Nez Perce tribe rushes to preserve language

February 21, 2007

The Spokane, Washington, Spokesman Review carried a lengthy story on February 18, 2007, about the work of modern members of the Nez Perce tribe to preserve their language, at least in dictionary form. Saving languages of North American native tribes is a difficult task in this century, with so many native speakers old and dying, and younger tribe members not learning the language.

This story involves the Joseph Band of the tribe, including direct descendants of Chief Joseph, whose epic battle against the U.S. Army and mid-winter flight to Canada are included in most U.S. history books, as part of the 11th-grade history standards.

Now you, and your students, can know the rest of that story.

Agnes Davis, 82, works to preserve her tribe's language Caption from the newspaper: Agnes Davis, 82, is the daughter of the last recognized chief of the Joseph Band of the Nez Perce tribe. She and a few others from her tribe are spending countless hours working to preserve a dialect of Nez Perce. (Colin Mulvany The Spokesman-Review)

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Leroy Lee, exposer of “phantom forests” hoax

February 21, 2007

For a decade of my life I was deeply involved in the fight to get compensation for downwind victims (most from Utah) of the fallout from U.S. atomic bomb tests at the Nevada Test Site. In the course of that time I saw a variety of amazing fibs told by the government — hoaxes that injured and killed people. I grew to respect those whistleblowers who had the guts and patriotism to cry foul on the hoaxes.

Leroy Lee died about a month ago in Santa, Idaho. He was a seasonal government worker, a timber stand examiner — a tree counter. As low guy on the totem pole, it was not his job to take the global view. Still, he noted that there were fewer growing trees in the forests than the U.S. Forest Service claimed, and much more cleared land, too, clearcut.

The Forest Service was lying to Congress about millions of dollars of harvests on public lands. Lee blew the whistle. Officials had hoaxed up on paper, forests that didn’t exist, in 15 of the west’s National Forests.

It wasn’t a big scandal as scandals go, but the Kootenai National Forest still works to straighten things out, mostly in litigation. Most hoaxes are exposed by honest, hard-working people like Leroy Lee. They are heroes of our republic. Many of them remain unsung, like Lee.

In his “day job,” Lee taught physics, chemistry and biology at St. Maries High School, St. Maries, Idaho.

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More state flag pledges: Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Virginia

February 21, 2007

Mississippi state flag

I think these are the last five of the states to have official state pledges for their state flags. If I have missed any, please let me know.

Mississippi, from Wikipedia:

The pledge to the state flag (from Miss. Code Ann., Section 37-13-7(1972)) is:

“I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God.”

New Mexico Flag, image from Gov. RichardsonNew Mexico:

“I salute the flag of the State of New Mexico and the Zia symbol of perfect friendship among united cultures.”

Oklahoma flag


I salute the flag of the State of Oklahoma. Its symbols of peace unite all people.

House Concurrent Resolution No. 1034 was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives on April 22, by the Senate on May 18, and filed with the Secretary of State on May 19, 1982.

South Dakota:

South Dakota state flag, after 1992I pledge loyalty and support to the flag and State of South Dakota, land of sunshine, land of infinite variety.



Virginia state flag

In 1954, the General Assembly adopted an official salute to the flag of Virginia which states:

“I salute the flag of Virginia, with reverence and patriotic devotion to the ‘Mother of States and Statesmen,’ which it represents—the ‘Old Dominion,’ where liberty and independence were born.”

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