How do you translate power?

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Look at those who cause harm

My university students love to talk about power.

It comes with being youthful and curious.

But the key is to dig deeper, and ask, how power is fueled and what forms does it take?

To assess power with clear vision, we need to let facts and information guide us: not the other way around.

Better to look at real evidence rather than rely on what individuals say or what they profess to believe.

Better to look at their actions and their motivations.

The current torrent of moral and political upheaval leaves me yearning for both an anchor and a guidepost.

My anchor is an admixture of family values and life’s lessons: a combination of grounded beliefs and evidence.

And I share these values with many, many individuals, including fellow Americans and other citizens of the world.

Most of us believe honesty and integrity are sound values, and that we should approach others with respect.

But the world I confront in the headlines has turned honesty and integrity upside-down.

And the evidence points to the root of this upheaval: those wielding power over others are causing harm.

When I look deeper into what power means and its sources—rather than what people say—the reality is clear.

The individuals who were elected to guide our country are making decisions that affect all of us and our children and grandchildren with an eye to harm. Continue reading

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What if folks can tell when you lie?

In the era of alternative facts and post-truth, fish police the liars

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Princess of Burundi Cichlid, copyright by Max Strandberg

When some fish display their anger, their pals can tell when they’re lying.

A study of Cichlids—a common freshwater fish you can find in your local pet store—showed that male and female fish display aggression with bright colors on their faces.

Researchers say that taking the trouble to display anger is costly to the fish, so “bright colors must honestly signal a healthy and high-quality individual,” says science writer Sacha Vignieri in the November 17 issue of Science Magazine.

In other words, it takes a toll on the fish to signal aggression.

But what if the fish are bluffing?

Scientists led by Judith Bachmann at the University of Basel in Switzerland manipulated aggressive coloring in Cichlids and found that “dishonest” fish (those for whom scientists “faked” aggression by changing their coloring) were punished by their neighbors.

Fish who lied were battered by others, signaling a sort of social policing in Princess of Burundi Cichlids.

Just imagine if folks we empower to make decisions that affect us turned a bright color when they lie: how we would react?

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#nativewriter

#nativescience

#nativeamericanheritagemonth

#lying

#liars

#truthiness

#alternativefact

#posttruth

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The fight for environmental sanity

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Yet another oil spill

Bill McKibben, a college professor and environmental scholar, writes eloquently in the New Yorker that objections to oil pipelines—actual and proposed—that cut through North America (from Canada through the Dakotas and end in Texas) are a fight for environmental sanity.

Reasons for objecting to the pipelines are many, with the most salient reminder occurring less than 24 hours ago.

Some 210,000 gallons of oil “gushed out of the Keystone Pipeline on Thursday in South Dakota, blackening a grassy field in the remote northeast part of the state and sending cleanup crews and emergency workers scrambling to the site,” according to the New York Times.

News reports say the land in Amherst is agricultural.

For those of us with relatives who live in the Dakotas, we consider the area Indian territory.

Imagine if this spill occurred in your hometown.

The size of the spill—210,000 gallons—is like 4500 bathtubs of water poured into your neighborhood.

That’s the size of a small town like Philomath, Oregon, or Merced, California: about 4,500 residents.

Imagine if the folks in Philomath, Merced, or all the students at the University of Washington, Tacoma, had their bathtubs leak in your town.

But we’re talking about crude oil—not bathwater–dousing the landscape.

The oil that breached the South Dakota soil spilled from the Keystone Pipeline, which is run by TransCanada, the behemoth corporation that oversees all the pipeline projects that have been in the news, including the Keystone extensions and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Although work on the Dakota Access Pipeline—which runs through Sioux burial grounds and sacred areas, and has the potential to leak into the watershed—was halted in Fall 2106, thanks to President Barrack Obama, the current president reversed the order, clearing the path for the pipeline.

Donald Trump is transparent about his support of the pipelines, and the oil companies greased his palm with a $100,000 contribution to his campaign, according to CBS news.

Trump “had an investment with the [oil] company of between $500,000 and $1 million,” said CBS.

The lesson is clear: the highest-level administrative decision-makers in our country lack ethical integrity and take actions that benefit themselves instead of the populations they purportedly serve.

17 November 2017

The Keystone map was downloaded from the BBC

#nativewriter

#nativescience

#nativeamericanheritagemonth

#nodapl

#keystonepipeline

#oilspill

#dakotaaccesspipeline

#billmckibben

Posted in american indian, Dakota pipeline, national native american history month, native american, Native American Heritage Month, native press, Native Science, nativescience, sioux | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Native Humor

Countering the Stoic Indian 

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Artist Zig Jackson takes gentle digs at the intersections of cultural humor in Indian Country and urban America.

A recent collection displayed at the Portland Art Museum showed an Indian in headdress (Jackson) poised against a California Bay Area background.

The sign reads: “Entering Zig’s Indian Reservation.”

And, “No picture taking.”

Jackson says he walks the streets and asks by-standers to snap photos of him, sometimes wearing an eagle-feather headdress.

One memorable shot was taken on a San Francisco bus, with denizens taking little notice of his presence.

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A favorite is what Jackson calls, “an Indian taking a picture of a settler taking a picture of Indians.”

taking pictures

He snapped the photo at a pow wow.

Jackson, who was raised on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, teaches photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Fellow artist Ryan Redcorn, an Osage who works out of his Buffalo Nickel Creative studio in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, shot an impressive video with Sterlin Harjo (Seminole, Creek) called, “Indians Laughing” that belies the myth of the stoic Indian.

Redcorn and Harjo are part of a touring humor troupe called the 1491s, that plumb humor from their Native fount.

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Photos were obtained from https://www.artsy.net/artist/zig-jackson

#zigjackson

#ryanredcorn

#osage

#1491s

#nativewriter

#nativescience

#nativeamericanheritagemonth

Posted in 1491, american indian, national native american history month, Osage, Zig Jackson | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The violence of the lie

Cynthia Coleman Emery's Blog

Truth, lies, facts and alternatives

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Here’s an exercise: imagine what our social lives would be like if we considered lying an act of violence.

Sissela Bok, an ethics scholar, writes that lying is a form of violence.

What would happen if we take this idea to its extreme?

On the political front, consider the following lies as an act of violence:

LIES

  • The Winter 2017 inauguration for president drew the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” ~ Sean Spicer
  • “Millions of people have lost their plans or health insurance and their doctors under President Obama.” ~ Kellyanne Conway
  • “Millions of small businesses and the American farmer” will be relieved by the “unfair estate tax.”

And what if we agreed to levy sanctions against people who lie to mislead others intentionally?

America’s political history is chock-full of lies and deception, as indigenous people know well.

Among the most egregious…

View original post 116 more words

Posted in american indian | Leave a comment

The violence of the lie

Truth, lies, facts and alternatives

171b70c3823c641d8a10c30c3d43861f

Here’s an exercise: imagine what our social lives would be like if we considered lying an act of violence.

Sissela Bok, an ethics scholar, writes that lying is a form of violence.

What would happen if we take this idea to its extreme?

On the political front, consider the following lies as an act of violence:

LIES

  • The Winter 2017 inauguration for president drew the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” ~ Sean Spicer
  • “Millions of people have lost their plans or health insurance and their doctors under President Obama.” ~ Kellyanne Conway
  • “Millions of small businesses and the American farmer” will be relieved by the “unfair estate tax.” ~ Donald Trump

And what if we agreed to levy sanctions against people who lie to mislead others intentionally?

America’s political history is chock-full of lies and deception, as indigenous people know well.

Among the most egregious are the promises made to communities that, in exchange for land, Native Americans and their children would receive hunting and fishing rights, and sovereignty over their own people.

Lies.

During Native American Heritage Month we honor those who survived the lies that resulted in unspeakable violence.

We need to continue to be vigilant about the lies.

Today in North America, land reserved for Native people is being leased to private business for mining and oil exploration.

Thanks to writers like Timothy Egan of The New York Times, the secretive acts are being made public.

What can we do?

Resist.

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Image by Gary Varvel, political cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star

#nativewriter

#nativescience

#nativeamericanheritagemonth

#alternativefact

#alternativetruth

Posted in american indian | 1 Comment

Take a trip through an Indigenous lens

Cynthia Coleman Emery's Blog

bailoutCan you imagine being indebted for more than $1,000,000,000,000?

Yes, it is worthwhile observing National American Indian Heritage Month.

Each November I make a promise to view my world through an indigenous lens and write about that view in this blog.

You need not be indigenous to adapt this perspective.

Just imagine moments in your day–riding the bus, shopping for groceries and walking the neighborhood–how would such moments look, as seen through the eyes of a denizen?

A film series on Native America notes that around the end of the 19th century American Indian populations had diminished so much that only 250,000 indigenous peoples remained, having survived disease and displacement.

Activist Suzan Shown Harjo notes in the film that–against all odds–our ancestors survived.

We made survival the most important choice in the face of wars, disease and the purposeful diminishment of our cultures.

Today American Indians account for 1-2 percent…

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