Posts Tagged ‘Cherokee’

Courtesy of 9NEWS.com in Denver

Courtesy of 9NEWS.com in Denver


Native American Rock Opera group to audition for “America’s Got Talent”
Brule, a Native American rock opera group, is stopping by the Colorado Indian Market this weekend. Then, they’re off for another stage.

Here’s the 9NEWS’ story on the group.

    In two weeks, the ensemble will audition for America’s Got Talent. Producers of the NBC show spotted the group as the performed their ongoing show in Branson, Missouri.

    This weekend, the Native American dancers, singers and musicians will bring their talents to the stage at the Colorado Indian Market.

    “I think it’s one of the best showcases of Native American talent and artistry in the country,” LaRoche said of the event.

Tracing tribal heritage through DNA questioned
It may be true that an Arizona company can tell if a person is Cherokee through blood tests – but does that really make them Cherokee?

The Tahlequah Daily Press reports that one Cherokee Nation representative noted DNA doesn’t necessarily make them a true Cherokee.

    “Cherokee is a cultural, social and political designation,” said Julia Coates, at-large Cherokee Nation tribal councilor. “There is no biological definition of ‘Cherokee.’ There are several large biological populations in the American hemisphere, but to my understanding, each contains numerous distinct cultural groups.

Census Bureau expands Oneida reservation to 300,000 acres
New lines drawn by the Census Bureau have hugely expanded the Oneida Reservation in New York. The expansion, in fact, blew up the reservation from 32 acres to more than 3,000, Syracuse.com reports. It’s unclear when the new boundary lines were drawn and government officials are wondering if they’re right.

    As of last June, the Oneida reservation on Census Bureau maps was just a 32-acre dot in Madison County. By October, the reservation had sprawled across all or part of at least 18 towns, five villages and three cities. The new map follows the boundaries of the 36-year-old Oneida Indian land claim, which was tossed out of federal court just last week.

    The Census Bureau can adjust boundaries of Indian reservations if tribes submit documents showing the change. If there is any controversy, the bureau will seek an opinion from the Department of Interior. County officials say they’re trying to find out if the Oneidas asked for the change and whether Interior, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, weighed in.

    An Oneida nation spokesman did not return phone calls Wednesday. An Interior Department spokeswoman said she had no information yet.

A Oneida Nation Daily Dispatch story printed this statement:

    According to OIN Spokesman Mark Emery, this isn’t a new issue or a recent amendment to the map.

    “The map, which is prepared by the United States, properly reflects the United States’ longstanding position on the Oneida Nation reservation,” he said in a e-mail statement. “Any previous maps that suggested a different reservation were inaccurate legally, factually and historically, and corrections are appropriate. . . “

Jenna Cederberg

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Hawk, a Cherokee and Mesquaki descendant, uses Native American flute music to help others reconnect with the natural world. (Courtesy of OnMilwaukee.com)

Hawk, a Cherokee and Mesquaki descendant, uses Native American flute music to help others reconnect with the natural world. (Courtesy of OnMilwaukee.com)


New holiday zen: Native traditions and yoga
Driving around the icy streets of Missoula today, my car low on oil, late for work and in search of one last Christmas gift I didn’t find, I really could have used Dennis Hawk.

You see, as OnMilwaukee.com reports, Hawk, a Cherokee and Mesquaki descendant, combines the healing practices of yoga with Native American teachings as a way to help promote an overall sense of well-being and connection to the natural world.
Hawk holds regular conferences that combine yoga and a combination of music and Native American spiritualism. Music plays a large role as well.

Sounds so sweet.

    Last week’s workshops also featured simultaneous Reiki practice, a spiritual technique that seeks to transfer energy through the palms of practitioners’ hands.

    “It’s very interactive,” says Hawk. “It’s almost inducing a dream state to raise conscious awareness of the season changes and winter. Being indoors, we never really experience winter. My teachings ceremonially welcome in the winter in a process of rest and renewal.”

Final TNS10 recap
As a final note to last week’s Tribal Nations Conference in Washington D.C., here’s a video from NAPT’s Gemma Givens cataloging the issues touched on at the summit. Givens has some great footage and original interviews, including the thoughts of Jefferson Keel on positive steps he believes were take for Indian Country in 2010. See NAPT for blogs and more news.

Suicide workshops taking place across the country
You can’t get much braver than Natasha Singh. An Alaska Native, she suffers from depression. And she fought it. The Associated Press’ story last week chronicled Singh’s story of fighting taboos and getting help, as well as highlighted federal listening sessions being held during the next several months to address the problem of Native suicide.

    Singh, who suffers from anxiety, wants to remove the stigma of seeking help in Alaska Native communities. That’s why she decided to speak at one of 10 “listening sessions” being held nationwide by federal agencies through February.

    Federal officials say the sessions aim to explore ways to better address the disproportionate rate of suicides in Alaska Native and American Indian communities, most notably among the young.

Nicole Mason, 14, and her brother haul water to their trailer at St. Theresa Point last winter. (HELEN.FALLDING@FREEPRESS.MB.CA)

Nicole Mason, 14, and her brother haul water to their trailer at St. Theresa Point last winter. (HELEN.FALLDING@FREEPRESS.MB.CA)


Northern Manitoba aboriginal leaders want clean running water

More than 1,400 homes on northern Manitoba reserves have no running water. Native leaders are demanding the number be zero by 2012, the Winnipeg Free Press reported. The chiefs took their concerns to Parliament Hill in Ottawa last week – wondering why the money can’t be spent to bring the basic need of clean water to all on the reserve.

    The lack of running water has been blamed for health issues including skin problems and the easy spread of infections like flu. Without running water, even basic hygiene like handwashing is difficult.

    Last year, Manitoba’s Island Lake region, where half the homes have no running water, was hit hard by the H1N1 flu virus and this year two people have died there after getting seasonal flu, Harper said.

    Bringing running water to 1,448 northern Manitoba homes would require adding kitchen sinks, toilets and bathtubs to houses built without plumbing. In many cases, holding tanks would need to be installed for water delivered by truck. Most reserves have water-treatment plants capable of supplying water for the holding tanks.

Jenna Cederberg

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The 11th season of Native Voices the Autry, starts Oct. 7 with “The Bird House,” by Diane Glancy, who is Cherokee.

Native Voices also produced Glancy’s play “Salvage” in 2008. Native Voices is the country’s only Equity theater company dedicated exclusively to developing and producing new works by Native American playwrights, according to Broadway World:

    Set in the back room of a failing church in the high plains of Texas, The Bird House delves into the lives of a minister and his two sisters as they sort through the snarls of their past and adapt to loss and the uncertain future of their home and family. The cast includes Ellen Dostal as Clovis, and Native Voices Founder/Producing Artistic Director Randy Reinholz (Choctaw*) as Jonathan Logan/ Reverend Hawk, a part written specifically for him.

Read more about the Autry program at its website, and more about Diane Glancy – at DianeGlancy.com.

Gwen Florio

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Swift Sanchez, a sergeant with the Suquamish Tribal Police, returns to her vehicle while on patrol on the Suquamish Reservation in Washington state. Across the country, police, prosecutors and judges have been wrestling with the vexing question for decades. (AP photo)

Swift Sanchez, a sergeant with the Suquamish Tribal Police, returns to her vehicle while on patrol on the Suquamish Reservation in Washington state. Across the country, police, prosecutors and judges have been wrestling with the vexing question for decades. (AP photo)

Question of race complicates crime-fighting on Indian reservations
Today, the Associated Press examines what it calls “the complex legal system used to mete out justice on American Indian reservations – a system that relies largely on race to determine jurisdiction, and then charges police and prosecutors with the sometimes delicate task of determining a person’s race.” As BJ Jones, director of the Tribal Judicial Institute at The University of North Dakota law school, tells the AP’s Sudhin Thanawala, “The whole flaw in the system is that it’s premised upon being an Indian defendant or Indian victim, and yet we have no clear-cut definition of who an Indian is.”

Art through American – and Native American – eyes
The title of a show at the Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey, “Engaging With Nature: American and Native American Artists (A.D. 1200-2004),” says it all. The show features works by, among others, Tewa-Hopi artist Dan Namingha and Kay WalkingStick, who is Cherokee-Winnebago and, says the New York Times, suggests “a different set of possibilities” when it comes to looking at the natural world.


Nick Claxton (left) taught a paddle making course at the University of Victoria. (Photo for Indian Country Today by Hans Tammemagi)

Nick Claxton (left) taught a paddle making course at the University of Victoria. (Photo for Indian Country Today by Hans Tammemagi)

Victoria University sees huge growth in indigenous programs
On the good-news front, there’s a story from Indian Country Today on the growth of Native programs, student enrollment and staff at Victoria University. Hans Tammemagi writes that “By about 2000, a critical mass was reached, and that has grown so today there are 17 full-time Native staff and about 30 part-time or sessional staff. The enrollment of Native students is a good measure of the University of Victoria’s success. A decade ago, there were 72 indigenous students. Today, there are approximately 750, of which 100 are in post-graduate programs.” Emblematic of that growth is the First Peoples House, an architecturally stunning replica of a longhouse that is home to many of the programs.

Saving Canada’s indigenous languages should be campaign priority
Andrea Bear Nicholas, who chairs Native Studies at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, has a piece published on the CBC website about the importance of saving Native languages, something she considers “essential to our survival as First Nations.” And Bear Nicholas, who is Maliseet, suggests that New Brunswick follow the lead of the Yukon and Northwest territories by passing legislation that protects indigenous languages


Whew! Shiprock Navajo Fair is still on

The Navajo Times brings the news that despite controversy over a lack of transparency concerning financial data, the Shiprock Navajo Fair will go on as planned the first weekend of October. The fair draws as many as 120,000 people. “Nobody can stop it,” fair board vice president Charley P. Joe tells the Times’ Erny Zah.

Gwen Florio

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Darrell Dorgan, executive director of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, says the hall traditiionally celebrates the National Day of the Cowboy in July.

leather_logoThis year, it’s adding a celebration of Native American culture, which will be held this weekend and feature three members of tribes located within North Dakota, according to the Hall of Fame’s Cathy Langemo.

“It’s time to begin recognizing the truly rich heritage American Indians brought to the Plains of North Dakota and the struggle they face to preserve their legacy for future generations,” Dorgan says.

Those giving presentations include:

Amy Mossett, who is Mandan-Hidatsa from the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota, and whose work on Sacajawea has received national recognition.

Phil Baird, who is Sicangu Lakota and is the academic dean of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck. Baird, a recognized scholar on rodeo, will talk on “Indian Rodeo Cowboys of the Dakotas.”

And Wallace “Butch” Thunderhawk, a Hunkpapa Lakota of Bismarck, who will talk on “The Re-Emergence of Native American Ledger Art.”

In additional, KSIB-AM reports here:

    Cecil Mashburn, (Red Elk) will also appear at Saturday’s showcase. Mashburn is a member of the Cherokee Nation and the Warrior Society, a Traditional Dancer and world-renowned artist. He has a commissioned painting of Brad Gjermundson, of Marshall, North Dakota, and a four-time world saddle bronc champion and many other art productions of rodeo personalities.

All events take place Saturday. The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame is in Medora, (701) 623-2000.


Gwen Florio

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Elouise Cobell and attorney David Smith explain details of the $3.4 billion Indian trust settlement at a public meeting held on the Salish and Kootenai College campus in Montana back in April. Approval of the settlement funding by Congress has been delayed, most recently in the Senate last week. “We need help in Congress,” she said then in a statement that still applies. (LINDA THOMPSON/Missoulian

Elouise Cobell and attorney David Smith explain details of the $3.4 billion Indian trust settlement at a public meeting held on the Salish and Kootenai College campus in Montana back in April. Approval of the settlement funding by Congress has been repeatedly delayed, most recently in the Senate last week. “We need help in Congress,” she said then in a statement that still applies. (LINDA THOMPSON/Missoulian

Cobell, supporters look to next move in wake of Senate rejection of settlement
The latest setback for congressional approval of the $3.4 billion lawsuit settlement on Native American trust accounts will send its supporters back to the House of Representatives to try again, Mary Garrigan of the Rapid City Journal writes here. Lead plaintiff Elouise Cobell, who is Blackfeet from Browning, Mont., has expressed faith in the backing of House Speker Nancy Pelosi, and South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson has vowed to work toward approval.


Oklahoma universities No. 1 in Native college grads

Northeastern State University, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma led the list of schools graduating Native Americans last year, the Oklahoman reports here. That’s according to a report by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, which also showed that Oklahoma universities made up six of the top 12 schools, and 12 of the top 100.

Author, filmmaker talks on Native military service
The the history of American Indians and the military is the topic of a lecture tomorrow at 6 p.m. at the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center, in Banning, Calif. Gary Robinson, a writer and filmmaker of Choctaw and Cherokee descent, is the co-author of the 2008 book, “From Warriors to Soldiers: A History of American Indian Service in the U.S. Military.” His short film, “I Am the Warrior,” won third place in the 2009 national Veterans Day short film competition hosted by the National Museum of the American Indian, according to the Banning Record Gazette, here.

Vermont panel on tribal recognition seeks new members

The Burlington Free Press writes here that “a new law that sets up a process for state recognition of American Indian tribes in Vermont has revised the makeup of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs and has that panel seeking nine new members.” Gov. Jim Douglas is to appoint the new members by Sept. 1.

Gwen Florio

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tricksterThe Milwaukee Journal Sentinel brings us this review of a new book that sounds like an absolutely fabulous read – and view.

“Trickster: Native American Tales, a Graphic Collection” is edited by Matt Dembicki and pairs 21 American Indian storytellers with graphic artists, reviewer Jim Higgins tells us:

    While Dembicki and his contributing artists have taken pains to respect the cultural integrity of the stories, their visuals never feel politically correct or preachy. Instead, reading this book creates the same excitement that discovering the Brothers Grimm or Italo Calvino’s “Italian Folktales” does, only with pictures as well as words.

    “Trickster” will appeal to graphic novel lovers, folklore enthusiasts, storytellers, young adult readers and everyone interested in the many American Indian cultures.

One, “The Bear Whole Stole the Chinook,” by Blackfeet singer-songwriter Jack Gladstone and Evan Keeling, features a slinky weasel and a magnificently fearsome bear: “The weasel slithered easy through the hole, found the Elk skin bag of the crook. The bear, enraged, roared ‘GO AWAY’ and said, I’M THE BEAR WHO STOLE THE CHINOOK!’”

The book includes “Raven the Trickster” from John Active (Yu’pik), illustrated by Jason Copland; “Coyote and the Pebbles,” by Caddo Nation member Dayton Edmonds and illustrated by Micah Farritor: and “Waynaboozhoo and the Geese,” by Anishinaabe language teacher Dan Jones of Minnesota and illustrated by Michael J. Auger; and Eirik Thorsgard’s “When Coyote Decided to Get Married,” illustrated by Rand Arrington.

Higgins writes that “special visual nods go to Cherokee artist Roy Boney Jr. for his painterly desertscapes in ‘Horned Toad Lady & Coyote,’ and Paul Zdepski’s hallucinatory Hawaiian demons in ‘Puapualenalena, Wizard Dog of Waipi’o Valley.’”

Gwen Florio

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Mike Gates, a member of the Seneca Nation and former Big Island resident, returns to Hawaii in the role of Head Dancer for this year's Hilo Inter-Tribal PowWow on Memorial Day weekend. (Courtesy photo to Big Island Weekly)

Mike Gates, a member of the Seneca Nation and former Big Island resident, returns to Hawaii in the role of Head Dancer for this year's Hilo Inter-Tribal PowWow on Memorial Day weekend. (Courtesy photo to Big Island Weekly)

People on Hawaii’s big island can mark Memorial Day weekend by going to the Hilo Inter-Tribal PowWow, now in its fifth year.

Terrie Henderson of the Big Island Weekly writes here that the event is organized by Liz and Troy De Roche, and emphasizes connections between Native American and Hawaiian peoples and cultures.

    Troy De Roche will be cooking up the wildly popular fry bread and pleasing the crowd with his traditional flute playing. Troy, whose been known to play the flute with flour on his shirt from baking the bread, told Big Island Weekly last year that the recipe he uses for the fry bread is handed down from his grandmother. The Indian tacos are also always a big hit, according to the De Roche family.

This year’s event also will feature the return of Seneca Nation member and former Big Island resident Mike Gates. Gates will be the head dance and Fredricka “Freddie” Hunter, who is Blackfeet from Montana, is head woman dancer.

The host drum for the powwow will be The Wildhorse Singers from Torrance, Calif., cormprising drummers and singers from the Navajo, Apache, Tohono O’Odham and Cherokee nations.

Gwen Florio

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Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, right, talks with members of native American nations prior to a ceremony at the Congressional Cemetery chapel in Washington, Wednesday, May 19, 2010, where he read the Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Peoples. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, right, talks with members of native American nations prior to a ceremony at the Congressional Cemetery chapel in Washington, Wednesday, May 19, 2010, where he read the Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Peoples. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

We’ve been running a day late on everything this week and this very important story from yesterday is no exception. To make up for that, here’s the report in full from Murry Evans of the Associated Press:

Presley Byington, of the Choctaw Nation, Tulsa, Okla., smiles as Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, not shown, reads a Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Peoples during a ceremony in the Congressional Cemetery chapel in Washington, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Presley Byington, of the Choctaw Nation, Tulsa, Okla., smiles as Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, not shown, reads a Congressional Resolution of Apology to Native Peoples during a ceremony in the Congressional Cemetery chapel in Washington, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the leaders of five tribes in attendance, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas read a congressional resolution Wednesday apologizing for “ill-conceived policies” and acts of violence against American Indians by the U.S. government.

Brownback spoke during an event at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., where he and Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, Lois Capps of California and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii joined representatives from the Cherokee, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and Pawnee nations, Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith said.

All those tribes are based in Oklahoma, except for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, which is based in South Dakota.

Smith said that while most tribes had not specifically asked for a formal apology from the U.S. government, the gesture was appreciated.

“It’s difficult to issue an apology and sometimes it’s difficult to accept one,” Smith said by phone from Washington. “Once you put those differences of the past aside, perhaps the next step is, can you do any better in this round? That’s where our greatest challenge is. The history of the U.S. (toward American Indians) is not a bright record. The real question is, what happens from this day forward?”

Brownback, a Republican, had pushed for the resolution since 2004. Both houses of Congress approved it late last year and President Barack Obama signed it in December. Lawmakers have described the resolution as a symbolic gesture that would help promote a renewed commitment by the federal government to the tribes.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Sure wish we could have been in Tulsa tonight for this event.

Wes Studi will be honored at the Circle Cinema’s Walk of Fame that honors Oklahoma film actors. Studi, who is Cherokee, began his career in plays with Tulsa’s American Indian Theater Company before moving on to films, according to this story by Michael Smith of the California Chronicle.

The event including a screening of the film “Reel Injun” that reviews how Native Americans have been depicted in films. See the video clip above — you might want to hit “pause” to linger over the really scary spectacle of William Shatner portraying an Indian person. “Reel Injun” will play a one-week run at the Circle starting May 21.

Several films will be shown in the coming days (click on the link to the story for a schedule). But here’s a sampling: Stagecoach” (1939), John Ford’s story of passengers traveling through Indian country; “The Searchers” (1956), John Wayne stars as an Indian-hating Civil War veteran; “Cheyenne Autumn” (1964), a cavalry unit tracks migrating Cheyennes; “The Outsider” (1961), with Tony Curtis playing World War II veteran Ira Hayes; “Walk the Proud Land” (1956), with Anne Bancroft in the role of an Indian woman; “The Far Horizons” (1955), Donna Reed plays Sacagawea in this Lewis & Clark expedition story.

Let’s just say it takes a long while to get to “The Exiles” (1961), the bleak story of a reservation family’s new life in Los Angeles; “Incident at Oglala” (1992), acclaimed documentary about a murder mystery; “Broken Rainbow” (1985), Oscar-winning documentary about relocating Navajos in Arizona; and “The Silent Enemy” (1930), a docudrama about Indians in Canada.


Gwen Florio

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