Saturday, December 31, 2005

Giving in the New Year

Wishing everyone a safe and happy New Year.

This is also the time of year where you might want to consider donating to charities. May I suggest a few of my favorite:

Native American Rights Fund - Founded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide.

Adopt an Elder - The Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program exists to create a bridge of hope between Native Americans and other cultures. It allows us to reach out to one another, share our gifts, and mend the broken circle of our relationship with the Land and the Native Americans who hold it in sacred trust.

American Indian College Fund - Through our scholarships for American Indian college students and our support of America's tribally controlled colleges and universities, we are giving hope to, and creating better lives for, generations of Native American students and their families and communities.

Always investigate the charitiy you chose to support. You can research here at the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.

If you have any other Native-related charities you would like to list, please feel free to add to the comments.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Little Native America in your Stocking

It's that time of the year when, no matter your religious affiliation, you usually have a least one friend or family member to buy for. So if you are doing some last minute holiday shopping and have to give gifts, why not get them something a little different, something with a touch of Native America?

I've listed a few of my favorite places to shop below. By my knowledge, all are owned and operated by Natives. Ideas vary from hip hop and hoodies to Native teas and hot chilis, with some art, jewelry and other things you'd expect to find as well. This is a very small sampling of what's out there, so ask around your local cultural centers, search the web for Native-owned business and put some money back into Native America.

All Native - By far one of my favorite sites. The Ho-Chuck got it together. Here you'll find Native themed food and drink, gift baskets, soaps, t-shirts and all kinds of good things. The site is easy to get around and understand and they have a special section for Christmas cards, ornaments, and other holiday suggestions.

Litefoot and Native Style - Native-themed hip hop and clothing. They've got hoodies, baseball caps, bags and other goodies for the teens you know, or the teen you are at heart. And Litefoot, the artist and entrepeneur behind the brand, is talented behind the mic, so check out the music section, too.

Owned and Operated Indian Art Sites - has a list of Indian-owned Art sites. If you are going to purchase Indian arts and crafts, you should do it from Indians, don't you think? Look here for fine art gallery listings as well. - A great catalogue of Videos and DVDs. Everything from dance instruction to documentaries, stand-up comedians to NDN punk rock concerts. Plus they have books, music and all kinds of media to enjoy.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

How do you say "Reindeer" in Ojibwe?

So I'm surfing around one of the many Native communities I belong to, and come across someone talking about Jana. Who is Jana? I didnt know either, but it turns out she's a pop singer and member of the Lumbee tribe. (Isn't Heather Locklear a Lumbee Indian, too? But let's not get distracted..)

Jana has a new Christmas album out, called American Indian Christmas, where on she sings such standards as Silent Night and Joy to the World. The only catch is, she sings them in Native languages. Ten different languages, as I understand it, including Navajo, Arapaho, Ojibwe and others. Sounds interesting, and certainly something a little different than that Regis Christmas album you know you were planning on getting.

Tribal Employee Blog

Found a new blog by a Navajo guy. Take some time to check it out.

Tribal Employee

He's got an interesting entry about the "modern traditional Navajo" and another on the Medicine Men's Association role in the Save the Peaks trial. Plus some great photography and a pleasant writing style. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas in the Clouds

It's the time of year when some folks get excited about their Winter Holiday of choice. Unfortunately, for us first year law students, we get excited about crimes, torts and contracts. Crim, torts and contracts exams, that is. But there is one bright spot on my holiday calendar, and that's the new movie Christmas in the Clouds.

IMDB says "[Christmas in the Clouds} is a classic comedy of mistaken identity and romance set during the holiday season at a ski resort that is owned and operated by a Native American Nation. Shot on location at The Sundance Resort in Utah, this is the first contemporary romantic comedy to feature an almost entirely American Indian cast."

Did I hear that right? A romantic comedy that features contemporary Native Americans just..well..being? No social issues? No tragic stoicism? Just a fun holiday movie that happens to have an all-Native cast? Yes, Pocahantas, this is a Santa Claus, and she is writer/director Kate Montgomery. The buzz on this movie is that Montgomery shopped the script in Hollywood for a while, and got the advice to lose the Indians and pick some other ethnic group. "Native peoples are the last bastion of stereotypes," Montgomery explains to the Mercury News. "They are only defined as backdrop -- a shaman or an Indian on horseback or with feathers. You don't see them in a contemporary light."

Lucky for us, Montgomery stuck to her original idea and, four years after its original Sundance debut, her movie is here for us to enjoy. So that's what I plan to do Friday night. Right after my final. Check your own local listings for availability.