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 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*** 

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

By Lara Trace

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

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

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

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

The Reformer Charles Eastman

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

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

More at Wikipedia

I’m reading

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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


I’ll be starting a new website: The Big Isms (facing racism and sexism) in January 2018 (an offshoot of THE MIX) :

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


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


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

Lisa Brooks flips the script!

Revisiting King Philip’s War

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unceded Voices | Indigenous scientists | #MeToo Stories and more


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


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

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

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

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

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

I was wrong.

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

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

Who did you tell?

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

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

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

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

#MeToo in Middle America

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

I’m also reading

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

Forgotten Minority | #NoDAPL | The Ungers | Chilling

CNN: “The forgotten minority in police shootings”


An excerpt:

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

and this:

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

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

***** #NoDAPL: READ: Leaked documents and public records reveal a troubling fusion of private security, public law enforcement, and corporate money in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline. (top photo of water protector)***************Reading about THE UNGERS

*** AH, I’m not happy

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


Jared Kushner Sued for Allegedly Overcharging Tenants (Again)

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


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

Vermont’s Uncomfortable Eugenics History

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

Dormancy Concept Trailer from Luke Becker-Lowe on Vimeo.

Link to the GoFundMe site for this production.

via Filmmakers Explore Vermont’s Uncomfortable Eugenics History

My earlier post on this


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

*** November is National Adoption Awareness Month #NAAM

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

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

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

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

Over at American Indian Adoptees, I’m post lots of adoption news as it relates to American Indian Adoptees. Visit:  

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

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

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

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

From my friend Amanda:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BLOG BONUS | How Ghost Tours Often Exploit African-American History | Three Brave Men

Historian Tiya Miles’ new book “Tales from the Haunted South” takes a hard look at Southern ghost tours.

University of Michigan professor and MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Tiya Miles joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to talk about “Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era.”

MUST READ and listen: How Ghost Tours Often Exploit African-American History | Here & Now



From the Archives: Loudoun, Slavery and Three Brave Men
Lee Lawrence, Oct. 26, 2017, Loudoun Now 

Harry was in a terrible situation: it was 1828 and Harry was an enslaved man in Loudoun County, rented by his owner to Samuel Cox. Because Harry was chattel (personal property), he had no recognized surname, as was common among slaves in Loudoun before 1860. On learning that his owner, a “Miss Allison” of Stafford County, was planning to sell him to slave traders who would take him further south, Harry decided to escape.

He approached a freedman named Alex McPherson and asked to borrow his “freedom paper,” a document carried by all free blacks verifying the person’s freed status. McPherson, at great risk to his own safety and liberty, agreed to lend Harry his paper, but insisted it be returned to him as soon as possible. Harry would carry the paper north. If he was stopped and questioned along the way, he would show the paper and claim to be a freedman.

Before leaving Loudoun, Harry needed to learn the best route north. Once safely in a free state, he would need a job and place to live. For this help, Harry turned to some Loudoun County Quakers, many of whom were abolitionists. It was common knowledge where the Quaker communities were located, including Waterford, Hillsboro, Goose Creek (now called Lincoln) and other villages.  continue…

Unpleasant Hostile Design? | Homelessness Growing | Celebrity and The House That Pinterest Built

Unpleasant designs take many shapes, but they share a common goal of exerting some kind of social control in public or in publicly-accessible private spaces. They are intended to target, frustrate and deter people, particularly those who fall within unwanted demographics. READ

Anti-sleeping spikes in storefront window by Kent Williams (CC BY 2.0)


Unpleasantly designed book with sandpaper dust jacket by Unpleasant Design… The idea of “unpleasant” design is at the intersections of design and (literally) structural oppression. Urban areas have been attempting to change human behavior for hundreds of years, and in the modern day resort to all sorts of exclusionary designs. This book is a short chronicle of these “features,” as well as a brief documentation of counter-movements (think “The Yes Men”).
Meanwhile, some guerrilla efforts have been made to fight back against unpleasant designs. Artist Sarah Ross, for instance, created a set of “archisuits” designed to work in and around specific deterrents. In one such suit, pads with gaps let the wearer sleep on segmented benches.
Whether you think a certain form of design is exclusionary but serves a greater good, or believe it is just hostile and offensive, it is important to be aware of the decisions that are being made for you. Designs that are unpleasant to some are put into place to make things more pleasant for others, and that latter category might just include you.
Archisuits for bench sleeping by Sarah Ross

We posted here earlier on racist  Hostile Architecture

With the rise of destructive hurricanes and fires, we’ll be seeing more and more homeless people, through no fault of their own.  And the scourge of homelessness is beginning to gain attention across the USA after seeing how Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico’s housing.

Homeless People have been noticing hostility for a long time, and until we start seeing what is really happening, we cannot change it… L/T

99% Invisible posts

The main thing to take into account for these designers is how people move — or perhaps, more accurately, stampede — in response to threats. Researchers draw from studies of how people move, observations of real-life tragedies, and computer modeling in order to determine how people behave in crowds: how they get stuck, trampled, or endanger others in their attempts to escape.

Now if you are really wealthy, you can build whatever you like. Like Diane Keaton’s home in LA, CA.
The House that Pinterest Built defines what home and house mean to the celebrated movie star, who is known for her love affair with houses and design. Filled with ideas that reveal a personal yet engaging aesthetic, this volume includes compelling photos from Keaton’s past homes and those she admires, as well as a multitude of details from every corner of those spaces and objects that excite and inspire the house designer and dreamer—dramatic staircases and magical light fixtures, film stills and book covers, pottery and art—drawn from the visual treasure trove known as Pinterest and Keaton’s private collection, as she creates and designs her newest house.
And for $65, you can own her book, which I find INSANE. (She doesn’t have any reviews on Amazon which probably means no one has bought it yet.)
Book Review

“In “The House That Pinterest Built” (Rizzoli, $65, 272 pp.) Diane Keaton provides a privileged peek into her 8,000-square-foot industrial-chic dream home. It’s a sprawling brick structure in west Los Angeles’s Sullivan Canyon boasting the kind of rough-hewed, reclaimed features that proliferate on Pinterest, and Ms. Keaton’s book takes cues from her preferred inspiration engine. Photos of pools, staircases, ladders and chairs that the actress and author pulled from the site and from her own archives ultimately provided blueprints for her home, offering a unique, crowdsourced twist to the closed-door world of celebrity living. ‘Once upon a time, scrap bookers, collage artists, image-driven addicts and appropriators like me were lonely hunters,’ Ms. Keaton wrote in the book’s introduction. ‘Now dare I say billions of people discover, seize and enlarge their reference pool with the variety of beauty allocated from others.’ ”
The New York Times

We could easily fit 6 small families into 8,000 square feet! What is wrong with this picture?

And for $62 you can own this book:
I have no gripe on Ms. Keaton or her books. I don’t put much social value on Hollywood anyway. But for me, I have been on the most poverty-stricken reservations in the USA, and to see how we mistreat Indigenous people, like in Puerto Rico and Pine Ridge, SD, it’s an atrocity in full color. There is no excuse for homelessness and poverty and neglect in 2017.  There really is no excuse. L/T

***WHAT?? Slavery in 2017 –> Sky TV’s Adele Robinson followed a non-profit group as they executed a predawn rescue of a Polish family that had been enslaved by human traffickers in the Midlands, UK. 

Blog Bonus| Red Nation Film Festival 2017 – Native American Films

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14th Red Nation Film Festival The Authentic Voice of American Indian & Indigenous Cinema Los Angeles. Nov. 8-19

GET TICKETS: Red Nation Film Festival – Native American Films


Ireland’s ‘house of tears’ | Origins Canada | 60s Scoop | One Small Sacrifice | and my thanks

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(excerpt) Some of the children – the cute ones, says Ms. Corless – were adopted at a price in North America, often without their mothers’ consent. John P. Rodgers, a survivor of St. Mary’s and an author who wrote a memoir about his experience, For the Love of My Mother, now being developed as a Hollywood film script, believes that the available photographs of the home were part of a marketing ploy. “These beautiful photographs of nuns in religious garb taking care of the children with chubby cheeks, white ankle socks and shoes, neat dress, it’s a real film shot. I realized that was a staged photograph,” he says in an interview.

The nuns would send letters to families describing little girls and boys they had available. “One report of an Irish health department in 2012 suggested that perhaps 1,000 children were trafficked from the Tuam institution alone,” Prof. Smith says.

Will there be a TRUTH COMMISSION in IRELAND too?

A harrowing discovery in Ireland casts light on the Catholic Church’s history of abusing unwed mothers and their babies – and emboldened survivors to demand accountability…

But the reality was horrific. They were homes of abuse and neglect; places of forced confinement for the mothers and where babies were allowed to die – murdered, in effect. Kevin Higgins, a lawyer familiar with the issue, says the deaths were “at least manslaughter.” One Irish newspaper has called the scandal “our little Holocaust.”

The reason for the homes was simple and rarely questioned at the time. The mothers were unwed; their children often called “devil’s spawn.” Set up by the government and run by Catholic religious orders, the mother and baby homes were part of a system to deal with the perceived shame of “illegitimate” children and the women who bore them.  …The rest, 796 infants and toddlers, she believed, were in a mass grave in an area of low-cost housing, built on the former grounds of St. Mary’s by Galway County Council.

READ: Ireland’s ‘house of tears’: Why Tuam’s survivors want justice for lost and abused children – The Globe and Mail

*** Has this scandal gone Global?

Many Canadians are unaware that in the immediate postwar decades, federal and provincial governments funded “Homes for Unwed Mothers” in every Canadian province. Over 300,000 unmarried mothers were systematically separated from their babies during this period.  Mothers report verbal, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse in these homes, and the Canadian government has so far done nothing to acknowledge these wrongs.  Origins Canada advocates for a Committee to Investigate such as the one held in Australia to uncover the illegal, unethical and human rights abuses in adoption policies and practices in both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous contexts. This type of inquiry may serve to validate the lifelong psychological and intergenerational damage to families by draconian adoption policies and practices, and to provide mental health and healing services to those denied them so many years ago.  – Valerie Andrews, Executive Director Origins Canada: Supporting Those Separated by Adoption

******** DECLINING International Adoptions

Americans adopted around 5,370 children from other countries in fiscal year 2016. For the first time, males outnumbered females among adoptees from abroad.

Source: International adoptions to U.S. declined in 2016 | Pew Research Center






The $800-million proposed agreement with Sixties Scoop survivors that was announced by the Canadian government isn’t the first aiming to compensate Indigenous people for historical wrongs. (Top photo)

READ: Sixties Scoop settlement the latest involving Canadian Indigenous people – Canada – CBC News


And I thought I’d share some of my own experience being an adoptee.

2nd Edition on Kindle and Amazon

Stop a moment.  Who are you?

Stop and think about…  Have you ever considered that an adoptee doesn’t know who they are …?

Placed as a baby, decisions were made for me and my life in a Wisconsin courtroom in 1957. At age 22, in 1978, I went back to that courtroom and found a judge who luckily remembered my adoption and I asked for his help.

Many still do not appreciate or know how difficult it is to find out (WHO YOU ARE) after a sealed closed adoption. Those who don’t experience being adopted have little comparison, comprehension or compassion for its complexities, or what life is like in legal limbo.

I’m a Split Feather, a Lost Bird, an adoptee with Native American ancestry. I know this because I opened my adoption. I wanted to know my name, and why my parents gave me up, or had they abandoned me.

I wanted the truth, good, bad, both. I wanted what you what – ancestors, names, places.

Truly it was like being trapped in two worlds… (After my memoir came we did Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects) – now living with two sets of parents and two last names; life gets fuzzy between truth and fiction.  As a young adult adoptee, it was pure nonsense having to accept “this was done in your best interest.”  Clearly that wasn’t enough information to build a life on.  I needed more.  I needed my own medical information, I told the kind judge.

To get to the truth was all uphill. Years of uphill. Laws made it illegal for me to look or know my own name.  (How strange and confusing all this was.)

The tragedy was I felt like a lost-and-found item in a department store. Unclaimed, some strangers came in, spotted me and said “I’ll take that one.” As their child, I became invisible, unidentifiable, and perfectly suited to blend in with all the other Americans.  (But I didn’t ask for this.)

The agency Catholic Charities handled me (the newborn) and sealed my fate.  My identity and my mother’s identity would remain a secret, papal leaders decreed. (It’s still happening –  records are legally changed and locked up!)

It would take years before I could rightfully claim my identity and know what happened that I happened.

Because adoption records were locked by Wisconsin law, my decision to know who I am involved risk.  Not only would this test my courage, it could get me locked up.

It also meant I’d face the fear of my birthmother rejecting me a second time.

My memoir One Small Sacrifice tells the entire story of how I went from one of the Stolen Generations to now, today… (I was using my adoptee name when I wrote it in 2004. I legally changed my name in 2015 to Trace Lara Hentz. More INFO)

As for any settlement, the USA has not issued an apology or any settlement for the Indian Adoption Projects or ARENA (a program that moved children from Canada to the US and vice versa.) I helped to write and publish a book series so one day, some day, we will have this history to use in the courts.

************************************** AND ONE MORE THING

a little cyber ghost treat that looks good!

I really want you to know that your blogs are so good, my words are insufficient.  I often read HOURS because of you all on wordpress. We are our own community of souls putting good thoughts and ideas out there into the blogosphere. Your photography, your poetry, your reviews, your art, your writing, your books, your experiences fill me up (usually on Mondays!) I cannot thank you enough — all of you. XOX Lara/Trace

First Nations Leaders Mourn Passing of Tragically Hip Frontman Gord Downie | RED POWER MEDIA

“I honour the life and work of Gord Downie, a dedicated and accomplished artist who used his profile to advance reconciliation and build support for First Nations peoples,” Bellegarde said Wednesday in a statement.

READ: First Nations Leaders Mourn Passing of Tragically Hip Frontman Gord Downie | RED POWER MEDIA


If there is a heaven, Gord is already there.

Our earlier post: HERE

History’s Losers Write the Story | Mormon’s Complicated History | Plant Walks | Divest | Culture Camp | Luna


Like other religious groups, Mormons have a complicated history around race. Until a few decades ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught that they “shall be a white and a delightsome people,” a phrase taken from the Book of Mormon. Until the 1970s, the LDS Church also restricted black members’ participation in important rituals, and prohibited black men from becoming priests.

BIG READ: The History of Racism and White Supremacy in the Mormon Church – The Atlantic


To prevent their collective cultural knowledge about medicinal plants from disappearing, some Vermont tribal nations are sharing their expertise with those outside the native communities.

LISTEN: To Keep Native Medicinal Knowledge Alive, Leaders Organize Plant Walks | Vermont Public Radio


Corporations and banks will not move on from the fossil fuel era because of our compelling moral and ecological arguments about why they should. So we are learning to speak their language. Money talks…

Source: Kill the Funding, Kill the Pipeline, Divest the Globe by Matt Remle | LRInspire


Performance artist James Luna, a member of California’s Luiseño tribe, likes to blur the boundaries of his Native American culture. On Columbus Day in 2011, he stood in front of Washington, D.C.’s Union Station and invited passersby to take his picture. He spoke with the magazine’s Jess Righthand.

So how did it work?
Standing at a podium wearing an outfit, I announce: “Take a picture with a real Indian. Take a picture here, in Washington, D.C. on this beautiful Monday morning, on this holiday called Columbus Day. America loves to say ‘her Indians.’ America loves to see us dance for them. America likes our arts and crafts. America likes to name cars and trucks after our tribes. Take a picture with a real Indian. Take a picture here today, on this sunny day here in Washington, D.C.” And then I just stand there. Eventually, one person will pose with me. After that they just start lining up. I’ll do that for a while until I get mad enough or humiliated enough.

It’s dual humiliation.

READ: Q and A: James Luna | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

A Retrospective of Edgar Heap of Birds Rises High

With public art pieces, biting political, text-based work, and more intimate abstract paintings, this small exhibition illuminates Heap of Birds’s expansive career.

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According to Bill Anthes’s book, Edgar Heap of Birds, the artist began his “Native Hosts” series back in 1988. Like the new commission displayed outside Bockley Gallery, the “Native Hosts” contain the “settler” name of a place written backwards, with the Native Host spelled forward, welcoming the viewer. Like many place names around the country, Minnesota is a derivation of a Native American word (“Mní sóta” means clear blue water in Dakota), but its appropriation by a state responsible for many atrocities against Native people warrants Heap of Birds’s critical treatment.  Cloud Man Village, meanwhile, was a short-lived community led by Dakota chief Cloud Man, on the banks of the Bde Maka Ska lakeThe Bockley Gallery currently has on view a mini-retrospective of the work of Edgar Heap of Birds (whose Cheyenne name is Hock E Aye VI), which contains examples of different bodies of work the Cheyenne/Arapaho artist has created over his extensive career.

Heap of Birds’s showing at Bockley offers a small taste of the immense body of work this artist has created over a number of decades, and the only improvement I can suggest is that he deserves much more recognition. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the “Scaffold” and Jimmie Durham controversies, it’s that there’s a need for more attention to be paid to Native artists working in contemporary practices.

Edgar Heap of Birds runs through October 21 at Bockley Gallery (2123 West 21st Street, Minneapolis).

READ MORE: A Retrospective of Edgar Heap of Birds Rises High