Issue 35, September 7, 2016

    A Letter from the Publisher


    Shekóli. Let’s start with seed corn. The pilgrims did. Nearly 400 years ago, desperate and hungry, a group of men from the newly arrived Mayflower roamed along Cape Cod in early winter and were thrilled to discover a stash of Wampanoag corn buried in the ground. This corn, intended for use for spring planting and the source of next year’s crop, bears little resemblance to sole type of sweet corn sold in super markets today. We don’t know which variety exactly it was because, well, the pilgrims stole it and ate it. The theft helped them survive the winter, but their shortsighted greed disrupted the Indians’ cycle of harvests. It left the Pilgrims unable to farm as well (until more Natives came to their rescue the following year).

    Even in the face of this initial instance of wanton seizure and destruction, which has been repeated countless times through the present day, certain truths continue to be upheld through the generations. Tribal nation planners and business people will refer to “seed corn” when they refer to money saved or meant for investment, and nations across the continent still treasure corn in its many varieties. We know today that the corn known as “Katie Wheeler” was developed by the six nations of the Haudenosaunee from strains brought north by the Tuscarora in the early 18th century. In this week’s feature story “Sovereignty Through Seeds,” we find thats the corn is once again being grown in North Carolina as part of a health and culture initiative.

    The fight for preservation in the face of destruction and assimilation, so neatly encapsulated in a kernel of Katie Wheeler corn, is still being waged on many fronts today. This week’s issue also carries news about the vandalism of ancient petroglyphs in the desert, and the ongoing battle over sacred ground and water in Hunkpapa Territory. We write about the situations that directly involve Native cultures because it has direct bearing on who we are.

    However, the overall problem is truly a universal dilemma, given the onslaught of myopic, commercial forces all over the planet. When 180 Indian nations stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in its opposition to the destructive path of Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), they are acting on what many people often think about doing but are persuaded not to.

    Recently, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues reprimanded the United States for the manner in which it approved the DAPL, and how Standing Rock’s objections were perceived. Actions by indigenous peoples, said the U.N., “are often misunderstood and described as rebellious, backward thinking and unilateral opposition to development.” The agricultural and technical advances of our nations show we have never opposed development, only destruction.

    Simply put, we don’t eat our seed corn.

    NΛ ki wa,

    Ray Halbritter


    Changing A Land That Remains The Same

    Calling upon echoes of the past, Jon Eagle, Sr. considers the legacy of dredging and damming two precious rivers:

    Long ago our ancestors knew the Cannonball River in North Dakota as Inyan Wakan Kagapi Wakpa (“River Where the Sacred Stones Are Made”). They knew the Missouri River as Mni Sose (“Turbulent Water”). At the meeting of those two rivers was a great whirlpool that created perfectly round stones that were considered sacred.

    When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged the Cannonball and altered its course, the rivers quit making those stones. When the Corps created dams to create hydroelectric power, it had an adverse effect on a traditional cultural landscape.

    Construction began north of Standing Rock, and the Corps didn’t even bother to tell the people. It wasn’t until the water came that they realized the river was being flooded. When they lost the river bottom, they lost traditional foods and medicine. The people then had to depend on the Indian Health Service. Prior to this, there was no diabetes, heart disease or obesity.

    The land between the Cannonball and the Heart River north of us is sacred land. It is a historic place of commerce where enemy tribes camped within site of each other, peacefully, because of the reverence they had for this sacred place. In the area are sacred stones where our ancestors went to pray for good direction, strength and protection for the coming year.

    Those stones are still there. The people still go there today. Blehiciye Po! Take courage and be strong. Our ancestors are with us. We are not alone.

    The Battle For The Black Hills

    A proposed federal land deal in South Dakota is an affront to the Great Sioux Nation, says Ruth Hopkins:

    Last month, responding to a request by South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds introduced legislation to facilitate a federal-state land exchange of around 2,000 acres of federally owned land in the Black Hills.

    Thune cited tourism, stating that the land provides “unparalleled outdoor experiences to attract people from across the state and nation.” Rounds agreed: “Tourists come from all over the world to catch a glimpse of our unique landscape and natural resources.”

    There’s just one problem. The Black Hills of South Dakota, a.k.a. Khe Sapa, belongs to the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation). The parcels requested are treaty lands.

    The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, ratified by the Senate, recognized title in the “Sioux Nation” to approximately 60 million acres of land within present-day Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 established the “Great Sioux Reservation” which comprised 26 million acres of land, including the Black Hills. This land was set aside for our “absolute and undisturbed use and occupation.”

    The Black Hills were stolen when Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer led a military expedition into the Black Hills in 1874 and reported that gold had been discovered. Soon after, miners and settlers barraged the Black Hills. The federal government then broke treaties it made and opened the area for settlement. We were deemed “hostiles” in our own treaty lands, by invaders who had no legal right to be there.

    We will not accept money for the Black Hills because they are not for sale.

    The First Nations’ Deadly Waters

    Impure water is poisoning First Nations, says Carly McIntosh, while the powers
    that be sit by:

    Imagine every morning having to set a full pot of tap water on your stove and waiting for it to boil just to be able to drink it. In northern Ontario, Neskantag First Nation has been living with this issue for 21 years. It is under the longest running water advisory in history.

    Nazko First Nation, Alexis Creek First Nation and Lake Babine First Nation in British Columbia have been dealing with the same issue for 17 years. Day by day, the number of First Nations in the Canadian north suffering from toxic water keeps increasing. The government is doing nothing to help them.

    For many years First Nations have been trying to transport bottled water to their territories, but through our long Canadian winters it does not get delivered. The highways and roads get covered in snow, making it impossible for vehicles to get through. Health Canada has been contacted many times but has been declining all interviews. The Minister of Health says she has no comment. Instead of communicating, Ottawa sends checks with no consideration.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wants to start a new beginning with our First Nations. When is that going to start? He has been in office since November and I have not heard anything about helping our First Nations with their water.

    The government should try building a new extreme water treatment plant that will actually work. And it should send doctors and nurses up north. In the end, maybe—just maybe—we could move on from this health crisis and be a nation of one.



    ICT News

    Seneca-Display-ad-for-webU.N. Permanent Forum Rebukes U.S. On Dakota Access Pipeline

    The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has agreed with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the nearly 200 other tribes that say the Dakota Access oil pipeline’s route was mapped out without adequate consultation.

    “The project was proposed and planned without any consultation with the Standing Rock Sioux or others that will be affected by this major project,” said Chairman Alvaro Pop Ac, in a joint statement with Forum members Dalee Dorough and Chief Edward John.

    The U.N. body went on to outline the $3.8 billion project’s parameters and the threat to security and drinking-water access for not only the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe but also for millions of people living downstream from the Missouri River, which the pipeline would cross.

    “Given these circumstances, we call on the government of the United States to comply with the provisions recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [UNDRIP] and ensure the right of the Sioux to participate in decision-making, considering that the construction of this pipeline will affect their rights, lives and territory,” the statement said. “States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.”

    Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II and the International Indian Treaty Council had appealed to the U.N. on August 18, arguing that their rights under UNDRIP had been ignored.

    Judge Sentences 11 In Navajo Corruption Case


    Eleven defendants have been sentenced for misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Navajo Nation’s discretionary fund. Four more defendants are scheduled for sentencing by the end of September.

    All 15 defendants—two former Navajo Nation Council speakers, 11 former council delegates and two legislative staff members—pleaded guilty or no contest to charges of conspiracy, fraud, bribery, submitting false vouchers, or conflict of interest. A total of 18 defendants—including three previously sentenced—embezzled $850,000 between 2005 and 2009.

    District Court Judge Carol Perry ordered on August 24 that the 11 defendants pay fines or restitution, complete community service, attend “life value” classes and write letters of apology. For some, the sentence also includes jail time or probation.

    According to court documents, the defendants secured “slush fund” dollars by taking personal kickbacks, transferring financial assistance checks into personal bank accounts, and falsifying requests for assistance and then pocketing the money. Some personally authorized tens of thousands of dollars of financial assistance to their own family members; others conspired with colleagues to approve each other’s requests for funds.

    The sentences stem from a 2010 probe by special prosecutor Alan Balaran that yielded criminal charges against 77 of the 88 sitting Navajo Nation Council delegates, along with additional elected and appointed officials and staff members. All together 142 people, including the tribe’s controller, attorney general and a former president, were accused of converting millions of dollars in discretionary funds to personal use.

    The original charges were ultimately dismissed and replaced with civil suits that alleged that the lawmakers “covertly manipulated and converted Navajo, federal and state funds” in a “wholesale pattern and practice of corruption.”

    Following Indigenous Protests, Brazil Cancels Massive Dam Project


    Plans have been scrapped to build Brazil’s largest hydroelectric dam project on the Amazon River, following protests by the indigenous Munduruk community. The Federal Environmental Agency formally announced the cancellation of licensing for the 8,000-megawatt Sao Luiz Do Tapajos dam, which would have covered approximately 400 square kilometers in the Tapajos river basin, on August 4.

    Among the reasons cited was the imminent flooding of the Sawre Muybu Indigenous territory, which belongs to the Munduruku people; the flooding was expected to displace the entire community. That same territory had recently been officially recognized by Brazil’s Indigenous Affairs Agency, which asserted that construction would violate the nation’s constitution.

    “We, Munduruku people, are very happy with the news,” said General Chief Arnaldo Kabá Munduruku. “This is very important for us. Now, we will continue to fight against other dams in our river.”

    That fight continued on August 12 when the General Chief and one of his top advisors, Ademir Kaba Munduruku, traveled to Surrey, England with Greenpeace UK to request a meeting with executives of the Siemens Company, which has provided turbines for four other Brazilian mega-dams. The indigenous leaders wanted assurances that the company would halt its participation in these projects. While the activists met with some Siemens representatives, they say they are awaiting further meetings with executives.

    “The Munduruku people resist and exist,” said Ademir Kabá Munduruku. “After all there has been 500 years of resistance and we will stand another 500 years as a people, culture, religion and language.”

    ICT News

    Kenneth-Dennis_sixthpage_updated_for-web (2)Project Launched To Change Public Perception Of Natives


    A $2.5 million research project has been announced to study mainstream perception of Native Americans and develop long-term strategic campaigns to promote positive images.

    “Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions,” announced on August 30, is a joint effort between the First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting. Its specific goals include improving portrayal of Natives in media, ensuring Native participation in government, addressing grant-funding inequalities, and including accurate Native history in public school history courses.

    “Native Americans and their communities are blocked from reaching their full potential by harmful stereotypes, misperceptions, and lack of awareness,” said Michael E. Roberts (Tlingit), president and CEO of the First Nations Development Institute and co-director of the initiative.

    “Over the next two years, this project is focused on understanding the true extent of society’s negative and inaccurate perceptions of Native Americans and finding the best means of overcoming them,” added co-director Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee).

    A 20-member committee of some of Indian country’s best known and respected experts will lead the undertaking. The committee includes Cheryl Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota), president of the American Indian College Fund; Ray Halbritter (Oneida), CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises; Jacqueline Pata (Tlingit), executive director of the National Congress of American Indians; Sara Kastelic (Alutiiq), executive director of the National Indian Child Welfare Association; Judith LeBlanc (Caddo), director of the Native Organizers Alliance; and Erik Stegman (Assiniboine), executive director of the Center for Native American Youth.

    Funding is provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

    National Park Service Official Cites Native Pain At Centennial Ceremony


    A senior official of the National Park Service used the occasion of the federal agency’s 100th anniversary to deliver an impassioned message to Native Americans, emphasizing their claim to the North American continent and the injustices that have been visited upon them.

    “The most meaningful work that I think I have ever done is to sit and listen to the people [to whom] this continent belongs,” said Carol McBryant, who oversees the Office of Relevancy, Diversity and Inclusion for the Park Service at a discussion and film screening at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on August 25.

    “When I listen, I hear the pain of the taking of land, taking of culture, the taking of language,” McBryant said at the event, “A Century of Conservation and Conversation: Places of Healing and Expression: National Parks in the Next Century.”

    A short film made by the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Youth Programs was then shown, which McBryant said provides “a deeper level of understanding” of what Native Americans face and allows for “sharing their indigenous knowledge with us.”
 The film features a young boy and girl whose parents have abandoned them because of drug and alcohol addiction.

    When the girl asks her uncle why, he tells her, “[There] were tepees as far as you could see. The water was clean. The land pristine. We were where we were meant to be. Then strangers came across the sea and brought with them their disease. Our people cried and prayed and sang, but it brought them to their knees.”

    McBryant is returning to her post after serving as the Park Service’s acting chief of cultural interpretation and tribal tourism program manager for the past six months.

    Indian Country Today Media Network Scores Multiple Journalism Laurels

    The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) last month cited Indian Country Today Media Network 16 times in its annual awards competition recognizing excellence in Native reporting by Natives and non-Natives in the U.S. and Canada. ICTMN was honored in the Division III (circulation of more than 10,000) Professional Online-Daily/Weekly category.

    ICTMN swept the Best Editorial category, with Steve Russell taking first place, followed by Mary Annette Pember in second and Sarah Sunshine Manning in third. Russell also captured second place for Best Column, with Terese Marie Mailhot placing third.

    Frank Hopper came in second for Best News Story, with Alex Jacobs placing third. Suzette Brewer won third-place honors for Best Feature Story.

    Richard Walker scored first in the Best Feature Photo category and Pember came second. For Best Sports Photo Online, ICTMN cleaned up, with Charlotte “Skaruianewah” Logan earning first and third place laurels and Vincent Schilling finishing second. Schilling also placed second for Best Sports Story.

    In the Associate Division III–Daily/Weekly for print/online division recognizing non-Native contributions, Richard Walker came in first for Best Feature Story, with Alysa Landry in the number-two spot.

    Gale Courey Toensing took third place for Best Coverage of Native America, while frequent ICTMN contributor Stephanie Woodard took first and second in this category with her work for the blog Rural America in These Times.

    All together, more than 200 awards were announced. NAJA’s annual Media Awards Banquet will be in New Orleans on September 20. 

    Vandalism Endangers Carvings

    ‘When these petroglyphs are gone, they’re gone’


    Bottom Line: A vast treasure of Native prehistory is under threat in New Mexico. But who is responsible for stopping the assault?

    One research associate has compared the fragile art of Three Rivers to the Library of Congress.

    Flickr BLM New Mexico

    Located in remote central New Mexico—17 miles north of Tularosa, and 28 miles south of Carrizozo—the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site boasts more than 21,000 rock carvings and a partially excavated prehistoric village. Researchers have tied it all to a group of prehistoric Native Americans called the Jornada Mogollon. Today, experts continue to explore the natural and cultural history of this fragile heritage.

    But that may come to an end if vandalism and defacement continue at the site.

    “We know this was a sacred place for people over thousands of years,” said Joan Price, an artist and research associate with the Jornada Research Institute. “Those of us who are concerned about these ancient libraries—this equivalent of the Library of Congress—we know that when these petroglyphs are gone, they’re gone.”

    Price has spent the last two decades studying Three Rivers. She frequents specific locations at the site, including petroglyphs that reference ancient calendars. As an artist, she studies how the carvings were made; as a researcher, she is part of a broader effort to learn who made the carvings and what they mean.

    Billed as a recreation and picnic site, Three Rivers is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s Las Cruces Field Office. But the field office is located more than 100 miles and two and a half hours away. That distance invites tampering.

    During recent visits, Price found plaster handprints and footprints pressed onto the stones alongside the ancient art, and red paint covering petroglyphs. She also saw evidence of human excrement near sacred ceremonial images, along with pitons hammered into the rock faces by climbers.

    “There’s a certain kind of American people who seem to think the landscape is some kind of game board,” Price said. “When we use public lands for recreation, we’re opening them up to a very destructive group of people who think ‘public’ means ‘party.’ These sites took generations to make, and people can get in there and destroy them in half an hour.”

    Three Rivers is one of the largest rock art sites in the Southwest. Some of the petroglyphs were made by simply scratching through the dark patina on the exterior of the rock. Others were carved deeply into the stone.

    No modern tribes have claimed the site, said Bill Childress, manager of the Las Cruces Field Office. This, along with the ongoing recreational use at Three Rivers, is raising questions about who is responsible for preserving such places.

    Chalk handprints, seen here, typify the vandalism to the stones. Flickr BLM New Mexico


    A host lives onsite at Three Rivers and a maintenance staff takes care of amenities like the bathrooms and the picnic and camping sites. But the BLM office, charged with protection of resources, employs just two law enforcement officers to patrol 5.4 million acres of public land.

    “Three Rivers is a site the BLM has managed for decades,” Childress said. “We’ve had vandalism off and on through the course of time. We have some substantial, beautiful petroglyphs and thousands of panels of rock art. From time to time we get people doing the wrong thing.”

    For example, the BLM has dealt with people using chisels or hammers to chip off rock art and remove it from the site. Others decide to make their own drawings on panels. The most recent incidents, Childress said, involve visitors making muddy prints on the rocks with their hands or feet.

    “People use poor judgment,” he said. “We recognize that. All we can do is continue to do outreach and educate people.”

    But Laurie Weahkee, of New Mexico’s Cochiti and Zuni Pueblos, wants to see more done. Weahkee has worked since the 1990s to protect and preserve petroglyphs from housing and road developments, vandals and thieves. She is calling on local tribes and pueblos to come forward and claim Three Rivers.

    “Ideally, this should be joint management,” she said. “In theory, the federal government should be working with all tribes with ties to the site. This might be a particular tribe’s sacred area. “If someone can claim it, then the BLM suddenly has a different responsibility—to consult with tribes and make sure the petroglyphs don’t get desecrated or vandalized.”

    Price echoed the call for tribal ownership of the site.

    “I think it’s overdue,” she said. “Someone has ties to this site, and someone can get in there and make better decisions to preserve this.”

    Sovereignty Through Seeds

    Tribal heritage in North Carolina produce


    Bottom Line: For one Tuscarora community, corn, beans and squash hold the key not only to healthy sustenance but also to cultural identity.

    These six varieties of corn are among the crops that Skaroreh Katenuaka hope will help reclaim their literal roots.

    Justin Petrone

    For many tribes, sovereignty is linked to land ownership or relations with state or federal authorities. But for Skaroreh Katenuaka, a Tuscarora community in North Carolina, the key to sovereignty may be seeds.

    The community has recently begun to revitalize its traditional agriculture through a new project that it hopes will wean its members and others from mass-produced foods and back onto a healthier “decolonized diet.”

    Fix Cain, a community member, initiated the Skaroreh Katenuaka Seed Bank several years ago to promote food sovereignty and foster the culture in which he was raised.

    “I came up with the idea as a way to maintain living history,” he said as he walked through the community garden in Robeson County. “It was also a way to reconnect with my childhood at a time when I would tend to the white corn with my aunts. As I started to ask more questions, I discovered a great number of varieties and couldn’t resist the urge to recover as much as I possibly could.”

    Skaroreh Katenuaka’s office signals this effort. Seeds are organized neatly in jars marked with names like “Tonawanda,” “Cornplanter Purple” and “Tutelo Red.” While the garden’s tall sunflowers bear witness to the region’s relentless sunshine, the seed bank is kept cool and dry.

    There are seeds for corn, beans, squash, and other vegetables. “Every seed has a story,” Cain said. Indeed, some seeds show the trajectory of the Tuscarora, who once held political control over most of eastern North Carolina until a war with colonial authorities.

    That conflict, called the Tuscarora War, reached its nadir with the March 1713 siege of Fort Neyuherú·kę,’ located in present-day Snow Hill, North Carolina. When it was all over, about 1,400 Tuscarora men, women, and children had either been killed or sold into slavery.

    Some survivors migrated to New York, where they became the sixth nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee. Others were placed on a reservation in Bertie County. Still others moved to what became Robeson County. Thus, Moravian missionaries observed in 1752 that the Tuscarora had been “scattered as the wind scatters smoke.”

    “Katie Wheeler,” a variety of corn that Skaroreh Katenuaka cultivates, reflects this peripatetic past. The Six Nations developed Katie Wheeler (also known as Iroquois Calico) from lines that trace back to corn brought by migrating Tuscarora. Cain obtained the seeds from Phil Seneca at Good Mind Seeds, a provider of endangered and heirloom crops, and began to cultivate them in the group’s garden.

    Thus, some 300 years after some Tuscarora left North Carolina, they are once again cultivating corn there. “We have almost every known variety of corn with ties to the Haudenosaunee and Tuscarora that isn’t extinct,” said Cain.

    So maintaining the seed bank has become a means of preserving Tuscarora culture. It is also a way of demonstrating Skaroreh Katenuaka sovereignty. Technically, the community never lost state or federal recognition. But as Cain puts it, it was “intentionally neglected” as land leases came due in the early 1900s. Consequently, Skaroreh Katenuaka will not seek official recognition—a process that Cain called “degrading and humiliating.”

    By practicing its own agriculture, the group aims to take back a fundamental aspect of its culture that had been cast aside following centuries of colonization—namely, diet.

    “There are elements of life that should never be surrendered to any one person, group, or foreign nation,” Cain said. “Our gardens need clean water, soil, air. In return they provide us with medicine and food. If we take care of those things, they will take care of us.”

    Indeed, Cain noted that traditional foods seem to benefit the health of community members. The bank maintains corn varieties that have been used as medicine for internal ailments, including diabetes. Iroquois black sweet corn, Cain said, can help cancer sufferers.

    “Decolonized diets—what people are calling it now—have helped people reduce their symptoms,” he said. “A lot may also have to do with the fact that we may not have some enzymes to digest a number of foreign diets.”

    Kim Sierra, a member of Skaroreh Katenuaka, is a fellow advocate. She tends the group garden, which doubles as a staging site to educate other community members about traditional Tuscarora agriculture.

    “In the future we hope to be able to provide more fresh produce to our community and share the seeds,” she said. “This helps ensure our future generations have what they need to survive, and the knowledge to grow it.”

    Catching Up With Jacoby Ellsbury

    ‘It’s important for Native Americans to recognize their heritage.’


    Yay-go” (“Let’s go, hustle!”) is a Navajo term that springs easily to Ellsbury’s lips.


    Editor’s Note: By now, many stories have been told about Jacoby Ellsbury. The public knows him as a top-notch New York Yankees center fielder and base runner whose love for baseball started on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon. He used to catch dragonflies to rub on his feet, thinking it would increase his speed. An alumnus of Oregon State University, he grew up in the Mormon Church. In 2011 he was the American League MVP runner-up for the Boston Red Sox; today he is an N7 ambassador

    But there are still many stories of this Colorado River Indian that have been left untold. ITCMN caught up with Ellsbury during the Yankees’ three-game road trip to Seattle, Washington, where the soon-to-be 33-year-old tackled every question we had for him.


    How does it feel to be as close as you can be to home in pro baseball?

    I always enjoy coming back here. My friends, family always make the trip out here. My first game was at the Kingdome [in Seattle]. Ken Griffey, Jr. hit one into the upper deck. We were in the nosebleeds and it almost reached us. I was a Mariners fan.

    Do you participate in any traditional events?

    That’s something my brothers and I are talking about. We need to get a drum together and get it going (laughs). Music’s very important to Native American people. Growing up, we’d go to the powwows in Warm Springs and I enjoyed that.

    You’re one of just a few Native Americans in the big leagues. Have you talked to some of the others, like Joba Chamberlain or Kyle Lohse?

    You have that fraternity in pro baseball. I think it’s even closer with Joba and Kyle.

    What’s your opinion on American Indian imagery in pro sports?

    I’m on the fence. I hear both sides. I know it’s a touchy subject for a lot of people but I think it’s important for Native Americans to recognize their heritage.

    What’s your favorite baseball movie?

    The one I watched the most as a kid, that kind of reminded me of myself, was The Sandlot. I could watch that right now. Kids having fun, playing in the backyard, enjoying baseball. I could relate to that movie.

    How often do you see your family?

    We were just in Anaheim playing the Angels and I saw my mom and two of my brothers out there. Coming [to the West Coast] I’ll see my whole family. Family is very important. I try to share some of the excitement with them. They’re a big reason I’m here today.

    Did you collect baseball cards as a kid?

    I was a big collector—mainly baseball but also basketball and football. My dad, he got me into baseball and card collecting. He has a Topps set with Mickey Mantle. I just remember seeing it and being interested.


    When Ellsbury doffs his Yankee cap, it is often to his Native roots. Courtesy

    Was it cool seeing yourself on a baseball card?

    Yes it was. I have quite a few of them. For a while there I pretty much collected every card that came out. I haven’t been into it as much lately.

    We have a lot of strong women in Indian country. How important was your mom’s influence in your life?

    She was the cornerstone of our family and kept everybody together. She was strong. I still talk to her all the time today, asking her questions.

    What’s your favorite indigenous food?

    That’s an easy one: It’s my mom’s Navajo tacos. Pretty much every time I go home that’s the first meal I request and she’s willing to make it.

    How do you tell people about where you come from?

    When I first came out in the minor leagues, a lot of people thought I spoke Spanish. But I explained to them what it’s like growing up on the reservation.

    Although you stand 6-foot-1, you jumped center in high school basketball. You just robbed Albert Pujols of a historic home run. Where do your hops come from?

    I’ve always worked on it. I remember in high school doing jump rope, doing various things to increase my vertical. A lot of it’s God-given. Once you stop working on it you’ll decline.

    What are your goals?

    Win another championship. Come each day and play hard; give everything you have on the field. I hope to continue to do that for the rest of my career.

    Who’s the toughest pitcher you’ve ever faced?

    Chris Sale of the [Chicago] White Sox. Lefty. Throws hard; throws a slider. He gives me some trouble.

    What’s the dominating genre on your iPod?

    I listen to everything. Rap. R&B.  Country. Jazz. I like it all. I have some powwow CDs. Every once and awhile my brothers and I will break it out.

    What’s it like to have Indian country supporting your career?

    I appreciate the support I get at various stadiums. I can usually spot ‘em; they usually have signs. It’s very special that they come out to the game and support me. Especially when they bring their kids.

    You got one or two words in the Navajo language on you?

    Ya’ah tee: “Hello.” Yay-go: It means “Let’s go, hustle!”



    Founded in 1995, First Peoples Fund’s mission is to honor and support the Collective Spirit® of First Peoples artists and culture bearers.  Collective Spirit® is that which moves each one of us to stand up and make a difference, to pass on ancestral knowledge and simply extend a hand of generosity.


    First Peoples Fund seeks an experienced leader who can inspire, direct, and manage a creative team driven by cultural values and vision to evaluate, design, and build internal capacity and systems for organizational excellence.

    A successful candidate will have exceptional organizational development skills and deep experience connecting an organization’s Theory of Change to strategy and systems while upholding and infusing values into organizational culture and its processes.  Likewise, this leader must be comfortable with innovation and able to problem solve and manage daily operations and programs with efficiency, effectiveness, and creativity.

    Reporting directly to the President, the Vice-President of Operations and Programs will also represent the organization locally, regionally, and nationally and will be required to interface with a national caliber Board of Directors.


    The ideal candidate must have a Master’s degree or equivalent demonstrated in organizational leadership. Minimum seven years staff and/or consultant supervisory experience in nonprofit sector with preference given to those with Native non-profit organization and/or other community/economic development NGO experience.

    If interested, please follow the link to FPF’s website ( and review the full position description or you may request this information by sending an email to

    To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, references, and supporting documentation via email to: or it can be mailed to: First Peoples Fund, PO Box 2977, Rapid City, SD  57709. FPF is an Equal Opportunity Employer.



    The Hoopa Valley Housing Authority will receive proposals for accounting and financial management services until 4:30 p.m. September 24, 2016. Proposals received after this time shall be rejected. All proposals shall be submitted by email and shall be reviewed according to a point rating system set forth below. The Housing Authority is an entity of the Hoopa Valley Tribe that manages low-income low rent and hombuyer homes on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, which is located in Humboldt County.

    Interested firms and accountants must be experienced in working with Indian housing authorities or Indian tribes, and working under the requirements of NAHASDA.

    Proposals are invited from non-Indian and Indian-owned enterprises or organizations. The Housing Authority shall determine whether a firm or accountant is a 51% Indian and/or Alaskan Native-owned organization or economic enterprise, and if it receives preference in the award of this contract, based on proof of ownership submitted with the proposal.

    The following point rating system shall be used in reviewing proposals:

    A. General qualifications:    15

    B. Past experience:                35

    C. Indian preference:            15

    D. Cost proposal:                   35

    Total:                                        100

    Proposals must be submitted according to the specific RFP instructions, available by request from Raymond Moon, Executive Director, at (530)625-4759 or



    Building 54,000 square feet with two towers joining. Complete bid announcement, “Advertisement for Bids: may be downloaded at  The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is utilizing “Procore” construction project management software for viewing and downloading copies of the Bid Documents.

    Interested bidders are to contact the Grants & Contracts Office,
    at (518) 358-4205, to gain access to Procore, Preference in the award of the Contract shall be given to Indian and Alaska Native organizations and economic enterprises.  Any contractor claiming Indian Preference shall give evidence, as required by the Owner, to support this at least one week prior to bid opening. Bid security and contract security are mandatory requirements.

    Pre-bid meeting will be held on September 20, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (local time) at the SRMT Community Building, 412 State Route 37, Akwesasne, New York.

    SRMT reserves the right to reject any and all quotes, and the lowest, or any, quote will not necessarily be accepted.

    NAAP PO Box 277 Herrick SD 57538
    1-605-775-2147 FAX: 1-605-775-2148


    Job Opening

    Native American Advocacy Program

    Is looking for a qualified person for
    full time Independent Living Specialist.

    Starting Salary $12/hr.  New hires must reside within 50 miles of Eagle Butte or Mobridge SD,  maintain weekly office hours in Eagle Butte and Mc Laughlin, able to make home visits to clients in Cheyenne River Reservation as well as South Dakota side of Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota

     Must have valid driver’s license.

    Bachelor’s degree in Human Services preferred. Position requires knowledge, skills and abilities to work with persons with permanent significant disabilities.  Employees must be clean and sober for 2 years and a nonsmoker as their position also places them as a role model to promote healthy lifestyles. Must make regular home visits and work with other agencies. Position requires high level computer proficiency in a variety of programs able to trouble shoot and work with online tech support for online billing, training will be provided.

    Open until filled Call 605-775-2147 for more information

    Strategic Planning Session

    The San Carlos Apache Tribe’s Office of Planning and Economic Development is requesting proposals from qualified consultants to assist in conducting a Strategic Planning Session for the Apache Alliance Group.

    Detailed proposal requirements may be obtained by contacting the Tribe’s Tribal Purchasing Department at the address indicated below.

    For further information, please submit questions to the attention of Rose Polk, Purchasing Agent, San Carlos Apache Tribe, by e-mail at or telephone at (928) 475-3350.

    Proposals will be accepted until 12:00 p.m. (Arizona Time) on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 20 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos, AZ 85550.

    The Week in Photos


    Victoria Vasques is president of Tribal Tech, LLC, which for the third consecutive year has made Inc. magazine’s list of the nation’s fastest growing private companies.

    Brazil canceled the Sao Luiz Do Tapajos mega-dam along the Amazon because of the threat to the indigenous Munduruku community.

    Joe Pakootas

    Democrat Joe Pakootas, former chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, is running for Washington’s 5th congressional district seat.

    Sean Sherman

    Maple and hominy cake with a cedar corn broth, smoked trout and sorrel is scheduled for The Sioux Chef, an indigenous-themed restaurant being developed by Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota).

    Headlines from the Web

    Upcoming Events


    September 11-13: Alaskan Foods as Plants & Medicine
    The fifth annual symposium, organized through the Wellness & Prevention Department of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortiums, is designed to promote traditional plant knowledge and ethical harvesting. Participants will learn how to sustain more natural resources by connecting with culture and environment; increase self-sufficiency; employ best practices and knowledge for a higher intake of nutrient-dense foods; identify ways to engage in higher levels of physical activity; and understand how to improve mental health and overall well being.
    Location: Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage, Alaska

    September 12-14: Global Indigenous Women’s Conference
    The event will focus on empowerment, leadership and self-determination of indigenous women globally. Small group discussions, facilitated by resource speakers, will cover a wide range of topics. Indigenous resilience and determination to strive for better futures, without the constraints of negative stereotyping, will be emphasized. Organized by Indigenous Conference Services.
    Location: Stamford Grand Adelaide, Australia

    September 13-15: National Indian Council on Aging Conference
    “Aging Healthy Through Song and Dance” will afford an opportunity to voice concerns and receive up-to-date information and resources to help Elders age at home and in their own communities. Keynote speakers from federal, state and tribal programs and departments will be present to provide program updates and listen to the aging needs of American Indian/Alaska Native Elders.
    Location: Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, New York

    September 14-16: Native American Conference on Special Education
    The conference is designed to provide resources to families of children who suffer from disabilities, developmental delays, and special healthcare needs. Parents are taught skills and provided with information that will aid them in advocating on their child’s behalf, thus creating opportunities that will encourage systems, policy, and delivery of services that promote equal and quality service. Tribal leaders and special education professionals will learn from their peers, constituents, students, parents, and other advocates in promoting equal education opportunities for students with special needs.
    Location: Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown Hotel, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    September 16-17: Native American Law School Admissions Workshop
    The Native American Pipeline to Law pre-law programs and workshops assist participants in preparing competitive applications. Participants will learn about law school and career options; obtain information about the various admissions criteria for law school; work with mentors to develop an effective application; explore law school funding options; receive test preparation advice for the LSAT; and network with other participants, faculty and professionals.
    Location: University of South Dakota School of Law, Vermillion, South Dakota

    Letters to the Editor

    I have never been able to get anyone to discuss whether there is a consensus about the Cobell land trust settlement that is still in progress. I let my land share be purchased back into trust for the tribe.

    Here is why:

    (1) I have never lived there, never will, and received grazing payments on the order of nine dollars.

    (2) My great-grandmother, who received the original allotment, never lived there.

    (3) It is as plain and unremarkable a piece of ground as is on Earth.

    (4) If I did want to actually put the land to personal use in some way, I would have to find all the other shareholders and have them all agree.

    So am I a bad Indian for letting go of something that was a misguided idea anyway? It was a token from the government, not sacred ground.

    Susan MacMillan
    Petaluma, California



    Top News Alerts



    Authorities uprooted more than 2,400 marijuana plants with a street value of $2.8 million on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation on August 19. The White Mountain Apache Tribe alerted the Arizona Department of Public Safety after two armed men confronted a tribal member near the crop, the Arizona Republic reported. The White Mountain Apache Tribe Police Department and Game Rangers, along with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and the Air National Guard participated in the raid.


    The physician Arne Vainio (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) has been recognized with the Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award for his efforts to promote health, wellness and education in Indian country. Vainio, who was cited for his “life-changing” work, is one of four recipients chosen by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the McKnight Foundation; the award includes a $10,000 honorarium. He will be honored at a private luncheon in Minneapolis on September 9 and by the Minnesota council next month.


    The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa unveiled its new solar farm on August 23. The 1-megawatt solar array—the largest such complex in the service area of the Duluth-based utility Minnesota Power—will cut carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 2.6 million pounds annually and power 150 area homes. Funding for the $2.2 million project, which covers five acres, stems from a 2014 Minnesota Power settlement agreement with federal regulators.


    For the third consecutive year, Tribal Tech, LLC has been named to Inc. magazine’s “Inc. 5000” list of the nation’s fastest growing companies. For 2016, the firm ranked No. 817. Based in Alexandria, Virginia and established in 2000, Tribal Tech provides a diverse range of services to Native American tribes, federal agencies, and private businesses. Its specialties include training and technical assistance; grants management; and communications, outreach and event planning.


    Two firefighters of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Michigan died on August 27 when a truck driven by a fellow firefighter crashed in a Minneapolis suburb while they were en route to fighting a blaze. James Shelifoe, Jr. and Alan Swartz were killed and seven other firefighters were hurt in the accident. The driver, Michael Johnson, has been charged with two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide; he told authorities that he had slept no more than 45 minutes in more than 24 hours before the crash.


    How Did I Miss That?

    Snakes on the loose in Arizona, Donald Trump’s excellent Mexican adventure and signs of intelligent life in the universe


    Photo courtesy Steve Russell Steve Russell

    Arizona is one of those states where first responders are used to a “snake call.” But CNN reported that firefighters in Scottsdale got a break from their usual rattlesnake wrangling. On July 30, they caught a 10-foot albino python. On August 23, in the same area, they hauled in a 9-foot albino python. The trifecta came August 29, with a 7-foot red tail boa constrictor.

    It turned out that all three reptiles escaped from the same owner, a technician in a dental lab who had placed the snakes in their new enclosure at his job before the enclosure was properly secure. He will get his slithery friends back. But they are not going to work with him now that the other tenants in the building have found out what was going on.

    * * *

    In other wildlife news, the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department has closed 183 miles of the Yellowstone River because of a fish kill. Authorities lost count at over 4,000 and expect the final toll to be in the tens of thousands. The culprit appears to be Tetracalsula bryosalmonae, a microscopic parasite that causes kidney disease.

    High temperatures and slow water aggravate the parasite. So why close the area to humans? Because of stressors from infected fish. The parasite is not thought to be a danger to people but a Fish, Wildlife, and Parks veterinarian cautioned people to keep pets away from the dead fish.

    My cousin Ray Sixkiller wondered why they didn’t just declare fishing closed. Then he had to admit that tourists taking pictures would probably stress the fish. They do stress Indians.

    * * *

    CNN reported that Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has gotten a strong nibble from HD 164595, a star that is 94 light-years from us. Scientists observed that if it is an artificial signal, then the strength of it means it has to be a civilization more technologically advanced than our own, at least Type II on the Kardashev Scale.

    Cousin Ray said there’s no truth to the rumor that when the message was decoded, it was a demand that we build a wall between Earth and HD 164595 and Earth pay for it.

    * * *

    Martin Blackwell, 48, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison after a jury took about 90 minutes to convict him of pouring boiling water over a gay couple as they slept. One of the victims spent several weeks in a medically induced coma and needed skin grafts on 60 percent of his body; the less injured victim must wear compression garments 23 hours a day for two years.

    Blackwell was not charged with a hate crime because the assault took place in Georgia, one of five states with no hate crimes law.

    * * *

    Donald Trump has now made a foreign jaunt to prove he can do this diplomacy thing. Everyone was surprised when the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, invited him to visit and more surprised when Trump accepted. Trump started demonizing Mexico and Mexicans in his announcement speech and it was downhill from there.

    Why a Mexican president who is polling 23 percent among Mexicans extended such an invitation to a man who is polling two percent is unclear. By comparison, Kim Jong Un—who has threatened to cast this nation into “a lake of fire”—polls nine percent in the U.S.

    * * *

    It gets curiouser. The Mexican leader and the U.S. presidential wannabe met privately and disagreed about what was said.

    Cousin Ray wanted to know if I’m sure Trump is so unpopular. “I heard Trump is the most popular piñata in Mexico,” he snickered.

    I didn’t tell him that Rep. Linda Sanchez had tweeted, “You cannot get your hands on a Trump piñata because they are sold out.”

    * * *

    After he returned from Mexico, Trump complained that Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to deport the Dreamers—persons who were brought here as small children who have stayed out of trouble. The complaint drew a shout from the audience, “String her up!”

    My Republican Cousin Ray mumbled something about wishing he had bid on the tar-and-feather concession for the Trump campaign.

    Upcoming Pow Wows


    Navajo Nation Pro Rodeo Contest Pow Wow

    E Highway 264
    Loop Road #36A
    Window Rock, AZ

    United Tribes International Pow Wow

    3315 University Drive
    Bismarck, ND
    701-255-3285, ext. 1796

    Southern Ute Fair Contest 96th Annual Pow Wow

    200 East Highway 151
    Ignacio, CO
    970-799-3149 or 970-563-0255

    Miigwetch Manomen Pow Wow

    5344 Lakeshore Drive
    Nett Lake, MN
    218-757-3261, ext. 202

    Mendota Pow Wow

    1405 Sibley Memorial Highway
    Mendota, MN

    Nanticoke Indian Association’s 39th Annual Pow Wow

    27073 John J. Williams Highway
    Millsboro, DE

    Intertribal Pow Wow at Grand Village of the Kickapoo Park 16th Annual

    8144 North 3100 East Road
    Arrowsmith, IL
    309-261-3043 or 309-846-6720

    Intertribal Annual Pow Wow

    Plug Pond, Sanders Road, off Mill Street
    Haverhill, MA
    617-642- 1683

    High Plains Pow Wow

    Carbon County Fairgrounds
    523 Rodeo Street
    Rawlins, WY
    307-328-2740 powwow

    Haskell 28th Annual Indian Art Market

    155 Indian Avenue
    Lawrence, KS

    Georgian Bay Native Friendship Centre 16th Annual Traditional Pow Wow

    Sainte-Marie Park
    Highway 12 and the Wye Valley Road
    L4R 2A7  Midland
    United States Minor Outlying Islands

    Coharie Indian 47th Annual Cultural Pow Wow

    7532 North Highway 421
    Clinton, NC

    Annual Akwesasne 16th Annual International Pow Wow

    36 Arena Road
    K6H 5R7  Cornwall Island
    United States Minor Outlying Islands

    All Nations Benefit Pow Wow

    163 Melrose Road
    Susquehanna, PA

    Mill-Luck 13th Annual Salmon Celebration

    3201 Tremont Avenue
    North Bend, OR

    American Indian Day and 40th Annual Pow Wow Celebration

    1301 North Main Street
    Chamberlain, SD

    Sycuan Pow Wow 2016

    5459 Sycuan Road
    El Cajon, CA

    Sac River/White River Bands of
    the Chickamauga Cherokee Nation Cultural and Art Show

    119 White Dove Lane
    Bolivar, MO
    573-885-1070 or 573-259-2263

    Northern Cherokee Gathering

    578 East Highway 7
    Clinton, MO
    573-885-1070 or 573-259-2263

    Mankato 44th Traditional Pow Wow

    Land of Memories Park

    Fall Great 32nd Mohican Annual Pow Wow

    23270 Wally Road
    Loudonville, OH

    Battle Point 19th Annual Traditional Pow Wow

    Battle Point Drive Federal Dam
    Battle Point, MN

    American Indian 54th Annual Pow Wow

    9333 SW Loop 410
    Grand Prairie, TX

    Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia Pow Wow

    205 Enos Farm Road
    Hwy 10 at Hwy 31, just off Jamestown Ferry
    Surry, VA

    Mother Earth’s Creation Pow Wow

    2145 White Mountain Highway
    Center Ossipee, NH

    FDR State Park Pow Wow

    2957 Crompond Road
    Yorktown Heights, NY

    Curve Lake Pow Wow

    1024 Mississauga Street
    K0L 1R0, Curve Lake First Nation
    United States Minor Outlying Islands

    Chicago 63rd Annual Pow Wow

    1630 W. Wilson Ave
    Chicago, IL

    Bluff City 12th Annual Pow Wow

    928 Fairground Drive
    Rockport, IN
    812-459-8643 or 812-459-8645

    Yellow Bird Intertribal Pow Wow

    1475 Mohawk Trail Route 2E
    Charlemont, MA

    The Big Picture

    A reef net captain totem pole was installed on San Juan Island in Washington State, in partial reclamation of its Native heritage. Courtesy