Posts Tagged ‘Native American Heritage Month’

featherMaria Tallchief, (Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief)

America’s first Prima Ballerina; trained both as a pianist and as a dancer

b. January 24, 1925-

Fairfax, Okla.

Maria Tallchief parents were Alexander Joseph Tall Chief of the Osage Nation and Ruth, her Scotts-Irish mother. Due to the discovery of oil on the reservation in some ways her life was more comfortable than many. However, she and her family suffered through the Osage Indian Murders. Her cousin survived only because she was visiting Tallchief, while her cousin’s family was murdered. A white local rancher named Bill Hale killed, or was responsible for the death of at least 18 Osage people over an aborted attempt to grab oil rights and land. (more…)

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featherBuffy Sainte-Marie (Beverly)

Singer, songwriter and producer, activist, artist, educator

Birthplace: Piapot Reservation, Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada

Born: February 20, 1941

The daughter of a Cree mother, Buffy Sainte-Marie was born in Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada, orphaned and adopted by relatives in Maine, USA. She was educated at the University of Massachusetts, where she graduated in the top ten of her class in degrees of teaching and Oriental Philosophy. She later earned a PHD in Fine Arts.

She is a self taught piano and guitar player, who went on to become one of the most known message singers of the sixties. In 1963 Sainte-Marie witnessed wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam. During this period the U.S. government was denying involvement. From this she was inspired to write the protest song “Universal Soldier”.  This was part of her debut album “It’s My Way” in 1964. A gifted songwriter, many of her songs have been introduced by well known singers. Most anyone alive during the Vietnanam War knows her distinctive voice.

It is possible that many of her records, were “disappeared” by the Johnson Administration in attempt to control the antiwar movement. It also appears that efforts were made to keep her off the radio stations. The impact of this type of collective memory may be another reason why the media during the War on Terror(ism) has been closely managed. To this day the public does not see coffins of returning veterans.

Sainte-Marie is active in American Indian causes, especially American Indian education. She appeared on Sesame Street from 1976 to 1981. She is an art teacher and internationally exhibited artist.  She has also promoted the Bhá’í Faith. She founded the “Cradleboard Teaching Project” that runs across eleven states, and the indigenous communities of  MohawkCreeOjibweMenomineeCoeur D’AleneNavajoQuinaultHawaiian, and Apache.

Though she stated in 1999 that she had been put out of business in the United States during the Vietnam War, she has continued to receive awards in Canada and around the world for her artistic merits and her work with indigenous peoples.  Still an active artist, this year marks another CD release.


Progressive Revelation


Wikipedia: Buffy Sainte-Marie

I Own My Vote, PUMA, The Denver Group, Just Say No Deal


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featherPaula Gunn Allen

Poet, novelist, critic

Born: 1939 died May 29th, 2008

Birthplace: Cubero, New Mexico

 “Breath is life, and the intermingling of breaths is the purpose of good living.”

InfoPlease says this:

Paula Gunn Allen was the daughter of a Lebanese-American father and a Pueblo-Sioux-Scots mother. She was raised near Laguna and Acoma Pueblo reservations and was influenced by the matriarchal Pueblo culture. She received both her BA in English and her MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon, and a doctorate in American studies, with a concentration in Native American literature, from the University of New Mexico.

In 1978 she received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and in 1980, a fellowship to study Indian women’s writings. Her 1983 novel, The Woman Who Owned the Shadows, reflected her own upbringing. Her collections of poetry include Coyote’s Daylight Trip (1978), Shadow Country (1982), and Life is a Fatal Disease (1996). Studies in American Indian Literature: Critical Essays and Course Designs (1983) is considered a landmark text in Native American literary criticism. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions (1986) explores the importance of women in traditional Indian culture.

Along with Patricia Clark Smith, Allen wrote As Long as the Rivers Flow: The Stories of Nine Native Americans (1996) for younger readers. Her latest work is Pocahontas: Medicine Woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat (2003), a new look at Pocahontas through the eyes of a Native American woman.

She taught at Fort Lewis College, San Diego State University, San Francisco State University, the University of New Mexico, and retired in 1999 from the University of California at Los Angeles.


” The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions” is considered  essential feminist reading, along with “Hwame, Koshkalak, and the Rest”. Her work presented an argument of Essentialism, as opposed to Simone de Beauvior’s Feminist Existentalism, or Constructionism, and Monique Wittig’s  Universalism,requiring the abolition of gender catagories.

Allen’s work on Pocahontas made her a Pulizter Prize nominee.

The end of her life was difficult as she lost her home and possessions in January of this year, due to a fire, and was hospitalized for several weeks.



Library Thing Book List


The Sacred Hoop: A Contemporary

Indian Perspective on American

Indian Literature


I Own My Vote, PUMA, The Denver Group, Just Say No Deal

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featherNovember is Native American Heritage Month. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Tribal Nations: America’s Great Partners.”

Two points of celebration are: the honoring of Native American Veterans, who have maintained the highest active service as a group in the nation, and the honoring of Native American artists poets and writers. A third point of celebration is to honor educators.

I’ve attempted to introduce you to some terrific women in honor of the month. You’ll know their special status by the turkey feather. Do a search for “feather” in the box above right to find them.

In addition, today, November 28, 2008, is the First National Native American Heritage Day. (more…)

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