Sunday, April 30, 2017
An actor and now a baller? Actor Martin Sensmeier Scores Game-Winning Buzzer Beater in Juneau Basketball Tournament:
From Standing Rock to Alaska and a new film Wind River, Actor Martin Sensmeier continues to make a lasting impression as a trailblazing Native star and champion baller
Martin Sensmeier just keeps rolling. The 31-year-old Tlingit and Athabascan returned to Alaska in March for the first time since his role as Red Harvest in The Magnificent Seven to play in the 71st Annual Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament in Juneau.
He proved he still has game. Sensmeier swished a game-winning shot for Yakutat against a rival Hoonah. “It’s always a good game against them. We were down towards the end of the game and got a couple buckets and tied it up and then there was like 6 or 7 seconds. We inbounded the ball and I drove the end of the court and nailed the shot.”
The tournament, which he’s been playing in for 13 years now, is one of the highlights of his year, Sensmeier says. “I usually try to make it home every year to play in that. When I do it’s pretty special. All the Southeast Alaskan communities participate.”
Many children gravitated toward Sensmeier, he says. “It’s not so often one of us is in a big movie like that with a character so cool, the kids they loved it. I was surrounded by a lot of kids when I sat in the gym. They all had a bunch of questions. Five or six little kids with mohawks and had all these questions about Red Harvest. It’s hard. I’ve always seen myself has not really changed so I kind of feel like little old me. So walking into a gym and having the people react that way, it kind of was surreal in a way.
“I recognized the platform that film has given me,” Sensmeier adds. “And there’s a lot of responsibility to carry yourself in a respectful way. I just try to do that and set a good example for these kids. And let them know that they can pursue these dreams and it’s ok to dream, to dream big.”
Just days after the tournament, he was utilizing that platform in front of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs testifying as an ambassador for the Boys and Girls Club.
“[I testified] in regards to the diabetes crisis we deal with in Indian country,” Sensmeier says. He also made the senate aware of “the lack of access to healthy foods that a lot of our communities have. We don’t have access to a lot of those nutritional foods.”
Sensmeier considers giving back one of the greatest things he can do. One of the few American Indian actors, he now represents about 200 Boys and Girls Clubs which serve 86,000 Native youth. “A lot of these clubs provide after school programs, meals. Poverty’s a real thing and some of these kids depend on these clubs to have access to nutritious foods and a place to go where mentorship's provided: healthy activities, exercise, stuff like that.”
He might not be in the position he’s in without a little help from his Magnificent Seven co-star, Denzel Washington, the national spokesman for the organization. Sensmeier was invited by a friend to attend the Boys and Girls Club’s 2016 Youth of the Year Gala in Washington, D.C. where he ran into Denzel. “Once I was there I also went to lobby on the hill for funding, and Denzel was there. We got to this meeting and we got the chance to catch up [since filming] and he kind of mentored me a bit. Denzel’s word goes a long ways. He played a small part in helping me get that position as an ambassador. He said it would be a good fit for if you want to give back, if you want to be involved. I was like, ‘yeah, I would like to do that.’”
Sensmeier will be back in the spotlight in August when Wind River — directed by 2017 Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan — is released in the mainstream. The action-crime-thriller starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen is set on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming and also includes Native actors Graham Greene and Gil Birmingham.
“That’s going to be a heavy film,” Martin Sensmeier told ICMN. “It involves a murder mystery and some stuff about missing indigenous women. And there’s never really been a movie about that.”
Martin Sensmeier says it was tough working with Greene, due to his sense of humor. “I played a very dramatic role. He’s such a funny guy. I had to ditch him on the set, man. He’s such a great guy and awesome person to be around and such an interesting person and a a legend that, obviously, I wanted to just take that in and absorb anything I could. But at the same time, I still had to focus on the work.”
Back in Yakutat
Though his career’s just taking off, Martin Sensmeier thinks a lot about home. “Every single day,” he says. “And one day, I’ll move back home. That’s the source. That’s where I get my strength from. That’s where my family’s at and where a lot of my motivation comes from to be out here doing what I’m doing.”
When he came home for the basketball tournament, Martin Sensmeier says he received gifts of smoked salmon and other indigenous foods, which he thoroughly enjoys.
Yakutat, which lies on the Gulf of Alaska, has an undeniable appeal to one of Native America’s newest names in acting. “It’s a small fishing village and it’s beautiful — one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Surrounded by the Saint Elias Mountain Range, the largest in the world. I feel very blessed to say I come from a community like Yakutat.”
Sensmeier says the culture is undergoing revitalization in his home community. “It’s strong. The language. There’s people that are working very hard to bring it back. With each elder that passes on, we lose a lot.”
He’s excited about the re-implementation of a canoe society. “That’s something that was gone a very long time because it was outlawed by the government. In 1904, they broke up all the canoes and they outlawed potlatches, canoeing. One-hundred years later we’re bringing back the canoe; it’s special man. A lot of our identity is connected to the canoe, the language, the land.”
During the peaceful protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, Martin Sensmeier made his way out to North Dakota twice to show his solidarity. “I definitely supported the movement. The people that were there, the water protectors. I was definitely keeping up with it. I know people that were out there for months on end and people that put their lives on the line so I think that there were some very brave people and some that were willing to do whatever it takes to protect the water and the land.”
While Martin Sensmeier might be the biggest thing for Alaskan Indians right now, he recognizes there’s an up-and-comer tailing him into the nation’s spotlight. Kamaka Hepa — a 6-8 Inupiat who is one of the nation’s top basketball recruits who was Alaska’s player of the year as a high school freshman and sophomore before moving to Oregon — is gaining momentum. “I’ve seen him play. The kid’s special. I hope he goes far.”*
Kin 237: Red Electric Earth
I activate in order to evolve
I seal the matrix of navigation
With the electric tone of service
I am guided by the process of birth.
Much of the intelligence that filters to this planet is a function of the highly directed synchro-tronic communication beam that is streaming to earth from the Arcturus galaxy.*
*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, April 29, 2017
Alcoholism is rampant in Whiteclay, shown here.
Fight Over Whiteclay Alcohol Sales Still Going:
Following a Nebraska judge’s ruling to overturn the liquor commission’s decision to pull the liquor licenses, state AG filed an appeal halting sales for the time being
David Rooks • April 28, 2017
Call Thursday the day the music died for Whiteclay’s four beer store owners. For now. After the Nebraska State Liquor Commission’s stunning unanimous decision to deny renewal of licenses to the Whiteclay businesses in Lincoln last week, the legal fur has flown fast and furious.
Beginning Thursday morning, 400 miles east of Whiteclay, Lancaster County District Court Judge Andrew Jacobsen ruled the Liquor Commission acted beyond their scope when they denied renewal of the licenses on April 19. Mere hours later, Nebraska’s Attorney General’s Office challenged Jacobsen’s order citing a law that suspends lower court rulings for up to a half year pending appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court. The state’s appeal supersedes the Judge’s earlier decision, effectively reverting current standing to last week’s bombshell decision.
With Nebraska’s state offices closed for the weekend, starting with Arbor Day today, Jumping Eagle Inn, State Line Liquor, Arrowhead Inn and D&S Pioneer Service will be forced to close at midnight on Sunday. That closure could be permanent. Their attorney, Andrew Snyder, has advised his clients not to sell alcohol after their licenses expire midnight Sunday. Snyder said he will file an appeal on Monday.
Snyder set Thursday’s legal contretemps in motion when he requested a delay to enforcement of the commission’s decision that would keep the four beer stores open upon further appeal. Instead, Judge Jacobsen blew past that request by ruling the commission’s action “void on its face.” He quickly ordered the Liquor Commission to reinstate the licenses to keep the beer stores open.
The judge confined himself to ruling on the Liquor Commission’s lack of legal grounds for refusing to renew the licenses. The commissioners had chiefly cited a woeful lack of adequate law enforcement in Whiteclay, a requirement for a license. But the Lancaster County judge ruled that such a standard can only be applied to new licenses, not existing ones. Jacobsen pointed to a 1996 case when the Grand Island Latin Club received a favorable ruling from the Nebraska Supreme Court. The court said non-renewal of a liquor license can only occur when the license holder has been convicted of a crime.
As might be expected, the beer store owners sent up balloons, while those who just a week ago had shared hugs and kisses in the Liquor Commission hearing room in Lincoln were instantly dismayed and angry. But it was not to last for long. Upon news of the States Attorney’s appeal and its automatic six-months ramifications for the booze merchants – there was no joy in Mudville. Again, for now.
Those who have long fought against alcohol sales in Whiteclay, men like Bruce Bonfleur of Whiteclay and Bryan Brewer of Pine Ridge, are keeping their powder dry. “It’s been a bit topsy-turvy for celebrations. I am sure that this will all work out for the good, in the end,” said Bonfleur. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
All four beer stores face further simmering legal trouble in the form of allegations by the Attorney General of selling to bootleggers operating on the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. A hearing on this and other potential charges looms ahead, the outcome of which, could spell the permanent end of alcohol sales in Whiteclay, a tiny, unincorporated town of eight residents perched right on the border of the Oglala Lakota’s current homeland.
The battle over alcohol sales, and the social pathologies apparent on Whiteclay’s streets, have caused heartache and controversy for years. After several large street protests and demonstrations and appeals to the state over the years, the Liquor Commission decided to require the four beer stores to reapply for their licenses last November. The commission’s stated justification, after several decades of automatic renewals, was concerns about law enforcement after a Sheridan County Commissioner told the Liquor Commission that Sheridan County “absolutely” lacked the ability to provide a minimum of public safety for Whiteclay.
At that same April 6 hearing in Lincoln, Tate win Means, then Attorney General for the Oglala Sioux tribe, told liquor commissioners that criminal acts precipitated by beer sales in Whiteclay occur daily on Pine Ridge Reservation, and that Sheridan County does next to nothing to help. “They take the money, we keep the problems,” said someone in attendance.
As the founder of Lakota Hope Ministry in Whiteclay, Nebraska, Bruce Bonfleur has long believed in the impossible. Call it an article of faith, he says. “About 20 years ago I received a call by God to come to the Pine Ridge Reservation to help restore God’s people, the Lakota. This turn of events is what many of us have been praying for.”
The day of the commission’s ruling, The Lincoln Journal Star reported: “Commissioner Bruce Bailey of Lincoln, his voice shaking, read a list of reasons he felt gave the commission authority to close the stores: the frequency of ambulance calls to Whiteclay and the stores themselves, ‘very moving’ stories of debauchery and violence on the streets in Whiteclay, and a unanimous resolution by the Oglala Lakota Tribe’s executive committee that the beer stores should be closed.”
The Omaha World-Herald reported that “Bruce and Marsha BonFleur and Abram Newman of Lakota Hope told commissioners that they regularly encountered street people who had been assaulted, including women who had been sexually assaulted. Newman said he doesn’t call 911 because it won’t do any good.”
Four unsolved murders in Whiteclay and testimony about sexual assaults of young girls in Whiteclay were a “driving force” behind the decision, Bailey said.
Janice Wiebusch of Kearny, the third commissioner, said that many of the crimes would not have occurred in Whiteclay with adequate law enforcement patrolling. One of the conditions in issuing a liquor license in a community or neighborhood in Nebraska is having adequate law enforcement coverage.
Whiteclay’s four liquor stores, Arrowhead Inn, Jumping Eagle Inn, D&S Pioneer Service and State Line Liquor are restricted to selling only beer and malt beverages.
Besides Snyder’s expected appeal on Monday, the liquor commission will be scheduling a hearing in June involving, “22 alleged violations of liquor statutes by the Whiteclay beer stores, including selling to bootleggers. Those could also result in the stores losing their licenses,” reports the World-Herald.
Since the commission’s ruling, the Nebraska Legislature has approved a new task force to address public health issues surrounding Whiteclay according to the Journal Star. Already, the state has razed two abandoned buildings in Whiteclay that functioned as flop houses. Further work is being done to demolish old foundations where buildings once stood. Hoping to capitalize on the momentum generated by the Liquor Commission’s decision, Bonfleur and other community members have founded Whiteclay Redevelopment Organization. Their desire is to partner with Oglala Lakota tribal members to bring needed businesses to the area.
Roughly estimated, Whiteclay sells 3.5 million cans of beer a year. Beer store owners contend their businesses are legal and that law enforcement is better than it used to be, though the nearest Nebraska law enforcement remains 22 miles away and ambulances from Pine Ridge Reservation respond to nearly 160 potential emergencies in or near Whiteclay annually.
The World-Herald reports, that the last time the commission sought to deny a Whiteclay liquor license was in 2004 and the appeal took 20 months. That denial stemmed from a denial of license for the Arrowhead Inn following evidence stating the store’s owner was unqualified to hold a license. The denial was eventually overturned by the State Supreme Court.*
By David Rooks
Kin 236: Yellow Lunar Warrior
I polarize in order to question
I seal the output of intelligence
With the lunar tone of challenge
I am guided by the power of elegance.
Planet Earth is a repository or receptacle of the full spectrum of the totality of cosmic sky teachings.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Visshudha Chakra (Alpha Plasma)
Friday, April 28, 2017
Climate March to Raise Awareness and Alarms on Trump Policies:
More than 250 marches worldwide for Climate March are part of ongoing battle against Trump administration’s efforts to rollback 50 years of progress
If there’s one good thing Donald Trump has done for the American people since becoming president it’s igniting what our friends across the pond call the loyal opposition. Starting with the day after he was sworn in, Washington, D.C. has been the epicenter for major marches against his policies that threaten to rend the fabric of our nation and our environment.
Next up is a nice follow-up to the recently held March for Science, what has become known as the Climate March on April 29, when 250 marches will take place worldwide. With its roots in the Peoples Climate Movement (PCM) begun in 2014 in New York City, the movement has morphed into the March for Climate, Jobs and Justice, melding the three objectives into a single protest. Thousands have already signed up to participate in Washington, D.C., in what has become an ongoing battle in concert with the March of Science against the Trump administration’s efforts to rollback 50 years of progress on these issues.
According to PCM, the movement is comprised of “a broad-based ground-breaking coalition of hundreds of faith-based, labor unions, indigenous, civil rights and environmental justice groups based around the country working together to build bold solutions that tackle climate change, rooted in economic and racial justice.” PCM’s National Coordinator, Paul Getsos, characterized the movement as one against “…an administration that favors corporate profits over clean air and water, [and] puts our country, our communities and our people at great risk.”
Predicated on Trump’s March 28 Executive Order entitled “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” that would, in Trump’s words, “…lift the restrictions on American energy, and allow this wealth to pour into our communities,” PCM seeks to “push the Trump administration and Congress to do their jobs – protect our planet, our communities and transition to a renewable energy future.” Marchers want to spotlight the disproportionate impact of climate on vulnerable populations – the poor, disenfranchised, and indigenous communities around the world, according to Adrienne L. Hollis, Director of Federal Policy, WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
Trump provoked this reaction because his Executive Order directs departments and agencies to bulldoze the Clean Power Plan (CPP), an Obama legacy that recognizes climate change as impacting social justice. With its key objective to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 32 percent by improving generating efficiency of existing electricity plants that burn fossil fuels, substituting lower CO2 fuel emitters and renewables for coal over 20 years, it was hardly aggressive. But it was irritating for Trump who seeks to revive coal in an America that has gotten used to – and prefers – clean air and water.
Vien Truong, National Director, Green For All, sums it up. “… Trump is determined to protect the fossil fuel industry, no matter the cost…..By cutting carbon pollution from power plants, [the CPP] aims to spark innovation, drive investment and energy efficiency to create jobs and save families money.” Those sentiments are shared by other activists.
Elizabeth Yeampierre, UPROSE, executive director stated, “…we stand defiant in the face of these orders and are prepared to hold the line. We will meet these violent policies with a deeper commitment to a Just Transition away from fossil fuels, toward renewable energy, local resiliency, and a regenerative economy worthy of leaving our children.”
Indigenous community organizers are equally alarmed. Cindy Wiesner, National Coordinator, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, charged that, “The Trump administration continues to demonstrate their value of profit over people, of corporations over the environment, and of greed over a sustainable future. We know that the impacts of climate change fall most directly on indigenous people and communities of color. These frontline communities are leading movements around the world toward Just transition and sustainable energy. Pruitt and this administration are trying to drag us back to dirty coal, an industry that not only destroyed land and water and burned the planet, but also plummeted deeply in global markets. Now is the time to build an economy for our future, not tie ourselves to the dying past.”
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network, added, “As Indigenous Peoples, we still understand our responsibility as guardians and the need to take action as defenders of the Earth. Indigenous Peoples will not stand idle as we tell the world the Earth is the source of life to be protected, not merely a resource to be exploited and abused.”
Canadian Melina Laboucan-Massimo of Indigenous Climate Action sees the need to protest extractive industries’ violence against the land, and to link climate change and the struggles in indigenous tribes globally. “We need to protect Mother Earth. We have rising sea waters on all continents. We know that what happens to the tar sands has international impacts. So, it’s important to have voices from all nations walk in solidarity and work with one another.”
Jordan Marie Daniel, Co-Chair of Rising Hearts, goes even further, seeing the need to “reinvest in our youth and their futures, and [place] people higher plane than profit” by putting our money where our hearts are. “It’s time to divest from banks that profit from human suffering, and reinvest in our own communities… around the world. “If we are related, we must take care of each other. And as the mother who takes care of us is suffering, so will we all,” she believes.
So where do the jobs and justice come in? Judith LeBlanc of Native Organizing, connects the dots. “In Indian country we can’t deal with climate crisis without dealing with crisis of long term unemployment. We know what’s happening with Mother Earth. We know that we can create jobs with green jobs….” Justice derives from doing both.
Nevertheless, Trump and his Environmental Protection (EPA) Secretary Scott Pruitt, as well as many Republicans are staunch climate deniers. And they certainly don’t see the connection between the climate, jobs and justice. Leaders of the March, Indian country, and a mass of participation from those equally minded stand ready to convince them otherwise on Saturday.*
By Renae Ditmer
Kin 235: Blue Magnetic Eagle
I unify in order to create
I seal the output of vision
With the magnetic tone of purpose
I am guided by my own power doubled.
The purpose of the AA Midway station at this particular time is to focus and reconnect an information vortex here on this test tube planet, which is a micro-galactic brain.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Svadhistana Chakra (Kali Plasma)
4/27/17 White Cosmic Wizard/ White Self-Existing World-Bridger - Planetary Dog Moon of Manifestation, Day 24
Estimates about the age of Serpent Mound are changing.
History Got it Wrong: Scientists Now Say Serpent Mound as Old as Aristotle:
The 2014 research has put a hold on Serpent Mound being added to the UNESCO World Heritage List
Serpent Mound in rural Adams County, Ohio, is one of the premier Native American earthworks in the hemisphere. Its pristine flowing form was enhanced by major reconstruction in the 1880s. That reconstruction now appears to have been the second time in its long life that Serpent Mound has shed some of its skin.
Estimates of the age of the earthwork are now radically revised as the result of a new radiocarbon analysis, suggesting that the mound is about 1,400 years older than conventionally thought. The new date of construction is estimated at approximately 321 BCE, one year after the death of Aristotle in Greece.
Signs and other interpretive material have been made obsolete virtually overnight, along with ideas about the indigenous culture responsible for the astounding artwork. A paper by an eight-member team led by archaeologist William Romain was published in the October 2014 of the Journal of Archaeological Science with a free-access summary available on Romain’s website.
The new data alters thinking about three things: the culture responsible for the mound; the Native groups that are direct descendants of those builders; and the purpose and iconography of the work. Dispatching other theories about Serpent Mound’s origin, Romain’s summary concludes: “Both the consensus of opinion and radiocarbon evidence suggest an Adena construction.”
Traditionally, Serpent Mound was attributed to the Adena Culture or Civilization, based on an adjacent conical Adena burial mound, and the similarity of style of the effigy with many other Adena earthworks of the Ohio Valley. Just 30 miles southeast of Serpent Mound were the Portsmouth Works, with only a few surviving remnants, interpreted by the pioneering archaeoastronomer Stansbury Hagar as representing the effigy of a rattlesnake 50 times larger than Serpent Mound, both with species identification features indicative of the timber rattlesnake.
However, an investigation in the 1990s found two charcoal samples in Serpent Mound that dated to the later time of about 1070 CE. Site managers then attributed construction to the Late Woodland “Fort Ancient Culture,” even though the so-called “Fort Ancient Culture” has been disassociated from the Fort Ancient earthwork in Warren County, Ohio, and is not known to have built large earthworks. Indeed it has been misnamed a “culture” and is now understood more as an interaction phenomenon involving multiple ethnolinguistic groups that came together in the Ohio Valley in the Late Woodland Period, between 500 CE and 1200 CE.
“Fort Ancient Culture” is neither a fort, nor ancient, nor a culture. Yet it has been identified as the author of Serpent Mound, except in those circles where the mound has been attributed to giants or space aliens or giant space aliens.
The “Fort Ancient” designation has been problematic, because as an unreal entity, the so-called culture has no clear descendants. Adena, on the contrary, is strongly identified from archaeology, genetics, and historical linguistics as Algonquian, its descendants being the Anishinaabeg, the Miami-Illinois, the Shawnee, the Kickapoo, the Meskwaki, and the Asakiwaki.
The new investigation by Romain and others found much older charcoal samples in less-damaged sections of the mound. The investigators conjecture that the mound was originally built between 381 BCE and 44 BCE, with a mean date of 321 BCE. They explain the more recent charcoal found in the 1990s as likely the result of a “repair” effort by Indians around 1070 CE, when the mound would already have been suffering from natural degradation. Late Woodland Period graves at the site suggest the earthwork continued to serve a mortuary function, and that this was the principal nature of the site, directing spirits of the dead from burial mounds and subsurface graves northward, not a place to conduct large ceremonial gatherings as has been suggested by tourism/promotion interests.
Without Serpent Mound as a “ceremonial center” at its geographic core, the notion of a “Fort Ancient Culture” has literally been gutted.
That the new date adds a very sophisticated earthwork to the corpus of the Adena, whom some had considered “primitive,” lends new weight to reconsideration of the non-distinction between “Adena” and “Hopewell” and the need for a general revision of the naming conventions for prehistoric cultures of the Ohio Valley. A simplified revised chronology would see the Adena Civilization leading straight to the historic Central Algonquian tribes in the heartland of the Ohio Valley.
The 2014 study came just as Serpent Mound was being advanced for addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List, a nomination that had to be rethought as a result of the new date and its implications. The designation is still in limbo. Members of the Central Algonquian tribes now have scientific claim to be considered the heirs of Serpent Mound, raising questions about the structure of site management, now conducted by the Ohio History Connection and Arc of Appalachia Preserve System.
What is certain is that ancient Ohioans were not only building extremely sophisticated geometric works that rivalled or surpassed those of contemporary classical Greece, but they were also repairing or renovating them over millennia.*
By Geoffrey Sea
Kin 234: White Cosmic Wizard
I endure in order to enchant
I seal the output of timelessness
With the cosmic tone of presence
I am guided by the power of endlessness.
There is a way of tuning into and using number matrices in relation to the synchronic order to create a mental force field to shift the world hologram.*
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Ajna Chakra (Gamma Plasma)
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe Celebrates Gaming Ruling:
Martha’s Vineyard tribe wins appeal in lawsuit establishing its right to open a Class II gaming facility
The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) learned April 11 that the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had reversed a lower court ruling, affirming the tribe’s right to open a Class II casino on its Martha’s Vineyard island land. The case, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association, Inc. and Town of Aquinnah, Mass. v. the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Wampanoag Tribal Council of Gay Head, Inc., was filed by then-Governor Deval Patrick, alleging that the tribe had forfeited its gaming rights as part of a 1983 land settlement, later ratified by Congress in 1987, that required the tribe’s compliance with state and local laws, including prohibitions on gaming.
The Wampanoags had announced plans to develop a casino in an unfinished 6,200-square foot building initially slated to become a community center in 2012, and received approval from the National Indian Gaming Commission in October 2013. The state moved to file the initial lawsuit in state court shortly afterward, and the tribe successfully argued to move the case to federal court.
The first ruling, issued by U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV in 2015, stated that “the tribe has not met its burden of demonstrating that it exercises sufficient governmental power over the Settlement Lands, and therefore the [Indian Gaming Regulatory Act] does not apply. Furthermore, and in any event, it is clear that IGRA did not repeal by implication the Massachusetts Settlement Act [the Congressional legislation that ratified the land settlement].”
However, in the unanimous ruling by the 1st Circuit Court, “The district court reasoned that IGRA [which was passed in 1988] did not apply, because the tribe had failed to exercise sufficient governmental power; and that even if the tribe had exercised sufficient governmental power, the [tribal land in trust agreement] … which provides that the Settlement Lands are subject to state laws and regulations (including gaming laws and regulations), governed,” U.S. Circuit Court Judge Juan Torruella wrote. “Because we find that the tribe has exercised more than sufficient governmental power to satisfy the requirements of IGRA, and the Federal Act has been impliedly repealed by IGRA in relevant part, we reverse.”
“As we have always asserted, the Aquinnah Wampanoag has every right to conduct gaming on our tribal lands just as any other tribe in the country,” Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais said in a statement released the next day. “This decision affirms our sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the land that has always been ours and solidifies our place in the gaming market.”*
Kin 233: Red Crystal Skywalker
I dedicate in order to explore
I seal the output of space
With the crystal tone of cooperation
I am guided by the power of life force.
The tomb is a symbol that represents death, resurrection and the transmigration of souls.*
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Muladhara Chakra (Seli Plasma)
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Photo Courtesy Mary Annette Pember
Indian Child Welfare Act: One Family’s Journey Along the Adoption Trail:
The Indian Child Welfare Act is not a frivolous law begotten by misguided liberals, but a way to heal communities
I’m mad at you!” my son Danny said one morning. He was perched midway on the stairs from my bedroom to the living room where I sat on the sofa drinking coffee. “Why?” I ask.
His arms are crossed tightly across his chest, his lower lip extended. “You left me!” he said accusingly.
He had crawled into our bed sometime in the wee hours and lay snuggled between us, oblivious to my husband John’s early morning departure and eventually to mine until this minute.
Stomping down the stairs in his bare feet, he stands in the middle of the living room and gives me the full effect of his angry face. His lips are drawn back into a kind of snarl, revealing his teeth. I know better than to laugh at a 4 year old boy’s anger, so I open my arms wide and bow my head. He settles into my lap, curling his legs under himself and rests his head on my breast. “I like your boobs,” he says of my built-in kid pillows. I have to laugh gently to myself thinking, “This must be why men are so crazy about breast size.”
As we snuggle, he asks me a question I have long waited to hear. “I used to be in your tummy, Mom?”
“No son, first you lived in another lady’s tummy, then you came to be my son.”
“Ooooh, too scary,” he shudders, his questions over for the time being. And so it has begun. Maangozit, Loon’s Foot, is ready to begin the journey to know his birth.
Although Maangozit did not emerge from my body, his roots are as deeply embedded in my belly as those of my biological daughter, Rosa. Since his birth mother is a distant cousin of mine, the roots also have a physiological base. At 7 months, Danny came to our family far from the reservation through the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted to end the near-wholesale removal of American Indian children who entered state social services to non-Indian families. The goal of the act is to preserve and strengthen American Indian families and culture by re-establishing tribal authority over its children.
The Indian Child Welfare Act has taken a beating in the mainstream press lately. It is often portrayed as an obscure, frivolous law of ill-service to the many mixed race Indian children living off the reservation. Like many things in our world, Indian culture and families have changed. They no longer resemble (not that they ever did) the television fueled mainstream vision of Indian life. In fact, 60 percent of Native families are like ours, they live off the reservation.
My children and I are all members of the Red Cliff Band of Wisconsin Ojibwe. We live with my husband and their father, John, who is non-Indian, in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. Rosa, 10, is also Baybaamiisaay, She Flies Around. We have never lived on the reservation nor has Danny’s birth mother. She and her family relocated to the Northwest several years ago.
There are few Indians here in the region and far fewer Ojibwe. All are transplants, like much of America, drawn to the city by jobs and other opportunities. Unlike our reservation cousins, or those who live in communities with large Indian populations, there is no Indian community here. There are no pow wows or other “doings” to attend where we might bond with other Indians.
Mostly we fly under the radar, just being plain old Indian in ways only other Indians can know. This “knowing” and bond to family and land (although perhaps far away) is at the very heart of what culture really means. It is not an overt lesson. It is sharing, as my mother did with me; that the earth and the very stones are alive, imbued, as we are, with spirits. It is passing on the many stories my mother told me as we lay on her bed, the way we pray, our home-style ceremonies and the foods we eat. It is an unquestioning knowledge and comfort with other Indian people. This we are taught and teach our children as we walk through each day.
We return often to Wisconsin for ceremony and family events, washing our faces in Gitchee Gumee with relief, refreshing our hearts, reconnecting with place. Maangozit and Baybaamisay know what it is to be Indian, not some silly romantic television version connected with wearing regalia, but a grounding, a comfort in their own skin.
The National Indian Child Welfare Association cites studies indicating that Indian children placed in non-Indian adoptive homes suffer a far greater risk of psychological damage and have a higher tendency to abuse drugs and alcohol. As with any child, it is impossible to predict if either of my children will face these challenges as they find their way through life. I have no illusions that I have all the answers. I know, however, that as an Anishinabe-ikwe, I can give my children something singular and unique, the shared experience of growing up Indian in this world.
We have sought to preserve Danny’s story that expresses itself in both his English and Ojibwe names. It is not a story without pain, but it is his. His birth mother, Bo, made her way to a hospital to give birth before leaving, a tremendous gift. He carries her surname as his middle name. His foster parents, Miriam and Rodney, cared for him during his first months of life and named him Danny. Finally, he came to us; my husband gave him his last name, Metz, like our daughter.
He is Daniel L. Metz. Since I am not completely sure how she would feel, I have omitted his birth mother’s last name.
At about age 3, an Ojibwe namer gave him his name, Maangozit, Loon’s Foot. Unknown to the namer, Danny was born with a severe foot deformity that was surgically corrected in his first year of life. It was a difficult surgery, followed by months of painful casting. Only a small scar and slight bend to his foot remain. Clearly, the naming vision acknowledged this important event in his life.
Although all birth parental rights have been terminated in the legal sense, in the Indian way, we preserve his connection to his birth family, sending pictures and news to his biological grandmother. We believe there is no “death” to the connection between him and his biological family, therefore we honor it. He is part of a great extended family. I so love that his names represent his story. They give his history a weight and acknowledgment that he is part of something; he is Anishinabe.
This is what culture means for our family. Ultimately, we all crave this connection that is so often without words. Although Indian peoples roots may have grown more intricate with time, they are not any less strong or worthy of preservation.
So, Maangozit is firmly embedded in our family, sometimes much to the annoyance of his big sister. A few weeks after the final adoption hearing in tribal court, Rosa spoke to me of her frustration with Danny. We lay in bed during our traditional evening visit when she tells me things that need telling. “Danny just doesn’t understand that I don’t want him around sometimes, does he mom?” she sighed. After a few minutes of reflection, she said in resignation, “Well, I guess we can’t give him back now, can we? It’s a done deal.”
“Yes, baby girl,” I said. “It sure is a done deal.”
Although I wrote this story back in 2009, not a whole lot has changed in terms of how the mainstream world views the Indian Child Welfare Act.
In fact, work to undermine the Act has taken a more insidious turn in the form of the Goldwater Institute, a right wing think tank that is seeking to dismantle the law entirely.
In our little corner of the world, however, the Indian Child Welfare Act has and continues to enrich our family. Danny, who now prefers to be called Dan, still likes to rest his head on my breast but only if his friends aren’t around. His roots have grown deeper into my heart and I remain absolutely convinced that both he and the rest of my family are restored and empowered by our traditional Ojibwe ways. This past summer, I achieved one of my great personal goals of helping my children through our lodge ceremonies.
In my work, I spent a lot of time researching the negative impact of trauma on children’s physical and mental development as well as the importance of parental affection and unconditional love on their neurological health. I can rattle off data and studies that support these suppositions. But my belief in the healing power and spiritual nourishment of our traditional ways can’t be easily quantified in any Western scientific way. As an Anishinabe-kwe I simply know it as well as I know the feeling of my blood in my veins. In terms of how I raise my children, I don’t worry about the lack of data.
I don’t know what the future holds for them; certainly they’ll struggle as do all our fellow humans but they will know who they are and where to turn when that spiritual hunger emerges; they won’t have to be afraid to be Native.*
By Mary Annette Pember
Kin 232: Yellow Spectral Human
I dissolve in order to influence
I seal the process of free will
With the spectral tone of liberation
I am guided by my own power doubled.
The fictitious self, by its nature, is constructed to conform to conditioned patterns creating a self-perception based on skewed information parameters.*
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Sahasrara Chakra (Dali Plasma)