Rest in Peace Karen Vigneault, the woman who made miracles for Native adoptees

Kimberly Linebarger, left, with sister Gudrun Drofn Emilsdottir, in lobby of Seven Clans First Council Casino Hotel, Newkirk, Oklahoma, November 19, 2018.

Guðrún Emilsdóttir, circa 1967, baby picture

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.

20180929_093011(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.)

(READ Long-lost Native American Sisters Reunite for a Joyous Thanksgiving)

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.

Henry Linwood Jackson, Otoe-Missouria tribe member, ca. 1965.

BIG READ: Long-lost Native American Sisters Reunite for a Joyous Thanksgiving

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.

Using her own money, Karen traveled to Iceland late last year to meet Guðrún and the Iceland media covered it. Her wish was to reunite Guðrún with her tribe and relatives. She succeeded.
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District of Despair: Montana Reservation Schools | Alone | Loot | Bansky | Zinke gone

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.

“I think the sensitivity to different cultures, sometimes it ends with Native people,” said Ron Lessard, the acting executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education since 2017.

Source: District of Despair: On a Montana Reservation, Schools… — ProPublica

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ALONE: 2018 QUOTE

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. ”

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Royal statues from the Palaces of Abomey in Benin, displayed at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris; they are among the works slated to be returned to Benin as soon as possible (photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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]

The British Museum’s ‘Looting’ Problem  …headlines across the internet announced that the British Museum was to “return looted antiquities to Iraq.”

Clearly, the United States has an aversion to facing its past and is long overdue for a moment of truth and reconciliation. Read:  The Field Museum’s Native North American Hall starts to ask who it represents | Feature | Chicago Reader

One more: As Belgium Reopens Africa Museum, DR Congo Demands Restitution of Artifacts

(This is a trend I am very glad to see)

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Bansky

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]

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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]

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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!

xoxoxox

LT

Day of Mourning in Plymouth | Migrant Mother | Malaga | Mental Midgets

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…

BIG READ: Day of Mourning honored at Plymouth – Workers World

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.

READ: 400 years later, Natives who helped Pilgrims finally being heard | RED POWER MEDIA

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We are not supposed to know (continued)

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.

Background: Bates professor tells story of Malaga Island, including its dark chapter of forced exodus – Portland Press Herald

For the past 10 years, painter, author, and illustrator Daniel Minter has raised awareness of the forced removal in 1911 of an interracial community on Maine’s Malaga Island. HERE

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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?

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☀️ I write something every. single. day.☀️

By LT

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 to all my friends and relatives!

Happy 02019 – add that zero and I will be writing more soon!

Missionaries in Hawai’i | More Attacks on ICWA | Is Tulsa Indian Country? | MMIWG epidemic

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.

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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.

READ: An Exhibition Critically Explores the History of Missionaries in Hawai’i

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The Indian Child Welfare Act is vital to our continued survival. (There has been much written on this blog about ICWA and the book series Lost Children)

BIG READ: Why conservatives are attacking a law meant to protect Native American families – The Washington Post

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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.

READ: Supreme Court Must Decide If Tulsa Is ‘Indian Country’ – The Atlantic

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Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG)

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.

NEWS: New Report Identifies 506 Urban Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & girls – Native News Online

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Mental Midgets | Musqonocihte: “…it’s a miracle we’ve survived this far…”

How is that for a book title? I just published a “short” book – I call it short because our attention spans are short… 🙂 LINK

The “Dawnland” Documentary Shows How the U.S. Government Took Indigenous Children From Their Homes and Placed Them With White Families | Teen Vogue

Many were led to believe that their people didn’t want them and placed with white families.

READ: The “Dawnland” Documentary Shows How the U.S. Government Took Indigenous Children From Their Homes and Placed Them With White Families | Teen Vogue

Anna Townsend, age 9, of Fallon, Nevada, testifying on April 8, 1974 at the Subcommittee on Indian Affairs of the U.S. Senate. Courtesy: NBCUniversal.

Listen: ‘Dawnland’ Documents Maine’s Efforts To Reconcile Indian Child Removal

Note from LT: We had a mention of this in the anthology Stolen Generations.

 

Winter Fire – And Our Mother’s Cried | Where are They? | The Worst Way to Start a City

“And Our Mothers Cried” vividly brings to life the Indian boarding school era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For several generations of Native American children, including some Chickasaws, attending boarding school meant separation from their families and indoctrination into a culture that wasn’t their own. The schools, which were guided by the infamous slogan, “Kill the Indian. Save the Man,” prohibited most students from speaking their own language and emphasized labor-intensive trades that would assimilate them into white culture through military-type institutions.

The documentary presents a stark contrast between these schools and schools established and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, which were designed to prepare Chickasaw children to compete in a rapidly changing world. “And Our Mothers Cried” presents compelling stories from some of the Chickasaw elders who lived through the boarding school era. Their experiences weave a complex story of sorrow and survival, but also one of hope and resilience from a time when tribal governments and culture were under attack.

Click here to watch the EMMY® Award-winning “Winter Fire—And Our Mothers Cried.”
https://www.chickasaw.tv/embed/episodes/winter-fire-season-1-episode-1-and-our-mothers-cried?utm_source=outreach&utm_medium=press_release&utm_content=emmy-2018&utm_campaign=chickasaw

Source: Chickasaw Nation Documentary Wins Heartland Emmy Award – Native News Online

Where are they?

Last Year:

On June 15, 2017, at its Mid‐Year Conference in Connecticut, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) adopted a resolution, sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation, encouraging American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations, families, and descendants to provide information on children who never returned home from Indian Boarding Schools.

The information will be used for a submission to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID). This UN submission will be jointly filed by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS), the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). The submission will call on the United States to provide a full accounting of the children taken into government custody under the U.S. Indian Boarding School Policy whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown. NCAI represents 250 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes.

For more information on the US Boarding School policies, their ongoing legacies, and using UN human rights bodies to defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples, log on to www.boardingschoolhealing.org, www.narf.org, and www.iitc.org.

READ: US Tribes Call for Testimonies on Missing American Indian & Alaska Native Boarding School Children – Native News Online

 

The Unassigned Lands

In the 1860s and 1870s, white settlers from the areas around Indian Territory — like Kansas and Texas — started to realize that there was vast piece of land in the middle of the United States that wasn’t claimed by anyone (ah, what?). They started agitating to to be allowed to seize this land for free. These white settlers even began a series of illegal raids into the territory, sneaking into Indian Territory at night to get to that little center portion of the Unassigned Lands.

Couch and his men had brought surveying equipment — and they quickly began laying out streets and lots as they had planned them in the months leading up to the Land Run. In the days following Oklahoma City’s rapid settlement, town leaders would have to reckon with all the cheating that had happened during the Land Run. Who cheated and who didn’t? Who deserve to keep their land and who didn’t?

GOOD LISTEN: The Worst Way to Start a City – 99% Invisible

Sen. Warren’s DNA means nothing to #ICWA #NativeTruth #WeAreStillHere

When I heard the drum at this powwow in Wisconsin, when I was 12, the sky opened up and my heart fell in. I was adopted out to strangers but I would find my family, no matter what. (My memoir is now retired. I will be rewriting soon.)

BY LT

What? Back so soon with breaking news?

Yep.  First, I want to thank my friend and blogger KC for asking me to think about and share my thoughts on what it means to have Indigenous ancestry and the recent headlines about Elizabeth Warren.  Next, I defend Sen. Warren’s right to claim her ancestry.  It’s hers! Heck, many Americans do have some American Indian ancestry, too. But what you do with it is what truly matters.

We are all mixed, one way or the other.  American, so heavily colonized, is very populated with mixed people.  We have (hi)storians to blame for not explaining much about this stark truth and reality.

For me personally I was not raised in a tribal community setting, though I had many Native people around me when I was growing up.  Being adopted out, I struggled until my 30s with identity and isolation, but no longer. I met my birth father and did a paternity DNA test with him when I was 38. The history he shared with me, that was what I needed, at that time. But words and blood tests DO NOT make me who I am or the direction of my life’s work.  My Oglala Lakota relatives made sure of that. They were in my life years prior to my finding my father who is mixed Shawnee-Cherokee-Delaware-Euro).

What is required of us:

Once you attend ceremony, once you pray in your language, once you show humility to elders, and once you work for them, and when you learn it’s not “me” but “we” – it is then you are made a relative and accepted as family.  Then you are in tribal community (which is American Indian tradition on Turtle Island). It may take many years, because it should.

As the following story by says, “Half a century ago, the Standing Rock Dakota scholar Vine Deloria Jr. wrote, “Whites claiming Indian blood tend to reinforce mythical beliefs about Indians.”

Falsely claiming Native American identity is a white American tradition, with a deeply racist past.  – Nick Estes

Warren is not living her life as a member of any tribal community, yet like so many, she seems to romanticize the idea of her blood being Indian.  She was raised with her family in Oklahoma, with her history, but she was not enrolled with the Cherokee Nation, who determines their citizenship based on Dawes Rolls, not DNA.  If the Cherokee tribe wishes to change that, and enroll her, it’s completely up to them. (She’ll have years of unlearning and good history lessons ahead.)

To my knowledge, what Warren did with her “ancestry” all these years, was she helped herself.  To my knowledge, she did not assist any tribal nation or community, and in fact, she has not even helped the tribes struggling right here in Massachusetts!  What we are fighting for in this century, like Standing Rock, federal recognition, sovereignty, treaty rights, water rights, protecting Bear’s Ears, ending destruction by mining, pipelines, poverty, all of that – where is she?

This is a new hashtag campaign: #NativeTruth  #WeAreStillHere

If Elizabeth was in her community, she’d know this: Blood quantum is an invention of the governments to widdle us down to “not enough Indian.” (Wiping us out on paper. Gone, erased.)

I actually know many lost Native adoptees who use the DNA test to get their family name, and slowly worked their way back to their tribal families. Some are back on the rez, while others join their urban Indian communities. (I do not recommend or trust the DNA testings or the data they collect and sell. Those TV ads are false and misleading. Very few Indians will submit to giving DNA though some scientists took it without their consent.)

When is a DNA test useful? My adoptee friend Rhonda did a DNA test with an uncle (her birth father’s brother) to determine if she was a family member, and she was – then she was enrolled in her tribal nation. DNA can connect you with a living tribal member, if you were adopted out, or fostered. That is very very helpful.

So, Sen. Warren, it’s not the amount of blood.  DNA doesn’t make you Indian. If you belong to a community (urban or reservation), that makes you a member of that tribal community.

BIG READ:  How Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test hurt our struggle (and took away the news coverage of what matters): READ

Intercept podcast: the last two segments are so good – please do listen!

If you do have Indigenous blood, if it is loud, it won’t leave you alone.  If this speaks to you, then find and join an urban or reservation community and work for them and work with them, and think a new way: “we” not me.

And ask them what you can do and please do what they ask respectfully.

Mitakuye Oyasin. We are all related!

xoxox

A new address for my blog: American Indian Adoptees

THIS REALLY MATTERS: Native perspective: Sherry Treppa: Why #ICWA is critical to the health of native children and tribal communities

Generations of Indigenous Voices from NY State | Apache 8 | Where are They Buried? | Lousy? Indigenous news coverage

 

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The exhibition Community and Continuity: Native American Art of New York is culled from the New York State Museum’s collection of contemporary Native American art.  NYSM is known for its historical and archeological Indigenous objects, which number in the millions and range in date from 13,000 years ago to the early 20th century.  But in 1996, the museum began acquiring works by living Algonquin and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists to celebrate the continuing vibrancy of these communities.

Community and Continuity: Native American Art of New York continues at the Samuel Dorsky Museum (on the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive, New Paltz, NY) through December 9. The exhibition was curated by John Hart and Gwendolyn Saul.

READ: Generations of Indigenous Voices from New York State

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This is the story of the courageous all-female Apache 8 firefighting unit which has protected their reservation and responded to wildfires around the nation for 30 years. This group, which recently became co-ed, earned the reputation of being fierce, loyal and dependable–and tougher than their male colleagues.Despite facing gender stereotypes and the problems that come with life on the impoverished reservation, the women became known as some of the country’s most elite firefighters. The film focuses on four women from different generations of Apache 8 crewmembers who speak tenderly and often humorously of hardship, loss, family, community and pride in being a firefighter.Official Selection at the American Indian Film Festival.

Source: Apache 8 | Kanopy

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Thousands of Canada’s indigenous children died in church-run boarding schools

Armed with everything from school attendance records to drones, researchers across Canada are racing to shed light on a bleak part of the country’s history: How many indigenous children died at residential schools, and where are their unmarked graves? From 1883 to 1998, nearly 150,000 indigenous children were forcibly separated from their families and sent to the government-funded, church-run boarding schools in an attempt to assimilate them. Once there, they were frequently neglected and abused. What happened at the schools was akin to “cultural genocide,” concluded a 2015 report from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It also found that at least 3,200 students died at residential schools over those 115 years — a much higher rate than for students elsewhere in Canada — though the commission contended that the number was probably much higher and merited further investigation.

The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.

Source: Thousands of Canada’s indigenous children died in church-run boarding schools. Where are they buried? – The Washington Post

 

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Most journalists also said we didn’t bother to cover Indigenous peoples because there was no journalistic payoff. We, reporters, preferred to do stories to improve situations and conditions, by pointing out things that didn’t work properly. We looked for bad guys, stories about corruption or inept business owners, government administrators, politicians, cops, for example. Yet similar stories about Indigenous communities never went anywhere. Things never changed. Also, by telling these stories, we faced accusations of concentrating on the negative. (See comment above about racism.)

Source: Why Coverage of Indigenous Issues Is So Lousy | FAIR

“We’ve never had justice”: How the Supreme Court rigged land deals against native people

The boundary lines for multiple land treaties with native tribes cross the state of Michigan.

That was the official legal ruling for the United States government: that native people did not actually own the land they’d lived on for thousands of years.

Part One Listen

By Dustin Dwyer • Part Two

The boundary lines for multiple land treaties cross the state of Michigan. The boundary lines for multiple land treaties with native tribes cross the state of Michigan.

It was 1823. The land of Michigan wasn’t yet a state. The indigenous people far outnumbered the white settlers. The Erie Canal hadn’t opened. The flood of European immigrants was yet to arrive.

But the groundwork for their arrival was set in 1823 by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case about property rights. The case: Johnson v. M’Intosh.

On the fourth floor of the Michigan State University law school building, on a windowsill that overlooks the campus, Wenona Singel (top photo) keeps her family photos. Singel is a law professor here, and associate director of MSU’s Indigenous Law & Policy Center.

Family is the reason she went to law school, she says.

When she was young, she was separated from her sister in what she says was a coerced adoption. It’s a familiar story in many native families.

“And, in my mind, understanding the operation of our legal system and the development of federal Indian law and policy was absolutely critical,” she says.

So when she got older, she went to law school — at Harvard.

All first-year Harvard law students had to take a class on property law. That is where Singel first heard of the landmark case known as Johnson v M’Intosh.

“The original Johnson of the case was actually a former Supreme Court justice, and a wealthy shareholder in the Illinois and Wabash Land Company,” Singel says. “And this land company had speculated in the purchase of Indian lands.”

It purchased those lands directly from the tribes. At that same time, the U.S. federal government was out trying to get land from tribes.  It negotiated treaties with the tribes.  Once the government got the land, it would parcel it out to sell to settlers.

So along comes this settler named M’Intosh. He buys from the government. But the land he buys, well it’s already been bought, by the Illinois and Wabash Land Company.

Remember, that’s the group of wealthy investors that buys directly from the tribes.  And Johnson is a part of that group. So Johnson bought from the tribe.

M’Intosh bought from the U.S. government.

The question before the Supreme Court: Who really owned the land now — Johnson or M’Intosh?

It’s an easy question if you think the tribe owned its land in the first place. Because if the tribe owned it, it could sell it to the Illinois and Wabash Land Company, Johnson’s group. Johnson wins.

But the real question was whether the tribe owned the land in the first place. Did they even have the power to sell it?

“And, to the surprise of the lawyers and shareholders in the Illinois and Wabash Land Company, Justice Marshall in the Johnson v. M’Intosh case declared that the tribes did not have this power.” Singel says. “And that they only had the power to transfer their property to the federal government.”

That was the official legal ruling for the United States government: that native people did not actually own the land they’d lived on for thousands of years.

M’Intosh won because he had bought from the federal government. Justice Marshall argued the federal government was the true owner of the land all along.

The indigenous people of the U.S. had some rights on their land. They had the right to use and occupy it.  But they couldn’t sell it on the open market because they didn’t really own it. That was the official legal ruling for the United States government: that native people did not actually own the land they’d lived on for thousands of years.

And yes, this decision had a huge impact.

If and when native people ever did want to sell their land rights, there was only one buyer they could turn to. That meant the buyer had the upper hand in the negotiations over price.

It was a rigged deal.

Singel learned all of this as a busy, stressed, first-year law student.”In many ways, it’s almost like gaslighting,” Wenona Singel says of the Johnson v. M’Intosh case. “You’re learning about … certain rights that are associated with property rights … knowing all along that these rights have not been respected, and were not enforced for your own ancestors.”

“And then you move on to the next case,” she says. “And there’s no further discussion of the wrong that this perpetuates. And also the flawed reasoning. And also fundamentally misinformed and racist presumptions that our property legal system is based upon.”

And this isn’t some obscure case. It’s foundational in the U.S. legal system. Most law schools teach it to all their students in the first year.

One of the passages in the actual text of the Supreme Court decision reads:

“The tribes of Indians inhabiting this country were fierce savages, whose occupation was war, and whose subsistence was drawn chiefly from the forest. To leave them in possession of their country was to leave the country a wilderness.”

This language, and the precedent it established, has never been overturned in America’s legal system. It is valid law today.

“Imagine if Plessy v Ferguson was never overturned,” Singel says. “Imagine if Dred Scott was never overturned … We’ve never had any kind of accounting and justice that has restored those original property rights.”

Lewis Cass, Michigan’s second governor, negotiated many of the treaties that ceded native land in Michigan to the federal government. He also argued for the forced removal of native people.

After Johnson v. M’Intosh, the early white leaders of Michigan drafted a series of treaties with the native people of the area. These documents would have the tribes sign their land over to the federal government.

Lewis Cass was Michigan’s second governor. He negotiated a number of the treaties. In the late 1820s, he advocated the forced removal of the land’s native people. In his argument, he echoed the words of Justice Marshall. He claimed if white people didn’t rule the land, Michigan would be doomed:

“A tribe of wandering hunters, depending upon the chase for support, and deriving it from the forests, and rivers, and lakes, of an immense continent, have a very imperfect possession of the country over which they roam ,” Cass argued. “That they are entitled to such supplies as may be necessary for their subsistence, and as they can procure, no one can justly question. But this right cannot be exclusive, unless the forests which shelter them are doomed to perpetual unproductiveness.”

Cass didn’t get his wish for removal. But he did eventually get treaties.

And the white people did make the land productive, in their way.

The same as they had done in all of the Americas, says Willie Jennings of Yale Divinity School. They did what they believed their God wanted them to do.

“The way they looked at the land, from the very beginning, from Michigan to Maine, from Virginia to Florida, they looked at the land as the world-in-potential that needed development,” Jennings says. “And that development was always tied to what can be taken from the land.”

In Michigan, a land of dense, ancient forests, they could take a lot.

Source: “We’ve never had justice”: How the Supreme Court rigged land deals against native people | Michigan Radio

The story of the trees, tomorrow in our series, “An Idea on the Land.” 

 

P.S. Taking Land is what I’m researching, from a tribal perspective. I’ll be posting news as it happens, like this post. LT

Hopi | Outings in PA | Dawn of Detroit | Disappeared | #PoorPeoplesCampaign

 

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A small but powerful exhibit, shows intense commitment to the power of individual artists, within the broader context of communal history.

Finding individuals in the archaeology record is difficult, such logic goes, and is impossible to properly credit work to a particular artist. It would be easy to have these ceramic vessels begin to simply fill in as “types” and nothing more. However, in this instance, on every ancient piece of pottery, the exhibit displayed a tag “unrecorded Ancestral Pueblo artist(s).”

NICE READ: Contemporary Hopi Artists’ Mural Travels From Flagstaff to Dallas, Animating Indigenous Art

 

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All the Indian children missing or buried in Pennsylvania are believed to be connected to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, the nation’s first federal off-reservation boarding school, founded in 1879 by former cavalry officer Richard Henry Pratt.  Carlisle — now the campus of the Army War College — was built to solve “the Indian problem” by forcing native children to become ersatz white people, erasing their names, languages, religions, and family ties. Where are the children now?

SAD READ: A search for native children who died on ‘Outings’ in Pa.

Many of you know I am a big fan of historian author Tiya Miles. She’s changing history one book at a time.

BIG READ: ‘The Dawn of Detroit’: An Interview with Historian Tiya Miles – AAIHS

 

By LT

HEY HEY!  As promised I saved a few good stories for you.

How many weeks until the mid terms? I have been trying to be optimistic about everything politics but hope?  Trumpism (like racism) is now a verb.  Last Thurs. nite, I went to see the Rev. Barber (I cried when he came on stage) and learned about the Poor People’s Campaign.

For me, I feel so much better although I admit once you have “cancer” surgery, especially that diagnosis,  “it” changes you.  But I know it’s gone, I’m better and have good work ahead of me.

Before surgery I was asked to present my Lost Bird/adoption/book series research at the Univ. of MN and I agreed.  Writing the paper took longer than I expected which is why I have not been blogging or reading your blogs.

I’m going to give you a small excerpt here:

Migration across Global Regimes of Childhood (Symposium) (9-21-18)

Thank you to Kelly and to all the organizers at the Univ. of MN for inviting me to present my paper Disappeared: Finding Survivors of the Indian Adoption Programs; we are indeed Healing The Hard Stuff.

First, some background… In 2004, I left my job as editor of the Pequot Times in Connecticut and adoption became my focus of research. Why? 1. I am an adoptee, a journalist, and growing up I had no clue I had American Indian ancestry on both sides of my family tree.  2. I was asked to write an article on American Indian adoptees for Talking Stick, a publication of the American Indian House in New York City. 3. In order for me to write the article, I had to find sources, first person narratives, even other adoptees like me.  When I went online to do research in 2005, there was nothing, nothing about the Indian Adoption Projects or ARENA Programs, or any mentions of survivors or child victims. There were no books. I’d found one article in a Canadian newspaper about the 60s Scoop adoptees when I was staff writer at News From Indian Country in Wisconsin.

I realized the goal of Empire and colonizers is historical inaccuracy. By the time we know what they are really doing, it’s already too late. Empire (as in government) redirects our attention, or has us look at the fire in the front yard while they do their work in the back yard.

Today I define adoption as children who grew up isolated, without identity, without records, without knowledge of what happened, even why their parents could not keep them. This isolation often continues into adulthood.  For me, adoption is a traumatizing word; as trauma-inducing as the images of the numerous residential boarding schools. This is but one reminder of Empire, a reminder of what the governments of the US and Canada could do and did do to Indigenous children.

As my friend Leland (a Navajo-San Domingo Pueblo adoptee) said recently in a phone call, “We are not supposed to be Indian anymore. We’re erased, disappeared on purpose.”  He’s right. Empire’s colonization using adoption succeeded.  Adoptees are assimilated, living as American or Canadian citizens.

Leland was adopted by a Mormon couple and shares his reunions in the book series Lost Children. He writes that seven siblings from one family were taken from the Shawanaga reservation in Ontario. In all there were 10 adoptees in the Kirk family and Leland found out that the Mormon church paid his adoptive parents a monthly stipend per child. Leland told a newspaper, in his words, he was a victim of trafficking at age four. He claims the BIA paid the Mormon parents $65 a month for his care. To this day, his Anishinabe siblings from Canada are not in reunion with their tribal family and still live in the US.

Empire governments have long controlled the stories of the American Indian and First Nations and peddled in fairy tales and western movies instead. Again, the goal of Empire is historical inaccuracy or no history at all.

What surprised me may surprise you.  In the words and  judgment of Lenore A. Stiffarm and Phil Lane, Jr. in the book The State of Native America, “There can be no more monumental example of sustained genocide—certainly none involving a ‘race’ of people as broad and complex as this—anywhere in the annals of human history.”  From the book The State of Native America: Genocide, Colonization, and Resistance. Jaimes, M. Annette, Boston: South End Press, 1992.

If you are wondering how this happened, let’s look at motive.

I wrote this Preface in the 2016 anthology Stolen Generations:

It’s about the land.  It’s about taking the land. No matter how. No matter what. Our parents and grandparents (and their parents) lost territorial land and their children…*

*Boarding Schools removed three or more generations from their tribal families.

We adoptees, the stolen generation… We are all collateral damage.

We were never expected to survive.

I’m not sure we did.

A 60s Scoop Adoptee on Facebook asked recently, “How do I heal this?”

For me, and for other adoptees, we demand truth, historic accuracy, and reunion with our tribal nations. For me, I inhabited the world I grew up in and only dreamt the world and the people I lost.

In fact …Service to the American Empire means continuing to support more violence against Third World peoples, like what happened at Standing Rock.  Empire is about conquest. For that very reason, we have a history problem.

Since I did that article in Talking Stick, and started the American Indian Adoptees blog [www.splitfeathers.blogspot.com], and produced three anthologies in the Lost Children Book Series, thousands of adoptees have come forward.  There are 20,000 adoptees in Canada. Adoptees in Canada claim that figure is not accurate. It doesn’t include all the adoptees brought to the US from Canada and I will share a story about that later.

(If anyone wants to read my 24-page paper DISAPPEARED, leave me a comment and I can email the pdf.)

SURPRISE UPDATE!

It’s been three years since I taught wordpress 101 and guess what? The local community college contacted me, and I will begin teaching again in Spring 2019.  Now I have to refresh my brain to the blogging basics and add the changes to WP to my class notes. This job was an unexpected surprise – a sweet gift!

Autumn is here, my favorite season.  I had a great birthday (9-9) and wedding anniversary (9-24).

How is everyone doing?  Please leave me a comment. 🙂

At the Edge of America | Our Remains Do Not Belong to SCIENCE | Art Conspiracy | Collecting | Indians and Empire

“T.C. Cannon retrieved Native American people, as a subject, from cardboard-thin caricatures spawned by old photos, kitschy paintings, and western films. The men and women he painted are arresting and complicated.”  — The Boston Globe

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On view March 3, 2018 to June 10, 2018

 :::AT THE EDGE OF AMERICA::: One of the most influential, innovative, and talented Native American artists of the 20th-century, T.C. Cannon embodied the activism, cultural transition and creative expression that defined America in the 1960’s and ‘70s. Cannon’s work — as an artist, poet, and aspiring musician — is deeply personal yet undeniably political, reflecting his cultural heritage, experience as a Vietnam War veteran, and the turbulent social and political period during which he worked.

Cannon preferred bold color combinations, mash-ups between Native and non-Native elements and never shied away from the complexity and nuance of identity politics. Cannon interrogated American history and popular culture through his Native lens, and exercised a rigorous mastery of Western art historical tropes while creating an entirely fresh visual vocabulary. T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America celebrates Cannon’s creative range and artistic legacy through nearly 90 paintings and works on paper, as well as poetry and music. READ: pem.org | T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America

 ***

Indigenous Remains Do Not Belong to Science

But as Scientific American reported at the time, the museum’s scientists did not consult modern tribes before extracting DNA from the remains because the museum deemed the bones impossible to link to any specific group. They should have invited input from tribes, both out of respect for their overarching concerns about ancestors and because collaboration might have enriched the study—through the addition of tribal knowledge about kinship systems, for example, or through comparative DNA samples from any modern tribes interested in providing them.  Source: Indigenous Remains Do Not Belong to Science – Scientific American

When will all the Pilgrim graves be ripe for the picking – when will scientists start to dig them up and put their bones on display? Will we have weekend digs of their graves too? Just askin’ for a friend…

*** American Indian Art Conspiracy

Jewelry dealer Nael Ali will be the first defendant sentenced in the most extensive federal investigation into Indian arts and crafts fraud.
BIG READ and map: History’s Biggest Fake American Indian Art Conspiracy Revealed (I am truly shocked at the scope)

 

*** We’ll take it! The US government should cede territory back to Native Americans

NO JOKE! Historically, immigrants were given special rights to take Native land. If Trump says we are no longer a nation of immigrants, that has consequences… (poor guy never thought about this!)  The young American republic preserved this European doctrine. The US supreme court formalized the Doctrine of Discovery in three famous cases of 1823, 1831 and 1832. Chief Justice John Marshall took for granted the obvious fact that America was the homeland of the Native Americans, “the rightful occupants of the soil”. By the logic of “discovery”, Native Americans had no rights because America was their homeland: “Their power to dispose of the soil at their own will to whomsoever they pleased was denied by the original fundamental principle that discovery gave exclusive title to those who made it.”   (and don’t forget those Papal Bulls!)

BIG READ: The US government should cede territory back to Native Americans | Timothy Snyder | Opinion | The Guardian

***Collecting Stories (or just plain theft)

(It should be: The theft of Art from numerous Tribes now on display and we interpret it for you!)  Opening April 2018, the first exhibition, “Collecting Stories: Native American Art,” explores the range of perspectives, motives, and voices involved in building the early holdings of Native American art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, including those of indigenous artists and communities. (big fancy words). See EXHIBIT

By LT (not feeling well)

I have been reading Injuns, Native Americans in The Movies, trying to figure out when most of us in North America were duped into believing that Indigenous First Nations, my people, my relatives were ignorant savages.  MOVIES (and dime novels) were the perfect method to create a tidy version of America’s history that wasn’t factual. When exactly did Injuns become less than human and their entire tribal communities expendable? And remember it wasn’t murder. No. It was Massacre. (AH, take a deep breathe, a sigh of relief, all those Injuns are dead.) Was that a safe way to make the Pilgrim colonists feel less guilty and not portray them as serial killers?

As I was taking notes, I wrote:

How hard would YOU fight if this land was invaded in 2018?  Would YOU fight to the death to protect your family and your nation?

Would you run or would you fight and risk death?

When this was all over, now all of us conquered, Empire writes about it, not you. Empire makes movies showing us as dumb ass people who couldn’t figure out how to fight back and win.  Ah yes, some noble people tried diplomacy but the majority died in battle.

You see, we are ALL Indians.  Depending on the Empire that invades us, everyone left alive will be forced to join their religion – whether you like it or not. That’s the missionary’s part of the plan. (though I’m sure murder isn’t condoned in this religion) (and of course, the Empire imposes new taxes and tithes…) Your old religion is  illegal, too, so don’t even balk!

In order to build the new Empire, some of us become worker slaves. And if we don’t work fast enough or efficiently enough, well that’s simply not acceptable. There is punishment for that. Rebellion? Hell no, we get declared terrorists and off to prison we go… Or maybe this happens again: Ida B. Wells and the Lynching of Black Women

How should we react? Invaded, hunted, displaced, colonized? Yes, we are all Indians when this happens.

I did get some bad news on my health on May 2. It’s an aggressive cancer. That means I won’t be blogging for awhile. Keep good thoughts for me. My email: laratrace@outlook.com. Be back as soon as I can.

Surgery is May 14 at noon in Springfield, MA. Send prayers.

XOX

 

 

 

Museums Art on Slavery | Transformation Mask | Ahasteen Comics 2018 | All White All Male History and more

 

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EXCERPT:

Removing a person’s name was a means of erasing their identity and imposing a “social death” that transformed enslaved persons into property rather than living individuals. Both historians and museum professionals have begun to realize the need for revising the way we frame and label the past, and to support this movement within museums.

…White people in every part of early America directly or indirectly benefitted from the “peculiar institution” of slavery. It created wealth for white families and oppressed the African-Americans forced to perform labor in service to them. This labor allowed wealthy men and women the luxury of free time and money to get their portraits painted at a hefty price by a well-known artist. As Athens notes, museums have the power to engage with an underscore this part of American history: “I think museums can play a part in social justice movements through honest, clear-eyed reassessments of the stories they tell, what those stories privilege, and what they obscure.” Restoring people of color to American museums isn’t just about editing collections or artwork on display, it must also address the labels we have attached to them for hundreds of years.

READ: Can Art Museums Help Illuminate Early American Connections To Slavery?

What took so long??? Massachusetts museums, thank you!

****

 

 

 

“Transformation Mask” does not simulate a specific Indigenous ceremony, but its digital transformation of the gallery is meant to emulate the experience of dancing and wearing a transformation mask. “The mask is about bridging, and my intent really was to bring the non-Indigenous viewer into that cultural world,” Hunt told Hyperallergic.  “When you go look at our masks you are generally going to a gallery or museum, and in that context the masks are not masks but rather sculptures, not something you can wear or interact with.”

The Audain Museum calls “Transformation Mask” a “hybrid between the physicality of a transformation mask and the ephemeral experience of being part of the transformation.” But the installation, and transformation masks in general, might better be understood as an interface. “They are an interface with the unseen, whether it be the spirit world or the internet,” Hunt said. Through his creation, the viewer briefly inhabits another experience, another world and culture.

READ: An Indigenous Artist’s Futuristic Vision of Traditional Transformation Masks

 

BRILLIANT Navajo Times editorial cartoonist Jack Ahasteen’s latest comic.  Source: Ahasteen Comics 2018 – Navajo Times

Yet, the recent all white male history conference held at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University seems to suggest a return to history’s dark age as a gentlemen’s protection society. Happily, the strong and growing presence of and disciplinary focus on women in history as well as the sharp criticism and condemnation (and rightly so) of the exclusive conference make clear that a return to great white men history and historians is a fantasy. Even so, the holding of this conference and others of its kind reflect the ongoing challenges women historians and women history face. The CCWH strongly condemns the choice of holding an all-white, all-male conference at Stanford University, and expresses concern regarding its implications for the historical profession and for its treatment of women in history.

READ: On Stanford’s All White Male History Conference – AAIHS  Why am I not surprised by this??? (shaking my head)

***

Thanks to Pete for this shock:  Report on United States human rights abuses in 2017

***

Ruth Hopkins: “Native Tribes Could Lose Federal Recognition of Tribal Sovereignty Under Trump”

From Teen Vogue, here.

***

When the news about the protest at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation against the Dakota Access Pipeline burst into the spotlight in 2016, Tristan Ahtone welcomed the chance for greater coverage of Native American issues.

GOOD READ: Nieman Fellow battles media stereotypes of Native Americans – Harvard Gazette

 

By LT (your intrepid reporter)

Hello Everyone! I think we will have spring here in western Massachusetts eventually. Not soon but someday.  The MA state government is now addressing our urgent need to address climate change. Good thinking! Last month, a Massachusetts judge found 13 activists who were arrested for sitting in holes dug for a pipeline to block construction “not responsible by reason of necessity” because the action was taken to avoid serious climate damage. See the “Valve Turners” video here.  (States step up better than the feds.)

I saved up some good reads that I hope you enjoy.

As much as I want to believe we are making progress on rewriting history with a more balanced view on the invasion and conquest of North American, I am reminded (by the story above) that the history industry is still a white male occupation, mostly. If you really think about this, this is really human rights abuse with creating a one-sided less-dreadful history for schoolkids. Museums in Massachusetts and other cities are finally waking up.

We have a long way to go but a new journey has begun.

Good news:  My brilliant colleague Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) has joined the Indian Country Today newspaper as editor and they are up and running and publishing again! Thanks to the National Congress of American Indians who bought the national Native newspaper from the Oneidas in New York. Here’s a great OP-ED by Associate Editor Vincent Schilling (Mohawk) on rewriting history.

I contributed an OP-ED to Indian Country Today on the Baby Veronica case a few years ago. Mainstream media wasn’t interested in publishing me or my views, despite the fact I’d studied adoption history, the Indian Adoption Projects (and this case) and published relevant anthologies (more than one!).

Expect great things from Mark and Vince on their new publication! Go take a read!

Thanks to everyone for reading this long post! XOX

 

 

Remembering James Luna, Who Gave His Voice and His Body to Native American Art

 

Luna’s unexpected passing at the age of 68 interrupted a steady flow of thoughtful and provocative performance art.

READ: Remembering James Luna, Who Gave His Voice and His Body to Native American Art

I had posted about James prior on this blog. He was articulate and funny and a real warrior in his art. I only met him once.

“James Luna is one of the most important contemporary Native artists of our day,” said Patsy Phillips, director of IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, in a statement to Hyperallergic. “His art and contributions to the art world will live on in institutions and publications, but more importantly he will live on in perpetuity in people’s minds and hearts.”

Don’t Name them | 60s Scoop Victims Sought | Nukes Illegal | Indigenous scholar Val Napoleon | Rising Sea Levels & Changes to our Planet

“Don’t name them” – Criminologist asks journalists to help stop mass shootings

…In our research, Eric Madfis and I have identified three major consequences of the media coverage. One, it creates a kind of competition for mass shooters to maximize the number of victims they kill.   The second is that it’s rewarding these offenders with fame and attention, which is often what they want – it serves to give them a legacy.  Even if they die, they may be remembered, according to their distorted views, as someone who mattered, as a somebody rather than a nobody. […]

READ: MASS SHOOTINGS: “Don’t name them” – Criminologist asks journalists to help stop mass shootings – Journalist’s Resource

***

Montreal Sixties Scoop victims from 1951 to 1991 can seek assistance from National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network regarding $$ settlement

READ: Victims Sought: Canada Awards $635 Million to Stolen ‘Sixties Scoop’ Native Children – Indian Country Media Network

***

As a project for Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Prof. Val Napoleon created the Indigenous Law Research Unit – her proudest work to date. It allows Indigenous communities to articulate and restate their law and legal processes – a model that has been taken up across Canada and beyond.

In her painting, Val Napoleon depicts Indigenous mythology’s Trickster Raven, a benevolent transformer or a careless glutton who is always male, as a ‘old women Tricksters who are really kick ass.’

The 20th anniversary of the Delgamuukw decision arrived in December, and Prof. Napoleon looks back on those two decades and sees a country that is still working its way toward reconciliation with its Indigenous peoples.

READ: Indigenous scholar Val Napoleon embraces disruption – The Globe and Mail

***

Good News: Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal

I can’t fix zombies, but I’m writing with GOOD NEWS about nuclear weapons. 2017’s escalating nuclear threats have returned the chronic, outrageous danger to the public’s attention, where it belongs. Reasonable people are scared – and angry. But there have been underreported events in 2017 that require both celebration and action.

1.) The historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was agreed at the United Nations on 7/7/17, by a margin of 122-1, making nuclear weapons ILLEGAL across the globe. The United States and the other eight nuclear-armed countries (who all boycotted the Treaty negotiations) will soon find it difficult to manufacture, finance, and maintain their outlawed arsenals without the cooperation of the rest of the world. This will happen whether they sign the treaty or not.

2.) The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, a coalition of 468 organizations in 101 countries, facilitated the Treaty – and their efforts were recognized with the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.

3.) Here in the Valley, ICAN activists at NuclearBan.US and TheResistanceCenter.org are helping US citizens, organizations, cities, and states become compliant with the Treaty, putting pressure on manufacturers, complicit financial institutions, and governments to comply with international law.

The nuclear weapons states may continue to feed us a steady diet of fear, hopelessness, and illogical rationales for the continuing existence of these unthinkable (but profitable) weapons of mass destruction. But the world is rising up, and the age of nuclear weapons will come to an end soon, hopefully before it’s too late.

—Vicki Elson, email SOURCE

***

A new study suggests that thousands of archaeological sites in the southeastern United States will be underwater by the end of the century.

CHECK OUT: Rising Sea Levels Threaten Over 13,000 Archaeological Sites in the US  *** 

2011 Quake moved Japan coast 8 feet, shifted Earth’s axis

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/12/japan.earthquake.tsunami.earth/*** 

By LT (who has a compass on her desk)

Well, it’s been an interesting month so far.  We nearly froze to death with sub zero temps across New England.  It reminded me of waiting for the school bus in northern Wisconsin when I was a kid – at minus 20 degrees.  No one likes it that cold.  Not even kids.

ICE JAMS? The ice jams are big news in New England. Weeks of bitter cold, then warm, then rain, then back to cold, the shift in temps froze the rivers – now we have huge ice jams and many bridges are in danger. Floods will happen.  Dogs and people died from exposure, froze solid? Sharks, too?  Another Shark Freezes To Death Off Massachusetts: Report … (top photo of New England snows)

I have not stopped thinking about this under-reported story:  Mass of Warm Rock Rising Beneath New England, Rutgers Study Suggests (we have our very own risk of an eruption)

So New England’s earth is moving and shifting on plates, even if we don’t feel the earth shift or fully realize the geology or geography. (We had a few very minor earthquakes since I moved here in 2004.)  In fact, major earthquakes — reaching magnitudes as high as 6.5 — have inflicted widespread damage in the New England before.  READ: Major quake expected in N.E. once every 1,000 years

It got me thinking of when my parents Sev and Edie bought land on Crystal Lake in Wascott, Wisconsin in the late 70s.  The land had been scorched from a forest fire and Sev had to plant numerous trees along the borders of their new lake house.  Edie drew up plans with her brother Frank, an architect-builder in Aurora, Illinois.

When the house was nearly finished, I’d moved back from my musician stint in New York City in 1980. I had a downstairs bedroom and big window where I could see their friend Bob’s house and beyond that, a back bay where there was a public boat launch, a local bar and not much else. There were many other cabins and second homes on this lake but my parents had a corner lot and where their house was, you could only see north and the beach/swamp across or look east at the lakeshore.  Walt and Jeannie had a house near Bob’s but we could not see it, and it was a few doors away from the Crystal Lake Campground, which is still there!

2005 image

When I moved back to stay with Edie in 1996, the lake and land had shifted. From that same window I could see across the lake and the last house on the west side of the lake was now visible – at night, I could see their large outdoor light. Puzzled, I talked with Bob about this and he had noticed how his house was no longer visible from our house. I could see the front of his house and deck plainly in the 1980s, and now it was not visible.

The reason I am bring this up? This is how impermanent land can be – and what is under our feet can move and does shift.

And it also reminds me how our Native ancestors (pre-colonization) moved around, farmed and fished and hunted in one area but wintered somewhere else.   The early inhabitants on North American soil had territories, of course, but didn’t own the land. They camped and moved as necessary for their survival.  That necessity could happen again – to everyone.

The Inuit say the earth has shifted Elders wrote to the National Space and Aeronautics Administration (NASA) to tell them that the earth’s axis has shifted:  the sun no longer rises where it used to rise. They inhabit the far northern reaches of the Canadian Arctic and have done so for centuries. The area they inhabit is almost continually frozen under a layer of permafrost. For months at a time, their days begin and end in darkness. A nomadic people, they built tents or teepees of caribou skin in warmer months, and lived in igloos in the winter. 

There is talk of a coming Ice Age. (This has nothing to due with human impact on climate change, more so the activity of the sun and how solar cycles impact our climate as well.)

Read more about our changing continent HERE.

Bundle up – see you next month!   XOX   LT

Check this out for fun- this Gwendolyn Brooks “we real cool” animated video

***

Between 1670 and 1715, more Indians were exported into slavery through Charles Town than Africans were imported.

Counting can be difficult, because many instances of Native enslavement in the Colonial period were illegal or ad hoc and left no paper trail. But historians have tried. A few of their estimates: Thousands of Indians were enslaved in Colonial New England, according to Margaret Ellen Newell. Alan Gallay writes that between 1670 and 1715, more Indians were exported into slavery through Charles Town (now Charleston, South Carolina) than Africans were imported. Brett Rushforth recently attempted a tally of the total numbers of enslaved, and he told me that he thinks 2 million to 4 million indigenous people in the Americas, North and South, may have been enslaved over the centuries that the practice prevailed—a much larger number than had previously been thought. “It’s not on the level of the African slave trade,” which brought 10 million people to the Americas, but the earliest history of the European colonies in the Americas is marked by Native bondage. “If you go up to about 1680 or 1690 there still, by that period, had been more enslaved Indians than enslaved Africans in the Americas.”

What history book has covered this? On a grand scale too (this was posted on Slate in January 2016) More people need to read up on this topic… HERE

Turtle Talk

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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.”

***

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