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Local Briefs
Political Matters: Sports and degradation
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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mordecai_specktor_some.jpgSports and degradation

I’m happy to report that school board officials in Coachella Valley, California, decided to change the name and mascot of the high school sports teams. Al-Jazeera America reported in September that the “Coachella Valley High School Arabs will now be known as the Mighty Arabs … They also agreed to change CVHS' Arab mascot to look less barbaric and more distinguished.”

The old evil-looking “Mighty Arabs” logo image and mascot – apparently based on stories from “One Thousand and One Nights,” also known as “Arabian Nights” – have been recast, after complaints from Arab-American individuals and organizations.

Abed Ayoub, legal and policy director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said the old mascot is “basically an angry ‘Arab’ head – hooknose, long beard, headscarf and all.’”

Over many years, officials in charge of prep and college sports across this country have responded to complaints about ethnic and racial stereotyping and made changes to respect diversity. They’ve done the decent and right thing; but this has not been the case in pro sports. An egregious case of racial insensitivity is the National Football League, which also has been coming under attack for its tolerance of players who beat their wives and children.

 

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpg Language is essential to our lives. It is how we define ourselves. It is how we recognize the world around us. It is how we name our individual, communal and collective journey. Language is crucial to our being.

I grew up in a home where Lakota was spoken by the adults. My parents experienced the boarding school era. They chose not to teach us our language for our safety, they didn’t want us to experience ridicule, experience disconnection or experience loss. It is as adults that we learned to understand our language.

Growing up on the Rez, I didn’t understand the nuances of languages until I was exposed to people outside of my family and my community. As an adult I came to understand these people, their notions of themselves and how different we are. Most spoke formal English that sounded different. They framed their ideas differently. Believe me, it was confusing.

Sounding Rez is a hybrid language. It is a blend of languages, traditional Native language and English. Speaking Rez intertwines ideas, weaves our natural story telling ability and there is a cadence to the sound of it.

I still hear people speaking ‘Rez’ here in the city. When I hear it, I am suddenly home. It is when another Native on the street says, “Hey Nij” or “Hey Koda” or “Hey Kola.” I recognize them, and there is a connection. We are familiar to each other. There is a history that connects us. They become an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a sibling, a beloved relative.

 

What's New In The Community: October 2014
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by The Circle Staff,
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FOND DU LAC TRIBAL COLLEGE RECEIVES $1 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR PROJECTS

CLOQUET, Minn. – The Environmental Institute at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College has been awarded more than $1,150,000 in total grant project funding through the United States Department of Agriculture to continue innovative projects and expand capacity in science, technology, engineering, and math programming.

The Environmental Institute, along with project partner Fond du Lac Band Resource Management, will work together to accomplish the objectives established in the grant projects. Grant were made possible because of the partnership agreement between the Fond du Lac Band and Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

The Environmental Institute promotes educational and cultural growth in studies related to natural resources and the environment. Programs fulfill the college’s role as a Land Grant Institution through extension programs covering research, education, and community outreach.

Three USDA Land Grant Extension grants totaling around $740,000 will support ongoing extension programs beginning in September 2014 and continuing through August of 2016 and September 2018, depending on the project. A new USDA Capacity Building grant of approximately $410,000 also begins in September and ends in August 2018.

The grants are intended to support three major projects. The first includes the college's Seed Library (The Bimaaji'idiwin Ojibwe Garden), is a research and demonstration garden that preserves traditional Ojibwe cropping systems. It also incorporates modern strategies for organic food and medicinal plant production.

The second project for development is the St. Louis River Watch Program, which is an annual water quality monitoring program of the St. Louis River watershed and western Lake Superior basin.

The third and final project that was awarded a grant was the Thirteen Moons Program, connecting people to natural resources. The tribe describes the program as providing nine-to-12 seasonal content workshops on natural resource activities such as a Sugarbush Tour, Wild Berry Camp, and Manoomin Camp.

"Our Thirteen Moons program reaches around 2,000 community members each year and is a leader in connecting people with natural resources and Ojibwe culture. Our River Watch program is almost 20 years-old and continues to teach over 400 students a year about our local rivers. The Bimaaji'idiwin Ojibwe Garden is continuing its great work in promoting local, fresh foods and is helping more people see that they can garden,” FDLTCC Environmental Institute director Courtney Kowalczak said.

Depending on the grant project, support completion is expected between August 2016 and September 2018.

 


OPINION: In the Moon of the Falling Leaves
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by Winona LaDuke,
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I’ve just returned from New York City.

There, I attended the People's Climate March, where 400,000 people walked the streets of the city, demanding that governments take action on the climate. It was the largest such rally in U.S. history. I was joined by my two l4 year-old sons, to witness history in the making.

Since we were in town, we also went to the United Nations to see Indigenous peoples. This is to say, the Tadadaho – the leader of the Iroquois Confederacy – open the General Assembly at the United Nations. (He’s sort of like the Dalai Lama of the Iroquois confederacy in my mind). This was the first time that an Indigenous spiritual leader has spoken his language at the United Nations and opened the General Assembly, representing – in this case – the oldest North American democracy and a people much older than the United Nations.

Let us say that history is often made in some moments, those moments are part of a force which changes the course of history. That we know and what that means now, is what I am pondering.

History, after all, teaches that there is a moment when a paradigm shifts. Those moments are often a result of many actions – whether lawsuits, police and civil society conflict, or demonstrations. One moment was the March on Washington, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, l963. That was a defining moment in the American Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Act was passed one year later. That law guaranteed people the right to desegregate the schools and motels, restaurants and almost all public facilities.

 

Profiles from Lakota Country: Native Americans in Education
Saturday, October 11 2014
 
Written by Lynette White Hat,
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profiles from lakota country- native americans in education.jpgWhen the topic of Education and Native Americans is brought up the view of a unsettling and disturbing history plays with a sequence of historical trauma. This isn’t a collaboration that was arranged with open arms and satisfying results.

This approach began with Carlisle Indian School, which was established by Gen. Richard Henry Pratt in 1879. Specifically built for Native American children, the approach to this was to assist the Natives in becoming “civilized” and functional in mainstream western society. However, teaching arithmetic, writing and reading came with horrendous atrocities, abuse and discipline within the Native boarding school systems that would shape and change the classroom and generations forever.

To enhance any teachings the official government policy was to, “Kill the Indian and save the man.” With this motto came severe forms of discipline which included beating, torture, sexual abuse and even death. Though Native people wanted their children to be able to survive in the inevitable change coming, they were not prepared to take on what the boarding school system would bring. This created generational poverty among those who endured, survived and would speak about it.

Since that dark period in tribal history, Native people have a come a long way in developing and tailoring education that meets the needs of their children. Students have become educated, speaking fluent English and are encouraged to learn their tribal history. Those who pursue a career in education are are protected by policies, procedures and laws developed to enshrine education that was once banned in boarding schools.

One such educator is Sage Fast Dog, Sr., an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. He has taught in the Todd County School District, a non-Native public school with a majority of Native students who attend, for nine years.

 

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