EDITED VERSION WPKN BRIDGEPORT-NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT MADONNA THUNDER HAWK www.lakotapeopleslawproject.org is a co-founder of The Lakota Peoples Law Project (LPLP) The Lakota People’s Law Project (LPLP) is working in South Dakota to stop the illegal seizure of Indian children by the Department of Social Services. South Dakota, second only to Alaska, leads the nation in the number of Indian children removed from their homes; and 2/3 of all children placed in foster care in this state are Native American. Placed in non-Indian homes, the children are often subjected to sexual and physical abuse, medical over-drugging and inadequate education. In South Dakota 60% of Native American children who have been in the foster care system wind up drug addicted, incarcerated or dead by age 20. In South Dakota and many other states The Indian Children Welfare Act (ICWA), which was enacted to protect Indian children by keeping them in Indian homes, is being violated. The LPLP is working for federal enforcement and reform of ICWA so that Indian children stay with their families and/or on the reservation.
MARYAM HENEIN www.vanishingofthebees.com is the Director/Producer of the documentary Vanishing of the Bees. Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing apples, broccoli, watermelon, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables. Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capital Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees. Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth. As scientists puzzle over the cause, organic beekeepers indicate alternative reasons for this tragic loss. Conflicting options abound and after years of research, a definitive answer has not been found to this harrowing mystery.
OFELIA RIVAS www.ikatun.org/kanarinka/ The Border Crossed Us is a temporary public art installation by the Institute for Infinitely Small Things that transplants the US-Mexico border fence in southern Arizona to the UMass Amherst campus. From April 20 to May 1st, the UMass Amherst campus will be divided along its North-South boundary by a to-scale photographic replica of the vehicle fence that runs along the international boundary in southern Arizona. The particular stretch of fence being represented was erected in 2007 by Homeland Security and now divides the Tohono O’odham Nation – the second largest Native American reservation in the country – into two parts. What happens when we divide a territory that the community imagines as contiguous? How does the international border in Arizona, seemingly remote from a college campus in northern New England, touch all of our lives here? The fence will run between the parking garage and the campus center. Over the course of two weeks it will serve as a provocation, a touchstone for conversation, and a site for talks and performances. Along with the fence’s insertion into daily life on campus, the project will invite a delegation of Tohono O’odham, including a tribal elder and several youth to speak about their experience. In addition, the Native American Studies Certificate Program in the Anthropology Department will hold a panel discussion on Borders & Indigenous Sovereignty as part of the campus’ annual Native American Powwow. Border issues affect several other tribes, including the Mohawk and Abenaki. The delegation of O’odham will speak along with others about these issues during the conference and participate in the powwow.