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Two recent studies support Beringian origins for first Americans

"Because of differences in craniofacial morphology and dentition between the earliest American skeletons and modern Native Americans, separate origins have been postulated for them, despite genetic evidence to the contrary." The 12,000-year-old skeleton of a girl with these features, however, confirmed a Beringian origin. "Thus, the differences between Paleoamericans and Native Americans probably resulted from in situ evolution rather than separate ancestry." [more inside]
posted by ChuckRamone on May 15, 2014 - 21 comments

In honour of Loretta

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]
posted by Catchfire on Feb 27, 2014 - 90 comments

An Ad You Won't See During the Super Bowl.

Native Americans call themselves many things. (YouTube). An ad you won't see during the big game, "Proud to Be." From changethemascot.org.
posted by spitbull on Feb 1, 2014 - 97 comments

Does anybody remember The Juggler? The Amiga 500: now in your browser.

Christian Stefansen has made Amiga Workbench 1.3 available in Chrome via the Portable Native Client. For those of you rode on the third wheel of the 16-bit operating system wars, this is quite a treat, in addition to being a nifty proof-of-concept. More info on the technology here.
posted by grumpybear69 on Dec 12, 2013 - 18 comments

Native Intelligence

On March 22, 1621, a Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to meet with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement. At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum, a distrusted captive, whom Massasoit had brought along only reluctantly as an interpreter. Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli. About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity. Whole villages had been depopulated. It was all Massasoit could do to hold together the remnants of his people. Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west. Soon, Massasoit feared, they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them. And the only solution he could see was fraught with perils of its own, because it involved the foreigners—people from across the sea.
The Indians who first feasted with the English colonists were far more sophisticated than you were taught in school. But that wasn't enough to save them In addition to providing a beautifully written account of what happened, the article does something subtle but incredibly cool in using a Native centered perspective that really illuminates how dramatically silenced and othered Native voices are in other accounts.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 28, 2013 - 92 comments

USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab's macro insect photography

The USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program designs and develops large and small-scale surveys and identification tools for native bees. A vital aspect of the program is to create accurate and detailed pictures of native bees as well as the plants and insects they interact with. To that end, Sam Droege has curated a collection of more than 1,200 macro photos of insects and posted them to the USGS NBIaMP Flickr collection. You can also browse via sets, if the unfiltered collection is too much to take in at once. This group has also provided a guide to taking macro photographs of insects in a lab setting (PDF).
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 19, 2013 - 11 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

Native American dogs

"Pre-Columbian origins of Native American dog breeds, with only limited replacement by European dogs, confirmed by mtDNA analysis." [more inside]
posted by ChuckRamone on Jul 12, 2013 - 11 comments

Crazy Horse Was A Mystic.

Crazy Horse’s actual quote translates into English follows: “To day is a good day to die for all the things of my life are present." [more inside]
posted by Devils Rancher on May 6, 2013 - 19 comments

"We want you to take a picture."

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]
posted by zarq on Jan 22, 2013 - 13 comments

15 years of Aboriginal title in Canadian courts

It has been 15 years since the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision in Delgamuukw v. British Columbia. The decision was perhaps the most important Aboriginal rights decision in Canadian history, radically framing the notion of Aboriginal title and creating several legacies in common law. [more inside]
posted by salishsea on Dec 11, 2012 - 9 comments

"Don't call it a comeback/I've been here for years."

Jay Walljasper covers Detroit: Not Your Father's Motor City, The Surprise Behind Detroit's Emerging Comeback, Young People’s Fascination With Motor City is Only Part of Detroit Revitalization, A Food Commons Grows In Detroit. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 27, 2012 - 31 comments

"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]
posted by zarq on Oct 25, 2012 - 32 comments

Medicine Wheel / Wagon Wheel

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]
posted by zarq on Sep 20, 2012 - 12 comments

What is that? Is that a red pen? No, that's not a red pen. That's a rock.

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]
posted by The demon that lives in the air on Jul 16, 2012 - 7 comments

Mabo: 20 Years Later

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]
posted by kithrater on Jun 2, 2012 - 37 comments

Polar Bear Threat on "Ice".. Giving "Chills" To Environmentalist. Puns also deemed healthy

We all know Polar Bears are at risk, right?
"Not so fast!" says a new study completed by the Government of Nunavut on the populations on the Western Coast of Hudson Bay. The populations are actually increasing in number.

This is something that has long been argued by Inuit who live in the area. (video) Inuit are chaulking this up as a win for Inuit Traditional Knowledge. The numbers are said to be confounding doomsayers. [more inside]
posted by dogbusonline on Apr 5, 2012 - 73 comments

You say Tlingit, I say Hlingit

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]
posted by msalt on Feb 8, 2012 - 97 comments

Yu'pik dancer Maryann Sundown passed away this week.

Maryann Sundown, a master of Yu'pik dance, passed away this week at her home in Scammon Bay, Alaska. (second article) Sundown was a crowd favorite at the Cama-i Dance Festival, often making jabs at popular culture to great comedic effect. Even though her dancing slowed over the years, she still lit up the stage, even at her last performance at 92.(Maryann Sundown with the Hooper Bay Dancers) [more inside]
posted by Foam Pants on Oct 28, 2011 - 8 comments

Longform investigative journalism remains awesome

According to national statistics, one in three Native American women will be raped in their lifetimes. Vanguard correspondent Mariana Van Zeller travels to Rosebud reservation in South Dakota to investigate the alarmingly high incidence of rape and sexual assaults. What happened to 19-year-old Marquita, and how can the reservation's understaffed police force keep it from happening again? Candid interviews with her family members, classmates and police reveal many of the disturbing social attitudes and behaviors that lead up to her death. It is one of many compelling guides to the kinds of lives most never see in Current TV's season before last of Vanguard. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 8, 2011 - 27 comments

Smiling Indians

Smiling Indians [more inside]
posted by Miko on Mar 17, 2011 - 44 comments

Photos of the West, 1880-1890

Between 1887 and 1892, John C.H. Grabill sent 188 photographs to the Library of Congress for copyright protection. Grabill is known as a western photographer, documenting many aspects of frontier life – hunting, mining, western town landscapes and white settlers’ relationships with Native Americans.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 6, 2011 - 30 comments

Disrobing the Politics of Cultural Difference

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]
posted by Devils Rancher on Sep 6, 2010 - 10 comments

Guardian of Language

Born 88 years ago in a bear cave in Eastern Oregon, Virginia Beavert now teaches a language with no textbooks, no study abroad programs, and no dubbed TV shows. The only surviving elder of the Yakama who knows the sacred songs and parables of the "Dreamer Religion", Waashat, Beavert researches and teaches Sahaptin (Ichiskíin Sínwit). [more inside]
posted by fraula on Apr 16, 2010 - 12 comments

Native Esperanto speakers

Google's logo today commemorates the 150th birthday of Ludovic Lazarus Zamenhof, the creator of Esperanto, an artificial language designed as an international auxiliary communication mode. Perhaps surprisingly, approximately 1,000 people worldwide are native Esperanto speakers, the most famous of which is George Soros. Many of these are children born into households with parents who met at the Universala Kongreso de Esperanto. [more inside]
posted by Morrigan on Dec 15, 2009 - 48 comments

An online stroll through history...

On The Path of the Elders is a site tells the story of Treaty Nine, or James Bay Agreement, through an online role playing game.
posted by Jughead on Nov 19, 2009 - 5 comments

Without using the words “man” or “good,” can you please define what it means to be a good man?

War Dances: “I wanted to call my father and tell him that a white man thought my brain was beautiful”. Sherman Alexie doing his thing in The New Yorker, excerpted from his upcoming book (early review; interview 1, 2.)
posted by Non Prosequitur on Oct 5, 2009 - 45 comments

The last Eyak speaker passes

Chief Marie Smith Jones, 1919-2008. "Eyak language dies with its last speaker." Or download the story directly as an .mp3 from Alaska Public Radio Network . [more inside]
posted by fourcheesemac on Jan 22, 2008 - 49 comments

Less Lawn, Better World

Here are some ways to shrink your unnatural water- and gas-guzzling lawn and plant something that is beautiful and requires no water usage, no mowing, and is more likely to attract more interesting wildlife. With this much lawn in the U.S., and incessant water shortages, and other water issues and wars in our present and looming in the future, why not go native? Naturally, there are objections, since local ordinances often don't allow for natural prairie lawns, and the neighborhood stick-up-butt committees are quick to remove things they consider eyesores. What is your lawn worth to you?
posted by taursir on Sep 9, 2007 - 64 comments

Walpi Village, Hopi Lands, Northern Arizona

Visiting Northern Arizona? Well, of course you should see the canyon. However, you might want to skip that sky walk nonsense. Instead you might want to visit Walpi village on the Hopi Lands. The Hopi have lived out there on three mesas (an island inside another reservation) since the first century A.D. They were never moved to other areas or reservations, and spent a lot of time defending their land in many important ways over the ages. These days you can have a very intimate visit to the oldest, most continually occupied place in North America, if you don't mind a little drive. Don't bring your camera.
posted by BrodieShadeTree on Jul 20, 2007 - 17 comments

O'Reilly pwned by a little girl?

Bill O'Reilly respondsYouTube to a 8 year oldYouTube (though he leaves out her saying "that idiot O'Reilly"). Bill and his "expert" Wendy Murphy (who claims that the ACLU supports child sex abuse) agree that the girl's performance is child abuse - "the ultimate inhumane treatment of a child". Murphy goes on to highlight the danger possibility of "some [religious] nut [who] wants to hunt this family down." The many comments at YouTube illustrate this point – while some are supportive, others call her a slut, and Tanzman6 (who has belonged to Right to Life and Peer Ministry clubs) says
"This little chink should shut the fuck up. We should have killed her parents in Viet Nam when we had the fucking chance. Burn the bitch."
While the child obviously had help with her material, is O'Reilly right that statements like "religion has caused the genocide of nations" is propaganda about which she understands nothing? Even after considering that she is Lakota (Sioux) and probably related to Greg Zephier, an American Indian Movement Leader? [most material taken from Jesus's General]
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts on Dec 7, 2006 - 100 comments

Forever-Flying-Bird

When Everybody Called Me Gah-bay-bi-nayss - an ethnographic biography of Paul Peter Buffalo, son of Ojibwa medicine woman and grandson of the great chief Pezeke. Buffalo died in 1977, but spent his last dozen years chronicling his heritage and the things the elders told him. Be sure to check out the entry on John Smith, a wonderful character more popularly known as Wrinkle Meat.
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 16, 2006 - 8 comments

First American Art

First American Art. A fine collection of beautiful objects.
posted by hortense on Jun 7, 2006 - 5 comments

Shapeshifter

Brian Jungen is one of Canada's most innovative artists. His Native ceremonial masks, Prototypes For a New Understanding crafted from Nike Air Jordans showed an unique meld of cultures. Juxtapositions continue in his Capp Street Project scale model of the Arts & Crafts Gamble House and Habitat 04 (Habicat 04?) which pays homage to Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67.
posted by angrybeaver on Mar 2, 2006 - 10 comments

Drug War (remember that?) Roundup

Drugs on the Rez. It's a hell of a life going from utter poverty, where your mom gets you drunk so you'll stop complaining about being hungry, to being able to buy your kids toys with $100 accessories and sending them to private schools, to going back to literally not having a quarter to call your dad. In this case, the money came from Canadian oxycontin. It's not just Native Americans who are targeted by the authorities. It's also Indians. There's a pretty good newish book on the subject of black markets, Illicit. Laos' opium market is apparently gone -- in favor of meth and Afghanistan's market is black in name only, so why keep up the facade?
posted by raaka on Feb 20, 2006 - 14 comments

Leonard Peltier, three decades of freedom denied.

Leonard Peltier...three decades of freedom denied. Thirty years ago today—February 6, 1976—the Canadian government arrested Leonard Peltier...later extraditing him to the U.S. for trial (sic). Some Peltier FAQ. Another informative site. How the other side sees it. Peltier and the American Indian Movement (AIM). Sign the online petition. As Dylan sang about Hurricane: "To see him obviously framed couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game."
posted by mickeyz on Feb 6, 2006 - 40 comments

Please turn off all cameras before entering club

View the Pacific Walrus community at Alaska's Walrus Island State Game Sanctuary via their handy webcam. However, do your viewing soon as the camera will be going offline for several weeks starting tomorrow due to annual hunting by Alaskan Natives and their wishes for privacy . (yes, the animals in the last link are seals, but it illustrates why they don't want this broadcast live)
posted by numlok on Sep 8, 2005 - 3 comments

An enduring and beautiful People

Faces young and old, mothers and children, dolls; hunting rabbit, making fire, dancing: Archived photographs of Arizona's Indians from the turn-of-the-twentieth. Plus reference materials.
posted by breezeway on Apr 7, 2005 - 8 comments

Images of Native Americans

Images of Native Americans, from UC Berkeley's Bancroft Library, is comprehensive online exhibit of over 400 years of text and images of Native American history. [via a Berkleyan article that has sample images and more info]
posted by kirkaracha on Aug 18, 2003 - 8 comments

Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate is a drink that is enormously popular in South America. Given to the world by the Guarani Indians, its a bitter brew reminiscent of tea but with interesting properties. A coworker returned from Argentina and brought me some. I'm addicted.
posted by Dantien on Feb 28, 2003 - 20 comments

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