Category Archives: Native Americans

Another Pipeline Bursts Endangering Drinking Water Of 6 Million People – Same Company Behind Dakota Access Pipeline


While most of us are enjoying lower gasoline and natural gas prices these days – a big help to the family budget – it is increasingly difficult to defend the oil and gas industry when it keeps polluting our treasured natural resources.

The most recent incident occurred in Pennsylvania, and it involves the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, and which bulldozed ancient Native American burial sites: Sunoco.

A pipeline managed by the company has leaked 55,000 gallons of gasoline into a major waterway, thereby contaminating the drinking water of some 6 million people. The pipeline burst in recent days after heavy rainfall in the area, Natural Blaze reported.

The gasoline streamed into Wallis Run, a tributary of the Loyalsock Creek that eventually drains into the Susquehanna River. The leak was detected very early in the morning after the pressure within the pipeline suddenly dropped in a big way, thereby triggering a pipeline shutdown.

What’s the extent of the damage this time?

“Crews will use skimmers to remove gasoline from the top of affected waterways and will erect containment booms downstream,” Sunoco Logistics said in a statement, as reported by Fortune.

But even after the flow of gasoline within the pipeline was cut off, the same heavy rains that caused the leak continued for several hours, making it impossible to measure the extent of the leak and the damage right away.

The breach led Pennsylvania water authorities to warn customers to hold off from using water from the river for the time being, until environmental authorities can determine the level of contamination, Fortune noted further.

Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood?


“I cannot say when I first heard of my Indian blood, but as a boy I heard it spoken of in a general way,” Charles Phelps, a resident of Winston-Salem in North Carolina, told a federal census taker near the beginning of the 20th century. Like many Americans at the time, Phelps had a vague understanding of his Native American ancestry. On one point, however, his memory seemed curiously specific: His Indian identity was a product of his “Cherokee blood.”

The tradition of claiming a Cherokee ancestor continues into the present. Today, more Americans claim descent from at least one Cherokee ancestor than any other Native American group. Across the United States, Americans tell and retell stories of long-lost Cherokee ancestors. These tales of family genealogies become murkier with each passing generation, but like Phelps, contemporary Americans profess their belief despite not being able to point directly to a Cherokee in their family tree.

Recent demographic data reveals the extent to which Americans believe they’re part Cherokee. In 2000, the federal census reported that 729,533 Americans self-identified as Cherokee. By 2010, that number increased, with the Census Bureau reporting that 819,105 Americans claimed at least one Cherokee ancestor. Census data also indicates that the vast majority of people self-identifying as Cherokee—almost 70 percent of respondents—claim they are mixed-race Cherokees.

Why do so many Americans claim to possess “Cherokee blood”? The answer requires us to peel back the layers of Cherokee history and tradition.

Most scholars agree that the Cherokees, an Iroquoian-speaking people, have lived in what is today the Southeastern United States—Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama—since at least A.D. 1000. When Europeans first encountered the Cherokees in the mid–16th century, Cherokee people had well-established social and cultural traditions. Cherokee people lived in small towns and belonged to one of seven matrilineal clans. Cherokee women enjoyed great political and social power in the Cherokee society. Not only did a child inherit the clan identity of his or her mother, women oversaw the adoption of captives and other outsiders into the responsibilities of clan membership.

As European colonialism engulfed Cherokee Country during the 17th and 18thcenturies, however, Cherokees began altering their social and cultural traditions to better meet the challenges of their times. One important tradition that adapted to new realities was marriage.

The Cherokee tradition of exogamous marriage, or marrying outside of one’s clan, evolved during the 17th and 18th centuries as Cherokees encountered Europeans on a more frequent basis. Some sought to solidify alliances with Europeans through intermarriage.

It is impossible to know the exact number of Cherokees who married Europeans during this period. But we know that Cherokees viewed intermarriage as both a diplomatic tool and as a means of incorporating Europeans into the reciprocal bonds of kinship. Eighteenth-century British traders often sought out Cherokee wives. For the trader, the marriage opened up new markets, with his Cherokee wife providing both companionship and entry access to items such as the deerskins coveted by Europeans. For Cherokees, intermarriage made it possible to secure reliable flows of European goods, such as metal and iron tools, guns, and clothing. The frequency with which the British reported interracial marriages among the Cherokees testifies to the sexual autonomy and political influence that Cherokee women enjoyed. It also gave rise to a mixed-race Cherokee population that appears to have been far larger than the racially mixed populations of neighboring tribes.

Europeans were not the only group of outsiders with which 18th-century Cherokees intermingled. By the early 19th century, a small group of wealthy Cherokees adopted racial slavery, acquiring black slaves from American slave markets. A bit more than 7 percent of Cherokee families owned slaves by the mid-1830s; a small number, but enough to give rise to a now pervasive idea in black culture: descent from a Cherokee ancestor.

In the early 20th century, the descendants of Cherokee slaves related stories of how their black forebears accompanied Cherokees on the forced removals of the 1830s. They also recalled tales of how African and Cherokee people created interracial families. These stories have persisted into the 21st century. The former NFL running back Emmitt Smith believed that he had “Cherokee blood.” After submitting a DNA test as part of his 2010 appearance on NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are, he learned he was mistaken. Among black Americans, as among Americans as a whole, the belief in Cherokee ancestry is more common than actual blood ties.

Slaves owned by Cherokees did join their owners when the federal government forced some 17,000 Cherokees from their Southeastern homeland at the end of the 1830s. Cherokee people and their slaves endured that forced journey into the West by riverboats and overland paths, joining tens of thousands of previously displaced Native peoples from the Eastern United States in Indian Territory (modern-day eastern Oklahoma). We now refer to this inglorious event as the Trail of Tears.

But the Cherokee people did not remain confined to the lands that the federal government assigned to them in Indian Territory. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Cherokees traveled between Indian Territory and North Carolina to visit family and friends, and Cherokee people migrated and resettled throughout North America in search of social and economic opportunities. While many Native American groups traveled throughout the United States during this period in search of employment, the Cherokee people’s advanced levels of education and literacy—a product of the Cherokee Nation’s public education system in Indian Territory and the willingness of diaspora Cherokees to enroll their children in formal educational institutions—meant they traveled on a scale far larger than any other indigenous group. In these travels it’s possible to glimpse Cherokees coming into contact with, living next door to, or intermarrying with white and black Americans from all walks of life.

At the same time that the Cherokee diaspora was expanding across the country, the federal government began adopting a system of “blood quantum” to determine Native American identity. Native Americans were required to prove their Cherokee, or Navajo, or Sioux “blood” in order to be recognized. (The racially based system of identification also excluded individuals with “one drop” of “Negro blood.”) The federal government’s “blood quantum” standards varied over time, helping to explain why recorded Cherokee “blood quantum” ranged from “full-blood” to one 2048th. The system’s larger aim was to determine who was eligible for land allotments following the government’s decision to terminate Native American self-government at the end of the 19th century. By 1934, the year that Franklin Roosevelt’s administration adopted the Indian Reorganization Act, “blood quantum” became the official measure by which the federal government determined Native American identity.

In the ensuing decades, Cherokees, like other Native American groups, sought to define “blood” on their own terms. By the mid–20th century, Cherokee and other American Indian activists began joining together to articulate their definitions of American Indian identity and to confront those tens of thousands of Americans who laid claim to being descendants of Native Americans.

Groups such as the National Congress of American Indians worked toward the self-determination of American Indian nations and also tackled the problem of false claims to membership. According to the work of Vine Deloria, one of NCAI’s leading intellectuals, “Cherokee was the most popular tribe” in America. “From Maine to Washington State,” Deloria recalled, white Americans insisted they were descended from Cherokee ancestors. More often than not, that ancestor was an “Indian princess,” despite the fact that the tribe never had a social system with anything resembling an inherited title like princess.

So why have so many Americans laid claim to a clearly fictional identity? Part of the answer is embedded in the tribe’s history: its willingness to incorporate outsiders into kinship systems and its wide-ranging migrations throughout North America. But there’s another explanation, too.

The Cherokees resisted state and federal efforts to remove them from their Southeastern homelands during the 1820s and 1830s. During that time, most whites saw them as an inconvenient nuisance, an obstacle to colonial expansion. But after their removal, the tribe came to be viewed more romantically, especially in the antebellum South, where their determination to maintain their rights of self-government against the federal government took on new meaning. Throughout the South in the 1840s and 1850s, large numbers of whites began claiming they were descended from a Cherokee great-grandmother. That great-grandmother was often a “princess,” a not-inconsequential detail in a region obsessed with social status and suspicious of outsiders. By claiming a royal Cherokee ancestor, white Southerners were legitimating the antiquity of their native-born status as sons or daughters of the South, as well as establishing their determination to defend their rights against an aggressive federal government, as they imagined the Cherokees had done. These may have been self-serving historical delusions, but they have proven to be enduring.

The continuing popularity of claiming “Cherokee blood” and the ease with which millions of Americans inhabit a Cherokee identity speaks volumes about the enduring legacy of American colonialism. Shifting one’s identity to claim ownership of an imagined Cherokee past is at once a way to authenticate your American-ness and absolve yourself of complicity in the crimes Americans committed against the tribe across history.

That said, the visibility of Cherokee identity also owes much to the success of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes. Today, the Cherokee Nation, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, and the Eastern Band of Cherokees comprise a combined population of 344,700. Cherokee tribal governments provide community members with health services, education, and housing assistance; they have even teamed up with companies such as Google and Apple to produce Cherokee-language apps. Most Cherokees live in close-knit communities in eastern Oklahoma or the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, but a considerable number live throughout North America and in cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto. Cherokee people are doctors and lawyers, schoolteachers and academics, tradespeople and minimum-wage workers. The cultural richness, political visibility, and socioeconomic diversity of the Cherokee people have played a considerable role in keeping the tribe’s identity in the historical consciousness of generation after generation of Americans, whether or not they have Cherokee blood.

Petaluma builder adds structures to Standing Rock site

Petaluma native Miguel Elliott said he wasn’t sure exactly what he would uncover as he helped dig through the frozen North Dakota ground last month, advancing gradually through the icy surface to reveal, inch by labored inch, the softer earth beneath.

The stakes were high — as a long-time builder of earthen structures, Elliott was on hand at Sacred Stone camp near the proposed site of the Dakota Access Pipeline to offer his skills to shore up the area for an increasingly harsh winter. His constructions would be a bulwark against the cold, he said, and an affordable way to expand a camp that some hoped would become a permanent village.

It all hinged on what emerged from that frigid hole, and it turned out the earth piling up was unlike any he had worked with before, he said.

“It was a ready mix – we just added water,” Elliott said during a call from the snowy Standing Rock Sioux reservation last week. “We didn’t have to soak the clay. We didn’t have to add any sand to it. It was just ready to go.”

Using an ancient earth-and-straw building material known as cob, Petaluma’s Elliott is using his skills to help construction of warm and weather-proof structures on the North Dakota prairie.

His first project is an 800-square-foot school, which Elliott said was under construction in perhaps the coldest conditions in memory for cob-style building. Yet the project has been popular, he said, being “definitely the warmest place in camp.”

As the schoolhouse and other structures rise from the earth at Sacred Stone, Elliott said the camp could serve as something of a case study in cob, a construction material he champions that nonetheless generally hits a roadblock for larger structures due to modern building codes.

“It’s a really great opportunity here because, being on a reservation, no building codes are required. We can build houses, schools, community centers — build a whole village out — without having to go through the lengthy permitting process,” he said. “It really could be an amazing opportunity to demonstrate some good, energy-efficient, ecologically sound, permaculture principles.”

Elliott said he left for the Standing Rock Sioux reservation on Nov. 20, following reports of a need for structures that could house individuals who are remaining in the area through the winter to resist construction of the pipeline that would transport crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. It was there that he met up with other builders, and joined the schoolhouse project already underway.

Meant to replace a small tent serving as a makeshift schoolhouse for around 10 children, the building began as a straw-bale frame with a roof. Elliott said he led the work to plaster the structure with cob, after mixing the material with bare feet in frigid conditions.

The structure now features a wood-fired heater that runs under a cob bench, which warms the interior while helping to dry the plaster. Scaffolding used in construction has been converted to bunk beds, and the building can sleep 16 people.

“It’s pretty neat, sitting on a nice warm bench in the middle of a blizzard,” he said, on a day when temperatures hit a high of nine degrees Fahrenheit.

While some opponents of the pipeline have left the area after news that the Army Corps of Engineers would not grant an easement required for the project’s construction, at least 100 remain at Sacred Stone, Elliott said. It is one of three camps occupied by pipeline opponents, dwarfed by the largest, Oceti Sakowin.

Sacred Stone is on reservation land, he said, and the property owner has called for construction of a permanent village at the site.

The building method has at least one prominent example in Petaluma – the Petaluma Adobe, the historic two-story epicenter of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s Petaluma ranch. It was in modern Petaluma that Elliott started Living Earth Structures, with much of his work centered on building outdoor ovens, artistic benches and small shelters.

Examples of his work can be seen around the city, including a series of cob benches built with the help of students at Casa Grande High School and a memorial bench on Sunnyslope Road. Yet Elliott has also built larger cob structures elsewhere in the world, and is quick to espouse his beliefs on their merits.

“If we’re able to build a village here in these kinds of conditions, I believe a village can be built anywhere,” Elliott said. “This is really a great place to kind of demonstrate what’s possible in these emergency situations, to build winterized structures to accommodate people.”

Other Petaluma residents have recently spent time at Standing Rock. Having returned on Dec. 4, Lauren Fuhry was preparing last week for a debrief on the experience with fellow supporters at the city’s Aqus Cafe. Fuhry spent more than a week at the Rosebud camp, about a mile away from Sacred Stone.

Looking forward, she said the call for winterized buildings was significant.

There are lots of people at Standing Rock that will probably stay at Standing Rock. I know there is a big call for construction,” said Fuhry, who raised money to bring $3,500 in food, clothing and other supplies to the camp.

Another Petaluma resident, Anika Salguero, said she returned from the Oceti Sakowin camp on Thanksgiving. She raised around $17,000 to build yurts at the camp, including one that serves as a medical center.

“When I was there, they were fully winterizing. They are prepared to stay the winter,” she said.

Elliott said the long-term goal is for the school to become accredited and that he planned to remain to help with construction of additional structures in the area. It will likely take until the spring for the plaster to fully dry.

“Despite the harsh conditions, the kids really love it out here. They’re sledding, they have friends to play with. There’s a real sense of community out here,” he said.

A crowdfunding campaign to raise money for construction and winterization at Standing Rock is available at


Millionaire returning $4M piece of Manhattan to Indian tribe


An eccentric millionaire is giving Manhattan back to the American Indians — at least his small part of it.

Jean-Louis Goldwater Bourgeois, 76, an architectural historian and activist for Native American causes, is in the process of transferring the deed of his $4 million, landmarked West Village house to a nonprofit controlled by the Lenape tribe, the original Manhattanites.

“I have a romance with the history of the city, and I have been generally appalled that the land that the city is on has been taken by whites,” he told The Post.

“This building is the trophy from major theft. It disgusts me.”

He said he feels “rage against what whites have done and some guilt, no, a lot of guilt, that I have profited from this major theft. The right thing to do is to return it.”

Bourgeois, the son of the late sculptor Louise Bourgeois, has owned the three-floor clapboard house at 6 Weehawken St. since his family’s LLC bought it in 2006 for $2.2 million.


The house dates to 1834, when it was part of a larger city-owned market building. It is believed to be all that is left of the complex. Part of the Weehawken Street Historic District, the building faces West Street and the Hudson River.

Bourgeois had lived there for three years when he met Joseph Scabby Robe, a Cree Indian from Manitoba, Canada, during the 2011 Occupy Wall Street protest downtown.

“I told Joseph that I’d like to return the land to the Lenapes,” Bourgeois recalled. “The house isn’t important. It’s the land that the house sits on that’s important.”

Robe introduced Bourgeois to Anthony Jay Van Dunk, 54, a chief of the 5,000-member Ramapough Indians, part of the Lenape Nation. Van Dunk, a Brooklyn woodworker, spoke in his native Munsee language at a 2011 UN forum titled The State of Native Americans Today.

‘I have been generally appalled that the land that the city is on has been taken by whites.’

Van Dunk “represents the tribe, and I represent the whites,” Bourgeois said of the meeting that led to the land deal.

Both men gave The Post a tour of the house last week. Van Dunk wore a tribal headdress. Bourgeois wore a fuzzy hat that looked like a penguin.

“I told Jean-Louis about the idea of a patahmaniikan, or a prayer house,” Van Dunk said. “He liked it, and we went forward from there.”

Besides the ongoing legal work to establish the nonprofit project under Lenape oversight, the men had to conduct a ritual ceremony.

“The purpose of that was to let the spirits know what was about to happen and what our vision was for the space,” Van Dunk said. “We had a pipe. We had a smudging. We had prayers being said. It was a healing. We wanted the spirits to know we were coming in with a good heart.

“Our doors are always east and west,” Van Dunk added. “In most native traditions you always have your entry door in the east and then, spiritually, the west is how you leave after your journey here on earth is done.”

The prayer house is “going to be a place of safety,” he said. “The purpose is to get indigenous people in touch with their language, their tradition.”

Bourgeois, who just returned to New York after spending eight weeks in North Dakota protesting the proposed pipeline near the Sioux Standing Rock Indian Reservation, said, “I’m extremely interested in the Lenapes.”


He said he was a “benefactor” at Standing Rock.

“I’ve given over $600,000 to the Oceti Sakowin camp site,” home to Dakota ­Access Pipeline protesters, he said.

“Money goes to buying food, firewood, protective hay bales and transportation. I spent time at the Sacred Fire. Standing Rock is a turning point in American history.”

The Lenapes were the original inhabitants of Mannahatta — land of many hills. They were widely represented as the tribe that sold the island to the Dutch for $24 worth of trinkets in 1626 — a story debunked by many modern historians.

“The native people actively engaged with the Dutch, who were part of the fur trade in this area, so there were constant exchanges,” said Johanna Gorelick, of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City. “They did not believe at that time that land could be privately owned. It was something that wasn’t part of their world view. The sale of Manhattan was a misunderstanding.”


Remembering Trudell by Matt Remle

On December 8th, 2015 Santee Sioux activist, artist, actor, poet, and one time national chairman for the American Indian Movement John Trudell passed on.

John Trudell was born Feb. 15, 1946, in Omaha, Nebraska and grew up near the Santee Sioux Reservation.  After a serving in the US Navy, Trudell became involved Native activism and in 1969 he joined others in the occupation of Alcatraz were he served as the spokesman.

The 14 month occupation of Alcatraz drew international attention to the issues impacting Native communities from treaty rights abuses to poverty.  John Trudell gave daily radio addresses from the island.

Alcatraz Proclamation To the Great White Father and his People 1969

We, the native Americans, re-claim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.  We wish to be fair and honorable in our dealings with the Caucasian inhabitants of this land, and hereby offer the following treaty: We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for 24 dollars in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man’s purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago.  We know that $24 in trade goods for these sixteen acres is more than was paid when Manhattan Island was sold, but we know that land values have risen over the years.  Our offer of $1.24 per acre is greater than the 47 cents per acre the white men are now paying the California Indians for their land.  We will give to the inhabitants of this land a portion of that land for their own, to be held in trust by the American Indian Government for as long as the sun shall rise and the rivers go down to the sea — to be administered by the Bureau of Caucasian Affairs (BCA). We will further guide the inhabitants in the proper way of living. We will offer them our religion, our education, our life-ways, in order to help them achieve our level of civilization and thus raise them and all their white brothers up from their savage and unhappy state. We offer this treaty in good faith and wish to be fair and honorable in our dealings with all white men. We feel that this so-called Alcatraz Island is more than suitable as and Indian Reservation, as determined by the white man’s own standards.

By this we mean that this place resembles most Indian reservations, in that:

1. It is isolated from modern facilities, and without adequate means of transportation.
2. It has no fresh running water.
3. The sanitation facilities are inadequate.
4. There are no oil or mineral rights.
5. There is no industry and so unemployment is very great.
6. There are no health care facilities.
7. The soil is rocky and non-productive and the land does not support game.
8. There are no educational facilities.
9. The population has always been held as prisoners and kept dependent upon others.

Further, it would be fitting and symbolic that ships from all over the world, entering the Golden Gate, would first see Indian land, and thus be reminded of the true history of this nation. This tiny island would be a symbol of the great lands once ruled by free and noble Indians.

From 1973-1979, Trudell served as the national chairman of the American Indian Movement.  In 1979, while at a demonstration in Washington DC, Trudell’s pregnant wife, Tina Manning, three children and his mother-in-law were killed in a fire at her parents house on the Duck Valley reservation.  Trudell and others have long suspected government involvement as the cause of the fire.

The FBI dossier on Trudell exceeded 17,000 pages, one of the largest in bureau history.

In 1983, Trudell released “Tribal Voice” a spoken word album to critical acclaim.  He would go on to record several albums.

In addition to being a musician, Trudell made several film appearances including the 1992 critically acclaimed “Thunderheart” and in 1998 “Smoke Signals”.

In 2005, the documentary “Trudell” was released that documented his life from growing up in Nebraska, to his involvement with the American Indian Movement, to his life as a musician and spoken word artist.

Trudell inspired generations of Native peoples and non-Native peoples alike with his philosophies and world views that challenged people to think deeply and critically about the industrial societies in which we live in and what it means to be a human in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human.

Matt Remle (Lakota) - green shirt - is an editor and writer for Last Real Indians and LRInspire.


6 Beautiful Native Men Who Are Proud Of Their Culture

1- Martin Sensmeier is more than a model, he is an advocate for some wonderful causes, an entertainer and an amazing individual in general.

Martin Sensmeier is from the Tlingit and Koyukon-Athabascan tribes of Alaska. He was raised in a Tlingit Coastal Community in Southeast Alaska and grew up learning and participating in the traditions of his people, while carrying on the subsistence lifestyle that has been sustained for thousands of years.

He is an ambassador for Native Wellness Institute and advocates for wellness amongst Native people of all Nations.


2- Michael Spears: Michael Spears (born December 28, 1977) is an American actor. He is a member of the Kul Wicasa Oyate Lakota (often called “Sioux”) Lower Brulé Tribe of South Dakota. Spears’s film credits include a major role as the character Dog Star in the 2005 Steven Spielberg-produced cable mini-series, Into the West, which aired on TNT. His debut role as the child character Otter, in the Academy-Award-winning 1990 film Dances with Wolves, also earned him national notice at thirteen years old. By the age of 17, Spears had acted in both TV and film with other actors, including Kevin Costner, Jimmy Smits and Kim Delaney.
3- Adam Beach (born November 11, 1972) is a Canadian First Nations actor. He is best known for his roles as Victor in Smoke Signals, Tommy in Walker, Texas Ranger, Kickin’ Wing in Joe Dirt, U.S. Marine Corporal Ira Hayes in Flags of Our Fathers, Private Ben Yahzee in Windtalkers, Dr. Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa) in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Chester Lake in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Officer Jim Chee in the film adaptations of Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, and A Thief of Time. He is currently starring in Arctic Air.
4- Rick Mora Rick was born in LA and until the age of 7 lived on a farm with no electricity and only a wood burning stove. He returned to civilization (his words) at age 7 and later obtained his BA from California state university.
5- Michael Greyeyes (born June 4, 1967) is a Canadian actor, director, and educator. He is Plains Cree from the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. His father was from the Muskeg Lake First Nation and his mother was from the Sweetgrass First Nation, both located in Saskatchewan. His acting career began with a role in TNT “Geronimo” in 1993, and blossomed in numerous shows. He also co-hosted the 1999 Aboriginal Achievement Awards.
6- David Midthunder is from Fort Peck Indian Reservation Montana enrolled Tribal Member. He´s Hunkpapa Lakota, Hudeshabina Nakoda & Sissiton Dakota. He is a very impressive actor and has been involved in many film productions and series such as Comanche Moon ( as Famous shoes ) and Into the West ( White Crow ).




Native American culture encompasses any number of symbols from about every animal that one could dream of.

In this article, we’ve narrowed the focus to the ‘birth animals’ – the Native American zodiac. Like the modern horoscope, indigenous tribes also believed that a person born under a particular animal sign would derive certain characteristics from it.

Below are those animal symbols and their characteristics.

Otter: Jan. 20 – Feb. 18

A little quirky, and unorthodox, the Otter is a hard one to figure sometimes. Perceived as unconventional, the Otter methods aren’t the first ones chosen to get the job done. This is a big mistake on the part of others – because although unconventional, the Otter’s methods are usually quite effective.

Yes, the Otter has unusual way of looking at things, but he/she is equipped with a brilliant imagination and intelligence, allowing him/her an edge over every one else. Often very perceptive and intuitive, the Otter makes a very good friend, and can be very attentive. In a nurturing environment the Otter is sensitive, sympathetic, courageous, and honest. Left to his/her own devices, the Otter can be unscrupulous, lewd, rebellious, and isolated.

Wolf: Feb. 19 – March 20

Deeply emotional, and wholly passionate, the Wolf is the lover of the zodiac in both the physical and philosophical sense of the word. The Wolf understands that all we need is love, and is fully capable of providing it. Juxtaposed with his/her fierce independence – this Native American animal symbol is a bit of a contradiction in terms.

Needing his/her freedom, yet still being quite gentle and compassionate – we get the picture of the “lone wolf” with this sign. In a nurturing environment the Wolf is intensely passionate, generous, deeply affectionate, and gentle. Left to his/her own devices the Wolf can become impractical, recalcitrant, obsessive, and vindictive.

Native woman is cooking for thousands of people fighting against the Dakota Access

A member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe, Young drove 2,100 miles to join the protests and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

Nantinki Young, 27, Santee, South Dakota: ‘I support the camp by providing energy and strength through the meals we prepare each day. I make sure everyone that comes here has something to eat even if it’s just a snack in between meals.’

It’s not our tribe, I’m not from here, but we’re all Native Americans and we stand together.” Nantinki Young

Since March, thousands of Native Americans, environmental activists and their allies — including some UC Berkeley students — have gathered at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota to oppose the ongoing construction of the pipeline, which is intended to carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois each day.

Credit: Fusion

The project’s proponents say pipelines are a safer, cheaper alternative to trains and trucks for transporting crude oil. Despite promises by Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, that it will employ technology to limit the possibility of leaks, activists opposing the pipeline argue that any oil that escapes from the pipeline would contaminate Standing Rock’s main water source, Lake Oahe.

“Water is life,” Welch said. “Everybody needs water, so everybody needs to start paying attention.”

Everything you can think of I have in my shed that’s over there. We have a refrigeration unit now so we can take everything that’s coming in,” says camper Nantiki Young.


This has been a critical concern since Essiac tea was introduced in Canada during the early 1920’s. For over 50 years, a humble nurse, Rene Caisse (pronounced Reen Case), used the tea successfully with many terminal cancer patients from her clinic in the tiny Canadian village of Bracebridge, north of Toronto.

At first, she accepted whatever anyone could easily afford, even eggs and produce, for her services. She turned no one down. After 1937, she charged no fees! She didn’t make money off the tea though she successfully treated many hundreds. Her rewards were harassment by the Canadian Health Ministry, and betrayal by a private corporation she had hoped would help make Essiac tea a legal cancer cure.

Though the name of the tea, Essiac, was derived from spelling Rene’s surname Caisse backwards, she was not the original formulator. The ingredients and recipe came originally from an Ojibway Native American medicine man in remote northern Canada.