Scientists Discuss Long-Awaited Scientific Volume On ‘Kennewick Man’ Skeleton

By: Anna King, NW News Network


A skeleton that’s about 9,000 years old is giving up a few of his secrets today. Monday, scientists who have a new book about the ancient remains found near Kennewick 18 years ago spoke to the press.

A new book about Kennewick Man is due to hit bookstands in mid-September.
Credit Texas A&M University Press


The volume titled, “Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton,” is due to hit bookstands in mid-September.

Kennewick Man was found resting in the shallow water of the Columbia River 18 years ago. His early story was that of some strife. A rock-point is buried in the bone of his hip.

The Northwest tribes that want to rebury the ancient remains, and the scientists that want to study him fought for years in court. This new book reveals the studies that were ultimately allowed by federal court.

The book explains that Kennewick Man was likely a coastal sea hunter from the far north. And he hadn’t been in Washington’s desert too long.

“He lived most of his life in coastal locations, north of the state of Washington,” said Doug Owsley, the book’s co-editor. “And in keeping with these findings you know if you look at Kennewick Man’s dental wear its reminiscent of working hides, and similar to really wear that we see in early Eskimo skeletons.”

Owsley says there’s still one question he’s dying to answer: What kind of rock is the stone point made from that’s buried in K-man’s hip? That would give clues to his routes across the North American landscape.

Campaign To Get Sherman Alexie Book To Idaho Students Tops Goal

File photo of Sherman Alexie's "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian."Kraemer Family Library Flickr
File photo of Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”
Kraemer Family Library Flickr


By Jessica Robinson, NW News Network

Two women in Washington have raised enough money to send 350 copies of a controversial book by Sherman Alexie to students in Meridian, Idaho.

It’s a reaction to the Meridian school board’s decision to suspend use of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” Parents complained about profanity and sexual content in the novel.

University of Washington student Sara Baker and a friend in Spokane set up an online campaign to buy and distribute the book to Meridian students with the help of a local teacher. Baker says they received more than $3,000 from Idaho, Washington and at least 15 other states.

“I’ve heard from students that said they read the book and really loved it,” says Baker. “I’ve had English teachers tell me that they teach it in their curriculum and it engages students that hate to read. And then just general fans of the book that can’t believe the people who want to ban it even read the same book.”

The superintendent of the Meridian school district says a committee of teachers, administrators and parents is reviewing the high school reading list and may decide to retain “Part-Time Indian” next fall.

The 2007 young adult novel is inspired in part by Alexie’s own experience growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. The book often requires parental consent to read and is frequently targeted for removal. Earlier this winter, the school district in Sweet Home, Ore., considered pulling it from the classroom after parents complained, but the district ultimately kept the book.

In Idaho, the attention generated by the controversy has given Alexie a bump in local libraries and bookstores. There are more than 60 holds on “Part-Time Indian” at the Boise Public Library.

Bypassing ban on Sherman Alexie book: Buying it for Idaho students

Sherman Alexie:  Drive is on to supply copies of his young adult novel to students in Idaho school district which banned it from the curriculum. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Photo by Mike Urban)
Sherman Alexie: Drive is on to supply copies of his young adult novel to students in Idaho school district which banned it from the curriculum. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Photo by Mike Urban)

Source: Seattle P.I. Blog

Two young Washington state women are launching an effort to get copies of Sherman Alexie’s young adult novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian,” into the hands of teenagers in an Idaho school district that banned the book from its high school curriculum.

They are partnering with a teacher at Centennial High School in Meridian, Idaho; the school librarian; and a student who spoke up in defense of Alexie’s novel.  The semi-autobiographical novel tells of a 14-year-old Native American boy’s experience in an almost all-white high school.

The Meridian School Board voted 2-1 to exclude the book after parents objected to use of cuss words and references in the book to masturbation.

“The book is by a local author, it takes place partly in Idaho, deals with bullying and racial issues, it is fitting.  We were encouraged to see teachers speak out, and 350 students sign a petition, so . . . if they can’t have the book in their curriculum, let students read it on their free time.  Let’s give ‘em the book,” said Sara Baker, a University of Washington student.

She and friend Jennifer Lott of Spokane hope to pull off their book-buying plan in time for the Alexie books to be distributed on April 23, World Book Night.

“So far, between donated copies and donated dollars, we have about 25 books collected,” said Baker.  “Our goal is 100 but, ideally, we would like to have a copy for each of the 350 students who signed the petition.”

Baker and Lott are working with Stacy Lacy, a teacher who spoke out against the ban, and Brady Kissel, a student who presented 350 student signatures asking that “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” stay in the curriculum.

“It doesn’t seem like such a huge issue but censorship is something I’m very passionate about,” Kissel said in an email.

Those who wish to bypass the ban can send copies of Alexie’s book to Stacy Lacy, 12400 W. McMillan Road, Boise, ID 83713.

Or, if they wish to donate dollars to purchase the book, go to

Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation and later went to largely white schools.  The 14-year-old lead character in “Diary,” a native boy named Arnold Spirit, shares many of Alexie’s own experiences as a young boy.

The novel won a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and also captured the American Library Association’s 2009 Odyssey Award for the best new audio book for children and young adults.  It received glowing praise in The New York Times Book Review.

Alexie now lives in Seattle.  He has written fiction and non-fiction as well as screenplays.

Book Tour and Performances, “A Totem Pole History: The Work of Lummi Carver Joe Hillaire”

9780803240971_p0_v2_s260x420“A TOTEM POLE HISTORY:

By Pauline Hillaire Edited by Gregory P. Fields

(University of Nebraska Press, December 2013)

Recent National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Honoree, Pauline Hillaire, Scälla–Of the Killer Whale, tradition-bearer for the Lummi People, has compiled a book about her father Joe Hillaire and Coast Salish traditions titled “A Totem Pole History: The Work of Lummi Carver Joe Hillaire”. Joseph Hillaire is recognized as one of the great Coast Salish artists, carvers, and tradition-bearers of the early twentieth century. In “A Totem Pole History”, Scälla, who is herself a well-known Coast Salish cultural historian and conservator, tells the story of her father’s life and about the traditional and contemporary Lummi narratives that inf1uenced his work.

“A Totem Pole History” contains seventy-six photographs, including Joe’s most significant totem poles. Scälla conveys with great insight the stories, teachings, and history expressed by her father’s totem poles.

Eight contributors provide essays on Coast Salish art and carving, adding to the author’s portrayal of Joe’s philosophy of art in Salish life, particularly in the context of twentieth century intercultural relations.

This engaging volume provides an historical record to encourage Native artists and brings the work of a respected Salish carver to the attention of a broader audience.

The companion media, Coast Salish Totem Poles, includes:

● 2 CD’s featuring Pauline Hillaire telling traditional stories associated with totem poles and Joe Hillaire singing Lummi songs.
●A DVD that features Pauline showing viewers how to interpret the stories and history expressed in Joe’s totem poles.

Lummi Carver and Smithsonian 2012 Featured Artist for the Living Earth Festival, Felix Solomon and NW Coast Native artist and pigment specialist Melonie Ancheta along with Editor Gregory Fields will talk about Coast Salish art history and artistic traditions. Traditional Lummi dancers, Children of the Setting Sun will perform and members of Pauline Hillaire’s family will read from the book.

SCHEDULE: December 3-6, 2013

Books along with companion media will be available for sale at each venue.

Tues. December 3 3PM

The Evergreen State College 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW Seminar Bldg. 2, C 1105 Olympia, WA

Wed. Dec. 4 1PM

Duwamish Longhouse 4705 W. Marginal Way SW Seattle, WA

Wed. Dec. 4 7PM

Burke Museum
University of Washington 17 Ave NE and NE 45th St, Seattle, WA
The Burke Room

Thurs. Dec. 5 Noon

Suquamish Museum 6861 NE South Street Suquamish, WA

Thurs Dec. 5 7PM

Village Books 1200 11th Street

Bellingham, WA

Fri. Dec. 6 3PM

Western Washington University 516 High St.
Bellingham, WA
Wilson Library,

Reading Room, 4th floor

Fri. Dec 6 7PM

Whatcom Museum 250 Flora St. Bellingham WA Lightcatcher Museum Upstairs Studio

Hattie Kauffman’s new book resonates

nsn-hattiekauffman-202x300Source: Buffalo Post

A new book by Hattie Kauffman, the first Native American to do standup-reporting for a national television network, only briefly talks about how she rose through the ranks to beome on on-air correspondent for CBS and “Good Morning America.”

Instead, writes Tim Giago, publisher and editor emeritus of the Native Sun News in a book review also carried at, in “Falling into Place” Kauffman discusses a childhood and first marriage marred by alcohol, and a divorce that turned Kauffman toward christianity.
… (M)ostly her book is about the trials and tribulations of her childhood as an Indian torn between the Nez Perce Indian Reservation and cities like Seattle … where her parents, dyed-in-the-wool alcoholics, ranged back and forth dragging her and her six siblings along behind them.

But the thing that tore her world apart and brought her to near madness was the request for a divorce by her husband of 17 years, a request that apparently came out of the blue for her.

Giago writes that, until the divorce, this highly successful Native journalist “thought she’d left the ghosts of childhood behind her.”
Hattie writes about her first marriage as a teenager to a boy who grows up to be a wife-beater and an alcoholic. She writes that it is strange that daughters of alcoholics often grow up to marry alcoholics. In their dual roles as alcoholics Hattie remembers getting beaten so severely that she had to be admitted to a hospital. At least through a haze of drunken deliriums, she barely remembers. She eventually realizes that alcohol is a destroyer of lives and stops drinking.
Giago admits some Native Americans, including himself, may not empathize with Kauffman’s religious views.
Many have turned their backs on Christianity and found their own solace and happiness in their traditional spirituality, a spirituality that was torn from them and their ancestors by the missionaries preaching the Doctrine of Christianity.
But he still believes the book will resonate, in part because he says Kauffman remains “an unassuming Native woman who never turned her nose up at anyone even though she rose to the pinnacle of media success.”
   – Vince Devlin

Educational Book on Traditional Wild Rice Gathering Now Available

Fun Games and Activities for all ages.
Fun Games and Activities for all ages.

Source: Native News Network

ISABELLA INDIAN RESERVATION – The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe’s Environmental Department is pleased to announce the release of a book entitled, “Manoomini-miikaans –The Wild Rice Road.”

The informative book was created in a way that provides respect for natural resources, such as wild rice and a connection to Mother Earth through the Anishinaabe language.

The book is filled with fun games and activities for all ages and tells of two children on their way to an annual traditional rice camp on the Saginaw Bay.

Funding for the book came from the US Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Water Act, Section 106 and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Funding. The Tribe’s Environmental team collaborated with other departments such as Anishinaabe Language Revitalization, Tribal Observer Graphic Designer, students and teachers from the Saginaw Chippewa Academy and Ziibwing’s Center for cultural and language correctness.

“I’m very proud of our internal departments who came together to produce the book. Wild rice as always been one of our traditional foods and is making a big comeback to the Saganing Bay area with the help our Environmental Team,”

stated Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Chief Dennis Kequom, Sr.

The Tribe will be distributing 10,000 copies of the book to local schools as a supplement to language curriculums, as well as libraries, conservation groups and educational organizations. If you would like to request copies, please call the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe’s Environmental Department at 989.775.4014.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan is based on the Isabella Indian Reservation in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

To The Barricades! Echo-Hawk Says Justice for Natives at Tipping Point

light_of_justice_cover_echo-hawkKevin Taylor, ICTMN

With his distinctive round eyeglasses and long, gray braids, Walter Echo-Hawk looks rather more owlish than revolutionary.

But the longtime Pawnee speaker, author and lawyer who toils on the frontlines of federal Indian Law makes a strong argument that it is time to drive a stake into the legacy of colonialism in his new book, In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Fulcrum, 2013).

That stake could be the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Echo-Hawk sets out to examine and explain. Adopted by the United States in December 2010, it has yet to be integrated into law or policy. This provocative book, educational and inspiring for indigenous and “settler” alike, can show the way.

RELATED: Bringing UNDRIP to the People Is Next Step for Indigenous Rights: Chief

Echo-Hawk says he was motivated to write this volume as something of a hopeful counterpoint to his previous book, In the Courts of the Conqueror, which examined the worst cases in federal Indian law.

RELATED: In The Courts of the Conqueror: A Short Review

What jumps out at anyone studying mainstream attitudes toward this country’s Indigenous Peoples is the fact that what much of white America thinks of as a bygone era of treaty making, frontier warfare and taming the West is, to Indian people, current events. Life under the heel of historical oppression looks far different than the view of the boot wearer.

This difference in perspective goes deep to the bubbling heart of the notion of Melting Pot America, dividing white from brown, immigrant from Native. The confusion over Indian and Non-Indian relations becomes clear in this well-focused book when Echo-Hawk identifies a root cause that is often forgotten, or is not understood in the first place: colonial policies and their attendant settler mind-set.

It’s symptomatic of a severe disconnect, to say the least, that a nation founded upon principles of liberty and justice and freedom for all—one willing to shed blood in defense of these principles against oppressors, no less—could treat its original inhabitants with such astonishing injustice.

Echo-Hawk demonstrates how this dynamic plays out in America’s courtrooms, especially the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Marshall is one of the nation’s most revered jurists, yet it was Marshall who introduced the doctrine of conquest into federal Indian law in the 1823 decision Johnson v. M’Intosh, ruling that colonists owned any Indian lands “acquired and maintained by force.” Tribal people, he wrote, were “fierce savages, whose occupation was war,” and thus did not warrant international legal protections for countries under invasion.

RELATED: Walter Echo-Hawk on Supreme Court Failures

Doctrines of conquest and discovery used by European nations during 500 years of colonization, Echo-Hawk writes, allow governments to usurp indigenous land, property and rights without consent even today. Though Marshall later evolved his thinking, Echo-Hawk notes, the seeds planted in 1823 still exist. The Roberts Court, he writes, is one of the most hostile to Indian rights—the Baby Veronica ruling being the most recent example—and is actively eroding gains made in recent decades.

For every M’Intosh, Echo-Hawk says, there were other, more reasoned, decisions such as Worchester v. Georgia in 1832, in which the high court rejected conquest as an absurd legal fiction. But even as that ruling was being published, the federal and state governments were in the grip of the Indian Removal Movement, evicting Southern tribes from their homelands.

These “clothes of the conqueror,” as Echo-Hawk calls them, do not befit a democratic nation such as ours. He offers keen insight into the parallels between the long, painful African-American struggle for equality and the fight of tribal people to maintain their rights. The Civil Rights movement for many years used a counterintuitive tactic, known as the Margold Plan, to file a multitude of lawsuits urging the federal government to uphold its legal standard of “separate but equal.” Case after case after case was pursued to this end, forcing school districts and local governments and the courts to confront racial inequalities and cynical government policy.

Over several decades this approach focused at least a trickle of attention onto racial injustice, scored court victories and gained allies. Then, Brown v. Board of Education signaled a shift in tactics to a direct assault in order to show, Echo-Hawk writes, that “separate but equal” was unconstitutional.

Echo-Hawk believes that Indian Country is poised at a similar tipping point.

Skirmish after skirmish in often hostile federal courts has carved some sturdy pillars for treaty rights and sovereignty. But, Echo-Hawk argues, the cultural survival of Native America depends on a march to justice, and so does America’s evolution from a settler state to a more fully just society.

Echo-Hawk is a lawyer, and his topic of international human rights sometimes pulls him into dense thickets of language. But far from being a slog, the words in this book are illuminated by his passion for the topic, and his deep knowledge of the fight for fair treatment in federal courts. His words often burn with clarity, as does his message: Although the U.N. Declaration is a powerful tool for asserting human rights for Indigenous Peoples, it will not implement itself.

“Indigenous rights are never freely given—they must be demanded, wrested away, then vigilantly protected,” Echo-Hawk writes. “That is the essence of freedom.”



Double-Edged Sword

Jay Taber, Intercontinental Cry

Over the last few years, participatory mapping by indigenous communities has been heralded as a breakthrough in their relations with corporations and modern states. As the theory goes, by mapping sacred cultural sites and natural resources essential to their survival, indigenous nations can help corporate states avoid unnecessary conflict through cooperative conservation. Of course, that is only one theory, the other being that by informing corporate states of their most fundamental vulnerabilities, indigenous nations are plotting their own doom.

As it happens, this concern over betrayal by modern states, corporations and NGOs behind the participatory mapping phenomenon is well-founded. According to renowned cartographer and social scientist Denis Wood, his research in Oaxaca, Mexico reveals that participatory mapping gets turned into a method for making maps that support state and military interventions into Indigenous life. The title of his forthcoming book — Weaponizing Maps, a genealogy of U.S. Army mapping of indigenous populations where counter-insurgency military measures have been used for U.S. interests abroad — kind of sums up his view on the topic.

While participatory mapping can help indigenous peoples better understand their situation, when shared with their potential enemies, it is a double-edged sword.