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Tag Archives: Indigenous People

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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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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Sí, se puede!

Habana_P3

Beautiful Havana, the capital of Cuba
Picture credit: Vgenecr

 

In a move that I believed would never happen in my lifetime, resuming relations with a tiny country just 90 miles offshore from Florida, the President of this Country, has just changed the political status of our two countries once again.

The Island Nation of Cuba has until today, been rejected, cut off and shunned by us for more than 50 years.

This has always struck me as two-faced, as we have had, although frosty at times, relations with other Communist Countries, like China, Russia and Viet Nam  for many years and this seemed  a pretty cold-hearted way to treat this once much admired and loved Island Nation just to our South.

In our efforts to punish the Castro Regime, we ended up instead, mostly hurting only the people.

Yes, there will still be problems, diplomatic and political issues to be worked out, but with this new thinking, the thousands of Cubans who already live here, may soon be able to finally go home and see family that they had lost all hope of ever seeing again.

The fact that we should be willing to treat Cuba as well as we do the others, was so long in coming for some fairly ugly reasons, they did not, as do the others  we have kept relations with, have anything that we want.

We tend to only ” forgive” those who have a product or “other”  that we can use to our benefit.

As for this day, today people were exchanged, secrets were kept secret and assurances may have been made.

Will this be the first step in Global efforts to embrace our differences with the other smaller nations who like Cuba,  offer us little more than trade benefits?

Hopefully other big Nations will begin to think about the Humanitarian reasons to also engage.

As President Obama said today, none of the reasons for cutting our ties with Cuba have had either much impact, or truly changed the situation.

America’s total and complete embargo of Cuba, failed to achieve the desired results.

So, millions have suffered for more than fifty years, for little more than pride and vanity on both sides.

The Castro Regime and the Americans at the helm here, both dug in their heels and innocent people on both shores have suffered.

Each and every week here in Florida, boats are washed ashore with those who risk all, just for the chance to either be free, or to rejoin other family members here.

Historically, the impact of Cuban people here in America is legendary.

They have representation in every imaginable aspect of our Culture from the arts, in  film, and music, and especially in sports, they are extremely well represented in all professions and every corner of our American society.

They are also quite well represented in our political forums and as with all who come here, the great joys of political freedom, also comes with tinges of pain, when thinking of those that are left behind.

Now, on this day, President Obama, working with many others including the Government of Cuba, has changed all of this.

For the people from Cuba, more than fifty long and painful years will hopefully soon come to an end and Cubans can rejoice with those of us who have friends and family from the Cuban Nation.

It is looking good just now because starting today, we will renew a friendship that has been painfully put on hold.

Once again America and Cuba can be allies for their people with a potential prospect for Peace.

Let freedom ring.

I for one, am thrilled at the imminent good things yet to come.

Yes, we can,  America and Cuba,  Sí, se puede!

 

Places to learn more:

Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba

Cuba releases American Alan Gross, paves way for historic easing of American sanctions

President Obama’s statement on Cuba policy change

Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba

 

 

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Winona LaDuke

winonababy
Winona LaDuke

 

For those of you who are not familiar with her, Winona LaDuke is the Executive Director of a group called Honor the Earth.

Last week they began a new campaign  called   “Love Water, Not Oil,”  that is vital, no critical,  to all Americans, not  just Native Americans.

What Fracking and Oil pipelines have done and will continue to do to the environment of this country, should be high on everybody’s agenda.

Once our water supplies and land are contaminated, it will take thousands of years to make them safe again.

Hopefully, you will keep this in mind, when you go to the polls to Vote this week and next:

” which candidates are supporting Fracking and Oil Pipelines and which ones are opposed to them? “

The condition of the water and land that you will  have this time next year depends on it.

Here is a brief Bio that I wrote about Winona several years ago.

She was and is,  an amazing woman, that I have the utmost respect for.

A side note that I find interesting about Winona, she and Robert Redford share the same birthday, August 18th!

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Winona LaDuke at Dream Reborn Conference  April 6, 2008
Picture credit: Eclectek

 

Winona LaDuke, who was born in 1959 and grew up in Los Angeles,  is Anishinabe/Anishinaabekwe – Ojibwe and an enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg of the Makwa Dodaem – Bear Clan of the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Her father, an Ojibwe was a supporting actor in westerns as well as an Indian activist and her mother, a Russian Jew from New York, was an art professor.

As a teenager LaDuke addressed the United Nations on mining issues.

After graduating from Harvard in 1982, she took a position as the principal of the High School on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

LaDuke is a Program Director of the Honor the Earth Fund and works nationally to promote and assist Native Environmental groups.

She is a Founding Director for White Earth Land Recovery Project: a reservation-based non-profit organization focusing on land, cultural and environmental issues.

LaDuke co-chairs the Indigenous Women’s Network and is Program Director of the Environmental Program at the Seventh Generation Fund.

LaDuke ran with Ralph Nader in 1996 and 2000 as his Vice-Presidential candidate for the Green Party and worked to increase Native American voter registration and activism.

She has written on environmental racism and is the author of several books including: Last Standing Woman and  All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life

LaDuke spoke at the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China on August 31, 1995.

Read excerpts from her speech

LaDuke teaches courses on Native Environmentalism at the University of Minnesota and other colleges and has campaigned for the reduction of nuclear waste.

In 1994, she was named by Time Magazine as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under 40 years of age.

She currently lives with her two children on the White Earth Reservation.

 

Places to learn more:

Native Americans Launch ‘Love Water Not Oil’ Ride To Protest Fracking Pipeline

Winona LaDuke – Wikipedia

Honor the Earth Website

Winona’s Facebook Page

Love Water Not Oil

First Nation Ride For Mother Earth Forms Norwegian/Indian Alliance

An Interview with Winona LaDuke

Honor the Earth – Wikipedia

 

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Making Marrow Matches!

navymarrowdrive
Capt. Todd A. Zecchin
June 28, 2006 – Mayport, Florida, during the ship’s Bone Marrow Drive
U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Adam Herrada

 

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month

This is a very difficult subject for me personally to write about, as our beloved Airedale,  Sabrina died of T-Cell lymphoma just three years ago. She was fairly young, at six years and very healthy, it took us by surprise, and went so fast. Her disease and her suffering were unbearable for all of us. Blood cancers don’t only kill people, they kill our beautiful pets as well.If you suspect a symptom with your pet, if you have any questions, or doubts, ask your Vet!”

 

For over ten years, locating a Bone Marrow Organization specifically directed towards assisting Indigenous People, Native Americans, or Alaskan Natives, in this Country has eluded me.

Much needed media attention, hype and hyperbole, was showered on the various Blood Cancer and Bone Marrow Groups, by the recent airing on GMA of Robin Robert’s illness, treatment and eventual Bone Marrow transplant.

She put a public face on a relentless, vicious,  killer disease and gave those also suffering from it, hope!

Robin was one of the lucky ones, as her sister turned out to be a perfect match, but for millions of Americans in this Country, there is/was no happy ending, no perfect match for them.

Many Native People on remote Reservations in America,  have two factors that can delay or detract  from them getting the treatment that they so desperately need,  a local Doctor to recommend them and just basic everyday, ordinary access to them.

Often Native Elders have no access to transportation,  or a local Doctor who is able to refer them to the next level of care, or treatment, on their particular Reservation.

This can make getting the help that they need, nearly impossible.

Right now, there are Native People who are suffering in silence and dying,  without ever getting to the help that they need and that is available to them.

According to a graph on the site below,  once Native Americans do get to the Bone Marrow Organizations, their chance of finding a match is right at 90%.

While this number appears to be quite impressive, please remember that this is, if and when they get there!

After contacting a National Bone Marrow Organization, yes the exact same one that was so vital to Ms. Robert’s recovery,  a phone conversation yesterday with their extremely helpful and dedicated, Marketing Director,  yielded much valuable information, that I am now passing along to you.

If you, or anyone you know, is in need, won’t  you please forward this on them, so that they may have a fighting chance against an insidious disease,  that does not discern between its victims, blood cancer, otherwise known as,  Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma.

Here is the asked for and kindly given,  comment from their Director of Marketing, Tanya Wright:

 

“Every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukemia or lymphoma. They desperately hope for a marrow donor who could give them a cure.

Be The Match® connects patients with life-saving donors. And right now, an American Indian or Alaska Native patient in your community likely needs a hero just like you, willing to give a small part of yourself to give someone a cure.

Here are some things you should know:

  • American Indian and Alaska Native patients have a harder time finding a donor than other diverse patients.
  • Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry, and American Indians and Alaska Natives combined comprise only 1 percent of the registry.
  • American Indian and Alaska Native marrow donors are urgently needed to save patients everywhere.
  • You can be the difference between life and death for someone in need.”

“You can join the national registry now to save a life by visiting BeTheMatch.org, learning more!”

Information about why diversity matters (in relation to marrow transplants)”

http://bethematch.org/Transplant-Basics/Matching-patients-with-donors/Why-race-and-ethnicity-matter/

Thank you!
Tanya Wright Strategic Marketing Specialist, Supervisor

Tanya Wright Strategic Marketing Specialist, Supervisor
3001 Broadway Street NE Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55413-1753
Phone: (612) 627-8113  Toll Free: (800) 526-7809 Ext 8113

The cure for blood cancer is in the hands of ordinary peopleSM. BeTheMatch.org.

 

Thank you Tanya, now here are some other places to learn more about these diseases:

National Bone Marrow Transplant Link –   (this is the mother of all Cancer Links, start here)

Event tries to attract black bone marrow donors

The Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation – (For Jewish Patients)

The Bone Marrow Foundation

Kinds of Blood Cancer 

American Society of Hematology

Health Resources and Services Administration

Asians for Miracle Marrow Matches

DKMS

 

 

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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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The Last Code Talker

Navajo-code-Talkers
Navajo Code Talkers Henry Bake and George Kirk, 12/1943 (ARC 593415)

 

93 year old Chester Nez died recently in Albuquerque,  New Mexico and as the final living member of an elite, nearly mystical group of 29 Navajo men who played a vital role in the War, he and the others will always be remembered for what they did for this Country.

They were the original Navajo Code Talkers

Many were skeptical in the beginning that this group could not, or would not succeed in their mission.

But as was soon to be learned, the Code Talkers not only were a tremendous success, they changed the course of the war.

They developed a Native language for coded messages that was so secret, it was only known by just a few.

“The name code talkers is strongly associated with bilingual Navajo speakers specially recruited during World War II by the Marines to serve in their standard communications units in the Pacific Theater. Code talking, however, was pioneered by Cherokee and Choctaw Indians during World War I.”  —–  Wikipedia

“The code talkers received no recognition until the declassification of the operation in 1968”  —–   Wikipedia

The Japanese were simply never able to crack their code, which crippled their efforts in the War.

This impenetrable code, was simply the basic language that these men and their people spoke, but very few off of the Reservation did, which was why it was such a success.

This turned out to be one of the greatest War time secret weapons,  that our US  Military has likely ever developed.

Several hundred more Navajo Code Talkers were eventually added to the original 29 and there were also Code Talkers from other Native Nations as well.

Americans and other countries who were protected by our military, owe each of these brave Native men a huge debt of gratitude, along with every single member of the combined services who fought and died during this time.

The 2002 film meant to honor these men,  Windtalkers,  was fairly accurate, about 78%  according to Nez.

The Original group of 29 did not receive their  Congressional Gold Medal  until 2001, but by then, nearly all of them were already gone.

Only five were still alive and only four attended the ceremony.

The groups that followed the Original 29,  were given Silver Medals  for their Service.

Chester was scheduled to be at a book event in just a few days to join and speak with Award winning author Judith Avila, who has written about and studied the Code Talkers.

He will most definitely be there with her in spirit.

***Regretfully, I was unable to find any public domain pictures of Chester, but you will see him in many of the links that are shown below.***

Navajo-swearing-in
First 29 Navajo U.S. Marine Corps code-talker recruits being sworn in at Fort Wingate, NM. (ARC 295175)

 

Places to learn more:

Unbreakable: Remembering the Code Talkers

Navajo Code Talkers: the soldiers that ended the War

The Story of the Code Talkers

Chester Nez, last of the World War II Navajo ‘code talkers,’ dead at 93

‘He loved his culture, and his country.’ Last original Navajo Code Talker dies

Chester Nez, last of original Navajo code talkers of World War II, dies

The last of the Navajo Code Talkers

 

 

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Carlilse

pray3         pray4
Walkingfox offering a prayer after we learned that the children were not there.

 

Recently a friend suggested that I write about our experiences at this place of extreme misery, for so many Native American children in this Country.

In 1999, Walkingfox and I took a very long journey from Los Angeles where I lived,  to Connecticut where he lived.

This would have ordinarily been a four,  to five day trip, but not in this case.

I had plans for this adventure,  that as it began, he was completely unaware of.

You see, I had been to Reservations and places of historical importance for Native people in the West many times and I wanted to share these places and their stories with him.

He had never been to any of the places where we stopped and it was the most memorable trip of either of our lives.

We took our time and never went more than a hundred or so miles a day, it ended up being a thirteen  day trip~

There was just always something to explore and learn about when it came to Native people and culture.

One of our first stops was at the Hopi and Navajo Reservations in Nevada  and along the way, of course I had to make sure that he saw and experienced Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee in South Dakota, first hand.

The two places are so rich in history for the Lakota people and my own trips there had been some of the best of my life to that point.

As the miles and days went by,  we made many stops and learned and saw so much, but the last stop we made before heading into Connecticut,  would prove to be the one that changed both of our lives forever.

I had read about a place in Pennsylvania, a school, where Indian children from all over the country were sent to become civilized, their word, not mine.

It was called the Carlisle Indian School.

Many of these children had been taken forcibly from their parents in the West, but not all.

These young innocents, would have their physical appearances completely made over to appear to be ” white. “

They were forbidden to use their own language or practice their culture and were punished when they did.

Carlisle soon became known as a place of horror for Native children.

I was adamant about taking him there on this trip, so that we could experience it together.

We finally found the school and began the day for personal reasons at the Cemetery.

Walkingfox got out of the car and started walking slowly all around this sad place, stopping and saying prayers as he went and telling me what he was doing along the way.

There were many rows of graves and head stones, reading them was heartbreaking, as their ages ranged from only  just a few days, up to about twelve years old.

It was the saddest place that either of us had ever been to.

When he appeared to be finished, he turned and looked at me and his face told me something was wrong.

I asked what and he said, ” they are not here.”

I said, ” who? “

He replied, ”  the children, they are not here.”

I was not sure what to say in response to that, so we got back in the car and drove on.

A few minutes later,  we came to the Fire Station and  we went inside.

A very nice man came over and they began talking.

He told the man what he had already said to me.

The man gave him a look,  that I will never forget.

I got closer so I could hear what he said, ” how could you know that?”

” You are right,”  he said,  ” they are not there.”

Neither of us was prepared for what he said next.

” They are buried under the football stadium.”

They talked for a while longer, then we got back in the car and drove to the stadium.

When we got there, once again,  he got out of the car and began praying for the children who had died.

But, again that look.

” Now what, “  I said?

He said once more, ” they are not here.”

We walked all the way around the stadium and finally, he got another look on his face, a better one.

He smiled, and said, ” they are here.”

I felt sick now, but he seemed to be better.

You see, we were standing at the public bathrooms and it seems that the children were there, buried right at the bathrooms.

Nothing after that day,  would ever hurt either of us more.

No matter where we went, or what we saw, this had been the worst.

 

 

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Ishi, the last Yahi

ishiwiki

Ishi, the last of his kind, the last Yahi.
All pictures are public domain

 

Many years ago, while going through a stack of newspapers that had been held for us while we had been away, I came across this story which was personally very close to my heart:

” Last of the Yahi Indians is finally coming home for proper burial”   by Michelle Locke.

It was a brief story about the man called Ishi, his life and death and his final return to California.

This latest chapter in the story of Ishi, touched me nearly as deeply as had the book and the movie about this remarkable man.

The movie, The Last of his Tribe, with Graham Greene as Ishi and Jon Voight as Professor Kroeber is quite compelling.

I highly recommend it and all of the books associated with Ishi’s  life.

Be prepared to learn the unpleasant facts about the treatment of our first people in this country.

185px-Ishi_1914

Ishi, the last Yahi.

Ishi’s voice was  recorded on wax cylinders   by Professor Kroeber

and can be heard at the Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara.

If you are ever near this area, the chance to hear this recording will make your visit unforgettable.

Even though it is quite old and not modern technology, Ishi’s heart and soul come through loud and clear.

kroeber1

Ishi with Dr. Kroeber in 1911

 

Ishi  was to many of us, a last, sad look at the kind of men who had once inhabited this country freely;

a proud, defiant man whose life was tragically changed by those who came to steal his land in search of gold.

When Ishi wandered out of the woods in 1911 in search of food, he was captured by ones who would take him to Alfred Kroeber, the Professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley in California.

This historical meeting and the events that followed, would change both of their lives forever.

ishisit

Ishi before 1916

 

You may learn more about Ishi at these Berkeley web sites:

 Introduction to the man called Ishi

The Yana and the Yahi

 Ishi before the Museum

 Ishi at the Musuem

A UCSF web site:

Ishi: The Last Yahi

 

The brief time that these two men spent together, before Ishi’s untimely death, presumably due to consumption, or as we now know it, tuberculosis, would leave a legacy for those who would study California Natives and Anthropology to study and decipher for many years to come.

Sadly, after his death in 1916, Ishi was subjected to an autopsy, an act that he reviled due to his spiritual beliefs and had made quite clear to those around him, that he never wanted performed on him.

However, in the absence of his friend and mentor, Professor Kroeber, the hideous autopsy was performed  and Ishi’s brain was removed and sent away.

After many years and much searching, Ishi’s brain was recently discovered in a jar in the Smithsonian, where many other American Native remains are kept as well.

Their defense for this abhorrent, massive bone and tissue collection, was to assure a representative warehouse from a wide variety of species of animals?

Human and otherwise?

Now, Ishi’s brain has made the long trip back to Northern California, where it will be buried in  a secret place, along with his cremated remains.

At last Ishi has come home and hopefully will be allowed to walk in peace once again with his family and ancestors, unmolested by curious outsiders.

The final meaning and full worth of this man’s life and tragic death will be left for the ages to determine.

 Peace Ishi

 

 

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