"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 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 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The Lakota People have withdrawn from their treaties with the United States, citing numerous violations of those treaties by the US.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.
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....