After years of speculation and wrangling over his remains, Kennewick Man turns out to be closely related to contemporary, local Native Americans after all.
Discovered near Kennewick, Wash., in 1996, the skeleton ended up in a tug of war between tribes in the pacific northwest who wanted to bury the remains, and scientists who wanted to study them.
Five Pacific Northwest tribes pressed the Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction over the bones, to hand them over in accordance with a federal law on the repatriation of remains. However, a group of scientists sued to block the handover, arguing that the skeleton was not associated with a present-day tribe.
Federal judges sided with the scientists, and as a result, the corps retained custody of the skeleton and made it available for study. Now that the studies are finished, the 380 bones and bone fragments are locked away in Seattle at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.
Some scientists suggested that Kennewick Man might have been a visitor from the Far North, Siberia or perhaps someplace even more exotic. But when geneticists compared DNA from a hand bone with a wide range of samples, they found that the closest match came from members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.
The burial site will be a secret, so we can have this fight all over again in a few thousand years. Read the rest
Photographer Gertrude Käsebier received permission from Buffalo Bill Cody to photograph the native tribes people in his Wild West Show. This collection, from the Library of Congress, is wonderful.
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Famed author JK Rowling has been in the news of late. Her recently released History of Magic in North America stumbles over a number of insensitive cultural hot points, not least of which is her characterization of Native Americans.
Simon Moya-Smith, culture editor at Indian Country Today, explains why the conversation is important, but he couldn't care less about JK Rowling's fiction, because it is fiction. Moya-Smith reminds us that our public school textbooks spread deeper lies.
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What matters here, folks, in this debate over J.K. Rowling’s latest work is the language society uses – the language that is still taught to kids in schools today about Native Americans and our spiritualities.
Think about it: How in the living hell can a child differentiate alleged fact from fiction if schools continue to teach students that Native Americans practiced magic? Note I used the past tense of ‘practice.’ There are very few lessons in grade schools that provide any information on contemporary Native American societies. Super sad, but super true.
And let me leave you with this, home skillet:
Twitter turns 10-years-old this month. Facebook is 12-years-old. Social media, then, is prepubescent. It’s still trying to figure out why the hell hair is growing down there. But it’s through this peach-fuzzy platform that people are only now learning that Native Americans ARE STILL ALIVE. Seriously. Previous to the ubiquity of social media, propelled by the proliferation of the Web, people thought Indians were either dead or living in teepees.
Unsurprisingly, the occupied Malheur Wildlife Refuge buildings contain over 4000 native artifacts, belonging to the Burns Paiute tribe. The militant rebels are not making the native Americans feel good about their occupation, and apparently call the natives "savages."
The Burns Paiute Tribe is rightly demanding the United States live up to treaty obligations, and prosecute any damages to their artifacts and archaeological resources.
Occupation leader Ammon Bundy, from Arizona and son of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher involved in a standoff with the federal government over copy million in unpaid grazing fees on public land, has offered to meet with the tribe but the tribe says he has no right to hold their history hostage and have refused to grant him even the appearance of such authority by meeting with him.
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“Some of the members of the community were open to them,” Roderique says, “when they first came but now the county chained and locked everything up and said no you can’t have your meeting in town.”
Harney County officials have stated they will not allow the militants to use any county-owned building for fear of more takeovers of public property.
“They tried to ask us for our gathering center and our facility was booked up. We just kind of laughed and said they want to use our 'savage' facilities?”
Roderique was referencing a “Harney County Committee of Safety” website made by supporters of the takeover who profess to exist “to secure the property and lives of the association members from threats from the savages.”
The residents of the small New York village of Whitesboro voted last night to keep this emblem that appears to show a man choking a Native American. From the Associated Press:
In a non-binding vote Monday night, residents voted 157-55 to not change their current seal, according to Patrick J. O'Connor, mayor of the Village of Whitesboro.
Whitesboro's website says the emblem dates to the early 1900s and depicts a friendly wrestling match between village founder Hugh White and an Oneida Indian. It says White won the match and the lasting respect and goodwill of the Oneidas...
After a notice of claim was filed in the 1970s calling the picture offensive, a new version was drawn with White's hands on the Indian's shoulders instead of on his neck, (village clerk and historian Dana) Nimey-Olney said.
"New York village votes to keep logo that shows man choking Native American
" (AP) Read the rest
Caroline Ward Holland and her son Kagen toured all 21 California missions, on foot, this summer. They took this walk "in order to protest the Junipero Serra canonization, to honor their ancestors and 'to tell the truth.'" reports Mark Day, at Indian Country Today.
The adventure sounds grueling, while at the same time restorative, saddening, and highly informative. What Caroline and Kagen found should come as no surprise. While the history of the missions and missionaries are glorified, the native people they enslaved and killed, through overwork and disease, are forgotten.
From Sonoma Caroline and Kagen walked three days to Mission San Rafael. “It was tough, she said, “but I thought about the ancestors’ walks. They had been removed from their land. Their children had been taken from them. They had little food or water, and they didn’t know where they were going.”
She described a plaque at Mission San Rafael with a message from a friar recounting the number of baptisms, but with no mention of burials. And when she inquired about the mission cemetery, a park official said the Indians were buried “under the parking lot.”
This would be a constant theme as they made their way south. At most missions, little care was given to Indian burial sites that are often paved over.
I was educated in the California public education system. We were taught the native people welcomed the missionaries and pretty much thanked them for destroying their way of life. Clearly, this is not true. Read the rest
The cost of changing from a racist high school team name and mascot to one that isn't can be high.
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Sponsored by Assemblymember Luis Alejo, today California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB30, a bill barring schools from naming teams or mascots "redskins."
NBC News shares:
The state Assembly overwhelmingly approved the California Racial Mascots Act in May, about a month before the Obama administration went on record telling the Washington Redskins that they would have to change their name before they would be allowed to move to a stadium in Washington, D.C., from their current home in suburban Maryland.
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In a joint statement with the nonprofit group Change the Mascot, the National Congress of American Indians praised California for "standing on the right side of history by bringing an end to the use of the demeaning and damaging R-word slur in the state's schools."
“Peyote Drummer,” photogravure, Edward Sheriff Curtis, 1927.
Editor's note: The Oklevueha Native American Church, or ONAC, is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legal freedom to observe Native American spiritual traditions. Some of these involve sacramental or medicinal use of various plants: Peyote, Ayahuasca, San Pedro, Cannabis, Mushrooms and others. I am an ONAC member. While law varies state by state, those who grow or use these plants--Native Americans, or otherwise--risk arrest, property confiscation, legal harassment, and police abuse. One of ONAC's members in California was recently arrested, and his property confiscated, shortly after local law enforcement were notified they have no right to do these things. ONAC is holding a press conference today to announce their response. —Xeni Jardin
There will be a press conference today, 2 PM at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel in Santa Rosa California, at 170 Railroad Street.
Noted Constitutional and Civil Rights Lawyer Matt Pappas will be announcing lawsuits and other legal actions against a number of Law Enforcement and County officials and entities.
These legal actions have become necessary because of repeated abuses of power and evidence of collusion by these groups to deprive members of the Native American Church of their Native Ceremonies and Sacraments by raiding their sacred grounds, confiscating their objects of worship and destroying the sacraments and medicines.
All of these items are protected under the 1st, 4th and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. These protections have repeatedly been upheld by numerous court cases around the country including the US Supreme Court, US District Courts and State Supreme Courts. Read the rest
Spoiler: Native Americans.
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A Federal judge canceled the The Washington Redskins' trademark registration after after agreeing with the US Patent Office's finding that the NFL team's name and logo are disparaging against Native Americans. This is good news, but unfortunately it won't really limit the football organization from profiting from the racist name and logo.
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“The first thought that anyone has of this image is, "There’s some white guy killing an Indian, strangling an Indian,"?" says Cliff Matias, director of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council in Brooklyn. Apparently not Whitesboro mayor Patrick O’Connor, who intends to keep using the village seal. "It’s actually a very accurate depiction of friendly wrestling matches that took place back in those days.”
Here's the original seal (below). See how friendly the white man is?
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The reservation struggles with high unemployment and problems with substance abuse and gangs and is one of the poorest communities in the United States.
In the early 20th century, ethnologist Edward S. Curtis made 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Native American language and music and took 40,000 photographs of people from more than 80 tribes, such as these. Read the rest
Paleontology has a long history in the Americas, dating back to (at least) the Aztec and Inca, who excavated the bones of mammoths and other mega-fauna
and showed them off to Spanish invaders. Read the rest
James Rodriguez, a brave and talented photojournalist in Guatemala, has a striking photo-essay up on his blog.
On this occasion I share a photo essay documenting events in the Guatemalan northern city of Huehuetenango during the much-awaited end of the Mayan Oxlajuj Baktun. These provide a clear reflection of the divisions and challenges faced by Mayan communities today. The media exploited erroneous apocalyptic rumors, the government and business sectors viewed it as an opportunity to gain economically through tourism, and progressive groups seized the opportunity “to strengthen ancestral wisdom and never-ending search for balance” while vindicating what seem never-ending struggles for justice, inclusion, and self-determination.
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BB Community moderator Antinous (the person who nukes your comments at Boing Boing when you act like a dick) plucked this gem from the jaws of YouTube and says,
I could watch this a hundred times and find something new to be horrified at every time. I love Rameau's music, but who thought that it was a good idea to have the singers doing the chicken dance in front of a giant turkey cloaca while clenching corncob pipes in their teeth?
You need to see it on a proper monitor to appreciate the full cavalcade of racialist nuances.
The opera-ballet shown, "The Noble Savages" is by French Baroque era composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. More about its history here, and you can buy the music on Amazon if you're so inclined. I can maybe give the dude a break, seeing as how it was all, like, 1725 when he wrote it and stuff, man. But there can be no forgiveness for any of the contemporary humans involved in this production. Read the rest