Native Americans

When Nephi Craig enrolled in the culinary program at Arizona's Scottsdale Community College, there was nothing like "Native American Cuisine 101" in the curriculum.

The environmental review for what could be the largest coal export terminal in the country appears to have been put on hold.

SSA Marine is the company behind the proposed rail-to-ship coal terminal planned for the Puget Sound shoreline near Bellingham, Washington. It announced Friday that opposition from the Lummi Tribe was the main reason for its decision.

The tribe’s fishing grounds surround the project site, and the Lummi had asked the federal government to deny the permits for the coal terminal because it would violate their treaty fishing rights.

A few miles outside Glacier National Park in northwest Montana is land known as the Badger-Two Medicine, the ancestral home of the Blackfeet tribe.

But it's also the site of 18 oil and gas development leases, and an energy company is heading to federal court March 10 to fight for the right to drill there after decades of delay.

Blackfeet tribal historian John Murray doesn't want the drilling to begin.

Tony Johnson of the Chinook Tribe is fluent in Chinook Wawa. He stands at Chinook Point near the mouth of the Columbia, a key spot for the fur trade 200 years ago where strangers met and needed a common language.
KUOW Photo/Dwight Caswell

Chinook Jargon was a trade language that once ruled the Northwest. But when was it used, and how many people spoke it? Listener Michelle LeSourd of Seattle asked KUOW's Local Wonder. 

Canada's government is preparing to launch a major inquiry on murdered or missing aboriginal women.

A 2014 study by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police found that nearly 1,200 aboriginal women were murdered or went missing between 1980 and 2012. But two government ministers involved in planning the investigation say they believe the numbers are actually far higher.

Abusive Priests On Indian Reservations Leave ‘Profound Wound’

Jan 28, 2016
Attorney Vito De La Cruz in the KUOW studios.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Until the 1960s, Catholic boarding schools forcibly took Native American children from their families.

Ever since a tense, armed standoff near Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch in 2014, a vast and sensitive piece of federal public land adjacent to the Grand Canyon has gone unmanaged and unpatrolled.

It's safe to travel into the area called Gold Butte so long as you're not in a federal vehicle, according to Jaina Moan of Friends of Gold Butte, which wants to see the area federally protected.

The last time there was any known federal presence was last summer, when scientists under contract with the Bureau of Land Management were camped here, gathering field research.

When new signs go up on the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge this year changing it to bear the name of Billy Frank Jr., he won't be there to see it.

But his son takes solace in knowing that lots of other people will.

"People will drive through the Nisqually area, a stone's throw from where my dad was raised, and see my dad's name for the rest of time," Willie Frank, Billy's son, said. "He's never going to be gone."

In the Navajo culture, teachers are revered as "wisdom keepers," entrusted with the young to help them grow and learn. This is how Tia Tsosie Begay approaches her work as a fourth-grade teacher at a small public school on the outskirts of Tucson, Ariz.

For Navajos, says Begay, your identity is not just a name; it ties you to your ancestors, which in turn defines you as a person.

"My maternal clan is 'water's edge'; my paternal clan is 'water flows together,' " she explains. "Our healing power is through humor and laughter, and I try to bring that to my classroom."

With the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon in its fifth day, a local Native American tribe says the militants are "desecrating sacred property."

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Amanda Peacher tells our Newscast unit that Burns Paiute tribal leaders denounced the militants and demanded that they leave. "The 190,000-acre wildlife refuge is within Paiute ancestral lands," Amanda says.

Tribal Chairperson Charlotte Rodrique says that she is "offended by occupiers' statements about returning the land to its rightful owners," Amanda reports.

About 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, the latest statistics suggest, and it's probably about as common on Native American reservations as anywhere else. But a diagnosis in Indian Country is rarer, say mental health workers. That's likely at least partly because of a cultural belief — many Native American communities don't recognize dementia as a disorder.

Congress has adjourned for the year without authorizing the Klamath water agreements. And now the locally-negotiated compromises will expire at the end of the year unless signees decide to extend.

The three agreements would have provided a degree of peace in the Klamath basin water wars. But they needed congressional approval to move forward.

Supporting groups will meet Monday, Dec. 28, to decide whether to wait around yet another year for Congress to act. But some parties are already indicating they want out.

US Supreme Court
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The US Supreme Court heard opening arguments today in a case that could drastically limit that power of tribal courts. David Hyde talks to Robert Anderson, director of the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington, about the case and how it would affect tribes here in Washington state.

Shane Underwood (left) and his son, David, stand at the Quinault Indian Nation’s seafood plant in Taholah, Washington. The loss of the largest glacier that feeds the Quinault River and rising seas are threatening the tribe’s way of life.
Ashley Ahearn, KUOW/EarthFix

TAHOLAH, Wash. - A big question is confronting international leaders in the Paris climate talks: How do they help poor, island and coastal nations threatened by rising oceans, extreme weather and other climate change-related risks?

In the Northwest, sea-level rise is forcing a Native American tribe to consider abandoning lands it has inhabited for thousands of years.

'Tribal fishing below Horn Rapids Dam'
Flickr Photo/Scott Butner (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1Of6aXq

Bill Radke speaks with Maria Hinojosa, host of NPR's Latino USA, about the recent episode "Reservations," which features the Yakama Nation in Eastern Washington. Yakama tribal members there are now outnumbered three to one by Latino immigrants. Hinojosa said the increasing number of Mexican farm workers are pushing the tribe toward an existential crisis.  

Latino USA airs on KUOW Tuesdays from 11 p.m. to midnight. 

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