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Are Ohio Native Sites Poised for World Heritage Designation?

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Magnificent 2,000-year-old Indigenous earthworks in Ohio may be headed for equally grand accolades. In 2023, UNESCO  is expected to designate them  World Heritage sites. As such, the sites would join Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal, Chartres Cathedral and other places UNESCO has deemed of great historical and cultural importance to humanity. A version of my article below, about tribal involvement in the process, first appeared in 2019 on  Rural America In These Times .  For more on topics like this, please see my book,  American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion. Ohio's many monumental earthworks were laid out with a “god’s eye view” in mind, says a research team. C hief Billy Friend of the  Wyandotte Nation  addressed a crowd in Dublin, Ohio. The event was a celebration of the city’s new  Ferris-Wright Park , which features several of the state’s numerous ancient geometric earthworks and mounds, or artificial hills.  Ancestors of today’s Nati

Time to Save the Planet!

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Winter hasn’t hit hard yet in much of the country. Talk to gardeners in your area and see whether you still have time to plant trees and enable their positive effects on the climate. A version of this article first appeared in 2018, but its topic is even more urgent now. For more on related subjects, see my book, American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle.... D on’t despair about the immense challenges the planet faces. So says Clayton Apikan Brascoupé, a Mohawk farmer, shown left, who has lived and worked for many years at Tesuque Pueblo, in New Mexico. What to do? “Start by planting trees,” he says. “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 Trad

Voters Who Could Decide Close Elections in 2022: Natives are casting critical votes, as well as running for—and winning—local, state, and national offices.

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OJ Semans, Rosebud Sioux organizer of the Nevada forum and co-director of the voting-rights group  Four Directions. Photo by Justin Poole. A version of this article appeared in Yes! magazine in August 2022.  O ver the course of two days in June, a lively, engaged audience listened to federal and state candidates describe their positions and plans at a Native-run candidate forum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, law school. These meetings are teaching moments, says OJ Semans, the Rosebud Sioux organizer of the forum and co-director of the  voting-rights group Four Directions . “We’ll learn about the candidates, and they’ll learn about us.” Candidates from the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian parties answered questions posed by tribal leaders, by Native and non-Native attorneys, and by staffers from Native nonprofits, such as the National Congress of American Indians. Amber Torres, chairwoman of  Walker River Paiute Tribe , in Schurz, Nevada, served on one of the panels and

Mining Companies Strike Gold by Destroying Public Lands: Indigenous tribes sound the alarm

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A slightly shorter version of this article first appeared in In These Times  magazine in June 2022.  Joseph Holley surveys mining damage.  Photo by Joseph Zummo. T ribal chairman Joseph Holley, seen right, looks out over the magnificent sweep of Nevada hills and mountains where his Western Shoshone people have thrived for millennia . Grey-green and bright-yellow shrubs embellish the carpet of golden fall grasses stretching to the horizon. As we traverse the area, driving and hiking, Holley points out scars on the cherished land. He shows me battered metal contraptions marking long-shuttered mines. Active mines are gigantic, step-sided craters; widely spaced bars cover their dangerously long airshafts.  ​ “ We keep our kids close by in these areas,” Holley says.  ​ “ They could easily fall through.” The access road to one mine destroyed stands of medicinal plants cultivated by an ancient Western Shoshone doctor. A mine’s crew gouged a trench across a hill where tribal members seek visio