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Indigenous culture

ʔÁLʔAL A Place For Connection, Healing, And Growth

The Chief Seattle Club, CSC, has long since tended to and nurtured the seeds for growth, sowing opportunities, and holding space for healing. It is an important center we need for our Indigenous communities to survive and hopefully thrive in this urban Coast Salish territory of Seattle Washington. For me CSC has always stood as a place our Indigenous Urban community can find resources, give support, and or/ just be, no façade or mask necessary. This is CSC’s foundation, a place for us Urban Indians to connect or reconnect in an otherwise isolating urban setting. My own memories here at CSC go back decades, sitting in talking circles, filming, and learning from amazing indigenous teachers.

Indigenized Education: Reclaiming Language, Culture And Land

When you walk through the doors of the Oceti Sakowin Community Academy (OSCA), you are greeted as a relative. The school opened its doors to kindergarten students in the fall of 2022. It is the first of its kind, built on a foundation of Lakota language, culture, and philosophy. Everything that students learn – math, reading, writing – is taught through and with the traditional language of the Oceti Sakowin, giving its students an education that centers their identities. OSCA was developed over several years by tribal and community leaders, educators, students, and parents. The basis for the school is to address the need for culturally relevant curriculum, language and culture revitalization.

Indigenous Community Care: Traditions Of Reciprocity

Today, Indigenous culture is sustained and celebrated in Southern Oregon through the leadership of people like Teresa Cisneros and Jasi Swick at the SOESD Indian Education program. They gather a group weekly in both Jackson and Josephine counties, and offer the chance for Native families to practice traditional ways, such as talking circles, stories, dances, crafting and beadwork. “As an Indian educator, there are two reasons that I am interested in the Offers and Needs Market: Social emotional learning and place-based education,” explained Teresa.

North Carolina City Takes First Steps Toward Cherokee Cultural Corridor

For decades, the town of Franklin, North Carolina, owned Noquisiyi (later interpreted as Nikwasi) Mound. The mound is the only thing that remains of a Cherokee settlement that dates back to the 16th century. The town’s meeting hall once sat atop the mound. Now, the Nikwasi Initiative is working to protect and honor local sites that play an essential role in the heritage of a regional Indian tribe — including the Nikwasi Mound. The organization, which was founded in 2019, is the byproduct of a conflict that arose between Franklin city officials and members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, according to executive director Elaine Eisenbraun.

Traditional Indigenous Education Creates Stable Productive Members

I never understood why so-called ‘highly intelligent’ people never merely looked at the man-made non-indigenous educational system and realized it is a totally unnatural way for humans to learn, just because we have sophisticated technology does not mean the modern educational construct creates better human beings who are productive members of society if you were ever as privileged as I am to have seen and lived among TRADITIONAL indigenous societies (not the semi-modernized or modernized ones which are just as corrupted as the non-indigenous societies around them) who still use their own natural educational processes - you will quickly notice they have no crime, no homeless people, no addicts, and no mentally unstable children going on murder rampages in their societies (as happens in the USA every month), yet YOU are utterly convinced of the ‘superiority’ of the non-indigenous educational system. Where fools rule ignorance is bliss!

‘Tiny Ripples Of Change’: An Interview With Tara Houska

Minnesota - Through her kitchen window, just outside of Ranier, Minnesota—a tiny town east of International Falls—water protector Tara Houska gazes out at Rainy Lake. Called Gojijiing in Ojibwe, the 360-square-mile lake straddles the border between Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. Among the many islands, capes, and peninsulas around the lake is Bald Rock Point, the site of a sixteen-acre former resort built almost a century ago. Bald Rock Point is also now home to a longtime dream for Houska, a member of Couchiching First Nation. It’s the future location of a “long-term resistance camp” where she intends to raise her infant daughter, host Ojibwe language classes, conduct trainings, hold retreats, and nurture other activists.

Our Relatives’ Things

The other day, one of my granddaughters called and said, “Grandma, did you hear? They’re returning articles from a museum in Barre, Vermont, that belonged to our relatives that were massacred at Wounded Knee.” “What?” I said. “What kind of things?” She said, “Things they were wearing or had when they were murdered at Wounded Knee in 1890. There are even baby moccasins, and little kids’ moccasins in there. The soldiers took them off the bodies and they kept them in a museum all these years. Now they’re giving them back.” As descendants of survivors of Wounded Knee, it is our relatives’ things that we are talking about so it hit home really hard. What was in there that might have belonged to our relatives? Moccasins? A shirt? A shawl? Then she asked, “What do you think should happen to these things?”

How A Reservation School Graduates 100% Of Students

Kids in the hallway smile more than they have in the past. Laughs are a little louder than they once were, teachers say. Student pride – and the graduation rate – are on the upswing at Santee’s public school. School leaders trace that success to a new effort to teach the tribe’s culture – the very thing that the education system, generations ago, banned Santee Dakota students from learning. Now, a new cultural program immerses students in the tribe’s language, history and customs for as long as an hour each school day. The program, embraced by most teachers and students, has boosted student attendance and helped the iSanti Community School in Niobrara hit a perfect, 100% graduation rate two years running, school leaders say. This move to embrace the Santee culture at the main school on the Santee Dakota Reservation hasn’t always gone smoothly.

Struggle To Save Oak Flats Exposes Ravages Of Colonization, Capitalism

In 2014, Congress used a midnight rider added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to hand the Indigenous Sacred Land at Oak Flats in Arizona over to a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, Resolution Copper, to mine, which would destroy the land and pollute the local water. Apache Stronghold and its allies are fighting to protect the land and with it, their cultural identity and religious freedom. A new Bureau of Land Management report and conflict within the Ninth Circuit Court are promising for them. Clearing the FOG speaks with Dr. Wendsler Nosie, Sr. about the significance of Oak Flats and how it exposes the ways colonization and capitalism harm and threaten the existence of most people in the United States, not just the Native American population. Dr. Nosie discusses spirituality, ancient prophecies and the urgent need to work together to change course.

Nakani Native Program: Bringing Back Traditional Ways Of Healing

Nakani is a word that comes from the Tlingit language. Nakani is defined as a person, or entity, which serves as a connector and/ or go between for different people, places, and cultures. This is the role each member of Nakani’s Native Program tries to embody as they help bring together all tribal communities to learn from and about one another. This word is a perfect descriptor for its members and leadership. This description is also a perfect introduction to each of the members I interviewed for this article. Nakani Native Program has undergone many changes since it began as an offshoot of American Friends Service Committee, AFSC.  AFSC, is a non-profit Quaker organization founded by the Religious Society of Friends.

Mayans Call For International Action To Halt Violations Of Their Rights

The Mayan Council Chilam B'alam of the K'iches, the Mayan Council Komon Ajq'ijab', the National Coordinator of the Territories of Life Network (Coordinadora Nacional Red Territories de Vida), the National Ajq'ijab' Council "Oxlajuj Ajpop," and the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), inform the national and international communities that on May 4th, 2022 they presented a communication requesting urgent action by the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure.

Significant Washington Land Returned To The Colville Tribe

In Washington state, nestled in a habitat corridor linking the Cascades to the Rockies, in the heart of the Tunk Creek Valley, there’s a conservation story that is closely tied to the peoples connected to this land—and continues to breathe with the transfer of Indigenous lands back to the original stewards. It takes place on a large ranch, owned by the Figlenski family for over four generations, who have their own stories connected to the valley. As generations of the Figlenski family began to pass away, Ernie Figlenski knew he’d only let go of the property under the conditions it would still be intact as well as healthily managed—unlike some nearby properties that have been broken apart and transferred without preservation in mind.

Niskithe Prayer Camp Launched In Resistance To Development Project

Lincoln, Nebraska - On May 2nd, in so-called Lincoln, Nebraska, the Niskithe Prayer Camp was established in opposition to the “Wilderness Crossing development project, which would significantly encroach on sacred Native American purification/sweat ceremonies and disrupt an existing pristine nature park.” According to Nebraska Public Media: Lincoln City Council approved a housing development for 162 single-family homes, 134 townhomes, and 205 apartments near Wilderness Park in Lincoln, across from the only two Native American sweat lodges within the city, last week. Now, a group of Native American community members set up a prayer camp on the approved land in protest. Seven native teepees surround Native Americans while they burn cedar and pray for the sanctity of the sweat lodges across the street. In the 1970s, Chief Leonard Crow Dog set up those lodges on private land surrounding Wilderness Park for Native Americans to hold traditional ceremonies, pray, and heal.

‘Spirit Of The Waters’ Totem Pole Journey Begins

The 2,300-mile journey highlights the vital role of the Snake River, salmon and orca to the lifeways and identities of tribal communities in the region. The updated pole, created by House of Tears Carvers, will travel for 17 days through tribal and metropolitan communities in Washington, Oregon and Idaho to advocate for the removal of dams on the Lower Snake River and for the health of salmon and orca. Sponsored by Se’Si’Le (pronounced saw-see-lah) — an inter-tribal nonprofit aimed at reintroducing Indigenous spiritual law into the mainstream conversation about climate change and the environment — the Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey informs and engages Pacific Northwest communities through inter-generational voices, ceremony, art and science, spirituality, ancestral knowledge and cross-cultural collaboration.

The World’s First Ohlone Restaurant Is Opening Soon At UC Berkeley

Dolores Lameira Galvan, 91, remembers hearing from her mother, aunts and uncles about their time working as housekeepers and laborers at Phoebe Apperson Hearst’s opulent mansion in what is now Pleasanton. She still prefers not to speak of the time her Ohlone family spent as servants on what had been the Indigenous people’s own land, says her nephew, Vincent Medina. For the Ohlone, it represents just one painful chapter in hundreds of years’ worth of trauma and loss in the East Bay and beyond. But decades later, Medina is working to reclaim his tribe’s history by opening the world’s first Ohlone restaurant in a space that carries the Hearst name. Cafe Ohlone, which he started as a pop-up with partner Louis Trevino in 2018, will debut in June at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.
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