Archive | December 19, 2015

Reclaiming the Tradition of Canoeing Downs Drugs and Ups Hope*

Reclaiming the Tradition of Canoeing Downs Drugs and Ups Hope*

Reversing the trauma of assimilation isn’t easy, but tribes believe that bringing ancestral values directly to the youth is the answer.

By Yessenia Funes

Vincent and Sequoia Chargualaf stand on the rocky shore of Port Madison Bay, Washington, welcoming canoe paddlers as their Suquamish ancestors had done for generations. In honour of that history, today’s Pacific Northwest Natives climb in their canoes and paddle for the annual Tribal Canoe Journey, a drug- and alcohol- free event where tribes gather and share their cultures. This year, the Suquamish are hosting visitors for a night, welcoming them with a steady drumbeat and a hint of steaming crab in the air.

The canoe journey represents adaptability and reliability, traits necessary inside and outside of the canoe, especially for the many Native youth who struggle with substance abuse. Twenty-year-old Vincent learned these lessons five years ago when he took a class that included the journey’s metaphorical teachings. The class was part of the Healing of the Canoe project, collaboration between the Suquamish Tribe, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. It aims to build resilient, substance-free Native youth by reconnecting them to their roots.

“You never know what’s going to come up when you’re on the journey,” Vincent says. “There’s going to be times when you’re in the canoe and there’s rough waves or calm water. You just have to be able to adapt to any situation you’re put in, and you have to be able to do it with the help of everyone else.”

Vincent and Sequoia Chargualaf, at right, wait on the shore for arriving canoes from neighbouring tribes – Photo by Paul Dunn

Vincent and 16-year-old Sequoia both learned through the class how to apply this philosophy to life. The Healing of the Canoe’s yearlong curriculum is broken up into 11 sessions. Each teaches different cultural values and life skills, while sprinkling in drug and alcohol information. At the end of the year, students participate in an honouring ceremony that acknowledges their accomplishments.

The project has expanded to about 35 tribes—some as far as Canada and Alaska—that learn implementation through workshops, social media, and online trainings. Tribal members hope such involvement will deter youth from experimenting with drugs, a health issue especially prevalent among Native adolescents. A study recently published in Public Health Reports found that 56% of eighth graders in American Indian populations surveyed used marijuana—four times higher than the national rate. Use of psychedelics was five times higher.

Drugs take over youth’s lives, says Laura Price, the Healing of the Canoe project manager for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. “They change the child, and that’s really scary.”

This didn’t just happen. For decades, the U.S. government forced Native people to assimilate into American society. The trauma of this cultural stripping continues to bleed into today’s generations, encouraging destructive behaviour, hurting health, and contributing to mental illness. Reversing that trauma isn’t easy, but tribes believe that bringing ancestral values directly to the youth is the answer.

A study of the Healing of the Canoe’s impact, published in early 2015, showed substance use decreased, while hope, optimism, and self-efficacy increased among the 27 participants. Tribal members involved in the study requested these variables be examined, and results were garnered from a questionnaire given before and after the curriculum. The project’s goal is not only to reduce harm among youth, Price says, but also to get them “feeling good and proud about who they are and where they come from.”

Take the Chargualaf brothers, Vincent and Sequoia, for example. They explain how their single mother never had time to bring their family to cultural events that were often too far out of the way. The Healing of the Canoe project brought the cultural teachings to them—teachings that encouraged the brothers to go beyond class requirements and paddle in the annual canoe journey.

In the class, Vincent learned how to sing, dance, and weave. “I’m not so much a carver,” he says, “but whatever anybody needs help with, that’s just where I am.”

Sequoia was crowned as last year’s Chief Seattle Days Warrior in the Royalty Pageant, part of a three-day public festival established in 1911 to honor the famous Suquamish leader, Chief Seattle. Royalty give a voice to youth and represent their significant role within the tribe. Sequoia has found honor standing among leaders. “If I’m next to the right people, and good people,” he says, “then I can help others stay drug and alcohol free.” Plus, tribal stories tell of bad karma catching up to royalty who use substances. He doesn’t want any future bad luck.

Real life is as unpredictable as the canoe journey, but a strong community can provide the support to pull through hardships like addiction. “Healing of the Canoe is just teaching us it’s OK to ask for help,” Vincent explains. “It’s OK to feel weak sometimes. It’s OK to not be the strongest person in the world.”

Strength comes in many forms. For some, it’s paddling 24 hours in a canoe. For others, it’s carrying that canoe to shore. For the Suquamish, it’s all of the above, plus finding the answers that will keep their kids well and their culture alive.


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Indigenous Canadians Sue Government over White Adoptions*

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Secret Norwegian Government Report Confirms Turkey Helping ISIS Sell Its Oil*

Secret Norwegian Government Report Confirms Turkey Helping ISIS Sell Its Oil*

By Tyler Durden

“The resolution gives us more flexibility to go after those who are helping ISIS, whether to move funds, to store funds or to earn funds.”

That’s from Adam Szubin, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury. Szubin is referencing a Security Council resolution proposed by Washington and Moscow that calls for a crackdown on IS access to the international financial system.

As FT reports, the “rare meeting of Security Council member finance ministers also resolved to press other nations to enforce more rigorously existing rules that are designed to limit the flow of revenues, fighters and equipment to the Islamist militant group.”

And here’s a bit of largely meaningless rhetoric from the UN itself:

“At its first ever meeting at Finance Ministers’ level, the United Nations Security Council today stepped up its efforts to cut off all sources of funding for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIL) and other terrorist groups, including ransom payments, no matter by whom.

“The Council also called on Member States to promote enhanced vigilance by persons within their jurisdiction to detect any diversion of explosives and raw materials and components that can be used to manufacture improvised explosive devices or unconventional weapons, including chemical components, detonators, detonating cord, or poisons.

“‘They (the terrorists) are agile and have been far too successful in attaining resources for their heinous acts,’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council at the start of the debate. ‘As Da’esh (another name for ISIL) and other terrorist groups disseminate their hateful propaganda and ratchet up murderous attacks, we must join forces to prevent them from acquiring and deploying resources to do further harm,’ he stressed.”

Yes, “we must” keep the terrorists from “acquiring and deploying resources to do further harm.” The reason we call that “meaningless” rhetoric is that it’s an insult to anyone who knows anything about the role some U.N. members play in financing and supplying ISIS.

Take this statement for instance:

“The Council also called on Member States to promote enhanced vigilance by persons within their jurisdiction to detect any diversion of explosives and raw materials and components that can be used to manufacture improvised explosive devices or unconventional weapons, including chemical components.”

Well, for starters, we know that ammonium nitrate flows from Akcakale across the border to the Syrian town of Tel Abyad which has fallen into ISIS hands on a number of occasions. From a The New York Times piece published in May:

“Ammonium nitrate has been a vital ingredient in some of the world’s most notorious terrorist attacks, including the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 and the bombings of the United States Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

“It has also been widely used by militants in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by the Islamic State.

“A bomb filled with about 45,000 pounds could damage 16 city blocks, Dr. John Goodpaster, a forensic chemist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis said, adding that there appeared to be at least 55,000 pounds in the pile of sacks waiting to enter the crossing [between Akcakale and Tel Abyad].

“’That is a definite concern,’ he said.”

Turkish officials failed to explain why the substance was allowed to cross.

And as for preventing “chemical components” from falling into ISIS hands, not only has Turkey failed to be part of the solution, Ankara is actually busy accusing those who try to expose the source of illegal sarin gas transfers of treason. Recall that earlier this week, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into CHP deputy Eren Erdem following the lawmaker’s claims that radical groups used Turkey as a transit route for the shipment of sarin gas.

In addition to the above, Turkey also stands accused (by Russia and others) of facilitating the sale of illegal ISIS crude and thereby of helping Islamic State secure the hundreds of millions of dollars in funding it needs to continue to destabilize the Assad government in Syria and counter Iranian/Shiite influence in Iraq.

Combine all of that with the fact that, as Vladimir Putin pointed out last month in Antalya, ISIS is receiving funding from at least 40 countries including G20 members. So yes, the UN’s “resolution” is completely farcical.

Underscoring that assessment is a new “secret” report prepared on behalf of the Norwegian foreign ministry by Rystad Energy. According to Dagens Næringsliv (translated), the report shows that

“large quantities of oil have been smuggled across the border to Turkey from IS-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq.” The “oil is sent by tankers via smuggling routes across the border [and] is sold at greatly reduced prices, from 25 to 45 dollars a barrel,” the report says.

Dagens Næringsliv goes on to implicate the same network of traffickers who helped Saddam avoid international sanctions, in helping ISIS export crude and import cash.

“The UN Security Council will discuss Thursday a French proposal to impose sanctions on countries that allow trade in IS,” the paper adds, dryly.

So there you go U.N. Security Council. If you’re looking for states that are helping ISIS “acquire and deploy resources,” we would suggest looking at NATO’s own Turkey because apparently, everyone in the entire world knows what’s going on and no one wants to do anything about it.


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Maya Angelou on Facing Evil*

Denmark to ‘confiscate’ Gold, Jewellery, and other Valuables from Refugees*

Thailand’s Newest Power Plant Runs on Coconut Waste*

Thailand’s Newest Power Plant Runs on Coconut Waste*

Thailand will use coconut husks to generate 9.5 MilliWatts of energy in a process they believe will believe they can increase efficiency while reducing air pollution.

Thailand will soon be turning its coconut waste into electrical power thanks to a specialized power plant that burns biomass.

Unlike other biomass plants, which can be designed to burn everything from wood chips to city waste, the plant being built in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon Province will be tailored specifically for coconut parts, reported David Appleyard, a contributing editor to Renewable Energy World, in 2013.

Thailand produces over 1 million tonnes of coconuts annually, according to United Nations statistics, and by tailoring the plant to use just one form of widely available form of waste, officials of DP Cleantech, the corporation constructing the plant, believe they can increase efficiency while reducing air pollution. The plant, which is expected to open in the next 18 months, will generate 9.5 MilliWatts of energy.

Simon Parker, CEO of DP Cleantech, told Appleyard that the plant would be unusual because it would accept multiple forms of coconut fuel, including husks, shells, and leaves, adding:

“We believe that the energy market in Thailand is ready to be at the forefront of the new generation of solutions for biomass to power, using higher efficiency, multi fuel and low emissions solutions.”

Biomass is becoming an increasingly popular renewable energy source, although most current plants are fuelled by wood chips. In their 2015 report, the European Biomass Association estimates that Europe received 15% of its energy from renewable sources in 2013, the most recent year for which figures were available. Of that total, 61.2% came from biomass generators, almost two-thirds of the renewable energy generated on the continent. That same year, 494,550 people were estimated to work in the bio fuel industry, generating wages of 56 billion euros.

Although cleaner and more renewable than fossil fuels, biomass plants have met with some resistance because they do generate greenhouse gases. Fuel sources can also be a source of conflict. On Dec. 14, Clara Attene, writing for, a non-profit European media research centre, reported that residents of Sicily protested plans to build a biomass plant that would require cutting 6,000 hectares of Eucalyptus trees on the island for fuel.

Elsewhere on the island off the tip of the “boot” of Italy, Attene noted, researchers from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Catania are researching the potential of using agricultural waste, specifically citrus skins, to generate power:

“They aim to create a local source of renewable energy from the 400,000 to 700,000 tons of orange residue from fruit juice production, the disposal of which costs between €12 and 21 million every year.”

A 2014 study from the International Council on Clean Transportation estimated that Europe currently wastes 220 million tons of similar material which could be fed into a biomass plant. Ben Allen, a senior policy analyst at the Institute for European Environmental Policy, told Attene that bio fuel-based approaches will have to be tailored to each individual region:

“Context is everything when evaluating sustainability … because it determines the feasibility of a power plant, the availability of the resources, the conditions of supplying and the interaction with the wider business community.”


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Does Skin Pigment Act Like A Natural Solar-Panel?*

Does Skin Pigment Act Like A Natural Solar-Panel?*

By Sayer Ji

While ubiquitous in nature, melanin, which provides the colouring found in hair, skin, eyes, feathers, scales, etc., is an especially important substance as far as the human condition is concerned. After all, melanin’s role in determining skin colour makes it the primary physiological basis for racial differentiation among humans. Entire civilizations, no doubt, have risen and fallen due to their conceptions (and misconceptions) about this pigment’s effects on human behaviour, to the point that the very notion of humanness itself has been called into question depending on how little or how much melanin a body possessed.

It is for this reason that melanin’s lesser known, functional properties should be considered more closely. In fact, being more pigmented, i.e. darker skinned, or put oppositely, being less de-pigmented, may confer a unique set of health benefits which over the course of human history have been repressed or intentionally misrepresented in order to fuel the socio-political construct of race.

In biological science melanin is known to possess a diverse set of roles and functions in a wide range of organisms. These include:

  • Protection against biochemical attack: e.g. the smoke-shield-like ink of the octopus, and the melanin-based protective colourings of bacteria and fungi which are capable of encapsulating and oxidizing invading organisms in a process known as melanization.
  • Mitigating chemical stresses associated with exposure to heavy metals and oxidizing agents.
  • Acting as a natural sunscreen: shielding light-sensitive tissue from the potentially damaging effects of ultraviolet light.

Melanin is capable of transforming ultraviolet light energy into heat in a process known as “ultrafast internal conversion”; more than 99.9% of the absorbed UV radiation is transformed from potentially genotoxic (DNA-damaging) ultraviolet light into harmless heat.

If melanin can convert light into heat, could it not also transform UV radiation into other biologically/metabolically useful forms of energy? This may no seem so farfetched when one considers that even gamma radiation, which is highly toxic to most forms of life, is a source of sustenance for certain types of fungi and bacteria.

Single-celled fungi, for instance, have been observed thriving within the collapsed nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, Ukraine, using gamma radiation as a source of energy. Albino fungi, without melanin, were studied to be incapable of using gamma radiation in this way, proving that gamma rays initiate a yet-unknown process of energy production within melanin. There is also the curious discovery of bacteria living within vats of radioactive waste.

Given these examples, it is no surprise that vertebrate animals may be capable of converting light directly into metabolic energy through the help of melanin. In a review on the topic published in 2008 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, titled “Melanin directly converts light for vertebrate metabolic use: heuristic thoughts on birds, Icarus and dark human skin,” Geoffrey Goodman and Dani Bercovich offer a thought-provoking reflection on the topic. Their abstract is well worth reading:

“Pigments serve many visually obvious animal functions (e.g. hair, skin, eyes, feathers, scales). One is ‘melanin’, unusual in an absorption across the UV-visual spectrum which is controversial. Any polymer or macro-structure of melanin monomers is ‘melanin’. Its roles derive from complex structural and physical-chemical properties e.g. semiconductor, stable radical, conductor, free radical scavenger, charge-transfer. Clinicians and researchers are well acquainted with melanin in skin and ocular pathologies and now increasingly are with internal, melanized, pathology-associated sites not obviously subject to light radiation (e.g. brain, cochlea). At both types of sites some findings puzzle: positive and negative neuro-melanin effects in Parkinsons; unexpected melanocyte action in the cochlea, in deafness; melanin reduces DNA damage, but can promote melanoma; in melanotic cells, mitochondrial number was 83% less, respiration down 30%, but development similar to normal amelanotic cells. A little known, avian anatomical conundrum may help resolve melanin paradoxes. One of many unique adaptations to flight, the pecten, strange intra-ocular organ with unresolved function(s), is much enlarged and heavily melanized in birds fighting gravity, hypoxia, thirst and hunger during long-distance, frequently sub-zero, non-stop migration. The pecten may help cope with energy and nutrient needs under extreme conditions, by a marginal but critical, melanin-initiated conversion of light to metabolic energy, coupled to local metabolite recycling. Similarly in Central Africa, reduction in body hair and melanin increase may also have lead to ‘photomelanometabolism’ which, though small scale/ unit body area, in total may have enabled a sharply increased development of the energy-hungry cortex and enhanced human survival generally. Animal inability to utilize light energy directly has been traditionally assumed. Melanin and the pecten may have unexpected lessons also for human physiology and medicine.”

If the authors are correct, a longstanding assumption that animals are incapable of utilizing light energy directly is thrown out the window. In other words, melanized tissue within our body may be capable of “ingesting” sunlight, and not unlike plants, using the “harvested” light in biologically useful ways.

Should it be any surprise, really, that our skin was designed to benefit from being bathed in sunlight? We already know that sunlight exposure can reduce the risk of over 30 diseases, and that its primary metabolite in our skin, vitamin D, may reduce the risk of over 150 additional conditions. Our biological connection to, and dependence on, the sun, is so profound that the very variation in human skin colour from African, melanin-saturated dark skin, to the relatively melanin de-pigmented, Caucasian lighter-skin, is a by-product of the offspring of our last common ancestor from Africa (as determined by mitochondrial DNA) migrating towards sunlight-impoverished higher latitudes, which began approximately 60,000 years ago.

In order to compensate for the lower availability of sunlight, the body rapidly adjusted, essentially requiring the removal of the natural “sunscreen” melanin from the skin, which interferes with vitamin D production; vitamin D, of course, is involved in the regulation of over 2,000 genes, and therefore is more like a hormone, without which our entire genetic infrastructure becomes destabilized.

While a life-saving adaptation, the loss of melanin likely has adverse health effects, which include losing the ability to convert sunlight into metabolic energy, increased prevalence of Parkinson’s disease (which involves de-melanization of the substantia nigra and disproportionately affects those of Caucasian descent), and others effects which have yet been investigated in any detail.

For now, it is important to point out that within the span of only 60,000 years (a nanosecond in biological time), many of the skin “colour” differences among the world’s human inhabitants reflect how heavily genetically-conserved was the ability of the human body to produce vitamin D. Furthermore, the trade-off involved in maintaining the ability create enough vitamin D within a sunlight-deprived clime by sacrificing melanin may have had adverse health effects that are only now being investigated.

For those who are not naturally gifted with large quantities of melanin, tanning is an attractive prospect. However, it is important to differentiate between UVA light-induced tanning and UVB light-induced tanning. Although visually there is little, if any discernible difference, UVA light results from the photoxidation of existing melanin and its precursors, whereas UVB stimulates melanocytes to up-regulate melanin synthesis and increases pigmentation coverage.

Because UVA light does not provide any additional photoprotection and is far more toxic to cellular DNA, it is important to maximize exposure to the UVB wavelengths which predominate around solar noon (approximately 12 o’ clock), tapering off in intensity several hours before and after. It is within this window of time that vitamin D production also happens to be at its greatest, as UVB radiation is responsible for stimulating its synthesis as well.


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When You Stop Wishing Yourself Away…

The Self Control Gland and Why It Matters

Donald Trump’s Trojan Horse in Britain

Trump’s anti-Muslim Agend in Britain

Stop Making Sense

Nafeez Ahmed writes for Insurge Intelligence:

Last week, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump provoked global outrage with his call for a ‘temporary’ ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States.

His remarks also sparked enthusiastic support from neo-Nazi white supremacists, triggered a spike in campaign donations, and maintained his 35% lead in the Republican campaign race.

In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron described Trump’s proposal as “divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong.”

Since then, over half a million Britons have signed a petition demanding the government to ban Trump from entering the UK, making it the most signed UK government petition ever.

But Trump has unlikely allies in Britain — some with close links to the Tory government.

Far from simply popping out of nowhere, Trump’s ideology of hate has been incubated by a trans-Atlantic network of rightwing lobby groups and think-tanks, members of which have advised David Cameron…

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Which Force Awakens in Pentagon’s NWO Agenda*

Which Force Awakens in Pentagon’s NWO Agenda*

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