The Central American country of Guatemala promotes its indigenous heritage to tourists, but its government has historically marginalized and discriminated against the Maya. Many endured terrible violence during a decades-long civil war and those memories are not gone. Twenty five years after the war’s end, human rights leader Rosalina Tuyuc is promoting healing for her people based ancient Maya wisdom. This story is part of The Spiritual Edge podcast and its series, Sacred Steps. For more stories like this, subscribe to The Spiritual Edge on your podcast feed or visit http://spiritualedge.org.
Welcome to Indigenous in Music! This week Larry welcomes Edmonton, Alberta’s top Indigenous Hip hop fusion artist Mr. “Rellik. He has just released his newest project which comes with new song and video called “Train Wreck.” You can hear his music and find out all about him on his homepage at rellikmusic.ca.
Music from Rellik, Nathan Cunningham, Indian City, Julian Taylor, Sober Junkie, Locos Por Juana, XAXO, Dj Bitman, Carsen Gray, Red Rockerz, Boogey the Beat, Iceis Rain, Herbie Barnes, JC Campbell, Michael Bucher, Angel Baribeau, Jace Martin, Mary Bryton, Bajofondo, Bebel Gilberto, Shon Denay, Ana Tijoux, Twin Flames, Marcelo D2, Stevie Salas, The Bloodshots, Alan Syliboy & The Thundermakers, Mike Paul, The Jerry Cans and much much more.
Alaska Native groups host Indigenize It non-partisan election event
Canadian government announces COVID-19 aid for First Nations
Navajo lawmakers approve plans to reopen gaming operations
Over the course of this country’s history there have been several Native Americans serving in the US House and the US Senate. But it’s a hit or miss. One or two. Then none. Three and now four … including the first two Native American women ever elected to either House.
Perhaps that time is growing near.
Montana is a great story.
Montana leads the nation when it comes to participatory democracy. And yet there are so many other states where that should be so from Alaska to Arizona to the Dakotas to Oklahoma. This country is better and stronger when every citizen has a voice.
Then, this is a difficult time for any campaign.
As my colleague Kolby KickingWoman reported last week in Indian Country Today: “The global pandemic has upended life for a lot of people … KickingWoman found politicians from Montana to Oklahoma who now use Facebook and virtual town halls to try and reach voters. Instead of going door to door or traditional campaigns.
One upside, according to Rudy Soto, Shoshone-Bannock, who is running for Congress in Idaho is that more voters are aware of the importance of government. He says he sees more people determined to register to vote and to participate.
That’s an important idea when the process itself is being changed by the pandemic. More states are open to the idea of shifting ballots to polling stations to the mails.
That’s already an area of promise in at least four of the states that held primaries last week, turnout surpassed 2016 levels. And, most of those votes were cast by mail.
Clearly people are voting with their feet. Or better … voting with their stamps.
Welcome to Indigenous in Music! This week Larry welcomes from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is the lead singer of the Rock and Roll Blues band “’Bluedog”. Joni Buffalohead will be in the house to tell us about the release of their 5th album “Take a Chance. Hear their album on Spotify Bluedog: Take A Chance
Music from Bluedog, Mike Bern, Tracy Lee Nelson, Angus Vincent, The Cody Blackbird Band, The Spiritual Warriors, David Huchfelt, B-Side Players, Irv Lyons Jr., Alan Syliboy & The Thundermakers, nehiyawak, Soda Stereo, iskwe, Wayne Lavalee, Tribalistas, Artson, MC Redcloud, Q052, Def-i, QVLN, Aterciopelados, Elastic Bond, Julian Taylor Band, Indian City, Shauit, Pura Fe, Cary Morin and much much more.
The corona virus pandemic is like nothing we have experienced before. The virus is new — and something we humans have no protection against — and so governments around the world including tribal governments are still trying to figure out how to respond.
This is Trahant Reports.
Why don’t people believe? Why the business as usual? And what will it take to change behavior?
Consider this math: California has a model that projects 25 million of its citizens will be infected by the virus over the next 8 weeks. That works out to 62.5 percent of the population.
And if California is a bellwether — as it often is — that means that out of 3 million people some 1.8 million people in Indian Country.
The World Health Organization and the CDC say mild cases account for 75-to-80 percent of the total. This is harsh, but that model means that about 500,000 people in Indian Country will get seriously ill or will die.
“It’s unfortunate that people are not taking this serious. Maybe it would be mass casualties that would really open people’s eyes,” Dean Seneca, executive director of Seneca Scientific Solutions. He told Indian Country Today and worked for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support for more than 18 years.
Seneca knew the U.S. was going to face a pandemic, and especially when China had more than 20,000 cases.
It is a hard thing to do to shut down everything. No visiting. No shopping. Just sit and wait.
And here’s the thing. We may have to do this for weeks if not months.
In California normally congested freeways are wide open and city streets are mostly empty.
Clearly life is not normal. Yet a lot of people still are living in denial.
Sunday night Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, White Earth, announced on her Instagram page that she lost her brother to the pandemic.
“Almost exactly two months after we buried our dad, my brother Ron passed on Saturday,” she wrote. “To many, he’ll be a statistic: Tennessee’s second COVID-related death. But to me, I’ll remember a loving, older brother, uncle, father, and husband.”
Flanagan said several weeks ago her brother was diagnosed with cancer. “His immune system was compromised and he contracted COVID-19,” she wrote. “He fought as hard as he could but it was simply too much for his body. THIS is why we must #StayHomeMN.”
She wrote that someone feeling well could still be carrying the virus … “then you walk past the next Ron, my big brother, in public.
The new normal. I am Mark Trahant.
One reason why the coronavirus — or COVID-19 — is frightening is that Indian Country has experience with infectious diseases.
This is Trahant Reports.
In her book, Pox Americana, Elizabeth Fenn writes about how fast smallpox spread across the continent. Fenn looked at Spanish burial records to trace the spread from Mexico City to missions in New Mexico. She found out how the disease made its way via trade routes from the fur country of Hudson Bay to the Pacific Coast.
The disease raced ahead of Lewis and Clark, so much so that when the captains made their way across the the Bitterroot Mountains, they were witnessing the tribes that had already been deeply impacted by the epidemic. One phrase that has stuck with me came from an Assiniboine scholar who wrote: Entire bands died.
And so it was about a hundred years ago when a violent strain of the flu went global. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 500 million people, or more than a quarter of the world’s population, were infected with the virus. And some 50 million worldwide died with about 675,000 deaths in the United States.
As my colleague Joaqlin Estus wrote in Indian Country Today:
The village of Brevig Mission, in northwest Alaska, lost nearly every resident, 72 of the 80 Inupiaq people died within five days. The village of Wales buried 172 people. Influenza devastated people in their 20s and 30s, productive hunters and food gatherers. Some survivors in isolated villages ended up starving to death in the aftermath of epidemics.
And this new virus, COVID 19 already has significant implications globally. Its effect on the world economy is alarming. And regions of the planet, from China to Iran, are in shutdown mode as people are staying home trying to limit its spread.
Many cases have been relatively mild, and some of those infected are believed to show no symptoms at all. But that is the ideal for the way an infectious disease to spread.
On Facebook there is a renewed interest, at least from my friends, in ending the practice of shaking hands. That’s an old tradition. One of the earliest references is found in a ninth century which shows an Assyrian leader sealing an alliance. Pairs of clasped hands even appeared on Roman coins. And Lewis and Clark handed out dozens of Peace and Friendship coins as they journeyed across the West.
But when you shake hands you pick up germs. So as this virus spreads … perhaps the handshake is a tradition that is coming to an end.
I am Mark Trahant.
Welcome to Indigenous in Music! This week Larry welcomes from the Tobique First Nation Mr. Mike Bern. He is a singer, songwriter and performer. He’s has given us a taste with a few singles, and his new album is soon to come. Find out all about Mike on his homepage www.mikebern.com.
Music from Mike Bern, Indian City, Kaeley Jade, Shauit, Gerardo Frisina, QVLN, STOiK, CHANCES, Darren Geffre, Bluedog, Nortec Collective, Gina Loring, Stolen Identity, Sandra Sutter, Tracy Bone, Conrad Bigknife, Leanne Goose, Leela Gilday, Shon Denay, Q052, Rellik, Ozomatli, Soda Stereo, Hour Eleven, District Avenue and much much more