Wednesday, February 07, 2018

NAMH 2017: Other books and media

You might expect this to just be all the books that aren't children's or comic books, but there are two twists.

The first twist is that I had tried a search for recommended children's books - without the lists - and I had found one that was pretty good. I like the list of awards and will be going back to it a lot, but random can work out too.

Corn is Maize: The Gift of the Indians by Aliki

This is really impressive on two levels. First of all, there is a ton of information given, but doled out appropriately enough that young readers and listeners should neither become overwhelmed or bored. That is not easy. In addition, as Aliki depicts different eras, the illustrations change to resemble period-appropriate artwork. It's subtle, and a really nice touch.

The World is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, edited by Diane Glancy

My other innovation has been adding books of poetry, but I have had a hard time finding volumes by a single author. I,thought maybe an anthology would be a good start. This one was fascinating. Many of the contributors had been invited to a conference, with everything being canceled because it looked like of the participants was Jewish. In addition to being a stark reminder of the tensions in the Middle East, it ended up being many stranded poets having an opportunity to try something different, and explore and adapt. I enjoyed the poems and appreciated the notes from the individual authors on their processes and inspiration. It gave a fuller picture. While that should not be necessary with poetry, I still kind of like it.

Then there are "normal" books too.

Native Americans in Comic Books: A Critical Study by Michael A. Sheyahshe

Yes, I treated this one in great detail in Monday's post. Nonetheless, it is still a book I read. Also, if you remember the post "Down and Out", this was the book with the price change that caused so much angst. I did finally get it, and it was worth it.

Nobody Cries at Bingo by Dawn Dumont

This was my final bit of homage to the Women of the Four Winds tour. I did not have a way to review Dawn Dumont's comedy, but I could read her book. It was not as much consistent laughter as I thought a book by a stand-up comic might contain, so I feel I should warn that it is not a laugh riot. There is humor, but there is also a lot of hardship, and overcoming of that, too, but it's rough. It was a nice fit this year because I ended up in a lot of Canadian history, and Dumont is Canadian herself, and grew up on reservations there.

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

This book is full of terrible people doing terrible things, but it is fantastically written. That's good. For people who like to believe that the problems with Indian poverty are the results of bad choices by the Indians, they should spend some time on the plundering, scheming, and collusion that happened for the purpose of taking Osage money. They weren't even on a reservation; they bought the land in advance as they realized it would not be long before settlers were going to want their land. They bought the land, got set up on there, and then oil was found. Enter the crooks, liars, and murderers when that wasn't enough. And they weren't poor desperate people either. They were rich respected people who still wanted more. This is an angry-making book.

Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s to 1980s by Maureen K. Lux

First of all, I had not known how brutal some tuberculosis remedies have been historically. As tuberculosis has since come up in some other books that I have been reading for other reasons, it is helpful to know more, but medicine can be really cruel, and it is more likely to be cruel with non-white patients. I chose this book because I saw the "separate" in the title, and since I will soon be reading Medical Apartheid, I thought there might be some correlation. There probably will be, but on its own it is pretty sickening.

Now for that other twist: I found Separate Beds on a list, 150 Acts of Reconciliation for the last 150 days of Canada's 150, referring to the celebration of Canada's 150th Anniversary.

It had been tweeted with a suggestion to take the class Indigenous Canada. The course was from the University of Alberta, but available through Coursera. I thought that would be perfect; I would get started on study, and I love online courses, and it just made sense. As I finished that course, Aboriginal Worldviews and Education from University of Toronto was suggested. I took that too.

That is why this year's Native American Heritage Month (which pretty much ran from September through January) was so Canadian. Both classes and two of the books were very Canadian, and there are similarities to our US issues, but there are differences also.

Next week I will write about some of the thoughts I had during that, and how things came together, but there is one thought that came up a lot and that is worth mentioning now.

When we came over they should have just killed us all.

Natives should have slaughtered everyone at Jamestown, and let the Pilgrims starve, and killed anyone trying to settle.

I say that liking being alive and liking living where I do, and knowing that the slaughter would be terrible, and it would just bring more people with more weapons, probably. The Vikings gave up.

I'm just saying there has been a lot of bad. We can move forward from there, but we're going to have to acknowledge past and present bad to get there.

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