Couldn’t Help but Judge by Comparison

“Over six years, they led the examination of the Indian residential school system, combing through myriad documents and witnessing the courage of survivors who shared their stories. Their final report invites all Canadians to confront the inequities of the past, and calls on governments and individuals alike to move forward, with greater understanding, towards reconciliation.”

Actor Tom Jackson, a past recipient of the Order of Canada, brought Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, to tears after the formal ceremony with a moving call to action to improve the standing of the country’s Indigenous people.

Governor General apologizes for saying Indigenous people were immigrants

A Humble Celebration of Immense Symbolic Power in Indian Country

Banana bread, hot coffee, and later on mutton stew with frybread for all, that bone chilly Saturday. And a heart felt praise to President Barack Obama. It was about the first time in American history first nations were acknowledged, ratified, and officially included in the management of federal lands. And it was the beginning of a ceremony of healing long overdue.

It barely made the news.

On Saturday 7, 2017 people celebrated the designation of Bears Ears as a National Monument, at the Navajo Nation Monument Valley Welcome Center at the Arizona-Utah borders. About 400 people gathered, embraced the news, cheered, and reflected upon what it took to bring that victory, what it means, and what is yet to come.

Navajo Nation President, Mr. Russell Begaye, was there, along with Vice President Jonathan Nez, Alfred Lomaquahu, Vice Chairman of the Hopi Tribe, former Ute Mountain Ute Councilwoman Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk (the first person contacted by the White House to nreak the news about the designation back in December), Shaun Chapoose, Chairman of the Ute Tribe of Uinta Ouray Reservation, Eric Descheenie, Representative-elect for the Arizona House of Representatives and former Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, and Navajo Nation Council Delegate Davis Filfred, who represents five Utah Navajo districts.

“Bears Ears is our place of healing,” observed Eric Descheenie.“The opposition cannot compromise our ability to heal. It is absolutely critical that we develop a space for high-level intellectual conversation where we can talk about who we are and what it means to be human. Bears Ears Commission has created such a space.

The narrative has to shift. Please recognize that indigenous people carry a different body of knowledge. Let’s embrace that difference, support one another, and champion the new narrative.”
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The Prosperity Gospel | Mega-Churches in America

(comments from AlterNet)

On Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver took on the fraudulent behind-the-scenes (and occasionally, not so behind-the-scenes) practices of America’s mega-televangelist ministries — specifically, those that have exploited people’s faith for monetary gain with the promise that “donations will result in wealth coming back to you.” It’s called “The Prosperity Gospel,” and is built on the idea that every donation a congregant gives its pastor is a “seed” that will one day be harvested. “Wealth is a sign of God’s favor,” after all.

After learning of these shady practices embedded in mega-ministry culture, Oliver resolved to embark on a thought experiment: Why not file some paperwork and establish a church of his own (“a disturbingly easy process,” Oliver said), call it “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption” and then ask congregants to meditate on the fraudulence of megachurches?

Bless me Father, for I have Sinned

[St. Louis University has removed a statue of a Roman Catholic priest and two American Indians that was described in the campus newspaper as a depiction of “colonialism, imperialism, racism and … Christian and white supremacy.”

The statue, “Where the Rivers Meet,” shows Pierre-Jean De Smet, a cross held high above his head, putting a hand on a Native American who stands below him. A second Native is shown kneeling.

“This message to American Indians is simple: ‘You do not belong here if you do not submit to our culture and our religion,'”wrote Ryan McKinley in The University News. McKinley stressed that SLU, a private Catholic University, was “likely unintentionally” committing the racial slight.

The statue will now be displayed in the University’s art museum. The usual debate over “political correctness” has ensued, particularly in thecomments section at the conservative-leaning Washington Times. Some pro-statue commenters feel the move ignores the historical fact that, within the dark context of colonialism, De Smet was unquestionably one of the good guys.

The question is whether the statue, without that context, comes across as a tribute to one of the good guys or an overall endorsement of imposing European culture on Indigenous people.]

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/05/28/st-louis-university-removes-controversial-statue-priest-and-natives-160526

STATUE

On Sacred Ground

Indigenous communities around the world resist threats to their sacred places—the original protected lands—in a growing movement to defend human rights and restore the environment. In this four-part documentary series, native people share ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence while battling a utilitarian view of land in the form of government megaprojects, consumer culture, and resource extraction as well as competing religions and climate change.

Not with a Bang, but with a Wimper

Youth suicides reach crisis on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation (SD)

[Since December, the Pine Ridge reservation, a vast, windswept land of stunning grasslands and dusty plateaus, has been the scene of an unfolding crisis: Nine people between the ages of 12 and 24 have committed suicide here.

Many more youths on the reservation have tried, but failed, to kill themselves in the past several months: At least 103 attempts by people ages 12 to 24 occurred from December to March, according to the federal Indian Health Service. Emergency medical workers on the reservation, which is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, say they have been called to the scenes of suicide attempts sometimes several times a day.]

Read the full story | ALASKA DISPATCH NEWS

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Photo by Naya Family Center

Law and Disorder in Pine Ridge

[There’s no rhythm to crime here. All hell could be breaking loose before noon and things could be stock-still after midnight. The young toughs are often on horseback and they prefer baseball bats and knives to pistols. Drugs are everywhere— weed, meth, cocaine— but on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, it’s almost exclusively alcohol that gives law enforcement fits.

“They go into detox or a holding cell for 8 hours then get an hour of community service,” said Becky Sotherland, an officer with the tribal police. “Sometimes they’re out before your shift is over, causing trouble.”

Alcohol has been illegal on the reservation since 1889 (aside from a few months in the 1970s) but tribal police say that of the roughly 200,000 calls they receive each year, about 80% are alcohol-related. Sometimes it’s public drunkenness, fights or domestic violence. Drunk driving is a major killer, and community groups say alcoholism contributes to the reservation’s plague-high suicide rate.

The fight to keep the tribe sober may soon be getting tougher. Last summer, tribal members voted to repeal the reservation’s century-old ban on liquor sales and consumption. The repeal won’t likely take effect for some time, as the Tribal Council must write new alcohol-related laws.]

Read the full article | MSNBC

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