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Category Archives: Ancestors

Changing Alaska

Denali_National_Park
Denali, the Great One!
Picture credit: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA

 

President Obama will be in Alaska today for an Arctic Global Climate Summit.

He is the first US President to visit the Arctic while still in office.

His primary objective is likely to shore up support for climate change programs.

But another more important reason is about a majestic mountain called McKinley.

Today it will officially become Denali and for many Alaskans, it is about time.

You see, the locals have already been calling it Denali since the 1970’s.

The bitter battle over this name change has been going on for many years, those who live in Ohio where President McKinley, for whom the mountain was originally named is from, do not want it changed, but the Alaskan Natives do and today, they will get their way!

Denali is the highest peak in the United States at just over 20,000 feet.

This name change is very personal for the thousands of Indigenous, or Native Alaskans, as it is their name for the mountain in their Native tongue and it means the Great One. “

A separate, but equally important ongoing issue here, is that many of the Indigenous or Native Alaskans in this area, are being forced out of their homes on Kivalina Island, due to recent climate change, namely glacial melting and rising seas.

These Native Alaskans have been desperately trying to save not only the land that they live on, but their Ancestral way of life as well.

Over the years, they have been severely impacted by the Global Warming that has decimated their hunting and fishing abilities.
It has also affected many wildlife species that have either completely disappeared, or been reduced beyond recovery and the situation is alarming to all.

Their culture is just about all that they have left right now and they are determined to protect it.

Global Warming, accompanied by the resultant glacial melting and rising seas, have caused them much pain and grief and given them much to fear for the future.

These people are not at all happy about the way that their Alaska is changing.

 

Places to learn more:

Denali – Wikipedia

Obama renames nation’s highest mountain

Sinking into the Sea

Global Warming

Impacts of global warming in Alaska

Meeting the Global Threat of Climate Change

Arctic Peoples and Ecosystems

Climate Impacts in Alaska

 

 

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Keloids, Colors and Rainbows~

Rainbow_plasma_ball

We do all live in a Rainbow World~
Picture credit:  Ray Kurosumi

*** An update***
I owe a huge apology to the students at Harvard for comments written here yesterday.

My mistake was in only reading a caption and then writing this story,
I had not gone to the web site and seen the actual  pictures.
What I found there were the remarks by some students who feel, as I often have,
that they are only being judged by the color of their skin. Yes some of them are brutally honest,
but if that is what it takes to get people to stop and think about ONLY seeing color, so be it.
I stand most definitely corrected!

 

I read an interesting post this morning and felt compelled to comment on it.

It was about some students at Harvard and some not so kind remarks about the color of one’s skin.

I took umbrage to this and my reply was quick and may I add,  just a bit curt.

If you have seen the movie Invictus, you heard the word Rainbow used many times,  it struck a note deep in my heart.

Martin Luther King, Jr. used the word frequently as well, it brought him many followers who believed that his thinking was good for the country.

Anyway, back to the Harvard comments.

Do you, do any of us,  really know every single person that inhabits our DNA?

Do you know who all of your Ancestors are?

Not likely.

I spent my entire life  looking for my father, whom I never met and only saw his face for the first time on this past Christmas Eve. It seems that he was either Scottish or Norwegian.

So now that part of my life is known, but what about the hundreds of others before him?

Let me digress.

When I was in Nursing School many years ago, we spent a week on Dermatology, it was a week that would change my life.

One day, the Instructor decided to comment about a certain skin type of scar, she called it a Keloid.

I had never heard the word before, but was stricken by the sound of it.

She gazed around the room and then frowned, “ Well she said, I cannot show you what a Keloid looks like because we have no African-American students here today.”

Then she put a graphic on the screen of one up close.

Aha~

I raised my hand and said,  “ Excuse me, but is this one? “

I showed her the scar on my arm from an injury a few years earlier.

She looked at me in total disbelief, ” You can’t  have one, you are not Black.”

Quite the contrary, I was a very pale, blue-eyed, blonde.

May I say that in that moment,  you could have heard a pin drop in the Classroom!

I did not have a computer at that time, so had no way of confirming or dismissing her comment and as our precious little free time was severely limited, I never did check up on it until many years later.

This was the first of the new colors to come into my personal Rainbow.

Did I mention that as a child growing up, my grandmother seemed obsessed with constantly telling me that we were PURE Irish?

Now fast forward to the year 1999,  when I left California and became the now 15 year partner of Walkingfox.

We spent years traveling around the country meeting Native people on many Reservations.

It was a life changing experience and the beginning of a new course for me.

He was convinced that I had Native Ancestors, but I refused to believe it, due to the color of my skin.

Then,  late one night,  I called my Aunt and finally asked her if we had any Natives in our family, her reply like that of the instructors rocked my world,  she said , ” Yes we have Shawnee Ancestors, I thought you knew. ”

Well I did not know and later I found out that this Aunt was the ONLY one in our family that my grandmother had shared this information with.

Then  a few weeks later on one of our trips, we were in Ohio and met some wonderful Shawnee people.

One of them came up to and said, ” You are Shawnee.”

I admitted that this had only been recently learned.

She stared at my back,  as I was wearing a strapless sun outfit, and said,  ” The mark on your back is very important to our people.”

I had no idea what she meant,  but assumed she was referring to the quarter sized mole on my left shoulder.

Her next words would take my breath way, ” That is the mark of a Medicine person to us.”

My grandmother was a Nurse, I had been a Nurse, it seemed plausible.

I had spent so many years caring for others, how could I know this may have been predestined?

So, back to the present about why the unkind comment made by an unthinking student at Harvard about the color of skin, hit so hard.

Unless one has had a Genetic test of their DNA, one cannot fully know just who their Ancestors were, can they?

When you look at me, what do you see?

Do you see an African-American person, a Native American person, probably not.

All that you see is my very white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.

But, that is not the entire picture and now you know.

I am Prussian, Irish, Native American, English, Scottish/Norwegian and African-American.

So to all of you in the world who ONLY see color when you look at people,  shame on you, you have access to excellent reference and education sources everywhere on the planet and this is your level of thinking?

Please, in the future, may we all try to see the Rainbow that exists in each of us~

 

 

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County Cork~


Drombeg Stone Circle or Druid’s Alter
A Neolithic site in Skibbereen, County of Cork.

All pictures of Ireland graciously lent and described by Richard Watson


Dún na Séad Castle in the town centre,
now an impressive ruin standing
on a rock overlooking the harbour.


Lough Hyne with the remains of Cloghane Castle,
the final home of Sir Fenen O’Driscoll,
is on an island to the right of centre.


Rincolisky, the O’Driscoll Castle
at Whitehall north of Baltimore


The entrance to Baltimore Harbour,
looking across to Sherkin Island.


Baltimore Town Centre


Richard Watson cycling near Baltimore

 

Ah, lovely, luscious  Cork, the  land of    my Irish Ancestors.

Although I have never been there, West Cork,  the “rebel county
is the place that my Irish ancestors the O’ Driscolls and the Nugents
came to America from many years ago.

Cork is a place of many wonders including the Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone.
and of the course, the countless Castles, one even named after my O’Driscoll ancestors.

The O’Driscoll Clans of Ireland

 My Irish ancestors were descended from the O’Driscolls

of West Cork, Ireland and this page is intended to honor them.

The O’Driscoll Clans were first in South Kerry,

then later West Cork, Corca Laoighde,

in the County of Cork, Southern Ireland.

 

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