This week in Indigenous news: May 6-13

Clam gardens call into question hunter-gatherer past of B.C. First Nations

The discovery of an expansive system of historic clam gardens along the Pacific Northwest coast is contributing to a growing body of work that’s busting long-held beliefs about First Nations as heedless hunter-gatherers.

A team of researchers at Simon Fraser University has revealed that First Nations from Alaska to Washington state were marine farmers using sophisticated cultivation techniques to intensify clam production.

In an article published recently in the journal American Antiquity, lead author Dana Lepofsky argued that the findings counter the perception of First Nations living passively as foragers in wild, untended environments

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Native history: 71-Day Wounded Knee occupation ends

This week in Native history: On May 8, 1973, members of the American Indian Movement surrendered to federal authorities on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, ending their legendary 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee.

Set in the same impoverished village as the 1890 massacre, the siege began February 27 and is hailed as one of AIM’s greatest successes. About 200 Sioux Indians participated in the occupation, which attracted supporters from dozens of other tribes and called global attention to generations of mistreatment from federal and local agencies.

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“Who is killing our people?”‘: Hundreds march in MMIW Mother’s Day walk

Hundreds of people marched in memory of Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) in downtown Winnipeg on a day most moms spent with their families.

The 11th annual Sisters in Spirit Mother’s Day walk started at the St. Regis Hotel Sunday afternoon, the site where 16-year-old Sunshine Wood disappeared in February of 2004.

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Stanford’s 44th annual Mother’s Day Weekend Powwow draws thousands

STANFORD, Calif. – Mothers are being honored this weekend at the 44th Annual Stanford Powwow on the campus of Stanford University. The popular powwow draws thousands of visitors each May as American Indian dancers and drummers from various parts of Indian Country come to celebrate American Indian culture.

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How Indian status figures Into unsolved case of murdered Aboriginal woman

In the summer of 1998, Mag Cywink, her husband Tom, and a medicine man from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, travelled to southern Ontario. The purpose of their trip was to release two spirits: the spirit of Mag’s sister Sonya and the spirit of Sonya’s unborn child.

Hundreds of friends and family had gathered amid the greenery of Southwold Earthworks, a 40-minute drive southwest of London, Ont. Four years earlier, Sonya’s body had been found in that exact spot. They were about to perform the ancient ceremony when the medicine man, Floyd Looks for Buffalo Hand, turned to Mag and asked, “What is her Indian name? Does she have an Indian name?”

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Idle No More movement was like “bacteria,” says internal RCMP document

The Idle No More movement was like “bacteria” that spread across the country carrying with it the potential for an outbreak of violence, according to an internal RCMP document shared by senior officers.

The internal document was a site report from Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s camp which was set up during her liquids-only fast on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River within sight of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada. The camp became a hub of activity during the height of the Idle No More movement between December 2012 and January 2013.

The site report was written by RCMP Cpl. Wayne Russett, the Aboriginal liaison for the national capital region, and sent to Insp. Mike LeSage, the acting director general for National Aboriginal Policing. LeSage passed it on to Carrie Ann McPherson, a senior analyst with the RCMP’s Operations Intelligence Analysis Section.

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Activist use tripod to block Shell’s Seattle operations

Days after the Foss Maritime announced that they intended to defy Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and illegally host Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet, Seattle activists have blockaded Shell’s Seattle fuel transfer station by erecting a tripod.

Seattle resident Annie Lukins, who is suspended from the top of the tripod, says she made the decision to block the facility because like everyone who lives near the shore, she has a stake in stopping Shell.  “Shell already knows the impacts of drilling in the arctic. They are placing themselves in defiance of climate science, in defiance of the treaty subsistence rights of the Inupiat, and in defiance of our elected official here in Seattle. I’m here because I’m not the only young person who wants to raise her children near the shore. Whether they are my kids or the kids of the Inupiat people of the arctic, I want the next generation to be able to to eat fish from the ocean whose flesh doesn’t carry the killing toxins of crude oil. Shell has already proven they cannot safely operate in the arctic, and the niger delta has shown us that they don’t clean up after themselves. We need to ban arctic drilling now.”

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Photo: In this 2013 photo, members of the Nipissing First Nation from southern Ontario and local non-Aboriginal supporters in Ottawa march behind the Idle No More banner (Moxy – Own work Michelle Caron).


Andrea Perkins
Andrea Perkins

"I am a stay at home parent and grad student. I work as a freelance writer. I write about subjects that matter to me or I find interesting. I'm Indigenous and Black and sometimes I will write about topics that impact my community."