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A Matter of Perspective - The Overton Window, Reservation Life and a Chain of Sorrow

Crossposted from Native American Netroots and Daily Kos.

Cross Posted at Native American Netroots

An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

I'm not a Native American. I did not grow up on a Reservation. For the longest time, I had only been dimly aware of the extent and level to which Native Americans have been exploited, abused, repressed & discriminated against.

Even now, my awareness likely only begins to scratch the surface, and yet what I've learned over the past few years has brought anger, grief & frustration as my awareness of both past and present bureaucratic b.s. and institutionalized standards of cultural genocide has grown.

Recently, NPR put out a 3 part series called Native Survivors of Foster Care Return Home. (You can watch all three which are linked in the title.) Not too long ago, Metro Times posted a story called Chain of Sorrow that also speaks of the impact and legacy of Indian Boarding Schools.

It's a legacy of pain and sorrow that our nation should be ashamed of.

While reading the latter piece, a paragraph jumped out at me which can be read more than one way. The first way it occurred to me is likely due to my less-informed perspective - but, because of that, it may also be a reflection of a more wide-spread misunderstanding.

Here's the paragraph, with the emphasis on the phrase that stuck out for me:

"It wasn't just the boarding schools that brought this about. From the time Columbus landed in the New World, the assault on Indians, their culture and their religious ways has been relentless. Their sacred lands taken, the people murdered, the women raped and, at times, subjected to forced sterilizations, the deprivation of reservation life, the scourge of alcohol — all these had combined to cause his people to lose so much."

When I first read the paragraph, it didn't sit right - I couldn't understand what was meant by "the deprivation of reservation life" - it first processed in my mind as "children removed from the rez would be deprived of the quality of life on the rez"...which, in the article, was cited as being the reason ~why~ some parents let their children be taken in first place. So, my initial reaction/interpretation was - I hope - incorrect. It wasn't that a child was being deprived of life among their people on the reservation - it was the fact that conditions on the reservation itself were usually harsh and oppressive, becoming yet another aspect of the type of harm done to Native Americans as part of an ongoing (if not always externally recognized) way to continue the same cultural genocide that had begun so many years before.

In either interpretation, however, the paragraph itself was both damning and dismal.

What dismayed me and prompted me to write this article was the thought that immediately followed: what if my first reading of the phrase was the intended interpretation?

That would be pretty sad - for it would present an unchallenged view of the reservation as false equivalent of a way to preserve cultures and traditions.

Sure, there is some of that in reservation life - but, for peoples who were forcibly relocated to unwanted expanses of real estate and who previously harbored little concept of "personal property" the way the settlers conceived of it - how much of their cultural heritage was already compromised? And how much was destroyed in the process of "re-settling" them, or in the subsequent efforts to get them to conform & integrate?

It may be the only current place where the traditions are able to be upheld, but if the belief that it's "good" (versus a way to avoid total cultural extinction) is prevalent, then efforts to improve any relations or conditions are doomed...if not to failure, then to any sort of substantial reform without an awful lot of effort.

Efforts to undo (and prevent further) the whitewashing of our national history with regard to the treatment of Native Americans already have a tough row to hoe. If perspectives - and the associated Overton Window that helps frame them - are still predominantly akin to what my first reading of that paragraph came away with, then there's a very long way to go before beneficial change (for Native Americans, in their perspective) can occur.

A parting thought, also from the Metro Times piece:

"The realization of just how much was stolen from these people begins to set in. It wasn't just their land, or even their way of life. What was taken was their sense of self, leaving them spiritually wounded.

And it was done, in no small part, by taking their children."

Help spread the word & increase awareness: share the links to the Metro Times & NPR pieces. And share a link to Native American Netroots, too: there, people can find a great deal of information - both historical and current - about cultures, customs and ongoing issues.

Thank you.

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Investigate Oakland Police actions 10/25/11 against OWS Protesters

Attorney for the Department of Justice, California, Northern District: Investigate Oakland Police actions 10/25/11 against OWS Protesters

http://www.change.org/petitions/attorney-for-the-department-of-justice-california-northern-district-investigate-oakland-police-actions-102511-against-ows-protesters

Petitioning

  • Attorney for the Department of Justice, California, Northern District (Melinda L. Haag)
  •  FBI Special Agent in Charge, FBI San Francisco (Stephanie Douglas)

Investigate Oakland Police actions on 10/25/11 against OWS Protesters


Our bureaucracy and law enforcement is practicing acts of violence and tactical terrorism against its own citizens. These citizens are fully backed by their legal rights afforded to them by the US Constitution. These acts are unacceptable on moral, legal, and humanitarian grounds. We the people will not stand for this abuse. This is about democracy. This is about human rights, your human rights.

The Mayor Ms. Jean Quan ordered these attacks, and we request that she be investigated thoroughly for human rights violations against the American people. The police officers who obeyed her unconstitutional, unethical, and illegal orders are legally responsible for what they have done. They had a choice to obey or disobey, as their counterparts in Albany recently did. They proceeded with these actions and they are fully culpable for the choice they made and the harm and injuries that they caused.

One of the creators of #OccupyWall Street reflects on its success so far

Cross posted from Real Economics.

Without issuing a single concrete demand, the Occupy movement has already scored a significant victory: it has shifted the political discourse in USA back in a more progressive direction, examining real problems. Less than two months ago, most Americans watched morosely as USA elites “debated” the debt ceiling and vied to come up with the most “acceptable” program of austerity, including cuts in Social Security and Medicare at the federal level, and education and police and fire protection at the state and local levels.

Now, the focus of political discourse are the inequalities of wealth and income, and how they cripple our economy and democracy by allowing the rich a disproportionate role in setting national policies.

That is a monumental shift in political direction. Especially considering the billions of dollars the rich and wealthy have poured into trying to dominate the political process and public perceptions, such as by astro-turfing the so-called Tea Party.

Many people have wondered just who is behind the Occupy movement. If you don’t know, the idea of occupying Wall Street was first proposed by the Canadian culture-jammers, Adbusters. I have known about Adbusters for a few years now, because of their excellent work on revealing the darker sides of economic neo-liberalism, and our consumerist culture. (One of the best articles attacking neo-liberalism was Adbusters’ November 2007 take-down of leading economist Gregory Mankiw, Economic Indoctrination.)

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Hartmann: Will Corporations get the Right to Commit Genocide?

Is GENOCIDE okay as “corporate business”? Chief Justice Roberts et al. will decide.

I am unsure as to what aspect of this story disturbs me the most.

That such an issue is a legal dispute in these United States, at all, the very incredible nature of the issue, or most simply, the fact that while it's incredible, that the danger is nightmarishly believable under the Roberts Court!?

Post-Investigative Journalism

Commenting on for story that James O'Keefe has targeted a couple of progressive think tanks for his pranks:

Ryan Girdusky, a spokesman for Project Veritas, the 501(c)3 organization O'Keefe started, declined to confirm whether EPI was the subject of an ongoing investigation, arguing that it would undermine the remainder of the group's work.

"Ongoing investigation"?  Oh, please.  Maybe their idea of "investigation" is something like attempting to lure someone onto a houseboat for a sex sting. Or breaking into a Senator's office.  Whatever it is, it is certainly unlike anything that has ever before been called "investigation."  On his website, O'Keefe prides himself on being an exemplar for "modern-day muckrakers"--but he hasn't the patience to do the real research, the old-fashioned investigation that was the hallmark of the muckrakers of a century ago.

Corporations have rights. People don’t.

#OccupyWallStreet has issued an emergency appeal for support tonight, after New York City mayor (and billionaire) Michael Bloomberg directed NYPD to force the #OWS protesters out of the public space they have been camping in for over three weeks. Ostensibly, Mayor Billionberg wants the park area to be "cleaned," and so the protesters need to leave "temporarily."

The situation at the site of the #OWS camp is reportedly tense as police gather to begin their assault.

So, tonight, October 13, 2011, one more time, Mayor Billionberg and USA elites are showing us just how outrageously corrupt they have made America. A corporation giving unlimited contributions towards political campaigns: according to these elites, that is "free speech," and they even have a Supreme Court ruling, the notorious Citizens United v. FEC, that explicitly says so. Corporations have free speech rights, and no one can interfere, no matter how obviously corrupt our political system is made by the billions of dollars of corporate campaign contributions, and secret funding of attack ads.

But, American citizens camping in a public space to make an explicitly political message? Oh, no, no, NO, that is NOT free speech. Not in the United States of America, home of the free and land of the brave, on October 13, 2011.

I feel only shame and disgust for this sorry spectacle of cruelly twisted definitions of freedom. Corporations have rights. People don’t. And I feel loathing and contempt for the conservatives and economists and MBAs and rentiers and speculators and usurers, who have brought the republic to this nadir, with their evil, anti-human "free market" theology.

Police Want the Tents Gone from Occupy Hartford CT

Here is the Hartford Chief of Police in his own words, earlier today:

Now, police may want to do this and may go ahead and do this BUT... They should not do this. Both because there is clear legal precedence on this and because it just is not a smart political move for them. (More below the fold)

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Random Japan

CHEEKY DEVILS
Customs officials at Kansai Airport busted a Nigerian man attempting to enter the country with 86 bags of an unspecified drug in his stomach. The would-be smuggler said “he picked up the drugs in Paris and spent four to five hours swallowing the small bags, washing them down with water.”
After being arrested for throwing his wife’s corpse in Tokyo’s Oyoko River, a 61-year-old man reportedly told police, “there is no doubt I dumped her in the river. I’ll discuss the details later.”
A Tokyo-based software company has released an app called Karelog that allows PC users to monitor “the current whereabouts, phone call logs, remaining battery power and other personal data of a smartphone’s owner.”
A Tokyo woman was arrested forcounterfeiting ¥10,000 bills the old-fashioned way—with a color photocopier.

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23,000

How Not to Be a Journalism

Patrick Howley, an assistant editor at The American Spectator, gives a master class in how not to commit journalism in a piece posted October 8 on "Occupy" events in Washington, DC.  His article should be read by both those interested in becoming journalists (as a guide to behavior to avoid) and those trying to understand the lurch towards "post-objective journalism" exemplified by Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe.

Senator Bernie Sanders on the dangers of #OccupyWallStreet

Senator Sanders addresses the dangers of class warfare that Presidential-aspirant, Mit Romney, detects rising from the ranks of the Occupiers of Wall Street.

But, first, I found actual evidence of the real danger, in the form of pissed-off librarians!
FB-Marching Librarians

Excerpt: "Beyond the Blogosphere: Information and Its Children"

Here's a little bit from the book Robert Leston and I have just completed, Beyond the Blogosphere: Information and Its Children.  It will appear from Praeger in December:

In movies, in music, and in other areas, copyright has limited the intellectual commons, and the “intellectual commons contains the raw materials that people use to create works” (Henry Mitchell, The Intellectual Commons, xi-xii). When it is constrained, creation is restrained, which is doubly unfortunate, given the fact that there is no scarcity when the raw material is—or should be—infinitely reproducible. What copyright has done is to create boundaries where none existed or, as some would argue, need to exist. Though there may be justification for boundaries of some nature, the fact remains: copyright as practiced today, whether it is meant to or not, constrains creativity. Many owners of copyright may argue otherwise, that copyright enables creativity, but the evidence says otherwise. Certainly, the beneficiaries of copyright are rarely the actual creators.

He's back - Nouriel Roubini issues NEW dire warning

First posted September 26, 2011 - 15:02, worth seeing again - standingup

Nouriel Roubini, who repeatedly issued warnings about the coming crash of the economy in 2008, is back in the news again. And what he has to say is far from upbeat. Forget Greece - it's Italy and Spain that everyone should be paying close attention to. 

It was all so avoidable. A little look back at history and the year 1931...but alas, no. 

"....One should never underestimate the power of greed, stupidity or ignorance, and narrow (unenlightened), short-term self-interest to distort decision making....."

Risk of depression is ‘huge’, Roubini warns
By Taimur Ahmad, Emerging Markets, September 23, 2011

The odds have risen sharply this week of a fresh financial crisis that will plunge the global economy into a major depression, as policymakers fall far short of the radical measures needed to address the fast approaching storm, economist Nouriel Roubini warned yesterday.

More details in the interview published by the magazine.

Interview with Nouriel Roubini
Emerging Markets, September 23, 2011

The signs from policymakers are not encouraging. Germany’s finance minister was reported to have said that the G20 was largely in agreement that a fiscal stimulus is simply not needed now. What do you make of that?

That’s nonsense. The IMF has it right. [IMF managing director] Christine Lagarde has it right. If everybody does fiscal austerity at a time when private demand is falling again you’re going to have another global depression. We’re going to make exactly the same mistake like during the Great Depression, when we took away the fiscal stimulus too soon. That is a huge risk right now.

Good times. Good times.

Pace yourself friends. 

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

This document was accepted by the NYC General Assembly on september 29, 2011

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

Assassinating her own citizens is all the rage in the USA today

No trial, no jury, no evidence ever presented. The rule of law in the USA is dead. Get in line and cheer this... And pay no notice to the fact that you may very well be next without Habeas Corpus to protect you.

Let’s See the Evidence on Al-Awlaki
by emptywheel

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