WBEZ | Native American http://www.wbez.org/tags/native-american Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Adidas offers to help U.S. high schools phase out Native Ameican mascots http://www.wbez.org/news/adidas-offers-help-us-high-schools-phase-out-native-ameican-mascots-113666 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Adidas has pledged to help high school teams that want to change their mascots from Native American imagery..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res454915402" previewtitle="Adidas has pledged to help high school teams that want to change their mascots from Native American imagery. President Obama praised the effort, while the Washington football team shot back, calling the company's move hypocritical."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Adidas has pledged to help high school teams that want to change their mascots from Native American imagery. President Obama praised the effort, while the Washington football team shot back, calling the company's move hypocritical." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/05/ap_08050806897-58e0ccfdb2992737eb8273f8791cef9a4ab7cc29-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Adidas has pledged to help high school teams that want to change their mascots from Native American imagery. President Obama praised the effort, while the Washington football team shot back, calling the company's move hypocritical. (Christof Stache/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>Sportswear giant Adidas announced Thursday that it would offer free design resources and financial assistance to any high schools that want to change their logo or mascot from Native American imagery or symbolism.</p></div></div></div><p>The company announced the initiative ahead of the Tribal Nations Conference at the White House, which Adidas executives attended.</p><p>&quot;Sports have the power to change lives,&quot; Adidas executive board member Eric Liedtke<a href="http://news.adidas.com/US/Latest-News/adidas-Announces-Support-For-Mascot-Name-Changes-Ahead-Of-White-House-Tribal-Nations-Conference/s/7197ec89-d0fe-4557-b737-cd27dc76aba1">said in a statement</a>. &quot;Sports give young people limitless potential. Young athletes have hope, they have desire and they have a will to win. Importantly, sports must be inclusive. Today we are harnessing the influence of sports in our culture to lead change for our communities.&quot;</p><p>Approximately 2,000 high schools in the U.S. use names that &quot;cause concern for many tribal communities,&quot; according to the company&#39;s statement.</p><p>At the Tribal Nations Conference, Obama praised the effort by Adidas, and added that &quot;a certain sports team in Washington might want to do that as well.&quot;</p><p>Even before Obama&#39;s remarks, the Washington football team had responded in an emailed statement that read:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The hypocrisy of changing names at the high school level of play and continuing to profit off of professional like-named teams is absurd. Adidas make hundreds of millions of dollars selling uniforms to teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and the Golden State Warriors, while profiting off sales of fan apparel for the Cleveland Indians, Florida State Seminoles, Atlanta Braves and many other like-named teams. It seems safe to say that Adidas&#39; next targets will be the biggest sports teams in the country, which won&#39;t be very popular with their shareholders, team fans, or partner schools and organizations.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>The team&#39;s owner, Dan Snyder, has vowed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/10/07/230221006/an-uphill-battle-to-push-an-nfl-team-to-change-its-name">never to change the team&#39;s name</a>.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/05/454902114/adidas-offers-to-help-u-s-high-schools-phase-out-native-american-mascots" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 09:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/adidas-offers-help-us-high-schools-phase-out-native-ameican-mascots-113666 Michigan tribes make efforts to save native language http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-12/michigan-tribes-make-efforts-save-native-language-113298 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1012_native-language-immersion-624x427.jpg" title="Two-year-olds at the Sasiwaans language immersion school in Mt. Pleasant get a lesson in the Native American tradition of smudging. (Emily Fox/Michigan Radio)" /></div><p>The language that was spoken by Native American tribes in Michigan is nearing extinction in the state. Some communities have no fluent speakers; others have one or two elders who still speak fluently.</p><p>But as&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/foxontheradio" target="_blank">Emily Fox</a>&nbsp;of&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now</em>&nbsp;contributor Michigan Radio reports, there are efforts to prevent the language &ndash; Anishinaabemowin &ndash; from going extinct, including an immersion school for young children.</p><p><strong><em><a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/what-some-tribes-michigan-are-doing-stop-their-native-language-going-extinct#stream/0" target="_blank">Read more via Michigan Radio</a></em></strong></p><p><strong><em>&mdash;</em></strong><em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/10/12/michigan-tribes-language"> via Here &amp; Now</a></em></p></p> Mon, 12 Oct 2015 14:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2015-10-12/michigan-tribes-make-efforts-save-native-language-113298 Rare film is glimpse of a distant America http://www.wbez.org/news/rare-film-glimpse-distant-america-113163 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/daughterofdawn.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res442318236" previewtitle="From The Daughter of Dawn"><div><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BIedxxNrLC4?rel=0" width="420"></iframe></p><p>For decades,&nbsp;<em>The Daughter of Dawn</em>&nbsp;was a &quot;lost film&quot; &ndash; a buried American treasure. The 1920 multi-reel, silent movie was rediscovered and restored a few years ago.</p></div></div><p>Only recently has the movie become more widely available. You can watch it on Netflix. You can also see some representative clips and a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Hhb9QXxcCM" target="_blank">travelogue piece</a>&nbsp;on YouTube. And in December the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.okhistory.org/research/daughterofdawn" target="_blank">Oklahoma Historical Society</a>&nbsp;plans to issue DVD and Blu-ray versions.</p><p><em>The Daughter of Dawn</em>&nbsp;is more than just another Friday night flick. It is a cinematic wormhole into America&#39;s past.</p><p>&quot;The rediscovery of&nbsp;<em>The Daughter of Dawn</em>&nbsp;is a great historical find,&quot; Jeffrey M. Moore of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.okpop.org/" target="_blank">Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture</a>&nbsp;tells NPR. &quot;Not only is it significant because so few independent films from the silent era survived but it captures a time period often romanticized in a very real and authentic way. The imagery from American-Indian culture on the southern plains is for the most part presented unfiltered by the non-Indian filmmakers.&quot;</p><p>In the movie, Moore says, &quot;The viewer gets to see Kiowas and Comanches wearing their traditional clothing without the help of Hollywood wardrobe departments. Besides the scenes on horseback and hunting buffalo, there are scenes of traditional dances being performed that would have been forbidden by the federal government if not for the fact that they were part of the film.&quot;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/emSPu6VoJjE?rel=0" width="420"></iframe></p><p>And the background landscape of the Wichita Mountains, he adds, &quot;gives an environmental purity lost when later films portraying Plains tribes would be filmed in locations like Monument Valley.&quot;</p><p>The Oklahoma Historical Society commissioned Comanche composer David A. Yeagley to write a musical score for the film.</p><p><strong>Past Meets Future</strong></p><p><img alt="From The Daughter of Dawn" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/21/image_sq-a9c1da1676db0391b356eebdb26746b26fac6ece-s800-c85.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 320px; width: 320px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="From The Daughter of Dawn (Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society)" /></p><p>The 80-minute movie is a melodramatic tale of love among Native Americans, featuring some 300 Kiowas and Comanches in all sorts of acting roles.</p><p>You can find a few old newspaper ads for showings of the movie, such as a three-night engagement in Joplin, Mo. in the spring of 1921 that included a half-dozen Native American actors appearing in real life.</p><p>The film&#39;s setting &mdash; a lovely and hauntingly unspoiled stretch of landscape &mdash; represents a national geographic crossroads. &quot;Four types of habitat could be found in the Wichita Mountains: rocklands, aquatic, mixed grass prairie, and cross-timbers,&quot; writes Douglas Brinkley in&nbsp;<em>The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.</em>&nbsp;&quot;It was said by western frontiersmen that the ancestral Wichitas &ndash; this series of rock prominences &ndash; was where the East met the West at the vertex of the Great Plains.&quot;</p><p>And&nbsp;<em>The Daughter of Dawn</em>&nbsp;represents a crossroads of perception. Seeing the film, you do get the feeling that the black-and-white, silent movie &ndash; replete with bison herds, village scenes, ritualistic dancing and derring-do &ndash; takes us back to the early 20th century and then catapults us back even farther than that. A time when Hollywoodish sensibilities were just beginning to reshape historical America &mdash; a time when real met reel.</p><p><em>The Library of Congress lists&nbsp;The Daughter of Dawn&nbsp;in the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/" target="_blank">National Film Registry</a>, a collection of culturally valuable movies.</em></p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/npr-history-dept/2015/10/02/442317667/rare-film-is-glimpse-of-a-distant-america?ft=nprml&amp;f=442317667" target="_blank"> via NPR&#39;s History Dept.</a></em></p></p> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rare-film-glimpse-distant-america-113163 Native American elder recalls isolation of early days in the city http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/native-american-elder-recalls-isolation-early-days-city-110193 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/140516%20StoryCorps%20Susan%20Kelly%20Power%20and%20Fr%20Peter%20Powell.JPG" style="height: 525px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="Susan Kelly Power and Father Peter Powell came by Chicago’s StoryCorps Booth to talk about the history of Native Americans in Chicago. (Photo courtesy of StoryCorps)" />In the early 1950s, Chicago was home to less than 1,000 Native Americans. By 1960, that number had grown to 10,000, in large part because of changes to federal policy.</p><p><a href="http://www.pbs.org/indiancountry/history/relocate.html">The Indian Relocation programs of the 1950s</a> enticed many Native Americans to move from reservations to big cities, including Chicago. But many Native people felt isolated in their new surroundings, disconnected from their traditional cultures.</p><p><a href="http://aic-chicago.org/">The American Indian Center</a> was formed in 1953 in Uptown as a sanctuary for Native people. Father Peter Powell and Susan Kelly Power were among the Center&rsquo;s founders. Power, 89, is a Native American who grew up in North and South Dakota and moved here as a teenager.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20065509,00.html">Powell, who is white, has spent his career serving as a priest to the Native American population of Chicago.</a> They stopped in the StoryCorps booth recently to talk about how life has changed for Native American people since the 1950s.</p><p>&ldquo;In the early days of Relocation, it was a deliberate policy of the Indian Bureau to scatter people from the same tribe so they wouldn&rsquo;t get together,&rdquo; Father Powell said. A friend told him how she used to stand next to a poster of the ballerina Maria Tallchief because she was one of the only Native American she knew of in Chicago.</p><p>Native people helped each other adjust to city life, &ldquo;but the loneliness for home never left us,&rdquo; Power said. She made a name for herself recording the traditions of the various cultures.<a href="http://www.newberry.org/center-american-indian-and-indigenous-studies-fellowships"> The Newberry Library has a fellowship named in her honor, for scholars of Native American culture.</a> &ldquo;Everyone has a history and no one&rsquo;s history should be forgotten,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>More than six decades after it opened, the American Indian Center still stands in Chicago&rsquo;s Uptown community at 1630 W. Wilson.</p><p>&ldquo;That first generation [of Native Americans in Chicago] &ndash; so wonderfully traditional &ndash; was the foundation for our community today,&rdquo; Father Powell said. &ldquo;And the heart of that community is the American Indian Center.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;If you&rsquo;re around us long enough, you become part of us and you feel it,&rdquo; Power said. &ldquo;Come up to our center sometime and you&rsquo;ll see. Indians are never nosy about if you&rsquo;re worth knowing, if you&rsquo;ve got a good enough job or a place to live in. Should I take the time to know you?&rdquo;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 16 May 2014 11:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/native-american-elder-recalls-isolation-early-days-city-110193 Contemporary artist Bunky Echo-Hawk blends pop culture and Native American imagery http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/contemporary-artist-bunky-echo-hawk-blends-pop-culture-and-native-american-imagery <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bunky.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Science-fiction icon Yoda wears a feathered headdress, and a traditionally-dressed Native American rides a horse-sized iPhone.</p><p>Contemporary artist Bunky Echo-Hawk combines such pop culture references with Native American imagery to challenge stereotypes and highlight social issues in his community. He is a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and the Yakama Nation of Washington.</p><p>The painter, photographer and writer helped curate a new exhibit at The Field Museum that runs through September 2014.</p><p>&ldquo;Bunky Echo-Hawk: Modern Warrior&rdquo; displays his work alongside several Pawnee artifacts that he helped to pick out of the Field&rsquo;s collection. He selected both decorative items and everyday objects to show how they can inspire people 100 years later. These items include a &ldquo;Ghost Dance&rdquo; dress, a deer-skin drum and a pair of the sneakers he designed for Nike.</p><blockquote><strong>Do you value learning more about Chicago cultural events like this? </strong></blockquote><blockquote><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/donate" target="_blank">Help support WBEZ by making a donation today.</a></strong></blockquote><p>Alaka Wali, the Field Museum&rsquo;s curator of North American Anthropology, co-curated the exhibition with Echo-Hawk.</p><p>&ldquo;Despite (the Native American peoples&rsquo;) severe displacement and the very traumatic experiences that they&rsquo;ve had with Europeans since 1492, why have they been able or how have they been able to be resilient?&rdquo; Dr. Wali asked.&nbsp; &ldquo;To come back and maintain cultural identity despite very severe odds?&rdquo;</p><p>One of the ways Echo-Hawk seeks to keep his culture alive is through live painting, creating a work in front of an audience. He said it&rsquo;s a modern adaptation of a traditional Native American winter pastime, in which an artist recreates an event by drawing on animal hide, and talks with the people gathered around to get enough information to make an &ldquo;honest&rdquo; portrayal.</p><p>Echo-Hawk continued that tradition this past Saturday with a few tweaks:&nbsp; Instead of recreating a &ldquo;buffalo hunt&rdquo; or a &ldquo;great battle,&rdquo; audience members suggested he illustrate a racial stereotype or a historical or current event on canvas.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s an opportunity to kind of bridge the gap between then and now,&rdquo; Bunky Echo-Hawk said. &ldquo;It shows how we once lived and shows how we kind of live now, the things that were changed, the things that were gained and the things that were lost.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/jclee89" target="_blank">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 03 Oct 2013 13:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/contemporary-artist-bunky-echo-hawk-blends-pop-culture-and-native-american-imagery Northwestern to investigate founder’s connection to historic massacre http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-investigate-founder%E2%80%99s-connection-historic-massacre-105689 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F80401078" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/evans%20letter.gif" style="float: left; height: 380px; width: 280px;" title="A letter from Washington in 1865 asked John Evans to resign as governor of Colorado over his role in Sandy Creek. (Colorado State Archives)" />When Gary Alan Fine was named the John Evans Professor of Sociology at Northwestern, he wanted to know more about his title.</p><p>&ldquo;I got on the internet and googled, and within 30 seconds I was shocked,&rdquo; Fine said. He found out Evans was governor of Colorado in 1864, the year of the Sand Creek Massacre.</p><p>Colorado cavalrymen murdered more than 150 civilian Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians in one of the most notorious mass killings in U.S. history.</p><p>&ldquo;Children killed in front of their mothers, women who had their breasts cut off, I mean just a horrific story,&rdquo; Fine said, calling it one of most significant events of genocide in U.S. history.</p><p>Colorado&rsquo;s frontier government was effectively at war with the Cheyenne&rsquo;s and the Arapahoes, but the government had offered up the Sand Creek camp as a refuge for tribal members who were willing not to fight white settlers and railroad men. In other words, the massacre amounted to a bloody attack on a peaceful refugee camp.</p><p>Evans was not present at Sand Creek &ndash; he was out of the state on business &ndash; but as the territorial governor he somehow approved the action. He was removed from his post as governor after <a href="http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/four/sandcrk.htm#smith" target="_blank">Congress caught wind of the events</a>, but he remained president of Northwestern&rsquo;s Board of Trustees for thirty years after the fact.</p><p>The City of Evanston is Evans&rsquo; best-known namesake, and his fortune as a railroad mogul played a major role in Northwestern&rsquo;s early development. Multiple emeritus positions and the school&rsquo;s alumni house all carry Evans&rsquo; name.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why Northwestern Senior Adam Mendel took note when he saw Evans&rsquo; name connected to Sand Creek in readings for a class. After further researching Evans and finding out that he was considered culpable for the massacre, Mendel got together with members of the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance to demand an explanation from the university as to why this part of Evans past was not in the biography of Evans on the university website.</p><p>Mendel said the students wanted &ldquo;recognition of John Evans&rsquo; role in Sand Creek and the way in which his profits from clearing the land of the Native population led to the development of the school.&rdquo;</p><p>They put together a petition that asks for the establishment of a Native American studies program and a scholarship fund for Cheyenne and Arapaho students. The group also wants a permanent memorial built on campus with input from the tribes.</p><p>The university responded in mid-February by announcing a committee of seven scholars to research Evans. The committee plans to release a report in 2014 on Evans&rsquo; connection to the massacre and on links between Evans&rsquo; financial contributions his policies towards Native tribes as governor of Colorado.</p><p>&ldquo;The year 2014 will mark the 150th anniversary of Sand Creek, so it is appropriate to assess how and what we report about John Evans as part of our institutional history, and if and in what way we should continue to recognize his contributions to the University,&rdquo; Provost Daniel Linzer said in a statement. &ldquo;Although Sand Creek occurred 13 years after the establishment of Northwestern, we would like to know in detail the nature of John Evans&rsquo; relationship with the University when he was territorial governor and afterwards.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m ecstatic that the committee is going to be formed,&rdquo; Mendel said.</p><p>He&rsquo;s disappointed that the committee does not include students or any members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, but said it&rsquo;s a great start.</p><p>Fine has high hopes for where the research could take the university.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;What do we owe the Cheyenne and Arapaho, what do we owe native students, what do we owe the students today in terms of remembering our own traumatic history. How do you memorialize trauma?&rdquo; Fine asked.</p><p>He cites the work of Brown University, which formed a committee in 2003 to <a href="http://brown.edu/Research/Slavery_Justice/about/letter.html" target="_blank">address historic links to slavery</a> at the university. In 2007, Brown announced it would give $10 million in an endowment to local public schools as a form of reparations.</p><p>Fine hopes Northwestern will eventually do something similar by helping Native American students get access to higher education. Recent numbers show just seven percent of Native American kindergarteners end up graduating from college.</p><p>Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisPants" target="_blank">Lewis Wallace on Twitter</a>.</p></p> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 14:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/northwestern-investigate-founder%E2%80%99s-connection-historic-massacre-105689 Clever Apes #29: Nature and human nature http://www.wbez.org/blogs/clever-apes/2012-04/clever-apes-29-nature-and-human-nature-97867 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//classroom drawing.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/classroom%20drawing_1.jpg" title="Menominee students integrate natural systems into their language learning. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)"></div><p>First off, this episode is sort of a goodbye. I will be departing my beloved WBEZ shortly to strike out for new adventures. I’ll include my weepy valedictory at the bottom of this post. But the story this week is important, so before your attention wanders …</p><p>As kids, we usually learn about nature from a decidedly human point of view. The world exists in relation to us. People are the stars in this scenario: We are Hamlet, while nature is like Denmark – the place where we happen to be. The conventional wisdom has been that this is a universal way the mind develops its awareness of the natural world.<!--break--></p><p>But an eclectic group of researchers are challenging that. The team is made up of psychologists from Northwestern University, and researchers from the Menominee Reservation and the American Indian Center of Chicago. They started looking carefully at the way Native and non-Native children come to learn about nature. They found some distinctive differences.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/Richard%20falls_0.jpg" style="float: left; margin: 10px; height: 225px; width: 300px;" title="Richard Annamitta is hoping to restore Keshena Falls to the state it was in when his ancestors saw it. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)"></div><p>Namely, Native kids tend not to have that anthropocentric view in the early years. They come to see the biological world in terms of relationships and connections – what psychologists call “systems-level thinking.” Non-Native kids, on the other hand, generally think more in hierarchical categories like taxonomy – kingdom, phylum, species, etc. So the human-centered learning may not be universal after all, but instead flavored by the culture we grow up in.</p><p>This goes deeper than just having different beliefs. The scientists say those distinctive worldviews actually change the way we think, learn and reason. Over the last decade or so, the team has been designing experiments to tease out the ramifications of that change. It has major consequences for education, an<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/Bear%20clan_0.jpg" style="float: left; width: 240px; height: 320px; " title="This Bear Clan figure demonstrates how the Menominee see humans and animals as connected. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)">d might (this is my speculation!) influence our attitudes about the environment.</p><p>So, this will be my final episode of Clever Apes. We are hopeful that it will continue in some form, so you may not have heard the last of WBEZ’s science experiment. Creating this series has been a rare privilege – I have had one of the greatest gigs in media. My deepest gratitude goes to my editor Cate Cahan, whose gusto and keen mind have long inspired me. Michael De Bonis has been a fantastic collaborator, friend and co-conspirator, without whom the Apes would be far less clever. And Sally Eisele has shown great vision (or folly) in supporting this weird project from the get-go.</p><p>Thank you for sticking with us, and of course you can still subscribe to our <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-clever-apes/id379051174" target="_blank" title="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes" target="_blank" title="http://twitter.com/#!/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, and find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412" target="_blank" title="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/Megan%20murals_0.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Megan Bang helped incorporate systems-level thinking into the design of an early education classroom. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)"></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 03 Apr 2012 10:16:50 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/clever-apes/2012-04/clever-apes-29-nature-and-human-nature-97867 Dionysus to Kokopelli: the sacred circle of 'theater in the round' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-03/dionysus-kokopelli-sacred-circle-theater-round-90069 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-04/5282797139_c672fb6cee.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Notwithstanding the 20th Century development of "theater in the round"--which often is in the square or oval--Western culture abandoned the circle as a primary theatrical shape some 2200 years ago, when the rising Roman civilization co-opted&nbsp; the waning Greeks. The most obvious feature of a Greek theater was the perfectly circular space at the very center of things, a space the Greeks called the orchestra, or "dancing place." It had nothing to do with a group of musicians playing instruments (although they were there, too), but with the chorus who sang, chanted and danced.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="375" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-04/5282797139_c672fb6cee.jpg" title="A Greek theater in Apollonia (Flickr/David Stanley)" width="500"></p><p>The Romans eliminated the chorus, and cut the orchestra in half, making it into a semi-circle of largely-decorative function. With the re-discovery of Roman architecture during the Renaissance, and the development of the first indoor theaters, Western Europe took the semi-circle--still called the orchestra--and elongated it into the horseshoe shape of classic theaters of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Today, we use the word orchestra to mean a group of instrumentalists, not dancers. In theater, they sit in the orchestra pit between the stage and most expensive seats on the main floor of the theater, the orchestra seats.</p><p>But the circle remains a seminal performing space in virtually all of the world beyond Broadway, London's West End, the boulevard theaters of Paris and opera houses everywhere.</p><p>Think of a three-ring circus. Think of a circle dance, which might be found anywhere from a hoedown to a tribal warrior dance or fertility rite, to a folk dance such as the hora or tarantella.</p><p>I've been reminded recently of the fundamental importance and power of the circle in connection with performance, as I've hiked and horsebacked through Anasazi ruins in the desert southwest, climbing into kivas and witnessing Native American dancers. The primary shape is the circle. In creating the first purpose-built theater buildings (open air though they were), the Greeks adapted the circle from earlier, more primitive rites going back to the most primordial storytelling and spiritual practices conducted around a fire.</p><p>The dance around the fire, the story told around the fire, the prayer ritual around the fire: religion, music, dance and theater all began together as one thing, as a way to explain that which could not be explained. It's been the same in every culture on earth, living or dead. Only later--much later--did the performing arts become something separate from religious ritual, and far too often a source of suspicion for those calling themselves pious.</p><p>Why a circle around a fire? Think of a primitive, pre-historic community. Fire is good, and probably sacred, because it's an essential of life and of security. Your family, tribe or clan sits around the fire at night not only because it provides light and warmth, but because you can see the faces of people you know and trust. Even more, the circle allows the people opposite you to see anything that might be coming out of the dark at your back, and you serve the same security function for those across from you. The circle--quite literally the ring of fire--becomes the most important symbol of community cohesion and ceremonial activity.</p><p>From the circle around the fire to the orchestra ancient and the orchestra contemporary, may the circle be unbroken. From primitive stories and rites to the stories of the modern stage and rituals associated with it (tearing a ticket, reading a program, the lights going down, the curtain calls), may the circle be unbroken. From Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, music and fertility, to Kokopelli, the flute-playing god common to all southwestern Native American tribes, may the circle be unbroken.</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 17:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-03/dionysus-kokopelli-sacred-circle-theater-round-90069 Revision Street: Vanessa Roanhorse (III) http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-vanessa-roanhorse-iii <p><p style="text-align: center;"><i><img height="600" width="450" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-29/P9120074.jpg" alt="" /><br /></i></p><p style="text-align: left;"><i>If you made any jokes yesterday about Native Americans sitting down to dinner with illegal immigrants over the first Thanksgiving dinner, I hope you&rsquo;ll take the time to read this installment of Vanessa&rsquo;s story. Because it&rsquo;s all well and good to keep the conversation easy and breezy for family, but at the end of the day the reservation system continues to cause real, daily problems for Native people both on and off the rez.</i></p><p>I used to waitress. I&rsquo;ve been working since I was twelve, so I was waitressing at this place called the Navo Nation Inn. I started as a busser and then when I turned thirteen-ish I started waiting. There&rsquo;s no alcohol or anything. It&rsquo;s a dry reservation. I was there and a woman came in with some people. She had decided that she was going to be a teacher&rsquo;s assistant at one of the schools on the Navajo Nation, and I don&rsquo;t remember her name, I don&rsquo;t remember how she came up with the Navajo Nation out of all the places she could have been. But they came in for brunch cause Navo Nation is one of the few places on the rez that has a somewhat real hotel. This is the nice food place. So we struck up a conversation and when I went home, I asked my mom, Hey can I go to boarding school?</p> <p>She didn&rsquo;t take me seriously for a little while. She basically said to me, jokingly, If you can get in and figure out how to pay for it, Go ahead. But I think she really had no belief&mdash;and I didn&rsquo;t have any belief&mdash;that I could do it. But I was like, Fuck it. So I sent them a letter and they called me and I told them I wanted to go there. They gave me all the steps. When I went back to school, I told one of my teachers who really liked me and she helped me get transcripts. I had never heard of a transcript before.</p> <p>I went my sophomore year of high school. I must have been fourteen. I get a letter in the mail saying there&rsquo;s this scholarship, they will pay for your tuition for the next three years, and they&rsquo;ll pay for a couple plane rides home and back. School starts in the fall, please come two weeks earlier so you can get accustomed and dah dah dah...</p> <p>They were all upset&mdash;my grandparents, everybody. Specifically, my twin sister was upset with me &lsquo;cause my mom had just gotten remarried and they had their first baby. We&rsquo;d been living this lifestyle with my mom since my dad left when we were eight, and she felt like I abandoned her. Then my mom felt like she failed as a parent because I had to get away from them. And my stepfather&mdash;he&rsquo;s now my dad, like I love him as my father&mdash;I think he knew why I was going and I think he didn&rsquo;t know how to fix it. Then my grandparents blamed my mother. There wasn&rsquo;t a lot of support for me leaving.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s sort of the double edge sword with growing up Navajo. We&rsquo;re the first people to say go do this, support this, educate yourself, learn, change the world. But don&rsquo;t leave anyone behind, make sure everything is equal. My culture is notoriously very socialist, like it&rsquo;s rude to be overly wealthy, it&rsquo;s almost offensive because someone else isn&rsquo;t as wealthy. You can have things but you have to share. That&rsquo;s how you are wealthy, is how much you share. It&rsquo;s changing, of course, but there&rsquo;s still this deep-seated mentality.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s still something my sister and I combat. We&rsquo;ve been off the reservation for so long&mdash; she ended up, a year later, going to boarding school in California, which was another huge blow to my poor mom&mdash;so it&rsquo;s hard. We both talk about how we feel so disconnected from our people. When I&rsquo;m home, I overextend myself to be as helpful, and available&mdash;to just be there to do whatever anyone needs. Like, I will spend my entire day cleaning my grandmother&rsquo;s house if she lets me, I would spend the entire day driving my mom and dad around if they needed me, whatever they want, I would prostrate myself to it. And part of it is because I feel so disconnected. It&rsquo;s going to be hard to go back.</p> <p>My immediate guilt is that my grandparents are aging and I won&rsquo;t be there to take care of them and I&rsquo;m afraid to miss out. And then the other guilt is, I have two little siblings from my mom&rsquo;s second marriage. My little sister just started college last year, and my little brother will be starting his sophomore year of high school. My little brother totally missed out on me, I have a lot of guilt for that because I couldn&rsquo;t be there for them.</p> <p>Then there&rsquo;s the whole cultural thing. The biggest problem with reservations is that you send out your young, they get educated, and they don&rsquo;t come home. Because why? There&rsquo;s just not any opportunity there. There isn&rsquo;t the lifestyle that they&rsquo;ve grown accustomed to. Sometimes because you return and you&rsquo;re not embraced, you&rsquo;re made fun of. You&rsquo;re separate, you&rsquo;re different, and that&rsquo;s a hard thing to come back to. So I feel a lot like a sell out. I feel like I totally sold out my people. You know, I can&rsquo;t speak my language.</p></p> Fri, 26 Nov 2010 20:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/anne-elizabeth-moore/revision-street-vanessa-roanhorse-iii