Idle No More’s Peaceful Women Warriors –and the Issues aka Genocide via Legislation

The founders of Idle No More  @Sylvia McAdam  photo via twitter.

Sheelah McLean (left), Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon

If you’re still wondering what has Canada’s First Nations “Idle No More” then brew some tea, get your seat all comfy and let the ladies do their thing–teach. Here’s a very accessible introduction to the issues.  Canada’s Omnibus Bill C-45 has been passed by the senate. Guess what that means after Dr. Pamela Palmater lays it all out.

Sylvia McAdam, Jan. 6 Teach In, Calgary via placesintheforest

Sylvia McAdam presents Peaceful Women Warriors ~ Alberta

Nina Wilson interview with Trevor Grey Eyes News regarding C-45

In depth presentation about Canada’s First Nations issues. This is very clearly presented information and explanations.

Dr. Pamela Palmater ~ Alberta (part 1/4)– On the legislation/Harper/Indian Act/environment and more.

(part 2/4) Water issues, discrimination via the Canadian legal system, pipeline, treaty partners, reserve land,  First Nations elections, protests, chiefs and more.

(part 3/4) Omnibus Bill C-45, treaty rights, jurisdiction,  “unlocking our lands,” education, who benefits from First Nations poverty and more.

(part 4/4) Resource Development by force, right wing media spin issues, social media, White Paper 2012, et al.

Anyone else get the sense that just meeting with Harper is not going to silence the drums of “Idle No More” while genocide is committed via legislation?

What’s really up with Zits? Time travel Sherman Alexie style in Flight.

Hehehehehehe. Okay, if you have no appreciation of dark humor stop reading right now and stay far away from Flight–far far away. Got it? I’m warning you. This is no sweet flight of fancy tome.  Our hero is an angry fifteen year old male of Irish and Indian origin with some serious grief and father issues–among other things. Now sit back and sip your hot tea, latte or bloody mary and think about a young man who refers to himself as Zits. If you can’t relate then it’s probably in your best interests–and mine (yes, I do fear homicidal repercussions from unhappy readers)–to go nowhere near this particular Sherman Alexie book.  That said, last night I stayed up very late reading Flight via flashlight outside on the front porch–much to the dismay of anyone who had their doors or windows open to receive my hooting laughter when I turned to page 146.  Some folks do not find boiled birdies funny–and I do understand that such minds exist. On the other hand, there are minds, such as mine and apparently Alexie’s, which find self boiled birdies absolutely hilarious–especially in the context of a potentially violent encounter between a homeless Indian man and the usual well-heeled white dude. If by some means, like using your local public library, you garner a copy of Flight you too will be in serious need of comic relief by the time you turn to page 146. Though, hopefully, you’ll have found other darkly comic things to chuckle loudly about before page 146. But you’ll also have encountered several incidents of mayhem, murder and molestation along the way.  The lives of foster children are not all filled with sugar mommies and daddies. Nor do many events in American history since 1492 recount pleasant Thanksgiving din dins between Europeans and Indigenous folks.

Ever wonder how to diffuse the building anger of teenager? Well, Sherman Alexie offers one way–history lessons of the “not me” and the “me?!” variety. Yep, direct confrontations of some dark sad truths of reality provide the fodder for the adolescent mind to chew heartily on and time travel, complete with out-of-body experiences, is the medium.  From the Battle of the Little Bighorn to the grief ridden friendly skies of a private flight instructor Alexie takes us on a journey through history. Along the way he’ll shred your heart, sew it back together without anesthesia, and then shove it back into your chest.  You’re going to need every last piece of humor to endure the operation.  If you’re not laughing when Harry Potter takes a swan dive–then you might be dead and gone. Or you’ve abandoned Alexie’s exploration of time travelling adventures as an instruction manuel. Each episode serves as a short story with ethical issues galore. FBI agent Hank Storm may not get your heartstrings trembling–but Gus, Bow Boy and Small Saint could very well lay you flat on the floor demolishing an extra-large box of kleenex–or soaking an extra-large cotton hanky.

Zits experiences violence in many forms via his out-of-body time travelling–and this makes him seriously consider his pains of loss, abandonment and identity. Children NEED fathers–preferably decent men who care about their welfare. That lacking, one must find family where one can. Sometimes the concept of ‘family’ has not a damned thing to do with genetics and biology. It’s got to do with who gives a damn.

I’ve been a fan of Alexie’s work ever since reading his collection of poems and short stories The Business of Fancydancing. Yes, there’s a film by that title too– and it’s a great film. But–it was the text that had me wanting to scream and laugh from one page to the next. Ever felt bushwhacked by a writer? Well that’s how I felt while reading The Business of Fancydancing. It was great. Disturbing at times, but great nonetheless. I will never forget the story of the man, Eve and the post office. Hell, I’ve never entered a post office since and not thought of the story. The same holds true for Flight. It will not numb or bore you to tears. Not sure you can relate yet? Okay, who has had bad acne? Raise your hands now.

The Official Website of Sherman Alexie–be forewarned–it’s a tad off kilter:

Protect Mother Earth, Stop SB 2109, Protect Sacred Sites, No Racism, No Foreclosures, et. al. March Rally Flagstaff, AZ April 28, 2012, 3 pm

Click poster for more images at Navajo Truth SB 2109 on facebook.

Now this is what an alliance looks like. Take note of all the interconnected issues and groups involved in this event. Some people are getting together for mutual support. Something tells me this sort of bridge building is not taught in The Huppenthal Mind Control School Plan. But taking an axe to the Ethnic Studies programs in the state of Arizona sure might have thrown some serious fuel on this bonfire. Protecting Mother Earth is everyone’s common ground. Unless, of course, you’re McCain, Kyl, a Bush, BP, Shell, Chevron, Trans-Canada, Canadian PM Harper, Kinder-Morgan, Enbridge, Palin — whatever will it take to wake these folks up? Oil spills inside their homes? Mandatory gas masks for everyone? Water rationing?
Not in Arizona? Then spread the news cause I don’t think this rally will be aired on CNN, ABC, NBC or Fox news unless it’s a 5 second soundbite IF the police crack open some pepper spray.

History Alert: Transform Columbus Day Parade, October 8 in Denver. Yes, folks, this is a reality check. Sorry to squish all the warm fuzzies from grade school.

click through to Transform Columbus day

Joy Harjo on America’s Disappeared People

 A little touch of Joy Harjo on the “disappearing” of First Nations People in America along with  some clearly not disappeared poetry and  music of her own. I have actually encountered people who think that there are no Native Americans. It’s an odd notion to hear from the mouths of educated, intelligent people. But it’s not really that surprising considering how seldom anyone references American Indians in the media. 

So who wants to talk about the poorest county in the United States according to the recent census data?  

Sticking it to Edward S. Curtis–with a grin.

After a depth charge of “Mao’s Guilt”  by the Brothers Gao and a few other random dark thoughts still frying in my brainpan, I figured a  little something different is in order. Something light but with some attitude.  So here’s a small reality check for Edward S. Curtis’ “Vanishing Race.”  Some fun from Smoke Signals that–well–hey you don’t have to be Victor & Thomas to seriously ask–“Hey, what’s with John Wayne’s teeth?” Ever watch his mouth work like it’s geared to his hip action  from movie to movie?

Then, in a cheeky tribute to Rhonda of Native Spirit Radio on KKFI, I’ve tuned into what seem to be the best audio versions on YouTube of  “NDN Kars” by Keith Secola and the Wild Band of Indians.  My search was for audio good enough to understand the lyrics without a text so if you desire some other images you can take your pick from YouTube’s selections.

 Still can’t resist the “point of it all”: Hey, Edward S. Curtis, these people look vanished? Sure sounds like “NOT!”

Everyone have a laugh and dance a little!

Not Just Another Pretty Face, Q’Orianka Kilcher

Q’Orianka Kilcher, star of The New World, is quickly proving that she has definitely more than beauty and acting talent as she has been publically speaking out in support of the Indigenous People protesting the proposed destruction of their rainforest homes. Yes, the young woman has the audacity to actually call out Alan Garcia for committing genocide against the Peruvian Indian Prostestors.

It’s very compelling, and overflowing with irony,  when an eco fashion site like greenloop offers coverage of the Indians’ protests in Peru while mainstream American media seems intent on ignoring the events. Apparently American corporate run news has a limited attention span–ie, Iran is all that matters–and who wants to touch ‘genocide’ in action? Especially ‘genocide’ that boldly illustrates the fundamental values war emerging on a global level.


“Spotted Elk’s Tiospaye”

each doubting whisper

any thought of deviation

They counter

tug, pull, yank back on course

Don’t forget us!

No more silence!

“Pick up the dying,” artist wrote

but it’s damn clear there’s no need for picking up

hell, they’ve picked themselves up

closed their ranks

achieved their precious consensus

each time any departure beckons for consideration

this damp icy morning just one example

wondering in warm bookshop serenity

bitter black coffee forcing realistic clarity

“…there are other things to do…other poems to write

see, right there, possibilities galore in tidy literary rags”

Temptation sneaks foward

Their counter-attack is nothing sublte

They know precisely where and how to slip through enemy lines

striking with unabashed, devasting cunning in Rosebud with ‘from Stealing Indians’ by John E. Smelcer…..31—boarding school, ghost of dead mother, quick witted, undeterred Indian children on cracked ice saving Indian children in ice water

They knowing that it’s a fast leap

straight to three Cheyenne River Indian Agency girls, 1913,  two dead in the snow—

nine year old orphan boy without winter clothes ticket 215–

Comes Home Crawling POW May 1891~

James Red Hawk’s failing lungs failing his resourceful spirit~

Their brilliantly executed strategy

destroys all competition

Nothing else to do until Spotted Elk’s Tiospaye receive their just due

so it’s back on the trek to Wounded Knee, December 29, 1890,

back to the Cheyenne River Indian Agency….


Eva Wojcik@2009       see May archive for We Shall Remain Shallow post

Indigenous Courage in Peru

Anyone care to predict where the human species needs to go in order to truly save the one and only planet homo sapiens exists on? Well it’s clear that the Indigenous people of Peru have sorted out the answer to the question: Protect the natural environment at all cost. What’s happening in Peru illustrates the basic struggle between corporate greed and ongoing insanity in regard to the rainforests, the lungs of the world, and those who understand this best because their daily lives depend upon the health and well being of the rainforest–Indigenous people living in the forests. Take note that so far mainstream media is keeping far away from covering this unfolding story. But Indian Country Today has it as their top story, Democracy Now put it out on the radio airwaves and those journalists some people tooting  guns like to shoot, Al Jazeera News, has coverage. Surfing the web can pull up even exclusive video on U tube. An Aussie I know informed me that there’s almost no hint of Peru’s issues in the land down under. Another question is how well the Indians armed with spears will fare in the face off against Peru’s Military guns? Indian Country Today’s cartoon put it in stark black and white with a man armed with a knife locked in a struggle with a soldier with a gun, both standing on a black splatch of OIL.

Winter Fox Frank

So yes, I’ve got more to say about “The Only Good Indian”–a film perhaps of most interest to those who have had direct experience with the issues it raises. The film introduces the talent of Winter Fox Frank as “Charlie” –the name randomly given to him by the boarding school staff. Winter gives a performance that makes it believeable that a boy his age would take the actions he does–deadly serious actions that have a major impact on Sam, Studi’s private investigating Cherokee, who wants to best the white man at being the white man. It’s the Indian boy who speaks most strongly to the Indian man by what he DOES according to his faith in his traditional Indian values and upbringing. It’s Charlie’s refusal to have the life blood sucked out of him by the boarding school mentality that sets everything into motion for the adult characters. Without the ‘boy’ and his faith in what he knows to be ‘true’ and ‘right’ the film would have no anchor. Winter’s portrayal of the willing to stand up for his beliefs Charlie is so good that even when he does what we expect him to do in regard to the rescue of Sally, we can’t help but watch in fascination and support his nervous yet no retreat conceivable confrontion with the Pickering man. It’s clear that Charlie forces Sam to re-examine his own choices at and since the Sand Creek Massacre. Winter Fox Frank’s performance ought to be enough to make anyone examine their value system through the eyes of a  ‘child’ well on his way to the sort of manhood that evokes respect and admiration. What will Winter ‘do’ next in regard to acting? He’s got the likes of Wes Studi, Adam Beach, director Chris Eyre and other adults breaking all kinds of ground for Native Americans in film. What will Winter do indeed—I’m  looking for him to make new trails for young Native American actors.

For touch of ‘bad indians’ warp to Wyld’s abode for some Red Corn rhymes,

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