Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Yankton Sioux Challenges ‘Plenary Power’ Doctrine in DAPL Case:
In one of the most insightful analyses of facts and strategy on resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, the author applauds Yankton Sioux’s complaint that the U.S. Has violated Article VI of the Constitution
The Yankton Sioux and their Chairman, Robert Flying Hawk, have broken new ground in litigation against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect the waters of the Missouri River from invasion and desecration by the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL): Their complaint challenges the federal Indian law concept of “plenary power,” by which the U.S. claims total authority over Indians and Indian lands.
To my knowledge, a litigation challenge to federal Indian law basic concepts has only been done once before, by the Western Shoshone National Council in 1995. The Western Shoshone challenged the whole structure based on the so-called “right of Christian Discovery”—including the “trust doctrine” that the U.S. uses in conjunction with “plenary power.”
Standing Rock and other parties challenging DAPL have limited their arguments to conventional federal Indian law and U.S. statutes like the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. These arguments presume the U.S. does have a “right” to dominate Indian country, but challenge the specifics of the domination—such as whether the U.S. followed proper procedures in its claim of domination.
The Yankton Sioux complaint raises those issues, but goes beyond, stating, the “alleged [plenary] powers in fact violate Article VI of the United States Constitution which declares treaties to be the supreme law of the land. Federal approvals for a trespass to the Tribe’s treaty territory violate Article VI….”
Yankton Sioux further states that the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires “the Tribe’s free, prior and informed consent is required” for any action like DAPL that affects Indigenous Peoples and their lands.
The 1958 U.S. invasion of Standing Rock through U.S. Public Law 85-915 to build the Oahe dam illustrates the problem with the concept of “plenary power”: it was the claimed basis for the U.S. Congress authorization of the dam—”To provide for the acquisition of lands by the United States required for the reservoir created by the construction of Oahe Dam on the Missouri River.”
Prior to that public law, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota said Treaties between the U.S. and the Sioux Nation prevented any dam building without the consent of the Sioux. The court then set up the basis for invasion by saying Congress could “abrogate” the Sioux Treaty, even though the Treaty says the lands are “for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians” and that there can be no cession of land except with the consent of three-fourths of the adult male Indians.
The U.S. says “plenary power” derives from the U.S. Constitution. Many scholars have criticized this argument and shown through historical evidence that the Constitution does not provide for “plenary power” over Indians.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has joined the scholarly critique. In a concurring opinion in U.S. v. Bryant (2016), Thomas said, “Congress’ purported plenary power over Indian tribes rests on even shakier foundations. No enumerated power—not Congress’ power to ‘regulate Commerce … with Indian Tribes,’ not the Senate’s role in approving treaties, nor anything else—gives Congress such sweeping authority. … [T]he Court has searched in vain for any valid constitutional justification for this unfettered power.”
Critiques showing “plenary power” has no basis in the U.S. Constitution are important, but they beg a fundamental question: How does anyone—even the critics— presume the U.S. Constitution could govern Native Nations? Even when the U.S. Congress enacted the Northwest Ordinance to propose new colonial territories, it acknowledged Native Nations’ lands, which “shall never be taken from them without their consent.”
Native Nations have been in existence far longer than the United States. The Constitution of the United States sets up a government for the United States. Native Nations are not a party to that constitution. How could it govern them, let alone provide “plenary power” against them?
The U.S. Supreme Court has admitted that Native Nations are not party to the constitution: In Blatchford v. Native Village of Noatak and Circle Village (1991), Justice Scalia dismissed an argument about tribal sovereign immunity by saying, “it would be absurd to suggest that the tribes surrendered immunity in a convention to which they were not even parties.”
What does provide the basis for “plenary power”? The answer: the so-called “right of Christian Discovery,” by which the U.S. claims it has a right of domination over Indigenous Peoples.
Why does the “plenary power” doctrine continue to exist in federal Indian law, with so much evidence it has no basis in the U.S. constitution and the admission that the constitution in any event does not include Native Nations?
One part of the answer stems from the U.S. government’s insistence—no matter what the scholars and Justice Thomas say—that it has sovereignty over Native Nations.
The Supreme Court approved that insistence in 1903, in Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, where it stated that “Plenary authority…has been exercised by Congress from the beginning, and the power has always been deemed a political one, not subject to be controlled by the judicial department of the Government.”
In other words, the U.S. government claims that Congress does not have to justify its “plenary power” based on its “right of discovery”!
But Native Nations have also played a part in perpetuating the dangerous doctrine of “plenary power.” They often rely on the doctrine when they see it as protection against the states. This happens frequently. But for every Indian “win” under that doctrine, they dig themselves deeper into a hole under the domination of the federal government.
The Yankton Sioux challenge to the doctrine suggests another question: Do Native Nations need to rely on the dangerous, two-edged concept of “plenary power”?
By asserting treaty rights and the U.N. Declaration, Yankton Sioux begins to stand on their own in an international relations context. Yankton Sioux puts this position forward as their first “claim for relief,” followed by conventional claims based on historic preservation and environmental laws. Unfortunately, the Yankton Sioux critique of “plenary power” does not extend to a critique of the “trust” doctrine, which results in an element of confusion in their position.
Nevertheless, the move by Yankton Sioux deserves strong support from other Native Nations. My research so far shows only one other Native Nation moving in that direction: The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.
In an Appendix to an amici curiae brief filed by the National Congress of American Indians, Yakama Nation characterizes DAPL as “a continuation of the domination exercised by the non-Native governments first supported by the Inter Caetera Papal Bull of 1493 and continuing into modern American government practices. The Papal Bull and so-called ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ that has dehumanized Original Nations have continuing and extraordinary influence in Indian country beginning with Johnson v. M’Intosh, and continuing to modern times in Tee-Hit-Ton v. US in 1955, and the Oneida line of cases, culminating in City of Sherrill in 2005.”
The “plenary power” doctrine—based on “Christian Discovery”—has two faces, and one of them cuts sharply against Native Nations. Every time the U.S. wants to invade Native lands or interfere with Native governments, it relies on its claim of “plenary power.” It did this against Standing Rock in 1958 and wants to do it again with DAPL.
By Peter d'Errico. Peter d’Errico graduated from Yale Law School in 1968. He was Staff attorney in Dinébe’iiná Náhiiłna be Agha’diit’ahii Navajo Legal Services, 1968-1970, in Shiprock. He taught Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1970-2002. He is a consulting attorney on Indigenous issues.*
Yellow Resonant Warrior
I channel in order to question
I seal the output of intelligence
With the resonant tone of attunement
I am guided by the power of elegance
I am a galactic activation portal
The law of karma-dharma can be altered, allowing the human the opportunity to replace negative lines of fore with positive lines of force.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Sahasrara Chakra (Dali Plasma)
Monday, February 27, 2017
Native History: AIM Occupation of Wounded Knee Begins:
Wounded Knee is hailed as one of AIM's greatest successes
This Date in Native History: On February 27, 1973, about 250 Sioux Indians led by members of the American Indian Movement converged on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, launching the famous 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee.
Set in the same impoverished village as the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre, the occupation called global attention to unsafe living conditions and generations of mistreatment from federal and local agencies. The occupation, which began during the evening of February 27, is hailed as one of AIM’s greatest successes.
“In a way, it was a very beautiful experience,” said Len Foster, a Navajo man who joined AIM in 1970 and was at Wounded Knee for the entire 71 days. “It was a time to look at the commitment we made and a willingness to put our lives on the line for a cause.”
Formally founded in July 1968, AIM included activists like Russell Means, Clyde Bellecourt and Dennis Banks. The organization, which at one point was labeled one of 50 terrorist groups in the country, actually started more than 200 years earlier, according to a 2013 book published by the Minnesota Historical Society, We Are Still Here: A Photographic History of the American Indian Movement.
More than two centuries before AIM was formed, Sitting Bull, the Hunkpapa Lakota chief who helped defeat Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn, said American Indians would defend their rights.
“We are poor… but we are free,” Sitting Bull said. “No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die… we die defending our rights.”
Wounded Knee was not the first AIM occupation—or the only one. Members of the movement participated in the takeover of 74 federal facilities, including Mount Rushmore, the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C., and the replica of the Mayflower. Protesters used the occupations to call attention to Indian rights and demand that the government honor its treaty obligations.
The Wounded Knee occupation began after elders of the Oglala Sioux tribe complained about being ignored by a corrupt tribal government. Unable to impeach Chairman Dick Wilson, who had a private police force on his side, tribal members asked AIM for help. Wilson, along with his armed supporters known as the Guardians of the Oglala Nation, anticipated the occupation and called in FBI agents and U.S. Marshals, who set up a perimeter about a mile outside of the AIM defense line.
Meanwhile, members of other tribes and civil rights groups flocked to the area to offer support. Both sides were heavily armed and federal troops prohibited people from delivering food or medicine to the protesters. Firefights broke out, and two Sioux men were killed.
AIM members were young. Most were in their early 20s and eager to take a stand against corruption, he said. Federal agents took over the tribe and provided weapons and ammunition.
Protesters on several occasions were prepared to die during the occupation, Russell Means wrote in his 1995 autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread. Prior to taking over the village, the protesters agreed that death was a price they were willing to pay.
“Things could not continue as they were,” Means wrote. “If we didn’t stand up now for our treaty, we would never be able to do so. Our people were ready to die, if necessary, to end the abuse.”
Negotiations were held throughout the occupation with protesters demanding a federal probe into problems on reservations and solutions to long-standing issues of poverty and dependence. The Nixon administration, meanwhile, declared it wanted an end of this “revolutionary Indian element” before it reached other areas of Indian Country.
Nixon’s efforts failed. AIM’s occupation of Wounded Knee led to generations of American Indians who get involved in tribal affairs and civil rights.
“Wounded Knee opened a lot of hearts and minds to what oppression we were suffering,” Means said. “We were downtrodden, oppressed, made to feel ashamed. We were told to cut our long hair, not to participate in ceremonies, to become Christian and burn our medicine bundles. All the decisions we made at Wounded Knee affect our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
Protesters surrendered May 8, and federal agents arrested 1,200 people, resulting in 275 cases in federal, state and tribal courts. Among those tried were Means, Bellecourt and Banks, who each faced 11 criminal charges stemming from the occupation. The men were acquitted because of evidence that the FBI had manipulated key witnesses.*
By Alysa Landry
Kin 175: Blue Rhythmic Eagle
I organize in order to create
I seal the output of vision
With the rhythmic tone of equality
I am guided by my own power doubled.
The fifth-dimensional higher self is always working to see if the third-dimensional being will ever wake up.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Anahata Chakra (Silio Plasma)
Sunday, February 26, 2017
President Barack Obama places the Medal of Freedom, the U.S.’s highest civilian honor, around the neck of Suzan Shown Harjo on November 24, 2014. Harjo has been a lifelong activist in a wide variety of issues.
8 Reasons Why Feminism Matters in Indian Country:
Six women discuss how tradition and feminism come naturally
Being a Native feminist today often means resisting the dominant culture’s influence. Traditional women may know their value within their community and family, but when those same women go outside the tribe for work, professional support or services, they have to deal with a patriarchal society.
“My feeling is why should we, as part of the Manifest Destiny, accept that women are inferior,” asked Elizabeth Parent, Athabascan/Yupik, who instituted the Native Studies Department at San Francisco State. “Feminism is very relevant to Native women,” she said, adding, “The women in politics today are the women that men approve of.”
Nicole Bowman-Farrell, Mohican/Lunaape, president of award-winning business Bowman Performance Consulting, agrees. “I believe Denise Juneau in Montana is the only Native female elected official in the United States. There are a lot of traditional women who are tribal council presidents and directors, but on the national level, not so much.”
Business and Economic Development
Bowman-Farrell believes that in business and economic development, “the networks are male dominated, and I think many women have applied. Education, health, and human services: those are the organizations that Native women run. There is still a gap in the opportunities for women’s businesses versus male businesses,” she said.
Arigon Starr, Kickapoo, an award-winning musician and comic book creator, agreed, adding that the patriarchal society dominates all of the businesses she is involved in. “My mother always used to say, ‘You gotta be better than the dominant culture. When somebody sees you as a Native, you already have so many stereotypes and prejudices against you. That’s why we have to keep on this and why feminism is even more relevant now.”
Traditionally, Bowman-Farrell said, inter-generational mentoring of women played a big part in the progress of women, but some of that has suffered through colonization. “I think there needs to be a lot more female-to-female mentoring across the generations. Mentoring is a way of keeping the old ways alive in contemporary work. For indigenous people, being highly competitive in business and academia, that’s not traditional at all.”
Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee, president of Morningstar Institute and famed activist, said feminism should start with women supporting other women. “I think it’s high time that Native women stop trying to fight each other for the small pieces of the pie. When we support each other it is so powerful—we are so powerful. When we don’t support each other, we are literally our own worst enemies.”
“Mentors are incredibly important in this day and age,” Starr added, noting that mentors, including women in her family, have played a huge part in her life.
Feminism as Empowerment
“As time has gone by, people have forgotten how it used to be,” Starr said. “Feminism needs to be stronger, but for some reason, feminism has a negative connotation. It is about empowerment and has always been about empowerment for women.”
Being traditional and being a feminist are related, Starr said. “Maybe some people think feminism is about burning your bras or acting like a man, but that was an early part of the movement. Now it’s trying to find ways into a business. When I go to comic book conventions, everyone who is in charge is a white male. I still have the problem of, ‘Oh, you draw? Isn’t that nice, isn’t that sweet.’ There are a lot of enlightened people out there, but by and large, I get counted out a lot because of how I look, because I am a woman, and because I am a Native American.
“Being strong in your culture, being strong and respecting your traditions, those things have to come with you wherever you go. You have to travel strong, and that is the message about feminism that has gotten lost; that you have to be true to yourself and you have to carry these things with you,” Starr said.
Feminism and Overcoming Trauma
“One of the most horrendous things that is holding us down as a people is the abuse of women. One of the most dangerous things to be in this society is an Indian woman,” Parent said.
Robin Poor Bear, Oglala Lakota, who was featured in the PBS series, “Kind Hearted Woman,” noted that childhood trauma, alcohol, and drugs can play a part in undermining a woman’s sense of empowerment. When Poor Bear was a youth, sexual abuse left her with a shaky sense of self. “I was always told what to say; that my thoughts were wrong and my body’s reactions were wrong. That continued into my adulthood, and I couldn’t make my own decisions at all. I was so afraid of doing what I wanted to do because everyone was telling me, ‘Shhh, don’t talk about that. If you talk about that, this or that is going to happen.’”
For Poor Bear, the decision to do the series “Kind Hearted Woman” came from a dream, a vision, that it was time to tell. “I gave everything up to God, to Takashina. I began to trust myself, I began to love myself. Now I know, if I am going to make a decision and if it turns out terribly, that’s okay. You just go on, you get your strength from that. If it turns out awesome, then you did it by yourself. It’s really building self-trust, self-love. And it is the things that do work out, you think, wow, I did it.”
Feminism through Sobriety
Much of Poor Bear’s personal strength came from her commitment to sobriety. “I had to remove myself from everybody who was holding me back. I was essentially killing myself by drinking and with bad relationships where there was domestic violence. I decided to fill my life with positive, healthy people and it made the difference. That’s what helps you resist domestic violence. You have to tell yourself you are not going to be treated like that.”
Poor Bear has been sober for seven years. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t made the decision to sober up. Now, whatever life throws at me, it is going to be okay.”
Feminism and Family Life
“Part of what the Europeans have distorted is the idea that women are inferior to men. The fact is, we give life; we nurture life, we deliver life. We carry male and female within our bodies for nine months,” Parent said.
Sunny Clifford, Oglala Lakota, and her baby are in California and her husband travels often with the Marines. She wonders why the dominant culture is so fond of the nuclear family structure. “It’s lonely, it’s difficult, and I wish I lived with or near my parents or my grandparents. The mainstream looks down on 10 people living in one house, but that’s how it’s always been, how it was in the tipis.”
As a mother and a wife, Clifford, who was featured in the PBS series “Young Lakota,” doesn’t see herself as any less of a feminist. “I see this as an opportunity to raise a feminist,” she said as laughter crept into her voice, “to create millions of feminists, to take over the world, one uterus at a time!” Getting serious again, she said, “We are the feminist mothers who are raising the children who will be the next generation of feminists. We are just as important to the feminist movement as the women who are working and have careers or choose not to have kids,” Clifford said.
Putting The Mocs On The Other Foot
“They talk about equality in the workplace, that’s the male dominant structure, that’s what has been distorted. Put those men in high heels and corsets and wear their hair the way we like it for 300 or 400 years; say what we want to hear.” Laughing, Parent said, “That might calm them down some.”*
Kin 174: White Overtone Wizard
I empower in order to enchant
I seal the output of timelessness
With the overtone tone of radiance
I am guided by the power of spirit.
Synchronicity is divine law and order. It is the norm of the universe.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Manipura Chakra (Limi Plasma)
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Moya-Smith: Radio Jockey Calls For Segregation of Native American Basketball Players
Paul Mushaben, a radio host in Billings, Montana, was not suspended after calling for the segregation of Native Americans students.
Paul Mushaben is a symbol of all that is wrong and rotten in this country. Indeed, he is the latest media-based bigot to publicly spew his racist depravity onto the airwaves; from his dark hole at KTCR in Billings, Montana – a studio riddled with wires and dials and his seething hate – the clannish jackal radio jockey called for the segregation of a group of Native Americans … kids, to be exact.
Mushaben said that the Montana High School Association (MHSA) should consider creating a separate basketball tournament for Native American students because they are “unruly” and “disrespectful of the facility,” he uttered. On Tuesday, Mushaben wrote on KTCR’s website (a post that has since been taken down) that an “Indian team involved in a tournament left people re-thinking if it’s worth it or not to host a tourney,” The Washington Post reported.
Mushaben added that having Native American student athletes participating in the tournament is “not safe anymore … enough is enough and it’s the kids that suffer.”
In response to Muchaben’s overt ugliness, the league’s Executive Director, Mark Beckman, told the Billings Gazette that “the MHSA will not exclude or discriminate against any participants or their fans, and further is concerned with the intolerance expressed through certain online postings and social media.”
Adding insult to injury, Mushaben took his putrescence a step farther in an interview with the Gazette: “It seems that the majority of the problems occur when Native Americans play,” Mushaben said, according to The Washington Post. Mushaben then likened the situation to gang violence that “comes basically from the African American community.”
Let’s face it, folks, Trump’s bigotry has unleashed the savage racist beast in people – many who, at one time, would’ve kept such viciousness to themselves – and that may be the case with Mushaben here; maybe he was a decent man at one point, a gent who’d offer his seat to a sweet old Native American lady with grocery bags, but then Trump twisted his skull and rotted his heart. Well, who’s to say? The discrimination of Native Americans in places like Montana is no secret; it’s widely known, even to weekend travelers who’ll never go to the state simply to avoid people like Mushaben.
I’m not a professional sports fan, really. If they’re not seedy politicians, I could give two shits about the doings or stats of the seriously rich. I admit I’ll enjoy the occasional game on the tube whilst wolfing down a pizza and garlic knots, but even I know that unruliness is the name of the game in sports, whatever level. You don’t have to be a certain creed or color to go completely ape shit because of a foul or bad call or a lost game with some sworn enemy rival team. I recall seeing a corpulent white, middle-aged Denver Broncos fan gnaw on the neck of a fat fanatic in an Oakland Raiders jersey who had the balls to yell at him, “Oh! How’dya like that, man!?” Their wives or girlfriends – whoever the hell they were – had to pull them apart like two humping dogs snared at the crotch; children cried in the distance, one in particular was in a complete tantrum because she was left standing alone in the parking lot amid booming jeers and cheers and “fuckin’ lay into him!” to witness as the fat man in the black and silver jersey pummeled haymakers square into her father’s eye socket, slamming the back of his head into the pavement.
But that’s sports. And these were white men, not Native Americans.
It’s people like Mushaben that remind us that we’re really not that far from the days when white people reveled in segregation, championed it, and blamed all people of color for being “unruly.” Even then, going back as recent as the ‘60s, they’d declare that, since the brown and black families moved in, it’s “not safe anymore … enough is enough and it’s the kids that suffer.”
Remember a couple years ago in Rapid City, South Dakota, when a posse of white racists doused beer on the heads of Native American kids at a hockey game there? The man found responsible got a slap on the wrist, remember that? You want to talk about what’s “not safe anymore,” Mr. Mushaben? Being Native American in places like Rapid City and Bismarck and Billings is not safe – because of people like you, and it hasn’t been safe since the cavalry came over the hill with that Christian cross preaching conversion or death. Know your history, Paul. You’re OUR guest. You and yours have invariably been our guest. We’re not yours. “Fish and guests stink after three days.” The flip-flopper Benjamin Franklin said that, and it’s been a hell of a lot longer than a triplicate of days since the white undocumented farm worker (or, to be P.C., the “colonists”) stumbled here dirty and needing help tilling the soil. Centuries later, people of color are STILL told “we don’t want your kind here” by the descendants of those who really didn’t believe that “all men are created equal,” but did believe, however, that “inalienable rights” were exclusively for themselves. The jackasses.
America has not evolved as much as folks wish to believe. Trump is an example of that. Bannon is an example of that. Morton County Sheriffs are an example of that, and Mr. Mushaben is, indeed, an example of how far we haven’t come as a society and how far we still have to go in this failing republic of reprobates and wiggy right wing radicals.
Still, it takes a certain kind of degenerate to go after kids, kids of color, and in the same breath suggest segregation. Well, that’s ‘Merica. Foul shit. I’m not surprised by this latest iteration of evil, nor am I surprised that Mr. Mushaben hasn’t been suspended or fired by KTCR, because that’s this country – a place where Native American kids are doused with booze by sauced assholes who walk away scot free, where Sheriffs take aim with loaded rifles at water protectors, and where radio jockeys can call for the segregation of Native American kids because he thinks they are “unruly.”
I, for one, would rather be unruly than a racist. But that’s just me.*
By Simon Moya-Smith
Kin 173: Red Self-Existing Skywalker
I define in order to explore
I seal the output of space
With the self-existing tone of form
I am guided by the power of universal water
I am a galactic activation portal
Universal cosmic mind means the cosmos in its entirety is contained and or originated in the universal intelligence, or the mind or God.*
The Sacred Tzol'in
Visshudha Chakra (Alpha Plasma)
Friday, February 24, 2017
Considering Native artists are underrepresented in artists-in-residency programs, the Institute of American Indian Arts Artist-in-Residence program, has just named accomplished Navajo jeweler and sculptor Fritz Casuse the newest resident, bringing in a total of 28 artists from the Pacific Northwest, the Upper-Midwest, and the Southwest.
Fritz Casuse is a well-known and respected artist in the Santa Fe Native art community that has won top awards at the SWAIA Indian Art Market and the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market. He is also a sculptor and brings this expertise to his handcrafted jewelry-making, creating highly dimensional, complex and textured jewelry pieces that are elegant, fluid and full of movement.
His family is from Twin Lakes outside of Gallup, New Mexico. He attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in 1996 taking studio arts in painting, sculpture and clay but soon got the jewelry bug. In 1998 he went out and started his new career by buying used equipment from a pawn shop and basing himself in a work ethic learned from his welder-carpenter father.
From 2000 on he started to participate in the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Museum Indian Market and later with Native Treasures in Santa Fe, the Autry Museum Market in Los Angeles and Oklahoma markets.
Fritz Casuse said the road wasn’t easy. “It’s hard going on the road and ending up having to ‘educate’ buyers and potential clients about my designs. They don’t get it, my designs are out of the box. I can go out of my way for a concept.” He also discovered that traveling would also take away from his new found interest in teaching students.
It seems his upbringing and self-taught background was conducive to teaching. He had a regular teaching position at Poeh Cultural Center in Pojoaque, New Mexico, which has had a good reputation for local artists to come and share their knowledge with native and non-native students, while producing their own work.
Fritz Casuse has a presence on retail jewelry sites such as Shumakolowa at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque and the major retail site QVC where he creates lines just for that outlet. He can also be found at Towa Artists, which is based at Pojoaque Pueblo and whose artists teach and exhibit at the Poeh Center.
Fritz Casuse just started teaching at Arizona State University in Tempe and actually commutes between that new teaching position during the week and his one month residency with IAIA around the weekend. Most artists may prefer to remain in their studios or homes or a home base of operation, but Fritz is always on the go and he imparts this energy and passion to his students.
Student Tiffany Adams (Chemehuevi/Maidu) said, “I learned a lot from Fritz over the last four weeks. We’ve just been bugging him and picking his brain. He’s an awesome teacher.” Stephanie Alie (Santa Clara) has been able to follow Fritz from Poeh Center to IAIA because “He is such an amazing teacher. I studied with him at Poeh and I’ve been persistent and followed him to IAIA.”
Indian Country was at the IAIA jewelry studio and found out that Fritz and some of the IAIA jewelry students would be conducting a gold casting session later in the evening, and we have the photos to show you. Casuse ends his IAIA residency on February 19 and will be found teaching at ASU-Tempe on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
To see designs by Fritz Casuse, visit the Towa Artist’s website.*
By Alex Jacobs
Kin 172: Yellow Electric Human
I activate in order to influence
I seal the process of free will
With the electric tone of service
I am guided by the power of intelligence.
Manage all your actions, words, and thoughts accordingly since your can at any moment quit life.*
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Svadhistanha Chakra (Kali Plasma)
Thursday, February 23, 2017
In North Dakota, the main resistance camp set up by Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline has been largely vacated after protesters were ordered to leave the camp on Wednesday. Police arrested around 10 people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor had imposed a noon eviction deadline for the hundreds of water protectors still living at the resistance camp. Prayers ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on unceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. A couple dozen people remain at the camp. The ongoing encampments in North Dakota were the largest gathering of Native Americans in decades. At its peak, more than 10,000 people were at the resistance camp. Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River. We go to Standing Rock to speak with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and Linda Black Elk.
AMY GOODMAN: In North Dakota, the main resistance camp set up by Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline has been largely vacated, after protesters were ordered to leave the camp on Wednesday. Police arrested, we believe, 10 people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor had imposed a noon eviction deadline for hundreds of water protectors still living at the resistance camp. Prayer ceremonies were held Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began.
Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on un-ceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. A couple dozen people, we believe, are still remaining at the camp. The ongoing encampments in North Dakota were the largest gathering of Native Americans in decades. At its peak, more than 10,000 people were at the various resistance camps.
Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration reversed the Obama administration and granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River.
We go now to North Dakota, where we’re joined by two guests. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a founder of the Sacred Stone Camp, which continues. Linda Black Elk is an ethnobotanist and head of the Medic and Healer Council at Standing Rock.
Why don’t we begin with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard? You are—run the Sacred Stone Camp, which is on your property. But the main resistance camp, people were evicted yesterday and arrested. Can you tell us what happened?
LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: So, at the Oceti Sakowin Camp, the people were given a 2:00 deadline to leave the camp. And we had like a small snowstorm that came in, and also rain. And right now, to get people out of the camps is almost impossible with the mud. Trucks are stuck, stuck in the mud. People are trying their best to follow, but the weather has not been cooperating. So, at 2:00, we figured they would come in. We went on the hills to pray. And at 3:00, they still had not come in. And at 4:00, we got word that they were coming in. Then, about 4:30 or so, they arrested some media people. And that was about 10 people that got arrested yesterday, mostly all media. And the police and National Guard and stuff backed off and said they would be in the camp at 9:00 this morning.
AMY GOODMAN: Today, in just a few hours. You’re an hour behind Eastern Standard Time. Your camp, however, Sacred Stone Camp, are people still encamped there?
LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: Because of so many people coming in, as we were kind of joking, we’re taking all the refugees from Oceti. I had cars all the way up to the gate. People are coming in with tipis and tents. I think that our camp has quadrupled in the last 24 hours.
AMY GOODMAN: How many people, would you estimate, are on your land? Now, that’s private property. That’s yours, along the Cannonball River.
LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: So we were averaging about 200, when the numbers got really low, and then we had the veterans come in, and they must be a couple thousand veterans, and all the new people. So, I don’t even have an account. There are a lot of people.
AMY GOODMAN: Linda Black Elk, can you talk about what’s happening now and where you see the standoff at Standing Rock headed and why it’s important to you?
LINDA BLACK ELK: Well, you know, the whole reason that I got involved in this, I live on Standing Rock, and my children are from here. They’re members of the Standing Rock Nation. And the whole reason I got involved is because I couldn’t stand to see the legacy that their ancestors have left them to be destroyed yet again or to be threatened yet again. And so, I got involved to protect the water. But, you know, I realize that this is about more than just water. This is, of course, about treaty rights also. This is about the protection of sacred sites. But even more so, as an ethnobotanist, I’ve come to realize that this is about the edible and medicinal plants that grow adjacent to the pipeline, right within the path of the pipeline. You know, this pipeline is akin to cultural genocide. So, you know, I know that I have to stand up and keep fighting.
And yesterday, this eviction from the large camp, you know, it’s just—it’s just a part of the process. I’m not deterred at all. LaDonna isn’t deterred at all. We know we have to keep standing. The Dakota Access pipeline, and the fossil fuels industry, in general, has to be fought on all fronts. So we need these camps here. We need people on the front line. We need people locking down at the drill pad to oppose this pipeline. But we also need people fighting the legal battle. We need people in Washington, D.C. We need people to continue to divest from banks that support the fossil fuels industry. And so, you know, this is just a part of the story. It’s just part of it. We have people who have moved into LaDonna’s Sacred Stone Camp, but we also have people who are going down to Texas to fight the Trans-Pecos pipeline. We have people who are going to Louisiana to fight the Bayou Bridge pipeline and Florida to fight the Sabal Trail pipeline. You know, this is—and even up into Canada and the northern United States to fight Enbridge. You know, we started a movement. We will continue to see that movement through for the sake of our children.
AMY GOODMAN: LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, we spoke with you at Sacred Stone Camp when we went to North Dakota, and also at the main resistance camp. This court case that’s scheduled, a hearing for the 27th, can you explain what’s expected to happen there?
LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: The court cases that are coming up, I think there are more than just one on the 27th. There are others that are coming up. Right now, they are just trying to, as again, make them follow the law, to do a complete EIS—
AMY GOODMAN: Environmental impact statement.
LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: Environmental impact statement—and to stop the construction, to sit down and talk. We understand that no matter what we do or say at this moment in time, we must stand by what the legal people are doing. You know, I always tell people, we are doing our best to follow the law, but we are also doing our best to stand up against injustice. And because they did the evictions, they thought they would stop the movement. All they have done is enhanced us. All they have done is made us understand what kind of limits they would go to. We know that when you are on the right side of justice, you continue to stand in prayer and nonviolent resistance, you will win.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain, Linda Black Elk, the fires that were set, some said, to return the land, the resistance camp, to its original condition, before they were evicted? Is that true?
LINDA BLACK ELK: Well, you know, it’s true that controlled burning is certainly a part of the Lakota culture traditionally. You know, the Lakota would burn large pieces of land in order to get certain plants to grow and to enrich the soil. I can’t say that that’s the—that was the goal of the people who set those fires. I think a part of it was just that they didn’t want to see—you know, when people came to camp, when people came to Oceti, they came for the long haul. There were people who built their lives in camp, who even would go to work every day from camp and then come back. You know, they had their families there. You know, it really was about creating a sustainable community where people could live forever. People weren’t putting foundations into the ground, but they were building homes, you know, in Mongolian gers, in traditional Lakota tipis. And so, I think people didn’t want to see their beloved homes taken or confiscated by the same people who are attacking us and oppressing us.
North Dakota has—you know, I’ve said it many times. North Dakota has lost its mind. I’m just a mom, and I’m a teacher. And yet I can tell you dog breeds that have attacked me. I know the difference between tear gas, CS gas and pepper spray, and the difference in the way that those feel. I know how to spot infiltrators and agent provocateurs. You know, I know these things. I’m just a mom, you know, in the Dakotas. I’m just a mom on Standing Rock, working to protect her children. And I know things that I never in my wildest imagination thought that I would have to know. And so, you know, I understand the sort of panic and grief that people were going through. When they burned those structures, part of their hearts were in that. And yeah, it’s just—you know, it’s a continued legacy of oppression by the United States government.
AMY GOODMAN: Was anyone injured in the blaze? We heard two children, a 17-year-old and a seven. Have you heard anything about that?
LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: So, we know a 17-year-old girl was injured—no 7-year-old—when a propane canister blew up that was inside one of the buildings. I will tell you that with what had happened at the front lines when the people came in, and they came in, and they broke up tipi poles and tore down the tipis, they did horrible things to the property. And so, people at Oceti said they did not want that to happen to their property. As you know, each one of a tipi pole is sacred, and how the tipis go up. And so, they were just bulldozing and breaking up these tipi poles, and people did not want to see that.
AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about legislation. In North Dakota, the state House of Representatives has advanced a bill that would allow companies to conceal spills of oil, natural gas and contaminated water. House Bill 1151, passing overwhelmingly, would end a requirement that fossil fuel companies report spills at well sites of less than 10 barrels, or 420 gallons. What do you know about this?
LINDA BLACK ELK: So, you know, we’ve heard over and over one of the arguments for the Dakota Access pipeline: People keep telling us that pipelines are by far safer than traveling over the road or traveling over rail. Well, the issue is, is that pipeline spills don’t get reported at the same rate as those other methods of transportation. And so, we know that—you know, it’s not illegal to leak a little bit of oil, right? It’s not illegal for these pipelines to leak a little bit. So what I know is that that’s always been going on. They have just legalized it and made it so that these companies, who are putting money into the pocketbooks of North Dakota politicians, don’t have to report it. So, you know, they’re friends, and they’re going to keep doing things for each other. That’s all the more reason that we have to stand up and resist.
AMY GOODMAN: So, as we wrap up, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, what is next?
LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD: We continue to stand. We continue to educate. We will be everywhere to let people know that there’s a better way to live, there’s a better way to live with the Earth, with green energy, and that it’s time for us now to start divesting from fossil fuel, because we must save the water. We must save the water.
AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you both for being with us, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, also runs the Sacred Stone resistance camp, and Linda Black Elk, medic and healer and mom, part of the Medic and Healer Council at Standing Rock, an ethno-botanist.*
Kin 171: Blue Lunar Monkey
I polarize in order to play
I seal the process of magic
With the lunar tone of challenge
I am guided by the power of abundance.
Spiritual self-sufficiency is a function of discipline, which is a continuing spiritual sacrifice of the lower self for the higher self.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017,
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Ajna Chakra (Gamma Plasma)