OKLAHOMA TRIBE WANTS TO BUILD CASINO IN NEW MEXICO 03/16/99 An Apache tribe in Oklahoma wants to build a casino just off the interstate in eastern Luna County. The Fort Sill Apache, a once-nomadic Southwestern tribe, bought 30 acres of land off Interstate 10, according to county records. The property was transferred to the tribe in November from a trust of the Schoeppner family, which also owns the Arroyo Seco Motorplex directly across from the land. The tribe wants to negotiate a gambling compact with New Mexico, Oklahoma attorney Robert Prince said. He said the tribe has not yet paid for the land. The cost of the deal was not disclosed. The Fort Sill tribe is trying to move back into the area to reestablish home lands, said Iris Drew, a U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs officer. "The gaming climate is not favorable in Oklahoma," Drew said. Tribal members, now numbering about 325, are descendants of Chiricahua Apaches, who roamed the Southwest from Arizona to Mexico in the 1800s. Geronimo was among the group of Apaches that ended up at Fort Sill, Okla. The tribe told Mark Schoeppner that 350 employees recruited from the Deming area would be needed to run a casino. "The impact on the Deming economy would be incredible," Schoeppner said. The tribe has asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to place the land into a federal trust, which would pull it off the property tax rolls, said Parker Sando, a real estate specialist with the bureau. "We've acknowledged their application and have asked for additional information regarding gaming," Sando said. Depending on comments from local and state government, public hearings on the land acquisition and gambling issues could be held, Sando said. The whole process could take a few months _ or a few years. The Mescalero Apache tribe near Ruidoso has spent two years trying to have land it bought next to its reservation placed in a tribal trust, Sando said.

FAMILY TELLS LIFE STORY OF 100-YEAR-OLD NAVAJO MOTHER 03/17/99 Elizabeth Teller turned a century old recently. Teller _ born 100 years ago this March _ lives a sedentary life with her children in Farmington. But it wasn't always so. Most of her life she lived in the Nageezi area. Like her mother, Julia Lope, an independent woman who lived to be 104, Teller raised her five children by herself. She lived in the Navajo tradition, said her daughters Anna Smallwood, 65, and Pauline Clarkie, 69. She herded sheep most of her life, living without electricity and using kerosene lamps to light the night. Clothes had to be washed by hand, and water had to be hauled from a well a half mile away, Clarkie said. In order to support her children, she wove rugs out of yarn spun from her sheep's wool. When a rug was finished, she would bring it to the trading post and buy groceries. Clarkie learned to weave by watching her mother, but instead of selling her rugs, she gives them to family members, she said. "She was a hard worker," Smallwood said of her mother, who carried wood on her back and ground corn to make bread. "She was very traditional." The children all went to boarding schools. They were able only to come home during the summers, the women said. They looked forward to that time not only because they got to see their mother, but because they got a chance to play. "Even when we herded the sheep, we played," Clarkie said. While looking for escaped sheep one night, Teller, in her 70s, fell. After that, she decided it was time to quit herding, her daughters said. About a year ago, she had to quit weaving because her eyesight was failing. Her family thought about putting her in a nursing home, but that was not an option for them. "She says she'll run away from the nursing home," Clarkie said. "She wants to go (back to Nageezi) but there's no one to take care of her, no one to chop wood. There's nothing up there." Teller's two younger sisters, who are in their 80s or 90s, live out there. Still, "it's lonesome," Smallwood said. Though her mind is slower than it used to be, she still talks about the old days and her two sons who died. In 1964, she lost Billy Smith at the age of 34. She was crushed when her son Alfred, 79, died two years ago, her daughters said. "He was taking care of her out there," they said. Her other son, Johnson, still lives in Bloomfield. The family has planned a party for her on the upcoming Mother's Day, the daughters said. Her 41 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren are expected to visit.

NAVAJOS START PROGRAM TO TRAIN YOUTH IN TRADITIONAL HEALTH CEREMONY 03/16/99 For years, the wind, water, earth and sacred traditions were all the Navajos believed they needed to effectively prevent illness and heal themselves spiritually and physically. That was before the development of western medical technology, before the number of Navajo medicine men began to decline and before young Navajos began to discredit their own traditions. Now, through a pilot project aimed at training young people in traditional Navajo healing methods, the Navajo Nation hopes to revive the health care system they say works best for them _ and save the ceremonies on the verge of extinction. The Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Program, implemented in December, chose seven applicants to train with traditional ceremonial practitioners _ also known as medicine men _ and take on the closely guarded knowledge handed down only through family and clan members. The survival of the medicine man is vital if the Navajo language and culture are to survive, said Alfred Yazzie, a Navajo language instructor at Arizona State University. "Medicine men are, for the most part, the people who hold all the teachings and spiritual aspects of the community," Yazzie said. "They still hold a lot of the history _ undocumented history." That makes learning the ceremonies a difficult and lengthy process. Depending on the ceremonies learned, training can take up to 10 years. And because ceremonies are not taped or written down, they must be learned orally. As an incentive, the program awards a monthly $300 stipend to apprentices and $350 to teaching practitioners. It may not seem like much, but time to teach the traditional ceremonies is running out. Eddie Tso, the program's director, said six traditional ceremonies are almost extinct and will be the primary focus in the apprentice program. Not many Navajos with the knowledge remain, he said. "If we don't do anything about it and look back in 20 years there won't be any ceremonies left," Tso said. There are about 34 traditional ceremonies left in all, Tso said, only a handful of medicine men left to perform them and a growing population of Navajos. The Navajo Nation sprawls across remote areas of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. "When there are less doctors, how are you going to maintain a balance of wellness?" Tso said. "The Navajo people still rely on these ceremonies today for their health care and their mental care as well." Supporters of the program are hoping to boost the number of medicine men, despite an apparent lack of interest from Navajo youth some think resulted from the integration of western ideas. Yazzie said Navajo ceremonies were condemned in the past by western educational and religious communities. "A lot of young people didn't see the need to follow in those footsteps (of Navajo ceremonies) because they were told they were no longer needed." That has caused young Navajos stray from the community's traditional healing methods, said state Sen. Jack Jackson, also a Navajo. "(Western education) made us ashamed of our way of life _ that our way of life was inferior," Jackson said. "Our ceremony was classified as superstitious, taboo. Therefore our younger people sort of look down on these ceremonies." The solution, Jackson says, is for the state to treat the Navajo health care system equal to western medical healthcare. "What we have to do is give our traditional ceremonies a higher level of dignity _ give these medicine men names equivalent to doctors," he said. In 1980, the Tribal Council turned down a request to charter the medicine man's association, saying that Navajo ceremonies were a religion and that it wouldn't be proper to mix church and state, Jackson said. Jackson argues that while the ceremonies are spiritual in nature, it is important to distinguish that they are part of the Navajos' actual healthcare system and not a religion. "Spirituality is the teaching that you exist within the universe with Mother Earth and Father Sky," he explained. "Many of our older people live to be 100 years old and never went to a hospital. They live by the laws of the universe. "The whole universe is sacred _ wind, water, air, plants, animals and you, yourself ... that's missing in western education. And that's why we have all these corrections centers. The penitentiaries are full." If the Navajo Nation continues to lose the knowledge and tradition only their medicine men possess, there could be a serious cultural impact, Yazzie said. "We now have the social ills that most media have written about and my belief is that we have to grasp what tradition still means," he said. "If we lose that there will be a higher degree of a feeling of hopelessness."

OLDEST CEMETERY TAKES ON NEW LOOK WITH SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT'S HELP 03/17/99 Tons of debris, trees, weeds and underbrush have been removed over the past two weeks from Bolivar County's oldest cemetery in an undertaking by sheriff's department. Inmates from the Bolivar County Correctional Center near Pace helped transform what was once an overgrown expanse of woods into a wide-open area, revealing unique grave markers, iron-fenced family plots and a peek into the past of Bolivar County's riverside. Sheriff H.M. "Mack" Grimmett said he was surprised by the project's size. "It went back further than we thought," he said. "There was a whole other section of grave stones and family plots at the north end that we hardly even noticed until we got in there and started clearing out the underbrush. It's a bigger cemetery than what most people would have thought." Over the two weeks, the work revealed the extent of damage and neglect the cemetery has suffered over the decades. Many grave markers had toppled or fallen over, a fair number were broken in pieces, some were buried in the dirt. "I think it wasn't through some vandalism, but more from neglect and letting the place go for so long," the sheriff said. The next phase of the project is what Grimmett calls "fine tuning the work we've done. Working with the grave markers, straightening things up and making sure that these trees and shrubs don't grow back for a while." "I'm very impressed with the cooperation and the willingness of the sheriff's department in being involved in seeing that some our cultural heritage is preserved," said Cheryl Line, manager of tourism development for the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce. Line said she was delighted to be "able to walk through there and see the headstone and see the early days of the county." Local historian Eugene Leftwich of Gunnison knows every one who was buried there, probably what they died from, who their kin folks were, if those relatives are still living and where the former Masonic Lodge and Methodist church stood on the site. "I've got it all in my records," said Leftwich. "He's a treasure of knowledge of that cemetery and with the history of the people," said Line. "He's one of our local historians with detailed knowledge of what it was like back then. His wife comes from one of the oldest families on the riverside. And he lives right there at the foot of the levee."

MAYOR VETOES STATUE AFTER EMOTIONAL COUNCIL SESSION 03/17/99 The City Council's decision to erect a statue honoring the Spaniard who ordered atrocities against Indians as New Mexico's first colonial governor 400 years ago has been overturned by Mayor Jim Baca. "I've received a lot of letters and phone calls. It's obvious it's a real divisive issue," Baca said Tuesday, moments before a news conference announcing his decision to veto the plan to build the statue. "We just need to work together to find another solution to this," the mayor said. The council voted March 1 to proceed with the statue of Don Juan de Onate _ the same night the proposal was introduced and without a public hearing. That has prompted an outcry from Indians, Hispanics and others. They say the council's decision was racist, shameful and damaging to the community's reputation. They brought their complaints to Monday's council meeting. More than 100 people turned out to demand an explanation from councilors. "You subverted the process. We're here to hold you accountable," said Anne Caton, one of the speakers. Council President Vince Griego said councilors would only listen not respond _ to public comments. "Your silence tonight is indicative of an error you need to think about. ... You owe us an answer," speaker Katarina Sandoval said. Baca said Tuesday the council should have had held public hearings before taking a vote. "I think we wouldn't be where we are right now if they did, but I don't think they really understood the depth of people's feelings," he said. "We all had concerns that the statue wouldn't last very long if it were put up." The council's decision negated the efforts of the Albuquerque Arts Board, which worked for more than a year on a way to commemorate 400 years of Spanish presence in New Mexico. The Arts Board was scheduled later this month to consider a recommendation for a memorial that would have honored Spanish settlers and Indians without including any image of Onate, whose repressive tactics, particularly against Acoma Pueblo, led the Spanish crown to recall him. He finished out his career in Spain as a mine inspector. It started in 1598, when Onate claimed Acoma for Spain. Relations with the tiny mesa-top tribe, about 50 miles west of Albuquerque, began on a friendly note but quickly deteriorated. When a dozen Onate troops showed up one day demanding provisions, the soldiers were killed. Onate sent 70 soldiers, who massacred 100 Acoma men, enslaved 60 women and girls and cut off one foot from each of the surviving men. Councilor Adele Hundley sponsored the resolution urging the Onate statue in Tiguex Park near Old Town. "We can still have a memorial, but you need to include Onate," Hundley said later Monday. "You can't erase history." A few others spoke in support, but most speakers Monday were opposed. "How can you so blatantly disregard us? Can you really be that deeply racist?" asked Teresa Cordova, who brought some members of the audience to tears with her speech. Some compared Onate's legacy to that of Adolf Hitler, asking whether the city would erect a statue of Hitler next to the Holocaust memorial on Civic Plaza. "I am hurt and upset that you have put me into a situation that I have to defend myself and my people," said Aleta Paisano-Suazo of Acoma. "I expected our non-Indian friends to have the humility and understanding to make the right decision for all people. ... I thought after 400 years, we were all respectful and understanding of all our cultures." Cordova, Paisano-Suazo and several others asked councilors to admit their mistake and reverse their decision.

U.N. EXPERT CALLS FOR MORE TOLERANCE OF AMERICAN INDIAN BELIEFS 03/17/99 Laws and attitudes in the United States should take greater account of the beliefs and traditions of American Indians, a U.N. investigator into religious intolerance said in a report published Wednesday. Abdelfattah Amor said after a 15-day study trip to the United States that the country was generally open to all religions, but said there was a need to protect sacred Indian sites. "It is essential to make society and the whole of the administrative and political apparatus aware of the indigenous peoples' religions and spiritual beliefs," said Amor, a Tunisian. Amor went to Mount Graham, Ariz., where telescopes are being constructed by the University of Arizona on a site sacred to some members of the San Carlos Apache tribe. He also visited an area of northern Arizona claimed by both the Navajo and Hopi tribes. Amor said Indians carrying ceremonial instruments and objects were sometimes arrested at borders, Indian prisoners had religious practices banned for security reasons and schools made some Indian children cut their hair. Among minority religions in the United States, Jews were "satisfied with their lot as a whole," Amor said. There were more problems for Muslims, he said, and accused some segments of the media of displaying racial and religious intolerance. The report will be discussed during the six-week meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which begins in Geneva on Monday.

TIGUAS SUE STATE FOR $4 BILLION OVER LAND 03/17/99 The Tigua Indians have filed a $4 billion lawsuit against the state of Texas, claiming that white settlers conspired to steal the tribe's land in El Paso more than 100 years ago. "We've tried to get this issue in a court for years, and this is just another one of those efforts," tribal lawyer Tom Diamond said of the suit filed Tuesday. "All we want is a day in a court, and the state has been avoiding that." The West Texas tribe has unsuccessfully sued to claim land rights in the past. In the latest suit, Diamond cites the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the federal government from taking private property for public use without "just compensation," and the 14th Amendment, which extends the rule to states. The $4 billion claim represents lost rents and profits since the late 1800s on 18 square miles on the city's east side. Heather Browne, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office, said they had not received the suit and had no immediate comment. One of the earliest experiments in genetic engineering took place about 7,500 years ago and resulted in the first corn on the cob. Scientists have retraced steps taken by Stone Age farmers who created the first maize crop from a Mexican wild grass using a sophisticated process of genetic selection. The Tigua Indian tribe's centuries-old sacred drum and two masks, which tribal leaders contend were held hostage for four years, are back on the reservation. But not until the tribe paid a fee of $1 million in a transaction that leaders called "extortion." Catalina State Park will host an open house to celebrate Arizona Archaeology Awareness Month. Walking tours to the Romero Ruin, a prehistoric Indian village, will be offered continuously from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The hourlong tours are free, but reservations are required. Call (520) 628-5798. Numbering 16 strong, the Riders represent the men and women who tamed the wild frontier of the 1840-1920 period. The Hopi artist showed her delicate pots and clay rattles to a buyer halfway around the world as video cameras and personal computers made the sales pitch possible. A San Antonio federal judge authorized investigators to open the grave of a Kickapoo Indian despite the tribe's religious beliefs that exhuming and examining the deceased woman's body will scar her soul. The desert has a long memory. Parts of Southern California’s desert still show the scars from the days when Gen. George Patton trained American troops for World War II. DIG is a magazine dedicated to bringing the excitement, mystery, and fun of archaeology to pre-teens. The GIS Interactive Map Server allows users to view and print out maps. To make a map, select an area anywhere in the world by clicking and dragging on a map, and then choose features you want to see, from rivers, roads and cities to topography, fault lines and earthquake records. A teaching video that traces the age-old formula for storytelling, from prehistoric cave drawings to today, illustrates how every great story, regardless of its form or message, always has the same five elements.