Friday, October 29, 2010

Second Step: WRITE

It's been days since I began to balance my Facebook use and return to blogging. I a staying away from Facebook until I have blogged to my heart's content.

This is October 29, just a few days away from Election Day. In Oregon, we mail in our votes. Today is the last day to mail in because postmarks do not count. This is the first year that I'm going to election center. As a volunteer for Basic Rights of Oregon, we did phone banks for Governor Kitzhauber I like him. He's the governor known to have actively pushed the salmon plan before leaving office. I talked with my friend Bob Tom the other day. I didn't realize how the governor designed his plan. First step, he brought together the tribes and other stakeholders. That is the group who worked together to design the plan.

Governor Kitzhauber runs against Chris DUDley, one of the "nouveau Republican crazy people." No shame. No boundaries. I suppose on a national level they are called the Tea Party, with three second bytes which may sound populist -- "the education candidate," "for the working people" but they stand for the extreme opposite -- anti-government, profit based, wild reactionary unchecked self-interest and greed.

Then we have the usual measures, one by Oregon's Kevin Mannix trying to sneak his agenda in -- profit for the prison industry at the expense of schools.

It's good to be back!

And in California where our Winnemem family live they are voting on a very important race. Congressman Herger (25 year incumbent) is finally being challenged by a candidate within Shasta Lake (Herger's town) a lawyer named John (?) Reed. If he defeats Herger, he defeats THE block keeping the Winnemem from restoration of their tribal status. The State Legislature have already passed the joint resolution agreeing that the tribe should be restored. All that needs to happen is for the Congressman of their area to champion them. My opinion is that Herger must hate the Winnemem. He not only refuses to carry the bill onto the floor but he threatens that he will stop any movement by Boxer or Feinstein should they be moved to sponsor the bill in the Senate.

Tonight was Colin's ballot party at our house. Colin is the new Eugene staff of APANO, an Asian Pacific Network for social justice. Not many people came. But there is an idea that those who are supposed to come are who show up. Tonight made a believer out of me.

One of the people who came was Rita, Colin's mother. She is Chamorro of the Marianas Islands, one of the peoples whom Magellan encountered. You remember the Mariana Islands. I think that was his last trip. They call the area she her ancestors are from Guam, the last US territory. We talked about everything. She is concerned about immigration, about invisibility of Asian Pacific Island peoples in this country. She is very concerned with the political climate. Somewhere in our conversation Rita mentioned she's going to New Zealand, two thumbs up and excited. She's going with her friend who is Maori, living here in the States. That led to our telling her about our trip to New Zealand and since there was some time before others came, showed her the film Will made of the Winnemem trip to New Zealand

She and Colin were quite moved by the story. By the end of the evening, Rita and Colin are now part of Winnemem Support Group of Oregon and maybe going to ceremony. The Pacific Island people are the most recently colonized. The ancestral memories are still fresh. The spirit still burns bright in the parent's and the youth, three and four generations since conquest.

I am sorry that more people did not come to the ballot party, but as for the beginning of a new friendship, I feel this is a very special day. Rita is the first person I've met in the API community who I can talk without editing myself, and more than that, can listen to to get more insights on this system we live within but do not belong to.

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"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

from Outside the Monster's Belly

from Outside the Monster's Belly
. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.