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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

articles-October 13

A fight to save the tradition of wild rice

Harvesting wild rice has been a way of life for Ojibwa Indians. But the rice is in decline and fewer young tribe members now participate.

By Richard Mertens | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor
SPUR LAKE, WIS. – The ducks are soaring overhead, the scent of autumn is in the air, and Pete McGeshick is back ricing again. On a bright September morning, he floats in a sea of wild rice, using a pair of yard-long cedar sticks to knock the kernels into his battered aluminum canoe.

Mr. McGeshick, an Ojibwa (o-JIB-way) Indian from Mole Lake, Wis., has been harvesting wild rice since he was a boy. Now, with decades of experience behind him, he is a virtuoso of the harvest. With quick and graceful motions, he reaches out with one stick and bends the stalks over the canoe, while he delivers two glancing blows with another stick to dislodge the ripe grains. Rice patters like soft rain against the aluminum.

"You don't have to hit it hard," he says. "A lot of people think you do. But you just want the ripe stuff," which falls off easily. full article

Métis may face charges for hunting, warns province

WINNIPEG - Manitoba's Conservation Minister says Métis hunters will be charged if they break hunting laws, even if they carry Métis harvester identification cards.

The Manitoba Métis Federation has issued more than 175 harvester cards to its members. The cards claim the same hunting rights as status Indians.

However, months of talks between the Manitoba government and the Manitoba Métis Federation have failed to come up with an official agreement on Métis hunting rights.

Conservation Minister Stan Struthers says holding a harvester card does not allow someone to hunt on private property without permission. As for Crown land, Struthers says that would have to be based on the Powley case, in which the Supreme Court gave an Ontario Métis man the right to hunt in his community. full article

Panelists debate Indian trust reform
Interior defends record amidst criticism

Sam Lewin 10/13/2004
Officials with the Bureau of Indian Affairs are defending the progress they have made in trust reform, even as attorneys involved in the case say little has been done.

The comments all came during a panel discussion held at the National Congress of American Indians Annual Conference in Fort Lauderdale. Several thousand tribal delegates witnessed the debate.

Special Trustee Ross Swimmer said things have improved, although there is still work to be done. full article

Winona LaDuke endorsement of John Kerry for president
Posted: October 13, 2004
I am voting for John Kerry this November. I love this land, and I know that we need to make drastic changes in Washington if we are going to protect our land and our communities. I am committed to transforming the American democracy so that it is reflective of the diversity of this country. I believe in a multi-party system and a multi-racial democracy. I believe there are many opinions, not simply two, that merit a hearing on any issue. I believe we should be working harder to increase the numbers of people of color, women, and Native people elected to office because we are this country and we are what America looks like. I'm voting my conscience on Nov. 2; I'm voting for John Kerry.

This does not mean that John Kerry will be a perfect leader. Nor does it mean that any of us should give Kerry a pass simply because he is a rational alternative to the most destructive administration in recent memory. But he has earned my support, even if the leaders of his party aren't quite with the program. I regret that the Democratic Party is investing positive, grassroots energy in a campaign to deny ballot access to Ralph Nader - grassroots energy that is needed in these urgent times. I support wholeheartedly Ralph Nader's right to run and be on the ballot in all states. In a true democracy, the right to be on the ballot in all states and the right to participate in the presidential debates would be guaranteed. That's what democracy is. We must continue to work to make this ideal of democracy the reality in America. full article


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