January 4, 2019 - HAPPY NEW YEAR!
UN names 2019 as international year of Indigenous languages
The UN typically observes a different topic each year to raise awareness about issues that have an international impact.
In this case, 2019 sets out to highlight the need to preserve, revitalize and promote the use of the world’s estimated 7,000 Indigenous languages—2,680 of which are considered to be in danger.
“Languages play a crucial role in the daily lives of people, not only as a tool for communication, education, social integration and development, but also as a repository for each person’s unique identity, cultural history, traditions and memory,” the UN said in a news release.
“But despite their immense value, languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate.”
Follow Up on a story we highlighted here: Native American Homeless Crisis in Minnesota Inspires an Unlikely Alliance
There were overdoses nearly every day in the grim homeless encampment near downtown Minneapolis.
At least four people had died within two months. Diseases spread, with upward of 200 people cramming into dozens of tents. Fears rose among activists and the mostly Native American population living there that the city would crack down, which for them would have echoed the country’s dark history of treating indigenous people with force and contempt.
But then, an unlikely solution surfaced.
Red Lake Nation, a tribe some four and a half hours’ drive north, offered to help build temporary shelters on land it had bought two years ago for a permanent housing development in the city.
Other tribes in Minnesota supported Red Lake’s shelter proposal, forming a partnership to help win concessions from local officials and secure emergency relief.
It was a rare show of unity by tribal nations to resolve an urban crisis, Native advocates said. And it represented a potential turning point in the sometimes distant relationship between Native Americans who live in urban areas and those who choose to remain on reservations.
Rodeo is a way of life for Millennial Native American riders
Joaquin is one of dozens of Native American Millennials competing on the rodeo circuit. They say the skills and tradition of the rodeo reflect the lifestyles many of them grew up with on their reservations — caring for livestock, ranching and farming, hard work and close families.
Joaquin and other riders compete regularly across Arizona and nearby states for a chance at the big rodeos and the big prize money. For Joaquin, the dream is representing the Native American community in Las Vegas at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where more than $10 million in prize money is doled out to competitors.
According to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, today's version of rodeos can be traced back to Prescott's history. The Prescott rodeo in 1888 had rules, prizes for awards, admissions, invitations and committees.
And the Native American community has been a key part of that Arizona rodeo tradition for generations.
Today’s History Lesson
Near the foothills of Appalachia, just south of the South Carolina-North Carolina line and a few miles from Andrew Jackson State Park, the Catawba Indians want the world to know they are alive and strong.
South Carolina’s only federally recognized Native American tribe, the Catawbas have been around for at least 5,000 years.
Today, there’s a reason many know little about the tribe: Its members are like their fellow South Carolinians in a lot of ways. What some don’t see, however, is how Catawbas fight to sustain their ancestral traditions while fully embracing American society in the 21st century.
Archaeological data allow us to consider human actions over extended periods of time in a way that few other sources can. This is particularly true when it comes to studying human resilience in the face of environmental disasters.
From approximately A.D. 450-1400, a Native American group known today as the Hohokam overcame a harsh desert environment along with periodic droughts and floods to settle and farm much of modern Arizona. They managed this feat by collectively maintaining an extensive infrastructure of canals with collaborative labor.
Quillwork is an art form unique to Native Americans. It was practiced for hundreds of years before the arrival of Euro-Americans on the Great Plains. During the 18th and 19th centuries quilling arts reached one of their highest levels of development. Quillwork was used to decorate shirts, moccasins, and jewelry. This distinctive practice has endured over the centuries to become one of the most recognizable art forms of the Great Plains today.
Interested in other Native art forms? Check out: Sealaska Heritage’s how-to video series highlighting endangered art practices
It might seem strange that Hawaiians played a significant part in the history on Idaho and the Northwest because much of that history has been forgotten, except for a historic land marker on the western crest of Owyhee County.
“The name applied to these mountains and the whole surrounding region is an outdated spelling of the word ‘Hawaii,’” the sign reads. Owyhee is pronounced like “Hawaii” but without the “H.”
It started with explorer James Cook — yes, the European explorer who visited the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.