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Winona LaDuke

winonababy
Winona LaDuke

 

For those of you who are not familiar with her, Winona LaDuke is the Executive Director of a group called Honor the Earth.

Last week they began a new campaign  called   “Love Water, Not Oil,”  that is vital, no critical,  to all Americans, not  just Native Americans.

What Fracking and Oil pipelines have done and will continue to do to the environment of this country, should be high on everybody’s agenda.

Once our water supplies and land are contaminated, it will take thousands of years to make them safe again.

Hopefully, you will keep this in mind, when you go to the polls to Vote this week and next:

” which candidates are supporting Fracking and Oil Pipelines and which ones are opposed to them? “

The condition of the water and land that you will  have this time next year depends on it.

Here is a brief Bio that I wrote about Winona several years ago.

She was and is,  an amazing woman, that I have the utmost respect for.

A side note that I find interesting about Winona, she and Robert Redford share the same birthday, August 18th!

Winona_duke_dream_reborn
Winona LaDuke at Dream Reborn Conference  April 6, 2008
Picture credit: Eclectek

 

Winona LaDuke, who was born in 1959 and grew up in Los Angeles,  is Anishinabe/Anishinaabekwe – Ojibwe and an enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg of the Makwa Dodaem – Bear Clan of the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Her father, an Ojibwe was a supporting actor in westerns as well as an Indian activist and her mother, a Russian Jew from New York, was an art professor.

As a teenager LaDuke addressed the United Nations on mining issues.

After graduating from Harvard in 1982, she took a position as the principal of the High School on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

LaDuke is a Program Director of the Honor the Earth Fund and works nationally to promote and assist Native Environmental groups.

She is a Founding Director for White Earth Land Recovery Project: a reservation-based non-profit organization focusing on land, cultural and environmental issues.

LaDuke co-chairs the Indigenous Women’s Network and is Program Director of the Environmental Program at the Seventh Generation Fund.

LaDuke ran with Ralph Nader in 1996 and 2000 as his Vice-Presidential candidate for the Green Party and worked to increase Native American voter registration and activism.

She has written on environmental racism and is the author of several books including: Last Standing Woman and  All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life

LaDuke spoke at the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China on August 31, 1995.

Read excerpts from her speech

LaDuke teaches courses on Native Environmentalism at the University of Minnesota and other colleges and has campaigned for the reduction of nuclear waste.

In 1994, she was named by Time Magazine as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under 40 years of age.

She currently lives with her two children on the White Earth Reservation.

 

Places to learn more:

Native Americans Launch ‘Love Water Not Oil’ Ride To Protest Fracking Pipeline

Winona LaDuke – Wikipedia

Honor the Earth Website

Winona’s Facebook Page

Love Water Not Oil

First Nation Ride For Mother Earth Forms Norwegian/Indian Alliance

An Interview with Winona LaDuke

Honor the Earth – Wikipedia

 

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Making Marrow Matches!

navymarrowdrive
Capt. Todd A. Zecchin
June 28, 2006 – Mayport, Florida, during the ship’s Bone Marrow Drive
U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Adam Herrada

 

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month

This is a very difficult subject for me personally to write about, as our beloved Airedale,  Sabrina died of T-Cell lymphoma just three years ago. She was fairly young, at six years and very healthy, it took us by surprise, and went so fast. Her disease and her suffering were unbearable for all of us. Blood cancers don’t only kill people, they kill our beautiful pets as well.If you suspect a symptom with your pet, if you have any questions, or doubts, ask your Vet!”

 

For over ten years, locating a Bone Marrow Organization specifically directed towards assisting Indigenous People, Native Americans, or Alaskan Natives, in this Country has eluded me.

Much needed media attention, hype and hyperbole, was showered on the various Blood Cancer and Bone Marrow Groups, by the recent airing on GMA of Robin Robert’s illness, treatment and eventual Bone Marrow transplant.

She put a public face on a relentless, vicious,  killer disease and gave those also suffering from it, hope!

Robin was one of the lucky ones, as her sister turned out to be a perfect match, but for millions of Americans in this Country, there is/was no happy ending, no perfect match for them.

Many Native People on remote Reservations in America,  have two factors that can delay or detract  from them getting the treatment that they so desperately need,  a local Doctor to recommend them and just basic everyday, ordinary access to them.

Often Native Elders have no access to transportation,  or a local Doctor who is able to refer them to the next level of care, or treatment, on their particular Reservation.

This can make getting the help that they need, nearly impossible.

Right now, there are Native People who are suffering in silence and dying,  without ever getting to the help that they need and that is available to them.

According to a graph on the site below,  once Native Americans do get to the Bone Marrow Organizations, their chance of finding a match is right at 90%.

While this number appears to be quite impressive, please remember that this is, if and when they get there!

After contacting a National Bone Marrow Organization, yes the exact same one that was so vital to Ms. Robert’s recovery,  a phone conversation yesterday with their extremely helpful and dedicated, Marketing Director,  yielded much valuable information, that I am now passing along to you.

If you, or anyone you know, is in need, won’t  you please forward this on them, so that they may have a fighting chance against an insidious disease,  that does not discern between its victims, blood cancer, otherwise known as,  Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma.

Here is the asked for and kindly given,  comment from their Director of Marketing, Tanya Wright:

 

“Every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia or lymphoma. They desperately hope for a marrow donor who could give them a cure.

Be The Match® connects patients with life-saving donors. And right now, an American Indian or Alaska Native patient in your community likely needs a hero just like you, willing to give a small part of yourself to give someone a cure.

Here are some things you should know:

  • American Indian and Alaska Native patients have a harder time finding a donor than other diverse patients.
  • Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry, and American Indians and Alaska Natives combined comprise only 1 percent of the registry.
  • American Indian and Alaska Native marrow donors are urgently needed to save patients everywhere.
  • You can be the difference between life and death for someone in need.”

“You can join the national registry now to save a life by visiting BeTheMatch.org, learning more!”

Information about why diversity matters (in relation to marrow transplants)”

http://bethematch.org/Transplant-Basics/Matching-patients-with-donors/Why-race-and-ethnicity-matter/

Thank you!
Tanya Wright Strategic Marketing Specialist, Supervisor

Tanya Wright Strategic Marketing Specialist, Supervisor
3001 Broadway Street NE Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55413-1753
Phone: (612) 627-8113  Toll Free: (800) 526-7809 Ext 8113

The cure for blood cancer is in the hands of ordinary peopleSM. BeTheMatch.org.

 

Thank you Tanya, now here are some other places to learn more about these diseases:

National Bone Marrow Transplant Link –   (this is the mother of all Cancer Links, start here)

Event tries to attract black bone marrow donors

The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation – (For Jewish Patients)

The Bone Marrow Foundation

Kinds of Blood Cancer 

American Society of Hematology

Health Resources and Services Administration

Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches

DKMS

 

 

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Carlilse

pray3         pray4
Walkingfox offering a prayer after we learned that the children were not there.

 

Recently a friend suggested that I write about our experiences at this place of extreme misery, for so many Native American children in this Country.

In 1999, Walkingfox and I took a very long journey from Los Angeles where I lived,  to Connecticut where he lived.

This would have ordinarily been a four,  to five day trip, but not in this case.

I had plans for this adventure,  that as it began, he was completely unaware of.

You see, I had been to Reservations and places of historical importance for Native people in the West many times and I wanted to share these places and their stories with him.

He had never been to any of the places where we stopped and it was the most memorable trip of either of our lives.

We took our time and never went more than a hundred or so miles a day, it ended up being a thirteen  day trip~

There was just always something to explore and learn about when it came to Native people and culture.

One of our first stops was at the Hopi and Navajo Reservations in Nevada  and along the way, of course I had to make sure that he saw and experienced Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee in South Dakota, first hand.

The two places are so rich in history for the Lakota people and my own trips there had been some of the best of my life to that point.

As the miles and days went by,  we made many stops and learned and saw so much, but the last stop we made before heading into Connecticut,  would prove to be the one that changed both of our lives forever.

I had read about a place in Pennsylvania, a school, where Indian children from all over the country were sent to become civilized, their word, not mine.

It was called the Carlisle Indian School.

Many of these children had been taken forcibly from their parents in the West, but not all.

These young innocents, would have their physical appearances completely made over to appear to be ” white. “

They were forbidden to use their own language or practice their culture and were punished when they did.

Carlisle soon became known as a place of horror for Native children.

I was adamant about taking him there on this trip, so that we could experience it together.

We finally found the school and began the day for personal reasons at the Cemetery.

Walkingfox got out of the car and started walking slowly all around this sad place, stopping and saying prayers as he went and telling me what he was doing along the way.

There were many rows of graves and head stones, reading them was heartbreaking, as their ages ranged from only  just a few days, up to about twelve years old.

It was the saddest place that either of us had ever been to.

When he appeared to be finished, he turned and looked at me and his face told me something was wrong.

I asked what and he said, ” they are not here.”

I said, ” who? “

He replied, ”  the children, they are not here.”

I was not sure what to say in response to that, so we got back in the car and drove on.

A few minutes later,  we came to the Fire Station and  we went inside.

A very nice man came over and they began talking.

He told the man what he had already said to me.

The man gave him a look,  that I will never forget.

I got closer so I could hear what he said, ” how could you know that?”

” You are right,”  he said,  ” they are not there.”

Neither of us was prepared for what he said next.

” They are buried under the football stadium.”

They talked for a while longer, then we got back in the car and drove to the stadium.

When we got there, once again,  he got out of the car and began praying for the children who had died.

But, again that look.

” Now what, “  I said?

He said once more, ” they are not here.”

We walked all the way around the stadium and finally, he got another look on his face, a better one.

He smiled, and said, ” they are here.”

I felt sick now, but he seemed to be better.

You see, we were standing at the public bathrooms and it seems that the children were there, buried right at the bathrooms.

Nothing after that day,  would ever hurt either of us more.

No matter where we went, or what we saw, this had been the worst.

 

 

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Partners Against the Pipeline!

Reject-and-Protect

Gary Dorr – Nez Perce and Nebraska rancher Ben Gotschall.
Photo credit: Mary Anne Andrei / Bold Nebraska

 

This posting today may seem a bit off topic, but wait, it really is not.

It will also be posted to both of my Blogs,  as it concerns both people and animals!

When was the last time that Cowboys and Indians found an Issue that they could agree upon in this Country?

Hmmm.

Can’t seem to recall, can you?

Well an Issue that is critical to both sides right now,  saving their land and water,  has these unlikely partners  joining forces for a very important Weeklong Event called the:    Reject and Protect Campaign.

This page says it all:   Call to Action

The group is called the Cowboy and Indian Alliance from Nebraska and they have organized what will be a week of events from April 22-27, that will culminate in Washington, D.C.

And if you are now asking what the connection is to this Blog about Wildlife,  oh, it is only life, simply put, ALL LIFE, in these affected areas,  is depending on what happens with the dreaded Keystone Pipeline.

If this continually failing, leaking, rupturing, disastrous mess called the Keystone Pipeline is allowed to run through this country unimpeded,  it will, when it fails, as is has repeatedly done throughout its history, kill every living thing in its path, Human, plant and animal alike, they will all succumb to the deadly toxins that this pipeline will carry across our country.

This is a monumental, devastating decision that is about to be made and the wrong one spells death for millions.

We must never forget what lies directly under this pipeline on its journey,  the Ogallala Aquifer  and the life-giving water it brings to millions of those in the affected states.

Once water is contaminated, it’s all over.

How long can you politicians, masquerading as Humans, making these life altering decisions, drink sand?

Oh, I forgot, the people in Washington, D.C.  making these critical decisions, will never have to worry about having  clean water, to drink, they can always buy it in bottles, as they are quite well compensated for their few days annually of so-called work!

But for the millions of Indigenous People and other just average Americans, who are now living in the states where this pipeline will run, this may,  or may not be an option.

Many of them, especially on Reservations, are already living at or below the poverty level and will not have the extra money to run to the store and buy bottled water, when theirs becomes poisoned with  dirty tar sands crude oil.

Can we now talk about the Wildlife that will be affected by all of this?

The beautiful Sandhills of Central Nebraska,   a place I have been to many times,  are  home to my beloved Sandhill Cranes  by the millions,  as well as countless other threatened Wild animals.

The numbers that will die if this pipeline is put in, will be in the millions, think BP and the Gulf!

Now these Wild animals and the many poor Native people and others, who will be devastated by their decision,  are not at the top of any politicians list in Washington, I can  promise you.

Why you ask?

Because, Wildlife do not vote, or write big campaign checks, so whether they live or die is not a high priority to Politicians.

And Native Americans will never support any candidate or politician, who poisons the very  lifeblood of their people,  the Ogallala Aquifer.

If you are able, perhaps you might join them in April in their desperate efforts to stop this Environmental train-wreck,  known as the Keystone Pipeline.

 

Here are a few places to learn more:

Keystone XL pipeline may threaten Aquifer

3 Nebraska Senators sign letter urging rejection of Keystone

Keystone XL opponents express concerns

 

 

 

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Rape on the Reservations

UNiTE_Poster

Picture credit: The United Nations End Violence Against Women Campaign

 

As many of you know, my partner for the past 15 years is Walkingfox, who is a Mohegan from Connecticut.

This morning while posting his weekly Blog on his website, the story left me both sad and disgusted.

It was about the many rapes and lack of punishment of Native American Women on Reservations.

Here are statistics from the National Native American Bar Association of some very disturbing numbers for Crimes committed against Native Women:    Violence Against Native Women

So, as this is still Women’s History month, I would like to offer you more about this very serious, ongoing problem that is happening to so many Women, but is out of the mainstream American News and you may not know anything about it at all.

Indeed, these are the kinds of stories that will most likely not ever be shown on your, local news, unless you live on a Reservation.

If these hideous crimes were being committed in other Countries, we would,  as a Nation,  be filled with rage, up in arms, you only need recall when a woman  in India was gang raped on a Bus last year,  there was an instant rush, an avalanche of rage here over this brutal rape.

So, where is the rage for Native Women in this Country?

Kathryn Rice, of the Pawnee Nation,  who spoke recently at UCA about Sex Crimes Against Native American Women in America,  stated that Native Women living on Reservations face these brutal statistics:
one in three will be raped in their lifetime.”

And, if you are wondering how that number compares with Non Native Women, their number is, 1 in 6.

Another stunning quote from the  recent speech by Kathryn Rice:
“Indian women are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from sexual abuse than any minority group. ”

If you are interested, here are some numbers for Global rape statistics:  Rape Statistics

You will notice, that Native American Women were not included on this website page, and  yes I sent them off a little note asking them why?

So, now for some conclusions.

After reading countless stories, one particular fact was often repeated, the victims were usually raped by off Reservation people, making the chance of any conviction all but impossible, as only the  US Government can prosecute the criminal.

This well-known fact may be the primary reason so many non natives commit this crime, they know full well, that they will never be put in jail or brought to justice.

For entirely too long in this Country,  Native Women had been considered easy targets of countless, brutal, violent  crimes, primarily because of the way our History has presented and demeaned them.

The ugly past of this Country, has kept Native Women fighting to retain their dignity,  while a living in a world frequently controlled by Non Natives who do not respect them and take their anger out on them with little fear of reprisal, because they can.

Another often repeated term was,  ” An epidemic of sexual violence.”

Well, if this was a viral epidemic, immediate and definite steps would be taken by all affected parties, right?

So then, what is the answer for the ugly crime of  ” Sexual Violence “ against Native Women?

How can Native Women protect themselves and stop this cycle of brutality, this madness?

In my opinion, changing the current  laws must be the first step to stopping this and it is beginning already with the recent new words written into the Violence Against Women Act  (VAWA).

But the law may need to be tweaked again, with even stronger language this time,  further applying to all Reservations and their Tribal Rights and Responsibilities, when it comes to contending with violence against their women and what they can legally do about it.

But it must continue right on to the Reservations as well. Women must collectively have open discussions about what they are going to do for themselves to change this.

All over the world, Indigenous Women are now learning how to demonstrate that they are quite capable of forming all kinds of groups to address problems for a myriad of other cultural Issues,  the time has come and even passed, for rape to be one of them.

When women join together, when they act and speak with one voice, they can conquer any obstacle, I know how strong they/we are.

Now it is time for women to let the rest of the World know too.

 

Here are some places to learn more:

Native American Women and Violence

Speaker Sheds Light On Sex Crimes

Sexual Violence Scars Native American women

For Native American Women, Scourge of Rape, Rare Justice

Rape on Native American Reservations

Rape Cases On Indian Lands Go Uninvestigated

Native American Women and Rape –  An Escalating Crisis on Tribal Lands

 

 

 

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