American Indian


The Washington Redskins aren’t the only sports team that’s come under fire lately for continuing the use of racially offensive names or mascots. But under the leadership of owner Dan Snyder it is one of the few teams that refuses to even consider a name change. Some people defend Snyder and his team’s right to use any name they want no matter how offensive others think it is, but we have eight reasons that just might convince Snyder to come around.

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1.) Because it might help the team’s stats

Maybe using a racially offensive name has something to do with 20 years of watching the Super Bowl on television instead of playing in it.

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2.) Because it might increase merchandise sales

Between the limited fan base and a racially charged name we know there’s not a lot of “Redskins” merch flying out the door. The switch to a less offensive team name might at least increase the sale of giant foam fingers.

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3.) Because why are they even called Redskins to begin with?

Who thinks of Native American history when they think of the nation’s capital? A name like “The Memorials” or “The Lobbyists” or “The Do-Nothings” would make a lot more sense.

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4.) Because many leaders in their home city want them to

At least ten congressmen are urging the team’s owner to change the offensive name. In a letter sent to owner Dan Snyder, to FedEx, the team’s sponsor, to Roger Goodell the NFL commissioner and to 31 additional franchises, the congressmen state their disappointment with Snyder’s refusal to consider a name change and say that using the “R-word” is the equivalent of using the “N-word.”

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5.) Because cultural appropriation is not a good example of sportsmanship

Efforts to degrade, overpower, disempower, humiliate and marginalize a culture by appropriating its customs, names and symbolism is nothing new; in fact, it’s a very old trick that has no place in modern society and certainly not in sports where things like race, creed and color aren’t supposed to matter.

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6.) Because all their friends are doing it

There’s a strong precedence for changing a team’s names when the sensitivities of a society changes. For example, The Miami Redskins are now known as the RedHawks. Now, was that so hard?

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7.) Because the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says they should

In 2001 the USCCR released an official opinion on the topic of non-Native schools or organizations using Native American nicknames and images. It was stated that the use of stereotypical images is offensive, that it may create a hostile environment and perpetuate stereotypes. Several religious organizations, including the Central Conference of American Rabbis have also called for an end to the use of Native American sports mascots or team names.

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8.) Because Dan Snyder needs to do better

There’s an old saying about “when you know better, do better” that Snyder needs to learn. Unfortunately there was a time in American history when no one thought twice about using a degrading slur for fun or profit. But now we do know better and we should expect better from our country as a whole than to support the use of offensive and harmful racial terms.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_mascot_controversy

http://www.footballnation.com/content/why-the-washington-redskins-should-change-their-name/25688/

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9319267/members-congress-urge-washington-redskins-change-name

WHEN I retired in 2011 after serving 30 years in Congress, there was one set of issues I knew I could not leave behind. I donated $1 million of unused campaign funds to create the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, because our country has left a trail of broken promises to American Indians.

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As chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I once toured a school near an Indian reservation where I encountered a teacher who told me that when she asked a young Indian student what she wanted for Christmas, she said she wanted the electricity turned on in her house so she could study at night.

That type of story is all too familiar. I believe that American Indian children are the country’s most at-risk population. Too many live in third-world conditions. A few weeks ago, I traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It’s hard just to get there. A two-hour drive from Rapid City brings you to Shannon County, the second poorest county in the United States.

The proud nation of Sioux Indians who live there — like many of the 566 federally recognized tribes — have a treaty with the United States, the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which promised that their health care, education and housing needs would be provided for by the federal government.

Tribal leaders, parents and some inspiring children I’ve met make valiant efforts every day to overcome unemployment, endemic poverty, historical trauma and a lack of housing, educational opportunity and health care.

But these leaders and communities are once again being mistreated by a failed American policy, this time going under the ugly name “sequestration.” This ignorant budget maneuvering requires across-the-board spending cuts to the most important programs along with the least important. American Indian kids living in poverty are paying a very high price for this misguided abandonment of Congressional decision-making.

When we pushed American Indians off their tribal lands, we signed treaties making promises to provide services in exchange for that land. On my visit to Pine Ridge, I saw how we continue to cheat them. Sequestration, which should never have applied to sovereign Indian reservations in the first place, only compounds the problem.

It’s easy for many to believe those who say that automatic budget cuts aren’t hurting anybody much. But that’s wrong. And I can introduce you to the kids who will tell you why.

At a round-table discussion I had with students of Pine Ridge High School, I met a young man who qualified for the state wrestling tournament this year. The school and tribe had no money to send him. So the wrestling coach spent $500 out of his own pocket to pay for travel and food. The student slept on the floor of the gymnasium because there was no money for a motel room.

When I asked a group of eight high school students who among them had had someone close to them take their own life, they all raised their hands. More than 100 suicide threats or attempts, most by young people, have been reported at Pine Ridge so far this year.

The rate of suicide among American Indian youth is nearly four times the national average, and is as high as 10 times the average in many tribal communities across the Great Plains. At the same time, mental health services are being cut as a result of sequestration, with Pine Ridge losing at least one provider this year.

The youth center on the reservation is closed because of lack of funding. Money for the summer youth program, which pays high school students to work during their break, has also been eliminated.

I met a 12-year-old homeless girl at the emergency youth shelter. Her mother is dead. She doesn’t know the identity of her father. She’s been in multiple foster homes and been repeatedly sexually abused. She found safety in the shelter, but its funding is being cut because of sequestration — an indiscriminate budget ax, I might add, that was thought of as so unconscionable when I was in the Senate that it would never have been seriously considered.

The very programs that we set up to provide those basic life necessities on reservations are the same ones feeling the indiscriminate, blunt cuts of sequestration. How can we justify such a thoughtless policy?

While I was at Pine Ridge I also met with the Tribal Council, whose members described a severe housing crisis. In one district more than 200 homes are without electricity. Throughout the reservation, I saw many dilapidated homes missing windows and doors.

Pine Ridge students told me that many of their friends and families were homeless. “Our friends sleep in tents,” one student said.

Even in normal times, the Indian Health Service operates with about half the money it needs. Tribal Council members told me that some of their health funds last only until May. If you get sick after May, too bad. Now these health care programs, already rationing care, are subject to the sequester. The Indian Health Service estimates that as a result it will have 804,000 fewer patient visits this year.

Congress should hold a series of investigative hearings on our unfulfilled treaties with American Indians. Add up the broken promises, make an accounting of the underfunding, all of it, and then work with tribes to develop a plan to make it right. In the meantime, we must exempt Indian country from sequestration — right now.

 

By BYRON L. DORGAN, New York Times, July 10, 2013 

Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, served in the House from 1981 to 1992 and in the Senate from 1992 to 2011. He is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

A study finds that granting citizenship to undocumented workers would increase pay, tax revenue and overall spending.

Undocumented workers till an asparagus field near Toppenish, Wash., on the Yakama Indian Reservation© Elaine Thompson-AP Photo

Adding 203,000 new jobs, $184 billion in tax revenue and $1.4 trillion to the nation’s overall economy seems like a pretty good idea for a country clawing its way out of an economic downturn.Would Americans still think it’s a good idea if that boom required granting undocumented immigrants immediate citizenship? The answer might be less than unanimous, but the folks at the Center For American Progress say it’s an idea worth considering sooner rather than later.

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Five years after gaining citizenship, undocumented workers would make 25.1% more annually, according to a study obtained by The Huffington Post. That raise will “ripple through the economy” as immigrants use their income to buy goods and pay taxes.

The plan, as with nearly any mention of immigration reform in the U.S., has drawn its fair share of criticism. In his book “Immigration Wars: Forging An American Solution,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush insists that the economic benefits of a path to citizenship are outweighed by the potential damage to the “integrity of our immigration system.”

The junior senator from Bush’s state, Republican Marco Rubio, flat-out disagrees and has joined Arizona Sen. John McCain in calling for a clear and immediate path to citizenship for undocumented workers. They wouldn’t be the first or even the most high-profile Republicans to make that call, either.

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In 1986, Ronald Reagan made immigration a priority of his presidency by instituting the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which National Public Radio recently spotlighted for granting amnesty and, eventually, citizenship to undocumented workers who had been in the country since 1982.

How did that work out? Ask the Department of Labor, which reports that immigrants granted citizenship under Reagan’s plan got a 15.1% bump in pay immediately afterward.

But what if Americans just aren’t ready for such a sweeping change in immigration policy? Then they’re going to have to wait a whole lot longer for a payout while they make up their minds. The Center For American Progress study showed that delaying the citizenship process could put off benefits for both workers and the greater economy by a decade or more.

When Saul Escobar was punished for daring to speak his mother tongue inside a Ucayali school, it never occurred to him that one day he would be a professor in a university and would teach in Shipibo, the very language that had so exasperated the mestizo director of his school.

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Saul remembers that with a smile, the same smile that he flashed two decades ago when Gerardo Zerdin, then the parish priest in Atalaya, decided to support him so that he could receive a university education in Lima. “I want to study, but I don’t have money,” Saul had told him. Saul has come a long way since then; not only is he a professor at the Universidad Nopoki, but he is about to get his masters degree.

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‘I have come’
Even though the idea had been bouncing around his head since the 1990s, it was only in 2005 that Zerdin, the bishop of San Ramón, with jurisdiction covering all of Peru’s central jungle, put his plan into motion. He approached the Monsignor Lino Panitza, the bishop of Carabayllo and founder of the Universidad Católica Sedes Sapientiae (UCSS), and asked him to help achieve his dream of creating an educational center for the indigenous population in Atalaya.

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Having lived with various ethnic groups in the Amazon, and especially with the Shipibo, Zerdin observed that the education in the classroom left a lot to be desired, as the teachers came from other parts of Peru, did not integrate into the communities, did not teach in the local languages and disappeared for long periods of time. So, he thought, the best thing would be if the locals themselves received an education, to later impart it to their communities. Lino Panitza, who shared the idea of providing opportunities for marginalized young people, was receptive, and that same year, an agreement was signed between the vicarship of San Román and the UCSS to create Nopoki (‘I have come’ in Asháninka).

“I don’t have words to express the greatness of Nopoki”
In 2012, four students belonging to the Yine culture graduated from Nopoki with bachelor’s degrees. It was hard work for Remigio Zapata, in charge of Yine grammar and tasked with reviewing all of the daily lessons that the students received in that language. “The course that was hardest for me was math, in part because of the insufficient prior education, but also because words like tangent, parallel and vertical are untranslatable into Yine,” he says.

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Juan López, also a professor at Nopoki, had to live up to his Yánesha name, Oth, which means “the strongest, the most powerful,” in order to overcome all of the challenges that life has presented him. When he was an important Yánesha leader, he was kidnapped for fifteen days by Shining Path; he studied at the La Cantuta University until Fujimori closed it and he had to flee to Pucallpa to continue his studies; later, he was elected mayor of the district of Palcazú, and when he refused a bribe from narcotraffickers, they put a price on his head. He had to leave Peru, assisted by German NGOs. In 2004, he returned to his community in the central jungle to work as a primary school teacher. Now, in Nopoki, he feels fulfilled. “Here, the students have food, a bed, sanitary facilities, clothes, healthcare, and that’s priceless. Education is the key to development, and the graduates of Nopoki have a complete education; they aren’t just teachers, but rather can create electrical, water and sewage systems. I don’t have words to express the greatness of Nopoki. If I’d had this opportunity, I would be an ambassador or a cabinet minister,” says Juan.

In 2006, Nopoki started as a pre-university center. The communities were very enthusiastic about the project. Roughly sixty students arrived and prepared themselves while UCSS was creating a bilingual, bicultural program. In 2007, there was an entrance exam, and the spectrum of participating indigenous nations expanded significantly. By then, professors from UCSS were already teaching, but they did not have the campus they now occupy. All of the activities were carried out in the Atalaya parish house. The rooms held up to 20 students on cots.

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In 2008, they received 30 hectares for the campus. The students cleared the land themselves and later helped to build the university. In 2010, they moved to the campus. In 2011, the first class of 26 students graduated with bachelors degrees. In December of 2012, 33 young indigenous students graduated, and they are now at the UCSS campus in Lima to receive their licenses.

Today, the administration of Nopoki is shared. The payroll is the responsibility of UCSS, and the expenses for housing the students and construction are billed to the vicarship. Help from international NGOs and private donations have been important in making the project a reality.

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‘He awoke our hearts’
Jovita Vasqúez, a 33-year-old Shipibo-Conibo from the first graduating class, is already a councilwoman in the Atalaya provincial government. She had always wanted to make something of herself, but it was impossible for her to finish her studies in Pucallpa due to a lack of funds. In her community, located in the district of Tahuanía, they spoke of Monsignor Zerdin as a legendary figure who helped the Shipibo. She let him know that she was interested in studying. That’s how she was considered for inclusion in Nopoki. “I learned to value my culture. The monsignor awoke our hearts and fed our self-esteem,” says a grateful Jovita.

Diógenes Campos, a 23-year-old Asháninka, is in the second entering class and lives in the indigenous community Aerija. From 2008 to 2010, he lived at Nopoki, but that he has a wife and son, he lives in his community and walks an hour each way to the university. In the future, he wants to work as a teacher in his community and to promote the development of agriculture, tourism, handicraft production and health. Unlike earlier generations, Diógenes believes in family planning and only wants to have two children. That is just one of the cultural changes he wants to inspire among his compatriots.

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A simple act of justice
The vice rector of UCSS, Dr. Gianbatista Bolis, was surprised by the ability of the indigenous students to pick apart the poems of Rilke, Pavese and Leopardi and associate them with their own experiences. This reinforces an important theory in intercultural anthropology, posited by Alain Touraine, which holds that all languages are dialects of one fundamental language, which is the language of the heart of man.

What’s certain is that a project like Nopoki could not be carried out without the belief that all human beings have the same potential and greatness. There are people with few opportunities, not fewer capacities. Giving them the tools to chart their own destiny is a simple act of justice.

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The natives graduated in the municipal coliseum of Atalaya, under the rain but illuminated by knowledge. Soon, they would leave to study for their licenses in Lima. As if by ritual, they would water, and take their photos next to, an aguaje palm tree that the first class had planted on the UCSS campus in Los Olivos. The palm tree has grown, and so have they.

 

* Álvaro Rocha for Somos,Translated and adapted by Nick Rosen (January 23, 2013)

The conversation fluctuates between a legendary Tunki coffee and a brand new pisco, Larroca, served up cold, in accordance with the tastes of its creator: Bernardo Roca Rey, architect of the Novoandino cuisine, exquisite epicure, president of the Peruvian Society of Gastronomy (APEGA), and the current promoter of the rescue and rehabilitation of Peru’s millions of acres of agricultural terraces.

How was this project born?
In the Ministry of Culture, during my time as Viceminster for Cultural Heritage, I had the the opportunity to be close to the issue of the terraces. Conserving the walls of the terraces is what the ministry must do with its archaeologists, and it works, but it is expensive. The other way is that the farms work them, and in so doing, they will also provide maintenance. If there are a million hectares of terraces, 700,000 of those are abandoned.

Up until 1999, there were programs to map the Andean terraces, but they have been abandoned. Days ago, in Mistura, we managed to gather together seven ministers to talk about the Andean diet, and one of them was Trivelli (Minister of Development), who has done studies of the terraces. APEGA goes hand-in-hand with two ideas: nutrition and social inclusion. In both cases, the Andean terraces are important to recuperate. If there are a million hectares, that’s a little bit more than 10% of all the arable land used for cultivation in Peru, and it’s a shame that that land isn’t being used.

What is the Ministry of Culture doing about it?
They have abandoned all of the projects that existed. There isn’t even a complete map of the terraces in Peru, where they are and which they are. They’ve identified barely 50% of them.

Is mapping the first step for their recuperation?
The first step is a pilot project: take 500 hectares and adopt them. The objective is that these lands, which are the most productive in Peru, offer the Peruvian restaurants of the world the Andean grains that are so fashionable. For years, I have been promoting the Novoandina cuisine, and among those crops are quinoa, oca, mashua, products which will soon be fashionable. We started with quinoa twenty years ago, and it’s a success today.

What is the idea? To give value added through the denomination of origin; having products that are introduced with the gastronomic boom and also grown on Andean terraces, some of which are three thousand years old. That a restaurant in Paris, for example, adopts a terrace and once a year offers roasted, glazed mashua. What you will have then is a cultural phenomenon which will allow for value to be added to the product, and the farmer will be well-paid.

Additionally, if they are crops from the VRAE, where there are many terraces, it can be another type of assistance. For example, the U.S. government and restaurants in the U.S. could receive those crops, which are also organic. Everything goes hand-in-hand: biodiversity, ancestral crops, new cuisine, boutique agriculture, all of those go together and break the inertia. And that the state puts in $500 million to save a certain number of terraces.


Where will you realize the pilot project?

The closer to Lima, the easier. In APEGA, we have a project with the Interamerican Development Bank, which has given us $3 million as a nonrefundable amount for supply chains, and with part of that we could begin to work on this subject.

I firmly believe that the Andean diet is related to the terraces, so that all of the ministry portfolios are related to this: Tourism, Agriculture, Social Inclusion and Health. The issue is in the hands of the state. I have calculated that it takes an average of $5,800 to recover one hectare. In APEGA, we can recover 100, but with the state or help from abroad, we could recover thousands. Some villagers in Ayacucho are already willing, and the corn that they haven’t grown for a while could be cultivated there. There is a fungus, which in Mexico they eat and call huitlacoche, which contaminates the corn crops, and in Cusco, the infected corn are just tossed out. It would be interesting to grow the infected corn, in order to sell the fungus, which elsewhere is worth much more than the corn itself. The same monks cress plant that I am growing in my garden can be used to produce “Incapers,” in place of regular capers.

Going back in time, what was your first contact with the Peruvian terraces?
I was a boy, because my family led me to this and traveled a lot. I remember being very young and lying down on a terrace in Machu Picchu and looking at the stars, thinking that this was the best thing you could ever do. Who would have guessed that I would end up having to care for them myself…

If we develop them, Peru, instead of having 1.2 million kilometers, would have 2 million. That is, we would be as big as a flat country like Mexico.

 

By Maribel de Paz  (“Caretas” magazine from PERU). 

Translated and adapted by Nick Rosen, October 4, 2012

 

The mountains along the eastern edge of Glacier National Park rise from the prairie like dinosaur teeth, their silvery ridges and teardrop fields of snow forming the doorway to one of America’s most pristine places.

Yes, there is beauty here on the Blackfeet reservation, but there is also oil, locked away in the tight shale thousands of feet underground. And tribal leaders have decided to tap their land’s buried wealth. The move has divided the tribe while igniting a debate over the promise and perils of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in a place where grizzlies roam into backyards and many residents see the land as something living and sacred.

All through the billiard-green mesas leading up to the mountains are signs of the boom. Well pads and water tanks dot the rolling hills. Tractor-trailers loaded with chemicals and drilling machinery kick up contrails of dust along the reservation’s winding gravel roads. And spirelike drilling rigs quietly bore into the ground, silhouetted against mountains with names like Sinopah, Rising Wolf and Chief.

It is an increasingly common sight for tribes across the West and Plains: Tourist spending has gone slack since the recession hit. American Indian casino revenues are stagnating just as tribal gambling faces new competition from online gambling and waves of new casinos. Oil and fracking are new lifelines.

One drilling rig on the Blackfeet reservation generated 49 jobs for tribal members — a substantial feat in a place where unemployment is as high as 70 percent. But as others watched the rigs rise, they wondered whether the tribe was making an irrevocable mistake.

“These are our mountains,” said Cheryl Little Dog, a recently elected member of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, the reservation’s governing body. “I look at what we have, and I think, why ruin it over an oil rig?”

Oil exploration here began in the 1920s, largely on the plains along the eastern edge of the reservation, but it died off in the early 1980s. Over the last four years, though, new fracking technologies and rising oil prices have lured the drillers back, and farther and farther west, to the mountains that border Glacier National Park.

Oil companies have leased out the drilling rights for a million of the reservation’s 1.5 million acres, land held by the tribe, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They have drilled 30 exploratory wells this year alone, and are already engaged in fracking many of them, pumping a slurry of water, sand and chemicals to crack open underground rock beds to pry out the oil.

“It’ll change the lives of a lot of people,” said Grinnell Day Chief, the tribe’s oil and gas manager. “It’ll be a boost to everybody. There’s talk of a hotel coming up.”

To tribal leaders, oil wealth could be more lucrative and reliable than any casino — a resource whose royalties could transform a reservation scarred by poverty and alcoholism.

Blackfeet elders say they have already collected about $30 million, primarily from three oil companies, the Anschutz Exploration Corporation, the Newfield Exploration Company and Rosetta Resources. The tribe has used signing bonuses to pay off debts from building the Glacier Peaks Casino. It built a tribe-owned grocery to compete with the IGA in Browning, the reservation’s largest town. The tribe’s approximately 16,500 members each got $200 in trickle-down payments from the drilling last year, and the oil companies have donated money to the local basketball team and to buy children toys and jackets last Christmas.

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For some on the reservation, the drills cannot come soon enough. In April, T. J. Show, then the chairman of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, told a House committee that the layers of oversight and paperwork needed to drill into tribal lands were “extremely slow and burdensome.” He told the panel he opposed new federal rules that would clamp down on fracking and chase away oil companies.

To find the opposing view, one needs only to drive five miles west from Browning, past the casino, heading straight toward the mountains, and pull off at the red gate on the right. There, on a recent summer afternoon, over mugs of horsemint tea, Pauline Matt and a handful of Blackfeet women were trying to find a way to persuade the tribal leaders to stop the drilling.

“It threatens everything we are as Blackfeet,” she said.

Other environmental activists around Glacier have raised concerns that the fracking operations, if they continue and expand, could pollute air quality, contaminate sensitive watersheds and tarnish a night almost uncontaminated by man-made lights.

Chas Cartwright, the superintendent of Glacier National Park, has asked for a full-scale environmental review of drilling on the reservation. In a July 31 letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he raised concerns about how drilling might affect grizzly bear populations, air quality and the vistas from mountain perches inside the park.

And the tribe’s environmental office and roads department have already noted damage to the roads, and small chemical and fuel spills.

The divisions within the tribe are more than disputes over the economy and environment — they represent two visions of the land where Blackfeet members have lived for centuries.

Ms. Matt and the women who oppose the fracking speak about the streams and meadows and mountains as if they were family members. They go on vision quests in the mountains. They braid native sweetgrass to burn in prayers and collect berries and herbs for food, medicine and ceremonies.

The drilling companies, the local Bureau of Land Management and tribal officials say there has been no evidence that the fracking has affected the reservation’s water supplies or soured its air. But to opponents, the damage to the land is still being done.

“You see this butterfly, you hear those birds?” asked Crystal LaPlant, as she sat on Ms. Matt’s back porch one evening, the meadows alive with sound. “Once they start drilling, we aren’t going to have those things anymore.”

Ron Crossguns, who works for the Blackfeet tribe’s oil and gas division, has oil leases on his land, a 10-foot cross in his yard, and little patience for that kind of pastoral veneration. He called it “movie Indian” claptrap, divorced from modern realities. Mountains, he said, are just mountains.

“They’re just big rocks, nothing more,” Mr. Crossguns said. “Don’t try to make them into nothing holy. Jesus Christ put them there for animals to feed on, and for people to hunt on.”

And maybe, for people to drill into. Whether the oil companies keep drilling may depend less on the tribe’s attitudes than the raw economics of extracting oil from extremely tight rock formations. The oil companies are still taking samples, analyzing the rocks and trying to figure out whether they can turn a profit.

“The earth is saturated with oil,” Dave Loken, a senior geologist with Anschutz, said at a recent meeting of tribal leaders and oil companies to discuss the future of drilling on the Blackfeet land. “It’s very tough to get the oil out. We’re still working on it.”

By 

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 17, 2012

An article on Thursday about oil drilling on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana misstated the name of a mountain near the reservation. It is the Rising Wolf Mountain, not Running Wolf Mountain.

Cusco, Arequipa, Iquitos, Callao, Trujillo and Lima have been announced as nominees for the New 7 Wonders Cities campaign.

CUZCO = CUSCO

AREQUIPA

IQUITOS

CALLAO

 

TRUJILLO

LIMA

The six Peruvian cities were nominated along 1,200 cities from 220 countries.

The next stage of voting ends on March 7, and 300 cities will go on to the next round.

Voting will carry on throughout 2012 and 2013 and the 7 New Wonders Cities will be announced on December 7 2013.

New 7 Wonders Cities is the third campaign organized by New7Wonders, following the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World and the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The Amazon Rainforest was named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature of the World, on November 11.

The other 6 natural wonders are: Halong Bay, Vietnam; Iguazu Falls, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay; Jeju Island, Korea; Komodo, Indonesia; Puerto Princesa, Philippines; and Table Mountain, South Africa.

Peru is expected to receive over a million and a half visitors the final stages of the Dakar Rally, which is being held in the country.

“Just to give you an idea: in Argentina almost 3 and a half million people attended the 2011 Dakar Rally; in Chile, just over 1 million. And Peru is expected to host more than 1 million and a half supporters,” said Rosemary Hernandez, project manager at PromPeru.

2012 is the fourth year the Dakar Rally will travel to South America, and the first time it will run through Peru. The race will begin in Mar del Plata, Argentina, cross Chile, and end in Lima.

“Promperú and other institutions have done a pretty arduous works, but we are very happy. We are in charge of all promotional activities before and during the race. You can already feel Peruvian’s expectation, ” she said to Andina.

The Rally will consist of fourteen stages and will cover a total of 9,500 kilometers.

The Huacachina oasis is hot, day and night

The Huacachina oasis (Photo: Carlos Salas/PromPerú)

It is a bit like a dream, standing on the shores of the beautiful Huacachina oasis, contemplating the blue-green water and the immense sand mountains surrounding it all. There is no doubt that it is beautiful, and for that reason it attracts young crowds of both tourists and locals for prolonged weekend stays.

I did not enjoy the 5 hour bus ride with Cruz del Sur from Lima to Ica very much, however. It seems to me that Cruz del Sur doesn’t represent the good deal which it once did. The comfort just is not there, partly due to seat comfort- if the person in front of you leans back his seat, you will virtually get crushed- but in particular because of the never-ending show of videos with high volume thundering from the central speakers. This simply destroys the amazing scenery traveling along the southern Peruvian coast from Lima to Ica. On the way back, I traveled on Soyuz; it wasn’t any better, but at least it was cheaper.

When you arrive to Ica, the change of transportation to a taxi is very smooth, allowing you to arrive to Huacachina within 15 minutes for around S/. 6. Huacachina has an abundance of hostels and guest houses, and they practically all offer the same traditional sand buggy rides and sandboarding. I stayed at Carola del Sur, a sister hostel to Casa de Arena with the same owner, without the lush swimming pool and nightclub of Casa de Arena, but also without the noise.

The Carola del Sur. Photo by author.

Carola del Sur also offers great, spacious and clean rooms at very reasonable prices. The staff is very friendly and easy-going, and is at the same time well organized and secure. 
Before going out on the sand dune tours, I went on a classic city tour to Ica, visiting the main square of Ica and a pisco bodega, which gave a nice impression of this colonial town as well as some basic knowledge of the pisco distillation process. And of course, I got to taste some different piscos, with the opportunity to buy special and original Ica pisco, a good way of ensuring quality.

Sandboarding. Photo by author.

In the afternoon, I went on an awesome roller coaster ride in the buggies, bumping up and down in incredible sand dunes for a couple of hours. It is a thrilling and fun experience, which is a must do, as is the sandboarding which is a very cool and unique activity in Peru. However, it takes some practice to get the most of out it, and be careful – even though sand sounds like a soft surface, it is not so soft when you fall of a board in high speed descending a tall sand dune. But these buggies are just amazing, and it is absolute mandatory to go for such a thrilling ride.

A dune buggy. Photo by author.

I spent the entire evening at Casa de Arena, where I joined a barbecue buffet and free drinks for only S/. 50, a heck of a bargain, which you won’t find at many places. The food was great, and there was plenty of it. Later the nightclub opened, and this remodeled meeting place, combining rustic and modern design, is a spectacular spot for everybody (but in particular young people) in and around Ica.

The grounds of the Casa de Arena. Photo by author.

The place is huge, and there is room for many hundreds of people, and in fact it almost fills up on the weekends. The ground floor is an impressive large dance floor with two bars, and a big stage separates this floor from the VIP zone on the second floor.

The nightclub at Casa de Arena. Photo by author.

You can choose to sit down and talk, to go dancing to reggaeton rhythms, or simply hang around enjoying the environment from a distance – each level has the feeling of an exciting meeting place, as the place to be on a Saturday night. The place opens around 11pm, and fills in around 1am, and continues until the early morning, around 5am. This is indeed the place to be on a Saturday evening in Huacachina.

I had a fantastic prolonged weekend stay in Ica and Huacachina, and 3 days is just exactly enough to get something out of the trip, considering the almost 5 hour bus drive back and forth.
By Morten Bruun Jensen , January 2, 2012

 Morten Bruun is the co-founder and Chief Operations Manager for the Peru Experience travel agency.

Seven years ago, the Havasupai Indians, who live amid the turquoise waterfalls and red cliffs miles deep in the Grand Canyon, issued a “banishment order” to keep Arizona State University employees from setting foot on their reservation — an ancient punishment for what they regarded as a genetic-era betrayal.
Members of the tiny, isolated tribe had given DNA samples to university researchers starting in 1990, in the hope that they might provide genetic clues to the tribe’s devastating rate of diabetes. But they learned that their blood samples had been used to study many other things, including mental illness and theories of the tribe’s geographical origins that contradict their traditional stories.


The geneticist responsible for the research has said that she had obtained permission for wider-ranging genetic studies.


Acknowledging a desire to “remedy the wrong that was done,” the university’s Board of Regents on Tuesday agreed to pay $700,000 to 41 of the tribe’s members, return the blood samples and provide other forms of assistance to the impoverished Havasupai — a settlement that legal experts said was significant because it implied that the rights of research subjects can be violated when they are not fully informed about how their DNA might be used.
The case raised the question of whether scientists had taken advantage of a vulnerable population, and it created an image problem for a university eager to cast itself as a center for American Indian studies.


But genetics experts and civil rights advocates say it may also fuel a growing debate over researchers’ responsibility to communicate the range of personal information that can be gleaned from DNA at a time when it is being collected on an ever-greater scale for research and routine medical care.
“I’m not against scientific research,” said Carletta Tilousi, 39, a member of the Havasupai tribal council. “I just want it to be done right. They used our blood for all these studies, people got degrees and grants, and they never asked our permission.”


Researchers and institutions that receive federal funds are required to receive “informed consent” from subjects, ensuring that they understand the risks and benefits before they participate. But such protections were designed primarily for research that carried physical risks, like experimental drug trials or surgery. When it comes to mining DNA, the rules — and the risks — are murkier.


Is it necessary, for instance, to ask someone who has donated DNA for research on heart disease if that DNA can be used for Alzheimer’s or addiction research?


Many scientists say no, arguing that the potential benefit from unencumbered biomedical research trumps the value of individual control.
“Everyone wants to be open and transparent,” said Dr. David Karp, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who has studied informed consent for DNA research. “The question is, how far do you have to go? Do you have to create some massive database of people’s wishes for their DNA specimens?”


The Havasupai settlement appears to be the first payment to individuals who said their DNA was misused, several legal experts said, and came after the university spent $1.7 million fighting lawsuits by tribe members.
Even as the Havasupai prepared to reclaim the 151 remaining blood samples from a university freezer this week, Therese Markow, the geneticist, defended her actions as ethical. Those judging her otherwise, she suggested, failed to understand the fundamental nature of genetic research, where progress often occurs from studies that do not appear to bear directly on a particular disease.


“I was doing good science,” Dr. Markow, now a professor at the University of California, San Diego, said in a telephone interview.
Edmond Tilousi, 56, a cousin of Carletta Tilousi and the tribe’s vice chairman, can climb the eight miles from his village on the floor of the western Grand Canyon to the rim in three hours, when he is in a rush. Horse or helicopter are the other ways out, and Mr. Tilousi is increasingly rare among the tribe’s members in his ability to make the hike. Beginning in the 1960s, an extraordinarily high incidence of Type 2 diabetes led to amputations, even among the younger members, and forced many to leave the canyon for dialysis.


In late 1989, Mr. Tilousi’s uncle Rex Tilousi approached John Martin, an Arizona State University anthropologist who had gained the tribe’s trust, to ask if he knew a doctor who could help. “I asked him, ‘How can we prevent this from spreading?’ ” the elder Mr. Tilousi recalled.
Professor Martin approached Dr. Markow. A link had recently been reported between a genetic variant and the high rate of diabetes among Pima Indians. If a similar link was found among the Havasupai, it might point to an important risk factor.


The two professors received money from the university to study diabetes in the tribe. Dr. Markow was interested in schizophrenia research as well, and in the summer of 1990, with a grant from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, she and her graduate students began collecting blood samples in Supai. Women here remember being happy to see her in those days, an athletic figure who talked to them about how to be more healthy. Working out of the health clinic in the center of the village, Dr. Markow recruited tribe members to ask others to give blood. To the Havasuapi, blood has deep spiritual meaning.


“I went and told people, if they have their blood taken, it would help them,” said Floranda Uqualla, 46, whose parents and grandparents suffered from diabetes. “And we might get a cure so that our people won’t have to leave our canyon.” Roughly 100 tribe members who gave blood from 1990 to 1994 signed a broad consent that said the research was to “study the causes of behavioral/medical disorders.”
The consent form was purposely simple, Dr. Markow said, given that English was a second language for many Havasupai, and few of the tribe’s 650 members had graduated from high school. They were always given the opportunity to ask questions, she said, and students were also instructed to explain the project and get written and verbal consent from donors.


Dr. Markow examined several genes that were thought to have medical relevance, including for schizophrenia, metabolic disorders and alcoholism, she said, but found little to pursue. The Havasupai did not, it turned out, share the gene variant linked to diabetes in the Pima.
But a few years later, a graduate student using new technology came up with a way to discern variations in the Havasupai DNA, which was stored in a university freezer, and he wrote a dissertation based on his research.
Carletta Tilousi, one of the few Havasupai to attend college, stopped by Professor Martin’s office one day in 2003, and he invited her to the student’s doctoral presentation.


Ms. Tilousi understood little of the technical aspect, but what she heard bore no resemblance to the diabetes research she had pictured when she had given her own blood sample years earlier.


“Did you have permission,” she asked during the question period, “to use Havasupai blood for your research?”
The presentation was halted. Dr. Markow and the other members of the doctoral committee asked the student to redact that chapter from his dissertation.
But months later, tribe members learned more about the research when a university investigation discovered two dozen published articles based on the blood samples that Dr. Markow had collected. One reported a high degree of inbreeding, a measure that can correspond with a higher susceptibility to disease.
Ms. Tilousi found that offensive. “We say if you do that, a close relative of yours will die,” she said.


Another article, suggesting that the tribe’s ancestors had crossed the frozen Bering Sea to arrive in North America, flew in the face of the tribe’s traditional stories that it had originated in the canyon and was assigned to be its guardian.


Listening to the investigators, Ms. Tilousi felt a surge of anger, she recalled. But in Supai, the initial reaction was more of hurt. Though some Havasupai knew already that their ancestors most likely came from Asia, “when people tell us, ‘No, this is not where you are from,’ and your own blood says so — it is confusing to us,” Rex Tilousi said. “It hurts the elders who have been telling these stories to our grandchildren.”
Others questioned whether they could have unwittingly contributed to research that could threaten the tribe’s rights to its land. “Our coming from the canyon, that is the basis of our sovereign rights,” said Edmond Tilousi, the tribe’s vice chairman.


Many members are still suffering from diabetes and say they were never told if researchers had learned anything that could help them. The classes on nutrition that Dr. Markow had sponsored with grant money have since petered out.
Ms. Uqualla, who had recruited blood donors, said she felt shamed by the news that it had been used for research that could potentially damage the tribe. “I let my people down,” she said.


The money from the settlement will be divided among the 41 tribe members. Ms. Uqualla, for one, hopes to buy a horse trailer.
But Stephen F. Hanlon, a lawyer who has represented the tribe members without charge, said the resources the university agreed to provide, including scholarships and assistance in obtaining federal funds for projects like a new health clinic, had the potential to transform the tribal village at the bottom of one of the world’s most famous natural wonders.


On Tuesday, Ms. Tilousi cried as a university official unlocked the freezer in the nondescript storage room in the Tempe campus where the blood samples had long been stored. Wearing protective glasses, gloves and a lab coat, she and a delegation of tribal members sang in Havasupai as they saw the blood that had been taken from them and from their relatives, now dead.
On the box inside the freezer was scrawled the name, “Markow.”


By AMY HARMON; NYT, april 2010