In their Wounded Knee, South Dakota home, Walter Littlemoon looks at the book his wife, Jane Ridgway, helped him write over the course of four years. “Something was wrong with me, and I couldn’t function like what I thought a human being should.” The words he used to describe his problem became the title of a documentary. “I didn’t know the medical words. So I called the problem what I knew it to be: the thick dark fog.” (Used with permission/Kahlil Hudson/Image courtesy of Vision Maker Media. © 2012 High Valley Films)
Documentary filmmaker Jonathan Skurnik listens to Walter Littlemoon at Walter's house in Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Littlemoon is the focus of “The Thick Dark Fog,” which are the words he used to describe memories he blocked of years about the abuse he received in a federal Indian boarding school. (Used with permission /Kahlil Hudson/Image courtesy of Vision Maker Media. © 2012 High Valley Films)
Unfortunately, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the government often actively suppressed Indian culture by banning certain spiritual practices on reservations. It was only in 1978, with the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, that the government formally established a policy to protect Native American Sacred Sites and traditional forms of worship.
In federal Indian schools, children were often not allowed to be Indians – to express their Native culture or identity in any way was to risk being severely humiliated or abused. Many Native Americans lived with this trauma well into adulthood. More than 100,000 Native American students attended these schools from 1879 to the present. Although a few of the schools still exist, attendance is no longer mandatory.
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Boxelder Job Corps certified culinary essentials educator, Dave Levesque, center, works with culinary arts students, Trevor Robertus, left, Mathew McGirr and Duanna Martin, right, as they create cherry puffs with chocolate sauce on June 1. Levesque was chosen as Chef of the Year for the American Culinary Federation's South Dakota Chapter. (Rapid City Journal Photo/ Tim Appel)
For the past eight years, students in the Boxelder Job Corps Center culinary arts program have benefited from chef Dave Levesque’s wide-ranging cooking experiences.
Located in the Black Hills National Forest near Nemo, the Boxelder Job Corps Center has 24 students in its culinary arts curriculum, which is one of 10 different trades taught at the school. Read more »
Dead Tamaligi trees with recovering native forest in the National Park of American Samoa. Photo credit: Tavita Togia, National Park of American Samoa.
Removal of destructive invasive trees is an ongoing challenge for the U.S. Forest Service. What folks might not realize is that this challenge of protecting native forests extends all the way to the South Pacific. Read more »
Imagine being a kid and having a senior government official come to your school to share the joy of reading and storytelling. Then imagine the excitement when an actual Dr. Seuss character enters the room!
Arthur “Butch” Blazer and the Lorax.
That’s what happened when Arthur “Butch” Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, recently spoke to more than 300 students at James K. Polk Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. about the importance of trees and forests. Read more »
As America works towards an economy that’s built to last, we must make sure to provide American workers with the skills they need to compete.
If we want to build an economy that makes, creates and innovates; if we want to usher in a new era for American manufacturing and American-produced energy; our students and workers need a good education and strong training.
At USDA, one of our jobs is to help American workers learn the skills they need to be ready to take on the jobs of today and tomorrow. Read more »
A study authored by the U.S. Forest Service and other organizations including Trout Unlimited finds that global warming is expected to reduce the distribution of trout in the western U.S. because warmer streams will be less suitable for their growth and survival. Read more »