August 2001 #2 Newsletter from
"On This Date in North American Indian History"
by Phil Konstantin
Copyright Phil Konstantin (1996-2002)

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                August 2001 Newsleter #2 
                Phil Konstantin 
  Hi, everybody,

  I have a couple of tidbits I thought I would pass along. 


  Here is an e-mail I received from Jennifer, one of the newsletter's 
  subscribers. If any of you have any answer to these questions which you 
  would like to share, send them to me. I will pass them along to 


  I'm wondering if you could help me research a question I have wondered
  since I was in high school and first became interested in the brain and 
  behavior. I work with children who have autism, their families,
  teachers, doctors, professionals, etc... trying to promote their
  inclusion in our so-called "normal" society. (Really, though, I end up 
  doing more work with the "normal" people, getting them to see how
  uniquely beautiful the world is to a person with autism!)

  Individuals with autism have difficulty with social interaction (they
  prefer to be alone, I believe, because of sensory processing problems), 
  communication (some never talk, though with intensive help, they almost 
  always can communicate some other way, with sign language or pictures), 
  and repetitive behaviors and insistence on sameness. The world needs to 
  be predictable and unchanging for the person with autism to be 
  comfortable. Otherwise, he or she will often perservate on a certain 
  movement (rocking, lining things up) or topic (those who are verbal have 
  "Asperger's syndrome", a form of autism, and are above average 
  intelligence for certain topics, and they will talk literally nonstop 
  about their chosen field of interest).

  In looking for a "cure" the the mainstream medical community of course
  looks to medication before it considers nutrition during development,
  herbs and simple accomodations like the use of sign language or 
  pictures to communicate. My fight seems to be for the respect of these 
  individuals as fellow human beings who share the earth with us. Who's 
  to say THEY aren't the ones who are "normal" and WE are the strange 
  beings? It all comes down to respect for life.

  Anyway, MY QUESTION IS : have there been "reports" (in the form of
  stories, perhaps?) of individuals with this thing we now call "autism"
  in the Native American population? I would LOVE to talk with a shaman
  or medicine man or woman about this (as well as many other things). 
  But I'm a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, white-as-they-come young woman !!
  (SMILE ;) I believe that the answers will come to me when and how they 
  are supposed to. Could you offer any insight into this? Perhaps
  someone you know could lead me in a direction?

  OK, I am guessing this is comedy. If anyone knows if this is a real 
  article, let me know. Otherwise, I am guessing not. The irony of 
  drilling into the back of the Presidents' heads is hard to ignore as a 
  piece of satire.



  WASHINGTON (API) -- The White House today responded to growing 
  criticism of its support for mining a coal seam inside Mount Rushmore, 
  the national shrine in South Dakota's Black Hills, in order to meet the 
  nation's energy needs.

  BHP-Rio Billiranda, the Australian/British/South African/ Canadian 
  mining conglomerate, announced its discovery of "one of North America's 
  three richest anthracite coal seams" on April 1. The company has 
  applied for state and federal permits to dig shafts into Mount 
  Rushmore's rear flank to recover the extensive low-sulfur coal deposit. 
  The permit applications have been met with widespread opposition by 
  environmental organizations, park protection groups, and tourism 

  Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton returned Tuesday from a visit to 
  South Dakota, where she had met with concerned citizens and mining firm 
  representatives. "You have to understand," she told reporters at the 
  National Press Club on Wednesday, "the mining operation would be 
  restricted to the rear of the mountain. Shafts would be dug only into 
  the back of the four presidents' heads, out of view of the visitors' 
  center. The projected periodic blasting should not disrupt tourists' 
  experience, or obscure their view of the breathtaking masterpiece."

  Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) weighed in Tuesday 
  on the mining proposal in his home state. "This coal mine plan is an 
  affront to the environment and our national heritage," Sen. Daschle 
  asserted in a press release, "I and my colleagues in the South Dakota 
  congressional delegation will fight like hell to ensure that Mount 
  Rushmore is protected, and the coal mining operations are carried out 
  safely." BHP-Rio Billiranda officials were unavailable for comment.

  Local opponents of the mine proposal, including environmentalists, 
  ranchers, and Lakota (Sioux) tribes, in June founded the Mount Rushmore 
  Alliance to stop the coal mine permits. Similar alliances have 
  previously halted or slowed plans for uranium mines, bombing ranges, and 
  coal-hauling trains elsewhere in western South Dakota.

  A recent Alliance benefit concert at the Rapid City Convention Center 
  drew up to 3,000 coal mine opponents, who were entertained by musical 
  bands such as the Indigo Girls and The Presidents of the United States. 
  Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls commented, "The carving of Mount Rushmore 
  was enough of an affront to the sacred Black Hills. Now they want to 
  add insult to injury by carving out the presidents' craniums."

  At a press conference in his State Capitol office in Pierre, South 
  Dakota Governor Bill Janklow replied last week to vocal demands to 
  prevent mining at the national monument. "Rushmore may be inspiring, but 
  it's certainly not sacred," the Governor said, "There's nothing sacred 
  about a bunch of inert rock. I'd expect Indians to say stuff like that, 
  but not upstanding white citizens."

  Vice President Dick Cheney, who in May chaired an energy resources
  commission that backed the Mount Rushmore mine plans, said Monday after 
  a meeting with Capitol Hill lawmakers, "The bottom line is we need the 
  coal. Mining is part of our country's heritage just as surely as the 
  majestic images on Mount Rushmore. I'm sure that the four presidents 
  would be proud that their likenesses are being mined to help guarantee 
  our nation's energy security."

  The Vice President added, "Well, okay, maybe not Teddy Roosevelt. But
  remember that on conservation issues he was a tad bit extreme."

  During a state visit to Australia on Wednesday, President Bush grinned 
  to reporters who shouted questions about the Mount Rushmore controversy. 
  "C'mon, we're talking here about coal; we're not talking about brains," 
  the President responded, "Extractilating coal from the four presidents' 
  skulls is not going to make them any dumber. At least, I don't think 

  [Distributed by API/ZG 08/01/01]


  Hmmmmmmm, now you see why I doubt this "article" is real. Here is a side 
  note on my feelings about Mount Rushmore. I was born with a traveler's 
  heart. I enjoy traveling and I love visiting places I have never been. 
  This is especially true when it come to "natural" things, museums and 
  ancient Indian sites. I have traveled all over the American southwest. I 
  have visited many natural beauty sites such as the Grand Canyon, Zion, 
  Bryce Canyon, Mt. St. Helens, dozens of ancient Indian sites, etc. I 
  gave you this bit of background to explain why I don't plan on visiting 
  Mt. Rushmore. 

  To me, Mt. Rushmore is a dichotomy. On one side, it is an absilutely 
  amazing architectural feat. The amount of work it took to produce these 
  faces is awesome. I am empressed by art on such a scale. On the other 
  side, I consider it a slap in the face to the Lakota, and perhaps all 
  American Indians. The Black Hills (Paha Sapa) were/are considered sacred 
  to many of the Plains Indians. Not only did the United States go back on 
  all of the treaties they signed about always letting the Indians keep 
  this land, but the government "vandalized" the Black Hills. They took a 
  sacred site and carved the faces of four of the "Great White Fathers" on 
  it. Obviously, no one is going to move Mt. Rushmore to a non-sacred 
  sites. But, unless I have a change of conscious, I will not be visiting 
  it until they do.


  Gina sent me this e-mail about a special day coming up. This is about a 
  white buffalo which was born a few years back. Since tribes believe the 
  birth of a white buffalo is a prophetic event. There were two buffalos 
  born around the same time. One has died. Here is some info on the 
  remaining one:

  Birthday Invitation - August 20th marks the 7th birthday of Miracle, the 
  Sacred White Buffalo. Her importance to Indian people, as well as all 
  the world's people, cannot be understated. She is the manifestation of 
  prophecy. If you are not familiar with her story, please visit her 
  official website. Miracle, the Sacred White Buffalo. 

  Native Village editors, Valerie Crow and Gina Boltz, and Miracle's 
  official webmaster, Stephanie Schwartz, would like you to join us for 
  the celebration! We understand that perhaps you cannot physically be 
  there, so we are inviting you to be there in spirit. We are honored 
  that the Heiders, (Miracle's owners), have graciously accepted and 
  support our plans for a very different kind of "birthday card." Instead 
  of a paper card, we are making a large grapevine wreath and will be 
  tying ribbons with well-wishers' signatures on it. 
  If you would like to add your name to a ribbon tied on Miracle's wreath, 
  please follow this link: 

  "Sign the Wreath for Miracle's Birthday" ( 

  If you also wish to send a Message to Miracle, please click here: "Your 
  Birthday Message to Miracle, the Sacred White Buffalo" ( 

  We especially welcome and honor our children's voices, the seventh 

  On August 18th, Native Village editors will be going to see Miracle, 
  and will place your birthday "card" at her pasture. Your birthday 
  messages will be printed out and presented to the Heiders to 
  keep in Miracle's little museum . We respect and will protect your 
  privacy by not sharing your messages and signatures online. Photos will 
  be posted at the Native Village website upon our return. 
  Happy Birthday Miracle ... and thank you! 

  Gina Boltz and Valerie Crow, Native Village editors 
  Native Village Home Page 


  That's it for now

  Phil Konstantin

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