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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)

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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.

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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.....

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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.....

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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

Latest Update: Way of the Cross 2019

RADICAL CITIZEN MEDIA - April 21, 2019 - 11:43am

Faith and Social Justice: 39th Annual Good Friday Outdoor Way of the Cross (April 19, 2019)

Photos      Videos

Outdoor Way of the Cross 2019

Outdoor Way of the Cross 2019


Hometown Hockey in Enoch Cree Nation shows community's deep ties to sport

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - April 21, 2019 - 9:00am
Hometown Hockey Enoch

In each season, Hometown Hockey hosts Tara Slone and Ron MacLean make 24 stops in 24 communities. With their stop in Enoch in March, it marked the first time they stopped in a First Nation reserve.

Categories: CANADA

Kaska elders say 'souga senla' for meal delivery program

CBC ABORIGINAL NEWS - April 21, 2019 - 9:00am
Watson Lake meal program 1

'It means a lot to me,' said Hammond Dick, one of dozens of elders in Watson Lake, Yukon, who are receiving weekly deliveries of meals prepared in the local hospital kitchen.

Categories: CANADA

Vermont Passings Bill to Say Goodbye to Columbus in Favor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 21, 2019 - 8:45am

Vermont State Capitol

Published April 21, 2019

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Legislature passed a bill this past Wednesday that will replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. The bill intention is to “aid in the cultural development of Vermont’s recognized tribes, while enabling all indigenous peoples in Vermont and elsewhere to move forward and formulate positive outcomes, from the history of colonization.”

The bill was sent to the Vermont Governor Phil Scott for signature. “I see no reason that I would not sign it,” Gov. Scott told the Burlington Free Press, “but we’re reviewing the bill as we speak.”

“Things that are symbolic can carry very far,” said Rich Holschuh, of Brattleboro, a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs said to the Burlington Free Press. “The degree of disinformation and lack of understanding around the situation of native people in Vermont, as a microcosm of the national situation, is totally exemplified in the way that Columbus has been celebrated and the native people ignored.”

The bill would go into effect in this summer, and Oct. 14, 2019, would be the first official Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Many American Indians have long resisted the observance of a day to honor Christopher Columbus, who is credited with “discovering” the Americas in American history.

The American Indian Movement has long sought to eliminate the observance of Columbus Day. Here is language from a press released distributed by the American Indian Movement in October 2000:

“Columbus was the beginning of the American holocaust, ethnic cleansing characterized by murder, torture, raping, pillaging, robbery, slavery, kidnapping, and forced removals of Indian people from their homelands.”

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Happy Easter from Native News Online

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 21, 2019 - 12:03am

Published April 21, 2019

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SSPRIT Recommends Removal of the Indian Mascot at Armijo High School

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 21, 2019 - 12:01am
Guest Commentary

Published April 21, 2019

We’re honoring you! This is our tradition. If we didn’t do this, you wouldn’t be remembered. Why are you being so P.C.? Don’t you have better things to do? You don’t pay taxes here!!! These are but a few statements Indigenous peoples hear when we use our voices to say, “We don’t feel honored, remove us as your Indian mascot.”  All the while, these same folks are standing on Indian land defending a stereotypical image as they willfully ignore the pleas and requests of actual First Nations peoples. Why do non-natives think it is okay to tell First Nations peoples how we should feel? We’re telling them: We don’t feel honored!

For over 100 years Armijo High School has perpetuated institutionalized racism by using an Indian as their school mascot. As presented in an online poll, by Fairfield Suisun Unified School District (FSUSD) earlier this year, the school system asked the community if they believed using the term Indian as a mascot was/is offensive.

SSPRIT’s Executive Director Kim DeOcampo iterates, First Nations peoples, Indigenous peoples, Native Americans, Indians, We ARE NOT terms!! We are living-breathing cultures of peoples with contemporary relevance and we have a voice of our own!” Racist mascots like Armijo’s Indian mascot keeps us as a people of the past. How can our voices be heard if we are continually dehumanized and seen as relics?

In late 2018, Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT), an Indigenous led organization based in Solano County, formally addressed FSUSD requesting the removal of the Indian Mascot at Armijo High School. After several meetings and addresses to the board, FSUSD’s Superintendent Kris Corey, directed the board to create a mascot advisory committee, with the goal of creating a recommendation. The mascot advisory committee comprised of district educators, administrators, students, parents, and alumni, met for several months. SSPRIT provided a presentation in which information was provided regarding civil rights and the use of First Nations peoples as mascots. The use of Native American mascots is not about being politically correct; it’s a civil rights issue. In fact, the removal of Indian mascots in public schools is not a new one. Mascot removals date back to 1968 when The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) first began the work of addressing Indian mascots in schools, sports and media. NCAI, civil rights, and many other organizations, such as The ACLU, NAACP, The National Education Association, The American Psychological Association, The American Counseling Association, The American Sociological Association, The American Indian Movement and numerous Tribal Nations and Tribal Governments, advise against the use of Native American mascots and have resolutions in place stating, “Native American images, symbols and Native American cultural and religious traditions – as sports names, logos and mascots perpetuates racist stereotypes and undermines the self-determination and dignity of Indian People.”

Yet, each time we address school boards requesting the removal of Native American mascots, we are met with hostility and backlash; mostly from alumni who can’t seem to move past their high school years. Sometimes, we’re verbally threatened and at other times, we’ve been physically attacked…All while being told to “Get over it” and that “It’s just a mascot.”  If it’s just a mascot, then why can’t you JUST remove it?

On Thursday, May 9, 2019, the FSUSD Governing School Board may vote to do JUST that! On April 25, 2019, FSUSD will hear the recommendation from the mascot committee; the recommendation will be given at the districts’ board meeting located at 2490 Hilborn Road in Fairfield, California at 6 pm. The board will subsequently place the mascot on the agenda as an action item and will vote to either keep or remove the mascot on May 9, 2019.

Maintaining the Indian mascot at Armijo high school goes against district policy. According to FSUSD’s policy 7310, “The school mascot is defined as a symbol, character, name or logo. The school mascot shall demonstrate principles of justice, democracy, equality, non-discrimination, good governance, good faith, and respect for human rights.”  Civil Rights are Human Rights and The United States Commission on Civil Rights states, “The stereotyping of any racial, ethnic, religious or other groups when promoted by our public educational institutions, teaches all students that stereotyping is acceptable, a dangerous lesson in a diverse society. Schools have a responsibility to educate their students; they should not use their influence to perpetuate misrepresentations of any culture or peoples.”

Furthermore, The California Racial Mascot act states, “The use of racially derogatory or discriminatory school or athletic team names, mascots, or nicknames in California public schools is antithetical to the California school mission of providing an equal education to all.

Many individuals and organizations interested and experienced in human relations, including the United States Commission on Civil Rights, have concluded that the use of Native American images and names in school sports is a barrier to equality and understanding, and that all residents of the United States would benefit from the discontinuance of their use. No individual or school has a cognizable interest in retaining a racially derogatory or discriminatory school-athletic team name, mascot, or nickname.”

I heard a non-Native say at an FSUSD school board meeting, “Why don’t we ask the Indians of THIS land what they think?” After which he and an Armijo High School alumnus immediately told the board it would cost too much money to remove the Indian mascot. Did they not take in to account how much it would cost to keep it? What is the true price of perpetuating institutionalized racism? What is the cost of teaching young people for 100 more years that it’s okay to uphold racist stereotypes? What is the true price of First Nations youth seeing their culture being used as a mockery by their entire school? And last but definitely not least, what about the voices of the original inhabitants of the land on which we are standing, The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation? What do they think about being, so-called, “Honored”?

In a letter of support provided to SSPRIT, FSUSD’s Governing School Board and The Mascot Advisory Committee, The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nations states, “Changing public perception of offensive Native American mascots and imagery has long been a focus of our Tribe. We understand this is a complicated and sensitive matter. For several years, our Tribe has been a leader in local, state and national efforts to end the use of offensive Native American mascots and imagery in sports and entertainment culture. These images promote racist, derogatory stereotypes and fail to honor the culture, religion and legacy of Native Americans in this country.”

FSUSD has the opportunity to be on the right side of history. FSUSD has an opportunity to provide an educational moment. SSPRIT asks FSUSD to truly HONOR First Nations Peoples. The removal is long overdue. Remove the Indian mascot at Armijo High School! The time is here! The time is now!

To learn more about SSPRIT please visit: ssprit.wordpress.com or contact SSPRIT at: sspandrit@gmail.com

Sacred Sites Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSPRIT) is an Indigenous led organization dedicated to protecting Native American sacred sites and to preserving the cultural and spiritual freedom of First Nations Peoples. SSPRIT advocates for the removal of Native American mascots in public schools and educates the community about Native American cultural appropriation and decolonization.

Angel Heart, Quechua-Puna, is SSPRIT’s Volunteer Secretary and Public Relations Officer and has been with the organization since 2013. She has led & assisted in the removal of 5 Native American mascots to date. If successful, removal of the Armijo Indian mascot will be her 6th. Angel Heart is a Suisun City resident and has two grandchildren who attend school in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. 

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Spirit Aligned Leadership Program Announces Selection of Second Circle of Legacy Leaders

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 21, 2019 - 12:01am

The Spirit Aligned Leadership Program welcomed a new circle of Legacy Leaders during its Spring Gathering at Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico. From left: Jennie Seminole Parker, Kathleen Sanchez, Sharon Day, Thelma Whiskers, Faith Spotted Eagle, Onita Bush, and Diane Brown. Missing: Maxine Wildcat Barnett. – Photo by Matika Wilbur for Spirit Aligned Leadership Program

Published April 21, 2019

AKWESASNE, N.Y. — The Spirit Aligned Leadership Program is pleased to announce the selection of its second circle of Legacy Leaders. Eight more extraordinary Indigenous women elders have joined Spirit Aligned for a three-year, co-creative fellowship to strengthen their sisterhood and share their life teachings in self-determined legacy plans.

“We are honored and excited to welcome these eight remarkable women to Spirit Aligned,” notes Director Katsi Cook. “Individually and collectively, they embody Indigenous sisterhood and connection to ancestral ways that open paths to healing for our global world. Each has achieved an appreciation for a meaningful life.”

The uplifted elders are a culturally and geographically diverse group, each woman a leader in the revitalization of her Indigenous language and ancestral ways.

  • Maxine Wildcat Barnett of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, is the last fluent speaker of her Yuchi language. At 93, she is bridging the gap between her generation of first-language speakers and the young children she teaches. They are learning to speak Yuchi, and are proud of their unique and beautiful culture.
    Jennie Seminole Parker is a Northern Cheyenne from the Tongue River area of Montana. She shares the words of her father, Big Spider: “You will never know fear until you have been chased like an animal,” with the young Cheyennes who take part in the annual Fort Robinson Memorial Run. In January 2019, Jennie was the final runner of the epic 400-mile relay. She returned the Cheyenne flag to its homeland, symbolizing the completion of a journey home that many of their relatives, under assault by United States military forces, did not survive in 1879.
    Diane Brown of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, grew up among her elders, speaking the Haida language and learning the teachings of her ancestors. Diane and her community members have stopped the grave robbing of their ancestors and the irresponsible logging of ancestral lands. Her dedication to Haida language revitalization has resulted in the creation of successful learning programs. She continues to provide wisdom for the world’s challenges.
    • Cherokee root doctor Onita Bush carries a wealth of traditional and ancestral knowledge and is a medicine woman for her community of Mountain Creek, North Carolina. Her knowledge sheds light on how Indigenous and Western practices can complement each other in a non- hierarchal way. Onita has been utilizing traditional ecological knowledge before Western science had a name for it.
    Sharon Day is an Ojibwe water walker, leading women in ceremony to offer healing and raise awareness about water issues around the country. She cares for the Saint Paul, Minnesota indigenous community through her work as executive director of Indigenous Peoples Task Force.
    Kathleen Sanchez is a spirit-rooted social justice activist and co-founder of Tewa Women United. This year she and the organization, which supports Indigenous women, families and beloved communities, celebrates its 30th anniversary.
    Faith Spotted Eagle, Ihanktonwan Dakota, is a matriarch of the Brave Heart Society, which has revived a sacred coming-of-age ceremony for teen girls. Faith’s childhood community was completely flooded by the US Army Corp of Engineers, influencing her lifelong commitment to activism and protecting the sacred.
    Thelma Whiskers, deeply grounded in Ute culture and speaker of two Indigenous languages, co-founded White Mesa Concerned Community to protect her Ute homelands from uranium poisoning. As a cradleboard maker for newborn babies, she gathered her native materials on lands that are now contaminated. Thelma organizes and testifies in various justice forums urging people to take action for a nuclear-free future.

Spirit Aligned honors these Indigenous women elders and the ancestral knowledge they have courageously nurtured over their lives. Individually, they each work to heal, strengthen and restore balance within their Indigenous communities. Together, they are empowered to create a collective impact across Indigenous cultural expression and education, leadership of Indigenous women and girls, violence against girls, women and the earth, and healing from trauma and oppression.

These Legacy Leaders were carefully chosen from hundreds of applicants from throughout the United States and Canada. The confidential review and selections process considered cultural diversity, geographic distribution, peer references, as well as reflections about their own knowledge and wisdom journey.

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

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 21, 2019 - 12:00am

Hope Locke

Published April 21, 2019

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.

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‘We Had Stuff to Say’ — Allottees Say Their Voices Not Heard in Chaco Canyon Debate

NATIVE NEWS ONLINE - April 21, 2019 - 12:00am

Navajo Times | Donovan Quintero
Clouds move across the sky and over the Chaco Canyon National Monument on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

Published April 21, 2019

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 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.”

Editor’s Note; This article was first published by the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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