This Week in Native American News (6/29/18): Native Veterans Memorial Chosen, Tribes Documented, and American Attitudes Revealed

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June 29, 2018


Design Chosen for first Native American Veteran Monument

 The multimedia artist Harvey Pratt's  Warriors' Circle of Honor  will incorporate an enormous, upright stainless steel circle.   National Museum of the American Indian

The multimedia artist Harvey Pratt's Warriors' Circle of Honor will incorporate an enormous, upright stainless steel circle. National Museum of the American Indian

The design for the first national monument to Native American veterans in Washington came to Harvey Pratt in a dream.

Pratt, a 77-year-old Marine Corps veteran and member of the southern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, woke up with a vision: a steel circle poised above a drum whose surface rippled with water, a flame burning in the circle’s center, the entire structure ringed by a low wall studded with four tall lances. He sat down in his living room in Guthrie, Okla., grabbed a yellow legal pad and started sketching.

After months of work and several revisions, a version of Pratt’s drawing was on Tuesday named the winner of the international contest to design the National Native American Veterans Memorial. An eight-member jury appointed by the National Museum of the American Indian – on whose grounds the memorial will be built – unanimously voted for Pratt’s design, titled “Warriors’ Circle of Honor,” over four other finalists.

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Groundbreaking Research Reveals America’s Attitudes about Native Peoples

 Will Wilson, “Eric Garcia Lopez, citizen of First Nation Purepecha Tribe (Tarasco)” from the CIPX SFAI series, (2012) (courtesy Annenberg Space for Photography)

Will Wilson, “Eric Garcia Lopez, citizen of First Nation Purepecha Tribe (Tarasco)” from the CIPX SFAI series, (2012) (courtesy Annenberg Space for Photography)

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and Echo Hawk Consulting (EHC) today released groundbreaking research about attitudes toward and perceptions of Native Americans as part of a jointly-managed effort called “Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions.” The project also released two messaging guides based on the research findings and a narrative-change strategy framework that will be used to begin to change the false and misleading narratives about Native peoples.

“Some incredible findings were unearthed through this research – many of which had long been experienced and assumed but not proven,” said Michael E. Roberts (Tlingit), President & CEO of First Nations. “The findings clearly validate the realities that so many Native people face in their day-to-day interactions in communities. They provide our project, and the larger movement, with a strong foundation upon which to move forward.”

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Albuquerque Author Puts Native Americans Back in History Books

Veronica Velarde Tiller, shown in a scene from “A Thousand Voices,” a PBS documentary about Native American women, created a guide to contemporary Indian tribes. lutheran indian ministries native news

Historian and researcher Veronica E. Velarde Tiller, a Jicarilla Apache, has taken a long time to tell her story.

She’s told and published the stories of her tribe and the 567 federally recognized tribes across the country, in her encyclopedic “Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country,” a third edition just released this month.

“It always seemed to me that Indian history stopped in the 1890s after the era of the big chiefs – like Chief Seattle, Sitting Bull, Geronimo – but there was no contemporary history,” she says, explaining her mission of creating “Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country.”

The book, first published in 1996 and updated about every 10 years, provides a profile of each tribe, so that agencies and corporations, including the federal government, will know a little before they negotiate. It has been used by many, including the U.S. Supreme Court and cited in the court’s findings.

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What You Need to Know About Buying Native-American Art

 Marcellus Medina of the Zia Pueblo in New Mexico sells pottery and 2-D paintings at the Santa Fe Indian Market. PHOTO: GABRIELLA MARKS COURTESY OF SWAIA/SANTA FE INDIAN MARKET

Marcellus Medina of the Zia Pueblo in New Mexico sells pottery and 2-D paintings at the Santa Fe Indian Market. PHOTO: GABRIELLA MARKS COURTESY OF SWAIA/SANTA FE INDIAN MARKET

One of the pleasures of touring the American West is buying Native American art. But buyers should be on their guard.

Official reports of counterfeits are few compared with total sales, which exceed $1 billion a year, according to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. But the agency does receive some 140 complaints a year about fraud, roughly 85% of which turn out to have merit, says Meridith Stanton, the board’s director. Credible complaints are investigated by the enforcement arm of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, part of the Department of the Interior.

The board identifies venues where legitimate Native American arts and crafts items are sold, based on information it gathers from state attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state arts agencies. The board certifies that each business on its approved list is owned by a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe or Alaska Native group and that the majority of products the venue sells are handmade by Indian and Alaska Native artists and craftspeople.

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Add These Books to your Summer Reading List

 

Today's History Lesson:

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100 years ago, Spanish flu devastated Alaska Native villages

At the dawn of the 20th century, 15 people lived in the village of Point Possession on the northern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, according to census data. After the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic reached the small settlement and killed 10 people, a single family were all that was left of the Point Possession population.

A century later, the exact death toll from Spanish flu is unknown. Estimates place it between 20 million and 50 million people worldwide.

The Alaska Office of Vital Statistics reports nearly 3,000 deaths between 1918 and 1919 in the territory. Per capita, more people died in Alaska of the Spanish flu than anywhere else in the world other than Samoa.


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