EVERYONE is welcome and please join us each morning at 7:30 AM PACIFIC
to tell us what you're working on, share your show & tell, vent, whatever you want...
...this is an open thread. Nothing is off topic.
As expected, Baby Veronica is being taken away from her biological father and her current home in Oklahoma, to be sent to live with the non-Indian couple who have been trying to adopt her.
Tribes fear that this sounds a death knell for the Indian Child Welfare Act [ICWA]. They may be right.
People will argue that it's only an inch, and besides, there are special circumstances here. Yes, and that inch always turns into a mile, and every theft of every type from Indians has always involved "special circumstances.'
In this case, everyone loses — except, perhaps, the white adoptive parents. But I'm much more concerned with the precedent this will set, and how much more other Indian children and families stand to lose by it.
Genocide need not depend upon heedless and bloody slaughter.
Stealing the children is enough to do the job.
DENNIS DAUGAARD FOR NEW STANCE ON ICWA
Courtesy of navajo, we learn that the Lakota People's Law Project has just issued a press release praising South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard for his new-found public support of the tribes' efforts to claw back sovereignty over their own children and families.
According to the press release, Daugaard committed his words to writing in a letter sent to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius:
In his letter to Secretary Sabelius [sic], Governor Daugaard wrote, "Recently, several tribes have expressed interest in providing child welfare services, including foster care, to their members. They have indicated they may be contacting you to pursue this possibility. I want you to know that I am fully in support of these efforts, and I ask you to favorably consider the requests of any South Dakota tribe to directly administer child-welfare or foster-care services to their members."You'll understand if I'm skeptical. I've had more than ample reason to be harshly critical of Daugaard in the past, and his track record, on this issue alone, doesn't inspire confidence. It carries with it the faint odor of damage control in the aftermath of a wave of negative publicity in Indian Country when no one from Daugaard's staff could be bothered to show up at the South Dakota tribes' June summit with federal and state officials on correcting ICWA violations.
It appears that tribal attorney Chase Iron Eyes (Standing Rock Sioux), while praising the letter, is likewise waiting to see whether the nice words are followed by real action:
"It is a good first step, and we appreciate the governor’s willingness to support our inherent right to sovereignty in the area of child and family services. However, the Department of Social Services remains in violation of federal ICWA law. Furthermore, there are thousands of our youth still caught up in the state system. In addition to supporting us, over time, in developing a direct funding relationship with the federal government, we hope South Dakota will endorse the appointment of an independent, special master to review all current, non-ICWA-compliant placements—in the interest of returning Lakota children to their extended families and tribes."Maybe Daugaard really has traveled his own road to Damascus on this issue. And maybe it's pure political opportunism. Of the two, I think you probably already know my own take.
Regardless, if he follows up his nice words with actual teeth and muscle, and throws the weight of his office behind the tribes' efforts, then I'm much less concerned with how he got here than with helping to reinforce his support.
DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF U.S. SENATE
A week before the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, it handed tribes a voting rights victory in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona [ITCA]. I noted then that the two decisions had implications for another American Indian voting rights case currently wending its way through the federal court system, Wandering Medicine v. McCulloch. I've written about Wandering Medicine before; the case is now before the Ninth Circuit, and at last report, the parties were awaiting notice as to whether oral argument would be required (and as I said last month, I suspect that the parties will be instructed to resubmit briefs in light of Shelby County before any decision is made on a need for oral argument).
Now, however, if the plaintiffs in Wandering Medicine manage to win the case, The Hill is reporting that they (and the rest of us) may see even greater long-term gains, including maintaining control of the U.S. Senate in 2015.
First, a little background: The individual plaintiffs in the case are 16 American Indians from Montana tribal nations; nine are military veterans. They sued the state for refusing to provide satellite offices for early voting on or near reservations, arguing that the state's refusal has a racially discriminatory disparate impact, because it does provide satellite offices (and greatly expanded early-voting periods) in urban and suburban areas populated almost exclusively by non-Indians. Most Montana Indians live on reservation lands, which may be a day's trip to and from any established voting center.
The three Montana counties now being sued have historically lost Section 2 Voting Rights Act cases. However, for the state’s overwhelmingly poor and geographically isolated Native Americans — who vote predominantly for Democrats — the Montana fight is deeply personal. Tribal leaders say it is an issue of fundamental fairness.To add insult to injury, many of the people now effectively being denied the right to vote fought, served, and bled for this country. As I've noted in the past, Native Americans enter military service at a higher rate than any other ethnic group in the country. The nine vets serving as plaintiffs are clearly acutely aware of that irony. What I did not know is that it was the death of just such a veteran that finally lit the lawsuit's spark.
Tom Rodgers (Blackfeet), a Native lobbyist, was notified last year of the combat death of a fellow tribal member, U.S. Army Spc. Antonio Burnside, also known as Many Hides, while on his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Many Hides's family could not afford the expenses associated with his funeral and traditional memorial, so Mr. Rodgers stepped in to help raise the needed funds. Thereafter, however, the injustice continued to gnaw at him:
"Some of the poorest of the poor can fight a war and die for you on a hellish moonscaped mountainside and then when they return home in a flag-draped coffin, you seek to diminish their native brothers' and sisters' ability to vote. Young dead soldiers do not speak. They leave us their deaths. It is us who must give them meaning by remembering them," Rodgers said. "We got tired of the dark lies in rooms of white marble. Now the plaintiff warriors will take their faith in justice by acting with justice to other rooms of white marble: the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and Congress."State officials, naturally, deny that race plays any role in their refusal to establish such offices. Predictably, they continue to protest that their hands are tied by the law. Tribal leaders know differently — as, it appears, does a former lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, J. Gerry Hebert, who now runs the Campaign Legal Center and who has allowed herself to be quoted publicly to that effect.
The Montana Democratic Party, however, has been noticeably tepid in its support. I suggest that readers here, Montanans and non-Montanans alike, do something about that — particularly since U.S. Senator Jon Tester and former Governor Brian Schweitzer are both darlings of the Netroots who would not be where they are today without the support of this site and others like it, nor without the support of the American Indian vote.
It's time to call in some markers, folks.
You can read more about this country's history of attempting to suppress the Indian vote in Meteor Blades's diary here, and his coverage of the effects on American Indians of the SCOTUS decision striking down portions of the Voting Rights Act here. You can also learn more about this case and associated issues from the Native nonprofit spearheading the case, Four Directions.
More "This Week In American Indian News" and Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Below the Frybead Thingey
Lost in the discussion of the SCOTUS ruling striking down salient portions of the Voting Rights Act is the fact that the decision will create a return not only to Jim Crow, but to Jim RedCrow as well. Most people don't realize the extent to which the same powers and interests that have actively worked to prevent African Americans from voting have done the same to American Indian voters. [As noted above, see Meteor Blades's recent diaries for a discussion of the history of Indian voter suppression and the likely effects of the latest SCOTUS decision.]
But the history of such efforts hasn't been forgotten by Alaska Natives. Too many of them remember their families' humiliation at having to pass "civilized person" tests, not only to be allowed to vote, but to be allowed to keep their children.To white people, this is unthinkable: the notion that anyone would ever have the arrogance, the unmitigated gall, to subject them to a test of any sort to determine whether they were "civilized." That doesn't even approach, much less address, the notion that it would take the written affirmations of five people of another race and culture before anyone would even consider allowing one to cast a vote, or keep one's family intact. But that's the history of race in this country, and where this continent's indigenous peoples were concerned, it was simply one more tool in the box labeled "genocide."
It's also why the preclearance requirements of the Voting Rights Act were not restricted to Southern states.
"It could be used as a tool by the (Bureau of Indian Affairs) to intimidate people who were doing things the BIA or the territorial government didn’t like,” McNeil said. "A lot of people who were outspoken, that was one of the threats that were used: 'Well, if you don’t stop this we'll just take your kids away and send them to boarding school.' And the people who didn’t voluntarily give their kids up were put in jail, and their kids were sent anyway."And, in fact, the Supreme Court did overturn Sections 4 and 5.
Alaska officials, of course, like Montana officials, deny strenuously that race plays any role whatsoever.
The state argues that discrimination is in the past, and that differences in policies have to do with the practical logistics of administering in rural areas, which are populated by people who just happen to be Native. On the other side, Native groups charge that discrimination from the past continues to disenfranchise voters, and that discriminatory practices still exist and hurt Native voters.And, of course, Alaska Natives know better. Helen McNeil certainly does. Her grandparents served as officials in the Alaska Native Brotherhood [ANB] and Alaska Native Sisterhood [ANS], organizations established in 1912 and 1915, respectively, to help serve the needs of the Alaska Native population and to advocate for their rights, including voting rights. [The photo above, at left, is of members of the ANB, circa 1914.]
While you're contacting members of Montana's Democratic Party and congressional delegation, you might do the same for Alaska's.
On Saturday, "Native Words" opened at the Idaho State University Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello, Idaho. A project of the National Museum of the American Indian [NMAI] and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service [SITES], the exhibit details the role American Indian Code Talkers played during World War II. The exhibit runs at this location through September 29.
The U.S. military first enlisted American Indians to relay messages in their Native languages during World War I, even though the United States did not consider American Indians citizens until 1924. These encoded messages proved undecipherable by the enemy and helped the United States achieve victory.As noted above, American Indians to this day enter military service at a rate higher than any other ethnic group in the nation. Part of it may be a warrior ethos; part of it may be a desire to serve one's country; part of it is undoubtedly the seeking of a means to a better life, assuming that one survives. The Code Talkers were no exception — and they served at a time when they knew they would return home to a larger society that refused to regard them as citizens, and denied them the franchise of the ballot box.
Four months ago, I profiled Chester Nez (Navajo), the last surviving member of the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers of World war II. You can read more about Hastiin Nez's experiences in his two memoirs of his service: Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII and The Life and Times of the Code Talker
As one of Hastiin Nez's fellow Code Talkers noted:
"My language was my weapon."Today, in a different context, our languages are still our weapons. They save our cultures, our traditions, our identities as Native peoples.
For more information about Code Talkers of all tribes, as well as Native language preservation efforts, visit the National Museum of the American Indian's associated site, Native Words/Native Warriors.
LAUNCH NATIVE TELEVISION CHANNEL FNX
California PBS station KEET has partnered with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians to launch its first all-Native American television channel with FNX, the First Nations Experience Channel.
FNX describes its role and mission as follows:
FNX Channel illustrates the healthy, positive, and real lives and cultures of Native American and indigenous people around the world showcasing TV series, documentaries, short films, PSAs, and films in the categories of lifestyle, children’s, drama, comedy, sports, music, art, dance, politics, news, social, cooking, health, animation, fitness, talk show, nature, and gardening. All encapsulating a true voice of Native American and indigenous communities across the globe.This is an important advance. Most television programming "for Indians" has been anything but: The best of it tends to be cable showings of Indian-made movies, plus the occasional PBS-style documentary. More often, it's programming for non-Indians dressed up in Redface: Johnny Depp, old Westerns, pretendian coverage of stories and events that aren't actually Native at all, or racist offal of the "Ancient Aliens" sort.
But in most places even in Indian Country, finding regular programming actually designed for Indians to speak to the needs of and reflect the experience of their daily lives? Nonexistent.
And that's where FNX appears that it will shine: in telling our peoples' stories, both ancient and contemporary, in their words and voices, from their own actual experiences.
For the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, this is not an especially new approach; the tribe has long emphasized the preservation of language, culture, and tradition:
Today, the San Manuel Cultural Awareness and Tribal Unity Program, with a mission to "recapture our past to preserve it for the future," endeavors to pass on Serrano heritage to future generations. Each year, the program holds classes on the Serrano language, basketry and pottery, games, gourd making, and bird singing. Activities such as the Yaamava' spring celebration, yucca harvest, and California Indian Cultural Awareness Conference, regularly bring together the families of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, members from local tribes, and noted American Indian scholars to educate people on and off the reservation about factual California Indian culture.
The tribal nation also plays a central role in the California Indian Cultural Awareness Program, which works to educate non-Indians in southern California about indigenous issues, including organized efforts through the office of the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, the San Bernardino City Unified School District, and the San Bernardino campus of California State University.
KEET seems energized by the new venture, and also seems dedicated to promoting it:
"Native Americans play a vital role in our local communities and KEET is proud to bring this channel to our area," said Ron Schoenherr, executive director of KEET-TV. "I hope that area cable companies will find a place in their channel line-ups for this important programming service."We can help make that happen. If you live in the area, contact your cable provider and urge them to add FNX to their line-up. If you live elsewhere, but have family or friends in the area, urge them to do likewise. And, of course, you can help by spreading the word via your social media networks.
Mike Bone, the Pawnee Rap duo, debuted on NBC's American's Got Talent some three weeks ago.
Lil Mike and Funny Bone, who are members of the Pawnee tribe, performed their original song "Rain Dance" in their initial audition in San Antonio, Texas, which aired July 2. All four judges praised their rapping and dancing, and they even had host Nick Cannon dancing along backstage. The performance has since garnered more than 644,000 YouTube views.That performance was enough to move them on to the finals last Wednesday. Unfortunately, the judges were not nearly as kind this time around:
After performing "Crunk Nativez," the Pawnee/Choctaw duo of Lil' Mike and Funny Bone was criticized harshly by the judges for what seemed to be a disorganized routine. After they had left the stage, celebrity judge Howard Stern made the unconventional move of calling them back out. He berated them for a lack of preparation and informed them that the four-judge panel was unanimously against them continuing on to Radio City Music Hall.One wonders whether Stern would've been so insistent on the repeated public shaming with another act — say, for example, one comprising non-Indians of Stern's own size.
The brothers are LPs ["Little People," or people with dwarfism]. They're also well-known in their Muskogee, Oklahoma area. In 2010, they were profiled in documentary short Looked Over But Never Overlooked: The Story of Lil Mike and Funny Bone, a film that appeared in two Oklahoma film festivals: the 2010 Trail Dance Film Festival and 2010 Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival.
You can watch the film on YouTube here. The brothers also have a Facebook page to promote it here. You can view their performance of "Rain Dance" on America's Got Talent here, and a full version of "Crunk Nativez (Idle No More)," of which barely a fraction apparently aired on the NBC program, here.
Let's build communities!
Every region needs a meatspace community like SFKossacks.
We take care of each other in real life.
I urge YOU to take the lead and organize one in your region.
Please tell us about it if you do and we're here for advice.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY
NEW GROUPS IN THE PROCESS OF ORGANIZING:These are the groups that have started since * NEW DAY * began. Please Kosmail navajo if you have started a group before that.
Send a Kosmail to the organizers and ask for an invitation to the group.• Northern Indiana Area: Kosmail Tim Delaney
• Long Island: Kosmail grannycarol
• Northern Michigan: Kosmail JillS
• Nebraska: Kosmail Nebraska68847Dem
• Westburbia Chicago Kossacks: Kosmail Majordomo
• New York Hudson Valley Kossacks: Kosmail boran2
• North Carolina Triangle Kossacks: Kosmail highacidity
• Caprock Kossacks (Panhandle/Caprock/Lubbock/Amarillo area) : Kosmail shesaid
• West Texas Kossacks (including Big Bend Region and El Paso) : Kosmail Yo BubbaNote to the above new leaders: Feel free to leave a comment any day reminding readers about your new group. Also, tell us about your progress in gathering members. Kosmail me when you've chosen a good name for your group and have created a the group. Then I'll move you to the NEW GROUPS LIST. When you've planned a date for your first event I'll make a banner for you to highlight your event in our diaries and your diaries.
NEW GROUPS LIST:
• Kansas City Kossacks - Formed Oct 15, 2012, Organizer: [Founder stepped down]
ESTABLISHED GROUPS LIST: (List will grow as we discover them)
Sunday, August 4th
SFKossacks Meet BeadLady and the Okiciyap Quilt!
TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen
1475 Shattuck Ave (at Vine) • Berkeley
ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.
Sunday, August 4th
NYC Kossacks Meet-up
LOCATION: Spitzer's Corner
101 Rivington Street (Ludlow) • NYC
ORGANIZER: Send Sidnora a kosmail to RSVP.
Latest diary: NYC Meetup 8/4: Beat the Dog Days!
3. belinda ridgewood
6. Its the Supreme Court Stupid
7. blue jersey mom
13. No Exit
SFKossacks BBQ in the Wine Country
LOCATION: Andrew McGuire's home in the Wine Country
Address to be given privately to RSVPs • Windsor
1. Andrew McGuire
6. Hunter/elfling offspring
14. Mr. dksbook
17. side pocket
18. Mrs. side pocket
Glen The Plumber
Send navajo a kosmail if you post a diary about an event so we can update our round-up.
tags: community, Navajo's New Day, NEW DAY team, SFKossacks,
Okay. Floor's open.
Tell us what you are doing on this NEW DAY?