A Tribe Called Red – videos

Here is a link to a series of works by the Native DJ group A Tribe Called Red (ATCR):

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Sexy ledger art and Native art vandalism

Here are a couple of articles which just came through the Native news media today (Wed. Feb. 25, 2015).  Enjoy!

Chris Pappan ledger art, Feb. 25, 2015.


Native American murals vandalized, Feb. 25, 2015.



Prof. Lechusza Aquallo


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Vandalized Native art in Seattle

Here are a few links regarding a recent issue which took place defacing the Native art created by Andrew Morrison in the city of Seattle, WA.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/native-american-murals-at-wilson-pacific-vandalized/ (Feb. 23, 2015).

http://o.seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2025766696_defacedmuralsxml.html (Feb. 23, 2015).


(Short TV news broadcast, Feb. 23, 2015).

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/komo/article/Vandals-target-Seattle-school-s-Native-American-6097599.php (Feb. 23, 2015).

This incident made me think of a track by the DJ/Hip Hop group A Tribe Called Red, “Woodcarver.”  Here’s the track:



Prof. Lechusza Aquallo


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Memorial march, Fashion week, and the Indian headdress

Here are some interesting articles that came through the Indian media recently.  Enjoy the readings!

Prof. Lechusza Aquallo



Memorial march for missing Indigenous women in CanadaVice magazine, Feb. 18, 2015.


New York Fashion Week Designer steals from Bethany Yellowtail, Native Appropriations, Feb. 18, 2015.



How Warriors earned Headdresses, White Wolf, Feb. 21, 2015.



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The canonization of Fr. Junipero Serra

Recently, there has been a strong push toward the canonization of Father Junipero Serra by the Vatican, which will, then, allow Fr. Serra to become a saint.  His work as the architect of the California mission system held strong criticism by California Native Peoples.  Below are a number of links to a variety of resources and news media regarding this work.

This is an important issue for some California Native Peoples which requires some serious attention.  Please read and share.  Enjoy!

Prof. Lechsuza Aquallo


Brief Biography – Fr. Junipero Serra


News from Native California (this link includes a number of other sources below which are of interest to this issue)


http://newsfromnativecalifornia.com/search/keyword/junipero+serra/type/post/(the image is a hyperlink to the previous article)

Indian Country Today Media (please note that the hyperlinks below are to multiple articles)



OB Rag


San Diego Free Press (same article as the OB Rag, just from a different location)


Indianz.com (a similar article to that from ICTM, but with other links and resources at the bottom)


Last Real Indians (a brief article which presents a more “personal perspective” to this issue)


Tumblr.com – Junipero Serra (There’s a lot of content on this page; some useful, others, perhaps, not as much.  Please review accordingly.)


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Native image on SNL?!

Here is an interesting take on the 40th anniversary episode of Saturday Night Live (SNL) which recently took place (Feb. 16, 2015).  The link and complete article are below.  Please take note of the “Native American Comic Billy Smith” video which is included within this article.  It’s an addition which can not be overlooked.

Enjoy the reading!

Prof. Lechusza Aquallo



SNL 40th Anniversary: Mike Myers and Native Imagery

by Adrienne K. February 17, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.22.05 PM

This week, Saturday Night Live turned 40. The show had an epic 3.5 hour long special episode, with cameos and performances from tons of folks involved during the show’s history. I watched it last night as I was grading papers (meaning I half-watched it), and didn’t expect there to be any Native representations, because there never are (except Fred Armisen’s horribly awkward/stereotypical “Native American Comic Billy Smith” on Weekend Update)*. There were even several jokes about the lack of diversity at SNL–but solely along the lines of Black/White. Never any mention of Natives, of course.

I was excited to see a Wayne’s World sketch, because I am a nerd and use #partytimeexcellent as a personal catchphrase…and then noticed something about Wayne/Mike Myers:

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.22.40 PM

Obviously, he’s wearing a Chicago Blackhawks Jersey. But notice the blanket he’s sitting on as well…totally “Native inspired.”

It got me thinking (duh). This screenshot pretty much encapsulates what most folks watching SNL think about Native peoples: mascots and artifacts. Both disembodied symbols that have minimal relation to contemporary Native communities or people. Both representing outsiders profiting from and exploiting our images and our cultures for their own economic gain. Both harkening to a very specific period of time in our cultures–back to the 19th century, when the “real Indians” were around. (Not discounting the contemporary Navajo weavers who continue this tradition today, obvs!)

I was guest lecturing for a course on Natives in Film on Friday, and used this info from Stephanie Fryberg’s presentation at the Stanford Native Law Conference I presented at last week to demonstrate just how few Native representations in TV/Film there are today. These numbers are from 1997-2000–honestly, I think the numbers would be lower in 2015, and I don’t think we have any more recent data [Researchers! We need you!]. Seeing these numbers is striking. We can say we have “no” representations, but to see the quantifiable numbers moves it into another realm.

  • In a content analysis of national newspapers in 1997 and major films from 1990-2000, relatively few (.2%) representations of American Indians (AI) were found (Fryberg, 2003)
    • Representations were largely stereotypic and/or negative
    • AI were seldom presented as contemporary people or in contemporary domains (e.g., as students, teachers, doctors)
  • In a composite week of primetime TV in 1997, no AI characters were identified (Mastro & Greenberg, 2000).
  • In a two week composite of primetime TV in 2002, 6 out of 1488 (.4%) TV characters were identified as AI (Mastro & Behm-Morawitz, 2005).
  • In a composite week of TV commercials in 2000, .4% of speaking characters were identified as AI (Mastro & Stern, 2003).

(I’ll put the citations at the end of the post)

So back to the tableau of Myers in a Blackhawks Jersey sitting on an “Indian” Blanket. These things matter. More than 23 million viewers saw this sketch. 23 MILLION. When we don’t have any counter-representations to show us as we actually are, the weight of these small moments adds up. I know most viewers wouldn’t have even thought twice about the problematic nature of this–but that’s why you have me, right? To scream from the rooftops that WE ARE MORE THAN ARTIFACTS AND MASCOTS? These things aren’t “honoring.” They’re demeaning and exploitative. Final answer.

However, I also want share this bit of interesting SNL Native trivia, did you know the percussionist for the house band at SNL is Native?? Her name is Valerie Dee Naranjo, she’s Ute, and she’s awesome. I always look for her peeking out behind the column on the opening monologue, and you can see her in the background during Paul Simon’s performance on this episode. So there is at least ONE positive representation on SNL every week, which is great.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.27.40 PM


For the uninitiated: History of the Blackhawks logo (it’s not “honoring,” so shh.):

“The Chicago Blackhawks team logo was created by Irene Castle, wife of team founder and coffee tycoon Major Frederic McLaughlin, in 1926 at the team’s inception into the NHL. McLaughlin chose the ‘Blackhawks’ nickname in recognition of his time as commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. His Division was nicknamed “Blackhawk Division” after a Native American of the Sauk nation, Chief Black Hawk, who was a prominent figure in the history of Illinois. Throughout the franchise’s history, the logo has undergone minor changes but still closely resembles its original presentation.” (source)

Note: Designed by a white lady, based on her imagination–this is what Chief Blackhawk looked like, and not actually directly named to “honor” Native peoples.

If you still think it might not be offensive, check out what happens when the opposing team gets ahold of it: Thanks for the Severed Head, or how folks dress up to “honor” their team.


Fryberg, S. A. (2003). Really? You don’t look like an American Indian: Social representations and social group identities. Dissertation Abstracts International, 64(1549), 3B.

Mastro, D. E., & Greenberg, B. S. (2000). The portrayal of racial minorities on prime time television. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 44(4), 690-703.

Mastro, D. E., & Behm-Morawitz, E. (2005). Latino representation on primetime television. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 82(1), 110-130.

Mastro, D. E., & Stern, S. R. (2003). Representations of race in television commercials: A content analysis of prime-time advertising. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 47(4), 638-647.

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Saul Williams and the “indian” image

Here is an interesting article from Afropunk that came across my desk.  The initial image was capturing and cause much discussion.  Enjoy the readings and the short videos included.

Prof. Lechusza Aquallo



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Interview from Four Winds Literary magazine

Here is an article that was originally published on the Four Winds Literary magazine on Feb. 11, 2015.  Its about the Native author Adrian C. Louis, who has a remarkable way of presenting Native poetry.

Enjoy the article and poem included below!

Lechusza Aquallo-


Exclusive Interview With Adrian C. Louis

by fourwindslitmag

If you know Indian poets, you know Adrian C. Louis, precursor to Sherman Alexie, heralded as one of the great American Indian voices, touchstone for writers and poets of all backgrounds. His work has been widely anthologized, from collections of poetry, to novels, to screenplays. Adrian writes obscene, lyrical, on-point poetry and prose about the wildness of the reservation, its tragedy, its torment, and all of its beauty of love and disastrous affairs. In turn spiritual and dark with heavy realism, taunting infidelity and sexuality, never safe, and forecasting something dark on the horizon, Adrian’s work is nonetheless flavored with notes of hope. We were able to ask Adrian some questions for the benefit of all up-and-coming Indigenous writers out there. Here’s what he had to say:

FW: What does it mean to be in the reservation of the mind?

ACL: Not sure exactly what I meant when I wrote that poem thirty or more years ago.  Not sure who I was back then.  Of course those were some heavy drinking and dope-smoking years.  I know Alexie has said that the poem played a role in his decision to become a writer, but what does “reservation of the mind” mean?  Here’s how I see “Elegy for the Forgotten Oldsmobile” now.  It’s set in Providence, RI where I had returned for an extended stay after doing grad school there and then for some reason returning from the west.  It’s July 4th and all I see is utter chaos, dysfunction, and America in its death throes.  Kind of like what we have today.  So the reservation experience/reflection provides a little sanctuary inside my brain, something strong…yet it also symbolizes something weak, a prison within a prison.  No doubt there are implications of my brain being colonized and my life being trapped inside the belly of the beast too.  There are some revolutionary aspects to the poem, but it swirls around an ironic lament for an Oldsmobile my uncle promised to give me then did not.  That totally broke my heart. I grew up in outhouse poverty and never owned a car until many years after I graduated from high school.  Man, if I had that car I could have gotten laid in high school!


FW: Tell us about your writing process – what’s it like, on a basic level? How do you get ideas for a poem? Does your writing ever surprise you?

ACL: Sometimes a line will come to me and I will write it down and then go back later and build a poem around it.  At other times a complete poem will come to me in one sitting.  Of course, I set those aside and let them age before I go back and deal with them.  Kind of like letting a bottle of wine age.  Surprise? Yes, many times I am surprised at how my vision, emotion, and choice of words fall into place to produce something that pleases me.  If what I wrote did not please and often amuse me then I would not do it.

FW: Who are your favorite writers/artists?

ACL: My favorite Indian writers are Sherman Alexie, Leslie Silko, Simon Ortiz, Jim Northrup, Jim Welch, and Joy Harjo. These folks are all old school, but there is a rising corps of younger Indian writers I like too.

FW: What are you reading lately? Listening to?

ACL: Mostly reading poetry journals, but this month I have started to re-read Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s massive tome, “The City of Trembling Leaves.”  It’s a book that only people born in Nevada can truly understand.  I just retired so I plan to do a lot of re-reading of books I read many years ago like “The Illiad,” “Crime and Punishment,” “Dr. Zhivago,” etc.  Who am I listening to?  Freddie Fender, ayyy.  Pretty much all I listen to is my Itunes and they are mostly moldy oldie rock and roll.  I occasionally listen to a classic country and western radio station.


FW: What pieces of advice do you have for up-and-coming Native poets and writers?



ACL: Read more than you write.  Understand that writing is a life-long thing.  Don’t overdo the Indian angle.  Write about what you know. Save everything you ever write.  Try to show your stuff to several other writers before you ever publish it, but be leery of other writers because some will sure as hell stab you in the back.  Try to get a basic understanding of form and function…and literary criticism. Try to understand how vision happens…read books like Hugo’s “The Triggering Town.”  Do not imitate writers you love.  Do not write while you are under the influence.  Have patience.  Have patience.

Elegy For A Forgotten Oldsmobile

July 4th and all is Hell.

Outside my shuttered breath the streets bubble

with flame-loined kids in designer jeans

looking for people to rape or razor.

A madman covered with running sores

is on the street corner singing:

O beautiful for spacious skies…

This landscape is far too convenient

to be either real or metaphor.

In an alley behind a 7-11

a Black pimp dressed in Harris tweed

preaches fidelity to two pimply whores

whose skin is white though they aren’t quite.

And crosstown in the sane precincts

of Brown University where I added rage

to Cliff Notes and got two degrees

bearded scientists are stringing words

outside the language inside the guts of atoms

and I don’t know why I’ve come back to visit.

O Uncle Adrian! I’m in the reservation of my mind.

Chicken bones in a cardboard casket

meditate upon the linoleum floor.

Outside my flophouse door stewed

and sinister winos snore in a tragic chorus.

The snowstorm t.v. in the lobby’s their mother.

Outside my window on the jumper’s ledge

ice wraiths shiver and coat my last cans of Bud

though this is summer I don’t know why or where

the souls of Indian sinners fly.

Uncle Adrian, you died last week—cirrhosis.

I still have the photo of you in your Lovelock

letterman’s jacket—two white girls on your arms—

first team All-State halfback in ’45, ’46.

But nothing is static. I am in the reservation of

my mind. Embarrassed moths unravel my shorts

thread by thread asserting insectival lust.

I’m a naked locoweed in a city scene.

What are my options? Why am I back in this city?

When I sing of the American night my lungs billow

Camels astride hacking appeals for cessation.

My mother’s zippo inscribed: “Stewart Indian School—1941”

explodes in my hand in elegy to Dresden Antietam

and Wounded Knee and finally I have come to see

this mad fag nation is dying.

Our ancestors’ murderer is finally dying and I guess

I should be happy and dance with the spirit or project

my regret to my long-lost high school honey

but history has carried me to a place

where she has a daughter older than we were

when we first shared flesh.

She is the one who could not marry me

because of the dark-skin ways in my blood.

Love like that needs no elegy but because

of the baked-prick possibility of the flame lakes of Hell

I will give one last supper and sacrament

to the dying beast of need disguised as love

on deathrow inside my ribcage.

I have not forgotten the years of midnight hunger

when I could see how the past had guided me

and I cried and held the pillow, muddled

in the melodrama of the quite immature

but anyway, Uncle Adrian…

Here I am in the reservation of my mind

and silence settles forever

the vacancy of this cheap city room.

In the wine darkness my cigarette coal

tints my face with Geronimo’s rage

and I’m in the dry hills with a Winchester

waiting to shoot the lean, learned fools

who taught me to live-think in English.

Uncle Adrian…

to make a long night story short,

you promised to give me your Oldsmobile in 1962.

How come you didn’t?

I could have had some really good times in high school.

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Aztec historic manuscript “virtually repatriated”

There is an article on the Aztec life via the Codex which was posted on Hyperallergic by Allison Meier, Jan. 27, 2015.  It’s a rather interesting article.  The images are stunning!  Enjoy the content and resource.

Prof. Lechusza Aquallo

A Historic Manuscript on Aztec Life in “Virtually Repatriated” (Jan. 27, 2015)


One of the major textual resources on pre-Columbian Mexico is now online in a digital platform launched this month. The 1542 Codex Mendoza, dating to just 20 years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, is a thorough report on Aztec society, from daily life to culture and rituals.

However, since it arrived at the University of Oxford in the 17th century, and currently in the collection of the Bodleian Library, it’s only been accessible to Mexico researchers in copy form, the major reproductions being in English. The online version of the Codex Mendoza, also available as a free iOS app, was created by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (National Institute for Anthropology and History) in collaboration with the Bodleian Library and Oxford’s King’s College London. It provides interactive translations to modern Spanish and English that smoothly hover over the sharply digitized pages, maps, and timelines complementing the text on territories and expansion, and expandable research activated by clicking on individual images and information.

Codex Mendoza, showing the text translated while hovering a mouse over the page
The Codex Mendoza is a 16th-century report intended for King Charles V, named for the then-Spanish viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, elaborating on the resources and living conditions of New Spain, with 72 richly illustrated pages in Nahuatl (the Aztec language) and 63 in old Spanish. It never got to him. French privateers attacked the transporting Spanish ship, taking the manuscript away to Henri II in France. Eventually it got to England, where it was overlooked until 1831 when a rediscovery revealed it as an incredibly rare resource on a vanished life.

The Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia’s Director of Academic Innovation Ernesto Miranda described the Codex project to the Associated Press as “virtual repatriation,” noting that they hope to collaborate with more European institutions to make it part of a digital series on Mexican codices. This idea of virtual repatriation is growing in museums and academia, such as with the digitizing of the Malagan masks of Papua New Guinea in 2012, the aboriginal artifacts of the South Australian Museum last year, or the ongoing work of the Digital Return online network. While even the best digital recreation isn’t the object itself, with its physical textures, its weight, its emotional presence, projects like the Codex Mendoza are still incredibly valuable in connecting a country of origin to its archives of inaccessible history.

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Navajo Rez Metal – NY Times aricle, Jan. 25, 2015

Here is a very interesting article on the heavy metal band Testify which hails from the Navajo (Dine) Nation.  There is a short video which follows that may be of interest.  Enjoy and share with others!

Prof. Lechusza Aquallo


http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000003471322/navajo-heavy-metal.html (Video from the NY Times)

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/video/navajo-heavy-metal/vi-AA8BTRZ?refvid=AA8ByNP (Video from MSN.  This includes a playlist of other bands.)

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/features/article/edmund-yazzie-living-the-life-as-a-navajo-delegate-and-a-metal-drummer-vide (Video from Malaymail, which includes other footage of the band.)

Other notable bands in this genre include:

Skull Fist, Abysmal Dawn and Night Demon

A little more “crunchy” metal – for the fans!

(Metal from the Navajo Rez)

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