Friday, October 23, 2009

Hunting Moon and NIEA Pow-Wow's combined in Milwaukee

1st Hunting Moon Pow-Wow held at Potawatomi Bingo Casino grounds, and combined with the 40Th Annual National Indian Education Association traditional Convention Pow-Wow

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 23, 2009
Updated October 25, 2009

Milwaukee - On Friday, more than several thousand people gathered to celebrate Native American culture and traditions at the 5Th Annual Hunting Moon Pow-Wow sponsored by the Forest County Potawatomi Community. The three day event competition opened at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino, 1721 Canal St. in Milwaukee with a Grand Entry at 6:00 p.m. and then proceeded with a Pow-Wow featuring dancers and drums. The dancers and drummers compete for cash prizes for different categories totaling more than $95,000. First place drum group winners are awarded $8,000. Exhibitors during the pow-wow sold Native American jewelry, crafts, and ethnic foods.
The event opened its doors at 10:00 a.m., with Grand Entries at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 24. On Sunday, the doors open at 10:00 a.m., with a Grand Entry at noon, and the pow-wow lasted until 6:30 p.m.

Last Friday's pow-wow, both the Hunting Moon Pow-Wow and the 40Th Annual National Indian Education Association (NIEA) traditional Convention Pow-Wow were combined. NIEA was holding their three day convention at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee from October 22-25, 2009. The National Indian Education Association is the oldest and largest Indian education association representing American Indian, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiian educators and students. The theme for the 2009 convention was 'Shaping Our Future Wisdom Keepers.' There were at least 562 federally recognized Native American, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian Tribes in the United States participating during the NIEA convention, according to organizers. NIEA will be lead by Patricia Whitefoot this year (Oct. 2009-Oct. 2010), and Mary Jane Oatman Wak-Wak from Idaho will be the NIEA President-Elect. Renee C. Holt, Quinton Roman Nose and Star Oosahwe Yellowfish will be on the NIEA board from 2009-2012, according to NIEA Facebook link posting.

On Sunday, David Gutierrez, 49, dressed as an Aztec Indian celebrating the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)joined the Hunting Moon Pow-Wow. Gutierrez is a member of the Avila Dance Academy located in the South side of Milwaukee where the predominately Latino community resides.
The Potawatomi Bingo Casino website explains that a pow-wow is normally set up as a series of large circles. The center circle is the dance arena, outside of which is a circle consisting of the MC's table, drum groups and sitting areas for dancers and their families. At outdoor pow-wows, this circle is often covered by either a committee built arbor or each group will provide their own sun shade. Beyond these two circles is often an area for spectators, while outside of all are several rings of vendor's booths, where one can buy supplies, food, or arts and crafts.

The master of ceremonies, or MC, is the voice of the pow-wow. It is his job to keep the singers, dancers and general public informed as to what is happening. The MC sets the schedule of events and maintains the drum rotation (or order of when each drum group gets to sing). The MC is also responsible for filling any dead air time that may occur during the pow-wow, often with jokes. The MC often runs any raffles or other contests that may happen during the pow-wow, too.

A pow-wow session begins with the Grand Entry, during which all the dancers line up by dance style and age. They then enter the arena while the host drum sings a special song. Normally, the first in are veterans carrying flags and eagle staffs, followed by the head dancers, then the dancers follow in a specific order: Men's Traditional, Men's Grass Dance, Men's Fancy, Women's Traditional, Women's Jingle and Women's Fancy. Teens and small children then follow in the same order. Following the Grand Entry, the MC will invite a respected member of the community to give an invocation. The host drum that did not sing the Grand Entry song will then sing a Flag Song, followed by a Victory or Veterans' Song, during which the flags and staffs are posted at the MC's table.

Many of the various types of dances performed at a pow-wow are descended from the dances of the Plains tribes of Canada and the United States. Besides those for the opening and closing of a pow-wow session, the most common is the inter-tribal, where a drum will sing a song and anyone who wants to can come and dance. Similar dances are the trot dance, called a crow hop when performed by a northern drum or a horse stealing song by a southern drum, and the round dance or side step. Each of these songs have a different step to be used during them, but are open for dancers of any style.

In addition to the open dances, contest dances for a particular style and age group are often held with the top winners receiving a cash prize. To compete in a contest the dancer must be dressed in Regalia appropriate for the competition.
Normal inter tribal dancing is an individual activity, but there are also couples and group dances. Couples dances include the two step—each couple follows the lead of the head dancers, forming a line behind them.
The Host Drum of the pow-wow is a drum group responsible for providing music for the dancers. At an inter tribal pow-wow generally two or more drums are hired to be the host drums, often a Host Northern Drum and a Host Southern Drum. Each drum has a Lead Singer who runs his drum and leads his singers while singing. Host drums are responsible for singing the songs at the beginning and end of a pow-wow session, generally a starting song, the grand entry song, a flag song, and a Veterans' or Victory Song to start the pow-wow and a flag song, retreat song and closing song to end the pow-wow. Additionally, if a pow-wow has gourd dancing, the Southern Host Drum is often the drum that sings all the gourd songs, though another drum can perform them. The host drums are often called upon to sing special songs during the pow-wow, according to Potawatomi Bingo and Casino website.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Illegal Alien Costume Pulled From Retail Store

Minnesota Target store takes costume off Amazon web site

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 20,2009

Minneapolis, MN -Last Friday, the Minneapolis Target Corp. said it pulled a Halloween costume from their Amazon run retail store website, which was deemed offensive by customers, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights from LA, CA who first raised the issue and other Latino Civil Rights groups. Target Corp. apologized after complaints began pouring in from customers and numerous Hispanic groups from California and Washington, D.C. for selling an "illegal alien" Halloween costume on its website. The $39.99 costume comes with a space alien mask, an orange jail suit with "illegal alien" stamped on the chest and a large "green card."
Target spokesman Joshua Thomas said an employee added the costume to its website by mistake and said it was removed over the weekend. Target has a strict review process with its vendors, he said. "We apologize. This was never intended to be part of our assortment. We moved quickly to remove it from our website."
Lizette Olmos, national communications director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, said the Washington-based organization has formally complain to Target.
"It's really disturbing," Olmos said. Besides the complaint about Target, the organization has received a number of others this year about costumes that she said are considered racist and degrading.
Hispanic organizations across the country are asking retailers to pull the costume off their shelves and websites, but the item is currently unavailable.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Spanish WJTI 1460 AM Radio Station In Milwaukee Boosts Wattage Output

La Nueva Ritmo radio signal to reach more than 1,400,000 people in coverage area by the end of October

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 18, 2009

Milwaukee -Last Friday, the Spanish WJTI 1460 AM radio station began to boost their wattage output and by the end of October their radio signal will reach more than 1,400,000 people throughout the metro area and surrounding counties. WJTI is best known as La Nueva Ritmo and airs its radio programming in Spanish from the South side of the city, where the predominately Latino community resides.

For the last two years, WJTI has been operating in low wattage and has struggled to reach their potential, until recently. The station is owned and operated by John Torres, CEO of El Sol Broadcasting, and the corporate office is located in the Esperanza Unida International Building, 611 W. National Ave.
Currently, WJTI is operating between 100 to 300 watts and this week will transmit to almost 500 watts, and within the next two weeks the station is expected to reach more than 1,000 watts of power. The station will transmit from six towers located in the 1900 block of S. 98 St. in West Allis, WI. "We are sharing the towers with WGLB 1560 AM, which is a Gospel radio station. Joel Kinlow the owner of WGLB, who I've known for 20 years has been very instrumental in helping La Nueva Ritmo to finally reach our potential," Torres said on Sunday.
In March, WBKU 1470 AM from West Bend filed a petition with the FCC to deny La Nueva Ritmo WJTI from expanding their transmission. But in September after reviewing WJTI application to gain watts, the FCC denied WBKU petition and approved WJTI watt increase.

La Nueva Ritmo began operating in October 2007 and has focused in providing a variety of Spanish music by playing the latest hits. With the FCC approval to increase wattage output, Torres said, "its been a hard road and I'm happy to take this road in order to be more effective and to help provide a voice for the community." There's about 10,000 radio stations throughout the nation, and 7 % are owned by minorities, and 3 % are owned by Latinos, according to Torres.
"La Nueva Ritmo will reach more than 1,400,000 people from throughout the metro Milwaukee area, including, Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties," Gilberto Gonzalez, Program Director/Sales of WJTI said Sunday. Gonzalez has been in the radio business for almost 30 years, and has been with WJTI for the last 18 months.

La Nueva Ritmo will most likely rise to the top in AM Spanish broadcasting for their specialty in providing a variety of music, which includes Duranguense, Cumbias, Tejanas, Salsa, and other styles of popular music. WJTI also airs a variety of radio programs with local popular radio personalities 24/6, and on Sundays the station runs in automation, which plays pre-select songs all day.
In the Milwaukee area there are two other stations that provide Spanish programming, La GranD WDDW 104.7 FM radio owned and operated by Bustos Media, Inc. a California based corporation has a different style of providing programming. WDDW airs a national syndicated type of programming and the music is predominately of Mexican origin like Duranguense and has less variety of music, making it distinctively different than La Nueva Ritmo WJTI.
On Sundays only from noon to 3:00 p.m., the Orgullo Latino program is hosted by radio personality Wally Ramos in 91.7 FM WMSE and specializes in Salsa and mostly Puerto Rican, and Caribbean style of music.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Milwaukee Mayor To Keep Current Practice To Provide Licenses To Business Applicants

More than 2,000 people marched for immigration reform, state driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, and to protest the proposed City of Milwaukee citizenship requirement for professional or commercial licenses or permits

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 10, 2009

Milwaukee - Immigration reform march organizers released a statement from Mayor Tom Barrett during a rally held at Mitchell Park earlier today saying the mayor will keep the current practice to provide professional licenses to applicants. Mayor Barrett on Friday wrote, "The regulation of immigration is exclusively a federal power, and the City of Milwaukee is not the appropriate jurisdiction to enforce the 1996 law enacted by the federal government. The City currently provides licensing services that support business operations, are efficient and provide adequate protections for the public. It is my intention that these services will continue to be provided to the public in the future as they are today." Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera read Barrett's statement to those attending Saturday's rally.

Rally participants cheered and celebrated Barrett's decision to keep Milwaukee from supporting anti-immigrant policies that would create division among Milwaukeans. More than 2,000 people marched for immigration reform, state driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, and to protest the proposed City of Milwaukee citizenship requirement for professional or commercial licenses or permits. March organizers are currently collecting signatures from voters in State Senator Tim Carpenter's district in support of driver's cards (licenses) for undocumented immigrants.

On September 29, the Licenses Committee members unanimously decided to postponed a proposed ordinance (090411) that would require proof of U.S. citizenship and legal alien status to obtain a professional or commercial licenses or permits in the City of Milwaukee. The ordinance would have required new applicants and those applying for renewal to prove their legal status in the country. City Attorney Grant F. Langley proposed the citizenship ordinance to comply with the U.S. Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.
Ald. Tony Zielinski moved for the proposed ordinance to be placed on hold to give various community groups, and constituents more time to review the proposal and to comment on it. The committee agreed and voted to postpone the measure.

Milw., WI: Legistar posted video on line of Licenses Committee Sept. 29 hearing of citizenship ordinance 090411 requiring legal status in the country for issuance of professional or commercial licenses or permits, click the following link and then on video

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Charismatic South Side Catholic Priest To Give Last Mass

Father Eleazar Perez-Rodriguez to leave St. Adalbert Catholic Church to continue his work in developing a non-profit Spirit Mission

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 7, 2009

Milwaukee - On Wednesday, October 7, Father Eleazar Perez-Rodriguez, 49, said that he will be performing his last mass at St. Adalbert Catholic Church, 1923 W. Becher St. on October 28 at 6:00 p.m. and invited his parishioners and community to attend. Perez-Rodriguez, originally from Mexico is best known and credited for reviving St. Adalbert's parishioner attendance. The St. Adalbert Polish church was having difficulties in attracting new parishioners and was on the verge of closing in 2003, according to other Catholic priests in the South side neighborhood.
Last year, Perez-Rodriguez help created Spirit Mission a non-profit organization to provide spiritual assistance 24 hours - 7 days a week to people in need of service. Spirit Mission serves as a beacon of light providing support to the hospitalized and to those who fall into despair for whatever reason. He says, while at St. Adalbert, people came in for spiritual support and at times the parish office was closed or a priest wasn't available to help them. Once the parish office closed at night during the week, it would be very difficult for people to contact a priest in case of an emergency.
"Drugs and prostitution are available 24 hours a day, but people who are suffering from depression, a family crisis or trouble with police often don't have anyone to turn to," Father Perez-Rodriguez said. "If they call a church at night, they will probably get an answering machine because most churches are only open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.," Perez-Rodriguez said. "People in this country have a lot of abundance, but there's a need for a richer spiritual life."
While in Milwaukee in 2005, he lost part of his left leg in a hit-and-run accident in front of his residence. An intoxicated driver lost control of his vehicle and hit Perez-Rodriguez while unloading groceries from his vehicle. The undocumented driver was later charged in the incident and was deported. Perez-Rodriguez forgave the driver while testifying in court.
Father Perez-Rodriguez said his Bishop Juan Guillermo Lopez Soto of Cuauhtémoc from the Archdiocese of Cutervo Maderas in Mexico has given his approval to continue to develop Spirit Mission in Milwaukee. The bishop has granted Perez-Rodriguez permission to go on a spiritual retreat from November to December. After the retreat, he will return to Milwaukee and continue to work for Spirit Mission.
Today, thousands of parishioners attend the weekend mass services, and there are at least 20 church groups composed of youth, men, women, married couples, and others. During Perez-Rodriguez stay at the church, the church basement and restrooms have been remodeled, including several Statues of Our Lady of Guadalupe have been erected inside and outside the church. In the rear church yard, where there was once dirt and mud there's now a plaza with a fountain and a mural, according to parishioners.
In recent mass gathering, "This all happened thanks to you and your work...I'm grateful for all we've done together...Si se puede" (Yes we can), Perez-Rodriguez said.
Spirit Mission held their festival of Unity in late May at the Wisconsin State Fair to raise funds for their organization. In 2008, volunteers from Spirit Mission helped St. Adalbert raise more than $80,000 in profit during its church festival. Afterwards, parishioners and volunteers became disappointed when church remodeling stalled.
In May, Father Luis Pacheco, pastor and administrator of St. Adalbert's. Pacheco said, Spirit Mission Inc. and its festival was separate from St. Adalbert’s church, which was held in July.
"No decision has been made on a possible replacement for Perez-Rodriguez," Julie Wolf, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Immigration Reform March To Include Protest Opposing Milwaukee Citizenship Requirement For Professional And Commercial Licenses And Permits

March organizers to protest City of Milwaukee proposed Business citizenship ordinance

Milwaukee (HNNUSA)- On Sunday, October 4Th, Immigration reform march organizers were visiting and campaigning for support at local businesses against the proposed City of Milwaukee citizenship ordinance requiring legal status in the country for new and renewal applicants for professional and commercial licenses and permits. Organizers say, next Saturday's, October 10Th march will incorporate a protest against the business citizenship oridnance. Protesters will meet in front of Voces de la Frontera's office at 11 a.m. and will march along the South side to Mitchell Park located in the 2500 block of W. Pierce St. in Milwaukee.
Chritine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S. 5th St., personally delivered a letter to business owners inviting them to a special meeting being held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 6Th at Voces. Neumann-Ortiz is calling for unity and for Latino businesses to support the Voces march opposing the city citizenship ordinance.
Last week, September 29Th, the License Committee members unanimously decided to postponed a proposed ordinance (090411) that would require proof of U.S. citizenship and legal alien status to obtain a professional or commercial licenses or permits in the City of Milwaukee.
The ordinance would have required new applicants and those applying for renewal to prove their legal status in the country.
Two executive directors from several community based organizations, and a South side resident testified during the meeting in opposition of the measure. Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights organization, said her organization did not learn of the proposal until Monday night. "This is very disturbing... Such an ordinance would reduce the tax base and increase poverty," Neumann-Ortiz said. She also criticized J.B. Van Hollen's decision to enforce the U.S. Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. In October 2007, Van Hollen wrote that federal requirements applied and that Secretary of Regulation and Licensing Celia Jackson should begin enforcing the measure, but was not mandatory to do so. Nevertheless, Jackson began enforcing the measure.
H. Nelson Goodson, an immigration rights advocate and a member of Taxpayers for Immigration Reform told the committee, a class action lawsuit is pending on appeal in a Pennsylvania federal court concerning a similar enforcement of the measure. The Lozano vs. City of Hazleton lost the first round when a judge ruled the anti-immigrant measure was unconstitutional. Hazleton city officials have appealed the case and a decision concerning the case is expected soon, according to Goodson. Goodson also advised the committee, that passing such an ordinance, the city could face a legal challenge costing taxpayers thousands of dollars when the city is facing a 90 million dollar deficit.
If the ordinance is imposed, the city would decrease business growth and eliminate a substantial amount of taxes and revenues generated from licenses and permits. The Common Council salaries come from these type of revenues, property taxes, and it wouldn't make sense for them to cut revenues by passing an ordinance limiting business growth. Especially, when Mayor Tom Barrett is proposing budget cuts from the Police Department, city services, and Fire Department. I don't see the Mayor and his staff or the Common Council proposing cuts to their own salaries, Goodson added.
"City Clerk Ron Leonhardt and Asst. City Attorney Bruce Schrimp who favor the citizenship ordinance have yet to produce a directive from Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General stating that the City of Milwaukee is in federal violation of the law or the city is facing punitive measures by cutting Block Grant funding from the federal government. The 1996 Act hasn't been enforced by the city for the last 13 years and I doubt the city would face any action from the federal government, if they decide to ignore enforcement of the Act. It's an immigration issue and it should be resolved at the federal level," Goodson said.
Tony Baez, president and CEO of the Council for the Spanish Speaking, questioned the city attorney's opinion, which cited the opinion from Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen concerning the 1996 Act.
"Why wait so long?" Baez asked the committee, and said the city hasn't enforced the 1996 Act for the last 13 years. Baez told the committee that time was needed to get other groups and advocates involved in this particular measure.
Leonhardt and Schrimp advised the committee that the city is expected to enforce the 1996 Act, but did not provide a recent decision by the current U.S. Attorney General that the measure is en-forcible.
Ald. Tony Zielinski asked for the proposed ordinance to be placed on hold to give various community groups, and constituents more time to review the proposal and to comment on it. The committee agreed and voted to postpone the measure.

Milw., WI: Legistar posted video on line of Licenses Committee Sept. 29 hearing of citizenship ordinance 090411 requiring legal status in the country for issuance of professional or commercial licenses or permits, click the following link and then on video

Friday, October 2, 2009

Representative Colón Honored And Praised As A Leader In The State Assembly

By H. Nelson Goodson
October 2, 2009

Milwaukee- On Thursday, October 1st, Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan praised and recognized State Representative Pedro Colón (Dem.-Milw.) during a reception at the Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W. Virginia St. in Milwaukee. Colón has been one of the great leaders in the state assembly and has been very instrumental in helping to pass legislation to allow distilleries like Great Lakes Distillery to open in Wisconsin, especially in the South side of Milwaukee, according to Rep. Sheridan. Sheridan added he doesn't often visit the South side, but when he does he enjoys the diverse business economic growth it has to offer Wisconsin.
Guy Rehorst, owner and operator of Great Lakes Distillery says he also gives credit to Colón for opening his company in the South side. Great Lakes Distillery is a small-batch distillery located in Milwaukee Wisconsin. We hand-craft award winning distilled spirits in limited quantities using old world methods and traditions which we believe result in a superior product.

Rehorst says, as Wisconsin's first distillery since prohibition we are anxious to share our unique products and look forward to meeting people who appreciate high quality craft distilled spirits.
Our products include the award winning Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Vodka and Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Gin and Rehorst Citrus & Honey flavored Vodka, Rehorst added.
Colón has been credited for helping to pass Instate Tuition for undocumented students in Wisconsin, and supports Immigration Reform.
Pedro was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico on April 7, 1968 and grew up on the south side of Milwaukee. He is a graduate of St. Matthew’s School and Thomas More High School. Pedro Colón received his B.A. in Political Science from Marquette University in 1990 and his Juris Doctorate in 1994 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked on the Law Review.

Pedro Colón made history in 1998 as the first Latino elected to the Wisconsin State Legislature. He has been re-elected every two years since then and is currently serving his fifth term as the 8th Assembly District Representative. In the legislature he serves on the powerful budget writing Joint Committee on Finance. He also chairs the Governor’s Council on Migrant Labor.
In addition to his duties as a State Representative Pedro Colón is a Commissioner and past Chairman of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District Commission. He is also a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Hispanic Lawyers Association and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials where he serves on the Board of Directors. He was named one of the Top 40 under 40 by the Milwaukee Business Journal in 1998 and in April 2005 received the Spirit of Marquette Award for Achievement Before 40 from Marquette University, according to Colón's blog.