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

 

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EXCERPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

From Teen Vogue, here.

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

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

 

By LT (your intrepid reporter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to everyone for reading this long post! XOX

 

 

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Change Is Coming: Youth Suicide Pacts, Canada’s Move Away from the 141 Year Old Indian Act and more news

By Lara Trace Hentz

I am still on my hiatus, of course, but these stories I have covered on this news blog before (kinda). I will be back later in 2017. That is, if we don’t suffer a nuke someday soon.

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From August 11, 2017 at Indian Country Today

Wawatay News reported that the Canadian Army responded to a declaration of emergency by the government of Wapekeka, an Oji-Cree community of about 400, located about 375 miles north of Thunder Bay. The emergency was an epidemic of youth suicide. The First Nation asked for outside help after the third suicide by a 12-year-old girl this year and discovery of suicide pacts among some youngsters.

The Army sent a unit of Rangers—an all-indigenous unit of part time reservists—with an assignment to conduct night patrols and daytime activities for at risk youth.

Chief Brennan Sainnawap commented in extending thanks to the responding Rangers:

There were no suicides after the Rangers arrived. There were attempts but no suicides. The Rangers coming in helped our staff on the ground and the whole of the community to have a chance to rest. We were traumatized and exhausted. The Rangers gave us breathing room.

The Rangers did not approach the assignment as policing. They spread out in the community and tried to get to know the kids, but they did take custody of some suicide paraphernalia. They made lots of referrals to suicide counselors. A few kids were airlifted for emergency treatment.

As the government was able to bring in more civilian help the reservists withdrew as a unit, but individual friendships remain. If Chief Sainnawap’s evaluation is correct, the Rangers hit the sweet spot of signifying to the kids that the government cares without becoming an oppressive force.

Cousin Ray helpfully pointed out once more that the responding unit was indigenous, and it might have been harder for a unit made up of settlers to find the sweet spot even with the best intentions.

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For First Nations, the end of the Indian Act is an opportunity to return to tradition and empower indigenous female leaders

Sandra LaFleur • August 12, 2017

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould’s historic announcement of a move away from the 141 year old Indian Act had to have left some Assembly of First Nations (AFN), and provincial Indigenous leaders scratching their heads. Indigenous activist leaders (land protectors, water protectors, suicide watch groups), Native Women’s Association of Canada {NWAC}, Idle No More {INM}, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), grassroots people and the average non-indigenous Canadian are also likely, wondering what a life beyond the Indian Act means and how the move will affect them in their day to day lives.

… Let’s use Monaco as an example

The Treaty of Versailles is an agreement between France and Monaco similar to that of First Nations treaty’s with the Crown (Britain’s representative; Canada), is eerily similar in basic foundation….

Monaco has its own law enforcement similar to what is already implemented on most First Nation communities. And the near two mile sovereign state also has a Constitution of Monaco (adopted in 1962 and updated to reflect government power and legislative changes). Furthermore and somewhat, simplistically, Monaco’s agreement with France came in part by Monaco’s cessation of land to (similar as First Nation’s and the Crown’s agreement on land), France and in return, an agreement was reached wherein, a part of France’s obligation is a responsibility to militarily protect Monaco.

There are many more similarities however; the Treaty of Versailles could be a starting point in building First Nation, nation-to-nation legislation, with Canada.

First Nation government leaders, activists, FN women’s groups and all affected parties need to start the process.

The process could be as simple as surveying individual First Nation members on who they would like to see sit at the helm; in mediating the drafting of new legislation.

Read the entire Op-ED: Change Is Coming: Canada’s Move Away from the 141 Year Old Indian Act – Indian Country Media Network

 

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A new Navajo law criminalizes human trafficking on the country’s largest American Indian reservation.

READ: Navajo Sign Law Criminalizing Human Trafficking – Indian Country Media Network

 

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U.S. House appropriators did what they could before recess to limit dramatic cuts to American Indian programs proposed by the Trump administration.

READ: Trump’s Proposed Cuts to American Indian Programs Still in Play – Non Profit News For Nonprofit Organizations | Nonprofit Quarterly

 

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Museums Move to Return Human Remains to Indigenous Peoples – The New York Times

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