Archive for the ‘Native and Indigneous Socio-political issues’ Category

There is an interesting radio/video article which discusses how the Zapatista movement has had a profound impact upon the US government, art, and social climate.  The radio/video documentary can be found below:

“The Zapatistas are a group in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico working to bring democracy to their country and their local communities. 20 years after their founding, the group’s influences has spread far beyond Mexico’s border through music and art. On this edition of Making Contact producer Alejandro Rosas explores how Zapatismo has influenced those in the U.S. –including himself.”

It is part of a series from Making Contact

It’s worth a review and sharing.  Enjoy!


Sparrow Productions

Lechusza Aquallo

16 August, 2014

This is a blog posting from the very informative blog site hosted by Adrienne Keene.  The link to her site is:

If ever there were a time in (post-modern) history to discuss the importance of being Native, expressing Indigineity, forming Indigenous communities of socio-political power and, articulating the often overlooked reality that First Nations/Native/Indigenous Peoples are still present, this certainly is that time.

The article below reveals the opaque affirmation that racism and stereotypes regarding Native/Indigenous Peoples are still being fortified.  The author continues to strive to eradicate such mental-physical-emotional-spiritual-environmental atrocities, with, of course, the aid of a complex network of allies, colleagues, and associates throughout Indian Country.  Yet, the point remains, why must such ignorant – I refrain politely from using the term “stupid” – rhetoric continue to be substantiated within a globalized society which prides itself upon being “advanced?”  Do these actions not define a backward step in civilization?  If one thinks otherwise, then, it may be the time to (re)visit some of the important scholarly works by Native/Indigenous authors which span the 19th/20th century – and continue to be produced currently.

Enjoy the embedded links.  They provide further knowledge!

Lechusza Aquallo

Sparrow Prod.

29 July, 2014



Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 9.42.43 PM

Last week I chatted with a super kind and engaged reporter at NPR. She found my blog because my colleague (thanks Todd!) tweeted her in response to a call for interesting education folks to follow on Twitter. She read through my blog, and came upon a post I wrote a couple years ago–”Dear Native student who was just admitted to college“–and wanted to ask me a bit more about it. So we talked for 15-20 minutes so I could give some context on the post and my doctoral work that has stemmed out of these areas in Native higher ed. She posted an edited version of this convo on the NPR website (I say “like” a lot irl, she kindly took that out, as well as some of my filler/background info), where it has gotten a pretty big response.

Here’s the article. I like it, and think it covers a lot of ground for a short piece.

I was stoked to get to talk about my “other” life in Indian Ed, since I’m still finding my voice in that area (haven’t been blogging about it for five years, though I have been studying and researching for that long…). I think anything I can do to signal boost Native issues in higher education and help shed light on our experiences, struggles, and triumphs in college and beyond is important.

But they included a headshot on the post. One that is the thumbnail every time the article gets shared. I didn’t even think twice about it–most people who know me and the blog know who I am and where I come from, and yes, what I look like. But I forgot, this is the internet.

To be fair, as always, there are tons of positive comments. I’ve received a bunch of emails from students and graduates that have made me happy and heartened. But for those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time, you know this is constantly something I deal with, and this article wasn’t anything new. Ready? Here’s a sampling (Yes I left their real names. They said it on a public forum…):

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 8.32.31 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 8.32.56 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 8.34.05 PM

and on the article itself (to be fair, it was just one dude…though NPR has pretty strict comment guidelines, so there could have been more):Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.37.48 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.38.10 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.38.44 PM

On both the NPR article, and definitely on the Facebook thread on the NPR page, my identity is being dissected by hundreds of people who don’t know me. Who don’t know how I relate to my Native heritage, the work I do, who my family is, anything. I also think it’s kinda hilarious–do they not realize that, as a blogger, I’m on the internet? Reading their thread?

But y’all know it’s not new. If you need a refresher, read the comments on, oh, any of my “controversial” articles. Or read the drama I went through over Tonto. Maybe the 500+ comments on this Pocahottie article. Or the follow-up I had to do after it. It’s par for the course. I also specifically address my white privilege a fair amount, see the end of that Tonto post, or the annotated version of my Pocahottie letter for examples. I know my white privilege has afforded me protection and opportunities. That’s why I write about it.

I am 98% positive that if this NPR article wasn’t accompanied by a photo, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. There is very little commentary challenging my ideas, or what I had to say about Native students transitioning to college–it’s all focused on how I look.

You wonder why I care so deeply about representations? This is why I care. Because all those people think that Native identity is tied to looking like something off the side of a football helmet.

This isn’t just something that happens to me, either. Last week, the Center for American Progress hosted a forum about Indian Mascots, and an incredible 15-year-old Native student named Dahkota Franklin Kicking Bear Brown spoke to the group. He talked beautifully about the effects of mascots on his schooling experience, and also what it means when fellow students, and even his vice principal, say he doesn’t “look Indian,” and how it is all tied in together. This sentiment is real, and it’s all connected.

One of the other commenters on the FB thread mentioned how I “don’t have a wikipedia page” or even a bio on the blog, so they were skeptical of my credentials–basically waving the wannabe flag. It is true I don’t have either of those things (but um, who wants a wikipedia page?). Honestly, it’s by design. If people are *that* desperate to find out about me, they can google and find all sorts of articles and videos that talk more about my background. I don’t want my phenotype and hometown to color initial perceptions of me and my words. I want my writing to speak for itself–because I have never lied about who I am, and write about it all the time on the blog.

In writing Native Appropriations, I am inviting readers into a community. I want folks to get to know me, know how I think, operate, where I come from, what ideas we share, and where we differ. I love comment chains where we have discussions that push my thinking and help me grow. I love when it’s an equal exchange of knowledge. That can’t happen when I’m summarily dismissed. So I never “got around” to making an “about” page. I’m all up in this thing. It hasn’t seemed to hold us back. But, for better or worse, that’s not the way the internet functions. People want quick, easily digestible sound bites. They don’t want to enter into a relationship (which is the Indigenous way of doing things…). They want to be able to categorize and move on. Which is what happened with the NPR piece.

I have deep, deep anxieties about my new post-graduation life as “Dr. K”–of entering academia with the weight and privilege of Native Approps behind me. I have actual nightmares of folks finding academic articles I write and lambasting my scholarship all over the internet. I worry about not living up to the “hype.” I say weight and privilege–because I know that no matter what my research is probably going to have a wider audience than most, simply because of the blog. That’s amazing, and such a privilege to be able to know that I can push forward conversations about Native students and representations to an engaged audience. It’s also intense, because most young scholars get awhile to find their voice and place in their research, but I know that I’m going to be under a microscope pretty quickly. I honestly try not to take to heart what people say about my blog writing, because I still consider it a hobby, but my academic writing is and will continue to be my life. This gave me a small window into what the next few years of my career might bring, and to be honest, it kinda (ok really) freaks me out.

But, if my picture and my story can bring to light these conversations about Native identity that need to happen, and if I need to be the literal face of that conversation, then I’m ok. Because we need to talk about it. Colonial legacies of blood quantum have real effects in our communities, and these conversations happen over, and over, and over without moving us forward.

Because Native identity isn’t just a racialized identity. Native identity is political. We are citizens of tribal nations. So we can’t just talk about our identities purely in racial terminology. Thinking about our identity as purely race-based is another tool to wipe us out. Cause you can “breed out” this notion of “blood” but you can’t “breed out” citizenship. There’s also a deep power issue here–who has the “right,” especially as an outsider, to determine someone’s identity for them? But these are big topics for another day.

So because this is a topic we’ve addressed before, I’ll just quote directly from the end of my “Real Indians don’t care about Tonto” post, and say this–this is the reason why I continue to fight. This is the reason why I’m still here:

But instead of feeling ashamed, I’m trying now to turn the tables and think that I, instead, am the colonizer’s worst nightmare. Because history has tried to eradicate my people by violence and force, enacted every assimilating and acculturating policy against my ancestors, let me grow up in white suburbia, and erased all the visual vestiges of heritage from my face–but still tsi tsalagi (I am Cherokee). My ancestors gave their “x-marks”–assents to the new–so that I could be here, fighting back against misrepresentations, through a keyboard and the internet.

The underlying motivation behind this blog is not only to critique and deconstruct representations of Natives, but also to be able to openly explore what it means to be a contemporary Native person. And more specifically for me, what does it mean to be a millennial, nerdy, doctorate-holding, mixed-race, Cherokee woman?

Moving forward, I hope these are questions we can continue to answer together, through the blog, my research, my teaching, and ongoing conversations on and offline. This NPR article has shown us that there is power in getting our stories out there, but that we still have a ways to go. And that’s ok. These were conversations that weren’t happening openly in public forums just a few years ago. It’s a journey, one that has brought me incredible joy and challenged me in incredible ways. I’m happy to keep rolling along, learning, making mistakes, and figuring out what it means to be me, but also, what it means to be us. Because learning about the ways we relate to one another, Native to Native and Native to non-Native, is at the heart of all of this work.

As always, wado for being here with me on this path,


There were a couple of articles which I found rather interesting and needed to share.  Each serves as an active agent in over-turning historic injustice actions which continue to plague Native Peoples.  Enjoy the reading!

Lechusza Aquallo

Sparrow Productions

28 July, 2014

World Class Teaching to Native Schools, July 28, 2014

Short changing Indian kids again?, July 27, 2014

Music Festival takes a stand against hipster headdresses, July 26, 2014

Here are some interesting articles which point toward the continued necessity and diligence of reading and responding to the mainstream American media.  Share, comment and, enjoy the research!

Lechusza Aquallo

Sparrow Prod.

22 July, 2014

ted-nugent-feather-headdress-white-buffalo ted-nugent-feather-headdress

Cour d’Alene tribe and Ted Nugget (July 22, 2014)




Tribe says city’s logo is not offensive (July 22, 2014)




President Obama engages Native Youth (July 22, 2014)

Below are a number of different articles which cover a large area of Native issues.  Please note that the content and opinions expressed within the articles are those of the author.

Enjoy, share and comment!

Lechusza Aquallo

Sparrow Prod.

13 July, 2014


Recent pop culture developments:

Librarians Rock Mohawks after One Million Check-outs (July 11, 2014)

This video is really cool, except for one thing (July 11, 2014)


The Obama reservation visit:

Presidential visits Indian Country (June 17, 2014)

Obama, Standing Rock Sioux, and the Next Vital Steps  (July 7, 2014)

Youth the focus of President’s visit to Standing Rock reservation (June 30, 2014)


Pop culture and the R-Word:

Warbonnet controversy pushes Giants to revise policies (July 7, 2014)

San Francisco Giants made a colossal error in warbonnet fiasco (July 13, 2014)

There’s a Redskin’s pride caucus in the Virginia legislature, what? (July 9, 2014)

Chiefs and Redskins play on land seized from American Indians (July 9, 2014)

Nasty tweets the Redskins don’t want you to read (July 7, 2014)

“Redskins” is officially a slur and defined (July 6, 2014)

“Redskins” is officially defined as a racial slur (July 2, 2014)

Why the Redskins name is a political issue (July 2, 2014)

Former AIM director to pursue 9 billion dollar lawsuit against Cleveland Indians (June 30, 2014)

Pocahottie Pride (June 25, 2014)

Redskins lawyer claims there is no momentum for name change (June 19, 2014)

Washington Redskins Have Trademark Revoked, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Calls Name ‘Disparaging’

National Indian Justice Center, June 19, 2014
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
Amanda Blackhorse, Marcus Briggs-Cloud, Philip Gover,
Jillian Pappan, and Courtney Tsotigh
Pro-Football, Inc.
Cancellation No. 92046185
Jesse A. Witten, Jeffrey J. Lopez, John D. V. Ferman, Lee Roach and Stephen
Wallace of Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP for Amanda Blackhorse, Marcus Briggs,
Philip Gover, Jillian Pappan, and Courtney Tsotigh.

Robert L. Raskopf, Claudia T. Bogdanos and Todd Anten of Quinn Emanuel
Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP for Pro-Football, Inc.
Before Kuhlke, Cataldo and Bergsman, Administrative Trademark Judges.

Opinion by Kuhlke, Administrative Trademark Judge:

Petitioners, five Native Americans, have brought this cancellation proceeding
pursuant to Section 14 of the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. § 1064(c). They
seek to cancel respondent’s registrations issued between 1967 and 1990 for Cancellation No. 92046185 trademarks consisting in whole or in part of the term REDSKINS for professional football-related services on the ground that the registrations were obtained contrary to Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), which prohibits registration of marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute. In its answer, defendant, Pro-Football, Inc., asserted various affirmative defenses including

RRedskins trademark decision means phips bounty-hunt almost over (June 19, 2014)

Redskins shows ugly colors to America


Native art and culture:

5 Carvers who kept Northwest coast carving alive (part 2: part 1 is a link at the end of the article) (July 2, 2014)

Not again! Hopi Katsinam auctioned in Paris (Jule 30, 2014)

Remembering Michael Jackson and the racial mashup of “black or white” (June 26, 2014)