Haaland, Pinkham, and Dworshak Dam

Things are moving so quickly in Indian Country that it is hard to keep up. But I thought that anyone interested in this blog will be especially interested in Interior Secretary Haaland of the Laguna Pueblo Tribe, and Jaime Pinkham of the Nez Perce Tribe, came together at Dworshak Dam to celebrate the transferral of the fish hatchery, which was constructed in 1969, and has been co-managed by the tribe for the past 18 years, to the Nez Perce Tribe.

The tribe will be responsible for spawning and rearing steelhead, spring chinook and coho at the hatchery and taking care of the facility. The Corps will continue to own and partially fund the hatchery and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will administer the facility and be in charge of fish health measures.

The hatchery is a key cog in the federal and regional effort to produce salmon and steelhead to mitigate for declines caused by Dworshak Dam on the Read The Article

Biden gets it right (With help from Deb Haaland)!

In today’s paper I read that President Biden reversed Trump yet again, effectively returning to a 2014 policy that forbade the use of antipersonnel landmines in all but the defense of South Korea. It seems that a lot of what Biden does reverses previous government policy. And nowhere as much—or as effectively—as with Indian affairs, where the reversals overturn decades and even centuries of American government policies.

Yesterday’s news was a reversal of Trump on Bears Ears National Monument. National monuments are executive order landmarks, so, unlike National Parks, are subject to the policy leanings of the current occupant of the White House. Trump had significantly shrunk the size of the Bears Ears Monument. Biden, “on the counsel of Deb Haaland, the Secretary of the Interior,” as the New York Times declared, reversed Trump. President Barack Obama had established Bears Ears in 2016, the culmination of more than a century of efforts to protect the ancestral homeland of Tribal Nations Read The Article

Win Native Art!

As part of our “Native Sport” exhibit, we wanted to offer art work for purchase: Beadwork by Roger Amerman, and photography by Dallas Dick. Best laid plans……

Which means that the raffle announced then has been “reworked,” with raffle tickets available now online and at the Center–where the beautiful Amerman beaded bag and Dallas Dick photo are on display, and online at https://josephy.org/event/native-sport-raffle?blm_aid=16351

Only a few tickets were sold–as we didn’t have art work here–so we now have 95 tickets available: $10 each or 3 for $25. The drawing will be held druing Chief Joseph Days, Friday, July 29 at 4:00 p.m.
qe’ci’yew’yew’—thank you!rich

Native Sport Raffle

  Read The Article

Deb Haaland and Mount Howard

With all of the “stuff” going on in the world—war in Ukraine, famine in Somalia, floods, heat waves, climate change and inflation everywhere—it’s easy to overlook the work at the US Department of the Interior. And to overlook its director, Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland.

I’ve written before about her appointment of Chuck Sams as the Director of the National Park System, and her vigorous examination of the death of children at Indian boarding schools. Today’s New York Times brings the story of name changes:

“A mountain in Yellowstone National Park, named for an Army officer who led a massacre in which at least 173 Native Americans were slaughtered, has been renamed in honor of America’s Indigenous people, the National Park Service said…. the U.S. Board on Geographic Names… voted unanimously to rename Mount Doane, a 10,551-foot peak in the southeastern part of Yellowstone… First Peoples Mountain.”

Fitting of course, as Yellowstone was used by many tribes prior to its Read The Article

Hobos

When I was young in a small town in northern Minnesota, hobos stayed in the stockyard by the railway tracks not far from our house. We—a small group of 6-and-7-year-old urchins, would throw rocks on the tin roofs of the stockyard sheds, and, seeing or not seeing a face peer around a corner, we would run, with just enough titillating fear to bring us back another day.

Sometimes the hobos knocked on the door at our house, and asked my mom if she had any work for them. I don’t remember them doing any work, but remember her handing out sandwiches. I would hide in the other room and listen, sometimes peering to get a look at the hobos we thought it fun to scare with rocks on the roof.

It’s not hobo shacks now, or riding the rails, but walking, and sometimes biking or even driving a junk car or a van that works as transportation and bedroom. Sometimes Read The Article

Steve Kerr, Rez Ball, and Hope in Sport

“Sports is a refuge but not a hiding place from the world of violence.”

Golden State Warriors basketball coach Steve Kerr said that in an impassioned press conference right after the Uvalde shootings. Or someone retrieved an old quote to go along with his new press conference tirade about gun violence and Congressional inaction.

It doesn’t matter when he said it. The knowledge that Steve Kerr’s father, who in 1984 was the President of the American University in Beirut, was killed by a gunman, gives him creds beyond his basketball celebrity.

And what interests me is the confluence of sports and public affairs—and that of professional basketball and rez ball.

Someplace in the middle of Brothers on Three, Abe Streep’s book on the Arlee, Montana Warrior’s basketball team, there is the notion that the style of ball played by professional teams is growing close to that favored on reservations across the country: fluid and fast-paced offense off of relentless pressure Read The Article

WASP—White Anglo-Saxon Protestant—Men


Men! And, yes mostly white men of Anglo descent, the ones who took Indian lands away with treaties and wars, lies, legislation, disease, and depleting food stocks, who brought the slaves and wrote the Constitution and engaged in a Civil War over Black men and women as property—commodities to be bought and sold.

These white men manned the pulpits and kept women quiet and hung some of them as witches. (No wonder some women and girls “captured’ by Indians refused negotiated releases.) They set our nation on its course.

Ben Franklin—maybe the smartest of the white men at the beginning of the nation, wondered about that. And wondered why brown men could peacefully run tribes for centuries while the British colonists disagreed ardently on so much. One trick of the Brown Haudenosaunee Confederacy’s Peace Plan was that the women chose the leaders of the five tribes charged with keeping the peace.

Indian tribes across the continents had complicated and differing Read The Article

Nez Perce Music–Three Years Later

Three years ago, we had a summer exhibit featuring Nez Perce music, from drummers and dancers of long ago to the “Nezpercians” and “Lollypop Six” jazz and dance bands of the early and mid-twentieth century. We gave a nod in that exhibit to a young Nez Perce jazz singer named Julia Keefe.

Julia wasn’t done with music and with her Native past. With a grant in hand, Keefe and co-leader, Delbert Anderson of the Dine Tribe of the Navajo Nation, set out to build an all-indigenous big band. They worried that they could find enough talent and interest among indigenous musicians, but, in the end, according to Tom Bance of NPR’s Northwest News Network”:

“Keefe and Anderson said they could have assembled two all-Native big bands with the talent that came out of the woodwork. The selected participants had connections to Native peoples across the Americas, including Alaska, Hawaii, eastern Canada, the U.S. Southwest, the Great Plains and Caribbean.”

“The Read The Article

Boarding Schools and Religion

What do we make of it, the long and sickening stories of abuse of Indian children in boarding schools in Canada and our own country? How can men—mostly men, but some women too—have done these things to children?

My friends raised in California Catholic schools laugh now about a nun who liked to rap knuckles with a yardstick, but even that, the hitting of small children by a grown woman pledged to teach them, seems to reflect more on her perverse personality or the crazy institution that had aligned with it than it does on the children.

Sure, there were and are trouble-making children, kids who bring sad stories from sad homes to school with them every day, and work out their home problems by being nasty to other students or contentious with teacher nuns—or any teachers. And there are kids with “just mean” in them that we struggle to understand. But—as we often say—who and where is the adult? Read The Article

Help from the Natives

It’s a heavy job to give to Indians—and I use “Indians” here in deference to older tribal people who still use that term comfortably—but I don’t know who else we turn to. Young white men are killing African-Americans and Asian-Americans. Young Blacks are killing each other on the streets, and I don’t know about today but know that in the past Latino and Asian gangs also killed their own. Read The Article

Eleventh Grade in Ankara

I spent most of a recent two week soujourn in The Department of American Culture and Literature, also known as the American Studies Department, at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. Ankara, a modern city of high rises and 5 million people, is the nation’s capital. The university is nearly self-contained, with housing, coffee shops and a market, and is surrounded by hospitals, government buildings, and apartment and business towers.

Bilkent has 12,500 undergraduate and graduate students, and an adjacent k-12 Bilkent Laboratory and International School has over 1000 students. Although early grades are dual-language, upper grades at the BLIS school and the entire university use English as the teaching language.

I met with five sections of fifth-graders and one eleventh grade Global Studies class. The fifth graders were basically fluent in English; the eleventh graders as easy in their English as are most American eleventh graders.

The teacher, a White South African, had versed them in the spread of peoples Read The Article

Spring–and baseball dreams

In the midst of War and Covid, my mind goes to baseball. Maybe because it is spring, and some of my best and earliest memories are about baseball and spring. How I hung out at a Minnesota Youth baseball program meant for older kids until they let me practice, and once travel to a game on the Red Lake Reservation and play an inning in right field.

We moved to California, Little League started in our town, and then there was Babe Ruth and high school ball and all-star tournaments—and dreams of Little League World Series, high school championships, and more baseball. Read The Article

Apologies–and Resilience Through Writing

I have had this book, Resilience Through Writing: A Bibliographic Guide to Indigenous-Authored Publications in the Pacific Northwest before 1960, on my desk for over a year! It was sent to me by its editor, Darby C. Stapp, a publication of the Journal of Northwest Anthropology, with which he has long been associated.

I remember when I got it, opening to a random page and reading—and writing immediately to Darby Stapp that it was like reading a novel. I put it on a back shelf, thinking that I would sit down and do a thorough examination of the text and write a real review. That didn’t happen. Opening it now, I remember why. There is too much! Read The Article

Rez Ball Update at Eastern Oregon U.

When i wrote about the Arlee Warrior basketball team and Abe Streep’s wonderful book about them, Rez ball in Montana, and the problems successful Native high school athletes have making it to and in the college game, I did not know that one of the key players followed in Abe’s book, Brothers on Three, just completed a very successful season in my backyard, at Eastern Oregon University. A Montana friend gave me the news, and here’s what I learned from the EOU web page:

“Junior guard Phillip Malatare was named the Newcomer of the Year and was tabbed First Team All-CCC. He garners the award after being a guiding force for the Mountaineers in 2021-22. ..

“Malatare was the Mountaineers’ go-to option on offense this season as he averaged 19.2 points per game 27 games played. He started 26 contests and averaged 30.6 minutes per game. His 19.2 points per game were second highest in the league as he shot Read The Article

Thirty years make a difference–Rez Ball 3

A year ago, I wrote a blog post I called “Rez Ball.” I gave a little Indian sports background, then a nod to Larry Colton’s book about a Native basketball player he’d followed through the 1992-93 season in Montana, Counting Coup, and I celebrated the 2021 Lapwai Boys Idaho State Championship team. I made another Rez Ball post this week, celebrating the Lapwai Boys and Girls 2022 State Championship teams.

Colton’s book, published in 2000, followed one girl, Sharon LaForge, through a season, with the author stepping into the book and trying to help the talented LaForge find a place in college ball. It talked teenage sex and alcohol and racism, lauded and applauded Sharon when it could, but pulled no punches—and landed Colton on the outside of much of her Montana Crow Tribal community. Years later, there was a reunion, and Colton could tell Sharon that while the book might have landed hard on the rez, it had Read The Article

Rez Ball-2

I don’t know when I first heard the term “rez ball,” but I’ve been watching Nixyaawii School on the Umatilla Reservation play basketball for years, and that’s where I got my idea of what it is. It’s more passes than dribbles, move the ball, and offense coming off pressure defense. It’s no-look passes and going to the hot shooter in the game, ofttimes for threes.

Once, in Joseph, Nixyaawii was having their way with the Joseph girls. It must have been 2017, when Mary Stewart led the Golden Eagles to the state championship. She would bring the ball up nonchalantly, then dribble quickly to the side and nail a three, or fire an overhead pass to a girl who’d moved deftly to the rim for an easy layup. Read The Article

It’s the Land!

This weekend “media tycoon” Byron Allen told a TV audience that he now owned the Weather Channel and intended to bid on the Denver Broncos. While the NFL is in a dispute over the lack of Black coaches in the league, Allen intends to be the first African-American owner of an NFL team. NFL rosters have, of course, long been filled with African-American players. The league is more than 60 % Black, but coaches are few, and owners none.

In another, quieter announcement this week, President Joe Biden nominated Harvard University Native American Program Executive Director Shelly C. Lowe to serve as the 12th chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lowe is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up on an Arizona reservation. The National Endowment for the Humanities is our national institution that celebrates “culture.” Read The Article

Alvin Josephy and the “new” science on Native American origins

Several friends quickly sent me the NYTimes review of a new book on the old subject of human origins in the Americas. The book is ORIGIN: A Genetic History of the Americas, and the author is Jennifer Raff. According to the reviewer, Raff consulted the sciences of “archaeology, genetics, and linguistics” in her book—which I have not read, but have ordered! Read The Article