Think Fashion Week is just Armani on the catwalk? Think again. The Smithsonian Museum’s National Museum of the Native American is hosting its own, culturally-inspired fashion exhibit until September 4th.

 

The Native Fashion Now exhibit features modern dresses, accessories, even a skateboard, all designed by talented tribal artists whose vision of fashion transcends history and time.The designs blend traditional American Indian artwork and media with modern fabrics and tailored haute couture.

 

Among the featured pieces are silver mylar dresses trimmed in fox fur and adorned with eagle feathers. In another display, a pair of high-heeled women’s boots boast an intricate pattern of beadwork. An Apache warrior edifies a skateboard, a stunning runway-worthy dress of silk and organza also dons porcupine quills, feathers, and shells, and a 21st-century headdress spirals around a fashionista’s head.

 

The show was the inspiration of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and the culmination of the efforts of museum curators, tribal advocates, and a mix of local and international indigenous artists. The intention is to try to change the paradigm of how we see the American Indian in modern context.

 

“We wanted people to see that Native designers are not just subjects but participants in the field of fashion,” said Kathleen Ash-Milby, one of the museum’s associate curators.

 

Native Fashion Now is located in the New York location of the Smithsonian’s American Indian museums, in the Heye Center. Check the museum’s website calendar for upcoming events; some relevant lectures and special demonstrations are scheduled alongside the fashion exhibit.

 

Vincent Parascandola attended the Xaverian High School before joining Pace University’s Lubin School of Business where he later went back to in order to become a Key Note Speaker at the Pace University Commencement in the year of 2014. After achieving his Bachelor of Science in the area of Computer Science.

After college Vincent Parascandola started up in the Irving Trust Company as their Systems Analyst from the year of 1986 through till the year of 1988. Next he moved on to become an agent for Prudential Insurance where he stayed for two more years before again moving on, this time to work at The MONY Group, this time as a Financial Professional. Staying in that position for three years before being promoted into the position of Sales Manager of The MONY Group, Vincent Parascandola worked long and hard, dedicating all of himself to the company. His devotion paid off, because in 1996 Parascandola was promoted yet again, this time into the role of Managing Director where he stood for another two years before being awarded one of his greatest honors through being promoted for a final time and offered highly impressive amounts of power through the new title of Field Vice President and all the outstanding responsibilities and opportunities that came along with the promotion that he was given for all of his amazing hard work.

Since leaving The MONY Group Vincent Parascandola has worked primarily with AXA Equitable. He started off as the company’s Executive Vice President and gradually moved up over time to different and more powerful positions within the company. In January of the year 2008, after having worked as AXA Equitable’s Executive Vice President for nearly three years, Parascandola went on to take up the position of President over the Advantage Group and then later on after a year in that position, he left to accept the promotion offered ti him about becoming the President of the Continental Division. After three years and six months he adopted the position of Chief Sales Officer before leaving both of those positions, becoming the Senior Executive Vice President.

 

When Doe Deere walks into a room, you can’t help but notice her. Her hair is usually in a shocking shade of pink, green or blue, and she’s wearing makeup in vibrant hues like burgundy or black. Deere is the founder of Lime Crime, a vegan and cruelty-free makeup line that has been getting lots of buzz in recent years. She also has a unique success story and great advice for young women who are looking to build their own businesses.

 

Doe Deere was born in Russia and moved to New York City when she was 17. She says that while her formative years were in Russia, she also feels that she did a lot of growing up in NYC before moving to Los Angeles. Deere also shares that she’s always been ambitious and imaginative. She even started her own temporary tattoo business at just 13, and says that she was successful because she knew how to make her product trendy and appealing. These traits are the same ones she’s used to make Lime Crime a success.

 

Deere also spent time as a musician while in NYC, and says that this helped her to market herself effectively and gave her more boldness and confidence as an entrepreneur. She says that younger women should follow their hearts when it comes to business. Deere encourages everyone to figure out what their talents and gifts are and tune into those things. Deere shares that it’s best to work hard in an area of interest, because this will provide more motivation to be successful. Doe also warns that it’s best for young women not to let others sway their professional decisions if it goes against their intuition.

 

She asserts that her love and passion for makeup and looking great led her to create Lime Crime, even though there were people who were skeptical about her business moves. The Lime Crime website also features a number of her customers modeling her cosmetics. She wants to display the fact that different people wear the makeup in different ways, and Lime Crime products are designed with the individuality of customers in mind.

 

Deere hopes to continue growing her business and adding products that will spark the creativity of her customers. She hopes that by continuing the follow her dreams, she will inspire others to do the same.

 

For more details, visit www.doedeere.com.

 

 

Bears Ears is a sacred Native American region in southeastern Utah. According to NPR, up to 20,000 Natives of various tribes live within 45 minutes of Bears Ears. In 2010, the Navajo tribal council of southeastern Utah began mapping the area’s many secret sites and locations, documenting where medicine men foraged for healing plants and wild foods. As the land has been sacred to many tribes for thousands of years, the tribal council wanted it protected. Before leaving office, President Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument, legislation that protects 1.3 million acres of land. Still, despite President Obama’s attempt to safeguard Bears Ears, it’s still threatened. Fossil fuel interests and politics are gathering like a black cloud over Bears Ears. Will President Trump reverse Obama’s order, or will Congress transfer federal lands to states and private owners, making Obama’s legislation obsolete?

 

Not everyone in Utah sees Bears Ears as a sacred tribal place. Republicans value the region for its energy-extraction and mineral potential. In other words, conservation doesn’t make any money. Meanwhile, local farmers value the surrounding land for its ranching potential. Almost half of the land in the West is federally owned, a fact that’s sparked discord and public outrage in many communities.

 

Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company, has teamed up with Google to help save Bears Ears from exploitation and political gain. The companies joined forced to develop “This is Bears Ears National Monument,” 10 short films that tell the stories of the area’s tribal leaders. It’s described as an “interactive film experience” that incorporates Google’s 360 degree technology. It allows you to explore the region without really being there. The film is designed to raise awareness and shine a light on a sacred tribal area that deserves protection.

 

Native Americans kicked off a four-day protest against the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline on March 7, 2017. They will camp out in front of the National Mall for the next four days. They are also planning on lobbying lawmakers in order to protect the rights of their tribe. Dave Archambault is the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioxx Tribe. He stated that it is imperative that we stand against injustice.

 

On Friday, March 10, 2017, the Army Corps of Engineers will lead a rally in Washington D.C. They are expecting thousands of people to show up. The White House has not released a comment yet. A federal judge in Washington will weigh the requests of the Cheyenne River Sioxx and the Standing Rock. They are hoping that the judge will stop the construction of the last part of the Dakota Access pipeline.

 

The reason that the Native American tribes are against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is because it will pass under Lake Oahe. This is a large river in Missouri. The pipeline will threaten religious rights, sacred sites and water supply. The judge is expected to make his ruling at the end of the week.

 

Dallas Goldtooth is an organizer who works for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He has stated that the right against the Dakota Access Pipeline has been at the top of the their priority list. He also stated that they are calling on Donald Trump and the United States to protect the rights of indigenous cultures.

 

Recently, United Nation representative Victoria Tauli-Corpuz made critical statements on how the United States government’s use of excessive force on Standing Rock activists reflects the country’s continued mistreatment of Native people. In her statement, Tauli-Corpuz claims that the government is robbing Native people of their entitlement to tribal lands based on the drive for acquisition of power.

 

Tauli-Corpuz gave this address at a press conference after being invited to speak by the Obama administration. Clashes between tribes and the U.S. government over the Dakota Access pipeline illustrate, in Tauli Corpuz’s opinion, the incredibly disjointed communication system the government has with tribal council leaders.

 

In a statement to Buzzfeed, chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon, expressed the idea that having to be called out by a UN Special Rapporteur on how it is handling communication with and treatment of Native people is an “international embarrassment” for the United States government.

 

Tauli-Corpuz has visited with a wide array of tribes in the west and southwest portions of the nation and has broached the subjected of the Dakota Access Pipeline with Major General Donald Jackson, Jr. and North Dakota Senator John Hoeven. She has also cited her immense concern over the Trump administration’s executive orders to speed up the process of building the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline but has hope that these decisions will be rescinded.

 

Unfortunately, on February 7, 2017 the U.S. Army reversed its decision to conduct an extensive environmental survey of the land before commencing construction. They received permission to start drilling that day, something Lhamon sees as extremely problematic. It appears that the Trump administration will continue, and possibly even deepen, the trend of the U.S. government failing to effectively communicate with and be sympathetic to the issues faced by Native American tribal communities.

 

According to a report in the Duluth News Tribune, the number of Native American students who are successfully graduating in Duluth, MN is rising. The article interviewed a young man from the Chippewa tribe who was accepted to a welding program in the local community college. He tells the newspaper that his diploma brings a sense of pride to him and his family.

 

Just last year, says the article, the rate of Native American graduation for the Duluth school district was at 71%, which was nearly 20% more than the Minnesota state average. Educators hope this will be a growing trend, since rates are so low nationally, reports US News and World Report.com. There is a special educational program in a Cloquet high school that was highlighted. One of the mentors, Shirley Miner, says that their program’s main goal is for natives to rebuild trust in the national educational system.

 

Their ancestors had to suffer a lot through the years in order to pave the way for future generations, she explains to her young students. When the country was first settled, there were many conflicts between white leaders and indigenous cultures. When these tribes were brutally conquered and forced onto reservations, their young people were forced into boarding schools that stripped them of their cultural identities, the article says. The distrust has been a generational feeling that has affected young Native Americans and their education.

 

When various people were interviewed for the article, they credited the positive changes to Native American school employees, special scholarships, and intercultural education in the schools. In the city of Cloquet, the board of education stays close with tribal groups, including the Anishinaabe and Fond du Lac. The community works together for the students’ success.

 

Teresa Angell, director of the city’s Native American Education program, told the newspaper that they are being even more proactive this year. She and her colleagues pay close attention to student grades and attendance. They stay in contact with students and their parents and identify problems. These issues are confronted in a positive manner, to keep students encouraged in their education, states the article.

 

Credit was also given to hardworking students who get their core development in elementary school. With more Native Americans graduating, more can attend college and work in the careers they want, the article says.

 

Native American students attending San Diego State University are seeking to change the school’s mascot and replace it with a culturally appropriate symbol. According to a report by Allyson Myers of student newspaper the Daily Aztec, the Native American Student Alliance hosted a discussion in February about the current mascot, an Aztec warrior, which they feel represents a painful period of California history.

 

The meeting was attended by approximately 40 students and faculty members who watched a presentation about the Spanish colonial period of San Diego, during which more than 100,000 Native Americans perished in a genocide carried out by the conquistadors. After the presentation, those in attendance were reminded of the 2005 policy implemented by the National Collegiate Athletic Association with regard to mascots used in college athletics and tournaments. In essence, universities are prohibited from choosing mascots that can be considered hostile or abusive in terms of ethnicity or national origin.

 

The Spanish Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcalá was the first established in California. The students feel that the violence perpetrated against Native Americans by the Spanish missionaries is not something that should be honored or remembered with a college mascot. The Spanish colonial history of San Diego is already remembered by the architectural style of the campus.

 

Furthermore, the students explained that SDSU does not sit on Aztec land. The mascot is more suitable for Mexican universities because the Aztecs are not Native Americans. The SDSU campus was actually built on land that once belonged to the Kumeyaay people; this tribe has been in San Diego for more than 10,000 years.

 

Days after the meeting, the students presented an official statement to the university’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Outreach. At this time, no alternative mascots have been proposed.

 

Most Americans never really stop to think what exactly makes somebody a Native American. Most people believe you simply need to have a parent who is a Native American. This isn’t the case. At least, that is what some people are quickly learning in Washington State.

 

To find an example, you don’t have to look any further than Terry St. Germain. In 2012, he decided to enroll his five young children as members of the Nooksack. This is a federally recognized Native American tribe, and yes, you actually have to be registered with the tribe to count. Located in the northwest corner of Washington State, the Nooksack have about 2,000 members.

 

St. Germain became registered with the tribe as a teenager. He didn’t foresee any problems getting his own children registered. Unfortunately, Bob Kelly, the chairman of the Nooksack tribal council, denied the request. He said there were problems with the ancestors St. Germain claimed. St, Germain’s brother, Rudy, previously served as Kelly’s secretary. The application denial destroyed Rudy’s faith in Kelly, and the denial threatens to change everything for St. Germain and his family.

 

Bob Kelly sees himself as preserving the true identity of the Nooksack. He explains how being a Native American isn’t a game, and making sure members of the tribe truly belong is about protecting Native American culture. However, for those left out of the tribe, a host of federal benefits and rights are jeopardized. These Native Americans also have no place else to go for their heritage. The rejection shatters souls.

 

Imagine a panel that could determine if you were truly gay, Asian, or African-American. It would be chilling. This is what Native Americans sometimes face with their own cultural identity. It’s far time average Americans started paying attention to this struggle Native Americans face in their lives.

 

Updated Story 3/22/17:
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Updated Story 12/12/16:
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