April 26, 2019
She Ran Boston With ‘MMIW’ Painted on Her Body for the Missing Women the World Ignored
When Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel ran the Boston Marathon, she had 26 names on her mind—and the hashtag, #MMIW, to remember each of them and more, written on her body.
For each mile of the 26.2, Daniel said a prayer for an indigenous woman who is either missing or was murdered.
Violence towards indigenous women is a pervasive problem, but it’s one that has been flying under the mainstream radar. As reported by The New York Times, 84 percent of indigenous women have experienced physical, sexual, or psychological violence in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice. And on some reservations, women are 10 times more likely to be murdered than the national average, Justice Department data finds.
Amanda Webster, Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, Miranda Tenorio, Britney Tiger, Ashley Loring Heavyrunner, Lakota Rae Renville, and Lucella Yazzie are just some of the women that Daniel dedicated a portion of her run to. The final 0.2 was for her late grandfather and running inspiration, Nyal Brings.
By the time she crossed the finish line on Boylston Street—in a personal best of 3:02:11—raising her fist with a tattoo that says “For My People,” Daniel brought awareness to a crisis that has affected indigenous communities for many years.
In Other Sports News…
The television show “American Ninja Warrior” enters its 11th season next month, and again will feature the Eskimo Ninja, Nick Hanson from Unalakleet. Nick visited Bethel last week to hang out with his buddy, fellow American Ninja Warrior, Nate DeHaan. These two comprise two thirds of all the Ninja Warriors to ever come from Alaska. KYUK sat down with the two ninjas to talk about how they became friends, and what it means for them to represent rural Alaska on the show.
This Thursday athletes statewide will travel to Anchorage for the Native Youth Olympics. The Native games provide a link between modern-day athletes and their cultural traditions. Each event is rooted in traditional activities of survival and hunting.
For some, NYO is the only chance in their community to participate in an organized sport.
“With our dwindling population this about the only travel they get,” said Ali Dale, McGrath’s Junior NYO coach. “This is the only real sport left.”
In the Land of Hope and Grief
I'm standing deep in snow on a moonlit night on an island in the middle of the Bering Sea, watching the people of this community, nearly all of them Siberian Yup'ik, await the arrival of walrus hunters who are bringing in one of the principal sources of food for the village. For the past few weeks, I've been a guest art teacher at the high school here, learning about the community's triumphs and struggles, so I'm feeling invested in the outcome of the hunt.
A student I'll call Molly walks up through the crunching snow, and we chat about the incoming hunters and the heavier-than-usual snowfall. Then she interjects an unexpected story. She recalls good times with her best friend, how her friend's dad used to push them around the house in suitcases, how they'd stare at each other and burst into laughter. Her eyes glisten as she falls into a reverie. She tells me her best friend's father was like a surrogate dad. He'd never let anybody in the village pick on her. The three of them were inseparable.
The village of Gambell lies on Saint Lawrence Island in Alaska, in the middle of the Bering Sea. This remote island community is only accessible by small plane or boat, and most villagers will never leave in their lifetimes.
I noticed she was speaking in past tense. I asked, "What happened?"
After a long pause, she told me in a faltering voice that her best friend had killed himself, and his dad had died from a heart attack the following year.
This is not an uncommon story here.
Despite the ramifications of their horrific history, I soon came to see that the community had a vitality that was rare in the modern world. The children were not full of despair—and indeed far from it. The kids had wildly varying behavior, sometimes carrying anger that they took out in school, but, for the most part, they were full of joy. The younger kids romped gleefully with each other. The older kids loved working on art, from traditional ink drawings to sculpture.
This Week’s History Lesson…
Negotiated in 1835 by a minority party of Cherokees, challenged by the majority of the Cherokee people and their elected government, the Treaty of New Echota was used by the United States to justify the forced removal of the Cherokees from their homelands along what became known as the Trail of Tears.
New street signs will be installed to mark the location of the historic boundary of what was once a Native American reservation, the 19th century Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Pottawatomi reservation. The signs will identify the area set aside for Chief Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish’ s Pottawatomi in 1821 but reclaimed by the U.S. government in 1827.
The signs were designed by the Kalamazoo Reservation Public Education Committee.
Amanda Skenandore captures a terrifying reality in her debut novel, Between Earth and Sky, which won the American Library Association 2019 Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction. She says she is drawn to historical fiction because “it brings the past to life in a way that textbooks and classroom lectures cannot.” In Between Earth and Sky, the world of the late 1800s and early 1900s comes alive through believable language, a detailed setting, and a protagonist whose struggles are relatable to anyone who has ever felt left out and compelled to rebel against a powerful social norm.