Month: December 2014

St. John’s College and CTLT Awarded the 2014 Equity Enhancement Fund

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St. John’s College, in collaboration with UBC CTLT’s Aboriginal Initiatives, has been awarded the 2014 Equity Enhancement Fund for the following project:

Project nameWhere Are We in the World? Enhancing UBC as a Place for Transformative International Community-Building.
Recipients: St. John’s College (SJC) and Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) – Professor Henry Yu and Amy Perreault
Description: The project will build upon existing strengths at SJC and CTLT to create processes and resources that can be used to foster community and capacity building, to enhance intercultural dialogue and understanding on campus, and to help create a better sense of belonging and place among international graduate students at UBC through flexible learning experiences.

The focus of this initiative is provide a strong foundation experientially to answer the question of “where” international graduate students are in terms of UBC and Vancouver as places on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory with often ignored or hidden histories of indigeneity and cultural diversity. The history of Vancouver reflects the remarkable achievements of the local society in peacefully dealing with some of these issues, as well as the continuing struggles with the legacies of this past in other ways. Passively allowing touristic narratives of Vancouver as a natural utopia to be the default story heard by new international graduate students abrogates our responsibility as an institution to properly welcome these students to their new home. We also miss the opportunity to introduce them in an engaged manner with the sites around UBC campus and the Lower Mainland that represent contestation, struggle and agency among those marginalized and excluded that created a better civic society out of the diversity.

In this proposed project, a set of resources that builds upon the existing and ongoing work of the City of Vancouver’s “Dialogues between First Nations, Urban Aboriginal, and Immigrant Communities” and “Newcomers Guides” projects and the Aboriginal Initiatives, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology team, will be developed to become the backbone of a program of site visits, dialogues, and virtual introductions to both the campus and the city that engage new international graduate students into a sustained conversation about where they now live. The learning module will feature UBC – in relation to the Musqueam reserve/territory and the City of Vancouver, and Vancouver’s Chinatown… Read More.

Making American Indian Children a Priority!

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President Obama with children at Standing Rock Indian Reservation

President Obama with children at Standing Rock Indian Reservation


In June of this year, President Barack Obama and the First Lady visited the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation in North Dakota. This was ya historic visit. He was only the fourth sitting President to visit Indian Country, joining Coolidge in 1927, Roosevelt in 1936, and Clinton in 1999.

Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan

The events that have happened since demonstrate that for this President, it wasn’t a routine visit!

In the months after the visit he has made it a priority to reach out to Native American youth searching for ways to improve their lives.

Two weeks ago the President announced an initiative called “Generation – Indigenous”, a new initiative including a series of efforts to improve the lives of our youngest First Americans.

It includes creating a partnership between the White House and the non-profit organization I created when I retired from the United States Senate – the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY). I created that organization because too many Native American children are being left behind.


At CNAY we are working with parents and tribal authorities on issues related to teen suicide prevention, youth leadership development, increasing access to education opportunities, better health care and so much more. We are determined save lives and improve the lives of the children of the first Americans.

The invitation from the White House to create a partnership with the Center for Native American Youth is a wonderful opportunity to join forces and do more to help.

Catholic Nuns Critical of Doctrine of Discovery

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Nuns Blast Catholic Church’s ‘Doctrine Of Discovery’ That Justified Indigenous Oppression

Posted: 09/10/2014 3:46 pm EDT  Updated: 09/10/2014 3:59 pm EDT

(RNS) In November, Sister Maureen Fiedler hand-delivered a letter to Pope Francis’ ambassador in Washington, D.C., urging the pontiff to renounce a series of 15th-century church documents that justify the colonization and oppression of indigenous peoples.

She doesn’t know if the letter made it to the Vatican. But she’s hopeful a recent resolution by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will spur the pope to repudiate the centuries-old concept known as the “Doctrine of Discovery.”

“When I learned about it, I was horrified,” said Fiedler. As a member of the Loretto Community, a congregation of religious women and lay people, Fiedler first heard of the doctrine when her order marked its 200th anniversary by challenging “the papal sanctioning of Christian enslavement and power over non-Christians.”

The Doctrine of Discovery is a series of papal bulls, or decrees, that gave Christian explorers the right to lay claim to any land that was not inhabited by Christians and was available to be “discovered.” If its inhabitants could be converted, they might be spared. If not, they could be enslaved or killed.

The doctrine’s modern influence re-emerged recently in the debate about the racism and exploitation of Native American sports mascots, Fiedler said. It has justified efforts to eliminate indigenous languages, practices and worldviews, and it affects Native American sovereignty and treaty obligations… Read More.

Source: Huffington Post, “Nuns Blast Catholic Church’s ‘Doctrine Of Discovery’ That Justified Indigenous Oppression.

Turtle Talk

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Words Into Action: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Its Impact in the United States in 2014

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Turtle Talk

Update on the UN Declaration by Karla General of the Indian Law Resource Center:

Words Into Action
By Karla General*

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Its Impact in the United States in 2014

Four years ago, on December 16, 2010, when the United States issued its statement of support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it joined the world community in welcoming a new era of human rights.

For the first time in the history of international human rights, indigenous peoples were seen as equals, entitled to all the rights guaranteed to all other human beings. Today, we commemorate the battles fought and won by this and previous generations to secure a permanent place for indigenous peoples in the world community.

Affirming Rights

When President Obama announced the United States’ support of the UN Declaration, he said, “what matters far more…

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Legal Aid of Nebraska Seeking DV Attorney for Native American Victims

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Turtle Talk


Attention – Attorney Position Open

Legal Aid of Nebraska, a law firm providing free civil legal services to low-income persons, seeks an attorney to serve Native American victims of domestic violence in Western Nebraska.  Must be admitted to practice in Nebraska or have a Nebraska license pending, and be licensed or willing to become licensed in the Ponca, Winnebago, Omaha and Santee Tribal Courts. This position entails extensive travel throughout panhandle and Cherry counties.  Duties will include but will not be limited to: provide assistance to members of the Omaha, Ponca, Santee, and Winnebago and to other Native Americans who are victims of domestic violence primarily residing in the panhandle and Cherry counties. This position entails providing training to law enforcement; making community presentations;  conducting outreach to Native American victims of domestic violence; developing culturally appropriate materials providing legal information and information about Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Native American…

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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, by ICTMN

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The Week That Was: The Big Stories in Indian Country, December 28, 2014


It’s our recap of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:

RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE:The Marysville, Washington, School Board on December 8 unanimously adopted the “Since Time Immemorial” curriculum as core curriculumfor all district schools. The district’s K-12 schools will now be required to teach the history, culture, governance and current affairs of indigenous nations in their area.

TRAIL BLAZER:Charisse Arce was recently chosen by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., from a large pool of highly talented and qualified individuals, as the first Gaye L. Tenoso Indian Country Legal Fellow. Arce of Bristol Bay, will serve a three-year termin the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona.

SOLAR STYMIED:The Moapa Paiute Tribe in Nevada got a monkey wrench for Christmas this year, when the state power commission stymied plans for its second solar project. But the small tribe is undaunted and says it will regroup after the first of the year.

EVERYONE’S ELDER:Actor and public speaker Saginaw Grant will behonored next month with an awardby a California nonprofit for his commitment to Native American communities.

KEEP FIGHTING:West Moberly First Nation, whose treaty lands will be flooded when the $8.8-billion Site C dam is completed in a decade, is vowing to step up its ongoing legal battleagainst the project after it was approved by the province last week.

GEARING UP:The Iroquois Nationals have announced their general manager and coaching staff for the 2015 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship. Landon Miller will oversee the Iroquois team as its general manager, while Rich Kilgour will serve as the head coach.

A PIECE OF HISTORY:A copy of the Lord’s Prayer in the Cherokee language carried by a Cherokee World War II veteranis now in the possession of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

SISTER ACT:Award-winning Kiowa artists Teri Greeves and Keri Ataumbi have been named the Living Treasures for the 2015 Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival(May 23-24, 2015), which benefits the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe.

NO DRILLING:Chevron Corp. has canceled its plans to drill for oil in the Beaufort Seabecause of plummeting oil prices, according to reports. It is the fourth oil conglomerate to suspend offshore drilling in the Arctic over the past couple of years.

DON’T LEAVE US OUT:The Yakama Nation is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for allegedly excluding the tribefrom cleanup input at the Bradford Island Superfund site on the Columbia River. “The Yakama Nation has a key role in cleanup and had numerous meetings with the Corps, but they still fail to meaningfully include the Yakama Nation,” Gerald Lewis, Tribal Councilman, said in a statement.

TRAGIC:A Native man who participated in an anti-police brutality march and rally in Rapid City, South Dakota, was shot and killed by police a day later, according to reports. Rapid City Police identified the victim as Allen Locke, 30, of Rapid City.

FISTS OF FURY:Despite being the women’s International Boxing Association (IBA) middleweight champion, Kali Reis is hardly a household name. But she’s hoping the popularity of women’s boxing increases so she can at least start making some decent money from her bouts. Reis, a 28-year-old who has Cherokee, Nipmuc and Seaconke Wampanoag ancestry, captured her title in Bermuda.


‘Dreamings’ and dreaming narratives: what’s the relationship?

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February 5 2014, 2.46pm EST

‘Dreamings’ and dreaming narratives: what’s the relationship?


Christine Nicholls

Senior Lecturer at Flinders University

Shorty Jangala Robertson, 2011, Warlpiri, ‘Ngapa Jukurrpa’ (Water Dreaming) – Pirlinyanu, 76 x 76 cm. Copyright the artist; Warlukurlangu Artists, Yuendumu.

To imagine what “Australia” was like B.C. (“Before Cook”, or before colonisation), one needs to envision the entire landmass of this island/continent and most of its surrounding islands and waters as crisscrossed by “Dreamings” (in popular parlance sometimes referred to as “Songlines”).

Each of the approximately 250 separate Australian languages had their own words for and substantial vocabularies relating to what has now become known in English almost universally as “The Dreamtime” or “The Dreaming”. These usages have now entered other world languages as global tags for Indigenous Australian religion, thereby dramatically reducing outsiders’ capacity to grasp the diversity of Australian languages and cultures… Read More.

Newberry Library Fellowship in the Humanities

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Newberry Library Fellowship in the Humanities
If you study the humanities, the Newberry has something for you!
Newberry Library Fellowships provide assistance to researchers who wish to use our collection. We promise you intriguing and often rare materials; a lively, interdisciplinary community of researchers; individual consultations on your research with staff curators, librarians, and other scholars; and an array of both scholarly and public programs.
For more information, visit our website:
The deadline for Short-Term Fellowships is January 15, 2015.
Short-Term Fellowships are available to postdoctoral scholars, PhD candidates, or those who hold other terminal degrees. Unless otherwise noted, applicants must live and work outside of the Chicago area. Applicants must have a specific need for the Newberry’s collection and are required to spend the tenure of the fellowship in residence. The length of a Short-Term Fellowship is one continuous month, but scholars who have an extensive need for the collections may request up to two months. The stipend is $2,500 per month. For more information, including a list of available Short-Term Fellowships, please visit
New Fellowship Opportunity!
The John Rylands Research Institute Exchange Fellowship
This fellowship provides two months of support, one for work at the Newberry and another for work at the John Rylands Library in Manchester, England. The proposed project must link the collections of both libraries; applicants should plan to hold the two fellowships sequentially to ensure continuity of research. All application materials should be submitted to the Newberry, but applications will be reviewed by both institutions. The stipend is $2,500 per month at the Newberry, £1,500 at the John Rylands Library, plus an additional $1,000 (or the equivalent in English pounds) for travel.
All applicants are strongly encouraged to consult the Newberry’s online catalog and collection guides before applying:
Research and Academic Programs
The Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street | Chicago, IL 60610
312-255-3666 |

First Nations graduation rates climbing fast

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First Nations graduation rates climbing fast

First Nations students graduated at a rate of 61.6 per cent this year, up 45 per cent since 2001. This 2012 graduation ceremony for aboriginal students in Vancouver schools, above, was held at Templeton secondary school.

Photograph by: Les Bazso , Vancouver Sun

The number of B.C. students successfully completing Grade 12 is the highest it has ever been, with the most substantial increases among First Nations and special needs students, according to a report from the ministry of education.

The six-year completion rate for all students — the number of students who graduate within six years of registering for Grade 8 — topped 84 per cent in the 2013-14 school year, up about 10 per cent since 2001.

Part of that rise is fuelled by the big improvement in completions by First Nations students, who graduated at a rate of 61.6 per cent this year, up 45 per cent since 2001.

Much of the credit for the improvement is attributable to a renewed spirit of collaboration between the ministry and the First Nations Education Steering Committee and “buy in” from many trustees and principles B.C.’s school districts to make First Nations education a priority, said committee president Tyrone McNeil of the Sto:lo Tribal Council.

“We’ve kept the pressure on for years and we are starting to see it come together now,” he said. “We aren’t ready to let up yet, though; we’d like to see even bigger increases until our students achieve parity.”

New aboriginal curriculum, from First Nations Studies to retooled English courses starting in Grade 10, have First Nations students far more engaged with their studies. Read More

Source: Vancouver Sun