Manataka American Indian Council
Issue 1 JANUARY 2008
- Preserving The Past Today For Tomorrow
LEGENDS OF OLD:
Coyote Gets Rich Off The White Men
White Mountain Apache
Once when Coyote was visiting various camps, he and Bobcat heard about a
white man who was making some whiskey. They went together to the man's house
and managed to steal some, and after they had run a short distance with it,
they stopped to drink.
Then Coyote said, "My cousin, I feel so good, I'd like to holler!"
"No, we're still close to those white men," Bobcat said. "I won't holler
loud, cousin," Coyote said. They kept arguing and drinking. Finally Bobcat
said, "All right then, holler quietly."
Coyote intended to holler softly, but before he knew it he got carried away
and was hollering as loud as he could. Now the white men heard the noise and
headed right toward him. Bobcat had enough whiskey in him to feel good, but
Coyote was really drunk. When the white men surrounded them Bobcat got up
and sailed over the nearest man with one jump. In a second jump he leaped
over all the rest and got away. So they arrested Coyote and took him in
chains to the town jail.
What does sacredness mean?
Why are we sacred?
By Brad Stone - Brown Spotted Eagle
To me, I believe we are sacred. I feel this way because of the great things we
can do as human beings. We are all spirits in the human form. Our spirit can
travel and help us out greatly in our existence. We have the power to shine our
brightness in such healthy, helpful, loving ways that that itself is a
medicine. We can help each other to feel so full of life and happy to be alive.
But because it is something that is not shared or practiced or believed in as
much as it use to be, we can tend to not view ourselves in that way.
beginning to understand the power of believing that we are sacred beings,
therefore every moment can be viewed as sacred. Or I guess there are
possibilities every day to leave behind moments that can be regarded and
remembered as sacred. Like a tree we can continue to grow even just a little
each day. To consider ourselves as sacred is also respecting this spirit we are,
and the spirits around us, which leads to respecting our body and mind. And when
we can respect ourselves, we are able to express respect for others a whole lot
We are sacred because of the life we are given. We are able to talk,
think, love, help, learn, listen, understand, share, create, grow and live. When
we do not view ourselves as or believe we are sacred then we may start to think
of ourselves and what we are in a disrespectful way. When we happen to do that
we can lose sight of the purpose we have and the gifts we have within us. In
ceremonies it is in the understanding of the meaning of the ceremony.
sacredness means believing that you are worthy of doing good things and have a
purpose in this world and creation. It means understanding that we have helpers
in the spirit world that watch over us and help to guide us to be able to help
while we’re alive on Mother Earth. We have the opportunity to leave behind a
beautiful trail. We can think positive thoughts and feel positive feelings and
therefore create and radiate positive energy.
When we leave from this world and
return back to the spirit world, the physical capsule we are given is left on
this world to return back to our mother, Mother Earth. And then we can no longer
even lift a finger to help out in the physical form. So that is why we should do
what we can today. I do not have a clue as to what happens when we are no longer
in the physical form. I have come to the understanding that our spirit returns
to where it came from.
So when we view life and living as how sacred it can be and how much of a sacred
relationship we can have with ourselves then we are able to believe in ourselves
and live free from fear. Fear can cripple us, it can put a complete stop to the
things we may feel in our heart that we want to do with our lives and within our
lifetime. We are sacred. Just believing that is the key.
Now I can see why it is
the late elder Maurice Royal said to us in the sweat lodge, “Give the world your
best and the best will come back”. If we continue to think, practice, and live
in a sacred manner or with a sacred understanding to the reality of the
connection we have to Creator and the spirits, then that is what we give the
world. The energy we put out into the universe is destined to return to us for
we are the one who emitted and expressed that energy.
Because then we get a taste of what it is we are giving to the world. And
Creator and the ancestors see what kind of energy we are putting out into this
world. If we are happy and love the life we are given each day then happiness
and love comes back to us. If we choose to be bitter, angry at the world, and
unhappy then that is what will come our way.
We can choose to change the course of what comes our way or how life unfolds by
what we put out into the universe. If we live with a way of thinking that is of
a sacred manner then I believe we begin to receive guidance that helps to
foster, nourish and develop that way of thinking and living. We can be our own
Healer. We each have medicine. We all have love, and are all beautiful. It is up
to us to understand how sacred we can be and are. We cannot change bodies, or
live in another time; we are here on this earth at this time for a reason.
The opportunity to learn is always present, so the opportunity to grow is
possible every moment. We are of goodness. When we love our lives, Creator and
the spirits let us feel how lovely life can be. So that is why I feel we should
do our best to respect this body we are, the mind we have to create and the
spirit we have that can and does guide us in a direction of love, truth and
happiness. Life on this earth is temporary, so why not think of ourselves as
For we can make and leave such a
positive difference to, and for, all those around us. Our energy can shine like
the sun, and brighten up those around us. Love of life and respect for the
well-being of others always seems to be noticed.
Brown Spotted Eagle (Brad Stone)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...
Manataka receives dozens of letters each week. Space does not allow us to
publish all letters but we make a concerted effort to print letters that are representative of a majority. Let us know if there is a
topic you feel needs to be addressed.
Thank you so much for your good
webpage about deer hide tanning. I am white with a tiny bit of
Iroquois, and I teach my children that our Iroquois ancestry demands
us to be good hunters, with good spirits. We practice the points
you make, waiting until the best food deer comes and offers its
body, rather than taking the braggart’s buck. We ALWAYS kneel and
offer thanks to the creator, thanks to the deer’s spirit, and a
prayer to guide the soul of the deer home. And we try to use as
much as we can and learn how to use more as time goes by. Your site
is fantastic in all the different ways to tan. We will try the
brain tan method- it uses what is given instead of pollution-ridden,
petroleum-influenced factory chemicals.
It is so good to see your influence
and philosophy on a Google search come
up on the first page. Maybe some who are at the brink of being good
stewards of the God’s bounty will learn to incorporate these
principles into their hunting, and maybe into their lives.
I will have my kids come look at your
site, and help them learn the old ways, to bring us back to some
sanity in today's
insane world. We’ll use technology and western culture to return to
Kentucky Health Department
Bent Trees are "Thong Trees"
I read the
letter asking about bent trees. These trees are called "Thong
Trees" and there are many such trees still in existence. They
were used to point travelers toward water or shelter and did not
take long to construct. A young sapling was bent at a 90 degree
angle and secured by a thong staked into the ground. A second
thong (or vine) was tied near the top of the tree and then
fastened to the trunk to pull the tree upwards again. The trees
then grew in this awkward formation and remained as markers for
generations to come. I have seen quite a few of these large bent
trees in my life time. There is or was a good example of one at
Grand Gulf State Park near Thayer, MO.
Yep, Here's Another Bent
The bent tree phenomena is
common in nature and it is
caused when a tree, usually
a young one, is bent to the
ground by wind or heavy snow
or ice or a tree branch
falls on it. Since the tree
cannot straighten itself but
needs to grow upward toward
the sun, it gradually curves
and produces the “elbow”
shape. Frequently such bent
trees are noted at the top
edge of a cliff or bluff but
may occur just about
anywhere. I have one on our
deck that I intentionally
planted in a horizontal
position so it would bend
and grow vertical producing
an ornamental plant somewhat
I always think of this as
natures way of telling us
that when you get knocked
down you can always get back
up and work your way back to
Matthew P. Maley
More Bent Tree Markers...
I follow the old ways. I know from
many years of research and spirit work that (Ce'Ha'
Tanka) bends trees for his own reasons. Some
believe it is a warning of his territory - Sasquatch /
Big Foot) Others believe it is a doorway portal.
If you look up legends about the (BIG) man, "He can
glide through the tree's like a moose with no sound at
all" Pete Catches, Lakota Sioux.
Harold GreyWolf Will
Oh My Gosh... Another Bent Tree
I think I have an idea about how these marker
trees might have come about. There is a tree by the side of
the road on my way to work. it is planted in a ditch and has
grown up the side of a small upgrade. Then it twisted
back a little. It is a small tree, about 2' in
diameter or so. But I was thinking, you know, if we
were to have some really, really heavy erosion, the bank
would be gone, and there you would have a bent tree just
like the trail marker ones, then it would try to grow toward
the sun more, and be bent even more. Hmmmm...
Tears From Down Under...
Hello from my heart beloved sacred brothers and sisters at Manataka.
Wow!!!!!!!!! what a wonderful December newsletter filled with so
many things that really touched me and/or taught me. I loved
the Grandmother stories, they were simply amazing and I feel such a
deep connection with them.
And then to see that Amanda Morningstar received such a high
accolade for her contributions to Manataka - Fantastic!
Congratulations Amanda. How very well you earned this award!
Then I got to the Fall Gathering Story by Linda Van Bibber.
Phew did those tears flow when I read all of her recollections.
Her walk up the sacred mountain itself is a feat of honouring and
Spirit. Then I read about the Making of Relatives and the
Naming Ceremonies and to see my new name there - lots of tears then
too. Thank you!
Lynn Guy, Australia
My name is Richard Montei. I have
live in Chicago all my life. I first heard of fluoride when I
was 14. I was told it was good for my teeth. I was told
that anyone who opposed fluoride was wrong. 40 years later, I
know I was not told the truth.
It is my opinion that public water systems
are being fluoridated to make you passive. Once, we had the
spirit to oppose the Viet Nam War. Our water was fluoridated
right after that, and now we sit and watch television, instead of
actively opposing the Iraq war.
I cannot tell you exactly what to do, but I
know in this country, letter writing and appeals to Congressmen and
the news media will not be enough. Black people kept the
pressure up in protests and riots to make their gains. Gay
people never stopped their pressure until they had meaningful
You may have to take your protest to other
parts of the country. I think you would find more supporters
than you realize. I am now in my fifties, but if you march in
Chicago against fluoride, I will join you.
Welcome to our special annual
"Flashback" issue of Organic Bytes.
Thanks to you and others in our network,
2007 was a very successful year in our
ongoing campaign for health, justice and
sustainability. Below are a few
samples of OCA successes. To read
them all go to:
OF "CERTIFIED ORGANIC" CANDIDATES SWORN
INTO OFFICE Dozens of the candidates
who took part in the Organic Consumer
Fund's "Candidate Survey" won their
campaigns and were sworn into office in
January. OCF's survey ranked candidates
based on how they answered questions
related to health, justice, and
sustainability. Thanks to all of you who
are "pressing the politicians" and
helping to move public policy in an
organic and healthy direction. Learn
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ALFALFA BANNED
In another major victory, a Federal
Court ruled that the USDA had illegally
approved the sale of genetically
engineered alfalfa for 2007, without
adequate environmental impact studies.
Echoing complaints by the OCA, a
California judge said approval of
Monsanto's perennial alfalfa has a high
potential of destroying non-GMO and
organic alfalfa farms and banned their
BANS CLONED FOODS FROM ORGANICS
Although the USDA had previously
proposed that the offspring of cloned
animals could be considered "organic",
after being flooded with complaints from
organic consumers, the USDA's National
Organic Standards Board voted 12-0 to
ban foods from cloned animals and their
progeny from the organic market.
ACTION LAWSUIT IN 27 STATES LAUNCHED
AGAINST FACTORY FARMS
Throughout 2007, OCA mobilized a growing
boycott against a network of factory
farms misleadingly labeling their dairy
products as "organic." We've shown
consumers how to avoid these products in
stores, and many co-ops and retail
outlets have discontinued carrying
Horizon or Aurora products as a result.
In October OCA mobilized hundreds of
consumers in over 27 states to launch a
class action lawsuit against Aurora
Organic Dairy. OCA is confident that the
boycott and litigation will deter
unethical "organic" companies from
following in the footsteps of Horizon
BEING DRIVEN OFF THE MARKET: "rBGH-FREE"
Since its founding, OCA has worked hard
to drive Monsanto's recombinant Bovine
Growth Hormone (rBGH) out of U.S. dairy
production. In 2007, a record number of
dairy producers and retailers announced
they are going rBGH-free. Reacting to
consumer rejection of rBGH, the Monsanto
pressured state agriculture departments
to ban rBGH labeling of products so
consumers wouldn't be able to choose
rBGH-free products. In November, the OCA
alerted Organic Bytes readers that the
Pennsylvania Agriculture Department
(PDA) was moving to ban rBGH labeling of
dairy products from 16 companies. Market
analysts predicted that once
Pennsylvania successfully banned such
labeling, other states would likely
follow. Thanks to a massive outcry from
the public, Pennsylvania Governor Ed
Rendell intervened on the issue and is
stopping the implementation of the rule.
This battle is now spreading to other
This article is brought to you by
ORGANIC BYTES, from
Organic Consumers Assoc.
something that you can leave behind you when you die. It's that powerful."
-John (Fire) Lame Deer, Rosebud Lakota
The Old Ones say, love is all anyone needs. Love doesn't go away nor can love be
divided. Once you commit an act of love, you'll find it continues. Love is
like setting up dominos one behind the other. Once you hit the first domino, it
will touch the second one which will touch the third one and so on. Every love
act or love thought has an affect on each person as well as touching the whole
world. If you live a life filled with love, the results will affect your
friends, relatives and other people, even after you go to the other side. So...
My Creator, let me love.
Let me put into
the love dominos.
Manataka "Spirit Award"
exemplary volunteer service to the organization and community, this
award by unanimous decision of the Elder Council
goes to the
Linda Bear Heart
Woman Speaks VanBibber has been a
member of Manataka since February, 2002 but came to
the sacred mountain for gatherings and other events for
awhile before she decided to join. Linda is from
Independence, Missouri, and holds responsible positions as
Dircetor of Marketing for a
Kansas City, Missouri company where she has worked for 22
Currently heads up the Manataka Public Relations
- Communications Committee.
Linda "Bear Heart Woman Speaks"
VanBibber has been a life-long student of world religions
and indigenous cultures. She was ordained to the Gnostic
preisthood in 1986, after completing course work for a
double major in English and Humanities/Philosophy at
Northwest Missouri State University. She continued her
education as a Judaic Studies major at University of
Missouri at Kansas City. Linda has studied African religion
in the diaspora in the Cuban and Brazilian traditions for
over 20 years and applies the spiritual technologies of
these systems in her work for her family and friends.
She is currently working on a
series of Orixa paintings which will be offered for sale to
support social services in Bahia, Brazil. Linda is also a
member of the National Center for Indigenous Peoples at Line
Creek which works to preserve local sacred land and the
Heart of American Indian Center. A member of Manataka since
2002, Linda strongly believes that the answers to the
illnesses inherent in modern societies are to be found in
the earth-centered traditions of indigenous peoples
world-wide. Linda is also a long-standing member of Women
of the Drum, a Kansas City-based Afro-Brazilian drum group
well known in the area for their performances at fundraising
and awareness events.
Linda impresses everyone she meets. At
first, people love the way she listens. She hears not
only the words people speak, but the way they speak them and
the intent of their heart. This great quality allows
her to gently and graciously give honor and respect to
the individual -- to know not only the outside of a person,
but the spirit of the individual is recognized.
Bear Heart is a thinking person. She deeply analyzes
situations and issues and quickly responds with a loving
suggestion or plan for improvement. Linda is a tidy
person. She knows how to organize projects and finds
the most efficient way to utilize time, people and
resources. Linda is smart -- not just intelligent in
academic since, but she is 'street smart' and has a vast
well of "knowing" that comes from her acute awareness of all
things around her.
Most of all, Linda (also known as Lylah) is
all about love. She is a deeply spiritual person with
deep convictions and faith. She worships and
prays, studies and meditates. She honors and respects
all Creation. She is a true Manataka warrior.
Nominate someone you know who walks the path.
Spirit Award Nomination
Manataka Members In The News
Healing Comes In Many
Many readers will recall Bobbi Joe
Runninbear received the coveted Manataka Spirit Award awhile back. As
Membership Coordinator, he works hard for Manataka members and volunteers
many hours giving of himself to the people. During a recent email chat
with one of our volunteers, Runninbear timidly revealed something about
himself that deserves to be retold. This story has a powerful
ending and a beautiful new beginning. Bobbie Joe writes:
a story for you. In February, 2007 I went over the pond to do
some mending. I went to a lot of places in
Asia. One of them was Viet Nam. I wanted to tell the
people there I was sorry for what I had done many years ago during
people there were so forgiving and placed no blame on me. They
shared a meal with me and I left mixed up. I wanted them to be
mad at me, to cuss me and
hit me. I thought they
might even shoot me.
Instead the beautiful Vietnamese people just showed me love. It made
Still today it makes me want
to cry when I think of them being such a happy
people. That is something I never saw so many years ago.
After leaving Vietnam, I went to
-- another great beautiful place. I went to a volcanic lake.
They had this water system running thru some bamboo from the top of
a crater peek to the ground below. It was called "holy water"
by the Buddhist monks.
my life I have been color blind and totally without color vision in
my eyes. Everything was always flat and gray or black or
bright. When I came to this water
flowing down from the volcano, I washed my face and hands.
Not thinking about much it at all. Just washing my face and
hands. When I was done, I got a drink of water.
the place of the volcano to search for a stem cell medical treatment
for my bad heart. When I got there, the building had been
blown up by the "New Order". Not finding what I was looking
for there, I went to Japan to meet with some friends. I stayed
with my friends a little while and we talked a lot about all the
places in Asia I visited. While there, my head began to feel
numb and when I walked, I had to high steep because I could not tell
where the ground was. So, back on a plane I went and headed for good
arrived back at the Knoxville airport and went to the parking lot to
get my truck. I was still feeling a bit light in the head. As
I drove down the road on the way home, I kept seeing something in
the seat beside me. I did not know what it was at first, but
then it hit me. It was red! I started looking around I
could see green and a few other colors. To my amazement my
flat world became colorful!
new vision, it was hard to pick things up at first because they now
had depth. After a while, I told my children and some friends that I
could now see colors and they were amazed.
alone, I wondered why the Chinese "holy water" had fixed my eyes so
I could see color, but did not fix my bad heart. I then came
to the thought that the colors I am now seeing and the beauty they
give makes my heart very happy. What more can a man ask than
to be happy? Much Love your way. Tsi,
Moral of the Story:
The miracle of Runninbear's new color
vision was caused not only by the power of the Chinese holy water.
The water may have been the physical
instrument by which the Spirit moved, but what caused the miracle to happen
began when he got on the plane with the intent of asking for forgiveness
from his enemies.
With great courage, humility, respect and love,
he flew into the unknown and met with his former enemies.
That is a true Manataka warrior.
Natural Headache Remedies
©By Deborah S. Tukua
factors cause headaches: tension, sinus congestion, cafeine
withdrawal, lack of sleep, constipation, food allergies and
spinal misalignment. The most common headache cause, however, is
attributed to tension.
If suffering from
severe headaches, which require more than four painkillers a
week, professional medical assistance is strongly recommended.
For those with infrequent headaches, there are some natural
remedies that often help:
Apply ice pack
to neck and upper back for tension headaches caused by
stress, worry, depression, anger or food allergies.
Deborah S. Tukua
HERB & PLANT MEDICINE WATCH...
Wild Iris - Purdy's
Contributed By: USDA, NRCS, National Plant Data Center
Fresh iris roots may be toxic.
Ethnobotanic: Iris makes some of the
finest cordage. The fibers are particularly strong, flexible, and fine like
silk. Only two fibers can be taken from each iris leaf margin. Huge
bunches of leaves were harvested in the fall and stored until needed. Iris
cordage was used for fishing nets, string, rope, snares, hairnets, and
The men knotted the fishing nets from iris fibers. Animals were captured
with iris rope. A deer rope is nearly 20 feet long with a lasso at one end,
and about half an inch in diameter. A loop was set over a deer trail to
catch the head or antlers. Within the loop positioned over a trail a
delicate network of the same material was spread to draw in the loop. One
Indian stated that "it takes nearly six weeks to make a rope twelve feet
In spite of the tremendous labor of preparing this material, the iris fiber
was one of the most generally employed in northwestern California.
The threads and cords of this fiber were used to make fishing nets, camping
bags and snares for catching game. Since iris is fine and can be bent at
sharp angles, it makes an excellent starting knot in coiled baskets. The
Pomo Indians placed acorn meal in a shallow pit and covered the meal with
iris leaves before pouring water over the meal to leach out tannic acid.
The Monache and the Southern Yokuts in California make flour from iris
A poultice of the raw rhizome is especially effective against staph sores.
Used externally, iris is successfully used for infected wounds, ulcers,
fistulas, and to take away freckles. Only the dry root should be used
internally. Iris is active as a cathartic; has a stimulating effect on the
production of both pancreatic enzymes and bile; is a strong diuretic; and
will stimulate both saliva and sweat. This is a useful drug plant, but in
general, should be used with care and preferably in combinations where less
energetic plants form the bulk of a medicinal formula.
READ LOTS MORE...
by Crystal Harvey, MAIC Correspondent
No offense intended for any individuals or tribes.
to warm you up
Notes From An Inexperienced non-Native Chili Taster Named Frank
visiting a Reservation:
"Recently I was honored to be selected as a judge at a Native
American chili cook-off, because no one else wanted to do it.
Also the original person called in sick at the last moment, and
I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking
directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured
by the other two judges (American Indians) that the chili
wouldn't be all that spicy, and besides they told me I could
have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted. Here are the
scorecards from the event:
Chili # 1: Muscogee Creek Monster Chili
JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato.
Amusing kick. JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
FRANK: Holy smokes, what the fuck is this stuff? You could
remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took two beers to
put the flames out. Hope that's the worst one. These hicks are
Chili # 2: Osage Afterburner Chili JUDGE ONE: Smoky
(barbecue?) with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang. JUDGE
TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken
seriously. FRANK: Shit! Keep this away from the children! I'm
not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave
off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver.
Shoved my way to the front of the beer line.
Chili # 3: Karuk Kaos Chili JUDGE ONE: Excellent
firehouse chili kick. Needs more beans. JUDGE TWO: A beanless
chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers. FRANK: This has got
to be a joke. Call the EPA, I've located a uranium spill. My
nose feels like I have been snorting Draino. Everyone knows the
routine by now and got out of my way so I could make it to the
beer wagon. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is
in the front part of my chest.
Chili # 4: Shoshone Tasty Beans JUDGE ONE: Black bean
chili with almost no spice. Disappointing. JUDGE TWO: Hint of
lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild
foods, not much of a chili. FRANK: I felt something scraping
across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Sally, the bar
maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills to save me the
Chili # 5: Lumbee Legal Lip Remover JUDGE
ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding
considerable kick. Very impressive. JUDGE TWO: Chili using
shredded beef; could use more tomato.
Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement. FRANK:
My ears are ringing, and I can't focus my eyes. I farted and
four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed
hurt when I told her that
her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue by
pouring beer directly on it. Sort of irritates me that one of
the other judges asked me to stop screaming.
Chili # 6: Santee Sioux Screaming Sensation
Chili JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on
canned peppers. JUDGE TWO: Very Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef
threw in canned chili peppers at the last moment. I should note
that I am worried about Judge Number 3. He appears to be in a
bit of distress. FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth and
pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel it. I've lost the sight in one
eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My
clothes are covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my
mouth at some point. Thank God! At autopsy they'll know what
killed me. Have decided to stop breathing, too painful, not
getting any oxygen anyway.
Chili # 7: Nipmuc Nerve Killer Chili JUDGE ONE: A perfect
ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold
but spicy enough to declare its existence. JUDGE TWO: This final
entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to
see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 fell and pulled
the chili pot on top of himself. FRANK: ------- (editor's
note: Judge #3 was unable to report)
RIGHTS... AND WRONGS
Environmental Defense, a
nonprofit organization working on behalf of preserving the
Environmental Species Act, is asking for submissions of stories
from supporters telling about their encounters with endangered
species. Below is the story I submitted. Submit your own story
to the Senate, and TAKE ACTION to save the ESA!
Brown Pelicans Make Comeback
I am 49 years old, and I have lived in Southern California my
entire life. When I was a child, I would see brown
pelicans flying overhead whenever I went on a school
field trip to Los Angeles Harbor or a family trip to the beach.
By the time I was a teenager, brown pelicans were not to be
seen, having fallen victim to DDT and other pollutants.
Although the brown pelican is now making a comeback in
California, I don't often see them at the beach and when I do,
there are usually only one or two individuals at a time flying
This past summer, my 12 year old daughter and I were out in the
water at Seal Beach. We were excited to see a large flock of
these birds circling overhead. We took my daughter's boogie
board and paddled out so we could get a better view. When we
were some ways from shore, the only humans out so far, about
five of the birds suddenly landed in the water, no more than 10
yards in front of us! Until then, neither of us had ever seen a
brown pelican up close. I was astounded at how large the birds
were. We watched for awhile, then my daughter wanted to move in
closer to them, but I was concerned we would startle them into
flight. At my daughter's urging, we paddled towards them slowly
and quietly. When we got too close, the birds merely swam a
little farther out. We continued to watch them until, suddenly,
the birds took wing and rejoined the rest of the flock that, en
masse, wheeled away.
Watching the pelicans, I felt truly blessed, and tears formed in
my eyes to see these birds up close. Thanks to the
Endangered Species Act, and the banning of DDT and
other pesticides in the 1970's, these wonderful birds are still
gracing our oceans today.
ENDANGERED SACRED SITES:
Proposed federal rule threatens 2 decades of established law
US Department of Interior proposes upending 17-year-old policy
Washington, D.C. December 3,
2007 - The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has condemned a proposed
rule by the U.S. Department of Interior that would put in jeopardy the
highly productive compromise that was reached when the Native American
Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was passed in 1990.
On October 16, 2007, the Department of the Interior published draft
regulations that would destroy the use of cultural affiliation as the
principle for repatriation decisions, which is at the core of NAGPRA and
supported by seventeen years of hard work and effort by tribes,
archaeologists, and museum personnel, and replace it with an undefined
notion of "cultural relationship."
"The Department's proposed regulations have no basis in law or science and
reflect an attempt to impermissibly legislate in a manner not prescribed by
Congress. The adoption of the regulations as they stand
would force the NAGPRA process back to square one," said Dean Snow,
president of SAA. "This ill-advised rule would irreparably diminish the
archaeological record of the entire U.S. "The damage to some of our most
cherished institutions and the cost to science and the public is
The Department's proposed rules alter the 1990 compromise between
archeologists, museums, scientists, federal agencies and representatives of
federally-recognized Native American tribes that resulted in passage
"The act represents a careful balance of multiple perspectives regarding
human remains and objects," said Snow. "Over the last 17 years, tribes,
museums, and federal agencies have developed relationships of trust and
mutual understanding of the law. The proposed rule effectively dismisses
those hard-earned accomplishments."
NAGPRA requires federally-funded museums, universities, governmental
agencies and similar institutions to transfer control of human remains,
sacred or funerary objects, and other culturally important artifacts to
federally-recognized Native American tribes that demonstrate cultural
NAGPRA represents a carefully-crafted compromise that has served to
repatriate, protect, and preserve human remains for almost two decades, and
forms a basis by which all entities involved in American archaeology
abide. Since NAGPRA was passed in 1990, thousands of human remains have
already been repatriated to culturally affiliated tribes and more are in the
process of repatriation.
The Department of Interior's proposed rule extends to the disposition of
human remains that are culturally unidentified. Snow pointed out that the
proposed rules would put museums in the uncomfortable and
inappropriate position of determining "Indianness" of claimants who are not
federally-recognized and of weighing competing claims among
federally-related, non-federally related, and non-Native American
The Department's proposed rule would apply to most of the nation's museums,
universities, federal agencies, and could extend to medical specimens or
forensic evidence collections whether they have Native
American human remains or not.
Submitted by Andre Cramblit
Indigenous News Network
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