Native American Traditions

Indigenous tribe in California faces off with a border wall that’s destroying their history

July 10, 2020

 

On Monday June 29, The indigenous Kumeyaay people held a protest at the border wall between California and Mexico. Activists accused President Donald Trump of destroying ancient Native American burial sites while constructing the wall.

The Kumeyaay people are one of the main tribes who have lived in the region for thousands of years.

About 100 community members sang and chanted peacefully to voice their concerns about explosives being used to destroy...

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We have a story to tell: Indigenous scholars, activists speak up amid toppling of Serra statues

July 8, 2020

 

Jessa Calderon initially felt numb watching the Junipero Serra statue topple to the ground as it was yanked from its platform with yellow rope tied around its neck.

Within minutes, she was in tears.

“I began to cry hysterically. It was like a sense of relief,” said Calderon, a descendant of Gabrielino-Tongva and Ventureño Chumash, who witnessed the toppling on June 20 in downtown Los Angeles.

Calderon and other California Native people prayed and left offerings, including medicinal herbs, at a makeshift altar before activists took down...

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US-Mexico border wall threatens sacred Native lands

June 23, 2020

 

The Trump administration’s rush to complete sections of a wall along the US-Mexico border before the November election is threatening to damage and restrict access to sacred and historic Native American sites in the region.

The border wall was a key promise of President Donald Trump’s election campaign, and in his bid to keep that promise, dozens of environmental laws, from the Endangered Species Act to the Clean Air Act, were suspended to fast-track construction.

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Rediscovering Detroit’s Roots Through Indigenous Food

June 18, 2020

On a frigid mid-February Saturday, a small crowd gathers in a silent, snow-covered clearing in the woods. The atmosphere was more reminiscent of a far-off forest in northern Michigan than urban Detroit’s Rouge Park.

The group convenes around Jerry Jondreau, owner of Dynamite Hill Farms, who explains the Anishinaabe sugarbush tradition of tapping trees and boiling sap to create maple sugar and syrup. Jondreau, who learned the process from his family, shows the group how deep to drill into the trees, how to insert...

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Federal court rules to cancel energy lease on land sacred to tribes

June 17, 2020

 

 A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday to cancel a long-disputed oil and gas lease on land in northwestern Montana considered sacred to Native American tribes in the U.S. and Canada.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overruled a judge’s 2018 decision that had allowed a Louisiana company to keep its lease within the Badger Two-Medicine area of Lewis and Clark National Forest.

That area near Glacier National Park is the site of the creation story of the Blackfoot tribes of...

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‘Their greed is gonna kill us’: Indian Country fights against more fracking

June 12, 2020

 

A few winters ago, Sam Sage started getting strange phone calls. 

Families living in rural areas south-west of Counselor, New Mexico, were telling him they saw sickly bull snakes and near-death rattlers above ground during the snowy, winter months of the south. Sage, the administrator at the Counselor Chapter House, a Navajo local government center, was incredulous.

“In February? There’s no snakes in February,” he said.

Sage...

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As Covid-19 tears through Navajo Nation, young people step up to protect their elders

May 26, 2020

 

Michelle Tom stared into the screen. The Navajo doctor had just finished a grueling shift at the Winslow Indian Health Care Center urgent care facility in Winslow, Ariz., caring for Covid-19 patients. Now, she was spending her Friday night speaking via livestream to Native American youth about the pandemic.

“I’ve seen it hit everyone,” she said of the coronavirus. “But I have the strength of my ancestors, the strength of my prayers, and the strength of all of you. We have to keep talking about it, especially to our young people.”

In recent weeks,...

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MSU researcher merges science with Native American tradition

March 30, 2020

When Michigan State University graduate student Jared Gregorini studies in the forest, he often leaves a tobacco plant in it before he starts.

This is because Gregorini, also known as Leading Crow, is a Native American.

Before becoming a biological conservation researcher, he worked with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians as an assistant biologist.  He is from Ontario, but his research focuses on Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula, an environment similar to Ontario’s.

The plant Gregorini gives to the forest is usually tobacco, which is...

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