"A significant number of people believe tribal people still live and dress as they did 300 years ago. During my tenure as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, national news agencies requesting interviews sometimes asked if they could film a tribal dance or if I would wear traditional tribal clothing for the interview. I doubt they asked the president of the United States to dress like a pilgrim for an interview. More than one visitor to the Cherokee Nation capitol in Tahlequah, Oklahoma has expressed disappointment when they see no tipis or tribal people dressed up in buckskin. When these crestfallen tourists ask, ‘Where are all the Indians?’ I sometimes place my tongue in cheek and respond, quite truthfully, ‘They are probably at Wal-Mart.’"
Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010), the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation
JOB: Bilingual Children’s Book Translator
"Being Taino today means relating to a reality that has been acutely denied over time and constantly addressing assumptions of Taino extinction. Despite the political and physical decapitation of the large cacicagos (chiefdoms) following European conquest in the early 1500s, the theory of Taino extinction has been proven incorrect. Throughout the Great Antilles, historians point out the substantial strength of Taino cultural traits, knowledge of the natural world, and customs of daily living in the formational cultures of the islands. Of course, the blow “that paralyzed the Indian” (to paraphrase the Cuban poet José Marti) led the descendants populations to blend in rather than draw the fire of supremacist social regimens. Clearly, cultural and biological legacies from ancestors can lie seemingly dormant while buried in layered marginality, sometimes for decades at a time, then be triggered into movement by particular historical conditions."
"California was an Indian slave state, and it became a slave state by an official act of the first California legislature…the California state legislature passed an Indian slave act on April 22, 1850. Under provisions of this act the various offices of the justice of the peace acted as slave markets. For a small fee any white man could ‘buy an Indian slave’ and would have certificates from the state of California affirming his ownership of the Indian and full rights of his charge until he reached the age of 18 in the case of a male, and 15 in the case of a female. The California legislature ten years later, in 1860, found that possibly it had made a mistake and took action to amend the slave act. The amendments agreed upon only increased the length of indenture to 30 years in the case of a male and to 25 years in the case of a female. This same act, conveniently, stated that no white man could be convicted of any crime upon the testimony of an Indian. All this, under the clever but deceptive guise of governmental protection of the Indian! Indian slaves by the hundreds, however, were worked to death, starved to death and beaten to death…The desperadoes rode into Indian lands to cut down and butcher the Indians by the hundreds. Surviving children were taken to be sold as slaves. Long after the end of the Civil War, Indian children were still being held as slaves in California."
The Winnemem Wintu Nation only wants the California government to grant them one thing—to allow sixteen-year-old Marisa Sisk to complete her coming-of-age ceremony by legally closing a section of the McCloud River for four days. Unfortunately, Sisk may be blocked from the vital ritual for reasons that started decades ago and continue to this day.
The Winnemem appealed to head Forester Randy Moore, who received them during their visit. However, Moore notes that only federally recognized indigenous groups can request a river closure. The Winnemem are recognized by the state and while they have begun the long process toward being federally recognized it will be too late for Sisk, who needs to complete the ceremony in order to eventually lead the Winnemem people."
Latoya Peterson reports on the Winneman Wintu nation’s struggle—and what we can do to help—to have the ritual for Marisa Sisk on the R today. (via racialicious)
what the fuck is wrong with white people tho.