Born of Lakes and Plains: Mixed-Descent Peoples and the Making of the American West

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, History, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2022-01-12 01:46Z by Steven

Born of Lakes and Plains: Mixed-Descent Peoples and the Making of the American West

W. W. Norton & Company
2022-02-25
464 pages
Hardcover ISBN: ISBN: 978-0-393-63409-9

Anne F. Hyde, Professor of History
University of Oklahoma

A fresh history of the West grounded in the lives of mixed-descent Native families who first bridged and then collided with racial boundaries.

Often overlooked, there is mixed blood at the heart of America. And at the heart of Native life for centuries there were complex households using intermarriage to link disparate communities and create protective circles of kin. Beginning in the seventeenth century, Native peoples—Ojibwes, Otoes, Cheyennes, Chinooks, and others—formed new families with young French, English, Canadian, and American fur traders who spent months in smoky winter lodges or at boisterous summer rendezvous. These families built cosmopolitan trade centers from Michilimackinac on the Great Lakes to Bellevue on the Missouri River, Bent’s Fort in the southern Plains, and Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest. Their family names are often imprinted on the landscape, but their voices have long been muted in our histories. Anne F. Hyde’s pathbreaking history restores them in full.

Vividly combining the panoramic and the particular, Born of Lakes and Plains follows five mixed-descent families whose lives intertwined major events: imperial battles over the fur trade; the first extensions of American authority west of the Appalachians; the ravages of imported disease; the violence of Indian removal; encroaching American settlement; and, following the Civil War, the disasters of Indian war, reservations policy, and allotment. During the pivotal nineteenth century, mixed-descent people who had once occupied a middle ground became a racial problem drawing hostility from all sides. Their identities were challenged by the pseudo-science of blood quantum—the instrument of allotment policy—and their traditions by the Indian schools established to erase Native ways. As Anne F. Hyde shows, they navigated the hard choices they faced as they had for centuries: by relying on the rich resources of family and kin. Here is an indelible western history with a new human face.

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New U.S. stamp for 2022 honors Black, Native American woman from Upstate NY

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2022-01-06 03:30Z by Steven

New U.S. stamp for 2022 honors Black, Native American woman from Upstate NY

Syracuse.com
2022-01-02

Geoff Herbert, Reporter and SEO Lead

New U.S. postal stamps honor Edmonia Lewis, a Black and Native American sculptor from Upstate New York.

A new U.S. stamp will honor an Upstate New York woman who was the first Black and Native American sculptor to earn international recognition.

The U.S. Postal Service said the 45th stamp in its Black Heritage series will celebrate Edmonia Lewis, who was born in 1844 in Greenbush, N.Y., and spent most of her career in Rome, Italy. According to the Times Union, her mother was an Ojibwa/Chippewa woman from Albany known for embroidering moccasins and her father was a freed slave who worked as a gentleman’s servant in Rensselaer County; when her mother died, Lewis was known as Wildfire while living with her maternal relatives.

“She identified first as a Native American. Later she identified more as an African American. She was in two worlds. She deserves her stamp,” Bobbie Reno, an East Greenbush town historian who campaigned for Lewis’ recognition, told the Times Union

…According to the USPS, the Edmonia Lewis stamp will debut Wednesday, Jan. 26, at 12:30 p.m. ET at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. The stamp, which features a portrait of Lewis based on a photograph of her in Boston between 1864 and 1871, will be available in post offices nationwide in panes of 20….

Read the entire article here.

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“My Uncle’s Cousin’s Great-Grandma Were a Cherokee” and I am Descended from an Ashanti King: The American Blood Idiom in the Simple Stories

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2021-12-23 17:10Z by Steven

“My Uncle’s Cousin’s Great-Grandma Were a Cherokee” and I am Descended from an Ashanti King: The American Blood Idiom in the Simple Stories

The Langston Hughes Review
Volume 27, No. 1, SPECIAL ISSUE: “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” at 100: Part One Shane Graham and Chiyuma Elliott (2021)
pages 29-56
DOI: 10.5325/langhughrevi.27.1.0029

DeLisa D. Hawkes, Assistant Professor of English
University of Texas, El Paso

Langston Hughes satirizes America’s obsession with so-called “racial purity” in his stories featuring Jesse B. Semple to shed light upon internalized racism and white American attempts to erase US histories that complicate the standardized black-white color line. In his poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (1920), the speaker challenges a singular view of the many Black histories that exist through the metaphor of rivers. In his Simple stories, Hughes’s character Jesse B. Semple reflects on American Blackness and blood stereotypes that impact racial identity formation and community building. By invoking the “Indian grandmother” and royal African ancestor tropes, Hughes complicates those compartmentalized identities and US histories implied via the American blood idiom to denote associations with enslavement that bolster notions of intraracial difference and white supremacist ideology. Hughes’s Simple stories culminate his trajectory in establishing African American pride in African ancestry and an anticolonial rejection of racial purity as a legal and social principle that contributes to monolithic conceptions of American Blackness.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Love Medicine, A Novel (Newly Revised Edition)

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels, United States on 2021-12-06 20:20Z by Steven

Love Medicine, A Novel (Newly Revised Edition)

Harper Perennial
2016-08-23 (Originally published in 1994)
400 pages
5x8in
Paperback ISBN: 9780061787423

Louise Erdrich

Set on a North Dakota Ojibwe reservation, Love Medicine—the first novel from master storyteller and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich—is an epic story about the intertwined fates of two families: the Kashpaws and the Lamartines.

With astonishing virtuosity, each chapter of this stunning novel draws on a range of voices to limn its tales. Black humor mingles with magic, injustice bleeds into betrayal, and through it all, bonds of love and family marry the elements into a tightly woven whole that pulses with the drama of life.

Erdrich has written a multigenerational portrait of strong men and women caught in an unforgettable whirlwind of anger, desire, and the healing power that is love medicine.

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I Hear the Train: Reflections, Inventions, Refractions

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2021-12-06 20:00Z by Steven

I Hear the Train: Reflections, Inventions, Refractions

University of Oklahoma Press
October 2001
282 pages
6 X 9
12 B&W Photos
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806133546
Paperback ISBN: 9780806190143

Louis Owens (1948-2002), Professor of English and Native American Studies
University of California, Davis

In this innovative collection, Louis Owens blends autobiography, short fiction, and literary criticism to reflect on his experiences as a mixedblood Indian in America.

In sophisticated prose, Owens reveals the many timbres of his voice—humor, humility, love, joy, struggle, confusion, and clarity. We join him in the fields, farms, and ranches of California. We follow his search for a lost brother and contemplate along with him old family photographs from Indian Territory and early Oklahoma. In a final section, Owens reflects on the work and theories of other writers, including Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Gerald Vizenor, Michael Dorris, and Louise Erdrich.

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We trust artists like Michelle Latimer to avoid harming Indigenous people

Posted in Articles, Arts, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2021-12-06 01:46Z by Steven

We trust artists like Michelle Latimer to avoid harming Indigenous people

NOW Toronto
2020-12-21

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers

Trickster and Inconvenient Indian director Michelle Latimer poses on top of a condo rooftop in Toronto.
Samuel Engelking

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers explains the particular kind of pain revelations about Michelle Latimer have caused within the Indigenous film community

We were gathered for a filmmaking workshop at the Urban Native Youth Association in East Vancouver. I was co-facilitating with filmmaker Jessica Hallenbeck. One participant was that particular kind of shy brown-skinned Indigenous teenage boy who didn’t yet know his worth in this world. He wore sweatpants, a hoodie and sneakers, and had a head of thick black hair. He was afraid to smile, much less make eye contact with the other teens in the room.

I’d asked the young people to introduce themselves – to give us their names, where they come from and what they found most exciting about film. When his turn came, he kept his gaze steady on one spot on the floor as he quietly shared his name and that he was from Vancouver. I interjected. “And, what nation are you from?” He paused, and then whispered, “I don’t know.”

My heart sank to untold depths. I had just inadvertently implied that an Indigenous youth who grew up in foster care didn’t belong. Belonging is everything in Indigenous communities, but at that moment I made him feel so small. I still carry the shame from that interaction, knowing I could not undo that harm.

People wonder how former Trickster director Michelle Latimer, whose identity has recently come under scrutiny, could claim to be Indigenous for so long without skepticism. She was trusted because the Indigenous film community is protective. We want to avoid doing harm to those who have experienced the trauma of displacement…

Read the entire article here.

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How disgraced health expert Carrie Bourassa passed as indigenous for years

Posted in Articles, Canada, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2021-12-06 01:23Z by Steven

How disgraced health expert Carrie Bourassa passed as indigenous for years

The New York Post
2021-12-01

Isabel Vincent, Investigative reporter

Carrie Bourassa’s Instagram page describes her as an “Indigenous feminist” and “proud Metis” with an addiction to lattes.

Only her penchant for caffeine was true.

A statement from Carrie Bourassa’s team said “she has not falsely identified as Indigenous nor taken space away from Indigenous peoples.”

Bourassa, a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan and a leading expert on indigenous issues, has been exposed as a fraud. A family tree prepared by a group of academics who were suspicious of her ancestral claims shows that Bourassa is of Swiss, Hungarian, Polish and Czechoslovakian origins and has not one ounce of indigenous blood…

Read the entire article here.

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The ways Afro-Indigenous people are asked to navigate their communities

Posted in Articles, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2021-11-27 22:19Z by Steven

The ways Afro-Indigenous people are asked to navigate their communities

High Country News
2021-10-28

Alaina E. Roberts

Two leading scholars discuss the complex relationship between Black and Native people.

African American history and Native American history have long been considered kindred by those who see the original sin of the United States as twofold, a dual theft by European settlers: the taking of Indigenous lives and land, and the seizure of Black bodies and labor. Both groups suffered the loss of language, culture and freedom.

There are many ways the two peoples’ histories have overlapped since they first came into contact over 500 years ago. In African American popular culture, those early interactions often take the form of romanticized tales: Native people working with Black people to battle the colonial system, or a Native ancestor who sheltered runaway slaves and bequeathed her long straight Black hair to her descendants. But there are others who seek to center Black lives by overlooking the shared historical experiences of the two groups and ignoring the modern-day Native encounter with issues of poverty, racism and police violence. Meanwhile, in many Native American communities, African Americans are viewed through a prejudicial lens similar to the kind that many white Americans use: as a people who may have been hurt by racism through enslavement, at one point, but who refuse to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, as it were.

The real history between African Americans and Native Americans is complex and requires acknowledging both the times and places in which they joined together to resist oppression as well as the times they participated in that oppression. It’s these deep complexities that shape the ideas Black and Native people have of one another today…

Read the entire interview here.

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I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2021-11-27 22:13Z by Steven

I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native

University of Pennsylvania Press
2021
224 pages
10 b/w
6 x 9
Cloth ISBN: 9780812253030

Alaina E. Roberts, Assistant Professor of History
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Winner of the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, in the Historical Era category, granted by the Sons and Daughters of the United States Middle Passage

Perhaps no other symbol has more resonance in African American history than that of “40 acres and a mule“—the lost promise of Black reparations for slavery after the Civil War. In I’ve Been Here All the While, we meet the Black people who actually received this mythic 40 acres, the American settlers who coveted this land, and the Native Americans whose holdings it originated from.

In nineteenth-century Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma), a story unfolds that ties African American and Native American history tightly together, revealing a western theatre of Civil War and Reconstruction, in which Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Indians, their Black slaves, and African Americans and whites from the eastern United States fought military and rhetorical battles to lay claim to land that had been taken from others.

Through chapters that chart cycles of dispossession, land seizure, and settlement in Indian Territory, Alaina E. Roberts draws on archival research and family history to upend the traditional story of Reconstruction. She connects debates about Black freedom and Native American citizenship to westward expansion onto Native land. As Black, white, and Native people constructed ideas of race, belonging, and national identity, this part of the West became, for a short time, the last place where Black people could escape Jim Crow, finding land and exercising political rights, until Oklahoma statehood in 1907.

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From Joseph Boyden To Michelle Latimer – Why Does This Keep Happening?

Posted in Articles, Audio, Canada, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing on 2021-11-12 15:41Z by Steven

From Joseph Boyden To Michelle Latimer – Why Does This Keep Happening?

Canadaland
2021-02-15

Our gatekeepers keep elevating Indigenous artists with tenuous connections to Indigeneity.

Through most of 2020, Michelle Latimer was the hottest Indigenous filmmaker in Canada. In September, she had two works at TIFF: the feature documentary Inconvenient Indian, which took the top two prizes for which it was eligible at the festival, and the first instalments of Trickster, a prestige CBC drama about growing up on reserve whilst contending with monsters both figurative and literal.

“Latimer’s young characters are multifaceted, her interplay between score and imagery sets an energetic pace, and, most importantly, her respect for the trickster in Indigenous storytelling is evident,” TIFF’s Geoff Macnaughton wrote in his programme note for Trickster. “If the archetype can truly impact younger generations, that respect is paramount — and Latimer’s version exemplifies why it matters who gets to tell the story.”

When she appeared on the cover of NOW‘s annual TIFF issue, the magazine proclaimed that she “reclaims Indigenous storytelling.”

But three months later, the CBC published an investigation that brought forward serious questions about Latimer’s evolving claims of Indigenous identity and heritage — concerns about which had been raised privately since at least the summer.

In short order, Inconvenient Indian was pulled from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and its future release thrown into doubt. The CBC chose to not move ahead with a second season of Trickster, following conversations with the cast, crew, and author of the source material.

And as first reported by Variety, Latimer hired crisis PR firm Navigator to manage the fallout, serving the CBC with a notice of libel.

There’s a lot to unpack there, and today’s episode of CANADALAND attempts to do so, through interviews with comedian and Thunder Bay host Ryan McMahon, filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, and Inuk seal hunter Steven Lonsdale, the latter two of whom were featured in Inconvenient Indian.

For host Jesse Brown, one of the big questions is: Why does this keep happening? Between Joseph Boyden, once Canada’s hottest Indigenous novelist, and now Michelle Latimer, why do Canada’s white cultural gatekeepers keep elevating Indigenous artists whose actual connections to Indigeneity are tenuous? Brown implicates himself in this, as he and McMahon had recently met with Latimer about helming a potential dramatic television adaption of Thunder Bay.

Listen to the episode (00:59:49) here.

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