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Oil Giant SWN Is Suspending Its Work in New Brunswick After Nationwide Protests

Nice to share some good news in Indian Country!  The First Nations people of New Brunswick, the Mi'kmaq working with other New Brunswickians have halted the continued work SWN to frack their lands. For more information on what has been happening in Elsipogtog check out Wab Kinew's reporting, an Anishinaabe correspondent for Al Jazeera America on it at Fault Lines: Elsipogtog, the Fire over Water

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Poverty Porn or Helping Our Youth? Chase & Status Video shot on Blackfeet Reservation

This video was released this week by the UK techno band Chase & Status.  It has cause a firestorm of controversy in the Native community detailed here in Indian Country Today - Controversial Video Set on Rez Depicts Drug Use, Violence and Sundance.  

My morning after thoughts (I saw this yesterday) on Chase & Status video shot on the Blackfeet Reservation are that yes, it was beautifully shot and I think youth will identify with the story, because, drug use is epidemic in many of our communities. I do worry that it glorifies it a bit and the resolution (his girlfriend dies after they smoke crack all night) and he does the Sundance (they depict this) is a bit stereotypical. They also never speak (it is a music video) but this lack of voice by the protagonist makes "Indians" what we have always been: a blank slate to project others ideas on of who we are & what we think. The director worked with a Blackfeet society who approved the script and I sense his heart is in the right place. He, himself, is from a similar background in the UK. I don't know, it just comes off as exploitive all the same. I know some will be happy to see themselves depicted, but as it is being used to sell the band's music it feels a bit like Slum Tourism. The band is well-known in Europe, but not here, so it won't have the same cultural effect in the United States (it won't be on Good Morning America or Anderson Cooper). Chase & Status gains the cultural cache (they do not plan to donate any of the proceeds to Native youth), their audiences in Europe get a particular type of cultural voyeurism that makes them feel good when they buy the song, a few donations trickle in, perhaps, just perhaps, and this is everyone's greatest hope, a few, even just one Native youth decides to take a different path in life. I suppose, for our community our hopes are small but they are always for the next generation.

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Washington Redsk*ns, Indian Mascotry & Owl Man

Delegation from Yankton, Santee, Upper Missouri Sioux, Sac and Fox, Ojibwe, Ottawa, Kickapoo, and Miami tribes posing with President Johnson on the steps of the White House, February 23, 1867

When I see those DC cheerleaders prancing out in skimpy outfits and sexy "NDN War Bonnets" I think of my ancestor Owl Man. Here he is wearing his Eagle Feather headdress to the White House to sign a treaty with President Andrew Johnson. I wonder did he ever foresee this? And would he consider it an "honor"? Everything they gave up to maintain their way of life. The women scolded the men when they got back for signing away the salt mines where they gathered the salt to preserve the meat. Or when he had to shoot a Santee man at the behest of the United States to prove Yankton loyalty and to save the rest of the Santee who had taken refuge with us after the Minnesota Sioux Uprising? Is this what he would have wanted for us 146 years later?
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