04-22-2024  12:46 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Cloud 9 Cannabis CEO and co-owner Sam Ward Jr., left, and co-owner Dennis Turner pose at their shop, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Arlington, Wash. Cloud 9 is one of the first dispensaries to open under the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board's social equity program, established in efforts to remedy some of the disproportionate effects marijuana prohibition had on communities of color. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

    The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

    A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting.  Read More
  • Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

    Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

     Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color Read More
  • A woman gathers possessions to take before a homeless encampment was cleaned up in San Francisco, Aug. 29, 2023. The Supreme Court will hear its most significant case on homelessness in decades Monday, April 22, 2024, as record numbers of people in America are without a permanent place to live. The justices will consider a challenge to rulings from a California-based federal appeals court that found punishing people for sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

    Supreme Court to Weigh Bans on Sleeping Outdoors 

    The Supreme Court will consider whether banning homeless people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to cruel and unusual punishment on Monday. The case is considered the most significant to come before the high court in decades on homelessness, which is reaching record levels In California and other Western states. Courts have ruled that it’s unconstitutional to fine and arrest people sleeping in homeless encampments if shelter Read More
  • Richard Wallace, founder and director of Equity and Transformation, poses for a portrait at the Westside Justice Center, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

    Chicago's Response to Migrant Influx Stirs Longstanding Frustrations Among Black Residents

    With help from state and federal funds, the city has spent more than $300 million to provide housing, health care and more to over 38,000 mostly South American migrants. The speed with which these funds were marshaled has stirred widespread resentment among Black Chicagoans. But community leaders are trying to ease racial tensions and channel the public’s frustrations into agitating for the greater good. Read More
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The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting. 

Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

 Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.


Earth Day Announcement: Mt. Tabor Park Selected as a 2024 Leave No Trace Spotlight

Mt. Tabor Park is the only Oregon park and one of just 24 nationally to receive honor. ...

OHCS, BuildUp Oregon Launch Program to Expand Early Childhood Education Access Statewide

Funds include million for developing early care and education facilities co-located with affordable housing. ...

Governor Kotek Announces Chief of Staff, New Office Leadership

Governor expands executive team and names new Housing and Homelessness Initiative Director ...

Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

5 Million dollars from Oregon CHIPS Act to be allocated to new Child Care Fund ...

Bank Announces 14th Annual “I Got Bank” Contest for Youth in Celebration of National Financial Literacy Month

The nation’s largest Black-owned bank will choose ten winners and award each a $1,000 savings account ...

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court wrestled with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness on Monday as it considered whether cities can ban people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking. The case is considered the most significant to come before the...

Oregon lodge famously featured in 'The Shining' will reopen to guests after fire forced evacuations

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's historic Timberline Lodge, which featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining,” will reopen to guests Sunday after a fire that prompted evacuations but caused only minimal damage. The lodge said Saturday in a Facebook post that it...

Two-time world champ J’den Cox retires at US Olympic wrestling trials; 44-year-old reaches finals

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — J’den Cox walked off the mat after dropping a 2-2 decision to Kollin Moore at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials on Friday night, leaving his shoes behind to a standing ovation. The bronze medal winner at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 was beaten by...

University of Missouri plans 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri is planning a 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium. The Memorial Stadium Improvements Project, expected to be completed by the 2026 season, will further enclose the north end of the stadium and add a variety of new premium...


Stupid is as Stupid Does. C'mon People!

Trump and others of his ilk are constantly railing against Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In my opinion, it's the new N-word. ...

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...


Foundation to convene 3rd annual summit on anti-Asian hate, building AAPI coalitions

NEW YORK (AP) — A foundation launched in the wake of anti-Asian hate will hold a wide-ranging conference bringing together Asian American and Pacific Islander notable figures for a third year. The Asian American Foundation will hold a Heritage Month Summit next month in New York...

Iowa lawmakers address immigration, religious freedom and taxes in 2024 session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After a marathon day that stretched into Saturday's early hours, Iowa lawmakers wrapped up a four-month legislative session that focused on reforming the way special education is managed and speeding up tax cuts. The Republican-led General Assembly also waded into issues...

2nd former Arkansas officer pleads guilty to civil rights charge from violent arrest caught on video

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A second former Arkansas law enforcement officer has pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of a man he repeatedly punched during a violent arrest in 2022 that was caught on video and shared widely. Former Crawford County sheriff's deputy Levi White...


What to stream this weekend: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift reigns

Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” landing on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” album are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as...

Music Review: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch creates subdued, lovely colors on 'Silent, Listening'

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album “Silent, Listening,” spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time...

Book Review: 'Nothing But the Bones' is a compelling noir novel at a breakneck pace

Nelson “Nails” McKenna isn’t very bright, stumbles over his words and often says what he’s thinking without realizing it. We first meet him as a boy reading a superhero comic on the banks of a river in his backcountry hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia....


Report urges fixes to online child exploitation CyberTipline before AI makes it worse

A tipline set up 26 years ago to combat online child exploitation has not lived up to its potential and needs...

Review of UN agency helping Palestinian refugees found Israel did not express concern about staff

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — An independent review of the neutrality of the U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees...

Work starts on bullet train rail line from Sin City to the City of Angels

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A billion high-speed passenger rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area has...

Prabowo Subianto seals victory as Indonesia's next leader after a top court rejects rivals' appeals

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s top court on Monday rejected appeals lodged by two losing presidential...

Israeli leaders criticize expected US sanctions against military unit that could further strain ties

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli leaders on Sunday harshly criticized an expected decision by the U.S. to impose...

Russia convicts the spokesperson for Facebook owner Meta in a swift trial in absentia

A court in Russia on Monday convicted the spokesperson of U.S. technology company Meta, which owns Facebook and...

Devon G. Pe

SAN ACACIO, Colo.--One of the consequences of the conquest and settlement of North and South America by Europeans was the displacement and destruction of native biological and cultural diversity. The environmental historian Alfred Crosby has called the European invasion of the Americas [sic] a biological conquest and a form of "ecological imperialism."

No space or native habitat touched by colonialism was spared the effects of this bio-invasion. Indigenous plants and animals were diminished by the violence and displacement associated with the arrival of European colonizers and their biotic baggage. Cattle displaced bison; sheep replaced native deer; wheat displaced maize and amaranth.

Europeans and others benefited from the arrival of the crops of Native America, including amaranth, agave, avocado, bean, bell pepper, cashew, cassava, chili, cocoa (for chocolate) corn, guava, peanut, potato, pumpkin, tomato, vanilla, wild rice and many more.

A demographic catastrophe resulted and native populations declined by 70 to 98 percent. This was caused by genocide through war, enslavement and forced labor, introduced disease (smallpox, measles), and widespread hunger and malnutrition. Many people were worked or starved to death in mines, plantations, and sweatshops.

Historical Trauma and Native Foods

Recently, we have become more aware of the peculiar form of death facing Native peoples as a result of processes that Russel L. Barsch calls ecocide, or death caused by destruction of indigenous ecosystems including the agricultural and food systems of entire cultures and civilizations.

Research demonstrates that access to traditional foods—the nutritional substances a given people co-evolve with over generations of living and adapting to place—is essential to our health. Thus, eating poorly is not a case of persons making "poor personal choices" or engaging in "bad individual behaviors"; it is a matter of systematic discrimination and structural violence when people are denied access to the resources they need to maintain their own indigenous food traditions, cuisines, and diets.

Barsh, Gary Paul Nabhan and others have documented the devastating effects of nutritional genocide in their studies of Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. The health effects are still being amplified by institutional racism and colonial domination and the ecological wreckage left in the wake of conquest, enclosure, and domination.

This peculiar form of barely visible structural violence proceeds from the destruction of ecosystems and indigenous farming and heritage cuisines. A principal consequence of this form of ecocide are increased morbidity, reduced life spans, and the greater incidence of chronic conditions related to diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes linked to malnutrition, hunger and culturally inappropriate non-traditional diets.

Trauma studies emerged after the Nazi Holocaust, but the concept was applied to Native American communities for the first time in the 1980s as a result of the work of Maria Yellow Horse Braveheart and her colleagues.

Their basic idea involves recognition that "Historical trauma is cumulative emotional and psychological wounding over the lifespan and across generations, emanating from massive group trauma. Native Americans have, for over 500 years, endured physical, emotional, social, and spiritual genocide from European and American colonialist policy."

The effects of historical trauma include alcoholism and substance abuse, domestic violence and child abuse, malnutrition, obesity, and cardiovascular illness. The forced eradication of Native foods, foodways, and farming traditions has caused grave damage to people and the land. But the silent killer of nutricide is being challenged.

Deep Food: Healing Through Heritage

Native peoples are resilient. We are organizing to reverse the damage produced by centuries of historical trauma and structural violence. Today, we are witnessing the emergence and florescence of a pivotal movement involving the recovery of ancestral food crops, wild plants, and heritage cuisines.

This is what I call "deep food" to distinguish it from the "local" and "slow" food because this is about the recovery of the deeply rooted ancestral foods and food ways of the First Peoples.

This indigenous movement focuses on improving health through heritage cuisines. It also ties together respect for and assertion of treaty rights as civil rights and the restoration of traditional hunting, foraging, and farming methods and principles. An important part of this work involves establishing community gardens, home kitchen gardens, agro-forestry mosaics or "food forest" projects, and many other innovative campaigns. Here are two examples from the Pacific Northwest.

The Skokomish Community Garden and Elder-Youth Mentoring Project will reintroduce traditional native plants, game, and vegetables, such as camas and medicinal herbs to a community actively seeking physical, mental and spiritual healing from the effects of intergenerational trauma caused by colonization and forced assimilation policies of the U.S. government. The project works at improving tribal health through traditional tuwaduq first foods.

New studies in nutrition science and anthropology of food are demonstrating that we can eliminate the debilitating negative health outcomes, such as from obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses, by promoting first foods, and heritage cuisines.

The First Foods Sovereignty Project: From Shoreline to Mountain Tops engages tribal elders in mentoring relations with tribal youth. The elders have wisdom and knowledge of the medicinal herbs and plants and wild game and foraged species and are guiding and mentoring Skokomish youth.

Young people will provide the creative labor and learn the deeply rooted traditions and practices of gathering, foraging, hunting, and gardening that will revitalize connections to landscape. Delbert Miller, elder leader and organizer of the project, describes the work in eloquent terms:

Our elders will instruct youth in food and place from shoreline to mountaintop. There is a phrase in the Skokomish native language that captures the ultimate goal of this project: Sqa hLab hLits hLa Wa Wa. This means the food for future children.

Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project

A similar effort is underway in a collaborative project uniting three first nations from the Puget Sound bioregion through the Northwest Indian College. A report from the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission explains that this project works to assist "tribal members incorporate more traditional foods in their diets."

The Muckleshoot project joins teaching with harvesting and farming. It also makes a very clear argument that food sovereignty is a matter of environmental and social justice. We cannot separate access to local, fresh, organic, and culturally-appropriate foods from the struggles to overcome decades of environmental racism that have polluted our waterways, soils, air and bodies.

Billy Frank, who chairs the Fisheries Commission, explained the history and objectives of this project:

The Food Sovereignty program helps tribal members make those foods – such as nettles, camas, huckleberries, salmon and wild game – part of their everyday lives. The project reminds us that to have traditional foods, we must continue to be good natural resources managers…[We] are sovereign nations, and part of that sovereignty includes access to the traditional foods needed to keep our communities and ourselves healthy and strong.

The production of food is as much about taking care of the land. Taking care of creation is the first step toward taking care of each other and our homes.

The principal lesson I have learned from these inspirational projects is perhaps best expressed by Mohawk scholar, Taiaiake Alfred: "The time to blame the white man, the far away and long ago, is over. People should recognize that the enemy is close enough to touch," and to eat, I will add.

The colonizer's food is slowly killing us. Food is the weapon of self-destruction the colonizer placed in our hands and sells to us at fast food joints and convenience marts. But food is also the solution. It is our tool for liberation, health, and spiritual healing. Deep food is the means to move toward autonomy and the renewal of a living traditional community.

Devon G. Peña. (Chicano/Creek heritage) is a professor in American Ethnic Studies, Anthropology and Environmental Studies at the University of Washington. He is co-founder and president of The Acequia Institute and manages the Institute's 200-acre farm in Colorado's San Luis Valley where he is a plant breeder and seed saver.


8 Food Lessons

From Muckleshoot

The community nutritionist at the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project in Puget Sound is a young scholar activist by the name of Valerie Segrest. In 2010 she published a book intended for Native American readers entitled Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit. [http://feedingthespirit.org/about/] With her co-author Elise Krohn, she offers a set of eight Traditional Food Principles they developed from the experience of working with the tribal elders in their food sovereignty project:

1. Food is at the center of culture

2. Honor the food web/chain

3. Eat with the seasons

4. Eat a variety of foods

5. Traditional foods are whole foods

6. Eat local foods

7. Wild and organic foods are better for health

8. Cook and eat with good intention

These principles are based on daily lived practices that can help persons take responsibility for restoring their own health and well-being. I am reminded of Taiaiake Alfred's suggestion that we do not preserve our traditions, we live our traditions.

-- Devon G. Peña

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast