Issue 43, November 2, 2016

    A Letter from the Publisher


    Shekóli. Since its inception American cinema has provided moviegoers with entertainment and escape from everyday life. In creating alternate realities, it also shapes behavior and attitudes in the real world, blurring the line between fantasy and perception, history and legend. Movies can be a powerful, synergistic force. When things weren’t going well for American Indians in the first part of 20th century, our screen counterparts (played mostly by non-Native actors in redface) in jingoistic westerns were having an even worse time. It was hardly the kind of fare that a Native moviegoer would find entertaining or an escape from reality.

    Now comes Moana, a new animated feature from Disney, which is significant on more than a few fronts. The CGI-produced film is stunning in its presentation and artistry, thanks to such gifted contributors as Taika Waititi (co-screenplay) and Lin Miranda Manuel (lyrics). The story depicts a journey by Moana (voice by Auli’i Cravalho), a young indigenous woman of the Pacific Islands who is aided in her quest along the way by Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), a supernatural and conceptual Polynesian entity. This Polynesian-based world in the Disney universe combines specific pieces of distinct island cultures with entirely new, fanciful elements, points emphasized by its marketing team as the movie premier approaches.

    Disney is a global, bellwether corporation. Today diversification means more than branding across related businesses. For such a company, the world is not as black and white as it was once perceived; to attract a worldwide audience, the American-based media giant must be more inclusive.  In recent weeks, the company has reached out to Native press and leaders for day-long showcases about the creation of Moana, one of which I had the pleasure of attending. Disney has employed Native creative talent and press agents, which is only right. It has been pressed on all sides for years, as have many Hollywood companies, to incorporate the Native point of view. Advance clips of Moana have been embraced by some Pacific Islanders for showcasing elements of their culture in a positive way, and criticized by others for what they see as homogenizing and simplifying complex and distinct ideas. It’s an important conversation to have, and in coming weeks we have no doubt that we’ll be welcoming various points of view on ICTMN.

    Disney should be applauded as the new standard-bearer for culturally-sensitive commercial films. Movie-making is a business. With every film, there is an opportunity to incorporate accurate themes and information to expand an audience’s awareness, but profit is always the goal. The company took a risk by investing in meticulous research and by recognizing the diversity behind the term Polynesia, because it understands that successful films with meaning can, over the long term, perform better than those made of fluff. For filmmakers looking for themes that would resonate with contemporary audiences, what better place to look than at the wisdom passed down for generations in indigenous communities? Other companies should eye Disney’s lead and try to outdo it.

    There is much work to be done, in the theater and without. Moana can’t teach today’s children everything they need to know about themselves and each other, but the film incorporates indigenous themes and messages they wouldn’t have had the chance to hear any other way at any other time. To me, that’s a good thing.

    NΛ ki wa,

    Ray Halbritter


    Where Are The Congressional Water Protectors?

    The lack of congressional action on usable water for much of Indian country is scandalous, says Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona):

    The House has failed to fulfill one of its most fundamental responsibilities to Indian country: approving and funding Indian water rights settlements. These settlements are a crucial tool used by Congress to provide tribes with water to which they are legally entitled.

    As my staff documented in a recent report, clean water access and sanitation figures on numerous reservations across the nation more closely resemble those found in developing countries than they do the rest of the United States. Thousands of Native families continue to lack basic services like clean running water and flush toilets.

    The Navajo Nation, to take just one example, lacks access to running water for 30 percent of residents. For these families, obtaining water is often a daily struggle. The Navajo Nation estimates that 54,000 Navajos have to haul their water from backyard wells and stock ponds. Federal testing of current water sources has consistently found they do not meet federal potable standards for the presence of uranium or other radioactive particles.

    On the Pine Ridge Reservation, 58 percent of the wells tested are contaminated by arsenic, lead and other sources of radiation. For the Santee Sioux Nation and the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, more than a quarter of the wells on both reservations are contaminated with high levels of nitrate-nitrogen and coliform bacteria. On the Crow Reservation in Montana, university researchers have found drinking water contaminated with high levels of arsenic, manganese, uranium and bacteria.

    Over the past six years, since Republicans took control of the House, Congress has failed to fund a single Indian water settlement—despite numerous settlement bills being introduced.

    The Look Of An Indian

    Not all Indians are cut from the same surface cloth, writes Harlan McKosato, but try telling that to Donald Trump and those who think like him:

    “They don’t look like Indians to me, and they don’t look like Indians to [other] Indians,” Donald Trump once told Congress. In a radio interview with Don Imus, he said, “I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations.”

    Trump looks more like a giant Oompa Loompa than anything else, and I haven’t seen any orange-skinned Indians in all my days. But I have seen dark-skinned ones and light-skinned ones. Which begs the questions “What does a 21st century Indian look like?” and “What are we supposed to look like?”

    I’m sure many non-Indians have an image of a traditional Indian warrior with brown skin, long dark hair, dark eyes, muscled up, clean shaven and very handsome (kind of like me). But that stereotype was never reality. Native people come in all shapes and sizes and, these days, all skin tones.

    I myself was guilty of believing in a certain stereotype when I was younger—that all Indians should have brown skin, dark brown eyes and long, straight dark brown or black hair. It finally got through to my brain and my heart about what Native people look like in reality.

    Some of us don’t have straight hair. Some have blond hair. And some have blue eyes. Things change and things evolve. Let’s just hope that one day soon, people like Donald Trump will stop being ignorant and stop stereotyping Natives based on how he thinks we should look.

    A Doctrine Of Discovery Indeed

    The Christian Doctrine of Discovery is so pernicious, writes Steven Newcomb, that even co-called Indian advocates rely on it:

    Whenever the Supreme Court cites its precedents relying on the Christian-premised form of reasoning—as explained by the Justice Department in its 1954 legal brief in Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States—it still uses that reasoning against our Original Nations and Peoples. On that basis, Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Maryland) recently said of the lands where the dispute over the Dakota Access pipeline is taking place, “The piece of land we’re talking about is on federal land.”

    Ruiz, the ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, is viewed as and views himself as an ally of the Native peoples in the Standing Rock dispute. Yet he claims, “This is land that is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. And that what we’re talking about here is not just a matter of right. It’s the law.”

    In its 1954 brief, the Justice Department openly explained that the unjust and biblical form of reasoning applied to all the Original Nations of the Continent. It is that form of reasoning that has resulted in even the federal “allies” of Native Nations, such as Ruiz, claiming that all Indian land is supposedly under Washington’s jurisdiction.

    Given the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, that land is rightfully Oceti Sakowin Nation territory and therefore rightfully under the jurisdiction of the Oceti Sakowin. It is not so regarded because of the religious form of reasoning based on Christian dominionism—which says that our nations are not entitled to exist free from U.S. domination, because our ancestors were not humans, and because they were not Christians when the Christian invaders first arrived.

    ICT News

    kauffmanNo River-Crossing Pipeline Permits Just Yet, Justice Department Says

    Permits that would allow Energy Transfer Partners to continue building the Dakota Access pipeline, by allowing it to cross under the Missouri River, will not be issued anytime soon, the Justice Department said last week.

    “While the Army continues to review issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their members, it will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline on [Army] Corps [of Engineers] land bordering or under Lake Oahe,” Justice Department spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle told KFYR-TV in an email on October 25.

    Earlier that day, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II had requested a Justice Department investigation into civil and human rights abuses by police and other authorities against water protectors. “In the interim,” he wrote, “the departments of the Army, Interior, and Justice have reiterated our request that the pipeline company voluntarily pause all construction activity within 20 miles east or west of Lake Oahe.” It was not clear whether the construction was within that zone.

    Three federal agencies—the Department of the Army, the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency—requested in September that Dakota Access avoid building within a 20-mile buffer on either side of Lake Oahe while the issues were resolved. Since then, meetings have been held among the three federal agencies and tribes to explore ways to ensure that consultation sessions include free, prior and informed consent on infrastructure and projects that will affect Native nations.

    “The Justice Department is taking the situation in North Dakota seriously,” the Justice Department statement said.

    Tribes To Partner With Federal Government To Manage Public Lands


    The federal government has made a new commitment to federal-American Indian cooperation in managing public lands and resources. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell formally signed Secretarial Order 3342 at the Annual Federation of Natives 50th Annual Convention in Fairbanks, Alaska on October 21.

    The order facilitates consultation and collaboration between federally recognized tribes and Interior’s land, water and resource management agencies. It is designed to give tribes a meaningful and substantive voice in the management of public lands to which they have special geographical, historical and cultural connections. The directive is also geared to ensure that indigenous knowledge and practices are considered in land management decisions.

    The order applies to the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The agencies have wide-ranging authorities, from permitting oil, gas and hard mineral development to managing vegetation, fish, wildlife and other resources to protecting cultural resources and providing recreational and educational opportunities.

    The secretarial order details several examples of federal-tribal cooperative management and collaborative partnerships that could serve as models for future endeavors. For example, the Kuskokwim River Intertribal Fisheries Commission and the Fish and Wildlife Service have a memorandum of understanding that gives the commission an advisory role to help develop management strategies for the Kuskokwim River subsistence salmon fishery.

    Another example is an agreement between the Paiute Shoshone Indians of the Bishop Community and the Bureau of Land Management. They jointly manage cultural resource protection, recreation programs and youth engagement initiatives for the Volcanic Tablelands in central California.

    Massive March In Colombia Marks Indigenous Push For Peace


    Some 50,000 indigenous protesters and allies gathered in downtown Bogota, Colombia last month to protest the failed peace accord between the government and the FARC rebels, which was rejected in a plebiscite. Colombia’s indigenous population had long favored the accord; it is estimated that the conflict has killed at least 7,700 Indigenous Persons, displaced approximately 180,000 and resulted in some 1,800 disappearances

    According to most polls, indigenous communities voted heavily for the accord. However, on October 2, 50.2 percent of voters rejected it. The rally, held 10 days later on October 12, was organized by the National Organization of Indigenous People of Colombia (ONIC), the country’s largest indigenous organization. Many of those present chanted “No More War” and “You are not alone.”

    “It constituted a multi-colored, multi-ethnic river that reaffirmed how peace in Colombia cannot be built without the ancestral contribution of the 112 Native Peoples that survive in Colombian territory,” ONIC declared. “The spontaneous response of the citizens, always delivering flowers of different colors and water to the marchers combined in a magical way with the chants of the Indigenous Guards, who at various times danced in a happy way to the rhythms of the musical groups from different reservations and communities.”

    Among the indigenous organizations present was the Indigenous Authorities of Colombia Movement (AICO). “We exhort the National Government to continue with the process of dialogue including for all political and social sectors of the nation,” the group said, “and that the AICO be one of the direct participants in the reconstruction of peace between the national government and the FARC.”

    ICT News


    Clinton Pipeline Statement Follows Standing Rock Youth Protest


    The Hillary Clinton campaign last week expressed its hope for a peaceful and judicious resolution to the ongoing conflict over the Dakota Access pipeline, after a delegation of the Standing Rock Youth Group briefly demonstrated in her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

    “Secretary Clinton has been clear that she thinks all voices should be heard and all views considered in federal infrastructure projects,” read the statement, issued late on October 27, in part. “Now, all of the parties involved—including the federal government, the pipeline company and contractors, the state of North Dakota, and the tribes—need to find a path forward that serves the broadest public interest. As that happens, it’s important that on the ground in North Dakota, everyone respects demonstrators’ rights to protest peacefully, and workers’ rights to do their jobs safely.”

    Earlier that day, ten members of the Standing Rock Youth Group and about 100 supporters had gathered on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to speak about their personal feelings on the pipeline. They then marched to Clinton campaign headquarters to deliver a letter on the matter. In the office lobby they constructed a tipi and sang a round dance song, accompanied by dancers. Mrs. Clinton was not in the building, as she was campaigning in North Carolina.

    Her office declined to send down a representative to accept the letter, which was ultimately left on a desk as two dozen police officers entered the lobby and ordered the protesters to disperse or face arrest. The crowd left quietly and without incident. By early evening, the Clinton campaign had issued its statement regarding the conflict. and

    Paiutes Triumph In Court, With Early Voting On Two Reservations

    Early voting is under way on the Pyramid Lake and Walker River Paiute reservations in Nevada, where tribal members sued successfully in federal court for polling places on their homelands starting October 22.

    “We’re in full swing,” said Vinton Hawley, chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. “It’s been great. Tribal members are very enthusiastic.”

    Pyramid Lake voters joined a flood of Nevadans in casting ballots during the state’s early voting period. During the first two days of balloting at Pyramid Lake, turnout had already doubled that of the 2012 presidential election, according to Hawley. The turnout at Walker River during the same period nearly equaled 2012 totals according to OJ Semans, the Rosebud Sioux director of Four Directions voting-rights group, which assisted with the lawsuit.

    As chairman of the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, Hawley has urged Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske to direct counties to open polling places for nine more tribes, including some where ballot boxes are a more than 200-mile round trip away.

    However, citing “insufficient time” to set up more early-voting places, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske has turned down the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada’s request for more tribal early-voting offices on additional reservations. Also, she said, “there is considerable legal uncertainty as to who would be authorized to investigate and prosecute election law violations occurring on sovereign tribal lands.”

    “I take offense,” said Semans. “This is no more than an outdated and racially charged attempt to insinuate that tribal voters are somehow lawless and beyond control. The Nevada Election Task Force is part of a coalition of state and federal authorities that can handle election problems, no matter where they occur.”

    Native Credit Scores Improve In 19 States


    Credit scores on American Indian reservations increased in 19 states between 2002 and 2012, as indicated by recent data. Eleven of those 19 states (California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming) had mean credit scores above 670, a level deemed “good” by the credit rating company Experian.

    Credit scores for one of these states, Wisconsin, approached the “very good” level of 740 and above. Two other states, North Dakota and South Dakota, were just under the “good” range, while Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon and Oklahoma were in the “fair” range. Arizona had the lowest average credit score, at 610.

    Native Nations Institute Director Miriam Jorgensen, the University of Arizona and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development presented the data at “Mortgage Lending in Indian Country: Foundational Investments & Future Pathways to Economic Opportunity,” a conference held on September 13-15 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    The data, from a 2014 Working Papers study on consumer credit on American Indian reservations (Dimitrova, Grajzl et al), included all residents on reservations, Native and non-Native. Jorgensen quoted the same study that showed average credit scores within all reservation boundaries increased during the decade to just below the 670 “good” score. Areas that straddled Indian land or were adjacent or nearby all had averages between 690 and 700.

    The conference was co-hosted by the Center for Indian Country Development of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, NeighborWorks America and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

    History In Mothballs

    ‘How dare they keep those materials?’


    Bottom Line: In northern Nevada and southern Idaho, the Western Shoshone are waging a battle to reclaim their physical heritage.

    The collection and storage of artifacts has been likened to “ethnic cleansing.”

    Joseph Zummo

    “How dare they keep those materials?” asked elder Kathleen Holley. “They belong to us, and they should not be kept in a building.”

    A member of the Battle Mountain Band of the Te-Moak Western Shoshone, Holley had just seen a photograph of cartons at the Nevada State Museum, in Carson City. The photo, snapped in the museum’s Indian Hill Curatorial Center, shows shelves of boxes labeled “Tosawihi”—the sacred site in northern Nevada from which the contents were taken.

    Tosawihi, said the photographer, Ted Howard—the cultural resources director of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe in northern Nevada and southern Idaho—is the spiritual heart of the Western Shoshone homeland.

    “I cried when I saw the photograph,” said Colleen Burton, another Battle Mountain elder. “It’s sickening. I have been to meetings with federal agencies for years, and no one said they took those items. Why has no one ever come forward?”

    The boxes—342 of them, according to the museum’s curator of anthropology, Gene Hattori—contain as many as 1.5 million items collected by Intermountain Research archaeologists in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They did so under the auspices of the Nevada Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to satisfy an aspect of preservation law while a gold mine was beginning operations in Tosawihi. Howard calls such projects “ethnic cleansing.”

    “They take away the things that tie us to the land, so someday there will be no proof that we were here.”


    The Holdings

    The items came from areas that were to be utterly destroyed by gold mining, said Dr. Robert Elston, of Intermountain Research. They encompass mostly flakes (chips produced while working stone) and soil samples.

    Additional articles are large stemmed spear points; a fluted Clovis-era point more than 12,000 years old; “hundreds or thousands” of additional finished and partially finished points and stone tools; elk antler tools; buffalo-scapula digging implements; and animal bones left from food consumption.

    A pipeline project supervised by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the Tosawihi environs resulted in nearly 700,000 items being taken during 2010 and 2011. Flakes and soil samples dominate, along with 2,000-plus points, 8,000-plus implements, and hundreds of articles such as drills, mortars and pestles, and a massive stone bowl. They were also deposited in the state museum, where according to Hattori they take up 175 cubic feet.

    In 2005 in northern Nevada, in the first year of a several-year U.S. Forest Service project, volunteers reportedly unearthed 2,000 points and other Native items—also at the state museum. Additional studies by the Forest Service, the BLM and other agencies have scooped up unimaginable numbers of indigenous materials in Nevada and elsewhere.

    The bulk of collected materials, Elston said, are not taken for purposes of academic archaeology, but during agencies’ cultural resources reviews. These occur prior to a project that will affect or destroy the site, such as mining, pipeline construction or development. They then become the property of the federal government.

    “That process is not designed to stop projects, but to facilitate them,” Elston said. He added that Natives who consulted on the Intermountain review advocated making the materials available for viewing by tribal members. He supports that position.


    “An ancestor sat here,” said Joseph Holley, former chairman of the Battle Mountain Band, “and worked stone.” Joseph Zummo


    Cherry-Picking the Law?

    Howard accused the Nevada BLM and federal agencies of cherry-picking federal law as they conduct the reviews. He noted that Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)—for which the Tosawihi-area studies were undertaken—relies on archaeological evidence, or the presence of objects, for eligibility for protection via the National Register of Historic Places. This “pushes aside” places not defined by objects, or which have been vandalized or excavated in a way that diminishes them for outsiders—though not necessarily for Native people, he said.

    Howard noted that federal agencies must also comply with NHPA regulations that protect traditional landscapes that are subtly shaped by an array of cultural activities, executive orders and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act—which safeguards items of cultural patrimony as well as burials and grave goods.

    Joseph Holley, former Battle Mountain chairman and now councilman, agreed. He criticized the scooping up of even seemingly minor items. Standing on a hilltop in Tosawihi, he indicated a scatter of flakes.

    “An ancestor sat here and worked stone,” he said. “That tells us a great deal.” Holley called Tosawihi a cultural landscape: “Many activities occurred here, all aspects of which are significant.”

    As early as 1991, the authors of another BLM study proposed that Tosawihi be placed on the National Register as a Traditional Cultural Property. The authors warned that the site needed protection against both mining and archaeology. They then invoked protections of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act for Tosawihi, saying that collecting has an impact on traditional religious beliefs.

    A quarter of a century later, the struggle to understand the area as a traditional landscape continues. “The Nevada BLM conveniently misplaces anything that is contrary to its goal—support for the mining industry,” said Howard.

    Despite the studies of Tosawihi, said Howard, many sites are still unrecorded and unprotected. “The BLM conveniently overlooked sites,” he charged. “The agency caters to industry, rather than obeying the law.”

    Holley agreed. On a walk around the landscape, he pointed out unrecorded artifacts and sites. The visual record indicates, he said that a Class III survey—the most detailed available—“has never been done.” 


    Whose History?

    Losing contact with ancestral materials harms his people’s health and well being, said Holley.

    “How are we going to pray in these places when they’ve been destroyed and their contents taken? How are we going to pass on our culture to our youth? How are they going to attach themselves to our identity?” He and Howard stressed that the artifacts represent a contemporary culture, not a “prehistoric” one.

    Tribal youngsters agreed. “Our history is not taught in the Battle Mountain public schools,” said 15-year-old John Holley of the Battle Mountain Band. “Nothing. Not a word. When we are at Tosawihi, we can visualize and understand. It also changes our perception of what others tell us about our past.”

    “They have no respect for what we believe in,” said Kiana Vance, 20. “The years they kept that material means a generation missed them. How can we have a future without a past?”

    Another Battle Mountain youth, 17-year-old Evan Jim, criticized the entire cascade of events. “Mining is horrible,” he said. “As soon as you go to Tosawihi, you can feel it.” However, he did not support archaeologists taking items to “save” them. “What’s in boxes in the museum has to be returned to us, so it can be put back.”

    Burton sees a large task ahead: “A lot of work and prayer will go into replacing the items where the ancestors intended them to be.”

    Day Of Confrontation

    ‘The similarities to Wounded Knee cannot be ignored’


    Bottom Line: Violence escalated over the Dakota Access pipeline last week, with painful fallout all around.

    There is no sign that tensions will cease between water protectors and police.

    Courtesy Myron Dewey

    The accounts are conflicting. But there is no arguing that Thursday, October 27 saw the largest, most violent clash yet between law-enforcement authorities and opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL).

    Police deployed beanbag guns, noise concussion devices, and fire-extinguisher-sized canisters of tear gas and mace. In the end, 141 people were arrested.

    The police action on Highway 1806, about three miles from the Cannonball River, began shortly before noon, when a large contingent of heavily armed officers worked to clear a route for pipeline trenches in a relentless push that yielded numerous confrontations. Events culminated in the seizure of the newly established Treaty Camp and the removal of a number of tents, tipis and sweat lodges.

    “Officers met violence and resistance including a protester who fired a gun at officers in the police line, protesters who threw Molotov cocktails at them and set vehicles and debris on fire,” the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said.

    State spokesperson Cecily Wong described a woman who drew a .38 caliber pistol and fired three times at officers, according to the Associated Press. But activists dispute the account, which was not recorded on any of the on-the-scene video or live feeds that currently circulating.

    There were many firsthand reports, conveyed via Facebook live feeds, social media posts and other dispatches.

    “A man bearing an assault rifle broke thru [sic] a barricade and was speeding toward the Oceti Sakowin camp, he was run off the road 1/4 mile north from the Camp,” the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe stated on its Facebook page. “The man exited the vehicle where he appeared to be disguised as a water protector. He than fired several shots from his assault rifle. Tribal Law Enforcement responded, the man was then apprehended. Insurance documents from the vehicle reveal that it is owned by Dakota Access pipeline.”

    “Over 300 police officers in riot gear, 8 ATVs [all-terrain vehicles], 5 armored vehicles, 2 helicopters, and numerous military-grade Humvees showed up north of the newly formed frontline camp just east of Highway 1806,” read a statement by the Camp of the Sacred Stones, one of three prayer camps set up near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. “The 1851 Treaty Camp was set up this past Sunday directly in the path of the pipeline, on land recently purchased by DAPL. Today this camp, a reclamation of unceded Lakota territory affirmed as part of the Standing Rock Reservation in the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1851, was violently cleared. Both blockades established this past weekend to enable that occupation were also cleared.”

    Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II blasted the police tactics.


    Jesus Wagner was shot in the face with a rubber bullet. Twitter/Harsha Walia


    “We have repeatedly seen a disproportionate response from law enforcement to water protectors’ nonviolent exercise of their constitutional rights,” he said. “Today we have witnessed people praying in peace, yet attacked with pepper spray, rubber bullets, sound and concussion cannons. We urge state and federal government agencies to give this tense situation their immediate and close attention.”

    He noted that DAPL parent company Energy Transfer Partners had ignored the Obama administration’s request to voluntarily halt construction while the legal issues raised by the tribe were resolved. “By deploying law enforcement to support DAPL construction, the State of North Dakota is collaborating with Energy Transfer Partners and escalating tensions,” Archambault said. “We need our state and federal governments to bring justice and peace to our lands, not the force of armored vehicles.”

    Archambault also emphasized peaceful opposition. “Any act of violence hurts our cause and is not welcome here,” he said. “We invite all supporters to join us in prayer that, ultimately, the right decision—the moral decision—is made to protect our people, our sacred places, our land and our resources.”

    “President Obama had asked that work stop within 20 miles of river yet National Guard were used to clear the way,” wrote Dallas Goldtooth, organizer of the Keep It in the Ground movement with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “DAPL security forces were part of the invasion. They had armed men with AR-15s and had malicious intent to sneak into the camp.”

    Goldtooth also said that men and women had been pulled out of a sweat lodge ceremony at gunpoint. “The similarities to Wounded Knee cannot be ignored,” he wrote. “There was potential last night to turn a peaceful protest into a major tragedy.” And, he added, “Horseback riders were attacked by police on ATVs resulting in one horse being hurt so severely that it had to be put down. There were national guard Humvees on site with snipers stationed on top.”

    “They sprayed me with my hands up and my back to them, with all my medic markings clearly showing,” said a medical work in a Facebook posting by the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council. “They sprayed me head to toe,” “They pointed shotguns at me. They pointed shotguns at my back while I was treating patients.”

    Many activists and protectors described feelings of nausea, lightheadedness and sickness after returning to the camps near Standing Rock. “My heart hurts,” wrote Jon Eagle Sr., Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “I can’t believe what I witnessed today and it’s still going on. Prayers for the protectors tonight.”

    Amid the chaos, there was at least one uplifting moment. At one point, “We all turned to the east to see a herd of buffalo come charging,” Eagle said. “Behind them were young warriors on horse back. Police in ATV’s charged after them. There were shots fired. The young men rode through the line of ATVs and made their getaway.

    “A war cry went up from the crowd.”

    Bracing For Winter

    ‘It’s time to prepare’


    Bottom Line: Few expected that opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline would extend into the holiday season. But now that it has, the water protectors are buckling down.

    Jim Northrup III from the Fond du Lac Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota brought tipi and lodge poles to the Sacred Stone Camp.

    Mary Annette Pember

    LaDonna Bravebull Allard was shucking corn that had been drying at Sacred Stone Camp, one of the water protector camps opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline near Standing Rock. Women of a certain age seemed compelled to join her. Wordlessly, they set up camp chairs and seized pieces of the corn, twisting the dried kernels free of their cobs.

    They fell into a rhythm, seated in a summer sun that was quickly moving into fall.

    “Yes, it’s time to prepare for winter,” Allard said. “The cold weather comes fast in North Dakota, and once here it stays for a long time.”

    Preparations have begun for the cold weather that is serious business on the plains, where winter temperatures can dip to minus 35 degrees and winds can gust up to 100 mph.

    “I was gathering together all the balaclavas and pilot-cap winter hats that were donated, and one of the volunteers said, ‘Oh, we don’t need those, do we?’ I told her, ‘Oh yes we do,’” Allard said.

    Although the number of residents at the various water protector camps has fallen from the summer’s high, several hundred still remain. Exact numbers are difficult to nail down and vary widely, camp leaders say. Camp populations grow over the weekends, when people come out for a couple of days to show support.

    One young Native woman from Arizona came with a group of 35 people from various southwestern tribes who were committed to staying through the winter. “We are here for the duration, but we don’t really know what to expect,” she said, laughing nervously.

    It is unclear exactly where campers will stay over the winter. According to Forum News Service the main camp, Oceti Sakowin, is located on land that is flood-prone and provides little protection from the wind. In addition, the land is prone to drifting snow. Standing Rock Sioux tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said that talks about relocating the main camp are under way.


    Shucking corn has begun well in advance of the bitterly cold weather. Mary Annette Pember


    “I’m concerned about the safety of the people,” he said. “When it gets cold in North Dakota, people don’t realize it gets 35 below zero. . . and that’s not just for one day. It can last for a week. Camping in a tent is not realistic.”

    Cody Hall (Cheyenne River Tribe), a leader at the Red Warrior Camp, said that many people want to remain in the main encampment. Archambault, however, wants to ensure that there is a plan if it is moved. “We want to make sure the community is okay with this,” he said.

    For the time being, preparations for the long haul are under way. James Northrup III (Ojibwe from the Fond du Lac Reservation) is building several traditional Ojibwe waaginogaans—domed lodges made from yellow birch and ash tree poles. They measure about 35 feet long by 15 feet high.

    Northrup, a cultural resource teacher, has brought several truckloads of poles to build the lodges. They are insulated with various donated materials available at the camp and, if properly constructed, are waterproof. “We put tarp as the final covering over the lodge but have to keep it pulled tight so the wind can’t get a hold of it,” he said. “It will stay really warm if we have a fire, but if we invite Grandfather Fire inside, we have to ensure there is a hole for him to exit too.”

    This traditional knowledge has been joined by modern technology. Two solar power developers—Wahleah Johns (Navajo Nation) of Black Mesa Solar Project and Barrett Rafferty of GivePower—recently visited the camps to assess energy needs. They met with Allard and Northrup with the idea of providing solar panels that could provide power for such devices as refrigerators and computers.

    “Our people survived here,” Allard said. “There are still some of us left who remember what our ancestors taught us.”

    Executive Director

    The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) is looking for a dynamic Executive Director to lead the organization.

    The successful candidate directs, plans, and organizes AIGC programs and personnel; executes AIGC mission of providing scholarships and support services to American Indian/Alaska Native graduate students in higher education; and maintains and cultivates partnerships at the tribal, local, state, and national levels with organizations and individuals that are committed to the mission of AIGC. Master’s Degree in Business, Public Administration or related field plus five years executive management experience of a non-profit, educational or related organization; PhD preferred.

    Five years in successful fundraising and fiscal management experience including budget development, oversight and reporting. Prior experience working on behalf of tribes and/or tribal organizations and building local, regional and national relationships and partners required. Native American strongly desired. Must be able to successfully pass a pre-employment drug/alcohol screen and background investigation.


    Please submit your letter of interest and resume to  Resumes accepted through November 25, 2016.


    The Salish & Kootenai Housing Authority (SKHA), a Tribally Designated Housing Entity (TDHE) for the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CS&KT) of the Flathead Indian Reservation, located in Pablo, Montana, is soliciting proposals for three (3) consecutive twelve (12) month audits, with a separate report for each year.

    The contract will begin with fiscal year ending December 31, 2016.  CPA firms or individual(s) responding to this Request for Proposal must have substantial previous audit experience with TDHEs, and must be very knowledgeable of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA) and the organizational structures of TDHEs.

    Interested parties must submit written proposals to the Salish & Kootenai Housing Authority, so they are received, in person or by mail, on or before 4:30 p.m. Mountain Standard time, Friday, December 9, 2016.

    For a complete copy of the Request for Proposal for Audit Services with background, scope of services, contents of the proposal, and selection process go to SKHA’s website at or contact Carolyn Weivoda at
    406-675-4491, ext. 1512.

    Omaha Tribe of Nebraska is hiring for the following positions:

    Part time Chief Judge

    Associate Judge

    Deadline:  November 11, 2016

    Carl T Curtis Health Education Center

    Nursing Home RN and Dialysis Nurse Manager

    Open until filled

    Please send your resume, three references, and a complete application to:

    The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska
    Attn:  Human Resources
    P.O. Box 368
    Macy, NE 68039

    Barry Walker, HR Director
    Phone: 402-837-5391
    Fax 402-837-4526

    Executive Director is needed for the San Felipe Pueblo Gaming Regulatory Commission. Is responsible for administering the daily functions and duties of the Commission set forth in the San Felipe Tribal Gaming Ordinance. Ensures that the gaming operations are in compliance with the Tribal/State Compact, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, Nation Indian Gaming Commission Standards, and any applicable gaming laws and regulations promulgated by the San Felipe Pueblo Gaming Commission and/or Tribal Council.

    Bachelor’s degree in Business or Public Administration or the like. Five years’ experience in business or public administration or gaming regulation, with three years in senior level position, preferably in Indian Gaming. Must hold a valid driver’s license and pass a driving background check. Must pass a pre-employment drug screening and a background check.  

    The Pueblo of San Felipe offers competitive wages, affordable benefits, and a retirement plan. All inquiries: or 505-771-6634.


    Beginning October 25,2016 until November 18, 2016we will re-open our waiting list and accept applications for 94 units of senior housing at 294 Wilson Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York. 297 Wilson Avenue consists of 26 studio units and 68 one bedroom units of which 21 units are handicap accessible. You may pick up an application at 297 Wilson Avenue on Tuesday and Wednesday 9:00 AM-5:00 PM or request it by mail at Plaza De Los Ancianos De Wilson.

    Apllicants should be 62 years of age orolder to be eligible. Qualifications will be based on Section 8 Federal guidelines for the elderly with limited income. Only one application should be submitted per household per building.



    297 Wilson Avenue
    Brooklyn, New York 11237
    (or request an application by mail to the addresses above)




    Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School
    P.O. Box 672
    Eagle Butte, SD  57625
    Phone: 605-964-8777
    Fax: 605-964-8776

     The Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School is advertising the following position as Open Until Filled:

     Position Title: Education Specialist (Special Education Director)

     Announcement number: 17-01-CEB

     Salary Range: Level 05/01 – $28.29 per hour thru Level 05/21 – $36.90 per hour

     For more information, go to or call 605-964-8777.

    The Week in Photos

    Howard Kayaani

    Brandy Joey, crowned Miss Navajo Technical University on September 7, is using her position to raise awareness of domestic violence issues.

    Cliff Matias

    Members of the Standing Rock Youth Group erected a tipi in the Brooklyn campaign headquarters of Hillary Clinton on October 27.

    Alex Hamer

    Ganondagan, a former Seneca Nation village site, recently showcased traditional stick-and-poke tattooing, using gunpowder and charcoal.

    Richard Drew/AP Images

    Former Vice President Al Gore formally supported efforts to halt the Dakota Access pipeline.

    Headlines from the Web

    Upcoming Events


    November 3: Consultation on the Current Process of Negotiating and Reviewing Indian Water Rights Settlements
    Continuing a process established in 1990, the Department of the Interior will host a consultation session to obtain tribes’ perspectives on the current method of negotiating and reviewing Indian water rights settlements and potential improvements to the process. This session follows a similar gathering held at the National Congress of American Indians Annual Conference in Phoenix, Arizona last month.
    Location: Billings Bureau of Indian Affairs/Bureau of Reclamation Office, Billings, Montana

    November 7-10: TribalNet Annual Conference
    The 17th annual conference will again focus on TribalNet’s goal of bringing technology and tribes together. Five separate information technology tracks will be offered: Leadership, Security, Tribal Government, Tribal Gaming/Hospitality and Tribal Health. The more than 30 specific sessions include “WiFi for Slots and Videos,” “Ransomware,” “Workforce Development,” “Data Governance,” “Developing Your Leadership Style,” “Critical Situation and Incident Response Management” and “A Holistic View of the Casino Customer.”
    Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, San Diego, California

    November 10-12: American Indian Science and Engineering Society Annual Conference
    Combining traditional knowledge with new ideas, this three-day AISES event will be devoted to educational, professional and workforce development, with an expected 1,800 attendees, 200 exhibitors and dozens of sessions. “Robots, Robots, Everywhere,” “Career Fair Savvy,” “Zombie Autopsy and Emergency Preparedness,” “Predicting Our Future, Actuarially” and “Climbing the Ladder of Success Within the Field of Engineering” are among the many offerings.
    Location: Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    November 14-15: Native American Healthcare Conference
    At the seventh annual conference, presented by Native Nation Events, healthcare directors and tribal leaders will hear from the industry’s top experts on mental health, preventative disease, wellness and other topics through a series of panels and roundtable discussions. Tribal healthcare clinicians, IHS representatives and healthcare professionals will also hear about the latest healthcare developments, such as the newest treatments, equipment and opportunities, the current state of the industry and future trends.
    Location: Viejas Casino & Resort, Alpine, California

    November 14-17: RES New Mexico
    Sessions and discussions at this Reservation Economic Summit will be devoted to such broad topics as Tribal Consultation, Procurement/Matchmaking Preparation, Tribal Enterprise, Green Energy Business Opportunities, Entrepreneurship, Telecommunications, Marketing and Social Media, Business Expansion, and Corporate Supplier Diversity. Conducted by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.
    Location: Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Letters to the Editor

    Re “A Crackdown In Progress,” about police tactics used against Dakota Access pipeline activists (October 7):

    When police wear tactical clothing including body armor, brandish military-grade weapons, use dogs in a threatening way, drive military vehicles, and use formations designed to go on the offensive, they are not riot police. When they bring in personnel from other jurisdictions and the private sector, they are a mercenary army. They are an assault force, a first-strike force, designed, trained and equipped to overrun and occupy.

    So let’s stop calling them riot police wearing riot gear. Saying those things is caving in to their label of what we, the advocates, are doing. They are not cracking down on lawbreakers, they’re not serving or protecting. They’re destroying the peace and creating disorder.

    We are not rioting. We are not warlike. And we are not opponents of the pipeline. We are proponents of water.  And water is life.

    —R. Gray


    Top News Alerts

    Former Vice President Al Gore has formally supported efforts to halt the Dakota Access pipeline. “I stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe,” he said in a statement issued on October 26. “The courage and eloquence of the Standing Rock Sioux in calling all of us to recognize that their words, ‘Water is Life,’ should be applauded, not silenced by those who are driven by their business model to continue spewing harmful global warming pollution into our Earth’s atmosphere.”

    After nearly four decades of litigation over whether Montana can tax coal that is owned by the Crow Nation, both parties have reached an agreement whereby the state will pay $15 million if the Nation will forfeit claims on past taxes that have been collected. Under the settlement, signed on October 20, “the state does not surrender its power to collect severance and gross proceeds tax on the tribal coal,” reported the Billings Gazette.

    Susan Jensen has been named executive director of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), the state’s largest tribal government gaming group. As executive director of the organization, which represents 33 federally recognized tribes, Jensen will oversee day-to-day operations and be responsible for overall management and implementation of policies and programs. She is an 18-year CNIGA veteran and has twice served as interim executive director; she has also overseen the association’s media program, member services and its annual trade show.

    Pace International LLC, a company on the Yakama Nation Reservation that manufactures products to keep harvested fruits and vegetables fresh, will upgrade its equipment and pay a $77,134 penalty for violating the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the settlement on October 6. Pace International Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Roberto Carpentier said his company was not penalized for emissions but for failing to properly report them to the EPA for five years.

    The Chickasaw Nation and the Environmental Protection Agency have signed an agreement that could lead to federal funding for certain Chickasaw environmental projects. The plan lists a number of environmental areas that the Nation will monitor, including potable water; clean water; ambient air control; toxic substances control; and additional water studies to monitor streams, lakes, ponds and other sources to ensure safety and quality control.

    How Did I Miss That?

    Fast-food venison, flavorless tomatoes and chunkey stones


    Photo courtesy Steve Russell Steve Russell

    The Washington Post reported on a scientific study about the reasons for what it calls “a truth universally acknowledged”—namely, that commercial tomatoes have no flavor. It turns out that the culprit is refrigeration. You can have the tomatoes last a long time, or you can have them taste good, but both things at once are not happening with current technology.

    My cousin Ray Sixkiller wanted to know where the scientists who did this research came from. The answer was Cornell University and the University of Florida in the U.S. and Zhejiang University in China.

    Cousin Ray harrumphed that his mother had enough sense not to put tomatoes in the fridge and that she never went to a university.

    * * *

    Last week, I reported that only two daily newspapers had endorsed Donald Trump in the entire nation, both called the News-Press—one published in California and the other in Missouri. Since then Trump support has, relatively speaking, snowballed; the Ashland, Ohio Times-Gazette has now recommended The Donald, as did the Antelope Valley, California Press. The biggest endorsement so far is that of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, recently purchased by a mystery owner who turned out to be casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

    Trump became an Indian fighter in the first place to destroy Indian casino competition. Maybe he’s not the only casino owner willing to spend money to shut off Indian gaming.

    * * *

    The Cherokee Phoenix reported that the Cherokees for Standing Rock and the Mankiller Flats Water Protectors were due to begin a round robin stickball tournament titled “Stickball for Standing Rock” on the grounds of the Cherokee Nation Male Seminary Recreation Center in Tahlequah. Men’s and women’s teams will play each other until the men’s team with the most wins and the women’s team with the most wins will meet for the championship. Team entry fees are $50.

    Those who think the men’s team is bound to emerge as champion do not watch much stickball.

    * * *

    I ran across a hot rumor of interest to persons of my tribal customs that turned out to be unlikely but true. The dominant roast beef joint, Arby’s, is about to offer a venison sandwich. The offer is limited by geography and by time, so it’s not like higher protein/lower fat/better taste is suddenly taking over. But it has to start somewhere.

    * * *

    If venison and stickball were not enough good news, the Phoenix also reported that Cherokee citizen Jim Cosby is resurrecting a traditional game called chunkey, thought to be lost in the mists of time.

    Cosby owned a chunkey stone as a family heirloom and it’s being used as a model to create more. Cosby and his people are also making the eight-foot spears that are used in the game as the chunkey stone is rolled downfield and the players vie to be closest to where the stone stops without hitting it.

    They have started a Facebook page, “Cherokee Chunkey Players,” and hope to incorporate the ancient game into the traditional games section of the Cherokee National Holiday.

    * * *

    The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America published a study of the effects of climate change on wildfires in the western U.S. John T. Abatzolglouof the University of Idaho and A. Park Williams of Columbia University concluded that climate change has contributed to almost half of the losses from wildfires between 1984-2015.

    Cousin Ray was reading the conclusion that “anthropogenic climate change will continue to chronically enhance the potential for western US forest fire activity while fuels are not limiting.” He wanted an English translation. I told him “anthropogenic” means that humans caused it and that lack of fuel will limit the fires when the forest is gone.

    Cousin Ray guessed that the good news is there will be work for Indian fire crews, but he gave science-speak a shot when he said the loss of habitat would disrupt the food chain.

    Upcoming Pow Wows


    Stone Mountain Park Indian Festival and Pow Wow

    US Highway 78 East
    Stone Mountain, GA

    Red Mountain Eagle Pow Wow

    1839 North Longmore Road
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Austin Pow Wow and American Indian Heritage Festival

    3200 Jones Road
    Sunset Valley, TX

    Awi Akta Cherokee Veterans Pow Wow

    635 South West Gage Boulevard
    Topeka, KS

    Pow-Wow at the Richmond International Raceway

    600 N. Laburnum Avenue
    Richmond, VA

    Cheorenhaka (Nottoway) Corn Harvest Pow Wow and School Day

    27345 Aquia Path
    Courtland, VA

    16th Annual Clearfield Veterans Day Pow Wow

    5615 Park Street
    Clearfield, PA

    Texas Championship Native American27th Annual Pow Wow

    7979 North Eldridge Road
    Houston, TX

    The Big Picture

    The Indigenous Rowing Club of upstate New York is continuing a strong second season. Alex Hamer