Lessons of Our Land Curriculum Launched During Heritage Month


Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Learning about Native history and culture doesn’t need to be relegated to one month of the year. Though the Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) thought Native American Heritage Month would be a good time to release its Native American land curriculum website for pre-K and K-12 classrooms.

“The launch of this website in November coincides with National Native American Heritage Month and the approach of Thanksgiving—for many public school teachers, the only time during the school year they will discuss Native American history in their classroom,” said ILTF President Cris Stainbrook in a November 18 press release. “We would invite all of them to look through the curriculum and choose at least one grade-appropriate lesson to replace the old worn out story of the Pilgrims, and perhaps think about adding one other lesson the week after Thanksgiving.”

The Lessons of Our Land curriculum is designed to be incorporated into a number of subjects and is adaptable to include the history and culture of a region’s Indian nations. The curriculum has so far been successfully implemented in 105 tribal schools, public schools and colleges in eight states.

Lessons of Our Land’s components meet state standards in many core areas, such as history, art, civics, mathematics, science, geography and language arts. To see what lessons are available, visit LessonsofOurLand.org.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/02/lessons-our-land-curriculum-launched-during-heritage-month-152522

Local Native American says Native American Month doesn’t go far enough


November is Native American MonthCredit Photo from Native American Month Webpage
November is Native American Month
Credit Photo from Native American Month Webpage


November 25, 2013

By Eileen Buckley

The month of November has been declared Native American Month, a time set aside to recognize the significant contributions of America’s first citizens. But as WBFO’s Eileen Buckley reports, one local Native American says it is not enough in dealing with the current struggles of those living on native territories. 

“We live in a time where we are still struggling to assert our autonomy and our distinction. It’s one thing to say we want to honor our heritage, but we are still here,” said John Kane, radio host of Let’s Talk Native in Buffalo.

Kane is often outspoken on Native American issues. While Kane applauds the federal government and President Obama for declaring November Native American Month, he tells WBFO News the “level of invisibility” for Native people continues to exist.  He points to the federal government probes of Native American cigarette sales as one example.  

“The Tonawanda Seneca Chiefs retail facility, who got charged for purchasing cigarettes for the smoke shop out there in a sting that was set up in Kansas City. There is an attempt the state and federal officials to use anti-organized crime bills and anti-terrorism laws to criminalize the very things we do on our territories,” said Kane. “This is the stuff that I think people have to understand.”

But it’s important to note that this past June federal officials announced that after three years of litigation, lawsuits by several Native American cigarette retailers to stop a federal law seeking to restrict internet sales of cigarettes and sales to children, was dismissed by a federal judge.

In a news released issued by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Buffalo, dated June 12, 2013, U.S. William Hochul stated “With the end of this litigation, the federal government can now begin to enforce the full breadth and scope of the PACT Act and help insure that our nation’s children are protected from the sales of cigarettes to minors,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “The PACT Act will also allow for the proper tax revenues to be collected on the sales of cigarettes by each state, revenues which will be used to finance additional health programs to combat the devastating health effects felt by Americans due to the availability of cheap cigarettes.”

Still  Kane accuses underlying racism against Native Americans. He said they are treated only as a “relative of the past”. Kane notes while debates over the use of the word Redskins for professional and high school sports teams remains important, it doesn’t go far enough in preventing stereotypes.

“That’s why people put us on the side of a football helmet. There were two high schools, this past week — two separate high schools who cited the ‘Trail of Tears’ as a way to make a comment against a team that they were playing that were called the Indians.  One of them said ‘Hey Indians, get ready to leave on a Trail of Tears'”, said Kane.  

Kane places blames much of the mainstream media saying they ignore Native American voices and fail to write and broadcast about what is really happening within their Native American territories.

Senate Passes Resolution Honoring Native American Heritage Month

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

On November 21, the Senate passed a resolution introduced by Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to honor the Nation’s first Americans during Native American Heritage Month.

The resolution passed the Senate on November 20.

“The contributions that American Indians have made to the foundation of the United States are significant and continue today,” Cantwell said. “From influencing the documents that founded our Nation to serving in World War II as code talkers, American Indians have helped shape the face of our Nation.”

Cantwell was joined in introducing Senate Resolution 305 by 24 bi-partisan colleagues, including Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Harry Reid (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Thune (R-SD), Mark Udall (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The resolution recognizes the month of November 2013 as Native American Heritage Month; along with the Friday after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day in accordance with the Native American Heritage Day Act of 2009; and urges the people of the United States to observe National Native American Heritage Month and Native American Heritage Day with appropriate programs and activities according to an SCIA release.

“Since time immemorial, American Indians have occupied the lands we now know as the United States. To date, the federal government recognizes 566 distinct tribal nations across the country. While these Indian tribes share many attributes, each tribe is unique. The contributions that American Indians have made to the foundation of the United States are significant and continue today. From influencing the documents that founded our Nation to serving in World War II as code talkers, American Indians have helped shape the face of our Nation. It is fitting that we are honoring the code talkers this week with a Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, as Native Americans have served in the military at a higher rate per capita than any other group in the country,” Cantwell said in her floor speech.

RELATED: Code Talkers From 33 Tribes Receive Congressional Gold Medals

“Native American heroes played a significant role in World War II. Among them was Charles Chibitty of the Comanche Nation, who aided the successful landing at Normandy and the capture of an enemy flag in a French village, for which he was recognized by the French government. The code talkers came from many tribes, including the Navajo, who played a crucial role in the Pacific. The Choctaw, Sioux, Assiniboine, Apache, Hopi, Mohawk and many other tribes gave this Nation their dedication, determination and courage. They will never be forgotten.

“As we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, I encourage my colleagues to take some time and think about the federal government’s responsibilities to our first people. I ask my colleagues to support this resolution designating November 2013 as National Native American Heritage Month and November 29 of this year as Native American Heritage Day, and I encourage all Americans to recognize the important contributions American Indians have made to this great Nation,” she concluded


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/11/25/senate-passes-resolution-honoring-native-american-heritage-month-152421

CBS Honors Chickasaw Astronaut John Herrington for Heritage Month

CBSJohn Herrington, Chickasaw, highlighted by CBS during Native American Heritage Month. He was the first American Indian in space.
John Herrington, Chickasaw, highlighted by CBS during Native American Heritage Month. He was the first American Indian in space.



John Herrington, Chickasaw, was the first American Indian to take to the stars when he blasted off in the Space Shuttle Endeavour in November 2002.

During Native American Heritage Month he appears on CBS in a short spot bringing attention to Indian contributions to the space program.

“As a Native American astronaut, I was proud to honor my heritage by carrying a Chickasaw Nation flag on a mission to outer space,” he says in the clip.

The astronaut is also a veteran, having served as a U.S. Navy pilot. On the Endeavour mission he worked as the flight engineer on shuttle STS 113, which brought equipment to the International Space Station. With him he carried several mementos from Indian country that had been presented him, including an eagle feather, a flute, arrowheads and some sweet grass “that I think represents a lot of the spiritual sense we all feel,” he told Indian Country Today Media Network on December 1, 2002, as the space station flew over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America, just south of the equator.

“I was amazed at how massive the Earth is and looking at the atmosphere how it [is] so small relative to the rest of the Earth and to realize how insignificant we are in the great scheme of things,” he said. “In a spiritual sense it makes you appreciate how grand the grand scheme is of Mother Earth.”

RELATED: John Herrington Speaks to Indian Country Today

Three spacewalks and two delayed landings (due to inclement weather) later, Herrington had returned to that mother, an inspiration to American Indians all over Turtle Island.

“It’s just a deeper feeling—one of your own, finally a Native American,” Deborah Coombs, Oglala Sioux, who works on the shuttle’s parachutes, told Indian Country Today Media Network in 2002 after Herrington’s shuttle landed, assisted by her handiwork. “It’s so important Native Americans be recognized in what they do.”

RELATED: John Herrington, American Indian Astronaut, Returns to Mother Earth

Since then he has been working to get Native children interested in math and science, most notably with a cross-country bicycle ride in 2008 that he named Rocketrek. That’s the same year that another American Indian whose work was key to development of the U.S. space program walked on: Mary Golda Ross, the first Native American female engineer.

RELATED: Native Space Ace Mary Golda Ross (Portrait by America Meredith)

NBA Star Kevin Durant and Nike Team Up to Support Heritage Month

Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant is taking ankle support to a whole new level.

The NBA forward has teamed up for a third time with Nike’s N7 Fund to create the bold N7 KD VI signature shoe. Durant is expected to debut the shoe, which was inspired from Native American symbols, on Wednesday during the Thunder’s home game against the Dallas Mavericks.

“Playing in Oklahoma City has connected me to the mission of Nike N7 and the meaningful impact that it has with Native Americans here and across North America,” Durant said in a Nike press release earlier this year. “I believe in the power of sport to change lives, and I support helping youth in Native American communities experience the positive benefits of being physically active.”

The unveiling comes at the beginning of November, the month designated as Native American Heritage Month. And to celebrate Native American heritage, Nike’s N7 Fund is bringing together 100 youth from local tribal communities in Oklahoma City for an afternoon basketball skills clinic on Thursday, November 7th.

The bright colors used on the KD VI have significant meaning in Native culture. Turquoise is a color symbolic of friendship, and the red accents on the shoe is one of one of four colors—yellow, red, black and white—featured on the traditional Native America medicine wheel, representing movement and the four directions.

RELATED Kevin Durant Teams Up With N7 on native-Print Nike Zoom KDV Shoes

The KD VI also features the repeating pattern of arrows that first launched on the Pendleton Woolen Mills Nike N7 blanket last month. The arrow print symbolizes energy and forward motion and has reflective built in for a surprise effect when worn in the elements.

Nike’s N7 mission is to inspire and enable two million Native American and aboriginal youth in North American to participate in physical activities. Nike’s N7 collection launched in 2009 and since then, more than $2 million has been raised for Native American and aboriginal youth sport programs.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/11/06/nba-star-nba-star-kevin-durant-and-nike-team-support-native-american-heritage-month