Volume I       						Issue IV		 
1997-98					              Winter 1998

The Editor, Mike Smith, gets to say what he wants. There is no editorial "we."
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Give It Back Anasazi Words Churro Victory Columbus Day Controversy
Old Law Dies Gambling Home At Last Radio Show Nez Perce Trivia Quiz
Navajo Notes
Two Cultures - One Moon Navajo Welfare Reform
Navajo Nation in UN? Hale Says Close the Interstate
Possible Delayed Election Modern Symbols Returned Code Talker Monument
Potato Parley Change The Signs A Quick Response
U.N. at Big Mountain Bison Battle Wolves Hopi Quilts Good Neighbors
Review of 1997

Give It Back To Whom?

In the past few years bones more than 9,000 years old have been found and they do not resemble those of American Indian ancestors.

Until these new developments the popular scientific version that began in the 1960's has always been of one migration across Beringia by a Mongloid people with round heads, flat and broad faces with pronounced cheekbones, shovel-shaped teeth, and small noses with high bridges.

The new finds have elongated heads, eyes closer together and set deeper, prominent noses, with short bridges, and teeth flat in the back. These are the shapes of Caucasoids, who have more of a resemblance to ancient Asians that are a close match to early Europeans, rather than today's white people.

And now a custody battle ensues over the remains of the "Kennewick man" a 9,300 skeleton that was discovered in 1996 in Kennewick, WA, on land that is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers. They are now defendents in a court case based on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, that requires the return of remains to their respective tribes.

The Research

There are about 20 sites in North America with bones aged 8,000 to 10,000 years. Since these remains were mostly fragments they were not studied closely, and only younger bones 3,000 years old had been used as evidence.

D. Gentry Steele, a professor at Texas A&M University, began taking a closer look, and found that these older bones compare very closely with ancient south Asian people, such as the Ainu, which are a Japanese tribe. The Ainu have been linked to early Australian aborigines, and some scientists have linked the Ainu to the Norse.

However, Steele does not say that the prehistoric paleoamericans are descended from Europeans. Many scientists are trying to do away with the terms such as Caucasoid and Mongoloid. There have been independent studies of ancient peoples in Asia and South America where long-headed people have lived.

The new finds are:

These last two are at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City. The museum awaits the outcome of the Kennewick dispute to decide how to handle these remains. There is a concern on the part of scientists to find a way to do their studies without offending the tribes.



There. I said it and now I'm in trouble. Anasazi is officially politically incorrect.

On the surface this seems to be a simple matter, but let us look a little deeper into this current determination by two groups to have their own way, while having it both ways. This may offend some, but no one of the people I know of personally even cares. They want firewood, water, food, and be allowed to live their peaceful lives.

Director Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma of the Hopi Tribe Cultural Preservation Office states that the term "Anasazi" is derogatory. This is a Navajo word meaning "ancient enemy." His position is that since the Hopi religion does not call anyone an enemy it is not right to refer to the Hopi as enemies.

The Hopi Way is of peace and helping their neighbor. The Hopi have very close neighbors indeed, as the Navajo Reservation completely surrounds the Hopi.

Mesa Verde National Park is now adopting the term "Ancestral Puebloans" instead of Anasazi. "Pueblo" is Spanish for "house" and I wonder how long it will be before this becomes an issue.

Another word under consideration is "Hisatsinom" which is a Hopi word, but Irv Francisco, a ranger at Navajo National Monument makes the point that he, being Navajo (which is a Spanish word for the Dineh), does not use the Hopi language. He states that the Navajo (Dineh) word Anasazi (Hisatsonim) is of his language and it is the term they use.

Superintendent of the park, James Charles, who is a tribal member of the Navajo, says that the Hopi insistence against the word "Anasazi" is a "political tactic to claim sacred sites." The location of these sites is a key to court decisions concerning boundary lines.

This park itself is controversial, and since three of the cave dwellings are Hopi, the name of the park should be changed to Hopi National Monument, says Kuwanwisiwma. He also is concerned about the Navajo "usurping" Hopi traditions, religion, and social practices.

I wouldn't touch that one, because there are some serious religious stories told by each group that should not be meddled with by the uninitiated.

But, in this new development the real issue is land, and everybody knows it. This is another round in the mess caused by the Hopi-Navajo Partition in 1882.

There is also an interesting point brought up by State Archaeologist Kevin Jones of the Utah Division of History. His statement is that this is the demand of a group to have history written to suit them. Something to think about.

If you really want to know what the Hopi think about all matters I suggest you see our Hopi Links Page and let the Hopi speak for themselves.

However in the meantime this editor will begin to change toward the use of Hisatsinom and Dineh in all future articles while keeping the words "Anasazi" and "Navajo" as reference. OK?

Words Words Words

Not quite as serious perhaps, but nevertheless of some concern are these terms that are falling into disfavor.

Some Very Good News

I am so excited about this that I have put it on the front page of Four Corners Postcard as a separate article. Please read about the strong return of Churro: The Real Sheep.

Indigenous Peoples/Columbus Day
(A True Story)

This is an un-edited story from The Blue Eagle Newsletter

A Law Dies of Old Age

A 350 year-old treaty with the Mattaponi Tribe, the oldest treaty with any tribe, has been declared to be invalid by the Attorney General of Virginia.

The reasoning behind this is that the treaty was made before the United States was a country.

King William County and Newport News Water Works are planning a dam on the Mattaponi River that would flood 1500 acres to form a reservoir for Newport News.

This would cover 100 burial sites of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey tribes, and would ruin the spawning run for shad and herring, which the Mattaponi have depended on for many years.

The environmental impact is still being studied, and the other side of the issue is that Newport News, VA, will have to be evacuated since the treaty is invalid now.

Now that would be an impact.

Gambling and Poverty

These have certainly always been connected, but this is an example of a very difficult choice for a needy people.

The Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma has put forth a proposal to build a casino on their burial ground, and not all within the tribe agree.

One of the reasons cited for the need for this project is cuts in government help to the tribe, which has been trying for nine years to build a casino in Kansas.

Leaford Bearskin, chief of the tribe, says that the enterprise is needed to provide hospitals, roads, and schools. Fran Davidson, who often visits the spirits of ancestors there, says that this is "abominable."

Since the 3,800 member tribe is recognized by the Federal Government, the Wyandottes have control over the two-acre piece of land which is in the middle of downtown Kansas City, and just a few blocks from the government center.

The city, the state, and four other tribes are blocking the effort, and Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas has put forth an amendment to limit the use of the tribes' property to that of a cemetary only.

This might be a case where the Native Graves Act could work against its supposed intent.

A Home At Last?

First the history: In the 1934 the San Juan Southern Paiute tribe was "swallowed up" by the Navajo Nation when Congress included the Paiute land in the Navajo Reservation, and the Paiutes were included in the Navajo rolls. It was years before the Paiutes were ever aware of this, since they speak neither English nor Navajo.

The 60's and the 70's were hard times for the Paiutes, for they kept their language and their customs, and this created difficulty getting job training in the Navajo system.

It wasn't until 1990 that the Paiutes were recognized as a tribe - which was strongly opposed by the Navajo Nation - but they were still without land of their own. This little tribe of 300 people has been angry for a long time.

The Navajo are now considering transfering 5,100 acres of land to the San Juan Southern Paiutes, and they may have a home of their own for the first time in generations.

A Hopi Prophecy

Radio On Internet

In February, the American Indian Radio On Satellite (AIROS) Network will have its first special programming on the Internet. The webcast will be from 7-9 pm United States EST every night Mon-Thu from February 16-19 and 23-26 at

The program will be radio coverage of the 1997 Fulbright Symposium on Indigenous Cultures in an Interconnected World. Also included will be a mix of indigenous music, interviews with key symposium participants, and news on symposium events and topics.

Topics discussed include indigenous intellectual property, heritage and land management, indigenous identity and film, cultural tourism, and many other topics relevant to indigenous cultures from around the world.

The AIROS Network Manager John Belindo states that they are webcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more information including how to take the feed and broadcast it on your local airwaves contact AIROS at (800) 571-6885.

See Radio Links page for all information.

Nez Perce Native American Trivia Link

Now here is something different. Once again this is an e-mail from The Blue Eagle Newsletter.

Welcome to GrayTrivia. Starts at 8:30 EST and runs for one hour. After the game, you are invited to stick around and discuss the trivia questions, ask some of your own, or just participate in friendly chat.

Every week I send out a quote and links to a site or sites on the internet. I take my questions from these links (the blue links below) and anywhere from 35 to 40 questions.

The links are always Native American related. For most questions asked, one point is given to the first person who answers. There are also oldies that are asked which give all who answer within 10 seconds, two points.

My trivia is like an open book test in school, you can print out the sites and use these print outs to answer questions if you want to. I am a believer in passive as well as aggressive learning. Some players just try to test their knowledge without reading the sites while others read and try to remember. We always have fun.

Occasionally, a subject may be sad or even horrifying-but during those sessions, we learn together, we find and build strength from one another, and we feel that to be aware is a good strategy for avoiding such atrocities in the future.

Come join us. GrayDeer.

See Radio Links page for all information.

Navajo Notes

Two Cultures - One Moon

Navajo Nation President Albert Hale claims that the NASA project named Lunar Prospector will commit sacrilege on the moon. The Prospector is already in orbit and at the end of its mission will crash onto the lunar surface. But this time there is a difference: onboard are the cremated remains of Eugene Shoemaker, a former astronaut.

Hale states that this is offensive to many tribes in the U.S. and that using the moon as a burial ground is "a gross insensitivity to the beliefs of many Native Americans." Hale says that the moon is sacred, most tribes have rituals involving the moon, and that this action is an infringement on Native American's religious rights.

Shoemaker was a geologist, but after being diagnosed with Addison's disease in 1963 he was cut from further space flights. He was killed in a car wreck in Australia in July of 1997.

Welfare Reform: The Navajo Way

Navajo Nation Albert Hale once again argues sovereignty for the Navajo Nation, this time claiming that the Navajo are better qualified to design and operate their own welfare system.

President Hale wants to combine Health and Human Services with Interior Department benefits to form a program run for and by the Navajo.

What Is A Nation?

First some facts and figures:

What are these? The smallest nations that are members of the United Nations.

What is the point? The Navajo Nation is bigger (See Map) and Navajo Nation President Albert Hale wants something done about it.

You just have to love the guy. He is on a constant crusade for his people and he does his homework.

Shut Down The Interstate

I take it back. Navajo Nation President Albert Hale has outdone himself with this one. His idea is to close ALL roads on the reservations in New Mexico and Arizona as a show of sovereign strength.

His proposal would include county roads and state and federal highways, and the purpose of this is, in his words, "to educate America."

I think I get it already.

One route that would be affected is Interstate 19, which is the main commerce route between Tucson and Mexico.

Twenty miles of Interstate 40 crosses the Navajo Reservation. (See Map) There are six U.S. highways and a dozen state roads on the Rez.

Plan B is to charge tolls at reservation borders. Now we're talking.

Unemployment on the Navajo Reservation is over 50 per cent. The total wealth of the Nation is getting close to $1,000,000,000. That's a billion dollars.

Let's see. I estimate 20 main routes, times two for each border, times three shifts, so that would put 120 Navajo to work.

Who's says Hale isn't for the working man?

Meanwhile . . . It Can't Happen Here

Now this is the way to run a government. The Navajo Nation Council is preparing to pass a resolution to postpone the 1998 elections until 2000. This would give the President of the Navajo Nation Albert Hale, and the Navajo Nation Council two more years of office that they will have legislated for themselves.

The reasoning behind this is sound: Tribal Council districts are being reapportioned and the governing body of the Navajo Nation doesn't want to confuse anyone.

To accomplish this legally all the council has to do is change the government into a form called Title Two.

A spokesman for the legislation says that he feels that this resolution may frustrate some of the voters, and might even cast a "dark cloud over the tribal council."


Ceremonial Items Returned

The K'eit'aan'yalt'i items of the Navajo have been found in the Arizona State Museum in Tucson, Arizona and have been returned to the people.

These are symbols of the modern Navajo government, which was created in the 1930's, and they are the equivalent to the parliamentary system's mace and rod.

The K'eit'aan'yalt'i articles are a planting stick, basket, an arrowhead, lighter, corn pollen bag, and some traditional food.

Navajo Code Talkers

Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico has asked for recognition of the World War II Navajo Code Talkers.

This group of about 450 Navajo soldiers greatly contributed to our victory by speaking a coded form of Navajo to further confuse the Japanese cryptographers.

The American Battle Monuments Commission is responsible for submitting the basic design this month (November 1997), and The New Mexico Democrat has made the same recommendation for inclusion of these valiant men.

The Potato Parley

LoRenzo Bates, the general manager at Navajo Agricultural Products Industry (NAPI), has big plans. A yes vote at the winter session of the Navajo Nation Council will be the first step in what could be a real boon for the Nation.

Bates is asking for $10 million to break ground on a potato processing plant that would handle 600 million pounds of potatoes a year. The final product would be 300 million pounds of french fries and tater tots.

And there are plans for the 300 million pounds of waste. Bates says that waste would feed 50,000 head of cattle and since the feed lot is right next door, why not? At this time 14,000 cattle are fed at the NAPI lot.

This will, of course, require more water, but the Navajo Irrigation Project will take care of that - when it is finished. Bayes says that this project is about 20 years behind, but that this potato plant will be a good incentive.

Change The Signs

Now I don't get this one. The signs on the Navajo Nation announce that a "Squaw Dance" is up ahead. The events calendars for Navajo ceremonies say "Squaw Dance." This is what they use and so I ignorantly used it. Now, the information is that a "Squaw Dance" should really be called Ni'daa' or the Enemy Way ceremony.

The word "squaw" is a derogatory term, and many are campaigning to change, for example, the name of Squaw Mountain. So, if it's wrong, why is it all over the place? As a conversation piece? "Yeah, that's what it says, but we don't want you saying it."

Change the signs!

Quick Response

Arizona Senate Joint Resolution 1001 proposes to rename Arizona 51, now known as the Squaw Peak Parkway, to the Ronald Reagan Parkway.

Native Americans believe the name is a French corruption of an Iroquois word for female genitalia, and once meant prostitute.

These articles led to some interesting discussions about a year after this issue.
See the Four Corners Clamor Seven article on
The "S" Word

United Nations Will Investigate
Big Mountain

This is an un-edited story from The Blue Eagle Newsletter

On February 2 an historical event is taking place. The United Nations is coming to Big Mountain Arizona where a twenty-five year struggle for survival has been taking place with the traditional Navajo elders. Over those twenty-five years, 14,000 Navajos have been relocated, many to radioactive lands. Also billions of gallons of water have been drained from the North Aquifier, which has left thousands of wells and villages without water.

Testimony of gun-point pressure to sign land away have been documented and tribal and federal law enforcement have continually over stepped their bounderies. The number of human rights abuses is astranomical. Meanwhile billions of dollars are being made by the multi-national energy corporations that are behind the abuses.

Never in the history of the Navajo resistance to these abuses has the United Nations been on the land. Strong language in world-wide resolutions, including "Genocide" accusations have forced this summit. Now many of North America's medicine people, scientists and statesmen are preparing to converge on Big Mountain. Reporters from all media are invited to attend. Please call SOL Communications at 818 753-1241 for travel information, maps and other important details.

Along with Mr. Amor and his entourage from the United Nations, many NGO's (non-government advisory groups that represent millions of people the world over) will be present. Traditional Elders will be speaking, along with Mr. Amor and the NGO's covering the total range of human rights abuses at Big Mountain.

Another possibility to block expansion on Black Mesa - San Francisco Peaks - Big Mountain is a listing of the San Fransico Peaks Groundsel (a type of alpine flower that grows only in that area) as a "threatened species."

These mountains are the home of the Kachinas.

Yellowstone Bison Battle

This has been developing since early winter of 1997 and has reached serious proportions. Parties on both sides of the issue have been resolute and unyielding. This is how it began. Updates and a related story follow.

There is panic in Montana and the solution is slaughter; 1100 bison in 1997 and the program has begun anew. The state of Montana has a serious problem and this is their answer. Here it is as of this writing.

The bison in Yellowstone Park are carrying a disease called brucellosis. This is considered to be a threat to the cattle business, as the bison wander in and out of the park, and any cattle that become infected cannot be marketed.

If Montana loses its brucellosis-free status the cattle industry would be devastated.

Brucellosis does not seem to affect the health of wild bison, which have lived in Yellowstone for 80 years and have never infected cattle. The same is true in Grand Teton National Park, which borders Yellowstone, and where cattle have grazed inside the parks mingling with the bison for 40 years.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (APHIS), which is a federal agency within the Department of Agriculture, is threatening the removal of the brucellosis-free status. Hence, the panic and the slaughter.

APHIS states that there must be a "known focus of infection in any domestic species." An interesting note is that a law was added to this in 1964 to include ranched bison, but this does not apply to wild herds.

Many concerned people are working with the ranchers: building and repairing fences, hazing the bison back into the park, working with feeding programs. This is a large operation involving everything from computers to snowmobiles and aerial fly-overs.

In their efforts to guard the lives of the last wild buffalo, a protective group called "Buffalo Nations" has a full-blown operation going. They are video-taping and keeping a flow of news releases going.

A "Bison Safe Zone" is established by local people who are placing signs in their yards as sanctuary for the buffalo, with the idea that the DOL cannot shoot them there.

Buffalo Nations calls for people to monitor the borders of the park as volunteers to guard the lives of the last wild buffalo. They offer to supply food and shelter to those that "take a stand for the buffalo this winter."

And the battle began. This is how the story unfolded.

From Blue Eagle News Letter

Related Story

$329 million has been appropriated "to acquire and preserve historically or environmentally important land."

The list includes 100 sites from 35 states and specifies spending $15 million to buy remaining private tracts of land along the Appalachian Trail, $13 million to buy critical winter grazing land just outside Yellowstone Park for the park's elk and bison and $86 million to buy and start removing two dams on Washington state's Elwha River to restore the ecosystem around Olympic National Park.


Well, what next? Wolves are under the gun now, and this involves the National Wildlife Federation, who is trying to save the wolves, and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), who wants them shot.

There is understandable concern by the ranchers, because wolves have always received bad press, but various educational projects are underway to tell the true story.

There has never been a documented report of wolves attacking humans. Visit our Wolves Links page for more information.

I hope this can be resolved legally and peacefully.

Hopi Quilts

Now this is kind of neat. First Nations Development Institute has donated $34,777 to the Hopi village of Paaqavi for the development of a quilter's enterprise.

This may sound like a small matter to some, but could make a huge difference to this small village. Hopi tribal unemployment is 30 per cent.

The money will help purchase supplies, seek business opportunities, and study trademark issues.

Good Neighbors

The winter storm in upper New York has brought out the best in people, and a reminder that there is wisdom in simplicity.

The Amish of the Franklin-Clinton Counties area have come to the aid of their more modern neighbors who were hard hit by the loss of electricity and shortage of gasoline.

Since the Amish do not rely on electricity their cheese factory was still in operation and they have been processing milk that would otherwise be wasted. Entire herds of cattle have been lost because the electric milkers are useless. They are also sharing use of their horses and Dietz lanterns.

This is not the first time that these simple-living folks have shown the way. They have been using fish that the St. Regis Indians threw away; processing in a hot pack bath until even the bones were edible.

Help for upper New York has also been coming from Ohio, New York City, and California.

With all of the confrontations, and factions bumping against each other across our nation, maybe the easiest thing to remember is that there is no law against kindness.

A Look At 1997

People are people and a review of some of the issues concerning Native American Indians is a look at all of us:

Do not think it irony for me to wish you a Happy New Year. The list above seems to be over-burdened with bad news, but this is not true. There are many good people who can be found on the LINKS page of The Four Corners Postcard. Dialog is open and people are helping each other.

See the Four Corners Clamor: Main Index for more recent discoveries
and events concerning Native American Indians.
For beautiful authentic scenes of these early peoples see the
Mark Silversmith Gallery.
Mark researches the tribes and portrays their lives of then and now.
We encourage traditional Native American Indian and Multicultural arts,
crafts, and enterprises. For quality creations by our select artisans see the
Four Corners Postcard Business Directory for listings and contact information.

Mike and Sheilah Smith

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© Copyright 1998 by L. Michael Smith. Fair use granted.