This Week in Native American News (9/8/17): Classrooms & Urban Indians, But No More Fry Bread

this week in native american news lutheran indian ministries

September 8, 2017


Great People Doing Great Things: South Dakota Motel Helps Native Women Stay off the Street

Lisa Heth stands in the last room to be finished in the Pathfinder Shelter with her daughter Kendall Cadwell, who works at the shelter as an advocate. Photograph: Mary Annette Pember

Lisa Heth stands in the last room to be finished in the Pathfinder Shelter with her daughter Kendall Cadwell, who works at the shelter as an advocate. Photograph: Mary Annette Pember

It started as an unwanted, quixotic mission, but Lisa Heth couldn’t quit it. Although she’d long wanted to create programming and a shelter to serve Native American victims of sex trafficking, buying a decaying 1970s motel was definitely not part of her dream.

The Pathfinder Center opened in July on the Crow Creek reservation and, like so many other impossible dreams here, was fueled primarily by grassroots dedication and spirit. Its mission is to provide refuge for victims of sex trafficking from all over South Dakota, both Native and non-Native.

Most mainstream shelters aren’t equipped to serve sex trafficking victims. Their needs – such as longer-term housing, emotional and mental healthcare as well as addiction counseling – are beyond the resources of the average refuge.

In this case, a long-passed generation of Native American women suffered the shame and degradation of sexual violence and sex trafficking that their descendants still suffer today. It is they in particular who need providers to understand the role historical trauma plays in their recovery.

Read the full story here


Changing the Way We Teach History

Naim Cardinal, recently a history and social studies teacher in Edmonton, still remembers the stigma he felt as an Indigenous student. Now, how history is being taught in classrooms across the country is changing. AMBER BRACKEN/FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Naim Cardinal, recently a history and social studies teacher in Edmonton, still remembers the stigma he felt as an Indigenous student. Now, how history is being taught in classrooms across the country is changing. AMBER BRACKEN/FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Naim Cardinal was in Grade 5 when his teacher referred to Louis Riel as a "madman" – a term that stuck in the young boy's head as one of the times he heard Indigenous people described in a negative light.

Mr. Cardinal, recently a history and social studies teacher in Edmonton, still remembers the stigma he felt as an Indigenous student. "Comments and experiences like that had a very strong impact on my identity as a First Nations person," Mr. Cardinal, a member of the Tallcree First Nation in northern Alberta, said.

Now, the narrative is changing as part of a shift in how history is being taught in classrooms across the country.

Mr. Cardinal said there was little to no curriculum about First Nations, Metis and Inuit when he was growing up. The changes, he said, are welcome. 

"I only knew about residential schools from my parents. But they talked very little about it. … I just knew growing up that it was a bad place for kids. No one really talked about any of that stuff," he said. "My daughter is not going to have to rely only on her parents to learn about history of Indigenous people. Now, it is going to be in schools."

Read the Full Story Here

Benjamin Clarke, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus, stands in a laboratory that he hopes will benefit from a gift of $10 million to the school. The gift comes from an anonymous Minnesota donor who recently learned of his own Native American roots and will be used to establish a Native American Center of Excellence at the school. (Clint Austin / Forum News Service) lutheran indian minsitries native american news

Also in "School" News...

The largest gift in the history of the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus will be used to establish a Native American Center of Excellence, school officials announced Wednesday.

“The idea of creating this center of excellence around all things Native American as it pertains to health and science is something that we’re really excited about being able to use these funds for,” Termuhlen said as she sat alongside staff and faculty members.

Read the full story here


More Native Americans Live in Cities Than On Reservations. Here are Their Stories.

Chah-tah Gould on his ancestors’ land. Photograph: Joe Whittle for The Guardia

Chah-tah Gould on his ancestors’ land. Photograph: Joe Whittle for The Guardia

Joe Whittle decided to document the experiences of some of the 140,000 Native Americans who call the Bay Area home. There, 18.50% of the Native population live below the poverty level, versus 10.4% of the white population. Among those living below poverty level, 24% of those are in “deep poverty”.

According to Janeen Comenote, executive director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition, “poverty remains one of the most challenging aspects to contemporary urban Indian life. While I do recognize that a sizable chunk of our populations are solidly middle class, every Native person I know has either experienced poverty or has a family member who is. Housing and homelessness remain at the top of the list of challenges.”

Read the Full Story Here


Miss Navajo Will Not Make Fry Bread

Photo: Adron Gardner/Associated Press

The Miss Navajo Nation contest is parting ways with fry bread.

Contestants vying for the title in Window Rock will be preparing traditional foods instead.

The change aligns with a movement in Indian Country to refocus on traditional foods and reinforce native languages.

Fry bread was born out of government rations that Navajos received during a forced relocation to eastern New Mexico in the 1860s. Former Miss Navajo Jocelyn Billy-Upshaw says making it taught Navajos about survival and being productive.

Navajo chef Brian Yazzie welcomed the change, saying it challenges young people to pursue ancestral knowledge and ancestral roots.

Read the Full story here -OR- learn more about the Miss Navajo Contest


The Navajo Ninja Warrior

Brandon Todacheenie navajo ninja lutheran indian ministries native american news

Brandon Todacheenie, aka “The Navajo Ninja,” considers it a great honor to represent Native Americans on the national stage in American Ninja Warrior. He traveled from the Navajo reservation of Shiprock, New Mexico where he lives to compete in the Denver City Finals.

Todacheenie gets his inspiration from his grandfather, who was Navajo code talker in World War II. Todacheenie said, “Being able to use the Navajo language to help win the war was the greatest thing that my family could be a part of. I feel like I have a responsibility to live that legacy too.”

Read the full story and see the video here


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.

Sign up to get these emails in your inbox and never miss a week again!