A Modern Aboriginal Culture Magazine

Television

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For those not caught up with the second season of House of Cards, a significant plot point revolves around the embezzlement of foreign dollars through Native Casino’s.  While I enjoyed the new season, the above image stopped me dead in my tracks.  Keeping in mind that this is a show of fiction making Hannity is an actor, having the bi-line read “Indian Givers” is unacceptable.  In the same montage two other shows reported on the same depicted incident without making any acknowledgement of race.  Why? Because It was unnecessary.  I don’t understand why Hannity, and Fox would allow this.  And I have no idea why the producers and writers would include such senseless racism.  This is offensive and unacceptable.  

Article

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Written in 1998, Elizabeth Gilberts’ article on Eustace Conway was a nice find (treat yourself and read through Long Form).  The entire article in one sentence: “lonely heart who makes fire with two sticks, eats squirrel brains, quotes Faulkner, crosses continents on foot or horseback, understands Navajo jokes, swings throughout threes during lightning storms, kayaks across the Arctic, builds homes without the use of nails, climbs sheer cliffs, makes honey and envisions altering the very disunity of humankind…”  While Conway is not native he thinks of the culture as his kindred spirit.  While the article is fascinating, it made me meditate on the nature of cultural appropriation.  As a lover of rap music it’s interesting to think that an outsider can stand alongside anyone on the ‘inside’. But can they?

Graphic Novel

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Adopted from Joseph Bruchacs’ 1993 Novel, Will Davis’ “Dawn Land” tells the story of Young Hunter, an Abenaki (New England) Indian, and his epic adventure to face and defeat the Stone Giants who have destroyed his family.  The story and it’s art has a foot in both worlds, literary and spiritual, and the combination has a powerful effect.  This is a quick read but potent.  Haunting.

Politics

ImageAlthough this story is a week old, it is still fascinating.  On January 11, 2014, Steve Paikin held a celebration for Sir John A MacDonalds 199th birthday.  He held a costume contest.  The winners were an American Asian couple dressed in red face.  Paikin decided to share the joy.  Obviously there were some concerns voiced.  In defence of the situation Paikin writes:  “The fact is, the couple didn’t intend to offend, aren’t from here, had no knowledge of this chapter of Canadian history, and moreover, aren’t white. Whether any of that will satisfy the critics, I can’t say”.  This is the stupidest defence of racism I have ever heard.  It is so stupid I feel confident it require no comment or analysis.

Fashion

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Brain child of Kelly Holmes, Native Max is an Native American fashion and culture quarterly. The magazine is an exciting upstart that has managed to stick around in a climate that does not favour magazines.  This is totally legit and exciting project that deserves your attention and support.

Art

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Stef Mitchell, artist and photographer, recently posted this illustration to her Instagram (feel free to follow me @stayponygoldboy).  Intriguing? Yes.  Ascetically pleasing? Yes.  Meaningful? No.  As Native history continues to fascinate outside cultures, the negative impacts ceases to come from racism and now comes from ignorance.  Real growth.

Politics

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On October 22, 2013, the Government published ”Working Together for First Nation Students: A Proposal for a Bill on First Nations Education’’.  Of the draft, National Chief Shawn Atleo stated: “The current Federal Proposal for a Bill for First Nation Education is not acceptable to First Nations. We must work together on a mutual plan that fully respects and reflects partnership, that is consistent with Treaty relationships, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and re-affirmed in countless studies and recommendations.”  This is an important issue that could negatively impact all First Nation’s across the country.  For context read 1972’s Indian Control of Indian Education.  It is tremendously sad that the work all First Nations have accomplished over the past 40 years could be destroyed by one piece of legislation.

Art

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Last month while attending a wedding in Toronto, I had the good fortune to explore the Art Gallery of Ontario with Lauren Thomas of Dimini Mini and now Umbra.  Highlights included Matisse, the Frank Gehry architecture and the video instillation “Modest Livelihood” by Native artists Brian Jungen and Duane Linklater.  The piece, a twenty minute meditative video loop, is evocative, contemplative, and surprisingly engaging.  Truly recommended.  My experience with the piece led to some research and both men are profound and exciting talents.  Do yourself a solid and start your exploration here and here.

Radio

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I am a little behind the times, but thanks to the magic of podcasts, you can still hear Adrienne Keen of Native Appropriations on CBC’s DNTO.  Native Appropriations, which can be found here, is fantastic blog that explores the stereotypes and cultural appropriation of modern Native culture.  The blog is well written, smart, and always interesting.  Treats your ears and brain and check out the interview here.

Art

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Moose Soup by Marcus Gosse

Member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band in Newfoundland, Marcus Gosse is an emerging Aboriginal artist who has been shown across the Maritimes and is currently being exhibited by the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax.  His work incorporates tractional Aboriginal Petroglyphs and Hieroglyphs as well as contemporary artistic milestones.  His balance between the two worlds makes for exciting and original work.  More work can be found here.

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