tricksterspath:

 #IDLENOMORE ARTWORK FROM OUR FAV. B.C. FIRST NATION ARTIST - ANDY EVERSON

tricksterspath:

#IDLENOMORE ARTWORK FROM OUR FAV. B.C. FIRST NATION ARTIST - ANDY EVERSON

girljanitor:

Skeena Reece. “Raven: On the Colonial Fleet”, 2008.

One of the most striking works in the exhibition is the clothing and regalia worn by Reece in her persona as Raven on the Colonial Fleet. It’s comprised of a curvaceous bustier covered in vertical Northwest coast designs and an apron with figures whose outstretched arms are reaching above their heads for AK-47 machine guns. Her traditional button blanket has a surprise on the back: a grenade made out of silver sequins.

Skeena Reece is multi-disciplinary artist based on Vancouver Island and performance work may include, music, spoken word and videography.  Founder of the Native Youth Artists Collective, she has worked in Arts Administration since 2005.  A self-named ‘Sacred Clown’ influenced by her ancestors she is a storyteller. Her work has extended overseas at the 2010 Sydney Biennale: Festival of Contemporary Art in Australia and at the Bbeyond Gallery in Belfast, Ireland.  Performing at community art shows, the main stage or at a cabaret look for her inaugural music cd in Winter 2010.

cassket:

Erdrich’s book, The Round House, is about violence against American Indian women, and about one young man who confronts that violence when it finds its way into his home.

According to CBS News,

A clearly delighted and surprised Erdrich, who’s part Ojibwe, spoke in her tribal tongue and then switched to English as she dedicated her fiction award to “the grace and endurance of native women.”

Only fifteen or so women have won the adult fiction prize since 1952, and Erdrich is the first American Indian woman to ever win it. “This is a book about a huge case of injustice ongoing on reservations,” she said. “Thank you for giving it a wider audience.”

When the short list was released last month, Indian Country Today wrote,

Erdrich’s story, though fictional, is especially timely considering recent news about the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and revelations of rampant sexual abuse on at least one reserve. It’s the second in a trilogy begun in 2008 with The Plague of Doves (a Pulitzer Prize finalist, also published by HarperCollins), and unfolds in the aftermath of the rape of Geraldine Coutts on her North Dakota Ojibwe reservation in 1988. Her 13-year-old son, Joe, takes revenge into his own hands as he watches, helpless, while his mother succumbs to the emotional injuries wrought by trauma…. The murky jurisdiction—determining whether the attack has occurred on tribal, state or federal land—impedes investigation and prosecution in the novel, even as it reflects the reality faced by many victims of violence in Indian country.

Erdrich beat out beloved and decorated Junot Díaz, (This Is How You Lose Her) and Dave Eggers (A Hologram for the King), in what the New York Times called an “unusually competitive” field.

"A significant number of people believe tribal people still live and dress as they did 300 years ago. During my tenure as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, national news agencies requesting interviews sometimes asked if they could film a tribal dance or if I would wear traditional tribal clothing for the interview. I doubt they asked the president of the United States to dress like a pilgrim for an interview. More than one visitor to the Cherokee Nation capitol in Tahlequah, Oklahoma has expressed disappointment when they see no tipis or tribal people dressed up in buckskin. When these crestfallen tourists ask, ‘Where are all the Indians?’ I sometimes place my tongue in cheek and respond, quite truthfully, ‘They are probably at Wal-Mart.’"

Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010), the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation 

Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women

(via coolchicksfromhistory)

jalwhite:

Activist and Poet William Brandon Lacy Campos Dies at 35

Poet, writer, and activist William Brandon Lacy Campos has died. He was discovered on Friday night in his apartment in New York. The cause of death has not been announced. Campos was 35.

Campos authored the poetry collection “It Ain’t Truth If It Doesn’t Hurt,” was a contributor to the anthology “From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction,” and authored a blog called “Queer, Poz and Colored: The Essentials” at TheBody.com. He was also the former co-executive director at Queers for Economic Justice, a non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation.

Campos was born in Minnesota and became an activist in his teens, becoming the co-chair of the National Queer Student Coalition at age 20. He wrote and spoke passionately about not only the broader political landscape, but also about his own emotional journey and challenges as a queer person of color.

According to Rod 2.0 a Facebook status update made by Campos’ father confirmed his son had passed away. The news rocked LGBT and progressive organizing and artist circles this weekend, prompting an outpouring of support and grief on Facebook pages.

Campos was multi-racial and as Rod 2.0 points out, discussed the intersections of race, colorism, sexuality and gender just days before he passed away in a keynote address he delivered at Tuft University’s annual Black Solidarity Day on Monday, Nov. 6. The speech was called “A New Kind of Blackness.”

An excerpt from “A New Kind of Blackness” is published below.

“I’ve spent a long time thinking about blackness. About, roughly, all of my 35 years walking around this planet. I guess that makes me some sort of an expert, but mostly it makes me confused, angry, celebratory, conflicted, colonized, dehumanized, aggrandized, powerful, vulnerable, righteous, and a whole host of other adjectives.

“I am standing in front of you a black, white, Ojibwe, Afro-Boricua, HIV positive, queer man. And I am just as black as any of you. You are my community, you are my salvation. I am in community with my queer and trans black family and being queer or trans doesn’t make you less black than anyone else. It’s time for us to realize that HIV stopped being a white gay disease a long time ago, it’s now a black and Latin[o] disease and it’s time to hold up our positive brothers and sisters as our own. No more high yellow and midnight blue conversations when talking about skin unless its to talk about how that high yellow or midnight blue person rocked your socks last night.”

The video at the top of this page is of William Brandon Lacy Campos delivering a speech on reproductive justice and HIV at CLPP & PopDev’s 26th annual activist conference.

[Source: Colorlines]

Rest in power, William Brandon Lacy Campos.

jalwhite:

Virtual Classroom: Discovering Our Story



My collaborative project Discovering Our Story utilizes documentary of personal narratives to address the most dire health issues in the Native American community namely: Type 2 Diabetes, Domestic Violence, Addictions and Mental Health. By creating culturally appropriate materials for both classroom and clinical use these videos and curriculum are shared online are being tested and researched within various sites across the US. SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) has given their support in order for it to become a best practice model.
My project would serve to address the communication between the researchers and project administrators working remotely by creating a virtual classroom to support it’s success. My project will also provide the non-profit Wisdom of the Elders (WISDOM) with a fee-for-service resource to provide continuing education credits to train more teachers and clinicians in the use of the materials. - Peta Mni






SIGNAL BOOST!!!! You can help my classmate Peta win $10,000 to fund this project - it only takes one click to vote!!!! You do not need to be affiliated with The New School to participate.

jalwhite:

My collaborative project Discovering Our Story utilizes documentary of personal narratives to address the most dire health issues in the Native American community namely: Type 2 Diabetes, Domestic Violence, Addictions and Mental Health. By creating culturally appropriate materials for both classroom and clinical use these videos and curriculum are shared online are being tested and researched within various sites across the US. SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) has given their support in order for it to become a best practice model.

My project would serve to address the communication between the researchers and project administrators working remotely by creating a virtual classroom to support it’s success. My project will also provide the non-profit Wisdom of the Elders (WISDOM) with a fee-for-service resource to provide continuing education credits to train more teachers and clinicians in the use of the materials. - Peta Mni


SIGNAL BOOST!!!! You can help my classmate Peta win $10,000 to fund this project - it only takes one click to vote!!!! You do not need to be affiliated with The New School to participate.

adailyriot:

As the idiom says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” But nature’s most simple edibles can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways.

Take the cranberry, for example. This small, bouncy, perky berry, which grows in areas known as “bogs” on short evergreen perennial shrubs, tastes tart when eaten raw. But cooking cranberries mellows their taste, especially when mixed with a natural sweetener. Hence, cranberries taste delicious in pastries or as glazes on meats—think cranberry-rubbed turkey, venison with cranberry chutney, or wild boar in cranberry-wine sauce.

This deep-red fruit has a rich history, especially among the Wampanoag of Cape Cod and the outer islands, who have nurtured them for eons.

Now cranberries are a major industrial crop, along with two other totally Native fruits grown commercially in North America: blueberries and strawberries—the original finger foods.

Cranberries are a time-honored staple in trail mix and pemmican, also known as “jerky,” in which animal fats, nuts and berries of various sorts are pounded into preserved meats—typically buffalo, venison (including elk, deer and moose) or small game like rabbit or squirrel. Pemmican is a true example of traditional American Indian “fast food”—a far cry from modern America’s oil-drenched burgers and fries.

Cranberries, rather, are loaded with anthocyanins, which are responsible for their vibrant red pigment and deliver antioxidants that may slow aging and reduce inflammation. Beyond nutrition, cranberries offer medicinal uses. Our ancestors ground them into a paste to fight wound infections, treated by high levels of acidity and vitamin C. Plus, the indigenous fruit contains compounds that help block bacteria—giving credence to the common belief that drinking cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections.

Fresh cranberries are primarily available in the cool fall months, although they can be purchased year-round in dried form, often called craisins, or crushed in sauces and juices.

Have fun and experiment with the versatile cranberry—toss them in corn breads, apple pie or cake batters. Take inspiration from Native chefs and restaurants, like Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery. The Osage family-owned restaurant in Denver, Colorado makes a corn salsa with cranberries that has earned praise on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Still, my all-time personal favorite way to enjoy them is in cranberry chutney.

Cranberry “Sassamanesh” Chutney

3 cups cranberries

12 apples, firm, cored

2 sweet onions, sliced

1 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons ground ginger

¾ cup mint leaves, fine chopped

2 ounces chili peppers

4 cups apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons salt

1 pound dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour dissolved in ¼ cup water

You will need a heavy stainless steel pot. Combine all ingredients except the cranberries and flour mixture. Cook apples, onions, raisins, ginger, mint, chili pepper, vinegar, salt and brown sugar over very low heat for about a half hour. Now, add the cranberries and flour/water mixture and simmer 5-10 minutes to allow berries to pop and chutney to thicken. This will yield about 4 pints. Allow the mixture to blend and thicken overnight.

*Pack your chutney into jelly jars. They make great gifts this way, too.

… . .

Cranberries make for finger-licking desserts during the blustering fall season as well:

Sassamanesh Scones

preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 cup flour

½ cup quick cooking rolled oats

3 tablespoons sugar (brown preferred) or equivalent substitute

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons chilled sweet butter, cut in pieces

½ or more…cup Craisins (dried cranberries)

1 egg

¼ cup milk, more if needed

Using a food processor, mix the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse to blend. Put the butter on top and pulse again a few times. Add cranberries and pulse once to mix them in.

Beat the egg with the milk in a small glass bowl and pour into processor feeding tube until dough sticks together, add more milk if dough is too dry to stick together.

Put dough on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten down to a large circle. Cut into 12 pieces, leaving about an inch between them. Sprinkle with a little more sugar if desired. Bake about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

… . .

Cranberry Heaven

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2 cups fresh whole cranberries

1 cup cranberry juice cocktail

4 eggs

1 cup sugar (or substitute equivalent)

¼ cup flour

1 cup milk

½ cup heavy cream

½ teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of cinnamon

Grease a 9-inch pie pan. Cook the cranberries in a large non-reactive saucepan for 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove cranberries and set them aside. Boil down liquid to ¼ cup remaining. Use a blender or food processor to combine the eggs, sugar, flour, milk, cream and vanilla. Add the cranberry liquid to form a custard. Spread the slightly cooled cranberries on the bottom of the greased pie pan. Pour custard mixture over the berries and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake in the center of the oven until golden and puffed, about 40-45 minutes. Let cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: New Native American Cooking, Native New England Cooking and A Dreamcatcher Book. She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.



JOB: Bilingual Children’s Book Translator

jalwhite:

JOB TITLE: Bilingual Children’s Book Translator


SALARY: Per book stipend, published author byline & website link
LOCATION: Online

JOB INFORMATION:

Adele Marie Crouch of Creations by Crouch L.L.C., is producing bilingual books to assist people in learning new languages, and to help revitalize endangered languages by promoting literacy. Adele’s children’s books have become popular with English as a second language students and foreign language students all over the world, and are on the top 10 list of ESL study material on Amazon.

She currently has translators for the following languages: Apache, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. If you speak and write a Native American language, and would like to help with translating a children’s book into your language, please contact Adele at: Adele@creationsbycrouch.com

Translators receive payment for their translations, a by-line on the front of the book, and a contact link on the website.

[SOURCE: Cultural Survival - Language Gathering ]

sofriel:

California was once home to over 300 Native American dialects and as many as 90 languages, making it the most linguistically diverse state in the US. Today, only about half of those languages are still with us, according to the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, or AICLS.

“Many of the California tribes were really negatively impacted with the Gold Rush and tribes were devastated and a lot of the languages have been lost,” said Janeen Antoine, who teaches a language class at the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland. She teaches Lakota, which is spoken in South Dakota where she is from. “There’s a very strong effort within the California peoples to revive their languages.”

L. Frank Manriquez was a part of the California language revitalization movement, which began about 20 years ago, after many people noticed languages were disappearing with the eldest generation of fluent speakers. “We’ve been studied enough, now we have to learn,” said Manriquez who belongs to several Southern California tribes. “Sure there are scientists who are going to go deeper and deeper and find that vowel for us, but there’s enough out there for us natives to actually make language from.”

For over two decades, Manriquez has been visiting the archives at the Phoebe A. Heart Museum of Anthropology, which holds the largest collection of California Native American artifacts in the world, matching artifacts with language. She says it is common for many to become overwhelmed by the loss that these archives signify, but for her, she feels inspired to find each artifact’s meaning in her ancestors’ culture. She says she will look to neighboring tribes’ language if it something is no longer available in her own.

“It’s the most concrete tie to language that there is — these things, all of these pieces. Artifacts, they hold the language just as if they were a person holding the language,” said Manriquez. “It’s up to me then to work hard and get that language out of them.”

A work-in-progress map of California Native American tribes. Courtesy of L. Frank Manriquez.

The greater Bay Area alone is home to dozens of different Native American dialects. With many tribes no longer having fluent speakers, and because recordings of languages are sometimes kept private due to their containing personal information, reviving Native American languages can be challenging.

“You can get some members of the same family arguing over a pronunciation, and it will tear the family apart even further than it has been in these past 500 years,” said Manriquez. “We try to ease that by saying we’re kind of coming from ground zero here.  If we’re going to dance, then we are going to have to find those who are dancing. If we’re going to speak the language, we are going to have to find those who are speaking.”

For many Native Americans like Dean Hoaglin, who is the PEI (Prevention and Early Intervention) outreach coordinator at Suscol Intertribal Council in Napa, preserving language in prayer and traditional ceremonies are the most important.

“As a Native person, the way I was taught, the way we communicate through our prayers is most meaningful. Not to say that we can’t off those prayers in English and if we don’t know the language that’s what we do,” said Hoaglin, who belongs to the Coast Miwok, Pomo, Wailaki, and Yuki tribes of Northern California. “But it’s about the spirit and intent behind our words. Words are words, but it’s about the spirit and intent. So language is very powerful.”

Manriquez agrees. She says she prays in her native language when visiting the artifacts, as part of her offering.

“I don’t know if we’re ever going to be fluent enough to have fluent conversations with each other. And looking at all this history–what are we going to put back together with all these little bits that language hooks up?” asked Manriquez. “Well, we’re just going to be able to make it to the land of the dead. We’re going to be able to pray, we’re going to be able to pray over our dead, pray for our children.You have to take it back down to what you can do, what one person can do.”

You can find more information on reviving California Native American languages on AICLS’ website.

<3 I’ve learned there’s a lot of love between Metis people and California Indians, from whom we learned how to use the master-apprentice system to revitalize our language. 

I also want to point out that L Frank Manriquez is two-spirit, because I love seeing two-spirit people involved in language revitalization and I think it’s important for people to recognize our contributions to our communities, particularly for those colonized Natives who think queer Natives are sellouts to Western society. 

"Being Taino today means relating to a reality that has been acutely denied over time and constantly addressing assumptions of Taino extinction. Despite the political and physical decapitation of the large cacicagos (chiefdoms) following European conquest in the early 1500s, the theory of Taino extinction has been proven incorrect. Throughout the Great Antilles, historians point out the substantial strength of Taino cultural traits, knowledge of the natural world, and customs of daily living in the formational cultures of the islands. Of course, the blow “that paralyzed the Indian” (to paraphrase the Cuban poet José Marti) led the descendants populations to blend in rather than draw the fire of supremacist social regimens. Clearly, cultural and biological legacies from ancestors can lie seemingly dormant while buried in layered marginality, sometimes for decades at a time, then be triggered into movement by particular historical conditions."

José BarreiroindiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas, p. 36.  (via alostbird)
digatisdi:

Good

This looks amazing! Now I am off to google keyboards for other alphabets.

digatisdi:

Good

This looks amazing! Now I am off to google keyboards for other alphabets.

selchieproductions:

Alaska Native languages: It all comes down to choices© Xh’unei Lance A. Twitchell / Juneau Empire

Linguists have been predicting the death of Alaska Native languages for decades now, and whether or not those predictions prove accurate comes down to the choices you and I make on a daily basis. The past 200 years have been devastating; from boarding schools to disease to social discriminations, we are now left with the aftermath of successful attempts to destroy languages and cultures. But that does not mean we have to resign our efforts or just allow this to happen. In fact, it leaves us all with a tremendous amount of power and the decision is right here before us: speak now or let it go forever.
Our languages have developed in specific places for thousands and thousands of years. Within them we see patterns of migrations, grammar that allows us to see the world differently, and an ability to communicate more closely with our ancestors and the natural world around us. Just the other day I sat with some school children and watched a Tlingit speaker talk to the porpoises. He called out to them, the ones we call “cheech,” and they came back to the surface in response, showing themselves to the kids who sat down to learn from the Tlingit speaker.
And there is more. The recent release of Tom Thornton’s book, “Haa Léelk’w Hás Aaní Saax’ú / Our Grandparents’ Names on the Land,” gives us nearly 3,500 names to put back onto the land on which we live in Southeast Alaska. These names collectively show an intense and long-standing relationship with the land. They connect us linguistically to stories, migrations, animals, the supernatural and more. When you think about it, and when you really try to use these names, you then realize that you are not just living in Anywhere, USA.
But there are so few people who are using our language. Recent surveys leave us with this estimate: there are fewer than 250 people who can speak a Southeast Alaska Native Language. That is three languages combined. Tlingit has about 200, Haida has about a half-dozen, and Coastal Tsimshian has about 30. This means that the clock is ticking quickly for each of these languages. This also means that we have some important decisions to make.
I could spend a thousand words on the reasons for language decline in indigenous populations. I could spend a thousand more on potential solutions, useful studies, new curriculum ideas. In reality, all of that compares very little to these two questions: Who will speak? Who will listen?
There is nothing that will determine the future of our languages more than this. Despite everything that has happened, and all the things we may think should happen, we have to realize that we are the ones deciding to let these languages die. Maybe we have been fooled into thinking that progress moves us towards an English-only world. Perhaps we have been beaten and teased and shamed into staying away from our languages.
I can understand those things. But we have to move beyond them, as a region, and listen to these languages. Every time I hear notions of racial supremacy disguised as progress or world economy, I think about how sneaky all those things are. But I still stumble through the language with my baby daughter when we are home alone in the mornings. I still talk to the cat and whomever else will listen. I make my family guess what I am saying, and even better yet, they are just starting to figure it out. I speak with other speakers, and learn what I can when I can.
We need our communities to embrace the existence of our languages. This is more than just nodding or saying, “good idea.” This language was beaten, washed, and bribed out of our people. There is a trauma here that was government-sponsored, church-driven, and rarely resisted at the community level. That means that we can choose to work together to make sure these languages have a place to live, and that is the same place where they were born. It does not matter what your ethnicity is.
This is not a race issue. This is a human issue. I think of it as this: you are walking past a dying person. Do you just walk past? It does not matter how it happened or what you may think of that person. What type of human are you? When we examine the history of this area, we can see that the human obligation is to help people survive and to be kind. Recently, I heard a wise man say that politics is bullying, and Alaska Natives do not make good bullies.
The goal of Alaska Native language revitalization is not to force anyone to do anything or to try and destroy anyone else’s identity or sense of place. Ironically, there seems to be a real fear of the revival of Alaska Native languages, or at the very least a reluctance to see it. But it is coming. Our languages are now beginning to go through the process of death, the result of decades upon decades of a killing machine that we can call assimilation. We will no longer allow that to happen.
Study after study has shown that bilingual people test higher in education. Study after study has shown that when you take away a group’s established identity and substitute it with something else, it creates systemwide failure within that group. Suicide rates among Alaska Natives are enormous, and most social gauges show a people in peril. But we do not have to stay on this road. We can make our own decisions and future. We can open our minds to a new existence that allows languages to thrive, and connects generations back to time immemorial.
We have talked about language revitalization in our region, but we are not there yet. It will take a sea change among our communities, organizations, and individuals. It will take unity like we have not yet realized. It will take partnerships that leave the self behind. We will discover that we are all human beings, and that connections to each other, our land, and our ancestors will make every one of us stronger. We have incredible power and we will learn how to use it.
Speak. Listen. Do it every day. Change the future and the world.

• Xh’unei, Lance A. Twitchell, is Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages at the University of Alaska Southeast. 

selchieproductions:

Alaska Native languages: It all comes down to choices
© Xh’unei Lance A. Twitchell / Juneau Empire

Linguists have been predicting the death of Alaska Native languages for decades now, and whether or not those predictions prove accurate comes down to the choices you and I make on a daily basis. The past 200 years have been devastating; from boarding schools to disease to social discriminations, we are now left with the aftermath of successful attempts to destroy languages and cultures. But that does not mean we have to resign our efforts or just allow this to happen. In fact, it leaves us all with a tremendous amount of power and the decision is right here before us: speak now or let it go forever.

Our languages have developed in specific places for thousands and thousands of years. Within them we see patterns of migrations, grammar that allows us to see the world differently, and an ability to communicate more closely with our ancestors and the natural world around us. Just the other day I sat with some school children and watched a Tlingit speaker talk to the porpoises. He called out to them, the ones we call “cheech,” and they came back to the surface in response, showing themselves to the kids who sat down to learn from the Tlingit speaker.

And there is more. The recent release of Tom Thornton’s book, “Haa Léelk’w Hás Aaní Saax’ú / Our Grandparents’ Names on the Land,” gives us nearly 3,500 names to put back onto the land on which we live in Southeast Alaska. These names collectively show an intense and long-standing relationship with the land. They connect us linguistically to stories, migrations, animals, the supernatural and more. When you think about it, and when you really try to use these names, you then realize that you are not just living in Anywhere, USA.

But there are so few people who are using our language. Recent surveys leave us with this estimate: there are fewer than 250 people who can speak a Southeast Alaska Native Language. That is three languages combined. Tlingit has about 200, Haida has about a half-dozen, and Coastal Tsimshian has about 30. This means that the clock is ticking quickly for each of these languages. This also means that we have some important decisions to make.

I could spend a thousand words on the reasons for language decline in indigenous populations. I could spend a thousand more on potential solutions, useful studies, new curriculum ideas. In reality, all of that compares very little to these two questions: Who will speak? Who will listen?

There is nothing that will determine the future of our languages more than this. Despite everything that has happened, and all the things we may think should happen, we have to realize that we are the ones deciding to let these languages die. Maybe we have been fooled into thinking that progress moves us towards an English-only world. Perhaps we have been beaten and teased and shamed into staying away from our languages.

I can understand those things. But we have to move beyond them, as a region, and listen to these languages. Every time I hear notions of racial supremacy disguised as progress or world economy, I think about how sneaky all those things are. But I still stumble through the language with my baby daughter when we are home alone in the mornings. I still talk to the cat and whomever else will listen. I make my family guess what I am saying, and even better yet, they are just starting to figure it out. I speak with other speakers, and learn what I can when I can.

We need our communities to embrace the existence of our languages. This is more than just nodding or saying, “good idea.” This language was beaten, washed, and bribed out of our people. There is a trauma here that was government-sponsored, church-driven, and rarely resisted at the community level. That means that we can choose to work together to make sure these languages have a place to live, and that is the same place where they were born. It does not matter what your ethnicity is.

This is not a race issue. This is a human issue. I think of it as this: you are walking past a dying person. Do you just walk past? It does not matter how it happened or what you may think of that person. What type of human are you? When we examine the history of this area, we can see that the human obligation is to help people survive and to be kind. Recently, I heard a wise man say that politics is bullying, and Alaska Natives do not make good bullies.

The goal of Alaska Native language revitalization is not to force anyone to do anything or to try and destroy anyone else’s identity or sense of place. Ironically, there seems to be a real fear of the revival of Alaska Native languages, or at the very least a reluctance to see it. But it is coming. Our languages are now beginning to go through the process of death, the result of decades upon decades of a killing machine that we can call assimilation. We will no longer allow that to happen.

Study after study has shown that bilingual people test higher in education. Study after study has shown that when you take away a group’s established identity and substitute it with something else, it creates systemwide failure within that group. Suicide rates among Alaska Natives are enormous, and most social gauges show a people in peril. But we do not have to stay on this road. We can make our own decisions and future. We can open our minds to a new existence that allows languages to thrive, and connects generations back to time immemorial.

We have talked about language revitalization in our region, but we are not there yet. It will take a sea change among our communities, organizations, and individuals. It will take unity like we have not yet realized. It will take partnerships that leave the self behind. We will discover that we are all human beings, and that connections to each other, our land, and our ancestors will make every one of us stronger. We have incredible power and we will learn how to use it.

Speak. Listen. Do it every day. Change the future and the world.

• Xh’unei, Lance A. Twitchell, is Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages at the University of Alaska Southeast. 

"California was an Indian slave state, and it became a slave state by an official act of the first California legislature…the California state legislature passed an Indian slave act on April 22, 1850. Under provisions of this act the various offices of the justice of the peace acted as slave markets. For a small fee any white man could ‘buy an Indian slave’ and would have certificates from the state of California affirming his ownership of the Indian and full rights of his charge until he reached the age of 18 in the case of a male, and 15 in the case of a female. The California legislature ten years later, in 1860, found that possibly it had made a mistake and took action to amend the slave act. The amendments agreed upon only increased the length of indenture to 30 years in the case of a male and to 25 years in the case of a female. This same act, conveniently, stated that no white man could be convicted of any crime upon the testimony of an Indian. All this, under the clever but deceptive guise of governmental protection of the Indian! Indian slaves by the hundreds, however, were worked to death, starved to death and beaten to death…The desperadoes rode into Indian lands to cut down and butcher the Indians by the hundreds. Surviving children were taken to be sold as slaves. Long after the end of the Civil War, Indian children were still being held as slaves in California."

Allan Morris (Klamath River Yurok; 1967)

"

The Winnemem Wintu Nation only wants the California government to grant them one thing—to allow sixteen-year-old Marisa Sisk to complete her coming-of-age ceremony by legally closing a section of the McCloud River for four days. Unfortunately, Sisk may be blocked from the vital ritual for reasons that started decades ago and continue to this day.

The Winnemem appealed to head Forester Randy Moore, who received them during their visit. However, Moore notes that only federally recognized indigenous groups can request a river closure. The Winnemem are recognized by the state and while they have begun the long process toward being federally recognized it will be too late for Sisk, who needs to complete the ceremony in order to eventually lead the Winnemem people.

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Latoya Peterson reports on the Winneman Wintu nation’s struggle—and what we can do to help—to have the ritual for Marisa Sisk on the R today. (via racialicious)

what the fuck is wrong with white people tho.

(via searchingforknowledge)