My Two Beads Worth

My Two Beads Worth is an online, American Indian/Indigenous news ezine that has been online since 2000. Due to illness, I have found it a little easier to use a blog than to create a webpage due to my inability to keep long hours. So, for the time being, I will be using the blog and later on, all the information will be transferred to the website. Thank you for your understanding.

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Location: Hiram, Maine, United States

I am 55 years old and have been married for 31 years. We have one son, Michael who is 24 - 3 dogs, our two little Pomeranians, Frankie and Tommy and our old lovable Beagle, Buddy. We live in a very rural area on a small mountain in the foothills of the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I am physically disabled due to several health issues and so I created My Two Beads Worth so I can remain active and involved in native issues. It is strictly non-profit, I do all the work myself and cover all expenses involved in getting the publication out online. I also have my own personal website which I enjoy working on too - when I have time, which there isn't much of that left over. I love life and want to live it as fully as I possibly can.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mack Johnson, Truckee Meadows Community College student sits by his web site in the graphics lab Wednesday at TMCC. Johnson will graduate today with an associate of applied science degree in graphic communication. (LIZ MARGERUM/RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL)

Adversity can't stop some students
Lenita Powers (LPOWERS@RGJ.COM)

People give a lot of reasons for not earning a college degree, but no obstacle seemed great enough to keep Stacey Murray and Mack Johnson from realizing that dream today.

Murray was just a senior in high school when she became pregnant and her family was evicted from its Reno home. Then, just before she graduated in 2001, her stepmother died of cancer.

Johnson was driving drunk when his car plunged off a 300-foot cliff, paralyzing him from the neck down.
But today, Murray and Johnson will receive their associate of applied science degrees in graphic communications during graduation at Truckee Meadows Community College.

Murray, 23, said the birth of her now 5-year-old son Trevor and getting the state-funded $10,000 Millennium Scholarship motivated her to go to college.

"I have a tattoo on my back that I got when I was 18 after my stepmother died," she said. "It says, 'Today,' to remind me that every day is what we make it."

Going to college at nights and studying for classes while holding several part-time jobs wasn't easy, Murray admits. Nor was growing up in a household where drugs and alcohol caused turmoil.

"There are times when you just want to give up," she said. "Everybody goes through it, but I did a lot of what I had to for my son because I knew our lives wouldn't get better otherwise."

Paralyzed when he was 23, Johnson went through a Reno rehabilitation program several years after his accident to overcome an addiction to drugs and alcohol. He started starting taking classes at TMCC in 1996.
"I always thought the worst part is not just when you give up on yourself, but that when you give up on yourself, it affects your family and society as well," said Johnson, 45, the divorced father of two grown children and grandfather of two.

"We can't have enough good people in this world, educated people, smart people," he said.

Lee Geldmacher, manager of TMCC's disability resource center, got to know Johnson as a student who used the services at the center and Murray as a student worker who helped fellow disabled students by taking notes in class for them.

"Mack is a very special man, and his artwork is phenomenal," she said of his watercolors and pastels depicting American Indians, landscapes and other subjects. "He does it by using a brush in his mouth."

Johnson also is an advocate for people with disabilities and speaks to high school students and other groups about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, Geldmacher said.

"He's just a wonderful man and a true inspiration to others that you can reach your goals if you just try," she said. "I have no doubt he'll find a satisfying career and make a contribution to the world."

Murray makes raku ceramic pieces, paints in oils and pastels and is a photographer.

She won the regional Student Gold ADDY award from the American Advertising Federation for the computer illustrations she designed as part of her course work at TMCC. She'll be competing in the national competition next month in San Francisco.

"Stacey is equally talented, and she's another example of somebody who is tenacious and refuses to give up," Geldmacher said. "She's a single parent, and she has had some real barriers to overcome to graduate.
"We've been touched by both of them," she said of Murray and Johnson. "I'm so proud that they're graduating."

Chief Polin's death, 250 years of legend

Chief Polin's death, 250 years of legend

By Douglas Wright Staff Writer

WINDHAM (May 19): It’s been 250 years since the day Stephen Manchester fired the famous shot that felled Chief Polin, an American Indian chief and adversary of the original Windham settlement known as New Marblehead.

The musket shot made Manchester a hero to be later immortalized in history books as the man who brought to an end the conflict between native tribes and Windham settlers back in 1756.

And as this historic milestone passes, details of Polin’s life remain scarce, though many locals have theories about where the old chief is buried.
Competing histories and legends paint different pictures of what life was like in the frontier wilderness of Windham and what led to the final battle between Polin's tribe and the white Windham settlers.

In the book “Windham in the Past,” author Samuel Dole describes in dramatic detail what transpired that fateful day on May 14, 1756.
After years of war between frontier settlers and native tribes, Chief Polin led a secret raid on the Windham settlement.

This raid was believed to be an act of vengeance by Chief Polin who had protested years before that the settlers were damming the Presumpcot River and preventing salmon from migrating the river.

Polin led a band of warriors down the Presumpscot, hid their canoes in the trees and snuck in on the settlement near present-day Anderson Road.

Years of war with native tribes had forced the settlers to form a stockade around houses there and kept the settlers on constant alert against these raids.

On May 14, 1756, a group of eight men escorted Mr. Ezra Brown as he ventured into his field to plant crops. Among them were settlers Steven Manchester, Abraham Anderson, Joseph Starling, John Farrow and four young boys, Dole describes.

The settlers were surprised by gunfire from Polin's raiding party concealed in the trees.

According to Dole's history, Polin shot at Anderson, but missed which revealed his position in the woods and led to his undoing.

“While attempting to reload in haste, Polin exposed his person to Stephen Manchester, who stood about 30 feet on Anderson’s right, waiting to fulfill the threat he made several months before, to kill Polin on sight," Dole wrote. "He instantly leveled his musket, took quick aim, pulled the trigger, and Polin, the most deadly and uncompromising enemy the white settlers in this vicinity ever had, fell to the ground, a mangled corpse.”
Polin’s men retreated and carried their chief’s body to the Presumpscot River in haste.

Legend has it that the men buried him on a riverbank near where the Presumpscot River flows out of Sebago Lake.

A century later, the chief's death was eulogized in a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, who wrote in "Funeral Tree of the Sokokis" that the chief in "tasseled garb of skins" with a "silver cross" on his chest was buried beneath a beech tree there.

Eugene Stuart, 75, of Standish, lives in his family’s ancestral homestead next to the Eel Weir Dam at the headwaters of the Presumpscot River.
The legend passed down by his family is that his great, great grandfather Capt. William Wescott discovered the bones of Chief Polin while working on the Cumberland Oxford Canal during the early 1800s. And Wescott brought them back home and kept them in the knee-high attic of the house.

“Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve heard people speak of the skeletal remains of Chief Polin being in this house,” Stuart said. “So the story goes, the wife of William Wescott thought it was bad luck to have the bones in the house."

A short walk along a stonewall at the edge of his family's farm, Stuart points to a cluster of pine trees where his ancestor is rumored to have buried Chief Polin's bones.

But before Wescott buried the bones, he had them inspected by a medical examiner from Boston. This medical examiner, as legend has it, determined by the large skull and shin bone that the skeleton belong to an unusually large man, more than six feet tall.

This description matches what historians have since written about Chief Polin.

Al Morrison, of Raymond, a retired anthropology professor who’s extensively researched the American Indian tribes of the region, said Polin's great physical characteristics might have led to his stature as tribal chief.

“Any great physical attribute was considered as a supernatural endowment,” Morrison said. “If indeed he had a huge jaw, he may have been looked at as having somewhat shaman powers."

Chief Polin was most likely the leader of a tribe of Wabanaki American Indians who roamed the Lakes Region from the Presumpscot River all the way up to Fryeburg, Morrison said.

Through the seasons, the tribe lived off the lakes or moved downstream on the Presumpscot River where, in the 1700s, several settlements began to be established before becoming the townships of Windham, Westbrook and Gorham.

Conflicts with Polin’s tribe arose from the damming of the Presumpscot River by Col. Thomas Westbrook, namesake of the city of Westbrook, Morrison said.

Polin had previously traded with the settlers there, but the damming of the river, and broken promises Col. Westbrook who said he would provide passage for the fish over the dams, infuriated the chief.

In 1739, Polin marched to Boston to ask the Governor of Massachusetts to make the settlers put fish passageways on the Presumpscot dam so his tribe could continue to fish for salmon on the river. But despite the governor's written decree to install fish passage on the dam, there was no way to enforce the rule on the frontier, Morrison said.

With no success, Polin and his tribe eventually abandoned the Presumpscot River and moved north of Sebago Lake.

While Dole paints a dramatic picture that the native tribes were a “savage and merciless foe,” tensions on the Maine frontier were more complicated than a simple dispute over dams on the Presumpscot.

Since the English discovery of Maine, native tribes had been pushed back from the coast by English settlers, and their populations had been thinned by disease and warfare, Morrison said.

The tribes were drawn into the conflict between the French and English on numerous occasions.

The settlers, despite times of peace and trading with American Indian tribes, had witnessed raids, burned villages and bloodshed.
By the time of Polin’s return and final raid on the Windham settlement, the settlers had set-up stockades and garrisons of men to protect themselves outside Province Fort, the main protection of the settlement.
Phil Kennard, 87 of Windham, is a descendant of the late Stephen Manchester and has written a book that includes popular legends from Windham’s history.

“Manchester hated Polin with a passion,” Kennard said. “Manchester was a scout and he patrolled up to Sebago Lake and further on. The settlers sent out parties to find out if the Indians were moving back their way.”
Kennard said Manchester was buried in a secret field on Dutton Hill in Windham where he lived the last years of his life after serving in the Revolutionary War.

And before the town of Windham moved his remains in the early 1900s to Smith Cemetery, Manchester’s grave was only demarcated by two iron posts, one at the head and one at the feet, because reportedly the townspeople were worried that Polin's tribesmen would someday return and steal his bones in revenge for the chief's death.

Manchester’s grave today bears the inscription telling the legend of the famous shot that killed Chief Polin that simply reads: "He killed in battle Chief Polin, May 14, 1756, ending the Indian War in this section."

And school children studying Windham history still visit the site of the final battle off Anderson Road and hear the legend of old Chief Polin's death.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Students protest decision to allow Indian seniors to wear regalia

Students protest decision to allow Indian seniors to wear regalia

May 19, 2006, 2:25 PM EDT LAFAYETTE, N.Y. -- About 50 students quietly protested outside their school Friday, upset with a decision to allow six seniors to wear their traditional Onondaga Indian regalia to graduation next month. "I have the utmost respect for Native Americans, but I think it's very disrespectful for them to come to our graduation in their regalia," said senior Dan Dwyer, one of the protest organizers.

"Graduation is supposed to unify people. They are just breaking people apart." Protesters accused Lafayette School District officials of acting hastily in making their decision. Superintendent Mark Mondanaro said Wednesday that the six Onondaga Indian seniors could wear their native regalia to graduation on June 25, providing it's approved by the school's Native American counselor. He and other administrators met May 12 for two hours with students and parents to discuss the Onondaga seniors' request, which they made about three weeks ago. The high school has about 500 students in grades 7 through 12, about a quarter of them are American Indians, including nine of the 54 students in the senior class.

Mondanaro said fewer than 10 seniors were among Friday's protesters. The rest were underclassmen, he said. Administrators listened to their views and outlined the process and rationale for the decision, Mondanaro said. "A lot of these kids didn't understand the process, and how the decision was made," he said. "We heard a lot of viewpoints." Marcia Lyons, one of the Onondaga seniors, said graduation is an important occasion but that wearing a cap and gown isn't an American Indian tradition. "We want to show our pride in our cultural heritage by wearing our regalia," said Lyons, who will wear a short-sleeved, below-the-knee light brown dress with a maroon floral pattern. She will wear a longer maroon skirt under the dress, along with cloth leggings, moccasins and two white leather hair extensions. The other five students, all males, will wear ribbon shirts with breechcloths, leggings, moccasins and headdresses. In 2003, district officials met mild opposition when they decided to fly the Onondaga flag outside the high school, located 10 miles south of Syracuse. Most opponents, however, were concerned about whether it was proper etiquette to fly the Onondaga's flag next to the U.S. flag.

Information from: The Syracuse Post-Standard,
Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.,0,6046735,print.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork


OPP seizes videotape of native standoff

from CHtv
By Carmela Fragomeni
The Hamilton Spectator
(May 20, 2006)

CH Television is fighting the OPP seizure of videotape it airedof a confrontation at the native standoff in Caledonia.News director Mike Katrycz says the confiscation of the tapeviolates Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Katrycz said police arrived at the Hamilton station Monday witha search warrant for the homemade tape filmed by a Caledoniaresident. They also wanted any documents related to it and itsairing on May 10.On legal advice, the station put the tape and material in anenvelope in front of police and sealed it. Staff said they wouldchallenge the seizure and police agreed not to open the envelopeuntil the matter is heard in court, Katrycz said.No date has been set for a court hearing.The tape shows a confrontation at the Highway 6 bypass overpassat Highway 54 between some Caledonia residents and nativesbehind the barricade. It shows residents trying to dismantle theobstacle being confronted by people on the other side. At onepoint, someone on the native side throws a piece of wood thatstrikes a resident on the back.Katrycz said police wanted the tape as evidence in case chargesare laid in the incident."It's puzzling, to say the least," he said. "In our view, theOPP have been there for weeks. The police know where thebarricades are."The tape was given to CH by a source on condition ofconfidentiality and that the faces of those who tried to takeapart the barricade be obscured."It's the first time we've had a search warrant specific to theidentity of a source. That's why it's a great concern to us,"Katrycz said. The station views this as a violation of theCharter's freedom of expression."We're baffled and disturbed by this, if it is an attempt to puta chill on our coverage or on the people of Caledonia to talk tous." 905-526-3392


In accordance with Title 17, U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed an interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.U.S.C. S.107



MNN May 19, 2006. It is 80 days since Six Nations people reclaimed our land near Caledonia Ontario Canada. Yesterday we viewed some startling footage of the Ontario Provincial Police OPP predawn April 20th attack on us. It showed hundreds of heavily armed OPP with guns pointed at the unarmed Indigenous People. They converged on the property from all directions. There was a convoy of ambulances. It was obvious the OPP intended to create a situation in which there would be many injuries and casualties. The people did not fall into this trap. The aggression was anticipated. Our people were mentally prepared, though our response was spontaneous. One police van windows were smashed to reveal to everyone what they were up to. It was full of policemen with machine guns pointed at us. One guy walked right up to them and said, “Just give me 5 minutes without your guns”. A turning point that cemented everyone’s resolve was when five OPP beat up one of the women elders. Culturally and historically we never harmed the women and children. This was a complete violation of natural laws. Our people responded with one mind. The cops looked confused, scared and some on the verge of crying as our people moved towards them with drumming in the background. The OPP were sternly told to leave and then walked them out, as parents must be with misbehaving children. In spite of all that was happening, we restrained ourselves, got them all off and took back our land.

Some of our Men who were arrested that morning had to make a court appearance this past week. Most did not show. The few who did would not stand up when the judge walked into court. One man informed them, “Your corporate colonial court has no jurisdiction over us or our land”. [Six Nations and other Indigenous people are now asserting Indigenous constitutional jurisdiction in all the surrounding courts, which is pissing them all off]. The judge got angry and issued warrants for their arrest. Our men just got up and walked out, followed by supporters and allies. The cops followed them too but did nothing. What’s this all about?

Is Canada sitting on the brink of leaving behind violence, yet not ready to make a commitment to peace, justice and equality with the Indigenous people? When we question them, they send in all their heavily armed goons who can’t lay down their unlawfully asserted “colonial law”. They refuse to sit down and look at the documentary evidence that proves they don’t have jurisdiction over us. Hey! Show us who was here first? Show us where we agreed to let you steal everything from us? Canada, change your mind and make a firm commitment to non-violent legal actions. Fold up your guns! Look at the documents! Obey your laws! Right the wrongs! As can be seen, we need the solidarity and support of our brothers, sister, friends and allies as never before. Stay strong! Kahentinetha Horn, MNN Mohawk Nation News

Here is Hazel’s May 19th, 2006, update:

Greetings from Grand River

Here is another update. Apologies for not getting one out sooner. We’ve been having many meetings on the land we’ve reclaimed. We’re thinking about how we can move forward. Do we remove one of the barricades? We are discussing in particular Plank Road, also known as Argyle Street and #6 Hwy. Can we trust the government? We all remember our past experience has shown us that we can't take the government’s word, officially or informally. They have continually broken their promises to us. They will say and do anything to achieve their goal to get the barricades down. [but not to return the land they stole from us].

On the other hand, we have to consider our People’s government, the men and women who are standing in solidarity to protect our lands, our law, our people, our inherent rights and our sovereignty. Some of our delegates carry our voice with them. Some of our People have issues with them, some don't. Do we have the trust to implement our government? Yes, we need to work at it. The answers won’t come in a day. We know we have an opportunity that our grandfathers only dreamed about. We can’t let suspicions allow that opportunity to slip by.

We marvel at how coincidences happen that force us to look at what we are doing and deeply question the choices we are making. A few days ago we all agreed that the barricade on Argyle Street needed to be cleared enough for emergency vehicles to pass through. At the same time a lone protester against our position, with the help of the OPP, nearly threw that to the winds. His actions were harmless, walking back and forth in front of the police line with his own barricade to prevent "natives" from going into [the nearby town of] Caledonia. It was the OPP actions that were detrimental. "The natives have a right to their protest. This individual has the right to his". Okay, we get it! But then, one of our men who stays in our camp was refused entry [to the site] by the OPP. The OPP said, "He [the native] was told twice not to attempt to drive back and forth. I don't give a f*** if he has to sit there all f*****g night. Nobody is coming through”. Not two minutes later the OPP were directing through the local towing company that operates within the barricaded roads, as well as a couple more non-native drivers. Discriminatory, obviously! Phone calls were made. We got the situation straightened out.

This incident lead us to question whether or not we should even proceed with our attempts to show the "good will" they speak of. Tonight we were again talking about opening up Argyle Street. We have a commitment from the governments that an open moratorium is in place on our stolen lands they call "Douglas Creek". They have agreed to pay for a third party archeological study on our land alongside our people to determine the exact areas and status of the graves that are said to be there. They have also agreed to place back an area of land known to them as "Burtch Correctional Facility" under the original status of the "Haldimand Deed" of 1784. This will be a long process. There has to be an environmental study done on the lands and the clean up. It will take time to place the land back into the possession of the Onkwehonweh, and not under the current land transactions as defined by the illegal Indian Act.

Opening up one road is not being taken lightly. Just as the People were gathering to start discussions, a young man was brought into the camp. Our security caught him at one of the checkpoints driving erratically and causing a disturbance. Our men took him into custody. An inspection revealed that in his trunk was a pellet gun and some of his army equipment (apparently he is part some “army reserves”). His mission was to disrupt and possibly bring harm to us. He was questioned and spoken to by some of the women. It was determined that “he did not realize the seriousness of the situation” and of his actions, and was turned over to the OPP. He was taken into custody by the OPP and his car was towed. We asked about him later at a liaison meeting with the OPP. We were told that he probably would be charged with careless driving! A few days ago, one of our men was shot in the face, just below his eye, from a pellet gun or something similar. Then this guy shows up tonight. Coincidence?? What do you think?

We know there is no way he will admit to anything, even if it is connected to him. The eleven o'clock news said he was released from custody. His side of the story would be revealed the following morning. Given Channel 11’s reporting history, this one will get turned around to make us look like the guilty parties again. Are we being tested to see how strong our convictions are in the powers of Creation and our government system to move forward with the decisions we make? Should we open up the road knowing that we will have obstacles, but enough knowledge to continue? It appears that each time we're about to make that decision, something is exposed to us. We continue to ask for guidance. We discontinued the talks for tonight. Everyone was feeling the emotions which might interfere with out ability to have a clear mind. We constantly thank Creation that we can use our sense and ability to see clearly for the highest good of all concerned.

Caledonia residents are getting frustrated. We understand the frustration they are feeling. They want to blame us for the car accidents that are occurring on the detour road because of our blockade. Do they blame their township for accidents that occur as a result of road construction detours? Don’t they have to take responsibility for their own actions? Who do they sue for their own neglect? Isn’t the first rule of their law that they must have "care and control" of their vehicle? One of their local radio stations continually tries to paint the picture of our People as being uncooperative” and “negligent”, as well as “lawless” and “villainous” [for trying to get our stolen possessions back from the thieves]. How ridiculous is that? When we get behind the wheel of a car and venture onto any road, we are responsible for our actions. We know the speed limits and the rules of the road. Common sense tells us we cannot take responsibility for the actions of any one else. The colonialist governments and agents and corporate media constantly tell the world that anything bad is our fault.

We were considering opening the road on Victoria Day weekend, May 20th. This is known as "bread and cheese" weekend, commemorating the time when Queen Victoria had given bread and cheese to the people of Six Nations as a token of our continued alliance and friendship for our assistance to Britain in the revolutionary war. It was long abandoned by the crown and later taken up by the Indian Act band council as part of “tradition”. Why? The Crown has abandoned every agreement it ever made with us. Why should we would continue to "celebrate" it?

Tonight was a good example of how peaceful our people can be, even when tested the way we were tonight with that [insurgent] individual. Everyone handled it well. In fact, we mentioned to the OPP that we could have treated their citizen the brutal way they treated us when they attacked us on that early morning on April 20th - with pepper spray in our faces, taser guns shot at us and bashing batons. Instead he was peacefully marched out of the camp and delivered to his people unharmed. Did Channel 11 [of the corporate media] put that message out there????????? Tune in and see for yourself. Have a good night. Talks will continue Saturday May 20th after everyone has a chance to think about things. Take care. Hazel

PS. Guess what? The young man we caught and turned over to the OPP appeared on television this morning, “I was tied up, blindfolded and tortured. This shouldn’t happen in Canada”. We did not do this. It must have been the OPP! No Six Nations people were interviewed about this. Obviously, corporate media is continuing its attempt to defame Indigenous people.