Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Theme

Cultural Preservation


Waiting Patiently 500 Years–Washington Legislature Considers Requiring Tribal History in School Curriculum

Author:Hurtado, Denny and Smith, Barbara Leigh

This case tells the story of the origin and passage of House Bill 1495 in the Washington State Legislature. This bill required the inclusion of tribal history, culture and government in the social studies curriculum in the public schools. The case discusses the early stages of the process of implementing this bill as well. The case provides a good opportunity to study leadership and the policymaking process in state legislatures as well as issues in Indian education.

New!The Navajo Horse Policy Dilemma: Too Many Horses? T’ooahayoo Nihilii?

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff, PhD

Wild horses have long been a symbol of the West. For Dine people on the Navajo Reservation, horses are at the center of multiple relationships for healing, cultural meanings and practical use. Today, the lines between wild horses and feral horses are blurred in federal policy and in tribal policy as horse populations seem to be growing. The numbers for the Navajo Reservation are unusually high, and tribal leaders have tried several policies. Policy fragmentation, lack of credible numbers, and unknown genetic and physical impacts to herds from removing horses create significant challenges for tribal leaders. Recent attempts to create partnership hold promise, but the way forward remains unclear and new strategies will need to be forged.

New!Does Smudging Belong in the Workplace?

Author:Toby Sawyer

This short case describes a conflict among the staff at an urban Indian center about the use of smudging in the workplace. An employee used a smudging ritual to cleanse the office after a hostile client stormed into the center and threatened his ex-wife and the staff. He was subsequently arrested. The center staff is divided about the appropriateness of using smudging in the workplace. The director must make a decision about how to handle the situation.

New!Darkness to Dawn: Columbia River Native Tribes’ Science and Salmon Restoration Success

Author:Brian Footen

From the start of its 1243 mile journey in the Canadian Rockies all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River drains the heart, soul and bounty of the Pacific Northwest. In this water is a history of a river and people that goes back 15,000 years. The bountiful water has supplied the world with food and energy. The development of the river for hydro-power and irrigation has played a critical role in modern history. This development, however, has come at great cost to the original inhabitants of the area and the primary resource that they thrived on: the salmon. The Nez Perce, NiMiiPuu, lived in the Columbia River basin for thousands of years. This existence was altered by the arrival of European settlers, and in 1855, the Nez Perce signed a treaty that defined an area over which they had jurisdiction and rights to the resources, including salmon, vital to their culture and survival. Since then salmon populations have declined. Dams and the resulting habitat degradation have had negative impacts on salmon survival. Some populations have been listed as endangered, and policies regarding how these fish are treated have complicated the recovery process. Recent efforts by the Nez Perce tribe, however, have shown that in spite of a mechanized river and political resistance, the river still has enough bounty to bring back a salmon run that was nearly extinct.

New!Your Tribal Land is Not Secure: Traditional Knowledge and Science Face Wildfire in the Valley of the Wild Roses

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff, PhD

Through the discussion of two tribal college students, this case begins an exploration of vulnerability and resilience after repeated and devastating fires as a result of drought and climate change at Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico. The Pueblo holds a rich store of traditional knowledge about the fire-prone ecosystems. This knowledge contributes to restoration efforts after a series of high-severity fires in the Jemez Mountains. Forested lands and wilderness shrines are lost, Santa Clara Creek and watershed suffer from erosion, and much of the Pueblo’s protected lands burned along with Pueblo archeological and cultural sites on public lands. Long ago, the Pueblo created a three zone management system that preserved the upper wild lands as a sacred source of water, protected the middle creek as an ancestral home, and created a homeland supported by sustainable agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley. Deep interviews and discussions with key tribal and western scientists provided sources for a case that explores how western science and Pueblo wisdom converge in interactions to restore around the Pueblo lands model.

New!What should be displayed? Native arts in museums and on the runways

Author:Melanie King

This case study considers questions of how, what, and where Indigenous arts should be displayed and the responsibility museums and other public institutions have in representing other cultures. This case will also address cultural appropriation seen in popular culture as an extension of the issues created in part by collectors of Native arts in the public and private spheres and the result of divorcing Native objects from their original context. Additionally this case will explore how objections have been met and what this indicates about changing attitudes and values.

New!Alaska Native and American Indian Policy: A Comparative Case

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

Federal policy directed to settle Alaska Native land claims was shaped in a later time period and in a much different demographic, ecological, and economic context than earlier federal Indian Policy. This study begs the question why, despite these major differences, the two policy streams resulted in similar outcomes when analyzed at the macro level with national statistics. At the same time, significant cases of successful outcomes for Alaska Natives and for American Indian Tribes of the Lower Forty-Eight challenge the hypothesis of similar outcomes. Alaska Natives and American Indian Tribes created unique and innovative programs in response to these policies. By changing the scope of policy analysis from broad aggregated statistical outcomes to a kaleidoscope of detailed cases we shift the analysis to ask questions about what kinds of indigenous responses to the general federal policy streams might be most effective. Many new questions arise. Would similar responses work for both Alaska Natives and the Tribes of the Lower 48? Do distinctive differences in effective policy responses exist depend on specific factors? What kinds of indigenous policy initiatives break the mold and open the way to success and sustainability?

The Twilight Saga and the Quileute Indian Tribe: Opportunity or Cultural Exploitation?

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith

This case explores the impact of a blockbuster series of books and films, “The Twilight Saga,” on the Quileute Indian Tribe and the small town of Forks, Washington. The Quileute Indian Reservation and the town of Forks are the setting for the “Twilight” series. Twilight is a story of teenage love between Bella Swan, and a vampire, Edward Cullen. The character, Jacob Black, portrayed as a member of the Quileute Tribe and a werewolf, is also vying for Bella’s affection. Numerous fan clubs have organized around Club Jacob and Club Edward. The case raises questions about the impact of popular culture and the dynamics of community economic development. The case also raises the question about whether this is a story of opportunity or cultural exploitation?

New!Water Quality, Environment and Ethics Under Conditions of Climate Change: Who Speaks for the San Francisco Peaks?

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

This case explores a place where religion, culture, politics and science intersected in the San Francisco Peaks controversy. The controversy began in 1908 when the Peaks first became part of the Forest Service system. When the Arizona Snowbowl, a private resort concession, came to the mountain, pressures grew: corporate owners saw limitations of profit-making proposals as an unfair limitation. Expansionary developments threatened the religion and cultural practices of 13 Arizona Tribes. Concern for pristine natural values associated with the Peaks deepened after designation of the Kachina Wilderness Area in 1984. Drought and climate change strained the mountain’s role in recharging the Inner Basin, and the ski resort’s existence. This case deals with the conflict of values around religion, water, scientific interpretation and land use under conditions of climate change.

New!Two Cultures, One School

Author:Ray Barnhardt

For the past 40 years, the St. Mary's School District has pursued the goal of bringing the educational experiences provided by the school in line with the social, cultural and economic aspirations of the Yup'ik Eskimo community it serves. With strong and sustained leadership from the school board and with continuity provided by a stable and dedicated local staff, the district has sought to bring the communities wishes to bear on the school through a culturally articulated curriculum that seeks to balance the learning of Yup'ik ways with the learning needed to survive in the world beyond St. Mary's. This continues to be a delicate balancing act, but the board is committed to pushing ahead, and the higher-than-average presence of St. Mary's graduates in institutions of higher education and in leadership roles in the state, indicates that its perseverance is paying off. Drawing from the St. Mary's experience, we can extract some valuable lessons to guide other schools and communities in their efforts to establish "culturally responsive" educational programs for their students.

New!Sustaining Oomingmak, Sustain Us: Alaska Natives and the Muskox Adapt to Social and Ecological Change

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

This case explores evolutionary adaptation from biological and social-cultural perspectives. Evolutionary forces, including climate change, cultural, and economic change accelerate adaptation and underline the need for adjusting interactions between people and their environment. New relationships between the muskox (Obivos mochatus) and Alaska Natives are evolving. This case leads to questions about what science, economic institutions and traditional knowledge can do to support useful adaptations that contribute to healthy futures for the muskoxen and Alaska Natives. It raises further questions about the domestication of wild species and the impacts of climate change.

New!Pebbles of Gold or Salmon of Time: Pebble Mine and the Cultural and Environmental Economics of Alaska Natives

Author:Brian Footen

Alaska’s Bristol Bay is home to the most productive salmon runs in the world. For over 9,000 years, the indigenous people of the region have survived because of the salmon. In 2005 the Pebble Mine Project was proposed by the Pebble Partnership (PLP). The project proposal is to extract massive deposits of copper, gold and other minerals from the mountains making up the headwaters of Bristol Bay. The proposal has polarized people within the Native communities of the region. This case explores the trade off that is often made when jobs and profit are pitted against environmental protection.

Should Indian Sports Mascots Be Repealed?

Author:Gary Arthur

Concerns about racism, a lack of sensitivity to diversity, stereotyping, sexism, oppression, and lack of Native American entitlement make up a partial list of issues raised in connection with the use of Native American mascots. Those who support mascot use contend that these mascots praise the traditions and culture of the Native Americans. Language supporting the monitoring or banishment of Native American (NA) mascot use has been introduced in the courts, in school districts, and in at least one national athletic association. Besides the list of concerns voiced by those who oppose the use of NA mascots, the issue of indigenous peoples being entitled to identify for themselves how symbols of their culture are interpreted seems to be pivotal in dealing with this conflict, and may even be the focal point at which groups can begin to reach some type of understanding or agreement.

Is Anybody Listening?

Author:Charles Luckmann

By relocating 15,000 Navajos, did the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act, Public Law 93-531, violate the civil rights of Navajos living on the Hopi Reservation in northeastern Arizona? This case examines the law’s purpose, legal and historical antecedents, and alleged connections to mineral interests coveting the resources on Black Mesa. The case examines the lived experiences and cultures of the Navajos and Hopis affected by P.L. 93-531. It also examines the role the federal government, lawyers, and mineral interests played in precipitating the crisis. The case highlights those Navajos resisting the law. It examines their appeals to the U.S. judiciary for protection of their civil and religious freedoms, and why these appeals failed. The case is an example of how Western-based property law has undermined traditional Native American practices of collaboration and consensus.

Exercising Tribal Sovereignty Through Sports: Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse

Author:Sarah S Works, J.D.

This case examines the concept of citizenship for individual members of sovereign Native Nations located within the exterior boundaries of the Unites States of America. This case illustrates the complexities associated with the exercise of sovereign powers regarding tribal citizenship, especially in the context of international travel. Specifically, this case presents the controversial decision of the British government in the summer of 2010 to deny travel visas to members of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team who were trying to travel to from the United States to Manchester, England for the world championship lacrosse tournament.

skwadi’lic, Board Feet, and the Cedar Tree

Author:Kurt W. Russo, PhD

This case examines the way in which cultural frames of reference influence our perspective on what constitutes real and true knowledge of nature. The case provides a description of the aboriginal landscape of the Lummi Indians of Washington State that gave rise to and sustained their unique social imaginary and lifeway. The case then examines how the Lummi Indians have worked to protect the remaining old-forests that are integral to their cultural traditions. The case brings to light two main points: 1) how values and perceptions influence the interpretation of this information by land management agencies and 2) how values and perceptions are shaped—or marginalized—by culturally determined frames of references.

Bridging Two Worlds: Developing and Maintaining a Native American Center at a Public College

Author:Tina Kuckkahn-Miller, J.D. (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe), Longhouse Director, The Evergreen State College

This case explores some of the issues, questions, challenges and strategies in planning and implementing a Native-based facility at an educational institution. This case draws on fifteen years of public service through Native arts administration at the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at The Evergreen State College.

The Return of a River: A Nisqually Tribal Challenge

Author:Steve Robinson and Michael Alesko

For thousands of years, the Nisqually River watershed has been home to the Nisqually Indian people. It has provided food in the form of salmon and other fish that filled the waters and shellfish when the tide went out. Deer and other game in the river’s surrounding forests further nurtured the people, enriched by a diet of berries, roots, and herbaceous plants. As described by Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Chairman Billy Frank, Jr’s late father, Willy Frank, Sr. in the movie, As Long As the Rivers Run, it was a “paradise.” The settlers moving in from the 1850s on decided to mold the area into their own version of what they thought a watershed should look like. They diked the estuary area for agricultural purposes, channelized the river in other areas, and greatly altered the natural habitat and the earlier natural balance. But over the past several years, a collective effort involving jurisdictions and neighbors from all vocations and ethnic backgrounds have worked together with the Nisqually Tribe at the helm in a successful effort to return the Nisqually estuary to its natural condition. This case study examines the Tribe’s role as partner and leader in this multi-entity effort. It is a role forged through a combination of cooperative partnerships and litigation reestablishing Northwest tribes’ legitimate place as resource managers.

Back to the Bison: The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes and the National Bison Range

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff

Thirty years after taking over the reins of forestry, recreation, wildlife and other natural resource operations on their reservation lands, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) established a reputation for environmental leadership in wildlife, wilderness, recreation and co-management. As students work through “Back to the Bison,” they participate in strategic decision-making from the perspective of how CKST made decisions about their relationship to the bison and to the surrounding lands, including the National Bison Range (NBRC). These relationships bring the Tribes into the process of evaluating the science of genetics and their own traditional ecological knowledge. Modern wildlife management practices based on western science are at issue and create opportunities for lively debate. This case provides opportunities for students to build research skills by reading and evaluating articles on genetics and the role of science and traditional ecological knowledge in wildlife management.

Natural Restoration and Cultural Knowledge of the Yakama Nation

Author:Emily Washines and Gerald Peltier

After a 70 year absence, the wapato (potato) returned to the reservation of The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (Yakama Nation).  As a result of agricultural diversion, the water table was lowered and an imbalance in nature occurred.  A shift in nature also contributed to a shift in the cultural foods and plants available.  As students work through Part I of this case they will learn about the Yakama Nation and evaluate eating lifestyles.  Student groups will be assigned one of the key roles of land restoration. Each group will create a storyboard to visually tell the actions of their respective role.  In Part II of the case, students will explore the cultural knowledge of natural restoration and cultural foods.  A video “The Return of the Wapato,” accompanies this case.  This case provides an opportunity to learn how the Yakama Nation restores tribal land areas to historical use and ultimately protects the resources for those not yet born.

Since Time Immemorial: Developing Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum for Washington’s Schools

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith, Shana Brown and Magda Costantino

This case tells the story of the attempts to implement House Bill 1495 which passed the Washington State Legislature in 2005. This bill recommended inclusion of tribal history, culture, and government in the social studies curriculum in the K-12 education system. This bill was intended to address perceived widespread misunderstanding of American Indians’ heritage, history, and contributions to society. The bill passed but did not include any funding for implementation. This case discusses the efforts to secure funding for curriculum and staff development and the approaches that were used to develop a tribal sovereignty curriculum. The tribal sovereignty curriculum project occurred as a reform effort within larger reform efforts as the State attempted to improve the K-12 education system and comply with rising federal standards and expectations. The case raises a myriad of larger questions about making change as well as questions about educational innovation, policy implementation and educational equity. This case can be taught as an interrupted case with discussion at the end of each section or as a single case with discussion at the end of the case.

TRIBAL TV: Is it Worth the Effort?

Author:Frank H. Tyro, PhD, Salish Kootenai College

There is a need for American Indian people to be in control of the production and distribution of information due to the long history of being passive consumers of what the dominant society considers important, but tribally controlled broadcast facilities are rare and the communication business is rapidly changing. KSKC Public TV is housed at Salish Kootenai College, which holds its licenses. Since its launch in 1987, the television station has expanded service area, attracted national interest, and become a model for other tribes and tribal colleges. With recent budget shortfalls, the College has said it can no longer afford to fully support the local public television station. In 2007, a donation was requested from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, which enabled support of the station at $100,000 for that year. For the following year, the tribes continued to support the station. These donations are continuing but the tribe recently decreased the donation by 25%. This case raises questions about the importance of tribally controlled media and how a tribally owned and operated television station might be retained.

When Our Water Returns: The Gila River Indian Community and Diabetes

Author:Jovana J. Brown

The Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) of Arizona has the highest rate of diabetes in the world. Before white settlement of their homeland in central Arizona, their ancestors had an abundant water supply and a flourishing agricultural lifestyle. In the late 19th and early 20th century, non-Indian water use completely cut off their water supply. This depletion led to many years of starvation and then to a diet of highly processed foods that some say is responsible for the obesity and diabetes in the GRIC. After many years of negotiation, a water-rights settlement has been reached to return water to the ownership of the Gila River Indian Community. Research has shown that a diet that resembles the one that their ancestors ate when they were an agricultural people combined with increased physical activity can reduce the rate of obesity and diabetes. Will the return of their water enable the GRIC to return to their past agricultural practices? Can the members of this southern Arizona tribe again raise the kinds of crops as they did in the past? Can their previous healthy lifestyle of generations ago be restored?

Silak: Ice and Consciousness. The Arctic and Climate Change

Author:Lori Lambert, PhD

Climate change is the number one threat to the 22,000 polar bears that remain in the world. Currently, polar bears are suffering from a loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic. Polar bears are dependent upon an Arctic sea ice environment for their continued existence. As sea ice is being reduced in the Arctic, the polar bears’ basis for survival is being threatened. Because the sea ice is melting earlier in the spring, polar bears are being forced to the land without building up sufficient fat reserves to survive until the next freeze up. By the end of the summer they are skinny bears and in places like the Hudson Bay in Canada their ability to successfully raise a litter is being jeopardized. Inuit people are also affected by warming climate. Their way of life and their culture is based on sea ice.

Tse-Whit-Zen: An Ancient Klallam Village Reclaimed… Territory Taken but not Forgotten

Author:Arlene Wheeler and Barbara Leigh Smith

This three-part interrupted case tells the story of an extraordinary archaeological find, the ancient tribal village, Tse-whit-zen, during the construction process replacing the Hood Canal Bridge. This case offers important insights on inter-governmental decision-making and cultural preservation. Part 1 of the case provides background on the Bridge replacement project and the early stages of the planning process. This part of the case is written largely from the point of view of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Part 2 is written from the standpoint of a member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe as the discovery of the ancient village unfolded and everyone struggled with the impact of that discovery, trying to balance cultural considerations with the urgency surrounding the bridge replacement and the impact on the local economy. Part 3 of the case describes the most recent issues surrounding the case after the discovery of substantial numbers of human remains and the ensuring controversy about whether the project should be shut down.

Sacred Sites Sustaining Tribal Economies: The Mescalero Apache

Author:Henderson, Martha L.

The Mescalero Apache traditional homelands were what is now known as central New Mexico. Sierra Blanca, along with three other mountains surrounding the White Sands area, was the territorial markers of their area. These mountains were a source of cultural identity, geographic navigation, and subsistence. Today, the Mescalero Apache Tribe occupies a reservation in central New Mexico. The reservation boundaries include Sierra Blanca. Sierra Blanca is a significant sacred site in Mescalero Apache culture. This case study investigates the intersection between sacred sites, traditional native identity, boundaries, and contemporary tribal economic development.

It's in Our Treaty: the Right to Whale

Author:Brown, Jovana J.

The Makah people have lived on the northwest part of the Olympic Peninsula for thousands of years and utilized the bounty of the seas. Their historical tradition of whaling can be traced back at least 1,500 years. When they signed the Treaty of Neah Bay in 1855 the Makah reserved the right to hunt whales. The Makah Nation resumed this whaling tradition in 1999 by harvesting a gray whale. Since this successful hunt the Tribe has had to continue to confront and overcome many involved legal and political obstacles to continue hunting whales. This case details the Makah's continuing efforts to resume whaling.

The Will of the People: Citizenship in the Osage Nation

Author:Dennison, Jean, University of Florida

This teaching case tells the story of Tony, one of nine Osage government reform commissioners placed in charge of determining the "will of the people" in reforming the government of the Osage Nation. Because of Congressional law the Osage Nation had been forced into an alien form of government for a hundred years. Recent legislation has reversed this and has recognized the Osage Nation's sovereign right to determine its own citizenship and form of government. As part of this case, students will analyze the highly charged debates over citizenship that took place during Osage community meetings. From these perspectives students will be asked to write referendum questions covering the central issues at stake with Osage citizenship. This case provides an opportunity for students to explore a range of issues including American Indian citizenship and sovereignty, the power and danger inherent in racial identity, and the process of community-based reform.

Indian Identity in the Arts

Author:Kuckkahn, Tina

This case examines questions relating to the issues of Indian identity within the field of Native arts, both in terms of the creation of art and Native arts administration. The case looks at the Indian Arts and Craft Act of 1990 and the impact of the application of the law to Indian artists and Native arts service organizations. The question of "who is an Indian artist?" as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act has legal, cultural and community implications. The question of "what is Indian art?" has many implications for the field of indigenous art and comprises a wide range of viewpoints.

Whose History Should We Teach?

Author:Costantino, Magda and Hurtado, Denny

Washington State House Bill 1495 encourages school districts to incorporate curricula about the culture, history, and government of the nearest federally recognized tribe or tribes. The purpose is to familiarize the students with the unique heritage of their community. The case study of Whose History Should We Teach? suggests a curriculum that is a response to the mandate of the bill. It is based on a conversation that takes place in a teachers' staff room. A group of teachers expresses their deeply held beliefs about the possibility of developing a curriculum that presents Washington State history from the Native American perspective. They clash around their views of several historical milestones. Each question and each answer has a number of historical events embedded in them. The core of the curriculum is the research topics and the relevant discussion questions which guide students' learning. The intended learning outcomes state specifically what the students are expected to learn. The teaching notes describe the tasks that students will engage in, in order to investigate the issues. The curriculum can be used in K-12 or college with appropriate adaptations. It would be effective and appropriate for native as well as non-native students.