UND: Racism Doesn’t Violate Code of Conduct.

More University of North Dakota students wear blackface (Photo: Facebook).

More University of North Dakota students wear blackface (Photo: Facebook).

Remember the “Locked the Black Bitch Out” students, and the Blackface students? It has been decided by UND that neither of these acts of explicit racism violate the UND code of student life because…constitution. Yep. It’s that pesky 1st amendment preventing the university administrators from doing a gosh darn thing about the casual and uncaring racism demonstrated by students. They can’t do anything at all, oh no, their hands are tied.

The two racially charged photos went viral and led to black student leaders at UND holding a rally Friday to share their experiences with racism and ask for the university to adopt a zero-tolerance policy when matters, such as the two photos, come up. After the rally, some of the organizers met with UND President Mark Kennedy to talk about their concerns about the campus environment.

In a letter to the campus community Wednesday, Kennedy condemned the two photos, but said a zero-tolerance policy is not possible for UND’s campus.

“While I appreciate the desire for such a policy, it is unachievable under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” Kennedy wrote. “The challenge we all face is to find the balance between wanting to eliminate expressions of racism and bigotry and supporting the free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. If we value freedom of speech, we must acknowledge that some may find the expressions of others unwelcome, painful, or even, offensive. We can, however, speak out and condemn such expressions, and we can work to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment.”

A more welcoming and inclusive environment? Just how are you going to do that when you’ve effectively given students a green light to be bigoted assholes? How on earth could any student of colour feel comfortable or even begin to trust people in that environment? You’re making a lot of soothing noises, but actions speak louder, and your actions? You didn’t take any. Instead, you chose the craven route of hiding behind the 1st amendment, and while doing that, you demonstrated a complete lack of understanding that amendment. All speech is not protected, Mr. Kennedy, and a good deal of speech is not considered to be something which can be freely spouted. We’re also not talking about just speech here, Mr. Kennedy. This is a shameful display of cowardice, and blatant pandering to white privilege.

Kennedy announced last week that the school will form a diversity advisory council to provide recommendations for improving the campus climate on issues of diversity and inclusion.

The president tapped Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Sandra Mitchell to lead the process of selecting no more than 12 individuals to serve on the council.

The council will review the university’s existing diversity and inclusion practices and programs and identify the best practices to enhance the university’s understanding of diversity and inclusion in the higher education setting, Kennedy wrote.

“I want to make sure we have courses that challenge students to consider alternative perspectives and which will help students better understand how effectively engaging those with diverse backgrounds is essential for their future success,” Kennedy wrote.

Ah. So basically, Mr. Kennedy, what you want is to teach your white bigots the when and where it’s okay to let your bigotry ring, lest they impede those shiny futures. *Spits*

Via Grand Forks Herald.

Get Out: Making White People Mad.

I hadn’t even heard of this movie, being under my rock as usual, but I just watched the trailer, prior to reading Antoine Allen’s take on it, and it’s high tension, and manages in seconds to make you hope with all your being, that for once in a horror film, the black person gets to come out alive, and maybe a hero, too. So I’ll be watching this, to be sure. It seems it has white people rather riled up though, who tend to get riled up about some absurd stuff, like claiming the show Luke Cage is racist because the cast is primarily black. Uh…does it really have to be pointed out the 99.9 of all television shows and movies in uStates and other places have casts which are all white, or mostly white? Why is it okay for people of colour to have nothing else to watch for not only their lives, but whole generations of people of colour having no choice there? This extends to books, too. Trust me, white people, you can cope with one or two shows which don’t primarily feature white people. It won’t kill you. Think of every superhero, in comics, television shows, and movies. How many of them are white? Yeah. So you can be quiet now, okay?

The thriller and horror genre has pretty much been drained of all originality. However, Get Out strikes out to bring a new twist to the genre; we are calling this ‘Racism Horror”. Get Out is about an interracial couple going to ‘meet the parents’ for the first time. However, the Black boyfriend is confronted with more than just some ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner” level of racial tensions. He becomes trapped in a town that seemingly has a more sinister agenda towards young black men.  The film is directed by Jordan Peele from the Key and Peele show.

There has been even more shock and social media outrage by a section of the white community and probably a minority of Black people who do not ‘get’ the trailer either. Namely, both of those whom are not or choose not to be aware of the history of racism in America. Yet, there are also some who are aware of the somewhat sensational point this horror film is making. Watch the trailer so you can gauge where their outrage or misunderstanding may have been born from.

The trailer ends with a one-liner that will no doubt be filling meme across the internet before and after people are glued to their seats fearfully watching this thriller:

If there is too many white people I get nervous– Get Out.

As expected this line and the general premise of the film has produced complaints from some people. Some people have been shocked by the trailer and others have said it portrays the genuine fears that black people sometimes have.

But remember, the old adage, it’s ok to be quasi-racist as long as you have a member of the opposite race as a close friend. Jordan Peele is already Black, so he can’t say “my best friend is black”. On the other hand, Peele has more than a best friend whom is white, he is married to a White woman ie he has a super best friend. But, in all seriousness, it can be argued that the film portrays the fear that Peele subconsciously had when he first met his wife’s parents. Are those fears only limited to interracial couples? Are those fears valid or invalid? Probably not! If we look at history we can see how these fears may have manifested over time.

The question becomes, just how far from reality are the themes of this racially charged thriller? Well, here are some examples from history of the mistreatment Black people have faced by sections of the White community; all after the end of slavery.

1. In 1919, in the wake of World War I, Black sharecroppers unionized in Arkansas, unleashing a wave of white vigilantism and mass murder that left 237 Black people dead after mass lynchings.

Four more examples follow, with disturbing photographs. If you aren’t well versed in the history of horrific racism in uStates, you definitely need to click over and read every word of the article. If some white people are so in need of being outraged, you need to get outraged about the right things. I’ve known more than one black person who has mentioned a low level fear when surrounded by white people. There’s a reason for that fear, and there’s a reason for the mistrust which fuels it. These things don’t come out of nowhere for no reason. There’s a deep bedrock of reason, and it you don’t know it, please educate yourself.

[…]

In short, movies like this expose the subconscious fears of the subjugated minority and highlight a lack of awareness from the other members of the same society. Get Out it is basically the horror version of Guess who’s coming to dinner. If people have a basic knowledge of history then they shouldn’t be shocked by this film. It only shows racism from a horror perspective. Therefore, if art is supposed to imitate life, this film is merely a reflection of an aspect of life. Thus, people should find society’s racism more shocking than this film that for the first time depicts an aspect of life from a horror perspective. So, yes it is sensational but that ‘Horror’; people need to discuss the issues it raises- rather than simply complaining for the sake of it.

Click on over and read the whole article, it’s excellent, and contains a lesson that people inclined to complain or be dismissive truly need to learn.

Get Out’s Trailer Is Making White People Mad: Here’s 5 Real Racist Incidents In History Worthy Of Anger.

Standing Rock: Cops Continue to Lie.

Courtesy Sacred Stone Camp Police raise weapons and approach unarmed water protectors at a peaceful action on September 28, 2016

Courtesy Sacred Stone Camp
Police raise weapons and approach unarmed water protectors at a peaceful action on September 28, 2016

 

A police officer raises his weapon at unarmed water protector. Courtesy Leland Dick.

A police officer raises his weapon at unarmed water protector. Courtesy Leland Dick.

 

Women plant willow tree seedlings in the path of Dakota Access construction on September 25. Courtesy Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN).

Women plant willow tree seedlings in the path of Dakota Access construction on September 25. Courtesy Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN).

As I wrote in this post, cops are getting increasingly worrisome here in Ndakota. Sarah Sunshine Manning has a column up at ICTMN, please go read, and more importantly, share! We need help getting the truth out, and countering the increasing amount of lies coming from cops and oil corps.

Last week, water protectors from the camps near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, engaged in peaceful non-violent direct action at three different Dakota Access Construction sites. And despite the peaceful and prayerful atmosphere at all three sites, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department quickly released a statement alleging that the demonstration turned violent, and that one unidentified Dakota Access security worker was assaulted by “protestors” as knives and guns were wielded.

Water protectors on the ground vehemently refute this claim, and they contend that the allegations of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department are completely fabricated.

Still, just days later on September 28, police confronted water protectors with armored police vehicles blocking the road, and with shotguns drawn, as water protectors gathered for another peaceful action.

The unarmed water protectors reported being terrified, and many made frantic and fearful pleas over social media calling for support and help.

“Please share and make everyone aware!” Linda Black Elk posted on Facebook. “COPS WITH GUNS DRAWN APPROACHING UNARMED PEACEFUL PROTECTORS.”

For many water protectors, social media has become a means of documenting actions in order to counter the continued false narratives of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department.

The tactics of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and Dakota Access continue a tragically predictable pattern of villainizing peaceful protests in order to justify excessive police, security and military presence.

It is critical that the voices of water protectors on the ground be elevated.

Nick Tilsen, an organizer and executive director for Thunder Valley CDC, was among those present at the prayerful action Sunday as well as the action where the alleged violence occurred; the same alleged violence that prompted excessive police force later in the week.

In an interview with Sonali Kolhatkar of the show “Rising Up with Sonali,” Tilsen said of the accusations of violence and the attack on a security worker “is 100-percent wrong. This false accusation is totally made up.”

Tilsen said the allegations were nothing more than propaganda.

“By the time we got to the construction site, all of the workers had packed up and left, because they saw us walking for a quarter of a mile,” Tilsen said. “We actually didn’t have interaction with the security guards or interaction with the workers that day.”

According to water protectors and journalists on the ground, all actions that day were peaceful. Additionally, women, children and elders continue to be among those standing in prayer for water and life.

The first peaceful action on September 25 took place much earlier than the action where the alleged violence took place. This earlier action was at a Dakota Access construction site in South Dakota, where a handful of water protectors gathered before daylight and strung over a thousand small prayer ties across Dakota Access machinery.

The full article, and more images is here. If you are able, please, please share, get this news out, get it everywhere, we need help with this.

How Not to Stop Police Violence.

Dash camera footage shows violent arrest of Sandra Bland. CREDIT: Associated Press

Dash camera footage shows violent arrest of Sandra Bland. CREDIT: Associated Press.

As the fight to end police violence rages on across the country, a state senator in Texas wants high schoolers to learn how to communicate with law enforcement during traffic stops. But the proposed curriculum assumes that the people targeted during those stops are the problem— not the officers.

Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) is currently eyeing legislation that would require schools to teach ninth graders about encounters with police on the road. Noting that there’s a deep-seated mistrust of police, he wants the Texas Board of Education to ensure that young people learn what their rights are early on. But Whitmire, who says his idea was inspired by Sandra Bland’s violent arrest and subsequent death in custody, also wants students to learn how they should behave around officers who pull them over.

“Ms. Bland’s tragedy is a huge motivation for me to hold the officer accountable and also assist the public in some of the better practices when they encounter law enforcement,” he told the Texas Tribune. “[If] Ms. Bland and the officer would have taken a deep breath, I don’t believe she would have been taken to jail, where she ultimately met her fate, unfortunately because she was not treated right when she got to jail.”

She wasn’t treated right? She was murdered, Senator. Dead, never coming back. That’s more than not being “treated right”, we aren’t talking about cops being rude.

As for teenagers in Texas, it’s impossible to know if officers will shoot them during traffic stops — even if they’re obeying orders and expressing their rights in a respectful way. While Whitmire said that officers should also let go of the “‘I caught you’ mentality,” his proposal still puts the responsibility of de-escalation on teenagers, rather than the adults hired to serve and protect them.

Local police officers included in conversations about the proposed legislation agree that the responsibility to reduce tension during a stop shouldn’t fall on officers’ shoulders.

“On the side of the street is not the place to litigate what you believe the officer is doing is wrong or what the officer believes you are doing wrong,” Executive Director Kevin Lawrence of the Texas Municipal Police Association explained to the Tribune. “It needs to be a better understanding by our general citizenry of what law enforcement is expecting of them. They need to understand that when they’re being contacted by a law enforcement officer — we’ll just take a traffic stop as an example — they need to think about that stop from the officer’s point of view, not their own.”

There isn’t enough fuck you, and fuck that in the universe for this continued idiocy. No, cops need to be accountable, and the responsibility for not escalating anything at all should be firmly on the shoulders of every single cop. You want to swagger around, weighed down by weapons, playing lord of the universe, you fucking take responsibility. I can’t even express how much I hate this shit, that it’s on me and every other person out there to prevent our own murder, especially as cops seem to be very keen on murdering people who are not only fully complying and have their hands up, they are now seen as a threat after they have been tased, for fuck’s sake! No, cops, go fuck yourself, you are all wrong, wrong, wrong. You stand up, and take responsibility. You stand up and do the right thing. You stand up for your community, because you are a part of that community. You point the finger at the bigots, the violent morons in uniform standing next to you. You point the finger at all the bullies. You refuse to work with them, you refuse to work at all unless there are goddamn standards put in place. Point the finger at all those upstanding people in blue who go home at night and beat the shit out of their partners and kids, then wander around with weapons the next day. Clean up your own houses, put that focus on policing yourselves. There isn’t a person anywhere who can trust a fucking cop.

While well-intentioned, Whitmire isn’t the first lawmaker to offer advice about how to behave around cops. And not all of that advice has been positive.

Following the shooting death of Jamar Clark in Minnesota, Rep. Tony Cornish (R) wrote an op-ed about how to “reduce the use of force by police.” In it, he wrote, “Don’t be a thug and lead a life of crime so that you come into frequent contact with police,” and “Don’t make furtive movements or keep your hands in your pockets if told to take them out.”

This year alone, police have shot multiple people who had their hands raised.

Full story at Think Progress.

Black Lives Matter.

A Black Lives Matter demonstrator (Shuttershock)

A Black Lives Matter demonstrator (Shuttershock)

Have a wander over to http://blacklivesmatter1.com/ – you can keep up with the latest news, and help out a bit by becoming a member, donating, or just spreading the word. And don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter. Everyone who reads here should know the importance of signal boosting, can’t stop the signal!

White Saviors Need Not Apply.

Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children's march on the anniversary of Tamir Rice's death at the hands of the Cleveland police (a katz / Shutterstock.com)

Stop Mass Incarcerations Network sponsored a children’s march on the anniversary of Tamir Rice’s death at the hands of the Cleveland police (a katz / Shutterstock.com)

In this post, I wrote about problematic white people at the Očeti Sakowiŋ camp. Certainly this does not apply to all white people, there are plenty of thoughtful, mindful white people who get it. As with most people who manage to do the right thing, they get to be unsung heroes, because it’s more important to talk about people who are serious problems, big ol’ roadblocks when it comes to any sort of social progress. I have no doubt there are plenty of times when white people feel as though they are constantly picked on, but it’s desperately important to understand that there are many good reasons for that.

Here in uStates, and in way too many other places in the world, people have been brought up and raised in a drowning pool of colonial kool-aid. Colonial thinking is extremely bad, it’s bad for everyone and everything. It’s destructive, dismissive, disrespectful, condescending, and unthinkingly arrogant. It’s short-term thinking, which is the very worst kind. There’s no looking to the past, through the present, into the future. Colonial thinking does not allow for a time bridge, or the importance of all generations, past, present, and yet to come. Look at the photo up there ^. Look at that child’s face. Every child’s face should reflect trust and happiness. That so many children, all over the world, know fear, distrust, and suspicion at such young ages is wrong on every possible level. That so many children, if they are not white, are viewed as sufficiently mature to be a threat, therefor, it’s okay for them to be gunned down by cops and citizens. Wrong. So wrong. That’s racism run amok, when you target children and think it’s okay to do that, for those children.

I know I’m not alone in being very tired of the fact that in spite of everywhere, in every way, every. single. thing. is made better, easier, softer, kinder for white people, yet they still manage to complain if the sugar-coating on a bitter pill isn’t thick enough.

I have mentioned, so many times, that I’m half white, and it’s that half which shows on the outside. When I’ve been at the camps, frinst., and someone is speaking about wašiču, and not in a nice way, I don’t take offense, I don’t get upset in any way. I listen, because generally speaking, I know I’m going to hear something valuable. Sure, I often hear things which hurt, but that happens when you’re trying to always learn throughout your journey on this earth. When you do hear things that hurt, it’s important that your hearing isn’t overwhelmed to the point that you miss bitterness, generational trauma, and/or the pain of deep wounds from the speaker. When you miss things like that, you miss the opportunity to understand. When you miss the opportunity to understand, you lose the opportunity of forgiveness and healing. When you lose the opportunity of forgiveness and healing, you lose the ability to be an ally. When you lose the ability to be an ally, you lose the possibility of peace.

When you’re white, at least here in uStates, it’s so very easy to be dismissive of the deep wounds of generational trauma; to handwave horrible acts because that was X amount of years ago. Ask yourself, if you have been hurt, does it help if someone tells you to get over it already? It’s not possible to “get over something” when that something has never been addressed in any meaningful way. It’s not possible to “get over something” when a majority of people refuse to even consider said harmful acts, and the repercussions echoing down the generations. Would white people consider it helpful if I simply posted: “White people, get over yourselves!”?

Then there’s the problem of white people trying to help when they have no understanding and little respect. Then you get people who are determined to be white saviors. No one is looking for white saviors. People of colour have already had long histories with white people who considered themselves saviors to the “lesser” races. Being an ally, that’s good. A wannabe savior? Bad. Lorraine Berry has a very good article up about the selective doubt of white people, and the savior problem. It’s in-depth, so just a bit here, click on over for the full read, and it’s a good one.

White people spend a lot of time telling black folks what their stories mean. If it’s not white writers insisting that they can tell a person of color’s story better than a black writer can, or Trump running mate Mike Pence telling black people that they talk about systemic racism too much, or Iowa Congressman Steve King telling Colin Kaepernick what his protest against police brutality “really means,” or folks who insist that “slavery wasn’t that bad,” there’s no shortage of white folks who insist that they know better than black folks when it comes to interpreting what happens to black bodies. It would be tempting to dismiss it all as the ravings of a minority of kooks if it weren’t for the ubiquity of the phenomenon. Everywhere, it seems, white people just can’t help themselves.

[Read more…]

Solidarity from the South.

Left to Right: Eriberto Gualinga (Sarayaku), Franco Viteri (Sarayaku), Kandi Mossett (IEN), David Archambault II (Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman), Nina Gualinga (Sarayaku), and Leo Cerda (Kichwa, on Amazon Watch staff). Courtesy Josue Rivas/Indigenous Rising.

Left to Right: Eriberto Gualinga (Sarayaku), Franco Viteri (Sarayaku), Kandi Mossett (IEN), David Archambault II (Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman), Nina Gualinga (Sarayaku), and Leo Cerda (Kichwa, on Amazon Watch staff). Courtesy Josue Rivas/Indigenous Rising.

Indigenous leaders from Ecuador joined the protectors at Standing Rock recently to show solidarity and share information, as their community has had some victories against oil companies and politicians in the past few years.

[…]

In an interview on September 14, Viteri explained the reasons for the visit and outlined the connections between indigenous communities in the north and south. News of the struggle at Standing Rock had reached them, and Viteri and his group had been selected by the Sarayaku communities to “stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters,” the veteran activist and leader said.

“We came from the Amazon jungle with a message of strength and solidarity for the Sioux,” Viteri said. “My people are very conscious, because of our history and our tradition, just like the tribes here, of our connection with nature, with Mother Earth; we know that this is what gives balance to life here on Earth. The transnational corporations, like those trying to build this oil pipeline, are blind because they don’t understand the language of nature.”

Viteri noted that his Kichwa community had been in contact with other tribes in the U.S. before, but not with the Standing Rock Sioux. He also pointed out that he had seen other indigenous people from Latin America at the camp, and recalled that he had spoken with a few from Honduras, Peru and El Salvador. Another Amazonian indigenous community from Ecuador will be coming, Viteri said. He closed the interview with a message for the protectors at Standing Rock and others throughout North America.

“In the name of all the children, elders, women, the birds, the large and small animals that depend on water to survive, the Kichwa people extend a greeting,” he said, “a sacred greeting of respect for nature and for the life of all the peoples of the North, because we know that if water is destroyed, life on Earth will end.”

Rick Kearns at ICTMN has the full story.

Indigenous News Round-up.

plastic

The Immortal Mr. Plastic.

Excerpts only, click links for full articles.

barack_obama On My Final White House Tribal Nations Conference, by President Barack Obama:

This week, I hosted my eighth and final White House Tribal Nations Conference as President, a tradition we started in 2009 to create a platform for people across many tribes to be heard. It was a remarkable testament to how far we’ve come.

It was just eight years ago when I visited the Crow Nation in Montana and made a promise to Indian country to be a partner in a true nation-to-nation relationship, so that we could give all of our children the future they deserve.

winonaladuke-e1336873224811  Slow, Clean, Good Food, by Winona LaDuke:

In an impressive fossil fuels travel day, I left the Standing Rock reservation and flew to Italy for the International Slow Food gathering known as Terra Madre. A world congress of harvesters, farmers, chefs and political leaders, this is basically the World Food Olympics. This is my fifth trip to Italy for Slow Food. I first went with Margaret Smith, when the White Earth Land Recovery Project won the Slow Food Award for Biodiversity in 2003, for our work to protect wild rice from genetic engineering. This year, I went as a part of the Turtle Island Slow Food Association- the first Indigenous Slow Food members in the world, a delegation over 30 representing Indigenous people from North American and the Pacific. We have some remarkable leaders, they are young and committed.

It is a moment in history for food, as we watch the largest corporate merger in history- Bayer Chemical’s purchase of Monsanto for $66 billion; with “crop protection chemicals” that kill weeds, bugs and fungus, seeds, and (likely to be banned in Europe) glyphosate, aka Roundup. Sometimes I just have to ask: ‘Just how big do you all need to be, to be happy?’

tribal_chairman_jeff_l-_grubbe_agua_caliente_band_of_cahuilla_indians_main_0  Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Donates $250,000 to Standing Rock Legal Fund:

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is donating $250,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s legal fund, citing the need to keep pushing for proper consultation even after the Dakota Access oil pipeline issue is decided.

“We support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s effort to ensure the United States Army Corps of Engineers, or any other agency or department of the United States, strictly adheres to federal environmental review and tribal consultation requirements prior to authorizing any projects that may damage the environment or any sites that are of historic, religious, and cultural significance to any Indian tribe,” said Agua Caliente Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe in a statement on September 27, calling on President Barack Obama to make sure consultation is thorough.

3-fiesta-protest-woman-with-sign_dsc0508_widea  Natives Speak Out Against the Santa Fe Fiesta – The Bloodless Reconquest:

A loud group of about 50 mostly Native protesters disrupted the Entrada kickoff event of the Fiestas de Santa Fe. This is the annual reenactment of Don Diego de Vargas’s “peaceful reconquest” of Santa Fe in 1692 as produced by Caballeros de Vargas, a group which is a member of the Fiesta Council, and several current and past City of Santa Fe Councilors are members of the Fiesta Council or played parts in the Entrada over the years. So these are layers you must wade through when people ask questions and protesters demand changes. And changes or outright abolishment of The Entrada are what the groups “The Red Nation” and “In The Spirit of Popay” are asking for.

climate_news_network-binoculars-flickr-aniket_suryavanshi  Dire Climate Impacts Go Unheeded:

The social and economic impacts of climate change have already begun to take their toll—but most people do not yet know this.

Politicians and economists have yet to work out how and when it would be best to adapt to change. And biologists say they cannot even begin to measure climate change’s effect on biodiversity because there is not enough information.

Two studies in Science journal address the future. The first points out that historical temperature increases depress maize crop yields in the U.S. by 48 percent and have already driven up the rates of civil conflict in sub-Saharan Africa by 11 percent.

big-pix-rick-bartow-counting-the-hours ‘Counting the Hours’ By Rick Bartow:

Rick Bartow, a member of the Mad River Band of Wiyot, walked on April 2, 2016, and had suffered two strokes before he passed. The IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts reports that those events affected his work, and it can be seen in his collection as “exciting examples of Bartow’s production since his stroke… that evidence a new freedom of scale and expression.”

Born in Oregon in 1946, Bartow was never formally trained in the arts, though his artistic nature was encouraged and he did graduate from Western Oregon University with a degree in secondary arts education in 1969. Right after that he served in Vietnam from 1969-1971, and it was demons from that war that he spent his early years in art exorcising. He says he was “twisted” after Vietnam and his art can be described as disturbing, surreal, intense, and visionary; even transformative.

harney_peak_renamed_black_hills_peak_-_ap_photo  Celebration of Forgiveness at Black Elk Peak:

On a recent Autumn Saturday in the Black Hills, a handful of men and women gathered at around 9 a.m. at the Sylvan Lake trailhead just below Black Elk Peak. By 10 a.m., they numbered close to 80.

“The focal point of our gathering was to have family members of General Harney have an opportunity to apologize to members of the Little Thunder family,” said Basil Brave Heart, Oglala Lakota, an organizer of the event. Brave Heart initiated and led the effort to change the name of this highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains from Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak.

Among those standing in a circle that morning was Paul Stover Soderman, a seventh-generation descendant of General William Harney, known as The Butcher of Ash Hollow, and to the Lakota as the architect of the same conflict, known to them as the Massacre at Blue Water Creek. Soderman had come to apologize to Sicangu descendants of Chief Little Thunder, the Brule leader of those murdered in that conflict, and to seek forgiveness and healing.

All this and much more at ICTMN.

Standing Rock, Back at Camp: The Good.

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Where to start? First, find your note cup. The line of flags is now marching down 24 into Standing Rock proper, there are so many. It’s not possible to get them all in one shot. As we were on the way home on Wednesday, we passed a long convoy of cars heading to camp, with more flags piled into a couple of the cars, so there will be more when we get back next week. It was quiet when we arrived on Wednesday morning with a load of wood. We pulled around the back of the kitchen, and unloaded all the wood, then wandered into the communal area. Solar panels have been donated, and while one was in the communal area, most were up by the media tent on Facebook hill. We arrived too late to be part of the spell out – people went up on Facebook hill and laid down to spell out Water is Life and No DAPL for one of the drones, but a helicopter also flew over. We were in time to hear the roaring cheer as people got back up.

There’s heavy emphasis on recycling and trash pick up, and there are more washable plates and utensils in camp now. On a walk, we noted, with fascination, a tipi frame made with unusual material (10th photo), and realized what it was when we passed one of the tips (11th photo) – a broken tent canopy frame. That’s the same kind that collapsed and slammed into me. Perhaps I brokt it, being so hard-headed. The endless creativity of people deeply delights me. We have the potential to be such grand animals.

Okay, back to the beginning. On our way to camp (6 to 21 to 24), we noticed an unusual amount of cops. Generally speaking, cops aren’t terribly visible in Ndakota. They were certainly visible that morning. We sighed as we turned onto 24, at the realization that the cop in the gas station was most likely recording license plates. No one likes that sort of thing, we certainly don’t, but you can’t let yourself be intimidated. Right after passing the turn off for Sacred Stone Camp, we were very surprised to see a very large, very new looking mobile command center hulking behind some silos, along with assorted cop vehicles. We continued on into camp.

Right now, people are focused on preparing for winter. There were meetings set up about getting compost toilets going, and building earth lodges. There’s also some uncertainty right now, regarding the Oceti Sakowin camp (No DAPL), as the ACoE are being petty asses and making bullying noises about everyone having to get off “their” land, land to which they do not own the mineral rights. So, the whole camp may need to be moved a couple of miles up on the hill, which is Standing Rock Rez proper. We didn’t hear too much about that during our day there. Things may well have really changed by the time we get back on the 4th or so. Damn, I think I have to get to the pain clinic then. I need to keep track of appointments.

Two massive trucks filled with wood were brought in by the Tsalagi people out of Oklahoma, to cheers and applause. We had the privilege of meeting Tom Jefferson, tireless in his documentary work. While many people might not know his name, a whole lot of people will remember this particular video of Tom’s: One Of The Many Face of Racism in America, which went wildly viral. Tom is also involved with Tour de Frack.

We were fortunate to listen to a Havasupai elder speak, who was there with his 90+ year old grandfather. They were leaving the next day, so we felt particularly blessed to have been there to hear and listen. I was very disappointed to have to turn away from the opportunity to help tan two whole buffalo hides, but it required a 4 day commitment. It’s upsetting to be there, and not be able to stay.

There was a call to go up to the “front lines” and people needed rides. I considered calling Rick out of the kitchen, where he was happily slaughtering squash, but I had a very bad feeling about it, so stayed quiet. That bad feeling translated to most everyone being arrested. Phyllis Young had quite a lot to say about that, but that’s for tomorrow’s post, which will be Part the Bad.

Photos © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

Spurs Jesus for President.

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Instagram will soon be blessed with San Antonio’s latest piece of photo opportunity art, a mural of — and by — Spurs Jesus, on the exterior wall of Tito’s Mexican Restaurant.

The holiest Silver and Black superfan, who has a local discipleship of his own, is the subject and co-artist of the “Spurs Jesus for President” mural, at 955 Alamo St.

Spurs Jesus told mySA.com he and local artist, Carlos Cantu, finished the mural, designed by Ray Scarborough, late Tuesday night.

Like the “I love tacos so much” wall, by Luis Munoz, there is a higher purpose for the Spurs Jesus piece.

He told mySA.com the installation is sponsored by the St. Anthony Hotel and Alamo Brewery. The two businesses will donate $1 for each photo taken of the wall and posted to social media with the hashtag “#SpursJesus4President.” The challenge lasts until Election Day, Nov. 8, and will benefit The Paseo del Rio Association, dedicated to preserving and protecting the San Antonio River Walk.

The mural is also part of Spurs Jesus movement to “keep San Antonio great” and “puro.”

“I’m excited to bring another fun piece of art to San Antonio,” Spurs Jesus said, adding he hopes the mural becomes a “fun way to lighten up” the U.S. Presidential race.

Sharing a mural photo is also good for your appetite. Spurs Jesus said Tito’s will give a 10 percent discount to customers who show proof of their social media posts.

Surely, a Spur Jesus presidency would have room for taco trucks on every corner.

Via My San Antonio. That’s a Jesus I could get behind, and if I was in the area, I’d be taking advantage of that discount, too.

A Crocheted Statement.

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Artist Olek reveals an entire two-story house covered roof to floorboards in pink crochet. This new yarn-bombed installation currently stands in Kerava, Finland where Olek worked with a team of assistants to stitch together huge panels of crochet that envelop every inch of this 100-year-old house. Olek shares:

Originally, this building, built in the early 1900s, was the home of Karl Jacob Svensk (1883-1968). During the Winter War 1939-1940, the family fled to evade bombs falling into the yard, but they didn’t have to move out permanently. In 2015, more than 21 million people were forced to leave their homes in order to flee from conflicts. The pink house, our pink house is a symbol of a bright future filled with hope; is a symbol us coming together as a community.

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Isn’t that grand! I love this. I love the statement, the vibrancy, the life, the love, and the community of it. From Olek’s site:

A loop after a loop. Hour after hour my madness becomes crochet. Life and art are inseparable. The movies I watch while crocheting influence my work, and my work dictates the films I select. I crochet everything that enters my space. Sometimes it’s a text message, a medical report, found objects. There is the unraveling, the ephemeral part of my work that never lets me forget about the limited life of the art object and art concept. What do I intend to reveal? You have to pull the end of the yarn and unravel the story behind the crochet.

My work changes from place to place. I studied the science of culture. With a miner’s work ethic, I long to delve deeper and deeper into my investigations. My art was a development that took me away from industrial, close-minded Silesia, Poland. It has always sought to bring color and life, energy, and surprise to the living space. My goal is to produce new work and share it with the public. I intend to take advantage of living in NYC with various neighborhoods and, with my actions, create a feedback to the economic and social reality in our community.

Via Colossal Art. –  Olek’s site.