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April 20, 2012

Indian Country in the News: April 13 - April 20, 2012

This week's news highlights include a story exploring how climate change is impacting indigenous tribes in the Amazon; the intersection of drug law and religious freedom; the long-ranging effects of a federal settlement for $1 billion and an environmental award for a Inupiat tribal leader:

  • NatGeo: Traditional Slash and Burn Agriculture Sustainable Solution to Climate Change - "Climate change is the result of not behaving in the right way, according to the isolated Trio, an indigenous people living in Suriname’s Amazon forest near its border with Brazil. “They see climate change as big problem. They say their forests are changing, deteriorating,” said Gwendolyn Smith, a project director for the non-profit organization Amazon Conservation Team (ACT). ACT was launched by U.S. ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin and Costa Rican conservationist Liliana Madrigain Madrigal in 1996 to work with indigenous peoples in the rainforests of Suriname and elsewhere in the Amazon to retain their traditional knowledge."
  • Reuters: Religious Marijuana Lawsuit Gets New Life in 9th Cir. - "A Native American group will get its day in court, as the Ninth Circuit has revived part of a lawsuit that seeks permission to smoke marijuana for religious purposes. The Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii sued the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration after agents seized a $7,000 shipment of marijuana addressed to the church's founder in 2009, The Wall Street Journal reports. The church's lawsuit demanded the return of, or reimbursement for, the seized pot, which was intended for use during religious ceremonies. The church also sought a declaratory judgment affirming the legality of its members' religious marijuana use."
  • NPR: Idaho Tribes Part Of Billion Dollar Settlement But There's More Than Money - "A landmark settlement announced this week between the federal government and Native American tribes is expected to have long-term effects beyond the $1 billion in the agreement. Three Idaho tribes are part of the deal, the Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, and Shoshone-Bannock. Forty-one tribes filed lawsuits alleging the federal government mismanaged tribal accounts for generations. The accounts held decades of royalties on timber, farming, grazing and other leases on land held in trust for the tribes. Fletcher teaches indigenous law at Michigan State University. He says the $1 billion settlement goes a long way to address non-financial debts as well."
  • Inupiat tribal leader wins prize for opposing offshore drilling - "Her father was a Point Hope whaling captain. Her mother taught her how to butcher the bowhead and care for the meat. The family depended on the sea and land for so much. Caroline Cannon's lifelong connection to the Arctic Ocean pushed her to become one of the state's most vocal opponents of offshore oil drilling. Now, just as Shell Oil is poised to drill exploration wells off Alaska's northern coast, her advocacy has won her a coveted environmental award. Cannon, an Inupiat mother of nine and grandmother of 26, is one of this year's winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize, described as the world's biggest for grassroots environmentalists."

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April 17, 2012

Mother Earth in Crisis: A Moment of Reflection

In the Film and Video Center, we often find that an image is worth far more than a thousand words. And when words and images come together, they can reach the mind and touch the heart in ways that mere words never could. This is especially true when it comes to climate change.

In the spring of 2011, the Film and Video Center held its Native American Film + Video Festival, which included a special program entitled Mother Earth in Crisis. This program began with an evening screening of Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, a film that looks at the impact of warming temperatures in the Arctic. The screening was followed by a conversation with the filmmakers, including Zacharias Kunuk (Inuit), who took part via Skype from Igloolik, Nunavut, northern Canada.

The second part of Mother Earth in Crisis was a day of films and panel discussions with a focus on rivers. Throughout the program, we saw how industrial development is endangering the Earth’s rivers and glaciers. We heard warnings from all parts of the Americas about the effects of climate change on indigenous communities, as well as calls to action to protect our Mother Earth. 

This video is a compilation of footage from both parts of Mother Earth in Crisis. We hope it will get you thinking about, and involved in, the problems facing our Mother Earth in the 21st century. Just as the festival was a hemispheric event, this video contains both English and Spanish speakers.

In Spanish and English. Use the CC button at the bottom of the video to switch between language and closed caption tracks.  

 

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Truly scary; thank yoiu for this post. Check out the documentary 11:th hour for the, probably, most scary information existing on this whole global warming issue..

The video preaches to the choir. I doubt whether this video will change anyone's mind. If you didn't begin the video agreeing with the point of view expressed, there is no point of contact with anyone with a different view.

The climate changes are becoming more evident, sea level rise already affects apequeñas Polynesian islands, rising temperatures on earth, variation of temperature with the consequent damage to the flora and fauna.
What we do to stop it?
To date very little, we're playing with fire and can end in disaster, economic interests are above the interests of the Earth and that can not go on like this.
All the signals we send the Earth scientists have recognized that many other scientists are determined to deny them what is happening? We gone mad?
Save the Earth

It sure gave me shivers. Can’t help feeling sad of how far we have come, how many things we have accomplished and how difficult we find it to open our eyes and realize that we have crossed a line that we may never be able to fix.
We will give to our children a world that our generation and our past generations have destroyed… Very well said and, unfortunately, so true.

The second part of Mother Earth in Crisis was a day of films and panel discussions with a focus on rivers. Throughout the program, we saw how industrial development is endangering the Earth’s rivers and glaciers. We heard warnings from all parts of the Americas about the effects of climate change on indigenous communities, as well as calls to action to protect our Mother Earth.

Mother Earth is certainly in Crisis. From global warming to other pollutants in the atmosphere and our water system, I have seen the growth of the earth go from 1B to now 5 and I am only 55 years old.
What will happen to our childern's children in 110 years?

Climate change or not, our planet changes and I think we have very little impact on what really goes on in the core of our planet. Dinosaurs are no longer our reality and it was not because of pollution that change occurred.

Wow thats so sad you can always count on humans to mess the world up we are the worst plague ever to inhabit the earth.

The main reason i feel for the above is global warming. There has been no stringent control on the emissions. May be a better understanding and global mindset of the people should make things better

Lovely Updates

@ Michelle

Yes I agree indigenous communities have to pay for the fat cats mistakes.

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This is really scary stuff! We're playing with fire and can end in disaster, economic interests are above the interests of the Earth and that can not go on like this.

It sure gave me shivers. Can’t help feeling sad of how far we have come, how many things we have accomplished and how difficult we find it to open our eyes and realize that we have crossed a line that we may never be able to fix.

One of the main reason for this kind of pollution and situation is Global warming.World is changing day be day.It is not like the same when i was born as a baby and now i am.We need to care for the future generation.The big authorities should not do anykind of thing which will just spoil the environment.The emission from the industrial radiation is another main cause which is making the ozone layer very thin and in some cases it is broken.We need to care all those.

great film, hy heart is sad looking any fish death, any people lost healthy.
it not crisis spanish, but world crisis..
in my country climate change have been destroy any people with disease...
we can stop it

Made me cry. Thanks for your effort in producing and making this video available.

H,

I am a people of central Vietnam, to see a lot of years of climate change, which is rain storms, wind, tornado, ... Damage, very heavy losses on the economic and human.
Hopefully the future people will control the natural phenomena and reduce the consequences of climate change caused

It is difficult to find a solution, in a world where everyone wants to be big and rich, our world as such is not important. Humans react only when you have the danger knocking at his door, hopefully not too late.

Marg

I hope the mother earth will free from pollution in the future, i know that's hard way as long as the human don't care about future generation.

We can not be the cause of our own destruction. Technology advances by leaps large, we can find a solution to the problem. In fact we are the only ones who can change the land where you are going now. I pledge to be part of the change and leave this world better than I found it.

Rafael

I agree with @ Funkylin

Yeah is true we are playing with an fire and it can end with an disaster at any moment of life.
Koh Tao Villa

Nice video from Mother Earl crisis...greetings from Spain

Camisetas Personalizadas

pemutihwajah.us ! To secure world is a task not only scientists but all the people who live on this earth. Climate change is caused as a result of the earth's climate is already unbalanced because many disorders of human life itself that is more about economics and prosperity rather than keeping the earth is still good. That there are those who are able to exploit the natural resources of the earth are racing to ruin this earth to be more miserable again. Let's save the planet

this is scary posting, but we can learn for this and prepare what should we do for our earth, next.

One of the main reason for this kind of pollution and situation is Global warming.World is changing day be day.It is not like the same when i was born as a baby and now i am.We need to care for the future generation.The big authorities should not do anykind of thing which will just spoil the environment.The emission from the industrial radiation is another main cause which is making the ozone layer very thin and in some cases it is broken.We need to care all those.

That is such a sad, eye opening documentary. When will the rest of the world wake up and realize we can't go on like this forever. So sad.

We as humans should really think about our carbon footprints to save the current crisis!

There is pollution in everything, we human never think about polluting. only we are responsible for this

Thanks for your nice post . I hope I will see this type of post again.

nice share. i like this

Thanks for sharing fabulous information.It' s my pleasure to read it.I have also bookmarked you for checking out new posts To date very little, we're playing with fire and can end in disaster, economic interests are above the interests of the Earth and that can not go on like this.All the signals we send the Earth scientists have recognized that many other scientists are determined to deny them what is happening? We gone mad?
Save the Earth

April 05, 2012

Conservator's Challenge: Faux-Fur Trim for Athabaskan Mittens

As a graduate intern in the NMAI's conservation department, I recently had the privilege of making an unusual repair to the fur trim on a pair of Athabaskan mittens (object no. 25/5333). Gwich'in artist Leah Roberts made the mittens in Fort Yukon, Alaska, in 1983 using tanned moose hide, glass beads, beaver fur, nylon thread, and acrylic fabric and yarn. They were part of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board Collection, Department of the Interior, transferred to the NMAI collections in 2000.

The mittens were chosen for exhibition at the museum in Washington because they are a beautiful example of Athabaskan design and craftsmanship. Sadly, the fur trim was damaged by webbing clothes moth larvae, which are notorious for eating protein-based clothing like wool coats, wool sweaters, and fur. In this case, larvae had eaten right down to the skin, as you can see on the bottom of the left mitten. Areas of complete fur loss were the biggest issue in displaying the mittens, and it was my job to create a faux-fur fill that could be placed in the areas of missing fur so that museum visitors could appreciate the overall look of the mittens. In keeping with conservation practices, I used materials that have excellent aging properties and applied the fills in a manner that can be removed fairly easily, just in case that is ever necessary. 

Athabaskan mittens
The mittens before conservation treatment. 

I began the conservation treatment by thoroughly documenting the construction and condition of the mittens with photographs and a written report. Then I carefully removed dust and insect debris by vacuuming. In the process, I collected loose pieces of fur that were detached and scattered around the surface of the mittens.  I was able to integrate this fur into the fills that I made. 

Athabaskan mittens
Reducing dust and debris with a low-suction vacuum. The vacuum nozzle was custom-made with a plastic pipette.  

There wasn't enough loose beaver fur to fill all the losses, so I custom-dyed wool roving with acid dyes, mixing red, yellow, and blue dyes in an attempt to match the brown color of the beaver fur. Although my color mixtures were slightly off—one was too red, the other too green—I was successful in using wool carders to blend the dyed fibers by hand  until I had a nearly perfect match. 

Carders and wool
Wool hand-carders at top. Custom-dyed wool on the lower right and left with blended wool (the best color match) in between. 

Following the lead of NMAI conservator Kelly McHugh, who treated a similar pair of Athabaskan mittens, I made faux-fur by attaching the wool fibers and loose pieces of beaver fur to an archival support. The technique is based on methods described by Hodson, Maile-Moskowitz, and Heald in the poster Hole-istic Compensation: Needle-felted In-fills for Losses in Wool. I used a barbed felting needle to punch the fiber ends into a nonwoven polyester fabric, turned the fabric over, and felted the fiber ends a little bit on the back to make sure that they wouldn’t fall out. Here is a video of the needle-felting process

This image shows my set up and me. You can see that I was felting over a piece of polyurethane foam that could withstand the vigorous punching that is part of the needle-felting process.

Conservator Rebecca Summerhour
Rebecca Summerour, graduate intern, in the process of needle-felting faux-fur. The Athabaskan mittens being conserved are partially covered on the table. Photo by Lauren Horelick.

This is a detail image of a patch in progress. The top left edge of the patch is filled with loose beaver fur, while the bottom and right sections are sheep wool. You can see that the beaver fur looks best, but the sheep wool is a pretty good match too.

Conservation in progress
Detail of a patch in progess, with both beaver fur and wool inserted in the polyester support. 

After inserting the fiber in the polyester support, I cut the top edge of the support to the shape of the loss and attached thin strips of an archival thermoplastic adhesive to the top edge of the patch with a heated spatula. You can see the shiny adhesive strips, as well as the texture of the felted fiber ends, in this image of the reverse of one of the faux-fur patches.

Placement of adhesive strips
Detail of the reverse of a patch. The shiny areas are the adhesive along the top edge.

I heat-set the adhesive film to the exposed leather in the mitten trim using an electric spatula on low heat. As you can see in the picture below, I introduced heat from the front and protected the fur from the spatula using a polyester barrier. The fibers needed to be fluffed a little after activating the adhesive in this way. 

Activating the adhesive
Securing the fill in the loss by heat-activating the adhesive film with a warm spatula. 

In order to make the patches more easily reversible, only the top edges were attached using adhesive. I secured the bottom edges by folding them around the bottom of the cuff and stitching the support fabric along the seam between the fur cuff and yellow lining fabric. 

Carefully stitching the edge
Securing the bottom edge of a faux-fur fill with cotton thread using a curved needle. The patch is pinned in place with thin insect pins. 

I made a total of three patches, two on the front of the mittens and one on the back. Now museum visitors can appreciate the beauty of these mittens in a state that is much closer to the way Leah Roberts intended them to look.  

Mittens before and after

Above: Details of mitten trim before (top) and after (bottom) conservation treatment.  
Below:  The conserved mittens (left) on display.

255333_000_Blog_11

The mittens are currently on display outside the Lelawi Theater on the 4th floor of the museum on the National Mall, along with a Tlingit model totem pole, a Yup'ik mask, and three Alutiiq ceremonial paddles.

—Rebecca Summerour, NMAI conservation intern

Rebecca Summerour is a graduate student in the Art Conservation Program at SUNY Buffalo State. She is currently completing her 3rd and final year of graduate school as an intern in textile and object conservation at the NMAI. 

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I was always curious about how this stuff is made. So this was a really useful post!

Thank you!
Radu (also known as Dr Drum)


I really like this post! It's nice to see how they make stuff like this. It's difficult work i think.

Greetings,

Mara

Thank you very much for taking the time to put this conservation technique online. The repair blended well with the original fur and allowed the gloves to be exhibited without destracting losses.

Conservation technique, great article. it really is very useful for my work. thank you for sharing.