Tribal Nations and Native business people realize their business goals and are dedicated to putting the whole of Indian Country to work to better the lives of American Indian people- both now… and for generations to come.

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Native Nerd Movie Review: Black Panther Slashes at Colonialism Using More than Vibranium


Truth be told, I ordered tickets to see the “fan night movie premiere” over a month in advance to be sure I could see Marvel’s Black Panther in all its IMAX 3D glory. Yes, I even arrived two hours early for a 6:00 pm viewing and was not surprised to see an impressive handful of audience members as excited as I was to watch a film featuring a full cast of actors of color.

As the all-too familiar Marvel Comics Studio graphics began to play on the screen and I adjusted my 3D glasses in the dimming theater. I was surprised by something I didn’t expect. The theater was completely silent. No food wrappers crinkling, no idle chatter, nothing, I was…like so many others, completely mesmerized by Ryan Coogler’s take on a superhero based in Africa.

Matt Kennedy Disney Marvel Studios

Chadwick Boseman stars in ‘Black Panther.’

For so many of my childhood years, I have been force-fed the history ‘That any civilization of color was the less than superior race of people.’ I have been taught that the colonizers were the ones that brought knowledge, technology, weaponry and skill-sets to bring other ‘inferior races of color’ into the modern age.

I have always been taught: brown skin means you are inferior. I have brown skin as a Mohawk man. I grew up in the streets of Compton, feeling inferior, just as so many of my friends did. I never dreamed there would someday be a movie, where a black hero could be something ‘superior.’

I wept as the movie started. Many of my brown friends never made it out of the streets. Many never got to see a black President, many never got to see a black superhero.

Then a black director – a man with brown skin, did something SUPERIOR. He made a BRILLIANT FILM.

This movie undid so much of that damage in my childhood mind, I literally wept with relief that: “Yes, world, people with brown skin can be intelligent, people with brown skin can be scientists, they can be strong women warriors, brown people can excel more than colonizers have done in history.

There was a lot about Black Panther that a comic aficionado like myself could expect. (Prince T’Challa is bound to become king, that much is already known as per previous incarnations of Marvel movies as seen before this one.) But Prince T’Challa’s process of becoming King  is where the magic happens.

Let it be said, I do NOT speak for all Native American people, and I have coined the term “Native Nerd Review” because I was a skinny Native kid that love all nerdy things like science, comics, magic tricks, practical jokes and more. As a self-proclaimed Native Nerd, I’d like to think there are more Native nerds out there like me who get a kick out of Marvel and DC superhero movies, Zombies and so much more out there in this world so rich with geekdom.

The Fictional World of Wakanda

Before I go any further,  it is worth noting that this is not my first draft of this review, as I learned soon after writing it that Wakanda has an identical pronunciation to the Osage Nation’s word for Creator or God. I wanted to learn more about this and spoke to a number of Osage Nation members to include a news editor, language teacher, language students and another fellow comic enthusiast.

From their perspectives, they were not offended as the place was fictional. This is not to say another Native person might not be offended, but I did want to pay my respect, temporarily unpublish this article – then come back after I had paid my respects to research the topic.

I must say thank you to the readers of Indian Country Today for alerting me to this initially, no matter our place in the world, we are always at a place where we can receive the blessing to learn something.

All said, the fictional world of the Black Panther is a beautiful one. I was thrilled to see such a lack of stereotype among so many different tribes, similar to their are a world of differences in Native tribes on Turtle Island.

Ryan Coogler introduces different tribes of Africa. He shows that each tribe has separate belief systems, cultural perspectives, types of dress and regalia and ways of life. All of this is compared and contrasted to the urban ways of America, a powerful sentiment that resonates throughout the film.

Photo - Matt Kennedy Disney Marvel Studios

Chadwick Boseman stars and fights with Michael B. Jordan in ‘Black Panther’ .

There will not be any spoilers in this review. But Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of the Black Panther / Prince T’Challa was elegant, charismatic and profound perfection. Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Erik Killmonger was pure brilliance. Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia was fantastic, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett were genuine and enjoyable as always.

Worth mentioning most of all was the other shining star in Black Panther. Watch for Danai Gurira as the female warrior, though it would be impossible to miss it. Her performance was powerful brilliance and the truest representation of the power of women. Every time her powerful staff hit the ground with an ominous ‘boom,’ the whole audience would gasp. I was among them, losing my breath with each magic moment.

- Photo Disney - Marvel Studios

Danai Gurira in in ‘Black Panther’.

The costuming of the world of Wakanda is nothing less than pure genius, I marveled (Pun-intended) at the flawless wardrobe, the female warriors and the intricacies of tradition infused with the most modern of technologies. The set design was a miracle of cinema as presented by Patrick Dunn-Baker, for at more than one occasion, I felt myself literally gasping for air at some of the cinematic works of art I was looking at at any given time.

The movie was an absolute blast. I enjoyed every slash of vibranium claws by the Black Panther and screamed with excitement with the overtaking of the bad guys. I also screamed with excitement when one character uses the word ‘colonizer’ as an insult.

I enjoyed every single solitary moment of this spectacular film! It is a MUST SEE!

As I left the movie behind, I did go through a bit of a grieving process as a Native American man. I am all too familiar with the term ‘colonizer.’ I am all too familiar with being called (first-hand) an inferior race, even though indigenous peoples invented such things as watertight wetsuits, syringes from quills and animal bladders, medicines and more.

I grieved because Native Americans don’t yet have a superhero as completely fantastic as the Black Panther. He has a suit that is impenetrable, and has claws with the strongest metal in the world, vibranium.

I have hope that one day we will have a Native superhero without an eagle or wolf friend standing at his side, one that doesn’t have super tracking abilities or anything else related to the elements.

But with the success of Black Panther, people in the film industry will see how people of color films make a TON of money, and more than anything else, that seems to affect change in an industry that is slow to do much more than give an academy award to another musical film filled with non people of color. This is certainly not an undermining statement to the talents of all actors and actresses in the industry, but statistics are statistics.

If the Black Panther is overlooked by the Oscars this year, I am going to give the biggest SMH the social media world has ever seen.

In the meantime – GO AND HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE – GO SEE THIS FILM!

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Offensive Or Not? ‘Black Panther’ Fictional Wakanda Translates as ‘God’ to Some Tribes


As the Black Panther movie is breaking box office records all over the real world of Earth, there is a fictional world in the Marvel Universe that has been getting a bit of heat for its controversial pronunciation. The fictional East African Nation known as Wakanda in the latest Blank Panther blockbuster is pronounced identically to the Osage and Kaw Nation’s word for ‘God’ or ‘Creator.’

Marvel Wakanda Origins

Marvel Comics

The Fictional East African Nation of Wakanda appears in this map first put out by Marvel Comics.

Specifically, Wakanda — as far as the Marvel Comic’s definition stands— is a fictional East African territory that first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 in July of 1966. Wakanda’s physical location has changed places over the years (as might be expected with decades of comic stories that might vary inadvertently) and is home to such notable comic book heroes as Man-Ape, Gentle, Storm and of course, the Black Panther.

Marvel Comics

The ‘Black Panther’s’ ‘World of Wakanda by Marvel Comics.

In the Marvel movie world, Wakanda was first established into existence in Captain America: Civil War when it was shown on a map. The territory of Wakanda is known in the Marvel Universe where a large meteor of vibranium crash-landed, giving sacred powers to the territory and ultimately is used by sacred medicine people to empower the King of Wakanda.

But what do members of the Osage Nation say?

According to Shannon Shaw, a member of the Osage Nation and editor of the Osage News, the Marvel spelling is different, but the pronunciation is the same. “I have not yet seen the film, but I have read some reviews and that they spell it Wakanda. In our Osage language the word for God is Wah.Kon.Tah. I have been told how they pronounce it in the film is exactly how we pronounce it. So in essence, it is the same word.” said Shaw.

Osage tribal member and Osage language student Kilan Jacobs wrote to ICT in an email, “It did not bother me at all. It was a sacred home place to them. Beyond that, I have no way of knowing if in some real African language this is an actual place name or word they have as well. But overall I felt no disrespect or misdoing. The movie was great and uplifting.”

Other Osage tribal members also offered their comments to Indian Country Today via email.

Cherise Miller, an Osage tribal member and Osage language instructor wrote, “There are numerous English spellings of the word Wakanda. I’ve seen it both with an O or an A. I use the A version.”

Miller did say she saw the movie with her daughters.

“I saw the movie yesterday with my girls. It was weird to hear it used like that, but it was their sacred place. I didn’t feel it was used in a derogatory way. But it was used in their fictional context and language.”

Miller wrote that the use of Wakanda brought up other thoughts about how languages can be interpreted by other speakers of other languages.

“I wonder if English speakers would offended if we produced a cartoon about talking fish and they got upset that our Osage word for fish is Ho. I know there are some other words in languages like the Creek that have words that sound like ‘Fuk,’ but certainly has a different meaning. So all of this depends on the language base.”

Not the First Time For Wakanda in a Film

Osage News editor Shannon Shaw says that the Black Panther movie was not the first to use Wakanda. Even though the fictional territory had been created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1966, the first time Shaw says she had heard Wakanda used in a film was by Dan Aykroyd in Ghostbusters.

“In the original Ghostbusters film, when Dan Aykroyd is explaining where he thought up the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, was when he was a little boy at camp Waconda. Wakanda and Waconda sound the same, but Wah.Kon.Tah is pronounced a little bit differently.”

Newton Cass, an Osage tribal member remembers both instances first hand: “I remember reading the comic as a kid and remember my mind being blown that it was used. I always thought that it was used appropriately, being that we all come from the Creator, and it was used in that context.”

“It’s funny mentioning Ghostbusters,” wrote Cass. “Because I always thought it was weird the way Aykroyd said it.”

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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