National Native News Special Features
Today's feature on National Native news one of the biggest powwows attracts protesters. I'm Steve. Organizers of the red earth Native American culture festival in Oklahoma City say each year the event attracts larger numbers of people who bring the city more tourism dollars. But this year is the third in which it's also attracted Native protesters demanding more of a controlling interest and rather its profits. Natalie Bell reports from red earth opening parade in downtown Oklahoma City. Thousands of people lined the streets as if drawn here by the chanting drum groups each group sits on the bed of a smoldering. Ahead native dignitaries waved to the crowd from fancy cars. There followed by a procession of more than 2000 proud members of Native American nations who come from all corners of the continent. People are mesmerized by the men women and children who wear an explosion of
fiery colored regalia with beads feathers and belt tipped moccasins. I like the costume the collar feel real proud. A handful of protesters enter the parade lineup without permission and are allowed to remain. They carry posters criticizing the focus here on native cultures and tradition. One sign says institutional racism at Red Earth must stop its total exploitation of culture. There's nothing out of the profits that are made by Ritter that goes back into the community to strengthen it. Many of those lining the streets are Native Americans. Some are sympathetic to the criticism. Like Bernadette Martinez but she says she can't ignore the festivals positive aspects. I like to see it because it did put Oklahoma on the map it's a National Geographic it's in magazines all over the country the Japanese and Germans are covering it now now in its eighth year. The red earth festival attracts people from across Oklahoma and beyond. Kelly Patton poney from Tulsa believes the festival provides an honest representation of native culture.
One that carries on its legacy and something that shouldn't be forgotten. I thought that because my kids are growing up learning there. Their native language that crowd even know where I am going. To. Teach tradition not addiction. The shouts of smiling girls atop a truck with signs that say they represent unity United National Indian tribal youth and alone reminder of Americanism brings up the rear of the parade and the crowd breaks up and heads for the downtown arena where a three day native dance competition is about to begin. Romantic. The protesters are here to handing out flyers. They represent several grass roots native rights groups. Francis wise with the Alliance of indigenous people says red earth does nothing to address native concerns about treaty rights or other social concerns. That's why she believes the event only serves to exploit native culture.
All I want to do is charge a book and make lots and lots of money for the state of Oklahoma and I want to put a bug in and be playing and dance for them so they can make money other than that we're invisible. Inside the arena close to sixteen hundred adults and children perform in the dance competition. Each one is considered a master of native movement and rhythm. It's in response to critics who say natives gain nothing by participating in this largely non-native backed event red earth board member Phil Lu Han cites the $90000 in prize money handed out to native dancers and artists. We play our drummers are saying. Who are the singers. White guys. Yes. Lou Hahn is one of nearly two dozen native Americans on the festival's board of directors which as a whole is 60 percent native. He says very little money is made by the festival itself. Ticket sales brought in just over 150000 dollars this year.
But it costs close to 400000 to stage the event. That's why rhetorics nonprofit umbrella organization seeks outside support which largely comes from the city of Oklahoma City. The State Tourism Department and the State Arts Council. The organization has a staff of seven people five of them natives. They also operate a year round museum exhibit more than 150000 people attended this year's Red Earth festival. The largest turnout in the event's history and ticket sales were up 14 percent over last year. In Oklahoma City I'm Natalie Belle National Native news features are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts. International. Today's feature on National Native news the role of native culture in recovery. I'm Diane Hamilton. The Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center in Minneapolis
offers a formula for chemical dependency treatment that's unique. The program helps women create a healthy self-image one without drugs and alcohol by applying cultural traditions within a community setting. Women learn appropriate life skills by working with mentors in an environment enhanced by native music language storytelling and games. Minnesota Public Radio's Jacqueline estus has more. Some women come to the Minnesota Indian womens Resource Center because they're sick of the chaotic life of an addict or frightened because their children have just been put into foster care. A quarter of them are there because a judge ordered them to undertake treatment at the center the women share experiences and hopes through intense and intimate therapy sessions. They learn how to relax and laugh without chemicals and they take classes on everything from nutrition and budgets to the history of Native Americans in the region. Some live at the center with their children while they learn how to live without alcohol or
drugs. Elderly and stand of the Red Lake band of Ojibway heats formula hands a rattle to one baby's and frees another stuck in a corner with his walker all the while keeping up a low murmur of comments and conversation directed toward the babies in the infant daycare center. Her chatter is sprinkled with a Jewboy words and in the background a tape of Plains Indian music players. Stand as one of the elders hired to serve as a mentor a guide to both the children and their parents to instill or revive their identity as Native Americans. Stan says the tapes help the babies become familiar with the sounds of their culture. We have several different kinds one that sings to the babies and one that's just a poll. About what to eat. We use I 10 want every morning. Outside three to five year olds play on a swing set under the watchful eye of
another elder. Don Lock says he tells the children stories he learned as a child. Stories about the natural world and the foibles of people. Stories he hopes will strengthen an image of themselves as a newbie and I just wanted to create that. Identify would. Be comfortable with a crowd who would care. The children's mothers are in a life skills class upstairs. Judy who didn't want her last name used says she likes the sense of unity she enjoys in the center and learning about her heritage as a member of the MMA lax Band of Ojibwe. Learn a lot of stuff that I grew up in the cities and not in the rez. So. It gets me back in post with. My culture and also of the band says because most staff and women at the center belong to Chippewa Sioux or other plains
Indian tribes. They share a common background. She says she feels she can let down her guard even at a time when she's feeling vulnerable. If you went to a different place there would be a lot of. They would start looking at you you know start asking you questions about you and making you feel like you are different and would have a sense of belonging is what the founders were after when they set up the center 10 years ago. Executive director Margaret Peake Raymond an Oklahoma Cherokee is one of the founders. She's confident the center is moving in the right direction by incorporating native traditions into all its programs. She credits the center staff for making that happen. You know while I may have contributed to the vision of the organization we really have an excellent If that are really committed to the clients that they serve. And that's sort of what keeps me from goal it keeps me going and keeps me from being burned out I think. While it's too soon to judge the success of the center's programs rates of
recovery for all such treatment programs are not that promising one third of the people who enter treatment don't finish. Of those who do finish half are still sober a year later. The odds are formidable but employees of the Minnesota Indian womens Resource Center are working to overcome them hoping to see the day when the Native American community will be free of alcoholism and chemical dependency. I'm Jacqueline estus in St. Paul Minnesota National Native news features are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts. Today's feature on National Native news urban natives in Detroit. I'm Diane Hamilton. We tend to think of Native Americans as people living on reservations are closely linked to their cultural traditions. But over half of all natives live in big cities in Detroit Michigan some 17000 natives live within a six county
metropolitan area. Reporter Catalina Rayo spoke with some of these city dwellers about maintaining their native heritage in an urban landscape. Would you please Shawnee community organizer Thurman Baer says it's a misperception held even among natives that by coming to the city tribal people necessarily give up some of their native miss he says a native woman at a recent northern Michigan powwow had the wrong idea when she came up to him with this greeting. We're really glad you city Indians came here and. Well you know they give you a chance to hear the songs and see the people there. You know get in touch with your culture. I mean she was thinking that we don't have those kind of things now but they do thanks to a half dozen active Native organizations in Detroit and neighboring Windsor Canada congregating at social centers like Michigan's urban Indian Affairs Office and southeast Michigan Indians incorporated. People build familial and ceremonial relationships with other natives of diverse
heritages bears as he prefers this intertribal urban experience gives us an advantage I think a lot of people who live on reservations might not have the opportunity to be around other native people. Well whose culture is composed of different flavors. That means some 80 different tribes from as far away as California and Florida. Urban natives face many of the same crises suffered by their reservation relative poverty limited access to health care and substance abuse problems. But living off reservation means they're sometimes left out of national debates. Leaders like Ojibwe Apache Lucy Harrison are out to change that. As head of Detroit's American Indian Health Family Services she made sure she was included in the recent Tribal Health Care Summit in Washington D.C.. Why shouldn't we be part of that. We're Indian. We have unmet health needs. I just choose to live in a city. We have 34 Indian health care programs
in urban settings. So the real critical part of this recent health care summit that was held in D.C. was the fact that we were able to and and guarantee some reservation language in the resolutions that came about from the tribal Native Americans. This is another step in stone and a milestone and terms of the relationships. Connections on a smaller scale go on at the North American Indian Associations weekly community meeting. Even though it's sweltering at the Detroit American Indian Center young men from five or six different tribes teach each other drum songs. People of all ages hang out in small groups doing bead work making garlands of small tobacco pouches or just talking. I find elder Frank Albert's teaching a young man how to make a feather decorated peace pipe out of means anything.
Frank has adapted to the materials on hand in the city adjustment hasn't been so easy for his Ojibwe wife and meant raised to since the age of six and white families in the suburbs. She only began reconnecting with her tribal people when she reached her 40s. Yeah until I actually saw my my family very hard for me to go into a situation to be accepted. It was just a process that something no good would people do do. I remember talking to older people one time and crying. And if they knew I was at six. But with support from other Detroit natives and it got through those first years. Now I've met people and they've given me a lot of things that I've. I had been there with her with my children. And they'll continue to give that to their children. So we've got that next generation. With makes it all worthwhile. Detroit's urban native community wants to make sure their kids get all the support they need in the future toward that goal. The
medicine bear Academy will open this September operated by the city's public schools it will offer a native culture immersion program for Native kids from kindergarten to third grade for National Native news. This is got the RE Yes in Detroit Michigan National Native news features are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts. International. Today's feature on National Native news bringing the visitor industry to Indian country. I'm Dan Hamilton. These days a growing number of tourists want something more than the same old cliches about winning the West when they travel there as we hear in this report from Scotch legel their efforts to meet that need on reservations and the national parks in the National Parks Service people are working to change the way Native Americans are portrayed in exhibitions. Barbara BOR is northern youth in Cherokee. She's also Indian affairs coordinator for the National
Park Service's Rocky Mountain region. There is an increased interest in hearing the Indian perspective of history. Bor says it's not easy to create programs that portray native people the way they see themselves. The difference in the way history is for Indians and non-Indians is that for us the Indian people our histories are not necessarily in black and white. We don't have our own history books our history is oral. It's in our songs it's in our dances. If you go to the prehistoric. Yes but then we have the petroglyphs and those kinds of recordings. We would also have the ledger art. But as far as having books and documents and reports that didn't exist as it does in the non-Indian world national parks visitors may be glad for having learned more truth than the history books told them but often the native stories they hear at parks are told by non Indian Rangers or through recorded talking exhibits
instead of fire real live Native Americans drawn together in defense. To date these gravesites are scattered over the battlefield and are indicated by the white marble markers no markers show with the Union Square tribes remove their own dead and place them in TVs over the treetops scuffles in the valley. To many Native Americans the national parks are an intrusion on Indian country one they never asked for. Barbara Brewer says sometimes non-native park's patrons conduct themselves in ways Native Americans find offensive and a good example of that is the Rainbow Bridge national monument that is a very very sacred site for the Indian people. And yet if you were to go there today you would see that it is a major tourism site. Most of the visitors are non Indians and a lot of the people who are there do not conduct themselves in a manner according to a sacred site. They're there for recreation and fun
and good times. And that is the difference in values. The most popular national park sites in the West that center on native culture are Mesa Verdi Kenyan dish A and choco Canyon. Tourists have to look harder to find tribally run visitor centers in rural Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation has produced an outdoor Trail of Tears drama that's drawn a steady stream of non-Indian visitors for decades and the long haul. Just in the wrong way. There's more stuff in place right now. There are obstacles to tribes developing tourism. Lynn Howard is public affairs director for the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. When the Cherokee Nation is so geographically diverse we would not be promoting tourism for our county where we happen to be headquartered. We would be promoting it in a 14 county area and that's a
mammoth mammoth undertaking. When you're in the business of clothing people and making sure they have adequate housing and food on their table and adequate health care not to mention jobs and education those become your critical pressing needs and as important as tourism is and as many of those problems that tourism could ultimately solve. You've got to take care of first things first. The Cherokee Nation's most profitable tourist attraction is it's a bingo hall in Tulsa and it's often been the case that tribally run tourism ventures aren't exactly what non-Indians expect to find. We cannot always give people what they expect because of their stereotypes of so many years. There are some she has no real definite ideas out there about what Indian it is there isn't anything that is different from that may not qualify for people so. It's it's hard for people to see what they consider Indian when they're just driving down the highway and people on reservations with high poverty
rates may feel embarrassed by tourists driving around gawking at them. Some tribal leaders are also wondering how long the current cycle of fascination with things Indian will last for National Native news. I'm Scott Schlegel in Denver. National Native news features are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts. International. Today's feature on National Native news Native kids in prep school. I'm Diane Hamilton. When their parents or tribes can afford it some native students are finding that New England prep schools provide a culturally sensitive educational option. As we learn in this report prepared in 1090 by producer Margot MILNE The Cove prep school education for Native students is a growing trend which educators hope will build leadership qualities in youngsters facing a challenging future.
This Mohawk song from the St. Regis reservation in upstate New York was recorded by Johnny white for a homework assignment. The high school junior who attends Northfield Mount Hermon school in western Massachusetts proudly submitted the recording of her final exam in an independent study on Mohawk culture. But there was a time when Joni nearly dropped out of prep school feeling disappointed and alone. A lot of people here are really into going to big colleges big name colleges driving big cars and having big paying jobs. That's that's really not important to me. What's important to me is that. I help the people in my community particularly the children. Joni says the old ways are also important. Living off the land special ceremonies respecting one's elders and being part of an enormous extended family. So last winter after going home for Christmas she re-enrolled in a public school near her reservation. But after three days of classes she says she realized the importance of getting the best education possible and returned to Northfield Mount Hermon.
You know I'm coming here because I want to get the education. Because my people are forced now to deal with the outside world and in order to do that I think they need to be educated in that world at nearby Cushing Academy. HEADMASTER Joseph Curry admits the prep schools provide Native American youngsters an especially potent dose of culture shock. But he says there's no comparison between today's schools where diversity is applauded and the old missionary and government run boarding schools where the goal was to Christianize or Americanize native children. And even though many families prefer reservation schools where native language and culture are a part of the core curriculum. Curry expects to see several hundred Native Americans in prep schools in a few years compared to only several dozen enrolled today. He's partly responsible for the trend since 1988. Cushing Academy has run a tuition freeze summer boarding school in the southwest for Native American junior high students 15 graduates went on to 10 different prep schools this year. Only one dropped
out. Next year Curry is hoping for 40 placements in perhaps as many schools. The idea that was prevalent. In independent schools a generation ago. That somehow Native American children are an exotic species and this exotic species will not flourish and an American boarding school is just not true. Curry says given a sensitive faculty and an ongoing relationship between school and parents Native American children can learn to walk proudly in two worlds. It's essential they do so says Dr Bedi has going's director of the American Indian Program at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. The Cherokee educator says each child's future as well as fragile treaty rights are at stake. They're going to be sitting opposite the table against Harvard educated attorneys. And so our youth have to be prepared and trained and professional enough that
they could still win the battles. Cushing Academy freshman Del Ray red hair agrees. Del Rey who attended two summer sessions before giving full time prep school a trice says without hesitation that he'll return to coaching next fall. But as he watches his fellow students play Frisbee on the school comments the 15 year old from Rough Rock Arizona explains in his native Navajo what he's looking forward to this summer. What kind of a translation. First thing I get probably take care of the sheep from my grandma Del Ray red hair who says he'll major in engineering in college. For National Native news. I'm Margo Mikko reporting. National Native news features are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts. This is National Native news. Our features producer is Steve Haim. Production assistance from Nelly more engineering by Kevin Smith and Chris Bell like music by
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- The first segment reports on the growing protest environment at the largest Native American Cultural Festival, Red Earth in Oklahoma City. Native protestors would like more controlling interest over the profits of Red Earth in order to grow and aid the Native community. At the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center, chemical dependency is being treated with Native music, language, storytelling, and games in order to promote a healthier lifestyle. Mentors instill and revive the Native identities of the women and children at the center. The third segment explores the urban Ojibwe/Shawnee population in Detroit. The fourth segment reports on the tourist industry as it moves into Indian Country. The question of how oppositional values between Reservations and National Parks can be respected. The last segment explores the option of prep school for Native children as a culturally sensitive alternative to education.
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Associate Producer: Hamilton, DeAnne
Copyright Holder: Koahnic Broadcast Corporation
Producer: Heimel, Steve
Producing Organization: Koahnic Broadcast Corporation
Reporter: Bell, Natalie
Reporter: Reyes, Catalina
Reporter: Schlagle, Scott
Reporter: Milnakov, Margo
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- MLA: “National Native News Special Features.” 1990-07-03. Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 16, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_206-2259zzbn>.
- APA: National Native News Special Features. Boston, MA: Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_206-2259zzbn