March 09, 2007

Splitting the Sky

Splitting the SkyFirst of all, who is Splitting the Sky? He is an activist, struggling for justice for the indigenous peoples of the Americas. His Mohawk name, Dacajeweiah, translated into English, is "Splitting the Sky." He was born in Buffalo, New York, colonized as "John Boncore," and also became known as "John Hill." From the age of seven, Splitting the Sky survived many years in New York foster homes and youth detention centers which sought to brutalise him with numerous depredations. Eventually he would become the only man convicted as a ringleader of the infamous 1971 Attica State Prison rebellion in upstate New York, in the course of which 43 inmates were killed. This event has inspired several movies--"Against the Wall" (1994) starring Samuel L. Jackson, and "Attica" (1980) starring Morgan Freeman--and documentaries including "Attica" (1974), and "The Ghosts of Attica" (2001). He was listed by former UN Ambassador Andrew Young of the Carter administration as the number one political prisoner in the USA in 1975.
Comment:  As interesting as this may be, why is it relevant? Well, like Russell Means, Splitting the Sky is an occasional actor. The other star of Against the Wall was Anne Heche. She must've helped Splitting the Sky get a role in Men in Trees. "John Boncore" is credited as Old Tlingit Man in the pilot and as George in episode 2.

(Of course, there are no Tlingit reservations in Alaska. Oops.)

1 comment:

Rob said...

It's the Canadian spelling. The posting comes from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. As you would've known if you had perused it.

In case you weren't aware of it, I've been reporting on Canadian as well as US Natives for the last year. I've even reported on Hawaiian natives, Australian aborigines, and the Maori occasionally. That all-inclusiveness will continue to be my policy.

I suggest you read or not read whatever you choose without commenting on its appearance here. The contents of this blog are always relevant because the subject matter is what I say it is. I also suggest you avoid the passive tense because it generally weakens your writing. ;-)