.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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, July 28, 2006

Garrett Yazzie, Finalist - Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge

Garrett likes freestyle motocross racing, basketball, and fishing. He hopes to someday pursue a career as an environmental engineer, he says, because "I want to help my Navajo community develop better energy resources."

In Garrett's remote town, most people have only basic water and house heaters. They cut firewood from the forest or haul coal from a mine. Since few have electricity, Garrett wanted to explore using an alternative form of energy, solar heat. He made a solar heater from the radiator pried from a 1967 Pontiac and 64 aluminum cans spray-painted black. He measured the temperature of the air leaving the back of the heater and the water inside the radiator. In just an hour, the water temperature increased from 20 degrees Celsius to 94 degrees Celsius – almost boiling, and hot enough that Garrett could see steam. Garrett has done further work to combine this heater with a window heater to heat a room.

McCain races to solve tribal funds dispute

WASHINGTON - The next few days may be Sen. John McCain's last best opportunity to resolve 10-year-old litigation against the federal government over billions of dollars in mineral royalties and land leases long denied to Native American landowners.

With time running out on the congressional session as well as on McCain's chairmanship of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, the Arizona Republican has set a hearing for Wednesday to finalize details of his bill to settle the class-action dispute.

The effort to bring together the opposing sides is a test of McCain's political pull and power of persuasion as he eyes a possible run for the presidency in 2008.

He needs to forge a settlement that satisfies Native Americans while it overcomes objections from congressional opponents who worry about the costs to taxpayers, including funds for retracing and verifying individual accounts and money owed. That is a goal that no one to date has managed to accomplish.

The case could linger for years longer in the court system if McCain's bill cannot solve the matter.

"I'm taking him for his word that he would work as hard as he could to get justice for Indian people," Eloise Cobell, a Blackfoot rancher and banker from Montana who filed the class-action lawsuit in 1996, said Thursday.

The lawsuit, Cobell vs. Kempthorne, seeks to force the government to account for billions of dollars held in trust for as many as 500,000 American Indians and their heirs. It alleges that royalty payments the federal government was supposed to distribute to thousands of individual Native Americans have been mismanaged for more than a century.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Interview with Louise Erdrich

"A Writer's Beginnings" by Louise Erdrich originally appeared in the August 2006 issue of Smithsonian magazine. Here, Erdrich speaks about notable weather, Wal-Mart and writing.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New DVDs - Will Rogers Collection

Fox Home Video’s “Will Rogers Collection, Volume 1” begins at the end of the great comedian and commentator’s career, presenting the last four films in which Rogers starred before his death on Aug. 15, 1935, in an experimental plane piloted by the pioneer aviator Wiley Post. At his death, Rogers was 20th Century Fox’s second-biggest box office attraction, coming in just behind the child star Shirley Temple, but he was something more than a movie star in Depression America.

As a stage star, notably in the Ziegfeld Follies, where he combined roping tricks with his off-the-cuff observations on the events of the day, and then as a radio commentator and traveling lecturer, Rogers had succeeded to an unusual position in American culture and politics. His was the voice of reason, humility and common sense, directed against the dark, unseen financial and political forces that had plunged the country into poverty. He had become a national hero who spoke (or, more accurately, muttered shyly into a microphone) on behalf of a rural underclass pounded into skepticism and despair.

Rogers’s humor was a brilliant balancing act of sentimentality and cynicism, his manner harking back to the cracker-barrel, aw-shucks style of Andrew Jackson and Lincoln, while his skeptical humor suggested the bitterness and suspicion of his frequent ideological rival, H. L. Mencken. There was nothing casual about the craft of his extremely canny performances; he can be seen in his films working every muscle of his magnificently expressive face, shading every word of every line as precisely as he wanted. Rogers managed the trick of making himself seem surprised by what came out of his mouth, turning gags that would have seemed smug or cruel from more aggressive performers — “When the Okies left Oklahoma for California, it raised the I.Q. of both states” — into dryly affectionate observations.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Abramoff and 4 Others Sued by Tribe Over Casino Closing

HOUSTON, July 12 — An Indian tribe sued the former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed, a candidate for lieutenant governor in Georgia, on Wednesday, seeking millions of dollars in lost revenues from a casino that the Texas tribe said had been fraudulently closed.

The suit, in Federal District Court in Austin, says Mr. Abramoff, Mr. Reed and three other men mounted a fake religiously themed moral crusade in 2001 to defeat a bill in the Texas Legislature that would have legalized gambling in Indian casinos.

Their real motive, the suit adds, was to promote the gambling interests of a tribe in Louisiana that was paying them to represent its interest in a competing casino.

Two former Congressional aides who pleaded guilty to corruption charges along with Mr. Abramoff were also named in the suit: Michael Scanlon, who worked for the former House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas; and Neil Volz, formerly on the staff of Representative Bob Ney of Ohio. Jon Van Horne, who worked with Mr. Abramoff at his lobbying firm in Washington, was also named.

“This case chronicles Jack Abramoff and his associates’ greed, corruption and deceit and their devastating impact on Texas’s oldest recognized Indian tribe,” said the suit, filed by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.