Native American Traditions

New wave of anti-protest laws may infringe on religious freedoms for Indigenous people

July 12, 2021

Over four days in June 2021, thousands of protesters attended the Treaty People Gathering in opposition to Line 3, a crude oil pipeline slated to be built across traditional homelands of the Ojibwe peoples in northern Minnesota.

To begin the gathering, Indigenous elders led a public religious ceremony. They said prayers and sang songs that blessed and sanctified the headwaters of the Mississippi River. They also prayed for the people involved in the protest – over 100 of whom were later arrested for trespassing and other acts of civil disobedience.

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The American church needs to reckon with its legacy in Indigenous boarding schools

June 24, 2021

(RNS) — Over the last few weeks, devastating news has come out of Canada: Residential schools, also known as boarding schools, often run by churches, have been under investigation, and the remains of hundreds of Indigenous children have been unearthed in the process. The most recent discovery, of 751 bodies in unmarked graves at a former residential school in Saskatchewan, reveals the ongoing legacy of settler colonialism.

While the Canadian government and churches in Canada attempt to respond to this, First Nations peoples are demanding Canada come to terms with its history...

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Amid plans to mine lithium in rural Nevada, Indigenous, rural communities at center of the energy transition

June 22, 2021

Maxine Redstar’s office on the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation sits in a valley surrounded by mineral-rich mountain ranges that stretch past the Oregon border, only a few miles to the north.

It’s May, and after a short spurt of precipitation in an otherwise record dry year for Nevada, the valley has turned pastel-green with sagebrush dotting the land. Near the administration building and Redstar’s office, a sign is planted in the ground. It reads: “Keep Your Aboriginal Rights!!”

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Native Americans to bring 5,000-pound totem pole across country for land awareness

June 19, 2021

Native Americans are transporting a 5,000-pound totem pole from Washington state to Washington, D.C., over two weeks in July to raise awareness about protecting land that they consider sacred, according to the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The effort, which organizers are calling the “Red Road to D.C.,” has already raised $500,000 from nonprofits, sponsors, and tribal groups.

The big picture: The totem will be hauled by a semi-trailer and will be led by around a dozen people, including many members of the Lummi Nation.

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Bill would prohibit export of sacred tribal items

May 20, 2021

Bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress in early May would prohibit the export of sacred Native American items and increase penalties for stealing and illegally trafficking tribal cultural patrimony, property inherited from one’s male ancestor.

The STOP Act has already received support from various tribes and Native organizations including the SeaAlaska Heritage Institute and the Association of Village Council Presidents.

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RezTok: Indigenous storytellers find stronger voice on popular platform

April 5, 2021

PHOENIX – Native people across Turtle Island – an Indigenous name for North America – logged onto the video-sharing app for different reasons, but they stayed for the community, for the culture and to fulfill their sacred duty.

In recent months, TikTok has become wildly popular with Generation Z, especially given the extended time spent at home in the year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Communities of all sorts have sprouted up on the app, and one in particular has been especially empowering and important to its members.

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Florida's longest-running intertribal powwow returns to St. Lucie County this weekend

March 24, 2021

Florida's longest-running intertribal powwow returns to St. Lucie County this weekend.

The Florida Indian Heritage Association’s 55th annual powwow, a three-day event at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds, falls on the fourth weekend of March every year — except for last year when it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Bikers, bands and barristers: Oak Flat copper mine plan draws a wide range of opponents

March 8, 2021

Mario Tsosie and more than two dozen other motorcycle riders rumbled into Oak Flat Campground last month with a mission and a message.

"We had riders come from San Diego, Fresno, Orange County and Los Angeles," said Tsosie, a Navajo who rides with Redrum Motorcycle Club, the world's largest Indigenous-based biker group. "It was pretty exciting."

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US Forest Service temporarily halts transfer of Native American sacred site Oak Flat

March 2, 2021

The United States Forest Service has withdrawn a final environmental impact statement that would allow Arizona land considered sacred by the Apache and other Native Americans to be transferred to a mining company in the next few weeks.

The move temporarily halts the transfer of Chi’chil Biłdagoteel, known widely as Oak Flat, to Australian mining company Resolution Copper, according to...

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