People of the Hemp, Part 2: Criminalizing Traditional Teachings

Alysa Landry | Indian Country Today | September 29, 2014 Four times a day, Crandy Johnson prays in his Native Tuscarora language and uses a homemade tincture made from traditional herbs. Crandy, 72, and his brother Tracy, 74, are second-generation metal-workers who spent their working years as “steelwalkers,” perched atop skyscrapers, bridges and other structures from New York to Alaska during the construction boom after World War II. During an interview in Tracy’s home on the Tuscarora reservation in northwestern New York, the brothers talked fondly of their career. “We did everything,” Tracy said. “We were on top of buildings and pipelines Read More …

People of the Hemp, Part 1: Losing Land, Culture, Tradition

Alysa Landry | Indian Country Media Network | September 26, 2014 The way Tracy Johnson tells it, the plateau of land overlooking Niagara Falls and nestled among the Finger Lakes of northwestern New York once was covered in fields of hemp. The natural herb, interspersed with rows of corn, was evidence of centuries of inhabitation by the Tuscarora, now a dwindling tribe on a tiny sliver of land. The Tuscarora, or Ska-ru-ren, are the “people of the hemp,” “hemp gatherers” or “shirt-wearers,” so-named because they traditionally wore shirts made of woven hemp, said Tracy, who is one of about 660 enrolled members Read More …