As the president of the American Indian Student Organization at the University of Maine, I felt it was crucial that as college students and members of our group to participate in the twitter campaign for #DearNativeYouth. The campaign is designed to encourage, motivate, and inspire our Native Youth not to give up, to follow their dreams and to support one another. The following are some of the responses:
-You always have a place and there is always a purpose.
– Everything that makes you who you are is important.
-The present is to show how far we’ve come.
-Stay strong. You are worthy. Stay active. Stay happy. Stay healthy.
-To laugh at yourself, is to love yourself.
-Dream big, laugh often, live well.
-Be proud of your culture and embrace it.
-Dance to the beat of your own drum.
-YOU have the power to be who you want to be.
-You’ve already inspired so much without even trying. Let’s see what happens next.
-Be proud. Be strong. Know your worth. Never give up.
All of these responses reach for something in people of any age. My hope is that it reaches our Native Youth deeply and enough for them to push back against oppression and fight to come forth into a bright and beautiful future filled with native culture.
A new radio program in the west has recently come out called Navajo News Without Borders aka Indigenous News from the Navajo Rez. The program had begun four months ago and has featured topics on government policies, the environment, veteran care/treatment, and domestic violence. All of the featured stories are produced by trained journalists from Navajo land in Widow Rock, Arizona.
The most recent report (12/4/14) included the topic of the “Native American Renaissance” in comparison to the public and political struggles that is happening today with police brutality.
Marley Shebala, the host of the radio show, continues on the subject throughout the broadcast, along with the way that news and media are censored in the United States. For audiences to receive more information or to listen to broadcasts go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/navajonewswithoutborders.
Shebala provides weekly broadcasts every Thursday from 7pm-9pm.
November has been officially referred to as Native American Heritage Month for over 20 years. In this time, natives across the country have shown their pride in their heritage through many ways. Some include a national day for wearing certain footwear, donning a certain hairstyle and even creating a national book club where participants must read at least one piece of Native American literature and have a dialogue with others. The following are photographs of some Native American Heritage Month traditions and ways that native people honor their culture.
MTV has been stepping up to the plate in the acknowledgement of indigenous people in North America. Last week, MTV premiered its first episode of the new season of the show, ‘Rebel Music.’ Last year, the series made a huge impact on audiences. This season’s premiere, just shy of 20min features, Indigenous musical artists and activists from the US and Canada. Amongst the artists featured is Redbud Souix rapper, Frank Waln, First Nations singer Inez Jasper, and Souix rappers, Nataanii Means and Mike “Witko” Cliff.
The musically talented individuals are all teaming up to create a more inspired native youth. Like many in this generation believe, they feel that it is time for today’s “7th Generation” of Native people to take the torch from the elder’s and speak up about social issues in Indian country; give back to the community; bring positive feelings to indigenous people; and reach out to those who don’t know of indigenous struggles.
These “rebel” leaders are using their words and music to send teachings and motivation to carry on the culture and strength so precious to indigenous survival.
Watch the full length premiere on Facebook, or below.
In a time of great racial and political oppression towards indigenous communities, the 1820s were driven heavily by American expansion. However, a defining moment amongst Native peoples, especially in the south was the invention of the written Cherokee language.
In Georgia in 1821, George Guess, or Sequoyah amongst the Cherokee had begun to transcribe Cherokee language syllables into written symbols on paper. Sequoyah incorporated lines, circles and English letters to create this language
that later went on to a press with the help of Samuel Austin Worcester.
Worcester a missioner from Boston was sent to Georgia in 1825, originally by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to spread the Word of God to Native people of the area. When he arrived, however he found that after learning the Cherokee language he felt the desire to translate the Bible into Cherokee.
The language’s development and popularity had inclined the Cherokee National Council to vote for the nation to establish its own weekly paper, and in 1827 the Principal Chief of the Council made a statement saying,
“The public deserves the patronage of the people…asserting and supporting our political rights… guard against the admission of scurrilous productions of a personal nature. The freedom of the press should be as free as the breeze that glides upon the surface.”
Thus on October 13, 1827, the Cherokee Phoenix, a bilingual paper including English and Cherokee, was created.
Samuel Worcester worked to translate the book of Genesis into the written Cherokee language now known as Sequoyah. With his devotion to translation he actively requested that the tribe be provided with a printing press. He was able to provide the symbols to a Boston print shop that was able to make prints and casts of the letters. A year later the standard “union model” press was sent from Boston to the small town of New Echota, just east of present day Calhoun, Georgia.
The “union model” press was a 1000 pound, cast iron design with springs and frames that need to inked with wool-filled deerskin balls due to the unpopular use of rollers at the time. This press was used as a training tool for workers and to distribute the Cherokee language.
Before the press’ arrival the Cherokee National Council then moved to elect a twenty-seven year old Cherokee to be the editor of the Phoenix. The man, who adopted the name of Elias Boudinot, after his benefactor, the New Jersey philanthropist was born Galagina and was educated at Cornwall Connecticut Foreign Mission School.
Worcester and Boudinot drew up proposals and aims for the paper to focus on which were:
laws and documents of the nation, the accounts of manners and customs of the Cherokees, the progress in education, religion and arts of civilized life, principle interesting news of the day, and miscellaneous articles calculated to promote literature civilization, art and religion.
While the former were all in the mind of Boudinot, he also made it his mission to confirm that the people of the North were being informed of the Cherokee nation’s as well as to “benefit the Cherokee Indians, who are uninformed.”
The Cherokee Phoenix had its first paper issued on February 21, 1828. Within the Phoenix, the paper was five columns wide and twenty-two inches in length. By this time for the paper the advertisements as well as subscribers were very limited and did not function as a means of support.
As editor, Boudinot earned $300, his responsibilities were to prepare a weekly editorial, edit and proof others writing, the manager of the business aspect within the paper and wrote most of the articles in Cherokee for the paper.
When it came to business, Boudinot was incredibly successful in reaching audiences throughout the east coast of the United States. By 1929, the Phoenix could be found in areas of New York; Boston, Massachusetts; areas of South
Carolina; Powal, Maine; areas of Alabama; Richmond, Virginia; and much of the Choctaw nation. Boudinot’s contacts quickly became his distribution agents in all of these areas.
With the progression of the paper and its growing audience, Boudinot not only advocated for his missions, he also defended the nation, along with himself against Western oppression. A profound piece was his response to an article in a Capital newspaper stating that natives were not making any progress in becoming civilized. As an educated tribal member, this was a clear exaggeration and fallacy.
Boudinot also contributed his pen to speaking against slavery, especially if the state of Georgia was to progress. In many respects, Boudinot was considered a muckraker for his exposure of government corruption, specifically when he wrote about Cherokee constitutional errors made by the United States, which had shown a colonel misrepresenting the claims of native people to Congress.
Much like the similar efforts done by the African American community with the Black Press, Boudinot made an effort to provide Cherokee news, spread the Christian religion, incorporate world news, U.S. policy and Choctaw issues into his editorials. However, after the beginning years of the Phoenix, Andrew Jackson soon came into office and begun his widespread malice against indigenous people for control of land.
In 1932, Georgia state officials were carefully analyzing much of the Phoenix, and with reason to believe that it was creating opposition towards the government, Samuel Austin Worcester and printer John F. Wheeler, were arrested. During their arrest, Boudinot went to the North to gain sympathizers for the Cherokee and Choctaw cause. On his return, Boudinot had attempted to persuade the nation that it would be more beneficial to them as sovereign nations to move west in efforts to preserve their livelihoods. Boudinot’s ideas didn’t stand and he resigned as editor on August 1, 1832, and with a new appointed editor, the Cherokee Phoenix continued until 1834. In 1876, the Phoenix was restarted under the name of the Cherokee Phoenix and the Indian Advocate, more informally known as the Advocate.
Elias Boudinot, one of the fundamental journalists and editors in Native American history, was murdered on June 22, 1839. His murder was connected to his signing the Treaty of New Echota in 1835, which stated that the Cherokee Nation would move to the current state Oklahoma. Although Boudinot was murdered for his idea of cultural preservation, he was a great influence on the future of Cherokee people. His work allowed for most of the Cherokee people to become literate in both Sequoyah and English by 1928, and become well educated in Cherokee and U.S. policy.
This week I met with Dr. Darren Ranco of the University of Maine to talk about Climate Change and the People’s Climate March and its effects for indigenous people on a global scale. Check it out below!
The following is the transcript of the audio file:
DARREN RANCO ON CLIMATE CHANGE
FOR CENTURIES NATIVE AMERICANS HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR APPRECIATION AND CONSERVATION OF THE EARTH AS WELL AS ITS RESOURCES.
IN THE MORE RECENT FIFTY YEARS, MANY PROTESTS INVOLVING LAND AND RESOURCE ABUSE HAS TAKEN THE FOREFRONT IN MANY INDIGENOUS DEBATES REGARDING A SENSE OF COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY.
JUST IN SEPTEMBER INDIGENOUS PEOPLE FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE WERE LEADING ACTIVISTS IN THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH HELD IN NEW YORK CITY. THE MARCH WAS DESIGNED TO SHOW THE WORLD WIDE CONCERN OF MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN LIGHT OF THE UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT.
DARREN RANCO, A MEMBER OF THE PENOBSCOT NATION, CHAIR OF NATIVE AMERICAN PROGRAMS AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE WEIGHS IN…
(SOT) RANCO: A LOT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S PHILOSOPHIES THAT ARE ABOUT SELF DETERMINATION AND SOVEREIGNTY FROM A CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE THAT TEACHES, NOT RIGHTS BUT RESPONSIBILITIES TO YOURSELF, YOUR ENVIRONMENT, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR CLAN, YOUR COMMUNITY. AND I THINK THAT, THAT APPROACH IS A GREAT ARTICULATION. THAT’S WHY YOU SAW SO MANY PEOPLE THERE, PEOPLE WHO ARE, NOT TYPICAL COMMUNITY MEMBERS BUT PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY REPRESENTING THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE ACTIVISTS THAT ARE OUT THERE WORKING ON CLIMATE ISSUES AND CLIMATE JUSTICE IN PARTICULAR.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO SET A STANDARD FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD IN THEIR POLICY-MAKING AND DESIRE FOR A MORE TRADITIONAL APPROACH.
(SOT) RANCO: INDIGENOUS PEOPLE MORE SO THAN OTHERS WHO ARE CAUGHT UP IN THE POLITICS AND CITIZENSHIP OF A LOT OF SETTLER NATION-STATES, A LOT OF COLONIAL/NEOCOLONIAL STATES THAT BY BEING COMMITTED TO PLACE AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PLACES, PUTS INDIGENOUS PEOPLE REALLY AT THE CENTER OF PROTECTING THE EARTH. BECAUSE IF YOU’RE COMMITTED TO AND YOUR IDENTITY IS DETERMINED BY A PLACE, A REALLY SPECIFIC PLACE IN THE WORLD, I THINK THAT SENSE OF PROTECTION AND RESPONSIBILITY TO THAT PLACE IS WHAT WOULD REALLY DEFINE A MOVEMENT.
RANCO ALSO BELIEVES THAT THE FUTURE OF THE CLIMATE CHANGE MOVEMENT IS DEFINED AS A RE-COMMITMENT TO PLURALISTIC AND SELF-DETERMINED POLITICS. HE SAYS, THERE NEEDS TO BE ACTION.
(SOT) RANCO: JUST VOTING IS PROBABLY NEVER GOING TO BE ENOUGH.
RANCO ALSO ADDED THAT STUDENTS AND YOUTH MUST TAKE THE INITIATIVE BY CONNECTING THEMSELVES TO THEIR COMMUNITY. RANCO ADVISES THAT YOUTH SHOULD BECOME AWARE OF THEIR FOOD SOURCES, AND WASTE ISSUES TO BETTER UNDERSTAND SUSTAINABILITY.
(SOT) RANCO: BASIC THINGS OF LIFE, IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOUR FOOD IS COMING FROM OR WHEN YOU THROW SOMETHING AWAY AND WHERE THAT’S GOING, YOU’RE REALLY DISCONNECTED FROM THE WORLD AROUND YOU.
RANCO FEELS THAT MAINTAINING YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD AND CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE THROUGH SOCIAL NETWORKS ABOUT EACH OTHER’S ENVIRONMENT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT
(SOT) RANCO: IF YOU THINK THAT EDUCATION IS NOT JUST A BUNCH OF FACTS BUT ACTUALLY A SERIES OF RELATIONSHIPS, WHICH I ACTUALLY DO, THEN I THINK YOUR COMMITMENT TO THESE RELATIONSHIPS IN TERMS OF YOUR EDUCATION WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO SUSTAINABILITY.
TO LEARN MORE, DR. DARREN RANCO IS SCHEDULED TO TEACH A COURSE DURING THE 2015 SPRING SEMESTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE TITLED AMERICAN INDIANS AND CLIMATE CHANGE. THE COURSE WILL DISCUSS THE LIFECYCLE, SUSTAINABILITY AND COMPARE TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE WITH WESTERN SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE WHILE EXPLORING THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF EACH SYSTEM.
The MTV Reality show, Slednecks had its debut episode on Thursday evening. In the hour and half episode, audiences were introduced to a group of friends in Wasilla, Alaska, a town made popular by Sarah Palin.
Within the first episode, the audience had seen an array of different personalities, from Sierra and Kelly a couple living in a run-down home that the two seem to provide temporary and crummy fixes to. However, the rest of the group and within a lot of the Wasilla area seem to have the same living situations. Other members of the rowdy group include, Dylan, Zeke, Trevor, “Big” Mike, Tosca, Samantha, Amber, and Hali.
The show also features a girl, Jackie, who is Inupiat Eskimo that moved to Wasilla from the Arctic Circle. She, among her friends is ostracized in a way because of her heritage and conservativeness. Mid-way through the episode her father comes to see Jackie’s birthday party ad friends. When he arrives he is at the party in a winter and hooded wolf coat, he is not only received with surprise but he is surprised with the goings on at the party. The friends were playing a drinking game that incorporated strip poker and the game quarters.
Later on in the show, Sierra tries to get Jackie to use her culture as a means of profit by convincing her to pose for the “Wild Woman of Alaska” calendar. While Jackie does go along with it she doesn’t flaunt herself in a bikini like the others did, instead she wore a fur coat she received from her family for her birthday. All whilst her peers teased her about her outfit.
In many cases most viewers probably wouldn’t have seen these scenes as offensive and in more ways than one evidence of privilege in Western and more specifically American society. Much of the indigenous people as well as their culture have become sexualized. People see it in Halloween costumes, movies, and now this “reality” show. However, the fact that Jackie stuck with her own comforts as well as standards regardless of her friends trying to convince her to do what she seems to feel as objectifying herself, sets a standard for others watching the show that are indigenous people or otherwise. In many cases it also is an eye opener as to how pressuring society is on showing skin for anyone, although in history it is very common for indigenous women in entertainment.
In the Huffington Post article, the MTV President, Stephen Friedman, is attempting to show some of the other Native American and indigenous cast members’ cultures and how they collide with others.
It will be interesting and perhaps insightful to see the rest of the series’ and how the native cast is portrayed in entertainment.
On Friday in Marysville, just outside of Tulalip, Washington, a young boy, 14, shot multiple students including himself.
The boy, Jaylen Fryberg (shown left), was considered very popular in his freshman year at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
Fryberg, of the Tulalip tribe of Washington, killed a fellow student, injured four others and subsequently shot himself. As of today, one of the four students injured has now passed due to the injury. All of the victims were said and confirmed to have been close friends with Fryberg, and two being his relatives.
According to witnesses the students were shot methodically by Fryberg, in the cafeteria around 10:30, on Friday morning. Police have found a .4o caliber handgun at the school that is said to have been used by Fryberg. A fellow student of Fryberg had said after the fact that, Fryberg and his cousin had gotten into a fight earlier that week. On Fryberg’s social media it seemed that his feelings were clues and described his feelings vaguely on Twitter.
For many in the Tulalip tribe it has come as a shock especially to Fryberg’s family who have said that Fryberg and his cousin were “inseparable” and “best friends.”
The tribe is also in disarray due to the Fryberg’s standing within the tribe, stating that the 14 year old was seen as a future leader of the tribe because of his cultural and traditional knowledge as well as general intelligence.
Many of his family and friends in mourning feel that the reasons for Fryberg’s actions are shocking. Some describe him as very happy person, which is also why so many fellow students, family and community members are celebrating the lives of all of those involved, including Fryberg’s.
With a shooting effecting and impacting so many in a community, it puzzles me that there has been so little coverage of the event within the first 24 hours. The leading media was from the Associated Press and other small/local news companies, followed slowly by CNN, ABC and Fox news.
In the past, events like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, the meda was in a whirlwind for more information, interviews and to show mourning events for weeks. Even with the most recent Ottawa shooting and lockdown, an event like the Marysville school shooting should be thoroughly covering the news, due to its newsworthiness by most journalist’s standards.
This month, Columbus day was celebrated in the US. This national holiday was officially declared in 1937, despite many protests on the contrary. The first unofficial celebration of the day in the US was in 1792, in New York to commemorate the 300 years of the American arrival. It originally was celebrated on the true date of Columbus’ arrival, October 12, however, in the early 1970s it was decided that it will be celebrated on the second Monday of the month.
For years many indigenous communities throughout North America have been in opposition of this day due to the conflicts and desecration caused by Columbus’ arrival. Not only has the death of millions been a factor but the fact that the association of “discovery” being attributed to Columbus is also nonfactual. By definition, discovery means finding, but how can you find something that is already inhabited by others?
Columbus began his search for a new western trade route via the sea to India for Europe. However, he unknowingly found himself in an unfamiliar land surrounded by curious residents. After some time he took it upon himself and his men to make this land and all its inhabitants the property of the Spanish Crown. In doing so he massacred millions or people and acreage for profit as well as power. It is with these facts that so many indigenous people over the years are fighting to have history be told in its true form and not with the misinformation being communicated to youth around the world.
While many others view Columbus as an explorer who represents a historical culture, some see Columbus Day as a great or much needed day off, why not make a day off for celebration mean something the way that a national holiday should. Most indigenous people look for recognition and respect, but with a holiday attributed to the slaughter, enslavement of peoples and the destroying of natural resources it makes that fight much harder.
A recent article done by Last Real Indians explaining the formal length that this indigenous fight goes as follows:
“The origins of the organizing efforts to abolish Columbus Day and rename it Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first documented back in 1977, when members of the International Indian Treaty Council, the American Indian Movement and other Indigenous activists from North, Central and South America presented the idea to the United Nations at the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas.”
Today many communities have changed the day’s attributions to Indigenous People’s Day, the major and most recent being the city of Seattle. However, more than thousands of other cities need to follow Seattle’s lead as of late in order to make this idea of respect more popular.
There have been many polls about support the abolishing of Columbus Day and creating a National Indigenous People’s Day, however, I would like to create my own with results from my readers. Place your vote below. If you wish to comment or add more to your answer, please do so below in the comment section.