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The Native Americans who opened their arms up to the “new arrivals” and celebrated the first “Thanksgiving” with the Europeans were soon to be slaves —their way of life which they enjoyed for over 35,000 years became extinct in just 300 years after the arrival of the Europeans. (I am part Cherokee and I know their pain.) Every “ism” (racism, sexism, pedophilism, xenophobism, homophobism, etc.) and every form of hatred, violence, mayhem and malady is intractably woven into the American fabric of life. The very streets of America even our “church hill districts” are laced with illegal drugs, sex and slave trafficking, sexual idolatry and pure genocide — we are killing each other not by the thousands but by the hundreds on a daily basis in every city, town, village, hamlet and community in the United States of America.
"The poem is called 'Misunderstood' and I really think it encompassed what all the native artists and poets in this exhibition had in common," she said. "It was being tired of being misinterpreted by the broader United States public. Also I had been listening to the song 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' by The Animals quite a bit. It just seemed to work out."
Smist prefaced her remarks to the poetry reading crowd by respectfully acknowledging that we were present on the traditional ancestral lands of the Osage Nation.
"The process of knowing and acknowledging the land we stand on is a way of knowing and expressing gratitude for the ancestral Osage people who were on this land before us," she said.
Being an indigenous person from outside of the U.S., I was curious to enter a space like Stanford. Beforehand, I had no real knowledge of the Indigenous spaces on campus. I assumed that there would be something, but I didn’t know what form it would take. Unless you go searching for information in Aotearoa, we see and hear very little about Indigenous culture within U.S. campuses and the wider U.S. society — that is, unless it’s negative. Native Americans protesting this, Native Americans against that. A frustratingly repetitive, willingly naïve narrative about Indigenous Peoples that almost always portrays us in a negative light: often “getting in the way” and causing unnecessary trouble. Something Māori get accused of back home as well.
Two years after the occupation ended, the American Indian Movement used a similar tactic at the village of Wounded Knee, site of an 1890 massacre of Lakota people by the United States Cavalry, on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. That protest’s primary achievement, like the occupation of Alcatraz, was that it created a public relations crisis for Mr. Nixon and drew attention to demands for Native American rights. Following this period of activism, the White House, Congress and Supreme Court began to treat tribes and their treaty rights more favorably.
Today, this essential history is largely overlooked. Over 1.4 Million people flock to Alcatraz every year to peer inside jail cells that once held notorious criminals like Robert Stroud (the Birdman) and Al Capone. At nearby Fisherman’s Wharf, vendors hawk shirts emblazoned with the austere silhouette of the penitentiary alongside refrigerator magnets and memorabilia celebrating the lawmen and gangsters who made the island infamous. Even in the diverse and progressive Bay Area, the Indians of All Tribes and their occupation are often forgotten.
While other Native American tribes have long put their own stamp on country music, none have done so quite like the Navajo, who have forged a constantly changing genre that chronicles life on the reservation and beyond.
One factor nurturing the music’s vibrancy here is the sheer size of the Navajo Nation, spreading over 27,000 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The Diné, as many Navajo prefer to call themselves, number more than 330,000 on reservation lands and beyond.
Many Makah believe a traditional diet that includes whale can help to improve their health. The preparation for a hunt is also physically and spiritually nourishing, tribal members say.
Hunters train by running and paddling every day. They fast, abstain from sex and face the sun and pray each morning. After a kill, they pray for and thank the whale for providing for them.
“It brings to life a better part of our culture,” said Spencer McCarty, a 59-year-old Makah whaler.
For many Americans, the joining of iron and wood at Promontory, Utah, in 1869 symbolized the union of a nation recovering from the Civil War, a binding of disparate North American regions into an integrated whole. Artists, authors and orators marked the completion of the transcontinental railroad as the pinnacle of national unity, a triumph of American technological ingenuity and vision.
One year after the rail lines joined in Utah, Walt Whitman celebrated the achievement in “Passage to India.” Thanks to the railroads, he crowed, “the distant” could be “brought near/ The lands to be welded together.”
But for Native nations, the railroads were unwelcome industrial interlopers. The “lands” Whitman referenced were their homelands and hunting grounds, sacred sites and gathering places. These places were “welded” to the United States through force, political chicanery and legal fictions. To Arapahos, Choctaws, Navajos, Osages and others, the railroad meant more U.S. soldiers and land-hungry settlers. It is no wonder that some Cherokees criticized locomotives as “the introducers of calamities rather than blessings.”
In the late 17th century, most Wabanaki tribes aligned themselves with the Wampanoag chief Metacom in King Philip’s War. The conflict became particularly violent in southern Maine, where most of the European settlements were burned.
Around 400 colonists and between 100 and 300 Indians died in Maine during the battles and raids, and almost all the colonists evacuated to Massachusetts by 1678. Thirty years later, once the colonists deemed Maine safe again, they returned, slowly pushing Native Americans out and forever changing the natural environment that the tribes depended on.
Since then, limited attempts at reparations have been made. Currently, there are three Indian reservations in Maine, though most Wabanaki people do not live on them. In 2012, the Maine Wabanaki-State Truth and Reconciliation Commission was created to investigate potentially discriminatory child welfare practices.
The Commission found that Native children in Maine were five times more likely to be placed in the foster care system than non-Native children and that the removal of Native children was evidence of racism against the Wabanaki. The Commission labeled the actions of the state “cultural genocide.”
As years of indigenous activism led the US to begin phasing out the schools, the government found a new way to assimilate Native American children: adoption. Native children were funneled into the child welfare system.
And programs, like the little-known government “Indian Adoption Project” intentionally placed them with white adoptive families.
In our latest episode of Missing Chapter, we explore this long legacy of the forced assimilation of Native American children. And how native families are still fighting back against the impacts today.
Watch the video above, and if you want more on the history of child separation in Native American communities.
Contemporary Native Americans face many challenges. If you watch the news you'll see headlines about mascots, celebrities wearing headdresses, and pipelines. While these are important issues, there are more issues facing Native communities that are more significant.
These challenges are experienced socially, economically, culturally and on many other fronts.
567 tribes that are recognized by the federal government see these issues. The Native Americans, a diverse race of people, are subjected to racial abuse, societal discrimination, wrong depiction in arts mental, spiritual and physical violence and others.
These historical and social issues have resulted in many Native Americans becoming alcoholics and suicide potentials. In this post, we will be looking at the various problems that the present Native American has to grapple with.
All this highlights the United States’ failure not only under its own law, including the trust responsibility to Indian nations, but also its obligations under international human rights law such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Perhaps the most basic human right recognized under international law is the right to be free of violence.
Through international advocacy, the Center and its partners not only educate, but also add world pressure on the United States regarding its obligations to end the epidemic of violence against Native women. Toward that end, the Center and its partners have raised awareness about violence against Native women in the United States within the United Nations through its Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (2007), Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism (2008), Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (2011), Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2012), and repeatedly through the Human Rights Council and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
It is one of many enlightening and inspiring encounters I’ve had as I research geography, cultures, language, history and foods through an indigenous culinary lens for my company, The Sioux Chef, all of which informed the recipes I developed for The Times.
As an enrolled tribal member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, I had a hard time knowing where to start when I first wanted to educate myself and understand the foods of my own heritage. I struggled to find any information about the foodways of my direct ancestors before European colonists arrived. What methods and ingredients did they use?
How did they grow, harvest, forage, hunt, trade, preserve, store and cook food?
It is a day that should actually more than a day. People need to learn more and more about the natives of this land.
While people in a single community will provide a range of perspectives — much less in all 573 federally recognized tribes — more often than not, a version of one answer always comes up about what the US needs to do: honor the treaties.
The proposal released ahead of a presidential forum on the topic in Iowa on Monday, comes as Warren has risen in the polls and as President Donald Trump has stepped up his attacks on the Massachusetts senator and her past claims of Native American heritage.
Mark Charles is a Native American. He says that “Native American people living on reservations, Charles says, have always been overlooked by politicians. The territory of the Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles alone – enough to make it the 48th largest state in the US. Despite that, Charles says, the territory of 350,000 people is rarely visited by politicians running for president.”
This year, Native American Equal Pay Day lands on Sept. 23, a day that shows how much longer Native women must work before they earn the same amount their white male counterparts did the previous year.
Dad arrived in California as a child due to the assimilation policies enacted by the US government in the 1950s, which forcefully relocated Native Americans from their land into urban areas to become “productive” members of society.
It's true. Why can't there be a fund each month to pay for school, and the basics of life for these people. A tax that is measured on a persons wealth that will always contribute to the welfare of the original people of this land.