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.”

Advertisements

Indian Child Welfare Act attacks are a threat to tribes — High Country News #ICWA

The law is essential to strengthening future Native American generations.

READ: Indian Child Welfare Act attacks are a threat to tribes — High Country News

I was so glad to be interviewed on this important topic and history. Please Protect ICWA… LT

02018 | The Long Now | Bloom | Stickiness: Killing Our Attention Span #NEVERAGAIN

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

check out: About – The Long Now

BLOOM

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.

land-art-11-638This 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

https://twitter.com/crbpin/status/962795820260253696

 

02018 – it’s amazing how adding the 0 works on my brain!

You and I are a WORK IN PROGRESS and a SEED!

I hope we can reframe how we look at the future with inspired hope and less stickiness! For me music has always been vibration and transforming.  I was a musician long before doodling as a writer.

In solidarity with #NEVER AGAIN

Lara Trace in 02018

MASS SHOOTERS | How Fear Sells Guns | Crisis Actors? | Land of the Blacks +

By LT

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 HEREFor 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.

Deadliest U.S. mass shootings, 1984-2017 – Timelines

So what do we do with broken systems and broken people? We let the survivors tell us. And we listen. And then we act.

*****
In the News

‘CRISIS ACTOR’ Isn’t a New Smear. The Idea Goes Back to the Civil War Era.

Niraj Chokshi, Feb. 24, 2018, The New York Times

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…

***
A New York Walking Tour Uncovers Hidden Histories of Slavery and Struggle
Elena Goukassian, February 21, 2018, Hyperallergic
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.)  

continue…
 


 
Database documents Albany’s slave owners
Paul Grondahl, February 21, 2018, The Times-Union

 

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.


 Savannah museums: Interpreting slavery a path to ending inequality

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.

continue…

I have a post scheduled in a few days on more interesting stuff I’m reading… besides reading your blogs, of course. See you at the Pottery Sale March 2-3 if you are in western MA. xoxoxoxox

Bonus Intercepted Podcast: The Laundering of American Empire

Fearless, adversarial journalism that holds the powerful accountable.
https://megaphone.link/PPY3342946942

THIS…

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?

LISTEN: Bonus Intercepted Podcast: The Laundering of American Empire

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

***

Good News: Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal

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

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

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

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

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

—Vicki Elson, email SOURCE

***

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

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

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

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

By LT (who has a compass on her desk)

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

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

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

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

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

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

2005 image

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about our changing continent HERE.

Bundle up – see you next month!   XOX   LT

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

***

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

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

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

Turtle Talk

View original post

Black Mirror’s Obsession With Black Suffering #BlackMuseum

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

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

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

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

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

***

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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

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

 

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

[LINK] top photo

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

Sokoki Sojourn

lisa brooks amherst our beloved kin

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

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

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

View original post 82 more words

Michael Caduto: Making Peace, Olakamigenoka

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

top photo: ondulyne.tumblr.com

Sokoki Sojourn

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

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

A few years earlier, in April 2006…

View original post 518 more words

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.

XOX LT

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

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

Happy Holidays 2017!

By Lara Trace Hentz

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

Maybe more so in 2017… take a read…

Rebuilding our families

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOP PHOTO: Mary Pipher, and her website: HERE

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

BONUS:  Louise Erdrich’s Storytelling Addiction

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

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

***

WATCH Indigenous Protectors 

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

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

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

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

Listen

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

***

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

By LT

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

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

Please check out the entire interview series… HERE

And here is a little Christmas Lift:

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

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

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

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

*** In the News

“Jingle Bells” History Takes Surprising Turn

Joel Brown, Dec. 8, 2016, BU Today

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

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

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

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

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

BREAKING NEWS: YES YES YES

Not true. Web hoax. (brilliant and bad)

But here is the planned media blitz: GO WASHINGTON REDHAWKS

Turtle Talk

From ESPN here.

New Redhawks website.

Old Redskins website, which says nothing about this.

View original post

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

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

In the News

Guest Commentary |  Published December 3, 2017

Setting:

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEEP READING

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

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

***

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

Cree code talkers

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

Lisa Brooks flips the script!

Revisiting King Philip’s War

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

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

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

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

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

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