The Northeastern Woodlands of North America is a land of heavily forested rolling hills and rounded mountains, salt marshes of waving grass, calm lakes, tumbling brooks, surf-beaten beaches, and rocky coves. This culture area stretches west from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River, and from Virginia in the south to New Brunswick in the north. The era from earliest habitation to about 8000 BCE is called the Early Paleo-Indian Period by some archaeologists. A few of the archaeological findings for this period from the Northeast are briefly described below.
This is outrageous. Oak Flat in Arizona, an Apache holy place where coming-of-age ceremonies have been performed for many generations and is a sacred place for prayer, has been handed over to an Australian-British firm, Resolution Copper Mining company. They predict that the mining will result in a two-mile wide, 1000 feet-deep crater. Read the op-ed piece in the New York Times today and then do something. Contact your congressional representative and/or senator and ask them to repeal this law. Had this been a holy site for any other major religion, this would not be happening.
Oak Flat was originally protected by Eisenhower and then Nixon. In December, 2014,
the giveaway language was slipped onto the defense bill by Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona at the 11th hour. The tactic was successful only because, like most last-minute riders, it bypassed public scrutiny.
Go below the orange infinity symbol for more quotes from the op-ed author, Lydia Millet.
"So I'm going to his office, thinkin' that I'm going to go meet with a," she said, holding her hand in front of her mouth and making an echo sound. "Right? ... because he said Indian American."Fellow Democrats pounded Sanchez, a newly minted Senate candidate who stumbled badly in her first week, until she coughed up an apology, but this is the kind of display that could (and probably should) prove disqualifying. What makes this more problematic is that Sanchez, whom the Sacramento Bee politely labeled as "unscripted," has an unfortunate history of racially clueless remarks: In her 2010 re-election campaign, she said that "Vietnamese and Republicans" were attempting "to take this seat from us … and give it to this Van Tran, who is very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic." (Tran is Vietnamese, and Sanchez had to apologize then, too.)
One thing Sanchez may actually understand, though, is how precarious her situation is. She waited months to get into the race for retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer's open seat, a delay that allowed state Attorney General Kamala Harris to raise millions and consolidate support from the Democratic establishment. After her dismaying blunder, Sanchez was asked if she might instead seek re-election to the House. Her response was very telling:
"I am running for the United States Senate, and we're running full bore to talk to people up and down California, and we think that by the time we finish, and [the June 2016 primary] rolls around, we're going to be moving into the general election."Sanchez's failure to actually answer the question put to her means she hasn't ruled out the possibility of a quick about-face. It would be a humiliating climb-down, but it wouldn't be any more humiliating than what Sanchez has already put herself through.
On a dark country road in Indian Country, the lessons of childhood come back quickly when the police pull you over. As a nation debates police violence, we should know that Native people are the ethnicity most likely to be killed by law enforcement.This story did not end in tragedy—meaning death—but the scars that are left by the experience of racial profiling of drivers who are not-white are indelible.
When the officer rapped loudly with a flashlight on the passenger-side window of my car, my 16-year-old, special-needs daughter flung her arms around me like a frightened kitten climbing up my pants leg.
I tried to calm her as I rolled the window down. I could make out no details of the officer because he shined the flashlight in our eyes. The squad car's flashing lights were blinding.
Follow me below the fold for more on the perils for people of color behind the wheel.
So said Reuben George, Ceremonial Sundance Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation at a press conference this week, during a historic gathering where tribes from Montana, Washington and British Columbia stood together to oppose North America's largest coal export terminal. That's George in the blue shirt, above, listening to Otto Braided Hair of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.
The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.May 11, 2015
San Juan county
maritime Pacific Northwest
This is a follow-up to Milly Watt's beautiful Olympic peninsula prairie wildflower bucket from yesterday. I hope folks are ok with yet more wildflowers! The reason I'm interested in the comparison between these two prairies directly across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from each other is the diversity of their vegetation, and what that says about the subtleties of biogeography.
What do we mean by "prairie", especially in the forested Pacific Northwest? With our wet cool climate, trees would invariably fill in any open grassy expanse like the one in the photo below (this is Iceberg Point, a protected 80-acre portion of the San Juan Islands National Monument established by President Obama in 2013). The reason it is an open meadow rather than forest is due to millennia of land management by local resident Coast Salish Indians. They kept gardens here - particular areas maintained by families - cultivating perennial food plants like Chocolate Lilies, known to some as Rice-root, and many other plants.
"Land management" may understandably evoke images of logging, dams and monoculture. Local tribes - with practices such as controlled burning, plant cultivation, and clam gardens - were not as destructive, lacking modern technology and energy, but they were highly motivated to increase food supply to support populations considerably larger than conventional wisdom assumed until recently. For example, before European explorers made contact, the three permanent villages on Lopez Island numbered about as many people as the current resident population today. The village nearest Iceberg Point was just a couple of miles away by canoe, easily farmed through the year. Maritime Pacific Northwest Indians managed prairies in many locations besides the Salish Sea area, including the Olympic Peninsula and lower Puget Sound.
In the larger historical context, prairies are what people knew for the first several thousand years after coming to the Northwest. Archeological evidence shows both that the area was settled by people some 11,000 years ago and that the climate was warmer and dryer then. Forests only began to take over about 5000 years ago when the climate became cooler and wetter. Inhabitants chose to maintain prairies, knowing the wealth of food they provided.
Today, most of the ancient prairies are either urban, forested or developed for modern agriculture. A few remnants remain, and while invasive plants have moved in, the range of native vegetation is an indication of the special nature of each prairie. Milly Watt and I are comparing our nearby prairies, and I hope you are as intrigued as we are about them!
By luck, I caught the end of peak Chocolate Lily season this year :) What with one thing and the other, I've never been out on the rocky ocean-facing meadow where this rare delicate wildflower grows happily at exactly the right time of year, or if I did, I didn't notice them. And blooming patterns have been changing. So what a treat it was to see them in their modest beautiful glory this year.
We were an hour into our walk before noticing the Chocolate Lilies. See them?
The mottled bells of Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria affinis) are camouflaged amongst the grasses and easily overlooked amidst the California Buttercups. Their bright yellow is hidden inside their velvety brown speckled tepals.
(All photos by me. In Lightbox...click to enlarge)
The Kootenai (also spelled Kutenai), whose homeland was in the area west of the Rocky Mountains in what is today western Montana, northern Idaho, and southeastern British Columbia, are generally divided into two groups: Upper Kootenai and Lower Kootenai, referring to their position on the drainage of the Kootenay River. The Upper Kootenai lived near the western face of the Rocky Mountains. The Kootenai had several politically independent bands. There was no political unity which tied all of the Kootenai bands together. Kootenai unity was linguistic, cultural, and emotional rather than political.
The Oregon coast is a part of the larger Northwest Coast culture area which stretches from the Tlingit homelands in Alaska to the Tolowa homelands in northern California. The cultures along this coastal ecotone (an area between two biomes) share a number of common features, including a subsistence pattern which is centered on sea and littoral (shore, estuary, and headlands) environments. In the northern portion of this culture area (the Alaska Panhandle and British Columbia), the coastline is highly convoluted with many offshore islands and is bordered with steep, high mountains. The coasts of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California, on the other hand are relatively straight which means they are unprotected and pummeled by unimpeded ocean waves.
Recently Native American mascots have generated a lot of controversy. Apparently some Indians (67% according to a recent poll) don’t care for the honor this country has bestowed on them. This has sparked anger and conflict across the land.
We have a modest proposal to restore harmony to the sacred institution of sports mascotry. Rather than honor Indians, we should give the distinction to some heroes who unquestionably deserve it. A group of people we’ve never honored before as mascots.
We should give it to our troops.
Harney Peak, the highest point in the Black Hills and in all of South Dakota, is named for Gen. William S. Harney, who was known for killing Sioux women and children in 1855 during the Battle of Ash Hollow in Nebraska.
The fact that the mountain in the sacred Black Hills is named for such a person has offended many Native Americans, who have campaigned to have the mountain -- which is a popular hiking site -- renamed.
This week they got their wish as the state's Board of Geographic Names voted unanimously to recommend that Harney Peak be renamed Hinhan Kaga, which is believed to translate from Lakota as Making of Owls.
The Ute Indians, for whom the state of Utah is named, had an aboriginal homeland which included much of the present-day states of Colorado and Utah as well as portions of New Mexico and Arizona. The Utes were never a single, politically unified tribe, but were made up of about a dozen politically autonomous bands. The Utes first became aware of the European invasion in the seventeenth century when they began to acquire trade items from the Spanish in New Mexico.
Long before the European invasion of North America, five Iroquoian-speaking tribes formed a powerful confederation known as the League of Five Nations. The idea for this confederacy came from the prophet Deganawida who had been born to the Huron. The Huron, an Iroquoian-speaking nation, however, never joined the League of Five Nations.
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