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“Don’t open your story with a picture of an abandoned house.”

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."

posted by ChuraChura on Sep 2, 2014 - 17 comments

"Find your dream. It's the pursuit of the dream that heals you."

One of the greatest upsets in Olympic History happened in Tokyo in 1964: Billy Mills came from behind to win the 10,000m gold (YT: race edited down to 4 minutes). Mills, a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux, remains the only American to win this race in the Olympics. Here he is talking to Here and Now on NPR about how he ran the race (it's riveting), the name of the Washington, DC NFL franchise, and in an extra on this page, about Native American history.
posted by julen on Jul 11, 2014 - 5 comments

Murderpeg

"Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba, Canada — and for 16 of the past 33 years, it has also been the country's murder capital. The prairie city is home to just under 800,000 people, about 10 percent of whom are Aboriginal, meaning Winnipeg boasts the largest urban Aboriginal population in Canada. Largely impoverished and facing continual discrimination, the community has given rise to violent Aboriginal street gangs." Vice reports (17 mins).
posted by stbalbach on Jul 11, 2014 - 30 comments

Native Americans and Independence Day

In the spirit of this post, about Frederick Douglass's classic speech "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?", what is Independence Day for the Native American? Some folks have powwows on this day and/or march in parades, proudly wearing the uniforms of the US Military. NPR's 2008 story on the topic is worthwhile.
posted by GrammarMoses on Jul 4, 2014 - 4 comments

Kisima Inŋitchuŋa

Never Alone is an upcoming puzzle adventure game featuring a young Iñupiaq protagonist and her arctic fox companion, whose breathtaking trailer has been causing some buzz. It is the debut production of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council's Upper One Games, the first Native American owned games company. The game draws on Alaskan folklore and was developed in collaboration with elders, storytellers, and E-Line Media, a Seattle-based publisher of educational games.
posted by Erasmouse on May 10, 2014 - 16 comments

The Ket had seven souls, unlike animals, who had only one.

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.
posted by XMLicious on Apr 16, 2014 - 7 comments

Life imitates art.

In 2002, Lalo Alcaraz drew a depressing political cartoon. In 2014, it happened in real life.
posted by Faint of Butt on Apr 10, 2014 - 98 comments

The genome of the Anzick boy

The genome of the Anzick child, who died 12,600 years ago at the age of three and was buried with ceremony in the American Rockies, has been fully sequenced. The results shed an incredible light on the history of the peopling of the Americas: his people seem to have been direct ancestors to most tribes of Central and South America, and close relatives of the Canadian tribes. The discoveries have had an emotional impact on Native Americans, and the boy's remains will be reburied with great respect. Still, tribal belonging is about much more than genetics, as anthropologist Kim Tallbear reminds us. You can see replicas of the heirloom artefacts left in the boy's grave here, or visit the collection at the Montana Historical Society if you're in the area.
posted by daisyk on Feb 13, 2014 - 24 comments

Which dreamcatchers?

The Indian Store (SLYT) [more inside]
posted by griphus on Dec 29, 2013 - 22 comments

Parisian Auction of Sacred Hopi Artifacts

"These are not trophies to have on one’s mantel; they are truly sacred works for the Native Americans. They do not belong in auction houses or private collections." Despite protests by the US Embassy on behalf of the Hopi and San Carlos Apache, a Paris auction house continued with the sale of twenty-five katsinam (sacred masks). Surprisingly, the US based Annenberg Foundation bought twenty-four of them for $530,000 to return to the tribes. (Previously on a similar auction)
posted by Deflagro on Dec 13, 2013 - 74 comments

Project 562

Matika Wilbur is journeying across the United States to record and share the essence of contemporary Native Culture with the world. There are at least 562 Tribal Nations recognized by the US Federal Government.
posted by Deoridhe on Nov 28, 2013 - 5 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

And A Gun Named Rose Red

"I did not see the appeal of a wife. We had never had one before. She would not be half as interesting as our buffalo." Read a lengthy excerpt from Catherynne Valente's Six-Gun Snow White, an adaptation of the Aarne-Thompson-Uther type 709 fairy tale as a campfire story set in the American west.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 20, 2013 - 19 comments

Native American Recipes

For your culinary enjoyment, I present NativeTech's collection of recipes, which you can browse by recipe category, regions, types of dishes, and alphabetically (the site is pretty vast, and you can find recipes throughout the site). For more manageable lists, here is a mixed collection of Native American Recipes, from Apache acorn soup to Zuni corn soup (there's more listed than soups, I promise). One Feather has shared some favorite recipes, and then there's the Native Food blog, with recipes and more information.
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 17, 2013 - 26 comments

Truth and/or Bias in South Dakota

Last week the NPR Ombudsman made a series of posts about problems with the investigation and framing of a 2011 story on foster care among Native American children in South Dakota. [more inside]
posted by gubenuj on Aug 18, 2013 - 14 comments

The original Star Wars film to be dubbed in the Navajo language of Dine

The various Star Wars movies have been translated into at least 39 languages (as also seen here in a set of 16 international logos for Attack of the Clones), but the Navajo Nation is set to be the first Native American tribe to officially dub the original Star Wars film. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 28, 2013 - 18 comments

Today Indian Country Is Strong. I could not always ... tell you that"

Only about 36 hours after the State Of the Union Address, National Congress Of American Indians president Jefferson Keel gave today the 2013 State Of The Indian Nations address before the NCAI. The address was followed by a response from Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who was recently appointed the new Chairwoman for the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. The entire program runs for 1h13m. Text of the speech. NCAI's Securing Our Futures report [pdf]. [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Feb 14, 2013 - 23 comments

(Still) Dancing on John Wayne's Head: two albums of "raging blakkindian dub"

This is probably one of the most unusual and creative dub records you're ever likely to hear. Imagine typical bottom-heavy, bass-filled Jamaican dub reggae -- complete with horns, percussion, the whole nine yards -- mixed with traditional Native American vocal music (don't ask how it works, just believe that somehow it does). Now add spoken word samples from Native American, black, Russian, women's lib, and other sociopolitical leaders discussing the effects of colonial imperialism and totalitarian governments on the common man (and, of course, woman), and what you get is this radically inventive album. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 29, 2012 - 29 comments

Protect the Peaks

Environmental and Native American activists in Flagstaff, AZ face federal charges for allegedly "interfering with a forest officer" after a protest action in which they "quarantined" the Coconino National Forest Service lobby to protest a decision permitting the expansion of the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort onto the San Fransisco Peaks – a site regarded as sacred by the Navajo, Hopi, and Havasupai people. The proposed expansion entails the use of treated sewage effluent, aka reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking operations. These events occurred on the same day that the USDA and Forest Service issued a final report (pdf) which outlines recommendations for working more closely with Native representatives surrounding sacred sites issues.
posted by Scientist on Dec 11, 2012 - 19 comments

Ishi, last of the Yahi: of two worlds, and in three centuries

Throughout the west, prospectors and settlers clashed with native people, diminishing the populations of tribes greatly reduced by disease. By the 1850s, it was believed that all Native Americans were "civilized," before those in the young field of anthropology were able to record first-hand accounts of native people in their own elements. In 1853, a lone native woman was found on a remote island off the coast of southern California, but she contracted dysentery and died after she had been on the mainland for only seven weeks. Then in 1911, a bedragled native man was found in a farmer's slaughter house corral in rural Northern California. He was the last of his people, and he lived to share a glimpse of an ancient way of life, in his five years spent living amongst anthropologists, doctors, and linguists. He was Ishi, the last Yahi (Snagfilm; also on Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Instant). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 8, 2012 - 20 comments

The Daughter of Dawn arises again

A film made in 1920 with an all Native American Indian cast has been restored and will soon be released on DVD and blu-ray by the Oklahoma Historical Society, which now owns the original. [more inside]
posted by Isadorady on Jul 17, 2012 - 17 comments

Disproportionate influence

The Oglala Sioux tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have just filed a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch, InBev, SABMiller, Molson Coors, MillerCoors and Pabst, along with the four off-licences in Whiteclay, seeking $500m (£310m) in damages for their alleged encouragement of the "illegal sale and trade in alcohol" to members of the tribe. Touched upon briefly in early comments, Whiteclay (pop. 11) has been long known for its disproportionate volume of liquor sales, with over 5 million cans of beer sold each year, while Pine Ridge, who outlawed drink on its property, and has a population of 20,000, suffers from a disproportionate percentage of families with at least one alcohol dependent adult member (no less than 85%).
posted by infini on Feb 18, 2012 - 77 comments

Why are Indian Reservations So Poor?

Why are Indian Reservations So Poor? Forbes writer John Koppisch says it's because of a lack of individual property rights. In a detailed response, the executive director of non-profit organization Village Earth says: "I find it ironic how academics and journalists try to come up with new theories to explain poverty on reservations but fail to take into account the obvious. The government owes Native Americans at least 45 Billion dollars yet, in the settlement offered by the Obama administration, they are being compensated for less that .06% of that." [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Dec 14, 2011 - 101 comments

Lydia Nibley's "Two Spirits"

Fred Martinez was nádleehí, a male-bodied person with a feminine nature, a special gift according to his ancient Navajo culture. He was one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at 16. Two Spirits explores the life and death of this boy who was also a girl, and the essentially spiritual nature of gender. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Nov 10, 2011 - 15 comments

Pete Standing Alone

Pete Standing Alone has come full-circle in his dedication to preserving the traditional ways of his people on the Blood reserve in Southern Alberta. His 50 year journey from cultural alienation to pride and belonging has been uniquely captured by the NFB in the Pete Standing Alone Trilogy. [more inside]
posted by Devils Rancher on Nov 9, 2011 - 11 comments

68th National Congress of American Indians

The National Congress of American Indians is holding its 68th annual conference in Portland, Oregon this week. Oregon Public Broadcasting's Think Out Loud program talked today with Jefferson Keel, president of the NCAI and with others about food sovereignty on tribal lands. [more inside]
posted by curious nu on Nov 1, 2011 - 17 comments

Incentives And Cultural Bias Fuel Foster System

"Because you know most babies don't cry ..." "In South Dakota, Native American children make up only 15 percent of the child population, yet they make up more than half the children in foster care. An NPR News investigation has found that the state is removing 700 native children every year, sometimes in questionable circumstances. "
posted by HuronBob on Oct 25, 2011 - 95 comments

Traditional dance parties

A modern day pow wow is a Native American social gathering for dancing, singing, and honoring customs and traditions. [more inside]
posted by Deflagro on Aug 1, 2011 - 18 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

Goodbye Heyoka

John Kay’s Heyoka Magazine project January 2005 though June 2010 is now completed. All 34 volumes are online.
The Interviews section is a treasure trove from Shirin Neshat to Rick del Savio to David Michael Kennedy
Many reference Native American culture today: Tommy Lightening Bolt and Mala Spotted Eagle and William Under Baggage and Pete Catches
The range is great from Photos of the Apatani in Arunachal Pradesh to extreme bikram yoga and Leonard Cohen Everybody knows. The list goes on. Heyoka has morphed into non duality magazine
posted by adamvasco on Aug 29, 2010 - 2 comments

Unesayvtli, Usdi. Yust dohi yust gusdi?

Swedish-Cherokee artist America Meredith shows you how to be a Cherokee beatnik (or just talk like one). [more inside]
posted by JoanArkham on Jul 8, 2010 - 5 comments

Hey, dude, can I trade my wampum for some PBR?

The latest trend in hipster culture is the appropriation of Native American culture, here seen at San Francisco's recent Bay-to-Breakers race. The participants might ask, but why can't I wear a hipster headdress? Threadbared has a round-up of bloggers' concerns about the appropriation of Native American culture.
posted by desjardins on May 26, 2010 - 241 comments

Wilma Mankiller is dead at 64.

Wilma Mankiller, first woman principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, is dead at 64. "Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief." [more inside]
posted by Tesseractive on Apr 6, 2010 - 48 comments

You're like the wind. In my NIMBY.

The future of Cape Wind will be loudly contested for another few weeks. The latest wrinkle seems to be conflicting claims about the project's impact on sacred Wampanoag rituals and cultural heritage. There might even be a movie about it all. Previously. [more inside]
posted by vrakatar on Mar 15, 2010 - 19 comments

You will not be forgotten as long as I'm in this White House

"Indian country begins where the serene prairie of Custer county gives way to the formidable rock spires marking out South Dakota's rugged Badlands. The road runs straight until the indistinguishable, clapboard American homesteads fade from view and the path climbs into a landscape sharpened by an eternity of wind and water. At this time of year, the temperature slides to tens of degrees below freezing and a relentless gale sets the snow dancing on the road, a whirligig of white blotting out the black of the asphalt."

A sobering look at one Native American community and their hopes during the Obama years, by The Guardian's Chris McGreal.
posted by saturnine on Jan 10, 2010 - 18 comments

Petoskey Stones or "Crown Jewels"

Petoskey Stones are stones of fossilized coral (Hexagonaria percarinata ) that can be found along the shore of Lake Michigan near the town of Petoskey (Population 6,000). Once polished, they can be beautiful, and are often made into jewelry. It is the state stone of Michigan and is celebrated in an annual festival. The origin of the name of the stone, however, is under contention. [more inside]
posted by Deathalicious on Nov 29, 2009 - 33 comments

The Education of Little Fraud

Many kids read The Education of Little Tree in school, but the author of the book, Forrest Carter, was actually Asa Carter, a staunch racist and charlatan.
posted by reenum on Nov 10, 2009 - 101 comments

Bloodless war game

Oral histories indicate that slahal is an ancient game, dating to before the last ice age. At times discouraged, this gambling game is still being played. Also known as the bone game and the hand or stick game, the rules are simple: guess which hand holds the unmarked bone. But while your team tries to guess, the opposing team will confuse you with chants and drumming and music. And you do the same to them. An entire game can be quite loud and quite subtle. A short documentary.
posted by twoleftfeet on Nov 7, 2009 - 8 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

Secret Archaeology

Archaeologists and Native Americans race against the border fence. The REAL ID act authorized government agencies to bulldoze long-standing environmental, cultural and anthropological standards. But a team of activists worked delicately behind the scenes to win millions of dollars in federal funding and the go-ahead for a last-ditch effort to study ancient artifacts. Archaeologists have faced similarly rushed projects elsewhere along the fence route.
posted by univac on Mar 31, 2009 - 46 comments

HI I'M ON METAFILTER AND I CAN OVERTHINK A WORLD OF BEANS

Tales of the Beanworld ("A most peculiar comic book experience") recently resumed publication after a long hiatus. It's a strange and abstract mix of Native American mythology and culture, with a strong ecological focus, into an wonderfully charming cosmology. While it certainly invites, uh, overthinking, it's also entertaining on a purely casual level.
A sample short Beanworld story is on the Dark Horse Comics Myspace page.
If you have questions about it, the BeanWeb just may have answers, along with illustrations from the comics. There is now a Beanworld Wiki to supplement it, and creator Larry Marder keeps a blog where he talks about things bean.

Okay, now that it's properly introduced... the real point of this post is to link to this awesome Beanworld Flash cartoon, animated by Fashionbuddha and with music by They Might Be Giants!
posted by JHarris on Dec 20, 2008 - 17 comments

Lawless Lands: Justice Denied to Native Communities

"Lawless Lands": Michael Riley, writing in the Denver Post, investigates the dysfunctional state of law enforcement on Native American reservations, and the shocking consequences for crime victims. Bill Moyer's Journal has followed up with an excellent documentary expose entitled "Broken Justice." [more inside]
posted by fourcheesemac on Nov 15, 2008 - 22 comments

H.H. Cool J

Helen (Hunt) Jackson was an author and an activist. Her mom died when Helen was 14, her dad 3 years later. Helen's first child died at 11 months, her second at 10 years old. In 1879 she was inspired after hearing Chief Standing Bear describe how the U.S. government took Native Americans' land. She began to publish in support of Native American rights. 1881 brought her book A Century of Dishonor [pdf], branded with the words "Look upon your hands! They are stained with the blood of your relations". In 1883, she published her most famous work, Ramona, a novel about racial discrimination set in California. If that's too much to take in, and now you need some kitties, she's still got you covered. Letters from a Cat (1879) is being featured at Archive.org today. [more inside]
posted by cashman on Aug 25, 2008 - 7 comments

Killing The Indian In The Child

Canada has apologised for forcing more than 100,000 aboriginal children to attend state-funded Christian boarding schools aimed at assimilating them. Controversial former Minister Kevin Annett has written two books on the subject of residential school abuse in Canada [Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust and Love and Death in the Valley]. Unrepentant - Kevin Annett and Canada's Genocide reveals Canada’s darkest secret - that the Canadian residential school system, the Christian churches along with state authorities implemented a policy of genocide against Canada's native population. Related: Deliver Us From Evil
posted by chuckdarwin on Jun 29, 2008 - 28 comments

What Did We Call This Place When?

Native Names Projects by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe GIS Program and the Hawaii Board on Geographic Names are adding audio pronunciation guides to geospatial place-name datasets in several on-line mapping formats. [more inside]
posted by mmahaffie on Apr 3, 2008 - 5 comments

Red Crow goes to the next world

Actor/folk singer/Native American Activist Floyd Red Crow Westerman died of complications from leukemia on Thursday. Westerman, a member of the Sisseton-Wapheton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, was best known for his roles in Dances With Wolves, The X-Files and Hidalgo, but apparently viewed acting as an avenue to make money to apply to his other endeavors in support of Native American issues.
posted by rednikki on Dec 15, 2007 - 18 comments

Outsourcing Permutations

Indian company to outsource its outsourcing. Outsourcing in Ghana, where the government takes English very seriously indeed. Finally, Native American outsourcing.
posted by StrikeTheViol on Sep 24, 2007 - 8 comments

The Sand Creek Massacre

On November 29, 1864, John Chivington led the Colorado Volunteers in a dawn attack in which at least 150 Cheyenne men, women and children were slaughtered (many of their corpses grotesquely mutilated), bringing a new wave of Indian-white conflict to Colorado's high plains along the Santa Fe Trail. The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site was officially dedicated today. See photos of some of the people involved, read some contemporary propaganda concerning the event, as well as actual testimony from witnesses and perpetrators.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 28, 2007 - 17 comments

Trail Trees

Say you live in a forest and have limited resources. You need to make signposts to point out trails, water sources, meeting places and the like, but your readers might speak a variety of languages. Also, you want the signposts to last a really long time. What do you do? Create trail trees! Now say you live in the 21st century. What do you do? Create a database! And blog about it!
posted by DU on Apr 13, 2007 - 20 comments

Native Art in Embassies

Established by the US Department of State, the Art in Embassies Program (AIEP) is "a global museum" exhibiting works by U.S. citizens in "approximately 180 American diplomatic residences worldwide". Recently, the AIEP began a collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) to bring limited edition works by five important contemporary Native American artists to embassies around the world.

The Native artists selected for the project include internationally exhibited Mario Martinez, who was recently given a major retrospective at the NMAI in New York City, Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, a pioneering artist and art activist, as well as Marie Watt, Larry McNeil, and Norman Akers.
posted by aletheia on Apr 2, 2007 - 13 comments

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