Obama Endorsement - Solar Project = Electricity To Navajo Homes - Freezing To Death, One Elder At A Time - Indian Oriented Anti-Meth Posters
Chairman and Vice Chairman of Tohono O’odham
Nation Endorse Barack Obama
Joint statement from The Honorable Ned Norris, Jr., Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation and The Honorable Isidro B. Lopez, Vice Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation:
“With the many challenges facing the United States of America, both internally and abroad, the 2008 election is one of the most important in recent memory.
After closely reviewing each candidate’s platform and assessing their character, vision and track record, it is clear that Senator Barack Obama is the best choice to lead our country at this pivotal moment in our history.
We have had the opportunity to meet personally with Senator Obama to discuss his ideas and his vision. We are confident that an Obama administration will lead our country out of the era of partisan gridlock and into a new day, a day of cooperation and progress.
As president, Barack Obama will be uniquely able to unite all Americans to work together for the common good.
As Tribal leaders we have witnessed first-hand the recent attacks on Tribal sovereignty and the ongoing failure of the U.S. Government to honor its trust obligations as mandated under federal law.
Senator Obama understands these concerns and is committed to building stronger government-to-government relationships. Under an Obama administration, Native Americans will have a voice in the senior White House staff, not just in the BIA, and Tribal leaders will meet directly with the president once a year in a White House “Tribal G8” summit to develop a national Indian policy agenda.
Whether the issue is self-determination, health care, education, protection of Native cultures and languages, or combating the spread of methamphetamines in Tribal communities, Barack Obama is committed to working hand-in-hand with Native American communities to address our needs and aspirations.
We wholeheartedly support Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America.”
Solar Project Brings Electricity To Navajo Homes
Submited by Monica Davis
SHIPROCK, (AP) — The drone of a small wind turbine is the only sound punctuating the stillness five miles south of Shiprock. A few houses dot the horizon, and an occasional car passes by on Navajo Route 36 — the only signs of civilization Denton Blueeyes sees from his home near Chaco Wash.
Blueeyes, 74, grew up on the Navajo Nation, and until two years ago, he never had electricity in his home.
"I've been living here for years and years," Blueeyes, who does not speak English, said through an interpreter. "We never had power or running water or heat."
On a clear day, the retired engineer for Navajo Engineering Construction Authority can see the power lines that serve a nearby community, but in the 30 years he's lived in his one-bedroom house, the promise of light and heat hadn't come closer than 2 miles.
Now, Blueeyes is one of about 350 residents to rent a renewable energy unit from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. At the cost of about $80 per month, Blueeyes and his wife can plug in a television and a lamp.
"I used to use kerosene lamps for light," Blueeyes said. "Now the lamps are packed away, and I don't have to take them out except in the barn."
The energy package includes a 10-foot solar panel and a wind turbine that together produce about 2 kilowatts per day — enough to power a small house or doublewide trailer, said Melvin Duncan, an electrician for NTUA's Shiprock District.
The unit uses natural energy to charge two car batteries, he said. As long as the batteries are charged, electricity flows into the house. Technicians maintain the units, adjusting the solar panels every season to accommodate the sun's changing position in the sky.
The unit relieves some third-world conditions faced by residents of the remote areas on the reservation, but there are limits, said Larry Ahasteen, an NTUA renewable energy specialist.
The batteries can take as long as eight hours to charge on a sunny day, and when they're drained to 20 percent capacity, the unit shuts off.
"It only powers a coffee pot in the morning, and maybe lights and the TV," he said. "We really stress to the families to be conservative and manage their load. It can't power a hair dryer, a range, a toaster or a water heater."
Customers can supplement the power with a gas-operated generator, Ahasteen said, but even with that, the unit falls short of some customers' expectations.
Blueeyes still hauls water for drinking and bathing and for his small herd of sheep. He still uses an outhouse perched 50 yards from the house and still heats his home with coal.
He's building a cistern next to the house, and he had hoped the solar and wind power would help pump the water inside.
"I would still have to haul water and put it into the tank, but I wanted the unit to pressurize it," he said. "I was told the power will not be enough. There are still limitations, and I have to realize that."
Even so, the unit provides a service that likely won't be available to remote areas in the near future since the cost to run a power line tops $30,000 per mile, said Herb Beyale, field superintendent in the Shiprock NTUA office.
Freezing To Death: One Elder At A Time
by Monica Davis
Cold weather threatens the elderly and very young, particularly in Native American reservations on the Great Plains. Houses often have no electric utilities, are poorly insulated and are often the scene of tragic deaths every winter because their residents can't afford wood fuel.
It’s cold on the prairie in the winter. Bone chilling, nose freezing, blistering cold. But, for those who have no heat, it’s killing cold.
Every year, people die in Indian Country—elders, too proud to ask for help, families too dysfunctional to get it together—somewhat like in Anytown, USA. There is a major difference on the rez, though, and that difference is poverty, the likes of which compares more with the Third World than any place we’d like to call the United States.
But, that is the reality, the reality on many of the nation’s Native American reservations, places which are home to hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom, particularly infants and elders are in danger of freezing to death.
One group is trying to alleviate some of the suffering, and, perhaps save a life or two, by delivering wood stoves to the rez. But, there’s a major problem. They don’t have the money to rent a truck large enough to haul the stoves to the reservation.
There is a lot of need in Indian Country. Despite the perception of outsiders, most Native American tribes are neither oil rich, nor casino wealthy. Many are desperately poor and, this winter, many of them are in danger of freezing to death.
The Link Center is one of several not-for-profit organizations operating on the rez. The following is from their website:
November 10, 2007 Temperatures on the Reservations are now routinely at or well-below freezing at night. To date, we have received 165 applications for heating assistance from the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River, and Rosebud Lakota Reservations.
More applications are arriving every day and we expect to soon start receiving applications from the Crow Creek Lakota Reservation as well. Unfortunately, we have only been able to assist 28 of these families due to lack of funding. Please help the Elders. Please help those who are disabled. Please send your donations now!
For many on the reservation, freezing to death because of the lack of heat in the home is a distinct possibility, particularly for many Lakota who live in reservations in South Dakota. Weather is extreme on the Lakota Reservations of South Dakota. Severe winds are always a factor.
Winters bring bitter cold with temperatures averaging 9o (November through February) and often made worse with extreme wind-chill factors and record temperatures reaching -44 degrees below zero - F (1996).
Over 60% of the homes are severely sub-standard, many without running water or electricity. Tragically, Lakota have died from hypothermia due to inability to pay for heating.
The assistance organizations on the rez say the economy has taken a major toll in their fundraising. People who normally would give are themselves having trouble in this economy. And, like homeless shelters, food pantries and other assistance organizations around the nation, not for profit groups serving Native communities are reporting a drop in contributions.
It’s cold in many parts of the nation these days. For many on the reservation, cold is death, because they simply do not have the money to pay for wood, to buy coal or to pay the utility bill. Several organizations are trying to prevent these deaths, but, because of the extreme poverty on the rez, outside assistance is always needed.
South Dakotan Offers Indian-Oriented Anti-Meth Posters
Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
A South Dakotan who decided last year to make some posters discouraging the use of methamphetamine with an American Indian theme wants to let the Indian reservations in Montana know the posters are available.
“I wouldn’t go up and give a lecture from a podium,” said Lynn “Sota” Hart, a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, “but I thought these posters might deliver a message.”
After reading a Havre Daily News article about a conference at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation that included kicking off a culturally based initiative to fight the use of meth and help in recovery, Hart decided to send information to Rocky Boy about the posters his business, No Xcuses None, has available.
He said he is producing the posters in association with the consulting firm Lamar Associates. Jonathan Windy Boy, a Montana representative and tribal council member at Rocky Boy, was in Billings Thursday working on setting up a Tribal, state and federal working group to implement the new intiative at Rocky Boy.
He said the work by Hart is commendable. “The good thing about it is that this issue is at the forefront because of the effects of it,” Windy Boy said in a telephone interview. “We’re all in this in the same boat.”
He said that as the Rocky Boy initiative progresses it may look at Hart’s posters, although Rocky Boy has some excellent artists that the Tribal initiative might use to make posters itself.
Helen Gilbert, a former state-certified chemical dependency counselor, has been helping Hart with his project. She said she knows the effects of meth first-hand — her daughter is a recovering addict. She said making posters and starting projects specifically relevant to Indian Country might help the battle against meth. “It’s not going to be a cure-all,” she said, “(but we need to use) whatever Indian people can identify with.”
Hart said he started working on the project last spring or early summer when he noticed that the posters he saw were all about the effects of meth — people with rotten teeth and bad Hair — but nothing specific to American Indian culture. “Nothing had an Indian motiff,” Hart said.
He and Gilbert started working on posters, with him using Adobe Photoshop to design the posters. He had started using Photoshop the winter before on some other projects, Gilbert added. “He just sat there in Photoshop all winter. He’s a quick study,” she said. “… You can teach an old cowboy some new tricks.” She said the posters should be effective in showing Indian youths the message against meth.
When she was a counselor, she said, she was always looking for material. “It certainly enhances whatever your campaign is. It’s relevant to reservation people, you just need to get the message out,” Gilbert said. “It devestates families; it devestates kids.”
Hart said he is not out to make money on the project, and is selling the posters essentially at cost. The six posters each cost $3 each, with free placement of an organization’s logo, with a minimum order of 50 posters.
On the Net: http://www.noxcusesnone/. com.
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