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S.A.V.E. intends to use this platform to communicate about what we are learning and doing on behalf of vulnerable women. By blogging we are able to share information and offer readers a way to also intensify their commitment to do whatever they can to empower women so women in turn can empower their children and families.

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Learn About '7 Weeks of Action for 7 Generations'

“7 Weeks of Action for 7 Generations” 
Campaign Launches to Every Corner of Indian Country
Calling for the Passage of the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) formally launched a national media advocacy campaign, “7 Weeks of Action for 7 Seven Generations.” NABS, along with Tribal leaders, Congressional leaders, advocates, and boarding school survivors across the country, to call on Congress to pass the Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act (S.2907 / HR 5444). 

“The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act is long overdue. We urge Congressional leaders to act now. Native people have endured nearly two centuries of boarding school policies; the truth cannot wait any longer,” states Deborah Parker (Tulalip), NABS CEO. “The irreparable harm cannot be undone, but the US can begin to acknowledge the truth about what happened to hundreds of thousands of Native children. This truth is the foundation for a future of healing and accountability that boarding school survivors and descendants deserve.”

The “7 Weeks of Action for 7 Seven Generations” campaign hosted a virtual kickoff event on Tuesday, September 13th. The event featured the following key Congressional leaders, Tribal leaders, and national advocates:

  • National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, Deborah Parker (Tulalip Tribes), CEO 
  • National Congress of American Indians, President Fawn Sharp (Quinault Nation)
  • Dr. Ramona Klein (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), Elder/Boarding School Survivor
  • U.S. Congresswoman Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk), K-03
  • U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, AK - Invited
  • Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, Chairman Reno Franklin (Kashia)
  • Shawnee Tribe, Chief Benjamin Barnes (Shawnee)
  • Kutoven “Ku” Stevens (Yerington Paiute Tribe), Youth Ambassador
  • Dallas Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota & Diné), Actor/Writer/Environmentalist, Reservation Dogs, Rutherford Falls, & 1491s. 
  • National Education Association, Sedelta Oosahwee (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), Sr. Program Specialist
  • National Indian Health Board Representative
  • National UNITY Council, Co-President Chenoa Scippio (Navajo Nation) 

“We firmly believe every person in this country has the right to truth, healing, and a complete understanding of the historical and current impacts of the Federal Indian Board Schools,” states Sandy White Hawk (Oglala), NABS President. “The Department of Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative is foundational to the federal government acknowledging this history. We know that establishing a Congressional Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies is the most comprehensive way to investigate and document those impacts.”

For over 150 years, hundreds of thousands of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children were taken or coerced away from their families and Tribal Nations. Generation after generation Native children were forced to attend government and church-run Indian boarding school institutions. These institutions were tools of assimilation and cultural genocide, resulting in the devastating loss of language, culture, and the permanent separation of children from their families. Survivors of Indian boarding schools have described physical, sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse and neglect. At the same time, many other children died while in the custody of Indian boarding school institutions. We need your help to bring truth, justice, and healing for these crimes committed against Native children.

CONTACT:
Press Email: press@nabshc.org
Phone: (612) 354-7700
Website: www.boardingschoolhealing.org

Posted by S. Jean Schafer SDS

The U.S. Immigration Debate

We include here an informative article published on Aug. 3, 2022 by Claire Klobucista,  Amelia Cheatham, and Diana Roy recounting the complex issues around immigration in the U.S.

Summary

  • Immigrants have long made up a significant portion of the U.S. population. In 2020, they composed almost 14 %.
  • Congress has failed to agree on how to address immigration challenges, leaving many policy questions up to the courts and executive branch.
  • President Joe Biden has reversed many of former President Donald Trump’s restrictive policies, even as he has struggled with a historic influx of migrants.

Introduction

Immigration has been a touchstone of the U.S. political debate for decades, as policymakers have weighed economic, security, and humanitarian concerns. Congress has been unable to reach an agreement on comprehensive immigration reform for years, effectively moving some major policy decisions into the executive and judicial branches of government and fueling debate in the halls of state and municipal governments.

President Donald Trump put the issues back at the center of public debate with his unprecedented efforts to curb immigration and reshape asylum policy. President Joe Biden pledged to reverse Trump’s actions and reform the system, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and an influx of migrants have complicated his plans.

What is the immigrant population in the U.S.?

Immigrants compose almost 14 % of the U.S. population, or about 45 million people out of a total of nearly 332 million in 2020, according to the Census Bureau. Together, immigrants and their U.S.-born children make up about 26 % of U.S. inhabitants, and some researchers have predicted that this number will reach 36 % by 2065.

The share of the population that is foreign-born has steadily risen since 1970, when there were fewer than ten million immigrants in the U.S.. But there are proportionally fewer immigrants today than in 1890, when foreign-born residents comprised nearly 15 % of the population. 

As of 2019, Mexico was the most common country of origin for U.S. immigrants, with Mexicans constituting 24 % of the immigrant population. Other major countries of origin include India (6 %), China (5 %), and the Philippines (4.5 %).

Undocumented immigration. The undocumented population is estimated to be about 11.4 million people, a slight decrease from its peak before the 2008 economic crisis [PDF], which led some migrants to return to their home countries and discouraged others from coming to the U.S.. In May 2022, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) apprehended 239,416 people trying to cross the southern border, the highest monthly figure in two decades.

Roughly two-thirds of undocumented immigrants have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, and many are the parents of U.S.-born children. Until 2013, almost all of those trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border were Mexican citizens and most were individuals seeking work; since then, Central Americans have made up an increasingly large share, reaching 81 % [PDF] in 2019. Generally, they are coming not for work but to make asylum claims, and many of them are unaccompanied children. Some of these immigrants have different legal rights from Mexican nationals in the U.S.: under a 2008 anti–human trafficking law, unaccompanied minors from noncontiguous countries have a right to a hearing before being deported to their home countries. The spike in Central American migration has strained the U.S. immigration system, with more than 1.8 million cases pending in immigration courts as of June 2022.

Though many of the policies that aim to reduce unlawful immigration focus on enforcement at the border, individuals who arrive in the U.S. legally and overstay their visas comprise a significant portion of the undocumented population. A Center for Migration Studies report found that, between 2010 and 2018, individuals who overstayed their visas far outnumbered those who arrived by crossing the border illegally.

Legal immigration. The U.S. granted more than seven hundred thousand individuals legal permanent residency in fiscal year 2020, down from approximately one million the previous year. Almost two-thirds of them were admitted on the basis of family reunification. Other categories included: employment-based preferences (21 %), refugees (6 %), diversity (4 %), and asylees (3 %). In late 2021, more than four million applicants were on the State Department’s waiting list[PDF] for family- and employer-related immigrant visas.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals work legally in the U.S. under various types of nonimmigrant visas. In fiscal year 2021, the U.S. granted just over 61,500 visas for high-skilled workers, known as H1B visas, and more than 257,000 visas for temporary workers in agriculture and other industries. H1B visas are capped at 85,000 per year, with exceptions for certain fields.

Immigrants made up approximately 17 % of the U.S. civilian workforce [PDF] in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared to those born in the U.S., greater shares of immigrants worked in service fields (21.2 % of all foreign-born people); production, transportation, and material moving (15.3 %); and natural resources, construction, and maintenance (14.2 %). A 2017 Pew Research Center study projected that, without immigrants, the U.S. workforce would decline by almost ten million people by 2035.

How do Americans feel about immigration?

A 2021 Gallup poll found that 75 % of Americans surveyed considered immigration to be good for the U.S.. At the same time, however, the majority felt that illegal immigration was a significant threat to U.S. national security.

According to a separate poll conducted by Vox and Data for Progress the same year, 69 % of voters surveyed—including a majority of Republicans—supported a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants if they meet certain requirements. A greater share (72 %) supported citizenship for immigrants brought to the U.S. when they were minors, who are often referred to as Dreamers.

How has Congress tried to address the issue?

The last push for a major immigration overhaul came in 2013, following a decade in which Congress debated numerous immigration reforms, some considered comprehensive, others piecemeal. (Comprehensive immigration reform refers to omnibus legislation that attempts to address the following issues: demand for high- and low-skilled labor, the legal status of the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country, border security, and interior enforcement.) The last comprehensive legislation to make it through Congress was under President Ronald Reagan in 1986; it granted legal amnesty to some three million undocumented residents. In 2007, President George W. Bush worked with congressional Democrats to reach a compromise on a new comprehensive bill, but it ultimately failed to win enough support in the Senate.

President Barack Obama pressed hard for a comprehensive bill that would pair a path to legalization for undocumented residents with stronger border security provisions. The Democrat-led Senate passed this legislation in 2013, but the bill stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

What was the Obama administration’s approach?

With legislation thwarted, Obama took several executive actions to provide temporary legal protections for undocumented immigrants. In 2012, his administration began a program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which offered renewable, two-year deportation deferrals and work permits to undocumented immigrants who had arrived in the U.S. as children and had no criminal records. 

Obama characterized the move as a “stopgap measure” and urged Congress to pass the DREAM Act, legislation first introduced in 2001 that would have benefited many of the same people. Since then, more than eight hundred thousand people have participated in DACA, and it’s estimated that almost 1.2 million more were eligible as of 2021. Obama attempted to extend similar benefits to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents in a program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA), but the Supreme Court effectively killed the program in 2016.

In 2014, Obama also grappled with a surge of more than sixty thousand unaccompanied minors at the southern border, mostly from Central America. He directed $750 million in aid to the region to improve conditions there. Meanwhile, his administration faced criticism for its enforcement policies, including detaining children in poor conditions and overseeing the deportation of more people—more than three million—than either the Bill Clinton or George W. Bush administrations had.

What was the Trump administration’s approach?

Immigration was a signature issue for Trump and a perpetual source of controversy during his term. Blaming previous administrations for failing to secure the southern border, he advocated for sharply reducing both legal and illegal immigration. He took several steps, many through executive action, to reshape asylum, deportation, and border policy. 

Border security and enforcement. Trump vowed to expand the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which he claimed would stop drugs and gangs from entering the country. He was unsuccessful in securing funding from Congress, leading to a federal government shutdown in 2019 and a subsequent declaration of a national emergency, which allowed him to divert funds to the wall. Approximately 450 miles of border wall were built before the Biden administration halted construction in January 2022. 

Other enforcement measures under Trump included increasing in border personnel; sending thousands of active-duty troops to the border; threatening Mexico with tariffs if it did not increase its own border enforcement; and attempting to cut federal fundingto so-called sanctuary cities, or jurisdictions that refuse to enforce federal immigration directives.

Trump also ratcheted up previous administrations’ deterrence efforts. He implemented a zero-tolerance policy, under which authorities arrested and prosecuted everyone caught crossing the southern border without authorization. This caused thousands of family separations, since by law children must be held apart from parents facing criminal prosecution. (Presidents Bush and Obama likewise faced criticism for child detention, but they did not make separations a matter of policy.)

Trump sought to sharply reduce the number of refugees and other immigrants granted legal entry. 

DACA. Trump sought to end DACA, calling it unconstitutional. The move spurred multiple legal challenges and, in June 2020, the Supreme Court blocked Trump’s plan. A December 2020 federal court ruling forced the Trump administration to resume accepting new applicants.

Travel bans and refugee cap. Trump aimed to sharply reduce the number of refugees and other immigrants granted legal entry into the U.S.. In 2017, he instituted a ban on immigration and travel from several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Somalia, and Yemen. The original order was rejected by the courts, but the Supreme Court upheld a more limited version. Trump also lowered the cap on the number of refugees the U.S. accepts each year to less than fifteen thousand for fiscal year 2021—the lowest figure in the history of the U.S. refugee program. Additionally, he ended temporary protected status (TPS)—a program that allows migrants from certain crisis-stricken nations to live in the U.S. for a limited period—for several countries.

Asylum policy. Trump implemented new restrictions on asylum seekers. In 2018, the administration began “metering” asylum applications, or only accepting a limited number [PDF] each day. The next year, it launched the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the Remain in Mexico program, which required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases were pending in U.S. immigration courts. At the same time, it sought “safe third country” agreements with Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and others, which would have allowed U.S. authorities to send asylum seekers who traveled through those countries back there. Only the agreement with Guatemala was implemented before that country terminated it in 2021. 

Comprehensive reform effort. Like his immediate predecessors, Trump proposed broad immigration reform. His would have created a merit-based system to replace the current one, which prioritizes family reunification. It also included expansion of the border wall and an employment verification system known as E-Verify, but it did not address the status of current undocumented residents. However, the proposal faced strong opposition in Congress and made little headway. 

How has the pandemic altered immigration policy?

The Trump administration further restricted immigration amid the COVID-19 pandemic by: curbing travel to the U.S., effectively halting asylum procedures, turning away most migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, and suspending the processing of many foreign worker visas and green cards. 

The administration framed these changes as necessary to limit the virus’s spread and protect American jobs, but critics accused Trump of using the public health crisis to further his anti-immigration agenda. Some argued that the detention and deportation of migrants during the pandemic fueled the virus’s spread

Despite his stated goal of reversing Trump’s border policies, Biden initially maintained many pandemic-related restrictions, including limits on nonessential entry into the country. In addition, he has continued Title 42, a public health order that allows for immediate expulsion of apprehended migrants, though he exempted unaccompanied children and some adults. However, Biden has also implemented several changes, including increasing the number of visas issued to immigrants.

What is the Biden administration’s approach?

Biden campaigned on overturning almost all of Trump’s immigration policies. In its first few months, his administration took dozens of actions, but his efforts collided with a dramatic rise in migration to the southern U.S. border.

Biden’s steps to undo Trump-era policies have included reducing immigration enforcement inside the U.S., ending the travel bans, lifting the suspension of green card processing, and halting construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. His administration has also expanded TPS protections, canceled safe third country agreements, and raised the refugee cap for fiscal year 2022 to 125,000 after initially maintaining the limit imposed under Trump. It has additionally launched efforts to accelerate the reunification of migrant families, including by reinstating the Central American Minors (CAM) program, which reunites children in the Northern Triangle with their parents in the U.S..

However, Biden has faced roadblocks. His discontinuation of Remain in Mexico was challenged by several states and then blocked by the Supreme Court. (In June 2022, the court ruled that the Biden administration could end the program, sending the case back to a Texas federal court.) A federal judge halted DACA, putting that program’s future in doubt. Meanwhile, a historic influx of migrants at the southern border threatens to destabilize Biden’s efforts further: after a pandemic-related drop, border apprehensions spiked to nearly 240,000 in May 2022, the highest level in more than twenty years. Thousands of migrant children are detained in bare-bones border patrol facilities. The administration has sought to address the underlying causes of the crisis, promising $4 billion in new aid to Central American countries, but at the same time has issued stern warnings to would-be migrants to not make the journey. 

During the 2022 Summit of the Americas, twenty-three heads of state from Western Hemisphere countries agreed to a migration pact that aims to increase aid to refugee populations, improve border management, and better coordinate emergency responses. Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also proposed a joint infrastructure plan aimed at securing the southern U.S. border, emphasizing an expansion of temporary work visas and increasing investment in border surveillance.

Meanwhile, Biden has sent Congress his own comprehensive immigration bill, which would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, expand visa and green card availability, broaden asylum eligibility, and boost border security spending. However, the bill still remains under deliberation, and analysts say it will be nearly impossible for the bill to win enough Republican support to pass.

How are state and local authorities handling these issues?

States vary widely in how they treat unauthorized immigrants. Some states, such as California, allow undocumented immigrants to apply for drivers’ licenses, receive in-state tuition at universities, and obtain other benefits. At the other end of the spectrum, states such as Arizona have passed laws permitting police to question people they suspect of being unauthorized about their immigration status.

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-immigration-debate-0The federal government is generally responsible for enforcing immigration laws, but it delegates some immigration-related duties to state and local law enforcement. However, the degree to which local officials are obliged to cooperate with federal authorities is a subject of intense debate. As of 2019, almost one-quarter of U.S. counties limit their cooperation with ICE, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

The degree to which local officials are obliged to cooperate with federal authorities is a subject of intense debate.

President Trump decried these sanctuary jurisdictions and reinstated a controversial Obama-era program known as Secure Communities, in which the FBI shares fingerprints of suspects collected by state and local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities. Under the program, state and local agencies also hand over individuals presumed to be in the country illegally. Biden terminated the program shortly after taking office. 

A range of court rulings during the Trump era increased pressure on states. In 2018, the Justice Department launched a lawsuit against California over sanctuary jurisdictions, which was ultimately dismissed by the Supreme Court. It filed similar suits against New Jersey and Washington and a federal court ruled in 2020 that the Trump administration could withhold federal funding from sanctuary jurisdictions, including New York City. Under Biden, the Justice Department has reversed this stance, leading the Supreme Court to dismiss several pending cases.

Trump’s border security policies prompted differing local reactions. After Trump called on states to deploy National Guard contingents to the southern border, several governors refused. Others, including Texas’s Greg Abbot, embraced Trump’s views and have vowed to continue work to expand the border wall, which the Department of Homeland Security has continued to build in parts of California and Texas.

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-immigration-debate-0

Posted by S. Jean Schafer

Pope Francis Apologizes to Canadian Native Americans

Excitement, Then Ambivalence, For the Pope’s Visit to Quebec

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/30/world/canada/quebec-pope-francis.html

Pope’s Canada Visit Highlights Complex Relationship Between Catholicism and Indigenous Cultures

https://www.wsj.com/articles/popes-canada-visit-highlights-complex-relationship-between-catholicism-and-indigenous-cultures-11658828110

Pope apologizes for ‘catastrophic’ school policy in Canada

Pope Francis issued a historic apology on July 25th for the Catholic Church’s cooperation with Canada’s “catastrophic” policy of Indigenous residential schools, saying the forced assimilation of Native peoples into Christian society destroyed their cultures, severed families and marginalized generations.

“I am deeply sorry,” Francis said to applause from school survivors and Indigenous community members gathered at a former residential school south of Edmonton, Alberta. He called the school policy a “disastrous error” that was incompatible with the Gospel and said further investigation and healing is needed.

“I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples,” Francis said.

Francis’ words went beyond his earlier apology for the “deplorable” abuses committed by missionaries and instead took institutional responsibility for the church’s cooperation with Canada’s “catastrophic” assimilation policy, which the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission said amounted to a “cultural genocide.” (Read the full article here

https://apnews.com/article/pope-francis-canada-apology-visit-137ad23719603e9d370257f257ec0163)

Posted by S. Jean Schafer

Unsolved Disappearance of Indigenous Women Is Based in Racism

Since 1900, 165 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women have been reported in California. There are thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) across the United States. For many years, authorities overlooked the crisis but now families and community members are demanding justice for crimes that they say stem from centuries of oppression.

The National Information Crime Center, a federal agency, has documented more than 5,000 cases of missing Indigenous women. Experts say the real number is likely higher. Eighty-four percent of Indigenous women experience some form of violence during their lifetimes while those living on reservations are killed at 10 times the national murder rate.  

Violence against Indigenous people has a long history, going back to the early days of colonization and extending to include slavery, land seizure, the forced removal of children from their families, and multiple massacres. In California, according to one of SBI’s reports, “historians estimate that as many as two out of three California Indians were killed in the two years following the [1849] discovery of gold.”

Native American families continue to contend with this “bloody legacy,” as the report calls it. Their daughters, sisters, and mothers are vulnerable, says Lucchesi, and predators know it. Police are less likely to investigate missing Indigenous women, known perpetrators are less likely to be prosecuted or convicted, and the media is less likely to cover MMIWG cases with the same alarm as those of missing white women.

Read the complete article at: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/article/california-crisis-missing-indigenous-women

Posted by S. Jean Schafer

Polish Citizens Reach Out to Assist Ukrainians Fleeing War

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine is in its tenth day. Ruined buildings, schools and institutions, collapsed bridges, destroyed villages. We see photos that show how much destruction the Russian invasion left behind in Ukraine. Mariupol is 'encircled and mercilessly attacked' by Russian forces. At the same time, Moscow conveyed that from this city residents will be able to pass through humanitarian corridors on March 5th. 

"The Ukrainian army reports Russian planes and helicopters were shot down and the defense ministry reports more than 66,000 men have returned from abroad to fight in the war against Russia. Sad are the conversations of Russian captives -- at the same time frightening and touching. Many of them did not know where they were going, what they were going for, or what awaited them.

"Since Feb. 24, 2022 787,300 people have fled Ukraine and entered Poland. Fear, tears, joy, hope and gratitude mix on the Polish-Ukrainian border. The President of Poland assured that all residents from Ukraine are allowed into Poland, both those who have passports and those who have no documents. Over the past few days we have received refugees from Ukraine, who originate from 170 countries around the world. 

"The President added that some of these people, such as students from India, have already flown back to their homes. Indian authorities sent a coordinator to Poland to deal with this. Everyone is given assistance on equal terms, able to travel further into Poland on buses and trains. Local government transport companies are introducing free rides for refugees from Ukraine. They can also ride regional and other railroads for free. Polish citizens are also transporting humanitarian and material aid for Ukrainians remaining in their country.

"Mothers with children are slowly acclimating to their new surroundings in Polish families.... Their husbands and fathers stayed behind to fight for Ukraine's freedom. War triggers layers of extraordinary empathy. We want to help and open wide our hearts to the needs of Ukraine and all refugees who, unable to fight, seek shelter in Poland.

"Sisters - thank you for your support and most of all for your prayers." 
Sister Noemi Raczkowska SDS, Provincial Superior March 5, 2022

Rethinking U.S. National Holidays

The Native Organizers Alliance (NOA) is guided by traditional values, helping to build the organizing capacity of tribes, organizers, and community groups for transformational policy change. NOA is a traditionally organized, ever-growing circle of Native-led movements, communities, and groups. It empowers Native leaders and activists by providing a platform for collaboration, educating the public, and building meaningful relationships with non-Native allies.

NOA states that Native communities have always found ways to come together to share joy and to give thanks through community organizing and reciprocity. From harvest feasts and green corn festivals to powwows and tribal dances – showing gratitude is an important and integral part of Indigenous life and our relationships.

During Thanksgiving the NOA invites people to help dispel the myth of the “first Thanksgiving” and its silence about genocide and systemic racism. Instead, learn the history of Native peoples and how much they have overcome to remain a resilient and vibrant part of cultural and political life today.

During November’s American Heritage Month, NOA celebrated some important moments in Indian Country, including:

  • The first Summit of Tribal Nations since 2016,
  • Chuck Sams (Cayuse and Walla Walla) making history as the first Native American confirmed to lead the National Park Service after 150 years since the establishment of national parks that were seized from Native communities, and  
  • Consideration of a 20-year withdrawal of federal lands within a 10-mile radius around Chaco Culture National Historical Park, which would bar new federal oil and gas leasing on those lands.

NOA is grateful for the progress these policy shifts reflect and mindful of the critical role that Native Organizers Alliance plays in organizing grassroots political power. NOA states that knowing the power of Native values and walking a spiritual path toward social change is the only way to fulfill Native ancestral responsibilities. http://nativeorganizing.org/updates/

Chief Oren Lyons - Native America and The Roots of American Democracy - Hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans to North America the Haudenosaunee or “Iroquois Confederacy” formed a democratic government that brought lasting peace to the Northeast and was later used  by the Continental Congress as a model for the US Constitution. In a TED talk, Chief Oren Lyons sheds light on how this democracy functioned and its relevance to our strained democracy today.
Hear his reflections at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs0EK1z9xhc

Tracing the Roots of California Ecocide and Seeking the Fruits of Repentance 
The webinar traces the connections between the ecological crisis in the state of California and the attempted genocide and removal of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands. Christian denominations are beginning to acknowledge and seek to make amends for the role of the Church in sanctioning this destruction under the Doctrine of Discovery. At the same time, a growing environmental justice movement is recognizing that Indigenous ecological knowledge is essential for land conservation. Creation Justice highlights examples of conservation efforts led by Indigenous groups in California, and offers opportunities for faith communities to come together in support of these initiatives. https://www.creationjustice.org/california.html  

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition provides a history of Native American Boarding Schools.
Beginning with the Indian Civilization Act Fund of March 3, 1819 and the Peace Policy of 1869 the United States, in concert with and at the urging of several denominations of the Christian Church, adopted an Indian Boarding School Policy expressly intended to implement cultural genocide through the removal and reprogramming of American Indian and Alaska Native children to accomplish the systematic destruction of Native cultures and communities. The stated purpose of this policy was to “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.”
Between 1869 and the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Native American children were removed from their homes and families and placed in boarding schools operated by the federal government and the churches. Though we don't know how many children were taken in total, by 1900 there were 20,000 children in Indian boarding schools, and by 1925 that number had more than tripled. The U.S. Native children that were voluntarily or forcibly removed from their homes, families, and communities during this time were taken to schools far away where they were punished for speaking their native language, banned from acting in any way that might be seen to represent traditional or cultural practices, stripped of traditional clothing, hair and personal belongings and behaviors reflective of their native culture. They suffered physical, sexual, cultural and spiritual abuse and neglect, and experienced treatment that in many cases constituted torture for speaking their Native languages. Many children never returned home and their fates have yet to be accounted for by the U.S. government. Read the publication
https://boardingschoolhealing.org/education/us-indian-boarding-school-history/

The Case for Reparations: Cal Task Force Hears Painful Personal, Family Stories 
California’s Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals took an expansive but deeply personalized look at the history of Slavery, racial violence and injustice in America and traced how that past still shapes how we live now.
https://lasentinel.net/the-case-for-reparations-cal-task-force-hears-painful-personal-family-stories.html 

1491: Rewriting the History Before Columbus – Author, Charles C. Mann, discusses his book and sheds light on the complex and interconnected civilizations that actually existed in the Americas prior to Columbus and how they were profoundly changed by his arrival.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhncJH4UFQI

Lee Brown – Native American Indian Prophecies
Native Americans have been one of the most actively oppressed and often ignored groups in U.S. history. We all have much to gain from beginning to understand their cultures and collective story. In a 20 minute talk, Lee Brown (Cherokee) discusses traditional Native American prophecies that reveal an indigenous perspective on the unfoldment of history, the consequences of segregation of the “races” and the need for humanity to come together in order to survive and prosper.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKQ9mkyTSqk
Partial transcript of Lee Brown’s talk:
https://www.globalmarketplace.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Native-American-Prophecies-Fulfilled.pdf

Posted by: S. Jean Schafer

Minnesota Forms Nation's First State Office on Missing, Murdered Indigenous People

Native American women make up less than 1 percent of the Minnesota’s population, but homicide rates for Native women were seven times higher than for white women between 1990 and 2016.

The state’s newly-passed public safety budget included funding to create the first state office in the nation with a focus on missing and murdered Indigenous relatives. Forming the office was a recommendation of a task force focused on the same issues. The task force provided a Report (https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ojp/Documents/missing-murdered-indigenous-women-task-force-report.pdf) to the MN state legislature which helped establish this new office. It is possibly the most comprehensive report in the nation. And the new office is the first in the nation. The bill also funds a new task force on missing and murdered African American women.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland is creating a federal level unit (https://www.doi.gov/priorities/missing-and-murdered-indigenous-peoples). It will open the world of data collection, accountability and the ability to create more legislation so that those systemic issues that are attributed to the vulnerability of Native women and other groups will be addressed.

For full article (07.06.2021), see: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/07/06/minnesota-creates-nations-first-state-office-on-missing-murdered-indigenous-people?fbclid=IwAR36XhtpDBY5-5WIusLGlzvJ7Kw-FjDUHoJRkjh3LXvVB-VjRC1sFbKecoQ

Posted by: S. Jean Schafer

Illuminatives' Three Year Anniversary

In June 2018 IllumiNative was born from unprecedented research that showed invisibility is the modern form of racism against Native peoples and a primary threat to Native lives and livelihood. We were founded to build power for Native peoples to dismantle invisibility and the racism it fuels by amplifying Native voices, stories, and issues across popular culture, media, and other key sectors of society.

In just three years, IllumiNative has re-educated millions of Americans about who Native peoples are today and sparked a national conversation about the systemic racism we face. We have:  

  • Reached more than 144 million people across social media; 
  • Placed 291 articles and interviews in major media outlets, from the New York Times and Washington Post to People Magazine, Teen Vogue, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Lifetime, and more.
  • Partnered with 18 major entertainment and media companies to increase pathways for Native talent and representation.

With our partners across Indian Country and by tapping into powerful grassroots networks and telling our stories, we have played a leading role in achieving groundbreaking victories, including:

To learn more, go to: https://illuminatives.org

Native Education for All: https://illuminatives.org/nefa/

Native American Boarding Schools

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) expressed deep gratitude for the leadership of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who announced on June 22, 2021 the Department of Interior Federal Indian Boarding School Truth Initiative. This marks the first major federal investigation into the U.S. government’s Indian boarding school policy. NABS believes this investigation will provide critical resources to address the ongoing historical trauma of Indian boarding schools. 

The NABS has been pursuing truth, justice, and healing for boarding school survivors, descendants, and tribal communities and continues to call for Congress to pass the “Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies Act”. NABS is working closely with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office to reintroduce the bill this summer. On June 24, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments, approved a resolution calling for a federal commission to build on the Department of Interior’s initiative. Both the Department of Interior’s initiative and the resolution from NCAI request that boarding school sites be examined to identify known and possible student burial sites and the number of children interred at these locations. 

“This federal initiative comes at a critical time when the discovery of our lost children in unmarked graves in Kamloops, Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada, as well as the repatriation of our children from Carlisle Indian Boarding School, is revealing the deep grieving and unhealed wounds of the boarding school era’s impacts on our families and relatives,” said NABS’s CEO, Christine Diindiisi McCleave (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe).

NABS has identified 367 historically assimilative Indian boarding schools that operated in the U.S. between approximately 1870 until 1970. However, NABS has only been able to locate records from 38% of the boarding schools that we know of. Because the records have never been fully examined, it is still unknown how many Native American children attended, died, or went missing from Indian boarding schools. We believe that the time is now for truth and healing. We have a right to know what happened to the children who never returned home from Indian boarding schools. 

For more information, go to: https://boardingschoolhealing.org

Submitted: Jean Schafer

Boarding School Healing Webinar Series

Learn more about the traumas connected to boarding schools for Native American children.

On June 14, 2021, the Army War College will honor the request of Rosebud Lakota and Aleut family members for what will be the fourth disinterment and repatriation of students from the Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. 

Jean Schafer

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