Archive for September, 2011

By Kevin Graman The Spokesman-Review:

Native and non-native residents of the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation are going to have to work out a local solution to their latest conflict over the right of tribal members to hunt on private property if they want to avoid a drawn-out court battle, a federal official said Tuesday evening.

Speaking at a confrontational meeting at the Plummer Community Hall, Wendy Olson, U.S. attorney for Idaho, said there is no single source of law that answers the question of whether tribal hunters are trespassing on nontribal land.

“I don’t get to make that decision,” Olson said in response to those in the crowd looking for an immediate resolution to a decades-old bone of contention. “Ultimately,” she said, “it will be resolved through litigation.”

But the federal government’s highest law enforcement officer in Idaho advised leaders on both sides to not go down that long trail.

An hour and a half later, tribal Chairman Chief Allan and Benewah County Commissioner Phil Lambert appeared to take Olson’s advice.

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By Talli Nauman, Native Sun News Health and Environment Editor

John Steele

Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele (Courtesy of Native Sun News)


Concerns about drinking water pollution from TransCanada Corp.’s planned Keystone XL Pipeline prompted Oglala Sioux Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele to call a meeting with federal and corporate representatives in Rapid City, S.D., on Sept. 27.

Canada’s indigenous First Nations have blocked the fossil fuel company’s previous plan to pump toxic crude-oil slurry from the tar-sands of Alberta Province to Pacific Coast shipping ports. Now TransCanada Corp. has turned to U.S. President Barack Obama for permission to build the controversial pipeline across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, in hopes of getting the product to the Gulf of Mexico via Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Yellow Bird Steele’s call came on the heels of a Rosebud Sioux Tribe Emergency Summit, Sept. 15-16, which resulted in a sign-on letter urging Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to reject the request for a Presidential permit for the pipeline.

“TransCanada is trying to build the Keystone XL Pipeline through the Sioux Nation’s national 1851 and 1868 treaty territories and around existing Sioux Indian reservations in South Dakota – to avoid dealing with the Sioux tribes,” Yellow Bird Steele said in a memorandum to meeting participants.

However, he noted, the route crosses the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System core pipeline easement in two places.

“Under the Mni Wiconi Act, the concurrence of the Oglala Sioux Tribe is needed before any federal agencies can approve an overlapping easement for the OSRWSS,” he stated.

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28
Sep

Montana tribal college takes back naming rights

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

Tribal and college officials gather for a renaming ceremony. (Courtesy of Aaniiih Nakoda College)


The tribal college that has served the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation got a new name last week: Aaniiih Nakoda College.

The new name erases “Fort Belknap,” replacing it with “Aaniiih Nakoda.” Tribal officials say the new name empowers students by reversing a tide of history.

Here’s the full story from the college:

Fort Belknap Agency, MT – There wasn’t an empty seat in the meeting chambers of the Fort Belknap Indian Community Council, as people crowded in to witness history and the tribal radio station carried the ceremonies live.

“The importance of changing the name of Fort Belknap College is so we can recognize the two tribal nations that we (serve),” college president Dr. Carole Falcon-Chandler said to tribal council members. “This is an historical event for us.”

The council was asked to approve changing the name of the tribal college that has served the Fort Belknap Reservation since 1984. Identified with an old fort named for a U.S. war secretary with no ties to the area, the reservation was established in 1888 for two distinct tribes – the Aaniiih and Nakoda – which today operate under a consolidated government.

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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.

I drove across the Northwest this past weekend. A 1,700-mile trip from Idaho to Seattle, returning via rural roads in Washington, and freeways in Idaho and Montana. Along the route I looked at places and wondered, how will life change during the Era of Contraction?

The Era of Contraction takes form in a big way this week. Congress will either enact a Continuing Resolution – a back of the envelope budget for the fiscal year that starts Saturday – or the government will shut down. At the same time Congress’ Super Committee will come up with its own plans to cut even deeper, trillions.

The most visible sign of a federal West (the one that’s frustrating when you’re trying to get somewhere) is that orange barrel on the Interstate highway. It seemed like every hundred miles or so (probably twice that in Montana) a new crop of orange popped up, speed limits went down, and crews were busy improving a road or a bridge.

But this may have been the last summer what such extensive road and bridge repair. (Unless President Obama’s jobs’ bill passes Congress, but I don’t see the votes for that.) It turns out that driving and road building is a good example of contraction.

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Russell Means updates condition: Tumor diminished significantly
Native actor and activist Russell Means had good news to share in a recent email he sent to The Native News Network.

Among the most positive was that the tumor in his throat has shrunk enoough that he has his voice back and is able to eat solid foods again. Means is currently in Arizona receiving treatment.

He also noted in his email his gratitude for all the support he has received.

    So please continue those prayers and keep that love coming my way because in the end you are all part of the Great Mystery.

Harvesting time for pine nuts, a great addition to many meals
It’s time again to harvest the tiny pine nuts that come from 20 tree species. And Dale Carson has some great ideas on how to use the sweet little morsel.

Fast and fantastic pine nut bread is one use of the tasty morsel that comes from trees around the world and have been used by Natives for centuries. (Courtesy of ICTMN)


An author who has written several Native-themed cookbooks, Carson gives ICTMN some tips on using pine nuts.

    Pine nuts have many uses—tossed raw in salads, served toasted with roasted vegetables like butternut squash, crusted on a filet of white fish, cooked in breads and cakes, or chopped with garlic and fresh basil to make pesto. Pine-nut soup is also a prized Native food. Personally, I love toasted pine nuts sprinkled on desserts, like a peach or apple crisp.

    I use pine nuts frequently, so I buy them in bulk and freeze them. This cuts back on cost; pine nuts can be expensive, as they are harvested by hand. While they may be picked from fallen pinecones, they are rarely good for human consumption, as insects may have tampered with them on the ground.

Hershey museum opens free Native exhibit
Forget the chocolate, the Hershey Museum recently opened a free exhibit featuring artifacts from the original American Indian Museum, the Lebanon Daily News reports.

    Valerie Seiber, left, collection manager at The Hershey Story, and Lois Miklas, public program manager, set up a saddle and saddle blanket display in the Plains Indian area. (Earl Brightbill / Lebanon Daily News)


    This new exhibit, “Indians and Animals: Sharing the Earth As Equals,” will open Thursday and run through Nov. 18. Objects from five cultural regions – the Eastern Woodlands, Great Plains, Southwest, Northwest Coast and Arctic – will be featured.

    The exhibit will be housed in the museum’s Special Exhibit Gallery, located on the first floor of The Hershey Story on Route 422. There is no fee for guests to enter this area.

Gerard Baker at Mount Rushmore (Courtesy of Native Sun News)


By Jesse Abernathy, Native Sun News Staff Writer

MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL – Heritage Village is a remembrance of and a tribute to a way of life long ago usurped by “Western civilization.”

Former park superintendent Gerard Baker, a Mandan-Hidatsa originally from Mandaree, N.D. on the Fort Berthold reservation, envisioned and brought to fruition Heritage Village during his over 30-year quest to incorporate noticeably absent Native American themes and elements into America’s national parks.

Upon appointment as superintendent in 2004, Baker committed himself to opening up more cultural “avenues of interpretation” at Mount Rushmore and said that the omnipresent sculpture of four memorialized presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln – is “only one avenue and one focus” of the park.

As told to documentarian Ken Burns for his 2009 PBS film “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” Baker was initially apprehensive when offered the superintendency.

“It was very challenging to accept the job here, because growing up I understood what Mount Rushmore meant,” he said. “And for us, for Indian people, it doesn’t mean ‘Success of America.’ It means the desecration of the sacred Black Hills; it means the losing of the Black Hills to the United States government, to white people that came in and shoved everybody out of here and put us on a reservation. So it meant a lot of negative things.”

“When I first came here, I’d go out in the park and I would watch people,” said Baker. “They would look at those four presidents and they’d get teary-eyed. This place draws emotion. And it should. But again, we were only telling half the story,” he said.

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A photo of the Native American statue up for auction. (Courtesy of the Pantagraph)


An Illinois school that dropped its Native American school mascot in 2001 is finally dropping a life-size statue of a Native that has stood in its halls for more than 20 years.

The Pantagraph reports that the Bloomington High School Purple Raiders will auction the statue of the buckskin clad character, set holding a shield with a quiver of arrows propped against his leg.

    District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said the district looked at options for finding the statue a new home, including donating the statue to the McLean County Museum of History. It was decided instead to donate it to the booster club, which will share the proceeds from its auction with this year’s senior class.

Reilly could not speak to how strong the market is for statues like the one being sold by BHS, which has slowly eradicted the insensitive material from its hallways.

    Reilly was BHS principal in summer 2001 when the school board decided to discontinue use of the Native American image. Like many schools across the nation, BHS was responding to increasing controversy over what was seen as cultural and racial insensitivity.

    “We weren’t pioneers, but did it early on,” Reilly said of dropping such a symbol.

    Students at the time voted not to adopt a specific mascot as a replacement.

Jenna Cederberg

An important meeting took place last week on the campus at the University of Montana. Missoulian reporter Chelsi Moy has the story:

For years, the University of Montana has worked to recruit higher numbers of American Indian students, but Montana’s tribal college presidents suggested a different approach during a visit to campus Friday.

Recruit Native American professors, staff and researchers first.

“If you can see people who look like you in the classroom and have had the same experiences, the classroom is more acceptable,” said Richard Littlebear, president of Chief Dull Knife College located on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in southeastern Montana.

Nearly all of the tribal college presidents from Montana’s seven Indian reservations attended the daylong meeting.

UM President Royce Engstrom invited his fellow presidents to Missoula so he could develop relationships with other higher education leaders in the state, learn more about tribal colleges and look for areas where UM and tribal colleges can collaborate, he said.

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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.

It’s nearly impossible to know when a new political era has begun for certain.

Congress enacted House Resolution 108 on Aug.1, 1953, officially beginning the era of tribal termination. This dreadful policy was supposed to abolish federal supervision over American Indian tribes and to subject tribal members to state and county authority.

Yet termination didn’t really take off as policy until the late 1950s and 1960s. It was a terrible idea that slowly evolved into a disasterous policy.

It was a simlar shift when President Richard Nixon announced the new policy of self-determination without termination on July 8, 1970. “It is long past time that the Indian policies of the federal government began to recognize and build upon the capacities and insights of the Indian people,” the president said. “… we must begin to act on the basis of what the Indians themselves have long been telling us. The time has come to break decisively with the past and to create the conditions for a new era in which the Indian future is determined by Indian acts and Indian decisions.”

Five years later Congress enacted the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.

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The new course at Salish Cliffs is carved form an emormous 400-acres of pristine land, with each hole seperated. (Courtesy of Forbes)


World-class golf course opening on Washington reservation
A Forbes contributor is calling the new Salish Cliffs golf course that opened this weekend in western Washington “first rate” in his review.

The Salish Cliffs Golf Club adds another stellar element to the Pacific Northwest’s already lush golf course lineup, Forbes’ Larry Olmsted reports.

    The Pacific Northwest has been booming in terms of great golf for the past decade, and is now home to a collection of world class public courses, including the four at Bandon Dunes, the three at Sunriver, and most recently, the soon to be US Open venue Chambers Bay. Every new course that opens here gives golf travelers more ammunition to justify this as a destination trip, and Salish Cliffs ups the firepower.

    One other nice thing about casino courses is that they usually have no real estate component, meaning no homes, and many Native American tribes have ample land for the architect. In this case Bates got about 400 pristine acres, a designer’s dream come true – 18-hole layouts have been built on less than 100-acres. The land is heavily covered with mature Douglas firs and maple trees, and rolls across the base of a mountain range on the Olympic Peninsula, with a total onsite elevation change of nearly 600 feet, again huge by golf course standards.


Berenstain Bears now speaking Lakota language

The beloved bears of Bear Country always lending a hand in teaching a lesson are on a new mission these days: To teach young fans an endangered Native language.

As the Associated Press reports, the Berenstain Bears are now speaking Lakota.

    Lakota for the “Compassionate Bear Family,” the animated series “Mathó Waúnsila Thiwáhe” is the first animated series ever translated into an American Indian language and began airing this week on public television in North Dakota and South Dakota. Twenty episodes of the Berenstain Bears were dubbed into the ancient language of the Sioux, whose tribal lands span both states, and will run weekly through 2011.

    . . .

    Fewer than 6,000 of the 120,000 members of Sioux tribes, who often identify themselves as Lakota, speak the language or its less common but closely related Dakota dialects. The average age of a Lakota speaker is 60, he said.

Jenna Cederberg