Native Cooking: Summer Fruit Breads.

Strawberry bread is a good summer bread option. The frosting is an optional add-on. Photo: istock.

Strawberry bread is a good summer bread option. The frosting is an optional add-on. Photo: istock.

Every cultural area in Indian country, if not every tribal nation, has breads that are unique to them.  Then, there are other breads that are made by all, like corn bread or fry bread, but that may have variations. Many breads are used as a vehicle to put foods on or in, a tortilla for example. Many breads take the name of their major flavor ingredient, pumpkin, apple, molasses, wild rice, walnut, cranberry, lemon, blueberry, and on and on. Here are a couple to get us ready for summer, which is just around the corner.

Strawberry Bread

½ cup real butter, softened

¾ cup maple sugar

2 cups flour

1 egg

½ cup cornmeal, white or yellow

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Milk – enough to form a stiff batter

1 heaping cup of strawberries, wild or commercial

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread ingredients in a greased 8- or 9-inch baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool then serve warm.

To vary, mix together 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle on top before baking.

Cranberry-Apricot Bread

1 cup dried cranberries (crasins)

1 cup dried apricots

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 cup boiling water

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cover the apricots with boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, add eggs and apricots and blend. Now add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well and fold in nuts. Pour into a greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until done.

To vary this bread, use chopped dates or fresh peach pieces and some pine nuts.

From Dale Carson (Abenaki), via ICTMN.

Atheist Perspective in Times of Tragedy.

Alternately, Thoughts and Prayers # 896,367.


The aftermath of our all too regular mass homicides follows a familiar pattern. “Thoughts and prayers” are with survivors, victims’ families and the affected city. There are defiant assertions from the horror­struck that, “We will not tolerate this any longer.”

Some politicians call for an end to hate and better coordination between law enforcement agencies. And others, when there’s a whiff of Islamic heritage involved, play the “enemy is here” card, recklessly injecting accelerant into the roiling emotions of the moment.

For the media, standard reaction reporting involves transcribing pretty much all of the above. In the case of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Ft. Hood shooting, Paris, San Bernardino and now Orlando, it’s also standard practice to log the response from leaders of various religious faiths, most of whom encourage restraint and emphasize that Muslims themselves are collateral victims of these atrocities. The good, dutiful notion being to develop a body of sympathy that reflects solidarity among the broader local religious community.

While the Strib and the PiPress haven’t gone the latter route yet, at least when I called Monday, National Public Radio was hitting all the customary notes.
And all that is fine insofar as the objective is to register the solidarity of the community at large. But if the intention is ever to discuss the “perversion of religion,” a common enough refrain today and in past incidents involving radicalized Muslims, there’s at least one group, silent but no longer all that small or irrelevant, that the media rarely draws into these discussions, such as they are: atheists.


“I think we were called once, some time after 9/11,” says August Berkshire. “And no, no one else has called today.”

Berkshire is the founder and past president of ​MinnesotaAtheists​ . He’s been active in the cause of challenging the belief systems of organized religions since the mid­-1980s and jokes that current membership in the state is “probably around 250,000, although most haven’t paid their dues yet.”

Humor aside, Berkshire, a local delivery truck driver by day, is serious about the value of inserting an atheist perspective into conversations about religiously inspired violence. “Look, prayer didn’t do anything to stop this latest attack and prayer won’t do anything to stop this kind of violence from happening again. All it may do is make some people feel good for a while.”


But if the point is to engender an honest debate, you’d expect the atheist view to at least have a seat at the media table in moments like this. “Look,” says Berkshire, “at their origin, all three of the Abrahamic religions — Christianity, Judaism and Islam — preach and warn against homosexuality. They’re anti­gay. A lot of their followers today may be cafeteria Christians, Jews and Muslims, picking and choosing what they want. But I’m talking at their scriptural origins. We reject that. Atheists reject the teachings of religions for a lot of reasons, but among them is the lack of respect for science. Atheists, if I have to point it out, are very accepting of gay equality and other minority issues. We understand that.”

With ​23 percent of Americans in 2014  ​describing themselves as “nones,” which is to say having no religious affiliation, a nearly 50 percent increase since 2007, the atheist, or agnostic or “nothing in particular” perspective would seem to warrant at least as much regular reporting as what we get on priests, ministers and rabbis, certainly more than the “almost never” Berkshire describes.


Perhaps the problem with pulling atheists into a conversation about the “perversion of religion” is that spokespeople like Berkshire lack the curriculum vitae of traditional religious leaders. I mean, a guy who drives a truck cheek by jowl in a discussion with a priest, a minister and a rabbi?

But maybe the real issue is that the taint of taboo that still hangs to word “atheist.” Conventional journalism is partial to conventional wisdom and despite the steadily slumping numbers in church/synagogue/mosque attendance — and the rapid increase in those tuning out traditional religious messages — conventional journalistic wisdom has not yet reached a comfort point with overt atheism. Until that point is reached, speculation here is that mainstream news organizations will continue to treat it like a semi-­reputable curiosity.

Full Article Here.

Bilyk Nazar.



Rain. 2010 h-187см. bronze, glass.

Bilyk Nazar has an absolutely stunning body of work. This sculpture is called Rain.

The bronze sculpture features a nondescript man looking upward, a giant glass raindrop positioned over his face. This orb of translucent glass seems to balance perfectly, a sort of calm communing happening between the droplet and the solitary figure.

“The raindrop is a symbol of the dialogue which connects a man with a whole diversity of life forms,” Bilyk told My Modern Met. “The figure has a loose and porous structure and relates to dry land, which absorbs water. In this work I play with scale, making a raindrop large enough to compare a man with an insect, considering that man is a part of nature. Moreover, this work concerns the question of interaction and difficulties in coexistence of man with environment.”

There’s much more to explore at Nazar’s site, and Nazar at Behance.

Via Colossal Art.

Native Guitar Tour Showcase.

Jir Anderson performs at the 2016 Under the Native Stars show during Gathering of Nations. Credit: Jason Morgan Edwards.

Jir Anderson performs at the 2016 Under the Native Stars show during Gathering of Nations. Credit: Jason Morgan Edwards.

The southwest is a vibrant breeding-ground for Native talent. A newly emerging source for musicians is the Native Guitars Tour. Led by Jir Anderson (Cochiti), NGT is in its sixth year of existence and offers an alternative venue outside of showcases like Gathering of Nations and Santa Fe Indian Market.

NGT tends to be a two-night show with bands covering a myriad of genres.

“What I really wanted to do was provide a stage for fellow Native artists. I wanted to [showcase] contemporary music: rock, blues, R&B, metal and reggae,” Anderson said. He started the showcase after networking with bands while touring across the U.S. and Canada. His vision for NGT: “more national opportunities for Native artists.”

Anderson is not just focused on new and emerging talent. For the 2016 Under The Native Stars show during GoN, he featured singer/songwriter, Sage Bond (Navajo/Apache); indie rockers, Scatter Their Own (Lakota); Seattle soul band, Daisy Chain, featuring Leilani Finau (Haida Tsimpsian and Samoan); and veteran Navajo blues band, The Levi Platero Band (formerly The Plateros).


Catch the next NGT showcase on August 30 at The Palace in Santa Fe, with a tentative lineup that includes: The Jir Project Band, Native Roots, Scatter Their Own and The Levi Patero Band.

ICTMN has the full story.

Congress Will Not Allow the CDC to Study Gun Violence.

AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais.

On June 2, Obama gave a provactive argument for common sense gun laws. He compared the issue of gun violence to auto fatality rates. Though direct action was taken to lower car-related deaths, such as seatbelt laws and required air bags, no studies are even allowed to be conducted on gun violence.

“Why don’t we treat this like everything else we use? We used to have really bad auto fatality rates. The auto fatality rates have actually dropped, precipitously, drastically, since I was a kid. Why is that? We decided to have seatbelt laws. We decided to have manufacturers put air bags in place. We decided to crack down on drunk driving and texting. We decided to redesign roads so that they were less likely to have a car bank. We studied what is causing these fatalities using science and data and evidence, and then we slowly treated it like the public health problem that it was.

We are not allowed to use any of that when it comes to guns because when you propose anything it is suggested that we are trying to wipe away gun rights and promote tyranny and martial law. Do you know that Congress will not allow the Center of Disease Control to study gun violence? They are not allowed to study it because the notion is that by studying it, the same way we do with traffic accidents, somehow that is going to lead to everyone’s guns being confiscated. If you buy a car and want to get a license—first of all you have to get a license, people have to know you know how to drive—you don’t have to do any of that in respect to buying a gun.”


Obama also notes that those put on airplane watch-lists are still free to purchase weapons. “Because of the National Rifle Association, I can not prohibit those people from buying a gun.”

Full Story and video at Out.

Where to Walk.


Facebook Los Angeles LGBT Center

The deadly attack in Orlando happened just has Pride Month was kicking into high gear across the nation.

In LA, the scare did not deter people from gathering at gay bars such as Akbar in Silverlake, which was filled to capacity on Sunday night, with revelers looking for comfort amongst friends.

Sunday also saw vigils springing up across the nation and several world countries, with more to come today and throughout the week.

If you go to, you will find a list of events which have been scheduled, across the States, and around the world. You’ll find yourself scrolling down, and down, and down. The outpouring of love and strength is immense. Even though no one from ND entered local vigils at the site, there were two vigils in Fargo and Moorehead, and one vigil already observed in SD, with two more planned. If you can make one in your area, please do. Every person who shows makes a difference, demonstrates that we will stand strong, we will continue to fight, that our very existence is resistance.

Via Out.

No One Is Safe.


ChadMichael Morrisette’s art installation “No One Is Safe.” (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

Each victim has a different face.

It’s a small, but vital, detail in ChadMichael Morrisette’s art installation, “No One Is Safe,” a response to Sunday’s deadly mass-shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Morrisette spent four hours Sunday placing 50 distinct mannequins on the roof of his home near the intersection of Fountain and Fairfax avenues in West Hollywood, a visceral representation of the 50 people, the gunman among them, slain in Orlando.

“I’m not celebrating today. I’m not going to Pride,” Morrisette texted his boyfriend, after waking Sunday morning, his 36th birthday, and watching the reported death toll from the tragedy rise. “Instead, I started working.”

It took the visual artist, who also operates his own business as a brand consultant, four hours to put together the roof display, with the help of a few friends, who Morrisette called “loving enough to come and celebrate that way.”

The process was intense, even beyond the effort needed to get the mannequins in position.

“It was emotional stepping over the bodies, laying them out,” Morrisette said, each time reminded of what those on-site at the crime scene must have experienced.

The faces weren’t the only things that differentiated these mannequins from the rest in Morrisette’s collection.

While the mannequins used in Morrisette’s business are pristine, the models that found their way to his roof were flawed, not yet receiving the care needed to patch their missing eyes or fingers.

“Some have damage you can’t see from a distance. Pulling them from a pile of broken bodies, it began to make it a little bit more real,” Morrisette quietly explained. “It wasn’t beauty being represented. It was shattered and broken.”

Mannequins from ChadMichael Morrisette's art installation "No One Is Safe." (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

Mannequins from ChadMichael Morrisette’s art installation “No One Is Safe.” (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

Mannequins from ChadMichael Morrisette's art installation "No One Is Safe." (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

Mannequins from ChadMichael Morrisette’s art installation “No One Is Safe.” (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

Response to the display has been immediate and powerful. Morrisette admits hiding behind his privacy hedge to watch people’s faces as they take in the message being communicated by his work.

“People are moved. They stop and get out of their vehicles. They do U-turns. One person just bowed to me as they walked by, out of respect,” Morrisette said. “Stopped cars sit at the light and have a moment to reflect, and those are the faces I like to watch. That’s when I know I’ve actually caused someone to think about something.”

Artist ChadMichael Morrisette sits on the roof of his West Hollywood home where he has placed 50 mannequins, as a way of dealing with his grief and expressing his feelings over the mass killing in Orlando. (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

Artist ChadMichael Morrisette sits on the roof of his West Hollywood home where he has placed 50 mannequins, as a way of dealing with his grief and expressing his feelings over the mass killing in Orlando. (Mark Boster/ Los Angeles Times)

Full Story Here. Hat tip to Morgan.