Tag: Indigenous Peoples

McSweeney’s: Dispatches From an Indian Casino

The ongoing series looks at the Indian casino from an employee’s perspective. Slate also explored the visitor’s casino experience in a five-day series earlier this year.


Hawaii: ‘Prejudice in Paradise’?

Hawaii: ‘Prejudice in Paradise’? Photo by ConceptJunkie via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by ConceptJunkie via Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Southern Poverty Law Center has issued an intelligence report about racial tensions and issues with non-native Hawaiians on the islands. The report goes well beyond the issues we touched on earlier this year after a Saturday Night Live skit about “two grass-skirted, uke-playing, hula-dancing, minimum wage entertainers” who abuse guests at a hotel restaurant in Hawaii. (Via Fark)


Slate Goes to the Res

The latest Well-Traveled series, An American Indian’s Journey in the Land of Indian Casinos, is an intriguing one. It follows writer David Treuer as he explores the incongruities of luxury casino-resorts set amid the often-grim realities of Indian reservations, and offers a dose of the history behind the reservation system, too. Here’s a quick taste: “Historically, Indian reservations are a great place to be poor if you are Indian—and a fantastic place to get rich if you’re not. It is only recently that this pattern is being reversed.”


Climbing Ban Could be Coming to Uluru

Climbing Ban Could be Coming to Uluru Photo by nosha via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by nosha via Flickr (Creative Commons)

An Australian government proposal is in the works to ban tourists from climbing Uluru, the distinctive red rock monolith that is considered sacred ground by local indigenous groups. Those same groups have been pushing for the move for years, but the proposal is—predictably—controversial in other quarters: “Big Brother is coming to Uluru to slam the gate closed on an Australian tourism icon,” said one conservative politician quoted in the Independent.

Invoking Orwell here seems a tad dramatic. I’m more inclined to agree with local elder Vince Forrester. “You can’t go climb on top of the Vatican, you can’t go climb on top of the Buddhist temples and so on and so forth,” he said. “Obviously you have to respect our religious attachment to the land too, so we’re saying please do not climb Uluru.”


Finding Hawaii on the Mainland

Aloha Tavern by Nerd’s Eye View

I’m not sure why I’m surprised when, on the mainland in the middle of rural territory, I find a town named “Aloha,” or when a festival in Seattle brings thousands of Hawaiians out to listen to traditional music and see hula. The Hawaiian diaspora is extensive—hey, it reaches all the way to the White House these days.

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A Truth About Hawaii Spoken in Jest?

A Truth About Hawaii Spoken in Jest? Photo by mcgilljp via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by mcgilljp via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Yup, I have to admit, I’m among those who laughed at the harsh Saturday Night Live sketch that has Hawaiian officials in a huff, as discussed by fellow World Hum blogger Pam Mandel. The Gallup Well-Being Index recently ranked Hawaii as the second happiest state in the nation, after Utah, but my limited experience with the state (three visits) introduced me to more hostility than happiness. I’m actually a little afraid of Hawaiians. I understand that they have reason to be pissed off, what with their paradise being paved over with hotels and low wages and all. It’s a problem with tropical paradises everywhere. So I’m not passing judgment, really. I’m just saying.

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Hawaii vs. Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Photo by k*8 via Flickr (Creative Commons).

A brief disclaimer: I’m not an expert on legal matters and while I’ve been doing lots of reading, there’s still lots I don’t understand. Because of that, I absolutely welcome your more enlightened comments on the case. I’d just like to get you interested in what’s happening and why it’s a big deal, I’m going to keep it brief and send you elsewhere to more expert commentary. Now, in summary:

The Hawaiian State Supreme Court previously ruled that the state (Hawaii) could not sell lands ceded in the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy until a settlement on those lands had been reached with the Hawaiian people. The gist? The lands were ceded to the U.S. government by those who had no right to do so.

The state of Hawaii is appealing the decision—it wants the right to sell those lands. It says that its ability to manage the lands is impeded by this ruling. That’s the bare bones of the case. But Native Hawaiians see a lot more at stake in the Supreme Court’s first case tomorrow.

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Happy 100th Birthday, Claude Levi-Strauss

The great structural anthropologist celebrates the big 1-0-0 on Friday in Paris. Travel lit readers know him in part from his 1955 travel memoir of sorts, Tristes Tropiques, which begins with the memorable line, “I hate travelling and explorers.” More importantly, as NPR points out, Levi-Strauss “changed the world’s perception of so-called ‘primitive’ tribes in Asia, Africa and America.”


The Quichua Cacao Farmers Behind Kallari Chocolate

The $5.95 bars of rich, smooth Kallari artisan chocolate sold at Whole Foods come from an island on the Napo River in Ecuador’s rain forest. The Quichua people have been farming cacao for generations and then selling it, but now they’ve cut out the middleman and are making and marketing the chocolate themselves. The New York Times reports that they may be the only cacao farmers in the world who make and market their own chocolate.


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