February 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm (creative writing, culture, education, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, Indigenous People, Lakota, Native Americans, Pine Ridge Indian reservation, politics, publishing, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: 1973, American Book Award, Amnesty International, Before Columbus Foundation, Book, Brave Bird, civil rights, girls, history, Indigenous, Lakota, Lakota Woman, Mary Crow Dog, Maze of Injustice, memoir, random, review, Rosebud, South Dakota, teenagers, Trail of Broken Treaties, women, Wounded Knee, Writing
Young Indigenous women are some of the most invisible and unrepresented people on Earth. That is one reason to read Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog, nowBrave Bird, with Richard Erdoes even though it was published in 1990. Another reason is that it won the American Book Award in 1991. Yet another reason is for the insight it provides into some of the tough issues young women on reservations continue to confront: violence, rape, alcoholism, drug abuse, racism, exploitation, poor education, grinding poverty. This is not a calm, quiet memoir of a certain time and place written by a woman looking back in nostalgia with some polite veneer of wisdom gained by mature hindsight. Lakota Woman offers the perspective of a very candid, blunt spoken, tough, and passionate young woman who makes no apologies for anything. This is a woman who now knows who she is, where she came from, and why. Part of her story includes giving birth to her first child during the siege at Wounded Knee in 1973 after refusing to leave in spite of the increasing danger. While Lakota Woman does not offer any in-depth analysis of the American Indian Movement, the Trail of Broken Treaties or the Native American Church, it does offer a no punches pulled, first person female perspective based on direct experiences with all of them– a young Lakota female perspective seldom encountered in the mainstream American culture.
I am a iyeska, a breed, that’s what the white kids used to call me. When I grew bigger they stopped calling me that, because it would get them a bloody nose. I am a small woman, not much over five feet tall, but I can hold my own in a fight, and in a free-for-all with honkies I can become rather ornery and do real damage. I have white blood in me. Often I have wished to be able to purge it out of me. As a young girl I used to look at myself in the mirror, trying to find a clue as to who and what I was. My face is very Indian, and so are my eyes and my hair, but my skin is very light. Always I waited for the summer, for the prairie sun, the Badlands sun, to tan me and make me into a real skin. (p.9)
Such are the words of Mary Brave Bird of the Brule Tribe from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Consider the memoirs current teenaged women of Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Standing Rock and the Cheyenne River Reservations might share–if anyone dared put them into print. Lakota Woman might offend some, might make some very uncomfortable, and distress others. It certainly won’t bore anyone. It definitely offers a great deal to think about regarding women, culture, family, history, spirituality, politics, and values.
Mary Crow Dog/Brave Bird online
Wikipedia list of American Book Awards
American Book Awards – Before Columbus Foundation
Maze of Injustice, the failure to protect Indigenous Women from sexual violence in the USA, PDF file of Amnesty International
Perhaps this report offers one explanation for the legistative difficulties faced by the VAWA. Why would non-Native men want to start allowing arrest and prosecution of the non-Native men who rape Indigenous women on reservations? No rocket science required.
July 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm (culture, education, entertainment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, Independent film, Indigenous People, journalism, life, movies, Native Americans, photography, politics, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: Chris Eyre, culture, documentary, education, Erica Scharf, film, Issues, life, movie, Native America Calling, Navajo, PBS, people, POV, teenagers, Up Heartbreak Hill, video
What’s on the minds of young people contemplating their future choices on the Navajo Reservation? Find out in a documentary that will air on PBS July 26, at 10 pm EST. I caught a preview for this film while watching my local PBS station Sunday evening. Then I noticed the segement featuring the young people on Native America Calling and listened online. Serious issues are raised about education, culture, generations and being Native in America. Some of the issues are similar for all teenagers –even those swiming hard in the maintream. At its best, when “the box” offers more than moronic junk food it can get us all thinking outside all sorts of boxes. “Up Haertbreak Hill” sure does not sound like mental junk food.
Visit the “Up Heartbreak Hill” site for information about director Erica Scharf and the other filmmakers, including producer Chris Eyre, involved in this documentary –>>
Life is tough and complex for teenagers everywhere so the issues in this film are of interest to everyone, not just Native American/Indigenous/Indian people. How would you handle being a teenager in America in these times?
July 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm (culture, education, history, Independent film, Indigenous People, journalism, life, music, Native Americans, publishing, random)
Tags: call in radio, culture, documentary, film, Issues, journalism, life, movie, Native America Calling, Native Americans, Native Voice 1, online, radio, random, streaming, Studio 49, teenagers, Up Heartbreak Hill, youth
Click to find listening options for NV1
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 – Native Teens Racing Towards Life:
As teenagers get older and start reaching their last years of high school, many will look towards leaving home to pursue their life and education far from home. But, just how common is this dream? A new documentary, “Up Heartbreak Hill,” follows two bright Native American high school seniors through their final year of high school as they tackle daunting decisions and questions that will alter their life forever. What all is at stake in answering the question, should I stay or should I go? How do economic hardships on tribal nations skew visions of opportunity? Guests include Native youths Thomas Martinez (Navajo) and Tamara Hardy (Navajo) and Erica Scharf, Director & Producer/”Up Heartbreak Hill” Documentary.
See More of Native America Calling’s upcoming shows here
July 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm (art, creative writing, culture, entertainment, exploring interconnectedness, fiction, life, literary fiction, Native Americans, publishing, random, Writing)
Tags: Arsenal Pulp Press, Book, Canada, creative, drugs, Dunnion, fiction, Finalist, Issues, Kristyn, Lambda, life, love, murder, publisher, punk, random, reading, review, street kids, teenagers, The Dirt Chronicles, Toronto, video, Writing
Click to visit Arsenal Pulp Press
Kristyn Dunnion strikes hard punk gold again in The Dirt Chronicles, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, which is mis-identified as a collection of short stories. I can see how that labeling came about. These can be read as short stories. But, in reality, this is a novel presented from several different characters’ viewpoints and fully individual voices. It’s a little disconcerting unless you’re a fan of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. The story is dark, hard, gritty and it’s all about the lives of several punk street kids in Toronto. It’s not pretty. There’s the corrupt cops, drugs, rape, murder, sexual identity issues and relationship issues galore. This may not be an easy read for some folks. But if you’ve got a rebellious teenager overflowing with angst–you might want to take a hard look at the issues Dunnion deals with head on–from the perspective of the kids instead of the adults they run from. Dunnion’s ability to present convincing male and female voices and perspectives is uncanny. Writing about such subjects with harsh realism is the forte of few. It’s verification of Dunnion’s talent as a writer every time you cringe while discovering the very dark side of street and squat life. Oh and yes, again, this is also a love story (ies). How much does Oreo love Ferret? Enough to leave the entire world behind while pole dancing. What will Eddie do to get back to protecting Ray Ray? Whatever it takes.
Warning: This is not Patsy Cline crooning on this video.
November 10, 2010 at 6:37 pm (culture, education, ethics, history, Indigenous People, journalism, Lakota, life, Pine Ridge Indian reservation, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: children, culture, Economy, ethics, family, Fort Peck, history, Indian Country, Indigenous People, Issues, journalism, Lakota, life, Montanna, Native American Heritage Month, Native Americans, news, ONE spirit, people, Pine Ridge Reservation, politics, random, suicide, teenagers
Clicking on the image above will take you to One Spirit and information regarding an ongoing effort to support a safe house for Lakota children.
There does not seem to be any delicate way to broach this topic. So right up front, this attempt to raise some awareness is not intended as an insult or affront to the people most concerned. There is no intention to pick at open wounds. This is reality–it’s not nice, it’s not comfortable, it’s not a feel good topic. But the only way anyone might get any assistance is by meeting the issues head on. Have to face reality in order to deal with it. So–in spite all my brainstorming writing efforts I’ve yet to come up with an opening besides this: Native American children have the HIGHEST rates of suicide in the entire USA–and possibly the world.
Why does a 10 year old commit suicide? Why did a group of Native American children aged 8 to 16 carry out a suicide pact of killing themselves? Why would 20 Indian children at one school attempt suicide in one year? Why did 8 children commit suicide in the last two months on Pine Ridge?
Perhaps the bottom line is a lack of hope due to all the longstanding economic and cultural-social problems that have been rampant in Native American communities/reservations ever since the 1880s. Yes, the 1880s. The legacy of genocide, forced assimilation–Indian Commissioner T.J. Morgan once wrote that Indians “Must submit or die.” – boarding schools, and cultural destruction has deep historical roots.
News today from the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana–six children took their lives this year one by gun, four by hanging–one by train. For more visit the Indianz.com news coverage link->
From Native American Times–>
The following selection of videos serve only to introduce the topic. Posting other videos and links to news coverage and other information is encouraged. This issue is not the sole provence of the Pine Ridge Reservation–child suicide is rampant across Indian Country and Alaska.