A strong leader can bring out the greatness in those around them, change a community for the better, and help others see the possibilities of the future. At Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA), we believe that developing the abilities of emerging leaders who want to make a greater impact on the reservations is an integral part of building strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.
Our 4 Directions Development Program (4D) helps develop grassroots leaders throughout the Native communities PWNA serves. These emerging leaders have the opportunity to take part in a six-month training program that includes personal and professional development, setting of self-identified goals, and working work with an advisor-mentor, PWNA staff and other resources to reach those goals.
Skill-building such as networking and public speaking can translate into the ability to organize their community or mobilize workgroups, effectively communicate needed information, and more confidently collaborate with and lead those around them. The participants who graduate from the 4D program are better equipped to empower others within their communities, pave the way for locally-driven change and help the tribes into the future they want.
This fall PWNA will launch its first all-women cohort, known as 4D Strong Native Women. The program is supported by PepsiCo Foundation grants for girls and women, which aim at helping 1.5 million women be successful in the workplace and benefiting 12.5 million women around the world. In addition to providing funding for the Strong Native Women cohort, members of the Native American employee resource workgroup known as PepsiCo RISE will volunteer as mentor-advisors for the 4D participants (along with continuing to mentor many of our AIEF scholarship students). PepsiCo employees who are members of RISE share an interest in Native American culture, history and current issues.
The 4D Strong Native American Women cohort will begin October 2018 and conclude in March 2019. Recruitment for participants will begin soon for the program, which will take place in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The year was 1607. The location was Jamestown. The people were indigenous, and life was about to change.
For up to 22,000 years pre-contact by the Europeans, the Chickahominy and other Algonguian and Powhatan tribes inhabited what we now know as Virginia. To put it simply, when John Smith arrived, Pocahontas was already there.
The first British settlers established the Virginia Colony as a permanent residence in 1607. The Pilgrims followed in 1620 to Virginia and Massachusetts. After 70 years and still unable to survive on their own, the British looked to the tribes for protection, and the tribes gave it. In 1677, the Chickahominy and several other tribes signed a peace treaty pledging fidelity to the British Crown and committing up to 500 bowmen should the Spanish attack the settlers. Some 111 years later in 1788, the state of Virginia was established.
Yet this history pre-dating even John Smith was not enough for the tribes to gain federal recognition as “tribes,” with all the rights and benefits that confers in the U.S. Instead, in 2015, more than 400 years after their ancestors greeted John Smith, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe was federally recognized – the first Virginia tribe to attain this status.
Some Virginia tribes such as the Chickahominy worked nearly 20 years to establish all the criteria deemed necessary by the U.S. government for federal recognition. For some Virginia tribes, the road to recognition was even longer.
The Rappahannock Tribe incorporated in 1921 to solidify their tribal government and begin their work toward state and federal recognition. The tribe was state-recognized on March 25, 1983. Their federal work, started in 1921 by Chief George Nelson, was reactivated in 1996 and continued through 2017 – all told a 96-year journey. Today the Rappahannock Tribe is led by Chief G. Anne Richardson, who was elected in 1998 and is the first woman to lead the tribe since the 1700s.
At last on Jan. 11 this year, President Trump signed into law the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017, at once recognizing the Rappahannock, Chickahominy, Eastern Chickahominy, Upper Mattaponi, Monacan and Nansemond tribes as sovereign nations and bringing the count of federally-recognized tribes to 573.
Over the next four years, these six Virginia tribes are entitled to an estimated $67 million in federal assistance for education, health care and housing. Other rights and benefits also confer with federal recognition. If the tribes request it, the Department of the Interior can take their lands into trust for the benefit of the tribes’ 4,400 members. This would not affect their hunting, fishing, trapping, gathering or water rights. Gaming operations, however, remain prohibited.
Pursuant to our goal of helping you remain informed of the top news stories from Native American culture from across the country, Partnership With Native Americans has compiled our favorite stories from the month of February. Stay up to date with more articles by following us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Giving Mountains Back Their Indigenous Names via Outside Magazine
- “Last September, a 29-year-old Navajo climber named Len Necefer posted a photo of a young woman named Monserrat A Matehuala standing on the summit of Longs Peak, one of Colorado’s best known 14ers. What was significant was not that she summited—hundreds do each year. It was the location in the geotag that accompanied the post: Neníisótoyóú’u, the mountain’s Arapaho name.”
Harvard University’s first tenured Native American studies professor gets to work via The Daily Pennsylvanian
- “Harvard University has hired its first tenured Native American studies professor,,, Philip J. Deloria started teaching in January of this year, transferring to Harvard from his former position in the American Studies department at the University of Michigan. Harvard History Department Chair Daniel L. Smail called Deloria “the leading — I was gonna say one of the leading, but he’s really the best — historian of Native Americans active today,” in a statement to the Crimson.”
- “The Quapaw Cattle Company is the latest in a string of tribally owned and operated businesses that provide jobs to both tribal and nontribal citizens in Oklahoma. All total, tribes contribute more than $10 billion to the state’s economy.”
- “Native American leaders are once again pushing for a seat at the decision-making table, saying this week that tribal nations have been overlooked for “too often and too long.”
On February 13, the world celebrated the lasting impact of the radio. Invented in the early 1890s, the use of radio waves to send signals has shaped everything from how we consume media to how we conduct disaster response. Although the inventor is still up for debate – Tesla or Marconi? – radio’s usefulness will never be in question, which is why every year we happily celebrate World Radio Day.
The holiday originated with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), after originally being proposed by Spain. The first World Radio Day took place on November 3, 2011, and because the Olympics are being held this year, the focus of 2018’s holiday will be “Radio and Sports,” with particular attention given to radio as a means of civic participation for all humanity.
For much of Indian Country, radio is the enduring medium that connects tribal communities and citizens. Many Native Americans still await the capacity to cross the “digital divide,” or the lack of access to the internet within their own homes and communities, and radio is the lifeblood of news and connection. Native radio stations also help keep Native languages alive.
In 2009, radio host Deb Reger created the syndicated radio show “Moccasin Tracks,” which continues today as a forum for under-served people and communities to tell their stories. While Reger does not claim Native ancestry herself, she wanted to create a show to feature the stories and music of Native peoples. Her weekly guests hail from many different Native backgrounds and heritages, and the music and live performances on her show are by Native artists.
Hopi radio station KUYI, 88.1 in Northern Arizona functions as a source of connection and entertainment, but also as the emergency notification service for the residents. When a wildfire occurs, or winter brings icy roads, most hear about it first on the radio. During severe flooding in 2009 that wiped out plumbing for nearly one-third of the community, the radio station broadcasted daily basis where those affected could find clean water and functional bathrooms. And in 2010, when a snowstorm rocked the reservation, the Hopi radio station let community members know the location of food being air-dropped by the National Guard.
In Barrow, Alaska, seven villages of the Iñupiat tribe rely on radio as their source of news, weather, sports, and spirituality. KBRW station in Barrow is the only radio station for roughly 94,000 square miles, and the programming reflects the needs of the area, with much of the broadcast in both English and the Iñupiat language, as well as spiritual programming that speaks to the Iñupiat beliefs.
The radio program “Native America Calling” is a nationwide electronic forum connecting public radio stations, Internet and listeners from all across the country. They host Native guests and discuss news impacting Native tribes and peoples, to improve quality of life for Native Americans.
Radio remains an incredibly important tool for tribal communities, connecting them locally and nationally and providing a reliable social lifeline even in the most remote of communities.
Join PWNA as we celebrate World Radio Day, and praise and support radio stations on Native lands for their integral and vital contributions to Native communities.
Every two years, countries converge on the selected host city and Olympians compete for the gold. The 2018 Winter Olympics are fast approaching (Feb. 9-25) and will be hosted in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Although my research indicates there are no Native American athletes representing the USA this year, there are several First Nations members representing Canada in the 2018 games, and even as these athletes prepare to compete against the best in the world, other athletes are hard at work training for their chance in the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympics, the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
In a previous PWNA blog after the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, we celebrated three Indigenous athletes. Today we provide an update on these athletes and what they’re doing as the 2018 winter games approach.
- Ashton Locklear, Lumbee, was one of three alternates on the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Olympic team in 2016. Her teammates stayed healthy throughout the games while she encouraged them, the team earning 4 Golds, 4 Silvers, and a Bronze Medal. Returning home, Locklear hit the gym and competed through the 2017 World Championship finals. In February 2017, Locklear became a Nike N7 Ambassador, one of the “…outstanding Native American and Aboriginal athletes who embody the power and spirit of N7, believe in the power of sport and encourage those around them to do the same.” During the Montreal World finals, an unfortunate shoulder injury required surgery. Recovery and rehabilitation for an injured athlete is equally as grueling as training when healthy, but Ashton’s goal remains the same: to complete at the highest level and earn her spot for the 2020 Summer Olympics!
- Rickie Fowler, Navajo, was one of four golfers representing the U.S. Men’s Golf Team in 2016. He tied for 37th place out of 60 golfers worldwide and one of his teammates took home the Bronze Medal. During his Rio experience, Fowler said, “Whenever you see someone, you know they’re the best at what they do from their country. It’s inspiring.” Since returning from Rio, Fowler remains on the PGA Tour, competing in more than 45 tournaments and earning an Official World Golf Ranking of 7.
- Jaimie Thibeault, T’Sou-ke Nation, was a member of the Canadian Women’s Volleyball team in 2016. The opportunity to compete in the Rio 2016 Olympics ended in a three-match sweep against Puerto Rico during an Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Similar to Locklear and Fowler, Thibeault returned to her team in Italy to finish the season. For professional volleyball players, many of their opportunities exist outside of their home countries, and upon her summer return to Canada, Thibeault made the difficult decision to retire. Yet, when a club from Indonesia knocked on her door in December 2016, she decided she would return for a short season in a warm climate – celebrating a last chance on her terms. Jaimie now applies the sport that earned her a full-ride college scholarship to the University of Montana, and her career as a volleyball pro, as a catalyst to encourage youth to stay active and empowered through sports.
Being an athlete on any level requires commitment and balance. These athletes and all those representing tribal nations, schools, clubs and even countries give us the chance to cheer each other on in the sports we love – and can lose our voices over!
Help us cheer on our northern First Nation neighbors as they compete at the top of their game in the 2018 Winter Olympics:
- Spencer O’Brien-Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation (Women’s Snowboarding) and N7 Ambassador
- Jesse Cockney-Inuvialuk, Yellowknife Northwest Territories (Men’s Skiing)
- Brigette Lacquette- Métis (Women’s Hockey)
- Rene Bourque- Métis (Men’s Hockey)
War against indigenous peoples has been happening since before the birth of the U.S. Though the history of wars within the US is generally well known, certain earlier wars are oftentimes overlooked, for example, the Apache Wars.
Though the exact dates of the Apache Wars is debated, the conflict is often said to have started in 1861 and ended in the 1880’s or even 1890’s – the longest war in U.S. history. Some skirmishes are even thought to date back to 1850 or to have occurred as late as the turn of the century.
To start, it’s apparent that encroaching settlers onto Native lands, and relocation of tribes due to the re-settlement of those lands, had a role in fueling indigenous conflict. When numerous southern tribes were relocated into Apache areas around 1830-1850, the typical raids and bonds that occurred among the tribes became more frequent and more pronounced. These relocation-fueled conflicts, along with gold rushes into the Apache homelands and the already uneasy tension between the Apache and Spanish, were key factors in the start of the Apache Wars.
In the beginning, the goal of the Apache Wars was to quell tribal resistance against the occupation of Apache lands. Tragedies happened during the war, including massacres of all Apache able to fight – at once crippling their power and leaving many families broken.
During this conflict, the Apache suffered a loss that went beyond population. The number lost is hard to estimate but some records claim around 900 men died and more than 7000 families were affected by loss of land, homes, family and sustenance. Yet, by the end of the Apache Wars, the Apache were just as well off as any other relocated tribe.
The Apache Wars decidedly ended when Geronimo surrendered in 1886. Known to anyone familiar with U.S. history, Geronimo’s surrender left many discouraged, though it did not stop pockets of resistance fighters still motivated by his words a year earlier to leave the reservations.
The loss of culture that followed was a direct result of the Apache Wars, westward expansion, and the loss of indigenous lands. Ceremonies and traditions became mixed across tribes due to the lack of memory about each tribes’ traditional ways, and Native languages died. These effects are still felt today, though tribes are persevering to recover, share their stories with future generations, and like Geronimo, hold their hopes for the future.
Continuing our goal to help you stay informed on the top stories from Native American life and culture from across the country, Partnership With Native Americans has compiled our favorite stories from the month of January. Stay up to date with more articles by following us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
- “Deb Haaland is running for a seat in Congress representing New Mexico’s District 1. She’s also an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna. If she wins, she’ll be the first indigenous woman in Congress in US history—and reaching that milestone is one of the main motivators behind her campaign. ‘I just felt like my voice—considering the fact that we’ve never had a Native American woman in Congress—might be a voice at the table that Congress has never heard,’ she tells Broadly, ‘I could bring something significant to decision making.'”
- “In cities across the country, families and friends marked the occasion by spotlighting the scores of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and transgender people — cases that, for decades, have mostly gone unsolved. ‘My heart is heavy today,’ said Sarafina Joe, a tribal citizen of the Navajo Nation. ‘I had no idea there were so many victims.'”
- “Fights over indigenous voting rights are playing out in the West and the Midwest, a trend that has the potential to tip tight races in states with large native populations, like Alaska and Arizona, and to influence matters of national importance, like the future of Bears Ears National Monument, a conservation area in this county that is at the center of a fierce debate over public lands.”
Probing the Paradoxes of Native Americans in Pop Culture via Smithsonian Mag
- “Festooned with a colorful collection of movie posters, magazine spreads, supermarket products, college merchandise and more, the towering walls of the 3,000-square-foot gallery space at the heart of the National Museum of the American Indian’s new “Americans” exhibition are initially downright overwhelming.”
January is Poverty Awareness Month, a time when individuals, charities, and large organizations can reexamine their commitment to helping those in need.
There are roughly 40.6 million people living in poverty in the United States, and Native Americans tend to be over-represented within this population. In fact, 35 percent of Native American children live in impoverishment. Additionally, 40 percent of Native Americans live in sub-standard or overcrowded housing, and 23 percent of Native families live with food insecurity.
Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA) is committed on a year-round basis to respecting and supporting the self-determined goals set by Native American tribes, and one of the ways they do this is by partnering with reservation-based programs that are tackling the issues that stem from poverty, such as food shortages, healthy diets to improve quality of life, education and even the lack of emergency response such as fire and EMT services.
Poverty doesn’t only disrupt lives but creates inter-generational issues that perpetuate through families, which makes this work incredibly important.
Food insecurity linked to poverty contributes to health issues such as diabetes and obesity, as many of the most readily available and affordable foods tend to be lacking in nutritional value. This is especially true in remote reservation communities where convenience stores are more prevalent than grocers.
Poverty among children can contribute to missing school, or under-performing in the classroom due to hunger and stress. These educational impacts are multiplied across Native communities, eroding quality of life and healthy futures.
PWNA’s long-term vision focuses on eradicating poverty and its attendant issues by providing aid for over 250,000 Native Americans each year. By supporting immediate impact through meals for Elders and families, school supplies for children, support for health partners and emergency needs, as well as resources for long-term solutions such as community gardens, garden training, scholarships and professional development, PWNA is fueling sustainable gains for generations to come.
January is National Soup Month and a reminder that winter is the perfect time for delicious soups to warm the body and soothe the soul. Many nutritious soups are available from local grocers and specialty groups such as our friends at Soup Box Love. The Healthy Meals Resource System of the USDA is featuring many soups this month, as part of their effort to promote healthy meals.
Did you know there are many delicious Native American soups like green chili stew, dried corn soup and dry meat soup? Or that soups were part of the ancestral diets of indigenous peoples inhabiting North America?
Lois Ellen Frank, Ph.D., is a Native American Chef and Owner of Red Mesa Cuisine. In the PBS segment on the Native American Food Movement that is now airing (check your local listings), Chef Frank reminds us that traditional Native American foods are nutritious and delicious, and that a return to an ancestral, plant-based diet is a way to reclaim health and wellness in Native communities.
Chef Frank is from the Kiowa Nation on her mother’s side, and has spent the past 25 years documenting the way of life and food habits of Native American tribes. She immersed herself in Native American communities, allowing her to accumulate traditional and contemporary recipes that speak to the simple ingredients Native Americans had access to from the beginning.
Three foods that many Native communities ate in the past include corn, beans, and squash, known as “the three sisters,” and Three Sisters Stew is one of the many recipes Chef Frank recommends and utilizes in her nutrition training. Here’s the recipe, which goes great with tortillas:
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Olive oil cooking spray to coat cast iron pot
2 cups chopped fresh Roma tomatoes or
(1) 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes with basil
3 cups cooked tepary beans (brown or white) (1.5 cups uncooked)
2 cups cooked corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 cups green zucchini squash, cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons dried red mild chile powder
1 teaspoon salt
Heat the cast iron or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, sauté for 2 minutes until translucent, then add green bell peppers and sauté another 2 to minutes. Cut each of the whole tomatoes from the can into 8 pieces (a large dice) and add them to the onions and green bell peppers. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the zucchini squash and sauté for another several minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Add the beans and the cooked corn and stir well. Bring the chile beans to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Stir in the dried red chile powder and salt. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Serve hot with No fry bread, or homemade corn or flour tortillas.
Serves 8 to 12
PWNA is pleased to collaborate with Chef Frank and other Native food experts, to support gardening and training on healthy cooking and eating in Native communities, and to support the national effort to promote healthy meals during National Soup Month.
Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA) serves many Native communities dispersed throughout the country, and none experience a harsher winter than those on the Northern Plains. For these communities, winter brings with it not only frigid temperatures, but severe wind chills and storms that can damage power lines and lead to outages, contaminate water sources, and leave many families displaced from their homes.
Amplifying the hardship, winter in the Northern Plains can last up to seven months — with the first snow often seen in October and the last in early May. In the later months of winter, many Native American Elders living on fixed incomes struggle to stay warm. When money for fuel has run out, some Elders may have to make the difficult choice of buying winter fuel or food.
PWNA’s Northern Plains Reservation Aid (NPRA) and Southwest Reservation Aid (SWRA) programs work diligently to ensure a safer winter for Elders who require additional assistance for heating. Donations to the NPRA winter fuel program help provide firewood and winter fuel vouchers. Bulk donations of basic winter essentials like blankets, coats, hats, gloves and socks can also help, as these are often in short supply in the most remote and geographically isolated reservations of the Northern Plains.
In recent years, PWNA and NPRA delivered winter warmth to Elders of the Crow Creek, Lower Brule and Rosebud reservations in South Dakota. For 2018, PWNA is providing firewood and winter fuel vouchers to Elders on the Rosebud Reservation. Although most of the Elders in this community use electricity, propane and firewood use is increasing as more residents seek ways to warm their homes.
If you want to help Native American Elders stay safe and warm, join PWNA and NPRA by donating or sharing on social as we spread the warmth this winter.