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Category Archives: Nativeness

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.

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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.

Hey I’m in a YouTube Video!

I honestly am not really sure why I am so excited about this but I am. It is the 7pm Grand Entry at Mille Lacs 2013 Powwow.

The video is not that good of quality but oh well. I’m around the 1:45 part.

This makes me sad that outdoor powwow season is over. But I have to get ready for next year by getting my accessories done.

Do they have Columbus Day cards?

I sure hope not. But I haven’t visited the Hallmark Store in awhile so I can’t be sure.

Columbus Day is on Monday and it’s a good day to be Italian. I remember watching The Soprano’s with my mother and how Tony and crew were offended that Native Americans were protesting the ridiculousness of such a holiday. Since Columbus was such a stand up Italian. I wouldn’t know since I never met the guy.

Below is a snippet from the episode of The Soprano’s where they sit and discuss the holiday. It is NSFW because of their choice in vocabulary. I honestly think that this is probably how most conversations go about this subject. Well maybe not most but they pretty much cover the main arguments about the holiday:

I really don’t know a whole lot about Columbus. I know that he is Italian. I know that the royals of Spain sent him on his journey. I know he ended up in the Caribbean when he was trying to get to India (fire that cartographer!). I know that he was not the nicest guy in the world. I know that because of him many indigenous people were enslaved and more were killed. But I don’t really know enough to make him be the ONE guy that ruined the Americas. It was not just him but he had a BIG influence on it.

Today during my Redditing, I came across this comic on the Oatmeal regarding all the bad things that Columbus did and how some other dude should be celebrated instead. I enjoy the information regarding Columbus but I don’t know enough about this other dude either to have a day for him. Why do we need to celebrate some white dude from another country? This is America and we should celebrate Americans. Maybe.

This leads me to how I will be spending my Monday October 14th, Columbus day: by watching movies directed by Chris Columbus. These would include (but not limited to): Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire and Adventures in Babysitting. Let alone he has acted as producer on many more wonderous films. Please join me on Monday by celebrating this Chris Columbus and not that other dude.

Wolves are my Homies

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I highly enjoy wolves. They are pretty and interesting creatures. I have only seen them in person at zoos which is very conflicting but I don’t need to see them out and about while I go to Starbucks.

Look how pretty I am in the foliage of the great north.

From what I understand this is the second season where there are licenses available for sportspeople to hunt wolves (in awhile I believe they had them before but I’m unsure bc I am not the DNR). The licenses are a lottery, meaning everyone who applied does not necessarily receive one. Also, the MN DNR is permitting less licenses than last year. However, this does not make me feel better.

I do NOT understand the point of hunting wolves (or bears for that matter but I talked to my dad about that more and people eat bear meat). What is the function of hunting wolves? I guess you could eat their meat but I don’t believe that it is anywhere near the taste of venison or any of the fowl foodstuffs. So then their fur? This isn’t the fur trade where people are making bank back in Europe with furs. Sport then? There are deer to hunt and ducks and pheasant and other things that make much more sense to hunt.

I am certainly not against hunting. I would go hunting in a heartbeat (except for sitting in the woods all day I’d prob fall asleep). But I would hunt deer or ducks. No bear. No wolves. I think part of my mentality is that wolves are predators, just like us (so are bears!). Deer, not so much. Birds– yeah no. Except maybe ostriches because those mofos can attack.

Also this: many moons ago when I was Little Rita I had a poster from the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) that showed man (Anishinaabe) and wolf (ma’iingan) together. Man asked Creator for a companion and Creator sent wolf. They walked the land together but at some point it became time to go their separate ways. Even though they are separate there is still respect for the wolf. And I will never forget that.

Here is a nice article from the White Earth Land Recovery Project about what I’m trying to say:

http://welrp.org/maiingan-the-wolf-our-brother

So what can we do? I thought about purchasing a license so that if I win the lottery that it could prevent another hunter from getting a wolf. But how far can that go? I noticed that Jessica Lange has asked Gov. Dayton to change the hunt but that is not going to get far either. However, I heard she is a witch now so he better watch out.

Well Howling for Wolves has many resources about the wolf hunt and how one can help to suspend it. I recommend just checking it out.

Wolves are our friends, not food.

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