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Category: Current Events

I Read Donald Trump’s Proclamation Commemorating Columbus Day So You Don’t Have To

I Read Donald Trump’s Proclamation Commemorating Columbus Day So You Don’t Have To

When it comes to native peoples, the President has become the Ignoramus-in-Chief, a bigot who issues statement after statement intended to rub salt in the wounds left by a long and traumatic history.  First, there was his reversal of the Obama Administration’s tepid opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Then there is his continuous and mocking derision of Elizabeth Warren, one of his likely opponents in 2020, who he insists on calling “Pocahontas.” And now, his proclamation honoring Columbus Day,…

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A Note to Students, on the Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh

A Note to Students, on the Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh

I write these words early on a Saturday morning.  Sometime later today, I expect that the Senate will vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.  Republican leadership in the Senate corrupted the nation’s institutions to force through a justice who stands credibly accused of sexual assault, and who appears to have perjured himself in his testimony before the Senate.  Democratic Senators never managed to view all the documents on Kavanaugh’s career, including his time in…

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The Indian Child Welfare Act Under Attack Again

The Indian Child Welfare Act Under Attack Again

Over at Turtle Talk, you can read the federal court decision coming out of the northern district of Texas in the case of Brackeen v. Zinke.  Judge Reed O’Connor has held that the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 is unconstitutional because it grants to Native American children special treatment on the basis of their race. The Brackeen’s provided foster care for a Native American child, but they were prohibited from adoption because of the ICWA.  You can read Judge…

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“Civilization Or Death To All American Savages”: On the “Commemoration” of Sullivan-Clinton, 1779

“Civilization Or Death To All American Savages”: On the “Commemoration” of Sullivan-Clinton, 1779

“Civilization or Death to all American savages!”  That was one of a number of toasts offered by the officers who accompanied James Sullivan’s invasion of Iroquoia during the American Revolutionary War.  Planned and plotted by George Washington himself, the “Sullivan Campaign” burned dozens of Haudenosaunee towns, destroyed crops, orchards and fields, and forced the Iroquois to flee from their homelands toward the British post at Niagara.  There they suffered and died in large numbers during one of the worst winters…

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We Need To Get Woody Guthrie Right, Now More Than Ever

We Need To Get Woody Guthrie Right, Now More Than Ever

Every couple of months I read on Twitter another denunciation from someone in the Native American/Indigenous Studies community of Woody Guthrie’s famous song, “This Land is Your Land.” It’s a “obvs hella-colonial” song, the critique goes, because Guthrie’s claim that the entire continent “from California, to the New York Island” belonged to you and me ignored the original Native American owners of North America.  As such, Guthrie erased the reality of Native Americans’ antecedent claims to the continent and, in…

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What If I Don’t Like Chipotle? Jerry Brown and Higher Education

What If I Don’t Like Chipotle? Jerry Brown and Higher Education

Jerry Brown, the governor of my home state, recently aired some complaints about college professors and higher education. “What I like about Chipotle,” he told a meeting of the California Chamber of Commerce, “is the limited menu. You stand in the line, get either brown rice or white rice, black beans or pinto beans,” Brown said. “You put a little cheese, a little this, a little that, and you’re out of there. I think that’s a model some of our…

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Times Up?

Times Up?

I have been thinking a lot, and reading a lot, about gun control and the various strategies for achieving it since Saturday’s “March for Our Lives.”  I went to the local march here in Rochester. There was a small cluster of pro-gun counter-protestors standing on the edge of Washington Square Park, holding their menacing “Molon Labe” flags and signs, and they engaged in running debates with some of the audience.  I heard all the familiar NRA talking points, including the…

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This Week’s Current Events Roundup

This Week’s Current Events Roundup

Native America focuses on a number of communities in order to tell the story of Native American people in what became the continental United States.  In the past few days, news stories have appeared connected to the tribes and nations we focus upon in the book that you might want to share with your students. According to the Newport News Daily Press, the Pamunkeys of Virginia, one of the constituent nations that belonged to the Powhatan Paramount Chiefdom, are looking…

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Kelvin Sampson’s Latest Journey to the NCAA Tournament

Kelvin Sampson’s Latest Journey to the NCAA Tournament

One of the many issues the students in my Indian Law and Public Policy course struggle with is the concept of federal recognition.  The 1978 statute and the process is complicated enough, but there is also the legislative route some tribes have followed, like the Pamunkey and their neighbors in Virginia.  Students in New York State have little concept that there are native peoples who belong to “unrecognized” tribes.  Kelvin Sampson, the head coach of the University of Houston Cougars…

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Incarceration Rates for Native Americans

Incarceration Rates for Native Americans

Many of my students have seen The 13th, the scathing documentary that looks at the close relationship between racism and violence in modern America.  Not only does the United States, with 5% of the world’s population, incarcerate nearly a quarter of the people on earth who live their lives behind bars, but it does so in a manner where African Americans are are disproportionately represented in the prison population.  Racism is alive and well in this Incarceration Nation. I spend…

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