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Cherokee Heritage Center Offering Class on Traditional Stickball

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

Register now for two-day class May 3-4

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Registration is now open for the Cherokee Heritage Center’s upcoming stickball class. The two-day class will be held May 3-4 with guest instructor Cherokee Nation citizen Victor Wildcat.

The class will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and end at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, the class will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition to learning the history and importance of the traditional game, this hands-on, interactive class will guide participants through the steps to create their own pair of stickball sticks.

The class is presented as part of a series designed to preserve, promote and teach traditional Cherokee art. The Saturday workshops are held once a month and provide hands-on learning opportunities with various traditional art forms.

Participation in the class costs $65 and includes all materials. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Tonia Weavel at 918-456-6007, ext. 6161, or by email at tonia-weavel@cherokee.org.

The Cherokee Heritage Center is the premier cultural center for Cherokee history, culture, and the arts. It is located at 21192 S. Keeler Drive, Park Hill.


Register Now for 9th Annual Gravestone Conservation Workshop

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

Local organizations partner on conservation workshop May 2-3

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism and Preservation Oklahoma are partnering to increase awareness about the importance of gravestone preservation. The two-day workshop demonstrates how to properly care for and preserve historical resources etched in stone.

The eighth annual gravestone conservation workshop is May 2-3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tahlequah Public Cemetery. The cost to attend is $50 and lunch is provided.

Professional gravestone and masonry conservator Jonathan Appell, member of the Preservation Trades Network, will lead the class.

An expert in cemetery preservation planning, Appell will lead the hands-on, interactive training while covering topics on how to reset stones, repair fragmented stones, repoint and clean masonry, and use infill material and appropriate repair materials. Tools and most materials will be provided for the workshops. Attendees are encouraged to bring a folding chair for comfort.

Appell has performed gravestone preservation and planning projects on many historic cemeteries throughout the U.S., including the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.; The Granary in Boston; Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, New York; The First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Greensboro, North Carolina; and The New Haven Crypt in New Haven, Connecticut.

The workshop is limited to 25 people on a first-come, first served basis. To reserve space or get more information, go to www.PreservationOK.org.

For information on Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism, including museum operations, please call (877) 779-6977 or visit www.VisitCherokeeNation.com.


Hope Locke Travels Across Country to Feature Best of the United States

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

PHOENIX — Hope Locke, a Chickasaw citizen from Tuttle, Oklahoma, has opened a new chapter in her life, working in television production and highlighting the best of the best from coast to coast in the United States.

Locke, along with her husband, Cristian, their newborn daughter, Reagan, and two dogs recently relocated to Phoenix, Arizona. This new adventure led to Locke becoming a host and producer for the national entertainment program Official Best of America (OBOA).

The half-hour program features top-rated attractions, destinations, and points of interest in states all across America.

She said after relocating and searching out career paths in media, OBOA appeared as a matter of coincidence.

“I always had an interest in being on TV and with video production, but I never thought I would have the opportunity to do so,” Locke said.

Locke will be sharing her life, family, and faith through her role at OBOA as an associate producer. Speaking on camera, she will explain how and why she chooses the greatest places in America to feature, including some insight into her personal life.

OBOA producers like Locke research the cream of the crop among points of interest in the U.S. They put in many hours following their own passions to share what they find with a national audience.

She said she is proud to be a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and is always happy to share with others her love for her Native home and Nation.

She recalled taking the first ultrasound of her daughter at the women’s clinic in the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center in Ada.

Locke is the youngest of her seven siblings. She enjoys sharing the great outdoors with her husband through activities such as hiking, fishing, and camping.

OBOA was established in 2007 and has produced nearly 100 half-hour televised episodes. It has been broadcast through affiliates such as Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS.

The most recent season included highlights from Washington, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, and Florida.

In their eleventh season which aired in 2018, the show featured Bedré Fine Chocolate in Davis as part of a lineup covering Oklahoma and Texas. In 2000, the Chickasaw Nation purchased the company and gave it new life, turning the small chocolatier into a nationally recognized luxury chocolate brand.

Episodes are available online and through social media, as are behind the scenes looks showing what it takes to produce each show and the personalities involved. Visit OfficialBestOf.com or search for “Official Best of” on Facebook and Instagram.


Team of Native Women Running Deadwood Marathon for MMIW

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

MINNEAPOLIS — A team of Indigenous women is running in the 2019 Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon (http://www.deadwoodmickelsontrailmarathon.com/) on June 2 to honor and draw attention to MMIW (Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women).

“According to the National Crime Information Center, in 2016 alone, there were 5,712 reports of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls,” said Mica Standing Soldier, Oglala Lakota, who is heading up the team.

“Our team name is Running for our Lives – MMIW Marathon Team,” she said. “We Native women are literally running for our lives. The statistics are shocking but the inaction is even more shocking.”

The team is partnering with several organizations dedicated to supporting awareness of MMIW and preventing violence against Native women, girls, and two-spirit people:

  • Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (https://www.miwrc.org/)
    • The Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains (https://www.nativewomenssociety.org/)
    • Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples (http://7genfund.org/)

“Our goal is to increase awareness of MMIW and to raise $10,000 for these organizations,” Standing Soldier said. People can make donations at https://fundly.com/running-forour-lives-mmiw-marathon-team.

Other organizations are helping the team by sponsoring marathon entry fees and providing supplies for the runners.

Standing Soldier ran and completed the Twin Cities Marathon on October 7, 2018. It was her first marathon.

As inspiration, she created her own MMIW shirt for the race with the names of 26 murdered or missing Indigenous women printed on the back one for each mile.

“During the marathon, whenever I got discouraged or tired, I thought of those women,” Standing Soldier said. “Any pain or discomfort I had was nothing compared to the suffering that these women experienced and that their families, friends, and communities continue to experience.”

The team encourages people to follow them on Instagram (@runningforourlivesmmiw) and Facebook (@mmiwmarathon), where they are posting information on MMIW from a variety of sources.


New Study: Bearded Men Have More Bacteria Than Dogs

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND    A study conducted to determine whether humans and dogs in the same MRI scanner would be hygienic, revealed that bearded men carry more germs than furry dogs, such as collies, dachshunds, and German shepherds.

Researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic compared the bacterial load in colony-forming units (CFU) of human-pathogenic microorganisms in specimens taken from 18 bearded men and 30 dogs. The age of the bearded men tested ranged from ages 18 to 76. Samples from beards were taken from below the mouth. The ages of dogs were three months to 13 years old.

The study determined: significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from men’s beards compared with dogs’ fur (p = 0.036). All of the men (18/18) showed high microbial counts, whereas only 23/30 dogs had high microbial counts and 7 dogs moderate microbial counts. Furthermore, human-pathogenic microorganisms were more frequently found in human beards (7/18) than in dog fur (4/30), although this difference did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.074)

The study concluded: “Our study shows that bearded men harbor significantly higher burden of microbes and more human-pathogenic strains than dogs. As the MRI scanner used for both dogs and humans was routinely cleaned after animal scanning, there was a substantially lower bacterial load compared with scanners used exclusively for humans.”

The study was released in February but went viral on the Internet this past week.


Allottees Say Their Voices Not Heard in Chaco Canyon Debate

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

CHACO CANYON, N.M. — Delora Hesase and a dozen other Nageezi and local community members believe they are being left out of the conversation when it comes to the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act.

On Sunday, U.S. representatives Ben Ray Lujan and Deb Haaland (both D-N.M.) joined President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer, Council delegates Daniel Tso, Mark Freeland and Eugenia Charles-Newton and other leaders at Chaco Canyon to hear from environmentalists and Tso.

They spoke of the need for the bill, which is sponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich (both D-N.M.).

The group also toured Chaco Culture National Historic Park.

The bill looks to withdraw the federal lands around Chaco Canyon from further mineral development by creating a 10-mile buffer zone around the ancestral Puebloan ruins preserved in the park.

Also, New Mexico State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard said she will sign an executive order to place a moratorium on all new oil and gas mineral leases on state trust land in the Chaco area.

But the oil and gas leases provide needed income for many Navajo families who have allotments near Chaco, and they feel they are not being considered.

“Are we so wrong for wanting oil and gas production?” asked Hesase, who is a member of the Nageezi and Lybrook Shi-Shi-Keyah Association. “Where is our president at? We haven’t even met with him and he’s agreeing with them. We don’t need a zone.”


AICF Celebrates 30 Years of Service to Native Americans Pursuing Higher Ed.

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

DENVER — The American Indian College Fund is celebrating the 30th anniversary of providing access to higher education for Native Americans. In honor the anniversary, the College Fund will host the Flame of Hope Gala on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway, in New York City from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Headline entertainment will be by Brooke Simpson.

The College Fund will honor Kimberly Blanchard, a world-renowned international tax attorney and partner in the tax department of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP based in New York, for impacting the lives of nearly 1,000 Native Americans in education by funding 500 student scholarships and contributing to the professional development of 400 tribal college and university faculty members. Blanchard has also served on the College Fund’s Board of Trustees for the past nine years.

Singer Brooke Simpson is a Native American singer who is passionate about both her art and people. Perhaps known as a finalist on NBC’s The Voice program, Brooke released the singles 2 am, which charted on the iTunes pop chart, and her most recent, Perfect, now available.

Event tickets are available for purchase at www.collegefund.org/gala. Cocktail or traditional Native American attire is requested. For additional information about sponsorship or the event, please contact Kim Williams at 303-426-8900 or kwilliams@collegefund.org.

The Flame of Hope Gala is made possible by the following generous sponsors:

  • AT&T- $50,000

  • Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP – $30,000

  • Walmart Foundation – $25,000

  • Ford Motor Company –$20,000

  • UPS Foundation – $10,000

  • Wells Fargo Bank – $10,000

  • FedEx Corporation – $10,000

  • Amergent – $10,000

  • Veradata – $10,000

  • Coca-Cola Foundation – $10,000

  • McDonald’s Corporation – $10,000

  • CBS Corporation – $10,000

  • Vladimir Jones – $10,000

  • Lannan Foundation – $10,000

  • Wieden+Kennedy – $7,000

  • United Health Foundation – $5,000


San Manuel Recognizes Four Nonprofits for Exceptional Work

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

Tribe hosted 11th Annual Forging Hope Yawa’ Awards Breakfast at the National Orange Show


HIGHLAND, Calif. — The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians hosted its 11th Annual Forging Hope Yawa’ Awards to celebrate the transformative work of nonprofits in the Inland Empire region and across Indian Country. Award recipients embody the time-honored Serrano concept of Yawa’ – “to act on one’s beliefs.”

Spectrum News Inland Empire Bureau Chief Mary Parks served as this year’s emcee to join San Manuel in honoring four organizations who demonstrate the essence of Yawa’ by making a significant difference in these philanthropic areas – economic & community development, health, education, and special projects. The event welcomed more than 100 regional nonprofit groups who serve greater San Bernardino, the Inland Empire, and Indian Country to gather for a breakfast held at the National Orange Show.

“Our community is blessed with the unyielding support and dedication of nonprofits, and the Yawa’ Awards allow us to thank and recognize them for their life-changing work,” said San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “It has been an honor for the Tribe to host these awards and celebrate organizations who follow their call to Yawa’ and continue to make a positive impact in our region and across Indian Country.”

The 2019 honorees that have done extraordinary work to benefit their communities are:

  • Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health for providing critical healthcare services to the Native populations in the Inland Empire

  • Bright Prospect for their dedication to empowering low-income students to break the cycle of poverty through higher education

  • Family Assistance Program for their commitment to helping homeless and runaway youth through their emergency shelter program “Our House Youth Shelter”

  • Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival for their work to preserve Native languages which are a cornerstone to the way of life for California’s Indigenous People

During the award ceremony, these recipients received hand-crafted Yawa’ Awards designed by San Manuel Tribal youth. These hand-painted gourd rattles were specially designed to commemorate each organization’s dedication to acting on their beliefs.


In the Search for Missing Women, Pair Drones With Indigenous Knowledge

NATIVE KNOT - April 22, 2019 - 1:00am

Instead of waiting for answers from police, Indigenous communities are scanning hillsides and riverbeds and helping families cope.

After three women went missing within a 12-minute drive of her house, Jody Leon decided to act. A member of the Splatsin tribal community in southeastern British Columbia, she was distressed by the women’s disappearances and her proximity to them. In 2017, Leon founded the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Drone Search Team to find them or at least bring their families some answers.

“It was just shocking to me that there was a missing woman who lived not very far from my house, within my nation area,” Leon said. “I was disturbed and worried about it as a mom, as a grandmother, and the mother of a daughter.”

The group conducts volunteer-run drone and ground searches for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women, covering up to 4 square miles of rugged hillsides and forests for clues such as clothing or disturbed land in unceded Secwepemc Nation territory. Between five and 12 volunteers, family members, and spiritual leaders travel from as far away as Calgary, Alberta a six-hour drive through the Rocky Mountains to participate in the searches. The group fundraises to provide food, gas, and drone batteries for searches, vigils, and awareness campaigns.

In 2017, Leon helped organize a walk to raise awareness about five women missing in the area: Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson, Nicole Bell, Deanna Wertz, and Traci Genereaux, an 18-year-old whose remains were found by police in October. Before the walk, parents of two of the missing women asked whether Leon could help organize a search, and she said yes. Despite severe flooding advisories, Leon joined John Simpson, Ashley’s father, to search creek and riverbeds. Simpson suggested searching the area with drones to cover more ground and access areas dangerous to reach by foot.

The group’s first two drones were purchased with money from a charity golf tournament put on for Ashley. But the short battery life of the entry-level drones only allowed them to fly for five or 10 minutes at a time, Leon said.

So, for the last two years, the search team has relied on technical assistance from industry professionals, combined with Indigenous knowledge of the land, to conduct the drone searches. The team flies the drones in a grid pattern, scans the ground from above, and continues the search on foot when the batteries run out, said Dakota Lalonde, owner of Sky Crew Productions, a drone video, and photography company.

“We’ve found things like articles of clothing, unnatural mounds, pieces of bone, odd placements of plastic,” he said. His company and Crystal Mountain Aerial Media, a drone company in Kelowna, British Columbia, have donated their expertise and equipment to the team for the searches.

The team takes photos, geotags items on Google Maps, and gives the information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Lalonde said.

“People are really interested in drones,” Leon said. “They’re fascinated by drone technology. It creates a huge awareness. In that way, it gives the families confirmation that people are out there doing something about it.”

Canada’s colonial legacy

Violence against Indigenous women has been occurring in Canada and the United States since colonization, but until recently little has been done to bring answers to families of the missing.

In Canada, Indigenous women are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than any other women, according to research in a report published by Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. In the United States, they face violence at rates 10 times the national average.

In 2016, the Canadian government launched the independent National Inquiry—similar to a national commission in the United States—to investigate the causes of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and offer recommendations. The commissioners were able to access police records across Canada and spoke to more than 2,000 family members and survivors of violence. Their final report will be released in April.

“It is official for me now, that because we are women and Indigenous women, it’s already dangerous. The safety is not there for us,” said Michèle Audette, a commissioner on the National Inquiry.

The institutions meant to ensure safety and basic human rights are not protecting Indigenous women, she said, and these findings are consistent with assessments from the United NationsAmnesty International, and the Native Women’s Association of Canada.

“The family members become the investigator,” Audette said, “become the researcher, become the expert to find answers when it should be the institutions doing those things. For example, they’ve dragged the river in Manitoba, putting their lives in danger.”

Often, Indigenous communities don’t trust that police will act on reports of violence.

Many researchers credit the disproportionately high rates of violence against Indigenous women to the continued impact of Canada’s colonial government: Settlers stripped traditional roles and property rights from Indigenous women; forcibly removed children and placed them in foster homes and residential schools, where they experienced abuse; and forced or coerced the sterilization of Indigenous women, which continues today.

Additionally, reports show that violence against Indigenous women increases near a “man camp” temporary housing built by an oil, gas, logging, or mining company for its workers. While these resource projects create employment for Indigenous workers, the high-paying jobs also attract high numbers of primarily young, male workers from across Canada, according to a 2016 report by Amnesty International. These “shadow workers” are estimated to increase local populations from 15 to 50 percent without contributing to local taxes, putting a strain on existing resources available for women and creating economic disparities.

The report found that industry camps increase the risk of violence against Indigenous women because of the high rates of drug and alcohol use by workers whose “economic power emboldens them to express racist and sexist attitudes they might suppress elsewhere.”

But often, Indigenous communities don’t trust that police will act on reports of violence. After all, instances of police brutality against Indigenous women and girls are ongoing.

Last June, RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki delivered an apology to the families of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. The RCMP updated its missing persons' policy in 2016 to require scheduled communications with families and provide more supervision for missing person cases, an RCMP spokesperson said in an email.

Indigenous communities across Canada have been doing their own searches, without adequate resources.

“The RCMP remains focused on resolving unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls within its jurisdiction and seeking closure for families,” the spokesperson said. “The RCMP is committed to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through a renewed relationship built on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.”

Although police often search for missing women, they frequently fail to explain the investigation process with the women’s families, commissioners found.

“We noticed was that the family will ask the police, ‘Where are you with the investigation?’ or ‘What’s going on?’ and there will be no communication, no explanation,” Audette said. “Sometimes the work was done, but because there is no communication or explanation … it doesn’t help the family as they are trying to heal or find some answers. It’s feeding the trauma. It’s feeding the pain.”

Instead of waiting for answers from police, Indigenous communities across Canada have been doing their own searches, without adequate resources, said Marion Buller, the inquiry’s chief commissioner.

“People have been doing these searches for years. They don’t just do it for a week or a month; every change in the season they go back and search again,” she said.

“People are feeding each other, they’re sharing clothing, selling personal properties so that they can buy fuel for the Ski-Doos and fuel for the trucks. They’re not only doing the searches, but they’re funding it.”

Creating a support network for families

In addition to holding rallies and searches, the drone team acts as a liaison between Indigenous communities and the RCMP. People who distrust the police often come to team members with information or notify them after they report information to the police, which creates a layer of transparency if the police do not investigate further, Leon said.

“The other day I was contacted and was told that someone had seen a ladies’ necklace in a certain area of the woods. The only reason they came forward was because they knew we are actively helping to search for women,” she said.

The group has also brought flyers and lent their own cell phones to people involved in the sex or drug trades who might not feel comfortable reporting information to police on their own.

Since they started searching, the drone team has found items of clothing and jewelry, pieces of bone, disturbed soil, and unusual mounds of dirt. They’ve turned them into the police, who are not permitted during an open investigation to disclose whether the evidence is linked to the women.

While the team hasn’t found the four missing women yet, they have created a support network for parents. Jane Aubertin, the mother of Nicole Bell, who went missing in September 2017, said the group has helped her family feel like they are not alone in their search.

“The MMIW Drone Search Team contacted me pretty much at the beginning of when she went missing,” Aubertin said. “We felt very safe and confident when we went out on searches with them, that there’s somebody there holding our hands and helping us through this. Even though they have no clue who we are … they didn’t even know who Nicole is, but because she went missing in their nation, they felt an obligation.” She considers the other missing women like family, she said.

The drone team plans to resume searches for the four women over the summer, once the snow has melted.


Respecting Mother Earth on Earth Day 2019!

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 22, 2019 - 12:03am

Earth Day 2019

Published April 22, 2019

CHICAGO – There is a Native mythology that the world is actually on the back of a giant turtle. For Earth Day, I decided to play with that idea and incorporate all the elements that make up the natural world. Fire (red), water (green), air (blue), earth (brown), and mankind (tan).

Enjoy Earth Day and appreciate all of the worlds elements together.

Artwork by Monica Rickert-Bolter (Potawatomi)

The post Respecting Mother Earth on Earth Day 2019! appeared first on Native News Online.


Earth Week 2019 Activities Schduled at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 22, 2019 - 12:01am
Earth Week 2019

Published April 22, 2019

CLOQUET, Minn. Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College will continue the annual campus tradition of celebrating Earth Week through a week-long celebration of planet Earth set for April 22-26, 2019. The Environmental Institute at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, along with the American Indian College Fund Indigenous Visionary Fellowship, collaborated to plan the Earth Week 2019 activities. The overall theme of Earth Week 2019 is “Chasing Ice.”

“Every day of the week we will focus on a different topic at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College,” said Courtney Kowalczak, Director of the Environmental Institute. “The topics include climate change and mental health, pollinator habitat, tribal nations, energy solutions, and future leaders. Every day there will also be educational and scientific posters on campus for visitors to interact with, and each will have different thought-provoking questions raised by each day’s topic.”

All Earth Week events are free and open to the public. For every event attended, participants will receive a ticket for free prize drawings held throughout the Earth Week events.

On Monday, April 22 (Ishkwaa-anama’e-giizhigad), the primary topic is the emerging field of solastalgia which describes a form of mental or existential distress caused by environmental change. In many cases this is in reference to global climate change, but more localized events such floods, drought or loss of land and wildlife can cause solastalgia as well. An opening ceremony at 10:00 a.m. in the Commons will be followed by guest presenter Philip DeFoe who will speak on solastalgia and the work the Fond du Lac Band is doing in this area. A baked potato bar will follow the morning presentation. On Monday afternoon from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Environmental Institute (1387 Stephen Road, next door to the college), Eric Dupuis and Nikki Crowe will demonstrate maple syrup making as well as products made from collected sap.

On Tuesday, April 23, (Niizho-giizhigad), the topic is pollinators. Xerces Society Pollinator Conservation Specialist Sarah Foltz Jordan will speak on great diversity of native pollinators in Minnesota, the threats monarchs and other pollinators are facing the modern landscape, and how to make more room for these essential animals in back yards. Her guest lecture will be followed by a plant giveaway, and a chance to learn how to make environmentally friendly seed balls to increase pollinator habitat.

Student research is the topic emphasized on Wednesday, April 24 (Aabitoose). Research projects by six student teams will present on their project and results. Students have been leading research on mercury in the St. Louis River watershed, white spruce forestry management, solar energy greenhouses, pollinator ecology, larch beetle infestation of tamarack, and recycling sustainability. These presentations will be followed by a traditional food feast. Everyone is invited to a hike in Jay Cooke State Park from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. where we will be participating in the Document Spring project partnership hosted by Oldenburg House. Document Spring is an art and citizen science bioblitz that brings together community members to capture the emergence of spring with scientific and artistic observations.

Thursday, April 25 (Niiwo-giizhigad), emphasizes the topic of waste reduction, sustainability and climate change.  At 10:00 a.m. in the Commons, guest speaker Jamie Harvie will discuss his work with the Bag It Duluth campaign as well as climate emergency and the plastic problem. Mr. Harvie is nationally recognized for his work at the intersection of health, community, and the environment. Recycling art hands-on activities and giveaways will be in the Commons from noon until 2:00 p.m. From 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., the Fond du Lac Youth Convening Minnesota Leadership program will be hosting their community convening on climate change in the Commons. This event will feature local storytellers and organizations to highlight climate change solutions in the Fond du Lac/Cloquet communities.

Earth Week activities conclude on Friday, April 26 (Naano-giizhigad), with the film “Chasing Ice.” The movie follows a photographer who goes to the Artic to capture images that help tell the story of Earth’s changing climate. The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Environmental Club will be hosting a friendly badminton tournament between student groups at noon in the Briggs Center Gym.

For more information about Earth Week 2019 activities at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, contact Courtney Kowalczak at 218-879-0862 or via email to courtneyk@fdltcc.edu.

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Native Students Have a Right to Wear Eagle Feathers in Oklahoma at Graduation

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 22, 2019 - 12:00am

High school senior Tvvi Birdshead wants to wear an eagle feather, beaded graduation cap and honor cord to his graduation ceremony.

Guest Commentary

Published April 22, 2019

High school graduation ceremonies across Oklahoma will soon take place. Graduation from high school is an especially significant occasion for Cherokee students and families.

We are thankful that Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter weighed in last year and laid out the state’s protection of Native American students’ right to display eagle feathers in their graduation ceremonies. In a letter, he wrote: “It is my duty both to protect the rights of Oklahoma citizens as provided for by law and to advise that the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act generally requires public schools to permit Cherokee students to engage in the spiritual practice of wearing eagle feathers to important events, such as graduations, even if this requires a religious exemption to an otherwise generally applicable rule. Accordingly, I urge the board to adopt or revise its policies to permit these religious practices at graduation.”

It hasn’t always been this way.

The precedent was established last fall for a Cherokee family within the Vian School District in northeast Oklahoma. We hope this sets the standard for all other school districts in Oklahoma to follow.

Tribal nations in Oklahoma and across the country have long viewed eagles and eagle feathers as sacred elements to religious and cultural traditions, and federal law and policy has recognized the religious significance of eagle feathers to Native peoples.

Chief Bill John Baker

Feathers are gifted to mark significant personal achievement, for leadership or academic accomplishment, as a sign of maturity and to signify an important achievement in an educational journey. It is done to honor the graduate and his or her family, the community and the tribe. Culturally, receiving an eagle feather in recognition of high school graduation can be just as significant as earning the diploma itself.

Cherokees graduating high school can now enjoy the spiritual freedom to show who they are at this critical juncture in their life, a time appropriately marked with pride. The eagle feather is a powerful symbol that represents trust, honor, strength, wisdom, power and freedom. It is an object that is deeply revered and a sign of the highest honor.

We value General Hunter’s partnership and support. A cooperative relationship between Cherokee Nation’s attorney general’s office and the Oklahoma office of the attorney general ensures we are creating a better future for all Oklahomans. It is our hope that we continue to collaborate on our common goal of improving the lives of all citizens, Cherokee and non-Cherokee alike.

Today, through General Hunter’s support, we also have established the state of Oklahoma’s support. No Native student should ever be barred fromwearing eagle feathers or displaying their cultural pride at graduation.

Bill John Baker is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

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Pokagon Potawatomi & Its Four Winds Casinos Outline Key Green Initiatives Across All Properties

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 22, 2019 - 12:00am
Earth Day 2019

Published April 22, 2019

Casinos, hotel, restaurants and Pokagon offices reduction and recycling efforts will have significant impact on region

 NEW BUFFALO, Mich.  The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and its Four Winds® Casinos are pleased to announce several important green initiatives have been implemented at all four casinos, their restaurants, hotel, and Pokagon Band government offices.

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Tribal Chairman Matt Wesaw

Matt Wesaw, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, recently outlined the Tribe’s commitment to conservation and recycling efforts. “The Skebgyak Zhetthken—‘Do it Green’ in the Potawatomi language—campaign signifies a commitment to our Mother Earth,” Wesaw said. “As of March 1, we eliminated Styrofoam and single-use plastics like straws, cups and cutlery in our Pokagon offices. On April 1, we eliminated plastic water bottles, individual coffee creamers and disposable k-cups. Plastic straws and coffee stirrers have been replaced with a biodegradable 100% vegetable fiber product, and all employees are encouraged to carry a reusable cup and mug.”

Wesaw said citizens and staff have access to two community gardens and can take part in a government-wide composting program that in 2018 diverted nearly 700 pounds of food waste from landfills and turned it into rich compost soil.

According to Wesaw, extensive recycling and reuse efforts have also been implemented at the Casino’s hotel and all of its restaurants. “Frank Freedman has led his team to an impressive campaign to cut down on the waste that is naturally generated at an operation of our size.”

Freedman, COO of Four Winds Casinos, explains the initiatives implemented in all sectors of the operation. In the hotel, rather than discarding used hotel amenities (soaps, shampoos, body washes and plastic packaging), Four Winds recycles them. “We pay an annual fee for a company to recycle and regenerate these products—it’s that important to us as an organization,” Freedman says. “As an example, all used bars of soap and containers are placed into a collection bin. Once it’s full, we ship the container to Clean the World, an organization in Orlando which recycles its contents. Since 2014, when we started this, we’ve recycled over 12,000 pounds of waste which has been used to create over 40,000 bars of soap and nearly 10,000 bottles used in hygiene kits for those in need.

Other green initiatives, Freedman said, include:

  • Partially depleted toilet paper rolls and lightly damaged linens are donated to the Center for the Homeless in South Bend
  • All mattresses once they leave the hotel are recycled. To date, 179 king and 142 queen mattresses have been recycled; and
  • The Go-Green Program (guests staying more than one night are encouraged to reuse towels and bed linen)

Within their restaurants, Freedman points to another program that Four Winds supports which delivers meals to those with food insecurity, Meals for Michiana. Operated through Cultivate Culinary School and Catering, Meals for Michiana partners with local food suppliers to gather edible food that would otherwise go to waste and distribute it to local food banks, pantries and emergency food programs. Since September 2018, Four Winds has donated more than 10,300 pounds of food to Meals for Michiana.

“Like our work with Feeding America where we donate thousands of meals throughout southwest Michigan and northern Indiana, this partnership with Cultivate is indicative of our employees’ values and generosity,” Freedman said. “No one wants to think of our neighbors going hungry. If we can help package and distribute our surplus and provide it to those who need it, we’ll continue to make it happen.”

Beginning May 1, all straws at all four Four Winds properties will be replaced with biodegradable straws and by early summer, all cups in the four locations will be converted to biodegradable product. In the employee dining room, all cups will be replaced with reusable cups.

Other recycled waste from the kitchens include cardboard, aluminum, clear glass bottles, raw bone (the meat and fat are picked up by companies who use the product for animal feed), and residual fats from grease traps which is recycled for the production of biofuel.

“All of these initiatives underscore just how important it is to us that we protect and honor this planet,” Wesaw said. “We are well aware of how precious this land is and our responsibility to it. We also know the ways in which our businesses can affect it and in all that we do, we are committed to being good stewards of this gift.”

The post Pokagon Potawatomi & Its Four Winds Casinos Outline Key Green Initiatives Across All Properties appeared first on Native News Online.


GAO Study Finds Inconsistency, Inadequacy in Federal Government’s Consultation of Tribes

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 22, 2019 - 12:00am

Tribal official with federal agency notifications of tribal consultation opportunities for proposed infrastructure projects. Source GAO

Published April 22, 2019

WASHINTON — Last Friday, Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Vice Chairman Tom Udall (D-NM), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced the release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report entitled “Tribal Consultation: Additional Federal Actions Needed for Infrastructure Projects.” The report is the first-ever comprehensive review of 21 federal agencies’ tribal consultation processes for the development and implementation of federal infrastructure projects.

The GAO report identifies federal agencies’ flawed tribal consultation mechanisms for developing and implementing infrastructure projects. The report found that many federal agencies have neglected tribal input when making key decisions on proposed infrastructure projects and failed to consult tribes until late in the project development stages. Ultimately, the report found that many federal agencies lack the necessary policies and implementation mechanisms to consult tribes impacted by federal infrastructure projects.

“This report confirms what we’ve heard from Indian Country all along: that tribes are often left in the dark on projects that directly impact their daily lives,” said Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA). “Failing to meaningfully consult tribes is a clear violation of the federal government’s trust responsibility. The federal government must reevaluate and reform its tribal consultation processes, and I intend to hold our federal agencies accountable to the recommendations made in this report.”

“The federal government is failing in its responsibility to respect Native American rights and protect the health and wellbeing of Native communities,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “The Native American people have been lied to, their treaties violated, and their views ignored on issues like fossil fuel pipelines that impact their communities. Enough is enough. We cannot continue to trample on Native American sovereignty. We must instead fight for a new relationship between the federal government and the Native American community until they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.”

“Regular and meaningful consultation is a cornerstone of the government-to-government relationship between the federal government and Tribal nations.  For nearly 20 years, the federal government has recognized by Executive Order 13175 the need for such consultation and to collaborate with Tribal leaders whenever federal policies affect them.  Yet today’s GAO report confirms what is well known in Indian Country: too often, we are failing to meet our responsibilities to Native communities. As vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I am committed to seeing that the federal government implements GAO’s recommendations and that Indian tribes’ voices are not only heard, but respected,” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM).

The GAO report issues recommendations to strengthen the tribal consultation process, improve transparency, and ensure tribal input is given meaningful consideration. The report also directs the federal government to establish a more effective mechanism to support tribal interests in infrastructure projects, and to use that system to make tribal consultation more streamlined both for agencies and tribal governments.

The report is the second in a series of GAO studies examining the adequacy of federal policies that protect tribal lands and make recommendations for improvement. The first report examined the proximity of Superfund sites – locations where hazardous materials have contaminated the environment and threaten the public’s health – that are on or near tribal lands or have tribal impacts.

The post GAO Study Finds Inconsistency, Inadequacy in Federal Government’s Consultation of Tribes appeared first on Native News Online.


Spring powwow marks its 41st year

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - April 21, 2019 - 11:08pm
first nations university spring powwow

Spring is here across the country—and that means powwow season. The First Nations University of Canada event is billed as one of the biggest cultural celebrations in western Canada.

Categories: CANADA

Cowichan Tribes could take land and resource control back from Ottawa

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - April 21, 2019 - 10:46pm
Cowichan land code

The Cowichan Tribes, located north of Victoria, B.C., want more economic opportunities. If band members vote in favour of a land code they will no longer need the federal government's approval for land-use decisions.

Categories: CANADA

'We're still here': Musqueam elder reflects 30 years after Pacific Spirit Park protest

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - April 21, 2019 - 9:40pm
Pacific Spirit Park

The urban park, founded on unceded territory, was created 30 years ago amid protest from the Musqueam.

Categories: CANADA

Finally…Native American Veteran Memorial Set To Open in 2020

POWWOWS.COM - April 21, 2019 - 5:34pm

Finally…Native American Veteran Memorial Set To Open in 2020Native Veterans are set to receive a memorial park in 2020 in Washington DC.  “The Washington Post reported Thursday that design details for the structure titled “Warriors’ Circle of Honor” are still being finalized, though the memorial has been in.....

The post Finally…Native American Veteran Memorial Set To Open in 2020 appeared first on PowWows.com - Native American Pow Wows.


Top 5 Instagram Photos of the Week! April 21, 2019

POWWOWS.COM - April 21, 2019 - 5:24pm

Top 5 Instagram Photos of the Week! April 21, 2019Each week I will be choosing my top 5 favorite photos on Instagram! If you want me to see your photos, follow me @misscorinne86 and tag me in the picture! Make sure your profile is set to public though, otherwise.....

The post Top 5 Instagram Photos of the Week! April 21, 2019 appeared first on PowWows.com - Native American Pow Wows.


The little-known history of Squamish Nation land in Vancouver

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - April 21, 2019 - 1:00pm
Kitsilano Indian reserve no 6/Sen̓áḵw

A Squamish Nation proposed housing development has shed light on the traditional village of the Squamish Nation called Sen̓áḵw or Kitsilano Indian Reserve no.6.

Categories: CANADA


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