Category Archives: Non-Fiction

20 Dec Launch! A Digital Anthropology Project on #Indigenous Cultural Revitalization

Mark the date: circleofvoices.com will be launching on December 20th! The contact form is already active on-site.

“Circle of Voices is a digital anthropological research project aiming to bring educational awareness about the situation of indigenous women and youths, and more broadly about indigenous rights. It was conducted with young women from the Atikamekw, Abenaki and Wolastoqiyik/Maliseet Nations in Quebec. It explores the process of cultural revitalization through four themes: land, language, art and spirituality. The activities entailed in the project are: participatory photography workshops; sharing circles; sound recordings and video clips of traditional practices; intergenerational dance workshops (fancy shawl); and personal narratives (biographical interviews).

circleofvoices.com is a tangible attempt providing an answer to: what is the potential of the web space to convey academic knowledge and invite indigenous expertise and perspectives?” http://circleofvoices.com/

 

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Filed under Announcements, Native American, Non-Fiction

“Forget Winnetou!” Help Us Reach our #Crowdfunding Goal

11emailFrom Flying With Red Haircrow Productions and Haircrow & Kiesel Gbr: “The crowdfunding campaign for the documentary film Forget Winnetou! Going Beyond Native Stereotypes in Germany is now live. Please drop by, read more about the story behind our film, our aims and who is involved. Check out our perks and consider donating but most of all, we just ask that you please help us out by sharing our message around in some way.

What’s unique about our documentary? To date, there is no other film or project like it in Germany that addresses the issue of stereotyping, and which includes a strong, wider perspective from Native Americans. We’ll present “healthier” more culturally respectful ways that decolonize minds and media, while giving Natives an opportunity to present themselves.”

team-photo

Crowdfunding campaign link https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/forget-winnetou–2/x/6473967.

Website https://forgetwinnetou.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/forgetwinnetoufilm/
Twitter https://twitter.com/forgetwinnetou/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/forgetwinnetou/
IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6494700/?ref_=nv_sr_1

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Filed under Announcements, Documentary, Films, Native American, Non-Fiction

Reviewing #NativeAmerican #NonFiction by Barbara Alice Mann & Interpretation of Indigenous Movements

dsc_2560Currently finishing Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Breath by Barbara Alice Mann, which was published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. While it has many, many, many truths the majority of the non-native world, academicians, scholars, so-called experts and others have overlooked, ignored or missed, there is some which  some natives don’t or only minimally know, also. Not excluding myself from some of that reality either. Much of it I was aware of or had learned on some level, but some, not in depth at all.

Yet for this post in particular, and considering the situation at the camps at Standing Rock who remain determined in the face of what others might see as overwhelming odds, the challenges of interpretation of native motives has always been an issue since Europeans first invaded. Misinterpretation is the more apt word, but the interpretations and labels placed on natives and native behavior, beliefs or traditions, especially by self-termed allies or “friends” has been problematic, arguably even as much as outright mendacity. It can all serve the same purpose in the end.

“The dangers of native enthusiasm and interpretation in translation of native concepts by non-natives (sometimes with natives facilitating this) has led to some of the greatest massacres and aggressive response by the USA military. Wounded Knee was a response to interpretation and sensationalization by those who returned from a Ghost Dance (Wovoka, Paiute). While (textbook) history does say the US feared the Ghost Dance Movement, they only knew more about it as scholars interpreted it as a “Messianic” movement and military deployed to kill.”

Similarly, the dangers of fabrications, lies and sensationalization such as we’ve seen at Standing Rock, the fearmongering, rumors and gossips on both sides of the DAPL issue has been the cause of much unrest, trauma and turmoil, even if one side may consider themselves pro-Standing Rock. It can be seen to serve the same purpose of villification and reduction in the eyes of the “corrupted” law, especially as arrested and arraigned water protectors are now facing trials.

“The myth these scholars started was that Wovoka wished to replace Jesus with himself, which was nothing of the sort. And these things were written by enthusiasts/experts on “Indians”, even making themselves spokesmen, to detrimental, deadly effect even while they were making a name for themselves who, since they got the natives killed, had no or few to gainsay. “Friend” of the people. Why are natives so wary? This is why.”

Barbara Alice Mann goes on to debunk the origin of the Bering Strait theory using their own reasoning, the myth that natives were all fighting each other anyway, that they were sworn enemies, the reality of how missionary Christianity and Catholicism were the main components of native genocide and ethnocide, particularly deadly to sacred ones such as medicine people, women’s societies and two-spirits (using the modern intertribal term). Full review coming soon for NAIS, Native American Indigenous Studies Association.

I classify this an essential read for Native American/Indigenous Students students, natives and non-natives alike, but particularly for anyone who believes any of the myths about the original peoples of Turtle Island. Some of which they likely do not realize as such, and have accepted as fact. This book is classified widely as one pertaining to religion, but that’s again an interpretation of non-natives. Spirituality is inseparable from traditional native life, cultures and traditions. So this is about NATIVES, past and present. Simply that.

To learn much more about “U.S. Colonial Policies Impacting Indigenous Spirituality & Sacred Sites”, because yes, ethnocide & genocide of the original peoples of Turtle Island is still ongoing, please visit Indigenous Action Media.

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The Importance of Real Native Stories: “Don’t Let the Sun Step Over You”-Eva Tulene Watt/Ken Basso

a sstepRe-reading “Don’t Let the Sun Step Over You“, the collected stories by Eva Tulene Watt assisted by Keith Basso made me write my mother and say, “Tell me a story”…and she did. She did, and it was good! If you’ve read the work, you’ll know why I add emphasis just so in the previous sentence. And why I wanted to hear from my mother about our people, our cousins, our family, about the past that touches the present and the future. The stories she was told or the things she observed.

Re-reading “Don’t Let the Sun Step Over You” made me want to hear songs. Made me want to hear songs I’d never heard before in this life and songs I already knew. One of them was “I’ve Been Around”, a popular Apache song that somehow voices all those stories of the hardworking, big-hearted, fierce, gentle, humorous, resilient, pragmatic, whimsical and wise Apache. “They’re always walking, walking, going around and doing things. They worked hard!”
I hear my ggrandmother’s voice again, and the stories she told and tried to tell us even when we weren’t listening, only halfway or transfixed cause they seemed light, even funny, but were deep. Stories when she was cooking or cleaning or working or chasing us (me!) with a switch when I had done something she directly told me not to do but I did it anyway because I was stubborn and/or curious.

Stories tell you why you should do things or why not to do other things. They give you purpose. They give you hope. They help you remember why you’re here now, right this very minute and not just what our ancestors endured. Stories help explain why they are important, to be kept, and remembered so our children understand and know. Some stories are shared with non-family, not-of our People, but others are special. Knowing them helps you understand why we defend them and how when someone copies you, culturally appropriates, or takes and changes your stories into their fantasies, these critically important parts of your culture and identity, it is beyond offensive but also really hurtful. Painful. That they do not care, that they make excuses, rationalize or say its just “fantasy” or “honoring” you is even worse. It’s terrible for native identities and cultures. Continue reading

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Filed under History, Memoir, Native American, Non-Fiction, Writers and Writing

Film Review: “In Football We Trust” (2015)- Samoans in the NFL

IFWTIndieLensBanner

(Photo from their Official site please follow the link to read more.)
Country: USA | American Samoa
Release Date: 23 January 2015
Filming Locations: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, America Samoa

Directors: Tony Vainuku, Erika Cohn

Description: “In Football We Trust” captures a snapshot in time amid the rise of the Pacific Islander presence in the NFL. Presenting a new take on the American immigrant story, this feature length documentary transports viewers deep inside the tightly-knit Polynesian community in Salt Lake City, Utah. With unprecedented access and shot over a four-year time period, the film intimately portrays four young Polynesian men striving to overcome gang violence and near poverty through American football. Viewed as the “salvation” for their families, these young players reveal the culture clash they experience as they transform out of their adolescence and into the high stakes world of collegiate recruiting and rigors of societal expectations. Written by In Football We Trust

Review

“Family means a lot to Polynesian cultures, but sometimes family can feel like a blessing and a curse. Especially under these circumstances, with so much at stake for adolescents still prone to mistakes in judgment, who may make bad choices but have so much hope and responsibility on their shoulders.

I’ve not been an American football watcher for well over a decade, though I used to follow it closely. I listed away because it began to feel so contrived, just about the money, about team names, not the individuals. Or rather too much about the individual: the showboating, the attitudes and self-entitlement. Although it’s unlikely I’ll ever go back to actively watching, this film inspired me to again selectively follow the careers of some players because it highlighted their drive, desire, and love for the game, their determination to succeed not just for themselves, but to support their communities. It also showed how the pressure to succeed, both from schools, teams and their families, can bring push them to breaking point. Continue reading

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Filed under Documentary, Films, Non-Fiction, Reviews