Tag Archives: Ndns

Veteran’s Day

These figs have no relation to today’s post.

In Indian Country, it’s well known that Indians serve in the military in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. If you attend a tribal community function, a Color Guard of our veterans will be there.

According to this 2011 Guardian article Why Native Americans Fight and Die for the Same Army That Slew Their Ancestors Indians form 1.7% of the US active duty forces and make up 0.8% of the US Population.

This 2007 Christian Scientist Monitor piece on NDNs in the US Military has a similar statistic. Indian Country Today has written a brief history of NDN military service.

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Last of His Tribe

I started this post a couple weeks ago when I learned that Ishi was inducted into the California Hall of Fame. (Along with others including Warren Beatty and Joe Montana – what a weird hall of fame.)

The sentence that stood out for me was, “Ishi means man in the Yahi language and was not his real name. Reportedly, there were no elders left to name him.”

I did not remember hearing this before and thought the world’s saddest story turns out to be even sadder. I haven’t read the book since I was in school. While doing my due diligence on Wikipedia I noticed that this tidbit is in the first paragraph so I probably did already learn this but blocked it out.

It’s a sad, sad story about a man whose entire tribe is wiped out by white people settling in California. Check out this bit from Wikipedia: miners settling in California “put[] pressure on native populations.”

That’s not how I would tell the story but I don’t have time or the heart to revise it right now. I am on my way out the door for a long weekend in California. I’ll be offline until next week.

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Do you know why the Indian rain dances always worked? Because the Indians would keep dancing until it rained.

If you ever have the opportunity, go see Sherman Alexie. I’ve been seeing him do readings since I moved here. Twenty years ago it was in a classroom at Clackamas College.

We’ve both come a long way since then.

I have another week or so of the insane busy. Then a return to the amazing content that you’ve come to expect from me. Ahem.

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Turkey Day Is Here

In honor of Thanksgiving. Lefty was my great-uncle, my grandfather’s younger brother. I’d like to point out that none of the get-up in that photo is traditional to our tribe. I think Aunt Genie was a Montana Indian so we can cut them a little slack.

Meanwhile, I drank the Kool Aid! I’m spatchcocking.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Put On Your Clothes

Aiee. What a day. I’m glad tomorrow’s a half day. I’m going to try to get a few cooking projects started tonight.

November is Indian Heritage Month or something like that. I was going to write some Indian themed posts and tweet some links but, oops.

Here’s a great URL for buying Native. I’m trying to fight my earring addiction but it won’t hurt if I just look around a bit.

I swear I recently read that the average person spends less than $100 a year on clothes. Does that sound right? I hate buying clothes and I spend at least $100 a year. Even when I was dead broke and shopping at Value Village I think I hit about $100.

Am I so out of touch? I know lots of families are having it really tough right now.

I put on a pair of pants yesterday that I realized I hated. I think I’ve been wearing them at least 5 years but I still feel bad putting them in the giveaway bag.

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Big Announcement: RED TAPE Story Collection

Cover by R. Toby Linwood (Wampanoag/Okanagan)

I’ve been talking about this forever, but FINALLY! My story collection is out into the world and available for eReaders.
It’s called: Red Tape Stories from Indian Country.

It’s a collection of nine speculative fiction stories including three that were already published. All the stories have some connection to the people and lands of the Karuk Tribe.

Here’s the Table of Contents and a little bit about the stories.

The Battle of Little Big Science
(previously appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction) This was my Clarion West week #3 story.

Estelle Makes the Casino Run
(previously appeared in Innsmouth Free Press) I wrote this for a contest with my Clarion West classmates.

Social Security
(previously appeared in The Wordstock Ten) This was my submission story for Clarion West.

Field Work
This was my Clarion West week #2 story. Are you seeing a theme here?

The Medicine Woman of Talking Rock
Yup, Clarion West Week #5.

Clarion West Week #6. This was me trying to do something different since you’re supposed to stretch yourself at the workshop.

Trusted Leader
This was my Week #7 story – the first thing I wrote after I left the workshop. The process was gruesome but I like the way it came out after about 5000 drafts.

Fish Killer
This story has nothing to do with Clarion West. I was upset about the dredge mining situation on the Klamath and needed to work it out.

The Casino Gargoyle
This was another submission story I wrote when I misunderstood the application instructions.

All of this can be yours with just a few clicks.

It’s available for Kindle at Amazon or in all other formats at Smashwords.

Special thanks goes to my Clarion West class and instructors. Also giant tower of thank you pies to Douglas Lucas for help with finalizing the manuscript and Eden Robins for the title. (Note to Douglas and Eden, that tower of thank you pies is a figure of speech. Don’t expect an actual tower of pies.)

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Build Your Tether

Apparently I was so excited about our first pre-season game at home, I forgot how to use my camera. When I went to download, this was the only photo. I know I took more than that.

But not many. Because it was cold. Above freezing, but just barely. Add that to my list of crazy love for the Timbers. Sitting outside wearing 200 layers and jumping around like the Pillsbury Doughboy in 30-something degrees. 16,500 people came out for a pre-season game. We played San Jose and see that #8? That’s Wondo. He has played for the US National team and he’s Kiowa and my hero.

But I love the Timbers more!

My favorite website is the Awl. About twice a year I go through a thing where I pare down all my Internet activity but the Awl always makes the cut.

Earlier this week they posted this video: http://www.theawl.com/2012/02/bon-iver-towers which they referred to as the new trailer for The Hobbit. And since I’m 1000 years old and don’t know the first thing about Bon Iver. I didn’t get the joke and I very happily clicked the link thinking: OOH! New Hobbit trailer.

Then I watched it unfold and I was thinking: huh, so is that a Hobbit? Oh. But he’s wearing shoes. And he has a fish net? That he’s throwing into his truck?

It’s sad how long it took me to get that it *wasn’t* a new Hobbit trailer. And I’m a regular of the website. D’oh!

The music made me want to stick forks in my ears.

Remember when all the music was Mötlëy Crüë and Dëf Lëppärd? Don’t you wish that would come back?

Meanwhile, Adrienne K took on the video in a whole different context today.

Apparently this video is a tribute to Native American preservation land.

Never heard of Native American preservation land?

No one has. Because there’s no such thing. And “a tribute” meaning what? Adrienne does a great job of breaking it all down.

Meanwhile, I’m going to clean my ears out with some Ratt.

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Special Events

Last night was our annual auction for NAYA. Awesome event as always. The bidding is too rich for us so we buy golden raffle tickets. If you win the raffle you can pick one of the auction items. Bob and I always argue about which prize we’d take. This year I would have wanted the button blanket and paddle or the antique squash blossom necklace. He wanted the trip to Maine.

Luckily, we didn’t win so we didn’t have to duke it out.

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For Those About To Feast

I have about a half hour before I need to hit the kitchen in order to have dinner ready by 5pm. I made the Crème Brûlèe yesterday. I bought the culinary torch which I can’t wait to use and 6 ramekins. Note to Kitchen Kaboodle: could you just pony up the extra 3½¢ per item it would cost to get stickers that peel off easily rather than the crapshit you use so I have to spend a half hour scraping and goo-goning to get my new ramekins clean?

My mother-in-law was kind enough to clip an article for me from one of her magazines that tells a common version of the first thanksgiving story including happy pilgrims and Indians whooping it up with lots of sharing, caring, giving and general good cheer.

In return, I’ve clipped for her a few articles that tell a less common version of the story which is a little darker and shows a side of the pilgrims that is not so generous.

From Deconstructing the Myths of The First Thanksgiving

Myth: The First Thanksgiving occurred in 1621.

Fact: No one knows when the “first” thanksgiving occurred. People have been giving thanks for as long as people have existed. Indigenous nations all over the world have celebrations of the harvest that come from very old traditions; for Native peoples, thanksgiving comes not once a year, but every day, for all the gifts of life. To refer to the harvest feast of 1621 as The First Thanksgiving disappears Indian peoples in the eyes of non-Native children.

Quoted from: The Hidden History of Massachusetts

According to a single-paragraph account in the writings of one Pilgrim, a harvest feast did take place in Plymouth in 1621, probably in mid-October, but the Indians who attended were not even invited. Though it later became known as "Thanksgiving," the Pilgrims never called it that. And amidst the imagery of a picnic of interracial harmony is some of the most terrifying bloodshed in New World history.

From The Thanksgiving Myth

Jump 129 years to 1621, year of the supposed "first Thanksgiving." There is not much documentation of that event, but surviving Indians do not trust the myth. Natives were already dying like flies thanks to European-borne diseases. The Pequot tribe reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim "Thanksgiving" took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots. "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots," read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop's proclamation. Few Pequots survived.

To end on a lighter note from Addams Family Values:

[As an Indian, ad-libbing during a Thanksgiving play]
Wednesday: Wait, we can not break bread with you. You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans, and drink highballs. We will sell our bracelets by the road sides, and you will play golf, and eat hot h'ors d'ourves. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They said do not trust the pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller. And for all of these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.

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Indian Dance

American Indian Heritage Month

When I enrolled at Clark College I filled out some form that asked my ethnicity and I put American Indian. Now I’m on the diversity mailing list and have gotten more mail than a person taking a single class for one quarter could possibly need.

I got a letter inviting me to try out for head dancer at the Clark College Pow Wow and when I told Bob, he said: "Cool. Are you going to do it?"

And I gave him a funny look because (a) I’ve never been a pow wow dancer, (b) pow wow isn’t part of my tradition, and (c) I’m not even a dancer in my own tribe’s tradition. Still, it was nice to be asked.

We went for Indian tacos before the pow wow and I was a little worried because there were only about 20 people and I thought, Oh no. Low turnout. My fears were unwarranted. The gym was more than half full. And those people are sad they missed out because the Indian tacos were awesome. I’ll omit any discussion about the fry bread controversy since it’s so yummy but if you’re interested start here. Also there was a tiny riot when late in the night the frybread ran out.

I love pow wows. My first favorite part is grand entry. It starts with Indian veterans and there’s always at least couple ancient elders, usually tiny, who stand so tall and so proud and are so completely confident and in charge. There is no way to watch without feeling a tug in your heart.

Last night was no exception. They followed grand entry with an hour of talking into microphones that sounded like the grownups on Charlie Brown. Everyone got to say something. Too bad most of it was unintelligible. This situation was made worse by all the dancers wearing bells on their shoes or jingle dresses and jumping around. I understood little except that this is part of a Title VII program — some sort of federal education funding and Indians.

They talked about Indian Heritage Month and read some sort of proclamation from President Bush. Possibly this. I like the part that goes, " … we honor the generations of American Indians and Alaska Natives who have added to the character of our Nation." I sat in the bleachers and said, "added? Are you kidding me, added?" The person reading the proclamation said he was going to skip the part about money and I said, "Yeah, how about settling Cobell?” the Indian trust case that doesn’t seem to have a chance of being settled. My dear husband encouraged me to relax and perhaps keep it down a bit

The MC was fantastic, as they usually are. He said, "We used to get just a day. Now, we get a whole month."

My second favorite part was the kid in the bleachers who danced during the opening songs, with a light saber.

My third favorite part was the tiny tots. Seven and under kids dancing is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. There was a little girl who looked like the Indian version of Little Miss Sunshine. I had my fingers crossed for a Super Freak moment.

Probably the highlight of the night was the drumline group of non-Indian sixth to eighth graders who set up their drums and joined the pow wow drum for a song. The first round didn’t completely work but the second round they were on fire. But no dancers. The MC asked them to play again and asked the dancers to get out there. Some of them balked but he would have none of it. "Make something up," he said. At least half of them got out there and went for it. It was really, really cool.

The next dance was Intertribal and the MC called the drumline kids out and asked them to dance. A nice moment and when you think about it, this is what heritage month should be all about.

I know a lot of people worked hard to make last night happen so huge applause from me. Super fun time.

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