1994: The Native American Code of Ethics

Wherever you come from and whatever your circumstances, I think that this code is something that we should all try and live by. It was originally published in the Inter-Tribal Times in October 1994 but it transcends time. Have a look and let me know what you think of this. How many of you are already living this code of ethics? Rise with the sun to pray. Pray alone. Pray often. The Great Spirit will listen if you only speak. Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Ignorance, conceit, anger, jealousy, and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that they will find guidance. Search for yourself, by yourself. Do not allow others to make your path for you. It is your road and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. Treat the guests in your home […] Read More

2016: “Water Is Our Life”: How a Mining Disaster Affected the Navajo Nation

Nearly a year ago, Environmental Protection Agency contractors accidentally released 3 million gallons of acid drainage from a Colorado mine, contaminating local rivers with hazardous metals and turning the waterways yellow. Just downstream, residents of the Navajo Nation continue to face threats to their health and livelihood. Wastewater from the Gold King Mine drains into retention ponds to eliminate contamination before it flows into the Animas River near Silverton, Colorado, August 15, 2015. (Photo: Mark Holm / The New York Times) In the midst of the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan, it is not surprising that the World Health Organization recently released a report documenting that the environment is responsible for almost a quarter of deaths and disease in the world. But this is not news to the Diné (Navajo) people, who believe that all parts of nature — the water, fish, trees and stars — are equal members […] Read More

2016: After Years of Oppression US to Pay Out Nearly $1 Billion to Native Americans

Albuquerque, NM — In a historic settlement, Native American tribes have been awarded nearly a billion dollars. The U.S. Department of Justice announced this week that a settlement was reached with 645 Native American Tribes for the sum of $940 million dollars. The settlement stems from a 1990 lawsuit, which claimed the U.S. government failed to pay its portion of federal contracts for housing, education, law enforcement and healthcare, as well as a number of other support programs. When the federal government failed to meet its obligations, people on the tribal lands were decimated by suffering, according to tribal leaders. “The federal government’s conduct was not just cruel and wrong, it was illegal,” said Governor Val Panteah Sr. of the Zuni Pueblo. Tribal leaders believe the massive payout to compensate the tribes will assist in combating major issues faced on reservations such as alcoholism, rampant unemployment and almost non-existent […] Read More

2016: Navajo Water Supply is More Horrific Than Flint, But No One Cares Because They’re Native American

The news out of Flint, Michigan brought the issue of contaminated drinking water into sharp focus, as it was revealed that officials at every level—local, state and federal-knew about lead-poisoned water for months but did nothing to address the problem. Under state-run systems like utilities and roads, poorer communities are the last to receive attention from government plagued by inefficiencies and corrupt politicians. Perhaps no group knows this better than Native Americans, who have been victimized by government for centuries. In the western U.S., water contamination has been a way of life for many tribes. The advocacy group Clean Up The Mines! describes the situation in Navajo country, which is far worse than in Flint, Michigan. Since the 1950s, their water has been poisoned by uranium mining to fuel the nuclear industry and the making of atomic bombs for the U.S. military. Coal mining and coal-fired power plants have […] Read More

2015: School Forces Native American Girl To Remove Medicine Pouch

A Wisconsin middle school student has been banned from wearing a traditional Native American medicine pouch. The 13-year-old Menominee student was forced by her school principal to remove the medicine pouch, which was constructed and filled with traditional symbolic indigenous plants. It all happened back on October 21. That’s when Rosella “Rose” Kaquatosh was pulled from the lunch line at her school for wearing the pouch outside of her clothing. A kitchen employee at the Gresham Middle School was the first to demand that Kaquatosh remove the pouch. “She saw her pouch [and] she started hollering at her, saying ‘take it off!’” Kaquatosh’s grandmother, Karen Gardner, told ICTMN. “[Kaquatosh] felt bullied. She told her it was ceremonial pouch. [She] explained that she needed it to pray. She prays about four times a day. She respects the sacredness of the pouch.” Kaquatosh tried to explain to the paranoid school officials that the tobacco leaf within the […] Read More

2015: Native American Tribes Declare Sovereignty, Break Away from State of Maine

Augusta, ME (TFC) – Due to Governor Paul LePage launching direct political and environmental attacks against the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes of Maine, leaders of those tribes have recalled their representatives from the state legislature and are asserting their sovereignty from the State of Maine.  “The Maine Indian Land claims Settlement act has failed and we cannot allow ourselves to continue down the path,” Chief Francis said.  “We’re saying it’s a failed social experiment.” In August of 2011, Governor LePage signed an Executive Order recognizing a “special relationship” between the sovereign State of Maine and the sovereign tribes within the State.  In this order, the Governor instructed all State agencies to include a tribal liaison, whose role would be to facilitate communication and direct policy in all areas of State jurisdiction in such a way as to include the voice and interest of native peoples.  The Order instructs that “the […] Read More

WHAT IS A NATIVE?

It is not blood that makes a Native American… It is the soul… Too many… with the fire of Native blood… walk ignored. Do not say I am Apache or Kickapoo. Do not say I am Sioux or Cherokee. Say… I am of the Mother Tribe… This is the pain of our children… To return from the stars without a home or community… A tribe lost returns… scattered in the wind. Those who hear must unite and reap the seed of this return. ONE tribe…ONE Earth…ONE Heart…One People. Those with ears must build a fire and give thanks this night. Be united with ONE soul. Oh, my Children come home… Teachers step forward without fear… You are real. (Author Unknown)

Truths

“Ho! Mitakuye Oyasin.” The Truth We Seek Truth is often defined not by ourselves, but by others. It takes a real determination to begin the search for truth. And… it is a very difficult search I assure you. There is so much to wade through. There are so many opinions and so many sayings do this or do that… We always think we have enough time. Do we really? How far are you willing to reach deep inside yourself? Are you willing to really think? Are you willing to seek so that you may find? It is very easy to just skim the surface and not make any real changes in ourselves. It is easy to simply pay lip service and present an illusion to the world. If that is your attitude, then look no further, you have made your choice. Just remember though, illusions have a way of crumbling sooner […] Read More

SACRED SITES AND MILITARY LANDS/ACTIVITIES

Vine Deloria, Jr.7 Reporting the presence of sacred Native American sites on, near, or possibly influenced by U.S. military lands is circumscribed by several important considerations. These considerations will be discussed as they relate to the identification of sacred sites. Sites will then be identified and the appropriate cultural and historical background and tribal affiliation with the site will be provided. In order to avoid the specter of appearing to be the definitive authority on these locations, the phrase “appears to be” will be used in identifying and discussing the locations. In that way, should conflict arise in the future over the nature of the location, its importance, or the ceremonies which might need to be conducted there, sufficient flexibility is provided for the introduction of clarifying information. To avoid any suggestion or inference that locations or background materials regarding any particular sacred site is being revealed without authorization […] Read More