Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Tribal leaders plan meeting on global warming

Tribal leaders plan meeting on global warming

Corinne Purtill
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 4, 2006 12:00 AM

As a child reared in New Mexico's Tesuque Pueblo, Louie Hena played in waist-deep snow in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Less than 50 years later, the snow reaches only to his ankles.

Wahleah Johns, 31, grew up without running water or electricity on the Navajo Reservation. After years of worsening drought, her family now must drive even farther to find water for their personal use and livestock.

Native American communities are witnessing firsthand the effects of a warming planet. Representatives of more than 50 tribes from Alaska to the Mexican border will gather on the Cocopah Reservation near Yuma on Tuesday and Wednesday for what organizers are billing as the first tribal conference on climate change.

They'll share information on the signs of global warming observed on reservations across the continent. Tribal leaders will discuss alternative energy and traditional, sustainable ways of life on their reservations. They also will talk about the effects of U.S. climate-change policy on their land and people.

"Native people have a close relationship to the land, culturally, spiritually, economically," said Tom Goldtooth, executive director of the Minnesota-based Indigenous Environmental Network and a conference speaker.

Climate change, he said, "is becoming a human rights issue."

A living threat For many American Indian tribes, the effects of climate change, the rise in global temperature caused by heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, are not an abstract possibility. They are happening.

"I've seen whole banks of trees (along the Rio Grande) eroded away from a single flooding in the spring," Hena said. "I've seen birds going south when they should be going north."

Extended drought is shrinking water supplies and hammering wildlife on reservations in the Southwest and Midwest. Traditional ceremonies based on seasonal changes have been disrupted by prolonged summers and delayed rainy seasons.

Melting ice in the Arctic Circle is destroying the foundation of Inuits' homes and threatening entire villages with relocation.

A national climate-change assessment published in 2000 said climate change posed health, environmental and economic risks to the more than 565 recognized tribes and Alaska Native communities in the United States.

Adjusting to the environmental changes wrought by global warming takes money and technology, commodities scarce on many reservations, the government report said.

Finding solutions In addition to comparing problems, conference participants also will discuss renewable-energy and sustainable-living solutions under way on many reservations.

An increasing number of tribes are taking advantage of their reservations' unique geography to invest in solar and wind energy. Tribes can sell the power generated to local utilities and can sell carbon credits to companies or individuals looking to offset their own carbon emissions.

Tribes are also looking to old ways of life for answers to new environmental problems.

In the mid-1990s, Hena started teaching a two-week course on traditional uses of the environment for everything from erosion control to medicine. Native people from across the U.S., Canada and South America have since attended the course.

With climate change threatening native lands, traditional survival methods are all the more relevant, Hena said.

A global issue Forming a Native American response to the Bush administration's climate-change policies is one of the conference's goals. North American tribes have started to fight U.S. climate-change policies that they perceive as harmful.

In 2005, an Inuit group filed suit against the U.S. government, claiming that the government's failure to curb greenhouse gases was destroying the Inuits' culture and environment.

Last month's U.N. climate-change conference in Nairobi concluded that the planet's poorest people produce the fewest greenhouse gas-causing emissions but are bearing the brunt of global warming's harms. Indigenous rights groups complained that the conference largely overlooked their concerns.

For a member of the Navajo Nation living without running water or electricity, "their carbon footprint is a lot smaller than someone maybe who lives in Phoenix," said Johns, an environmental activist and conference speaker. "How do you communicate that?"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Rabbit Shoots the Sun

Rabbit shoots the Sun

It was the height of summer, the time of year called Hadotso, the Great Heat. All day long, from a blue and cloudless sky, the blazing sun beat down upon the earth. No rain had fallen for many days and there was not the slightest breath of wind to cool the stifling air. Everything was hot and dry. Even the rose-red cliffs of the canyons and mesas seemed to take on a more brilliant color than before.

The animals drooped with misery. They were parched and hungry, for it was too hot to hunt for food and, panting heavily, they sough what shade they could under the rocks and bushes.

Rabbit was the unhappiest of all. Twice that day the shimmering heat had tempted him across the baked earth towards visions of water and cool, shady trees. He had exhausted himself in his desperate attempts to reach tem, only to find the mirages dissolve before him, receding further and further into the distance.

Now, tired and wretched, he dragged himself into the shadow of an overhanging rock and crouched there listlessly. His soft fur was caked with the red dust of the desert. His head swam and his eyes ached from the sun's glare.

'Why does it have to be so hot?' he groaned. 'What have we done to deserve such torment?' He squinted up at the sun and shouted furiously, 'Go away! You are making everything too hot!'

Sun took no notice at all and continued to pour down his fiery beams, forcing Rabbit to retreat once more into the shade of the rock. 'Sun needs to be taught a lesson,' grumbled Rabbit. 'I have a good mind to go and fight him. If he refuses to stop shining, I will kill him!'

His determination to punish Sun made him forget his weariness and, in spite of the oppressive heat, he set off at a run towards the eastern edge of the world where the Sun came up each morning.

As he ran, he practiced with his bow and arrows and, to make himself brave and strong, he fought with everything, which crossed his path. He fought with the gophers and the lizards. He hurled his throwing stick at beetles, ants and dragonflies. He shot at the yucca and the giant cactus. He became a very fierce rabbit indeed.

By the time he reached the edge of the world, Sun had left the sky and was nowhere to be seen.

'The coward!' sneered Rabbit. 'He is afraid to fight, but he will not escape me so easily,' and he settled to wait behind a clump of bushes.

In those days, Sun did not appear slowly as he does now. Instead he rushed up over the horizon and into the heavens with one mighty bound. Rabbit knew that he would have to act quickly in order to ambush him and he fixed his eyes intently on the spot where the Sun usually appeared.

Had heard all Rabbit's threats and had watched him fighting. He knew that he was lying in wait among the bushes. He was not at all afraid of this puny creature and he thought that he might have some amusement at his expense.

He rolled some distance away from his usual place and swept up into the sky before Rabbit knew what was happening. By the time Rabbit had gathered his startled wits and released his bowstring, Sun was already high above him and out of range.

Rabbit stamped and shouted with rage and vexation. Sun laughed and laughed and shone even more fiercely than before.

Although almost dead from heat, Rabbit would not give up. Next morning he tried again, but this time Sun came up in a different place and evaded him once more.

Day after day the same thing happened. Sometimes Sun sprang up on Rabbit's right, sometimes on his left and sometimes straight in front of him, but always where Rabbit least expected him.

One morning, however, Sun grew careless. He rose more leisurely than usual, and this time, Rabbit was ready. Swiftly he drew his bow. His arrow whizzed through the air and buried itself deep in Sun's side.

Rabbit was jubilant! At last he had shot his enemy! Wild with joy, he leaped up and down. He rolled on the ground, hugging himself. He turned somersaults. He looked at Sun again - and stopped short.

Where his arrow had pierce Sun, there was a gaping wound and, from that wound, there gushed a stream of liquid fire. Suddenly it seemed as if the whole world had been set ablaze. Flames shot up and rushed towards Rabbit, crackling and roaring.

Rabbit paused not a moment longer. He took to his heels in panic and ran as fast as he could away from the fire. He spied a lone cottonwood tree and scuttled towards it. 'Everything is burning!' he cried. 'Will you shelter me?'

The cottonwood shook its slender branches mournfully. 'What can I do?' it asked. 'I will be burned to the ground.'

Rabbit ran on. Behind him, the flames were coming closer. He could feel their breath on his back. A greasewood tree lay in his path.

'Hide me! Hide me!' Rabbit gasped. 'The fire is coming.'

'I cannot help you,' answered the greasewood tree. 'I will be burned up roots and branches.'

Terrified and almost out of breath, Rabbit continued to run, but his strength was failing. He could feel the fire licking at his heels and his fur was beginning to singe. Suddenly he heard a voice calling to him.

'Quickly, come under me!' The fire will pass over me so swiftly that it will only scorch my top.'

It was the voice of a small green bush with flowers like bunches of cotton capping its thin branches. Gratefully, Rabbit dived below it and lay there quivering, his eyes tightly shut, his ears flat against his body.

With a thunderous roar, the sheet of flame leaped overhead. The little bush crackled and sizzled. Then, gradually, the noise receded and everything grew quiet once more.

Rabbit raised his head cautiously and looked around. Everywhere the earth lay black and smoking, but the fire had passed on. He was safe!

The little bush which had sheltered him was no longer green. Burned and scorched by the fire, it had turned a golden yellow. People now call it the desert yellow brush, for, although it first grows green, it always turns yellow when it feels the heat of the sun.

Rabbit never recovered from his fright. To this day, he bears brown spots where the fire scorched the back of his neck. He is no longer fierce and quarrelsome, but runs and hides at the slightest noise.

As for Sun, he too was never quite the same. He now makes himself so bright that no one can look at him long enough to sight an arrow and he always peers very warily over the horizon before he brings his full body into view.

From the Archives of Blue Panther

from the site:


Animal Legends

The Eagle

The eagle is a great sacred bird. Our favorite is the golden or war eagle,
which we call "pretty-feathered eagle", because of his beautiful tail
feathers, white, tipped with black, which we use for decorative and
ceremonial purposes. A single tail feather was often rated as equal in value
to a horse.

In time passed, the killing of an eagle was something that concerned the
whole town. This could only be done by a professional eagle killer, chosen
for the purpose on account of his knowledge of the prescribed forms and
prayers to be said afterwards in order to obtain pardon for the necessary
sacrilege, and thus ward off vengeance from our tribe.

The eagle must be killed only in winter or late fall after the crops were
gathered and snakes retired to their dens. If killed in summertime a frost
would destroy the corn, while the songs of the Eagle dance, when the
feathers were brought home, would so anger the snakes that they would become
doubly dangerous. That is why the Eagle songs were never sung until the
snakes had gone to sleep in the winter.

It is told that one man deliberately killed an eagle in defiance of the
ordinances and the he was constantly haunted by dreams of fierce eagles
swooping down upon him in his nightmares,

From the Archives of Blue Panther

from the site:


More on the Cheyenne

Location: The Cheyenne Indians lived in the Great Plains area, east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Mississippi River. Today they are settled in Montana and Oklahoma.

History: The Cheyenne first lived in the eastern portion of the United States. They lived in fixed villages and used the land for farming. Some moved west and southwest. Eventually, they moved into the plains area, in the woodlands of the Mississippi River Valley.

Language: The Cheyenne dialect is part of the Algonquin language family. Their alphabet only contains fourteen letters which can be combined to form words and phrases. Today, the United States government is working to convert the Cheyenne to an English-only speaking tribe. The Cheyenne are trying desperately to keep their language alive despite the government’s recent attempts to make their language extinct.

Daily Life: Before the sun rose, the Cheyenne began preparing for the day. Building the fire was the first task to be completed. The women woke to get the water from the nearby stream, while the men and boys went to the stream to bathe. As dawn continued, the camp became livelier. The women made the morning meal and the boys herded the horses back into camp.

After the meal, announcements were made by the old crier who circled the people on his horse. When he was finished, the people went about their daily activities. The children would scatter about the area to swim, run, and model images out of clay. The women of the camp had many activities to keep them busy. They would go off in groups to gather wood and roots early in the day. This was their time for joking and laughing. They gathered sticks from the ground and broke dead branches off the trees in the forest. The wood was divided up, formed into bundles, and strapped on their backs. They then set out for camp. The older men made bows, arrows and pipes, while the young men spent time enhancing their personal appearance or listening to wise men.

Many men hunted game to provide the camp with food. As day turned into night, the Cheyenne people prepared for the meal. This was the lively event of the day in which music, dancing and various other activities took place. After a few hours, the camp became silent as people turned in for the night.

Best Known Features: An important Cheyenne custom was the smoking of the peace pipe. There were strict rules that were practiced during the smoking of the pipe. A prayer was offered before the first smoke. Most men had their own specific way to smoke the peace pipe.

Another tradition of the Cheyenne was their story telling, which could only be done by certain people. These stories were often related and followed a structure.


  • Grinnell, George Bird. The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, Inc., 1962.
  • Hoebel, E. Adamson. The Cheyenne’s: Indians of the Great Plains. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960.

Written by: Summer Smith

Cheyenne Indians

Cheyenne Indians
Northern Cheyenne Territory
The Cheyenne are north American Plains Indian people of Algonkian stock who inhabited the regions around the Platte and Arkansas rivers during the 19th century.

Before 1700 the home of the Cheyenne was in central Minnesota, where they farmed, hunted, gathered wild rice, and made pottery.

They later occupied a village of earth lodges on the Cheyenne River in North Dakota; it was probably during this period that they acquired horses and became more dependent on the buffalo for food.

After the town was destroyed by the Ojibwa (Chippewa), the Cheyenne settled along the Missouri River near the Mandan and Arikara Indians.

Toward the close of the 18th century, smallpox and the aggression of the Dakota decimated the village tribes at the same time that the horse and gun were becoming generally available in the northeastern plains.

The Cheyenne moved farther west to the area of the Black Hills, where they developed their unique version of the tepee-dwelling nomadic Plains culture and gave up agriculture and pottery.

During the early 19th century, they migrated to the headwaters of the Platte River.

In 1832 a large segment of the tribe established itself along the Arkansas River, thus dividing the tribe into northern and southern branches. This division was made permanent in the First Treaty of Ft. Laramie with the U.S. in 1851.

Cheyenne religion recognized two principal deities, the Wise One Above and a god who lived beneath the ground. In addition four spirits lived at the points of the compass.

The Cheyenne were among the Plains tribes who performed the sundance in its most elaborate form. They placed heavy emphasis on visions in which an animal spirit adopted the individual and bestowed special powers upon him so long as he observed some prescribed law or practice.

Copied from ep-na E-Zine at Yahoo

Friday, September 22, 2006

Violence against Women

“Violence against Native women not a part of our traditional communities”
Feds, Indian leaders confront frightening statistics


Sam Lewin 9/21/2006

The numbers offered by advocacy groups can seem difficult to believe. A group called the American Indian Women’s Chemical Health Project asserts that three-fourths of Native American women have experienced some type of sexual assault in their lives. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s figures on sexual assault-while significantly lower than that of the health project’s-are nonetheless frightening: American Indian and Alaskan Native women are significantly more likely (34-percent) to report being raped than black women (19-percent) or Caucasian women (18-percent).

While accurate figures on the problems of domestic violence and sexual assault are notoriously tough to quantify, Native American leaders have long recognized something is seriously wrong. In Denver, over 100 representatives from American Indian and Alaska Native tribes recently met with officials from the Department of Justice to address the problem, which National Congress of American Indians president Joe Garcia called an epidemic.

This epidemic not only impacts the individual women and families affected, it undermines the stability of the community as a whole," Garcia said. "Women play an honored and respected role in Native communities. Violence against Native women is not natural and is not a part of our traditional communities. Traditional Native cultures valued respect, honor, and compassion for all living things."

NCAI officials say the meeting with the DOJ happened after President Bush signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act into law. The measure included a portion applicable to Indian Country.

The NCAI was a strong supporter of reauthorization of the law, saying in a statement the law recognizes “the unique impact and disproportionate levels of violence committed against Indian women. It would enhance the civil and criminal justice response; improve services and outreach to victims; provide resources for sexual assault victims through rape crisis centers and state coalitions; help children and youth who experience or witness violence; aidtribal victims; and support prevention, health, housing and economic security programs designed to stop violence and help victims.”

"American Indians, in general, experience per capita rates of violence that are much higher than those of the general population," said the NCAI’s Juana Majel-Dixon, citing the center’s statistics, during the Denver conference. “One out of three American Indian and Alaskan Native women are raped in their lifetime, compared with about one out of five women in the overall national statistic. These statistics must change and I am confident that this consultation will help facilitate that."

Back in Oklahoma, tribes have also taken on domestic violence. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s family violence prevention program, for example, routinely issues calls to remind area Natives about the services they offer including: individual and family counseling, weekly support groups, emergency housing and transportation, and court advocacy. The program also runs transitional living program that assists victims of domestic violence in achieving independence. Clients willing to sign and complete a service plan can also receive assistance with rent, utilities, clothing and/or food. These services are available to members of any federally recognized tribe.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Strength of the Wolf


For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack~ 


Wolves travel great distances in search of Truth and Knowledge and are thought to return to the clan to teach and share their Medicine. 

Wolf Medicine is enigmatic, it empowers the teacher hidden deep within to come forth and aid the children of Earth in understanding their place in the Universe.

Wolves sing out loud the haunting song of my spirit
Lift me high with your poignant melodies
What wisdom do you cry out for all to hear?
That they long to understand

What secrets you have hidden what knowledge
Do you share with us?
If we listen with our hearts we can hear you
Whisper your language so clear.

The words you speak are hidden in riddles
Are as old as time its self.
Your memories you keep to yourselves
Shared with chosen few.

The mysteries that surround you, known only
By those who listen.
Your beauty, your grace, your silent journey
Shrouded by the mists.

Wolves sing, take my spirit with you now
and Sing the songs that move my soul
I will sing the same song as you have
Wolf song Wolf singer Wolf spirit

~We shall be known by the tracks we leave behind~


Native Women and Health





Please know that I share many articles on health and well being. Not all may express my personal point of view. I personally do believe that every soul is brought into this world with a divine purpose by the Creator. I am believe every soul is borne into existence at the second of conception and I could not choose to have a pregnancy terminated.


I am also a nurse, and the right to any woman having the right to make choices about her own body and to do so in a medical facility where she will be cared for and receive health care under the proper conditions is vital.


I dread the thought of back alley butcher shops that kill and maime our young women and although for myself I have made the choice to bring my children into this world, I would not go back to the time where these butcher services were promininet.


Everyone must choose for their own life what is right and best and true.






Native Americans Vital Part of VoteYesForLife.com Campaign

Rapid City open house event emceed by Lakota Chief-in-Waiting Lyman RedCloud Sr.

RAPID CITY, South Dakota--The VoteYesForLife.com campaign hosted a press conference and open house and emergency contraception availability.

Deb Hoy from Democrats for Life emceed the event. Lyman RedCloud, Sr., the Pine Ridge Reservation Chief-in-Waiting, opened with a Lakota prayer.

Linda Gutherie, a former Pine Ridge Reservation lay advocate, told attendees that any Native American who lives traditionally embraces the gift of life. She pointed out that the Lakota language has never included a word for abortion. She urged Native Americans to support Referred Law 6, saying, "Men, women, fathers, mothers, you can show your gratitude for life, by voting for life!"

Stacey Wollman, director of the Rapid City CareNet Pregnancy Resource Center, explained Native American outreach plans. Wollman and others will tour South Dakota reservations in the Fleet for Little Feet. The luxury tour bus, donated by a businessman conceived through rape, will offer free services to women. Free pregnancy tests, education, ultrasounds and post-abortion counseling will be offered. "These programs will give the women on the reservation help, services and convenience they have never had before," Wollman said.

Dr. Dan Franz, a Rapid City family practitioner, clarified that emergency contraception is widely available in South Dakota. He checked with the local hospitals, and under current protocols, EC can be offered to women. Likewise, the FDA is making the pills available over the counter, without a prescription. Dr. Franz said, “Sex crime victims require more thanmedication. It requires a holistic spectrum of care to bring these women back to full health," he said.


VoteYesForLife.com campaigns on behalf of Referred Law 6. The campaign organized in 2006 to support HB 1215, the Women’s Health and Human Life Protection Act.



Monday, September 18, 2006

My journey to the Native American festival

This weekend I was blessed with being able to attend the Native American Festival at the Ocmulgee Native American Indian Mounds in Georgia.
I loved wathcing the dancers and performers and found myself enthralled with so many new artists there. Naturally I bought several new hair items which I have always called hair jewelry.

There is a wonderful new Native artist and I will enclose his link below. His work is exceptional and he is a man of few spoken words but his hands have the healers touch and ways.


My little Italian Greyhound Reddy backed up next to him and just relaxed like I have never seen. The artist put aside his wares and began a massage like I have never seen done and was able to even rub and massage Reddy's feet.

There is a big noticable difference watching someone "pet" the dog and watching this man's hands. And, if you knew Reddy, he hates his paws touched. (((He thinks you will clip his nails and he hates that.)))

This artist is Dine' from the Navajo Nation and each piece of his work tells a story, of which I was able to obtain several new pieces that he is doing not yet on his site. Please visit his site when you get the chance.

Rex A. Begaye
Reddy height 15 inches and like a miniture deer (actually miniture toy greyhound)

Changing habits may offer hope of living longer

Changing habits may offer hope of living longer

published September 15, 2006 12:15 am

North Carolina fared poorly in a new longevity study released Monday, ranking 40th among the 50 states. Out of 2,072 counties studied, three from North Carolina ranked among the 50 where lifespans are the shortest. Edgecombe ranked 50th from the bottom, Robeson ranked 29th and Martin ranked 25th. With the exception of South Dakota, where people in six counties have the shortest life expectancy in the United States, the counties that claimed most of the spots in the bottom 50 belonged to Southern states. Seven counties in Colorado were among those with the highest average life expectancy 81.3 years. By comparison, people living in the six South Dakota counties on the bottom have an average life expectancy of 66.6 years. Comparing states, Hawaiians live longest, an average of 80 years. People living in Mississippi have the shortest life expectancy at 73.6 years. For North Carolinians, it’s 75.8 years. As the study’s chief author, Dr. Christopher Murray, of the Harvard School of Public Health, noted, those are significant differences if you’re talking about your parent or your spouse. It can mean the difference between being around for the significant events in a grandchild’s life or having time to enjoy life after retirement.

That makes it critical that every effort be made to understand why people in North Carolina don’t live as long as people in 39 other states.

The Harvard researchers who conducted the study analyzed mortality figures provided by two federal agencies, covering the years 1982 to 2001, for county, gender, race and income. The data came from the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dramatic disparities

The study found some truly dramatic disparities in longevity — more than 30 years. Longest-lived are Asian American women living in Bergen County, N.J. They have an average life expectancy of 91 years. On the other end of the scale, Native American men living in South Dakota have an average life expectancy of 58 years.

Murray said he was surprised to find that lack of health insurance explained only a small portion of the gaps.

Differences in alcohol and tobacco use, blood pressure, cholesterol and obesity seemed to drive the death rates, he said.

It will be important to pinpoint geographically defined factors, such as shared ancestry, dietary customs, local industry and propensity toward physical activity that influence those health risks, he said.

“Something very geographic is going on,” but typical analytic methods miss that part of the story because researchers tend to look at race, income and education, but rarely at place,” he said.

“Some really interesting patterns aren’t related to those usual factors.

“Perhaps it is shared ancestry or the way people make a living. The tricky part is figuring it out. It is not simply income and race.”

Other studies

In the meantime, other Harvard studies provide clues about some of the factors that contribute to longevity. In one study, jointly conducted by Harvard and the University of Athens Medical School in Athens, Greece, and released in 2003, researchers found that those who strongly adhered to a Mediterranean diet had improved longevity compared to study participants who did not follow that diet as closely. The traditional Mediterranean diet consists of an abundance of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and cereals and regular use of olive oil, moderate amounts of fish and dairy products (mostly yogurt or cheese), small amounts of red meat and moderate consumption of alcohol, usually in the form of wine consumed at meals.

Another study, released in 2004, found that both weight and exercise are strong and independent predictors of premature death in women. The word “independent’’ is important here. The study found that a high level of physical activity did not eliminate the risk of premature death associated with obesity and that being lean did not counteract the risk of premature death associated with inactivity. (Those participants who exercised more than 3.5 hours per week were considered physically active.) Compared to physically active, lean women, inactive and obese women had nearly a two and half-fold increase in their risk of premature death.

Changing lifestyles

In other words, whatever other factors may be in play – genetics, environmental risks, etc. — exercise and healthy eating habits contribute to living longer than a person otherwise might. That’s reassuring because those are factors we can control.

But, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, which suggests that there are factors in our environment that undermine the goal of eating well and exercising.

We all know what they are — high stress jobs, too much television, an infrastructure that encourages driving everywhere instead of walking or bicycling, fast food.

It may be that further studies will prove otherwise, but the evidence so far suggests that if we’d change our lifestyles, we’d add years to our lives.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thought for the day

"All the stones that are around here, each one has a language of its own. Even the earth has a song." ---- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

 To believe that every tree, plant and insect can talk takes an open mind. Go by yourself into nature and sit quietly. Then pick up a rock and listen to your thoughts. After a while, put that rock down and pick up another rock. Your thoughts will change. These are the voices and wisdom of the Stone People. Each one has different wisdom and they are willing to share their wisdom with you. Many of the Stone People are very old and very wise.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Native Women working for wellness

Native women working for wellness
Members of Cherokee, Creek tribes praised for dedication

Native American Times 9/7/2006

A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is the top American Indian physician, according to an organization representing Native doctors, and a Cherokee woman from the Oklahoma town of Muskogee is being lauded for her efforts to assist Indian Country’s poor people.

Dr. Kelly Moore was declared 2006 “Indian Physician of the Year” during the Association of American Indian Physicians’ annual conference in St. Paul, Minn.

Moore’s “support of [the association], her contributions to the organization’s activities, and her outstanding personal accomplishments as an American Indian physician were recognized with this award,” said association executive director Margaret Knight.

Moore said she was “honored to receive this award,” and pledged to “continue my support to the mission…in the pursuit of excellence in Native American healthcare. It is also my privilege to continue to work with our members to inspire and motivate American Indian and Alaska Native students to become our next generation of medical professionals and health policy leaders.”

A 1983 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Moore is a clinical consultant with the Indian Health Service Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention in Albuquerque. She began her career with HIS on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, eventually moving to become clinical director and sole pediatrician for the Pima Indians of the Gila River Indian Community of southern Arizona. While there, she became interested in the growing public health concern of type 2 diabetes in American Indian youth and began her first experience in clinical research. Since that time Moore has worked in HIS as a medical administrator and diabetes consultant.

Also on the frontlines working to provide healthcare to disadvantaged tribal members is Dawn A. Kelly, an HIS optometrist. Kelly, a uniformed officer of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, works on five Native American reservations in the Southwest, two of which are designated as “isolated hardship locations”-a government term meaning, as the name suggests, communities where poverty is a pervasive problem. She iscurrently based in the Arizona town of Parker.

Kelly said she views her work in the areas a “taking care of family.”

The corps aims to dispatch trained healthcare professionals to needy areas and have them respond to emergencies and provide patient care.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ruling clears way for suits over tribal housing

Ruling clears way for suits over tribal housing
BROWNING — Candice LaMott calls her house "poison."

There's black mold under the sink, holes in the walls and a foundation made of chemically treated wood, conditions she believes are responsible for illness in her family and even her mother's death.

"When she got this house, she just thought it was a mansion," LaMott said of her mother, from whom LaMott inherited the house. "She didn't care that the wood was going to kill her."

LaMott is one of a number of low-income Blackfeet tribal members who sued the tribe's housing authority and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2002 to have their houses, which were built in the late 1970s, replaced.

U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon dismissed both lawsuits in 2004. But a recent ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals is giving the homeowners some hope. That panel reinstated the lawsuit against the tribal housing authority.

The ruling is drawing attention throughout Indian Country because of its reasoning. The 9th Circuit said the Blackfeet tribe waived any claim to sovereign immunity in the ordinance that created the tribal housing authority. Lawyers say identical language is present in the founding documents of most tribal housing authorities around the nation.

"I think with this lawsuit, a lot of doors will open to Native Americans," LaMott said. "No longer should we stay in this type of home. We do live in America, but it's just a whole different world right here."

About 150 houses on the reservation were built in the 1970s with wooden foundations that were treated with arsenic and other toxic chemicals as preservatives. The plaintiffs allege that the use of the wood foundations caused their homes to deteriorate, and that the conditions of the homes have caused severe health problems, including asthma, kidney failure and respiratory problems. LaMott's mother, Dorothy, died of kidney failure about five years ago.

The families purchased or leased the homes through the HUD Mutual Help and Homeownership Program, which was designed to address housing needs of low-income American Indian families.

To be eligible for federal grants, the tribe had to form a housing authority charged with alleviating the shortage of "decent, safe and sanitary" housing.

The plaintiffs claimed that HUD required the use of wood foundations over the objection of tribal members and that both HUD and the housing authority failed to live up to the program's obligations.

Haddon dismissed the lawsuit against HUD, ruling he lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter. He dismissed the case against the tribal authority, ruling that it had sovereign immunity.

A three-member panel of the appeals court, however, disagreed, saying the Blackfeet tribe waived its immunity in this case when it signed an ordinance creating the housing authority in the '70s.

While LaMott and her neighbors are pleased with the court's decision, it is causing a buzz among American Indian legal experts who say it conflicts with decisions by other courts and could have unintentional consequences for all tribes.

"It's a case that is decided in the right way, but for the wrong reasons," said University of Montana law professor Raymond Cross.

"There certainly is a sense on the court that they need to provide some remedy for these Indian homeowners, and that's certainly understandable. Yet the legal means by which they do it, I think, are going to create more problems than solutions in the long run."

Cross said the ruling opens federal courts up to hearing cases that typically would be heard by tribal or state courts. And, he said, it opens tribal housing authorities to lawsuits from both tribal and non-tribal members.

"I think the lower federal district courts are not going to thank the 9th Circuit for doing that," Cross said.

Steve Doherty, the housing authority's attorney, is asking the full appeals court to rehear the matter. If the court refuses, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is likely, Cross said.

The appeals court pointed to a clause in the ordinance, saying it was "a clear and unambiguous waiver of tribal immunity." Many Indian law attorneys who represent tribal housing authorities are concerned by that finding, said Richard Guest,a staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund in Washington.

"I would say the vast majority of housing authorities have that law on their books," Guest said. "It's that ordinance and that language that is the concern because that was boilerplate, it was standard. HUD required tribes to adopt that specific language or they wouldn't get federal funding."

Jason Adams, executive director of the Salish and Kootenai Housing Authority on the Flathead Indian reservation, said he was disappointed the court essentially let HUD "off the hook" for any responsibility for the poor condition of the homes.

"HUD had an obligation to assure that those families were getting decent safe and sanitary homes," Adams said. "Them being released of any liability, I think, is a travesty; that's just terrible."

Susan Hammer, executive director of Ute Indian Tribal Housing Authority in Utah and a board member of the National American Indian Housing Council, also said HUD should be held responsible in the case.

"HUD has a huge responsibility here and should have stood up with and for the tribe," Hammer said in a written statement. "During the times that these homes were built, every single decision had to be submitted and approved by HUD. The locations, the clients, the house plans, the environmental issues, all of that was controlled by HUD."

Jane Goin, a HUD spokeswoman in Denver, declined comment because the case is pending. Attempts to reach Ray Wilson, executive director of Blackfeet Housing, for comment were unsuccessful.

While the appeals court ruling was a small victory, LaMott and her neighbors know it is far from the end of the battle. Even if they get a jury or judge to agree the tribal authority needs to repair or replace their homes, there's the bigger question of who would pay for it — since most of the housing authority's funding comes from HUD.

"It would be robbing Peter to help Paul because that money is marked for other housing needs," said Mary Ann Sutton, a Missoula attorney representing the plaintiffs.

The real problem, Guest said, is that Congress is simply not putting enough money toward Indian housing needs.

"In this day of huge deficits, one of many programs being cut is money to Indian housing," Guest said. "Money isn't being provided to remedy this kind of problem."

But the appeals court ruling may be a small step toward rectifying the problems, Sutton said.

"It gives the tribal members a measure of accountability which, in our position, should have always been that way," she said.

As winter approaches, LaMott wishes the lawsuit would move along quicker so she could get a new home that doesn't have cracks in the walls and holes around the doors that let cold air in.

She understands the legal process takes time, but frustration is setting in for her and her neighbors. They see new housing projects go up around the reservation for other residents and wonder why that money can't go to fixing or replacing their homes.

But, LaMott said, she has no choice but to stay in the house she considers dangerous because she has no other options.

"This is the way we live," LaMott said. "People need to know about this. We're just like foreigners in the United States. There's no way this type of housing would be allowed on the outside (of the reservation.)"

Originally published August 27, 2006


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why I share

I am sure that a lot of people wonder why I focus so much on Native American health issues and perhaps it is a good time to explain that I am in the medical profession, a registered nurse.
There is a great need to teach, and to share, but being a nurse does not affect me as deeply in needing to teach and to share as the fact that we, as a  people and of Native blood, are eliminating ourselves from the pages of history by accepting the ways of the outside world.
I believe that our flesh is a temple of the Creator and that we are a being made like the Creator......... and that one day we will will return to the sky to walk in freedom with our ancestors.
The "white man," per se, no longer kills off our people or destroys our ways, for WE are allowing death to walk freely among our people by the choices we make and the paths we  now walk...... paths and choices made by our own hands now.
Yes, we none chose to live on another man's land set aside and called a reservation. Yes, we none chose to be in poverty or be pushed down and aside by the government.
But we as a people have always had the freedom to choose how we will live and act and react to the world around us. We have always been free within our flesh. Free to live and to choose how our inner spirit man will rejoice or grieve.
There are schools and colleges and ways to learn and become more than what we other's think we are.
We, as human animals choose what food we will put into our mouths. 
We choose what we will drink.
We choose how we will live.
We choose to keep our souls and minds and flesh healthy and active and full.
No man can take the potential of what we can be away from us.
Poverty, alcoholism, addictions, renal disease, liver disease, illiteracy, spiritual death and emptiness and blatant neglect of our own physical bodies will be what kills off the Native American way if we so allow it.
Mother earth has provided all that we have need of. Fresh water to hydrate our body. The wisdom of the ancestor's and the animals and the ways of Mother Earth and all of creation to feed our soul..... to replenish and nourish the inner man.
The foods that we can eat to stay healthy  our Mother Earth still provides. ((Eating no more than that which is needful is still a way of wisdom.))
Walking and running were once a way of survival, to chase animals that were fast and moved like the wind. Our bodies stayed strong and healthy because we exercised our flesh and our minds to catch game and prey.
Now we eat poor quality foods and sit and do not move or chase. Our bodies have become weak like the old days when it was the white man's horses that could not run as fast as ours or his stamina compete with our young warriors.
Now the enemy is no longer the government or the white man, but it is our own laziness and weakness that we permit to rise up and become strong while the path of our ancestors become faded memories.
As a creation, as an animal, as a people, as a tribe, as a clan, as a Native, as a woman. I choose how I will live.
I want to share what I have learned,
................ and what I am still learning.
That is why I focus more on health issues.

Diabetes rising among Native Tribes

Diabetes still rising among Indians

OKLAHOMA CITY American Indians have the highest incidenceof diabetes among racial groups but health officials say there's still time for prevention.

Tribal leaders, health professionals and American Indian health specialists from across the country are attending the four-day Diabetes Prevention Conference that started Monday in Oklahoma City.

Speakers say studies show that lifestyle changes including diet, exercise and weight loss significantly reduce diabetes risk in all populations.

Experts project that a quarter of all non-Hispanic whites and 50 percent of all people of color born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetimes.

But Doctor Richard Hamman of the University of Colorado's Department of Preventive Medicine says one study suggests that for every two-point-two pounds of weight loss, there is a 16 percent reduction in diabetes risk.

The conference is sponsored by the Indian Health Service and the Oklahoma Native American EXPORT Center.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

All content © Copyright 2000-2006, WorldNow and KTEN

Construction reveals Native sites

Updated:2006-08-15 07:34:25
Construction unearths disputes
By Emily Bazar, USA TODAY
USA Today
Construction of homes, roads and bridges is stalling as bulldozers increasingly unearth Native American remains and artifacts.

Projects are taking longer and costing more as developers navigate laws on such discoveries and negotiate with Indians concerned about their ancestors' spirits and remains.

"They're developing land that had been left alone previously," says Carole Wilson, historic preservation specialist for the Lancaster County Planning Commission in Pennsylvania. "Now, there's development pressures."

Federal, state and local laws generally require landowners who discover remains or artifacts to take some action, such as halting work and calling a coroner.

"It's happening more and more and more, simply because of development," says Larry Myers, executive secretary of California's Native American Heritage Commission.

The discoveries can lead to disputes. Some are resolved quickly. Others bring delays, added costs and bitterness:

-- In Washington state, the Chinook Indian Nation is negotiating over a stalled project to expand Station Camp State Park and realign a highway.

After a village site and the remains of about 10 people were discovered last year, the state halted construction and the tribe reburied its ancestors' remains.

Recently retired tribal chairman Gary Johnson says tribe members didn't want their ancestors' spirits disturbed. "It's a very personal thing, and a huge responsibility that we have to protect them," he says.

Canceling the contract and other costs have totaled nearly $600,000, says Sylvia Ross of the Washington State Transportation Department.

-- The Washington State Transportation Department reported this summer on a bridge project it abandoned in 2004 after the remains of about 335 people were found. It says the failed Port Angeles venture cost $87 million, including about $6 million for meticulous excavation and other archaeological work.

-- In Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz., archaeologists are working with construction crews on a new light rail line and transit center where human remains are beingturned over to Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indians for reburial elsewhere.

The opening of the Tempe transit center has been delayed from December 2007 to spring 2008, partly because the findings have slowed work, says Tempe spokeswoman Amanda Nelson.

-- New York City's plan to build the world's largest ultraviolet water treatment plant was delayed by 13 months after arrowheads, pottery and other artifacts were discovered on the Westchester County site last year, says Ian Michaels, spokesman for the city's Department of Environmental Protection.

Because of the delay, the contractor hired to prepare the site abandoned the project. The city hired another firm for $2.3 million more, he says, and construction resumed in June.

-- In Santa Fe, preliminary work on a new civic center and underground parking garage stopped for two months last year after the discovery of remains and artifacts, some dating to 1200.

In negotiations with the Tesuque Pueblo, the city agreed to reduce the size of the garage from 600 spaces to 512, "so it would be built around the most sacred areas," city spokeswoman Laura Banish says.

The redesign and other costs from the delay total about $500,000, she says.

Working together

California's Native American Heritage Commission names a "most likely descendant" when remains are discovered. That person or tribe has 24 hours to recommend what should be done.

Landowners can accept or reject the recommendations, says the commission's Myers. If they reject them, the remains must be reburied on another portion of the property that won't be disturbed.

Lalo Franco was named most likely descendant last year after remains were discovered in the Central Valley city of Tulare.

Franco, cultural and historic preservation director for the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe, says his recommendations are based on the tribe's spiritual beliefs. Among them: Spirits sometimes return to the spot where they were buried. "The spirit returns to the earth it loved tremendously to rest and to visit," he says.

Franco conferred with Charlie Boghosian, owner of the 19-acre housing development.

Initially, Boghosian was worried. "You're thinking, 'This could be the end of it, big trouble, and I could be shut down,' " he says. "Human nature is, 'Let's try to figure out how we can get around this.' "

After meeting with Franco, Boghosian says he came to "a realization that these are human beings." He offered to create a memorial and walking trail nearby, where Franco's ancestors will be reburied.

Recovery of the remains of eight people and about 2,000 bone fragments delayed construction by about a month and cost about $30,000, Boghosian says.

"This is Lalo's family," he says. "They lived here before us and they should be respected."

No resolution

Another California dispute has not been resolved as amicably.

The Playa Vista development in West Los Angeles will have 5,846 residences, retail and office space. About 2,000 units have been built.

Earlier excavations unearthed Native American remains, so developers prepared for the likelihood of discovering more, says project spokesman Steve Sugerman.

They made a plan before breaking ground: When Native American remains were found, Sugerman says, they would be excavated, stored on the site and reburied elsewhere in the development.

The remains of 391 people were unearthed, he says.

Robert Dorame, tribal chairman of the Gabrielino/Tongva Indians of California Tribal Council, was named most likely descendant and agreed to the company's plan before the extent of the remains was known. Once he realized how large the burial ground was, he says, he asked developers to stop and relocate the project around it. "It's a sacred ground," he says.

The company says it couldn't redesign a streambed it needed for flood control and water treatment. So, Sugerman says, it excavated the remains sensitively and carefully.

"We spent many millions of dollars to do it," he says. "We really tried our best. This was a meticulous process."

Dorame says he still agonizes over removal of his ancestors' remains. He fears his ancestors' spiritual journeys have been disrupted.

Choking back tears, he says, "I was devastated."


Monday, August 21, 2006

More music


I don't know if anyone else enjoys these YouTube musical pieces, but I hope that they make you feel at peace.


Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Music by Robert Mirabal

This site, You2Tube does have some beautiful pieces. I was blessed to be able to watch the entire program on PBS performed by Robert Mirabal, Tales From a Painted Cave. On this You2 there many of his pieces and with everyones blessing I would like to share them here.

I would love to get a CD of his performance. It just brings my soul and eyes into such a place of peace and honor. I hope that you find it filling your inner spirit as well.




Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Native Americans fight gas pipeline plan

Native Americans fight gas pipeline plan



After the ice broke up and the ferry began running on the Liard River in Canada's Northwest Territories, two American Indians with weathered faces and easy gaits shouldered a sack of beaver and muskrat pelts for the spring fur auction and took a rifle for bear protection.

On their short hike through the woods to the ferry landing, Jonas and Roy Mouse paused as they often do, heads bowed and caps in hand, at a rosary-draped cross that marks the spot where their aged mother collapsed and died several years ago.

The cross happens to stand alongside an oil pipeline that was dug through their forested homeland and that the brothers say for eight years drove away animals that they hunt and trap for a living.

Today, the brothers, members of the Dehcho First Nations, are facing another encroachment on their way of life: an even bigger, 800-mile-long natural gas pipeline that would bisect the tribe's traditional territory and help spawn industrial development in Canada's vast boreal forest, one of the last intact stretches of the Earth's original forest cover.

For three decades, the Dehcho have been resisting the $7 billion project, which is backed by other native groups in the Northwest Territories. But the Dehcho are under mounting pressure to drop their opposition to a project that would serve North American energy markets as the United States strives to reduce dependence on the Middle East. Canada is already the largest foreign supplier of natural gas to the United States.

The companies that want to build the pipeline -- Imperial Oil, Shell Canada, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil Canada -- estimate that it would carry 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day, which industry experts say would be enough annually to heat more than 3 million homes.

Recently, officials of Canada's newly elected Conservative government signaled their unwillingness to let the Dehcho stand in the way of the project, which proponents want to start building in 2008.

Jim Prentice,minister of Indian affairs, declared that the pipeline, which still needs regulatory approval, would be built along the Mackenzie Valley with or without the tribe's blessing.

Prentice's remarks only stiffened resistance from the 4,500-member tribe, the largest native group along the pipeline and the only one with an unresolved claim to its traditional lands.

Grand Chief Herb Norwegian said that if the government tried to expropriate Dehcho land for pipeline construction, the tribe would retaliate with litigation and possibly blockades.

"People think of a pipeline like a garden hose in your yard," Norwegian said. "But a pipeline of this magnitude is like building a China Wall right down the valley, and the effects will be there forever and ever."

Many Dehcho fear that hundreds of trucks would disrupt their quiet communities and that the massive project would drive away caribou, moose and other wildlife.

In the long run, they fear the project would spur a wave of oil and gas prospecting that would bring more pipelines and roads and so many newcomers that the Dehcho could become a powerless minority in the land they have occupied for many centuries.

The pipeline would tap into 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in three well fields north of the Arctic Circle. It would move the gas south along the Mackenzie River to Alberta province, where it would be used to fuel a massive oil extraction project or sent directly to markets in Canada and the United States.

"It is a significant new supply source," Imperial Oil spokesman Pius Rolheiser said. One trillion cubic feet could serve all of Canada's gas-heated homes for a year, he said.

About 40 percent of the pipeline route crosses land claimed by the Dehcho, and, before approving the project, they want a power-sharing agreement over 80,000 square miles of ancestral territory, allowing them to preserve lands for cultural or environmental reasons, to control industrial development and to collect royalties and taxes.

Dehcho leaders acknowledge that withholding support for such a significant project gives them leverage to secure unprecedented authority.

Government officials say their demands are unrealistic.

"It would give 4,500 people the power to govern an area about half the size of France," said Tim Christian, the chief federal negotiator. "And we certainly have not done that anywhere else (in Canada) and do not believe that is an appropriate model."

The government recently offered the Dehcho $104 million and ownership of about 18 percent of their traditional land, but Norwegian called it a "low-ball" offer.

Conservation groups are concerned about the pipeline's impact on one of the continent's great natural resources, Canada's 1.4 billion-acre boreal, or northern, forest.

"What is extraordinary ... is you are opening one of the last great wildernesses of the world," said Stephen Hazell, a lawyer with the Sierra Club of Canada. "The oil and gas companies will want every last scrap of land for exploration."

The Canadian Boreal Initiative, a conservation organization, has been working with the government, industries and tribal groups to identify land that should be protected from development. But the organization's executive director, Cathy Wilkinson, said only about 35 million of the Mackenzie Valley's more than 400 million acres of boreal forest had interim government protection.

"The worry today is the pace of developing is outstripping the pace of protecting areas," she said.

In addition to a 120-foot-wide pipeline right-of-way, the project calls for constructing staging areas, barge landings and camps for thousands of workers.

Scientists hired for the project contended that the disruptions would be short-term or limited to permanent facilities such as compressor stations.

"The ecosystem integrity ... will not be compromised," environmental consultant Petr Komers told a recent hearing. "Wide-ranging species will continue to move through the area and will continue to survive."

Lisanne Forand, assistant deputy minister for northern affairs, said construction "will go ahead only if the environmental assessment process indicates effects can be mitigated (and) if producers can make it economically viable."

Rolheiser, of Imperial Oil, the lead company, said whether the pipeline is built hinges partly on the cost of any government-required environmental mitigation and on the final tab for agreements with aboriginal groups.

Fort Simpson, where the Liard and the Mackenzie converge, was founded in the early 1800s as a fur trading post. Today, the town of 1,200 is home to hundreds of Dehcho.

"The land will be ruined," said 15-year-old Jacqueline Thompson. "The animals won't walk through it anymore."

"We were First Nations people before the government andmade do with what we had. ... So we are not too worriedif the pipeline does not happen," said the grand chief's cousin, Keyna Norwegian, the local chief in Fort Simpson.

But the grand chief's brother, Bob Norwegian, is the community liaison for the Mackenzie pipeline project, and he says he believes it will encourage economic development and job training.

"Folks are romanticizing about when we lived off the land," he said. "We are not going back to snowshoes and dog teams."

Last year, unemployment was 5.4 percent in the Territories -- but twice that among aboriginal people. "The Dehcho is one of the have-not regions," said Kevin Menicoche, who represents six of the tribe's 10 communities in the legislative assembly. "There is no new money coming in."

The other tribes along the route have established an Aboriginal Pipeline Group and will acquire up to one-third of the pipeline ownership. They have set a July 31 deadline for the Dehcho to join or risk losing many millions of dollars in gas profits, but the tribe has indicated that it would not decide by then.

Last modified: July 11. 2006 8:17AM


Protecting the Wolves continues

Feds Deny Wyo. Petition to Delist Wolves

.c The Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The U.S. government on Monday denied a request from Wyoming to remove gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

Wyoming officials, concerned that wolves have been killing cattle and domestic sheep and thinning elk herds, had proposed allowing trophy hunting of the animals in certain areas and classifying them as predators that could be shot on sight elsewhere.

The state proposed allowing the wolves to live unmolested in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

In rejecting the state's petition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday that it couldn't remove federal protections for wolves in Wyoming until the state sets firm limits on how many could be killed.

The agency also said the state must commit to maintaining a minimum population of the animals. Wyoming is home to an estimated 252 wolves.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal said Monday that the decision will make it easier for Wyoming to get a judge to decide whether its plan is scientifically adequate.

Just hours before Monday's announcement, Freudenthal and state Attorney General Pat Crank released a letter warning the federal agency that the state intended to sue to compel action.

Ed Bangs, coordinator of the Fish and Wildlife Service's gray wolf recovery effort in Helena, Mont., said Wyoming game managers must be authorized to maintain at least 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves overall in the state in midwinter before the federal agency can agree to remove federal protections.

``Our conclusion is that Wyoming law, and its plan, really don't provide enough assurance for us to move forward with delisting at this time,'' Bangs said.

Crank said Monday the state is satisfied that providing wolves a haven in the national parks and decreasing protections outside the parks would conserve the population.

Elk calf numbers have dropped from as high as 30 per 100 of the elk population during the winter to below 10 per 100 in areas where there are many wolves, he said.

Jim Magagna, executive vice president of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, a coalition representing agriculture interests, sportsmen and others, said he lost 51 sheep last year and has lost 12 so far this year.

``I think what we're seeing is the wolves are dispersing more and more across the state,'' Magagna said.

07/24/06 23:12 EDT

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.  All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tribal Head Ousted 2nd Time Over Clinic

Tribal Head Ousted 2nd Time Over Clinic

.c The Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A tribal president who was ousted and then reinstated after proposing an abortion clinic on the reservation was again stripped of her leadership role Tuesday.

An Oglala Sioux tribal judge had reinstalled Cecelia Fire Thunder to office Monday after she argued that her removal on June 29 violated tribal procedure.

The judge acted after the tribal council removed Fire Thunder from office for proposing a clinic on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation that would be beyond the reach of South Dakota's strict new abortion ban.

On Tuesday, tribal Judge Lisa Adams vacated her order after receiving a motion that argued she could not issue an injunction against the tribe or one of its officials. The judge's order had restored Fire Thunder to office pending a July 28 hearing on the impeachment issues.

Alex White Plume, who succeeded Fire Thunder and now resumes office as president, told The Associated Press Tuesday the tribal council has more authority than the tribal court.

``The tribal council action is the supreme law, so she overstepped her bounds a little bit,'' White Plume said. ``We all knew the court didn't have that kind of authority.''

The AP left voicemail messages for Fire Thunder, who did not respond immediately.

The conflict arose after Gov. Mike Rounds signed a law earlier this year that bans abortion in almost all cases and does not include exceptions for rape or incest.

Fire Thunder, who once worked part-time at a Planned Parenthood clinic in California, has said her support for a clinic comes from concern for girls and women who are victims of rape and incest.

After she indicated she would like to open a clinic on the reservation, the council voted May 29 to suspend her and later voted to remove her from office.

07/18/06 19:58 EDT

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.  All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Meth Takes A Toll on Indian Reservations

Meth Takes a Toll on Indian Reservations

.c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Leah Fyten believes every family on her South Dakota reservation has been affected by methamphetamine use. The drug has torn apart these families, led to increases in crime and bumped mortality rates. And now, the director of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Housing Authority says, it's affecting the reservation's already desperate housing situation.

Housing is not only ruined by meth labs, which are highly poisonous and often difficult to spot, but also by the destructive habits that often accompany drug use. The housing authority on the Flandreau reservation has spent countless dollars fixing up holes in the walls, broken windows, ruined appliances and other damage wrought by the violent habits of drug users, Fyten said.

``We have a small budget that decreases every year and families are growing,'' she said. ``Housing gets worse every year. And to try to repair houses that are damaged by alcohol and drug abuse puts a strain on your budget.''

Last year, Fyten's reservation recruited Jay Barton to help alleviate the problem. Barton, an Oklahoma police officer who also works for the National American Indian Housing Council, is traveling around the country teaching Indian housing officials what the drug does and how to spot it. Fyten and others say the council's seminars are breaking through in communities that have so far ignored and denied the problem, helping reservations lessen meth's collateral damage.

Barton likes to say he is shocking his students out of complacency.

``The response has been tremendous,'' he said. ``Especially with the funding cuts that tribes have received, this is really important.''

Barton teaches his students all about the drug - its effects, its origins, its market and its chemistry. He shows them pictures of users with their teeth rotting out and tells them about the drug's poisonous effect on children who come anywhere near it.

Statistics on Indian meth use are scarce, but an administration survey found in 2004 that almost 2 percent of the American Indian population was using meth. Robert McSwain, deputy director of the Indian Health Service, told a congressional panel earlier this month that the rate of Indians using meth appears to have dramatically increased in the past five years.

This poses a major problem for states and Indian reservations, Barton said, as some states have passed laws that essentially punish property owners for meth contamination. Some landlords - including Indian housing authorities - have been forced to pay for cleanup of meth labs, which can cost thousands of dollars.

In addition, few states have published standards for cleanup. Congress is pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to develop federal guidelines, as there is still some confusion about the effects of chemicals involved in producing the drug.

Because it is often up to the reservations to pick up the work and also the tab, and because most of these reservations have dramatic housing shortages, Barton said there is a critical need for education about meth.

Indian housing has been a problem for decades. According to a 2003 survey, an estimated 200,000 housing units are needed immediately in Indian country and approximately 90,000 Indian families are homeless or ``under-housed.''

``If we can make them aware of the costs and also the people that are abusing meth, then hopefully we can cut down on the costs,'' Barton said.

His seminars have led to at least one drug bust in Juneau, Alaska, where a maintenance worker who had attended a seminar identified a meth lab in his hotel.

Ron Peltier, director of the Turtle Mountain Housing Authority in North Dakota, said he hopes Barton, who gave a seminar there in early May, will be able to similarly help his reservation.

``We have a lot of workers who are unaware of how meth labs look, and we have a feeling that some of our units are being used,'' Peltier said. ``We hear a lot of rumors. But when we go there, we don't know what to look for.''

Joe Shirley Jr., president of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, says training people to spot the drug is paramount because meth is ``cutting into the kinship we have as Navajo people.''

``If you can't catch them there's no way to treat them,'' he said.

Despite their success, federal cuts to Indian programs have threatened Barton's seminars. He conducted about 50 last year, but he said fewer are scheduled in 2006 because of less federal money allocated for the National American Indian Housing Council, a quasi-government organization. After that, Barton said, organizers will have to come up with some sort of alternative.

The meth problem in Indian country has shown few signs of slowing, however. At the congressional hearing earlier this year, McSwain said the situation could be described in a single word: ``crisis.''

``I think what we are seeing now is that if communities don't take action it's going to get a whole lot worse,'' said Fyten. ``It's very sad and it's very scary. People have to wake up. There's a lot of people that don't understand meth and how to detect it.''

On the Net:

National American Indian Housing Council: http://naihc.net/

Indian Health Service: http://www.ihs.gov/

06/12/06 02:16 EDT

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.  All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Tribal Colleges Filling Growing Need

Tribal Colleges Filling Growing Need

.c The Associated Press

PAWNEE, Okla. (AP) - With two small children to support, Cedric Sunray doesn't have much time to pursue a college degree.

But a desire to learn how to teach American Indian languages and determination to build a better life drove Sunray to be one of 90 people enrolled at Pawnee Nation College when it started classes last fall.

``I wouldn't do it anywhere else,'' said Sunray, who speaks Cherokee, Choctaw and Pawnee. ``Tribal colleges offer classes that are historically not offered anywhere and tribal colleges depend on work force students.''

Tribal colleges - schools owned and run by Indian tribes that are often located on reservations - are growing, stemming in part from economic clout spurred in some cases by Indian gaming and a desire by tribes to validate their sovereign status.

There were no tribal colleges in the U.S. before 1968, but today there are more than three dozen and one in Canada.

``It's been a slow process, but we are happy to be where we are,'' said Gerald Gipp, executive director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. ``We're going through a real learning process of operating our schools and reversing decades of neglect.''

Tribal colleges developed along with an increase in American Indians seeking higher education. American Indian enrollment in universities has more than doubled in the past 25 years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That included a 62 percent increase in enrollment at tribal colleges in the past decade, according to the higher education consortium.

Todd Fuller, president of Pawnee Nation College, said those numbers should continue to grow. He said he expected enrollment at his college to increase at least 40 percent this fall.

Tribal colleges may be the last chance to save some native languages, said Quinton Roman Nose, education director of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He is helping develop a tribal college on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.

``Some tribes have their own syllabary. Others have languages that aren't written. This is a really complicated area to try and preserve and teach a language,'' Roman Nose said. ``There's a great need and this is one way of meeting it.''

Course offerings reflect tribal goals. In Oklahoma, the College of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation offers Creek classes, while Wind River Tribal College in Wyoming teaches Arapaho.

Nebraska Indian Community College offers an associate's degree in tribal business management. In South Dakota, Sinte Gleska University's Lakota Studies Department has been integrating Lakota values into academics since 1973, for example, adjusting class times to allow for tribal obligations.

The institutions, however, sometimes face an uncertain future. Characterized by rural isolation, limited property tax bases, and neglect from state governments, growth of tribal colleges has been uneven. At least seven have failed in the past 25 years.

But during that time, another 17 tribal colleges opened. They keep appearing because there is a need, said Roman Nose, whose great-grandfather, Henry, attended Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.

``Even our own tribal members ask 'Why do we need to do this?''' Roman Nose said. ``We have needs that can't be met any other way.''

Sunray, who is learning how to teach languages to students in kindergarten through 12th grade and how to administer an accredited language program, said tribal colleges offer a unique challenge.

``There are no excuses at a tribal college,'' Sunray said. ``You can't look at a teacher and say he doesn't like me because of so-and-so.''

Instead of having a white instructor, students likely will have a tribal member as a teacher, he said. They're not there to get rich, but to make a difference, Sunray said.

``They are going to make you work,'' he said.

On the Net:

Pawnee Nation College: http://pawneenationacademy.org

College of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation: http://www.muscogeenation-nsn.gov/college/humdev-colleg-class.htm

Sinte Gleska University: http://www.sinte.edu

American Indian Higher Education Consortium: http://www.aihec.org

06/20/06 04:19 EDT

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.  All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I Am The Blood Left Standing

I Am The Blood Left Standing
~Marge Tindal~  © 1999

I hear the voice of the Cherokee
crying out in the night.
I hear the voice of the lone wolf answer.
Is this also my plight?

On the horizon of many moons,
I see the legends and hear them speak.
I cry the tears of the Cherokee,
they run freely down my cheek.

You cannot take back
what you have lost...
or what has been taken from you.
You can only ask the spirits
to somehow see you through.

For it is written in Cherokee blood
spilled upon the land...
I am the blood left standing.
I hold the future in my hand.

I will not crawl or grovel
meekly this time.
But I will not be denied...
that which is mine.

My forefather's left the spirits
to guide me to this place...
perhaps to prove to you
I am also part of this human race.

So look me in the eye,
meet my gaze forthright.
I am declaring my heritage,
my birth and my right.

'Finder's keepers'.
'Loser's weepers'.
I don't subscribe to this rhyme.
Return to me what you took.
Return what is rightfully mine.

I will not speak with tongue that is forked.
I know what I must do.
You do not 'give' me anything...
I have earned my due.

Don't stand on your throne of empowerment
and claim how generous you've been.
The spirit guardian of the history books
know where you have sinned.

Unless you have the blood
of the Cherokee coursing through your veins,
do not pass judgement on me,
do not with cursed accusations speak my name.

I am the love that lay in the hearts
of all Cherokee who walked the trail.
I am the love of the Cherokee
when I hear their spirits wail.

Take what you will, but remember,
I am protected like you.
And all the spirits of the Cherokee...
speak with your God too.

God of the earth.
God of the sky.
God of the sun and the rain.
All the God's of the Cherokee...
know my name.

I have summoned the spirits
to take mercy on your soul.
The spirits have spoken...
the story is told.

All Rights Reserved Marge

Diana Elizabeth Stanley Paintings 

from the site:

My Cyber World