Tag Archives: Native American

U.S. News | Native American

Designation of two new national monuments works to protect integrity of Native American lands
  • President Obama designated two new national monuments, placing more than 1.6 million acres of land under federal stewardship and protecting the areas from development and looting.
  • The Bears Ears National Monument comprises 1.35 million acres in southeast Utah, which includes more than 100,000 Native American cultural and archaeological sites and will be jointly managed by federal and indigenous leaders.
  • The Gold Butte National Monument, located in southern Nevada, encompasses 300,000 acres that include sites of Native petroglyphs and critical habitats.

Two New National Monuments Created in Utah and Nevada” (Scientific American | December 2016)
Obama Designates Two New National Monuments, Protecting 1.65 Million Acres” (The New York Times | December 2016)
Obama Designates Two New National Monuments, Protecting 1.65 Million Acres” (EcoWatch | December 2016)

(Image Credit: UIG/Getty Images, via Scientific American)

U.S. News | Native Americans

Tensions escalate in North Dakota as protesters and police clash in Dakota Access Pipeline protests
  • Protesters reported police wielding tear gas and water cannons in the 23-degree weather after claiming the protests had dissolved into a “riot,” heightening already pronounced concerns about hypothermia in the below-freezing conditions.
  • Reports indicated that more than 150 were injured and at least seven hospitalized as a result of the confrontation.
  • More than 400 activists have been arrested since the standoff began over the ongoing dispute over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Read more:
Standing Rock protest: hundreds clash with police over Dakota Access Pipeline” (The Guardian)
Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Soaked by Water Cannons in Clash With Police” (The New York Times)
Police, Protesters Clash Near Dakota Access Pipeline Route” (NPR)

(Image Credit: Stephanie Keith/Reuters, via The New York Times)

ClimateWatch: U.S.

The U.S. in the Era of Trump

Source: euronews YouTube

The conclusion of an election that saw an historic clash over the values of diversity, inclusion, and the meaning of “America” has brought with it a surge in uncertainty for minority and other historically disadvantaged communities in the U.S. The damage was extensive: the nearly year and a half of campaigning saw ethnic and religious minorities disparaged, immigrants targeted, women (including his opponent) subjected to misogynistic abuse, the mainstream press caught in the crosshairs of an anti-media campaign, and rhetorical and symbolic resonances in speeches and advertising that drew white supremacists and other far-right extremists out of the woodwork.

In what ways has Trump’s election reshaped the social and political climate for vulnerable American populations, including women, Latinos, black people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities? How is the post-election retreat from data showing racial resentment as the highest predictor of Trump support endangering reality-based solutions for vulnerable communities, politicians, and analysts? And how has his rise to power connected to and amplified similar right-wing, ethno-nationalist politics globally?

Whether and how American conservatives and the Republican Party—now set to hold power in all three branches of government—are able to manage a resurgent coalition of ethno-nationalist voters as well as the capacity for progressive and Democratic activists to create social, political, and legal structures to protect vulnerable communities will determine what life in Trump’s America will look like for the at-risk. This ClimateWatch rounds up a number of key news items, analyses, and commentaries providing insight on what has happened and what could be on the horizon. Continue reading ClimateWatch: U.S.

U.S. Feature | Native Americans

The Dakota Access Pipeline Protests, from Land to Twitter

Source: Al Jazeera YouTube

Though having only recently had the spotlight of the national media trained on them, the Dakota Access Pipeline protests have been a months-long clash between, on the one hand, Standing Rock Sioux tribe members, indigenous and non-indigenous allies, and environmental activists, and, on the other, proponents of the nearly 1,200-mile long oil pipeline from western North Dakota to southern Illinois. Indigenous protesters have made recourse to both litigation and direct action in an attempt to halt construction on a pipeline slated to come within a half-mile of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The protests have drawn both state and federal intervention, with the National Guard having been brought to protest sites, violent clashes between police and protesters, a legal tango between the Obama administration and district court judges, and increasing pressure on the U.S. presidential candidates to take a stand on the issue.

At issue is what activists say has been a failure on the government’s part to engage Native communities, conduct a thorough environmental and cultural impact assessment ahead of the pipeline’s construction, confront tribe members’ concerns about the potential for water contamination, and adhere to laws regarding the preservation of sacred cultural sites. The approach of the bitter North Dakotan winter has punctuated current protests with a question mark as activists and advocates seek to perpetuate the recently gained media momentum and mobilize public opinion—and, by extension, political pressure—against the pipeline’s construction.

A History of Native Americans Protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline(Mother Jones)
What to Know About the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests” (TIME)
The Standing Rock Sioux ‘know what they’re doing’ in North Dakota” (Public Radio International)

Tension Between Police and Standing Rock Protesters Reaches Boiling Point” (The New York Times, October 2016)
Tribe Says Police Are Violating The Civil Rights Of Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents” (The Huffington Post, October 2016)
Dakota Pipeline Company Buys Ranch Near Sioux Protest Site, Records Show” (NBC News, September 2016)
The Legal Case for Blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline” (The Atlantic, September 2016)

(Image Credit: James MacPherson/AP, via TIME)

U.S. Research | Black & Children with Disabilities

Disproportionate Suspension Rates in U.S. Charter Schools

A new study has found that black students and students with disabilities are suspended at considerably higher rates than their peers in charter schools at both the elementary and secondary level. At the secondary level, Latino and Native American students join them in disproportionate suspension. The report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project spells particular trouble for black students with disabilities and has troubling implications in the fight against the school-to-prison pipeline.

4.1% (all students) vs. 9.7% (with disabilities) vs. 3.7% (without disabilities)

Suspension rates at the elementary level by ability

4.1% (all students) vs. 8.7% (black) vs. 2.1% (white) vs. 2.4% (Latino) vs. 3% (Native American)

Suspension rates at the elementary level by race/ethnicity

11.6% (all students) vs. 20.8% (with disabilities) vs. 10.6% (without disabilities)

Suspension rates at the secondary level by ability

11.6% (all students) vs. 22% (black) vs. 5.6% (white) vs. 9.1% (Latino) vs. 10.9% (Native American)

Suspension rates at the secondary level by race/ethnicity

7.8% (charters) vs. 6.7% (non-charters)

Suspension rates at the K-12 level

15.5% (charters) vs. 13.7% (non-charters)

Suspension rates of students with disabilities (K-12)

7% (charters) vs. 5.7% (non-charters)

Suspension rates of students without disabilities (K-12)


Suspension rate of students with disabilities at 235 charter schools

Years studied: 2011-12

Read more:
Charter Schools, Civil Rights, and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review (The Center for Civil Rights Remedies)
Students With Disabilities Suspended More Often At Charters” (Disability Scoop)

U.S. News | Racial & Ethnic Minorities

Students lobby Portland school board for ethnic studies class
  • The Asian Pacific Islander Leaders for the Liberation of Youth (ALLY) have lobbied the Portland Public Schools Board of Education for the creation of at least one ethnic studies class in all 10 of the public high schools in Oregon’s largest city.
  • Asking that the class count towards the social studies graduation requirement, the group has called for a course that covers the contributions of Asian, Pacific Islander, African, Latino, Arab, and Native Americans and LBTQ Americans of color to American history and culture.
  • Students supported their curriculum-based arguments with data indicating increased academic performance, attendance, and graduation rates for students who have taken similar courses in other schools.

Read more:
Students Call For Ethnic Studies in Portland High Schools” (NBC News)
Textbooks don’t tell the history of minorities, students say. Teenagers want to change that” (The Oregonian)

(Image Credit: Casey Parks/The Oregonian)

U.S. News | Native Americans

Indigenous Peoples Day begins catching on in U.S. cities as replacement for Columbus Day
  • Cities in a potpourri of states including Washington, California, Texas, Minnesota, and New Mexico eschewed celebrating Christopher Columbus to focus instead on the contributions and achievements of indigenous Americans.
  • The movement to change the national holiday saw its first significant victory in 1990, when South Dakota renamed the holiday to Native American Day.
  • Columbus’s status as a national hero has been increasingly dismantled as historians have brought to light his writings, persecution of indigenous Americans, and initiation of a series of events that led to the deaths of millions of native inhabitants of the American continents.

Read more:
Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrated in Cities Across the U.S. Instead of Columbus Day” (BuzzFeed News)
Indigenous Peoples Day celebrated in Lawrence” (The Kansas City Star)
Denver City Council unanimously decides to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day” (KDVR FOX 31 News)

(Image Credit: Elaine Thompson/AP, via BuzzFeed News)

U.S. Feature | Native Americans

Unmasking Addiction in Native Communities

The long-entrenched belief in Native Americans’ genetic susceptibility to alcoholism has for decades obscured the underlying social and psychological causes of high addiction rates in the community. The Verve takes a look at the science of addiction and the presence of its effects in Native communities, from poverty and disenfranchisement to familial precarity and unemployment.

Read more:
No, Native Americans aren’t genetically more susceptible to alcoholism” (The Verge)

(Image Credit: Kimery Davis via The Verge)

U.S. News | Native American

U.S. government reaches major settlement with Native American tribes
  • Government and tribal officials have submitted a plan for $940 million to settle claims brought by more than 600 tribes and agencies.
  • The tribes have suffered from a quarter-century of underfunding by the federal government for basic programs like education, housing, law enforcement, and environmental management.
  • A round of finger-pointing between the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Congress, and the President resulted in a 2012 Supreme Court ruling holding the government liable for payment.

“Tribal self-determination and self-governance will continue to be our North Star as we navigate a new chapter in this important relationship and we are committed to fully funding contract support costs so that tribal contracting can be more successful.”

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.

(Image Credit: Mary Hudetz/AP, via BuzzFeed)

U.S. News | Native American

President Obama announces tallest North American mountain will have native name officially recognized
  • Denali (“the high one” in Athabaskan) is the native name for Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, and has now become federally recognized as the official name of the mountain.
  • In 1896, the mountain was renamed Mount McKinley during President William McKinley’s second election campaign despite Ohioan McKinley having no connection to the mountain or Alaska.
  • President Obama will announce the change as he becomes the first sitting president to visit the Alaskan Arctic, where he will meet with Alaskan Native leaders to discuss cooperative measures.

Read the full story at BuzzFeed News.

(Image Credit: Becky Bohrer/AP, via BuzzFeed News)

The Americas News | Indigenous Americans

Research: One major migration from Siberia led to American settlement no more than 23,000 years ago
  • The results of two studies appeared in Science and Nature, with the first indicating there was a single migration that brought anatomically modern humans to the American continents.
  • Researchers claim that the migrants inhabited the now-submerged area connecting Russia and Alaska until roughly 15,000 years ago, when ice melt led to population divergence as some migrated to the newly accessible American interior (American Indians) and others remained in the region (Native Alaskans).
  • The second study found closer ancestral connections of Amazonians to indigenous Australasians than to native Americans, spurring further questions about early American settlement.

Read the full AFP story at GlobalPost.

(Image Credit: Mario Tama/AFP/Getty Images, via GlobalPost)

U.S. News | Young Women of Color

Report: Female youth in U.S. juvenile justice system likely to have faced abuse prior to detention
  • According to a recently released report, some states see as many as 80% of the girls in their juvenile justice systems having been victims of sexual or other physical abuse.
  • In particular, the report found girls arrested on prostitution charges were likely to have been victims of sex trafficking, leading to distrust of law enforcement and further victimization.
  • African-American, Latina, and Native American girls were found to be disproportionately involved in the system, which has seen an increase in arrests even as crime rates have flattened.

“When law enforcement views girls as perpetrators, and when their cases are not dismissed or diverted but sent deeper into the justice system, the cost is twofold: Girls’ abusers are shielded from accountability, and the trauma that is the underlying cause of the behavior is not addressed.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.