Monday, February 1, 2010

Many Issues All Are Important, Some Critical

Many Issues All Are Important, Some Critical
Altamaha Riverkeeper Goes to the Environmental Protection Agency

and Scores Big for the Coast

“Coastal wetlands are being destroyed and it is time to fix these problems before the next wave of development commences.”

This is the point Altamaha Riverkeeper James Holland made to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on January 20. After becoming frustrated with how the Corps of Engineers (Corp) handles sites on the Georgia Coast, James got the attention of the EPA staff with a presentation illustrating some of the worst pollution cases he has investigated in the last 10 years. A member of the Corp of Engineers was on hand as well.

“Holland’s presentation painted a convincing picture that the Corp of Engineers’ program needs improvement” said Bill Sapp with the Southern Environmental Law Center who assisted James on the Federal Clean Water Act technical wetland points.

Some of the key points illustrated include the following:

· The Corps relies too heavily on consultants who are either not sufficiently trained or are too willing to call wetland boundaries in their clients’ favor;

· The Corps is not getting out in the field enough to observe potential problems; and

· Environmental groups have to secure a lawyer to plead cases before they get any attention from the Corps.

As a result of the meeting, the EPA members made it clear they would become more involved in what’s happening on the Georgia coast. The group collaborated and agreed the EPA will discuss the cases that James presented with the Corps and initiate a joint EPA/Corps training to make sure that the two agencies are on the same page.

Holland said, “It was effective to get members of the EPA and the Corp together to present these ongoing problems. If the agencies and the coastal environmental organizations can work together, we will be more successful at preventing the problems from occurring in the first place.”


Your contributions help the Altamaha Riverkeeper succeed at improving water quality in the mighty Altamaha Watershed. Please make a contribution today so ARK’s work can continue.


Two weeks after mammoth storm, Cheyenne River Reservation still struggling
Here is Chairman Brings Plenty’s Press Release from January 29th

Two weeks after mammoth storm, reservation still struggling

Wayne Ortman Journal staff | Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010 4:15 pm | (2) Comments

Roger Lawien This Jan. 29, 2010 photo provided by the South Dakota Rural Electric Association shows Moreau-Grand Electric Cooperative crew digging a 4-mile long trench in the snow north of South Dakota's Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation to get to two broken wires following power and water outages caused by an ice storm. South Dakota Rural Electric Association spokeswoman Brenda Kleinjan said electricity has been restored to most population centers on Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation. Hundreds of people in rural areas remained without power Monday Feb. 1, 2010. (AP Photo/South Dakota Rural Electric Association, Roger Lawien)

EAGLE BUTTE -- Parts of a sprawling South Dakota reservation still were without water and electricity Monday, nearly two weeks after winter storms toppled thousands of power lines, caused water pipes to freeze and burst, and forced more than a dozen residents on kidney dialysis to seek treatment at another reservation.

A fierce ice storm hit the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation overnight Jan. 20, coating roads and electrical lines and forcing shops and schools to close. Before residents could recover from the ice, a blizzard tore through the Dakotas, bringing a few inches of snow and wind gusts between 25 and 50 mph.

Several shelters and distribution centers were set up around the reservation, and an 8 p.m. curfew was imposed after some looting took place last week. At the height of the outages, about 14,000 people in the region were without water -- most of them on the impoverished reservation that covers an area larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

About 8,000 people live on the reservation, among the rolling, grass-covered prairies of north central South Dakota that includes Dewey and Ziebach counties. The tribe says unemployment on the reservation is at 80 percent.

More than half of Ziebach County and 38 percent of Dewey County lived in poverty in 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Tribal Chairman Joseph Brings Plenty said Monday that no deaths had been reported, though a few people reported becoming ill because of fumes from gas-powered heaters.

"I thank the Creator for that, because we could have had quite a few people perish in this," he said.

Seventeen kidney dialysis patients from the reservation were moved to a hotel at the Prairie Winds Casino in southwest South Dakota, said Rick Shangreaux, the casino's acting general manager. Indian Health Services nurses are monitoring the patients, who will get treatment at a facility on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwest South Dakota.

Curtis Chasing Hawk, 56, was getting his thrice-weekly dialysis treatments at Pine Ridge after leaving the Cheyenne River reservation last week.

"The roads were all icy and the power was out," Chasing Hawk said. "We formed a five-car caravan and got out."

Mona Longbrake said she and her husband, Dilbert, have not had electricity or running water at their ranch about 12 miles southeast of Eagle Butte since Jan. 22. They have been drinking bottled water, cracking ice on a pond to get water to flush their toilet, using an oven range for heat, and using candles and flashlights for light.

"It's getting tired," Mona Longbrake said. "You get by as best you can."

Sonny Brave Eagle said he, his wife and their two young daughters have split time between an emergency shelter and a relative's house in Eagle Butte where four other families have crowded in.

He said he and his family were stranded about six days in the dark at their home 12 miles north of Eagle Butte until law officers came out to check on them.

"We didn't have a vehicle ... We had no phone, no batteries for the radio," he said. "We didn't know what was going on."

Water and power outages struck all of the reservation's residents, tribal spokeswoman Natalie Stites said. Water outages for many lasted about four days, and power outages for some are into their second week. Residents couldn't even get gas for their vehicles because service station pumps weren't working without electricity.

By Monday, outages were no longer considered a crisis, but the tribe was still in an "immediate response" mode, Stites said. The tribe has spent "enormous amounts" of money on such needs as fuel and water and an emergency fund that had $175,000 a few months ago has been drained.

The South Dakota National Guard helped bring in generators supplied by the state during the crisis. The tribe distributed fuels such as propane, delivered donated bottled water and send bulk water tanks around the reservation. Stites said the water deliveries were enough to meet everyone's needs.

Electricity had been restored to most of the reservation's population centers, including Eagle Butte, where the tribal offices are located, but hundreds of people in rural areas remained without power, said South Dakota Rural Electric Association spokeswoman Brenda Kleinjan.

Brings Plenty said some of the estimated 1,700 homes that remained without electricity might not have power restored for another three weeks. He said crews need to use jackhammers to break through the frozen ground so they can drill holes for power poles, and snow drifts as high as 30 feet also are hampering the work.

The number of water outages had declined Monday, with about 100 people still affected in the town of La Plant and some scattered rural areas, said Tri County Mni Waste Water System general manager Leo Fischer. Power failures led to equipment malfunctions in the water system's treatment plant, causing flooding a week ago, that took more than a day to clean and repair. Many pipes on the reservation also froze and burst, adding to the outage problems.

"Our days have run together out here since the 21st," Fisher said.

Stites said schools remained closed throughout the reservation Monday and the tribe was continuing to distribute water until it could be determined that the tap water was safe.
Navajo Nation Human Rights Commmission
From the press Release below: “The report will strongly advocate for the HRC to press the United States, and its political subdivisions, for immediate ratification and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to respect and protect the Dine Life Way and to actively engage in a true nation-to-nation dialogue with indigenous nations.”

Office of Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission

P.O. Box 1689

Window Rock, Navajo Nation (Arizona) 86515

Phone: (928)871-7436 Fax: (928)871-7437


January 11, 2010


Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission Prepares for

United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review

St. Michaels, Navajo Nation (Ariz.) – The Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission (NNHRC) is preparing statements to be submitted, byway of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for submission in a report for the 9th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in December.

The report will strongly advocate for the HRC to press the United States, and its political subdivisions, for immediate ratification and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to respect and protect the Dine Life Way and to actively engage in a true nation-to-nation dialogue with indigenous nations.

NNHRC Executive Director Leonard Gorman says Diné has always been a civil society with methods and means of addressing issues in factions within the nation, the economy, development and preservation of resources and fundamental laws and values.

The UPR is a United Nations mechanism which assesses the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years, with the intent to improve human rights conditions and to address any human rights violations in all the countries. Each State is also given an opportunity to highlight what actions they have taken to improve human rights issues in their country, to fulfill their human rights obligations.

On December 3, 2009, Commission Staff Attorney Donovan Brown and Policy Analyst Rodney L. Tahe met with members of the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. to invite them to the Navajo Nation to hear Diné issues directly from Diné before the UPR of the U.S.

In the past, the Commission has sent delegation to United Nations (UN) and Organization of American States (OAS) meetings to advocate on behalf of the Diné people, to advance the Navajo Nation’s positions in international fora and to ensure Diné human rights are represented when the UN and OAS adopt their declarations on the rights of indigenous peoples.

“With the advent of the UN’s adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, at least 146 nations/states have recognized, at the minimum, the rights of the Diné people to exercise their life-ways the way Diné people recognize their relationships with lands, resources, environment, atmosphere and governance,” Gorman said.

The Commission sought participation from the general public and organizations in providing language recommendations for creating position statements regarding self-determination, lands and natural resources, sovereign immunity and self-governance, for insertion into the OAS draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“While the U.S. supported many parts of the UN Declaration, it’s dissension from it centers on the recognition of owning lands, territories, resources on Indian reservations and if the indigenous peoples have the full right to self-determination as other peoples do under international law,” Gorman said. “Thus, it is very important for the Diné people and Navajo Nation to assert and let it be known internationally their views of how the U.S. has affected Diné human rights.”

The Commission has also conducted 25 public hearings addressing race relations between Navajo’s and non-Navajo’s in the border towns of the Navajo Nation. Although a variety of concerns were heard, there were four issues that consistently reoccurred: Issues pertaining to sacred sites, the environment, relocation and unsolved deaths, all of which the Commission included in the position statements as thematic issues.

On April 6, 2009, the Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the Navajo Nation Council approved and adopted the position statements made by the Commission as the minimum standard to be utilized in the advancement of relevant Navajo Nation policy positions.

The United States will be under review in December 2010. For more information contact the Office of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission at (928) 871-7436 or .


Ohlone given voice in Hunters Point Naval Shipyard redevelopment project
By John Upton - January 31, 2010
American Indian burial grounds and other sacred sites could spark changes to redevelopment plans centered at the shuttered Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Despite years of planning efforts and community meetings about the sweeping 702-acre redevelopment project, the Planning Department has yet to formally discuss the project with representatives of the Ohlone tribe, which San Francisco recognizes as its first people......


Teresa Anahuy
Snow limiting aid to Arizona reservations
Feb. 01, 2010
HOLBROOK, Ariz., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- American Indian reservations in Northern Arizona are cut off from road travel by heavy snowfall, prompting aerial deliveries to the region, officials say......

...... The poor weather conditions have also grounded a number of supply drops to stranded residents, including 25 helicopter missions reportedly scrapped last Friday.

Read more at:


Navajo Nation:

Arizona Emergency Information Network

Teresa Anahuy

Teresa Anahuy
EnviroXtract, Inc. Announces That It Has Executed a Memorandum of Understanding With Extractive Technologies, Inc.
Feb. 01, 2010
EDMOND, Okla., Feb 1, 2010 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) - EnviroXtract, Inc. (Pink Sheets: EVXA | Quote | Chart |News | PowerRating) announced today that Management has executed a Memorandum of Understanding with Extractive Technologies, Inc. to acquire a license for Canadian oil sands extraction and upgrading. Concurrent with this acquisition, the Company is also developing a plan to become a fully-reporting company and return to the OTCBB.

Extractive Technologies specializes in proprietary ‘green' energy solutions. Its oil technology applications utilize a unique coupling of electromagnetic energy and electro-static energy in a vacuum environment. An energy field intensely excites the oil feedstock at the molecular level, releasing any chemical bonds and breaking down molecular compounds to their elemental state. In short, the technology is capable of efficiently extracting bitumen from oil sands while simultaneously performing upgrading, hydro-treating, and partial refining of the bitumen product. The company is not aware of any other technology capable of achieving similar results.

-- Extracts 99.9% of oil from oil sands feedstock
-- No water is used in extracting bitumen from oil sands feedstock
-- No chemical discharge or oil-polluted tailings ponds are created
-- No natural gas or other fossil fuels are used in oil sands extraction or
-- Carbon gases produced during processing can be captured in the
‘closed' system
-- Electrical power consumption is extremely low
-- Tailings are clean and dry, ready for reintroduction into the
-- Sulfur and other contaminants are significantly reduced during
-- Bitumen is significantly upgraded during the extraction process

Oil sands, also known as tar sands, or extra heavy oil, are a type of bitumen deposit. The sands are naturally occurring mixtures of sand or clay, water and an extremely dense and viscous form of petroleum called bitumen. They are found in large amounts in many countries throughout the world, but are found in extremely large quantities in Canada and Venezuela.

Oil sands reserves have recently been considered to be part of the world's oil reserves, as higher oil prices and new technology enable them to be profitably extracted and upgraded to usable products. These oil sands may represent as much as two-thirds of the world's total petroleum resource, with at least 1.7 trillion barrels in the Canadian Athabasca Oil Sands.

Canada is the largest supplier of crude oil and refined products to the United States, supplying about 20% of total U.S. imports. Canada exports more oil and oil products to the U.S. than it consumes itself. In 2006, bitumen production averaged 1.25 million barrels per day through 81 oil sands projects, representing 47% of total Canadian petroleum production. This proportion is expected to increase as bitumen production grows while conventional oil production declines.

The environmental challenges facing Canada's oil sands projects are enormous. More than 80 kilograms of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere for every barrel of bitumen produced from oil sands. The development of Canada's oil sands is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions growth in Canada.

Current oil sands extraction methods have created hundreds of thousands of acres of oil-polluted tailings ponds which have altered the pristine landscape and replaced much of the muskeg and boreal forests of Alberta. For every barrel of bitumen that is produced from oil sands, 2 to 4 barrels of waste water are removed from Alberta's rivers. Tailings ponds holding wastewater from mining operations are so extensive that they can be seen from space on regional-scale satellite photos. Many who have visited the oil sands region of Canada call this an environmental disaster.

Solutions for many of these issues may exist with Extractive Technologies' applications.

About EnviroXtract, Inc.:

EnviroXtract, Inc. has developed an efficient technology to perform environmental remediation applications for oil spills and other toxic chemical remediation applications which require a complete separation of hazardous or toxic chemicals from contaminated soil. The technology has proven capable of removing virtually 100% of oil from soil, is extremely energy efficient, leaves clean, dry tailings with no residual oil, requires no water, natural gas, fossil fuels, or chemicals during processing, discharges no pollutants, and is capable of capturing carbon emissions in a closed vacuum processing system.

EnviroXtract will implement an aggressive schedule of testing its proprietary thermal process for extraction of various hazardous and toxic materials from soil samples. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a Toxic Release Inventory of 581 individually listed chemicals and 30 chemical categories which require removal and mitigation under federal regulations. Independent third-party analysis and verification will measure the effectiveness of the EnviroXtract thermal process in removing many of these toxic chemicals from soil samples. The results of these tests and subsequent analysis will be updated regularly on the EnviroXtract website, EnviroXtract plans to explore additional environmental remediation applications to enhance its business model.

EVXA currently has 404,775,793 shares issued and outstanding.

Safe Harbor

This press release contains statements, which may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Those statements include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of EnviroXtract, Inc., and members of its management as well as the assumptions on which such statements are based. Prospective investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by such forward-looking statements. Important factors currently known to management that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-statements include fluctuation of operating results, the ability to compete successfully and the ability to complete before-mentioned transactions. The company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,

SOURCE: EnviroXtract, Inc.

CONTACT: EnviroXtract, Inc.
Carlton Wingett, President / CEO
For full details on (EVXA) EVXA. (EVXA) has Short Term PowerRatings at TradingMarkets. Details on (EVXA) Short Term PowerRatings is available at This Link.

Teresa Anahuy
ow Accepting Submissions for 2011 Native American Film + Video Festival

15th Native American Film + Video Festival
New York, NY
March 31 - April 3, 2011

January 4, 2010 – June 3, 2010
Click here for a copy of the entry form:;

The 15th Native American Film + Video Festival announces its call for entries for short works and feature films—documentaries, fictions, animations, music videos and experimental media—from North, Central, and South America, and Hawai’i. Only works created after July 2008 are eligible.

Organized by the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Festival is the first international indigenous film festival, founded to celebrate the creative energy of Native American directors, producers, writers, actors, musicians, and cultural activists, and all who support their endeavors
Putting a new face on native culture
The Four Host First Nations hope a new video will inspire a whole generation of youth

The images that flood the mass media typically depict Canada's native population as being the victims of housing or health-care crises and show them struggling with poverty or hidden behind masks in confrontation with authorities.

But headed into the 2010 Olympics the Four Host First Nations have released a new video they hope will recast the face of Canada's aboriginal cultures and inspire a whole generation of young people.

"I hope it will make not just first nations proud - I hope it will make all Canadians proud," said Tewanee Joseph, CEO of the Four Host First Nations.

The video - a rapid montage propelled by a percussive, driving beat - shows native people in a very different way than Canadians are used to seeing them. All the images are positive, dynamic and upbeat.

"I want straight emotion and inspiration for three minutes. And I want to break stereotypes," was the way Mr. Joseph put it when he first outlined the project to the video production team.

And in an interview yesterday after the video was first posted online, he said the creative team delivered.

"I had seen it frame by frame in the editing studio before, but I only got to see the complete version for the first time Friday," Mr. Joseph said.

"It knocked me out. It was hard for me to hold my feelings back because it captures everything we are putting into the Games. It says: This is our people. This is who we are. This is what we're bringing."

The 2010 Olympics are the first Games at which organizers have signed a partnership protocol with aboriginal groups. The Four Host First Nations represent the four bands in whose traditional territory the Games are being held, and they are co-ordinating native involvement from across Canada.

Mr. Joseph said when he saw the first 2010 videos that hyped the Games, with inspiring images of athletes intermixed with Canada's dramatic landscapes, he felt native people needed to make their own bold statement in film.

"We don't very often celebrate success in our community. I don't know why that is, but if the images you see about yourself are always negative, you begin to think things are impossible," Mr. Joseph said. "You see your people as being victims all the time, that's how you start to see yourself, and that is very limiting. It's why, as a lacrosse player when I was younger, I was reluctant to go outside my community. You just didn't feel you could take on the world."

He does now, as do a lot of native people, and the Games are going to be their stage.

There is a native art theme to the medals, an aboriginal pavilion is getting ready to open in downtown Vancouver, a new cultural centre is already open in Whistler, information signs along the Sea-to-Sky Highway are in both English and native languages, and hundreds of aboriginal artists are coming to perform and show their work.

"There's a pretty simple concept behind the video," Mr. Joseph said. "We're just saying, 'We're here, we're part of the Games.' And the other thing it's doing is just showing a lot of positive images to Canadians, and to the world."

Mr. Joseph said the short video is not meant to deny the problems aboriginal people face on a daily basis in Canada, but rather it is to show there's another side to the picture.

"Usually what you see in the media is always about the struggles, it's about this going wrong and that going wrong. This is about what's going right in our culture," he said.

The video, titled Four Host First Nations Welcome, can be viewed online at It will also be shown at the Aboriginal Pavilion during the Games.

The video is produced by creative director David Martin of Hyphen Communications, and the music is arranged by Sal Ferreras, dean of the Vancouver Community College school of music and director of the Four Host First Nations venue at the Games.

Mr. Martin has worked on creative campaigns for corporate clients that include Sunlight, Cadbury, Labatt's Breweries and Mercedes-Benz.

Mr. Ferreras started an aboriginal music program at Vancouver Community College and in 2007, on behalf of the Four Host First Nations, he directed a Salish ceremony in front of about 10,000 spectators at Pacific Coliseum.

Online, Mr. Ferreras said he views the Olympics as "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the world how dynamic and alive [native] culture is and how tradition and the contemporary coexist."
Emergency Help Desperately Needed to Heat Homes on the Pine Ridge Re
Posted by: "ant_penel" ant_penel
Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:27 am (PST)

Hi everyone,
an interesting article was posted yesterday by Chris Rodda over the Dailykos' street prophets blog.

Its about a really frightening situation currently occurring this winter on the Pine Ridge Reservation in regards to people's access to heating gas.
You can read it in full at

in Chicago

Oglala Sioux Tribe
Loretta Afraid of Bear~Cook
“Anpetu Luta Win”
Post Office Box 2070 ~ Pine Ridge, So. Dakota ~ 57770
Mobile: (605) 441 | 5692 ~ Fax: (605) 867 | 6076
Office of Public Relations

Tuesday, January 26, 2010FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE:


For more information, contact:
Loretta Afraid of Bear-Cook, OST Public Relations
C/O: OST Media Center
Telephone: (605) 454-2592 |

PINE RIDGE, So. DAKOTA - The Oyate (People) of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation recently experienced a series of harsh blizzards and extreme weather beginning in late December. Hundreds of families were ill prepared for the high winds, whiteouts and heavy snowfall that closed all roads and highways across the reservation. Many households eventually ran out of propane, firewood, food and medical supplies.Tribal President, Theresa Two Bulls, immediately established a Command Post out of her office and organized the Emergency Management Team to begin the task of assessing the situation. The team paid particular attention to tribal members with severe medical needs such as heart and dialysis patients. The Oglala (Sioux) Lakota Housing Authority under the direction of Paul Iron Cloud; the Energy Assistance Director, Denise King Red Owl; Monica Terkildsen, Emergency Response; and David Kelly from the OST Transportation Department; all provided the core guidance to the agencies to ensure that all calls were addressed. Without the care and compassion of all resource agencies, the task of responding to the needs would have been next to impossible. The disaster prompted other tribes, non-profit corporation and individuals to respond with food, clothing and financial assistance. Sadly, the disaster had also resulted in tribal members and outside organizations “scamming” for funding on the internet claiming to raise funds for the poor and needy on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. President Two Bulls advises the public that these Organizations have not received permission from the Oglala Sioux Tribe to solicit funds on behalf of the Oglala tribal membership. President Two Bulls requests that any Tribe, organization or individual who wish to donate for emergency assistance can send directly to the Oglala Sioux Tribe in care of Dean Patton, Treasurer, Oglala Sioux Tribe, P.O. Box 2070, Pine Ridge, South Dakota 57770. Mr. Patton has established an emergency fund for such donations. Funds will be used exclusively for heating costs for electrical, propane, fuel oil and firewood needs. The Housing and Energy Assistance funds have been depleted. The Oglala Sioux Tribe is very grateful to the organizations, tribes and individuals who have contacted President Two Bulls with generous outpouring of help for this ongoing need. President Two Bulls also expresses her sincere gratitude to all who have kept the Oglala Sioux Tribe in their prayers. She can be contacted via her direct line: (605) 867-4021, or

Update: Due to the State of Emergency on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, the Oglala Sioux Tribe opened the doors at the Prairie Wind Casino Hotel to care for 25 dialysis patients and 10 supporting staff from Cheyenne River. According to media reports, electrical power will be restored in approximately 10 to 14 days.
For more information and updates, log on to the official website of the Oglala Sioux Tribe:

For Immediate Release:
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Incident Command System
For further information:
Joe Brings Plenty, Tribal Chairman (605) 964-4155
Leo Fischer, Tri-County/Mni Waste Water System (605) 365-6940
Natalie Stites, Public Information Officer, Incident Command System
(715) 896-0158,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 28, 2010


Severe Ice Storms and Freezing Temperatures Have Knocked Down 3,000 Utility Poles – Tribal Residents Have Been Without Electricity, Heat and Running Water
for Six Days.

Eagle Butte, South Dakota – The Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has declared a State of Emergency in central South Dakota, an Indian reservation
approximately the size of Connecticut with nearly 15,000 Tribal members. The Tribe is still awaiting Presidential disaster declaration.

Days of ice storms and strong winds have downed over 3,000 utility poles across the reservation. Thousands of already impoverished tribal residents have been without electricity or heat for five days, with wind chill factors well below zero. Experts estimate it may be as long as a month before all areas have electricity restored.

“Making matters worse,” said Tribal Chairman Joe Brings Plenty, “the loss of electricity has also knocked out the Reservationʼs aging water system. We have no running water on the entire Reservation, it is also affecting of Reservation communities such as Faith, whose water is supplied from pipes running through the Reservation.”

The Tribe is working hard to bring families in, out of the cold and into shelters. The South Dakota National Guard, The Stateʼs Department of Public Safety as well as the Army Corps of Engineers have come to the reservation and supplied some emergency generators. The Tribe would especially like to thank Wal-Mart for providing emergency food and supplies, and the Navajo Nation for sending up a tribal utility crew to help with the downed electrical lines.

However, much more assistance is still needed. No one facility can host a shelter large enough for all the Tribal residents; additional generators are needed to set up additional shelters. The Tribeʼs one and only grocery store has lost all of its perishables; additional food is needed. Also, dialysis patients have had to be evacuated to Rapid City.

Donations Needed:

MEDICAL NEEDS: Dialysis Patients/Glucose Strips/Financial Support for Hotels

* The dialysis patients have all been evacuated three hours away to
Rapid City, SD. They are staying in hotels for at least a week and half,
probably longer. The Tribe is looking into reimbursement sources from CMS
and IHS, but in the interim financial contributions are needed to help the
families pay for their hotel expenses and food. An account has been set up
at Wells Fargo to help with these expenses. You can contribute at any Wells
Fargo or send to the Rapid City branch.

Wells Fargo
Cheyenne Dialysis Patients (c/o Dew Bad Warrior)
Acct. #: 5815904338
1615 N 7th St.
Rapid City, SD 55701

* Medical Items Need on the Reservation itself (shipping address
* Glucose Strips
* First Aid Kits
* Children’s Tylenol
* Children’s Cough Syrup

A big thank you to Wal-Mart for sending some initial food and supplies!!
Additional items are needed, especially for the communities whose
electricity is expected to be down for up to 30 days. Please forward to any
companies that manufacture these items that may be of assistance.

* CONTRIBUTIONS: Can be made directly to the Tribe’s emergency fund
listed below.
* IN KIND: Or if you prefer to make in-kind donations:

* Non-perishable food
* Cots
* Heat sources (heaters & fuel)
* Camp stoves & fuel
* Light sources:
* Lithium 1, 2 and 3 batteries for law enforcement
* Lamps/Batteries/Lamp Oil
* Toiletries
* Toilet paper
* Paper products for the shelters
* Pampers/formula
* Hand/baby wipes/Hand sanitizer

The Tribe has depleted its emergency budget with the two blizzards that
already hit the reservation since December. It needs funds to help buy food
and supplies for the community and volunteers, to pay for gas and overtime
for the workers, to replace the motor at the water pump station that was
destroyed, etc. Any financial donations are much appreciated. The Tribe is
also trying to set up on-line donations but that may take some time.

Cheyenne River Sioux 2010 Disaster Account
Direct to: United Bkrs Bloomington ABA # 091 001 322
Beneficiary Bank: Account Number 250 3373
State Bank of Eagle Butte
Eagle Butte, SD 57625
Final Credit: Account Holder @ UBB Customers Bank
Account Holder: CRST 2010 Disaster, Account Number 103173

TO: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe/2010 Disaster Account
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman’s Office
Attn: Ice Storm Emergency Fund
PO Box 590
2001 Main Street (Tribal Offices)
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman’s Office
Attn: Ice Storm Emergency Supplies
PO Box 590
2001 Main Street (Tribal Offices)
Eagle Butte, SD 57625

Robin Le Beau, Chairman’s Assistant c (610) 568-2101
Joe Brings Plenty, Tribal Chairman c (605) 365-6548
CRST Emergency Coordination Center (605) 964-7711 (7712)
Storm Takes Steep Toll on Destitute Tribe

Thousands of Downed Power Poles Leave South Dakota Sioux Reservation Without Heat, Water; Melting Snow to Use in Toilets


Juanita Oros/West River Eagle News
Fallen power poles at a community pow-wow ground after a storm hit Ziebach and Dewey counties in South Dakota.

A tiny tribe of Lakota Sioux has been battling wind, rain and subzero temperatures this week as ice storms lash one of the U.S.'s poorest communities and leave thousands without electricity, heat or drinking water.

"There's been winters this bad before, but not with rain so bad it freezes the power lines and snaps the poles," said Joseph Brings Plenty, the 38-year old chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, whose reservation lies about 200 miles northeast of Rapid City, S.D. The tribal chairman said 500 power lines were brought down in a blizzard in November, and that between 2,000 and 3,000 more have been lost since Friday from ice storms.

The Cheyenne River tribe is made up of four of the seven bands of Lakota Sioux Indians in the Dakotas, whose reservations also include the Pine Ridge, Standing Rock and Rosebud bands. Power-line damage across all reservations may exceed 5,000 downed poles, which tribal authorities said may take weeks or months for utility companies to repair.

"These events are showing just how painfully inadequate our emergency response capabilities are. Because of one ice storm, we had over 3,000 downed electrical lines and mass power outages," said Tracey Fischer, chief executive and president of First Nations Oweesta Corporation, a national nonprofit working on economic development in Indian country.

"There has been looting of homes and businesses by people desperate for food and water. Schools have been out of session for a week and will likely be unable to open their doors for at least another week," said Ms. Fischer, a member of the Cheyenne River tribe.

With just 10,000 residents spread across 2.8 million acres, many Cheyenne River families depend on electricity transmitted across hundreds of empty miles to run pumps for drinking water, or to power the ignition modules on natural-gas and propane heaters.

The Cheyenne River tribe set up emergency shelters across the reservation in tiny towns with names like Eagle Butte, Cherry Creek, Swiftbird and Whitehorse.

Last year the tribe earned $175,000 leasing land to nontribal ranchers and deposited the money in an emergency fund. That fund is now exhausted, the tribal chairman said. A special Wells Fargo account established to help raise funds to evacuate tribal members with medical needs brought in just $450 in donations on its first day, said Eileen Briggs, a Cheyenne River Tribal executive.

Juanita Oros/West River Eagle News
Frankie Hawk Eagle, right, and other employees work with flashlights, candles and calculators to get groceries to people during the storm.

Like most U.S. tribes, the Cheyenne River Sioux function as a sovereign nation on their reservation of 10,000 residents. An additional 8,000 Cheyenne River Sioux live off the reservation, mostly in Rapid City. The tribe manages its internal affairs and runs its own police force and court, but receives grants and subsidies from the federal U.S. government, as virtually all American Indian tribes do

Just 11 tribal police patrol an area the size of Connecticut. They have been warning residents who remained in their homes to ventilate frequently lest carbon-monoxide fumes build up from gas stoves, a potentially fatal hazard.

"We've had 20-degree-below days; some people are burning wood in their homes," said Mr. Brings Plenty.

The tribe also evacuated more than 40 elderly members to motels in Rapid City and Aberdeen, mainly so they could have access to thrice-weekly kidney dialysis treatments that had been provided on the reservation. Nearly 20 kidney patients were evacuated to the Oglala Sioux band's Pine Ridge reservation, where another dialysis station was still functioning. Those evacuees were staying at their sister tribe's Prairie Wind Casino.

"Normally family members take care of these patients, but with no gas or electricity, and blizzard conditions, we needed a caravan to get them out," said Ms. Briggs. The first van caravan traveled on icy roads, finally reaching Rapid City last Thursday. More patients came on Sunday.

Kidney patient Lennie Granados, 59, left his home after its water supply ran out, and is now at the Super 8 motel in Rapid City. "I get reports from my family," he said. "They're out there melting snow and keeping a look out for any water they can use, you know, to flush toilets and stuff."

The Cheyenne River tribe has for years asked Congress for funds to restore its ancient water system, which Mr. Brings Plenty said was decades overdue for an upgrade. The total cost would be about $65 million, which may be hard to raise in Washington in the current budget-cutting atmosphere. Some tribal members lamented the chaos, and how hard the current generation of Sioux was finding life on their native ground."A long time ago there were tough Lakota people who knew how to survive. Their teepees were pretty warm, too," said Mr. Brings Plenty. "Times have changed, and the people have changed, too."

Write to Joel Millman at
Lehman Brightman, National President, United Native Americans:

Please Stand In Solidarity with CVMT - A federally Recognized Tribe

We Need Your Support:

This email includes a template letter that can be use to send to officials. Please make any changes you feel necessary that will be in the language and tone that you wish to convey your support for our Tribe.

Any support you can give is very much appreciated!!! Also forward this info to any news media that is interested in making a positive change in Indian Country. The California Valley Miwok Tribe can be reached day or night at (209) 931.4567 or by fax at;209.931.4333.

Our Tribe is in a fight for its very existence... Please pass this forward to any and all who wish to stand in solidarity with our Tribe to help us get JUSTICE. We have a court date coming up on Feb 9th, 2010 in San Diego, at the San Diego Superior Court 37-2008-00075326-CU-CO-CTL California Valley Miwok Tribe vs the California Gambling Control Commission.

CGCC has no authority to continue to illegally withhold our RSTF monies. Once those funds are released, the Tribe can pay its bills and One West Bank, and the threat of the EVICTION (off the Tribes property) will be over. For several years, both the BIA and the CGCC have been illegally withholding Tribal funds from the Tribe. This injustice and ABUSE HAS TO STOP!!

The PUBLIC has a right to know the TRUTH about the abuses that American Indians still have to suffer through due to reckless officials abusing their powers. In America, the crisis is in our own back yards all you have to do is open your eyes to the TRUTH!! Please Stand With Us! Our People are suffering and need your voice.

You can make a difference!! Please send a letter or make a call, your involvement can and will bring change. Do not allow the BIA and CGCC to ignore our inherent sovereign rights as a Sovereign Tribal Government/Tribe/Nation. They MUST be held accountable.

Again, thank you for your continued support. If you need more information regarding our plight for justice, you may contact Kevin Cochrane of Rosette & Assoicates PC (Tribal Attorney) email: or by phone:(916) 353.1084

All you need to do is copy and paste to your letterhead, then you can add or delete.

Many blessings!!

Silvia Burley, Chairperson

(physical address)
California Valley Miwok Tribe
10601 Escondido Pl, Stockton, CA 95212
Tribal Office: (209) 931.4567

Our DOT GOV website:;
Our uncensored DOT US website:;


{Tribal and/or organization Letterhead}

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Ken Salazar, Secretary
838 Hart Senate Office Building Dept. of the Interior – Indian Affairs
Washington, DC 20510 1849 C Street, NW
Fax: (202) 228.2589 Washington, DC 20240
Fax: (202) 208.6334
President Barack Obama
The White House Congress Jerry McNerney
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW 312 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20240 Washington, DC 20515
Fax: (202) 456.2461 Fax: (202) 225.4060

Re: In Support of the California Valley Miwok Tribe’s Official Requests
1) To immediately release their PL-93 Mature Status 638 Contract that has been illegally withheld for FY-2008, 2009 and 2010;
2) To immediately release CVMT’s Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) monies that have been illegally withheld by the California Gambling Control Commission since 2005; and
3) Approve CVMT’s official request to be removed from the Jurisdiction of the Central California Agency/Pacific Regional Office Bureau of Indian Affairs, and for CVMT to be allowed to join the Self Governance Consortium

Dear Sirs;

I write on the behalf of the {____________________________} Tribe/organization to convey to you that I/we are in support of the California Valley Miwok Tribe’s multiple efforts to regain their funding that is being illegally withheld. The California Valley Miwok Tribe is a federally recognized Tribe as listed in the Federal Register and as a federally recognized Tribe, CVMT is eligible to receive funding and services from the United States Government/Bureau of Indian Affairs by virtue of their status as Indian, and is a Tribe that has never been terminated. From 1998-2006 the BIA accepted the Tribe’s PL 93-638 contracts without incident and the Tribe has successfully passed all its annual federal audits without findings.

Beginning in 2007, both successfully and unsuccessfully, the CCA/BIA began claiming that the BIA was not required to approve the Tribe’s contract (BIA cannot unilaterally stop the Tribe’s 638 contract without good cause) the ISDEAA puts the burden of proof on the Secretary to demonstrate the validity of his declination decision by clear and convincing evidence. Furthermore, the BIA fails to explain why the Tribe’s successor contracts for the years 2008 through 2010 have been denied. The CFR clearly states that the BIA lacks the authority to deny a contract renewal request in such a manner.

The BIA, as trustee, has not complied with its duties as trustee for the Tribe’s PL-93 Mature Status 638 contract. CVMT is officially requesting that their 638 funds be released immediately due to the fact that the Central California Agency – Bureau of Indian Affairs has illegally deprived the Tribe of the necessary funding to provide essential services for its members, including the Tribe’s vulnerable women and children.
CVMT has also received correspondence from the California Gambling Control Commission that they will not release the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund monies (presently over 5 million dollars) to the Tribe until the Bureau of Indian Affairs conveys to them who the Tribal Chairperson is. The BIA says they have no authority and/or mandate to tell CGCC anything. So then why is CGCC illegally withholding the Tribes RSTF monies if the BIA has no jurisdiction to contact CGCC regarding the Chairperson(s)? The RSTF monies do not go to the Chairperson, the money is payable to the Tribe and goes directly into the Tribal account (which has nothing to do with the Chairperson). CVMT deserves immediate JUSTICE!!

At no point in the last 3 years has the BIA provided the Tribe with an accounting of the withheld funds to reassure the Tribal beneficiaries that their funds are secure, and not being mismanaged in the same manner as those at issue in the Cobell v. Salazar suit. Moreover, the BIA has never even clarified how withholding the funds, and thereby obstructing the functioning of the Tribal government and jeopardizing the well-being of Tribal members, is consistent with the BIA’s trust responsibilities, and since the Pacific Regional Office – Bureau of Indian Affairs has not stepped forward to protect the California Valley Miwok Tribe from the aforementioned abuses (as is their trust responsibility) I/we are in support of the California Valley Miwok Tribe’s desire to be removed from the jurisdiction of the Central California Agency/Pacific Regional Office – Bureau of Indian Affairs and be allowed to join the Self-Governance Consortium whom contract
directly with the Department of the Interior – Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington DC.

The California Valley Miwok Tribe believes that by joining the Self Governance Consortium, they shall have equal protection under the law and their Tribe, as federally recognized with inherent sovereign rights will be protected. Due to the fact of several years of abuse having been inflicted upon the California Valley Miwok Tribe and its members, they believe that their civil rights have been violated and will continue to be violated as long as they remain under the jurisdiction of the Central California Agency.

In solidarity I/we support the California Valley Miwok Tribe.


Cc: California Valley Miwok Tribe 10601 Escondido Pl., Stockton, CA 95212 Fax: (209) 931.4333
Self Governance Communication and Education (SGCE) Fax: (360) 380.1981
BIA Office of Self Governance Fax: (202) 219.1404
Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
January 28, 2010

* Colorado Ski Trip Auction Ends Tomorrow
* Update from the Field
* High Quality Photos Needed for Yellowstone Buffalo Calendar
* Support a Wish: BFC Needs a New Stove
* Buffalo in the News
* Last Words ~ Howard Zinn
* Kill Tally
* Important Links

* Colorado Ski Trip Auction Ends Tomorrow

You only have one day left to bid on this amazing Crested Butte vacation. The winner will receive six nights of lodging in a Gold-Plus rated, four-bedroom, 3-bath condominium 500 yards from the base of Crested Butte's Silver Queen ski lift, eight ski lift tickets courtesy of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and more than $700 dollars worth of ski clothing from Patagonia. 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to the front-lines work of Buffalo Field Campaign, the only group working in the field and on the policy front to permanently protect the Yellowstone bison, America's only continuously wild population.

Retail value of this package is approximately $6,000.

For more information, please click here.

This auction closes on Friday, January 29, 2010.

* Update from the Field

Family group of buffalo in Yellowstone. Photo by Kim Kaiser.

Volunteers have been pouring in from across the country. People are coming from a diversity of landscapes and backgrounds, all with the common goal of helping America's last wild population of buffalo. It is encouraging for us to continuously meet new people who are inspired by the buffalo and learn what called them, some traveling thousands of miles for the chance to spend even a few short weeks with us and the buffalo. Thankfully, no buffalo are currently in harms way. This has allowed us to take the necessary time to thoroughly introduce all these enthusiastic new volunteers to the landscape and field operations, before the insanity of government management actions occur. These quiet days also enable us to devote time to other projects that help buffalo, like taking down barbed wire fence in buffalo habitat.

The absence of buffalo leaves a hole in our hearts. Even those who have yet to spend time with buffalo in the field can feel them missing, and crave their presence on the landscape. Buffalo have a way of touching people even when they are not around, and when when they do begin their migration, the awe of their powerful presence will be a powerful awakening to us all, and volunteers will be ready to do the work necessary to defend them and their right to roam the lands that are their birthright.

Thank you BFC supporters everywhere for enabling us to be here on the front lines and in the policy arena working in defense of America's last wild buffalo!

Roam Free!

* High Quality Photos Needed for Yellowstone Buffalo Calendar

Thank you to everyone who has sent us Yellowstone buffalo photos for consideration in the first-ever BFC buffalo calendar. It has been an absolute pleasure to see your pictures! We still need high-quality Yellowstone buffalo photos, so if you have some you'd like to share, or know of photographers who have been to Yellowstone and spent time with the buffalo, please get in touch. The Yellowstone buffalo calendar will become available before the 2011 calendar year, and will focus on the positive aspects of buffalo life. If your photos are chosen for use in the calendar, you will, of course, be given full credit.

Photo submission guidelines: Calendar photos must be stellar! We need high-quality digital photos at 300dpi, high resolution JPEG or TIFF files. Photos should be in color. We cannot accept "photoshopped", scanned, web camera, or photos taken from a web site. There should not be any dates or text of any kind visible on the photos. If you have photos that meet these requirements and you're willing to let us submit them for inclusion in the calendar, please send them to Stephany at You may also send a CD of photos to Stephany/Buffalo Calendar, P.O. Box 957, West Yellowstone, Montana 59758. We can also send you a more detailed document on photo submission guidelines required by the calendar's publisher, so justemail for a copy if you intend to submit photos.

* Support a Wish: BFC Kitchen Needs a New Stove

The BFC kitchen is in need of a new stove! Our current oven has been on the fritz for a few years now and we are looking to replace it before it finally gives up the ghost. We are looking for a commercial grade 6-burner gas range with a large capacity oven. During our main season we feed anywhere from 15-40 volunteers three meals a day seven days a week, so a heavy duty, reliable range is one of our most important tools at camp. If you have this kind of a range, or know someone who does, and would like to donate it to the BFC, or if you would like to help us purchase a new one, please call our kitchen coordinator, Brandy, at 406-646-0070. Thank you!

Please visit BFC's Wish List to find out about other items we need. All donations - monetary and in-kind - are tax deductible.

* Buffalo in the News

BFC lends a hand to free the land
West Yellowstone News, January 26, 2010

State vet's assurance should calm ranchers
Casper Star Tribune, January 26, 2010

George Wuerthner: Grass-fed beef won't save the planet
New West, January 22, 2010

Bison, brucellosis and the road to recovery
Bozeman Daily Chronicle, January 16, 2010

OPINION: Giving bison to Turner isn't legal
Casper Star-Tribune, January 10, 2010

Wildlife group explains position
Casper Star-Tribune, January 10, 2010

* Last Words ~ Howard Zinn

In honor of Howard Zinn, who passed away last night:

"We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."

"Any humane and reasonable person must conclude that if the ends, however desireable, are uncertain and the means are horrible and certain, these means must not be employed."

"To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places-and there are so many-where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

"Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience."

"Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it. "

"The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson - that everything we do matters - is the meaning of the people's struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back."

~ Howard Zinn, 1922 - 2010.

Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them Thank you all for the poems, songs and stories you have been sending; you'll see them here!
* Kill Tally

AMERICAN BISON ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S.
2009-2010 Total: 1

2009-2010 Slaughter: 0
2009-2010 Hunt: 1
2009-2010 Quarantine: 0
2009-2010 Shot by Agents: 0
2009-2010 Highway Mortality: 0

2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
Total Since 2000: 3,703*
*includes lethal government action, quarantine, hunts, highway mortalities
Media & Outreach
Buffalo Field Campaign
P.O. Box 957
West Yellowstone, MT 59758

BFC is the only group working in the field every day
in defense of the last wild buffalo population in the U.S.


Join Buffalo Field Campaign -- It's Free!
Video: Stilwell Public Schools’ board votes to keep Tommy Tomahawk
Video: Stilwell Public Schools’ board votes to keep Tommy Tomahawk

Stilwell High School's mascot, Tommy Tomahawk, made an appearance at a Jan. 26 pep assembly after the school's board voted 3-2 to reinstate it. (Photo by Christina Good Voice)By Christina Good Voice
Staff Writer

STILWELL, Okla. – Stilwell High School will keep its mascot, Tommy Tomahawk, after its board of education voted 3-2 to reinstate the mascot at a special meeting on Jan. 25 in the school’s gym.

School officials received complaints from people about the new mascot after a photo of it ran in the Jan. 13 issue of a local newspaper. The photo showed the mascot with a large head, long black hair in braids and exaggerated American Indian facial features such as a scowl, large nose and bushy eyebrows. It was dressed in a fake buckskin shirt and leggings.

Superintendent Mary Alice Fletcher said after hearing complaints the mascot was put “on hold” until the school board voted on it.

Board members Andy Inman, Bill Muskrat and Jess Merriott voted to keep the mascot, while Eli Pumpkin and Jeff Johnson voted against it.

Johnson said he supports the student body but was concerned about the mascot.

“It obviously has offended some Native Americans,” he said. “We obviously have to vote on it tonight, but I’d like to see both these groups maybe come together and work together to come up with a mascot that’s not offensive to those cultures.”

Johnson said with a compromise, the students still get a mascot and both parties are happy.

But Merriott said he supported keeping the mascot because many of the calls he had received were from people in support of it.

“The ones I have received that have been against it have been from people outside our community,” he said. “I’m here to represent our community and the way our community feels.”

But board president Eli Pumpkin said the mascot was “ugly” and agreed with Johnson’s comments on a compromise.

“I’m from this community, and I’ve got a lot of calls from Native Americans in this district and they’ve certainly been offended,” he said. “I think we could’ve done a better job with what we picked. I think we made him look awful ugly.”

More than a hundred people turned out for the meeting. Most of those in attendance were Stilwell students and parents. The crowd also included people who oppose the mascot.

Board members allowed six speakers from each side of the issue two minutes each to speak. The six speakers supporting the mascot included four students, a school employee and a school alumnus.

The six people opposing it included two members of the Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism; a Stilwell resident; and Cherokee Nation citizens and employees Jamie Hummingbird, Charlie Soap and Dr. Neil Morton. Morton spoke on behalf of the CN.

After the board’s decision, students broke into applause and began cheering.

CN citizen Troy Littledeer said he sees the issue as a Stilwell resident, not as a Native American.

“It was a community matter, and when I spoke I mentioned this may not be a winnable argument,” Littledeer said. “What some people find offensive, others will not. I’m in favor of the vote, only because it upholds the community and the interest of the students. I know they worked hard; they deserve the reward for their hard work.”

But some people opposed to the mascot were disappointed with the vote. CN citizen Sedelta Oosahwee said she finds the mascot offensive, but went to the meeting to hear both sides.

“I knew coming in I probably wouldn’t be swayed, but I was very disappointed with the meeting itself,” Oosahwee said. “It felt like a joke.”

She said the students should not be held responsible for the poor choice of mascot.

“I feel like the adults in the school and community should’ve come forward earlier to try to mold this process earlier before it got to this point,” she said. “I’m not happy with the result. We’re going to try to keep coming out and we’re going to keep trying to let people know this isn’t right and we’re not going to stand for this.”

Morton, a longtime Stilwell resident, said he appreciated the opinion of everyone in attendance, especially the students, but the school might need to teach more Cherokee concepts to the children.

“Naturally, it is a student project and students are very protective of their projects, as well as they should be,” he said. “Perhaps a more in-depth understanding of Cherokee culture, Cherokee life ways and Cherokee history would cause a person not to want Tommy Tomahawk to represent them as a people.”

Reach Staff Writer Christina Good Voice at (918) 207-3825 or
Inuit infant mortality three times Canadian average; children go hungry: Study
Inuit infants die at well over three times the rate of other Canadian babies, according to a massive new study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

And as if to underscore the tough situation facing aboriginal children in Canada's North, a second study in the same journal found that 70 per cent of Inuit preschoolers live in homes where there isn't always enough food.

"Inuit children in Nunavut are faced with health challenges that are more severe than those in Southern Canada due to the socio-economic conditions facing the entire territory," said Dr. Isaac Sobol, the territory's chief public officer of health.

To study the Inuit infant mortality rate, University of Montreal researcher Dr. Zhong-Cheng Luo looked at all four million births in Canada between 1990 and 2000. He then broke out those that occurred in 53 predominantly Inuit communities in the Arctic, from Labrador in the east the Mackenzie Delta in the west.

After comparing those births with deaths in the first year of life, Luo found the mortality rate for Inuit infants was 16.5 per thousand live births - a rate not seen in Southern Canada since 1971 and 3.6 times the Canadian average of 4.6 deaths.

Luo's data are at least a decade old, but more recent information isn't encouraging.

"If you look at the trends over time, you do not see any improvement," he said.

The lowest rate was in the Inuvialuit region in the Northwest Territories, at 13.4 deaths per thousand births. The highest rate was in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, where 18.1 babies out of every thousand die before their first birthday.

The study also found a high rate of stillbirths, at 1.7 times the Canadian average.

Luo said many of the deaths are preventable.

Inuit mothers and pregnant women have high smoking and drinking rates. As well, emphasizing the importance of measures such as placing infants on their backs to sleep could reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, now seven times more common among the Inuit.

But Luo said poverty, overcrowding and generally poor living conditions in the North are likely taking their toll.

"Improving socio-economic indicators is of fundamental importance," he said. "That's the root cause. Infant mortality is a mirror of socio-economic conditions."

Sobol said that there is a midwifery program in the two Nunavut regions that do not have a hospital. He said smoking and drinking among pregnant and new mothers is a problem that community nurses have been trying to deal with for a long time.

Similar issues surfaced in the second study.

Grace Egeland of McGill University surveyed 388 households in 16 Nunavut communities in 2007 and 2008. She found that 41 per cent of children between age three and five lived in homes where they either had no food for an entire day or where their parents couldn't afford to feed them at least part of the time. Two-thirds of the parents said there were times when they ran out of food and couldn't afford to buy more.

In all, she concluded that 70 per cent of Nunavut's Inuit children sometimes don't have enough to eat.

"We had an anticipation that we had a problem with the food security issue, but I didn't realize the extent of it," said Egeland.

Consequences range from poorer overall health to lower school achievement, she said. Paradoxically, one of those consequences is higher rates of obesity.

"It's easier to eat a lot of high-energy, nutrient-poor foods," said Egeland. "We find that obesity seems to track with food insecurity in developed countries."

Egeland pointed out some households may not be spending grocery money wisely. Cigarettes are expensive, and soft drink consumption in the North is about three times Southern Canada's rate.

Still, she said measures such as higher income support, food banks and milk programs could go a long way toward keeping young bellies full.

Sobol said food security is a complex issue in Nunavut.

"This problem is multi-faceted, involving issues such as poverty, rapid cultural change and education, and has had a profound influence on the health of Inuit in Nunavut."

Nunavut funds a variety of food security programs, such as school breakfasts, said Sobol. Other programs such as "Drop the Pop," which encourages people to consume fewer soft drinks, occur across the North.

"Food security is a public health issue,"said Egeland. "I'm hoping this leads to a really good assessment of health and health policy.

"Inuit are Canadians too, so let's look after each other."

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