The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 18, 1990 -- Page 5
Panel speaks on current
Native American issues
by Heather Fee
Daily Staff Writer
Students who attended last
night's panel discussion on "The
Status of Native Americans" were
treated to an unusual surprise: a pipe
ceremony conducted by Joseph
Braveheart, a Native American who
was not originally scheduled to par-
ticipate in the program.
About 20 of the 100 people who
attended the discussion gathered in a
circle and took part in the ceremony.
'The men and one woman smoked a
pipe composed of a shaft symboliz-
ing the heavens and a bowl repre-
senting earth and ancestry. They all
held tobacco grains which served as
. prayers of thankfulness.
Wilma Mankiller, one of the two
panel speakers and Chief of the
Cherokee Nation, one of the largest
Native American nations in the
U.S., then gave a summary of
American History from an Indian
perspective and discussed current Na-
tive American issues.
Despite the devastating treatment
the Native Americans have under-
gone throughout history, Mankiller
emphasized the tenacity of her peo-
ple. 'I see a lot of attempts of Indian
people trying to revitalize Indian so-
ciety," she said. "The most powerful
country in the world tried to wipe us
off the face of the earth and when
that didn't work they instituted poli-
cies to insure we didn't exist as a
people in 1990, but we do."
Mankiller was also concerned
with negative stereotypes that many
Americans have about Native Amer-
icans. "When I. talk to non-Indian,
ordinary American people it's like
they have a snap shot of us 300
years ago and like to keep this snap-
shot on their wall. They don't want
to face contemporary Indian issues."
The second speaker, Gwen Shu-
natona, former Assistant Dean of
Students at Stanford University and
educational consultant concerned
with Native Americans, greeted the
audience in three Indian languages.
She, like Mankiller, was hopeful
about the future of Native Ameri-
cans. "It's the 1990s. We're not
gone yet and the only place we're
going is forward," she said.
She spoke about the education of
Indians on "their terms": using cul-
turally-based material - Indian his-
tory, language and music - for stu-
dent instruction, using a combina-
tion of instruction and counselling,
and hiring teachers knowledgeable in
Shanatona ended by reminding
the audience of the ideologies of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr: "To me free-
dom is impossible without educa-
Lisa Brown, a Rackham graduate
student who attended the discussion,
said she liked the perspectives offered
by Mankiller and Shanatona.
"History is different depending on
who's telling it," she said.
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U.S. lawmakers support tougher
sanctions against South Africa
WASHINGTON (AP) -
Changes in South Africa's white-
dominated society have been largely
cosmetic and the United States
should prepare to impose tougher
sanctions,.Rep. Howard Wolpe of
Michigan said yesterday.
Pronouncing themselves disap-
pointed after a six-day trip to South
Africa that included a meeting with
President F.W. de Klerk, Wolpe and
two other lawmakers said the signif-
icant components of the apartheid
;system of racial inequality remained
"The government seems to, be
clinging to the fantasy that some-
how conflict in South Africa can be
reduced and the pressures from with-
out will be eased while the white
minority continues to hold to power
and privilege," said Wolpe (D-Mich),
chair of the House Foreign Affairs
Subcommittee on Africa.
Unless far-reaching reforms are
made soon, "there will be a growing
movement in the Congress and in-
ternationally to intensify sanctions,"
Rep. Alan Wheat (D-Mich) said.
The Africa subcommittee will
begin hearings next month on pro-
posals to further restrict U.S.-South
African economic ties, Wolpe said.
Rep. Ronald Dellums (D-Calif.)
has introduced legislation that would
prohibit virtually any commercial
links with South Africa. A version
sof the bill cleared the House in 1988
but died in the Senate, lacking the
support of Republicans who had
backed the 1986 sanctions. Another
House bill would impose credit re-
The Bush administration has
spoken against tightening sanctions
as long as de Klerk, who assumed
power in August, appears to be
moving toward reform. But Wolpe
said he was encouraged by the atti-
tude of administration officials who
had agreed to discuss the matter.
There have been improvements
since de Klerk assumed power, said
Wolpe, Wheat and Rep. Constance
Morella (R-Md.) who were in South
Africa Jan. 4-9. Some political pris-
oners have been freed and the gov-
ernment is allowing opposition ral-
lies, they said in a joint statement.
But hundreds of political prison-
ers remain in jail, some under death
sentences, and politically motivated
trials continue, they said.
Thursday, January 18
Michigan Union Ballroom
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