Some 1,181 Indigenous women were killed or disappeared across the country from 1980 to 2012, according to a 2014 report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Indigenous advocates, and the report, say the number is likely far higher since so many deaths have gone unreported.
The National Inquiry’s Final Report reveals that persistent and deliberate human and Indigenous rights violations and abuses are the root cause behind Canada’s staggering rates of violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. . The two volume report calls for transformative legal and social changes to resolve the crisis that has devastated Indigenous communities across the country.”
The federal government’s policy of termination against tribes lasted from 1887 to 1943. Native people were stripped of their cultures, languages, and ancestral instructions and expected to adopt the ways of the colonizer. Our ceremonies became illegal. Children and adults alike suffered and died to save them. These things survive today only because they continued in secret.
Throughout this time, mainstream society participated in our degradation and erasure. Pop culture hypersexualized native women with its “Pocahottie” imagery, and dehumanized us by saying we’re little more than a Halloween costume.
Today, we are still being hunted and killed.
There is an epidemic of missing and murdered native women throughout North America, but even though it’s been going on for decades and many native families on the continent can recount stories of loved ones who’ve gone missing or been murdered, there remains insufficient data on the problem because there’s been no centralized database for keeping that information.
In 2013, the Canadian government began a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, but the United States has yet to take such action.
“I believe the role of the poet is to reflect on human experience and the world we live in and to articulate it for oneself and others…. I think that the poet can write forcefully, using a different approach from a journalist, about subjects such as climate change, violence, abuse and mental illness and that this is meaningful to others. I very much believe too that poetry is a way of celebrating life. I think it deserves a central place in our world.” A Life Immersed in Poetry: Myra Schneider, Celebrating Over 50 Years as Poet and Writer (link to Jamie Dedes)
Howdy! …just so you know, I have always had more poetry books (and history books) on my book shelves, and these three brilliant poets never cease to amaze and fill me with wonder and deep thoughts. Poetry does deserve your time, too, so brace yourself, this is a long post…
J Matthew Waters, and his 2015 book Forty-Five Revolutions Per Minute (ISBN: 978-1-5197-2802-9)
With four poetry collections published, JW writes a daily poem on his blog jdubqca , and it’s extraordinary he can keep up this writing schedule since it appears he also has a job in the financial sector in Iowa!
(below) Read RUNNING ON EMPTY! I’ve earmarked his book, and have so many post-its – it was very hard to choose just one but WOW –
A man who can write with such madcap vision with a dash of the esoteric and gravity of love, he’s grabbed me so many times with his poetic brilliance, I am simply in awe of this man. JW has composed over 700 poems since 2011 (and blogs as he writes them). It all makes sense to me –JW can’t help himself – he is an artist (of words.)
theory of a black hole
birth is like a microscopic bang
transmitting near-silent primal waves
quickly creating its very own tiny galaxy
struggles elapse in the background
ongoing and inaudible to the human mind
unmistakable to the almighty creator
to what degree the energy advances
is an invaluable period of time
[no matter the linear length]
from the very start to infinitesimal finish
(may 30, 2019)
++He makes an audio file so you can hear him read which is also genius! Visit JW on his poetry blog HERE: https://jdubqca.com/
AshiAkira is a skilled master of Haiku who lives in Tokyo, Japan. I wrote an earlier review of his work here (when he was 79 years young).
He has since published a second collection Haiku Poems II (LINK: available on Lulu.com) with over 500 poems, in the five-seven-five syllable pattern. What I long for when I read his work is to feel what he feels as he walks the places he knows so well in Japan, and learn about his culture a half a world away. After hearing about yet another earthquake, I waited to see what he’d write.
After the earthquake
Sit in a mess of strewn books
Thinking of reading.
Cascade of spring light
The resurrection of the earth
After the earthquake.
AshiAkira (his penname) wishes to emulate the haiku poets of old. It’s so difficult for me to write (and think) in three sentences but he’s a master:
Red-and-white plum trees
Innocently in full bloom
Amid snow forecast
In the book introduction he writes about how he came to be a poet:
Thanks to retirement, I became free.
Having worked as a news reporter,
I have seen the pretentious faces of people in many walks of life,
preachers, and priests—- All wade through their lives
with business smiles and political gestures.
I was one of them.
When I found myself free, the first thing I did was take a walk.
His third collection is delayed: he wrote me his hospitalization in 2018 prevented him from publishing “Haiku Poems III” and right now (May 2019) he is recovering from pneumonia and was in hospital again.
In an 2018 email exchange, I asked AskiAkira how he’s doing: “I’m feeling all right, and I can walk about 100 meters now. I’m sure I can regain the strength enough to complete the third book for publication soon. I post haiku every other day now (on my blog), and I imagine about a couple of thousands from which to select for the next publication.
“The basic spirit of haiku writing is to follow the law of nature above and before all other things especially dictatorship or any other political oppression. When the ordinary people lead the world, peace will be on Earth,” AshiAkira wrote.
I urge you to visit and follow his blog and see for yourself what a gift this beautiful man is to the world and to HAIKU poetry…
Let me share just a few 5 STAR reviews on Amazon for BLACKBIRD: (ISBN: 978-0999432761 ppbk)
This book of new poems by Laura Grace Weldon, titled Blackbird, is a gem. Her imagery is grounded and evocative. Real life unfolds here in ways that give poignant hope to the paradoxes of our lives. These truth-telling poems of tender scenes will stay in the memory for years to come.
By turns this collection made me laugh, feel wistful, get in touch with half-forgotten memories, and at one point, I just set the book down, completely gob-smacked. I LOVE poetry, but I have little patience for poetry that makes me feel stupid. Laura’s poems never do that. They have a fresh straightforwardness that makes them relatable, and at the same time they have multiple layers to dive into. Here’s an example of one that grabbed me from the first line.
In “Assembly Required” the poem opens with “I just need a new body / my mother used to say / as if she could unscrew her head…”. How can the reader not keep reading? Where is this one going? Well, with this poet, it will be somewhere interesting, thought provoking, wonder-full. The whole book is worth owning just to read (and re-read) “Compost Happens”. That was the gob-smacker for me.
SOOOO… yes I took my time with Blackbird, and wrote a few pages of notes which became this review on Amazon:
Her poetry takes raw courage. My dictionary is open on my desk to play BLACKBIRD (her poem and book title) as instructed in the beautiful new poetry collection by Laura Grace Weldon. (I found a word, eyes closed, my finger blindly choosing the word itinerary. The word perfectly fits her new book: a record of a journey.)
Her book breathes; Blackbird beats in my hand. Whoever said, “Poetry is a language unto itself,” this is utterly true of her work. (I always look forward to her musings on her website, too.)
Without a doubt, her poetry is code. Not everyone feels poems are a form of writing they can understand. Laura doesn’t write difficult or obtuse. She writes “REALLY REAL, deeply.” Her words rush tears to my eyes. So I pray she makes time to write volumes more… and allow us access to her universe, embedding word-poems for those of us wise enough to realize true beauty when we see it… if only us humans could only crack open and think with open hearts.
“If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth… When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” – JFK
The world needs a big dose of Weldon’s poetry right now. As Laura writes in Earthbound:
“We want to get past/ greed, suffering and war, enough already./ And death? That’s awfully primitive for souls with so much left to learn./ That said, this planet does a lot right./ Birds, for one./ Water in all its perfect manifestations./ Those alive poems called trees. ”
God, I want what she wants. Time travel would also be nice. 🙂
Laura is also the author of Free Range Learning and an earlier poetry collection Tending.
**** (one last thing)
Why has noone produced reality show about poets??? I know plenty!
J Peter Moore wrote: How can it be, with streaming services and cable channels engaged in an all-out arms race for our so-called “entertainment” dollars, that no one has produced reality show about poets???
If I have not said it to you bloggers, I mean this. You mean the world to me. There are so many of you who I treasure when I read your posts, though I don’t always comment or say something nice or witty. You have made me a better writer and reader. Thank you ALL!
I have a new doctor for my thyroid issues (hyper-thyroid) and he is young and talented and of course holistic. I will be following a new regimen the next 30 days or so and will report back how I’m doing in July. The other bigger issue: uterine cancer was surgically removed and is gone. I’ll be around much longer we hope!
Indian Country: The Art of David Bradley continues at the Autry Museum of the American West (4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles) through January 5, 2020. The exhibition was organized by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology (Santa Fe, NM) and circulated through Guest Curator Traveling Exhibitions.
Awareness of kidnappings and murders in Indian Country — and the need for policies to stem them — has grown in recent years.
Above, Kenny Still Smoking touches the tombstone of his 7-year-old daughter, Monica, who disappeared from school in 1979 and was found frozen on a mountain, as he visits her grave on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning this past summer.
Native American women have long endured far higher rates of violence than other racial groups. The past year has seen a surge in awareness of this problem, and a suite of new proposals to address it. Perhaps the best-known of these is Savanna’s Act, currently before Congress, which would require the U.S. Department of Justice to develop protocols for missing-persons cases in Indian Country, and improve tribal access to criminal databases.
Meanwhile, Montana lawmakers are debating Hanna’s Act, which would authorize the state Department of Justice to assist with these cases, and create a missing persons specialist within the department. [Fortunately, common sense and bipartisanship ultimately prevailed — and to our great joy, on Legislative Day 85, Hanna’s Act headed to the governor’s desk for signing.]
“What we’re doing, and everything that we’re doing with the legislation, it goes hand-in-hand,” Ivy MacDonald told the audience over Skype. She and her brother Ivan, members of the Blackfeet Tribe, have been pressing for passage of these bills, and portraying the issue through film.
At Tuesday’s meeting in February, which drew about 40 guests, organizers screened three clips from their upcoming documentary, “When They Were Here.”
The first featured Susan Irvine Adams, who was found dead in Arlee about six decades ago, a trauma that lingers for her family.
The second featured members of the Box Elder High School girls’ basketball team, who highlighted the issue by wearing ribbons in their sneakers. “We wanted to show sort of the resilient side of some of these young women taking it upon themselves to raise awareness,” Ivy said.
The third clip showed the search for Bonnie Three Iron, who was found dead on the Crow Reservation in April 2017. Her friends and family members voiced deep dissatisfaction with police, a common sentiment among those whose Native loved ones have gone missing.
For Ivan and Ivy MacDonald, the topic is personal.
“Like with most indigenous people and families and communities, we had our own experience,” he said over the phone. Their cousin, 7-year-old Monica Still Smoking, was found frozen on a mountain on the Blackfeet Reservation in 1979; they’re also related to Ashley HeavyRunner Loring, who vanished in 2017 and has yet to be found.
“It’s just kind of always been a topic that’s been ever present in our lives,” he said.
The documentary began about two years ago, when he was completing his master’s degree in film studies at the University of Montana. “I approached Ivy and said, ‘Hey let’s do a short film,’” he remembers.
Both of Montana’s U.S. senators have been active on the issue. Michael LaValley, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester’s tribal liaison, gave an update and handed out a fact sheet on the various steps the Democrat had taken. In addition to Savanna’s Act, he and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., have co-sponsored the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victim Empowerment (SURVIVE) Act, which set aside Crime Victims Fund money for Indian Country. Tester has also introduced a bill that would direct the Government Accountability Office to comprehensively study the handling of missing-persons cases in Indian Country.
Amid these developments, Carole Meyers of Missoula came away encouraged from Tuesday’s event. “I hope we have more meetings like this,” she said. A member of the Oneida tribe, of Blackfeet and Seneca descent, she said, “our voices need to be heard [on this issue], and they’re going to be heard.”
“To be more involved is essential,” she said, especially when it comes to discussing the issue with friends and contacting Congress. “The seeds have been planted, and so we need to sprout them.”
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is set to present its final report June 3 in Gatineau, Que. The report comes after 24 hearings and statement gathering events across Canada in 2017 and 2018.
Hey everyone, I’m still reading poetry and will be posting book reviews soon… This story is so important I needed to share it on Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in the US and Canada. Hunted and killed and missing today, in 2019? Indeed. It is happening. Who wants us dead?
Published May 1, 2019
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — When Governor Mark Gordon of Wyoming recently traveled to the University of Wyoming, he expected to sign a proclamation establishing May 5 as “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Day.” To the surprise of the media and the many who had just completed the preceding “Keepers of the Fire” MMIW march, Governor Gordon (R-WY) opened his address at the Washakie Dining Center by committing to implement one of the strongest executive orders on MMIW yet enacted in any state.
The picture can be even more dire for urban Indians. Recent reports by the Urban Indian Health Institute identified 506 cases of missing and murdered indigenous women across 71 urban cities – my state of New Mexico ranked number one for the highest number of MMIW cases with 78.
The four Native American members of Congress just introduced a bill to create an advisory committee on missing and murdered Indigenous women. Some states like New Mexico and Wyoming assembled task forces to address the issue. Washington State is requiring the State Patrol to establish “best practices” for investigating missing Native Americans. Will more task forces, research reports and policy guidelines help solve the ongoing problem that disproportionately harms Native women? We’ll hear about some of the latest efforts and hear from experts about what the most promising approaches are.
Q: Could you explain what you mean by the title phrase of your book, “our history is the future”?
I look at the Ghost Dance prophecy, which was an anticolonial uprising among particularly Lakota and Dakota people on the northern Plains in the late 19th century, but also a widespread spiritual movement that went up the west coast of Canada and down to parts of what is today Mexico. If they were completely harmless, then the United States wouldn’t have deployed its army against starving, horseless people at Wounded Knee. The reason it represented such a threat was not because Lakota and Dakota Ghost Dancers were going around and murdering white settlers — it was because it was a vision of the future. When you subjugate a people, you not only take their land and their language, their identity, and their sense of self — you also take away any notion of a future. The reason I chose this name is because in this particular era of neoliberal capitalism, it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. The argument I’m making is that within our own traditions of Indigenous resistance, we have always been a future-oriented people, whether it was taking up arms against the United States government, whether it was taking ceremonies underground into clandestine spaces, whether it was learning the enemy’s language. This pushes back against the dominant narrative that Indigenous people are a dying, diminishing race desperately holding on to the last vestiges of their culture or their land base. If that were the case, then I don’t think we would have an uprising such as Standing Rock or, today, Line 3 or Bayou Bridge, or the immense amount of mobilization around murdered and missing Indigenous women.
Jered might not have seen his son again before the Indian Child Welfare Act. For decades beginning in the 1870s, native children as young as 5 were forcibly removed from their families and sent to authoritarian boarding schools in an effort to “kill the Indian, save the man.” Tribal law expert Matthew Fletcher, who is Anishinaabe, explains that boarding schools fell out of favor beginning in the 1930s, but whites still viewed native methods of child rearing, as well as concepts of family and community, with deep suspicion, and children were removed from their families for nearly any reason. It became standard policy, Fletcher says, to adopt them out to white families, all with an eye toward white acculturation. Often, they were never heard from again. “The wholesale separation of Indian children from their families is perhaps the most tragic and destructive aspect of American Indian life today,” Congress declared in 1978. It passed ICWA after hearing hundreds of hours of testimony by tribal leaders and afflicted family members. By then, according to the National Indian Child Welfare Association, an estimated 25 to 35 percent of all native children had been removed from their families. Of those, 85 percent were placed in white homes, even, NICWA says, when suitable relatives were available.
A case before a federal appeals court last week could upend an historic adoption law meant to combat centuries of brutal discrimination against American Indians and keep their children with families and tribal communities. For the first time, a few states have sued to overturn the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which Congress enacted in 1978 as an antidote to entrenched policies of uprooting Native children and assimilating them into mainstream white culture. Now, in a country roiled by debates over race and racial identity, there’s a chance the 41-year-old law could be overturned by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the country’s most conservative court. (The law applies to federally recognized tribes.)
“This is about attacking Indian law and Indian sovereignty,” said Chrissi Nimmo, deputy attorney general for the Cherokee Nation. “This is just the first step.” The Cherokee, Navajo, Oneida and Quinault Indian Nations, as well as the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, asked to be included as defendants in the lawsuit.
We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” That’s the message from communities who live with the troubled legacy of colonialism today—the descendants of Native peoples who have survived in defiance of the national divides that strafe their lands and run counter to their cultural inheritance.
Such a move, (THE WALL) according to the resolution, would threaten territorial rights, “further divide historic tribal lands and communities,” “militarize the lands on the southern boundary,” and “disturb or destroy tribal archeological, sacred sites, and human remains.”
For her 16th birthday, Maddy Fernands asked her parents for an unusual gift: to switch the family to wind power. She didn’t want an iPhone, new clothes or — banish the thought — a car. Cars and trucks account for about a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, and a significant amount of Fernands’s climate anxiety. “Sometimes we’ll be stuck in traffic and I’ll look outside and watch the exhaust coming out of the car in front of me and I’ll freak out,” she told me. “I feel so powerless to stop it.” Fernands has been struggling with that sense of helplessness since she first became keyed into the accelerating timetable of climate change in seventh grade. “It seemed like the end of the world,” she said. “But the apocalyptic message wasn’t being broadcast. Nobody was taking correct action to put us on a path away from climate catastrophe.” Because her parents and teachers didn’t seem to share her urgency, Fernands decided that she herself would have to sound the alarm over climate.
Climate change is causing mental anguish in people of all ages, according to Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist and member of the Climate Psychiatry Alliance. “When you’re hearing day in and day out that we’ve got 12 years, we’ve got 11 years, the oceans are collapsing, fires are burning, air quality is terrible, wear a mask, the anxiety is inescapable,” said Van Susteren.
book review: Truly prolific writer poet community organizer
J Glenn’s visionary fiction novel Wayfarers – Where No One Is an Outcast is about an interesting mix of homeless people who want to help other homeless people. Do we need it? Timely? Absolutely.
Right to the end of his fiction novel, suspense abounds.
In real life: There are always two groups of people: the Have’s and the Have Not’s. Can there be a Happy Ending? The brilliant idea from Wayfarers story leads the author to buy land in Oklahoma for this very purpose: a farm where the homeless can resettle in 2019. I interviewed the author in Jan. 2015.
J Glenn is an elder, a man of vision and great wisdom. He is a good friend and a true inspiration. He has shared his ideas on this blog HERE HERE
FORK IN THE ROAD
WEWOKA, OKLAHOMA — He arrived at this latest fork in the road pretty late.
Glenn Evans is 88 now but excited about what he calls his last hurrah, an idea he would like to try out on this plot of land.
A visitor asks, “Why in the world would you want to leave Washington State, one of the gardens spots of the U.S. to here?”
Evans makes a circle with his finger beside his head and chuckles, “I’m a little nuts.”
He grew up on a farm near Wewoka where most of his family’s food needs were met with a big garden.
Glenn’s family moved to town though.
On a walk through tall weeds on his new land, his guest asks, “Are we bushwhacking your trail?”
Evans says, “No we’re just starting one. We’re pioneers!”
He went off to school and chased success as a stock broker.
He left that and turned to a career in writing.
Several books in he wrote a novel called ‘Wayfarers‘ about a group of homeless people who want to help other homeless people.
His thoughts while writing, “I want to do something for people. Create a place where they can live together as a family.”
Evans started walking around and thinking what worked in fiction might work in real life.
“I wanted to make my first place right here in Oklahoma,” he says.
So here’s his new idea.
Invite people, maybe homeless, he’s not sure, to open up this acreage to folks who want to grow their own food, who want to live off their gardens like his family did.
“Food and shelter, and you’re part of a family,” he suggests.
They use no till farming methods, plant some fruit trees, and live in underground houses to stay cool in the summer, warm in winter, and safe in the spring.
Of living underground, Evans says, “It’s good for tornadoes.”
It took him a couple of hours to walk through the brush and get a good gauge on the property.
The only road on it leads to a pump jack, but J. Glenn sees a successful future here.
“Is the land good,” asks his visitor?
“Oh. I think it’s good and rich,” he responds. Look at the soil. It’s had years of composting.”
Call him a visionary, or call him a crazy old man.
Glenn Evans just needs a few more crazy people like him to unplug and dig in, to make this fork in the road a little bit wider.
Glenn currently makes his home in Olympia, Washington.
From Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, this picaresque novel takes on the issues of homelessness, big city corruption, and corporate greed. An engaging, rollicking tale of those who are mostly down on their luck and chafe under the rules and regulations imposed by those in authority. They were small in numbers, inexperienced, and some of them uneducated but they made up for it in a passionate belief in themselves. Wayfarers is an adventure story about a homeless half Cherokee who sets out to do something for the homeless with the help of such characters as a prostitute, a disbarred lawyer, a cuckolded preacher turned prospector, ex-CIA man, a veteran turned warrior for the good and a small Indian tribe. The two main protagonists, RB (Chief) and Warrior, each has his own way to bring justice into the world: one that allows the Native American culture to nourish and restore health to the planet. The other protagonist, Warrior, has a strong sense of justice laced with a mission to punish the evil-doers. Against this backdrop are the greedy power-brokers hell-bent on imposing their views on society. What will be the final outcome and whose philosophy will be the winner? A regenerative culture vs the competitive materialistic one? The wayfarers seek to provide alternatives to living on the street or to incarceration. There is a wisdom of indigenous peoples that we can use to help put our post-industrial society on a more ecological basis. Laced with the honesty of Steinbeck – both religious and profane, dangerous and divine – this pot boiler keeps rolling to the finish line.
This exquisite little book is actually two books in one – both thoughtful compilations of original poems, prose snapshots, memes, photos and “creative nonfiction,” all beautifully laid out on the page.
Mental Midgets contains a moving tribute to Native American musician, poet, philosopher and activities John Trudell, who died in 2015.
General themes covered in both books are colonization, the survival and resistance of indigenous people and the attitude of hopeful resistance all of us need to survive the barbarity and insanity of advanced industrial capitalism.
There are also thought-provoking quotations from fellow dissidents Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Lev Tolstoy, Chris Hedges, Kurt Vonnegot and Neil Young.
It’s the type of book I envision re-reading repeatedly over coming months and years.
Part of the reason for why McCarthy’s scandal got little or no attention is because there isn’t an unspooled Democratic leader firing off out horrendously racist “Pocahontas” and Trail of Tears tweets as Trump keeps doing about Warren. (The troll-in-chief has to troll.)
Consequently, the television news media doesn’t pay any attention to the McCarthy story, which means voters don’t pay attention either. And when reporters notice that voters don’t care, the conventional wisdom calcifies.
The circle of crapola goes the other way, too: Trump says “Pocahontas” is a fraud; the news media picks up the tweets and runs them without debunking them; voter outrage grows; the Beltway reporters note the outrage and then tell Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that it’s a disqualifying scandal for Warren because voters are pissed.
But why are they pissed, if they actually are? Because the press told them to be.
And Trump wonders why Democrats are so angry.
As if that weren’t objectionable enough, there’s never any effort to put the Native American story in the proper context. How does Warren’s thing stack up to other scandals? Is this as bad or worse than Kevin McCarthy’s brother-in-law receiving millions in taxpayer funds because he claimed membership in a disputed tribe? Should we care about this as much as, say, the fact that literally every major organization linked to the Trump family is under state and federal investigation for rampant fraud?
Context be damned in the face of publishing more screamer headlines about — say it with me — Democrats in disarray.
Thanks to KC for letting me know about this… This is the playbook both sides use to control the mainstream media…
TOP PHOTO: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is presented with a shawl of thanks from Native American women.
Elizabeth Warren receives standing ovation at surprise visit to Native American conference: report
“The alarming number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls continues to grow,” the senator says
Warren spoke at the National Indian Women’s “Supporting Each Other” lunch, where she introduced Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, the chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah in Massachusetts, HuffPost first reported. The luncheon took place during an annual meeting of the National Congress of American Indians.
In her speech, Warren praised Native American women, specifically Reps. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) — the first two Native women elected to Congress. The progressive lawmaker, who reportedly received a standing ovation from tribal leaders and other Native attendees as she approached the stage, detailed several legislative priorities related to the Native American community.
“The alarming number of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls (#MMIWG) continues to grow,” she said, according to The Daily Beast. “But Congress failed to pass legislation to address this epidemic.”
“Every day, there’s a racist tweet, a hateful tweet – something really dark and ugly,” Warren said of Trump. “And what are we, as candidates, as activists, the press, going to do about it? Are we going to let him use those to divide us?”
The curators are a group of young, energetic curators from distinct backgrounds and points of views. The artistic director Neville Wakefield is an art star known for his work in performance, site installations, and partnerships with fashion brands such as Supreme, Nike, and Calvin Klein. The biennial’s executive director, Jenny Gil, who is from Spain, formerly worked for Faena. The curator Amanda Hunt recently worked at the Studio Museum before joining MOCA. The LA-based writer and curator Matthew Schum was informed by his doctoral research on site-specific happenings, including the Istanbul Biennial. They have selected a broad group of artists of diverse nationalities, ages, and practices, supporting the conception, construction, and installation of each of the works. A budget of $25,000 or (much) more per work was offered by donors such as the Coachella Music Festival (which donated over $100,000) and electric car company Evelozcity. On 55 miles spread between the Wildland Park in the northwest and the Salton Sea in the southeast, the installations take the visitor on a road trip on a circuitous path of highways, windmill farms, gas stations, hot spring spas, residential compounds, and Modernist homes. The works will be up until April 21 and are accessible free of charge, alongside a series of performances and events.
Land Art is no longer a romantic and heroic gesture in the vastness of nature. It is by essence a political act.
History’s largest Native American art fraud case will come through the courts this year after multiple family businesses manufactured, imported, and falsely distributed Native American-style jewelry as genuine between 2010 and 2015. The trade value reached nearly $12 million across 300 shipments in five years — now, five men and two businesses are charged with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, importation by false or fraudulent practice, and failure to mark goods with their country of origin as required by customs law.
Congress passed the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) of 1990, to include the importation of knock-offs which undercut Native American economies and cultural heritage.
During the court hearing, Native American artist Liz Wallace said, “I don’t think calling this cultural appropriation is adequate. It’s economic colonization.”
A poetic short by Detroit-based director Keenan Wetzel, “Yellowtail” tells the story of a young Native American cowboy (Stephen Yellowtail) searching for purpose amidst a chaotic lifestyle. (previously featured here). Shot in Wyoming and the Crow Reservation in Montana, “Yellowtail” tells the story of a young Native American cowboy (Stephen Yellowtail) searching for purpose as his chaotic lifestyle begins
You will recognize that narrator’s voice – it is John Trudell!
In the News
The Navajo Nation and Utah Governor signed an inter-governmental agreement Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, to strengthen and further protect the Indian Child Welfare Act for the benefit of Navajo children in the State of Utah. Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer met with Governor Gary Herbert to make it official at the Utah State Capitol during the annual American Indian Caucus Day.
Let’s take a quick look at the erratic history of federal Indian policy.
In the early republic, the federal government made treaties of friendship with Indian tribes east of the Mississippi. In the 1830s, it stopped feeling friendly and removed the eastern Indians to the West. It set up reservations for eastern and western tribes and solemnly promised in treaties that the land would be theirs forever. In 1871, Congress decided there would be no more treaties, because Indian nations were no longer sovereigns; the courts soon confirmed that Congress could void any treaty without the consent of the tribes that had signed it. Next, from the 1880s until the 1930s, came the “allotment era.” The government decided to break up the reservations and “allot” much of the land to individuals, who could sell them. By the 1930s tribes had lost 60 percent of their previous land base. The New Deal was a brief respite: Allotment ended and tribes were allowed to re-form their governments. Then in 1953 came the “termination era,” when Congress decided that the federal government would no longer provide services to tribes, or deal with their governments. It sold off some tribes’ reservation lands and proclaimed that those tribes no longer existed.
University College London researchers estimate that settlers killed 56 million indigenous people, causing farmland to be reforested. That increase in vegetation resulted in a massive decrease in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
I call this the (his)story “We’re Not Supposed to Know”
But they conceal another side of Columbus: the exploitation and repression of Native Americans, said the Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame. It is a “darker side of this story, a side we must acknowledge,” Jenkins said in a letter Sunday.
In December 2018, the Trump administration plotted to gut SNAP, the food assistance program more than 40 million Americans rely on to feed themselves. (I have friends and relatives on SNAP, what used to be food stamps). This attack on the poor would impose oppressive work requirements that will have a devastating impact on our nation’s most vulnerable and the “food insecure.” This rule will drive 755,000 poor folks deeper into poverty across the country over the next three years. It’s a cruel and cynical attempt to chip away at our social safety net by defining who is and who isn’t suffering in our nation. Read about the Poor People’s Campaign.
Food insecurity is very real and a war on the poor. And when the climate fails and disaster hits, what new countries start a new land grab? Will they hit Third World Countries? Indian Country? Will they take children to accomplish this again? History repeats itself over and over until we get it right…and so we are entering a dangerous new age of food insecurity… and climate change.
If I were in charge, I’d have two priorities: ending poverty and improving the existing infrastructure.
“I called the album Blue Indians because there is a kind of spiritual and cultural genocide perpetrated on everyone that is poor in this country,” Trudell said. “The advance of technology has put all of us on a kind of reservation. These are the people who can’t educate their children, or afford health care. They’ve been robbed of life, which is what happened to Native people, so in that context, we’re all Indians.”
I follow up in a few weeks with my doctors… See you soon! xox
Guðrún Emilsdóttir, adopted shortly after birth, was 28 before she tracked down her birth mother.
Her birth mother gave Emilsdottir her birth certificate, which named her father, Henry Linwood Jackson.
“My nephew started looking for Henry,” she said.
Eventually, he contacted Native American genealogist Karen Vigneault, a member of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel in California who was profiled in an earlier VOA story. On Vigneault’s advice, Emilsdottir took a DNA blood test; they uploaded the results onto an online database and waited.
(PHOTO: Iceland covered the story too) (Karen Vigneault, an enrolled tribal member of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel and college and tribal librarian, has a face tattoo.)
Emilsdottir has returned to Iceland but is planning to return to Oklahoma in July 2019 for the “Encampment,” a pow wow the Otoe-Missouria tribe has held annually for more than 130 years. It’s an occasion for the tribe to sing, drum, dance and remember their history and traditions. And celebrate family, lost and found.
The reunion happened because of the tireless methodical work of librarian and tribal genealogist Karen Vigneault; she and I have worked together since 2013.
I learned yesterday that Karen has passed away in San Diego at her home.
She made miracles and reunions for adoptees, like these sisters.
It is impossible to put into words the impact she had on me and the lives of many adoptees she helped. She worked to find adoption records, tribal histories, family genealogy and find relatives that adoptees could contact and meet.
This loss is personal and devastating.
Not just to me but to readers of this blog who are still searching and hoping and waiting and wanting to find their families.
Just half of Wolf Point’s Native students graduate from high school, compared with about three-quarters of their white peers. In June 2017, the Tribal Executive Board of Fort Peck filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights requesting a federal investigation into its contention that the Wolf Point school system discriminates against Native students.
In her essay “Alone in Company,” Chelsea Bayouth reflects on the role of an artist at the end of 2018: “For me, it is to fear that every word or image is a window into public, political, and social tumult. It means you have to be more vulnerable than you or anyone in times previous has ever been…. Social capital is the currency, and if you have none you are poor. ”
The Ivory Coast is demanding that France return 148 works once looted from the country. The Ivory Coast’s culture minister, Maurice Bandaman, confirmed that a list of works were sent to France and are set to be returned in 2019. Bandaman also told Agence-France Presse, “At least 50 museums around the world have Ivorian works, and this does not include private collection,” indicating that France is not the only country with looted works. [Agence France-Presse]
A new work by Banksy has appeared at the back of a car garage in Port Talbot, Wales last week. Since then, crowds have gathered at the scene, with local authorities having to manage and organize the groups of people. Banksy claimed responsibility for the work on his website and Instagram. The garage is owned by Ivan Lewis, a local steelworker. “I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Lewis. “My phone is ringing, on my house phone there’s 1,000 messages on it.” [Art Daily]
Shan Goshorn, “a Cherokee artist and activist known for her contemporary approach to traditional basket-weaving,” died of cancer at the age of 61. [Tulsa World]
Under a cloud of scandal… the toxic Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is gone (fired) (top photo)
Can we call it a year now? 2017 and 2018 wore me out. Cancer didn’t help but I feel woke enough.
02019 – please, do us a favor? Be kind to us. We deserve better!
Indigenous people and supporters gathered despite sub-zero wind chills for the 49th National Day of Mourning at Plymouth, Mass. The undaunted crowd included Indigenous peoples whom the pilgrims menaced and murdered — Nipmuc; Mashpee, Aquinnah and other bands of the Wampanoag; Narragansett; Massachusett; Pequot and other Indigenous nations…
I mentioned that I would have liked to been in freezing Plymouth…
The commemoration known as Plymouth 400 will feature events throughout 2020, including a maritime salute in Plymouth Harbor in June, an embarkation festival in September, and a week of ceremonies around Thanksgiving.
After the residents of Malaga were pushed out, the state bought the land for $471, according to Maine Coast Heritage Trust, and ordered the rest of the residents to leave by July 1. In 1913, the state sold the land to Everard A. Wilson, a friend of the doctor who had been the chair of a committee Plaisted had established to investigate the allegedly appalling conditions on Malaga. Malaga was for many years in private hands, but remained undeveloped. The hotel that had been planned for Bear Island, which Hamilton said was a key incentive for pushing the Malaga residents off the island, was never built.
A subsequent Associated Press article in The Los Angeles Times revealed that Ms. Thompson was not of European descent — as had been commonly assumed — but “a full-blooded Cherokee Indian” from Oklahoma. That detail, Ms. Meister said, raises the compelling question of whether “Migrant Mother” would have resonated so widely if viewers knew the subjects were Native American.
(another one of those “shake your head” stories, right?
☀️ I write something every. single. day.☀️
Is time speeding up?
I am still trying to figure out to talk about the twin books: Mental Midgets | Musqonocihte and why one book became two and how they happened so fast. (I have to thank my friend MariJo for telling me what I felt about urgency was to be trusted.) It’s a short book – 91 pages – but it feels MUCH longer.
I do think of this year 02018 as The Year I Had Cancer – this changed me mentally.
Was it five years ago when I started the Midgets book. I used to joke and say it might get done this century. Why? My goofy utter distrust, of course. Many of you are experiencing what I call wavy brain too. We don’t think about the future as much as before… and why is that? Read about the Long Now Foundation from earlier this year. Trump and electronics are both a BIGLY reason!
Back then I kept the book title under wraps. Mental Midgets, what does it mean? It’s absurd. It’s maybe kinda funny. It’s not about small people. But it is about our minds, the constant chaos, the news, Trump, cell phones, social media, and how it seems to me, at least, our brain capacity shrinks when memories go small. And then there is (hi)story to consider.
Here is a one sentence (short) book description:
This TWIN book is a collection of factoids, philosophy, quips, questions, code, quotes, photos, thought bombs, creative non-fiction, Native American history and prose. And it’s short. Musqonichte translates Blue Sky.
The code is a message. There are things in there you should know.
Happy 02019 – add that zero and I will be writing more soon!
Sending you all a big thanks for reading this news roundup and Happy Turkey “Big Food” Day tomorrow… Lara/Trace
An Exhibition Critically Explores the History of Missionaries in Hawai’i
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — In August 1806, five students on the campus of Williams College took refuge from a sudden thunderstorm beside a haystack and vowed to commit themselves to spreading the Gospel around the world. This is Ground Zero of the American overseas missionary movement.
For many people, this moment marked the start of an outpouring of generosity and benevolence that saved souls and brought distant lands into the modern world. Only recently has another narrative been recognized — one of shameless spiritual imperialism that trampled native cultures and eventually devolved into explicit political and economic oppression.
The unexpectedly deep connection between the college in Williamstown and the Pacific islands, 5,000 miles away, is outlined with an extensive timeline along a wall, which highlights what was happening in each place. It mentions figures such as Sanford B. Dole, the son of missionaries who came to Williams in the 1860s, where he and other missionary descendants called themselves “the Cannibals,” and were active in the Lyceum. Dole and two others from that group would help draft the “Bayonet Constitution” of 1887, which accelerated the process of undermining native Hawaiian leadership. When the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, Dole would serve as the Republic’s first president, until completing the handover to American power a few years later.
How can that be? In 1832, President Andrew Jackson pushed through the policy of “removal” of Indian nations from the eastern U.S., which destroyed the historic land base of the “civilized tribes.” He promised the tribes new land in the West to be theirs “as long as the grass grows or the water runs, in peace and plenty.” After the Trail of Tears, the U.S. signed a treaty that “solemnly guarantied” the new reservation lands in what is now Oklahoma. Many tribes elsewhere have found to their regret that Congress is permitted to decide that the grass ain’t growing any more. It can abrogate some or all treaty obligations—and even “terminate” a tribe altogether. But case law says there is a “clear statement” rule: If Congress wants to end a reservation, it has to say so.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) highlighted the report in a press event in Washington, DC, this week where she talked about the importance of addressing the MMIWG epidemic. Murkowski was joined by U.S. senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI 4th District), and Juana Majel-Dixon (Pauma Band of Mission Indians), Executive Board Member and Recording Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The UIHI report identified the state of Alaska as the fourth-leading state for number of cases of MMIWG. Also, in the top ten states are New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, Montana, California, Nebraska, Utah, Minnesota and Oklahoma.