Sunday, June 25, 2017

Red Resonant Skywalker/ Red Spectral Serpent - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 26

Maïna (Innu) in “Maïna: An Unusual Love Story” - Played by Roseanne Supernault - Photo credit: Equinoxe.
Maïna (Innu) in “Maïna: An Unusual Love Story” – Played by Roseanne Supernault.

Go Warrior Women! 8 Positively Portrayed Indigenous Women Characters in Film and Animation:
Well-represented Indigenous women characters in television and film can be tough to find. Here are eight exceptions to that sentiment

For girls across Turtle Island and beyond, it can be difficult to find positively portrayed Indigenous women characters who are represented in a respectful way in television and film. For most of film history, Native women on the big screen are either exaggerated fairy tales, horrendously referred to as squaws or perhaps they are spiritual ghosts carrying an ominous message.

When Native women are extras on the set, they are either background decoration or part of a massacre sequence. Native women are either a white man’s exotic love interest or a corpse. Sometimes both. But every once in awhile, an Indigenous actress steals the show, and breaks away from 100 years of film stereotypes.

Here is a list of great Indigenous women characters in film and television.  Editor’s Note: There will be spoilers in the write-ups below.  

Maggie Eagle Bear (Oglala-Sioux) in Thunderheart; played by Sheila Tousey  

Michael Apted’s 1992 film takes inspiration from the 1973 Wounded Knee standoff. Val Kilmer plays the leading role, but the heart of Thunderheart is Maggie Eagle Bear, played by Sheila Tousey.

Maggie Eagle Bear is a Dartmouth graduate who comes to her reservation to make a difference for her people. She opens a shelter for battered Native women after being sexually assaulted and uses her resources to help the Aboriginal Rights Movement. Unfortunately, her efforts make her a target for violence and she is murdered. 

Maggie’s diligence and strength can be found within politically active Native women throughout the world. She stands up for herself, her family, and her people even in the face of certain death. The film’s famous quote, “Sometimes they have to kill us…they have to kill us, because they can’t break our spirit,” resonates.   

Maïna (Innu) in Maïna: An Unusual Love Story; played by Roseanne Supernault

Maïna: An Unusual Love Story is set in a pre-colonial time, when the Innu and Inuit people first made contact. The title character of Maïna, played by Roseanne Supernault, is a complicated and fascinating woman who illustrates that good representation does not mean an absence of character flaws.

The film addresses many uneasy realities, including Maina getting kidnapped when the Inuit encounter the Innu and fighting breaks out. Maïna is raped by a man who later becomes her husband and is forced to assimilate into Inuit culture. Her relationship with her husband is not easy and adjusting to a new culture takes its toll on her. Maïna’s situation is also not used for shock value and she is not sexualized in the film.

Amidst challenges, Maïna stays true to herself and her Innu culture. She hunts, though it’s forbidden for women, she refuses to be “shared” with her husband’s best friend, and ultimately, her choices help bring the two tribes together.  

Moana (Polynesian) in Disney’s Moana; voiced by Auli’i Cravalho

Many in the New Zealand communities  expressed worry about the potential stereotypes that could have been portrayed in Moana. Though the film has a few critics lambasting the over-exaggeration of physicalities of the characters, Moana has been well-received by indigenous communities. 

Moana is the daughter of the chief who will be her tribe’s future leader. As a toddler, the ocean chose her for an important mission. A character in this scenario usually gives up a crucial part of who she is so she can pursue her destiny. It is refreshing that Moana can be both: she is the hope of her people as well as the hero who delivers the heart to Te Fiti. She’s not a “warrior princess,” but still holds her own against demigods and monsters while maintaining a gentle, loving heart.  

Moana’s story isn’t about enduring colonialism, overcoming racism, or facing off with an evil government official. It’s about a very special girl going on an adventure to save her people and to discover her own self-worth.

Nani Pelekai (Native Hawaiian) in Disney’s Lilo & Stitch; voiced by Tia Carrere

Before Moana, Lilo & Stitch was the Polynesian-themed fan favorite among Disney lovers. The animated sci-fi adventure takes place in Hawaii sometime after 1973, with a diverse cast of characters. Despite cultural differences, the main characters are accessible to a non-Hawaiian audience. The most relatable and sympathetic character in the film is not the title character, but her older sister.

Lilo appeals to younger viewers but Nani Pelekai speaks to their older brothers, sisters and parents. She had to step up to the plate when her parents died, making her both a big sister and a new mom.The film flirts with subtle colonial elements familiar to Indigenous people; Nani works at a “fake luau” to support her family while a government official threatens to take away her sister. Life keeps throwing her curve balls, but she goes above and beyond to keep her family together. Nani’s love for Lilo is the heart and soul of a story about a botched alien invasion.

And while the story doesn’t have a central romance, Nani has the greatest boyfriend in Disney history. He gives her time to sort out her personal problems and offers her emotional support when she needs it. David Kawena is the Disney Prince she deserves!     

Lena Mahikan (Cree) in Empire of Dirt; played by Cara Gee

Before the age of social media, finding films with a strong Native woman in a leading or supporting role was hard. Empire of Dirt is an enigma because it stars not one but three Native women as its main characters. It passes  the “Native Bechdel Test“ in the first five minutes of the film: two Native women speak to each other about something other than white men. Although white men do have an impact on their lives, they are not the focal point of the story. 

The film stars Cara Gee as Lena Mahikan, with Jennifer Podemski playing her mother and Shay Eyre playing her daughter. All three women come to terms with their inner demons, but Lena’s personal growth is the focus of the story. 

Lena is a deeply flawed character. She’s both a recovering addict and a single mother out of a job. Rather than turn to stripping to provide for her family, she and her daughter move back to her mother’s house. Throughout the film, she reconnects with her culture and learns to forgive herself and her mother. She may not be the most flattering representation for Native women, but she is allowed to fail and to make mistakes before she can come back stronger. 

Empire of Dirt is an underdog story that addresses the generational trauma within Native families. Because of this, both the characters and the Native audience can heal from it. With Lena and her family, the Native viewers learn that we are not alone and are stronger together.

Cheedo the Fragile (Maori, Cook Islander) in Mad Max: Fury Road; played by Courtney Eaton

Courtney Eaton’s character in Mad Max: Fury Road had all the makings for disappointment. She is a sex slave who is innocent, virginal, and afraid of leaving her abuser. Rather than exploit these characteristics, she avoids many tropes that are usually assigned to Indigenous women.  She isn’t eroticized for her race, she’s not a chief’s daughter, she’s not an “Indian princess,” and she’s not the love interest to the white protagonist. Although the movie is exceedingly violent, she is never brutalized.

Instead, Cheedo is vulnerable, afraid, and allowed moments of weakness. When one of her “sister wives” is brutally killed, she panics and tries to run back to her abuser. Instead of punishing her for her emotional outburst, her sisters comfort her and give her time to grieve. This makes her act of true heroism toward the end of the film all the more satisfying. Cheedo is allowed to be strong without sacrificing her femininity and passive nature. She may not be able to shoot guns and drive a war rig into battle, but she helps win the final battle.

Paikea “Pai” Apirana (Maori) in Whale Rider; played by Keisha Castle-Hughes

For many moviegoers in 2002, Whale Rider was their introduction to Maori people and their culture. The film was mentioned at the Academy Awards when Keisha Castle-Hughes earned a Best Actress nomination for her role as Paikea “Pai” Apirana. Although she is quiet and solitary, she carries the weight of the film and gives a wonderful performance.  

Whale Rider is a coming of age story that provided audiences with something new and heartwarming. In an industry where an Indigenous girl is often a love interest or a victim, Pai is a Prophet. Although she experiences sexism and neglect from her grandfather, she chooses to stay with him when she hears the whales calling to her. She knows she is the descendant of the same Paikea who rode on top of a whale and that something powerful is waiting for her.

The film shows us how she will make her people strong again in metaphorical ways. When her grandfather breaks the rope that symbolizes the strength of their people, she is the one who mends it together. When he throws his whale tooth necklace into the water, she is the one who finds it and brings it back. In the end, it is her compassion and gentleness that brings her family and community back together. Under her guidance and future leadership, she will show her people the way forward.

Aila (Mi’kmaq) in Rhymes For Young Ghouls; played by Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs

Rhymes For Young Ghouls is one of the most important films for Indigenous people in Canada and the United States. As such, Aila (played by Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs) is a revolutionary character for Native women and girls. 

Through Aila, we come face to face with the harsh realities of reservation life in the 1970s. After her mother’s suicide and father’s incarceration, Aila “ages by a thousand years.” She is an artist who is especially fond of painting strong Native women and chiefs and she takes care of her elderly neighbor who tells her traditional stories. As a teenager, she turns to drug dealing to make end’s meet before she’s taken to the residential school. Her story is one of immeasurable sorrow and personal pain, which is why it’s so important when Aila survives it all.  

She is a Native woman who is a main character and whose story isn’t motivated by romance. She isn’t murdered or raped for the sake of drama or character development. Her suffering is never exploited: when she is stripped and her hair is cut by the nuns at the residential school, the focus is on her face instead of her body. Her pain, anger, and sadness become personal to the audience and although she is brutalized, oppressed, and was never supposed to live to see another day, she does. In spite of all the odds stacked against her, she comes out of this nightmare alive. 

Aila is the seventh generation’s version of Chief Bromden running to freedom. She is a reminder of everything Indigenous people have survived and gives us hope for what lies ahead.*

By Ali Nahdee • June 24, 2017


Kin 33: Red Resonant Skywalker

I channel in order to explore
Inspiring wakefulness
I seal the output of space
With the resonant tone of attunement
I am guided by the power of life force.

Be still and let the higher energies infuse and reorganize you with the supreme benevolence of galactic consciousness.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.

The Sacred Tzolk'in

Visshudha Chakra (Alpha Plasma)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Yellow Rhythmic Human/ Yellow Planetary Seed - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 25

Related image
Native American Fry Bread Taco!

As a Native Artist: I Will Joke No More About Frybread Forever

Is the Native literary and art community a hive mind? A collective comparable to The Borg? Is resistance futile? Like any collective, do we have to come to a unified consensus by a committee of our peers? While we most certainly agree on most things—such as the Washington Reds***s are unquestionably racist—there are also many issues in terms of representation that we don’t all agree on. Is that okay? Will some of us have our CDIB cards revoked? Will we be ostracized or banished for our dissent? Are we disappointing our ancestors, or bringing shame to our future descendants?

If you happened to agree with the recent op-ed Quality and Control: How Native Artists Have Failed to Criticize Each Other—that is if you happened to agree that Native criticism of Native art is important and will only make for better, more substantive works, then congratulations! You support critical thinking and the open exchange of dialogue. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas!

However, if you’re not on the same page, and as a productive Native artist, feel personally slighted or even attacked, welcome to the club. As a contributing columnist for Indian country, a writer of satire, and an author of some of those listicles which Mailhot felt a pressing urgency to denounce—listicles and memes which apparently will cause the utter ruination of Native identity, and wipe out all life as we know it—I pledge and testify myself as one hundred percent implicated. Guilty as charged.

You see, it has been within my evil plans, for over two decades now, to destroy all that Native people have upheld as inalienable and divine. Myself, having direct relationship with The Dark Side, the first chapter of my quest for destruction of indigenous intellectual purity and refined, delicate aesthetic, is to cull from the shady edges of the streets and houses, and pow wow grounds, only the richest and most beautiful of all humor, slapstick, cheeze, and schtick; all of that wonder which abounds from Native culture. Every fry bread joke, every mother-in-law quip, every rez dog wise-crack, and then I shall erect a mighty tower—a listicle if you will—of memes, in which I shall then use as my throne, upon which, I shall wreak havoc upon all that is good within the land. I’m here to burn it all down. Set the bar low, lower, lowest. I am the twerking diva of Native American identity and art. I am the cheap floozy your mother is worried you’ll bring home.

You’re on to me.

But I will not stop there. Oh no, fearful mortals. I shall then take up pencil, paint, and paper, and deify our most iconic Indian champions, saviors, and legends, until such a time that their images are ubiquitous and sullied, and should any poor soul feel emboldened with their grace, inspired from such figureheads, willing to push on for another day amid this cold, hard, world, I shall tease them further with a comedy sketch and present it on a nationally televised news/comedy show, for which all of a collective pride and ensuing mirth and hilarity will shrivel to dust at the gates.

And then I shall build a tower of frybread jokes, upon which Indian humor will be cast, forever enshrined, and so the people shall laugh, and so the people shall share the connection of an insider joke, a standard punchline, an old gold gag, which those on the outside will not understand, even if it is told in the enemy’s tongue. And then ruination will be, but those of the people who live their lives humbly and with love and grace in their hearts, those for whom the Facebook “likes” and the Twitter “reposts” validate all of existence, so the people shall laugh. Yes. They shall laugh. And it shall be medicine. And it shall be good.

Forever and ever. Infinity. As long as the grass shall grow and rivers flow…*

By Tiffany Midge. Tiffany Midge is a poetry editor for The Rumpus, and an award-winning author of “The Woman Who Married a Bear.” Her work is featured in McSweeney’s, Okey-Pankey, The Butter, Waxwing, and Moss. She is Hunkpapa Lakota.



Kin 32: Yellow Rhythmic Human

I organize in order to influence
Balancing wisdom
I seal the process of free will
With the rhythmic tone of equality
I am guided by my own power doubled.

Through the galactic streams of the new knowledge the window of the supernatural order in its entire splendor is opened.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.

The Sacred Tzolk'in 

Svadhistana Chakra (Kali Plasma)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Blue Overtone Monkey/ Blue Solar Night - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 24

Onondaga Nation leader Tadodaho (Sid Hill), center, leads a walkout from the school on June 16. Only five students are left out of 130.
Michael Greenlar/Syracuse Post-Standard
Onondaga Nation leader Tadodaho (Sid Hill), center, leads a walkout from the school on June 16. Only five students are left out of 130.

Onondaga Nation Members Remove Children From School:

Parents protesting against hiring of a non-Native principal over a qualified Native candidate want the process reviewed

The Onondaga Nation has asked the New York State Department of Education to audit the LaFayette School District’s hiring of a non-Native principal over an equally qualified tribal educator after parents yanked their children out of school two weeks early in protest.

“The Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs has decided that our children’s last day of school for the 2016–2017 school year will be Friday, June 16, 2017,” the Onondaga Nation said in a statement. “This decision was reached with consultation with our Clan Mothers and community due to the lack of collaboration, respect and communication by Principal Diane Ellworth, Superintendent Laura Lavine, and the LaFayette Central School Board.”

The Nation, in central New York State, wants the culturally competent and qualified candidate Simone Thornton to replace outgoing principal Diane Ellworth. Thornton made it to the final three, but the state said it could not hire her without some required paperwork that she does not yet have. That paperwork is en route from the NYS Department of Education, according to Thornton. Onondaga Nation attorney Joseph Heath suggested that Thornton be named as interim principal pending the arrival of her paperwork, but instead the LaFayette District School Board chose Warren Smith, a non-Native educator who has never taught at the school. Smith declined the position on June 2.

“The LaFayette Central School District seems to think they have the ultimate authority over the school,” Onondaga Nation leader Tadodaho Sid Hill said in a statement. “This is our school, with our children, on our Nation. The ultimate decision on who will be principal here, who the teachers are in our schools, needs to come from the Onondaga Nation, to ensure our children are being taught well, in a culturally appropriate manner. To do otherwise just perpetuates generations of injustice.”

The Onondaga Nation school has a special agreement with New York State, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard. In addition to the state curriculum, its students learn Onondaga language and culture, and get time off for ceremonies and other cultural events. The Onondaga are supposed to be consulted on educational issues, as well.

“The district has not been compliant with meeting mandates that require them to regularly meet and consult with the Nation, particularly in regards to the budget,” Onondaga Nation attorney Joe Heath told ICMN. “There is a portion of the budget that is entitled ‘supplemental budget’ that is set aside for Native kids. The district has been submitting these for years and not consulting the Nation.”

The school board did not return phone calls from Indian Country Media Network requesting comment.

Lavine, who is also running for mayor, will be leaving the superintendent’s position.

“Per the Great Law and using a Good Mind, we have tried to engage in respectful dialogue,” Heath said.“We are hoping the incoming superintendent will be more respectful to the Nation.”

Thornton grew up on the Onondaga Nation, attended the school and has taught there for 20 years. The Nation feels she is the most culturally competent and qualified for the position.

To emphasize that point, in a sign of solidarity and strength, the Onondaga Nation Clan Mothers, leaders and parents removed their children from the school on June 16, two weeks ahead of schedule. By noon of June 16, only five children out of more than 130 remained in the school.

“Experience with our school, our language, our culture, and our community is far more valuable experience for being a good principal of our school than a few years’ experience as an administrator of an affluent suburban school,” said Awheñheeyoh Powless, the parent of a kindergartner at the Onondaga school. “Simone’s experience is the most valuable there is; the kind it takes being part of a community your whole life to know.”*

By Alex Hamer



Kin 31: Blue Overtone Monkey

I empower in order to play
Commanding illusion
I seal the process of magic
With the overtone tone of radiance
I am guided by the power of self-generation.

If you do not have control over your thought-waves, they are controlling you.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.

The Sacred Tzolk'in 

Ajna Chakra (Gamma Plasma)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

White Self-Existing Dog/ White Galactic Wind - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 23

Chief Arvol Looking Horse speaks of the sacred at Standing Rock in 2016.

Praying for the Sacred and World Peace:

2017 World Peace and Prayer Day statement by the Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Bundle

At the age of 12 years old I was given the responsibility of taking care of the Sacred Chanupa. My journey as a holy person has led to many visions. World Peace and Prayer Day is a vision of healing for all life that was initiated 22 years ago today.

Today, World Peace and Prayer Day is at Mauna a Wakea (Mountain of Sky Father), also known as Mauna Kea, in Hawaii. Many First Nations Indigenous Peoples are gathering here to pray and make spiritual offerings for all life on Mother Earth. Also, people from all directions and all Nations across Turtle Island will be praying in unification with us today.

The messages from many animal nations have been shown for a long time now. If we do not create the consciousness for the need to unite all humanity at Mother Earth’s Sacred Sites; there will be chaos, disasters, and severe tragedies for all life. We are related to all things that have a spirit, and everything on Mother Earth has a spirit. We call this relationship we have with all life the ‘Mitakuye Oyasin.

Recently, the Sacred Sites in the territories of the Oceti Sakowin (Nations of the Seven Council Fires) have been encroached upon by the Dakota Access Pipeline. Water protectors from all directions took a stand against this encroachment; and the World took notice and supported the Indigenous Peoples whose human rights have been violated.

The Red Hand Society, who has been trained by our ancestors to protect Sacred Sites and respect the sacredness of life, was forced to leave the unceded territory of the Oceti Sakowin just as our ancestors were; and many of the water protectors are facing criminal charges for protecting life at Standing Rock. However, we will continue to follow the Woope (natural laws), which are the sacred teachings of humanity.

The man-made laws state that a burial must have tombstone; but these laws do not recognize the protection of our ancestor’s final resting place marked by Grandfather stone. The man-made laws say that you need to be an anthropologist to understand what defines a sacred site, but it is the elders with the Indigenous knowledge that should be given this respect. The man-made law says that our sacred objects, that we repatriate from shoe boxes stored in museum attics, are required to be stored in buildings; when it is our inherent right to have these objects in our hands for ceremonies. We have been forced to leave our homelands and denied access by man-mad laws, but the sacred sites are still there. Therefore, we will continue to follow the natural law and do everything we can to protect these sacred sites where our ancestors rest and where we gather food and medicine necessary for the health and welfare of loved ones as well as necessary for all life on Mother Earth.

We began our ceremony on June 18th at Halema’uma’u, near the home and volcanic crater of Pele. The elders are passing the torch to the youth and have discussed the empowerment of women, following your spiritual path, cultural teachings, protection of sacred sites, healing from historical trauma as well as many other spiritual teachings. It is time for all Peoples to unify, and we ask everyone across the World to join us for a unified prayer today and all Nations to declare this day as an international holiday.*

By Chief Arvol Looking Horse 


Kin 30: White Self-Existing Dog

I define in order to love
Measuring loyalty
I seal the process of heart
Wit the self-existing tone of form
I am guided by the power of death
I am a polar kin
I convert the white galactic spectrum.

It is important to learn how to think by stepping outside of the box of theoretical constructs, and allowing yourself to look at things from all directions without attachment.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.

The Sacred Tzolk'in 

Muladhara Chakra  (Seli Plasma)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Red Electric Moon/ Red Resonant Dragon - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 22

Mohawk youth opt to spend four years in rigorous training for adulthood.
Courtesy: Matika Wilbur
Mohawk youth opt to spend four years in rigorous training for adulthood.

Coming of Age in Akwesasne: The Beauty Is Under the Husk:

Rigorous, four-year coming-of-age process brings Mohawk Akwesasne youth to adulthood

Of course, Ohero:kon wasn’t realized overnight. It has been developing organically over the past 14 years. It was the vision brought to fruition by many—Louise Wakerakats:te Bear in particular, known to many by her moniker, Mama Bear.

“The need for Ohero:kon came at a time when our community had a lot of social distress,” Bear said. “It was just through the prayers of mothers wanting to do something different that we formalized Ohero:kon.”

(Editor’s Note: In an earlier version of this piece, for brevity’s sake, we neglected to recognize the contributions of Turtle Clanmother Delia Cook for this revival and carrying out rites of passage for previous generations. Those who benefited from her guidance and tutelage have asked us to include as a matter of honor and respect, of which she is certainly more than worthy. Respect and honor, too, for all of the other teachers who since time immemorial have carried out various coming-of-age ceremonies.)

Bear explains that the rites of passage ceremony was given in the original Haudenosaunee creation story, a tradition that has been happening since the beginning of time:

“It happened in Skyworld,” she said. “An uncle takes his sister’s children when he realized that they were children of destiny…so he set them aside from the rest and put them under the husk,” covering them the way corn ears are swathed in their husks, because they were destined to fulfill a prophecy.

“In our language we call corn o’he: ra which means ‘it’s fully husked,’ ” said Bear. “It’s not until the corn is ripe that you begin to peel back the layers of husk to get to the regenerative seed. When our children hit puberty, we begin to pull back the layers and equip them with knowledge about who they are. A big part of Ohero:kon is to offer them knowledge about their creation story so they can understand the genesis of our selves . . . so they know who they are before they become influenced by other people.”

Co-founder, educator and filmmaker Katsitsionni Fox said that Ohero:kon was created as a change agent for Akwesasne.

“It was something we could do for the youth to keep them away from drugs, teen pregnancy, self-harm, all those things that are going on in our communities,” Fox said.

Bear delved into Mohawk history to retrieve the ceremony, said Fox, gathering knowledge keepers together and plumbing dreams.

“The youth who fully commit to the Ohero:kon will learn their purpose in life at a younger age,” Fox said. It’s a tough program, she emphasized, with not all of them making it through.

“Sometimes they will make it one year, then they won’t come back,” Fox said. “It’s the ones that are really invested that will stay for all four years.”

For those who stick it out, “it really alters their path,” she said. “It makes them find their purpose sooner. They don’t waste a lot of time.”

Being in ceremony together brings them closer, connecting them with each other and the community, Fox added. Fox has made a beautiful film about the program, including a trailer.

Once the fourth-years come out of their fast, they look shiny and new, glowing with accomplishment and a radiance that is hard to describe. At their graduation ceremony, the fourth-year nieces and nephews shared what they’ve learnt  with tribal leaders.

Bear recalled one of her most memorable experiences, with a niece who had a dream about the Thunder Beings.

“In this dream, or vision, she met the Thunder Beings, and they told her their names in the Mohawk language, and we were able to record that and revitalize those names,” said Bear. “And now, when we burn tobacco for the Thunder Beings in the spring and in the fall, we acknowledge those names.”

Several of the nieces and nephews even brought back stories to encourage their people to return to traditional food systems, Bear said.

One of the nephews this year dreamt that he came out of his fast and went to the sacred fire and nobody was there, so he went to kaneni:io and found it also empty, and then he went to the longhouse and nobody was there either. He realized that all of the culture bearers were gone, that he would have to carry the culture forward, that he was the last one. Then he woke up, grateful to know there were still culture bearers to guide him, and grateful that he will be able to carry his culture forward.

Ohero:kon has become a driving force mobilizing the community, Bear said, and has healed a lot of divisions as the community committed to working together “for the love of our children,” she said. “Ohero:kon reduced the crime rate. It reduced teen pregnancy. It reduced juvenile delinquency. But most important, it also returned a lot of young people back to our longhouses.”

O:herokon is about planting seeds. Seeds of knowledge. Seeds of hope. Seeds that make leaders. Or as my beautiful niece Quinna Hamby describes it, “It connected me to community. I know that my community will always forgive me. That I can go back to them. I know that I am a traditional person, and even though I might be going away to college, I can always come home.”*

By Matika Wilbur


Kin 29: Red Electric Moon

I activate in order to purify
Bonding flow
I seal the process of universal water
With the electric tone of service
I am guided by the power of space.

Patience brings for the cultivation of humility and the quality of self-sacrifice; it tempers aggression and dissolves the snare of self-righteousness.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.

The Sacred Tzolk'in 

Sahasrara Chakra (Dali Plasma)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Yellow Lunar Star/ Yellow Rhythmic Sun - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 21

An ad by the Change the Mascot campaign demonstrates how it's still Washington football even without the dictionary-defined racial slur, mascot and trademark.
An ad by the Change the Mascot campaign demonstrates how it's still Washington football even without the dictionary-defined racial slur and mascot.

Supreme Court: Yes, You Can Trademark Disparaging Racial Slurs Like R-Word:

Washington NFL team says they are “thrilled” with the court's trademark decision; Natives take to social media to deride ruling

In a significant blow against the fight to change the Washington NFL team name, the Supreme Court ruled June 19 that a federal law prohibiting trademarks of disparaging racial slurs is unconstitutional and violates free speech provided by the first amendment. The decision comes in response to a case concerning “The Slants,” an Asian-American band that has fought in court to keep its controversial name. The Supreme Court struck down the Lanham Act in particular, which denied trademark protection of any word or name that disparaged someone, living or dead. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion that “trademarks are private, not government speech.”

“(It’s) far fetched to suggest that the content of a registered mark is government speech, especially given the fact that if trademarks become government speech when they are registered, the Federal Government is babbling prodigiously and incoherently,” Alito wrote.

Amanda Blackhorse, a lead plaintiff in the ongoing case against the Washington NFL team’s use of a racial slur and the four other plaintiffs, said in a joint statement sent to Indian Country Media Network that they “are disappointed with Supreme Court’s ruling that Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional, and we respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision.”

Regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling, “the term ‘redskin’ disparages Native Americans,” the statement reads. In 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington NFL teams’ trademark of the word ‘redskin,’ ruling the term is disparaging to Natives, but that decision was later overturned.

Change The Mascot, a group of Natives and allies advocating for the repeal of the Washington NFL team’s name, said the ruling does not change the definition of the word ‘redskin’ or its impact on Natives.

“This is an issue we have always believed will not be solved in a courtroom, and this ruling does not change some very clear facts. Washington’s football team promotes, markets and profits from the use of a word that is not merely offensive – it is a dictionary-defined racial slur designed from the beginning to promote hatred and bigotry against Native Americans,” group leaders National Congress of American Indians Executive Director Jackie Pata and Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said in the statement. (Indian Country Today Media Network is wholly—owned by the Oneida Indian Nation.)

They added that the ruling does not change the fact that empirical research has shown that Indian mascots harm the mental health of youths. “And the problems caused by the R-word epithet are still very real and present today. Social science research has shown that its continued use has devastating impacts on the self-image and mental health of Native Americans, particularly children,” the statement reads.

As a result of the new social science concerning the detriments of Indians mascots on children, in 2015, the American Psychological Association called for the immediate “retirement” of Indian mascots.

“These mascots are teaching stereotypical, misleading and too often, insulting images of American Indians,” former APA President Ronald F. Levant wrote. “These negative lessons are not just affecting American Indian students; they are sending the wrong message to all students.”

Lisa Blatt, attorney for the Washington NFL team, told CNN the team is “thrilled” with the Supreme Court’s ruling.

“The Team is thrilled with today’s unanimous decision as it resolves the Redskins’ long-standing dispute with the government,” she said in a statement. “The Supreme Court vindicated the Team’s position that the First Amendment blocks the government from denying or canceling a trademark registration based on the government’s opinion.”

Native Twitter was ablaze with frustration June 19 following the release of the Supreme Court’s decision—many saying the decision stands as further example that the U.S. continues to care little for the well being of Natives.*

By Lynn Cordova 


Kin 28: Yellow Lunar Star

I polarize in order to beautify
Stabilizing art
I seal the store of elegance
With the lunar tone of challenge
I am guided by the power of universal fire.

Everything is contained within the vastness of space and within the human body; we are cultivating evolution in the for of the Earth Wizard.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.

The Sacred Tzolk'in

Anahata Chakra (Silio Plasma)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Blue Magnetic Hand/ Blue Overtone Storm - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 20

Robin Pease, founder of Kulture Kids
Photo Courtesy: Otsitsya
Robin Pease, founder of Kulture Kids.

Kulture Kids Integrates Storytelling, Art and Valuable Lessons:

Robin Pease, founder of Kulture Kids, educates students about different cultures through performance and art

Robin Pease’s favorite story to perform for youth is The Great Law of Peace, the basis of the Iroquois Confederacy, adopted and incorporated into The United States Constitution. She also leads a speaking engagement, People Not Mascots, which garners much attention in Cleveland, Ohio, where her nonprofit Kulture Kids is based.

Pease, a Mohawk descendant, grew up in a very diverse neighborhood of Queens, New York. Kulture Kids celebrates and shares stories of all cultures’ art, history and traditions through storytelling, dance, theatre, music, literary and visual art. The nonprofit’s ultimate goal is to inspire community, cultural awareness and lifelong learning.

“We deal with the idea of e pluribus unum — out of many we are one,” Pease said.

Every Native story she shares through Kulture Kids was passed down to her by oral tradition, she said. Among students’ favorite Native-focused programs is another Iroquois story, First Strawberries. “We talk about the power of words,” Pease said.

Kulture Kids’ most popular Latino program is a Costa Rican tale, an anti-bullying story: La Tortuga Sin Amigos. For Black History Month, Pease takes an African tale and put it to music and dance. In Ohio, Pease often performs The Last Fugitive Slave, the true story of Sarah Lucy Bagby. A new Kulture Kids performance, A Classical Dilemma, journeys back to ancient Greece and visits the Greek gods.

Kulture Kids adapts programs for all age groups, from age 3 through senior citizen. “The bulk of our performances are targeted at kids preschool through middle school aged,” Pease said.

Pease formed Kulture Kids in 1999. “My son’s teacher asked me to do a program for Thanksgiving. I told her, ‘I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but I could tell a story about the benefits of working together. It was for kindergartners and they needed to learn that. So, I put together this story of Pushing Up the Sky with some singing in it, and she really liked it,” Pease said.

Word of Pease’s performances spread by word of mouth and she started getting more and more requests for programs. For Pease, who studied acting at the Boston Conservatory, and previously worked as a drama and theater teacher at Hawkins School, opportunities to create  interactive arts programs and performances evolved into founding her nonprofit, hosting shows year-round, and touring in the spring and fall.

The organization is also mindful of tying in core school curriculum standards into its programs.

At the heart of every Kulture Kids story is a moral. “We deal with basic human values that we all share, because the idea is: We may all be different, but we can learn from each other and appreciate our differences,” Pease said.

The biggest question that Pease hears from young children is: “Are these stories true?”

“In Pushing Up the Sky, we’ll talk about how the birds tried to push up the sky. They ask, ‘Is this a true story?’ I always tell them, ‘ I don’t know, what do you think?’ I always tell them the point of the story. I ask, ‘Is it better to work alone or together?’ And the kids always say: ‘Together!’ I talk about basic human values that we all share, and about how moms and dads all over the world, regardless of their culture, tell stories to teach them how to live their lives.”

Pease also frequently gets asked if she’s a “real Indian.” She explains modern day Indians to them. “Most people don’t live like their ancestors did 200 years ago, because this is 2017,” she says.


Kulture Kids also collaborates with Playhouse Square, “the second largest performing arts organization after Lincoln Center. I was a consultant for them,” Pease said.

Through its PNC Bank and Playhouse Square partners, Kulture Kids leads professional development projects. “We work with teachers to create lessons in their classrooms that are integrated in the arts,” Pease said.

Through Cleveland’s Department of Sustainability, Kulture Kids is leading a project on vibrant green spaces. “We’re building a garden. The garden of course will have art in it, and we’re hoping it’s going to have Native plants. I’m so excited, because I want to grow sunflowers. We talk about the Columbian Exchange: what plants and animals came back and forth, and which ones were here before,” Pease said.

Kulture Kids has additionally teamed up with with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra .“Last year they were doing concerts about video game music, so we went into the schools and got the kids to design ideas for a video game and then design music for it. When they go to a concert, they have a handle on what it’s like to create video game music,” Pease said.

Through partners Cayuga Arts and Culture and the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, Kulture Kids speaks about how to activate change using the arts.

Over its past 18 years of operation, Kulture Kids staff has grown to include several performers and business leaders, as well as a board of directors. Pease takes pride in the fact that Kulture Kids is run mostly run by women. “We have some male artists and men on our Board of Trustees, but we’re a girl power organization,” Pease said. “The women who work with us are just amazing. I feel honored to be able to work with them.”*



Kin 27: Blue Magnetic Hand

I unify in order to know
Attracting healing
I seal the store of accomplishment
With the magnetic tone of purpose
I am guided by my own power doubled.

Submission and humility open the door to the super-mental descent, dissolving and transforming the present human into the super-human.*

*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2016-2017.

The Sacred Tzolk'in 

Manipura Chakra (Limi Plasma)