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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Good News in Indigenous (Native American) Country

 Native American tribe gets back Big Sur ancestral lands after 250 years A Native American tribe has reclaimed a small part of ancestral lands on California’s scenic Big Sur coast that were lost to Spanish colonial settlement nearly 250 years ago.The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County closed escrow on 1,199 acres (485 hectares) about 5 miles (8 kilometers) inland from the ocean that was part of a $4.5 million deal involving the state and the Western Rivers Conservancy

Senate Approves Commission to Revise or Redesign Massachusetts Seal and Motto –The Massachusetts State Senate on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 passed legislation that would establish a commission to study and redesign the Massachusetts state seal and motto in an effort to make it more inclusive and historically representational.The legislation, Resolve establishing a special commission relative to the seal and motto of the commonwealth (S.1877), will create a commission to study the state seal. Many people, particularly members of Native American communities, find the seal offensive and unwittingly harmful, and others feel it perpetuates a misunderstanding of indigenous culture and history. The commission will be tasked with making recommendations for a revised or new seal and motto for the state. The state seal and motto are featured on the Massachusetts flag and other official insignia.

Plimoth Plantation Will Change Name By The End Of The Year (2020) According to the museum, discussions about a name change have been underway for more than a year, and the museum plans to announce the new name later this year when it commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ arrival. However, until the name change is decided, the museum is using a special logo that includes Plimoth, the English colonists’ name for the land, and Patuxet, the name the indigenous people gave to the land. The new logo uses both Plimoth and Patuxet with a blue swirl in between the names.

Football Team (2020): FedEx – which has naming rights at the team’s stadium – formally asked the Redskins to change their name. Nike removed Redskins merchandise from its online store.Friday, the team announced it would “undergo a thorough review of the team’s name.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell added that the league is “supportive of this important step.”

Land O Lakes (2020): For nearly a century, the Land O’Lakes Indian maiden has kneeled by the side of a blue lake holding out an offering of a 4-stick box of butter. No more. The Minnesota-based farmer cooperative has redesigned its packaging to focus on celebrating farmers ahead of its 100th anniversary next year.

Columbus Statues Removed (2020): List of monuments and memorials removed during the George Floyd protests: Scroll down or search Columbus. 31 removed as of July 4, 2020

DAPL (2020): Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules. “It took four long years,” said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer with the environmental group Earthjustice who represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “But today justice has been served at Standing Rock.” Also, Keystone Pipeline and Atlantic Coast

Supreme Court says eastern half of Oklahoma is Native American land (2020): The 5-4 decision, with an opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, endorsed the claim of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to the land, which encompasses three million acres, including most of the city of Tulsa. The decision means that only federal authorities, no longer state prosecutor, can lodge charges against Native Americans who commit alleged crimes on that land, which is home to 1.8 million people. Of those people, 15% or fewer are Native Americans.

Indigenous people in Brazil win historic lawsuit after 24 years in court (2020): During the 1980s, the Ashaninka tribe of Brazil had seen large swaths of its land being devastated by deforestation at the hands of lumber companies seeking to exploit the indigenous reserve for resources such as mahogany and cedar wood. Seeking justice, the tribe managed in 1996 to take the companies responsible for decimating their homes to court. They finally won the lawsuit — in a victory representing a truly historic win for indigenous rights. On top of a $2.4 million settlement, the Ashaninka will receive an official apology from the companies who deforested their lands decades ago.

Indigenous Peruvians win suit to block oil exploration in their Amazon region (2020): Indigenous Peruvians win suit to block oil exploration in their Amazon regionA Peruvian judge ruled that the government exclude an indigenous region of the Amazon near the border with Brazil from any oil exploration and exploitation, a legal group said on Wednesday, in a win for native communities that have long fought against oil and mining projects on their land. “This ruling is historic because it is the first in favor of indigenous people in voluntary isolation against oil companies. Almost 98 percent of the territory of the indigenous people in voluntary isolation was above three oil lots,” said Maritza Quispe, a lawyer for IDL.

The Oscars (2019): During the 92nd Academy Awards, “The academy would like to acknowledge that tonight we have gathered on the ancestral lands of the Tongva, the Tataviam, and the Chumash. We acknowledge them as the first peoples of this land on which the motion picture community lives and works,” New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi (Māori) said before introducing the winners of the academy's honorary prizes. One of those was actor Wes Studi, the first and only indigenous person to win an honorary award. "I'd simply like to say it's about time," Studi started his acceptance speech. Studi was the first indigenous actor to win an Oscar and joined a handful of other Oscar winners of indigenous heritage, including musician Buffy Sainte-Marie, who won an Academy Award for Best Original Song "Up Where We Belong" in 1983 and sound engineer Hammond Peek, who won the Academy Award for Best Sound in 2003 and 2005. In 2018, Yalitza Aparicio (Mixtec & Trique) was nominated for Best Actress Academy Award for debut performance in Roma.

Mauna Kea (2019): Many Native Hawaiians have been protesting the construction of the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope atop sacred Mauna Kea for months. They scored a victory when Hawaii Governor David Ige announced that construction efforts were hitting pause. In Hawaiian religion, the peaks of the island of Hawaiʻi are sacred. An ancient law allowed only high-ranking aliʻi to visit its peak. With its high elevation, Mauna Kea's summit is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation. Since the creation of an access road in 1964, thirteen telescopes funded by eleven countries have been constructed at the summit. Thirty Meter Telescope controversy is forcing scientists to grapple with how their research affects Indigenous peoples.

Chief Wahoo (2018): The logo was last worn by the Indians in a loss to the Houston Astros on October 8, 2018 in the 2018 American League Division Series. News outlets noted the irony of the logo's final appearance being on Indigenous Peoples' Day/Columbus Day.

 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Three Sisters

By Claudia A. Fox Tree
Sketch by Claudia A. Fox Tree

I imagine that in the year 3000, the world will start over with seeds and stories. As in the past, in the new beginning, there will be the Three Sisters: the oldest will grow tall and strong; the middle child will use her sibling's sturdy stalk to wind up to the sun while her roots add nitrogen to the ground; and the youngest baby sister will cover the ground protecting the family from weeds. They will give the gift of food that when eaten together will provide a complete protein with much needed vitamins and minerals. This is because in 2020, there will be seed keepers, water protectors, and land warriors.

I used my garden as inspiration and sketched the plants (but I added the finished fruits of the plants, known as vegetables). They are at different stages in the drawing and wouldn't all be in the phases depicted at the same time (pumpkins would come much later in the season, as would fully grown corn).

I once heard a story that went sort of like this: "My grandfather was a farmer, working the land for food. My father worked on someone else's land and bought food from other farmers. I buy my food at the store and hardly think about who worked the land. We've lost our way. But my grandchildren, they will again work the land for food."

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Racism - Silence is No Longer an Option (Start planting seeds in your own backyard)

By Claudia A. Fox Tree
Painting by Claudia A. Fox Tree

I grew up with my parents telling me I was Indigenous and German, spending my early years in Germany and schooling years (elementary through university) in New England. They planted seeds. I can't help how, where, and when I was born or to whom. I can't even say I had much of a role in what I was taught in school. However, I can grow my knowledge with proper "nutrition." This nutrition includes reflecting on my heritage and filling in the gaps of my knowledge so I understand the past, the present, and the future. I also can grow my empathy, advocacy, and willingness to work on equity. One of the most important things I can do is notice my areas of privilege, even if "relative" to others in my identity groups, so I can use it to create change, be an ally, and, as Frederick Douglass says, agitate, agitate, agitate.

My family of German heritage did not participate in sending people to gas chambers (but they could have, and other families might have this in their own history). In fact, my mother was hiding in basements from ally bombs. She talked about the horrors of war almost every day of my childhood. I grew up learning a little about the holocaust, but not much in school. So, I educated myself with books, movies, and by talking with people. I have friends who are Jewish and have attended observances and celebrations. They have been some of my strongest allies, particularly in confronting inequitable holiday/ observance policies in our local school system. I even traveled to Germany and visited sites and museums related to WWII history. I acknowledge that some Germans did commit atrocities and that I have benefited on the basic level of having a German parent who survived something that killed 12 million people. I also have a grandfather who was college educated, owned a home, and had a job as an academic. I recognize that WWII Nazi leaders ordered atrocities and that these leaders should not be remembered and heralded as "great" through such things as statues. Instead, accurate, truthful history needs to be memorialized and told through the voices of survivors, actions of allies, and presence of resistance movements.

Moving forward, I can see that justice needed to include making amends to people who lost their property, health, and family members. Creating equity meant building support systems to help people with this particular trauma integrate back into society. I can see the need for  institutional/ governmental help, so concentration camp survivors could "restart." That may have included support with finances, medical needs, housing, travel, clothing, education, etc. Anti-Semitic laws needed to be rewritten. There is a need for empathy, compassion, and seeing the human dignity in each other. Rebuilding community after destruction is essential. I am not saying Germans were not affected by the war, or didn't work hard, my mother was certainly traumatized and worked hard for her Doctorate, but having family or herself in a concentration camp was not one of her traumas or one of my family's legacies.
As an anti-bias, anti-racist, social justice educator, I have learned that it is important to "name it," so we can see it, talk about it, and do something. Now imagine over 500 years of trauma and you have Indigenous people in the United States. Why do we statues of Christopher Columbus when he initiated genocide?

Get it? That's how racism works in the United States and why we need to do something, anything, within our own spheres of influence. We all have power to start somewhere with education, acknowledgement, and recognition, even if we start with our partner, sibling, cousin, or child. Then we can move toward equity and justice for other populations. We need to "start local" before we can "go global."

Silence shows acceptance. I am not asking you to apologize for what your ancestors did or didn't do. I am asking you to notice and acknowledge your unfair advantage based on racism and request that you do something to make it right, such as, taking down monuments to colonizers and murderers, removing Native American mascots (and mascotry), demanding inclusive curricula and complete, truthful Indigenous history in schools, and advocating for Indigenous Peoples' Day. Otherwise, the racist ideas of superiority prevail and are reinforced from generation to generation, which is what has happened.

Silence is dangerous. When we are taught what racism is, to notice it, to see its damage, and how to dismantle it, through school and media, then we can talk about it and address it. When I hear , "I just don't know what to say or do" or worse, "But that's not racism" or "racism is over," then I know we are not ready to have an honest conversation reflecting on this country's racist history and taking ownership of our part in dismantling it, therefore, you appear to be willing to leave with its advantages, while I live with its disadvantages and systemic institutionalized oppression.

Silence shows ignorance. There is a gap in knowledge between what white people know about racism and what People of Color know. There is a gap in knowledge between what non Indigenous people know about racism and what Indigenous people know. Do you know truthful, complete, and accurate history about Indigenous people? Do you understand the impact of treaties, the construction of dams, and the creation of national parks? Do you understand Indigenous culture? Can you name Indigenous contributions from past to present? Do you only know Indigenous allies who helped white people or can you name role models who helped Indigenous people? There are People of Color and Indigenous people who have internalized inaccurate information and either believe the stereotypes about themselves, or believe if they work hard, they can achieve "like everyone else." Let me remind you that it did not matter how much or how long or how hard women protested for the right to vote, they were not getting it until a man changed the law. That's why we need to learn about our own systemic advantages, so we can see the inequities and support change.

Silence perpetuates silence. As you learn, teach others, so that they can learn to speak up and take action and so you can grow your allies. To this day, most people say they are uncomfortable talking about racism and/ or avoid the topic altogether. The silence of my friends is palpable and painful.

Silence is violence. Racism is about power and intersects with many identity groups. The news media does not talk about missing and murdered Indigenous women, which has reached epidemic proportions. Violence to the land allows fracking and pipelines to disrupt the natural environment and threatens to damage water supplies. Silence about this damage leads to Indigenous protests which rarely make the news. The Dakota Access Pipeline started in the summer, and awareness of this particular pipeline didn't hit national news until December. Violence to land is violence to the body. Uranium and coal mining has increased the rates of cancer and other health ailments among Indigenous populations.

After formal education, I grew my own knowledge with different mentors, resources, and conversations. Start by planting a few seeds and trees in your own backyard and the forest will follow.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Everything is Political

By Claudia A. Fox Tree


Sketch by Claudia A. Fox Tree

For the record, everything is "political" - from what is taught, seen, and heard to what is not. For example, omission of accurate, truthful, complete history of North America in our schools is a political choice. Lack of discussion about justice movements and resistance - a political choice. And the "politics" are set up by those in power.

It is not about democrats or republicans, it's about racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-antisemitic, able-ism, etc. and THAT power and privilege transcends political parties. It requires a person to be willing to accept that they have learned misinformation, openness to dismantle and relearn, and ability to self-reflect, thank the teachers, and make actual changes that bring equity to all (and perhaps reconciliation and/ or compensation or just holding up to the darn treaties!)

"Mascots don't offend me" (But they should!)


By Claudia A. Fox Tree

Sketch by Claudia A. Fox Tree

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. ~Frederick Douglass

Not all opinions are created equal, nor should they be. There were "opinions" that women shouldn't have the right to vote, own property, inherit land, work, marry while being a teacher, get custody of children in a divorce, get a divorce, etc. These "opinions" were institutionalized as laws and cultural codes/ rules. I think we can agree that opinions like "women should NOT have rights" and "women SHOULD have rights" are not equal in weight. Why can't "Mascots don't offend me" be seen as not relevant to the conversation of historical oppression when folks are seeking equity and justice?

The opinion that "slavery should not end" does not have the same weight as "slavery should end." These are issues of human rights. Why can't "Mascots don't offend me" be seen as not relevant to the conversation of seeing humanity in others, and as not seeing people as a stereotype or object?

Opinions that the Earth is flat versus round don't carry equal weight because one has science to back it up. There is sociological and psychological research showing the damage of stereotyping for EVERYONE, not just the group being stereotyped. Why can't "Mascots don't offend me" be seen as the stereotype also affecting your own humanity and community?

This isn't an "in my opinion, broccoli is better than carrots argument" which really is YOUR personal opinion. This is about systemic, historical, and institutionalized unfairness couched as "opinion." Why can't "Mascots don't offend me" be seen as not relevant to you, personally, but relevant to the public display denigrating a group of people, most frequently without adequate counter narratives?

Most people don't think "white• folks" are all like the Simpsons or Family Guy because they can see that those shows are the exception and there are many, many examples of white families for comparison. In institutions, like schools, legal settings/ laws, publishing houses/ books, and movies, reflect back successful people, so there is never a question of having comparison role models and images for white people. That is not the case for Indigenous people and other people of color, and their families, culture, and history. Why can't "Mascots don't offend me" be seen as an irrelevant  comment, since it is essential that stereotypes be removed, especially in the absence of positive images and history?

Opinions that "I've never seen racism" are not evidence for racism not existing. If someone says, "I've never had a house fire, therefore they don't exist" we would all see that statement as ridiculous. Why can't "Mascots don't offend me" be seen as not relevant to the conversation because it is just as ridiculous to enter a debate with someone who believes it doesn't exist because it doesn't impact them, even though it clearly has affected others.

It is just as important for non-targeted people (those not represented in mascots, statues, images, etc) to eliminate stereotypes. Aren't they allies? Besides co-creating a healthy community, these images create implicit bias by associating "Native Americans" with "warlike characteristics, etc." In the absence of accurate information, those biases become the only association and then emerge and affect decisions like who to hire, fire, give raises, find guilty in court, include in school curriculum, etc. Why can't "Mascots don't offend me" be seen as a way to maintain a status quo, reminding everyone of who is in power, and putting Indigenous people in their place? "Mascots" are part of preserving a racist history and not part of creating an equitable community.

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. ~Frederick Douglass

* I use the word "white" in conversations about race for several reasons, including that signs and laws said "Whites Only." This is a conversation about racism, so that's the word to use. Racism, as defined by David Wellman, is "a system of advantage based on race." System means not individual acts of meanness and prejudice, but institutions and cultural rules.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Anti-Racism: Including the Indigenous First Nations Perspective

By Claudia A. Fox Tree

Thanks for asking about anti-racist books related to Native Americans. Unlike other oppressed peoples, many books about Indigenous people are not written by Indigenous people. In addition, many professors in "Indigenous" study departments at colleges and universities, those who write academic books, are also not Indigenous. Can you even imagine a Black studies department without a Black professor? Or Jewish studies without a Semitic professor? By Indigenous, I mean, Native American, American Indian, and First Nations of North and South America (though I prefer talking about specific people and their specific tribal nations). I will say that I am more familiar with North American resources. I have picked important topics instead of specific nation stories (though some of those are in the mix, too). There are many, many more books, if/when you want to learn about a specific tribal group.

Indigenous people who write tend to tell stories and don't always "spell it out," so the reader has to do some work, which is made more difficult because most people have very little understanding of Indigenous history and culture, so EVERYTHING seems to be new learning, and that’s a lot to process. To understand “storytelling,” I recommend reading Thomas King or Lori Alvord.

There is no "perfect resource" - not a book, person, documentary, nothing. You have to have many experiences and resources in order to understand nuances and specifics about anything, but when you go from no knowledge to some knowledge to really wanting to educate yourself, I feel it is important to remind people that this is WORK! You will need to unlearn and dismantle most of what you "learned" and think you know about this country's history and its original people. Plus, books are not written as anti-racist this and anti-racist that. You need to understand history, in order to understand culture, and so that you can even somewhat interpret what is happening now. Period. Sometimes, you'll learn about one or three specific tribal nations, and sometimes it will be general (many nations) across "Indian Country."

Indigenous People will sometimes write/ understand the same things differently. This is obvious in the "real world," however, when there is so little accurate information out there, it is more challenging because most people are only reading/ viewing one or two voices/ resources about Indigenous people. Just remember the Indigenous people are speaking from their own research and experiences. Even this list is informed by the questions I am asked, the places I've traveled and lived, and feedback from others who read the books I recommend.

Here's some places to start with categories I think are important, moving from my "read first" suggestion down within each category. I have read/ viewed/ listened to all these, so it is a "curated list" of my favorites, resources that informed my own thinking, and those by Indigenous authors. Of course there are many more resources, but as you can imagine, it is hard to get emotional energy to dig into a new book when much of the history is so traumatizing and triggering for me. (I also have a do not read list which includes 1493 by Charles C. Mann and Gun, Germs, Steel by Jared Diamond - which are my litmus test for racism - "if you recommend then, then you haven't done enough work").

Also, I didn't include specific resources on identity, though it is embedded throughout. That's "next level work." However, I want to remind folks that many Indigenous stories are mixed with other racial/ oppressed groups: Black (New England, Southeast, Caribbean); Asian (West Coast, Hawaii); Latinx (Southwest, South America); and more. After all, we have been intermarrying and creating community together for 500 years.


**MUST READS

History
  • ** An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • ** “All the Real Indians Died Off” and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) 
  • ** The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andrés Reséndez (Mexican)
  • ** A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies by Bartolomé de las Casas – more books about 1492 here on my blog
  • ** The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative by Thomas King (Cherokee) – though all his books are great
  • American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World by David E. Stannard
  • The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West by Peter Cozzens
  • 1491 by Charles C. Mann – but NOT his second book, 1493
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present by David Treuer

Contributions
  • ** Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Potawatomi)
  • ** Indian Givers by Jack Weatherford
  • * *The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing by Lori Alvord (Diné) and Elizabeth Cohen Van Pelt
  • Extraordinary American Indians by Susan Avery and Linda Skinner

Resistance (environmentalism, protest, food sovereignty, etc.)
  • ** As Long as The Grass Grows by Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes)
  • Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health by Elizabeth Hoover (Mohawk/ Mi’kmaq)
  • This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving by David J. Silverman – more book about Thanksgiving here on my blog

THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT RANKED, THOUGH I DID IDENTIFY **

News Sources

Webinars

Podcasts
  • ** All My Relations with Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation)
  • Uprooted: 1950s plan to erase Indian Country Podcast About the genocidal Indian relocation and termination policies of the US government in the 1950s and 60s. At the time, "blackness" was defined by the "one-drop rule," but "Indianness" could be washed away in just a few generations through intermarriage with whites. More black Americans meant more workers to exploit. Fewer Native Americans meant more land to take.
  • Growing up Indigenous when u don't look it (20 min)
  • Here are more First Nations and First Nation Women podcasts, but I don't listen to them all

Poetry
  • Bitterroot by Abena Songbird (Abnaki)
  • Durable Breath: Contemporary Native American Poetry by John E. Smelcer (Alaskan Native/ Ahtna) & D. L. Birchfield (Chocktaw), Eds.
  • No Parole Today by Laura Tohe (Diné/ Navajo)
  • Rainbow Dancer by Heather Harris (Metic/ Cree)
  • Columbus Day by Jimmie Durham (Cherokee)
  • Sculpted Stones by Victor Montejo (Maya)

Articles (think of these as focusing on white privilege or non-native privilege and cultural appropriation)

Children's Picture Books
  • We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom (Anishinaabe/ Métis) and Michaela Goade (Tlingit/ Haida)
  • Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard (Seminole) and Juana Martinez-Neal (Peruvian)
  • Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back: A Native American Year of Moons by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) - he has many, many books
  • Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp (Mohawk)
  • The Unbreakable Code by Sara Hoagland Hunter (not Native)
  • Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Muscogee - Creek)
  • Pow Wow by Linda Coombs (Wampanoag)

Novels and Young Adult
  • There, There by Tommy Orange (Cheyenne/ Arapaho)
  • Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
  • Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card
  • Soaring Spirits: Conversations with Native American Teens by Karen Gravelle (not Native)
  • The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa)
  • Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown (Dorris Alexander "Dee" Brown)

Films, Movies, Documentaries
  • ** Dawnland
  • Native America (PBS 2018) Native America in the Classroom – Lessons with clips from film
  • Smoke Signals (Indigenous actors, producers, directors) – two young Idaho men with radically different memories of Arnold Joseph, who has just died, road trip to retrieve Arnold's ashes
  • Edge of America – New teacher is asked to coached female basketball team on a reservation)
  • The Fast Runner – Two brothers challenge the evil order: Amaqjuaq, the Strong One, and Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner. Atanarjuat escapes running naked over the spring sea ice
  • Leonard Peltier (90 min, 1970s)
  • Trudell – Movie about this activist
  • Crooked Arrows (a little campy, but great conversation starter, Indigenous actors) – About the origins of lacrosse, filmed in Massachusetts

Series

Episode 1 ORIGINS  Episode 2 ENVIRONMENT  Episode 3 AGRICULTURE & HUNTING  Episode 4 ARCHITECTURE  Episode 5 GOVERNANCE & TRADE  Episode 6 SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY  Episode 7 ART & CULTURE


TED Talks, Short Films, etc.

Music/ Songs: a mix of songs in indigenous tongue, English, and vocables (the importance of Indigenous languages):
  • AIM Unity Song 
  • Wishi Ta and other songs by Brooke Medicine Eagle.
  • Sharon Burch has several YouTube videos. I love “Colors of My Heart”
  • Crystal Woman is also great, and Who Will Speak is one of my all time favorite Indigenous songs
  • Indanee by Pat Humphries is beautiful
  • Here is a good, simple song for Columbus Day
  • Prayer Loop Song by Supaman shows Hip Hop sound “layering” 
  • Why also has a Jingle Dress Dancer
  • Stand Up is about DAPL
  • Blackbird by The Beatles sung in Mi'kmaq by Emma Stevens
  • The Climb by Miley Cyrus sung in Mi'kmaq by 10 year old Kalolin Johnson
  • Gentle Warrior (featuring Devon Paul and Thunder Herney) by an older Kalolin Johnson

For Educators: These are books more directed at people who are teaching and looking for curriculum

Some of these overlap with the list I have elsewhere on my blog


Allies to First Nations can do the following:

  1. Get into the habit of making tribal land and nation acknowledgements.
  2. Listen to Indigenous voices.
    • Talk to elders in the community.
    • When working with First Nations Indigenous People (and other marginalized groups), “yield the floor.”
  3. Integrate history and culture into curriculum and/or daily lives (or conversations around specific holidays/ observances).
  4. Read books by Indigenous authors. Do your research.
    • Learn about real role models and Indigenous contributions.
    • Learn about Inequalities that still exist and that resistance is ongoing.
    • Learn the real history of Indigenous People.
  5. Attend Indigenous events (even virtually).
  6. Join organizations – Support organizations advocating for Native American communities.
  7. Donate to Indigenous organizations, legal defense funds, etc. (even small financial contributions go a long way).
  8. Follow Indigenous groups on Facebook.
  9. Become aware of stereotypes and campaign (or at least talk) about dismantling them.
  10. Consume media and art created by Indigenous People.
  11. Advocate for a more inclusive, truthful school curriculum.
    • If you are connected to a school, advocate.
    • If you are connected to media sources, educate.
    • If you have political access, speak up.
  12. Take care of the environment – Beyond recycle, reuse, reduce, and compost, build a reciprocal relationship with the earth’s beings.
  13. Share what you learn – Bring your community, students and family along on your journey.