This Week in Native American News (11/9/18): Veterans, Elections, and Native Heritage Month (this is a BIG one!)

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November 9, 2018 - Happy Veterans Day to all those who served!

Why This Pioneering Hopi Soldier Has a Mountain Named After Her

Specialist Lori Ann Piestewah (December 14, 1979 – March 23, 2003) was a U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps soldier killed during the same Iraqi Army attack in which fellow soldiers Shoshana Johnson and Jessica Lynch sustained injuries. A member of the Hopi tribe, Piestewa was the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving with the U.S. military and the first woman in the U.S. armed forces killed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Arizona's Piestewa Peak is named in her honor.

Specialist Lori Ann Piestewah (December 14, 1979 – March 23, 2003) was a U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps soldier killed during the same Iraqi Army attack in which fellow soldiers Shoshana Johnson and Jessica Lynch sustained injuries. A member of the Hopi tribe, Piestewa was the first Native American woman in history to die in combat while serving with the U.S. military and the first woman in the U.S. armed forces killed in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Arizona's Piestewa Peak is named in her honor.

Since U.S. Army Private Lori Ann Piestewa died in a Humvee ambush in Iraq in 2003, her name—and her legacy—have spread throughout the three mesas of Hopi land in northeastern Arizona.

The first American Indian woman to die serving the U.S. Armed Forces, in the first war that allowed women to risk their lives on the front lines, Piestewa has became synonymous with patriotic Native American sacrifice. A mountain has been named in her honor. So has an education initiative for Hopi children and an annual motorcycle ride for fallen soldiers that traverses the Mountain West. Then there are the Lori Piestewa National Native American Games, which bring more than 10,000 Native Americans from 50-plus tribes to her home state of Arizona each year for a multi-day sports competition, the biggest such event of its kind—and a fitting tribute to her athleticism and competitive spirit.

Read the Full Story Here


In more Native Veteran news…

Pastor William M. Reid, a member of the Meherrin Indian tribe of North Carolina, presents handmade Native American wardrobe items during Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) Native American Heritage Month celebration. Petty Officer 2nd Class Kris Lindstrom

Navy celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage contributions

The Navy honors National American Indian Heritage Month in November celebrating achievements of American Indians and Alaska Natives and recognizing the central role they have played in the nation’s history.

Each grade at Kateri School presented homemade wreaths, artwork and poems to veterans in their community. (Jessica Deer/CBC)

Kahnawake students honour Mohawk veterans with handmade wreaths and poppies

Showing appreciation to veterans is a long standing tradition at Kateri Tekakwitha School in Kahnawake around Remembrance Day.

The elementary school in the community on the south shore of Montreal presented dozens of homemade wreaths and poppies to members of the Royal Canadian Legion's Mohawk branch 219 on Thursday to mark Aboriginal Veterans Day.

Retired Sgt. 1st Class Sam Jackson, who served in the Alaska Territorial Guard during World War II, poses for a photo inside his home in Kwethluk, Alaska, Sept. 23, 2017. Jackson and more than 6,300 native Alaskans voluntarily joined the territorial guard to defend their homeland against a potential invasion from Japanese forces.

Alaska Natives Defended Their Territory 75 Years Ago during World War II

When the Japanese raided and occupied parts of Alaska during World War II, the Army called on native Alaskans to defend the northern territory.

Given no pay, more than 6,300 Alaskans from 12 to 80 years old signed on to be sentries for the newly created Alaska Territorial Guard.

Once enlisted, the Alaskan natives trained on Army tactics so they could defend the territory from an attack, if needed. They even made decoys using barrels and logs to resemble cannons to Japanese aircraft flying overhead.

(Photo: U.S. Air Force, Airman Michael Murphy)

These Meaningful Military Traditions Come From Native American Culture

Warrior ethos. Tomahawk. Thunderbirds. Geronimo.

Many military members feel a connection between the bold warriors of Native American nations and their own commitment to their missions. They understand the defense of their lands and their honor, against all enemies.

Here are some of the many connections between the US military and Native American nations, past and present.

native american vietnam vet

Native Americans served in Vietnam, PBS is sharing their story

As part of native american heritage month, this November, PBS is highlighting native cultures with special events and programming. Specifically, a documentary that centers around the experience of Native Americans who served in Vietnam. You can also watch the PBS special: Native American Veterans

Two Native American women are headed to Congress.

Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland Will Officially Become the First Native American Congresswomen

Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland Will Officially Become the First Native American Congresswomen

History was made, twice over, in Tuesday’s midterm elections, when two Native American women defeated their opponents. Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo from New Mexico, and Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation from Kansas, are heading to Congress, the first Native American women to do so.

Throughout Indian Country, as the interconnected community of Native Americans is affectionately known, indigenous people were overjoyed. On a night of many firsts, the victories by Davids and Haaland were partly about representation. “I never imagined a world where I would be represented by someone who looks like me,” Haaland said in her victory speech, to thundering cheers. These wins are profoundly personal for Native Americans, who were made citizens of this country only in 1924 and weren’t afforded the right in some states to vote until 1948.

The election of two Native American women is about more than a marginalized group seeing two of their own in Congress, as momentous as that is. For Native American women, this was also about asserting their ancestral right to leadership in a society that has overlooked and undermined the power of indigenous women.

Native American women held tremendous power in pre-Colonial, egalitarian societies across the Americas. Yet as a result of generations of settler colonialism, indigenous women have been made invisible, virtually written out of history and out of leadership by Colonial officials.

Read the Full Story Here


In other Native Voting News…

record numbers of natives running for office. (getty images)

Why more Native Americans are running for office

Clearly no two candidates are propelled into politics by exactly the same circumstances, but when discussing this phenomenon two factors come up time and again. One has its roots in the frozen plains of North Dakota; the other in the bright lights of Hollywood.

(Rick Bowmer | AP Photo) In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, photo, Brandon Nez displays his flag near his jewelry stand in Monument Valley, Utah, where tourists stand the highway to recreate a famous running scene from the movie "Forest Gump.". As Native American tribes around the country fight for increased access to the ballot box, Navajo voters in one Utah county could tip the balance of power in the first general election since a federal judge ordered overturned their voting districts as illegally drawn to minimize native voices.

How the Native American vote evolved

The midterm election Tuesday comes 70 years after Isleta Pueblo member Miguel Trujillo's landmark court challenge against a New Mexico law that had prevented Native Americans from voting. And 50 years ago, Native American voters were credited with helping Robert F. Kennedy win a historic victory in South Dakota's Democratic presidential primary.

Here's a look at how the Native American vote has become a key bloc in the U.S. after decades of exclusion.

Challenges to Indian Child Welfare Act Concern Native Americans

Four-year-old Bobby Morris of Wisconsin Dells, Wis.,at the Prairie Island Dakota Wacipi Celebration Pow Wow near Red Wing., Minn., on July 11, 2003.

Four-year-old Bobby Morris of Wisconsin Dells, Wis.,at the Prairie Island Dakota Wacipi Celebration Pow Wow near Red Wing., Minn., on July 11, 2003.

On Mother’s Day 2015, Iva Johnson, a member of the Navajo Nation living off reservation in Flagstaff, Arizona, suffered a heart attack and fell into a coma. When she opened her eyes days later, she saw two unfamiliar women sitting at the end of her bed.

“I was trying to focus, and I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, did I die?’” she said.

The women explained they were caseworkers from Arizona’s Department of Child Safety (DCS) and would be removing three of Johnson’s children from the home because there was no one to care for them.

Johnson wanted to tell them that the oldest child, 21 and a legal adult, lived at home and could look after her siblings, but breathing and nose tubes prevented Johnson from speaking.

“All I could do was shake my head ‘no,’” said Johnson. “That’s when one of the ladies turned around and pulled out this little ink pad. And she dabbed my thumb into that inkpad, and she smacked it on that paper. And then she said, ‘Well, we’re going to leave you now. We hope you get better soon.’”

Three years of court battles followed before Johnson was reunited with her children. They had been rotated, separately, from one non-Native foster home to another.

It was to prevent situations like this that Congress passed the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), after learning that as many as one-third of all Native American children had been taken from their families and placed in non-Native homes.

On Oct. 4, Judge Reed O'Connor in the Northern District of Texas federal court struck down the ICWA as “unconstitutional," saying it discriminates against non-Native couples looking to adopt Native children.

The lawsuit was filed by a group of parents and attorneys with the support of the Goldwater Institute (GI), a libertarian research group based in Arizona. In a brief filed in support of the Texas plaintiffs, Goldwater attorneys argued that ICWA imposes restrictions based on race, not the best interests of Indian children. Further, Goldwater said the ICWA is a federal government attempt to intrude on matters that should be decided by the state.

Read the Full Story Here


More Information on ICWA (from both sides)…

Photo of a Seminole man holding his child at an American Indian Heritage Month celebration. Photo by Los Angeles District, Flickr CC

Why the Indian Child Welfare Act Matters

What will legal reconsideration of the Indian Child Welfare Act bring?

Many tribes fear that the Texas ruling sets a dangerous precedent that could dismantle the federal laws put in place to correct historical injustices like the boarding school system. Other tribal leaders see the ruling as an attempt to destroy their right to political and cultural survival through their children, while simultaneously compromising efforts to heal from the wrongdoings inflicted upon tribal communities.


The Indian Child Welfare Act does not help children

AEI’s Naomi Schaefer Riley argues that the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 has adversely impacted Native American children by putting the interests of tribes ahead of kids.

Indigenous Comic Con showcases American Indian pop culture

A panel from Jim Terry's "Edgebright" series.

A panel from Jim Terry's "Edgebright" series.

Indigenous Comic Con has grown exponentially since its beginning two years ago.

“We started with very little and are expecting close to 2,000 people,” says Lee Francis, creator of the event. “We’ve moved space because we outgrew the National Hispanic Cultural Center from the first year. It’s been an amazing journey.”

The event features indigenous creators, illustrators, writers, designers, actors, and producers from the worlds of comic books, games, sci-fi, fantasy, film, TV and graphic novels.

Francis says he wants the Indigenous Comic Con to highlight the amazing work that brings understanding about the indigenous experience to the world of popular culture.

In fact, the popularity has grown so much that Indigenous Comic Cons will be held in Denver, Tucson and Melbourne, Australia, next year.

Read the Full Story Here

Today’s History Lesson

Captain James Cook. The author writes that prostitution as an institution was unknown to Native Hawaiians prior to his arrival in the islands.

The History Of Human Trafficking In Hawaii

A number of recent news articles and reports from the Hawaii Commission on the Status of Women have come out about prostitution, online solicitation for sex, and human trafficking in Hawaii pointing to, for example, increased human trafficking that occurs around the time of RIMPAC exercises.

It would be helpful if we look at early historical events and attitudes that still frame our discussions about prostitution and human trafficking. There is a wide acceptance of the idea that Pacific Island women in general were “promiscuous,” unrestrained, sexualized and willingly submitted to foreign lovers making prostitution seem more acceptable and therefore a problem that could be ignored.

In the five generations since the treaty was signed and broken, the Sioux Nations have steadily lost reservation lands to white development. (Paul Morigi, AP Images for NMAI) Read more: Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

In 1868, Two Nations Made a Treaty, the U.S. Broke It and Plains Indian Tribes are Still Seeking Justice

In the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the United States entered into the treaty with a collective of Native American bands historically known as the Sioux (Dakota, Lakota and Nakota) and Arapaho. The treaty established the Great Sioux Reservation, a large swath of lands west of the Missouri River. It also designated the Black Hills as “unceded Indian Territory” for the exclusive use of native peoples. But when gold was found in the Black Hills, the United States reneged on the agreement, redrawing the boundaries of the treaty, and confining the Sioux people—traditionally nomadic hunters—to a farming lifestyle on the reservation. It was a blatant abrogation that has been at the center of legal debate ever since.

Tlingit artist Arthur B. Nelson’s Devil Fish Halibut Hook, 2012, is an impressive example of a contemporary wooden halibut hook designed to be a piece of art rather than a functional example of halibut fishing equipment. The carving depicts raven, frog, octopus, and human spirits. Photo by Kathy Dye, courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute

An ingenious Indigenous fishing technology with spiritual significance is making a comeback.

Indigenous peoples of the northwest coast of North America have been hauling in halibut on what are known colloquially as “wood hooks” for centuries, but very few fishermen use them today. In his community of about 800, Rowan can count on one hand the people who practice this traditional technique. Over time, wood hooks were replaced with off-the-shelf fishing equipment with no assembly, or artistic aptitude, required.

Joseph Strong’s painting “Honolulu Harbor, 1836,” depicts the harbor in the year King Kalakaua was born.

Honolulu exhibit celebrates ‘forward-thinking’ last Hawaiian king

The last king of Hawaii, David Kaläkaua, has strong associations with San Francisco: It was his first stop on a world tour in 1881, as well as where he died a decade later, while staying at the Palace Hotel. Passionate about the arts, innovation and travel, the monarch would likely have been at home in today’s San Francisco, too, as a new exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art reveals.

Demolition of the Emeryville Shellmound to make way for a paint factory, 1924. (Courtesy of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and Regents of the University of California, (Catalog no. 15-7792))

There Were Once More Than 425 Shellmounds in the Bay Area. Where Did They Go?

You may associate the Emeryville shoreline with shops, or the Scandinavian furniture store Ikea. But what you may not know is that before this place was a commercial mecca, there was a different man-made structure that towered above Bay Area residents: a shellmound.

Watch This: Get Caught up on Native America on PBS

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