Excerpts only, click links for full articles.
This week, I hosted my eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference as President, a tradition we started in 2009 to create a platform for people across many tribes to be heard. It was a remarkable testament to how far we’ve come.
It was just eight years ago when I visited the Crow Nation in Montana and made a promise to Indian country to be a partner in a true nation-to-nation relationship, so that we could give all of our children the future they deserve.
In an impressive fossil fuels travel day, I left the Standing Rock reservation and flew to Italy for the International Slow Food gathering known as Terra Madre. A world congress of harvesters, farmers, chefs and political leaders, this is basically the World Food Olympics. This is my fifth trip to Italy for Slow Food. I first went with Margaret Smith, when the White Earth Land Recovery Project won the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity in 2003, for our work to protect wild rice from genetic engineering. This year, I went as a part of the Turtle Island Slow Food Association- the first Indigenous Slow Food members in the world, a delegation over 30 representing Indigenous people from North American and the Pacific. We have some remarkable leaders, they are young and committed.
It is a moment in history for food, as we watch the largest corporate merger in history- Bayer Chemical’s purchase of Monsanto for $66 billion; with “crop protection chemicals” that kill weeds, bugs and fungus, seeds, and (likely to be banned in Europe) glyphosate, aka Roundup. Sometimes I just have to ask: ‘Just how big do you all need to be, to be happy?’
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is donating $250,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s legal fund, citing the need to keep pushing for proper consultation even after the Dakota Access oil pipeline issue is decided.
“We support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s effort to ensure the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or any other agency or department of the United States, strictly adheres to federal environmental review and tribal consultation requirements prior to authorizing any projects that may damage the environment or any sites that are of historic, religious, and cultural significance to any Indian tribe,” said Agua Caliente Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe in a statement on September 27, calling on President Barack Obama to make sure consultation is thorough.
A loud group of about 50 mostly Native protesters disrupted the Entrada kickoff event of the Fiestas de Santa Fe. This is the annual reenactment of Don Diego de Vargas’s “peaceful reconquest” of Santa Fe in 1692 as produced by Caballeros de Vargas, a group which is a member of the Fiesta Council, and several current and past City of Santa Fe Councilors are members of the Fiesta Council or played parts in the Entrada over the years. So these are layers you must wade through when people ask questions and protesters demand changes. And changes or outright abolishment of The Entrada are what the groups “The Red Nation” and “In The Spirit of Popay” are asking for.
The social and economic impacts of climate change have already begun to take their toll—but most people do not yet know this.
Politicians and economists have yet to work out how and when it would be best to adapt to change. And biologists say they cannot even begin to measure climate change’s effect on biodiversity because there is not enough information.
Two studies in Science journal address the future. The first points out that historical temperature increases depress maize crop yields in the U.S. by 48 percent and have already driven up the rates of civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 11 percent.
Rick Bartow, a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot, walked on April 2, 2016, and had suffered two strokes before he passed. The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts reports that those events affected his work, and it can be seen in his collection as “exciting examples of Bartow’s production since his stroke… that evidence a new freedom of scale and expression.”
Born in Oregon in 1946, Bartow was never formally trained in the arts, though his artistic nature was encouraged and he did graduate from Western Oregon University with a degree in secondary arts education in 1969. Right after that he served in Vietnam from 1969-1971, and it was demons from that war that he spent his early years in art exorcising. He says he was “twisted” after Vietnam and his art can be described as disturbing, surreal, intense, and visionary; even transformative.
On a recent Autumn Saturday in the Black Hills, a handful of men and women gathered at around 9 a.m. at the Sylvan Lake trailhead just below Black Elk Peak. By 10 a.m., they numbered close to 80.
“The focal point of our gathering was to have family members of General Harney have an opportunity to apologize to members of the Little Thunder family,” said Basil Brave Heart, Oglala Lakota, an organizer of the event. Brave Heart initiated and led the effort to change the name of this highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains from Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak.
Among those standing in a circle that morning was Paul Stover Soderman, a seventh-generation descendant of General William Harney, known as The Butcher of Ash Hollow, and to the Lakota as the architect of the same conflict, known to them as the Massacre at Blue Water Creek. Soderman had come to apologize to Sicangu descendants of Chief Little Thunder, the Brule leader of those murdered in that conflict, and to seek forgiveness and healing.
All this and much more at ICTMN.