Thursday, June 26, 2008

My First and Forever Fan

Heather's copy just arrived!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My New Grandkitty!

Heather's new kitty, a tiger named Ernie in honor of her first kitty, Bert. Not sure how Figaro is accepting the little intruder - it takes her a while to accept Gramma when she visits. But Ernie's permanent and she'll just have to deal.

The Patriots Who Killed Custer

As someone who attends Powwows frequently and always tears up at the Grand Entry and the Honoring of the Veterans Dance, I was happy to see this article. There are many lessons to be learn from our indigenous peoples. History sometimes teaches "us vs them" - which is rarely the case. We've also learned that our government is not always right and wise in its decisions -and it started many years ago. Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but doing what is right never needs hindsight.
From the Los Angeles Times:

The patriots who killed Custer
Indians fought against the U.S., but they also show great loyalty to the nation.
By Michael A. Elliott
June 25, 2008

Today marks the anniversary of an iconic moment of American history: Custer's Last Stand, the culmination of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer's disastrous attack on a coalition of Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians camped on the Little Bighorn River. Nearly every American knows the image: On a dusty, bloody hill, Custer and the final survivors of his battalion fight to the last against merciless hordes of Indians who press closer at every moment.What few Americans know is that the command of about 600 men Custer led into battle in 1876 included about 35 American Indians, mostly Arikaras but also six Crow and a few Santee Sioux. Some of the Indian scouts would die alongside the 7th Cavalry at Little Bighorn. Others would ride away as the fighting began and spend the rest of their lives recounting what little they saw of the battle. What almost no one knows is that men from the same tribes that fought against Custer would, one year later, be riding alongside the U.S. Army as scouts in the campaign against the Nez Perce -- or that the Indian scouts who served the Army in the 19th century became one of the precursors to the Army Special Forces, also known as Green Berets.This history means that patriotism is rarely simple in the Indian country of the American Plains. American Indian communities have some of the highest rates of enlistment in the U.S. military, yet their leaders also defend the principle of tribal sovereignty -- which holds that the tribes should enjoy political and economic autonomy. So at the same time that they are sending men and women to fight on behalf of the United States, many American Indian communities continue to claim their independence from it. At the site of the Little Bighorn battle in Montana, this contradiction becomes manifest on the anniversary of the battle. Indians from across the northern Plains come to celebrate the history of resistance to the United States, but they include color guards of Native American veterans, often in their service uniforms, carrying American flags.In this, America's season of intense patriotic display, those of us who are not Indians may be able to learn a few things about patriotism from the Little Bighorn celebration. The first is that American patriotism is not something that you simply have or do not. What that flag means to you will depend heavily on how you regard the history behind it. Consider this: The Lakota Sioux offered some of the most fierce resistance to the United States in the 1860s and 1870s, but in the decades that followed, Lakota artists regularly incorporated the design of the U.S. flag into their beadwork, painting and weaving. What those stars and stripes meant to the Lakota artists could vary widely: In their hands, the U.S. flag could be a gesture of their new allegiance, a plea for justice from the U.S., a symbol of the nation for which their young men were now fighting or simply a decorative motif they knew to be popular with collectors. It might have been all of these things at the same time.The other insight is that genuine patriotism can still take place amid divided loyalties. Americans are capable of more nuanced thinking about what it means to be an American than we usually give ourselves credit for. Non-Indians who attend celebrations like the Little Bighorn anniversary are often surprised by the exhibitions of U.S. patriotism. But for more than a century, American Indians on the Plains have understood that their love of country can contain both their struggles to achieve tribal autonomy and their deeply felt attachments to the United States. That is the kind of patriotism that was born at the Little Bighorn battlefield, and the kind that American Indian soldiers now take with them to Afghanistan and Iraq. It is the kind of patriotism that is too big to fit on a lapel pin.

Michael A. Elliott is the author of "Custerology: The Enduring Legacy of the Indian Wars and George Armstrong Custer."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nature... wherever you can get it...

I'm staying at a Comfort Inn in western PA - visiting two of our facilities.

I asked for a room "on the first floor and in the back" - because I can see a meadow from those rooms. Last night I watched a groundhog eat his clover-flower supper. (I'm now waiting for him to show up again).

Earlier this evening, I sat in a chair, with the drapes open, my legs up on the bed and read - every so often looking up to see birds and butterflies.

There's a fireworks warehouse next door. But my window looks out onto a meadow. I'll take nature wherever/whenever I can get it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I'm back and with some BSP:

BSP= Blatant Self Promotion:

I've been working on several writing projects and just returned from a mystery writers conference in NJ: Deadly Ink. I'd entered their short story contest and received an honorable mention and publication in their 2008 Anthology.