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Tag Archives: Global Customs

Knowing the Klan

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Three Ku Klux Klan members standing at a 1922 parade.
Picture credit: Public Domain, Library of Congress

 

Yesterday on our news was the story of a person who had been run out of office in one small town near us, only to show up in another.

He left and moved to a place just down the road a bit.

The causation for this furor was over his association and/or membership in the Ku Klux Klan.

This same group has made the news here repeatedly in the past few years.

We came here in 2004 and had a friend who unknown at first to us, was the son of a former Grand  Dragon of the Florida Klan.

This man was gentle, kind and sweet and had many friends.

It was hard to learn about his father.

We both have very strong feelings about the Klan, who even today still throw flyers into yard’s in mostly Black neighborhoods here in Central Florida, encouraging people to join them.

The papers are put into plastic bags with rocks in them.

Years ago in a College class about silent films, my instructor showed a film, The Birth of a Nation and implied that the Klan was, in the beginning, not just about hate, murders and hangings.

It was more about doing good for those in the South who had been ravaged by the Civil War.

As I read about it now, I can see that this is not the case, at all.

When it began in the 1860’s, it may indeed  have had more altruistic ideas, but as the years went on, these quickly faded and were replaced with those closer to what we now know as the Klan today.

On another personal note, years ago my best friend in California moved to Mississippi.

We were both pretty unhappy about this.

It was not her choice, her husband was from there and wanted to go back home.

To say that she was upset about the radical cultural changes in her life, was an understatement.

She was from California and the difference between the two states in so far as racism and race relations was/is huge, actually, it was more like a chasm.

On my first trip there to see her years later, I was shocked, dismayed and appalled at what I saw.

It was like the Civil War had never happened.

Too many of the local people looked as if all of their hope had been taken away and they were simply trying to just get through life, day by day.

There is one film that for me, best defines what it is like for many African-Americans living there,  or what the state has been like for entirely too many years: Mississippi Burning.

Think you know the Klan?

Think it is gone?

Think again.

As long as there is hate and fear of the differences between color and race, they will always be here, in fact they will flourish.

Those who belong to the Klan are cowards and their hate is what binds them together.

Only education, understanding and acceptance can change this.

These are the things that the Klan are most afraid of, and it is how we can change and defeat them forever.

 

Places to learn more:

Ku Klux Klan

Former Florida cop fired for KKK ties got a new job working in a Florida elementary school

Police in Fla.’s “Friendly City” were KKK members

The Legacy of Harry T. Moore

Ku Klux Klan in Florida

 

 

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Vivir es Increible

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Triqui/Trique Indian boys basketball team
Picture credit:  Unknown

Orlando was blessed to have many fine young athletes in town this week for a Basketball event, and one of the teams that made the news this morning on our local station, WESH TV was from Mexico.
Nothing new here, or was there?
This team of fairly small boys, as far as basketball players go, played without shoes.
But, this is not unusual for them, as they nearly always do so.

These boys come from one of Mexico’s poorest regions, a tiny place in the mountains of Oaxaca, that range from 4,000 to nearly 10,000 feet and the inhabitants are called the Trique/Triqui people, a blended group of Mixtec,   (place of cloud-people), who are known for their beautiful weavings.

This area and these people, are not new to me, as one of my favorite Anthropology Professors at CSUN, had related his summers there, for the past 20 plus years.
Every year, he would travel down to Oaxaca to spend a month with the people, then wrote and brought back what he learned about them to his students.

Years later, when I traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, I felt that there were strong similarities between it and many places in Oaxaca.
They were both poverty stricken areas, that few outsiders came to and even fewer cared much about.

This young team makes news every time they play, mostly for their lack of shoes, but what people don’t understand is that their lack of shoes, are the least of their worries.
So many where they come from, are desperately poor, with food, shelter and personal safety at the top of their daily wants/needs list, and going without shoes, much lower on it.

Native or Indigenous Mexicans, are at a poverty level of about 80%, compared to the National level in the upper 20’s.

Many of these young players must walk two hours or more, on rough mountain roads just to get to their practices, and Basketball is about the only sport that can be played in such a difficult terrain.

For me personally, the hardest part of relaying this story to all of you, is in knowing that the country where these brave young players live, is in constant turmoil from outside political pressures.

A friend from school traveled down there years ago, quite concerned about the way the people were being treated and was never seen again.

“Accidents” can happen, to those who ask too many questions, or get too curious about local politics.

Just playing their games, must seem like great relief after enduring the conditions that surround them.

Whenever the team travels, they basically have become ambassadors for their people, and the state of Oaxaca, and Global generosity to them and their town, have followed them everywhere.

Their Head Coach Sergio Zuniga, was interviewed by WESH and his pride in their achievements was clearly evident as he spoke.

This week in Orlando, not only was the team gifted with shoes, so was their entire town.

Yes, back home things are very difficult, but as their Team jackets say, ” Vivir es Increible, life is incredible.”

Places to learn more:

Mexican youth basketball team plays shoeless in Orange County tournament

Hoop dreams of Mexico’s indigenous youth provide hope in ‘forgotten’ region

It’s Triqui to play around: Shoeless Mexican team plays exhibition match in LA

Youth Mexican Basketball Team Wins Big Playing Barefoot

Mexican Shoeless Basketball Champions Prove It’s About How You Play, Not What You Have

Trique People – Wikipedia

A History of the Triqui People

 

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Global Tentacles

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Giraffe Cave Art at the NamibRand Nature Reserve
Picture credit: Namibnat

 

At first glance this morning, this news appeared to be a positive move, made by someone who had their heart and their power, in the right place, and was a cause for tremendous joy.
But then after reading further and seeking secondary and other stories for reference, it seems that all is not as it appears.
Paul Allen, the Billionaire philanthropist, who is seemingly strongly supportive of protecting Endangered Wildlife, has several not so nice personal blemishes, that must also be considered before we proceed to give him his Best Global Humanitarian Award.
Mr. Allen has introduced a measure to get on the Fall Ballots in Washington State, that will put a hurting on those who use the World’s  most at risk wildlife to make a dirty income.
The measure, called Inititive 1401, has already reached, thanks to all of his volunteers in the field, the necessary number to get on to the Ballot in November.

This is a great thing.

What I am having trouble with, is the dark side of his company Vulcan and his sister Jody, who was the CEO, and has just stepped down after some very ugly issues about wildlife  poaching and sexual harassment were brought to light by accusers who work for Allen’s company.
I will not go fully into these things, as they are well presented in the links below.
What I am interested in pointing out here is this.
When very rich, very powerful people make the news and receive gushing accolades without the public or the press, doing more than just a little background digging into the facts, bad things can happen.
In this case, Allen, who has passionately promoted this initiative in Washington, to save and protect wildlife, seems awesome, but something here is not right, and  it all smells just a little rank, when you learn that he has regularly taken African Safaris and owns Tourist Lodges in Botswana.

Now add to this, the fact that his Company Vulcan,  formerly run by his sister, has been taken to court and accused of smuggling, poaching and more.
All too often, people like Allen and his sister, are unlike you and me, frequently kept safely in a cocoon, so that the scandals, or dirt runs off of them and does not stain their pristine, public images.
My concern and primary reason for writing about this today is, that it would be so much easier to believe Allen and all the others who claim to be truly concerned about the welfare of Endangered Wildlife, if there was not so damn much money involved in all of this.

If, as you do so passionately profess Mr. Allen, you truly do wish to protect Endangered African Wildlife, may I suggest that you dispose of your African Tourist Lodges and suspend your Safari trips?

It would be wonderful to see those with so much wealth, using it to personally educate and enlighten the rest of the world to what is happening to the precious few wild animals that we have left, before they are all gone.

We absolutely must take this message out to the schools, to the young, who will become our next generation of protectors.

Sadly, access to excessive money can turn even the best people’s heads the wrong way and there is just too much at stake here.

The treacherous arms of Global Smugglers and Wildlife Traffickers can have very long tentacles, some are even said to be attached to Global Mobsters, that just may reach into even safe corners, including those of the well protected, well insulated, excessively wealthy.

 

Places to learn more:

Washington Rare Species Trafficking Measure, Initiative 1401 (2015)

Global Efforts to Stop Illicit Wildlife Trade: Are They Enough?

China Promises an End to Its Ivory Trade, While Some U.S. Politicians Pander to Wildlife Traffickers

Paul Allen: Seeking unbroken tall bones?

Paul Allen’s sister steps away from managing $17 bln fortune

Seahawks owner Paul Allen, sister settle as bodyguards claim smuggling, bribery

War threatens existence of wildlife species in South Sudan

Washington State Initiative Aims to Protect Iconic Animals Threatened With Extinction

Paul Allen bankrolls initiative to ban rare-species trafficking

 

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Elevating Art in Atlanta

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Artwork: Brandon Collins
Picture credit: Brian Smith

 

This Press Release was received in my email this morning and because we may actually drive up for it, depending on Doctor Appointments that month, I thought that I would share it here in the Global Culture Blog.

This will be a really wonderful place and way to experience both the fantastic city of Atlanta, one of our very favorite cities and a Cultural Event that will probably be unlike anything that you have ever been to before~

Below is the Press Release, hope to see many of you up there in October.

We’ll be the ones being dragged around by an Airedale!

 

ELEVATE Invites Public To Explore A Social City With Arts Events From Oct 17-23

“This year’s ELEVATE contemporary art happenings in downtown Atlanta will be playful and interactive,” states Camille Russell Love, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

“Our theme is ‘Social City’ and, with the help of more than 100 artists, we are creating an environment ripe for exploration, discovery and conversation.

You’ll have a chance to engage with living sculptures, interactive gadgetry, artist panels, portable art and dance performances, and quite a few surprises.

We’re throwing a huge art and music block party on Friday, October 17 and presenting events and exhibits daily all over downtown through Thursday, October 23.

All events are free and open to the public. Come get social with us!”

Here are just a few things you can experience during ELEVATE 2014:

Branden Collins will use ancient forms of masking and costuming from various cultures as reference points in his exhibit at Gallery 72. His artwork incorporates brilliant colors and tribal elements and encourages the viewer to come closer.

The Goat Farm, working with over 20 artists and designers, will transform ten dumpsters into built galleries, installations and sculptures.  Utilizing art, science, technology and micro-manufacturing they’ll create cozy, inviting spaces.

Among the galleries, located in hidden alleyways and nearby parks, visitors will discover a Secret Garden to make a wish or a Giant Synthesizer where they can make public music.

Strolling through downtown at lunchtime you may encounter La Passante.

These walking French parasols invite you to join them for an intimate poem and a brief respite from the city’s hustle and bustle, an unforgettable experience.

La Passante is co-sponsored by France Atlanta.

Joanie Le Mercier’s unique, light-based projection art will create optical illusions and “geometricize” areas of Atlanta’s urban landscape.  His works combines math with art and immerses the viewer in a journey that conjures space exploration.

Dance Truck will present dance and performance art, complete with lighting, music and all the trappings that you find on a traditional stage…in a most extraordinary mobile setting.

ELEVATE 2014 is being created with a wealth of talented artists and organizational collaboration.

Just to name a few: Casey Lynch, Dustin Chambers, Romy Maloon, Joanie Le Mercier, Jane Garver, Igor Korsunskiy, Kris Pilcher, Branden Collins, The Goat Farm, Mammal Gallery, Dance Truck, The French Consulate and Eyedrum.

Locations for this year’s ELEVATE are:
Woodruff Park, Gallery 72, Five Points Plaza and the Fairlie-Poplar District.

However, many exhibits will take place in unexpected, non-traditional locations around town and some art will be mobile.

Financial support for ELEVATE 2014 is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and FORD.

ELEVATE is a program of the City of Atlanta, Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

For more information,  visit their website:  http://www.elevateatlantaart.com/

and like them on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ElevateAtlanta

 

Dog friendly places to stay and eat will be added here, as they are found, right up until the Event in October!

One place so far,  that has been confirmed as Dog Friendly,  is the Hotel Indigo, right downtown and across from the Fox Theatre.

More names to be here soon……..

 

As promised some updates.

 

Info on dog-friendly places in Atlanta:

http://atlantaeats.com/blog/pooch-friendly-patios/

http://www.bringfido.com/restaurant/city/atlanta_ga_us/

and here’s the Facebook page of Hotel Indigo:

https://www.facebook.com/IndigoATLMdtwn

 

 

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Nurse Napping

MedicalServicesIndia1944
Nursing is not easy, you must be dedicated to serving.
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

A new friend told me about this story yesterday and I did not sleep much wondering why it had never made the news here?

This was not the kind of story, that could have been forgotten, at least not by me.

If this had happened in the United States, it would have been on every Channel for days on end, as is every other horrific story.

We would have seen it, all day, every day, night and day.

But, there has been nothing on our local News here about this.

So, while I was not sleeping last night and dwelling on this story, something occurred to me.

Could racism possibly have been involved here?

Because these Nurses were all Indian?

God, I truly hope not.

These innocent women were Nurse napped from a hospital in Iraq, it is said, about the beginning of July, yet even though I have multiple Google Alerts arriving in my email daily, geared to Global Culture and Events, this story never came up once, not once!

The 46 Indian Nurses were taken from a Hospital in Tikrit, (Saddam’s old home town) to Mosul by the ISIS.

They were returned recently, apparently unharmed, to an International Airport in Kochi, to the as expected, great relief of their families and friends.

The Nurses were joined on their return home flight,  with 137 Indian National’s who had also been held hostage by the terrorists.

There is some inconsistency in the length of their captivity, but sources say that the Nurses had apparently been held for anywhere from a week, up to a month.

Later, a second group of about 50 other Nurses, with the assistance of Iraqi authorities, were quietly evacuated from the danger or conflict zone.

They were taken to a safe location, over a land route, in small groups.

Once again, has this happened to a group of American Nurse’s  anywhere, it would have been covered by every News Media Agency, Globally.

Why was this group of Indian Nurses being kidnapped, not made public knowledge here?

As a former Nurse, I can only offer this to end an unnerving story.

Nurses do one thing very well, they take care of those who are sick and need help.

Shame on everyone in the News Media for not making this a Top Priority story, everywhere.

Healers who only help others, have got to be as important as the legions of criminals who now hold our Planet hostage.

This Nurse Napping should have been front page News all over America and the World.

 

Places to learn more:

Nurses Kidnapped By ISIS In Iraq’s Tikrit

Another batch of 50 nurses evacuated from Iraq

ISIS snatches Indian nurses, MEA claims they are safe

Nurses return home, joy erupts among family members 

Indian nurses who were kidnapped cross into Iraqi Kurdish region

 

 

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Father Damien, the Apostle of the Lepers

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Father Damien in 1873 arriving in Oahu.
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

If you ever have the chance to see the film about this man, it is an astonishing work:

Molokai: The Story of Father Damien.

So many biographies tend to be dull, or appear to be grasping for drama.

This man’s life did not need any more drama, it was filled to the brim with it as soon as he arrived in Molokai

I am not sure how many of us ever could, or would, have had the courage to do what he did.

I was a treatment Nurse in a Rehab Center for four years and was surrounded daily by those that society and the state of California considered to be wretched souls.

Many there were merely being housed in a state facility,  that kept them medicated just enough to be safe for the staff to work with, or somewhat controllable.

Some times however, they were not.

I ended up in the local ER three times,  as proof of this.

The third time was the end for my husband,  who said, ” you’re all done there, and you’re not going back.”

I wanted to stay,  knowing how much needed to be done there, but sadly, finally agreed to leave, knowing that he was right.

But back to the facts about Father Damien, who was said to be the inspiration for Gandhi in his struggle to make India and her people independent from England.

Jozef De Veuster was born on January 3, 1840 in Tremelo, Belgium.

He arrived in Hawaii on March 19, 1864 and began a journey of such love and courage,  that the world and its opinion of the disease he eventually succumbed to,  would be changed forever.

Disease was inflicted on the innocent people of the Hawaiian Islands,  by those who came to do business with them, mostly, sailors and traders.

By 1865,  health conditions on the Islands had reached such a crisis level,  that a law was passed to isolate those with what was considered to be the worst and fatal, Leprosy,  to Molokai in a Leper Colony and kept under strict quarantine.

When Father Damien began his work on Molokai, May 10, 1873,  it was assumed to be a death sentence.

Hawaii’s Bishop called for volunteers for this mission and Father Damien was the first to step up.

It was planned that three others would follow him.

The Island of Molokai was for those sad souls who ended up there,  a place of misery and death.

But, Father Damien came and brought with him the changes that would give those afflicted, hope.

Hawaiian people are normally quite happy, loving and affectionate.

Those who ended up on Molokai, were nothing at all like their relatives on the other Islands.

The dedication, devotion, love and passion of Father Damien made those on Molokai  believe that they could do something for themselves, and because of him, many of them for the first time,  found peace.

But their peace came at a high price for Damien, who after 16 years of selfless service to these terribly sick people, finally contracted the disease that would end his life.

Father Damien continued while he was sick,  fighting with all of those on Oahu,  to do what was humane, decent and right for the afflicted people of Molokai.

Before his death on April 15, 1889 at the young age of 49, he had fought against the tyrannical Catholic dioceses and those who controlled Hawaii, who did little to help him or them and forced them to change.

His body at the request of King Leopold III, was returned to Belgium to his place of birth, in January of 1936.

In 1995, his right  hand was given back to the Hawaiian people to be buried in his grave on Molokai.

Long after his death,  Father Damien was finally made a Saint in 2009.

Never has there been one who was more deserving of this,  than Father Damien, the Apostle of the Lepers.

 

Places to learn more:

Father Damien (Joseph de Veuster)

NPS Hawaii – Father Damien

Father Damien  –  Wikipedia

Father Damien

Father Damien

 

 

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Helen Hunt Jackson

HelenHuntJackson
Helen Hunt Jackson
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

Watching the B/W version of the 1936 film  Ramona  last night, was a double-edged sword, it was such a beautiful story of love and devotion, but it was also extremely sad.

It was wonderful at last, to see the visual of the world-famous classic on the big screen.

The film starred Loretta Young as Ramona, who is completely captivating and steals every scene that she is in.

This book and the movie, spawned an annual event  that now brings thousands to the re-creation every year.

They also did so much to express the horrors of the oppressed lives of the California Mission, actually all Indians, in America at the time and the reaction to it was immediate.

Helen Hunt Jackson,  a name that she desperately tried to have removed from her writings,  as she believed it was ” rude ” to keep a former marriage name, was to become the most famous/infamous American female writer of her time, in spite of the fact that she chose a highly unpopular, even dangerous subject:  civility towards American Indians by the US Government.

One of the things that she did,  that made her unforgettable and evermore endearing to me,  was her brazen delivery to every single member of Congress,  a copy of her Cultural/Political blast,  A Century of Dishonor.

This single act made her an instant enemy to nearly every politician in America.

Her hope was that this book would expose the wrongs and help to correct them.

When this failed to achieve her goals, she went to California and became entrenched in Native life there long enough to learn all that she needed to write an even more important work that WOULD finally achieve her goal.

She wrote Ramona!

 

But I digress, here is an earlier Biography that I wrote about her when I was taking books to the masses all over this country, to enlighten the, for the most part,  poorly, culturally educated,  general public about the truth concerning the History and Culture of Native Americans.

 

Helen Maria Fiske was born October 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Her father was a strict minister/professor at Amherst College and both of her parents died when she was barely in her teens.

She was educated at the Ipswich Female Seminary and the Abbott Brother’s School in New York City.

Fellow classmate Emily Dickinson became a lifelong friend.

Although Jackson’s personal life was filled with tragedy, her first husband was killed and her two young sons both died, the strength of her legacy remains in her passionate writing about the maltreatment of Native Americans.

 

An excellent full length biography of her life is here.

 

The glass ceiling biographies, a wonderful place that has now gone away, wrote this about Helen:

“Helen wrote many books, articles, poems and stories, but her place in history was secured with her 2 most famous books,

Ramona, a romantic tragedy that quickly became a best-selling novel about a young California Indian couple and A Century of Dishonor, a searing exposé on the shameful treatment of Indians by the Government.

After completing it, Jackson delivered a copy to every member of Congress, chastising them with these words, written in red:

“Look upon your hands: They are stained with the blood of your relations.”

The book did not make her a celebrity, on the contrary, it was to be years efore it was appreciated or applauded by most of her contemporaries.

Jackson’ s writing was courageous and many women since have followed her example by also writing about contemptuous Indian issues.”

 

 

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Amish Attitude Adjustment

SharetheRoadGeaugaCountyOhioAmish_buggy
An Amish Horse and Buggy: Wikipedia
Traffic sign:  Ken Lund

 

Growing up in Indiana gave me a strong attachment to the  Amish people  and their unique culture.

Indiana has the second highest population of Amish after Ohio, which is where I was born.

Even after leaving and moving to California, the Amish were always of great interest to me.

My own grandfather, although of Prussian heritage,  looked and spoke very much like the Amish, his dialect of German was like the Old Order Amish and this may have encouraged my deep affection for them.

He was a master carpenter, as are many Amish men and took great pride in the quality of his work.

My abhorrence of guns, war and violence,  may or may not be a result of this.

Later, when my children were young, an Amish quilt was on every bed in our home, all hand-made.

Each time I went back to Indiana for a visit, going to one of the many Amish Communities, was always a part of my trip agenda.

The Amish are in many states across this country, including a few here in Florida,  but the highest population is in Ohio, at about 55,000, where the disturbing story on the news this morning was focused.

There has been a rash, or serious outbreak of measles in Ohio, said to be the most in this country since 1996 and it is believed to have come from within the Amish Community there.

People often believe, erroneously, that the Amish do not believe in any vaccines or immunizations for their children.

Some of them do, some do not, they have varying opinions on the subject, as do many who are not Amish.

The reason for most of the concern in this current measles outbreak is,  primarily because of the risk of it now becoming wide-spread throughout the Amish Community and then to others in nearby areas.

For so many years, both before and after growing up, I heard the snickers, saw the rudeness and listened to the cultural bias and complete ignorance from those on the outside,  towards these gentle, peaceable people.

This lack of understanding, or compassion for the Amish people and their culture, may have played some small part in the murder of  innocent Amish school children.

It seems incomprehensible, that when some people do not understand a cultural group, or a religion, they can and frequently do fear it to the point of spouting hurtful,  social insults, or even harming  those that they do not understand.

The Amish came to this country to escape abusive treatment, it is so disappointing that some here cannot allow them to pursue the religious freedom here that they seek.

So now that once again their community is in the glare of the public spotlight,  that they so constantly shy away from, could we instead of pointing fingers and playing the “blame game,”  perhaps offer instead a little kindness and warmth?

Long before all of the  movies,  the TV shows, the books,  exposés  and all of  the ugly Hollywood hype, the Amish came to America looking for a better life, for religious freedom, for peace.

This Country spends billions helping people all over the world, so why do we care so little for those who live right here in America, perhaps just down the street or across town?

If you don’t know anything about the Amish, won’t you please take the time to learn just a little?

The Amish really are pretty much just like you and me, they love their families and want peace in the world.

Right now, their Communities are hurting, how can you/we not show them some of the same concern that we do to those thousands of miles away?

Perhaps we could all use a little Amish attitude adjustment?

 

Places to learn more:

Amish Missionaries Implicated In Measles Outbreak In Ohio

Ohio Measles Outbreak Traced to Amish Mission Trip

Ohio cases among Amish drive bad year for measles across U.S.

8,000+ Amish Vaccinated As Measles Outbreak Continues

Ohio Amish bearing brunt of measles epidemic

 

 

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Got Books?

Ezra_Cornell's_first_book

An Open Book
Ezra Cornell  annotated the first book he ever owned.
Image: Public domain

 

Something in my email this morning gave me cold chills.

There was a story about the ” decline of reading books.”

I clicked on it instantly and although it was happening in another country, it delivered the point quite quickly.

Children and yes, even adults it said,  are rapidly moving away from reading books.

The entire civilized world it seems, would prefer to do anything and everything on a hand-held,  electronic device of any sort, rather than read a book.

Now my introduction into the wondrous world of the written word,  began quite early, at the tender age of six months, in a playpen with my first tiny,  little book made of cloth.

It was a joyous experience and a happy habit that has lasted my entire life.

I consider books and reading to be the single most important part of any human beings education, without books, without reading, we are simply just another animal on the planet.

This one Human ability, reading,  is truly, what sets us apart from the animal kingdom.

My passion for reading compelled me to ride a  bicycle every single day as a young child, many blocks to the public children’s library in Indianapolis, where I would joyfully fill up the entire basket, take them home, devour them all and then return the next day to do it all over again.

Yes, I was a voracious reader.

This continued until I reached High School, where at last, I was finally surrounded by books everyday, as a monitor in the Reference Reading lab.

Later when I went to College,  after raising my three children, I was once again to revel in the glory of libraries, always looking for just the right book to use for one of my classes.

After College and leaving California to go live in the East, my luck and love affair with books would continue with a cultural book business, for nearly seven wonderful years.

During this time,  I had the great fortune to travel to some of the finest Universities in America with my humble little book business, and yes,  I had the enormous pleasure of being at  Cornell  several times.

At each event, I was thrilled to talk to the eager learners,  who like me, wanted to stretch their minds.

Some of my very best customers were staff and faculty at the schools.

With over 500 titles of wonderful books about Culture,  there was always something for everyone that I met.

It was to become, simply the most rewarding job/career/business of my life.

Sharing the knowledge in those books with thousands of people all over this country, who were starving for information,  was a never to be repeated, or forgotten time in my life.

I will always treasure it.

Now today, seeing this story and reading about the apparent huge decline in reading books, I am left wondering, how the world can go on, how can we as a species continue to learn and grow, if we stop reading books?

Will our descendants give up books completely, will ours be the last generation of great readers?

In the future, will we only gather information from smart phones, e-books, iPads or other?

Do we truly believe that a handheld electronic device can offer the same satisfaction as reading a “real ” book?

The current generation obviously seems to thinks so.

Living in Florida now, I wonder just how well these devices will handle lengthy power outages, Hurricanes and the like?

But, as for me, I cannot imagine, nor will ever accept, a world without books.

 

Most of the reference links below are outside of America, but is it really any different here?

The first link, in my opinion, is the most complete, as well as, the one I most related to, it is a student’s Final term paper and be forewarned, a  PDF:

America’s Decline in Literary Reading

Experts bemoan decline in classic book reading

Decline of reading a concern for e-book publishers

Decline in book reading culture

Book culture in decline

Book reading on decline

 

 

 

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April is for Pow Wow’s

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Top: Grand Entry, Middle and Bottom rows, some of our friends, dancers and drums.

 

For the past twenty years or so, this time of the year has always meant that every weekend would be spent at a Pow Wow, somewhere.

For those of you not familiar with the word, a Pow Wow, is a cultural celebration put on by Native Americans all across America.

The best place to find one,  is in your local newspaper, or online, under any of the myriad of Pow Wow listings.

Some of the finest ones that we have been to and taken part in over the years, were at Colleges all across the country from Maine to Minnesota and from California to Florida,  they are a joy to be involved in and to witness.

Most of these Native Cultural Events run from Friday thorough Sunday Evening.

The sights, sounds and smells found at a Pow Wow, are a delicious, delightful feast for the eyes, ears, and nose.

The Pow Wow incorporates much of the rich tradition and culture of the Host tribes and those who come to see it leave enriched.

Each day usually begins with a series of Native Pow Wow Customs, or Events.

First,  the head spiritual leader will begin by removing any trash or litter around or near the circle, or close proximity, then he or she, will smudge the area, while working with the fire keeper.

When this has all been finished,  the Head Veteran will begin assembling the dancers, flag bearers and others who will be coming into the circle, on the East side,  for what is called the ” Grand Entry.”

The spiritual leader will now bring the group into the circle.

Once all are assembled in the circle, the Veterans song is drummed, followed by the Flag song and lastly by a prayer.

The drum group which has been chosen for the entire weekend event, then drums for the dancers who represent many Tribes and Nations, who will follow the Veterans around in the circle and out the East side.

When this dance is finished, the Pow Wow is officially opened and the celebrations may begin.

Often, there will be Special Invited Entertainers, such as singers, flute players or dance groups, who may perform during the day with the other traditional dances occurring in between.

The day will be filled with a wide variety of dances, beginning with the Flag song, then many others will follow like,  ” the Jingle dance,”  which is a specific type of dancer’s regalia/clothing, with tiny jingles sewn on the fabric, that makes a delightful sound as the dancer moves around, and  both men’s and women’s ” Traditional dances,”  ” the Round dance,”  ” the Inter-tribals,”  then later in the evening,  many times there will be a special dance which is called the  “ Friendship dance, ”  which invites all those still in attendance into the circle to say hello to each other, or a Native ” meet and greet. ”

Some very tasty Native foods are usually on hand at each Pow Wow, from the very delicious Indian Tacos, or the ” Three Sisters ” of corn, beans and squash, to special local or regional items from an individual Tribe or Nation’s own menu.

There are of course, many vendors selling their own hand-made crafts, of leather, wood, clay, fabrics, metals and stone to share their own particular Tribal culture with you.

Often at the end of the weekend a blanket dance is done to collect money for the drum group,  who might not receive a great deal of money otherwise,  to help with their travel expenses.

After all of the goods have been sold, the dance prizes awarded and the last songs drummed, comes the closing ceremony which is a beautiful, somewhat bittersweet end to a wonderful joyful weekend for all who came.

If you have the time and the chance, I highly recommend you find a Pow Wow in your area and go have a cultural experience you are not likely to soon forget.

But, be forewarned, like the beginning of Spring and the awakening it brings to the world, your first Pow Wow may bring an awakening to your soul, and you will find yourself looking for them everywhere in the future~

 

 

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