Archive for July, 2011


Students work at historic buffalo jump site

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photo from the Casper Star-Tribune

By Joshua Bickel of the Billings Gazette

BEULAH, Wyo. — The sounds of delicate scraping, either with bamboo tools or the occasional pencil on paper, are the only things heard in an otherwise quiet process.

Occasionally, a tour group descends into the sinkhole to observe the patient process of uncovering the remains of bison which have lain there for hundreds of years.

This summer, a small group of students from the University of Wyoming and other universities across the nation has been working to further excavate the Vore Buffalo Jump, a national historic site.

“Here you’re definitely going to find something, which is kind of fun,” said Danielle Messing, an anthropology student at Missouri State University who is working at the site this summer for college credit.

For 300 years, at least five Native American tribes used the site — a large natural sinkhole just west of Beulah — to trap buffalo, which they would then harvest for food, clothing and tools. Around 1800, tribes stopped using the sinkhole and the site lay dormant until the early 1970s, when it was discovered during the construction of Interstate 90. Following excavations of the site in the 1970s and mid-1990s, students have been continuously working at the sinkhole during the summers since 2004.

It’s one of the best-preserved and largest bison traps in the world, according to Dr. Charles Reher at the University of Wyoming, who also works with the summer field school.
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Obama Wants to Hear Solutions From Native Youth

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President Obama issued a call-to-action to Native American youth aged 13-25. He wants them to send in submissions of 250 words or less describing ways they or others are working to solve community problems, said Indian Country Today Media Network.

Obama told ICTMN staff,

    “Across the country Native American young people like you are doing extraordinary things every day to help solve problems in your own communities,” Obama says in the video. “The challenges you face are not small, solving them won’t be easy, but we are making progress and you’re leading the way.”

A group of individuals chosen from those that write in will be chosen to visit the White House in the fall as part of Native American heritage month.

For requirements and place to submit, visit this site.


Photo of the Week

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Native Americans dance before the naming ceremony for Lightning Medicine Cloud, a white buffalo in Greenville, Texas Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

From Alternative Press

See previous post about Lightning Medicine Cloud from July 28.

Dobbs studied physics and dunking techniques to master the art of flying.

Indian Country Today Media Network featured this story by Bryan Abrams today. It tells the tale of supernatural basketball dunker, Kenny Dobbs. After a life of drugs and alcohol problems either of his own or of his father’s, Dobbs chose to change his life and use his dunking talents to get the attention of youth around the world.
“Things were getting out of control,” Dobbs said to Abrams, “and I began realizing the deep hole I had dug for myself when shootouts and dodging bullets had become a weekend rush and just another story to tell at the next smoking session with my friends. I remember thinking that at some point things would have to change before it was too late.”
He’s turned his life around and is hoping to do the same for kids.

    He has traveled across the country to speak to and on behalf of kids on reservations as an employee of the Division of Behavioral Health Services for the state of Arizona. For three years he served as the chairman on the Arizona State Youth Advisory Council for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention. He is currently serving as an ambassador’s for Nike’s N7 division and the Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) Foundation. With NABI, Dobbs created the UpRise Youth Motivational Presentations to educate kids on Native lands.

“But most important to me is the UpRise Youth Movement. The dunk shows get the youth inspired and open to listening to what I have to say, then I’m able to deliver a powerful message of hope that will encourage them to rise up and become leaders in their home, school and community,” Dobbs said to Abrams.


White buffalo born in Texas

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2,000 people came to see the naming ceremony of a rare white buffalo born in Greenville, Texas said Linda Stewart Ball for the Associated Press. The buffalo is not an albino as it has a dark nose and markings on it’s tail. It was named Lightning Medicine Cloud. It was born in a thunderstorm, hence the Lightning and Cloud. Medicine was added as a tribute to a previous white buffalo with the name Big Medicine.

    The white buffalo is an omen that signifies the arrival of hard times unless people learn to change their ways and live in a manner that benefits everyone, including Mother Earth, according to literature distributed at the entrance gate.

    “It’s the beginning of a new age, new times,” said Samuel Joseph Lone Wolf, a Native American elder from Palestine, who played an important role in Wednesday’s ceremony. “The birth of the white buffalo calf, it tells us we need to get right, not just with Mother Nature but with all nations and with the Creator, which is God.”

The birth of a white buffalo, according to Arby Little Soldier the great-great grandson of Sitting Bull, is about the same odds as winning the lottery.

Little Lightning Medicine Cloud even has his own website.


Supai post office on chopping block

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Some of Arizona’s post offices will be closed. One includes the last mule-train post in Supai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon said the Arizona Daily Sun.

    Nationwide, the financially troubled Postal Service announced that it will study 3,653 local offices, branches and stations for possible closure. The post office operates 31,871 retail outlets across the country, down from 38,000 a decade ago.

    Including such sites and automated postal kiosks, postal services are available at nearly 100,000 locations nationwide, the agency says.

    The post office announced in January it was reviewing 1,400 offices for possible closure. So far, 280 have been closed and 200 have finished the review process and will remain open.


Reported police abuse against Indigenous in Panama

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Latin America Current Events and News reports:

Around 15 Indians were injured by police forces during mining protests at the intersection of San Felix in the Ngobe Bugle region reported La Estrella. Those who were injured were mostly women, which the police shot with pellets ruthlessly. The indigenous groups are requesting medical reports to file a lawsuit against the national police responsible for the incident.

The Washington Post describes how the Justice Department is working to lower crime in Indian Country. A year ago, Federal law gave American Indian tribes more authority to combat crime. However, few actually acted on it either because they were happy with their current system or couldn’t afford to change.

Now, the government is working with them to train tribal police as well as increase sentencing for certain crimes.

Felicia Fonseca of the AP wrote:

    According to the federal government, violent crime rates on Indian reservations are more than twice the national rate, and there is an epidemic of domestic and sexual violence in Indian Country, along with high instances of child abuse, teen suicide and substance abuse. Federal officials have also said there is a proliferation of gang activity on reservations, and yet law enforcement recruitment and retention across Indian Country lag far behind the rest of the nation.

Several reservations are accepting the help. The Navajo, as they are a sovereign nation, are not as easily swayed.


North Dakota Fights for its Mascot

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The Missoulian pulled this from Dave Kolpack from the Associated Press today. Looks like the “Fighting Sioux” need to change their name and logo or face penalties.

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. – North Dakota political leaders are asking the NCAA to back off and let the state’s flagship university keep its Fighting Sioux name and logo, even at the risk of potential blacklisting and scorn by other universities and its own conference.

    Lawmaker involvement is a strategy even some University of North Dakota boosters question, and is unique among schools forced to decide whether to drop American Indian nicknames deemed hostile and abusive or accept penalties for keeping them.

    North Dakota’s debate appeared to be resolved when the state Board of Higher Education agreed in 2009 to drop the Fighting Sioux logo and nickname and UND agreed to phase them out by this Aug. 15.

    But state lawmakers intervened earlier this year, passing a law that requires the university to retain the moniker and logo. If the school keeps them past the Aug. 15 deadline, it will not be allowed to use them in postseason tournaments nor host any such events.

    Potentially more damaging, the Big Sky Conference, which UND hopes to join next year, has said the issue will complicate the school’s conference membership and some schools may refuse to schedule games with North Dakota. Some believe that would lead to a broad decline in athletics.

    Still, North Dakota lawmakers say hundreds of constituent emails substantiate tremendous public support for the current nickname. Some legislators have said they resent the nickname being characterized as hostile and abusive because they believe the name and logo are treated with respect. Others have said the change is being rammed down their throats by the NCAA and think the higher education board should have done more to adhere to residents’ wishes.

    About 20 schools with American Indian nicknames were targeted by an NCAA policy issued in August 2005. Some teams, like the Florida State Seminoles, were taken off the list when they received approval from namesake tribes. UND got the OK from the Spirit Lake Sioux, but were not able to get permission from the Standing Rock Sioux.

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Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Member makes Hole in One

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Just because I like golf and I think it’s amazing this can happen, I’m posting this.

Arlene Weous made her first-ever hole in one on the fourth hole at the 19th Annual Black Bear Golf Tournament on July 16. The shot traveled 154 yards before it dropped in.

Indian Country Today Media Network staff posted:

    The Black Bear Annual Golf Tournament is the largest American Indian tournament in the Midwest. This two-day, 3-man best ball tournament is located in Superior, Wisconsin. It’s safe to say no one was as superior as Weous was on the fourth hole.