In Due Season

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels on 2016-05-18 15:50Z by Steven

In Due Season

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
May 2016
375 pages
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-071-5

Christine van der Mark (1917–1970)

Afterword by:

Carole Gerson, Professor of English Department
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada

Janice Dowson, Lecturer in English literature and Academic Writing
Simon Fraser University and University of the Fraser Valley

First published in 1947, In Due Season broke new ground with its fictional representation of women and of Indigenous people. Set during the dustbowl 1930s, this tersely narrated prize-winning novel follows Lina Ashley, a determined solo female homesteader who takes her family from drought-ridden southern Alberta to a new life in the Peace River region. Here her daughter Poppy grows up in a community characterized by harmonious interactions between the local Métis and newly arrived European settlers. Still, there is tension between mother and daughter when Poppy becomes involved with a Métis lover. This novel expands the patriarchal canon of Canadian prairie fiction by depicting the agency of a successful female settler and, as noted by Dorothy Livesay, was “one of the first, if not the first Canadian novel wherein the plight of the Native Indian and the Métis is honestly and painfully recorded.” The afterword by Carole Gerson and Janice Dowson provides substantial information about author Christine van der Mark and situates her under-acknowledged book within the contexts of Canadian social, literary, and publishing history.

Christine van der Mark (1917–1970) was born and raised in Calgary. While teaching in rural Alberta schools, she attended the University of Alberta, receiving her B.A. in 1941 and her M.A. in Creative Writing in 1946. Much of her writing expressed sympathetic concern for the Métis of Northern Alberta.

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Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Gay & Lesbian, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-05-14 22:27Z by Steven

Indian Blood: HIV and Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community

University of Washington Press
June 2016
176 pages
1 bandw illus, 2 tables
6 x 9 in
Paperback ISBN: 9780295998503
Hardcover ISBN: 9780295998077

Andrew J. Jolivette, Professor and chair of American Indian studies
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

The first book to examine the correlation between mixed-race identity and HIV/AIDS among Native American gay men and transgendered people, Indian Blood provides an analysis of the emerging and often contested LGBTQtwo-spirit” identification as it relates to public health and mixed-race identity.

Prior to contact with European settlers, most Native American tribes held their two-spirit members in high esteem, even considering them spiritually advanced. However, after contact – and religious conversion – attitudes changed and social and cultural support networks were ruptured. This discrimination led to a breakdown in traditional values, beliefs, and practices, which in turn pushed many two-spirit members to participate in high-risk behaviors. The result is a disproportionate number of two-spirit members who currently test positive for HIV.

Using surveys, focus groups, and community discussions to examine the experiences of HIV-positive members of San Francisco’s two-spirit community, Indian Blood provides an innovative approach to understanding how colonization continues to affect American Indian communities and opens a series of crucial dialogues in the fields of Native American studies, public health, queer studies, and critical mixed-race studies.

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Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People by Michel Hogue (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Canada, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2016-05-12 01:00Z by Steven

Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People by Michel Hogue (review)

Labour / Le Travail
Issue 77, Spring 2016
pages 297-299
DOI: 10.1353/llt.2016.0039

Sterling Evans, Louise Welsh Chair in Southern Plains and Borderlands History
University of Oklahoma

Michel Hogue, Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People (Regina: University of Regina Press 2015)

It is not an exaggeration to assert that Michel Hogue’s Metis and the Medicine Line is now one of the best studies written about the western Canadian – US borderlands. It is thoroughly researched from a variety of different archival sources from both sides of the 49th parallel, it is very well organized and written, and will be a standard for North American borderlands history for many years to come. Likewise it is a fine addition to the already robust scholarship on Metis history (and note, it was Hogue’s choice to use the word “Metis” without an accent on the “e”). Thus, this combination of themes works to do exactly as the book’s subtitle suggests, relating the history of how creating a border divided a people.

To do so, Hogue argues that the goal of Metis and the Medicine Line is to reveal “how the process of nation-building and race-making were intertwined and how … the Metis shaped both.” (8) “The experiences of these borderland Metis communities,” he continues, “therefore offer a fresh perspective on the political, economic, and environmental transformations that re-worked the Northern Plains across the nineteenth century.” (9) And finally, he states how the book “offers a (partial) corrective to those who would focus solely on race by drawing attention to the historical circumstances that gave rise to the Metis emergence as an autonomous people … and to the resilience and persistence of such notions.” (19) Those are noble objectives, but it is fair to assess how well they are achieved in this study. Along the way, Hogue gives special attention to how the Metis developed “mobile communities” (7) in the borderlands, how they negotiated “racialized markers of belonging,” and how they created a “hybrid borderland world” (10) and “an interethnic landscape.” (20) And more than theoretical labels here, these kinds of terms help to define Hogue’s message of Metis resilience and agency and set up the book’s themes well in the Introduction.

At that point Metis and the Medicine Line is divided into five chapters, all with cleverly developed action noun signposts as main title markers. The first chapter, “Emergence: Creating a Metis Borderland” discusses the importance of the Metis bison economy and trade and how the Metis used that for border marking. Chapter 2, “Exchange: Trade, Sovereignty, and the Forty-Ninth Parallel,” explores the Metis role in the “growing salience of the 49th parallel” (55) and how they came to negotiate it for their benefit. Chapter 2, “Exchange: Trade, Sovereignty, and the 49th Parallel,” explores the Metis role in the “growing salience of the 49th parallel” (55) and how they came to negotiate it for their benefit. Chapter 3, “Belonging: Land, Treaties, and the Boundaries of Race,” gets into the more difficult business of trying to explain the complexity of Metis racial identity (and especially with the concept of “racial marking”) and continues to address the bison economy (especially as that came to change with the different degrees of bison decline on opposite sides of the US-Canadian border. In what I consider to be one of the book’s greatest strengths, Hogue provides excellent analyses of the Metis role in Plains geopolitics – not only in their dealings with the US and Canadian governments, but also with other Indigenous groups throughout the Northern Plains. The fourth chapter, “Resistance: Dismantling Plains Borderlands Settlements, 1879-1885,” gets into some comparative discussion of US and Canadian policies on Native peoples, offers more on border diplomacy, and reiterates the role of Louis Riel in all of this history. Likewise, for the Metis on the Canadian side of the line, it provides excellent analysis on “symbols of economic re-orientation.” (172) And finally, Chapter 5, “Exile: Scrip and Enrollment Commissions and the Shifting of Boundaries and Belongings,” is a bit more complicated and perhaps unnecessarily too detailed (the only place in the book I thought so) on the history of the scrip use by Metis peoples in Canada. This chapter seems like more of a stand-alone…

Read or purchase the review here.

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Who gets to be Native American?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-05-11 14:35Z by Steven

Who gets to be Native American?


Anna Pulley

“Inhumane.” “Dishonorable.” “Genocide.” These were just a few of the dozens of Sharpied comments written on the hands of indigenous activists recently, as they launched a grassroots, social-media movement against tribal disenrollment, which is when a tribal government throws out its own members. The campaign, #StopDisenrollment, is aimed at, well, stopping disenrollment, by gathering people’s stories and asking activists to post pictures of what disenrollment means to them.

In recent years, tribal disenrollment has become increasingly routine. An Indian may be thrown out due to a clan rivalry or political in-fighting, or when a tribe trims members to consolidate casino revenues. Losing one’s tribal enrollment often means losing jobs, housing, educational benefits, and social services. It also means grappling with the identity mindfuck of being told: “You’re no longer an Indian in the eyes of the federal government.”

Meanwhile, people like Andrea Smith and Rachel Dolezal have claimed a Native identity as their own, echoing generations of white people before them. Even Senator Elizabeth Warren has claimed a Native identity because of “family stories” about her Cherokee roots. A recent Pew Research Center study showed that fully half of all U.S. adults who claimed a multiracial identity said they were white and American Indian. That’s 8.5 million people…

Read the entire article here

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Legal Codes and Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty in the Sonoran and Puget Sound Borderlands, 1854-1946

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Women on 2016-04-26 20:36Z by Steven

Legal Codes and Talking Trees: Indigenous Women’s Sovereignty in the Sonoran and Puget Sound Borderlands, 1854-1946

Yale University Press
352 pages
23 b/w illus.
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Cloth ISBN: 9780300211689

Katrina Jagodinsky, Assistant Professor of History
University of Nebraska

Katrina Jagodinsky’s enlightening history is the first to focus on indigenous women of the Southwest and Pacific Northwest and the ways they dealt with the challenges posed by the existing legal regimes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In most western states, it was difficult if not impossible for Native women to inherit property, raise mixed-race children, or take legal action in the event of rape or abuse. Through the experiences of six indigenous women who fought for personal autonomy and the rights of their tribes, Jagodinsky explores a long yet generally unacknowledged tradition of active critique of the U.S. legal system by female Native Americans.

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Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians

Posted in Books, Canada, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, Passing, Religion, Slavery, United States on 2016-04-24 00:38Z by Steven

Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians

University of North Carolina Press
September 2015
270 pages
8 halftones, 1 map, notes, bibl., index
6.125 x 9.25
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4696-2443-3

Angela Pulley Hudson, Associate Professor of History
Texas A&M University

In the mid-1840s, Warner McCary, an ex-slave from Mississippi, claimed a new identity for himself, traveling around the nation as Choctaw performer “Okah Tubbee.” He soon married Lucy Stanton, a divorced white Mormon woman from New York, who likewise claimed to be an Indian and used the name “Laah Ceil.” Together, they embarked on an astounding, sometimes scandalous journey across the United States and Canada, performing as American Indians for sectarian worshippers, theater audiences, and patent medicine seekers. Along the way, they used widespread notions of “Indianness” to disguise their backgrounds, justify their marriage, and make a living. In doing so, they reflected and shaped popular ideas about what it meant to be an American Indian in the mid-nineteenth century.

Weaving together histories of slavery, Mormonism, popular culture, and American medicine, Angela Pulley Hudson offers a fascinating tale of ingenuity, imposture, and identity. While illuminating the complex relationship between race, religion, and gender in nineteenth-century North America, Hudson reveals how the idea of the “Indian” influenced many of the era’s social movements. Through the remarkable lives of Tubbee and Ceil, Hudson uncovers both the complex and fluid nature of antebellum identities and the place of “Indianness” at the very heart of American culture.

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Mixed-race indigenous people should get benefits extended to those with Indian status, Canadian court rules

Posted in Articles, Canada, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-04-18 00:15Z by Steven

Mixed-race indigenous people should get benefits extended to those with Indian status, Canadian court rules

The Los Angeles Times

Christopher Guly

For decades in Canada, people of mixed indigenous and European ancestry didn’t qualify for “Indian” status and were denied a host of benefits granted to other First Nations people, including government funding, free postsecondary education and health benefits, and hunting and fishing rights.

In a landmark ruling Thursday, that changed. The Canadian Supreme Court declared that hundreds of thousands of mixed-race indigenous people, known as Metis in Canada, along with non-status Indians living off reservations, should have access to the same government programs and services as those with Indian status.

“This is something that will impact about 600,000 people across the country who have been denied recognition or access to entitlements that they now have been declared by the court as having,” said Dwight Dorey, national chief of the Ottawa-based Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

Read the entire article here.

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Lumbee Indians seek end to a century of questions about identity

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2016-04-13 00:02Z by Steven

Lumbee Indians seek end to a century of questions about identity

The Baltimore Sun
Baltimore, Maryland

Richard O’Mara, Staff Writer

Proud people from North Carolina find a home in Baltimore

Shirley Jeffrey, an East Baltimore resident, remembers the painful moment five years ago when two Sioux Indians told her that “Lumbees aren’t really Indians.”

Jimmy Hunt recalls a similar experience as an Army recruit when a sergeant asked the American Indians in the group to stand up. “There were two others besides myself,” he says. “Later they said I wasn’t an Indian because I was a Lumbee.”

Not really Indians? How could this be said of the largest American Indian group east of the Mississippi? The ninth-largest in the United States, with nearly 50,000 members, according to the Bureau of the Census. About 4,300 of them are in Maryland.

The question of identity has troubled the Lumbees for more than a century, but it may be resolved this year if Congress approves a bill introduced by Rep. Charles Rose III, D-N.C., to extend full recognition to the tribe.

It’s not that Mrs. Jeffrey is uncertain about who she is. Nor is Mr. Hunt…

Read the entire article here.

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Seeing Baltimore’s Native Americans Clearly

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Tri-Racial Isolates, United States on 2016-04-12 22:46Z by Steven

Seeing Baltimore’s Native Americans Clearly

Baltimore, Maryland

Cara Ober, Founding Editor

An Inverview with Ashley Minner about her Exquisite Lumbee Project, currently on display at Trickster Gallery

Ashley Minner is a community based visual artist from Baltimore, Maryland. She holds a BFA in Fine Art, an MA and an MFA in Community Art, which she earned at MICA. A member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, she has been active in the Baltimore Lumbee community for many years. Her involvement in her community informs and inspires her studio practice. Ashley is currently a PhD in American Studies student at University of Maryland College Park, where she is studying vernacular art as resistance in tri-racial isolate communities of the U.S. South and Global South

Read the entire interview here.

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An Heir to a Tribe’s Culture Ensures Its Language Is Not Forgotten

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Oceania on 2016-04-11 02:11Z by Steven

An Heir to a Tribe’s Culture Ensures Its Language Is Not Forgotten

The Saturday Profile
The New York Times

Michelle Innis

Stan Grant, a Wiradjuri elder, at his home in Narrandera, Australia. Mr. Grant was an author of “A New Wiradjuri Dictionary,” after years of advocating to preserve the Wiradjuri language.
Credit Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

NARRANDERA, AustraliaStan Grant, crudely tattooed in a way that hints at the petty crime and drunken brawls of his youth, clasped gnarly hands across his round belly and murmured: “birrangbirrang, birrangbirrang.”

Mr. Grant had spotted a small kingfisher, or birrangbirrang in Wiradjuri, as it swooped low over the Murrumbidgee River in the oppressive summer heat, calling to its mate.

Slipping back into English, he spoke over the whirring of cicadas in the river red gum trees that line the sandy banks: “It is smaller than a kookaburra. Its mate will be nearby.”

Mr. Grant, 75, is an elder of Australia’s second-largest Aboriginal tribe, the Wiradjuri, who roamed most of central New South Wales before white farmers surged inland in the early 1800s.

Until recently, he was one of only a handful of people still speaking the tribal language, also called Wiradjuri (pronounced wi-RAD-jury), which nearly died out in the 20th century, when Aboriginals could be jailed for speaking their native tongue in public.

“You are nobody without language,” Mr. Grant said. “The world does not respect a person who does not have language.”…

…Mr. Grant was probably 8 or 9 years old the night a local policeman heard his grandfather, Wilfred Johnson, and locked him up. But he does not recall a sense of alarm.

“He was an elegant man,” he said of Mr. Johnson. “He was beautifully dressed, usually in a coat and hat. But he was black. So it wasn’t the first time he had spent the night in jail.”

After the arrest, Mr. Johnson, who spoke seven languages, refused to speak Wiradjuri in public…

Read the entire article here.

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