Friday, July 12, 2013

Turn Turn Turn, a Glimpse of Pete and Toshi Seeger in her memory, 2013

Pete Seeger at 93 singing Turn Turn Turn with verses rewritten by his wife Toshi Ota Seeger.  Toshi passed on as 91 this year.

Working with the Forest Service, 2013

I will say personally, there is a different feeling this year working with the Forest Service for the Coming of Age Ceremony, and I have hope this feeling goes through the complete process.   This year Region 5 has provided us with a Tribal Liaison who brought with him the cultural staff for the Forest which oversees our sacred lands.  Although Region 5, in the last weeks of our communication yanked the Tribal Liaison from the position of working with us and replaced him with the very next person in rank with the Forest office under a very hateful Forest Ranger, he seems to be open to working with us.  His superior has never from the time Chief began to hold the Coming of Age Ceremonies for women where it was supposed to be, never met with us nor acknowledged our need to talk with the Forest about our use of our former homeland.  Also involved is the person who is the intermediate Supervisor of several Forests, the original one who refused anything but a voluntary closure of the river, allowing only the haters and drunks to race, and shout, and rubberneck through our ceremony to come through.

We will have something to celebrate together if this new team has  come together to help the tribe, or at the least, stop interfering with the tribe to peacefully bring a young girl through her womanhood ceremony in a dignified manner, a beautiful ceremony, Balas Chonos,  It will be something that she receives everything she is supposed to from  the spirit of the place, the ancestors, surrounded by those who care about her, whether tribal or by a government agency which sees values in such things and she has a chance to   grow to be a strong Winnemem woman.  I want to share that these ceremonies work in the most contemporary sense in period when it's so hard to grow up.  Gangs, drug and alcohol addiction, depression, teen suicide, teen pregnancy so many things that can turn a young life into a downward spiral.  In fact, the generations who parented and grandparented this generation have such stories and some survived, many did not.  But 100 percent of these young ones who live at the Village, grow up taking care of ceremony, and go through a Coming of Age, are addiction free, are happy, know they are important to the tribe, step up to their traditional roles, or go to college -- some both --get a job. They make good and healthy choices.  It is that important.  We all want Alicia to have a good life.  Babers, Winona, Jessica and even Marisa, our next Chief, came through a ceremony riddled with attacks, especially Marisa.  It angered us to see those LEO's in the trees above the young women's camp ogling our youth through binoculars but we were in a ceremonial mode.  We did have fears that our young women going through stressful ceremonies would not get those gifts of ceremony.  So we prayed harder.  And so far, it seems they're all ok, making good decisions.  But for Alicia, we would, of course, love for her to have all the attention she should have, and all the blessings of that place.

It is not a small feat, nor is it of narrow importance in the scheme of things to come together  -- Forest government bureaucrats and tribe -- so a young person stays on a good path of life.  In the context of Indian Country it is phenomenal thing.  The Winnemem like most of Native tribes are not materially well off at all with the weight of colonialization and negative governmental policies used against them.  But the Winnemem are ceremonially rich and attached just as their ancestors were  to their sacred lands keeping the ceremonies alive, therefore keeping the sacredness alive in their sacred places.  When Forest and Tribe come together to do this for a young person, one more person who is born into poverty but not stunted by it, and instead  who finds goodness in what really matters, and then grows to be an adult who gives goodness and raises the next generation, it is not a small feat and it is not just for this tribe, this region, but for the world.  I'm a school teacher of 35 years and I know this to be true.  That's what I hope we are accomplishing this time.  That's what my prayer has been, that that is our common goal young girl by girl for as long as this sacred river flows.  I approach our July 19th meeting between Forest Service and Tribe with cautious optimism.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gasland Exposes the War of Corporation Against Families and Earth. And They've Stolen Your Government

Watching Gasland 2.  Every American should see it.  We have political leaders from the very top to local level who really don't care if the fracking industry is killing families in their state, leaving towns ghost towns and, in fact, under Obama and Hilary Clinton's leadership has imported it all over the world.  Water has no boundaries -- and nether does the unimaginable destruction the  X-treme industry of fracking  wreaks all over the world on drinkable water, air and earth stability.   The extraction industry --oil, gas Xtreme industries which is destroying water, air, and is responsible for causing earthquakes -- are given the right to sue landowners, even towns of landowners who take them to court -- for example, to sue for the cost of hooking them up to water.

There are studies which show how extraction practices cause earthquakes.  In  California, the "shale field" which Brown has opened up for fracking has the St. Andreas fault running through it.  Very very vulnerable, your water, air and earth that supports you.  Brown is no different from the governors of NY, of PA.  Or our President.  These politicians are living off the Fracking Industry.  This ecological hell created by x-treme industries is the "clean natural gas which will mean jobs for 100 years" and moving us off of fossil fuel the President is selling.   What has been done to other countries has indeed come to this country, the desecration to feed our insatiable addiction to  fossil. fuel   That pretty much covers it, doesn't it.  Do your leaders care about anyone but themselves.  That is a small group to care about if you are considered a world leader.

Are you outraged?  Obama also signed into law his first term something which stripped people of the right to express outrage.  At first I thought it was a cowardly response to Occupy.  Now I know it was that he is in the back pocket of the X-treme fracking industries to stop actions of outrage by Americans whose homes, health, and happiness, the ability to protect their children has been stolen from them.

They are creating a revolution, perhaps a revolution of values because it's about the basics -- food, air, water, health, the stability of the earth.  Their language is military.  They call Americans insurgents. 
See the documentary while we can do something.

Kyu Sakamoto

June, 1963, #1 on the Top 100 in the USA.  Kyu Sakamoto meant so much to me as a sansei, and the fact that #1 was at the top of the charts when I graduated from high school.  My last summer vaca going into college had the sweet sound of my language, a language my second grade teacher shamed me out of and the longing for young love, and smelled of cool grassy evenings after a hot summer Idaho day.  Kyu Sakamoto's song was the last song of innocence because after that the war came home as classmates became a number of war's body count, Kennedy was assassinated and King, Bobby and Malcolm Our young growing up years were littered with the murdered hopes of our heroes so that by the time we left to become the rest of our future we no longer believed anything good stayed around.  And we moved on.  Kyu Sakamoto sang me sweetly out of Idaho Days.

"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.