This Week in Native American New - May 27, 2016

This Week in Native American News - May 27, 2016

Paris Auction House to Auction Native Objects

A Puebloan Kachina Huhuwa mask at a 2014 Paris auction. Photo credit: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

A Puebloan Kachina Huhuwa mask at a 2014 Paris auction. Photo credit: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

Native leaders and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian are pleading, once again, with French auction houses to take Native sacred objects out of an upcoming auction. Natives argue that while wealthy Europeans see these items as exotic ways to adorn their homes, they see them as objects imbued with life.

US laws prohibit the sale of Native ceremonial items, but France does not have a similar law.

Governor Kurt Riley, of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico, told the gathering: “The whole world condemns the destruction of Palmyra by Isis. The National Geographic’s cover story this month is about tomb raiders looting the world’s ancient treasures. These things are happening while they are also happening in the United States with regard to the plundering of native cultures.” Read the full story here.

Native American groups plan to protest at the auction which is still scheduled for Monday, May 30th.


The Fight Against Racist Mascots Continues Despite Recent Poll

Change the Mascot protest. Photo credit: Helen H. Richardson/Getty Images

Change the Mascot protest. Photo credit: Helen H. Richardson/Getty Images

A recent poll by the Washington Post has caused an uproar among Native Americans fighting against the Washington Redskins mascot. The poll stated that 9 out of 10 self-describing American Indians do not find the name "redskin" offensive. Many have taken to the internet to criticize the poll and its results, stating that the survey fails to take into consideration the psychological effects of the racist name and imagery.

Needless to say, protesters aren't backing down because of the poll.

Not in the loop? Here's a run-down of the Battle of the Mascot.


When Health Care is Lacking, Natives Find Their Own Solution

Dental therapist at work on the Swinomish reservation. Photo credit: Ruth Fremson/New York Times

Dental therapist at work on the Swinomish reservation. Photo credit: Ruth Fremson/New York Times

Finding a dentist on a reservation is next to impossible which combined with poverty and poor diet has led to generations of poor dental care. One study found that pre-school aged Native children had four times the rate of untreated tooth decay as their white peers.

Then comes the dental therapist.

A dental therapist, the doctor's equivalent to a physician's assistant, is trained to do basic dental procedures like fillings and extractions but does not hold a full dental degree. Most state laws forbid the use of dental therapists, and the Federal Indian Health Service is banned from funding these professionals, but the Swinomish Reservation in Northwest Washington is the first in the nation to hire a dental therapist through funding through local foundations. 

"We had to take matters into our own hands," said Brian Cladoosby, the chairman of the Swinomish Senate and president of the National Congress of American Indians. Read the full story here.

Slated for Demolition, Native American Murals Find a New Home

Murals find new home at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School in Seattle. Photo credit: Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times

Murals find new home at Robert Eagle Staff Middle School in Seattle. Photo credit: Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times

As a new middle and high school are constructed in North Seattle, eight Native American heritage murals are finding a permanent place to live. These large murals painted by Seattle artist Andrew Morrison, once slated for demolition and covered with graffiti, immortalize iconic Native heroes, including Chief Seattle, Chief Joseph, Geronimo and Sitting Bull.

“I painted them as big as I could, from the love of my heart,” said Morrison, an Apache and Haida native. “I wanted to do something to give back to the community.” Read the full story here.