Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"The Synchronicity of Old Connections" Quote from Chris Corrigan's Blog

I am always reading other people's blogs. Can't help myself. Especially, since I am always reading about quantum physics and string theory. (My kids find this all fascinating, as well.) I enjoy finding out that there are other souls out there who enjoy the same things. I came across Chris Corrigan's blog during my search today and liked what he had to say. This quote is from the report Dialogues Between Western and Indigenous Scientists by Dan Moonhawk Alford. It's all about time, space, and language! So here it is:

1. Everything that exists vibrates

    This point of agreement is important because it moves beyond our usual ‘thingy’ or particle notion of existence based on raw sensory impressions, which is favored in the indo-european language family, and allows a justification on the part of Native Americans for the existence of spirits.

2. Everything is in flux

    (Sa’ke’j:) The only constant is change–constant change, transformations; everything naturally friendly, trying to reach a more stable state instead of bullying each other around. That kind of process the English language doesn’t allow you to talk about too much, but most Native American languages are based on capturing the motions of nature, the rhythms, the vibrations, the relationships, that you can form with all these elements, just like a periodic table in a different way: relationships rather than a game of billiards, where you only count the ones that go in–all of their motion doesn’t count.

3. The Part Enfolds the Whole:
(not just whole is more than the sum of its parts)

    (Sa’ke’j:) When we wear leathers and beads and eagle thongs and things like that, it’s not seen as totally ludicrous, as decoration - it’s seen as containing something you want to have a relationship with.

4. There is an implicate order to the universe

    (Sa’ke’j:) This implicate order holds everything together whether we want it to or not, and exists independently of our beliefs, our perceptions, or our linguistic categories. It exists totally independently of the methods or rules that people use to arrive at what it is, and David Bohm’s captured that with the great phrase the implicate order, versus the explicate order of things that they can explain quite concretely, such as a rock falling out of a window. This also agrees with the lakhota phrase ’skan skan,’ which points to the motion behind the motion.

5. This ecosphere is basically friendly

    Sa’ke’j maintains that the planet, and especially the Americas as well as the physical universe, are basically gentle and friendly: You don’t have an electron jumping and bullying into other(s) unless it knows it’s missing a stable state and knows it can reach that stable state and increase its own stability.

6. Nature can be taught new tricks

    (Sa’ke’j:) We also agreed that that world out there that exists–that reality, not imaginality–can be taught new tricks with the cyclotron; and what was raised in the meeting was, are these new tricks beneficial, or will they create a hostile universe on their own, independent of scientists, once they teach electrons how to jump and how to amass the energy to jump, and it becomes a bullying, hostile biological world.Reminds me of Alan Watts talking about how the universe has had to learn how to get ever smaller and ever larger as we probe it with microscopes and telescopes, receding ever further in the distance as self observes itself.

7. Quantum Potential and Spirit

    After listening to the physicists and American Indians talk for a few days, it struck me that the way physicists use the term potential, or quantum potential, is nearly identical to the way Native Americans use the term spirit. They all agreed there was something similar going on.

8. The principle of complementarity

    Physicists for all this century have realized that our usual notion of bipolar or black & white opposites was insufficient when working with nature. The first clue came when they asked incoming light, ‘Are you particle?’ and it answered Yes; ‘Are you wave?’ and it answered Yes. This is equivalent to asking whether something is a noun or a verb and getting a yes answer to both–which is exactly how Native American language nouns are made up: as verbs with suffixes that make them temporarily into nouns for discussion sake. this yes-yes complementarity is foreign to Indo-European languages, but quite common in other language families (such as the Chinese notion of Yin-Yang), and represents a higher level of formal operations, in Piaget’s terms, referred to by some as post-formal operations–that which lies beyond normal Western Indo-European development.

Monday, September 08, 2008

What is Home? And, Why Are There So Many Homeless People?

"I should not be alive!" proclaimed the woman sitting next to me on the steps of the Family Shelter the other day. I had just gotten my children on the school bus that picks them up each morning when this woman came outside to smoke a cigarette. She seemed distressed and wanted to talk, even though we were strangers, so I sat down with her to listen to what she had to say.

"There are many times, I should have died from being beaten up, car accidents, or o.d.ing, but for whatever reason God keeps me alive!" She said between puffs.

"I'm here now because my fiance tried to kill me last night! I had to run to my neighbor's apartment next door to call the police. This is the second time he's done this but this time, I'm not going back."

As she continued talking about her life, I listened in the way I usually do to everyone, detached and non-judging. I always like to hear everything before I make any comments or suggestions. Sometimes, I can tell that people only need to talk things out before deciding to take action on their challenges. Even without any advice from me.

As she sat there with tears in her eyes, she asked the question that I have been wondering about for the past several weeks, "Why are there so many homeless people in this country?"

It's a question that needs to be addressed because it is not restricted to just the transient, often romanticized, hobo subculture, or the bum off the street stereotype. Homelessness affects many, many people of all backgrounds, nationalities, and beliefs.

Women and children, and the elderly, are particularly affected. I don’t know the statistics but I know that my family is just one such statistic. I took a survey recently given by the shelter staff and I was asked why I sought out services from the Family Shelter. I told them that in order to be eligible for all social services, I had to become certifiably homeless. When I was working full-time, making a decent salary, and living in an apartment. I still was not earning enough money to support my family. So, I sought out assistance for us, but I was told that I made too much money to qualify. It was a real dilemma. What was I supposed to do?

And, what does this mean for the United States, supposedly the most powerful country in the world, when there are many hard working people forced on the streets for various reasons, not just the stereotypical ones.

I have been listening to other women here talk about their lives. Women of all colors, ages, and creeds. They cry sometimes and, sometimes...I cry with them.

The Creator has placed me here at this particular time and place for a reason, I realized. If for anything to help me to understand what is happening on all levels with the people around me. I need to experience what this is so that I can be of better service to the people, especially to the children.

It's the children who suffer the most because they need to eat and feel secure, like they have a home.

One day I saw a former colleague in the cafeteria. I tried to tell her about everything that was happening in my life but she turned away and had this funny look in her eye. Then she told me that she would keep this in confidence and would not tell anyone that she saw me in the Family Shelter.

I couldn't help it, I had to laugh. I told her, "You don't have to do that! Everyone knows that I am here! It's no big secret!" (I mean I’m blogging about it for heaven’s sake at this very moment.)

Well, one thing this incident showed me is that there is a stigma attached to being homeless. There is a cloak of shame around the entire subject. Why is it such a taboo subject?

I ponder such things! And then, as a Native woman, I look at it and think that Native people never thought of themselves as homeless! We often packed up and moved the location of our homes because of the need to do so. We were geniuses at mobility.

The women in my tribe owned the homes. We were quite resourceful and always found ways to make things work. Just as I am doing now.

I have never desired to own a home, at least not in the contemporary fashion, but rather I have desired to have a home built that is respectful of our natural surroundings. A home that would be much like what our ancestors lived in, only with a modern twist so to speak. I am determined to make this happen. My dream home.

This dream came about because of a question posed by Daniel Wildcat in an interview that I read in the Winds of Change Magazine in 2005.

Wildcat had this to say: The problem we face today is that the measure of technological progress is often thought of as the extent to which humankind can control and mitigate the so-called forces of nature. I find it hard to imagine a more problematic and dangerous idea. Why not figure out a way to live with nature?

Well, why not? Native people have done so for thousands of years. What is to stop us now from continuing our methods in this so-called modern society? Wouldn’t it be in our best interests to do so? Economically, environmentally, and spiritually?

And, this whole topic begs the question what is home? My friend Christopher Cartmill has been based three of his plays, the Homeland Trilogy, on this very question. He’s very passionate about this concept of what is home and wrote about it from many perspectives.

It 's two blocks from the bus stop to the shelter and takes about five minutes at the most. Last week, while walking the two blocks with two other women. One said conversationally, "I never ever imagined myself walking this f-----g strip in my life!" We all looked at each other and laughed, then the other replied, "None of us did! But here we are!"

Yes, we are here from all walks of life.

We will be getting a house soon. My children and I. A place that we will call home for a time here in Lincoln, Nebraska but I already know that it won't be our last home.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Steve Blake Making his Journey Home...

Steve Blake, 51, artist and advocate for American Indians

Blake created the American Indian Movement logo as a teenager and spent his adult life working for justice, as well as practicing and teaching about his native culture.

By BEN COHEN, Star Tribune

When Steve Blake of Minneapolis was a boy, the artist and future chairman of the Twin Cities chapter of the American Indian Movement would sketch the whirl of activity around the Wounded Knee conflict of the early 1970s.

Blake, who as a teenager designed the American Indian Movement, or AIM, logo widely recognized as the symbol of the movement, died of lung ailments on Wednesday in Minneapolis. He was 51.

Blake, whose father, Francis Blake II, helped establish the AIM, became a teacher in his Ojibwe culture, fluent in the language and a force for justice in Minnesota, said his family and friends.

His mother, Norby Blake of St. Paul, recalled that he sketched the activities of the early AIM leaders in the late 1960s and early 1970s. "He was a curious and very active young man," she said.

He was a graduate of Heart of the Earth School and South High School in Minneapolis.

As a member of the Minneapolis Police Community Relations Council, he worked to ensure that people receive fair treatment when dealing with the police. Clyde Bellecourt, American Indian activist and co-chairman of the Police Community Relations Council, said Blake had been reviving the AIM street patrols he helped establish in the 1980s.

"If someone needed help day or night, he would respond," Bellecourt said. "If it was Red Lake or anywhere, he would go."

In recent years, Blake helped establish AIM chapters at St. Cloud State University, in Red Lake, Minn., and in Fargo, N.D.

He was an accomplished dancer and singer in native ceremonies, participating in powwows around the nation. He crafted ceremonial drums and ceremonial dress.

His "top-notch" paintings were "seen around the world," Bellecourt said.

Two years ago, Blake underwent a double lung transplant. In April, he struggled anew with illness, but he had bounced back until recent weeks, said his cousin, Minneapolis Police Sgt. Bill Blake, who also serves on the Police Community Relations Council.

"Steve really had a strong passion to help people and reach out to others," Bill Blake said.

Floyd (Buck) Jourdain, tribal chairman of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, said Steve Blake was a leader who would also roll up his sleeves and do the grass-roots work, such as teaching the culture to children in Minnesota and Wisconsin or taking kids to Pipestone, Minn., to teach about its sacred quarry.

"He was articulate and outspoken" but didn't waste words, Jourdain said. "He backed up his talk with action. He practiced the culture hands-on."

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his fiancée, Lani Moran of Minneapolis; a brother, Francis III of St. Paul; a sister, Valerie of St. Paul, and nephew Jesse and niece Neegahnee, both of St. Paul.

A wake will be held at 6 p.m. today at All Nations Indian Church, 1515 E. 23rd St., Minneapolis. Services will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at Little Rock Community Center on the Red Lake Reservation.