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Blog Assignment #7 Last One, Oh Yeah! oh Yeah!!

The first: presentation that I found the most informative was by Lisa Atcity on the artificial making of snow on the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona. Lisa informed us that waste water is what companies use to make fake snow. Lisa reported on the Hopi Nations findings on the subject because they are the most active in resisting the fake snow. Hopi people are also known as the Peaceful People and they live in three mesas consisting of a total of twelve villages and over 1.5million acres of land. The 1978 American Indian Religious Freedoms Act is supposed to protect American Indian sacred sites which are not successful at protecting the San Francisco Peaks. The reclaimed waste water being used to create snow on the ski resorts, are affecting the lives of animals and plants in the area. Because the reclaimed waste water is made up of water from sewage it may be contaminated so the companies making the snow treat it with antibiotics and chemicals found in household cleaning products; these two substances make it hard on any plants and animals that come in contact with the runoff of the fake snow, throwing off the natural balance of the native species in the area. One of the pros that seemed the most legitimate was the fact that the treated waste water kills parasites and bacteria during the treatment process. I found it very amusing to hear that people bring their families, friends and kids to play in fake snow made from human and animal waste.

The second: presentation I found the most informative was the from Alicia Gangone regarding the Lakota tribes in South Dakota and Mato Tipila (Bears Lodge) or referred to as Devils Tower by non-Natives. The two sides of the Mato Tipila debate are the Native people trying to preserve their sacred site and the non-Native mountain climbers. The two side’s conflict with each other because the month of June is significant to the Lakota people for the reason that it starts off the summer solstice and the beginning of ceremonies such as the Sun Dance, Vision Quests, and the area is used for prayer and religious practices. The non-Native climbers also feel that the month of June is significant to their culture of climbing because the Devils Tower to them is one of a kind and one of the most desired places to climb in the United States. Both side’s present decent arguments but one thing they can both agree on is that the month of June is one of the only months with manageable weather to spend time outdoors in the north western tip of South Dakota and north eastern border of Wyoming meet. I absolutely loved the fact that the Lakota people rather than have the park closed to outsiders and ban non-Natives, they preferred to have the park open to anyone and allow non-Natives to make their own decision to choose not to climb during the month of June out of respect for the Lakota people and their sacred time of ceremony. I feel that this is a great way for the Lakota people and non-Natives to learn to respect one another and find a way to work together. It would be a great show of respect to see both sides find a resolution on this debate and hopefully the rest of the country could learn from the example that the Native people and non-Natives set in this situation.

The third: presentation that I found interesting and informative was the presentation by Maverick Lang of the Muscogee Creek Nation regarding his tribe’s original land and sacred sites located in Georgia. The main reason why I enjoyed this topic so much was because; when I came to Haskell in fall 2010 the city of Lawrence has been trying to build a traffic way through the wetlands in southern Lawrence. The preservation of the wetlands here on the Haskell campus and south side Lawrence are very important to the history of Haskell and the struggles that Native children had when they came here in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to go to boarding school. The same situation is happening in Georgia with the Muscogee Creek Nation’s sacred sites; many grave sites and unmarked graves are located in these wetlands and many Native people’s culture and beliefs go hand in hand with leaving the land to be preserved. The city in both situations on the other hand want to build a traffic way right through the middle of the wetlands to make traffic less complicated and make commuters daily routine a little bit easier. The idea has been brought up to make the traffic way go around the wetlands keeping the sacred/cultural sites intact and making the traffic way a less direct but still shorter route. The city and wetlands preservation teams are continuing to combat one another with conflicting ideologies. I am hopeful that a peaceful resolution will be achieve that works for both sides without one or the other being forced to compromise more than they are willing to compromise.

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Blog Assignment #5

I believe that LaDuke’s thesis is “There is a direct relationship between the loss of cultural diversity and the loss of biodiversity.” I believe that LaDuke made a clear connection between tribal issues and how they related both to the environment and to each particular tribes culture that was having the issue being discussed. As LaDuke goes through each chapter and each story, I feel that the relevancy of each issue becomes stronger, and by the time we get to the end of the book we are looking at issues that tribal people and nations are facing today (2014) in the United States of America. I believe that LaDuke did a good job of supporting her thesis in the book because every class discussion we were looking at both issues dealing with biodiversity as well as issues dealing with cultural aspects being effected by environmental issues. I absolutely enjoyed this book, not just the content but the class discussions that developed from reading it. The first case study I liked was the White Earth case, in the Great Lakes region of Minnesota. This case study showed how mineral assets could be assessed and how quickly ownership of land could change hands. The second case study I enjoyed was the Buffalo Nations. This took a cultural aspect in the beginning of the chapter to help me grasp the importance of nature, environment and culture. In the 1800’s buffalo killing was part of a military policy; however so many Native tribes honored the buffalo as being sacred. The problem this created was that the killing of buffalo’s contradicted with Buffalo Nations beliefs causing them to second guess their tribes teachings and question their cultures. This made the connection of biodiversity and cultural diversity clear to me. The third example from the test I enjoyed was Hawai’i. I liked how this chapter talked about how Hawaii became the island it is today and that the original Hawaiians were actually from other places in the south pacific. This chapter also talked about how many plants that are on Hawaii today were not indigenous to the island. I believe that the way Hawaii was originally colonized (by indigenous people) would be the correct way to colonize a place, for the sake of knowledge and living better rather than for the sake of capital gain.

Blog Assignment #4 – AIS-320

There is a Superfund site called Salt Chuck Mine, in the Organized Village of Kasaan, Alaska. The Salt Chuck Mine is located at the northern end of Kasaan Bay, on Prince of Wales Island in the Tongass National Forest. The Salt Chuck Mine is inactive now in 2014 however, during the Alaskan gold rush the mine was highly active in the mining of gold, copper and silver. The mining of these precious metals caused enough damage to still be negatively effecting the area years after the closing of the Salt Chuck Mine. The Salt Chuck Mine is located less those ten miles from the native village of Kasaan. The area is beautifully forested and is only accessible by trail, plane, or by boat.
The cause for concern comes from the harmful waste that is left behind from the early mining operation. These organic chemicals causing concern include coal, tar, hydrocarbons and petroleum fuel components remaining from mining operations. The wildlife in the area can be affected by these chemicals and the Native people who depend on the wildlife as sustenance are also affected because they are consuming the fish, clams, elk, and other wildlife that have been in contact with these harmful chemicals. The state of Alaska has issued health warnings concerning the consumption of any wildlife in the area of Salt Chuck Mine. The Environmental Protection Agency is planning on further investigating the harm that has been done.
The cleanup that has been done so far is highly progressive and much has been done to salvage what is left of the (natural) habitat for the native people and wildlife. “In 2011, the U.S. Forest Service built a short access road to the site, removed building debris, drums and tanks, excavated 5,400 cubic yards of petroleum-contaminated soil and 8,400 tons of contaminated material including metals-contaminated tailings.1” The Kasaan Bay has a Watershed Management Plan that was able to identify the Salt Chuck Mine as a top priority for cleanup because of the contamination that the mine had caused and the impact that it had on resources in the area which was a great relief for the tribal people from the Organized Village of Kasaan. Although the Salt Chuck Mine cause damage that is affecting the Kasaan tribe, the efforts being made to fix the problems that were caused is relieving. It would be wonderful to see more communities work together to fix environmental problems that have been cause by mining operations throughout the country.

1 http://www.epa.gov/region10/pdf/sites/salt_chuck_mine/CIP_Salt_Chuck_04_26_2013.pdf
2.1 Salt Chuck Mine History.

http://www.epa.gov/region10/pdf/sites/salt_chuck_mine/CIP_Salt_Chuck_04_26_2013.pdf

Research Project Environmental Protection in Indian Country.

Blog Assignment #3 – AIS-320

Research Question and Prospectus
Then, in one or two paragraphs, the student needs to indicate why they chose the topic and what they may expect to discover in the course of their research.

In what ways has the Navajo Nation been exploited for their energy resources? How was and how has Council of Energy Resource Tribes been able to benefit the Navajo Nation, helping them profit and avoid exploitation? In this research project my hope is to take an in depth look at ways in which the Navajo Nation has been exploited for energy resources, and what the main type of energy is in the region. I also plan to look at Council of Energy Resource Tribes involvement with Navajo Nation to find what lead to their success as partners.

This will be my first big research project. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a research inter with American Indian College Fund over the summer and I feel that this project will be my first real chance to take what I learned and apply it to my education. My hope in this research project is to find ways that Council of Energy Resource Tribes has benefited the Navajo Nation and target a specific energy resource that the Navajo Nation and CERT worked together to make a successful source of revenue. The reason that I chose the Navajo Nation is because they are one of the largest tribes with the largest reservations and the most tribal members. I believe that the information available about the Navajo Nation and their involvement with Council of Energy Resource Tribes will be readily available and I feel that of all the energy resources that Navajo have available can relate closely to most other tribes. Other tribes with similar resources may benefit from the information available from the Navajo Nations experiences with CERT. Tribal members will be able to use the information collected from my research to see what resources are available in the southwest and other areas, they will also gain knowledge on what lead to the success of the Navajo Nations involvement with Council of Energy Resource tribes.

Environmental Issues in Indian Country

Let’s face it, there are many environmental issues regarding Indian tribes that are all of significant importance, however I found one that I find to be particularly disturbing. The topic I feel that is most important to involving American Indian environmental issues is the storage and/or improper disposal of nuclear and hazardous waste on or near Indian reservations. The reason that I believe this issue is the most important is best said by Bayley Lopez of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, “In the quest to dispose of nuclear waste, the government and private companies have disregarded and broken treaties, blurred the definition of Native American sovereignty, and directly engaged in a form of economic racism akin to bribery.1” I believe this is a priority over some of the other environmental issues solely because it is very dangerous for people who are living on and around reservations with disposal and storage sites, these innocent people are being exposed to toxic materials that could potentially cause immediate or long term health complications.
The first example I found of this was involving the Skull Valley band of Utah’s Goshute tribe. In this particular case the tribe was solicited to store spent nuclear waste on their tribe’s land. The problem for the tribe came when the storage of the nuclear waste was done above ground. The improper storage and disposal can affect the environment in multiple ways including climate change and air pollution, not to mention water contamination and the possibility of direct contact with toxic waste without even knowing that you have encountered the dangerous material. The second example I found was with the Prairie Island Indians who have two nuclear reactors stored on their reservation only hundreds of yards from where people are living. The unfortunate detail regarding this particular case is that the tribe could not afford an attorney and the BIA instead acted on their behalf. “The end result was selling the right away along the only road running through the reservation for $178 and no portion of the $20 million the plant would pay in property taxes.2”
The very unfortunate thing about most situations like these one’s is that the proper disposal of nuclear waste is so costly and time consuming that these large manufacturers and corporations would rather pay a sovereign nation to improperly dispose of or store their toxic materials for them. For the corporations, this is fine, out of site out of mind as they say. But for the Indian people affected by this improper storage and disposal it is another story, one that will last longer that the tribal people are living on their land, because some nuclear waste can take up to one million years to be disposed of.

1) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-talk-reservations-about-toxic-waste/

2) Winona Laduke, All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life, Cambridge, Ma South End Press, MN, Honor of the Earth, 1999, 106-107

Resilience against Global Warming

This August 31, 2014 article by Bob Berwyn is called, “Federal Funds Boost Native American Climate Resilience Efforts” the topic of the article is also the caption used for the picture that is provided by the source for the article, “Global Warming poses a serious threat to Native American Communities .”

Bob Berwyn is of European blood and he came to live in the United States later in life. Mr. Berwyn began working in and around the Western United States at lodges and volunteering as a naturalist for the Mono Lake Committee. Mr. Berwyn’s expertise in environmental knowledge comes from his experience living and working in and around Nature, mainly in Colorado which is where he lives now. It was in 1996 when Mr. Berwyn decided he would use his environmental knowledge to try to do good and at that time that he signed on to work full time as a staff reporter for the Summit Daily News.

I do not believe there would be any reason to be biased in this case because the author is simply providing the information to the reader. However, in Mr. Berwyn’s bio, it states that he wants to use his environmental knowledge for good. A second possible reason for choosing to write this article on this specific topic may come from Mr. Berwyn living in Colorado, his home or places near his home may also be an area that is damaged by global warming who may see some benefit from the Federal Funding.

The article seemed to provide some good information as to what the plan of attack is and who will be getting involved. There is going to be four key areas where federal grant money could possibly be awarded to tribes or organizations who are looking to stop or slow down the progression of global warming. Those areas are, “development and delivery of climate adaptation training; adaptation planning, vulnerability assessments and monitoring; capacity building through travel support for climate change training, technical sessions, and cooperative management forums; and travel support for participation in ocean and coastal planning .”

I believe the author did a good job of providing information. There were a few specifics that stood out to me and the first of those was that, funding will be made available to educate tribal youth in an effort to educate our future tribal leaders in environmental issues, and also allow them to get involved in conferences and workshops starting at a young age. I believe this to be important because starting to educate our future leaders at a young age is crucial to the survival of tribal ways including Traditional Ecological Knowledge. I believe that TEK’s are going to be a driving force in the preservation of our resources as well as the avoidance of further environmental damage such as global warming. The second point that stood out to me was that, these Federal Government reps. are admitting that Tribal Nations are capable of leading the fight against environmental injustices and they also know that tribal Nations are at the forefront of the damage caused because of the change in the respect for the environment by the surrounding communities. It is my hope that this is an honest effort from our Government rather than another financial endeavor disguised as one.

Title of photo; http://summitcountyvoice.com/2014/08/31/federal-funds-boost-native-american-climate-resilience-efforts/
Paragraph eight; http://summitcountyvoice.com/2014/08/31/federal-funds-boost-native-american-climate-resilience-efforts/