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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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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

May 5th - National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit Relatives

Native women face the highest rates of violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault of any group in the United States. On May 5, 2021 President Biden signed an official proclamation bringing attention to the issue. (https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/05/04/a-proclamation-on-missing-and-murdered-indigenous-persons-awareness-day-2021/)

Indigenous groups, women, families of the missing and murdered, and allies came together to bring awareness and attention to this ongoing crisis. 

On May 6th there was a widespread problem on Instagram where posts that highlighted the issue were deleted or taken down. Posts we’ve been able to count as deleted range from artwork, videos showing solidarity, resources, and information that highlights organizations who work on this issue. On a day when many Indigenous peoples shared how the epidemic has impacted them, our community, and their families, they were silenced using a platform we have often turned to find community and educate others. (https://www.instagram.com/p/COin757rh9L)

 

Erasure of Native peoples and issues is violence and is rooted in white supremacy. Instagram must be held accountable.

ACTION 

We are asking those impacted by this erasure to sign onto a letter that will be sent to Instagram leadership.

Sign Here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeYRuUQWEYnI_OD9C88r6NvGeE20kV5IMihAYhiQSneWmw16A/viewform
 

To learn more about the Missing and Murdered Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit epidemic, please visit the organizations below.

Haaland Confirmed by Senate as First Native American to Lead Interior

On March 15, 2021 Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior Department by a 51-to-40 vote in the Senate, making her the first American Indian to lead an agency that manages a vast portfolio of federal land and the oil and mineral wealth that lies beneath it.

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo Nation in New Mexico and whose family ties in the country can be traced back 35 generations, will take control of a department that also oversees Indian Country, 574 federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native communities.

Four Republicans crossed party lines to vote for Haaland. The close vote reflected broad support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition from Republicans.

Many Republicans decried Haaland’s support for the Green New Deal, which calls for dramatically lowering fossil-fuel emissions, and her opposition to an expansion of oil and gas drilling on public land, saying the positions disqualified her to lead an agency that has traditionally promoted those ventures.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) recalled how Republicans launched a “ferocious” attack against Haaland, calling her views on managing public land extreme and “radical” during her committee confirmation hearing. Meanwhile, Smith said, some of those same senators posed little opposition to Tom Vilsack’s nomination to run the Agriculture Department, although many of his views are similar to Haaland’s.

“I just find it difficult to take these Republican attacks at face value,” Smith said. “Once again a woman, and a woman of color, is being held to a different standard and we need to call it.”

Two key GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, broke with their caucus days before the vote to announce their support for Haaland.

Murkowski said she would vote to make history despite her strong reservations about the effect a secretary with Haaland’s views could have on her oil-rich state.

Native Alaskans make up about 20 percent of her state’s population, according to the 2014 Census update, and hundreds of women submitted an open letter in the Anchorage Daily News in support of Haaland. Alaska’s second senator, Dan Sullivan (R), joined Murkowski in voting for Haaland.

Collins praised Haaland’s deep knowledge of Indian affairs and said the nominee gained her trust, and her vote, during a meeting.

The significance of the achievement moved Crystal EchoHawk to tears. “I get emotional right now because our children will know that anything’s possible,” said EchoHawk, executive director of IllumiNative, a group that uses pop culture and media to dispel Native American stereotypes. “We turn on the TV, we look at the news and we don’t see anyone who looks like us.”

Haaland is scheduled to be sworn in on March 17th. In addition to being the first Native American to run Interior, she will be only the third woman to run the agency and the first American Indian to hold a Cabinet-level position.

When she accepted her nomination for the job in December, Haaland recalled that Alexander H.H. Stuart, the department’s third secretary, said the only alternative for the United States after defeating Indians in wars was to “civilize or exterminate them.”

“If it weren’t for covid, there would probably be thousands of Native Americans descending on D.C.,” EchoHawk said. “But thousands of people will gather virtually. We’re organizing a virtual watch party and a virtual celebration.”

During her confirmation hearings, Haaland said repeatedly that her priority as a member of President Biden’s Cabinet will be to help execute his climate plan. Biden’s goal is to allow some oil and gas drilling and mining, while also working to lower the carbon and methane gas emissions from those operations.

Haaland said she will also focus on restoring land that has been scarred by excavation of resources such as coal and uranium. Water issues such as pollution and warming that have decreased fish stocks that Indigenous people rely on for food and ceremonies is another focus.

A personal priority, Haaland said, is the issue of missing and murdered women in Indian Country, which on some reservations is 10 times higher than the national average, according to studies. Native American women are also more likely to be trafficked for sex and labor.

For the full article, go to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2021/03/15/haaland-interior-secretary/

Posted by: S. Jean Schafer

 

 

Moral Policy Agenda to Heal America: The Poor People's Jubilee Platform

The Poor People’s Jubilee Platform is organized into five sections: 

Part I. Establish Justice and End Systemic Racism: The Right to Democracy and Equal Protection Under the Law 

Part II. Promote the General Welfare: The Right to Welfare and an Adequate Standard of Living

Part III. Ensure Domestic Tranquility: The Right to Work with Dignity

Part IV. Secure the Blessings of Liberty: The Right to Health and A Healthy Environment 

Part V. Provide for the Common Defense: Reprioritizing our Resources 

The Platform is grounded on five principles: 

  1. We need a moral revolution of values to repair the breach in our society. This platform abides by our deepest Constitutional and moral commitments to justice. Where harm has been done, it must be acknowledged and undone.
  2. Everybody in, nobody out. Too many people are hurting and we can’t be silent anymore. Everybody is deserving of our nation’s abundance.
  3. When you lift from the bottom, everybody rises. Instead of “trickle-down,” we start with the bottom up.
  4. Prioritize the leadership of the poor, low-income and most impacted. Those who are on the frontlines of these crises
    must also be in the lead in identifying their solutions.
  5. Debts that cannot be paid must be relieved. We demand freedom from servicing the debts we cannot pay.

We have been investing in punishing the poor; we must now invest in the welfare of all. We have been investing in systemic racism and voter suppression; we must now invest in expanding democracy. We have been investing in killing people; we now must invest in life. We have been investing in the wealthy and corporations; we must now invest in the people who have built up this country and make it run every day, the 140 million and more who have been abandoned in an era of abundance. 

(https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org/about/jubilee-platform/)

Jean Schafer

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