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Ancient Voices - Contemporary Contexts

American Indian Institute, Bozeman, Montana


No. 071, April 2017


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By Rebecca Bowe | Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nathan Piengkham (left), a member of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, paddles the Snake River during last year's Free the Snake Flotilla. He also joined a group of tribal members who traveled to Standing Rock last year with traditional hand-carved canoes. At a March 2017 treaty rights conference in Lewiston, Idaho, he and other tribal members reflected on how treaty rights and cultural tradition have aided in movements to protect the environment.


For Nathan Piengkham, a member of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, the personal journey toward becoming a water protector started with a felled cedar. 'We were gifted a giant cedar log from the Quinault area,' he explained, referring to a part of coastal Washington that is home to the Quinault Tribal Nation. Once he and other carvers had transformed the log into a traditional dugout canoe, they took it out onto local rivers, marking the first time in about a century that members of the tribes had engaged in this practice...." Read the Entire Article.



Prehistoric Native Americans farmed macaws in 'feather factories'

Birds were spiritual emblems in pueblos of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Traci Watson

10 April 2017

Frans Lanting/NGC

Scarlet macaws are tropical birds, but their bones have been found in the southwestern United States.

"To ancient peoples of the American Southwest, a macaw's brilliant feathers weren't just adornments. They were status symbols and spiritual emblems - so precious, in fact, that macaws were kept in captivity and deliberately plucked of their plumage, new evidence suggests.

"Macaw skeletons from three prehistoric pueblos in New Mexico bear signs of feather harvesting, according to analysis presented on 31 March at a meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver, Canada. But the skeletons also hint that the macaws' handlers went to great lengths to care for their demanding charges. 'People were doing their utmost to keep them alive,' says Randee Fladeboe, an archaeologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville who analysed the macaw bones. ..." Read the Entire Article



Windsor law professor calls on Senator Beyak to educate herself about residential schools

Lynn Beyak said indigenous people 'owe their lives' to residential schools
CBC News Posted: Apr 03, 2017 8:59 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 03, 2017 10:36 AM ET

Valerie Waboose is from Wapole Island and focused her PhD thesis on the residential school perspective from the Nishnawbe perspective.

"Valerie Waboose, an assistant law professor from the University of Windsor, is adding her voice to the growing chorus of Indigenous people calling on Senator Lynn Beyak to educate herself on the legacy of residential schools in Canada.

"Earlier this month, Beyak criticized the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for "not focusing on the good" of the "well-intentioned" institutions. ..." Read the Entire Article.





The Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania (c. 1900) was one of many boarding schools sponsored by government and religious groups to "civilize" Indian children that had been taken from their families and communities.

"Native Americans say the law protects their children. The Goldwater Institute claims it does the opposite.

"On the wall above his desk, attorney Timothy Sandefur keeps a copy of The Liberator, a 186-year-old abolitionist newspaper that features an etching of a slave auction on its masthead. Sandefur is the vice president for litigation at the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, a nonprofit right-wing think tank with a donor roster that includes the Mercer family (Donald Trump's biggest campaign contributors) and Donors Trust, a dark-money funnel for the Koch brothers, the DeVos family, and others. Goldwater is largely known for its efforts to limit regulation, promote tax cuts, expand school choice, and advance private-property rights..." Read the Entire Article.



Agua Caliente Water Rights Suit Heading to Supreme Court

Coachella Valley Aquifer appealed to SCOTUS; dispute Agua Caliente's assertion water should be treated before recharging aquifer

Debra Utacia Krol - April 9, 2017
"The Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency announced March 29 that they are taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 7, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians' water rights include both surface and groundwater assets, including the Coachella Valley aquifer, based on the Winters Doctrine.

"The case, Agua Caliente Band v. Coachella Valley Water District, was filed by the tribe in 2013 after repeated attempts to negotiate with the water agencies failed. Aqua Caliente has long been concerned about dropping levels in the 65-mile-long aquifer, which lies beneath its 31,500-acre reservation in and around Palm Springs. The tribe also expressed its opposition to the agencies' plan to pump untreated Colorado River water into the aquifer..." Read the Entire Article.




by Hannibal Rhoades and Tero Mustonen
April 3, 2017

Reindeer round up of the Turvaurgin nomadic community at -57C, Lower Kolyma, Sakha Yakutia, Russia. Photo: Snowchange Cooperative

"A major new international study has recognised the crucial role Arctic Indigenous Peoples have to play in ecological restoration efforts that help build resilience to major climate-change driven shifts in the distribution of land, marine and freshwater species...." Read the Entire Article.



Found: One of the Oldest North American Settlements

The discovery of the 14,000-year-old village in Canada lends credence to the theory that humans arrived in North America from the coast

(Joanne McSporran)

By Brigit Katz
April 5, 2017

"he oral history of the Heiltsuk Nation, an Aboriginal group based on the Central Coast of British Columbia, tells of a coastal strip of land that did not freeze during the ice age, making it a place of refuge for early inhabitants of the territory. As Roshini Nair reports for the CBC, a recent archaeological discovery attests to an ancient human presence in the area associated with the tradition. While digging on British Columbia's Triquet Island, archaeologists unearthed a settlement that dates to the period of the last ice age...." Read the Entire Article.



Study suggests humans were in North America 100,000 years earlier than believed

Researchers base opinion on tools found next to mastodon site in San Diego
By Nicole Mortillaro, CBC News Posted: Apr 26, 2017 1:01 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 26, 2017 3:41 PM ET

Unbroken mastodon ribs and vertebrae, including one vertebra with a large, well-preserved neural spine. (San Diego Natural History Museum)

"A team of scientists believe they have found evidence of human activity in North America that dates back 130,000 years -- more than 100,000 years earlier than believed.

"The evidence comes from an archeological site in San Diego County, Calif. In 1992, a site was uncovered containing mastodon bones, along with stone anvils and hammerstones. Dating the tools proved to be challenging. However, using recent technology, including uranium dating, the team believes they have firm evidence that humans were using tools to break apart the bones and make other tools...." Read the Entire Article.



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