An old artform takes a new turn
Coming up, a ledger artist brings a new look at an old artform. Plus tourism is big business in Wisconsin. Find out how tribal nations are building the industry, and a federal bill would take a hard look at the truth of boarding schools in the U.S., if it is passed into law. I'm Aliyah Chavez. Join us for those interviews plus headlines from the ICT newscast.
>> This program is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. >> Arizona State University welcomes 3,500 Indigenous students from Arizona and across the Nation. It serves one of the largest populations of Indigenous students among U.S. colleges and universities. We created a sense of place for Tribal Nations to create futures of their own making through community outreach and research, taught by world-class Indigenous faculty, where they see a reflection of themselves and their experiences. Find community at ASU. [ music ] >> Ah meh dawa, hopa.
Thank you for joining us! We start above the Medicine Line where wildfires continue to threaten First Nation communities. Currently, 17 First Nations have been affected by the wildfires in Canada, with 13 Nations being evacuated to safer areas. The environmental disaster has made the air unbreathable across large parts of North America. The remote locations of the Native communities are making the evacuation harder, as some are only accessible by plane or boat in the summer.
Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation says rural communities like his need funding for proactive fire protection. So far, the US has sent more than 600 firefighters and equipment to Canada. Blazes burning across the country have left 20,000 people without a home.
Heading to Thacker Pass in Nevada, last week, police and private security tore down a blockade created by Indigenous land defenders. A Diné protester was arrested as a result. The blockade was created to halt construction of the Lithium Mine at Thacker Pass, which is a sacred area to tribes in the area. The Ox Sam Camp was blocking the construction crews with a tipi and camping tents.
When the blockade was removed the tipi poles were snapped in half. Police also took a ceremonial hand drum, eagle feathers, and a carved staff. The company, Lithium Americas, is planning to extract the largest known lithium deposit in the country.
Land defenders have said this would not deter them from continuing to protest against the mining. School is out, which means young people are finding ways to stay busy and active. ICT's Pacey Smith-Garcia has this story. >> The Salt River Fields at Talking Stick were full of energy with the Inter-Tribal Youth Baseball and Softball Tournament hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The tournament drew in teams from all across the country, with the goal to play baseball and enjoy themselves. This year's winning baseball team was the Native AZ Elite, based out of Gila River.
Followed by a tough fought win from the [indistinct] Coach Raul Ruvalcaba spoke to ICT after the game. >> Overwhelming. It's a great feeling to come out here and win this championship on my birthday, today, so it's an amazing feeling. Um, it's all I can ask for. These boys came out and gave it 110%, so you know, hats off to them.
That sentiment was echoed by the players. >> I'm feeling good. It's my fifth year in a row taking the tournament. I feel good. Team we had was amazing.
We all came out, did our part, and, yeah, I just feel really good right now about winning. For this team, preparation started way before game time. >> Usually prepared for quite a few months before, due to the fact that all the kids come from different high schools, so we get them together a few months prior and get them going together and get that chemistry back together. A lot of the boys played a lot when they were little together. So they got the chemistry there already. >> In Phoenix, Arizona, Pacey Smith-Garcia, ICT News.
>> A new show on Hulu is exploring Native cuisine in Oklahoma. "Searching for Soul Food" is a new cooking show exploring what soul food means to various communities across different cities. The show is hosted by chef Alisa Reynolds who looks into the role food plays in the history of humanity. The second episode features the restaurant NATV in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma run by Jacque Siegfried. NATV is a modern, fine dining experience with a menu focused on Indigenous dishes and flavors.
Bison, corn cakes and three sister stew are just a few of their items. "Searching for Soul Food" is available to stream now on Hulu. And those are the headlines for the ICT newscast. >> Indigenous tourism is expected to top $65 billion this year. That's up from 40 billion last year.
The 11 tribes in Wisconsin are making plans and will meet later this month to share best practices. Suzette Brewer is the executive director of the Native American Tourism of Wisconsin. She joins us now more with the organization's upcoming conference called "Celebrating Wisconsin Tribal Arts and Culture." Suzette, your organization is meeting very soon.
Tell us about it and what the goals are. >> So on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, we're gonna have the Native American Tourism of Wisconsin annual conference and this year's theme is Celebrating Tribal Arts and Culture in Wisconsin. We have 11 federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin, and I am the executive director of NATOW, which is Native American Tourism. And we are gonna be hosting our annual golf tournament and our conference, which has really become one of the premiere festivals in the upper Midwest for Indigenous tourism. But I just want to say a quick thing about Indigenous tourism and the numbers that have recently come out.
We have really grown over-- especially over the pandemic. I think, during that time we were busy trying to recalibrate what we were doing here in Wisconsin. And I think all of our efforts are really starting to pay off, because we had a significant increase in our revenues over the last year. I think that's partly because we're coming out of the pandemic, but I think it's also partly due to the fact that really pushing tribal tourism here in Wisconsin.
>> Your conference, can you tell us some of the agenda items that attendees will be able to partake in? >> Yeah, we have a full slate of activities starting, obviously, at 8 o'clock with our opening ceremonies. We're gonna have the Indian Shark Tank competition That's gonna be one of our centerpiece activities we have this year. It's where 15 Indigenous people from around the state, around the region are gonna come together, and they're gonna pitch their business ideas for a chance to win two $5,000 grants to help start up their business or to continue the business that they've already started.
We also have an Indigenous fashion show. We're bringing in the band Indigenous to play for our concert the night of. We also have numerous panels and presentations around the issues to do with Indigenous museums and also working with non-Native museums for better representation of Native people in the museum industry. And we also have two outdoor event tents that we're gonna be hosting at least two dozen different Indigenous beadworkers, birchbark basketmakers, canoe-- dugout canoe makers. We have a lacrosse stick maker who's coming in. We have authors, singers, and all manner of other performers who are gonna be performing at our outdoor tents while the con-- while the panels are gonna be presented inside.
>> That sounds like quite the lineup. We know that right now it's summer, and so a lot of families are looking for places to travel. At a high level, tell us some of the activities and places that tribes promote for tourism in the area. >> I am so thrilled you asked that question, because we have so many things to do on the reservations in Wisconsin. We have all manner of hiking, birdwatching.
We have water sports, kayaking, fishing, boating. We have pow wows. We have RV parks. We have campgrounds. We have basically any outdoor activity than you can contemplate, we can do that here in Wisconsin on the reservation. And we are very proudly promoting our outdoor recreation.
We're also promoting our event spaces, where you can get married, you can host a conference, you can host your baby shower. There's so many different elements to our tribal tourism that we are now actively promoting here in the state. And for parents who are looking for an experiential experience with their kids, there's-- we have all of our museums, our cultural museums and cultural centers that are gonna be open this summer. The Oneida Nation has a really great one near Green Bay on the Oneida Reservation.
We also have the George Brown Center up at Lac Du Flambeau. There's any number of things for people to do with their children during the entire summer up here in Wisconsin. >> What kind of existing partnerships do tribes have with other tourism associations or attractions? >> We are-- well, we are affiliated with the American Indian and Alaska Native Travel Association, AIANTA, and we also work very closely with the state of Wisconsin and their tourism mechanism.
And we also work with our partners throughout the upper Midwest including Michigan and Minnesota. In fact, both of them are gonna be attending the conference next week, because they are very interested in the work that we're doing here in Wisconsin. So we have all number-- we have all manner of corporate partners We have state partners. We have partners with AIANTA.
We have been really pushing to build our network throughout the last three years. >> As I mentioned, the Indigenous tourism in Wisconsin is expected to top $65 billion. How do tribal nations use that money in order to support their citizens? Can you maybe talk about the revenue and how it helps tribes? >> Yeah. Well, there's-there's a wide variety of, uh-- so let's-let's just break that down just a little bit. So, it's 65 billion in tourism, and that includes the gaming industry, and what that does is provide, um, a budget that we wouldn't otherwise have for all manner of-of, um, human services within the communities, including housing, healthcare, education, infrastructure, and other human needs that, um, the tribes provide for their people, and so when we talk about tourism, it's not just, you know, I would say businesses putting money in their pockets. It really is, uh, income generators for economic development here in Wisconsin, um, and it really does provide a big variety of projects that we really have-- that we have, uh, in the works for, um, many of our communities.
>> Well, Suzette Brewer, from Native American Tourism of Wisconsin, thank you so much. >> Thank you. >> The ledger art style is commonly described as warrior art and is often considered a male art form. However, for over two decades, Caddo Nation of Oklahoma citizen and Winnebago descendant Dolores Purdy has been involved in it. Using the medium of antique paper and colored pencils, she has created a contemporary version of ledger art from a female perspective. Her work can be found in galleries all across the world.
Hello to you, Dolores. >> Thank you for having me. This is very fun. >> To start, can you tell us how you began to make ledger art? >> Well, um, it actually started with some family research. Um, I, uh-- I was, uh, doing family research and discovered that there was a Caddo man who had been imprisoned in Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida
in 1875. Now, he wasn't a relative, but he was another Caddo, uh, tribal member, and I thought, "Why?" Uh, I couldn't quite figure this-- why he would be there. So, just a tad bit of history-- let me preface this with, there had been at that time-- 1875, 39 tribes had been moved into Oklahoma. They were all given assigned lands, told not to leave these lands.
Um, and signed treaties saying such, well, it didn't all work out because the government wasn't doing a lot with theirs-- um, part of the, uh, treaty. So anyway, 72 men had been arrested, sent to Fort Marion, Florida. These were 72 men who were the tribal leaders of very influential in their, you know, particular tribe that they were in. So, um, anyway, back in the '90s I was doing this research.
I came across this guy. And now at that time, the internet was still pretty young, so you had to actually physically walk into a library and open books and do research. Um, and I, uh-- I found this book.
Not sure if you can read this, but it says, "Plains Indian "Art From Fort Marion." Open that up. And that began a whole new research thing for me. I had seen some old ledger art before just bits and pieces, but never really knew anything about it. So at this time, I was an artist in Santa Fe Indian Market and, um, several other markets. And, um, I began to bring some of this historical art form to the market.
I went and found antique paper, pencils, and began showing this work. >> And in the subjects that you depict, tell us about what's important to you in terms of getting your thoughts on the page? >> So, um, the subjects that I depict, I depict a lot of women. You know, granted, I am a woman. So a lot of my work comes across as very feminine, whether I want it to be or not.
But I am feminine, so, uh, and I come up with different, uh, with women a lot because I try to show the beauty of a woman. I try to show, um, how they work within their communities. But I do also have some very iconic images.
I-I will use thunderbirds, um, uh, horses doing a buffalo hunt. They'll have a warrior on the back of it and the warrior will be looking at the viewer with a very sarcastic look on his face. And, um, anyway, that's some of the things I do bring into it. >> The other thing that you bring into your work is brighter colors. Tell us what inspired you to do that.
>> So I am a huge fan and always have been of the art deco movement, um, the real linear lines of the art deco movement. It's just beautiful. The furniture and stuff coming out of there. I also love the eye-dazzling colors of, uh, Asian textiles.
Some of them are just vivid. They are so bright and vivid. And, of course, well, I come from the era of the '60s. So, you know, Peter Max and the whole psychedelic art thing and the way that guy could lay one color next to each other. So color has always been one of my...
my fun things I bring into it. It's something different and of course now I have some great pencils that our ancestors didn't have so I'm able to really bring a lot of color and make my ledger art pop. >> And Dolores, actually tell us about where people can find your work. I had mentioned that your work has been featured in galleries all across the world. So tell us about that.
>> So, yes, I do have galleries all across the world. I also have several museums. The National Museum of American History that's in D.C.,
has just bought three of my pieces. Also, the NMAI has some. Um, also the North American Native Museum of Zurich, Switzerland, has several of my pieces. and then I've got universities-- Brown, Dartmouth, William and Mary just to name a few. Uh, Dr. Richard Pearce
wrote a book and I was one of the subjects of women in ledger art. And I will showing my work at the Santa Fe Indian Market this year. It'll be my 23rd year at the Santa Fe Indian Market.
>> Congratulations to you for getting accepted for that. I want to end on what future projects or, um, goals that you have that you'd really like to accomplish. >> Oh, gosh... I... my... my art has been growing, and it changes.
And I'm trying to just come up with, um, ideas that I like. I'll come up with something and I'll try and work it in and my goal is just to improve. Make it brighter. Make it, um, more friendly for everyone to see.
And add a little more humor to it. >> Well, Dolores Purdy, thank you so much. >> Well, thank you.
Thank you for having me. [ music ] >> In the world of national politics, a boarding school investigation had its first success and tensions were high during what was a planned celebration at Chaco Canyon over the weekend. Here to talk more about that is ICT's regular contributor Holly Cook Macarro.
She's a partner with Spirit Rock Consulting and a board member of IndiJ Public Media, the parent company that owns ICT and the ICT Newscast. Hi, Holly. >> Hi, Aliyah. It's good to see you. >> The creation of a Truth and Healing Commission to investigate federal Indian boarding schools passed the Senate Indian Affairs committee.
Could you talk about the importance of a bill like this? >> Yes, and the timing of the bill is important as we await the decision on Brackeen. So all of this in terms of the protection of our children and our history, um, really is keeping these issues at the forefront. This bill which would establish a Truth and Healing Commission, investigating missing children, the assimilation policies at the time, um, is-- was introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren on May 18th. It is moving at a relatively lightning pace for the United States Senate. It was introduced on May 18, and had a hearing in the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on June 8 and it was passed unanimously.
And is now pending in front of the full Senate. And out of the gate, it had 26 co-sponsors, which is when you have an original-- you have the senator who introduced it, then you have original co-sponsors who are signed on indicating their support of the bill on day one. Now there's an additional two, so the bill is up to 28 co-sponsors. A key-- one of those key, uh, co-sponsors is Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska. Her co-sponsorship makes that a bipartisan list of support. The other 27 co-sponsors are Democrats, so I expect to see that-- I don't expect to see this go to the floor with debate.
What I expect to see is this go on the suspension calendar in the senate, and then off to the President. So this is, uh, good progress on the bill, and, um, we are looking forward to seeing its passage. >> A similar bill in 2020 didn't get this far in Congress. Could you maybe talk about why that happened, and what opposition there could be to this biil this time? >> I-I think in-- since the last Congress, there has been an education effort about what the scope of this bill is, uh-- this is an authorizing bill, not an appropriations bill.
So, and those conversations, I think, had to happen to get a number of folks into a place of comfort. Um, the-- with the way that Congress works is authorizing bills... do as they say. They authorize projects, they authorize spending, et cetera. There are appropriations bills that then provide that spending.
And so all of those things. There were policy issues that needed to be addressed. There were numbers that needed to be addressed.
The bill-- since that-- the last Congress, that educational process has taken place, as demonstrated by its successful passage, and with the large number of co-sponsors that we see. >> The, uh-- we know that Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has an investigation of her own. Can you maybe talk about the ways that this legislation is different from the work that's she's doing in the Interior Department? >> Yes, the investigation that is in-- in-in-- occurring, led by Secretary Haaland and Interior, really is a bit of a self-analysis, right? Looking at the role of the federal government in the establishment of these boarding schools, and, uh, what role the federal government played in that, and... how we move forward. So the extraordinary voice in leadership at the helm of the Department of Interior, how quickly she moved is, uh, really, one of the huge benefits.
When we say it matters, representation matters, having an Indigenous person at the helm matters. That is, I think, one of the finest examples. Now the Truth in Healing Commission, though, will be established by the United States senate, will have a-- a longer life. It will have, um, uh, a scope of investigation that is not fully focused on-- on the self-analysis I think that, um, the-the DOI's investigation is doing, so we'll have a different feel, focus, bent, and, um-- and, uh, scope of investigation.
>> I want to continue the conversation about the Interior department. On Sunday there was a planned celebration at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. Um, and I was planning to cover it, and then the road was blocked by protestors who were against some actions from Secretary Haaland. So let's just dive in here. Um, tell us what the ban means, um, and sort of why there's opposition to it.
>> This-- this, uh, decision or order out of the Department of Interior from President Biden and Secretary Haaland is the result of-- of years of work. You know, Secretary Haaland had-- had, um, advocated for, um, the 10-mile buffer while she was in Congress. The years of consultation have-- have taken place, and so the decision was issued on June 2nd. This event on Sunday was intended to be a celebration of the protection, and the decision made by the Department of Interior. Um, I myself thought, you know, there's, um, there's some heartburn on the-- on the side of the Navajo Nation, and, uh, you know, maybe we were-- I would say it's like taking a 3-year-old out for dinner, right? You're setting them up for failure.
So, in this instance, um, maybe the celebration, um, and maybe the, um-- the whole setup could have been uh, timed in a way that it didn't inspire what we saw go down, at Chac-- on the road into Chaco Canyon on Sunday, in particular I think we saw an, uh, amplification of that old Navajo, Pueblo division that was really unfortunate. We're seeing that, um, in this disagreement, and I think as relatives that disagree, there are-- there are ways to find common ground that don't involve violence or, um, you know, the breakdown of entire relationships that as a shared community as you know yourself, coming from one of the Pueblo communities. >> Yes, well we will have lots more reporting on the Chaco Canyon developments next week. In the meantime, ICT regular contributor, Holly Cook Macarro, thank you as always. >> Thank you, Aliyah. >> And that's a slice of our Indigenous world.
For all the latest, visit ICTNews.org. From all of us in the newsroom, stay safe, my relatives. [ music ] >> This program is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.