Media, Music and Movies ~ For Uranium Mining On Navajo Land, Plus Snow From Sewage

Yes, it’s Monday. It’s St. Patrick’s Day. It’s national beer drinking day for a lot of folks.

But it’s also another day in the ongoing fight against uranium mining and its consequences everywhere from the past to the present.

On March 14, 2014 independent journalist Amy Goodman reported from Flagstaff, Arizona about the ongoing environmental and health issues connected with uranium mining and its long-term consequences for the Dine ~ Navajo people.  The main portion of her video report is posted here but there is a great deal more information and related coverage on Democracy Now!’s site.  Part of the Democracy Now! broadcast discussed the use of music and film by to raise awareness and share information regarding issues.  To supplement DN!’s coverage I’ve included two videos featuring Klee Benally’s music and an informative video about Outta Your Backpack Media which teaches Indigenous people how to make and use movies to address the need for media justice and coverage in their communities.  There’s a trailer for the film The Return of Navajo Boy which is referenced in the news piece.  The film’s website –> http://navajoboy.com/.  Democracy Now!’s page for the story also includes links to information and related stories. 

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Without Water & Weather Changes ~ Klee Benally

humanrights2u

http://kleebenally.com

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“A Slow Genocide of the People”  Uranium Mining Leaves Toxic Nuclear Legacy On Indigenous Land  

democracynow

Democracy Now! A Daily Independent News Hour  —  http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/14/a_slow_genocide_of_the_people

http://www.democracynow.org

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Outta Your Backpack

outtayourbackpack·

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The Return of Navajo Boy Trailer

GroundswellFilms·

This is a trailer for the award-winning documentary film, “The Return of Navajo Boy.” See its official website for more information:http://www.navajoboy.com

Also see Groundswell Educational Films website:

http://groundswellfilms.org

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Song of the Sun ~ Klee Benally

IndigenousAction

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What part of sacred don’t you understand?

MT Garcia

“Outlawing Dolores Huerta” — She’s got great company in Tucson, AZ where Shakespeare’s The Tempest is Outlawed. Thou Shall Not Read!~ Or Shall We?

Do you celebrate your ethnic culture? Do you speak a language besides English? What’s your history? Where do you come from? Can people tell who you are by looking at your face? What do you read? What do you write? What music do you listen to? What does it mean to ‘be an American’? What does it mean to be human? Who are you? Where are your people ‘from’? Hmm?

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Oh to be so feared as to be banned from Tucson.

Such is The Tempest.

dance a Caliban, twirl an Ariel,

ah Prospero what magic

do we dare now

love each other as ourselves

read what we please

why not

Isn’t America the home of the free?

Hmmmm, let me get back to you on that.

I hope The Bard is beside himself with glee wherever, whoever he be now.

Hundreds of years and stirring more than teacups with The Tempest.

Education News and videos From Three Sonorans and Nonprofitnews

http://threesonorans.com/

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Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind

NonprofitNews·

Outlawing Shakespeare: The Battle for the Tucson Mind is a documentary focuses on the elimination of the Mexican American Studies program within the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona. Under a federal de-segregation decree, Mexican American Studies was created and was successful at improving academic achievement. The documentary explores Arizona Attorney Tom Horne’s crusade as he and other state officials claim the program in Tucson is attempting to convince students to secede from the United States by creating “Aztlan.” Baffling students, parents and teachers, Outlawing Shakespeare explores why this tactic is being utilized.

The documentary explores how Arizona officials have outlawed books and authors such as renowned British author William Shakespeare because they believe he is to controversial.

Is there a rebellion in Tucson or are officials worried about an impending Latino majority in Arizona? The documentary explores how Arizona politics has become focused on race and adults blaming children and using intimidation to force students, teachers and parents not to speak out.

Passed in 2010, HB-2281 outlaws any curriculum focused on overthrowing the US government and focused on one ethnic group. This legislation is the only legislation ever to focus on the concept of “Aztlan” by a sitting attorney general of any state.

Outlawing Dolores Huerta: The Tucson Diaries

NonprofitNews

Gabriel Buelna

Published on Oct 17, 2013 on the tubesofyou

In 2006, Dolores Huerta visits Tucson High School and makes a speech. Within the speech, she states “Republicans Hate Latinos.” In 2010, Arizona Attorney Tom Horne and other politicians used these words as their rationale for passing HB-2281-The Ethnic Studies Ban. In this interview, Dolores Huerta discusses the statement and its affect.

For complete context, please watchhttp://www.outlawingshakespeare.com.

What’s in your head?

Higher Education Quebec Style = 400,000 Defy Bill 78 to Denounce Tuition Hike. Oh and about Education…

       Now one hundred days of protest is some serious field trip out of classroom mental work– and this exercise in the freedom to speak one’s mind with one’s feet apparently will not end with the conclusion of the course term. in Quebec.  Apparently Canadian students enjoy their affordable education so much they’re willing to fight for it with zeal and determination.  Bill 78 is an effort to shut down the student strike protests against the 75 % hikes in tuition. Bill 78 in effect demands that people submit to the dictates of the state and refrain from protesting en mass or face serious fines (1,000 to 25,000 dollars) and arrest. Wearing a mask could get you 10 years in prison.  OOOOO what do the elected official fear from the mask wearers?  Damn that film V for Vendetta for its mask wearing protestors for popularizing those masks which scares the hell out of totalitarians. Every effort to ban and il-legalize the masks serves as a red flag marker as to who is who on the battlefield for mind control. Some Canadians I’ve chatted with recently declare Bill 78 is the death knoll for Premier Jean Charest and his ‘liberal’ party.  Take note–these days the world ‘liberal’ has vastly different meanings depending on where, who, when–it’s all about context.

If you’re wondering what’s with the red square — little red felt squares are worn by the students and their supporters in Quebec.  Yes, I am in solidarity with anyone who believes quality education should be available to everyone. I would like ALL education to be ‘free of charge’ because the mind is the most vital frontier and no one should be denied the opportunity to learn–ever.  Can you imagine a world in which our monetary and other ‘resources’ are focused on education that enables humans to actualize their imaginative creative intellectual potential –instead of focused on making war, engaging in genocide and destruction of anyone some folks consider a threat to their bastions of power and control? I suspect if we’d been enabling the flourishing of the mind we might not have sown the seeds of our destruction via the pollution of our own habitat.  Or at least I hope we would not have done so.  One never knows what course intellectual freedom might embark upon. Hell, some of the great scientific minds created the atom bomb–and enabled it to be ‘used.’  So, yes, I admit there are such dilemmas.  Yet, if there’d not been a military industrial complex running rampant then the course of human history would be —-???? We don’t quite know do we? Plenty of Science Fiction authors have explored alternative realities. I suspect this is one reason the genre threatens mainstream fiction writers — because it explores more than the status quo of possibilities and pushes the imagination into uncharted waters.

A few fundamental basics regarding quality education to consider. Oh yes, all of this comes from experiencing what ‘works’ in a teaching environment. This is NOT speculation:

Optimum student class size–14 students.  This is not a secret number. It’s been shown that a student teacher ratio of 14 to 1 produces major benefits.

No standardized tests. They’re just money makers for the corporate testing business and serve no other purpose than to generate profits. They’re useless for gauging real mastery of material. Ability to properly employ and discuss material in useful and creative ways reveals having learned a subject.

No corporate produced textbooks. The textbook industry is another huge money-maker that enables mass indoctrination and manipulation of information. Guess why Americans don’t know much about HISTORY beyond what someone decided they ought to know to stay malleable.

No useless grades. Grades do little more than serve as carrots on sticks. Children have been paid to get good grades in research studies.  The little student research rats behave just as one might expect–they produce only as long as they’re PAID. No more funding and they cease putting forth effort for grades.  That reveals nothing good about carrots or the educational system that fails to incline children to be invested in their own learning.

As for uniforms–who gives a damn what you’re wearing if you’re not engaged in the act of discovery. Uniforms might ease some social issues in some contexts but they cannot improve a child’s learning experience. Some parents like uniforms because of how easy they make “clothing issues”. Well, if clothing issues are the main concern something is seriously skewed at the core.  Uniforms are just another money-maker for those businesses that produce them.

Discovered a common thread here regarding the involvement of ‘Business’ in education? Business has NO place in education.  It does not foster engagement in the act of discovery. Businesses exist for profit margins and selling products–NOT for fostering the critical thinking skills of human beings.

As for “teachers” in education. It’s a tough job these days to be a teacher anywhere. The pedagogy for classrooms has clearly failed under the current system of operations in the public sector.  Education is not a ‘service’ industry where just punching a time clock is enough.  People’s minds are not like car parts on conveyor belts waiting for assembly. Lecturing to the ‘drones’ does nothing but leave all children behind–far far behind. To teach is to lay aside ego and engage people — not all of whom one ‘likes’– in order to educate their imaginations so that they are active participants in the world rather than factory robots.  This is not easy nor for the faint of heart. “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” No shit.

Information regarding Bill 78  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_78

Visit Democracy Now!  http://www.democracynow.org/  for coverage of the student protests. They had a good feature piece today (Friday May 25, 2012). http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/25/maple_spring_nearly_1_000_arrested

The Educated Imagination website dedicated to Northrop Frye http://fryeblog.blog.lib.mcmaster.ca/  O my, Frye was a Canadian?? Hehehe, see this post is ‘connected’ …..

And  Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination   http://northropfrye-theeducatedimagination.blogspot.com/

Nothing is perfect–but there are much better ways to educate than are currently employed en mass in the United States.  I think some Americans have figured out enough to know that closing 60 schools in Philadelphia is not a great idea.  http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/25/whos_killing_philly_public_schools_daniel

How is your imagination today? Please do share your thoughts if you’re so inclined.  No rulers for knuckle bashing nor ink pens held at the ready for grammar put downs in this blogcasa comment section. Anyone have a positive educational experience to share? Hmm? Horror stories also are ‘welcome’. Is your school under siege? Are you a teacher wondering what the hell has gone so horribly wrong? Are you a lucky teacher  in a great supportive environment with eager students?

 

More Art Energy Flows for Growing Children a la Allen …

 

More on the power of Art’s energy–this time via BigSurKate’s featured artist post.

Dave Allen's "Mirage"

On BigSurKate’s blog is another of Dave Allen’s wonderful paintings inspired by the natural world–The Magnificent Sea–the world so clearly full of creative energy manifesting in all things.  What I found even more intriguing than Dave’s gorgeous art was the story he shares regarding the power of Art, creative expression, to be a positive influence. He tells a true story regarding his interaction with a boy who responds with incredible immediate intensity to the chance to channel his energy into an artistic medium.  You can find the whole story at BigKateSur’s blog casa–along with some very obliging does and news about what’s the haps in Big Sur country —>>> http://bigsurkate.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/featured-artist/

I’m very conscious of the flow of the energy from the natural world as it influences my own visual art — and often inspires my word art.  It’s clear from the way Leslie White, who also teaches art,  engages her subjects that she too has an influential connection to the flow of energy from nature.  There’s no denying that Dave Allen is  in tune with the world of energy washing his everyday world.  When this manifests in depictions of the natural world the connection seems obvivious. I think that even when the manisfestation is not a representation of nature that the same creative energy is at work and flowing freely in all acts of creation.  Do you go with the energy flow? 

Leslie White’s students seem to —>> http://lesliepaints.wordpress.com/student-art-2/

My Viewpoint Update / Emily Schiffer

http://www.myviewpoint.org/

Heads up, the child photographers of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation are in New York and Emily Schiffer shares the following:

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, my students from South Dakota are in New York. We’re having an amazing time. We’d like to invite you to our silent auction fundraiser this Thursday from 6-9 at VII Gallery in DUMBO. 
The purpose of the New York City trip is to expose ourselves to new ideas that will inform the design of our upcoming traveling exhibition. We are meeting with passionate artists and curators, and visiting various art spaces.  
We’ve met with Lorna Simpson, James Casebere, Ben Lowy, Marvi Lacar, James Estrin and  from The NY Times Lens blog, curators from the Museum of the American Indian (who talked with us about contemporary Native American photography), we met with a college counselor, went to the beach, have printed at ICP, had a cook out with Keisha’s mom, were interviewed by the NY times Fort Greene/ Clinton Hill blog “the Local” (which should be up tomorrow),  and will be meeting with PDN, OSI, the curator from Foto Baryo, and will be touring MOMA. We’re incredibly inspired, and are very much looking forward to our silent auction. We hope to see you there! 
To view the on-line silent auction preview, please click here
Thank you and all the best!
Emily
Emily Schiffer, Photographer
Represented by Charlet Photographies, France
347 451 7095

 

 

Concerning ‘education’ at large…

I’ve had it up to ‘here’ and way beyond with folks bewailing the quality of public education in the States. No one seems to know what to do to improve this mess except to demand more tests. More tests will not improve education on any level. It cannot work. It does not work. Never has and never will. Test taking has nothing to do with real learning.  I say toss the whole test taking industry into the trash bin immediately.  If I had my way grades would also zoom into the trash bin. Why? Because they’re just ‘grades’ and they do not accurately measure learning either. Either someone ‘learns’ or they do not. Learning cannot be forced. IF something has been really ‘learned’ then it can be applied/used/put into motion by the ‘student’. 

Based on experience, I know of a few things that DO work when it comes to improving the petri dish that is classroom education.  Consider this my ‘gift’ of the season:

~~Optimal student to teacher ration is 1 teacher for every 14 students. This is NOT a newsflash–it’s well-known and been documented plenty. 

~~Oh yeah, an invested teacher can do a lot with 14 students. And 14 students can get a lot from a teacher who wants to teach.  A teacher who wants to teach might be described as someone who wants to engage students–not keep them at an intellectual taser’s length distance. With 14 students’ in a class, a teacher has not just the time but the mental wherewithall to address each as individuals.

~~Textbooks need to ‘go’ away.  Why employ a textbook when there are so many BETTER books to use for teaching? Yes, this means a teacher would have to search out tomes that would best serve their teaching goals–rather than have some textbook dictate what’s on the mental menu every single day of the school experience. Yes, this is ‘work’ –but it is work that pays off for both the teacher and their students. Everyone’s ‘mind’ can be engaged in material that is appealing and fresh.

~~Speaking of ‘fresh’–what the hell is with teachers who use the same material, the same lesson plans, the same approaches year after year after year? They’ve got to be bored to death mentally. I’ve heard many say they are bored to death by doing the same material the same way time  and time again. Guess what–a teacher’s BOREDOM is conveyed to their students who are in turn bored and then see no reason to actively engage with the teacher or subject.  IF a teacher doesn’t like teaching, doesn’t like their subject, doesn’t like students then they ought to NOT be teachers. If they’re bored they need to get ‘un-bored’ or depart the classroom.

~~Teaching ought to be an engagement in the act of discovery. This involves embarking on a quest to explore, question, and think independently. Often this throws out the bathwater of  absolute right answers. (No–this does NOT mean that one plus one no longer equals two in math. Although in an alternate reality it might…) In the words of Northrup Frye, one strives to “educate the imagination” so that it can creatively address all sorts of ‘questions’ until suitable responses are discovered.

~~More than a daily ‘lecture’ ought to go on in any classroom.  Dialogue is very useful for exploring thoughts and new concepts.  Arrangement of students desks/chairs so that they have eye contact with each other and the teacher encourages dialogue.

~~Oh yes, there is a useful ‘rule’ to employ in regard to ‘dialogue’/communication/communication  —Distinguish between what a person ‘says’ and the person themself when debate/arguing/disputes arise. It is one thing to say, “That is a silly answer.” It is another to say, “You’re a silly idiot.”  Mutual respect goes a long way to developing positive communication. People can’t all like each other– but they can all respect each other.

~~Yes, schools are stuffed full of students with terrible home lives.  Social issues abound. What are the causes of these social issues? My take is that our culture is bankrupt–it has nothing to offer but the goal of consuming as much as possible. Nothing is valued  except money.  

Enjoy the ‘holy days’, fruity-cakes, eggnog, new game boxes, cars, and other toys.   What’s going on in the classroom of life’? hmm?

Out of the box learning in action:

http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/national/plains/72762717.html

what is reading?

What is reading? Why do we do it? Does it matter what we read? Is reading a different experience if it involves reading fiction, poetry, science, history, theology, math or the ‘news’?

Do we read in order to get smarter? to improve our vocabulary? to acquire knowledge and learn new things of all sorts? Are we just human computer data collection systems or is there something else in play when we engage in the act of reading? And are ‘words’ the only things that can be read? I think not. We read body language. Hunters read tracks. The weather can be read–no, I do not mean by meterologists or weatherpeople–but by ‘people’ who pay attention to their environment.  All sorts of ‘things’ can be read and deciphered for meaning.

 What are we really doing when we read? Are we searching for meaning? Are we engaging in the same pursuit as Viktor Frankl?

Are we not engaging in the creative process and energy of the universe by immersing ourselves in the words/thoughts/images/understandings of another person or thing? What happens to our consciousness when we ‘read’?  Is that all biology? Electricity between neurons firing with intense rapidity?

What is the role of ‘intention’? Is a writer’s intention the same as what’s meant by Buddhist intention? Is it? Perhaps so when all is said and done. Or not–depending upon contexts?

 Even after the writer does their best to express themselves once the words are sent off into the world, cyberspace, publishers, mailboxes snail and email, well they rather take on a life of their own as they travel and reach their targets–intended and unintended. Does the reader ‘accept’ the words with the same mindframe as the writer? Does it matter?

Why do we strive so hard to communicate with others? Why do some forces do their best to curb communication?

Is reading not an art in itself?

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