News from Turtle Island: MMIWG, Ann Dunne, Native Vote 2020, Gold Miners burn Amazon Rainforest, Tricksters, Joy Harjo

Native artist Cannupa Hanska Luger creates the ‘Every One” 2-ton art installation with two-inch clay beads created by hundreds of communities in the U.S. and Canada…Luger cited that Indigenous women are murdered at 10 times the national average rate on some reservations in the U.S. and that the U.S. has “continued to do little about it.”

https3a2f2fimages.saymedia-content.com2f.image2fmty2njm4ntg2mdywndgxodc42fsister-website-imageCannupa Hanska Luger: Every One & Kali Spitzer: Sister will be available for viewing at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum until January 12th.

Exhibit information here: https://www.gardinermuseum.on.ca/event/cannupa-hanska-luger-every-one-kali-spitzer-sister/

Exhibition Timeline:

August 30, 2019 – January 15, 2020 Gardiner Museum, Toronto Ontario
October 3 2018-March 17, 2019 Museum of Arts and Design, New York NY
August 11-September 16 2018 Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe NM
May 3-July 21 2018 ENT Gallery for Contemporary Art, Colorado Springs CO

** Lost

“And if our kids don’t have their stories they’re going to get lost on the journey. Lost,” Ojibwe storyteller Anne Dunn said. “We should be passing them on to our young people so they’ll have something to hold onto when they reach that dark hole. Because everybody’s going to be there some time. There’s a dark hole for all of us.”

Listen: Ojibwe storyteller writes down tales to help us survive ‘the dark hole’ | MPR News

** Gold and Fire

“You could drop a nuclear bomb on the forest, and it would be better than (gold) mining it.”

NEWS: The Global Demand For Gold Is Destroying The Amazon Rainforest

** Native Voters

But the best coverage of the forum hands down was by Indian Country Today, which covered the two-day event, start to finish, and even live-streamed big chunks of the event.

GOOD NEWS: Opinion: Native Americans could be decisive factor in presidential election

 

** Ireland’s Holocaust

Top Featured Photo

 In 2012 a mass grave holding the bodies of 796 children was discovered in Tuam, Ireland on the former site of St. Mary’s Mother and Baby Home, an institution run by the Bon Secours Sisters order of nuns from 1921 to 1965….Four pairs of giant glass scissors dangle from rosaries in the case, glittering in a very bright spotlight. Piles of long human hair lay in a heap on the floor of the case. Next to the case is a listening device where one can hear the voice of Catherine Whelan, born in 1935, now deceased, who recounts being conscripted to a Magdalene Laundry at the age of 14. She describes in detail how she was “punished” by the nuns, in particular the experience of being held down and having her hair cut off.

(A) Dressing Our Hidden Truths, at the National Museum of Ireland–Decorative Arts and History (Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin, Ireland) runs through May 2020. It was curated by Audrey Whitty.

EXHIBIT: A Memorial to Crimes Against Women and Children in Ghostly Glass

** Julie Buffalohead

Of course, animals in general are deeply ingrained in Native storytelling tradition. “I guess I just see animals as something you can learn from,” Buffalohead said. “I’m always waiting for them to talk again.”

Source: Julie Buffalohead on tricksters, colonizers, and the state of Native art –– Minneapolis Institute of Art

**

Though she has mixed ancestry, including Muscogee, Cherokee, Irish and French nationalities, Harjo most closely identifies with her Native American ancestry.  On June 19, the Library of Congress named her the United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold that position; she’ll officially take on the role in September. Although English is the only language Harjo spoke growing up, she has a deeply fraught relationship with it, seeing her own mastery of the language as a remnant of American settler efforts to destroy Native identity. Nevertheless, she has spent her career using English in poetic and musical expression, transforming collective indigenous trauma into healing. “Poetry uses language despite the confines of language, be it the oppressor’s language or any language,” Harjo says. “It is beyond language in essence.”

In An American Sunrise, Harjo’s 16th book of poetry, released by Norton in August, she continues to bear witness to the violence encountered by Native Americans in the aftermath of Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act.

GREAT NEWS: Joy Harjo’s New Poetry Collection Brings Native Issues to the Forefront | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

**

By LT

Hard news: water waves and wind have been churning as monster Hurricane Dorian destroys lives and property. Water water water: this is on my mind. Glaciers, melting ice caps, Trump’s crazy “Buy Greenland” proposal, so much on my mind… yet I’m asking… where will climate refugees go?

Good news… I have met Joy Harjo many times, and June 19, the Library of Congress named her the United States Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold that position. WOW! That is a milestone worth celebrating.

Many years ago I interviewed renown author/storyteller Anne Dunn when I was editor of Ojibwe Akiing.  Her new book Fire in the Village is a “must read” for me this winter. Anne was a regular contributor at News From Indian Country, and simply prolific as a storyteller. (We were friends on Facebook but I’m not on FB anymore.)

I am also reading Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves. In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors.  The Marrow Thieves begins when French is 11, being chased by those Recruiters who want to take Indigenous people to schools to take their marrow.  That’s a specific reference to the residential schools of the past, where so much was taken from Native children.

I’m also (slowly) reading A Curse Upon the Nation (Race, Freedom, and Extermination in America and the Atlantic World) by historian Kay Wright Lewis… The theme of this blog is WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW (meaning I write lots about uncracking local and national Native American history while uncovering hidden facts) and this new book accurately reports that extermination (murder) was commonly used (more than we realize) but we still don’t think of America’s Founding Fathers as slave owners or as exterminators…

From the publisher: [Lewis foregrounds her readings in the long record of exterminatory warfare in Europe and its colonies, placing lopsided reprisals against African slave revolts -or even rumors of revolts – in a continuum with past brutal incursions against the Irish, Scots, Native Americans, and other groups out of favor with the empire.]

I started writing a post on how we vote (or choose a candidate) but it’s not ready yet…

and if you have a moment this fall, catch this short film on how First Nations women can go missing, then murdered:

Based on British Columbia’s “Highway of Tears,” The Wolf of Waubamik Woods follows the story of a young First Nations woman, Amber-Lynn, as she hitchhikes across Northern Canada.  She’s picked up by a local newspaper reporter who warns her of a wolf in the area that’s already claimed the life of one woman. Not wanting another fatality, the man offers her money for a bus and a place to stay until it comes. Once back at his cabin, Amber- Lynn relaxes and begins to open up about how she got where she is.  Before heading back to the bustop they walk to the man’s favorite lookout spot only to discover that the wolf may be closer than they had thought.

(MMIWG means Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and it’s happening now across North America.)

Source: The Wolf of Waubamik Woods (2013) – Plot Summary – IMDb

Welcome to all the new readers of this blog and I will do my best to follow your blogs, too. 

Let’s stay positive but more importantly please stay aware of coming water events…

We have an accelerating problem: Climate change is happening faster, and bringing with it more changes and impacts today than there were yesterday. And it will be faster still tomorrow; climate change is not a steady-state phenomenon, but gets worse and worse day-by-day. Read more: What if the Arctic melts, and we lose the great white shield? Interview with environmental policy expert Durwood Zaelke

check this website… Arctic sea ice keeps the polar regions cool and helps moderate global climate.

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

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

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

Will there be a TRUTH COMMISSION in IRELAND too?

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

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

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

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

*** Has this scandal gone Global?

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

******** DECLINING International Adoptions

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

(c)2012
2nd Edition on Kindle and Amazon

Stop a moment.  Who are you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a little cyber ghost treat that looks good!

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