February 23, 2018
You Might Be Cheering for Team Indigenous at the Next Olympics
Two chiefs from Canada were in Pyeongchang, South Korea, last week to speak to Olympic officials about the possibility of entering a team of Indigenous North American athletes at future games.
National Dene Chief Bill Erasmus and Grand Chief Willie Littlechild of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 Nations met with the Canadian Olympic Committee, and with Thomas Bach, chairman of the International Olympic Committee, on their visit.
"It's really quite exciting," said Erasmus.
"[Bach] was very receptive to all of our ideas and we're continuing a discussion with them."
Littlechild, from Maskwacis in central Alberta, has been involved with the North American Indigenous Games and the World Indigenous Games. Erasmus is envisioning a Team Indigenous — made up of Indigenous athletes from across Canada and the U.S.
Native College Graduates Find It Hard to Go Back Home
Tommy Rock has had three graduations — high school, college and graduate school. And no one from his family was there — no one to cheer for him, no one to take his picture. And when he came home to Monument Valley, few really cared.
"I didn't get no congratulations or nothing," Rock said. "It was like 'Oh you think you're better than us?' I was like, 'Wow, OK.' "
When a Navajo baby is born, it's custom to bury the umbilical cord in the ground. The Navajo believe that ties the child to the land forever. But a new generation of Navajos are defying this belief as more and more young people leave the Navajo Nation to go to college or to find work. Elders encourage their return, but often that transition home is rough.
People like Rock are part of the Navajo brain drain, said Navajo President Russell Begaye. Begaye, himself a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, made a plea in his inaugural address to the thousands of Navajo who have seen their children and grandchildren leave the reservation for school and then head to Phoenix, Los Angeles or Albuquerque to work.
"Their brains and their skills and expertise are being utilized to help grow those towns and cities," Begaye said. "It is time we bring them back."
Off the Rez Food Truck Highlighted in "Cooking in America"
“Food is the most raw when it’s born out of necessity,” says host Sheldon Simeon in this episode of Cooking in America, as he visits Off the Rez — a Seattle food truck specializing in Native American cuisine. At the heart of Off the Rez’s menu is its fry bread, a staple recipe developed from the rationed ingredients native tribes were given; here, it’s crafted by hand by owners Mark McConnell and Cecilia Rikard.
Cities Choose to Commemorate Native Influence Not Erase It
When a student from a Framingham school, in Massachusetts, raised the issue of changing some of the city's street sign names because they might be offensive, City Councilors took up the issue. The student suggested replacing the word "Indian Head" on these signs with "Algonquin."
At Tuesday night's meeting, councilors voted instead of changing the street names to install a plaque that honors Native American history in the Indian Head Heights neighborhood, reports the MetroWest Daily News. Councilors voted unanimously to authorize the Historical Commission's plan to create the plaque.
In Historical and Archaeological News...
A Native American advocate said Thursday that Americans need to be better educated on what happened to indigenous people during the Civil War.
“The history of what truly happened here is not being taught in the history books,” Yolanda Bluehorse, executive assistant for the Society of Native Nations said. “It is time for America to recognize what the government has done to the first people of this land.”
Last month’s release of The Ice Bridge, an episode in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation series The Nature of Things has once again revived public discussion of a controversial idea about how the Americas were peopled known as the “Solutrean hypothesis”. This idea suggests a European origin for the peoples who made the Clovis tools, the first recognized stone tool tradition in the Americas.
The city of Cahokia is one of many large earthen mound complexes that dot the landscapes of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys and across the Southeast. Despite the preponderance of archaeological evidence that these mound complexes were the work of sophisticated Native American civilizations, this rich history was obscured by the Myth of the Mound Builders, a narrative that arose ostensibly to explain the existence of the mounds. Examining both the history of Cahokia and the historic myths that were created to explain it reveals the troubling role that early archaeologists played in diminishing, or even eradicating, the achievements of pre-Columbian civilizations on the North American continent, just as the U.S. government was expanding westward by taking control of Native American lands.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg officially launched a Métis tour on Monday.
The tour explores the beginning of the Métis people, through the Red River Rebellion of the late 19th century all the way to Métis involvement in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“Many don’t understand that Métis communities were destroyed, burned to the ground, and bulldozed."
Before Christopher Columbus, the Europeans were greeted peacefully by the residents of what is now the Bahamas: The Taíno. This coexistence did not last long — by 1548 the Taíno population, estimated to have been in the millions, had dropped to only 500.
Historians, archeologists, and people who claim Taíno heritage have argued for years that the people did not go “extinct,” yet it is standard practice to teach that the Taíno were wiped out. Now, however, their legacy is exonerated: In a paper published Monday, researchers reveal they encountered the first genetic evidence that the Taíno still have living descendants today.
In Arts & Entertainment...
The Native Americans who populated Roanoke, North Carolina, in 1587 lived in a world full of rich and mystical traditions as Deahn Berrini describes in A Roanoke Story. The work of historical fiction tells the story of 115 English men, women and children who showed up on the shores of the bay one day—and just as quickly mysteriously disappeared.
The filmmakers of “More Than a Word” once dreamed of playing hockey for North Dakota University. John Little, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said he was an avid fan until his mother took him to a game.
“I realized there was a problem when I heard fans yell ‘Kill the Indians,'” he said. Little and his brother, Kenneth, came to TCU recently for a screening of their movie and discuss the ongoing debate of using indigenous people as mascots.
Sometimes a symbol can be so familiar that even out of context—different surroundings, different colors and very different materials—it remains immediately recognizable. That’s the case of the five neon-colored tipis that anchor the exhibition “Manifestipi,” currently on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s George Gustav Heye Center in New York City. Created by ITWÉ Collective, a trio of artists based in Winnipeg and Montreal, Canada, the eight-foot-tall structures made of frosted plexiglass look nothing like what we think of as a traditional tipi, but are unmistakably that.