OKLAHOMA CITY – When the black linen was removed, Bill Scott drew a deep breath, his eyes filled with tears and a smile crossed his lips.
Unveiled before him was a portrait of his mother, famed Chickasaw aviator Pearl Carter Scott.
The oil on canvas depicts the dynamic Chickasaw woman as a 13-year-old girl. She is decked out in leather aviator clothing. Eye-saving goggles and a protective leather cap are loosely held in her left hand. Scott also is adorned with a white scarf tied around her neck as additional protection. A frequent Oklahoma summer sight–puffy cumulus clouds–rises above the scene created by acclaimed Oklahoma City artist Christopher Nick.
In the background is a 1929 Curtiss Robin aircraft, a plane celebrated Oklahoma pilot and inventor Wiley Post presented to her after instructing her to soar high above the Oklahoma prairie. Post is depicted in the portrait as well. He is shown inspecting the tail section of the Curtiss Robin.
A genuine smile of happiness and gratitude radiates from her youthful face.
Thunderous applause echoed through the Oklahoma House of Representatives chamber at the unveiling on February 19. The portrait’s formal dedication was attended by more than a dozen of Pearl Carter Scott’s descendants. The House gallery was packed.
“Mother loved to fly,” Louise Scott Thompson said during a reception following the unveiling. “He [Nick] captured her eyes perfectly. I have my mother’s eyes,” she said proudly.
Between Scott and Post, aviation history was written. She was the youngest pilot in the United States to fly solo in September 1929 and she later performed as a stunt pilot before giving up the controls to begin her family and raise three children. Nick, in his remarks before Oklahoma House lawmakers, was awe-struck with all she accomplished in a flying career that lasted a mere five years.
It’s our roundup of the stories that mattered most in Indian country:…
Visitors to the bustling University of Oklahoma Medical Center emergency room are frequently assisted by Chickasaw elder Jeraldine “Jerry” Brown…
Does anyone remember an incident in Spokane, Washington, when the Salvation Army turned away a Turtle Mountain Chippewa family for emergency shelter because they did not accept Tribal Identifications? It was in January 2007 and the family slept in their car in below-zero temperatures. After media attention and many, many complaints the Salvation Army apologized and looked at their policy. Their business administrator, Richard Silva, told the local paper, “That was not just wrong, it’s illegal,” and they began the process of educating themselves, including meeting with tribal agencies and individuals.
I e-mailed them at the time and Mr. Silva replied to me personally, including the following: “On behalf of the Spokane Salvation Army, this letter is to apologize to those Native American families—and particularly Darrell and Beverly Azure—for the error and oversight in our shelter policy regarding acceptable forms of ID, which has resulted in the denial of services to them. And personally, I deeply regret that I did not become aware of this policy much sooner. After a significant (and much overdue) scrutiny of the specific ID and related intake policies, I have initiated an immediate change in our shelter intake requirements that took effect midday on January 19, 2007, and which will be in accordance with the federal government’s DHS Form I-9 regarding acceptance of Tribal IDs.”
I very much appreciated the sincerity and work they began quickly. It cannot be denied that the Salvation Army also helps many, many people looking for support.
At the time I thought: “This is 2007. I can’t believe this!” Naturally, my feelings were not simply anger. I was hurt, too, at the ongoing, never-ending, education—always the result of trauma put upon a Native individual or group—that must occur over and over again to reach non-Natives about the laws, sovereignty, traditions and basic respect our people deserve.
Now here we are in 2014, and a member of a federally recognized Washington tribe living in Oregon is told by their Department of Motor Vehicles that they do not recognize Washington tribal IDs. This was in response to her attempts to renew her driver’s license in a state where she has lived for many years.
Oregon generally has a reputation for being progressive, inclusive and perhaps even on the forefront of embracing diversity in all forms. But unlike the immediate response I received from Mr. Silva, and despite being inundated with calls and e-mails, I have yet to hear from anyone within Oregon agencies and tribal liaisons about the reason behind what I consider an illegal policy. I began e-mailing different people, including the Oregon governor’s office and members of Congress in a respectful manner…
On Tuesday Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request of $11.9 billion dollars for the Department of the interior….
Coyote traveled a long distance and in the middle of the day it was very hot. He sat down and rested, and thought, as he looked up to Tinia, “How I wish the Cloud People would freshen my path and make it cool.” Read more the Legend of Coyote as a Hunter http://bit.ly/19S2By2
The Navajo Indian Tribe is recognized as the largest Indian tribe in the United States. According to the 1990 Census, almost 80,000 Navajo people live in New Mexico. Learn more http://bit.ly/ZvzBLk
Zahn McClarnon (Standing Rock Sioux) is a Native American actor, who is known for his guest starring roles in various television shows. He grew up in Northern Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming. Read more http://bit.ly/MJbpx9 [Zahn McClarnon & Michael Spears in ‘Into The West’]
By testing and thoroughly studying Native American DNA, scientists can trace genetics, family histories, where people have traveled, and how the tribes eventually came to split up into different groups. Read more http://bit.ly/XbIbMq [Photo by @Dave Brosha Photography]
The Eagle Dance is performed by many Native American Indians as part of their ceremonies. However, the details of the dance will vary from tribe to tribe. Learn more http://bit.ly/JYC46F
Two Guns White Calf (1872-1934) was a Blackfoot chief who provided one of the most readily recognizable images of Native American in the world after an impression of his portrait appeared on a common coin, the Indian head nickel. Read more http://bit.ly/WX9exr
The Cherokee Nation has selected 13 Cherokee students for the 2014 Remember the Removal Bike Ride. Each summer, Cherokee students retrace the path their Cherokee ancestors were forced to walk along the northern route of the Trail of Tears.
“I’ve wanted to do this ride for years,” said Cassie Moore, a 24-year-old student at Northeastern State University. “I am very excited to be selected and ready to accept the challenge that will come with it. I’m not only excited to meet new people, but help my fellow riders endure this journey that our ancestors overcame.”
The Remember the Removal Bike Ride begins in New Echota, Georgia in late May and will follow the northern route of the Trail of Tears ending in Oklahoma. The 950-mile journey spans Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Riders will put their bodies to the test as they travel an average of 60 miles a day for three weeks, mirroring in part the hardships of their Cherokee ancestors who made the same trek on foot. Of the estimated 16,000 Cherokees who were forced to make the journey to Indian Territory, 4,000 died due to exposure, starvation and disease giving credence to the name Trail of Tears.
“A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground,” advises a proverb commonly attributed to the Tsistsistas (Cheyenne). “Then it is done, no matter how brave its warriors or strong its weapons.”
In the country today known as Canada, indigenous women have always been at the forefront of defending their lands and cultures—from the iconic 1990 standoff between Mohawk warriors and the Canadian army near Oka, Quebec to Elsipogtog First Nation’s ongoing anti-fracking battle near Rexton, New Brunswick.
In the most recent Assembly of First Nations elections two years ago, an unprecedented number of Native women campaigned to lead the body representing 633 bands. This week, women’s decades of campaigning for a national inquiry into missing and murdered women has hit Parliament once again.
On International Women’s Day, Indian Country Today Media Network highlights just some of the women leaders, artists and advocates at the forefront of change across Canada.
Twenty-four years ago, Indian country exploded with unrest that has shaped Native politics in Canada in a way no other event has since the 1960s. The spark was the quiet town of Oka, Quebec’s attempt to expand a nine-hole golf course in 1990 atop a Mohawk burial ground and into the pine forest that’s sacred to the community of Kanehsatake. Their outrage ignored by authorities, women from the community set up a small blockade on the road. But when the provincial police force and even Canadian army was deployed, the blockade transformed into a months-long armed standoff that saw Native warriors from all corners of Turtle Island to draw a line in the sand, flooding into Mohawk territories, blocking major bridges along the U.S. border, setting police cars ablaze, and seeing railway blockades across the land in solidarity.
Women remained the decision-makers behind the blockade, and one 26-year-old became the face and voice of Kanehsatake for Canada. Ellen Gabriel, whose traditional name is Katsitsakwas, was chosen by her community at the time to represent the blockade.
In the decades since the so-called “Oka Crisis,” Gabriel has continued her fight for her people. She became the president of Quebec Native Women, and went on to protect her language and culture through Kanehsatà:ke Language and Cultural Center, where she works to this day.
Two years ago, Gabriel entered the spotlight once again, challenging incumbent National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo, in a race centring on standing up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and pushing for Indigenous self-determination. Her campaign was unsuccessful, but Gabriel told the aboriginal news site Windspeaker that her goal was “to bring back the voice of the people.”
“In 1990, Aboriginal peoples asserted our sovereignty, and we were criminalized for doing that,” she said. “We are at a crossroads right now, whether we will be totally assimilated and whether we will have the ability to be self-determining people… We’re still dealing with the challenges of how to de-colonize our relationship with Canada, but also to decolonize the one we have with each other.”
Gabriel received the International Women’s Day Award from the Québec Bar Association in 2008 and has also received the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Golden Eagle Award, and a Jigonsaseh Women of Peace Award, for her ongoing advocacy work.
As the winter begins to wind down, gardening season is just around the corner, and the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP)…
It’s that time of year again, when the available light does not match the available heat….
International Women’s Day started in 1909 as National Women’s Day on February 28. It was celebrated as such on the last Sunday of February until 1913.
The day became international when Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, suggested it in 1910 at a second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. Her idea was passed unanimously by over 100 women from 17 countries. The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland on March 19. Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday of February in 1913. Soon after, the day was moved to March 8 and has been celebrated then since. Learn more about the history of the day at InternationalWomensDay.com.
What can you do to celebrate the women in your life? Anything you want really. Attend an event, there’s a list of them at InternationalWomensDay.com. Or go for something simpler, like singing a song, giving them a hug, or simply saying thank you. You can even take a picture and post it to social media, just don’t forget to hashtag it—#internationalwomensday.
In the interview series Meet Native America, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian invites tribal leaders, cultural figures, and other interesting and accomplished Native individuals to introduce themselves and say a little about their lives and work. Together, their responses illustrate the diversity of the indigenous communities of the Western Hemisphere, as well as their shared concerns, and offer insights beyond what’s in the news to the ideas and experiences of Native peoples today. Please introduce yourself with your name and title. Orvena “Twiggy” Gregory, second chief of the Sac and Fox Nation. Can you give us your Native name and its English translation? My Sauk name is Kyokamekwa, pronounced kee-o-kum-mekwa and translated as “on a specific path.” Most tribal members know me by my nickname, Twiggy. When I was a baby, my grandma Bell on my Pawnee side called me twigs takoo. Takoo is the Pawnee word for prairie chicken. Grandma Bell said I reminded her of a skinny chicken. During the primary elections when I ran for second chief, many people didn’t know me as Orvena Gregory.
Recently newspapers have trumpeted new scientific discoveries that lead some scientists to conclude that early American Indians lived in the area of the Bering Strait, known as…
Can’t wait for #powwow season #dancer #beautiful #handsome #nativecultures
Buzzfeed reports that the daughter of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin posted pictures of herself in a headdress on her Facebook and Instagram account. The pictures were supposed to be promotional …
Almost 40 years after starting the process to acquire Kerr Dam, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have almost reached the finish line. And they’ll get there for a price that is tens of millions of dollars closer to what the tribes said it was worth than what PPL Montana wanted for it, the Missoulian
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