Articles/Information, Movements and Organizations, Personal Experiences

Dr. Darren Ranco on Climate Change.

This week I met with Dr. Darren Ranco of the University of Maine to talk about Climate Change and the People’s Climate March and its effects for indigenous people on a global scale. Check it out below!

The following is the transcript of the audio file:

DARREN RANCO ON CLIMATE CHANGE

FOR CENTURIES NATIVE AMERICANS HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR APPRECIATION AND CONSERVATION OF THE EARTH AS WELL AS ITS RESOURCES.

IN THE MORE RECENT FIFTY YEARS, MANY PROTESTS INVOLVING LAND AND RESOURCE ABUSE HAS TAKEN THE FOREFRONT IN MANY INDIGENOUS DEBATES REGARDING A SENSE OF COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY.

JUST IN SEPTEMBER INDIGENOUS PEOPLE FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE WERE LEADING ACTIVISTS IN THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH HELD IN NEW YORK CITY. THE MARCH WAS DESIGNED TO SHOW THE WORLD WIDE CONCERN OF MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN LIGHT OF THE UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT.

DARREN RANCO, A MEMBER OF THE PENOBSCOT NATION, CHAIR OF NATIVE AMERICAN PROGRAMS AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE WEIGHS IN…

(SOT) RANCO: A LOT OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S PHILOSOPHIES THAT ARE ABOUT SELF DETERMINATION AND SOVEREIGNTY FROM A CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE THAT TEACHES, NOT RIGHTS BUT RESPONSIBILITIES TO YOURSELF, YOUR ENVIRONMENT, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR CLAN, YOUR COMMUNITY. AND I THINK THAT, THAT APPROACH IS A GREAT ARTICULATION. THAT’S WHY YOU SAW SO MANY PEOPLE THERE, PEOPLE WHO ARE, NOT TYPICAL COMMUNITY MEMBERS BUT PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY REPRESENTING THE CUTTING EDGE OF THE ACTIVISTS THAT ARE OUT THERE WORKING ON CLIMATE ISSUES AND CLIMATE JUSTICE IN PARTICULAR.

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO SET A STANDARD FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD IN THEIR POLICY-MAKING AND DESIRE FOR A MORE TRADITIONAL APPROACH.

(SOT) RANCO: INDIGENOUS PEOPLE MORE SO THAN OTHERS WHO ARE CAUGHT UP IN THE POLITICS AND CITIZENSHIP OF A LOT OF SETTLER NATION-STATES, A LOT OF COLONIAL/NEOCOLONIAL STATES THAT BY BEING COMMITTED TO PLACE AND YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PLACES, PUTS INDIGENOUS PEOPLE REALLY AT THE CENTER OF PROTECTING THE EARTH. BECAUSE IF YOU’RE COMMITTED TO AND YOUR IDENTITY IS DETERMINED BY A PLACE, A REALLY SPECIFIC PLACE IN THE WORLD, I THINK THAT SENSE OF PROTECTION AND RESPONSIBILITY TO THAT PLACE IS WHAT WOULD REALLY DEFINE A MOVEMENT.

RANCO ALSO BELIEVES THAT THE FUTURE OF THE CLIMATE CHANGE MOVEMENT IS DEFINED AS A RE-COMMITMENT TO PLURALISTIC AND SELF-DETERMINED POLITICS. HE SAYS, THERE NEEDS TO BE ACTION.

(SOT) RANCO: JUST VOTING IS PROBABLY NEVER GOING TO BE ENOUGH.

RANCO ALSO ADDED THAT STUDENTS AND YOUTH MUST TAKE THE INITIATIVE BY CONNECTING THEMSELVES TO THEIR COMMUNITY. RANCO ADVISES THAT YOUTH SHOULD BECOME AWARE OF THEIR FOOD SOURCES, AND WASTE ISSUES TO BETTER UNDERSTAND SUSTAINABILITY.

(SOT) RANCO: BASIC THINGS OF LIFE, IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE YOUR FOOD IS COMING FROM OR WHEN YOU THROW SOMETHING AWAY AND WHERE THAT’S GOING, YOU’RE REALLY DISCONNECTED FROM THE WORLD AROUND YOU.

RANCO FEELS THAT MAINTAINING YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORLD AND CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE THROUGH SOCIAL NETWORKS ABOUT EACH OTHER’S ENVIRONMENT IS INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT

(SOT) RANCO: IF YOU THINK THAT EDUCATION IS NOT JUST A BUNCH OF FACTS BUT ACTUALLY A SERIES OF RELATIONSHIPS, WHICH I ACTUALLY DO, THEN I THINK YOUR COMMITMENT TO THESE RELATIONSHIPS IN TERMS OF YOUR EDUCATION WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO SUSTAINABILITY.

TO LEARN MORE, DR. DARREN RANCO IS SCHEDULED TO TEACH A COURSE DURING THE 2015 SPRING SEMESTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MAINE TITLED AMERICAN INDIANS AND CLIMATE CHANGE. THE COURSE WILL DISCUSS THE LIFECYCLE, SUSTAINABILITY AND COMPARE TRADITIONAL ECOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE WITH WESTERN SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE WHILE EXPLORING THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF EACH SYSTEM.

I AM CHARLOTTE ROE, AND THIS IS NDN IMPACT.

Article Responses, Articles/Information, Sports and Entertainment

Frank Waln is doing it big!

Frank Waln
Frank Waln (Twitter)

Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota, is the new up and coming native hip-hop artist and rapper who has been featured in the Chicago Tribune today.

Waln is 24 and attending his final year at Columbia College Chicago. Like many Native youth who struggle on and off the reservation rap and hip-hop is easily something to relate to. The way Waln has now impacted the music scene is through his incredible verses.

Listening to his music (often when I write or study), always gets me thinking on how to be better and improve my life as well as others around me through my culture. Seeing another young native peer using words and other talents to inspire the masses to speak out against American oppression is so amazing and leaves me with a huge smile on my face.

I hope to be able to get him up to the University of Maine for a performance in the near future. For those who have never heard of him or his music I recommend listening to his Sound Cloud here (my recent favorite is “White War”) and to check out the great article from the Tribune. You can also Waln on twitter, @FrankWaln.

Keep doing great things, Frank!

Articles/Information, Personal Experiences, Sports and Entertainment

“Spam Rants” – A play of Native proportions.

Last week's program and flyer for "Spam Rants" by William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.
Last week’s program and flyer for “Spam Rants” by William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.

Thursday night I attended a showing of William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.’s play, “Spam Rants: How to Recover Your Files and Other Things You Value.” Having previously met and conversed with Mr. Yellow Robe, Jr. I was eager to see him and his creativity at work.

Yellow Robe, Jr., from my interactions, is a very respectful, intelligent, and fun elder. He’s the type of elder who can size you up within minutes of first meeting you and then teaches and tests you based on his quick (and accurate) observations. These characters are shown within his work and analysis on Native culture and people today.

“Spam Rants” is a compilation of short scenes and experiences. The scenes represent an array of Native struggles, misunderstandings and oppression. This includes the environment, politics, elder-to-youth interactions, education, health, religion, and racism. Yellow Robe, Jr. breaks down the meaning of “Spam Rants” as a metaphor for a mess of thoughts and issues as a reflective element of today’s society.

Much of today’s Native youth dismiss elder teachings as crazy talk from the past and has no relevance to life today. Yellow Robe Jr. recreates it in a scene between an uncle and his nephew. The nephew just bought a new rifle and had been bragging about its accuracy and power. The nephew reveled in his description of the death of a deer from a mere grazing of a bullet. In response the uncle described his time hunting with relatives. In the old days and traditions they would share one rifle, and respected the animal, they didn’t “treat hunting like a game.”

An interaction between elders and youth, especially Native males such as this is an example of society’s impact. The “new” Western culture has taught Native males that they need to be focused on material things and getting ahead, instead of showing respect and care to their surroundings the way they traditionally were. The western population has a colonial way of thinking, the idea that old things or old ways should be thrown away for their lack of current relevance regardless of its importance or accuracy in its end result.

Yellow Robe Jr. presents these scenes and concepts gracefully. Graceful in the way that he uses some comic relief so that it is not harsh or offensive and yet still shows understanding and respect for the races and cultures involved. He also doesn’t diminish the impact of the ‘settlization’ that occurred and continues in the Americas and brings plenty of focus to the change that needs to occur in the current thought process of the population.

While the show allowed an entertaining look into Native struggles and mistaken identity, the post show was what I found the most beneficial. It included an analysis of the work as well as any questions from the audience on the subjects, actors, and the writing process of the play. The dialogue that Mr. Yellow Robe, Jr. wishes to create from his works is clearly successful in the mere 20 minutes dedicated to the post show.  Yellow Robe Jr. hopes this dialogue will help continue and examine the movement of ‘decolonization’ as well as invoke action to change the mindset and teachings for the population in the Americas.

The play was held at the University of Maine, was free, and open to the public. For those that are near the area or hear of any of Mr. Yellow Robe, Jr.’s productions I definitely recommend attending. His work speaks truthfully on the many issues within the Native community and is incredibly thought provoking. If you get the opportunity to discuss or see any of his work you will absolutely leave with more than you arrived with.