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40 Indian Tribes Hold Powwow in Not-So-Wild East

September 29, 1986|LARRY PRYOR

Eastern urban Indians have to try harder. "We feel very isolated," said Miguel Sague, a Taino Indian from Central America who lives in Pittsburgh, Pa. "Everywhere we go, people say, 'Indians, they're out West.' There they are a recognized entity and the Indians have no doubt about who they are. But here in the East, we are less visible. No one knows we're here. Nobody cares." To "recharge their cultural batteries," representatives of about 40 tribal nations, including Seneca, Sioux, Onondaga, Cherokee, Seminole and Creek--most from Eastern urban areas--gathered at a powwow at Dorseyville, Pa., over the weekend to dance, eat traditional food and sing. "We battle for our identities," said Russell Simms, 43, a Seminole and executive director of the Three Rivers American Indian Center, which hosted the powwow. "We spend enormous amounts of time proving to people who we are and what we're about. We often don't have the Western Indian look. . . . Then we get into double trouble because when we do link up with our Western brothers, who are culturally stronger, they look down on us." At the powwow, children of all colors and facial features chased each other around tepees on a high bluff and watched the games, footraces, tug-of-war contests and dancing competition. Linda Flanigan, who is part Creek and director of the center's Head Start program, said some teachers have asked Indian children to bring birth certificates to school to prove their background. "An event like this makes you feel Indian again . . ." Sague said. "It really rejuvenates the spirit."

--A Boulder, Colo., man strained the quality of mercy by filing 223 federal lawsuits in Colorado and elsewhere. A federal judge has described the majority of Albert Carter's suits as being "frivolous or vexatious" and said he was using the legal process to "harass innocent citizens." "Mr. Carter's response to people who act in a manner which he perceives as adverse to his interests is to sue them," wrote U.S. District Judge Sherman G. Finesilver. "When a judge renders an adverse decision, he sues the judge." Finesilver ordered Carter to stop filing suits without a lawyer. Carter has appealed the ruling.

--Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jimmy Breslin has shown subtle signs that he's unhappy with the late hour--12:30 a.m.-- that ABC's New York affiliate airs "Jimmy Breslin's People." He suggested in his Sunday New York Daily News column that the manager of the station "step out of his studio and dive in front of a bus."

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