Tag Archives: Indigenous Community

New Intertribal Parenting Group Offers Indigenous Families a Way to Reconnect With Tradition

by Alexa Peters

When Kendra Aguilar was a child, her grandfather gifted her a Chia Pet. But rather than plant the chia seeds as the instructions described, she ate them.

Aguilar, a descendant of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, long told the story as an example of the funny, impulsive things kids do. Then, years later, she shared the memory with a Chumash friend and realized something deeper might be at work.

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OPINION: We Must Free Leonard Peltier

by Eric B. Alipio (Diné/Filipino; he/him/his)

From before I can remember to the age of 17, I spent many weekends hanging out, cleaning dishes, and flipping frybread at Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, California. My mom grew up at this Native American community center, which meant my sister and I would too. 

When I entered the hall one day as a preteen, banners and a solemn mood hung over everyone’s head. Breaking the communal silence, a Diné elder shared a prayer in our language, and then in English. The prayer went to all of us, then extended far past Oakland, and into a secluded cell where the Elder hoped it landed with Leonard Peltier. This wasn’t our usual community dinner and celebration, but a rally for Peltier — a wrongfully imprisoned spirit-warrior. 

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In the Duwamish Watershed, Communities Respond as Coho Salmon Face a New Threat

by Tushar Khurana

Every year, salmon journey from the open waters of the North Pacific, pass through estuaries along the coast, and swim upriver to spawn in the freshwater streams and creeks in which they were born. Yet across the western coast of North America, coho salmon are dying in large numbers as they return to urban watersheds. In West Seattle, a team of citizen scientists are surveying salmon to understand how many are affected.

Since 2015, small teams of volunteers have gone out every day in the fall to document returning salmon along a quarter mile stretch of Longfellow Creek.

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The Vastness of Indigenous Love: A Thanksgiving Reflection

by Robin Little Wing Sigo (Suquamish)

ʔuʔušəbicid čəd 

Learning more of my ancestral language during this pandemic has been a powerful gift. The ability to say I love you in Lushootseed, brings deeper warmth and nourishment to the vastness of love.  Indigenous love grows from a place of compassion, an understanding that I concern myself with others, and they concern themselves with me. This week of Thanksgiving I am reflecting on how my liberation, my joy, my health is always tied to yours. We are together, wherever we are. 

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Seedcast: We Are the Future Elders

by Clear Sky Native Youth Leadership Council interns Kayla Harstad, Lailani Norman, Tim Shay, and Akichita Taken Alive

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.

During Native American Heritage Month, we have a unique opportunity as Native teens to reflect on what the world expects from us and hopes for us. It can be overwhelming and exciting to think about what the future holds and the responsibilities we might take on, but one way we’ve each been able to gain clarity is through our involvement with the Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council, a youth-focused and directed program of the Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA). Clear Sky provides opportunities for deepening our connections with our intertribal community, while also affirming our cultural values, worldview, and traditional knowledge systems as well as empowering us to navigate racist colonial systems through advocacy, activism, and action. As individuals, we are teenagers, students, siblings, daughters and sons, and grandchildren as well as neighbors and friends to all in our community. But together, we have joined with our peers to take advantage of lessons in order to build the knowledge we need to stand in our truths as future elders.

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Highline Indigenous Voices Celebration Features Art, Education, Stories

by Patheresa Wells

Highline Public Schools Native Education Program will host an Indigenous Voices Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 27, 1–7 p.m., highlighting and honoring the work done by Indigenous earth/water protectors and First Nations food sovereignty leaders. The event will include viewings of two films, AWAKE: A Dream from Standing Rock and GATHER, as well as discussion about issues of importance to Indigenous communities — including the sacred work of water and land protectors — and sharings from Highline Native Education

Highline’s Native Education Program is a legacy program established in 1974 with the passing of the Indian Education Act. The program was started as a way to address the culturally related needs of American Indian and Alaska Native students. Since its inception, the program has had its own history of growth, but in 2013 it was relaunched with, as program manager Sara Ortiz says, a desire to be “visionary in our approach to native or Indian education … to include as many artists, as many culture keepers, scholars, elders, media makers, [and] language teachers [as possible].”

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Free Maddesyn George: Native Mother and Survivor Faces Hearing

by Amanda Ong

In July of 2020, Maddesyn George, a 27-year-old Native mother and member of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Eastern Washington, was raped by a white man named Kristopher Graber. George had considered Graber a friend, but after refusing to let her leave his home, he allegedly assaulted her while taunting her with a gun. George fled the scene with Graber’s gun, a sugar-packet amount of methamphetamine, and some of his other possessions. The next morning, Graber came looking for George on the Colville Reservation in northeastern Washington. In front of several witnesses, Graber then attacked George. Terrified, she shot him with his gun. Graber died instantly. 

This Wednesday, Nov. 17, is George’s sentencing hearing. She is being charged with voluntary manslaughter and drug possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. She will be heard by the U.S. District Court in Spokane. Because the shooting occurred on a reservation and falls under the Major Crimes Act, a law that dictates that certain crimes committed by Native people on Native territory fall under federal jurisdiction, George is being prosecuted on the federal level by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington. 

According to George’s attorney, Steve Graham, George has already accepted a plea deal to avoid up to 45 years in prison. However, she still faces up to 17 years in federal prison in California, over 1,000 miles away from her 20-month-old daughter, Shynne. This potential sentence is despite federal advisory guidelines suggesting less than 11 years.

“She’s a very strong person, she doesn’t let people walk over her,” George’s mother, Jody George, said in an interview with the Emerald. “She knows you got to stick up for yourself, nobody else is gonna do it. And I know my mom raised me that way. And we’ve got all sisters and my grandma had all sisters and it’s a strong family of women. That is what we’ve come from, and she’s all about family.” 

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‘Reflections’ Dance Festival: A Gift of Indigenous and African American Solidarity

by Kathya Alexander

This year’s “Reflections” Dance Festival was filmed in September, bringing the light and sunshine of the summer into the fall to be shared when we need it most. It is a love letter to our beautiful city written in ceremony, ritual, and dance, giving testament to the ways art can heal and transform us even during our darkest days.

Jordan Remington is a Quileute tribe member and community engagement and programs coordinator of Friends of Waterfront Seattle(Friends). Davida Ingram is the Seattle Public Library’s public engagements program manager. Last year they came together to build Indigenous and Black solidarity through arts and culture. 

Their collaboration created a unique gift to the City of Seattle — Reflections Dance Festival — in partnership with Friends of Waterfront Seattle, Seattle Public Library (SPL), Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture (OAC), and Office of the Waterfront and Civic Projects.

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The Native History of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

by Malinda Maynor Lowery

(This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.)

Increasingly, Columbus Day is giving people pause.

More and more towns and cities across the country are electing to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an alternative to — or in addition to — the day intended to honor Columbus’ voyages.

Critics of the change see it as just another example of political correctness run amok — another flashpoint of the culture wars.

As a scholar of Native American history — and a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina — I know the story is more complex than that.

The growing recognition and celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day actually represents the fruits of a concerted, decades-long effort to recognize the role of Indigenous people in the nation’s history.

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Indigenous Voices Across the Americas

by Josie Jensen and Jesús Zamora

The Seattle Globalist was a daily online publication that covered the connections between local and global issues in Seattle. The Emerald is keeping alive its legacy of highlighting our city’s diverse voices by regularly publishing and re-publishing stories aligned with the Globalist’s mission. 

Indigenous peoples around the world have been fighting to protect their ancestral lands, languages, and cultures from being erased by colonialism for generations.

In Seattle, on the unceded territory of the Duwamish, Suquamish, and Tulalip people, there are countless movements for Indigenous liberation past and present. These range from the fish wars of the 1960s and ’70s to the Duwamish fight for federal recognition to movements such as Idle No More and 350 Tacoma that work to protect Indigenous lands from environmental degradation to movements calling for justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women to organizations working to uplift Indigenous artists and preserve Indigenous culture such as the Duwamish Longhouse, Yəhaw̓ Indigenous Creatives Collective, and more. 

Similar work is being done by Indigenous people around the world. I got to witness these similarities in a recent trip to Ecuador where I participated in a program organized by Amigos de Las Americas centering Indigenous rights and food justice.

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