Archive for the 'Native Americans' Category

Life on the Rez

Heart wrenching 2007 report on life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.



Native Tobbaco Garden to Grow the Ingredents to Traditional Tobacco for Native American Youth

Tobacco to most is an instrument of enjoyment, often a bad habit in terms of health. However in Native American culture tobacco isn’t only consumed and smoked, ingested into the body. Tobacco also has a number of sacred uses including prayer and a show of respect.

Tobacco is one of the plants of the four Manido (the spirits of the four directions), as it represents the eastern direction. Some say that tobacco is the plant that with its roots.

One Indian Health Center in Montana has broken ground on a garden to harvest the ingredients of traditional tobacco.

As Native Americans over the years have come to represent such a small slice of the population (PDF) numerically and their culture and traditions have been marginalized, defiled, and cast aside by many; it is good to see some keeping alive the traditions and enriching the minds not only of the Natives but of all.

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) – Work has begun on a garden to grow the ingredients for traditional tobacco in an effort to reduce the number of American Indian youths who use commercial tobacco.

Ground was broken Monday at the Missoula Indian Center, an organization that offers health care and a chemical dependency program for Indians.

Dana Kingfisher, who works at the center, says the garden will help educate youth about the sacred role of traditional tobacco.

Traditional plants such as red willow, kinnikinnick, bearberry, sweetgrass and sage will be grown in the garden, along with some vegetables.

Native Yards, a landscaping business, is providing labor, materials and guidance for the garden. Kingfisher says the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program, a state organization, is providing about $4,000 for the project.

The American Indian in Oklahoma

Brenda Goldman of the Native American Community Examiner, writes a fascinating and sad piece on the state of the American Indian in Oklahoma, where at least 37 Federally recognized tribes reside.

Native Americans are a small sliver of the overall population, but despite: starvation, disease, harassment, forced assimilation, coercion, the avarice of industry and government alike, and brutalization and death at the hands of settlers; there are those still alive and still living in despair, as well as beating the odds.


Before the Day Ends….

One last note, On this date in 1971 the two year long Native American Occupation of Alcatraz island ends.

"We Shall Remain"

Tonight a new five part special “We Shall Remain” begins on PBS, about the History of Native Americans in America, beginning with this weeks episode that starts in 1621 with relations between the Wampanoag Tribe of New England and the newly arrived pilgrims. A heritage of sorrow, tragedy, and amazement in the American land. It is history through the eyes of Native Americans.

Airs starting tonight at 9pm Eastern Time on PBS. Be sure to watch.


On February 27 The Occupation of Wounded Knee Began

The seventy-one day long Siege at Wounded Knee began when members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and other Native American Activists seized several facilities at the Ogoloua Sioux Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It would touch off a standoff with FBI and government agents that would capture the attention of the world.


On This Date: Crazy Horse

The Oglala Sioux leader and Shirt Wearer (war lord) Crazy Horse, and his warriors fought their last major battle in the Montana territories, the Battle of Wolf Mountain against the U.S Calvary. There they were defeated and strayed off in their own ways with the remnants of Crazy Horse’s band of men surrendering at Fort Robinson in Nebraska in May of that year.Crazy Horse was revered and brave, according to his Sioux contemporaries Crazy Horse saw visions and was fearless in battle against both the U.S military and rival Indian tribes.

“Crazy Horse” is probably best known for his part in the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn, where he, his fellow Oglala Sioux Warriors and the Cheyenne Indians combined forces and led the U.S Calvary led by U.S General George Armstrong Custer into one of the biggest defeats of the U.S Military in its History.