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“We’re Going to Physically Remove the Infant”

“We’re Going to Physically Remove the Infant”

There is a video that has been circulating on Facebook. So many people viewed it and it generated so much attention that the Toronto Globe and Mail picked up the story. A young woman, quietly sobbing in her hospital bed, rocking her newborn baby. Her family surrounds her, one of them recording the event on his phone. One of them wails loudly as Canadian social workers in Winnipeg, backed by the police, explain that they must take the baby away…

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Local History Matters. Now, More Than Ever

Local History Matters. Now, More Than Ever

Under state law, New York requires every municipality to have an official historian. When you do the math, that comes out to one historian for each of the five boroughs of New York City, 12 Community Historians in Manhattan, 62 city historians, 932 town historians, and 544 village historians.  Add to that the 62 county historians, the scores of small historical societies, and the dozens of small archives, collections, and history museums, and you have the foundation for a vibrant…

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Everything is Beautiful

Everything is Beautiful

I have completed all of my grading for the fall semester, made it through the stress and hustle of the holidays.  Some time to reflect, before the next semester begins in a couple of weeks.  The final essays written by students in my Western Humanities course inspired me. We can read so many laments about “kids these days,” so many ill-informed condemnations of “campus climate.”  God knows, there is a lot to worry about in this world, but these kids…

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On Garp, Enrollments, and Grace

On Garp, Enrollments, and Grace

A couple of weeks ago I listened to an interview with John Irving, the author of The World According to Garp, and a hostof other well-received novels. Irving published Garp forty years ago, and he reflected in this CBC interview about the importance of the book, and upon how well he thought the book still held up.             The most stable character in the story, Irving said, was Roberta, the transgendered former football player.  It was a new thing, Irving…

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The 10 Most Important Events in Native American History

The 10 Most Important Events in Native American History

It is finals week at Geneseo.  The students in my Native American history course have worked hard all semester.  They have read a lot: Native America, of course, but also the Bedford readers by Frederick Hoxie and Colin Calloway, Prucha’s Documents of US Indian Policy, David Silverman’s Red Brethren, and David Treuer’s Rez Life. I wanted to give them a project that would provide them with an occasion to show me what they knew, rather than what they did not…

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The Justice Department is Working Hard and Standing Still

The Justice Department is Working Hard and Standing Still

About a month ago the United States Department of Justice issued its report on Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions.  The report includes a wealth of data on how and why the Justice Department decided to prosecute or not prosecute violent crime committed in Indian Country.  As AP writer Mary Hudetz put it, the Justice Department’s “track record for prosecuting Indian Country crimes has not significantly changed in recent years, even amid programs and attempts to boost both public safety and…

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What You Need to Read, December 2018

What You Need to Read, December 2018

Adams, James David, Jr., and Troy Phipps. “Los Angeles Area Indian Land Ownership after the Civil War,” Journal of the West, 57 (Spring 2018), 7-13. Andersson, Rani Henrik. A Whirlwind Passed Through Our Country: Lakota Voices of the Ghost Dance, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2018). Arnett, Chris and Jesse Morin. “The Rock Painting/Xela:Is of the Tsleil-Waututh: A Historicized Coast Salish Practice,” Ethnohistory, 65 (January 2018), 101-127. Ben-Zvi, Yael. Native Land Talk: Indigenous and Arrivant Rights Theories, (Hanover, NH: Dartmouth…

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President George H. W. Bush, (1924-2018)

President George H. W. Bush, (1924-2018)

President George Bush died late last week.  His funeral will take place in the next few days at the National Cathedral in Washington, before his family flies his body to College Station, where they will bury him on the grounds of his Presidential Library at Texas A&M University. Bush lived a long life in public service.  He served as a pilot in the second World War, as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as the US Ambassador to the…

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On Student Retention

On Student Retention

We have been discussing matters related to student retention at my college.  Only 85% of first year students return to Geneseo for their sophomore year.  If we are losing three out of twenty freshmen, I suspect that what we have done in the past with great success may no longer be working. And given the sums of money we collect from students and their parents, I believe we have an ethical obligation to do better. We cannot put it all…

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When my daughter texted me last night to tell me there was an Active Shooter on her campus…

When my daughter texted me last night to tell me there was an Active Shooter on her campus…

…it provided me with a new perspective on our nation’s unique and unending history of mass violence.  When the murders at a bar in Thousand Oaks took place just a couple of days earlier, at the other end of the county where I grew up, in a part of the world I know very well, it hit home as well.  A couple of weeks ago, an armed man was headed for the school where my wife teaches.  They went on…

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