Tribal Leaders From Across Indian Country to Gather in Washington to Open Embassy of Tribal Nations

Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:40pm EDT
Tribal Leaders From Across Indian Country to Gather in Washington to Open
Embassy of Tribal Nations

Historic Opening in Conjunction with White House Tribal Nations Summit

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tribal representatives from all
corners of Indian Country will be joined by international dignitaries, Members
of Congress, Administration officials and tribal supporters to officially open
the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Embassy of Tribal Nations in
Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The opening will include traditional
Native American cultural presentations.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090128/DC63608LOGO )

"For the first time since settlement, tribal nations will have a permanent
home in Washington, D.C. where they can more effectively assert their
sovereign status and facilitate a much stronger nation-to-nation relationship
with the federal government," said NCAI President Jefferson Keel.

The historic opening coincides with the 1st Annual Obama Administration's
Tribal Nations Conference set for Thursday, Nov. 5 at the U.S. Department of
the Interior. The Administration invited one representative from every
federally recognized tribe in the U.S. to attend the conference.

WHO: Tribal Leaders, International Dignitaries, Supporters of Indian Country

WHAT: Embassy of Tribal Nations Gala Open House

WHEN: Tuesday, November 3, 2009--2:00-8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Embassy of Tribal Nations
1516 P Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005

We do expect remarks from Members of Congress as well as remarks from tribal
leaders. Remarks will depend on timing of arrivals. Press is encouraged to be
present for opening remarks and speeches (approximately 2:30-4:00 p.m.).
Please RSVP to Adam McMullin at amcmullin@ncai.org. Members of the press must
sign in and receive press badges upon arrival.

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest,
largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization
in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments, promoting
strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a
better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and
Alaska Native governments, people and rights.

SOURCE National Congress of American Indians

Adam McMullin of the National Congress of American Indians, +1-202-422-8416,
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Inupiaq Poet Joan Kane Wins A Whiting Writers' Award


Inupiaq poet wins prestigious national writing award
Published: October 28th, 2009 06:41 PM
Last Modified: October 29th, 2009 02:56 PM

An Inupiaq mom from Anchorage has picked up one of America's most prestigious literary awards. Poet Joan Kane, 32, was among 10 writers to receive a $50,000 Whiting Writers' Award at a ceremony in New York City on Wednesday night.

The Whiting awards have been presented annually for the past 25 years. Among authors who have received the award early in their careers are playwrights August Wilson and Tony Kushner and essayist Tobias Wolff. Alaskans who have previously won include Natalie Kusz and former Daily News columnist Seth Kantner.
Kane's poetry is inspired, in part, by what she calls her "ancestral landscapes" on the Seward Peninsula and King Island.
She has previously received an Individual Artist Award from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Alaska State Council on the Arts' Connie Boochever Fellowship and been a winner in the Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing Contest. Her play, "The Golden Tusk," was presented at the Anchorage Museum this summer. She is co-curator of the "Virtual Subsistence" art and literature exhibit now on display at the MTS Gallery in Mountain View.
But she hasn't yet seen her first published book. Speaking before leaving Anchorage to accept the prize, Kane said she didn't expect to hold a copy of the book, "The Cormorant Hunter's Wife," published by NorthShore Press, until Friday, when she has a "book launch" event in Brooklyn.
Kane was born in Anchorage in 1977. She grew up in Muldoon and showed literary promise early on, writing a prize-winning essay on Martin Luther King while in the fourth grade.
"I've always been a reader," she said. "My parents used to drop me off at the Muldoon Library and I'd spend the whole day there."
She was also a competitive runner, a string player in the Anchorage Youth Symphony, vice president of the Alaska Native Youth Leadership council and an exceptional student at Bartlett High School.
At 17, she was accepted into Harvard University in an early-action program based on her first three years of high school. At that time she thought she might want to be a doctor.
Before going to college, however, she took a year off. "I was scared of being homesick," she said. "I read a lot that year. A novel a day."

She traveled to Ireland and England to see sites associated with writers like James Joyce and William Yeats. It helped push her in the direction of creative writing. In 2000 one of her poems won the college division in the University of Alaska/Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing Contest.
"The $50 that came with that was the first money I ever made as a writer," she said. "But more than that, it was a validation."
She is said to be the first Inupiaq to earn a bachelor's degree from Harvard. She continued post-graduate studies at Columbia University in New York, where she received a master of fine arts degree in creative writing in 2006.
Since returning to Anchorage she has worked as a consultant on financial development for Native village corporations. When she returns from New York she'll present business workshops in Barrow and Wainwright.
After that, however, she'll defer travel until after her second child is delivered, on or around Feb. 27. (That will make two sons. "My mom finally has something that she can be proud of me for," she quipped.)

Kane sounded ready for a break from "the non-writing part of my life." She wants to concentrate on a second book of poetry, among other things.
"The money couldn't come at a better time," she said. Although she received grants and fellowships, her college debts are substantial. She and her husband, attorney Brian Duffy, sometimes struggle to pay the bills for their young family.
"My husband jokes that he's probably the only start-up lawyer whose practice is being kept afloat by his poet wife," she said.
Some of the money will buy health insurance, she said.
She'd also like to take her children and her mother to King Island, an expensive and difficult proposition.
The remote settlement in the Bering Sea was abandoned under pressure from the government in the 1950s. Memories of the deserted village contribute to overtones of loss and change that haunt Kane's poems. King Islanders retain a strong sense of identity with the place, though members of the younger generation -- including Kane herself -- have never been there.
Kane hopes to visit small communities in the future, to talk about writing and "bring books to others."
"As a writer, you have to be concerned when you see all of these towns without bookstores," she said.
Sitting with artist Ron Senungetuk in the Nome Airport last month, she shared her desire to travel more and see places far and near. At the time, she had no idea that she would be winning a major national literary prize.
She listed a number of wishful destinations.
"Don't worry," assured Senungatuk, a family friend. "Those places will all be there when you're ready to see them."
"I feel like he saw into my future," she said.

Find Mike Dunham online at adn.com/contact/mdunham or call 257-4332.
A Kane sampler
This poem won the college poetry division in the 2000 University of Alaska/Anchorage Daily News Creative Writing Contest:

Pure/Pour/A Priori
full moon’s rays spill
a skeleton path on water
tell me the spell
you held me under
simpler to undo
than the first split steps
I took towards you.
Wrath and swell
of the silt-black sea
heavy and mute
with the weight
of so much ice melting
returns agency
to me, and ease.
Eyes travel,
trace along the shape
of pure coincidence;
sere white falls hued
through night air,
valuable, and silvers
on the waves.
Shafts of light
unravel, reeling
towards shore: shine
relearns its shadow image
and I relearn more.
I can scarcely scrape
and scratch my eyes
across the moon’s rough
surface. To conjure
this drag and chase down
the fixed spines of time
and the firm arrival
at some great vein
of truth appears
difficult. My own
divinations, though, draw
me down the coast
and raise my eyes high
despite the bone-bright
glance of the naked
skeleton path on the water.
— By Joan Kane

VIRTUAL SUBSISTENCE, for which Kane serves as the curator of the literary component, will remain on display through Nov. 14 at the MTS Gallery, 3142 Mountain View Drive. Cover art for Kane’s book, “The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife,” by Gretchen Sagan, who curates the visual component of the exhibit, is on display there, as well as writings by Kane and others. The gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A First Friday opening and performance will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6.

Congratulations Joan!! Your efforts make a path for others to follow.


Beluga Joy

Beluga Whale Joy c Joy Harjo

MNN Column October 2009

Last night I gave a musical performance with Larry Mitchell for the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. We were given a numbered parking permit for a covered meter at the front of the student union. When we drove up the space was illegally taken by a red sports car with emergency blinking lights. No one was in the car. We couldn’t load for sound check until we could park. The university police were called to tow the car. Shortly, four young jocks strode from the union with overnight bags to the car. Once they saw us, and security warned them to move, they slowed with a deliberate hatefulness. In their eyes, we had no business being on campus. We were not white. Fury rolled over me. I thought of the words George Coser, Jr. told me that had come from his parents, and had come from their parents; all the way back to the original teachings of our Mvskoke people. His words were something like this: “no matter what happens, stay in the direction of kindness.” I restrained myself from leaping out and pounding the driver with words (and yes, I have succumbed before) and turned my energy toward what I was there for that night. I saw that if I had acted on fury I would have given the sick man some of my energy. And in turn, I would have taken on some of that hatefulness. This is the school that has been at the center of the Indian mascot controversy.

In the last month I have been to Anchorage, Alaska, to the En’owkin Centre, a native arts and cultures center on the Okanagan Reserve in British Columbia, Canada. I assisted in the visioning of the International Native Writing School. They were having a thirty-year anniversary. And then I flew to Berlin, Germany, to New Mexico, and now here. I carry stories from each place and have met our people in many of those places (except Berlin, but our people have traveled there. Some things that belong to us are in their museums) but the most touching and powerful story along the way recently was from last night, at the concert.

A Ho-Chunk and Hopi recent graduate, Angie Naquayouma, from Wisconsin brought her husband and four young children to the performance. They all sat on the front row: a beautiful native family. I was impressed with the behavior of the children. I did perform some things specifically for children, and children always love the saxophone and flutes. The children were well behaved throughout the hour and a half performance. At the end of the performance we had our photograph taken together. But what was most impressive and what I will always carry in my heart is that each child, before they left, beginning with the oldest, came over and expressed how much they enjoyed the performance. The oldest child, a boy of about seven, told me that he was happy to get out of a boring meeting to come and he really enjoyed the music, the next three young ones came in turn, and each very eloquently spoke. They have been trained to be real human beings. Yes, we will make it somehow, through the delusion of fast food and fast culture. This kind of behavior and speaking elevates all of us.

And finally, during a break at the one-day Indigenous Sexualities Conference, I heard that when the movie “Dances with Wolves” came out, the Native American Educational Services College in Chicago was called by area sperm banks for donations by Indian men. Now, why does this not surprise me?


NAMMY Winners for 2009

October 4, 2009


Jan Michael Looking Wolf for Artist of the Year, Joanne Shenandoah & Michael Bucher's Bitter Tears Sacred Ground for Best Compilation, Jana's rendition of A Change Is Gonna Come for Song/Single of the Year, Kevin Locke's Earth Gift for Record of the Year, and American Idol Semi-finalist Charly Lowry for Best Video Among Those Honored

Niagara Falls, NY – On Saturday October 3, 2009 the Eleventh Annual Native American Music Awards (N.A.M.A.) was held at the Seneca Niagara Hotel & Casino in Niagara Falls infront of a packed house that featured consistently outstanding live music performances along with an emotionally charged Hall of Fame induction in honor of the late Ritchie Valenz.

Taking this year's top honors are; Joanne Shenandoah & Michael Bucher's Bitter Tears Sacred Ground for Best Compilation, Jana Mashonee's rendition of Sam Cooke's, A Change Is Gonna Come with Derek Miller for Song/Single of the Year, Jan Michael Looking Wolf for Artist of the Year, Skylar Wolf for Debut Artist of the Year, Will and Lil Jess for Debut Duo/Group of the Year, Kevin Locke's Earth Gift for Record of the Year, and American Idol Semi-finalist Charly Lowry for Best Video for her long form video featuring her song, Movin On.

Hosted with grace, class, style, humor and even professional music talent by actor Gil Birmingham, others on hand at the Awards ceremeony included: Shane Yellowbird who won for Best Country Recording, Atsiaktonkie who won for Best Folk Recording, Flutist of the Year JJ Kent, Wind Spirit Drum whose recording Amazing Grace took Best Gospel Inspirational Recording, Thunder Hawk Singers for Best Historical Recording, Gabriel Ayala for Best Instrumental Recording, Bryan Akipa For Best Male Artist, Eagle & Hawk for Best Rock Recording, Rezhogs for Best Rap Hip Hop Recording, Oshkii Giizhik Singers for Best Traditional Recording, Michael Searching Bear for Best World Music Recording, and Michael Brant DeMaria for the Native Heart Award.

Other nominees in attendance included; Benjamin Grimes, Kelly Montijo Fink, Jackie Tice, Mike Serna, Pappy Johns Band, Jimmy Shendo, Augusta Cecconi Bates, Douglas Blue Feather, Yvonne St Germaine and Donna Kay who all participated in the program.

Capping the evening’s ceremonies were consistently transcendant and flawless performances beginning with drum group Young Gunz, Dallas Washkahat and Fawn Wood, classical guitarist Gabriel Ayala, Eagle & Hawk, soprano opera singer Jennifer M Stevens accompanied by composer Augusta Cecconi-Bates, Joanne Shenandoah and Michael Bucher who performed material from their award-winning recording, Lifetime Achievement Recipient Stevie Salas pumped it up with original Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzesse and bass player TM Stevens of Shocka Zooloo and the late James Brown, and a spectacular rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughn's Pride & Joy by the show's host Gil Birmingham and nominee Jimmy Wolf. Darryl Tonemah gave a rising performance in his trademarked barefeet, Jana's riveting vocals were unmatched, Shane Yellowbird showcased material for his upcoming Grand Ole Opry appearance, and new artist Jace Martin captured the audience with his Ritchie Valens tribute song, We Belong Together.

Tommy Allsup, original guitarist of the Buddy Holly band who flipped a coin with Ritchie Valens for the last seat on their ill-fated plane, bought the audience to tears as Allsup, who became emotional and choked up as he recapped and retold the story of his tour mate Ritchie Valens and his tragic end.

Following the Hall of Fame induction and Ritchie's sister, Irma's acceptance speech, Tommy Allsup, who is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, joined Ritchie's little brother, Mario, and his group, The Backyard Blues Band, who rocked the house and performed a special extended rendition of “La Bamba”.

N.A.M.A. and its Advisory Board contingency would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees and proudly honors these legendary performers and songwriters who have been leading forces in the Native American music community.

The Native American Music Awards & Association, founded in 1998, is the world’s leading membership-based association consisting of music industry professionals directly involved in the recording and distribution of traditional and contemporary Native American Music initiatives. The growing success of the Awards show now features over one hundred and fifty nominees annually, with at least one third of those nominees being new artists. For the past eleven years the Awards has set industry standards for professional Native American musicians who are gaining greater acceptance and exposure from both national and international audiences.

See below for a complete list of winners


Jan Michael Looking Wolf
The Looking Wolf Project

Dancing In The Rain
Graywolf Blues Band

Bitter Tears Sacred Ground
Joanne Shenandoah & Michael Bucher

Life Is Calling My Name
Shane Yellowbird

Skylar Wolf
Devil’s Son

Will & Lil Jess
Reservation Nights

Joy Harjo
Winding Through The Milky Way

Four Wolves Prophecy

JJ Kent
Ta Te’ Topa Win

Amazing Grace
Lenape Spirits
Wind Spirit Drum

Lakota Piano II

Native Pride
Thunder Hawk Singers

Gabriel Ayala

Bryan Akipa
Songs From The Black Hills

Peyote Ways
Primeaux & Mike

Deep Within
Tony Redhouse

Na Unu Nahai (Shape Shifter)
Apryl Allen

Band of Brothers
Midnite Express

Kelly Parker
Out Of The Blue

All Day All Night

Earth Gift
Kevin Locke

Eagle & Hawk

A Change Is Gonna Come
Jana Mashonee

Samantha Crain
The Confiscation: A Musical Novella

The Great Story From The Sacred Book
Rain Song/Terry & Darlene Wildman

It Is A New Day
Oshkii Giizhik Singers

Movin On
Charly Lowry & Aaron Locklear

Michael Searching Bear

Michael Brant DeMaria

Tommy Allsup

Ritchie Valens