National Native American Heritage Month Proclamation

 

 Bigfoot Memorial Riders image by Sarah Penman –click on photo for more information.

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
October 29, 2010

Presidential Proclamation–National Native American Heritage Month

——-
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

For millennia before Europeans settled in North America, the indigenous peoples of this continent flourished with vibrant cultures and were the original stewards of the land. From generation to generation, they handed down invaluable cultural knowledge and rich traditions, which continue to thrive in Native American communities across our country today. During National Native American Heritage Month, we honor and celebrate their importance to our great Nation and our world.

America’s journey has been marked both by bright times of progress and dark moments of injustice for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Since the birth of America, they have contributed immeasurably to our country and our heritage, distinguishing themselves as scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders in all aspects of our society. Native Americans have also served in the United States Armed Forces with honor and distinction, defending the security of our Nation with their lives. Yet, our tribal communities face stark realities, including disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment, crime, and disease. These disparities are unacceptable, and we must acknowledge both our history and our current challenges if we are to ensure that all of our children have an equal opportunity to pursue the American dream. From upholding the tribal sovereignty recognized and reaffirmed in our Constitution and laws to strengthening our unique nation-to- nation relationship, my Administration stands firm in fulfilling our Nation’s commitments.

Over the past 2 years, we have made important steps towards working as partners with Native Americans to build sustainable and healthy native communities. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act continues to impact the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including through important projects to improve, rebuild, and renovate schools so our children can get the education and skills they will need to compete in the global economy. At last year’s White House Tribal Nations Conference, I also announced a new consultation process to improve communication and coordination between the Federal Government and tribal governments.

This year, I was proud to sign the landmark Affordable Care Act, which permanently reauthorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, a cornerstone of health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives. This vital legislation will help modernize the Indian health care system and improve health care for 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. To combat the high rates of crime and sexual violence in Native communities, I signed the Tribal Law and Order Act in July to bolster tribal law enforcement and enhance their abilities to prosecute and fight crime more effectively. And, recently, my Administration reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought by Native American farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture that underscores our commitment to treat all our citizens fairly.

As we celebrate the contributions and heritage of Native Americans during this month, we also recommit to supporting tribal self-determination, security, and prosperity for all Native Americans. While we cannot erase the scourges or broken promises of our past, we will move ahead together in writing a new, brighter chapter in our joint history.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2010 as National Native American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to commemorate this month with appropriate programs and activities, and to celebrate November 26, 2010, as Native American Heritage Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

                 BARACK OBAMA

Elouise Cobell  vs the USA for years and years–and still no payment.

Ongoing Legacy of the Boarding Schools

The Only Good Indian on DVD now!

http://www.theonlygoodindian.com/

Okay, some folks have been kind enough to post heads up regarding the availability of The Only Good Indian on dvd for us here in North America. Unfortunately this seems a definite NO to seeing it on the big screen in a movie theater.   If you’re interested in Indian issues this film staring Wes Studi and the incredibly talented Winter Fox Frank is a must see.  The initial focus of the the film is the destruction of Native American family and culture via the forced boarding school experience where children often did not return home for years and years–nor even when they were sick and dying  –and not when dead either. But this movie offers a great deal more regarding some insight into the mindset and values of Indigenous people; some things to seriously consider in this time of failing consumer based mainstream culture rife with all sorts of symptomatic addictions and dysfunctions.  Never, never underestimate an Indian ‘boy’s’ power. 

Btw, the only thing I’d change about the film is that Wes Studi’s character would be an Indian  Policeman because one of their ‘jobs’ on the reservations was to ‘collect’ children from their families–and there were standoffs with gun weilding angry parents.  Would you voluntarily give your children up to complete strangers to never see for several years in a distant place you had no way to travel to?

poetry’s powers or Tsundue’s trespasses

While collecting my thoughts for a little glib yapping about favorite poems a certain slight volume of poetry came to mind, Kora, a story and eleven poems by Tenzin Tsundue and I decided glib could wait a while. 

The Olympic games and this last infamous torch run have come and gone like birds’ nests in harsh winter winds.  One highlight was the attention on the plight of Tibet.

Tenzin’s poetry speaks for itself–and him–better than I can prattle–so, without further ado here are two:

Desperate Age

Kill my Dalai Lama

that I can believe no more.

Bury my head

beat  it

disrobe me

chain it.

But don’t let me free.

 

Within the prison

this body is yours

But within the body

my belief is only mine.

 

You want to do it?

Kill me here–silently.

Make sure no breath remains.

But don’t let me free.

 

If you want,

do it again.

Right from the beginning:

Discipline me

Re-educate me

Indoctrinate me

show me your communist gimmicks.

But don’t let me free.

 

Kill my Dalai Lama

and I will

believe no more.

 

Prattling:  Odd how the lines “Discipline me/Re-educate me/Indoctrinate me” recall the subject of the new Wes Studi film, The Only Good Indian, as it portrays the infamous boarding school experience of a multitiude of Native Americans from tribes across the United States. Winter Fox Frank could have delievered these lines of poetry written by a Tibetan on the other side of the world. Okay, okay, I promised another poem instead of yapping (these are reproduced with persmission according to note in book).

A Personal Reconnaissance

From Ladakh

Tibet is just a gaze away.

They said:

from that black knoll

at Dumise, it’s Tibet.

For the first time I saw

my country Tibet.

 

In a hurried trip,

I was there, at the mound.

 

I sniffed the soil,

scratched the ground

listened to the dry wind

and the wild old cranes.

 

I didn’t see the border,

I swear there wasn’t anything

different, there.

 

I didn’t know,

if I was there or here.

I didn’t know,

If I was here or there.

 

They say the kyangs

come here every winter.

They say the Kyangs

go there every summer.

~~~~

A kyang is a wild Tibetan ass.

Click the link below for photos of the poetry nite featuring Tenzin Tsundue’s poems:

http://www.friendsoftibet.org/global/activities/bombay/poetry_nite_080609.html

We Shall Remain Shallow

Okay, after looking forward to what seemed MIGHT be a serious presentation  of a few Native American historical events via the PBS series We Shall Remain, I am utterly disgusted at the overall shallow treatment given to all all segments of the series. The final episode on Wounded Knee of 1973 did not even bother to present a behind the scenes segment. And what was with that strange presentation of childish drawings for illustrating the boarding school experience of Indian children? What was that mess? Why did the series present such an issue in that manner instead of interviewing those who endured this form of cultural genocide and are still living to tell about it? I think veteran journalist Tim Giago could have enlighted an audience with his own vast knowledge of the boarding school experience. I  know Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart-Jordan could have explained how boarding schools added to the ongoing trauma  of historical issues and their ramifications for the Lakota until this very day. She could have also dealt with how the denial to grieve in a culturally appropriate manner  has had lasting consequences through the generations. But did We  Shall Remain search for depth, substance,  and dialogue that might have built some tenouse awareness of such ongoing cultural issues and values? No, they went for the lowest level of presentation. 

And for all the touting of lots of unseen footage–well there was not a single image presented that I had not viewed elsewhere.

But the more distrubing issue is that the series focused on Wounded Knee of 1973 rather than the insanity of Wounded Knee, Decemeber 29, 1890.  Now there’s a horror story that apparently no one wants to really deal with. I have my own ideas about that terrible ‘mess’ of inhumanity–and they don’t include who shot who first—let’s question the entire LACK of any true state of war —there was no ‘Indian War’ in 1890—perhaps the series researchers/writers discovered that if they ventured into the National Archieves to dig into the military records and agency records. Once they made the discovery that no Lakota people were on any warpath then they were at a complete loss as to how to deal with Wounded Knee 1890? Think about that PBS American Experience.  Yes, consider the possibility that at least 300 children, women, infants and men were murdered because of a lie constructed by a military looking for a reason to continue its own existence after the Civil War.  

And as for the segement on Geronimo—here is an important name the We Shall Remain folks declined to mention:  Charles Gatewood—he was sent to get Geronimo to surrender—unlike Lawton and Wood who were sent with orders to search and destroy.   Louis Kraft wrote a very enlightening little tome titled Gatewood and Geronimo–if nothing else, you can learn just how ‘close’ to the actioon Nelson A. Miles truly was not.

Hmm…and where was Sand Creek? the hanging of 38 Indian en masse and why? Black Kettle’s second go round with a massacre at Washita? and on  and on it goes…America has a long and dark history that no one wants to face and the likes of We Shall Remain did little to bring anything to light.   Then again, the series is a step up from the textbooks used in history classes across the country. Or is it? Is anyone aware that the poorest counties in the United States are Shannon, Douglas, Bennett —-or the Pine Ridge,  Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock Reservations. 

For a real step in the right direction regarding some of the ongoing issues facing Native American women see Amensty International’s report–“Maze of Injustice”—unless you’re the squeamish sort…….

http://www.amnestyusa.org/women/maze/report.pdf

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