Monthly Archives: September 2013

Kwel ‘hoy: “We Draw the Line”. NO COAL TRAINS!

Starting 18 September 2013 in the Powder River Basin, Lummi community members from the House of Tears Carvers will follow the rail route for proposed coal shipments through Cherry Point near Bellingham WA. They will gather people together in a series of ceremonies designed to highlight the risks posed to all of our communities by coal export from the West Coast.


Chief Oren Lyons on Make No Bones About It. September 29,2013 @ 4pm


Oren R. Lyons is a traditional Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, and a member of the Onondoga Nation Council of Chiefs of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy (the Haudenosaunee).

Lyons graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Fine Arts and soon moved to New York City, where he worked for Norcross Greeting Cards. He started as a paste-up artist but later became an art and planning director for Norcross. His background in art has helped him become an accomplished illustrator of books and a …painter.

In 1970, Lyons returned to his ancestral homeland in upstate New York to act as Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan. In this capacity, he is entrusted with keeping alive his people’s traditions, values and history.

Oren Lyons is Associate Professor at SUNY (University at Buffalo), in the Center for the Americas. He teaches courses on Native American history and studies, and advises graduate students. Prof. Lyons also appears at many conferences and meetings, speaking on American Indian topics, human rights, interfaith dialogue, and the environment.

Aside from his work at the University and the Turtle Clan, Lyons is the co-founder of the national American Indian quarterly news magazine Daybreak, of which he has been the publisher since 1987. He also edited the book Exiled In The Land Of The Free: Democracy, The Iroquois and The Constitution (1992) , a major study of the Indian’s impact on American democracy and the United States Constitution.

An essay from Oren Lyons, “Our Mother Earth,” is included in Seeing God Everywhere: Essays on Nature and the Sacred .

Boldt Decision Memoir: A conversation with Billy Frank Jr. and Prof. Richard Whitney

Boldt Decision Memoir: A conversation with Billy Frank Jr. and Prof. Richard Whitney

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission chairman Billy Frank Jr. sits down with UW Professor Richard Whitney to reminisce about their involvement with tribal treaty rights and the Boldt decision in the 1970s and 1980s. Whitney was the fisheries technical advisor to federal Judge George Boldt, whose opinion in U.S. v. Washington upheld tribal treaty fishing rights for treaties in Western Washington.

Julian Brave NoiseCat on KAOS Radio – September 15, 2013 at 4pm


Julian Brave NoiseCat, son of Ed Archie NoiseCat and Alexandra Roddy, is a member of the Canim Lake Band and a descendant of the Lil’Wat Nation of Mt. Currie. His paternal grandparents are Antoinette Archie and the late Ray Peters, and his maternal grandparents are Suzanne Roddy and the late Joe Roddy. He is in his third year at Columbia University where he studies history. This summer he continued learning Secwepemctsín with his kye7e (grandmother), while conducting and writing a research paper on current and historical words for the white man in Secwepemculecw. He loves his family.

Image courtesy of Izumi Watanabe

Jewell James, Lummi Nation on KAOS 89.3 FM September 15,2013 AT 5:00


Jewell James and the Lummi House of Tears carvers have created a totem pole Kwel’hoy (“We Draw the Line”) and are travelling with it in a journey of blessing across the west. Please join the Lummi Tribe at Kwel’hoy ceremonies for offering prayers of protection for sacred lands, sacred waters, and treaty rights of Native peoples.

photo credit Liz Jones / KUOW
Jewell James is a longtime leader of the Lummi Tribe.

Dennis Banks shares about “Declare War on Diabetes” Motorcycle Run in 2014 and much more. September 15, 2013 at 5:30pm



Dennis Banks is a Native American leader, teacher, lecturer, activist, and author. He is an Anishinabe, Ojibwa, born on Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. In 1968 he co-founded the American Indian Movement (AIM), and establishing it to protect the traditional ways of Indian people and to engage in legal cases protecting treaty rights of Natives-such as hunting and fishing, trapping, wild riceing.

Banks earned an Associates of Arts degree at Davis University and taught at Deganawida Quetzecoatl (DQ) University (an all Indian-controlled institution), where he became the first American Indian chancellor.

In 1994, Banks led the four-month Walk for Justice (WFJ) from Alcatraz Island in San Francisco to Washington, DC. The purpose was to bring public awareness to current Native issues. Banks agreed to head the “Bring Peltier Home” campaign in 1996 bringing Native Americans and other supporters together in a national drive for executive clemency for political prisoner Leonard Peltier.

He also had roles in the movies War Party, The Last of the Mohicans, and Thunderheart. A musical tape “Still Strong” featuring Banks’ original work as well as traditional Native American songs was completed in’93 and a musical video with the same name was released in’95.

Source: American Indian Movement

Donald Vann on “Make No Bones About It” -September 8th, 2013


The images of full blood Cherokee artist, Donald Vann, speak of peace and tranquility of solitude. They speak of yesterday’s tradition and tomorrow’s promise. Through his work, Donald takes the viewer to a place that is as real to him as the tangible world. To see his paintings is to feel the crunch of snow beneath one’s feet, to hear the wind whisper through the aspen trees and to smell the wood smoke and buffalo of hide tipis. It is to know the soft-spoken man behind the paper and paint.  Donald Vann

“All my life,” Donald explains, “I have had this desire to paint with images I can express thoughts and feelings I could never put into words. Through my art I am able to transcend the limitations of the spoken word.”

It is more than just his Native American heritage that Donald strives to share. Warriors on horseback, a medicine man greeting the dawn and young maidens gathering wood are only the means of conveying moods that are much more universal. He uses those images to tell how he feels about the unseen forces that influence life. Donald draws his greatest inspiration from the earth, sky, and from the rhythms of nature. His creations have a quality that allow the viewer to share some of the inner facets of the Indian soul. “In our world, there is an unspoken quality, a feeling that touches and flows through everything … all of us as well as all things of the earth. If one listens to these forces, he will find himself painting instinctively with the feeling of his heart about his ancestral beliefs and the way people live today.”

These spiritual elements have been a part of his life for as long as he can remember. “Growing up I was always a loner.” Donald recalls, “I spent a lot of time hunting, but that was really just a way of being by myself out of doors. That is where I felt the most comfortable and in tune with the natural spirits evident in all things.”

When he wasn’t camping with his grandfather or hunting in the woods near his boyhood home outside Stilwell, Oklahoma, Donald remembers painting. “I didn’t fit in too well at school, the one art class I took, I flunked. I always thought education got in the way of learning. I was much more interested in the teachings of the holy man for my clan and in the survival and herb skills my grandparents taught me.”

Combining his love for art and his Cherokee heritage, Donald is able to create moving images that speak of the Indian way of life and capture the hearts of art collectors worldwide. He is recognized for his haunting images of his people’s heritage, especially his portrayal of the Trail of Tears. He was proclaimed “one of the best known Indian artists of the 20th century” by the Cherokee National Historical Society. The Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian honored him with their top painting award for watercolor medium. He has also won first place ribbons in juried competitions at Oklahoma’s Red Earth Exhibit, Colorado Indian Market and National American Indian Arts Exposition.

More than 50 different editions of his signed and numbered prints are now collectors items. He has taken top honors at shows from Texas to Ohio, and Minnesota to North Carolina. Yet, it is the public’s acceptance is what matters most to Donald.

“Through my images,” Donald says when asked of his success, “I hope people will be inspired to learn more about the customs and values of America’s native people. Our traditions teach many things that can help all people. In today’s fast-paced world, it is too easy to get cut off from one’s heritage and lose sight of the things that are truly important. If I can make people see with their hearts instead of their eyes, then my art has spoken. Then I have succeeded.”