Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Story Dying to Be Told...On California Native American Day

Today is California Native American Day at i eskuela-ku, UCSD. So in honor of the day I'm sharing with you below the press release with the list of planned events and also a call on all students, faculty and staff to honor the heritage and contributions of Native Americans. After reading this release, read the article I pasted below it, "A Story Dying to be Told" by Tim Giago from the Huffingtonpost.


University of California, San Diego
September 23, 2008


SUBJECT: California Native American Day Celebration at UC San Diego

It gives me great pleasure to announce this year’s California Native American Day Celebration at UC San Diego. This is the third year UC San Diego is participating in the celebration and it is designed to promote events that enhance the relationship between the San Diego tribal communities and the UC San Diego community.

A sample of this year’s celebration includes:

• The Native American Day Kickoff will begin at 11:30 a.m. on September 26 in The Loft of the UCSD Price Center East. It will include an opening blessing by Kumeyaay elder Stan Rodriquez.

• Following the kickoff at 1:30 p.m. in the Price Center’s Gallery A, Mike Connolly from the Campo Band of Kumeyaay Nation, Laguna Resources Services, Inc. will lead a workshop entitled, “ON SACRED GROUND: Environmental Sustainability on San Diego Reservations.”

• Grave Injustice: UCSD Repatriation Teach-In will be presented from 5 to 7 p.m. on October 13 in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Student Services Center. Four panelists will discuss issues surrounding the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

• The Native American Film Festival will run from noon to 6 p.m. on October 17 at the Cross-Cultural Center. Films to be screened are In the Light of Reverence, Doe Boy, and The Business of Fancy Dancing. Hosting the three films will be Natchee Blu Barnd, a lecturer in American Indian Studies at Sacramento State University and the author of U.S. Colonialism and Indigenous Geographies.

• Pathways to Life Experience From a Tribal Doctor, Dan Calac, M.D., and Medical Director of the Indian Health Council, Inc., (IHC) will speak at 6 p.m. on November 7 in the Comunidad Room of the Cross-Cultural Center. IHC is a consortium of nine tribes – Inaja-Cosmit, La Jolla, Los Coyotes, Mesa Grande, Pala, Pauma, Rincon, San Pasqual, and Santa Ysabel – dedicated to the continual betterment of Indian health, wholeness, and well-being.

For further information visit the website:

In recognition of this annual event, I am approving two hours of administrative leave with pay so that employees may apply towards their attendance at a California Native American Day Celebration activity.

Supervisors are asked to allow employees two hours of administrative leave with pay to attend one or more of the planned celebratory events, when the absence does not infringe upon the performance of required job duties or patient care.

At this time I would like to thank the members of the California Native American Day Celebration Planning Committee for their time and effort to coordinate these educational and celebratory campus events and activities.

Join me in honoring the heritage, culture, and traditions of our Native American tribes and thank you for supporting California Native American Day at UC San Diego.

Mary Anne Fox


A Story Dying to Be Told
Tim Giago
The Huffington Post

When Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch took a shellacking in the world of high finances last week, many leaders of Indian tribes were hot on the phone lines to their brokers and money managers. I wonder how many of them will relay the information of their financial losses to their tribal members?

Because of extreme secrecy it's hard to determine how much money was lost by the Indian nations particularly to those tribes with rich casino operations, but you can place one sure bet on this fiasco: if they played the market they lost.

On July 31, 2008 the money in the interest bearing accounts of the tribes involved in Black Hills Settlement Claim, Docket 74B, was at $815,616,678.20 and the money invested in the Docket 74A account was at $113,193,512.73. If you combine the totals of these two accounts they come to $928,810,190.93 million. Now that is about as close to $1 billion as you can get. How many members of the Great Sioux Nation knew what was in their accounts or how much money was lost on Wall Street?

My sources tell me that millions of dollars of the Black Hills money was lost and the hope is that the recovery after the announced federal bailout may help to recoup some or most of it.

It strikes me as amazing that in the 1980 U.S. Census, four of the top 10 counties listed as the "Poorest Counties in America," were located on Indian reservations in South Dakota, with Shannon County, the seat of the Pine Ridge Reservation, taking the number one spot as the single poorest county in America. That was nearly 30 years ago and this is the time the original awards of $105,994,430.52 for Docket B, and $40,245,807.02 for Docket 74A, were handed down by the Court of Claims to the tribes of the Great Sioux Nation. As you can see, after nearly 30 years, the interest-bearing accounts have grown considerably, but in those years there have been ups and downs as the market fluctuated.

Docket 74B was for the illegal taking of the Black Hills and Docket 74A for the taking of lands east of the Hills. For all of the of gold, silver, uranium, timber, water and other natural resources taken from the stolen lands until this very day, the monetary award offered to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people was less than puny. It was an insult. The people of the Great Sioux Nation have not received a single shilling for the theft of their homeland.

For all of those who boldly stand up on their hind legs and ask, "What about all of the money the Indians got for hospitals, schools, government and welfare?" the answer is for them to look into their own back yards at the millions they have received from the federal government for much of the same opportunities with one exception: They did not have to give up millions of acres of land to receive those benefits. All of the supposed gifts to the Indian people that non-Indians complain about were negotiated between two sovereign nations for the most part, or decided unilaterally by the federal government after it had consolidated its power over the Indian people. When the enemies of the United States became defenseless, that is when the outright theft of their lands began.

When the poorest people in America turn up their noses at nearly $1 billion dollars, what does that tell you? And why is this one of the least-reported stories in this country? When a Lakota family is struggling to put food on the table or trying to find money to pay for a ride to the Indian hospital or grocery store or is looking at ways to survive another South Dakota winter with a premium on heating expenses, don't you believe that they think about what they could do with the money sitting in a money market on Wall Street?

And yet they refuse to accept the money. This is one of the major stories of the century and yet it continues to go unreported in the mainstream media and even in the American-Indian media. Why?

I would truly like for someone at CNN, MSNBC, FOX Network News or CBS, NBC and ABC or the New York Times, to give me and the Indian people an answer to that question.

If the news was about a takeover of a village, a violent confrontation, or worse, the MSM would be here in droves, but this story is apparently of no interest to them. Not violent enough? Not shocking enough? Too bad because it is a story that is begging to be told in all of its entirety.

If nothing else, the money lost by the Indian people of South Dakota by the money market collapse should be news. If it rocked America, it certainly rocked the "poorest of the poor."

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, was born, raised and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association and the founder and publisher of Indian Country Today, the Lakota Times, and the Dakota/Lakota Journal. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in the Class of 1991. He can be reached at

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