The public outcry against the Dakota Access Pipeline has been joined by a group of youth, both Native and non-Native, who are running a 500-mile spiritual relay this week from Cannonball, North Dakota to the district office of the United States Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha, Nebraska.
“We ask that everyone stand with us against this threat to our health, our culture, and our sovereignty,” said the group in a statement. “We ask that everyone who lives on or near the Missouri River and its tributaries, everyone who farms or ranches in the local area, and everyone who cares about clean air and clean drinking water stand with us against the Dakota Access Pipeline!” Full story at the link.
Amid all the bison buzz on Turtle Island, what with the National Bison Legacy Act having passed both houses of Congress and currently sitting on President Barack Obama’s desk, a lesser-known but parallel phenomenon is happening across the Pond.
Full Story here.
Tamara Starblanket (Spider Woman), Cree, from Ahtahkakoop First Nation in Treaty Six Territory, Canada, recently accepted the international appointment as Co-Chair of the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus (NAIPC). She was nominated by Indigenous participants from the U.S. and Canada attending the NAIPC gathering last March, there to discuss critical issues, find common ground and create a collective platform in preparation for the 15th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN Headquarters in New York City in May.
Starblanket is the Instructor and Program Coordinator for the Aboriginal Justice Studies Certificate Program at Native Education College. She used her education in law to prove that genocide occurred in Canada. She is the author of the forthcoming book, “Suffer the Little Children – Genocide: Indigenous Nations in the Canadian State.” Noam Chomsky said of her book, “Settler-colonialism reveals the brutal face of imperialism in some of its most vicious forms. This carefully researched and penetrating study focuses on one of its ugliest manifestations, the forcible transferring of indigenous children, and makes a strong case for Canadian complicity in a form of ‘cultural genocide’ – with implications that reach to the Anglosphere generally, and to some of the worst crimes of the ‘civilized world’ in the modern era.”
We spoke with Starblanket about her new role.
Kinship and Tribal Nations.
Tribes usually are composed of kinship groups. The difference between a tribe and Western democracy is the difference between individualism and place, and kinship and place. Tribes have kinship groups that have rights to places.
Democracies do not recognize extended kinship groups, but rather recognized territorial areas, “demos” on the original Greek. A demos, like a precinct, organized the nation according to places, and recognizing individuals or populations within those places. This is how the United States is organized into states, counties, townships, and precincts. The trend toward western forms of nation states or democracies is a movement toward individual citizenship and individual votes. Lineage groups or kinship structures are explicitly put to the side. The nation is seen as a population of individuals who share the same rights and obligations of citizenship.
The Write Stuff: Native Participants Picked For 2016 Native American Writers Lab.
LA Skins Fest, a Native American film festival, in partnership with Comcast/NBCUniversal, CBS Entertainment Diversity and HBO, announced a week ago Friday they have selected seven participants for the inaugural Native American TV Writers Lab, a talent development program that aims to boost the careers of Native American writers.
According to a release, the Native American TV Writers Lab received more than 100 applicants recommended by such entities as Universal Studios and the Writers Guild of America-West. The participants will take part in a five-week curriculum curated by seasoned writing executives.
The lab will consist of daily workshops, seminars and one-on-one mentoring to help each writer develop and complete a pilot in five weeks and hone skills to prepare the writers to move into staff writing jobs.