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Editorials
Bad Hunter: The Inner Thinkings of the Rare Native Vegan
Monday, January 09 2017
 
Written by Maggie Lorenz,
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In March of last year I made a decision that had been a long time coming and has changed the course of my life. It’s something that I avoided doing for a long time because it threatened my sense of identity as a Dakota woman – it set me apart from some of our deepest and longest held traditions. But typical to my personality, I did it because I want to have my (vegan) cake and eat it, too. In March, I became an Indigenous Vegan. A Bad Hunter. Like a unicorn, I became something people didn’t think existed in real life.

Why? Is it because I didn’t grow up with my ways? Is it because I am half white? Is it because I have some class privilege that allows me to be super picky with my food? I mean, maybe. Maybe those things have something to do with it. I yam what I yam (and yams are a great vegan food). But the thing is, as I think about our beautiful traditions and teachings, I don’t see being vegan as blasphemous to our culture, and I’ll tell you why.

Most people choose to go vegan for one of three reasons: environment, ethics, and health. My reasons for being vegan are in this exact order. Being a typical Indian woman, I put everyone else before me. Like our incredible Water Protectors holding ground at Standing Rock, you can be sure they aren’t there for themselves. They are there for their kids, their people, the millions of people downriver, the generations to come, and the plants and animals that also depend on a clean river system. As Indian people, our circle of compassion has always included non-humans– the four legged, winged, finned, the plants, water, earth and sky. It is in adhering to this tradition that being vegan makes sense as a Dakota woman.

Right now, animal agriculture is responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s right. More than half! It dwarfs the entire transportation system’s 13% impact with a staggering 51% of emissions being a direct result of raising animals for food. As a vegan, you can literally cut your carbon footprint in half. If you want to save this planet for future generations, reducing your shower time just ain’t gonna cut it.

For example, to produce one hamburger, 660 gallons of clean water was used in the process. That’s the same as showering for 2 months. For everyone’s sake, take your showers and just skip the burger. And think about this: the waste from a mid-size diary operation creates as much annual waste as a city of over 400,000 people. And here I am rinsing out my dairy milk jug to recycle it because I care about waste. It just wasn’t adding up. I knew the environmental impact was incredible, but if I went vegan, I’d be THAT lady. I did NOT want to be THAT lady.

Talking about the environmental impact of animal agriculture has gone over pretty well with non-vegans, but nothing shuts down a conversation quite like bringing up the ethical implications of eating animals. Stick with me here, I promise not to be THAT lady. But here’s the thing I have come to realize. The way our meat gets to our dinner plate today is nothing like the process our ancestors used. On a basic level, we all know this. Most of us urban, and even rez Indian’s aren’t out there hunting our own free roaming buffalo, elk, deer, and rabbits (although some of us do). But let’s face it, even if we do eat wild hunted game, for most of us, it’s not where most of our meat comes from.

So let’s think about that for a second. And I should say, I am not one of those vegans who think that killing is immoral. I am not vegan because I believe killing animals is inherently wrong. This kinda ticks off a lot of other vegans, and sometimes they tell me that this belief means I am not really vegan. Even so, there are societies of people who still survive by hunting and gathering and I don’t find any ethical problems with that. I don’t find any ethical problems with the fact that our ancestors were a hunter-gatherer society. Some vegans even think it’s a problem that lions eat zebras. Well, I don’t. So, if I don’t find killing animals to be ethically problematic, then what is the problem?

I strongly believe that if you don’t have to take a life, you shouldn’t. This belief is in line with our Dakota ways. For example, the highest honor one could receive in battle was counting coup on your enemy, not taking their life. Obviously our ancestors ate animals to survive. They used the furs and skins, bones and teeth, flesh and organs. Nothing went to waste. The animals we depended on for survival were honored and revered. Fast forward a couple hundred years, and we don’t have to eat animals to survive. We don’t need meat to get protein and iron. We don’t have to drink milk for calcium and vitamin D. We have fully stocked grocery stores year round, and black beans are a beast of protein. We don’t need the skins of other animals to stay warm and sheltered. We don’t need horses and dogs to do our work for us, that’s what that old pick up truck is for. So, there is the problem of taking a life when it’s unnecessary for our survival.

But wait, there’s more. Once you allow yourself to see the reality of life for these animals on Factory Farms, and what kind of death they meet at the slaughterhouse, you can’t un-know that reality. They are treated as mere units of production, not the living, breathing, feeling creatures that they are. No honor, no reverence. These animals are treated worse than dirt. The complete lack of regard for their lives is so far out of line with our teachings of respect, compassion, humility – but the industry is good at hiding what happens in those big, stinking, windowless animal warehouses. Hate me for it, but I am here to remind you of what happens in there. Because as Indian people, we know more than anyone what it feels like to be voiceless and treated as if your life doesn’t matter.

Finally, let’s get selfish and think about our own health. Did you know that milk and hamburgers are responsible for more than 30% of all breast cancer cases? (Research Bovine Leukemia Virus and breast cancer). Did you know that milk actually leaches calcium from your bones, which is why America consumes the most dairy and yet, has the highest rate of osteoporosis in the world. Did you know that quinoa and wild rice are complete proteins? Did you know that three out of the four leading causes of death are related to diet, and that a plant based diet can prevent and in many cases, reverse, those diseases? Did you know there is plenty of evidence that a plant-based diet can reverse type 2 diabetes? 

I forced this diet on my husband because I don’t want to see him suffer. I want to grow old together. I am forcing it on my kids too, because I love them and want them to be healthy and happy. Did you know that the hormones in meat and dairy are linked to early onset puberty, childhood cancer, and an array of developmental problems? Don’t take my word for any of this, do your own research. All the information is out there.

First thing: Get educated. Got Netflix? You can start by watching Cowspiracy, a documentary about the environmental impacts of animal agriculture. Or Forks Over Knives, which delves into the health benefits of a plant-based diet. If you want to know what’s happening to the animals on Factory Farms, you can check out Earthlings on YouTube, but be warned, it has been called “The Vegan Maker” because it’s really hard to watch and continue eating animals. Another YouTube channel that provides short videos with great info on all areas of veganism is Bite Size Vegan, or you could check out the health related videos by Dr. Greger from NurtrionFacts.org.

Second thing: Get cooking. Need some vegan recipes? Try OhSheGlows.com or MinimalistBaker.com. I get most my recipes from those two websites. Or you could just friend me on FaceBook, because I am always posting recipes. Just google “Vegan Recipe for _________” and you’ll see that being vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite foods.

So here’s the thing. I’m vegan, and I think you should join the club. But if you aren’t ready for that leap, do what I did for years before taking the plunge. Take steps. First thing I did was cut out dairy. Most Indian’s are lactose intolerant, so giving it up will save you from some GI distress, and save your family from your cheese farts.

After that, you might want to cut down on how often you eat meat, or maybe you start only buying grass-fed, organic, or free range meat and eggs from a local farmer. Maybe you cut out eating eggs and chicken because you love birds and want to start there. But I am asking you to start making changes towards a plant-based diet because it is the ONLY sustainable option to feed the 7+ billion people on this planet.

The world has changed so much in the last two hundred years it is barely recognizable. Indigenous cultures, however, are slow to change, but they can and do when it makes sense to do so. Women never used to sundance or wipe down in sweat, but circumstances changed, and with that, we changed our traditions. So too, have the circumstances changed with our population, food, and health. With those changes, we have to consider what is the best thing we can do to for the Oyate, Unci Maka, and Seven Generations.

Trump’s cabinet picks should concern everyone who is not a billionaire
Monday, January 09 2017
 
Written by Cat Whipple,
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Being a daily Facebook user, I read lots of anti-Trump (and some pro-Trump) posts. It’s alarming for me to see pro-Trump people telling us to “get over it” and “we won, you lost, move on” as though this were a football game. It’s scary to me, and many others, that the pro-Trump people don’t see how dangerous this man is to almost every group in the U.S., except for the very rich. There are many reasons for concern on the civil liberties end, as well as the environmental side.

Trump has continually trashed the press, calling them liars and propaganda machines for the left. During his campaign Trump blacklisted several news outlets and threatened legal actions against other news organizations. He has been quoted as saying he would like to “open up those libel laws” in order to sue papers who write negative things about him, and that he could “make lots of money.” Trump is a danger to the freedom of the press. And freedom of the press is crucial to a democratic society.

Trump ran on a promise to “drain the swamp” of political insiders and lobbyists. But he is now expanding the swamp and stocking it with even bigger and meaner alligators. According to the Washington Post, “Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Trump of trying to seat a “rigged Cabinet” of nominees who “have made billions off the industries they’d be tasked with regulating.”

Some of his cabinet picks that should be cause for alarm include:

  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) – Sessions is Trump’s pick for Attorney General. According to the Washington Post, “In 1986, a Senate committee denied Sessions, then a 39-year-old U.S. attorney in Alabama, a federal judgeship. His former colleagues testified Sessions used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.” Sessions has called civil rights groups “un-American” and “Communist-inspired, ” saying that they are trying to “force civil rights down the throats of people.”
  • Betsy DeVos – DeVos has been named for Secretary of Education. A billionaire and former Republican Party chairwoman in Michigan, as well as chair of the pro-school-choice advocacy group American Federation for Children, DeVos has been working to pass laws that require the use of public funds to pay for private school tuition in the form of vouchers and similar programs. Her overall goal seems to be the using of taxpayer dollars for private and religious schools, and putting Christianity back in schools. She also supports anti-gay causes, including “conversion therapy” aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation.
  • Georgia Congressman Tom Price – Price, who would be in control of Health and Human Services, wants to privatize Medicare and get rid of Planned Parenthood. According to the New York Times, Cecile Richards (president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America) said that Price, “poses a grave threat to women’s health” and that as health secretary he “could take women back decades.”
  • Scott Pruitt – Trump has selected Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a skeptic of climate change. He has repeatedly sued the EPA in an effort to push back regulations aimed at reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants. And he has worked to overturn clean air and water rules. On his Linked In page, Pruitt brags about being “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” Pruitt is no friend to Mother Earth, and his leading the EPA is akin to a fox saying he will make sure the hen house is protected.
  • Goldman Sachs – While on the campaign trail, Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for doing a speaking engagement for Goldman Sachs. But he has now opened the White House doors  and invited Goldman Sachs in. Steven Mnuchin is his pick for Treasury Secretary. Mnuchin spent 17 years working at Goldman Sachs. On CNBC’s  “Squawk Box” Mnuchin was quoted as saying, “We’re going to cut corporate taxes … we’re going to get to 15 percent.” Steve Bannon (a White Supremacist), who spent his early career at the bank, is Trump’s chief strategist. And Anthony Scaramucci, who also worked at Goldman Sachs, is one of Trump’s top transition advisers. In other words, the Trump administration will focus on cutting taxes for the rich, and weakening bank regulations that protect everyday people.
  • Rex Tillerson – ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has been tapped for Secretary of State. Tillerson lead the way for ExxonMobil’s partnerships with a Russian energy company and has close ties to President Vladimir Putin, who gave him the Russian Order of Friendship. Given that the Russians hacked Clinton’s emails and helped Trump win the election, any ties that Tillerson has with Russia should be cause for great alarm. Not only that, Tillerson has been fighting for ExxonMobil’s interest for decades. Ken Kimmell, the president of Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement that the choice of Tillerson was analogous to choosing the CEO of a tobacco company for surgeon general because of his conflicts of interest. “Why would you pick the leader of an oil and gas corporation to spearhead a position tasked with national security and global climate action?” he asked. (The Guardian.)
  • The military in civilian positions – Trump has named three retired generals to top posts in cabinet-level positions. Retired four-star Marine general John Kelly has been picked to head the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees immigration and border control, among other issues. Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis was named as defense secretary. And retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was chosen as national security adviser. “One more three- or four-star general given a senior appointment, and we can start referring to a Trump junta rather than a Trump administration,” retired Army lieutenant colonel and military scholar Andrew Bacevich was quoted as saying by Time magazine.

The Trump administration will not be business as usual. With his cabinet picks it is clear that corporations, banks, and millionaires will have a “yuge” say in our government’s policies and laws. And this does not bode well for the average citizen or for the environment.

Don’t forget the Office of Indian Men’s Health
Tuesday, December 06 2016
 
Written by Eric Bothwell, DDS, MPH, PhD and Tamara James, PhD ,
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As the Obama administration winds down its eight years of oversight and support of the health care needs of American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) from federally recognized tribes, a brief reflection on what has been accomplished and what might still be accomplished is worthwhile.

AI/AN witnessed noteworthy milestones throughout the Obama Administration including the Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference and the President’s Executive Order requiring all federal agencies dealing with tribes to develop a tribal consultation policy.  From a funding perspective, the Indian Health Service (IHS) has fared comparatively well during a period when enhancements for such programs were hard fought in Congress. And federally recognized AI/ANs were also included in the Administration’s legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, through the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA).

Unfortunately, many critically needed sections of the IHCIA have yet to be realized. One particularly opportune component is Section 1621V Part A that authorizes the development of an Office of Indian Men’s Health. The logic of this proposal is compelling considering that AI/AN males on some reservations have the lowest life expectancy of any group in America. In addition,  AI/AN males experience death rates two to five times greater than AI/AN females for suicide, HIV/AIDS, homicide, unintentional injuries, diabetes, firearm injury, and alcohol-related deaths, and are 10 to 50 percent higher than AI/AN females for cancer, heart disease, and liver disease.
The inequities suffered by the AI/AN males can be seen in CDC’s National Health Statistic Report (No. 20, March 2010) where AI/AN males displayed greater disparities in health status and general well-being than any racial group. AI/AN men reported the highest distress rates of “feeling hopeless and worthless” of any of the groups. The devastating impact of this despair culminates in the high rates of suicide among these men.

 But before the lives of AI/AN males are taken by these causes, they suffer from multiple debilitating physical and mental conditions. It is clear that dead, sick, and incarcerated AI/AN males are compromised in fulfilling their roles as fathers, husbands, providers, leaders, and contributors to their communities.

We can no longer neglect our male health crisis. In response, many private foundations, states, and cities have developed innovative initiatives and partnerships that specifically prioritize male health.  However, even with mounting concern across the country, no federal health-related agency has established an office committed to addressing male health disparities.
 

The Obama Administration can change the course of male health in America without new appropriations by directing federal agencies to implement offices of male health within existing structures. This should start with establishing the Office of Indian Men’s Health within IHS as authorized by the IHCIA. In 2010, an internal IHS workgroup developed an approach to implement an Office of Indian Men’s Health with as little as a 1.5 FTE commitment and charged with utilizing an entrepreneurial/self-sustaining approach to developing partnerships and coalitions with other agencies and organizations committed to male health equity and leveraging resources. With an anticipated $6.5 billion budget in FY 2017, the IHS could begin the process of turning the curve on male health disparities.

The premature loss of someone’s husband, father, brother, friend, or son results in unmeasurable emotional toil and financial hardship. In addition, the disproportion of U.S. males who have died or whose mental and physical health status compromises their ability to contribute to society represents a real threat to the U.S. successfully competing in the global economy.

The process should begin with the implementation of the Office of Indian Men’s Health authorized by the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.


Dec. From the Editor's Desk
Tuesday, December 06 2016
 
Written by Cat Whipple,
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Donald Trump won the election, much to everyone’s surprise and in many cases, horror. I personally thought it could happen, even though many said it was not possible, given the amount of hatred he spewed out toward every group that wasn’t white, Christian and male. But having grown up in South Dakota in the 1960s, I know just how racist some white Americans can be. So even though I hoped and prayed that he would not get elected, I was not all that surprised.

At it’s core, America has always had a large faction of white people who believe this country is “theirs”. According to those white people, they built this country with their blood, sweat, tears, and superior brain power. And why wouldn’t they think that? Look at what is taught in history classes across the U.S. It’s all about the “discoveries” and achievements of white men. Rarely do people of color (or women) get mentioned in school text books, and when we do, we are side-notes, short chapters (if any at all) that are quickly passed over.

During his campaign Trump threatened to deport millions of immigrants, make Muslims register so they can be tracked and watched, promised to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S., and made other racist and xenophobic promises.

People and the media laughed at him and did not take him seriously. They did not understand just how terrified many white Americans are of anyone who is not “them”. Trump tapped into a whole subculture of racism that has existed in this country since its founding. And we now know just how large those numbers are. Trump is a serious threat to all Americans who are not white, male, and Christian. And he and his almost-entirely-white, millionaire cabinet members will move into the Oval Office on January 20th.

The Republican party has continued to lurch further and further to the right, having been taken over by religious extremists who believe that everyone should believe what they believe, if not by choice, then by political force.
One of the first, and scariest, things Trump did was to add Steve Bannon to his transition team. Chief White House strategist and senior counselor to the president, Bannon is an white supremacist who runs Breitbart.com, an ultra-right-wing website that routinely posts racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic trash to its readers. This is the man who will have Trump’s ear, counsel him on national policy, and have an office just down the hall from him.
Another scary person that Trump will bring into his administartion is Jeff Sessions, who was deemed to be too racist to be a federal judge under the Reagan administration. Sessions is Trump’s choice for attorney general.
All of Trump’s talk about deporting Mexicans and registering Muslims has embolden the neo-nazis and other white supremacists, who are now attacking people of color, and anyone wearing a head scarf, while shouting out Trump’s name as justification for such open hostility.

The “Ten Days After” report from the Southern Poverty Law Center,  says that “we document[ed] 867 bias-related incidents in the 10 days following the presidential election. Among them: multiple reports of black children being told to ride in the back of school buses; the words “Trump Nation” and “Whites Only” being painted on a church with a large immigrant population; and an elderly gay man being pulled from his car and beaten by an assailant who said the “president says we can kill all you faggots now.””

A friend told me these attacks are now dying down. Are they? Will it all fizzle out? If not, then as people of color, we will have to figure out how to protect ourselves, and each other, from these white supremacists who believe they now have Trump’s blessing to engage in hate crimes throughout the country.

I was saddened to see some Native American people on Facebook in favor of sending Mexicans back to Mexico. We have forgotten that Mexicans (the brown skinned ones) are Indigenous to this continent and are our brothers and sisters. The only difference between us and them are the borders that the U.S. government has created.

Now that Trump is the President-elect, we need to all come together in solidarity with everyone who is now (or soon will be) under attack. That includes all people of color, the LGBT community, Muslims and people of other religions, women, refugees, Jewish people, and our white allies who see Trump and his pals for what they really are – a clear and present danger to democracy, equality and freedom.

If we allow ourselves to be divided by this new administration’s scare tactics, we will all fall. And they will try to divide us, that is how they came to power, after all. They made the brown people of Mexico, and the brown and black people of Muslim faith into “the threat”.  

Trump has also pledged to get rid of Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) which would also cut the Indian Health Improvement Act. He doesn’t believe in Climate change, is appointing oil and gas lobbyists to his cabinet and administration, and has promised to lift “roadblocks” so that oil pipelines can be completed. He also plans to increase the age for social security and would like to privatize it. And even though Trump promised to keep Medicare, his selection of Georgia Congressman Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary sends a clear message that Medicare will be on the chopping block in one form or another.

I think about my 83-year-old mother who lives on $14,000 a year from her social security. She has diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. She has had numerous surgeries over the past five years, and the only reason she is not massively in debt – or worse, dead – is because of Medicare. She is one of millions of elderly who will lose a much needed service that is vital to their health and lives.

We will need to be very vigilant in watching what the new Trump administration will be doing in the legal and political realms, because they will have total control over the executive, judicial and legislative branches of our government. They (Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in particular) are talking about getting rid of the Senate filibuster, the same tool they used to obstruct Obama in almost everything he tried to accomplish. Their reasoning? So that Trump can do his work unobstructed. If they get rid of it, the Democrats will be powerless to stop them on almost everything they want to push through.

After the election, a friend said to me, “Each generation must fight for freedom.” Our time has now come to fight. Yes, we Indian people have been fighting for hundreds of years. And we were making progress. All of that is now in jeopardy. If we do not pay attention to what Trump will be doing over the next four years, we will find ourselves back in the 1950s, where Jim Crow-type laws and a supreme court packed with extremist Christians will have complete and total control over our lives and bodies.

I am not talking about taking up arms. We must fight with our minds and hearts, our wallets and our voices. We must get involved, we must organize, we must defend every freedom we have won over the past 50 years. We need to stand with all people who will be targeted under Trump.

So how do we fight Trump? There are a lot of ways, and we have millions of allies, private citizens and politicians, on our side. America is more progressive then it is conservative. But the first thing we must do is realize that the threat is real. “Alt-right” is just a new word for white supremacy, regardless of what the media will try to tell you. Do not listen to those who say, “everything will be ok”. The only way things are going to be ok is if we educate ourselves on what is happening politically, and if we take action when we see dangerous and discriminatory laws trying to be enacted.

We can also fight with love and compassion, we can fight by smiling at people we see on streets and in stores. We can fight by stepping in when we see Trump supporters attacking people. We can fight by not allowing them to silence us. We must not allow them to leave us standing in silence with our heads down in fear while they verbally and physically attack people around us (if that is what is in store once Trump is in office).

This is OUR  COUNTRY, each and every one of us. If we don’t want Trump’s white supremacist cabinet turning us into second class citizens again, we must organize and fight. Like we have been fighting for the Missouri River in North Dakota (NoDAPL), we now must fight to keep America from being completely polluted and poisoned by hate.

Letters to the Editor
Monday, November 07 2016
 
Written by The Circle,
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Donating to DAPL Camp

Good Day Relatives,
I just wanted to send a letter regarding donation sites for the camp in North Dakota. If you are looking to support Standing Rock’s legal fees and camp support (i.e paying spiffy biff porta potties, trash pickups, food, and camping supplies), please go to: www.standingrock.org.

All other PayPal & GoFundMe sites are to support other camps and their campers. As far as Standing Rock Nation and main camp support, only Standing Rock is paying all of the above items. I hope this helps relieve confusion.
In kind clothing and shoe donations for land protectors should be screened for quality. Please be conscious that sending shoes that have cracked soles, and clothing that are soiled or have holes do not help the men, women, children and elders that wear such items.

Donations that are unwearable are discarded, in return this causes more trash to the land fills and more money for the tribe to spend to get it hauled out. Think to yourself “Would I wear this?” before donating.

Also, if you are doing cash donations it would be more beneficial for Standing Rock if you use all funds towards supplies and not to fund trips out to the camp to bring supplies. Using fundraised money to get out to the camp takes away funding that could be used for the camp and land protectors. Standing Rock Nation has the accountability to spend money for items they need and have the means to keep records of where funding is being spent.

Winyan (woman) visitors and campers are urged to wear skirts while at the camp. We are so used to seeing a written enforcement that we forget that in our culture we originally followed oral traditions. The word for camp is wicoti (Wi is the connection to the sun and woman. Cokata is the center where people come together.)

The tipi is symbolic for unity and back then the women were responsible for putting up this sacred structure. There are 13 poles that make up a tipi. The last pole is the strongest and has the tipi dress tied to it. It is put in the back of the tipi resembling the backbone of the structure. This 13th pole represents women, being the strongest and the backbone of our nation.
Back then, when a tipi was put up it meant that ceremony was in motion as every family had a sacred bundle they cared for. At that time women wore dresses and skirts to connect to Kunsi/Unci Maka (grandmother earth) just like how visually a tipi connects to the earth.

Women have the gift to give life, like grandmother earth. When we wear skirts or dresses, it means we connect our sacred energy and spirit to the earth. The wicoti (camp) brings sacred energy together and it is the circle of life.
Isnati (moon camp) also had to be away from the camp. This is done so that the sacred energies do not collide, as both ceremonies are equally powerful.

Lastly, anyone that comes into the camp has to have good energy (sober and positive.)  
Relatives I hope this helps and will assist in your next trip to be done both in respect and representative of where you come from. Be safe, be happy, and Pidama for your support in protecting our Kunsi Maka.
For more information:Visit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s website at www.standingrock.org

Toksa,
Graci Horne

Pardon Leonard Peltier

Dear Friend,
Leonard Peltier has languished in prison for forty years for a crime that the evidence shows he could not have committed.  He was prosecuted in connection with deaths during a shoot out where two FBI agents and an American Indian died. His two co-defendants, who were tried under normal court rules, were acquitted. 

Leonard’s trial, which was initiated with an admittedly perjured affidavit, shocked many legal observers as being unfair. Leonard has served more time than others convicted for such crimes.  It is time for healing between the federal government and Native American peoples from centuries of tension and abuse. It is time for Leonard Peltier to come home.

The President has the constitutional power of clemency. He can utilize this power in the interest of fairness and justice.  Many voices around the globe have asked for years for this long delayed clemency. Traditionally, Presidents consider petitions for clemency near the end of their term.  As President Obama approaches the conclusion of his service, it is time for you to join the call for Clemency for Leonard Peltier and request the President act now. Now is the time to be heard.  

Please view and share the video connected to this message. (See: www.vimeo.com/183860129.) The video presents images of Leonard and a new song for Peltier (password: larry).

Also there is a petition for clemency that is being circulated by Amnesty International. Over fifty-five thousand people have signed. (See: www.amnestyusa.org/LeonardPeltier) Your signature will provide added strength.

Additionally you can help by calling the White House at 202-456-1111. Ask President Barack Obama to grant Leonard Peltier Clemency. All calls are logged and available to the President. 

As the song we are sharing with you proclaims, love will lay hatred down.   

Sincerely, Larry Leventhal, Larry Long and friends.

Tobacco is sacred

Boozhoo, Aaniin,
Fall has settled in and Biboon is on his way. The water is getting colder and streams flowing slower. The lakes begin to freeze. Before the first snowstorm we offer our asemaa and ask Biboon to be kind as he lays the first blanket of snow to protect mother earth.

We continue with life and do our work, much like the water and the animals, but first we start with tobacco, pray for mother earth, the water, our medicines, food and our ancestors who came before us.

We need to remind our youth and young adults of this generation and the next about the gifts of the creator and remember that tobacco is always first. Tobacco is a medicine and it is sacred like the water. Smoking commercial tobacco is not a way to send prayers to the creator. We were forced to use commercial tobacco, when we could not conduct our ceremonies in public, because it was against the law to practice our religion, until 1978.

Smoking cigarettes has become a way to deal with stress. Commercial tobacco is very addictive commercial tobacco smoke is loaded with over 7,000 chemicals such as those used in bleach, anti-freeze, and rat poison! Unfortunately, commercial tobacco use has become the norm in our communities, and too many families are suffering the consequences. Big tobacco companies target our people in order to remain profitable, with no concern for the lives lost all around us.

Let’s take a stand and educate our community about the dangers of commercial tobacco use. We need the State of Minnesota to dedicate funding to tobacco prevention efforts in our community so the next generation does not face the same consequences from commercial tobacco use. Let’s work together to keep tobacco sacred.

If you would like more information on this and or would like to be an advocate for change in your community, please call me and join us and take a stand and keep tobacco sacred.

Thank you,
Suzanne Nash

www.indigenouspeoplestf.org
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