Native Unity

Native Unity

NATIVE UNITY DIGEST: The Native American people need to find a way to pull together to become more visible to the rest of the world. This concept is being promoted in the Digest through news articles, features, OP/ED pieces and contributor submissions on all aspects of Native life and tribal cultures throughout the U.S.and Canada. Bobbie Hart O'Neill, editor.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hopi At Crossroads Of Their Traditional Way Of Life

Village Leader Says Sipaulavi Will Not Participate In Tribal Council.
By Kathy Helms
Dine Bureau
Gallup Independent

WINDOW ROCK – Sipaulavi Village Traditional Leader Gerald Numkena says Hopis are at the crossroads of maintaining or losing their traditional way of life. He has refused to certify any Council representatives and has issued a directive stating that the village no longer will participate on the Hopi Tribal Council.

With the vote on Hopi Constitution Draft 24A little more than a month away, battle lines are being drawn between progressive and traditional Hopis. In a Nov. 18 letter to Council representatives, Numkena admonished them for their “continued gross and deliberate violations of your constitution.”

He said some members of Council have tried to conform with the mandates of the constitution but are overruled by the majority. “Mr. Alph Secakuku, Mr. George Mase and Mr. Cedrick Kuwaninvaya continue to be illegally on Council and must be removed immediately ...,” he said.

According to a press release from the Chairman's Office, however, on Dec. 1, Lorena Charles, clan mother of the Bear Clan, presented and certified the representatives, which were sworn in by Chairman LeRoy Shingotewa.

Dennis Koeyahongva, spokesman for Numkena, said they have had a lot of problems with the Tribal Council. “I think the basic point of the matter, and our whole problem, is the separation of state and religion.” Koeyahongva said that in his opinion, they implemented the constitution prematurely back in 2008 when the Village of Sipaulavi used the election process to place Charles, a woman, in a leadership role.

“We don't have that in our tribe. To me it was a total destruction of our way of life as Hopis. We're from the Bear Clan and we're the village leaders; but a male is the one to hold that position. A woman is not to hold that through Hopi common law. They did that because we would not succumb to what they wanted to do as far as seating representatives on the Council,” he said.

Koeyahongva said that Hopi politics and the revised constitution are destroying the unity and reverence and serenity in religious places such as the kiva. “It's affected everything that we are as Hopi. ... As I understand it, we are supposedly the stewards of this place. Well, how can you be stewards if you're destroying things?

“Even on TV they have the History Channel where they talk about the days of end, and they mention Hopi. Obviously we have our link to 2012 and what's going to happen. In my opinion, we're hurrying this process along by what we're doing as Hopis, which we shouldn't. We should be enhancing life. I thought that's what Hopi was all about. What happened to the friendly and peaceful Hopi? We've deviated from that to this point,” Koeyahongva said.

Numkena said that in 1934, the U.S. government passed a law called the Indian Reorganization Act and soon after wrote constitutions for non-treaty tribes to adopt. “Our history tells us most Hopis resisted this new foreign government.” Some of the traditional authorities were incorporated into the Hopi constitution to influence their acceptance of it, including an acknowledgment that autonomous, self-governing Hopi villages would be allowed to continue under the traditional form of government.

“We were told by our elders that we would be the last tribe to hold on to our traditions,” Numkena said. “If we choose to hold on to our traditions, ceremonies, and Hopi way of life, we will stand for the sovereignty of all Native people. We have much to lose to deviate from our own way of life and village governance.”

Numkena said that ever since he inherited the role of “Village Traditional Leader,” soon after the passing of his late uncle, Perry Honani, he has faced opposition and challenges.

“Most of you know the village leadership has always belonged to the Bear Clan. It has always been our sole responsibility to determine the appointment of this position,” he said, adding that a male member of the Bear Clan has always held that position since it includes sacred ceremonial responsibilities. “I will now again inform you I hold this position and will act according to the authorities vested in my position as the Sipaulavi Village Leader.”

Though Numkena had requested that his letter to village members be read into the record at Council, his secretary, Monica Kahe, said there was objection from the three representatives.
“The second letter contained details about their village no longer participating on Tribal Council because of all this dissension that's been going on in the Tribal Council, so it was Gerald's decision to pull out the representatives until further time when it was his choice to put them back in or just remain out, such as the Village of Shungopav

TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE, OPINION PIECE, COMMENTS to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail bobbieo@digitaldune.net.

NATIVE UNITY MISSION STATEMENT - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.

Native Unity Digest stories are now appearing on the BeforeIt'sNews.com site under the Native American News category. Check them out!!!!

News Blog - American Indian Report - AIR BLOG
http://falmouth-air.blogspot.com

THE BUFFALO POST - Missoulian Montana's Native News Blog about Native People And The World We Live In.
http://buffalopost.net/

NATIVE AMERICA, DISCOVERED AND CONQUERED
http://lawlib.lclark.edu/blog/native_america/

NATIVE VOICES BOOKS: TRADITIONAL & CONTEMPORARY NATIVE BOOKS
http://nativevoicesbooks.com/

PATHOLOGY.ORG - Up-to-date informmational database on general health and disease information, medical schools and medical resources.
http://www.Pathology.org

FOR ANNIE'S NATIVE CELEBRITY NEWS - go to www.nativecelebs.com

SUPPORTING NATIVE AMERICAN/FIRST PEOPLE - ARTISTS, FILM MAKERS, ENTERTAINERS, ETC.
http://www.krystynmedia.blogspot.com.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Utah Navajos - Mrs. Sleepy, Little Wagon, Tom Mustache and Yellow Hat - Want Land Issues Resolved

They Have Been Waiting 52 Years For Their Rights.
By Kathy Helms
Dine Bureau
Gallup Independent

WINDOW ROCK – It's been 52 years since the federal government enacted law to designate land use rights for McCracken Mesa. To date, residents are still waiting for the Navajo Nation and the federal government to officially establish rights that were supposed to have been carried out by January 1963.

In 1989, the Navajo Nation identified 27 individuals who were to have been given preference to occupy McCracken Mesa in San Juan County, Utah – residents with names such as Mrs. Sleepy, Little Wagon, Slim of the Mexican Clan, Tom Mustache and Yellow Hat.

The priority-list occupants have since passed on, but dozens of their descendants showed up at a Dec. 14 Resources Committee meeting to request that this unfinished business be made a priority for settlement, and that the issue not get lost in the January transition of administrations.

“I'm one of the offspring of the people that are on priority listing,” Chester Benally said. “My grandpa and my dad are listed on this. ... We have always resided and lived there, centuries, and that is our original lands. The 27 families, we are the offspring of those people and it's very important to us that we be given legally what is due us.”

He said the residents want to be involved all the way through the process in the issues that affect them. “We need the Resources Committee to be a part of that and to direct the BIA and the Navajo Nation to come forth so that we can work with them.”

According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and local Navajo historians, Dine people were the only inhabitants of McCracken Mesa and the surrounding region prior to European settlement. With the influx of settlers, Navajos were thrust into a world of a formal organized system of government and land use that was foreign to them.

As early as 1885 and continuing into the 1940s, Navajo hogans and corrals were burned. In the 1930s, Anglo stockmen attempted to move the Navajos off the mesa, an effort supported by federal officials. When the feds began issuing grazing permits on public domain lands in 1934 under the Taylor Grazing Act, Navajos were denied equal rights to use those lands.

Residents say their ancestors have always lived on McCracken Mesa. Traces of hogans, shade houses, sheep corrals, sweat lodges, farming plots and deteriorated eating utensils remain. They used the area year-round for agriculture, grazing and residence and developed natural springs and water wells for daily use.

Their ancestors and leaders – Kayelli, Bah, Asdzann Ki diilidi, Hosteen Bagodi and Biighaanii – never surrendered to Kit Carson, nor were they imprisoned at Fort Sumner. In addition, residents say there is significant evidence to indicate they lived in the areas of Bear Ears, LaSalle Mountain, Green River and Blue Mountain, stretching out into Salt Lake Valley.

After passage of the Taylor Grazing Act, they said, Mormon ranchers seized their ancestral lands used and they were forced to relocate to south of the San Juan River, yet their ancestors kept migrating back to the Mesa and beyond.

Horses and burros belonging to Navajo residents were confiscated, impounded and destroyed, including a tame family horse that was mutilated with a machete and shot. An estimated 116 horses and 38 burros were rounded up and destroyed, their remains taken to a meat-packing plant outside Provo, Utah, where they were processed into fish food. In 1952, families of the destroyed animals filed a federal lawsuit known as Hatahley v. United States and in 1956 were awarded a lump sum of $100,000.

Physical altercations occurred between Navajo families, state and county law enforcement and Mormon ranchers. Thirty individuals from eight families were “scuffled down, handcuffed and incarcerated” at San Juan County Jail, including the elderlies, young women and men.

Since 1958, when McCracken Mesa was added to the Navajo Reservation, current residents and their ancestors have waited for their lands to be restored. “I think this time is probably right to say that all the people that are involved, that are impacted by the issues of McCracken Mesa, are probably finally in the position to want to resolve and to take care of the issues that we're talking about here,” Benally said.

Though the action is looked at by regulators as a “resettlement,” Benally said, “We have always lived where we live and we have always used that land – so there's no resettlement. We all know our place up there and where we stand as far as the land base is concerned. I think when you say resettlement, there's a lot of people that come in and want to be part of the action, and that shouldn't be the case. Let's not call it resettlement. We know where we're at already.”

He said they have outlived the policies, regulations and laws that were proposed in the early stages regarding use of the land. Each time a different administration has come in to address the issue, he said, “It has never taken place simply because it was just all one-sided from the standpoint of the Navajo Nation. The people were never, ever really informed.

“I think that is the problem. I think these people here (residents) are with one mind. Hear us out. Work with us and we should be able to work with you to take care of the issues at hand,” he said.

Chester Johnson said although residents were forced off the land by the Mormon ranchers, “Our ancestors didn't give up. They continued to be on the land.” He said a tribal resolution was passed in 1959 to create the land order. “A mandate was written into that law to get it done by January 1963. But to this day it hasn't been done for some reason. I don't know why.

“The situation has changed from 1958 up till now. The population growth has increased over 100 percent. So how do we fit this 1958 land order? It really doesn't fit. It's more irrelevant to how we're living on that mesa. We want to modify it in such a way that it fits our present living,” he said.

Sanford Jones, whose father, S.B. Jones is on the priority list, told the committee, “My dad got a letter from Washington, D.C. How many of these people that live up there have that? We come talk to people. People don't want to listen. It's a hot issue. There's a lot of frustration.”

Resources Chairman George Arthur reassured residents. “We don't want it to stop here. We don't want it to be put on the back burner. We will figure a way how to keep this discussion going.”

TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE, OPINION PIECE, COMMENTS to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail bobbieo@digitaldune.net.

NATIVE UNITY MISSION STATEMENT - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.

Native Unity Digest stories are now appearing on the BeforeIt'sNews.com site under the Native American News category. Check them out!!!!

News Blog - American Indian Report - AIR BLOG
http://falmouth-air.blogspot.com/

THE BUFFALO POST - Missoulian Montana's Native News Blog about Native People And The World We Live In.
http://buffalopost.net/

NATIVE AMERICA, DISCOVERED AND CONQUERED
http://lawlib.lclark.edu/blog/native_america/

NATIVE VOICES BOOKS: TRADITIONAL & CONTEMPORARY NATIVE BOOKS
http://nativevoicesbooks.com/

PATHOLOGY.ORG - Up-to-date informmational database on general health and disease information, medical schools and medical resources.
http://www.pathology.org/

FOR ANNIE'S NATIVE CELEBRITY NEWS - go to http://www.nativecelebs.com/

SUPPORTING NATIVE AMERICAN/FIRST PEOPLE - ARTISTS, FILM MAKERS, ENTERTAINERS, ETC.
http://www.krystynmedia.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

ChrIstmas Cheer From The Midwest

MAY THE CREATOR LIGHT YOUR WAY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON AND THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
-YOUR FRIENDS AT NAPT

SMSC Donates $229,600 To Brighten Holidays
by Tessa Lehto
Communications Specialist
tessa.lehto@shakopeedakota.org

Prior Lake, MN – To share in the holiday spirit and make the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays a little brighter for those who are less fortunate, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community awarded $229,600 in charitable donations for the 2010 holiday season. The donations, which went to 43 social service organizations mostly in the Twin Cities, are providing toys, clothing, food, activities, and other gifts for families this holiday season.

“The holiday season can be hard for those who are less fortunate so we like to help out where we can. We've been blessed, and we're grateful for the opportunity to help others,” said SMSC Chairman Stanley Crooks.

The largest amount given to one organization was $20,000 to the CAP Agency in Shakopee, Minnesota, serving Scott, Dakota, and Carver Counties for their annual Christmas programs for families needing assistance. The CAP Agency is a non-profit organization serving children, families, and senior citizens. The SMSC grant supports the CAP Agency Hope for the Holidays annual “adopt-a-family” holiday gift sponsorship project.

Parents are invited to create a wish list for each member of the family so that each child receives their special gift and the parents have the joy of giving it to them. In 2009 the program was able to provide gifts for 3,517 individuals from 998 families.

The project also makes gifts available for families that are not able to register. In addition, the CAP Agency provides a wide variety of services to help meet other needs that families have during the holidays, including food.

“The generous contributions of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have been critical to the success of this program,” wrote CAP Executive Director Carolina Bradpiece.

The Salvation Army in Minneapolis received $12,000 for their Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and gifts. The Little Earth Residents Association in Minneapolis received $12,500 for their holiday program.

A $10,000 donation was also made to Union Gospel Mission, the Minneapolis American Indian Center, and the American Indian Family Center for the holidays.

The Department of Indian Works (St. Paul) and the Dorothy Day Center each received a donation of $9,000 for their holiday programs. The Division of Indian Work in Minneapolis received $8,000 for their program.

Women of Nations received $7,000, and Kateri Residence received $6,500, both of the Twin Cities area. St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota, received $6,000 as did People Serving People of Minneapolis.

On the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, the Yankton Sioux Tribe received $7,000 for turkeys and $5,000 for the Housing Authority.

Other organizations in the Twin Cities receiving SMSC holiday donations are: 360 Communities, Ain Dah Yung, Akina Community Church, All Nations Indian Church, American Indian Services, the Carver Scott Educational Coop, Elders Lodge, First Nations Recovery Center, Intertribal Elders Services, Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, Minnesota Compassion, St. Joseph's Home for Children, the Prior Lake Lion's Club, and Upper Midwest American Indian Center.

In areas outside the Twin Cities, the SMSC made holiday donations to: Ain Day Ing, Bad River Head Start, Boys & Girls Club of the Three Districts, Boys & Girls Club of Lower Brule, Brown’s Valley Family Service Center, the Cass Lake Family Center, the Cheyenne Children Services, the Cheyenne River Youth Projects, Fond du Lac College Human Services Club, the Haskell Off-Campus Club, He Sapa New Life Ministries, Indian Youth of America, Sisseton Toys for Tots Committee, and Tiwahe Wakan.

The SMSC will also donate grocery gift cards to low-income Native American families living in Scott County. In addition to the financial contributions, SMSC members and staff participate in a Giving Tree Program, which gives presents anonymously to children in Native American families in need that live in the county.

About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community The SMSC utilizes its financial resources from gaming and non-gaming enterprises to pay for the internal infrastructure of the Tribe, including but not limited to roads, water and sewer systems, emergency services, and essential services to its Tribal members in education, health, and welfare.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has a charitable giving program which comes from a cultural and social tradition to assist those in need. Over the past 13 years, the SMSC has donated more than $192.7 million to charitable organizations and Indian Tribes and Native American organizations.

The SMSC has also made more than $389 million in loans to other tribes for economic development projects. Since 1996 the SMSC paid more than $6.6 million for shared local road construction projects and an additional $5 million for road projects on the reservation.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a federally recognized Indian Tribe in Minnesota, is the owner and operator of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Little Six Casino, Playworks, Dakotah! Sport and Fitness, The Meadows at Mystic Lake, and other enterprises on a reservation south of the Twin Cities.

This press release and other information may be downloaded from the SMSC website at www.shakopeedakota.org.

TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE, OPINION PIECE, COMMENTS to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail bobbieo@digitaldune.net.

NATIVE UNITY MISSION STATEMENT - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.

Native Unity Digest stories are now appearing on the BeforeIt'sNews.com site under the Native American News category. Check them out!!!!

News Blog - American Indian Report - AIR BLOG
http://falmouth-air.blogspot.com

THE BUFFALO POST - Missoulian Montana's Native News Blog about Native People And The World We Live In.
http://buffalopost.net/

NATIVE AMERICA, DISCOVERED AND CONQUERED
http://lawlib.lclark.edu/blog/native_america/

NATIVE VOICES BOOKS: TRADITIONAL & CONTEMPORARY NATIVE BOOKS
http://nativevoicesbooks.com/

PATHOLOGY.ORG - Up-to-date informmational database on general health and disease information, medical schools and medical resources.
http://www.Pathology.org

FOR ANNIE'S NATIVE CELEBRITY NEWS - go to www.nativecelebs.com

SUPPORTING NATIVE AMERICAN/FIRST PEOPLE - ARTISTS, FILM MAKERS, ENTERTAINERS, ETC.
http://www.krystynmedia.blogspot.com.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oneida Indian Nation and HELP USA Feed New York's Homeless At Thanksgiving

November 23rd Event A Huge Success
Submitted by Melanie Klausner
melanie@conundrummarketing.com

Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation CEO and HELP USA Chair, Maria Cuomo Cole were on hand on Tuesday, November 23rd for the Oneida Indian Nation and HELP USA's "Our Heritage of HELPing" Meal Service event In New York City feeding hundreds of homeless men. women and children from 4 to 8 pm.

Other New Yorkers assisiting at the event were celebrities: Ukrainian Olympic Figure Skating Champion, Oksana Baiul; Comedian, Mario Cantone; Actors - Margaret Colin, Jill Flint, Lauren Glassberg, Cheyenne Jackson, Michael B. Jordan, Joey Pantoliano, Chris Riggi, and Brittany Underwood.

TV Journalists Chrisptopher Cuomo, Deborah Roberts, and Cheryl Willis also participated in the event.

Guests enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal prepared by New York City chefs Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez, Cesare Casella, Michael Lomonaco, Dave Martin, Missy Robbins, and Bradford Thompson while listening to a sneak preview of “Our Country” performed by country sensation Crystal Shawanda, First Nation's Member of the Ojibwe Band.

Shawanda's single made its national debut on the Oneida Indian Nation’s “True Spirit of Thanksgiving” float in the 84th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday, November 25, 2010.

TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE, OPINION PIECE, COMMENTS to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail bobbieo@digitaldune.net.

NATIVE UNITY MISSION STATEMENT - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.

Native Unity Digest stories are now appearing on the BeforeIt'sNews.com site under the Native American News category. Check them out!!!!

News Blog - American Indian Report - AIR BLOG
http://falmouth-air.blogspot.com/

THE BUFFALO POST - Missoulian Montana's Native News Blog about Native People And The World We Live In.
http://buffalopost.net/

NATIVE AMERICA, DISCOVERED AND CONQUERED
http://lawlib.lclark.edu/blog/native_america/

NATIVE VOICES BOOKS: TRADITIONAL & CONTEMPORARY NATIVE BOOKS
http://nativevoicesbooks.com/

PATHOLOGY.ORG - Up-to-date informmational database on general health and disease information, medical schools and medical resources.
http://www.pathology.org/

FOR ANNIE'S NATIVE CELEBRITY NEWS - go to http://www.nativecelebs.com/

SUPPORTING NATIVE AMERICAN/FIRST PEOPLE - ARTISTS, FILM MAKERS, ENTERTAINERS, ETC.
http://www.krystynmedia.blogspot.com/.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

1,200 Year Old Tibetan Prophecy Shared With Hopi People

MAY THE CREATOR LIGHT YOUR WAY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON AND THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
-- Your Friends at NAPT

War Chief Requests Prayers For Preservation of Hopi Traditional Ways
By Kathy Helms
Dine Bureau
Gallup Independent

CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. – About 1,200 years ago a great Tibetan master called Guru Rinpoche made a prophecy. He wrote an inscription and hid it in the rocks. It was found just recently. The prophecy said, “Later, when the iron bird flies, then the red-robed ones will go to the red rocks and meet with the tradition there and unite again.”

Surrounded by prayer flags which send out blessings for all beings every time the wind blows, this prophecy was shared with Hopi Snake Priest and War Chief Radford Quamahongnewa at Garchen Buddhist Institute following a meeting with His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director.

Some say Hopi and Tibet are connected, and that if you stick a pin through a globe where Hopi is located, on the other side you will find Tibet. Because of their connection, Quamahongnewa traveled to the monastery on behalf of the Village of Shungopovi Kikmongwi Lee Wayne Lomayestewa to request prayers and support for the Hopi people from Rinpoche and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Quamahongnewa, spokesman for the Kikmongwi, said the Hopi traditional way of life is threatened by a revised constitution which separates church and state. The Hopi people will vote on the constitution Jan. 27 in an election set up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Rinpoche, a Drikung Kagyu lama, at the age of 22 was imprisoned for 20 years during the political turmoil of China's Cultural Revolution. Since his release from prison in 1979, he has made great effort to rebuild the Drikung Kagyu monasteries, reestablish the Buddhist teachings, and build two boarding schools for local children in eastern Tibet. He is known for his vast realization, as well as for his great kindness.

During the hour-long meeting, Quamahongnewa presented Rinpoche with a prayer feather. “This is a new breath for him to continue leading the good, well life,” Quamahongnewa said. Through his translator, Ina Bieler of Austria, Rinpoche said that in the Tibetan tradition, the prayer feather is considered very precious.

Quamahongnewa then delivered his message from Kikmongwi Lomayestewa. “We have come here because of a situation that the Hopi is having currently. It is similar to what the Tibetans have gone through – turmoil, greed, disrespect, not respecting the elders and their religious people on Hopi.

“We have a covenant. I'm pretty sure Rinpoche has a similar covenant that we have made with our Great Spirit. That's what we are living by. We have a religion, we have a belief, and we have a balance in our lives as close to nature as possible. That is now diminishing as well. We are losing our grounds. Along with that, our religious activities are diminishing, too,” he said, due to greed and those hungry for power.

Quamahongnewa explained that the Hopi have two systems of governance, the tribal government which is duplicative of the U.S. government, and then the Hopi's own traditional government and the traditional way of life. “The tribal government is dominant. We have a constitution that was developed back in 1934. There was a lot of work put into it and it was almost following our traditional way of government, but now that is going to be changed.”

If the new constitution is approved, he said, “Our highest priests would have no authority whatsoever among its people, among its village, among its land. It's going to desecrate the whole religious function of the Hopi because everything is tied to our government. The Hopi way of life is intertwined with common living. We don't have such a thing as separate religion and government. It's all put together and it's been like that since time immemorial.”

On behalf of the Kikmongwi he asked Rinpoche for his support through prayers and a message to the Hopi people, or even the world. “We don't want this change to happen because it's going to destroy our way of life,” Quamahongnewa said.

Rinpoche said there are many relations between Hopi and Tibetan traditions, but in this world there are mainly two traditions: the mundane worldly systems and the religious systems. “We are witnessing some changes in many of the religious systems and also the worldly systems as the science develops and so on. But from our perspective, what we consider most important is not the external development but the internal development of the mind.”

Like Hopi, he said, in Tibet they have experienced a similar fate. “The Tibetan religion has been expelled from Tibet so we had to experience a lot of change. ... Everything has been taken from us. Our monasteries have been destroyed. But, still, our tradition, our belief system has not disappeared.

“You cannot hold on to outer circumstances. This is what we have learned in Tibet,” Rinpoche said. “We had to let go of our place. We could not hold on to it. Even though we tried to keep our freedom, we could not keep the external freedom of the country. But we did not lose the inner freedom of the mind.”

What it boils down to is trust in the dependent relation of karma cause and effect. “If the cause in the mind and the heart is love, then everything will become peaceful in this world,” Rinpoche said, explaining that the mind is connected to five elements. When the mind gives rise to negative emotions, then this disturbs the external elements. If the mind gives rise to love, then this will bring about peace and balance of the external elements.

“We must make some effort to go hand in hand with external traditions, but then we cannot really hold on because everything takes its natural course. Due to the afflictive emotions, the negative emotions of many beings, the external elements have been disturbed and we have witnessed many disasters in this world,” he said.

“There's nothing that we can voluntarily do about that but cultivate the opposite of that to influence the elements in a positive way, or to cultivate love. ... Wherever there is aversion, wherever there is anger, it will disturb the environment, the elements and everyone around, and there will be great ruin from that.”

At Rinpoche's request, Bieler read a passage from a 20-page booklet, “The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas.”

“Everything we believe in is in there, especially this one verse,” he said. “It says, 'If outer foes are destroyed while not subduing the enemy of one's own hatred, enemies will only increase. Therefore, subduing one's own mind with the army of love and compassion is the bodhisattvas' practice.'

“Therefore, we say it is not so much important what we experience externally, but what we cultivate internally that will determine the external in the future, in the long run. Therefore, all that we hold on to is a mind of love and compassion.”

Rinpoche said there are many people in this world who hold corrupt views and engage in negative activity. While they can take some temporary advantage, even take away one's physical freedom, what they cannot eliminate, even if they try, is love.

“As long as we have love in our heart, even if we experience some temporary difficulty, ultimately we cannot be destroyed,” he told Quamahongnewa. “I will make many prayers for you. I believe a lot in prayers. I think prayers are very powerful. When you make prayers, it is powerful because it is made with love, and all happiness comes from love. This is where the power comes from.”

Rinpoche gave Quamahongnewa “blessing pills” made from a very precious substance thousands of years old, which can be burned in a smoke offering. He also used the blessing pills and juniper to make a smoke offering for Hopi.

“We make this offering every day. We think that if we make this offering to others in this way, then all of our aspirations and work will be accomplished,” he said.

TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE, OPINION PIECE, COMMENTS to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail bobbieo@digitaldune.net.

NATIVE UNITY - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.

Native Unity Digest stories are now appearing on the BeforeIt'sNews.com site under the Native American News category. Check them out!!!!

News Blog - American Indian Report - AIR BLOG
http://falmouth-air.blogspot.com/

THE BUFFALO POST - Missoulian Montana's Native News Blog about Native People And The World We Live In.
http://buffalopost.net/

NATIVE AMERICA, DISCOVERED AND CONQUERED
http://lawlib.lclark.edu/blog/native_america/

NATIVE VOICES BOOKS: TRADITIONAL & CONTEMPORARY NATIVE BOOKS
http://nativevoicesbooks.com/

PATHOLOGY.ORG - Up-to-date informmational database on general health and disease information, medical schools and medical resources.
http://www.pathology.org/

FOR ANNIE'S NATIVE CELEBRITY NEWS - go to http://www.nativecelebs.com/

SUPPORTING NATIVE AMERICAN/FIRST PEOPLE - ARTISTS, FILM MAKERS, ENTERTAINERS, ETC.
http://www.krystynmedia.blogspot.com/.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'GRAB' - A 2nd Award For Director, Billy Luther, At Sundance?

Native American Director Documents His Community
Submitted by Rudy Garcia –Tolson

Film director, Billy Luther, Is looking at the Sundance Film Festival – January 20-30, 2011- for a second chance for a documentary film award. His first award came with “Miss Navajo” (2005-2006, Crystal Frazier) which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Festival. His mother , the role model for the winning independent documentary, Sarah Ann Johnson Luther was Miss Navajo, 1966-67.

In his second time at Sundance, with “GRAB”, Luther gives audiences an intimate look inside one of his own Native American tribes, where cameras have never been allowed before. He is Navajo, Hopi and Laguna Pueblo.

Each year residents of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico honor individual family members by throwing food and gifts from the rooftops of their homes to the community that gathers below.

Photographing with great visual flair, Luther sculpts an emotional tribute to his community, a community that’s filled with abundant generosity and rooted in tradition. As the seconds tick away leading up to the moment of the "grab," the arms of children reach to the sky to prepare for being showered with water, gifts, and blessings.

GRAB is an intimate portrait of the little-documented Grab Day in the villages of the Laguna Pueblo tribe, who annually throw water and food items from the rooftop of a home to people standing below.

A community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks, and renewal, Grab Day exists at the intersection of traditional Native and contemporary Western cultures. Luther’s film, which is narrated by Parker Posey, follows three families as they prepare for the annual event, chronicling their lives for the year leading up to this day.

With GRAB, Luther confirms his place as one of today’s most exciting filmmakers portraying the beauty of the modern Native American experience

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Monday, December 13, 2010

'Cowgirl Days, Frybread Nights' A Fun Read

Book Review
By Gaye Brown de Alvarez
Staff Writer
The Independent, Gallup N.M.
Saturday, Dec. 11th, 2010, page 25

WINDOW ROCK – When newspaper reporter Kathy Helms decided to write a book about her experiences in Navajoland, she knew her efforts would include uranium, water and some of the social ills prevalent in one of the only places left in the U.S. that still can be considered a third-world country.

You can't leave it out.

But you can make it humorous and fun to read, and that is what Helms did in her book “Cowgirl Days, Frybread Nights,” Kathy L. Helms, 2010, Blurb Inc.

“You always hear about 'freedom of the press,'” Helms writes in her preface. “What they don't tell you is that the freedom usually ends when you step on the all-powerful toes of politicians, Big Business, Big Brother or advertisers.”

Helms studied journalism at East Tennessee State University, against her mother's wishes. Her mother called journalism “witchcraft.”

She combines witchcraft with her extensive knowledge of uranium mining in the book, where she tells the reader about the subjects she has covered for the Independent. She has been a reporter, based in Tuba City and Fort Defiance for longer than a decade and is well-known for her stories on uranium, water, and Navajo issues. These issues have changed over the years and she keeps on top of the change and throws into her book many of her flashes of insight, her dreams and her connection with Keanu Reeves.

Keanu Reeves?

Keanu Reeves helps pull the book together in some kind of weird parallel analogy and brings in the humor full-front. Somehow, Helms connects uranium mining and “The Matrix” together.

Helms discusses tribal connections, Navajo politicians, Council sessions and horseback rides through some of the more desolate parts of the reservation. She writes about the legacy of uranium and what it has done to the Navajo people.

Although uranium mining has been banned on the Navajo reservation, it is still a big part of Dine' life, with piles of mining waste still close to communities and a huge clean-up process going on north of Churchrock. She tells the story of Phil Harrison of the Blue Gap Chapter, and his attempt to lead the fight to get compensation for Navajo radiation victims.

“Phil, who is a member of the Navajo Nation Council, grew up in Red Valley in uranium mining camps, watching children playing on waste piles and drinking water from the mines. The water also was used to mix infant formula,” she writes in her chapter titled, “Winning the Battle, Losing the War.”

“We are not anti-uranium,” Helms quotes Linda Evers of Milan, a Post-'71 uranium miller who formerly worked for Kerr-McGee and United Nuclear Homestake. “We are anti-killing people to get uranium. There's a big difference.”

Helms writes about her experiences with medicine men, who help her recover from sickness; aliens, who seem to have an effect on the local population; and of course, Keanu Reeves, who figures into almost every scenario.

Helms finds odd medicine bundles stuffed in her overheating vehicle and under her residence and believes people are trying to “witch” her for some of the stories she wrote and her activities on the reservation. The medicine men help her recover from the witching and she knows now not to touch the bundles. “That's the 'black witchcraft' mother warned me about,” she writes.

The book is fun to read, especially if you're familiar with this area, or have lived here for some time.

“Cowgirl Days, Frybread Nights” is $12.95 (shipping is extra) and available for order at www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1774508.

TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE, OPINION PIECE, COMMENTS to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail bobbieo@digitaldune.net.

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Native Unity Digest stories are now appearing on the BeforeIt'sNews.com site under the Native American News category. Check them out!!!!