Friday, July 18, 2014

Video: Sámi Stories: Art & Identity of an Arctic People | Mari Boine

A video interview with musician Mari Boine from the exhibition Sámi Stories: Art & Identity of an Arctic People, on view May 10 through August 23, 2014 at Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America.

Directed by: Rossella Ragazzi
Camera & Editing: Bård Grape
Interviewer: Marit Anne Hauan, University of Tromsø

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Indian, Non-Indian Conversation

The Indian and Non-Indian are having a conversation about their lives. 

Non-Indian: "I've got a shiny fancy car and I WORKED for it!"

Indian: "People assume I am poor.  I got this Indian truck.  Its rusty and the door is creaky."

Non-Indian: "I really worked HARD for what I've got.  I know it must be "God's will."

Indian: "I work really hard but nothing ever seems to come of my efforts.  I just remain poor, invisible and undervalued."

Non-Indian: "I've been able to keep and hold down jobs.  I don't like people using the system."

Indian: "I've had my share of part time jobs often with no benefits and I've dealt with racism in many of my jobs.  I can never seem to get an interview for a full time job."

Non-Indian: "My parents both graduated from college."

Indian: "My home life was really hard and there was a lot of abuse.  I also got bullied in school so I dropped out in 11th grade."

Non-Indian: "I demand good customer service and I expect it."

Indian: "Usually I get treated like shit."

Non-Indian: "I don't understand why people just can't pull themselves up by their bootstraps?"

Indian: "I found boots at Goodwill but there were no straps."

Non-Indian: "I spent $300 this week at the grocery store and dropped off a bag of groceries at our church's food pantry.  I feel it is good to help the "poor."

Indian: "My food stamp allotment was $170 for the month and I picked up a box of food at this local church because my food stamps couldn't cover everything."

Non-Indian:  "I decided to go to this super progressive chocolate shop and treat myself.  I had an extra $40 bucks so I got three chocolate bars and 3 truffles.  I was waited on right away and the customer service was phenomenal." 

Indian:  "I decided to go treat myself and get a single $2 truffle from this fancy bourgeoisie "fair trade, progressive and liberal," chocolate shop.  However I waited 15 minutes in line and was ignored while other well dressed customers with credit cards were served before me.  When I spoke out against the apparent injustice and discrimination I experienced the workers denied it."

Non-Indian: "I once went to a reservation for a "mission" trip with my church."

Indian: "I got angry at the people trying to "help" us.  They brought a bible with them and were imposing their religious views on us."

Non-Indian:  "In my past life I know I was Native American.  I really love the culture."  

Indian:  "If you were Native American in your past life I wonder if you lived on a rez, worked at the tribal gas station for minimum wage, dealt with constant racism and discrimination like I have my whole entire life.  Please stop romanticizing who we are."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Poem: He Didn't Mean To

I could be like Victor,
And throw the empties at your abandoned house,
No one will say that "we ain't doing this no more,"
At least no one in your family,
They will turn a blind eye,
Even when the results and facts are as such,

Unlike Arlene,
No one could say to you that,
"We ain't doing this no more! No more! We're done with it,"
Instead you threw that suit case in your truck and ran,

I guess you "didn't mean to,"
Broken furnace,
Standing water in the basement for years,
Slowly draining,
Slowly filling,
Mold growing up the walls,
In the walls,
In the floor boards,
Soiled and wet carpet,
Mail piling up,

I guess you "didn't mean to,"
You could cry but never share why,
Instead moldy pictures of the past you held in your hand,
Alcohol destroying your spirit,
Drugs making it worse,
Shutting the door to everyone,
You are not there,
Hello I say,
Boozhoo I say,
No answer,
The torment of letting go slowly,
The suppressed feelings,
The family system broken,

Then Thomas asks Victor,
"Hey Victor, do you know why your dad really left?"
Victor responds, 
"Yeah. He didn't mean to Thomas,"

He's been running his whole life,
This Indian guy,
I used to be you,
I used to run away,
I remember sitting in a circle with "friends" in a house in Oshkosh Wisconsin,
Feeling ungrounded and wanting to run,
Feeling unsafe with these "friends" like they would take advantage of me,
Or rape,
Or sexual assault,
Then all the parties,
I don't want to remember throwing up,
Weighing 104 pounds,
Or almost renting a shoebox sized apartment with a moldy bathroom,
The halfway house and the Indian man luring me in,
And I ran out the door,
More unsafe places,
Yellow houses with yellow energy,
And running,
And wanting to always run away,

Recoil the spring,
Dismantle this,
He didn't mean to,
Those blinds growing mold,
Windowsills with slimy black mold,
Scrubbing to clean,
But will not come off,
The mold is inside the structure,
Inside you,

Will the illness be dismantled?
Will this establishment be condemned?