Wyoming Indian High is located in Ethete, a tiny town of about 1,500 residents, in central Wyoming. The school itself is composed of approximately 200 students, mainly from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes on the Wind River Reservation. Given the hoops mania, though, the gym is the largest in the state, capable of holding 3,000-plus rabid fans. That’s right. A bunch of Native American kids from the rez are the basketball kings of Wyoming. If you haven’t heard of this dominant team, you might know the area itself—the subject of consistently negative, reductive and often false representation(s) in the media, where life on the reservation is depicted as nothing but a sad, grim blight; and has served to reinforce all of the old prejudices about Native Americans."
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.
Zombies occupy a variety of liminal spaces wherein contemporary social tensions are reflected and refracted. These tensions, however, have historical and ongoing parallels with images of "Indians." Zombies reveal societal ambivalence about race, class, gender, ethnicity, political power, agency, and other aspects of social reproduction. In other words, zombies touch upon all the anxieties commonly associated with colonialism.If you only watch one hour-long lecture on the Anthropology of Zombies today, then make it this one by Native American scholar Chad Uran.
How to wear Native fashions without committing cultural appropriation. Also included: a photo album of gorgeous Native designs. (via)
Native Americans were promised health care by the government, but what are they really getting? Stanford Medicine on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where health services are underfunded, suicide rates are high, and the life expectancy is just 46 years:
There has long been protest about the name of Washington's NFL team - the "Redskins". In September, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell changed his stance from supporting the name, to saying "if one person is offended, we have to listen." Then last week the President of the United States sided with changing the team's name. Shortly afterward, the NFL agreed to have representatives meet with the Oneida Nation about the name in the next month. Then yesterday Washington team owner Dan Snyder wrote a letter to fans and season ticket holders in an attempt to defend the name "Redskins". But one writer tells what Snyder essentially said with his letter. Amid an official campaign and groundswell of support for changing the name, Ray Harbritter of the Oneida Nation professed "This is not going to away this time" [more inside]
The Other Redskins. 62 US high schools in 22 states currently use the name "Redskins" for one of their sports teams. 28 high schools in 18 states have dropped the mascot over the last 25 years. As public pressure continues to intensify on the Washington Redskins football team to change their name -- one many consider a racial slur that disparages Native Americans -- similar debates are being waged in towns across the country about their local high school teams.
In 1960 or so, Professor Perry C. Van Arsdale was helping his 7-year-old granddaughter researching the Santa Fe trail. He found his granddaughter's textbook to have some number of errors. He set off to create a map of pioneer history (prior to the 1900's), using his own knowledge and information from judges, sheriffs, and descendants of historical figures. This was his start in creating the Pioneer New Mexico map, which would contain 300 towns that no longer exist, old trails of all sorts (including the three historic Santa Fe trails and various camel routes), locations of minor squabbles and major battles, and because he couldn't fit everything on the maps, he also included extensive notes in the corner of the map. [more inside]
Odawa Indian tribe hosts Michigan's first legal same-sex marriage (and the third among all US Native nations). It was a historic day. Not just for them and not just for the tribe that [Tim] LaCroix belongs to, but for Michigan too. News story from UpNorthLive.
This iconic photo of the first Aboriginal woman to enlist in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps was used as a recruitment tool, and "appeared all over the British Empire [in 1942] to show the power of the colonies fighting for King and country." Its original caption in the Canadian War Museum read, "Unidentified Indian princess getting blessing from her chief and father to go fight in the war." Its current caption in The Library and Archives of Canada reads: "Mary Greyeyes being blessed by her native Chief prior to leaving for service in the CWAC, 1942." But as it turns out, the two people in the photo had never met before that day. They weren't from the same tribe or even related and Private Mary Greyeyes was not an "Indian Princess." 70 years after the photo was taken, her daughter-in-law Melanie made sure the official record was corrected. Via [more inside]
150 years ago, on December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were hung in Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest mass execution in U.S. history. The men were hung after being convicted by a U.S. military commission for participating in the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. Originally, 303 were sentenced to death, but President Lincoln commuted the sentences of most of those convicted. The war was waged in the Minnesota River Valley. The Minnesota Historical Society's page on the hangings is here. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's six-part series on the war is here. Minnesota Public Radio has an online photographic display on the war. This American Life's episode on the war is available through the program's website. Indian Country Today reports on efforts in Minnesota to remember the war, including a memorial dedicated in Mankato today. Following the war, most Dakota were expelled from Minnesota.
"When the lights go out for good, my people will still be here. We have our ancient ways. We will remain."
In the Shadow of Wounded Knee. Along the southwestern border of South Dakota is one of the most poverty-stricken places in the United States—the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota people. After 150 years of broken promises, they are still nurturing their tribal customs, language and beliefs. Via [more inside]
In 2005, Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks produced a 6 episode miniseries that spanned the period of expansion of the United States into the American West, from 1825 to 1890. Through fictional and historical characters, the series used two primary symbols--the wagon wheel and the Lakota medicine wheel -- to join the story of two families: one Native American, one White settlers, as they witnessed many of the 19th century's pivotal historical milestones. The award-winning Into The West can now be seen in its entirety on YouTube. [more inside]
In July 2007, NPR published a two part series (direct links: 1, 2) about a four year old uninvestigated rape case at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Sparked in part by a 2006 report (pdf) from Amnesty International that included a startling statistic: "One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime," NPR's investigation led to the reopening of the case and Congressional hearings. In February 2011, Harper's published an update of sorts: Tiny Little Laws: A Plague of Sexual Violence in Indian Country (Via)
The Curse of Chief Wahoo. "Are we paying the price for embracing America's last acceptable racist symbol?".
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.
An Icelandic company called deCODE genetics (previously) has found evidence, though not conclusive, that an unknown American woman traveled to Iceland, possibly against her will, as early the year 1000 but not later than 1700. She had offspring in Iceland with natives. 80 of her descendants are still extant in that country. This finding has been announced in a pre-print online publication of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The work involved explorations of mitochondrial DNA, which are frequently employed to examine humans' centuries-old lineages. One surprising result is that this lineage does not seem to line up with previously known Native American genetic markers, but the authors believe that the explanation above is "[more] likely" than this common ancestor being European or Asian. (Via Daily Mail.) [more inside]
Is this just another version of the minstrel show? The Pendleton Round-up is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Part of its attraction is the performance of a "American Indian" dance pageant, whose participants are compensated traditionally. "A century later, the mill still provides blankets, and families are still paid to appear, $5 per person each day at the arena. Beef and vegetables are provided, as are tokens for other food. The winner of the “Best Dressed Indian Award” at the parade gets 50 silver dollars. The winner of the “Oldest Indian Couple Award” gets 100 silver dollars in a pouch."
The Shinnecocks have been a fixture in New York State for centuries — their beads became the wampum Dutch settlers used as money in the colonies — but the US Department of Interior never included them on its official list of Native American tribes. That all changed on June 14th. Almost four centuries since their first contact with Europeans and after a 32-year court battle, the 1,300 member impoverished Shinnecock Native American Nation was formally recognised by the US federal government. The tribe's tiny, 750-acre reservation in the middle of the Hamptons (home and summer playground to some the country's wealthiest Americans,) is now a semi-sovereign nation, allowing them to apply for Federal funding to help them build schools, health centers and to set up their own police force, as well as the right to open a casino. [more inside]
The Havasupai Tribe of Grand Canyon won a $700,000 settlement from Arizona State University, plus the return of remaining blood samples, regarding the use of members' blood and DNA for research. The Havasupai had originally contacted researchers at ASU concerning the Type II diabetes that has ravaged that tribe and others, particularly in the Southwest. [more inside]
Forty Thanksgivings ago Alcatraz Island was occupied by a number of Native American activists as a protest. The occupation lasted until June of 1971 The best place to learn about it is PBS's website for Alcatraz Is Not an Island, Jim Fortier's documentary about the Alcatraz Occupation. Besides an overview of the events it has video interviews with the people involved. [RealPlayer required] Here are photographs of the occupation, mostly from newspapers. For a flavor of how the local media covered the events, here's the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive's Occupation of Alcatraz Collection which has over 40 contemporary newsreports [MPEG4]
Thanksgiving is a difficult time for some people to celebrate. The holiday that Lincoln gave us has been saddled with a wonderful mythology. The real story is a bit more problematic, and involves a vicious, genocidal war. Is it possible to reclaim the beauty of this holiday, or is it too tainted by its history? [more inside]
Native American Sites in the City of Philadelphia is a superbly illustrated exposition of the historical development of Philadelphia, with a focus on those few surviving Native American sites which lie under the urban fabric. Lots more excellent Public Archaeology is available from the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum. Bonus link: Philly's lost creeks and streams. [more inside]
Powhatan's Mantle was the emblem of kingship worn by Wahunsenacawh, also known as Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas. A deerskin cloak ornamented with shell beadwork, it may at first appear to be only clothing but in fact it is also a map of the Powhatan Confederacy, which ruled most of eastern Virginia when the English first settled there. The mantle was acquired by one of the John Tradescants whose collection was the foundation of Oxford University's Ashmolean Collection and the mantle resides there still today. The first linked article is a fascination article about the mantle as well as a gallery of images of and related to Powhatan's Mantle.
Plains Indian Ledger Art is a website devoted to the art that Plains Indians developed in the latter half of the 19th Century when they got access to paper and modern painting tools. The gallery has 14 different ledgers, including the famous ledger by Black Hawk. The ledgers depict all kinds of scenes, amusing, violent, mythical, mundane and lots of other facets of life for the Plains Indians. There is also a short history of ledger art but for a bit more information read Drawing on Tribal History by Inga Kiderra.
Kumeyaay.info welcomes visitors and indigenous peoples of all tribal nations and provides a casual village environment to share and network their culturally relevant creative work, information and opinions. (previously)
“We try to follow the footsteps of our elders, who cleared the way for us with their clean minds, hearts, and bodies. They walked in clean land, drank clean water, breathed clean air, and ate clean food provided by Mother Earth. This is the Red Road.” The powwow is an integral part of Native American life, offering the opportunity for peoples to gather and celebrate their spiritual connections to their ancestors, the earth, community, and traditions through drum, song, and dance. The photography of Ben Marra.
The Lakota People have withdrawn from their treaties with the United States, citing numerous violations of those treaties by the US. They plan to start their own country, issuing passports and drivers' licenses and living tax-free.
Between 1902 and 1905 representatives of five tribes in the Indian Territory of the southern United States lobbied for statehood. The tribes proposed creating a tribal state called Sequoyah (hi res image here). At the constiutional conference in 1905 a constitution was drafted and later forwarded to the federal Congress and President, but despite a successful ratification campaign, the effort died on the vine. The Indian Territory and Oklahoma were instead admitted to the Union two years later as one state.
First Nations Histories is a site with compact histories of 48 first nations, from the Abenaki to the Winnebago, written by Lee Sultzman. They are primarily focused on nations in the Northeast, Midwest, with a smattering in the Plains and the Southeast. It also hosts two articles that aren't part of the project, Manifest Destiny and Western Canada and The Coree are Not Extinct.
Blighted Homeland. "From 1944 to 1986, 3.9 million tons of uranium ore were dug and blasted from Navajo soil, nearly all of it for America's atomic arsenal. Navajos inhaled radioactive dust, drank contaminated water and built homes using rock from the mines and mills. Many of the dangers persist to this day." A series of articles and photo galleries examines the legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo (previously discussed here.) [Via Gristmill, BugMeNot.]
One hundred and thirty years ago today, George Armstrong Custer divided his forces in the face of a superior enemy and rode to his death at the Little Big Horn. The actual battle lasted about 15 minutes, but the fight over Custer's legacy is going into its second century. Visit the battle memorial (webcam view) explore the archeology of the site, or read an Indian account of the battle. The battle has attracted artists as varied as Charlie Russell (this poster of his painting was distributed by Anheiser Busch and hung in bars across the United States), Thomas Hart Benton, and Kicking Bear (Mato Wanartaka). Little Big Horn is a lonely place today.
First People is a collection of artworks, vintage photographs, clipart, legends, essays, treaties, poems and more, relating to the first peoples of America and Canada (Turtle Island). [via]
Tse-whit-zen. Excavation for the Hood Canal Bridge near Seattle has unearthed a huge prehistoric Indian village and alienated tribal spiritual leaders.
Research Vs. Religion: Scientists Win Lawsuit Against Native American Tribes The 9,000 year old remains, found in Kennewick, Washington in 1996, will be made available for study, rather than being buried by tribes who had hoped to assert the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in this case.
Russell Means goes Republican. Strange times indeed.
Happy Thanksgiving! A friend told me the story of Corn Hill the other day (the house he grew up in is right across the street), so I decided to check out what the internet has to say about the situation. Not much apparently. This ugly website is the only other one I found that didn't say that the pilgrims "borrowed" from a "cache" of corn that they "stumbled upon". What's really crazy is that the pilgrims had never seen corn, nor native americans. This means that they either started digging for fun, or found out about the Wampanoag burial traditions and decided it was a good idea. Either way, happy Grave Robbing Day!
The Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. "I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream. And I, to whom so great a vision was given in my youth,--you see me now a pitiful old man who has done nothing, for the nation's hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead."
Black Elk speaks.
Black Elk speaks.
The Crazy Horse Memorial is a monument in progress in the Black Hills of South Dakota (where Mount Rushmore is too.) Dedicated to Crazy Horse, the Oglala Lakota Sioux warrior famous for his role at Little Bighorn, it will be 641 feet long by 563 feet high when completed. There will be a night blast on June 26, weather permitting.
US Bureau of Indian Affairs 'misplaces' about $137 billion "...hundreds of thousands of Indians in the largest-ever class-action lawsuit against the government have put the cumulative total at $137.2 billion owed [royalties due from BIA leasing of Indian land for lucrative mineral, oil, logging, cattle grazing, and other concessions]....Sometimes the checks might arrive for hundreds or thousands of dollars, and sometimes those checks might only amount to pennies on the dollar. On Indian reservations, the problem has reached crisis levels; a check written out for a smaller amount than expected—or no check at all—can mean the difference between housing and homelessness. " ....but we don't have the money, I told you: it must have fallen out through that hole in my pants' pocket... Treaty, what treaty? Oh, that treaty....
Some Good News for a Tuesday Now that a third cabinet official has been held in contempt over the handling of funds owed to Native Americans, is a big check in the mail? Or will the Interior Department claim that they are out of stamps?
Interior department opens talks with Klamath Tribes that could lead to the return of 690,000 acres. Once the richest and most self sufficient tribe with land holdings of over 22 million acres, the Tribes fell victim to various land grabs over the years, the last being in 1954 when tribal status was terminated and they were (eventually) paid $220 million for 1.2 million acres of timber. By 1963, 28 percent of the tribe had died by age 25, 52 percent by age 40. Of those deaths, 40 percent were alcohol related. This is also about timber and water, but mostly it's an opportunity to do the right thing. Can the Bush administration and Congress do the right thing?
Let's hear it for the Fighting Whities! Solomon Little Owl, director of Native American Student Services at the University of Northern Colorado, is a member of an intramural basketball team that has adopted the name "The Fighting Whities." Team members say they want to raise awareness of the issue of painful cultural stereotypes. The team, made up of American Indian, Anglo and Hispanic players, is protesting nearby Eaton's use of the team name "Fightin' Reds" and an Indian caricature as a mascot. Little Owl said, "The Fighting Whities" issue is "to make people understand what it's like to be on the other side of the fence. If people get offended by it, then they know how I feel, and we've made our point." Curiously, I'm not offended. Are any of you? link via yil daily net buzz
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