Julianne Jennings

Black Indians are constantly confronted with the fact that they do not fit any of society's stereotypes for Native Americans. Those stereotypes are imposed by both whites and sadly, other Indians....

7/4/14
Julianne Jennings

Nineteenth Century Spanish philosopher, George Santayana, is believed to have coined the popular quote, “History repeats itself.” In fact, he said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it," which does not mean that history will inevitably repeat itself, but the chance of repe...

6/16/14
Julianne Jennings

The late Slow Turtle (John Peters), the Supreme Medicine Man from the Wampanoag Nation once told me, “ When someone of great significance crosses over, the wind blows more forcibly, letting you know their spirit is passing by.” On Monday, April 7, the trees had bowed their heads when Firefly ...

6/11/14
Julianne Jennings

Morgan James Peters, 46, professionally known as "Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor," is a Mashpee Wampanoag, multifaceted performing artist, writer, media artist and educator, who swept the 2010 Jazz category with his album The Liberation Sessions winning the ‘Best Jazz Male’ as well as ‘Best...

6/7/14
Julianne Jennings

American Indian women have long been honored with the name “life giver” for their gift of motherhood to the tribes. In addition, most Native American women were masters at making beautiful blankets, baskets, pottery and jewelry. They gathered materials to build homes for their families and understood the curative properties of wild plants to heal the sick. American Indian men knew women were the source of life and acknowledged that their wisdom and strength was essential for group survival. Thus in modern times, we are no different from our European counterparts going to great lengths and personal expense to make sure our children have the best clothes, schools, lessons, coaches, and more.

We begin economizing the moment our are born in order to save money and set it aside for the best of college educations. We surrender our own personal wants, preferences and even needs so that they will have everything necessary for a successful future. In fact, most of us would literally give our own lives for our children because no sacrifice is too great; surrendering all for the sake of something or someone. It is the act of giving up, offering up or letting go. Sacrificing our preferences should never compromise biblically, theologically or doctrinally but often requires us to make adjustments in order to accommodate generationally and systematically.

Sacrifice is a way of teaching the next generation to think unselfishly and possibly recognize common ground in terms of deference and preference. Deference is a learned and practiced submission based on conviction, or politely giving in to another, or courteous respect whereas, preference is based on feeling and tradition. 

The idea that women, Native or otherwise, have to make those choices every moment of every day while men don’t have those same commitments or time constraints. Mostly, men don’t end up splitting their mental lives between the two worlds of home life and work life. They can close the door on each to go to the other. Women, on the other hand, have to juggle both together and make decisions for children, family members, close friends, (and themselves) that effect the outcomes for everyone.

Recently, I had to make the decision (preference) to leave my job and forget about pursuing my doctorate studies to save my seventeen year old daughter, who suffers from drug induced psychosis. How the effects of her drug and alcohol addiction (failing school, cutting, paranoia, attempting suicide), on the emotional life of the mother, grandmother, and aunt can drag down even the strongest of women, and bring about surprising decisions for the woman as well as the child who is struggling with addictive behaviors. Yet, there are opportunities that arise from spending time in the emotional world of the addictive child: learning what brought about the addictions or acting-out behaviors and working through those to the closer bond between mother and child...

3/24/14
Julianne Jennings

“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.”...

3/19/14
Julianne Jennings

A recent article written by Daphne R, "DNA Evidence Proves That The First People In China Were Black," confirms what black historians have been arguing for many years, th...

12/31/13
Julianne Jennings

How American Indians became concentrated on reservations is a complicated story that most Americans know only very little about, let alone Italians, who have recently compared their economic crisis to that of “...

12/22/13
Julianne Jennings

As dawn broke over the Atlantic on October 12, 1492, a perilous ten-week journey across a timeless ocean gave way to encounters and events that would dramatically shape the course of history, and be forever regarded by Europeans as the “discovery” of America....

10/14/13
Julianne Jennings

Mainstream America remains totally unaware of the biological and cultural bonds that exist between African slaves and American Indians—a people created by expulsion, slavery, racism and war caused the collision of cultures that became the crucible of destruction by force, but later provided the t...

9/29/13

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