Here are this week’s Notable Blogs. As always, there are many more outstanding blog posts than I could possible acknowledge here. This week we focus on some of the challenges facing First Nations individuals and peoples. We are indeed blessed to be able to hear and read so many thoughtful voices!
An itinerary of thoughts is determined to walk in the worlds of a First Nations person and an academic. This is a decided challenge!
Here are some of the words that I have put down for my dissertation..
I floated with(in) Tangaroa.
As the waves lapped by me, over me,
I realised, I was the wave and the wave was me.
In the simplest of experiences I had found my peace.
I had made my way back to my ancestral homescape,
Sagerider is searching for a way to truly practice as a physician and a healer. This is also a challenging task. This week he found himself at yet another medical conference, a conference which sparked a life review:
I walked away from the lecture thinking to myself, “I’m done”. It was an epiphany of sorts. As I walked back to my hotel room all I could think about was how really done I was with the whole deal.
Margot’ News and Views brought us the words of Chief Arvol Looking Horse, who is trying to address the harm wrought by those who use First Nations teachings and ceremonies in harmful ways:
As Keeper of our Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle, I am concerned for the 2 deaths and illnesses of the many people that participated in a sweat lodge in Sedona, Arizona that brought our sacred rite under fire in the news. I would like to clarify that this lodge and many others, are not our ceremonial way of life, because of the way they are being conducted. My prayers go out for their families and loved ones for their loss.
Carolyn Picard addressed issues of cultural appropriation in a different sphere:
Here is article I wrote about shamanism. It’s actually about shamanism as it was depicted in an exhibit in an apartment gallery over the summer. In some way that show became a vehicle for me to think about whether or not it is possible for a Contemporary (Urban? Though I’m not sure that makes a difference…) American can appropriate/incorporate shamanic practice (though shamanic could stand in for any kind of ritualistic practice embedded in another culture) without sacrificing a degree of potency or, in this case, collapsing under ironic influences….
Kayhan Irani posted about the relationship between art making and the survival of First Nations people in Guatemala, and the continuing assassination of indigenous leaders:
NISGUA (Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala) together with other solidarity and community-based organizations, academic institutions, student groups, church groups, and indigenous peoples’ organizations, are raising funds to pay for an ad in the Prensa Libre, a major national newspaper in Guatemala, to denounce these assassinations and demand that the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) conduct a full investigation of Lisandro’s assassination, as a significant step towards halting these threats and attacks on Maya cultural activists which until now are made with full impunity.
The Guardian wrote about another kind of threat to cultural survival:
As the Malay Bajau people risk destroying the reefs that sustain them, photographer James Morgan captures a centuries-old culture close to extinction
Anywherehome contributed to the discussion of the impacts of environmental destruction on First Nations people:
So there is quite a strange “phenomenon” in Asunción that has been exacerbated in recent years by the continued destruction of the Atlantic Forest. That is to say, indigenous people who no longer have the land of their ancestors in the forest, (both the Atlantic Forest and the Chaco region,) are forced to move to the cities to look for ways to make money.
Voice4aids added one more threat to the long list that effect First Nations people, AIDS:
September 15th on CBC Radio’s The Current, there was an excellent segment about the present situation of HIV/AIDS in Saskatchewan. the following is an expert of this story, based around a remarkable woman.
Krista Shore was diagnosed as HIV positive on February 6 2006, 10 years to the day her mother was murdered. When she received her diagnosis she first thought was that her life was over and that she wouldn’t be able to have kids. She is a young aboriginal woman who has come a long way from her broken life and she now acts as the new face for the HIV movement in Saskatchewan. She has spoken with CBC in the past about her journey and today was interviewed recently for The Currenty about how her diagnosis changed her life. In the interview we also hear from Grant Divine and Dr. JonMark Opondo.
On the other end of the spectrum of human behavior, qmackie discussed attempts in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, to acknowledge and celebration First Nations history and knowledge:
Established in 2008, the Signs of Lekwungen (pronounced Le-KWUNG-en) is an interpretive walkway along the Inner Harbour and surrounding areas that honours the art, history and culture of the Coast Salish people who have resided in the Victoria area for hundreds of years.
The Songhees and Esquimalt Nations are part of the Coast Salish family and are descendants of the Lekwungen family groups. Lekwungen is the original language of this land.
Finally, Carlos Macias spoke to a challenge we all face, addressing the racism in our hearts:
This is my first contribution to Being Latino. Like many of my new colleagues who chip in here every week, pride for our roots and optimism about our future is what compels me to join this conversation. On my daily commute, sometimes I hear other Latinos refer to Mexicans or other Latinos with indigenous background with such revulsion, that it sincerely, makes me sad. We should stop for a minute or two, and ask ourselves if sometimes we contribute to this climate of fear-mongering and abuse against our people by using words like “wetbacks,” “beaner” or simply “these damn Mexicans.” Although we all may feel united in the crusade against racism and discrimination, I am convinced that more should be done at the personal level.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to the thoughts of these outstanding writers. Please take the time to visit their blogs, and express your appreciation for their good work.
Til next time, may the Spirits and Ancestors walk close to you. Many Blessings!