Don’t feel bad about knowing little to nothing about American Indians or First Nations in North America. I have a special treat for you on this day of Thanksgiving and our ways of giving thanks. It’s a half-hour talk by a Native scholar K. Tsianina Lomawaima. Give yourself this gift. Just remember how Indians are lousy television. WHAT? Ha!
Here’s an earlier post on Thanksgiving. (photo at left) Do American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?
I wanted you all to know I am doing research on the abolitionists who became reformers in Indian Country. These people were the thinkers of the day, in the time periods of the 1800s until early 1900. I’m reading more than I am writing. I understand it would be a good thing if I wrote more essays for this blog. And I plan to… eventually.
There is a post I wrote coming tommorrow.
I make lists. I thank all the people in my life and the ancestors who prayed for me before I was born. I know they are your ancestors too.
Be grateful for everything, even the chaos. We are here. We are the witness. We are more powerful than we can imagine.
Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you all for reading this blog.
(Top Photo: I shot this down the road last year. It was the right light. And that horse is a buddy of mine. He’s very photogenic.)
When 20,000 American Nazis Descended Upon New York City Oct 10, 2017 | Video by Marshall Curry
In 1939, the German American Bund organized a rally of 20,000 Nazi supporters at Madison Square Garden in New York City. When Academy Award-nominated documentarian Marshall Curry stumbled upon footage of the event in historical archives, he was flabbergasted. Together with Field of Vision, he decided to present the footage as a cautionary tale to Americans. The short film, A Night at the Garden, premieres on The Atlantic today (10-10).
“The first thing that struck me was that an event like this could happen in the heart of New York City,” Curry told The Atlantic. “Watching it felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone where history has taken a different path. But it wasn’t science fiction – it was real, historical footage. It all felt eerily familiar, given today’s political situation.”
Rather than edit the footage into a standard historical documentary with narration, Curry decided to “keep it pure, cinematic, and unmediated, as if you are there, watching, and wrestling with what you are seeing. I wanted it to be more provocative than didactic – a small history-grenade tossed into the discussion we are having about White Supremacy right now.”
“The footage is so powerful,” continued Curry, “it seems amazing that it isn’t a stock part of every high school history class. This story was likely nudged out of the canon, in part because it’s scary and embarrassing. It tells a story about our country that we’d prefer to forget.” Author: Emily Buder SOURCE
WTH? Say what? –> Per Eric Levitz at NYMag, “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says that the Trump Administration will not remove Confederate monuments from federal lands out of consideration for the feelings of ‘native Indians.’”
[More of the history we are not supposed to know, right?… It is really a big problem – all this bad history makes people confused… L/T]
Human trafficking is a global problem, with the UN saying victims come from as many as 152 countries, and that a third of those trafficked are children. BBC News focused on three countries, talking to people who have been trafficked and also to the traffickers themselves. **Video contains some harrowing testimony**
A few years ago I decided to dedicate more of this blog to cover stories on human trafficking. This 2007 video is horrifying. Supposedly this was produced by actor George Clooney.
This talk was given at a TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In 2013 Matika Wilbur (story/project link) took on a project of massive scope: to photograph members of each Federally recognized tribe in the United States. “My dream,” Wilbur says, “is that our children are given images that are more useful, truthful, and beautiful.”
This is my post for this week…It needs no words from me…Just my Love and Appreciation… AHO
Susan Mello Souza (left) and Mary Moran Murphy met as teenagers at a home for unwed mothers in Massachusetts. Decades later, the women are still friends.
In 1968, Susan Mello Souza and Mary Moran Murphy were teenagers — and both were pregnant. To keep that a secret, their families sent them to St. Mary’s Home for Unwed Mothers in Massachusetts, where they lived until they gave birth.
Then, their children were placed for adoption.
“I remember being wheeled into the delivery room,” Susan tells Mary on a trip to StoryCorps. “They lay you on the bed, and they strap your hands down. Then I remember the doctor coming in, and he asked me if I was going to see my baby. And I said, ‘Yes.’ … I would rock her and sing to her. Oh, my God — I was so sad.”
“The day I left the hospital, my mother walked me down, and we looked in the nursery,” Mary says. “I didn’t want to walk out and leave her. But there was nothing I could do.”
Both women say their mothers never spoke of it again. “The rule of thumb was, ‘It never happened,’ ” Susan says.
For years, Mary never told her boyfriends or doctors about her child. “I lied for the longest time,” she says.
Decades later, both women reunited with their daughters. And the two friends are grateful they “don’t have to lie anymore” — and that they have each other.
As a young boy, Wayne Valliere’s grandmother said to him, “Your grandfathers are written throughout history. I challenge you and your brothers to think, what will your grandchildren say about you someday?” That inspired Valliere to pass on his Native American culture to young people in his community. One of the ways he does that is by teaching them how to craft traditional birchbark canoes.
What if you could talk to animals and have them talk back to you?
Anna Breytenbach has dedicated her life to what she calls interspecies communication. She sends detailed messages to animals through pictures and thoughts. She then receives messages of remarkable clarity back from the animals.
Anna can feel the scars hidden under a monkeys fur, she can understand the detailed story that is causing a birds trauma, she transforms a deadly snarling leopard into a relaxed content cat – the whole animal kingdom comes alive in a way never seen before – wild birds land on her shoulders, fish gather around her when she swims, and wild unfamiliar baboons lie on her body as if she is one of their own.
Never underestimate the power of a mother’s love. Check out the official trailer for this atmospheric genre piece from writer/director Francesca Gregorini.
The trailer for The Truth About Emanuel, the film that mesmerized audiences at the Sundance Festival, has finally arrived! Written and directed by Francesca Gregorini (Tanner Hall), the film stars British sensation Kaya Scodelario and Jessica Biel as a pair of unlikely neighbors who find unexpected solace in each other as both of their lives start to crumble.
Also featuring strong supporting performances from Alfred Molina, Frances O’Connor, Aneurin Barnard and Jimmi Simpson, The Truth About Emanuel is a dramatic, stylish thriller that explores the healing bonds of friendship and the lengths we’ll go to save one another.
Young Lakota will air at 10 p.m. EST, Monday, Nov. 25, on PBS’s Independent Lens. The film chronicles Tribal President Cecelia Fire Thunder’s challenge to a proposed abortion ban in South Dakota, and the political awakening she inspires in Sunny Clifford, a young Lakota woman living on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Young Lakota was an Official Selection at the Big Sky Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival, the American Indian Film Festival, and won Best Documentary at Cine Las Americas and the Smithsonian Showcase.
In a small town in the heart of the Pine Ridge Reservation, Sunny Clifford, her twin sister Serena, and their neighbor, Brandon Ferguson, share a common dream of helping to create a better future for their tribe. When South Dakota passes a law criminalizing abortion, their tribal President, Cecelia Fire Thunder, challenges it with a threat to build a clinic on the reservation, drawing Sunny, Serena, and Brandon into a political storm that changes the course of each of their lives.
Sunny Clifford works as a clerk at the Kyle grocery store, living in “the housing” in Kyle, population with her twin sister, Serena. The twins — who have dropped out of college — dream of finding a way to help make things better on the reservation, but they don’t really know where to start. Their idealism is shared by Brandon Ferguson, their neighbor, who — like Serena — has young children.
All three look up to Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first female president of their tribe, as she counters a South Dakota law that makes abortion a crime, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Fire Thunder takes a stand by proposing a women’s health clinic providing abortions on the reservation but open to all local women.
But Fire Thunder’s bold proposal is seen by some as grandstanding, and the tribe is divided over both the abortion issue and Fire Thunder herself. Ultimately, Fire Thunder is impeached by her political enemies inside the tribal government (perhaps with the help of the South Dakota political right), an act that sets off a chain reaction in the lives of Sunny, Serena, and Brandon. A tumultuous tribal election to replace Fire Thunder and a state vote that defeats of the abortion ban, open a political rift between the friends, and help determine the adults they will become.
Producers / Directors: Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt
Executive Producer: Heather Rae
Writer: Marion Lipschutz
Director of Photography: Gary Keith Griffin
Sound: Susan Bryant
Editors: Rose Rosenblatt, Jeremy Stulberg & Diego Siranga
Composer: Garth Stevenson
About Independent LensIndependent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The senior series producer is Lois Vossen. More information at http://www.pbs.org/independentlens. Join Independent Lens on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/independentlens.
A speech was given by actor-adoptee Eric Schweig on February 19, 1999 at the Vancouver Inner City Foster Care Conference. Invited to the conference to share his own experiences and perspectives, Eric was pleased to have the opportunity to speak on a topic close to his heart. The ramifications and issues surrounding interracial/cultural adoption are, for him, much more than a topic. They are the legacy he has been given; they are what has made him who he is … and who he is not. It is very much the spirit behind his art; certainly the tragic inspiration for his Adoption Masks. To fully appreciate the Inuit Masks, the Adoption Masks, and all else that Eric carves, one must first appreciate the heart & motivation that creates them. His participation in the conference was a chance to encourage more involvement on the part of the native community, be they extended family or neighbors, in the plight and care of children who desperately need someone to intervene and protect. It was also meant as a plea to replace governmental paternalism with community assistance.
These words are, according to Eric Schweig, his “mission statement.”
“We can never go home because the concept of home is lost on us.”
Adoption of aboriginal children by Caucasian couples is to me, for lack of a better term ‘State Sanctioned Kidnapping.’ Too often Euro-American couples are preoccupied with the romantic notion of having a “real live Indian baby” or a “real live Inuit baby” which instantly transforms the child into an object rather than a person. For decades our communities’ babies have been unceremoniously wrenched from the hands of their biological parents and subjected to a plethora of abuses. Physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and a host of others.
I have first-hand knowledge of this because I was one of those children. For years my adoptive parents beat me bloody on a regular basis. I’ve been trapped in rooms naked and beaten with belt buckles, hockey sticks, extension cords, and once with a horsewhip.
I’m not saying this to shock you or to gain pity; I’m just stating fact. I eventually grew tired of living in a prison without walls and ran away when I was 16. What transpired between then and now has been a roller coaster of alcohol, drugs, violence, failed relationships, despair and confusion. Who am I? Where do I come from? Where is my family? Where do I belong? When life’s mystery has been shattered by strangers watching over you, a lot of these questions are lost.
There has been some good times as well, regardless, but for reasons that I’ve just started to understand, there has always been an impending sense of doom that controlled my actions and behavior, but now that I’ve been clean and sober for 8 months and actually started working on myself I’m beginning to step out of my father’s shadow and into the light of day where life isn’t so murky or such a struggle.
There are many of us who have been raised in this manner and not just aboriginal people. A myriad of different ethnic groups have suffered the pain and humiliation of being brought up by certain morally bankrupt individuals who seem to get their kicks out of abusing children.
I shouldn’t neglect to say that there are some, not many, but some Euro-American parents who have raised their adopted aboriginal children in a stable and loving environment. But for the majority of us, living as a young aboriginal person growing up in an environment with that much hostility and disregard is an all too early lesson in pain and loneliness.
I haven’t even begun to speak about the cultural devastation that occurs when an adopted teenage aboriginal person wakes up one day and realizes just how different they are from the world around them. How differently they are regarded at school, in the mall, on the street, and at home. The racial slurs in public, the condescending looks from strangers that sometimes turns into outright violence, depending on the situation.
And what about the aboriginal mothers and fathers who will probably never forget the new baby smell that babies always seem to have, and who will never be able to see them again? Can you imagine the profound longing in their hearts that they feel every day their child is gone?
A lot of us are discarded, lost, and wander into self imposed exile only to be devoured by the system because we have no idea where it is that we belong. We end up being “nowhere people” with absolutely nothing to hang on to; nothing to keep us grounded and safe. We can never go home because the concept of home is lost on us.
So my hat goes off to those of us who have survived the ordeal with our souls intact and still above ground, and my prayers go out to those who haven’t.
Many of us are dead. Many of our biological mothers and fathers are dead because the absence of their children forced them to give up, and lose themselves in alcohol or drugs and eventually die from broken hearts.
I have an urgent appeal to the Canadian government, or any government that advocates the adoption of aboriginal children to Euro-American parents. If you insist upon taking our children away from us, or if they have to be removed for their safety or well being, let aboriginal people handle it. Your paternalism is insulting, and to coin a phrase, “it’s getting old.” Let “us” find a safe environment for them, that is either within or in reasonable proximity of their respective communities, and assist us in doing so.
We are not all 100% healed, but healing takes time, and we’ve waited 500 years already, I don’t see how a month or two of decision and law making by you will matter much.
In the meantime, I hope other adopted adult or teenage aboriginal children of these so called parents are listening and remember that no matter how lost you feel, how lonely it is, or how scared you feel, reach out by any means within your power, because somewhere there might be a man and a woman who look just like you and who are bound to you by blood, who never forgot about you, and are still waiting to meet you and invite you back to a place that is your RIGHT to belong in. Your community, your family, and your home.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about an issue that is scarcely recognized. It means the world to me.