This Week in Native American News (3/30/18): protecting tobacco, sweat lodges for PTSD, and #NativeVote18

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March 30, 2018


Great People Doing Great Things: Keeping Tobacco Sacred

 Gina Boudreau helps harvest locally-grown tobacco.  Credit: Jean Dakota

Gina Boudreau helps harvest locally-grown tobacco. Credit: Jean Dakota

Tobacco has become a much-maligned plant in modern society. Cigarettes, which typically contain dried leaves from a tall, hybrid species called Nicotiana tabacum, are blamed for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States. And reams of scientific findings indicate that cigarette smoking—inhaling a toxic brew that can contain at least 70 cancer-causing chemicals—harms nearly every organ of the body.

But tobacco itself is not the problem, according to Gina Boudreau. In fact, she considers it sacred. And she is not alone. Many Native American communities, including hers, use the substance in traditional rituals and pass down stories about how and why the creator gave it to them. Yet customs related to growing and respecting tobacco have eroded over time, leaving communities exposed mostly to commercial versions of the plant—and furthering smoking addiction.

Boudreau hopes to change that. She is helping lead a movement within her tribe, the Minnesota-based White Earth Nation, to boost traditional tobacco use. This shift is not just for the sake of rebuilding a vanishing tradition; it is part of a surprising strategy to tamp down the tribe’s high smoking rate. Essentially, the plan is to fight tobacco with tobacco.

Read the Full Story Here


A Record-Breaking Year Ahead For #NativeVote18 Candidates

 Allison Renville, Hunkpapa Lakota, is running for the South Dakota Senate. “I love my community, I’ve journeyed far and across the country but my spirit is here in District 1, South Dakota.” She says she’s running to build on the legacy of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential candidacy.  Campaign Photo

Allison Renville, Hunkpapa Lakota, is running for the South Dakota Senate. “I love my community, I’ve journeyed far and across the country but my spirit is here in District 1, South Dakota.” She says she’s running to build on the legacy of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential candidacy. Campaign Photo

What kind of year is this for Native American candidates running for elected offices across the country? Once again there is a great answer found in Montana: There are 17 Native American candidates running for the Montana House and Senate. Seventeen! If elected, that would total more than 11 percent of the legislature.

Several patterns are emerging from the data about candidates for state legislatures.

One. There are more Native Americans running in urban districts.

Two. There are more candidates than ever who are new to politics, more than a third of the #NativeVote18 candidates are running for their first office.

Three. There is a Democratic wave. But also a growth in Green Party and independent candidates.

Four. One challenge that remains are in states without any Native American representation.

Read the Full Story Here


Native America Traditions Helping Veterans

 Blackfeet military veteran and spiritual advisor Roger Vielle during sweat ceremony for Vietnam veterans on the Blackfeet Reservation, Montana, September 2017. Courtesy: Wingspan Media Productions.

Blackfeet military veteran and spiritual advisor Roger Vielle during sweat ceremony for Vietnam veterans on the Blackfeet Reservation, Montana, September 2017. Courtesy: Wingspan Media Productions.

Michael Carroll served 18 months in Iraq for the United States Army. After coming home in 2004, doctors found that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Mental health experts say the disorder develops in some people who have experienced a shocking or dangerous event. Such persons may feel frightened even when they are not in danger. They also can suffer from depression for months or even years after the event.

Michael Carroll left the army after receiving an honorable discharge. He described the change to civilian life as difficult, and that he was quick to express anger.

Over the next few years, he received the usual treatment for PTSD, which included medication and meetings with mental health experts. He said this did him more harm than good.

In 2009, while being treated at the Spokane Veterans Center, Carroll heard about an outdoor recreational retreat for military veterans like him. The retreat was organized and financed by a group of Spokane Valley firefighters.

Carroll said this was where he experienced his first sweat lodge. "It blew my mind. And it saved my life.”

Read the Full Story Here


The 2018 Native Fashion in the City Show- Did you miss it?

 Children of the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin in 2008.  Credit: Steven L. Raymer  Getty Images

Children of the Menominee Nation in Wisconsin in 2008. Credit: Steven L. Raymer Getty Images

Recently, the Five Points neighborhood, in Denver, welcomed the fifth annual Native Fashion In The City. This event not only drew in Denver’s Native American crowd but also had quite a diverse audience, from black to white to old and young — we were all captivated by the Native inspired fashion.

There were a total of 11 designers that previewed their latest collections —all of Native descent. The intriguing thing about this particular show was that not all of the designers were local nor were they native to Denver. 

Read the Full Story Here

 

Also in Native Fashion...

Alice Brownotter, an activist from the Standing Rock Nation, wore this gown by Norma Baker Flying Horse, a fashion designer from Mandaree, at the Academy Awards - the Oscars - March 4. Submitted photo lutheran indian ministries native news

Norma Baker Flying Horse, owner of Red Berry Woman, a fashion designing business at Mandaree on the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota, has been named the first contemporary Native American fashion designer to have a gown worn at the Oscars.

Alice Brownotter, an activist from the Standing Rock Nation, wore the gown at the Academy Awards - the Oscars - March 4. 

Read the Full Story Here


Your Weekly History Lesson:

alaskan_woman_child_1050x700.jpg wikipedia lutheran indian ministries native news

A generation before the Civil Rights Movement gained national attention, the struggle against Jim Crow was being fought…in Alaska. And women were at the forefront of the struggle.

Modern Alaskans, writes historian Terrence M. Cole, are “surprised and shocked to learn that racial segregation and Jim Crow policies toward Alaska Natives were standard practice throughout much of Alaska” until the mid-1940s. Stores, bars, and restaurants posted “No Natives Allowed.” Movie theaters had “For Natives Only” seating. (Nome’s theater’s balcony was segregated for natives, commonly called “Eskimos,” and designated “Nigger Heaven” by whites.) And, by law and custom, Alaskans attended segregated schools.

 
FILE - This July 16, 1945, file photo, taken 6 miles away shows the first atomic bomb explosion at the Trinity Test Site in Alamogordo, N.M. Carrizozo, New Mexico, a small railroad town that received a large part of the residue from the world's first atomic test wants to share its story as advocates work to gather more information how the 1945 Trinity Test affected generations of Hispanic and Native American residents. Advocates seeking recognition for the harms caused by the World War II-era test are trying to gather stories from residents of the tiny town. (AP Photo/File) The Associated Press lutheran indian ministries native news

Another New Mexico Town Seeks Awareness on Atomic Bomb Harm

A small, New Mexico railroad town that received a large part of the residue from the world's first atomic bomb test is joining efforts to share stories about the test's health effects as advocates work to gather more information how the 1945 test affected generations of Hispanic and Native American residents.

Advocates seeking recognition for the harms caused by the World War II-era test are trying to gather stories from residents of the tiny town of Carrizozo, New Mexico, the Alamogordo Daily News reported Tuesday.

 
Capitol Reef Resort teepee beside the red rock cliffs lutheran indian ministries native news

Teepee Etiquette — The Unwritten Law of the Lodge

The above link is an excerpt on “Teepee Etiquette — The Unwritten Law of the Lodge,” was taken from The Book of Woodcraft and Indian Lore (1912) by Ernest Thompson Seton. Seton said he gathered these maxims on American Indian hospitality “chiefly from observations of actual practice, but in many cases from formal precept.” 


Watch This: Street Artists Reflects on Native American Dignity


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