Monday, March 15, 2010

Issues & News 03/16/2010

Issues & News 03/16/2010

The campaign to save Lake Cowal

Felicity Royds
13 March 2010

Lake Cowal, located between the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers that feed into the Murray Darling basin, is the sacred heartland of the Wiradjuri country.

The important wetland and conservation area is also home to an open-pit goldmine, operated by Canada-based multinational Barrick Gold.

The mine uses cyanide leaching for its gold extraction. The toxic chemical ends up in tailing ponds that risk leaching into the groundwater or spilling over into surrounding rivers in floods.

Lake Cowal floods approximately every 10 years, flowing into the Murray Darling river system by way of the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan rivers.

This controversial mine not only poses a threat to rivers and ecosystems, but desecrates Aboriginal sacred sites. Indigenous custodians of the land, the Wiradjuri people, have been fighting Barrick Gold for 14 years to stop the mine.

Barrick Gold aims to almost double the size of the Lake Cowal mine, which will nearly double water consumption. Last July, the grassroots campaign against the mine won a case in the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal that delayed the expansion. At the time Neville Chappy Williams, a tradition owner of Lake Cowal and a leader of the campaign, said: “You can’t eat gold and you can’t drink cyanide. We must remember water is more precious than gold. Water is life.”

But in September the court ruled in favour of the company, with Barrick’s spokesperson telling the ABC on September 3, “Barrick's just really looking forward to getting on now with the modification.”

Al Oshlack, from the Indigenous Advocacy Network, responded by telling the ABC: “There's no way in the world that Neville Williams will let up on this matter. Barrick Gold will just have to pack up and go home.”

Every year since 2001, people from around Australia have converged at Lake Cowal to support the struggle against the mine.

[Resistance will be joining the protests. Dates are yet to be finalised, but keep checking the GLW activist calendar to find out more.]

From: Australian News, Green Left Weekly issue #830 17 March 2010.

Native American men's health summit set April 1 at

March 12, 2010

A summit to discuss health and wellness issues among Native American
men will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 1, in the Procrastinator Theater in
Montana State University's Student Union Building.

The summit is free and
open to the public, with lunch provided. The summit is held in conjunction with
MSU Native American Awareness Week and Earth Rights conference, also held April
1. The MSU American Indian Council Pow Wow will be held April 2-3 at MSU's Brick
Breeden Fieldhouse.

"Raising awareness of men's health issues and,
specifically, appropriate screening decisions is critical for all. It is
particularly important for Native American men in Montana who, for example,
exhibit higher cancer incidence rates and mortality compared to Montana's
non-Native population" said Paul Lachapelle MSU professor and health summit
organizer. "This summit is an opportunity for Native American men to share
personal health stories, learn more about preventative measures, and inspire
others to be more health-conscious."

Special guests who will attend the
summit will include Jim and Tim Real Bird and Sidney Fitzpatrick of the Crow
Men's Health Project; Alma Knows His Gun McCormick of Messengers for Health;
Shane Doyle, founder of the Buffalo Nations Leadership Group; Art McDonald of
the Ashland Community Health Center; Victoria Augare, American Indian Screening
Coordinator, MT Dept. of Public Health and Human Services; education, and Dr.
Dave Berndt of the MSU Student Health Services.

A film about the Crow
Men's Health Project will premiere during the summit.

The summit is
sponsored by MSU Extension, Buffalo Nations Leadership Group, Crow Men's
Project, MSU Department of Health and Human Development, MSU
Department of Native American Studies, the Center for Native Health Partnerships
and the MSU Diversity Awareness Office.

For more information about
the Native American men's health summit, go to

more information about the "Earth Rights: Learning the Languages of Indigenous
Environmentalism" conference during MSU Native American Awareness Week, go to

Paul Lachapelle (406) 994-3620, or Jim
Real Bird (406) 638-3795,


Teresa Anahuy

Handful of Montana Indians keep ancient healing secrets

By Richard Peterson - March 12, 2010

One of the most vivid memories of Minerva Allen's 1940s childhood is that
of her grandfather using a razor-sharp arrowhead wrapped in rawhide to treat a
man with high blood pressure......

.....Use caution

Like the warning labels on prescription pill bottles, words of caution also
come with the use of medicinal plants and herbs......

Read rest of article at:

Native American plant and herb medicines

Big Sagebrush

An all-purpose medicine. A tea from the root can be used to treat someone who
is having difficulty urinating or producing a bowel movement. Also was given to
women who were having difficulty giving birth. Also used as a defogger to keep
insects away.

Yucca (soap weed)

The root is peeled, cleaned and dried then boiled to make a tea to treat
colds and flu. The root also is considered a heart medicine among some tribes.
Root can be pulverized and soaked, then used as a shampoo. Claimed that it helps
the hair to grow.

Rose hips

High in Vitamin C, its roots can be made into a tea and helps with
stomachaches and diarrhea.

Wild licorice

Common treatment for toothaches. It's roots also good for flu and fever.
Diabetics, however, cannot use this medicine.

Wild carrots

Steeped in hot water, can be used to treat kidney disease, bladder
inflammation and jaundice.

Box elder trees

The inner bark can be boiled into a tea and used to induce vomiting.

Bull berries

Steeped into a tea using the fruit and flowers, it was used to treat high
blood pressure, angina and a weak heart.


Its roots were pounded and used for pain medicine. The plant can also induce
perspiration and reduce inflammation. Its down was used as a dressing for


Used for clearing the mind and improving memory and concentration. The name
describes the taste. Chew a piece to also help treat a sore throat. Singers
within the tribal camp would often use it before an event to prevent


The plant came to the West with the settlers. Indians eventually discovered
it can prevent yeast infections and when the leaves, roots and head of the plant
are boiled, it helps treat an inflamed liver.

Wild mint

Good for an upset stomach and nausea. Also used to treat colic in babies.
Believed to strengthen heart muscles.


Good for indigestion, throat and lung problems. When made into a tea, it can
be rubbed on the skin to treat poison ivy, itchy skin and venereal disease.
Common throughout the Plains.

Prickly pear

Flesh of plant used to treat wounds or sunburns to the skin. Was also used to
preserve petroglyphs in caves. The film from its flesh would be rubbed over the
drawing to prevent moisture from washing it away.

Corn silk

When roasted to a light brown color or dried, can be steeped into a tea and
used to treat swelling in the legs and feet. A common diuretic.

Spring lily

Flower of plant was pulverized or chewed then used as an antidote for the
bites of a certain small, the poisonous brown spider. Relieves inflammation and
swelling immediately.

Information compiled from:

Minverva Allen; Lois Red Elk; Alma Hogan Snell, "A Taste of Heritage"; Melvin
R. Gilmore, "Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region."


Teresa Anahuy
Berries hold promise for diabetes

By Richard Peterson - March 12, 2010

Herbalist and Blackfeet tribal member Wilbert Fish hopes that a project he
helped spearhead will one day be a natural remedy for successfully treating

In partnership with Alabama State and Virginia State universities,
Blackfeet Community College holds a patent for a drug that's been developed from
the serviceberry, also known in the region as Juneberry or Saskatoon


Teresa Anahuy
Native American heritage heals wounded warriors

By Lance Cpl. Daniel Boothe - March 12, 2010

Native Americans from across the nation taught
West-coast wounded warriors how to overcome the lasting torments of war, with
time-honored rituals and sacred traditions.

Nearly 30 combat veterans participated in "Operation One Drum," a 4-day
workshop designed to alleviate combat stress. The Native American program is the
first of its kind to be held on a military installation.

"When a man is faced with a life or death situation, his spirit detaches from
him and remains on the battlefield," said Staff Sgt. James L. Eagleman, former
1st Marine Division tanker and current resident at Wounded Warrior Battalion
West, Camp Pendleton. "This experience has helped me and a lot of the guys here
reconnect spiritually."

A central part of the event was the making of tribal drums. Marines and
sailors made the symbolic hand drums from buffalo hide and cottonwood. The
ceremonial drums carry sacred meaning to many Native American tribes and were a
keystone to several indigenous North American cultures.

The honor and spirit given to the drum was explained to the combat veterans
at Camp Pendleton and proved to be a vital core to the diverse workshop.

"We don't play the drum or beat the drum, we drum a steady beat that brings
our heart in tune with the creator," said Larry "Grizz" Brown, lead ceremonial
drummer and descendant of the Cherokee and Creek Native American tribes. It's
not just something you hear, it is something you feel deep within your soul."

Wounded warriors also connected with Native American veterans through
traditional Talking Circles. These discussion groups require participants to
pass an eagle feather amongst one another to designate the current speaker and
allow veterans from every era to share their combat experiences.

"Just talking can sometimes relieve some of that mental anguish," said Sgt.
Maj. Michael J. Templeton, sergeant major, WWBN-West and two-time Iraqi combat
veteran. "This ceremony is a welcome back and reintegration of the warrior in

When Native American warriors first returned from battle, they were called to
sit before the elders, said Eagleman, who is also a descendant from the Lakota
and Sioux tribes. The elders would apologize to the warriors for having to do
the things they had to do and see the things they saw. And then they gave them
honor for putting the needs of the tribe above their own survival, added
Eagleman. Finally, the elders told them how happy they were for their safe

"Just as the American buffalo seemed on the verge of extinction and has made
a comeback in such numbers that there is enough hide to make drums; so is the
promise that these Marines and sailors will survive the ordeal they have been
through," said Marshall Tall Eagle, sacred spiritual pipe carrier for the
Northwest Eagle Clan of the Apache and Vietnam veteran. "Without honoring our
veterans now, future generations will not understand the cost of freedom, nor
will they know what their fathers and grandfathers suffered so that they can
have their present day liberty."

The wounded warriors were immersed in the Native American culture and
heritage throughout the week-long workshop that concluded with a three-hour song
and dance ceremony, Feb 25.

"We have millions of dollars and several staff, all meant to help take care
of these guys," said Lt. Col. Greg Martin, commanding officer, WWBN-West. "What
we can't do with these resources is necessarily touch their hearts and minds the
way a program like this might."

During the final ceremony, the wounded warriors received the Native American
Warrior's Medal of Valor, a medal awarded on behalf of the 565 first nation
tribes, said Tall Eagle.

"It seemed right to give American veterans the unique insights about war that
is inherent to the Native American culture," said Deborah Bear Barbour,
originator of the Hawaii-based, Operation One Drum and descendant of the Native
American Oglala and Lakota tribes. "It was time for Native Americans and
soldiers to embrace one another in an act of healing."


Teresa Anahuy
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Teresa Anahuy

History, progress clash at mysterious Alabama mound

The latest episode in the very long history of the Oxford stones began last June, when an excavator showed up on the hill. The city was planning for the construction of a Sam's Club nearby and intended to use dirt from the hill for the area where the store would sit.

Alabama archeologists were incensed when a study first concluded the rocks atop this Oxford mound "definitively cultural" in origin and then reversed that conclusion, allowing development to proceed.

OXFORD, Ala. — Overlooking the Interstate and an outdoor shopping mall here stands a sad little hill, bald but for four bare trees and a scattering of stones.

That the stones are there is beyond argument. But everything else about them — whether somebody put them there, how long they have been there and what should be done with them — became a matter of fierce debate last summer and has continued to yield surprising twists into recent weeks.

The latest episode in the very long history of the Oxford stones began last June, when an excavator showed up on the hill. The city was planning for the construction of a Sam's Club nearby and intended to use dirt from the hill for the area where the store would sit.

Then a local archaeology professor began making phone calls.

The professor, Harry Holstein of nearby Jacksonville State University, had concluded that a stone mound at the top of the hill was constructed by American Indians more than a thousand years ago, and in 2003 he recorded it in a state archaeological registry. The possibility of its being destroyed, Holstein said, made him sick.

"I'm not against development," he said. "But some things should just be saved."

As it happened, the city had already commissioned a study of the stone mound by the Office of Archaeological Research at the University of Alabama, which works on a contract basis for such projects.

The report, signed by the office's director, Robert Clouse, found the mound to be "definitively cultural" in origin, as opposed to having been created by a natural process like erosion.

But in a recommendation that raised objections from the Alabama Historical Commission, the report concluded that the site was not likely to be archaeologically significant, given that few artifacts and no human remains had been found. The city plowed ahead.

But then the debate over the endangered mound became public. For weeks, it was a recurrent feature on the front page of The Anniston Star, the local newspaper, as well as the subject of protests, a petition, a Twitter campaign and a Facebook group.

Many of the archaeologists and some of the American Indians who lobbied to keep the stone mound acknowledge that its original purpose is a matter of speculation. That, they say, is all the more reason to preserve it.

But when the often delicate ambiguity of scholarship and tribal heritage come up against the vigorous drive for new business and development, especially in a growing town like Oxford, it does not always make for much of a fight.

The historical commission called the stone mound the largest of its kind in Alabama, but there was little the panel could do to protect it, as it sat on land owned by the city. (A bill is currently making its way through the Legislature that would provide more protection for American Indian burial sites — but it is still unclear if that, in fact, is what the stone mound was.)

Sitting in an office crowded with Bear Bryant football memorabilia, Leon Smith, the mayor of Oxford since 1984, was not keen to discuss the issue further. "You're not going to hear much from me," he said. "I'm done with Indian stuff."

Smith, who says he is half American Indian though he is unsure of what tribe, said he was satisfied by Clouse's work — which, he added, was not obligated by law but still cost the city $67,000. Nevertheless, the bad publicity made further excavation impossible last summer.

Eventually, the city made a deal with a local landowner to use his dirt for the Sam's Club site, and by August the controversy appeared to be ebbing.

But in late January, at an Oxford City Council meeting, Clouse disclosed the findings of a follow-up report.

That study, which many had not known about, was performed in July in the full heat of the controversy. In it, Clouse's conclusions could hardly have changed more drastically.

"It does not appear," he wrote in the second report, "that this stone mound was constructed by human activity."

Archaeologists around the state were surprised and angered.

"The consensus of my colleagues," said Cary Oakley, who held Clouse's current position for 28 years, "is that this particular evaluation is seriously flawed."

Keith Little of Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research, who has visited the mound, suggested that the word "consensus" was not strong enough.

"I've been an archaeologist in Alabama since the 1970s," he said. "And I've never seen archaeologists so united on one subject."

Worse, he said, the stone mound was apparently demolished during Clouse's examination, making any further study impossible.

Clouse, in an e-mail message, declined to discuss the issue.

The tension between history and progress has continued as Oxford has developed other areas in the city. This has led to some surreal disagreements, including a recent debate about whether the city had leveled the remnants of an ancient, Indian-built earthen mound to make room for a planned sports complex.

"It is gone, all of it," Holstein said, standing in what appears to be a relatively flat, grassy field.

No, it is not gone, Smith said, but simply cannot be seen unless someone knows exactly where to look.

Meanwhile, there sits that barren hill, off-limits to most, standing over shoppers headed to Dress Barn or MaggieMoo's Ice Cream.

Its history is not over. Smith plans to take the top off to about halfway down and flatten out what remains. A restaurant could go there, or a hotel. Or maybe a health clinic.

In any case, he said, "It's going to be real pretty."
Get Your Free Directory of Grants for Native American Organizations
Posted by: "NDN News" tamra_ndnnews
Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:24 pm (PST)

Please forward to anyone that maybe interested...




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