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Tag Archives: Native American

Why We Should Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day

We need to resist against hate, xenophobia, and all forms of oppression against Christopher Columbus for what he has done to Indigenous people. We shall celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

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Behind Trump’s Eyes and Ears

Victory at Standing Rock!

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Standing Rock! Standing Rock! Standing Rock! With movement in America along with social media, if would not be victorious if it was not for them and I am very proud to be part of movement! Last Sunday, I attended a rally/march as an environmental, human rights, and social justice activist in solidarity with the Standing Rock in Washington, D.C.; This is really big deal for everybody–this is the first time in history, Native Americans did something extraordinary like this. The whole world is watching!

Within my Cherokee heritage, I am very happy for them. They constitute knowledge and independence. If Native Americans has no believability, then they would not able to use knowledge or independence. The light, life, language, culture, and such like, coming from the world through our eyes! The movement by Native Americans exist to guide us in their life journey.

The best action and never to allow white oppressors that the Native Americans should be mocked or oppressed. Now, if there are sociological truths, the same truth about oppression will show with our eyes. Despite the doubts of the occasional oppression through language contact skeptic, we do almost all of us think almost all the time that that we must overcome oppression by white privileges. Victory, Standing Rock! Thank you, President Obama, thank you, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, thank you, everybody for doing the right thing! Congratulations!

My previous blog post: https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2016/11/28/standing-rock-one-of-many-branches-in-the-tree-of-humanity/

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

Standing Rock: One of Many Branches in the Tree of Humanity

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I stand with the Standing Rock—the oppression against Native Americans is long enough and sick. I decided to join the march and rally for Standing Rock today. Water is life for all of us—some of you do not realize how much sacred water is to us. Growing up in a small town in Washington State—the name of town: ‘Yacolt’ which means haunted place or place of evil spirits also known “the valley of lost children.”

Yacolt, a town in the northeastern part of Washington State, a Native American storyteller once said, “Many years ago a small tribe of Indians went huckleberrying on the prairie and some of their children were mysteriously lost. Since they could not find the children they concluded that they had been stolen by evil spirits. Thereupon they called the prairie Yacolt, meaning ‘haunted place’.” (In Names MSS. Letter 138.) I had lived there for 20 years—on 400 acres—as a kid, I learned how to build a tepee by myself.

I’ve learned how to embrace and appreciate Native American stories encouraged by my grandmother. What disgusted me the most that the schools I attended had tribal-themed mascots promoting discrimination, harassment of students and stereotyping of Native Americans: Fircrest Elementary School (Falcons), Wy’East Middle School (Warriors), and Hudson’s Bay High School (Eagles).

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My grandmother was born in Oregon to her Cherokee mother. I was proud to call Great Pacific Northwest my home—surrounded by Native American spirits there. Mount St. Helens was only 30 minutes back road drive from my home. Yes, the same famous Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 killing 57 people including one person named Harry S. Truman (not the president) whom my grandfather knew him, I was six years old that time and I do remember that time seeing my family getting everything ready to make sure we were safe for couple of days.

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The ashes are still fresh in my mind today. It was one of all-time classic stories in my life. One day, my grandmother gave me an old book to read in early 1980  and I saw a picture of Mount St. Helens eruption told by Native American stories right before May 1980 eruption (Something like 500 years ago). That picture I had to google was the exactly I saw and I was very surprised to see this picture after all those years. After that, Native American spirit has been flourished into my blood more often. My senior capstone where I decided to sign up to learn about Environmental Education through Native American Lenses—a HUGE CHANGE in my life. The course was all about:

What are Native American perspectives and how can they affect/inform environmental education? How does environment shape our lives and our relationships? How does your own heritage impact who you are today?

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After seeing severe oppression towards Native Americans at Standing Rock, the evil spirits had came back risen by white privileges, I stand with them and will not let them haunt our spirits again. Reflecting on the social identity of Native American people one sees that Native Americans belong to a category whose attributes are part of our larger, popular culture. As a result of the treatment of Native American people in literature and in the media, an extrapolative leap and try to imagine what your world would like if you were a Native American.

Most white people, if they were lead to think about Native Americans, soon make this extrapolative leap, for they have little else to guide them: they have not read about Native American language and culture, and extrapolation must stand in for real knowledge. If it happens that you know someone who is a Native American, another way of apprehending their culture is open and the Native American are trying to send a message that their culture is open. It takes on the characteristics of that particular Native American person, as in:

“It is the story of all life that is holy and is good to tell, and of us two-leggeds sharing in it with the four-leggeds and the winds of the air and all green things; for these are children of one another and their father is one Spirit.”–John Neihardt, author of Black Elk Speaks whom I learned in my Native American Literature course.

The mainstream of western society has attempted for many years to convert the Native Americans into the White-Indian, at the cost of losing cultural traditions, religion, and language of the Native American people. Starvation, incarceration, and enforced “white” education have all been used to turn these Native Americans into cookie-cutter second class citizens. Land and land resources for subsistence also continue to be overlooked and taken without compensation.

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Today with the march and rally was very inspiring! It was worth my time–the speakers were awesome. Not only that but the ASL interpreter was there with a big heart interpreted what the Standing Rock was really about. There were some important people there–few of them are famous celebrities.

I felt great–I did my civil duty today! You should do the same thing, too! I stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock and all the water protectors! Hate crimes against Native Americans—enough! Remember 1851 Dakota Land Cession Treaty—enough of ignorance! Remove all the Native American mascots in schools and sports. #NoDAPL

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-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

Fools Crow: Roots and Branches of Native American Literature

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Today is James Welch’s birthday—a famous Native American writer whom he passed away in 2003. When I looked up Google, there was a Doodle of James Welch honoring his contributions. I did not realize today was his birthday—so, I am writing a post to honor him. When I signed up for American Indian Literature course as a student, I really enjoyed his book, Fools Crow, it really hit me hard a lot what Native American literature was about. What impressed me the most is that he was a founding author of the Native American Renaissance—I remember my professor was talking a lot about Mr. Welch. He had asked all of us to read his books as required and write no more than 15 pages essay.

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I was really intrigued how Welch, in his book, Fools Crow, was able to show the tension in traditional values of the Blackfeet Indians during time of cultural and historical change. In the beginning of the book, younger Pikuni males (includling White Man’s Dog, who later becomes Fools Crow) are planning to embark upon a horse raid. Gaining horses for the tribe is viewed favorably and earns the Pikuni respect and a level of responsibility within their group. However, the younger Pikuni in the novel seem to be more focused on the personal glory attained in the plundering of horses from the Crow Indians.

I loved how Welch illustrates the life of the Pukini through storytelling. In this sense, he is preserving written tradition as important to Native American culture and a theme in Native American writing. For instance, rather than just describe the Sun Dance ritual, he describes Fools Crow’s experience of transcendence as he dances:

Fools Crow listened to the faraway rumble of Thunder Chief and felt his step becomes lighter. He felt in his heart, in the rhythm of the drum, a peculiar kind of happiness—a happiness that sleeps with sadness. And the feeling made his head light and he was removed from the others, dancing alone, singing a song that had to do with his life in this world, and in that other world he visited from his vision…. [Fools Crow, page 390]

My best time in that course I took, the book I was also required to read, The Jailing of Cecelia Capture written by Janet Campbell Hale, I decided to write both books in my final essay, Cecilia Capture and the Welch’s Narrator: An Examination of Two Cultures in a Search for Identity. if it was not for James Welch, it would not have published. Thank you, Mr. James Welch for the characters of Native Americans come to terms with its challenges, and continuing survival, with humor, and perhaps a sad recognition that they must continuously face and sometimes capitalize on derogatory stereotypes to ensure their survival.

Be sure to celebrate Native American Heritage Month!

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The Pin I Am Proudly to Hold!

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

Join the Movement: Indigenous Peoples Day!

Deaf Returning Citizens Deserve Happy Holidays!

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Dear Readers,

As we gather with friends and loved ones to celebrate the holiday season and give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy and the freedoms we cherish, let us take a moment to remember those people, for example, Deaf returning citizens who are less fortunate. They usually are left out alone. Employment and higher education across America, is the biggest struggle for Deaf returning citizens who continue to set an example of rebuild their lives in the community for its service and pursuit of happiness.

We all have a part to play to make our world a better example in Deaf community. During this holiday season, we all need to reach out to those who need help the help the most and commit to our fellow Deaf returning citizens and resolve to build a better future free from severe oppression, hunger, and injustice. In this season of reflection, Deaf community needs to come together and make a difference.

Giving a lecture “Deaf Returning Citizens as Forgotten People” at California State University Northridge (CSUN) sponsored by Deaf Studies Association for a conference called Social Justice: BY, FOR, OF People, is a great honor, and I am grateful and humbled by the opportunity to continue to do so. I am excited to get work and make a major change in 2016.

Have a Merry Christmas and a joyful holiday season! As in Native American literature, on Christmas, bring peace on Earth.

All my best,

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only including this copyright message.

DEAFHOOD: Celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day!

IMG_1088Yes, celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day with Deafhood, too!

Time to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day! No more Columbus Day! I am happy to inform that more cities are recognizing Native Americans today—the movement to change the holiday to celebrate the history and contributions of indigenous cultures around America. It is a huge deal.

My grandmother on my father’s side–her own mother–my great grandmother was Cherokee born and raised in small town called John Day in Oregon–she died at “childbirth” giving my grandmother a life and she refused to talk about it because her father (my great grandfather) told her not to bring up about it. I was from small town, Yacolt, on the southwestern border of Washington, in the shadow of Mount St. Helens. The name, from local Native American lore, means “haunted place” or “valley of the demons.”

I had no idea that I have Cherokee blood until I was 33 and I begin to learn more about Native Americans now and then. I had no idea about Wounded Knee incident in South Dakota where one of the courses I signed up for requiring us to read one of many books called “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” written by Dee Brown really bury my heart. Hint: Did you know that there was a Deaf Native American in that book by the name of Black Coyote who “started” it all? Then after that, I started to read more Native Americans books–from political to cultural to history to hate crimes and so. The picture you see above I bought in DC—I have more books stored inside a box in the great Pacific Northwest.

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As for hate crimes, it does happen—there is plenty of virulent hatred and bigotry toward Native Americans in this country—and feel that they only suffer from the challenges of poverty and neglect as well limited access to opportunities and it is not true. They are survivors of hateful assaults on given day now and then. I think diversity is racist in America. Why do I think it is racist? Because it presumes that the color of Native American or the surname of a Native American defining his or her thinking, that somehow he or she will bring something different to the intellectual table just because he/she looks Native American or his/her name looks Native American.

One of books, which had influenced me greatly written by Barbara Perry, called Silent Victims: Hate Crimes Against Native Americans, where Perry writes in page 25, “There is an important distinction between the two terms. The former, genocide, refers to the explicit and frequently brutal physical violence perpetrated against Native Americans in an effort to eliminate them as a people. There are those who would oppose the use of such strong terminology.”–Is true enough in this country with Perry writes another one in same page, “The second term, ethnocide, refers to the much more subtle efforts to deculturate Native Americans, sometimes through physical violence but more often through the social violence implied in efforts to “resocialize” or “civilize” Natives.”

Now I understand hate crimes more.

When I visited Harper’s Ferry, there were two rivers there—Princess Shenandoah and Potomac Warrior why the rivers were named. Princess Shenandoah and Potomac Warrior were forbidden to get married by their tribes. They both cried a lot and made the rivers to meet. That is where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet. The Native American folklore. One of my favorite stories from a book I hold in my possession The Storytelling Stone: Traditional Native American Myths and Tales edited and with an introduction by Susan Feldman about ‘Bat.’

“Once there was a war between beasts and birds. Bat was on birds’ side. In the first battle, the birds were badly beaten. As soon as Bat saw that the battle was going against them, he crept away, hid under a log, and stayed there till the fight was over. When the animals were going home, Bat slipped in among them. After they had gone some distance, they saw him and asked one another: “How is this? Bat is one of the men who fought against us?”

Bat heard them, and he said, “Oh, no! I am one of you; I don’t belong to the bird people. Did you ever see one of those people who had double teeth? Go and look in their mouths and see if they have. If you find one bird with double teeth, you can say that I belong to the bird people. But I don’t; I am one of your own people.” They didn’t say anything more; they let Bat stay with them. Soon after, there are another battle; in that battle birds won.

As Bat’s side was getting beaten, he slipped away and hid under a log. When the battle was over and the birds were going home, Bat went in among them. When they noticed him, they said: “You are our enemy; we saw you fighting against us.” “Oh, no.” said Bat, “I am one of you; I don’t belong to those beasts. Did you ever see one of those people who had wings?” They didn’t say anything more; they let him stay with them. So Bat went back and forth as long as the war lasted. At the end of the war, birds and beasts held a council to see what to do with him. At last they said to Bat: “Hereafter, you will fly around alone at night, and will never have any friends, either among those that fly, or those that walk.”

If you visit DC for some reason, please visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian—it would blow your body and mind away. Appreciate Indigenous Peoples Day! I wrote this blog post last year (October 2014) to get better idea why I am against the idea of celebrating Columbus Day. The link below:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2014/10/13/racism-is-ancient-columbus-began-it-all/

For additional links about Deaf Community: A Hidden Dimension of Racism Among Sports. Plenty of Deaf vloggers wearing Redskins to belittle Native Americans. One of them is a teacher.

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2014/10/01/deaf-community-a-hidden-dimension-of-racism-among-sports-2/

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only including this copyright message.

Racism is Ancient! Columbus Began it All!

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Christopher Columbus

Good morning, folks!

Since today is Columbus Day and we both know that it is a central holiday in the American folklore celebrating the conquest and plunder of the Native American people. Christopher Columbus is America’s first RACIST.

Genocide. Colonialism. Exploitation. I would rather celebrate indigenous resistance. I would rather to shed a different light to honor the Native people that have been survivors of colonialism and genocide. It was founded with the institution of slavery as part of the governmental apparatus along with the provision made for it in the U.S. Constitution.

Also, I must honor those people who fought bravely against the theft of their lands and displacement from their homes by the United States government. Today’s struggle for justice cannot be waged without remembering the true history of our nations conquest over the Native American people.

Their lives has been become part of contemporary indictment of the social condition of poverty faced by these Native American men, women, and children, and the repercussions that affect and break down the social roles of the family. We see disaffected youth, drinking, hunger, alcoholism, poverty, and children left to fend for themselves.

I was thrilled to read an article last week that in state of Washington, the council in Seattle has decided to remove Columbus Day and celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. That was a huge deal! Thank you! I was very happy to see that happening! In fact, I support Indigenous People’ Day very much for few reasons.

For a good reason, Columbus Day is a racist because it presumes that the color of Native American or the surname of Native American defines their thinking, that somehow they will bring something different to the intellectual table just because they look Native American or their last name sounds Native American.

wounded_kneeAlso, there was a recent article written by David M. Perry called What to tell your kid about Christopher Columbus with the link below for the readers to click and read. I remember reading about Columbus way back in grade school and I never felt right about this guy and I followed my guts all the way today. My teachers were the assholes that taught me bullshit history when I was in classrooms that were supposed to be safe haven. White people are always good…. yeah, right!

Christopher Columbus was the one who infected America to be the king of Racism in the world. Why not National Association of the Deaf (NAD) celebrates Indigenous People’s Day today? Since NAD is the “nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by, and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America” quoted on the website.

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

References:

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/10/opinion/perry-columbus-day-what-to-tell-your-kid/index.html

http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/seattle-city-council-vote-columbus-day-name-change/nhckd/