Today, the population of Evansville is around 120,000, give or take a few thousand, but in the time before European settlement, this same area was home to several distinct Native American cultures spanning thousands of years.
Ever notice how strange-sound words tend to start sounding normal after hearing them enough? What words come up frequently in Illinois that seem mundane to those of us who live here but maybe deserve a second look?
A handful of Native Americans that have spent their lives as newspaper reporters, editors or publishers are wondering where journalism is headed in Indian Country. I can't answer that question, but I would like to give a shout-out to the great Indian journalists I have known.
Now in her 50s, Sonja has traded her pencils for "earth paints," made of ground rock mixed with water. She sometimes sketches her concepts first, especially if a specific animal requires practice, and chooses colors as she goes.
As I gripped the steering wheel, my mind formed alternate routes in case the windshield shattered around us. Stories of cow-killing-hail were fresh in my memory, and as we sped through the Badlands, there was nowhere to stop for shelter.
In the evolving American consciousness, where there's growing support for illegal immigrants who want U.S. citizenship and for gays who want wedlock, the same impulse apparently does not recognize that the word redskins is reprehensible and offensive to (most) Native Americans.
If we can agree that I should not be called a "redskin" because that would be racist, then isn't it obvious that the Washington NFL team should not use the name? Eighty years' use of a racist term does not make a racist practice a legitimate tradition. It makes it 80 years overdue for a change.
Much of traditional Lakota culture was threatened in the early 1900s. After the Lakota people were placed on reservations in the late 1800s, the U.S. government forbade their language and ceremonial life.
Like the proverbial "ducks out of water," Native Christians captured by a Western worldview are against the use of any form of Native American cultural expressions of faith. On the other hand, those who reclaim a vision of Christ in our culture celebrate joy and homecoming.
The first I heard of Professor Dulaney was in 1983 when I received a letter -- it was not known as snail-mail back then -- saying that he had been reading my newspaper. We came up with the idea of forming a Native American newspaper association.
As we, the American public, hack through thickets of politically enhanced blogoshere-distributed demonstrations and debates about who we are, most of us overlook one factor: We started out as trespassers.