How Native American Drums Play A Spiritual Role In Indigenous Culture

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How Native American Drums Play A Spiritual Role In Indigenous Culture

Native American drums are undeniably the most loved Native American instruments among Native and non Indian people alike. Drums for hundreds of years have always been at the center of Indian lifestyle, forming what is the channel of religion and spirituality as well as special days where a pow wow drum is center stage.

Indian tribes in North America history have all used drums in various ways to interact with a higher power known to most as the Great Spirit. To Native people, Indian drums are much more than just decorations or nice musical instruments. American Indian drums are thought to speak to the drummer. Native drums being made in a circle represent the earth and life. The most identifiable being hoop drums and shaman drums which are Indian hand drums used in many personal healing and religious ceremonies as well as public ceremonies such as a Native American powwow.

The hide of the animal that is stretched over the ring brings with it unique characteristics of the spirit of the animal and brings a sense of life to the drum when played. Many people think of beating a drum to make a sound, but to Native drummers and those involved in modern drumming groups and drum circles, the desire is to draw out the sound. The beating drum is compared to the beating of a human heart and is said to represent the heart beat of the earth which is a belief that is classic Native American. Drums in this way become the channel to connect one’s spirit with that of the earth and the Great Spirit through out the history of American Indians.

Native American Indian drums have a rich culture and because they are so important they are used in not only music but art and dance as well. Decorating a drum becomes a very personal artwork to the owner. The Indian drummer becomes an artist and communicates impressions of his inner feelings and beliefs in his Indian art. Some American Indian tribes use animals to adorn their drums and others use geometric patterns and everything in between. In some Native cultures the drummer will place an item of personal value inside the drum to permanently join himself with his hand drum.

The different Native American images that the artwork on the drums depict is usually painted with natural earth colors taken from nature. Some are dull and others are bright coming from flowers, roots, berries, bark or herbs that are boiled to release their unique earth tones. Other Native American drums are decorated with iron oxide which is a naturally occurring red rock that can be easily crushed. When mixed with water, it produces a rich orange red dye that is much like paint and is indicative if the surrounding hillsides and rock formations like those of the beautiful Arizona red rock canyons. The region of Sedona is thought to be a special place with spiritual power like the energy created by American Indian drums.

The goal of Native American Education except for those Indian boarding schools that have tried to stamp out Native culture has always involved the sharing of beliefs through music, songs, stories and legends. It is in harmony with these methods of learning that the communication and cultural importance has been found in the use of drums. If you are interested in the spiritual aspects of life as pertain to Indian beliefs, you will get a lot out of owning and playing Native American drums.

By: Craig Chambers

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Timbisha Shoshone to Obama: Adopt UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Timbisha Shoshone to Obama: Adopt UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

November 5, 2009

The Honorable Barack Obama
The President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500-0004

Dear Mr. President,

Greetings. Upon this historical event, we wish to thank you for your commitment and dedication to bring forth meaningful change for our Peoples. On behalf of the Timbisha Shoshone of the Western Shoshone Nation and the many other Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of North America, we call upon the government of the United States of America (USA) to act in due haste to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution #61/295 at its 107th plenary on September 13, 2007.
We are confident that through your leadership and peacemaking goals as exemplified in your membership on the UN Human Rights Council, you will adopt this historic human rights instrument. We ask for this action immediately.

Mr. President, we write this in recognition of what we believe is your sincere commitment to uphold and strengthen the relationships with the US government and American Indian Nations. In keeping with your invitation to meet leaders of the Nations and Pueblos of Indigenous Peoples of North America which brings us to Washington DC, we offer our greetings to you and extend our hands in the spirit of a renewed and re-visioned expression of this relationship. A critical part of this relationship is recognizing that the time has come to break the chains from centuries of racism, colonization and ongoing oppression across North America. This can begin to be accomplished by the US adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We have entered a new age – a time of reflection and correcting the wrongs of previous eras. Let us set forth on a positive pathway together. As you know, thousands of Indigenous Peoples here in the US, and indeed throughout the world, stood up with trust and faith in your message of equity and justice for all, during your campaign. As Indigenous Peoples are equal to all other Peoples, it is time that the relationship of our Nations and Pueblos with the US must be redefined. This is more than a matter of honor. It is a matter of doing what is right and it is critical to our continuing and ever evolving relationship with the US federal government.
Mr. President, we believe in your commitment for real and systemic change that can imprint upon our future generations and lead the world in a good and honorable way. This can be accomplished by finally and for the first time ever, fully recognizing the rights of the Indigenous Nations.
Although an apology for the oppression of US policies that brutalized our homelands and have devastated our peoples, cultures and ecosystems, is well in order and in fact long overdue, it is not enough. Adopting the UNDRIP is a meaningful and responsible step toward long-term reconciliation that can resonate across the globe with Indigenous Peoples of the World.

The implementation of the UNDRIP institutes a new systemic standard that calls for complementary readjustment among entities of the government states and the Nations of the Indigenous Peoples, normalizing peaceful relations and creating partnerships based on mutual respect and cooperation.
Hopefully, this letter prompts the United States’ immediate attention to and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We know this will produce a positive and constructive diplomatic venue to advance the recognition, respect, and protection of the Human Rights and Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples, both within the domestic and international arenas.
Sincerely,
Joe Kennedy
Chairman, Timbisha Shoshone of the Western Shoshone Nation

Posted by brendanorrell@gmail.com at 6:00 PM

Sioux leaders work on Black Hills Land proposal for Omama

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Sympathetic signs from President Barack Obama have inspired hope among Sioux spiritual and government leaders that some federal land in the Black Hills might one day be returned to Native American control.

Leaders for Sioux tribes in the Dakotas, Montana and Nebraska are holding meetings to shape a proposal on Black Hills land for the Obama administration, one they hope will be better than the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1980. That forced settlement was about millions of dollars, not acres of land, and it has consistently been rejected by tribes of the Great Sioux Nation.

http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2009/09/25/news/local/doc4abc1f16d8281841431807.txt

Cause Announcement from Dooda (No) Desert Rock

Cause Announcement from Dooda (No) Desert Rock

GREAT NEWS folks: US EPA Environmental Appeals Board Remands PSD Permit for the desert rock energy project! Celebration information coming forth! Here’s another opportunity for you to contribute to DDR, we need your help!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2009

Contact: Elouise Brown, Dooda (NO) Desert Rock Committee President, (505) 947-6159

DOODA (NO) DESERT ROCK RELIEF AT US EPA ENVIRONMENTAL APPEALS BOARD PSD PERMIT DECISION
“We are relieved to hear that the US EPA Environmental Appeals Board finally granted the agency’s request to take back the clean air permit for the failed Desert Rock Power Plant. It confirms our position that the initial permit grant was ill-considered and premature,” said Elouise Brown, President of Dooda Desert Rock. The organization, a grassroots Navajo effort to block a third coal-fired power plant in the Four Corners area, continues to resist and have a very active encampment for almost three years.

“The appeals board decision confirms our belief, echoed in the British news magazine The Economist, that Desert Rock is dead. Recent efforts in Congress to freeze the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to deal with carbon dioxide as a pollutant shows that Big Coal also recognizes that polluting energy is on its way out. We have a specific reason for gratitude at the return of the permit,” Brown said.

“When the air permit was initially under consideration the San Francisco Region 9 US EPA office found a study that indicates that the two existing power plants are adversely affecting the health of Navajos in the Shiprock Area. Cold weather and the Hogback formation pull pollution down into Shiprock and that causes Navajos to seek medical treatment for respiratory illness at rates far higher than the rest of the population in the Four Corners area. Children and the elderly are affected at a rate of ten times the rest of the population. The EPA warned the Bureau of Indian Affairs about the situation and told it to act, but it did nothing. We want something done about existing health risks now.”

“While we believe that the power plant is dead, the debate continues. There are many issues to address, including the fact that ordinary Navajos would get no economic benefit from the plant because local infrastructure was ignored in planning. At minimum, we want the health issue addressed first, and in a way that satisfies us that the health of Navajos is being protected. If anyone doubts what is going on in Shiprock, just drive north toward Shiprock on a cold day.”

Navajos Observe 30th Anniversary of Uranium Spill

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CHURCH ROCK, N.M.—Community members and environmental activists commemorated July 16 as the 30th anniversary of a massive uranium tailings spill that Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. called “the largest peacetime accidental release of radioactive contaminated materials in the history of the United States.”

The accident occurred when an earthen dam, operated by the United Nuclear Corp., failed and let loose 94 million gallons of toxic wastewater into the north fork of the Rio Puerco on Navajo Nation lands. Within days, contaminated tailings liquid was found 50 miles downstream in Arizona.

About 100 Navajos and non-Navajos, including members of the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE) and other environmental groups, walked a five-mile stretch through the remote mesa lands of Church Rock to the site of the July 16, 1979 spill. They stopped at Larry King’s ranch along New Mexico Highway 566 for a speech by the Navajo president.

http://www.reznetnews.org/article/navajos-observe-30th-anniversary-uranium-spill-36890

Tribes: Turbine site is sacred

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Officials from two federally recognized Indian tribes say they are frustrated in their attempts to protect what they consider a sacred site from becoming part of an offshore wind farm.

The two tribes want federal officials to deny a permit to Cape Wind for Horseshoe Shoal and move the proposed 130 wind turbines to another site.

Objections

Both the Mashpee Wampanoag and the Wampanoag of Gay Head (Aquinnah) have two main objections to the Cape Wind project:

  • It would destroy a sacred site where ancestors fished, hunted and possibly were buried.
  • It would obstruct their view of the horizon, thus interfering with their spiritual well-being.

http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090715/NEWS/907150321

Atomic veterans gather to remember their shared past as ‘guinea pigs’

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LEBANON — Fifty years after watching dozens of atom bombs explode as a young Navy engine man, Larry Wickizer uses a two-word phrase to describe himself and the others who share his past.

“Guinea pigs,” he says, looking out over a room of veterans gathered Thursday at American Legion Post No. 51 to observe the National Day of Atomic Remembrance.

Gray heads nod in agreement. Virtually all of them bore witness to the weapons tests conducted by the U.S. government in the North Pacific during the 1950s and 1960s

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/atomic_veterans_gather_to_reme.html