Native Americans

Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples. They are composed of numerous, distinct Native American tribes and ethnic groups, many of which survive as intact political communities. The articles posted here cover a broad range of issues impacting the Native communities of the United States.

Washington Redskins, Choose a New Name


Lisa Bloom: Some Native Americans consider the “R” word their “N” word. And those who live in the minority group know far better than the rest of us which terms are used to demean them. Those observations deserve our respect.

The Many Lives of the “Culture of Poverty”

culture of poverty

Scot Nakagawa: We criminalize and pathologize black people in order to reassure ourselves that the problem is not systemic; the system is healthy but beset by a disease we would do best to simply cut out.

Anatomy of Stephen Colbert’s Racist Joke

stephen colbert racist joke

Scot Nakagawa: Given his obvious good intentions (yes, there should be no place in our culture for a football franchise that uses a racist, anti-Indian epithet as their brand name), I would much rather educate Colbert than cancel him.

The Fat Takers’ Pipeline


Winona LaDuke: The Lakota, like many other Native people, see a big infrastructure project like the Keystone XL pipeline, which moves profits from one corporation to another, across their land, as more than a black snake of the fat taker. It is a threat, and there is no new water.

Hundreds of Tribal Representatives Join Huge Rally to Oppose Fracking

Tribes Oppose Fracking

Dan Bacher: Hundreds of indigenous people from California and across the country gathered with a crowd of over 4,000 people at the State Capitol in Sacramento on March 15 to send a clear message to Governor Brown: ban fracking, an environmentally destructive oil extraction practice that pollutes groundwater, rivers and the oceans.

How Big Oil Threatens Drinking Water


Oil Drilling Threatens Drinking Water — Do communities in North Dakota know that there are pipelines UNDER the Missouri River?

Flaring Oil Wells Making North Dakota a “National Sacrifice Area”


Georgianne Nienaber: Natural gas flares are now visible from space and the light emissions rival those from midwestern metropolitan areas around Chicago and Minneapolis.

First Nation Riders Protest Enbridge Tar Sands Pipeline


Georgianne Nienaber: Anishinaabe horseback riders began a solemn ride along the proposed route of the Enbridge Alberta Clipper Pipeline in northern Minnesota.

Predator Economics Threaten Heartland Native Communities

boomtown shack

Georgianne Nienaber: It was just a matter of time before “man camps” would pose a threat to sacred native lands and bring sexual violence, prostitution, and increased drug traffic into the heartland of Native culture.

Monster Slayers: Can the Navajo Nation Kick the Coal Habit?

navajo coal

Winona LaDuke: A war is raging between traditional Dine people seeking to maintain their way of life between six sacred mountains and the relentless economics of fossil fuels. The battles between these two mighty forces have put the largest Native tribal government in a difficult position.

A Tribe Divided: Alcohol Legalization on the Pine Ridge Reservation

pine ridge reservation

Dana Lone Hill: It seems as if the ongoing battle within the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe over alcohol will still continue, but the biggest obstacle will be the battle will be with each other. The days of working together as a tribe seems to be a thing of the past…when there was no alcohol.

When Drones Guard the Pipeline: Militarizing Fossil Fuels in the East

winona laduke

Winona Laduke: Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn’t make a corporation a terrorist.

Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians: The Parallel of Honor

canton asylum

Dana Lonehill: If they were not mentally ill before they entered the Canton’s Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians, they soon would be after laying in darkened rooms with windows nailed shut for days at a time.

De-mythologizing History! Why We’ll Boycott Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’


Gary Corseri and Janis Schmidt: The Indian is largely invisible to Americans because if they became something more than the Hollywood Indian, Americans would be forced to confront their abiding racism.

Reclaiming Sacred Ground in Florida after Ponce de Leon


Georgianne Nienaber: What is certain is that the land under the Castillo was sacred ground in 1513 and sacred ground is the spiritual right of indigenous cultures. It cannot be legislated into oblivion by governments or tourism councils.

Redskins: Is Racism Really This Blind?


Bruce Reilly: All the Super Bowls and all the Quentin Tarrantino films will never turn a slur into an acceptable label, no matter how common the usage. People aren’t out on the Rez saying, “Yo, what up Redskin?” Nobody of Native American heritage ever introduced themselves as a Redskin.

Obama Should Make Florida Fort Reconciliation Center in Indigenous Hands

souix tribes

Casey Leydon: Our mission, with our community, The International Native American Memorial, is to gather all Indigenous Tribes and Nations to form a virtual round dance around the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and to reclaim it for Indigenous Native Americans.

Red State Mania

hopi prayer

James Rhodes: Does the fact that my combat service guarantees me socialized medicine make me more worthy to live than other classes of people? I am of the Hopi mindset that we were all created by One and that evil reigns supreme when we forget or neglect the needs of the many for the benefit of the few.

Violence Against Women Act: Why Native Women Matter

winona laduke

Winona LaDuke: This week’s debate on the Violence Against Women Act marks what may be a very important stage in improving relations between tribal governments, state and federal governments, and the protection of women.

Idle No More

theresa spence

Winona LaDuke: This weekend, hundreds of Native people and their supporters held a flash mob round dance with hand drum singing, again as a part of the Idle No More protest movement. This quickly emerging wave of Native activism on environmental and human rights issues has spread like a wildfire across the continent.

What Native American Heritage Month Means to Me

sunny clifford

Sunny Clifford: Tou know you come from a nation of oppression when a month has to be dedicated to your heritage.

Ojibwe Creation Symbol Threatened by Minnesota Wolf Hunt

wolf trapping

Georgianne Nienaber: Does sport hunting in the guise of “management” make any sense at all when there are 3,000 wolves in Minnesota, recognizing that when they are eliminated below a population of 1,600 the killing will stop only to begin again when populations rise?

Russell Means: Truth-Teller

russell means

Tom Hayden: Russell was a reminder that the wars against indigenous people, and the conquest of their resources, are far from over, and that we cannot be fully human until remorse with our eyes wide open allows the possibility of reconciliation.

Native American Boarding Schools Left Mark for Life

carlisle school

Jim Kent: Enter the boarding school system, which Native American children would be forced to attend and where they would be “assimilated” into the dominant Western European culture.

Why a Hidatsa Cares About Pe’Sla

north dakota oil field

Twyla Baker-Demaray: The place that my mother took us to when I was a child is now home to a huge oil rig, literally smack dab on the spot where we used to pray. I have to say each time I drive by that place, I hurt.

Good People Standing Up to Save Sacred Lakota Lands

black hills

Georgianne Nienaber: The moral line has been drawn in the sand because of the IDEA that good people can stop this and return the land to the Lakota.

Native and Rural Communities Face Devastating Post Office Closures

ponsford post office

Georgianne Nienaber: Rural and native communities do not have reliable access to the Internet or transportation, and grocery stores, kiosks and ATMs are in short supply or non-existent. Less than 10 percent of White Earth residents have access to the Internet.

Help Celebrate and Protect Native American Culture in Los Angeles


Celebrate Native American culture & launch a grassroots campaign to urge LAUSD to sign a 60-year lease with Gabrieleno/Tongva Springs Foundation covering the Springs, the Kuruvungna village site, and the brand-new Cultural Center and Museum.

Militarization of Indian Country

the militarization of indian country

Georgianne Nienaber: The Militarization of Indian Country examines in dreadful detail how the military has poisoned, murdered, and exterminated parts of indigenous populations. It is carefully organized into sections examining the deep ties between the military and indigenous people, how the economy drives the military and vice-versa, the military’s appropriation of Indian lands, and a somewhat hopeful prognosis for future relations if America rethinks her priorities.

Native Americans: Modern-Day al Qaeda?

al bahul

Vince Warren: It’s appalling that the Obama administration has abandoned it’s pledge to close Guantanamo. But it’s intolerable that it would invoke and distort one of the darkest moments in American history to justify its failure.

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