A case before a federal appeals court last week could upend an historic adoption law meant to combat centuries of brutal discrimination against American Indians and keep their children with families and tribal communities. For the first time, a few states have sued to overturn the federal Indian Child Welfare Act, which Congress enacted in 1978 as an antidote to entrenched policies of uprooting Native children and assimilating them into mainstream white culture. Now, in a country roiled by debates over race and racial identity, there’s a chance the 41-year-old law could be overturned by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the country’s most conservative court. (The law applies to federally recognized tribes.)
“This is about attacking Indian law and Indian sovereignty,” said Chrissi Nimmo, deputy attorney general for the Cherokee Nation. “This is just the first step.” The Cherokee, Navajo, Oneida and Quinault Indian Nations, as well as the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, asked to be included as defendants in the lawsuit.
Sending you all a big thanks for reading this news roundup and Happy Turkey “Big Food” Day tomorrow… Lara/Trace
An Exhibition Critically Explores the History of Missionaries in Hawai’i
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — In August 1806, five students on the campus of Williams College took refuge from a sudden thunderstorm beside a haystack and vowed to commit themselves to spreading the Gospel around the world. This is Ground Zero of the American overseas missionary movement.
For many people, this moment marked the start of an outpouring of generosity and benevolence that saved souls and brought distant lands into the modern world. Only recently has another narrative been recognized — one of shameless spiritual imperialism that trampled native cultures and eventually devolved into explicit political and economic oppression.
The unexpectedly deep connection between the college in Williamstown and the Pacific islands, 5,000 miles away, is outlined with an extensive timeline along a wall, which highlights what was happening in each place. It mentions figures such as Sanford B. Dole, the son of missionaries who came to Williams in the 1860s, where he and other missionary descendants called themselves “the Cannibals,” and were active in the Lyceum. Dole and two others from that group would help draft the “Bayonet Constitution” of 1887, which accelerated the process of undermining native Hawaiian leadership. When the monarchy was overthrown in 1893, Dole would serve as the Republic’s first president, until completing the handover to American power a few years later.
How can that be? In 1832, President Andrew Jackson pushed through the policy of “removal” of Indian nations from the eastern U.S., which destroyed the historic land base of the “civilized tribes.” He promised the tribes new land in the West to be theirs “as long as the grass grows or the water runs, in peace and plenty.” After the Trail of Tears, the U.S. signed a treaty that “solemnly guarantied” the new reservation lands in what is now Oklahoma. Many tribes elsewhere have found to their regret that Congress is permitted to decide that the grass ain’t growing any more. It can abrogate some or all treaty obligations—and even “terminate” a tribe altogether. But case law says there is a “clear statement” rule: If Congress wants to end a reservation, it has to say so.
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) highlighted the report in a press event in Washington, DC, this week where she talked about the importance of addressing the MMIWG epidemic. Murkowski was joined by U.S. senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Patty Murray (D-WA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI 4th District), and Juana Majel-Dixon (Pauma Band of Mission Indians), Executive Board Member and Recording Secretary of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). The UIHI report identified the state of Alaska as the fourth-leading state for number of cases of MMIWG. Also, in the top ten states are New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, Montana, California, Nebraska, Utah, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
“And Our Mothers Cried” vividly brings to life the Indian boarding school era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For several generations of Native American children, including some Chickasaws, attending boarding school meant separation from their families and indoctrination into a culture that wasn’t their own. The schools, which were guided by the infamous slogan, “Kill the Indian. Save the Man,” prohibited most students from speaking their own language and emphasized labor-intensive trades that would assimilate them into white culture through military-type institutions.
The documentary presents a stark contrast between these schools and schools established and operated by the Chickasaw Nation, which were designed to prepare Chickasaw children to compete in a rapidly changing world. “And Our Mothers Cried” presents compelling stories from some of the Chickasaw elders who lived through the boarding school era. Their experiences weave a complex story of sorrow and survival, but also one of hope and resilience from a time when tribal governments and culture were under attack.
On June 15, 2017, at its Mid‐Year Conference in Connecticut, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) adopted a resolution, sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation, encouraging American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Nations, families, and descendants to provide information on children who never returned home from Indian Boarding Schools.
The information will be used for a submission to the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (UNWGEID). This UN submission will be jointly filed by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS), the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), and the Native American Rights Fund (NARF). The submission will call on the United States to provide a full accounting of the children taken into government custody under the U.S. Indian Boarding School Policy whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown. NCAI represents 250 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes.
In the 1860s and 1870s, white settlers from the areas around Indian Territory — like Kansas and Texas — started to realize that there was vast piece of land in the middle of the United States that wasn’t claimed by anyone (ah, what?). They started agitating to to be allowed to seize this land for free. These white settlers even began a series of illegal raids into the territory, sneaking into Indian Territory at night to get to that little center portion of the Unassigned Lands.
Couch and his men had brought surveying equipment — and they quickly began laying out streets and lots as they had planned them in the months leading up to the Land Run. In the days following Oklahoma City’s rapid settlement, town leaders would have to reckon with all the cheating that had happened during the Land Run. Who cheated and who didn’t? Who deserve to keep their land and who didn’t?
What a whirlwind. Who knew that one doctor appointment could turn into several and then a major surgery and cancer diagnosis?
I will be getting a second opinion on that diagnosis (Stage 1A grade 3 uterine cancer) on June 26th in Boston. One can never be too careful. (Radiation was suggested as one follow-up option.)
It’s weird I have not been sick, or felt sick. I do have sharp pangs in healing this humongous scar from the bellybutton and south. (30 staples in my gut was no joke) I’m healing the insides now. It takes time.
As for how I feel, I feel it’s over. I am done with oncologists, surgeons, and doctors for now, even if I have to visit them over the next few months.
I was up and walking the night of surgery at 1:30am on May 14, and the nurses were kinda shocked at how fast I was recuperating. They let me out on the 16th and all my vitals were/are good. Even my blood pressure is spectacular. Which is a very good thing.
From here on out… I will be taking big doses of Vitamin D and Zinc now that I am a cancer survivor. And of course my holistic doctor Dr. Lynch has been with me every step of the way. (I highly recommend you see a holistic MD, if you can find one. They have a whole body, patient-centric approach and use more than western medicine to help your body heal and recuperate and be the best you can be…)
Sadly, my darling husband looks like he needs sleep. He was with me at every appointment and of course, was worried and I love him for that, knowing his love, care and concern helped me heal this so well, so fast.
All your thoughts and prayers really worked, too, my blog family. I am living proof. Love moves mountains and heals what it touches…
I may not be blogging as much since I am supposed to be walking, not sitting. Dang, that’s no good. I have blogs to read and research to do and books to read….
BUT… I’ll be back as soon as I can 🙂
(I have so many new posts to share with you… but they’ll have to wait…)
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
Our relatives down under have stories very much like our tribal relatives in North America tell about creation and our descent from the stars. We share the idea that we are all connected and related. The Lakota say “Mitakuye Oyasin” which means we are all related. If you stop and think about this, it’s everyone. Not just a certain skin or tribe or human. And it includes every blade of grass, every bird, every animal, every insect, every mountain, every drop of water. In other words, everything.
If more of us understood and embraced this idea – a greater respect and reverence would happen for all living things on Turtle Island, Mother Earth.
Our mother is below our feet but we come from the stars. Breath in the Beauty of this idea every day, please.
About Star Stories
STAR STORIES of THE DREAMING documentary now showing
When the ancient wisdoms of the universe held by the oldest culture on earth meet modern astrophysics a new concept is born – cultural astronomy.
Increasingly Aboriginal people in Australia are being recognised as the first astronomers.
In the meeting of minds between Prof. Ray Norris, CSIRO astrophysicist project leader of the Evolutionary Mapping of the Universe (EMU) and Ghillar extraordinary parallels emerge in the two cultures – such as ‘wormholes’ and the pathway to Bullima, the Euahlayi Sky Camp, via the hollow Coolabah tree.
In Star Stories of The Dreaming Ghillar Michael Anderson shares publicly for the first time teachings passed to him as the knowledge holder for his People, the Euahlayi.
Star Stories of The Dreaming includes the Euahlayi Stories for:
▪ Wurrum-boorrool – Big river in the sky (Milky Way)
▪ Mil-Mulliyan – Eye of the Creator – Venus – Evening star
▪ Mulliyan-gar – Eye of the Creator – Morning Star – Mars
▪ Goolee-bhar – Coolabah tree hollow, way to Bullima, the Sky Camp – Coalsack Dark nebula
▪ Moo-dthe-gar – White cockatoos – 5 Stars of Southern Cross
▪ Goomar-why – Sacred Fire near coolibah tree– Alpha Centauri Pointer of Southern Cross
▪ Wunnargudjilwon – 3rd wife of Bhiaime – Large Magellanic Cloud
▪ Wullar-gooran-bhoon – Younger brother to Wunnargudjilwon – Small Magellanic Cloud
▪ Birringooloo – Mother Nature – Uluru her resting place
▪ Gunumbielie – 2nd wife of Bhiaime, Caterer who now lives at Goomar-why, Sacred Fire
▪ Gwaimudthun & Gweeghular – Night & Day– Dark & Light – moieties – 19 mile plain, Brewarrina
▪ Garwaar-ghoo – Featherless Emu – Dark nebulae in Milky Way, Dust lanes and Galactic bulge
▪ Bahloo – Moon, Waan – crow; Oolah – wood geckco
▪ Yhi – sun
▪ Mei Mei – Seven Sisters – Pleiades – Narran Lake and surrounding lakes; Bigoon – water rat; Gayadharri – platypus, Ghay-gharn – wood duck
▪ Birray Birray – Brothers – Orion’s Belt
▪ Womba Womba yiraay – Crazy Old Man at his camp – Aldebran
▪ Wirrawilbaarru – Whirly wind – Bad spirit travels inside whirlywind – lives behind Scorpio and entry in and out is through black holes in Scorpio;
▪ Buuliis – baldy mounds
▪ Star maps/astral navigational waypoints – two chains of waterholes – Beta Sagittarii to Gamma Arae; Beta Sagittarii to Zeta Scorpii
Ghillar Michael Anderson shares the Stories of the universe that can be told publicly. He has been doing this though oral presentations and now for a broader audience in the recently premiered film ‘Star Stories of The Dreaming’. In these Star Stories he has revealed ancient Stories of the stars, the Blackholes and the creation of the natural world that we all now belong to. Very recently Western scientific research has now confirmed these very ancient Stories about the Aboriginal world of Creation. The ancient Stories go much deeper than what science has delivered so far.
A team of scientists have announced that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity– New York Times.Read More
Have you ever wanted something so badly it was all you could think of? All you could talk about, write about, dream about. Claire did. She wanted a horse. Finding Heart Horse is her journey and her search for her Heart Horse. It takes her from being “the girl most likely to succeed” to a life on the streets of Yorkville in the late sixties. As an adopted child she had no identity, no history, and no place where she “fit.” Her years on the streets lead her into many dark places, where she began to add more secrets and traumas to her already large collection in the wall of secrets. Life changed quickly in those days, from peace and love to war and violence. She went along for the ride not knowing where it would lead, just knowing that she had to find Heart Horse. If you know anyone who may be struggling, perhaps even yourself, Finding Heart Horse can give you hope where you thought there was none. We all have different journeys, but the essence is the same. We all want to be loved, to belong, and to be happy. Everyone at some point has yearned for something so powerful that, like a magnet, it pulls you into the unknown. Even if you weren’t really sure what it was for, you knew you had to pursue it. Life lessons are learned, spirituality discovered. The reality of opposites is proven. With pain comes pleasure, with despair comes hope, with sadness comes joy, and perhaps along the way even your Heart Horse may be found. (Description of first memoir FINDING HEART HORSE)
By Lara Trace Hentz
Hey there. As some of you know I have wonderful friends who write adoptee blogs and books. The books FINDING HEART HORSE (A Memoir of Survival) and THE WALL OF SECRETS (A Memoir by The Almost Daughter) are memoirs of the highest order, in my humble opinion. When a book can make you tense, then hurt then yell then cry often, then you know they are REAL and meant to be read, valued and savored. Claire is that special writer of these two memoirs and her blog THE ALMOST DAUGHTER. Claire’s life has not been easy. She suffered drug addiction and abuse by her adoptive mother who rivals Mommie Dearest in terms of terror and horror. And even though Claire has been ill, she found time to answer a few questions. So please read. The links to her books and website follow the interview. (I read Kindle versions of these books.)
Claire, your first riveting memoir needs to be a motion picture. How long did it take to write Finding Heart Horse?
Claire Hitchon: Actually, it was all one big pile of stories in the beginning, far too much for one book so I had to split it in two. It’s taken eight years to complete them.
I always felt there was a book inside me. I never had an ending and was too busy trying to survive and provide for my daughter. In 2006 the ending became clear. The end then became another beginning. Pain was like a poisonous inspiration for me. I began writing and couldn’t stop. As I relieved each and every trauma I realized how much I had survived and felt others could benefit knowing there is always hope.
So many people, especially young people are caught up in addictions, violence, pain and trauma, and adults, too, of course.
Sometimes, all we need is someone to believe, someone to give hope that healing is possible and that you have internally all that you need.
Did your early journals assist you in any way with your writing?
Unfortunately, many of my journals were stolen while living in Toronto. The next era of writing was destroyed when my friend and mentor Daryl died and I was in the hospital. Our mothers cleaned out the apartment and when I came home the apartment was empty, Daryl dead and all of our musical writing and my journals gone. I imagine they were all just disposed of. I remember many of the stories of course, but my music and poems I lost.
When writing, I surrounded myself with pictures from the internet and relived each and every moment written about. It was so real, I could smell my fathers pipe tobacco.
In an instant I went from “the girl most likely to succeed” to a 15 year old runaway living on the streets of Yorkville Toronto in the late 60’s (the hippie era). I became a street kid, a hippie that encountered every subculture you could imagine, always searching for were I belonged. The Peace & Love quickly turned ugly. From rapes, drugs to jail in a few short years, I experienced it all.
Spoiler Alert: Tell us about the transition from book one to book two?
As I mentioned above it really was one huge book to start with and had to be separated without truly disconnecting each book. Believe it or not, there were a lot of stories left out.
It’s as if part of you is erased, leaving you with many missing pieces to a huge puzzle. I set out, leaving an abusive home at the age of 15 to find these things. Overnight I went from the “girl most likely to succeed” – I was a classical pianist and planned on being a physician. In an instant, I took an abrupt turn, ending up on the streets of Toronto during the Yorkville Hippie era in the late 1960’s
It’s not the things that happen to us that cause us to suffer, it’s what we tell ourselves about them.
I know you have been in hospital. How are you handling your health issues and you do believe they are related to your being adopted?
As long as I searched for my biological roots, I searched for answers to my health issues. Many things now I wonder….if i had the knowledge then would I be as ill now…the answer being NO.
I have a rare mast cell disease, Systemic Mast Cell Activation Disorder. My biological grandfather died of leukaemia which is related and helped in my search for answers.
Unfortunately, the actual finding of my biological roots in 2003 set off a cascade of stress reactions which is one of the major triggers to mast cells. I still didn’t know my diagnosis but adoption reunion sent my mast cells into the abyss, taking me with them.
As I wrote out my history for a mast cell doctor in the USA, I couldn’t help but notice with each trauma I experienced, my illness was bumped up a notch… it was clear even back to my childhood with adoptive mother. Of course reunion being the most powerful.
For adoptees who read this, where are you in reunion?
Reunion: Somehow that puts an element of “happy” into a situation that was born of sadness.
I found my biological family in 2003. I had been searching for over 35 years. Totally shocked to find there were actual “people” attached. I know it sounds strange but we, as adoptees are so conditioned for rejection and I had spent a lifetime. I was doing it as a last resort, for closure.
In 2005, I was ill enough that I had to take disability from my Nursing Career that I loved as an RN, I decided that I would always regret not taking the next step, which was moving across Canada to get to know this family of strangers. My family.
My birth mother was quite ill and passed away 9 months after I arrived on Vancouver Island. BC from Ontario.
The reunion itself was fast and furious because of my birth mothers health. It also became the prime focus until she died leaving three siblings and myself in a place of grief. They had lost their mother, and I had just found mine, only to lose her in the next breath, never knowing what it was like to be mothered.
I was left with a family of strangers who had decades of history together. I tried several times to enter their world, to bond, to become friends hoping to be allowed in.
I was becoming extremely ill and finally realized I would never belong, never fit. My health had to take priority, So in my case…history won.
I was an only child and having siblings was beyond my wildest dreams…Reunion should be a time for family healing and growth. I can wish all I want, but the fact is, I’m still alone.
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for the process has given me pieces of the puzzle and reintegration of self. I am, at last at peace.
Thanks to the world-wide-web, blogging can connect people to past, present and future in brand new ways… and we make new friends who become our relatives.
As promised, I’m interviewing some of my most inspiring friends. One of them is renown Seattle poet J. Glenn Evans (Cherokee). He’s contributed to this blog numerous times over the past five years. J Glenn and I first met online after my memoir came out and we soon discovered we have a mutual friend — the legendary Seattle record label exec JERRY DENNON, my old boss/employer at Jerden Records back in the early 90s.
Jerry Dennon is best known for producing hits like “Louie Louie” when he was The Kingsmen’s producer thirty years earlier… I spent about a year working as Mr. Dennon’s right- hand-assistant and helped him on his third incarnation into the music business when SEATTLE GRUNGE was just hitting its stride with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam… I loved living and working in downtown Seattle… Dennon was going to reproduce some of his catalog and I helped him do that.
Jerry and J Glenn met as investment bankers/stock brokers.
By synchronicity then years later I meet J Glenn who is a truly prolific writer and poet and community organizer. It’s a small world and it just keeps getting smaller!
Here’s a bit about this trailblazer’s background and career:
Part Cherokee, and a native of Oklahoma, J Glenn Evans has lived in Seattle over 54 years beginning in 1960 and now resides in Olympia, Washington. He worked in a lumber mill, operated a mining company and co-produced a movie, Christmas Mountain, with Mark Miller, starring Slim Pickens. Evans, an award-wining poet, has written numerous political essays and is the author of several local community histories…
Now for some questions:
Where did you grow up and what was that experience like?
J Glenn Evans: I was born December 21, 1930 in Wewoka, Oklahoma, the capital of the Seminole Nation. Many of my classmates were Seminole, including Amelia Brown, great-granddaughter of the famous Gov Brown, chief of the Seminole Nation around the Civil War period.
The 1930s were the days of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. I remember playing out in front of the house when my mother came out, grabbed me by the arm and yelled, “Come, we’ve got to get inside.” I looked back and saw a wall of sand as high as I could see bearing down on us. When we got inside the angry sand beat the windows and streamed under the doors.
We were sharecroppers and I was tired of Biscuits and Gravy all the time. I asked my mother, “Could we have some eggs?” She said, “We don’t have any.” I said, “I seen some in the icebox.” She said, “Those are Mr. Looneys. We sold ours to buy you school books.”
Those times were hard, but neighbors seemed to help each other.
Do you recall the first time you wrote something (story or poem) and knew it was good, or even great? How old were you?
J Glenn: The earliest writing I did was a filler called “Expecting A New Baby” that was published in The American Baby and they paid me $5.00 for it. Today that would be equivalent to $100 (a nickel candy bar then now sells for almost a buck). This was a story that parents should prepare their children to expect a new brother or sister so they will not be jealous of the new baby. At that time I was age 15. I went on to write for the high school newspaper called the Little Tiger. I wrote a story about two buddies and I camping out in the woods near the Wewoka Creek and being stalked by a cougar. We’d seen what looked like cougar tracks on the creek bank earlier in the day and really believed that we had been stalk by a cougar. With a little age I suspect it was our imagination.
Tell us about PoetsWest? How can people hear the podcasts?
J. Glenn: I was writing lots of poetry and hosting three different poetry venues we called PoetsWest when a fellow member of Seattle Free Lances suggested that I contact the local radio station and propose a program on poetry. She knew Ed Bremer, the manager of KSER90.7 FM of Everett, WA near Seattle. She referred me to him. His reaction was “Who in the hell listens to poetry” but he said, “I’ll give you 30 minutes a week,” and he scheduled us on a remote Saturday afternoon when there were few listeners. After two months he moved us up to his prime time, every Thursday at 6:30 pm on his Road Home show. This was right before Amy Goodman of Democracy Now and has kept us on prime time for the past seven years. You can listen to the two most recent program on our website. Here is the link: http://www.poetswest.com/radio_programs.htm
You recently had to relocate from Seattle to Olympia. What happened?
J. Glenn: After living in Seattle 54 years and in our apartment for 27 years, the Panorama House was sold to some eastern investors. They gave us notice that we must vacate within six months. If we wanted to return after their remodel job the rents would essentially double. We told them and Seattle to “Go Jump” and moved to Olympia where we got the same square footage for $960 a month against $1400 we were paying that would have doubled to about $2800 if we returned. To reflect our outrage I wrote an essay called, “We Have Moved” (read essay below). We will miss our lovely city of Seattle that we have called home for so many years and getting to see our close friends often, but Olympia reminds us of Seattle when we first came to Seattle in 1960 when the tallest building in town was the Smith Tower.
You asked me about having more than one name and you have this same issue. Care to explain?
J. Glenn: I too have had multiple names. My original name was “Jackie Johnny Junior Glenn.” My birth father’s name was John Glenn, whom my mother stayed married to only one year then they split. My mother was only 16 years of age. My birth father, John Glenn, kidnapped me when I was one year old and took me to the Gulf of Mexico.
My mother re-married to Jefferson Davis Evans when I was four years old. He went by J. D., being raised a southerner, when he was in the U.S. Marines. He was the only father I knew until high school. My mother never used my birth certificate name, but always called me Jackie Ray Evans. When I was a teenager, I had an aunt who was a legal secretary. She helped me to change my name legally to Jackie Ray Evans and as I grew up I used “Jack R. Evans.”
My mother’s brother, Uncle Harvey, raised my mother as she was only two years old when her own mother died in the 1918 flu epidemic. This grandmother was where I got my Cherokee heritage. She was a quarter Cherokee. Mother knew her grandmother who was a half-breed Cherokee, but she never told me much about her. Her last name was Harjo. I wish I had information on my great-great grandparent, who was a full blood Cherokee, but I guess that will never be. But I honored him with my poem, “My Grandfather Spoke,” in my book, Buffalo Tracks. Although, my percentage of Indian is small, I have become more Indian in spirit than white.
I did not get to meet my birth father until I was in high school. I liked him very much, though it did not lessen my love for my stepfather who raised me. He had three boys and a girl so I discovered a new family. He was office manager of the Loftland Drilling Company, a large oilfield supply company out of Oklahoma City.
When I shucked my career as a stockbroker and became a full time writer, I adopted the professional name of J. Glenn Evans, because I wanted to also honor my birthfather. It worked out well. There are hundreds of “Jack Evans” but only one or two J. Glenn Evans when you Google that name. More people now know me as J. Glenn Evans than ever knew me as Jack Evans. So with my names changes, you see how I can respect your selection of various names. Thank God, I didn’t get stuck with Jackie Johnny Junior Glenn.
You live in a neighborhood of educated, articulate, intelligent, and artistic people, or maybe just good old common folks. These are your neighbors, relatives, people who have become dear friends over the years. Then suddenly an outside force without any notice or negotiation comes in and says you all must all move; you have six months to get out. Gone are your neighborhood and friends, a community destroyed.
This happens again and again and government does nothing to stop it. With Panorama House in Seattle it is reported that the new owners paid in the range of $74 million for the property and budgeted up to $20 million for remodeling and upgrading. According to present tenant laws, what happened to the people in Panorama House is legal. When Panorama House was constructed in 1962, the project was funded by the government and repaid by the tenants over the years. Therefore, the tenants, not the former owners, paid equity into the building. Laws that deeply favor the landlord must be changed to provide a more favorable balance between the owners and the tenants. The tenants, who are being forced to relocate against their will, should be paid at least a $10,000 relocation fee, an amount that more favorably reflects what are the true costs of this unsettling. This cost would only require another $2 million or 2% added to the budget. The new buyers could have negotiated with the former owners to pay half of these costs in the deal. After all, they have had a free ride all these years, receiving annual profits and a fabulous capital gain all paid for and earned by the tenants, who received nothing. It’s time for new thinking about tenant’s rights with properties being hogged up by big corporations.
Speculative money is forcing long-term citizens/tenants out of their homes as in the recent sale of the Panorama House. Some tenants have lived here over 40 years and many more over 20 years. This has caused the destruction of a community of people who have contributed to the vitality of Seattle. Many of these folks, who are now elderly, have been advised that if they want to move back in after remodeling, rents will essentially double to reflect market rates, an impossible cost for many of them.
Well, the market be damned. It’s a capitalist tool of speculators, developers, bankers and money manipulators who artificially create their funny money that is used to push honest hardworking people to the brink. Modern society must come to recognize that shelter, like food, healthcare and education, are not commodities to be manipulated by speculators who give the outrageous excuse that this is the market. It’s time these vital necessities be treated like utilities and have their prices regulated based on costs and a reasonable profit, not manipulation and speculation. Otherwise, these productive functions should be taken into public ownership and operated for the common good and not for personal private profit. We need rent control to be regulated by the local communities, not prohibited or regulated by the state. Local factors vary too much for the state to be involved in such regulation. We also need a massive program of public housing that is sheltered from market manipulation. Otherwise the heart and soul of our city will die. Taxing the new construction projects that are crowding out and killing our older communities can finance this.
Rent control is not the only major problem our society is facing. If the legislators do not change the laws to close the tax loopholes, take private money out of elections, provide a fairer, economic, social, criminal justice and wipe out this outrageous inequality by new tax laws, then we must change those who represent us. They must also quit funding predatory wars, quit trashing our Constitution with unconstitutional laws that allow the so-called leaders to commit war crimes and violate international laws. They must desist in interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and manipulating or destroying democratically elected leaders. They must cease and desist in accepting corruption money from lobbyists and other bribers. If these actions are not taken then we need to change our elected representatives before it becomes necessary for the people undertake stronger measures that they and their rich friends are blindly driving us to.
Due to the gross inequalities that have developed with mega capitalism, we need to devise a new system. Socialism does not have all the answers, but frankly, I think it is time we take a realistic look at Socialism where rents are stable; healthcare is provided without bankrupting the citizens; our young folks are educated without a lifetime of debt hanging around their necks; everyone able to work is employed; everyone is cared for and provided food and shelter.
The resources of this earth are here for all life, not reserved for a few rich grabbers. Why should one person have enough for a thousand lifetimes and a thousand families go hungry and unsheltered. After seeing what big concentrations of money is doing to our democracy, we need an equalization tax. Any private corporate ownership in the hands of one individual or institution, regardless of where they are headquartered, that exceeds $10 million should be taken into public ownership and any income that exceeds $1 million per year should be taxed 95%. If the Rockefellers, Wall Street tycoons and CEOs can’t afford to keep up their mansions, they can always take in boarders. Mega Buck psychopaths did not earn that wealth. They get it by manipulation and speculation in casino gambling on Wall Street.
WHAT HAPPENED AT PANORAMA HOUSE MUST NOT HAPPEN AGAIN—WE MUST CHANGE THE LAWS OR THE LAW MAKERS WHO HAVE NOT ADDRESSED THIS PROBLEM
RENT CONTROL AND MORE PUBLIC HOUSING, GO GREEN!! OR LET’S RECYCLE THE LEGISLATURES AND CITY COUNCILS WHO DO NOT ACT!!
SUPPORT THOSE WHO STAND STRONG FOR RENT CONTROL; SOMETHING WE MUST HAVE IN SEATTLE UNLESS WE WANT OUR ONCE WONDERFUL CITY TO BECOME KNOWN AS A SOULLESS GREEDSVILLE.
Copyleft 2014 J. Glenn Evans
Feel free to copy and distribute as broadly as possible…
J. Glenn Evans, founder and director of PoetsWest, is the author of two novels, Broker Jim, and Zeke’s Revenge, and four books of poetry, Window In The Sky, Seattle Poems, Buffalo Tracks, and Deadly Mistress. His poems appear in the Poets Table Anthology (SCW Publications, 2002) and in diverse other publications. Under his real name, Jack R. Evans, he has authored several local community histories and two biographies. Click on books for a list of his publications, including a history of Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. J. Glenn Evans was awarded the 1999 Faith Beamer Cooke Award by Washington Poets Association in recognition of service to the poetry community of Washington and the 2003 Seattle Free Lances Award for literary achievement. Evans is also the host and co-producer of PoetsWest on the air, a weekly program of poetry, music and interviews broadcast from KSER 90.7 FM in Everett, Washington. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World. J Glenn is past president of the Seattle Free Lances, AKCHO and the past vice president of the History Guild. His books can be purchased at the links above.
My deepest thanks to J Glenn for being a supporter of my poetry chapbooks and my memoir. He is a good friend and a true inspiration… Lara/Trace