Commemorating Indigenous History on Alcatraz Island

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘KQED’)

Video: Commemorating Indigenous History on Alcatraz Island

On an average day, Alcatraz Island bustles with visitors taking tours of the former federal prison. Twice a year, however, people adorned with colorful feathered headdresses and instruments in hand board the ferry hours before dawn and travel to the historic site in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

On Oct. 9, a crowd of early risers visited Alcatraz on Indigenous Peoples Day to celebrate the history and culture of native peoples.

Before the sunrise broke through the fog, people quietly circled around a fire to honor their ancestors with a sunrise ceremony, commemorating the occupation of Alcatraz Island from November 1969 to June 1971 by “Indians of All Tribes,” a pan-tribal group of Native American leaders and activists.

On that day, 46 years after the original occupation, Alcatraz pulsed with energy once again. The sound of a conch shell initiating the ceremony interrupted the silent morning. As the drumming intensified, indigenous people from across the country danced to sacred songs, moving around their elders who tended to the flames in the center of the crowd.

“I come out here because it’s who I am,” said Desiree Adams, an indigenous woman of Navajo descent. “It’s in my blood to be here and stand for my ancestors and to keep our tradition and culture alive.”

On Nov. 23, another sunrise ceremony will be held for the annual “Unthanksgiving Day” celebration.

The Land: Israel And The Palestinians: And The U.S. And The Native Indians

 

Most people in the ‘wired’ world of today know about the struggles in the Holy Lands of Israel between the Nation of Israel and the displaced Palestinian population. For those of you who do not know the back story of this issue I will try to condense this issue into just a few sentences so as to not make a book out of this article. When World War Two broke out the Ottoman Empire ruled the current land of Israel. After the war the British took control of that region but in the U.N. in 1947 a resolution was passed to recreate the Nation of Israel so that the displaced Jewish population could have a Nation of their own again, and this came about in 1948. Because of all the turmoil in the U.N. about this issue the Jewish people were only given a small sliver of the land that they used to call home for over 2,000 years. The British had made an agreement with the U.N. that they would pull out of Palestine in May of 1948 and then give this land to the Jewish people for their homeland. It is sad that the people who lived there were displaced, these folks years later became known as the Palestinians, refugees, a people with no ‘home’. These ‘Refugees’ were eventually taken in by Jordan but were kicked out in 1967, again making them homeless. The Islamic people of the Middle-East own about 99% of the land in this region of the world yet none of them (except for the short stint in Jordan) would let them into their countries. Either this issue shows that the ‘Palestinians people’ are very lousy guests, and/or the Islamic countries of the region are really lousy hosts, or possibly both? I say that because a brother is suppose to take in and to help when their brothers and sisters are in need but the Islamic Nations have not done that.

 

In 1948 on the day that the British completed their pull out the tiny newborn Nation of Israel was attacked by all of their Arab neighbors in an attempt to push all of the Jewish people into the Mediterranean Sea. To make a long story shorter, the people of Israel won that war but just 19 years later the Arab Nations of the Middle-East attacked Israel once again in what has become know as the Six Day War. In this war which Israel won they captured a lot more land from the Arab population who had attacked Israel. Among the lands captured was the Golan Heights in the north and they captured the rest of Jerusalem, to the south they also captured the West Bank and Gaza all the way down to the border with Egypt. The people who started the war who were in the lands that Israel recovered were also now displaced adding to a lousy situation for the Islamic people who caused the war. By my understanding it is the land that Israel recaptured in that six-day war of 1967 that has been causing the biggest conflict with the U.N. (among others). It is this land that has become known as the “occupied territories”. Some world leaders think that Israel has no rights to this land and should not build anything on it.

 

Israel was given a much larger piece of the land by God Himself somewhere around the human year of 1,800 B.C.. They lived on this land until about the year 630 A.D. when Mohammad’s army murdered their way through many countries including the land that belonged to Israel. So, here is where I want to start making some comparisons with land issues inside the U.S.. The Islamic people in Palestine had lived in what is now Israel for about 1,400 years before the U.N. gave some of it back to Israel, it is easy to understand why the ‘displaced’ people are mad at the people who now live on that land. Yet they refuse to accept the fact that there was ever a Nation of Israel before the time of Mohammad no matter how much evidence they are shown. What I am saying is the people of Israel simply took back some of what was their own in 1948 and then again in 1967. In 2005 the Israeli government in an attempt for peace gave back the ‘West Bank’ and the Gaza Strip so that the Palestinian people could have a home of their own since none of the Arab countries would ever allow them to settle in any of their countries. Land for peace is what this event was called, that concept failed, all it did was to give Israel’s haters closer Bases in which to attack Israel from. I have often wondered why if there is going to be a ‘two nation’ reality why can’t the ‘West Bank’ be given “Statehood” status? With Hamas ruling the Gaza Strip there is no way to allow them to become a State. So, who’s land is it in your eyes?

 

Now I would like to talk about the Native American ‘Indians’ and their rights to the land that we call America. A little over 500 years ago Europeans discovered North America and started settling it as if the land was barren of other human beings. Most Europeans did not consider the Indian people who were already here, and had been for thousands of years, as being humans, they demonized them as nothing but Savages. For the next 400 years Europeans kept marching west, killing the Indian people and taking their lands. By the late 1800’s America reached from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and the Native Americans had almost been exterminated. When the newspapers in the east started showing and telling the people what was being done to the Indian people they raised such a ruckus that the extermination concept ended and the concept of Reservations began. The Indian people were ‘given’ the worst of the worst lands to be exiled upon, these were lands that the white man didn’t want, so the Indian people were forced to live there.

 

I am going to make a small example for the purpose of easy clarity. There is a large Navajo Reservation in southwest New Mexico and part of eastern Arizona. I am going to use them in this example. When Europeans discovered what is today the State of New Mexico less than 300 years ago they began ‘settling’ it by removing the Native Americans who had lived there for thousands of years. If today the Navajo people decided that they were tired of living on their Reservation and told the white, black and Mexican people to move off of their land or they would be removed by the Navajo Nation, what do you think would be the result? I know this would not happen, it’s just a conversation point, but what if the U.S. Government said, okay we agree with you so all non-Indian people have to leave the state of New Mexico, what do you think would happen? Now put that concept to all of the 50 States, if the United Nations and the World Court ruled in favor of the Native Americans and they told all of us non-indigenous people to pack up and get off of the Native Americans land, where would we all go? I honestly believe that the Native American people do have the right to tell us all to get off of their land, after all it was stolen by the end of a gun from them. Now back to Israel and the Palestinian people, the Islamic people stole the land  from the Jewish people at the point of a blade, they either had to leave their homes or die. What I am saying is that there is no such thing as Israel’s “occupation” of Arab lands, there is no such thing as Israel building on occupied lands. Just as the correct thing to do here in North America is to give back the occupied lands to its rightful owners because they were well established here long before Europeans crossed the Atlantic, the people of Islam should give back all of the land that was Israel before they were stolen from them. Here in North America there is an occupation” going on right now and has been for about 500 years. In Israel the only “occupation” going on is in the lands where believers of Islam are occupying land that belongs to Israel, it is not the other way around. I hope you liked the article, I am just trying to get people to think and to consider the truth of history.

From Standing Rock To Palestine Caterpillar Bulldozers Used To Destroy Human Rights

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MA’AN NEWS AGENCY IN PALESTINE)

From Standing Rock to Palestine, the Caterpillar Bulldozers at Work for the Colonial Project

(for links and other information, see original article)

 

 

Two Caterpillar bulldozers at work (left: Rafah, Palestine in 2002,      right: Standing Rock, ND on Native sacred burial ground in 2016)

Since April 1, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, later followed by over 200 other Native nations, has been occupying the sacred site of Standing Rock in order to protect it against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (named after the two American States, not the Native nation of course), which would carry Bakken crude from North Dakota to Illinois. Yesterday (September 8),  North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has called for the U.S. National Guard to intervene at Standing Rock a few hours before the ruling of a lawsuit that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has brought against the U.S. government. A few days earlier, some Native organizers had been attacked by dogs ordered by private security force, and bulldozers had demolished a sacred burial ground (see the Democracy Now report here).

In looking at the right part of the photograph above illustrating this deliberate profanation, you will recognize the well-known yellow worn by all non-customized Caterpillar construction (or rather, destruction) equipment on what appears to be D8 bulldozers. Condemning Caterpillar for actions committed in the context of a State’s infrastructural construction can appear as far fetched at first glance — we will see in the last paragraph that it is actually not — but this 90-year old American company is also renowned for its numerous contracts with the U.S. Army, and has no problem to display its support to the “armed forces” on its website:

 

The part of the Caterpillar website dedicated to “Defense” is particularly interesting in this regard and relatively generous in the information given. One might have an overview of the “Defense Product Line” proposed by Caterpillar to the U.S. army and U.S. Federal civilian agencies, including bulldozers such as the D6K or the D7R. The company however does not stop at providing military equipment to an army knowingly deployed in various parts of the world; it also offers training to military operators and provide a schedule of courses throughout the year. The website also features a list of federal agencies and branches of the U.S. army that it supplies with equipment. Under the title “Foreign Military Sales Programs,” the company lists the states of Iraq and Afghanistan as also provided with such equipment as part of the so-called “Supplemental Acquisition Program.” There is however no mention of another indirect important foreign military client: the Israeli army.

The Israeli army indeed regularly purchases Caterpillar bulldozers through the “US Foreign Military Sales Program,” which are later customized by Israel Military Industries to become an autonomous war-machine able to operate in Palestinian cities without any supporting squad. The model D9 of the Caterpillar bulldozers has been a particularly recurrent acquisition by the Israeli army for decades now. Created in 1954, it has been used in every war lead by the Israeli government since the first Sinai invasion in 1956. This ‘steel monster’ is 8-meter long, 4.6-meter wide, 4-meter high, it weights 60 tons, and is usually equipped with a 1.8-meter high blade in its front and a long plowshare in the back, which can dig a 1.7-meter deep furrow. The latter was particularly used during the Second Intifada in order to sever the Palestinian infrastructure (road, water, sewage, electricity) under the pretext of demining — an easily deniable pretext since the plowshare is situated in the back of the bulldozer. The D9 has many variations: the D9T does not need an operator to be present within the vehicle, the “Lioness” version is higher than wide and can thus penetrate in narrower street — although demolishing house to let bulldozers move forward in Palestinian refugee camps has never been a problem for the Israeli army in history… (for more on the question, I can refer to my short book, The Politics of the Bulldozer)

In March 2003, an American activist named Rachel Corrie was killed by such a bulldozer in Rafah when she interposed herself (see past article) between the military vehicle and the house that its operator intended to destroy — about 2,500 Palestinian houses were demolished by bulldozers during the Second Intifada. Although this dreadful event was legitimately relayed by Western media, we can however regret that such coverage does not extend to the many Palestinians who also died in the demolition of their houses by these bulldozers. In November 2004, Human Rights Watch issued a call entitled “Israel: Caterpillar Should Suspend Bulldozer Sales – Weaponized Bulldozers Used to Destroy Civilian Property and Infrastructure,” which remained unanswered positively, Caterpillar’s CEO James Owens saying that the company did “not have the practical ability or legal right to determine how our products are used after they are sold.”

Whether used in the desecration of Native land, in the post-invasion infrastructure of Iraq or Afghanistan, or in the demolition of thousands of Palestinian homes, for the moment, this article has only evoked what we can call the weaponizable function of the bulldozer. However, we ought to look at what a bulldozer is in its essence: it is fundamentally an instrument of absolute geoengineering control over a territory and, as such, a weapon, rather than a weaponizable tool. As argued at length on this blog and elsewhere, qualifying something as a weapon (like, say, architecture) does not necessarily means that its use should be forever proscribed. What it means is that its use is inseparable from violence itself and that, as such, it necessarily crystallizes, enables, enforces a political program. If we go back to North Dakota and, more broadly, to the ways the United States have systematically assert their genocidal claim on the land, we can see how an instrument like the bulldozer (like the barbed wire, as Olivier Razac would say) was invented in such a logic of territorial domination — the displacement of Bakken (a mineral only found in the Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) that the Dakota Access pipeline would enable on thousand of kilometers is also inscribed in this geoengineering dominating logic. Just like the bulldozer is a weapon, not a weaponizable tool; we should interpret what is at stake in Standing Rock and in Palestine not through a negotiation of the ways in which the politics involved could become acceptable, but rather through the prism of the entirety of the political ideologies at work: in both cases here, the variations of the same colonial project.

TEENS VISIT CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL AND BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK WITH CHEYENNE RIVER YOUTH PROJECT

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NATIVE NEWS ON LINE)

TEENS VISIT CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL AND BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK WITH CHEYENNE RIVER YOUTH PROJECT

 

Youth Visits Were Made Possible Through the National Park Service “Visiting Our Past” Transportation Grant

Published November 15, 2016

EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA — This year, teens from South Dakota’s Cheyenne River reservation have had the opportunity to visit sites of major significance to the Lakota Nation with the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. In August, they visited Bear Butte (Mahto Paha) State Park and Devil’s Tower (Mahto Tipila) National Monument, and more recently, they traveled to the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills and Badlands National Park.

The trips were made possible with funding from the National Park Service “Visiting Our Past” Transportation Grant. The grant was made available to native nonprofit youth organizations so they could pursue initiatives that would connect young people to the places of their ancestors and introduce them to the work of the National Park Service, and NPS staff worked closely with CRYP to plan the youth visits.

According to Tammy Eagle Hunter, the trips had both educational and recreational purposes. Not only were the teens able to learn more about the cultural significance of each site, they were able to do some hiking as well.

 

“At Crazy Horse, we visited the Indian Museum of North America and took a bus ride to the base of the monument, where we learned more about Crazy Horse himself, the history of the monument and the minerals inside the rock,” Eagle Hunter said. “Then we went on to Badlands National Park, where we met up with Jesse Short Bull.”

 

Jesse Antoine Short Bull, a member of the Oglala Lakota Oyate, is a passionate storyteller, particularly where it concerns is Dakota homeland. He participated in the prestigious Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) Disney/ABC Screenwriters program in Santa Fe, New Mexico, co-wrote a short film titled “Istinma: To Rest,” and remains involved with both writing and film. Short Bull also co-founded and continues to work with the Native Youth Leadership Alliance, which provides young tribal college students with a safe place to promote culturally based change.

 

Short Bull talked to the Cheyenne River teens about the Badlands’ Lakota history and cultural connections, and he led the group on an off-trail hike that involved some fossil-finding.

 

“The kids loved that,” Eagle Hunter said. “Not only did they have the opportunity to hear the stories, and see the beautiful natural and sacred places in those stories, they could actually get out there and engage with the environment. That gave them a level of understanding they would not be able to achieve any other way.”

Cheyenne River’s teens also were able to learn more about NPS management of the sites. And, they discovered ways to build their own outdoor leadership skills in preservation, recreation and education.

 

“It was a great privilege to share these experiences with our teens, and to help them strengthen their connections as Lakota people to the power of place,” Eagle Hunter said. “Visits like this give them greater understanding of the stories in their oral tradition, and more deeply appreciate the sacrifices of their ancestors. It’s so important to us that our young people feel proud of who they are and realize that, like their ancestors, they are both resilient and powerful beyond measure.”

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Horrifying History for Halloween – the first creepy clowns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘FEED THE WEB’)

Horrifying History for Halloween – the first creepy clowns

first creepy clowns

Have clowns always had a dark side?

Clown-like characters have been around for thousands of years.

Pygmy clowns entertained Egyptian pharaohs in 2500 BC. In ancient imperial China, a court clown called Yu Sze or Twisty Pole famously saved thousands of lives by joking the emperor out of coating the Great Wall with lacquer.

Many Native American tribes had a tradition of clowns. Since laughter opens you up to the spirits, the clowns had to get everyone laughing before serious ceremonies. A visitor from another tribe might try to prevent the ceremony from taking place by refusing to laugh! The clowns also laid down the law. If somebody behaved inappropriately, for example getting drunk, they would perform a skit satirist that person’s behavior. The public ridicule was often enough.

One Ancient Roman clown was stupidus (hence our word stupid) which was Latin for mimic fool. He was usually bald-headed or wore a long pointed hat and a multi-colored outfit. He made fun of the more serious actor. He was famed for his innuendo and riddles and the ability to batter other performers in spoof fights in true slapstick fashion.

The court jesters of medieval Europe were a licensed way to let off steam and poke fun at powerful people. Andrew McConnell Stott, English professor at the University of Buffalo, SUNY says :

“The medieval fool was continually reminding us of our mortality, our animal nature, of how unreasonable and ridiculous and petty we can be.”

Dwarf jesters, in particular, were so popular that the practice of artificially stunting children became common to keep up with demand. According to documents from 1670, dwarfs could be artificially made by “anointing babies’ spines with the grease of bats, moles, and dormice.”

Well into the 18th and 19th century, the prevailing clown figure of Western Europe and Britain was the pantomime clown, who was a sort of bumbling buffoon.

first creepy clowns

So how did we get from mischievous clowns to scary murderous clowns?

Dark clowns go back centuries before Stephen King’s terrifying Pennywise or even the real-life “Killer Clown”, John Wayne Gacey.

As Benjamin Radford, author of the recent book “Bad Clowns,” points out:

“It’s misleading to ask when clowns turned bad, for they were never really good.”

While most clowns aren’t hiding anything(maybe a balloon animal or fake flowers), the first two modern clowns covered dark secrets with their face paint.

first creepy clowns – Grim All Day

grimaldi
Image source : Joseph ‘Joey’ Grimaldi by George Cruikshank

Joseph Grimaldi is the missing link between historic clowns and modern clowns. He overhauled the Clown’s appearance from the rustic oaf to the heavily made-up and colorful clowns that we’re familiar with. He’s also the reason why clowns are still sometimes called “Joeys”.

In his day, he was a superstar: It’s claimed that a full eighth of London’s population had seen Grimaldi on stage. Grimaldi’s real life was hardly LOL.

His father, Giuseppe, was a cruel and eccentric dancing master known as the “Signor.” His teaching methods were grueling, included locking children into stocks, or throwing them into a cage and hoisting it into the flytower to leave them dangling precariously over the stage. At home, the Signor was horribly morbid, living in perpetual fear of death, and especially of being buried alive. When he finally died in 1788, his will directed that his eldest daughter cut his head from his corpse just to be certain.

Tragically, Grimaldi’s first wife died of childbirth and his son drank himself to death by age 31. The king of clowns was only 45 when he gave his last regular performance. His health worsened with each passing season until he had to be carried to his dressing room and revived after each performance. The physical gyrations, the leaps and tumbles and violent slapstick that had made him famous, left him in constant pain and prematurely disabled.

No wonder that Grimaldi was prone to fits of depression. A famous anecdote dates from the 1820’s and involves a visit to the surgeon, John Abertheny. Grimaldi, hoping to find a cure for his depression, asks Abertheny for advice, and unaware of his client’s identity, the surgeon prescribes the diversions of “relaxation and amusement”:

“But where shall I find what you require?” said the patient. “In genial companionship,” was the reply; “perhaps sometimes at the theater; – go and see Grimaldi.” “Alas!” replied the patient, “that is of no avail to me; I am Grimaldi.”

As Grimaldi himself joked, “I am GRIM ALL DAY, but I make you laugh at night”.

After Grimaldi died penniless and an alcoholic in 1837 (the coroner’s wonderful verdict was : “Died by the visitation of God”), Charles Dickens edited Grimaldi’s memoirs.

According to Andrew Stott, Dickens invented the scary clown — by creating a figure who is literally destroying himself to make his audiences laugh.

first creepy clowns – The Sinister Clown

severin_as_pierrot_c-_1896
Image source : Séverin as Pierrot, c. 1896, in Séverin, L’Homme Blanc (Paris, 1929)

The major clown figure on the Continent was Jean-Gaspard Deburau’s Pierrot, a clown with white face paint underscored by red lips and black eyebrows whose mime delighted French audiences. Deburau was as well-known on the streets of Paris as Grimaldi was in London, recognized even without his make-up.

Where Grimaldi was tragic, Deburau was sinister. Rumored to indulge in laudanum and alcohol, he had a volatile temper. In 1836, Deburau killed a boy with a blow from his walking stick after the youth shouted insults on the street, calling him “dummy” and “scarecrow”.

As to why such a talented man should kill a child, Deburau’s biographer Tristan Rémy conjectured that his subject’s persona had something to do with it. “When he powdered his face, his nature, in fact, took the upper hand,” Rémy observed. “He stood then at the measure of his life — bitter, vindictive, unhappy.”

He was acquitted after a month in prison, when normally a trial would take a year. He’d a member of the National Guard and the officers and men of his company wrote of his unfailing good cheer. In fact, whatever he was on stage, he was moody and uncommunicative during the day. It was said of him that he only smiled at night.

Crowds thronged at the courthouse, if only to finally hear him speak. The composer Michel Chion coined the Deburau effect after this curiosity about a voice. The idea of a Deburau effect has been extended to any drawing of the listener’s attention to an inaudible sound—which, once heard, loses its interest.

After the trial, he refused to play the Pierrot in Cot d’Arlan’s Pantomime Chand d’habits because it contained a murder.

Yom Kippur Haftorah: Black Lives Matter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHANDRA PRESCOD’S WEBSITE)

 
The opening chapter of a handwritten Book of Esther. source: Wikipedia

Yom Kippur Haftorah: Black Lives Matter

You shall love people — including Black people — with all your heart

I shared this with my synagogue during Yom Kippur 5777 Shacharit services.

To grow up Black in America is to know that your humanity is always in question.

I have a lot of memories of this from my childhood, but one stands out in particular.

When I was 15, I was thrown out of a New Year’s Eve party because Black people — or as they repeatedly shouted at me, N-words — were not welcome.

Later, when I was an 18-year-old college sophomore, a white Jewish leader of Harvard Hillel yelled at me that I was an anti-Semite because I was at a peace rally organized by Arab students. She could not imagine that someone my color was an Ashkenazi Jew too.

Now at 34, every time my mother calls me, I think it’s to tell me one of my cousins is dead. Or in jail. A couple of weeks ago a phone call from a cousin was in fact about another one who was in jail, falsely accused by a white person who wanted to teach her a lesson.

In 2016, I assume that every conversation with one of my Black friends and family members may be our last one. My friends and family are located close to the places where Black people have been the victims of extrajudicial police murders. Whenever I hear the news, I wait — in complete terror — for a name. And I have given instructions to my husband about what to do if it’s me.

I find too often that white Jews hear stories like this and think, “That’s sad for them. I will act in solidarity when I can.” As we think about making the world whole, about Teshuvah and our commitment to Tikkun Olam and respecting and loving G-d, the G-d that we make together, I believe this approach should be questioned.

Why? Because Black people are People. What is happening is an affront to all of us, not just those of us who are Black. It is time to stop treating this like it is a grief that only Black people can feel and understand, as if Blacks are somehow a different species.

In fact, it is hard to be Black and Jewish in a community that does not see how alienating this approach can be. I have thought many times, in the last two months especially, about walking away from Judaism because I did not feel fully acknowledged as a fellow human.

I don’t believe this outcome is fated though. Albert Einstein — my theoretical physics hero — said that racism is a disease of white people, and he included himself in this grouping. He didn’t write this during the Days of Awe, but I think it is a good framing of what matters during this time.

As we end the days of awe, I want my fellow Jews who are not Black to consider that repentance means in part to take responsibility and repair what you can.

Part of this repair in my view is recognizing that Black Lives, Native Lives, Latinx lives are your people’s lives. Not just because there are Jews of all of those races but also because part of tikkun olam must be recreating the wholeness of humanity.

The message of Tikkun Olam is clear to me: Black Lives Matter can’t just be a movement you support. It has to be personal for you, like your family’s life depended on its success.

Think of the times you have imagined early Nazi Germany and the terror Jews felt walking down the street, Jews like my uncle’s family. We, your fellow Americans, your fellow human beings, are terrified, walking down the street. And we are, too often, terrorized in the name of whiteness, in the name of white safety.

It’s time to reject that and say: Black Lives Matter, like they are the lives of your family members.


Read more about Black Lives Matter Jewish mourning rituals.

Anti-Racism as a Sacred Jewish Value by Rabbi Brant Rosen

Jewish solidarity with Black Lives Matter by Rabbi Brant Rosen

“Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance.” — Dr. Yolanda Pierce, A Litany for Those Who Aren’t Ready for Healing

AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION BRING TOGETHER TRIBAL LEADERSHIP TO PRESENT AT THE 2016 GLOBAL GAMING EXPO

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NATIVE NEWS ON LINE WEB SITE)

AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION BRING TOGETHER TRIBAL LEADERSHIP TO PRESENT AT THE 2016 GLOBAL GAMING EXPO

Chairman Stevens moderating the "Tribal Gaming Roundtable" panel with Indian country leadership. Photo (L-R) Chairman Stevens, Bobby Soper, President and CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, Brian Patterson, President of the United South East Tribes (USET) and Louis Manual, Chairman of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.

Chairman Stevens moderating the “Tribal Gaming Roundtable” panel with Indian country leadership. Photo (L-R) Chairman Stevens, Bobby Soper, President and CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, Brian Patterson, President of the United South East Tribes (USET) and Louis Manual, Chairman of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.

Published October 7, 2016

LAS VEGAS – The American Indian Gaming Association (AGA) in partnership with the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) developed a strong tribal gaming educational track at the 2016 Global Gaming Expo (G2E), and one of the major highlights was the Tribal Leaders Roundtable on Tuesday, September 27 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center.

The “Tribal Gaming Round table,” panel moderated by NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. with tribal leadership panelist that included Brian Patterson, President of the United South East Tribes (USET), Louis Manual, Chairman of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association and Bobby Soper, President and CEO, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority took place to discuss some of the pressing issues Gaming Tribes are facing.
Stevens opened the panel by saying, “I am excited to be here. It is so powerful when you sit amongst the Indian gaming world and you look around to see so many from the Indian gaming regions represented in one room.  I am excited about where this industry has come.   From the days of educating and fighting for our right to Game to today, where we had a historical coming together of commercial and tribal gaming on the main stage of G2E.  It is an honor and a privilege for me to represent the Indian Gaming industry.  Indian country walks side by side with the other players in the industry.  We’ve come a long way in this industry and we are now the experts and are parallel with others in the industry.”
To begin the discussions of the panel about the tribal government gaming industry, Chairman Stevens started the panel discussions by asking about tribes pursing commercial gaming licensing and economic diversification by tribes.
Soper said, “Our tribe made a conscious decision many years ago that we wanted to pursue opportunities to diversify our economic base and one of those pursuits is to take our profits from gaming and invest them outside the reservation.  Our first project in 2006 was our Casino [Mohegan Sun Pocono] in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, and it exceeded expectations.  Since that time we have expanded and have properties in Atlantic City, Louisiana, Washington State and will soon begin a project in Korea.  We have successfully established partnerships with other tribes and now we want to diversify internationally.”  He continued, “When you diversify commercially and have assets off the reservation, you generate greater creditability, and it allows you greater opportunities to continue to diversify.”
Patterson expanded upon Soper’s discussion and commended the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes as an excellent example of leadership in action.  It amazes me that Indian Country has the strength, courage, and stamina to govern one of the most regulated industries there is.  He continued, “We know that nearly every aspect of economic development is controlled in some way by the Federal Government.  The Trust relationship must be modernized to overcome barriers.  He explained that it would require a change in the Federal government mentality for tribes to create economic opportunities that will advance their tribes and be self-sufficient.”
Chairman Manuel told the crowd that “Gaming has provided us the opportunity to progress and diversify. I remember we used to have to choose which bills to pay and now we have built upon gaming with a golf course, airport, and a movie theater entertainment complex and a water treatment facility.  So those opportunities are just examples of going beyond gaming.”
Stevens asked the panel to discuss issues surrounding dealing with Unions and the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act.  “They think we are anti-union.  But we are pro-sovereignty.”
Soper said, “Unions are a tough issue because it is an issue of sovereignty and it’s also a political issue, so you have the two competing interests. The more we can position it as an issue of sovereignty (self-governing authority), I think the more successful we are going to be.  Once you start comprising the basic principles of sovereignty in any context, then you venture back to that slippery slope.  It is very important to hold firm on these principles.”
President Patterson echoed, it is not necessarily that we are anti-union people, it is more in the sense that we are just self-determined in our course of action.” He talked about the results of self-determination at the Oneida Nation of New York and said that in FY 2015, the Oneida Nation of New York paid over $127 million dollars in wages to approximately 4, 446 employees, with employees paying more than $12 million dollars in federal payroll taxes and some $4.4 million in State taxes and the Nation has made upward of $4 million in matching contributions to employees 401-K retirement accounts.  He said, “The point I’m making is that the nation has done our best to take care of its workforce and their families.  We are meeting their needs, we are taking care of their families, and they can build a sound career, and the tribe is self-sufficient in determining their own labor actions.  Tribal Governments do act responsibly.”
Chairman Manuel spoke about the Ak-Chin Indian Community and agreed that it is about self-governance and self-determination.  “We have to take care of our employees.  We have to make sure we are not limited in our ability to develop our own policies and regulations, staying in line with the real meaning of sovereignty.”
The leadership panel rounded out the discussions giving final comments on the future of Indian Gaming and Indian Economic Diversification beyond gaming.  Soper told the attendees that there is still a lot of work to do as it relates to the future of economic sustainability. “There is still the need to educate others about tribes. We have to preserve our economic base. Indian gaming is a powerhouse, and it is very important that we protect that.  I think in the next decade or two, we are going to be more prominent as an industry.”
Patterson said, “There is a real strength in solidarity in Indian Country.  We must remain solid and accountable to each other in unity.  As we look at the tremendous benefit of Indian gaming, it is important that we continue to look at economic diversity, to build strong economic communities.”
Chairman Manuel also expressed the importance of unity.  He said, “The key is that we need to work together and he stressed that we must always remember our future.  We have fought so long for our gaming compacts so that we can remain self-sufficient.  We must be careful with what we give away.”
Chairman Stevens concluded by saying, “Our work is never done.  Too many Tribes are on the outside looking in, unable to take advantage of gaming because the market isn’t there.  We have to create other economic opportunities for all Tribes.  We must continue working with one another to further economic gains for all Tribes and we must be vigilant in the continued protection of Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty.”

Why It Is Okay To Own Slaves: (Not Really)

 

Professional writers say that on a blog post people need to use a title that gets people’s attention so that they will stop browsing mail titles and stop and read yours. Hopefully you are not a person that believes it is okay to own another person. But, there in lies a point that in some people’s minds makes it okay to buy, sale, and trade in human flesh. I have learned in my years of travels that some people don’t really believe that other people are really actually human beings. Sounds rather ignorant doesn’t it? But I have learned in my time that God has given me that some people do believe that any other “Being” that is not of their own skin color, or religion, or even nationality, do not have Souls, that others are not really human beings with a Soul like unto their own race, religion, ….

 

Here in America most people would probably say that actual slaves do not exist in our country because it is illegal. Some people are naive, some people choose not to see, many choose to bury their own heads inside their own  so that they do not have to bear witness to the evil of the real world around us. I am very glad that in our country legal slavery has been abolished way before my lifetime but that plague still simmer here among us. Like in most cases in our world if you wish to see truth, follow the money, follow the ego’s, follow the hate.

 

When I was much younger I used to wonder how it was possible for human beings to do the horrible things they do to each other. How could a race of people justify to their God their own actions of bull whipping, raping, torturing, enslaving, and killing of other people. How could the English justify their actions toward the Irish people or the Indian, African, or even the Jewish? How could the European people come to another country like the Colonies and justify removing the Native populations? How did Americans justify removing the Mexican populations of the west and southwest? How did parts of a nation believe in the African slave trade to be exceptionable? Evil, Demonic hearts, hater filled, egotistical, greed filled souls? Yes is my belief to those questions.

 

Slavery has existed since man crawled out of their caves with the intent to take by any means necessary that which others possessed. To the most powerful goes the gains which others labored for, including their bodies. Why should the land owner, the governor, or the King pay for what they can get for free? When Europeans came to the Americas the wealthy purchased the law and the land just as they had in Europe. Still, someone had to do the work for them and why pay for that which you can take for free? First they tried to enslave the Native Indians but they knew the lay of the lands and they simply ran away. Then, came the indentured poor white folks who for the price of their ticket to the New World worked as a slave for usually about seven years for the Land Lords to earn their freedom. This wasn’t working all that well either so then came the enslavement of captured Africans who were to never be freed, ever. Most all enslavement’s of humans have always been about the rich owning the poor, this disgrace of enslaving the Africans is the only time in recorded history that I have ever come across that was totally color based.

 

I learned the answer to my question of how people could justify to themselves their actions against others, people who were different in some way than they themselves. I learned this answer in 1978 when I started going to a church in a small southern town in which I was told by the preacher that the people there (in that congregation) did not believe that non-whites had Souls. You read that correctly, this to his credit was the fact that made him turn in his notice to them that he was quitting as their Pastor. That moment in time was when the light, the answer to how came to light for me. How sickening that mind-set, how evil.

 

The U.N. recently stated that they believe that about 9 million people world-wide are living in slavery. They say that most of these slaves are in North Africa, the Middle East, and in Asia, most, but not all. Where there is not the heart, belief, and faith of ever human being’s being equals, there will be slavery. Where there is the heart of pure greed, there will be slavery, thievery, and unjust imprisonment. When a poor person is willing and able to work for their food and shelter they should be able to afford more than slop and a cardboard box. One simple example I will use is the case of the employees of a large/huge company cannot obtain full-time positions and a livable wage and company provided insurances for their families while the owners of the company increases their wealth by billions every year. Livable wage is a subjective term, to some a livable wage is defined as “if they are still breathing” then I am “giving” “these people” enough of “my” money. “Why should one pay for what they can get for free, or at least as little as possible”? Simple math, the smaller amount I have to give to “these people” the more I get to keep for myself. Ego, greed, evil, yes they are all bred into the Devils servants. Here in America we hear about the evil of the top 1%, the worst evil lies in the top 1/1000 of this 1% club. Is there slavery in our world today? You decide for yourself, what do you “see”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why It Is Okay To Own Slaves; (Not Really)

 

Professional writers say that on a blog post people need to use a title that gets people’s attention so that they will stop browsing mail titles and stop and read yours. Hopefully you are not a person that believes it is okay to own another person. But, there in lies a point that in some people’s minds makes it okay to buy, sale, and trade in human flesh. I have learned in my years of travels that some people don’t really believe that other people are really actually human beings. Sounds rather ignorant doesn’t it? But I have learned in my time that God has given me that some people do believe that any other “Being” that is not of their own skin color, or religion, or even nationality, do not have Souls, that others are not really human beings with a Soul like unto their own race, religion, ….

 

Here in America most people would probably say that actual slaves do not exist in our country because it is illegal. Some people are naive, some people choose not to see, many choose to bury their own heads inside their own  so that they do not have to bear witness to the evil of the real world around us. I am very glad that in our country legal slavery has been abolished way before my lifetime but that plague still simmer here among us. Like in most cases in our world if you wish to see truth, follow the money, follow the ego’s, follow the hate.

 

When I was much younger I used to wonder how it was possible for human beings to do the horrible things they do to each other. How could a race of people justify to their God their own actions of bull whipping, raping, torturing, enslaving, and killing of other people. How could the English justify their actions toward the Irish people or the Indian, African, or even the Jewish? How could the European people come to another country like the Colonies and justify removing the Native populations? How did Americans justify removing the Mexican populations of the west and southwest? How did parts of a nation believe in the African slave trade to be exceptionable? Evil, Demonic hearts, hater filled, egotistical, greed filled souls? Yes is my belief to those questions.

 

Slavery has existed since man crawled out of their caves with the intent to take by any means necessary that which others possessed. To the most powerful goes the gains which others labored for, including their bodies. Why should the land owner, the governor, or the King pay for what they can get for free? When Europeans came to the Americas the wealthy purchased the law and the land just as they had in Europe. Still, someone had to do the work for them and why pay for that which you can take for free? First they tried to enslave the Native Indians but they knew the lay of the lands and they simply ran away. Then, came the indentured poor white folks who for the price of their ticket to the New World worked as a slave for usually about seven years for the Land Lords to earn their freedom. This wasn’t working all that well either so then came the enslavement of captured Africans who were to never be freed, ever. Most all enslavement’s of humans have always been about the rich owning the poor, this disgrace of enslaving the Africans is the only time in recorded history that I have ever come across that was totally color based.

 

I learned the answer to my question of how people could justify to themselves their actions against others, people who were different in some way than they themselves. I learned this answer in 1978 when I started going to a church in a small southern town in which I was told by the preacher that the people there (in that congregation) did not believe that non-whites had Souls. You read that correctly, this to his credit was the fact that made him turn in his notice to them that he was quitting as their Pastor. That moment in time was when the light, the answer to how came to light for me. How sickening that mind-set, how evil.

 

The U.N. recently stated that they believe that about 9 million people world-wide are living in slavery. They say that most of these slaves are in North Africa, the Middle East, and in Asia, most, but not all. Where there is not the heart, belief, and faith of ever human being’s being equals, there will be slavery. Where there is the heart of pure greed, there will be slavery, thievery, and unjust imprisonment. When a poor person is willing and able to work for their food and shelter they should be able to afford more than slop and a cardboard box. One simple example I will use is the case of the employees of a large/huge company cannot obtain full-time positions and a livable wage and company provided insurances for their families while the owners of the company increases their wealth by billions every year. Livable wage is a subjective term, to some a livable wage is defined as “if they are still breathing” then I am “giving” “these people” enough of “my” money. “Why should one pay for what they can get for free, or at least as little as possible”? Simple math, the smaller amount I have to give to “these people” the more I get to keep for myself. Ego, greed, evil, yes they are all bred into the Devils servants. Here in America we hear about the evil of the top 1%, the worst evil lies in the top 1/1000 of this 1% club. Is there slavery in our world today? You decide for yourself, what do you “see”?