Issue 31, August 10, 2016

    A Letter from the Publisher


    Shekóli. With its incredible power to capture the imagination of global audiences and to shape opinions, Hollywood has long been a fickle storyteller of American Indian history. For every film like The Revenant, which strove to present Native characters and cultures in a realistic, three-dimensional light, there are dozens of movies from the past that cast Indians as stereotypical savages, relegated to the role of mindless, unthinking extras. Equally infuriating is the consistent absence of contemporary Native characters from mainstream productions.

    Native filmmakers and actors know the challenges of the marketplace. For Hollywood to change its approach, Native writers, producers, casting agents, actors and directors must continue to break down barriers so the future offers a more diverse and productive vision of our worlds than the past. And so, this week we take note of an important milestone with an interview of Indigenous filmmaker Taika Waititi (Maori).

    Waititi, who made his mark in New Zealand and among the creative Indigenous community here in Turtle Island, has been a role model and welcome colleague for our some of our best Native talent. Now he’s landed a job for all to celebrate: directing the third installment of the billion-dollar Thor franchise, Thor Ragnorak. In this issue, he speaks to ICTMN’s Vincent Schilling about what it means to be the first Indigenous director of a Marvel film.

    “When I was growing up, filmmaking was never an option as a career,” says Waititi, “nor was it on anyone’s list of potential jobs. But now it is. This is a huge step forward.” Absolutely. Let this first step be one of many firsts, until young Native kids sitting in a darkened theater can hope to look at the screen and not only see fantastical heroes, but also see themselves.

    NΛ ki wa,

    Ray Halbritter


    Indigenous Rights Versus The Body Politic

    In a democracy, civil rights are all to the good, argues Duane Champagne, but they should not necessarily take precedence over their Indigenous counterparts:

    Human rights and Indigenous rights are not the same. Thus, the treatment of Indigenous Peoples may only be a partial measure of a nation’s political health.

    Example: Some years ago, the Carter Center asked me to monitor an election in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. (The Center has often done this around the world, to support honest balloting procedures.) In this case, the issue was whether Freedmen—non-intermarried descendants of former black slaves—were going to be allowed to vote. The Carter Center saw election as a civil rights action, i.e. an exercise of freedom and suffrage.

    This was well and good, and supportive of American values for electoral democracy. A number of domestic agencies insisted that Freedmen participate in the vote. Otherwise, the federal government would withdraw significant funding. In the end, the Carter Center worked to ensure that the vote was open to all Cherokee citizens and Freedmen alike.

    There was a great amount of national press attention about this. However, very little attention was paid to the Cherokee Nation’s right to self-government. The election was a testament to the exercise of Indigenous rights. But this was neither well understood nor addressed in newspapers. When it came to the conflict between civil rights and Indigenous rights, the latter took second place.

    There are many examples beyond the Cherokee elections. It seems that when conflicts arise, American law and interests tend to predominate over Indigenous rights and cultures.

    A Clash Of Women’s Cultures

    Don’t patronize my Native notions of feminism, says Ruth Hopkins:

    I do things as a strong, empowered Oceti Sakowin (Sioux) woman that non-Native settler feminists do not understand—nor seem to want to. Through their colonial lens, they view sacred women’s ways as submissive rather than humble.

    For instance, they assume that because I wear a long dress or skirt to ceremony, I’m being treated as an inferior. Nothing could be further from the truth. I wear my floor-sweeping skirt out of respect for my ancestors, the brothers and sisters in my circle, and myself. To wear the skirt is an honor. When we cover our power of creation in modesty and dignity, we are shining examples of feminine beauty, and the power of the deity White Buffalo Calf Woman herself flows through us.

    We do not need to be men. In fact, the ancestors taught that we are more powerful than men. After all, Ina Maka (Mother Earth) was the first Indigenous female. Women carry the power of the Great Mystery within our wombs. We care for our men too, because we love them and we want them to be strong, and be the best version of themselves. We are not adversaries; we are partners.

    Within mainstream society, feminism needs to overcome the screaming domination that is global patriarchy. When I see women like Michelle Obama lead, I see hope for equality for all women, not just whites or feminists. As for myself and other traditional Native women like me, being a woman is all the power we need.

    Feminism isn’t the answer; returning to traditional lifeways is. Our strength as women is within us, whether Western colloquialisms apply or not. We lead in our own way.

    Why No Indian President?

    ICTMN editor at large Gyasi Ross considers why the prospects of a Native commander-in-chief are dim:

    Americans still have not normalized interactions with Natives. This is manifest in many ways in pop culture today. For decades there are have been movies where a black person plays a president, making folks more comfortable with the idea. There have also been movies where women and Latinos/as and Asians play presidents and every other role under the sun.

    For Natives, though? Not so much.

    Similarly, I am largely asked to only comment or write about “Native stuff.”  But “Native stuff” is a huge category, whether we’re talking about national politics to public school funding to infrastructure and trade policy. As is the case with acting, blacks, women, Latino/as, Asians, etc. are all considered competent to speak about things that are universal. It is not unusual for them to comment or write on national news.

    For Natives? Not so much.

    We also see a lack of normalized interaction in regard to our tragedies. Simply stated, the mainstream largely does not care about or cannot relate to Native pain or outrage. They ignore the structural and institutional barriers, for example, that allow Native women to be raped at a rate exponentially higher than other women. They likewise ignore the barriers that forbid Native nations from prosecuting outsiders who peddle drugs and murder our people.

    In brief, there is 1) a perception that Natives cannot partake in these larger conversations and 2) a lack of empathy or understanding about our communities. When those two things are combined with the mathematical fact that Natives are a tiny percentage of the population, it doesn’t bode well for a Native rising to be president anytime soon.

    ICT News

    Kenneth-Dennis_sixthpage_updated_for-web (2)USDA Awards $2.2 Million To Remote Native Villages

    Eight remote Native groups in five states will receive over $2.2 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants for Distance Learning and Telemedicine programs, it was announced on July 14.

    “Using technology for educational opportunities and medical care can provide services that are often unavailable in rural areas,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine Program helps communities better meet the needs of their residents.”

    In Alaska, for instance, the Tanana Chiefs Conference was awarded a $375,000 grant that will allow upgrades and purchases of telemedicine equipment. Elsewhere in the state, Copper River School District was awarded $488,558 to provide distance-learning services to five primary schools in extremely remote villages. Hope Community Resources Inc., based in Anchorage, received $279,820 to purchase video conferencing equipment to provide mental health and disability counseling and training and support services. Arctic Slope Native Association Ltd. of Barrow was awarded $287,198 to purchase a tele-pharmacy remote dispensing system.

    In California, the Karuk Tribe was awarded $116,677 to provide video conferencing equipment to support the delivery of specialty care, primary care and behavioral health care services. Minnesota’s Bois Forte Band of Chippewa received $91,821 to provide telemedicine, tele-pharmacy and distance learning for patients at all Boise Forte Health and Human Services sites.

    In New Mexico, the Santa Fe Indian School Inc. was awarded $318,093 to provide video conferencing equipment at 16 end-user sites to support the maintenance of the Native languages of the state’s 19 Pueblos. Finally, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma was awarded $263,384 for video conferencing equipment for educational initiatives in 30 schools for the “Holbvt toba Aianumpuli” (“Talking TV”) project.

    Justice Department Will Investigate Death Of Navajo Woman


    The Justice Department will investigate the death of 27-year-old Loreal Tsingine (Navajo), who was shot five times by a Winslow, Arizona police officer after an alleged shoplifting incident on March 27. The department’s civil rights division will review “the local investigation, assessing all available materials to determine what actions may be appropriate,” said spokesman David F. Jacobs.

    The Navajo Nation Council formally asked U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch for an investigation in May. “We are hopeful that a federal investigation will bring justice for the Tsingine family,” said Navajo Nation Speaker LoRenzo Bates.

    The Maricopa County Attorney’s office ruled in July that the shooting, by officer Austin Shipley, entailed no criminal conduct. The Winslow police had requested an independent investigation by the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which turned over its report to Maricopa County at the request of the county attorney’s office.

    Since the incident, Shipley’s professional record has come under scrutiny. According to Winslow police records, a lieutenant recommended that the department should not retain Shipley, citing among other concerns his having conducted improper investigations and having failed to control suspects when making arrests. Twice during his three years on the job, the records reveal, Shipley received letters of disposition, or official findings, from the department, stemming from complaints about his conduct. Winslow has been on paid leave since the shooting.

    Tsingine had previously been arrested multiple times on charges of shoplifting and public drinking. She also was detained twice last year for aggravated assault and for trying to gain control over an officer’s firearm, according to police records.

    Legislation Would Connect Isolated Alaskan Community To Airport


    New federal legislation would relieve the medical burdens of the remote community of King Cove, Alaska by building a link to roads in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge—which would in turn connect to the nearest all-weather airport. The passage would allow faster responses to life-threatening emergencies.

    Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, all Republicans, introduced identical bills in July. They call for an equal-value land transfer in exchange for a single-lane, non-commercial road between King Cove and Cold Bay Airport, 25 miles away.

    Travel by air or water from King Bay, situated in the Aleutian Islands between two massive volcanic mountains, has always been dangerous for seriously ill or injured medically evacuated patients and rescue personnel because of severe weather conditions. Currently, residents requiring emergency treatment must fly to Cold Bay and then to facilities 625 miles away in Anchorage.

    “This is and always has been a human rights issue,” said King Cove Mayor Henry Mack. “Building a small, gravel road will ensure that we will have a dependable lifeline to safety.”

    “We are hopeful that this long-fought battle for safe, reliable transportation access will soon be over,” said Aleutians East Borough Mayor Stanley Mack. “We just want to have what most Americans take for granted—the ability to get to a hospital safely when medical emergencies occur.”

    Since Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell issued an order on December 23, 2013, rejecting the latest attempt at a road and land exchange, there have been 46 medical evacuations from the area.


    ICT News


    Mayan Leaders, Free Of Charges, Will Still Sue Government Of Belize


    No longer facing official charges of assault, Mayan leaders in Santa Cruz, Belize will nonetheless continue a lawsuit they have filed against the government for failing to protect their community.

    On June 24, 2015, Belizean police arrested 13 villagers and leaders of the Mayan Leaders Alliance (MLA) on charges of illegally imprisoning and assaulting Rupert Myles, a man the MLA asserted had illegally started to build a structure on top of a sacred site. A little more than a year later, on June 27, the Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that the charges would be “discontinued” and that the office “had no intentions to lay charges against the accused in the future.”

    “The Mayan Leaders Alliance welcomes this decision,” said the organization. “This was never a case about the difference between Belizean and Maya customary law. This was always a case about the constitutional rights of poor people in Belize and whether or not officials would respect the rule of law.”

    Nonetheless, the MLA says it will press forth with a prior claim against the government in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). The Mayan community had charged that the government failed to protect territorial rights that had been ordered by the CCJ in April of last year—two months before the conflict with Myles and the arrests of the leaders.

    Both the MLA and the Belizean government have submitted their reports to the CCJ regarding the events and are awaiting further rulings, said Cristina Croc, one of the arrested Mayan leaders.

    Soboba Band Completes First Phase of Solar Project

    With sustainable development, environmental preservation and energy independence in mind, the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians celebrated the completion of the first phase of its solar energy project with an opening ceremony on July 25.

    The Soboba Band broke ground on the project in January and has built the first of two solar arrays that will power the tribal administration building, schools and other community buildings. It is one of the first tribal projects of this scale in Southern California Edison (SCE)’s service area.

    “I am proud to be a small part of this momentous occasion,” Tribal Administrator Michael Castello said. “This project and the one to follow will be a major benefit to the Tribe, to the environment and not just for today but for decades and generations to come.”

    The 1.107-megawatt solar system, built on 4.42 acres, is designed to produce 2,022,506 kilowatt hours annually. Rainfall will act as an ally by washing away dirt and dust, keeping the panels as efficient as possible. “It’s nature working with technology, contributing to strong economic growth for your tribe,” said Don Carlson, vice president of project development at Coldwell Solar.

    “The people of your tribe have much in common with today’s endeavors in solar power,” Carlson added. “Well before any other settlement was established here, self-sufficiency was central to this tribe’s rich and diverse history. You are the original agricultural stewards of this region. Once again, your tribe will harness the power of the sun.”

    The project is supported by Optimum Group, Coldwell Solar, the Department of Energy and SCE.

    Invoking Hunting And Gathering Rights, Minnesota Tribes Challenge Pipelines


    Members of several northern Minnesota Ojibwe Bands are preparing a legal challenge to oppose two proposed oil pipelines. The challenge would reaffirm their hunting, fishing and gathering rights, as guaranteed by the 1855 Treaty of Washington.

    At issue are the Sandpiper and Line 3 Replacement pipelines. Both projects would traverse wide swaths of pristine lakes and rivers, as well as large, unfragmented forests ceded under the 1855 treaty. The lands, constituting the heart of Minnesota’s iconic north woods, include the headwaters of the Mississippi River.

    “This landscape is threatened,” said Winona LaDuke, (White Earth Ojibwe), executive director of Honor the Earth. “It is clear that neither the state nor these companies are going to voluntarily accept the existence of our legal rights.”

    Leading the challenge is the 1855 Treaty Authority, whose members are the Chippewa from East Lake, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, Sandy Lake and White Earth. Tribes in the 1855 ceded territory do not currently enjoy court-affirmed treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather off-reservation.

    However, said 1855 Treaty Authority Executive Director Frank Bibeau (White Earth Ojibwe), “We are defending individual Ojibwe tribal members in state court using treaty rights and other federal laws as a defense to state jurisdiction. We are also deliberately advancing our treaty rights through direct challenges to state law.”

    Attorney Joe Plumer, an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, is also optimistic. “There is nothing in the 1855 Treaty that unequivocally gives up any rights to hunt, fish and gather in our ceded territory,” he said. “It is well established that rights not taken away in treaties remain with the tribes.”

    Victory For Tribal Balloting

    Decision strikes down photo ID requirements


    Bottom Line: In one of the most contentious election years in history, North Dakota Natives will find it easier to vote.

    Native American Rights Fund attorneys John Echohawk and Matthew Campbell filed the voting-rights suit in January.

    Courtesy Native American Rights Fund

    A federal judge last week struck down a North Dakota law that required voters to provide photo identification in order to cast their ballots. The decision effectively states that the law constituted an undue burden on the Native Americans who make up 25 percent of the state’s electorate.

    In his decision in the case of Brakebill v. Jaeger, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland on August 1 rejected the state’s argument that the law was “necessary” to prevent voter fraud. “The undisputed evidence before the Court,” he wrote, “reveals that voter fraud in North Dakota has been virtually non-existent.”

    The Native American Rights Fund (NARF) filed the suit in January on behalf of seven tribal plaintiffs. At issue were North Dakota House Bills 1332 and 1333, which allowed only four types of IDs to verify identity. The restrictive law disallowed even passports and military IDs.

    But during the 2014 election season, lead plaintiff and U.S. military veteran Richard Brakebill argued that he and other tribal members were disenfranchised because his address was not listed on his ID.

    “I felt bad about being turned away from the polls at the last election,” said co-plaintiff and fellow veteran Elvis Norquay. “It is my right to vote for whomever I want. I shouldn’t be turned away just because I didn’t have my address listed.”

    In their suit, the plaintiffs argued that the new laws imposed a substantial burden on tribal members because no Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) facilities exist on any of North Dakota’s five Indian reservations—facilities where drivers’ licenses, which provide addresses, might be obtained for identification purposes.

    Moreover, the plaintiffs argued, some DMV sites are hours away from Native homes, creating a travel challenge for tribal members, many of whom live below the poverty line, who wished to obtain the necessary IDs.

    North Dakota was the only state in the country without a “fail-safe” clause, such as provisional balloting, that would allow voters to sign an affidavit of identity to prevent such inconveniences.

    “The public interest in protecting the most cherished right to vote for thousands of Native Americans who currently lack a qualifying ID and cannot obtain one, outweighs the purported interest and arguments of the State,” Judge Hovland wrote. “No eligible voter, regardless of their station in life, should be denied the opportunity to vote.”

    The Brakebill decision is the latest in a series of recent federal circuit court rulings that have curbed restrictive new voter ID and “proof-of-citizenship” laws brought under Section Two of the Voting Rights Act.

    These laws arose after the landmark Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder (2013) struck down key provisions of the Act that required state and local governments with historically poor voting rights records to seek federal “preclearance” before implementing any election-law changes.


    North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, whose office issues voting guidelines, was the defendant in the case.AP Images/Dale Wetzel, File

    Under the controversial 5-4 Shelby ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts declared that preclearance was no longer necessary because it was based on “outdated” information. Since then, litigation has emerged in over 16 states where tribal nations and/or individual tribal citizens have filed suit to ensure their right to vote.

    On July 29, for example, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected voter ID laws in North Carolina. The panel ruled that the legislature had passed new legislation not only intended to discriminate but which had “targeted African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

    That same day, U.S. District Court Judge James Peterson struck down Wisconsin’s new voter ID and restrictive election laws. “The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement,” Peterson wrote, “which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities.”

    In Kansas, home to the Kickapoo Tribe of Indians and the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Nation, Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks overturned a rule issued by the secretary of state that forced voters to show “proof of citizenship” that was imposed without a public hearing.

    And in Texas, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the state’s voter ID laws “discriminatory” and ordered the state to fix its voter ID law before the November general elections.

    Against this background, Brakebill v. Jaeger represents a second NARF victory in protecting voting rights for Indian people in the last year. In 2015, the organization agreed with Alaska that the state would provide voting materials and ballots in the Gwich’in and Yup’ik dialects.

    “What we asked for is that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast a ballot, particularly Native Americans,” said NARF attorney Matthew Campbell. “This ruling is an incredible victory for North Dakota voters, as it will ensure that fail-safe mechanisms will be in place in November to protect them.”

    The Beauty Of The Slot Canyons

    Quiet, arresting displays of light and a unique ambience


    Bottom Line: Staggering geological formations in Arizona make for a memorable tourist experience and a Native business success.

    Upper Antelope is the most popular of the several canyons that make up the site.

    Jackie McNeel

    It is difficult to convey the breathtaking awe that grips a visitor to the Slot Canyons near Page, Arizona. The bright colors of the sandstone and the swirling patterns of the rock caused by centuries of water and wind are magnificent. It is a world like no other.

    The formations are narrow—mere slots in the hills, thus earning them their name. Some areas are barely wide enough for one person to pass at a time. Visitors come to view and take photos, guided by five Navajo agencies.

    “We could have pretty close to 3,000 people visiting each week now,” said Vernon Tso, a guide for 11 years. “And this is still pretty slow, just the beginning of the season.”


    The entrance to Upper Antelope Canyon is an unobtrusive slit in the rocks.Jack McNeel

    The area wasn’t always so popular. Before 1997, relatively few people stopped by, and no guides were required. Then, in 1997, a flash flood roared through one of the canyons, killing 11. Those who were lost were from all over the world, and word of the disaster made international headlines. Navajo Parks and Recreation completely closed the canyons, not allowing anyone to enter without a guide.

    But 19 years later, Slot Canyons is back in business, and all guides are trained for a variety of situations, including first aid, CPR, airborne pathogens, hazardous materials and fire safety. To work as guides, personnel need the proper certifications. (The guides not only provide safety and photographic assistance; they are conversant in the geological, plant and animal communities within the canyons as they relate to the Navajo world.)

    The canyons themselves twist and turn. They are sometimes very narrow and then open to small rooms. Often they are very dark, then lighten as sunshine finds its way through openings above. The effect creates an intimate experience where one can almost feel the walls, which are quite close.

    Upper Antelope Canyon receives the largest number of tourists and requires commensurate cooperation. Each of the five tour companies is permitted up to 20 guides a day, and up to 70 visitors per tour. That adds up to many visitations per day. Without coordination, the results would be quite chaotic. Even so, some of the tours are crowded. Happily, the sheer number of tours and tourists generates many jobs and considerable income. (The price per tour ranges from $25 to $95.)


    When light filters in, the effect is often eerily beautiful.Jackie McNeel

    Photo tours, which provide time for taking pictures, are also offered for experienced shooters. Guides know the best times of day to catch the rays of light that filter through openings many feet above, at just the right angle. Summer solstice provides more beams streaming down and even better photo opportunities. “The position of the sun is very important in Antelope Canyon,” Tso said. “We keep track of the solstices to remember the sun schedule.”

    Among the other Slot Canyons, Cathedral is less widely known and less advertised. But it provides much of the same beauty and fascination as Antelope, and with fewer people. In a couple of places, boulders have dropped from the rims far above and have lodged near the canyon floor, requiring visitors to crawl beneath them. The striations in the rock and the beautiful colors make for incredible photographic opportunities. The quiet, stillness and unique beauty combine for an amazing experience.

    As for the visitors, they arrive frequently by busload. Curiously, they come mainly from outside the United States. Japanese, Koreans, Chinese and French are the most numerous, along with a good number of Canadians.

    “We’re often fortunate,” Tso said, “to get an American on a tour.”

    Boosts For A Native Syllabus

    In Washington State, a new round of funding


    Bottom Line:With additional grants, Washington can enhance its classroom teaching of Native history.

    Native students in Washington State recently showed support for the ‘Since Time Immemorial’ curriculum.

    Beginning in 2005, Washington State “encouraged” its schools to teach the history of its 29 federally recognized Indigenous Nations. Ten years later, in 2015, Olympia made that encouragement mandatory.

    Now, additional measures will bolster efforts to ensure that Washington students are sufficiently versed in their state’s Native American culture.

    Those measures take the form of two grants, totaling $600,000, awarded to Western Washington University (WWU)’s Woodring College of Education. The grants will support the training of teachers to better enable them to impart the Native-themed curriculum, “Since Time Immemorial” and its stated goal of teaching “with tribes, rather than about them.”

    “These two grants not only advance our professional development work in schools but, most significantly, forge important new efforts with Native American communities in our region,” said Woodring College of Education Dean Francisco Rios.

    Of the total, two-thirds—or $400,000—is being invested in “Implementation of Since Time Immemorial: Higher Education and K-12 School Partnership Pilot Project.” It is a collaboration of Woodring College, the University of Washington, WWU and the state Office of Native Education.

    The project will assist schools and districts with a high number of Native American students. These include Chief Kitsap Academy, which is owned and operated by the Suquamish; Lummi Nation School; Marysville School District (which serves students from the Tulalip Tribes); Muckleshoot Tribal School; Shelton School District (which serves the Skokomish and Squaxin); Taholah School District, which serves students from the Quinault Nation; and Wellpinit School District (serving Spokane Tribe students).

    The curriculum includes such topics as “Exploring Washington State—Tribal Homelands,” “Washington Territory and Treaty Making,” “Being Citizens in Washington: The Boldt Decision” and “Encounter, Colonization and Devastation.” The project will provide training workshops, professional development and coaching to teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals.

    “Our entire team,” said Kristen French, associate professor of elementary education at WWU, “is dedicated to providing professional development that teaches regional tribal government, culture and history through the STI curriculum.”

    The second grant, of $200,000, will be used to train teachers and administrators in the La Conner and Concrete school districts, which attend to Swinomish students. The partnership will “personalize the STI curriculum and develop hands-on science lessons focused on the restoration and care of the environment essential to maintaining the traditional Swinomish way of living,” said Tim Bruce, an instructor at Woodring College.

    Teachers and principals will receive training in the basics of the curriculum and then will dig deeper into the aspects that relate to science, focusing on such locally relevant and culturally significant topics as salmon recovery, tideland impacts and water use.

    It is expected that teachers and principals will have a strong working knowledge of the curriculum by spring 2017 and have multiple lesson plans ready for submission to a digital library, to share with a wider audience.

    In addition to the above projects, regional training will be hosted in October by the Toppenish School District, on the Yakama Nation reservation; Education Service District 113, in Olympia; the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, whose students attend schools in the North Kitsap School District; and the Lummi Nation, whose students attend Lummi schools or schools in the Ferndale School District.

    Thirty percent of school districts in Washington are using “Since Time Immemorial,” which was developed by the state in consultation with Indigenous Nations in Washington.

    The Maori Director Of ‘Thor’

    An Indigenous filmmaker tackles a superhero


    Waititi: ‘This is a big deal for me and for any Indigenous community.’

    Matt Sayles/Invision/AP Images

    Editor’s Note: The New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (Maori) is skyrocketing as the director of the upcoming Thor Ragnarok, based on the legendary Marvel comic book superhero Thor. As a director, Waititi was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2004 short film Two Cars, One Night; his features Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople are two of the top-grossing films in New Zealand. He is also well known for his acting in, and direction of, the vampire spoof What We Do in the Shadows.

    In an interview with ICTMN, Waititi discusses his latest project and his experiences with films in general.


    How does it feel to be the first Indigenous director of a Marvel feature film?

    It feels amazing. This is a big deal for me, this is a big deal for our community and for any Indigenous community. We don’t have that kind of representation. I feel as though it is about time, but being Maori you carry a lot of weight and expectation when you’re doing a film like this.

    It’s also a way to show younger people that such a thing is possible—that our voice is valid and we can make comic book movies as well. We can do anything we want to if we try. When I was growing up, filmmaking was never an option as a career, nor was it on anyone’s list of potential jobs. But now it is. This is a huge step forward.

    There are small things in this film that I feel are Indigenous gestures. There is a responsibility, I think, to do this when you’re bringing a big Hollywood film to Australia or anywhere. You have to look for ways to give back to the Indigenous communities.

    We are working with different agencies to bring young aboriginal people into the group. Different departments will have aboriginal representation there, working closely with every department. We also had an opening ceremony by the local aboriginal community for this film.

    Have you always been a comic book fan?

    I’ve always been a huge comic book fan. I used to collect comics, put them in those plastic covers with cardboard backings. I loved Detective comics and Batman, X-Men. I used to also collect obscure ones by Dark Horse and Vertigo comics.

    I think the movie industry should start moving more into graphic novels like “The Killing Joke” or small things with two or three characters, such as Wolverine and Havoc. That is kind of like what we’re doing with Thor.


    Chris Hemsworth, complete with hammer, stars as Thor. Marvel/Disney

    What is your advice for a budding Native filmmaker?

    The main thing is to try and tell stories and not to think about how far it can go. I never thought about this and for me it was never a dream. I just imagined all I would do was independent films and I would just tell stories my way.

    But I got noticed for doing things my way, which was a unique way. If you want to work with Marvel, or one of these big studios, my advice would be to not study the superhero films. Study other films. Study art films, old cinema and worry about the storytelling, because that’s why they wanted me. It was because of my ability to tell stories.

    Did you ever conceive that you would be able to obtain this sort of achievement as a young indigenous kid from New Zealand?

    No way. It was never a job that I could ever have.  And it’s hard as Indigenous youth not to put yourself down, if you f**k up you put yourself down. This was never part of my plan. I didn’t have this type of expectation.

    At the first of this year, Chris Hemsworth [the star of Thor Ragnarok] and his wife threw a cowboys and Indians party and posted the photo to Instagram. Do you find it interesting that he now is working with an Indigenous director?

    Chris is very caring and he was very supportive and mindful to the indigenous community here in Australia. We all have some learning to do. None of us are exempt. We are all learning as we go, and we are all trying to be good people.

    Is there ever a point where you say, “Holy crap, I’m making a superhero movie?”

    Every day. Every single day I look around and I see the scale of this movie and how many people are involved and I think “Oh my God, how the f**k am I going to do this?” It is totally crazy. We are now four weeks into the shoot and even after one week I was starting to feel sad that it was going to be over someday. I haven’t even thought about what’s to come.

    Department of Interior
    Bureau of Indian Education
    Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School
    P.O. Box 672
    Eagle Butte, SD 57625

    The Cheyenne-Eagle Butte is advertising the following positions
    for the 2016/2017 School Year on

    • Teacher (Mathematics)–High School
      (2 positions)
    • Teacher (Science)–High School
      (2 positions)
    • Teacher (Science)–Jr. High School
    • Teacher (Special Education)–Primary School
    • Teacher (Elementary)–Primary School
      (2 positions)

    For qualification and/or more information go to

    Executive Director:
    The Spokane Tribe of Indians is seeking an Executive Director (Contract Position). The individual must be a motivated leader with Executive Level Supervisory experience. Masters and or Bachelors sought for Educational requirements.

    Applicants must demonstrate a working knowledge of Tribal Governmental Operations and must have the ability to supervise all government disciplines.

    For a complete job description outlining responsibilities, education, and experience requirements visit our website at


    The Burns Paiute Tribe is seeking a General Manager who can lead the Tribe in its efforts to grow and prosper while retaining its cultural heritage. Located in southeastern Oregon, the Tribe is searching for a leader with excellent communication skills, experience in tribal economic and community development, the ability to advance strategic priorities and knowledge of Federal Indian Law. Candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree in public administration or a related field and at least ten years of experience in management. A Master’s degree is preferred. The position reports to the seven-member Tribal Council and manages a $4.1 million annual budget with 50 employees. The salary range for this position is $80,000-$110,000, depending on qualifications, along with a competitive benefit package.

    The successful candidate will be expected to build on the Tribe’s recent strategic planning efforts related to services, facilities and economic and community development, including developing partnerships with neighboring communities, state agencies and federal partners. Please review the job description for a complete overview of the duties, responsibilities and desired qualifications.


    Please send a cover letter, resumé and supplemental question responses to:

    Human Resource Director
    Burns Paiute Tribe
    100 Pasigo Street
    Burns, OR 97720

    In your cover letter, please include three personal references. Additionally, indicate whether or not we may contact your current employer. All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on September 30, 2016. Questions about the position should be submitted to

    Indian Preference will be given to candidates meeting the minimum job qualifications and showing proof of enrollment in a federally recognized tribe. In the absence of qualified Indian applicants, all qualified applicants not entitled to or who fail to claim Indian Preference, will receive consideration without regards to Race, Color, Creed, Sex, Politics, Age, Religion or National Origin.

    Finalists will be required to:

    • Pass a drug screening
    • Pass a criminal background check
    • Submit to a credit background check

    To view the supplemental questions please see full ad at:


    Construction work for this project includes a new building 54,000 square feet with two towers joined by a glass and steel atrium and related site work. The North Tower is three stories while the South Tower is two stories with finished storage space in attic. Energy efficient elements of this project include ground-mounted solar PV and ground source heat pumps.

    The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe utilizes “Procore” construction project management software for viewing and downloading copies of the Bid Documents.

    Interested bidders are to contact Grants & Contracts Office by e-mail:, or tel. (518) 358-2272, to be added to bidders list for this project.

    Preference in the award of the Contract shall be given to Native American/Alaska Native organizations and economic enterprises.  Any contractor claiming Native American/Alaska Native Preference shall give evidence, as required by the Owner, to support this at least one week prior to bid opening.  All preferences shall be announced prior to the bid opening.




    The Week in Photos

    Courtesy Central Montana Tourism

    Titus Yearout, 12, was one of 167 participants in this year’s 100-mile Nez Perce Trail Ride.

    Thosh Collins

    Adam Beach (Saulteaux First Nation), a star of Windtalkers (2002), Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and the current Suicide Squad (2016), has been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Eve Auction House

    Federal authorities are seeking the return of this stolen ceremonial Acoma Pueblo shield, currently held by the Paris-based EVE auction house.

    Euan Kerr/Minnesota Public Radio via AP Images.File

    The acclaimed Ojibwe author, poet and playwright Jim Northrup walked on August 1 of complications from kidney cancer.

    Headlines from the Web

    Upcoming Events


    August 15-17: Indian Land Working Group Symposium
    The 26th annual symposium, “Scaling Up Responsible Land Management, Ownership & Rights,” will bring together key stakeholders to interact with individual landowners and tribes to discuss land trust policies and the latest legislation affecting trust land issues. Workshop topics will facilitate group discussions on key issues to promote outcomes that maximize innovation and education in Native land governance.
    Location: Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin

    August 15-17: Traditional Native Games Certification Clinic
    Presented by the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council-Health & Wellness in Indian Country, the clinic will afford opportunities to explore Plains Indian culture and earn certification in Level III games. Emphasis will be placed on advanced crafting; a review of Levels I and II games will also be available, as well as an exploration of horse games for advanced riders. Funding is made possible in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Location: Crow Agency, Montana

    August 16-18: Self-Monitoring Basics & Best Practices (Indian Housing Block Grants)
    Recipients of Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG) must complete an annual self-monitoring to ensure compliance with IHBG and other applicable federal requirements. During this course, participants will learn how to properly plan and execute a self-monitoring review. They will receive the help of appropriate exercises and hands-on review of the office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s self-monitoring plan checklists, including such items as procedures procurement and admissions/occupancy. Other training topics will be developing and implementing a Corrective Action Plan; managing the self-monitoring process; and anticipating HUD monitoring.
    Location: Housing and Urban Development Office, Phoenix, Arizona

    August 16-18: Business of Indian Agriculture & Food Sovereignty Assessment
    This “training the trainer” event is designed to assist agricultural producers in communities with advice on how to develop their businesses and help them gain access to bigger and better opportunities. The first two days, devoted to the business of Indian agriculture, will cover such topics as developing a business plan; setting up bookkeeping systems; and learning about agribusiness economics, marketing, land use, risk management, personal financial management and the use of credit. An optional third day, covering food sovereignty assessment, begins the process of telling the food story of a community through a community-driven and participative process of data collection. Sponsored by the First Nations Development Institute.
    Location: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa, Catoosa, Oklahoma

    August 17: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Oversight Field Hearing
    “Addressing Trauma and Mental Health Challenges in Indian Country” will be the subject of this oversight field hearing, the second in a series that began in November 2014.
    Location: United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, North Dakota


    Letters to the Editor

    Re Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s reflection on “Healing Unresolved Grief in Indigenous and Settler Societies” (August 1):

    I am so glad I found this article. I could not agree more with the author’s hypothesis that oppression harms all parties. It is an imposed hierarchy of unearned privilege, authority, and domination.

    I am currently conducting a project on Native American women and empowerment, and have been looking for resources on intergenerational trauma and grief and holistic views of healing. Ms. Gilio-Whitaker’s essay is perfect.

    As someone with the unearned privilege of white American-ness, it is incumbent upon me to use that privilege to promote the liberation of us all. And liberation requires that the truth be spoken.

    “The truth is out and getting louder. Now we stand and claim our power.”

    —Christina Warden



    Top News Alerts


    Fond du Lac author, poet and linguist Jim Northrup has walked on at the age of 73. A Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Northrup worked to uphold Anishinaabe tradition with books and newspaper columns that captured life on the rez, taking readers through adventures both otherworldly and mundane. Northrup’s volumes included Walking the Rez Road, Rez Road Follies, Anishinaabe Syndicated: A View from the Rez, Dirty Copper and Rez Salute: The Real Healer Dealer.


    The Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) has awarded business development grants totaling $947,406 to 20 federally recognized tribes and one Alaska Native corporation. The awards, from IEED’s Native American Development Institute Feasibility Study Program, will enable tribal leaders to better evaluate and identify viable economic opportunities. Grants are awarded on the basis of a proposal’s potential to create tribal jobs and stimulate economies in Native American communities. This year’s grants encompass such projects as restaurants, retail facilities, a wood pellet manufacturing plan and an RV park.


    The Indian Health Service has completed work on the Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center in Hemet, California, which will treat alcohol and drug abuse among youth ages 12 to 19. About 70 full-time employees will tend to a maximum of 32 patients at a time when the facility opens later this year. “This is part of the continuing IHS commitment to provide quality behavioral health care to this age group,” said agency leader Mary Smith.


    The Justice Department has filed a warrant for the return of a sacred ceremonial shield that it asserts was stolen from the Acoma Pueblo in the 1970s and is now in the possession of a French auction house. The Paris-based house, EVE, put the shield up for auction this spring but withdrew it shortly before the sale in May. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico filed the formal complaint on July 20.


    The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma has delayed launching its real-money games at until October 15. The tribe initially planned to turn its play-for-fun site into an online gambling site, targeted at the international marketplace, on August 1. But the tribe said the delay provides more time to secure foreign gaming licenses and international merchant processing banking. The 800-member tribe made history when a U.S. District Court ruled that using the Internet to offer certain “covered games” under the tribe’s Class III Gaming Compact with the state of Oklahoma was legal.

    How Did I Miss That?

    The algorithms of crime, UFOs in St. Louis
    and the terorist threat to Paris Hilton


    Photo courtesy Steve Russell Steve Russell

    The answer to the burning question “Whatever happened to Paris Hilton?” is that she has been working in Ibiza—where tourism is the principal occupation—as a disc jockey. Recently she announced that she would make a great target for ISIS and so she is “watching her back.”

    “Last we heard of her,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller snarked, “everybody was watching her back. Her backside, that is.”

    * * *

    Foreign Policy reported that Swedish police officer Mikaela Kellner was sunbathing when a man tried to steal a phone from a woman nearby. Not thinking of her clothes, or lack of same, Kellner gave chase. The arrest was captured on video.

    A civilian video of a police encounter in the U.S. often involves somebody getting shot, whereas the Swedish video showed a man being subdued by a half-naked policewoman.

    “That’s Sweden,” Cousin Ray laughed. “There’s no guns in Sweden.”

    Well, not exactly. The U.S. ranks number one in civilian gun ownership, while Sweden is a respectable ten.

    * * * reported that a street mural originally commissioned by Jersey City has been painted over without notice in spite of the artist’s efforts to deal with complaints that just kept coming.

    Gary Wynans is the real name of the artist, who goes by Mr. AbiLLity, and his mural was in the form of a giant Monopoly board. It was unclear which complaints actually came from the public and which came from city bureaucrats. But Mr. AbiLLity made many changes. The city objected to “Gentrification Tax” and so it became a “Hipster Tax.” A policeman who was depicted as a pig was changed to a “Simpsons-like character.”

    Another piece of public art in the neighborhood was depicted with the label “Cool Statute,” but it was changed to its real name because it was a memorial dedicated to victims of the Katyn Massacre. The jail square was claimed to aggravate racist stereotypes, a criticism that drew some chuckles because the dark-skinned man in jail was a self-portrait of the artist.

    Apparently weary of the complaints in spite of the artist’s cooperation, the city painted the Monopoly board over with green paint without warning. The next day, the green patch in the street acquired comments in white chalk, including “CENSORED.” The city power washed the chalk away the same day, censoring the censorship complaint.

    * * *

    ProPublica conducted a study showing that predictions that algorithms made of future crimes were wrong 40 percent of the time, erring on the side of predicting crimes that didn’t happen. More disturbing, the false positives were twice as high for blacks as for whites.

    Cousin Ray wanted to know if this proves that numbers have race. I suppose they have as much race as human beings do.

    * * *

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that UFOs appear to be lurking above the city’s Gateway Arch. The moving lights appeared on both handheld videos and various surveillance videos with fixed views around St. Louis. Neither Scott Air Force Base nor the FAA could suggest any source for the lights.

    “Easy,” Cousin Ray chortled, “E.T. mistook the Gateway Arch for very big golden arches and he was having a Big Mac attack.”

    * * *

    According to the Pryor Creek Daily Times, authorities are investigating whether Brian Mossier, former police chief of Big Cabin, Oklahoma, was still using a city credit card to buy gasoline almost two years since leaving office. After surveillance video appeared to confirm the theft, a judge issued a search warrant for the ex-chief’s home.

    Evidence was seized. But the big catch was not one but two meth labs. The ex-chief and his wife were jailed for manufacturing methamphetamine, credit card fraud, and possession of marijuana. Child welfare placed two small children who were living at the meth labs with relatives.

    Cousin Ray could not resist pointing out Big Cabin’s reputation some years ago as the best known speed trap in the Cherokee Nation: “As Big Cabin used to say in those days, ‘Speed kills.’”

    Upcoming Pow Wows


    Intertribal Indian 95th Annual Ceremonial Pow Wow

    206 West Coal Avenue
    Gallup, NM

    Shoshone-Bannock 53rd Annual Festival and Pow Wow

    Fort Hall
    Agency Road
    Fort Hall, ID

    Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa

    Powwow Grounds
    349 Meskwaki Road
    Tama, Iowa

    Omak Stampede Indian Encampment

    401 Omak Avenue
    Omak, WA

    Meskwaki 102nd Annual Pow Wow

    349 Meskwaki Road
    Tama, IA
    641-484-4678 or 641-481-5027

    Association of American Indian Physicians Meeting and Health 45th Annual Conference Pow Wow

    10200 Quil Ceda Boulevard
    Tulalip, WA

    Sacramento Contest 22nd Annual Pow Wow

    715 Broadway
    Sacramento, CA

    Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Annual Pow Wow

    88915 521st Avenue
    Niobrara, NE

    Nesika Illahee Pow Wow

    402 Northeast Park Drive
    Siletz, OR
    800-922-1399, ext. 1230

    Mohican Veterans 39th Annual Pow Wow

    Many Trails Park
    MohHeConNuck Road
    Bowler, WI

    Mihsihkinaahkwa Pow Wow

    1035 E. State Road 205
    Columbia City, IN

    Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Fair and Pow Wow

    187 Oyate Circle
    Lower Brule, SD

    Grand Portage Rendezvous Days Celebration Pow Wow

    170 Mile Creek Road
    Grand Portage, MN

    Stillaguamish Festival of the River and Pow Wow

    20416 Jordan Road
    Arlington, WA

    Robert Canada Friendship Pow Wow

    22215 Elaine Street
    Hawaiian Gardens, CA

    Odawa 25th Annual Homecoming Pow Wow

    7500 Odawa Circle
    Harbor Springs, MI

    Mother Earth’s Creation Pow Wow

    2145 White Mountain Highway
    Center Ossipee, NH

    Hawaii Island All Nations 4th Annual Pow Wow

    Keaukaha Hawaiian Village Beach Park
    Kalanaianaole Avenue
    Hilo, HI

    Attean Family Pow Wow

    56 Game Farm Road
    Gray, ME

    Sipayik 51st Anniversary Indian Day Celebration

    Route 190
    Pleasant Point Indian Reservation
    Perry, ME

    Festival of the Horse and Drum

    525 South Randall Road
    St. Charles, IL

    Omaha Tribe of Nebraska 212th Annual Hedewachi’

    17214 210th St.
    Onawa, IA

    Ute Mountain Casino Pow Wow

    3 Weeminuche Dr.
    Towaoc, CO
    800-258-8007, ext.6116

    Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Wacipi 2016

    2330 Sioux Trail NW
    Prior Lake, MN

    Muckleshoot 40th Annual Skopabsh Pow Wow

    17500 SE 392nd Street
    Auburn, WA

    Mawiomi of Tribes 22nd Annual Pow Wow

    214 Doyle Road
    Caribou, ME

    Roasting Ears of Corn 36th Annual Festival

    2825 Fish Hatchery Road
    Allentown, PA

    Metis of Maine Fall Gathering and Pow Wow

    Roasting Ears of Corn 36th Annual Festival

    105 Gould Rd
    Dayton, ME

    Honoring Our Veterans Pow Wow

    Shelby County Fair Grounds Fair Drive
    Sidney, OH

    Chaske Cikala Wacipi

    110400 Pioneer Trail
    Chaska, MN

    The Big Picture

    Jacqueline Wilson (Yakama), an assistant professor of music at Southeast Missouri State University, is also a professional bassoonist.Amy Morris/