2011 Retrospective: September
Iqaluit, Nunavut, had its first bowhead whale hunt in a century yielded a mighty cetacean weighing 70 metric tons and measuring 14 meters that fed hundreds of Inuit people. A dozen hunters conducted the rite in Frobisher Bay. The event had been curbed by fears that the whales, which Inuit have lived off of for generations, were not numerous enough. But Canadian officials determined there are enough whales to grant permits for a limited harvest.
President Barack Obama issued an executive order for federal agencies to create plans to increase federal workforce diversity. In 2010, Indians represented only 0.9 percent of all employees at the senior pay level, yet Natives represented 4.7 percent of all employees working in the lowest pay levels, the government said.
At the age of 70, when most of her peers were retiring, Roberta Torres, San Carlos Apache, received a junior college degree in criminal justice online from the University of Phoenix. “Education never ends,” said Torres, who graduated with a grade-point average of 3.4. “There’s always hope. It’s up to you.”
It was a double goodwill gesture. First, the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia sponsored an exhibit called “Fifty Years of Pow Wow” at the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore in La Paz. Then the Yellow Bird Dancers from Arizona brought pow wow to life in La Paz for a crowd of over 200 people. Over 65 percent of Bolivia’s roughly 10 million people identify themselves as indigenous.
Fort Belknap College, which has served Montana’s Fort Belknap Reservation since 1984, has changed its name to Aaniiih Nakoda College. Formed in 1888, the reservation is identified with an old fort named for U.S. Secretary of War William Belknap, who had no ties to the area. It was established for two distinct tribes, the Aaniiih and the Nakoda, which today operate under a consolidated government.
Students at the University of Montana were shocked to discover a sticker declaring “Save the White Race! Earth’s Most Endangered Species” adorning the Payne Family Native American Center. “It was an obvious act of blatant racism,” said Fredricka Hunter, director of American Indian Student Services for the university and member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana. According to the Missoulian, the sticker bore the web address of the Montana Creators, a self-described “pro-white organization that is dedicated to the survival,expansion and advancement of the White race—and it alone.”
A group of Akwesasne women promoted innovative, female-led health programs at the Second International Meeting on Indigenous Women’s Health in Albuquerque. The three-day program attracted obstetrician-gynecologists, midwives, family physicians, nurses, community providers and others.
A Beloved Statesman Is Laid to Rest
Thousands paid their respects to Jack Layton, head of the New Democratic Party (NDP) and Member of Parliament from Ontario, who led the NDP to a historic win in the May 2 federal elections. The NDP emerged as the second party to the winning Conservatives and pushed the Liberals into third place for the first time since 1867. “Jack understood the challenges of poverty and was determined to give voice to all struggles, including our struggle for fairness, equity and justice,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, who gave a traditional blessing at Layton’s funeral.
To protest California State Senate Bill 185, which would allow the state university system to consider race, gender and ethnicity in admissions, the Berkeley College Republicans held an “Increase Diversity Bake Sale.” The following pricing structure was applied to the club’s cupcakes: White/Caucasian: $2.00; Asian/Asian American: $1.50; Latino/Hispanic: $1.00; Black/African American: $0.75; Native American: $0.25.A number of students demonstrated by lying down on the plaza where the sale was held; others held signs saying DON'T UC US and UC US NOW.
The 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks had special poignancy for many members of Canada’s Kahnawake Reserve, who were among the thousands of construction workers who built Manhattan’s World Trade Center. William Stacey, now 70, helped affix the North Tower antenna to the top of the building. When the planes plowed into the buildings on 9/11, he came home immediately. “[I] sat where I’m sitting right now and watched it all day.” Quiet for a moment, he added, “It was sad. It was an awful, sad feeling.” Les Albany, 84, recalled that when the first tower fell, “I knew the second was gonna go down, too. I knew how heavy the weight on it was, hundreds of tons.… All those people burning and jumping out. Oh, I felt it.”
Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery, in northwest Denver, was featured on a segment of the Food Network program Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Host Guy Fieri called their frybread “the bomb” and said the establishment’s blueberry barbecue sauce was “to die for,” especially when paired with sage-rubbed bison ribs to reveal “huge, huge flavor.”
TransCanada, the energy giant that wants to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline from northern Canada across six U.S. states, met face-to-face with Sioux nations to discuss whether the project can proceed. “The company did not realize that the route crosses the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System,” said Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele.
—Click here if you missed our January 2011 retrospective.
—Click here if you missed our February 2011 retrospective.
—Click here if you missed our March 2011 retrospective.
—Click here if you missed our April 2011 retrospective.
—Click here if you missed our May 2011 retrospective.
—Click here if you missed our June 2011 retrospective.
—Click here if you missed our July 2011 retrospective.
—Click here if you missed our August 2011 retrospective.