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November 25, 2011

Indian Country in the News: Nov. 18 - Nov. 25, 2011

This week's news highlights include a story on the murder of an indigenous leader in Brazil, why the Tohono O'odham Nation is fighting drug traffickers, how the worst drought in Texas has yieled  surprising finds for anthropologists and archaeologists, and a new exhibition at Alcatraz marking the 1969 occupation of the island by American Indian activists:

  • BBC: Brazil indigenous Guarani leader Nisio Gomes killed - "An indigenous leader in southern Brazil has been shot dead in front of his community, campaigners say. Nisio Gomes, 59, was part of a Guarani Kaiowa group that returned to their ancestral land at the start of this month after being evicted by ranchers. He was killed by a group of up to 40 masked gunmen who burst into the camp, witnesses said. Land disputes between indigenous groups and ranchers are common in Mato Grosso do Sul State.
  • L.A. Times: Indian 'Shadow Wolves' stalk smugglers on Arizona reservation - "Kevin Carlos hates how the drug runners tramp through the ancient cemeteries and holy places he holds dear. That peak up there, he says, speeding toward the reservation's border with Mexico. That's where the creator lives. His name is I'itoi, the elder brother. He created the tribe out of wet clay after a summer rain. Tribe members still bring him offerings — shell bracelets, beargrass baskets and family photos — and leave them in his cave scooped out of the peak. But the drug smugglers don't know that. On their way to supply America's drug markets, they use these sacred hilltops as lookouts, water holes as toilets and the desert as a trash can."
  • Depleted Texas lakes expose ghost towns, graves - "Across the state of Texas, receding lakes have revealed a prehistoric skull, ancient tools, fossils and a small cemetery that appears to contain the graves of freed slaves. More than two dozen looters have been arrested at Lake Whitney, about 50 miles south of Fort Worth, for removing Native American tools and fossils that experts believe could be thousands of years old. At Lake Georgetown near Austin, fishermen discovered what experts determined was the skull of an American Indian buried for hundreds or thousands of years. Strict federal laws governing American Indian burial sites bar excavations to search for other remains.
  • SF Chronicle: American Indians get permanent exhibit at Alcatraz - "One of the demands during the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz was to create a cultural center. Forty years later, the former band practice room in the cellblock basement has been transformed into a multimedia exhibit of that 19-month occupation that many consider the birth of American Indian activism. The photos, videos and sound recordings were compiled by faculty and students at San Francisco State University and California State University East Bay and will become part of Alcatraz's permanent exhibit. Curators spent a year interviewing descendants of the late occupation leader Richard Oakes as well as those who followed him on a boat to occupy Alcatraz."

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