The nation’s first meat processing facility owned exclusively by a Native American tribe opened late last year in Quapaw, Oklahoma. The $5 plant processes beef and bison and is located about 185 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

The Quapaw Tribe is unique among Native American groups in its aggressive efforts to control its own food production. In addition to its new meat plant, this Native American group also owns and operates four greenhouses that nurture indigenous herbs and vegetables. The plants are pollinated by bees – also owned and managed by the tribe for honey.

If that’s not enough, the Quapaw Tribe has even delved into the coffee and beer business. They roast and process their own brand of java and now have a craft brewery.

It’s all part of a larger philosophy for this ancient Mississippi Valley tribe of First Americans who believe that no tribe is truly sovereign if it cannot control its own source of food. Furthermore, tribal members recognize the importance for Natives to eat food that are natural to their culture. Foods such as bison and locally grown plants make up the diet these people adapted to over thousands of years.

Despite the extraordinary efforts the Quapaw Tribe has made in growing food, the group has been largely frozen out of the same kind of benefit other farmers receive from the U.S. Department of Agriculture farm program.

The Tribe’s next goal is to garner more inclusive treatment from government agriculture support programs that white farmers already benefit from.

Devastating wildfires in Sonoma County last year have yielded an unexpected glimpse into the history of the Native American people who were the original dwellers of this beautiful region of California.

David Carrio, who happens to be a full-blooded member of the Coast Miwok, was inspecting his scorched property near the town of Glen Ellen when he spotted an object made from the black volcanic glass known as obsidian. It turns out the item was an ancient fashioned tool made by Carrio’s ancestors.

The fires that burned thousands of acres in this western portion of California have exposed numerous other Native American artifacts that might otherwise never have been found. In addition to showing up in the surface of the burned-out areas, crews cleaning up debris have found even more items.

Mr. Carrio is a member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria’s Sacred Sites Protection Committee. He is working with archaeologist Thomas Martin. The task is huge. Workers have collected 1.3 million tons of debris from Sonoma County alone. All of it must be inspected for possible artifacts.

One of the obsidian tools found has been dated to be some 11,000 years old. Archaeologist Martin said that such implements can be found all over Sonoma County because Native Americans occupied the region for thousands of years.

Officials are quick to point out that amateur relic hunters and curiosity seekers should refrain from exploring the area for souvenirs. It is illegal for private citizens to collect and keep historic Native American artifacts.

The Trump administration is planning to cut the food stamp (SNAP) program by 25 percent, replacing the cuts with “Harvest Boxes” containing items such as peanut butter, beans, pasta and powdered milk delivered to the home.

Native Americans have long been provided similar fare from the Department of Agriculture, and they are now trying to get away from it. The Food Distrbution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) was conceived as a low-cost alternative to food stamps for Native Amerians living on rural reservations lacking in supermarkets. It still serves 90,000 people and is run by the state and tribal leaders with funds from Washington.

A-dae Romero-Briones, an attorney raised on New Mexico’s Cochiti Reservation recalled “bad” boxes filled with items such as canned meat which reminded her of dog food and powdered milk. “It was like eating cereal with water. Tasting real milk was almost like candy to us.”

Valerie Blue Bird Jernigan of the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma adds, “If you talk to people like me who grew up solely on this stuff, you hear stories of ‘I never even tasted a pineapple or real spinach’ – you didn’t taste these foods until you got older. We would scrape together whatever commodities we had available to us.”

The effects of this food and the general American diet on Native American health has been profound. Prior to the FDPIR program, heart disease was almost non-existent in the Indian population, but now it is the number one killer. They also have the highest chance of developing diabetes of the various ethnic groups. Obesity is common. What is uncertain about the “Harvest Boxes” is whether they will be able to tailor the food to people with medical conditions such as diabetes.

Meanwhile, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma has access to seven FDPIR stores. The food includes fresh or frozen meat and fresh produce. There are lectures on healthy eating and recently 150 blenders and recipes were handed out to participants.

Society in the United States often supplies amazing contradictions. A practice hailed in one industry as social progress may receive castigation as the height of political incorrectness and hypocrisy in another context. Perhaps few topics illustrate this paradox more effectively than the treatment of Native American culture (and other racial and ethnic minorities) by Madison Avenue.

Even as the news media and millions of Americans hail the decision to retire Chief Wahoo as the logo of the Cleveland Indians, the press has applauded Hollywood’s dream factory for creating Black Panther as an innovative new superhero. The Huffington Post website carried a front page news story wondering “Are Black Americans Allowed in Wakanda?”

Will the motion picture industry, so well known for exploiting successful box office strategies over and over, soon develop a new Native American superhero, too? And does that concept smack a wee bit of racial stereotyping? (Probably not if more people choose to buy tickets to the film than desired to expend dollars on baseball games in Cleveland.)

While indeed some logos and racial depictions do deserve retirement, today even some images of traditional Native American activities have come under fire. In White River Junction, Vermont, Mascoma Bank recently opted to drop its logo. The image derived from a painting by artist Bernard Chapman. It depicts Chief Mascommah of the Abenaki Nation as he hunted for fish from a canoe. The Bank will search for a new logo during the next three years.

Located outside of Sante Fe New Mexico, The Institute of American Indian Arts has the first indigenous Master of Fine Arts program in the US. The program at IAIA is taught (mostly) by Natives, to Natives.

The goal of the IAIA program is to educate, to mentor and to launch a new style of Native literature by rejecting the conventional standards of white academic teaching. Many AIAI graduates move on to secure successful art careers. Teresa Marie Mailhot and Tommy Orange are the first graduates of The Institute of American Indian Arts who have returned to teach.

These Native American authors books were released within weeks of each other. Mailhot’s new memoir, Heart Berries was one of the most anticipated book releases of 2018. The book focuses on her life in the years between the foster care system and arriving at IAIA. Oranges book, There There tells the present-day story of twelve people gathered in Oakland for a powwow. Orange found himself in the middle of bidding war to publish his work that spanned several days.

Both authors were eager to finish and publish their works so they could return to teaching. At IAIA, students in he MFA program meet twice each year for intense eight-day sessions. This system makes it easier for those in the program to continue their education while raising families, working and living their lives. Successful artists returning to IAIA to share their knowledge and teach others seem to validate the success of the program.

Additional Sources:

On January 18, 2018, the National Museum of the American Indian opened a new exhibit entitled “Americans” that will run until 2022. The exhibit explores how the images of Native Americans has played an important part in American’s visual culture.

Critics have called the exhibit, “Bold. Visionary. A spectacular success.”.

The debate over the appropriateness of Native American imagery spans the whole of America’s cultural landscape. Examples include Land-O-Lakes Butter, the Indian Chief motorcycle, and the he mascots of countless professional, high school, and college sports teams, including the Chiefs, Braves, Redskins, Warriors, and Blackhawks, among others.

The purpose of the exhibit is to examine how Native Americans have been become part of America’s visual culture while simultaneously suffering at the hands of Americans.

Native Americans have often been portrayed as cartoons, with little real understanding of what their culture actual entails. Warriors riding over the horizon in full headdress, a ridiculously cumbersome costume for anyone who expects actual fighting, is one apt example.

The exhibit wants its viewers to think about who Native Americans truly are, not just the stereotypical plains Indian, stoically posing for a photograph in full ceremonial garb, but the people who are still here, living their lives among their fellow Americans.

Side exhibits deal with specific examples from Native American history, including the Trail of Tears, Little Bighorn, and Pocahontas. The Thanksgiving holiday, and what children are taught about the place and role of Native Americans, is also touched on.

The U.S. Mint has issued a new $1 coin featuring the image of Native American Olympic hero Jim Thorpe. He was a member of the Sac and Fox (Meswaki) Nation tribes that were the original dwellers of what today is Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

Thorpe was the first Native American to win Olympic gold. He triumphed in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon at games conducted in Sweden that year. Thorpe went on to play professional football.

Thorpe was later stripped on his Olympic medals on a technicality. It was determined that he had played two years as a paid professional athlete before the 1912 events. Back then only amateurs qualified as Olympic competitors. However, his medals were officially restored in 1983 by the International Olympic Committee.

In the small Pennsylvania town of Jim Thorpe, the Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank saw a sudden influx of customers stream in to purchase the new Jim Thorpe coin after it’s release on Feb. 15. The small city was formerly known as Mauch Chunk before being renamed in honor of the great American and Native athlete.

The new $1 Jim Thorpe coin joins other dollar coins honoring Native Americans. The Sacagawea coin was issued in 2000, and a coin honoring the Navajo “Code Talkers” of World War II was issued in 2016. A coin celebrating the Kahnawake Mohawk and Akwesasne Mohawk Iron Workers was released by the U.S. Mint in 2015.

The Native American themed coins have proved extremely popular with collectors.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is undergoing a major shift in its display of Native American artwork. Native American pieces are currently lumped together with pieces from Africa and Oceania. Meanwhile, “American” art is kept separate. The American wing of the MET contains colonial art and more modern works of art by American master artists.

In the fall of 2018, Native American art will be moved and displayed with the colonial and other American art in the American wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is where it rightly belongs. Yes, it is indigenous art, but it is also American art.

The move was made after many patrons from abroad had complained that the indigenous art from America was grouped in an entirely separate section from the rest of American art. In most other countries, indigenous art is found together with the more modern art of a country. This way, people can see the evolution of indigenous art all the way to the classical and contemporary masterpieces that we have today.

Another good move for Native American culture and art is that a benefactor has donated a significant collection of Native American art to be displayed for the new exhibits in the American wing. This will further help highlight the incredible works of art and culture that the indigenous Native Americans have. It will also share their story.

My thoughts on this are the following. I believe this is the right move and that patrons to the museum will like it. It makes sense chronologically and helps tell the story not only of our country but the indigenous people and culture that was present here.

Highland Capital Management, is a billion-dollar investment manager. It was founded in 1993 by Mark Okada and Jim Dondero; it operates across a variety of asset classes within the alternative landscape that include separate accounts, mutual funds, and ETFs.

Highland Capital Management in Dallas, Texas, continues to support George W. Bush presidential center through a $10 million endowment gift, that will help the Bush centers of public programs. This Capital Management will become the Sponsor presenting for the series called Engage at the Center, presented by Highland Management that brings in leaders, authors, and newsmakers to the Center for discussions and lectures whole through the year. Read this article at Dallas News.

This collaborated announcement was called out today by CEO of Bush Presidential Center Kenneth Hersh, and Jim Dondero, president, and co-founder of Highland Capital. Hersh commented that as a supporter of the Center, Highland Capital management has immensely helped the center become what it is today, and now through their outstanding gift, Highland will make a particular investment shortly.

In total Highland Capital has contributed in over $5 million to the Center, and helped fund the Bush Center facilities back in 2013, making them founding benefactors. Dondero also pointed out by how impressed they are by the Center’s influence nationwide and by how it impacts the community.

Highland is very proud to sponsor such work and be part of the Center’s long-term vision. James Dondero will join the executive advisory council of Bush Center president and CEO Kenneth. Learn more about Highland Capital at Affiliate Dork.

On Monday the 5th February, Highland Capital has an event. The series is mixed with a unique two-part program, admission will be free of charge, but guests are required to register. The evening will begin with a dialogue with Christopher Scalia, the late Antonin Scalia’s son. The second part of the evening will have a panel of experts discussing media landscape, and James Madison’s thought about it.

The event will have Jeffery Rosen, President, and CEO of the National Constitution Center and Amy Mitchell present. The popular Engage Series has attracted crowds and has been on the pillar of the Center’s agenda in 2015. Previous programs have shown a wide range of leaders and newsmakers.


On February 3, 2018, the Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits association held the largest powwow ever to celebrate transgender Native Americans. Native Americans use the term “two-spirit” to describe transgender, gay, and lesbian peoples in their culture. Prior to American colonization, Native American peoples viewed gender and sexuality as part of a continuum and recognized that there were masculine and feminine traits in all individuals. The patriarchal society that resulted from colonization impacted the way Native Americans viewed two-spirits. Presently, there is a movement within Native American culture to recognize and support two-spirit people. This San Francisco powwow was part of that initiative.

Several two-spirits spoke at the powwow, including Sheldon Raymore of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe. Raymore stated that two-spirits face oppression, violence, and stigma. Spider from the Tsalagihi Ayeli tribe said that in the past, two-spirits were considered to be healers, but in recent years, they were considered poison, and went into hiding. She encouraged two-spirit youth to just be themselves.

Ben Geboe, of the Yankton Sioux tribe stated that right now there are about 25,000 lawsuits against the United States government by Native tribes over land rights. Geboe said that Native people are constantly having to stand up, resist, and assert themselves. This powwow was part of a larger initiative of 562 Native American tribes in the US to preserve Native culture.