An Update on Me

Here’s the latest, just on me, just so your in the know. I like to use the list format on my other blog of personal updates so I’ll do that here:

  • This week my wife and I bought a house. It’s exciting and overwhelming. I’ve blogged about the decision on here a little bit, but probably not enough for you to know all the reasons we came to this decisions. More on that as time goes on.
  • We just moved into the new house and as of right now don’t have internet there. That means I probably won’t be updating regularly. I’m using the library right now, and if I have time to write and then setup posts on the weekend you’ll still get a daily update, we’ll see.
  • The kiddo has been majorly sick this week. She’s been such an amazingly easy baby that a little sickness has been almost unbearable for us. I just wasn’t sure what to do at first with her crying all the time. But she’s getting better and getting back to her happy self.
  • I was 40,000+ words into the 50,000 word novel and on track to finish today for the NaNoWriMo goal, but with Ady sick that pretty much stopped dead in its tracks. I’ll still finish in the next week or so, and I don’t feel like I missed my goal, I’m excited about editing the book and making it available in paperback or something.
  • Winter is upon us, and I’m not sure that I’m ready. I’m facing all kinds of financial decision making and I’m not sure I’m always making the best decisions. We have fix-it stuff at the house that needs to be done, appliances to be bought, the car is coughing a bit in the cold, Medical bills and soon student loans coming due. It’s tough to try and be consistently faithful to my convictions and keep my own selfishness in check. Here’s hoping I have the strength to continue.

That’s about it. More later I’m sure, hopefully I can process through home-buying with you.

Link: Corporate Babysitter

I’ll probably be linking to Lisa @ Corporate Babysitter a lot more as I continue to explore the ins and outs of raising my child in this extremely consumeristic world, but until I do, I recommend you check her out for yourself. Here’s a quote to get you started:

Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat thinking about the corporate dollars spent on new ways to manipulate my children. In a world of mounting personal debt and limited natural resources, is this akin to offering a kid a lollypop to get in the car?

Read Corporate Babysitter

On being a neighbor

$1.25 a pound. Less than that if a neighbor can’t afford it. George’s
house was in complete disrepair. Shutters were broken and out of place
bricks sat stranded on the front porch. His house was in huge need of
about $20,000 of work including a new paint job. Or is it a need? Maybe
they see the true need, and that is to love their neighbor as
themselves. To refuse a new house uplift because there are those who
can’t pay $1.25 a pound for tomatoes. –Daniel

Link: Encouraging Women Leaders

I was spurred on to post this because of a recent conversation with my wife. I’ll start by just saying, guys, who are automatically given the upper hand in our current power structures, need to be intentional about relinquishing that authority and opening opportunity for women to be included.
There’s a great post by Heather at Emerging Women that has tips for encouraging women leadership (ht. Mark):

1. Include women’s voices and perspectives from the beginning. Don’t plan the event, outline the book, organize the tour, and THEN try to find a woman or two to add diversity. The entire project might look different if women are involved from the get-go, and it might be more appealing to women leaders.

2. Don’t just include one woman–include ten. No one likes to be a token.

3. Ask a woman leader what she would like to write about, speak about, sing about, make art about, and then make room for her to do that. Don’t just come to her with an idea about what you’d like her to say.

4. Invite women to tell their story as leaders (to you, or to everyone). If a woman isn’t claiming and celebrating her own leadership abilities, listen to her story and notice out loud the ways in which she has already been leading. Thank her.

5. Introduce the women leaders you know to each other. Too often, women leaders are isolated within their own churches or networks. Women do a tremendous job encouraging each other to step up to the plate–if only they know each other.

Read the Rest

Wamsutta’s Day of Mourning Speech

I speak to you as a man — a Wampanoag Man. I am a proud man, proud of my ancestry, my accomplishments won by a strict parental direction (“You must succeed – your face is a different color in this small Cape Cod community!”). I am a product of poverty and discrimination from these two social and economic diseases. I, and my brothers and sisters, have painfully overcome, and to some extent we have earned the respect of our community. We are Indians first – but we are termed “good citizens.” Sometimes we are arrogant but only because society has pressured us to be so.

It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you – celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People.

Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans. Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.

Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years? History gives us facts and there were atrocities; there were broken promises – and most of these centered around land ownership. Among ourselves we understood that there were boundaries, but never before had we had to deal with fences and stone walls. But the white man had a need to prove his worth by the amount of land that he owned. Only ten years later, when the Puritans came, they treated the Wampanoag with even less kindness in converting the souls of the so-called “savages.” Although the Puritans were harsh to members of their own society, the Indian was pressed between stone slabs and hanged as quickly as any other “witch.”

And so down through the years there is record after record of Indian lands taken and, in token, reservations set up for him upon which to live. The Indian, having been stripped of his power, could only stand by and watch while the white man took his land and used it for his personal gain. This the Indian could not understand; for to him, land was survival, to farm, to hunt, to be enjoyed. It was not to be abused. We see incident after incident, where the white man sought to tame the “savage” and convert him to the Christian ways of life. The early Pilgrim settlers led the Indian to believe that if he did not behave, they would dig up the ground and unleash the great epidemic again.

The white man used the Indian’s nautical skills and abilities. They let him be only a seaman — but never a captain. Time and time again, in the white man’s society, we Indians have been termed “low man on the totem pole.”

Has the Wampanoag really disappeared? There is still an aura of mystery. We know there was an epidemic that took many Indian lives – some Wampanoags moved west and joined the Cherokee and Cheyenne. They were forced to move. Some even went north to Canada! Many Wampanoag put aside their Indian heritage and accepted the white man’s way for their own survival. There are some Wampanoag who do not wish it known they are Indian for social or economic reasons.

What happened to those Wampanoags who chose to remain and live among the early settlers? What kind of existence did they live as “civilized” people? True, living was not as complex as life today, but they dealt with the confusion and the change. Honesty, trust, concern, pride, and politics wove themselves in and out of their [the Wampanoags’] daily living. Hence, he was termed crafty, cunning, rapacious, and dirty.

History wants us to believe that the Indian was a savage, illiterate, uncivilized animal. A history that was written by an organized, disciplined people, to expose us as an unorganized and undisciplined entity. Two distinctly different cultures met. One thought they must control life; the other believed life was to be enjoyed, because nature decreed it. Let us remember, the Indian is and was just as human as the white man. The Indian feels pain, gets hurt, and becomes defensive, has dreams, bears tragedy and failure, suffers from loneliness, needs to cry as well as laugh. He, too, is often misunderstood.

The white man in the presence of the Indian is still mystified by his uncanny ability to make him feel uncomfortable. This may be the image the white man has created of the Indian; his “savageness” has boomeranged and isn’t a mystery; it is fear; fear of the Indian’s temperament!

High on a hill, overlooking the famed Plymouth Rock, stands the statue of our great Sachem, Massasoit. Massasoit has stood there many years in silence. We the descendants of this great Sachem have been a silent people. The necessity of making a living in this materialistic society of the white man caused us to be silent. Today, I and many of my people are choosing to face the truth. We ARE Indians!

Although time has drained our culture, and our language is almost extinct, we the Wampanoags still walk the lands of Massachusetts. We may be fragmented, we may be confused. Many years have passed since we have been a people together. Our lands were invaded. We fought as hard to keep our land as you the whites did to take our land away from us. We were conquered, we became the American prisoners of war in many cases, and wards of the United States Government, until only recently.

Our spirit refuses to die. Yesterday we walked the woodland paths and sandy trails. Today we must walk the macadam highways and roads. We are uniting We’re standing not in our wigwams but in your concrete tent. We stand tall and proud, and before too many moons pass we’ll right the wrongs we have allowed to happen to us.

We forfeited our country. Our lands have fallen into the hands of the aggressor. We have allowed the white man to keep us on our knees. What has happened cannot be changed, but today we must work towards a more humane America, a more Indian America, where men and nature once again are important; where the Indian values of honor, truth, and brotherhood prevail.

You the white man are celebrating an anniversary. We the Wampanoags will help you celebrate in the concept of a beginning. It was the beginning of a new life for the Pilgrims. Now, 350 years later it is a beginning of a new determination for the original American: the American Indian.

There are some factors concerning the Wampanoags and other Indians across this vast nation. We now have 350 years of experience living amongst the white man. We can now speak his language. We can now think as a white man thinks. We can now compete with him for the top jobs. We’re being heard; we are now being listened to. The important point is that along with these necessities of everyday living, we still have the spirit, we still have the unique culture, we still have the will and, most important of all, the determination to remain as Indians. We are determined, and our presence here this evening is living testimony that this is only the beginning of the American Indian, particularly the Wampanoag, to regain the position in this country that is rightfully ours.


September 10, 1970

National Day of Mourning

I know that last year when I wrote on this topic, some found it depressing. Here are two reasons I will be highlighting some words of Native People’s this week.

  1. Thanksgiving is more or less the only time of year that any attention on a national level is given to the history of this country as it involves Native People. It is the one day that many are evening considering that there where people on this land when the pilgrim’s arrived, and it is one opportunity to prick a hole in the pretty packaged history we’ve created for ourselves.
  2. As a Christian, I am compelled more and more that Jesus pointed to the poor, the oppressed, the downtrodden and outcast as the true leaders of his kingdom, the ones who receive blessing, the ones to whom the kingdom belongs. In an effort to follow Christ, I want to give opportunity to silence my voice, and lift up others

The National Day of Mourning takes place on the same day we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a protest by Native People’s to mourn the loss of their land and the injustices that have continued since that time. With no real solution on the horizon it’s been asked, “When will the protest end?”

According to a speech by Moonanum James, Co-Leader of United American Indians of New England at the 29th National Day of Mourning, November 26, 1998:

Some ask us: Will you ever stop protesting? Some day we will stop protesting: We will stop protesting when the merchants of Plymouth are no longer making millions of dollars off the blood of our slaughtered ancestors. We will stop protesting when we can act as sovereign nations on our own land without the interference of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and what Sitting Bull called the “favorite ration chiefs.” When corporations stop polluting our mother, the earth. When racism has been eradicated. When the oppression of Two-Spirited people is a thing of the past. We will stop protesting when homeless people have homes and no child goes to bed hungry. When police brutality no longer exists in communities of color. We will stop protesting when Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal and the Puerto Rican independentistas and all the political prisoners are free. Until then, the struggle will continue.