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Webmaster's Blog - Native American Resources

A place to put resources of a more ephemeral nature, such as events, recommended new websites, new books, etc.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Three Schools Lose Appeals on Indian Mascots

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Despite a letter from one tribal leader in support of the Fighting Sioux nickname, North Dakota lost its appeal to the NCAA on Friday while Illinois and Indiana University of Pennsylvania didn't fare any better.

The governing body's executive committee rejected appeals from all three schools that would have allowed them to use Indian nicknames or images without penalty. Bradley, the fourth school with an appeal, became the nation's first to appear on a five-year watch list.

The NCAA's message was clear: It would not retreat from its policy banning the use of ''hostile'' and ''abusive'' Indian nicknames, mascots and imagery at championship events.

''The NCAA has a responsibility to make sure its events are treated with respect for all and making sure that the environment is fully respectful,'' NCAA president Myles Brand said during a conference call.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Mohawks and Others Block Trains in Ontario to Protest Land Use

TORONTO, April 21 — Native Canadian protests spread across southern Ontario on Friday over a land dispute dating back to the Revolution, with Mohawks stopping at least a dozen freight trains and interrupting passenger train service between Montreal and Toronto.

There were no reported arrests or injuries.

CN Rail won a court injunction ordering the removal of demonstrators should protests continue. Via Rail, the national passenger line, announced it could no longer take weekend reservations on trains linking Toronto with Ottawa and Montreal, the nation's busiest routes, and was obliged to charter buses to honor existing reservations.

The demonstrations began at the end of February, when Mohawks of the Six Nations, a confederacy of Native groups, occupied a road outside Caledonia, an Ontario farming town, contending that a developer was building a housing project on Native land nearby.

The protests received little attention until the Ontario provincial police raided the group and arrested 16 people before dawn on Thursday. A scuffle left three officers injured, including one who was hit on the head by a bag of rocks and needed stitches. A few protesters said they had been hurt by police Taser guns.

The police action seemed only to feed the protests, as about 200 people returned to the site to build makeshift barricades, heap piles of gravel and burn tires and an abandoned van on the road.

Native protesters wearing camouflage pants and bandanas manned the barricades on the same road through Friday, but the police said they had no immediate plans to remove them again.

"We obviously prefer to have peaceful resolutions," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. "But we gather there has been some attempt at that, and the situation is quite complex on the ground."

Leaders from the Six Nations reserve are meeting with officials from the federal and provincial governments to try to settle the matter.

The dispute, involving a 100-acre plot, has its roots in a 1784 agreement in which Britain granted a large strip of land in what is today southwestern Ontario to Natives in gratitude for their support against the American colonial rebels. The Six Nations surrendered the land in 1841, but Native activists filed a lawsuit in 1995 claiming that the agreement was made under duress, and that in any case the authorities had failed to meet their commitments.

Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, a professor of aboriginal studies at the University of Toronto, said the Caledonia land dispute "could become a symbol of the broader dissatisfaction with how the government has dealt with land claims."

On Friday, Mohawks from the Tyendinaga reserve, near Belleville, set fires beside a CN Rail track and used two school buses to block traffic on a nearby road.

Natives of the Akwesasne reserve, near Cornwall, picketed a road near a busy American border crossing, and a group of Mohawks blocked the Mercier bridge near Montreal for nearly half an hour, interrupting commuter traffic.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Idaho Murals of Lynching Cause Debate

BOISE, Idaho, April 15 (AP) — For 66 years, two murals depicting the lynching of an Indian have been attached to a staircase wall in an abandoned county courthouse here.

The Idaho Legislature plans to move into the old courthouse in 2008 while the state Capitol is renovated.

Lawmakers, historians and Indian leaders disagree over whether the murals should be preserved as history or removed or covered up as disturbing and offensive.

"They should be painted over," said Claudeo Broncho of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, whose traditional territory included Ada County, where Boise is.

Others want to keep the murals as reminders of injustices committed against Indians. "The shame is not on those who painted the picture, but on those who refuse to acknowledge our history for what it is," said Ted Howard, cultural resources director for the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes.