30 Minutes features remarks from the November 28th, 2016 “Protecting the Sacred: A Panel on Indigenous Environmental Issues” convened by Blackfeet tribal member and writer Bill Wetzel at Revolutionary Grounds Books and Coffee‘s back patio. The panel was a discussion on indigenous environmental issues. It focused primarily on water and developments at Standing Rock regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline.
The panel included moderator John Bird (Blackfeet); indigenous scholar and writer Tom Holm (Cherokee), the Native Nations Institute’s Verónica Hirsch (Chiricahua Apache), and Clean Air Quality Specialist & poet, Ruben Cu:k Ba’ak (Tohono O’odham).
Recorded and produced by Amanda Shauger.
Moderator: John Bird is Amskapi Pikuni aka Blackfeet from Montana, born and raised on the Blackfeet Reservation. He has a M.Ed. Degree in Mental Health Counseling. He also spent a lot of time studying with elders, which he considers to be just as valuable, or more so than the M.Ed. He has been doing community and organizational development work for the past 30 years with Indian tribes and organizations, state and federal government projects, nonprofit agencies, and major Fortune 500 corporations. He lives in Tucson but migrates to his cabin in the summer on St. Mary Lake at the base of Glacier National Park. His life revolves around family, which currently includes two grandchildren, as the major focus.
An enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation from Oklahoma, Tom Holm has been involved in American Indian education and Native veterans’ affairs for over fourty years. He was a member of the Cherokee Nation’s Sequoyah Commission. Holm served with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, and was a professor of American Indian Studies and Political Science at the University of Arizona, 1980-2009. Tom also served on two Native American related commissions for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 1980s. In 1996, his book Strong Hearts, Wounded Souls was a finalist for the Victor Turner prize. His book The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs, was released by the University of Texas Press in 2005. Warriors and Code Talkers: Native Americans in World War II, a book for high school-aged youths, was published in 2007. Holm’s first novel, The Osage Rose, appeared in 2008. Anadarko, its sequel, was released in 2015. He and his wife, Ina, have two sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren and live in Tucson, Arizona.
Verónica Hirsch (Chiricahua Apache) serves as the Digital Resources Coordinator at the Native Nations Institute (NNI) within the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona. Her work is focused on “Rebuilding Native Nations” distance-learning courses and on-going development of the multimedia IGovDatabase.com. Verónica possesses a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California – Davis in environmental and resource sciences, a Master of Arts degree in American Indian studies from the University of Arizona, and a Professional Science Master’s degree in natural resources and environmental science from the University of Idaho.
Ruben Cu:k Ba’ak is a Tohono O’odham Nation Member who has been recently published in “Indigenous Stewards,” a publication of the Southwest Health Sciences Center, College of Pharmacy. Ruben is a part the Red Ink Reading Crew and is currently working on his first book. Ruben is a pros and cons writer. Evolution is Key and so on we go. He is the Clean Air Quality Specialist for the Tohono O’odham Nation