Archive for January, 2011

Mike Trahant

Mark Trahant


Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s recent book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

The National Congress of American Indians proposed a fiscal year 2012 budget last week. It called for modest increases in a variety of federal programs, making the case that more money is required for American Indian and Alaska Native programs because of historic underfunding.

“Tribal leaders look to the upcoming fiscal year with great anticipation for honorable fulfillment of federal trust, treaty, moral and statutory obligations to tribes in the 21st century,” the proposal said. The NCAI budget proposal “presents a fresh opportunity for the U.S. government to live up to the promises made to tribes….” The NCAI request captures the wide variety of needs for services and programs across Indian Country.

In some years this proposal might get a fair hearing. Not this year.

NCAI describes the essence of the challenge ahead: “… in FY 2012, Indian programs should, at least, be held harmless and exempted from across-the-board recessions.”

Can Indian Country hold on to its gains, budget-wise and program-wise? Will essential services – money for schools, clinics, tribal governments – be cut so deeply that the result is havoc? Is there any sort of back-up plan? The answers to those questions are complicated by the failure of Congress to pass a budget last year and that’s where much of the action begins on Capitol Hill. There’s a range of thinking that goes from congressional calls for deep reductions to the Obama administration’s proposal for an overall budget freeze. Or worse.

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Margaret A. Cargill (Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, via the Los Angeles Times)

Margaret A. Cargill (Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, via the Los Angeles Times)


One gigantic portion of reclusive billionaire Margaret A. Cargill’s fortune will be set aside to benefit Native America culture and art, it was announced last week.

Cargill lived a “low-profile” life and died in 2006. Now money from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, which figures to have assets of $4 billion or more, is going to help Native American culture and folk art flourish, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The foundation will have three branches and will be known as the M.A.C. Foundation.

    Cargill, who loved weaving, glass art and jewelry-making, was an heir to the privately held Cargill agribusiness fortune. Plans call for her share of the company to gradually be liquidated and transferred to her charities starting this spring and continuing over the coming 41/2 years.

    The result could be a reversal of fortune for two genres that have long been like backwoods cousins to more favored — and urban — precincts of the arts.

    . . .

    Native American initiatives will begin the foundation’s grant-making, starting late this year or early 2012 with a program focused on the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Then M.A.C. will roll out Native American programs for the Southwest and Upper Midwest, after which it will be ready to begin making grants for folk art.

Jenna Cederberg

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John T. Williams (CTV photo)

John T. Williams (CTV photo)


Seattle police given high marks for woodcarver shooting investigation
The Seattle Police Department did a thorough and unbiased investigation into the fatal shooting of woodcarver John T. Williams by Seattle officer Ian Birk, according to a review conducted by a San Diego Police Department homicide commander, according to a Seattle Time’s story.

Northern Alberta first nation loses oil sands appeal
From News 880 AM:
The Alberta Court of Appeal has sided with the Alberta government and against the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in a case involving oil and gas rights.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation argued that the Alberta Government through the Energy Minister can not grant resource rights in the form of long term oil sands leases without consultation. The Crown countered that the First Nation challenge was not filed within six months of a decision awarding a lease to Shell.

At issue was when did the clock start to count down…from the date of the government decision or from the date the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation was notified of the decision? A lower court agreed with the government that the challenge was filed too late. The First Nation launched an appeal

The Court of Appeal considered all of the arguments and Friday morning it dismissed the First Nation’s appeal.

Events to explore contemporary land issue in Indian Country

“Lessons of Our Land: The Indian Land Tenure Foundation Speaker Series” will take place during February and March at The University of Montana. The series will focus on contemporary land issues in Indian Country, casting a light on our relationship to the Earth and the management of Indian trust land.

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Cartoon by Marty Two Bulls

Cartoon by Marty Two Bulls

Thanks to Marty Two Bulls, via Indian Country Today Media Network, for this week’s Buffalo Post “Pic” of the week. Here’s a link to the ICTMN’s cartoon page.

The Court-ordered process of notifying individual Indians of their right to participate in the historic $3.4 billion class action Settlement, Cobell v. Salazar, began this week.

Desautel Hege Communications sent out this notice about the notification process, who is eligible and what they could receive:

    Two Classes Eligible to Receive Money from the Settlement:
    • The Historical Accounting Class: Individual Indians who had at least one cash transaction in an open IIM Account between October 25, 1994 and September 30, 2009.
    • The Trust Administration Class: Individual Indians who owned trust land as of September 30, 2009 or who had an IIM account at any point in time between 1985 and September 30, 2009.
    • Estates of deceased Class Members may also be eligible to receive money.

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In case you missed it: The state of Indian nations is strong, National Congress of the American Indian president Jefferson Keel said during the 2011 State of Indian Nations address on Thursday.

But it is also standing at a crossroads. In the approximately 25 minute speech, Keel issued a call to tribal governments to join together to help build the “new era.”

The new era is possible because of the new and stronger partnership between federal government and the Tribal nations. However, more improvements are necessary and the work is not done. The state of economy means self reliance is a necessity, and tribes need to capitalize on this, Keel said.

To fully realize the new era, nations need to continue to work to secure full economic potential of the nations, Keel said.

Keel noted the passage of things like Tribal Law and Order Act, the Indian health and Improvement act, the settlement of Cobell and Keepseagle lawsuits, and the adoption of the declaration of the rights of indigenous people as keys to improving life in Indian Country.

“These achievements set the stage for a new era in Indian Country,” Keel said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowsi read the response from Congress following Kee’s speech.

Watch live streaming video from ncai at livestream.com

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The 2011 State of Indian Nations address will be delivered Thursday morning at at 10:30 a.m. EST (that’s 8:30 a.m. for those of us in MST) from the Newseum’s Knight Studio.

    The speech will reflect on the state of Indian Country going into 2011 and outline the key priorities for the federal government to consider when working to uphold the federal trust responsibility to tribal nations.

    The address will be broadcast live on NCAI.org. We encourage people all around the country to have viewing events at offices, schools, community centers, and in homes.

President of the National Congress of American Indians and Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma Jefferson Keel will deliver the speech. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will deliver a congressional response after Keel speaks.

It shouldn’t be hard to catch the address, along with the live stream from NCAI, the speech will be broadcast to radio stations via the Native Voice One (NV1) network and the Native America Calling program.

Jenna Cederberg

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From Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Staff Writer

John Graham (AP Photo/Steve McEnroe)

John Graham (AP Photo/Steve McEnroe)

RAPID CITY — The third person to be convicted in connection with the murder of Indian Activist Anna Mae Aquash was sentenced Monday by Seventh Circuit Judge Jack Delaney.

John Graham, a Southern Tutchone Athabaskan from Whitehorse, Yukon Canada was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He will serve his sentence in a South Dakota State Corrections Facility.

In December, Graham who stood trial accused as the trigger man in the execution style murder of Aquash, was found guilty of felony murder committed during a kidnapping.

Aquash, a Mi’kmaq from Nova Scotia, a prominent leader of the American Indian Movement during their 1970’s struggle against oppression of Indian people, was found murdered in the Badlands on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in February of 1976.

Both daughters of Aquash, Denise Maloney Pictou and Debra Jean Maloney spoke to Graham prior to sentencing and told him that there is not a day that goes by since their mothers murder 35 years ago that they don’t think about her.

“Thirty-five years is an incomprehensible amount of time to wait for justice,” Denise Maloney said and it was people who she trusted, members of AIM “that delayed the hands of justice with their lies and oath of silence.”

The irony she said was that the injustices that her mother fought to uphold were in the end the injustices that were committed against her by her own people.

“Until you tell the truth you deserve what you get,” she said to Graham as she held up a picture of her mother. “This John Graham is what you stole from me.”

Debra Malony said to Graham that in Mi’kmaq speaking from the heart meant speaking the truth.

She said she was prepared for everything she saw and heard during the trials until the last few moments of her mother’s life were revealed.

“What I wasn’t prepared to hear that in the last few moments of her life she prayed in Mi’kmaq. At that moment she became a warrior,” she said.

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Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy, left, and current Canadiens goaltender Carey Price walk away as the banner is raised during a ceremony retiring  Roy's number 33 jersey before the team's NHL game against the Boston Bruins in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008.  (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy, left, and current Canadiens goaltender Carey Price walk away as the banner is raised during a ceremony retiring Roy's number 33 jersey before the team's NHL game against the Boston Bruins in Montreal on Saturday, Nov. 22, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)


Globe and Mail piece on Carey Price (Ulkatch), via ICTMN:

MONTREAL — It’s said Ron Hextall used to lock himself in a room before big games to shriek at the top of his lungs.

Jeff Hackett would darkly warn teammates of the bloody consequences of fiddling with his goaltending gear.

To say nothing of the deeply bizarre Gilles Gratton, who claimed to be the reincarnation of a Spanish conquistador and once pulled himself from a game because the stars were improperly aligned.

Let’s face it: Those who don the tools of ignorance and willingly stand in the way of large men with sticks and airborne bits of vulcanized rubber are necessarily a little odd.
Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy, left, and current Canadiens goaltender Carey Price walk away as the banner is raised during a ceremony retiring Roy’s jersey.
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Former Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy, left, and current Canadiens goaltender Carey Price walk away as the banner is raised during a ceremony retiring Roy’s jersey. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

But in the case of Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, he of the Zen-like placidity and heavy-lidded languor, the weirdest thing is he’s not very weird at all.

There are no pregame rituals, no evident superstitions and no obvious quirks or zaniness.

The default expression on his broad, smooth-skinned face is a mix of bemusement and serenity as he sits in the far corner of the Habs’ opulent dressing room — his stall sits below a photo of Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy — large dark eyes taking in his surroundings.

That he can be so composed, level-headed and, well, normal in a city that eats its goaltenders raw makes it all the more remarkable.

He may be one of the few people on the planet who could use a prescription to increase his blood pressure.

“I don’t know,” Price said recently when asked about his demeanour. “I guess it’s because I grew up in the middle of nowhere. There’s not a lot to get excited about. And I think a lot of it comes from my parents and the way they raised me.”

Price was raised in Anahim Lake, B.C., a community in the northern Chilcotin wilderness so tiny it barely rates a dot on most road maps.

His mother, Lynda, is the chief of the Ulkatcho band and his non-native father, Jerry, a former minor-league goaltender who once bought a plane to fly Price to elite-level hockey in Williams Lake, B.C., 320 kilometres away, is a career consultant and part-time goalie coach with his son’s former junior team, the Tri-City Americans.

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Native American Passions is up and running, and has plenty of users so far. The site is devoted to connecting Native Americans and to those “interested in Native Americans” and the culture.

It bills itself as a 100 percent free online dating and social networking site for the Native American community, where members can come for romance, chatting or friendships. It’s a part of the Passions Network for online dating.

You need a username and password to sign up. Most already using the site have pictures posted with their profiles. There’s a lot to explore on the site, without logging in it’s hard to tell what exactly is free. There are more than a few links to dating sites that aren’t “100 percent free.” Looks like there are about 30 questions to answer in the “About me” section and about the same in the “About my match (what I’m looking for)” section.

    Members can take advantage of the ‘Native American Groups’ to find other members based on which tribe they belong to. More than 50 tribes are represented by members within the site already, including Apache, Blackfoot, Cherokee, Choctaw and Cree, among others. Aside from finding members based on their tribal affiliation, members can browse a large number of other groups meant to help define what it is they are looking for on the site (ie. chat, dating, marriage, etc.). There is even a group specifically to help members find others who enjoy attending Pow Wows.

Jenna Cederberg

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