Shout out to Native nations everywhere growing your nations and evolving your traditions
When Kira Kazantsev was crowned the new Miss America on Sunday night, a feeling of déjá vu set in.
Not only was she white — like all but nine of the 94 winners before her — she also fit snugly into a narrowly defined standard of Western female attractiveness: early 20s, long flowing hair and a thin, painstakingly tanned physique that would not seem out of place in a Victoria’s Secret catalog.
In many ways, the Miss Indian World pageant’s definition of what American beauty truly entails is the ideological antithesis to Miss America. Indeed, since 1984, this five-day competition based in Albuquerque, N.M., has honored Native American woman for their contributions to their communities, not their bikini bodies. The top award is given to the contestant who “best represents her culture,” according to Al Jazeera.
A Selk’nam couple with their baby, on a ship en route to be exhibited in Europe as “wildmen”. The Selk’nam people are an indigenous tribe in the Patagonian region of Southern Argentina and Chile. Both appear to have slight damage on their ankles from cruel, probably iron, restraints.
The fear and confusion on their face is haunting. For people who had lived a simple hunting and gathering lifestyle, with little European interaction, the rest of their lives must’ve seemed like a surreal nightmare.
Sex, Drugs and Blood Money on the Rez, By Ruth Hopkins
…Some of the outsiders coming onto our reservations are pimps and sex offenders. Sexual violence against Native women is already an epidemic. One Native women in three is sexually assaulted in her lifetime, and although it’s seldom discussed, sex trafficking has been a problem in the Dakotas for years. The oil boom has amplified it. Native women and girls who fall between the cracks are lured by men into sex work, or even sold by male relatives.
Thankfully, Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Jon Tester (D-MT) have called attention to sex trafficking and taken action to combat it, but prevention can’t happen soon enough. As camps brought by Big Oil spring up on treaty lands, we’ll see more sexual violence perpetrated against Native women. The reauthorized Violence against Women Act, which includes provisions for Natives, will assist tribes in fighting domestic abuse and sex crimes, but it doesn’t take full effect until March 7, 2015. Tribes cannot prosecute non-Indian abusers until that date and even then participation is not mandatory.
The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence against Women recently announced the release of three million dollars in grants to aid VAWA with Native provisions. That is seed money, but it won’t be enough, especially if the Keystone XL pipeline is implemented. South Dakota legislators must step up to the plate for Native women and take a strong stance in support of fighting sex trafficking in their state. Sen. Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Tester (D-MT), and Sen. Thune (R-SD) should all be questioned as to how they justify backing the Transcanada Keystone XL pipeline when it’s implementation will only make sex trafficking throughout the Northern Plains worse.
Politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths all the time, but that doesn’t mean Natives can’t call them on it and use our voting power to influence their decisions. As the Bakken oil boom peaks and fades, we will continue to see a rise in crime, in substance abuse, in sex trafficking, and in violence against Native women. We must act now to protect Native communities, and work toward educating tribal members on finance management. Above all, we must remember that no amount of money is worth the lives of our sisters.
'Meet the Generation of Incredible Native American Women Fighting to Preserve Their Culture' via Marie Claire
ONE DAY THERE WILL BE HORSES
by Joy Harjo
Your eyes peered out from the wreck
Of a three-day drunk.
Your eyes say good man, works with hands,
Knows how to dance, believes in the good of people,
And wants a chance.
We talked about relationships, jobs and all the casino winners
In your family: everyone but you.
Ayyy itʻs my turn now.
Your eyes laughed and kicked back
The afternoon sun.
You asked me to let you off near an overpass, north of town.
A creek ran parallel to the highway.
There were trees bending down
To cup the winds.
When I turned back to look you were walking west.
Work shoes and tools over your shoulder
in your broken bag.
A little rain began to fall
From sparse, lucky clouds.
Did you find a place to sleep,
And something to give your sustenance
for the long night?
Your eyes peer
Through the dark as you sing
A traveling song:
One day I will be rich.
One day I will have horses enough
To marry you with.
A beautiful set of portrait photography called PERCEPTION by Aboriginal artist K.C. Adams. She explains:
Tired of reading negative and disparaging remarks directed at Indigenous people of Winnipeg in the press and social media, local artist KC Adams creates a body of work that documents another perspective.
This photo series called “Perception,” is an attempt to combat the stereotypes some of the public have of First Nation, Inuit and Metis people to illustrate, you can’t judge a book by its cover.
In the first photo, the models were asked to think about racist remarks they or their family have experienced such as the text written on the title of their photo. In the second photo, they were asked to think about a family member or a happy moment in their life and write their own self-identifying title
"I always felt that there were so many Indigenous People in Winnipeg who were leaders in their community and living normal or average lives. However their stories never made it into the newspapers or on social media. Then the scandal with Mayoral candidate Gord Steeve’s wife Lorrie Steeves broke in the media and I realized that racism is very much alive in Winnipeg. I decided to ask models to pose for me and offer them a chance to label themselves". — KC Adams #perception — in Winnipeg, Manitoba.