One hundred years ago, the US government oversaw the slaughter of millions of buffalo in its effort to settle the West. That meant separating Indian tribes from their historic dependence on the buffalo, or bison, for food, shelter, and also for their spirituality. Indians see buffalo and all living things as sacred. Now, in cooperation with Canada, the US government has returned buffalo to the Blackfoot tribes, who say they are celebrating their long-denied sense of feeling whole again. Correspondent Lucky Severson reports from northern Montana, where Ervin Carlson, president of the Intertribal Buffalo Council says, “They’re just a part of our being, our spirituality—not only the buffalo, but all animals are very spiritual to the Indian people.”
During the early years of the nineteenth century, as nations in the Americas gained and asserted their independence, pictorial representations of the landscape forged visions of the whole hemisphere. Landscape imagery of the period shows how we are connected by a shared pan-American history, but also underscores the differences between our respective national identities based on our relationships to the land.Picturing the Americas features over 100 landscape paintings from Tierra del Fuego to the High Arctic. You can explore the site by theme, by timeline, by artist, and by map.
Order of Canada recipient and renowned architect Douglas Cardinal is seeking to bar the Cleveland Indians' name and logo from use in Ontario as they enter playoffs against the Blue Jays.
[This post includes links to names, images and audio of Aboriginal Australians who have died.] It is fifty years this week since the start of the Wave Hill Walkoff of 1966-1975, which led to the first victory of the land-rights movement in Australia. Indigenous workers went on strike at the Vestey mega-station in Australia's Northern Territory. Walking off the job and sitting down in Daruragu country, the Gurindji people began a nine-year campaign to regain control of their land. To mark the occasion, I give you Gurindji Blues, recorded during that struggle in 1971 by Galarrwuy Yunupingu and Vincent Lingiari and written by Ted Egan. I have long lost my copy of this single and wanted to hear it again tonight. Thanks internet! [more inside]
Evidence of torture of children in custody in Australia. As seen on Australian television this evening. [more inside]
Waltzing Matilda is the bush ballad that introduced elements of Australian slang to generations of Americans. Instantly recognizable but less familiar is Waltjim Bat Matilda a version by Darwin-based Indigenous singer Ali Mills. She’s singing in Kriol, which is spoken by more people than any other language exclusive to Australia and is based on the highly endangered Gurindji. Waltjim Bad Matilda is also the name of Mills’ first solo album after performing many years with the Mills Sisters.
You don't choose to be the Cleverman. You get chosen. The similarities in Australian politics, literature, cinema and television to the United States are striking at times. One man's erasure has become inspiration for a tv show with the first ever Australian Indigenous superhero on the national broadcaster. Youtube link
On the heels of Canada's announcement of a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, CBC will be tweeting every 6 minutes over 24 hours the names, photos and cases of over 250 women under the hashtag #MMIW.
The planned Thirty Meter Telescope will be a $1.4 billion observatory that can look 13 billion light years away and see the biosignatures of planets outside our solar system. Or at least, it might be -- its construction has been delayed and further work is not certain to happen, due to indigenous Hawaiian concerns about the site desecrating Mauna Kea. [more inside]
Because of ongoing problems with racism, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has temporarily closed comments on all articles about indigenous peoples. [more inside]
Three years ago, the people living in the Ochiichagwe'Babigo'Ining Ojibway Nation in Ontario would crowd in each other’s homes and outside the band office to access what little internet the community had. There was dial-up, there was expensive cellular data, and there was some service from an internet provider in a neighboring town; when the network went down, it would sometimes take weeks for a technician to come and fix the issue. The community’s kids—itching to get their gaming systems online and scroll through Facebook on their phones—weren’t having it. [more inside]
Sandwiched between Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games next summer in Rio de Janeiro, the Indigenous Games are being advertised as a low-budget, low-key alternative to the marketing-hyped and TV-driven sports culture of the 21st century.
Martin Gusinde documented the life and rituals of the Selk'nam people of Tierra del Fuego, off the southern tip of South America from 1918-24. They had been nearly wiped out by a genocide led by Julius Popper, the Tyrant of Tierra del Fuego, their numbers reduced from an estimated four thousand to only a few hundred. Now a book has been published containing hundreds of Gusinde's photos. Forty-five photos are available on the National Library of Chile's website. The last native speaker of Selk'nam, Herminia Vera Illioyen, died in 2014. That same year, linguist Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia completed a reference grammar of Selk'nam. His friend Joubert Yanten Gomez, a young Selk'nam, has taught himself the language. Selk'nam and efforts to preserve it are one of the languages profiled in Judith Thurman's A Loss for Words, an essay about whether dying languages can be saved.
A short explanation of why an Australian state's parliament officially declared Eddie McGuire to be a boofhead. [more inside]
Jordan Engel's Decolonial Atlas project aims to restore indigenous place names to global maps overwritten by colonialism. On Tumblr too.
Do You Prefer "Native American" or "American Indian"? 6 Prominent Voices Respond "Wherever I go, from the reservation to the city, through the halls of academia, from younger to older, to the grassroots, and in social media, I hear numerous discussions and debates around how people choose to identify with certain references, e.g., which word is the most appropriate: Native American? Native? Indian? American Indian? Indigenous? My task here was to ask several friends and people whom I (and many others) admire what reference they feel most comfortable with."
This was the official inauguration of indigenous futurism. The movement is in part about speaking back to the SF genre, which has long used indigenous subjects as the foils to stories of white space explorers hungry to conquer new worlds. Given these continuously re-hashed narratives of “the final frontier,” it is no coincidence that western science fiction developed during a time of imperial and capitalist expansion. Science/speculative fiction author Nalo Hopkinson, known for her use of creole languages and Caribbean oral stories in her works, writes that people of color engaging with SF “take the meme of colonizing the natives and, from the experience of the colonizee, critique it, pervert it, fuck with it, with irony, with anger, with humor and also, with love and respect for the genre of science fiction that makes it possible to think about new ways of doing things.”
Bolivia has undergone a significant change under the three terms of President Evo Morales, the first president to come from the country's indigenous majority. Members of that majority have found prosperity, increasing the prestige of indigenous design and style, as seen in this seven minute segment on the new buildings and minor twists on old fashions adopted by Bolivia's indigenous bourgeoisie, from Financial Times' coverage of the displays of the Aymara people's new-found wealth. [more inside]
Tacoma Art Museum has just opened an entirely new wing devoted to a single collection of Western American art [depicting Native Americans and created by Europeans and Euro-Americans]. Because the work presented is culturally problematic, the museum has taken the unusual step of commissioning a handful of Native American people to write labels responding to the art. What results in the galleries can be frustrating, but it also breaks open the complexity of what's really going on both in the art and in the institution of the museum in 2014.How Tacoma Art Museum Criticizes a Collection Without Angering the Donors, by Jen Graves.
Crow Creek Lakota member Greg Grey Cloud interrupted the Senate to sing a victory song after the Keystone XL pipeline was defeated. (Scroll down for video)
Between the Lines: tracing the controversial history and recent revival of Inuit facial tattoos.
Seizing of America. How United States took over 1.5 billion acres from native peoples.
The Ket from the Lake Munduiskoye (2008, 30 min.) The Ket people are an indigenous group in central Siberia whose population has numbered less than two thousand during the past century. Although mostly assimilated into the dominant Russian culture at this point, a couple hundred of them are still able to speak the Ket language, the last remaining member of the Yeniseian language group. Recent scholarship has proposed a link between Ket and some Native American language groups.
26 year-old Inuk woman Loretta Saunders was working on an Honours thesis studying the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women of Canada. Her supervisor called her proposal "the most beautifully written and cared-for assignment I had ever read in seven years of university teaching." Two weeks ago, Loretta disappeared and fell out of contact with family and friends. Yesterday police confirmed that her body had been found in the median of the Trans-Canada Highway. Her disappearance is now being treated as a homicide. [more inside]
Smells can be very hard to identify and name, unless you are given some prompting - or you speak Jahai, the language of an indigenous group in the Malay peninsula.
Combining the voices of many struggles, peoples and nations, from LA to Chicago, Detroit to New Brunswick, Germany to Palestine, Phoenix to Greece, Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm̕ , Tsalagi and Six Nations, to Anishinaabe and Mi’kmaq, and everywhere in between, the #NationHood Mixtape brings together an amazing array of hip-hop, spoken word, beats, ideas and sounds from artists across the world. [more inside]
Jailangaru Pakarnu was the first song to hit the popular music charts sung in an Australian Aboriginal language, released by Warumpi Band in 1983. [more inside]
The son of a Yanomami tribeswoman returns to the jungle to look for her. David Good is the child of an American anthropologist and the Yanomami woman he married while doing field research in the remote Amazon rainforest. Raised in the US, he returns to find his mother. [may be nsfw - images of unclothed tribespeople]
About 200 indigenous people on the Xingu, Tapajós and Teles Pires rivers began an occupation of the largest construction site of the Belo Monte Dam, demanding the withdrawal of troops from their land and the suspension of dam construction. Powerful and searing, this statement from a people pushed to the brink by their own state, Brazil, and who have begun an indefinite protest at the main construction site of the Belo Monte Dam, which is in the Xingu and Tapajós river basins
Franco believes that governments must increase efforts to preserve indigenous cultures. “The Indians represent a special culture, and resistance to the world,” argues the historian, who has spent three decades researching isolated tribes in Colombia. Martínez says that the Indians have a unique view of the cosmos, stressing “the unity of human beings with nature, the interconnectedness of all things.” It is a philosophy that makes them natural environmentalists, since damage to the forest or to members of one tribe, the Indians believe, can reverberate across society and history with lasting consequences. “They are protecting the jungle by chasing off gold miners and whoever else goes in there,” Franco says. He adds: “We must respect their decision not to be our friends—even to hate us.”
As part of his long-term Genesis project, Sebastião Salgado shares photographs of the nomadic Nenets of northern Siberia.
Over the last forty years, many young women – most of them indigenous – have been murdered or gone missing along northern British Columbia's Highway 16, now nationally known as the Highway of Tears. Nobody knows just how many have disappeared: estimates range between a handful and hundreds. Their families have spent decades fighting institutional racism and governmental bureaucracy in a tragic tale that has seen no conclusion. Since 2007, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police have been investigating eighteen of these cases as part of Project E-Pana. Today, the RCMP announced its first major development: the death of Colleen MacMillen, who disappeared in 1974, has been linked to American serial killer Bobby Jack Fowler, who died in an Oregon prison in 2006. Previously on MeFi.
maadth-saemie reprasentin! In Scandinavia, there's been a recent upswing of Saami culture, from Designers to Art & Musicians. Once upon a time the land of the Saami, Sapmi existed in the north of scandinavia, stretching between Norway, Sweden & Finland, now it's reffered to as the heartland. The new consciousness relating to the Saami struggles is much Thanks to artists such as Inga Juuso and Sofia Jannok who exist in the greyarea between politics and melody.
Where Are Your Keys? (WAYK) is a language-learning game that starts with identifying a few simple objects and builds into a conversation dealing with abstract concepts — in the space of an hour or two, with minimal supplies. [more inside]
Native Appropriations: A Tribe Called Red: Powwow Step and social commentary for the masses - Based in Ottawa, Ontario, "DJs NDN (Nipissing First Nation), Bear Witness (Cayuga), and Shub (Cayuga) are A Tribe Called Red. ATCR creates an eclectic sound made up of a wide variety of musical styles ranging from hip-hop, dancehall, electronic, and their own mash-up of club and pow wow music, known as pow wow step." music videos: Red Skin Girl - Electric Pow Wow Drum - Native Puppy Love - NDNs From All Directions - Pow Wow Riddim streaming audio @ CBC: Pow Wow Step & Powwowzers [more inside]
At least the South Africans acknowledged the ownership of 400,000 square miles of South Africa by the original native inhabitants. We would regard [Ian Smith, the then Prime Minister of Rhodesia] as going entirely berserk in Rhodesia if he acknowledged no native land rights at all. But the position in Australia is that we acknowledge no native land rights whatever. We took the lot with our proclamations of sovereignty.That complaint, made by Mr Beazley MP in 1967, was corrected twenty years ago on 3 June 1992, when the High Court of Australia found that "the common law of this country recognizes a form of native title", overturning the doctrine of terra nullius that had held since the 1830s. [more inside]
This weekend, TAL ran an episode on the massacre at Dos Erres. What they didn't mention was that this happened as part of the "Silent Holocaust" -- a "systematic campaign of genocide against the Mayan people." An estimated 83% of the massacred people were indigenous Maya. Throughout the period of the genocide, the USA continued to provide military support to the Guatemalan government, mainly in the form of arms and equipment, despite knowing that the Guatemala military was responsible for the killings. Horatio Castellanos Moya, an exiled Honduran writer, wrote Senselessness, his first book to be published in English, based on the testimonies taken by the Catholic Church's Recuperation of History project, which led to Bishop José Gerardi Conedera releasing the Guatemala: Never Again! report. Two days later, he was bludgeoned to death.
Funny that I'm linking to Huffington Post (uffington horse?) and not the other way around... But this blog post about the last members of the Maijuna tribe in the Amazon is amazing.
After years of work, New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert just released volume 2 of her 9-volume linguistics series. “Hlingit Word Encyclopedia: The Origin of Copper” is a 630-page encyclopedia of the SE Alaskan native language Tlingit. She traveled to Sitka for a mid-January book release and found one little problem: none of the Tlingit native speakers or scholars there recognized the language in it. [more inside]
Indigenous groups in Panama have shut down parts of the Pan American Highway in an increasingly violent protest. The root of the conflict is the Martinelli government’s refusal to enact environmental protection that was promised for the Ngöbe-Buglé Comarca from both Hydro-Electric and mining exploitation. Outside press is being denied entry to cover the conflict. This is not the first time this has happened. Ongoing updates in English can be found here.
Australian PM Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott are dragged from an Australia Day lunch by their security details after armed Aboriginal protesters surrounded the venue. The protestors arrived from the nearby Tent Embassy after comments made by Tony Abbott that it was time for the Embassy to "move on" - comments particularly pointed on a day many are trying to rebrand as Invasion Day.
Xaasaa Cheege Ts'eniin is a very special toddler. Approximately 11,500 years ago, the child spent at least one summer with family at a seasonal base camp in the Tanana Valley, located in what we now know as Alaska. Earlier this week, archaeologists announced their discovery of the child's cremated remains in ancient fire pit amidst an excavation of a circular semi-subterranean home. DNA testing of the remains could reveal genetic connections to the modern Athabascans. In addition, the find could yield new insight into the Paleo-Indians who traveled the Bering Strait, and the migration patterns of some of the indigenous people of North America. While little Xaaxaa only lived about three years, the toddler's remains, now the earliest human remains ever discovered in the North American arctic, ensure little Xaaxaa will be remembered for years to come.
Language, culture, society and the frameworks used to define experiential reality; living a good life, pathways of decolonization
An internationally recognized Kanien'kehaka (Mohwak) intellectual and political advisor, Taiaiake Alfred is well known for his incisive critiques and groundbreaking work in the fields of Indigenous governance and political philosophy. In the past, Taiaiake has served as an advisor on land and governance and cultural restoration issues for many indigenous governments and organizations, and he has authored several important books including Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom and Peace, Power, Righteousness. Currently, Taiaiake serves as a Professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria. Recorded March 23, 2009 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, University of Victoria Professor of Indigenous Governance; a broad, deep, and beautiful discussion of pathways toward the future for indigenous people, Gerald Taiaiake Alfred talks about the “Resurgence of Traditional Ways of Being: Indigenous Paths of Action and Freedom” [more inside]
Here, the intellectual and political dispute centers around federal policy regarding First Nations in Canada, a debate that’s been controversially re-ignited by the book Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation. Among the book’s core arguments: the assertion that on-going “native problems” have a “cultural basis.” [more inside]
On the morning of 5 June, Peruvian police forces opened fire on indigenous protesters near Bagua, Amazonas. Amazonwatch has an excellent audio report (about 8 mins) from Gregor Maclennan. [more inside]
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