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Cultural Survival Q

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We Are Still Here Tribes in New England Stand Their Ground

Vol. 38, Issue 2 • June 2014 US $4.99/CAN $6.99

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J une 2014 V olum e 38 , Issue 2 Board of Directors President & board Chair

Sarah Fuller

Vice Chairman

Duane Champagne (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa)

Treasurer

Nicole Friederichs Clerk

Lesley Kabotie (Crow) Evelyn Arce (Chibcha) Alison Bernstein Laura Graham Steve Heim Edward John (Tl’azt’en) Pia Maybury-Lewis Stephen Marks P. Ranganath Nayak Stella Tamang (Tamang) Che Philip Wilson (Nga-ti Rangi) FOUNDERS David & Pia Maybury-Lewis Cultural Survival PO Box 381569 Cambridge, MA 02238 t 617.441.5400 f 617.441.5417 www.cs.org 6a Calle 7-31, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, 09001 Cultural Survival Quarterly

Copy Editor: Jenn Goodman Designer: NonprofitDesign.com Contributing Arts Editor: Phoebe Farris Managing Editor: Agnes Portalewska Copyright 2014 by Cultural Survival, Inc. Cultural Survival Quarterly (ISSN 0740-3291) is published quarterly by Cultural Survival, Inc. at PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Periodical postage paid at Boston, MA 02205 and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Cultural Survival, PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Printed on recycled paper in the U.S.A. Please note that the views in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Cultural Survival.

Writers’ Guidelines

View writers’ guidelines at our website (www.cs.org) or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Cultural Survival, Writer’s Guidelines, PO Box 381569, Cambridge, MA 02238. Cultural Survival recognizes that Indigenous Peoples have long been exploited by photographers and publications. This publication does not pay photographers for images and makes no money from publishing them. We also make a tremendous effort to identify every Indigenous individual in the images that appear here. From time to time, however, such identification is not possible. We apologize to the subjects of those photos and to any reader offended by the omission.

On the cover Slow Turtle by Deborah Spears Moorehead (Wampanoag). See CSQ 38-1 for a full article on Moorehead’s work.

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There are over 30 Tribal Nations still present in New England, several of which have multiple bands.

F e at u r e s

Departments

12 Sanctioned Theft: Tribal Land Loss in Massachusetts

1 Executive Director’s Message

CS Staff Dispossession of land is one of the major factors that contributed to the marginalization of Native people in New England.

14 Wôpanâôt8âôk Pâhshaneekamuq

Jennifer Weston The Mashpee Wampanoag prepare for a Wampanoag language charter school on Cape Cod.

16 A Beacon on South Huntington

Jenna Winton A cultural center for New England’s Native community celebrates its fourth decade.

18 Growing up Mashantucket Pequot Kimberly Shockley The director of public programs at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center remembers her childhood on, and off, the reservation.

20 We are a Riverine People Mark Chavaree The Penobscot Nation of Maine asserts its tribal identity as its traditional resources are threatened.

22 Restricting Fishing Rights, Undermining Tribal Sovereignty Agnes Portalewska For centuries, the Passamaquoddy people of Maine have faced a violation of their inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples. Now their fishing rights are under siege.

24 Making (Radio) Waves Kuna, Ngobe, Bribri, and Brunca Style Rosy Sul Gonzalez with Jessie Cherofsky Cultural Survival staff visit the Kuna, Ngobe, Bribri, and Brunca communities in Panama and Costa Rica to exchange ideas on community radio, Indigenous rights, and cultural survival.

2 In the News

4 Indigenous Arts “Native New England Now” Makes Medicine Through Art

6 Women the World Must Hear Matika Wilbur’s “Project 562” 8 Rights in Action Universal Periodic Review: A Potent Process for the Realization of Human Rights in Indigenous Homelands 10 Board Spotlight Nicole Friederichs 27 Bazaar Artist Pi’iali’i Lawson 28 Our Supporters 29 Thank you for taking action


E xecut iv e Di rector’ S messa ge

Tribes in New England Stand Their Ground

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oday the remarkable work being done by Native people to reclaim lands and revitalize languages, cultural traditions, and governance structures is a testament to the resilience and strength of Native peoples in the United States. The history of Native people in New England has been one of annihilation, displacement, and cultural dispossession. This issue of Cultural Survival Quarterly focuses on the thriving, changing, and adapting contemporary cultures and traditions of New England tribes as told by members of the tribes themselves. The tribes and bands of New England have deep histories of early contact with European settlers and colonizers, and today have a political status that distinguishes them from the majority of more than 500 federally recognized American Indian tribes in the United States by virtue of holding unique jurisdictional relationships with states. Although federal settlement legislation contains language supporting the sovereignty of the tribes, New England states with narrow interpretations of federal statutes make it difficult for tribal governments to serve and protect their peoples, lands, and cultures. It is a constant source of conflict, as we see with the Pequot and Passamaquody tribes. The many tribes in the New England region—the Abenaki, Eastern Pequot, Golden Hill Paugussett, Haudenosaunee (Mohawk, Oneida , Cayuga, Tuscarora, Seneca), Maliseet, Mashantucket Pequot, Micmac, Mohegan, Narragansett, Massachusett, Nipmuc, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Schaghticoke, Shinnecock, Unkechaug, Wampanoag (Aquinnah, Assonet, Chappaquiddick, Herring Pond, Seaconke, Pocasset), and several other bands—are working to reclaim their lands, languages, and cultures through rebuilding efforts. The Wampanoag School on Cape Cod is an example of an extraordinary effort in language reclamation and revitalization that is also reclaiming

and promoting tribal culture and traditions, passing them on to the next generation through cultural-based education. As Jennifer Weston writes in her article, “As recently as 1993, there were no native speakers; Wampanoag children on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard grew up with little knowledge of their mother tongue.” Today, intensive summer language programs teach the language and cultural practices and ways of knowing. The spaces provided for artistic expression and creativity, such as the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, serve to revitalize culture. As Amy Ferguson and Sara Schenkel write, “The notion of spirituality within art is a common theme for Native artists as well as contemporary artists...art is not separate from culture: they are one in the same.” Yet, full recognition of tribal rights and the rights of self-determination remains a challenge. As Penobscot Nation’s staff attorney Mark Chevaree states, “We’re advocating for the government to recognize our rights, just like other citizens do when they feel like their right of free speech, or their right to bear arms...when they’re advocating for those rights, that’s what the tribes are doing. We’re advocating for rights that are recognized by the US government. It’s not special privileges. It’s really about who gets to make decisions about governance, about how we choose our leaders to form our government, how we utilize our land, how we develop regulatory systems and law enforcement within our communities, who decides the rules around the taking of fish and wildlife.” Activist artist Deborah Spears Moorehead’s painting, “Slow Turtle,” is a fitting statement to say “We Are Still Here:” as culturally and spiritually vibrant peoples as we always have been.

Staff Suzanne Benally (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa), Executive Director Mark Camp, Deputy Executive Director Kaimana Barcarse (Native Hawaiian), FPIC Radio Series Producer Jessie Cherofsky, Program Associate, Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative Matilde Choocoj Coc (Q’eqchi), FPIC Radio Series Producer Danielle DeLuca, Program Manager, Global Response Program and Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative David Michael Favreau, Bazaar Program Manager Sofia Flynn, Accounting & Office Manager Maria del Rosario “Rosy” Sul González (Kachiquel), Free, Prior and Informed Consent Initiative Radio Producer Dana Lobell, Grants Coordinator Jamie Malcolm-Brown, Communications & Information Technology Manager Cesar Gomez Moscut (Pocomam), Content Production & Training Coordinator, Community Radio Program Agnes Portalewska, Communications Manager Angelica Rao, Executive Coordinator Alberto “Tino” Recinos (Mam), Citizen Participation Coordinator, Community Radio Program Miranda Vitello, Development Associate Ancelmo Xunic (Kachiquel), Community Radio Program Manager

INTERNS AND VOLUNTEERS Omar Alcover, Ryann Dear, Don Butler, Jordan Engel, Amadeus Kaebler, Elie Kommel, Alicja Kowalczyk, Emily Moline, Holly Swanson, Kristen Williams, and Jenna Winton. Ava Berinstein, Linguistics Advisor

There are so many ways to

S tay connected

Suzanne Benally, Executive Director (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa)

A Festival of Native Arts and Cultures FREE ADMISSION Felicia Huarsaya Villasante

Donors like you make our work around the world possible. Thanks so much for being part of Cultural Survival.

bazaar.cs.org

June 7: Copley Square, Boston MA • June 20– 22: Mashantucket Pequot Museum, CT July 19–20: Falmouth, MA • July 26–27: Tiverton, RI

www.cs.org facebook.com/culturalsurvival twitter: @CSORG culturalsurvival@cs.org

Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 1


i n t he new s

Shell Suspends Drilling in the Alaskan Arctic JANUARY 2014

Following a lawsuit filed by a coalition of Alaska Native and conservation groups, a US circuit court ruled that the government had illegally sold offshore oil and gas leases. The proposed drilling in the Chukchi Sea would have been ecologically disastrous and impaired the ability of Alaska Natives to enjoy their right to traditional food sources.

US Pressures Guatemala for Indigenous Reparations JANUARY 2014

This year’s consolidated appropriations bill, passed on January 16, includes various restrictions on funding to the Guatemalan military. The legislation comes 32 years after a series of incidents known as the Rio Negro Massacres in which hundreds of Indigenous Achi people were murdered by Guatemalan soldiers. The Achi had been resisting relocation for the construction of the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam. US funding to Guatemala will be restricted until reparations are made by the Guatemalan government to the communities affected by that violence.

Munduruku People Expel Miners from Their Land FEBRUARY 2014

Gold mines in the Brazilian state of Pará have been operating illegally on Indigenous land since the 1980s, polluting the Tropas River and killing the fish within it. In February, a Munduruku war party confronted the miners and gave them 10 minutes to vacate. Once the miners had left, the group confiscated 12 dredges to prevent mining operations from starting again.

Squatters Evicted from Indigenous Land in Brazil MARCH 2014

Earlier this year a Brazilian federal court ordered all non-Indigenous settlers to vacate Awa lands within 40 days. In February, the national guard was called to evict the remaining non-compliant squatters. The illegal settlers had illegally 2 • www. cs. org

The Onondaga Nation of New York has filed a petition against the federal government with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights for repeated treaty violations resulting in lost land and severe environmental pollution. Photo courtesy of Onondaga Nation.

cleared just over 1 square kilometer of forest in Awa territory, threatening the way of life of hundreds of Awa people.

Tolupane Refugees Return to Homelands Under Protection MARCH 2014

Six Tolupane activists returned to their homelands in the mountains of Honduras after being forced to flee six months earlier when three members of their community were assassinated by the hired guns of a mining company. The Tolupane people have faced violence and intimidation while protesting mining, illegal logging, and the damming of a river within their territory. In December, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights ordered the Honduran government to implement protective measures and defend the Tolupane from the violence that has taken the lives of dozens of Indigenous activists in the past decade.

Ojibwe Tribe Will Not Renew Lease to Non-Native Group

Kenya Recognizes Indigenous Group MARCH 2014

The Ogiek community of the Mau forest has been recognized by the Kenyan courts as both an Indigenous and minority people in a landmark decision. The Ogiek community had previously been evicted from their ancestral land, but as a result of the decision they should be resettled within a year.

Onondaga Nation Files Petition Against US with IACHR April 2014

On April 15, the Onondaga Nation of upstate New York filed a petition against the United States with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Since 1788, 2.5 million acres of land have been stolen from the Onondaga Nation by New York State, and the failure of the domestic court system has left the Nation with no choice but to seek assistance for human rights violations from the international community.

MARCH 2014

The Bad River Ojibwe tribe has decided not to renew a 50-year lease with nonNatives for 17 acres of tribal land on Mooningwanekaaning-minis (Madeline Island) in Lake Superior when the agreement expires in 2017. Although the agreement generates income for the tribe, the land is spiritually and culturally significant to the Ojibwe and all non-Native inhabitants will be required to vacate.

Uruguay Ratifies ILO 169 April 2014

Uruguay has become the 23rd country to ratify International Labour Organization Convention 169, the Indigenous and tribal peoples convention adopted by the United Nations in 1989. ILO 169 recognizes and protects tribal and Indigenous Peoples’ right to land ownership and the right to be consulted over projects that could affect their lands or livelihoods.


Global Response

Campaign Updates Ethiopia: Stop Land Grabbing and Restore Indigenous Peoples’ Lands US Withdraws Funding for Land Grabs The US government has taken a stance against the forced eviction of Ethiopia’s Indigenous Peoples after Cultural Survival supporters sent thousands of emails urging an end to US funding of land grabs. The new appropriations bill states that funds shall not be used to directly or indirectly support land grabbing, and any development activities using US funds will be subject to prior consultation of local communities. It also prohibits funding of police or military who have violated human rights and takes steps to investigate and prosecute these violations. The inclusion of such language is a major victory for the tens of thousands of Anuak and other peoples displaced from the Gambella region.

Belize: Our Life, Our Lands— Respect Maya Land Rights Supreme Court Rules in Favor of SATIIM; US Capital Renews Drilling Contract In April 2014, Justice Michelle Arana ruled in favor of Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) as well as five Maya communities bordering the Sarstoon-Temash National Park in a suit brought against the Government of Belize and US Capital Energy. SATIIM successfully argued that the government should have sought the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities before granting permits for oil drilling on Maya communal lands. US Capital maintains that it can proceed with exploratory activities within

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Cultural Survival's Global Response program launches international advocacy campaigns with Indigenous communities whose right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is being violated by agribusiness and extractive industries.

the national park, and the Belize government is approving the extension of US Capital’s permit. SATIIM says it will take all necessary action to thwart US Capital’s efforts as long as their right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is ignored. Kenya: Stop Human Rights Abuses Legal Battles in Samburu On April 7 in a magistrate courtroom in Nanyuki, Kenya, Samburu community members and supporters continued battling for their land rights in Laikipia against the African Wildlife Foundation, former President Daniel arap Moi, and the Kenya Wildlife Service. The Samburu community has faced an increase in human rights violations, including the arrest and detention of 20 community elders, bribery, and confiscated livestock. The harassment appears to be a reaction to the previous court order that the Wildlife Service vacate the land in question until the case is settled.

Peru: Force Oil Company to Clean Up Spills Quechua Communities Strike On March 26 the Quechua Federation of the Upper Pastaza River Basin (FEDIQUEP) declared a permanent strike until the Peruvian government shows signs of progress toward meeting their conditions regarding compensation for oil contamination in their territory. The Minister of Energy and Mines, Eleodoro Mayorga, confirmed that if the consultation process is not undertaken by the expiration of Pluspetrol’s current concession in August 2015, “the day after their term

expires, Lot 1AB will stop producing and the government will not be able to grant it to any other company.” Mayorga claims that there is interest on the part of the government to “engage in dialogue, to serve the Indigenous Peoples, and to fulfill our responsibility to bring them the benefits of development.” Cameroon: Stop Palm Oil Plantations from Destroying Africa’s Ancient Rainforests and Local Livelihoods Herakles Farms Ordered to Pay $4.8 Million in Racial Discrimination Compensation A Cameroonian judge in the Fako High Court has awarded former Herakles Farm employee Loxly Massango Epie 2.3 billion CFA ($4.8 million) in a lawsuit claiming racial discrimination and wrongful termination of his contract of employment with USbased palm oil company Herakles Farms.

Take action at www.cs.org/ take-action. Read more news at www.cs.org/news.

We congratulate former Cultural Survival Board member Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Igorot from the Philippines) for her appointment as the next UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Corpuz is the first woman to hold this position. We also thank outgoing Special Rapporteur Professor James Anaya for his remarkable work advancing Indigenous rights worldwide.

Cultural Survival Quarterly June 2014 Cultural Survival Quarterly September 2013 •• 33


i ndi geno u s a r t s

“Native New England Now”

Artists Jennifer Kreisberg, Elizabeth James-Perry, Robert Peters, and Jeanne Kent. Photo by Amy Ferguson.

“Vision from Doug” by Robert Peters, 2012, acrylic. Photo by Doug Currie.

Amy Ferguson and Sara Schenkel

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he Mashantucket Pequot Museum’s recent exhibition, “Native New England Now,” which ran through January 4, represented tribal communities from all six states in New England, displaying Native art from twenty-seven different artists in a serene and spacious setting. The exhibit was made possible by a partnership between the museum and the New England Foundation for the Arts.

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Four of the featured artists also participated in a panel discussion on the importance of art relative to Native American culture: Jeanne Kent (Nulhegan Band, Coosuk Abenaki of Vermont), Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag), Robert Peters (Mashpee Wampanoag), and Jennifer Kreisberg (Tuscarora of North Carolina). The notion of spirituality within art is a common theme for Native artists as well as contemporary artists, and the panelists expressed their belief that art is not separate from culture: they are one in the same. Their creations reflect their lifestyles, beliefs, and history, and are also a reflection of the lands off which Native people live. Some of the creations were made primarily from materials harvested from the earth, such as gourds or wampum beads. Perry commented, “As artists we enjoy work that brings happiness and peace. The world today is scary with climate change and the loss of Native communities.” Art is necessary for spiritual replenishment, and the sense of spirituality proliferated throughout the exhibit. Trudie Lamb Richmond, a NEFA board member and the former director of public programs at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, said she could feel the energy of the art and peace in the exhibit. Peters elaborated: “What NEFA has done


Makes Medicine Through Art is given artists an opportunity to do their work. People choose to do work that is spiritual or meaningful.” In addition to cultural expression, the artists also described the need for their art to be a means to express themselves personally. Kent explained that she “had to create to breathe,” adding, “if I don’t create, I die.” She further described how coming to Native art has been spiritually satisfying, and recalls the non-Native art she did previously as being “like eating junk food, not fulfilling.” Kent’s art helps to bind together her Native Abenaki community. For Peters, art is also a way to tell the stories of his childhood on a reservation. He draws on memories, which are often faded, but says that “when they come back, it’s like, ‘whoa.’ ” His work primarily draws on events from everyday life that he remembers from the 1970s. One of his paintings is of people and fire trucks at the scene of a forest fire. He remembers this fire persisting for six months, and that anyone in the community who hopped on the back of a fire truck could be a fireman. By painting the fire on the very edge of the canvas, he highlights the community’s involvement in the center of the painting rather than the fire’s destruction. Another of his paintings shows a drum circle and people surrounding a fire pit. The people are all wearing modern clothing, illustrating that Native culture is both current and evolving. He described the world of his reservation as one in transition, having to file petitions for land that had been public for 100 years, and that they were losing control of their town offices and selectmen. Indeed, his work displays this transitioning world. Peters underscored the importance of creating the visual record of his childhood: “If I didn’t take the time to paint our way of life at that particular time, there is a strong possibility no one else would.” Just as art is a tool for preserving memory, it also has the power to heal. For Kreisberg, it has helped to heal her frustrations and anger at the injustices and inequality in the world. She described art as “making medicine,” and said that when she performs, she lets “spirit take control [to] get out what’s inside.” In many cases, what’s inside can be oppression or a disconnect from culture and or resources. As Peters said, Native peoples are often systematically disadvantaged because of shortages of wealth and resources. Accordingly, “Our way of thinking has changed. We went from looking at generations in the future to looking only a week ahead. This a disadvantage for caring for the future of our world.” Perry added her view that keep-

Rattle by Jeanne Morningstar Kent. Gourd, gourd dyes.

Wampum friendship collar by Elizabeth Perry. Hand-woven wampum bead bias collar based on early examples. Wampum shell, sinew, deerskin. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Perry

ing Native communities together is challenging but worthwhile, pointing to the difficulty of finding jobs and the fact that Native people have to leave their communities to receive a university education. “We all have to work harder to create communal spaces for the arts in our homelands,” she said. But, she also sees a future for Native communities. Describing Native Algonquian culture as cyclical, Perry said at times it has slept. “I had the good fortune to be mentored by many well-respected Wampanoag artists and teachers who developed the early programs and exhibits at museums like the Boston Children's Museum and Plimoth Plantation, some of whom have since passed away.” She has been able to recapture the technology of Native crafts and seeks to express common cultural values through visual and spiritual arts, “sharing our past as well as our future.” On a similar note, Kreisberg said that people have to “keep finding ways to make community” and “make good use of our time” on Earth. “We have to,” she asserted, and by doing so “we are making a better place in the world.” Having a child brought her to the conclusion that such an outlook is necessary, because she can’t bear to think that she has brought a child into a cruel and dark world. Peters also spoke about the satisfaction of “bringing light” to his culture, that his art and others’ “shows that we still have a future,” and that while “the world isn’t always kind, sometimes you need to fight.” Indeed, these artists are fighting to preserve and recreate their culture, and organizations like NEFA are helping them do just that. As Kreisberg concluded, Native artists must support each other, and supporting an organization like NEFA keeps their culture thriving. —Amy Ferguson and Sara Schenkel are former Cultural Survival interns. To learn more about the “Native New England Now” exhibit and the featured artists, visit: goo.gl/DrQQRl.

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Morningstar Kent.

Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 5


women th e wo r ld m u st hear

Reimagining Native America Matika Wilbur’s “Project 562”

Star Flower Montoya, Diegueño Barona

Mary Evelyn, Pueblo of Isleta

Kristen Williams

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atika Wilbur, 29, member of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribe, hit the road in December 2012 to embark on her newest photographic project entitled “Project 562:” an ambitious documentation of Native American people from every federally recognized tribe in the United States. These 21st century images provide a new perspective and update contemporary America’s perception of Native peoples. As of spring 2014, Wilbur has photographed people from 159 tribes, both on reservations and in urban communities. Wilbur says she is driven by the question of who she is as an Indigenous person in a contemporary world, and how other Native people both young and old find their place while managing this dual cultural identity. “We walk in two worlds as young, Native people. We learn to navigate with a moccasin on one foot and a tennis shoe on the other. Maybe we’ll go to ceremony on Saturday night and we’ll come out and use our iPhone,” she says. The challenge of defining oneself while trying to fit into mainstream society is the undercurrent of “Project 562,” Wilbur’s fourth major photo-documentation exhibit. Previously she photographed Coast Salish elders for “We Are One People;” Native peoples in contemporary surroundings for “We Emerge;” and young Native people expressing themselves in “Save the Indian and Kill the Man.” Despite government intervention and the near cultural genocide of many tribes, the people in these photographs have held onto their sense of heritage while forging a modern identity. 6 • www. cs. org

Wilbur uses a digital Canon EOS 7D and a Mamiya film camera with black and white film to produce silver gelatin prints. She then hand colors segments of the prints with oil paints to highlight features.

Wilbur’s work on “Project 562” has been compared to the earlier enterprise of Edward Curtis, a 1900s portrait photographer who undertook a similarly massive project of photographing America’s western Native peoples. Curtis believed the tribes were a dying culture and would soon disappear; his now-iconic images were an attempt to preserve these diverse cultures. Wilbur, however, points out dramatic differences in the management, goals, and outcomes of the two projects. Curtis was a white man who posed his subjects in a specific way, providing them with props such as feathered headdresses, which were often from different tribes, and ended up creating mixed portraits, unrealistic images that show an outsider’s muddled perception. Wilbur intends to showcase Native peoples differently: she asks for volunteers, allows them to select the backdrop that means the most to them, encourages them to wear the clothing most significant to their identity, and to hold accessories or demonstrate a movement that reflects important aspects of who they are. Wilbur will set the lighting and adjust basic positioning, but she says it is important that the subjects of her photographs make the choices according to their own experience of identity. “People often ask me why I don’t photograph ‘real Indians,’ but the people that I photograph are real Indians. These are my people,” she says. After the photo shoots Wilbur sits down with her subjects and records stories about their lives and tribal cultures and experiences, forming a more complete picture that will accompany the photographs during the final exhibit tour. The exhibit’s primary focus is the personal balances that are struck between honoring cultural heritage and family history with a All images by Matika Wilbur


contemporary American ethos. Wilbur hopes that by documenting Native peoples she can present a visual voice to contemporary Native issues. To achieve the first leg of her project, Wilbur raised $35,000 on Kickstarter. The platform of crowdsourced fundraising bolstered her understanding of how many people were supporting her work. “Project 562” is about the people in the photographs, entire tribes and their histories; it is about the very people supporting Wilbur on her travels and funding the project, because it is something that so many want to see realized. The money she raised on Kickstarter went almost solely to gas and film (she has taken thousands of rolls of pictures). Now, as she continues to travel, she relies on the goodwill of the tribes she visits. They feed her, house her, pray with her. This kind of relationship enhances the honesty and emotions in the photographs and recorded stories. “People are supportive because they believe in the cause. At the core of it all we all want to remember that we come from the same place, that we belong to one another,” she says. At the outset of the project there were 562 federally recognized tribes, and now there are 566. Federal tribal recognition is controlled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and grants the tribes certain benefits. The process for federal acknowledgement can take years, with decades of delay not uncommon. (The Shinnecock Indian Nation based on Long Island applied for recognition in 1978 and were not recognized until 2010.) Bureaucratic delays are also created by the complex criteria that must be met to apply for recognition: long-standing historical community and documented continuity, political authority, and documented descent from a historical tribe. Many tribes have difficulty providing the records and detail necessary for this process due to historical displacement, destruction of culture, and lack of documented written language. Because of these issues Wilbur cannot cite an official number for her project, which is one of the points her photography exhibit aims to express: the number is significant. Native peoples are not gone from our society. They are still here and are fighting for recognition by the federal government. Wilbur also intends to include portraits of Native peoples from non-recognized tribes, provided she has enough funding.

Robert and Fannie Mitchell, Dine

During the last year of traveling and photographing, Wilbur gave a TED Talk in Seattle on humanizing and re-imagining Native Peoples. “I’m here to carry the message from the silenced, to show you some of Native America’s beauty and to encourage our collective consciousness to reimagine the way we see each other,” she said. Stereotypes of Native peoples, particularly in mass media, are negative portraits wrapped in references to systematic oppression that diminish the confidence of young Native people and hinder constructive conversation of present-day issues. Media helps shape public opinion, so when mass media is saturated with Native American cultural appropriation, such as Halloween costumes and exaggerated caricatures for sports mascots, one side of the discourse depicts Native people as inhuman rather than individuals. “People understand that we survived, but the stereotypes remain. Many people fail to recognize the tremendous number of professionals in Indian country, the number of people who are living in cultural duality,” Wilbur said in her talk. Media portrayals may be improving in response to “Project 562,” however. Wilbur’s project has been well received in the Native media, including Indian Country Today, and it has also been picked up by many mainstream outlets; NBC News and The New York Times have both featured articles on Wilbur as she works her way across the country. And this May, the Tacoma Art Museum in Washington will exhibit a collection of photos from “Project 562” along with hosting an artist’s lecture. On this progress, she says, “My name, Matika, means the messenger. Throughout my life, I have been groomed to approach the politics of our society differently. I am to influence social change not as a politician, but as an artist.” — Kristen Williams is a Cultural Survival intern.

Marva Scott, Talowa

If you are a member of a Native American tribe and would like to be photographed, recommend someone to be photographed, share your story, or house Matika, please email info@project562.com.

Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 7


r i ght s i n a ct io n

US Working Group on Indigenous Peoples before meeting between US civil society and government delegates. Indigenous rights issues were raised by Kanaka Maoli from Hawai'i. Photos by Joshua Cooper.

US Working Group on Indigenous Peoples at the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva. Indigenous advocates were successful, as one result of the UPR was the formal adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the Obama administration.

Universal Periodic Review

A Potent Process for the Realization of Human Rights in Indigenous Homelands Joshua Cooper

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he Universal Periodic Review was established to create a consistent commitment of each UN member state to meet its human rights duties through interactive dialogue. In the first cycle (2008–2011), each of the 48 member states participated in its national review, appearing before their colleagues to present their human rights record. In the second cycle now underway (2012–2015), every state will again participate, with a total of 30 countries appearing before their colleagues to share developments regarding recommendation implementation and emerging rights challenges. The second cycle offers opportunity for more best practices to be created by civil society coalitions rooted in creativity and courage. Preparation, Interaction, Consideration, Adoption, and Implementation are the five phases of participation in the Universal Periodic Review. In total, these five phases amount to a 24-month campaign that educates, engages, and empowers Indigenous Peoples to connect issues at the grassroots level with global governmental responsibility based on recommendations drafted in their own communities and countries. Phases 1-2: Preparation and Interaction

The spirit of the first two phases is to identify the issues preventing the implementation of the articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; to draft questions Indigenous Peoples want to ask or do ask but 8 • www. cs. org

never receive adequate responses; and to draft recommendations that prescribe steps to secure the realization of rights for a life of equality and dignity for Indigenous Peoples. The Preparation phase begins 18 months before a state’s review and is an opportunity to involve whole communities in creating documents based on both individual and systematic violations of dignity and equality. At the grassroots level, it is vital to share the purpose of the Review and to host consultations for writing the stakeholder reports. At the national level, similar actions should link Indigenous peoples and nations. All forms of communication should be utilized, from community radio to social media. For The Testify! Campaign, for example, coordinated with WITNESS and the US Human Rights Network, Indigenous Peoples made their own videos highlighting human rights abuses. The Preparation phase is crucial for allowing Indigenous values to shape a state’s review. It allows communities to review their enshrined rights, as well as recommendations from the first Review cycle— and to note whether there were increased violations or improvements. The Interaction phase signals a shift from organizing in one’s own homeland and gathering testimonies from people on the ground to coordinating at the national level and beginning conversations based on specific questions and recommendations raised in previous Review sessions. The first activity is to transform the stakeholder reports and information gathered into succinct 1- to 2-page advocacy sheets, which will be basis for conversation with countries’


diplomatic missions participating directly in the review. Indigenous Peoples’ rights have been mentioned over 250 times since the creation of the Review. Certain states have raised important issues regarding basic rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous Peoples; it is important to identify and arrange meetings with them in Geneva.  Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, Austria, France, and Germany have all raised the issue of Indigenous rights during most reviews. It is also possible to meet with specific states on common issues covered in the community reports, such as women’s rights, environmental concerns, multinational corporation actions, education, and cultural rights. One can also coordinate a side event with a panel or feature films to provide an overview of the human rights situation of Indigenous Peoples.  Another important initiative can be a meeting with the embassies of identified ally member states. Such a meeting depends on whether there is a culture of violence within a country’s government; if there is no repression or aggression staged against human rights advocates, it can be an affordable way to get a message from the community to a nation’s embassy and shared with the UN. Another important avenue for advocacy depends on the state’s participation in the national consultations called for by the Review, which present a chance to influence the national 20-page report.    Phase 3: Consideration 

The Consideration phase is the most compelling, as rights advocacy can be openly witnessed with diplomats grilling national policymakers and governments defending their policies. At the community level, one can gather urgent updates to illustrate compelling issues. At the national level, one can demand a Town Hall meeting in Geneva and a nation’s capital to promote national discussion and an action plan to implement Review recommendations. At the global level, one can continue the conversation with diplomats and secure commitments to raise Indigenous rights. One can also organize another side event to allow impacted individuals to share stories with member states that can transform into real recommendations for change. The actual Consideration phase is only 3.5 hours, yet live webcasting allows Indigenous Peoples around the world to view it together. Community viewing events can also be hosted in homes and cultural centers. In Geneva, a Town Hall meeting brings together the government delegation with Indigenous representatives to discuss the results immediately following the Review. At minimum, there should be a press conference or meeting to set a schedule to discuss adoption of recommendations.    Phase 4: Adoption

The Adoption phase is set for four months after the conclusion of the Review and will end with the actual adoption at the UN Human Rights Council session. The most important aspect of this phase is to maintain momentum as Review results are widely distributed and discussed at the local and national level. It is essential for those involved in earlier phases to rally around specific recommendations and demand their governments begin coordination of campaigns to realize the recommendations. Art and culture can be vital tools to transmit the contents of the report to a community, and this phase

offers opportunity for creative campaigns involving new social media and youth. The week before the Human Rights Council session, Indigenous Peoples must register online to obtain one of 10 speaking slots to present a 2-minute intervention in Geneva at the conclusion of the adoption. It is also possible to coordinate another side event to share progress regarding implementation of a specific recommendation. Alternatively, Indigenous Peoples can record a 2-minute video to be shown at the Human Rights Council in lieu of traveling to Geneva.  The final “speak truth to power moment” will be webcast, so screening sessions can also be coordinated. Phase 5: Implementation 

Once the state under review accepts a recommendation, the real work begins to build a culture of human rights by changing conditions through the realization of rights reflected in the recommendations. The mobilization of those involved in all previous phases is vital to engage people in the decisionmaking process. This important initiative, based on ideas generated and accepted in the previous phases, creates opportunities for states to fulfill their obligations to guarantee fundamental freedoms. Beyond usual “blame and shame,” Indigenous communities can build and shape new policies and practices relating to their human rights. New partnerships with national representatives can be established to realize the recommendations. There can also be initiatives with member states based on relationships built in prior phases to link aid programs with Review recommendations; in the past, states have provided assistance without ever meeting those intended to benefit, but now Indigenous Peoples can continue the conversation started in the Review process to advocate for realization of their rights. Whether focusing on eliminating racist laws or engaging Indigenous Peoples to create new practices and policies rooted in human rights, there can be followup community, city, and national meetings to develop new standards and laws that reflect input from the Review. There are also opportunities for influence through international pressure at subsequent UN Human Rights Council sessions.   The ultimate aspiration of the Universal Periodic Review is the improvement of human rights in every country with significant consequences for people around the globe. If Indigenous Peoples participate in each phase, there will be a rigorous review and the results will be substantive. It can become a regular measure of how states are implementing the rights enshrined in the Declaration, and it can be the catalyst for the conversation with a country’s leadership to ensure the Declaration is beyond paper, building better lives for Indigenous Peoples. —Joshua Cooper is a professor at the University of Hawai’i, West Oahu, Kapolei and director of the Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights.

Cultural Survival is currently working on coordinating stakeholder reports for the second cycle of the UPR. If you would like to get involved, contact agnes@cs.org.

Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 9


boar d s p o t lig h t

Making Change Together–One Law, One Nation at a Time

Nicole Friederichs

Agnes Portalewska (CS Staff) Our series spotlighting the work of our Board members continues with Nicole Friederichs, an attorney specializing in federal Indian law, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and international human rights law. She is currently a Practitionerin-Residence at Suffolk University Law School and manages the school’s Indigenous Peoples Rights Clinic.

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icole Friederichs’ interest in Indigenous Peoples’ rights blossomed in her last semester at Suffolk University Law School in 2003. She recalls: “I had done international development work previous to law school, working on education and community development mostly in West Africa. But then I took an Indigenous Peoples’ rights class with professor Lorie Graham. I remember sitting in class and the language of Indigenous Peoples rights felt very familiar to me in that it is similar to the language of international development. I felt comfortable with it. I ended up getting a job after law school in Boston working for a solo practitioner who represented several tribes in the New England area, and I’ve been doing this work ever since.” For the next four years Friederichs practiced law in New England, work“Whether it’s working with the tribal ing primarily on a handful of federal cases addressing the jurisdictional reach court to better meet the needs of its of states over federally recognized tribes and their lands. “The issues in those cases were varied,” she says. “For example, a state’s human rights commission tribal members or filing a shadow had jurisdiction over a tribe’s government employees or whether a state could report to the UN Committee on the exercise a search warrant against a tribal government on tribal lands. However, each of the cases centered on the interpretation of federal laws settling Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the lands claims of these tribes. Those laws resolved the land claim, but went further and addressed the application of state laws to tribes. The ultimate that’s the positive work that the clinic issue in these cases was about who had jurisdiction.” does and the type of work that I find By 2007, Friederichs found she was missing international work. “I really enjoyed working on those federal cases, but it was purely federal Indian law. personally fulfilling.” I’ve always leaned towards international issues and work, probably in part due to the fact that I grew up internationally,” she says. Friederichs was born in the United States, but at the age of three her family moved to Hong Kong, then Frankfurt, Germany, and later to London; she returned to the US for college. In an effort to transition from purely domestic work to international Indigenous rights work, Friederichs moved to Tucson, Arizona and completed her Master of Law (LLM) degree. “For 18 months, I studied and worked at the University of Arizona’s Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy program. [UN Special Rapporteur] James Anaya and Robert Williams teach there, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study and work with them. Plus, I was able to get hands-on experience working on international Indigenous Peoples’ rights cases. It was a wonderful experience. I continued working on international cases and issues for a couple of years and then got settled at Suffolk.” For the past three years Friederichs has directed Suffolk’s Nicole Friederichs with Suffolk University law students. Indian law and Indigenous Peoples’ rights clinic, which Photo by John Gillooly for Suffolk University. supports the advocacy and nation-building activities of 10 • ww w. cs. org


Suffolk law student Jeffri Uber shakes hands with Annawon Weeden (right) after Weeden's presentation on Mashpee Wampanoag history. Photos by Aynsley Floyd for Suffolk University.

primarily New England tribes and Indigenous organizations. “We meet that goal by providing opportunities for law students to develop their lawyering skills by working with tribal organizations or communities on a variety of issues,” she explains. “At Suffolk we have a very well developed clinical program with over a dozen clinics devoted to different areas of law, such as family, immigration, housing, and intellectual property. Our mission is to provide students with an opportunity to develop their lawyering skills by taking ownership of a case or project on behalf of a client; as their supervisor, I meet with them weekly to advise them on their work and progress.” One example of the type of work the clinic does is drafting of laws and court rules. Friederichs says, “Over the past three years we have been working with the Mashpee Wampanoag Judiciary to draft procedural and evidence rules for their court system. Last year they adopted rules for their lower court, and we’ve been working on rules for their Supreme Court as well as developing materials to assist tribal members in navigating that court system. I currently have a student working on their peacemaking court.” In this type of work, Friederichs says, “We always try to include any customary practices. The rules that we drafted, for example, look very different from the rules of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the federal government. The Mashpee Wampanoag felt the federal laws they had been using were just too long, too legalese. They wanted something more accessible for everybody. With the tribes here in New England, it’s all about rebuilding. Whether it’s language, whether it’s laws—they are still trying to access that almost lost knowledge. The elders with whom we worked will talk to the Wampanoag language department and ask, ‘Do we know anything about any customs, laws, or traditions that we might be able to incorporate into this law or rule?’ The clinic supports the nation-rebuilding that is occurring in Indian country. We want to make sure a tribal court reflects the customs, the culture, the practices of the community. If it does, it will be sustainable, more utilized, and more successful in meeting the needs of the community.” In the international realm, Friederichs has been working with Cultural Survival to promote Indigenous rights in Guatemala by assisting in the battle to legalize community radio. “In Guatemala, Indigenous communities have been

Nicole Friederichs and Suffolk University law students working with the Mashpee Wampanoag judiciary to draft procedural and evidence rules for their tribal court system.

trying for a long time to change the telecommunications law to legalize community radio. They filed a lawsuit in their Constitutional court back in 2010; that court basically said it couldn’t force Congress to change the law, so (Cultural Survival’s deputy executive director) Mark Camp and I started discussing other options, such as whether Suffolk’s Clinic should file with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of Cultural Survival and other Indigenous rights organizations in Guatemala. We decided to move forward with the petition, which was filed in September 2012; the Commission is still in the process of reviewing it. The hope is that by filing a petition with the Commission and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which we did a couple of months ago, that we draw more international attention to the issue and put some pressure on Guatemala to change.” Regardless of the stage—whether domestic or international—Friederichs sees an opportunity for positive change. “International human rights law provides the United States with the opportunity to revisit our own laws and determine whether we are meeting our international obligations,” she says, pointing out that “although the United States has in place several protections for its Indigenous Peoples and recognizes some of their human rights, there is still room for much improvement. Plus, the foundational principles of federal Indian law, such as the doctrine of discovery and Congressional plenary power, which are still good laws, arguably do not meet international human rights standards.” But, she continues, “Here in New England, more and more people are taking an interest in what is going on in the international Indigenous rights arena and even utilizing human rights bodies as part of their advocacy efforts. When Anaya delivered an address at Suffolk last year, many tribal leaders and community members were present. And within the area of nation building there are also many success stories. For example, Jessie little doe’s story of language reclamation with the Wampanoag Nation (see page 14) is such a great one. Whether it’s working with the tribal court to better meet the needs of its tribal members or filing a shadow report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, that’s the positive work that the clinic does and the type of work that I find personally fulfilling.” Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 11


L–R: Bill Hunt, vice chairman of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe; Alma Gordon-Smith, sachem (chief) of the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag Tribe; Raymond Trusty Williams, Jr., vice president of the Tribal Council for the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag Tribe; Ann Marie Plane, associate professor of history at the University of California-Santa Barbara; and Cheryll Toney Holley, chief of the Nipmuc Nation and Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc Indians. Photo by Scott Metzger for Suffolk University.

Sanctioned Theft

Tribal Land Loss in Massachusetts CS Staff

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ative land loss, the policies that enabled it, and the subsequent consequences on Native American tribes in Massachusetts was the subject of a panel discussion at Suffolk University last April. “A Hidden History: How Massachusetts Law and Policy Facilitated the Loss of Tribal Lands” convened with an opening blessing by Jim Peters, executive director of the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs. Panelists included Ann Marie Plane, an associate professor of history at the University of California-Santa Barbara; Cheryll Toney Holley, chief of the Nipmuc Nation and Hassanamisco Band of Nipmuc Indians; Raymond Trusty Williams, Jr. (Golden Hawk), vice president of the Tribal Council for the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag Tribe; Alma Gordon-Smith, sachem (chief) of the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag Tribe; and Bill Hunt, vice chairman of the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe in Southern Plymouth, Massachusetts. Plane provided the context for the discussion, explaining “how a land-holding Native majority population became a landless minority over the span of just a few centuries [and] was virtually erased from the awareness of local society.” 12 • ww w. cs. org

She pointed to the imposition of legal wardship, 19th century ideas about so-called racial purity defining “real” Native Americans, and the misapplication of concepts of equal rights and blind justice as keys to colonial-era land procurement. The advent of legal control over Native populations dates back to the 17th century as colonists established land claims under the auspices of both crown and religious law; such efforts included “praying towns,” which were set up in an attempt to convert Native people to Christianity and organize their interactions with English colonists. Native subjugation was aided by widespread pandemics and the ensuing decimation of tribes, events interpreted by the non-Native settlers as divine retribution and further solidifying their notions of the righteousness of colonial settlements. English doctrine about land ownership—namely, that unoccupied lands could be legally claimed—also contributed to Native land loss. Since Native people had different concepts of governance and land use, their migration patterns created vacant territories. Holley explained: “We weren’t wanderers and vagrants; it’s just how our traditional way of life was. We knew where to go and at what time to go there. . . . We never had that concept of ownership before.” Even after losing official title to their lands, however, Native people often retained


customary rights of access to the areas and returned to places that were culturally significant. “Despite the fact that they felt completely entitled, legally and religiously, to these lands, colonists did purchase land from Native landholders and sachems,” Plane said, noting how multiple lines of descent and competition for resources complicated the deals. Because there was no Free, Prior and Informed Consent, Native people were forced to operate within an imposed foreign legal and tax system with little understanding of the consequences for the future. Toward the end of the 18th century, English settlers developed a guardianship system ostensibly to prevent the abuse of Native Americans during land negotiations, but in reality only furthering the fraud, abuse, and corruption. Guardians were paid by the tribes, but often the tribes’ only sources of income were from sales of land or resources. Holley described how the majority of the Hassanamesit Nipmuc reservation, near today’s town of Grafton, was sold to English families for £2,500. “They’re supposed to distribute the funds from the purchase to the Native people when they need it, but instead what happens is that it disappears,” she said. Multiple state congressional reports from the mid-1800s investigating such guardianships acknowledged that many guardians had siphoned trust funds for personal use and that the state was indebted to several tribes. “Without the money from these trust funds, the Nipmuc people began to sell off the remaining land to pay off debts, back taxes, and care for the sick and elderly, to build English-style houses and fences, the things they could have used the trust funds for,” Holley explained. “People accumulated little debts like the general store bill, and they would have 10 acres of land sold off to settle those. Loss of land destroyed communities. Families could not support themselves on dwindling acreage, could not farm, hunt, or gather because these were someone else’s property and fences were put up. They had to move away to find jobs.” Today, only three acres remain of the original Hassanamesit reservation in Grafton. Although no Nipmuc people live on their traditional lands, they continue to congregate for cultural events that serve as an important connection to their ancestors. Community Disrupted; Rebuilt

The Chappaquiddick Wampanoag once inhabited the entire island of Chappaquiddick, a small is island off the eastern end of Martha’s Vineyard. But by 1788, European expansion via unscrupulous land deals left the Chappaquiddick with just one-fifth of the island—mostly sandy soil that was difficult to cultivate. The Enfranchisement Act of 1869 granted full citizenship rights to Native people and also removed the special status possessed by the state’s 10 reservations, effectively eliminating Indian communal land holding. Thousands of acres of reservation land were divided up or sold in the intervening years, and the previously held Chappaquiddick territory became part of Edgartown. After the land reallotment most Chappaquiddick dispersed to the mainland in search of employment, mainly in domestic servitude. “It was a struggle for our people to maintain our sense of community and eke out a living,” GordonSmith said. Today, two large Chappaquiddick families remain on the island; the tribe is working to reclaim lands by untangling the complex history of title transfers and land sales.

Although Native people lost control over their lands, they never lost their cultural connection, and in fact have maintained a continual presence in most areas. Hunt spoke about the Wampanoag tribal land of Herring Pond, which traditionally ranges from Plymouth, Massachusetts to parts of upper Cape Cod. The original reservation was laid out in the 1700s totaling 3,000 acres, but in 1742 the Commonwealth ordered all remnants of historical tribes to move to one of four communities with functioning governments: Mashpee, Aquinnah, Herring Pond, or Hassanamesit. During Herring Pond’s assimilation, the Wampanoag struggled with issues of debt, earning a living, and creating a stable community, difficulties encountered by many other tribes. In order to survive, many moved off of reservations and adopted English habits. When the balance of Herring Pond was finally auctioned off in 1873, the tribe largely disappeared from historical records—but its people persisted, remaining in traditional areas and continuing key aspects of their culture. In 1928 the tribe organized its first powwow in over 200 years, and since then has also turned the Pondville Baptist Church Meeting House into a central place of congregation. “Considering all of the things that have been done to remove Natives from their land, whether it was legal or illegal, the fact that we’re still here says a lot,” Hunt said, adding that the tribe is still discovering property to which it holds the title and is working to rebuild the community. The European appropriation of tribal land has had farreaching consequences for Native Americans, as traditional healing methods, arts, governance, original language, and spiritual beliefs related to the land were all disrupted. Speaking about the Chappaquiddick, Gordon-Smith said that “the allocation of their land has taken a toll on many levels: community ties are challenged, there is conflict within tribes, they could not comfortably visit the land, and it’s difficult to build self-esteem as a people.” But as Plane said, “Native peoples never gave up their identity. They never gave up their connection to the land. They never let the state decide who was or was not Native,” and that “this long and proud tradition of activism in these communities is continued today in the efforts of many in the state of Massachusetts who are trying to obtain resources essential to continue cultural survival.” Hunt concurred, enumerating ways that tribes keep their culture and history present today: “Through our youth and our elders. Our elders transfer a lot of the knowledge and wisdom that they have. We have classes making skins, dancing, singing. We have a language reclamation project where children can learn to speak Wampanoag,” he said. Holley summed up the significance of the intergenerational commitment to rebuilding Native communities: “I think the reason why my people still exist is there have always been people in every generation that kept reminding us who we were, and that we always had one piece of land to cling on to. So I am very grateful to the people who came before me that held on to that.”

Listen to the whole panel at: goo.gl/zqI1z8.

Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 13


Wôpanâôt8âôk Pâhshaneekamuq

Preparing for a Wampanoag Language School on Cape Cod

Wôpanâak kinship lesson for youth attending the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project's summer youth camp in Mashpee, MA. Photo by Jennifer Weston, Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project.

Jennifer Weston

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ummer Turtle Program youth, ranging in age from 5–12, swarm around reporter Sally Mairs as soon as she reveals her handheld microphone and shiny recorder. Mairs has just arrived at Maushop Farm in Mashpee, Massachusetts to visit with staff and students at the annual day camp hosted by the Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project for three weeks each summer. “Who can introduce themselves in their language for me?” she asks from the midst of the crush of a dozen children surrounding her. Paul raises his hand quickly. “Nutus8ees, that’s how you say ‘my name is.’ So, Nutus8ees Paul,” he says proudly. Three dozen youth from the Asonnet Band of Wampanoag, the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe, the Herring Pond Wampanoag Tribe, and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe gather daily at the farm to learn simple phrases, basic vocabulary for counting, clothing, kinship terms, as well as intertribal protocol, such as how to express their tribal affiliation, how to make prayer offerings, how to use more formal language for ceremonial occasions, and how to work together to smudge one another with cedar or sage smoke and eagle feathers to purify hearts and minds. They begin each day speaking Wôpanâôt8âôk. The Summer Turtle Program provides youth with language, cultural lessons, and activities both ancient and modern: sea fishing, relays, an obstacle course, and miniature diorama construction projects featuring weety8s, traditional Wôpanâak summer homes covered in woven reed mats. During the last week of the program, following morning lessons on traditional Wôpanâak crops and how corn came to the People via the

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Summer Turtle campers learn Wôpanâak clothing terms during a lesson by curriculum specialist Nitana Hicks at language and culture camp for youth from Aquinnah, Assonet, Herring Pond, and Mashpee Tribal households. Photo by Jennifer Weston, Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project.

crow, students watch continental trade networks unfurl across large maps of the Americas and eagerly raise their hands to make guesses about the origins of the plethora of modern food staples emerging from ancient agricultural practices indigenous to the Americas (sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, popcorn, wild rice, blueberries, and strawberries, to name a few). Then they team up to write and perform puppet shows enacting their own imaginative versions of how traditional crops came to be. An eager and fidgety queue forms next to the theater, while those who’ve concluded their masterpieces lounge in the pine needles—satisfied with their performances, or strategizing how to sharpen their story for best dramatic impact during their final shows for parents and the community. A shell fishing expedition precedes the final day of Summer Turtle Program so that students can help feed their families and elected tribal leaders, who gather for a festive clambake orchestrated by the Tribal Natural Resources Department staff. The mood is celebratory as students line up by age to sing Wôpanâôt8âôk songs, though there are tears of devastation behind the puppet theater because of the limited number of


performances that can be showcased for the crowd. Vice Chairwoman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and language project co-founder and senior linguist Jessie little doe Baird presents certificates of appreciation to the six teachers, tribal staffers, and volunteers who planned, funded, and fed the program for the duration. She beams at the crowd, proud of her mentees’ language abilities and the enthusiasm they’ve engendered in tribal youth for their language and culture. “These teachers are preparing for our school. These ladies, and Brian, are wonderful!” she exclaims. “Our communities need this immersion school, because we see all over Indian Country that language and language immersion programs inoculate children against social challenges like addiction and dropping out. It’s important our youth understand their role as future leaders and knowledge keepers for our Wampanoag Nation.” Summer Turtle is a proving ground for the teachers: tribal children and students from Cape Cod and the islands will soon have a language school of their own, with nearly all classes taught in their native language. Beginning in August 2015, the language project plans to launch a year-round school for Kindergarten and Grade 1 students, once its public charter school application is approved by the state. Founding trustees for the school have convened for the past year and a half to shape the vision, mission, and policies for the new institution, and to mobilize the expertise and funding to establish two initial immersion classrooms. They plan to serve students through Grade 6 by the 2021–2022 academic year. As recently as 1993, there were no native speakers of Wôpanâôt8âôk; Wampanoag children on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard grew up with little knowledge of their mother tongue. Existing for more than a century in written records, embedded on the Massachusetts landscape, in the state’s name, and countless street signs and place names, Wôpanâôt8âôk reemerged as a spoken language in tribal households and community-based language in the mid-1990s. Following the guidance of her ancestors, which came to her in dreams, little doe earned a research fellowship and master’s degree in Algonquian linguistics from MIT in 2000, while teaching fellow community members to speak, play games, write, and pray in Wôpanâôt8âôk. Her two decades of mentoring and teaching have yielded a fellow MIT-credentialed linguist and future school principal, Nitana Hicks, as well as a dedicated group of language apprentices who meet daily in a workplace provided by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. They spend 9–12 hours a week in language immersion sessions— no written or spoken English allowed—and are tasked with creating an entire K-3 curriculum framework and thousands of daily lesson plans grounded in Wampanoag cultural values while adhering to Massachusetts’ newly adopted Common Core Standards. Only English Language Arts content will be taught in English, with the majority of the school day unfolding in carefully planned Wôpanâôt8âôk lessons and activities. The language immersion movement is growing nationwide, and not just in Indian Country where more than 50 Indigenous language schools and programs strive to carry forward their languages in the living vessels of youthful minds. Team members have visited immersion schools of the Ojibwe in Hayward, Wisconsin and the Mohawk in Akwesasne, New York, and have also toured schools in Massachusetts’ growing network of more than 80 charter schools—

The Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project's staff celebrated 20 years of language planning, advocacy, and reclamation in December 2013 at the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Language Center in Mashpee, MA. Pictured (L-R): Tia Pocknett, Jennifer Weston, Jessie Baird, Jennifer Harding, Tracy Kelley, Toodie Coombs, Leeah Chumack, Brian Weeden, and Nitana Hicks. Photo by Trish Keli'inui.

some offering English/Spanish bilingual instruction or Mandarin immersion. The teacher trainees also lead community language classes year-round in Mashpee, New Bedford, Plymouth, and other locales with concentrations of Wampanoag households. They receive weekly grammar lessons from the team’s two linguists, and learn how to work with the 11,000-word dictionary generated by nearly two decades of research by little doe and other MIT-based Algonquian linguists. With no elder fluent speakers to turn to for translations or neologisms, terms must be carefully researched or based on parallel items in sister languages. Corresponding changes and precise descriptions with respect to Wôpanâak cosmology are considered and discussed as a group before a decision is made. In addition to the founding trustees for the charter school, the team is guided by the language project’s intertribal board of directors, who meet monthly to set project policy and review funding opportunities and translation and partnership requests. “Sometimes I ask myself, ‘who am I to make these words, to lead this culturally-based framework?’” says Hicks, curriculum manager for the team. “You’re the best at this. All of you. We believe in you. Continue to call on your People for guidance,” Jason Baird, Aquinnah Tribal Medicine Man, responds. The project’s board of directors, language students, and staff are seated in a circle of chairs in the Bourne Public Library on a Sunday morning for the monthly committee meeting. Heads nod in a chorus. —Jennifer Weston (Hunkpapa Lakota/Standing Rock Sioux) is the interim Language Department director for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, and is coordinating the public charter application, founding trustees, and team professional development for WLRP. To listen to Sally Mairs’ WCAI podcast, other interviews, and to learn more about Wôpanâôt8ây Pâhshaneekamuq, visit wlrp.org.

Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 15


NAICOB financial clerk Shirley Two Two, Executive Director Joanne Dunn, and clerical assistant Peter Pelletier.

A Beacon on South Huntington North American Indian Center of Boston Serves New England’s Native Community Jenna Winton

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or more than 40 years, Native Americans from the Boston area and around New England have gathered at 105 South Huntington Avenue in Jamaica Plain, MA to find support and embrace their Native heritage. Formerly a girl’s detention center, the building was reincorporated in 1970. What were once jail cells are now covered in Native American adornments; murals from the 1970s are painted in hallways, and the history of New England’s oldest Native American center is embedded in every room. Originally established as the Boston Indian Council, the North American Indian Center of Boston changed its name in 1991 when it was reestablished as a non-profit. With a mission to “promote greater self-determination, socio-economic selfsufficiency, spiritual enhancement, intercultural understanding and other forms of empowerment for the North American Indian Community” and an inclusive list of services, the Center assists North American Indians in obtaining an improved quality of life. “This is the home to Indian people, the home away from home. This is where the Indian heart is,” says Executive Director Joanne Dunn (Mi’kmaq), who first arrived at the Indian Center in 1976 and became Executive Director in 1991. “When I walked through these doors, it was very different from anything I had ever felt. These were people just like me. There are no Indian neighborhoods in Boston, not like the North End or South Boston or Chinatown; our numbers are too small to constitute a neighborhood. We tend to be dispersed throughout the city and the suburbs. [So] I loved being around other skins. I loved seeing that beautiful brown complexion and people feeling very comfortable in their own skins and speaking their own languages and men wearing their hair long, the smudging, praying, drumming, and song resounding through the building. These are all things that are very natural here that may not be natural in other places.” Along with providing a place to celebrate Native American cultural heritage, the Center has served thousands of indi16 • ww w. cs. org

viduals and families over the years with programs such as child care, education, elder and family services, employment, health care, substance abuse treatment, nutrition counseling, legal aid, and transportation services. For people like Crystal Rizzo, a computer instructor, the Center “definitely serves as a hub for those who live in an urban center. It’s a place where those who grew up on the reservation, those who were adopted out, who grew up in urban centers, can all come together and find community, find faces that look like yours, find values that are similar to yours, have your identity reflected back and strengthened, and [be] told that it’s a good thing to be Native. Especially in Boston, it’s one of the only places that you can really find that. It’s a place where we have events for the kids but also the grandparents come and the parents and older siblings, so it’s really an intergenerational place, which I think is really important in our culture.” In 2010 the Center lost its Indian Health Service contracts due to a dispute over extending services to Canada’s First Nations, along with another four mini-grants. “The way Indian Health Service works, if you lose one, you lose them all. That’s been our biggest challenge,” Dunn says. Besides a strong, healthy, happy community, Dunn’s vision for the Center is a healthy building. She says the deteriorating windows in the gym prevent them from getting new grants; an empty grass lot in the back where powwows used to be held now belongs to the Commonwealth and is the future construction site of condos. With the support of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the Native Studies program, the Center will be conducting a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for much needed renovations. In the meantime, the Center is moving forward with new endeavors through successful collaborations with the University of Massachusetts-Boston, the Institute for New England Native American Studies, and UMass Amherst. Along with conducting a needs assessment and connecting with the Administration for Native Americans, Dunn and her collaborators are working on new service programs centering around


violence against women and sexual assault. They recently offered a program to support grandparents who have become the primary caregivers to children. Now they are going after another vital piece: youth leadership. “We want the young people to step up to the plate,” she says. Dunn speaks fondly of the era in which the Center was founded. “We used to have a hundred employees; all three floors, every floor was full, but that was in the ‘70s. That was a different time for Indian people…that was the time of AIM (the American Indian Movement), Indian activism, the Longest Walk, the re-emergence and resurgence of Indian pride— all of those things were happening in the ’70s.” But now, she says, “I don’t know if the same passion is there. I don’t want to undermine those who choose a different path because we all want security. But I certainly look forward to the younger generation taking their places and leading our people into a happier and healthier millennium. We have some very talented individuals in Indian Country and some right here in this community.” Marilyn Francis, a community member, expressed similar sentiments of days past while reminiscing on a social media website: “My mind has been traveling back to the days of Boston Indian Council as I sit here beading. It is not only the people I’m remembering, but the building on 105 South Huntington Avenue, Jamaica Plain. I can still hear the voices echoing, the laughter, [the] pitter patter of children’s feet, doors opening and closing. The receptionist area, where we greeted, spoke and laughed coming and going to work. The Spirit of the building amazes me even still today. The parties, Halloween, Christmas, Baby Showers, grieving for the loss of a loved one, the elders, the backyard. I can still see us playing ball in the back, my Uncle Charlie pitching a game or two. BIC vans, coming in with the kids. Sammy Sapiel yelling at the young people during a basketball game, ‘move it, get that ball.’. . . My mom Evelyn with the youth group, getting ready to go somewhere with the kids. The beautiful elders, Ms. Shirley Mills, Mrs. Oleson, Ms. Rita Stephens rushing in the door from the Tecumseh Hours and so many more. And today the building still stands and serves the people with a new name, NAICOB, North American Indian Center of Boston. Thank you Joanne Dunn and everyone who continues to keep the spirit alive for our People who end up in Boston and for the individuals who make Boston their home.” The Center’s employees and people like Francis keep the spirit of the community strong. As more events are held, resources expand, and support is maintained, the Center will endure. “If you’re a Native American Indian, then you should come here, even if it is just to drop by and say ‘Hello’. You will be welcomed,” Dunn says. “Whenever an Indian comes to the city, the first thing they look for is an Indian Center. That’s why we need to continue to be here. With more than 70 percent of Indians living off reservation, where are they going to go? We’re the oldest Indian Center in the northeast and we are still here. We are the beacon for our People. And we want to continue to be here for generations to come.”

Computer instructor Crystal Rizzo and clerical assistant Peter Pelletier encourage others to be a part of the NAICOB community.

An emblem from the 1970s of the then-named Boston Indian Center hangs above the entrance to the gym.

— Jenna Winton is a Cultural Survival intern. Follow NAICOB online at www.naicob.org and on facebook at goo.gl/7UuOWY. All photos by Jenna Winton.

Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 17


Growing up Mashantucket Pequot 9 Elizabeth George Drive nomic development and revitalization. Then there were talks of doing something bigger, more extravagant; something to put us on the map, so to speak. like to think I had the ultimate childhood, one of those My home was across the street from two of my mom’s sisyou see in movies and think can’t be possible. Although ters and one of my cousins, near the cul-de-sac and the homeI did not live on the reservation after the age of five, I stead. From the end of the driveway I could see my grandspent a significant amount of time there with my grandmother’s house up on the hill; listening hard, I almost hear my mother, Theresa Hayward, who lived on Elizabeth George aunts shouting their plans across the street, or my grandDrive—named after my great grandmother who had spent mother calling for me. I remember how much fun it was playher life living on the reservation. My extended family lived on ing outside with my younger cousins. We would be outside two streets, the first phase of government housing built on the from first thing in the morning until dark. We were welcome reservation. Getting the first phase approved was such a great in any house, at any time, and every house felt like home. accomplishment, and quite possibly the first crucial step in There was a great sense of security and comfort knowing that becoming self-sufficient—going from fighting for permits to you were surrounded by family and always had someone to 10 by 55-foot trailers where the water supply was fed through turn to if in need. Whether it was a game of baseball in the garden hoses and makeshift plumbing, to negotiating with the cul-de-sac, riding bikes, building forts in the woods, playing power company to install a utility pole in a remote location cops and robbers, hiking around the reservation and explorfor electricity, to brand new homes with modern day ameniing, or digging in the dirt, we were simply satisfied. ties. It was a tight-knit community on the brink of immense When I was five, my parents decided that they wanted to change. purchase their own land and build a new house, so we moved The year I was born (1983) was the year the Mashantucket off the reservation, but not too far—just down the road— Pequot Tribal Nation received federal recognition and soverclose enough to stay connected. When my brother was old eignty—the right to autonomy and self-government. This was enough for preschool, my mom went back to work. I contina time of excitement. We were finally able to begin the fight ued to ride the bus to Nan’s house on the reservation every for what was ours and obtain the land that was unlawfully day after school. When it came to weekends, I remember calltaken by the state from our ancestors in 1856. Little did I ing Nan asking if I could spend it with her and, if not for the know I was growing up during a historic time for my people. entire weekend, I got to spend at least some of it on the rez. The tribe purchased “Mr. Pizza” and had been selling organic Looking back, I also spent a few summers with Nan and produce supplied by a hydroponic greenhouse, but the openPop, too. Nan always had someone stopping by to visit. There ing of the Bingo hall in 1986 fueled the start to the tribe’s ecoare a few visitors that I remember in great detail. One man who came rarely, that Nan would always be extremely happy to see, was her eldest son, Skip. Since his vision of Foxwoods Resort Casino had come to fruition, it became increasingly difficult to keep track of him. One morning we heard a knock at the door. It was Uncle Skip. Nan stopped everything and welcomed him in. They chatted for what seemed like hours. Then Uncle Skip revealed he had a surprise for her. He went to the door and brought back another gentleman. “Hi. I’m Harry Belafonte. It’s very nice to meet you,” he said. The look on Nan’s face was priceless—pure shock. Looking back, I’m sure she was probably a little embarrassed, too—after all, we were still in our pj’s! At the time, I had no idea Traditional dugout canoe on display at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and who he was so I continued playing with Research Center. All of the figures were lifecast from Native American people; the “Hot Potato,” and then after a few minthe traditional clothing, ornamentations, and wigwams were made by Native utes, Harry lay down on the floor next to craftspeople. Photo courtesy of Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. me and began to play along. Uncle Skip

Kimberly Shockley

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The world's largest Native American museum, the Pequot Museum houses a lifesize exhibit of daily life in a recreated 16th Century Pequot village, pre- and post-European contact. Photo courtesy of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.

always had a way of surprising Nan with something out of the ordinary. One time, he set up dinner for her and my grandfather with Johnny and June Carter Cash. After that dinner I was able to meet them, too, and see them perform at Foxwoods. That was the ultimate experience—meeting a legend, sharing it with my best friend (Nan) and seeing her so happy. Growing up blond-haired, blue eyed, and of mixed European-Native American descent, I don’t look like the stereotypical Native American. In elementary, middle, and even high school, I had a hard time getting my peers, and sometimes the teachers, to believe I was Native American. Some would say, “you’re not a real Indian, you have blond hair and blue eyes.” I didn’t like that I had to explain anything at all, even to the other Pequot children who said they were more Pequot because of the color of their skin. To this day, I still find some shocked to learn of my heritage because I don’t “look like an Indian” or fit the stereotype that the media has created for Native Americans. Recently I was faced with a similar issue: I was at the doctor’s office for a routine checkup, and somehow it came up that I was Pequot. The doctor couldn’t possibly have reacted worse! I have never seen such a look of disdain and overall disbelief. To make matters worse, she began interrogating me. It felt as if I were being crossexamined for being me. Unfortunately, the questions she asked were those I have had to continuously answer my entire life—questions that still have me questioning my identity into my thirties. “Really? You don’t look Indian. What is your blood quantum? Where do you get your ancestry from, your grandmother or something?” as if to add a little condescension to the mix. Needless to say, I will not be returning to that office. I consider myself lucky and honored to have grown up and witnessed such a great time in Pequot history. I have been given opportunities that I might not ever have had, and have been able to experience life in a way that is unique only to our family and tribal nation. Though I moved off the reservation as a child and have lived off the reservation for quite some time, I still feel I “grew up on the rez.” Even though I wasn’t

Kimberly Shockley, director of public programs. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Shockley.

physically living here, it did not mean that I was any less connected or any less Pequot. I have remained attached to the land, my family, and my culture, and take pride in being Pequot. The rez, and Elizabeth George Drive in particular, will always be home to me regardless of where I choose to live. I will always cherish the memories of my childhood and growing up Pequot. —Kimberly Shockley works for her tribe at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center as the director of public programs, furthering the museum’s mission to inspire awareness and understanding of the histories, cultures, and survival of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and North America’s Indigenous people. The museum stands as a testament to the survival of the Pequot people and all Indigenous cultures that struggle to maintain their identities. Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 19


Restricting Fishing Rights, Undermining Tribal Sovereignty

Elvers are juvenile eels that migrate to brackish waters and begin to develop gray to greenish-brown pigmentation. Photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Agnes Portalewska (CS STAFF)

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or centuries, the Passamaquoddy people of Maine have faced a violation of their inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples. They have been repeatedly displaced from their original lands by European settlers since the 16th century, eventually limited to their current reservation in eastern Washington County, Maine. Now their fishing rights —an intrinsic part of Passamaquoddy culture and sustenance —are threatened, under the ironic pretext of equal protection for state fishermen. At issue are two pieces of legislation, both in conflict with the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act and the Maine Implementing Act. The Passamaquoddy refused to comply with LD-451, a law that limited the tribe to issuing just 200 elver licenses in 2013, and this year’s LD-1625, which requires state fishery officials to approve each individual tribal elver license in writing. The tribe has been in discussion with the state since January on ways the Passamaquoddy can maintain its cultural identity throughout the fishing season “because our fishery is based on culture, conservation, and preservation of the eel,” says Passamaquoddy Tribal Councilman Newell Lewey. Conservation Requires Sacrifice

The price of elvers has risen steeply in recent years and nonNative fishers have pressed for licenses to fish them at their 20 • ww w. cs. org

most abundant (and vulnerable) life stage, when they are determined to swim from salt to fresh water. This critical transition determines the health of the species. The Passamaquoddy fishing plan centers around conservation of the eel, prohibits the use of fyke nets (a fish trap that consists of cylindrical netting bags mounted on rings or other rigid structures), and reduces their total allowable catch to 1,650 pounds—1,000 pounds less than the top 50 state harvesters are taking under the new quota system. In 2013 the state’s Department of Marine Resources did not require its harvesters to take measures towards conservation of the eel, but instead implemented a complex quota system. “The state had no conservation measures in their plan last year, and that virtually went unheralded,” Lewey says. “All they could talk about was the number of licenses that the Passamaquoddy were issued in defiance of LD-451. The state plan called for the state to have 432 licenses, but those 432 state licenses could land as many pounds of eels as they could get. The state limited gear, not catch. They could have caught a million pounds and it would have been perfectly fine in terms of the law.” In contrast, the Passamaquoddy’s proposal bore in mind the health of the species. “We said that we would have a communal eel fishery for the Passamaquoddy Tribe that allows us only to catch 3,600 pounds. We feel that [we have] inherent rights to fish in any marine resources available to us because of where we live, and because our rights have never been surrendered, including under the Land Claim Settlement Act. We cannot limit licenses to our people...[so] when the state said, ‘We’re going to issue you 150 licenses and 50 additional licenses for dip nets on the St. Croix River,’ we never agreed to it. We walked out of Augusta that day and said, ‘We don’t accept it.’ The Passamaquoddy’s defiance has not been quietly overlooked. Lewey recalls a violent scene from last year’s fishing season: “When we submitted our license list to the commissioner at the Department of Marine Resources, they came down on us pretty hard that first weekend, Easter Sunday, when they raided the fishing site in the Pennamaquan River in Pembroke, Maine. They had maybe 20 armed personnel on site and it escalated very quickly, but we did manage to speak to them. This year, with the eels, our number one concern is that we’ve got to have our limited licensing for the Passamaquoddy tribal people. We’re at a point again where our existing law is in conflict with state law: Passamaquoddy tribal law states that we will have a fishery with unlimited licenses, and we agreed to their 1,655 pounds of eel, but we said that we want to have an open fishery for 80 percent of those eels. The first 1,320 pounds would be an ‘open derby’ fishery, where every individual could go out and just catch as many eels as they could catch. When the total tribe reached that 80 percent quota we would shut the swipe card system down and reissue the remaining 335 pounds on a per capita basis.”


Lewey says the Commissioner agreed with the proposal when the tribe presented it in January, as did the Atlantic State Marine Fishery Commission in Washington, D.C., but within a week of negotiating the new legislation, Commissioner Patrick Kelleher “had done a 180,” citing equal protection for the state fishers. The Attorney General argues that the tribe’s proposed agreement raises a constitutional concern and creates an equal protection problem because it creates a special class of people who would be dealt with differently should legal conflict arise. Federal Indian law governs Maine’s “special relationship” with the four sovereign Nations there (Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, Penobscot and Mi’kmaq), and explicitly states that equal protection concerns apply differently to Indian tribes. But for Lewey, “The equal protection thing doesn’t hold water with me. If you look at what our history is full of, is unequal protection.” The Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 is a federal law that settled the land claim brought by the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Maliseet tribes and lays out the legal basis for the Maine Implementing Act, which defines the relationship between the state and tribes. The settlement act outlines the rights and resources the tribes deliberately transferred; saltwater fishing is considered a reserved right over which the state has no jurisdiction. Lewey points out that the first thing LD-451 does is cap the Passamaquoddy tribal licenses. “Just the wording is really upsetting. It’s a state statute that’s directed to the Passamaquoddy tribal membership. It limits the number of licenses that we can obtain for all of our fishing. The claim about our sovereignty on the saltwater fishing issue, the state says that we gave that up in 1980. But nowhere in the Claims Settlement Act of 1980 does it say anything about saltwater treaty fishing rights. We know we never gave them up. Nor will we ever.” “The violations are just staggering,” Lewey says. “I’m trying to advise the tribe and tribal membership in my charge as being a tribal councilor and a fishery committee member, to say ‘Yes, we are a sovereign nation and we’re going to stand up.’ I hate to use that term ‘crying foul,’ but this is disgusting, what the state is doing to the tribes. I don’t know how to say it any more passionately. Passamaquoddy people are economically depressed. On the Passamaquoddy tribal reservation the unemployment rate is over 50 percent. We need economic development. We are doing what we can. The tribe is starting up a maple syrup business but it’s not going to be a money maker for us right off the bat; that’s going to take a couple of years to get going. We have a successful blueberry company that nets a good profit for us every year. That’s basically what we have for tribal resources. This is our 20th year of putting forth a casino initiative; we have been blocked every time. Why are resources so scarce? And I’m not talking just about eels. We’re talking about a mindset that you keep these people economically dependent on the state and they’re going to comply because they don’t have the ability to fight back. But we can always stand up. We may get knocked down, but we can always stand up.” Editor’s note: The interview with Newell Lewey was conducted prior to the start of this year’s fishing season. The Passamaquoddy did not fish on opening day, and as yet there has been no further interaction between the tribe and the state. All photos by Danielle DeLuca

Passamaquoddy people are known for their exquisite skills in basketmaking. Eric Otter Bacon uses natural elements like birch bark and black/brown ash, sweet grass, carved moose antler embellishments to create these works of art. Photos courtesy of Eric Otter Bacon.

Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 21


We Are a Riverine People The Penobscot Nation of Maine Photo courtesy of Mark Chavaree.

Mark Chavaree

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n 1980, the Penobscot Nation entered into an agreement with the United States and the state of Maine to settle claims to millions of acres of their Aboriginal territory. After years of paternalistic control by the state, the members of the Penobscot Nation believed they were entering into a new era of cooperation. However, the parties’ differing interpretations of the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act have been a source of continual conflict. Now the Penobscot people have been compelled to fight to maintain their connection to the river that is central to their culture and identity. In August 2012, Maine’s Attorney General issued an opinion to the Maine Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Colonel of the Maine Warden Service stating his view that, pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Act, the Penobscot Nation’s reservation is confined to the islands and that Maine has exclusive authority to regulate all activities occurring on the Penobscot River. On the same day he wrote a letter to Penobscot Chief Kirk Francis enclosing his opinion and asking the Chief to tell him whether he agreed with it. The Attorney General explained that if Chief Francis did not agree, legal action should commence. The Settlement Act confirmed the right of tribal members to take fish for their sustenance from the Penobscot Indian Reservation. Until 2012 there had never been any dispute that this means the right to take fish from the Penobscot River, from Indian Island northward. Penobscot tribal members have relied upon the river for subsistence fishing, hunting, and trapping for hundreds of years; no white person dealing with the tribe has ever questioned that those rights are a part of the Penobscot Indian Reservation until now. Indeed, the Settlement Act leaves these subsistence practices subject

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to exclusive regulation by the Nation, free from all state regulation unless they affect fish or wildlife stocks outside of the tribe’s lands and waters. Threatened by the Attorney General’s stance, the Penobscot Nation filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the Maine Attorney General, the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Colonel of the Maine Warden Service to prevent them from taking action to threaten the tribe’s rights and authorities in the river. The lawsuit aims to obtain confirmation of the Penobscots’ inherent rights, stating that “The nation’s jurisdiction over sustenance fishing by its members in the Penobscot River is an exercise of its inherent sovereign authority, as a matter of federal law, and it remained intact; it has never been surrendered by treaty or by an act of Congress.” The United States Department of Justice filed a motion to intervene in the case in August 2013, which was granted in February 2014. The Justice Department has an obligation to ensure the respect of tribal reservation boundaries and ensure “that the Nation can fully exercise its sovereign powers within those borders without improper interference from the State and others.” Eighteen municipalities and businesses that possess state permits to dump waste into the Penobscot River are also participating in the lawsuit, fearing that the Penobscots will try to limit their dumping if the tribe’s authority over the river is confirmed. The coalition hopes for a court ruling that the Penobscot reservation does not include any portion of the river, citing the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act. Mark Chavaree has served as the Penobscot Nation’s staff attorney for 24 years and offers his thoughts on the tribe’s ongoing battle with the state of Maine in a phone interview with Cultural Survival:


“The state has been reluctant to recognize tribal rights. The system that Native people live under in this country isn’t one that we created, it was imposed on us, and under that system we have had rights withdrawn from us. But ultimately, the rights we do exercise are our inherent rights as a government and as an Indian tribe. Those rights weren’t given to us by the United States or the state of Maine; they exist by virtue of our inherent authority as a people, as a government that existed prior to this country ever coming into being and prior to any European landing on this continent. Those rights have always been ours. Over time, under this system of United States law, certain powers have been stripped from the tribes by our inclusion within this country, but elements of our inherent authority remain intact and must be respected. The Settlement Act was a recognition that we had the right to continue to practice our culture as a riverine people. Part of that culture is that we take our sustenance from the river and its resources, as well as the lands which form our Aboriginal territory. “The river and the surrounding land are the area that we have lived in for thousands of years. Fishing has always been central to our culture. It’s central to our survival as a tribe. Some say the river is not part of your reservation, so then the obvious question is, where does our sustenance fishing right exist? It certainly can’t exist on land. Why would we agree to a fishery that was not part of the area that we’ve always taken fish from? This is the crux of the case: we are riverine people and the river and its resources are central to who we are. The tribe and the river share a name. It’s so central to who we are. And for anyone to claim that we have no rights in the river is just another attempt at terminating us as a tribe. We are in a struggle for survival. I can’t help thinking that the Wabanaki, the Penobscot, we’re an endangered species. We are continuing a way of life that was passed onto us by our ancestors and that hopefully we can pass on to our descendants, and we have a responsibility to preserve that the best we can.

Penobscot artistic traditions are still being passed down to younger generations. Traditional style baby moccasins made by Jennifer Sapiel Neptune (Penobscot).

“Economically we are behind a lot of other citizens in this country and in this state. So part of our survival is obviously to provide for ourselves, and the opportunities under which we’re able to provide for ourselves and our dependents have changed; the river and its resources present opportunities for us to do that. It’s not just the fish—we take the aquatic animals, we take certain plants that exist within the river system not only for sustenance but also for medicinal purposes, so our tie to the river is central to our existence not only as a culture but economically. There are people that act as guides on the river. We live within the river. It was our highway, it was our grocery store, it provided for all of our needs. So for anyone to argue that our reservation does not include the river makes no sense. “We’re advocating for the government to recognize our rights, just like other citizens do when they feel like their right of free speech, or their right to bear arms...when they’re advocating for those rights, that’s what the tribes are doing. We’re advocating for rights that are recognized by the US government. It’s not special privileges...[it’s] self-governance. It’s really about who gets to make decisions about governance, about how we choose our leaders, our form of government, how we utilize our land, how we develop regulatory systems and law enforcement within our communities, who decides the rules around the taking of fish and wildlife. “Sovereignty, or self-governance, is a responsibility. It’s not just something that you do; there is a responsibility to do it in a way that respects our culture and how our people want to live their lives and the worldview that we live in. So if we don’t have the authority, if it’s taken away from us, then obviously we lose the ability to protect our communities, protect our people, and ultimately our unique culture. And before you know it, we are no longer Penobscot.”

Penobscot people are known for their basket making artistry. Brown ash, sweetgrass, and cherry wood basket woven by Jennifer Sapiel Neptune (Penobscot). Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 23


Making (Radio) Waves Kuna, NgÖbe, Bribri, and Brunca Style This past February and March, Cultural Survival radio producer Rosy Sul González and staff member Jessie Cherofsky visited the Kuna, Ngöbe, Bribri, and Brunca communities in Panama and Costa Rica to exchange ideas on community radio, Indigenous rights, and cultural survival. They distributed radio programs on the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, held workshops on the principles and practices of community radio, and interviewed elders and leaders about their communities. In return, they learned about grassroots language revitalization efforts, community-based cooperatives, and political structures that have challenged globalized efforts exploiting Indigenous lands. Most importantly, they forged connections with Indigenous brothers and sisters from around Central America, a reminder that we share the same roots and are fighting the same fight.

All photos by Jessie Cherofsky

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CS radio producer Rosy González and Kuna women overcome language barriers through laughter on the island of Nalunega in Kuna Yala, Panama.

Rosy Sul González with Jessie Cherofsky (CS Staff)

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Maintaining Languages from the Grassroots

anama is a country of about three million people, almost 10 percent of whom are Indigenous. The official language is Spanish, but many Indigenous communities there are undertaking great efforts to rescue and promote the Indigenous languages of Kuna and Ngöbere through schools, museums, community radio, and the Catholic Church.    In Kuna Yala, the Indigenous comarca, or reserve, that is home to about 70,000 Kuna people, we spoke with elementary school teacher Jenny Hernandez about Kuna Yala’s Bilingual Intercultural Education initiative. She told us, “Our language is being lost because of all the tourists passing through here, since now it’s necessary to speak Spanish. But in the schools we’re giving classes in Kuna and raising awareness among the children so they grow up bilingual and know they must value our mother tongue.” The effects of tourism and other forces of globalization are a common theme in Indigenous communities throughout Panama, threatening many languages. Yet the results of the efforts Hernandez described were evident throughout our visit as many of our conversations and interviews with community members were conducted through translation between Kuna and Spanish. Ngöbe communities in the Ngöbe-Buglé comarca in western Panama are also working to rescue their language, which has been estimated to be 90 percent lost. First, they are implementing bilingual education efforts in primary schools. Second, the nascent community radio station, La Costeña Kusapin, broadcasts partially in the mother tongue (for now, Ngöbere programming comprises only a small percentage of the radio’s current broadcast schedule). Third, the parish priest of Kankintu, José Tomas González Medina, though not Ngöbe himself, delivers sermons in Ngöbere. In these spaces, local leaders have taken on the task of rescuing the language, knowing that it is an important part of the culture and vital to keep it from disappearing altogether.


A group of Brunca people in Boruca, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, has taken a different approach to language maintenance. We visited a local community group there whose members, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, are working to rescue the Brunca language, estimated to have been 95 percent lost. The group is studying grammar and conversation under the guidance of a community elder, Don Nemicio González Maroto, recording conversations to replay and examine correct Brunca grammar and pronunciation. Later, they produce short radio messages for broadcast on Radio Cultural Boruca. We also spoke with Ligia González Maroto, whose interest in rescuing the Brunca language stems from a promise she made to her mother. “Before dying, my mother asked me to promise her I wouldn’t stop speaking the language. For me it’s incredibly important to continue fighting so we don’t lose it and to practice it with my children and motivate others in the community to speak it,” she said. In addition to keeping the spoken language alive, one of the group’s objectives is to develop documentation of the Brunca language for use in schools, libraries, and homes on a national scale.

Ngöbe teacher Marina Acosta works to cultivate Ngöbe children's appreciation of their culture and language.

Leveraging Strong Indigenous Organizations

One of Kuna Yala’s most unique and exemplary attributes is its ancestral system of political organization. This system allows for effective management of financial and natural resources, and as a result, the Kuna people are well equipped to defend their lands throughout the comarca. When a communications corporation wanted to install a cell tower on Kuna land the Kuna people carefully analyzed the situation and, through traditional decision-making processes, deciding that the tower would bring them no benefit, refused to permit its construction. Still, it was telling that when we spoke to Kuna community members about the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent and our radio initiative, many people had little knowledge of the legal term—despite the fact that the concept is regularly put into practice within the comarca. It became clear that the community defends its land and territory based on innate understanding of their rights as Indigenous Peoples, rather than international law. We were able to inform community members of the resources meant to uphold their rights in national and international laws, knowledge which we hope will strengthen their strategies as they continue to protect their lands.

Brunca elder Don Nemecio González (center) ensures correct Brunca grammar and pronunciation as community members practice.

Community Radio’s Diverse Applications

In the different communities we visited, we shared the work being done in Guatemala by the Community Radio Network. We spoke about the network’s stations, their challenges, and their progress. Many communities were both shocked and impressed by accounts of Radio Ixchel and others, especially considering the danger they face from persecution by the Guatemalan government. It was apparent that the radio stations in Panama and Costa Rica are struggling with certain aspects such as developing objectives, vision, and mission, as well as widespread community participation. Despite this, they have clearly gained their communities’ respect and are working hard toward incorporating issues such as human rights, education, and traditional culture into their programming.

CS radio producer Rosy González interviews Kuna teacher Angelina Owens Perez about the importance of community radio for an upcoming program. Cultural Survival Quarterly

June 2014 • 25


On the remote island of Nalunega, Kuna Yala, the Kuna people share their cultural pride.

The Voice of Talamanca Radio is one of 15 radio stations comprising the Costa Rican Institute for Radio Education (ICER).

A particularly successful example is Radio Cultural Buenos Aires, also in Puntarenas. The station is a member of the Costa Rican Radio Education Institute, a network comprised of 11 cultural radio stations that provides educational programming and occasional workshops and trainings. We spoke with Mauricio Fernandez, an officer of the National Civil Police and a member of Radio Cultural’s Board of Directors, who told us that the police participate in the station through programs addressing issues such as public safety, human rights, drug addiction, and domestic violence, among others. “Radio has allowed us to get closer to people in their homes. We raise awareness among parents to help protect children. Radio is one of Buenos Aires’ great strengths,” he said. Fernandez’s enthusiasm for radio stands in stark contrast to the Guatemalan police’s treatment of Guatemalan community radio, and exemplified how positive and mutually beneficial relationships between community radio and government agencies can be. In contrast to the institutionally backed Radio Cultural Buenos Aires, Radio La Costeña of Ngöbe community Kusapin started, and remains, grassroots. Station founder and director Jey Concepción recalled the story of its beginning: “A little over three years ago, I was talking with a friend who had some interesting ideas. We decided to do something different which would also benefit the community: as we entertained ourselves, the community could also benefit. So that’s where the idea came from to create something more than just a station. At first we had a tiny apparatus that could broadcast no more than 10-15 meters. Now we have this equipment and it is a huge success. The people were really enthusiastic, everyone with their own radio trying to hear what program was on, happy that Kusapin had its own radio station innovating, modernizing, making progress. Everyone was happy.” The station has come a long way in a few short years. Said Concepción: “With the maturity I have from two to three years working on this, I focus mostly on providing better service to the community so they have within their reach this form of communication, a good quality service. I’ve always had the station’s doors open to anyone who wants to produce their own program, as long as it is advantageous to the community. It’s a form of communication that is accessible to every community. We don’t broadcast lies, but rather truth.” Community radio is a tool that can be used to meet a community’s cultural, economic, social, and psychological needs. In Amubri, Talamanca, Costa Rica, a center for the Bribri culture and home to Radio Cultural La Voz de Talamanca, the lack of women’s participation is obvious. Women suffer domestic violence and begin their roles as wives at a very early age, which has resulted in low self-esteem, anxiety about 26 • ww w. cs. org

Radio Cultural Boruca, run by Brunca people of Boruca, Costa Rica, functions with minimal equipment and personnel.

getting involved in community organizations, and fear of making their voices heard and demanding their rights be respected. They may be present physically, but the total lack of opinions, doubts, suggestions, and participation on their part was palpable. “Women here are very submissive,” Mildred Blanco Salazar, president of the local plantain cooperative and member of the station’s board, told us at a meeting with the local women’s organization. “We simply dedicate ourselves to our children and don’t participate in many other things. We see other Indigenous communities and realize we waste a lot of the opportunities that we have.” The women’s organization is working to change this by organizing workshops and trainings for the women. During our time with them and the radio team, we shared a variety of ways women can be involved in radio and urged them to encourage women to participate. We explained how Radio Ixchel in Guatemala has put a lot of time into motivating and empowering women, to the point where the current president is a woman. While such a process of empowering women and changing ingrained cultural mindsets about them cannot happen overnight, the women were grateful we had come to share our experiences and offer another vision of women’s participation. The mostly-business meeting dissolved into friendly discussion as the Bribri women swarmed with questions about traditional Maya traje, or dress. The women from Guatemala and Costa Rica had the chance to indulge friendly curiosity and exchange questions with their Indigenous sisters from across the continent. The followup to a trip of this kind is complex and longterm. However, ideas are already flowing. Anelio Merry, our guide in Kuna Yala, told us, “I want to thank you for your visit. It definitely inspired us to take up the idea of community radio again. The experience you have had [in Guatemala] is really motivational. We are already discussing the idea with our leadership and they are quite excited about it. Even more, they are saying we should have our own community radio. Last weekend we met with our leaders to solidify ideas on this radio project. To make it happen, though, we’ll need the experience of other Indigenous Peoples, our brothers and sisters, who are ahead of us on the issue of radio.” Merry’s comments affirmed what had become obvious to us throughout the journey: these exchanges are so vital. Through our visits, we help each other. To all the cooperatives, ancestral authorities, schools, community radios, and other organizations led and populated by Indigenous men and women: we must keep working for the benefit of our cultures. But it’s time to stop working separately and begin working together!


Lauhala weavings. “Lau” meaning "leaf" in the Hawaiian language, refers to the leaves of the hala tree, a tree of great cultural, medicinal, and economic importance in many Pacific Islands.

B a za a r Ar tis t: Passing Down H awaiian T raditions Through Fibers

Pi’iali’i Lawson Eliott Rousseau

F

or thousands of years after its emergence from the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i’s Native inhabitants enjoyed its tropical isolation. The Native Hawaiians developed a distinct society, elaborately weaving together obligation, ritual, and reverence for the Earth. Following the “discovery” of the islands by British explorer James Cook in 1778, Hawai’i became engulfed by sadness and destruction. After more than a century of colonization, a movement for Hawaiian independence took place. But plans for an autonomous Hawai’i were squashed when the United States annexed the islands in 1898. Despite centuries of dispossession, Native Hawaiians continue to honor and pass down their traditions to new generations. Confronting seemingly unwavering forces of globalization, modern cultural practitioners maintain tradition by acknowledging the past, present, and future. One of these practitioners, Pi’iali’i Lawson, has helped his culture reach new audiences on the mainland. Operating out of the Kaululehua Hawaiian Cultural Center in South San Francisco, Lawson is an ambassador of traditional Hawaiian cultural practice. When he moved to California from the Big Island of Hawai’i to continue his own education, Lawson aspired to also educate others about Native Hawaiian culture, particularly Lauhala weaving. “Lauhala is a regular practice of our people,” he says, explaining that weavers make hats, baskets, containers, and sails for the canoes, as well as personal adornments. Originally from the island of ‘Oahu, Lawson comes from a multi-generational line of Hawaiian Lauhala weaving practitioners. “The craft was passed down through many generations. The last recorded weaver in my family was Tutu Kaouilonalani,

my great-great-grandmother, who lived in the early 1900s and has had great influence on my work,” he says. Lawson began his training 10 years ago with lessons from his grand-uncle and aunts on the island of Hawai’i, who are considered to be Kumu, or teachers of Lauhala weaving. Now on the mainland, Lawson continues the Lauhala tradition by teaching it to people of all ages, genders, class, and ethnic backgrounds. At the cultural center, he conducts beginner and intermediate Lauhala weaving workshops for members of the San Francisco Bay Area community. “I teach to all who are interested. I have taught Lauhala to people from all backgrounds and ages, to children as young as four years old and grandparents. Beginner weavers usually learn to make a basic traditional bracelet and then progress to more advanced items such as baskets,” he explains. Lawson expresses an acute understanding of Hawaiian culture past and present. “Each workshop, I find it important to teach the history, background, and cultural significance of Lauhala weaving in which they learn traditional-styled items. It is essential to raise awareness about who we are and our histories as practitioners,” he says. Along with the connection of the past to the present, Lawson shows that Lauhala must also be future-oriented. “As a traditional art, Lauhala is meant to be shared and for the knowledge to be passed on to new generations just as it was passed to me.” The diversity of styles and patterns that can be developed by Lauhala weavers reflects the adaptability and universal applicability of the craft. “Patterns created by the weaver often reflect their own realities,” Lawson says. “Sometimes the piece is made for a particular person using a specific design or it tells a story or represents something about our past, present, or future.” Along with running workshops, Lawson also creates and sells jewelry made in the Lauhala technique. “The jewelry I sell is modern-styled, incorporating the traditional weaving as an inlaid piece onto metal or leather. These are items that I do not teach, as they reflect my own reality as a modern Hawaiian also immersed in tradition. My goal is not to replace the traditional art but to highlight its beauty.” Find a Bazaar near you! Visit: bazaar.culturalsurvival.org. June 7: Copley Square, Boston MA June 20– 22: Mashantucket Pequot Museum, CT July 19–20: Falmouth, MA • July 26–27: Tiverton, RI


our s upp o r t e r s Members of our Board of Directors participated in #Proud2BIndigenous Week May 11–17, a celebration of diversity and being Indigenous, to bring attention to the 13th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Top: Evelyn Arce (Chibcha), Che Philip Wilson (Nga-ti Rangi), Lesley Kabotie (Crow). Bottom: Stella Tamang (Tamang) and Cultural Survival Executive Director Suzanne Benally (Navajo/Santa Clara Tewa).

Why I Support Cultural Survival “I support Cultural Survival because of their uncommon blend of expertise and humility. We, the (over)developed nations, do not own the story of the world. Cultural Survival extends and honors the voices and worldview of people marginalized by the dominant nations and classes. To protect Indigenous lands, customs, and particularly languages, is to protect our shared moral history and, our shared moral future.” —Barbara Barnard, Madison, WI

Support Cultural Survival Today! For over 42 years Cultural Survival has worked with Indigenous Peoples all over the world, from the Anuak people in Ethiopia to Maya communities in Guatemala. As we look forward to our next 40 years, it is essential that we continue to have your participation in our mission. For more information or to make your gift, go to

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Leave a lasting legacy with a Planned Gift A gift from your estate through wills, trusts, life insurance, and retirement assets builds a foundation for Cultural Survival’s future while offering tax advantages to you. The Cultural Survival Legacy Society recognizes those members who have included Cultural Survival in their estate plans. For more information, go to cs.org/ plannedgiving, or call 617-441-5400.

Here are some ways you can get involved: • Renew your membership and continue to receive your own copy of the Cultural Survival Quarterly • Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter to get the latest from Indigenous communities around the world • Be part of our Global Response Program and take action to support the rights of Indigenous Peoples by writing letters and sending emails 28 • ww w. cs. org • Stay connected by following us on Twitter (@CSORG) and liking us on Facebook (facebook.com/culturalsurvival)


Thank You!

Global Response Over the past five years, our readers have taken action time and again to make positive change in Indigenous communities through our Global Response Action Alerts. We’d like to take a moment to say thank you for your commitment and for taking action that makes a difference for Indigenous communities. We would like to share the following two victories with you:

You helped stop US funding for land grabbing in Ethiopia In 2012 Cultural Survival launched a campaign urging the United States to stop supporting land grabbing practices in Gambella, Ethiopia, which displaced tens of thousands of people. Ethiopia receives $2 billion annually in aid from the United States and other donor nations. In your letters to the US State Department, you asked, “How are you assuring that none of these funds support or facilitate, directly or indirectly, the forced villagization program and land lease practices that cause extreme suffering among Gambella’s Indigenous Peoples and violate their rights?” After receiving thousands of emails via ours and other websites, the US took a stand in the 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which provides that no US funds can be used to finance forced evictions and land grabbing.

You helped save Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)! “I believe that Cultural Survival’s letter writing campaign was effective in reaching the government and panel.” Tsilhqot’in National Government’s Mining, Oil and Gas Manager, J.P. Laplante

In 2013 Cultural Survival responded to the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s request for help to stop Canadian government approval for an open pit mine in British Columbia. In addition to being the home of some 85,000 rainbow trout that give the lake its nickname, Teztan Biny is a place of enormous cultural and spiritual significance for the Tsilhqot’in Nation where generations have traditionally come to fish, trap, skin, and gather as a community. “If they put an open pit mine here it would be just like cutting somebody’s heart out,” said Edmund Lulua of the Xeni Gwet’in community. Thanks to the persistence of the Tsilhqot’in and your repeated letters in solidarity, the Canadian Federal Review Panel rejected the mine’s license for a third time.

Cultural Survival

Your letters and emails are an important step in affecting policy. But Global Response is more than just letter writing. We help coordinate a range of actions: this year we brought an Indigenous Masaai leader to the World Bank and the United Nations and connected a grassroots organization with pro-bono legal consulting in Belize, to name just two examples. In Barillas, Guatemala, community members are seeking funds to build a rain shelter for activists holding an ongoing blockade on the road to a construction site where a Spanish company wants to build a dam on their sacred river. Volunteers are there to protect the river day and night, rain or shine. To keep these movements growing, we need your help. Please consider donating to Cultural Survival’s Global Response program. www.cs.org/donate Or send a check to: P.O. Box 3181569 Cambridge, MA 02238

Learn more about our current campaigns at www.cs.org. Cultural Survival Quarterly June 2014 • 29


Your gift makes an impact on thousands of Indigenous communities around the world. Keep the conversation going. Our radio programs by Indigenous producers, for Indigenous communities, about Indigenous rights are making waves around the globe. The first step in claiming your rights is knowing about the mechanisms and instruments that enshrine them and how they are being used by others.

FPIC Radio Producer Rosy González interviews Henry Abergo, Ngöbe youth leader in Panama.

“Thanks for the programs. The spots are great. Best of all it is not just us locals speaking of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Keep the links coming.”

“Thank you for the spots. They will help give me an idea of how to produce our own radio spots on rights. They are wonderful. You are really artists.”

R a d i o p r o du c e r i n t he P hil ip p ine s

Noemy B la nco Sa la za r , A mu br i, Cos ta R ic a

We count on your gift to continue our vital work in advancing Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Please support Cultural Survival today.

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38-2 We are still here: Tribes in New England Stand their Ground (June 2014)  
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