September 28, 2018
In honor of Orange Shirt Day: Where are the Indigenous children who never came home?
When Yufna Soldier Wolf was a kid, she was made well aware of why her family members only spoke English, and why they dressed the way they did. Her grandfather and other elders used to recount their experiences at boarding schools, where the government sent hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children, from nearly every Indigenous nation within U.S. borders, to unlearn their languages and cultures. “A lot of them were physically abused, verbally abused, sexually abused,” she said.
At the center of the stories were the children who never came home from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, where her grandfather was a student. “My grandpa used to say, ‘Don’t forget these children. Don’t forget my brother — he’s still buried there,’” Soldier Wolf said. She promised that she would remember.
The woman who bought a plane and started an airline dedicated to Indigenous women
Teara's Fraser motto is simple: dream it, design it, do it.
Fraser, the first Indigenous woman in Canada to own and operate an airline, didn't become a pilot until she was 30 years old. Now, at the age of 45, she has bought a plane and is launching an airline dedicated to the strength and success of Indigenous women.
IskwewAIR intends to reclaim space, language and womanhood, Fraser said. Iskwew (pronounced 'is-kway-oh') means 'women' in nêhiyawêwin, the Cree language.
IskwewAIR will start flying on Mar. 8, 2019 and operate out of the Vancouver International Airport's south terminal. The airline will begin with charter flights, as the team determines more regular routes. At the moment, Fraser said, they are examining ways they can connect to remote communities, including Indigenous communities across the province that aren't as well-serviced as other destinations. She hopes her airline will also help strengthen Aboriginal tourism in Canada, she said.
Seattle moves to replace totem poles with authentic indigenous art
Totem poles have become a symbol of Seattle, but it turns out they have nothing to do with the Coast Salish people of the Northwest. Now there is a growing movement to right the cultural wrongs done by well-meaning white settlers.
"There were people who went to Alaska in the gold rush," Colleen Echohawk said. "And they got excited. And they saw these beautiful totem poles, which are appropriate to Alaska native culture, and they thought they were cool. And they were brought back to Seattle. Sadly, sometimes they brought them back and they hadn't asked permission."
Robert Spalding has written a new book, "Monumental Seattle: The Story Behind the City's Statues, Memorials, and Markers." Spalding says some prominent businessmen decided they needed a totem pole to connect Seattle to the Last Frontier, so they stole one from the Tlingit tribe, which is native to Alaska.
"They went ashore and they cut down this totem pole," Spalding said, "Floated it back out to the ship and brought it to Seattle."
'You're not alone': Sharing stories of domestic violence helps community heal
Dozens of people gathered at the Alaska Native Medical Center for the Southcentral Foundation’s kickoff to Domestic Violence Awareness month.
That’s an issue Polly Andrews faced at home as a child.
“I not only experienced the harm of witnessing domestic violence but the silence that came with that and holding on to my story alone,” Andrews said.
It took 27 years before she felt comfortable enough to tell others about what she saw and learned many had similar experiences.
STAR—Standing Together Against Rape—reports 75 percent of Alaskans have experienced domestic violence themselves or know someone who has.
“When we come together like this, we give courage to others to be able to voice their stories and it's when you voice your story and share your story in a safe environment that the healing can begin,” Andrews said.
In Poipu, Kauai, a historic Hawaiian village is coming back to life
It’s the only one of its kind. Across the street from Poipu Beach, the most popular beach on the south shore of Kauai, remnants of its ancient life emerge at the 13-acre Ke Kahua O Kaneiolouma (The Kaneiolouma Complex).
Dating back to the mid-1400s, Kaneiolouma is one of the only remaining historic Hawaiian villages on the south shore, and includes house sites, taro patches, fishponds, heiau (temples), shrines—and, in the middle of it all, possibly the only intact makahiki sporting arena in the state.
“It’s special that it exists in modern times,” says Rupert Rowe, president of Hui Malama O Kaneiolouma, a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 to preserve Kaneiolouma and educate the public. Rowe and the Hui’s vice president, Billy Kaohelelaulii, have worked purposefully to bring the land back to the present since 1998, when it was overgrown and forgotten. “Nobody came in here. … It was impossible to know what was back here. A tremendous amount of cactus surrounded this whole place and kept the public out.”
The land now cleared, the Hui replanted Kaneiolouma with natives: Niihau palms, kukui (candlenut), ulu(breadfruit), kou, koa, wiliwili, hala (pandanus) and pokalakala (prickly poppy). The fishpond has also been cleaned, birds are returning and numerous interpretive signs have been installed for visitors.
In related news…
The streams, waterfalls, hidden caves and forests of the Grand Canyon were most likely among the many spectacular places Donovan Hanley explored growing up near his home in western Dinétah.
With beauty surrounding him every day, Hanley, from the White Cone Chapter of the Navajo Nation, developed an intense desire to share the breathtaking environment of the Southwest with others.
Today, as co-owner of DETOURS American West, Hanley organizes guided tours to natural environments for travelers from across the U.S. and around the world.
More than two dozen American Indian tribes are teaming up with a tourism group and the National Park Service to tell a new story for travelers along historic Route 66, the famous byway that stretches from Chicago to California.
The plan is to create a guidebook using federal grant money that will highlight tribal sites along the 2,400-mile route.
The book will also detail the histories of Native communities that saw their stretch of the West change because of the road.