Follow up NY Times Article on ICWA


“I think it means a lot to our foster kids that we’re Cherokee,” said Carney Duncan, a gentle, soft-spoken man whose hair falls below his shoulders. “My mom and dad always helped people and took them in. I have an ‘Uncle Joe’ who is no kin but we took him in. And a ‘brother’ who lived with us who is no blood kin. We help our own. It’s a Cherokee value.”

NYT: Interest Groups [Alaska Native Tribes Mostly] Turn Up Pressure on Senators Before Kavanaugh Vote

From the New York Times

“We view ourselves in solidarity with our native Hawaiian brothers and sisters,” said Richard J. Peterson, the president of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes. “The fact that he questions their validity tells us that he is going to do the same with us.”


Alaska Natives have been strong supporters of Ms. Murkowski. The Alaska Federation of Natives, the largest statewide Native organization in Alaska representing 186 federally recognized tribes, raised $1.6 million dollars and grass-roots support for her in 2010, when she ran a write-in campaign for re-election after a Tea Party challenger beat her in the Republican primary.

“We helped most Alaskans learn how to spell ‘Murkowski,’” Mr. Peterson joked.

The Times’ Article on Wells Fargo Targeting Per Capita Payments

Link: ‘Lions Hunting Zebras’: Ex-Wells Fargo Bankers Describe Abuses by Stacy Cowley


In the Phoenix area, managers gleefully looked forward to the days when the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community made its quarterly per capita distribution payments, said Mr. Hansen, the former branch manager in Scottsdale.

Members of the Native American community would head straight to the bank with their checks, and employees would encourage them to use the money to open new accounts. Sometimes it was on the up and up: Mr. Hansen said that he looked forward to being able to open several dozen new accounts in one day but that he always tried to match customers with products that fit their needs.

Others did not. Mr. Hansen learned that one enterprising branch manager had invented “per capita day packages,” jammed with five or more bank accounts. Customers would be told that they needed separate accounts for such purposes as traveling, grocery shopping and saving for an emergency.

“They would deposit their money and get hit with fees like crazy, because they got confused about what account they were using,” Mr. Hansen said. “They would use the wrong debit card and overdraw their travel account, and then when they came back three months later, they would lose hundreds of dollars from their next check paying off those fees.”

NY Times on Shutdown and Tribes


Aaron Payment, the chairman of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan, said his tribe had already shut down its H.I.V. prevention program and furloughed employees for its Head Start program for a month because of sequestration.

Now, with nearly $1 million in federal money lost since the shutdown, the tribe is scrambling to shift casino revenue from other programs to keep its government afloat.

“We’re in turmoil right now,” Mr. Payment said. “The impact here is going to be felt by the people who need the services the most.”

Kevin Washburn, assistant secretary for Indian affairs, said the shutdown could have long-term effects on tribes and tribal members. Financial deals and economic programs have been suspended. Environmental reviews of tribal projects will be delayed. And the impact on the thousands of Bureau of Indian Affairs employees who have been furloughed is compounded because many support poor relatives, he said.

Wind River Student Responds to NYT on NYT Blog

We posted the original story here. Here‘s the response:

My Home
By Willow Pingree

The smell of fry bread and burgers, the laughter of friends and family reminiscing about good old times, the sound of music and the sight of people dressed in regalia, dancing inside an arbor while spectators watch from bleachers around the big arena. You’d find all of this at the Annual Eastern Shoshone Indian Days, or the Northern Arapaho Celebration powwow on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.

As you walk around the outside of the dance arbor, you’d see crowds of people walking around you, sitting against wooden posts built along the outer rim of the powwow arbor: people sitting around a big circular drum, beating on it together in one rhythm and singing together in harmony. As the singers continue blasting their voices to the sky, the dancers slide and sway to the heartbeat of the people, the powerful sound of the drum. Surrounding them, the rolling hills, the sage brush covering the beautiful prairies, the awe-inspiring view of the towering Wind River Mountains.

This is my home, and it has been the home of my Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho people long before my generation.

Via TT friend CG


WSJ (and NYTs) Article about Museum Displays

Edited to Add:  The WSJ is not the only publication in fits about modern Native art on display.  The NYT review of the Brooklyn Museum’s display is equally muddled.  It’d be nice if the art reviews were of the art, rather than criticizing it for not being old:

Also in this section is a blue-and-white carved wood piece called “Horse Head Effigy Stick,” by Butch Thunder Hawk, of the Hunkpapa Lakota. A casual viewer might mistake it for a war club, with a horse-head-shaped business end, used in the 19th century when intertribal warfare was a way of life. It turns out that it was made in 1998, which, if you think about it, raises puzzling — but here unanswered — questions. What is the relationship of this rather slick modern object to the historic artifacts? And what about the buffalo-horn ladle with a glossy cube pattern imitating the 20th-century Dutch illusionist M. C. Escher that Kevin Pourier, a member of the Oglala Lakota, created in 2009?

The display suggests that there is no important difference between the old and the new. But how can that be so? The Plains Indian culture that gave rise to these kinds of objects was practically destroyed by the United States government’s campaign to clear land for settlement by white people over a century ago.

Wouldn’t one relationship between the old and the new be to demonstrate that the culture was not actually destroyed by the United States government, hard as it might have tried?

The Wall Street Journal published an article about museum displays of Native art and artifacts today.  It is accessible here.  The article is odd, with a title (“Shows That Defy Stereotypes”) indicating the article might be positive, but is instead full of sideways insults.  For example, the author writes about the Denver Art Museum’s attempt to include contemporary Native art in its installation, and a display of two different shirts:

One of Denver’s great masterpieces is a 1720s Eastern Sioux deerskin shirt embellished with painted abstract designs, possibly representing birds. The curators invite its comparison to a nearby 2010 fringed “war shirt” commissioned from Bently Spang, the suddenly ubiquitous Northern Cheyenne artist whose designs, which are meant to be seen, not worn, are also on view in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The author does not seem to think the more contemporary shirt is at the same level as the old shirt, nor am I sure why she describes the artist who made it as “suddenly ubiquitous,” but the tone indicates the author doesn’t think he ought to be.

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