Native Resources From Dr. Mumm

ONLINE RESOURCES ON NATIVE PEOPLES:
Newberry Library:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures:
Native Languages:
Comisión Nacional para el Desarollo de los Pueblos Indígenas
[National Commission for Indigenous Community Development of Mexico]
Pow Wows:
Aztec History:
“We Shall Remain” (2009):
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/
A groundbreaking mini-series and provocative multi-media project that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. Five 90-minute documentaries spanning three hundred years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native American perspective:

EPISODE 1 After the Mayflower https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYAdf-oGc8c
EPISODE 2 Tecumseh’s Vision https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LPXEoQskYA
EPISODE 3 Trail of Tears https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8o0heHXQF8
EPISODE 4 Geronimo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q79NaHAscIA
EPISODE 5 Wounded Knee https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DHFjB-A5Ho

The movie “Dakota 38”:
Stand with Standing Rock:
The Standing Rock Syllabus:
PLACES TO VISIT:
American Indian Center:
D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies:
Mitchell Museum of the American Indian:
Nuestras Historias collection of the National Museum of Mexican Art:
Ancient Americans & Hall of Native North America collections at the Field Museum:
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site:
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Meeting #15 11/19/2016

Lily Be Storytelling Workshop and Photo Journalism Workshop Diosa Latinx Photoshoot: Honoring our ancestors and indigeneity

We began this morning with a passage from  Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence  is personal account of an indigenous Australian family’s experiences as members of the Stolen Generation. The erasure of a person’s culture is stripping people of their power. Colonist use this technique to make you feel ashamed for keeping traditions alive whether that is through language, music, religion, or clothes. The these things is what protects our energy and keep us grounded to our ancestral power. This power are secret songs, recipes, dances, prayers, and wishes that we used to survive erasure.

We asked students around the table their thoughts about the reading and many stories resonated with one another’s similar experiences.

Violet: the reading reminded me of the erasure of culture and I feel sad that there are things about my culture that I will ever know or known it was lost. I feel guilty at times that my attempts to learn Spanish or more about Puerto Rican or Colombian culture is a mere caricature of what I try to embrace. But I have to be easy on myself because the goal of colonization is to make me forget my past or leave to responsibility for myself to uncover my history. I am grateful to not have to explore and connect on my own and with the support of this space,

Many other agreed for feeling guilty about their spanglish but we had to stop to check ourselves and as a reminder that the Spanish language is a colonizer language and we do not know the tongues of our maternal native ancestor.

Aide: I feel like instead there is now a shift within our generation in comparison to our past generations that had to assimilate to survive. Now we digging up our buried cultures and history so we do not forget. In order to survive we must remember our past.

Eduardo: This passage reminded me about the Korean exchange program at his High School and how he stood up for his fellow exchange student and checked a teacher for scolding the exchange students for speaking Korean and not English. He connected that experience to being young and learning English in elementary school and also being scolded for not speaking English. When you police language around students that are in their right to speak to what is comfortable to them and made me feel safe when I wanted to be understood.

Arely: I want to keep speaking Spanish alive in my family because it makes me sad that my cousins refuse to speak Spanish. I am taking extra classes to improve my reading and writing in Spanish because I think my language is beautiful.

It was revealed within a few other reflections in the room that many students had a similar experience of being forced into speech therapy services or put in low comprehensive courses Spanish was their first language and they were still learning English. Offering the wrong referral services can highly impact the self-esteem of a young student who is made to feel their Spanish is a barrier. img_2888
The remainder our meeting was spent split into two groups. Students with Lily Be who was crafting their stories and students in our Diosa Latinx photo shoot. Towards the end of our meeting we all came together for an impromptu bruja circle photo opt. I never felt so fierce, magical and strong while hand and hand with my sisters. All dope Latina women with different strengths and experiences. All between us centuries of beauty and light we share within our blood through our ancestors.  

Meeting #13 11/5/2016

[Meeting #13] 11/5/2016

History made us. We will not eat ourselves up anymore. We are whole.” Rosario Morales and Aurora Levins Morales- Ending Poem

We began our meeting last week revisiting a poem we read during our first meetings this past summer that was written by mother and daughter Rosario and Aurora Morales. This poem unpacks how their diasporic identity is rooted in colonization and indigeneity. While expressing the difficulty to connect with the fragments of our fractured ancestry. History made us glue together the pieces of narratives that were suppressed, ignored and overwritten by colonization and supremacy. We hunger for truth, connection and understanding of these untold tales that were fed to us by institutional structures. Together we nourish and fill ourselves with the experience to grapple with knowledge and replenish the erasure of our history until we are whole.

Today we hosted three guest in anticipation to blend our lenses and understanding of Latinx identity throughout this project. A geneticist, Cultural Anthropologist/Historian, and a Social Work informed Genealogist provided workshops to help us unpack the “makeup of our brownness”. It is important to have three different professional disciplines to challenge and demonstrate how our constructed knowledge is shaped by our lived experiences and the framework in which we like to explore our Latinx identity.

We began with a Mexican native geneticist named Dr. Noe De La Sancha. He discussed biodiversity and contextualized the origins of the earth, homo sapiens, and how our notions of race is socially constructed. It was very meaningful personally to be taught by a Latinx scientist because my educational experience as child had limited exposure to predominantly male, white instructor for math and science courses. As a young girl I always dreamed of becoming a scientist because it was the subject I thrived the most in up into college.

At one point while reviewing natural selection, I blurted “survival of the fittest” because it was the mnemonic phrase I connected with while learning about Darwinism in high school. Dr. De La Sancha laughed and reassured that natural selection doesn’t imply this notion of “survival of the fittest because, “evolution isn’t necessarily the survival of the fittest but survival of those who adapt to current conditions.” The phrase actually derives from Herbert Spencer who coined the phrase, after reading Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. Spencer drew parallels between his own economic theories and Darwin’s biological ones. Spencer states, “This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called ‘natural selection’, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.”

This ideology within the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was used to justify political conservatism, imperialism, and racism and to discourage intervention and reform. This helped informed eugenics movements and promoted by the Nazi party in their quest to sustain a superior race and eliminate those who do not share the traits and identities of white supremacy. Social Darwinism in reality is all of life is constantly trying to catch up to fluctuations in our environment. We are resilient beings striving to adapt through socially constructed barriers and ideologies that are reinforced in our modern day textbooks and consumed by our youth. We must resist, re-write and challenge these notions for our survival.

Cultural Anthropologist/Historian Dr. Jesse Mumm, presented on Biocultural Us, which discussed the migration, origins and genes of homo sapiens. The lecture began by discussing our migration patterns from Africa and how climate change shaped our paths for adaptation and survival. Within the 1800’s “five races” were created and supported by U.S and European scientist who determined distinct biological races by skull size and phenotypic traits such as skin, nose size and hair type/color. The social construction of race is inherently problematic beyond the inaccuracy of the scientific findings but used to inform racist ideologies and practices.

Biology and culture intersect through our generational experiences and have deeply shaped the outcomes of those who are polarized as dominant “white” or other. Although we understand among humans there are no biological differences between races, the legacy of racism is widespread and detrimental. For instance, Dr. Mumm explained how up until the 1870’s African Americans were first documented by their names rather than as property items. In 2016, racism still shapes legislation, resources and the polarization between the dominate culture vs marginalized identities is felt so deeply during our Presidential election. By learning how society and culture is highly informed by the intersection of race, law and power we can begin unlearn to decolonize these institutionalized structures and resources.

Kerry Cochrane is our resident Genealogist who uses Social Work to inform her practice. During our time with Kerry we were able to unpack many of the questions we had since the end of the summer when our students received their DNA results that were collected a few months ago. Our start was slow because many students either did their own research upon receiving their results and others did not know what questions to ask because the DNA results report is very overwhelming and heavy with information. The questions that were asked wanted more information of what are haplogroups or what it mean to be “broadly East Asian or European”? Overall, it was fascinating to learn more in depth about our genetic breakdown and to process the magnitude legacies.

A Chi-Latinx at Standing Rock, ND

We hustled stories over fires and peeped drones over head.

I haven’t written as much as I’d like to about our short but powerful visit to Standing Rock, ND this October. I feel overwhelmed by this historical moment and incredible people out there each day facing down guns. But I want my friends to know and I want other Latinxs to know–this is all of our struggle. If you’re considering it please go up to Standing Rock now!. They need us right now. We need them even more. (Or support however you can).

For me, it was both powerful on the macro/movement sense and meant so much to me as a Latinx with indigenous roots. Movement wise– this is it–it’s the answer to the chaos sparked in 1492, it’s ground zero for decolonization. Ecologically and economically people are calling for the end of vulture capitalism that values profits over all life.

As a Latinx with roots in Ecuador and Puerto Rico it was the meeting of my relatives, literally folks were interested in us finding out Latin American “tribe” while we were out there, our delegation was welcomed with ceremony, we were smudged and greeted by the camp elders. If you can go, you should. Of course I danced–learned to do the owl and rabbit. If I’d stay longer we woulda been dancing salsa at some point. I earned a camp nickname: “Boricua!”

We stayed at the main camp “Oceti Sakowin” and it felt sacred–all day and night you can hear drumming and singing– you feel this beauty there–I mean all these flags and all these people and all these stories in one place. So many have sacrificed so much personally to remain there for weeks, months even–pulled in by the weight of this moment.

You don’t have to sleep outside –some folks book a room at the casino and drive down the road to camp. You don’t have to get arrested–only those who want to go to the front lines are prepared to do so. But our water protectors need us to come up and phyically be present to stop the encrouching machines from drilling underneath the sacred waters and earth.

There is so much other work to do–I helped cook in the Lower Brulé Sioux camp where all the guys hang out who do security. Made a camp version of arroz con gandules. (Lol with “game meat” bc there was no salchichon). If you have questions, hit me up. ❤️

*this is history yall*
#NODAPL #waterislife #LatinxIndigenx #NoDAPLcarajo#Chicago2StandingRock