Issue 47, March 3, 2020

    A Letter from the Publisher


    Shekóli. No matter how fraught the history, or stressful the time, Thanksgiving is an opportunity for us to reflect on many things. Even the name of the holiday itself has many facets. It is a time and it is an action. It addresses giving, receiving and giving thanks for all things. These are themes that resonate in Indian country. We’d like to think they come naturally, despite the intrusions and pressures of contemporary life that seem to have dispelled this eternal part of human culture and relegated it to one long weekend a year.

    One of the most popular pieces of Native lore that circulates in the mainstream is the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Prayer. Recently, an ICTMN Mohawk staffer jokingly remarked that if the prayer were said in full, it would take three days to complete. But there is truth in that statement, as we Natives teach and are taught to try to be aware of the many blessings bestowed on us. It’s a concept that also supports a style of giving in Indian country that is sometimes misunderstood from the first colonists to our neighbors today: If we possess something that someone in need asks for, the proper courtesy is to give willingly, no questions asked.

    Most important, a Native Thanksgiving relates directly to our Mother, the earth, for all the things she gives us and allows us to take. How we use her gifts, and how we develop them, should be in accordance with what is best for not only us, but down to the seventh generation.

    So, this Thanksgiving, we must honor and thank those people who for months on end have sacrificed and given of themselves, enduring incredible hardships, to protect the waters of Mother Earth. The water protectors of the NoDAPL movement are defending our water supply for today and for the generations to come; for the 17 million people downstream along the Missouri whose drinking water is threatened by pollution; and for the very men and women who oppose them in militarized riot gear at the behest of a shortsighted government and corporation.

    The best gift is one that is given freely, with no expectation of anything in return. The sacrifice of right-thinking people opposing the degradation of earth and water sometimes comes at a heavy cost to their bodies and minds. Now is a good time to give them our support—and our unending thanks.

    NΛ ki wa,

    Ray Halbritter


    Be Bolder, White People

    Thank you, all you non-Natives, for your fearless online posts on our behalf, says Terese Mailhot:

    This is dedicated to the brave white people on Facebook who are sharing various articles about Standing Rock. You could have been on the front line, in the marches, putting money where your mouth is. But you had the foresight to know that real change happens on the Internet.

    We Natives know it’s not posturing. Authenticity is your mantra. If someone tests your authenticity, just show that picture of you meditating on a mountain with the caption “Serenity.” What is more authentic than your Facebook posts, the ones that you block your racist uncle from reading? It would be so inconvenient to challenge him online. You are constantly doing us a solid.

    I’ll be honest: You still have time to prevent further mistakes. Your white tears after this election have only sidetracked real activists from doing the work we need to do. We can’t console you right now, and it’s time to boss up.

    Can you do us a solid one more time? Have those conversations you’re having outside of your liberal online friendships. At the Thanksgiving table, talk about the Dakota Access pipeline and how ironic your feast is when you look at American history. Talk to your bosses and coworkers when they discriminate. Help refugees, because there is no such thing as natural born citizens. Even Native people feel displaced in their own country. The disenfranchisement of our most vulnerable community members cannot continue.

    Put your money into this, and your time, and every ounce of your compassion. Be braver.

    Rethinking First Principles

    Defeating bad ideas about colonization is best achieved by scrapping the original arguments in its favor, argues Steven Newcomb:

    Chief Justice John Marshall admitted to the lie at the root of federal Indian law in Johnson v. M’Intosh when he wrote of the “pretension of converting the discovery of an inhabited country into conquest.” Adam Smith admitted to the falsehoods built into the colonizers’ narratives when he pointed out that colonizing countries that arrived at the “Americas” had merely declared a “fictitious title” to the lands. And Joseph Story asked, “How did the British colonies acquire title to the soil of the continent? His answer was “discovery.”

    However, the correct answer, from the viewpoint of the pre-America Nations, is based on the principle of void ab initio i.e. “to be treated as invalid from the outset.” The crown and the colonies never did acquire a valid title to the soil of the continent. They pretended to have acquired a valid title by means of the fictitious claim of having “discovered” lands that belonged to our Original Nations.

    Yet we have been acting as if the colonizers’ ideas and arguments are valid. They were not valid then and are therefore not valid today. To the extent we have accepted “federal Indian law” lies as valid, we have been living a self-subordinating delusion. It’s a self-imposed bad dream from which, fortunately, we have begun to awaken.

    We’ve been going about this all wrong. We need to develop counterarguments that make clear the nature of the colonizers’ narratives. We need to be calling into question the false assumptions upon which U.S. federal Indian law was founded.

    Strength Through Native Identity

    Faced with a Trump administration, says Gyasi Ross, the original inhabitants of Turtle Island should embrace unity and recall past triumphs over adversity:

    Donald Trump poses a unique threat to Native people because of our relationship with the federal government. Not to be dramatic, but one bad federal administration can literally end the legal and political status of Native nations as we know it. That’s called “plenary authority.” Put bluntly, we will not make any positive strides during the Trump administration. It is naïve to believe that we will. Instead, we will need to work together, strategize and execute how to work together in a way that mitigates damage.

    Tough times are nothing new to Native people. While many liberals are questioning their existential position on this continent and making plans to go to Canada, Native people have faced exponentially worse from racist white men. We’ve faced extinction, termination and genocide. We’re tough as nails and our history tells us that if we work together we’ll be okay. We’re going to survive. Will it be ideal? No. But we will be here at the end of that time.

    We will make it as long as we’re willing to work together—to collaborate and understand that what affects one literally affects all. Even though it is legally incorrect, the United States does not deal with any Native nation as an individual nation. It deals with all of us as a group, a whole. Therefore we must be willing to stay away from a lack of cooperation, infighting, lateral violence and not seeing the bigger picture. Those things are counterproductive and will weaken us.

    We need each other, more so now than ever.

    Bois Forte Tribal Government

    Housing Department


    The Bois Forte Housing Department in Nett Lake, MN, is soliciting Proposals to study the needs of our maintenance program and to provide policy updates to improve the timeliness, cost and quality in the delivery of our services.

    All proposals are due by December 23, 2016 by 4:00 P.M.

    Inquiries concerning this RFP should be mailed to:

    Dani Pieratos, Office Manager

    Bois Forte Housing Department
    5344 Lakeshore Drive
    Nett Lake, MN 55772
    P: (218) 757-3253
    F: (218) 757-3254
    Or e-mailed to:

    This invitation is unrestricted; however, preference shall be given to Indian Organizations and Indian Owned Economic Enterprises in accordance with 24 CFR 1000.48, 1000.50 and 1000.52.


    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

    WLFI - News 18, Lafayette, IN

    A monument of 14 stones was dedicated on November 4 in Prophetstown State Park in West Lafayette, Indiana to honor the 14 tribes that lived in the area.

    Courtesy Heiltsuk Nation

    More than a month after a tugboat spilled some 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel in Seaforth Channel, the Heilsuk Nation is still cleaning up.


    The Google Doodle of November 18, fashioned as ledger art, honored the Native author James Welch (Blackfeet, Gros Ventre).

    National Buffalo Museum

    White Cloud, a rare female albino bison, walked on November 14 at the age of 20.

    The Big Picture

    Armed confrontations are increasingly common as the standoff over the Dakota Access pipeline project continues. Instagram/Colin McCarthy/@Colinnnnn