New exhibit showcases Sasquatch through Native perspectives

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The White River Valley Museum’s newest exhibit, Sasquatch: Ancient Native Perspectives on the Mysterious Beings of the Woods, examines generations of Native oral histories documenting the presence of legendary beings that live deep within the Pacific Northwest forests. 

“What you will see are four depictions of stories told by Native elders about unique and mysterious woodland beings, as told to early anthropologists,” described Patricia Cosgrove, White River Valley Museum Director and Salish culture enthusiast. “Most of those elders were born before 1880, so their oral histories reach far back in time. We wish to celebrate the connections to the natural world that members of Indigenous cultures so often preserve.”

Most everyone today has heard of the Sasquatch. They have become mainstream legends often depicted in art, on t-shirts, and in movies. There was a time not so long ago when one did not speak of the Sasquatch openly because to do so might draw one to you.

Native people have told of many encounters with the Sasquatch, which seem to be an essential part of the natural world. Sightings and stories continue on reservations today, representing a spiritual connection to the pre-contact past and the resilience of Indigenous cultural heritage.

While Sasquatch, also known by the crude name Bigfoot, has seen its popularity soar in the mainstream, it hasn’t been the case for Dzoonokwa, Stick Indians or Slapu. Yet all (and more) are mysteries beings thought to have inhabited the mountains and coastlines of the Pacific Northwest. 

Dzoonokwa (pronounced zoo-no-kwa) is a forest giant identified for millennia in oral histories by Native people on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. Dzoonokwa is very large, covered all over in brown or black hair, and in art it is depicted with pursed lips.

Native people up and down the Northwest Coast and perhaps in many other areas have spoken of little, wild human-type beings that live in the forest. Some call them Stick Indians. The name seems to come from these tiny people living up in the ‘sticks.’ Most stories tell of Stick Indians as tricksters, little people who can make life difficult in many ways if they choose.

Slapu is a Wild Woman of the Woods who appears in many oral histories from the Clallam area. Stories about Slapu were often designed to impress children with the importance of correct behavior. Children that wandered into the forest would run the risk of being captured by her. She would place the captured children in a large basket and carry them off to her dwelling, deep in the forest. Slapu resembles greatly the main character from the popular Tulalip story, The Basket Lady.

Roger Fernandes, Upper S’Klallam artist and storyteller.

The Sasquatch exhibit settings come alive with spoken quotes from anthropological records. Continuing the traditions of their elder’s storytelling, these Native voices give insight to a perspective that has endured for generations. 

Upper S’Klallam artist and storyteller Roger Fernandes’s artwork forms the foundation of the exhibit. He spent nearly four months going through the rigorous process of bringing Sasquatch, Dzoonokwa, Stick Indians, and Slapu to life via the paintbrush. 

“In Native culture, there are many levels to the significance of beings like Slapu and Sasquatch,” explained Roger. “At one level it’s just describing what is – there are beings out there living in the forest and they don’t associate with us on a regular basis, they are secretive and hide. Another level, mythologically, there are powers in the forest we humans will never truly understand, and maybe these beings represent that power.

“Then there is another level that represents overcoming challenges and obstacles one comes across in life. When these stories are told to children, by rites a kid cannot beat these forest creatures, they are too big, too strong. But in the stories a child always figures out a way to confront and overcome them. Much like life, fear always makes challenges appear too big, but once solved you realize how much you learned and grew from facing the challenge head on.”

Sasquatch: Ancient Native Perspectives on the Mysterious Beings of the Woods will be on display at the White River Valley Museum, located just minutes from the Muckleshoot Reservation, through December 16. The exhibit is supported in part by the Tulalip Tribes Charity Fund.

“Being non-Native, I’m doing my best to do a sensitive portrayal here with a lot of Native friends,” added Patricia, Museum Director. “We had several Muckleshoot tribal members lend their voice to the exhibit, Upper S’Klallam artist Roger Fernandes created artwork for us, and we received a generous gift from the Tulalip Tribes Charity Fund that we are so thankful for. It is so meaningful to me to be trusted and supported by the local tribes.”

Native Students of the Month Announced for March

Ayana Sabbas, 10th grade, Marysville-Pilchuck H.S.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

“This is one special way that our community has come together, as Marysville School District has partnered with the Tulalip Tribes to announce the Native American students of the month,” explained Deborah Parker, Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education, during the regular school board meeting on Monday, March 19.

By creating the Student of the Month Program, MSD Indian Education and the Tulalip Tribes Education Department celebrate individual achievement by sustaining a culture of learning that values academic success and achievement through education. The program is designed so that any Native American student in the Marysville School District, of any age or grade level, can receive the award. However, students who are nominated should prove they value their education by exhibiting academic responsibility. They are also expected to demonstrate excellent behavior in and out of the classroom, which includes being respectful to both teachers and peers.

For their commitment to excellence in the classroom and academic achievement, 10th grader Ayana Sabbas (Nuu-chah-nulth and Shoshone) of Marysville-Pilchuck High School and 4th grader Jacob Skarwecki (Algaaciq from Alaska) of Cascade Elementary were announced as Native American students of the month for March.

Jacob Skarwecki, 4th grade, Cascade Elementary

“Jacob is selected for his enthusiasm, his effort, his integrity, and for being a responsible citizen,” described his Cascade Elementary Principal, Teresa Iyall. “Above all, Jacob shows exemplary behavior, and I am very, very proud that he is our first elementary Native American student of the month. He represents his family, his tribe, Marysville Indian Education, Cascade Elementary, and the Marysville School District in an exemplary manner.”

“Ayana was selected as student of the month for her leadership, being a responsible citizen, and her incredible determination in both her academics and extracurricular activities,” said her MSD Native Liaison, Matt Remle. “She has excelled in her academics, demonstrated by her 3.83 G.P.A. and outstanding attendance. She plays varsity volleyball, participates in MPHS Native Girls Group, and remains active in her culture by being a jingle dress powwow dancer. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with her.”

Going forward, a selection committee will review all student nominations based on their academics and school engagement. Each month two Native students (one boy, one girl) will be recognized as students of the month.

“It feels amazing!” admitted Ayana about receiving student of the month. “It’s so refreshing to get recognized for my achievements in school because I’ve worked so hard to be in this position. My dream is to go to the University of Washington and become a bio-engineer. I really love numbers and want to use that passion to change the world for the better.”

Promoting overall wellness for our youth

Article by Micheal Rios; photos by Micheal Rios and courtesy of Sarah Sense-Wilson

Promoting the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of today’s youth, especially teenagers, is largely a labor of love. It’s difficult enough getting them to give their social media accounts a break, put their cellphones away, and actually focus on educational activities, let alone holding their attention long enough to get them to interact in a group setting. Yet, it is in the commitment to our youth, to their well-being and personal growth that brings about positive changes in lifestyle, relationships, and overall wellness.

Enter the Tulalip Tribes 5th Annual Wellness Conference and its dedicated day, May 16, to promoting overall wellness to our community’s youth.

“Our youth flourish when provided guidance, tools, resources, and encouragement. They thrive when we set good examples of self-care, and live by example. Our individual and collective actions are always far more meaningful and impactful when we are embracing challenges, and having an open mind for learning and taking the time to nurture healthy relationships,” eloquently states Sarah Sense-Wilson, Wellness Conference Coordinator. “I believe our conference really embodies these values and the presenters and workshop leaders exemplify traditional and cultural values we want our children and youth to follow.”

Approximately 90 students from Heritage High School, Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Totem Middle School, and Marysville Middle School were shuttled to the event hosted within the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca ballroom. The adolescent youth were treated to a large and healthy buffet-style breakfast after filling out their registration cards and putting on a name tag. As they settled in keynote speaker Layha Spoonhunter (Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho, Oglala Lakota) took center stage.

Layha is a youth consultant, motivational speaker, Two Spirit Native citizen, and vocal advocate for Two Spirit people. He provided honest, open and engaging discussion on LGBTQI (a common abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersexed community), Two Spirit, and Allyship advocacy.

Layha describes Two Spirit as a “person who has both masculine and feminine identities.” He says it is a spiritual term that encompasses Native culture, language and history. His expertise and experience as a youth spokesperson and advocate for Native youth empowerment bridges differences and strengthens relationships among groups of community members. Layha offered his story as an example for other young LGBTQI and Two Spirit individuals to express themselves and embrace their identities.

“Build an environment of fairness and openness within your community. Stand up against stereotypes and racism. Stand up against bigotry and discrimination,” resounded Layha to his largely youth audience. “Take pride in your identity and use it to make positive change.”

Following the keynote address, the youth were given the choice of three interactive and experiential based workshops to attend. The three diverse workshop presenters were specifically chosen for their ability to reach our Native youth in a variety of ways.

Credentialed Native American mental health specialist and award-winning artist LisaNa Red Bear offered her workshop attendees the opportunity to create a mural art project. Participants engaged in three experiential learning art exercises that support a better understanding of complications associated with smoking. The hands-on creative art project was a hit, as the Native youth’s artistic abilities shined.

“We see an amazing level of creativity expressed by youth who engage in artistic activities. When they allow themselves to imagine and sit still long enough to allow that creativity to flow through them, the results can be awe-inspiring,” reflects LisaNa on the impact of her art mural workshop. “Young people have creativity inside them, innately, and it just depends on whether or not it’s nurtured or repressed.”

Grammy award-winning artist Star Nayea led a Project R.I.S.E Up workshop. She empowered the youth to create video vision statements that involved creating handheld signage decorated with personalized cultural artwork. Participants then took turns filming their own P.S.A. style videos. Star’s unique ability to reach youth and engage them in expressing their ideas, thoughts and feelings led to some amazing video production both individually and collectively. The youth offered messages of hope, vision and inspiration for believing in yourself and living a drug free life.

“Kids just want to know that we, as adults and teachers, are legit. They want to know that we are there for all the right reasons, that we care about them, and that they can thrive from the knowledge and experience we offer,” says Star. “It’s so important for their voices to be heard and for their faces to be seen as they speak the words. It’s one thing to have thoughts and a whole other thing to rise up and share those thoughts, to inspire. In making the P.S.A. videos they help to inspire one another and their community.”

The third workshop option was called In the Spirit of the Story. The tradition of storytelling is a way of passing down, teaching vital lessons, and of course entertainment with a purpose. Gene Tagaban (Tlingit) is an incredibly skillful, knowledgeable and talented storyteller who led this workshop. Using story as a medium for empowerment and self-expression, Gene connected with participants in a deep and meaningful way which transcends all generational differences. The power of storytelling was illuminated through his interactive workshop as a tool for teaching, healing and growing.

“Offering our youth a range of different interactive workshops was intentional and purposeful. We are always wanting to reach our youth for supporting their interests and appeal to their generational issues,” explains Sarah on the importance of workshop variety when working with youth. “Community wellness requires positive action, not passive existence. Some have to work harder because we are up against more barriers, walls, and obstacles. Nonetheless, we have a responsibility to ourselves, our youth, and our community to strive to do better and be better.”

Concluding the youth wellness day was a very special Native Hoop Dance

performance by Tulalip tribal member Terry Goedell. Several youth were brave enough to join Terry on stage and receive a tutorial on hoop dancing basics.

There’s a popular saying in Native communities, “be careful in the decisions we make today as they will impact the 7th generation – our grandchildren’s grandchildren, grandchildren.” Respect for this wisdom continues to guide events like the annual Wellness Conference, where a commitment to preparing Native youth for a brighter future is on full display.

Next Generation Biddy Ball

BiddyBall2

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Tulalip hosted its quarterly biddy ball tournament on Sunday, March 20 at the Greg Williams court located within the Don Hatch Youth Center. The event was open to all kids ages 3-5 and 6-7 years old.

The Tulalip biddy ball program caters to the youngest generation of aspiring hoopers. It features lower nets, a shortened court, and is for young children who are just learning to play the game of basketball.

“It’s a popular sport in our community,” Deyamonta Diaz, Youth Activity Specialist, said following the day’s event. “We’re getting more and more people bringing their children out to learn and play biddy ball. There’s no previous experience necessary. We give them a fundamental style 5-on-5 game so they can learn how to play on a team .”

Biddy ball is really an instructional program setup for children of all level of experience to enjoy. There’s a lot of running around, basic skill sets, and learning the fundamentals of dribbling and shooting a set shot. During one session, the kids practiced drippling back and forth with then their dominant hand, then switched to dribbling with their other hand. While during another session they worked almost entirely on footwork.

The program at one point drew an estimated 50-60 kids. All the kids received a free t-shirt with ‘Next Generation Biddy Ball’ written across it.

 

BiddyBall1

 

Josh Fryberg, Youth Services Activities Coordinator, concluded the basketball-filled event by commenting, “Tulalip biddy basketball turned out great. Thank you everyone that showed up, especially the kids. All of us at Youth Services would like to continue to bring our community together in a good way. Because our biddy ball participation continues to grow we will expand our program so we are having biddy basketball once a month, the 3rd Sunday of each month from 12:00-3:00 p.m.”

Be on the lookout for more information on Tulalip’s biddy ball program in future issues of the syəcəb newspaper and on our Tulalip News Facebook page. If you have any questions or concerns call Tulalip Youth Services at (360) 716-4909.

 

biddy

 

Nisqually Tribe Taking Chinook Into Protective Custody

By: Northwest Treaty Tribes

 

Chinook born in the Nisqually River are being taken into protective custody by the Nisqually Indian Tribe.

The tribe is trapping and spawning natural-origin chinook this fall because so few have returned in recent years. Instead of passing naturally produced chinook above a tribally operated weir, the tribe will truck them to its nearby Kalama Creek Hatchery.

“We’re seeing a sharp decline of natural-origin chinook returning to the river, so we want to make sure these fish are as successful as they can be,” said David Troutt, natural resources director for the tribe.

At Kalama Creek, the fish are being spawned by hand. Their offspring will be released into the river next spring.

To make sure some chinook spawn in the wild, the tribe will release up to 600 adult hatchery-produced chinook into the upper watershed. That way, even more naturally produced chinook will leave the river next year.

“The genetic difference between natural and hatchery-origin chinook on the Nisqually is small,” Troutt said. All of the chinook in the river are descendants from an imported hatchery stock planted decades ago.

The native chinook stock was killed off in the 1960s in large part due to poor hydroelectric practices that left the river dry for months at a time.

Five years ago, the tribe began closely managing the mix of natural and hatchery-spawned fish in the river to help mitigate hatchery influence on the stock.

“Our goal is to let the natural habitat, instead of the hatchery environment, drive adaptation of the stock,” Troutt said. “By mixing in natural-origin fish at the hatchery, we bring in better genetic traits to improve salmon productivity. This means more fish for everyone.”

Recent declines in chinook productivity because of poor ocean conditions drove this year’s drastic action. “Instead of bringing in just a few, we need to bring in every single natural fish we can to protect them,” Troutt said.

Native Alaska Village of Point Lay Hailed for Stewardship of 35,000 Walruses

Corey Accardo, NOAA/NMFS/AFSC/NMMLThis is what 35,000 walruses look like when they do not have sea ice to rest on in the open water.


Corey Accardo, NOAA/NMFS/AFSC/NMML
This is what 35,000 walruses look like when they do not have sea ice to rest on in the open water.

 

Indian Country Today

 

 

With 35,000 walruses camped out on the edge of town, the 250-population Native village of Point Lay, Alaska has been thrust onto the world stage.

And, true to their custom, the residents have stepped up—not to bask in their potential 15 minutes of fame, but to embrace their traditional role as environmental stewards.

“These locals, these people, without a lot of funding or anything, have taken on this stewardship and protection of the haulout,” said Joel Garlich-Miller, a walrus specialist for the Marine Mammals Management department of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in a telephone interview with Indian Country Today Media Network. “They’re front-line conservationists.”

The walruses began arriving in mid-September, as they had been for the past few years. You can hear them from the village, residents said in a 2012 community workshop held with Garlich-Miller, community elders and an array of scientists. It is common for walruses to “haul out,” as it’s called, and take a break from feeding in the open sea, usually by pulling themselves onto ice floes. But with the summer ice extent dwindling drastically in the Arctic, a growing number have had to settle for land.

RELATED: Video: Watch Thousands of Walruses Forced Onto Alaskan Shores by Climate Change

This has been happening off and on for years, but of late it has become much more pronounced. On September 30, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration conducted their annual flyover to observe Alaska’s marine wildlife from the air. Catching sight of the mass of walruses clustered onto a sliver of northwestern Alaska coast, they snapped some spectacular photos and posted them on the web, noting that a lack of sea ice had forced walruses onto land.

With all the attention being paid to climate change over the past couple of weeks, between the People’s Climate March of September 21 and the United Nations Climate Summit two days later, the world’s attention was riveted. The sea ice had reached its lowest extent for the year a couple of weeks earlier, on September 17, the sixth-lowest minimum on record, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

“The massive concentration of walruses onshore—when they should be scattered broadly in ice-covered waters—is just one example of the impacts of climate change on the distribution of marine species in the Arctic,” said Margaret Williams, managing director of the WWF’s Arctic program, in a statement on September 18. “The sharp decline of Arctic sea ice over the last decade means major changes for wildlife and communities alike. Today’s news about the sea ice minimum is yet another reminder of the urgent need to ratchet down global greenhouse gas emissions—the main human factor driving massive climate change.”

The walrus, Garlich-Miller explained, is “typically considered an ice-dependent species.” They are not suited to an open-water lifestyle and must periodically haul out to rest.

“Traditionally during the summer months, broken sea ice has persisted through the Chukchi Sea during the entire summer, and walruses have typically remained offshore,” he said in a conference call with reporters on October 1.

 

Photo: Corey Accardo, NOAA/NMFS/AFSC/NMML
Photo: Corey Accardo, NOAA/NMFS/AFSC/NMML

 

But in recent years, Garlich-Muller said, the Chukchi Sea has become entirely ice-free by the end of summer. The number of walruses seen on shore has been growing. Nowadays, he said, tens of thousands of walruses haul out regularly in Russia as well. Numerous researchers have been monitoring this since its exacerbation, but the phenomenon of land haulouts is nothing new. What is new is the extent of their use of land, researchers said.

“Walrus have always hauled out on land, in small numbers in Alaska, and in much larger groups (tens of thousands) in Russia,” said anthropologist and Arctic researcher Henry Huntington to ICTMN in an e-mail. “The large haulout at Point Lay started in 2007, and has occurred most years since then, except when sea ice has persisted in the Chukchi Sea. So this is a relatively new phenomenon, and is almost certainly related to the loss of summer sea ice (meaning the ice is too far from shallow waters where walrus can feed, so they instead move to land in late summer/early fall when the ice is at is smallest extent).”

The concern now, Garlich-Muller said, is the walruses’ safety. A few problems arise when they’re on land that tend not to plague them on the ice. For one thing, there are more predators lurking. For another, the walruses are in much more crowded conditions, which can facilitate the spread of disease. Moreover, disturbing them causes the potential for stampedes, which could injure or kill the animals, especially the calves. Their vulnerability, Garlich-Muller said, is proportional to the size of the herd.

What disturbs them? Gunfire, aircraft, predators such as polar and grizzly bears, and human activity. Minimizing disturbance has become a major focus of the USFWS office in Alaska over the past few years, Garlich-Miller told reporters.

This is where Point Lay comes in.

“Some of the best and most successful conservation efforts that we’ve seen to date have occurred at the local level,” Garlich-Miller told reporters on October 1. “The community of Point Lay in particular has shown a great stewardship ethic at the haulout. They’ve sort of taken it under their wing. They’ve worked with the local flights in and out of their community to reroute aircraft landing and takeoff routes. The community, when walruses are present they work with their tribal members not to motor by the haulout with boats. They’ve changed their hunting patterns—although they are a subsistence-hunting community and legally entitled to hunt walruses, they’ve refrained from hunting at these large haulouts, where disturbance events can lead to lots of unnecessary mortality.”

Point Lay officials fended off reporters’ requests for visits and interviews. They were too busy protecting the herd.

“The Native VIllage of Point Lay IRA Council respectfully declines any interviews at this present time,” the village’s offices said in an e-mail to Indian Country Today Media Network. “We, as a tribe, did not wish for this event to be so widely publicized. Our community is a small, close knit, subsistence only community.”

Regardless, they remain the unsung heroes of the walrus haulout.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/10/03/native-alaska-village-point-lay-hailed-stewardship-35000-walruses-157175?page=0%2C1
 

Ten Reasons Why Every Native Should Vote

 Tulalip Tribal Board Member Deborah Parker speaking in support of the Violence Against Women Act in 2012. Reason number six to vote.

Tulalip Tribal Board Member Deborah Parker speaking in support of the Violence Against Women Act in 2012. Reason number six to vote.

 

Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today

 

Why vote? It takes planning, some time, and the rewards are not always visible. The same problems will surround American Indians and Alaska Natives before and after the election.

It’s easy to be trite and type, “this election matters more than most” and then cite specifics to make that case. But it’s not true. Win or lose (no matter who we support) life will go on.

But there are reasons to vote. Examples big and small that show how we can make a difference. Here we go.

One. Because voting is an act of sovereignty. The late Billy Frank Jr. used to articulate different ways that we practice sovereignty today. Taking a fish is an act of sovereignty. Using an eagle feather is sovereignty. Or picking berries.

I would add voting to that list. There’s a great example going on right now: the Independence vote in Scotland. Every Scot citizen, 16-years and older, will have a say about their future country. But that voice is only possible now because of Scotland’s participation in the United Kingdom’s electoral process. The idea of returning power had to be ratified in Parliament, a proposition demanded and promoted by the elected representatives from Scotland. Other countries have gone to war over independence. But Scotland is voting. The ultimate use of sovereignty.

Two. Because too many folks don’t want you to vote. Across too many government officials are taking steps to make casting a ballot harder, limiting early voting options, alternative polling spots, or failing to account for Native languages. Across the country there are lawsuits seeking resolution.

But in addition the smartest act of defiance is to vote. Every vote is reprimand of the philosophy to limit access. One of the worst examples of that notion surfaced last week when a Georgia state senator said he preferred “educated voters” to any increase in voters.

Three. Because climate change is real and any candidate who says it’s not, should be ruled out as a leader. The science is clear 97 percent of all peer-reviewed papers say the same thing: Global warming is real and humans are the cause. (This graphic from NASA is one way to see it for yourself.)

Why does this matter? Because our political leaders are going to have to make tough choices in the years and decades ahead on issues. Indian country is already being impacted and that will only get worse as communities will need significant new resources for mitigation or even relocation. If you vote for your children, this might be the most important single reason.

Four. Because the Affordable Care Act matters. American Indians and Alaska Natives have been calling for full funding for the Indian health system for, well, since the Treaty era in the 19th century. But never in the history of the country has Indian health been adequately funded. For all its problems, the Affordable Care Act opens up a mechanism to significantly increase the revenue stream for Indian health.

And the alternative from critics? There is not one.

Five. Because the Violence Against Women Act represents how politics can serve the greater good. So roll back the clock to a time when there were not enough votes in the U.S. Senate to pass the Violence Against Women Act with the provisions to give tribes additional authority. Then on April 25, 2012, at a news conference on Capitol Hill, Then Tulalip Tribal Vice Chairman Deborah Parker told her powerful personal story about abuse. Her story carried on YouTube and across the nation via social media as well as legacy media changed everything. The Senate passed the measure. Then the House leadership supported an extraordinary deal. According to Talking Points Memo: “The Rules Committee instead sent the House GOP’s version of the Violence Against Women Act to the floor with a key caveat: if that legislation fails, then the Senate-passed version will get an up-or-down vote.”

That made it possible for Congress (and the president to sign into law) the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.

Six. Because friends matter. Even when the disagree. Most of the time, anyway. The Violence Against Women Act is a good example of why friends matter. Oklahoma’s Tom Cole was able to convince Republican leadership about the importance of the act. This law would not have happened without him. Cole, and Idaho’s Rep. Mike Simpson, have been important voices within the Republican caucus on matters ranging from VAWA to limiting the damage from sharp budget cuts.

And that brings me to seven …

Seven. Because there should never, ever be another Alaska Exception. If the Violence Against Women Act represents the best in politics, the Alaska Exception is the opposite. Alaska has epidemic levels of sexual violence and rape. So what does Congress do? It takes away a tool that tribal communities might be able to use to turn the situation around.

What’s worse is that the exception was inserted into the bill by Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski who owes her election to Alaska Native voters and corporate spending. (I know this undermines Reason Six.) The Washington Post said last month: “Now, after pressure from Alaska Natives, Murkowski is reversing her position and trying to repeal the provision she inserted.” There are no heroes in Congress on this provision, including Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, who also supported the exception. He, too, has reversed himself.

The promise unfulfilled is that Congress would revisit this issue. That has yet to happen. But this whole episode should be a warning; a never again moment.

Eight. Because Congress must pass a Carcieri fix. The Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that limits what land the Department of Interior can take into trust. This has significant impact on tribal economic development. Montana’s Sen. Jon Tester, chairman of the Indian affairs committee, told Indian Country Today Media Network that while he believes in a clean fix, “many of my colleagues in the Senate don’t agree.”

The way to change that is pressure from voters.

Nine. Because your vote counts more than the gadzillions spent by those with money. Turn on a television and you see that money at work, ad after ad, dark images, somber music, and words about the evils of certain candidates. Politics should be about ideas and policies more than personality. What do we want out of government? How do we pay for that? Those are the big questions. The best way to do that is to ignore the campaigns and just vote.

Ten. Because women matter. More than half the population of the country is female yet representation is only about one-fifth in the Senate and even less than that in the House. As The Washington Post reported this week: “The Congress has always been and continues to be the domain of white men.” I think of the words of the late Wilma Mankiller. She said Cherokee treaty negotiators asked the United States team, “Where are your women?” Cherokee women often accompanied leaders at negotiations and so it was inconceivable that the federal government would come alone. There must be balance if we want to become the democracy that we can be.

Finally, in the spirit of Spinal Tap, let’s turn this vote meter to Eleven. Why eleven? Because it’s not ten. Where can you go from there? Eleven. One louder.

So reason number eleven. Because we can win. I started this post by mentioning the election coming up in Scotland. Some 4.2 million citizens signed up to vote, a 97 percent registration. Imagine what would happen if American Indians and Alaska Natives voted with those kind of numbers. It would upend politics in from Alaska to Wyoming. Local leaders would be replaced and we would have a far greater say in programs and policies. Already there’s evidence that the Native vote make a difference, but that influence should be growing. We have a younger population and in a low turnout election, we could call the shots. We could be one louder.

Mark Trahant holds the Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. For up-to-the-minute posts, download the free Trahant Reports app for your smart phone or tablet.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/09/15/ten-reasons-why-every-native-should-vote-156891?page=0%2C1

 

Ask a Mexican: Why don’t more Mexicans self-identify as Native?

 

Gustavo Arellano

Gustavo Arellano

 

Source: Indianz.com

 

Gustavo Arellano, also known as the Mexican behind the syndicated column ¡Ask a Mexican!, explains why Mexicans are reluctant to identify themselves as indigenous even though they boast large numbers in the United States:

It’s no real surprise that Mexis would either not mark any other box to denote their raza or just mark “white.” As you most likely know, no one in Mexico wants to identify as Indian because they’re at the bottom of the race chain. That stigma still carries over to the United States: Figures from the 2010 U.S. Census showed that about 175,000 people identified as “Mexican-American Indian,” which would make this group the fourth-largest Native American tribe in the United Unidos (only Cherokee, Choctaw, and Navajo would be bigger). But consider that in “Indigenous Oaxacan Communities in California: An Overview,” a 2007 paper by Lisa Kresge for the California Institute for Rural Studies, the estimated population for this group alone was about 350,000 — and that’s just for the Golden State, and doesn’t include the many Purépecha, Yaquis, Otomis, Mayas, Totonacs, and many other Mexican indigenous groups in Cali.

Get the Story:
Gustavo Arellano: Ask a Mexican on Mexicans Who Self-Identify as White (The Phoenix New Times 9/4) Related Stories:
Immigrants who speak Native languages face difficulty in US (07/14)

Yankees Center Fielder Jacoby Ellsbury Donates copy Million to OSU

 

Indian Country Today

 

 

Jacoby Ellsbury’s name will go down in history. Not as the greatest Native baseball player to ever play the game, (and perhaps it will) but in a more personal way.

The Yankee’s center fielder donated copy million to his alma mater. According to an Oregon State press release, Ellsbury, who is Navajo and Colorado River Indian tribes, made the donation to expand the baseball team’s locker room facilities.

“OSU Baseball has given me so much,” Ellsbury told OregonLive.com. “I am thrilled I am able to help my alma mater carry on its proud tradition; and perhaps, this expansion will convince a few more Pacific Northwest recruits to wear OSU orange and black.”

OSU also plans to name its locker room facilities after the former Beaver.

RELATED Jacoby Ellsbury, Greatest Native Player in Baseball, Signs With Yankees

Goss Stadium is in need of a few updates, including its overall infrastructure. The project is expected to cost $2.8 million and the enhancements are for the locker room, equipment room, a team meeting space and a new recruiting area. Ellsbury’s contribution accounts for 1/3 of the cost, SBNation.com says.

“We are tremendously thankful,” coach Pat Casey said in the release. “Great facilities are at the core of great programs, and with Jacoby’s generous gift we will be able to continue to offer our student-athletes a world-class experience.”

“Oregon State is where I got my start,” Ellsbury said. “It’s where I learned — from Coach Casey, teammates, and assistant coaches — how to be a successful athlete, a successful person. For that, I am forever grateful.”

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/06/08/yankees-center-fielder-jacoby-ellsbury-donates-1-million-osu-155206

Going Native in….Seattle

American Indian dancers perform during dinner in the longhouse at Tillicum

American Indian dancers perform during dinner in the longhouse at Tillicum

Lynn Armitage, Indian Country Today Media Network

When you think of Seattle, the first things that come to mind are probably the Space Needle, Puget Sound, the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix or maybe professional sports franchises like the Mariners or the Seahawks. Somehow forgotten among all the contemporary lore of this beautiful seaport is the knowledge that it teemed with Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before white settlers arrived.

In fact, Seattle, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, is named after a leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, Chief Si’ahl. Other tribes in the area include the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie. Today, many of them continue their long-held artistic traditions, including basket-weaving.

If you’re planning a trip to this vibrant city, you should by all means take in its traditional tourist attractions. But to really rock your visit with some Native American culture, we recommend these five destinations, all off the beaten path:

Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center

Located on 20 acres in Discovery Park, Seattle’s largest city park, with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is a central hub showcasing all the Native tribes in the area. Daybreak Star serves many purposes, says its parent organization, the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation—a conference center, a pow wow venue, a gathering place for after-school programs and an art gallery that features a large body of work by Native artists.

For more details, go to UnitedIndians.com/daybreak.html.

Tillicum Village Adventure

For a real taste of Native culture—literally—go on a four-hour escape to Tillicum Village on Blake Island, just eight miles west of Seattle, in Puget Sound. Guests are treated to steamed clams upon arrival and can watch a traditional Northwest Coast salmon bake in the longhouse. After the feast, enjoy a Native music and dance show that tells the colorful story of the Coast Salish Tribes, also called the Puget Salish or Lushootseed peoples. Daily tours run from May through September.

For ticket prices and tour details, go to TillicumVillage.com.

Juanita Bay Park

If you’re up for a beautiful drive to observe the region’s abundant wildlife, Juanita Bay Park is a quick 15 miles east of Seattle, on the other side of adjoining Lake Washington. It’s a 110-acre marshy wetland that is home to all kinds of wildlife, including songbirds, shorebirds, turtles and beavers. Guided tours are available, or walk along the paved trails and boardwalks solo. Either way, you will learn a lot about this natural habitat through interpretive signs that are positioned throughout the park. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

 

Wetlands in Juanita Bay Park (Facebook)
Wetlands in Juanita Bay Park (Facebook)

For more details, go to KirklandWa.gov.

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

Located at the University of Washington, the Burke is the state’s oldest museum. It is dedicated to honoring, researching and sharing the heritage of diverse peoples from all over the world, including the many Native tribes in the state and beyond. Here you will find thousands of Coast Salish artifacts and artworks, as well as a number of exhibits that feature artwork from other tribes, such as the Tlingit and Haida of British Columbia and southeast Alaska.

For more details, go to BurkeMuseum.org. (On this site, you will also find an extensive list of Native American cultural centers and museums. Just type “Native Americans” into the search box.)

The Center for Wooden Boats

A must-see for aquatic enthusiasts is the Center for Wooden Boats, a fun place for the family to learn about boats—on and off the water. The center refers to itself as a “living museum,” since visitors can take their historic wooden boats out for a quick sail. Free public boat rides are offered on Sundays. Tourists can also learn how to carve northern-style canoes from a Haida carver named Saaduuts, the artist in residence, who holds classes periodically just across the way in Lake Union Park as part of the Canoe Project, a partnership of the center, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation and Antioch University Seattle.

Come sail away at the Center for Wooden Boats (Center for Wooden Boats)
Come sail away at the Center for Wooden Boats (Center for Wooden Boats)

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/02/24/going-native-inseattle-147854