As long as the grass grows and the poverty shows
During the election cycle we tend to ask: What does America mean; where are we going? And then someone decides to check on the Indians to find out the answer, as though Indians represent America’s soul hidden in the attic. And of course politicians have long stood next to their “souls” and posed for pictures on the campaign trail.
Within the last year, Diane Sawyer and “20/20″ did a special on the sorry conditions at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and the New Yorker featured a grim photo essay on Pine Ridge too. The New York Times published a piece on brutal crime at the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming and another on the deep financial problems at Foxwoods, the Pequot-owned “world’s largest” casino in Connecticut. Indians make the news, but the news isn’t really news, it’s just a way for the country take its temperature. Read full story from latimes.com
Indian Benefits: Misnomer and Propaganda
Contrary to popular belief, especially among non-Natives, American Indians did not simply relinquish their rights to lands, waters, and other natural resources. Indeed, as a result of historic negotiations and treaties between the U.S. government and tribal nations, federal agencies are obligated to provide specific rights, services, and protections as payment for the basic wholesale exchange of the land mass of the United States.
Misnomer—the use of a wrong or unsuitable term to describe something.
The United States contractually owes tribal nations. “Indian benefits” is a misnomer for the debt owed to Native peoples. The federal government pledged through laws and treaties to compensate for land exchanges accomplished through the forced removal of tribal nations from their original homelands. Unfortunately, payment is commonly expressed as “benefits.” This term—benefits—implies giving assistance, subsidy, or even charity, rather than deserved reimbursement. The Department of Interior even describes the obligated recompense for American Indians as benefits on its webpage. Read full story from indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com
Catholic groups sue over federal contraception mandate
(CNN) – The University of Notre Dame and “a diverse group of plaintiffs” filed lawsuits Monday challenging the federal mandate that religious employers offer health insurance that includes coverage of contraceptives and birth control services, Notre Dame spokeswoman Shannon Chapla said.
The Notre Dame suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern Indiana, is one of a dozen filed Monday by 43 separate Catholic institutions in different federal courts around the United States, Chapla said.
The lawsuits are efforts to “vindicate the country’s constitutional and traditional commitments to religious freedom and pluralism,” Notre Dame law professor Richard W. Garnett said in a university statement. Read full story from cnn.com
Truce between Obama and Romney on faith?
Washington (CNN)– A political truce may be brewing between the Obama and Romney campaigns on the issue of the candidates’ faith and religious practice. An all-out war over such issues nearly erupted last week, but neither campaign would take up arms. Read full story from cnn.com
Study Sheds New Light on Archaeology of the Dura-Europos Expedition
A recent study of the photographic archives of one of the 20th century’s most sensational archaeological excavations and discoveries lends powerful credence to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Tucked away carefully within the archival collections of the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, more than 5,000 unpublished photographs taken between 1928 and 1937 recount a story in visual detail that cannot be fully told in the printed words of excavation reports, site journals or the popular press of the time. Read full story from popular-archeology.com
Cherokee Nation becomes First Tribe to receive Electronic Health Records Incentive
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation recently received the first incentive payment from the Oklahoma State Medicaid Electronic Health Record incentive program for its implementation and use of electronic health records at W. W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah. The tribe started using electronic records in its nine health centers and the hospital more than seven years ago but recently certified its system, enabling Cherokee Nation to become the first tribe eligible to receive the incentive payment.
The first installment of the incentive payment was $21,250 and was presented to Dr. Greggory Woitte, a provider who qualified for the incentive at Cherokee Nation’s Hastings Hospital. Woitte qualified by having a specified percentage of his patients on SoonerCare, Medicare and Medicaid while utilizing the electronic health records system. Read full story from cherokee.org
When Gold refused, the Shortline bus driver pulled over and called the police.
Gold said “we were both listening to Whitney Houston on an iPod double jack and loving her love songs,” and holding hands, when the driver pulled over to tell us to “stop sitting in the front.” Gold said no, “and that’s when the driver called the state trooper.” Read full story from advocate.com
The pledge by the Family Leader calls on candidates to support marriage between a man and a woman and to reject same-sex marriage, pornography and Islamic sharia law, among other issues.
The conservative group, which plays a key role in the Iowa presidential caucuses, removed controversial language from the pledge’s preamble that suggested black children born into slavery had a better family situation than black children today. Read full story from usatoday.com
7 Conservation Photographers Saving The Planet Through Amazing Pictures
Conservation photography may be a discipline you’ve never heard of. While the foundations have been around since the beginning of photography itself — using images to make people aware of, and respond to, environmental issues — the genre has only been given a name in the last few years. And yet, it is one area in which some of the best photographers in the world are spending their energies, using the power of photos to conserve natural spaces. Meet seven of the best in the business, and see their stunning shots. Read full story from treehugger.com
Irish report damns Catholic Church abuse response
The Catholic Church in Ireland did not take serious steps to stamp out child abuse by priests even after the scandal blew up worldwide and the Irish bishops put rules in place to stop it, a new report says.
The Cloyne report demolishes claims by the Catholic Church there that policies it put in place in 1996 have enabled it to get a handle on the problem. Read full story from cnn.com
A pledge, not prayer, for politicians
Congratulations to the Salisbury City Council for doing something that President Barack Obama and the Republicans can’t seem to do: come up with a compromise. Where congressional Republicans seem to think compromise constitutes collaboration (alliteration alert!), members of the Salisbury City Council see compromise as the hybrid fruit of the democratic process.
And huzzah to all that!
Of course, the matter on which the Salisburians compromised has no place in an American government setting, but you still have to appreciate their regard for accommodation.
The Salisburians had to decide if it’s appropriate to open City Council meetings with the Lord’s Prayer. Read full story from baltimoresun.com
Why we’re drawn to Harry Potter’s theology
It’s been 13 years since the first Harry Potter book landed on store shelves and provoked some Christian conservatives to begin voicing opposition to J.K. Rowling’s world of wizardry.
“Let me say something about Harry Potter. Warlocks are enemies of God,” said Becky Fischer, a Pentecostal pastor featured in a documentary called Jesus Camp. “And I don’t care what kind of hero they are, they’re an enemy of God.”
“Had it been in the Old Testament,” Fischer continued, “Harry Potter would have been put to death. You don’t make heroes out of warlocks.” Read full story from cnn.com
Atheists and agnostics make up the organization and say Perry is violating the constitutional ban on the government establishing a religion. They have also asked the court to keep the governor from participating in the meeting or using his office to promote or recognize it. Read full story from kxan.com
Extremely Rare Leopards Caught on Film in Russia
Catching a glimpse of just one critically endangered Armur leopard is enough to wow any nature lover, but spotting a dozen is rarity indeed. Film footage released today by WWF, obtained from camera traps in the remote forests of the Russian Far East, is offering a welcome indication that the imperiled leopards may be making a comeback. With fewer than 50 of the big cats thought to be in existence in the wild, the appearance of 12 individuals in the latest video survey has wildlife experts feeling a bit more optimistic about the leopards’ future. Read full story from treehugger.com