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Million-acre St. Lawrence Island land title signed over to native population

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By Travis Khachatoorian / KTUU |

SAINT LAWRENCE ISLAND, Alaska – In one of the biggest land conveyances in US history, the federal government officially signed the title to Saint Lawrence Island over to its native population.

More than one million acres of land was researched and surveyed by the Bureau of Land Management in preparation for the title transfer. Using GPS mapping and aerial photography, the BLM took three years to complete the process before handing over ownership of the island.

“This is the largest survey we have ever done, and the fourth largest conveyance that the US government has ever done in one fell swoop,” said BLM director Neil Kornze.

Multiple BLM officials from Washington DC, Anchorage and Nome flew into the villages of Gambell and Savoonga on Wednesday for an official document signing ceremony. The conveyance of land finalizes a process the Alaska Natives of St. Lawrence Island have been waiting for since President Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA.)

“The descendants of our forefathers would have clapped their hands just like we did with the signing of the patent,” said Gambell village elder Branson Tungiyan.

With the title in hand, the villages of Gambell and Savoonga will share ownership of the sixth biggest island in the US.

Full ownership of the island was a decision made by the village elders decades ago. When ANCSA first passed, villages across Alaska were offered a piece of a near billion dollar settlement to sell large portions of their land to the federal government.

Savoonga and Gambell elders opted out of the payout. Instead they received no money, no opportunity to become part of a larger regional native corporation, but rather received opportunity to own the former St. Lawrence Island Reserve, now giving them 900 miles of coastline, mountains and lakes.

“One of the things [the elders] told us is, ‘as long as you are owners of the island, the island will take care of you,’” said president of Kukulget Corporation Perry Pungowiyi.

“You keep the land instead of the money, because money runs out,” said Tungiyan.

The BLM gave the native population interim conveyance of the land in 1979, only to receive the final title when the government finished its survey of the land. The survey for St. Lawrence Island wasn’t completed until 2016.

“The ANCSA entitlement in total [statewide] was about 44 million acres, and that’s roughly the equivalent size of the State of Washington,” said Erika Reed, Alaska BLM deputy state director of lands, cadastral survey and pipeline monitoring. “That’s about the acreage that we’ve been surveying and conveying over the last 45 years.”

Pungowiyi said, so far there’s no plans for greater development of the island. He said, most important to the village at this point is to preserve the land their ancestors have inhabited for thousands of years.

“This is home. This is where I live. I feel at peace when I’m here. I have no worries other than fish and game,” said Pungowiyi. “Here it still feels like we’re living with our ancestors.”

Source: KTUU. Retrieved from: http://www.ktuu.com/content/news/Massive-land-transfer-388618852.html on August 1, 2016

Taiwan’s President Apologizes to Aborigines for Centuries of Injustice

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HONG KONG — President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan offered a formal apology on Monday to aboriginal peoples for centuries of “pain and mistreatment,” and she promised to take concrete steps to rectify a history of injustice.

In a ceremony at the presidential office in Taipei attended by aboriginal community leaders, she said that although Taiwan had made efforts to end discrimination against hundreds of thousands of indigenous people, a formal apology was necessary.

“Unless we deny that we are a country of justice, we must face up to this history,” Ms. Tsai said. “We must tell the truth. And then, most importantly, the government must genuinely reflect on this past.”

Taiwan has 540,000 residents who are members of aboriginal groups, or about 2 percent of the population of 23 million. The Council of Indigenous Peoples officially recognizes 16 groups, with three — the Amis, Atayal andPaiwanmaking up 70 percent of the total indigenous population.

Taiwan’s earliest known residents are believed to have come to the island 6,000 years ago or earlier from Southeast Asia and are part of the Austronesian peoples who range from Madagascar to Polynesia. When Han settlers from mainland China began arriving in the 17th century, indigenous peoples, particularly those on Taiwan’s western plains, faced assimilation, loss of land and outright violence.

Today, indigenous groups face high levels of unemployment, low wages and less access to education and other services.

“Another group of people arrived on these shores, and in the course of history, took everything from the first inhabitants who, on the land they have known most intimately, became displaced, foreign, non-mainstream and marginalized,” Ms. Tsai said.

Capen Nganaen, 80, a representative of the Yami, said he was happy to receive the government’s apology.

“Taiwan has had many presidents during its history, but never before has one been willing to offer an apology to the indigenous peoples,” he said during the ceremony.

He spoke of how the Yami had unsuccessfully resisted the use of their homeland, Orchid Island, southeast of Taiwan, as a depository for nuclear waste from power plants on Taiwan. “This is the pain of the people of Orchid Island,” he said.

Mr. Capen said many Yami feared that an accident would render Orchid Island uninhabitable, and he called on Ms. Tsai to address how to remove the waste.

Ms. Tsai became the first female president of Taiwan after winning a landslide victory in January, and her Democratic Progressive Party took control of the legislature for the first time. She campaigned in part on social justice issues, including an investigation into assets acquired by the Kuomintang, the former governing party, during decades of autocratic rule. Last week, the legislature passed a law ordering the return of ill-gotten assets taken by political parties since 1945, the year the Kuomintang took control of Taiwan from Japan, which had ruled the island as a colony from 1895.

During her inauguration in May, Ms. Tsai said her government would take an “apologetic attitude” toward indigenous peoples.

On Monday, Ms. Tsai announced that she would lead a commission to address the injustices faced by indigenous groups and said that she would push through a law outlining their basic rights. She also said the government would provide compensation to the Yami before a decision was made on where to store the nuclear waste deposited on Orchid Island for the past 30 years.

White Earth Descendant Selected for Minnesota Supreme Court

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Turtle Talk

Congratulations Judge Anne McKeig

Link to full article here

From the article:

Gov. Mark Dayton has selected Fourth Judicial District Judge Anne McKeig as the next Supreme Court justice, giving the state’s highest court its first American Indian jurist, as well as the first female majority since 1991.

McKeig, 49, a descendant of White Earth Nation, has specialized in child protection and Indian welfare issues. She was first appointed to the bench in 2008 by GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty. She will replace retiring Justice Christopher Dietzen, also a Pawlenty appointee.

The selection means that Dayton has made a majority of appointments on the 7-member court, likely ensuring his legacy on the bench long after he leaves office. He has now appointed five justices, though former Justice Wilhelmina Wright joined the federal bench earlier this year.

In his two terms, Dayton has made diversifying the state’s courts a priority. He praised…

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Hokule’a, The Hawaiian Canoe Traveling The World By A Map Of The Stars

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The Hokule'a, a voyaging canoe built to revive the centuries-old tradition of Polynesian exploration, makes its way up the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. Sailed by a crew of 12 who use only celestial navigation and observation of nature, the canoe is two-thirds of the way through a four-year trip around the world.

The Hokule’a, a voyaging canoe built to revive the centuries-old tradition of Polynesian exploration, makes its way up the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. Sailed by a crew of 12 who use only celestial navigation and observation of nature, the canoe is two-thirds of the way through a four-year trip around the world.

Bryson Hoe/Courtesy of ‘Oiwi TV and Polynesian Voyaging Society

She sails by the memory of the stars.

Her bones are lashed together with 6 miles of rope. Her twin wooden masts are lowered and outstretched only by the power of muscled arms. And once fully extended, the red, V-shaped sails announce who she is.

She is the Hokule’a, Hawaii’s famous voyaging canoe, built in the double-hulled style used by Polynesian navigators thousands of years ago to cross the Pacific.

Now, she’s on a journey to make history, traversing the globe by wayfinding — an ancient Polynesian skill that requires memorizing hundreds of stars and where they rise and set on the ocean horizon. She has already crossed 26,000 miles of ocean and still has a year left to go.

“As a navigator, your job is to look at the shape of the ocean,” said Nainoa Thompson, the architect of the worldwide tour and president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “You have to be on your feet, and to be able to feel one wave when it comes through from one foot to another. You only know where you are by memorizing where you come from.”

Kala Tanaka marks "stays" at the front of the canoe so they can go back in the same place after the mast is taken down to fit under the George Washington Bridge. The garlands of ti leaves, a Hawaiian tradition, were placed on the Hokule'a by well-wishers.

Kala Tanaka marks “stays” at the front of the canoe so they can go back in the same place after the mast is taken down to fit under the George Washington Bridge. The garlands of ti leaves, a Hawaiian tradition, were placed on the Hokule’a by well-wishers.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Onboard this East Coast leg is a 12-member crew, a mix of veteran native Hawaiian navigators and young, lean apprentices who have taken time off their jobs as pro surfers, educators and executives for the chance of a lifetime: sailing for weeks on a 61-foot catamaran-style canoe in the open ocean. And the promise of returning with a stronger sense of themselves.

Many are part Native Hawaiian and were inspired to connect to their roots. With Hokule’a (ho-koo-lay-ah), they want to spread a message about what the world could learn from island people about how to live sustainably and care for the ocean.

“She has the ability to transform,” said Na’alehu Anthony, 36, who is navigating this leg of the trip but also serves as chief executive of ‘Oiwi TV, a Native Hawaiian television company.

“This floating island is a representation of the values people should have for the islands we all live in — whether that’s Hawaii, the U.S. mainland or Tangier Island. It’s been really interesting to see how people see themselves in that message. They get it.”

Behind the canvas on both sides of the boat are the small, 6-foot “holes,” or cubbies, which are the sleeping quarters for crew members. They have a sleeping bag, clothes and a few personal effects for the journey. Underneath the sleeping mat is storage space for food, water and other supplies.

Claire Harbage/NPR


Hokule’a’s trip around the world is ambitious. But it’s nothing compared with her maiden voyage. That was a moonshot.

Forty years ago, a group of Native Hawaiians and anthropologists built the Hokule’a to revive the ancient art of Polynesian wayfinding, which had been forgotten.

No one knew how to build a canoe in the style of their ancestors, whose oral stories spoke of setting forth across vast oceans like astronauts of their day, exploring an ocean that is bigger than Russia.

At the time, no one in Hawaii knew how to build a voyaging canoe — none had existed for at least 600 years. No one in Hawaii knew how to navigate by the stars. But they found a man named Mau Piailug in Micronesia, a wayfinder on a tiny island who agreed to teach them how to sail using cues from nature — not only by watching the stars, but by noticing the swells and bird species, and the smallest of details, like shifts in the wind pressing against their bodies.

Left: Apprentice navigator Kala Tanaka (right) talks to students from the Alexandria Seaport Foundation about how the boat is navigated, during one of many educational tours offered while the boat is in port. Right: Na'alehu Anthony took leave from his job as chief executive of a television company to train for and join the voyage.

Left: Apprentice navigator Kala Tanaka (right) talks to students from the Alexandria Seaport Foundation about how the boat is navigated, during one of many educational tours offered while the boat is in port. Right: Na’alehu Anthony took leave from his job as chief executive of a television company to train for and join the voyage.

Claire Harbage/NPR

In 1976, a group of Native Hawaiians and anthropologists, and Mau, bet their lives that they could sail from Hawaii to Tahiti without any modern-day navigational equipment. They wanted to prove a theory that the original people who settled the islands of Hawaii did so not by accident, but with the intention of finding the islands and settling there.

And when the team safely reached its destination, after more than a month at sea, its triumph sparked a revival of Hawaiian identity and culture. Soon after, Native Hawaiians demanded that the state begin teaching the Hawaiian language in schools again. A group occupied the uninhabited island of Kaho’olawe, in protest of the U.S. Navy’s use of it as a target for bombing practice.

“There was a time when the Hawaiian culture wasn’t valued,” said Kalepa Baybayan, who was part of that first generation of crew members aboard the Hokule’a. “In the ’70s, it all changed.”

Na’alehu Anthony’s hand rests over a small black mark on the rail of the boat. Marks like this create a grid on the entire boat to help orient the navigator in the direction which they are heading.

Claire Harbage/NPR

The Hokule’a gave the Native Hawaiian people an identity; it became a symbol of hope for the survival of their culture.

Now they call Hokule’a the mother ship because she spawned a new generation. Since that 1976 voyage, 25 more deep-sea-voyaging canoes have been birthed across 11 countries. More than 180 crew members have taken a turn aboard the Hokule’a on its global trip. More impressive is the number who trained, applied but for whom there was no room: 4,000.

It’s her mana, or spirit, as well as her history, that attracts people, crew members say. On her first voyage, to Tahiti, she was greeted by a crowd of 17,000 who walked into the water with their clothes on to see her; to touch her; and to drape leis around the necks of men who were onboard. And when she arrived along the shores of Alexandria, Va., last week, visitors waited as long as an hour for the chance to step onboard and touch her bow.

Modern updates include this rope rather than the coconut fiber that was used on Hawaiian canoes in the past. The small flag (right) that flutters above the canvas is one tool that navigators use when they can't see the stars. Knowing the direction the wind is blowing and watching the waves helps them to understand their direction when it is cloudy.

Modern updates include this rope rather than the coconut fiber that was used on Hawaiian canoes in the past. The small flag (right) that flutters above the canvas is one tool that navigators use when they can’t see the stars. Knowing the direction the wind is blowing and watching the waves helps them to understand their direction when it is cloudy.

Claire Harbage/NPR

The navigator’s place is at the back corner of the Hokule’a, standing at all times with feet wide apart on the deck.

“There’s the motion that the canoe makes as it climbs up over the wave,” said Baybayan. “And you have to internalize that as the rhythm, the pulse of the canoe. And when that rhythm changes, either you’ve steered off course or the conditions have changed.”

When you’re doing it for the first time, you’re double-guessing yourself, he said. But once you make your first landfall, you understand that the process you went through got you there.

“Once you’re in the zone, you’ve reached a different plateau of metaphysical thinking,” he said. “It just builds confidence in yourself. You start to understand nature.”

The mast must come down in the next part of the journey to get past the bridges on the Potomac River on the way to the Washington, D.C., stop. The lei at the very top is color coded; traditionally each captain had his own color so the boats could recognize who was on it from afar.

The mast must come down in the next part of the journey to get past the bridges on the Potomac River on the way to the Washington, D.C., stop. The lei at the very top is color coded; traditionally each captain had his own color so the boats could recognize who was on it from afar.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Being on a 61-foot vessel with no engine in the middle of the ocean is, indeed, as tough as it might seem. All crew members train for weeks to prepare their bodies mentally and physically and must take courses on celestial navigation to prepare for the voyage.

Once onboard, crew members are assigned a 6-foot-long plywood plank that runs along the inside of one of the boat’s two hulls, which are connected by boards that serve as Hokule’a’s deck. Most put a waterproof foam pad on top, like the kind you float on in a swimming pool.

The rookies get a “hole,” or 6-foot sleeping spot in the front of the canoe, where it’s wettest and coldest. The elder crew members get the back where it’s warmer and dry. They all sleep head-to-toe, in a line, inside the twin canoe hulls.

“It’s like a one-man tent, but like, elongated, ” said Kala Tanaka, 34, who sleeps in the front while her father, one of the most seasoned navigators, sleeps in the back. “You have situations where it’s so rough that the water splashes in between the canvas [overhead] and it gets wet. But I like to think of this as exciting!”

Ki'i, statues that help guide the vessel, are on either side of the boat. Only the female (right) has eyes because she sees the way while the male counterpart stands guard.

Ki’i, statues that help guide the vessel, are on either side of the boat. Only the female (right) has eyes because she sees the way while the male counterpart stands guard.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Aside from a canvas over their head, the crew members are exposed to the wet cold, the relentless sun or rain. They take saltwater showers. The sunscreen onboard is gallon-size, with a pump on top. The navigator and his or her apprentices are expected to remain awake for 18 to 22 hours a day, keeping an eye on the conditions to ensure they stay the course.

But their rewards, of course, are many. They are counted in mahi-mahi, which the cook prepares sashimi-style, and in the sightings of whales, penguins and sunrises that they will never forget.


This leg of Hokule’a’s journey is moving slowly; she’s her most graceful out in the open ocean.

On this trip, she has braved new challenges of the mid-Atlantic: She took on unexpected whipping winds while sidestepping the onbeat of Navy and fishing boat traffic up the Chesapeake Bay to Alexandria, Va. Then she had to limbo under a series of concrete bridges up the Potomac River to Washington, D.C.

The Hokule’a has traveled 26,000 miles to deliver a message that, in typical fashion of this city, is often calculated through a political lens. Her message is Malama Honua.In Hawaiian, it means taking care of Island Earth.

“Not everyone believes in climate change, but we do,” said Thompson, one of the architects of the worldwide tour. “We’re islanders; we see it. We come from small islands in the Pacific who have nothing to do with [causing] climate change but we are the ones who will suffer the most, first.”

The Voyage Of Hokule’a, Beginning And Ending In Hawaii

Map of the canoe trip's path

Hokule’a left Hawaii in 2013 and headed west across the South Pacific and across Australia, Indonesia, the Indian Ocean and down around Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. Then, she crossed the Atlantic to Brazil and headed north. At each stop, she has been greeted by first-nation people and like-minded organizations that want to create a sense of urgency about climate change and keeping the oceans clean.

In that cause, the Hokule’a has attracted some high-profile supporters. Before setting sail three years ago, the Dalai Lama blessed her and, on a stop in Samoa in 2014, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon came aboard in a show of support.

Kalepa Baybayan (right) and his daughter Kala Tanaka. Kalepa is training Kala as an apprentice navigator.

Kalepa Baybayan (right) and his daughter Kala Tanaka. Kalepa is training Kala as an apprentice navigator.

 

When Ban came aboard the Hokule’a, he brought her a gift of a message in a bottle: a handwritten note pledging that the top environmental issue was to protect the world’s oceans and a commitment to take action. Thompson said Hokule’a has been collecting other pledges from around the world and added 40 more messages to the bottle. He plans to return it to the secretary-general at the United Nations next week for World Oceans Day.

For 40 years, Thompson’s life has been tied to the Hokule’a. Now, she is reaching middle age and, at age 63, he has nearly passed it. This trip is a bookend for him, but not likely for her.

“This canoe is a school that’s about relearning the genius of our ancestors, and about our reconnection to our ocean,” said Thompson. “This voyage is not my vision. It’s that of my teachers. I’m just a bridge between between them and” — he points to his young crew — “them.”

After New York, the Hokule’a will attempt to make it as far north as Nova Scotia, which, at 50 degrees north of the equator, would mark the northernmost point she has ever sailed. After that point, though, she will turn around. And every minute will be that much closer to returning home.

Hokule’a will go up the St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes, then turn back down the East Coast and across the Panama Canal where she will return to her ocean, the Pacific.

Thompson, Baybayan and the other elder crew members made a deal that this would be their last voyage. Anyone over age 32 will have to come off the boat as Hokule’a re-enters Polynesia at the last stop before home, in Rapa Nui. There, a new generation of wayfinders will come onboard and decide where she goes next.

Hokule'a stops in Alexandria, Va., on the way up the Potomac River to Washington, D.C.

Hokule’a stops in Alexandria, Va., on the way up the Potomac River to Washington, D.C.

Claire Harbage/NPR

Reporter Adam Cole contributed to this report. @sarakgoo @cadamole

 

Reference: NPR. 2016, June 13. Hokule’a, The Hawaiian Canoe Traveling The World By A Map Of The Stars. Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/05/27/479468130/hokulea-the-hawaiian-canoe-traveling-the-world-by-a-map-of-the-stars

CBC’s missing and murdered Indigenous women website wins top Canadian Association of Journalists award

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‘This was and remains an important story to tell,’ says CBC News head

CBC News Posted: May 29, 2016 12:51 AM ET Last Updated: May 29, 2016 12:13 PM ET

Duncan McCue, Karin Wells, Nick Purdon, Diana Swain, Natalie Clancy and Margaret Evans were among the CBC News journalists who took home CAJ awards on Saturday night.

Duncan McCue, Karin Wells, Nick Purdon, Diana Swain, Natalie Clancy and Margaret Evans were among the CBC News journalists who took home CAJ awards on Saturday night. (Brodie Fenlon/CBC)

CBC News has won the top prize for investigative journalism awarded by the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) for its “Missing & Murdered: Unsolved cases of Indigenous women and girls” website.

The Don McGillivray Award was presented to journalists from CBC’s Aboriginal news unit and other colleagues who helped develop the project at the CAJ awards gala on Saturday night in Edmonton. The website also won the Online Media category earlier in the evening.

“In a year when Canada’s national media finally awoke to the tragedies of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, the work by our national public broadcaster set the standard,” the CAJ said in a news release.

Duncan McCue CAJ awards

The CBC’s Duncan McCue accepted the CAJ Online Media award Saturday on behalf of the team that created a website profiling more than 250 unsolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The website later won the top investigative award of the night. (Brodie Fenlon/CBC)

“The elements of the CBC’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women website … told the stories of those affected in an impactful way and, somewhat sadly, led to the identification of even more Indigenous women as missing or murdered.”

More than 250 unsolved cases, confirmed by CBC journalists, have been profiled on the website.

Coverage of missing and murdered Indigenous women also garnered an award in the Open Media category for the Toronto Star.

CBC won seven CAJ awards on Saturday for radio, television and online coverage. Other winners included CTV, The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press, Maclean’s, APTN and The Brandon Sun.

“It is a great honour for CBC News to be recognized with these CAJ awards which represents work from across our services,” said Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor in chief of CBC News. “It is particularly gratifying to see our investigative digital project Missing and Murdered Women receive the top investigative award.

“This work represents what public service journalism does the best. We challenge ourselves to be editorial leaders and to bring light to issues Canadians need to see and understand. This was and remains an important story to tell. My thanks to the finest team of journalists anywhere.”

CBC winners at the CAJ awards:

Don McGillivray investigative award and Online Media award

“Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls” — Cate Friesen, Cecil Rosner, Connie Walker, Duncan McCue, Tiar Wilson, Kimberly Ivany, Martha Troian, Chantelle Bellrichard, Joanne Levasseur, Teghan Beaudette, Kristy Hoffman, Donna Lee, Tara Lindemann, William Wolfe-Wylie, Richard Grasley, Michael Leschart, Michael Pereira

Open broadcast feature award

“In the presence of a spoon” — Karin Wells, CBC Radio The Sunday Edition

Community broadcast award

“Real estate seminars exposed” — Natalie Clancy and Paisley Woodward, CBC News Vancouver

CAJ/Marketwired data journalism award

“Campus sexual assaults: The fight to get the real picture” —  Diana Swain, Timothy Sawa and Lori Ward, CBC News Investigative Unit, The National

Daily excellence award

“Paris Mourns” — Margaret Evans, CBC Radio The World This Weekend

Read More…

 

First Nations Mother and Son Graduate From UBC Together

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FIRST NATIONS MOTHER AND SON GRADUATE FROM UBC TOGETHER


May 26, 2016 – Watching a loved one graduate from university is a proud moment, but for Jocelyne and Randy Robinson, the pride will be twofold as the mother and son graduate from the University of British Columbia a day apart.

Randy, 31, who once worked as a janitor scrubbing toilets, is graduating from the Peter A. Allard School of Law. Jocelyne, a sculptor and single mother who raised seven children in East Vancouver, is graduating with a PhD in education.

The Robinsons are Algonquin from the Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec. They share a strong commitment to use their degrees to help improve the lives of other indigenous peoples.

“We’re overrepresented in the criminal justice system, but underrepresented as lawyers,” said Randy, who spent time during law school working at the Indigenous Community Legal Clinic in the Downtown Eastside. “Growing up, I saw the inequities that exist for indigenous peoples. I wanted to become a lawyer to give them a voice, so they have that perspective and advocacy of a fellow indigenous person in court.”For Jocelyne, pursuing a PhD was motivated by her experiences in the classroom as a high school educator. Her PhD work focused on ways to attract more indigenous students to careers in math and science.

“My goal is to leave a legacy behind for the next generation,” she said. “It wasn’t that long ago Aboriginal Peoples couldn’t go to university or practice law. Or even leave the reserve. It’s pretty incredible that we’re here.”

Randy’s graduation ceremony is May 25. Jocelyne’s is May 26. They’ll be celebrating their academic achievements together along with other Aboriginal graduates at the First Nations House of Learning’s annual graduation celebration at the UBC First Nations Longhouse on May 28.

STORY UPDATE: May 28th CTV news story


Source: Indigenous mother-son duo overcome odds, graduate from UBC – together

Page Modified: May 31, 2016

Changing Perceptions and Making Connections—One Map at a Time

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Aaron Carapella Son Sequoyah
Courtesy Brian McDermott
“Map guy” Aaron Carapella is pictured here with his son, Sequoyah.

Changing Perceptions and Making Connections—One Map at a Time

4/10/15

In the beginning, there were no lines.

Prior to 1492, North America was a vast wilderness: an expanse of rolling hills, open plains and meandering rivers. There were no state boundaries, no borders between countries and no private property.

That’s what Aaron Carapella captures in his Tribal Nations Maps, the only known maps that show what Turtle Island looked like before European contact.

“There are a lot of horrible maps out there that stereotype Native Americans or provide misinformation,” said Carapella, who lives in Stigler, Oklahoma. “We need something to combat that. We need maps that aren’t divided by modern countries and political borders, that show where tribes were and what they were called.”

The original Tribal Nations Map, released in 2012, is a poster-sized replica of the United States, minus the state lines. Roughly 590 Native nations are spread across the map, identified by their indigenous names, traditional locations and, when possible, historic images.

Aaron Carapella’s maps show original locations of indigenous people throughout North America, along with tribes’ traditional names. (Courtesy Aaron Carapella)
Aaron Carapella’s maps show original locations of indigenous people throughout North America, along with tribes’ traditional names. (Courtesy Aaron Carapella)

Carapella, who is of Cherokee descent, spent 14 years researching and creating his first map. But the project began years earlier when Carapella, now 35, was a teenager exploring his own heritage and looking for a map of tribes that he could hang on his bedroom wall.

“I never really found any good maps that were comprehensive in any way,” he said. “So I thought, why don’t I make my own? I bought four poster boards, taped them together and put on all the tribes that I knew.”

The first draft of Aaron Carapella’s Tribal Nations map was completed by hand, on pieces of poster board he taped together. (Courtesy Aaron Carapella)
The first draft of Aaron Carapella’s Tribal Nations map was completed by hand, on pieces of poster board he taped together. (Courtesy Aaron Carapella)

Carapella got serious about his project when he realized so many Native people had never seen themselves represented on a map. He traveled to 250 Native communities and contacted every cultural department in North America, he said.

“I’ve used books, military records, settler documentation and autobiographies,” he said. “On road trips, I get off the highway and visit tribal communities. Everywhere I go, I’m talking to people.”

The result was the map of the United States, of which Carapella has already sold 3,200 copies and given away an additional 900. The maps are in classrooms, cultural centers and museums across the country. They’re also in homes, on bedroom walls and in researches’ offices.

A documentarian is making a film about Carapella’s project, and Hayden-McNeil, a textbook publishing company, is printing two of the maps in an upcoming book.

But Carapella decided not to stop with a map of the United States. He created additional maps showing locations of tribes—along with their traditional names—in Canada, Alaska, Mexico and Central America. He also offers a map of the entire North American continent identifying more than 1,000 tribes—and without the “artificial boundaries” established later.

“My next map is of South America,” Carapella said. “I don’t think I’m going to stop until I’ve done all the maps in the Western Hemisphere.”

The maps are already changing public perception in places like Olympia, Washington, where the map of the entire North American continent hangs on a wall at the Diversity and Equity Center at South Puget Sound Community College. Program coordinator Karama Blackhorn said it serves as a conversation starter and a way to help indigenous students feel welcome.

Aaron Carapella, a.k.a. the “map guy,” stands near some of his Indian Nations maps on display at the Kansas City Indian Center. (Courtesy Aaron Carapella)
Aaron Carapella, a.k.a. the “map guy,” stands near some of his Indian Nations maps on display at the Kansas City Indian Center. (Courtesy Aaron Carapella)

“The biggest problem minority students find is they don’t have a sense of belonging; they don’t see themselves in faculty, staff or other students,” she said. “There’s no Native representation on campus except anthropological. This is a giant, visual art piece that reminds people to stop having that historical mentality.”

Blackhorn, a member of the Kahosadi tribe of Oregon, said she grew up with a map that had only 12 tribes on it. Carapella’s map is the most comprehensive representation of Native America she’s ever seen.

“My family is on the map now,” she said. “This is validating on so many levels.”

In a classroom on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona, history teacher William Stearns uses the maps to help students make connections to their own heritage.

“When you see students see these maps you can see the pride in them,” he said. “They stand taller, they understand. I believe that they have a clearer picture of their importance in this country.”

Aaron Carapella, right, works with graphic designer Jon Vanderveer on his map project. (Courtesy Brian McDermott)
Aaron Carapella, right, works with graphic designer Jon Vanderveer on his map project. (Courtesy Brian McDermott)

In an age where few places on the planet remain uncharted, cartography may seem an antiquated craft. But for Carapella, the project is an exploration not of geography, but rather history. In essence, he’s going back in time to capture a view of the land in its pre-colonial state.

For some, the maps are happy reminders of forgotten cultures. For others, they bring up difficult aspects of history or conflicted emotions. Any response, Carapella said, is evidence that he’s doing his job.

“It’s weird how many emotions get stirred up,” he said. “They are factual maps of where our nations were and what they were called, but they spark questions. They make people think in a different way.”

Carapella’s maps are available in various sizes and range in price from $49 to $300. Buy them online here.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/04/10/changing-perceptions-and-making-connections-one-map-time-159925

Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That

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The Dalai Lama spoke about the Atlas of Emotions study at the Wilson House on the Sisters of St. Francis’ Assisi Heights campus in Rochester, Minn. Credit Tim Gruber for The New York Times

ROCHESTER, Minn. — The Dalai Lama, who tirelessly preaches inner peace while chiding people for their selfish, materialistic ways, has commissioned scientists for a lofty mission: to help turn secular audiences into more self-aware, compassionate humans.

That is, of course, no easy task. So the Dalai Lama ordered up something with a grand name to go with his grand ambitions: a comprehensive Atlas of Emotions to help the more than seven billion people on the planet navigate the morass of their feelings to attain peace and happiness.

“It is my duty to publish such work,” the Dalai Lama said.

To create this “map of the mind,” as he called it, the Dalai Lama reached out to a source Hollywood had used to plumb the workings of the human psyche.

Specifically, he commissioned his good friend Paul Ekman — a psychologist who helped advise the creators of Pixar’s “Inside Out,” an animated film set inside a girl’s head — to map out the range of human sentiments. Dr. Ekman later distilled them into the five basic emotions depicted in the movie, from anger to enjoyment.

Dr. Ekman’s daughter, Eve, also a psychologist, worked on the project as well, with the goal of producing an interactive guide to human emotions that anyone with an Internet connection could study in a quest for self-understanding, calm and constructive action.

“We have, by nature or biologically, this destructive emotion, also constructive emotion,” the Dalai Lama said. “This innerness, people should pay more attention to, from kindergarten level up to university level. This is not just for knowledge, but in order to create a happy human being. Happy family, happy community and, finally, happy humanity.”

The Dalai Lama paid Dr. Ekman at least $750,000 to develop the project, which began with a request several years ago.

Dr. Ekman recalled the Dalai Lama telling him: “When we wanted to get to the New World, we needed a map. So make a map of emotions so we can get to a calm state.”

As a first step, Dr. Ekman conducted a survey of 149 scientists (emotion scientists, neuroscientists and psychologists who are published leaders in their fields) to see where there was consensus about the nature of emotions, the moods or states they produce, and related areas.

Based on the survey, Dr. Ekman concluded that there were five broad categories of emotions — anger, fear, disgust, sadness and enjoyment — and that each had an elaborate subset of emotional states, triggers, actions and moods. He took these findings to a cartography and data visualization firm, Stamen, to depict them in a visual and, he hoped, useful way.

“If it isn’t fun, it’s a failure,” Dr. Ekman said. “It’s got to be fun for people to use.”

Photo

A diagram from the Atlas of Emotions. Credit Paul Ekman

Stamen’s founder, Eric Rodenbeck, has created data visualizations for Google, Facebook and MTV, as well as maps showing climate change and rising oceans. But he said the Atlas was the most challenging project he had worked on because it was “built around knowledge and wisdom rather than data.”

Not surprisingly, getting scientists to reach a unified understanding of human emotions was difficult.

Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, also counseled Pixar on establishing and depicting the emotional characters for “Inside Out.” He has even advised Facebook on emoticons.

Although Dr. Keltner took part in Dr. Ekman’s survey, the two are not in complete agreement on the number of core emotions. Still, Dr. Keltner said he saw the project as a good step.

“The survey questions could have allowed for more gray areas,” he said. “But it’s important to take stock of what the scientific consensus is in the field.”

Dr. Ekman emphasized that the Atlas was not a scientific work intended for peer review.

“It is a visualization for what we think has been learned from scientific studies,” he said. “It’s a transformative process, a work of explanation.”

The Dalai Lama wants to keep religion out of it.

“If we see this research work as relying on religious belief or tradition, then it automatically becomes limited,” he said. “Even if you pray to God, pray to Buddha, emotionally, very nice, very good. But every problem, we have created. So I think even God or Buddha cannot do much.”

The Dalai Lama said he hoped the Atlas could be a tool for cultivating good in the world by defeating the bad within us.

“Ultimately, our emotion is the real troublemaker,” he said. “We have to know the nature of that enemy.”

Read More…

Reference:
New York Times. Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/07/world/dalai-lama-website-atlas-of-emotions.html?_r=0 Retrieved on May 6, 2016.

Nooksack Tribe fires judge handling disenrollment case

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Judge says she was told to take a drug test, then fired ‘without cause’

Chairman says judge waived tribe’s sovereign immunity without hearing

Temporary judge approved, search to start for someone to fill position

Musqueam Post dedicated at UBC Vancouver campus

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Musqueam artist Brent Sparrow Jr. carved the new Musqueam Post during UBC’s Centennial year. Photo credit: Reese Muntean

The Musqueam people and the University of British Columbia acknowledged their developing partnership today with the dedication of a striking cedar post installed prominently on the Point Grey campus, which is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.

Carved by talented Musqueam artist, Brent Sparrow Jr., the post tells an origin story of the Musqueam involving a two-headed serpent.

“We cherish the relationship between the university and the Musqueam,” said Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow. “As UBC is on our traditional territory, it’s important that we work together closely to share our culture and look for opportunities to work together.”

The new Musqueam post is now installed, facing east towards the new Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre and the campus entrance, at the foot of a cascading water feature at University Boulevard and East Mall.

“This beautiful post will serve as a permanent welcome to all visitors to these grounds and as a reminder of our relationship with the Musqueam people who were here long before UBC’s history began,” said Interim President Martha Piper. “Its dedication, one of the closing events of UBC’s Centennial year, points towards renewed—and stronger—relationships in the future.”

The land upon which UBC and the post are situated has always been a place of learning for the Musqueam people, where culture, history, and traditions have been passed from one generation to the next.

A time-lapse video of the installation of the Musqueam post can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/1ii_DjN1kz8

A photo gallery of the creation of the Musqueam post can be viewed here: http://100.ubc.ca/galleries/musqueam-post/

For more on the post and the history of the Musqueam-UBC relationship, see http://centennial.aboriginal.ubc.ca

For more about partnership between the Musqueam and UBC, including academic courses and youth programs, visit: http://aboriginal.ubc.ca/community-youth/musqueam-and-ubc/

Brent Sparrow Jr. speaks about the Musqueam Post:

“This qeqən (post) tells the story of the origin of our name xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam). The old people spoke of a small lake called xʷməm̓qʷe:m (Camosun Bog) where the sʔi:ɬqəy̓ (double-headed serpent) originated. They were warned as youth to be cautious and not go near or they would surely die. This sʔi:ɬqəy̓ was so massive its winding path from the lake to the stal̕əw̓ (river) became the creek flowing through Musqueam to this day. Everything the serpent passed over died and from its droppings bloomed a new plant, the məθkʷəy̓. For this reason the people of long ago named that place xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam – place of the məθkʷəy̓)

This qeqən represents our xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) ancestors and our ongoing connection to them and this land through their teachings. The figure is holding the sʔi:ɬqəy̓’s tail to showcase this sχʷəy̓em̓’s (ancient history) passage through generations, relating how we became known as xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people – People of the məθkʷəy̓ plant. The scalloping reflects the sʔi:ɬqəy̓’s path and trigons represent the unique məθkʷəy̓ plant. The sʔi:ɬqəy̓’s stomach is said to have been as big as a storage basket, designed here as an oval. I drew upon these traditional design elements to depict this rich history.”

Significant Musqueam-UBC milestones

1927: A pair of Musqueam house posts are presented to UBC: http://100.ubc.ca/timeline/musqueam-house-posts-are-presented-to-ubc/

1993: The First Nations Longhouse, built in consultation with Musqueam and many other Aboriginal groups, opens as a gathering place for Aboriginal students and a place of learning for people from the broader community.

2006: The University of British Columbia and the Musqueam Indian Band sign a historic memorandum of affiliation to further the sharing of knowledge and the advancement of Musqueam and Aboriginal youth and adults in post-secondary education.