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Today is Idle No More's Global Day of Action:
Using the activist hashtags "#Oct7Proclaim • #Oct7Proclamons," Idle No More's indigenous activists have been flooding social media the world over to build solidarity for their movement and for today's action.
IDLE NO MORE
CALLS ON ALL PEOPLE TO
JOIN IN A PEACEFUL REVOLUTION
To honour Indigenous sovereignty
And to protect the land & water
It's worked. Solidarity events are planned on at least four continents [Facebook link]. Members of other countries' indigenous cultures are leveraging the message of North American First Nations and American Indian activists to support their own efforts to ensure sovereignty, autonomy, and respect, all while supporting our own quest to uphold sovereignty, enforce the treaties, and protect the environment.
Denise Oliver Velez covered today's planned action, as well as the genesis of the movement, in detail in her front-page piece; if you haven't read it, go do so.
And if you're unfamiliar with the history, principles, and goals of Idle No More, you can read about them in their own words here.
AlJazeera America has profiled members of a number of tribes who are already scrambling to ameliorate the damaging effects of the shutdown on their peoples' lives.
At the moment, the Bureau of Indian Affairs [BIA] has said that "essential services" will remain open and functioning. That means, of course, law enforcement, which is typically the only thing that Republicans would consider essential in communities of color and disadvantaged populations. And far too much of the BIA culture has been influenced by the same mentality over the decades since the agency was founded. The BIA also says that firefighting efforts will remain funded, and that Indian Health Service [IHS] clinics and hospitals will remain open. I don't know a single Indian who believes that IHS facilities will survive a protracted shutdown (where "protracted" is defined as anything more than a couple of weeks, at best) — particularly when IHS funding has already been cut by $800,000 this year alone, purely as a result of sequestration. And, of course, "open" doesn't necessarily mean staffed, nor that services, prescriptions, or referrals will even be available.
But it's not just health services. The tribes' survival is at risk in too many other ways, as well:
Ed Alexander is second chief of the Gwichyaa Zhee band of Gwich'in Indians who reside there, and he spent most of Tuesday online trying to determine what exactly the shutdown's impact would be. The timing is terrible for Alaska Native villages, he said, hurting students who have not yet received scholarship money they need for faraway universities and creating unemployment — the government is a core employer — just as people are preparing for an interior Alaska winter.Nutrition programs and services to feed the hungry. Suicide prevention and domestic violence programs. Elder services programs. Housing, weatherization, heating, road-clearing, and other lifesaving measures. Administration of contracts and grants, risking loss of all funding. An inability to administer tribal industries, resources, and rights — including hunting, fishing, logging, mining, and others — and the attendant inability to enforce related rights and regulations.And while the BIA has issued a contingency plan, at least some tribal leaders are already finding it less than helpful.
From Fort Yukon, Alexander did not find the contingency plan or the website helpful.And he's right to be concerned. We've been here before:
It's unclear whether tribes that replace their federal funding would be reimbursed after a budget is passed. When a government shutdown was threatened in 2011, former BIA Assistant Secretary Carl Artman told The Associated Press the agency's response might be that the tribes don't have a right to demand a refund.At times like this, the yawning chasm between actual tribal sovereignty and "tribal sovereignty" as the dominant culture defines it becomes especially obvious.
In the Navajo Nation, the largest Indian reservation in the country, tribal officials said it receives two-thirds of its budget from the federal government. That money goes to support jails, its police force and other programs.Of course, some Republicans are regarding this as an opportunity. A concerted campaign to bully the Spirit Lake Oglala culminated earlier this year in a Republican Congressman's violent public behavior: threatening the tribal council with physical violence while also bullying two Native women delegates to a meeting allegedly intended to combat domestic and sexual violence, one might have thought that officials would exercise a little discretion. One would be wrong. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) has seized the opportunity provided by the shutdown once again to threaten the tribe:
Hoeven, R-N.D., sent a letter to Kevin Washburn, the U.S. Interior Department's assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, saying the BIA social services office did not have to close because of the partial shutdown of the federal government.Senator, I'm sure the tribe will be happy to make you a deal: You get your colleagues in the House to do their jobs and get government open again, and they'll do as they have been doing all along, working to protect their children.
Note to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell: Did you know that the BIA Web site apparently no longer exists under that name? It defaults to the Interior index page. Yes, I know, there's a link on the menu sidebar labeled "Native Americans," but that's not the BIA, now, is it? And, yes, I realize that this apparently applies to all Interior bureaus and subagencies at the moment, but that doesn't make any of it acceptable.
DEVELOP NEW TRIBAL SUPREME COURT PROJECT
Thirteen years ago, a series of decisions by a U.S. Supreme Court that is increasingly hostile to American Indians, Indian law, and principles of tribal sovereignty prompted the Native American Rights Fund [NARF] and the National Congress of American Indians [NCAI] to take action. Together, they founded the Tribal Supreme Court Project. Now, the two groups are urging tribal nations to make use of the Project's resources in new ways, while actively telling tribes to take whatever steps are necessary to avoid SCOTUS litigation wherever possible.
NARF executive director John Echohawk notes that in recent years, three of every four Indian law cases that make it to the SCOTUS have "resulted in significant losses" for the tribes involved. He adds that the two newest SCOTUS appointees, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, "have never voted pro-Indian."
That is, perhaps, an understatement. It was Alito who wrote the decision in the Baby Veronica case, in which he not only disregarded decades of precedent and settled issues of tribal sovereignty, but advanced the racist trope that to rule otherwise would, in cases involving the Indian Child Welfare Act [ICWA], allow an Indian parent to "play his ICWA trump card."
Echohawk is concerned, however, that "basically any issue headed for the Supreme Court is probably not going to be decided in favor of the tribes." As a result, NARF and NCAI are advising groups "to stay away from the Supreme Court if at all possible."The genesis of the Tribal Supreme Court Project goes back to 2000 and what the Project calls "two devastating opinions" for Indians. Much more recently, the Baby Veronica case, voting rights cases, and the current track records of the SCOTUS and Congress on Indian issues no doubt became significant added factors in the two groups' current efforts. However, the decision to pour renewed energy and attention into the Project now has been sparked by the urgency of a case currently pending before the Supreme Court: Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community, a suit involving tribal gaming that is slated for oral argument on December 2nd.
In an op-ed in early September, Keel and Echohawk together argued that the Bay Mills case has been expanded to be "a full frontal attack on tribal sovereign immunity and the authority of states to regulate 'gaming activity' under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act," when it should really be a more limited case on the merits of the tribe’s ability to conduct gaming on land that it has acquired with Michigan Indian Land Claims Settlement Act Funds outside of the boundaries of its reservation—in this case, more than 100 miles away.Anti-gaming interests, non-Indian gaming interests, and anti-Indian racists generally have long had Indian gaming in their sights. And Michigan has a long, ugly, brutal history of anti-Indian racism that remains not merely alive and well today, but thriving under the auspices of the state's extremist Republican leadership. It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone that state officials would be unable to confine themselves to the narrow legal issues at hand and instead would seize an opportunity to attack the very notion of tribal sovereignty.
More "This Week In American Indian News" and Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Below the Frybead Thingey
WHO PROMPTLY SUE HER FATHER FOR A HALF-MILLION
Last week Baby Veronica was formally transferred to the white couple who have been trying to
Last week, as the clock was running down on the stay that the Oklahoma Supreme Court had granted him, Dusten Brown had tried to negotiate even a bare minimum of visitation with his daughter. At the beginning of the week, there was a hopeful offer that included three weeks in the summer, one weekend every other month in South Carolina, and with alternating Christmases, which seemed like a solid deal. But as the parties returned to court on Wednesday morning, the Capobiancos again reneged and the negotiations started all over again.There comes a point at which you can no longer fight. And Dusten Brown had reached that point. It didn't matter what he did or didn't do; the dominant culture was stealing his child, with apparently the full force of the federal and two state governments behind it. The federal marshals were waiting; the only question that remained was whether they would all be assigned to escort the Capobiancos on their upcoming victory tour, or whether some would be dispatched to shove Dusten Brown in a jail cell.
Exhausted and left with few options other than jail time and the loss of his military career and pension, he discussed her peaceful transfer with his family, legal team and tribal officials. He and his wife, Robin, packed a few bags for Veronica, who had just turned four-years-old last week. Before the family gathered to say their last goodbyes, Tommy Brown, Veronica's grandfather, began suffering chest pains and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.That was Monday night.
Tuesday morning, the Capobiancos' lawyers marched into a South Carolina court to sue Dusten Brown for $500,000 in legal fees and court costs.
Dusten Brown is an Iraq war veteran and working man. He and his family spent their small pool of resources fighting for his daughter. Half a million dollars? The notion would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous.
But that doesn't matter when there's punishment to inflict.
Or when there's money to be scored.
You see, the Capobiancos have also named the Cherokee Nation in their suit.
Shannon Jones, Mr. Brown's pro bono attorney in South Carolina, gets the message loud and clear.
The broader message that the Capobiancos and their legal team are sending, however, is to make an example of Dusten Brown and the Cherokee Nation.The chilling effect is already bearing its cold and deadly fruit. I've written about Baby Deseray, from Oklahoma's Absentee Shawnee Tribe, caught in the middle of yet another attempt at trafficking Indian children to a white South Carolina couple. Ms. Jones says that the tribe is now reluctant to intervene, after watching the legal horror show that has ensued for Baby Veronica and the Cherokee Nation.
With regard to the Capobiancos, I refuse to call these people "parents." By their actions, they have shown who they are, and they are people who think that a child is a possession, a thing to be acquired and owned. Despite all the protestations to the contrary, none of this has ever been about the best interests of the child; it's been about winning, about conquest, about colonizing what's left — our children.
As of the moment of transfer the Capobiancos have demanded that the media now afford them "privacy." They natter on about how all parties concerned — themselves, biological father Dusten Brown — all care only about Veronica's interests and want what's best for her.
Where was that concern for Veronica's best interests — to say nothing of her privacy — when the Capobiancos sent a reality-TV bounty hunter to her Cherokee pre-school to intimidate the staff and try to abduct her from the school grounds?
Where was that concern when a traumatized little girl was ripped away from her father and extended family, and they promptly displayed her like a trophy for the talk shows and television cameras?
And where is that concern now, when they've won — when they've acquired their shiny new piece of property in the form of a little Indian girl — and yet they decide to punish her beloved biological father further. Loss of his child apparently isn't enough; now he must be bankrupted, too.
No, this is not about Veronica's best interests.
This is still about winning, still about ownership, and still about punishing an Indian who has the temerity to try to stand in the way of their colonialist onslaught.
Kansas City's iconic sculpture of an Indian on horseback, "The Scout," was allegedly the subject of an artist's recent billboard projects. His brilliant idea? To show a white man on a scaffold aiming a rifle directly at the Indian depicted in the sculpture.
Missouri Bank had initially accepted the work, by a white artist who works under the pseudonym A. Bitterman, as part of its local "Crossroads 'Artboards'" program, but apparently rescinded is acceptance after local Indians mounted a public protest.
"I was very glad to see that," Moses Brings Plenty said of the news that the billboards were taken down. A member of the Oglala Lakota nation and the community outreach coordinator for the Kansas City Indian Center, he had vociferously opposed the work as a symbol of racism and hatred.The artist, of course, protests that his oeuvre is actually supportive of Indians:
"If anything The Scout is a gesture in defense of the native American [sic]."First of all, Mr. "Bitterman," using the lower-case "n" in the phrase "Native American" gives you away. It's a transparent attempt to diminish Native Americans, and while we're used to that, we're not going to let it go unchallenged. Particularly not from someone with a track record like yours.
But before we get to that, we'll look at your next defense:
"The one thing that can not be disputed in my image is the fact that the Scout is not an indian at all, it is a depiction of an Indian, a sculpture, created by and for white culture, and it carries a historical narrative of what white people at the turn of the 20th century wanted the indian [sic] to be. The artist on the scaffolding is confronting that narrative."Yeah, no. You fancy yourself both an artist and a literary expert: If so, then you have no excuse for pretending that identity does not reside in imagery. But beyond that . . . "confronting that narrative?" You? Really?
Mr. "Bitterman," we're not stupid. And you're neither the first, nor, by a very long shot, the best, to try this sort of appropriative racism. What you're doing is indulging yourself in racist behavior and trying to escape criticism by shouting faux-art terms at people.
You see, I checked into your "art." And I discovered that you have a nasty little racist exhibition, via the Indiana Museum of Art, in an Indiana park and recreation area.
Entitled "Indigenous: Out of the Wild With A. Bitterman," it's a vicious little bit of alleged performance art. The white artist is apparently claiming that he himself is "indigenous," and offers people a chance (for money, of course) to "see the artist in his natural habitat." Which, apparently, involves collaborating with a white woman to portray the "proper" way to communicate with his "indigenous" self, via a series of hand symbols and wild gestures that he insists mean specific things.
Presumably it's meant as satire, but of what? Considering his apparent obsession with actual indigenous Americans, it can't be read as anything other than a series of nasty little mocking slams at [his stereotyped view of] American Indians. Add his little stunt as a rifleman taking aim at an Indian on horseback, and it all adds up to something very ugly indeed.
"CLUELESS INDIANS FANS SHOW UP IN REDFACE TO SUPPORT TEAM"
It's from Houston Mitchell's opinion piece in the Sports section of The Los Angeles Times, and it rocks.
It all began with last Wednesday's televised playoff game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland . . . well, you know. In one of the crowd shots that panned across Mr. Mitchell's television screen were three Cleveland fans in redface and fake feathers.
Because, you see, Indians have red skins (Redskins? Where have I heard that before?) Add exaggerated eyes and mouth, and you have a pretty offensive display.Exactly.
It's columnists like Mr. Mitchell who are really going to move the needle on these racist mascots and the fans' accompanying racist behavior. But that doesn't mean that we or our allies can afford to slack off — and, indeed, we're not. We've also gained some powerful public allies over the last week.
While the NFL owners' meeting is being held at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown next week, the Oneida Nation will be holding its own parallel meeting: a symposium, actually, on the offensiveness of the Washington NFL team's mascot.
"When one of the most valuable franchises in the NFL is using a racial epithet, how do you explain that to the children?" [Oneida leader Ray] Halbritter told the AP. "How do you explain how it makes you feel as a human being?"Accompanying Mr. Halbritter on the panel will be Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian; Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes-Norton [D-DC]; and psychologist Dr. Michael Friedman, an expert on the effects of discrimination on children.
And in an interview with the Associated Press published last Saturday, President Barack Obama took a public stand in favor of changing the name.
According to the Washington Post report, this marked the first time that President Obama had ever been asked his opinion on the controversy. He threaded the needle pretty effectively, while leaving no real doubt where his own opinion lies:
"If I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizeable group of people, I'd think about changing it[.]"The statement was not lost on Mr. Halbritter, either.
The Oneida Indian Nation welcomed Obama’s comments Saturday, saying in a statement that "President Obama’s comments today are historic."Predictably, Brendan Buck, the spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner [R-OH] tried to make hay out of it. Anything to distract people from the fact that your boss is a figurehead completely unable to control the extremists in his own party, who let them drive the country into a new ditch by way of the shutdown, I suppose.
Oh, and Mr. Buck? I can tell you what we call them in this household. It's a perfectly serviceable name, and has the advantage of being devastatingly accurate. We call the the Washington Racists.
See? They could even keep the "R" on the official team gear. You're welcome.
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)
Wednesday, October 9th
Twin Cities Kossacks Happy Hour with navajo!
Drinks will be courtesy of navajo.
TIME: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
LOCATION: The Stone Arch Bar inside The Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel [Bar Menu]
225 Third Avenue South • Minneapolis
ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.
3. left rev
Saturday, October 19th
DKos Asheville Kossacks Meet-up
TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Bywater
796 Riverside Dr. • Asheville
ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: DKos Asheville - Weekly Open Thread
7. Sandy on Signal
8. Mr Sandy on Signal
11. Mr Alecia
14. Otteray Scribe
15. Burns Lass
people power granny
One Pissed Off Liberal
Christian Dem in NC
Phil S 33
Sunday, October 20th
MEGA Philly/NJ/NYC Kossacks Meet-up!
LOCATION: Stuff Yer Face
49 Easton Avenue • New Brunswick, NJ
ORGANIZER: Send mconvente a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Philly/NJ/NYC Mega Meetup! Additional Call for People Interested in Attending!
2. belinda ridgewood
11. blue jersey mom
13. Rogneid + husband
aravir and son
Friday, October 25th
LAKossacks & SoCal Inland Empire See Lewis Black!
TIME: 9:00 PM
LOCATION: Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa
32-250 Bob Hope Dr. • Rancho Mirage
ORGANIZER: Send 714day a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: L.A. Kossacks, Lewis Black Fans in So Cal
Friday, October 25th
Meet the Daily Kos Editorial Staff!
TIME: 6:00 PM
LOCATION: Daily Kos HQ
Address given privately to RSVP'ers • Berkeley
ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.
You will need to bring Potluck.
HQ will be providing the main course; Salvadoran pupusas queso y loroco, (thick corn masa tortilla stuffed with cheese & Salvadoran vegetables and served with curtido & salsa) tamales de sal, (chicken tamales with potato & gravy steamed in plantain leaves) tamales de elote, (white ground corn served steamed) fried yucca and plantain.
Please volunteer for beverages & side dishes needed below.
- POTLUCK SIGNUP -
20 bottles of wine [11 down, 9 to go]
16 six-packs of beer [5 down, 11 to go]
8 six-packs soft drinks
6 six-packs bottles of water [6 complete]
5 appetizers, anything goes here. Whatcha' got? [3 down, 2 to go]
4 green salads needed, each to feed 10 [4 complete]
3 black bean side dishes needed, each to feed 10 (need Salvadoran inspiration?)
3 rice side dishes needed, each to feed 10 (need Salvadoran inspiration?)
6 desserts, a dozen hand-held desserts each [5 down, 1 to go]
2. Susan Gardner
3. Meteor Blades
4. Joan McCarter
6. Faith Gardner
7. Will Rockafellow
8. Jen Hayden
9. Paul Hogarth
10. Chris Bowers
11. Rachel Colyer
12. Michael Langenmayr
13. Jason Libsch
16. navajo + large ice chest with ice + 4 bottles of red wine
17. Lusty + dessert
18. side pocket + two 6pks beer + 2 wines + stuffed mushrooms appetizer
19. paradise50 + two 6pks beer
20. smileycreek + 2 wines
21. citisven + beer + beet dip
22. norm + pumpkin bars
23. Lorikeet + big bowl of fruit
24. kimoconnor + appetizer
25. remembrance and TLO? + 1 wine
26. Glen the Plumber + Pasta Mystery Dish
28. dharmasyd + brownies
29. ceebee7 + green salad
31. Dave in Northridge + 2 bottles of wine
33. LinSea + 6 six-pks of bottled water
38. justiceputnam + grilled balsamic veggies
40. exlrrp + souvenirs ;) !
41. shanikka + salad
44. jpmassar + dessert
45. PatG + dessert
Saturday, October 26th
Drinks and Dinner at Lefty O'Doul's
TIME: 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Lefty O'Doul's
333 Geary St • San Francisco near Union Square
ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.
Saturday, October 26th
New England Kossacks Meet-up
TIME: 10:30 AM
40 Washington Avenue • Portland, ME
ORGANIZER: Send nhox42 a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: C+J Kossack Fall Meetup (Updated 9/25/13)
3. Portia Elm (a potential mileage winner!)
6. Bill in Portland Maine
7. Common Sense Mainer
15. Jane in Maine
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
20. ceebee7's sister
21. leema (will carpool from Marin)
22. Meteor Blades
Glen The Plumber
Send navajo a kosmail if you post a diary about an event so we can update our round-up.
Okay. Floor's open.
Tell us what you are doing on this NEW DAY?