Native Science

easter in madison

Easter in Madison with Wey-Wee-Nah and Wak-O-Apa (Rachel and Megan)

Easter Frocks and Magic 

My mother would sew four matching Easter dresses each year–the only day I can remember when my sisters and I all went to church.

Easter was bright and warm in Southern California, and my grandparents would arrive before breakfast on Sunday with baskets of chocolates.

We’d stain our dresses hunting for hard-boiled eggs in the grass, which my parents hid.

My grandmother would dip into her Indian funds and buy us Easter shoes: white patent leather Mary Janes or sandals.

The funds were courtesy of oil unearthed on the reservation, and my grandmother used her share for rent, gasoline, food and treats for the family.

My grandfather would arrive with a live rabbit or Guinea pig, which would infuriate my mother and bite my sisters’ fingers.

The animals would disappear within the week.

When my own girls were small, they indulged my sewing and wore frilly frocks on Easter and dyed eggs in the kitchen.

My husband would cook lamb—a tradition in his family—and we’d eat the ears off chocolate bunnies.

When I was little, my grandmother would treat us to dinner—spaghetti at a neighborhood Trattoria.

We’d wear our hand-made dresses and new shoes, and crowd around my grandmother at the dinner table, begging her to show the waiter her magic.

“Show him, Granny, show him!” we’d cry.

My grandmother was obliged to perform for the waiter.

She’d take a water glass and set it in front of her.

“Do it, Granny, do it,” we begged.

And then Granny would remove her teeth and drop them into the water glass.

We screamed with delight.

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#littletheories

#Easter

#bearpeople

#nativewriter

#nativepress

#cetisawkin

#kiyuska

#osage

#wahshashe

#whatstrending

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LITTLE THEORIES

home flower

Surviving in the age of Marie Kondo

We are situated in the age of Marie Kondo, where “to kondo” is a verb.

In the age of materialism, “kondo-ing” makes sense; get rid of what you don’t need.

Count me in.

I acquire more than I need.

My saving grace has been the move.

Each time we engage in the move, we retire boatloads of belongings to the recycling bin.

And—because we have so little storage space—Goodwill benefits from my largesse.

But today I missed the items I donated.

I gave away all my unused household porcelain and crockery, only to find today that I have nothing to catch the water drips from the planters.

This week I found fresh herbs at the garden shop, loaded them on my bike, and cycled home.

I emptied the dead flowers and herbs from the outdoor vessels but came up short in the saucer department.

I recycled the widowed saucers—those that lost their cups to cracks and broken handles–and now I have nothing to catch the drips from my pots.

There’s not one single abandoned saucer.

All my lost saucers are now all partnered with a tea cup or a potted plant in Goodwill heaven.

Damn Marie Kondo.

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#littletheories

#mariekondo

#bearpeople

#nativewriter

#nativepress

#cetisawkin

#kiyuska

#osage

#wahshashe

#whatstrending

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Posted in garden fever, gardening, kondo, nativescience | Tagged | 1 Comment

Stuck to gorilla glue

LITTLE THEORIES

I married a boy.

I don’t mean a boy-boy.

I mean a man-boy.

You can find the evidence in the linen closet.

There’s a shelf of light bulbs surrounded by boxes of batteries.

I’m not talking cup-size when I say I found handfuls of As and AAs and AAAs and Cs and Ds.

Slowly over the years, the toilet paper and tile cleaner have been shoved aside for my man-boy’s toys:

  • Garbage bags colored white, black and green in small, medium and large
  • Five kinds of dental floss
  • Electrician’s tape, masking tape, duct tape and cellophane tape

My husband’s peccadilloes run the gamut from floor cleaners to handiwipes.

We even have a hot iron–just for his skis.

His play-things take up a fraction of the space I oversee, so I can’t complain.

I marvel at the gems that catch the Silverback’s eye when he’s unleashed in the hardware store.

I guess you just can’t have too much gorilla glue.

9 April 2019

Image from http://www.wildlife-animals.com

Today’s blog dedicated to the Silverback

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#littletheories

#bearpeople

#nativewriter

#nativepress

#cetisawkin

#kiyuska

#osage

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Posted in family values, marriage, nativescience, Silverback | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rubber-band Relationships

rubber band

More Little Theories

What do rubber-bands, relationships and dishwashers have in common?

Today I offer another Little Theory: this one about rubber-bands, which proves an apt metaphor for human relationships and household appliances.

What comes to mind when I mention rubber-bands?

I think of childhood ponytails, which we secured with bands from home-delivered newspapers.

Today I find rubber-bands embracing store-bought spinach and broccoli.

That means I need to wash the rubber-bands for future employment.

Rubber-bands are full of dirt.

So I wash them.

I load them in the dishwasher, placing them carefully in the silverware basket, safe from the propellers of the magic machine.

I figure the dishwasher saves me time and there’s no extra effort in cleansing the rubber-bands along with the spoons and forks.

I learned this technique from my mum, who would bathe household keys in the dishwasher.

She would take your keys, remove the ring, and run them through a cycle.

Clean keys.

Continue reading

Posted in allmyrelations, marriage, nativescience, relationships | Tagged , | Leave a comment

LITTLE THEORIES

magpie

Magpies and Maggots

While listening to a morning radio program—hosted by a journalist I admire—I heard her talk about how information about all of us has been captured by social media companies that helps target us for advertisers.

When she said, “the data is …,” I winced.

One of my peeves is that data are plural (the singular is datum).

As a scientist—albeit a social scientist—the data-are-plural mantra was drummed into my noggin in college.

The journalist is on my Twitter feed, so I figured I would send her a quick Tweet to remind her that data are plural.

But I talked myself out of it before I opened my tablet.

The problem is that social media, like Twitter, make it super easy for me to drop a note to a stranger and voice my opinion.

And react.

Just because I can react online doesn’t mean I should.

I’m not pals with the reporter: I’m not her editor and I’m not her judge.

Think of Twitter’s winged logomark as a magpie.

Magpies became symbols of gossip-hounds in English parlance.

A chatterbox was considered a magpie where I grew up, in England.

The word “pie” refers to pica—the genus name for the magpie (a member of the crow family).

And mag refers to maggot.

You know: larvae. Grubs. Bugs.

I will think of a chattering, maggoty bird next time I hear about a tweet with a cruel message.

You are what you tweet.

18 March 2019

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#magpies

#maggots

#journalism

#littletheories

#massmediaeffects

#childhoodvaccinesandautism

#MMR

#bearpeople

#nativewriter

#nativepress

#cetisawkin

#kiyuska

#osage

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LITTLE THEORIES

third person

When we act like muggles

In my field—mass communication—you learn that folks have all sorts of theories about how media affect us.

But, many assumptions about media fail to pan out in real life, and here are three:

  1. Even bad publicity is good publicity
  2. Readers and viewers are easily persuaded
  3. Media have great influence on publics, especially when it comes to sex, drugs and rock’n’roll

Publicity about you might be positive, negative or neutral, but the critical indicator is whether people think of you well or poorly—not the mere portrayal in a news story.

In other words, if you are an actor, bad publicity might earn you negative headlines, but how does it affect your paycheck?

For example, Tom Cruise received caustic publicity after his break-up with Katie Holmes, with damning headlines, like this one in the popular British Mirror tabloid: “Weird marriage rules Tom Cruise imposed on Katie Holmes.”

Regardless of cruel headlines, Cruise continues to earn box office gold, and was among North America’s most sought-after actors in 2018, according to CNBC.

We’re not very good at gauging what publics believe because we take our cues in an echo chamber.

In contrast, when Ellen DeGeneres came out as gay in 1997, national news coverage was rarely negative: it was neutral or mildly supportive.

But advertisers like Chrysler and JC Penney pulled out of DeGeneres’ TV show, which was cancelled.

While DeGeneres eventually earned back advertisers’ blessings, she was blackballed by Hollywood’s elites for several years.

Why?

They feared public opinion.

Or what they thought was public opinion.

We’re not very good at gauging what publics believe because we take our cues in an echo chamber.

Most of us surround ourselves with news that we agree with, which means we don’t realize that some folks disagree with out viewpoint.

As for the power of the press, we muggles believe that we are (individually) immune to press persuasion, but assume everyone else is a stooge.

So prevalent is the belief that we are personally immune that scholars give it a name: Third Person Syndrome.

That means everyone else is a lemming when it comes to mass media.

And the third myth–that exposure to sex, drugs and rock’n’roll will warp your mind—just never materialized.

Early researchers wanted to find that media had awesome effects, particularly in the wake of World War II.

Researchers reasoned that Nazi-era propaganda had fried people’s brains, so they set out to prove it.

But they found that media don’t have the all-encompassing persuasive effects they thought.

Slasher movies don’t make folks turn to violence, and pornography doesn’t produce pedophiles.

People are much more likely to be persuaded by their friends, families and communities.

And by ourselves.

Our values sometimes make us blind to fact-based evidence, such as the example that no researcher has ever found a link between childhood vaccines and autism.

The best persuaders are… our own judgments: whether right or wrong.

3 March 2019

Image published on Pinterest

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#littletheories

#massmediaeffects

#childhoodvaccinesandautism

#MMR

#bearpeople

#nativewriter

#nativepress

#cetisawkin

#kiyuska

#osage

#wahshashe

#whatstrending

#thebuddhaway

#deplorable

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Posted in nativescience, news bias, persuasion, social media | Tagged | Leave a comment

This Book will Haunt You

sacred smokes

Sacred Smokes is available in all the usual places: Powell’s and Broadway Books in Portland, from the publisher (University of New Mexico Press) and online

Watch out for Teddy

I’m beginning to hear voices.

Ted Van Alst’s latest story about growing-up-Indian in Chicago has a captivating spirit that won me over. Completely.

His character—Teddy—gets inside your head.

Here’s a scene in the book (Sacred Smokes) where Teddy’s father won’t let him leave the house until he has memorized the Lord’s Prayer:

A photo from the ‘30s sits on my shelf at home, near to hand at my desk. It’s my grandpa and his sister and their ma. Auntie looks like a big, wide, round-eyed Dorothy Dandridge, Grandpa looks like a swanky Richard Gere as Dixie Dwyer in the Cotton Club, and Grandma Mary Josephine—well, she looks serene, but extra lively, and like she made both of them learn the Lordsprayer, with no small relish.

Teddy memorizes the prayer and takes off with his pals, who roam the streets, smoke cigarettes, drink beer, punch each other, and flee the cops.

To make the book last longer, I read only a chapter at a time.

I often pop the book in my shoulder bag and walk to a local café tucked in the shoulder of our neighborhood Library, order a coffee, and dig in.

On my most recent jaunt I bought a chocolate chunk cookie to savor the last morsels of the book.

The cookie tasted so good I got one for my husband in a paper sleeve and stuck the treat in my purse: upright, so it wouldn’t break when bouncing between my shoulder blades.

On my way home I remembered we needed liquid soap.

Being a California native, a product of the 1970s, and this being Portland, I use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile soap—the lavender kind—for showering and bathing.

Our local store not only carries Dr. Bronner’s—the store devotes a shrine to the soapmaker, and you can fill your cart with “magic” soap in scents including peppermint, citrus, tea tree, and—of course—lavender.

If you’ve used Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile soap then you know you can lollygag in the tub while reading the label on the bottle.

You will learn nine uses for the soap and hear about Bronner’s All-One philosophy.

Teddy—in the book—reads everything: beer flasks, cigarette packages and cereal boxes.

So I wasn’t surprised that he spoke up when I was paying for Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile soap—the lavender kind.

The cashier asked if I needed a sack and—this being Portland—I demurred and assured her the soap would fit in my shoulder bag.

That’s when Teddy let me know that, in his story, by the time I got home, the soap would spill inside my purse and drench the chocolate chunk cookie.

I told Teddy this is my story, and the cookie will be fine.

As I walked home, Teddy kept telling me to check my purse.

And when I arrived, the cookie—and the soap—were just fine.

I hope you get the chance to read Sacred Smokes—it is wonderful book.

But watch out for Teddy.

He’ll get inside your head.

26 February 2019

Today’s blog is dedicated to my pal, Ted, who likes to read the labels

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#theodorevanalst

#sacredsmokes

#bearpeople

#nativewriter

#nativepress

#cetisawkin

#kiyuska

#osage

#wahshashe

#whatstrending

#thebuddhaway

#deplorable

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Posted in allmyrelations, american indian, authenticity, Identity, Iktomi, Indian, native american, native press, Native Science, nativescience, Redskins | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment