March 1, 2012

Mashpee Wampanoags Planning Massachusetts Resort Casino

A new destination resort casino is potentially coming to Taunton, Massachusetts.

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell and Mayor Thomas Hoye, Jr. announced the resort plans today.

Hoye sees the proposal as an economic opportunity for the city and region and projects the casino will generate millions in revenue that can help improve city schools, hire police officers and fire fighters, improve infrastructure and attract new businesses.

“I’ve been impressed from the beginning with the Tribe’s commitment to an inclusive process and a real partnership with Taunton,” Hoye said. “Together, we’ll be meeting with residents across the city about this project and about a long-term vision for our community.”

The tribe is in the process of purchasing land in East Taunton. The proposed resort will include a casino, hotels, fine and casual dining, entertainment space and other amenities.

“This will be a first-class resort with something to offer the whole family,” Cromwell said in a press release. “The residents of Taunton and all of Southeastern Massachusetts will be proud of the state of the art facility we will build here.”

The casino is expected to attract Cape Cod tourists and vice versa. “We see Taunton as a cultural gateway to Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands,” Cromwell said.

The tribe has yet to negotiate a compact with Governor Deval Patrick.

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Church, State and Santorum

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Steven Newcomb @ 2:13 pm

On Sunday, Feb. 26, presidential candidate and U.S. senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn) was asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos whether he stands by a statement he made in October of 2011, that he “almost threw up” after reading a speech by Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy about his Catholic faith, the separation of church and state, and his candidacy for the president of the United States.

The speech in question was delivered by Kennedy in 1960. It was about the role of religion in public life. At the College of St. Mary Magdalen last year, in Warner, New Hampshire, Santorum said: “Earlier in my political career, I had the opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up. You should read the speech.”

In response to Stephanopoulos, Santorum said: “What kind of country do we live in that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case?” Santorum’s statement ought to disqualify him from the U.S. presidency. Only a religious zealot would take issue with the well-measured, reasoned tone, and sensible content of Senator Kennedy’s address.

Kennedy’s speech is best listened to rather than merely read. It demonstrates a rhetorical brilliance and oratorical delivery that today’s cast of Republican candidates can only dream of. It harkens back to a time before the explicitly stated U.S. policy, as recently announced by Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta, that it is lawful for the U.S. government to assassinate U.S. citizens. It was a time when presidential candidates such as Kennedy still thought of themselves as potential “public servants,” rather than potential public assassins.

As Kennedy stated: “So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again, not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me, but what kind of America I believe in.” He then went on to make it clear that he would not allow the pope or the Catholic Church to dictate to him in the realm of public policy, and that he as president would be guided by his conscience and his oath of office, not by fealty to any religious dogmatism.

It is a speech against religious fanaticism.

Importantly for our time, Kennedy invoked “the Virginia statute of religious freedom” authored in 1779 by Thomas Jefferson, who went on to become the third President of the United States. The document was officially titled, “The Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom,” and was not passed by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia until 1786.

If Mr. Santorum thought Senator Kennedy’s speech was bad, Jefferson’s statute would definitely make Mr. Santorum feel the need to heave; it runs contrary to any notion of a theocratic state. The Virginia statute takes issue with “the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical.” For they, “being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others.” Jefferson’s document further says “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, more than [on] our opinions of physics or geometry.”

It is important to place Jefferson’s document and the separation of church and state into its wider historical context. The Inquisition—which brings to mind such memorable torture devices as the rack, and the red hot tong—still existed. A sense of this is found in a biography of Jesuit missionary Juan Salvatierra, published in 1754, just 25 years before Jefferson’s statute for religious liberty. The title page states that it had been “condensed into a brief compendium by Father Juan Antonio de Oviedo,” who was Rector of the College of San Andres in Mexico, “and Censor for the Holy Inquisition.”

It was in response to bloody religious wars in Europe and the horrors of the Holy Inquisition that inspired Jefferson to pen his Statute for Religious Freedom. We ought to wonder why Mr. Santorum would feel the need to throw up upon reading a speech by Senator John F. Kennedy, a speech that implicitly addressed the proven dangers of religious fanaticism.

Being something of a fanatic myself, for etymology, I found the Latin derivation of the name “Santorum.” As an adjective it means variously, “consecrated, sacred, inviolable, venerable, august, divine, holy, pious, and just.” As a noun, it is “establisher; one who enacts.” Given his nauseating statement about Senator Kennedy’s address, isn’t it sensible to wonder what model of society Mr. Santorum is carrying in his heart of hearts?

Steven Newcomb, Shawnee/Lenape, is co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, author of Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, and a columnist for Indian Country Today Media Network.

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Iceman’s Full Genome Reveals His Origins

New information from the full genome of a 5,300-year-old “Iceman” has revealed some interesting facts.

Oetzi the “Iceman” was discovered frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991, and has been the subject of constant study since.

His full genome was released February 28 in a report in Nature Communications. According to BBC News, the report revealed that Oetzi’s ancestors most likely migrated from the Middle East.

It also revealed that Oetzi had brown eyes, was blood type “O”, was lactose intolerant and predisposed to heart disease.

Oetzi is also the first documented case of Lyme disease, an infection by a bacterium called spirochete that is carried by deer ticks, reports the American Lyme Disease Foundation.

These findings are just the beginning though. Researchers plan to study the Iceman for many years to come.

“This was really exciting and I think it’s just the start for a longer study on this level,” Albert Zink, of the Eurac Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, told BBC News. “We still would like to learn more from this data—we’ve only just started to analyze it.”

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Beginning Genealogy Class

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — ICTMN Staff @ 6:36 pm

Beginning Genealogy Class 2 will be held March 5 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at St. Augustine Episcopal Church, 475 43rd Ave., in Vero Beach, Florida. The class will cover birth, death, marriage licenses and census reports.

Cost per person is $3.50 to cover materials. Make reservations via e-mail ckirkfirst@comcast.net or call 772-567-7463.

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Genealogy Workshops in Kansas City

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — ICTMN Staff @ 6:41 pm

The National Archives in Kansas City will offer three genealogy workshops in March. Introduction to the 1940 Census will be held March 7 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and March 31 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Introduction to Genealogy: Finding Your Ancestors in Federal Census Records will be held March 14 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

To reserve a spot for these free events, call 816-268-8000 or email kansascity.archives@nara.gov. The National Archives in Kansas City are at 400 West Pershing Road in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Indigenous South African Tea Proving to Be a Health Remedy

For centuries, the people of the southernmost region of Africa have sipped a distinct red colored herbal tea and sworn by its soothing and healing properties. Now science is playing catch up with this indigenous health remedy, proving what people of this region have always known to be true.

Rooibos tea (pronuncian: roy-boss), also known by its direct English translation, “red bush tea” was originally used by the indigenous Khoisan of South Africa. They bruised the needle-like leaves of the low-lying Aspalanthus linearis shrub with hammers, fermented it and left it to dry in the harsh African sun.

Rooibos tea is not strictly speaking a tea, but in fact an herbal infusion. The shrub from which the leaves are harvested for the tea, is part of the fynbos species which is only found in South Africa. So unique is this particular shrub that it only grows in a place called Clanwilliam, a mountainous region 250km from the city of Cape Town. It is believed that the tea plant only grows there because of the specific microclimate of this region.

Subsequent attempts to grow it elsewhere in the world, including Israel and New Zealand have failed.

Given the tea’s proven health benefits, including it being caffeine free, low in tannins and rich in antioxidants; the drink has grown in popularity among the health conscious and can be found all over the world including on the Starbucks menu as Red tea or African red tea.

While health aficionado’s have long proclaimed the tea’s benefits, scientists are still conducting studies to prove a range of claims including, amongst others, that the tea contains anti-carcinogenic and stress-relieving properties.

The SA Rooibos Council has set aside a 2 million rand ($245,398.77 U.S.) budget for rooibos research for this year, which will include, looking at the anti-aging, anti-obesity and cancer-preventing properties of rooibos tea, and the role of rooibos in performance during exercise and post-exercise recovery.

A research team from the University of Stellenbosch’s biochemistry department, led by Professor Amanda Swart, recently found that rooibos tea contains components that can help alleviate stress and anxiety.

Rooibos tea works by lowering the production of cortisol – a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal gland, also known as the stress hormone. Swart and her research team found that by lowering cortisol levels, the effect of the body’s response to stress is also lowered.

Swart and her team identified two rare components in rooibos, aspalathin and nothofagin, that contribute to the stress-lowering effect. The findings were published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology late last year.

Swart said: “Because Rooibos, anecdotally is known to have a soothing effect, it prompted us to look if it had any effect on cortisol, the stress hormone.”

Swart explained that cortisol, which is produced in the adrenal glands differs between different people and males and females. People’s individual cortisol levels also differed at various times of the day.

Rooibos Tea1 270x180 Indigenous South African Tea Proving to Be a Health Remedy

Rooibos tea, or “red bush tea” was originally used by the indigenous Khoisan of South Africa. The drink has grown in popularity among health conscious groups given its proven health benefits. (Iain Harris)

Swart and her team found that Rooibos tea can lower the production of cortisol in the adrenal glands and “significantly so.” Swart made clear that to determine whether Rooibos tea had a “soothing” effect on people, would require a psychological study to assess.

In 2008, it was proven that rooibos significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. That clinical trial was led by Dr. Jeanine Marnewick and involved the participants in the trial to drink six cups of rooibos tea a day for six weeks.

She explained why so many cups of Rooibos tea had to be ingested.

“Unlike any other vitamin which you take once a day; rooibos doesn’t build up in the blood. Rooibos has a very short lifespan in your blood and that’s why you need to take rooibos throughout the day.”

She emphasized that rooibos tea is not “curative” but instead it is “preventative.”

“Don’t look to Rooibos as medicine; but rather as a natural way to improve your health and make it part of your daily health upkeep,” said Marnewick.

Also on the go for more than a decade, and as yet not concluded, is ongoing research at South Africa’s Medical Research Council, into the ability of Rooibos to prevent or slow down cancer.

While the science fraternity is applauding the benefits of Rooibos as an indigenous health remedy that is fast gaining traction all over the world, indigenous leaders are not surprised by Rooibos tea’s popularity.

Cecil le Fleur trustee of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Co-ordinating Committee (IPACC) and the national Khoi San council explained: “We know that when we grew up as children in the villages, we were totally reliant on herbs for our medicine. Our people knew what type of herbs to use for which illness. When the Europeans came to our country, they made use of this knowledge to make medicines in a more scientific way.”

And while science goes all out to prove the benefits of red tea, Indigenous Peoples continue to drink the herbal drink with the confidence that their forebears knew that they were on to a good thing with the brew that boosted their health and wellbeing.

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Yowell Case Against BLM For Grazing Fees Dismissed

On February 21st, Raymond Yowell traveled the 305 miles between his home in Spring Creek, Nevada for his hearing in Reno, Nevada. The hearing was in regards to his $30 million lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management and the Treasury Department for grazing rights. Yowell is suing following the confiscation and selling of his cattle by the government in 2002, followed by a bill for $180,000 towards unpaid grazing fees.

Judge Robert Jones listened to the prosecution of four lawyers as they went over years of decisions that Yowell had made during his term as chief of the Western Shoshone. When Yowell got a chance to defend himself he told the judge that decisions made during his term in office had nothing to do with the case at hand as he was being prosecuted as an individual, they were his cattle and not the tribes. He told the judge, “[y]ou did not go after George Bush after he retired, for decisions he made when he was President, why are you going after me for my decisions?”

After waiting 60 days for his hearing, Yowell spent 45 minutes presenting his case before Jones dismissed the lawsuit. The Judge also rescinded a previous courts decision to garnish Yowell’s social security check. Yowell says, “the judge threw me a little bone, but I am not sure if I still owe them anything.”

Yowell was left with many questions on his trip home, but the biggest one was how to proceed at this time? He said he was waiting for the “Order of the Court” and hoping to find someone who might be able to help him proceed ahead.

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Cambodian Statue Latest Dispute For Sotheby’s

An ongoing fight between the Cambodian government and Sotheby’s auction house in New York, took a new turn recently when Cambodia asked the United States government for help in recovering a statue of a mythic warrior that is 1,000 years old according to an article in The New York Times.

The statue, which has an auction price of $2-$3 million was pulled from the auction floor last March until the situation could be resolved. Cambodian government officials along with some experts believe the statue was stolen. Sotheby’s feels there is not substantial proof to determine that it was.

The article states the statue stands about 5 feet tall and weighs 250 pounds and was severed at the ankles. A private collector acquired the statue in 1975.

The statue is said to be part of a pair and resembles an athletic combatant in intricate headdress from the mid 900s in a battle-ready stance and came from one of the Koh Ker templs. Cambodia’s urgency for the statues return came when the pedestal and feet were found recently.

Read the full article here.

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Traditional Cheyenne Chief Walks On But Memories Remain

Charles Little Coyote Horse Traditional Cheyenne Chief Walks On But Memories RemainHe was known in childhood as Mouse Trail and later, when a veteran, as Morning Killer. But he was more than the names he was given.

Charles Little Coyote, 86, a traditional Cheyenne chief who passed February 9 in Wichita, Kansas, is remembered as a modest man with an abiding sense of humor who believed it was important to teach the Cheyenne language and culture to young people.

He was a great-great-grandson of Black Kettle, the renowned Cheyenne peace chief who survived the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, signed the peace Treaty of Medicine Lodge in 1867, and then was killed by the Army the next year in the Washita Massacre.

A century later, Little Coyote, in full regalia, depicted Black Kettle in a triennial pageant held at Medicine Lodge, Kansas memorializing the  treaty that was to have provided safety for settlers headed westward and that was signed by the U.S. and the Kiowa, Comanche, Kiowa-Apache, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal nations.

Little Coyote was, according to Jeff Campbell, who interviewed him in 2008, “honest and truly unassuming, this descendent of chiefs” and “a humble man.”  Little Coyote was a chief in the Cheyenne Council of Forty-four, he recalled.

Campbell, a non-Native retired lawman and independent historian, spent two days with Little Coyote in 2008, and found that “not once was he boastful and arrogant, maybe not what one might expect from a man so honored and asked to take the place as a venerable traditional leader.”

Others who talked with, worked with, fought alongside, or rode with Little Coyote in a Wild West show are gone, but the achievements of his life remain.

After enlisting in the Navy at age 15 (with his father’s permission), he fought in World War II and later enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving in the Korean Conflict. Campbell recalled that Little Coyote made light of his second enlistment, saying that he and a friend got a meal pass from the Marines in Oklahoma City—which must have constituted a commitment—and “I ended up in the Marine Corps for quite awhile, for one meal.”

He rode for a time with a Wild West show, worked in the gypsum mines and mills near Medicine Lodge, Kansas and later had a job in the oil fields.

But perhaps his proudest accomplishment was working with youth, teaching them about the traditional Cheyenne ways that marked his early childhood. He was born in a tipi in rural Oklahoma and, according to custom, spoke Cheyenne and was raised by his grandparents before he attended boarding school.

It may be that words spoken to Campbell during an interview sum up Little Coyote’s desire to teach young people and to pass on values that were central to his life: “What would you tell the Cheyenne kids?” Campbell asked, recalling that Little Coyote hoped his knowledge of the Cheyenne ways of old would be taken up by the people. “I would tell them they’re still Indian,” Little Coyote replied.

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March 2, 2012

Obama Will Need Indian Votes to Be Reelected

The price of gasoline at the pump is skyrocketing and is expected to flatten the upward trend on the stock market charts, thus maybe even stalling the economic recovery from the Republican recession of 2009 and 2010. In a strange twist, this is making many millionaire and billionaire stockholders happy. Why? Because President Obama will get the blame, and perhaps if we are in an economic nosedive come election time, Obama will be defeated.

I have an elderly friend whom I visit regularly. He’s well along in retirement but stays in his office which is like the control room of an ICBM launch site with computer equipment of all sorts. He is solidly in the right wing of the Republican Party. When I praise American industry for the amazing recovery of General Motors to the top of the world market from the depths of bankruptcy only three years ago, he is not pleased. And especially with Chrysler Corporation’s return to competitiveness from years of pedestrian design, trash pile reliability, and negative sales, one would think that my friend would be ecstatic. No way….and why? Because both of these American corporations were beneficiary to Obama’s bail out strategy, especially his firing of their top management and replacement with proven talent of his choice. In addition, Obama’s negotiators placed a third of the ownership of General Motors in the hands of the United Auto Workers union in payment for their retirement and insurance benefits that went down the drain in the near demise of the corporation. Nevertheless, Obama rightly claims much credit for his administration in this recovery, and a whole bunch of rust belt jobs survivors hail him as their savior.

Leading the GOP attack is Newt Gingrich, the Guru in the traveling circus that is the slate of Republican candidates shredding each other for the party’s nomination to take on their political piñata, Barak Obama. Gingrich says that the General Motors and Chrysler corporations should have been allowed to go into bankruptcy and work their way out through the process of reorganization. Problem is that there was no source that would have invested in those losers after they proved their ineptness and stiffed so many investors and Unions in getting to the sorry state they were in. Reorganization and refinancing would have taken too much time, and they likely would have gone down anyway.

Nevertheless, the slow recovery of the overall economy and the slow pace of employment recovery, in the minds the Republican Right, justify their hatred for the President, and camouflage their racism in trying from the day of Obama’s inauguration to discredit him and destroy him. Indeed, they don’t say it outright, but it is written all over them: “Get that nigger out of the White House,” where in their minds he should never have been allowed to enter in the first place.

Two years ago, I read an article by Dr. Carlos Dews, author and professor of English literature, titled “The Nigger Show.” He wrote, “I first heard this expression used to describe the Obama administration during a visit to my hometown in East Texas during the early summer of 2009. I understood what the epithet meant: Our minds are made up, the president lacks legitimacy, and there is nothing he can do that we will support.”

The mighty one-percenters may even suppress their greed and force a downturn in the economy to embarrass and defeat the President, so great is their hatred for him. So it is that even against any of the clowns that have entertained America since the Iowa crap-shoot, a second term will be no shoe in for President Obama. Despite the continued signs of economic and employment recovery, slow but steady, he will have a tough campaign against the big Super PACs.

Indian country has a proven friend in Barack Obama, and it’s in our interest to work for his re-election in November, whether or not he chooses to apologize to our people for past treatment at the hands of the European colonizers.

Charles “Chuck” Trimble was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was principal founder of the American Indian Press Association in 1969, and served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians from 1972 to 1978. He is retired and lives in Omaha, Nebraska. His website is IktomisWeb.com.

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