Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Indigenous North America

On December 3, 2014, I attended a forum on Gi-gikinomaage-min, a GVSU-Grand Rapids project of recording urban Native American experience, co-sponsored by the Kutsche Office of Local History and the University Libraries/Archives. I'd like to be a volunteer interviewer. This spurred me to continue learning:
In late December I watched a 3-part sports documentary, Iroquois Lacrosse, about the Iroquois Nationals (Haudenosaunee) playing in the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships, and then the dramatized version, Crooked Arrows, about the original, ancient game and contemporary players coming together as a team, developing both skills and Haudenosaunee character. The Nationals were not allowed to go to the Olympics because their sovereign passports were not accepted by Great Britain.

I just finished reading Unraveling the Spreading Cloth of Time: Indigenous Thoughts Concerning the Universe by MariJo Moore and Trace A. Demeyer, a 2013 compilation. Interesting, thought-provoking pieces. I loved "Tangled" by Kim Shuck, would like to read more by Odilia Galván Rodríguez, Doris Seale (a librarian who compiled books like A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children), and Susan Deer Cloud, who has several books of poetry out. Update 3/1/15: I've read 2 of Deer Cloud's chapbooks: The Last Ceremony, and Braiding Starlight. She wrote a poem of local interest, called Stuck in Grand Rapids Airport, Our Words Make Peace Cranes.

I came across the book above when I met Siobhan Senier via some friends during Thanksgiving weekend. She is an English prof who specializes in New England Indigenous literature (e.g., Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England and its accompanying website Writings of Indigenous New England). She recommended the author Tomson Highway, a Canadian First Nations writer, and said that I might start with Kiss of the Fur Queen (GVSU 4th floor PR9199.3.H472 K57). She also recommended David Treuer's Hiawatha (MEL). David and Anton Treuer are brothers, Ojibwe from Minnesota. I had already read Anton's Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask, a greatly informative book, because he had visited GVSU in the fall semester but I had missed his talk. I had also already sampled pieces from Voice on the water: Great Lakes native America now edited by Grace Chaillier and Rebecca Tavernini; it is an Anishanaabe (Ojibwe) anthology project from Northern Michigan University's Center for Native American Studies in Traverse city.

I would like to read at least portions of In the Hands of the Great Spirit: The 20,000-year History of American Indians by Jake Page (GVSU 2nd floor E77.P14 2003), perhaps "We are still here": American Indians since 1890 by Peter Iverson and Wade Davies (2015) and That dream shall have a name: native Americans rewriting America by David L. Moore, Centering Anishinaabeg studies: understanding the world through stories (search for urban), Living with animals: Ojibwe spirit powers by Michael Pomedli, Anishinaabe ways of knowing and being by Lawrence W. Gross, and most definitely The queerness of Native American literature by Lisa Tatonetti. And Fighting colonialism with hegemonic culture: native American appropriation of Indian stereotypes by Maureen Trudelle Schwarz. Look for Michigan in Encyclopedia of Native American music of North America. Look at the last chapter of Imagic moments: indigenous North American film.

I read: Unsettling America: the uses of Indianness in the 21st century by C. Richard King. Amazing book, eye-opening. He discussed Blue Corn Comics' Peace Party, and from there, I found Newspaper Rock, a forum subtitled, "Where Native America meets pop culture."

Here is a searchable in English or Ojibwe pronouncing Ojibwe People's Dictionary, from Minnesota, Ontario, Wisconsin.

March 7: Reading The queerness of Native American literature by Lisa Tatonetti. Based on the film chapter, I looked for and watched several documentaries from this organization: Basic Rights Oregon (BRO), Our Families “Native American LGBT Two Spirit”
Discovered filmmaker Carrie House. And website Native Out.
Next to read: Sovereign erotics : a collection of two-spirit literature

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