Black Mirror’s Obsession With Black Suffering #BlackMuseum

A dark-skinned black girl walking into an empty horror museum in the middle of the desert? What could possibly go wrong?

Much like Nish and Clay, “Black Museum” also puts us face to face with past realities like the gynecological experimentation of enslaved Black women, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment in the 1930s, and the forced sterilization of Native American women in the 1970s and beyond. It’s horror histories like these that make this episode so daunting.

One can’t help but compare it to our current desensitized culture where Black deaths are widely spread across the internet like a Worldstar fight. Black people dying at the hands of injustice has become so commonplace that our world feels like simulated, too. Troy Anthony Davis. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. The list is endless.

But whether we’re romanticized for our sexual prowess, idolized for our artistic “eye”, or straight up demonized and locked away, make no mistake—”Black Museum” is an episode about mental incarceration.

READ: We Need to Talk About Black Mirror’s Obsession With Black Suffering – VICE

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In this popular episode, we’re presented with a symbolic reckoning against a system that remains unscathed.

Some were so shaken they couldn’t finish the episode. Alternatively, some made the fundamental errors of either confusing depiction with validation, or insisting that stories about the privations inflicted on black people only belong to black people and therefore dismissed the story as racist.

READ: Black Mirror’s “Black Museum” Episode Is a Revenge Fantasy That Comes Up Short

 

Our Beloved Kin: King Philip’s War Informs Today’s Events

[LINK] top photo

“There have been many books about King Philip’s War but none like this. Our Beloved Kin is insightful and a better way to understand New England’s past.”—Colin G. Calloway, author of The Indian World of George Washington

Sokoki Sojourn

lisa brooks amherst our beloved kin

The story of King Philip’s War, which ended [340] years ago, may be central to the history of this place, marked in locations like King Philip’s Hill in Northfield, the Bloody Brook Battle monument in Deerfield, and even King Philip restaurant in Phillipston. The three-year armed conflict is largely blamed on attacks on colonial settlers by Wampanoags and other native “savages.”

But a book released this week by Amherst College associate professor Lisa Brooks, an Abenaki, depicts the prolonged war on a dozen settlements throughout much of the region as more complex. And it’s seen as the result of mistaken assumptions English settlers made about the native tribes.

What’s more, Lisa Brooks’ “Our Beloved Kin” (Yale University Press) is based on written letters and other materials written by those Indians, who are largely assumed to have been illiterate. And the creative, readable telling by this associate professor of English and…

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Michael Caduto: Making Peace, Olakamigenoka

This, the Storytelling for Environmental Stewardship Program, eventually involved more than 50 individuals from 20 organizations in the Middle East and led to a book published in December 2017 — an illustrated anthology of children’s stories called “The Garden of Wisdom: Earth Tales from the Middle East.”

top photo: ondulyne.tumblr.com

Sokoki Sojourn

In the spring of 2010, I was asked by members of the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College to help with a Peace Pole they were erecting in the Memorial Garden next to the church. Knowing that I had worked with members of the Abenaki Nation, and that I teach about Abenaki culture in my programs and writing, I was asked, “How do you say, in Abenaki, ‘May peace prevail on Earth?’”

I discovered that the Abenaki word for peace, olakámigénoká, is a verb that reflects an entirely different concept of “peace” than we express in the English language. Olakámigénoká, “make peace,” is a linguistic window into the Abenaki world view, in which peace is more than a state of tranquility that exists in the absence of violence: Peace is an act that one makes toward other people and the rest of creation.

A few years earlier, in April 2006…

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Charles Eastman and the Reformers | I’m reading | The Big Isms

By Lara Trace

I hope you are all enjoying the winter … (I’m FREEZING HERE) … and do avoid politics as much as you can. (yeah, sure… kidding)

My research project on the reformers in Indian Country (and Dr. TA Bland) must take more of my time so please excuse my absence from blogging.  Still I will have some history to curate and share of course…(see my note below)

Here’s a sample of what I am working on:

   Probably the best known American Indian reformer was Charles Eastman, a Santee Sioux. After being sent to a Christian boarding school like most of the reformers, Eastman “blazed a path of distinction” through an Ivy League college and then through medical school. He was an agency physician at Pine Ridge, S.D., had a private medical practice in Minnesota and co-founded the Society of American Indians, which published the Quarterly Journal, the main vehicle for American Indian commentary.  Eastman also wrote nine books, including a popular and influential autobiography.    “His books brought traditional Native American culture before a broad non-Indian audience and played a crucial role in cultivating a sympathetic audience for Native concerns,” Hoxie wrote in the book, “Talking Back to Civilization: Indian Voices From the Progressive Era.”  In addition to criticizing the actions and policies of the Indian Office and other federal programs, Eastman and his peers proposed many alternatives for bringing Indians to “civilization.”

The Reformer Charles Eastman

Charles Alexander Eastman was a Santee Dakota physician educated at Boston University, writer, national lecturer, and reformer. In the early 20th century, he was “one of the most prolific authors and speakers on Sioux ethnohistory and American Indian affairs.” 

Charles Eastman and his wife separated in August 1921, possibly because of opposing views regarding the best future for American Indians.  Elaine Goodale Eastman stressed total assimilation of Native Americans into white society, while Eastman favored a type of cultural pluralism in which Indians would interact with white society while retaining their Indian identity, beliefs and customs. (this is only one theory on why they separated…)

More at Wikipedia

I’m reading

During 49 of the 72 years between 1789 – 1861 the Presidents were Southerners.  All of them were slave holders.  Two thirds of the Speakers of the House and President pro tem of the Senate were Southerners.  At all times prior to 1861 the majority of the Supreme Court were of Southern origin.  Six of the eight Supreme Court Justices appointed by the Tennessean Andrew Jackson (The Indian Killer) and his hand-picked successor were Southerners, including Justice Roger Taney, author of the notorious Dred Scott decision.

Taming the Antislavery Revolution
James Oakes, Dec. 11, 2017, Jacobin
Review of Adam I. P. Smith, The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846-1865 (Chapel Hill, 2017)

By any reasonable standard, the violent overthrow of the largest, wealthiest slave society on earth ought to qualify as a revolution. Four million slaves were liberated during the American Civil War and with that the labor system of the South was radically transformed. Abolition was immediate and uncompensated. The “Slave Power” was overthrown, ending decades in which the South held disproportionate sway over the federal government. The Constitution was fundamentally restructured by three amendments that abolished slavery, redefined citizenship, banned racial discrimination in voting, and forever altered the relationship between the federal government and the states. The revolution secured the triumph of wage labor, paving the way for the Industrial Revolution of the late nineteenth century and with it a Gilded Age of capitalist plutocracy.

How did this happen? Ask a random group of American historians what caused the Civil War and they’re likely to reply in unison, “slavery.” Push them to elaborate and they’ll probably cite the southern secessionists who were as clear as could be that they were leaving the Union to protect slavery.  But protect it from what? Was the North actually threatening slavery? Ask those questions and the same historians are likely to break out into rival and occasionally angry camps. On one side are those who insist that when the war began, northerners had no meaningful antislavery convictions to speak of. Emancipation was forced on an unwilling North and a reluctant Abraham Lincoln, either by the slaves themselves or by the exigencies of war. A few years back one historian of the secession crisis actually claimed that the slaves were freed “inadvertently.”

On the other side are those who see the rise of antislavery politics, culminating in the triumph of the Republican Party, as a major cause of the Civil War. Different historians stress different aspects of this  process, but there is widespread agreement that antislavery politics not only split the nation, it also divided the North. Republicans ended up fighting a two-front war — against the South, obviously, but also against northern Democrats. This conflict within the North was epitomized in the famous series of debates between Abraham Lincoln and his Democratic rival Stephen Douglas. continue…

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We picture archives as airtight troves of information. But with redactions, codes, and scribbles, there are plenty of ways for mystery to wriggle in.

***

Check out the Intercept podcast – it will blow your mind too!
I had other blogs going but now they are done/gone/history.  (Some were for my mental well being)

Starting in January, I’ll be posting just once a month. I have more work to do.

XOX LT

I’ll be starting a new website: The Big Isms (facing racism and sexism) in January 2018 (an offshoot of THE MIX) : https://thebigisms.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/first-blog-post/

The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families | #WeCanSolveThis

Happy Holidays 2017!

By Lara Trace Hentz

I want to share an Op-ED (opinion editorial) I wrote WAY back in 2001. Yup, that sure was a long time ago.  I was an editor of a tribal newspaper in Connecticut…But the amazing thing is:  THIS is still relevant.

Maybe more so in 2017… take a read…

Rebuilding our families

In October (2001), Dr. Mary Pipher, a noted psychologist and nationally renowned author, spoke to a large audience at the Garde Arts Center in New London about the importance of rebuilding our families. Her presentation was timely, considering the events of 9-11 and its effects on citizens of this country.

Pipher related that Americans are the hardest working people in the world and consequently, some 45 million adults are on some kind of drug for nerves. America’s stressed-out adult population is adversely affecting our families. Less than one third of families have regular meals together. Parents are overwhelmed. Children develop behavior problems. We are not happy people.

“We must be the change we wish to see in this world,” Pipher said. “We must talk about values and teach our children to value the right things.”

According to this expert, we are missing social skills. We interrupt, act rude and use inappropriate behavior. Television teaches us to buy things. There are some 3,000 ads a day, which is having a cumulative effect on all of us. How many computers and televisions do we need? Do houses really need to be castle-size? We are isolated in big houses. We are becoming dissatisfied and narcissistic, self-obsessed.

In this ever-evolving world, technology is determining how we interact in society. And the way it’s going now, we’re not getting emotionally stronger but more isolated, dejected.

However, Pipher offered some solid solutions to our general unhappiness. Reacquaint your children to large family celebrations. Children need their relatives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Little ones learn to negotiate and navigate best with family members around the house regularly.

Pipher says the antidote to despair is being helpful. Take an interest in other people’s children. Parent other people’s children, not just your own. Teach children to find pleasure in being helpful. Spend time outdoors. Connect children to useful work. Redefine the meaning of wealth. Teach children to be responsible.

Pipher believes in teaching family history. Tell stories about the ancestors and where they came from. Have a family ritual every night that might include reading poetry, family memories or stories of hope and heroic behavior. If adults behave well in difficult times, children will, too.

Make good conscious choices in two areas: protect from what is harmful and connect to what is beautiful.

We also need to protect our children from the media, from too much television, too much news and even adult conversation. Their developing minds cannot rationalize or discern between daddy’s or mommy’s upcoming business trip and the plane crash on television. Protect the children from violence on television. Teach your children by your own behavior; stress calmness and safety.

Pipher said create quiet time, family time.  These tools will rebuild our family in times like these.

Happy holidays everyone.  [Trace A. DeMeyer,  Editor of the Pequot Times (2001)]

TOP PHOTO: Mary Pipher, and her website: HERE

Left, book cover:   The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families
In The Shelter of Each Other, Mary Pipher does for the American family what she did for adolescent girls and their parents in her bestselling book Reviving Ophelia: she opens our eyes wide to the desperate realities we are facing and shows us a way out. Drawing on the fascinating stories of families rich and poor, angry and despairing, religious and skeptical, and probing deep into her own family memories and experiences, Pipher clears a path to the strength and energy at the core of family life. Wise, compassionate, and impassioned, The Shelter of Each Other challenges each of us to face the truth about ourselves and to find the courage to protect, nurture, and revivify the families we cherish.

BONUS:  Louise Erdrich’s Storytelling Addiction

https://www.wnyc.org/widgets/ondemand_player/wnyc/#file=/audio/json/819201/&share=1

The writer Louise Erdrich’s storytelling addiction “really began when my other addictions failed,” she tells David Remnick. Since the early nineteen-eighties, her work has primarily chronicled Native American life, and, in that regard, Erdrich’s latest book is no different: “Future Home of the Living God” follows the lives of a group of Ojibwe Indians living in rural Minnesota. But, where her previous novels have remained largely grounded in realism, this book is a work of speculative fiction, with a touch of science fiction. It imagines a kind of reverse-evolution slowly taking hold of the globe, and bringing with it a political catastrophe of dystopian dimensions. Erdrich says that she was inspired by Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and by P. D. James’s “Children of Men”—works that put literature in the service of imagining the worst.

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WATCH Indigenous Protectors 

One of the most effective ways to save forests is by empowering the people who have been protecting them for generations. We have to support the land rights of indigenous peoples. #WeCanSolveThis

Invisible | Two Worlds 2nd Edition | Christmas Lift | Jingle Bells

Anna and her husband, Gene Sorrell, outside their home in Evaro, Mont. Anna eventually received follow-up care for her surgery, but the process took years.

Native Americans Feel Invisible In U.S. Health Care System

Listen

The life expectancy of Native Americans in some states is 20 years shorter than the national average – 20 years. There may be many factors in this and here’s one. About a quarter of Native Americans report experiencing discrimination when they go to a doctor or a health clinic. That’s a finding of a poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  In the NPR poll, Native Americans who live in areas where they are in the majority reported experiencing prejudice at rates far higher than in areas where they constituted a minority.  In places where there are few American Indians, Moss says, “people don’t expect to see American Indians; they think they are from days gone by, and so you are misidentified. And that’s another form of discrimination.”

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Memorial University of Newfoundland has the second highest number of Indigenous human remains, with 353 individuals, both complete and incomplete. Even though the Rooms Corporation — the home of the provincial museum — is responsible for the remains, they are housed at the university wrote Mark Ferguson, the manager of collections at the museum, in an email.  These Indigenous remains date as far back as 7,000 years ago. READ

By LT

Hi all! I just wrapped up the second edition of Two Worlds, Vol. 1 in the Lost Children book series. Whew! It took a long time. The first edition came out in 2012. There are new updated narratives and of course history, including the landmark decision in Canada to pay adoptees for pain and suffering after the 60s Scoop. The press release will soon be HERE.

And… I answer some questions about writing, blogging, spirituality and more at Jerry’s blog Oneness of Humanity.  Here is my interview.

Please check out the entire interview series… HERE

And here is a little Christmas Lift:

‘A Christmas lift’: holiday lines by Langston Hughes on view at Beinecke
Michael Morand, December 8, 2017, Yale News

What’s a poet with a large circle of friends, rich in words if limited in financial resources, to do when checking the names off his holiday list? For Langston Hughes, during the holiday season of 1950, the answer was to share some of his wit in homemade Christmas postcards.

The draft typescript for this and other cards in a set of Christmas greetings are among the extensive Langston Hughes Papers in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The Hughes archives were given to Yale University by the renowned writer beginning in 1941, continuing throughout his lifetime, and including more materials from his estate upon his death in 1967.

The 1950 Hughes holiday cards are all on view in a special pop-up holiday display on the Beinecke Library’s mezzanine in temporary exhibition cases from Dec. 8-20. The Beinecke Library’s ground floor and mezzanine exhibition areas are free and open to the public seven days a week.    continue…

*** In the News

“Jingle Bells” History Takes Surprising Turn

Joel Brown, Dec. 8, 2016, BU Today

Kyna Hamill did not set out to debunk a cherished local myth about “Jingle Bells,” but the truth became a runaway sleigh.

At 19 High Street in Medford, Massachusetts, a plaque commemorates the spot where James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) supposedly wrote the popular holiday song, inspired by sleigh races on Salem Street, while sitting in a tavern in 1850. Hamill, an assistant director and senior lecturer in the CAS Core Curriculum who also teaches in the CFA School of Theatre, became interested in the “Jingle Bells” story while working as a volunteer with the Medford Historical Society & Museum. “Every December, we’d get a call asking to do a story about ‘Jingle Bells,’” she says. “I would pull out the file, and it was a very easy story to tell. Reporters loved that it was written in Medford.”

Reporters also love conflict, and so they were thrilled to learn that the Medford tale is contested by people in Savannah, Georgia, where Pierpont is buried. The southerners insist that Pierpont wrote the jaunty winter anthem in that city, in late 1857, and led the first “Jingle Bells” singalong in a local church where his brother was pastor.   continue…

Peace on Earth is all I want this holiday season… xoxox Lara/Trace

Did This Just Actually Happen? Dan Snyder honors Native Americans, changes team mascot to Washington Redhawks

BREAKING NEWS: YES YES YES

Not true. Web hoax. (brilliant and bad)

But here is the planned media blitz: GO WASHINGTON REDHAWKS

Turtle Talk

From ESPN here.

New Redhawks website.

Old Redskins website, which says nothing about this.

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Pocahontas: Disney vs. Reality | CodeTalkers and WWII | Textbook Problems | Oh No!

With oil portrait of Andrew “Indian Killer” Jackson in background, President Trump uses racial slur in front of Navajo Code Talkers.

In the News

Guest Commentary |  Published December 3, 2017

Setting:

White House ceremony for honorable and aging Navajo (Dine’) code talkers on Monday, November 27, 2017.

Painting on the wall behind the code talkers: Indian slayer, author and implementer of the Indian Removal Act: Andrew Jackson

The 45th occupant’s words during his “honoring ceremony” for the brave code talkers:

“You’re very very special people. You were here long before any of us were here,” President Trump said to the veterans in the white house ceremony. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what. I like you. Because you are special.”

These words are so offensive on so many levels, it is difficult to know where to start. As an enrolled member of the Cowlitz Nation, as a Native woman, as a woman, as a retired clinical psychologist who worked with trauma survivors, in and out of Indian Country, as a person who has a deep understanding of my own history, my own tribal history, and the history of genocide and death that has continued for the past 525 years, I am disgusted and disheartened by not only these ugly words but the shocking support and defense that so many nonNatives (primarily on the right end of the political spectrum) have for them.

In fact, the true story of Pocahontas is tragic, horrifying, and one that echoes the allegations of sexual assault against Trump, Roy Moore, and, now, so many men in power. There are several facts that need to be discussed before the rest of Trump’s insulting comments are examined. First, Pocahontas was a 12-year-old girl who was abducted, raped, and held for ransom by the English during the Anglo-Indian war of 1613. She was born in 1598 and died in 1617. She was the daughter of a principal chief, Powhatan of the Paumunkey tribe. She was forced into Christianity during her time in captivity and died in London, where she was forced to go with her husband, a planter named John Rolfe. The myth of Pocahontas is that she “saved” the life of John Smith, a colonizer, when she “laid her head on that of Captain John Smith” when her father was going to kill Smith.

KEEP READING

***Please see NCAI’s statement issued on May 3, 2017 on President Trump’s use of the name Pocahontas here.

Pocahontas was a real person who to this day holds significant value to her family and her tribe, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Virginia. The Pamunkey struck a treaty with the British Crown in the 1600s, and just last year were officially recognized as a federally recognized tribe by the U.S. government after a decades-long struggle. The name of Pocahontas should not be used as a slur, and it is inappropriate for anyone to use her name in a disparaging manner.

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Navajo Nation Mourns Death of Code Talker George B. Willie, Sr.

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I am deeply ashamed of the way the President of the United States has treated the veterans during an honoring ceremony at the White House. Veterans are brave heroes who sacrificed everything, despite the historical trauma to tribal nations, when asked to defend the United States. It has been more than 200 years of living together, yet the President of the United States knows nothing about us. An apology is in order for the warriors that were present, to the Native nations and the United States for his behavior. The President of the United States wanted to utilize an opportunity to honor Native warriors who defended this land to make a political attack. I have one for him, leave the office you bought and take your swamp things with you. -Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier in Washington after White House Tribal Nations Conference.

***CODE TALKERS [from the Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Lakota, Meskwaki, Mohawk, Navajo, Tlingit, and other tribes who served during World Wars I and II]

Code talkers served with all six Marine divisions in the Pacific and with Marine Raider and parachute units, earning lavish praise for their performance in the Solomons and the Marianas and on Peleliu and Iwo Jima. Of Iwo Jima, Fifth Marine Division Signal Officer Major Howard Conner said, “The entire operation was directed by Navajo code. . . . During the two days that followed the initial landings I had six Navajo radio nets working around the clock. . . . They sent and received over 800 messages without an error. Were it not for the Navajo Code Talkers, the Marines never would have taken Iwo Jima.” 

“Navajo School” graduated 421 code talkers assigned mostly to combat units overseas. Following Japan’s surrender, several volunteered for occupation duty. Others were sent to Marine units in China. Code talker Willson Price stayed a Marine for 30 years, retiring in 1972. 

Most code talkers came home to family reunions and purification rites, traditional dances, and curing ceremonies, coupled with maternal prayers of thanks for sons’ safe return. These rites originated to protect returning Navajo from harmful influences they might have encountered or duties they had to to perform while away.  VIA

Cree code talkers

In the World War II, native Cree speakers were used as code talkers for the Canadian Armed Forces. Due to oaths of secrecy, and official classification through 1963, the role of Cree speakers has gone unacknowledged by the Canadian government.[15] A 2015 documentary, Cree Code Talkers, tells the story of one such Métis individual, Charles “Checker” Tomkins, who died in 2003.[16]   READ MORE

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Families of Navajo Code Talkers Slam President Trump for ‘Pocahontas’ Slur

New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Indian Affairs committee, added: “Donald Trump’s latest racist joke — during Native American Heritage Month no less — demeaned the contributions that the Code Talkers and countless other Native American patriots and citizens have made to our great country.”

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Robert J. Benz, November 19, 2017, Huffington Post

Sometimes the answers to our most perplexing questions are right in front of us. How, for instance, could it be that our continuously-evolving society is more divided than ever over skin color and cultural identity when we just had a two-term, black President? Is the media turning white citizens against black citizens or it is caused by the ambitions of opportunistic politicians who promise to get tough on crime and clean-up the community? Maybe it’s the fault of an extreme fringe of fanatics; both black and white? Or could it be that we’re simply incapable of controlling our own prejudices because they’re written into our DNA?  continue…
OH NO!
Utah
Trump’s Attack on Sacred Grounds in Utah By cutting 1.1 million acres out of the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument, the president delivered a win for mining interests and a loss for environmentalists. Perhaps most significant, though, is the affront this represents to the Pueblo people, whose sacred ancestral sites at Bears Ears date back thousands of years. (The Takeaway)

OH NO! Oh, yes! When I watched this Code Talker debacle unfold on television (jaw-dropped)… it is obvious Drumpf knows zilch/nothing about Indians and doesn’t care to know… For over 30 years he has made racist statements to the media about us… when you are that ignorant, you simply don’t pretend to care… and yet our tribal nations are his constituents too…There is talk of war… yes, war… L/T

p.s.  ah…apparently just 8 US presidents did visit an official visit to an Indian reservation, of course never all 567+ locations…. read this

Lisa Brooks flips the script!

Revisiting King Philip’s War

Here on NEXT, we’ve shared the stories of refugees from countries like Syria and Iraq- people who escaped war to start over in a peaceful New England. But during the early years of European colonization, New England was a war zone too – where colonists fought indigenous people over land, resources, and the rights to self-government.

King Philip’s War, fought from 1675 to 1678, was perhaps the most devastating of those conflicts for both sides. The Wampanoag leader Metacom, known by the the colonists as King Philip, organized attacks on 12 settlements before the colonists gained control of Southern New England.

Since then, as it often happens, the colonial perspective has dominated the historical narrative.

In her upcoming book Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War, historian Lisa Brooks flips the script, focusing on the stories of Native American leaders. Lisa Brooks is Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College.

Our Beloved Kin is out from Yale University Press on January 9, 2018.  At the same time, Brooks will also be launching ourbelovedkin.com, a website with maps, historical documents, and images from her journeys through New England’s indigenous geography.

Editor Note: I had the chance to hear Lisa speak on this earlier this year. THIS is the history that has been buried, untold, revised, colonized – until now… Lara/Trace

Eliminating the Human | The amazing Laura Grace Weldon

A View from David Byrne

I have a theory that much recent tech development and innovation over the last decade or so has had an unspoken overarching agenda—it has been about facilitating the need for LESS human interaction. It’s not a bug—it’s a feature. We might think Amazon was about selling us books we couldn’t find locally—and it was and what a brilliant idea—but maybe it was also just as much about eliminating human interaction. I see a pattern emerging in the innovative technology that has gotten the most attention, gets the bucks and often, no surprise, ends up getting developed and implemented. What much of this technology seems to have in common is that it removes the need to deal with humans directly. The tech doesn’t claim or acknowledge this as its primary goal, but it seems to often be the consequence. I’m sort of thinking maybe it is the primary goal. There are so many ways imagination can be manifested in the technical sphere. Many are wonderful and seem like social goods, but allow me a little conspiracy mongering here—an awful lot of them have the consequence of lessening human interaction.

I suspect that we almost don’t notice this pattern because it’s hard to imagine what an alternative focus of tech development might be. Most of the news we get barraged with is about algorithms, AI, robots and self driving cars, all of which fit this pattern, though there are indeed many technological innovations underway that have nothing to do with eliminating human interaction from our lives. CRISPR-cas9 in genetics, new films that can efficiently and cheaply cool houses and quantum computing to name a few, but what we read about most and what touches us daily is the trajectory towards less human involvement.

Note: I don’t consider chat rooms and product reviews as “human interaction”; they’re mediated and filtered by a screen.

We are beset by—and immersed in—apps and devices that are quietly reducing the amount of meaningful interaction we have with each other.

the downside of technology

Social networks are also a source of unhappiness. A study earlier this year by two social scientists, Holly Shakya at UC San Diego and Nicholas ­Christakis at Yale, showed that the more people use Facebook, the worse they feel about their lives.  While these technologies claim to connect us, then, the surely unintended effect is that they also drive us apart and make us sad and envious.

David Byrne is a musician and artist who lives in New York City. His most recent book is called How Music Works. A version of this piece originally appeared on his website, davidbyrne.com.

A MUST READ: Eliminating the Human – MIT Technology Review

***From L/T…

I do not spend hours on Twitter or Facebook like I used to.  Teaching about social media and blogging, I’m not doing that anymore.  In my own research/work at the moment… I can tell you that some of the greatest minds in the world are sharing generously with us… on blogs… on twitter… and on other social media.  Like David Byrne (read his thoughts above)… Just like so many of you amaze me each week on your blogs.

My online friend, the author LAURA GRACE WELDON has some of the MOST amazing Tweets!  Last week I tried to pick a few you might like 🙂  (One of the nice things about Twitter is you can go back and read all the tweets – and even go back months!)  Please follow her if you are on Twitter.

This is her:   Writer, editor, farm wench, wonder junkie, awkward empath, aspiring hermit.

 Laura has built a treasure on her website and in her poetry and in her books.  (top photo)  Please do this for you and go visit her website this winter.  She’s been such a gift to me.

There were so many great tweets, it was hard to pick!   See you all next week.

Unceded Voices | Indigenous scientists | #MeToo Stories and more

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Check out Unceded Voices, Anti-colonial Street Artist Convergence. I really love watching and listening to the artists in their documentary series.  ++Broken Boxes Podcast

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A short piece on two Indigenous scientists, Karlie Noon and Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, affirming their respective ancestral knowledges through their scientific research.

*** Divest from Wells Fargo – it is happening!

By LT, your curator (top photo, me about age 19) (Yes, that is a Vega, my first car)

Hollywood-weird again?  Not exactly. Across the world now, people are talking about #MeToo.  Not in whispers anymore.  I cannot begin to tell you how many women have shared a story with me, including my adoptive mom Edie.  She was harassed in her workplace so many times, I lost count and never knew what to say.  I was a young kid.  I had no words of advice.  Men were hitting on her.  Not all were drunk. One guy pushed her up against a desk on the night shift.  When I was in college, she was stalked by someone who followed her home in his car.  Edie drove to the neighbor’s house instead.  She told me she reported it to police.

Things were bad at home for me, and it had been building for a very long time.  I was molested by my adoptive father and when Edie eventually found out, everything shifted and I felt blamed.  Nothing happened to Sev, my adoptive father.  But he left me alone.  I didn’t call the police, I didn’t call the priest. I knew no one would listen.  I moved into the university dorm when I was 17, maybe 20 minutes from their house. I feel like my life started when I left and it would never happen to me again.

I was wrong.

When I was 20, I took a job at a clothing store in a Duluth, Minnesota mall.  Graduating from university in February and not June, I needed money and took a retail job – and since the women’s department manager was leaving, I got her job.  I’d never experienced workplace sexual harassment.  (I’d already experienced sexual abuse and harassment in other ways.  One college professor (much older than me) took photos of me at his house for my acting portfolio and when he tried to kiss me and groped me, I ran out.  His wife was upstairs. That made me afraid too. )  When it happened to me at work or school, I had no one to tell.  (No I was not close to my a-mom, and I didn’t share bad news. I had a boyfriend at the time and he withheld all his infidelities so I could not trust him.)  There was no official to call and report this general manager… he was twice my age, married with two kids and yet he verbally harassed me about having sex with him; it got to the point I had to leave.  I could not work in a state of constant terror.  This was the same guy who would not give me the night off to attend my college graduation ceremony. (Yup, I did graduate but it still doesn’t feel like I did.)

We ALL have stories.  I have way too many to share. 

Who did you tell?

READ THIS: Perpetrators have started apologizing, and Laurie Penny thinks about un/forgiveness and how to cope with the consequences of assault.  Men, get ready to be uncomfortable for a while. While forgiveness may come one day, it won’t be soon.  We have built entire lives, families, and communities around the absence of this conversation.

This is what happens when women actively place their own needs first. The whole damn world freaks out. I don’t blame you for freaking out right now. I’m freaking out. I didn’t expect this to happen so fast. We didn’t want to have to make an example of anyone.  We tried to ask nicely for our humanity and dignity.  We tried to put it gently.  Nobody gave a shit.  READ MORE at The Unforgiving Minute

How the Art World, and Art Schools, Are Ripe for Sexual Abuse

“This is not the first time I have written about sexual harassment, and it probably won’t be the last. In 1994, I published an account of my experience as a caged Amerindian, a performance I created with Guillermo Gómez-Peña. At the end of my cataloguing of the audience’s unexpected reactions to us, I detailed an experience that I had had at the age of 22. That encounter made me understand viscerally just how invested Europeans and Americans were in the racist fantasies that I had explored in the performance. Though that essay has been republished dozens of times and I receive requests for interviews about the performance to this day, no one ever asked me about the perpetrator. I hadn’t mentioned his name because he was still alive at the time and I worried that he might retaliate. He’s dead now.” –

#MeToo
#MeToo in Middle America

The abuse of female Marines, fast food workers and women without safety nets is pervasive. And while those stories don’t garner national headlines, Kansas-based journalist Sarah Smarsh says the news about Hollywood casting couches does have people in her hometown reflecting on problems in their own backyard. (On The Media)

I’m also reading

This incredible speech about our current moment from Annie Proulx.  A conversation with Toni Morrison. We are all implicated—tear down the boys’ club. “I’ve been worried that we’re cruising toward the #MeToo moment’s trip wire.”  When does a watershed become a panic?  Being on the right side of history in 1998 really sucked. One family and the legacy of abuse. What does rehab look like for sex abusers? Ghosts and the invention of big data. How Facebook figures out everyone you’ve ever met, and how one woman’s digital life was weaponized against her. Can a museum be decolonized? “In 1492 Columbus set foot in a hemisphere thoroughly dominated by humankind.”  Viet Thanh Nguyen on conflicting Thanksgiving narratives.
(These will keep us busy reading for HOURS) I am OK.  I am more than OK. xoxoxox

Indians are lousy television? Your Gift on Thanksgiving

By Lara/Trace

Don’t feel bad about knowing little to nothing about American Indians or First Nations in North America. I have a special treat for you on this day of Thanksgiving and our ways of giving thanks.  It’s a half-hour talk by a Native scholar K. Tsianina Lomawaima.  Give yourself this gift. Just remember how Indians are lousy television.  WHAT?  Ha!

So watch this

The Second Thanksgiving (by We Are Thomasse)!

Here’s an earlier post on Thanksgiving. (photo at left) Do American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?

I wanted you all to know I am doing research on the abolitionists who became reformers in Indian Country.  These people were the thinkers of the day, in the time periods of the 1800s until early 1900. I’m reading more than I am writing. I understand it would be a good thing if I wrote more essays for this blog. And I plan to… eventually.

There is a post I wrote coming tommorrow.

I make lists. I thank all the people in my life and the ancestors who prayed for me before I was born.  I know they are your ancestors too.

Be grateful for everything, even the chaos. We are here. We are the witness. We are more powerful than we can imagine.

Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you all for reading this blog.

(Top Photo: I shot this down the road last year. It was the right light. And that horse is a buddy of mine. He’s very photogenic.)

 

Forgotten Minority | #NoDAPL | The Ungers | Chilling

CNN: “The forgotten minority in police shootings”

Here.

An excerpt:

Native Americans are killed in police encounters at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet rarely do these deaths gain the national spotlight. “Native American people are basically invisible to most of the people in the country,” said Daniel Sheehan, general counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Project.

and this:

Poll: Native Americans See Far More Discrimination In Areas Where They Are A Majority

Native American women face high rates of violence, but fear discrimination in courts (Global Citizen) 11/15/17

***** #NoDAPL: READ: Leaked documents and public records reveal a troubling fusion of private security, public law enforcement, and corporate money in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline.  https://theintercept.com/series/oil-and-water/ (top photo of water protector)***************Reading about THE UNGERShttps://twitter.com/cfs9346/status/930881854265352193

*** AH, I’m not happy

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.… Facebook isn’t scanning the work email of the attorney above. But it likely has her work email address on file, even if she never gave it to Facebook herself. If anyone who has the lawyer’s address in their contacts has chosen to share it with Facebook, the company can link her to anyone else who has it, such as the defense counsel in one of her cases.  (I guess this also explains how LinkedIn got all my contact info – and how later I received a check in a class action lawsuit. And somehow Microsoft outlook grabbed friends and strangers from Facebook and put them in my contacts. Damn those data mining thieves. L/T)

  • CHILLING

Jared Kushner Sued for Allegedly Overcharging Tenants (Again)

It appears Ivanka and Jared Kushner aren’t feeling welcome in New York….  RAW STORY LINK

 

The BeZINE: Poverty Hunger and Working-Class Slave Labor

THE BeZINE for November is published – In the four-year history of “The BeZine,” this is the most significant edition. All of our concerns – peace, environmental sustainability, human rights, freedom of expression – depend on a more equal distribution of wealth, on making sure no one goes hungry and on breaking-down barriers to employment, healthcare, education and racial and gender equity. –
LINK – https://wp.me/p1gLT0-6×3

I would ask contributors to please post the link to the entire edition of the Zine as well as to your own work. This Zine is about more than literarture and art. It’s about a social justice mission. …

Thanks to John Anstie, Corina Ravenscraft, Phillip T. Stephens, Trace Lara Hentz, Sue Dreamwalker, Joe Hesch, Renee Espriu, Evelyn Augusto, bogpan, Paul Brookes, Rob Cullen, R.S. Chappell, Denise Fletcher, Mark Heathcote, Irene Immanuel, Charlie Martin, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Michele Riedele and Michael Odiah for stunning work. Well done. Thanks also for constant support from team members not featured in this issue: Terri Stewart, Michael Dickel, Lana Phillips, Ruth Jewell, Liliana Negoi, Michael Watson Lcmhc, Chrysty Darby Hendrick, Naomi Baltuck, James R. Cowles and Priscilla Galasso.

Again, here’s the link to this issue: HERE

 

It is a true honor to be included in this online magazine. LT

Vermont’s Uncomfortable Eugenics History | #ICWA Custody Case | Dawnland | Paradise Papers | #NAAM

Vermont’s Uncomfortable Eugenics History

Read the full article by Stephen Mills in the Rutland Herald.

Dormancy Concept Trailer from Luke Becker-Lowe on Vimeo.

Link to the GoFundMe site for this production.

via Filmmakers Explore Vermont’s Uncomfortable Eugenics History

My earlier post on this

***

The Supreme Court refused to hear an Arizona case that pitted a non-Indian mother and Indian father each other in a fight over custody of their children.

READ: Supreme Court won’t hear Arizona case on custody fight over tribal kids | Cronkite News

***

“Dawnland,” an upcoming documentary film, follows the stories of several key individuals involved in the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

READ: The Wabanaki people are taking back their narrative | Public Radio International

***Offshore Billionaires (If they don’t pay US taxes and hide their money offshore, then THEY need to move offshore.)

click: America’s Future In One Image — What’s Really in the GOP Tax Plan 

The GOP tax plan would allow generations of the super wealthy to live tax-free. It is a plan so outrageous that one of America’s top experts in helping the wealthy avoid taxes finds it abominable. Read our explanation from David Cay Johnston.

*** November is National Adoption Awareness Month #NAAM

By LT (adoptee, top photo from my memoir book cover)

I have written on this blog about my story, my own search, my reunion, my work to help other adoptees, and the Lost Children Book Series. So MANY times. And I appreciate you have all hung in here with me on the adoptionland coverage, and the human trafficking issues. (If you have not read the coverage, use the search bar on this blog, or the Category tags.)  There are so many stories, after meeting so many adoptees. Not just Native adoptees – adoptees from everywhere.

Where are we now? Not far at all… I wrote this a few years ago:

Now more serious stuff…. It’s National Adoption Awareness Month. I call it Be-Wareness Month. Why? The billion dollar adoption industry tries its best to recruit new people to adopt. Few want to adopt a child(ren) from foster care. Why? They are too old, come with baggage (not just luggage), or already talk.  Foster care kids are the ones who truly are in need of good parents, definitely.

Over at American Indian Adoptees, I’m post lots of adoption news as it relates to American Indian Adoptees. Visit: http://www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com.  

It is a crazy world out there as more people are waking up to the reality of adoption myths (like “babies are blank slates”)(and some of these orphans are not orphans). As an adoptee I am in favor of legal guardianships for children who cannot be raised by their first families, and their kin. Children need their own name, ancestry, medical history and names of both parents, never erased but part of their legal records.

No more fake amended birth certificates that follow us our entire lives. PLEASE!

Here is a revealing 2015 post about the Evolution of Birth Certificates.

Ignorance of biological ancestry has had devastating consequences for some. In the U.K. in 2008, twins that were separated and adopted at birth unknowingly married each other. This year, a Brazilian couple found out after they were married that the same biological mother had abandoned them as infants. Random meetings amongst half siblings are not uncommon, as many have reported in the news, and on the DSR. One mom realized that a distant relative, one whom she and her children had spent time with at family gatherings, had donated sperm and was in fact the biological parent of her children.

From my friend Amanda:

Adoption Statistics That Matter. Right now, private adoption agencies are figuratively peeing their pants about the Adoption Tax Credit because they can charge more when the tax credit is in tact and as high as possible. They claim that the numbers of adopted children will drop drastically as a result (no they won’t, BTW). Blah. Here is some gross stuff that matters more:

-Black and Native children are disproportionately more likely to be taken into foster care than white children.

-Black children, specifically black boys, are less likely to be adopted.

-Adopted children are more likely to become foster children than any other child.

-It costs more to adopt a white female infant, privately, than any other child. The “fees” to adopt a boy of color are at least half of this.

This is an industry. Racism, sexism, adultism, and classism fuel it.

p.s. THANK YOU for reading this long post and watching the videos. YOU ROCK!

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