Resource List for Indigenous Peoples' Day

In Recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day

Explore current events facing Native peoples in America today

At a United Nations conference in 1977, Indigenous peoples proposed shifting the focus from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, to honor the diverse network of peoples who inhabited this land thousands of years before European contact, and to acknowledge the ongoing discrimination facing Native peoples. As a school so deeply rooted in place, we are dedicated to educating our students about the Chumash, the first peoples of this land we now call home, whose culture and community is very much alive and thriving today in the Santa Ynez Valley. Recently on Experiential Saturday, a number of faculty took students to the Chumash Pow Wow event to witness a bit of this powerful local celebration of Native cultures. This October 10th, in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Midland invites you to explore current events investigating some of the issues impacting Native peoples of America today. 

This list has been compiled by Midland’s Honors U.S. History Class as of October 2022.

Covid’s Toll on Native Americans | NY Times

Both mortality and cases for Native Americans from Covid-19 have been much higher than they have been for other racial groups. Because of lower access to good healthcare, cramped conditions, poverty, and many other factors, the average life expectancy of Native Americans reached 65.2 in 2021. This is 7 years down from two years before in 2019, and was the national life expectancy almost eighty years ago in 1944. Although vaccination rates have been high, death rates have stayed high too. Healthcare for Native Americans receives very little federal funding, and many have to travel long distances to acquire any healthcare and are often discriminated against in the little care they receive. With fairly common poverty, families also live in larger households with less access to running water as well as no internet so that remote work and schooling is less possible, making transmision more likely too. All of these factors are making Covid-19 far more lethal for Native Americans than the average person.

Return the National Parks to the Tribes | The Atlantic

This article explains why national parks should be returned to Native American tribes. It noted that, while many believe nature was untouched before white people, indigenous peoples have been interacting with and modifying the plants and animals for thousands of years. The parks were also usually stolen via massacres, as people were living on some of the land at the time. A specific example was the theft of Yosemite from the Miwok, when an entire battalion arrived to fight the tribe. When the Miwok hid, they were starved and shot when trying to escape. The best way to start compensating indigenous people for all of the atrocities committed against them.

Report Catalogs Abuse of Native American Children at Former Government Schools | NY Times

Deb Haaland is the United States interior cabinet secretary, and the first Native American to hold the position. In May of 2022, she initiated an investigation towards the hundreds of deaths and disappearances of Native American children while in mandated government boarding schools. From the 1860’s to the 1960’s, the United States government forced an estimated over 60,000 Native children into “boarding schools” where they were taught American culture and coerced into assimilation. The investigation initiated by Ms. Haaland unearthed more than 50 burial sites at different schools, mass graves that showcase the unspeakable abuse and torture the “students” faced.

‘We’re still here’: past and present collide at Native American boarding school | The Guardian

This article speaks about the assimilation boarding schools Native American students would be forced into throughout many years. However these days the schools still exist but are not to assimilate native Americans. These schools do exist however and students who attend them feel that some of the old ways still are being used. Students are not taught their native language and are very far from their reservations. Also the student interviewed said how some students feel it difficult to embrace their native heritage and tend to stick to the “white” way.

NARF’s Five Priorities | Native American Rights Fund

The article essentially talks about how the reservations  of Native Tribes aren’t necessarily in their complete control. There are still people, including the government, who extract and use the land’s natural resources. These include different kinds of fuels like oil and timber, as well as using water and hunting all kinds of animals. All in all, these natural resources shouldn’t be touched by anyone that isn’t part of the tribe’s reservation. The whole idea is to give them an area of land for the specific tribe, but these occurrences completely ignore that.

Two new federal reports look at removing Snake River dams to help endangered and threatened fish | Oregon Public Broadcasting

While the impacts and opposition of the Lower Snake River dams is nothing novel, a new report has confirmed this belief into the mainstream. These dams  have brought hundreds of miles of water to a standstill, killing 99 percent of salmon, a vital indigenous food,  in the process. A NOAA report claimed that the only action capable of restoring salmon numbers is dam removal and river restoration.

Marilynn Malerba to be the first Native American treasurer of the U.S. | CBS News

An indigenous woman by the name of Marilynn Malerba was appointed to the position of United States treasurer yesterday, Sep 12, 2022. This makes her the first indigenous person to hold office in the treasury department of government. She is also the first female leader of the Mohegan tribe, and a registered nurse. Being the treasurer is a vital role to the country, as they oversee the mint (including engraving and printing), act as a link with the Federal Reserve, and sign our currency. Hitherto this moment, not a single treasurer has so much as visited a Tribal nation; she will be changing that with a visit to South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation. Malerba will promote important conversations between the US treasury and Tribal nations, increase economic opportunities for tribes and Tribal citizens.

Authorities Rename 28 Wisconsin Sites to Remove Racist Word | U.S. News

The article talks about how the government has finally renamed multiple lakes and other federal sites in Wisconsin. The names were originally derogatory and racist toward Native American women. 

The process has taken nearly a year. Haaland successfully removed the word “squaw” from nearly 650 lakes, peaks, streams, and other places. The second Haaland, an American Indian, took office in 2021, the Senator has been trying to remove many words from places

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