Issue 36, September 14, 2016

    A Letter from the Publisher


    Shekóli. The efforts by Native water protectors to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) project from crossing the Missouri River near Standing Rock Sioux territory have galvanized Indian country for weeks. News outlets have started to pay attention to the struggle. Such socially aware cultural figures as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jackson Browne are bringing the message to the mainstream.

    Amid all the developments of the last week, another news report circulated that helps put the No DAPL cause in context. Last week, the World Conservation Society (WCS) announced that 10 percent of the world’s remaining wilderness vanished in the last two decades. Ten percent. Astonishing.

    The WCS has defined wilderness as lands irrevocably altered by human impact and infrastructure development, and not the mere presence of humans. There are ways, in other words, of living on the planet without destroying it. The Western concept of wilderness, and even environmentalism, is alien to indigenous thought. When the U.S. partitioned land to create its National Parks, one of the first steps taken was to remove all the people. Contemporary society swings between the poles of consumption and preservation, and the idea that such an approach is not working.

    The thousands of Indians who have gathered near the Cannonball River are trying to alter that mindset. There are indications that the federal government is listening—if the messages reported in this week’s feature on the DAPL by West Coast Editor Valerie Taliman are to be believed. After the Standing Rock Sioux’s petition to halt construction was denied on legal grounds by a federal judge last week, three government agencies intervened to delay the permitting process. The agencies called for a national conversation on the intersection of U.S. law, Treaty land, and resource management, and how this country manages such large-scale pipeline projects in the future.

    It comes down to stewardship of the land, a debate about short-term profit or sustainable policies. It is a conversation that needs to happen. It makes sense for Natives to lead the way—and quickly—before another 10 percent is lost.

    NΛ ki wa,

    Ray Halbritter


    Massacres Past And Injustices Present

    Against the backdrop of the Dakota Access pipeline drama, Ladonna Bravebull Allard recalls a slaughter that occurred more than 150 years ago and just 50 miles away:

    My great-great-grandmother Nape Hote Win (Mary Big Moccasin) survived the bloodiest conflict between the Sioux Nations and the U.S. Army ever on North Dakota soil. An estimated 300 to 400 of our people were killed in the Inyan Ska (Whitestone) Massacre.

    In 1863, nearly 4,000 Yanktonais, Isanti (Santee), and Hunkpapa gathered alongside a lake in southeastern North Dakota, near present-day Ellendale, for an intertribal buffalo hunt to prepare for winter. It was a time of celebration and ceremony—a time to pray for the coming year, meet relatives, arrange marriages, and make plans for winter camps. Many refugees from the 1862 uprising in Minnesota, mostly women and children, had been taken in as family.

    Brig. Gen. Alfred Sully and soldiers came looking for the Santee who had fled the uprising. This was part of a broader U.S. military expedition to promote white settlement in the eastern Dakotas and protect access to the Montana gold fields via the Missouri River.

    The attack came the day after the big hunt. The sun was setting and everyone was sharing an evening meal when Sully’s soldiers surrounded the camp on Whitestone Hill. In the chaos that ensued, people tied their children to their horses and dogs and fled. Mary was 9 years old. As she ran, she was shot in the hip and went down. She lay there until morning, when a soldier found her. As he loaded her into a wagon, she heard her relatives moaning and crying.

    She was taken to a prisoner of war camp in Crow Creek, where she stayed until her release in 1870.

    Don’t Have High Hopes For Hillary

    Hillary Clinton may talk a good game on Indian policy, says Duane Champagne, but her platform is standard Democratic boilerplate:

    If Hillary Clinton became president, she would have a great opportunity to strengthen Indian policy. Her current policy statements, however, do not suggest she will.

    If elected, Clinton promises to support funding for improving American Indian health, education, tribal colleges and universities, safety and justice, environmental protection, economic opportunity for youth and support for Indian veterans. She also promises to combat violence against Indian women, as well as drug and alcohol addictions, and to promote other efforts to improve life and economy in Indian country.

    But the Obama administration offered a similar bundle. Democrats have been offering improvement programs since the New Deal. And while most Indian communities are grateful for needed programs, they continue to have distressing social and economic issues.

    While economic and social aid are necessary, there has not been a significantly innovative statement by a president on Indian policy since Richard Nixon’s Self-Determination Policy was outlined in July of 1970. In fact, many old Indian leaders believe that the best time for tribal government support was during the 1970s when Nixon was president and Democrats controlled the house and senate.

    Democrats have offered programming for economically marginalized and minority communities. But they have not been in the forefront of the Indian self-determination movement. The programs of the Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson administrations aimed at moving people out of poverty and removing economic and discriminatory obstacles for persons aspiring to the middle class.

    The Obama administration followed in the Kennedy-Johnson tradition, and a Hillary Clinton administration promises to do much of the same.

    Women And Children: The First Victims

    The Brave Heart Society, supported by the White Buffalo Calf Woman Society and the Stone Boy Society, has issued a statement on the escalating tension over the Dakota Access pipeline, part of which is conveyed here:

    On September 3, Dakota Access pipeline security personnel assaulted protectors of sacred sites near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Pit bulls and German shepherds bit six people, while security forces pepper-sprayed 30 others. A pregnant Native woman and child were attacked.

    This could have resulted in infanticide. Infanticide is a crime that has been a part of Indigenous Peoples’ lives for the last 500 years in the Americas.

    Video shows the security company provoking water protectors, including many women. This escalation is an example of the war of “bio-politics” being waged on indigenous homelands all across the Americas. The cries of the protectors are the cries of past and current trauma and genocide.

    The North Dakota and area public utility companies reflect a brand of “settler colonialism” that has no regard for the lives of Native people who resided in these lands before they were stolen in government-sponsored land thefts or condemnation. For settler colonialism to exist, Indigenous Peoples have to disappear.

    The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted to enable tribal courts to prosecute domestic violence offenders who are non-Native. Perhaps the VAWA language should be amended to include prosecution against non-Natives who attack pregnant women and children with deadly weapons.

    Naca (leader) Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapa voiced his concern while a prisoner at Fort Randall. He said he feared most for women and children, as he knew the consequences of war. In war, women and children are disposable.

    We are not invisible and will not be erased.


    ICT News

    seneca-display-ad-for-webActivists, Tribal Leaders Hail Superfund Designation For Gold King Mine


    Environmental activists and tribal leaders are welcoming the recent designation of the Gold King Mine as a federal Superfund site, advancing the cleanup of an area contaminated by a multimillion-gallon toxic spill last year. The Colorado mine was one of dozens of sites designated on September 7 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the nation’s most polluted.

    Sandy Bahr, the director of the Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club, said the classification is “something that a lot of people have been advocating for some time.” Jackson Brossy, executive director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office, called the move “promising.”

    The announcement comes shortly after the Navajo Nation sued the EPA over the spill, claiming that one of the tribe’s most important resources—the water it draws from the San Juan River—was “poisoned with some of the worst contaminants known to man.”

    The spill was triggered in August 2015 when crews that were tasked with cleaning up the abandoned mine in Silverton, Colorado accidentally breached a mine tunnel instead. Their actions sent millions of gallons of mineral-laced wastewater streaming into the Animas River, turning it a ghastly orange-yellow. The Animas feeds several other Southwestern rivers, including the San Juan and the Colorado. Emergency cleanup alone from the spill was estimated to cost up to $20 million, the EPA said.

    Several Arizona lawmakers, like Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, accused the EPA of neglect for its handling of the spill. According to EPA Project Manager Rebecca Thomas, it could take up to 10 years to completely clean the area.

    To Ojibwe Relief, Enbridge Shelves Sandpiper Pipeline

    Enbridge Inc. has officially dropped its bid to build the $900 million Sandpiper oil pipeline, which would have crossed through Ojibwe wild rice lands. The company said on September 1 that it was withdrawing its applications from the Minnesota Public Utilities after determining that “the project should be delayed until such time as crude oil production in North Dakota recovers sufficiently to support development of new pipeline capacity.”

    The announcement came a month after the energy conglomerate revealed that it had bought a stake in the Dakota Access pipeline project.

    “We are grateful for this victory against the black snake that threatened our water, wild rice, and way of life as Ojibwe people,” said Winona LaDuke, founder of the conservation group Honor the Earth. “We call this land Anishinaabe Akiing. This is the land we belong to, and we will continue to protect it, as our ancestors did before us.”

    The Sandpiper would have run 616 miles through pristine waterways, and opponents were worried about its ecological effects, especially on delicate wild rice fields, which constitute an economic and sustenance mainstay for many tribes.

    Obama Cites Wisdom of Washoe People In Climate Change Speech

    President Obama stressed action on climate change last month in a speech at Lake Tahoe, Nevada by invoking the words of the former Washoe tribal chairman A. Brian Wallace: “What happens to the land also happens to the people.” Obama visited the landmark lake on August 31 on the occasion of the 20th Annual Environmental Summit.

    “It’s been written that the air here is so fine, it must be the same air that the angels breathe,” the president said. “So it’s no wonder that for thousands of years, this place has been a spiritual one. For the Washoe people (Native Americans), it is the center of their world. And just as this space is sacred to Native Americans, it should be sacred to all Americans.”

    “And that’s why we’re here, to protect this special pristine place, to keep these waters crystal clear, to keep the air as pure as the heavens, to keep alive Tahoe’s spirit and to keep faith with this truth, that the challenges of conservation and combating climate change are connected. They’re linked.”

    Obama proposed a specific series of conservation efforts. They include “supporting conservation projects across Nevada to restore watersheds, stop invasive species and further reduce the risks posed by hazardous fuels and wildfires”; “incentivizing private capital to come off the sidelines and contribute to conservation”; and forming a partnership with California “to reverse the deterioration of the salt in the [Salton] sea before it is too late.”

    He added, “I’ve made it my priority in my presidency to protect the natural resources we inherited because we shouldn’t be the last to enjoy them. Just as the health of the land and the people are tied together, just as climate and conservation are tied together, we share a sacred connection with those who are going to follow us.”

    The federally recognized Washoe Tribes of Nevada and California consider Lake Tahoe the center of their geographic and spiritual world. The name of the landmark body of water is derived from “dá,aw,” meaning “The Lake.”

    ICT News

    cherokee-art-marketOklahoma’s Largest Earthquake Strikes Tribal Territory


    Oklahoma experienced the most powerful earthquake in its history earlier this month, which shut down Osage Nation oil operations and damaged Pawnee Nation tribal buildings. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the quake, which took place 9.3 miles northwest of Pawnee on September 3, had a magnitude of 5.8.

    Seventeen disposal wells in the Osage Nation were closed following the seismic event. “The safety of our people is first,” said Osage Nation Minerals Council Chairman Everett Waller. “It’s an issue of the environment, which we’ve been custodians of for many years. Our oilfield is 118 years old.”

    Andrew Knife Chief, executive director of the Pawnee Nation Business Council, said that seven historic tribal buildings received moderate-to-severe damage, while three others received minor damage. The tribe has been able to maintain its critical support services to citizens.

    “We are a rural town,” said Knife Chief. “We are a rural community. A lot of members still live on allotment lands and there aren’t a lot of services in this part of the world. We are critical to them.” No tribal members were hurt, he said.

    Oklahoma has seen a spike in the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater in recent years. The Oklahoma Geological Survey has said the majority of earthquakes have likely been triggered by wastewater injected into disposal wells deep underground.

    “What we fear as a nation is that the environmental impact isn’t known,” said Knife Chief, noting that the tribe took out earthquake insurance on its buildings several years ago. “We’re in the midst of it. What is it going to look like 20 years from now?”

    New Native Development Group Emphasizes Home Ownership


    A newly formed Native business organization has begun a multipronged strategy to help tribes develop market economies. The new group, the Center for Indian Country Development, kicked off its efforts with a three-day conference that concluded on September 13 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    The Center will focus on Indian land, business alliances, education and home ownership. Home ownership in particular, said co-director Patrice H. Kunesh, is “an incredible economic driver. We definitely see home ownership as a paradigm in Indian country.” Tribal income gains in recent years, Kunesh said, are a healthy indicator that “a significant percentage of American Indians can afford to own a home.”

    Kunesh pointed to Native CDFIs (community development financial institutions) and tribal banks like Bay Bank (Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin) and Woodlands National Bank (Mille Lacs) as institutions that will have a significant role in mortgage lending on tribal homelands.

    The Center is backed by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and began with an idea from Sue Woodrow of the Montana office of the Minneapolis Fed. Woodrow realized that the federal and tribal governments were the major sources of funds on reservations and “took it to heart,” Kunesh said. Dick Todd, an economist at the Minneapolis Fed, is handling the research aspects of the operation.

    Along with the Center, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, NeighborWorks and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development co-hosted this week’s conference. The Center will continue its efforts with a conference on education that will take place on October 5 at the Minneapolis Fed.

    Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe Breaks Ground On Retail Center

    The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians broke ground on September 2 on a retail center that is expected to help spur economic growth in North Central Wisconsin. The 12,000-square-foot-center, located in Belle Plaine outside of Shawano, will cost $1.3 million.

    As Shawano County’s largest employer, the Stockbridge-Munsee Band is committed to supporting its surrounding communities, said tribal council president Shannon Holsey: “We’re thrilled to develop our first off-reservation retail property near Highway 29, which is a critical economic artery.” About 5,000 passenger cars pass the highly trafficked area daily.

    The North Star Casino provides the Stockbridge-Munsee with their primary source of revenue. This funding, said Holsey, has enabled the tribe of approximately 1,470 members to invest in the retail center and diversify its businesses, “which support the long-term prosperity of the entire North Central Wisconsin region.”

    The retail center’s foundation is expected to be poured soon, and exterior construction will likely be finished by the end of the year. Leasing efforts are under way for retail and quick-service restaurant brands, and tenants will have input into the interior design of their respective spaces.

    The retail center can house up to five tenants, which are expected to bring a number of permanent new jobs to the area. Bayland Buildings, based in Green Bay, Wisconsin, will serve as the general contractor for the project and estimates that it will yield between 15 and 20 construction jobs.

    Dakota Access Pipeline Halted

    Dramatic back-and-forth on an energy flashpoint


    Bottom Line: The signals are mixed but for now, Native heritage has trumped big oil.

    The biggest Indian protest movement in recent memory is yielding victory.

    Lucas Reynolds

    Minutes after a federal judge rejected the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, three government agencies effectively halted its construction.

    Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied the Standing Rock Sioux’s injunction request on September 9. But almost immediately the Interior and Justice Departments—as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—issued a joint statement that put a hold on all construction of the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile-long pipeline bordering Lake Oahe on the Missouri River.

    The Standing Rock Sioux had hoped to stop the routing of the Dakota Access pipeline underneath the Missouri, the source of the reservation’s drinking water, arguing that the Corps had failed to conduct a proper environmental and cultural impact study. Boasberg acknowledged that damage had been done to an area sacred to the tribe. But he said that the plaintiffs had not made their case for an injunction.

    “This Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux,” Boasberg concluded in his 58-page ruling. “Aware of the indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries, the Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care.”

    He continued, “Having done so, the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here.”

    But just after Boasberg’s decision, the three government agencies stepped in to suggest that a change in process might be in order regarding how the courts and federal law view Indian land.

    “We appreciate the District Court’s opinion on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act,” the joint announcement stated. “However, important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members regarding the Dakota Access pipeline specifically, and pipeline-related decision-making generally, remain.”

    The agencies called for “serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes’ views on these types of infrastructure projects.”

    They announced that “formal, government-to-government consultations” this fall would examine what the federal government can do “to ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights,” and whether new legislation was needed to meet the goal of meaningful consultation.

    The agencies outlined several steps to address the issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux in a lawsuit that the tribe filed on July 27 against the Corps’ approval of the pipeline.

    “The Army will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe until it can determine whether it will need to reconsider any of its previous decisions regarding the Lake Oahe site under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other federal laws,” the federal government said. “Therefore, construction of the pipeline on Army Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe will not go forward at this time.”

    Moreover, “The Army will move expeditiously to make this determination, as everyone involved—including the pipeline company and its workers—deserves a clear and timely resolution. In the interim, we request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.”

    Standing Rock had alleged violations of several federal laws, including the Clean Water Act, the National Historic Protection Act and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in its approval of the necessary permits.

    Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II was elated and grateful. “Our hearts are full,” he said. “This an historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation. Today, three federal agencies announced the significant decision to respect tribal sovereignty.”

    The tribe would now get a fair hearing, Archambault said. “Our voices have been heard,” he stated. “I walk through the camps and I am filled with gratitude for the love and care that thousands have shown in this fight. I want to share with supporters that we at Standing Rock are thankful. We are blessed by your continued support. Let us remain in peace and solidarity as we work to permanently protect our water.”

    The tripartite federal statement called for a calm and peaceful resolution to the situation.

    “In recent days,” it read in part, “we have seen thousands of demonstrators come together peacefully, with support from scores of sovereign tribal governments, to exercise their First Amendment rights and to voice heartfelt concerns about the environment and historic, sacred sites. It is now incumbent on all of us to develop a path forward that serves the broadest public interest.”


    Rite Of Female Passage

    ‘I really am a strong person’


    Bottom Line: For the Mescalero Apache, a special puberty rite is both a private experience and a public celebration.

    One of the maidens, Shaylee Mangas, blessed the medicine man Bo Kaydahzinne.

    Kerri Cottle

    Every Independence Day at the tribal lands in New Mexico, the Mescalero Apache conduct their traditional puberty ceremonies, a series of rituals deeply connected to the Apache deity White Painted Lady.

    For a nominal fee, the public can join the extended community that gathers around the girls who take on the rigors of the experience, and whose families have the funds to make their dreams come true.

    “People used to tell me I was strong,” Haley Tsinnijinnie, 13, said. “But deep down I never knew I was; going through with this feast tells me I really am a strong person.”

    The four-day ceremony requires intermittent fasting, abstinence from bathing, eating ritual foods, and vigorous prayer sessions. On the first and last mornings, there are ceremonial runs. On the final evening, the girls must stay awake all night and dance together until dawn in the Big Tipi.

    “It’s tiring,” acknowledged ninth grader Jerica Lea Mancito-Baca, “but I know that I’m doing something good for my culture.”

    This year, Allysa Iris Kazhe, Amber Ruth Lathan, Jerica Lea Mancito-Baca, Tahnice J. Moreno, Shaylee Mangas, and Haley D. Apache Tsinnijinnie stood with their families and medicine men and women in front of the Big Tipi facing east toward the Creator, giving and receiving blessings. Tobacco was smoked, herbs were tied to the Big Tipi, and there was a prayer for the trees that were cut down to serve as its poles.



    Shaylee Mangas, Amber Ruth Lathan and Jerica Lea Mancito-Baca participated in the first run of the rites. Kerri Cottle


    The girls’ faces and scalps were soon streaked bright yellow with bee pollen (considered an agent of fertility) collected from local cattails and stored in deerskin pouches. Purchasing the pollen or any ritual ingredients is strictly forbidden. Preparations, such as harvesting herbs for “Indian tea” or mescal, must be done in advance, and in season.

    The girls wore buckskin ceremonial dresses either inherited from a relative or made for the occasion. “When the maiden is in the dress, it’s a disciplined role,” explained Zelda Yazza, a sixth-generation medicine woman. “She represents the mother of our people.”

    “When you’re in this dress,” Mangas said, “you’re the one that’s got the power to help heal people who are sick and injured. It’s a joy.”

    The girls are not allowed to touch their own bodies. Any scratching must be done with a special stick and perspiration must be wiped with a scarf. Water cannot touch them, lest it bring a great flood to interrupt the rites. Holding a baby is prohibited lest it invite pregnancy too soon.

    Before the first run, the medicine women eases the girls face down onto a mat, rocking them into the earth, molding them into righteous Apache women.

    “She’s a virgin, untouched by men,” Yazza explained. “We’re pressing her body and molding her mind—that she not think crazy, that she remember things well, remember our people. We pray for her to be strong, straight, that her life will be good, easy for her, not difficult, that she’ll have a good home, that food will always come to her. We straighten her back so she’ll run fast, hard and good.”

    When the men start to shake their rattles and sing, it is a signal that the time is nearing for the girls to run. Women ululate.

    “I cry to lighten the burden of the girl, to make sure she knows I’m here for her,” Yazza said. The girls step forward, their medicine women holding onto them, a hand on the shoulder, some holding onto the fringe of their dresses. “This expresses the mother’s hope to always be in touch with her daughter,” Yazza explained.



    Medicine man Bo Kaydahzinne blessed Allysa Iris Hazhe. Kerri Cottle


    Slowly moving one bold step at a time, some of the girls, who are supposed to maintain a dignified even stoic composure, smile.

    “We’re supposed to keep our emotions calm and look respectful,” Amber Ruth Lathan said. “But we don’t want to look unhappy, either.” The men blow and kiss the fringe on their deer hoof rattles to help their prayers go straight into the rattle and right up to the Creator. The medicine women whisper encouraging words into the girls’ ears.

    The girls, who have been fasting since sundown, run a lap and return to the Big Tipi. Their friends straighten their moccasins, which have fallen down around their ankles in the run, offer water through straws, and wipe their brows. There are four laps during the first run, one for each stage of life in the Apache worldview: infant, toddler, pubescent youth and elder.

    When the medicine woman gives the thumbs up, Apache Burden Baskets are spilled over the girls’ heads: candies, coins and piñon rain down. Gumballs, bags of popcorn and toys are thrown out at the crowd. This is just a small part of the family’s generosity; to fulfill their feast-giving obligations, they often serve 200 to 300 meals to the public each day.

    Experienced feast organizers and head cooks like Louwana Barcus are hired to head up each family’s immense feeding operation.

    “On the first day we kill the cow, butcher it and take out the insides—liver, tongue, tripe,” said Barcus. “We serve the beef along with mesquite beans, Indian bananas, which is a kind of squash, and also deer meat with red chile.”

    In addition to the public, the family must feed their relatives and guests, hired dancers and singers, medicine men and women, and all the helpers. Before every meal, every day, the girl blesses all the food.



    As part of the ceremony, a medicine woman massaged the maiden Tahnice J. Moreno. Kerri Cottle


    After breaking their fast, the girls returned to the Big Tipi to light the main fire from which all other fires will be lit. They then kneel together, taking turns twirling a stick between their palms, trying to create a spark.

    Meanwhile cattail fronds that had been soaked in water are spread like a fresh carpet on the floor of the Big Tipi. Certain poles, bundles of twigs and rocks are rubbed with red clay mixed with marrow extracted from cow bones, and are blessed and thanked for their service.

    That night, the bonfire blazed to the heavens, its orange cinders releasing bright plumes of fire toward the abundant luminous stars that shine fiercely over Mescalero Apache lands.

    The Crown Dancers were electrifying in their black hooded masks, brandishing wooden swords—their bare torsos covered with paisley patterns painted in clay, the effect almost hallucinatory as they charged the fire, vocalizing in unison the high-pitched trills sounded in the Dance of the Mountain Gods.

    The next day, everyone returned to the Feast Ground to resume the rites.

    The Magnificent Sensmeier

    ‘Working as a storyteller is honoring my traditions’


    In the remake of The Magnificent Seven, Martin Sensmeier marries a Hollywood classic to his Native heritage.

    Sam Emerson/©2016 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

    Editor’s Note:
    The rising actor Martin Sensmeier (of Tlingit, Koyukon-Athabascan and Irish descent) recently finished filming the remake of The Magnificent Seven, directed by Antoine Fuqua. He stars alongside Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’onofrio.

    Raised in a Tlingit coastal community in Southeast Alaska, Martin moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to pursue acting and modeling. To support his career, he worked on an oil rig in Alaska in 2011. But after a grueling schedule of two weeks on/two weeks off, and feeling that working to support big oil was hurting his heart and mind, he quit and began pursuing acting and modeling full time.

    In an interview with ICTMN, Sensmeier spoke about his artistic and cultural journey.


    How did you get the role in The Magnificent Seven?

    I auditioned several times—you don’t get a role like this without a long process. They invest a lot of money. The process is a lot of work. The room was full of casting directors, they do a cold reading and you have to act with emotion. It is a really interesting situation.

    How did it feel being on par with such big name actors as Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’onofrio?

    At first it was a dream come true to be able to work with these guys, but then you have to try to not psych yourself out. I tried not to get into my head too much and I told myself I got this part because I earned this part.

    I’ve been chasing this dream and imagining in my mind what it would be like for a long time, so when I was there, I just thought, “Now the real work begins.”

    I got off social media, I put my head down and I just got to work. I gave it everything I could. I was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for four months and I didn’t even visit New Orleans. I just stayed where I was and worked hard and studied. Hopefully that will play out on screen.

    Did you always have that work ethic?

    There has always been a struggle to be a Native man away from home and I didn’t always take it as seriously for the first couple of years. Sometimes I would get distracted and hang out with friends. But now, when I have an audition, I learn my lines, I learn the other actors’ lines, I really work hard.

    But there was one time I had an epiphany. An elder passed away back home and I was unable to attend even after I was asked to come home. I couldn’t go home because I couldn’t afford it. I realized I was missing out on important things at home as a Tlingit man, and I needed to make it work [in L.A.], I need to give it my all and I need to work as hard as I can. I decided to focus … and do everything I can as an actor.

    Good things started to happen. I enjoyed being an extra in Longmire and met Lou Diamond Phillips. I watched everybody, it was fascinating to me, and I thought, man I could do that!

    Any memorable moments for you in your career?

    One morning, my clock was off by six minutes and I was one minute late for the van to take us to the set. I won’t say his name, but an Oscar-nominated actor tore into me. He said I was blessed to be in my situation, and tore into me for being late. I thought, Wow, what an experience to be chewed out by an Oscar nominee! I felt very blessed to be in that position.

    Any memorable or funny moments on set of Magnificent Seven?

    Every day was a new and great day, that group of actors is amazing. Chris Pratt is a very funny and laid back guy, yet he is extremely intelligent and an incredibly hard worker. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. Every day was light and fun and a lot of joking around.

    How was it to portray a Native character?

    Antoine Fuqua, the director, worked to create a diverse cast. I helped to create the character with him. He gave me a lot of freedom to bring a lot to the character. He gave me an idea of what he wanted and then he let me put it through my own filter.

    I am incredibly honored to be in a position to fulfill a role like that. I committed to being there. A great wrangler, Scotty Augare—he is Blackfeet—taught me to ride bareback. He worked on Dances with Wolves. I rode with him two hours a day.

    My dad told me that working as a storyteller is honoring my traditions, so I have to take it seriously.

    What is your advice for young Native actor hopefuls?

    You can’t get bummed out about not getting a role after an audition, no matter how big the production. You have to have thick skin and not take things personal. We need more Native actors and models. I really encourage everyone not to give up, and to stick with it. But you have to work, and that is really all there is to it.



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    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.

    Request for Proposals (RFP)

    Update Policies and Procedures for Financial Management, Procurement Management, Property Management, and Personnel Policies and Procedures for the Eastern Shoshone Tribe

    Issued By:
    The Eastern Shoshone Tribe
    Darwin St.Clair, Chairman
    Phone #(307) 332-3532

    Clinton Wagon, Vice Chairman
    Phone #(307) 332-3532

    Carla Honani, CFO
    Phone # (307) 335-2003

    The Eastern Shoshone Tribe of Fort Washakie, WY, a Tribal Government, is in need of updating new policies and procedures for Financial Management, Procurement Management, Property Management, and Personnel policies and procedures.

    1. The contractor will update fiscal policies and procedures in compliance with standards of the 25 CFR, Financial Management, Property Management, Procurement Management, and Personnel Management.

    Submission Guidelines & Requirements:
    1. Only Qualified individuals or firms with prior experience on projects such as this should submit proposals in response to this Request for Proposal.

    2. Bidder’s intent on submitting proposal should notify one of the representatives identified on the cover page no later than September 23, 2016.

    3. A cost proposal must be provided and should indicate the overall fixed price for the project, as well as, hourly rates and an estimated total number of hours – should The Eastern Shoshone Tribe decide to award a contract on an hourly rate basis.

    4. Proposals must be signed by a representative authorized to commit bidder’s company.

    5. Proposals must be received prior to September 30, 2016 to be considered.

    6. Any further requests can be sent to Carla Honani.



    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.


    The San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tribal Purchasing Department is requesting proposals from individuals or businesses to provide a comprehensive review of all telecommunications and utility
    purchases of all facilities owned and operated by SCAT.

    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
    4:30 p.m. (Arizona Time) on Friday, September 30, 2016 at 20 San Carlos Ave., San Carlos, AZ 85550.


    The Week in Photos

    Courtesy Chilton Family

    Tlingit artist Doug Chilton dispatched his custom canoe 2,800 miles from Juneau, Alaska to Bismarck, North Dakota in solidarity with the Dakota Access pipeline protesters.

    Carolyn Kaster/AP Images

    At Lake Tahoe, President Obama invoked Washoe tribal leader A. Brian Wallace in a speech devoted to climate change.

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife Dept.

    Following last year’s multimillion-gallon toxic spill, the EPA has designated the area surrounding the Gold King Mine as a Superfund site.


    The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has turned to tribally owned Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering to design new health facilities in Minnesota.

    Headlines from the Web

    Upcoming Events


    September 18-20: NAFOA Finance & Tribal Economies Conference
    The fall conference of the Native American Finance Officers Association affords an opportunity to meet with tribal leaders, influential federal agencies, and accounting professionals to discuss important issues facing Indian country. These include investment strategies, accounting and financial management best practices, new economic development trends, and legislative policies that may affect tribes. The conference offers a number of educational sessions and two general sessions made up of industry-leading panelists.
    Location: Sheraton/Le Meridien, Charlotte, North Carolina

    September 19-20: National Tribal Health Conference
    Conducted by the National Indian Health Board, this event is the premier annual Native American health-related gathering, drawing over 500 tribal health professionals, elected leaders, advocates, researchers, and community-based service providers. This year’s theme, “Achieving and Sustaining Quality Health Care in Indian Country,” will provide a framework for robust discussions and training on how to move forward with a quality Indian health system for future generations.
    Location: Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona

    September 20-22: NAIHC Leadership Institute Resident Services Training
    The National American Indian Housing Council will conduct this series of training exercises with the goal of providing participants with information and methods to deal with issues and concerns that arise when working with residents and tenants. Participants will be introduced to the basics of homebuyer education, in order for them to effectively answer questions from potential homebuyers.
    Location: Sheraton Crescent Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona

    September 21-22: Tribal Judicial Institute Conference
    The Tribal Judicial Institute of the University of North Dakota School of Law will conduct “Advanced Court Clerk/Administrator Training” and an “Emerging Issues Conference.”
    Location: Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Chandler, Arizona

    September 21-23: Building Native Communities: Financial Skills for Families
    This training will offer a three-day, state-of-the-art instructor training and certification program to help Native community development financial institutions, tribes, and other Native organizations establish and sustain financial education programs in their communities. Conducted by the First Nations Oweesta Corp., in partnership with the Native Learning Center and KeyBank Foundation.
    Location: Fort Hall, Idaho

     Letters to the Editor

    I have read the draft document on the inquiry of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada and I don’t see where the commission has any power to correct the problem. The document is just a series of platitudes. It is about optics. It will create a huge list of recommendations, none of which are legally binding.

    The commission should have been tasked with investigating the conduct of the specific agencies and officers involved in each of the cases. They should identify misconduct and failures, be authorized to start a separate criminal investigation, and hold those responsible accountable for their wrongdoing.  They should also have the authority to implement new policies to prevent these actions from recurring.

    Instead, all the commission can do is document what it perceives as misconduct and report it to the authorities. But the police are not going to investigate themselves and charge present and past offices with criminal offences. This whole exercise, sadly, will not achieve justice for those who have lost their loved ones.

    —Chad Moore



    Top News Alerts


    In advance of last week’s decision by three federal agencies to halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple officially activated the National Guard on September 8 to assist in maintaining security amid the demonstrations near Standing Rock. “A lot of people went numb,” the Ihanktowan elder Faith Spotted Eagle told ICTMN. “But we know how to handle these situations. We pray. We support and listen to each other, and seek consensus to know that we are safe.”


    Leander Frank, a 41-year-old Navajo Nation patrol officer, died on August 30 in a head-on collision on Route 64 between Chinle and Tsaile, Arizona. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS), Frank had been dispatched on a call to Tsaile, in Apache County, when a vehicle approached him; an ABC affiliate reported that the vehicles tried to avoid each other but failed. Frank died instantly; the passengers in the other vehicle survived. The accident is being investigated.


    The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe of California has received approval from the city of Ridgecrest to purchase approximately 24.6 acres for its intended casino. The run-up to the narrow 3-2 vote by the city council, which took place on September 7, was marked by struggle and dissent, the Ridgecrest Daily Independent reported; the majority of the 17 people who spoke during the public comment period “seemed to oppose the land sale.”


    The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota has launched Grand Fantasy Sports, a fantasy sports website developed by the tribe’s business arm. The site is currently open to customers in California, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The tribe also plans to integrate Grand Fantasy Sports at two bars under construction at their tribal casinos.


    The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona metropolitan area offered the most mortgages to Natives last year, according to preliminary data drawn from the 2015 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The 322 loans made to American Indians and Alaska Natives in the region constituted nearly four percent of the nearly 8,400 2015 mortgages tabulated as of September 5. Among other major U.S. cities, Los Angeles ranked eighth with 139 loans, while New York came in 17th with 88 mortgages.


    How Did I Miss That?

    The politics of emptying garbage, International Bacon Day and the state of Hillary’s health


    Photo courtesy Steve Russell Steve Russell

    Reuters reported that the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous is trying to hack into ISIS-connected Twitter accounts as quickly as Twitter is attempting to take them down.

    Since the murders in Orlando, Anonymous has taken to posting Gay Pride messages and links to gay porn in ISIS cyberspace. Anonymous also claims that some of the people working on the project are Muslims—which would make sense, because ISIS kills more Muslims than Christians and Jews put together.

    * * *

    Fast Company asked the question, “What Will it Take for Apple Pay to Take Off in the U.S.?” Apple Pay is a system that allows you to bypass credit cards and pay by waving your iPhone or iWatch at a machine. There was a time I would have considered that goofy, but that was before I set up my coffee tab that way. It works real well before you are fully awake.

    The report quoted Apple CEO Tim Cook as saying the two-year-old system has a user base “only” in the tens of millions. Only? In 2015, 256 million people in the U.S. were using plastic (42 percent debit, 38 percent credit) and the rest preloaded cards of some kind.

    My cousin Ray Sixkiller was looking sadly into his wallet. “There was a time,” he said with a sigh, “when having some cash in here was a good thing.”

    * * *

    Great Big Story ran a short video calling attention to Alex Carozza, 88, who is about to retire as the only accordion repairman in New York City. I’m guessing the Big Apple is turning to synthetic accordion music and hoping the same never happens to zydeco or Tejano.

    * * *

    Robert Kirby, representing curmudgeons in The Salt Lake Tribune, suggested we should not vote for anyone “so rich they don’t regularly take out their own garbage.” He went on: “I have more in common with Mexicans sneaking into this country to provide better lives for their families than I do with a guy who wants to build a wall to keep them out.”

    Having disposed of Mr. Trump, he said of people who accumulate wealth after they get into politics, “Their heads belong on pikes in front of a dollar store.”

    * * *

    Cousin Ray demanded that I mention how MSN reminded us that September 3 is International Bacon Day. Cousin Ray is one of those guys who would eat bacon ice cream.

    Anyway, the report claimed bacon dates from 1500 B.C.E. But the first patent was for packaging, issued to Oscar Meyer in 1924.

    Ray asked if putting bacon in a package was around the time “lipstick on a pig” became a catch phrase. I am not informed.

    * * *

    Media General did an analysis of a new genre of bovine excrement—namely, Hillary Clinton health conspiracies. For those who don’t remember, this began back when she was summoned before one of the early Benghazi investigations and her appearance was delayed when she sustained a concussion in a fall.

    The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy went into full cry, claiming that she faked a concussion to avoid testifying. When it turned out she did have a concussion, the narrative changed from claiming malingering to claiming she is at death’s door and is hiding it.

    The latest Hillary health conspiracies are peddled by the presidential candidate who has produced nothing but a letter from a gastroenterologist opining that his client “will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency—a letter produced in five minutes “while the car waited outside.”

    * * *

    Justice got under way in Oregon with the news that trials for the militiamen who recently occupied the Malheur Wildlife Refuge for 41 days are getting started.

    The trial itself is shaping up to be something out of The Twilight Zone. Defendant Ryan Bundy has requested a million dollars for playing himself.

    * * *

    Newsy could not resist a rehash of Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who supports the Malheur occupiers. When asked if the refuge should go back to the Indian tribes who originally lived on it rather than the ranchers, Fiore replied. “Why don’t we just all go back to England in that case?”

    Sounds like a plan.

    Upcoming Pow Wows


    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
    757-686- 8602

    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

    Standing Bear 23rd Annual Pow Wow

    601 Standing Bear Parkway
    Ponca City, OK
    580-762-1514 or 580-762-3148

    Morongo Thunder and Lightning Pow Wow

    Morongo Band of Mission Indians, 12700 Pumarra Road
    Banning, CA

    Kauai 18th Annual Pow Wow

    4-1464 Kuhio Hwy
    Kapaa, HI

    Noxen 12th Annual Fall Pow Wow

    3493 Stull Road
    Noxen, PA

    Natick and Ponkapoag Praying Indian Powwow Harvest Celebration

    Cochituate State Park
    43 Commonwealth Rd. (Rte 30)
    Natick, MA

    Mount Juliet 35th Annual Pow Wow

    300 Mundy Memorial Blvd
    Mount Juliet, TN

    Metrolina Native American Association Indian Trail Pow Wow

    Carolina Courts
    240 Chestnut Parkway
    Indian Trail, NC

    Fort Omaha 25th Annual Inter-Tribal Pow Wow, “Strengthening the Circle”

    Metropolitan Community College, Fort Omaha Campus
    5300 North 30th Street
    Omaha, NE

    Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center 38th Annual Pow Wow

    120 Charles Street
    Dorseyville, PA
    412-782-4457 or

    21st Annual Midwest Soaring Foundation22nd Annual Harvest Pow Wow

    Naper Settlement
    523 S. Webster Street
    Naperville, IL

    The Big Picture

    Set aflame on September 2 this year, Zozobra is an indigenous Burning Man who has been part of an annual Santa Fe festival since 1924. Jason Asenap