Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Yellow Galactic Seed/ Yellow Crystal Warrior - Crystal Rabbit Moon of Cooperation, Day 3
A Novel by Janet Campbell Hale, Coeur d'Alene.
Janet Campbell Hale was born on 11 January 1946 in Riverside, California, to Nicholas Patrick
Campbell, a carpenter and full-blood Coeur d'Alene Indian, and Margaret Sullivan Campbell, a
Kootenay with some white and Chippewa ancestry. Campbell is the Anglicized version of Cole-man-
née, the name of her great-grandfather. Hale's great-grandparents on her mother's side were Dr.
John McLoughlin, a fur trader for the Hudson's Bay Company who was the chief factor in the
Northwest Territory, and Annie Grizzly, a Kootenay woman. Hale is a member of the Coeur d'Alene
tribe of northern Idaho and spent parts of her childhood on the Coeur d'Alene and Yakima
Campbell attended high school in Wapato, Washington, before transferring to the Institute of
American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. On 23 June 1964 she married Harry Arthur Dudley I
they have a son, Aaron Nicholas, and were divorced in 1965. She attended the City College of San
Francisco in 1968. On 23 August 1970 she married Stephen Dinsmore Hale; they have a daughter,
Jennifer Elizabeth. Janet Campbell Hale received a B.A. in rhetoric from the University of California at Berkeley in 1972 and studied law there for two years.
In 1984 she earned an M.A. in English at the University of California at Davis, where she has taught
literature courses. She also has taught at the University of California at Berkeley; DQ University near Davis, California; Western Washington University in Bellingham; the University of Oregon; and the Centrum Foundation in Port Townsend, Washington. She currently teaches at Lummi Community
College, an Indian-controlled school in Bellingham. She was writer-in-residence at the University of
Washington in 1985-1986.
Written for younger readers, The Owl's Song is the story of Billy White Hawk, who at age fourteen
leaves the reservation in Idaho and his alcoholic father to live with his sister, Alice Fay, in California. Although he has escaped the malaise of the reservation, he encounters prejudice from his fellow students, both white and black. Here Hale here addresses a subject seldom mentioned in American Indian literature: prejudice among races rather than just between whites and Indians.
His sister turns out to be a self-loathing hypocrite who wants nothing to do with Indians and curses the drunken Indians from the reservation while sipping sherry. The only adult who seems to understand Billy and offer him support is his homosexual art teacher. Above all, this is a novel about death -- physical, spiritual, and cultural; for many tribes the owl is the bringer of death, and its song is one of despair. A tribal elder tells Billy: "There is little left of what once was. The time is coming when even this will be gone, taken away. And we will be no more. The time is coming when the owl's song will be for our race." Billy White Hawk's cousin, a troubled Vietnam veteran, commits suicide, and his father dies at the end of the novel.
In the title poem of Custer Lives in Humboldt County and Other Poems, Hale calls Anglo interpretations of Indian history "justifiable genocide" and "involuntary manslaughter." After mentioning Little Bighorn, Steptoe, and Wounded Knee, she ends the poem: "The past is best forgotten"; but the reader is keenly aware that Hale has not forgotten and does not intend to. In "My Sisters the Summer of '53," Hale remembers envying her sisters going to dances with Indian cowboys.
In "Desmet, Idaho, March 1969" she writes of returning to the reservation for her grandfather's wake and of hearing the old people speaking a language she only vaguely remembered from her
childhood. In "Tribal Cemetery" she shows her children the grave of their grandfather. Hale, like many other American Indians, is a product of a Catholic upbringing; in "On a Catholic Childhood" she introduces humor into what is otherwise a serious collection of memories:
I'd never confess:
I stole my sister's
plastic glows-in-the-dark Virgin Mary
And hid it deep within the lilac bush.
God would never understand.
Her tribute to the late Supreme Court justice William Douglas, a man who had "respect for Human
Dignity," traces her own life as well as his.
The protagonist of Hale's second novel, "The Jailing of Cecelia Capture," is a far better developed and much stronger character than Billy White Hawk; Hale seems more at ease with a female character closer to her own age and experiences. Cecelia Capture, an American Indian woman, is a law student at Berkeley who is jailed on her birthday for drunk driving.
During her incarceration Capture reflects on her past, a past she tried to forget by moving to the city
and marrying a white man. Alcohol was ever present on the reservation and in her own home: her
father was frequently drunk and verbally abusive. Her upbringing exposed her to a love/hate
relationship with whites: they were models to emulate but were still despised by her father, who sent
Cecelia to white schools and encouraged her to leave the reservation. Her father is unhappy that she
is an Indian and equally unhappy that she is female: "too bad that you're a girl, Cece, because, you
know, men just don't like smart women."
Her mother also communicates to Cecelia a sense of her worthlessness, calling her a girl "no real life man would ever want." Leaving the reservation to seek a new life, Cecelia finds only poverty and an unhappy marriage to Nathan, "who didn't look like a man who would be her husband. He looked more like her dad." She seeks the escape she saw as a child: alcohol.
The jailing of the title clearly refers to more than Cecelia's incarceration: she has been imprisoned by negative attitudes and by a system that has not allowed her to grow and to thrive. Her surname is also significant: she is "captured" by her environment. At the beginning of the novel Hale quotes the
philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: "The thought of suicide is a great consolation. By means of it one
gets through many a bad night."
Cecelia's decision not to kill herself is a turning point in her life: she learns to take control of her
destiny, and she can then regain the positive reference of the name that was passed on to her by her
grandfather, Eagle Capture, who was skilled at snaring eagles. Cecelia's father had criticized her for
wearing red as a child, a sign to whites that she was an Indian. As an adult she decides that "red was
always going to be her favorite color ... her whole wardrobe would consist of nothing but red."
Bloodlines, Hale's most recent book, is a collection of essays in which she tries to gain a sense of the
meaning of her own life. Hale's story is reminiscent of the life of her character Cecelia Capture; Hale calls herself a "broken-off piece" of her family. As the only one of five siblings who was born off the Coeur d'Alene reservation in northern Idaho, she has always felt alienated from the land of her tribe.
Her mother, a light-skinned woman who could pass for white, was older than most mothers of young
girls her age; Hale remembers her mother as "a master, an absolute master, of verbal abuse." Hale's
grandmother seemed to reject her because of her dark skin. By the time she was fifteen, Hale was
writing poetry and sending it to magazines in New York. None of it was published, but through writing Hale could cope with her status as an outcast in her own family. In May 1986, while on a speaking tour in Montana, Hale traced the route of her father's mother, a Coeur d'Alene who had been with Chief Joseph during his attempt to escape to Canada. She recaptured in the memories of her grandmother, her connections to her Indian past:
I felt the biting cold. I was with those people, was part of them. I felt the presence of my
grandmother there as though two parts of her met each other that day: the ghost of the girl she
was in 1877 (and that part of her will remain forever in this place) and the part of her that lives
on in me, in inherited memories of her, in my blood and in my spirit.
By the time of her mother's death in 1987, Hale came to realize that "In the end there are no
resolutions. Only an end." Finally, in 1992, Hale returned to the reservation with her daughter. There
she came to terms with the lies she had created, the fantasies she had passed on to her children
about her childhood. She now understands that for "an Indian, home is the place where your tribe
began. . . .Home is the place where your people began, and maybe where your family began and your family still is"; but she still feels alienated: "I will remain, as I have long been, estranged from the land I belong to." Nevertheless, "I am as Coeur d'Alene in New York as I am in Idaho, that is something that is an integral part of me." In tracing her ancestry, she made a discovery: "The Kootenay was the only tribe in the region that had been matrilineal, the only one that had had women warriors." Hale continues that warrior tradition, but she uses words as her weapons.
Kin 164: Yellow Galactic Seed
I harmonize in order to target
I seal the input of flowering
With the galactic tone of integrity
I am guided by the power of elegance.
Any knowledge of the noosphere and the psi bank quickens and precipitates the mental/spiritual quantum shift in our consciousness, and in our own self-perception.*
*Star Traveler's 13 Moon Almanac of Synchronicity, Galactic Research Institute, Law of Time Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2015-2016.
The Sacred Tzolk'in
Alpha Chakra (Alpha Plasma)