Native Americans in the United States

There Are 120 Years of Lakota History on This Calendar

Posted on

There Are 120 Years of Lakota History on This Calendar

The visual recording of life in the nation sheds light on a vanished culture

Smithsonian Magazine
January 2015

The old man Poolaw gave me my Indian name, Tsoai-talee (Rock tree boy), when I was an infant. Poolaw was a notable figure in the Kiowa tribe, an arrow maker and a calendar keeper. He died soon after I was born, and I regret that I did not come to know him. Nonetheless I feel close to him, for I have being in the name he gave me.

Tsoai, the rock tree, is what the Kiowas call Devils Tower, the monolithic outcropping in the shape of a tree stump, rising from the plains on the edge of the Black Hills in Wyoming. Tsoai is a principal landmark on the old migration route of the Kiowas from the Yellowstone River to the Southern Plains. According to Kiowa legend, it is the tree that carried seven sisters into the heavens where they became the stars of the Big Dipper. The story links the Kiowas forever to the stars, to relatives in the night sky.

Some years later my father and I went to the house where Poolaw had lived. In a bureau drawer in Poolaw’s bedroom, preserved by his family, were two items of interest—a human bone and a ledger book. Of the former my father said, “This is the forearm of a man named Two Whistles. I know nothing more about it.” Who was Two Whistles, I wondered, and how did the bone come into Poolaw’s possession? I encountered unrecorded history, if that is not a contradiction in terms… Read more.


Posted on

By Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez
Posted in – Voices Rising on April 17th, 2014 1 Comments
Tehuantepec Isthmus Land Protectors – frontlinedefenders.org photo
My father was sitting quietly in a hammock eating corn on the cob, he had just finished the first harvest. He was lean and tall. Behind him, my nieces and nephews were busy chewing their corn and drinking fresh atole. My father turned and looked at them saying: “my parents and grandparents and their grandparents have lived in this land and eaten what we grow and gather. We have worked hard but it has been a good life, how is growing your own food not a good thing? When my grandparents died, they said: “do not abandon this land.” As I write this, eight years have passed since my father first asked me to research on the impact of wind power generation on our people’s traditional livelihoods in the Tehuantepec Isthmus, the narrowest chunk of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Golf of Mexico. He was concerned with leasing our community’s lands to wind-power corporations and the prospect of not being able to be self-sufficient. Like my father, many Zapotec and Ikoot peasants and fishermen have a strong sense of belonging and respect for the land and water that have sustained them. Like Elsipogtog and other Indigenous nations around Turtle Island, the peoples of the Tehuantepec Isthmus are defending their lands against large-scale wind power parks, the new face of colonial dispossession.

Some like to believe that prosperity for Indigenous communities comes from international corporations and their ever-expanding need to accumulate wealth. Some others like to think that Indigenous people’s defense of their land and their traditional livelihoods are things of the past. Some like to think that our circumstances can get better when our communities conform to the norm of being part of a reservoir of cheap labour force. But as Cherokee scholar Jeff Corntassel notes in his post, “Indigenous peoples’ sense of belonging is what breaks through the colonial confines.” Like Cherokee or Nishnaabeg peoples, Zapotecs have their own word to describe belonging as responsibility. The word guendaliza means that we all are relatives and as such we have reciprocal responsibilities. When we say thank you in Zapotec we say chux quixely, which means ‘I will reciprocate’. Reciprocity is not limited to human beings but extends to the land and other beings visible or not. While governments, financial institutions, and the media insist that Indigenous peoples are backward, violent, and inefficient, the latter insist on maintaining their responsibility to defend their land. In the same way that Canada does not own the land in Elsipogtog, Indigenous lands in the Tehuantepec Isthmus belong to the Zapotec, Ikoot, Mixes and other peoples. Resource extraction and land dispossession without prior and informed consent and without benefits for Indigenous communities is at the heart of these conflicts… Read More

Call for Contributors – 50 Events That Shaped American Indian History, May 15, 2015

Posted on Updated on

Call for Contributors
50 Events That Shaped American Indian History
$100 per entry,  up to 2 entries per contributor, payment upon publication. Greenwood Publishers.

Please email donna.martinez@ucdenver.edu for a list of the Table of Contents.  Please respond with your top four topic choices. Editor will confirm your assignment (up to 2 choices) within 1-2 weeks.  Entry outline and style guidelines will be sent. First draft due date is May 15th.

5 things that may surprise you about Native Americans’ police encounters

Posted on

5 things that may surprise you about Native Americans’ police encounters

A day after attending a Native Lives Matter march, a Native American man in South Dakota was killed by a police officer

RAPID CITY, S.D. – It’s a familiar story: A police officer shoots and kills a person of color, and is later cleared. Community outrage and protests follow.

While the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City grabbed national headlines and spawned the Black Lives Matter movement, Native Americans say they’re also suffering from long-standing disparities in criminal justice, including police killings – far from the national spotlight.

In South Dakota, Native Americans told us police seem to target people driving license plates that begin with the number 6 – meaning they’re registered to residents of a reservation – or that display images of native identity, such as bumper stickers with feathers on them.

Some Native Americans in South Dakota said that they feel police target vehicles like this one that bear a license plate starting with the number 6, indicating that it's registered to an address on a reservation.

Some Native Americans in South Dakota said that they feel police target vehicles like this one that bear a license plate starting with the number 6, indicating that it’s registered to an address on a reservation.
America Tonight

Two recent incidents involving white officers in the state have stoked suspicions. In August, a tribal police officer on the Pine Ridge Reservation repeatedly used a stun gun on 32-year-old Jeffrey Eagle Bull. Then, in the state capital Pierre, the parents of an 8-year-old Rosebud Sioux girl sued police after four officers surrounded the child and used a stun gun on her when she was threatening to harm herself.

But concerns about how police treat native communities aren’t new. In 2000, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights noted that “many native Americans in South Dakota have little or no confidence in the criminal justice system” and warned that “the administration of justice at the federal and state levels is permeated by racism.”

The commission recommended increasing the number of Native Americans on the force, but 15 years later, the number of native officers on the 120-man Rapid City force has jumped from just one to three in a city where about 10 percent of the population is native.

Here are five things you might not know about Native Americans and their relationship with the police… Read More

Video: Watch Colorado Governor’s Sand Creek Apology

Posted on

Video: Watch Colorado Governor’s Sand Creek Apology

Hickenlooper Sand Creek Apology
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper offered an apology for what happened at the Sand Creek Massacre.

Cheyenne and Arapaho Television (CATV 47) was on hand for the 150th commemoration of the Sand Creek Massacre and documented the moment on December 3 when Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper offered an apology while standing on the steps of the state capitol.

“Today we gather here to formally acknowledge what happened, the massacre at Sand Creek,” he begins. “We should not be afraid to criticize and condemn that which is inexcusable, so I am here to offer something that has been too long in coming, and on behalf of the State of Colorado, I want to apologize.”

He recognized the runners, who had completed the Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run, and pointed out that the apology did not come lightly.

Watch the full video below:

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/12/17/video-watch-colorado-governors-sand-creek-apology-158325

Making American Indian Children a Priority!

Posted on

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.

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

Posted on Updated on

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…

View original post 814 more words

Job – Repatriation Coordinator, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Posted on

Job Description
The University of Massachusetts Amherst seeks a Repatriation Coordinator to oversee compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and to enhance the campus¹s program in Native American Studies.  The position is a three year 12 month lectureship in the Department of Anthropology. Starting salary is commensurate with experience.

The Repatriation Coordinator directs a small part-time staff and teaches two courses a year that complement the offerings of the Anthropology Department and the program in Native American Indian Studies.

Please submit a cover letter discussing qualifications, a cv/resume, and the names of three referees to http://umass.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=54202&CNTRNO=0&TSTMP=1414007048550.  Inquiries about the position can be addressed to

Dr. Robert Paynter, Chair, Search Committee at rpaynter@anthro.umass.edu.  Review of applications begins on November 21, 2014 and continues until the position is filled. Letters and additional materials from selected candidates will be due within 2 weeks of receiving such a request. Our negotiable ideal starting date is Feb. 1, 2015.

Justice Department Supports Native Americans In Child Welfare Case

Posted on

August 29, 2014 4:07 PM ET

“The Justice Department has weighed in on a class-action lawsuit in South Dakota pitting Native American tribes against state officials, and come down resoundingly in support of tribes.

It’s the first time the department has intervened in a federal district court case involving the Indian Child Welfare Act, a law meant to keep Native American families together. The department filed an amicus brief in the case concluding that the state is violating the rights of Native American parents.”



Posted on Updated on




for the



Hosted by the University of Texas at Austin

May 29-31, 2014

The NAISA Council invites scholars working in Native American and

Indigenous Studies to submit proposals for:

Individual papers, panel sessions, roundtables, or film screenings.

All persons working in Native American and Indigenous Studies are invited and encouraged to apply.  Proposals are welcome from faculty and students in colleges, universities, and tribal colleges; from community-based scholars and elders; and from professionals working in the field.

All those accepted to the Program must be NAISA members and must register for the meeting.

PLEASE NOTE: The Council limits submissions to one proposed session per person, in order to maximize representation at the meetings.  Each person can only be part of one proposal of any kind.  The Council reserves the right to disqualify proposals that include individuals who are part of more than one proposal.  Someone may however, be proposed to both Chair and present or Chair and commentwithin one session. Also, someone may organize a panel in which s/he does not have an active role and would be able to present a paper or chair/comment at another time in the program.

The Council may recruit panel chairs and commentators from people on successful proposals.

GO TO naisa.org for more information

about NAISA and the Austin 2014 meeting or email:NAISA2014UTAUSTIN@GMAIL.COM

DEADLINE for proposal submission: NOVEMBER 15, 2013