RAMONA, Oklahoma - A high schooler's crowning achievement is coming with controversy.
Her graduation next month should be a feather in her cap, but she thinks her heritage means she's facing discrimination on her way to a diploma from Caney Valley High School.
Hayden Griffith's graduation cap should have a feather in it, but she said the school told her if she wears it she will not be allowed to walk across the stage.
Hanging next to the 2015 graduation tassel is one of the most rewarding gifts that Hayden can get as a Native American, an eagle feather.
“To them it's a feather, but to me it's more,” she said. “It's an honor. I'm respecting the people of my culture.”
Face-painting is a tradition that goes all the way back to the origin of humans. In Africa, archaeologists discovered pigments used for body painting in dwellings more than 200,000 years old. They found painted skeletons and cave drawings that show ancient hunters with lines and points painted on their faces. In modern times, we can see the same tradition when we go to a powwow, a football game, a rock concert or even a kid’s party.
People don’t paint their faces to participate in everyday life. On the contrary, the painting of colors and patterns on one’s body indicate a desire to temporarily move into the different time and space of a ritual. The patterns and colors applied to the face give a person a magical power to participate in the ‘alternate reality’ of a baptism, a wedding celebration, a hunt, a war, a game, a powwow, a pilgrimage or different kinds of religious or spiritual events. Paints are often used in combination with other magical tools: clothing, dancing, food, singing, drumming, music and sometimes the use of hallucinogens
On April 23, ICMTN reported that several Native actors walked off the set of the Adam Sandler movie The Ridiculous Six. In the wake of that act of resistance to racism in Hollywood, Ridiculous Six actor and '80s rap star Vanilla Ice began dropping references to the Choctaw heritage he believes he has. He mentioned his Choctaw-ness in an interview, on Instagram, and on Twitter.
Upon hearing this claim, Rachel Byington, a Choctaw Nation citizen, hit the internet to see if it was legit. This same claim was repeated in a 2013 interview for the website Another Tattoo.
Asked if he was going to get any more tattoos, Van Winkle responded:
“Yes! I want to get the Choctaw Indian crest—to represent my Native American heritage. My grandmother would always ask why I would do this to my body (getting tattoos) and maybe a year before she passed she told me I had some beautiful tattoos. So I want to get that tattoo so I never forget her or the importance of remembering my Indian heritage In fact my daughters Dusti Rain and KeeLee Breeze middle names are two elements very important to the Choctaw Indians.”
GOUVERNEUR — State police on Friday charged Joseph R. Clement, 49, with three counts of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both class D felonies.
Troopers said the arrest follows a lengthy narcotics investigation and a sealed indictment arrest warrant issued by St. Lawrence County court alleging the sale of tramadol, a prescription opiate.
Mr. Clement was arraigned at the St. Lawrence County Court and sent to the St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, without bail.
The St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force and the Gouverneur Police Department assisted in the investigation.
OGDENSBURG — State police on Monday charged Kwimity O. Kpor, 28, of Rochester, and Radcliffe Mullings, 45, of Ontario, Canada, each with a count of felony first-degree criminal possession of marijuana. Mr. Mullings was additionally cited with felony second-degree possession of a forged instrument.
Troopers charge that Mr. Mullings was operating a 2005 Acura RL on Route 37 and was stopped by agents of the U.S. Border Patrol K9 unit. During the stop, it is alleged that the K9 alerted to more than 10 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of the vehicle.
During the stop, Mr. Mullings was found in possession of a fraudulent Ontario driver’s license.
Both men were arraigned in Oswegatchie Town court and were sent to St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.
CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators on Monday are expected to decide whether to maintain $60,000 in funding for the Bassmasters Elite Tournament scheduled for Sept. 24 to 26 in the village of Waddington or reduce the amount so that some revenue remains for other tourism-related projects.
Earlier this week, county legislators debated the issue after hearing a presentation from Robert Giordano, coordinator of the upcoming tournament that’s expected to draw thousands of anglers and their families to the north country.
Mr. Giordano touted the success of the 2013 Bassmasters Tournament, which drew a record crowd of 34,000 people and generated an estimated $3 million in revenue for hotels, restaurants and other businesses throughout St. Lawrence County. He was joined by Waddington Mayor Janet M. Otto-Cassada and William E. Dashnaw, a tournament committee member.
The county provided $60,000 toward the first tournament to cover the sponsor fee required by Bassmasters Elite. In this year’s county budget, the Legislature allocated the same amount, with the funds coming from tribal-state compact funds.
Mr. Giordano promised county lawmakers at their Finance Committee meeting Monday that if they provide the same level of funding this year, tournament officials won’t ask for funding in the future.
He announced that Bassmasters has agreed to allow tournament officials to charge admission to music concerts that will be featured during part of the three-day event in Whittaker Park, which will be one way to generate revenue.
“We will charge for the concerts and every penny will go into next year’s event,” Mr. Giordano said. “We have always had the goal of standing on our own two feet.”
Besides generating sales tax revenue, he told legislators, the past tournament even resulted in some visitors buying property in the area, including a Maine resident who purchased a home and moved here.
The national exposure provided by Bassmasters platforms more than covers the cost of the tournament fee, he said, noting that there were an estimated 7.2 million page views on Bassmaster.com during the last tournament. The Waddington community also was featured in Bassmaster magazine and B.A.S.S. Times and on ESPN.
This year, invitations have been sent to several north country towns, villages and cities requesting they set up booths at the festival with listings of properties and homes that are available in their communities.
The decline of the county’s manufacturing base makes it more important to focus on tourism opportunities and using the region’s natural beauty to draw visitors here, not just for the fishing tournament but for other outdoor activities.
“I don’t see smokestacks coming, but I know we have a pristine river, beautiful snowmobile trails and woods for people to hunt,” Mr. Giordano said. “We are stepping up to the plate and we are going to be self-sufficient. I think we can do great things in the future.”
Several legislators said they supported retaining the $60,000 in funding this year, but may not support funding in future years because they want the event to be self-sufficient.
Legislator Travis E. Dann, R-Gouverneur, said it’s his understanding that Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, is expected to provide $20,000 in state funding toward the tournament’s $210,200 budget.
At the full board meeting Monday night, he plans to introduce an amendment to a resolution passed Nov. 24. The amendment calls for subtracting the amount secured by Ms. Ritchie’s office from the funding provided by the county.
Legislator Lisa A. Bell, R-Louisville, said the tournament is the type of grass-roots tourism the county needs and provides an opportunity to get youths involved with fishing.
“It generates a lot of sales tax revenue, and the sales tax revenue is spread throughout the whole county. I think it’s a win-win situation,” she said.
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A proposal to make beverage companies place a health label on sugary drinks is advancing in the New York state Assembly.
The bill was forwarded on Wednesday to the Committee on Codes, often a bill's last stop before a floor vote. But the measure still faces big obstacles, particularly in the Republican-led state Senate.
The labels would warn consumers of regular soda and other sugary drinks about the dangers of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
Public health officials say the labels would discourage overconsumption of sugar and save thousands of lives.
Retailers and beverage companies oppose the idea, questioning why sugary beverages should be singled out when there are many sources of sugar in the average American diet.
California lawmakers defeated a similar proposal last year.
"People should not underestimate me," the Vermont Senator says.
Bernie Sanders can kvetch like the great end-of-days preachers of old. When the white-haired senator stands behind the podium, he hunches, and punctuates his points with the tips of his fingers close together, as if grasping a jelly bean. He still has not lost his gravelly Brooklynese after decades in the backhills of Vermont. Income inequality, jobs, financial security—it’s all going to hell in a hand basket. To merely call Sanders a complainer, however, would ignore the urgency of his message: America really is in trouble.
“All of you know what’s going on in America today!” the Vermont senator said in a speech last week in Washington, D.C., where federal workers were rallying for better pay. “We have millions of working people living in poverty, and 99% of all new income is going to the top 1%. That is not what America is supposed to be about!”
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York state lawmakers are taking a look at what can be done to address the state’s heroin and opioid addiction crisis.
A bipartisan Senate task force is set to hold the first of several statewide hearings Thursday in Yorktown in Westchester County.
Additional hearings are planned for Rochester, Lewiston and Albany.
The meetings are intended to allow lawmakers to hear from local leaders, residents and experts as they develop proposals to fight the addiction epidemic.
According to state figures, there were 91,000 medical admissions for heroin and prescription opiate abuse in New York state in 2013. That’s up from 76,000 five years ago.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday the release of recommendations from his task force aimed at ending the AIDS epidemic.
The lengthy plan centers on the three points outlined by Cuomo in June of last year when he first announced that he wanted to reduce the number of new HIV infections statewide to just 750 and the rate at which HIV patients progress to AIDS by 50 percent by 2020. Included in the original proposal was identifying people with HIV who are undiagnosed and linking them to health care, getting HIV patients on anti-HIV therapy, and providing access to pre-exposure prophylaxis for high-risk people.
“Today, New York leads the way once again by raising the bar and saying, ‘We will not stop until the AIDS epidemic lis part of the past like tuberculosis and measles and polio and influenza,’” Cuomo said at a New York City event announcing the blueprint. He later added, “Once again New York is going to do what New York state does best, it is going to lead this nation toward a progressive future.”