A deal with Hollywood actor turned architect Brad Pitt and his "Make It Right" foundation to give houses to those in need has built exactly zero of the 20 homes promised on the reservation since 2011.

In a promotional video on the foundation's website, the four locations in the foundation's plan are highlighted.

"From apartments for disabled veterans in New Jersey, to mixed-use housing helping kids leaving foster care in Missouri, to homes for Native Americans in Montana," the sound of Brad Pitt's voice states.

"That's what they told us," said Fort Peck Tribal Council Executive Board Member Tommy Christian. "We have 20 of the best architects in the whole world under us and we're gonna come and save you Indians from yourselves."

Now tribal councilman Tommy Christian, along with the rest of the Fort Peck tribal council, questions if it's the foundation the tribe needs saving from.

"This project has caused a lot of division on our council," said Councilman Garret Big Leggins. "And we've got councilmen who are mad at each other for the way this has developed and we feel like we're stuck."And homes that still stand hold two, sometimes three or more families each.

When the New Orleans-based foundation approached the tribe with a solution, the idea was hard to pass up.

In 2011, former Councilman Stoney Anketel sealed the deal with the "Make It Right" foundation, a commitment to build 20 sustainable homes for free.

But when Anketel was not re-elected in 2013, the tribe lost its main connection with the Pitt's foundation.

And after Anketel left Fort Peck and moved to Washington state, the word "free" left the reservation as well.

"At the beginning, that we wouldn't have to put in nothing and now we're talking a little over a half million dollars we have to put in to get this project going," said Councilman Dana Buckles.

The tribe committed $600,000 in a good faith deposit. But the buck did not stop there.

Fort Peck Journal reporter Louis Montclair watched tensions rise at tribal council meetings as the costs piled up.

"Make It Right does build houses, they will build the houses for free, you know their architects," said Montclair. "But they don't do infrastructure, though."

Infrastructure - the sewer system, water main, developed land - add up to $2.6 million in seemingly unexpected costs.

Deb Madison, a board member of Integrated Solutions, the company charged with the build, said the tribe wasted time and in turn wasted money.

"The tax credit situation, if we'd moved as fast as we had initially promised to, we would have got a higher bid because at one point we had three people who wanted in on this project and now we're down to one," said Madison.

The price grew and the tribe had to decide: Commit the $2.6 million or bail and lose the deposit.

Cutting loses would also mean defaulting on $5 million in tax credits and, thus, broken credit.

After a 6-to-5 vote in February, the tribe decided to take the loan and build the homes.

"That $2.6 is not only for the sustainable village but it's covering everything as a whole in case there's future development there and all that infrastructure will already be there," said Buckles.

Mama Margarita, a Kamentsa medicine woman, holds the leaves of a frailejón plant that she uses to treat fever and migraines. Photo credit: Monika Wnuk

The smell of gasoline floats through open windows as we wind our way through the foothills of the Sibundoy Valley in southwest Colombia. The sound of children chattering in the back seat and the engine straining against the incline interrupt the early-morning quiet, while blue-hued, predawn light falls on giant ferns scraping against the 21-seater bus.
Up front sits a Kamentsa tribal elder called Mama Margarita. Standing no more than five feet tall, she is a tiny powerhouse of traditional knowledge. After 80 years studying the medicinal plants of the páramo -- an endangered alpine tundra ecosystem -- Mama Margarita says today may be her last time making the eight-hour, round-trip hike into the Andes.
"Nowadays, I cannot come all the way up the mountain alone," she says. "I used to come with two dogs to gather the remedies. At three in the afternoon I would leave the páramo, and arrive back at my house at dark."
Her dogs have since passed away and, as Mama Margarita ages, she makes the trip less and less often.
In Sibundoy, the ancestral territory of the Kamentsa and Inga indigenous people, both the elders and lands that sustain traditional knowledge are disappearing. To keep pace with climate change, globalization and the region's mining development, local groups are banding together to record this information before it disappears.
Among them is an organization called the Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas de la Medicina Tradicional (the Association for Indigenous Women of Traditional Medicine, or "ASOMI" for short) that spearheads ambitious efforts to preserve women's traditional knowledge across Colombia. This information, they believe, is critical to preserving both the identity and the health of local communities.
"ASOMI's role is special because it is vital to carrying on the legacy left by the grandmothers," says María del Rosario "Charito" Chicunque, president of ASOMI. "Much of the knowledge has been lost, but it's not too late to preserve what remains."
Mama Margarita joined ASOMI in 2003. Known in the region as a knowledgeable elder, she received an invitation to the organization's inaugural meeting. Today, several ASOMI representatives accompany Mama Margarita on the trek: Charito; Yolanda Mutumbajoy, ASOMI's treasurer; and anthropologist Denise Ganitsky of the Amazon Conservation Team -- an organization that works closely with ASOMI on a variety of cultural conservation initiatives. They arrived yesterday from their headquarters in Mocoa, a town located three hours away via a dangerous, winding mountain road known for its landslides. The trip was worth the unique chance to document a rare system of healing, Ganitsky says.
"In ASOMI, the women are experts on plants and traditional medicine, but there's one in particular who really knows páramo plants and that's Mama Margarita," she says.
"When these women come together to exchange plants, they're all learning more about traditional medicine. They strengthen their own knowledge and what they can pass on."
It's not just the local people who acknowledge this region's many fascinating species, adds Mark Plotkin, the president of the Amazon Conservation Team who has spent the last 30 years studying connections between humans and plants in Amazonia.
"The Sibundoy Valley represents a sort of mecca for ethnobotanists who study the extraordinary healing properties of medicinal plants and their use by local shamans," he said in a phone call from ACT headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
To assist on the trip, Mama Margarita also invited two other companions: Rosa Clara Mutumbajoy, her daughter and apprentice, and José Narciso Jamioy Muchavisoy, the former governor of the Kamentsa Community Council. In addition, there are the seven Kamentsa teenagers from the Institución Educativa Bilingüe Artesanal Kamentsa -- a school that teaches both national and traditional curriculum. With its mission to preserve and pass on traditional knowledge, ASOMI organized and sponsored the trip for these young people who now slip on rainjackets and mudboots in preparation for the hike.
The páramo we will all visit today is one of three around Sibundoy and just one portion of roughly 3.7 million acres found throughout Colombia.
Of that total area, 25,000 acres are destroyed every year, a rate that suggests 50 percent of páramos could disappear by the end of the century, according to Dr. Wouter Buytaert and Francisco Cuesta, who recently published a study about páramos in Global Ecology and Biogeography. With this loss, many of the valuable ecosystem services that humans depend on would also disappear.
"You can give the páramo a value in terms of what you would lose in water, carbon pools, and medicinal plants," Cuesta says.
In Sibundoy, the primary threats to this ecosystem are development projects and climate change. Climate change models predict shifts in the páramo's rainfall, temperature, and nutrient availability that could endanger plants, Buytaert explains.
"Given the uniqueness of many species, and the likeliness that a significant number may disappear, it is very important to catalog medicinal plants," he said. "From a scientific perspective, there are probably few plants for which no classic medical alternative exists, but there is of course an entire cultural context which may disappear."
Furthermore, with 28 mining solicitations and 11 contracts already approved, the landscape of the valley is about to change. Today, 80 percent of foreign investment in Colombia goes to the mining and hydrocarbons sector, and that number keeps growing.
Many years ago, Mama Margarita would have hiked from the bottom of the mountain. Today, however, the bus provides a shortcut. As we pile out, Charito and Yolanda give each person a black plastic bag filled with boiled chicken, rice, potatoes and peanuts--the rations for the trip. The children grab the meal and run, leading the pack into the mountains, while Mama Margarita takes her time with the adults in the back. Every so often, she stops to point out a plant. When she does, Charito and Yolanda take photos and write notes about the plant's characteristics and how to prepare it as medicine. When they return to ASOMI, they will transcribe this information to a digitized document.
Mama Margarita (left) and Charito (right). Photo credit: Monika Wnuk

"These things have not been written down," Charito explains. "The information is passed on orally -- it's part of the Kamentsa's daily life and tradition. Our work documenting medicinal plants is moving along consistently. It is a colossal task, but one that needs to be done in order to preserve the knowledge left by the grandmothers."
Today the women will collect a tiny portion of Mama Margarita's knowledge -- a vast quantity of information she began accumulating before taking her first steps.
"When I was a baby, I went three days without drinking milk," Mama Margarita says. "My mom had a friend who was an herbalist. He saved me and made me drink milk again. He guided me, and no one explained the plants to me but him."
Mama Margarita's years of experience in the Andes become clear as the trail turns from well-worn grasses into a scene from an obstacle course. Clothing catches on tangled branches, people duck under logs, and deep mud pulls on rain boots like people suck barbeque sauce off their fingers. One misstep lands an unlucky hiker in a thigh-high mud puddle, filling her boot with mud. The sound of laughter and thesmack-smack-smack of steps becomes the soundtrack for the hike. After a few hours, most of us are filthy. Mama Margarita, however, remains remarkably tidy.
Once in a while, our group stops for a view of the valley and the Putumayo River whose blue-grey waters run over a riverbed of red and blue granite boulders and tumble down to join the greatest river of them all: the Amazon. With his extensive knowledge of the region, Narciso can point out the location of each future mine, as well as new construction initiated by the mining industry.
"They cut down trees and carved through mountains for a road," Narciso says, pointing across the valley. "They are using sand from the river for cement. The river water used to be drinkable, but now it is too dirty."
The day before the hike, José Narciso shows us a section of the Putumayo River where he swam as a child. Photo credit: Megan Taylor Morrison

According to Cuesta, mining can be the most destructive of development projects. Toxic contamination may occur as heavy metals are pulled from the ground and transported, and additional construction is often required for support.
"Huge infrastructure projects, such as dams for hydroelectric power, will have a profound effect on the capacity of the páramo system to recover," Cuesta explains.
These issues are not just environmental, but also legal, according to John I. Laun, a committed conservationist and lawyer who founded the Colombia Support Network -- an organization dedicated to improving human rights in the country -- in 1987.
In 2009, the Colombian Constitutional Court ordered the Colombian government to protect the Inga and Kamentsa communities, along with 32 other indigenous groups. However, development projects continue.
"The mining concessions violate the Colombian Constitution and laws because no prior consultation with the indigenous communities was carried out by the Colombian government," Laun said in a phone interview.
There are also plans to build a highway into the valley as part of The Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA), Laun adds. Launched in late 2000 through an agreement between 12 South American presidents, the project aims to better link the continent's economies. The new construction would provide mining trucks with a shorter trip between San Francisco in Sibundoy and Mocoa.
If the project is approved, the road will pass through sacred lands and disrupt ecosystems, including páramos. Each day, trucks laden with heavy metals will travel through this area, contaminating the watershed and disrupting local agriculture. The changes could have impacts far beyond the valley, Laun says.
"This is part of the Amazon rainforest region," he explains. "When you start fiddling around with what's happening and make changes in that area, you're actually threatening the water source and climate control source for a great part of humanity."
For Narciso, the development leads to a question of cultural survival.
"According to the technical studies presented by the Instituto Nacional de Vías (INVÍAS), approximately 15,000 hectares of natural forest will be destroyed, which in the elders' worldview means stripping and destroying our Mother Earth in order to construct 37 kilometers of highway," he wrote in a newsletter for CSN."The Kamentsa and the Inga of the Sibundoy Valley are worried about the existence of these two communities, just as they are worried about the existence of all indigenous communities in the Amazon region."
At the halfway point, we sip coffee sweetened with local cane sugar and snack onbocadillo, a thick paste made of guava fruit. The children are beginning to look tired, but Mama Margarita jokes with Charito as she sips from a bottle of water.
Mama Margarita (left) and Charito (right). Photo credit: Megan Taylor Morrison

Despite the loss of many elders and the great threats to the region, these women believe they are making critical headway to protect and document local culture.
"I am optimistic," Charito says. "I am very enthusiastic about making sure the seeds left behind by the grandmothers are planted so that the history can be available for future generations."
When Mama Margarita announces it's time to set off, the children groan. Their pace is now slower. In another two hours, the forest gives way suddenly to a mossy flat with incredible views of the surrounding Andes.
This is the páramo.
According to Cuesta, the sudden shift from dense forest to open grasslands is a hallmark of this ecosystem, and is due to two factors: soil temperature and UV radiation. As you move out from the tree line, these conditions change significantly, meaning different plants can thrive. The delicate balance suggests that changes due to climate or land use will drastically alter the ecosystem.
For now, however, the páramo looks unscathed. The tundra is covered with tall grasses and dense mosses that squish underfoot and allow the ecosystem to act like a giant sponge. By soaking up and releasing water gradually, páramos help maintain a steady water supply, Buytaert explains.
"They are the water towers for much of the Andes, including big cities such as Quito and Bogotá," he explains.
Mama Margarita walks over to one of the páramo's characteristic plants -- a frailejón(Espeletia) -- that could easily be mistaken for one of Dr. Seuss' truffula trees. The species has a round base like a pineapple and long, velvet-like leaves that extend from a thick trunk. Mama Margarita gives a leaf a firm tug and it breaks loose. When a person has a high fever, she says, a healer will boil the leaves in water and place them on the patient's thighs to reduce it. When the leaves are placed on the head, they can cure migraines, she adds.
Rosa Clara Mutumbajoy, Mama Margarita's daughter and apprentice, gathers medicinal plants in the páramo. Photo credit: Megan Taylor Morrison

Mama Margarita then gets down on her hands and knees and begins to scavenge through the brush, holding up what appears to be a few straggly weeds. If you boil this plant, the broth can settle nausea, she says.
The day continues this way: Mama Margarita locates a plant, holds it up, and describes its use while everyone takes photos and careful notes. By the end of the day, she showcases an extensive collection. The plants' uses include lowering blood pressure, helping mothers produce milk for their babies, calming upset stomachs, curing stomach tumors and soothing arthritis.
"I thank my God that gives me the remedies," Mama Margarita says. "I hope the children won't miss the chance to learn."
The hikers gather for a group photo. Photo credit: Megan Taylor Morrison

In the late afternoon, we slog back down the mountain with bags of herbs in tow. The bus picks us up a short time later and we head to the home of Luz Angelica, the daughter of another mama, for a traditional Colombian meal. Today was a special day and we celebrate over chicken soup, beef and salad.
"We came down with 14 different plants that the participants didn't know, and those plants can be planted at their homes, at the school or in the ASOMI garden," Ganitsky says. "It was an important moment to see how traditional knowledge is transmitted and strengthened."
As threats to the culture and land mount, the urgency of such initiatives is bringing the indigenous people of Sibundoy closer together, according to Charito.
"We collaborate on issues that endanger our autonomy and livelihood," she explains. "When there are threats, that's when we become stronger."
The trend is promising for conservation efforts, Cuesta says.
"In the past, it was more like Western society trying to help local people," he explains. "That model doesn't work anymore. The environmental agenda is being decentralized and many questions about how to manage land are given to local municipalities. [They] will have the last decision as to whether to turn the last hectares of páramo into a crop field or protect it for future generations."
Due to these developments, Narciso urges the international community to empower the traditional stewards of the land -- people like Mama Margarita, Charito and himself -- in order to produce the best results. He emphasizes this urgent need in his article:
"The elders ask the world to support them so that these two indigenous communities are not wiped out physically or culturally and, above all, so that future generations are able to live in a dignified way," he wrote. "If the land is not protected, the Kamentsa and Inga ancestral communities will soon be wiped out."
As the evening winds down, we offer to drop off Narciso at his home. During the drive, Charito notices the countless mosquito bites we acquired on the hike and offers to boil a tree bark she gathered that will soothe our skin.
In Narciso's kitchen, we drink sweet tea with cinnamon as we wait for the hot broth to cool. When it's ready, Charito dips her hands in the liquid and rubs our arms and legs in soothing strokes. A few minutes later, we gather our things and Narciso walks us to the door.
As we wave our final goodbyes, we can't help but notice a new sensation. We look at each other in silent confirmation. The itching is gone.


Image via WikiMedia Commons.
A new online database of missing and murdered Indigenous women, trans women and Two-Spiritpeople is aiming to not just record numbers, but to fight back by remembering the lives of the women who have been lost.
“The strength of the database will be from how it honours and remembers missing and murdered Indigenous women, Two Spirit, and trans women,” wrote Erin Konsmo, of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (NYSHN), in an email interview with VICE. It Starts With Us – Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, a collaboration of NYSHN, Families of Sisters in Spirit and No More Silence, launched in late July. The site already features the names of 72 women who have gone missing, were found dead, or were murdered in Ontario. Another 50 will be added soon. In the coming weeks and months, the names of the hundreds of other native women who have gone missing from other regions of Canada over the last several decades.
Calls for action and public awareness of the epidemic of violence towards Indigenous women has been growing since earlier this year, said Audrey Huntley, one of the organizers with No More Silence. She's worked to combat violence against Indigenous women for about 20 years, and since February, there's been media attention like she's never seen before.
She attributes it to a kind of perfect storm that has focused the media's attention on the topic. That includes the murder of Loretta Saunders, a pregnant Inuk woman doing her masters thesis in Halifax on missing and murdered Indigenous women in February. There was also last year'sunsolved death of Bella Laboucan-Mclean, a young Cree woman from Alberta who had moved to Toronto to pursue a career in fashion who fell 31 stories from a high-rise condo in downtown Toronto under suspicious circumstances (the case is still open). Then came a United Nations report calling for action, and the release of an RCMP report this past May placing the number of MMIW over the past 30 years at 1,181 (previous estimates have ranged from 500 to over 3,000—some feel that the RCMP report still downplays the severity of the issue).
Even with all this, the federal government has refused to take action. Recently, the Conservativesonce again denied calls for a national inquiry into the issue. And what little resources that were given in the past for Indigenous-led efforts, such as funding to Sisters in Spirit to compile a similar national database, have been cut. When Sisters in Spirit’s funding was cut in 2010, the information they had gathered was taken by the government, and has never been made publicly accessible.
It would be easy to assume that increasing awareness would lead to less violence, but it hasn't played out that way. The RCMP's recent study reported that the proportion of native women killed, as compared to all murders of women in Canada, has grown from 18 percent in 2011 to 23 percent in 2012. In 1980 it was nine percent. While they attribute this change to the fact that fewer women are being killed in Canada, this only underscores that Indigenous women face a disproportionate amount of violence. And over the 30 years covered in the study, Indigenous women accounted for 16 percent of murder victims, while they make up only four percent of the Canadian population.
Huntley says she's seen this continued increase in violence in her own work. While public awareness may have increased, she says, the causes of violence haven't changed.
“What hasn't changed is the fucking violence and the rapes,” she said over the phone. “Not that I thought [greater awareness] would make that big of a difference. But it is alarming to notice that even though more people know about this now, it seems to be just as acceptable as always. It goes hand in hand with the austerity projects that this government has been behind, making more women more vulnerable. Increasing their poverty makes them more vulnerable,” she said.
The terrible track record of the Canadian government doesn't surprise either Huntley or Konsmo. They both make clear that the creation of the database isn't based on some recent frustration with the Conservative government, but rather the recognition that since its founding, Canada has sought to settle the land at the expense of Indigenous communities. In light of that, the only solution is to create alternative, Indigenous-led services and structures.
It Starts With US is “very much about this idea of not looking to the state for solutions, and seeing this as part of a bigger resurgence of Indigenous people taking control over their own lives,” Huntley said.
So instead, they are building something they say will reflect the community itself. The three groups originally came together through a series of workshops dedicated to building resistance to violence against Indigenous women. It was at one of these meetings with all three groups present where they met Dr. Janet Smiley of the Keenan Research Centre who specializes in Aboriginal health and helped develop the methodology for the database. This led to more discussion and the creation of the database over the ensuing months. The three groups also put out a joint statement in March 2014 calling for a wide range of actions on top of the development of a database—from developing Media Arts Justice to teach-ins to supporting people in the sex trade—in order to “foster resurgence in everyday ways to respond to gender-based violence.”
“Collaborating with other grassroots initiatives like No More Silence and FSIS are long term relationships to work to shift all the ways in which colonial gender based violence affects our communities,” Konsmo said. “Working in collaboration for us is a way of nation-building and supporting one another.”
Part of that is honouring the lives—and not just focusing on the deaths—of the women who have been killed or have disappeared. It's that belief that gave rise to the tribute section of the website, where more in-depth profiles of the lives of missing and murdered women will be featured. The launch of the site was timed to coincide with one year after death of Bella Laboucan-McLean. Working closely with Bella's family, they created a memorial page celebrating her life and accomplishments.
“I think the family feel like they got some healing by being able to tell their own story in their own way,” she said. And other families have taken notice. “Other families have been in touch with me and they are in the process of collecting the photos and writing up the stories of their loved ones, because they really want to do the same.”
Konsmo echoes this importance, and emphasized that it can help prevent future violence as well: “When we are able to tell the stories about our own bodies, that they aren’t empty and conquerable, but full of history, culture, language, and legacies of resistance we are able to resist violence,” she said.
While putting together a tribute page is a rigorous process, so is entering each name on the list. The team of volunteers makes sure that they collect not just information about how a woman died, but also about their life, details like residential school history in their family, interactions with child and family services, and whether they spent time on the street. Each life is given context, rather than superficially documenting their death.
That kind of work isn't easy though. “It's daunting, it's overwhelming, it's incredibly sad. It's incredibly hard work,” said Huntley. Volunteers try to meet face to face to support each other in the difficult work of documenting these stories. They work with elders in ceremony to help them through the at-times troubling information they often need to gather. Huntley had two weeks off during the winter and took the opportunity to enter about 70 stories into the database. She got post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from it, she said. “I got pretty sick.” No one person can take on too much of the work without getting overwhelmed, explained Huntley, so they are always looking for new volunteers, who can sign up through the website. The difficult nature of the work, though, means it can be hard to recruit. But gradually, more people from across the country are getting in touch since the site was launched.
Just focusing on the numbers would help speed up the process and make it easier on the volunteers. But in this case, the database isn't just about pumping out numbers: it's about the community, the people, and the stories it can tell.
“It's just really important for us that when we're honouring these stories, to do it in a way that's respectful,” said Huntley. “Which may make it a slower process, and we just recognize that that is the way it is. It will take us as long as it takes us... We'll get there when we get there.”


Dear Mr. Halbritter,
When Indian Country Today hit newsstands in 1981, it served as one of the only national outlets for Native American news in the country. Up-and-coming Indigenous journalists were able to build careers and followings thanks to the publication, and the United States was also able to learn about the many struggles and issues Native Americans faced.
Since those early days, many things have changed: The publication has gone from newsprint to digital only, and the journalism has started to move from abiding by the high, ethical standards followed by daily newspapers and leading media outlets to those more congruent with social media-driven entertainment websites.
Strategic business decisions might very well be behind ICTMN’s recent editorial choices and, of course, it is at your complete discretion to run your operation in the best way you see fit—even if, from a journalistic standpoint, there have been moments of disappointment in seeing sensational headlines clearly geared toward boosting Web traffic, as well as posts with divisive, racial undertones that fall short of bringing clarity to some of the most important issues in Indian Country of our time.
The most egregious example of irresponsible editorial judgment came to our attention today when ICTMN staff ran a post with this headline “Rate That Genocide: Which Was Worse, Slavery Or Treatment Of Native Americans.” The brief was based on a Vanity Fair article, and we feel we must respond expressing our concern.
Genocide is real and should never be compared or rated with other crimes against humanity. It should never be used to stir attention or generate social-media shares.
At worst, your staff failed to understand the seriousness of the subject matter and used the unsettling headline to bate people to your site and drive up ICTMN Web traffic before directing them to vanityfair.com.
At best, your staff wanted to highlight the unfortunate Vanity Fair/60 Minutes poll that asked people to choose from slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, the Vietnam War, Iraq War and the bombing of Hiroshima in ranking “the biggest ethical misjudgment in U.S. history.”
But even in a best-case scenario, ICTMN’s efforts would have fallen short of adding to the post valuable thought-driven context, a central part of our jobs as journalists. And even in a best-case scenario, there is no defense for the headline. 
ICTMN is one of the most visible online voices when it comes to Native America, which means sound newsroom judgment and following clear ethical guidelines should be considered your journalistic responsibility. 
We hold all news outlets accountable for unethical behavior, be it Native or non-Native. But it’s especially disheartening to see an outlet that says it aims to serve Native people show such a level of insensitivity. 
The Vanity Fair/60 Minutes poll was misguided and we are discussing a response to it as well. But we are addressing your misstep first, in part, because—and, we can’t stress this enough—the idea that an outlet that proclaims to serve Native people could be capable of such insensitivity is, in a word, disheartening. The editorial priorities at ICTMN have been trending in the wrong direction for far too long, and we are saddened that the pattern of irresponsibility has led to this moment.
We ask that Indian Country Today apologize for the headline and institute a sound policy of publishing correction logs when corrections are made to stories. We also encourage you to provide staff with journalism ethics trainings. We can help on this front.
We realize our criticisms are strongly worded, but we are hopeful that you will take them in the spirit for which they are intended—to improve Native journalism. We would welcome a chance to discuss these issues with you and will offer any help we can to facilitate these changes.
Again, as one of the most recognized brands in Indian Country, we would like to see a return to the values that once made your publication great.  
Mary Hudetz, President
Native American Journalists Association

A Golden eagle was in grave condition, but officials said a young boy from Cody, Wyoming was able to rescue the bird by calling for help.

County 10 news is reporting that, Preston Olson, 11, found the bird in his yard on Thursday.“We found him in our yard about six miles outside of Riverton,” Preston’s mom Heather told County 10 news. “We Googled what they eat and it’s all meat. My son gave him some raw chicken and water out of a big plastic bowl.” 

Stan Harter, a game and fish biologist, took the eagle to the Ironside Bird Rescue Center. “It gave us more fight up there than it did when I loaded it up here,” he said. “That boy was lucky it was so weak at the time, he could’ve been badly hurt.”

The bird was treated for a bacterial infection called “Frounce.”

“This eagle is only three months old and it only weighs 5 pounds, that’s half of what it should be,” Susan Ahalt told County 10. “The eagle could not eat because its mouth and throat was clogged with this bacteria,” she said. “I’m feeding it by tube four times a day with a high-calorie meal and giving it twice-daily medicine, that should kill the bacteria.” 

The eagle was chasing her around the room and took three hours to calm down.“[It’s the] meanest eagle I’ve ever seen,” she said, laughing.

On Friday, August 1, 27 members of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police received the power to arrest non-Natives on tribal land. “Up until now they could only hold and detain non-tribal members until the state police could come and make the arrest,” William Satti, director of public affairs for the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, said at a swearing-in ceremony heralding the event.
In preparation, the tribal police were certified by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council, which will increase the presence of personnel in the area and will complement the state and local police forces in eastern Connecticut.
A bill was enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives stating that a law enforcement unit of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut has the same enforcement powers as the State Police and local police departments. On May 28, a comparable agreement had been executed with the Mohegan Tribal Nation.
“It's a special day, a big deal day,” Dora B. Schriro, Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said. “The Connecticut State Police and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police Department will partner, enhancing safety and security in the region.”
Chief of Police William Dittman said the tribal police will now have jurisdiction on felonies anywhere in the state of Connecticut, and will have the same powers as any municipal police department in the state, improving the safety and the risk factor for both the officers and the public. “At this point, we now have many more officers on duty than we ever had state officers on duty,” he said. Dittman, who recently underwent surgery for cancer, celebrated his first day back on the job with the ceremony.
Captain Katie Tougas, of the MPTPD, said many of the tribal police officers have already spent years in law enforcement. “I think that it will be very successful, and I think there will be a lot less stress. They have been waiting for this for a long time. I’ve been there 20 years, and it’s been a long time coming.”
“We are pleased that we have finalized this historic piece of legislation by signing this MOA today with the State of Connecticut. As a Tribal Nation, we fully believe that the strong government-to-government relationship that both the tribe and the state maintain is key in our everyday interactions,” said Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler.
Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler, and Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Dora B. Schriro, sign the Memorandum of Agreement allowing the tribe’s police force to assume all duties enjoyed by municipal forces. (Christina Rose)
Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler, and Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Dora B. Schriro, sign the Memorandum of Agreement allowing the tribe’s police force to assume all duties enjoyed by municipal forces. (Christina Rose)
When the casinos first opened, the towns of Ledyard and North Stonington worried about the impact the casinos would have on their towns. Concerns of prostitution and burglaries were feared but according to studies those problems never materialized. Crime did increase, but only in keeping with the population growth. According to a report issued by Harvard, the number of crimes per 1,000 residents actually declined.
Tougas said the casinos have worked hard to forge a good working relationship with the towns. “I believe we try to work together. With all the cuts in the area, having any amount of increased law enforcement should be beneficial,” she said.
Things seem better now than they were in previous years, and Tougas said the Connecticut State Police have done an excellent job in the casinos. “The difference now is that these are guys who will be here every day and will know everything that’s going on; it will be consistent.”
Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, said, “This is a really big step. It sets up a formalized relationship, a structure. It is the perfect way to go about letting the tribe and the state protect the safety of the community, the people, the public, of everybody here—and doing this in an equal and fair manner.
“It is an agreement that respects the authority of both sovereigns, here in the state of Connecticut and the Mashantucket Tribal Nation. Everybody has come a long way,” Kane said.
Read more at  SOURCE

All Native Americans have had those encounters -- meeting a stranger of a different race who reacts to Indian-ness with a predictable comment about your racial makeup, or a common misconception about Indians, or a (probably false) story about his or her grandmother. It's weird, it's sometimes offensive, it's sometimes oddly touching. 
This list turns the tables, offering the NDN side of the conversation. Use carefully. Thanks goes to Last Real Indians for posting this one totheir Facebook page
Top 10 Things Natives Should Say to White Folks
10. How much white are you?
9. I'm part white myself, you know.
8. I learned all your people's ways in the Boy Scouts.
7. My great-great-grandmother was a full-blooded white American Princess.
6. Funny, you don't look white.
5. I'm not racist, my best friend is white!
4. Do you live in a covered wagon?
3. What's the meaning behind the square dance?
2. Can I touch your facial hair?
1. Hey, can I take your picture?

Read more athttp://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/25/top-10-things-say-when-you-meet-white-person-156053

November is Native American Heritage Month, when the United States officially celebrates the culture and traditions of Native American people. With more than five million people of Native American descent living in the United States, it’s no surprise that many famous people (or their ancestors) in the arts and entertainment industries are members of one of the many tribes on record.
Researching ancestry and claiming official enrollment in a Native American tribe can be a challenging process. While investigating what famous people claim Native American blood, it’s clear that you have to go on self-reporting, for the most part. It’s pretty widely known that Elvis was directly descended from the Cherokee Nation, for instance (and who was going to argue with Elvis, anyway?). Other celebrities who claim Native American origin have caused more controversy. Cher, for instance, said that she had 1/16 Cherokee blood after releasing her single, “Half Breed,” in the 1970s. Her claims were widely disputed, and her choice to wear a typical Native American headdress while performing the song on Sonny and Cher didn’t win anyone over.
There are many actors and musicians whose Native American ancestry may be less obvious. Jimi Hendrix, Tori Amos, and Chuck Norris were surprises to me. So was Angelina Jolie, for that matter. It didn’t really occur to me to wonder where these people were from, or from whom they were descended, so there ethnicity isn’t shocking. I’d just never considered it.
My favorite Native American cinematic experience was Smoke Signals, one of my favorites movies, based on Sherman Alexie’s book Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. It’s hard to believe the book was published 20 years ago this summer, but the dates don’t lie, I guess.
“When The Lone Ranger was published, I was being fêted by the publishing world while I was back living on the rez, after college,” Alexie told the New Yorker. “I was called ‘one of the major lyric voices of our time’ while I was sleeping in a U.S. Army surplus bed in the unfinished basement bedroom in my family’s government-built house.”
This quote from Alexie’s book sums up everything I’d hope wouldn’t happen to people of Native American descent in Hollywood or anywhere.
“… but I know somebody must be thinking about us because if they weren’t we’d just disappear just like those Indians who used to climb the pueblos. Those Indians disappeared with food still cooking in the pot and air waiting to be breathed and they turned into birds or dust or the blue of the sky or the yellow of the sun. There they were and suddenly they were forgotten for just a second and for just a second nobody thought about them and then they were gone.”
The history and contributions of the people are far too rich to forget. Let’s take a look at 21 celebrities you may not have known were Native American.

Benjamin Bratt

Jimi Hendrix

Tori Amos

Will Rogers

Lou Diamond Phillips

Ben Harper

Kid Cudi

Angelina Jolie

Rosario Dawson

Johnny Depp

Heather Locklear

Jessica Biel

Jennifer Tilly

Cameron Diaz


Mandy Moore

Miley Cyrus

Joe Jonas

Elvis Presley

Anthony Kiedis

Chuck Norris

Burt Reynolds