Angela Sterritt.

Gitxan artist and CBC journalist Angela Sterritt spent five days in China creating this mural. (Angela Sterritt).

Gitxan artist and CBC journalist Angela Sterritt spent five days in China creating this mural. (Angela Sterritt).

A Gitxsan artist from British Columbia is among several artists from around the world chosen to create murals at a mountain village resort in China.

“To be able to put Gitxsan people on the map and shed light on the reality and history of Indigenous people in Canada is something I am very grateful for,” Sterritt said.

Angela Sterritt, who is also an award-winning journalist, spent five days painting her mural on a 10-seven-foot wall in a resort on Mount Longhu in Jiangxi, a province in southeast China.

She travelled to China at the invitation of Karl Schutz, a German-born Vancouver man known for establishing an acclaimed series of murals in Chemainus, B.C., in the 1980s.

Schutz, in turn, was invited to organize the mural project by Steven Liu, a well-known Chinese entertainer, who “wanted to create a global mural attraction in his artisan village,” according to Schutz.

“I found Angela’s website on line and was amazed about her powerful art … her painting is awe inspiring,” said Schutz.

Sterritt made the journey with her young son, Namawan, who also helped with the project.

The mural Sterritt painted is a re-creation of one of her existing works, called First Contact, which she says is about the resilience and strength of Indigenous women. It is a striking image is of an Indigenous woman facing the viewer, while helicopters hover behind.

“It depicts a woman whose connection and love for her community, family, the land and her culture eclipse fear instilled in us at the time of first contact,” Sterritt said.

“As a Gitxsan woman, I’ve been gifted Sip’ xw hligetdin — the strength to speak out — through my art and as a journalist. This piece speaks to Indigenous women rising from the ashes [using] what has been within her all along — her culture, in this case from the Wolf Clan, an Owl Crest and a Big Raven House.”

The full story is here. Angela Sterritt’s site.

Oh, Canada, For Effing Shame.

Jennifer Dorner posted this image after dropping her kids off on the first day of school in Montreal. (Courtesy Jennifer Dorner/Facebook).

Jennifer Dorner posted this image after dropping her kids off on the first day of school in Montreal. (Courtesy Jennifer Dorner/Facebook).

A picture posted by mother Jennifer Dorner has started yet another conversation about why not to wear costume headdresses. She took the image while dropping her children off for their first day of school at Montreal’s École Lajoie on Monday, August 29. The image shows a Grade 3 teacher in a headdress in front of the children, and according to Dorner, smaller headdresses were being handed out for the children to wear.

Sarah Dorner, Zoe’s mother, told thestar.com that her daughter refused to wear the headdress.

“We have been teaching our children that costumes like that are inappropriate,” Dorner also said. “The other kids in the class were all wearing them.”

“A lot of children aren’t necessarily taught cultural sensitivity or have much awareness about indigenous cultures,” she went on to say. “But in our family we have many indigenous friends, so it’s a conversation we’ve had many times.”

Gina Guillemette, a Margeurite-Bourgeoys school board spokesperson, told news outlets that the two teachers seen sporting headdresses have backgrounds in anthropology and history and are introducing indigenous history into the curriculum. Guillemette also told CBC News the headdresses worn by teachers were a way for the kids to know which “family, or class, to go to.”

Guillemette told the Gazette that “the teachers decided to wear hats to symbolize that they were Native chiefs,” to separate their students from another Grade 3 class.

Right. So naturally, you could not be bothered, as educators, to thoughtfully choose a particular tribe, maybe one in your actual part of the world, find out what their traditional regalia might be, and actually ask members of that tribe if it would be okay to dress in a certain item. Oh, that would be bringing Indians into things, and I guess you can’t have that in a school, it might poison young minds with the truth or something. As Adrienne Keene wrote on Native Appropriations, this is not a lightweight matter:

Adrienne K of Native Appropriations writes that a non-Indian casually wearing an Indian headdress “furthers the stereotype that Native peoples are one monolithic culture, when in fact there are 500+ distinct tribes with their own cultures. It also places Native people in the historic past, as something that cannot exist in modern society. We don’t walk around in ceremonial attire everyday, but we still exist and are still Native.” She also draws attention to the deep spiritual significance of a headdress and maintains that when a non-Indian wears one “it’s just like wearing blackface.”

Getting back to the teachers at  École Lajoie, they seem to not only miss the point, they are determined to miss the point:

“No offence was intended—if any parents were offended, we apologize,” Guillemette told the Gazette. “We didn’t want to offend anyone. It was the opposite; we wanted to sensitize the students to the contributions of native communities.”

Oh For Fuck’s Sake! What about the children you offended, do they not count? And there’s that magical if – if you were offended, words of the classic notpology. You sensitize students to the contributions of native communities by appropriating a headdress unique to specific tribes, and mashing up all tribal cultures into one messy clump? You sure as hell don’t sound like educators to me, you sound like flaming assholes who live to perpetuate stereotypes.

“How can they possibly be teaching an authentic understanding of indigenous culture? Dorner asked thestar.com. “It doesn’t help their cause to say that. If anything, it makes it even more distressing.”

This isn’t the first time Dorner has addressed cultural sensitivity with the school either. In 2014, “they were doing a play where Santa goes to Africa and gets Ebola and gets sick and the local tribes are dancing around him and my daughter was going to be in blackface,” she told the Gazette.

“We managed to convince the school not to do blackface at the time, but they still kept the story line. Santa ends up being saved by scientists who come from the North Pole.”

She met with the school multiple times in 2014, according to the Gazette to discuss “cultural appropriation and this kind of insensitivity and was hoping that we had come to some kind of understanding, but apparently not. Which is why I’m particularly upset this time. The message doesn’t seem to be sinking in.”

Canadians, please, wake the fuck up. This school, and its staff, should be shamed into the ground by a whole lot of very angry people. Apparently, the open bigotry at this school strikes too many people as just fine, and that is seriously fucked up.

Full story at ICTMN.

Dakota Access: Indigenous Round Up.

DAP

As the number of water protectors continues to burgeon on the banks of the Cannonball River in protest of the Dakota Access oil pipeline’s route across Standing Rock Sioux ancestral, treaty-protected lands, national media outlets are starting to pick up the story.

Both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times have run pieces, and The New York Times published an op-ed by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II, as well as a detailed explanation of the issues. But Democracy Now! has been out in front with in-depth reports on more than one night. Last week we brought you the independent news show’s initial report.

Anchor Amy Goodman has since interviewed both Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II and Ojibwe activist, journalist, author and sometime vice presidential candidate Winona LaDuke. Both reports aired last week, as support from Indian nations and people continued to grow to several thousand.

Watch Archambault and LaDuke below, and read the stories at Democracy Now!, including an August 30 report on the Black Lives Matter movement’s visit to the spirit camps..

Full Story.

[Read more…]

The Last Word: Chairman David Archambault II.

The protests at Standing Rock. Ruth Hopkins has a good column about watching the feds, and why they are so distrusted. If you hadn’t read it before, catch it now. Revos.2040 breaks the news that the Army Corp of Engineers do not have a written easement for Dakota Access. Mike Myers has a wonderful column up on the Ties That Bind, about the Haudenosaunee Confederation’s longstanding treaty with the Sioux Nations.

Josue Rivas is doing incredible work, documenting the protectors and life at the camp.

A young warrior at the opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline.

A young warrior at the opposition to Dakota Access Pipeline.

proxy

School has started for the children at the camps. The 2016 Tribal Summit will take place as planned, and there will be discussion about the pipeline. Pow Wow is on, and Sacred Stone Camp will have information and education booths up.  We still need help. Holler, shout, spread the word, signal boost, please! Join us, stand with us. Come to camps. If you can’t, please signal boost, send or drop off supplies, or donate. Sign the petitions, whatever you are able to do!

Support Sacred Stone Camp. Legal Fund Help. Support Native YouthSign the Petition. Sign urgent petition.

About this ^ last, because I’m sure someone somewhere will be offended. If you look at Etsy, or any other site where people sell stuff, you will always find a fucktonne of people happily appropriating all things Indigenous. Non-Indigenous people run around wearing Plains headdresses with abandon, people dress up as “Pocahotties” and all kinds of other thoughtless, bigoted isht. If you’re one of those people, this last applies. If you know one of those people, this last applies. If you’re busy making money and taking advantage of appropriating Indigenous culture, the very least you could do is to support those you rip off.

35.

John F. Kennedy. Whitehouse.gov.

John F. Kennedy. Whitehouse.gov.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy often gets credit for serving as president during the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s, but the man beloved for championing African-American rights and working to eradicate poverty was assassinated before he could fulfill his promises to Native Americans.

Just 11 days before winning the 1960 election, Kennedy called for a “sharp break” from past Indian policies. That included termination policy, which severed tribes’ special relationships with the federal government, divided reservations into private ownership and sought to assimilate Indians into full citizenship.

Kennedy pledged to reverse termination policies, making a “specific promise of a positive program to improve the life of a neglected and disadvantaged group of our population,” he wrote in an October 28, 1960, letter to Oliver La Farge, president of the Association of American Indian Affairs.

“My administration would see to it that the Government of the United States discharges its moral obligation to our first Americans,” he wrote, promising better education and health care, access to federal housing programs, increased economic opportunity and “genuinely cooperative relations” between Indians and federal officials.

“Indians have heard fine words and promises long enough,” he wrote. “The program to which my party has pledged itself will be a program of deeds, not merely of words.

Yet Kennedy failed to live up to those words, said Thomas Clarkin, a history professor at San Antonio College and author of the 2001 book Federal Indian Policy in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. Kennedy, who was assassinated after serving 1,036 days in office, was a transitional president, bridging the gap between the termination policies of the 1950s and the more sympathetic Indian policies enacted during the ‘60s and ‘70s.

[Read more…]

Dakota Access Pipeline Protest: All We Want Is Clean Water.

Still Here. Still Standing. Support Sacred Stone Camp. Legal Fund Help. Support Native YouthSign the Petition. Sign urgent petition. Dakota Access Pipeline Approval Disappoints by Dallas Goldtooth.

#Simon Moya-Smith. #NoDAPL. ICTMN.

Today’s favourite tweets:

Lummi Totem Pole To Be at Sacred Stone Camp.

pa1_2676

The Lummi Nation of Washington held a blessing and send-off ceremony on Thursday for the 2016 Totem Pole Journey.

Master carver Jewell James created a 22-foot tall pole that will travel 5,000 miles to raise awareness of the impacts of fossil fuel development in Indian Country. One of the first stops will be the Camp of the Sacred Stones near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

“We need to be heard as many people and one voice,” James of the House of Tears Carvers said in a press release announcing this year’s journey. “We need to let them know they cannot in the name of profits do this to the people, the water, the land, and to the future generations. We will never give up. They must not pass!”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe established the Camp of the Sacred Stones to protest the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, which comes within a half-mile of the reservation. The pole is expected to arrive at the site on Tuesday, August 30, before departing on Friday, September 1. This year marks the fourth Totem Pole Journey It comes after the Lummi Nation successfully defeated a coal export terminal on its treaty territory in Washington.

You can read more at Indianz.com, and the Journey’s route is here. Support Sacred Stone Camp. Legal Fund Help. Support Native YouthSign the Petition. Sign urgent petition.

New Stories: Dakota Access: Stars From Hollywood to Washington Support Water Protectors.

Important Message from Keeper of Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe.

When Man Changes the Land, It Is Changed Forever.

Dakota Access: A Familiar Story.

Kim Ryu.

Kim Ryu.

Near Cannon Ball, N.D. — It is a spectacular sight: thousands of Indians camped on the banks of the Cannonball River, on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. Our elders of the Seven Council Fires, as the Oceti Sakowin, or Great Sioux Nation, is known, sit in deliberation and prayer, awaiting a federal court decision on whether construction of a $3.7 billion oil pipeline from the Bakken region to Southern Illinois will be halted.

The Sioux tribes have come together to oppose this project, which was approved by the State of North Dakota and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The nearly 1,200-mile pipeline, owned by a Texas oil company named Energy Transfer Partners, would snake across our treaty lands and through our ancestral burial grounds. Just a half-mile from our reservation boundary, the proposed route crosses the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of Americans and irrigation water for thousands of acres of farming and ranching lands.

Our tribe has opposed the Dakota Access pipeline since we first learned about it in 2014. Although federal law requires the Corps of Engineers to consult with the tribe about its sovereign interests, permits for the project were approved and construction began without meaningful consultation. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation supported more protection of the tribe’s cultural heritage, but the Corps of Engineers and Energy Transfer Partners turned a blind eye to our rights. The first draft of the company’s assessment of the planned route through our treaty and ancestral lands did not even mention our tribe.

The Dakota Access pipeline was fast-tracked from Day 1 using the Nationwide Permit No. 12 process, which grants exemption from environmental reviews required by the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act by treating the pipeline as a series of small construction sites. And unlike the better-known Keystone XL project, which was finally canceled by the Obama administration last year, the Dakota Access project does not cross an international border — the condition that mandated the more rigorous federal assessment of the Keystone pipeline’s economic justification and environmental impacts.

The Dakota Access route is only a few miles shorter than what was proposed for the Keystone project, yet the government’s environmental assessment addressed only the portion of the pipeline route that traverses federal land. Domestic projects of this magnitude should clearly be evaluated in their totality — but without closer scrutiny, the proposal breezed through the four state processes.

Perhaps only in North Dakota, where oil tycoons wine and dine elected officials, and where the governor, Jack Dalrymple, serves as an adviser to the Trump campaign, would state and county governments act as the armed enforcement for corporate interests. In recent weeks, the state has militarized my reservation, with road blocks and license-plate checks, low-flying aircraft and racial profiling of Indians. The local sheriff and the pipeline company have both called our protest “unlawful,” and Gov. Dalrymple has declared a state of emergency.

[Read more…]

The Last Word.

MSNBC. Via #NoDAPL.

Support Sacred Stone Camp. Legal Fund Help. Support Native YouthSign the Petition. Sign urgent petition.

Transcript, copied from Daily Kos:

Dakota means friend…friendly. The people who gave that name to the Dakotas have, sadly, never been treated as friends. The people whose language was used to name the Dakotas and Minnesota, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other states, the Native American tribes, the people who were here before us… long before us, have never been treated as friends. They have been treated as enemies.. and dealt with more harshly than any other enemy. In any of this countrys’ wars.

After all of our major wars we signed peace treaties and live by those treaties. After world war II when we made peace with Germany we then did everything we possibly could to rebuild Germany. No Native American tribe has ever been treated as well as we treated Germans after World War II.

Donald Trump and his supporters now fear the country being invaded by foreigners who want to change our way of life.  A fear that Native Americans have lived with, every day,… for over five hundred years.

The original sin of this country is that we invaders shot and murdered our way across the land killing every Native American that we could, and making treaties with the rest. This country was founded on genocide before the word genocide was invented. Before there was a War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague.

When we finally stopped actively killing Native Americans for the crime of living here before us, we then proceeded to violate every treaty we made with the Tribes. Every. Single. Treaty.

We piled crime on top of crime against a people whose offense against us was simply that they lived where we wanted to live.

We don’t feel the guilt of the crimes because we pretend they happened a very long time ago, in ancient history. And we actively suppress the memories of those crimes.. but there are people alive today whose grandparents were in the business of killing the Native Americans. That’s how recent these crimes are.

Every once in a while there is a painful and morally embarrassing reminder, as there is this week in North Dakota near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation where hundreds of people have gathered and camped out in opposition to an interstate pipeline being built from North Dakota to Illinois.

The protest being led by this countrys’ original environmentalists. Native Americans.

For hundreds of years they were our only environmentalists. The only people who thought that land and rivers should be preserved in their natural state. The only people who thought a mountain or a prairie or a river could be a sacred place.

Yesterday a federal judge heard arguments from the tribes against the federal governments approval of the pipeline and said he will deliver his decision on whether the pipeline can proceed next month.

There are now over ninety tribes gathered in protest of that pipeline. That protest will surely continue even if the judge allows construction to proceed.

And so we face the prospect next month of the descendants of the first people to ever set foot on that land,.. being arrested by the descendants of the invaders who seized that land.

Arrested for trespassing.

That we still have Native Americans left in this country to be arrested for trespassing on their own land is testament, not to the mercy of the genocidal invaders who seized and occupied their land, but to the stunning strength and the five hundred years of endurance and the undying dignity of the people who were here long before us. The people who have always known; what is truly sacred in this world.

Osage Nation Takes Over Ted Turner Ranch.

Bison on the Bluestem Ranch.

Bison on the Bluestem Ranch.

Yesterday media mogul Ted Turner officially transfered ownership of his 43,000-acre Bluestem Ranch to the Osage Nation. The tribe’s $74 million purchase restores a portion of the roughly 1.2 million acres that the tribe owned until 1906, when the reservation was allotted to individual tribal members, according to Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear. The Osage Reservation once covered the entirety of Osage County.

The Osage Nation is filing applications for federal trust status to protect the land from future sale. “We are the boss of our lands. The federal government is here to assist us,” Standing Bear told Fox 23 News.

Turner likewise intends for the land to remain under tribal ownership: “It is my sincere hope that our transaction is the last time this land is ever sold,” Turner wrote in a letter to Standing Bear, “and that the Osage Nation owns this land for all future generations.”

Turner, the founder of CNN and Turner Broadcasting, ran a bison-raising business during his 15-year ownership of the land. He will continue to run his bison operations in a more centralized area, primarily in Montana, Nebraska and South Dakota.

The Osage Nation plans to continue the bison business. The tribal council has additionally received at least a dozen applications already for additional proposals for the open fields, involving, fishing, hunting and more to turn a profit, while preserving the wildlife and the land. “We are trying to organize ourselves on a preservation side and the profit-making side, and also with the cattle operations to support it,” Standing Bear told Fox 23 News.

The tribe celebrated receiving the land with drums and song on Wednesday.

In a January 21 letter to Turner explaining what regaining even a small portion of the Osage’s original homelands would mean, Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear wrote:

“Until 1906 we owned nearly 1.5 million acres in one contiguous parcel of what is now Osage County. Then, our ownership was fragmented into thousands of individual parcels and the mineral estate handed over to control of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a result of these actions we now own only five percent of our original land in scattered parcels.”

I am very pleased the Osage Nation got a small portion of its land back, but it’s still distressing that it costs such an outrageous sum to get stolen property back.

Via ICTMN.