CODE: Finding Papers You Exist #YIPP #BadHistory

reunion Pana 1994
meeting my family the first time in 1994 (my dad Earl is on the right)

By Lara Trace (Cherokee-Shawnee-French Canadian-Euro mix)

If you are an American Indian/First Nations/Indigenous, which many of you are, you may find it exceedingly difficult to find paper records that CONFIRM what tribe you think you are… or were told you are.

For example, on Earl’s side of my family, Earl’s aunt Bessie, referred to us as BLACK DUTCH, which is “code” for Cherokee.  My first conversation with my dad he told me we are Indian.  Mystery solved? Not quite.

Code is not uncommon at all.  Since I have been in reunion, my cousin Cathy and I have dug up tons on the “code” and how it makes sense Bessie would say that — since if you were Indian, you’d be forcibly removed to Indian Territory (then malaria-ridden Oklahoma) and you couldn’t own land and that was terrifying, potentially fatal. (Thank you Bessie for telling people that repeatedly.)


For New England tribes, that matter of having “papers” means you exist. For many tribes here, every time you went to Hartford or Boston to make a claim with the courts, you made a record: that paper is now buried in old boxes.  Why would that matter now?

Paper has to exist for you to be federally recognized.  Then as a sovereign you are entitled to promises made when the federal government (not the states) made treaty with your tribe or band.  You’d finally get some of your stolen land back, maybe even compensated!

When I was editor of the Pequot Times, I met with leaders of the Eastern Pequot bands who had done extensive paper research in their bid for federal recognition. They found documents hidden in boxes under Flora and Fauna in Hartford, Connecticut, secret code for “wild indians.”  To this day, the Eastern Pequot are NOT federally recognized and it’s not only frustrating for them (trying over 40+ years), but devious on the part of the FEDS.  (I worked for the Western Pequot or Mashantucket who are recognized). One can only imagine what will happen when PAPERS are found that feds and BIA cannot reject and no longer deny for ANY Eastern tribe.  (Old tricks worked a long time for the clever feds/BIA – demanding paper proof.)

Paper can change things, and I’d mentioned The Yale Indian Papers Project on this blog HERE

From June 29th to July 1st the Yale Indian Papers Project hosted an NEH-sponsored Digital Native American & Indigenous Studies workshop at Yale Divinity School and at the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. The three-day event introduced participants to issues of access, preservation, and methodology related to the use of digitized cultural heritage materials in the context of tribal communities and cultures from the territories east of the Mississippi River.

UPDATE:  The Yale Indian Papers Project (YIPP), which first came to YALE in 2003, is an extensive publishing endeavor to digitize the collection of primary source materials relating to New England’s Native American history.  It draws from the archives of numerous institutions, including the Yale University Library, Harvard University Library, The Massachusetts Archives and the National Archives of the United Kingdom.  Researchers are currently working to gather information on the people who lived in the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies.   On Aug. 12, the project announced that it had been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, allowing it to expand its work in Massachusetts for three more years. Read More

Both Tobias Glaza and executive editor Paul Grant-Costa said the Indian Papers Project has helped forge new relationships between Yale and Native communities for the first time in several centuriesGrant-Costa said the initial idea for the project arose more than two decades ago as a result of the challenges New England’s Native tribes first faced when trying to become recognized by the federal government. In order for these long-marginalized communities to win recognition, they first need access to historical material that has not been easily accessible in the past, he said.* [I went to their first meetings]

Tribes need paper to exist?  Indeed.  It sounds crazy, and so ludicrous.

Paper is crucially important and having it will break the CODE of erased Indian history right here in New England… no, not all Indians in the east are dead… (bad history again, yes.)

FINALLY we will see papers that reflect truth… finally.

[*YIPP editors are happy the grant will extend their work in Massachusetts for three more years.  Taken together with the Mellon/CLIR and National Archives grants, the editorial efforts will last more than four years, adding 1,650 documents to the New England Indian Papers Series.]


My friend and fellow blogger/author Trav S. D. [Travalanche] has done quite a bit of research, too. He’s a contributor to THE MIX e-mag, and he’s a Cherokee mix like me.

A thoughtful agent friend noticed the growing snowball of posts on Travalanche about American history and my family’s role therein.  Some posts are more focused on my ancestors, some involve me personally, and some are more like op-eds that have grown out of my meditation on my people’s role in our history. As you begin to see, they almost begin to stack up to something like a history of the nation, with an emphasis on race and class, and a greater than normal emphasis on pop culture, and I do believe that’s where I’m bound.  The posts themselves are just raw material — they’re not necessarily what would find their way into the book, they just lay the groundwork.

The Founding of Tennessee and Kentucky, Western New York and Ohio

Davy Crockett

The Second Great Awakening

The Star Spangled Banner 

Elizabeth Cady Stanton 

American Utopianism from 19th Century to Now

The Real Grizzly Adams

William Holland Thomas and the Eastern Band of Cherokee

In addition, these travel posts mention references to places and people in my background: Newport, Salem, Providence, South Street Seaport, and New Orleans.  Many more of these are planned. Also (probably) to come are posts on the French and Indian war, Indian removal, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American war, the World Wars, the Cold War, and enhanced posts on Irish and German ancestors….

READ: A Personal History of the United States (the Person Being ME)










The Media Revolution: Seizing the Means of Story-Production!

…take a closer look at what really happened…
This is my post (reblog) for this week… have a great weekend!

The Writing of John Laurits


Greetings, my sisters, brothers & others — 
These past days, I’ve reflected on the accomplishments of peoples’ movements in recent years and, while the establishment often gets its way, I couldn’t help but notice that we’ve succeeded in bringing some key issues & concepts into the public conversation that used to be taboo. For example, since the Occupy protests in 2011, the concepts of “the 99%” & “the 1%” have entered the public imagination. These concepts aren’t exactly  new — the way they’re used is actually strikingly similar (pun intended) to the way social revolutionaries once spoke & wrote about  “the proletariat” & “the ruling-class.”

As a writer, I might be biased but I believe the struggle to change the social & political narrative(or the “story,” as it were) is essential to the greater struggle for social revolution — after all, how can the people stand with a social or political cause if the cause can’t be articulated & understood?

Today, I’d like to write about…

View original post 1,889 more words

Survivor | Hero | Umran’s brother | you/me/we

Former Indian school student remembers good, bad times


GENOA, NEBRASKA — Sid Byrd, a former student at Genoa Indian Industrial School, opened his talk in August at the annual school reunion with a story about his name.  “My middle named used to be Oliver, but I changed it to Howard because I got sick and tired of initialing S.O.B,” he said.

The 97-year-old (or 97 winters, as his tribe says) is a gifted storyteller who managed to slip in slivers of humor while recalling the hardships and discrimination he faced while attending the Indian school.  Byrd grew up in Porcupine, South Dakota, as a member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. In 1927, Byrd was sent to the Genoa Indian School to receive a Western education. His biggest struggle as a child was learning to speak English. Byrd, who grew up speaking Lakota, said English had many sounds that did not exist in his native language. And children were harshly punished for speaking their own language.

Byrd recalled a story of a little boy who was crying one night while others were sleeping and began to pray in his native tongue. He was reported and punished by being sent to “the hole.”

“God hears all prayers, whatever language,” the boy told Byrd. “Was it wrong for me to pray?”


Standing Rock Tribal Nation needs your HELP with their big standoff with Big Oil #NoDAPL:


According to Joseph Campbell, the hero emerges from humble beginnings to undertake a journey fraught with trials and suffering.  He or she survives those ordeals and returns to the community bearing a gift — a “boon,” as Campbell called it — in the form of a message from which people can learn and benefit.  So, properly, the hero is an exceptional person who gives his life over to a purpose larger than himself and for the benefit of others. Campbell had often lamented our failure as human beings “to admit within ourselves the carnivorous, lecherous fever” that seems endemic to our species. “By overcoming the dark passions,” he told Moyers, “the hero symbolizes our ability to control the irrational savage within us.” READ


By Lara Trace

I’m back (blazing a bright new writing path I hope). A big birthday happens for me in a few days. I have a 9-9 birthday. This year is 9-9-9.  That can mean an end or completion. At this six decade milestone, I find myself more excited to plan the next 30+ years… There is more… more adventure, more everything.  Sid Byrd the survivor is my inspiration – 97 and still telling stories!

As this presidential campaign makes abundantly clear, no hero is going to swoop in to save us. We have to be our own heroes.

How you/me/we SEE the world and VISION the future, that matters most.

These massive overt and covert military defeats prompted one former CIA acting director to campaign for the killing of Russians and Iranians in Syria during an interview in the mainstream media. (Really?)

War is a global industry. As Americans, we don’t have bombs hitting our house and all these world conflicts are massively confusing and frightening. There are powerful people (very few) making decisions we don’t agree with or understand, obviously.

Then this happened. This image (below) of Umran, a little Syrian child, age 5, gripped the world. It shook us awake.  We ask (and ask and ask), why is any war or this war necessary?  What is the religious or political dogma behind it?  Why are there so many militarists at war?  Does war bring peace or more war?  Who benefits from any war?    Who are all these Arms Dealers and weapons manufacturers*?  [The arms industry is one of the most profitable and powerful industries in the world.] Who are the private contractors?  Who decides who drops the bombs?  Who wants What?  Is this war in Syria about oil (again) or seizing land or just another tribal conflict you/me/we can’t understand?  Who knows the truth?  Why and how did the US evolve in to this righteous world bully?  Who today is better at being the conqueror: Russia, China or America? Or are we seeing another illusion (again) and is something bigger manipulating us like pawns and puppets?

Does this small child understand the powers-that-be who bombed his village, his family and killed his brother?

Umran’s brother Ali, age 10, died from his injuries on August 20.

What I’ve learned from many elders is we are all related, all human. There will always be disagreements, feuds, conflicts.  People create reasons, dogma, and rationale to fight and make war games on each other.  We can also disarm.  We can also negotiate.  People can always choose to negotiate, to unite, to stand down, and to not kill. (People must unite.)

How in the world? MAKE PEACE in your own family, in your own corner of the planet, in your own community, in your own heart!

If you/me/we don’t, many more children will be harmed and killed.

US Has Killed More Than 20 Million In 37 Nations Since WWII *Weapons manufacturing is a $400 billion dollar industry. 6 of the 9 most powerful weapons companies are located in the U.S


In a recent speech by the Pope at the Vatican, he denounced the leaders of the war/weapons industry of being greedy tyrants, profiting from other people’s deaths:

“This is why some people don’t want peace: they make more money from war, although wars make money but lose lives, health, education. The devil enters through our wallets.”

Keep an OPEN MIND!

Ask yourself: Who makes the money?


{p.s. Hope you like the new blog design. It still needs tweaks…xoxox}




The Great Awakening of 2018: Change will come when people wake up to this reality

REBLOG: Guest Post By  J. Glenn Evans

Author’s Note: this was not written for sound-biters, but for critical thinkers and activists not afraid to get off their rumps and do things. Some parts might seem …

Source: The Great Awakening of 2018: Change will come when people wake up to this reality


Blog consolidation? Redesign coming

mysticsBy LT,  your blogging buddy

It’s time for a blog refresh so I plan to return this fall with more writing and will redesign this blog over the next few months (and combine my author site ARMY OF ONE posts and delete that site). It’s true I have more than one blog operating at one time (the mix, eyewitness, american indian adoptees, etc.). It’s my journalist-tendency (crazy addiction), of course it is that… but it’s much too much for this one human who has other business/busyness ahead…

I multi-task with the best of you all.  I can do better and now less is best. (Shorter posts, too…)

What I hope to convey with this blog is not too much bad stuff but eye-opening stuff, his-story vs. truth, American Indian news, films, books, interviews and good information.

See this space this fall…

love you all… (will be reading your blogs in the meantime)

It’s true – better to email me:


One BIG Thing:

Watching journalists –> Roger Ailes, the ousted head of Fox News, apparently used Fox money to conduct surveillance operations against journalists and others who he considered his personal enemies. “Targets of the campaigns included journalists John Cook and Hamilton Nolan, who have aggressively covered Ailes for Gawker,” writes New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, who was also targeted. “According to one source, private detectives followed Cook around his Brooklyn neighborhood, and Fox operatives prepared a report on him with information they intended to leak to blogs. (According to the source, one proposed line of attack claimed that Cook — whose wife, Slate news director Allison Benedikt, is Jewish — was anti-Semitic.) ‘I’m honored to be among Roger Ailes’s enemies,’ Cook said.” [ we are not surprised ]


Want to do something magnificent for the oceans and end plastic? Visit: Gyre Cleanup Project at









BLOG BONUS: FORGOTTEN WHITE SLAVES | Voters Rights | Foster Care | Chief of Chiefs

IRISH: THE FORGOTTEN WHITE SLAVES came as slaves: human cargo transported on British ships bound for the Americas. They were shipped by the hundreds of thousands and included men, women…




Checking in with Jill Stein.  White supremacists are really excited about Trump.

BIG WEEK: Wisconsin is just one of several states to pass voting restrictions in the wake of the 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting of the Voting Rights Act. Another set of laws was shut down in Wisconsin.  The Wisconsin ruling came after a decision earlier on Friday from a federal appeals court striking down North Carolina’s omnibus voter suppression law, which had been called the worst voter suppression law in the nation. On July 20th, Texas’s Voter ID law also fell, in a surprise decision from a conservative court finding that the law violated the Voting Rights Act. READ HERE


In 2012 Yasmin Mistry, an Emmy-nominated animator and Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in state care, launched Foster Care Film to give foster youth an opportunity to share their stories. Mistry’s subsequent films investigate less-explored obstacles and situations related to foster care.  Her latest, My Identity, is an 11-minute documentary that explores kinship care (the care of children by relatives), the longing to belong and the importance of sibling bonds.

My Identity is the story of Ashley Wolford, a woman born to a mixed white and Native American mother. Ashley knows nothing of her biological father, and at a young age Ashley and her half-brother are placed in separate homes after it is discovered that their drug-and-alcohol addicted mother abandons them for stretches of time.

In their later years, Ashley discovers and converts to Islam while at the same time her brother joins the military and serves two tours in Afghanistan fighting Muslims. Their ideological differences drive a wedge in their relationship. READ MORE



US Propaganda:

Russian Hacks? … hundreds of Russians in a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, …produced blog posts, comments, infographics, and viral videos that pushed the Kremlin’s narrative on both the Russian and English Internet.  [This is sadly becoming a recurring theme… Lara]


Neither Wolf Nor Dog film still
His last film

(top photo) Hailed Chief of Chiefs, David Bald Eagle, Lakota Chief, Musician, Cowboy And Actor, Dies At 97


And at the age of 95, he had his first lead role, after all those years as a stunt double: He starred in the independent film Neither Wolf Nor Dog.

“When white people won it was a victory, when Natives won it was a massacre. When they fought for freedom it was a revolution, when we fought for freedom it was an uprising. No Indian alive dares to think too much about the past. The bones of our people are crying.”

—Dan (Dave Bald Eagle’s character)

My post about his last film HERE
















Parole denied and denied and denied, Peltier waits for justice

Recent tweet:

Hey everyone.  I promised to post this interview with Leonard Peltier once I found it!  It’s still making news that Peltier supporters are demanding his release. (see Incident at Oglala documentary by Robert Redford)

My interview with him was published in 1998 in News From Indian Country newspaper and in print by the Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC).

I interviewed this political prisoner  while he was still an inmate in Leavenworth, a federal prison in Kansas.  …I do recall I was very very nervous… I remember Leonard told me, “Write a good story.”

My interview was done over the phone at his Defense Committee Office in Kansas.  Peltier called us (at least 4 times) and I did my best to take notes, holding the phone on my shoulder.   Right after we spoke, Peltier lost phone privileges because of the actor Steven Seagal, who planned to play Leonard in a new movie (which didn’t happen.)  I actually went to the scene in Oglala shooting, after this interview.  It’s remote, and there are no traces of this deadly gun battle.  (My former boss DeMain contends Peltier admitted to others he had shot the agents.) This gun battle was war, and there were casualties. No one in the federal government was indicted for the deaths of AIM members.

Today, Leonard Peltier is 71 years old and he has served 40 years in prison in a case that has long raised troubling questions—including from the judge who heard his appeal.  It’s reported that Peltier has an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and his health is deteriorating rapidly.  “If properly treated, Leonard could make a full recovery, but if the aneurysm ruptures, he has roughly a 10% chance of survival.”

He is called the world’s most famous prisoner of war.  (Three years ago Leonard wrote and asked me to email him. He was hoping to raise funds for his legal team.)


by Trace A. DeMeyer — Lawrence, Kansas (ICC/1998)

Imagine spending 8,030 days in prison for a crime you did not commit.  Imagine having a botched surgery that causes excruciating jaw pain, yet prison officials refuse corrective surgery with the specialist you need.  Leonard Peltier says he knows he is innocent, and wants surgery, yet he waits.

Speaking by phone from the federal prison Leavenworth, KS, on June 24, Leonard Peltier (Lakota/Ojibway) talked about the life he has and the one he hopes for, while waiting for a Presidential pardon for the murders of two FBI agents at the Jumping Bull Compound on June 26, 1975, 23 years ago.

Ramsey Clark, Peltier’s attorney, hoped new medical evidence introduced at a May 4th parole hearing, would secure his release, but parole was denied. Clark is still waiting for the official reasons in a formal statement from the parole commission.

“I have medical problems,” Peltier said. “My jaw is stuck open 1/4 inch and I can’t chew properly. I have to mash food with my tongue. Even though I have asked for a special diet, sugar free, they’ve refused me and the commissary doesn’t have anything.” Peltier worries about the effects on his health, including inadequate digestion.

The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee has found three doctors who would perform corrective surgery at no charge, but prison officials have denied all requests. The pain in his jaw never subsides, he said.

“Dr. Keller, a specialist at the Mayo Clinic, believes he can operate and correct my jaw condition,” Peltier said. He underwent two major surgeries in Springfield Hospital for Federal Prisoners on Feb. 8 and May 3, 1996. Neither were successful.

Even though Peltier cannot fully close his mouth, prison officials still order Peltier to work making furniture at Leavenworth. His mouth is aggravated by the sawdust.

Every six months, prisoners are given new work assignments. “Tell the public I have no choice about where I work, clearly a violation of my rights.”



At the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) office/apartment in Lawrence, Leonard’s paintings hang brightly on the walls, a constant presence for his busy support group. “I paint every night,” Peltier said. “It’s what I enjoy.” He then donates his artwork to the Defense Committee. They sell them to pay for his defense and build a bank account for Leonard and his family.

“A support group in California regularly exhibits my best paintings. With the money they raise, they plan to build a house in Pine Ridge – a museum for my art,” Leonard explained.

Leonard would paint all day if he could. “I need pictures of people and places to paint,” he said.  Prison regulations prohibit Polaroid snap-shots. “I can accept art supplies from an art supply store, not from individuals who mail them to me.”  He hopes to receive paints (acrylics or oils), canvas, and brushes. “Order them at the supply store and have the company send it to me,” he said. He also buys supplies from the prison commissary.

Money for art supplies must be postal money orders or Western Union money grams.  Direct them to Leonard Peltier, Prisoner#89637-132, Box 1000, Leaven-worth, KS, 66048. Prison regulations do not allow postage stamps or cash.***

On May 4, Peltier had a statutory interim hearing which prison authorities are required to give to “old law” prisoners every two years. “This means that by law they are required to review me for parole every two years, though in no way are they required to actually ever grant me parole. After my team and I had made our oral and written presentations, the parole examiner attempted, unsuccessfully, to get me to admit that I had fired on the agents.”

Peltier said when this did not work, the examiner reviewed the documents on the basis of his urgent medical need. The examiner then left the room. About 45 minutes later, Peltier says, “He again tried to get me to admit to shooting the agents. My attorney and I now know the reason behind this. As I had suspected, they cannot legally keep me in prison this long for aiding and abetting, and they do not have enough evidence to keep me on the grounds of first degree murder.”

Leonard remembers, “The examiner then said, ‘We do not know who is responsible for killing our agents. Someone on that reservation killed those agents and since you were convicted, you’ll serve the time.’”

At the hearing, the parole examiner told them that one of the agent’s wives had contacted him and said she wants Peltier to die in prison. Peltier does not believe it. “That letter may have been false.”

Leonard said the parole examiner ended by saying, “You do not come for re-consideration for parole until the year 2008. This is not a parole date. When 2008 arrives, we will take it from there.”

Peltier believes “what the government and the parole board were saying is that they intend for me to die in prison.”

In 1976, Peltier’s colleagues, Dino Butler and Robert Robideau, were acquitted of murder charges based on evidence they acted in self-defense.  The case against Theodore Eagle, also at the shootout and charged with murder, was dropped for lack of evidence.  In Peltier’s case, only limited evidence was heard, as ordered by Judge Paul Benson.  Historical background on Pine Ridge violence, persecution of AIM by the FBI, the Robideau or Butler verdict in Cedar Rapids, or testimony in that trial, was not allowed, nor was contradicting evidence given by FBI agent Gary Adams. With the court case and appeals process formally closed, Clark, former Attorney General in the Lyndon Johnson administration, has said, “the evidence that convicted Peltier doesn’t exist, and the prosecutor admits the government doesn’t know who killed two of its FBI agents.”


Clemency and Senate hearings

On June 27, a demonstration for Leonard was held in Washington, DC, to pressure the government for clemency and to open Senate hearing investigations. Peltier says he is building a new legal team to open and fight the case, using new evidence to finally prove his innocence. He said LPDC supporters are building a research team of college students and law graduates. He urgently asks that the public support their work. Leonard directs the LPDC office daily by phone. He says the defense committee does all the paralegal work for the attorneys.

“After hearing for themselves, during the parole review, how their judicial system treats me, my legal team is outraged and have now committed themselves to taking legal action. They are working pro-bono, but research and expenses are still covered by donations.”

Despite sounding calm, Peltier admits his frustration and anger. “I have my moments. We now know for a fact that two weeks prior to the shootout at the compound, they planned to come in and kill everybody. They were declaring war against the Lakota people. The documents are there.

“I know in my heart I’m not guilty of anything.  The parole examiner said I’m guilty of aiding and abetting. Who was I aiding and abetting? They cannot keep me here. It’s a violation of international law. I’m not guilty of murder.”

Referring to Peter Mathiesson’s book In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Peltier said, “Duane Brewer said, ‘We were financed by the government and given the green light to go in.’”  Duane Brewer headed the Pine Ridge Tribal Police Force, also known as Dickie Wilson’s GOON Squad.

According to the LPDC May/June 1998 newsletter, there are over 20 million signatures on Free Leonard Peltier petitions sent to the White House and to the Pardon Attorney. A Presidential Pardon or a new trial are his only hope.

What will Peltier do once he secures his freedom? The phone line went quiet as he thought for a moment. “I want to build a life for my two grandchildren. I want to help them, build them a home. I want a home base, and then build an international network and be useful to the Indian movement.” He also wants time with his five children. Peltier will be 54 on September 12. He says his hair is turning gray. He’s losing vision in one eye.

“Write a good story so that people will understand.  Ask them to get involved.  Tell them my case is still ongoing.  A presidential campaign is coming up.  Political campaigns always involve money.  The tribes can help me there.  Go and ask questions.

“Too many people gossip that we are doing alright with gaming when in truth we have the worst poverty in the US at Pine Ridge.  I want to clear up all these misconceptions about Indian people.  There is an Indian problem, and it’s not one we created.

“I have faith and hope in my people.  I hope that I can get out and leave a legacy beneficial to my people.  I want to help.  The grassroots movement by indigenous people has been building and spreading to an enormous level, so how is it the President’s Initiative on Race doesn’t include us?  I find that very racist.”

It’s hard to imagine Peltier in prison in 2008 for a crime he didn’t commit.  He’d be 64 years old.



***Remember Peltier is no longer in Leavenworth…

Send Cards and Letters:

Leonard Peltier
USP Coleman I
P.O. Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521

I uploaded the Ramsey Clark speech I transcribed in 1997 at which is a close look at the FBI and the insufficient evidence that convicted Peltier. READ HERE

Visit the 2016 clemency campaign for Leonard Peltier hosted by Amnesty International – USA and get involved:

Take Action: Ask President Obama to Grant Leonard Clemency
Take Action: Download a 1 page action sheet
Take Action: Grant Clemency to Leonard Peltier
Read More: Download the Issue Brief on Leonard Peltier’s case


Jackson Browne and Bruce Cockburn performs at the “Bring Leonard Peltier Home 2012” Concert at The Beacon Theatre on December 14th, 2012 in New York City. Bobby Bank/WireImage




Six presidents have held office since Peltier’s conviction.

“If not you, President Obama, who?” activist filmmaker Michael Moore asked as he addressed the crowd. “All the wrong people are in prison in this country. As an American, this is not how I want to be remembered. And so I think that we have a much larger job: We have to get Leonard out of prison immediately.”

Seeger returned to the stage and was joined by the night’s performers for the show closer, “Bring Him Home,” which Seeger adapted from his Vietnam War protest song, “Bring ’Em Home.”













“When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers”: How Private Equity Profits off Our Daily Lives | Democracy Now!

When you woke up this morning, chances are your morning routine was touched in some way by a private equity firm.  From the water you drink to the roads you drive to work, to the morning newspaper you read, Wall Street firms are playing an increasingly influential role in daily life.  So says a compelling new article in The New York Times, “This Is Your Life, Brought to You by Private Equity.” For more, we speak with New York Times reporter Danielle Ivory, one of the contributors to the series as well as co-author of the recent article “When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers.”

Source: “When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers”: How Private Equity Profits off Our Daily Lives | Democracy Now!

Seventh Fire: Open Roads and Dead Ends on a Native American Reservation (FILM)

PHOTO: A scene from The Seventh Fire, executive produced by Terrence Malick ’65 and directed by Jack Pettibone Riccobono ’03, premiering July 22 in New York City at the Metrograph | Photograph courtesy of Film Movement

by Sophia Nguyen | HARVARD MAGAZINE 7.22.16

The Seventh Fire opens with an image of a road in the dark, pulling the audience into a harsh and little-seen world: the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota. The documentary’s 71 minutes are largely confined to the town of Pine Point, and its grim sights: houses covered in boards and graffiti, kids doing drugs, a car ablaze in the street. There seems to be no way out, least of all for the film’s central characters. Rob Brown, a onetime leader of the Native Gangster Disciples, confronts his violent past as he prepares for his fifth stay in prison. Meanwhile, Kevin Fineday Jr., a teenager who looks up to Brown, is beginning to be drawn into gang life.

Director Jack Pettibone Riccobono ’03, director of The Seventh Fire Photograph courtesy of Film Movement


Director Jack Pettibone Riccobono ’03 first went to the White Earth reservation while working on a short film about an Ojibwe community’s fight against genetic modifications to wild rice. When he became interested in the spread of gangs on Native American reservations, a professor at the tribal college introduced him to Brown, then a student in her sociology class. Brown had a troubled history, including 39 foster homes, three group homes, and 12 years in prison. He also had dreams of being a published writer.

“It was apparent right away that Rob was an amazing presence,” says Shane Slattery-Quintanilla ’04, a writer, producer, and cinematographer for the film. “He was clearly someone you could collaborate with, as opposed to just document.”

Brown and Fineday became the filmmakers’ liaisons to the town’s criminal element.  (“I didn’t know I was a lifesaver until I had the responsibility to keep these guys alive on the rez,” Brown later joked at a special screening at the White House last March.) They also let the camera into their homes, with their friends and families offering up wry, candid assessments: “With Rob, there’s always a new low,” his brother observes. As a result, scenes of addiction and fistfights are followed by ones of vulnerable tenderness, as a mother cradles her newborn in the hospital, or Rob’s young daughter shyly turns away from the camera to take a phone call from her father, calling from jail.

Even as events jump across months and even years, the narrative seems to move only in fits and starts, with little momentum. There is no obvious path forward for these men, only dead ends and cycles of violence. The characters narrate their predicaments with matter-of-fact lucidity. “I’m still debating, man,” Fineday tells the filmmakers. “I still have the idea of being a big-time drug-dealer…but I wanna get a job and do sh-t somewhat the right way.” He just needs to get started, or something, he explains—but on which path, he doesn’t make clear. In another scene, Brown reviews his plea agreement with a self-ironizing fluency—“Convicted, convicted…looks like they missed something on that DWI, in 2004, huh? ’Cause they could’ve used that for a first-degree.” Neither sees himself as a victim of circumstance. But as events in the older man’s history repeat in his protégé’s—pregnant girlfriends, diluted dope, tearful phone calls with fathers—there’s an overwhelming sense that their lives are becalmed.

The Seventh Fire shows more than it tells; it also knows more than what it chooses to present. The filmmakers sat down with gang members, community leaders, Native activists, prison wardens, and special Native gang investigators at the Department of Corrections, but chose not to include such interviews in the film itself. Larger historical forces shadow the documentary, never explicitly outlined but powerfully felt, constraining the lives of the characters. The camera keeps an intent, intimate focus on Brown and Fineday.

Persephone Ann Brown (right) talks with her cousin Bonita Brown in a scene from The Seventh Fire. Jack Riccobono, Courtesy of Seventh Fire LLC

“We wanted to create a film that was built around real people, and we never set out to pretend that we were making this authoritative film on Native American life,” says Slattery-Quintanilla.

Riccobono explains the approach this way: “We hope that the film can be received on different levels—that it might serve as a gateway for people who don’t know so much about this history, and for those who do know things about the boarding school era, and land allotment-policies, and the influence of Christian missionaries, that they’ll be able to see that history playing out in this story.”

It’s surprising that the film ends as it begins, with an image of the road. This time it’s a symbol of freedom: Brown rides his motorcycle under open sky. When filming wrapped up, he still had a year left of his sentence. From prison, he periodically mailed Riccobono pages from the journal the director had asked him to keep, also writing poetry and participating in an addiction-treatment program.

“We didn’t want to end the film with him behind bars, because we felt like his story wasn’t going to end there, and that there was more for him to do,” says Riccobono. “It wasn’t to let the audience off the hook—it just felt like it wouldn’t have been fair to his story.”

Brown is joining the filmmakers in New York and Los Angeles for The Seventh Fire’s theatrical release this month. Riccobono hasn’t been in touch with Fineday for a few months, but last heard that he had moved away from Pine Point, and was now working fast-food and construction jobs: “I wouldn’t say that he’s out of the woods, but he’s been making some choices to change his life.”

Reviewing the documentary’s events remains difficult, Brown told the White House audience last spring. “I’ve watched it seven times, and it gets harder and harder.” He added that he wanted to continue to work on his art—on telling his own stories, and more of them. “Writing gives me a chance to escape from the current situation,” he said. “When I write, I’m not a mascot. I’m not dehumanized. I can actually create individuals who interact with each other, and it gives me a chance to go back in time and do things that I was never allowed to do, but wanted to do.”

The Seventh Fire premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015, and opens in New York on July 22. Other alumni involved with the documentary include executive producers Terrence Malick ’65 and Natalie Portman ’03, editors Michael J. Palmer ’03 and Adelaide Papazoglou ’02, and associate producer Henry Rich ’02. A profile of composer Nicholas Britell ’03 appears in the September-October 2016 print issue.



Yale Law Journal – Foundling Fathers: (Non-)Marriage and Parental Rights in the Age of Equality













In the spring of 1970, less than two years after the death of his “common-law wife” of eighteen years, Peter Stanley looked on helplessly as a judge declared his two young children wards of the state, condemning them to a series of foster placements and their father to years of legal turmoil.  Illinois’s definition of “parent” excluded “natural” fathers of illegitimate children, thus denying Stanley even a hearing to determine whether he was fit to parent the children he loved and had helped to raise from birth. These were the stark facts that Peter Stanley’s lawyers presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971. The reality of Stanley’s legal status and of his record as a father was more complicated.59

But if Stanley had been a woman, married or unmarried, or if he had been able to produce proof of a valid marriage to the children’s mother, he would have been their legal parent and would almost certainly not have lost his parental rights. Stanley’s inability to produce a marriage certificate made him a legal stranger to Kimberly, age two-and-a-half, and Peter Jr., age one-and-a-half.60

In some states, Stanley could have presented proof of a common law marriage, but Illinois abolished that institution early in the twentieth century.61

Instead, Stanley’s attorneys argued that Stanley “did build up and develop a father relationship” with his children. “[W]e feel,” said Fred Meinfelder of Legal Aid, that “while he was not legally married to his wife that that should not be a basis for removing those children from him . . . .”62

State officials told the judge that Stanley was “not in a position to provide financial support” for his children but that “if he did have some progress and was to marry and establish an orderly family situation” he might be able to petition for custody later.63

His lawyers emphasized that if Stanley were not a legally recognized parent, he would have no standing to petition later for custody or any other rights. And while he might be able to find a wife and “establish an orderly family situation” in the future, under Illinois law Stanley could do nothing to change his legal parenthood status with regard to Kimberly and Peter, Jr.  As an amicus brief later put it, “there is no way to marry a dead person.”64

Before the Illinois Supreme Court, Stanley’s lawyers argued that the exclusion of fathers of illegitimate children from the category of “parent” violated the Fourteenth Amendment.65

In a cryptic opinion, the Illinois court ruled that unmarried fathers had no rights to their natural children unless such rights were granted to them by a court in an adoption or guardianship proceeding.66

Stanley had not sought guardianship or custody of his children, preferring to leave them in the care of a married couple whom he had asked to look after Kimberly and Peter Jr. a few months earlier. Pursuing an adoption would have been risky, as Stanley would have been required to meet a much higher standard than mere fitness—he would have had to prove himself a “suitable” parent.67

As a practical matter, then, the court’s ruling meant that he could be denied all access to the children—and indeed, he later petitioned for visitation to no avail.68

Source: Yale Law Journal – Foundling Fathers: (Non-)Marriage and Parental Rights in the Age of Equality


this research outlines the pervasive intrusion of religion and law in to the most basic human activity: parenting your own child… it’s disgusting… Lara


Required Reading: How cultural appropriation is hurting indigenous artists

Janet Rogers says cultural appropriation is when one person from one culture, takes culturally distinct items, aesthetics, spiritual practices or artwork from another culture and mimics it. (Blair Russell)

How cultural appropriation is hurting indigenous artists:

Q: How is it harmful to Indigenous art and artists?

A: It really is our number one source of private direct revenue into our communities, so it’s got a huge economic impact. From a cultural side, it’s a written language here to us on the coast. A lot of people don’t understand that when they are appropriating our artwork that our history, our culture and even our laws are codified into this, so that when you take it and you manipulate it and you bastardise it and you put it out there as your own without understanding the meaning, you’re doing significant damage.

Source: Required Reading



What if “the vocal adoptees” are right? | The adopted ones blog

So, when natural feelings come up, how can you expect others to get it?

Source: What if “the vocal adoptees” are right? | The adopted ones blog

‘My ancestor the Indian Princess’ – Vita Brevis


[1] Recognition in a tribe is not always a black or white issue and there are exceptions to this rule, such as instances where one is raised in the culture or on a reservation but does not have other requirements for membership such as a blood-quantum requirement. This statement is not speaking to those circumstances.

Interesting post, but the info about the DNA test is misleading. Due to the fact that not every child inherits every gene from his parents, etc., it is quite possible for a sibling or a first cousin to have Native American (or any other) DNA markers when another one does not. The fact that you do not have a particular type of DNA does not mean that you do not have an ancestor with that heritage; it simply means that in the gene lottery, you did not get those particular genes from great-grandma, or whoever it was who had that ancestry. That is why old fashioned genealogical research with documents and cluster DNA testing of several siblings or other relatives is more helpful for determining your actual heritage.

Source: ‘My ancestor the Indian Princess’ – Vita Brevis


Still relevant TODAY


J. Glenn Evans reads a story J. Glenn Evans reads a story (Photo credit: javacolleen)

By J. Glenn Evans

Below is the address I made at the University of Washington the 30th of January 2013 before a meeting of the Socialist Alternative Party.  It reflects my thoughts on where we are today and what we must do to redeem the dream of a true democracy that our founding fathers set out to create for us.  I strongly feel that more of our citizens must run for public office and replace the corporate toadies that have come to rule us.  Power lies within the political offices to make the necessary changes.  Our neglect to monitor the actions of our elected representatives and demand less secrecy is why we have lost our government.  We must began to reclaim our government starting at the local scene with city councils, school boards, county and state offices.

A group of

View original post 1,752 more words

Tweet-o-sphere #DNC2016 #REVOLUTION

my vacation from Facebook may be permanent

By Lara Trace (beleaguered journalist)

I totally agree that people should not vote for evil, greater or lesser.

Chris Hedges wrote:

PHILADELPHIA—The parade of useful idiots, the bankrupt liberal class that long ago sold its soul to corporate power, is now led by Sen. Bernie Sanders. His final capitulation, symbolized by his pathetic motion to suspend the roll call, giving Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination by acclamation, is an abject betrayal of millions of his supporters and his call for a political revolution.

No doubt the Democrats will continue to let Sanders be a member of the Democratic Caucus. No doubt the Democrats will continue to agree not to run a serious candidate against him in Vermont. No doubt Sanders will be given an ample platform and media opportunities to shill for Clinton and the corporate machine. No doubt he will remain a member of the political establishment.

Sanders squandered his most important historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger and momentum, walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third-party movement. keep reading

I’m watching as little TV as possible but the one thing I don’t/won’t/can’t miss is Democracy Now. This entire week and last week, the debates and discussions aired by Amy and Juan woke me up BIG…

When the revolution came around again. The day Bernie Sanders’s candidacy ended is a familiar death date for radical movements—if you go by the French Revolution’s republican calendar. (read Atlantic Daily)


HMMM, this is not an election but a selection... Lara

(my apologies- the interview with Leonard Peltier will publish next week.)