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So how was your trip?
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Lilia Dignan



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 159
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Simona,
Inspite of many large tribes being rich and many operating casinos (very big in the US), there are many small very poor tribes who don't even have running water and electricity in their homes. On top of that, several hundreds of open dumps. Since I took this job, I've seen many clean-ups done - what a wonderful feeling to see the before and after pictures and from time to time seeing the problem and going back to see the results after the clean-up. I remember our tour of the Tohono O'odham Nation whose reservation is in the US and Mexico - they have illegal crossings from Mexico to the US going through their lands (thousands) leaving tons and tons of trash everyday. We have helped with a clean-up grant but it is a continuing problem. It doesn't feel like work because of what we are accomplishing plus experiencing the cultural aspect.
Thank you for your interest. FYI, there are 572 federally recognized tribes in the US (229 of them are Alaskan tribes and villages).
-Lilia
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"A man hath no better thing under the sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry."
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bless you for what you're doing!

My own first experience with Native Americans was the Penobscot tribe in Maine (I have a Canadian First Nations ancestor who migrated to Maine with her French fur trapping husband and wonder if or how she might have been related to the Penobscot). In spite of the very romantic notion I formed from a pair of moccasins my grandfather sent me, I discovered very young what awful poverty they were living in.

Even those tribes who operate casinos don't necessarily see much of that money, do they? I had read that the enormous bulk of it flows out to the non-tribal investors and is distributed to a very small percentage of NA owners-operators. I hope that's wrong and it's working better for those communities.

In any case, I think it's important work you're doing!
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God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. -- Garrison Keillor


Last edited by Rainey on Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lilia Dignan



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 159
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey,
Thank you for the vote of confidence. What a coincidence! The present Governor of the Penobscot Nation is a friend who used to be the Tribal Program Director of US EPA in Region 1 (Boston). We are divided into 10 regions. In fact, I just saw Jim in May at at national conference as he is the President of the National Tribal Environmental Council. Another friend from that tribe has a Filipino father so we get to go out looking for Filipino restaurants.
Oh, yes..... a lot of them don't get to see all the profits. Some of the savvy tribes have economic development in place and several are doing quite well. A good example is the Pequot Tribe in Mashantucket, CN. I have met the representative of their Pharmaceutical company who is offering assistance to smaller tribes so they can have insurance coverage. So, there's progress-----slow but sure.
-Lilia
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gingerpale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1324

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2006 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

members

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Lilia Dignan



Joined: 23 Mar 2005
Posts: 159
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gingerpale,
They all speak English. More of them live outside the reservations than in and they are, like other Americans, in different professions. Most of the people I have met are lawyers, engineers, scientists, medical doctors, nurses, educators, environmentalists and any other profession one can think of. These are the people who help their Tribes with issues that are faced in their reservations. Yes, they assimilate yet still retain their sovereignty in running their lands. The US Govt. has a government-to government relationship with them.
Native languages are now being taught to the young as they are afraid that it might get lost as the elders are getting on. There was a time when the children were forced by the US Govt. to go to boarding schools - were prohibited to talk in their native tongues and were harshly punished for doing so. But, that's all in the past.
They continue to preserve their culture, their arts and crafts, jewelry, basket weaving (they had gather their materials first). It is quite different in comparison to what we see in the John Ford movies.
-Lilia
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