This is a doll sized cradleboard that I made. I am tired of going to the stores and seeing nothing but white babies in strollers, and not seeing my culture in any way represented. I went to a toy store and to get a baby doll with even just a tan had to be special order!

So I’m making these for our children to play with now, and charging the lowest price that I can go for them. Our babies deserve to be able to have their culture present and represented.

anonymous asked:

In case you're interested (and I've been meaning to tell you for a while), there was this animated series on HBO Family called Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child. It adapted and retold classic fairy tales in different cultures across the world (i.e. Snow White in a Native American culture, The Snow Queen with Inuit characters), not to mention a handful of special feminist specials too. There are some episodes on YouTube, but just to warn you they're not of the best quality. - S.

I’ve heard of that a lot, but I have yet to sit down and watch an episode. That’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
Soon-to-be lawyer wins right to wear regalia when she is called to the bar
Christina Gray will set a strong precedent when she is called to the bar this week. The law student will wear her First Nation's regalia when she attends the ceremony.

Christina Gray will set a strong precedent when she is called to the bar this week.

In a sea of black barristers’ robes at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, Gray, a proud member of the Lax Kw'alaams Tsimshian, will be wearing her woollen black and red Tsimshian button blanket and her cedar hat. On her back there will be a hand-sewn killer whale, representing her clan.

The regalia represents her Tsimshian culture, laws, ways of being and history, said Gray.

Gray will be the first in Ontario to wear First Nations regalia instead of the traditional barristers’ robes when called to the bar on Tuesday.

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Quirky & Vintage Tea Pot Sets Get an Ironic Makeover by Yvonne Ellen

London-based designer Yvonne Ellen uses up-cycled pieces to create quirky teapot sets with a sarcastic tone.

Made from bone china, each design is hand-painted. The tiny polka dots, illustrated bees, and other animals are carefully applied. Despite their artistic application, each piece is a work of art and functional. They are imprinted with quirky phrases, which allude to alcohol consumption. The paradox between a sophisticated expression like drinking tea, playfully contradicts each set, which is imprinted with ironic words, such as “gin,” “tequila,” “rum,” and others.

The vintage teacup and saucer sets are inspired by Ellen’s native land and culture.They follow traditional Britain pottery fashion with a touch of Victorian charm. You can find the entire set in her Etsy shop.

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Arriving at residential school, children had their hair chopped off and their clothing removed — one survivor recalled having her beaded moccasins, made by her grandmother for her to wear to school, taken from her and thrown in the garbage.

They were separated from their siblings and survivors spoke of being ignored, or even punished, for crying.

“It was, at best, institutionalized child neglect,” says the report.
The quality of the education was often poor: the lessons were heavy on rote memorization, the teachers were often unqualified the classrooms were overcrowded.

Many of the schools operated on a “half-day system”, where students would attend classes half the day and spend the rest of their time cooking, cleaning and jobs that was justified as “vocational training” but in many cases it was really a low-cost way to operate the buildings.

Students were discouraged, and often outright forbidden, from speaking their Aboriginal languages, with survivors telling of receiving the strap and having their mouths washed out with soap for speaking their maternal tongues.

Sports, art and other recreational activities, despite being a source of relief and positive memories for many survivors, were chronically underfunded and they too, were often meant as a way to promote assimilation.

Many schools did not provide their students with enough to eat, with one survivor describing a regular diet of boiled fish, including scales and bones, mixed up with flour.
Mulaka, Never Alone, and videogames as cultural agents
Games can keep history alive.

It’s not unlike Never Alone, a puzzle-platformer game released in 2014 that borrowed heavily from the traditions and mythology of the Alaskan Native people. It was created by the Cook Inlet Tribal Council in association with E-Line Media as a way to harness technology and better educate people of the customs and traditions held by the Inupiaq and other Alaskan indigenous peoples. By incorporating their legends and beliefs into a video game, their rich heritage can be virtually immortalized and survive much longer and in a more pure state than these tribes themselves.

No amount of books, movies, or retellings of tales can quite match the revelatory power of experiencing something firsthand. Lessons learned from inhabiting a role can be deeper, more personal, and more rooted in appreciation and empathy. Videogames like Mulaka are unique chances to experience, explore, learn, and appreciate, the vehicles through which preservation and education reach heights traditional forms of education can only hope to achieve.

Endangered cultures and games.


Healing Crystals 101 || 11 You Should Know

Mind Body Green writes:

The ancient Egyptians thought that wearing amulets of precious stones would protect them from evil spirits and also from poisoned wine; ancient Chinese civilizations have attributed cultural meaning to jade since the Neolithic period; Native American cultures have used stones and crystals as spiritual tools in ceremonies for centuries; and medieval shields and armor incorporated gemstones as a sign of wealth and adornment.

Today, we have quartz-movement watches that utilize crystal oscillators to regulate precise time, electronics-grade crystals used in cellphones, TVs, and computers. In the belief system of crystal healing, the same principles of focusing and transmitting energy are applied to the body or spirit.

Different cultures use crystals and gemstones differently — some complementary therapies encourage placing the stones on the body to connect to the body’s energy fields or chakras while others prefer the use of wands or pendulums. As nature lovers, we prefer to appreciate the stones for what they are: marvels of nature.

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Washington school districts add Native American culture to curriculum
By KERA WANIELISTA, Skagit Valley Herald

Though a channel divides the town of La Conner from the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reservation, the two cultures are intertwined in Michael Carrigan’s shop class at La Conner High School.

His file cabinets are full of traditional Native American imagery — pictures of salmon, orcas and ravens. In a heartbeat, Carrigan can pull out examples of student-made tools and drums.

For their final projects, students carve totem poles that tell their own stories.

“It’s good for keeping some of the skills alive,” Carrigan said. “It generates an awareness, which creates a respect for other cultures.”

In La Conner schools, the cultural collaboration between the district and the tribe is a way of life.

“The Swinomish tribe and La Conner schools have worked together for a very long time,” said Peg Seeling, who is the district’s director of teaching and learning as well as its director of assessment. “It’s amazing how much history they have together.”

Thanks to a newly modified state law, school districts throughout the state are now figuring out how to be more like La Conner.

Passed during the 2015 legislative session, the law requires schools to incorporate a state-created curriculum, called Since Time Immemorial, to enhance what students learn about Washington’s 29 federally recognized tribes.

In Carrigan’s classroom, junior Nakesha Edwards is focused on a piece of cedar, carving it into what will soon become a bird.

“It relaxes me,” the 16-year-old said of woodworking.

Carving is a skill Edwards is refining in the classroom, but it’s an art she learned from her uncle, Swinomish Senator Kevin Paul, who has co-taught classes with Carrigan for more than a decade.

“I want to share the gift of the knowledge that was handed down to me,” Paul said.

Before coming to La Conner, Edwards said, lessons about her culture weren’t something she was taught.

“People should learn about our ways,” Edwards said. “But they should learn about different ways as well. Come in with an open mind.”

The curriculum is intended to create more opportunities for all kids throughout the state to learn about Native American history and how it has helped shape Washington.

“The intention of the curriculum is to benefit all kids in public education,” said Michael Vendiola, program supervisor for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office Of Native Education. “This is not about focusing only on one particular student group. It’s filling in some of the missing information about the tribal community to the Washington state story.”

Personal experience

Vendiola has personal experience with some of that missing information.

A member of the Swinomish tribe, Vendiola said he’s always had a strong connection to his culture through his tribe. He didn’t attend La Conner schools, and the schools he attended didn’t teach his culture at the same level as his tribe.

“It was a minimum,” he said. “And it was presented in a past tense, as if myself, as a person who identified as a Native American, didn’t really exist in the current society. It was about looking at the past and more of like an anthropological look at how our people lived a long time ago.”

That perspective does a disservice to all students, Vendiola said.

“It leaves a tremendous hole in the story of what makes us Washington state,” he said. “That’s what we feel is really important about implementing this curriculum is that it tells a broader story.”

The Since Time Immemorial curriculum addresses sovereignty, treaties and court rulings. They are topics tribes and neighboring communities deal with every day.

“The typical U.S. history book does not adequately or appropriately cover Native American culture,” Seeling said. “One-third of our kids are Native. We want to do it right.”

Paul agreed.

“Having this curriculum in place, (students) will have a different view of what an Indian is and where they come from,” he said. “According to the old textbook, we still live in tepees. We’re still ‘wild’ people.”

Mandatory curriculum

The move toward a more complete Native American curriculum at the state level began in 2005, Vendiola said. At that time, the Legislature passed a law saying the districts’ implementation of the Since Time Immemorial curriculum was “encouraged.”

Only two districts, Marysville and Fife, officially adopted the curriculum at that time, he said.

In its 2015 session, the Legislature made implementation of the curriculum mandatory.

“This shift to requiring it, I think recent history proves how necessary that is,” said K.C. Knudson, executive director of teaching and learning for the Burlington-Edison School District. “I don’t think we were doing our best prior to legislation change.”

The curriculum is free to school districts and available online. The districts are encouraged to adapt it to best fit their schools, Vendiola said.

“I would say folks are adopting it in innovative ways,” he said.

OSPI also offers free training sessions.

The curriculum is meant to enhance lessons already taught in fourth-, seventh- and 11th-grade social studies classes, but can be expanded to fit all grades.

Districts are also encouraged to adapt the curriculum to their local tribes, an idea Knudson said is important for deeper understanding.

“Some of the most egregious errors that I think we made were not valuing our local tribes as resources,” he said. “Here we are with kids in our classrooms that are living, breathing resources, with family members at home that are also living, breathing resources.”

The Burlington-Edison School District hopes to include the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe and the Swinomish tribe in further development of the curriculum, Knudson said.

“Our kids, unlike La Conner, have less direct exposure (to tribal culture),” he said. “I feel like that almost makes the work more pressing here, so that we understand our neighbors and the richness of the whole Skagit Valley.”

Sedro-Woolley School District Assistant Superintendent Mike Olson said his district will look to the Upper Skagit tribe to guide its implementation as well.

“There are a number of tribes in Washington state, and it’s inappropriate to overgeneralize that every tribe is the same,” he said.

All tribes on board

All 29 federally-recognized tribes in the state have endorsed the state-created curriculum, Vendiola said.

“This is a collaboration between the state and the tribes,” he said. “Both financially support these free trainings. The tribes continue to support this effort to build stronger relationships.”

With the passage of the law, the La Conner district will expand on what it already does and incorporate Swinomish culture into more lessons, Seeling said.

“We’re not just doing it because it’s the law,” she said. “We’re doing it because it’s an important part of our school culture.”

With participation from the Swinomish tribe, the district is looking at incorporating the curriculum across all grades and subjects, especially when it comes to science and environmental studies, Seeling said.

The Swinomish tribe has formed a committee to work with the district to implement the best practices for teaching not just the Native American story, but the Swinomish story, said Tracy James, education director for the tribe.

“It would give us the ability to teach our children directly what our Swinomish tribe is about,” James said. “From our constitution, to our culture, to our history.”

While the district will focus on K-12 implementation, the tribe will go further, beginning with teaching Swinomish preschoolers the tribe’s Lushootseed language and working with Northwest Indian College to further train teachers in the language.

“Children who know about their culture and history do better in school,” James said. “If we can give them a sense of place and a sense of history, research shows that native kids will do better.”


Traditional Chinese Music: “Fisherman’s Song at Dusk,” Chinese Zither Performance

On solarpunk music: since I like to imagine a solarpunk world emphasizing native cultures and decentralising the West as the dominant culture, I would imagine traditional music like this being used and reworked a lot.


‘Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité’: Celebrating French Culture with @lucille_clerc

To see more of Lucille’s work, follow @lucille_clerc on Instagram. To explore more stories from the French-speaking community, follow @instagramfr.

(This interview was conducted in French.)

“Sometimes an illustration is more direct than words,” Lucille Clerc @lucille_clerc says. Since the November Paris attacks, the London-based, French-born illustrator has been working on illustrations of the French values “liberté, égalité and fraternité” (liberty, equality and fraternity). Drawing allows Lucille to stay connected to her native country’s culture: “It helps me a lot to draw these days. These values — liberté, égalité, fraternité — they are not only French. They are universal.”


FROM THE VAULT: Rowie Shebala - “Love You Some Indians” (NPS 2014)

“Now shake my hand and ignore how your fingers lasso around my wrist, tying us to our ancestors. Yet we still survive.”  

Performing during prelims at the National Poetry Slam. Subscribe to Button on YouTube!