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likeafieldmouse:

Edward Curtis - The North American Indian

In 1906, J. P. Morgan provided Curtis with $75,000 to produce a series on the North American Indian. The work was to be in 20 volumes with 1,500 photographs.

Morgan’s funds were to be disbursed over five years and were earmarked to support only fieldwork for the books, not for writing, editing, or production of the volumes. Curtis himself would receive no salary for the project, which was to last more than 20 years. 

Curtis’s goal was not just to photograph, but to document, as much American Indian (Native American) traditional life as possible before it disappeared.

He wrote in the introduction to his first volume in 1907:

The information that is to be gathered…respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost. 

Curtis made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian language and music.

He took over 40,000 photographic images from over 80 tribes.

He recorded tribal lore and history, and he described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs.

He wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders, and his material, in most cases, is the only written recorded history although there is still a rich oral tradition that documents history.”

1. Klamath Indian at Crater Lake

2. Two Whistles, Apsaroke

3. Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon

4. Tobadzischini

5. Haschogan 

6. Haschezhini

7. Bear Bull - Blackfoot

8. Red Cloud

9. Apache Gaun

10. Offering to the Sun - San Ildefonso

What a picture of Indian character this affords: a mere infant starting out alone into the fastnesses of the mountain wilds, to commune with the spirits of the infinite, a tiny child sitting through the night on a lonely mountain-top, reaching out its infant’s hands to God! On distant and near-by hills howl the coyote and the wolf. In the valleys and on the mountain side prowl and stalk all manner of animals. Yet alone by the little fire sits the child listening to the mysterious voices of the night.

—Edward Curtis

Curtis has been praised as a gifted photographer but also criticized by some contemporary ethnologists for manipulating his images. Although the early twentieth century was a difficult time for most Native communities in America, not all natives were doomed to becoming a “vanishing race.”[26] At a time when natives’ rights were being denied and their treaties were unrecognized by the federal government, many natives were successfully adapting to western society. By reinforcing the native identity as the noble savage and a tragic vanishing race, some believe Curtis detracted attention from the true plight of American natives at the time when he was witnessing their squalid conditions on reservations first-hand and their attempt to find their place in Western culture and adapt to their changing world.[26]

In many of his images Curtis removed parasols, suspenders, wagons, and other traces of Western material culture from his pictures. In his photogravure In a Piegan Lodge, published in The North American Indian, Curtis retouched the image to remove a clock between the two men seated on the ground.[27]

He also is known to have paid natives to pose in staged scenes, wear historically inaccurate dress and costumes, dance and partake in simulated ceremonies.[28] In Curtis’ picture Oglala War-Party, the image shows 10 Oglala men wearing feather headdresses, on horseback riding down hill. The photo caption reads, “a group of Sioux warriors as they appeared in the days of inter tribal warfare, carefully making their way down a hillside in the vicinity of the enemy’s camp”. In truth, headdresses would have only been worn during special occasions and, in some tribes, only by the chief of the tribe. The photograph was taken in 1907 when natives had been relegated onto reservations and warring between tribes had ended. Curtis paid natives to pose as warriors at a time when they lived with little dignity, rights, and freedoms. It is therefore suggested that he altered and manipulated his pictures to create an ethnographic simulation of native tribes untouched by Western society. (x)           

baapi-makwa:

Quillwork by Ojibwe artist Biskakone Greg Johnson

baapi-makwa:

Quillwork by Ojibwe artist Biskakone Greg Johnson

Black American Indians seek to honor their mixed ancestry | Al Jazeera America

First gathering of National Congress of Black American Indians shirks political goals in search of ‘self-fulfillment’

WASHINGTON — The soaring sound of “Wade in the Water,” a Negro spiritual once said to be used on the Underground Railroad, filled Plymouth Congressional United Church of Christ Saturday morning.  

But on this particular Saturday, church-goers offered their respects to the Great Spirit, in addition to the Holy Spirit, looked on as a Native American drum processional wound its way through the aisle, and took part in a ceremonial tobacco offering.  

At the first gathering of the newly created National Congress of Black American Indians, organizers and attendees came to unite and celebrate individuals of both African and Native American ancestry — a subject often fraught with complicated questions of race, identity and citizenship.

Although Native Americans and African-Americans have crossed paths, intermarried and formed alliances since pre-colonial times, often uniting in their common fight against slavery and dispossession, their shared history has been slow to be unearthed and brought into the light.

The formation and the first meeting of the NCBAI sought to remove the taboo of mixed ancestry and bring together those who could trace their ancestry to both communities. The gathering received endorsement and letters of support from Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, D.C. mayor Vincent Gray and Prince George County Executive Rushern L. Baker III.

"This has been a conversation that has been avoided and pushed aside, and folks who have wanted to have this conversation have been marginalized, subjugated, separated, downtrodden, stepped on," said Jay Gola Waya Sunoyi, one of the founders of the National Congress. “But still we’re here.”

Sunoyi, a member of Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, said that black Native Americans historically concealed one part of their ancestry to avoid the trouble that would inevitably come along with being a part of both marginalized groups. Sunoyi said he himself did not know that he was descended from enslaved black Americans until after his grandmother, a Taino Indian from Puerto Rico, passed away and old family letters were recovered. For others, it was easier to integrate into black communities and avoid claiming their Native American identity. 

"In the history of this Western Hemisphere, because of the price on Native American people’s heads, our people hid in other folk’s identities just to survive," he said. "But if you don’t accept all of you, you are lying to yourselves."

Some attendees had done extensive research into their genealogy to find their Native roots, while others were more reliant on oral histories and anecdotal evidence. The lore of Native American ancestors runs deep in many African-American families, although geneticists have found the numbers of black Native Americans to be relatively small. When activist and scholar Henry Louis Gates looked into the subject, he found that only 5 percent of African-American people carry more than 2 percent Native American ancestry.

Still, David Rich, 62, said he thought “more people had claim to it than they know.”

Rich, who was not a member of any tribe himself, said he was drawn to the gathering to pay respects to his grandmother, who he said was a Cherokee Indian.

Marlene Parker, 47, who recently discovered through family records that she had ancestors who were part of the Meherrin tribe of North Carolina, said she felt liberated to be in an environment where her heritage was celebrated. Although she had grown up identifying as an African-American in the black community, Parker said she wanted to know more about her Native roots.

"For such a long time, it was outsiders who defined who we were, depending on what we looked like," she said. "This is about finding the truth."

The common linkages between blacks and Native Americans have not always been celebrated. In 2011, the Cherokee Nation revoked the tribal citizenship of 3,000 black Freedmen — descendants of slaves that Cherokees once owned, with ugly accusations being hurled about race, politics and who could rightfully claim millions of dollars in casino revenue.

Although its charter says the organization seeks to “uphold the rights of all Native people with African ancestry,” Sunoyi said that the National Congress had no overt political goals and did not seek to get involved in disputes over government or tribal benefits.

"It’s about fulfillment of self," he said. "It’s about knowing who you are. If you know who you are, you know where you stand in the universe."

Penny Gamble-Williams, a black Native American activist and a member of the Wampanoag tribe, similarly said at least culturally, it was time bury old stigmas and stop subjecting people to arbitrary tests to prove themselves “Native enough.”

"It is time to move past these conversations about ‘Who is more Indian? Who looks more Indian? Who can speak the language?’ These things are only somewhat important," she said. "This is all about healing."

Maimouna Youssef, a musician of Choctaw, Cherokee and Creek as well as African ancestry, recounted the poking and prodding she endured being “the brownest child” taking part in powwows and other Native American dance ceremonies as she was growing up.

Youssef remembers asking her mother, “Why can’t I just be black?”

"And she told me ‘It’s not enough. You have to be all of who you are.’

"People would say to me, ‘What, you’re trying to go to college for free?’" Youssef added. "It’s got nothing to do with that."

Proponents fight for change so Alaska Natives covered by VAWA | Al Jazeera America

Complicated history excludes Alaska Native women from Violence Against Women Act

Opponents of the reauthorization of a federal law passed last year say it has created a dangerous situation for Alaskan domestic violence victims and are urging lawmakers to support a repeal. 

Proponents of the original 1994 Violence Against Women Act say it was signed into law with the purpose of providing more protection for domestic violence victims and keeping victims safe by requiring that a victim’s protection order be recognized and enforced in all state, tribal and territorial jurisdictions in the U.S.

According to the White House, the VAWA has made a difference, saying that intimate partner violence declined by 67 percent from 1993 to 2010, more victims now report domestic violence, more arrests have been made and all states impose criminal sanctions for violating a civil protection order.

Last year the law was reauthorized, clarifying a court decision that ruled on a case involving civil jurisdiction for non–tribal members and amending the law to recognize tribal civil jurisdiction to issue and enforce protection orders “involving any person,” including non-Natives.

But almost all Alaska tribes were excluded from the amendment, with only the Metlakatla Indian community from Alaska included under the 2013 law. The rest of Alaska remains under the old law.

The change has created confusion, opponents say, particularly in cases when there is a 911 call about enforcing a protective order.

“The trooper is waiting, because he’s not sure who has jurisdiction,” said David Voluck, a tribal court judge for theCentral Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. “We need to get rid of those exceptions that create confusion.”

An ongoing debate

The reauthorization highlighted an ongoing debate about Native communities and tribal courts’ and governments’ jurisdiction, particularly in cases of policing and justice.

The reauthorization made sense, according to Alaska Attorney General Michael Geraghty, who noted that Alaska has always been treated differently because of the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. In exchange for 40 million acres of land and about $1 billion, he said, tribes forfeited reservations and the notion of Indian country to form Native corporations.

He said the state needs to find better ways to collaborate with institutions in small communities to provide better protection and justice but disagrees with giving pockets of tribal authority throughout Alaska.

“We do have an issue with violence and domestic violence,” he said. “We have a challenge in providing safety.”

But Geraghty said he has never heard of a situation when a victim was in danger because of confusion over jurisdiction.

“There’s nothing in the act that expands or retracts the jurisdiction of tribal courts,” he said. “If tribal courts had jurisdiction before, they do now. Troopers are not lawyers. If they are faced with a situation, they are going to protect the public. These concerns are overblown.”

‘A cloud over Alaska’

Lloyd Miller, an attorney who works on Indian rights and tribal jurisdiction litigation, disagrees and said things did change with the 2013 reauthorization.

“What he’s saying is that an Alaska village only has the authority to issue a protective order if that man is a member of the tribe. They can’t if he’s from the neighboring tribe,” he said. “Why would we not want to have Alaska villages have all the tools to protect women from domestic violence?”

Voluck agreed. “Does it really matter if a woman is hit in a mall somewhere or the south corner of where the tribe lives?” he said.

Opponents of the Alaska exemption recently urged a task force convened by Attorney General Eric Holder to study the effects of violence on Native American children to support the repeal of Section 910 of the law.

“VAWA creates a cloud over Alaska, and the last thing women and children need is a delay in an emergency,” said Voluck. “A matter of minutes can mean life or death. It’s unequal protection under the law for a very vulnerable part of the population.”

Lack of law enforcement

Voluck was one of a number of experts who testified last month before the Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence about the special circumstances surrounding Alaska Native domestic violence, including geography, a lack of law enforcement and difficulty for victims to travel to safety.

Experts attested to a number of facts, including that Native American and Alaska Native women are 2.5 times as likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other American women. About 140 villages have no state law enforcement. Eighty have absolutely no law enforcement. One-third of Alaska communities do not have road access.

It’s a serious issue for communities, said Valerie Davidson, a task force member who lives in Alaska. “Even if you only have 300 people, you still need law enforcement,” she said.

The debate continues, this time in Congress as the Senate Indian Affairs Committee works on legislation, which includes a provision repealing Section 910 of the 2013 reauthorization. Geraghty and the governor oppose a repeal, but the U.S. attorney general’s office has voiced its support.

Associate U.S. Attorney General Tony West attended the Alaska task force hearing and said arguments about the scope of authority of Alaska Native villages and tribes shouldn’t get in the way of protecting Native children from harm.

“If there are steps we can take that will help move the needle in the direction for victims, we need to do it,” he said. “When a tribal court issues an order, the state ought to enforce it. If not, the orders are worth nothing more than the paper they’re written on.”

More than just symbolic

Repealing the law won’t resolve the multilayered issues of jurisdiction, but it would be a step in the right direction, West added.

“It is more than just symbolic,” he said. “Repeal of Section 910 is an important step that can help protect Alaska Native victims of that violence and, significantly, the children who often witness it, and it can send a message that tribal authority and tribal sovereignty matters, that the civil protection orders tribal courts issue ought to be respected and enforced.”

The Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence will make a recommendation to Holder by late October.

“Alaska is frozen in time,” Voluck said. “Why in the world would you hold the worst state when it comes to domestic violence in the old law? Forty-nine other states have figured out how to work with their tribal courts. Let’s work together. People are getting hurt and dying. That’s why I’m upset.”

thenigerianassassin:

distant-relatives-blog:

Origins of the Afro Comb: 6,000 years of Culture, Politics and Identity
The afro comb has long been associated with the 1970s, the accessory of a hairstyle that represented counter culture and civil rights during an important era for both. 
Forty years ago, the afro comb was worn in the hair not only as an adornment, but also as a political emblem and a signature of a collective identity. It was recognised as a way of saying no to oppression. Wearing the comb led to a kind of comradeship amongst those whose hair grows up and out, not down.
Previously, the Afro comb wasn’t very visible. And for this reason it has been assumed that the afro comb was invented in the 1970s. But a new exhibition blows that myth out the water. The afro comb dates back to ancient Egypt. The oldest comb from the collection is 5,500 years old.
The hundreds of combs on display show that over time the style hasn’t changed. The comb, sometimes called a pick, is commonly upright with long teeth. Sometimes a motif decorates the top. In ancient times it often referenced cultural belonging, and there are artifacts showing how people wore the comb in the hair. Time marches on and culture is always in transition. But perhaps not at the speed we assume.
Origins of the Afro Comb is on now at the Fitzwiliam Museum in Cambridge.
(Sources: Fitzwiliam Museum, The Guardian,originsoftheafrocomb
 

I guess white people needed Afro picks back then
/sarcasm

thenigerianassassin:

distant-relatives-blog:

Origins of the Afro Comb: 6,000 years of Culture, Politics and Identity

The afro comb has long been associated with the 1970s, the accessory of a hairstyle that represented counter culture and civil rights during an important era for both. 

Forty years ago, the afro comb was worn in the hair not only as an adornment, but also as a political emblem and a signature of a collective identity. It was recognised as a way of saying no to oppression. Wearing the comb led to a kind of comradeship amongst those whose hair grows up and out, not down.

Previously, the Afro comb wasn’t very visible. And for this reason it has been assumed that the afro comb was invented in the 1970s. But a new exhibition blows that myth out the water. The afro comb dates back to ancient Egypt. The oldest comb from the collection is 5,500 years old.

The hundreds of combs on display show that over time the style hasn’t changed. The comb, sometimes called a pick, is commonly upright with long teeth. Sometimes a motif decorates the top. In ancient times it often referenced cultural belonging, and there are artifacts showing how people wore the comb in the hair. Time marches on and culture is always in transition. But perhaps not at the speed we assume.

Origins of the Afro Comb is on now at the Fitzwiliam Museum in Cambridge.

(Sources: Fitzwiliam Museum, The Guardian,originsoftheafrocomb

 

I guess white people needed Afro picks back then

/sarcasm

I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.’

- Toni Morrison (via ethiopienne)

(Source: thisislove)

micdotcom:

23 women show us their favorite positions

When reality television star and fashion blogger Lauren Conrad was asked what her “favorite position” was on a live radio program a while back, the women listening held their breath. Although we take great pride in the work that we do, most of us could relate to being undermined and belittled publicly at work. When Conrad cleverly retorted “CEO,” it was hard not to aggressively high-five our laptop and mobile devices. The words “hell” and “yeah” could be heard all across the nation.

1 in 3 women has experienced some form of sex discrimination at work | Follow micdotcom 

The truth is, everyone likes to look down on someone. If your favorites are all avant-garde writers who throw in Sanskrit and German, you can look down on everyone. If your favorites are all Oprah Book Club books, you can at least look down on mystery readers. Mystery readers have sci-fi readers. Sci-fi can look down on fantasy. And yes, fantasy readers have their own snobbishness. I’ll bet this, though: in a hundred years, people will be writing a lot more dissertations on Harry Potter than on John Updike. Look, Charles Dickens wrote popular fiction. Shakespeare wrote popular fiction - until he wrote his sonnets, desperate to show the literati of his day that he was real artist. Edgar Allan Poe tied himself in knots because no one realized he was a genius. The core of the problem is how we want to define “literature”. The Latin root simply means “letters”. Those letters are either delivered - they connect with an audience - or they don’t. For some, that audience is a few thousand college professors and some critics. For others, its twenty million women desperate for romance in their lives. Those connections happen because the books successfully communicate something real about the human experience. Sure, there are trashy books that do really well, but that’s because there are trashy facets of humanity. What people value in their books - and thus what they count as literature - really tells you more about them than it does about the book.

-

Brent Weeks (via victoriousvocabulary)

BAM

(via yeahwriters)

america-wakiewakie:

What White Privilege Looks Like When You’re Poor | The Nation
Inevitably, when you talk about white privilege someone will ask the question, “What about poor white people? What privilege do they have?”
In January 1961, John F. Kennedy was inagurated as the nation’s thirty-fifth president. In February 1961, he signed an executive order for a pilot food stamp program, one based on the model previously used during the Great Depression. During his campaign, Kennedy had spent much time in West Virginia, and according to his speechwriter Ted Sorensen, “was appalled by the pitiful conditions he saw, by the children of poverty, by the families living on surplus lard and corn meal, by the waste of human resources…. He called for better housing and better schools and better food distribution…. He held up a skimpy surplus food package and cited real-life cases of distress.” Kennedy saw people in need and used his power as president to address their crisis.
This week, the House Appropriations Committe released a draft of the 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill. In it, $27 million is budgeted for a pilot program aimed at reducing child hunger in rural areas. “Sounds innocuous enough,” writes MSNBC’s Ned Resnikoff, “except the $27 million program was actually the committee’s substitute for a White House proposal which would have allocated $30 million to child hunger across urban and rural areas.”
Resnikoff goes on to point out that this doesn’t mean children in urban areas will be completely left out of hunger reducing programs, as the “federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on the Summer Food Service Program, which provides meals to low-income children when school is not in session and they don’t have access to free or reduced school lunch,” and that there are specific challenges that face rural areas with regards to food insecurity. However, “the House committee’s proposal is likely to help fewer people of color than the White House proposal. And while rural areas may be unique in terms of the challenges they face, they’re not where most of America’s hungry are concentrated.”
They’re also among the whitest. “The Appalachian region,” which is where this money would go, writes Talking Points Memo’s Sahil Kapur, “is also more white (83.5 percent) than the United States overall (63.7 percent), according to the Appalachian Regional Commission—and much more so than urban areas, which have a disproportionately high share of minorities.”
It’s not that Kennedy or this current House subcommittee ever explicitly said “white hunger is more important than black hunger, white poverty is more important than black poverty.” But the seeming indifference toward black poverty, played out in their actions as elected officials, reflects the privileging of whiteness. It is indecent that any person go hungry, particularly in a country of such abundance. It is indecent to determine that some of those people are more worthy of our investment in their being fed than others. It is indecent to then pretend as if that’s not the case. All these indecencies add up to an injustice. We are a country that practices injustice as a way of life.
Yes, you can be poor and white and still benefit from white supremacy. That’s what privilege is.
(Photo Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking)

america-wakiewakie:

What White Privilege Looks Like When You’re Poor | The Nation

Inevitably, when you talk about white privilege someone will ask the question, “What about poor white people? What privilege do they have?”

In January 1961, John F. Kennedy was inagurated as the nation’s thirty-fifth president. In February 1961, he signed an executive order for a pilot food stamp program, one based on the model previously used during the Great Depression. During his campaign, Kennedy had spent much time in West Virginia, and according to his speechwriter Ted Sorensen, “was appalled by the pitiful conditions he saw, by the children of poverty, by the families living on surplus lard and corn meal, by the waste of human resources…. He called for better housing and better schools and better food distribution…. He held up a skimpy surplus food package and cited real-life cases of distress.” Kennedy saw people in need and used his power as president to address their crisis.

This week, the House Appropriations Committe released a draft of the 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill. In it, $27 million is budgeted for a pilot program aimed at reducing child hunger in rural areas. “Sounds innocuous enough,” writes MSNBC’s Ned Resnikoff, “except the $27 million program was actually the committee’s substitute for a White House proposal which would have allocated $30 million to child hunger across urban and rural areas.”

Resnikoff goes on to point out that this doesn’t mean children in urban areas will be completely left out of hunger reducing programs, as the “federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on the Summer Food Service Program, which provides meals to low-income children when school is not in session and they don’t have access to free or reduced school lunch,” and that there are specific challenges that face rural areas with regards to food insecurity. However, “the House committee’s proposal is likely to help fewer people of color than the White House proposal. And while rural areas may be unique in terms of the challenges they face, they’re not where most of America’s hungry are concentrated.”

They’re also among the whitest. “The Appalachian region,” which is where this money would go, writes Talking Points Memo’s Sahil Kapur, “is also more white (83.5 percent) than the United States overall (63.7 percent), according to the Appalachian Regional Commission—and much more so than urban areas, which have a disproportionately high share of minorities.”

It’s not that Kennedy or this current House subcommittee ever explicitly said “white hunger is more important than black hunger, white poverty is more important than black poverty.” But the seeming indifference toward black poverty, played out in their actions as elected officials, reflects the privileging of whiteness. It is indecent that any person go hungry, particularly in a country of such abundance. It is indecent to determine that some of those people are more worthy of our investment in their being fed than others. It is indecent to then pretend as if that’s not the case. All these indecencies add up to an injustice. We are a country that practices injustice as a way of life.

Yes, you can be poor and white and still benefit from white supremacy. That’s what privilege is.

(Photo Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking)

(Source: heroinesaddiction)