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Now available—American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion

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This short video includes images and descriptions from my book, now available wherever books are sold, including online from the publisher at igpub.com: 
American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion
The video can be seen on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx1jJZkMGxU&feature=youtu.be

Court Backs Navajo Candidate, Blasts Utah County

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This article first appeared on the Rural America In These Times site in August 2018.


Navajo Democrat Willie Grayeyes.   (Facebook / Indian Country Today) The United States District Court for Utah has issued a powerfully worded order in favor of restoring Willie Grayeyes’s right to vote in San Juan County, as well as his right to run for a county commission seat there. Calling county officials “double-tongued,” “thimble-riggers,” and more, the court held that they had stripped fundamental civil rights—voting and candidacy—from Grayeyes, a Navajo Nation enrolled member and a long-time resident, voter, local official, and cattle rancher in the county.  It had done so with illegal means, according to the order. These included backdated files, unsigned “reports,” unidentified hearsay sources, racial bias, out and out lies, and multiple additional actions that flouted the law in an exceptionally flagrant fashion. This was consistent with decades of denying Natives meaningful access to the b…

Navajo Candidate Kicked Off Utah Ballot Files Suit

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This article was first published on the Rural America In These Times site in August 2018.
Willie Greyeyes, third from left, stands with fellow Utah Diné Bikéyah board members at a 2015 Bears Ears gathering. Diné Bikéyah (pronounced di-NAY bi-KAY-uh) means “people’s sacred lands” in the Navajo language.   (Image: utahdinebikeyah.org) San Juan County, Utah’s white Republican establishment isn’t going down without a fight in this year’s elections—or at least a whole lot of shenanigans. That’s according to a new federal lawsuit filed by Willie Grayeyes, a Navajo candidate for one of the three seats on the county commission. San Juan County is challenging Grayeyes’s residency, just as it did during the 2012 election. Grayeyes passed muster then, and the county ended up certifying him as eligible to run for office.  This time though, the county is giving the challenge its best shot. According to the lawsuit by Grayeyes, a Navajo and Democrat, the county has nixed his right to run for the c…

Plant a Tree and Save the World—Easier Than You Think!

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A version of this article was first published on the site Rural America In These Times in June 2018.


Don’t despair, if you feel political decisions nowadays are not being made on your behalf—or even against your wishes, says Clayton Apikan Brascoupé, a Mohawk farmer who has lived and worked for many years at Tesuque Pueblo, in New Mexico. 
His solution? “Start by planting trees,” Brascoupé advises. “They are a positive answer to climate change and much more. Trees build up soils organically and increase their water-holding capacity. They sequester excess climate-altering carbon dioxide. They attract beneficial insects that help other crops and produce food, medicine, building material and other useful items. Planting them can transform a community.” 
Brascoupé directs the Traditional Native American Farmers Association(TNAFA), headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tiny TNAFA, with its director and a few volunteers, specializes in projects that are accomplished easily with inexpensive lo…

Need Climate Change Evidence? A Western Shoshone Basketmaker Has It

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“Culture means learning from each other and sharing,” Western Shoshone basketmaker Leah Brady tells me. Nowadays, it also means an intimate experience of climate change and pollution, as she weaves natural materials—willow, cedar, reeds and more—into baskets.

Brady’s Elko, Nevada, home showcases her award-winning work and that of other artisans—several generations of her family and additional makers from Northern Paiute, Goshute and other area tribes. The items' materials evoke the millennia-old relationship between Native people and their rugged desert and mountain homeland.

That world is changing in ways that Brady and other local crafts makers observe first-hand. She shows me how she creates willow-bark thread—biting down on one end of a willow branch to steady it and pulling off three narrow strips of bark. “If my mouth starts tingling, I know the willow has been sprayed with a pesticide or other chemical,” Brady says. “Some basketmakers report getting blisters in their mout…

Lead Poisoning for All! It's Not Just Flint Anymore

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Once politicians promised a chicken in every pot. Not anymore. The Trump administration is promising Americans lead poisoning in every blood stream—human and animal. The nation has long banned lead in paint, water pipes and gasoline. Lead poisoning created tragic damage to human health and a national scandal in Flint, Michigan. How soon we forget.

As I recently reported in Rural America In These Times, on Ryan Zinke’s first day in office as Secretary of the Interior, he rescinded restrictions on use of lead-based ammunition and fishing-line sinkers on lands managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Though the restriction was limited (phasing out the toxin on just certain federal lands by 2022), the NRA predictably described it as “an attack on our hunting heritage.” It was also first put into effect by President Obama, all of whose legacy is under attack by the current administration—just because.

Each year, hunters and fishermen pump tens of thousands of tons of lead into the …

Kim Jong-un, the Nobel and the Western Shoshone

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Kim Jong-un can relax! We’ve already nuked ourselves! A lot!

The Nobel Committee’s announcement that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has received this year’s Peace Prize has thrown a spotlight on U.S. nuclear policy. Nearly 1,000 nuclear devices have been detonated above and below ground at the Nevada Test Site since it was established in 1951.

As I recently reported in Rural America In These Times, this makes the Western Shoshone, within whose treaty lands the site lies—and by extension, the rest of us—arguably the most bombed nation on earth. And now, the Trump administration wants to ramp up the radioactive poisons in the area.

In June, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry suggested using the test site, now called the Nevada National Security Site, as an interim waste dump. At the same time, Perry would reopen licensing procedures for nearby Yucca Mountain, with a view toward making the mountain— revered as a sacred site by area tribes—the permane…