This Week in Native American News (6/16/17): Sailing, Adopting, Singing, and Mourning

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June 16, 2017

Great People Doing Great Things: Healing Waters

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The Hui Malama O Ke Kai Foundation operates after-school and community programs for families in the Waimanalo area, reconnecting residents with their Native Hawaiian culture and the ocean. Its name translates to “Group that Cares for the Ocean.”

“It’s a unique program born of the community,” explains executive director Kathy Morris, 47. “A small group of concerned Waimanalo residents with ties to the ocean noticed kids were roaming the streets after school, getting in trouble. The three core principles of the program were that it would be connected to the ocean, to the culture and there would be positive adult relationships.”

Read the full story here

Arizona Court Challenges ICWA

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The Arizona Supreme Court's ruling is a challenge to the controversial 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Proponents say the act is essential to keep Native American communities together. Critics contend it establishes a racially discriminatory system that negatively affects the safety and welfare of Indian children.

At the time of ICWA's passage, removal of Native American children from their homes was "truly an epidemic that threatened native American children and their families," David E. Simmons, Government Affairs Director for the National Indian Child Welfare Association, tells Reason.

The Goldwater Institute has intervened in a number of ICWA cases including this most recent one in Arizona.

"If you have the right blood cells in your veins, then ICWA applies a separate and substandard set of rules that makes it harder to protect you from abuse and neglect, and harder to find you an adoptive home," Sanderfur says.

Read the full story here -OR- Learn more about ICWA

FSU Researcher Resurrects Native Hymns

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A Florida State University musicology professor has won a prestigious fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for her efforts to revive some special Native American hymns from the 18th century.

Sarah Eyerly and Rachel Wheeler are studying how members of the Native American Mohican tribe composed hymns with German missionaries at mission communities in New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut in the mid-18th century. The missionaries belonged to the Moravian Church, a Protestant denomination, and they collaborated with Mohicans to write new native-language hymns.

“Songs of the Spirit” provides fascinating insights into how music helped connect the cultures of European missionaries and Native Americans, as well as how the musical and religious traditions of both groups influenced the songs.

Read the full story here

First Nation Mourns Third Youth Suicide

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For the third time this year, an Indigenous community in northwestern Ontario is mourning over the suicide of a 12-year-old girl.

The young girl was found dead Tuesday at the local hockey rink in Wapekeka, less than six months after the community lost two other 12-year-olds, who died by suicide two days apart.

The three girls were all part of a suicide pact, the community says.

Between 1986 and 2016, there were more than 500 suicides across the 49 First Nations represented by Nishnawbe Aski Nation. More than 70 of those deaths were children aged 10 to 14, 200 were aged 15 to 20.

Read the full story here

The Blood Quantum Debate

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The traditional homeland of the Eyak people covers the Southeastern shores of the Prince William Sound in the North Gulf Coast of Alaska. The Native Village of Eyak is a federally recognized tribe with 420 tribal citizens. As of 2015, 44 percent of Eyak tribal members did not have the required one-fourth blood quantum to legally harvest marine mammals under the current MMPA regulatory criteria. Although I descend from many generations of Eyak people who harvested marine mammals, I am among the growing number of Eyak descendants that are legally unable to carry on this part of our culture. This is especially important given the gradual loss of culture and language that Alaska Natives have experienced since contact. This is harming our communities. Our culture is at the brink of extinction, as well as many tribal members being made criminals for teaching and mentoring.

We Cannot Become “More” Native.

Read the Full story here -OR- Learn more about the Blood Quantum debate

What to eat at a powwow (& some history)


The sun is shining, birds are chirping and people are outside as much as possible. If you’re Indigenous, that means one thing: Break out your best beaded earrings and regalia, because powwow season has officially started.

Powwows are, broadly, a celebration of Indigenous artistry, creativity and culture. They’re a chance for people to show off what they’re best at, whether that’s dancing, beading, drumming or cooking, and a chance for the rest of us to enjoy it.

If you’re new to powwows, don’t worry: They aren’t just for Indigenous people. Everyone is welcome. You can enjoy traditional, jingle, fancy and grass dancing for Indigenous people of all ages, which are especially exciting during competitions, some of which offer substantial prizes. And there's food!

Read the Full story 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.

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