Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poem: A Two-Spirit Case Study

I put my stethoscope to the community,
I listened,
Most of the time quietly,
Or "underground,"

Right wing Christians,
Who are Native,
White tribal government structures,
Two-Spirits who are shamed,
This isn't traditional,

Still getting shunned,
I listen,

When children are neglected,
Ignored,
Abused,
Not fed breakfast by their Father's,
I listen,

The soul is wide open,
Listening,

The soul is black,
Tarnished,
Damaged,
Disjointed,

Scrambling across the territories to seek bits and pieces of healing,
To run into shards of glass of liquor bottles,
The addiction of a thirst unquenchable, 
A thirst to heal not understood by dominant culture influences and colonization,

Running into walls,
Abuse sprouts onto walls and window panes in the form of mold,
Mold toxicity damaging spirits,
This is a mold toxic house,
The house a metaphor for toxicity all around,
A mold toxic body,
A mold toxic soul,

Shards of broken glass shattered into souls,
Sharp edges,
It hurts,
This racism,
This internalized racism,
This sexism,
This internalized sexism,
This homophobia,
This internalized homophobia,

To seek but to stumble,
Imperfection as a survivor of genocide,
Swaying under the dim lights of this podunk-redneck-hick-NDN-rez-town,

What you seek is not out there,
The teachings are what you seek,
It is not a pedestal,
It is not a tribal government structure,
It is not patriarchy,
It is not abuse,

The soul listening can assembled the pieces,
In a de-insdustrialized way,
In a de-colonized way,
Yet no one cares to listen,
Still I listen,
Quietly,

A Two-Spirit observance and case study,
A community broken.

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."