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The U.S. Mint Friday is unveiling designs of a new $1 coin that will begin circulating in January as part of a new Native American coin program mandated by Congress.

The coins will feature the image of Sacagawea that was previously on the golden dollar coin, which was created in 2000 and 2001, on the “heads” side. The “tails” side will rotate each year, with the 2009 version featuring a Native American woman planting seeds in a field of corn, beans and squash.

The coins will be gold in color.


Amazon deforestation accelerates

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The destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has accelerated for the first time in four years, Brazilian officials say.

Satellite images show 11,968 sq km of land was cleared in the year to July, nearly 4% higher than the year before.

The government said the figure was unsatisfactory but could have been a lot worse if it had not taken action against illegal logging.

Indigenous People Demand Voice in Climate Talks

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UNITED NATIONS – Calls for greater participation of the world’s indigenous leaders are on the rise as another round of talks on global climate change opens in the Polish city of Poznan next week.

“It is incomprehensible how governments believe they can discuss the effects of climate change and agree targets without the input of those who already face [its] impacts,” said Mark Lattimer of the London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG).

In a study released last week, MRG researchers warned that a new climate change agreement would be “seriously compromised” if policymakers continued to shut out the voices of those most affected by global warming.

Submerged Falls in Oregon Still Exist

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The massive horseshoe-shaped Celilo Falls were submerged by a reservoir after The Dalles Dam was built in 1957 — this much is true.

But the belief that government demolition teams blasted the falls and destroyed them? Not true, according to sonar maps released by the U.S. Army corps of Engineers.

For thousands of years, the falls were a fishing site for American Indians and their ancestors. They also were the center of a major tribal trade network that brought traders from tribes as far away as the Midwest and south California.

Read more in Reznews

96 Little Indians

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Ninety-six little American Indians filled the media center at Corbin Primary school this past Friday to finish their learning units about Native Americans. For the past two weeks Mrs. Lanham’s, Mrs. Lewallen’s, Mrs. Pietrowski’s and Mrs. Stidham’s kindergarten students have been learning all about Native Americans — how they made clothes; how they made tools; what kind of food they ate; the meaning of the symbols that they used; and most importantly, the importance of Native American culture in our history.

Knowing the importance of providing this age group with the chance to not only hear, but to touch and see what they teach, teachers gave students with different learning styles the ability to take in and appreciate all their instruction.

The learning units invited a Native American to the school so students could see that American Indians are not just characters read about in books, but people who helped start many customs that continue today.

Eight Mayan Women

Eight Mayan Women

Eight Mayan Women is a story of continued resistance to the Canadian mining company Goldcorp.

For the past three years the company has been extracting gold and silver in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala. The people of San Miguel have been opposed the operation, primarily out of a concern that it is destroying the environment and draining the region of its water. Many also say they were deceived and forced into selling their lands, and that they were never told about the negative impacts of mining. “They told us that everything is marvelous and the operations will be carried out as you wish and with top-notch technology,” says a March 2007 statement from the community.

Goldcorp, on the other hand, has been trying to silence the people of San Miguel – through the use of repression, militarization and the criminalization of their struggle – least of all, by using the Guatemalan legal system.

In 2007, the company filed a barrage of criminal charges against seven local Mayan campesinos, who came to be known as the Goldcorp 7. The charges included: causing minor injuries, attacking a security guard, making death threats, coercion, and instigating protests.

Fortunately, in what seemed like a rare moment of justice in Guatemala, the court acquitted five of the campesinos of all charges, while the remaining two were put on probation and given a small fine.

Of course, this was not the end of the struggle… In fact, today Goldcorp is once again trying to use the Guatemalan legal system to silence the people of San Miguel.
They have filed charges against Eight Mayan Women.

Eight Mayan Women

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Tale of economic survival paints grim picture of Navajo weavers

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Helen Bedonie weaves rugs full-time for her income, using brush and roots outside her home to dye the wool taken from her sheep herd on the Navajo Nation. Nicole Horseherder, a 35-year-old Navajo from Black Mesa, Ariz., who has a master’s degree in linguistics, chooses to raise her family on the reservation and continues to practice the art of weaving as taught by her grandmother rather than live in a crowded city. Gilbert Begay, a rare male weaver, looks forward to passing on the traditional Navajo art being threatened by capitalism and changing lifestyles.

The three are among several artisans who share their stories of cultural continuity and pride in a new documentary, Weaving Worlds, presented by Trickster Films and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), in association with American Public Television (APT) and Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT).

Exploring sustainability through art, Weaving Worlds also reveals the often controversial relationship with Anglo traders and the challenges of maintaining aspects of a traditional lifestyle.