Cherokee Nation Helps Launch United Nations’ International Decade Of Indigenous Languages

The Cherokee Nation hosted the launch of the United Nations’ International Decade of Indigenous Languages in Tahlequah last week. The three-day event featured language leaders from around the world, both in person and virtually, to share information and best practices on language preservation efforts.

The 10-year initiative continues the work of the United Nations General Assembly’s 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, drawing attention to the critical loss of Indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote them.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. opened the event with a welcome, and Special Envoy for International Affairs and Language Preservation Joe Byrd offered a blessing.

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Climate Change: Navajo Nation Faces Drought, Fire, Flooding

Gallup, New Mexico — It’s an overcast, windy November day as Zachariah Ben stands tall over the small, folding table at a local flea market.

His tsiiyééł sits low on his neck and it’s clear that his dark brown hair is very long. Before him, on a black-and-white Pendleton blanket, sit two products — Bidii Baby Food and neeshjizzii — that share a common element, naadą́ą́, or corn. He’s already sold out of tádídíín, or corn pollen, this year, which sells fast during the summer and fall.

But tádídíín is not the only thing missing from the table. Over the summer, he offered a variety of melons grown at Ben Farms, owned and operated by his family, at different flea markets in the Four Corners area on Saturdays and Sundays.

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Stoney Nakoda Language Resources Launched To Preserve Language

The Stoney Education Authority (SEA), with support from The Language Conservancy, is releasing historic Stoney Nakoda language learning resources this December. This release includes three picture books, a Level 1 textbook, and an alphabet colouring book. The release also includes several digital resources: a 9,000-word web and mobile dictionary, a textbook-accompanying media player app, and a vocabulary-building app.

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Bridging Cultural And Political Gaps Through Indigenous First Foods

A city isn’t the most likely place for an Indigenous crop revival. But across the greater Portland area in Oregon, municipalities like Metro and the City of Portland have been partnering with organizations and tribes to promote Native American land access and cultivation of first foods, the term used for traditional local foods that have nourished Indigenous people for centuries.

In a city park, a drained lakebed, an old grazing lot, and along an urban creek, first foods are returning to areas where they once flourished before the land was covered by farms and urban sprawl.

The partnerships are historically significant, considering Portland didn’t even allow Native Americans to live within city limits until 1920.

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Homelands In Peril

Lower Lafitte, Louisiana — The blades of grass are just beginning to push through the thick, marsh mud in Russell Rodriguez’s yard as the mid-October sun beats down on southeastern Louisiana.

A bald eagle soars high above the tall trees. Morning rays glimmer off the rippling waters of nearby Barataria Bayou as it pushes toward the Gulf of Mexico.

It would be idyllic if not for the widespread destruction.

Homes are wrecked, pushed off their pylons and shattered. Fishing boats are upended onto dry land. Coffins washed out of local cemeteries sit cracked open, the bones inside still waiting to be claimed.

It’s more than Rodriguez can take. After decades in lower Lafitte about 65 miles south of New Orleans, he and his wife are leaving their home and their neighbors of the United Houma Nation for higher ground.

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Community Guards: Self-Protection And Peoples’ Autonomy

An interview with the guard leaders of the Peasant, Cimarrona and Indigenous communities about the processes they have implemented since the beginning of the National Strike in Colombia. For them, self-justice goes beyond exercising authority; it means protecting their territory and the lives of those who inhabit their lands.

The National Popular Assembly (NPA) that took place on July 17–19 at the University of Valle, in Cali, was systematically targeted and sabotaged by public forces. But, the intervention of the Cimarrona, Indigenous and farmer community guards and the front-line protesters guaranteed a safe and peaceful space for the meeting.

“Police officers know how to treat others as police officers, a guerrilla as a guerrilla, and the paramilitary as the paramilitary,” said Manuel Correa, “(…) they each have their own ideology, but they are far removed from the cosmovision of the black people.”

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The Karankawa Were Said To Be Extinct

Corpus Christi — On the sandy shore of the Gulf, a small group formed a circle and began to sing through the August heat. Some played ceremonial drums, and two others held a large painted canvas that read, “SAVE CORPUS CHRISTI BAY.”

Of the dozen people who prayed, sang and spoke in the circle that day, three women were representing a people that most Texas history books claim are extinct.

They’re part of a small but growing group of Indigenous people who call themselves Karankawa Kadla — “kadla” means culturally mixed, and Karankawa is the name of a people who, for several centuries, controlled a more than 300-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast shore from approximately present-day Galveston Bay south to Corpus Christi Bay.

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Nations Petition Supreme Court To Protect Indian Child Welfare Act

Cetan Sa Winyan, director of the American Indian Movement’s Indian Territory Oklahoma chapter, said all tribes — not just the four already petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court — should stand together against potential changes to the Indian Child Welfare Act in a case the court has been asked to review.

“They closed the boarding schools and opened up CPS (Child Protective Services), but it’s the same thing — they’re still coming in and taking our children,” Winyan said.

The ICWA was enacted in 1978 to help keep Indigenous children in Indigenous homes. In ICWA cases, the first preference for placement is that the child go to an extended family member, even if the relative is non-Native. Second preference is someone within the child’s tribe; third preference is another tribe.

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Gidimt’en Land Defenders Mobilize To Protect Archeological Site

Gidimt’en land defenders are presently mobilizing on their unceded territory within the province of British Columbia in Canada to protect an archaeological site from the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline.

Earlier this month, The Tyee reported that the area at risk is a ridge near Lamprey Creek.

Downstream the creek flows into the Morice River (Wedzin Kwa to the Wet’suwet’en) at a traditional village site called Ts’elkay Kwe Ceek. And upstream are sites at McBride and Collins lakes that contain house pits, also evidence of past occupation.

The article highlights: “To the Wet’suwet’en, this site holds clues, pieces of their history on the landscape that dates back millennia. To the B.C. government’s archaeology branch, it is known simply as GbSs-8.”

Past excavations by archaeologists have revealed evidence of use that pre-dates the arrival of Europeans, including lithics, materials related to stone tools.

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Push For Indigenous Curriculum Makes Gains

For years, many tribes have felt their history has not been given its due by schools in Connecticut, a state that takes its name from an Algonquian word meaning “land on the long tidal river.”

Soon, however, schools will be required to teach Native American studies, with an emphasis on local tribes, under a law passed this year at the urging of tribes including the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, best known today for its Foxwoods Resort Casino.

“When you’re in Connecticut, to not learn about the Eastern woodland tribes, the tribes that Connecticut was founded on, (that) was the issue that we were pressing,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequots.

It has been a long-running goal of many Native people to have more about their history and culture taught in grade schools.

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The Horrific Truths About Indian Boarding Schools Are Gaining Attention

Due in part to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the horrific truths about what children and their families endured and the graves of the children who were murdered in the residential schools are being uncovered. The residential schools originated in the United States, which has yet to recognize their existence and what happened in them. That may be starting to change after many decades of activism to raise awareness and now an initiative by Secretary of the Interior Haaland. Clearing the FOG speaks with Matt Remle, an indigenous human rights activist about the history of the boarding schools, their purpose to enable the exploitation of resources and how they are connected into the bigger picture of genocide and colonization.

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Apache Sue To Protect Religious Freedom

Apache Stronghold, on behalf of traditional Apache religious and cultural leaders, sued the Trump administration today in U.S. District Court in Phoenix to stop the transfer of Oak Flat, or Chi’chil Bildagoteel, to British-Australian corporate mining giant Rio Tinto and its subsidiary, Resolution Copper.

The lawsuit seeks to stop the U.S. Forest Service’s publication on January 15, 2021, of a final environmental impact statement that will trigger the transfer of Oak Flat to Resolution Copper.

The Forest Service is rushing publication to help Rio Tinto take possession of Oak Flat before the end of the Trump administration, despite opposition by Apache Stronghold, San Carlos Apache Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe and hundreds of other Native American tribes.

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Marx Didn’t Invent Socialism, Nor Did He Discover It

There’s no debate that Marx didn’t invent socialism. As co-editor of a French-German radical newspaper by 1843, a young Marx would have read the term “socialism” used by French author Pierre Leroux (1797–1871)–generally credited with coining the term–or the German Lorenz von Stein (1815–1890). England’s Robert Owen (1771–1858) had bandied the word about as early as 1835. French philosopher Victor d’Hupay (1746–1818) called himself a communist author around 1785, thirty-three years before Marx’s birth, and his colleague Nicolas-Edme Rétif (1734–1806) even used the term to describe a form of government.

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As A Native American, Here’s What I Want You To Know About Thanksgiving

Native Americans don’t just live on reservations, we live in cities, and we live internationally. I grew up in the Silicon Valley of California. I was born in the city and have lived here my whole life, as an “Urban Native.” My grandfather moved to California from Mohawk territory in the 1950s after he served in Korea, and we have all lived in Sunnyvale ever since.

The challenges I grew up around were different from my Oyaté (family) out on the reservations. It is easier to lose our sense of culture living among so many established settler communities.

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Houseless Camp: ‘It’s A Sovereign Place’

Rapid City, SD – When Lakota activists set up a camp for homeless relatives in this Black Hills town last month, the police descended immediately and shut it down.

The response? The activists quickly moved the encampment to trust land just outside of town. 

Today the camp, built on traditional values and teachings, is flourishing.

“They’re giving the people a chance to have somewhere to sleep and live like they used to a long time ago, like the ancestors, you know? ”

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