Yavapai Nation offers cultural tour of tribal lands

The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is offering a cultural heritage tour
through tribal lands.

Called “The Yavapai Experience,” the tour is being offered through one of
the nation’s commercial ventures, Fort McDowell Adventures.

Storytelling by real Elders

As part of the tour, a professional guide acts as a facilitator between
guests and tribal members. Visitors gather around a campfire to hear
stories about the tribe’s ancient culture, history and heritage from tribal
members who were born and raised on the ancestral land of the Fort McDowell
Yavapai Nation.

Guided Tour

The tour also includes a guided one-mile nature trail walk that depicts how
the Yavapai are connected to the Sonoran desert.

Sample authentic Yavapai food

Visitors can sample authentic Yavapai food with dishes including cabbage
stew and fry bread, and the tour also includes a question-and-answer
session to help visitors learn more about the nation.

The Fort McDowell Yavapai are one of three Yavapai Apache tribes in Arizona. The
nation has lived in central Arizona for thousands of years and in 1903 was
granted a 25,000-acre reservation 35 miles northeast of Phoenix.

The tour is available for groups of four or more. Costs vary. For more information, visit their website at FortMcDowellAdventures.com.

Update on 5 charged in unauthorized Makah whale hunt

AUTHOR: Claudia Rowe, Seattle PI Reporter

The five members of the Makah tribe who took it upon themselves to stage an illegal, unsanctioned whale hunt in the Strait of Juan de Fuca last September have now been formally charged on a number of offenses. Update on 5 charged in unauthorized Makah whale hunt »»

Native American Insult on the radio

To Whom it May Concern;

12:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day I was listening to my was favorite radio station WGRR here in Cincinnati when I heard the following re-broadcast from Chris and Janeen morning show.

“A teacher had sent out a letter to students stating that not all families celebrate Thanksgiving! Native American consider Thanksgiving as a day of mourning due to 500 years of repression.” Janeen made the comment that “They needed to get over themselves!” I was so offended I’m not sure what Chris’s next comment was but something to the effect of “Who (referring to the teacher) put something in his noodles!”

Native American Insult on the radio »»

Many Indians say, ‘no thanks’ to Thanksgiving

AUTHOR: Anju Kaur

Desiree Shelley’s family has observed Thanksgiving for generations, but
that doesn’t mean she doesn’t understand the protests of fellow Indians who

A native of Baltimore, Shelley has roots in the Monacan tribe of Virginia.
Her father is part Monacan, a tribe that was “Christianized” shortly after
the Jamestown colonization in the early 1600s, she said.

“Even if some American Indians celebrate (the holiday), there is a
prevailing feeling of hurt for a lot of people,” Shelley said. “We have all
been assimilated and colonized. We have lost our history, our language and
our culture. What do you expect?”

Many Indians say, ‘no thanks’ to Thanksgiving »»

Cherokee and Sioux courtship and wedding customs

Mailbag Question:

In the very near future, I am planning on asking a woman of mixed Sioux and Cherokee descent to marry me. Her family history is obscure but I would like to recognize her partial native american heritage by making a traditional request for her hand, if such a tradition exists. If you could point me in the proper direction, I would be apppreciative.

~Submitted by Jim M.

Cherokee and Sioux courtship and wedding customs »»

Navajos showcased on TV

Navajos showed up on three television channels simultaneously the last Sunday in October, and the spurt of Navajo celebrity isn’t over yet. Billy Luther’s documentary
Miss Navajo” aired Tuesday, Nov. 13, on PBS. And Elsa Johnson, a Navajo cultural consultant for the film and television
industry, recently
worked on an episode of Morgan Spurlock’s “30 Days” filmed on the
reservation, and said that show is set to run in January on FX.

Navajos showcased on TV »»

Five American Indian Artists to be exhibited in US Embassies

Norman Akers (Osage), Mario Martinez (Yaqui), Larry McNeil (Tlingit), Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (Flathead Salish) and Marie Watt (Seneca) — artists who often utilize traditional American Indians motifs in unexpected ways — were selected by the U.S. State Department and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian to have their work showcased overseas in U.S. embassies worldwide, introducing foreign audiences to the richness and variety of contemporary American Indian art.


The embassy-bound artworks, which were commissioned for the State Department’s Artists Becoming Ambassadors (ART) in Embassies program, were unveiled in Washington at a November 14 reception attended by the artists, first lady Laura Bush and other dignitaries.

Through the ART in Embassies Program, thousands of American artists, galleries and museums have lent paintings, sculptures and other original works of art for exhibition in U.S. ambassadorial residences.

All five artists explained how they approach their work.

Akers’ lithographic print ‘All Things Connected

Akers’ lithographic print All Things Connected features an elk encircled by an oval “halo” of bright yellow. The elk is superimposed on a pattern of bisecting lines, suggesting a road map. Other emblems — a spray of acorns, a blazing sun — evoke the artist’s connection to his tribal homeland. The elk and road map are “primary symbols” that represent a sense of place, according to Akers. “Both symbols assist us in defining that place where we belong,” he said.

“For many Native Americans, the experience of modern life creates a kaleidoscope of differing realities … where the boundaries of self and culture can be clearly defined or not so clear; where the past and present, tribal and Western cultures coexist,” said Akers. “My art mediates this experience for me: an experience that many Native people deal with.”


Martinez’s lithograph, ‘The Desert’


Martinez also creates images that explore the essence of place. His lithograph The Desert, The Yaquis and NYC features a smoky swirl that snakes across a series of straight lines, interspersed with elements from the natural world. The straight lines, said Martinez, are a reference to the cityscapes of New York and San Francisco, where he has homes. In Martinez’s vision, the Sonoran Desert, which gave birth to Yaqui cultural and spiritual traditions, becomes inextricably linked to the urban environment where he now lives — a reflection of the contrasting forces that have shaped his life.


McNeil’s lithograph ‘First Light, Winter Solstice’


McNeil’s lithograph First Light, Winter Solstice injects a dose of subversive humor into a familiar, iconic depiction of American Indians. He challenges the romanticized view of the so-called “vanishing race” popularized by photographer Edward Curtis, who chronicled Indian tribal life during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. McNeil provides a vivid turquoise backdrop, with a raven spreading its wings, to Curtis’s nostalgic sepia-toned photograph of Indians on horseback.

The raven is a hint that Curtis’s perspective might be skewed, because in Tinglit tribal mythology, the bird is “a poetic rascal” who “frequently amuses himself” by subliminally pointing out hidden truths, said McNeil. There is another hint, too: McNeil has added a dilapidated old car to the Curtis photograph, which he identifies as the sort of “rez car” frequently seen on tribal reservations.

“A rez car is often old and beat up, sometimes barely running,” he said. “Rez cars have become part of our identity. I am playing with the perception that Indians are only in the past and [I am] bringing them right into the present. If we can take outdated, stereotypical ideas and laugh about them, we can acknowledge that they are indeed a bit absurd and we can move on in a good way.”


Smith’s lithograph, ‘We Are All Knots in the Great Net of Life’


Smith’s art reaffirms “the Native philosophy that all life forms are connected,” she said. Her lithograph We Are All Knots in the Great Net of Life incorporates sketches of an American Indian man with an eagle feather in his hair, as well as wild animals, insects and a stalk of maize — as well as a spider’s web and a human skull, two reminders of life’s fragility. “This lithographic drawing is a symbolic microcosm of my life, but has analogies to the larger system on our planet,” she added.


Watt’s lithograph ‘Blanket Stories: Continuum (Book I/Book III)’


Watt — a conceptual artist known for her sculpture and mixed-media work — said she explores “human stories and rituals implicit in everyday objects.” Wool blankets, which are given away in American Indian communities to commemorate events such as births and marriages, are a recurring motif in her art.

Watt’s lithograph Blanket Stories: Continuum (Book I/Book III) creates a “blanket of words” — an interlacing of text written both horizontally and vertically, mimicking the warp and weft of a woven textile. The lithograph’s language “tapestry” reveals the “personal, social and cultural histories” embedded in ordinary household items, she said.

AUTHOR: Lauren Monsen,
USINFO Staff Writer

How many native americans have played major league baseball?


My son asked me if Jacoby Ellsbury is the first Native American in the majors. I could think of Chief Bender, Louis Sokalexis, Jim Thorpe, and Allie Reynolds, but I wondered where I could find a comprehensive list. And perhaps someone has written a book on the topic. Please help. Thank you.

~Submitted by Oz McConathy


In all, only forty-seven full blood Indians have played in the baseball major leagues since 1897.

Jacoby Ellsbury was the first Navajo to play in the major leagues and is one of the most recent baseball players with Indian ancestry. This Native American star in the making spent Spring Training in Red Sox Nation. Ellsbury, signed by Boston in the first round of the draft in 2005 as the 23rd overall pick, is a left-handed outfielder who competed for Oregon State University where he was the 2005 Pac-10 Conference Co-Player of the year and an All Academic Honorable Mention. Ellsbury was ranked as the fastest base runner and 3rd best defensive outfielder of eligible college players in Baseball America’s Best Tools Survey for 2005.

Ellsbury’s speed coupled with power to all fields, according to the Red Sox, most closely resembles Johnny Damon’s playing style and the hope is that he will at least spend part of the 2008 season at the major league level while becoming a regular starter in 2009.

While Ellsbury is only one-half Navajo, he is one of several players of native American descent now making a mark in the big leagues – another being Joba Chamberlain (Winnebago), a rookie reliever for the Yankees.

Right handed starting pitcher, Joba Chamberlain, was landed by the Yankees in the 2006 draft, signed as a supplemental first-round pick and 41st overall. Chamberlain is a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. After competing for two years for the University of Nebraska, having only started to play baseball as a senior in high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, Chamberlain led his team to the 2005 College World Series going 10-2 for the season with a 2.81 ERA.

Now 21, Chamberlain has been clocked with a 98-mph fastball and has been favorably compared by physique, delivery and his portfolio of pitches to Cleveland Indians pitcher, C.C. Sabathia.

Another recent former major leaguer, Bobby Madritsch (Lakota Sioux), pitched for the Seattle Mariners in 2004 and 2005 and was traded to the Kansas City Royals for the 2006 season. Madritsch was recovering at age 28 from reconstructive shoulder surgery when the Mariners signed him. Unfortunately, he re-injured his shoulder and tore his labrum in 2005 and the Royals eventually released him. He is now looking for a contract in the minor leagues.

The first American Indian who is believed to have competed in the major leagues was James Madison Toy, (1/2 Lakota Sioux), who played in the American Association League in 1887 as well as in 1890. Toy preceded Louis Sockalexis, the first officially acknowledged full-blood American Indian to play major league baseball.

Louis Sockalexis is usually credited with having been the first full-blood native american to play major league baseball.

He played for Cleveland from 1897-99, when they were the Cleveland Spiders.

Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox),is perhaps the best-known Native American player of the 20th century as he excelled in multiple sports. Jim Thorpe was an amazing athlete who won both the decathlon and the pentathlon in the 1912 Olympic Games by wide margins in Stockholm, but in 1913 an investigation by the Amateur Athletic Union showed that he had played semi-professional baseball in 1909 and 1910, which should have disqualified him from Olympic competition. He was subsequently deprived of his gold medals, which were reinstated after his death and given to his family in the 1980s. Thorpe later became a major league baseball player and then a pro football player.

From 1913 through 1919, Thorpe was an outfielder for the New York, Cincinnati (Ohio), and Boston baseball teams in the National League. He was more successful as one of the early stars of American professional football from 1919 through 1926. He spent two seasons (1922–23) with the Oorang Indians, whose owner attracted crowds by having Thorpe and his teammates dress up and perform “Indian” tricks before games and at halftime.

Jim Thorpe once hit three home runs into three different states in the same game.

How many native americans have played major league baseball? »»