November 30, 2007

Exhibit challenges happy history

Oklahoma artists create dialogue to discuss state's centennial"For mainstream Oklahoma, it's easier to go down the road where things are always pleasant and always happy," said Choctaw/Southern Cheyenne artist Tim Ramsey. "Just for that reason, it's a little bit harder to look at someone else and empathize with another history that you're not familiar with or that might be a little bit uncomfortable."

This "uncomfortable" history grows into evasive questions throughout much of the Oklahoma Centennial hoopla that in many cases are not attempted to be answered or are forgotten. What about the history of Oklahoma and Indian Territory before statehood or even before the Land Run of 1889? What about the allotment system that ultimately created Oklahoma? How about the effects of statehood and loss of land on Oklahoma's Native population today?

Oklahoma's Native artists will answer questions--and even ask new ones--with the exhibit "Current Realities: A Dialogue with the People," which began with its Nov. 9 opening, featuring work from more than 75 artists at the Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery, 811 N. Broadway in Oklahoma City, running through Dec. 21.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Marching on Statehood Day and "Celebrating" 100 Years of Theft.

Summing up 2nd Creative Spirit

World Premiere of 2nd Annual Creative Spirit Films Held at Paramount StudiosFrom the rez to the red carpet. That could be the best way to sum up the second successful year of Southern California Indian Center's Creative Spirit initiative, which began with a short script contest won by two first-time Native American screenwriters and concluded with a world premiere on November 10, 2007, at Paramount Studios' Sherry Lansing Theater.

The purpose of the Creative Spirit program is to initiate employment and training opportunities for American Indians in the film industry. This includes creating meaningful relationships between Native cinematic artists with industry professionals by providing an environment for professional collaboration.

Such was the case with both short films, "Ancestor Eyes" written and directed by Kalani Queypo (Blackfeet/Hawaiian), and "Two Spirits, One Journey," written and produced by Shawn Imitates Dog (Oglala Lakota).
Comment:  Check out the photo album showing the Native talent in action.

Codetalkers want a museum

A place of their own

Fiscal agent needed for Code Talker’s MuseumThe Code Talkers—members of a special Marie Corps unit in World War II that used the Navajo language as a code that was never broken by the Japanese—already have had a mainstream Hollywood movie—“The Windtalkers”—made out of their exploits, and there have been several documentaries and books about them over the years.

But what the Code Talkers want, Frank Chee Willetto said Tuesday, is their own museum.

That’s why Willetto and state officials were at the meeting of the McKinley County Commission asking for their support in their efforts to acquire state funds to build a museum, veterans center and veterans cemetery just east of Tse Bonito.
Comment:  At the rate the codetalkers are going, they're going to be the most remembered Indians in history.

Championing visual sovereignty

Exhibit juxtaposes images old and newIt's all about "visual sovereignty," said photographer Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie, one of the organizers as well as one of the featured artists. "The belief in sovereignty was taught to me when I was young by my mom and my aunties. 'This land is Native land;' instilling that into us."

Sovereignty can apply to art, too, according to Tsinhnahjinnie, whose heritage is Seminole, Muskogee and Dine'. "You can either be written about, or you write it. The perspective is very different."
Comment:  This is a good opportunity to mention that Blue Corn Comics is always looking for Native writers and artists to collaborate with.

Canada's NAMMYs

Country stars Yellowbird, Parenteau lead contenders for Aboriginal Music AwardsAboriginal musicians from across the country will descend on downtown Toronto Friday for the ninth annual Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.

Two country music artists are heading into Friday evening's ceremony at the top of the nominee list: Alberta's Shane Yellowbird and Saskatchewan's Donny Parenteau.

The two have scored five nominations each and Parenteau told CBC News that it's exciting to lead the pack this year.

"Bountiful Harvest Cornucopia"

Macy's Thanksgiving Day ParadeThe Cherokee National Youth Choir traveled to New York City and performed in the 2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The choir rode on a float called the "Bountiful Harvest Cornucopia."

English only vs. Native languages

Read about an interesting cultural battle brewing in Pictographs.

November 29, 2007

Itchy and Scratchy skewer Indians

As I've written before, when The Simpsons has a bit about Indians, it's usually a mixed bag. Parts of it reinforce Native stereotypes and parts of it subvert them. But last week's new episode was pure stereotype with no redeeming qualities.

Titled "Funeral for a Fiend," the episode featured a typical "Itchy and Scratchy" show within the show. In keeping with the time of year, Itchy and his fellow mice were Pilgrims and Indians on a Thanksgiving-themed float. Scratchy was an innocent bystander. Itchy filled Scratchy with helium, then shot him with a flaming arrow as he floated skyward. Scratchy exploded and his entrails mingled with the Thanksgiving feast.

A few problems with this:

  • Itchy was dressed as a brave but then showed up as a Plains-style chief complete with headdress.

  • The float was decorated with a teepee.

  • Shooting a flaming arrow and killing Scratchy was the typical aggressive act of a savage Indian. Consider how different the message would've been if Itchy had dressed as a Pilgrim and Scratchy as an Indian.

  • At our Thanksgiving dinner this year, my 6-year-old nephew Thomas recited a story he wrote. The theme was "a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and it told how Charlie Brown and Linus arrived on the Mayflower for the first Thanksgiving.

    I was curious to see if Thomas would mention Indians. He did. I give him a mixed grade for his composition, as follows:

  • One point for including the Indians at all.

  • Half a point for saying they ran away when they saw Charlie Brown. Normally, Indians welcomed foreign visitors. Saying the Indians ran away is better than saying they attacked, but only a little. It acknowledges that Indians usually weren't the aggressors.

  • No points for saying the Indians lived in teepees.

  • That's 1.5 points of a possible 3. Not bad for a kid's first try at describing Indians.

    What's the point of comparing the Simpsons episode to my nephew's story? Just this: Where did he get the idea that the Wampanoag Indians of Massachusetts lived in teepees? He got it from a thousand media portrayals of Indians living in teepees, including the portrayal on The Simpsons.

    The Simpsons got three things wrong: the chief, the teepee, and the aggression toward strangers. My nephew got 1.5 things wrong and 1.5 things right. This six-year-old doesn't know much about Indians, but he apparently knows more than the adults who wrote "Funeral for a Fiend."

    Don't bother writing that "It was just a cartoon" (or "It was just a cartoon within a cartoon"). I've heard and dismissed all the excuses for stereotyping before. See "It's Just a [Fill in the Blank]" for details.

    My nephew is a good example of how the media propagates stereotypes. He doesn't analyze cartoons the way I do. He absorbs them. To him, The Simpsons, a movie on DVD, and the nightly news are all about equally real. He has no idea which parts of the "Itchy and Scratchy" scenario are true (a Thanksgiving feast) and which are fictional (the chief and teepee). He probably believes they're all true because he's seen Thanksgiving feasts, chiefs, and teepees so many times.

    Churchill:  Manifest Destiny = Holocaust

    Churchill, several audience members erupt into heated argumentsThough Churchill made national headlines for his commentary about Sept. 11, he spent most of his lecture arguing that the United States' westward expansion in the 19th century and "extermination" of American Indians was akin to the ideology behind the Holocaust.

    "You find in the later pages of Mein Kampf an articulation of Hitler that comes from an analysis of empires," Churchill said. "He's examining the other European powers for models that would be an applicable model of the German destiny. He points directly to what he calls the Nordics of North America. The United States is the model."
    Churchill links Nazism to Zionism:In the last 15 minutes of his hour-long lecture, Churchill shifted his emphasis to Israel, arguing that Zionists use the same justifications as did Hitler to perpetrate what he believes is a Palestinian genocide.

    "How did it become the Palestinians who bore the onus of responsibility to compensate [the Jews] for what had been done to them by Northwest Europeans?" Churchill asked.
    Churchill defends his 9/11 remarks:"Three young high school students were traveling on a plane to an award ceremony. Of course, they never made it," Markevich said. "They were murdered."

    "By Bush and Cheney," someone shouted, to wild applause by some of the audience. Churchill smiled and shrugged, but did not comment.

    "My question is, were those three students part of a cog in a capitalist machine and were they also 'little Eichmanns' who deserved to die as you claimed?" Markevich said.

    "That was an amazingly stupid question," Churchill said. "If you have a reading comprehension above the eighth grade, which you should have, since you appear to be impersonating a student up there, then you'd understand that those three … could not be construed as the technocratic core of the empire, and that's who I described as little Eichmanns. That's disingenuous bullshit you just spit out."
    Churchill argues with a professor:"You came here propelling the thesis that Zionism, which most Jews consider to be the national movement of the Jewish people, is comparable to Nazis'," the professor said, citing Palestinian population figures.

    "Yes, it is," Churchill responded.

    "I think you failed in your thesis, and I'm in a position to give you a grade," the audience member responded. "What I want to know is where are the God-damned Jews of Poland and Romania and Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia. And they were God-damned! Where are they? We know where the Palestinians are," the professor said.
    Comment:  Does anyone have a problem with Churchill's comparing the American credo of Manifest Destiny to the Nazi policies of conquest and extermination? Because I made the same argument in Adolf Hitler:  A True American.

    German knows more than Zuni

    Looking to a German for U.S. history

    Expert on American Indian culture teaches class at Ramstein High[O]n Wednesday, Peter “Forest Wolf” Heiser, a German who owns a moving company in Idar-Oberstein, spoke to three history classes on American Indian heritage and culture.

    Bryan Sanchez, who describes himself as belonging to the Zuni tribe in New Mexico, had asked Heiser to speak to the classes.

    Sanchez, coordinator of the school’s internship program, says he believed Heiser had a better feel for the culture and the history than he has.
    What Heiser teaches:In the early 1990s Heiser learned about American Indian culture from Archie Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota chief and medicine man who had come to Europe to teach American Indian practices to Europeans interested in the culture.

    Over the years Heiser has visited numerous tribes around the United States and has performed American Indian rituals like the sun dance, in which participants dance for four days without food or water and sitting in a sweat lodge to discover personal visions.

    The fact that he was German, he said, didn’t make a difference when talking about the American Indian culture.
    Comment:  Uh, there isn't one "American Indian culture." There are hundreds of Indian cultures. They have some common features, but these features don't include the Sun Dance or a buffalo's head.

    What Heiser is apparently teaching is Plains Indian culture. In other words, he's teaching the stereotypes everyone already knows about Indians.

    Is there a single German aficionado who knows anything about Indians other than Plains Indians? If so, I don't recall him.

    Sanchez the Zuni teacher should stick to his, er, guns. I'm betting he knows a lot more about the Zuni and other Pueblo cultures than Heiser does.

    Tapping into the German market

    Tribes renew interest in tourism

    Experts see benefits in resurgence of international travelThe Germans have created their own tourism industry, something they call "Indianerreisen," or Indian tours, which is an expanding niche market that specializes in the exploration of Indian culture. More than 85,000 Germans visited an American Indian community in 2006, according to an Office of Travel and Tourism Industries survey.

    "Now is the time to get back into the market and remind the international traveler of the unique opportunity that they can participate in and visit Native American sites while they're in the country," said Ron Erdmann, travel and tourism industries deputy director of research in the U.S. Commerce Department.
    Tribes are starting to get the message:While tribes like the Navajo Nation have long been a tourist destination, the majority of tribes haven't made the effort to invite people into their homelands.

    "Tourism is hard to wrap your arms around, even for the United States. For Indian Country, it's even more complex," said Ed Hall, AIANTA founder. "In my estimation, what we're talking about is culture. There are a lot of people out there who want to see Indian communities and authentic culture."
    Comment:  I presume the "authentic culture" doesn't include visits to the local grocery store, laundromat, or bingo hall.

    I wonder how many of these Germans visited anywhere but the familiar Lakota and Navajo reservations.

    Karl May's "wild" West

    Karl May:  The German 'cowboy'

    Karl May and Europe's fascination with the American Wild West go on show in Berlin.Johannes Zeilinger, the curator of the Karl May exhibition argues that May framed a popular image of North America with Indians "as a dying race, tragically killed off by fate and by the spread of a new empire."

    Hans-Ottomeyer, the Museum's director, largely agrees, claiming May taught Germans in the mid-1880s, "America was a wild place of natives and intruders."

    Generations of young Germans grew up reading May's books, says Ottomeyer, who was no exception.
    Comment:  The young Germans included young Adolf Hitler.

    So America was a "wild place" inhabited by a "dying race." In other words, it was ripe for being "tamed" and "civilized" by annexing the land and removing its occupants, who were doomed anyway. Sounds like a model for the Nazi agenda to me.

    Mascot lovers hate Indians

    UND Nickname Controversy:  A Web of emotions"Ever hire a Native American?" Carol B. of Brooks, Minn., asked in a posting Wednesday. "There is no work ethic, poor performance, late or never show up or even call and constantly blame others for their problems. If everyone, regardless of race, creed or color, could be provided free housing, government check each month, free education, and assistants (sic) programs to cover every other need, would we not all be happy?"

    "UND should drop the Sioux nickname . . . and then drop every program associated with the Native American from the campus. Let them study their heritage at home."
    Comment:  The second comment reveals that UND supporters aren't promoting Indian studies because they're genuinely interested in Indians. No, they're promoting Indian studies as a payoff for their nickname. In other words, their motives are demonstrably phony.

    A Native Shylock

    Indian Comics Irregular #163:  Graham Greene, Shakespearean

    November 28, 2007

    Standing Rock says no, repeatedly

    Resounding ‘no’ issued for requestThe Standing Rock Tribal Council passed its fourth resolution against the nickname this month, said Jesse Taken Alive, a council member and former chairman.

    “How else can we say no?” Taken Alive said. “It’s very disrespectful.”

    David Gipp, president of United Tribes Technical College, said today is the time for UND to begin making the transition to a new logo.

    “We will bring North Dakota into the 21st century kicking and screaming, but we will do it,” Gipp said.
    Standing Rock leaders say they won't change stance[Approval is] not coming from Standing Rock, His Horse Is Thunder said. He said he travels worldwide and runs into harmful and ignorant stereotypes of Indians all the time, such as “Do you still live in teepees?”

    The UND nickname and logo “perpetuates that stereotypical image,” he said. “It's just a part of who we were and doesn't give them the encompassing image of who we are.”

    Indians include physicians and lawyers who are contributing to American life and are not simply historical artifacts clad in “buckskins and headdresses,” remembered most for “fighting the cavalry,” he said.

    “If that's all we wanted to be, we wouldn't come here to UND,” His Horse Is Thunder said. “We come to expand our horizons . . . to become part of the modern world.”
    Comment:  Good job. Mascot foes usually don't articulate the problem with "fighting" mascots so clearly.

    For more on the subject, see Fighting the Fighting Sioux.

    Below:  Chief Illiniwek, a "Fighting Illini."

    Native enters off-limits roundhouse

    Guilty verdict in Yosemite filming case Sonora artist Lorenzo Baca is facing big time trouble following his recording of the film "Yosemite Big Time."

    During a trial that concluded earlier this month, Baca was found guilty of entering an off-limits Native American roundhouse in Yosemite National Park and making a commercial film in the park without a permit. He is facing up to a year in prison and $10,000 in fines.
    Baca's crime, specifically: The 30-minute film shows Native American dance ceremonies, interviews with park employees and Baca entering "the cultural resources by stepping over official government signs directing persons to stay behind the barrier," the complaint states.

    A park ranger said Baca entered the roundhouse in Yosemite Valley's Indian Village and narrated the film while inside. Entering the roundhouse and sweat lodge is limited to ceremonial use. The buildings are posted with signs advising the public to "stay behind the barrier," and entrances are blocked with barricades, according to the complaint.
    Indianz.com adds:This isn't Baca's first time in federal court. The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians successfully sued him for making and selling unauthorized audio and video recordings of a ceremony.Comment:  Baca, who is Pueblo and Apache, is a former PEACE PARTY advisor. Oops.

    His argument is that some white guy built the roundhouse--that it isn't Native or sacred or special. If so, he has no compelling reason to violate the rules and film there.

    Baca doesn't seem to have much regard for ceremonial restrictions. That's uncool for anyone, but especially for a Native.

    "Native ceremony" purifies water?

    Purification That Comes in a Bottle:  Water Takes on New ResponsibilitiesMs. Brightwater, who calls herself a psychic, healer and medicine woman, and who owns a Native American crafts gallery in Queens, applies the New Age healing techniques she has used on crystals for three decades to transfer what she claims is palpable “good energy” to her water and those who drink it.

    It is a complicated process. Once the bottles arrive from their source near Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Ms. Brightwater said, she lays out tumbled stones that she has “programmed for love, health and prosperity” around and on top of each case.

    She burns sage and sweet grass, herbs used by the Native Americans, to clarify and purify the energy of the water, and prays for its drinkers to experience good health, good luck and prosperity. She said she then asks “the Great Spirit to help feed the hungry children, keep the waters clean and to protect the two- and four-legged on this planet.”

    She plays CDs of Native American and Buddhist healing chants for 12 hours a day, until the cases of water are delivered.
    Comment:  For more New Age nonsense, see New Age Mystics, Healers, and Ceremonies.

    Whale and bear and sasquatch

    2010 Vancouver Olympics' mascots inspired by First Nations creaturesMiga is a mythical First Nations sea bear that is part killer whale and part Kermode spirit bear.

    Miga was based on the legends of the Pacific Northwest First Nations of orca whales that transform into bears when they arrive on land, but is also a snowboarder.

    Quatchi is a sasquatch, but a shy and gentle giant, that loves all winter sports, and is especially fond of hockey and dreams of becoming a world-famous goalie.

    Miga is a sea bear inspired by legends of the Pacific Northwest First Nations. He's also a snowboarder.

    The third mascot, Sumi, is an animal-guardian spirit who wears the hat of the orca whale, flies with the wings of the mighty Thunderbird and runs on the furry legs of the black bear.

    Yavapai cultural tours

    Yavapai Nation offers cultural tour of tribal landsThe Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is offering a cultural heritage tour through tribal lands.

    Called "The Yavapai Experience," the tour is being offered through one of the nation's commercial ventures, Fort McDowell Adventures.

    As part of the tour, a professional guide acts as a facilitator between guests and tribal members. Visitors gather around a campfire to hear stories about the tribe's ancient culture, history and heritage from tribal members who were born and raised on the ancestral land of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

    License plate to feature Indian?

    Panel works to select new Oklahoma license plateAmong the five finalists are two different versions of a tag depicting the Guardian statue, which sits atop the State Capitol's dome. Another tag depicts a cowboy doing rope tricks.

    There also are two variations of a tag depicting a statue of a Native American shooting an arrow into the sky, which stands in front of Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum.
    Comment:  Not bad...four of the five proposed designs feature an Indian.

    Below:  The Guardian statue atop the Oklahoma capitol dome.

    "No Navajo" spoken here

    English only here

    Page, Ariz., restaurant sued for enacting ‘no Navajo’ language policyEmployees at RD’s Drive-In restaurant are free to walk in beauty—as long as they don’t talk in Navajo while on the clock.

    Five years ago, the Mom and Pop diner enacted a “No Navajo” policy after complaints from some workers that other employees were degrading them in Navajo.

    November 27, 2007

    Indians came from Siberia?

    Mutations shed light on migration mysteryThe analysis shows:

    - genetic diversity, as well as genetic similarity to the Siberian groups, decreases the farther a native population is from the Bering Strait--adding to existing archaeological and genetic evidence that the ancestors of native North and South Americans came by the northwest route.

    - a unique genetic variant is widespread in Native Americans across both American continents--suggesting that the first humans in the Americas came in a single migration or multiple waves from a single source, not in waves of migrations from different sources. The variant, which is not part of a gene and has no biological function, has not been found in genetic studies of people elsewhere in the world except eastern Siberia.
    First Americans All Came From Siberia, DNA SuggestsThe scientists said genetic oddities in those genes are very fresh, which they take as a strong sign that humans migrated in a recent and single wave instead of arriving in several waves all across North and South America.

    How they ventured south once traversing an icy northwestern passage, however, is another question.

    In Rosenberg and his colleagues' study, detailed in a recent edition of the journal PLoS Genetics, the scientists support the idea that humans migrated south along the coasts by boat rather than toughing it out on land.

    "A migration route along the coast provides a slightly better fit with the pattern we see in genetic diversity," Rosenberg said.
    Comment:  At least this study seems to contradict the claim that a significant number of Natives have European ancestry.

    Zionism, Manifest Destiny, and Nazism

    Ward Churchill to speak on campus tonight

    Controversial essayist polarizes student groupsFree-speech activist and former University of Colorado ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill will speak tonight at 8 p.m. in 123 Sciences Lecture Hall. Churchill, who has been widely criticized for his controversial Sept. 11 essay, will give a talk titled "Zionism, Manifest Destiny, and Nazi Lebensraumpolitik: Three Variations on a Common Theme."Some students don't buy it:Sassoon, a sophomore economics major, said Churchill's lecture title alone is offensive and incendiary.

    "Zionism does not share a 'common theme' with Nazism and saying that it does is clearly false and openly inflammatory," he said. "Ward Churchill and the extreme groups that are hosting him are dangerously using false comparisons between Jews and Nazis to defame Israel."

    Yeagley for Vice Chairman?

    Meeting Notes From CBC Committeeman Seat #2Nominations for Vice-Chairman are Ron Red Elk, Sandra Gallegos, Sonya Tahchawwickah and Dr. David Yeagley. Regular voting will be on Saturday, December 1, 2007 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Anadarko Agency BIA, the Comanche Community Center in Apache, the Cahoma Building west of Cache, the Nation Complex Education Building, at the First United Methodist Church located at 131 NW 4th Street in Oklahoma City and the Comanche Nation Community Center on the east side of Walters.Or to put it another way: Can you guess what IDIOT, girly man wannabe warrior playing NDN fool is running for Comanche Nation Vice Chairman?

    Cherokees speak on DVD

    DVD captures Cherokee elders memories, hopes for futureThe LDA team, consisting of four members, asked residents about what was important to them in their community and future generations and asked them to share memories, future goals. They took video of what residents had to say and compounded it into a 37-minute DVD.

    After the screening, Dudley told the group that their words that LDA captured is what they wanted to attain. During the video, which was narrated by Deputy Chief Joe Grayson, residents also shared stories from their pasts and related some of the tribe's culture.

    What seemed to be the theme is residents' hope of preserving the Cherokee culture and people.

    Courageous Native women

    Mary Kim Titla featured in new book 'Native Women of Courage'Mary Kim Titla, candidate in Arizona's 1st Congressional District, is one of ten women featured in the book "Native Women of Courage" by Kelly Fournel.

    The book for young readers ages 9-12 celebrates the lives of 10 remarkable women in North America of Indian or First Nations heritage.

    Other women featured in the book include Osage ballerina Maria Tallchief; first woman Chief of the Cherokee Nation Wilma Mankiller; and author, environmentalist and once a candidate for vice president Winona LaDuke.

    Native biker dies

    Shock over death of pro mountain biker JanelleThree-time Race Across America team champion and all-around Colorado cycling marvel Mike Janelle died abruptly of an apparent heart attack at his home in Avon early Friday morning. An autopsy is underway to determine the exact cause of death to the 40-year-old pro mountain bike racer and Tokyo Joe's/Gary Fisher team rider.

    Born of Native American descent in Chickasha, Okla., Janelle spent most of his life in Colorado, living in Eagle County for 23 years. His wife, Mirabel, is currently pregnant with the couple's first child.

    Makah Tribe finally charges whalers

    5 charged over whale huntFive members of the Makah tribe face a year in prison and may be fined $5,000 each for participating in an unauthorized whale hunt this fall.

    On Monday, the Makah Tribal Council announced that it had charged Wayne Johnson, Theron Parker, Andy Noel, Bill Secor and Frankie Gonzalez with violating state and federal laws, including the Marine Animal Protection Act, by joining in an unsanctioned hunt for gray whales off Neah Bay on Sept. 8.

    November 26, 2007

    Miramanee, Kirk, and the Preservers

    How did American Indians end up on a Star Trek world? And more important, why?

    This posting tells what little is "officially" known of Miramanee's world. But the Star Trek novel Preserver expands significantly on the story of Miramanee's "Wise Ones." Star Trek novels aren't considered part of the canon, but as far as I'm concerned, they should be.

    Preserver takes place in the The Next Generation era. James T. Kirk died in Star Trek: Generations but was, er, reconstructed. He joins Spock, McCoy, and Captain Picard's crew in battling Tiberius, emperor of the Mirror Universe.

    [Spoiler alert]

    According to Preserver, Captain Kirk discovered the first Preserver artifact: Miramanee's obelisk. By the time of the novel, the Federation has discovered another 117 obelisks, none of which they can figure out. Then Kirk stumbles across the 119th obelisk, which was manufactured only six years previously.

    Far from vanishing billions of years ago, the Preservers are still alive. More to the point, they're still manipulating people and events. In addition to seeding worlds with humanoid life, they've created duplicate Earths (e.g., Miri's world in "Miri").

    What Preserver says

    Here's Preserver's description of the origin of Miramanee's world:The first obelisk has been discovered by Kirk on a Class-M planet, home to the descendants of a tribal community of humans abducted from the central plains of Earth's North America almost a thousand years earlier. Even at the time, McCoy recalled, he and Kirk and Spock had understood the significance of those people's original abduction. It had occurred just prior to the arrival of the most recent wave of Europeans to colonize North America in the sixteenth century--subsequently decimating the indigenous North American population. The colonial invasion of Earth's North American continent had cost entire cultures, traditions, and languages, all lost forever.

    That was where the name "Preservers" had come from. For on the Class-M world, it had been the obelisk that had protected and maintained the original culture of the transplanted humans. At the time, the abduction event itself had seemed to McCoy to have been a benign intervention in the history of a troubled and warlike world--Earth.
    But is the Preservers' intent really benign?McCoy thought it through. He could see the reason for Starfleet's concern. The evidence suggested that whoever or whatever the Preservers were, they had existed as a coherent society for more than two billion years--a time span longer than any known, extant, corporeal, sentient life-form that existed in the Alpha and Beta quadrants.

    The proof was illustrated by the likely fate the tribal group on the Class-M planet would have suffered on Earth if they had not been abducted. The histories of a hundred different worlds contained examples of what happened during the initial stage of global exploration and expansion--when two cultures meet, the culture that is least technologically advanced seldom survives.

    For all that Starfleet pressed for the ongoing exploration of the galaxy, it wasn't just McCoy who understood the unspoken question that accompanied each unexpected first contact: What would happen to the Federation when it finally met a more advanced culture that had no Prime Directive?
    It's all about Kirk

    Many of the Preservers' manipulations revolve around Captain Kirk. They may have intervened to give him command of the Enterprise early, and sent the Vulcans to meet Zefram Cochrane's first warp flight. Kirk and crew are stunned at the magnitude of these acts: the power to manufacture whole planets and arrange events eons in advance.

    Our heroes even wonder if the Preservers created the Mirror Universe. As it turns out, no, but they anticipated its creation and used it in their plot. Again, the scope of their machinations is almost impossible to grasp.

    Everything they've done has served to bring Kirk to a single time and place. Billions of years of scheming finally culminate in Kirk's meeting them and learning what they want.

    What the Preservers believe

    The Preservers disagree with the Federation's Prime Directive. Their philosophy is that moral beings must intercede to help each other. Their actions--spreading life and saving people from extinction--exemplify this credo.

    They've chosen Kirk, who has never liked the Prime Directive, to convey their age-old beliefs. To be a new kind of "preserver." His career of aiding others stands as a rebuke to the Federation's hands-off policy. It signifies that the Federation must change its detached ways or suffer disastrous consequences.

    This is a powerful conclusion because it ties together so many Trek threads: the many Earth-like races and worlds, Kirk's "luck" at being in the right place at the right time, and his ambivalence about the Prime Directive. And it all stems from one little story about a Native world. Because Kirk met and fell for Miramanee, the future of the galaxy has changed.

    The Prime Directive in reality

    Are Kirk and the Preservers right about the Prime Directive? You could apply this conundrum to America's history and see what you get. Are Indians better off because Europeans brought their arts and sciences and technology along with drink, disease, and death? Hard to say.

    You could apply the conundrum to Iraq too. Are the Iraqi people better off with Saddam Hussein gone and their country in ruins? With the hope of democratic peace and the reality of civil war? Again, it's hard to say.

    Preserver is a thought-provoker. Unfortunately, the nitty-gritty of its storytelling isn't quite as impressive as the big themes I've outlined. Still, it's a fine Star Trek novel.

    Rob's rating:  8.0 of 10.

    "Damn important" music about Natives

    Who Was He?  “The Ballad of Peter LaFarge” Shows Why We Should CareThrough copious research, and a tight, lyrical narrative, we are introduced to LaFarge—strikingly good-looking, emotionally and artistically dangerous, and, we learn, plagued by a tragic family legacy that continues more than 40 years after his death. Originally a 13-minute short, Schulman’s film has been expanded to nearly a half-hour to include a vintage Johnny Cash interview and other footage. His best known song, popularized by Cash, was the “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” about the Pima Indian immortalized in the Iwo Jima flag-raising photo.

    He wrote cowboy songs, he wrote love songs. But it was his ballads about Indians that define his best work—his albums As Long as the Grass Shall Grow and On the Warpath focus on Native themes with titles including “Johnny Half-breed,” “Damn Redskins,” “Vision of a Past Warrior,” “Custer,” and more.
    But LaFarge wasn't Native:The fact he wasn’t Native is alluded to but never clarified in the documentary which includes archival photos, interviews with his contemporaries and current folk artists, and grainy video clips. This is the film’s major weakness. Tap dancing around his true ethnicity is confusing at best; at worst, it perpetuates the deceit LaFarge foisted on his fans and friends alike. The reason, Schulman explains, is to focus more on the man and his music and not that he was, for lack of a better word, a "wannabe."

    Poser or not, crazy as a March Hare, Peter LaFarge wrote some damn important and good music. Damn important and good music about the state of Native Americans in 20th century America.

    Grendel vs. Argent

    Comics You Should Own--Grendel #1-12Although Wagner doesn’t give us much information about Argent, in the earlier series, Hunter Rose asks him who he is, and Argent, we learn, is a 300-year-old Native American who was cursed by a wolf god. He is drawn to violent acts, and he made criminals his targets so that he could exist in society. It’s interesting to contrast Argent to Grendel, because without being too obvious about it, Wagner makes it clear that they are two sides of the same coin. Argent needs to fight, and he focuses on criminals because before he was cursed he was a pacifist. Therefore, violence is repellant to part of his personality, but he still needs to express it. He focuses on Grendel because Grendel--as Hunter Rose--was the perfect criminal.Comment:  GRENDEL is an independent comic from the late 1980s about which I know little.

    The Indian as a savage beast...hmm. Not much of an original idea there.

    Does the fact that Argent was a pacifist make up for depicting him as some sort of vigilante werewolf? Hard to say without reading the stories.

    States rule over tribes?

    Column:  Rez-based tribal businesses lack sovereign immunity

    Nobel winner or homeless wretch?

    Cancún hotel thinks Menchu is street person, tries to eject her

    Those lazy Indians again

    TV's Wife Swap:  Indians "only work a couple of hours a day"

    November 25, 2007

    Some background on Miramanee

    Her world Amerind:Amerind was a planet located half a galaxy away from Earth, yet possessed growth exactly like that of Earth. Amerind was populated by a group of Native Americans.

    Centuries earlier, several threatened tribes, including a mixture of Navajo, Mohican, and Delaware Indians, were transplanted from Earth to Amerind by a group known to them as the Wise Ones. These Wise Ones also placed an obelisk on the planet, which possessed an asteroid deflector, used to protect the planet's inhabitants. By the mid-23rd century the obelisk had malfunctioned and the planet was vulnerable to asteroid collisions.

    In 2268, the USS Enterprise was on a mission to divert an asteroid, nearly the size of Luna, off of the collision course it was on with Amerind. Although the Enterprise was unable to stop it, they were able to repair the deflector in the obelisk, which was in turn able to deflect the asteroid, and once again protect the planet. (TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome")

    The name Amerind appeared in the episode's script and was not mentioned on screen.
    The Preservers or "Wise Ones":The Preservers are a race known for transplanting civilizations in danger of extinction. This includes several Native American tribes.

    In 2268, the USS Enterprise visited the planet Amerind and discovered a civilization of American Indians living there. The Preservers had evidently transplanted a nearly extinct group of these Indians to Amerind. They may have transplanted various flora and fauna as well, for Amerind was richly populated by Earth-native forms. The inhabitants referred to the Preservers as the "Wise Ones." Because asteroid impacts threatened Amerind on a semi-regular basis, the Preservers constructed a deflector in the form of an obelisk and left instructions with the tribal medicine man.

    Leonard McCoy and Spock theorized that the Preservers were responsible for the spread of the many humanoids that populate the galaxy (TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome"). But about a century later, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and archaeologist Richard Galen learned that the Preservers were only part of the reason. (TNG: "The Chase")

    Satirical look at Roanoke

    The Lost Colony Book 2: The Red Menace (:01 First Second Books)Miscreants and misfits populate a mysterious hidden island in Grady Klein's irreverent take on American history. The Lost Colony: The Red Menace throws together a greedy governor, an altruistic ex-slave, a "reformed" Native American, and a host of other not-so historically accurate characters, all trying to get by in an analogue of the famously doomed Roanoke colony.

    As the old adage goes, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Klein seems eager to make sure we recognize the mistakes and the greed of colonial times, to the point where easy comparisons can be made between the titular colony's characters and certain modern-day counterparts. When the sleazy governor/head banker of the town makes an impassioned speech about the courage it takes to admit to being a war profiteer, it's hard for me not to think of like-minded organizations like Halliburton and Blackwater USA.

    Klein also explores the topic of propaganda in the in-universe comic book "The Completely True Adventures of Johnny Crevasse ... Hunter, Patriot," which stars a kind of colonial Captain America (he even has a sidekick named Bucky!) whom nearly every character is fascinated with. Crevasse (who never actually makes a real appearance in the story) has an entire line of merchandise glorifying his one-man war against the native red menace; naturally, the members of the community eat it up.
    Comment:  "The Lost Colony" doesn't get any points for portraying an Indian as a Plains chief and a drunk.

    You can see a nine-page sample of this comic here.

    How bad is Pathfinder?

    PathfinderNo one in this movie has the slightest motivation beyond either being a killer or trying not to get killed. There are no characters to speak of, no real sense of either society. Director Marcus Nispel (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) instead decides to dump us right into the action, and Pathfinder pretty much hits the ground running. Which I would not have a problem with, except it doesn’t run very fast. The action sequences are unbearably dull. Men get slashed with swords and little slow-motion burps of blood bubble from their wounds, but it’s not even remotely exciting. When Nispel isn’t relying on slo-mo, he goes in the complete opposite direction and relies on the chaos factor–quick edits, tight framing, and a lack of continuity so that we don’t know what’s going on. So, we’re either seeing too much or too little, and it’s hard to work up a lather to care either way.

    In our heckling of the movie, my friend and I actually brought up Apocalypto, which neither of us cared for all that much. We have to give Mel Gibson credit, though. He essentially made the South American equivalent of Pathfinder, and his movie shows where this one went wrong. He began his movie by allowing us to get acquainted with the community that was going to be under threat, so that his audience would at least have some investment in its fate. Then, when the movie turned into a chase picture, he kept it moving, distracting from how clich? the action choreography actually was.

    Experiment proves racism

    Black people's reality rebuffedOn the first day, she told the blue-eyed students that they were better, smarter, would get more time on the playground and could get seconds at lunch. The brown-eyed students had to drink from a cup, not the water fountain, and would endure unwarranted criticism of their behavior.

    Almost instantly, the brown-eyed children began to wither. Their second-class citizenship, just hours old, had begun to affect their performance in class. And the blue-eyed students reveled in their privileged status. "I felt like I was a king," one of the blue-eyed boys said, "like I ruled them brown-eyes. Like I was better than them. Happy."

    Contrast that with the despair of a brown-eyed student: "The way they treated you, it felt like you didn't even want to try to do anything."

    The next day, Elliott told her students she'd been mistaken, that brown-eyed students were better, smarter. And the students who had been discriminated against the day before adopted the attitudes of the oppressor. When they were the lower class, the brown-eyed children struggled for more than five minutes to get through a flash-card exercise; when they were on top, they whizzed through the cards in under three minutes. "The only thing that had changed was that now, they were superior people," Elliott said on the tape.

    Nakai Tha Blkcrow

    Talent to crow overVanegas, of Mexican and Navajo descent, says his dreams have brought him knowledge since childhood.

    When he was 21, he realized it was time to pursue his dream to become a hip-hop artist, to educate people about his culture through the medium Ice Cube called the radio of the streets.

    Nakai means Mexican in Navajo, so he became Nakai Tha Blkcrow with a mission to spread Native hip-hop in songs such as "Lightning Strikes."

    "In '95, I came out as an artist," he said in a booth at Flaherty's Bar and Grill. "I had the epiphany to be Nakai Tha Blkcrow.

    "I camped out over night, looking for a vision or something. There was a thunder storm--and that's where the 'Lightning (Strikes)' comes from--and there was just a crow there the whole time."

    Brulé's holiday special

    'Red Nativity' entertaining, educationalPlaying at the Orpheum Theatre Saturday night, the two-hour production neatly educated, entertained and enlightened.

    Those unfamiliar with the group could latch onto familiar Christmas carols--"Silent Night," "We Three Kings," "O Holy Night"--and find an opening into the world of the Lakota tribe.

    Paul LaRoche, founder of the South Dakota-based band, set the songs to a Native American beat, added superior dancing and augmented it all with Broadway-style lighting.

    Mormon video explains history

    Mormon Theology in 6 Minutes

    November 24, 2007

    "Nimrod Nation" features Native

    Out of This World"Nimrod Nation" is that rare thing, a story of small-town life in America that neither looks for nor finds a dark underbelly (9-10 p.m. EST for the next four Mondays on the Sundance Channel). It was filmed during the winter and spring of 2005-06 in Watersmeet, Mich., where the heavy snowfalls and sub-zero weather of the state's remote Upper Peninsula seem to have frozen time itself. Set to "Fargo"-like music in a major key, it feels like Ibsen without the depression and "Napoleon Dynamite" without fools.

    The residents of Watersmeet are not old-fashioned in dress or speech. We meet a teenage choirgirl with a bulging (unwed) belly, parents who appear to have been divorced, and Native Americans who feel like outsiders. Yet away from the nasty, brutish world of the cities, most townsfolk seem to have grown up incapable of cynicism or guile. Discovering these innocents preserved as in amber, one feels the wonder of an archaeologist who has stumbled upon a lost civilization.
    The Native star:Quaintness runs through the town like a river. When students are studying the origins of man and Homo erectus, we can't be sure one senior is kidding when he asks: "Did they die out because they were gay?" Other jokes are more obvious, such as the one a husband boasts about playing on his wife--putting sunflower seeds in her underwear drawer to make her think the house has mice. The camera catches people in sad moments, too, like the first time the choirgirl brings her new baby home and realizes that her destiny is irrevocably changed.

    No one is so touching, however, as Nimrod star Brian Aimsback, a Native American. He ought to be happy--he is a famous big scorer, the beloved boyfriend of Hope and active in school affairs. Yet Brian's grandmother sees prejudice against Indians as a big barrier. We can never tell whether Brian agrees with her, because he never articulates his feelings. All we know is that on the basketball court, and especially when he has had a bad game, he can look like a frightened child. Then, near the end of the film, he follows the advice of a Chippewa elder and dons Native regalia for an Indian dancing competition. There, for the first time, we see Brian transformed into a man.
    But apparently the series leaves some of the Native culture out:

    And That’s the News From WatersmeetThe Watersmeet culture, heavily dominated by people of Nordic descent and American Indians, “was something I had never encountered in literature or film,” Mr. Morgen said in an interview at his office.But:[S]ome local players are missing from the series, including leaders from the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who Mr. Morgen said declined to participate. Tribal leaders recently complained to Mr. Peterson about a scene where they are described as abandoning their traditions, as they gamble and drink at the tribe-owned casino. “That does not portray them,” he said. “The majority is not like that. I didn’t like that when I saw that there.”

    Merrie Melodies insulted Inuit

    Frigid HareFrigid Hare is a 1948 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies short, released in 1949, and was directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese.

    Synopsis

    While traveling to Miami Beach for an overdue vacation from Warner Brothers, Bugs Bunny mistakenly ends up at the South Pole, having yet again missed the left turn at Albuquerque. While there, he meets a young penguin being pursued by an Eskimo hunter.

    Censorship

    On the syndicated Merrie Melodies show, Bugs calling the Inuit hunter an "Eskimo pie-head" was muted out.

    This cartoon was initially banned from airing on the 2001 installment of Cartoon Network's June Bugs due to the stereotypical portrayal of the Inuit (Eskimo) hunter.
    Comment:  "Frigid Hare" stereotypes the Inuit as follows:

  • The hunter is located at the "South Pole." Implication: The Inuit live anywhere that's remote and cold. South Pole...North Pole...it doesn't matter which.

  • The hunter speaks gibberish.

  • The hunter has large lips like a stereotypical African.

  • The hunter uses a harpoon to hunt a land-based animal.

  • There are no other Inuit people in sight, no signs of culture or activity--not even a stereotypical igloo. Implication: The Inuit are savage and uncivilized, akin to predatory animals.

  • Disney's racism against Indians

    The 9 Most Racist Disney Characters#9. The Merchant from Aladdin
    #8. Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
    #7. The Crows from Dumbo
    #6. King Louie from The Jungle Book
    #5. The Siamese Twin Gang from Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
    #4. Sunflower the Centaur from Fantasia
    #3. The Indians from Peter Pan
    #2. Uncle Remus from Song of the South
    #1. Thursday from Mickey Mouse and the Boy Thursday (Book)
    A commenter on Racialicious adds:How did Pocahontas get left off the list? She paints with all the colors of the wind while singing and talking to a mystical willow tree. She looks like a contestant for America’s Next Top Model in her buckskin miniskirt. And she falls in love with the blond haired blue eyed white man who comes to colonize her people and steal their land. To top off the whole thing, the movie was promoted as racially sensitive. While the Native Americans slurred in Peter Pan are clearly unacceptable in contemporary eyes (one would hope)…people actually think that Pocahontas is an accurate anti-racist representation.Comment:  It's been a while since I watched Peter Pan, but I don't remember the scene in this YouTube video. I wonder if it was edited out.

    Adam shines in SVU

    In Tuesday's Law & Order: SVU, Adam Beach finally played a leading role. For the first time, he was first among equals in the squad room.

    In the episode, titled "Fight":The death of a young girl appears to link to the world of ultimate fighting, and tensions rise within the department when two brothers (Gaius Charles, Arlen Escarpeta) are charged with the crime.Beach's character Chester Lake finally gained a little depth in "Fight." As we learned:

  • Lake is sympathetic to the plight of foster kids because he grew up in foster care himself.

  • He was an amateur mixed martial arts fighter and was planning to go pro before he injured himself.

  • He was almost arrested in a barrroom brawl but his cousin took the rap for him.

  • P.S. As it turns out, the murder had nothing to do with ultimate fighting. It was part of a gang initiation gone wrong.

    What casinos mean to Indians

    New book tells history of California's IndiansHere's a telling quote from an unidentified woman of the Pechanga Reservation in Cabazon:

    "In the old days, when an Indian went to town, we were treated like trash. We'd be seated at the back of restaurants and had to sit for a long time before anyone would wait on us. Today we're the largest employer in the county, and when I come to a restaurant or a shop the staff jumps to attention. That's what the casino has meant to me."
    Correction:  The Pechanga reservation is in Temecula, California. The Cabazon Band of Mission Indians resides in Indio, California. I don't think there's such a town as "Cabazon."

    For more on the subject, see The Facts About Indian Gaming--Benefits.


    Hualapai cookbook and cards

    Hualapai Ethnobotany Project publishes cookbookQuail, deer, elk, wild onions, prickly pear and other flora and fauna of northern Arizona were common foods among the Hualapai and other tribes of the region.

    In an effort to preserve traditional food knowledge among their people, the Hualapai Ethnobotany Project, which brings elders and young people of the tribe together to pass on the ethnobotanical knowledge, have published a traditional foods cookbook as well as a deck of playing cards that feature their ethnobotany: Recipes of the Hualapai Tribe.

    Poll on Marvel's Native superheroes

    With some mildly interesting commentary:

    Native American superheroes

    Perhaps not surprisingly, Moonstar and Warpath lead in the unscientific poll results. They've probably received the most page time of any Native superheroes.

    November 23, 2007

    Indians one day a year

    Reach out to American Indians the other 364 days of the yearInevitably and sadly, Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when American Indians cross the minds of most other Americans. Other than at our yearly commemoration of Pilgrims and Indians giving thanks, in early elementary school, in occasional movies or as tourists in the Southwest, most Americans give about as much thought to--and have as much knowledge of--their country's first inhabitants as they do the people of Outer Mongolia. This needs to change.

    While America's 298 million non-Indians generally express good will and considerable sympathy about past injustices and present poverty afflicting Indians, they largely view the nation's Indians as relics of a past that ended with Custer and Wounded Knee. Or, because of lack of knowledge, they frequently see them through a caricatured and stereotyped lens forged on old Hollywood back lots. For the most part, they are oblivious to the vibrancy and difficulties of present-day Indians' lives and culture, or to their social and legal status, a recent study of non-Indians' thinking about American Indians by Public Agenda has found.

    Despite some recent, politically correct romanticizing of Indians as spiritual, and model environmentalists, to most Americans, knowledge and thinking about Indians begin and end with Pocahontas and Sacajawea (good) and half-formed notions about primitive savages and alcohol-riddled reservations (bad).

    Review of "Super Indian"

    On the way back from G2E in Las Vegas, I finally listened to Arigon Starr's "Super Indian." As you may recall, it's a series of five-minute radio plays recorded as part of Native Voices at the Autry.

    The plays are a cross between an old-time Superman serial and Garrison Keillor's "Prairie Home Companion." That describes the format and also the content. The humor revolves around funny names and voices, puns and verbal miscues, and rez-based slang.

    The plots involve Wampum Baggs, the master villain, sending someone to take over the Leaning Oak reservation. This minion could be a giant Indian robot or a New-Age enchanter using crystals. Super Indian, his sidekick Mega Bear, and his talking dog Diogi ("D-O-G") inevitably thwart the bad guy and send him scurrying back to Baggs.

    I tend to favor humor on the other end of the spectrum--i.e., intellectual humor a la Woody Allen--so I didn't appreciate "Super Indian" as much as I could've. Maybe it's an "Indian thing," because my pal Victor found it "cute" and "entertaining." Let's go with that opinion for now.

    P.S. I don't know if something's wrong with the CD, but the sound was a problem. Some of the voices were significantly louder than the others. Even at full volume, we couldn't distinguish everything that was said. That hindered my enjoyment of the production.

    Aaron's money-back guarantee

    Jason Aaron @ Marvel, AKA- Happy Rats and TLHJA: Well, I find myself writing for a much larger audience now with my Marvel work, and I’d like to try and turn some of those readers on to Scalped, the book that got me the attention of Marvel in the first place. Quite simply, without Scalped, I wouldn’t be writing Wolverine or Ghost Rider.

    Still, I know it’s hard these days to get people to invest their time and money in a new concept, so I’m trying to make it as easy as possible. You can already buy the first Scalped trade for the low price of only $9.99, and now if you don’t like it, you can send it to me and I’ll give you your money back. It’s as simple as that. For more details, check out scalped.info.

    You can also download the first issue for free from DC’s website. So really, what excuse do you have for not at least giving it a shot? I’m incredibly proud of this series, and I want to put my money where my mouth is.
    Comment:  SCALPED reminds me of the article I just posted: "[T]o most Americans, knowledge and thinking about Indians begin and end with ... half-formed notions about primitive savages and alcohol-riddled reservations (bad)."

    I suggest you take Aaron up on his offer, and let me know the results.

    Two months till empowerment

    NATV “Washington Semester” Program Debuts in JanuaryWhat Native American Television (NATV) will do, or shall I say DO, is empower the millions of First Americans to define, create and broadcast who they are in their own words, own images. A ground-breaking educational program training journalists, policy advocates, and multimedia producers from tribal communities and urban centers alike; a self-governed television network, not a subsidiary of a media conglomerate, not a niche channel with an ethnic-specific audience.

    Beginning in January ‘08, the network’s Washington Semester Program will educate Native American students in digital production, web development, journalism, environmental policy and government relations. The objective, explains NATV Executive Director Randolph Flood, is to have these students return to their respective communities to begin developing an autonomous Native media voice.

    Return to Alcatraz

    Native Americans Hold Annual Sunrise Ceremony at AlcatrazAn estimated 1,000 Native Americans and their supporters gathered on Alcatraz Island this morning for their annual Thanksgiving Sunrise Ceremony.

    The event commemorates the birth of the modern American Indian civil rights movement, which gained national prominence when a group of San Francisco State students occupied the former prison site in 1969 and 1970.

    "We consider it relighting the fire of Indian survival, Indian resistance here in this hemisphere. To remind people that first of all, John Wayne didn't kill us all. That we're still alive, distinct cultures that are thriving here in America,” explained Bill Means, a Lakota and one of the founders of the International Indian Treaty Council.

    LaDuke uses frybread power

    Sustainable living with Winona LaDukeUtilization of alternative power sources is gaining notice on the White Earth reservation. Solar heating panels are used to keep homes warm in the winter, which also reduces heating expenses for families, she said, and the tribe is looking into wind turbines.

    The 1983 Mercedes she owns was modified to run on biodiesel and is the first vehicle on the reservation to use this energy.

    "It is the first fry bread power Mercedes Benz," she said.

    Montana's tribal flags kit

    Program celebrates tribal flagsThe Western Heritage Center is celebrating November's National American Indian Heritage Month with a new educational kit, Montana's American Indian Tribal Flags.

    Each of Montana's tribal flags is flying in front of the Western Heritage Center, 2822 Montana Ave., for the remainder of November. Then the flags become part of a kit that is one of several educational kits available to teachers, organizations and home-schoolers in the area.

    November 22, 2007

    Jules Verne honors Captain Kirk and Indians

    The Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival Celebrates and Honors the American IndianThe Jules Verne Adventure Film Festival, the most important event dedicated to the exploration and the preservation of the planet will open in Los Angeles, December 6 through 15 at the Shrine Auditorium, starring special honorees William Shatner, Ted Turner, Tippi Hedren, Tony Curtis, Patrick Stewart, Malcolm McDowell, American Indian leaders and many more.

    The creators of the event (founded in Paris 15 years ago) have, on various occasions, paid tribute and recognition to the culture and philosophy of American Indian Nations, because of their endemic struggle to protect and and take care of Mother Earth.

    For its first US launch, and for future events, the Festival has chosen to pay homage and present a strong cultural presence on behalf of American Indians.
    Comment:  Sonny Skyhawk is apparently behind this festival, since his name appears at the end of this press release.

    If Kirk and Picard are to be honored, what about Miramanee and Chakotay? Shouldn't they be there too?

    What about SF writer Russell Bates? He could represent Ensign Walking Bear, his creation.

    And what about Kennewick Man? He could stand in for Picard if Patrick Stewart can't make it.

    Ted Turner but not Kevin Costner or Graham Greene? Tony Curtis (perhaps for portraying Ira Hayes) but not Adam Beach? Couldn't they find a single Indian star to honor?

    Below:  Walking Bear, Kirk as an Indian wannabe, and Chakotay.

    Rolo wrong about Thanksgiving

    No need to baste Thanksgiving turkey in guiltRolo says he's an American Indian who has to be careful about admitting to the guilty pleasures of enjoying a turkey feast (Thanksgiving) because it's thought by “white liberals” that he is commemorating the cultural death of “my Indian people.”

    He should serve himself up a piece of “sorry pie” on this Thanksgiving for his misleading perceptions and speaking on behalf of many American Indians.
    Comment:  Yellow Bird's critique implicitly agrees with mine. Her position is that Indians have no reason to feel guilty because they've done nothing wrong. My position is that Indians have no reason to feel guilty because they've done nothing wrong and Rolo is imagining that liberals are trying to make them feel guilty.

    Which reminds me that I had Thanksgiving with an Indian a couple of times. My brother's first wife was 1/4 Cherokee. You'd never guess it because she looked like a WASP princess. But her father Wes was half Cherokee and you could see it in his features. I don't know if he was enrolled, but I count him as an Indian.

    As I recall, no one tried to make Wes feel guilty about anything. I don't think we talked about Indians or politics at all. Undoubtedly the talk was about the weather, football, and other innocuous topics.

    My brother's current wife is Latina, which means she and her relatives are part Indian. I wonder if she acknowledges the indigenous part of her heritage. Probably not.

    Oh, well. Happy National Day of Mourning! Happy Thanksgiving!