Notable Blogs: 4/14/2011

Spring is finally here! What a glorious day out! Of course, with warmth and rain, we get snow melt and flooding……

This edition of Notable Blogs notes recent posts about First Nations artists from varied disciplines, thoughts about being Native and Feminist, and the battle to save a sacred site in California.

Love Is Not An Orgasm posted a poem about the experience of being Metis (Mixed Blood). The poem is in French and English, highlighting the differences between two birthrights:

I am Métis

Ce n’est pas indiscret

It is not a secret

Ma mère était Ojibwe

My mother was Ojibwe

Mon père était français

My father was French

Moi, je suis métisse

I am Métis

Et je demande la lune

And I shoot for the moon

Christine Anu posted about a theater piece she is performing:

CHRISTINE Anu is no stranger to the stage but the sweetheart of Australian song believes there’s something special about telling a person’s story rather than singing it.

Anu will perform in Parramatta later this month when she brings Rainbow’s End back to Riverside Theatres.

The play, which tells the stories of three generations of Koori women and the lives they lead in 1950s conservative rural Australia, was a popular production in Riverside’s 2009 program, and Anu said she was looking forward to performing it again for local audiences.

“It’s a beautiful piece of theatre with great actors and it gives those who see it the chance to learn about a different part of Australian history,’’ she said.

Queequeg’s Mark  wrote about the confluence of Erdrich’s Love Medicine and events in his extended family. I imagine Erdrich would be pleased:

Are we reinforcing negative stereotypes in looking for spirituality?  Probably, but we are also doing something else, something that’s actually quite positive.  We are trying to make the world magical because it is.  Tutu knew this.  Papa knows this, which is why both of them kept and keep moving, keep working, even when they shouldn’t.  The magic of the world, and this is the trick, is only experienced by experiencing it.  Tutu said no tears for her.  She said this because tears will slow you down; tears will make your eyesight blurry when you need them to be clear.  And you need your eyes to be clear or you’re going to miss the magic that you are and that you make.

The Witch of Forest Grove
was thinking about the Disneyfication of the Natural world:

In our modern times of concrete cities and sanitized environments we have forgotten the wild gods, the hunter’s gods, the green gods. The city dwellers see nature as perfect, beautiful, and friendly when they hang out in their postage-stamp yards or visit park lands laid out by the government. They don’t stop and feel the eyes watching them wishing them harm. It is easy to forget the dangers of the wild wood –the destructive powers of the animals, plants, and trees– the poisons, the thorns, the teeth, and the claws.

Dirty Natures: Gender, Race, and Justice continued her exploration of the confluence of Native thought and Feminism. She mused o how to find balance at the confluence of these powerful rivers of thought and being:

Growing up native, I cannot say that it did not have a influence on my political perspective. Or any other types of perspectives for that matter. All though I cannot say I had the option to look at our world through an aboriginal woman’s eyes. Not only is there influences from being native, but also being a woman in a male dominant world. I’ve had the privilege of being a part of native women’s lives and witnessing these powerful insights. I have a friend who had more focus on her feminist perspective until she began to learn about her Native roots and became bent on using her feminist experiences to benefit her people. An example of how race and ethnicity plays a role in our political standings. Yet, the question still poses: “how do the two perspectives cooperate simultaneously?” I found a link on Youtube that may be able to explain, in a indigenous feminist perspective, the combination of the two better than I can.

Earth First! Newswire publish a manifesto from First Nations, and poor persons, from Chiapas, who note that the Earth’s many crises seem to affect them disproportionately, and permanently. The post could just as easily come from North Dakota, India, or Africa:

The poorest of the poor find ourselves in a permanent crisis. In the world and in our country, we hear about the food crisis, the climate crisis, and the economic crisis. But in our communities we have a permanent crisis whose history is in the history of the Conquest and in the governments whose prime objective is the continual enrichment of the dominant class. Public money is used to enrich the political and economic classes of this country, with only crumbs given to the people through poverty alleviation programs, which, themselves, are a business for corrupt bureaucrats and service providers. These programs do not address the root causes of poverty.

Finally, SFGate raised the alarm about the pending desecration of another sacred site, this one in California. We note the good folks in the city of Vallejo probably would not place a park atop one of their cemeteries. As to going back to the way things were 100 years ago, I would rather not. Maybe the city officials should learn some history?

The property is Glen Cove Park, a spot that was the site of a 3,500-year-old Ohlone village and shell mound where thousands of people were buried.

The settlement is one of the oldest Ohlone sites in the Bay Area and among the few that has eluded development. But for decades, Vallejo has wanted to convert the wildland to a park with a portion of the Bay Trail, picnic tables and a pastoral array of native plants.

“What we want to do is return it to what it was 100 years ago,” said Steve Pressley, maintenance and development manager for the Greater Vallejo Recreation District. “As an agency, we have a responsibility to the public as a whole, and we need to consider all the components, not just the needs of Native Americans.”

“They want to desecrate this sacred land,” said Norman “Wounded Knee” Deocampo, an Ohlone Indian and Vallejo resident who is fighting the plan. “As Native Americans, we need to save what we have left. All we’re asking for is this 15 acres.”

After years of planning, the controversy around the park is more heated than ever as Vallejo moves forward with the transformation. The city has begun to remove some nonnative trees, such as acacias and elms, and plans later this year to put in parking, trails, benches and restrooms.

But Ohlone, Pomo, Miwok and other Indians aren’t giving up their fight. Today they plan to gather at the site – they call it Sogorea Te – for a prayer ceremony as possibly a last-ditch effort to protect it from development. Singing, drumming, dancing, praying, and sage burning are among the activities planned.

“We want them to just leave this area alone,” said Luke Eisenbise, Deocampo’s brother-in-law. “They want to put up a plaque, which we think is pretty cheesy.”

Thanks to the many wonderful, passionate writers who share their lives with us!

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