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On Seeing HAMILTON, In the Ugly Light of Trump’s America

On Seeing HAMILTON, In the Ugly Light of Trump’s America

            I am going to go see Hamilton this weekend, and I have been invited to share my impressions of the award-winning musical on a local NPR-affiliate the week following.  I will be teaching the American Revolution next semester, and as some of my posts over the past several months make clear, I have been thinking about the stories we should tell quite a bit.             I have also been thinking a lot about the American constitutional system that emerged…

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I Read Donald Trump’s Proclamation for Native American Heritage Month So You Don’t Have To, 2018 Edition

I Read Donald Trump’s Proclamation for Native American Heritage Month So You Don’t Have To, 2018 Edition

It has been a busy couple of weeks for our Bronze Creon.  But in the midst of taking a dump on the first sentence of the 14th Amendment, stirring up the Anti-Semites, White Supremacists, Nationalists, and Assorted Yahoo Dingbats, and campaigning for Republican candidates in several states, the President managed to sign a proclamation honoring Native American Heritage Month.  Presidents routinely issue these proclamations on or around Halloween. Last year I compared President Trump’s first proclamation to those of his…

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The Black Heart of the Republic

The Black Heart of the Republic

The other day we began to read of explosive devices arriving at the homes and offices of prominent Democratic politicians. The unknown bomber targeted two former presidents, a former Vice-President, a former Secretary of State, a former Attorney-General and a number of Democratic members of Congress.  It was the largest attempted assassination of American political leaders in many decades. The President and his supporters, meanwhile, denounce their critics as a “mob,” view any press coverage that does not fawn over…

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So Elizabeth Warren has Native American DNA…

So Elizabeth Warren has Native American DNA…

Elizabeth Warren has released a report indicating that, yes, contrary to the claims of Donald Trump, she does indeed possess Native American DNA.  I have followed this story on my Twitter Machine, and her supporters are crowing:  Elizabeth Warren is Winning, they say. Not so fast. DNA does not mean that Warren is Native American, at least in a completely meaningful way. Nor does her possessing older markers of Indian identity, like a certain “blood-quantum.”  Warren may be anywhere from…

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I Read Donald Trump’s Proclamation Commemorating Columbus Day So You Don’t Have To

I Read Donald Trump’s Proclamation Commemorating Columbus Day So You Don’t Have To

When it comes to native peoples, the President has become the Ignoramus-in-Chief, a bigot who issues statement after statement intended to rub salt in the wounds left by a long and traumatic history.  First, there was his reversal of the Obama Administration’s tepid opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Then there is his continuous and mocking derision of Elizabeth Warren, one of his likely opponents in 2020, who he insists on calling “Pocahontas.” And now, his proclamation honoring Columbus Day,…

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I Read Elizabeth Warren’s Speech to the NCAI So You Don’t Have To

I Read Elizabeth Warren’s Speech to the NCAI So You Don’t Have To

And it wasn’t half bad.  Sure, she oversimplified the Pocahontas story considerably, and in ways that would give historians of the Powhatans and early Virginia pause, but she raised some critical points.  “Indigenous people have been telling the story of Pocahontas–the real Pocahontas–for four centuries. A story of heroism. And bravery. And pain,” Warren said.   And, she added correctly, “for almost as long, her story has been taken away by powerful people who twisted it to serve their own purposes.”…

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The Crown Prince of Mar-A-Lago and Pocahontas’s People

The Crown Prince of Mar-A-Lago and Pocahontas’s People

I am teaching this semester a freshman writing seminar called “The Lost Colony.”  The students are reading an e-book version of David Beers Quinn’s The Roanoke Voyages, 1584-1590, which is now available from Routledge, and a copy of my book, The Head in Edward Nugent’s Hand.   For the first week of class I wanted the students to recognize the extent to which our understandings of the Roanoke ventures, and of early European expansion generally, are encrusted with a deep…

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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. …

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Rotten to the Core

Rotten to the Core

The recent story that appeared in The Intercept about the private security firm Tiger Swan, its cooperative intelligence-gathering with local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities, its propaganda work in behalf of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the sometimes-brutal tactics it used to protect the corporate “assets” of Energy Transfer Partners, the Fortune 500 company behind the construction of the DAPL, should be a much larger story than it is.  The Tiger Swan story reveals the rottenness that lies at…

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The Trump Presidency and Indian Affairs: Let’s Read Critically, People

The Trump Presidency and Indian Affairs: Let’s Read Critically, People

I recently was invited to speak at a Teach-In on my campus.  The purpose of the gathering is to support student-activists interested in countering the policies of the Trump administration.  At the time that invitation was extended, some weeks ago, the Dakota Access Pipeline and the #NoDAPL movement were still very much in the news.   Since then, the Trump administration has fulfilled its promises to the oil men and the businessmen and fossil fuel addicts among us, and the pipeline…

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