The federal Bureau of Indian Affairs told the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe on Friday that the tribe's reservation will be "disestablished" and its land taken out of trust, per an order from Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, tribe Chairman Cedric Cromwell announced in a post on the tribe's website.
The Mashpee Wampanoag and their ancestors have lived on and around Cape Cod for thousands of years. They are one of two federally recognized tribes of Wampanoag people in Massachusetts. But their status was not formally recognized by the US government until 2007. As Boston.com explains:
The federal government hasn’t removed a tribe’s land trust status against its will since the mid-20th century’s so-called Termination Era.
The move Friday came after a federal appeals court ruled against the tribe last month, upholding a lower court’s ruling that the Mashpee Wampanoag didn’t qualify to have their land taken into trust because the tribe wasn’t federally recognized in 1934, when the Indian Reorganization Act was passed, creating a process to restore sovereign land rights.
The "legal" argument here is largely based on the (injust) ability for the descendents of colonial settlers to decide who does or does not qualify as Native American based on their genetic makeup and/or appearance, rather than cultural connection or involvement. Essentially, the claim is that, since this tribe was not recognized (because of assumptions of default whiteness) at the time when all of the other Native American landtrusts were established under US law, it is illegitimate. Read the rest
It's not uncommon for the White House (under any administration) to make multiple overlapping "proclamations" for any given month. Many of these celebrations date back years, like Black History Month and Women's History Month. But this year, the Trump administration has continued in its proud tradition of surreptitiously erasing non-white-dudes from the narrative in favor of some revisionist history of American Exceptionalism that prides itself on the many glorious accomplishments of violent Christian colonialism.
That's why November has now been proclaimed as the inaugural "National American History and Founders Month," with a press release full of the most painfully generic platitudes of 1st graders naive vision of American history. It focuses largely on those classic conservatives go-to's of revering the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, and even quotes from every Republican's favorite Founding Father: Ronald Reagan.
Yes, I'm serious.
But the anachronistic Reagan quote is hardly the most egregious offense here. No, that would be the fact the White House neglected to proclaim November as National Native American Heritage Month, which it has done every year since 1990. It ignored the original inhabitants of our country—who helped colonists settle here, perhaps against their wills—in lieu of celebrating the men who immortalized them as "merciless savages" in the Declaration of Independence.
If you check the White House archives of Presidential Actions right now, you will see that National Native American Heritage Month is there, with a date of October 31, 2019—as if it was proclaimed on the same day as National American History and Founders Month. Read the rest
“Words are powerful and can make change when understanding appears impossible.”
South Dakota governor Kristi Noem (R) is governor non grata at Pine Ridge after her support of new "riot boosting" laws that target indigenous people opposed to oil infrastructure on their land. Read the rest
The latest addition to the US Mint's Native American $1 Coin series celebrates "American Indians in the Space Program." The heads-side of the coin still features Sacagawea. From Space.com:
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The reverse features Mary Golda Ross, the first known Native American woman to become an engineer. Ross' work for Lockheed Martin helped advance the Agena rocket stage used by NASA for rendezvous and docking trials during the Gemini program in the 1960s.
The tails-side also depicts an Atlas-Agena rocket lifting off and, peering down from the top of the coin, a spacesuited astronaut. The Mint describes the latter as being "symbolic of Native American astronauts, including John Herrington (mission specialist on the 2002 space shuttle Endeavour visit to the International Space Station)..."
"The nice thing is when something like this comes out, it opens up people to something they did not know about before and people who are really curious will go and learn more about it," explained Herrington. "They might learn about Jerry Elliott [of Osage and Cherokee heritage], who worked in Mission Control during the Apollo program and was part of the team that won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the return of Apollo 13."
"Or Mary Ross, who was honored with the Ely S. Parker Award, the highest award that AISES, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, gives out for contributions to math, science and engineering in the native community," he said. "She was one of the original people at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works."
In Washington today, District Judge James E. Boarsberge said he will not issue a decision on a legal challenge by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Dakota Access, LLC, the private firm behind a nearly $4 billion oil project Native people say will destroy their land and cause unprecedented damage to human, plant, and animal life in the region.
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Sometimes, the right thing happens. Read the rest
On Monday Whitesboro, NY citizens will head to the polls to determine the fate of their racist town seal. The logo, which used to depict a white man in a coonskin cap throttling a native american about the throat, was modified to place the hands of the cracker on the native's shoulders. Whitesboro's mayor feels this is a symbol of camaraderie.
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DEA agents descended on Menominee County in Wisconsin last Friday, to destroy what the tribal authorities say was an industrial hemp crop. The DEA says it was “high-grade marijuana,” and they're not apologizing. The chairman of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin says the DEA had no right to the cannabis, and the DEA boasts of seizing some 30,000 plants in all.
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For generations, members of the Kashia band of the Pomo people have been landlocked. For the first time in 200 years, the coastal tribe will once again have unmitigated access to the sea. Read the rest
Anesthesiologist Jonathan Bourne, of Mammoth Lakes, Ca., has been indicted for 21 felony counts of allegedly looting Native artifacts from private lands and national parks.
Indian Country Today shares:
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“When you remove something from public lands or any land like that that’s sitting there, you’re not just taking an object or something,” Bancroft said. “You’re stealing. You’re stealing from my history, from my culture. You’re affecting my whole being on this planet and where I came from and how I’m connected to it.”
Most people don’t even know it’s illegal to take the items, she said.
“It’s something that I know a lot of people just can’t grasp, because they talk about it like it’s trash,” Bancroft said. “They think they are entitled to just take anything they want. A lot of them around here are just like, ‘How dare they tell me I can’t go out there and pick this stuff up?’ ”
What sets Bourne apart is that he was so taken with his collection—authorities found 30,000 items in his possession—that he carefully documented everything. Bancroft said that although it was his undoing, it could help bring more attention to the issue overall. And serial offenders run rampant, she said.
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
Trace O'Connell, the racist asshole who ruined an award hockey game for some school kids, is not guilty of disorderly conduct.
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Spoiler: Native Americans. Read the rest