Usually, August means excitement for children. Back to school means buying school supplies and new clothes for the school year, plus the benefit of seeing their friends again. However, for many Native Americans, it is a time filled with anxiety and stress because of negative school experiences. Not only is this an effect of family historical trauma but also an effect of low self-esteem and lack of cultural identity. There are numerous factors, but one deeply rooted issue goes unaddressed, year after year. The boarding school era (1860s-1960s) failed to offer the opportunities it promised Native people but succeeding in stripping them of their culture.
I like this organization because it provides hope for those who are often unheard and unnoticed. Lack of educational opportunities has been a huge problem for years, and it only got worse when the U.S. Government meddled in something that didn’t need to be “fixed” by outsiders.
One of my favorite pen pals over the years was a man who spoke fluent Blackfeet who was in the process of starting a school in Montana that would teach this endangered language. He knew was many off the rez don’t understand: the loss of a language is death to a culture.
I like the storytelling approach of Native Hope. We need more of it.
Although human trafficking “is a global issue, it is also prevalent very close to home. Native American women and children make up 40% of sex trafficking victims in the state of South Dakota alone. According to federal data, Native women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted as women of other races. They are also subject to high rates of intimate-partner violence and other forms of assault. These factors, along with poverty, substance abuse, and foster care, can make them vulnerable to exploitation. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, reiterates the ‘threat of human trafficking to Native communities and sex trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives,” describing the ‘first citizens of the United States as some of the most vulnerable.’” – Native Hope
According to their website, 88% of the crimes committed against native women are committed by non-Indians. This is a long-standing and intolerable problem and, frankly, the kind of statistic we believe we’re more likely to hear from a third-world nation. Of course, many Indian reservations rank below many third world nations when it comes to health care, employment, sanitation and other services most of us take for granted, and quality of life. Nonetheless, the facts surprise me.
Most of us cannot do anything about this problem by ourselves. Yet, through working with others, we can create meaningful change and improve the lives of countless women.
You can help by clicking on the highlighted link above, learning more, and considering a donation.
And, as the site says, “If you believe someone you know may be a victim or is in a vulnerable position, read our article on signs to watch for. If you are a victim and need help, please call the hotline at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.”
One of the first things I learned to cook was fry bread. Didn’t take long to get it right because it has very few ingredients and is one of those foods that (like making biscuits) is done by the feel of the dough rather than slavishly measuring ingredients into a mixing bowl.
If you work the hell out of the dough, you’ll ruin it like you can when making pasta. The dough works better if you make it one day, cover it over night with tin foil (AKA aluminum foil) in the ice box (AKA fridge), and make the bread the following day.
There are a lot of variations, but pumpkin tops my list, though you can experiment with butternut squash instead of pumpkin. I like it plain, but some folks add cinnamon or nutmeg or vanilla extract (food Lord!) or even dust the tops with powdered sugar like they’re making Beignets in New Orleans (what the hell?).
If you’re using self-rising flour, then flour (about 3 cups), pumpkin (let’s say 4 cups) and sugar (a cup or less) is all it takes. With all-purpose flower, you’ll need a tablespoon of baking soda as well. And some cooking oil or lard. Pumpkins harvest in the fall, so if you have fresh, chop it up and boil it. If not, canned pumpkin works fine. (If you don’t want the pumpkin in it, use water or milk when mixing the flour. If you don’t want it sweet, leave out the sugar.) You can find traditional recipe variations here.
Let it sit over night. Don’t skip this step.
The next day, roll the dough into balls and then flatten them with your fingertips so they’re thin enough to cook all the way through before they burn on the outside. Taste the dough before you do this to see if it needs more sugar or is too sticky and needs more flour. Put the little cakes in a skillet or pan of hot oil (medium high).
Turn them when the edges get brown. Medium brown is what you’re looking for and that usually happens when the cakes float. Drain on a paper towel. Great for snacks or to go with your dinner.
If you like pictures to go with your recipes, the Seminole Tribune has a series of what-it-ought-to-look-like pictures here.
I don’t normally talk about food on this blog, but I mentioned pumpkin fry bread a fair number of times in my 1950s-era folk magic novella Conjure Woman’s Cat and that was enough to get me addicted to it all over again. Seems like everyone in Florida made fry bread in the 1950s.
In many Indian nations, making and eating fry bread is sacred and deeply linked to the past.
All three of Campbell’s “conjure and crime” novels have been collected into one e-book.
Deborah J. Ledford’s “Snare,” book two of the Deputy Hawk/Inola Walela Thriller Series quickly entangles readers who believe young Katina Salvo’s broken past will remain long ago and far away. A popular California songwriter and recording star, Katina has never released photographs and videos or appeared in a live concert because she doesn’t want her fans to know what happened in Valentine, Nebraska on August 29, 1995 at 11:29 p.m.
After convincing her twenty-three-year-old Native American signing sensation she owes her fans a live concert, business manager Petra Sullivan hand-picks a small theater in North Carolina so Katina can debut in a nonthreatening environment.
However, before they leave for the Great Smoky Mountains, Katina discovers that Petra has been hiding threatening fan mail from her. Both overprotective and nurturing, Petra is the mother Katina was never allowed to have. Katina asks if the series of letters is coming from the father she wants to forget.
While Petra maintains the nasty letters are simply a nuisance downside of being famous, Katina is less certain, and wonders what else Petra has been keeping from her. The concert goes forward as scheduled because, as Petra tells Katina, “you can’t hide out forever.” Plus, Katina’s safety is a top priority through the efforts of the sheriff’s point man on the security detail, Deputy Steven Hawk. Hawk also appeared in Ledford’s stunning debut novel “Staccato” (Second Wind Publishing, 2009).
The concert appears to be a triumph until Katina is attacked by a shadowy man in the audience who escapes leaving few clues behind. Katina thinks she knows who it was. Hawk thinks he is responsible for the security lapse. Together, they plan to ensnare the perpetrator. Against the advice of Petra, Hawk’s girl friend and sheriff’s department colleague, Inola, and veteran officer Kenneth Stiles, they fly to the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico where Katina’s past lies hidden.
In “Snare,” Ledford brings her readers a novel of contrasts: Katina’s horrible childhood vs. a successful recording career, people who can be trusted vs. those who follow their own agendas, Native American beliefs vs. mainstream spiritual viewpoints, and the lush beauty western North Carolina vs. the stark beauty of central New Mexico. “Snare” has been nominated for a Hillerman Sky Award, an honor presented to the mystery that best captures the landscape of the Southwest.
While “Snare” does not quite match the bone-chilling punch of “Staccato,” it excels in other ways with deeper character development, a realistic presentation of Native American society and beliefs, and the role of family and friends in the choices one makes. By no means legato, “Snare” provides an ever-tightening story with a realistic, satisfying and unpredictable conclusion
In John Atkinson’s 2008 novel Timekeeper, Johnnyboy leaves his dysfunctional Virginia home at fourteen after his father “Bugdaddy” beat him again. In Oklahoma, Chief calls him “Timekeeper” and sends him on a vision quest to find himself. He does, but he is not yet whole.
At the beginning of Timekeeper II, scheduled for a September 21, 2010 release from il Piccolo editions, Atkinson writes, “I went to the Sacred Mountain in the flesh, but didn’t see it clearly until I returned in a ghost world dream.” Timekeeper II isn’t a clock-time, linear novel. It’s a dreamtime novel where all the dualities that haunted Johnnyboy must be brought into harmony in order for Timekeeper to face the world and himself as a fully integrated person.
The dualities arise in Timekeeper’s mind like opposing armies: a humiliated, illiterate man in a world where the ability to read is not only mandatory, but presumed; a man of mixed white and Native American parentage who is unaccepted and foreign in both worlds; a seeker on the path who left home to find himself while leaving his mother and first spiritual teacher Morning Song behind to face the wrath of an abusive father who once said, “Don’t turn Indian on me, boy! I’ll kill you dead in your tracks.”
Timekeeper II is a rare treat, a window that opens and re-opens into a dreamer’s world where events and personages from the world of form and the world of spirit mix and interact and sometimes contradict each other. Neither Chief nor the illusive and powerful Round Woman will give Timekeeper clear and definitive self-help lessons. Instead, he must take on the role of a shaman and enter the ghost world and find spirits who will help him heal himself.
Once again, John Atkinson has conjured up a gritty, highly original story where reality itself turns in upon itself and carries both his protagonist and his readers through the fires of transformation into a world where all conflicts disappear. Timekeeper II is highly recommended for all adventurous readers.
from NPS Glacier National Park:
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – New exhibits now greet Glacier National Park visitors at the St. Mary Visitor Center. The new visitor center exhibit entitled “At Home in This Place” focuses on tribal perspectives about the place we today call Glacier National Park.
The new exhibits were installed in early July and were viewed by tribal leaders and elders Wednesday afternoon, July 14 during a dedication ceremony. As part of the dedication, tribal perspectives and remarks were offered by Peter (Rusty) Tatsey (Blackfeet), Vernon Finley (Kootenai) and Thompson Smith (Salish-Pend d’Oreille).
According to Glacier National Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright, “Several years of consultation with cultural experts from the Blackfeet, Kootenai and Salish and Pend d’Oreille tribes provided authenticity and a true tribal perspective on issues related to land, plants, animals, mountains and history of this area.”
There are five new main exhibits: 1) Welcome-panels from each of the tribes detailing local Native peoples and their historic and current relationship with the land; 2) Bittersweet Meanings looks at changes faced by tribes with the creation of Glacier National Park; some good, others difficult; 3) Backbone of the World provides native perspectives on the land, mountains, creation stories, and place names; 4) The Wisdom in Spoken Words features oral histories and traditions with video of stories about Glacier by tribal elders. The exhibit includes an indoor tipi setting for sitting and listening to these stories; 5) Animal Lessons is a large winter scene diorama featuring elk, wolves, coyote, and grizzly bear which includes animal stories told by tribal leaders.
Additional exhibits in the lobby focus on other park stories and help interpret resources seen from the building.
These include the following panels: Where the Prairie Meets the Mountains, Who Lives in the Meadows, and Glaciers on the Move.
There is also a new interactive 3-D park topographic map with optic fiber lights highlighting the following: Continental Divides depicts the Continental Divide, Hudson Bay Divide, Triple Divide Peak; Glacier’s 10,000-foot Mountains; Tourism and Early Park Days shows locations of historic hotels and chalets; and Goodbye to the Glaciers is an animated look at the disappearance of park glaciers from 1850 to 2020.
These new exhibits will be permanently on display at the St. Mary Visitor Center. Summer hours of operation at the St. Mary Visitor Center are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.