Should’ve checked it thrice

Well, I had a request from a local Native non-profit for some notecards, which I went ahead and ordered. However, I made an error when ordering and it turns out that I did not actually order the folded blank notecards, but the “postcard” like notecards. Woops! I sort of had wanted to get some of these at some point in the future to promote Robohontas, but wasn’t planning on it right now. However, it seems that I’m now in possession of a bunch of these! Well, it could be worse. At least I do have a use for them. And the correct notecards have been ordered and are on their way. Phew!

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Back on the eastside

Well, I’ve given up my studio in Seattle and moved things back home. Partly due to Bryn and I getting back together and partly due to the cost of maintaining a space so far away. I really liked having it, but with gas prices and the soon-to-be enacted toll on the 520 bridge, it seemed like a better choice to give it up. So, here are my easels now set up in the corner of our office. At least the window here looks out on to trees! Much nicer.

Also, ran across this photo in a copy of The Stranger. I snapped a pic of it since I’d been reading so much lately about the “Hipster Headdress” and then ran into an example on my own. I think this was from a series of photos taken at Sasquatch or some other music festival. I could look into it further, but am too lazy right now.

Zoo-jinks

We went to the Zoo on Saturday and while we were searching in vain for the Arctic Foxes, we did at least get to see a Mountain Goat up close. So fluffy! The foxes are also in that exhibit at the moment, although they were nowhere to be seen. Not that I blame them, it was a nice day and a holiday weekend, so there were LOTS of people there. I did get to see giraffes as well, so I consider it a success. Oh, and even though there weren’t any Bald Eagles and instead there was a (huge) Sea Eagle, we did see a Bald Eagle on 520 a few times this weekend. It almost makes up for it.

Another thing at the Zoo was a new gift shop by the recently remodeled West Entrance. I think they took out the old pony ride area (paradise?) and put in a parking lot. There is also now yet another Zoo Store in case they don’t catch you at the one by the Main Entrance. I did find a triangle box! But didn’t actually buy anything. Right now I’m trying to reduce the amount of stuff I own. Slow going.

I know that these penguins don’t come from Antarctica, but the exhibit always makes me think of “Penguins of the Desert.” I was kind of excited because there was a heron (or other type of large bird) who apparently likes to hang out with them.

And here’s the one fox we did see. A bronze statue. But at least it was there! (By the penguins too.)

Perspectives

Ran across this leaf in the driveway at work the other day. I didn’t get quite the right view of it since I was in a rush to get there, but I did stop long enough to snap this photo. It just reminded me so much of a canoe, the shape and form of the leaf, it’s length and the way it had curled up on the sides, that I had to capture the moment. Since I used Instagram and a filter with it, I also liked how the texture of the asphalt almost begins to look like a large body of water.

Speaking of perspectives, I ran across a group of videos about Two-Spirits on ITVS. I’m sort of torn on this because on the one hand, as a gay man, I do get the pull to look backwards and try to reclaim this sense of a third-gender that once existed in many Native cultures. But I also feel that the contemporary Two-Spirit movement is less about culture and ceremony as it is about a romanticized Pan-Indianism that helps gay Natives makes sense of their lives today. In other words, they appear to me to be two completely different things. Granted, depending on the level of colonization of thought and culture for a particular Tribe/group, there may be variations as to how much memory there is of these practices from the past. I don’t think they should not be brought back in some form or another, but I hesitate to identify as Two-Spirit for the same reason I generally don’t think of myself as Indian (I prefer Karuk-American). They are both very broad categories that do not truly do justice to the complex ideas they are trying to represent.

Can white people be culturally appropriated?

I walk by this window all the time on my way to work, and may have even posted a picture of it before. It is the window of the childcare center at my work and I love that there are paper letters posted that say: “Be Kind Safe Clean.” Okay, so the word “Clean” must have fallen off recently, or perhaps one of the kids pulled it down? But I always look at this and think about how an innocuous message can be so charged with meaning. There is also the fact that the word “Be” is in white. Which always makes me think to myself that there may be a hidden message right there, “Be White.” Nothing intentional, of course.

Anyhow, this picture seemed like the perfect thing to pair with something I found via Twitter today. (Oh God, I’ve become one of those people who Tweet. Even if it is only under an alias for one of my art projects, @robohontas.) Saturday Saviour on Tumblr (I don’t understand Tumblr yet, but give me a few months and I might get there) was asked the following question: “Can white people be culturally appropriated?” Her answer was:

No. Cultural appropriation is a type of racism (and as we all know, white people are not racially oppressed). The reasoning behind that is, it only it makes them out to be nothing but A FUCKING COSTUME for “the poor white people with boring cultures!!!” to wear. Which ends up trivializing the lifestyles of POC, and thus, makes them seem less significant. AND, on top of all that, it’s just offensive. If a POC were to parade around “dressed as a white person” (how does one even go on about that?) it would do… well, nothing, as far as systematically oppressing whites goes. Whites are at the top of the system; they can’t be oppressed (and don’t even try arguing about that with me, or I’ll just delete your message).

“Characteristics of Anti-Indianism in 2011”

Just found the following list on the website of Julia Goodfox. She wrote it in response to the United States’ recent action of killing Osama bin Laden. Decided to pair it with a thing I made for an Intro to Comics class a few years ago.

“Characteristics of Anti-Indianism in 2011”

  1.  U.S. inhabitants enjoy Indian Treaty rights (treaties signed between Tribal Nations and the U.S.). American Indians are forced to continue to fight for these same rights.
  2. American Indians are mischaracterized as minorities or ethnic groups, instead of accurately as sovereign nations.
  3. Claims to Indian ancestry without politically supporting and intelligently contributing to their (or other) Tribal communities.
  4. Mainstream media misrepresents American Indians (i.e., stereotypes involving casinos) and do little to recruit Tribal journalists and editors.
  5. Textbooks continue to not use the terms “genocide” and “terrorism” and “human rights violations” when discussing U.S. actions again American Indians.
  6.  Mainstream preference of American Indians appears to be of us in the past-tense or as cultureless or landless or colonized/assimilated peoples. Or all of these.
  7. Historical descriptions (i.e., roadside markers, museum placards, etc.) continue to refer to Indians as hostiles, savages, and terrorists—and refer to the theft of our lands with terms that erase or minimize or gloss-over the realities of what actually occurred.
  8. Ongoing political and social actions against American Indian self-determination and sovereignty activities.
  9. U.S. operations against its international enemies are given codenames from actual Tribal and American Indian individuals.