Thursday, March 19, 2015

Poem: Indian Trail in 48073

The divided up blood quantum,
Between divided up treaty territories,
Between divided up hearts,
Separated souls,
Dispersed between colonial county and state lines,

Christianity on the land,
In our governments,
Blessed the ink to sign the document,
Sign the treaty,
Sign away a culture,
A people,

As a kid I followed the remnants of this,
In a suburban town where there was an “Indian Trail,”
My Mom took me there after going to Meijer's one day,
We turned off Crooks Road in 48073,
Near the old “historic” farm houses,
Park on the side street,
And got out of the car,
We walked up the very small hill,
Between a few suburban trees,
Planted in 1964,
While the suburbs were booming and building,
Gas station and church,
Prayer and work,
Fuel and sinning,
This small spot was left for our people,
My Mom told me about this spot,
It was a small corner of a suburban lot,
There was a rock with a sign,
This was a trail of my ancestors,
On a summer day,
My Mom shares a little bit of Anishinaabe lore and legend,
We walk down that lil’ hill and back into the car,

The memory sticks with me to this day,
I thought of major roads leading out of the mega metropolis heading north to my home,
I never considered the big city of Detroit my home,
The land seemed hurt and sad,
Eager I always followed every trail I could in Southeast Michigan,
Was it an “Indian Trail,”
My peoples trail,

Then I followed that trail to the train tracks like so many of my ancestors did before,
The train tracks as a refuge,
13 year old boy-girl-tomboy-she-he-her-queer,
I knew all the viaducts,
My hands scathed the surface,
I crumble particles of paint attempting to cover graffiti from my hands,
Then hyperactively picking up and chucking a rock,
To an unknown location,
The fuse of anger,
Almost got me in trouble,
So I leap into the bushes,
Kneel down and hide,   

Like many Indian kids,
Like many Indian adults,
We ended up on a modern "Indian trail" we often called the railroad tracks,
A place to vent,
A place to connect with industrial disconnection,
A place to smoke-drink-drug,
A place to cast dreams as pennies,

When I grew up I wanted to be a train engineer,
Just like the "guy in the green hat,"
A wayfaring stranger,
An unknown,
Or was this feeling in my blood?
Because Great-Grandpa was a train engineer on the Soo Lines in the UP, 

The sunsets were beautiful,
Especially when it was time to head home,
The night birds swooping,
Bats flying about,
The train light off in the distance,
A light,
A metaphor,
To resist temptation,
To resist what so many Indian's couldn't,
To walk away and rise above,
To resist beautifully.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Article - Saami vs. Metsähallitus: The Case for Corporate Recognition of Indigenous Rights

Friday, March 6, 2015

Article - Indians 101: Greed and the Administration of Indians Reservations in the 19th Century

With the formation of the United States in the late eighteenth century, policies toward American Indians generally followed the British colonial model in which Indians, like wolves, bears, and trees, were viewed as impediments to the taming of the wilderness. The British did not seek to incorporate American Indians into their colonial culture, but to isolate and segregate them and/or to exterminate them.

Following this philosophical model, the United States established Indian reservations as a way of removing Indians and freeing their lands and natural resources (i.e. mining and timber) to be developed by non-Indians. One of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, suggested that Indians should be removed from the United States and placed on lands west of the Mississippi River.

There were three basic ways in which reservations could be established: by treaty, Presidential executive order, and Congressional action.

The United States could negotiate a treaty with an Indian nation in which the Indian nation would reserve a portion of its traditional homeland for its exclusive use or agree to move to other lands which would be reserved for its exclusive use. Under the U.S. Constitution, Indian tribes were viewed as sovereign nations and thus dealings with them, just as with over sovereign nations, had to be on the federal level. In 1871, however, Congress--upset by the cost of the treaties and the need to pay the Indians for their lands-- attached a rider to the appropriations bill for the Indian Department which stated that hereafter no Indian tribe shall be recognized as an independent nation with whom the United States may contract by treaty.

Reservations could also be established by Presidential executive order and by Congressional action.

The well-known Indian-fighter General William T. Sherman once defined a reservation as:
“a tract of land entirely occupied by Indians and entirely surrounded by white thieves”
Anthropologist Anthony Wallace, in his The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca, writes:
“The reservation system theoretically established small asylums where Indians who had lost their hunting grounds could remain peacefully apart from the surrounding white communities until they became civilized. It actually resulted, however, in the creation of slums in the wilderness, where no traditional Indian culture could long survive and where only the least useful aspects of white culture could easily penetrate.”
Some reservations were run like concentration camps where the Indian inmates were seen as prisoners. Reservation Indians were viewed as being incompetent in managing their own affairs. Boarding school superintendent Edwin Chalcraft, in his biography Assimilation’s Agent: My Life as a Superintendent in the Indian Boarding School System, reports that
“…Government Regulations provided that Indians shall not leave their reservations without a written pass from the officer in charge.”  
In describing his experience with the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1890s, Sioux physician Charles Eastman, in Light on the Indian World: The Essential Writings of Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), reports:
“An Indian agent has almost autocratic power, and the conditions of life on an agency are such as to make every resident largely dependent upon his good will.”
Corruption in the administration of Indian reservations was wide-spread. Indian reservations provided ample opportunity for fraud. First, there were the Indian agents on the reservation. Poorly paid and untrained for the job, many Indian agents saw this as an opportunity to get rich. It was not uncommon for the Indian agent to have a store in an off-reservation town which sold the goods that had been intended as annuities for the reservation and instead were unlawfully re-directed to his own store. Getting the goods to the reservation required shipping and shipping agents generally overstated the millage involved. Suppliers who provided beef generally provided ill, underweight cows and charged for good, healthy animals. Suppliers saw the reservations as good places to send spoiled or unsalable goods. Money was made by all, and the Indians received very little of what they had been promised by the government. Historians Robert Utley and Wilcomb Washburn (1977: 290) write:
“From factory to agency warehouse, corrupt alliances enriched government officials and suppliers and penalized the Indians in both quantity and quality of issue.”
One of the primary goals of the United States government with regard to Indians was to convert them to Christianity, primarily Protestant Christianity. As it became obvious to all that the Indian Service was corrupt and failing to assimilate Indians, it seemed natural to turn to missionaries and churches for the solution. In his 1870 message to Congress, President Ulysses Grant proposed turning the administration of reservations over to Christian groups. With no regard for aboriginal religious practices, it was assumed that all Indians should be forced to become Christian as a part of their assimilation into American culture. 
In accordance with President Ulysses Grant’s Peace Policy, the Secretary of the Interior allocated 80 reservations among 13 Christian denominations. Catholic historian James White, writing in Chronicles of Oklahoma, reports:
“By the terms stated in Grant’s policy, namely that missions should be allocated among the missionaries already at work there, Catholic officials expected to receive thirty-eight missions; instead they were accorded only eight, all of them in either the Rio Grande valley or the Pacific Northwest.”
Subsequently, Catholic missionaries began to be ordered off certain reservations. Another often-stated goal of the reservations was to turn Indians into farmers, ignoring the fact that most Indian nations had been farming prior to the European invasion and the early colonists managed to survive because of Indian agriculture. On the other hand, non-Indians were given the best farming lands and Indian reservations were generally located in areas that were not suitable for agriculture. In other words, reservations tended to be located in areas which could not be farmed.
Indians were not allowed to engage in mining. The Commissioner of Indian Affairs wrote in 1872:
“It is the policy of the government to segregate such [mineral] lands from Indian reservations as far as may be consistent with the faith of the United States and throw them open to entry and settlement in order that the Indians may not be annoyed and distressed by the cupidity of the miners and settlers who in large numbers, in spite of the efforts of the government to the contrary, flock to such regions of the country on the first report of the gold discovery.”
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the United States began to break up Indian reservations and open them up for non-Indian settlement. This was formalized with 1887 General Allotment Act (also known as the Dawes Act). The idea of holding land in common was seen as uncivilized, un-Christian, and a barrier to civilization. Indians were first encouraged and then required to obtain individual ownership of land. The idea of owning land in severalty became almost an obsession of the late nineteenth century Christian reformers. They were convinced that such a policy would force the Indians to become more American. Historian Clifford Trafzer, in his introduction to American Indians/American Presidents: A History, reports:
“By dividing tribal reservation lands into small parcels for individual Indians, reformers believed that allotment would imbue Native people with respect for private—rather the tribal—property, and help Indians assimilate into mainstream American culture.”
The result of this policy was to force American Indians into poverty and to create wealth for non-Indians. American capitalists and large corporations acquired Indian resources. 

Originally posted to Native American Netroots on Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 08:15 AM PST.


Also republished by DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY, Barriers and Bridges, and History for Kossacks.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Article - No, You’re Not Imagining It: 3 Ways Racial Microaggressions Sneak into Our Lives

This is a good article however again and as per usual there is no mention of Native American/First Nations people.  A heads up on this because the term is called "statistical genocide."  We as Native American/First Nations people are left out of statistics, research projects, studies, articles, reports and on and on.  Raising awareness on this will continue indefinitely as long as the dominant/majority/mainstream culture continues to treat us the invisible minority.  Nonetheless this is a good article on racial microagressions.  From my point of view we deal with colonial racial microaggressions.  Racism can occur towards us as a people (insults, stereotypes, discrimination) or racism towards our lands and waters (environmental racism). 

- - - - -

No, You’re Not Imagining It: 3 Ways Racial Microaggressions Sneak into Our Lives

Have you ever experienced someone insulting you in a way that felt a little bit racist, but you couldn’t quite figure out why?

Were you worried about “reading too much into it,” “being too sensitive,” or taking offense when none was intended?

When this happened, did you let the other person know you were hurt, only for them to become distressed or defensive? Have you been reluctant to say something when you felt this way because your opinions have been silenced or ignored in the past?

Like many other people of color (POC) living the US, I’ve felt all of these things. For some of us, feeling this way is the norm and, without realizing, we put up a wall to protect ourselves from the damage that comes with it.

These uneasy, uncertain feelings can be the result of what Chester M. Pierce, a psychiatrist and professor, coined racial microaggressions – originally defined as the racist insults directed at Black people from non-Black Americans.

Dr. Derald Wing Sue, who also writes about racial microaggressions, explains them as the “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”

Microaggressions are “micro” because they often happen in small, private situations, yet their effects often impact us in massive and dangerous ways.

Over time, being on the receiving end of these everyday (yet often unrecognizable) attacks can lead to depression, social isolation, and lowered confidence. Because we’ve been conditioned to question ourselves and not the perpetrators or the situations, we begin to wonder if our own feelings and experiences are legitimate.

Sometimes, without understanding what we’re doing, we even internalize those aggressions and use them to police both our loved ones and ourselves.

As a kid, I often corrected my mother’s pronunciation of English words. Though she did have a Chinese accent, she didn’t need me to tell her how to speak English – she’d taught English as a second language for more than a decade.

I didn’t realize that by doing that, I was communicating that her foreign accent not only made her English different, it made it wrong. And like so many others, I had no idea I was regurgitating racist ideology (practicing internalized racism).

While small acts of internalized racism like mine go unnoticed all the time, there are too many occasions where the victim is just too shocked to say anything in the moment.

Whatever the reason, it amounts to letting racism off the hook. When we allow these small incidences to keep happening, we are allowing racism, in general, to remain a part of our culture.

As Dr. Sue goes on to state, the perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware of how they may be offending or hurting others.

It’s important for us to remember that just because a perpetrator of racism is clueless (or in denial) about the impact of their words doesn’t mean that their actions were any less violent or that the impact of that violence is changed.