About

NativeStrength.com, as you may see it, is one among millions of blogs. Native Strength, is an idea…an ideal…it is a fundamental concept regarding how the native peoples of North America have been able to survive as an ethnic group through years of what can almost be considered ethnological genocide. Native strength is the ideal that even though we are from different tribes, languages, customs, we are still one people. Native strength is the idea that even though one group may be able to prosper while others fail, as many groups acting in accord, we may be able to uplift and prosper as a culture. This project was started as a thought. A thought that by attempting to unite, we might succeed where other efforts to approach us individually have failed. No claim or desire is made in this gesture to undermine to sovereignty, individuality, or status of any single tribe or group. The goal is to pool our resources so that as a whole, we can all progress. Native Americans were the first to inhabit this american continent. We were the first to use its resources while still respecting the environment around us. Native American ideals have been pillars to the structure of state and federal governments on the continent. We have been a source of pride and a symbol of strength and dignity even with the gross negligance of majority culture. We are the farmers, the teachers, the lawmakers, the scientists, the leaders, the windtalkers, the warriors. We have a voice. Its time we are heard. This project is dedicated to the loving memory of Abraham C. Crews, a great man whose genorosity and concern is an inspiration to the author.

The Reason Behind It

I grew up like many of the native americans who will see this project.
I am of mixed heritage. I am african american, native american, and a
mixture of things unknown. In my entire life, the 25% of my blood that
is native american has had the greatest impact on my life. I may have
been born a victim of the one-drop rule and considered black by it,
but I was raised red.
Other cultures cannot fully imagine the impact of growing up as a
native american and being called hispanic your whole life. Nor can
other cultures imagine the confusion generated by the countless
“cowboys and indians” movies of american cinema where we are forced to
watch our culture paraded as “savage,” and “backwards,” among several
other derogatory connotations. Even in the few movies with positive
portrayals, we were not permited to portray ourselves. It was always a
“white man” dressed up in war paint.
We are the only ethnic group in the world that has to prove its
existance. I challenge you to walk the streets of New York and endure
someone telling you to your face that you and your culture do not
exist. Is that the image that america projects?
I started this blog with the hope that it may be possible to bring us
together as a people. Hopefully it works.

Native American Actors

This is a list taken from www.wikipedia.org of Actors who are claiming Native American decent. This is a bold decision for some. For others, it is a way to reach out and enrich the community from which they trace their heritage.

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

P

R

S

T

V

W

Y

The ugly media

On a single day, one can count the number of minorities skyrocketing to stardom. This is something that even a blind man can recognize for african-american, hispanic, asian, and east-indian celebrities. These actors, musicians, products, and other talented people represent their communities in a light usually ignored by the general populace.

The problem is, that being born a Native American, we don’t really get to see ourselves on the screen. Often through history, we have hidden among other cultures in an attempt to blend in so that our progress is not stolen from us by stereotypes, hatred, and blame. We are a minority among minorities in our own country. We are a people from whom much has been taken, and yet we have gained quietly.

Every day, more and more people recognize and see pride in their tribal heritage. Even though we have been a part of mainstream media for over 60 years, it has still been in a negative sense. We have been the object of indoctrinated hatred and violence in movies, and even as the politically conscious mentality made its way through media, we were often not permitted to portray ourselves in media.

In recent years, we have been making a comeback! Through renewed pride, reduced prejudice, and self-determination, we are becoming more than sheer statistics. Thank you to those who have gone against the trend and are proud to be born of Native American descent.

Education

Sometimes you gotta get lost to find yourself. The custom and
constitution of this country guarantees the availability of access to
education up until senior year of high school. If you graduate, there
is opportunity for higher education in either private institutions or
subsidized public colleges and universities.
For those of Native American decent, there are particular scholarships
that only we are eligible for. In some cases, these also grant “ward
of state” status where tuition in some state schools is almost free.
Even without such specialized scholarships, there are many other
options available to us from private sector scholarships, student
loans, and working to fund our own education. With all of these
things, why do our people statistically endure such poverty?
Native Americans are among the highest rate for some of the more
negative statistcs. At what point are we losing the youth that they
drop out of high school? At what point are we not encouraged and
encouraging ourselves to push forward into college and come out with a
degree?
18 years is a long time. It is a long time to go to history class year
after year and your cultur demonized for the sake of protecting the
appearance of the white american ideal.

A Native American Identity?

We are so many peoples, so many individual cultures, so many thoughts,
and so many ideals. What is it that binds us to one another? What
consistent things are there that craft a basic Native American
Identity?
As many of you who may be offended by the idea of quantifying us down
to singular notions of self, just as many if not more of you have no
definitions to offer. I’m not saying something simplistic as we are
born horseback riders, red, or anything else. I’m merely saying that
there has to be more than just being born and being told by your
relatives that you are native american. The concept of what that one
thing means has to be somewhat visible, if not for those on
reservation land, then for the multitude of us who are born and live
outside of reservation and are immersed in mainstream pop culture.
To be born Native American is to be living proof of our peoples’
ability to survive through literal and ethnological genocide. Each day
we are here and each time we learn more about the culture we are from
is another day that we prove we will survive. Native American cultures
are older than recorded time and have progressed in science and
technology which in some cases has only been replicated by the
ancients of the middle east. The greatest minds of the ancient world
thought as we did and in many ways, these thoughts and masterpieces
cannot be duplicated even with modern technology.
We have survived almost 500 years of occupation, infiltration, and
attempts as assimilation. We will continue to survive as we will not
forget who we are. We are the people of the mountains, the forest, the
earth. We will not disappear.
There is a reason why a young native child, full blood or mixed, will
have more pride in his feathers than any other part of his ancestry.
It is the strength that it gives us. How do we forget that as we age.
The disenchantment we feel as we get older is because we are overly
immersed in the ills of counter culture. It is important to take an
interest in your heritage. We are more than stereotypes of rain dances
and warpaint. We are warriors, scientists, thinkers, and activists. We
are the ones who have taken knives, bows and arrows to a gun fight and
won. We are the ones who have come from the bottom economically and
have made it to the american senate. We are the ones who are still
here. From Seskatchewan to the Poconos to Oklahoma to Missasauga, our
legacy will surpass time.

Don’t call it a comeback

It is at a time like this, that I take a moment to thank the writers of CSI:NY for admitting that Native Americans still exist in Manhattan. Although we make up less than 1% of New York’s overall population, there are still more than 50,000 of us walking its streets each day. As a native New Yorker, I must tell you that it is very easy to be ignored amongst the hundreds of individual minorities in this state.

As another highlight, the producers also chose to feature a well-known Native American musician, Robbie Robertson [link]. His music is something that many people have not heard in some time, but anyone can appreciate. It is soulful. It is pensive. It is an aspect of our culture that many of us may miss as we look at pop culture as a whole. I invite anyone reading this to check him out.

robbie-robertson-ghost-dance

Why am I proud to be native born?

“National Security since 1492,” is a statement that many of us have seen seen for the past few years on t-shirts, posters, and even the internet. As a people, we have been here far longer. As a culture, we have survived longer than most and have preserved many traditions. We have a lot of reasons to take pride in our heritage. What is it that makes you proud to be born native? How do you see the pride and strength of your culture?
The answers to these questions are among the reasons why we have not disappeared. They are among the reasons why our kids are aware that they are native american before pre-school and the reason why they have pride at that age.
Its an easy question, if you choose to answer it. There are several of us who were not born on the reservation who have different perspectives on our individual and collective histories. As a New Yorker, I walk the street with everyone from everywhere else and almost always am “found dominican until proven innocent.” (No offense to anyone). Everytime, I correct them that I am Native American first, and still a tribal citizen. My heritage is full of people who have survived against all odds and progressed for themselves and others. I love my reddish skin, sharp features, and having the strength of my ancestors to keep me pushing forward. What is it that makes you proud?

Minnesota forgets its Native American past

In a recent e-mail to constituents, Rep. Tony Cornish (District 24B) made the following statement about the recent bonding bill: “This includes nearly $6 million for schools in Red Lake, which is a tribal facility located in a nation not governed by Minnesota laws. We’ve spent nearly $60 million for the Red Lake schools in the past, and now the House majority wants to send another $6 million there. I question why we continue to send funds to a sovereign nation.”

Rep. Cornish may have forgotten the history of Minnesota, particularly that large portions of land in his district used to be reservation land, reserved by treaty for the Winnebago as “a permanent home” and abrogated by the government in 1864.

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Fighting bad grades in Alaska

Shafts of sunlight stream through the windows and illuminate the four sixth-graders gathered around the table with Kerri Wood.

Wood is working to solve a vexing problem: Get these kids up to grade level.

Wood is the Indian-education tutor at Tyson Elementary in Mountain View. She is part of a multi-pronged effort involving the Anchorage School District, nonprofits and tribal groups to close the test-score gap between Anchorage’s 4,200 Native students and the rest of the district’s 48,000 kids.

It’s not just poorer test results. Native students have also historically had the highest dropout rate in Anchorage.

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