Posts

Who am I and Why am I Writing This?

Image
There's an About page and it's linked in at least one other post, so I am keeping it available. I think you should read it before reading the rest of this post, but it's pretty thin. So as I start my third or fourth attempt at this blog, I am not putting the About page in some kind of menu bar or something. Instead, I am writing this piece and "pinning" it to the landing page as a Featured Post. My name is Doreen Traylor . I was born in Columbus, Georgia to a decorated veteran father of Irish, Cherokee and probably French heritage and a German immigrant mother. I have an older sister and an older brother, both born in Germany. As noted in the brief About page, my father died while I was homeless. Also while I was homeless, I learned this song with it's unusual and remarkable attitude towards consent and female sexuality wasn't a product of the Hippie Era per se, like I thought it was. No, it was the product of an entirely Native band. Those

Blood Quantum

Natives generally seem to hate the concept of blood quantum. I have heard it is a construct imposed on Natives by the White government and it's a fundamentally hostile policy. Someone once said something about how blood quantum treats Natives like dogs, basically -- like you can breed it out of them. And I thought that was insightful. A Native lawyer on twitter has talked some about sovereignty and that's helped me understand a few things. We treat Natives like "You are only Native if you have enough bloodline from a particular breed" but we treat Germans or Americans or Brits like "You are fully that nationality because you are a citizen of that nation." We act like you can be part Native but you aren't viewed as part German or whatever in the same way. If you say you are part German, you mean ethnically and not citizenship-wise, the way I am part German because my mother is a German immigrant to the US but if I were a German citizen I would

One Night in a Cave

I spent a few years homeless with my two adult special-needs sons. We got evicted from our apartment in Georgia and left out on foot for the West Coast. We headed for Port Aransas to be somewhere warm for the worst part of winter. We stayed there a month and then continued on westward. While walking through New Mexico, a Navajo man picked us up. We rode with him for something like three hours I think, so a good bit of conversation happened. One of the things he said was "I would camp up against the bluffs. It will be warm there." I didn't immediately need that advice but it may have saved our lives a few days later in Arizona. Arizona was a pretty negative experience. There are parts of the state where you can't get anywhere except via Interstate and it's not legal to walk on the Interstate. Some law enforcement officer gave us a ride to a homeless shelter in another town which helped us escape this dead-end trap. He did so because a snow storm was com

A Clip from a Movie Called Woman Walks Ahead

Image
Woman Walks Ahead Sitting Bull the Painter I haven't seen this movie. I've just seen a couple of clips on YouTube. This is the second one. I kept the embed code from the first but was hesitant to use it as the basis for a post on this site because it shows Catherine Weldon being assaulted by racists over her association with Sitting Bull. Does that still happen in the world? I suppose it probably still does but it came as a shock to me to see it in the clip. I felt shocked and it made me wonder why that was so shocking. And I realized that although the world sees me as a White woman and I have had relationships with men of various ethnicities, I did so under circumstances where we didn't appear in public, most of my relatives didn't know about the relationships, etc. These were very private relationships and I never was exposed to what random strangers might think of them. I wasn't "hiding' anything. I was just being discreet. I was going

The Feathered Headdress

I have tended to err on the side of not linking to specific tweets on this blog. I do that so as to protect the privacy of Natives and to protect myself from being attacked, but I really want to quote this thread (I'm actually quoting two tweets) and I feel I need to cite the source (and I also don't think this is overly personal, so I am hoping it won't be seen as invasive), so I am linking to it this time though I am not going to embed it. (First tweet:) They select their leaders based on popularity. We chose our chiefs according to how many feathers they earned in service to the oyate (people.) (Second tweet:) Feathers were awarded for gallantry in battle. Or some other act of altruism that benefited the collective good of the oyate (people.) I always thought -- and probably a lot of people think -- that it ran the other way. I thought if you were chief, they gave you a big headdress to indicate your position of power. That's basically how White heirarchi

White Gaze in Public Media

I've been seeing the term "White Gaze" used by Natives who talk about how Whites do things like use photos of Natives in headdress in articles where that's not really relevant. And then they talk about how and why that offends them. I'm trying to understand what is going on there. Why does the media do that? I'm a freelance writer and I run a much-neglected little site called Titles R Hard . The thing about titles is that you are trying to signal the most important details about a piece, sometimes without giving away too much information and thereby ruining your "punch line" so to speak. How hard this is depends on what you are trying to convey and how important it is to preserve the surprise factor. For news pieces and other straight up factual things, your title can just be the shortest possible way of effectively making the main point. (Even with that, it's still challenging.) I always wanted to be a writer. In ninth grade, I took a cla

Nations

I've only read about the first ten pages of Decolonization is not a methaphor . Someone on Twitter shared it with me at some point to support my interest in better understanding some things. If I recall correctly, it's something like forty pages and I can't say I remember what I read all that well. I wrote some stupid thing about it at the time and I've redacted that. I spent part of "today" (tehcnically yesterday because I'm writing this after midnight) going through tweets by Natives. I am reluctant to link to them for various reasons. But I feel like something sunk in: That Indigenous peoples are "nations." And I am feeling really stupid now or really brainwashed my entire life. In other words, saying "The Cherokee Nation" is like saying "The French Nation." Or, more simply, saying "Cherokee" is similar to saying "French." And it's all kinds of messed up that this is so hard to grasp. Th

Alaska

I've taken an interest in the state of Alaska. That maybe sounds like it's a new interest. It's not. It began a few years ago. According to Alaska Native Peoples , Alaska has the highest state and city native populations in the US: According to the 2014 Census update, 18% of Alaska’s general population is American Indian or Alaska Native – the highest rate for this racial group of any state. Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, has the greatest proportion of Native peoples among places with over 100,000 residents, at 12%. Alaska has really bad stats on violence against women. Most years, Alaska has the worst rate of homocide for women on a per capita basis. The rate of rape cited in various articles suggests it is anywhere from 2.5 to 4 times the national average. Yesterday, I got into a discussion on Reddit about sexual assualt in the Alaskan bush. As is typical, my remarks weren't exactly warmly received. I left my final reply maybe and hour ago and came here t