Appalachian Nation Cherokees: Who We Are
The "Appalachian Nation Cherokees", one of the largest Indian tribes in the United States, has more than 18,000 tribal members. We reside in the states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Ohio, Kentucky, California and Canada. We are proud and sovereign, indigenous people with great respect and honor.
Directions come from our Council of Spiritual Elders, "We hold hands, go in one direction, all must communicate, sing one song, say one prayer, and walk the next decades together with one voice. Our survival and the survival of future generations must continue."
As with many other First Nations people, we are still trying to gather back to the tribe the many people whose heritage was hidden from them by their ancestors, or who were taught to deny who they were as a means of survival or so that their children would not have to go to substandard schools.
At the beginning of the fifteenth century the Cherokee people made up the largest Native American tribe on the frontier. In 1540 the Spanish under the leadership of Fernando de Soto traveled through what was called Cherokee country. In one of the saddest episodes of our history, by the United States Government. Men, women, and children were taken from their land, herded into makeshift forts with minimal facilities and food, then forced to march a thousand miles(some made part of the trip by boat in equally horrible conditions). The route they traversed and the journey itself became known as "The Trail of Tears"or, as a direct translation from Cherokee, "The Trail Where They Cried" ("Nunna daul Tsuny"). But many of our ancestors chose not to go. Many ran and hid in the Appalachian Mountain and surrounding forests. Many pushed further north resting in places like Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Canada.
Today our children are being taught their heritage and culture. They are being taught to be proud of who they are.
To this end, if you feel that you may be one of those lost members, we gladly provide a Tribal Application that you can print and return to our headquarters.
(To obtain copy of the application, please email us at appalachiancherokeenation@... )
- On WingsThe Early Indian Resistance MovementGeronimo, or Goyathlay as he was known to his tribe, was born in 1829 in what is now the western New Mexico/eastern Arizona area (accounts vary as to his actual birthplace.) At that time this land was Mexican territory. His family roots sprang from the Bedonkohe and Chiricahua Apache clans.Geronimo was a brave Apache warrior who battled the U.S. federal government for 25 years before being forcibly brought under its dominion. For Native Americans, his name has become synonymous with determination and courage and for fighting the good fight in the face of adversity. Against overwhelming odds, this man resisted and eluded capture by U.S. troops again and again. His people looked up to him and the tribal leaders valued his wisdom. At the early age of 17, he was admitted to the warrior's council and even tribal chiefs sought his advice on important matters.
Spanish colonies were firmly established in Geronimo's native homeland by the time the first American settlers arrived. The Spanish had no qualms about capturing Indians for slave labor. At the age of 29, Geronimo experienced a tragedy that forever changed his life. Returning home from a trading excursion in 1858, he learned that his wife, his mother and his three young children had been murdered by Spanish troops. Having lost everything he held most sacred in the world, he vowed to kill as many non-Indians as he could. He terrorized Mexican settlements and murdered his enemy at every opportunity. He earned the name Geronimo from the Mexicans and was known for boldly running towards well-armed soldiers with only a knife for protection. Apaches claimed he possessed powers that protected him from bullets.
When the white settlers began moving into the area, they sought to take the Apache lands for themselves. Geronimo and other Indians resisted and fought the invaders. They raided forts, took food and ammunition and killed anyone who dared to stop them. The settlers considered them bloodthirsty and ignorant savages who were less than human, yet I doubt if they would have acted differently had the situations been reversed.
Problems began in earnest in1863 when a "treaty of peace" was struck between the Apaches and the U.S. government. The government promised them blankets, supplies, flour, beef and all manner of provisions. Geronimo, although well respected and admired, was not the chief. He wisely opposed the plan and advised the tribe they should not trust the government. However, the promises made by the government were too tempting for the hungry and weary Indians.
Part of the tribe left with the chief for their new settlement at Apache Tejo, New Mexico. Geronimo remained in Arizona with the rest of the tribe. Should the white men keep the treaty faithfully, then Geronimo and his band would join the others. However, Geronimo's group had given almost all of their arms and ammunition to the Indians going to Apache Tejo, just in case there was treachery on the white man's part. Not long after their departure, word arrived that the Indians that had left with the soldiers had been brutally slain. Even though Geronimo was unsure if the rumors were true, he and the others retreated into the mountains near Apache Pass just in case the soldiers planned to return and kill them.
Sure enough, three weeks later while they were on their journey to the Pass, they were attacked by U.S. troops who killed seven of their band. The Indians were outgunned and had to fight well-armed soldiers using mostly spears, bows and arrows. The Indians retreated, scattered and met about 50 miles from the battle ground. Ten days later the same troops attacked their new campsite and the Apache were forced to defend themselves with rocks and clubs. For over ten years, Geronimo's people fought in numerous such skirmishes and somehow managed to evade capture.
During this time, the U.S. government had established a system of reservations so they could keep the Indians under control and take their land from them. In 1876, over 4,000 Apaches including Geronimo and his band were forcibly captured and relocated to a reservation in San Carlos, New Mexico that was nicknamed "Hell's Forty Acres." The 4,000 Apaches at San Carlos were deprived of their tribal rights, were short on rations and longed for their freedom. Geronimo and 700 other Apaches revolted, left the reservation and resumed their war against the white colonists and the US Army.
US General Crook was called to Arizona to capture Geronimo. Crook relentlessly hunted and pursued Geronimo and his followers. After two years of continual harassment, Geronimo surrendered only when he found himself and his people outnumbered and exhausted. After a year on the rez, Geronimo and a smaller band of Indians escaped from San Carlos again. Crook resumed his pursuit. After ten months of running and fighting, Geronimo surrendered in Mexican Territory. However, he feared that they all would be murdered once they crossed into the U.S. and so they fled to the Sonora Mountains.
General Nelson Miles replaced Crook in 1886 as commander and with the aid of 5,000 white soldiers, 3,000 Mexican soldiers and 500 Indian scouts, employed at various times in the final campaign to capture Geronimo, tracked and pursued the tormented Indians for over 1,600 miles. Five months later, Miles finally caught up with Geronimo and set up a conference in which he persuaded Geronimo to surrender. Miles promised the Indians that after an exile in Florida, they would be permitted to return to Arizona. He lied.
Instead, Geronimo and the Chiracahua Apaches were severely punished and spent 30 years as prisoners of war. Geronimo and 450 Apache men, women and children were shipped by boxcar like cattle to Florida for imprisonment in Fort Marion and Fort Pickens. After a year of hard labor, they were transported to the Mt. Vernon Barracks in Alabama where a fourth of them succumbed to and died from tuberculosis and other diseases. It was in this place of misery and woe that Geronimo reunited with his family. In 1894, the remaining Apaches and Geronimo were "relocated" to Fort Sill in Oklahoma. None of these Indians would ever see their western homeland again.
Geronimo, Defeated: A Sideshow and Tourist Attraction
In Fort Sill, Geronimo settled into life as a rancher and tried to follow the white man's road. He joined the Dutch Reformed Church, but was expelled because of his love of gambling. During the last years of his life, this legendary warrior was put on display at various expositions throughout the country.
When Geronimo went to the St. Louis World's Fair, he was kept like some circus animal or war souvenir, in the custody of members in charge of the Indian Department. By special permission of the War Department, he was allowed to sell his handiwork and photographs of himself at expositions. He sold his photos for 25 cents and was allowed to keep ten cents. He sold his autograph for ten, fifteen or twenty-five cents and could keep all that money.
In St. Louis, he was invited into people's homes, but his keepers would not allow him to go. For six months, Geronimo performed rope tricks every Sunday in the Wild West show for the crowded audiences. Geronimo is often remembered for riding in a Cadillac during the many parades held to celebrate that World's Fair. He made many similar appearances across the nation and even rode in President Theodore Roosevelt's 1905 inaugural parade.
Geronimo appealed to President Roosevelt to be allowed to return to his homeland so he could die there and be buried with his ancestors, but the request was denied. During the winter of 1909, the 85 year old Geronimo fell off his horse and remained in a ditch until the next day. He caught pneumonia and died on February 17, 1909. His gravesite is located at the Fort Sill Museum in Oklahoma.
Once Again, the Federal Government Counts Coup
Wasn't it enough that Geronimo was finally defeated by the U.S. federal government? Wasn't it enough that he spent nearly 30 years as a war prisoner? Wasn't it enough that he died a without seeing his beloved homeland? Or that he was not allowed to be buried with his ancestors? Apparently not. The feds had to have his eagle feather headdress, too, and their methods for getting what they want haven't changed much in 200 years.
In 1907, the old Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory (O.T. and I.T.) were on the brink of merging in order to enter statehood as Oklahoma. Festivities were planned in Indian Territory complete with a carnival, Wild West show, midway, beauty contest and an event known as "The Last Pow-Wow." Geronimo was invited to attend, and U.S. Army Scout and Texas Ranger "Mustang Jack" (John) Moore who was half Indian, accompanied Geronimo from Ft. Sill in southwestern Oklahoma to Collinsville in northeastern Oklahoma. (The Indians' name for Jack Moore was John Gray Eagle.)Among the Plains tribes, an eagle feather headdress is a symbol of honor and accomplishment. The Cheyenne tribe presented Geronimo with a full-length eagle feather chief's bonnet, replete with 48 golden eagle feathers. Geronimo wore it with great pride and dignity during the Indian ceremonies.
However, Geronimo was not allowed to keep the eagle feather headdress as a prisoner at Fort Sill. He gave the bonnet to his friend, "John Gray Eagle" Moore who would later give it to his good friend, C. W. Deming, an Oklahoma oil man.
What You Can Do with Eagle Feathers
Geronimo's feather headdress has remained in the Deming family for over seventy years. The heirloom is well documented by newspaper clippings, letters and even a notarized statement prepared by C. W.'s wife. Until last October, the headdress was in the possession of Leighton Deming, a personal injury lawyer in Georgia.
For nearly 25 years, Leighton Deming had tried to loan or donate this historical headdress to a museum, only asking that he receive a receipt for the value of the headdress for tax purposes. Throughout the years, he has contacted over 50 museums, but none wanted to risk the hassle of dealing with the FWS regarding the complex wildlife laws involved with Indian antiquities and eagle feathers. In 1993, Deming negotiated with the Smithsonian who at first said they would take the headdress and give him a $2 million receipt. They later backed out because even they feared that the FWS may seize the headdress and subject them to fines. Another curator at a Cherokee Indian museum appraised the headdress at $1 million and though this museum also wanted to display the headdress, they too, backed away from the opportunity.
Besides all the laws regarding eagle feathers and migratory birds and so forth, The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) has made it difficult for museums to legally exhibit Indian artifacts. The Act was originally created to protect Native American antiquities, gravesites and artifacts from being taken from Indian lands. However, this federal statute has become broader and broader in scope and now covers all such items, no matter where they may be found.
For instance, a May 28, 1999 Federal Register notice published by the Department of Interior, National Park Service was issued in compliance with the NAGPRA concerning an Indian artifact collected on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in 1910 for the American Museum of Natural History. This item (a San Carlos Apache cap made of buckskin, feathers, beads, pigment and thread) has been in the museum's possession for 90 years. However, the San Carlos Apache Tribe wants this cap returned and are requesting that it be repatriated to them.
Before this notice, the FWS had to be contacted regarding the applicability of the MBTA, the Bald and Golden Eagle Act Protection and the ESA to this item. They held that due to its age, the cultural item was not subject to those laws and could be repatriated to the tribe. Unfortunately, the FWS does not apply this legal reasoning in a consistent manner, especially when individual private property rights are involved.
After numerous museums turned down his offers, Leighton Deming contacted the Library of Congress and wrote to his congressman asking for advice on how to legally donate this Indian/avian artifact. Supposedly his congressman investigated and researched the matter and told him there was no problem -- he could do what he wanted with the headdress. Deming knew that the law clearly stated he could not sell the headdress since it consisted of golden eagle feathers. However, he also knew that this headdress pre-dated all of those wildlife laws. If we apply logic and common sense, those laws do not apply because even if Deming sold the headdress, wild eagle populations would not be harmed -- and the intent behind those laws was to protect live eagle and bird populations.
This 56-year old attorney is well respected by his community and was president of the Gwinnett County Optimists Club. He is from the "old school" and has always prided himself with doing things by the book and doing them the right way. Those values are threatened and endangered nowadays and if things don't change, I'm afraid they will soon be extinct.
Business as Usual
Deming shared his frustrations regarding his inability to loan or donate the headdress with a friend and client who happened to collect and trade artifacts as a hobby. Thomas Marciano wanted to auction the headdress off at Gatsbys, but Deming wanted to make sure that the sale would be legal. He had contacted two law offices to research the matter for him. One never found an answer and the other one told him they didn't think selling the headdress would be a problem since eagles had been removed from the ESA. (The removal of the bald eagle from the ESA list has been proposed, but the final notice has not yet been published, proving once again that you cannot believe everything you hear.)
In the meantime, unknown to Deming, these items had been posted for sale on the Internet. Marciano found someone who was willing to pay up to a million dollars for Geronimo's headdress -- an FBI agent. Agent Bob Whitman, posing as a buyer for a wealthy European collector, E-mailed Marciano and Marciano phoned him the next day. Whitman instructed Marciano to send documentation regarding the authenticity of the headdress and he did.Ten pictures of the war bonnet were sent along with letters from the Deming family regarding the history of the acquisition of the headdress. Agent Whitman then sent the pictures to US FWS Agent Lucinda Shroeder, who positively identified the feathers in the photograph as eagle. Damn, she's good if she's able to do that. However, I would think the documentation and history of the headdress would be a more reliable indicator that the eagle feathers were authentic. You can buy fake eagle feathers at Indian craft stores throughout the country. They are large turkey feathers that are painted to look like eagle feathers and from a photograph, you would not be able to tell the difference. (Unless you are Shroeder, that is)
Over the next six weeks, Marciano and Agent Whitman discussed Geronimo's headdress and its history. Marciano was excited; Deming was skeptical. He wanted Marciano to make it absolutely clear that the headdress was not for sale. Instead, he told Marciano to tell the "buyer" that some pen and ink sketches, drawn by Jack Moore, were for sale and that the headdress would be included at the time of sale free of charge. He and Marciano had spent quite a bit of time researching these drawings and were able to verify that they were valuable in their own right. Many were made on C. W. Deming's company letterhead. Deming and Marciano even included a copy of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act in one of the packages of documents they sent to Whitman in explanation of why they could not sell Geronimo's headdress.
However, Marciano was caught up in the spirit of the deal and according to the FBI report, agreed to sell Whitman the artwork and headdress for $1.2 million. Deming would be told the sale was for $1 million and that $300,000 would be Marciano's broker fee while Deming received $700,000. However, the agent told Marciano that after he obtained the headdress, Marciano would receive the other $200,000 and that he would even return the pictures so Marciano could sell them separately! What a great deal! (This is according to the FBI report and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of what was said during the telephone calls.) It is interesting to note; however, that Marciano did tell Deming that the "buyer" a/k/a Agent Whitman asked him the day before the sale, "Are you sure you want to do this?" Marciano and Deming never saw it coming, but they should have.
Deming knew that it was illegal for Marciano to transport the eagle headdress or have it in his possession. It was not illegal for Deming to do so. Agent Whitman told Deming he didn't have to be present at the sale but Deming went anyway.
Deming's deal with Whitman was that the pen and ink sketches by Jack Moore were for sale and that the headdress would be given to the collector on lifetime loan. Deming tried to find out from the buyer/agent if his "client" planned on donating the headdress to a museum or if it would be displayed to the public somewhere else. He was concerned that the headdress be treated as a historical artifact to be shared -- something he had tried to make possible for 25 years in the U.S. One of the main reasons Deming agreed to the deal was that he thought the headdress could be part of an exhibit in Europe -- and that a European collector would not attract all the legal hassles he had encountered due to our country's laws.
Deming and Marciano met Whitman at an Embassy Suites Hotel in Philadelphia. Whitman began to insist that he only wanted the headdress and not the sketches. Deming stuck to the deal he had made -- buy the sketches and get the headdress for free. The agent had a written agreement already drawn up which he tried to pressure Deming into signing. Over and over, Deming refused. This document stated that Deming was selling the headdress for money. Deming argued with Whitman about this and refused to sign. Deming told him that if he didn't want to buy the sketches, there was no sale.
Then the agent changed his tactics and told Deming that the agreement meant nothing and that his buyer had requested Deming sign it so that Deming would not renege about throwing in the headdress as part of the sale. Deming knew all about negotiations that fell through at the last minute due to his experiences with museums. He told Whitman he would sign the agreement only if he could draw up his own contract for Whitman to sign.
Deming knew civil contract law and knew that the last contract would supercede Whitman's. What he didn't know was how far the federal government would go to get what it wants. Just like the peace treaties between the U.S. and the Indians, the feds tricked him into signing something he never agreed to. They would later claim that under criminal law, Deming's contract proved his criminal intent.
As soon as Deming and Whitman signed Deming's contract, a dozen federal agents armed with M-16s and 9mm pistols broke into the room. They pointed their loaded weapons right in Deming's face. At first, Deming thought that thieves were there to steal the headdress. He wasn't wrong.
Deming was so frightened that when the feds handcuffed him, he passed out three times. The agents asked him if he had a gun. He didn't. (If he had, they would have had the perfect excuse to shoot him down in cold blood.) Then they asked him if he had a knife. A knife? It would have been funny if it wasn't so absurd. Deming had no knife.
The shocked and handcuffed Deming was marched out of the hotel, humiliated, as curious onlookers watched. He was booked and fingerprinted and faced federal criminal offenses punishable by five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The feds had spent six weeks of undercover work, enlisted a dozen agents and needed heavy artillery just to arrest one 56 year old man for selling his own property. A man who had never violated the law or even had a speeding ticket. A man who was well thought of and active in his community. What is our country coming to?
Deming asked the FBI why they didn't just call him and ask him for the headdress. They told him they weren't in the business of calling anyone who was about to break the law. He then asked them, "Well why didn't you just say, 'We will help you get a permit to donate it to a museum.'" What a concept! Federal agents who conduct business like true civil servants. There's no excitement and glory in that though. It's more fun to raid a place and shake down frightened citizens.
After Deming was released on bail, he went back home. Seven local judges and a bailiff offered to put up money for a defense fund. Two Native American organizations told him they would support his case against the government.
Justification: Analysis Paralysis Time
I should mention that during Whitman's attempt to get Deming to sign his agreement, he invited a woman into the room. She told Deming that she was a museum appraiser from Albuquerque. In reality, she was none other than FWS agent Lucinda Schroeder who had come to verify that the feathers in the headdress were eagle feathers. (I thought she had already done that by looking at photographs) Anyway, I guess to be on the safe side, she brought real eagle feathers with her to compare them with the ones in the headdress. She made Deming uncomfortable and he asked her to leave. Later, the feds would claim that this action clearly demonstrated Deming's guilt. I think it demonstrated he was just picking up some negative FWS vibes.
Robert Goldman, assistant US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, told reporters that when Congress passed the Eagle Protection Act , it became illegal to sell any eagle feathers no matter how old they were. He claimed that if such artifacts remained on the market, dealers would try to obtain feathers to repair old feathers or ones that were missing. That could create an incentive for someone to market feathers from live birds. Talk about reaching. These guys imagine crimes where none exist. If you were a criminal and wanted to make money from eagle feathers, wouldn't it be easier to make new headdresses and art objects rather than repair ones that were decades old?? FWS thought of that one too, and justified their Operation Four Corners sting based on that concept. [My FOIA on Operation Four Corners is pending. I was told there is still one last case that has not been finalized. Apparently, one brave defendant has fought the good fight for as long as possible.]
University of Toledo emeritus law professor, Richard Edwards, was confident that the government would not prosecute Deming all the way and thereby risk losing on appeal. Edwards claimed that if the case went to the Surpeme Court, Justice Scalia would overturn Andrus v. Allard, 441 U.S. 51. The last time such a case came up, the government let it be dismissed on a technicality rather than risk endangering Andrus.
Andrus cites a determination made by a three-judge panel regarding 28 USC 2282 which held that because of "grave doubts whether these two acts [MBTA, Bald Eagle Protection Act] would be constitutional if they were construed to apply to pre-act bird products," the Acts were to be interpreted as "not applicable to preexisting, legally-obtained bird parts of products therefrom…" 28 USC 2282 (1970) App. to Juris. Statement 13a-14a. This court further ruled that "the interpretive regulations, 50 CFR 21.2(a) and 22.2(a) are void as unauthorized extensions of the MBTA and EPA and are violative of the appellees' Fifth Amendment property rights." Judgement was entered declaring "the subject regulations to be invalid and unenforceable against the property rights in feathers and artifacts owned before the effective date of the statutes and those rights were rights of sale, barter or exchange.
Deming was 95% positive he could win a case against the federal government, but he chose to plead out. The possibility of being charged with a felony was too great a risk for him to ignore and federal prosecutors are known to play hard ball. Not only would such a lawsuit cost thousands of dollars, but the possibility of serving up to five years prison and incurring fines up to $250,000 was not a welcome alternative either. On top of that, if he was charged with a federal crime, he would lose his license to practice law. His life was at stake.
After lengthy negotiations, he finally pled to a misdemeanor charge of unknowing barter. In any other state jurisdiction, this entire matter would have been dropped completely from Deming's record since he was a first time offender. However, that is not the case in Philadelphia and it is probably why the federal agents set up their sting operation in that state.
Taking Geronimo's headdress from Deming was as easy as taking candy from a baby for the feds. The sensational press releases that followed the sting were just icing on the cake. Deming told me that this was the worst experience of his life and that he just wants to put it all behind him. A family heirloom was taken from him and he faced losing a lifetime of hard work over this ordeal. Deming considers himself fortunate that he was able to plead out and forfeit his property. I suppose when you are dealing with the federal government, that is as good as it gets.
It does cost a great deal to fight the federal government. It can cost thousands of dollars. It can cost your reputation -- and your freedom. It doesn't matter if you are brave and persistent; determined and steadfast. Look at what happened to Geronimo. Our federal government is an equal opportunity oppressor.
One last thing. After Deming surrendered his claim to the headdress, ten or fifteen museums inquired how they might obtain it. The judge who set Deming's bail quipped that he would love to hang it on is courtroom wall. I could just see the federal government using their plundered "taking" in a photo op to promote the National Museum of the American Indian which is due to open next year on the Washington Mall. Can't you picture it? Bruce Babbitt conferring Geronimo's headdress upon the museum with great ceremony and fanfare?
That won't happen though. Not this time. The judge in Deming's case allowed him to select a museum to receive the headdress and he chose the Fort Sill Museum in Oklahoma even though they turned it down when he offered the headdress to them a year ago. It is fitting that the headdress will be on display at Geronimo's final resting place.
Related Information of Interest:
Information and further reading citations about Geronimo and his life
Did Bush's grandfather steal Geronimo's Skull?
February 19, 2009. Descendants' Suit Seeks Geronimo's Remains, Rumored To Be At Yale. Sculptor and Vietnam vet, Harlyn Geronimo filed a federal lawsuit in Washington D.C. on the 100th anniversary of his great-grandfather's death, seeking to claim the remains of the great Apache warrior. Though Geronimo was buried at the Apache Prisoner of War Cemetery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1909, it has long been rumored that several of Yale's "Bonesmen" (including Prescott Bush, father and grandfather of two of our nation's presidents, respectively) robbed the grave and took Geronimo's skull and femurs.
FBI Source In Four Corners Artifact Case Apparently Commits Suicide
March 2010. Antiquities dealer and government CI in the Operation Four Corners Feather Sales sting operation, Ted Dan Gardiner, died of a self-inflicted gunshot after a standoff with police. Gardiener worked the sting operation for 2 years which led to felony charges against 26 people in Utah, Colorado and Mexico. This is the third suicide connected to the case. Two defendants – a Santa Fe, N.M., salesman and a prominent Blanding, Utah, physician, James Redd – committed suicide after their arrests in June.
The petition for full implementation of the CHT Peace Accord to help the indigenous Jumma peoples regain control over their forests, lands, and destiny at www.cht-global-voices.com has been presented to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 21 March 2010 by two Japanese MPs. The petition was signed by 35,757 people from 105 countries and 12 autonomous territories. The statement also has peace messages from 2754 people including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan-Maguire.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in southeastern Bangladesh bordering Burma is the ancestral domain of a dozen indigenous communities collectively known as the Jumma peoples (from “jum” = shifting cultivation). These peoples have ethnic, linguistic and religious identities totally different from the Bengali Muslim majority. Under British rule, the region was autonomous, largely off-limits to outsiders and almost exclusively inhabited by indigenous peoples. This special status gradually eroded after inclusion in East Pakistan in 1947.
In the early 1960’s, the USAID-funded Kaptai hydroelectric dam inundated 40% of the arable land and forced relocation of a fourth of the population. After Bangladeshi independence from Pakistan in 1971, indigenous leaders’ appeals to the new government for autonomy and constitutional recognition were rejected. Subsequent governments opted for a military escalation of the area that triggered a protracted armed conflict. The government resettled more than 400,000 landless Bengalis into the region to outnumber the indigenous population and overwhelm the resistance.
A series of massacres forced around 90,000 indigenous people to flee as refugees to neighboring India and Burma, and even more to become internally displaced. Thousands were killed, vast lands were grabbed by settlers and vested interests, and the demographics changed drastically.
Even as the war raged, the Asian Development Bank funded rubber and tree plantations that removed indigenous people from their self-subsistent lifestyle, and road construction facilitating access to the more than 500 military camps in the region. Rampant illegal logging and shortened fallow cycles caused serious depletion of the forests.
International concern over massive human rights violations and the plight of the refugees led to negotiations and a cease-fire, culminating in the 1997 CHT Peace Accord between the secular Awami League regime and the PCJSS/Shanti Bahini, the indigenous peoples’ political front and armed wing. The accord promised an end to hostilities, regional autonomy through devolution of powers to indigenous-controlled councils, return of occupied lands, withdrawal of most army facilities, and rehabilitation of indigenous refugees, internally displaced people and former combatants.
But few of these promises were fulfilled in subsequent years, particularly under the alliance government (2001-2006) of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-i-Islam, which had opposed the accord, and the subsequent caretaker government. The situation was further complicated by bloody internal strife between the PCJSS and the UPDF, a Jumma political party (formed in 1998) that rejected the accord in favor of “full-autonomy” within the state of Bangladesh. Communal attacks and land grabbing continued unabated.
In the December 2008 elections, the Awami League won a landslide victory on a platform including a pledge to fully implement the CHT Peace Accord. The new government has taken a number of positive steps such as (re-)establishment of relevant committees, cancellation of unused plantation leases and withdrawal of an army brigade and 35 temporary military camps. But settlers have challenged the constitutionality of the accord in the courts, and vested interests are fighting to preserve the status quo. The government’s remaining four year tenure will likely determine the fate of the accord.
Check out the website at http://www.boythemovie.co.nz/ and then decide to come to the screening of Waititi’s feature film “Boy” at National Geographic on Friday, October 1, 2010, at 7 p.m.
We need to support the efforts being made by other organizations in this city to support aboriginal artists and communities.
Of course it’s also a great opportunity for us all to hang out off the Mall.
The film is seriously one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. It’s a story about a Maori family on the East Coast of the North Island of Aotearoa and is carried by the powerful performances of the two young boys starring as Boy and Rocky, who rediscover family and themselves on the return of their longtime absent father from prison.
This film is the highest grossing New Zealand financed and produced film in history. Come out and support our Maori friends and show the US film industry that there is a place for films like this at the American boxoffice.
Check out the trailer at:
and the extended trailer at:
If Time magazine had any inkling of sense, it would name the Nini the person of the year for 2010. Just what, you might ask, is a Nini? Coined by crisis in Mexico, the slang word means a young person who does not work or study.
In Mexico, the Nini has been front and center in the press in recent days. Surrounding the World Youth Conference held late last month in the central Mexican city of Leon, Guanajuato, a sharp polemic developed over the number of Ninis in the country and the government’s response to them.
Reacting to different reports of upwards of eight million Ninis in the country, a good half million of whom are estimated have enlisted in the ranks of organized crime, officials from the federal interior and education ministries claimed the number was exaggerated and only about 280,000 idle youth were in the land.
Alonso Lujambio, secretary of education, inflamed the debate when he declared that estimates of millions of Ninis devalue the young women who stay home to raise families and perform domestic chores. Wasn´t it a woman who works for him that first said this?
A torrent of ridicule gushed forth on the Internet and from prominent personalities. Jose Narro, rector of the prestigious National Autonomous University of Mexico, joined the verbal fray. Refuting Calderon administration officials’ low estimate, Narro insisted that million of Ninis did indeed exist and it was incumbent on the government to do something about the problem.
Aureliano Pena Lomeli, rector of the Autonomous University of Chapingo, Mexico’s main agricultural school, was quoted as saying the crisis was even worse for the country’s rural youth. According to Pena, less than one in ten rural youth pursue higher education.
The Nini is not just a Mexican phenomenon. According to the International Labor Organization, 81 million young people across the globe were unemployed at the end of 2009. Enough to populate a country the size of Iran, the legions of jobless youth represent “the highest number ever,” in the words of the ILO.
Globally, massive youth unemployment is the backdrop for the United Nations International Youth Year, which kicked off in August. A report prepared for the ILO warned of a “lost generation” made up of young people who “have dropped out of the labour market, having lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living”.
If any place could be considered the epicenter of the Nini, it might be violence-torn Ciudad Juarez on the Mexico-US border. With few opportunities for earning livable wages in the galleys of the foreign-owned export assembly plants and economically excluded from advanced education, youth are easily recruited as look-outs, contraband smugglers, drug dealers and killers by rival drug cartels.
Ciudad Juarez’s young have topped the list of among the more than 6,000 murder victims since 2008. Of 1,623 murders reported in the border city between 2008 and early 2010, 1,073 were against persons less than 26 years of age, according to the Reforma news service. Separately, Mexican journalist Raymundo Riva Palacio reported that 54 percent of the victims of the narco war throughout the country during 2008 and 2009 were aged 21 to 35.
Symbolized by the massacre of 15 young people at a party in the Ciudad Juarez neighborhood of Villas de Salvarcar last January, the slaughter has produced another new word for the popular vocabulary: juvencidio- “youthcide.”
The needs of young people languish at the bottom of the public policy priority list. While Mexico’s federal government pledges $300 million to reconstruct Ciudad Juarez, it doles out $6 billion to beef up security forces.
For many youth, criminality is the “only option,” said Julian Contreras, a young activist with Ciudad Juarez’s Plural Citizens Front. “We are in a country where there is no future for us as young people, and this is blowing up and radicalizing us,” Contreras said in an interview earlier this year. Contreras’ group has protested militarization, violence and government human rights violations.
For decades the Mexican Nini was a phantom, hidden in large measure by the entrance of young immigrant workers into the US labor market. Now, however, the economic crash in El Norte coupled with the border security crackdown have pushed the contradictions of high unemployment, limited educational opportunities and the raging narco war to a boiling point. The multi-faceted crisis has erupted at precisely the moment when Mexico is experiencing a so-called “demographic bonus” of people in the 15-29 age group.
Ninis have long been a part of the US social landscape too, though largely shunned by media, government and the broader society. Who remembers the thousands of inner-city youth killed during the crack wars of the 1980s and early 1990s? The young people of color who continue meeting violent deaths in places like Oakland and Chicago?
Routinely, millions of US Ninis are funneled into the prison-industrial complex or military. Now, there appears to be more Ninis than ever.
In July, the peak month of summertime employment, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only 48.9 percent of young people aged 16-24 were in the workforce–the lowest number on record since statistics first began to be collected back in 1948. The Washington, D.C.-based Center for American Progress earlier reported the number of young people aged 20-24 who attend school in the United States dropped by 10 percent from 2008 to early 2010. As always, unemployment strikes youth of color–immigrant and non-immigrant–the hardest.
“This is a state of emergency,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson on his weekly radio program. On August 28, Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition joined with the United Auto Workers to lead a march of several thousand people for jobs, justice and peace in Detroit, Michigan, a city that has suffered the hemorrhaging of thousands of well-paid industrial jobs to Mexico and other low-wage havens. Like Ciudad Juarez, Detroit is a place beset by soaring youth unemployment, crammed with tens of thousands of abandoned homes and littered with dashed dreams.
The Detroit-Ciudad Juarez model is spreading. While record U.S. military budgets enrich the satraps of empire, states like California and Arizona turn away university applicants, classrooms bulge with overcrowding coast-to-coast and government support for both basic and higher education is dwindling.
It has been said that a society can be judged by the way it treats its young and old. Currently in vogue in the United States and other so-called developed countries, proposals to extend the retirement age portend denying even more job opportunities to the young while promising prolonged pain and slashed benefits for the elderly.
Some youth are fighting back, perhaps even in a prelude to a 1968-style revolt- considering the numbers of frustrated young in the world. So far, their success has been mixed. Young people were in the forefront of recent protests in Greece against an austerity regime. Inspiring broad popular support against cutbacks, university students in Puerto Rico occupied their campus for weeks this year and forced concessions from administrators. Young faces were prominent at the U.S. Social Forum held this summer in Detroit under the slogan “Another World is Possible, Another US is Necessary.”
In multi-cultural California and other states, students are joining with faculty and workers to stage an October 7 action for public education.
Significantly, the protest coincides with the anniversary of the Afghanistan war.
At the World Youth Conference, attended by more than 27,000 people from about 100 countries, Calderon Cabinet member Felix Guerra implored the young to not become “victims of circumstances” and blame their parents, their government and their world for the state of affairs. Urging young people to become entrepreneurs, Guerra evoked the “four Ms” as the solution: “market, market, market, market.”
For activists like Julian Contreras, laissez-faire capitalism, which has trounced the globe for nearly three decades, is precisely the problem. “Deep, drastic changes are needed–a change in economic policy and a more equitable distribution of wealth and not just spare change,” Contreras contended. “What we Mexicans need are real opportunities for development and education.” Collective activism, he said, is the key to a “better future, a better planet.”
Kent Paterson is a freelance journalist who covers the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Latin America. He is an analyst for the Americas Program at www.cipamericas.org
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
"We move energy the way our ancestors have shown us - in a way that enhances our humanity and brings beauty to our physical world."
Maria Vai Sevoi, Calpolli Teoxicalli
In Arizona, we know that the eyes of the world are upon us.
Perhaps this is why many of us hold vigils and forums, why we march, protest, rally, get arrested… and run.
In the past several years, the Sonora desert has become a super magnet for the forces of hate, bigotry, ignorance, false patriotism, censorship, demagoguery and especially, scapegoatery – or the art of blaming Mexicans or red/brown peoples for everything. So too has it become a magnet for those who struggle for peace, dignity, justice and human rights.
I am a newcomer to the desert and as such, I marvel at the amount of activism all around me, especially by youths. Actually, activism is not the right word for what I have been witnessing here for the past 3 years. Commitment is a better word. The level of commitment to social justice and for the right to a culturally relevant education has been affirming. What is daily affirmed is the belief that all human beings are created equal and all are entitled to full human rights, regardless of race, color, creed, religion, citizenship or migration status.
All this resistance has occurred as a result of a relentless campaign against the red-brown peoples of this state – whether they have been here for many thousands of years or if they just got here today. The racial profiling that everyone fears has always existed along the U.S.-Mexico border, so much so that labor leader Cesar Chavez used to refer to the migra or the U.S. Border Patrol as the “Gestapo of the Mexican people.”
That’s the reason for the relentless pushback against the state’s SB 1070 law. It seeks to federalize local police – giving them the “rights” that the migra has long exercised against the red-brown peoples they have always illegally and inhumanely profiled. In Tucson, the pushback has been against both SB 1070, and HB 2281, the effort to ban the teaching of ethnic studies.
What’s most impressive about the resistance is that it has been waged largely by K-16 students. That’s not to minimize the role of community organizers and community elders; quite the contrary. It is precisely this sector, led by groups such as Derechos Humanos, that has trained and essentially grown these young activists and organizers.
One group that rarely is recognized by the media – and the group likes it this way – is Calpolli Teoxicalli – a family of families that live Indigenous ways and who live by a sacred calendar. The Calpolli in Tucson or Tlamanalco as they refer to the Old Pueblo – has been present the past several years at virtually all the events and/or actions in regards to these assaults, albeit with a different role.
A passerby might see them as either simply those that lead the opening or closing prayers at events or those that provide the cultural expression (Aztec Dancing). But that would be to fundamentally misunderstand their role. While I am not a member of this Calpolli, I do take part in their runs – ceremonial runs and barrio runs. All the runs are spiritual and are not done in response to the actions of others, though they are indeed done with an awareness of all the negative forces – external and internal – that continually beset our communities.
We run for ourselves and those closest to us. We do the runs to help heal our communities – whether it is from diseases such as drugs and alcohol or gang and domestic violence – or from the diseases of hate and bigotry. A summer run last year included one from Tucson to Phoenix to defeat an attempt to eliminate Raza Studies statewide while another one was done as an effort to bring consciousness to our communities regarding the sky-high high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. The barrio/ceremonial runs are connected to the Peace and Dignity Journeys that take place every four years from Alaska and Chile to Central America. They are part of an Indigenous prophecy that seeks to unite Pacha Mama – Abya Yalla or North and South America.
The early morning barrio runs have a powerful effect, especially upon onlookers when they see the ceremonial staffs we run with. Onlookers might think that this is how we protest in Tucson, but we run not for the media nor for or against politicians. As the youngsters say, we speak with our feet and our feet do leave huellas or footprints.
In a few months, there will be a very special barrio run, co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, to bring about cancer awareness to our communities – part of a dream of one of our young leaders – Consuelo Aguilar – who passed away a year-and a half ago in the heat of battle at the age of 27. That run will mark the second anniversary of her death in February and we expect our entire community to be there. She too will be there. Presente!
There will be a number of runs prior to the one for Consuelo. All are important. If you would like to participate in them, in preparation for the February run, please contact Calpolli Teoxicalli at: chuchruiz@... or teoxicalli@.... Regardless if you take part in the Barrio Runs, please consider fulfilling Consuelo’s dream this February.
Rodriguez, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, can be reached at: XColumn@....
Column of the Americas
PO BOX 3812
Tucson, AZ 85722
ARCHIVED COLUMN OF THE AMERICAS
You change my way of writing, you change my way of thinking. You change my way of thinking, you change who I am.
The center offers engaging experiences for all ages, from life-size walk-through dioramas that transport visitors into the past, to changing exhibits and live performances of contemporary arts and cultures. Extensive interactive exhibits depict 18,000 years of Native and natural history, while two libraries, including one for children, offer a diverse selection of materials on the histories and cultures of all Native peoples of the United States and Canada.
Fall is overflowing with a bounty of activities for the whole family. See our new exhibit, Native Words, Native Warriors, which tells the story of WWI and WWII American Indian code talkers, gain insights into the weapons and tactics used during the Pequot War, and meet cookbook author and ethnobotonist E. Barrie Kavasch as she discusses American Indian medicinal and edible plants.
Watch and discuss Cree filmaker Neil Diamond's documentary Reel Injun, while ventriloquism and puppetry master Buddy Big Mountain delights audiences with his hilarious blend of Native American comedy, ventriloquism, singing, magic, and wonderfully whacky puppets.
As an extra bonus, Smithsonian members, magazine subscribers, and friends can take advantage of Museum Day to receive free admission for one person and an accompanying guest upon presentation of the Smithsonian Museum Day pass, available by clicking here:
Teachers, and their families get a special day of sample tours, Native games, art activities and the opportunity to meet and listen to Sandy Grande—a Quechua Native from Peru, during the Educators’ Open House. All this and more: just click on Museum Calendar, on the right-hand side of this page, to discover all our events, month by month.
Newsletter: Join our mailing list! Click Here
Archives: Read archived Newsletters! Click Here
Networks: Join our social networks! Click Here
Podcasts: Listen to our audio programs! Click Here
Archaeology: American Battlefield Program: Click Here
The MPMRC’s iPhone App
Introducing the first Native American Museum iPhone application
The Pequot Museum’s new iPhone application deepens the Museum’s relationship with its growing global network of followers and fans by providing immediate access to current news and information through its social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Flickr, and YouTube.
“This new application is a great tool to help us spread the word about our award-winning museum, its events, exhibits, and programs,” said Kimberly Hatcher-White, the museum’s executive director. “The Museum has a strong commitment to staying current by using cutting-edge technologies, even in a tough economy.”
Download the Pequot Museum’s free app titled MPMRC from the iPhone App Store or itunes.com/appstore! The MPMRC app is also available for the Apple iPod touch.
Tribunal de los Pueblos
September 11-12, 2010
A Community Tribunal of Rectification
Act of Self Determination
in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Territories (US-Mexico 1848)
Embassy of Indigenous Peoples
802 N. 7th Street Phoenix, AZ 85006
Tupac Enrique Acosta, Yaotachcauh
To Provide a Traditional Indigenous Venue POHUALTLAHTOYAN to address the violations of Civil Rights, Human Rights, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala in a process affirming the Right of Self Determination as Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples in defense of the RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH.
Tradition and Liberation
The Legend of TENAMAZTLE: Tezcatlipoca, Quetzalcoatl, Huitzilopochtli
The violations and evidence that were submitted, the interference, every pain that was mentioned by Elders, every testimony of the violation of our Mother Earth from where all this life comes from. The second charge: It was forced. It’s forced. It’s assault. It’s usurpation of jurisdiction that is then transcribed into what they call a legal system. The evidence was submitted under the international law, under treaty obligation as understood by the First Nations, the Peoples of the First Nations-“itzachitlakame” – it is sufficient to proceed. We concur with the findings of our fellow judges to advance these proceedings to the next stage of testimony, witness, finding and judgment. And we would also state that under the power of enforcement that we direct this message to be carried to the present and future generations of Origin-Nations of the four directions of the Great Turtle Island. And their powers are now powers of Memory, of Intelligence and Will that we may undertake the remedy in our daily walk and in our dreams. First Nations International Court of Justice, Algonquin Territories [Ottawa, Canada] April 1996; Judge Tupac Enrique Acosta, Izkalotlan Pueblo
The Treaty of Teotihuacan:
The TREATY OF TEOTIHUACAN is a mutual commitment among the Nations, Pueblos, and organizations of Indigenous Peoples at the continental level, empowered by the Jurisprudence of Indigenous International Law in four aspects: Spiritual Alliance, Political Solidarity, Cultural Complementarity, and POCHTECAYOTL - Economic and Commercial Agreements of Exchange.
The Protocols of Cochabamba
RESPECT – INCLUSION – COMPLEMENTARITY – SELF DETERMINATION
The formulation of the POHUALTLAHTOYAN is projected as a Fourfold process: Welcome and Introductions, Intervention and Consultation, Reflection and Dialogue, Community and Commitment.
Interventions to the process are accepted for consideration in terms of Individual and Family, Family and Community, Community and Nation, Nation and Traditional Indigenous Confederacy, Humanity and Mother Earth.
Categories of Intervention for Testimony and Evidence:
1) Violations of Civil Rights and Human Rights;
2) Violations of Indigenous Rights and the RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Territories;
3) Violations of the Rights of the Future Generations.
Realization of the Archive of POHUALTLAHTOYAN
A process of articulation of the CRIME of TERRACIDE.
SUMAK KAWSAY – Living with Wellness
Tribunal de los Pueblos
September 11-12, 2010
A Community Tribunal of Rectification
Act of Self Determination
Violations of Civil Rights – Human Rights – Indigenous Rights
RIGHTS OF MOTHER EARTH
in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Territories (US-Mexico 1848)
Saturday, September 11
8:00 – 9:00 AM Registration
9:00 – 11:00 AM Welcome and Introductions: POHUALTLAHTOYAN
Establishment of the jurisdiction of the Tribunal de los Pueblos: Purpose, Principles, and Process
11:00 – 12:00 AM Interventions and Consultation
Humanity and Mother Earth: Responsibilities
Rights of Future Generations, Rights of Mother Earth
12:00 – 1:00 PM Lunch
1:00 – 4:00 PM Interventions and Consultation - Continued
§ Nations and Traditional Indigenous Confederacies
§ Community and Nation
§ Family and Community
§ Individual and Community
4:00 – 5:00 PM Reflection and Dialogue
7:30 POHUALTLAHTOYAN: Reflection and Dialogue - Continued
Sunday, September 12
8:00 - 9:00 AM Reflection and Dialogue - Continued
10:00 11:45 AM Community and Commitments
12:00 NOON Ceremony of Rectification and Emergence
NAHUACALLIEmbassy of Indigenous Peoples
August 27, 2010
FULL PETITION TEXT
Defend the Amazon Rainforest: Stop the Belo Monte Monster Dam
Dear Brazilian Government*,
I am deeply concerned about your plans to build the Belo Monte Dam Complex on the Xingu River in the Amazon, in violation of the human rights of indigenous people and other threatened populations, and despite warnings by renowned Brazilian scientists, engineers, economists and religious leaders about the project's huge social and environmental costs and lack of economic viability.
I support the demands of Brazilian civil society that the Brazilian government immediately stop the Belo Monte Dam Complex, and instead:
Implement Brazilian legislation and international agreements on protecting human rights and the environment, giving special attention to indigenous peoples and their territories.
Invest in energy efficiency and alternative energy sources to meet Brazil's legitimate energy needs, and
Support participatory and sustainable development in the Xingu region, aimed at strengthening local livelihoods and safeguarding the region's delicate ecosystems.
Brazil has an opportunity to demonstrate global leadership in protecting the Amazon, its people and the global climate. Current and future generations of Brazilians are counting on you to make the right decision.
NOTE: We will be asking James Cameron and Brazilian artists to join the Kayapo, Juruna, Arara and other affected communities to personally deliver this petition to the key Brazilian government officials.
Find more background information about Belo Monte Dam here.
* Brazilian Government:
President of Brazil, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva
President of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), Luciano Coutinho
President of Eletrobras, Jose Antonio Muniz Lopes
President of the Norte Energia Consortium, Carlos Nascimento
Minister of Mines and Energy, Márcio Zimmerman
Minister of the Environment, Izabella Teixeira
Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), Abelardo Bayma Azevedo
- Islam was first introduced to China in the seventh century (7th century) when merchants from Arabia and Persia came to China to trade via the Silk Road. In AD.651, the third Caliph Uthman Ibn Affan, sent an envoy to call on the reigning Tang Emperor Gao Zong, and since then Islam began to be found in many parts of China.At Xian (Sian), formerly Ch'ang-an, "City of Eternal Peace" and capital of 11 dynasties, the Great Mosque, the largest Mosque in China, is very proudly displayed to visitors as part of China's national heritage-along with the life-size terra cotta army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang-Ti.At Turpan oasis, on the edge of the Gobi Desert, teenagers turn their Mao-style peaked caps back-to-front to pray-foreheads to the ground, facing Makkah (Mecca) -in a Mosque resembling a Qing (Ch'ing) Dynasty pavilion.In the next 200 years, Islam spread through the interior too as other Muslim traders traveled along the old Silk Road. Today, it is the religion of 10 of China's 55 minority nationalities: the Uighur, Kazakh, Kirgiz, Uzbek, Tatar and Sala, all Turkic peoples; Tungxiang and Paoan, of Mongol origins; the Iranian Tajit and the Chinese Hui.Government statistics for these minorities add up to about 14 million people-but some unofficial outside tallies put the Muslim population of China much higher.Muslims have also gained a measure of toleration from other religious practices. In areas where Muslims are a majority, the breeding of pigs by non-Muslims is forbidden in deference to Islamic beliefs.Muslims, most of whom are farmers or herdsmen, seem to be prospering economically too since the Chinese government introduced more liberal agricultural policies and stepped up industrial investment in the under-developed-and relatively autonomous-outlying areas where they live.Culturally too, Muslims seem to have gained more freedom. Newspapers and books, television programs and films are being printed and produced in their own languages; the Xinjiang Daily, for example, is published in Uighur and Kazakh as well as in Chinese.Today China has ten(10) Muslim nationalities, numbering more than 30 million Muslims. They are the Hui, Uighur, Kazakh, Dongxiang, Khalkhas, Salar, Tajik, Uzbek, Baoan and Tartar. These nationalities have their own written and spoken languages and cultures and their unique ethnic traditions.When the Republic of China was formed in 1911 the Muslims were recognized as a Race in China.Today in Beijing there are about 200,000 Muslims, Xian-60,000, Shanghai-100,000 and much more Muslims in China.Dwoh jehBy: Henry Guzman Villalobos (Aztec-Yaqui Native American) Founder/President of Native Americans of the Americas Committee, e-mails:aztecyaqui@... aztecs5463@...Phone:(510) 363-3052cc: American Indian Movement (AIM), Native American Nations of the Americas, United Nations, Media, General Public, Renee Saucedo, Civil Rights Attorney, Patrick J. Maloney, Attorney at Law (American Indian Law), Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez, Ph.D, Patrisia Gonzales (Kickapoo-Macehual) Ph.D, Patricia Hibbeler, CEO of Phoenix Indian Center, Chinese Community, Afghanistan Community, Korean Community, Japanese Community, Dr. Hwa-Wei Lee, Dr. Xiaocong Li,
In Lak Ech, Panche Be & Hunab Ku: The Philosophical Foundation for Raza Studies
For the next few months, the world will be focusing on Arizona's SB 1070 - the state's new racial profiling law. However, in this insane asylum known as Arizona, where conservatives have concocted one reactionary scheme after another, another law in particular stands out for its embrace of Dark Ages-era censorship - the 2010 anti-ethnic studies HB 2281 - a law that seeks to codify the "triumph" of Western Civilization with its emphasis on Greco-Roman culture.
Unless it is blocked, HB 2281 - which creates an Inquisitorial mechanism that will determine which books and curriculums are acceptable in the state - will go into effect on Jan 1, 2011. Books such as Occupied America by Rodolfo Acuña and Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, have already been singled out as being un-American and preaching the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.
Both laws are genocidal: one law attacks the physical presence of red-brown peoples; the other one, our minds and spirits.
Lost in the tumultuous debate regarding what can be taught in the state's schools is the topic of what actually constitutes Ethnic/Raza Studies.
In general, the philosophical foundation for Raza Studies are several Indigenous concepts, including: In Lak Ech, Panche Be and Hunab Ku.
Over the past generation, the first two concepts have become fairly well known in the Mexican/Chicana/Chicano communities of the United States. The third concept, Hunab Ku, is relatively less well known, though it actually forms the foundation for In Lak Ech - ‘Tu eres mi otro yo - You are my other self' and Panche Be - ‘to seek the root of the truth' or ‘to find the truth in the roots'. As explained by Maya scholar, Domingo Martínez Paredez, Hunab Ku is the name the Maya gave in their language to the equivalence of the Supreme Being or the Grand Architect of the Universe (Hunab Ku, 1970). Such concept is an understanding of how the universe functions.
These three concepts are rooted in a philosophy based on maiz. Maiz, incidentally, is the only crop in the history of humanity that was created by humans. Also, the Indigenous peoples of this continent are the only peoples in the history of humanity to have created their/our own food - maiz - a food so special that it is what virtually unites not simply this continent, but this era. These three maiz-based concepts, in effect, constitute the essence of who we are or who we can be; human beings connected to each other, to all of life and creation. Part of creation; not outside of it. This is the definition of what it means to be human. While these concepts are Indigenous to this continent, they also exist generally in all cultures.
Despite the destruction of the many thousands of the ancient books of the Maya (along with those of the Aztecs-Mexica) by Spanish priests during the colonial era, these Maya-Nahua concepts were not destroyed, nor are they consigned to the past. Today, they continue to be preserved and conveyed via ceremony, oral traditions, poetry and song (In Xochitl - In Cuicatl) and danza. And they continue to be developed by life's experiences.
In Raza Studies, these ideas are designed to reach those that are unfamiliar with these concepts, including and in particular, Mexicans/Chicanos and Central Americans and other peoples from the Americas who live in the United States and who are maiz-based peoples or gente de maiz, albeit, sometimes far-removed from the cornfield or milpa. Despite their disconnection from the fields and despite the disconnection from the planting cycles and accompanying ceremonies - and in many cases the ancestral stories - their/our daily diet consciously and unconsciously keeps us connected to this continent and to the other original peoples and cultures of this continent.
In part, this effort to understand these concepts is an attempt to reclaim a creation/resistance culture, as opposed to viewing themselves/ourselves as foreigners or merely as U.S. minorities. It is also an affirmation that de-Indigenized Mexicans/Chicana/Chicano and Central and South American peoples are not trying to revive or learn from dead cultures. Instead, as elders from throughout this continent generally affirm, these cultures have never died and neither have these concepts; peoples have simply been disconnected from them. That is one definition of colonization and/or de-Indigenization. The effort to understand these and similar concepts and to embrace and live by them, is also one definition of de-colonization. And to be sure, it is elders from throughout the Americas that have for more than a generation reached out to these communities, imploring them/us to "return to our roots."
Asserting the right to this knowledge that is Indigenous to this very continent is an effort to proclaim both the humanity and Indigeneity of peoples who are matter-of-factly treated as unwelcome and considered alien in this society. HB 2281 bizarrely treats this knowledge as "un-American."
Additionally, asserting the right to write modern amoxtlis or codices - is also part of an effort to proclaim that all peoples - including de-Indigenized peoples - also have the right not simply to repeat (or recreate) things ancient, but to produce their/our own living knowledge. And in the case of Arizona - with red-brown peoples continuously under siege - these concepts can help us bring about peace, dignity and justice, with the potential to create better human beings of all of us.
The above is a synopsis of Amoxtli X - The X Codex, 2010, Eagle Feather Research Feather Institute, by Rodriguez, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, in collaboration with several authors.
2010 All Roads Film Festival!
National Geographic Grosvenor Auditorium
1600 M Street N.W.
The National Geographic All Roads Film Project supports and showcases breakthrough film and photography from indigenous and underrepresented minority cultures around the globe.
The All Roads PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION, featuring the works of three photographers, can be seen for free in the National Geographic courtyard September 27– November 21, 2010.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28 – 7 PM
(Canada / 2009 / 85 min / English)
Directed by: Neil Diamond Catherine Bainbridge, Jeremiah Hayes)
A humorous mashup of more than 50 years of Hollywood film stereotypes of American Indians featuring candid interviews with directors, writers, actors, and activists, including Clint Eastwood.
Followed by Q&A with the filmmaker, Neil Diamond (Canadian First Nation)
Co-hosted with ITVS
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2010 – 7:00 pm
FOR THE NEXT 7 GENERATIONS
(Various Countries / 2009 / 85 min / Various Languages with English subtitles)
Directed by: Carole Hart
An inspiring documentary about 13 native women from around the world who come together to increase environmental consciousness worldwide.
Q&A with filmmaker.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 – 7PM
(UK and Somalia / 2010 / 120 min / Somali with English subtitles)
Directed by: Sherry Hormann
The incredible, true story of Waris Dirie’s transformation from Somali refugee to international supermodel and advocate for women’s rights.
Screened with a short film from Iran.
Co-hosted with National Geographic Entertainment
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1 – 2 PM
FILMING INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
Festival filmmakers discuss their careers and the evolution of indigenous filmmaking.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1 – 7 PM
(New Zealand / 2010 / 88 min / English)
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Inspired by the Oscar-nominated Two Cars, One Night, Boy is a hilarious and heartfelt coming-of-age tale about heroic fathers, magic, and pop star Michael Jackson.
Q&A with the filmmaker.
Co-hosted with the New Zealand Embassy
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1 – 9 PM
(Tibet / 2009 / 120 min / Tibetan Amdo dialect with English subtitles)
Directed by: Pema Tseden
A crazy, comedic road trip across Tibet to find the right actor to play Drime Kunden, a traditional character in Tibetan opera known for his boundless compassion.
Co-hosted with Machik
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2 -12 NOON
(Canada / 2009 / 66 min / English)
Directed by: Dennis Allen
In a remote Arctic community, a radio station serves as the cultural heart connecting members of the community in humorous ways.
Shown with a short music film from Tibet.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2 – 2 PM
MĀORI FILM RETROSPECTIVE
(New Zealand / 1987–2002 / Māori and English with English subtitles)
Directed by: Merata Mita
A special tributary compilation of works honors a prestigious filmmaker in Aotearoa and influential figure in film and television worldwide, the late film director and All Roads adviser Merata Mita. Panel discussion
follows the screening.
Co-hosted with Pacific Islanders in Communications
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2 – 4:30 PM
DEAR LEMON LIMA
(U.S. / 2009 / 87 min / English & ASL with English subtitles)
Directed by: Suzi Yoonesi
A young girl rallies her friends to compete in her private middle school’s Eskimo Olympics in order to win her true love’s heart.
Q&A with filmmaker.
Co-hosted with the Asian Pacific American Film Festival
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2 – 7 PM
SAMSON & DELILAH
(Australia / 101 min / English and Warlpiri with English subtitles)
Directed by: Warwick Thornton
Samson and Delilah’s world is an isolated community in Australia. When tragedy strikes, they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival in the outback. This film won the Golden Camera award at Cannes 2009.
Q&A with filmmaker.
Co-hosted with the Embassy of Australia
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3 – 1 PM
UP HEARTBREAK HILL
(U.S. / 2010 / 87 min / English)
Directed by: Erica Scharf
An inspirational work in progress about three teenagers who must decide whether to separate from their families, traditions, and the community that defines them. Shown with a three-minute short.
Q&A with filmmaker.
Co-hosted with ITVS
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3 – 3: 30 PM
WE LIVE BY THE RIVER
(U.S., Canada / 2009 / 52 min /English)
Directed by: Karin Williams
Communities come together to clean up the Yukon River and become a model for global environmental action.
Shown with three shorts from Norway, the US, and Canada about our engagement with the environment.
Q&A with filmmaker.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3 – 6 PM
SHOOTING WITH MURSI
(Ethiopia / 2008 / 55 min / Mursi with English subtitles)
Directed by: Ben Young
A young filmmaker from the Mursi people of Ethiopia documents how modernity is affecting their traditional lifestyle. Shown with three short films from Hawai’i, Egypt, and the US in which traditions are challenged by cultural changes.
Co-hosted with Pacific Islanders in Communications
Columbus Museum of Art. 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215-6801. Phone 614- 221-6801 Ohio Craft Museum 1665 W. Fifth Ave., Columbus Ohio 43212
The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum 27 West 17th Avenue Mall Columbus, OH 43210-1393. Telephone 614 292-0538
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2010 Columbus Museum of Art 480 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215 614.221.6801. Rights & Restrictions · CMA on Facebook · CMA on Twitter
#10 of 138 hotels in Columbus, OH; La Quinta Inn & Suites Columbus West Kelton House Museum & Garden. TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4 of 5 stars
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Native American Religions
Native American religion, mythology and folklore are covered extensively at this site:
These texts cover a wide range of Native Americans or don't fit into one of the categories above.
Tales of the North American Indians
by Stith Thompson 
The classic cross-cultural Native American folklore study.
The Path on the Rainbow
by George W. Cronyn 
A ground-breaking collection of Native American oral literature: poetry, chants and rituals.
The Soul of the Indian
by Charles Eastman 
Indian Why Stories
by Frank Linderman 
Old Indian Legends
by Zitkala-Sa 
American Indian Fairy Tales
by Margaret Compton 
Authentic Native American lore retold for children over a century ago.
- September 2010
On the heels of the BP disaster, there is a growing public outcry for alternatives to our oil-dependent economy. Recently, the Ecuadorian government took an enormous step forward for the planet by signing a historic agreement with the United Nations for a trust fund in exchange for refraining from drilling 20 percent of the country's oil reserves in the Yasuni National Park. Meanwhile, Avatar director James Cameron has become a powerful ally in helping Amazon Watch and indigenous peoples defend a real Pandora on Earth in the Brazilian Amazon.
This month we welcome all you new supporters, many Avatar fans, who joined us in TAKING ACTION and signing the petition to stop the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil. We are grateful that you have added your voice to the global movement to protect the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous peoples there. Please continue to share this petition with your friends.
For Future Generations,
The campaign to Stop the Belo Monte Dam is reaching a new level of visibility as James Cameron teamed up with Amazon Watch to produce "A Message from Pandora," a feature due out this Fall as part of the Special Edition DVD of Avatar (view trailer). Meanwhile, Amazon Watch and International Rivers created a Google Earth 3-D tour and video narrated by actress Sigourney Weaver showing the devastating impacts of the dam and available alternatives. Thousands of you have already watched and shared the videos. Please continue to spread the word.
In August, Ecuador signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) to open a trust fund to compensate the government for agreeing to indefinitely refrain from drilling the 900 million barrel heavy crude reserve found beneath the fragile Yasuni National Park. Amazon Watch welcomes this pioneering initiative to create an alternative to oil drilling and protect an important part of Yasuni National Park as it contains some of the highest levels of biodiversity found anywhere on the planet and is home to isolated indigenous tribes.
Amazon Watch campaigners Mitch Anderson, Han Shan and Kevin Koenig visited Lago Agrio, Ecuador to inspect and document the oil contamination left behind by Chevron and to gather testimonies of those still suffering a health crisis. They visited numerous waste pits, including sites allegedly remediated by Chevron. In meetings with people affected by Chevron's toxic legacy, our team assured them that we will continue to share their powerful story until Chevron finally accepts its responsibility and funds a full-scale cleanup.
Last month, Amazon Watch's Mitch Anderson traveled deep into the Peruvian Amazon to meet with Achuar communities and investigate the oil industry's activities in their homeland. For centuries, the Achuar people have lived in harmony with the rainforest. But now, the unrelenting drive for oil is reaching the deepest regions of their territory. Calgary-based Talisman Energy Inc. has already cleared hundreds of kilometers of seismic lines in the area, and is now beginning to drill exploratory wells. View the photo essay of his trip, and then please take the pledge to support the Achuar people.
- ANNOUNCEMENT: PLEASE POST & FORWARD
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON HATE, CENSORSHIP & FORBIDDEN CURRICULADECEMBER 2-4UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA & YWCATUSCON, ARIZONA
HB2281 - ANTI-ETHNIC STUDIES LAWSB 1070 - RACIAL PROFILING LAWREPEAL OF 14TH AMENDMENT (BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP)
FEATURING: RODOLFO ACUNA - LESLIE MARMON SILKO - SIMON ORTIZ - ISABEL GARCIA- ANA O'LEARY, ANITA FERNANDEZ - SEAN ARCE - ANDREA ROMERO - SANDY SOTO - GUS CHAVEZ - CELERINO FERNANDEZ - TOLTEKA - CIHUATL CE - ZARCO
PURPOSE: WHILE THE WORLD HAS COME TO KNOW ABOUT SHERIFF ARPAIO AND THE DRACONIAN ANTI-IMMIGRANT LEGISLATION - SB 1070 & THE FORTHCOMING EFFORT TO ELIMINATE BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP IN ARIZONA - LESS ATTENTION HAS BEEN PAID TO THE INQUISITION-STYLE MEASURE HB 2281 - A PIECE OF LEGISLATION WHO CLEAR INTENT IS BOTH TO CENSOR WHAT CAN BE TAUGHT IN ARIZONA SCHOOLS AND TO ELIMINATE ETHNIC/RAZA STUDIES. THE FOCUS OF THE CONFERENCE WILL BE THE STUDENT/COMMUNITY RESISTANCE TO THESE MEASURES (WE DON'T RECOGNIZE THEM AS LAWS).
DAY OF RECKONING: UNLESS HB 2281 IS HALTED, ON JANUARY 1, 2011, BEYOND THREATS TO CENSOR WHAT IS TAUGHT IN ETHNIC/RAZA STUDIES, THE RAZA STUDIES-TUSD DEPARTMENT WILL CEASE TO EXIST.
OPEN INVITE: SCHOLARS FROM THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND AND PRESENT, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, SCHOLARS ARE ENCOURAGED TO LEARN FROM THE COURAGEOUS YOUTHS AND COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS THAT HAVE CHALLENGED ARIZONA'S REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION. THE CHALLENGES HAVE INCLUDED A SUMMER RUN FROM TUCSON TO PHOENIX IN 115-DEGREE HEAT, ALL-NIGHT VIGILS, WALKOUTS, MARCHES, RALLIES, PROTESTS AND MASS ARRESTS. AT THIS CONFERENCE, YOU WILL BE EXPOSED TO RESEARCH BY UNDERGRADUATE & GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM THE U OF ARIZONA, FROM SCHOLARS FROM ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY AND PRESCOTT COLLEGE, SCHOLARS AND STUDENTS FROM PIMA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, PLUS EDUCATORS AND STUDENTS FROM THROUGHOUT THE RAZA STUDIES DEPT-TUSD.
PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATION: EDUCATORS, STUDENTS, ORGANIZERS AND COMMUNITY ELDERS WILL PRESENT THE PHILOSOHICAL FOUNDATION FOR ETHNIC/RAZA STUDIES -- A DISCIPLINE THAT HAS BEEN UNDER INTENSE ATTACK SINCE ITS INCEPTION SOME 40 YEARS AGO.THIS FOUNDATION - PART OF MAIZ-BASED KNOWLEDGE - IS THOUSANDS OF YEARS OLD AND INDIGENOUS TO THIS CONTINENT. THE STATE SUPERINTENDANT OF SCHOOLS HAS LABELED THIS KNOWLEDGE "UNAMERICAN," ALLEGING THAT IT LEADS TO SEGREGATION AND THAT IT CALLS FOR THE VIOLENT OVERTHROW OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT -- THIS WHILE INSISTING THAT ONLY KNOWLEDGE ROOTED IN GRECO-ROMAN WESTERN CIVILIZATION IS WORTHY OF BEING TAUGHT IN ARIZONA SCHOOLS.
IN XOCHITL-IN CUICATL - FLORICANTO: DAY THREE WILL INCLUDE CREATIVE EXPRESSION, FROM CON SAFOS THEATER, ZARCO, DANCE, PERFORMANCE ART, CORRIDOS, POETRY, SPOKEN WORD AND HIP HOP.
FOR MORE INFO, CONTACT:
ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ AT MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA: RODRIGU7@... OR 520-626-0824
FOR UPDATED CONF INFO: http://drcintli.blogspot.com/
Friday Question of the Day – Is it Time for DC Residents to stop Rooting for the Cowboys?09 September 2010 9:10 PM | By Prince Of Petworth in Friday Question of the Day, sports
Photo by PoPville flickr user Mylar Bono
About three years ago I wondered why there were so many Dallas Cowboy fans in DC. At the time a commenter provided a rational explanation:
“Back in the late 60′s and early 70′s when the Cowboys were coming into their own the Redskins were owned by a guy named Marshall, who was a pretty bad racist. IIRC, the Skins were one of the last, if not the last team to have a black starter. The organization was also known to rife with racism while the Cowboys where just starting off had a ton of black stars like Calvin Hill, Pierson, etc.”
As I’m sure you’ve heard – DC plays Dallas this weekend and it got me thinking about this issue again. Given all the changes DC has seen and given the fact that we are coming into our own as a world class city – isn’t it time we united together to root for our hometown team? I don’t mean to dismiss the racism of the past nor am I suggesting we forget it but I also don’t think it is healthy to remain stuck in the past.
And of course there are some exceptions – if you are from Texas, if your parents are from Texas etc. But I’m talking about DC residents that have no affiliation with Texas or another NFL team. While obviously we still need to improve in certain areas, today we are basically an awesome city and we should be proud of it. We will always have plenty to fight and disagree about but when it comes to football: Isn’t it time we unite as a city to support our football team just like we support our hockey team?
In languages literacy teaching underdevelopment
Attempts to break the cycle of intergenerational transmitted poverty will never be successful as long as we disregard or underestimate the role and impact of indigenous languages in the educational, economic, social and cultural sectors of any society. These sectors often remain inaccessible to communities if they have to access it through a foreign language only or when products and services are only available in a foreign language. This is not only disempowering, but it entrenches the myth that indigenous languages are of lesser value. This paper therefore investigates the educational and economic value of indigenous languages and proposes practical steps to unlock it in order to benefit the speakers of indigenous languages and to probably break the cycle of intergenerational transmitted poverty.
We live in an information society in which the creation and distribution of information is the most significant economic, cultural, educational and social activity. The knowledge economy is the economic component of the information society in which the production and utilisation of knowledge play a principal role in the creation of wealth. Our diverse and dynamic indigenous language heritage is an important enabling resource for developing communities to actively participate in the knowledge economy and spearhead development within their own communities themselves.
This point of view is however not appreciated or clearly understood by various stakeholders, whether it be the speakers of indigenous languages themselves, scholars or politicians. It is therefore important to investigate the educational and economic potential of indigenous languages in order to dispel the myth that our South African indigenous languages cannot function at the same level as English or Afrikaans. This is done through a sector analysis in which our indigenous languages already function as core educational and economic drivers. In addition, it also investigates how to create a digital presence with indigenous languages and propose particular steps which communities can follow to use their indigenous languages to their advantage in order to break the cycle of intergenerational transmitted poverty.
Why is it that in all developed countries, the majority of schools and universities provide mother tongue education, but in developing countries most learners do not have the benefit of being taught in their mother tongue? And why is it that in all developed countries the media industry, such as the electronic, print, radio, television, film, post and telecommunication, music, language practitioners and related sectors provide most of their products in the mother tongue, but in developing countries the same industries provide very few if any products in the local languages?
Is it because developing countries regard their own languages as inferior as opposed to developed countries who purposefully seek to preserve, protect, promote and commodify their own languages for educational and economic purposes? And in addition, is it because developing countries lack the political will to preserve, protect, promote and commodify their own languages and as result fail to optimise the educational usage and economic value thereof?
The answers to the aforementioned questions can be relayed back to our colonial past. Because not only did colonialism play a major role in terms of entrenching the belief that our indigenous languages and culture equate backwardness, illiteracy and ethno-traditionalism, but it simultaneously positioned the languages of the colonial powers as symbols of civilisation by embedding them in all public and private spheres as the official means of communication for educational and economic activities (Alexander 2008; Webb 2006 & Mutasa 2003).
Reversing this proclivity towards colonial languages poses a major challenge for most African countries and especially the political elite. Because, in most instances after the political power was handed to newly elected African governments, very little was done to improve the status of indigenous languages and optimise the economic potential thereof. According to Alexander the “African elites who inherited the colonial kingdom from the ostensibly departing colonial overlords, for reasons of convenience and in order to maintain their grip on power, have made nominal gestures towards equipping the indigenous languages of the continent with the wherewithal for use in powerful and high-status contexts” (Alexander 2007: 18).
Hence, in a paper titled ‘Language Policy Development in South Africa’, Webb appeals to the newly democratically elected South African government to steer clear from such ‘nominal gestures’, and instead to focus on proper language planning which is aimed at elevating the status and advancing the use of our indigenous languages within the education, economic, social, cultural and political spheres (SA Constitution 1996: Section 6.2)1 .
“In order to realise its basic objective of transformation, reconstruction and development, the SA government must obviously keep the basic language planning goal in mind, that is, to bring about a (radical) change in the language political realities of the country, creating a situation in which the languages of the country co-exist in a balanced way and function as developmental facilitators in education, the economy, political life, state administration, and the social and cultural spheres. Its language plan must therefore contribute to resolving the language-related problems discussed above. The SA government must thus not endorse a language policy proposal which will simply lead to a reproduction of the previous (and existing) language politics, where non-Bantu languages are dominant in public life and are perceived as the symbols of the ruling elite, prestige and success, and the Bantu languages are perceived as symbols of a socio-economic underclass and as instruments only of the low functions of public life. To achieve the general over-all goal of language political transformation where each of the official languages perform meaningful functions, language planning in SA needs to be directed at... specific goals” (Webb 2006: 11).
This meaningful function which Webb refers to includes using our indigenous language for educational, social, cultural, economic and political empowerment. He emphasises however the importance of language planning in South Africa in order to optimise the usages of our indigenous language and cultural resources to enable communities to actively participate in the knowledge economy, to advance education and to create wealth. Such educational and economical optimisation of our indigenous languages is therefore crucial to break the cycle of intergenerational transmitted poverty.
A study in this regard however indicates that the official indigenous languages with the exception of English and Afrikaans (indications are however that the status of the latter is steadily eroded) remain marginalised. It states the following:
“Although the national language stands as a symbol for the uniqueness of the nation, the official language remains the key to power. It is, in effect, the language of formal public transactions such as education and the workplace. However, in countries such as South Africa, with the exception of English and Afrikaans, the indigenous official languages remain marginalised, and on the fringes of economic society, thereby excluding the vast majority of the population from mainstream economic activity” (Kaschula, Mostert, Schafer & Wienand 2007: 10).
Hence the challenge for South Africa is to democratise the linguistic landscape and end the interrelated educational and economic marginalization of the bulk of our citizens.
On the one hand, this requires political will to honour the language stipulations as set out in our National Constitution, political conviction to enact the South African Language Bill and political vivacity to implement the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Policy adopted by Cabinet in 2004 . Scholars such as Alexander, Webb and Mutasa agree that this is certainly the most crucial point of departure for achieving a more equal language dispensation and to broaden the participation of previously marginalised people in mainstream economic activities. Mutasa (2003: 325) highlights,
“The government and other stakeholders should draw all segments of the population on facts such as that unity and progress cannot be achieved through the use of one language, that people can only be empowered through their languages, that it is a myth that African languages cannot be developed to function like English and as was the case with Swahili and Afrikaans”
On the other hand, it requires vision, self belief and entrepreneurial thinking by the language community itself to:
Employ our indigenous languages as knowledge extractors, generators and distributors
Promote and mobilise support for mother tongue education
Expand the existing industries or economic sectors where indigenous languages function as core economic drivers
Create a digital presence with indigenous languages
sustain the presence and mobilise support
Grow the digital linguistic space occupied by indigenous languages and concomitantly increase its share within the knowledge economy
Create wealth and to optimise its educational and economic usage in order to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty
Keith Nurse in a paper titled ‘Culture as the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development’ reminds us however to be always mindful of whose development agenda is served through such entrepreneurial thinking and advises that communities must own such development agendas and drive the process themselves to avoid creating new dependencies. He puts the following argument forward:
“What needs to be underscored is that sustainable development as practised in the developing world is largely informed by Western notions and is often funded in accord with the agenda of multilateral, bilateral, non-governmental and philanthropic donor agencies from the developed countries. This is viewed as problematic because it creates new dependencies for the developing world and raises concerns about whose agenda is being served” (Nurse 2006: 36).
Economic and Educational Optimisation of Indigenous Languages
As set out in the previous paragraph, in order to achieve these ideals this paper will:
Analyse some key sectors in which the various official indigenous languages of South Africa are deployed as the core drivers of educational and economic activity, such as Education, Radio, Television, Film, Advertising, Print media and Electronic media,
Identify ways of creating a digital indigenous linguistic space,
Explore ways to grow such a digital indigenous linguistic space educationally, socially as well as commercially, and
Provide practical steps for communities to drive the economic and educational optimisation process of indigenous languages themselves.
General and Further Education
A great deal has been written about the year-on-year decline in matric results in South African schools, the low levels of literacy and numeracy, the high drop-out rate of learners and the low levels of skills of school leavers which is required for the industrial sector or place of work. This is because, in part, the majority of learners in South African schools are not taught in their mother tongue which could be any of the indigenous languages, but are taught in a language other than their mother tongue.
“All primary school-based systemic evaluation and testing as well as the analysis of performance by learners who are not being tested in their mother-tongue (MT) at Grade 12 level, plus the high drop-out rate give a clear message that the system is not working as it should and, in some cases, not at all. We need to take a sharp look at the languages of learning and teaching (LoLTs) which are being used in schools and accept that it is the responsibility of the WCED to point out very clearly the disadvantages of dropping the mother-tongue too early” (WCED Language-In-Education Transformation Plan 2007).
In most cases the language of learning and teaching would be English and in some instances Afrikaans. According to Horne (2007:6), this problem is further compounded by educators “who are not sufficiently skilled to cope with the demands of language–of–learning English in the classroom”. In many instances subtractive bilingualism is practiced, due to inapt code switching between English and the mother tongue, instead of following a systematic process of additive bilingualism, meaning laying the foundation solidly in the mother tongue first and to progressively introduce English as a second language (Horne, 2007:4).
In the event of schools practicing transitional bilingual education, the transition from the mother tongue as language of instruction to English should be thoroughly planned to avoid subtractive bilingualism. If schools however practice maintenance bilingual education English is added, but it does not replace the mother tongue as language of instruction. Additive bilingualism is further strengthened by the extensive use of the mother tongue (UNESCO 2008:8).
“The evidence is clear: mother-tongue-based-bilingual education significantly enhances the learning outcomes of students from minority language communities. Moreover, when mother-tongue bilingual education programmes are developed in a manner that involves community members in some significant way and explicitly addresses community concerns, these programmes also promote the identification of the minority community with the formal education process. The parameters that shape a bilingual education programme include the availability of resources, its pedagogical and social goals, and the political environment in which it is to be implemented. The examples described above demonstrate a variety of such parameters, all of which have given rise to innovative and effective bilingual education models” (UNESCO 2008:41).
In addition, teaching and learning is a two-way communication affair and a mismatch between the language of teaching and the mother tongue of the learner seriously affects the learner’s academic progress. In many instances this problem is further complicated when the teacher is not competent in the language of teaching (Nomlomo 2005:269) . The matter of mother-tongue bilingual education is therefore a factor which must be taken into account if we wish to break the cycle of intergenerational transmitted poverty. In terms of educational value it greatly enhances the quality of teaching and learning and in terms of economic value it contributes to a higher through-put rate and the development of knowledgeable and skilled citizens.
In terms of the latter, some scholars are also advocating that mother-tongue bilingual education be extended to higher education as well. The Report of the Ministerial Committee on Transformation and Social Cohesion and the Elimination of Discrimination in Public Higher Education Institutions released in 2008 also emphasises the instructional value of indigenous languages. It however, states that most universities in South Africa, with the exception of some of the historically Afrikaans universities and one or two others have failed to introduce any of the indigenous language as a medium of instruction.
“The role of language is therefore critical to higher education transformation, as it impacts on access and success, affirms diversity, while the right of a student to “instruction in the language of his or her choice, where this is reasonably practicable”, is afforded by the Constitution. It is no wonder then that language policy is the subject of contestation in higher education institutions. In this regard, all institutions are committed to multilingualism in one form or another, including the development of African languages as academic languages, and the introduction of African languages as languages of communication. However, more often than not, this commitment remains symbolic, as a range of factors, such as the availability of qualified staff, finances and student interest militate against the full implementation of multilingualism. It should be noted though that there is also opposition at different levels and of varying intensity to the acknowledgement of the significance of mother tongue mastery in academic success” (Report of the Ministerial Committee 2008:94).
However, Ramani and Joseph have found that “much of the aggressiveness towards African languages disappears once an African language is presented as medium as part of a dual-medium programme” (Ramani & Joseph 2006:17). The work of Ramani and Joseph centres around the development of a dual-medium BA degree in English and Sesotho sa Leboa at the University of Limpopo which is based on a model of additive bilingualism. This model enables students to develop their English as well as their mother tongue competencies for “higher-order cognitive work” (Ramani & Joseph 2006:4).
The aforementioned approach of introducing our indigenous languages as mediums of instruction together with English in higher education can improve our understanding of the complex indigenous framework of past experiences, metaphors, faith, values, perceptions, relationships, power struggles, economic activities, language, cultural and agricultural practices and develop innovative strategies aimed at breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Such insights can never be gained if we continue to undervalue our indigenous languages.
“One result of the disuse of African languages in education, and the devaluation of the knowledge embodied in these languages, is the positioning of Africa as a receiver rather than a contributor. African countries receive knowledge, know-how, technology, books, etc. from other countries, particularly in the West, but are not seen to contribute anything of ‘recognised value’ to the global knowledge pool” (Roy-Campbell 2005:3).
In addition, communities will not take ownership of projects that they cannot relate to or that do not fit into their meaning-giving context. For their context is, after all, the only one within which they can confidently associate with projects designed to improve their living conditions. That these communities are also exposed to other contexts through the radio, television, computer, cellular phone, urbanisation, migration and globalisation cannot be dispelled. However, this exposure is often limited to the supply of cheap labour in exchange for a living wage which is any way too little to escape the spiral of disempowerment, poverty, ignorance and despair.
Kotze concurs and makes the following valuable observation: “The people’s meaning-giving context is the only framework within which they can relate to developers. It is the framework within which development initiatives obtain meaning. It will either permit or block development, depending whether there is a ‘fit’ between development initiatives and context. People will not be steered, influenced or ‘taken with’ unless the development initiative has positive meaning within their context” (Kotze & Kotze 1996:7).
Given this background, it is necessary to investigate some of the key sectors in which the various official languages of South Africa are deployed as the core drivers of educational and economic activity, specifically radio, the publishing sector and electronic media and what in addition could be done to optimise the use of our indigenous languages in these sectors in order to break the cycle of intergenerational transmitted poverty.
Click HERE to read the full article:
1 Read Section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa as adopted by the Constitutional Assembly on 8 May 1996 and as amended on 11 October 1996.
2 The National Language Policy Bill approved by Cabinet in 2003 seeks to develop and promote the Bantu languages in order to facilitate economic development via the promotion of multilingualism and develop the capacity of the country’s languages, especially in the context of technologisation (South African Languages Bill 2003).
3 The Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Policy was adopted by Cabinet in 2004. The purpose of this policy is to recognise, affirm, develop, promote and protect IKS systems in South Africa. It is also provides a basis upon which indigenous knowledge can be used to improve the lives of many and to eradicate poverty (Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Policy 2004).
4 The study undertaken by Vuyokazi Nomlomo focused on the impact of language on effective teaching and learning in Science. Two grade four isiXhosa mother tongue groups, one taught in English and the other in isiXhosa, were observed and the data showed that learners taught through the medium of isiXhosa (56%) outperformed those taught in English (30%).
5 A BA degree in Contemporary English Language (CELS) and Multilingual Studies (MUST) was implemented since 2003 at the School of Languages and Communication Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Limpopo.
Houston & Texas News Chron.com - Houston Chronicle
A Mexican television cameraman whose kidnappers tortured him and demanded customized national TV coverage plans to seek asylum in the United States arguing his government can no longer protect him and other journalists against gangsters who kidnap, kill and increasingly seek to control the country's news.
After covering a demonstration at a Coahuila prison in July, Alejandro Hernandez Pacheco was kidnapped by unidentified thugs who held a pistol to his head and forced him to demand that his employer, media giant Televisa, broadcast four videos they wanted Mexicans to see.
Hernandez, now hiding in the U.S., will announce his plans Tuesday in El Paso, his lawyer Carlos Spector told the Houston Chronicle on Monday.
Mexico has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, particularly along its battle-scarred northern border where kidnapping and threats have become increasingly common. At least three other Mexican reporters previously sought asylum in the United States and in Canada since 2008.
Many more have been silenced.
More than 30 journalists and media workers have been murdered or have vanished in Mexico since December 2006, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported this month. "In certain parts of the country, investigative journalism is becoming extinct and even daily reporting on crime is becoming impossible," said CPJ's Carlos Lauria.
Yet many believe the audacious and well-publicized demands of Hernandez' kidnappers signaled an appalling new era in an ongoing campaign of violence against the Mexican media.
"It really represents a historical escalation when the cartels are now attacking the national media — reporters have been kidnapped and held hostage from a national chain," Spector said. "They had controlled (reporters) locally and they felt empowered that if they could control local media, the next logical step was to control the national media."
In all, four broadcast journalists who worked for the huge multinational media company Televisa and another company called Multimedios were hijacked after they reported on a protest at a prison in Torreon, Coahuila. The prison director had just been arrested and accused of releasing prisoners at night to carry out organized crime hits.
Hernandez filmed the demonstration for a nationally televised program called Punto de Partida. Afterward, he and the others were car-jacked and held captive by unidentified men. The captives were then forced to demand videos be aired in exchange for their lives.
Multimedios aired them; Televisa refused - instead showing nothing during several minutes of Punto de Partida's regular air time. Eventually, all four captives got released or escaped. Hernandez ran for his life when kidnappers thought rescuers were closing in.
The kidnappers remain at large.
Hours after the rescue, Mexican government officials presented the freed journalists at a Mexico City press conference and linked their attackers to Sinaloa cartel boss Joaquin "Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman Loera — an action that Hernandez' lawyer said endangered Hernandez' life and prompted him to flee to the states.
Each year, about 3,000 Mexican citizens file for asylum with U.S. immigration courts, though many later withdraw or abandon those efforts, statistics show.
Still, in the last four years, the number of Mexicans granted asylum after pro-actively seeking U.S. government protection and proving they faced real threats has more than doubled from 84 as of September 2006 to 192 through September 2009, annual statistics by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security show.
Many Mexican asylum-seekers had family members who were killed in recent drug-related violence or faced threats as members of the Mexican government or police forces, according to information released Monday by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Previous U.S. asylum applications filed by two journalists who fled from Chihuahua in 2008, however, remain pending, according to Spector, the El Paso-based lawyer who also has been helping them. One hearing isn't scheduled until 2011.
Meanwhile, another former border reporter for the national Mexican daily Reforma sought and was granted asylum in Canada. The former specialist in organized crime coverage and human rights award winner is now working as a janitor.
At least, he said, his wife and children are safe.
"They had suffered too much," said Luis Horacio Nájera. "They didn't have social life, we couldn't go to parks or restaurants... I didn't feel comfortable in public places because I knew that things were dangerous."
Watch video here:
(CNN) -- Mexico celebrates its bicentennial Wednesday, an event known as "El Grito," the shout for independence first credited to a Catholic priest who demanded freedom from Spain. For many Mexicans today, though, it's a quiet shout of despair.
The country is mired in a bloody drug war that has seen more than 28,000 people killed in less than four years. The economy has barely begun to rebound from the global downturn, which hit Mexico harder than most Latin American countries. Tourism, a major lifeblood for the nation, is drastically down because of the violence and a flu pandemic last year that began in Mexico. And oil revenues, long a rich sustenance for the nation's economy, also have suffered a major collapse.
Despite government efforts to hold a vast celebration that one leading newspaper called part Disney and part infomercial, many Mexicans are just not feeling it.
"The climate in which we're living in this country does not lend itself to a real celebration," said Adrian Jesus Garrido Gomez, who owns a car rental company and chauffeur service in Villahermosa, the capital of southeastern Mexico's Tabasco state.
Garrido sounds leery of the nearly $232 million (about 2.97 billion pesos) the government says it has spent on celebrations in Mexico City. The lavish events Wednesday night will feature a parade, fireworks and a show that has merited visits by five Latin American presidents and dignitaries from 50 nations.
"They are grabbing it as an effort to make us forget everything that is happening in the country," Garrido said. "It's more of a distraction."
That distraction does not seem to be working.
"Mexico is downbeat," said Peter Hakim, president emeritus of the Inter-American Dialogue, a non-partisan policy institute in Washington. "People are nervous about the future."
Andrew Selee, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Mexico Institute, sees Mexico at a crossroads.
"It's a time of soul-searching," he said Wednesday.
It's also a time of anxiety for authorities, who want to make sure the festivities go off without any major incidents or violence from the nation's organized crime groups.
A bombing at a Grito celebration two years ago in Michoacan state left eight dead and more than 100 wounded.
More recently, narcotrafficking cartels have taken to setting off car bombs, an unprecedented event in the nation's drug wars.
Authorities have dispatched more than 14,000 police and troops to the streets of Mexico City to guard the peace. More than 2 million people are expected to throng the streets of the central city to watch the parade.
Mexico formally recognizes its independence day each September 16 -- Thursday -- but the major celebration traditionally begins the night before.
Close to midnight, President Felipe Calderon will make the symbolic shout "Viva Mexico" in the city's Plaza de la Constitucion, better known as the Zocalo. It is one of the largest plazas in the world. The shout pays tribute to a priest who called for sparked Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain on Sept. 16, 1810.
Other cities have canceled celebrations. Juarez, the most violent city in the country, is one of them. Celebrations also were canceled in Tabasco state.
That's probably a good thing, Garrido said.
"You can't openly go out and celebrate," he said.
Besides the security concerns, there's another reason Garrido does not feel like celebrating -- the economy. Rain and recent storms have washed over much of Villahermosa, damaging the tourist trade upon which the father of two young boys relies for his chauffeur and car rental business.
"The little that I make goes to pay bills," he said.
Gone this year, he said, is the usual trip over the holiday to visit his wife's parents in nearby Veracruz.
"We're going to have to do it in a more simple way," he said.
Despite the problems and the worries, Selee says Mexicans will rally around the flag this week.
"By tonight, people will celebrate," he said Wednesday morning. "When people around the country shout, 'Viva Mexico,' they will come together with pride about Mexico."
But how long will that last?
"People will put aside their differences for 24 to 48 hours," Selee said.
Some might say it's not much of a reprieve for a country celebrating 200 years since it first tried to gain independence.
EMILIANO ZAPATA, NAHUA (AZTECA), AFRICAN, AND SPANISH
Emiliano Zapata (August 8, 1879-April 10, 1919) was born in Anenecuilco, Morelos, Mexico, to peasant parents, Gabriel Zapata and Cleofas Salazar, and he was the ninth of ten (10) children. As for Zapata's origins: Birth records for Zapata were burned in a town fire, and race was not noted in Mexican government records of his time.
Spanish census data did show race, and from it some extrapolations can be made. "Zapata was said to be from a family that went back generations in the valley, and it was said that by Emiliano's time, all of the old families were interbred in one manner or another.
The Spanish data for "Cuautla" shows 4 households of Zapatas. Three of the four are Afro-Mexican, "pardo". One of the Afro-Mexican Zapata homes was next door to two Afro-Mexican families with the name of one of Emiliano's other grandparent lines, the Cerezos. All told, two thirds of the families of Emiliano grandparent lines were Afro-Mexican. The reason that Emiliano's African roots are not in the history books, is because "they" do not want the people to be aware of his African roots. (There is a lot of our culture and history that is put away from the people.) We all need to be aware that some African people came to the present-day Americas (Mexico) thousands of years ago.
(Some of us are also part Chinese, because the Chinese people came to the present-day Americas (Mexico) in 2640 B.C., and some of us writer's of our culture and history can prove all this information in federal court.)
Emiliano Zapata, was a great leader for the Native people of Mexico, he and his people were fighting for their land. Zapata also spoke Nahuatl fluently, and most of his men were full-blooded Native people.
In the 1910 Mexican Revolution, Zapata and Pancho Villa were the Native Mexican leaders. And with the support of Pancho Villa, (Pascual Orozco) Emiliano Zapata overthrew Porfirio Diaz, the president-dictator of Mexico, and the governor of Morelos, Pablo Escandon.
During the first weeks of 1911, Zapata continued to build his native organization in Morelos, training and equipping his people and consolidating his authority as their leader.
For the next 8 years Zapata and his men began to overthrow city after city with gaining momentum. The battle for their land continued and the Mexican government forces could never completely defeat Zapata and his native people.
On April 10, 1919, Col. Jesus Guajardo invited Zapata to a meeting, intimating that he intended to defect to the revolutionaries. However, when Zapata arrived at the Hacienda de San Juan, in Chinameca, Ayala municipality, Guajardo's men riddled Zapata with bullets. They then took his body to Cuautla to claim the bounty, where they are reputed to have been given only half of what was promised.
Zapata's influence lasts to this day, particularly in revolutionary tendencies in south Mexico. But in modern times, Zapata is one of the most revered national heroes of Mexico.
Emiliano Zapata, was only fighting for the land of the Native people of Mexico.
IN THE SPIRIT OF BOBBY GARCIA AND DALLAS THUNDERSHIELD
By: Henry Guzman Villalobos (Aztec-Yaqui Native American Indian)
Founder/President of Native Americans of the Americas Committee