Posts Tagged ‘Alaska Natives’

29
Oct

Clinic construction increases rural Alaskans’ access to care

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A local work crew helps construct a health clinic in Hughes. (Courtesy Photo, J.C. Crawford / Courtesy photo)

A local work crew helps construct a health clinic in Hughes. (Courtesy Photo, J.C. Crawford / Courtesy photo)


The National Indian Health Board recently recognized the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s Division of Environmental Health and Engineering with the Area/Regional Impact Award for its work with the Alaska village clinic construction program.

The honor is bestowed each year upon an individual or group displaying positive difference in health care quality and availability for Alaska Natives and American Indians.

The Dutch Harbor Fisherman reports that 114 clinics were built after careful planning and collaboration between DEHE, the Denali Commission and several other groups.

Those off the road system aren’t off the charts anymore – the clinics are state-of-the-art and designed to be as efficient as possible in Alaska’s often isolated villages.

The Harbor Fisherman pieces notes that the new clinics off care and – mighty important in this economy – jobs.

    The commitment to use local force account labor for clinic construction where possible means Alaska’s rural residents have seen new job opportunities and developed a sense of ownership in local health care facilities from the ground up. Once the clinics are ready for use, they provide long-term local jobs in health care and facility maintenance in addition to state-of-the-art health care.

    Jenna Cederberg

Artist rendering of the new Port of Nanaimo cruise ship terminal building. The building will consist of 13,289 sq. feet of CBSA inspection and office space. (Nanaimo Port Authority)

Artist rendering of the new Port of Nanaimo cruise ship terminal building. The building will consist of 13,289 sq. feet of CBSA inspection and office space. (Nanaimo Port Authority)


First Nations vow to block Nanaimo terminal
The Snuneymuxw First Nation says it will turn to the courts in its flight to block construction of a $22-million cruise ship terminal at Nanaimo, near Vancouver. Chief Doug White tells the Vancouver Sun he will go to mediation because the Nanaimo Port Authority is not taking seriously his people’s concerns over the protection of the Nanaimo River Estuary.

Navajo Supreme Court suspends college president
Dine College president Ferlin Clark has been ordered to suspend work until Sept. 21, under a Navajo Supreme Court ruling last week. The Navajo Times reports that the court also released a has released the 172-page investigate report on Clark’s conduct that confirms allegations of “pervasive harassment” and favoritism.

Program helps Native American engineers
North and South Dakota are taking part in a five-year program that aims to recruit American Indian students to become engineers are hoping some of them will return home to help their communities, according to the Rapid City Journal in South Dakota. A $4.8 million National Science Foundation grant funds the program to link four-year engineering schools with community colleges.


Play based on Louise Erdrich novel debuts

Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater last night debuted “The Master Butchers Singing Club,” a play based on the novel of the same name by heralded Anishinaabe author Louise Erdrich. As the Associated Press writes, “the stage adaptation of Erdrich’s novel is by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Marsha Norman. It follows the lives of numerous residents of a small North Dakota town between the first and second World Wars.” Read more at Playbill.com.


Not making this up – Whale rescue film touted as romantic comedy

From the Anchorage Daily News’ rural blog, The Village, comes a delicious tidbit about how Universal Pictures is promoting its whale-rescue movie that will feature several Alaska Natives Seems like the movie will more true to Hollywood than true to life.

Gwen Florio

Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, director of the Indian Health Service, penned the following opinion piece on Mark Trahant’s yearlong series of columns on Indian Country and health care reform. Trahant’s work has been featured every Monday in Buffalo Post, as well by news organizations, websites and other publications around the country:

By Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H.

yvetteMark Trahant is completing a comprehensive and unprecedented series of columns on health reform and the Indian health system. These columns have shed new light on the Indian Health Service (IHS) and how it is influenced by and impacted by the rest of the U.S. healthcare system. These columns were made more timely and relevant by the historic passage of the Affordable Care Act and reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that occurred during Mr. Trahant’s work this past year

These columns have helped put the spotlight on the IHS, which is a health care system that serves 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives from 564 Tribes in 35 states. The IHS rarely is mentioned in the national media, but it serves a critically important role to address the health disparities faced by American Indians and Alaska Natives. Many Americans do not understand the role of this health care system, or the treaty obligations and trust responsibilities that led to its formation over 50 years ago.

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Mikhail, Aleut hunter, by Mary Ellen Frank, in commissioned baidarka by Aleut artist Doug Vaubel. (Photo Mary Ellen Frank)

Mikhail, Aleut hunter, by Mary Ellen Frank, in commissioned baidarka by Aleut artist Doug Vaubel.


Dollmaker focuses on portraits of Alaska Native people
Alaska’s Mary Ellen Frank is in Sitka this weekend for the 2010 International Conference on Russian America. Frank’s contribution? She’s a dollmaker, whose work, along with that of other dollmakers on both sides of the Pacific, is featured at the Sitka Historical Museum. As the Anchorage Daily News writes, Frank walks a fine line because she is not Native, but her internationally renowned dolls are portraits of Alaska Native people. It’s important, she says, to get permission from both individuals and tribes before making each doll. See more of her work on the Juneau Artists website.

New bill address Missouri River dams that flooded Indian Reservations
A half-century ago, something called the Pick-Sloan Program built a number of dams along the Missouri River, flooding lands of seven Indian reservations, destroying homes, farmland and hunting areas. Rob Capriccioso of Indian Country Today writes that “It is estimated that Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes lost 202,000 acres overall, which means the dams destroyed more Native American land than any other public works project in the history of the nation.” Now Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., has introduced a bill that hopes to resolve the problems caused to those tribes.

Hopi Nation, other tribes, fight fake snow on sacred Arizona peaks
The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the ongoing fight by the Hopi Nation and other tribes against snowmaking on the San Francisco Peaks at the Snowbowl ski resort outside Flagstaff, Ariz. The Navajo, Hopi and 11 other tribes view the peaks as sacred and that any moisture there should occur naturally. The Flagstaff City Council will address the issue tomorrow, according to the Daily Sun newspaper in Flagstaff, which has a full report.

Porcupine's Tia Pourier, right, takes a closer look at her sister, Terri's, 14, left, neckless before modeling for the REDSPIRIT Fashion Show. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Rapid City Journal staff)

Porcupine's Tia Pourier, right, takes a closer look at her sister, Terri's, 14, left, neckless before modeling for the REDSPIRIT Fashion Show. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Rapid City Journal staff)

Red Spirit Fashion Show part of cross-cultural effort at Central States Fair
It was the first Unity Day at the 2010 Central States Fair in South Dakota, but it won’t be the last, the Rapid City Journal writes. Among the offerings at the event designed to promote cross-cultural understanding was the Red Spirit Fashion Show featuring contemporary clothing by Native American designers. Native Sun News publisher Tim Giago says Unity Day will be a part of next year’s fair. Giago helped organize South Dakota’s year of Reconciliation 20 years ago in an effort to improve troubled relations between the state’s Native and non-Native people. Now, as then, says Carmen Yellow Horse, it’s important that “we start a conversation.”

Gwen Florio

12
Aug

Fox News blasts $20,000 totem pole commissioned by U.S. Census

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

“The totem pole didn’t work,” says this Fox News story, which criticizes efforts to increase participation by Alaska Natives in this year’s Census.

The totem pole was part of a $20,000 project commissioned by the Census Bureau and carved by Alaskan artist Tommy Joseph.

It was part of a campaign to get people in Alaska’s tiny and far-flung villages to participate in larger numbers in the Census. But, as Fox reports:

    Data provided by the Census Bureau shows that Alaska’s mail-in response rate actually was lower this year than in 2000. Sixty-two percent of Alaska residents mailed back their census forms in 2010, compared with 64 percent in 2000.

    Not only that, but despite a tripling of the bureau’s ad budget to about $340 million, the mail-in response rate nationwide clocked in at 72 percent — same as a decade ago.

The story quotes Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, who terms the totem pole “the latest example of a mismanaged agency spending taxpayers’ money like it grows on trees – or totem poles.”

Gwen Florio

Mark Trahant is a Kaiser Media Fellow examining the Indian Health Service and its relevance to the national health care reform debate. He is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and writes from Fort Hall, Idaho. Comment at www.marktrahant.com. His new book is “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Every agency that serves American Indians and Alaska Natives must answer these questions in order to fuel the decision-making process: How much will it cost? How many people are served? And, by the way, who is an Indian?

None of the answers are easy. The demand for federal services is growing as resources shrink. And in the health care arena the key to sustainable funding is Medicare and Medicaid (including the Children’s Health Insurance Program) where definitions are complicated by multiple factors.

Consider eligibility: More than 560 tribal communities with members living on or near reservations or spread out in urban areas. Each tribe defines its membership but that data is rarely collected for use in health statistics because it’s often privately held. The U.S. Census allows each individual to define his or her own status by checking a box. (Some 5 million by this count.)

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11
Aug

French linguist works to revive Alaska Native language of Eyak

   Posted by: admin    in Uncategorized

Guillaume Leduey is only 21, but he speaks his native French, along with English, German, Chinese and Georgian, and – according to this Wall Street Journal story (click for a video link about Leduey) – he can also sing at least one song in Lithuanian.

Now Leduey is adding along language to his repertoire, one with considerable emotional importance both to him and to an entire people – Eyak.

As Jim Carlton writes, Marie Smith Jones, the last native speaker of the indigenous Alaskan language, died in 2008:

    Lots of local dialects across the world face extinction, but few have attracted a preservationist as unlikely as Mr. Leduey, an aspiring sculptor who until June hadn’t left Europe. That month, he journeyed to Alaska to study under Michael Krauss, a 75-year-old University of Alaska linguistics professor who knows conversational Eyak. Mr. Leduey set out to traipse in the footsteps of the tribe that once inhabited this gritty fishing village on Prince William Sound.

Leduey tells Carlton that “It’s like I have an inner voice that tells me I have to do that.”

Smith’s daughter, Mona Curry, says that “this will help keep my mom’s memory and spirit alive.”

Gwen Florio

Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team members take to the field to play an exhibition game in Centre Island, N.Y., earlier this week. (AP Photo/Newsday, Patrick E. McCarthy)

Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team members take to the field to play an exhibition game in Centre Island, N.Y., earlier this week. (AP Photo/Newsday, Patrick E. McCarthy)


“Frustrated and tired” Iroquois Nationals head home
This Montreal Gazette story describes the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team as “very frustrated and tired” as they head home after losing a high-profile battle to travel to the World Lacrosse Championships in England on their Haudenosaunee Confederacy passports. Jessica Shenandoah, Iroquois Confederacy secretary, says that “it hasn’t killed our effort. We’re still going to continue it. This is not the end.” Watch a video, here.


More to Whiteclay than beer

The Nebraska town of Whiteclay is notorious for the 4 million cans of beer it sells every year, mostly to residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, just across the border in South Dakota. But as Mary Garrigan of the Rapid City, S.D., Journal writes here, a lot of people also depend upon the hamlet for groceries.

Upgrade for Seattle shelter for homeless Native American youth

Labateyah House in Seattle, a refuge and a place of healing for homeless Native American youth, is about to get an upgrade. It was founded in 1992 by Native American activist Bernie Whitebear and today is an open house where homeless youth ages 18 to 22 can find a place to stay, schooling and life skills, according to Tonya Mosely of KING 5 News, here.

Alaska village youth attempt boating rescue; also involved in fending off 2007 griz attack
These two young men appear to be the ones you want around if you’re in trouble, according to The Village, here, the rural blog of the Anchorage Daily News. Michael Rock and A.J. Nakarak of Shaktoolik came to the aid of brothers clinging to a buoy after their fishing boat was swamped. And, about three years ago, they also intervened in a grizzly attack.

Vote on federal recognition for Native Hawaiians expected soon

Native Hawaiians could finally be treated the same as the nation’s other indigenous groups – but only if a U.S. Senate vote on federal recognition is taken before fall elections, according to the AP, here. That’s because the majority in the Senate might change after November, meaning that it could be years – if ever – before the matter comes up again.

Gulf tribes seek advice on BP oil disaster
Native American tribes who live along the Gulf of Mexico coast in Louisiana are seeking advice from other indigenous groups who’ve dealt with environmental disasters, according to this Voice of American story. They’ve talked to Alaskan Natives about the Exxon Valdez disaster, and also indigenous people in Ecuador about the largest environmental lawsuit in history, against Texaco over toxic waste.

Gwen Florio

An aerial view with the moon over the Kenai Mountains, Kachemak Bay, and the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (AP Photo/Scott Dickerson)

An aerial view with the moon over the Kenai Mountains, Kachemak Bay, and the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (AP Photo/Scott Dickerson)


Alaska tribe pins economic hopes on new ferry
The Seldovia Village Tribe in Alaska has unveiled the newest ferry in Kachemak Bay — the M/V Kachemak Voyager — which arrived last week at the Homer Port and Harbor. It’s part of a plan from a nearly $1 million boat ramp to be built by the tribe, according to this Homer Tribune story. The ferry will allow tribal members to more easily get to jobs in Homer, 45 minutes away by boat.


First Nations women stage 300-mile march to protest gender discrimination

Despite extensive changes, Canada’s Indian Act still promotes discrimination, especially against women, Indian Country Today’s Gale Courey Toensing writes here. Under the act, Native women who marry non-Native men lose their Indian status, and so do their children, something the protesters term “slow genocide.”

Funding snafu leaves Nunavut law school high and dry

Some 25 Nunavut students had hoped to study law by next September. But the government of Nunavut rejected a $3.6 million funding request from the Akitsiraq Law School Society, throwing those plans in doubt, the Nunatsiaq News reports here.


Grits are originally Native American

So says this San Francisco Chronicle story. Although somewhere along the line they became emblematic of Southern food, they’re made from hominy, which comes from corn – and you know who first cultivated that.

Reality check, during Stanley Cup, on Blackhawks’ name
WLS-TV in Chicago has this piece on the National Hockey League’s Blackhawks name. Check out the story and see what you think. This Flyers fan suggests an alternative – root for Philadelphia. Just sayin’.

This?
blackhaws

Or this?
flyers

Gwen Florio

Sam McCracken, manager of Nike's Native American business program, shows new Nike Air Native N7 shoe at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in 2007. (AP photo)

Sam McCracken, manager of Nike's Native American business program, shows new Nike Air Native N7 shoe at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in 2007. (AP photo)

Here’s the entire story from the Associated Press:

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Nike and the Bureau of Indian Education have agreed to a memorandum of understanding in which the two will collaborate on ways to promote healthy lifestyles for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Included in the effort will be a focus on combating diabetes, a disease that affects nearly 13 percent of the American Indian and Alaska Native population.

A signing ceremony marking the agreement was held May 12 at Nike headquarters in Beaverton. Nike began its programs for Native American communities in the U.S. more than 10 years ago.