First Nations Development Institute Receives $100,000 from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to Bolster the Financial Literacy of Native American Youth

Red Lake Nation News

LONGMONT, Colorado (August 12, 2013) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced it has received a grant of $100,000 from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation of Seattle, Washington, to bolster the financial literacy of Native American high school students.

The two-year project will empower up to 75 Native American high school students and their families in Portland, Oregon, by providing culturally appropriate financial education that combines classroom and experiential learning to result in behavioral changes positively affecting management of financial assets. Youth Savings Accounts (YSAs) will be used to help youth to build assets and learn the savings habit, while introducing them to the use of mainstream financial services. First Nations will undertake the project in partnership with the Native American Youth Family Center (NAYA) in Portland.

Activities will include teaching the “Life on Your Terms” course to the students and taking a field trip to a participating bank or credit union to sign up for a YSA account. Those who complete the course with a passing grade will be entered into a drawing to earn an additional $100 to deposit into their account. The students also will participate in a financial simulation fair called “Crazy Cash City” that will help them put the lessons learned in class into practice through experiential learning. By the end of the grant period, an online teacher’s guide for the process will be completed and then made available nationally to teachers of Native American students.

Financial and investor education is one of the five focus areas of First Nations. First Nations and its independent subsidiary – First Nations Oweesta Corporation (a community development financial institution) – work in partnership with Native American tribes and communities throughout the U.S. to assist them in designing and administering financial and investor education programs. These projects range from helping individuals and families understand the basics of financial management – opening and maintaining a bank account and using credit wisely – to helping individuals understand financial markets and a variety of financial instruments for borrowing and saving. The programs result in increased investment levels and economic growth in Native communities.

About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 30 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

About the Native American Youth Family Center

The Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, Oregon, works to enrich the lives of Native youth and families through education, community involvement, and culturally specific programming. It has provided educational services, cultural arts programming, and direct support to reduce poverty in the Portland metropolitan area’s American Indian and Alaska Native community for over 30 years. Learn more at

About The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation

Launched by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and Jody Allen in 1988, the Allen family’s philanthropy is dedicated to transforming lives and strengthening communities by fostering innovation, creating knowledge and promoting social progress. Since inception, the foundation has awarded over $469 million to more than 1,400 nonprofit groups to support and advance their critical charitable endeavors in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. The foundation’s funding programs nurture the arts, engage children in learning, address the needs of vulnerable populations, advance scientific and technological discoveries, and provide economic relief amid the downturn. For more information, go to

AIM-WEST to Protest Baseball Game Against Cleveland Team Friday

Native News Network

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – American Indian Movement West, better known as AIM-WEST, is asking for a support of solidarity to demonstrate at the Oakland Coliseum when the Oakland A’s play the Cleveland baseball team beginning on Friday, August 16 at 7 pm pdt.

AIM-WEST to Protest Baseball Game

AIM-WEST calls for congressional hearings on racism in sports


The purpose for the rally is to demonstrate to the public that the American Indian communities are sick and tired of these discriminatory logos and negative images that serves to demean and disrespect a peoples, a culture, and deeply negatively impacting American Indian youth.

All drummers and dancers welcome, youth, elders, and the general public to come stand in solidarity with Indigenous nations of this Western Hemisphere for their right to dignity and respect.

AIM-WEST will announce a national campaign to launch a petition drive demanding the National Football League (NFL), and the Major League Baseball (MLB) to retire, remove, and or replace these racist images and slurs that are in violation of Indigenous peoples human rights. AIM-WEST calls for congressional hearings on racism in sports, and the removal by legislation of discriminatory logos that depict a people in a negative manner.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in September 2007 by the General Assembly, specifically states in Article #8:

  1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
  2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
    • Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
    • Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
    • Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violation or undermining any of tier rights;
    • Any form of forced assimilation or integration;
    • Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

Some Disturbing Facts About Baby Veronica’s Birth Mother

Suzette Brewer, ICTMN

It was the end of a long, bizarre week in which the ongoing battle between Dusten Brown and Matt and Melanie Capobianco became even more contentious with accusations of bad faith, court orders and competing media interviews, capped off by the dramatic issuance of a felony arrest warrant. Late Friday night, as word of the warrant began gaining traction, Lori Alvino McGill, attorney for Veronica’s birth mother, went on the Facebook page Standing Our Ground for Veronica Brown to argue with supporters for the Brown family.

In heated exchanges laced with name-calling and bad spelling, Ms. McGill again publicly excoriated Dusten Brown and vociferously defended her client’s actions in turning her infant daughter over to Matt and Melanie Capobianco in September 2009.

“…Y’all should ask Dusten aka Dustin why his name is spelled ‘Dustin Dale Brown’ on a public court order requiring him to pay delinquent child support to yet another woman, for yet another illegimate [sic] child that he spawned,” she wrote. “The fact is that every court to have looked at this case has rejected the idea that Dusten was trying to do the right thing but was misled by his pregnant girlfriend….”


“And, FYI, absentee impregnanters [sic] are not entitled,” she later posted, “to information about the childcare plans made by the women whom they have knocked up. This has been the law for decades.”


A return to the facts. The only two children Dusten Brown has, according to his ex-wife, Rachel Reichert, is Kelsey Brown, who was born two years after they were married in 2001, and Veronica, whose biological mother was Brown’s ex-fiance. And it is a matter of court record that, in spite of the recent rulings against Dusten Brown, her client, Christy Maldonado, was never found to be credible in any of the court proceedings in South Carolina.

“It is rather unseemly for an officer of the court to be on Facebook at that hour—or any hour—arguing the facts on behalf of her ‘client’ who is not a party in this case,” observed a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who works on Capitol Hill. “The serious practicing attorneys I know would never bother with that kind of thing. It’s just not appropriate. But it is pure comic gold. You can’t make this stuff up.”

Humor aside, the recent emergence of McGill as “a voice” for Veronica’s birth mother, who has never spoken publicly save for a heavily-edited opinion piece for the Washington Post in June to advocate for the Capobiancos, has begun to raise questions about Maldonado herself. Over the years, Brown has never gone on the record about his ex-fiance and has never publicly spoken ill of his daughter’s biological mother.

But a review of court documents in Oklahoma and in interviews with those who knew Maldonado prior to and during her engagement and pregnancy with Dusten Brown, reveal a portrait of a woman with a history of turmoil in her relationships, featuring restraining orders, lawsuits, Court Appointed Special Advocates and ongoing custody and child support disputes with her two older childrens’ father.

“All along, she has been painted by the adoption team as this saintly, Thomas Kinkade-hued single mother who was raising two kids and selflessly gave her child to an infertile couple,” says a former friend. “That’s been the narrative. But the reality is that it’s common knowledge in Bartlesville that Christy Maldonado does not have custody of her two other kids. They are living with their paternal grandmother in Oklahoma. She’s actually the one who pays child support and has visitation.”

Additionally, Indian Country Today Media Network has learned that Maldonado did not, in fact, receive any compensation for birth expenses from the Capobiancos. The birth of Veronica came at the expense of the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma via the state’s Medicaid program, SoonerCare.

In 2008, the year that she became pregnant with Veronica, Maldonado claimed copy,800 a month in income on a child support worksheet and had been working as a cashier at one of the Osage Nation casinos at the time of her pregnancy. As a full-time employee, she would have had access to health insurance through the tribe; or, alternatively, because Dusten Brown is a tribal member, she could also have received maternal health care at one of Oklahoma’s tribal Indian Health Service facilities. Brown even encouraged her to have their baby at a military health facility.

Adoption attorneys also point out that many health plans provide for adoptive couples in covering the medical expenses for the birth mother and child, so the Capobiancos could have also used their own health insurance to help pay some of the costs for prenatal care, labor and delivery.

But, shortly after she became pregnant, Maldonado disappeared and declined any contact with Brown or his parents, all of whom testified in court that they had tried numerous times to reach out to help her, despite her claims to the contrary.

Maldonado had battled her ex-common law husband, Joshua Thompson, in court since their divorce in 2006, which was filed by Thompson as the petitioner. Since that time, the two have fought over custody and child support too many times to count.

In 2008, she reconnected with Dusten Brown though she had stayed with him off and on since her separation from Thompson, according to former friends. Although she was working, Maldonado was behind on her mortgage and other bills; she had been through yet another expensive, bruising legal battle with her ex, and she had been ordered to pay him $252 a month in child support and 63 percent of their children’s medical expenses.

Brown, who had known Maldonado since they were both in high school, offered to help her get out of debt. In an interview last March, Brown told Indian Country Today Media Network that he knew she was stressed about money and said that he had saved about $7,500 and had offered to give all of it to her to pull out of her financial downward spiral. But she refused.

“She told me she ‘had a plan,’” he said at the time. “But I didn’t know that the plan was to put Veronica up for adoption. I offered to give her everything I had, but she didn’t want it.”

Later, in 2009, friends noticed that the old Honda Civic that Maldonado had been driving courtesy of a family member who was making her car payments for her, was suddenly traded in for a large SUV that she began driving around Bartlesville. Additionally, she had mysteriously regained her financial equilibrium and was able to get caught up on her mortgage.

“Christy Maldonado is a piece of work,” said one insider. “Dusten’s life in the military requires a lot of responsibility and time away from families and it comes with a lot of strings. She couldn’t handle that and took it personally, like he was blowing her off. But he was working and she didn’t like the demands of his job. So when she got pregnant, she had no intention of keeping the baby because the reality is that she didn’t want to pay more child support and fight over another kid. And he blindly believed that she would never do something like this. But the irony is that here she is fighting over another kid and would rather seem him go to jail than have custody of Veronica.”

In court testimony, Matt Capobianco admitted on the stand in South Carolina that he and his wife had given Maldonado money, which accounts for the record time in which Maldonado pulled out of her financial chaos. Under Oklahoma law, however, there is a copy,000 limit to what birth mothers can be paid. Any more than that requires court approval, according to an Oklahoma adoption attorney. Those in the adoption industry say the state limit is often ignored when a desperate couple is seeking the assistance and cooperation of a birth mother who may be in financial straights.

The Capobiancos also testified that they paid for Maldonado’s attorney fees and bought Christmas gifts for her and her two other children in 2009, as well as covering her airfare and expenses to travel to and from court hearings in South Carolina for trial. On the stand, Melanie Capobianco said that she and her husband had spent between “$30,000 to $40,000” for Veronica’s adoption. But those expenses are now two years out of date, though no formal audit has ever taken place regarding the expenditures and receivables on either side. It is widely acknowledged, however, that the appellate and Supreme Court practitioners and their staffs worked pro bono for both parties in Adoptive Couple.

Additionally, it is unclear whether Maldonado claimed any of the funds or gifts she received from the Capobiancos or any of their supporters in the last four years as income, which may be taxable under IRS laws.

Last month, Maldonado, with a group of nine other women, filed a federal lawsuit in South Carolina seeking to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act because of its “race-based” placement preferences. The litigation could have profound negative outcomes for Indian tribes across the country, including the Osage, from whom Maldonado has also benefited as an employee.

Officials for the Osage Nation of Oklahoma could not be reached for comment regarding Ms. Maldonado’s extracurricular activities in filing anti-Indian litigation with far-reaching consequences.

For Maldonado, however, there is one bright spot.

McGill, in her midnight chat with Brown’s supporters on Facebook, helpfully pointed out the she is working pro bono on Maldonado’s behalf.



Old lumber store gives arts group a home in Marysville

Arts organization now has long-sought-after Marysville center

Sean Ryan / The HeraldScott Randall, a board member for the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts says a former lumber store has the space the foundation needs for its programs in Marysville.
Sean Ryan / The Herald
Scott Randall, a board member for the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts says a former lumber store has the space the foundation needs for its programs in Marysville.

By Gale Fiege, The Herald

MARYSVILLE — Where lumber once was stacked, the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts hopes someday to store its theater sets.

The nonprofit foundation has a lease-purchase agreement with the owners of Dunn Lumber Co. for the company’s 10,000-square-foot commercial building at 1410 Grove St.

The Marysville-based arts education organization plans to transform the $1 million space into a hub for the performing arts, as well as provide room for fine art shows, classrooms, meetings and community gatherings.

Red Curtain, founded in 2009, hasn’t had a place to run its programs in Marysville. For example, most if its plays and the Hometown Hootenanny music series have been staged at the Historic Everett Theatre in downtown Everett.

“It’s always been our goal to serve the greater Marysville community and north Snohomish County,” said Scott Randall, a Red Curtain board member. “This is a project we will do in phases as we raise the money, but we already plan to present a Christmas play in the new space in December.”

The old lumber sales building has a lot going for it, Randall said. It has plenty of room for a box office, a lobby, a script lending library, a stage that can be re-configured within the space and a large backstage “green room.” The former loading dock could be transformed into a covered deck for outdoor concerts, and outdoor theater is possible in back of the building, Randall said.

Marysville is coming into its own with a cultural shift that includes on emphasis on the arts, he said.

“We’re not just about the Strawberry Festival anymore,” Randall said. “The Marysville Arts Coalition, the school district, the YMCA, the library and the Tulalip Tribes have made big strides.”

Jodi Hiatt, vice president of the Arts Coalition agrees.

“We are hearing a great response to the plans that Red Curtain has for the Dunn Lumber building,” she said. “People who appreciate the arts have always been here, but there haven’t always been many opportunities. The Arts Coalition looks forward to teaming up with Red Curtain, beginning with our November art show. Red Curtain will close the show with a free stage play.”

Next up for the Red Curtain board is the start of a fundraising and promotional campaign, Randall said.

“There is much work to be done and community support will be vital in this undertaking,” he said. “The best way to get something done is to just do it.”

Volunteers sought

For more information and to volunteer to help, go to or contact Randall at or 425-501-7604.

Undercover agents infiltrated tar sands resistance camp to break up planned protest

According to documents obtained by Earth Island Journal, investigators from the Bryan CountySherriff’s Department had been spying on a Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance training campthat took place from March 18 to March 22 and which brought together local landowners,Indigenous communities, and environmental groups opposed to the pipeline. Photo: Photos by Laura Borealis/Tar Sand Blockade
According to documents obtained by Earth Island Journal, investigators from the Bryan County
Sherriff’s Department had been spying on a Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance training camp
that took place from March 18 to March 22 and which brought together local landowners,
Indigenous communities, and environmental groups opposed to the pipeline. Photo: Photos by Laura Borealis/Tar Sand Blockade

By Adan Federman, Earth Island Journal

After a week of careful planning, environmentalists attending a tar sands resistance action camp in Oklahoma thought they had the element of surprise — but they would soon learn that their moves were being closely watched by law enforcement officials and TransCanada, the very company they were targeting.

On the morning of March 22 activists had planned to block the gates at the company’s strategic oil reserves in Cushing, Oklahoma as part of the larger protest movement against TransCanada’s tar sands pipeline. But when they showed up in the early morning hours and began unloading equipment from their vehicles they were confronted by police officers. Stefan Warner, an organizer with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, says some of the vehicles en route to the protest site were pulled over even before they had reached Cushing. He estimates that roughly 50 people would have participated— either risking arrest or providing support. The act of nonviolent civil disobedience, weeks in the planning, was called off.

“For a small sleepy Oklahoma town to be saturated with police officers on a pre-dawn weekday leaves only one reasonable conclusion,” says Ron Seifert, an organizer with an affiliated group called Tar Sands Blockade. “They were there on purpose, expecting something to happen.”

Seifert is exactly right. According to documents obtained by Earth Island Journal, investigators from the Bryan County Sherriff’s Department had been spying on a Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance training camp that took place from March 18 to March 22 and which brought together local landowners, Indigenous communities, and environmental groups opposed to the pipeline.

An excerpt from an official report on the “Undercover Investigation into the GPTSR Training Camp” indicates that at least two law
enforcement officers from the Bryan County Sherriff’s Department infiltrated the training camp and drafted a detailed report about
the upcoming protest, internal strategy, and the character of the protesters themselves.

At least two law enforcement officers infiltrated the training camp and drafted a detailed report about the upcoming protest, internal strategy, and the character of the protesters themselves. The undercover investigator who wrote the report put the tar sands opponents into five different groups: eco-activists (who “truly wanted to live off the grid”); Occupy members; Native American activists (“who blamed all forms of government for the poor state of being that most American Indians are living in”); Anarchists (“many wore upside down American flags”); and locals from Oklahoma (who “had concerns about the pipeline harming the community”).

The undercover agent’s report was obtained by Douglas Parr, an Oklahoma attorney who represented three activists (all lifelong Oklahomans) who were arrested in mid April for blockading a tar sands pipeline construction site. “During the discovery in the Bryan county cases we received material indicating that there had been infiltration of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance camp by police agents,” Parr says. At least one of the undercover investigators attended an “action planning” meeting during which everyone was asked to put their cell phones or other electronic devices into a green bucket for security reasons. The investigator goes on to explain that he was able to obtain sensitive information regarding the location of the upcoming Cushing protest, which would mark the culmination of the week of training. “This investigator was able to obtain an approximate location based off a question that he asked to the person in charge of media,” he wrote. He then wryly notes that, “It did not appear…that our phones had been tampered with.”

(The memo also states that organizers at the meeting went to great lengths not to give police any cause to disrupt the gathering. The investigator writes: “We were repeatedly told this was a substance free camp. No drug or alcohol use would be permitted on the premises and always ask permission before touching anyone. Investigators were told that we did not need to give the police any reason to enter the camp.” They were also given a pamphlet that instructed any agent of TransCanada, the FBI, or other law enforcement agency to immediately notify the event organizers.)

The infiltration of the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance action camp and pre-emption of the Cushing protest is part of a larger pattern of government surveillance of tar sands protesters. According to other documents obtained by Earth Island Journal under an Open Records Act request, Department of Homeland Security staff has been keeping close tabs on pipeline opponents — and routinely sharing that information with TransCanada, and vice versa.

In March TransCanada gave a briefing on corporate security to a Criminal Intelligence Analyst with the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center, the state level branch of Homeland Security. The conversation took place just as the action camp was getting underway. The following day, Diane Hogue, the Center’s Intelligence Analyst, asked TransCanada to review and comment on the agency’s classified situational awareness bulletin. Michael Nagina, Corporate Security Advisor for TransCanada, made two small suggestions and wrote, “With the above changes I am comfortable with the content.”

Then, in an email to TransCanada on March 19 (the second day of the action camp) Hogue seems to refer to the undercover investigation taking place. “Our folks in the area say there are between 120-150 participants,” Hogue wrote in an email to Nagina. (The Oklahoma Information Fusion Center declined to comment for this story.)

It is unclear if the information gathered at the training camp was shared directly with TransCanada. However, the company was given access to the Fusion Center’s situational awareness bulletin just a few days before the Cushing action was scheduled to take place.

In an emailed statement, TransCanada spokesperson Shawn Howard did not directly address the Tar Sands Resistance training camp. Howard described law enforcement as being interested in what the company has done to prepare for activities designed to “slow approval or construction” of the pipeline project. “When we are asked to share what we have learned or are prepared for, we are there to share our experience – not direct law enforcement,” he wrote.

The evidence of heightened cooperation between TransCanada and law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma and Texas comes just over a month after it was revealed that the company had given a PowerPoint presentation on corporate security to the FBI and law enforcement officials in Nebraska. TransCanada also held an “interactive session” with law enforcement in Oklahoma City about the company’s security strategy in early 2012. In their PowerPoint presentation, TransCanada employees suggested that district attorneys should explore “state or federal anti-terrorism laws” in prosecuting activists. They also included profiles of key organizers and a list of activists previously arrested for acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in Texas and Oklahoma. In addition to TransCanada’s presentation, a representative of Nebraska’s Homeland Security Fusion Center briefed attendees on an “intelligence sharing role/plan relevant to the pipeline project.” This is likely related to the Homeland Security Information Sharing Network, which provides public and private sector partners as well as law enforcement access to sensitive information.

The earlier cache of documents, first released to the press by Bold Nebraska, an environmental organization opposed to the pipeline, shows that TransCanada has established close ties with state and federal law enforcement agencies along the proposed pipeline route. For example, in an exchange with FBI agents in South Dakota, TransCanada’s Corporate Security Advisor, Michael Nagina, jokes that, “I can be the cure for insomnia so sure hope you can still attend!” Although they were unable to make the Nebraska meeting, one of the agents responded, “Assuming approval of the pipeline, we would like to get together to discuss a timeline for installation through our territory.”

The new documents also provide an interesting glimpse into the revolving door between state law enforcement agencies and the private sector, especially in areas where fracking and pipeline construction have become big business. One of the individuals providing information to the Texas Department of Homeland Security’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division is currently the Security Manager at Anadarko Petroleum, one of the world’s largest independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies. In 2011, at a natural gas industry stakeholder relations conference, a spokesperson for Anadarko compared the anti-drilling movement to an “insurgency” and suggested that attendees download the US Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual.

LC Wilson, the Anadarko Security Manager shown by the documents to be providing information to the Texas Fusion Center, is more than just a friend of law enforcement. From 2009 to 2011 he served as Regional Commander of the Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees law enforcement statewide. Wilson began his career with the Department of Public Safety in 1979 and was named a Texas Ranger — an elite law enforcement unit — in 1988, eventually working his way up to Assistant Chief. Such connections would be of great value to a corporation like Anadarko, which has invested heavily in security operations.

In an email to Litto Paul Bacas, a Critical Infrastructure Planner (and former intelligence analyst) with Texas Homeland Security, Wilson, using his Anadarko address, writes, “we find no intel specific for Texas. There is active recruitment for directed action to take place in Oklahoma as per article. I will forward any intel we come across on our end, especially if it concerns Texas.” The article he was referring to was written by a member of Occupy Denver calling on all “occupiers and occupy networks” to attend the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance training camp.

Wilson is not the only former law enforcement official on Anadarko’s security team; Jeffrey Sweetin, the company’s Regional Security Manager, was a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration for more than 20 years heading up its Rocky Mountain division. At Anadarko, according to Sweetin’s profile on Linkedin, his responsibilities include “security program development” and “law enforcement liaison.”

Other large oil and gas companies have recruited local law enforcement to fill high-level security positions. In 2010, long-time Bradford County Sheriff Steve Evans resigned to take a position as senior security officer for Chesapeake Energy in Pennsylvania. Evans was one of a handful of gas industry security directors to receive intelligence bulletins compiled by a private security firm and distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security. Bradford County happens to be ground zero for natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, with more active wells than any other county in the state. In addition to Evans, several deputies of the Bradford County Sheriff’s office have worked for Chesapeake — through a private contractor, TriCorps Security — as “off-duty” security personnel. TransCanada has also come to rely on off duty police officers to patrol construction sites and protest camps, raising questions about whose interests the sworn officers are serving.

Of course for corporations like TransCanada and Anadarko having law enforcement on their side (or in their pocket) is more than just a good business move. It gives them access to classified information and valuable intelligence — essential weapons in any counterinsurgency campaign.

Redskins Killers: 5 Publications That Won’t Use ‘Redskins’ Name

Source: ICTMN

Last week there was a wave (albeit a small one) of renowned publications to declare they will henceforth no longer run the pejorative ‘Redskins’ whenever they cover anything related to the Washington team – though Mother Jones did state they reserve the right to resurrect the racist epithet if it’s in a quote. Indian Country Today Media Network will provide updates as other publications join the no-more-Redskins chorus.

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy


Editor David Plotz wrote in an editorial August 8 that Slate will no longer run ‘Redskins’ in prose and decried the name as “dated.” Plotz wrote: “So while the name Redskins is only a bit offensive, it’s extremely tacky and dated—like an old aunt who still talks about ‘colored people’ or limps her wrist to suggest someone’s gay.”

Photo courtesy
Photo courtesy

One day after Slate’s announcement to henceforth purge the Redskins name from their magazine, Mother Jones followed suit and declared the name “an absolute embarrassment.” Though Mother Jones journalist Ian Gordon did state that should they cover Redskins owner Dan Snyder, they may have to resurrect the name again: “There is a chance, however, that the term will end up back on our pages,” he wrote. “We certainly won’t strike it from a quote. And if we end up writing a post or two about how Snyder still hasn’t changed the name, despite increasing scrutiny, we reserve the right to use it again—if only to highlight how incredibly out-of-touch and backward the Washington football team’s owner truly is.”

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These days it’s not uncommon for announcements to come via tweet. Editor of The New Republic Franklin Foer, in admiration of Slate Editor David Plotz’s position against using the Redskins name, tweeted August 8 that The New Republic, likewise, will cease all uses of the name and that they will make it official by changing their publication’s stylebook.

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In early October 2012, the Washington City Paper provided their readers an opportunity to rename the Washington Redskins so as to avoid using the “racist nickname.” Their readers finally voted on a new name: “the Washington Pigskins.”

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In response to a reader who declared it a trivial policy for the Kansas City Star not to run ‘Redskins’ in their paper, Public Editor Derek Donovan reiterated the Star’s long-held policy with a blistering public response: “… I see no compelling reason for any publisher to reprint an egregiously offensive term as a casual matter of course.”



Skateboards?! We’re busy carving totem poles

Tulalip artists tap into the world of skateboard art

Skate decks and trucker hats, by Tulalip tribal member Ty Juvinel.
Photo/Kim Kalliber

By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News

Growing up on the Tulalip Reservation in the 70s, skateboarding wasn’t a thing. Of course there wasn’t a lot of cement around the rez in those days either. But that time is changing and Native Americans are taking the skateboarding world by storm, with sleek designs and styles that reflect their Native culture.

As a kid, my mother, Tulalip tribal member Sherrill Guydelkon (Williams), made a daily trek in her old VW bug to Bellingham, where she attended college. My brother and I would happily tag along when we could to skate the campus, making use of any small inclines and stairwells that got in our path.

Tracy Nelson, La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians. Founder of Full Blood Skates, 2008.
Exhibit photo of Tracy Nelson, La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians. Founder of Full Blood Skates, 2008.
Photo/Kim Kalliber

As a teen in the 80s I moved to the city and discovered the world of skateboarders. It was the punk scene, and man was it cool. We wore leather jackets, had colored hair, we listened to bands like Circle Jerks and Bad Brains and skateboards were the mode of transportation. Skaters kept to empty lots and were continuously kicked off city streets. I remember a slew of ‘No Skateboarding Allowed’ signs posted around businesses and sidewalks – followed by a storm of ‘Skateboarding Is Not A Crime’ stickers. Remember those?

I am now in my 40s and my boyfriend and I still have a decent collection of skateboards. One of my best friends has an entire wall in his very “grown-up” house dedicated to skateboards. Skateboarding’s not just a fad, it’s a way of life, something you never outgrow. No longer strictly associated with rebellious youth and kept to empty swimming pools and vacant lots, it’s a mainstream sport, with skate parks sprouting up across the nation.

When you think of skateboarding, it’s not just a board with wheels; it embraces a wide style of art, design, fashion and music. And skaters should be taken seriously. You don’t just pick up a board one day and begin gliding jumps and riding rails. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of devotion. Skateboarding is an art form, a lifestyle and a sport.

Most people are aware that in the 60s skateboarding became huge in California, where boards were used as something to keep surfers moving during down times and flat waters, but what they don’t know is that skateboarding has a history with Indigenous peoples as well. Early skating can be traced to Native Hawaiian surfers, and to this day, Native Americans turn to skateboarding, not only to keep youth engaged in sports and stay fit, but as a means to convey their cultural identity.

The Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center is celebrating this identity with a temporary exhibit. Ramp It Up: Skateboard Culture in Native America, organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, highlights the exciting world of Native American skateboarding.

The exhibit, on display through October 13th 2013, features vintage and contemporary skate decks, art and photos. You can also view rare video footage of skaters, including James & Richard Tavarez of the famed Zephyr surf team, which led to the Dogtown Z-Boys skate team, and the 4 Wheel Warpony team at the All Nations Skate Competition.

Pretoglyph of a surfer, Halulu Heiau Lana'i, Hawaii, ca. 1921. Experts believe this is one of the earliest depictions of a surfer.
Exhibit photo of a man on a pap holua, Hawaii, 1937. Hawaiians also “surfed” on land using long, narrow papa holua, or sled, made from two wooden runners held together by woven matting or crossbars.
Photo/Kim Kalliber

But it’s the stories that accompany these classic images that really get the blood pumping – you can practically hear the grinding of wheels. From early Hawaiians that “surfed” the land on longboards, to kids in the 80s, skating in their basements and backyard ramps on reservations across the U.S., to modern day concrete warriors, skating and filming in national competitions and operating their own design companies.

Local artist Louie Gong, a Nooksack tribal member, known for his bold designs on shoes and skateboards was in attendance at the exhibit’s opening reception on August 9th, showing his 2010 handmade Dog Deck. Louie uses a utilitarian style, utilizing resources found in the environment to create things that are useful in everyday life, as an art form and educational tool.

“Every design has a story behind it and represents values and personal style. And with every piece, I think, how am I going to use this as a teaching tool?” explained Gong. Keeping this in consideration, Gong created the Dog Deck, which is a rez dog design. “I started thinking about what it means to grow up in a tribal community, and I remembered the rez dogs. These dogs roam around in packs and usually don’t have one particular owner, yet they survive. Generally we think of them in a negative light, but when I really reflected on the rez dogs in my community, after I was an adult, the characteristics they exhibited are actually positive. I try to show kids that rez dogs are cool; they’re resilient. And if it wasn’t for the fact that some of our ancestors displayed that same positive resilience, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to stand here in this room and talk about these things and express our self-determination.”

Tulalip tribal member James Madison, one of eight tribal member artists who contributed to the exhibit, explained what it means for these traditional Coast Salish artists to step outside of their routine and join the ranks of graffiti artists. When Mytyl Hernandez, Marketing, and Tessa Campbell, Curator, from Hibulb, approached the Tulalip team of artists and asked them to design skateboards, James recalls his initial reaction was, “Skateboards?! We’re busy carving totem poles.” But recognizing the value in this work, not just as a means to reach out to native youth, but to show that Tulalip artists continue to evolve and move forward

Artists James Madison, Tulalip, (left) and Louie Gong, Nooksack.
Artists James Madison, Tulalip, (left) and Louie Gong, Nooksack.
Photo/Kim Kalliber

in their craft, they dove right in, creating 10 decks, a handful of trucker hats and a mammoth graffiti wall.

“The artwork that we do, we put our stories in them and we teach our kids, and show who we are as people,” said Madison. “We can go anywhere and people know who Tulalip is; they know because of our art and they know because of our culture.”

Tulalip artists involved in the exhibit are Steve Madison, James Madison, Joe Gobin, Mike Gobin, Mitch Matta, Trudy Particio, Doug Seneca and Ty Juvinel.  And who would have thought that these traditional Native artists would be rattle canning stencils and tagging skulls on graffiti walls? Skating really does bring out the cool kid in everyone.

For more information on the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center, visit


Native boards on display at the exhibit. Left to right: Spirit Feather, by Traci Rabbit, Cherokee Nation, for Native Skates, 2008. Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer, by Joe Yazzie, Navajo, for Native Skates, 2008. Legacy, by Bunky Echo-Hawk, Yakama/Pawnee for Native Skates 2007.
Photo/Kim Kalliber



Graffiti wall created by Tulalip tribal artists.
Graffiti wall created by Tulalip tribal artists.
Photo/Kim Kalliber

Indian Fry Bread Recipe

Indian-Fry-Bread-300x200Indian Fry Bread

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add warm water in small amounts and knead dough until soft but not sticky. Adjust flour or water as needed. Cover bowl and let stand about 15 minutes.

Pull off large egg-sized balls of dough and roll out into fairly thin rounds. Fry rounds in hot oil until bubbles appear on the dough, turn over and fry on the other side until golden.

Serve hot. Try brushing on honey, or making into an Indian Taco.

Buttermilk Fry Bread

Substitute buttermilk for water. Follow the same recipe.

In the way of progress: Indians and their sacred grounds

By Jay Taber, Intercontinental Cry

Collusion between the U.S. Government and Wall Street to deprive Native Americans of their treaty-guaranteed property goes back to the beginning of the country. Over two and a half centuries, that collusion has comprised both brutal coercion and devious subterfuge, ethnic cleansing coinciding with kidnapping and religious persecution.

While alienating indigenous property in the past entails many broken promises and treaties between the United States and American Indian tribes, the failure to prosecute corporate criminality on Indian reservations in the present is a symptom of the demise of the rule of law in the US that undermines the U.S. Constitution and protections that guard against corporate corruption of governance at all levels. As indigenous governments in the United States assert jurisdiction over their resources under national and international law, the corrupting influence of Wall Street threatens not only Indians and their sacred grounds, but democracy itself.

As Jewell Praying Wolf James writes in his August 2013 special supplement to Whatcom Watch, The Search for Integrity in the Conflict Over Cherry Point as a Coal Export Terminal, the Lummi Indian Tribe ancient village and burial ground at Cherry Point is in the way of progress. As such, Pacific International Terminals, its financial backer Goldman Sachs, and Edelman — the world’s biggest public relations firm — have their work cut out for them.

Having recently settled a $1.6 million lawsuit for illegally and intentionally bulldozing the ancient Cherry Point Lummi village of Xwe’chi’eXen — the first archaeological site placed on the Washington State Register of Historic Places — Pacific International Terminals is actively seeking to corrupt local and tribal elections, as well as influence members of Congress. While PIT — one of the largest marine operators in the world — was able to avoid criminal prosecution for desecrating sacred Lummi grounds, it isn’t leaving anything to chance when it comes to securing approval for its project on Lummi Reservation lands previously stolen by U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs agents on behalf of illegal white settlers.

History, as they say, has a way of repeating itself.

4 Decades on, US starts cleanup of Agent Orange in Vietnam

Against the backdrop of a field contaminated by Agent Orange in Da Nang, Vietnamese military officers attended a ceremony on Thursday to mark the United States’ first big cleanup of war chemicals in Vietnam. Photo: Maika Elan/AP

By Thomas Fuller, NY Times

Forty years after the United States stopped spraying herbicides in the jungles of Southeast Asia in the hopes of denying cover to Vietcong fighters and North Vietnamese troops, an air base here is one of about two dozen former American sites that remain polluted with an especially toxic strain of dioxin, the chemical contaminant in Agent Orange that has been linked to cancers, birth defects and other diseases.

On Thursday, after years of rebuffing Vietnamese requests for assistance in a cleanup, the United States inaugurated its first major effort to address the environmental effects of the long war.

“This morning we celebrate a milestone in our bilateral relationship,” David B. Shear, the American ambassador to Vietnam, said at a ceremony attended by senior officers of the Vietnamese military. “We’re cleaning up this mess.”

The program, which is expected to cost $43 million and take four years, was officially welcomed with smiles and handshakes at the ceremony. But bitterness remains here. Agent Orange is mentioned often in the news media, and victims are commemorated annually on Aug. 10, the day in 1961 when American forces first tested spraying it in Vietnam. The government objected to Olympics sponsorship this year by Dow Chemical, a leading producer of Agent Orange during the war. Many here have not hesitated to call the American program too little — it addresses only the one site — and very late.


“It’s a big step,” said Ngo Quang Xuan, a former Vietnamese ambassador to the United Nations. “But in the eyes of those who suffered the consequences, it’s not enough.”

Over a decade of war, the United States sprayed about 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, halting only after scientists commissioned by the Agriculture Department issued a report expressing concerns that dioxin showed “a significant potential to increase birth defects.” By the time the spraying stopped, Agent Orange and other herbicides had destroyed 2 million hectares, or 5.5 million acres, of forest and cropland, an area roughly the size of New Jersey.

Nguyen Van Rinh, a retired lieutenant general who is now the chairman of the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin, has vivid memories of hearing American aircraft above the jungles of southern Vietnam and seeing Agent Orange raining down in sheets on him and his troops. Plants and animals exposed to the defoliant were dead within days. Many of his troops later suffered illnesses that he suspects were linked to the repeated exposure to Agent Orange, used in concentrations 20 to 55 times that of normal agricultural use.

“I would like to have one message sent to the American people,” Mr. Rinh said in his office, where a large bust of Ho Chi Minh, the wartime leader and icon, stared down from a shelf behind his desk. “The plight of Agent Orange victims continues. I think the relationship would rise up to new heights if the American government took responsibility and helped their victims and address the consequences.”

Those who have worked on the issue say the American government has been slow to address the issue in part because of concerns about liability. It took years for American soldiers who sprayed the chemicals to secure settlements from the chemical companies that produced them. The United States government, which also lagged in acknowledging the problem, has spent billions of dollars on disability payments and health care for American soldiers who came into contact with Agent Orange.

Mr. Shear, the American ambassador, sidestepped a reporter’s question after the ceremony about whether the United States would take responsibility for the environmental and health effects of Agent Orange.

“There is a disconnect between what America has done for its soldiers and what America has done for Vietnam,” said Charles Bailey, the director of the Agent Orange in Vietnam Program, an effort by the Aspen Institute, a nongovernmental organization based in Washington, to reach common ground between the United States and Vietnam on the issue. “I’m sometimes glad I’m not a U.S. diplomat in trying to square that circle.”

A class-action case against chemical companies filed in the United States on behalf of millions of Vietnamese was dismissed in 2005 on the grounds that supplying the defoliant did not amount to a war crime and that the Vietnamese plaintiffs had not established a clear causal effect between exposure to Agent Orange and their health problems. The United States government is rolling out a modest $11.4 million program to help people with disabilities in Vietnam, but it is not explicitly linked to Agent Orange. The oft-repeated American formulation is “assistance regardless of cause.”

When environmental factors are linked to disease, proof positive is sometimes hard to determine. American military studies have outlined connections between Agent Orange and myriad ailments, while Dow Chemical maintains that the “very substantial body of human evidence on Agent Orange establishes that veterans’ illnesses are not caused by Agent Orange.”

In Vietnam, there are many cases in which links to Agent Orange appear striking.

Nguyen Van Dung, 42, moved to Da Nang in 1996 with his wife and newborn daughter and worked at the former American base, wading through the knee-deep mud of drainage ditches and dredging them with a shovel. During the first 10 years, he, like other employees, harvested fish and eels from the large ponds and canals on the air base grounds, taking them home almost daily. Studies later showed high concentrations of dioxin in the fat tissue and organs of the fish.

The couple’s first daughter is now at the top of her class, but their second child, also a girl, was born in 2000 with a rare blood disease. She died at 7.

Their son Tu was born in 2008, and he was quickly found to have the same blood condition. With regular transfusions, he has defied his doctor’s prediction that he would not live past 3, but he is nearly blind, with bulging eyes that roll wildly, and he speaks in high-pitched tones that only his parents can understand. His chest cavity is so weak that he cannot breathe if he lies on his stomach.

What caused the birth defects, and who is to blame? Detailed medical tests are out of the question for Tu’s parents, whose combined monthly income is the equivalent of $350, much of which goes to medical care.

But Luu Thi Thu, the boy’s mother, does not hesitate to assign blame.

“If there hadn’t been a war and Americans hadn’t sprayed dioxin and chemicals into this area, we wouldn’t be suffering these consequences,” she said.

“What happened to my son is already done, and nothing can change that,” she said. “The American and Vietnamese governments need to clean up the Da Nang airport so that the next generation will not be affected.”

Le Ke Son, a doctor and the most senior Vietnamese official responsible for the government’s programs related to Agent Orange and other chemicals used during the war, said the debates should take a back seat to aid. “We spend a lot of time arguing about the reason why people are disabled,” he said. “One way or another they are victims and suffered from the legacy of the war. We should do something for them.”