Monday, July 30, 2007

What year is it again?

Congress has finally decided protecting the rights of Indian women is a good 21st Century action to show solidarity with the 1st Nation people's since we are in it's 400th year of creation (well, it's really Virginia but you know what I mean). Now Indian women get to be made a little more visible and hopefully their voice will begin to be heard throughout the U.S. so all you people who think the 400th anniversary of Jamestown should be "celebrated" can get a clue.

The measure follows an April report by London-based Amnesty International on high rates of sexual crimes committed against Native women, with a large portion committed by non-Native men. An Indian woman is at least two and a half times more likely than other U.S. women to be raped.
Think about it for a minute: 1 white woman is thought to be raped every 7min or so and Indian women are thought to be raped 2.5 times that. Wow. It makes me wonder if those mostly white guys who are committing this atrocity are under the same impression Thomas Jefferson was, you know, where he told his fellow white men to have plenty of procreative sex with their negro women because they will have children, those children will have children, etc., and eventually everyone will be white in the world. Nice eh?

Aye. It's great fun being a woman in a world full of men who think they are entitled to me and/or my body simply because I'm a woman.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Virginian's be aware

Did you know there are 8 Native American (or as I like to say, indigenous) tribes here in Virginia? Can you name them all? I could only name 5 a few days ago but now, thanks to google, I can name all 8:

1. Rappahannock - not recognized federally
2. Pamunkey
3. Mattaponi - pronounced mat-ta-poe-nigh
4. Upper Mattaponi - not recognized federally
5. Chickahominy - not recognized federally
6. Eastern Chickahominy - not recognized federally
7. Nansemond - not recognized federally
8. Monacan - not recognized federally

For those unfamiliar with Virginia and its geography, each of these tribes are within 4 hours of each other and the Monacan's have what I believe to be the only Episcopal Church Mission on the reservation. They are located in the more mountainous regions of Virginia but not actually in them if that helps any. There were more at one point but our governments' have succeeded in helping them disappear over the many decades of mistreatment and ignorance.

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A new study produced by the Sentencing Project in Washington, DC came out with the following results:

Blacks in the United States are imprisoned at more than five times the rate of whites, and Hispanics are locked up at nearly double the white rate, according to a study released Wednesday by a criminal justice policy group.
Now see why the title of this post is a very simple, "Duh"?

What I would like to know is why Native Americans, or 1st Nation peoples, aren't on this study. Oh that's right, because people think they exist only on reservations and spend their free time drinking. Whew, these stereotypes are just flyin' off the shelf today.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A little less veraciousness please

Dooley was placed over the Rainbow Bridge 2 weeks ago this Friday and I haven't felt like doing much sense.

But before that, my neighbor's husband, M., lent me, The World According to Garp by John S. Irving. M's words to me when it was placed in my hands were, "I think this is the most feminist of his books and possibly any male writer ever."

The dad, T.S. Garp, is conceived in a most unconventional way in a time when single-moms were heavily frowned upon. Garp never knew his father or how he came to be born until his mother's book was published when he was a young adult. Garp was very cocky and self-assured throughout his entire life, pissing people off with relative ease along the way. He was a writer and his eventual wife, Helen, was an English Professor. The book just goes around and around, with a 3rd voice interjecting pieces of the story, so you'll just have to read for yourself to know this book is a good one. It's hard to summarize because it's narrated, then 1st person, then narrated again, then 2nd's a little crazy but all comes together in the end.

I really did like it though it was different in writing style and over all combination. The writing was superb and I'm all for a book where the writing is not only good, but the story as well. Descriptive writing, one that gets you to see what is being said, playing a movie inside your head, is best. Telling you what is going on just doesn't bode well for a book in my estimation because it doesn't lend credence to the author as a writer so much as a good story teller (case in point, The da Vinci Code).

Which brings me to the 2nd book I couldn't put down, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner. While it was a great story about 2 Afghan women and the tribulations of their life during the Russian invasion (then occupation), the rise of the Taliban and then finally, the US invasion accompanied with a slow rebuilding of Kabul and the surrounding areas, I think it was an even greater achievement because it was a story based on a woman's experiences but written by a man. I know we shouldn't give male authors props as they should be doing this sort of thing regardless of gender, but let us be realistic in the acknowledgement that society sets men and women apart from each other constantly and consistently, more so in other countries than in the U.S. Much of the 1st half of the book is setting the stage for the remainder of the story, causing some critics to state it's "hard to get through." But when you finish the last page, thus closing the book in careful thought, you realize each word was necessary. Well, almost each one.

Here is a book I wish used more descriptive language and flushed out pieces regarding thoughts/feelings of each character or using more than just simple color names (i.e. She put on a yellow and green scarf loosely....) or simple language in general to describe the area they lived. It wasn't until Laila, one of the main characters, went back to where Miriam lived almost a year after her death that we got to fully see the 1 room hut Miriam lived her first 15 years of life in.

But who knows, the book was long enough already so I'm sure it was twice as long before editors got a hold of the manuscript. I still highly recommend this book to everyone who is willing to read it, just as I highly recommend The Kite Runner as well. The fact that the story is based in Afghanistan should be even more of a push for people as it gives us Americans a taste of culture outside our own and hopefully a look into what it's like having the country you love to be torn apart by war for nearly 40 years and heavily destroyed in the process.

And on to the 3rd book that has since caught my attention to the point of not wanting to do anything else but read it: The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards. This is a story set in Kentucky in the year 1964 when one winter night, 2 babies were born, twins; the boy was born *normal* and the girl was born with Down's Syndrome. The father, who delivered the babies in his partner's office (he's a orthopedic surgeon, his partner an OB/GYN) when they couldn't reach the hospital in time. The father, instantly recognizing the facial signs of Downs, tells the nurse who attended the births of the twins to take Phoebe away to an institution and when his wife asks about the 2nd child later, he informs her Phoebe had died during birth.

The nurse decides, after visiting said institution and seeing how the children/adults are handled there, to keep Phoebe for herself and raising her with love. She sells everything and moves to Ohio, far away from Kentucky and someone with the capability of finding her.

It's a really well written story that's captivating in its simplistic plotline because a dad, without a moment’s hesitation, opted to send his newborn daughter to an institution in order to save his wife the pain of losing their daughter later in life. Though he quickly finds out grief follows his wife no matter what because she thinks Phoebe was lost in childbirth. In flashbacks, we get to see how the father suffered after the loss of his sister, June, by what appears to be the same chromosomal disorder.

So yeah, a little less veraciousness please. (Especially since I have yet to finish the toe socks that needed to be done 2 Sunday's ago.)

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