Friday, December 4, 2009

My You Tube Video (Karuk Hamburgers A,B,C, & D)

Interesting to see my son start out grumpy & not interested...
but he becomes a teacher in his own right towards the end of the session
& the whole family
has a Karuk Time ;-)

Karuk Hamburgers

You ever had a Planning meeting to discuss the creation of a Planning Committee?

"It seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized... I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization (Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C.; Hardcastle, 2004)."

And time marches on... One organization falls to the reality of Indian Crabs, a new organization blooms because of hard working elders and optimistic youngers. The new organization, and its board members work around the rules in order to get things done more efficiently and in a culturally correct way. A new generation comes into the picture, and new laws are formed.
Power changes hands, white tape is more strictly followed... More new people get involved (ndn crabs), and these new people maliciously or stupidly bring down the organization they work for because they use the white tape to discover loopholes to take full control of the organization and then drive it into the ground.


And then there will be a meeting of the elders who were youngers back when the ________ program used to be "run right." These new elders discuss what has to be done to create a new program that will be run in a more culturally correct way... They enlist the help of new youngers, and time marches on...

Standing for Justice... A Precipice.

‘“Who is a father here this evening?”…all raised their hands…[i] picked one of them and asked him,

“How many children do you have?”


“Would you be willing to sacrifice two of them, and make them suffer so that the other one could go to school and have a good life, in Recife?...”


“Well, if you,… a person of flesh and bones, could not commit an injustice like that---how could God commit it?”

A scilence… Then:

“No, God isn’t the cause of all this. It’s the boss!”’

--Freire (1994), p. 48.; Hardcastle, 2004.

I wonder… does the world need a social revolution?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Over the river and through the bridge...

"...The garden of the brain never ceases being pruned and newly planted... Thus, the old adage 'use it or loose it' is brought soundly home."


While contemplating the plasticity of the brain, I began to think of the plasticity of culture.

There are several schools of thought that believe Indigenous America was an example of a morally superior culture colonized by a technologically superior one.

Agree, disagree, to each their own conceptualization of history

(after all, everyone has the right to be wrong).

In the wake of colonization

as I bear witness to a time of duress for even mainstream America

I wonder if confronted with the kind of devastation that Indigenous cultures have had to endure… could the mainstream/dominant culture survive?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Cultures are kind of like the mind; people are like synopses constantly firing and dying. New ideas are like signals trying to get from one place to another, one period of time to the next. Ideas use the various channels open to them, but should those channels disappear, ideas reroute or simple stop.

In this model the structure of the mind symbolizes culture itself.

The package that contains all the various interacting parts:

Parts that bloom because they are needed, remain because of electrical current and die by lack of use.

Cultures have the ability to constantly adjust, and amend accordingly…

But, use it or loose it.

So the idea of culture can be likened to a mind.

But the indigenous reality of culture includes the concept of the soul-

Built into Indigenous cultures are our dreams and our dreamers.

Even when our languages are stamped out for generations, even when our religions are not accessible to the all tribal members-

We have our dreamers and our dreams.

People who regain desire for knowledge, and who understand knowledge can be transferred from one species to another, one physical thing to an animate one, one spirit to a spirit in a body…

Indigenous worldview is like a physical brain, sans dead ends.

No signal can be lost.

Culture beares of the future can be born blank slates, and live within cultures that don’t belong to them- for years… but when the culture calls them into action, they will act. And when they understand, they will explain. And when they are honest, others will listen and will follow them back to balance.

Sometimes I wonder if some of our dreamers aren’t getting medicated in order to avoid the responsibility that comes with dreaming back. Watching my children grow however, I know not all dreamers run from their responsibilities. Indigenous world view: sans dead end.

“Social workers must be visionaries and risk takers, able to formulate fresh approaches and challenge the status quo (Hardcastle, 2004, pg 211) .”

Social workers are at our optimum potential when we can dream.

Cowboys & NDN's

White domination is so complete that even American Indian children want to be cowboys. It's as if Jewish children wanted to play Nazis.
--Ward Churchill, Fantasies of the Master Race

When I first read through this essay, I was startled (and a little relieved), that someone else has been thinking about Cowboys and Indian game play in a similar way. Similar to what you might ask, similar to childhood Jim. I used to hate playing Cowboys and Indians because, as the only color in town of my age, and almost always the only Indian- if I wanted to play, it usually required playing dead. The fact that the other kids would gang up on me under the guise of following the rules of the game made me want to win through the destruction of my friends. This desire to drive the Cowboys into nothingness, or at least submission, or far away from here made me a problem. I was a malfunction in the game as it was meant to be played. I was supposed to play dead.

Perhaps my friends would have liked it if i could have played dead so good they could have mutilated my remains & then after my grief stricken family had buried me, maybe my buddies would have enjoyed digging me up twenty years later to marvel at the contour of my bones...
But who plays ameture archeologist anymore?

At any rate, it was interesting for me to read about another Indians ponderance of the "Rules of the Game."

The whole thing was a blast from the past that quickly became a blast from the present. While discussing the simple complexities of growing up the only Indian playing a game I was apparently meant to loose with my two older cousins, we all began cutting up about childhood memories. All of a sudden one of their buddies, also gathered around the kitchen table where we were butchering an elk, burst out in objection. "You guys go ahead and laugh, but I was always the only white kid playing with you guys and you always made me play the god-damned Indian. Traumatized the heck out of me!"
This outburst was followed by roars of laughter.

I'm glad when my son grew up with his pigment impared buddies,
that he was proud of being Karuk
and he never allowed himself to be pigeon holed as the player deader
instead he brought his friends to our house
and they were often so amazed by getting smoked salmon with their flap jacks and beans
and getting to roam wild through the "forest" of our property
that each and every one of them fought over the bows n arrows
and they all played Indians, aiming at the neighbors cars as they passed the fence line
guardians of the gates.

Community: Ism's & Aint'ems

In mainstream American culture we incorrectly apply the term community to any clustering of individuals “a town, a church, a synagogue, a fraternal organization, an apartment complex, a professional association—regardless of how poorly those individuals communicate with each other. It is a false use of the word (The Different Drum, Schulz, 2006).” American Indian definitions of community are much more group oriented, steeped in family ideas/ideals and cultural ties and norms that originally provided the people with “rules to live by.” Within American Indian communities there were networks of support systems that enabled each generation to help, catch, and even uplift members of the next or previous generation (when the need for support emerged by any individual or cluster of individuals within the group).

“If we are going to use the word [community] meaningfully we must restrict it to a group of individuals who have learned how to communicate honestly with each other, whose relationships go deeper then their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to ‘rejoice together, mourn together,’ and to ‘delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own.’ (The Different Drum, Schulz, 2006).” This is close to an Indigenous concept of community.

“Once we allow that all clients are ‘nested’ in community, we can entertain the idea that all (or at least most) client problems (be they physical, psychological, economic, or social) are ‘nested’ in communities as well. This realm of community problems (the environmental component) is what Schwartz (1969) called the ‘public issue’ side of a ‘personal trouble.’ (Group Work: Strategies for Strengthening Resiliency, Mondros, 2001).” At this point and time American Indian populations are suffering from inter-generational posttraumatic stress disorder. After centuries of systematic attempted genocide, followed by the constant onslaught of culturally bias laws thrust upon Native families with the intent to destroy the Indian concept of family itself, tribal members today are finding themselves surrounded by a legacy of self destruction instead of a system of love and familial support.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Scales of ...


Question:  How many social workers does it take to tip the scales of justice ???

A: I don't know, we'll see when things actually change.