Brittany in faux-Indian garb for the photo shoot (Tyra Banks/Pottle Productions Inc.)
Oh dear, oh dear. We’re going to expand upon this theme in a later post regarding Halloween, but as a member of the Fort Peck Reservation’s Assiniboine tribe told us yesterday, “Indians aren’t a costume.”
Now, could someone please tell Tyra Banks? She thought it was a good idea for the contestants on “America’s Next Top Model” to go all biracial even though they, you know, aren’t.
In this E! Online interview, Brittany – the model who posed in a faux war bonnet – shrugs off any notion that people might be offended. “I hope that the Native American culture doesn’t take it to be offensive.” She also calls it “one of the best shoots of the cycle.”
Apparently trying to get Brittany into the right cultural mindset, Banks told Brittany to think of an eagle during the shoot, according to The Celebrity Cafe. What, Indian people never think about, say, lattes?
Brittany didn’t make it to the show’s next level. Gotta watch that karma stuff. Ya know?
The YWCA of Missoula is seeking help for its Racial Justice Initiative – specifically, the issue of the inequity of health care for Native people.
YWCA Missoula is working on a series of TV and radio commercials that show Native Americans from Montana talking about their experiences with health care inequality and hurtful stereotypes. If you have a story that you’d like to share with the YWCA and the Missoula community, please contact Caitlin Copple at (406) 543-6691 or email@example.com.
That’s what this U.S. News & World Report story says, citing a University of California-Davis study.
Breast cancer disproportionately affects Native women, and the study suggests that a “defeatist” attitude suggesting cancer can’t be cured, and also a stigma against people with cancer, is partly to blame. I’d love to hear what people think about this.
Whatever people think of the study, this seems like a good time to remind everyone of the American Cancer’s Society’s effort to fight breast cancer among Native women. The video says it all.
Today’s buffet of news from around Indian Country is a feast, but your blogger needs more coffee before she launches in. But here’s a tidbit to get us started.
The Journal of Agriculture (we here at Buffalo Post read everything!), alerts us to the fact that, thanks to the Census folks, agriculture statistics from Indian reservations are now available. (You, too, can read the Journal story here.)
Does the combo of ag and numbers make you yawn? Wake up and smell the blue corn. The number of Native farmers and ranchers is skyrocketing (up 88 percent since 2002, compared to a 7 percent rise in the general population, though the Census says that’s because counting methods have changed).
And, since your Buffalo Post blogger is female, she takes particular delight in the fact that the percentage of Native farming and ranching women is more than double that in the general farming and ranching population. (29 percent and 14 percent, respectively.)
For more fun with recently released reservation statistics from the 2007 Census of Agriculture, click here.
At 4 this afternoon, Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Montana Department of Transportation Director Jim Lynch will present traffic safety awards to tribal leaders. The ceremony recognizes their efforts to reduce Native American traffic fatalities and improved traffic safety on reservations in Montana.
Native Americans comprise 6 percent of Montana’s population, but historically, they have represented as much as 20 percent of the motor vehicle crash fatalities in the state and 23 percent of alcohol- related fatalities, according to the MT. Now that’s changing, thanks to the joint efforts of tribe and the agency, the MDT says.
That what the University of Montana School of Journalism titled its series on crime on Montana’s Indian reservations (read it here), and with good reason.
The series examines the tangle of jurisdictions, lack of staffing, spotty prosecutions – one study found that more than half the cases referred for prosecution are declined. It looks at problems like domestic violence, efforts to combat juvenile delinquency, the challenges facing tribal judges. The stories are heartbreaking.
So are the statistics. A federal Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows that the per capita crime rate for Indian people is twice that of the population as a whole, and that nearly 70 percent of criminal investigations in Indian Country involved violent crimes.
That’s unacceptable. And yet, the Empty Justice series shows, apparently it’s all too acceptable. “People just don’t think anything is ever going to change,” says Carletta Benson of the Fort Belknap Reservation, where the tribal council is putting together a public safety forum that will hear complaints and suggestions about law enforcement. “I mean, it’s a nice idea if it works,” Benson says, “but we’ll see.” Let’s hope we do.
This is the 19th year for the School of Journalism’s Native News Honors Project, a series that routinely wins awards. Full disclosure: My son was one of the editors on the project.
Check out this powerful American Cancer Society video on breast cancer, filmed in South Dakota with an all-Native cast.
The campaign focusing on Native women stems from statistics showing that while cancer rates are going down nationally, they remain unchanged among Indian people, said Amanda Sprague, quality of life manager at the American Cancer Society’s Missoula office.
Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in Native women, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.
“We have found in a lot of our research that they aren’t getting the preventative care that they need,” Sprague said.
So the American Cancer Society has produced a 12-minute video and is distributing copies to reservations, schools and health care centers.
“We had to have women willing to share their stories because (those stories) are very powerful,” said Roberta Cahill, an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux tribe, who worked on the video. “But it’s always challenging to have women talk about their personal issues.”
When the video came together, “It was just fantastic. It was extremely moving because you knew the messaging that was coming across was really heartfelt. It was very real. It was very rewarding that the women would trust us to go down this path,” said Cahill, who works for the Cancer Society’s office in Pierre, S.D.
To reserve a copy of the video, or for more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345.
In other women’s health news, Partnership Health Center’s Breast and Cervical Health Program will announce Monday the winner of its T-shirt design contest. The contest, funded by the Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund, is for a Native-themed T-shirt emphasizing women’s health.
Women who get cancer screenings will receive free T-shirts. Alta Pruyn, the program’s community health assistant, hopes that those women “will wear the T-shirt and inspire others to get screened.”
Seven people have entered the contest. Check back here next week for the winner’s name and an image of the winning design.