LAST REAL INDIANS

Sigma Chi and University of North Dakota Indian Association Peacemaking, By Twyla Baker-Demaray

It’s hard to know where to start this story. I guess I’ll just start at the beginning.

My husband and our family have for years been a part of the Grand Forks, ND community of Natives, and we have, along with our relatives there, built a tight knit circle of support. Anyone who has left the rez and gone to live in an urban setting is probably familiar with the loneliness, isolation, and sense of separation you experience once you leave home. We built up in our social circle, a family; a group of people who we relied upon and who relied upon us for support and candor, honesty and realness, whenever we called upon them no matter the time of day or night. We decided early on in our time there that we didn’t want people to have to feel what we felt when we first arrived in Grand Forks, and so we welcomed more and more into our circle. We laughed, prayed, cried, and celebrated together, and continue to do so to this day. In a place as charged with racial tension as Grand Forks, this circle was key to not only our survival there, but our thriving as a society of our own. Eventually we formalized what we were doing, and created a non-profit Native American organization outside of the one found on the UND campus, which we called Northstar Council. We remain closely tied to this community, despite having moved back to Fort Berthold in the summer of ’13, as one doesn’t simply cut ties with those you consider family.

For years my husband and I had been highly active with the UND community and the annual Time-Out Week and Wacipi, held in the spring. Our community knows and prepares all year long for this week of events culminating in the powwow, which is arguably the largest indoor powwow in North Dakota. It is the lead-in to the summer powwow season and anticipated by powwow goers across Indian Country, as it is one of the first major gatherings at the close of our long dark winters, when people come back together to sing, greet friends and relatives, and maybe show off the new regalia they’ve worked on all winter. The week prior to the powwow itself is full of events, speakers, and other gatherings which require their own effort in preparing; I remember thinking each year that by the time people show up for Wacipi, the Time-Out week organizers are already completely exhausted from their work.

Time-Out has not been without its challenges. Each year, unpaid student volunteers must essentially fight for this event, making the case for its value, over and over to a new student government. It has been this way probably since its inception 44 years ago. For those who have been in the Grand Forks community for several years, this proves to be a tired exercise in cultural sensitivity training, which is exceedingly frustrating when the ones you are making your case to have in theory, ‘committed themselves to cultural diversity’.

News broke recently of insensitive acts by certain members of the campus community, which I won’t go into depth with here; my story is more along the lines of what CAN happen, when people are willing to look beyond themselves.

My husband and I had both been invited to speak in different venues by the organizers of Time-Out, and we both gladly accepted, happy at the chance to help. His talk took place a day before mine did. He was to speak about his experience last summer in travelling to South America in a cultural exchange with indigenous people in Brazil (the Xukuru people, to be exact). We saw it as a great opportunity to share stories and spend some time with people we hold great affection for. Our happiness was short lived however, as upon his arrival at the venue, the climate changed and prejudice showed its ugly face.

READ MORE HERE: http://lastrealindians.com/sigma-chi-and-university-of-north-dakota-indian-association-peacemaking-by-twyla-baker-demaray/

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Issues Uranium Mining Operating License in the Black Hills

On April 8th, 2014, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued an operating license to the Powertech Uranium Corp for its proposed uranium mine in the Black Hills.  The move comes four months ahead of a public hearing scheduled to hear opposing voices to the proposed uranium mine.

The NRC said in a statement that a review “concluded the proposed facility can operate safely, including management of radiological and chemical hazards, groundwater protection, and eventual cleanup and decommissioning.”

The proposed uranium mine still needs final approval from the South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment, the South Dakota Water Management Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before it can began mining uranium.

Powertech Uranium projects that the 17-square mile mine would yield 1-million pounds of uranium annually for up to 8 years.

The proposed uranium mine is opposed by area Tribes, ranchers, environmentalist and the Rapid City Council.

READ MORE HERE: http://lastrealindians.com/u-s-nuclear-regulatory-commission-issues-uranium-mining-operating-liscense-in-the-black-hills/

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Issues Uranium Mining Operating License in the Black Hills

On April 8th, 2014, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued an operating license to the Powertech Uranium Corp for its proposed uranium mine in the Black Hills. The move comes four months ahead of a public hearing scheduled to hear opposing voices to the proposed uranium mine.

The NRC said in a statement that a review “concluded the proposed facility can operate safely, including management of radiological and chemical hazards, groundwater protection, and eventual cleanup and decommissioning.”

The proposed uranium mine still needs final approval from the South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment, the South Dakota Water Management Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before it can began mining uranium.

Powertech Uranium projects that the 17-square mile mine would yield 1-million pounds of uranium annually for up to 8 years.

The proposed uranium mine is opposed by area Tribes, ranchers, environmentalist and the Rapid City Council.

READ MORE HERE: http://lastrealindians.com/u-s-nuclear-regulatory-commission-issues-uranium-mining-operating-liscense-in-the-black-hills/

Natives are on that level, athletically and academically. Shoni & Jude Schimmel! Congrats to Shoni on her being drafted by the Atlanta Dream 8th overall in the WNBA Draft tonight. 
 Photo by Holly Rowe @sportsiren

Natives are on that level, athletically and academically. Shoni & Jude Schimmel! Congrats to Shoni on her being drafted by the Atlanta Dream 8th overall in the WNBA Draft tonight.
Photo by Holly Rowe @sportsiren

Decolonizing Indigenous Communities | Last Real Indians

In Navajo, the individual is known as a nat’aani, a respected leader. In Nez Perce, we called that person a me’yo’xut, someone who lead (male or female) with diplomacy regarding fishing, hunting, gathering, and trading due to their Indigenous knowledge and experience. As Indigenous people we valued an individual’s knowledge, especially when the individual had a record that our People knew about, for example in war deeds, negotiations, and in how an individual cared for their family and community. We did not listen to words, we listened to actions.
At present, regardless of which Tribe we come from, we as Indigenous people believe in the path of our ancestors who lead and valued leadership because it meant a way of life or death. Indigenous children were disciplined early on and taught how to hunt, gather roots and berries, fish, cure and tan hides, and live according to what they were instructed because on any given day an enemy could swoop through and living through harsh conditions necessitated following instructions…

An Open Letter to Senator Franken by Joseph Iratxeta

Hello Senator Franken,

Let me start by saying, I am not one of your constituents, but I am on your email list. This email list has been very active in my Inbox lately and has prompted this note. It has been interesting that in none of the emails voicing your concern for a great deal of issues have you ever raised the specific issue below. I am not sure if this note will even reach Al Franken but am trying to garner his attention as he is a statesman for the state of Minnesota with its 11 Indian reservations, the Indian activist Winona LaDuke and in a state which borders Canada where the Indian Reserve system has been gutted for oil and coal ventures.

I write to you with my concern about THE SECOND RAPING OF THE AMERICAS by statesmen of every sort from every country that are using Indigenous lands and raw resources to jumpstart a global economy that they themselves helped to crash with legislation (or lack thereof) that served corporate interests. It seems unjust that from the 1990′s to the mid 2000′s American economists and legislators were pushing for the privatization of everything once considered part of the “commons”. This continues with water resources, but on Indigenous lands, Indigenous people around the world are rapidly seeking to protect their land and intellectual property. In the case of Indigenous land and resources (including water) those same economists and legislators are claiming that the “commons” is too narrow and negatively affecting trade; forcing the commons open again with agreements like the TransPacific Partnership.

To me, it seems there are no commons left except on Indigenous lands. Meaning, there is only Indigenized and non-Indigenized space. As a Jew, whose people suffered their own holocaust, you must know of the American Holocaust that continues today in the Western Hemisphere. Such recent examples are the machinations in Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador and now Mexico. As a people who suffered and fought for re-recognition of their Nationhood, I find it appalling that Israel is helping train Mexican troops to rid itself of its “Indigenous Problem”. I hate to say this because it has been said too many times before but often Native Americans are the “test cases” for a host of social reforms, economic policies and technological changes before they show any effects in other places. The problems in these “test cases” often hint at issues that are going to become problems for the greater populace….