“No, the truth.”
Gary Fife/Radio Communications
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — O.K., from the top down. Indigenous Day was declared by the U.S. President, Joe Biden… “The Federal Government has a solemn obligation to lift up and invest in the future of Indigenous people and empower Tribal Nations to govern their own communities and make their own decisions.”
Being the skeptical type, one has to wonder how that will take shape for the rest of his administration. We now have the first Native American as the Secretary of the Interior, a Native as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs (nowadays that’s a given) and a Native nominee for Director of the National Park Service. That’s a pretty good start.
It’s good to see how the rest of the nation has been changing its perceptions of Native peoples and cultures. For instance, the late Wilma Mankiller will appear on the U.S. quarter. She was the first woman to be elected as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and accomplished much in the advancement of her tribe and Native peoples across the country. The coin is expected to be circulated in 2022.
Turning to the world of sport…the “Indians” is gone. Bad grammar? No, the truth. The Cleveland professional baseball announced its intention to drop the old name and replace it with the “Guardians”. The team announced the change takes place at the beginning of 2022. No more tomahawk chop?
Redhawks or Bison? What’s it gonna be Union High School? Now is about the estimated date for a choice on a new mascot name. But, that’s not all. After a choice is made, students will decide on what the mascot design will be. The Union school website reports, student are leaning towards “Redhawks”. Student comment: “Union Redhawks! It’s perfect, sounds so close to the original. Would also sound good during the fight song.” O.K. that would work.
Final academically connected item: the mighty mental giant school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is reconsidering how it deals with the legacy of one of its 1800s founders, Francis Amasa Walker. According to the scientific newsletter, PHYORG, Walker said, Indians were “an obstacle to the national progress” and concluded the country was justified in pushing Native Americans off their ancestral lands.
The DeKalb County Commission in Georgia has voted to remove a relic dating back to the ‘Indian’ Wars of 1836. An old muzzle-loading cannon has been sitting in a local park for a century or so. The Atlanta Journal reports activists say it was nicknamed the “Genocide Cannon” and called “a tasteless representation of the brutality suffered by the Muscogee people.”
In a scene reminiscent of the 1970’s, Native students and activists have occupied the offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Interior Department in Disneyland-On-The-Potomac and other places. Indian Country Today (ICT) reports, the Indigenous people are protesting the development of fossil fuels and other resources on different tribal lands across the nation. Reminds me of my younger activist days.
Native News Online and several local news stations around here report that a non-Native man masquerading as a ‘medicine man’ has been sentenced to life behind bars for sexual abuse of an Indian child and illegally possessing eagle feathers and parts. Carl Ortner was convicted of child abuse after pretending to be a medicine man and committing the crimes.
The Chickasaw Nation is planning to build a resort/hotel on the 40 acres surrounding the new First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City. The idea is to have the new “OKANA” Resort and Indoor Waterpark complement the world-class museum. The development is projected to open in the late spring of 2024.
The National Park Service reports, human footprints have been discovered at an ancient lake site that are 23,000 years old. Footprints discovered in the Tularosa Basin in New Mexico and west Texas areas have been scientifically dated back that far. Comments from that study say, “…that humans have been living in North America for at least 23,000 years – many thousands of years older than previously thought.”
That would devastate the old land bridge dates and theories. Our people might have crossed the Bering Sea land bridge, but which way were they going?
Speaking of feet, have you ever worn a pair of moccasins made by Minnetonka? Did you know that a non-Native company marketed them? And they were actually made by factories in China and the Dominican Republic. National Public Radio and other national news sources say the CEO of Minnetonka owned up to the fact and apologized on Indigenous Peoples Day for profiting off of Native culture, without directly honoring Native cultures or communities.
Well, that certainly puts the shoe on the other foot. (Yeah, yeah, bad joke, I know.)
Have a good November. Be sure to vote, whenever the date is finally set.
Hvtvm cerecares. I will see you.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation or the Mvskoke Media department.