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

15181661_1291159324239028_386525446400717331_n.jpg

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).

IMG_2588.JPG

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.

image002_1_.jpg

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?

IMG_2597.JPG

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.

IMG_2610.JPG

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

IMG_2680.JPG

-JT

Copyright © 2016 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.

Heritage_1

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.

Oralism Stole My Father’s Baby

Image

Resistance

-Permission granted by David Call-

[The image above explains that David Call as a young child with “Eye Hand” head to symbolize my natural instinct to be a person of eyes and hands. One of my hands got strapped and locked on the table but I continue to resist oral speech lesson by using my free hand with a hammer to smash the wind-up oral chattering teeth toy.

This is a message that some Deaf children today are still trapped in oral classrooms across the country like I once was.]

When my father was 15, he began to save up his money for his prize car, 1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 454 with 450 HP V-8–a model manufactured by Chevrolet for only 800 dollars. That car was undefeated beating every muscle car in the book. After my father got his license at age of 16, this car became his very first car ever. Easy to remember it!

My father met my mother in high school, and after they set up their first date and he took her in this rare car. My mother was very lucky to ride in his baby! Three years later, they got married. My mom was only 18 when my father was 20 when I was born in the same year President Nixon had resigned.

At age two, I was placed in the Tucker Maxon Oral School. The teachers, speech therapists, and audiologists loved to teach me face-to-face until I lost my dignity. The school was private and very expensive.

My father had to give up his most prized car due to excessive costs of gas—45 miles each was to and from the school. My mother would have to drive me to that school five days a week, and you could easily imagine how expensive the gas it could be! My parents made a wrenching decision to sell the car and bought a 1975 baby blue Volkswagen bug due to cheaper gas price and for safety reasons, too. My father literally cried about his prize car for years.

At age of four years old, my mother and father had to make a decision to place me into mainstreaming schools, which made it even worse for me. Although It was never my parents’ fault, it was the society that failed to facilitate them.

I survived the hearing-oriented teachers. There were many subjects I wanted to learn but they were never considered important. Oral method of education was always important and it neglected me completely, without love. I felt like a piglet being left out in the mud.

The chief educational goals were to make sure I had mastered speech—listening and speaking. What was more was that the school itself gave me permanent scars with emotional, physical, and intellectual injuries, all at once to make sure I forget my own identity as Deaf being.

Alexander Graham Bell, the Deaf-hating father said that, “We should try ourselves to forget that they are deaf. We should teach them to forget that they are deaf.”

Tucker Maxon Oral School is being watched by Alexander Graham Bell Association (AGB). The school philosophy used “up twinkles” wiggling their fingers in the air that it was in favor of banishing sign language.

One hundred and thirty-three (133) years ago on September 11th, the Congress of Milan changed everything forever that made Deaf people look like puppets. The Congress of Milan also known as Milan Resolution, I believe violates Deaf people’s intellectual lives.

Let me begin my story: I was born into hearing family where 95% in that small town where loggers were. The name of the town, Yacolt, where I grew up means the valley of the demons or the haunted place because it was named for a Native American about three children were on their path to pick out blackberries but they were never seen again. It was believed that evil spirits had taken them.

The same town I lived was full of bias where my childhood life racked up with emotional abandonment and was filled with fear growing up and hating myself due to the fact I am Deaf.

The small town that time was only 500 people which is not known very well for its audistic (Audism-alike) tolerance so infiltrated with those people I had to deal with that I did not realize that I looked down on others unlike me until I moved out and begun my Deafhood journey from there. I had been confused all my life for next 35 years until couple of magic words showed up in my life that changed overnight that made myself a human being. The magic words were: DEAFHOOD and AUDISM.

It shows exactly why the Alexander Graham Bell Association is a hate group and should be abolished. They had been gone virtual lynching, armed with myths they herald as gospel. People who works for AGB chapters are “bad-cats” believing what they want to believe in spite of the facts, so instead of listening to reason, they create an attack site and proclaim it as truth, with hearing-minded hillbillies adding to the mix. The AGB association is poison, those who support it are mentally unstable and in dire need of education. Enough said.

We are living in year 2013. The stats shows that 80% of mainstreamed Deaf children in schools suffer high percentage that scored below the academic achievement than hearing students receive the royal treatment in classrooms. Deaf children will never taste the royal treatment in their lives. If you want the proof to see 80% of Deaf children fail their goals, you can find it in the National Center for Special Education Research. Harassment and bullying against Deaf children are invisibly reported and damaged as well. It is 2013! 2013! 2013!

By the way, that prize car of my father, 1969 Chevy Chevelle SS, would be worth $100,000 at any auction bid today. My father bought that car for $800. Oralism took advantage all of his money.  It is no wonder why my father is still crying for this baby.

69chev51021-1

Please visit David Call’s website: http://www.eyehandstudio.com/

-JT

Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier

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