Some further information that follows along the same lines of research and critical research that have been current in pop cultural news – both Native and non-Native. Enjoy the links and information!
23 April, 2014
Olbermann’s Three Worst People: Dan Snyder, Dan Snyder and Dan Snyder
Keith Olbermann doesn’t pull his punches, and he’s not to everyone’s taste. But for his fans, one of the most beloved bits he does is always his countdown of the three most unpleasant — in his extremely opinionated opinion — people in the news on a given day. Called “Worst Person in the World,” it’s a tradition he’s carried over from his news/politics show that ran on MSNBC from 2003 to 2012 to his current gig as a long-form sports pundit on ESPN2. (Techincally it is now called “Worst Person in the Sports World”).
“Worst Person” is always three different people, with just one exception we’re aware of (and we do not claim to have seen every show Olbermann has ever done) — in November 2005, he gave Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly all three (Worse, Worser and Worst) un-coveted honors.
Make that two exceptions. Last night, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder hit the Worst Person trifecta. Here’s the clip:
Snyder Tells ‘Redskins’ Critics ‘We’re Not an Issue’
Dan Snyder, the owner of Washington’s NFL team, made brief remarks to an Associated Press reporter on Tuesday arguing that it’s time for people to “focus on reality” concerning Native American issues instead of criticizing the team’s nickname.
“We understand the issues out there, and we’re not an issue,” Snyder said. “The real issues are real-life issues, real-life needs, and I think it’s time that people focus on reality.”
Snyder’s remarks came after his football team donated copy00,000 to a high school athletic field in a Virginia suburb of D.C. The donation was based on a letter he wrote last month to announce his Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. “I wrote a letter to the fans and it speaks for itself,” Snyder told reporters. “It tells you we did our homework, unlike a lot of people, and we understand the issues out there.”
RELATED Snyder Wins: How ‘CancelColbert’ Drowned Out the Native Voice
But many say that Snyder needs a serious dose of reality himself. In a statement, the National Congress of American Indians said, “Dan Snyder lives in a world where he can get his way throwing his money around. The reality is that he is stubbornly defending the use of a slur.”
“Here’s a reality check: The longer [Snyder] insists on slurring Native Americans, the more damage he will keep doing to Native American communities,” Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation representative, said in a statement.
Snyder has insisted that he will never change the team’s’ name, calling it a “badge of honor,” and he did not respond to reporters’ questions that his new foundation is a way of throwing money around to silence his critics. Instead, he asserted that the foundation is on the right track. “I think it tells you that we did our homework — unlike a lot of people,” he said.
(further internal links are included within the published article)
‘Utes’ Nickname Supported, Ute Tribe and University of Utah Sign MOU
In a time when mascot issues continue to make waves in national news in an attempt to remove their use – most significantly the professional Washington football team and the Cleveland professional baseball team – the University of Utah will continue to be able to use the name “Utes” for its sports teams.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation and the university on April 15. Signing the MOU were David Pershing, university president, and Gordon Howell, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee, at an event in Ft. Duchesne, Utah, tribal headquarters.
“The tribe applauds the University’s commitment to respecting the Ute name and culture and to using the name in a manner that accounts for and promotes the interests of the tribe,” said Gordon Howell, chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee. “This agreement will do a lot to promote positive educational opportunities for Ute and other American Indian youth and will enhance the positive working relationship between the tribe and the University.”
“The University is honored to be allowed to continue using the Ute name, which the school has done with Ute Tribe support since 1972,” Pershing said in a joint press release following the MOU signing. “We have pledged to do so with the utmost respect, recognizing that the Ute name is at the core of the cultural identity of the tribe and its members. In return, we are working actively with the tribe to promote and support access to higher education among its members.”
The university campus will see an education campaign that will educate the students and fans on the history of the Ute Indian Tribe. Another key will be to communicating standards for appropriate fan behavior. “The campaign aims to promote cultural understanding in order to avoid behaviors and misunderstandings that dishonor the Ute and other American Indian populations,” the release states.
“An educated understanding of the tribal Utes – as well as other Native peoples in this region – is fundamental to an informed history of our state,” says Pershing. “From that acknowledgment comes authentic and respectful fan behavior. ‘Go Utes’ is not simply distinctive shorthand for ‘Utah.’ It is a much-loved phrase that at its best recognizes – and values – the richness of Ute Indian history and heritage.”
The MOU is a public document that features some major points as follows:
– Term is for five years, and will be reviewed annually.
– The tribe gives the University full support for the University’s use of the Ute name.
– The University commits to funding scholarships for American Indian students including a permanent scholarship category for Ute Tribal Members.
– The University will work with the tribe to create enrichment and educational opportunities for tribal youth, with the aim of encouraging, inspiring and supporting them to lead healthy lives and to pursue post-secondary education.
– The University will appoint, with approval from the Utah Tribal Leaders Council, a special advisor to the president on Native American affairs, who will serve as liaison between tribal leaders and the University.
Supreme Court Discrimination Against Native America Cannot Be Tolerated
The world is moving forward on Indigenous Rights, yet the Supreme Court of the United States is moving backward. In 2010, the United States joined the United Nations in supporting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which declares:
Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination … the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs … the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions [and] the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired….
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has ruled against Indian nations and tribes in 9 out of 10 cases that have been before it in the past 25 years.
The Constitution’s Treaty and Supremacy Clauses recognize Indian nations and tribes as sovereign treaty partners. From 1776 through 1871, the United States entered into 370 treaties with Indian nations and tribes. In Indian treaties, the United States recognized Indian nations and tribes as distinct polities, vested with the inherent sovereign power of war and peace, the right of self-government, and guaranteed Indian lands as permanent homes for Indian peoples. The United States gave friendship and protection, and pledged its honor to preserve the peace. The Commerce Clause acknowledges Indian tribes as governments and laws regulating “Commerce … with the Indian Tribes” have been in place since 1790.
After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment (1868) affirmed Indian sovereignty by once again treating our Native peoples as “Indians not taxed,” citizens of Indian nations, not subject to the “jurisdiction” of the United States. From 1866 to 1869, Congress established the Indian Peace Policy and more than 70 Indian treaties were made. When Indian treaty-making ended in 1871, existing Indian treaties continued in full force and effect, and Congress made statutory agreements with Indian tribes.
In 1983, President Reagan issued his American Indian Policy Statement, explaining:
When European colonial powers began to explore and colonize this land, they entered into treaties with sovereign Indian nations. Our new nation continued to make treaties and to deal with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis…. Our policy is to reaffirm dealing with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis and … self-government for Indian tribes….
In 2000, President Clinton issued Executive Order 13175 that declares:
Our Nation, under the law of the United States, in accordance with treaties, statutes, Executive Orders, and judicial decisions, has recognized the right of Indian tribes to self-government. As domestic dependent nations, Indian tribes exercise inherent sovereign powers over their members and territory. The United States continues to work with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis….
In 2004, President Bush and in 20013, President Obama affirmed the Clinton Order. Yet, the Supreme Court ignores this history and U.S. Policy.
In the oral argument of the Bay Mills case (where Michigan challenged tribal sovereign immunity) Justice Scalia asked: “Who made these Indian tribes sovereign, was it Congress?” The Solicitor General answered: “The Constitution.” Scalia asked, “Who decided that Indian tribes are sovereign?” and the Solicitor General folded, “The Court … but there are treaties and statutes.” Scalia replied, “So I assume that this Court could also determine the scope of their sovereignty.”
Justice Scalia’s erroneous view that the Supreme Court “decided” Indian nations are sovereign is discriminatory. Just as the Constitution recites that “We, the People” are the source of U.S. Sovereign power—We, the Native Peoples, are the source of Indian sovereignty. Just powers of government flow from the consent of the governed, and as Native peoples, we consent to self-government.
Indian sovereignty, treaty rights, and self-government are our “unalienable rights” and the United States has no legitimate authority to take them from us. The United States violates our inherent human rights when it overrides Indian sovereignty or the Supreme Court redefines sovereign immunity.
Scalia’s position is a denial of our humanity as Native peoples, a denigration of our treaties, and a whitewash of America’s history. Given Justice Scalia’s discriminatory views, the Supreme Court is a biased forum for Indian sovereignty, Indian treaties, and Native peoples.
Consent is the original model for our Indian treaties established by Natural Law, the Constitution, implemented by George Washington, affirmed by Thomas Jefferson, and kept alive in the hearts of our Native peoples. Our treaties were negotiated nation-to-nation under the principle of mutual consent.
We call upon the President and Congress to agree with Indian nations to jointly establish an Indian Nations—U.S. Treaty Commission composed of three U.S. delegates from the White House Council on Native American Affairs (Secretary of the Interior, Attorney General, and Secretary of State) and 12 tribal government and traditional leaders. The Indian Nations—U.S. Treaty Commission must be charged with resolving disputes concerning Indian treaties, Indian sovereignty and tribal self-government through “mutual consent” between Indian nations and the United States.
Bryan Brewer is the president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
This is a Stereotype: Support Cannupa Hanska’s film
Posted: 22 Apr 2014 01:45 PM PDT
Last year (2013) at Santa Fe Indian Market, I had the pleasure of seeing Cannupa Hanska’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art. I wandered around his exhibit, and was beyond excited by the pieces–I remarked to my friend that it was “like my blog in art form!” His exhibition was a series of handmade ceramic boomboxes, each representing a stereotypical trope of Native peoples–such as the plastic shaman, the Indian princess, the Barrymore (pictured at the top of this post, and based off this image of Drew Barrymore). The detail that went into each piece was incredible, and there were also didactic panels that went along with each trope to describe the origins and contemporary examples. Here are a few of the other (poor quality, sorry!) cell phone pictures I took (images and film can be reviewed at the website – see the hyperlink above):
Then, Cannupa destroyed the pieces in a work of performance art, which was covered by Indian Country Today. The video of that event is here (images and film can be reviewed at the website – see the hyperlink above):
Now, he’s making a film with filmmaker Dylan McLaughlin as a next step of this project, which he describes on the Kickstarter (images and film can be reviewed at the website – see the hyperlink above):
This is a Stereotype is a film project motivated from an art exhibition by Cannupa Hanska Luger and further inspired by the vision of filmmaker Dylan McLaughlin. Hanska’s body of work, Stereotype: Misconceptions of the Native American exhibited at the MoCNA from Aug. 15- Dec. 31 2013. The exhibition addressed several preconceived notions about Native people supported by popular culture that have been invented, imagined and rooted within the American public’s social conscience. Highlighted in this exhibition was a performance, Destroying the Stereotype, where Hanska let go of the stereotypes embodying his sculptures and invited the community to witness their destruction. The remains of the destroyed ceramic sculptures were then placed on view for the duration of the exhibition. McLaughlin documented this process and together they felt this conversation needed to go deeper than this exhibition. There were more questions; the explanation and understanding needed further attention.
The film This is a Stereotype will allow for the continuation of this dialogue, with broader brush strokes than just one artists perspective. The exhibition/performance, Stereotype: Misconceptions of the Native American, was just the spark. It pushed artist Cannupa Hanska and filmmaker Dylan McLaughlin to ask why? Where do these stereotypes come from? Are all stereotypes negative? Do they come from some level of truth? Is there a place to blame? How can we break down these ways of thinking into something positive and useful? Can stereotypes become empowering? How has history influenced the way Native Americans themselves today, and how do non-Natives and popular culture perceives Native Americans? What are the economic parallels of stereotyping? How do you let go of stereotypes? The questions kept coming. The more they talked about it, the more there was a need to dig deeper, to look at many stories of past and present, of ordinary and esteemed, in order to have the proper tools to address the idea of the stereotype.
The idea behind the film will be to invite the audience to ask their own questions, not to simply understand the information they will view about Native identity and stereotypes in this film, but to utilize that information and become active participants in society, thinking critically when making decisions regarding culture and appropriation. We hope to inspire people to seek out their own answers.
Clearly, stereotypes of Native peoples and the power that they have to shape public perception of Native peoples is something that is incredibly important to me, and I think this film will offer an amazing perspective and window into the history and continuing legacies of these stereotypes, as well as offer some positive representations through interviews with the 1491′s, Apache Skateboards, and other movers and shakers in this field. Any chance we have as Native peoples to speak against against these harmful images that are used to represent us is important–and I think Cannupa’s art and activism is a prime example of the power of pushing back.
So, if you can, head on over to the Kickstarter page and support–there are fabulous perks, including cool tshirts, prints, and original works of art by Cannupa. There are only a few days left, and right now the project still has $4,000 to go to reach its goal.
Here is some of the news coverage if you’d like more info about Cannupa, Dylan, and the project (these are not hyperlinks, but a quick search on Indian Country Today Media should bring forth these further articles of interest):
INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY MEDIA NETWORK: He killed his art to prove a point, now he’s making a film about it. 4.11.14
NATIVE AMERICA CALLING: Crowd Funding in Native America. 4.10.14
NATIVE NEWS ONLINE: Native Ceramic Artist Reaches Out. 3.29.14
SANTA FE REPORTER: Filmed in Stereo. 3.26.14
Native Death Rates Nearly 50 Percent Greater Than Those of Non-Hispanic Whites
Death records show that American Indian and Alaska Native death rates for both men and women combined were nearly 50 percent greater than rates among non-Hispanic whites during 1999-2009. The new findings were announced through a series of Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports recently released online by the American Journal of Public Health.
Correct reporting of American Indian and Alaska Native death rates has been a persistent challenge for public health experts. Previous studies showed that nearly 30 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native persons who identify themselves as American Indian and Alaska Native when living are classified as another race at the time of death.
“Accurate classification of race and ethnicity is extremely important to addressing the public health challenges in our nation, said Ursula Bauer, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “We must use this new information to implement interventions and create changes that will reduce and eliminate the persistent inequalities in health status and health care among American Indians and Alaska Natives.”
CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control led the project and collaborated with CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics and other CDC researchers, the Indian Health Service, partners from tribal groups, universities, and state health departments.
—Among American Indian and Alaska Native people, cancer is the leading cause of death followed by heart disease. Among other races, it is the opposite.
—Death rates from lung cancer have shown little improvement in American Indian and Alaska Native populations. American Indian and Alaska Native people have the highest prevalence of tobacco use of any population in the United States.
—Deaths from injuries were higher among American Indian and Alaska Native people compared to non-Hispanic whites.
—Suicide rates were nearly 50 percent higher for American Indian and Alaska Native people compared to non-Hispanic whites, and more frequent among American Indian and Alaska Native males and persons younger than age 25.
—Death rates from motor vehicle crashes, poisoning, and falls were two times higher among American Indian and Alaska Native people than for non-Hispanic whites.
—Death rates were higher among American Indian and Alaska Native infants compared to non-Hispanic whites infants. Sudden infant death syndrome and unintentional injuries were more common. American Indian and Alaska Native infants were four times more likely to die from pneumonia and influenza.
—By region, the greatest death rates were in the Northern Plains and Southern Plains. The lowest death rates were in the East and the Southwest.
“The new detailed examination of death records offers the most accurate and current information available on deaths among the American Indian and Alaska Native populations,” said David Espey, M.D., acting director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “Now, we can better characterize and track the health status of these populations—a critical step to address health disparities.”
The studies address race misclassification in two ways. First, the authors linked U.S. National Death Index records with Indian Health Services registration records to more accurately identify the race of American Indian and Alaska Native people who had died. Second, the authors focused their analyses on the Indian Health Services’ Contract Health Service Delivery Area counties, where about 64 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native persons live. Fewer race misclassification errors occur in Contract Health Service Delivery Area data than in death records.
The authors reviewed trends from 1990 through 2009, and compared death rates between American Indian and Alaska Native people and non-Hispanic whites by geographic regions for a more recent time period (1999-2009).
The report concludes that patterns of mortality are strongly influenced by the high incidence of diabetes, smoking prevalence, problem drinking, and health-harming social determinants. Many of the observed excess deaths can be addressed through evidence-based public health interventions.
“The Indian Health Service is grateful for this important research and encouraged about its potential to help guide efforts to improve health and wellness among American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Yvette Roubideaux, acting IHS director. “Having more accurate data along with our understanding of the contributing social factors can lead to more aggressive public health interventions that we know can make a difference.”
For more information, the articles from the report will be in the AJPH “First Look”; visit: ajph.aphapublications.org.
For information on CDC’s efforts in cancer prevention and control, visit http://www.cdc.gov/cancer.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to expand access to coverage, control health care costs, and improve health care quality and coordination. The Affordable Care Act also includes permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which extends current law and authorizes new programs and services within the Indian Health Service. Visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY/TDD 1-855-889-4325) to learn more.
A Tribe Called Red, “Sisters,” featuring Northern Voice
This Music Video Will Take A Tribe Called Red to the Next Level
It’s been about nine days since we had any big news to share from A Tribe Called Red — but that’s how it goes when the mainstream is waking up to you.
Last Sunday, A Tribe Called Red won a Juno Award for Breakout Artist — becoming the first Aboriginal group to do so. Spin lends a little more perspective in a story posted today: “In a land traditionally hostile to anything that’s not guitar music, it’s the first time a non-rock entity has won in the Breakthrough category since the Parachute Club in 1984.”
Today, ATCR has released the first video for a track from their acclaimed second album, Nation II Nation. Called “Sisters,” the high-energy tune is visualized with a story of Native sisters going to a rave. On Twitter, Blogger Adrienne Keene (@nativeapprops) praised it for conveying “indigenous joy” and added that it “reminds me so much of all my goofy dance parties with my sister. So much fun.”
You may spot a familiar face among the sisters — it’s actress Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs, who starred in one of 2013′s most buzzworthy Native films, Rhymes for Young Ghouls.
Up until now, ATCR’s videos have been mashups and remixes, visual extensions of their music that have featured vintage movies and cartoons, often looped, intercut with neon-tinted pow wow footage. They’ve been appropriate complements to the music, but not necessarily inviting to those who weren’t already hip to ATCR. The video for “Sisters,” with its characters and narrative, is quite different from what’s come before. This clip is eminently shareable, likable, bloggable, tweetable — this feels like a big moment.
A Native Actress Should NOT Play Tiger Lily in the Peter Pan Movie
In recent weeks, social media erupted in outrage after it was announced that Warner Brothers had cast Rooney Mara, a non-Native actress, to play the part of Tiger Lily, a Native character, in a new adaptation of Peter Pan.
We’re all seen this scenario before. Since the dawn of film, non-Native actors and actresses have been perpetuating negative stereotypes of Natives by painting their faces red and appearing as embarrassing caricatures that promote Hollywood’s view of what American Indians are.
It’s so disappointing that this practice continues. There are plenty of qualified, talented Native thespians who are available to play Native characters. Sadly, movie makers continue to double down on white privilege, unwilling to give Natives and other people of color equal representation.
READ MORE: ‘Smoke Signals’ Actor Addresses Native Grads at Portland State (see the hyperlink below for more information)
I understand the indignation. When will we have a voice in how we as Native peoples are portrayed? When will our demands for respect be heard?
But wait. Hold your horses. Instead of raising our smartphones in anger and filing petitions calling for Warner Brothers to boot Mara and replace her with a Native actress, let’s flip the script—literally. We don’t have to play their white-privilege game.
READ MORE: A Fresh Face at Sundance: Elizabeth Frances of Drunktown’s Finest (see the hyperlink below for more information)
While little is known of Warner Brothers’ new version of Peter Pan, the history of the story alone is enough to warrant apt circumspection by socially conscious Natives everywhere.
Like other movies featuring stereotypical Native characters, Peter Pan, in regards to American Indians, is flawed on its face. Based on the 1904 play authored by J.M. Barrie, Disney upped the racism ante by giving his feather and fringe costumed Indian princess Tiger Lily a “peace pipe”-toking father in actual redface who offered to “Teach ‘um Paleface brother all about Red Man,” accompanied by a big-nosed chorus of generic Indian braves who sang “What Makes the Red Man Red.” If that weren’t enough, a homely snaggle-toothed ‘squaw’ plays right into patriarchy when she tells Wendy, “No dance,” that she must gather wood instead. The fact that these monstrous, bigoted, negative depictions of Natives continue to be force fed to the minds of highly impressionable children is unacceptable. They’re being brainwashed; conditioned to embrace white privilege and the racist system they’ve been born into.
READ MORE: The 5 Must-See Native Movies of 2013 (see information on the hyperlink below)
We’re right in refusing to accept a whitewashed world. Our children need to see role models who look like them, not just lily white ones. Also, studies have shown that redface is harmful to the mental and emotionally well-being of Native children. Yet at the same time, are we as Native adults setting a good example for the next generation when we put Native actors and actresses in the position of playing to Hollywood’s stereotypes of who we are?
It’s time we stop dancing to their tune. We don’t have to play into their lies. No more one little, two little, three little Indians. We have the tools and talent necessary to tell our own stories, with our own voices. We have the power, and are the most qualified, to show the world who we are as Natives (there is more to this story which can be read at the hyperlink below).
Fighting Off Extinction: The Story of Indigenous Mexican Languages
***This article is of particular interest as other Native languages within the U.S. face a similar situation.***
Mexico has 60 indigenous languages in danger of disappearing with 21 of those idioms in critical danger due to dwindling numbers of native speakers and other factors but reports of the imminent demise of the Ayapaneco language, which is on the critical list, are premature.
There are at least 6 million indigenous people who are speaking an indigenous language in Mexico, including approximately 1.6 million people who speak Nahuatl and 796,000 Mayan speakers. While these larger groups are gaining some momentum, with more and more books and literature being produced in the languages, others are in danger.
In late March, Mexican scholars were quoted as saying that of the country’s 143 Native languages, 21 are in critical danger of disappearing, meaning that they have less than 200 speakers. Among the most critical are Kiliwa of Baja California that has 36 speakers, and Ayapaneco from Tabasco that is spoken by two adults.
Prior to this year’s announcement though, media outlets from around the world have focused on the story of those two Ayapaneco adult men who are supposedly the last speakers of their language. The stories about them, from a variety of publications, asserted that the language was in even greater danger as the last two speakers, Manuel Segovia, 78, and Isidro Velazquez (also known as Don Chilo) in his 70s, were not speaking to each other.
But according to Anthropologist Daniel Suslak of Indiana University, who has worked with the two Ayapaneco men for 10 years, that story is not accurate.
“The narrative of the last two speakers who don’t speak to each other is a powerful one,” Suslak stated. “It strikes a chord with a lot of people. It just happens to not be quite true.”
“While Manuel and Isidro are far and away the best remaining speakers of Ayapaneco, they are not the only two left,” he asserted. “Several of the speakers that I met have passed away in recent years, but a handful still remain, including Isidro’s brothers and sister and a cousin of Manuel.”
Along with those family members, Segovia’ son, also named Manuel, has been running an Ayapaneco language school in their village and this year they will celebrate the 2nd Annual Ayapaneco Language Festival.
“They also worked with a Mexican anthropologist [Denisse Rebeca Gomez Ramirez] to make a book that describes all of the Ayapaneco terminology for talking about human anatomy,” Suslak added. “So in fact, you could say that they aren’t the last speakers of Ayapaneco – they are the first writers!”
Suslak also mentioned that he had just submitted a new Ayapaneco dictionary to the Mexico’s National Institute of Indigenous Languages which will be printed before the end of the year.