alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
One good thing about driving a car, even--maybe especially--in horrid rush hour traffic is that you get the chance to listen to college radio, and hear over the course of a couple of hours alternative news, Native American music (powwow, rock, blues, whatever, so long as a Native American made it) and a show whose only unifying theme is that all the songs are sung/rapped/chanted/otherwise enunciated by women.  Need to find out what that Portuguese techno was...

I'd kind of forgotten just how damn funny powwow music can be.  Humor, as Sherman Alexie said in Indian Killer, may be born of a survival strategy, but at least it's smart, provocative strategy that works the brain.  I do miss the days when I spent a lot of time in that world.  Not long ago I googled some of the people I knew back in Chicago and Canada, and it was so wrenching how many were dead in their 50s and 60s--cancer, complications from diabetes, a mysterious death in a bar.  Here on the US East Coast we don't see Native American issues that immediately, except for casino negotiations, and it's easy to romanticize reservation life in many ways.  And indeed, it isn't all horrible, there is strong community and the continuation of traditions and values, but so much of it is truly grim, in a way that surpasses anything I've ever seen in urban settings.  One of those who has passed away told me back in my anthropology student days that I would sooner or later leave Native American issues behind, because all the students eventually do.  I was a bit insulted, and insisted no, I was in it for the long haul.  But here I am, just as he predicted.

So for Columbus Day,as it seems timely, I'm going to try to put together a list of books, movies and some music that I think every American ought to read/see/hear.  It will just be my white girl's opinion, but they will be sources that educated me, and that I know ring true to the Ojibwe, Menominee, Hochunk, Kanienkehaka, Cree, Inuit and the other peoples it has been my privilege to meet over the years.  I can--should, must--do that much, share what I have been given.  Because that's the spirit in which it was given to me.
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alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
I suppose it is a bad sign that it is not quite noon and I am already researching what sort of tasty cocktail beverage I might make for myself when I get home this evening...

Two doses of increased medication later, Ianto is like a new ferret again.  There's definitely a honeymoon period after an increase in pred so his current high energy and steady legs might not last, but it's nice to see while we've got it.  He gave me lots of kisses when I picked him up last night.  I didn't even mind his kibble breath at all.

At some point I plan to write a review of a fantastic book about Umm Kulthoum I just finished this week but I need more brain to do it with than I currently have.  It was a combination of biography and ethnomusicology and anthropology and 20th century history.  She led an amazing life, not just for her talent but for what she lived through and represented.  I have a much deeper understanding of why she is so important--and why more recent generations of Egyptians and other Arabs might be ambivalent about her.

Am currently reading Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, which I did purchase before it won the Newberry, honest.  I am totally loving it and think it's one of the best things he's ever written.  Silas is so totally Bagheera.

Wikipedia has a category for "fictional panthers."  There are four.  One of my favorite books when I was a kid was about a puma, but it is not listed among the fictional panthers.  I wish I could remember the name.  I can so clearly remember the cover...
 

 
alonewiththemoon: Drumlin Farm Banding Station 2016 (Default)
Sometimes you pick up a book that turns out to be not what you thought it was at all, but rather something better.  I am reading such a book now, The Old Way by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.  I spotted the book on the remainder shelf at the Harvard Book Store, and knowing that Elizabeth Marshall Thomas had written books about animal behavior (The Hidden Life of Dogs and The Tribe of the Tiger, most famously), I picked it up.  It turned out to be about the Bushmen* of the Kalahari, and I was quite surprised to realize that she was one of *the* Marshalls who packed up their family and headed for the Kalahari in the 1950s.  Despite the fact that none of them (at that time, at least) were professional anthropologists, they ended up having a profound impact on both the anthropology of the area and the field of anthropology in general.  Lorna Marshall's book Nisa:  The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman is a classic introductory text to ethnography--I taught that book as a TA, and even then had no idea Lorna wasn't an anthropologist herself but rather a retired English teacher/housewife/community organizer (fascinating obit about her).  Then-teenage son John Marshall became a pioneer of ethnographic film, and his films about !Kung hunting have also become intro to anthro course staples (if you've ever seen a film in which a group of hunters hit a giraffe with a poisoned arrow and then track it for days until it dies, then you've seen one of his films).  The father of the family, Lawrence Marshall, did not as far as I know go on to write anything, but he helped the !Kung groups that they worked with maintain their economic independence as much as possible, and became a legal champion of their rights.  When they first arrived, it was still quasi-legal for white farmers to kidnap and enslave groups of !Kung and force them to work on their farms, on the rationale that it was civilizing them, and his protests and political connections helped put an emphatic stop to that.

If you've read this far, you probably are willing to read the rest )

Holiday party today, woohoo!
 

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