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Thursday, November 2, 2023

Native American Heritage Month: Landcestors, Thanks-taking


 

Klahowya – Greetings from the Indigenous Peoples Caucus!

As you are probably aware, November is Native American Heritage Month here in the United States. A time we often use to connect and celebrate our various cultures and appreciate that we are still here. We have many native people here in Oregon who are from tribes both local, and far away – federally recognized or not. With Oregon’s history it can be especially important to reflect on how we came to be here, how we can interact with the systems in place, and how we can bring our vibrancy and cultures to the forefront of healing and moving forward together.

With those things in mind, you are invited to our 4th annual “Thanks-taking” talk, this year with a side of ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) basics. We’re celebrating as a community the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) being upheld by the supreme court, and we know some people may have questions. All members are welcome, you don’t have to be indigenous to participate. It will be happening during our usual Indigenous People’s Caucus meeting time (on the third Tuesday of the month) 11/21/23, at 6pm on Zoom. Feel free to invite others and register here.

I also encourage you to look into the history of Native American Heritage Month, think about your “Landcestors” – the people who historically lived where you live now, and best of all, look at some really good art. Here’s a great place to start, at least for the art portion.


The Land Carries Our Ancestors: Contemporary Art by Native Americans: Curated by artist Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, this exhibition includes some 50 living Native American artists. These artists visualize Indigenous knowledge of land/landbase/landscape through diverse mediums such as weaving, sculpture, beadwork, painting, performance, drawing, video, and more. www.nga.gov

 

From: Jean Jones, Any pronouns accepted and respected, Co-Chair of the SEIU 503 Indigenous Peoples Caucus

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Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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