Happy International Day of the World's Indigenous People!
Native people and education
August 9th was the International Day to celebrate Indigenous Peoples all over the world, which includes the Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians that we serve. According to the UN, this year's theme was Indigenous Peoples' Right to Education.
In terms of those we serve, Native American education has historically been lacking (as we've reported before), but a school in Albuquerque, New Mexico is embracing cultural values and current teaching methods to raise up their students.
The Native American Community Academy is located in New Mexico's biggest city because that's where they are needed; many Native Americans in the Albuquerque School District fall through the cracks and are 237% more likely to drop out of school than their white counterparts.
The NACA Inspired Schools Network will be opening five more schools in the Albuquerque area this fall, with five more on the way, all of them focused on a strong academic base, college preparation, and a particular emphasis on Native American culture, identity, and community. Read the full story here.
Others across the country are stepping in for Native Youth
Hemet and Davis, California, will both be opening drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers for Native American youth. Run by the Indian Health Service, these centers will serve 12 to 17-year-olds. The Hemet Center will begin accepting patients later this year, and the Davis center is scheduled to open in 2018. Read the full story here.
Native Hope, a new non-profit located in South Dakota strives to inspire hope in Native American youth. The organization is owned by the congregation of priests of Sacred Heart who partake in missions around the world. According to Director Julie Muldoon, "Native Hope has always had the same end goal—to inspire and instill hope in current and upcoming generations of Native Americans—but the process, programs, and partnerships to achieve that goal have taken unexpected turns along the way." Read the full story here.
St. Lawrence Island Officially Belongs to Alaska Natives
The more than one million acres that make St. Lawrence Island, located west of the mainland in the Bering Sea, was signed over to two Alaska Native corporations: Kukulget, Inc. of Savoonga and Sivuqaq, Inc. of Gambell, both located on the island. (Savoonga and Gambell are the only two villages on the island, and each has a population of about 700 people.) This process, in its entirety, has taken almost 40 years to complete.
[This transfer] underscores the importance of ownership of the island by the people of these villages who rely on the land and sea for their subsistence lifestyles. The residents of the island have a long tradition of gathering bird eggs and fish, hunting marine mammals, and creating beautiful carvings from walrus ivory and whale bone. Read the full story here.
Tourists find 400-year-old Petroglyphs on Hawaiian Beach
Petroglyphs have been found throughout the Hawaiian Islands and represent historical and cultural value to Native Hawaiians.
“They record our genealogy and religion,” [Glen Kila, a Waianae resident who is a descendent of the families who first settled on the Waianae Coast] said in press release, adding that the petroglyphs “can only be interpreted by the lineal descendants who are familiar with [the area’s] history and culture.”
While it is unlikely this is the first time these petroglyphs were seen by modern eyes, it is the first time the Department of Land and Natural Resources has been made aware of them. They are currently working to document and preserve the artifacts. Read the full story here.
If you go to Hawaii to see these or other petrogyphs of the ancient Hawaiians, be sure not to make any rock stacks.
The 2,000-mile runners made it to D.C.
Last week, we reported on a group of Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation) youth who were running from South Dakota to Washington D.C. on a 2,000-mile run to protest the construction of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. The group marched and sang outside the White House with local Native Americans on Saturday, August 6th, 2016.
A massive media campaign, “Rezpect Our Water,” was launched to tell the stories of the youth that will be impacted if and when the pipeline leaks. The cross-country relay run was part of this campaign. Read the full story here.
Back in the Dakotas and Iowa, Native Americans and local land owners are being arrested for interfering with the construction.
Canoe culture returns to the Musqueam Band of British Columbia. The last hand-carved canoe was launched in 1985, and now 30 years later, this canoe, which was carved out of a 350-year-old cedar log, "glides like glass across the water," according to one tribal member.
“It’s a real special moment to us,” Louis said. “We haven’t had a canoe built on this reserve in 30 years or more because our canoe builders all passed away, and with them we almost lost our canoemanship.”Read the full story here.
With the upcoming presidential elections, many Native American legislatures are concerned about current voter i.d. laws. Native Americans who live on reservations often do not have the resources or access to the approved forms of identification.
"The cost of obtaining a photo ID is disproportionately harder on the Native American community, especially in North Dakota than it is for the population as a whole," [Pratt Wiley] explained. Read the full story here.
"Hapa," a Hawaiian word meaning half or part, refers to Hawaiians who are descended from multiple cultures. The history and culture of "hapa" has created discussion and arguments among Hawaiians and non-Hawaiian people. But this author is proud to be hapa, and most are.
We try to share the best of the best, but that means there are really interesting articles we have to leave out. Check out more articles here.