Tag: National Congress of American Indians

June 18, 2014 / / activism

By Guest Contributor Megan Red-Shirt Shaw

Only four United States presidents have ever visited an Indian reservation during their terms: Calvin Coolidge in 1927, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, Bill Clinton in 1999 and now, Barack Obama, here in the year 2014. Last week ended a 15-year-long gap between visits by our country’s leader to Indian Country. As I watched footage of President Obama and First Lady Michelle sitting at a powwow hosted by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation, the thought shocked me: over the past 80 years, the president of our country has only come knocking on our doors four times.

Four.

Clinton’s visit ended a 63-year gap between presidential Rez visits. During that time, the Indian Reorganization Act was created; roughly 25,000 American Indians served in World War II; the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Youth Council came into existence; the American Indian Movement seized Alcatraz Island; Wounded Knee was reoccupied; the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs was reestablished; and the United States v. Sioux Indian case was decided by the Supreme Court. Yet, in sixty-three years, within Indian Country – none of these happenings warranted a visit from the President of the United States.
Read the Post A Call For An Annual #PrezRezVisit

March 26, 2014 / / activism
November 5, 2012 / / activism
A young Russell Means. Image via Race-Talk.org

By Guest Contributor Gyasi Ross, cross-posted from Race-Talk

… After I die, I’m coming back as lightning. When it zaps the White House, they’ll know it’s me.
– Russell Means

I never met Russell Means. I had the chance to meet him when I was a kid. In fact, I saw him a few times as a youngster, but I was so intimidated by him—he seemed bigger than life—I never actually went to speak to him. I heard a lot of things about him as I grew older; good stuff, bad stuff. However, he was somebody about whom, as Native people, everybody seemed to hold an opinion.

When I heard of his passing, I was sad, just like when you hear about anyone of your heroes passing. I know members of his family, and that made it even more painful; yet, I thought it was appropriate the fashion and time in which he passed—on his own terms, loudly, and with the world taking notice.

I don’t think that it was a coincidence that he passed at the exact moment that the National Congress of American Indians’ Annual Conference was convening. Big Brother Means was a throwback, a non-conformist, a fighter. He wanted nothing to do with this current era of conciliatory politics, where many tribal leaders work hand-in-hand with the same US government that has historically worked for Native peoples’ demise.
Read the Post Russell Means, Lightning, And Sexiness: The Toughest Indian In The Whole World