04-22-2024  1:02 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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NORTHWEST NEWS

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.

NEWS BRIEFS

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...

OPINION

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...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

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...

ENTERTAINMENT

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....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

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...

Jordan Wright Indian Country Today

How a silent film featuring an all-Native cast came to be made, lost (seemingly forever), discovered nearly a century later (in shambles), then restored and shown to the cast's descendants is one of the most fascinating stories in the annals of American filmmaking. The Daughter of Dawn, which had its world premiere in June at the deadCENTER Film Festival in Oklahoma City, may be the only all-Native cast silent film ever made.

In the autumn of 1919 Norbert Myles was hired to direct a film for Richard Banks, owner of the fledgling Texas Film Company. Banks, who had written the story for his new project, was looking to make an adventure film in Oklahoma. He had met Myles a few years earlier on a California movie set and was impressed by the ambitious upstart. Myles, who had been a vaudevillian, a screen actor and sometime Shakespearean actor, had fallen out of favor in Hollywood and had turned to screenwriting and directing.

Banks drew on his 25 years of experience living among the Indians and his knowledge of what he called "an old Comanche legend," to lend authenticity to the film. He decided to shoot on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, a national reserve known for its mountains and grassy plains spread across 60,000 acres in southwestern Oklahoma. This was an attractive setting for several reasons, including the fact that in 1907 a program to reintroduce the nearly extinct bison to the Great Plains was launched. Under the auspices of the American Bison Society, 15 of these American icons, plucked from New York City's Bronx Zoo, were sent by railway to grasslands in Oklahoma, and in little more than a decade, they flourished and were an enormous herd.

Banks must have also realized that shooting there would provide not only the perfect backdrop, but would also afford him an abundant source of American Indian talent. For actors Myles tapped into the local tribes—notably the Kiowa and Comanche, who were living on reservations near Lawton, Oklahoma. This wildly ambitious project had an all-Native cast, just one cameraman, no costumes, no lighting, no props and wild buffalo. The Indians, who had been on the reservation less than 50 years, brought with them their own tipis, horses and gear. Featured in the film were White Parker, Esther LeBarre, Hunting Horse, Jack Sankeydoty and Wanada Parker, daughter of Quanah Parker, a Comanche chief and one of the founders of the Native American Church movement. Among the 100 extras were Slim Tyebo, Old Man Saupitty and Oscar Yellow Wolf.

Myles ordered his cameraman to shoot buffalo chase scenes "from a pit so as to have all the buffalo…and Indians…pass directly over the top of the camera." To add verisimilitude, Myles incorporated the tribe's tipis, horses, personal regalia and other artifacts, and shot scenes of the Comanches using cross-tribal Plains Indian sign language. He also shot scenes of tribal dancing while the women prepared buffalo for a celebratory meal.

The tribes' participation in the film did not sit well with a certain "Assistant Field Matron" assigned to the area by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to monitor the tribes' activities. In her weekly report, filed July 31, 1920, and sent directly to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, she wrote: "Went to a camp close to headquarters where their [sic] are about 300 Kiowas and Comanches gathered dancing and having pictures taken to be used in the movies.… I talked to the manager to have the camp broken up and dances stopped.

"These dances and large gatherings week after week are ruining our Indian boys and girls as they have been going on for about three months and different places. No work done during these days."

Her actions had little effect on the enthusiastic cast members, who Myles called "very shrewd" in their financial negotiations with him.

When the 80-minute silent film was screened in October 1920 at the College Theater in Los Angeles, it received raves, with one critic calling it "an original and breathtaking adventure…hardly duplicated before." But despite favorable reviews, the film was, for some unknown reason, never released. And it was never shown again—that is, until June 10, 2012.

The story of the film's unlikely return is as dramatic as the story of its making. It began in 2003 when a private investigator in North Carolina looking to collect his fee from a client was given five cans of what was originally a six-reel film. The investigator-for-hire needed to convert the rapidly decaying film into cash to cover his expenses so he contacted Brian Hearn, film curator at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. He told Hearn he believed the film was The Daughter of Dawn. At that time the museum was not in the business of collecting films so Hearn got in touch with the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS), which also operates the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.

The film was purchased by the OHS in 2006, and Bill Moore, the society's film archivist and video production manager, took possession of the five cans of the nitrate film. "Our first concern was to protect it," he recalls. "So after watching the footage on a Moviola and noting its fragile condition, we applied for a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation in the hopes of preserving it as soon as possible.

"In the early years of filming, producers had to provide a copy to what was called the Paper Print Collection. It was a requirement to show every frame of film and file it with the Library of Congress's Copyright Office in order to establish the copyright of the film. The library would then shoot the films from the 'contacts'—the individual frames—and that's how this film survived. It took only a few months to restore the film and after the intertitles [dialogue text pages inserted into the film between cuts] were added, the footage expanded out to the full movie and the original six canisters." The completed film has a four-way love story and includes two buffalo hunt scenes, a battle scene between the Kiowa and the Comanche, scenes of village life, tribal dances, hand-to-hand combat and a happy ending.

In 2008 Robert Blackburn, executive director of the OHS commissioned David Yeagley, a Comanche classical composer who is well regarded in his field, to do a new score for the movie. "I knew the music was important," Blackburn says. "That's why we decided to go for a full symphonic score. Yeagley's original score is timed to each second of the movie, and he uses different styles of music for each character. Seventy Oklahoma City University Philharmonic grad students working on a Fast Track system recorded the score earlier this year.

"This film is so important to Indian people and is a rare piece of art as well, since only two percent of independent films made in this era have survived," Blackburn says. "We plan to show it in Telluride, Denver and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in 2013. [Documentary film producer] Ken Burns has committed to assist with the film's distribution."

Once descendants of the Kiowa and Comanche cast members were identified, Blackburn arranged to screen The Daughter of Dawn for the families in the Oklahoma towns of Anadarko, Carnegie and Lawton. "There were tears," he recalls. "They recognized an aunt or a grandparent, and out of that conversation came recognition of the tipi used in the film. It was very powerful for them to see family members who were pre-reservation wearing their own clothing and using family heirlooms that had been brought out of trunks. It was very emotional for them."

Yeagley, whose works have included a commissioned symphony called The Four Horses of the Apocalypse: A Comanche Symphony and who once wrote an opera based on the life of a Holocaust survivor, calls Blackburn a visionary for choosing to score the movie with what he refers to as a high-European classical piece. "You would expect the typical drums and rattles." He was conscious of how his music will be received—and perceived. "How do you write music that makes sense to a 21st century audience who is looking at something that is right out of history? What are other Indians going to think when they hear symphonic music? How are they going to regard me?"

Blackburn, clearly thrilled with the interest the film is drawing from audiences and historians, describes its appeal this way, "The Daughter of Dawn is all Oklahoma. Acted by Oklahoma Indians, filmed entirely in Oklahoma, in a story of Oklahoma's Kiowa and Comanche nations, scored by a Comanche and played by the Oklahoma City University Philharmonic students, even the film was restored by an Oklahoman working in Hollywood for the Film Technology Lab."

He believes the film has the potential to become the centerpiece for a national exhibit and wants it to be shown at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. In the meantime, the OHS is making a short film to show next spring. It will tell the story of the making of The Daughter of Dawn and Native Oklahomans talking about their ancestors, as well as an interview with Yeagley.

In June at the deadCENTER Film Festival, award-winning actor Wes Studi, Cherokee, came to view this major cinematic event that had brought together film buffs as well as descendants of the Kiowa and Comanche tribal members who had performed in the film. After the screening, Studi said, "It's a film worth seeing for all people who are either in the business of making films or those who watch film in terms of American Indians.

"It's really a historic film.… I would say this film proves that Indians have been acting since day one."

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast