Last updated: 17 april, 2009 - 15:28 GMT

Native Americans

As Native Americans prepare for the Gathering Of Nations Pow Wow to be held on the 23rd April, our reporter, Siobhann Tighe, has travelled to New Mexico to separate myth from reality.

Disregarding the stereotypes that Native Americans are often burdened with, she explores what it's like to be a Native American in today's USA and talks to people who live inside and outside the Reservations.

Pearl Sunrise with her grandson Arlan and her daugther Shawna Shandiin

Pearl Sunrise with her grandson Arlan and her daugther Shawna Shandiin

Part One - Pearl Sunrise

In her first report, Siobhann spends time with the Sunrise family. They're headed by Pearl who's a mother, grandmother, weaver and teacher. She lives in the city of Albuquerque but holds on to her tradition tightly.

We also hear from Pearl's three daughters and take a train trip with her as she goes to work. We hear her memories of growing up and how the Reservations she passes each day make her feel homesick.

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Harlan McKosato is the host of 'Native America Calling'

Harlan McKosato is the host of 'Native America Calling'

Part Two - Native America Calling

In this report, Siobhann tackles some of the most pressing issues that are on the minds of Native Americans today. We hear about some of the discrimination that still exists, as well as hate crime.

Siobhann gets a sense of this by visiting a radio station in Albuquerque called 'Native America Calling' and speaking to its staff: Harlan McKosato, Antonia Gonzales and Burt Poley.

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Steven Concho, Tourism Manager at the Reservation of Acoma

Steven Concho, Tourism Manager at the Reservation of Acoma

Part Three - Health and welfare

Native Americans have higher death rates for tuberculosis and suicide than any other group in the States, and diabetes is also a major problem.

Siobhann Tighe goes to the oldest continuously inhabited Reservation in the United States. It's called Acoma.

She visits a new dialysis unit and learns how health problems are rarely discussed in this tight-knit society.

Acoma's Tourism Manager, Steven Concho, is Siobhann's guide and community nurse, Tonita Sarracino, describes candidly the alcoholism and drug abuse that's touched her family.

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Inee Slaughter and Rachael Nez from the Indigenous Language Institute, Santa Fe

Inee Slaughter and Rachael Nez from the Indigenous Language Institute, Santa Fe

Part Four - Indigenous language

There's a real risk that many Native American languages will become extinct, and yet these languages are considered a crucial cultural and political tool.

Siobhann Tighe visits the Indigenous Language Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to speak to those fighting to keep their language alive.

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George Rivera, Govenor of Pojoaque Pueblo

George Rivera, Govenor of Pojoaque Pueblo

Part Five - George Rivera

American Indian tribes are self-governing, and tribal sovereignty is fiercely protected.

In this report, Siobhann visits the Pueblo of Pojoaque to speak to its Governor, or tribal leader, George Rivera.

He's credited with turning around the fortunes of his community. Once it was a lacklustre place and now, partly because of a successful casino and resort, it's a healthy and wealthy one.

George is also an artist and sculptor and, as he shows Siobhann around the Pueblo, he discusses his role as leader and the hard decisions he's had to make.

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