Tag Archives: Indian

I Am Native American (no matter the blood quantum)

20 Apr

I will share with you an essay I wrote and used (after updating and tweaking, of course) for various different things.  It proves a point that heritage, has little to do with blood quantum (percent) and a lot to do with family traditions, how and where you were raised, the community you choose to belong to, and the customs you honor.

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Asking a Native American “what percent Indian” they are is ignorant and limiting.  And it has everything to do with government funding.  The government had to cede (stolen) land to tribal members and make monetary payments in many cases, so frankly, it was in their best interest to make the bar for being considered Native American pretty high.  Thus, it limits the land lost to America and the ability of descendants to get their rightful land or funds.

It’s the same motivation, opposite direction for African Americans.  The government wanted that slave labor, so it was in their best interest to keep the bar for being considered black very low.  That way even descendants generations out had to work for free and had no rights to property.  Thus, the “one drop” definition of being black.

Both ends of the spectrum are historically rigid, and super-detrimental!  So that is why my mom is considered a tribal member, but I am not.  And why Elizabeth Warren’s claim to Native American heritage is legitimate, even though it’s a small percentage of her blood. Though, don’t get me wrong, I am not cool with having nothing to do with a culture, but then appropriating it for personal gain.  But people with that family history and who appreciate and honor their traditional culture, should be able to claim it–no matter the blood amount.

So without further adieu:

 I was born on The Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. My great-grandfather lived in a tepee before religious missionaries put him in a boarding school where he was not allowed to speak his native language of Salish or dress in his buck-skins. The missionaries were attempting to integrate the Native Americans into white society by stripping away their Indian heritage. Despite this, our culture did not dissolve, as the stories of my ancestors were passed to me. I own authentic moccasins from one of the tribal elders, have danced with pride in pow-wows, and make delectable Indian fry bread for Thanksgiving dinner.

My mother is a recognized Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribal member. In the 1960’s, the laws limited government help to Indians of a quarter blood quantum or more, so unfortunately, I was not able to be registered as a Tribal member of the Flathead Nation. I did experience the poverty common on the Flathead Reservation during my early childhood, however. As a little girl, I thought it was normal to eat the reservation commodities, and I still have a taste for powdered milk. We also ate meat when my parents were able to shoot a deer or catch some trout from the creek. I remember my cousins from town were not allowed to play with me, because I wore hand-me-downs.

My parents, wanting me to have more opportunity in life, started my college fund when I was a baby. My mother is the only member of the entire family who has obtained a college degree–my parents wanted me to be the second. I can see the pain in their eyes when my dad and mom tell stories of taking money out of my piggy-bank to afford basic necessities in Montana.

My Native American Heritage is something I cherish and embrace. I will be an asset to Washington State University because of the ethnic and socioeconomic factors that molded my perspectives. These will help me to display a sensitivity and tolerance toward others from all walks of life. I also bring a strong sense of pride in my work not only for myself, but my family and community.

best of 2019

4 Jan

Day of the Dead

I painted my face and wore my senorita dress and monarch butterfly wings to work.  Cool and I did an offrenda to our deceased loved ones, and I liked having a happy time to think about them and remember them.

 

work x-mas party

One of the supervisors really outdid herself and planned a fun party with catered food, nice decorations (including wine glasses with our work and the year etched on them as memento), a photo booth where we got copies of the pictures, cash bar, and a dj.  Cool wanted to go very badly, and even though parties are later than my bedtime and make me stressed out and anxious I agreed to go.

And once I got some wine in me, I loosened up and had fun.  The people that sat at our table were tipsy to drunk, but that made them really talkative and friendly, and it was nice to finally interact with people at work!  Some coworkers dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and really put a lot of effort into the costumes, so we asked them to take a picture with us.  And it turned out really cute.  Maybe we’ll make it a future Christmas card.  And Cool and I took a picture together with a giant rose as a prop, which turned out really cute.  And it’s special because we never get pictures with both of us.  I even got up on the dance floor and did the 7 moves I know–and people were trying to keep me to come dance in the middle of the circle (I did not).  It was a success!

 

played Jenga at Social Hall

After we went to the zoo (also one of our favorite things to do) we stopped at Social Hall for lunch.  It turned out to be happy hour and our server was really nice and good too.  This never happens in Arizona.  We noticed when we first moved here that the service pretty much everywhere and every time of day, is bad.  Like abyssal.  But she was friendly and efficient so it was a special treat.

They have games inside and a big patio with a jumbo Jenga game made of 2×4-size wood.  Cool and I played and generally just had an unexpected fun time.

 

parents visit

I wanted my parents to see where we live, our cute house, our favorite spots…  So they came, but it was July when everyone is hot in AZ, and un-acclimated people want to die.  Not the optimal timing.  And I am very much conscious of utilities and we usually keep the temp no lower than 90F because in AZ you could easily spend $300+ on utilities if you let yourself be comfortable.  Anyway, so it’s not a good time of year for visitors.  But I wanted them to see and have fun, and that’s when they could come so we tried to make the best of it.

I planned a very detailed itinerary to try to accommodate everyone’s needs and desires:

zoo-because all 4 of us are animal lovers.

Sephora- to try scents and makeup and lotion.

heard museum-because it’s personal history to all of us and I knew they would all like it.  Also, it’s free the first Friday of every month.

aquarium-this was not on my itinerary, but we had time between plans so we made it happen.

movie-Cool and I are addicted to the luxiorious movie experience with the comfy seats and restaurant-food and bev brought right to your seat.  So I wanted my parents to enjoy it also.  And–it’s an AC space (AC I’ not paying for).

book store-  All 4 of us are readers and we have a local bookstore that also serves snacks, coffee, and adult beverages.

casino & buffet- to bring a little of my parent’s home to the visit.

brunch-for my birthday!  I love brunch so much!!!

WNBA-I wanted to go to a game for my birthday, and I got us 1st row tickets (closest seats of ever) to enjoy.

We really packed in the activities and they are already Cool and my favorite activities, so it was fun to share them.

 

color run

Not only was it a color run, it was unicorn-themed and that’s like my favorite ever.  Cool was a good sport and even dressed up in complementary-colored tutu with me.  They had all kinds of selfie stations, and threw color on us as we ran.  The location was beautiful, and the sunrise in AZ is always gorgeous.  So it was a fun time with tons of cute stuff!

 

tour de fat

We discovered this in 2018, and at that time I spontaneously danced in a talent show.  Which was very fun.  Except I finished the routine with crowd-pleasing splits (with zero stretching/preparation) and messed up my hamstring for the 8 following months.  But it had been a real fun time, so we went again.

This year it was much hotter, so I was drenched in sweat the whole time.  But we dressed adorable, tried new beer, and spectated some of their quirky contests and shows.  It’s always a unique and entertaining time!

 

pride wk at work

Since Phoenix summers are uncomfortable (an understatement) the city has Pride in April.  Which is really a terrible idea.  Because everyone else is doing Pride in June and nobody in the spring, so AZ is out of sync, and it ends up being lackluster as a result.  Also, it can still be 95-100F in April, so it’s not really even a nicer temperature to most people.  I could tell the people in the parade were hot and uncomfortable, fizzling, and spirited by the halfway mark.  They really need to find a stadium with a roof or somewhere cooler to hold the thing–in June.

So that’s why when work agreed to celebrate a Pride week in June it was like the best thing!  We dressed up and got to partake a little bit in what the rest of the nation was talking about so much.  Also, I’m really proud of my company for being inclusive, accepting, and going as far as celebrating the week.  Makes me feel safer and more welcome.

 

AZ fair

So in AZ, it’s less of a fair with animals and crafts and more of a carnival.  Which I guess for a city in the middle of a desert makes a lot of sense.  It was just different from what we’d experienced before.  Animals were hard to locate, and there weren’t many.  Crafts were not plentiful either.  Plant stuff was literally 12 pumpkins and the honey people–that’s it.  So that felt weird.

I found residential parking so we didn’t have to pay the $10 or fight the crowd, and that made me over-the-moon excited.  We just had to walk an extra mile, which is no problem for us.  We walk all the time.  They had all kinds of giant fair food and beverages to pick from.  There were rides, but the safety of those sketches me out so we didn’t do any of those.  But we did try our hand at a couple of the games, knowing they are rigged, but just wanting to enjoy the experience.  I did the Wack-a-Mole, and am so good at hitting those vermin that I won a prize!!!  Which never happens to me.  And it wasn’t just a little dinky thing, it was a good sized purple sparkly unicorn!  So that was super-cool.

 

brunch crawl

I saw it on social media and spontaneously (which I never am) bought tickets for the next day.  As you know I love a brunch!  All around town there were deals at the restaurants on pre-fix brunch stuff.  So we got to try a few different places all in one day.  And we found some new gems in town that we had gone to before and ended up being tasty and pleasant.

 

Halloween costume

I always think I’m going to lazy out of the costume and just wear something easy from a previous year, but then the spirit hits me.  This year I went from easy bear I already had to…fish!  I learned how to do mermaid face-paint that looks like fishnet.  Got some purple tights.  Painted my Mohawk blue.  And made a fin out of closed butterfly wings.  I looked amazing (if I do say so myself).  And I enjoy painting faces a lot, and am getting better and better at it.  And the planning phase is fun too.  Also, not gonna lie, but the accolades are fun to get as well.

 

my mohawk

My hair was long, just out of laziness and being cheap.  But I made the mistake of trying to save money by box dying it.  And Cool and I were actually getting really good at the process.  Even the lady who cut my hair said she has worked with professionals that didn’t do as nice a job of even coverage as we had–which I took as a major complement.  Anyway, box dye does horrible damage to hair.  I knew that before, but I didn’t realize just trimming it wasn’t going to fix it.  It was the kind of thing that I was going to have to trim and trim until all of it was cut off so I could start fresh.  And that sounded like a long plan.  But Cool suggested I get a mohawk.  And I’ve had short hair before, but nothing so dramatic or trend-specific.  But I am feisty and fun (and also thought it would be easier to just cut all the dye off at once) so I found some pictures.  The haircut went well and I felt cooler than I actually am.  I got a lot of genuine compliments at work–like people coming out of their way to tell me they loved it.  Not just the ‘I noticed a change and say nice hair’ stuff that you sometimes get with a fashion risk.  And not everyone liked it, but I was totally OK with that too.  Some people are old, gender-conforming, or conservative.  And I don’t care about any of those group’s opinions.  I thought I looked awesome and that’s what mattered!

 

 

#3:  Left Mck

I had been relieved to have a job after the terror of both my mate and I losing our jobs in the same week.  And for over a month.  I was really afraid.  But then, the job just wasn’t what I can accept.  I don’t want to be treated as dispensable.  Don’t want to be micromanaged and watched to the extent I feel like I’m living in a Big-Brother world.  I want to know ahead of time if I will be in my same team, position, or location–not told right as it’s happening.  I don’t want to constantly be training new people all the time all the time, without being in some leadership position or getting a raise or recognition for doing that.  And I sure as fuck don’t want to commute.  So I was ecstatic when I got a job close to the house and could leave all of that behind.  I just wish I hadn’t had to lose all the acquaintances/friends I was getting to know.

 

#2:  10 year anniversary with my mate- Nov

What a special time!  Cool and I have made it ten years and now it sounds just as substantial to others as we always felt about ourselves.  It’s really neat to be able to say ‘decade’ and also really a relief that this is it.  Love.

 

#1:  Got a permanent job

As much of a relief as it is not to be a precarious temp having to worry constantly about messing up and losing a job, and having to save every penny for just in case–this happened really late.  It was promised that in 90 days I would go perm.  Feet were dragged for additional months.  So when it did happen, it was less of a happy occasion and more of a what took so long?  But now life in Arizona can truly start and I’m really happy for stability.  I want 2020 to be the year of stability!

The Suffering of My People

8 Feb

By proxy.  And not aimed directly at my particular tribe–through we were mistreated too, and all natives eventually felt the ramifications of the law I’m about to broach.

On this day (February 8) in 1887, President Grover Cleveland signed the Dawes Severalty Act into legislation.  And have you even heard of it?  My guess is no.  Is this Native American month?  Wait?  Do we have one?  Let’s not forget the suffering of the real owner of this country while we remember achievements of African Americans and Civil Rights.  Neither one is more important then the other, yet the Indian plight is overlooked.  Back then, and still today.

Red (for the blood shed) is mine with much plagiarism from Wiki and HistoryChannel.com,, here are some facts about how the Dawes Act was a major factor in the ruin my people:

-The stated objective of the Dawes Act was to stimulate assimilation of Indians into American society.

-Individual ownership of land was seen as an essential step. The act also provided that the government would purchase Indian land “excess” to that needed for allotment and open it up for settlement by non-Indians.  [Translation:  We want to sell this prime land to railroads, miners, and settlers–get OUT!]

-Dawes Act gave the president the power to divide Indian reservations into individual, privately owned plots.

-The compulsory Act forced natives to succumb to their inevitable fate; they would undergo severe attempts to become “Euro-Americanized” as the government allotted their reservations with or without their consent.

-Reformers believed that Indians would never bridge the chasm between “barbarism and civilization” if they maintained their tribal cohesion and traditional ways.

-Finally defeated by the US military force [after Indian Wars where traditionalists railed against losing their land and culture at the lowest of prices] and continuing waves of encroaching settlers, the tribes negotiated agreements to resettle on reservations.

-The act “was the culmination of American attempts to destroy tribes and their governments and to open Indian lands to settlement by non-Indians and to development by railroads.”[27]

-Land owned by Indians decreased from 138 million acres (560,000 km2) in 1887 to 48 million acres (190,000 km2) in 1934.[3]

-they lost 62 percent of their total pre-1887 holdings!

-promised benefits to the Indians never materialized.

-Racism, bureaucratic bungling, and inherent weaknesses in the law deprived the Indians of the strengths of tribal ownership, while severely limiting the economic viability of individual ownership.

-Many tribes also deeply resented and resisted the government’s heavy-handed attempt to destroy their traditional cultures.

-The amount of land in native hands rapidly depleted from some 150 million acres (610,000 km2) to a small 78 million acres (320,000 km2) by 1900.

-The remainder of the land once allotted to appointed natives was declared surplus and sold to non-native settlers as well as railroad and other large corporations; other sections were converted into federal parks and military compounds.

-Most allotment land, which could be sold after a statutory period of 25 years, was eventually sold to non-Native buyers at bargain prices.

-Despite these flaws, the Dawes Severalty Act remained in force for more than four decades [And the ramifications are still evident today]

So on this infamous day in history, please take time to remember the Native Americans and their plight at the hands of Angelo-ism (Europeans take over the world), politics, greed/capitalism, and many, many other factors.

Best of 2012: MOMENTS

3 Jan

Favorite Moments of 2012:

11.  Seeing Dad in the summer.

Auug NV Kidron pics 141

This would be a higher level moment if we weren’t at a funeral for an unexpected death.  Not that any funeral is great.  As it was, I really miss Dad and it was happy-times to see him–however briefly.

2012 vacations 123

10.  Camp & Hike for Cool’s B-day in June.

This one was so fun because it was a birthday.  I got to meet one of Cool’s school friends–and I actually liked her a lot.  We got to actual-camp, with fire and s’mores and everything, for the first time together.  A hike to a waterfall was involved, and who wouldn’t like that?

9.  Brandi Carlile at Seattle Symphony in November

Brandi concert 2

This event was much anticipated, and is only this low on the list due to travel fatigue, residual mother-in-law issues, and end of semester stress.  The concert was obviously amazing though.  We had good seats, and the set-list was memorable.  And you know how I feel about Brandi. . .

8.  Receiving loan money in excess of tuition (in November).

This item may seem like it doesn’t belong on a “best of” list, but believe me–this was a stellar moment for me.  And the first of its kind.  I had never before seen any money from these loans I’m always having to pull out and pay for the rest of my life.  Usually they go straight to the school to pay the owed tuition.  All I get is the hassle of applying, trouble of hoop-jumping with the school and lender, and the repayments.  Oh the repayments. . .  So actually getting a check in the mail was a highlight!  And I will say, I was slightly irresponsible due to the glee and got highlights.  I’m just a person.

Fur Ball 2012 076

7.   The Fur Ball in Nov.  Gosh, November must have been a good month.

Was memorable because it was the fanciest event Cool had ever been to.  At Noah’s Ark, they paid for a table at the Gentle Doctor’s Benefit yearly, so I got to dress up, eat the catering  take part in the auctions, and be glamorous.  This was the first event Cat’s Meow had ever done as a group.  But Cool has never experienced anything remotely like that–so it was really amazing to be there with her.  Especially since she had been invited in the summer, then uninvited when there were new hires, so she was lucky to attend.  Plus, we looked really spectacular.  Yep, I went there.  Deal.

6.  Julyamish Pow-wow (also July).

dancer 2

This one stems from the disappointment of having douchi relatives who ruined my birthday plans of getting together in Montana.  The extended family forgot us, and my parents reneged.  After being so sad about missing out on family opportunities, I was very pleased to see a pow-wow in such close proximity to our apartment.  We took in the dancing, tried elk and alligator, and I got a bead-work belt that I will keep as a memento all my life.  It was a good time.  And one we’ll attend this next summer.

5.  A+ in Speech & Hearing Disorders (May)

flashcards 002

This item was also borne of strife.  The school really tried to disallow and dissuade me from taking my first Speech and Hearing Sciences course as a non-degree-seeking student.  They were ornery and unsupportive of my plan to start the degree.  I am so proud of my A, because I proved them wrong and showed them I could–despite not having taken the pre-requisite.

2012 Spring 096

4.  Visit to The German in May.

I absolutely love THE German in mid-Washington!  And this was an especially nice break from the semester and the horribleness that had occurred at work (everyone went on vacation the same month, during my final projects and exam).  It was a charmed trip too–we found a secret and free camping spot right next to the shops and river.  Bought hats that make me feel cooler then I actually am.  Found a seat upstairs on a balcony when all the other decks were overrun.  And had the best (jalapeno-cheddar) brot of my LIFE.  Good-times.  One year I will take the train in the winter to see the lighting ceremony and guide some sled dogs!

3.  109% on Anatomy Exam #3 (October).

Articulatory System 018

Enough cannot be said of this item.  After so much anticipation, worry, and preparation -not to mention studying.  We had 3 exams in October–three!  And the exam before this one–phonatory system was an icky 92% when I felt I had prepared for a higher grade.  Well, I got the A+ I hoped for, and additional points I had not dreamed of.  It feels–there are no words for how nice it feels, actually.

2.  Walla Walla, for 29th B-day (July, of course)

the 1 pic of both

I do love my birthday.  And this was a wonderful one.  It was beautiful–the Palouse, and the cute town, and the farm-land too.  It was cheap–say what?  FREE wine-tastings your whole birthday month?!  We were out of Spokompton and away from work and stress.  The town was adorable, did I mention that?  The food plentiful–sushi, QUAIL, ice wine.  Really, how could we go wrong?  I had such an amazing weekend that I am determined to have my big-milestone 30th birthday here too.  Determined.  Work be damned.

And–the BEST moment of 2012?  Surprise, it’s a concert.

tailgate 2

1.  Labor Dave Weekend.

Gorge Ampitheatre 3

We had that 2011 disappointment of getting tickets for Saturday then trying to attend (unsuccessfully) on Sunday.  The horrid mix-up really was the worst thing that could happen.  But that made THIS trip all the better.  We purchased actual seats.  GOOD seats.  I prepared.  I listened to the songs.  I dressed appropriately.  We pre-gamed.  I managed to be a laid-back good-time-girl.  Which is really not my normal M.O.  The concert really could not have gone better.  I’ll remember it always.

DMB on stage

So there you have it–my top moments of 2012.  Funny how they are concentrated into a few months.  I can’t even expect 2013 to be half as great–if for no other reason that there’s just not the money to do it, let along time off work and school–at the same time as Cool either.  But that’s OK, 2013 will be a back to our roots, simple fun kind of year.  We have nature.  We have Netflix.  And we have Spotify.  Not to mention each other.  We will re-learn to appreciate the ordinary and make our own fun.  If we can squeeze some fun out of our Seattle existence–we can manage it in 2013.  File under-trying to convince myself.

Animal Traits–Pertaining to Me

19 Aug

Cool has begun calling herself “Many Eagle” not to be confused with Mini-Eagle.  And since I’m the one with Salish heritage, I figured I should get an Indian name too.  So in the interest of bestowing an Indian name upon myself, I am trying to see which animal characteristics are closest to my own personality traits.  I highlight those aspects particularly suited to myself in purple.

Courtesy of:  http://www.whats-your-sign.com/animal-totems.html

Alligator (Croc) = 4

  • Fear, Time, Magic, Honor, Speed, Stealth, Strength, Instinct, Cunning, Bravery, Efficiency, ResilienceSolar power, Birth/creation, Dependability, Indestructibility, Emotional depth, Primal/ancient power

Armadillo = 4

  • Sensitivity, Reclusive, Peace, Pacifism, Neutrality, Complexity, Emotional Excavation, Protection/Guardedness, Inquiry/Curiosity, Trust

Badger = 10

Determination, Eagerness, Strong will, Focus, Strategy, Tenacity, Defense, Protection, Independence, Confidence

Blue Jay = 4

  • Loquaciousness, Communication, Determination, Assertiveness, Faithfulness, Intelligence, Advantage, Curiosity, Vibrancy, Clarity, Energy

Crane Fly = 2

  • Purpose, Resourcefulness, Balance, Introspection

Eagle = 7

  • Opportunity, Protection, Guardianship, Masculinity, Dominance, Control, Freedom, Community, Command, Action, Authority, Skill, Focus, Determination, Vision, Power, Liberation, Inspiration, Ruler, Judgment

Falcon = 5

  • Superiority, Spirit, Light, Power, Focus, Prophecy, Freedom, Aspiration, Intensity, Determination
  • Goat = 9
  • Curiosity, Courage, Sturdiness, Faith, Intelligence, Balance, Dignity, Peace, Independence, Aloofness, Sacrifice, Initiation, Distance, Respect, Virility, Masculinity, Vitality, Guardianship, Provision, Exploration, Nurturing

Lion = 7

  • leadershipstrength, royalty, courage, honor, Intuition, Self-confidence, Fiery, Territorial, Controlling, Passionate, Generosity, Loyalty

Lobster = 2

  • Strength, Regeneration, Resolution, Temperance, Discovery, Nobility, Transformation, Abundance, Sensuality, Gripping/Holding

Mosquito = 4

  • Persistence, Agility, Travel, Release, Discovery, Agitation, Surveillance, Secrets, Details, Continuum, Survival

Moth = 2

  • Vulnerability, Determination, Concealment, Attraction, Subtlety, Intuition, Faith

Mouse = 5

  • Resourcefulness, Modesty, Groundedness, Adaptability, Temerity (shyness), Innocence, Fertility, Super-awareness, Voraciousness, Determination, Conservation, Cleanliness

Octopus = 9

  • Will, Focus, Magic, Reason, Illusion, Defense, Mystery, Strategic, Potential, Knowing, Diversity, Creativity, Flexibility, Expansion, Complexity, Intelligence, Adaptability, InsatiabilityUnpredictability

Pheasant = 2

  • Passion, Balance, Sexuality, Protection, Creativity, Good Judgment, Being Genuine, Law of Attraction

Ram = 4

  • Agility, Solitary, Wisdom, Paradox, Freedom, Stability, Gratitude, Longevity, Judgment, Grounding, Peace of Mind, Self-Assurance, Unconventional, Sensory Perception

Rhino = 5

  • Agility, Solitary, Wisdom, Paradox, Freedom, Stability, Gratitude, Longevity, JudgmentGrounding, Peace of Mind, Self-Assurance, Unconventional, Sensory Perception,

Rooster = 5

  • Pride, Honesty, Courage, Vigilance, Arrogance, Strength, Watchfulness, Flamboyance

Skunk = 3

  • Defense, Prudence, Protection, Confidence, Awareness, Pacification, Effectiveness, Good judgement

Woodpecker = 5

  • Balance, Progress, Signaling, Returning, Protection, Initiation, Attention, Prophesy, Listening, Opportunity, Discernment, Communication, Determination

I think my winged animal is rooster, my land animal is the badger, and my sea animal is an octopus.

Enola means solitary

Goga is summer in Cherokee

Magena is moon

Nina is strong

Nirvelli is water child in Tudas

Onawa is wide awake

Una is remember in Hopi

Waneta is charger

Chapa is the Sioux word for beaver; Doya is Cherokee for beaver

So for my own Indian name, I am thinking:

Solitary badger

Summer Octopus (Cool scoffed at this)

Moon Badger

Strong Rooster

Pine Ridge Reservation-Wounded Knee [Wiki x4]

19 Jul

Indigenous issues are very close to my heart as a Salish of the Flathead Nation, where struggles with poverty, and with the government are constant.  I’m not certain why illegal Hispanics and black issues continue to take front and center in the political realm without hardly a mention of Indian struggles.  Americans need to remember what was done, and know there is still very substancial suffering as a result of those actions.

I watched a documentary about the shoot-out on Pine Ridge and it brought up many questions about the reservation, wounded Knee Incident, and the White Clay beer sales.  As such, I greedily read the associated Wiki pages, and for your ease, have compiled them here.  I’m still looking for a free documentary or kindle book. . .  This is a long set of information, but very worth the read:

-Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border. Today it consists of 3,468.86 sq mi (8,984.306 km2) of land area and is the eighth-largest reservation in the United States.

-Only 84,000 acres (340 km2) of land are suitable for agriculture.

[that’s only 3.8% of the land good for agriculture a.k.a. survival]

-According to the USDA, in 2002 there was nearly $33 million in receipts from agricultural production on Pine Ridge. Less than one-third of that income went to members of the tribe.

-As of 2011, population estimates of the reservation range from 28,000 to 40,000. Numerous enrolled members of the tribe live off the reservation

  • 80% of residents are unemployed (versus 10% of the rest of the country);
  • 49% of the residents live below the Federal poverty level (61% under the age of 18);
  • Per capita income in Shannon County is $6,286;
  • The Infant Mortality rate is 5 times higher than the national average;
  • Because of the high rate of alcoholism on the reservation, one in four of its children are born diagnosed with either FASD or FAS.
  • The school drop-out rate is over 70%,
  • teacher turnover rate is 800% that of the U.S. national average.
  • Native American amputation rates due to diabetes is 3 to 4 times higher than the national average;
  • Death rate due to diabetes is 3 times higher than the national average; and
  • Life Expectancy in 2007 was estimated to be 48 for males and 52 for females (the population on Pine Ridge has among the shortest life expectancies of any group in the Western Hemisphere)
  • adolescent suicide rate is four times the United States national average.

-The population of Pine Ridge suffer health conditions commonly found in Third World countries, including high mortality ratesdepression,alcoholismdrug abusemalnutrition and diabetes, among others.

-Many of the families have no electricity, telephone, running water, or sewage systems; and many use wood stoves to heat their homes, depleting limited wood resources.

– the reservation has little economic development or industry. No banks or discount stores are located on the reservation.

[Events that led up to why things are so bad now:]

-Initially the U.S. military tried to turn away trespassing miners and settlers. Eventually President Grant, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Secretary of War, “decided that the military should make no further resistance to the occupation of the Black Hills by miners.”[5] These orders were to be enforced “quietly”, and the President’s decision was to remain “confidential.”

-the Sioux resisted giving up what they considered sacred land. [Which was initially set aside as reservation land by US government] The U.S. resorted to military force. They declared the Sioux Indians “hostile” for failing to obey an order to return from an off-reservation hunting expedition by a specific date, but in the dead of winter, overland travel was impossible.[7]

-In 1876 the U.S. Congress decided to open up the Black Hills to development and break up the Great Sioux Reservation. In 1877, it passed an act to make 7.7 million acres (31,000 km2) of the Black Hills available for sale to homesteaders and private interests.

-Wounded Knee Massacre:

[different from the Wounded Knee Incident, which is discussed a little later]

-On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, saying he had paid a lot for it.[12] A scuffle over Black Coyote’s rifle escalated and a shot was fired, which resulted in the 7th Cavalry opening firing indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their fellow troopers. Those few Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the troopers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but U.S. cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed.

-In the end, U.S. forces killed at least 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota Sioux and wounded 51 (four men, and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300.

-Twenty-five troopers also died, and thirty-nine were wounded (six of the wounded would also die).[13] Many Army victims were believed to have died by friendly fire, as the shooting took place at close range in chaotic conditions.

-A law passed in Congress in 1832 banned the sale of alcohol to Native Americans. The ban was ended in 1953 by Public Law 277, signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The amended law gave Native American tribes the option of permitting or banning alcohol sales and consumption on their lands.

-On January 25, 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order returning the 50 square miles of the of the White Clay Extension into the public domain. The town of Pine Ridge (often called Whiteclay), in Sheridan County, Nebraska, just over the border from the reservation, was established in the former “Extension” zone and quickly started selling alcohol to the Oglala Sioux.

-During World War II, in 1942 the Department of War annexed 341,725 acres (1,382.91 km2) of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for use by the United States Army Air Force as an aerial gunnery and bombing range.

-It condemned privately held land owned by tribal members and leased communally held tribal land.

-Another family forced to give up their land was that of Dewey Beard, a Miniconjou Sioux survivor of the Wounded Knee Massacre. One of the models for the Indian Head nickel, he was 84 years old at the time of the taking and still supported himself by raising horses on his 908-acre (3.67 km2) allotment received in 1907. The compensation provided by the government was nominal and paid out in small installments insufficient to make a down payment on other property; Dewey Beard and others like him became homeless. He testified before Congressional hearings in 1955 when the Sioux sought to address their grievances over the land taking.[25]

“For fifty years I have been kicked around. Today there is a hard winter coming. I do not know whether I am to keep warm, or whether to live, and the chance is I might starve to death.”~Dewey Beard’s 1955 testimony before Congress at age 97 on the taking of his land for inclusion in the Badlands Bombing Range

-Longstanding divisions on the reservation resulted from deep-seated political, ethnic and cultural differences. Many residents did not support the tribal government.

-Officials of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, administrators and police, still had much influence at Pine Ridge and other American Indian reservations, which many tribal members opposed.

Richard A. “Dick” Wilson was elected chairman (also called president) of the Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

-opponents of Wilson protested his sale of grazing rights on tribal lands to local (white)ranchers at too low a rate, reducing income to the tribe as a whole, whose members held the land communally. They also complained of his land-use decision to lease nearly one-eighth of the reservation’s mineral-rich lands to private companies.

-Most recently, many residents were upset about what they described as the autocratic and repressive actions by the current tribal president Dick Wilson, elected in 1972.

-Some full-blood Oglala believed they were not getting fair opportunities.

-He also began showing what his detractors would describe as authoritarian behavior. In his first week, he challenged the eligibility of council member Birgil L. Kills Straight because of residency requirements.

-He preferred governing using the five-member executive council instead of consulting with the full tribal council of 18, which several times he called into session on important issues only belatedly.[5]

-He was criticized for favoring family and friends with jobs and benefits.  In response, Wilson reportedly said, “There’s nothing in tribal law against nepotism.”[

-creating a private militiaGuardians of the Oglala Nation(GOONs), to suppress political opponents, which he paid from tribal funds.

– introduced eight charges of impeachment against Wilson at a council meeting. They charged him with nepotism in hiring tribal government staff, operating the tribe without a budget, two counts of misappropriating tribal resources for personal use, failing to compel the treasurer to make an audit report, failing to call the full tribal council according to the bylaws, using the executive committee to bypass the housing board, and illegally arresting Keith.

-After an attempt to impeach Wilson failed, his opponents had a grassroots uprising. Several hundred Lakota people marched in protest, demanding the removal of Wilson from office. US Marshals were assigned to protect Wilson and his family.

February 27, 1973, AIM Organization accepted the responsibility of providing all necessary strength and protection needed by the Oglala Sioux in the efforts to rid themselves of corrupt tribal president, Dick Wilson. Because this degenerated human being is financed and wholly supported by the FBI, CIA, BIA, U.S. Justice Dept., and the U.S. Marshals, it is virtually impossible to for any Oglala to voice any kind of opinion which may run contrary to this puppet government with out being arrested or beaten…a policy that cannot go unchallenged or unanswered.

-About 200 AIM and Oglala Lakota activists occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee on February 27, 1973. They demanded the removal of Wilson, restoration of treaty negotiations with the U.S. government, and correction of U.S. failures to enforce treaty rights.

-Another concern was the failure of the justice systems in border towns to prosecute white attacks against Lakota men who went to the towns for their numerous saloons and bars.

-The Oglala Lakota saw a continuing pattern of discriminatory attacks against them in towns off the reservation, which police did not prosecute at all or not according to the severity of the crimes; they were also increasingly discontented with the poor conditions at Pine Ridge.

-February 25, 1973 the U.S. Department of Justice sent out 50 U.S. Marshals to the Pine Ridge Reservation to be available in the case of a civil disturbance.”[2] This followed the failed impeachment attempt and meetings of opponents of Wilson.[2]

-AIM says that its organization went to Wounded Knee for an open meeting and “within hours police had set up roadblocks, cordoned off the area and began arresting people leaving town… the people prepared to defend themselves against the government’s aggressions.

-The federal government established roadblocks around the community for 15 miles in every direction. In some areas, Wilson stationed his GOONs outside the federal boundary and required even federal officials to stop for passage.

-Visits by the U.S. senators from South Dakota, FBI agents and United States Department of Justice (DOJ) representatives, were attended by widespread media coverage, but the Richard Nixon administration was preoccupied internally with Watergate.[22]

[The Wounded Knee incident officially began February 27, 1973]

-Members of the Oglala Lakota, the American Indian Movement, and supporters occupied the town.

-The activists chose the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre for its symbolic value.

-The events electrified American Indians, who were inspired by the sight of their people standing in defiance of the government which had so often failed them. Many Indian supporters traveled to Wounded Knee to join the protest. At the time there was widespread public sympathy for the goals of the occupation, as Americans were becoming more aware of longstanding issues of injustice related to American Indians.

-while the United States Marshals ServiceFederal Bureau of Investigation agents and other law enforcement agencies cordoned off the area.

-The equipment maintained by the military while in use during the siege included fifteen armored personnel carriers, clothing, rifles, grenade launchers, flares, and 133,000 rounds of ammunition, for a total cost, including the use of maintenance personnel from the National Guard of five states and pilot and planes for aerial photographs, of over half a million dollars.

-After 30 days, the US government tactics became harsher when Kent Frizell was appointed from DOJ to manage the government’s response. He cut off electricity, water and food supplies to Wounded Knee, when it was still winter in South Dakota, and prohibited the entry of the media.

-When Lawrence “Buddy” Lamont, a local Oglala Lakota, was killed by a shot from a government sniper on April 26, he was buried on the site in a Sioux ceremony. After his death, tribal elders called an end to the occupation.[6] Knowing the young man and his mother from the reservation, many Oglala were greatly sorrowed by his death.

-Both sides reached an agreement on May 5 to disarm.[2][3] With the decision made, many Oglala Lakota began to leave Wounded Knee at night, walking out through the federal lines.[6] Three days later, the siege ended and the town was evacuated after 71 days of occupation; the government took control of the town.

-turned into an armed standoff lasting 71 days.

-Wilson remained in office and, following the occupation, violence increased on the reservation, with residents reporting attacks by his GOONs.

-More than 50 of Wilson’s opponents died violently in the next three years

-When Wilson ran for reelection in 1974, he faced a dozen challengers. He placed second in the primary, and defeated Russell Means in the runoff election on February 7.

-A United States Civil Rights Commission investigation reported ballot tampering, a large number of ineligible voters, improprieties in the appointment of the election commission, and “a climate of fear and tension.” Its report concluded the election results were invalid, but a federal court upheld Wilson’s reelection.[23]

-Wilson was only the third person to be elected to consecutive terms as Oglala Sioux Tribal Chair since the position was created in 1936.

-The murder rate between March 1, 1973, and March 1, 1976, was 170 per 100,000; it was the highest in the country. Detroit had a rate of 20.2 per 100,000 in 1974 and at the time was considered “the murder capital of the U.S.” The national average was 9.7 per 100,000.[31]

[Wow *shakes head*]

-More than 60 opponents of the tribal government died violent deaths in the three years following the Wounded Knee Incident, a time many residents called the “Reign of Terror”.

-Among those killed was Pedro Bissonette, executive director of the civil rights organization OSCRO.[32] Residents accused officials of failing to try to solve the deaths

-In this period of increased violence, on June 26, 1975, the reservation was the site of an armed confrontation between AIM activists and the FBI in what became known as the Pine Ridge Shootout.[37]

-Two FBI agents, Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, and the AIM activist Jim Stuntz were killed.

-After being strongly defeated in the 1976 election for tribal chairman, Wilson moved with his family off the reservation.

-Alcoholism among residents has been a continuing problem in the life of the reservation since its founding.

Pine Ridge, Nebraska (also known as Whiteclay), a border town selling millions of cans of beer annually, primarily to residents from the reservation in South Dakota, where alcohol possession and consumption is prohibited.

-The town of Whiteclay, Nebraska (just over the South Dakota-Nebraska border) has approximately 12 residents and four liquor stores, which sold over 4.9 million 12-ounce cans of beer in 2010 (13,000 cans per day), almost exclusively to Oglala Lakota from the reservation.

-In 1999, after the murders of two young Lakota men at Whiteclay, Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) and supporting groups, such as Nebraskans for Peace, protested publicly for the state to do something about controlling or shutting down beer sales in the town.

-They also asked for the county to provide increased law enforcement in the hamlet, which is 22 miles from the seat of rural Sheridan County, Nebraska.

-During 2006 and 2007, tribal activists tried to blockade the road inside the reservation to confiscate beer being illegally brought in. The OST police chief complained of having insufficient money and staff to control the beer traffic

-tribal police estimate that 90 percent of the crimes are alcohol related.[87]

-widespread alcoholism on the reservation, which is estimated to affect 85 percent of the families.

-In 2004 the Oglala Sioux Tribe voted down a referendum to legalize alcohol sales, and in 2006 the tribal council voted to maintain the ban on alcohol sales, rather than taking on the benefits and responsibility directly.

-While other tribes and reservations also prohibited alcohol at one time because of Native American vulnerability to abuse, many have since legalized its sales on their reservations in order to use the revenues generated to improve health care and life on the reservation, as well as to be able to control the regulation of alcohol sales and police its use.

-They say that if the tribe legalized alcohol sales, it could keep much of the revenues now flowing to Nebraska and to state and federal taxes, and use such monies to bolster the reservation’s economy and health care services, including building a much-needed detoxification facility and rehab services.

-On February 9, 2012 the Oglala Sioux Tribe filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court of Nebraska against the four liquor stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska who sold over 4.9 million 12.oz cans of beer in 2010, almost exclusively to Pine Ridge residents, as well as the beverage distributors who deliver the product, and the brewery companies who make it.

-The suit; Oglala Sioux Tribe v. Jason Schwarting, Licensee of Arrowhead Inn, Inc. et al, is seeking $500 million in damages for the “cost of health care, social services and child rehabilitation caused by chronic alcoholism on the reservation, which encompasses some of the nation’s most impoverished counties.”[44]

-The suit claims that the defendants knowingly and willingly sell excessive amounts of alcohol with the knowledge that most of said alcohol is smuggled onto the reservation, in violation of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and Federal law.

 

My Squaw Cousins

2 Jan

Could kick my ass!  Or be my body guards. . .

http://valleyjournal.net/meidinger-twins-reach-lifting-goal-of-pounds-p1576-89.htm#.TvzbICr2vap.facebook

Both of the twins are the only girls in the history of their high school (on a notoriously tough reservation) to bench press 200 pounds or more!  I have never met my youngest cousins, but I know they are big girls–apparently mostly muscle.

It makes me glad I didn’t grow up on the reservation where I was born.  I am too petite and light skinned to have done very well.  If my mom (a tribal member) who is very hard-core, but has blue eyes and freckles got beat up by the big Indian girls every day–I would have been toast.  Just try and tell Indians about recessive genes!

Aside from learning about the twins’ incredible record, I learned something about myself/family/tribe.  I suppose my tribe was/is so marginalized that we don’t have a lot of pride.  Res-runner for junk cars, reservation trailer trash for the brightly colored double-wides, and squaw for the round-sh Indian gals were regular phrases we used growing up.  And it’s not just my family–I see the same thing on Facebook pages of my relatives and their friends.  No, we don’t have to take ourselves too seriously, but Salish of the Flathead Nation should try to tout the awesome things about home just as much as we disparage the. . .  Um more ghetto aspects.