August Schellenberg, a Native Canadian actor who carved a niche on the big and small screens over a four-decade career, died Thursday evening after a battle with lung cancer, his manager told the Daily News.
He was 77.
Americana Indian: Thinking twice about images that matter: Nancy Marie Mithlo at TEDxABQWomen (by TEDxTalks)
Six Navajo on horseback, circa 1904.
By Edward S. Curtis
Pete Mitchell (Dust Maker), Ponca
“The Black Hills are not for sale.”
Unrest is brewing once more at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the infamous site of the last Indian Massacre in our nation’s history – a massacre that claimed the lives of approximately one hundred fifty Lakota men, women and children. This land is now up for sale and bids are already on the table from investors eager to make a profit while the Oglala Sioux Tribe, in a recent and unexpected course of action, has moved to seize the land using eminent domain (the power to take private property for public use by the state).
Unfortunately, many legal experts have doubts as to whether or not the Oglala Sioux Tribe will have grounds to use eminent domain in what has become a desperate and last-ditch attempt to save land that they, and many American Indians across the country, consider sacred.
According to an article in the Buffalo Post, speaking under the condition of anonymity, one top federal Indian law attorney in Washington D.C. expressed his grave doubts as to the projected outcome of such an endeavor.
“It would be very hard for me to see the tribe pull this off,” said the source. “If this was truly a viable option for tribes than it would be extremely easy for tribes to consolidate their land bases. They could simply seize whatever they wanted from non-members within the confines of the reservation, provided they pay just compensation. Who determines what just compensation is?”
The land’s owner, James Czywczynski, has invited Native residents to cast their own bids along with those of external investors. Such an offer seems hollow and callous, a gesture empty of any intentions to help Natives preserve the historic land that is within the confines of their reservation. Why so hollow a gesture? Because Czwczynski knows full well that the Tribe would never be able to afford to compete with the bids currently being considered. In 2010, the Oglala Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation was reported to have the lowest per capita income in the country with unemployment estimated at seventy percent.
Czywczynski has expressed hopes that the Tribe would be able to acquire the land, but certainly profit is his main motivation as he is not willing to accept a price lower than the bids already presented and still rolling in. Cash is trumping any cultural investments for those with historical ties to the land.
Though the land has been appraised at $7,000, current Supreme Court case law has determined fair market value to be whatever a buyer would voluntarily pay for a designated property. Czywczynski currently has multiple buyers prepared to pay the $4.9 million asking price for the land.
Czywczynski recently remarked that he is waiting for a specific buyer to purchase the land for the benefit of the tribe. “There are others that are waiting to buy this property, but I am waiting for this person who is buying it for the benefit of the tribe. I want the tribe to have this property,” he stated.
In a recent interview, Czywczynski explained how he had acquired Wounded Knee in the first place:
“The land was put up for sale in the 1930s as an allotment so the Native people could sell their land. The Oglala Sioux Pine Ridge Reservation was sold off, and there are many non-Indian ranchers, farmers, businessmen, cowboys and casinos that are owned and within the confines of that reservation.
“Our property was bought in the 1930s by Woodrow Wilson, who signed the deed. Clive Gildersleeve’s father bought the land and store in 1935, which included 40 acres of the national historical site of Wounded Knee. In 1968, I bought the property from the Gildersleeves, which included the Trading Post Museum, a home, four cabins and museum artifacts. The 40 acres we bought included the ravine and the area where the massacre took place in 1890.”
What Czywczynski is not mentioning is what really made the purchasing of the land possible and so inexpensive in the first place was the Dawes Act of 1887. The Dawes Act systematically reduced the land held by Natives in the West with an attempt to assimilate Indians into American society by undoing any notion of collective ownership and “giving” 160 acres to each head of household. The Dawes Act, however, exempted any “troublesome” tribes…one such tribe being the Lakotas. The Dawes Act left approximately 900,000 American Indians without any land to call their own.
Anger is surging throughout the Native population of the reservation. Many members fear that the land, if purchased by outsiders, will be turned into a tourist attraction and feel that the land inherently belongs to them.
“This is our backyard; this is our homeland,” said Garfield Steele, a tribal representative. “This has historical value for our people, not to any non-Indian. We will fight to keep it, as is, by all means.”
The outcome remains uncertain, but one can only hope that some measure will be taken to allow the Oglala Sioux Tribe to preserve a land holding so much significance to their heritage; a land that, for them, is simply priceless.
Read more about this story at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/05/30/eminent-domain-and-horse-slaughterhouse-wounded-knee-149612
EMMONAK, Alaska — She was 19, a young Alaska Native woman in this icebound fishing village of 800 in the Yukon River delta, when an intruder broke into her home and raped her. The man left. Shaking, the woman called the tribal police, a force of three. It was late at night. No one answered. She left a message on the department’s voice mail system. Her call was never returned. She was left to recover on her own.
“I drank a lot,” she said this spring, three years later. “You get to a certain point, it hits a wall.”
One in three American Indian women have been raped or have experienced an attempted rape, according to the Justice Department. Their rate of sexual assault is more than twice the national average. And no place, women’s advocates say, is more dangerous than Alaska’s isolated villages, where there are no roads in or out, and where people are further cut off by undependable telephone, electrical and Internet service.
Here in Emmonak, the overmatched police have failed to keep statistics related to rape. A national study mandated by Congress in 2004 to examine the extent of sexual violence on tribal lands remains unfinished because, the Justice Department says, the $2 million allocation is insufficient.
But according a survey by the Alaska Federation of Natives, the rate of sexual violence in rural villages like Emmonak is as much as 12 times the national rate. And interviews with Native American women here and across the nation’s tribal reservations suggest an even grimmer reality: They say few, if any, female relatives or close friends have escaped sexual violence.
The difficulties facing American Indian women who have been raped are myriad, and include a shortage of sexual assault kits at Indian Health Service hospitals, where there is also a lack of access to birth control and sexually transmitted disease testing. There are also too few nurses trained to perform rape examinations, which are generally necessary to bring cases to trial.
Women say the tribal police often discourage them from reporting sexual assaults, and Indian Health Service hospitals complain they lack cameras to document injuries.
Police and prosecutors, overwhelmed by the crime that buffets most reservations, acknowledge that they are often able to offer only tepid responses to what tribal leaders say has become a crisis.
Rape, according to Indian women, has been distressingly common for generations, and they say tribal officials and the federal and state authorities have done little to help halt it, leading to its being significantly underreported.
In the Navajo Nation, which encompasses parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, 329 rape cases were reported in 2007 among a population of about 180,000. Five years later, there have been only 17 arrests. Women’s advocates on the reservation say only about 10 percent of sexual assaults are reported.
Nationwide, an arrest is made in just 13 percent of the sexual assaults reported by American Indian women, according to the Justice Department, compared with 35 percent for black women and 32 percent for whites.
In South Dakota, Indians make up 10 percent of the population, but account for 40 percent of the victims of sexual assault. Alaska Natives are 15 percent of that state’s population, but constitute 61 percent of its victims of sexual assault.
The Justice Department did not prosecute 65 percent of the rape cases on Indian reservations in 2011. And though the department said it had mandated extra training for prosecutors and directed each field office to develop its own plan to help reduce violence against women, some advocates for Native American women said they no longer pressed victims to report rapes.
Forgotten Warrior: Native Vet Waits 41 Years For Medals
Theodore Harvey’s a modest man that lives simply. His bed is properly turned out—crisp sheets are stretched tautly across a single frame without a visible wrinkle, though his hands shake with each querulous movement. His magazines,National Geographics for the most part, lie stacked neatly against the windowsill, next to a shadow box celebrating honors won in Vietnam.
Those honors, simple bits of metal and cloth to the outsider, mean more to Harvey than nearly anything else in the room.
Neither young nor old for his years, Harvey looks all of his 78 hard-lived years—nearly a quarter of them spent fighting, training and waiting on foreign soil.
Harvey was 19 when he enlisted in 1954. He fought—valiantly—for 17 years before he was discharged in 1971.
He then waited 41 years and three days to receive decorations he should have received half a lifetime ago.
Around the tables set up in the Mescalero High School Gymnasium, veterans of different wars—Vietnam and Iraq to name the usual suspects—watched, their individual stories and questions writ large in their expressions and movements.
For the young 1Lt. Daniel Hance, recently returned from the sands, the ceremony was a day of honor, glory and well-deserved recognition. Hance’s eyes shone and his hands were steady as he pinned on the Bronze Star.
For Jerry Ligon, commander of VVA 1062, there was a hint of sorrow as he fastened the Purple Heart, a match for his own medal, on Harvey’s coat.
Theodore Harvey is a Native American veteran that lives quietly in the Mescalero Apache Reservation just outside of Ruidoso, and his story is, unfortunately, far from unique.
Native Americans, percentage-wise, serve in greater frequency in the armed forces than any other ethnicity, according to Department of Defense statistics.
An estimated 12,000 Native Americans stepped up in World War I, with that number rising to about 44,000 soldiers in World War II—roughly 1/8 of the population at the time. About 42,000 willingly marched in to Vietnam, only 10 percent conscripts,according to the Naval History and Heritage website.
There are an estimated 190,000 Native American veterans today, according to the DoD.
Yet recognition for these warriors, as well as other critical benefits, lags behind other veterans, many of whom already are struggling to collect their dues.
Yet Native Americans are only half that lucky, according to a 2011 report from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Healthcare Disparities for American Indian Veterans in the United States.”
“AIAN (American Indian/Alaskan Native) veterans have 1.9 times higher odds of being uninsured compared with non-Hispanic white veterans,” the report states. They also are “significantly more likely to delay care due to not getting timely appointments,” they are unlikely to get through on the phone and frequently have transportation problems.
185 followers!! WOW!! I know it may not seem like much to some, but this encourages me so much. The whole purpose of this blog is to inform and educate people and so far, it seems people are interested. This gives me hope. Thank you so much to all of those who follow this blog and reblog my posts because that is how information spreads and change begins. When I started learning more about American Indians a couple years ago I was struck by how ignorant I was. I had lived my life completely unaware of these amazing, resilient people. I was unaware of the injustice, the violence, the poverty. It is something more Americans should be shocked and angry about. I will continue to post as often as I can. I know my posts can be sporadic, but I never forget about this blog.
Again, thank you all so much!