blog

#NativeLivesMatter

#NativeLivesMatter

As screwed up as is our political system, with a President pouting because the leader of Korea called him “old,” and with Republicans slowly slouching towards the position that their party ought not to support the Senate candidacy of a constitutional illiterate who once liked to fondle 8th-graders, perhaps it is too much for me to hope that we might come together around one, simple premise, the urgency of which was underscored in this weekend’s news: that heavily-armed, militarized law…

Read More Read More

Treaty Day, 11/11

Treaty Day, 11/11

Today is Treaty Day in Canandaigua, New York. An annual commemoration of the treaty the Six Nations of the Iroquois signed with the United States in 1794 is held there each year, with a parade from the Canandaigua Primary School to the County Court House lawn at 130, and a commemoration ceremony at 200.  For the rest of the day, there are vendors and displays and speakers at the primary school.  The school site itself is significant because a large…

Read More Read More

Historians and the Problem of Evil

Historians and the Problem of Evil

Elzbieta Plackowska, forty-five years old, was convicted late in September for murdering her seven-year old son Justin and a five-year old girl, Olivia Dworakowski, who she was babysitting.  The crime occurred more than five years ago, on 30 October 2012. After telling the children to get down on their knees to pray, she started after them with a pair of kitchen knives. She stabbed Justin more than one hundred times, then slashed his throat. Olivia she stabbed more than fifty…

Read More Read More

Why Dennis Banks Matters

Why Dennis Banks Matters

Dennis Banks, one of the most important leaders of the American Indian Movement, or AIM, died last week.  Banks was eighty years old. The  obituary that appeared in the New York Times, written by Robert McFadden, covered the key points in Banks’ long career, but it has justly been maligned for its resort to stereotype in describing Banks’ appearance (“high cheekbones,” “raven-haired,” “dark, piercing eyes”); its over-emphasis on Banks’ considerable legal troubles without describing the harassment and persecution AIM faced…

Read More Read More

I Read Trump’s Proclamation for Native American Heritage Month So You Don’t Have To.

I Read Trump’s Proclamation for Native American Heritage Month So You Don’t Have To.

On Halloween, a really bad day for the dumpster fire that is the Trump Presidency, Our Bronze Creon issued his proclamation that November is Native American Heritage Month.  Traditionally this proclamation is made on the last day in October, and usually it garners little attention. Still, other than his announcement several months back that he had decided to reverse the Obama Administration’s belated halt to the Dakota Access Pipeline, President Trump has had nothing to say about Native American issues. …

Read More Read More

There Are Big Problems Out There

There Are Big Problems Out There

Halloween is right around the corner. I have written about why you should not dress up in a Native American costume before on this blog, and there is no shortage of commentary out there on the Internet Machine about why doing so can be destructive, hurtful, stupid, and in bad taste. Dressing like indigenous peoples, and the appropriation of the outward manifestations of Native American culture by non-Indians: they are common complaints. You do not have to work hard to…

Read More Read More

My Imposter Story: Some Thoughts on Ralph Ketcham

My Imposter Story: Some Thoughts on Ralph Ketcham

A couple of weeks ago I attended a memorial service for one of my graduate school professors, Ralph Ketcham, who had died last spring.  A great and productive scholar and teacher, active up until the end.  A lot to admire. I wanted to finish Ralph’s final book, Public Spirited Citizenship: Leadership and Good Government in the United States, before I wrote more about my experience with him.  As in so much of Ralph’s scholarship, James Madison’s political writings, and Madison’s…

Read More Read More

Some More Thoughts on Why We Need Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Some More Thoughts on Why We Need Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to apologize for the damage done by residential schools for First Nations children in Newfoundland and Labrador.  He will do so on November 24.  Like many apologies, I suppose, it is not enough to erase the trauma suffered by so many First Nations families. In the end, however, there are limits as to what can be done to address the crimes and the mistakes of the past. Acknowledging, apologizing, and a pledge to…

Read More Read More

A Plea for Justice on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

A Plea for Justice on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

In Native American history, there are lots of guilty parties, but Christopher Columbus is guiltier than most. There is absolutely nothing edifying in this story of avarice, violence, and religious bigotry, save for the native peoples who at times and places survived the carnage. The continued celebration of Columbus Day does a historical injustice to the native peoples of two continents and the Caribbean. The Columbus Day holiday found its origins in the Italian-American community. Columbus, quite likely from Genoa,…

Read More Read More

#MMIW

#MMIW

I posted about the Senate Indian Affairs Committee meeting on human trafficking in Indian Country last week.  The upshot of the hearings was disappointing.  All acknowledge a problem exists but there is little data on its scope.  At the hearings, the Justice Department seemed uninterested to committing the resources necessary to gather that data.  Anyone who studies Native American history closely will note, however, that the Justice Department has never prioritized crime committed in Indian Country. Though the Obama Administration’s…

Read More Read More

css.php