Taking away issues of political sovereignty, economic development, and all other issues that seem to dominate the outsiders notion of challenges facing Native communities; the loss of Native languages is a spreading cancer plaguing nearly all Tribes.
Most tribes can find the health of their Native language in their community as being: at risk, on the verge of extinction, or completely gone. Only a handful of tribes have completely healthy languages that are still being learned by children as their first language. Unfortunately however, for most tribes the norm is found in the following: parents and older can speak fluently, only elders can speak fluently, or only a few members can speak or even remember the language.
The state of crisis that many communities find themselves in is reflective of a long history of the attempted assimilation and destruction of Native people and their cultures by colonial forces. As our elders and parents grow older, those people who hold the knowledge that is essential to our communities are slowly dwindling in numbers. What happens if our language is lost? When the life sustaining thread that informs us of who we are as our respective People is no longer there? Language holds the knowledge that binds us to generations past. Knowledge that has sustained our communities since time immemorial. Language is the thread that ties Native communities to their history, their identity, their culture, their actions, their world, them. If that is gone, what is left? An empty shell of a community where we go through the actions without knowing why we do what we do or say what we say? I could get lost in the swirl of questions raised by such a tragic event. Unfortunately, for many communities that nightmare is a reality, or a very near one at the least.
Fortunately, many Native communities are waking up from this nightmare; taking the on the challenge of saving their languages. My brother Jonathan Sims is creating a documentary about this struggle. His film entitled A Race Against Time documents the efforts of New Mexico's tribes in revitalizing their languages. Taking on this challenge will be the responsibility of this generation of Indigenous people. It is a fight that I hope we can win. A fight we have to win.
Check out the trailer here and my brother's other work: A Race Against Time by Jonathan Sims- No Reservations Productions
I was surfing around youtube and noticed highlights and commentary about the De La Hoya fight. I haven't really followed boxing since I was younger (even then I don't think I really followed boxing). But, I was reminded of a time when New Mexico and myself were captivated by a young man who had the chin of Marciano, the speed of a Sugar Ray Leonard, and the heart of a lion. Raised on the streets of Albuquerque, Johnny Tapia never forgot where he came from and took on the persona of fighting for his city. This came to a head when he fought cross town rival Danny Romero, the "pretty boy" who's life was in contrast to the rough background Tapia grew up in. After defeating Romero and essentially ending his career, Tapia gained the respect of thousands and earned the title of New Mexico's Champion.
I met Tapia when I was younger, and he was one of the coolest people you'd ever meet. I was with a group of friends and ran into him at the movie theater. Never forgetting his fans, he was more than happy to chat with us for a bit. Those kind of people are always special; members of a community who rise to prominence and can still appreciate those who are their fans. One of my favorite memories of Tapia was after defeating Romero, the Showtime hosts were all over him trying to get a post fight interview. Upon seeing his grandpa enter the ring he pushes past the interviewers to give his grandpa a hug exclaiming "grandpa!". Haha. Now that's someone who never let the lights get to his head.
In recent years, Tapia has gotten older and battled his own personal demons. Irregardless, he will always remain one the greatest fighters Albuquerque has ever produced. One of the most entertaining, exciting, and explosive fighters of his time; Johnny Tapia will always remain New Mexico's champion.
I was happy to find this video re-posted on youtube. Enjoy.
Around the time that Dartmouth empties its students for the holidays, a certain ambiance falls upon the College that I have grown to love. I have been on campus before terms have started, but nothing compares to the seemingly welcoming emptiness that the College has during times like this past week. I know that sounds weird, but let me explain.
Usually during Thanksgiving, a majority of Dartmouth students go home to spend time with their families. Usually, the ones who are left behind are the international students, winter athletes, and a select few people here and there. For the most part nearly all of my friends stay behind, because we can't afford to go home. Don't feel too bad for us, we do pretty good in stuffing our faces just like everyone else. Although being away from home and family is hard, I know I have a second family here at school.
With nearly no one here, all of the campus offices are closed, with the essentials of security and maintenance being here. However, they are rarely seen.
An interesting silence and stillness falls upon the campus that is not normally seen or heard. Usually the College is constantly on the go as students, workers, and professors meander about. The buildings are filled with the chatter of students, the night air is pierced by party music, and the days are a constant orchestra of sounds.
With Dartmouth turned into a ghost town, the buildings fall silent, the night air is crisp and still, and the days reduced from an orchestra to a quartet. I walked to my dorm room tonight past rows and rows of empty dorm rooms in hibernation. It is a nice change, almost something that the school needs to rest itself. Walking around, the flashes of life are usually that of my friends who now have the run of the campus.
In a day or two, students will begin to return to their rooms, and work will resume as usual, awakening the College that was once asleep. I sometimes wish it could sleep just a little longer...
My friend sent me this ridiculous political rumour today, but I guess its credible! Thee Val Kilmer is actually considering running for Governor for the State of New Mexico. I'll allow some time for you to laugh............................................................... I know, I laughed too.
Isn't this RIDICULOUS?! As a NM citizen, I highly doubt we are stupid enough to pull a California. However, it makes me laugh to think about how Hollywood actors feel qualified to take such an office. Might as well be Sarah Palin running for the Presidency!
Reminds of the scene in Team America where the Film Actors Guild has their meeting. This was the closest video I could find. If you've seen the movie you'll no the hilarity of the incomplete scene I am about to show. "Kerplah!"
As the day of November 4th ended and Barack Obama was elected as the nations first Black President; the world welcomed November 5th and the renewed sense of hope that the day carried.
I sat here today, not knowing what to say. But as my duty (and everyone's) never to forget this day, I sit here as a witness to history and record something that people have dreamed of, have fought for, have died for, and sometimes felt was never attainable.
What would have people have said 232 years ago when this country was founded, and a Black man was considered 3/5ths human? 145 years ago, could Lincoln ever imagine that a person from the very people he was freeing would ever fill his shoes? Was this the dream Dr. King prophesied 45 years ago? Was this the ideal that Malcolm X realized was possible when returning from Mecca 44 years ago? Was this the legacy of all the people who marched in the streets demanding change? Was this the legacy of colored intellectuals who used the pen, instead of the sword demanding their story heard?
Was this the story of one people? No.
November 4, 2008 will forever stand as the legacy of all people. A day when our country made the decision not to be bound by the chains of its history. When people of all color, gender, sexuality, and histories came together to judge someone on the content of his heart.
Obama's win was a victory for all people, and comes at a time when the world needs this kind of victory. While the world is at war, the climate is rapidly deteriorating, the world economy is in crisis, and many other problems; our country decided to make the decision to change.
As Barack Obama stood there on that stage and spoke to the world, I couldn't help but feel exhilarated like the millions of people worldwide who were witness to history, witness to a wall being shattered.
Is this the promised land? Not quite. But it is another step, a choice we have made to continue to try and get there.
Change? Yes, we can. And on November 4, 2008, we did.
Sunsets have always been something that has fascinated me. Growing up in the southwest, the landscape provides for some vivid examples of nature's beauty. Its something that I have noticed and missed since going to school back east. I blame it mostly on the tall trees and hills that eliminate any distant horizon. This equals less light, and the inability to observe the sun as it slips past our sight.
I remember as a kid just playing playing playing till the sun started to set. Then I would stop what I was doing, and just watch the colors light up the sky and shed a glow on the mesas around me. I think sunsets are one of nature's most marvelous natural phenomena. Like snowflakes, no two are ever the same. I think Forrest Gump describes sunsets best by saying: "I couldn't tell where Heaven stopped, and the Earth began..."
The Red Sox defeated the Rays tonight 8-7, in the second biggest postseason comeback in MLB history. Down 7-0, Boston rallied back for an incredible win.
Yes, I am apart of the Red Sox Nation. In part, because I know someone who's family member is Jacoby Ellsbury. But also, because I have witnessed some of the greatest moments in baseball's history that will be remembered in the 21st century. The 2004 incredible breaking of the "curse", and coming from 0-3 game deficit in the ALCS, to win 7 straight for the world series. Last year was incredible to watch as the first Navajo player became a deciding factor in their world series success. And finally tonight, as the Red Sox amounted an incredible comeback, falling only second to the Philidelphia Athletics triumph over an 8 run deficit in 1929.
With one year left at school here in New England, I am more determined than ever to visit my adopted team, and be apart of this history.
Imagine being there amongst the pandemonium! Watch all the way to see what I mean.
Speaking of intelligent car companies, Zipcar reminded me of this documentary called Who Killed the Electric Car. Well, perhaps I should clarify. They are intelligent car companies. It just show happens they are smart enough to control the market on automobiles to keep them in business.
I swear, everyone needs to see this movie. The title is really all the description you need.
I just signed up today for Zipcar! Zipcar is a car sharing company, where you can rent cars from and hour to a few days! Living in a College "bubble" with no ride makes it difficult to get off campus. So its safe to say I am extremely excited to start renting!
Considering the times we live in, with imminent environmental looming and sometimes already here. Its great to see there are still a few very creative companies who are willing to step out of the box to cater to and address a certain problem. Zipcar is really meant to answer the overcrowding and environmental problems of cities. Living in a major city probably means you utilize a mix of public and private transportation. Zipcar aims to get cars off the road; which means less emissions, less congestion, and a great alternative for people who really need a car for short errands. So simple, yet the first of its kind!
To the millions of readers out there. Sorry I have neglected my postings. I'm back at school and swanped as usual. Time here is a precious commodity, that means blogging is that much more difficult! On the other hand, I just think I suck at time management!
However, I will try to make a greater effort to post over the next few months! I think this blog has taken a political tone over the last few posts. I didn't intend for that to happen, but oh well. I'm going to return to my original charter of posting about whatever peaks my interest at the time.
So with that, MXC is the greatest show ever (currently watching). Ha!
Listening to the local host station of NPR, a local man delivered one of the most direct and well thought out critiques of Sarah Palin. According to kunm.org: "Craig Barnes is a former international negotiator, now a writer and playwright."
Whoever he is, I think he nailed it on the head. Yes, Sarah Palin has the definite possibility of being a literal heartbeat away from the presidency. Could you imagine?!
Lies, lies, and more lies! I found this interesting article on Sarah Palin and her record on Native issues. I have seen some editorials speculating the predicament Native voters are being placed in this election in deciding which candidate can best support them. Some even said because of the Palin pick, that added more depth to their party for Native issues. I didn't know much about Palin's past until now.
Here is an interesting article revealing the truth behind her record. Her record is extremely disturbing if you ask me. Especially coming from the wife of someone who "comes from Yup'ik descent"(RED FLAG- descent), and who I believe was recently quoted saying something along the lines that she supports tribes and embraces their culture (or something along those lines). See the full article here.
However here is a quick list of what she has done so far to her Alaskan Native constituents:
It amazes me to see how right wing media completely contradicts itself, when beneficial, in order to manipulate the views of the public. I'm sure left oriented media is not completely innocent either (and because i too am not impartial), but the right wing is notorious for its vocal and rash characters: e.g., Rush Limbaugh (sp?), Karl Rove, etc.
Here is a video of John Stewart highlighting their betrayal of themselves:
Propaganda is something I find interesting, if for the simple fact that it reaffirms my belief that words are powerful. Words can spark revolutions, change the minds of millions, and sometimes even be used to pull the wool over the masses. This is not to say that I too am immune to or have not been swept up in propogandic messages. But when I do recognize it, I'm amazed at the sheer laziness of the American public and the lethargic regurgitation of manipulated information.
Propaganda in today's politics seems so simple and subtle, yet frighteningly effective. Images of cornfields to appeal to the voters of the Midwest. Strategic shots and placement of the handful of minority people in the crowd. The essential "pasting" and use of statements taken completely out of context. Politics of fear mongering: the redundant beating over the head that "we're not safe! terror, terror, terror!". And I could go on and on.
But the crazy thing is I guess it works! If its not broke, why fix it? Obviously a lot of Americans are too busy, too lazy, and/or just don't care to learn the issues, check the facts, and think critically about what they're being told.
Like my good friends of Rage Against the Machine so eloquently stated: "WAKE UP!"
Although I, much like a majority of the world, will be rejoicing when George W. Bush is out of office, a small sliver of me is going to miss the bastard. More specifically, the comic relief and endless material he has provided comics over the past eight years. Some of my favorite entries include: Will Ferrell's hilarious and unmistakeable impressions on SNL, the memoirs of "bushisms", Dave Chappelle's "Black Bush", and Mike Luckovich's editorial cartoons.
I absolutetly love editorial cartoons, and cartoons in general. If I could draw decently, and were half as witty as some of these cartoonists, I'd seriously consider editorial cartooning as a career. But alas, I am limited to the doodles on my notebook. One of my favorite cartoonists has to be Mike Luckovich. Mainly, due to the content of his humor, but partly because of his depiction of Bush. If you search around other political cartoons, you'll find lots of different caricatures of the President. In particular, I enjoy Mike Luckovich's depiction of Bush and how he has whittled down his image to what reminds me of a spoiled child. Significantly smaller than other characters, he takes their advice and direction. However, unlike a child, is prone to throwing fits and making demands. Not to mention the fact that he just looks funny! With the large ears and furrowed brow, the George W. Bush of Luckovich's cartoons never disappoints me. So to you George W. Bush, at least thank you for the laughs. In that case, please keep in touch.
In my morning stroll of the NY times, I came across this article about the amazing ability for crows to recognize human faces. Although some might not see this as a big whoop, I for one, find it fascinating! In a study at the University of Washington, certain masks were worn while remaining threatening or neutral to the the crows. A caveman mask was the threatening variable, and ironically, a Dick Cheney mask was used as the neutral one. After capturing some crows and showing them the masks, the researchers walked through campus on pre-determined routes.
However, "[t]he crows had not forgotten. They scolded people in the dangerous mask significantly more than they did before they were trapped, even when the mask was disguised with a hat or worn upside down. The neutral mask provoked little reaction. The effect has not only persisted, but also multiplied over the past two years. Wearing the dangerous mask on one recent walk through campus, Dr. Marzluff said, he was scolded by 47 of the 53 crows he encountered, many more than had experienced or witnessed the initial trapping. The researchers hypothesize that crows learn to recognize threatening humans from both parents and others in their flock."
I wonder what other animals possess this ability? I'm sure dogs are able to distinguish their owners from strangers somehow. Although, that might be due to an incredible sense of smell. I've heard from a farmer that in deer hunting season, deer will recognize a change in clothing and become skiddish. During the rest of the non-hunting season, deer will see the farmer in his cowboy hat riding around the farm. They know to high tail it outta there when he has changed into is deer hunting head gear.
So remember, the next time you're trying to shoo away those crows, don't use the Dick Cheney mask.
Welcome! I have always wanted one of these. After trying to figure out a good place to host a blog, and through some quick google research, I thought I would give this a try. Initially, this was just supposed to be a test, but hey, I guess I'll give it a whirl!
In that case, I hope whoever reads this will enjoy my thoughts, commentary, and quirks as I record my experiences.