November 30, 2018
Native People Are Taking Center Stage. Finally.
It’s hard to fathom that it took until 2018 for the first Native American women to be elected to Congress. As Native American Heritage Month draws to a close, we asked Native change-makers, artists, and visionaries from a wide, diverse range of nations to reflect on what heritage means to them.
In Similar News…
In Native societies, art was integrated into the act of making everyday things and art objects were often ceremonial; Native people frequently note that the word “art” is virtually unknown in indigenous languages. Today, making a living as an artist is mediated by market forces with demands of its own. At stake are complex dynamics that weave together identity and culture with non-Native expectations about value based on authenticity. This inevitably involves stubborn stereotypes born from lack of knowledge. It also means that the Native artist, no matter the genre or medium, wittingly or unwittingly is cast in the role of educator.
On the Other Hand…
Jana Schmieding writes:
At the risk of sounding salty, I’m going to detail why Native American Heritage Month can be a yearly autumnal hellscape for Indigenous folks, one riddled with microaggressions, political incorrectness, and appropriative behavior that makes our ancestors stir in their “haunted burial grounds.”
Indigenous protected areas are the next generation of conservation
The Horn Plateau, with its myriad of lakes, rivers and wetlands, has been a spiritual home for local Dehcho Dene peoples for millennia. In October, the Dehcho First Nations Assembly designated these lands and waters, called Edéhzhíe (eh-day-shae), as an Indigenous protected area (IPA), designed and managed or co-managed by Indigenous communities.
Edéhzhíe is a plateau that rises out of the Mackenzie Valley to the west of Great Slave Lake, in the southwestern part of the Northwest Territories. It covers 14,218 square kilometres. It is more than twice the size of Banff National Park.
Edéhzhíe is important to the Dehcho Dene culture, language and ways of life. By forming Edéhzhíe as an IPA, the management board, consisting of representatives from the Dehcho First Nations and Environment and Climate Change Canada, will make its decisions by consensus, and encourage Indigenous harvesting rights.
The Horn Plateau is a unique ecosystem that provides habitat for diverse wildlife, including a number of threatened species such as the boreal woodland caribou and wood bison.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau included a $1.3-billion nature fund in the 2018 federal budget. It called for partnerships with corporate, not-for-profit, provincial and territorial partners. Edéhzhíe is the first IPA announced, and it will make a contribution to Canada's international commitment to protecting 17 per cent of land and fresh water by 2020. It will also support Indigenous capacity to lead these processes to conserve land and the species that rely on it.
This Artist Reenvisioned Marvel Superheroes in a Traditional Native American Style
Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor and a dozen other superheroes teaming up to fend off an alien invasion. It sounds more like the stuff of the megaplex than the museum. But this larger-than-life scene, displayed in a richly colorful mural, is what visitors to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York City will encounter as they make their way from the grand rotunda to its exhibition spaces.
Designed by artist Jeffrey Veregge, the work features all the elements of a great comic book battle—splashy text, panel-breaking brawls, giant villains and daring heroes. But the exhibition, titled “Jeffrey Veregge: Of Gods and Heroes,” also tells a deeper story about cross-pollinating influences between Indigenous traditions and modern pop culture. Veregge is Salish, part of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State, and the mural uses phrases from his tribal language, S’Klallam, as well as motifs from his tribe to offer his own distinct take on these familiar characters.
Today’s History Lesson
“When the [first] World War came about, we had weapons, and we became warriors again,” Asepermy says. He himself is a retired sergeant major who served in the Army from 1966 to 1990, including a combat tour in Vietnam from 1969-1970, and he says that urge to connect with the past contributed his own decision to go into the military.
Native Americans built vibrant communities in what is now the United States long before colonizers arrived. Some of their villages, sacred sites, and names remain, while others have been razed, renamed, or forgotten.
From the Gateway Arch to Alcatraz, here 10 US landmarks you may not have known have Native American origins.
For the second time, an Alaska Sports Hall of Fame plaque has been removed from an exhibit at the Anchorage airport in order to edit what it says.
The first time the plaque honoring the first ascent of Denali was taken down, it was to replace “Mount McKinley” with “Denali” in accordance with the mountain’s name change in 2015.
The second time was this fall, so the names of two Alaska Native teenagers could be added to the brief story about the expedition.
Years before Christopher Columbus stepped foot on what would come to be known as the Americas, the expansive territory was inhabited by Native Americans. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, as more explorers sought to colonize their land, Native Americans responded in various stages, from cooperation to indignation to revolt.
(Lots of links to delve deep into history!)