Posts Tagged ‘Oglala Lakota’

Russell Means (Photo By REUTERS/Joshua Lott/REUTERS)

Russell Means (Photo By REUTERS/Joshua Lott/REUTERS)

By Jesse Abernathy, Native Sun News Editor

SANTA FE, N.M. – Russell Means says he is still cancer-free and will forever be unaffected by the dread disease.

Means, who is Oglala Lakota, was diagnosed last summer with what was then referred to as “terminal” esophageal cancer. In December, the actor and former American Indian Movement activist claimed victory over his affliction partially by way of “Indian prayer and Indian medicine.”

“The cancer’s gone – I don’t have to worry about that,” Means said from his wife Pearl’s familial home in Santa Fe.

“I beat it, it’s gone,” he said firmly.

As was the case in December, Means’ voice is still clear and robust – a noticeable difference from the height of his throat cancer last August, when his tones were audibly weak.

“None of my doctors believe in the term ‘remission,’” said Means. “Either you got cancer or you don’t – period.”

Means concurs with his physicians in ascribing no validity to the cancer-related state of remission, which is an all-too-common polarity of metastasizing, or actively spreading, cancer cells.

“Remission means there’s cancer hanging around – to me, that’s what it means – and I totally reject that basis. The reason the medical profession uses that word is because they know their radiation, chemo and their meds weaken the immune system to the degree that it invites all kinds of disease. But specifically, it invites cancer to come back, so that’s why they say ‘remission.’ They know, because of how they treat cancer, it weakens you and makes you even more susceptible to disease.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Tim Giago

By Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News managing editor

RAPID CITY — Tim Giago, Editor/Publisher of Native Sun News will put down his pen and retire from the newsroom April 1, three years to the day after he launched this “last and final newspaper.” He will remain on the newspapers masthead as Editor Emeritus, as he moves on to, “finish the book I have been writing all my life.”

“I always knew this day would come, but I never really prepared for it. I was always too busy making deadlines and anticipating the next breaking news story. I was that kind of editor who always tried to squeeze one last story into the paper before putting it to bed. I always jumped with joy whenever I beat my competitors with a great, breaking story and wrung my hands in anguish when they did the same to me,” Giago said in his weekly editorial.

The 76 year old Oglala Lakota’s career in journalism, which he once referred to as the “life of Kings” began as a result of an order when he was serving in the U.S. Navy.

“It happened by accident in the beginning. One day I was at my desk at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard typing a report when the commanding officer happened by. He watched me for a minute and then came up to me and said, ‘You type really well. You are now the editor of the base newspaper, the PacHunter,’” he said. “After I was given that order I had to learn to put out a monthly newsletter by the seat of my pants.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Chuck Haga of the Grand Forks Herald reports on some of finding presented Friday at the American Indian Health Research Conference:

NORTH DAKOTA – American Indians die from such preventable diseases as diabetes at far higher rates than other Americans, especially in North Dakota and other states in the region, and a leading Indian health authority says more tribally driven research is needed to reduce such disparities.

Also, “chronic under-funding of the Indian Health Service (IHS) has more impact on Indian health than any disease,” Dr. Donald Warne told participants in a UND-sponsored conference on Indian health research.

He said diabetes, depression and alcoholism — a “triad” of debilitating conditions common in Indian communities — each aggravates the others and hampers treatment.

“We don’t address this holistically,” as cultural traditions would suggest, Warne said. “Instead, we cut treatment in half; the medical side isn’t integrated with the behavioral side. I think we’ve proven this is not working.

“Our traditional healers would find this (divided approach) ridiculous.”

Warne, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge, S.D., spoke Friday at the eighth annual American Indian Health Research Conference at the Alerus Center.

Recently appointed director of Sanford Health’s new Office of Native American Health, he will coordinate activities involving the hospital system, the IHS and the 28 tribes within Sanford’s coverage area in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every Saturday, Buffalo Post features stories from Native Sun News, published in Rapid City, S.D.

By Randall Howell
Native Sun News Correspondent


HOT SPRINGS – Shannon County’s commissioners have extended something of an olive branch to Fall River County’s elected officials.

That olive branch symbolizes an effort on the part of the commissioners to settle their growing list of differences with Fall River County, which for years has been functioning as the government infrastructure for the unorganized Shannon County.

With that peace-talk session scheduled for Friday, Sept. 24 [Buffalo Post will update with results of that meeting], early voting – one of the snarls that has tangled county-level government – got underway on Thursday, Sept. 16, according to Chris Nelson, South Dakota’s secretary of state.

Voter disenfranchisement remains an issue, however, given that more than 95 percent of the Shannon County population is American Indian.

Those Oglala Lakota not only live in the country’s poorest county, but also they lack the resources for travel to a polling place – a place that, in this case, is at the Fall River County Courthouse in Hot Springs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Joseph Bruhac (Michael Greenlar photo for

Joseph Bruhac (Michael Greenlar photo for

The Washington Post has an interesting blog post about Joseph Bruchac, the author of Native American young adult novels, including “Codetalker,” “Jim Thorpe, Original All-American,” and “March Toward the Thunder.”

Bruhac, who is Abenaki, also is a three-time varsity wrestling letter winner at heavyweight for Cornell University. And he’s a participant in Project Letters, a federal program to promote Literacy Education and Teacher Training for Excellent Reservation Schools (LETTERS).

It’s a good post, both about Bruhac and about the project – and about wrestling and martial arts, too. Check it out, and also find out more about Bruhac on his website,,

Gwen Florio

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A plan to make snow at the Arizona Snowbowl resort outside Flagstaff has brought objections from the Hopi Nation and other tribes.

Le Roy Shingoitewa, Chairman of the Hopi Tribe, speaks before the Flagstaff City Council Monday night. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun)

Le Roy Shingoitewa, Chairman of the Hopi Tribe, speaks before the Flagstaff City Council Monday night. (Jake Bacon/Arizona Daily Sun)

Now, a decision on whether to allow the plan to go forward has been postponed by the Flagstaff City Council – although the council says it will likely issue a decision by week’s end.

Joe Ferguson and Cyndy Cole of the Arizona Daily Sun write about the latest development, which involves a proposal to make snow from drinking water, rather than treated effluent as originally planned.

Although business people largely support the plan, Native Americans say that any unnatural use of water is wasteful.

“To the Hopi people, water is precious. To use water unwisely is harmful to other people,” Hopi Chairman Le Roy Shingoitewa told council members.

Gwen Florio

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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 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

A single phrase is often used to define the Indian health system: “Government-run.” Add those two words to any discussion about health care or reform and most people reach an immediate conclusion about the merits of the agency.

Now it is time for the phrase to disappear because it no longer accurately describes the Indian health system. After all, tribes or tribally authorized nonprofit agencies administer more than half of the IHS budget, through the Self-Determination Act or Self-Governance compacts.

Certainly the federal government plays a huge role in this health care delivery system – across the country. “As in all industrial nations, the U.S. government plays a large role in financing, organizing, overseeing, and, in some instances, even delivering health care,” said a report last August by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Here’s the entire story from Dirk Lammers of the Associated Press (and, read more about Dr. Donald Warne here):

Dr. Donald Warne ( photo)

Dr. Donald Warne ( photo)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The largest hospital system in the Dakotas is launching a new effort to reach out to residents of the region’s Native American reservations, hospital officials announced Wednesday.

Leading Sanford Health’s new Office of Native American Health will be Dr. Donald Warne, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge. He will coordinate activities among the hospital system, the federal Indian Health Service and the 28 tribes within Sanford’s coverage region, which spans South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, said Mark Johnston, a Sanford Health vice president.

“It’s an important step to try to improve the health and welfare of the folks on different reservations in Sanford Health’s service area,” Johnston said Wednesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We blogged a couple of days ago (here) about Chaske Spencer, the Oglala Lakota actor who recently used his prominence as one of the stars in the “Twilight” series to help raise money for a blood drive.

Now, Spencer expands more on his impetus to give back, in this MTV interview.

The story that accompanies the interview is also interesting. It highlights Spencer’s charity, Shift the Power to the People, that is supported by his fellow Native American cast members in the “Twilight” films, according to the story.

And, it links to this essay about the ongoing issue of so-called “racebending,” highlighted by recent films that hired white actors to play characters of other ethnicities.

Check it out.

Gwen Florio

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Actor Chaske Spencer, who plays werewolf Sam Uley in the “Twilight” movies, is helping United Blood Services bring in new donors.  (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

Actor Chaske Spencer, who plays werewolf Sam Uley in the “Twilight” movies, is helping United Blood Services bring in new donors. (Casey Riffe/Billings Gazette)

Talk about going above and beyond the (midnight?) call of duty. Chaske Spencer, the Oglala Lakota actor who plays werewolf Sam Uley in the popular ‘Twilight’ movie series, was home in Montana, recently.

But instead of simply hanging with friends and family, he worked on behalf of a blood drive in Billings. Jaci Webb of the Billings Gazette has the story here:

    Last week, Spencer slipped into Billings for a midnight show of the new film.

    “I had just flown in from Australia and I was mixed up on my days. I thought, I’ll go see a movie, so I went to ‘A-Team’ and then when I found out ‘Eclipse’ was showing at midnight, I stayed.’’

    A few teenage girls undoubtedly spotted Spencer, but he had on a beanie and ducked out the back door before anyone had a chance to speak to him. Tuesday, he was back in town to see the film one more time with 80 blood donors who won a drawing to see one of the summer’s hottest movies with Spencer.

Among the winners was Ryan Meza, who has Type O Negative blood and so frequently donates. She won the grand prize, so she and her 9-year-old daughter Arciela will take a limo ride with Spencer to the screening.

The promotion brought 39 new donors and 264 blood donations between June 24 and July 3, Webb reports.

Lesli Asay, of United Blood Services, told Spencer that “your help here has saved 800 lives.”

For his part, says Chaske, who left Montana at age 14, “I think you’re obligated to help people out when you’re in a position like this. It’s important for me to do what I can with what I’ve been given.”

He says he works hard to avoid getting typecast in movies.

“We’re kind of like rock stars because we’re on a pedestal with this film,” Spencer tells Webb. “But as Native actors, we’re not stereotypical. Look, we have a president who is a minority. And I think the kids see us, not as Native, but just being people.”

Seems like this week the kids saw a role model, too.

Gwen Florio

Tags: , , , , , , , ,