Late last night, my father and I talked about how the ethnic term Latino mislabels Indigenous and mixed-Indigenous people from Mexico, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, etc.
“Oh Uncle Adrian, I am in the reservation of my mind,” is a passage from Adrian C. Louis’s literary work, Elegy for the Forgotten Oldsmobile. It is the same one line written by a different author and in a different context which affirms a biography of oppression in living on an Indian reservation; and the intellectual and emotional understanding that fuses together the immense communicative power of language. For Sherman Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian, who grew up destitute where literary dreams were more than beyond reach, Louis’ passage opened his eyes to the potential of writing. Alexie soon went on to write several novels, for example: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, War Dance, First Indian on the Moon, Indian Killer; and and Smoke Signals (1998), a critically acclaimed movie based on one of Alexie’s short stories and for which he co-wrote the screenplay Smoke Signals (1998), a critically acclaimed movie based on one of Alexie’s short stories. Sherman Alexie’s writing has cleared a mental, emotional and spiritual path for others wanting to ‘fancy dance’ a new Indian reality though writing.
For some however, moving beyond reservation borders is more difficult — a place where poverty, despair and alcoholism have often shaped the lives of many Native Americans living on reservations. But what about Indians who grew up off reservations with desires of wanting to write a different experience?
In a series of e-mails Alexei Auld, Pamunkey-Tauxenant, Graduate, Columbia School of Law, and a Sundance Native Writing alum whose work has been featured in E! True Hollywood Story, Fondo Del Sol, and numerous curated festivals and publications has recently penned a must-read book titled Tonto Canto Pocahontas to answer my inquiry.
Auld asserts, “It is difficult, but as human beings, we cope in different ways. It was easier for me to move beyond the 'reservation mind' because I never grew up on one. And I'm not making a judgment, it's just my reality.” He continues, “I have always participated in the culture. My grandmother was in an arranged marriage with my grandfather to 'keep the blood strong'. My cousin, who was the Chief's brother, married my wife and I. I was a member of a Lumbee Indian church in Baltimore (they were originally from North Carolina, so they were experiencing the whole off-Rez urban experience as well). I worked the powwow circuit with my parents until I left for law school in NYC. Served as president of Columbia Law's Native American Law Students Association. Organized the first unity pow wow between Columbia's undergraduate and graduate Native American student organizations.”
One of our grandfather teachings is to be humble. Webster’s Dictionary defines humble as: 1. not proud or haughty; 2. not aggressive or assertive; 3. lacking all signs of pride or arrogance, reflecting or acting in a manner of deference or submission.
I’m a sucker for political dramas and the Netflix series House of Cards is as good (or better) than any other series I’ve seen in the last 10 years. It’s fast-paced, intelligent and full of all the elements that make for good drama—scandal, sex and unexpected twists and turns.
The old Native American walks slowly but he walks for at least two hours every day. If you ask the old man his name, he will look at you with his dark brown eyes. He will smile. And he will tell you it is Marlon. The Spirits know him by a different name.
The Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign landed in The Netherlands.
In a ceremony under a Tree of Peace in the center of the Hague, Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons presented a replica of the Two Row Wampum to the Ambassador for Human Rights of the government of the Netherlands.
Anniversaries matter in the short run as memory markers and in the long run they become traditions. The year 1963 was the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and it was used by activists of the time to take another step toward emancipation on the economic front.
Unless you're an anthropologist, you've probably never heard of Professor George Stocking, Jr., so you also wouldn't have noticed his obituary in The New Yor
As a Mohawk historian who uses wampum belts to tell our story, I have always loved the Two Row Wampum Belt and its metaphor of the native canoe and European ship sailing side by side down the river of life.
In the music business summertime is prime season for B-list and “nostalgia” acts to go on tour with an abundance of venues, from county fairs and festivals to the usual Indian casino gigs.
Bethany Berger is a first rate legal scholar who has done a great deal of useful work for Indians in academia. Before that, she paid her dues in the legal trenches of Dinébe’iiná Náhiiłna be Agha’diit’ahii.
The visions of my father, Isaac Curley Sr., come and go with each passing month and season. My father was born on March 25, 1922 and raised on the Navajo reservation. His home was a hogan, the family subsisted upon livestock, no modern conveniences and news was gathered only by word of mouth.
Starting the first Friday in June, my Native Trailblazers radio show will be highlighting for the third year in a row an impressive amount of Native American, First Nations and other indigenous groups and artists in music.
Mainstream America has effectively marginalized our inherited way of being and, although restricted, it is still very much alive despite the history and purpose of the Europeans, which was to produce people who might appear to be “look-like Indians,” but shall be European in spirit and habits of