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Category Archives: Nativeness

Powwow For Hope

Good news everyone! Powwow for Hope is in 3 months! This is the third year that the American Indian Cancer Foundation has sponsored the Powwow for Hope to honor those affected with cancer and the caregivers who gave their love and time to support them. This event brings in thousands of dollars from teams, local organizations and event attendees.

Watch this video for more info:

This year the powwow will be held at the Boy Scout’s Base Camp which is great since there is plenty of space for activities and parking. I have been to this place before rock climbing and what not and it was quite amusing I do have to say.

This year I will be volunteering and also dancing. Not sure if I am going to create a team yet but if you are interested in creating one with me, please let me know sooner than later.

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! Last year was fantastic and I swear we had the best group of volunteers that I ever did see so YOU should be a part of it (yes, you!).

Anyway, come to Powwow for Hope on Saturday May 3rd, 2014. It’ll be super awesome!

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Pink Shawl at Thanksgiving Powwow 2013

Simpsons Did It! Again…

But I ain’t mad. I’ll tell you what, they obviously have a very intelligent team. But anywho, Halloween is over on my Simpsons: Tapped Out game and now is the time to move on to Thanksgiving (I guess). Last year I got balloons for the parade (I know I’ve been playing for over a year, it is sad). So Lisa apparently orders a Sacagawea costume for Thanksgiving and this prompts her to do various tasks as Lisa/Sacagawea: Sulk, Mourn Thanksgiving Turkey Massacre, Care for Kidnapped Turkeys, etc. . Lisa is shown wearing buckskin and having braids in her hair (which is weird regardless because of her state of hair). This is a strange way to have Lisa push her vegetarianism agenda on the town of Springfield. But whatever.

At first I was like ‘Oh, no, not again,” but after reading the snippets below from Lisa and Homer’s conversation it is actually pretty enlightening.

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Now Homer is the one telling Lisa that her costume is not appropriate and a ‘little racist.’ I find it so incredibly awesome that Homer Simpson, America’s simpleton, is able to make the correlation of dressing up as another culture as racist.

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Next Homer makes an amazing point: if he chose to dress up as say an important African-American figure, it would be deemed racist. Lisa has trouble with this as she knows Homer is right. It is an interesting exchange if you ask me.

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Ha! Their conversation ends with hilarity as Lisa ‘feels’ the oppression of the peoples whose costume she is wearing and Homer makes a funny remark. Go team Simpson.

I think the main thing that bothers me is that Sacagawea has nothing to do with the story of Thanksgiving as she is Shoshone and the tribe the pilgrims kicked it with were the Wampanoag. The only Native singled out with that was Squanto so Lisa couldn’t dress up as him. I guess. It’s not historically accurate but it is the Simpsons and it is a game. But I still enjoy the references to Native American things that I come across in my hum drum life. Makes it more interesting.

Another addition to this Thanksgiving update is that ‘Caesar’s Pow-Wow Casino’ and its sign can be put up around Springfield. The casino even comes with its own little Indian. Unfortunately I do not have that many donuts so I’ll have to Google to see what tasks he has. Well apparently the Tribal Chief has to learn about Springfield culture from Homer and visit various places around Springfield. Okay…

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What the Damn Hell Kanye?

Like usual I sit around and think about the Lord Yeezus and what new ridiculous thing he has been up to. Besides all the Kimye boringness, it seems like he might be touring and whatnot and I just think about how I ain’t going so who really cares. But see I follow many Native folk on the Twitter and many of them commented on his tour apparel:

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

WHAT THE DAMN HELL KANYE? What does this have to do with ANYTHING about your music? Is it just cool looking? Yeah probably. I’m not even sure if Kanye had anything to do with picking such a design and putting it on a t-shirt that will be sold for probably $50, sorry $35.

I really don’t get the appeal of a skeleton in a headdress. Because it is scary? Intimidating? I think about Plains tribes and how they were murdered by government forces for protecting what’s theirs. I personally don’t like a skull in a headdress since it is essentially saying that those who wore them are now dead. Let me tell you they aren’t: I saw some a month ago at powwow.

Here’s the other thing which I have talked about with my Native peeps: Black Skinhead totally sounds like A Tribe Called Red. The more I listen to it, the more it becomes apparent that this is true.

Exhibit A: Just listen to the beat y’all:

Exhibit B: Then listen to this by A Tribe Called Red:

It could be that it is just a coincidence that there is vocables over a drum beat that may sound tribal. I get that. But as a regular powwow attendee there is a certain familiarity that I only get when I’m at powwow when I hear the drums. I feel the same when I listen to A Tribe Called Red that is why I think their music resonates so well in our community. So when I heard Black Skinhead I was like what? WHAT? WHAAAAT?

So what the damn hell Kanye? Can’t you appropriate your own culture to sell some merchandise? It ain’t right to exploit others.

Native Americans and Star Wars? Um…yeah!

This year it was announced that Star Wars: A New Hope would be dubbed into Navajo. The first time a film is translated into an indigenous language of North America. How cool is that? Really cool actually. The indigenous languages have been around since well..the beginning. The Navajo people, or Diné, are the largest tribe in the United States, making it important for them to take the lead in making things of popular culture more indigenous.

Now having an elementary knowledge of my own language (Ojibwemowin), I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to translate. From what I understand from the video, the Navajo language is more descriptive than English (so is Ojibwe!), so it takes more words to say something as simple as blueberry pie.

What I find most intriguing is that they chose Star Wars. They could’ve chosen a ‘classic’ such as The Wizard of Oz or Aladdin. But no, they chose Star Wars.  I think that this speaks volumes as it is one of the few examples that translates across so many cultures, not just language wise but storytelling, lesson learning and an all around good feeling.

I hope that the Navajo Nation receives funding to at least dub IV-V-VI. Then perhaps other indigenous languages across the world will have similar opportunities to help promote interest in languages that are endangered.

Elsipogtog: What the H is Going On There?

As a Native I feel it pertinent to keep tabs on current events that are related to me and my people. The past few days it has come to my knowledge about what is happening at the Elsipogtog First Nation of Mi’kmaq in Canada.

Poster created from an image from the protesting.

From what I understand the people are protesting against the exploration of shale gas in the area. Apparently the natural gas is in high demand over the next few decades. Wikipedia (I know, calm down it’s not all lies) says that the extraction of the gas may lead to contamination of the local water supply. This alone could cause distress for a community where this is to take place.

I know that fracking has been continually brought up in debates, especially with reservation land and other Native land. I, however, am not a geologist or hydrologist or scientist in any fashion so I am unaware about what really happens. Please read this article from Popular Mechanics about fracking myths.

I understand why the Mi’kmaq are upset and why they protested, as water and land are both sacred entities to Native people. It is unfortunate that the focus of their struggles are on the burning of police vehicles. I just hope that people are not making snap judgments (on either side) about the main issues here. Reading articles it is apparent that our First Nation brothers and sisters face the same discrimination and stereotyping as we do here.

I just ask for people to be informed on topics such as these. It is more than an indigenous issue.

Knowledge for all your Columbus Day Needs

Today is Columbus Day and I’m not celebrating. Frankly since it is a rubbish holiday made up for no reason. He didn’t even “discover” the country that we celebrate this in. Does that make sense? No but moving on. Please enjoy these links below to understand the ridiculousness of the ridiculousness and see my blog post from the other day.

First a comic

 

First we need to wear this shirt from Beyond Buckskin Boutique.

8 Myths and atrocities about CC from Indian Country Today.

Native Appropriation’s post from last year about how we need to celebrate indigenous people instead.

And here is Native News Network’s great suggestion to get rid of the “holiday” altogether.

Thankfully most people view the “holiday” as a joke because that is what it really is. I would like to know who is in charge of putting these holiday’s on our calendar. Because I would like that job.

Have a great regular Monday and I’ll be watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets after I watch Adventures in Babysitting.

So I guess Ichabod Crane kicked it with the Mohawk

Which is cool if you ask me. I decided to start watching Sleepy Hollow on FOX but unfortunately I keep forgetting when it is on. I need to make an alarm for it like I did with HIMYM and the Big Bang Theory. Anyways, I finally got around to getting caught up yesterday and it is pretty good if you ask me. But I like supernatural and mysterious shows.

The third episode showed Abbie being haunted in her dreams by the “Sandman” and others were getting killed because of him so Ichabod and her had to figure out what to do so she doesn’t die. Abbie describes the being to Ichabod and he remembers that his friends the Mohawks told him about a spirit just like it.

Cue flashback:

Smoking the peace pipe with his homies

 

Now I can’t verify the actors to see if they’re Native, since IMDB did not provide enough information. But anyways, next was my favorite part where Abbie had to tell Ichabod that the government (her words!) all but destroyed the Native Americans and there were very few left. Ichabod was genuinely upset and bewildered about how so many people who lived across the land (how could he know that?) would be eradicated thusly. Well they were Ichabod and we are still sad about it.

Thankfully Abbie (who is awesome btw) happens to know someone that they should talk to. So they end up at a car dealership with some unpolitically correct kitsch name and find the owner who is Native and happens to have the answers about the spirit that is invading Abbie’s dreams. Man they have crazy luck. Anyway dude knows what to do and has some drank that is supposed to help them in the dream world. Then they have to do some crazy thing with scorpion venom and I first was like okay and then I was like wait a second… aren’t they in New England? I don’t think they have scorpions just lying around. Plus, as a Mohawk why would dude use it anyway? That is slightly problematic. Huh.

Anyways they figure it out la de da more craziness happens and all is well with the world! Until the next episode of course. Now I really like this show and this episode is no different there just are a few things that make me go jigga what?

So let’s recap what we learned about Indians in the episode:

1) Ichabod kicked it with the Mohawk– but did they use that terminology back in his day? The Mohawk are part of the “Iroquois League” or the Haudenosaunee as they liked to be called so… but I realize that there were settlers in the area long before the Revolutionary War so I am sure it became a common term but you would think that perhaps a “friend” of the Mohawk, like Ichabod was, would perhaps call them something different? I’m not sure since I’m not from then.

2) The one Native guy Abbie knows has the answers to their questions– how convenient. I know this is an obvious plot necessity but really. Like really? If I need to find answers about spirits in my tribe I would probably be sent to 3 different people to find an answer. I guess I will let this one slide since the speed the find someone is important for the plot.

3) At the car dealership the Native dude says no powwows and Ichabod in turn says how he enjoyed those— hmmm… the term powwow comes from an Algonquian term (in which the Mohawk are NOT part) which denoted a ceremonial gathering rather than what it means today. So Ichabod should not really have understood this reference AND be able to comment on it. Since there was no powwows how there is now back then.

In conclusion the show sheds a sympathetic light on Native Americans and attempts to create a feasible entity for which the main characters need to overcome. It isn’t entirely truthful, but hardly anything is anymore. This is why I started my blog so I could point these things out and ruin it for others. Just kidding. Kinda. I hope they will continue to use Native myth/lore in the show and hope it is still done in a positive light. The end.

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