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Fri Feb 19, 2016, 08:27 PM

~*~ What Native Americans in Nevada Want the Presidential Candidates to Know ~*~

What Native Americans in Nevada want the presidential candidates to know
by Jorge Rivas

WALKER RIVER PAIUTE RESERVATION, Nev.—Members of the Walker River Paiute Tribe in Nevada say they wish Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would come here themselves, not just send representatives. They want the candidates to see their problems and fears. They worry that nearby mining and testing at military bases are contaminating their water. They want more jobs and more money for their schools. They want help addressing the number of young people who end up in prison. They want to stop the suicides that keep stealing young lives from this community of fewer than 700 people.

Nevada will hold Democratic caucuses across the state Saturday. Because of the rules that govern how delegates are allocated for the state convention, the members of the tribe have more power proportionally than voters in more urban areas. But their numbers are still small. Members of the Walker River Paiute tribe will caucus at their community town hall. We asked them what they would tell Clinton and Sanders if they visited the reservation, about 100 miles away from Reno.[/b

~Candice Birchum says her concerns center on access to quality education and economic development. The Walker River Paiute Reservation has one gas station, the only source of revenue for the tribe.

“When companies do come in with business proposals, even if the tribe is interested, we’re held up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It takes a lot of steps to get anything done here,” Birchum says. She says that, as education director on the reservation, she is especially concerned about money for schools.

~Sara Twiss says it’s hard for her to follow the presidential election because the campaigns aren’t doing much outreach on the reservation.

“It can be very hard to get Natives to vote, and I’m sort of new to the process,” she says, noting that “sometimes people don’t know what the steps are or where to register to vote.”

“Some people are really strong about voting and getting their opinion heard, but it’s all about the individual and if they’re willing to take the next steps,” Twiss says.

~Another member of the tribe says their medical bills are only covered if they’re “bleeding, broken, and dying.”

~Marlene Begay and her husband were Democratic delegates at the 2008 Nevada state convention. She says she saw very few Native Americans there and heard of only one Nevada tribal leader making it to the Democratic National Convention.

“If I was selected I wouldn’t be able to pay for it,” says Begay, who is also a councilwoman for the tribal government. “I’d have to have an Indian taco sale to raise money to be able to pay for that.”

~Bobby Sanchez, the chairman of the tribe, says he hopes the next president will work with tribal leaders. He says tribal sovereignty is an issue he follows closely. He also says he wants the president to ensure that federal and state money for reservation schools is allocated fairly.

“What I envision in a leader is someone who is humble and down to earth and will do things with you, not just promise things,” Sanchez says.


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Response to Donkees (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 08:29 PM

1. ~*~6 things that could be Nevada’s state food~*~

Here are a few things that could easily be Nevada’s state food:

6. Onions


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Response to onehandle (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 09:37 PM

6. are you seriously mocking them for trying to draw attention to their plight?


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Response to Donkees (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 08:54 PM

2. So, participation in American democracy

is dependent on serving adequate quantities of the universal pan-Indian fundraising commodity food.

Thank you, U.S. Congress, for the Indian Citizenship Act; your generosity is noted.

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Response to Donkees (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 09:28 PM


Autumn Harry has spent her twenty three years living on the Paiute reservation in northern Nevada. She will spend her whole life there if she has her way. Or else, if her work as a fish culturist or the pursuit of a Master’s degree takes her elsewhere, she hopes to always live with and among Native Americans on a reservation.

“I’m studying undergraduate environmentalism. I work part-time with a fishery program which tries to maintain the trout population. Raise them for a year or so, and then throw them into the lake."

Autumn’s voice sparkles with hope for nature and all life.

That might be unremarkable, in a young person living close to home and nature, except that Autumn is a member of a troubled generation.

A 2014 Washington Post article says, “A toxic collection of pathologies -poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, sexual assault, alcoholism, and drug addiction – has seeped into the lives of young people among the nation’s 566 tribes.” The result is a crisis number of youth committing suicide. Officials have summed up the tragedy as “an outcome of pervasive despair,” the article says.

Suicide statistics among Native Americans are tilted toward youth. It’s both the case that suicide rates overall are higher for Native Americans than national averages, and that 40 percent of them are the sad and early deaths of Native Americans between 15 and 24.

“It’s depression. It’s trauma from colonization. A lot has to do with a Western education system – and the result of youth not learning about their Native language, or cultural values. I was one of those kids who connected with my culture early. I work with other youth on learning our Native language,” Autumn says.

She estimates as few as 10 elders still speak their native tongue fluently.

Two weeks ago, Autumn received a call from an organizer with PLAN (Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada) asking her to join a summit in Reno, on Saturday Feb. 13th that looks at how to reach real solutions for real people who are struggling in this economy. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Sen. Corey Booker, representing candidate Hillary Clinton, will speak at the “Real Solutions for Real People,” which is also hosted by the Center for Community Change. Recognizing Autumn’s work in her community, PLAN organizers invited her to represent her tribe. She will have the opportunity to speak — and a chance to ask the political leaders one question.

“I’m definitely nervous,” says Autumn.

The pressure of asking one question daunts her. “When I ask Sanders a question, I’m not just going to focus on suicide.

“I’m committed to staying here. It’s beautiful. We have a lot of abundant resources. There are things that have to be improved. Our education, our healthcare.

“Different industries come on our land, trying to extract our natural resources through mining.

“Rates of diabetes are too high — we need to go back to traditional medicine and educate our residents on how our people used to live and go back to eating our traditional foods.

“We don’t have technological access on the reservation which we need to do the basic functions of everyday living. Even as a college student. I don’t have Internet access at home, and if I want to use a computer I have to go forty miles to use it.”

And given this, how can Autumn choose one question from among a labyrinth of points that in their own way strangle Native communities? She will focus her question on how reinvestment needs to happen in all corners of the state, the small town and communities that need the most help, especially in Indian Country.

The Nevada caucus will be held on February 20th. Autumn at this point remains “undecided” and says this is another hardship among Native Americans – political exclusion by neglect.

“It’s hard for Native Americans to make a decision because most of the conversation hasn’t been centered on Native issues. I feel marginalized.”

Autumn’s words echo with a whole history of Native American marginalization when she muses about Native issues and investing in Native communities. .

By now the sunset has overwhelmed Autumn’s attention. Pyramid Lake’s sheer expanse returns her to the theme of the natural beauty that connects her to feelings of place, ancestry, and hope. “It’s something about living here. And knowing that our ancestors lived here. When we sustain those traditions, we’re proud of who we are. And they’ll be less teen suicide.”

The thought of such a future for young people in her community makes Autumn happy. When I ask her if she would trade it for anything, “No, I wouldn’t trade it for a million dollars.”


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Response to Donkees (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 09:34 PM

5. Did she get to ask her question?

I missed any news of that Real Solutions for Real People forum

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Response to Mike__M (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 09:44 PM


Published on Feb 16, 2016
The "Real Solutions for Real People" Summit took place on February 13, 2016. People came together to deepen their knowledge of and commitment to comprehensive solutions to economic, racial and environmental justice issues. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Senator Cory Booker (as a surrogate for candidate Hillary Clinton) took questions from leaders from Nevada and surrounding states.

Brief bios of the speakers:

Autumn Harry, Pyramid Lake, NV. 23 year-old Autumn Harry is a rising environmental leader from the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Autumn is studying environmental science at the University of Nevada, Reno with the purpose of preserving natural and cultural resources within her community. She currently works for the Pyramid Lake fisheries program where she contributes to the sustainability of her tribe's Indigenous fish species. More: http://huff.to/1SlWJrZ

Todd Koch, Reno. Todd Koch worked sixteen years in the flooring trade, which included installation and the supervision of installation at construction projects of all sizes. He has worked the last twenty years of his career as a union representative, currently for District Council 16 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.

Jennifer Eisele, Owyhee, NV. Jennifer Eisele is a member of the Shoshone Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. Jennifer has been involved in Tribal programs related to natural resource, irrigation, land, and Tribal environmental protection, as well as the dialogue with mining companies relating to cultural resources and sacred sites impacted by the mining industry in Nevada. Changing public land use designations have adversely impacted her and many tribal members ability to access public lands for the purpose of gathering plants, food and medicines, as well as the use of sacred sites for ceremonial purposes.

Araceli Mendoza, Reno. Araceli Mendoza is a 43 year-old mother and an undocumented immigrant. She is a resident of Nevada who “pays taxes, follows all the laws, and volunteers in my community.” Still, she lives in constant fear knowing that at any moment she could be separated from her son and see her family torn apart like so many other families.

Kate French, Bozeman, MT. Kate French is the Chair of Northern Plains Resource Council in Montana. Since joining Northern Plains in 2009, she has served on various boards and task forces, such as the Coal Task Force, the Homegrown Prosperity Task Force, and as Chair of Sleeping Giant Citizens' Council. Currently, Kate is pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration at Montana State University in Bozeman.

Harold Washington Carnes, Las Vegas. Harold Carnes is a 58 year old African American who has been a fast food service worker for the last 20 years. In the last 20 years, Harold has never made more than $11/hour even as a “manager.” Harold joined the fight for better wages and working conditions for fast food workers two years ago. Harold also serves as a Baptist Minister at New Shiloh Baptist Church in Las Vegas.

Dulce Valencia, Las Vegas. Dulce Valencia is a 20-year-old DREAMer and student who currently attends the College of Southern Nevada. She became vocal in the fight towards immigration reform when she found out she didn't qualify for DACA in 2013, and has actively fought for immigration reform since then.

Norman Harry, Pyramid Lake, NV. Norman Harry is the current Environmental Director for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. He is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and has been involved with historic water settlement issues and Tribal government program management for the past 30 years. Mr. Harry has received numerous awards for his work in the environmental and Tribal leadership fields.

Kelley Weigel, Portland, OR. Kelley Weigel is the Executive Director of Western States Center, a training and support group focused on community organizations working for racial, gender and economic justice. Kelley’s work spans states and issues in the pursuit of strengthening community organizing and policy change toward equity and fairness for all.

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Response to Donkees (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 20, 2016, 07:13 AM

13. Re: " militia groups have used the disinvestment crisis as an opportunity to recruit"

The summit will focus specifically on issues that affect the Mountain West including public land use and water rights. In rural areas of many states like Nevada, jobs have disappeared and no new economic engine has replaced the old economies based on natural resources. Systematic disinvestment has left communities without basic services. Participants from Nevada and surrounding states like Montana, Idaho and Oregon – where militia groups have used the disinvestment crisis as an opportunity to recruit– will discuss the need to focus on meaningful investment in rebuilding public infrastructure. Leaders from Native American groups will discuss real solutions for their communities. Immigration reform, raising the minimum wage, and transitioning to a clean energy economy will also be topics focused on during the summit.
At the forum, the candidates will be asked to present their proposals for addressing the issues important in the South and Mountain West, a key region in the 2016 presidential election. Real people will tell their stories and ask Sen. Sanders and the representative of the Clinton campaign to offer their solutions.


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Response to Mike__M (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 10:15 PM

11. ~*~ Autumn Harry Speaks at "Real Solutions Forum" ~*~

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Response to Donkees (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 10:37 PM

12. Thanks for this clip

She went first. Introduced herself in her indigenous language--brought her ancestors to the meeting--good for her!

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Response to Donkees (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 09:31 PM

4. I think both candidates should focus part of their campaigns

on the the Native American population, which has been ignored for way, way too long.

They both need to do this.

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Response to Donkees (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 09:38 PM

7. I'm in a North American Indians class. The colonists, Pres. Jackson (etc.) screwed them over! nt

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 09:57 PM

9. Just keep in mind: it's NOT all in the distant past

It continues today

Take these tribes down

The Bellingham conference was sponsored by the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (CERA) and Citizens Equal Rights Foundation (CERF), one of a series of events being hosted around the country by these closely-linked national anti-Indian groups. CERA/CERF held previous meetings in New York and Massachusetts; others are slated for late April in the Midwest and June in Northern California. CERA/CERF organized these forums after canceling their regular annual Washington D.C. conference.
CERA/CERF’s conferences appear aimed at boosting ties with local activists and asserting itself as “the” national anti-Indian umbrella. The meeting ended with CERA/CERF committing to help revive anti-tribal activism in Washington State.
The conference served up a combination platter of anti-Indian “legal theory” 101 and pep rally with a side of movement strategy.

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Response to Mike__M (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 10:00 PM

10. Yep, we're going touching on that in a few weeks. Just finished archeology, entering 20th Century.

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