Entries in Native American (5)


Ancient Petroglyphs Stolen Along California Cliffs; Local Native Americans Stunned

File photo. Tom Brakefield/Thinkstock(BISHOP, Calif.) -- Petroglyphs, rock engravings left by ancient Native American people, stood along the California cliffs for up to 5,000 years. Yet it only took a concrete saw and pliers for thieves to steal the ancient rock writings last month, leaving the surrounding community stunned.

“When we went out there and looked at it, it hit my heart more than it did anything else,” said Raymond Andrews, the historic preservation officer of the Bishop Paiute tribe. “These are old and it’s part of our culture.”

The thieves did damage to six different petroglyphs, removing five and damaging one that was left behind. The carvings stood along cliffs of the Eastern Sierra Volcanic Tableland near the California-Nevada border, approximately 15 miles north of Bishop, Calif. They are what the local community calls “rock writings,” also referred to as rock art.

“They’re old writings that our local people here still go out to periodically to visit, either just to be around them or pray to them,” said Andrews.


Archaeologists describe the carving as an “engraving with color contrast,” created by removing the exterior coating of the rock that exposes lighter-colored stone underneath.

For archaeologists and members of the tribe, the carvings are much more than just physical representation of the past.

“It’s a very important spiritual and ceremonial artifact in history,” said Greg Haverstock, an archaeologist with Bishop field office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).   “It has a very religious value and it’s irreplaceable.”

Haverstock said if the thieves try to sell the artifacts, each piece could run anywhere from $500 to $1,500. He said that even if the carvings were recovered, it would be nearly impossible to restore them.

“It’s more than the actual motifs they stole, but also in the process of stealing them they scarred and damaged the surrounding petroglyphs.” said Haverstock. “There’s no way that you could properly restore it.”

As a result, authorities have ramped up security in the region and the BLM is now offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to arrests. Under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act, those convicted with theft and vandalism could face a $20,000 fine and five years imprisonment.

“It’s not only Native American history but it’s everybody’s history,” said Andrews. “Now nobody’s grandchildren are going to be able to enjoy those because now they’re gone. Hopefully they’ll come back.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ND Voters Opt to Abandon ‘Fighting Sioux’ University Nickname

Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images(BISMARCK, N.D.) -- North Dakota voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday allowing the University of North Dakota to discontinue use of its controversial nickname -- the Fighting Sioux.

The school's nickname has been under fire from the NCAA for many years, and the debate has been on-going in the state.  Opponents say the nickname is offensive, and that it hurts the school’s athletic program.

On the support side, there’s the argument that the nickname is part of the school’s history and that it is not meant to offend.  That argument is boosted by the fact that there are actually some Native American supporters.

In November 2011, members of the Spirit Lake Tribe actually sued the NCAA to keep the name, arguing that losing the Sioux name could mean losing ties between the university and the tribes.  The suit was tossed out by a judge in May.

A group of supporters for the nickname has said that they plan to try and put a similar measure on the ballot in November.  It’s not yet known what the new nickname and logo might be, but there’s time to debate.  “Fighting Sioux” won’t be abandoned until January 2015 at the earliest.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Geronimo Descendants Want Apology from President Obama

Hulton Archive/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One of the descendants of Apache Chief Geronimo is waiting for an apology from the White House.

"Geronimo" was used as a code name by Navy SEALs when they signaled that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a raid on the al Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan this past Sunday

In a statement to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Harlyn Geronimo, a great grandson of the Native American warrior, said associating his ancestor's name with the world's most wanted fugitive was "a grievous insult."

Besides demanding an apology from President Obama or Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Harlyn Geronimo, who served two tours in Vietnam with the Army, wants "this use of the name 'Geronimo'" expunged "from all the records of the U.S. government."

The matter will be taken up by committee lawmakers who were participating Thursday in a meeting already scheduled to discuss "the impact of racist stereotypes on indigenous people."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Code Name 'Geronimo' for Osama bin Laden Mission Angers Some Native Americans

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the country rejoices over the killing of Osama bin Laden, many Native Americans have different reactions: shock, dismay, hurt.

That’s because the Navy SEALs used “Geronimo” as the code name for mission to capture or kill bin Laden.

“It’s another attempt to label Native Americans as terrorists,” said Paula Antoine from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota.

“WTF, da gov't code named osama bin laden "Geronimo"! wat kinda [expletive] is that?” is how Cody YoungBear LeClair of Marshalltown, Iowa, put it on his Facebook page.

On Facebook, on Twitter, on Native American websites, in local newspapers and in what appear to be countless conversations on reservations and in schools across the country, Native Americans are genuinely hurt and puzzled by the choice of “Geronimo” as a code name for either bin Laden or the mission to take him out.

White House officials have insisted that the codename "Geronimo" was used as the name only for the mission, not bin Laden himself.

Navy SEALs confirmed the death of bin Laden with the line: “Geronimo E-KIA.” CIA Director Leon Panetta seemed to indicate in an interview Wednesday that "Geronimo" was the name for bin Laden when he described the raid on bin Laden's Pakistan compound.

“Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes where we -- you know, we really didn't know just exactly what was going on. And there were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information. But finally, Adm. McRaven came back and said that he had picked up the word "Geronimo," which was the code word that represented that they got bin Laden,” Panetta told PBS.

 That may be a distinction without a difference to Native American ears.

Geronimo was, of course, the 19th Century Apache leader and warrior who defended his people’s homes and families, often from U.S. forces operating in violation of treaty obligations. He was brave, fierce, elusive. He died a prisoner of the United States in 1909, 23 years after his capture.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Signs Bill Settling African-American Farmers' and Native Americans' Lawsuits  

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio (WASHINGTON) -- Signing a law that he says closes a “long and unfortunate chapter” in the nation’s history, President Obama put his signature on the bill Wednesday to settle African-American farmers’ and Native Americans’ lawsuits against the federal government.

“This is one of those issues where you don't always get political credit, but it's just the right thing to do,” Obama said at the bill signing surrounded by multiple members of Congress in Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The legislation authorizes $1.15 billion for black farmers who say they were discriminated against by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is a bill that was introduced by then-Senator Obama. The legislation also authorizes a $3.4 billion settlement with American Indians who say the U.S. Interior Department mismanaged trust accounts for natural resource royalties.

“Now, after 14 years of litigation, it's finally time to address the way that Native Americans were treated by their government. It's finally time to make things right.”

The president said that the bill represents not just making amends, but is also a reaffirming of the nation’s values of fairness, equality and opportunity.

“It's about helping families who suffered through no fault of their own get back on their feet. It's about restoring a sense of trust between the American people and the government that plays such an important role in their lives," said the president.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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