This Week in Native American News (6/15/18): Gun Violence, the Great Outdoors, and Historic Discoveries

this week in native american news lutheran indian ministries

June 15, 2018

Native American siblings stop at nothing to graduate from UCLA and lift their community

Daniel, Minda and David Streamer on Hot Springs Mountain, Los Coyotes Indian Reservation.  John Vande Wege/UCLA

Daniel, Minda and David Streamer on Hot Springs Mountain, Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. John Vande Wege/UCLA

Obstacles and adversity have never stopped these three first-generation college students. They’ve only served to make the siblings stronger and the family prouder.

“I don’t like when people make excuses,” said David, who ultimately wants to work in the field of law. “If you want something you work and get it.”

Being accepted to UCLA is something the siblings worked hard for, with the support of their parents Davida and Jim. Native Americans, according to data, are currently the most underrepresented demographic in higher education, representing just 1 percent of total enrollment in colleges and universities. The Streamers are working to change that statistic and encouraging other Native American students to do the same.

“We need to encourage them and help them understand that it is possible to go to a school like UCLA, even if you grow up on a reservation in a rural area,” David said.

The siblings also look forward to returning home to Los Coyotes once they’ve completed their schooling to help build a more prosperous future for its residents, many of whom are family members.

Read the Full Story Here

Gun Violence Has a Major Impact on Native Communities in the United States

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Gun violence has a dark history for Natives in the United States. The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history took place in 1890, when representatives of the U.S. government executed as many as 300 Native men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, for practicing Ghost Dancing, a spiritual tradition within our culture.

Guns were first introduced to Natives around the 1600s when the weapons arrived with European colonizers. While guns were used against Native people with great frequency, we also adopted them as a means of hunting and war, marking the beginning of my community’s relationship with gun violence that continues in many different forms today.

In this op-ed, writer Allen Salway explains how many different forms of gun violence impact Native American communities.

Read the Full Story Here

Jaylyn Gough Asks: Whose Land Are You Exploring?

aylyn Gough, a full-blooded Navajo adopted and raised by a white woman on a reservation in New Mexico, founded  Native Women’s Wilderness  in 2017. Photo credit:

aylyn Gough, a full-blooded Navajo adopted and raised by a white woman on a reservation in New Mexico, founded Native Women’s Wilderness in 2017. Photo credit:

As a little kid, I was outside all the time. We lived in Tohatchi, New Mexico, which is rez country, and we were hardly ever allowed to watch TV. My mom was constantly pushing us outside. “Go explore,” she’d say. “God made this land for you. Go explore.” So we did. It was perfectly normal to flip baby rattlesnakes at each other, for the boys to put black widow spiders in the girls’ hair. We had this sense of curiosity and adventure about the land, this feeling that nothing was off-limits. Except for playing in the arroyos. That was the absolute no-no because of the flash floods. Of course, we still played in them.

It was near the end of elementary school when I decided that I was going to be an explorer for National Geographic. My mom—who, along with my aunt, always encouraged me that I could be anything I wanted to be—subscribed to the magazine. I was completely engrossed with expeditions and exploring, really intrigued by Mount Everest and K2. But there weren’t any women, let alone women of color, represented on the world’s tallest peaks. That was my first glimpse that exploration is a white man’s world.

One of my first initiatives is increasing awareness about whose land we’re exploring on. So, for example, Blanca Peak. It’s the fourth-tallest mountain in Colorado, located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Few people know that it’s one of the Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo Nation, that it’s the traditional eastern boundary of the Dinétah [Land of the Navajo]. Its Navajo name is Tsisnaasjiní, which means “white shell mountain.” For whatever reason, we aren’t taught this in school or even in the guidebooks. But people seem interested in talking about it now. And getting that information out there feels like a positive start to the reconciliation of our history.

Read the Full Story Here


And Since It's Summer, and We're on the Topic...

“The healing of a community begins with its women”: An Interview with Jolie Varela of Indigenous Women Hike lutheran indian ministries native news

“The healing of a community begins with its women”: An Interview with Jolie Varela of Indigenous Women Hike

While out hiking, I barely saw people of color let alone any Paiutes out on the trail. I went to Standing Rock and lived at Oceti Sakowin for some months and found strength I didn’t know existed. I brought the sacred fire home with the idea that Indigenous people from Payahüünadü and all over should never be absent from our natural spaces and from our homelands.

I decided in May of 2017 that I would hike the Nuumu Poyo (people’s road or trail) now known as the John Muir Trail for my ancestors, for myself, and for future generations. I’ll be hiking alongside 11 other women this August to be among the mountains and lift each other up. We believe that the healing of a community begins with its women.

Want to support their hike? Buy a shirt

Tribes and Tornadoes: How Native American tribes dealt with wild weather lutheran indian ministries native news

Tribes and Tornadoes: How Native American tribes dealt with wild weather

Fortunately, we have technology to help us forecast particularly dangerous weather. Long before Doppler Radar or computers, there were Native American tribes who lived in what would become the state of Oklahoma.

"We didn't have KFOR back in the day, we didn't have no radar. My grandmother was our weather woman. She knew what was coming." When a storm approached, there were certain rituals his family followed.

Today's History Lesson:

this-land-is-our-land-the-1969-alcatraz-occupation-native-americans-001-691.jpg lutheran indian ministries native news

History in Comic Form: This Land is Our Land

This Land is Our Land: The Native American Occupation of Alcatraz

How a group of Red Power activists seized the abandoned prison island and their own destinies

by Eleri Harris and Mariah-Rose Marie M

Close up view of Mixteca-style mask decorated with turquoise mosaic from the collections of the Smithsonian Institution-National Museum of the American Indian. NMAI Catalog #10/8712. Credit: Alyson M. Thibodeau  Read more at: lutheran indian ministries native news

New research unveils true origin of ancient turquoise

New research published today in the journal Science Advances overturns more than a century of thought about the source of turquoise used by ancient civilizations in Mesoamerica, the vast region that extends from Central Mexico to Central America. For more than 150 years, scholars have argued that the Aztec and Mixtec civilizations, which revered the precious, blue-green mineral, acquired it through import from the American Southwest. However, extensive geochemical analyses reveal that the true geologic source of Aztec and Mixtec turquoise lies within Mesoamerica.

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The first time Alice Cunningham Fletcher heard Native American music — a cacophony of drumming and screaming — was on an autumn camping trip among the Sioux in 1881. Fletcher’s training as an anthropologist told her to ignore her own preconceptions about what music should be and instead try to understand what it expressed out on the plains. Only one other scholar had studied Native American music, and Fletcher’s experience of roughing it in the Dakota Territory inspired her to go further — she wanted to record and transcribe the music before it was lost forever.

Archaeologists excavate on Mound Key in Florida, the location of the long-lost Calusa king's house and a nearby Spanish fort.  PHOTOGRAPH BY AMANDA THOMPSON lutheran indian ministries native news

Ancient Native American King's House Rediscovered in Florida

Known from Spanish records, the once-lost structure belonged to Caalus, ruler of an indigenous people famous for resisting colonial missionaries.

Now, archaeologists say they’ve found the first known traces of the long-lost building where this meeting took place. Their reconstructions suggest it was just as impressive as the Spanish missionaries described: a royal house that could fit 2,000 individuals.

Several people who worked for Kahukini searched for his wealth without success, and by all accounts his secret cave has yet to be discovered. lutheran indian ministries native news

Kahukini’s Koloa secret treasure cave

At Koloa, Kauai, during the 1800s, there lived a very energetic and shrewd Native Hawaiian businessman by the name of Kahukini (early 1800s-1883). Although it’s unclear what business Kahukini was initially engaged in, it is, however, documented that he succeeded in laying up a good deal of money from that enterprise.

In his later years, he hid his extensive wealth. His wife tried in vain to learn from him the exact spot but it was useless; he could recall facts regarding his riches and he would mention them to her, but he never told her where he hid the treasure, and when he died his secret went with him to the grave. It has yet to be found.

It's hard to fit so much news in such a small space.
To read all of this week's news, visit the LIM Magazine.

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