Archive for January, 2010

31
Jan

Bill Miller wins 2010 Grammy for Best Native American Music album

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It’s the third Grammy for Bill Miller, who grew up on Wisconsin’s Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation. This time, he won for “Spirit Wind North.” Read about it here on the ShoutCast blog.

Listen to more of Miller’s music on his Web site.

And enjoy an earlier song of his, “Tumbleweed,” in the video below.

Gwen Florio

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Beyond powwow songs: “Earthsongs” radio host focuses on modern Native music
Shyanne Beatty hosts “Earthsongs,” a national radio program of modern music for Native America. Beatty, who is Han Gwich’in Athabascan from Eagle, Alaska, tells station KTUU‘s Eric Sowl that “a lot of people think that Native American or indigenous music is powwow music. It’s not that any more. It’s rock, it’s reggae, it’s world music.” Native American broadcasters represent less than 1 percent of the nation’s on-air media talent.

San Miguel Band of Mission Indians donates $1.7 million in Haiti relief
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is helping earthquake relief efforts in Haiti by donating $1.7 million to the American Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. According to Indian Country Today, it’s the most recent such effort by the tribe, which donated $700,000 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; $1 million for wildfire recovery in Southern California, and $1 million to relief groups in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Senators-Canadiens hockey game was NHL’s first broadcast in Inuktitut
Hockey history was made yesterday with the first-ever broadcast in Inukitut of an NHL game. CBC broadcasters Charlie Panigoniak and Annie Ford called the Ottawa Senators-Montreal Canadiens game in Inuktitut, according to the Nunatsiaq News. The game was broadcast around Nunavut and CBC also streamed it online. The Senators won, 3-2, in OT.

Natives may be added to Alaska’s state song
There’s an effort – again – in Alaska to add references to indigenous people in the state’s song, according to The Tundra Drums. A similar effort failed in 2002, but Sen. Albert Kookesh, who Tlingit and leader in the Alaska Federation of Natives, says times have changed. The bill would add a second verse that references Benny Benson, the Native boy who in 1927 designed the territorial flag that eventually became the state flag. The version begins: A Native lad chose the Dipper’s stars, For Alaska’s flag that there be no bars, Among our cultures.

Pascua Yaqui Tribe announces new casino hotel
Despite an economy that has wreaked havoc on profits from tribal and non-tribal casinos alike, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, owner of two Tucson-area casinos, says it will break ground next month on a casino and hotel expected to create up to 200 jobs. The Sol Casinos Hotel and Convention Center will be an expansion of Casino Del Sol, the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson reports. It’s scheduled to open next year.

Gwen Florio

This photo released by Dorset Suites shows Inuksuk Point Pano. Sitting atop the Olympic Rings, the contemporary interpretation of an inukshuk (in-OOK-shook) looms large on licensed merchandise and is sure to generate curiosity once the Games are under way.(AP Photo/Dorset Suites)

This photo released by Dorset Suites shows Inuksuk Point Pano. Sitting atop the Olympic Rings, the contemporary interpretation of an inukshuk (in-OOK-shook) looms large on licensed merchandise and is sure to generate curiosity once the Games are under way.(AP Photo/Dorset Suites)

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Leanne Italie of the Associated Press write here about the inukshuk, the Inuit stone marker that is the designated symbol of the fast-approaching Vancouver Oympics.

The inukshuk symbol sits atop the Olympic rings – and also on tons of Olympic merchandise:

    This photo released by Tourism British Columbia shows a silhouette of an Inukshuk rock sculpture at dusk in English Bay, Vancouver.(AP Photo/Tourism British Columbia)

    This photo released by Tourism British Columbia shows a silhouette of an Inukshuk rock sculpture at dusk in English Bay, Vancouver.(AP Photo/Tourism British Columbia)

    An inukshuk (in-OOK-shook) is a carefully balanced pile of unworked rocks and slabs. The Inuit have built them through time to guide travelers, assist with hunts, warn of danger or indicate caches of food. A miniature version stands hip-high, with others measuring 3 to 6 feet tall (1 to 2 meters), one builder said. …

    Towering examples of inuksuit (the plural of inukshuk) have been constructed in modern times, like the sculpture in Vancouver on English Bay, left over from the 1986 World Expo. Other First Nations peoples in Arctic regions from Alaska to Greenland also used such markers, and they can be found elsewhere around the world, including one on the summit of Pike’s Peak, in Colorado, and elsewhere in the Western United States, where they were built by Navajo and other American Indians.

    In the Inuit culture, inuksuit (the plural) played a key role for the nomadic people in the frozen, unforgiving climate of northern Canada and were built to withstand winds of more than 90 mph (150 kilometers), said Peter Irniq, an inuksuit builder, former commissioner of the northern Nunavut Territory and an Inuit cultural teacher who lives in Ottawa.

    “They’re symbols of survival,” he said. “Whenever I’m around inuksuit in the Arctic, I am never scared because I know that Inuit have lived there before me for many, many thousands of years and have survived from hunting and fishing,” he said.

Cape Dorset, at the tip of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic province of Nunavut, has more than 100 inuksuit and is one of the country’s national historic sites.

Norman Hallendy, who has written two books on the subject, tells Italie that the site ” is very, very moving. When you go there, you’re almost struck dumb by the power of the place. You can feel it. You can see it. It’s a very inward and a very quiet experience.”

Gwen Florio

A banner with feathers from the Veteran Warrior Society of the Flathead Nation is draped over the flag and cremains during the burial ceremony at Fort Harrison last summer in Helena, Mont. (Clare Becker/Helena Indpendent Record)

A banner with feathers from the Veteran Warrior Society of the Flathead Nation is draped over the flag and cremains during a burial ceremony at Fort Harrison last summer in Helena, Mont. (Clare Becker/Helena Indpendent Record)

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Here‘s the entire story from the Associated Press:

HELENA (AP) – The Montana Historical Society is scheduling the Smithsonian Institution’s “Native Words, Native Warriors” exhibit to tour the state’s American Indian reservations.

“This is a rare opportunity to honor Montana’s Indian veterans, and all veterans, as well as to honor the important work of retaining native languages,” said Society Director Richard Sims.

The Smithsonian created the exhibit to tell the story of Indian Marines and soldiers who used their coded native languages as a weapon against U.S. enemies.

The Navajo code talkers during World War II have received the most recognition, but the exhibit shows that Native Americans were first enlisted to relay messages in their own languages during World War I.

Marines and soldiers from 16 tribal nations served as code talkers, including the Assiniboine, Sioux, Navajo, Hopi, Cherokee, Chippewa and Cree.

The exhibit also addresses the irony the Indians faced as they transitioned from Indian boarding schools, where they were punished for speaking their native languages, to being honored for using that language as a vital secret weapon in combat.

Montana has the opportunity to bring the exhibit to the state because the historical society is an affiliate of the Smithsonian.

Montana Historical Society Board of Trustees member George Horse Capture of Great Falls initiated the exhibit when he was a Smithsonian curator, and will serve as guest curator of the Montana exhibit.

The historical society plans to launch the exhibit in Helena in April and then take it to the state’s reservations. The society is also working with tribal veterans’ representatives and tribal councils who want to contribute in their own way in honoring and celebrating their warriors during each four-day event.

The society is seeking sponsors to help cover the $35,000 to $40,000 cost for creating and presenting the traveling exhibit.


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Stop the presses: Journalists aren’t supposed to admit bias, but Toronto Globe & Mail senior writer Rod Mickleburgh says he can’t help himself when it comes to Clara Hughes, Canada’s Olympic flagbearer during the athletes’ march during the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Olympics starting in just a few more days.

Hughes, who has won medals in both summer and winter Olympic Games for cycling and speed skating, has donated some of her earnings to Right to Play, the charity that tries to get kids in war-torn countries – as well as on Canada’s First Nations reserves – involved in ice hockey. (See previous post on that effort, here.)

Mickleburgh is even more impressed by Hughes’ actions upon arriving this week to prepare for the Olympics:

    Another grueling work-out? Not at all.

    Along with a few team-mates invited to come along, Clara Hughes made her way to the Squamish reserve on the North Shore of Vancouver for a “Brushing Off” ceremony.

    In her lively, well-written, online journal, Ms. Hughes talked of the serenity of listening to a native elder address them in his native tongue. …

    The champion of champions paid tribute to the Four Host First Nations for helping her keep “calm, clear, and in some ways, complete. They have allowed me to establish a connection with the land and the people and these Territorial Lands. And in turn, I feel so much depth in these Games.”

    At the end of the ceremony, Ms. Hughes was presented with a silver pendant of a hummingbird. Humbly, she promised to keep “this beautiful little bird” around her neck for the entire Winter Olympics.

    “My friends of the Four Host First Nation have given me wings in more ways than one.”

The Olympics will be an opportunity for thousands of non-tribal people to learn more about the First Nations. Hughes has set a great example for them.

Gwen Florio


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The winning helmet and runners-up (NBC Olympics)

The winning helmet and runners-up (NBCOlympics.com)

It’s been, says Laddie Lee Whitworth, of Pocatello, Idaho, one of the most amazing days of his life.

He’s the winner of a national contest to design the helmet that skier Lindsay Vonn will wear next month in the Vancouver Olympics.

“I’m 60 years old, a Native American and just retired from my job,” Whitworth tells the Pocatello Journal. “This is one of the greatest things to happen in my life.”

“I am actually going to be able to watch an Olympian ski with something on their head that I designed,” Whitworth says, here. “ I hope that when Lindsey bears down the hill, the helmet can keep up with her because she skis like she’s on fire.”

Fire, in fact, was the inspiration for his design.

“Thanks to Laddie for his awesome design,” says Vonn. “It’s really dynamic and will look cool when I am skiing downhill – like the flames are flying by really fast.”

Check out that winning design here.

His prize is a ski trip to Vail, Colo.

Gwen Florio



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Nearly 22,000 meals have been distributed on the Navajo and Hopi Nations, and the air drops will continue at least through Monday, according to Eric Neitzel, spokesman for the Arizona emergency management department.

About 22,000 gallons of drinking water has been distributed, and rescue workers are trying to get to families who are signaling pilots from the ground, writes Cyndy Cole of the Flagstaff (Ariz.) Sun.

Those people “are using blankets, waving them in the air, or using mirrors,” and pilots are still finding snowbound communities they didn’t know about, Neitzel tells Cole. adding that pilots were still finding communities they had not known about.

As the snow melts, mud has become nearly as problematic.

Maxine Wadsworth says that five road-clearing vehicles on the Hopi Nation now need repairs, and some roads are nearly impassable, hindering efforts to get wood or coal to as many as 600 people.

“The requests for assistance are overwhelming,” says Wadsworth, spokeswoman for the tribe’s response team.

    She has had several reports of families with roofs caved in or walls falling off mud-and-stone homes, and one case of livestock freezing in place.

    Although Wadsworth feels sad about the dead livestock, the priority this week is on helping people who need food or medicine.

    Some in the community have ridden horseback to reach faraway families, and food is being dropped by air.

Gwen Florio

29
Jan

Native American Music Awards site sponsors Haiti benefit

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Here’s a great way to help the people of Haiti, and also listen to some terrific music.
The Native American Music Awards Web site has started this effort, which it describes thusly:

    A spirit of generosity and compassion is being shared among leading music makers, nominees, and Native American Music Award winners who have come together to graciously donate their gift of song for a special cause.

    Initiated by the kindness and generosity of NAMA Artist of the Year,
    Jan Michael Looking Wolf and CEO of Spirit Wind Records, Donald Blackfox, who first offered to donate their music tracks to assist the Native American Music Association’s 501(c)(3) non profit programs, a NEW Music Download page has been launched and continues to expand with new music tracks being added daily.

    All the featured artists below have graciously agreed to donate all proceeds from these 99 cent downloads. By purchasing and downloading the tracks below, you will be directly contributing to Helping the Orphans and Children of Haiti and NAMA’s nonprofit programs.

    All proceeds will be divided between these efforts with a particular focus on
    Helping The Orphans & Children of Haiti through a combined program with
    Save The Children, an organization that has remained in Haiti for over 22 years.

There’s also a place on the site for artists interested in contributing to the effort. So, start clicking, start listening, start helping.

Gwen florio

29
Jan

Water, power slowly return to Cheyenne River Reservation

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Katherine Eagle Staff relaxes at Medicine Wheel Village, a nursing home, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. Eagle Staff was transferred to the nursing home from her Eagle Butte home after a storm knocked out the town's electricity and water. (Ryan Soderlin/Rapid City Journal)

Katherine Eagle Staff relaxes at Medicine Wheel Village, a nursing home, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010. Eagle Staff was transferred to the nursing home from her Eagle Butte home after a storm knocked out the town's electricity and water. (Ryan Soderlin/Rapid City Journal)



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As the Navajo and Hopi Nations struggle to deal with snowstorms still affecting the Southwest, conditions on South Dakota’s Cheyenne Reservation – beset last week by blizzards and ice storms – are slowly improving.

But normal, as Andrea J. Cook of the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal reports, could still be weeks away. The reservation lost both power and water for days, and water is still scarce.

The community of Faith rented eight portable showers, which showed up yesterday and immediately proved highly popular with residents – who are using water from nearby Durkee Lake to flush their toilets.

Meanwhile, although the reservation community of Eagle Butte started getting water again on Wednesday, people still have to conserve it while reserves build back up. Two emergency shelters remain open.

“We took care of the elders, made them comfortable and kept them warm,” says health worker Marian Bagola.

Katherine Eagle Staff, a diabetic with a kidney transplant, is among the people using a shelter at an Eagle Butte nursing home.

“It was really cold, and there were no lights (at home),” Eagle Staff says. “It was hard to get around with only a flashlight.”

Still, people praised the way friends and neighbors have chipped in during the emergency.

“Everybody’s kept a real positive attidude,” says Faith police Chief Arlen Frankfurth.

Gwen Florio



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Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

The repeated snowstorms that buried the Navajo and Hopi Nations this week are beginning to taper off today, allowing rescue and relief workers to help more victims.

“People are starting to be noticed missing” by neighbors and relatives, Eric Neitzel with the Arizona Division of Emergency Management tells CNN.

Much of northern Arizona received more than two feet of snow; Flagstaff got more than 50 inches.

Authorities tell of a bulldozer operator who called for help after seeing a mother and two children struggling through the snow on the Navajo Nation after being trapped in their home for two days. Emergency workers are dropping Red Cross blankets and food from National Guard helicopters.

People on the reservations have been using mirrors and other reflective items to signal the helicopters that they need help, authorities say. Some roofs have collapsed and many people are stranded in their remote homes, they say.

People aren’t the only hungry ones: Neitzel told CNN that a Tuba City rancher was having a hard time feeding his sheep, and that the snow is making it difficult for the sheep and his horse to move, leaving them vulnerable to mountain lion attacks.

In fact, the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff reports here that as many as three mountain lions have killed three sheep and three cows from two Navajo families.

Neitzel tells CNN he’s never seen a rescue effort this big. The video above is from three days ago, and there’s been more snow since.

As usual, we’ll keep updating.

Gwen Florio