When I began my adventure in my “major project” for Contemporary Indigenous Rhetoric I was at a bit of a loss. If my very first post is any indication, I like having clear demarcations in my life and this class and its work treading closely to the “territory” that I had determined was my mother’s. To her credit, she has remained comfortably distant when it comes to this class, though I can sense her wanted to discuss some of my reading with me. I lent her the Moonshot graphic novel to sate her for the time being. Mother issues aside, my first thought for my project would be a film blog, looking critically at indigenous film and hopefully, highlighting work that flies so[…]

After hearing the story of three Japanese fisherman who washed up on the shores of Northwest Washington, their subsequent round-the-world adventure–via England and China–in the hopes of returning to their homeland, Ranald MacDonald decided to partake in an adventure of his own. Part Chinook and part Scottish, the young man set out from New York on a whaling ship, eventually ending up–by his own design–adrift near Japan’s northern island Hokkaido, determined to visit the isolationist nation on his own. He was 24 years old. “The other crew members were reluctant to let him go, and some even wept as he took off. Like most sailors at the time, they were well aware that unauthorized foreigners who set foot on Japanese soil— even[…]

Not long after my live tweeting of Dances With Wolves, a friend of mine from Montreal sent me a link to an interesting exhibition. Red Horse: Drawings from the Battle of Little Big Horn was on display this past January at Stanford University. For the first time in 40 years, many of the Minneconjou Lakota Sioux’s drawings were collected and displayed together. The collection represents an eyewitness account of the battle and its aftermath, captured in pencil and pen in ledger books. (The entire series can be found online at the Smithsonian). Red Horse’s drawings, commissioned by Army doctor Charles E. McChesney in 1881, methodically recall the events of the battle, with the blood spurting from casualties on both sides, and the Lakota eventually leading away[…]

Earlier in the semester we watched an episode of “Blackstone,” an original Canadian series airing on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). The show held the same tension and drama as most American network series, yet with one glaring difference: the setting was a Canadian reserve, what we call a reservation here in the states. We found it refreshing to be exposed to this narrative and many of us continued to watch the series as it is streaming online. Yet, I found two things troubling: 1) it was difficult for me to watch the show critically out of fear of diminishing its representative importance, and 2) that we found it refreshing at all because the stories of Native Americans are[…]

I graduated from Wilson Area High School in Easton, Pennsylvania years ago. More importantly, I am a proud alumnus of the Wilson Area High School Warrior Marching Band. I can remember clearly hearing our named announced over loud speakers at football games and band competitions. There is a special inflection between “Warrior” and “Marching” that emphasized that we were pretty amazing. And we were/are. Yet, I would like to ask my fellow alumni, if they think it is time for a change. For all my years at Wilson and many of the years after, “Warrior” was nothing more than a word, a mascot, a combination of syllables that created a brand with which I have been (and still am) proud to identify. But perhaps it is time for a re-branding,[…]

I admit I have been reluctant to start this blog for my Contemporary Indigenous Rhetoric graduate course. It’s not the fear of expressing my views in a public forum, but that strange notion of whether my thoughts are valid enough for expression in the first place. During our first class, we were asked to write down our preconceived notions, experiences and possible misleading ideas of the contemporary lives of Native Americans. Outside of the incessant pejorative representations in media and commerce, my own experience was severely limited. With a weird intellectual pride, I announced that I was woefully ignorant in all aspects of contemporary Native life. I mentioned tangential experience living near the Tulalip Reservation in Washington State; my connections[…]