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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Good News in Indigenous (Native American) Country

 Native American tribe gets back Big Sur ancestral lands after 250 years A Native American tribe has reclaimed a small part of ancestral lands on California’s scenic Big Sur coast that were lost to Spanish colonial settlement nearly 250 years ago.The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County closed escrow on 1,199 acres (485 hectares) about 5 miles (8 kilometers) inland from the ocean that was part of a $4.5 million deal involving the state and the Western Rivers Conservancy

Senate Approves Commission to Revise or Redesign Massachusetts Seal and Motto –The Massachusetts State Senate on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 passed legislation that would establish a commission to study and redesign the Massachusetts state seal and motto in an effort to make it more inclusive and historically representational.The legislation, Resolve establishing a special commission relative to the seal and motto of the commonwealth (S.1877), will create a commission to study the state seal. Many people, particularly members of Native American communities, find the seal offensive and unwittingly harmful, and others feel it perpetuates a misunderstanding of indigenous culture and history. The commission will be tasked with making recommendations for a revised or new seal and motto for the state. The state seal and motto are featured on the Massachusetts flag and other official insignia.

Plimoth Plantation Will Change Name By The End Of The Year (2020) According to the museum, discussions about a name change have been underway for more than a year, and the museum plans to announce the new name later this year when it commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival. However, until the name change is decided, the museum is using a special logo that includes Plimoth, the English colonists’ name for the land, and Patuxet, the name the indigenous people gave to the land. The new logo uses both Plimoth and Patuxet with a blue swirl in between the names.

Football Team (2020): FedEx – which has naming rights at the team’s stadium – formally asked the Redskins to change their name. Nike removed Redskins merchandise from its online store.Friday, the team announced it would “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell added that the league is “supportive of this important step.”

Land O Lakes (2020): For nearly a century, the Land O’Lakes Indian maiden has kneeled by the side of a blue lake holding out an offering of a 4-stick box of butter. No more. The Minnesota-based farmer cooperative has redesigned its packaging to focus on celebrating farmers ahead of its 100th anniversary next year.

Columbus Statues Removed (2020): List of monuments and memorials removed during the George Floyd protests: Scroll down or search Columbus. 31 removed as of July 4, 2020

DAPL (2020): Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules. “It took four long years,” said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer with the environmental group Earthjustice who represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “But today justice has been served at Standing Rock.” Also, Keystone Pipeline and Atlantic Coast

Supreme Court says eastern half of Oklahoma is Native American land (2020): The 5-4 decision, with an opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, endorsed the claim of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to the land, which encompasses three million acres, including most of the city of Tulsa. The decision means that only federal authorities, no longer state prosecutor, can lodge charges against Native Americans who commit alleged crimes on that land, which is home to 1.8 million people. Of those people, 15% or fewer are Native Americans.

Indigenous people in Brazil win historic lawsuit after 24 years in court (2020): During the 1980s, the Ashaninka tribe of Brazil had seen large swaths of its land being devastated by deforestation at the hands of lumber companies seeking to exploit the indigenous reserve for resources such as mahogany and cedar wood. Seeking justice, the tribe managed in 1996 to take the companies responsible for decimating their homes to court. They finally won the lawsuit — in a victory representing a truly historic win for indigenous rights. On top of a $2.4 million settlement, the Ashaninka will receive an official apology from the companies who deforested their lands decades ago.

Indigenous Peruvians win suit to block oil exploration in their Amazon region (2020): Indigenous Peruvians win suit to block oil exploration in their Amazon regionA Peruvian judge ruled that the government exclude an indigenous region of the Amazon near the border with Brazil from any oil exploration and exploitation, a legal group said on Wednesday, in a win for native communities that have long fought against oil and mining projects on their land. “This ruling is historic because it is the first in favor of indigenous people in voluntary isolation against oil companies. Almost 98 percent of the territory of the indigenous people in voluntary isolation was above three oil lots,” said Maritza Quispe, a lawyer for IDL.

The Oscars (2019): During the 92nd Academy Awards, “The academy would like to acknowledge that tonight we have gathered on the ancestral lands of the Tongva, the Tataviam, and the Chumash. We acknowledge them as the first peoples of this land on which the motion picture community lives and works,” New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (Māori) said before introducing the winners of the academy's honorary prizes. One of those was actor Wes Studi, the first and only indigenous person to win an honorary award. "I'd simply like to say it's about time," Studi started his acceptance speech. Studi was the first indigenous actor to win an Oscar and joined a handful of other Oscar winners of indigenous heritage, including musician Buffy Sainte-Marie, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Song "Up Where We Belong" in 1983 and sound engineer Hammond Peek, who won the Academy Award for Best Sound in 2003 and 2005. In 2018, Yalitza Aparicio (Mixtec & Trique) was nominated for Best Actress Academy Award for debut performance in Roma.

Mauna Kea (2019): Many Native Hawaiians have been protesting the construction of the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope atop sacred Mauna Kea for months. They scored a victory when Hawaii Governor David Ige announced that construction efforts were hitting pause. In Hawaiian religion, the peaks of the island of Hawaiʻi are sacred. An ancient law allowed only high-ranking aliʻi to visit its peak. With its high elevation, Mauna Kea's summit is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation. Since the creation of an access road in 1964, thirteen telescopes funded by eleven countries have been constructed at the summit. Thirty Meter Telescope controversy is forcing scientists to grapple with how their research affects Indigenous peoples.

Chief Wahoo (2018): The logo was last worn by the Indians in a loss to the Houston Astros on October 8, 2018 in the 2018 American League Division Series. News outlets noted the irony of the logo's final appearance being on Indigenous Peoples' Day/Columbus Day.