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Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline buried some of their protest on May 31 and June 1.

Sacred red corn is planted in the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska by members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance (Photo by Mary Anne Andrei/Bold Nebraska).

Sacred red corn is planted in the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska by members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance (Photo by Mary Anne Andrei/Bold Nebraska).

Indian Country Today Media Network reports that members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance and their allies planted sacred Ponka red corn seeds on a Nebraska farm that is on the pipeline’s proposed route.

Members of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma performed a sacred corn planting ceremony led by Mekasi Horinek, the son of Casey Camp-Horinek, a long-time Native rights activist and environmentalist, and Amos Hinton, agricultural director of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma.

After the ceremony, the group hand-planted approximately four acres of sacred Ponka red corn seed (ICTMN noted the 19th-century spelling of the tribe name is still used for the corn).

“We’re going to stand together with the cowboys – the ranchers and farmers – in our Nebraska homeland,” said Horinek. “Together our families will plant sacred red corn seed in our ancestral soil. As the corn grows it will stand strong for us, to help protect and keep Mother Earth safe for our children, as we fight this battle against the Keystone XL pipeline.”

The planting was done on the farm of Art Tanderup outside Neligh, Nebraska. Tanderup said that in 1877 the people of Neligh helped the Ponca people by burying White Buffalo Girl, who had died on the Ponca Trail of Tears.

“Over 100 years later, that spirit of humanity continues as we join with our friends and neighbors in replenishing their sacred corn and fighting against Keystone XL,” Tanderup said.

Aaron Carapella’s decade-long project began by marking poster boards hanging on his bedroom walls.

Aaron Carapella's map shows locations of Indian tribes before their first contact with Europeans (Photo by Hansi Lo Wang/NPR)

Aaron Carapella’s map shows locations of Indian tribes before their first contact with Europeans (Photo by Hansi Lo Wang/NPR)

Today, reports Hansi Lo Wang at National Public Radio’s “Code Switch,” Carapella’s maps of the United States, Mexico and Canada show the original locations – and original names – of more than 600 Indian tribes, “many now forgotten and lost to history,” Wang writes.

“I think a lot of people get blown away by, ‘Wow, there were a lot of tribes, and they covered the whole country!’ You know, this is Indian land,” says Carapella, who calls himself a “mixed-blood Cherokee” and lives in a ranch house within the jurisdiction of the Cherokee Nation.

For more than a decade, he consulted history books and library archives, called up tribal members and visited reservations as part of research for his map project. … So far, he has designed maps of the continental U.S., Canada and Mexico. A map of Alaska is currently in the works.

What really sets Carapella’s maps apart, a senior geographer at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian told Wang, is that they show both the original and commonly known names of tribes.

Some tribes, Doug Herman explains, were stuck with names chosen by European settlers that were often derogatory terms other tribes used to describe their rivals – such as “Comanche,” derived from the Ute word meaning “anyone who wants to fight me all the time.”

“It’s like having a map of North America where the United States is labeled ‘gringos’ and Mexico is labeled ‘wetbacks,’ ” Herman told NPR. “Naming is an exercise in power. Whether you’re naming places or naming peoples, you are therefore asserting a power of sort of establishing what is reality and what is not.”

Carapella calls them “a way to convey the truth in a different way.”

Indian country has lost one of its strongest, and most respected, voices.

Billy Frank Jr. spoke at an event to celebrate the removal of a dam on the Elwha River in 2011 (Photo by Richard Walker/ICTMN).

Billy Frank Jr. spoke at an event to celebrate the removal of a dam on the Elwha River in 2011 (Photo by Richard Walker/ICTMN).

Nisqually elder Billy Frank Jr. died Monday in Washington state at the age of 83.

As Indian Country Today Media Network reports, Frank fought for treaty rights in the Northwest – he was arrested more than 50 times while protesting for treaty fishing rights – and sovereignty throughout Indian Country.

He “guided opposing sides to agreement on how to protect natural resources, helped bring down two dams on the Elwha River (and) produced an Emmy Award-winning series on Indian country,” Richard Walker reported at ICTMN.”

He chaired the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for 34 years, served as a trustee of The Evergreen State College for seven.
Frank, whose honors included the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, was as comfortable in the Oval Office as he was in a tribal chairperson’s office.

“We in Indian country, collectively, will have to pick up the mantle,” state Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, said. “He was a giant in Indian country and we’re going to miss him.”

- Vince Devlin

The threat of a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church at the Alaska Native Heritage Center has galvanized more than 1,000 people on a Facebook page, Indian Country Today Media Network reports.

But the Anchorage Daily News says

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., protest outside funeral services for Sgt. Daniel Sesker in Ogden, Iowa, in 2006 (Photo by Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press).

Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., protest outside funeral services for Sgt. Daniel Sesker in Ogden, Iowa, in 2006 (Photo by Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press).

there’s a good chance no one from the church will even show up.

ICTMN, in a story by Vincent Schilling, says Donna Willoya began the Facebook page, called “No Westboro Baptist Protest at our AK Native Heritage Center!” after the church announced a protest there on June 1.

“We are uniting as Alaskans to honor and embrace our cultural diversity, to preserve our heritage and to teach future generations the importance of acceptance & respect for all people” (Willoya wrote on Facebook).

Willoya also posted in the group that though people may get angry at the WBC members for wanting to protest, she wishes the Native community not to respond with violence and sink to their level.

The page had gathered nearly 1,600 members by Wednesday morning.

But Tegan Hanlon at the Anchorage Daily News contacted Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, who said the Westboro Church’s announcements of protests are often publicity stunts.

“Typically, they will call the local press, get a scary story about these awful people coming to town and not show up,” Potok said. “And what sometimes happens is you’ll be expecting 50 people and a man and two small children show up.”
(CLOSE INDENT)

ICTMN’s Schilling reported that the Westboro Baptist Church explained its “planned” protest at the heritage center thusly:

“… you make a religion out of the pagan idolatrous practices of past generations. There is nothing appealing or holy about the ‘heritage’ of the eleven ‘distinct cultures’ or ‘diverse population’ of Alaska. They walked in darkness and served idols of every kind, contrary to the direct commandment to have no gods before God.”

The Westboro Baptist Church is well-known for ignoring any concept of “love thy neighbor,” celebrating the funerals of American soldiers and claiming God “hates” homosexuals.

The newly crowned NCAA women’s basketball champion, Connecticut, began its title run last month at a tribally owned and operated arena.

The Connecticut Huskies celebrated their American Athletic Conference championship last month at Mohegan Sun Arena. (Photo courtesy of American Athletic Conference).

The Connecticut Huskies celebrated their American Athletic Conference championship last month at Mohegan Sun Arena. (Photo courtesy of American Athletic Conference).

As Indian Country Today Media Network reports, the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., part of a large casino, was host to the first-ever American Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament, won by UConn.

The 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun is the home court of the Mohegan-owned Connecticut Sun of the Women’s National Basketball Association. In 2013 it played host to the WNBA All Star game.

At the time the deal was announced last year, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority chief executive Mitchell Etess credited the casino’s collaboration with the Sun for the Mohegan Sun Arena scoring the opportunity to host the Big East women’s basketball tournament (which later became the American Athletic Conference, or AAC tournament). “This is what bringing the Connecticut Sun here has done for us, it has made us a true entertainment company, not just a gaming or hotel company,” Etess said.

Making the AAC tournament even more noteworthy for Native Americans, UConn – which went undefeated this season at 40-0 – had to get by a team featuring probably the best known Native American players in the college game this season.

As Mark Fogarty reported at ICTMN, Shoni and Jude Schimmel, who play for the University of Louisville, are sisters from the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon.

Louisville also advanced to the tournament championship game, but despite 20 points from Shoni Schimmel, the Cardinals fell 72-52 to UConn. The Huskies beat Notre Dame for the national championship Tuesday night.

- Vince Devlin

Since 2010, Albuquerque police have been involved in 37 shootings that have resulted in 23 deaths.

After a 10-hour protest over recent police shootings of Albuquerque men, riot police launch tear gas toward activists (Russell Contreras/Associated Press).

After a 10-hour protest over recent police shootings of Albuquerque men, riot police launch tear gas toward activists (Russell Contreras/Associated Press).

When Nos. 22 and 23 occurred on the same day last month, Indian Country Today Media Network reports, hundreds of people took to the streets to protest, and the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the 1,100-officer department.

Two of the 23 have been Native Americans, according to the ICTMN story by Alysa Landry.

“It’s become a public safety crisis,” said Bineshi Albert, of the Native American Voters Alliance in Albuquerque. “There’s outrage, surely, and good reason for people to be outraged.”

Even two Native fatalities is too high, said Albert, who is Chippewa and Yuchi. According to 2010 Census data, about 25,000 Natives live in Albuquerque, or less than 5 percent of the city’s total population.

“Two of 23 is significant,” Albert said. “It’s more than what it should be, given the population.”

Alfred Redwine, a Native, was shot after he allegedly opened fire on officers at a public housing complex March 16. The same day, police shot and killed a homeless man with a history of mental illness, James Boyd, following a standoff.

In 2010 another Native American, Len Fuentes, was killed after threatening officers with a knife.

“The community should not be afraid of law enforcement,” Albert said. “It’s a hard and even shameful thing to think that we live in a time when I have to tell my children how they have to behave when approached by a police officer, as opposed to telling my children that if they’re in trouble they can go to the police. It’s a sad situation, but I’m more fearful that the police will harm them.”

- Vince Devlin

How would a German festival to honor a German novelist find foes in Indian Country?

The Karl May Museum in Radebeul, Germany (Photo courtesy of Wikicommons/ICTMN)

The Karl May Museum in Radebeul, Germany (Photo courtesy of Wikicommons/ICTMN)

When it displays Native scalps, Indian Country Today Media Network reports.

The Karl May Festival, held in the Radebeul, Germany, hometown of the Karl May Museum, may draw protests when it is held on May 30 and June 1. Cecil Pavlat of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan, who has called on the museum for repatriation, has said he plans one.

When Mark Worth, a former news reporter and activist for Transparency International, learned that Native scalps were on display there, he called the museum in 2010 and spoke with its public relations director, André Kohler. He was informed that the museum did, indeed, have Native American scalps on display and more in storage.

Worth says that after being given the same line used by French auction houses to “successfully argue for their sale of Hopi and Apache sacred items as that country has no laws to protect Indigenous Peoples, and the items were rightfully in private collectors’ hands,” he was told the museum was a private institution, and was hung up on.

Karl May “spun imaginative tales about American Indians and the U.S. Old West well over 100 years ago” according to the ICTMN story by Red Haircrow.

Attempts by the U.S. Embassy to intervene apparently have not changed minds. Officials say they were told by museum staff that “Many Native Americans have visited over the years, and we haven’t received any complaints.”

- Vince Devlin

At the start of this college basketball season, Brent Cahwee wrote about 10 Native American players – well, 11, actually – for fans to keep their eyes on at ndnsports.com.

Shoni and Jude Schimmel, members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, became the first Native Americans from a reservation to play in the NCAA women's basketball championship last year, for Louisville (Photo by Rhonda Levaldo/courtesy ndnsports.com).

Shoni and Jude Schimmel, members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, became the first Native Americans from a reservation to play in the NCAA women’s basketball championship last year, for Louisville (Photo by Rhonda Levaldo/courtesy ndnsports.com).

Now that March Madness is upon the nation, it’s time to remind folks that some of them are still playing. Two of the most notable are sisters Shoni and Jude Schimmel from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, who play for Louisville – a No. 3 seed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

What hasn’t been said or written about the dynamic duo of sisters that have taken women’s college basketball and Indian country by storm. Shoni, described as a more flashy and “rez” ball style player and Jude, described as a more steady and blue collar player, helped lead the Louisville Cardinals to an appearance in the 2013 women’s national championship game.

(They made) an improbable run through the tournament by beating then-No. 1-ranked Baylor in what was has been called the women’s game of the century. The Lady Cardinals also beat Tennessee and California to reach the championship game, making the sisters the first Native Americans from a reservation to play in the NCAA championship game.

Louisville opens this year’s NCAA tourney against Idaho.

There are others on Cahwee’s list still playing, most notably Bronson Koenig of the Ho-Chunk Nation, a 6-3 freshman point guard at the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers are a No. 2 seed in the NCAA men’s tournament.

One Native star missing out on the rest of March is Marshall Henderson of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, who spent two tumultuous years at the University of Mississippi.

The Running Rebels made waves in last year’s NCAA Tournament, but did not qualify for it, or the NIT, in this, Henderson’s senior season.

Check out all of Cahwee’s Native stars at ndnsports.com.

- Vince Devlin

New evidence suggesting the area of the Bering Strait, called Beringia, supported trees during the last glacial maximum have led some scientists to conclude that 17-year-old theories that the first American Indians made a “10,000-year pit stop” there en route from Asia to the Americas are true.

But, as Alex Ewan of the Purepecha Nation writes at Indian Country Today Media Network, the new discoveries tend to cloud, rather than support, the theories.

As a review in Past Horizons, an archeology magazine, noted, “the weakest link to the Out of Beringia theory is the lack of archaeological evidence.” There is absolutely no sign that humans lived in this region during this time. In addition, although the study showed that the area had “surprisingly mild temperatures” during the summer (for an ice age), it was still cooler than the area is now, which is not particularly hospitable.

Indeed, if anything, the study findings set the Beringian Standstill theory back. According to a review in Scientific American, “This kind of vegetation would not have supported the large, grazing animals – woolly mammoth, woolly rhino, Pleistocene horses, camels, and bison.” It had previously been presumed that Beringia was covered in grass, and that the large animals were what the Paloeindians had lived on, but the shrub tundra would have only supported small mammals, “perhaps some bighorn sheep,” and possibly elk.

Sediment cores from the region dating between 15,000 and 30,000 years ago show evidence of trees, important because people would have needed fuel for campfires in the cold climate.

One author of the study, John Hoffecker of the University of Colorado, calls it “solid evidence for humans in Beringia before the last glacial maximum, as geneticists first predicted in 1997.”

But Ewen, at ICTMN, calls it ” ‘science by press release,’ where the conclusions are hyped well beyond what the actual findings show.”

Since the early 1990s … the genetic evidence indicates that Indians, as a distinct peoples, are at least 30,000 years old, and likely much older. Linguistic evidence has also pointed to Indians being at least 35,000 years old, and possibly 50,000 years old. The Beringian Standstill theory thus allows the archeologists and the geneticists to have their cake and eat it too, as it gives the time for the Paloeindians to develop unique genetic and linguistic characteristics, while at the same time, it keeps them out of the Americas.

But like the Bering Strait theory, the Beringian Standstill theory requires some unusual circumstances to make it work, the most important of which is that the Paleoindians who lived in Beringia were completely isolated from any other humans for more than 10,000 years and maybe up to 20,000 years, to prevent genetic and linguistic mixing.

Ewen says it may lead to other views about Indian origins in the Americas being taken more seriously.

- Vince Devlin

3
Mar

Priests to be named in sexual-abuse case

   Posted by: admin

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena will post names of priests accused of sexual abuse as part of an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed against it and the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province.

Bishop George L. Thomas will "give the benefit of the doubt to the accuser" when it comes to naming names of priests accused of sex abuse from the 1930s through the 1970s. The settlement of a lawsuit filed against the Catholic church of western Montana calls for it (Photo by Eliza Wiley/Helena Independent Record).

Bishop George L. Thomas will “give the benefit of the doubt to the accuser” when it comes to naming names of priests accused of sex abuse from the 1930s through the 1970s. The settlement of a lawsuit filed against the Catholic church of western Montana calls for it (Photo by Eliza Wiley/Helena Independent Record).

The Diocese of Helena filed for bankruptcy protection as part of the proposed settlement, according to a story by Mike Dennison of Montana’s Lee State Bureau, and will pay $15 million to the victims.

The Ursuline Sisters ran a school in St. Ignatius on the Flathead Indian Reservation that enrolled many Native American children.

George Thomas, bishop of the Diocese of Helena since 2004, said in a recent interview that a church review board will look at abuse claims, but that he doesn’t expect the church to quibble over the naming of abusers.

“I give the benefit of the doubt to the accuser,” he said. “The one thing I want to punctuate is that I have been committed from the beginning to transparency. There are no names that I will hold in secret.

“If an accusation is made against (someone) and the facts line up, I think the public has a right to know.”

There were 362 victims who filed the 2011 lawsuit in state District Court in Helena.

Seattle attorney Tim Kosnoff, who represents 271 of them, told Dennison that more than 50 Catholic priests will be named as sexual abusers of children.

Most, if not all, are dead. The abuse occurred from the 1930s through the 1970s.

- Vince Devlin