Here’s ICTMN’s tribute to Elijah Harper, the longtime respected Canadian political leader who walked on last week.
You can also read the Winnipeg Free Press’ obituary tribute to Harper, “The humble man who said no.”
Cree leader Elijah Harper was to be laid to rest on Thursday morning, May 23, at the reserve where it all began, after hundreds lined up to pay respects earlier in the week as Harper lay in state at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away at the 12th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Grand Chief Edward John opened the meeting with a tribute to the leader, who was felled on Friday May 18 at age 64 by cardiac complications related to diabetes. (Related: Elijah Harper, Iconic Aboriginal Leader Who Scuttled Meech Accord, Walks On)
“In our lifetime there are those few who touch our hearts and minds in profound ways,” John said in a statement. “Today, as he is being laid to rest, I wish to acknowledge the passing of Elijah Harper, a distinguished and respected Indigenous leader and parliamentarian in Canada. We extend our deepest condolence to his family and friends.”
John went on to relate the history of the Red Sucker Lake First Nation former chief, who first survived the residential school system, then went on to be elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly and then, Parliament.
A funeral service was held for the legendary leader on Monday evening after people flooded the legislative building to bid farewell. A Manitoba flag was draped over Harper’s open casket, and an eagle-feather headdress had been placed on top. Portraits of the iconic leader were placed nearby in which he was holding an eagle feather. (Related: Elijah Harper Lies in State at Manitoba Legislature)
From the other side of Turtle Island, John recounted the watershed moment in history that brought Harper—and aboriginals—to national prominence.
“He will be remembered for that moment when he took a stand, with an eagle feather in his hand, in the Manitoba Legislature in 1990 as the lone voice to vote against the Meech Lake Accord, which proposed amendments to Canada’s constitution but which ignored Indigenous Peoples rights,” John aid in his statement. “With this decisive action he stopped the amendment from proceeding which already had the political support from the federal and provincial leaders and governments.”
Harper’s reason: “In his quiet and humble way, he said, ‘I stalled and killed it because I didn’t think it offered anything to the aboriginal people,’ ” John continued. “His stand helped propel indigenous issues to the top of Canada’s political agenda and into the public consciousness of Canadians.”
Harper was known for uttering the simple word “no” repeatedly at that infamous voting session. But it was merely an example of the underlying spirit that guided him, wrote Don Marks, a Canadian writer and a close friend of Harper.
“Elijah Harper is most famous for saying that one word and changing the course of Canadian history,” Marks wrote in the Winnipeg Free Press. “And for far too many people, this is all that Elijah will be known for. But for those of us who learned early on to listen more closely, this man, who was raised by his grandparents on a trapline in northern Manitoba, was one of the most eloquent, in large part by being succinct, political spokespersons of all time; white, red, yellow or black.”
Condolences poured in from around the country, and about 700 people attended his funeral on the evening of May 20. The official burial service was to be held on Thursday morning, May 23, at the Full Gospel Church in Red Sucker Lake.
Harper’s daughter, Holly Harper, told CBC News she was overwhelmed by all the support.
“To see all the people, just not aboriginal, but the non-natives as well. And all the different people that are coming. It’s great to see,” she told the network.
“He was my support. He was my rock,” she said. “We have a lot to live up to.”
Back at the United Nations, John’s closing words echoed hundreds of well-wishers, including many inspired by his deeds: “Today we bow our heads in gratitude.”
The most recent feature in Indian Country Today Media Network’s “Best Indian food of 2013″ details a rare delight once served abundantly by the Passamaquoddy people.
As Jackleen De La Harpe writes, it’s a dish that has some teeth to it.
In Indian country, frybread, Indian tacos, curly fries and pizza have become as “traditional” as the dancing and socializing of annual pow wows and celebrations.
Food is at the heart of most celebrations, and fast food, in many ways, has taken the place of local cooking. Yet in many regions, familiar foods are being quietly revived or have quietly endured—traditional dishes may include fish caught in the dip net (salmon), greens gathered by hand (milkweed), or dishes that rely on an ingredient that is hard to come by—such as corn soup, red chile stew or muskrat.
Many adults haven’t tried smothered muskrat but Hilda Lewis, a Passamaquoddy tribal member living in Maine, is hoping to change that – for her family at least.
. . . Lewis, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, tribal elder and former tribal council member, says traditional foods served at Indian Days include hulled corn soup and moose-meat chili or stew. And one dish that has almost disappeared—smothered muskrat.
The recipe is simple, she says. First, chop off the tail, then drop the entire muskrat into the pot of water with potatoes, onion and shredded carrot. When the meat is tender, the muskrat, sans tail, is served “with the teeth showing,” she adds. The potatoes and onions are heaped on top, hence, the term smothered.
Muskrat has fallen out of favor as a dish because there isn’t as much trapping being done, Lewis explains, which means the toughest trick when cooking a muskrat is getting a muskrat. The best way to do that may be to ask around to see if someone has a few in their freezer.
Muskrat, about the size of a mink, can weigh up to four pounds and has a rich golden-brown pelt and teeth a bit like a beaver. There isn’t much meat on a muskrat, Lewis says, but the flavor is good, like rabbit with an herbal taste.
. . .
Lewis has cooked muskrat for her sisters and their husbands, and this spring, she is thinking about introducing her grown children to muskrat. All four, who range in age from 31 to 52 years old, have never eaten muskrat, and she believes they will like it.
Read the rest of the story.
A tribe working to rebuilt its nation under its first female chief traveled hundreds of miles seeking inspiration from the successful Confederated, Salish and Kootenai Tribe in Montana.
As Char-Koosta News reporter Alyssa Nenemay writes, the Delaware tribe located in Oklahoma traveled to the Flathead Reservation recently to meet with tribal officials there.
The Delaware, or as they were traditionally known “Lenape,” were among the first tribes to come in contact with Europeans in the 1600s. Forcefully relocated westward from their aboriginal territory along the Delaware River, the tribe’s historical relationship with the US Government is strained with war and resistance. The Delaware have received and lost federal recognition three times.
“We are survivors and adapters,” said Delaware representative Nate Young. “We’ve had a hard history but we’re trying to move forward. We’re looking for fresh ideas and that’s why we came here. We’re so impressed with everything the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes has been able to accomplish.”
Chief Paula Pechonick was recently appointed to lead the Delaware. She told Nenemay that “it’s time for women to step forward and take the lead, especially in these times. I really think Creator had a hand in me becoming the first female chief.”
During their two-day tour, the Delaware chief and tribal council members met with department heads to share ideas on how to expand on similar ventures, as well as learn how to establish and run new ones.
“Each tribe faces unique circumstance but we can all help each other to move forward,” said CSKT Chairman Joe Durglo. “I think we have some of the best staff in the country. They help us every day and I don’t know where we’d be without them.”
Terrance Guardipee creates his art on pieces of the past. Checks, receipts stocks, WWII ration books all become his canvas.
In that way, Blackfeet artist has created a beautiful fusion of Native imagery and historical documents.
Missoulian reporter Cory Walsh talked with Guardipee about his inspiration and a new show he is showing in Kalispell, Mont.
Guardipee incorporates the documents from the 19th century, including maps of Montana, to explore the growth and change in the state at that time period, show where the Blackfeet Tribe protected its territories and relate the stories of ancient warriors.
The new Hockaday exhibit will have multiple images of Running Eagle, “one of the only women to become a warrior,” he said. While there’s a waterfall named after her in Glacier National Park, his work is way of spreading her story across the country.
In addition to Blackfeet figures, Guardipee uses traditional symbols in his work, such as lodge designs. He’s had the training and fully understands what they’re used for. A viewer could see an old photograph of a lodge and see the same, he said.
“It’s a great gift for me to have that knowledge, and share it with the greater world outside of the Blackfeet homeland,” he said.
From the start, he would do careful research and talk to people back home, who, he said, if he needed a fuller understanding of a particular subject.
He’s also always included a breakdown of the imagery in each piece so that viewers can understand and enjoy the symbols.
“I’m happy and I’m proud to share that with the public – the history and the culture of my tribe,” he said.
“The symbols, even though they’re ancient, the symbols still have the same power – personal power protection, tribal power protections, they still have great significance,” he said.
Guardipee graduated from the Institute of American Indian Art in Sante Fe, N.M., where he studied two-dimensional arts.
He said the experience was positive – there were members of tribes from all over the U.S., from the East Coast to Alaska, which gave him a broad view of Indian art outside his home.
The students were encouraged to experiment with abstract styles, but Guardipee said he honed his skills and stayed true to his heritage.
“I always stuck to who I was in terms of being a Blackfeet artist,” he said.
When Guardipee first transitioned into his map collage style, he gathered the documents from a few small antique stores. After he began showing his work, he met collectors looking to unload what he needed: “Original documents with dates on them to connect my drawings to the era,” he said.
The documents, which come from small towns up and down central Montana, are always authentic, Guardipee stressed.
“I do not use copies of the original documents. They’re all originals, they’re all one of a kind,” he said.
They’re typically from small towns up and down central Montana, and their use is a compliment, Guardipee said.
“It’s no disrespect to the state of Montana or these old businesses that I’m using their documents. It’s honoring those places. It’s keeping them alive,” he said.
For instance, he’s used numerous documents from Virginia City and often gets questions about whether it’s a Nevada reference.
“It’s a ghost town, but I’m keeping it alive and it’s going all over the country,” Guardipee said.
The documents can have great significance to the work as a whole, he said. Take the pieces that use World War II ration books.
“Those directly link my tribes’ ancient war history with modern warriors going overseas so those really connect,” he said.
In addition to his Hockaday exhibit, Guardipee has a busy schedule.
In the fall, he will have a show at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, which will all be ledger art based on Blackfeet culture. In 2007, he was the featured artist there.
He’ll also be showing his work at the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art in Phoenix, in addition to his regular circuit, which includes the Sante Fe Indian Art Market. He won top honors for his ledger art three years in a row at one point in his career.
One place you won’t find his work, though, is a gift shop. He doesn’t use prints in his collages, and doesn’t currently produce prints of his work – each piece is a one-off. He doesn’t frown on arists who sell reproductions, however.
“Mine’s a personal decision in terms of keeping my art rare, and special, and one of a kind,” he said, whether it’s only as big as a playing card or as large as a map.
By Vince Devlin, of the Missoulian:
POLSON – You can look at the potential questions and problems facing many Indian people across the nation when it comes to the Affordable Health Care Act, and quickly check off all the ones that don’t apply on the Flathead Reservation.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai people are a federally recognized tribe, so no problem there. Members can be enrolled in the tribe at birth, so children’s standing isn’t in question like it is for members of some tribes. There is no reservation residency requirement like ones that are posing problems for others.
When you’re done, Kevin Howlett says, just understand: The Affordable Health Care Act will still present issues locally, for many people of Indian descent.
Howlett, director of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Health Department, stresses that everyone currently eligible for tribal health care will continue to be eligible.
But those who aren’t enrolled members may be subject to tax liability if they don’t purchase insurance for coverage they already qualify for.
“I anticipate problems, not for tribal members who are being exempted, but I do think there will be issues for descendants who can and do receive health care from us,” Howlett says.
The law, as written, exempts enrolled tribal members from having to purchase health insurance.
“We have a lot of people who are not enrolled, for whatever reason,” Howlett says. “It’s really unclear” how the new law will affect them.
“We do know they’ll come to the tribes asking for answers,” Howlett says. “But we don’t have them.”
The 2013 Montana Legislature made things more difficult for Indians and non-Indians alike, Howlett says.
“Montana missed the boat,” he says. “It would have simplified things, but the Legislature failed to pass Medicaid expansion. Seventy-thousand more people would have been covered who now have to figure out how to enroll” for health care coverage.
“Montana also chose not to set up a state exchange, so we’ll be dealing with a federal exchange,” Howlett continues. “There will be a number of plans, but how do you access them? Where will they be? Washington, D.C.? Denver? I have no idea. It will be confusing. It’s confusing right now.”
The new law came with good things, Howlett says. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act was permanently reauthorized with its passage, there will be opportunities to provide expanded levels of care, and it gives tribal health departments the ability to create an additional revenue stream.
But right now, he says, the tribes aren’t getting the information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services people will soon be seeking.
“We hear of things,” he says, but nothing concrete has “trickled its way out here yet. We’re just one of 555 tribes, and we’re up against the clock.”
That total doesn’t count more than 100 other tribes that aren’t federally recognized; their members are in no-man’s land when it comes to health care reform. Montana has one, the Little Shell, which has spent decades trying to gain federal recognition, to no avail and apparently due in large part to political in-fighting between rival factions within the tribe.
But the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are federally recognized. People are not required to live on the reservation to qualify for membership, nor are people banned from enrolling until they turn 18, things that are creating uncertainties for members of other tribes when it comes to the new law.
“If they figure out how to get exchanges available and accessible, it has the potential to do good things,” Howlett says of the health care overhaul. “But if you look at the clock, it’s tight. I’m concerned a lot of people are going to be really confused. It’s not just a Native issue, it’s a national issue.”
ICTMN’s Jorge Martin Melchor was on assignment last weekend at the 2013 AIGSA Fashion Show at Arizona State.
The event showcased a host of looks by Native designers. Melchor’s video gives a good look at the fashion show.
Gerard Begay, the fashion show’s organizer, said he started the event to show off the talents of Native American designers. “There’s a lot of Native American designers out there who aren’t recognized,” he said. He added that he also wanted to show non-Native people how Native culture is evolving. “I wanted to showcase that we are changing, we are constantly changing with today’s society,” he said.
The show is part of a weeklong celebration of Native culture at ASU.
Almost 330 people around the country have become members of the emerging Una Tribe, “mixed-blood tribe” being formed by a family in Eugene, Ore.
As KEZI.com reports, the Lake family there has already created a website and declaration of creation to attempt to get around blood quantum laws.
The Lake family who lives in Eugene says each family member has a fraction of their blood that is Native American. But that fraction of blood is not large enough to be considered a member of their ancestral tribes, so they’re starting their own tribe for people like them.
“I have been told my whole life that I’m Native American, both my father and my mother are Native American, all together I’m one-eigth,” said Richard Lake III, Una Tribe Founder.
That one-eighth tribal blood doesn’t allow Richard Lake III to be considered part of an ancestral tribe.
. . .
But one Klamath Tribe member says it takes more than a bit of Native American blood to be a part of a tribe.
“The ancestral memories of that are generations and generations of a single people living together sharing memories and developing language,” said Gordon Bettles, Klamath Tribe Member.
. . .
Even though they’re not recognized by the government or other tribes, the Una mixed blood tribe thinks in 10 years you’ll be hearing a lot about them.
“Our end goal is set up a reservation for our members to be able to live on or visit,” said Richard Lake III.
A 10-year-old boy accused of several crimes, including theft, will get a new hearing after a judge initially set bail in the case at $500,000 after protests from his outraged family.
The Missoulian’s Vince Devlin reports that Isaiah Shane Nasewytewa, the 10-year-old St. Ignatius boy who lives on the Flathead Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana, is currently being held at the Reintegrating Youthful Offenders Correctional Facility.
His family has said they can’t pay that high of bail.
Court records indicate (Lake County Judge Kim) Christopher set bail at $500,000 last week specifically in hopes of ensuring the evaluation takes place.
The boy’s grandmother, Dorinda Buck of St. Ignatius, protested on social and in traditional media, saying such a high bail is usually reserved for adults charged with violent crimes. The family had come to court indicating they were prepared to post bond for the $50,000 bail sought by the Lake County Attorney’s Office.
Nasewytewa came before the court because of a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge for an alleged incident at his elementary school, but that triggered the re-filing of a felony theft and burglary charge from 2012 against the youngster.
Nasweytewa’s family has said the Wa He Lut Indian School in Olympia, Wash., is willing to take him.
“He’s losing steam (at the correctional facility),” said Buck, who indicated she had spoken to her grandson on the phone since he was transported to Galen after Thursday’s District Court hearing. “He said there’s nobody his own age in there. He feels lost – he’s just a little kid.”
Court documents indicate Nasewytewa was to be held until he could be seen for the evaluation at a Shodair Children’s Hospital, but his grandmother said there were no openings available before June 6. His caseworker has since found an opening at a Bozeman facility, but that’s not for another three weeks.
“They’re trying to get it expedited, find something sooner, but so far the earliest is May 22,” Buck said.
The term and the industry of “tribal tourism” is catching on around the state of Alaska.
One Native corporation at the forefront of offering adventures steeped in their cultural traditions has launched a service to help others do the same, according to Associated Press reporter Rachel D’Oro.
Huna Totem Corp. opened Alaska Native Voices on Wednesday. Huna Totem is the village Native corporation for Hoonah — a largely Tlingit community of 775 in southeast Alaska — and one of the front-runners of tribal tourism, a growing trend in Alaska and nationally.
Huna has turned the closure of the cannery there in the 1950s into a positive economic driver focused on sharing its heritage.
The corporation is entering the 10th year of operating its Icy Strait Point, a long-closed salmon cannery near Hoonah that was converted to a tourism complex with offerings that include Tlingit heritage performances and nearby attractions such as nature tram rides, whale watching tours and a mile-long zipline with a 1,300-foot vertical drop. Huna Totem also is entering its 13th year of providing cultural heritage guides to visitors of Alaska’s Glacier Bay.
The corporation’s new consulting business is available to Native groups as well as communities worldwide wanting to establish tourism around their own cultures, Alaska Native Voices director Mark McKernan said. The cost will vary, depending on the extent of services sought, he said.
. . .
Since opening in 2004, Icy Strait has drawn more than 1 million visitors. Another 135,000 cruise ship travelers are expected to stop there this year. For Hoonah, the enterprise has been lucrative, bringing an enormous boost in sales taxes and creating scores of jobs for locals, officials have said.
Alaska’s off-road villages lack the luxuries seen along the cruise ship routes, however, and most don’t have a designated visitor coordinator. But an increasing number of small communities are exploring ways to set up their own brands of Alaska Native tourism.
You’re going to want to take a look at this collection of ledger art created by Crow warriors in the late 1800s.
Billings Gazette reporter Mary Pickett brings us the “remarkable story about . . creation and preservation” of how the art was saved by a curious Montana college professor.
BILLINGS, MONT. – Adrian Heidenreich stumbled onto the first clue of an extraordinary collection of Native American ledger art in a Billings Heights art gallery in 1968.
When he spotted a copy of a battle scene done in 1884 by a Crow artist, he was stunned.
“Oh my gosh, I have to have that,” he thought.
He learned that the original the copy had been made from was part of a collection of Indian art housed at the library at Eastern Montana College, now Montana State University Billings.
Although the original had been attributed to the last traditional Crow Chief Plenty Coups, the chief later said he did not draw it, but that the work was an accurate depiction of his experiences at a battle between Crow and Sioux warriors.
Full of action, the work simultaneously shows several events that happened minutes or hours apart.
A warrior, possibly Plenty Coups, stands left of center, firing a rifle at short range at two enemy warriors who are firing back in the midst of blue smoke shooting out of the rifle barrels.
The rest of the combatants ride brightly colored horses. A few have turned their horses and are riding away from the battle, holding up rifles and feathered staffs in a gesture indicating that they will return to fight again.
The ground is carpeted with hoof prints, illustrating that the battle had been intense and lasted a long time.
Heidenriech found the dynamic piece remarkable because he had recently come to Montana to teach Native American studies and was making friends with members of the Crow tribe.
He knew of other ledger art done at Fort Marion, Fla., by Cheyenne and other Indians imprisoned there in the 1870s.
But he didn’t know much about Crow ledger art except for pieces done by White Swan, a Custer scout.
When Heidenreich moved from Rocky Mountain College to Eastern Montana College to teach in 1977, he began research on the Charles H. Barstow Collection of Native American Ledger Art, which wasn’t widely known at the time.
“Pretty much forgotten about even by librarians,” Heidenreich, now a MSU Billings professor emeritus, said recently.
Since then, Heidenreich’s speeches and published research on the Barstow ledger art helped bring attention to the collection.
The remarkable collection has an equally remarkable story about its creation and preservation.
Made when Native American culture was suppressed, the fragile art has survived more than 130 years and several periods of obscurity.
Ledger art in the Barstow collection was done from 1879 to 1897 by Crow and Gros Ventre living on or visiting the Crow Reservation at a time when the Crows’ world was constricting and shifting away from a life centered around the buffalo.
The Gros Ventre artists featured in the collection actually were Hidatsa, who were related to the Crow. Early on, fur traders and federal Indian officials referred to the Hidatsa as Gros Ventre. Because Barstow documents call non-Crow artists in its collection “Gros Ventre,” that term will be used in this article.
Beginning in 1852, Crow lands shrank from more than 38 million acres across Eastern Montana down to the current 2.25 million acres, Heidenreich said.
By the 1880s, federal policy had shifted from campaigns to kill or starve Indians to those eradicating Indian culture and forcing them into white men’s way of life.
“You have to kill the Indian to save the man,” said Richard Henry Pratt, who started the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania to assimilate Native American children.
To that end, traditional Indian dances and Native religion were forbidden, Heidenreich said.
Even if Indians couldn’t do those things publicly, they continued to pass traditions down to their children through stories and art.
Army officers and Bureau of Indian Affairs bureaucrats on reservations and at places of incarceration such as Fort Marion, noticed Indians’ interest in art and gave them paper, pencils, crayons, ink and watercolors for them to capture images.
In 1878, two years after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Charles H. Barstow was hired as the BIA’s chief clerk at Crow Agency, then located near the present-day town of Absarokee in Stillwater County.
Born in Massachusetts about 1850, Barstow supervised other clerks, kept accounts, took minutes of meetings and was acting agent when the agent was away, Heidenreich wrote in the catalog for the 1985 show of ledger art at the Yellowstone Art Center, now the Yellowstone Art Museum.
Barstow was among those encouraging Indians to illustrate events in their lives on business forms and sheets of lined and unlined paper from ledger books. Barstow wrote descriptions of what was being portrayed in each drawing and who the artist was.
Barstow’s family later would call his collection a “hobby,” but Heidenreich sees it much more than that.
“Barstow was genuinely interested in Indians” because he got to know the Crow during the nearly 20 years that he lived on the reservation.
Barstow was given the name “Pearcoppie,” which meant Hump Nose or Crooked Nose in Crow, because he had broken his nose years earlier.
Although he clearly admired most Crow he knew, every relationship wasn’t perfect.
Barstow kept a gun in a drawer in his office because he was afraid of one chief, Pretty Eagle, who had a strong, outspoken personality, Heidenreich said.
After retiring from the BIA, Barstow moved to Billings.
By the time he died in 1908, many of his personal possessions, including his Indian collection, had been sold off.
In 1930, a trunk that held some of Barstow’s ledger art was discovered in Roundup. The art came to the attention of Ruthann Wilbur Hines, the wife of an Eastern Montana Normal School professor. The school, now Montana State University Billings, bought the 66 pieces of art in the collection.
After tracking down relatives of Barstow to confirm the link between the artwork and him, Hines and others took some of the drawings to Pryor and showed them to Charlie Bird Hat, an old war chief. He went over the art work for more than an hour, reading them “as one would read a newspaper,” Hines wrote.
Bird Hat recognized both people and battles depicted in the works, including fights that happened near present-day Huntley, Joliet and Canyon Creek near Laurel.
Next, they visited the elderly Plenty Coups, who was watching a Memorial Day home-talent rodeo from a spring wagon.
Because some of the art works were attributed to Plenty Coups, the old chief was asked to put his thumb print on some of them.
Plenty Coups refused because he had not done the artwork, but confirmed that the events portrayed had happened to him.
A photo taken at the time shows Plenty Coups, wearing glasses and a cowboy hat, sitting in the front seat of a wagon while John Frost, a translator, holds one of the pieces of ledger art for the chief to examine.
Although the artists are all gone, they left a vibrant record of Native American culture in the 19th century.
Horses, carrying warriors into battle or racing bison across the plains, play a major role in several works in the Barstow collection.
That’s not surprising, Heidenreich said.
From the 1830s to 1850s, the Crow Tribe was the richest in horses in this region.
Artists colored horses different hues to indicated each horse had different qualities and personalities.
Indicating how close the Crow were to their hoses, Plenty Coups once said, “I know my horse’s heart and he knows mine.”
The style of art that Native Americans used on ledger paper came from earlier ways of preserving oral stories and experiences on teepees liners, buffalo robes, pictographs and petroglyphs, Heidenreich said.
The Barstow ledger art also depicts subjects not traditionally done earlier, including dancers and courtship rituals.
In general, men created those art forms while women did beading and porcupine quill work.
Most of the Barstow art was done by men who had been warriors, including Medicine Crow and Pretty Eagle, Heidenriech said.
Medicine Crow’s drawings make up almost half of the Barstow collection and are easy to pick out because of his signature — a raven flying over his head.
In addition to dramatic battle scenes, the collection includes colored drawings of groups of men and women, their clothing captured in detail.
The art remains so vibrant, emotionally charged and accessible that even after 45 years after seeing the battle scene in a local art gallery, Heidenreich still gets excited talking about ledger art.
The beauty of Native art is just one way to help boost Phoenix’s economy, the Navajo Post reported this week.
The Post cites a story by the examiner that details a recent study showing Native arts and culture generate $361.05 million for the local economic activity.
They can also purchase property and once it’s bought, through the US Department of Interior, they can request the Secretary’s Office of that purchased land and essentially turning into Tribal Trust Land, reported the examiner.
This is detailed out in 25 CFR under Land Acquisitions. In Phoenix, vacancies in the Camelback Corridor are interested in making use of Native American Culture in attracting more visitors to the Camelback Colonnade.
“The economic impact of arts and culture organizations on Arizona’s economy is comparable to that of major sporting events. Businesses need to understand how they will benefit from providing greater financial and other support.” said, Robert L. Lynch President and CEO of Americans for the Arts.
Lynch also explained the impact it could have, “Understanding and acknowledging the incredible economic impact of the nonprofit arts and culture, we must always remember their fundamental value. They foster beauty, creativity, originality, and vitality. The arts inspire us, sooth us, provoke us, involve us, and connect us. But they also create jobs and contribute to the economy.”
Money generated by tourism is another way to help boost the economy.
Arizona’s tribal lands produced direct spending of $310.5 million, plus indirect and induced impacts of $80.5 million, for a total economic impact of $391 million. Based on a study.
This created a total of 4,973 jobs on Arizona’s tribal lands.
According to the Terry School of Business, University of Georgia the buying power of Native American peoples will hit $30.4 billion dollars by the year 2016 and tribal businesses are tapping into that readily available financial source said, Terrance H. Booth.
By Christina Rose, Native Sun News associate editor
RAPID CITY — No matter what she decides, whether it’s to be a dancer, poet, or psychologist, Mariah Brewer, a junior at Stevens High School, has a solid future ahead of her. Having danced for 10 of her 16 years, a visit to Prima Ballet on West Main St, Rapid City, proved that years spent in training have proved fruitful.
Teacher Alyssa Record described Mariah as a beautiful dancer, and she is often cast as a feature dancer with dance troupes, such as the Russian Ballet, that come to Rapid City through the Black Hills Theatre.
Right now Mariah is researching colleges that fit her future.
“I used to want to audition for Julliard, but then I was exposed to a broader spectrum of dance,” she said.
As of right now, Mariah is hoping to attend the University of Wyoming where she took part in the Snowy Ridge Summer Dance Festival. However, she is keeping her options open and also considering the University of Minnesota and University of Montana.
While Mariah is aware of the opportunities that living in New York City or Los Angeles might afford, she said, “I like the big cities, but I don’t want to live in them.”
Even though Mariah has focused on Modern Dance, she remembers her Lakota traditions. She currently dances almost three hours a day and said she doesn’t have time for pow wow dancing anymore.
“I used to jingle dance when I was younger. I still like learning about my culture and I am proud of being Lakota. I spoke Lakota when I was young. I learned it while I was Dakota Head Start, and when we went to Pine Ridge.I don’t forget it.”
Planning ahead for her career, Mariah is looking at splitting her goals between dance and psychology.
“My sister is getting a degree in psychology,” she said, “and I have always enjoyed helping people and learning how people deal with things,” Brewer said.
Jennifer Glen, Mariah’s mother, said Mariah has so many gifts there are a multitude of things she could do.
Apparently her mother is not her only fan.
“I entered a poem in a contest, and I got back a letter about having my poem published,” Mariah said. “After that I was accepted into new contests, so I have two published right now.”
Mariah said her poems are often about what she is feeling at the time.
“I wrote about my very first break-up. The second one was about how I feel that society is turning away from what is really important. Nowadays people are focusing less on God and what God gives them each day, like their talents,” Mariah said.
Mariah’s 4.0 grade point average shows that she takes her studies seriously.
“She is working to keep her grades up because she wants to be able to get into a good school. I know they look at the whole package,” Glen said.
As excited as Brewer is about going to college, she said, “It’s going to be hard to leave all the things I have been involved with, but I am excited to meet new people. I’ll miss my mom and my bird.”
Mariah’s Grandfather Melvin “Dickie” Brewer, originally from Pine Ridge and now living in Denver, Colo., called Native Sun News to say how special he thinks his granddaughter is.
He was the first advertising sales representative for the original Lakota Times on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1981. He is also proud of Mariah’s mothers.
“She is such a good Mom; nobody has a bad thing to say about her. She has done such a good job raising Mariah. The thing I like about her is she is always so grateful for anything anybody does for them.”
Contact Christina Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There, they met with wildlife and transportation officials to learn more about the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ wildlife crossing and underpasses.
As Char-Koosta News reporter Lailani Upham wrote, the visit to the U.S. arose from the changes to the landscape such as more roads and railways have fragmented wildlife habitat and disrupted the migrations of iconic Mongolian species such as saiga antelope, gazelles and khulan.
The “safe passages” like the one built by CSKT not only conserve critical wildlife migration corridors but protect motorists, Upham wrote.
The crossings of underground passages for wildlife began installment in 2007 along US Highway 93 under a project called The Peoples Way. The project was collaboration with the Montana Department of Transportation, the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, and the Federal Highway Administration as equal partners negotiating on an agreed approach that met needs of safety, capacity, culture, wildlife, and landscape.
The crossings allow from large to small animals to cross such as: moose, elk, deer, bears, mountain lions, bobcats, muskrats skunks, raccoons, badgers, mice rabbits wood rats, weasels, pheasants, and eve partridges.
Today, there are ten wildlife underground crossing structures with one wildlife over-crossing that span across the Flathead Reservation along the 56.3-mile corridor on Highway 93 from Evaro to Polson.
One Mongolian official on the trip said “urgent measures” are needed to help restore habitat connectivity there.
“There is significant development happening in the Gobi Desert and Eastern Steppe of Mongolia, and there will be impacts from that development,” said tour leader and WCS Mongolia Program Manager, Kina Murphy. “Our goal is to equip the relevant ministries and private sector of Mongolia with the capacity to make informed decisions about measures that can mitigate impacts of linear infrastructure caused by mining and other industries.”
Is “The Lone Ranger” Disney’s “make-good” to Native Americans? Or was it just good PR?
The film, set to be released in July, features Johnny Depp in full makeup and dramatic costume as the Ranger’s sidekick, Tonto.
As Enk writes, the getup didn’t cause much documented commotion – yet.
Here’s Enk’s column:
Have you noticed that there has been (rather surprisingly) very little public outrage over Johnny Depp being cast as Tonto in “The Lone Ranger”? That’s because Disney, in true Tonto style, heads it off at the pass.
Depp plays the Ranger’s Native American partner in the upcoming multi-million dollar extravaganza that reunites the superstar with his “Pirates of the Caribbean” director (for the first three installments, anyway), Gore Verbinski. Disney wants “The Lone Ranger” to follow in the footsteps of “Pirates” and become a major franchise for the studio, a mission that included making sure that Depp’s casting didn’t offend the Native American community.
Disney, as always, played it smart and savvy. The studio – and Depp – embarked on a broad outreach program early in pre-production, courting Native American approval long before cameras rolled by having several Native American leaders involved in the script’s development. During filming, Depp – who has identified himself as being of Native American ancestry – was adopted into the Comanche Nation via a private ceremony in the presence of then-tribal chairman Johnny Wauqua.
Disney even had local Navajo elders perform a Navajo blessing before production commenced in Monument Valley, and LaDonna Harris, a leader of the Americans For Indian Opportunity, was invited on set. The good relations continued after production wrapped, with Depp flying to Lawton, Oklahoma to join “his people” at the Comanche Nation Fair.
Disney has also created a character worthy of all of this attention and approval. The Tonto of the 1950s television show spoke broken English and lacked character depth, serving as little more than an amusing sidekick to the heroic Ranger. Depp’s Tonto is claimed to be an authentic portrayal of the character’s rich Comanche heritage.
Chris Eyre, the Native American director of “Smoke Signals” and TV’s “Freedom Riders,” approves of Disney’s approach. “I’m not looking to this movie to be the Native ‘Schindler’s List,’” says Eyre. “But I completely respect Johnny Depp for making this movie happen and for him to try and rewrite Tonto for a new generation.”
With this revisionist take on Tonto, Disney hopes to not only wipe away the insensitivity of the old “Lone Ranger” television show but also its own controversial past regarding Native American characters. The studio’s 1995 animated feature, “Pocohontas,” was criticized for fostering negative stereotypes of Native Americans, particularly through one of the film’s key songs, “Savages.”
We’ll have to see if all of these good intentions translate into box office dollars. “The Lone Ranger” certainly has the potential to be a “Pirates”-sized hit (though, let’s face it, it’s highly unlikely) – or it could be a gigantic flop of “Wild Wild West” proportions. The film hits theaters on July 3.
The last known active speaker of the Yurok Tribe who helped revitalize the language through mentoring and education programs during the past two decades has died.
Los Angeles Times reporter Lee Romney reports that Archie Thompson, 93, died March 26 of a stroke.
One of the few remainig full-blooded Yurok, Thompson was part of an effort in the last years to teach the Yurok language with a push in the past decades.
He was also the last of about 20 elders who helped revitalize the language over the last few decades, after academics in the 1990s predicted it would be extinct by 2010.
He made recordings of the language that were archived by UC Berkeley linguists and the tribe, spent hours helping to teach Yurok in community and school classrooms, and welcomed apprentice speakers to probe his knowledge.
It paid off: A recent tally by the tribe’s language program indicated there are more than 300 basic Yurok speakers, 60 with intermediate skills, 37 who are advanced and 17 who are considered conversationally fluent.
Yurok is now taught in public schools across Humboldt and Del Norte counties, including in five high schools, and the revitalization effort is widely considered the most successful in the state. Linguists say the Yurok language will be considered fully out of danger, however, only when tribal members begin speaking it to their children in the home.
. . .
Thompson was born May 26, 1919, in a smokehouse in Wa’tek Village, now known as Johnsons, on the Klamath River. At age 5, he was sent to a government-run boarding school in Hoopa, about 30 miles to the southeast, where he was discouraged from speaking Yurok or engaging in cultural practices.
He would open and close the school gates for visitors, often receiving a penny or a nickel in return, he recalled in a January interview with The Times. He returned home at age 8, and after his mother attempted to put him up for adoption, his grandmother, Rosie Jack Hoppell, took him in, according to his daughter.
. . .
He is survived by seven of his eight children, 29 grandchildren, 72 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
The Billings Gazette debuted a series of stories last week about the suicide epidemic that continues to have a devastating grip on reservations across the state.
Reporter Cindy Uken began by telling Letitia Stewart’s story.
Stewart’s son shot himself as she pleaded with him not to take his own life.
Uken’s stories point out that Montana Native Americans have the highest rate of suicide in a state that has the highest rate in the nation.
All the factors that contribute to Montana’s alarming number of suicides – high rates of alcohol use and gun ownership, insufficient mental health care, rural isolation and joblessness – are compounded on the state’s Indian reservations.
During the winter on some reservations, unemployment can jump to 80 percent. Sexual and domestic violence is endemic and the high school dropout rate hovers at about 44 percent.
On top of that is a taboo in some Native American cultures against speaking of the dead, especially the victims of suicide.
Uken also featured a story about a mother who is breaking taboo by calling out her dead son’s name and speaking out for suicide prevention.
The final installment featured a look at programs that could help break the cycle of suicide. She visited Plenty Coups High School on the Crow Indian Reservation during a suicide prevention workshop.
Mark LoMurray, founder and executive director of Sources of Strength, a youth suicide-prevention project, led the student workshop. Training was also conducted for staff and parents as part of a “reformation” underway at Plenty Coups High School, according to the school’s principal, Sam Bruner.
“It’s getting students to recognize that they have sources of strength,” Bruner said.
The program is designed to encourage youth to seek help from trusted adults and to equip youth with coping skills. It also seeks to diminish the code of silence among youth and social networks, and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness.
A bundle of Uken’s stories can be found here
Uken’s reporting on Montana’s suicide epidemic was undertaken with the help of a California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism.
A unique collection of 70 katsina friends sacred to the Hopi Indians is to be sold April 12 in Paris.
But as the Associated Press reports, the Hopi Tribe in Arizona is asking Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou to cancel the auction.
Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, director of the tribe’s cultural preservation office, said the religious items have no commercial value and should be in the hands of the American Indian tribes from which they were taken, including the pueblos of Jemez, Acoma and Zuni in New Mexico. The sale of such items isn’t extraordinary, but the size of the collection to be auctioned in Paris and the age of the items is, he said.
The majority of the 70 katsina friends are labeled as Hopi and date back to the late 19th century and early 20th century. Kuwanwisiwma said they likely were collected from the Hopi in the 1930s and 1940s when there was documented evidence of a French citizen on the northern Arizona reservation.
“A lot of these objects were collected under suspicious conditions,” he said. “You had such a huge competition by museums to collect artifacts from tribal reservations, and Hopi was no exception.”
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act doesn’t apply to item held internationally, the story said. The Heard Museum in Phoenix is helping in the Hopi push to stop the auction. The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People could help, museum representatives told the AP.
Jose Viarreal, editor of the website artdaily.org, published the news release and said he received calls afterward from Hopis furious about the sale. He said he contacted the auction house and was told the items were obtained legally.
“I think this is going to go through as planned,” he said.