Posts Tagged ‘Navajo Nation’

Peter MacDonald Sr. (Courtesy of the Navajo Nation, via ICTMN)


At 83, Peter MacDonald Sr. is no stranger to being a leader and now he’s been elected to serve yet another distinguished group.

MacDonald, who served as the Navajo Nation’s chairman for four terms was elected last week to lead the Navajo Nation Code Talkers, ICTMN reports.

    MacDonald takes over the role that was previously held by Keith M. Little, who passed away on January 3.

    “I will do my best as your president,” MacDonald said while addressing his fellow comrades and their families upon accepting the position. “I am committed and dedicated to establishing the National Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Veterans Center…I need your help.”

MacDonald led the Navajo Nation as chairman for four terms, the last which ended in 1991. He served in WWII from 1944-46.

    Even at 83 MacDonald continues to give lectures across the nation and resides in Tuba City, Arizona on the Navajo Nation with his wife Wanda. They have five kids and seven grandchildren.

Jenna Cederberg

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Kristen Dosela, 20, on the Gila River Reservation, says young Indians often struggle to engage the future while retaining tradition.  (Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic)

Kristen Dosela, 20, on the Gila River Reservation, says young Indians often struggle to engage the future while retaining tradition. (Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic)

Its’ not a new problem, but it remains a challenge: Securing a full, bright tomorrow for the traditions and motivations of tribes across the nation means channeling the talents of the youth who make up the Native populations in the fast approaching future.

How to do that – inspire and secure the youth on paths to education and leadership – has been a goal of former Navajo Nation President Peterson Zah, as the Arizona Republic reports.

Now is a time when the tribal governments across the nation are pushing for more sovereignty, the AR points out, but Zah is worried that the tough realities on most reservations continue to keep promising leaders on paths away from leadership.

The youth need role models, Zah said.

Youth leadership mentor McClellan ‘Mac’ Hall gave his take as well.

    McClellan “Mac” Hall, director and founder of the New Mexico-based National Indian Youth Leadership Project, said indigenous teens are confronted by a legacy of subjugation, a shortage of mentors and a minefield of socio-economic barriers.

    “You can stay stuck in that historical trauma, or you can move on,” Hall said. “We’re trying to look past that and make a more positive future.”

    Hall, a Cherokee married to a Navajo, worked for years as a high-school teacher and principal in Gallup, watching students get sucked into a vortex of failure. Finally, he quit to create a program that blends team building, civic responsibility and personal development.

    “I think people are looking for fresh ideas and motivated youth,” Hall said.

Jenna Cederberg

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Helen Moore, 70, shapes dough for fry bread at Flowing Water Navajo Casino on Nov. 10, in Hogback, N.M. (The Daily Times, Rebecca Craig, Associated Press)

Helen Moore, 70, shapes dough for fry bread at Flowing Water Navajo Casino on Nov. 10, in Hogback, N.M. (The Daily Times, Rebecca Craig, Associated Press)


Before she was dubbed “Champion Fry Bread Maker” at the Flowing Water Navajo Casino in New Mexico, Helen Moore, 70, was a postal worker, a teacher and worked from the Bureau of Indian Education. She was a bilingual teacher and worked seasonally at an agricultural products business.

Now her days are spent carefully crafting the traditional favorite in the most authentic of ways, as the Deseret News reports. She is one of two chefs that are on full-time fry bread duty at the new casino.

Moore learned the craft as a child and now will help Flowing Waters fill its more than 400 orders for the treat each day. She can measure the recipe by sight and knows just how well the fry bread goes with mutton stew, another favorite at the casino. It’s something she made for her sister and brothers, then taught her children the recipe so they could keep the tradition alive.

Moore holds this process close to her heart.

    The process of making fry bread is deeper than clocking in for work every morning, however, Moore said.

    “A lot of it is your mood,” she said while stretching a ball of dough in preparation of dropping it into the deep fryer. “If you’re angry or upset, the dough will not cooperate. If you come to work frustrated, the dough won’t come out good. It’s best if you’re in a good mood. The dough will be soft.”

    Though working hand-in-hand to produce jobs and revenue in Hogback, casinos and fry bread share an unappetizing history.

    The Navajo people began making fry bread when they were forced off their sacred land in the Four Corners in 1863 and were rationed government supplies of flour, salt, baking powder, lard and water.

Jenna Cederberg

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Louisa Pilurtuut with her newborn son William. William was born on an Air Inuit medevac to Kuujjuaq Nov. 16. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

Louisa Pilurtuut with her newborn son William. William was born on an Air Inuit medevac to Kuujjuaq Nov. 16. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)


Nunavik mom gives birth at high altitudes
Somewhere between Kangiqsujuaq and Kuujjuaq and more than a month early, Nunatsiaq Online reports, Louisa Pilurtuut brought into the world baby William.

First time mother Louisa Pilurtuut (Kangiqsujuaq) was surprised by labour pains last week and an Air Inuit Twin Otter medevac flight from Kuujjuaq arrived at the community to bring her to a hospital.

But baby didn’t wait and Pilurtuut gave birth on the plane. They were monitored at the hospital and later release.

Here’s the best part, Nunatsiaq reports:

    And although he’s too young to know it, little William can look forward to free flights on Air Inuit for the rest of the life.

    Air Inuit offers a free pass to infants born on its flights — although this offer hasn’t been extended often.

Cheyenne River tribal leader opposes $3.4 billion Cobell settlement
It was a big week for Elouise Cobell – as the lawsuit she’s fought 14 years to win finally garnered Senate approval (it now needs to pass the House and be signed by the president).

But Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Joseph Brings Plenty says the $3.4 billion agreed on in the settlement is not enough, the Rapid City Journal reports.

Based on the number of people who could get claims under the settlement, it just isn’t enough, he said. Brings Plenty (who is the outgoing chairman) rejects the financial argument that says “something is better than nothing,” the RCJ reported.

    “It’s not really fair, as far as the settlement is concerned, if you calculate what they should be getting paid,” Brings Plenty said. “It’s dangling some funds in front of individuals who are living in a poverty-stricken area. Of course it’s going to be appealing.”

$3.6 million broadband project will benefit Hopi, Navajo communities
Indian Country Today reports that thanks to a loan/grant 61 miles of fiber-optics between the communities of Jeddito and Holbrook, Ariz., bettering the Internet access in the Hopi and Navajo communities.

The $3.6 million loan-grant for a broadband project is funded by federal stimulus dollars.

    (Hopi Telecommunitcations Inc.) reports several entities will directly benefit from this fiber connection including the Hopi Cultural Center, the Hopi Health Care Center, Hopi Police and courts, area schools and tribal offices. HTI also plans to construct facilities and install equipment to provide broadband services to subscribers that are currently not being served around the communities of Jeddito and Spider Mound. Approximately 400 residences in the Jeddito and Spider Mound communities do not have access to telephone or broadband services.

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Here’s the Associated Press’ latest election night story from Arizona:

Ben Shelly (Courtesy of KOB.com)

Ben Shelly (Courtesy of KOB.com)

Navajos elect tribe’s vice president to top post

By FELICIA FONSECA
Associated Press

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Navajos have chosen the tribe’s vice president as their next leader.

Ben Shelly defeated New Mexico Sen. Lynda Lovejoy in Tuesday’s election, becoming the first vice president elected to the tribal presidency. Shelly had 32,910 votes to Lovejoy’s 29,535 votes with just two precincts outstanding.

Shelly and his running mate, Rex Lee Jim, won despite criminal charges they face in an investigation of slush funds that were revealed just ahead of the election. Shelly has pleaded not guilty to fraud, conspiracy and theft.

Shelly says his 16 years as a tribal lawmaker and four as vice president will ensure stability in the tribal government that has been mired in political conflict. He plans to focus on government accountability, creating jobs and education.

Lovejoy has said that Navajos needed a leader with fresh ideas, not a career tribal politician.

Jenna Cederberg

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1
Nov

Rock the Native vote today

   Posted by: admin    in Native leaders, Native politics

Courtesy of Rock the Native Vote, UnitedNativeAmercia.com

Courtesy of Rock the Native Vote, UnitedNativeAmercia.com

It’s Nov. 2. Time to Rock the Native vote. Need a little inspiration, some facts or voter information?

Some high-profile races involving Natives will be decided today – including a bid by the first woman to be elected president of the Navajo Nation. A successfuly run by Lynda Lovejoy would make history.

Another race to watch today out of Arizona: Chris Deschene running for Secretary of State in Arizona.

A lot going on in Alaska as well: Diane Benson.

And that’s just a sampling of the races will be decided today. Buffalo Post encourages you to help make those decisions. It’s going to be an interesting night ahead.

Jenna Cederberg

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Kyle Curley (left) shares a laugh with ASU student Yili Yu in front of ASU Discovery Hall in Tempe. Curley was promoting the candidacy of Chris Deschene, the first Native American to run for a statewide office in Arizona. DEIRDRE HAMILL/The Arizona Republic

Kyle Curley (left) shares a laugh with ASU student Yili Yu in front of ASU Discovery Hall in Tempe. Curley was promoting the candidacy of Chris Deschene, the first Native American to run for a statewide office in Arizona. DEIRDRE HAMILL/The Arizona Republic


It’s that time again. Election season: We’ve got political ads, debates, editorials, candidate scandals and oh yeah – the actual vote. And according to the Arizona Republic, Native Americans are warming up more than ever to having their voices heard through the ballot.
The candidates’ aim to attract Tribal members’ votes has always been strong, it may be even more ramped up now that, at least in Arizona, it looks like more and more of the Native population is signing up and checking those boxes.

    Native Americans’ political involvement is at a turning point, says Peterson Zah, a former Navajo Nation president who is now a special adviser on Native American affairs at Arizona State University.

    “When somebody like Barack Obama can become president, I think it gives a lot inspiration. I think that from here on out, you’re going to see more of the Indian people, especially the young people, voting and having aspirations to run for state office, and I think that Chris Deschene is the beginning of that,” he said.

Here’s a little more about Chris Deschene, the first Native American to run for a statewide office in Arizona.

Have you registered to vote?

Jenna Cederberg

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19
Oct

Navajo closer than ever to electing woman leader

   Posted by: admin    in Navajo, Politics

Lynda Lovejoy waves to the crowd during the Navajo Nation Fair parade on Sept. 11, 2010 in Window Rock, Ariz./ FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press

Lynda Lovejoy waves to the crowd during the Navajo Nation Fair parade on Sept. 11, 2010 in Window Rock, Ariz./ FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press


Getting sense of who may become the first woman leader of the Navajo Nation (the world’s largest Indian reservation) is easy in this Associated Press story.
Lynda Lovejoy is running, and gaining speed against her male opponent, for president. As the story points out, it’s not an easy campaign trail she’s been hikiing. It’s not hard to find the “gender angle” in articles all over the Internet. And some people still believe “Women belong in the kitchen,” as is quoted in the story.
But it’s always more complicated than that, isn’t it? Lovejoy doesn’t always wear traditional dress, is Catholic and is married to a non-Navajo.
We’ll all have to wait and is if she, too, becomes a president. The election is Nov. 2.

    Men long have been the leaders of Navajo people and traditionally consulted with women in the communities as equals. Navajos see each person as having female and
    male aspects that create balance.
    Philmer Bluehouse, a traditional peacekeeper, said those who believe women can’t be president likely are looking to a Navajo tale of a female who was given a leadership post but became angry and controlling.
    But some fail to look beyond that story to one in which the deity White Shell Woman gives birth to the Twin Warriors, who rid the world of monsters such as greed, poverty and hate, Bluhouse said. According to Navajo lore, all Navajos can trace their ancestry back to her, and she’s considered to be the ideal woman.
    Both Lovejoy and Shelly know the story but are quick to note they’re no experts in tradition. They are familiar, though, with “monsters” that come in the form of a more than 50 percent unemployment rate, the abuse of women and children, infighting in tribal government and neglected elderly.

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David Steindorf starts the Massey Ferguson tractor his father bought in 1961 – and which Steindorf still uses – as his brother Jim watches recently at their place near Charlo. The Steindorfs’ grandfather, Albert, homesteaded the land when the Flathead Indian Reservation was opened up to non-Indians 100 years ago. Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian

David Steindorf starts the Massey Ferguson tractor his father bought in 1961 – and which Steindorf still uses – as his brother Jim watches recently at their place near Charlo. The Steindorfs’ grandfather, Albert, homesteaded the land when the Flathead Indian Reservation was opened up to non-Indians 100 years ago. Photo by TOM BAUER/Missoulian


Flathead Indian Reservation sees centennial of white settlement
Joe McDonald, whose father sold off two allotments to pay for his brother's casket. (Tom Bauer/Missoulian)

Joe McDonald, whose father sold off two allotments to pay for his brother's casket. (Tom Bauer/Missoulian)

This year marks the centennial of homesteading on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, a painful time that saw much of the reservation’s Indian land sold off to non-Natives. In today’s Missoulian, Vince Devlin has a pair of stories told from both the perspective of the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille tribes who watched their lands vanish, and from that of the whites who moved there, often not knowing how those lands were obtained. “They were certainly brave souls,” Joe McDonald says of the homesteaders. “Most came in and didn’t know the politics” behind the opening of the reservation to non-Indians. McDonald’s own father sold off two of the family’s tribal allotments to pay for a casket for his little brother. The situation led to the tribes becoming minorities on their own lands.

Voting site set for Shannon County, S.D., and Pine Ridge Reservation residents
It looks as though a plan has been worked out for voting in Shannon County, S.D., home to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Rapid City Journal reports that beginning Tuesday, Shannon County voters can cast ballots for the upcoming general election at the county’s Lakota Language Program office in the old hospital at Pine Ridge.

Advocate for Native American art dies

The New York Times says Ralph T. Coe, “played a central role in the revival of interest in Native American art, from the ancient to the modern.” Coe – known as Ted — headed the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., from 1977 until 1982. He was 81 when he died Sept. 14 at his home in Santa Fe, N.M.

First Nations chiefs protest deplorable school conditions
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs helped lead a demonstration in Winnipeg Friday to protest problems at schools in First Nations communities. The group said that schools in three Manitoba First Nations are closed, while others are overcrowded, and that the buildings are moldy and deteriorating, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Second Navajo Nation casino to open Oct. 13

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise has announced that the Flowing Waters Navajo Casino will open Oct. 13. Gaming there will be more limited than at the Fire Rock Navajo Casino, according to the Navajo Times. There will be no card games and slot machine players compete against each other instead of against the house, the story says.

Gwen Florio

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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

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