In 1922, the Newberry Library acquired this collection of 160 drawings, attributed to “Sioux Indians” living in Fort Yates, which serves as headquarters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The three boxes of art were sold by one Aaron McGaffey Beede, an Episcopal missionary who had provided paper and art supplies to the residents he had come to know, and paid them small sums to purchase the resulting works. This strange exchange arose from a dire situation: in the winter of 1913-14, the Lakota faced starvation from failed crops and a mysterious disappearance of cattle. These drawings, for them, carried exceptional value linked to survival; today, they represent significant records of indigenous self-representation as well as cross-cultural exchange.The entire collection is now available to examine online as part of the Newberry’s new open access policy that has so far made over 1.7 digital images available for unrestricted and free use. The drawings, specifically, are part of the Edward E. Ayer Collection, which comprises artworks, books, and other materials related to American Indian history and culture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Something interesting in going on in Canada’s parks in 02018:
Mohawk curator and scholar Lee-Ann Martin has participated in all of these modes of support in the past. But this summer, she is taking a very different approach—namely, putting the art of 50 Indigenous women artists on 167 billboards from coast to coast to coast.
Coast to coast to coast… 01 June 2018 – 01 August 2018… Interactive map and full website launch on 01 May 2018
How do you make the work of First Nations, Inuit and Métis women artists in Canada more visible? Some people write research papers. Some people build collections. Some people advocate for funding. Mohawk curator and scholar Lee-Ann Martin has participated in all of these modes of support in the past. But this summer, she is taking a very different approach—namely, putting the art of 50 Indigenous women artists on 167 billboards from coast to coast to coast.
“Having Indigenous women’s art writ large in public…along the country’s roadways and in urban centres” is vital, says Martin. “I really see the project as synonymous with Indigenous women’s work as defenders of the land,” she notes, with “the other, more practical intent [being] for people to realize the breadth, depth and diversity of Indigenous women’s art and how important it is today.”
A Complete List of the 50 Artists in “Resilience” : KC Adams, Kenojuak Ashevak, Shuvinai Ashoona, Rebecca Gloria-Jean Baird, Mary Anne Barkhouse, Christi Belcourt, Rebecca Belmore, Jaime Black, Lori Blondeau, Heather Campbell, Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Lianne Marie, Leda Charlie, Hannah Claus, Dana Claxton, Ruth Cuthand, Dayna Danger, Patricia Deadman, Bonnie Devine, Rosalie Favell, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Lita Fontaine, Melissa General, Tanya Harnett, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Bev Koski, Nadya Kwandibens, Mary Longman, Amy Malbeuf, Teresa Marshall, Meryl McMaster, Caroline Monnet, Lisa Myers, Nadia Myre, Jade Nasogaluak Carpenter, Marianne Nicolson, Shelley Niro, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Nigit’stil Norbert, Daphne Odjig, Jane Ash Poitras, Annie Pootoogook, Sherry Farrell Racette, Sonia Robertson, Pitaloosie Saila, Jessie Short, Skawennati, Jackie Traverse, Jennie Williams, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Gid7ahl-Gudsllaay Lalaxaaygans
Writing in all its forms is a scary act; it makes us vulnerable and exposes our softest parts to a world not known for its gentleness. But there’s magnificent power in that vulnerability, and it’s deserving of acknowledgment. And I’m filled with such deep joy each time another powerful voice joins the Indigenous literary world. I hope you’ll think of these words as an honoring and a hope for the important work you’re about to undertake.
In both Canada and the US the mainstream literary scene tends to hold up one or two Indigenous writers at a time, while leaving the rest to fend for themselves. It’s important to help one another, to uphold one another’s work, to celebrate successes and grieve losses, to engage in this beautiful struggle together.
I’m sure you have had enough of the political news (no joke) so I humbly attempt to bring you something new and different like the stunning billboards above. Of course there is lots going on, including more and more conspiracy theorists online, end days scares, A.I. has won (crapola), and what is up with all the mermaid stuff (dear god no no no). OK, some days I don’t even want to sit at a computer.
I do follow many many many blogs but I do want you to read Asshole Watching Movies and their latest coverage of SXSW: Isle of Dogs.
And just as the fighting was privatised, so too was the propaganda. In 2016, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that the Pentagon had paid around half a billion dollars to the British PR firm Bell Pottinger to deliver propaganda during the Iraq war. Bell Pottinger, famous for shaping Thatcher’s image, included among its clients Asma Al Assad, wife of the Syrian president. Part of their work was making fake Al Qaeda propaganda films. (The firm was forced to close last year because they made the mistake of deploying their tactics against white people). (No Joke!)
The Long Now Foundation was established in 01996* to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common.
The Clock and Library Projects
Below is an essay by a founding board member Stewart Brand on the need for, and the mechanism by which, The Long Now Foundation is attempting to encourage long-term thinking:
Civilization is revving itself into a pathologically short attention span. The trend might be coming from the acceleration of technology, the short-horizon perspective of market-driven economics, the next-election perspective of democracies, or the distractions of personal multi-tasking. All are on the increase. Some sort of balancing corrective to the short-sightedness is needed – some mechanism or myth which encourages the long view and the taking of long-term responsibility, where ‘long-term’ is measured at least in centuries. Long Now proposes both a mechanism and a myth.
It began with an observation and idea by visionary computer scientist W. Daniel Hillis : “When I was a child, people used to talk about what would happen by the year 02000. For the next thirty years they kept talking about what would happen by the year 02000, and now no one mentions a future date at all. The future has been shrinking by one year per year for my entire life. I think it is time for us to start a long-term project that gets people thinking past the mental barrier of an ever-shortening future. I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium.”
Such a clock, if sufficiently impressive and well-engineered, would embody deep time for people. It should be charismatic to visit, interesting to think about, and famous enough to become iconic in the public discourse. Ideally, it would do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment. Such icons reframe the way people think.
Hillis, who developed the “massive parallel” architecture of the current generation of supercomputers, devised the mechanical design of the Clock and is now building the monument scale version of the Clock in the Sierra Diablo range of West Texas near the town of Van Horn. The first Clock prototype is currently on display at the London Science Museum and others are at the headquarters of Long Now in San Francisco. The Clock’s works consist of a specially designed gear system that has precision equal to one day in 20,000 years, and it self-corrects by “phase-locking” to the noon Sun.
Long Now added a “Library” dimension with the realization of the need for content to go along with the long-term context provided by the Clock – a library of the deep future, for the deep future. In a sense every library is part of the 10,000-year Library, so Long Now is developing tools (such as the Rosetta Disk, The Long Viewer and the Long Server ) that may provide inspiration and utility to the whole community of librarians and archivists. The Long Bets Project – whose purpose is improving the quality of long-term thinking by making predictions accountable – is also Library-related. The point is to explore whatever may be helpful for thinking, understanding, and acting responsibly over long periods of time. – Stewart Brand
Another generative work called Bloom, created with Peter Chilvers, is available as an app.
Part instrument, part composition and part artwork, Bloom’s innovative controls allow anyone to create elaborate patterns and unique melodies by simply tapping the screen. A generative music player takes over when Bloom is left idle, creating an infinite selection of compositions and their accompanying visualisations. — Generativemusic.com
Out of Eno’s involvement with the establishment of The Long Now Foundation emerged in his essay “The Big Here and Long Now”, which describes his experiences with small-scale perspectives and the need for larger ones, as well as the artist’s role in social change.
This imaginative process can be seeded and nurtured by artists and designers, for, since the beginning of the 20th century, artists have been moving away from an idea of art as something finished, perfect, definitive and unchanging towards a view of artworks as processes or the seeds for processes — things that exist and change in time, things that are never finished. Sometimes this is quite explicit — as in the late Walter de Maria’s “Lightning Field,” (above) a huge grid of metal poles designed to attract lightning. Many musical compositions don’t have one form, but change unrepeatingly over time — many of my own pieces and Jem Finer’s Artangel installation “LongPlayer” are like this. Artworks in general are increasingly regarded as seeds — seeds for processes that need a viewer’s (or a whole culture’s) active mind in which to develop. Increasingly working with time, culture-makers see themselves as people who start things, not finish them.
And what is possible in art becomes thinkable in life. We become our new selves first in simulacrum, through style and fashion and art, our deliberate immersions in virtual worlds. Through them we sense what it would be like to be another kind of person with other kinds of values. We rehearse new feelings and sensitivities. We imagine other ways of thinking about our world and its future. keep reading
I admit I discovered this late, but it's nonetheless worth a watch! It's some Facebook and social media founders talking about their 'STICKINESS': See Anonymous – This will Change Everything You Know… (2018-2019) https://t.co/cSHUxdtO2I via @YouTube
Hey everyone! I joined the board of directors of Greenfield Artspace this past week and coming up is the annual Pottery Sale, the big fundraiser of the year. I am so happy to be working locally and to help grow their music and arts programs for kids. Hearing a small child play a violin – so good – such a great feeling!
Which leads me to this: I know the news has impacted all of us. Our precious children, our teenagers, and the families and community in Florida are living the aftermath of yet another mass shooting. Yes, the shooter is an adoptee, which is not as much an issue for me as the entire gun safety issue and his mental illness. He is deranged. The shooter was ready to explode and no one did anything to stop him but his friends tried, calling police TIPS lines and the FBI. Crazy people don’t know they are crazy, but friends do notice. The Florida shooter’s friends made numerous calls to the police. Now 17 people are dead.
In the aftermath, don’t feed the shooter’s deranged sick ego demands. You might remember this advice DON’T NAME THEM.
The Intercept has an excellent article about the student movement. READ HERE. For years, gun manufacturers and industry-supported associations have focused their energy on transforming young Americans into the next generation of shooters.
Fear sells weapons, obviously, since people rush out to buy a gun after every mass shooting at the mere mention of losing the constitutional right to buy an AR15. It’s expected gun sales will surge following this shooting and any future mass murder event. Last year, gun sales were down.
Major Gunmaker Admits “Heightened Fears” of Crime and Terrorism Help Sales [Formerly known as Smith & Wesson, American Outdoor is the parent company of gun maker that manufactured the assault rifle, an AR-15, used in the Parkland school shooting.] top photo
The Ritual of Silence in an Age of Mass Shootings
Gun Industry Describes Mass Shootings Like Orlando as a “Big Opportunity”
Gun Industry Executives Say Mass Shootings Are Good for Business
So what do we do with broken systems and broken people? We let the survivors tell us. And we listen. And then we act.
After any major attack, you are likely to find in some dark corner of the internet conspiracy theories that the survivors or victims made it all up or were part of a troupe of paid “crisis actors.” Such theories emerged after the massacres in Las Vegas in October; at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., in 2016; and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.
It happened again this month, after 17 people were killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Those conspiracy theories have been amplified in the internet age, but they are a part of a long, troubled history of dismissing the voices of those seeking change. “This theme that anyone agitating for change must be either an outside agitator or must have been paid or put up to it is one that runs throughout American history,” Kevin M. Kruse, a history professor at Princeton University, said in a phone interview. Conspiracies of this kind quickly circulated about the Florida shooting, with one top-trending YouTube video suggesting, falsely, that one of the survivors was a hired actor. The video’s caption tapped into the idea that student protesters were paid to advocate gun control, and Mr. Kruse pointed his followers on Twitter to a decades-old analog: In 1957, civil rights supporters had to dispel rumors that nine black children seeking to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., were being paid for their activism.continue…
Just a block from the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan, you’ll find an unassuming storefront surrounded by a sea of high-end restaurants and retail. The Black Gotham Experience’s home base may look out-of-place, but it’s actually exactly where it belongs. Black people first arrived via ships docking in the area, were sold on the Wall Street Slave Market a few blocks away, and worked on the ships and built Broadway, Trinity Church, and the original City Hall on Wall Street, among other public works. (What’s now Washington Square was once known as Land of the Blacks.)
In the public imagination, slavery was long considered a scourge of the South, perpetuated by white slave owners who ran vast cotton and tobacco plantations that exploited shackled Africans bought and sold as property.
In reality, as a new publicly searchable database reveals, wealthy Dutch merchants in Albany routinely owned slaves that they used for domestic chores and to run their farming operations outside the city. There were 3,722 slaves of African descent listed in the 1790 census in Albany County, for instance, the most of any county in the state at the time. Many can be tracked in the first-ever New York Slavery Records Index, which was released last week by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. It is the most detailed demographic portrait yet of slavery across the state. Its release coincided with the beginning of February’s Black History Month.
More than 35,000 records were compiled and they are searchable by the names of slave owners, individual enslaved people, manifests of slave ships arriving at the port of New York and as fugitives who sought freedom in the state along the Underground Railroad. The database begins in 1525 and continues through the end of the Civil War in 1865.
“These records are an extremely important contribution to our understanding of slavery in New York. They will help us tell the history of enslaved people in a more complete and compelling way,” said Heidi Hill, site manager at the state-run Schuyler Mansion in Albany, home of Revolutionary War Gen. Philip Schuyler, who was the father-in-law of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The database shows that Schuyler owned 13 slaves at his South End mansion in 1790 and another four slaves worked on his farm in Saratoga County.
Andria Segedy, February 24, 2018, Savannah Morning News
The Owens-Thomas House and the Davenport House museums continue to build on reinterpretation of what they have been sharing about the residents — the free and the enslaved — of those houses during their early years. Finding their documented history remains a challenge.
“Our tours, as you have observed, have transitioned to being focused on the lives of the free and enslaved who have lived in the home,” according to Shannon Browning-Mullis, curator of history and decorative arts for Telfair Museums, which includes the Owens-Thomas House.
“White descendants are much easier to find because of the records that were kept,” Browning-Mullis said. Richardson was a slave trader, shipping slaves out of the Port of Savannah to the Port of New Orleans. It was an interesting conversation, she said.
“Part of what we are doing, to think about the fact we are telling these stories not of abstract fictional characters but of real people who lived and worked in the house,” she said. “Their descendants on both sides are probably still in this community.”
“A major part of the responsibility as historic site stewards in this community is a deep consideration of how we talk about the institution of slavery and the experiences of people who were enslaved,” according to Telfair Museums.
A panel of experts will discuss this during a free public forum March 8 at the Jepson Center. “A Conversation about Interpreting Slavery in a Historic City” will include Browning-Mullis along with other panelists: Jamal Toure, board member of George Liele Visions Inc. (nonprofit of First African Baptist Church); Jamie Credle, director of the Davenport House Museum; and Shawn Halifax, cultural history interpretation coordinator of Charleston (S.C.) County Parks. It will be moderated by Porchia Moore, inclusion catalyst for the Columbia Art Museum in Columbia, S.C.
But is (tRUMP) the most dangerous president ever? Is he really so outside the norm of the policies of his predecessors? The short answer, when it comes to substance and policy, is: not yet. Harry Truman dropped not one, but two nuclear bombs. Multiple presidents continued the war on Vietnam, killing tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers and more than a million Vietnamese. Have we forgotten the secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos, the CIA Phoenix Program, and the widespread use of Agent Orange? The dirty wars in Central America? The global assassination operations?
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.)
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
A dark-skinned black girl walking into an empty horror museum in the middle of the desert? What could possibly go wrong?
Much like Nish and Clay, “Black Museum” also puts us face to face with past realities like the gynecological experimentation of enslaved Black women, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment in the 1930s, and the forced sterilization of Native American women in the 1970s and beyond. It’s horror histories like these that make this episode so daunting.
One can’t help but compare it to our current desensitized culture where Black deaths are widely spread across the internet like a Worldstar fight. Black people dying at the hands of injustice has become so commonplace that our world feels like simulated, too. Troy Anthony Davis. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Tamir Rice. Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. The list is endless.
But whether we’re romanticized for our sexual prowess, idolized for our artistic “eye”, or straight up demonized and locked away, make no mistake—”Black Museum” is an episode about mental incarceration.
In this popular episode, we’re presented with a symbolic reckoning against a system that remains unscathed.
Some were so shaken they couldn’t finish the episode. Alternatively, some made the fundamental errors of either confusing depiction with validation, or insisting that stories about the privations inflicted on black people only belong to black people and therefore dismissed the story as racist.
“There have been many books about King Philip’s War but none like this. Our Beloved Kin is insightful and a better way to understand New England’s past.”—Colin G. Calloway, author of The Indian World of George Washington
The story of King Philip’s War, which ended  years ago, may be central to the history of this place, marked in locations like King Philip’s Hill in Northfield, the Bloody Brook Battle monument in Deerfield, and even King Philip restaurant in Phillipston. The three-year armed conflict is largely blamed on attacks on colonial settlers by Wampanoags and other native “savages.”
But a book released this week by Amherst College associate professor Lisa Brooks, an Abenaki, depicts the prolonged war on a dozen settlements throughout much of the region as more complex. And it’s seen as the result of mistaken assumptions English settlers made about the native tribes.
What’s more, Lisa Brooks’ “Our Beloved Kin” (Yale University Press) is based on written letters and other materials written by those Indians, who are largely assumed to have been illiterate. And the creative, readable telling by this associate professor of English and…
This, the Storytelling for Environmental Stewardship Program, eventually involved more than 50 individuals from 20 organizations in the Middle East and led to a book published in December 2017 — an illustrated anthology of children’s stories called “The Garden of Wisdom: Earth Tales from the Middle East.”
In the spring of 2010, I was asked by members of the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College to help with a Peace Pole they were erecting in the Memorial Garden next to the church. Knowing that I had worked with members of the Abenaki Nation, and that I teach about Abenaki culture in my programs and writing, I was asked, “How do you say, in Abenaki, ‘May peace prevail on Earth?’”
I discovered that the Abenaki word for peace, olakámigénoká, is a verb that reflects an entirely different concept of “peace” than we express in the English language. Olakámigénoká, “make peace,” is a linguistic window into the Abenaki world view, in which peace is more than a state of tranquility that exists in the absence of violence: Peace is an act that one makes toward other people and the rest of creation.
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.”
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…)
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.
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…
Filmmaker Nancy Buirski: Recy Taylor's story is "a very pivotal link in a chain that goes right through the civil rights movement, right up through black power" #DNlivepic.twitter.com/xn5qnT4AqN
.@Yale historian Crystal Feimster on the rape of Recy Taylor: There is "a long tradition of black women speaking to sexual assault and sexual violence even when justice isn't an option" pic.twitter.com/4F6JywwNIO
I want to share an Op-ED (opinion editorial) I wrote WAY back in 2001. Yup, that sure was a long time ago. I was an editor of a tribal newspaper in Connecticut…But the amazing thing is: THIS is still relevant.
Maybe more so in 2017… take a read…
Rebuilding our families
In October (2001), Dr. Mary Pipher, a noted psychologist and nationally renowned author, spoke to a large audience at the Garde Arts Center in New London about the importance of rebuilding our families. Her presentation was timely, considering the events of 9-11 and its effects on citizens of this country.
Pipher related that Americans are the hardest working people in the world and consequently, some 45 million adults are on some kind of drug for nerves. America’s stressed-out adult population is adversely affecting our families. Less than one third of families have regular meals together. Parents are overwhelmed. Children develop behavior problems. We are not happy people.
“We must be the change we wish to see in this world,” Pipher said. “We must talk about values and teach our children to value the right things.”
According to this expert, we are missing social skills. We interrupt, act rude and use inappropriate behavior. Television teaches us to buy things. There are some 3,000 ads a day, which is having a cumulative effect on all of us. How many computers and televisions do we need? Do houses really need to be castle-size? We are isolated in big houses. We are becoming dissatisfied and narcissistic, self-obsessed.
In this ever-evolving world, technology is determining how we interact in society. And the way it’s going now, we’re not getting emotionally stronger but more isolated, dejected.
However, Pipher offered some solid solutions to our general unhappiness. Reacquaint your children to large family celebrations. Children need their relatives, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Little ones learn to negotiate and navigate best with family members around the house regularly.
Pipher says the antidote to despair is being helpful. Take an interest in other people’s children. Parent other people’s children, not just your own. Teach children to find pleasure in being helpful. Spend time outdoors. Connect children to useful work. Redefine the meaning of wealth. Teach children to be responsible.
Pipher believes in teaching family history. Tell stories about the ancestors and where they came from. Have a family ritual every night that might include reading poetry, family memories or stories of hope and heroic behavior. If adults behave well in difficult times, children will, too.
Make good conscious choices in two areas: protect from what is harmful and connect to what is beautiful.
We also need to protect our children from the media, from too much television, too much news and even adult conversation. Their developing minds cannot rationalize or discern between daddy’s or mommy’s upcoming business trip and the plane crash on television. Protect the children from violence on television. Teach your children by your own behavior; stress calmness and safety.
Pipher said create quiet time, family time. These tools will rebuild our family in times like these.
Happy holidays everyone. [Trace A. DeMeyer, Editor of the Pequot Times (2001)]
Left, book cover: The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families
In The Shelter of Each Other, Mary Pipher does for the American family what she did for adolescent girls and their parents in her bestselling book Reviving Ophelia: she opens our eyes wide to the desperate realities we are facing and shows us a way out. Drawing on the fascinating stories of families rich and poor, angry and despairing, religious and skeptical, and probing deep into her own family memories and experiences, Pipher clears a path to the strength and energy at the core of family life. Wise, compassionate, and impassioned, The Shelter of Each Other challenges each of us to face the truth about ourselves and to find the courage to protect, nurture, and revivify the families we cherish.
The writer Louise Erdrich’s storytelling addiction “really began when my other addictions failed,” she tells David Remnick. Since the early nineteen-eighties, her work has primarily chronicled Native American life, and, in that regard, Erdrich’s latest book is no different: “Future Home of the Living God” follows the lives of a group of Ojibwe Indians living in rural Minnesota. But, where her previous novels have remained largely grounded in realism, this book is a work of speculative fiction, with a touch of science fiction. It imagines a kind of reverse-evolution slowly taking hold of the globe, and bringing with it a political catastrophe of dystopian dimensions. Erdrich says that she was inspired by Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and by P. D. James’s “Children of Men”—works that put literature in the service of imagining the worst.
WATCH Indigenous Protectors
One of the most effective ways to save forests is by empowering the people who have been protecting them for generations. We have to support the land rights of indigenous peoples. #WeCanSolveThis
White House ceremony for honorable and aging Navajo (Dine’) code talkers on Monday, November 27, 2017.
Painting on the wall behind the code talkers: Indian slayer, author and implementer of the Indian Removal Act: Andrew Jackson
The 45th occupant’s words during his “honoring ceremony” for the brave code talkers:
“You’re very very special people. You were here long before any of us were here,” President Trump said to the veterans in the white house ceremony. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what. I like you. Because you are special.”
These words are so offensive on so many levels, it is difficult to know where to start. As an enrolled member of the Cowlitz Nation, as a Native woman, as a woman, as a retired clinical psychologist who worked with trauma survivors, in and out of Indian Country, as a person who has a deep understanding of my own history, my own tribal history, and the history of genocide and death that has continued for the past 525 years, I am disgusted and disheartened by not only these ugly words but the shocking support and defense that so many nonNatives (primarily on the right end of the political spectrum) have for them.
In fact, the true story of Pocahontas is tragic, horrifying, and one that echoes the allegations of sexual assault against Trump, Roy Moore, and, now, so many men in power. There are several facts that need to be discussed before the rest of Trump’s insulting comments are examined. First, Pocahontas was a 12-year-old girl who was abducted, raped, and held for ransom by the English during the Anglo-Indian war of 1613. She was born in 1598 and died in 1617. She was the daughter of a principal chief, Powhatan of the Paumunkey tribe. She was forced into Christianity during her time in captivity and died in London, where she was forced to go with her husband, a planter named John Rolfe. The myth of Pocahontas is that she “saved” the life of John Smith, a colonizer, when she “laid her head on that of Captain John Smith” when her father was going to kill Smith.
***Please see NCAI’s statement issued on May 3, 2017 on President Trump’s use of the name Pocahontas here.
Pocahontas was a real person who to this day holds significant value to her family and her tribe, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Virginia. The Pamunkey struck a treaty with the British Crown in the 1600s, and just last year were officially recognized as a federally recognized tribe by the U.S. government after a decades-long struggle. The name of Pocahontas should not be used as a slur, and it is inappropriate for anyone to use her name in a disparaging manner.
I am deeply ashamed of the way the President of the United States has treated the veterans during an honoring ceremony at the White House. Veterans are brave heroes who sacrificed everything, despite the historical trauma to tribal nations, when asked to defend the United States. It has been more than 200 years of living together, yet the President of the United States knows nothing about us. An apology is in order for the warriors that were present, to the Native nations and the United States for his behavior. The President of the United States wanted to utilize an opportunity to honor Native warriors who defended this land to make a political attack. I have one for him, leave the office you bought and take your swamp things with you. -Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier in Washington after White House Tribal Nations Conference.
***CODE TALKERS [from the Cherokee, Choctaw, Comanche, Lakota, Meskwaki, Mohawk, Navajo, Tlingit, and other tribes who served during World Wars I and II]
Code talkers served with all six Marine divisions in the Pacific and with Marine Raider and parachute units, earning lavish praise for their performance in the Solomons and the Marianas and on Peleliu and Iwo Jima. Of Iwo Jima, Fifth Marine Division Signal Officer Major Howard Conner said, “The entire operation was directed by Navajo code. . . . During the two days that followed the initial landings I had six Navajo radio nets working around the clock. . . . They sent and received over 800 messages without an error. Were it not for the Navajo Code Talkers, the Marines never would have taken Iwo Jima.”
“Navajo School” graduated 421 code talkers assigned mostly to combat units overseas. Following Japan’s surrender, several volunteered for occupation duty. Others were sent to Marine units in China. Code talker Willson Price stayed a Marine for 30 years, retiring in 1972.
Most code talkers came home to family reunions and purification rites, traditional dances, and curing ceremonies, coupled with maternal prayers of thanks for sons’ safe return. These rites originated to protect returning Navajo from harmful influences they might have encountered or duties they had to to perform while away. VIA
Cree code talkers
In the World War II, native Cree speakers were used as code talkers for the Canadian Armed Forces. Due to oaths of secrecy, and official classification through 1963, the role of Cree speakers has gone unacknowledged by the Canadian government. A 2015 documentary, Cree Code Talkers, tells the story of one such Métis individual, Charles “Checker” Tomkins, who died in 2003. READ MORE
New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Indian Affairs committee, added: “Donald Trump’s latest racist joke — during Native American Heritage Month no less — demeaned the contributions that the Code Talkers and countless other Native American patriots and citizens have made to our great country.”
Robert J. Benz, November 19, 2017, Huffington Post
Sometimes the answers to our most perplexing questions are right in front of us. How, for instance, could it be that our continuously-evolving society is more divided than ever over skin color and cultural identity when we just had a two-term, black President? Is the media turning white citizens against black citizens or it is caused by the ambitions of opportunistic politicians who promise to get tough on crime and clean-up the community? Maybe it’s the fault of an extreme fringe of fanatics; both black and white? Or could it be that we’re simply incapable of controlling our own prejudices because they’re written into our DNA? continue…
Trump’s Attack on Sacred Grounds in Utah By cutting 1.1 million acres out of the 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument, the president delivered a win for mining interests and a loss for environmentalists. Perhaps most significant, though, is the affront this represents to the Pueblo people, whose sacred ancestral sites at Bears Ears date back thousands of years. (The Takeaway)
OH NO! Oh, yes! When I watched this Code Talker debacle unfold on television (jaw-dropped)… it is obvious Drumpf knows zilch/nothing about Indians and doesn’t care to know… For over 30 years he has made racist statements to the media about us… when you are that ignorant, you simply don’t pretend to care… and yet our tribal nations are his constituents too…There is talk of war… yes, war… L/T
p.s. ah…apparently just 8 US presidents did visit an official visit to an Indian reservation, of course never all 567+ locations…. read this
I have a theory that much recent tech development and innovation over the last decade or so has had an unspoken overarching agenda—it has been about facilitating the need for LESS human interaction. It’s not a bug—it’s a feature. We might think Amazon was about selling us books we couldn’t find locally—and it was and what a brilliant idea—but maybe it was also just as much about eliminating human interaction. I see a pattern emerging in the innovative technology that has gotten the most attention, gets the bucks and often, no surprise, ends up getting developed and implemented. What much of this technology seems to have in common is that it removes the need to deal with humans directly. The tech doesn’t claim or acknowledge this as its primary goal, but it seems to often be the consequence. I’m sort of thinking maybe it is the primary goal. There are so many ways imagination can be manifested in the technical sphere. Many are wonderful and seem like social goods, but allow me a little conspiracy mongering here—an awful lot of them have the consequence of lessening human interaction.
I suspect that we almost don’t notice this pattern because it’s hard to imagine what an alternative focus of tech development might be. Most of the news we get barraged with is about algorithms, AI, robots and self driving cars, all of which fit this pattern, though there are indeed many technological innovations underway that have nothing to do with eliminating human interaction from our lives. CRISPR-cas9 in genetics, new films that can efficiently and cheaply cool houses and quantum computing to name a few, but what we read about most and what touches us daily is the trajectory towards less human involvement.
Note: I don’t consider chat rooms and product reviews as “human interaction”; they’re mediated and filtered by a screen.
We are beset by—and immersed in—apps and devices that are quietly reducing the amount of meaningful interaction we have with each other.
Social networks are also a source of unhappiness. A study earlier this year by two social scientists, Holly Shakya at UC San Diego and Nicholas Christakis at Yale, showed that the more people use Facebook, the worse they feel about their lives. While these technologies claim to connect us, then, the surely unintended effect is that they also drive us apart and make us sad and envious.
David Byrne is a musician and artist who lives in New York City. His most recent book is called How Music Works. A version of this piece originally appeared on his website, davidbyrne.com.
I do not spend hours on Twitter or Facebook like I used to. Teaching about social media and blogging, I’m not doing that anymore. In my own research/work at the moment… I can tell you that some of the greatest minds in the world are sharing generously with us… on blogs… on twitter… and on other social media. Like David Byrne (read his thoughts above)… Just like so many of you amaze me each week on your blogs.
My online friend, the author LAURA GRACE WELDON has some of the MOST amazing Tweets! Last week I tried to pick a few you might like 🙂 (One of the nice things about Twitter is you can go back and read all the tweets – and even go back months!) Please follow her if you are on Twitter.