Caddo Nation Swears In New Chairman Amidst Protest
The Native American Times newspaper reports the Caddo Nation has sworn in a new chairman, Anthony Cotter, despite the claim from Brenda Edwards, via the tribe’s website, that she is the chairman of the Caddo Nation.
With two factions claiming to lead the 5,500 citizens of the Caddo Nation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has called the tribe a “high risk contractor/grantee” at the end of last year.
This could put their self-governance funding at risk. The tribal complex had two break-ins last year, with each faction blaming the other.
NCAI Hold Winter Session In Washington, D.C.
Last week, the National Congress of American Indians had its three-day winter session.
It was opened by the new president of the NCAI, Brian Cladoosby. Cladoosby also serves as the chairman of the Swinomish Tribe of Washington. He will serve a two-year term as president.
One of topics covered in the winter session included problems with the U.S. Supreme Court. Native American Rights Fund attorney Richard Guest says courts in general are not acting in favor of tribes.
Troubling decisions such as Carcieri v. Salazar, which concerns land-into-trust for tribes not federally recognized after 1934, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Big Lagoon Rancheria v. California, making it possible for anyone to challenge a land-into-trust acquisition long after it has been finalized, were brought up more than once.
Other topics include the rising suicide rate in young native people, the fact that Alaska villages were not included in jurisdictions provisions in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). For a more complete review of last week’s NCAI winter session, go to www.indianz.com.
The Festival Of The Four Winds
Ann Barnes (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), from the American Indian Institute at the University of Oklahoma, had an idea to not only educate people on the 39 federally recognized tribes of Oklahoma, but entertain them as well. She presented the idea to her co-workers and the Festival of The Four Winds was born.
“The Festival of the Four Winds is meant to be a cultural exchange, a learning adventure to celebrate the art, the cultures of the 39 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma plus any other tribe that would like to participate,” Barnes said.
“We were trying to highlight the tribes as well as art,” Barnes said. “We're looking forward to a fun day, we're going to have a lot of things geared towards children, a passport that you will take around to the tribes and get a stamp so that they'll have it filled out at the end of the day, kind of like they're traveling from nation to nation.”
“We'll have a lot for the adults too with the art show going on, cultural exchanges, flute playing, story telling and to hopefully have traditional foods, traditional art, traditional clothing, traditional dance so that all of this will be exhibited and on display during the day,” Barnes said.
“Luckily we have the Sam Noble Museum where all activities can be indoors, so the weather won't be a factor,” Barnes said. “It’s a festival, we're hoping that everybody will come and that year to year it will grow.”
Chelsea Wesner (Choctaw Nation Of Oklahoma), another member of the advisory team and also from the American Indian Institute, has heard from schools and groups.
“We've had a few teachers from within Oklahoma and surrounding states contact us with interest in bringing groups of either their Indian Education programs, or their students or even just clubs of high school students or youth groups who would like to come out for the day,” Wesner said.
“We're hoping to get, as Ann said, at the heart of the festival, a really neat educational and cultural opportunity for all ages,” Wesner said.
“We want to get the kids and youth involved and to build an appreciation for our native cultures and understand what a rich heritage we have in Oklahoma,” Wesner said.
The art show is looking for artists to submit their work, 10 artists will be selected to show at the festival, with two awards to be given, one for best of show and one people’s choice.
A film by Sterlin Harjo will be shown throughout the day, Seminole Spirit Houses, its currently only being shown on Janux, an online learning website. Harjo (Seminole/Creek), one of Native America’s up and coming filmmakers, said it’s a departure from what he usually presents.
“Basically I think it’s an anthropological look at these grave houses,” Harjo said.
“I'm sure people wonder about them. They're just little houses that are built over graves. It’s something that Creek and Seminole people grow up around and I never knew that they were unique or different or anything like that till I left home,” Harjo said.
“You know, Christians will use them, and so will traditional people. The little house structures sometimes have a diamond or different shapes cut into the front of the little house,” Harjo said.
“Sometimes the deceased person's belongings are put in the houses. They have a long history, an evolution, but they're still used today traditionally,” Harjo said.
The Festival of the Four Winds is the only place you can see this documentary.
The Festival of the Four Winds will take place at the Sam Noble Museum in Norman on Saturday, April 12, admission is free and the public is invited.
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