Meet the Shadow Wolves, an elite drug tracking force that scours the Arizon/Mexico border for contraband.
The Wolves are the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s only Native American tracking unit and use traditional tracking methods to find illegal drugs and drug runners, reports Nick Allen of the Daily Telelgraph.
One member is Jason Garcia (Tohono O’odham).
He and eight other Shadow Wolves operate in the Tohono O’odham Nation, a vast Indian reservation roughly the size of Northern Ireland. The O’odham have inhabited the area for thousands of years and their name translates as “Desert People.”. Some 20,000 of them now live in scattered villages.
. . .
The tracking technique they use is known as “cutting for sign” and is taught from childhood. Mr Garcia says: “This takes a lot of patience. You’re looking for something that’s almost invisible.
Initially it can be something minute. But it’s the thrill of the hunt. I’m looking for bad guys that don’t want to be found.”
Bending to his knees to study his latest find he can tell that the quarry passed by only minutes before in an SUV, probably a Chevrolet, heading directly north towards Phoenix 100 miles away.
Jumping into his own pickup truck he then plunges into the undergrowth, bouncing wildly through the cacti, and down a dry rutted riverbed, following signs invisible to the untrained eye.
Unlike his ancestors he is armed with an M-4 rifle and a semi-automatic pistol.
As KOLD‘s Christina Stymfal explains, all five nominees for the Best Waila Recording are from the Tohono O’odham Nation – meaning that tribe will see its first Native American Music Award:
The ceremony will be held on Nov. 12 at the Seneca Entertainment Center in the Seneca Casino & Hotel in Niagara Falls, New York. Voting is open to the public.
Tohono O’odham nominees:
* Gertie & the TO Boyz for their album “A Tribute to Augustine Lopez Sr.”
* Native Creed for “Cumbiafied Nativez”
* Native Thunder for “Get’n Down”
* Papago Warrior for “Papago Warriors 5″
* The Cisco Band for “T.C.O.B.”
* Tohono O’odham Braves for “25 Years of Waila Music”
We’re going to keep updating here as Samantha Gross of the Associated Press follows this developing story:
Percy Abrams, Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team board of directors executive director, shows his Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois Confederacy, passport during a news conference in New York, Wednesday. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
NEW YORK (AP) — An American Indian lacrosse team that refuses to accept U.S. passports will not be allowed entry into England for the world championship of the sport the Iroquois helped invent, the British government said Wednesday.
The Iroquois Nationals team won’t be attending the world championship in Manchester unless the British government reverses its decision, said Tonya Gonnella Frichner, a lawyer for the team.
“They’re telling us: ‘Go get U.S. passports or Canadian passports,’” Frichner said Wednesday shortly after getting the news. “It’s pretty devastating.”
The team’s 23 players — who are all eligible for passports issued by those nations — say that accepting them would be a strike against their identity.
In a statement, the U.K. Borders Agency said: “Like all those seeking entry into the U.K., they must present a document that we recognise as valid to enable us to complete our immigration and other checks.”
The British government’s decision was announced hours after the U.S. cleared the team for travel on a one-time waiver at the behest of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Ansley Jemison, center, general manager of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse team, gathers the team for a pep talk while waiting for travel visas in New York. (AP/Bebeto Matthews)
The latest from Samantha Gross of the Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. government on Wednesday agreed to let a Native American lacrosse team travel to England for a tournament under Iroquois Confederacy passports, but their travel plans were still on hold because they lacked visas from Britain and because some players needed clearance from Canada.
The 23-member Iroquois team was unlikely to make a Wednesday afternoon flight from Kennedy Airport or Thursday’s first game of the Lacrosse World Championships in Manchester, England, said Oren Lyons, the team chairman and a chief of the Onondaga Nation. Nine team members are Canadian-born and still need Canadian waivers, and talks continued with British officials over visa requirements, team officials said.
“This has not been the best preparation for a world tournament,” Lyons said.
The team’s bus pulled up to an international terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday afternoon, then pulled away shortly afterward; the team never got off.
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.
Tohono O'odham Nation leader Ned Norris Jr. (Chris Richards, Arizona Daily Star)
Arizona’s new immigration law raises strong concerns racial profiling, added burdens on local authorities, and damage to the state’s economy, according to the Tohono O’odham Nation, which shares borders with both Arizona and Mexico.
So the tribe formally announced yesterday (read full text, here) that it opposes SB 1070, joining its efforts with those of the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona.
“This misguided and detrimental law must be repealed before it inflicts any further harm on Arizona,” says Tohono O’odham Chairman Ned Norris Jr. “For its part, the Tohono O’odham Nation will continue its extensive efforts to assist in protecting the U.S. border on its lands. However, it is imperative that comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level is implemented in order to confront all aspects of this problem.”
The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association began its international meeting in Tucson last night, despite calls to boycott conventions in Arizona as a means of protesting that state’s new anti-immigration law and ethnic studies ban.
But as Tohono O’odham Nation activist Mike Wilson tells KVOA, here, “If we had boycotted this conference, once again the Native voice would have been silenced.”
Robert Warrior, association president, says members of the group, most of whom are educators, are most concerned about the ethnic studies law:
Robert Valencia, vice chairman of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, says, “Under ethnic studies is Native American studies. And we need to be able to support the intent of Native American studies for our children.” Valencia says about 1,000 Pascua Yaqui students attend schools in the Tucson Unified School District.
Participants also believe what’s happening in Arizona has worldwide implications. Alice Te Punga Somerville came to the conference from New Zealand. She says, “We can see there are connections between the issue here and what might happen in our domestic politics or in other places around the world.”
Tomorrow, U.S. Rep. Paul Grijalva of Arizona, who backs a boycott, is to address the conference.
The notice for the Indigenous Peoples Protest Against SB 1070 and HB 2281 is up on the Censored News indigenous peoples’ blog, here.
Those are the new Arizona laws regarding immigration and ethnic studies.
As the notice for the protest reads:
This securing [of the U.S. border] includes and is not limited to a physical wall to be made on Indigenous land (Tohono O’odham/Lipan Apache to name a few.) The state’s power to waive pre-existing laws (such as NEPA, NAGPRA) in the name of security, directly attacks Indigenous autonomy/sovereignty. The “political” solution will bring forced removal and relocation of the many Indigenous nations that span “their” borders by means of a reinforced physical barrier. In addition, the peoples who will be primarily targeted for racial profiling will be Indigenous peoples on both sides of the U.S/Mexico border.
The protest is set for 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. at U.S. Immigration Court in Tucson.
The post on Censored News has more more details and contact information.
Navajo comedian Vincent “Muttonman” Craig dies
Family members posted a note on Vincent Craig’s Facebook page thanking friends and family for their support as the legendary Dine comedian and singer-songwriter battled cancer, according to the Navajo Times, here. He was only 59. The note was posted late last night and the Times promises updates.
Supreme Court nominee Kagan falls short on Native issues
That’s the assessment by the legal experts quoted in this story by Indian Country Today’s Rob Capriccioso. He writes that “her positions on tribal and Indian legal issues are unknown, and she has lacked engagement on some major Native topics.” And, he reports, that when Kagan was dean of Harvard Law School, she failed to hire a permanent scholar to fill the Harvard Law School’s Oneida chair, largely funded by the Oneida Indian Nation of New York.
Tohono O’odham police arrest 10 in huge bust of alleged coke smuggling ring
Anonymous law enforcement photo of law enforcement officers from Tohono O'odham Police, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the FBI executing warrants at homes in Sells on Saturday morning that resulted in the arrest of 10 people in connection with a cocaine smuggling ring.
It was, according to this Tucson Arizona Star report, the largest drug enforcement operation in the history of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Nine tribal members and one other person were arrested yesterday in an early-morning sweep in Sells, Ariz.
U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle tells the Star that the arrests marked the culmination of a five-month, multi-agency investigation led by the Tohono O’odham Police Department.
And, it marked the first time tribal police officers have executed federal warrants on the Tohono O’odham Nation. It was part of an effort that saw tribal officers trained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs so they could makes arrest on federal charges, which carry more severe penalties than tribal ones.
Pine Ridge principal on tap for Obama administration post
Robert Cook, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who is principal of Pine Ridge High School, is expected to be appointed to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education, according to this Rapid City Journal story. Cook recently completed a term as president of the National Indian Education Association.
POPcorn No. 5 by Stephen Wood (Heard Museum photo)
Native pop art in new Heard Museum show
Not just niche art is how the Heard Museum is describing its new exhibit by Native American and other pop artists. ” ‘Pop! Popular Culture in American Indian Art,’ ” reminds us, if we need reminding, that Indians also are participants in the culture at large, and that Native American art is not merely a niche art: It is part of the global art conversation,” writes Richard Nilson of the (Phoenix) Arizona Republic, here.
The show features work by iconic pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, but also works by Native artists such as Fritz Scholder and T.C. Cannon.
In fact, Ryan Singer has a riff on Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup can, with is painting, “Sheep Is Good Food,” of a mutton stew can.
As painter Jaune Quick-to-See Smith says in the exhibit, “I appropriate Pop Art because it is symbolic of the American mainstream culture.”