Native American Heritage Month

November has been designated as Native American Heritage Month, signed into law by George H.W. Bush in 1990.  Council FIRE encourages each of you to pause and reflect on the many contributions on those who were here first.

The list of Native accomplishments and gifts are too numerous to mention them all. Whether you offer respect for the Code Talkers for their heroism in the World Wars; for the kindness of those who met the earliest explorers with trust, acceptance and help; for the continuing gifts of traditional medicines, foods and development of cotton and rubber; or the earliest development of Sign Language, there is no shortage of examples where Native culture, practices and history have benefitted all of us. The American colonists modeled their government after the hierarchy of tribes such as the League of Iroquois, and our current US government is based on the same principles.

It is a wondrous culture that continues to deliver gifts. From their respect of the environment and all the creators gifts, to respect for women and elders, and their history of service as warriors who stand to protect the entire nation at a rate higher than any other demographic.

Take some time to learn about Native Heritage month, and the many reasons that First Nations are deserving of respect and more.

Council FIRE is proud to be working with the AFLCIO to see that issues of those who were here first are included in the path for progress that Labor has always championed.

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AFL-CIO Constituency Groups Stand with Native Americans to Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Council FIRE is pleased to report that all AFL-CIO Constituency groups have taken a stand to support Native Rights and to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Council FIRE has been working with these constituency groups to bring Native issues into mainstream discussions – alongside all other constituencies. We are pleased to join these groups, and the AFLCIO Human Rights Committee, to make sure that all people have access to equality and fairness.

For Immediate Release:         September 19, 2016
Press Contact: Marian Manapsal
mmanapsal@apalanet.org;    202-508-3733

Washington, DC – Together, the Labor Coalition for Community Action, which includes the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and Pride at Work, rises in solidarity with Native Americans and our allies in protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and defending Native lands from exploitation by corporations and the U.S. government. We advocate for a progressive labor movement rooted in dignity and respect of all peoples, including Native Americans and their families.

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Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Endorse Council FIRE

From Council FIRE Founder and President, Kevin Cummings

I bid a good day to each of you, and hope this note finds you well.

It is with a very happy heart that I let you know that I received a call from CBTU today.  The call came during their national convention, and the delegates voted unanimously to endorse Council –FIRE and included a passage in the proclamation that urges the AFLCIO to do the same!  This is a huge sign that we are on the good road to helping the first people on these lands.  The national convention is being attended by nearly one-thousand delegates from seventy-seven international Labor unions across the US and Canada.  Continue reading

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Report Confirms: Serious Racial Inequities in Health and Health Care Continue

By Tanya H. Lee on 5/6/16 as posted in Indian Country Media Today

In 1985, a government report for the first time documented disparities in health and mortality between black and other minority groups in the U.S. and whites. Thirty years later, we remain a nation of serious inequities when it comes to health and health care, according to a new report.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics has published a 461-page analysis, “Health, United States, 2015: With Special Feature on Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities,” detailing the progress we have (and have not) made in addressing health discrimination.

About 42 percent of the American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) population gets its healthcare through the Indian Health Service. The National Congress of American Indians in its analysis of the FY2017 budget request for the IHS pointed out that the agency’s per capita spending is only $3,107, compared to $8,097 per person for health care spending nationally in 2014.

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Native American Hero, Code Talker Ernest Yazhe Has Walked On

Our nation has lost a true hero, as Ernest Yazhe has passed away. He received full military honors at his funeral Tuesday at Utah Veterans Memorial Park. He died Jan. 12 of kidney failure at age 92. at the age of 92.

Born May 5, 1923, in Naschitti, New Mexico, on the Navajo reservation to Taneezahni Yazhi and Nannebah Belle Yazhi, he joined the U.S. Marines when he was 19 years old, and became one of the hundreds of Code Talkers who played a vital combat role by transmitting battlefield messages in an unbreakable Navajo-based radio code.

Yazhe was also a fifty year member of the IAM, which is where Council-FIRE began.

LDS Bishop Reid Brinton read a brief statement written by Yazhe’s daughter, Melissa Yahze.

“My father was a quiet man. He never liked to have attention drawn to him. In fact, my siblings and I talked and said he would not like having all this attention on him at this time. But he’s not here to get after us. Continue reading

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