Well Chosen Words

Marathon Finish Line, BostonToday, as we were driving home I was speaking with Jennie about my troubles writing this post. Although writing usually comes easily to me, and I greatly enjoy the process, this post has faced a truly difficult birth, a struggle perhaps fitting the content. Part of the problem is that as a person of mixed Native and European heritage, the societal conflicts I am addressing are also personal tensions within me. Truth be told, as we spoke I was considering giving up on the project.

Just then, immediately before we reached the causeway to the island, we passed a hawk feeding at the foot of the trees, a couple of feet off the dirt road. As we passed, the hawk lifted quietly from the ground into the trees. Shortly after, as we drove up the hill into the driveway, we heard the cry of an eagle. Sure enough, two eagles were calling and circling the house. Usually they are common visitors to the house but they have apparently been rarely seen this summer. It was good to have their company, and taking their presence as a sign, I went back to work on the post. The outcome follows. Continue reading

Challenging the Oppressors’ Language

This morning, I’ve been thinking about the Ecopsychology class I will be teaching this afternoon. I’ve also been considering the work I do with clients in my psychotherapy practice. The two have in common a concern with language. In both instances,  I am engaging others to work with me to free language from the control of that which oppresses. Continue reading

What’s In A Name?

I’ve been thinking about Samantha’s recent post regarding the meaning of “Indian”.  I’ve though about this a good deal recently, as actually being in India casts an entirely new light on the issue. Growing up, the only tribal people I saw were either “Injuns” or African Natives. These folks were in movies and on TV, and frankly, the Amerindian characters looked like white guys with face paint to me.

At home, the only mention of Indians came from my mother, who fairly often lamented the fate of “those poor people”. My father never spoke about Indians, but graciously joined me in various excursions looking for the sites left by the Hopewell culture in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Only the year he died did my father say he wanted to go to the Black Hills and visit the land of his father. He asked if I would take him. I had an enormous amount on my plate, and asked to defer for a year. He waited until on his deathbed to tell us we are “Native” on both sides. Continue reading