This Week in Native American News - August 19, 2016

This week in Native American News - August 19, 2016

Entire Alaska Village Moving

Shishmaref, Alaska. Photo credit: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

Shishmaref, Alaska. Photo credit: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve

The 650 Inupiat Eskimos who live on the island of Shishmaref, Alaska will be packing up their homes and moving their community to safer ground. The residents of the small, village held a vote last week about their future and decided that, because of environmental changes that have led to coastal erosion, they will move to a new location. It is yet to be decided which new location will be chosen because the village needs to raise nearly $180 million to cover the expenses of the move before it can actually happen.

“Everyone wants to stay – especially the older generations who have spent their whole lives in Shishmaref,” Sinnok wrote. “But we realize we have no choice. It really hurts knowing that your only home is going to be gone, and you won’t hunt, fish and carry on traditions the way that your people have done for centuries. It is more than a loss of place, it is a loss of identity.” Read the full story here.

Performance Artist Challenges Stereotypes

Photo credit: Gregg Deal.

Photo credit: Gregg Deal.

Pyramid Lake Paiute, Gregg Deal is on a mission to open up dialogue about the future of all American Indians. Deal uses his performance art project, "Last American Indian on Earth," to expose the stereotypes and misconceptions of non-Native people. His end goal is to paint a bigger picture about what it means to be Native in today's world.

“I personally believe that Indigenous people are rising up,” he said. “We’re often applauded for our resilience, but resilience is survival. There is a tipping point where survival becomes thriving... This film is part of that effort. It’s educating people on a point of view that is not often allowed in popular media." Read the full story here and watch the movie here.

Sayisi Dene Receive Apology

Photo credit: CBC

Photo credit: CBC

The Sayisi Dene of Manitoba received a long-awaited apology from Carolyn Bennett, the Canadian Indigenous Affairs Minister, on the 60th anniversary of the tribe's forced relocation to the Dene Village.

The removal affected 250 Sayisi Dene, 117 of them died, but some saw this ceremony as a victory celebration. They were celebrating the courage of those among them that, 20 years later, saved their people from Dene Village by moving them to their current home in Tadoule Lake.

"We, the Sayisi Dene, are our ancestors' wildest dreams," said Angela Code. "Strong." Read the full story here.

Non-profit Helps Native High Schoolers Get Into College

Photo credit: Shannon Wright/NPR

Photo credit: Shannon Wright/NPR

The New Mexico organization, College Horizons, leads summer workshops dedicated to helping Native American high schoolers navigate the college admission process, including segments on applications, financial aid, and unique campus obstacles.

Native Americans constitute 1.1% of the high school populations and even less of the college population. The organization is working to increase those numbers by not only educating the students but the admission counselors as well.

Something happens when you're sitting face to face with a teenage Native student and you're hearing their story. We give counselors an appreciation for what Native students experience, the inequities they face.  Read the full story here.

Trauma Panel Spurs Action

Photo credit: Tom Stromme/Bismark Tribune

Photo credit: Tom Stromme/Bismark Tribune

A panel of North Dakota tribal members and health care professionals addressed local senators in Bismark regarding the on-going pipeline debate and the long-term effects of trauma. The panel discussed the lack of mental health services on reservations and emphasized the importance of tribes and counties working together.

"We can still achieve economic development. We can still achieve national security," Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II said in tearful testimony. "But don't do it off Indians anymore. We pay the cost, and this is the cost: historical trauma." 

Commissioner Lillian Sparks Robinson of the Administration for Native Americans, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said the agency is developing a comprehensive policy on trauma, including historical trauma. Read the full story here.


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