This Week in Native American News (5/17/19): the Effects of Trauma, a Native National Park, and Not Removing Murals

this week in native american news lutheran indian ministries

May 17, 2019


Trauma lives on in Native Americans by making us sick

Trauma is at the root of the issues that translate into the poor health outcomes characteristic of American Indians. Illustration: Sonny Ross/Sonny Ross for Guardian US

Trauma is at the root of the issues that translate into the poor health outcomes characteristic of American Indians. Illustration: Sonny Ross/Sonny Ross for Guardian US

Exterminate, remove, assimilate, terminate, relocate. Most Americans will have no context for the relationship of these words to each other. Most Americans Indians will recognize them immediately. They align with US federal policies that were implemented from the late 1700s through to 1978 in order to solve the “Indian problem” and allow for Euro-American expansion. The result of these injustices is an unresolved grief that underlies our American Indian reality in 2019. Mental health expert Dr Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart calls it “historical trauma”. She writes: “This phenomenon … contributes to the current social pathology of high rates of suicide, homicide, domestic violence, child abuse, alcoholism and other social problems among American Indians.” This trauma, in other words, is making us sick. And so is the fact that it is routinely ignored by the rest of the country.

Exterminate, remove, assimilate, terminate, relocate. Every American should learn about the relationship between these words in school, but they do not. Children do not. Adults do not. Academics and health professionals do not. This is the way that my son learned about the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of American Indians from their ancestral homelands in the 19th century, in a high school just outside of Yale University: “The kindly soldier moved the Indian family to a better place to live.” It’s no wonder that true considerations of this historical trauma are absent from healthcare facilities, where they’re needed most.

Read the Full Story Here

 

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Sexual assault and abuse are issues of national and global reach and prominence. Among Navajo populations, the problem is even more prevalent. As one of the few female delegates on the Navajo council, Amber Kanazbah Crotty is leading a campaign called "Start by Believing" to encourage communities to support survivors. She shares her brief but spectacular take on revitalizing Navajo communities.

 
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Remembrance offers healing to Alaska Native community mourning missing and murdered women

The list was five pages long. On it were written 191 names.

Each name represented an Alaska Native woman or girl who has either gone missing or been killed, and each one was read aloud at a Saturday remembrance for missing and murdered indigenous women at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

 
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Lutheran Indian Ministries - Sacred Ground on the Haskell Campus

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Before you make assumptions, Haskell LIGHT is not your typical campus ministry. 


The Blackfeet Nation is opening its own national park

Ed DesRosier's company Sun Tours has been giving Indigenous-centered tours of Glacier National Park for 27 years. He and other tribal members are pushing to establish Blackfeet National Park to the east of Glacier. Courtesy of Ed DesRosier

Ed DesRosier's company Sun Tours has been giving Indigenous-centered tours of Glacier National Park for 27 years. He and other tribal members are pushing to establish Blackfeet National Park to the east of Glacier. Courtesy of Ed DesRosier

In 1992, Ed DesRosier wanted to offer visitors to Glacier National Park an experience that didn’t yet exist. Tourists learned about the park’s wildlife and the history of the iconic red tour buses that carried them to the park’s most breathtaking views. But the stories of the people who were connected to the landscape centuries before it became a tourist destination were not mentioned.

So DesRosier, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation in northwestern Montana, made it happen. But before he could become one of the few Indigenous people in the country licensed to operate a tour business in a national park, he would be arrested and have to fight in court for the right to tell the stories of his people and their home.

Read the Full Story Here


Native American Tribes Across the Country Are Pushing for Better Internet Access

Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, a member of the Havasupai Tribal Council, at Red Butte, a site that the Havasupai consider sacred about 15 miles south of Tusayan, Ariz. (Amy Martin—AP)

Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, a member of the Havasupai Tribal Council, at Red Butte, a site that the Havasupai consider sacred about 15 miles south of Tusayan, Ariz. (Amy Martin—AP)

In a remote, roadless Arizona canyon that is home to a small Native American tribe, there’s a natural skepticism toward the internet.

The telemedicine equipment that health care officials promised would work gathers dust. School children who have online homework struggle to get online. And streaming a web-based conference or taking classes remotely? Well, “that’s a lot of luck you’d have to get,” said Ophelia Watahomigie-Corliss, who sits on the Havasupai Tribal Council.

Things started to change after a small company approached the tribe with a plan to broaden coverage for educational use. It’s now using the experience to help push the federal government to give tribes priority for broadband spectrum largely unassigned across the western United States.

The tribe began working with a company called MuralNet in 2017 to get teachers and students better access. They successfully sought temporary authority from the FCC to use the Educational Broadband Services spectrum — a sort of channel of electromagnetic waves — that wasn’t being used. Flagstaff-based Niles Radio Communications helped build the network.

Jacqueline Siyuja now has a wireless router to take online classes for her job at the tribe’s Head Start program. A few years ago, she and her colleagues had to fly out of the canyon and drive more than two hours to a community college in Flagstaff for classes.

Read the Full Story Here


Instead of removal, Park Ridge library will add historical context to mural of Native Americans ceding land to government

The restored "Indians Cede the Land" mural on the wall of the Park Ridge Public Library is shown in this 2013 file photo. (Keri Wiginton/Chicago Tribune)

The restored "Indians Cede the Land" mural on the wall of the Park Ridge Public Library is shown in this 2013 file photo. (Keri Wiginton/Chicago Tribune)

Amid the removal of historic Works Progress Administration murals from schools in Oak Park following complaints that they do not reflect the community’s diversity, a Park Ridge WPA mural depicting Native Americans and white government agents is staying put inside the city’s library — but getting some additional historical context, the library’s director says.

Heidi Smith, executive director of the Park Ridge library, said printed pamphlets describing the history and restoration of the “Indians Cede the Land” post office mural will be updated to include expanded historical context of the scene based on information provided to the library last year by Julie Pelletier, an associate professor of indigenous studies at the University of Winnipeg. Pelletier served as acting director of Newberry Library’s McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies.

The additional information explains that when U.S. government treaties were signed with Native American tribes, they often were not honored by the government, Smith said. Such information was recently added to the “news” section of the library’s website.

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