Saturday, June 22, 2013

Movie Review: A Story of Strength

This is a 1987 LDS Church movie to commemorate the sesquicentenial of the Church in England.  Heber C. Kimball and a group of missionaries were the first missionaries in England in 1837.  They achieved significant success in the Preston area.  This movie tells the story of Wilford Woordruff who was inspired to go south.  There he is introduced to the Brethren, who had been a group in Herefordshire of about 600 people.  They mostly all joined the church as a group.  The local viccar sent a magistrate arrest to Woodruff for preaching.  The magistrate was baptized.  Next a couple Elders from the church were sent to see what was going on.  They were both baptized as well.  The movie concludes this period by pointing out a couple interesting facts.  There was a time when there were more members in England than the United States.  England contributed almost 100,000 to Utah.  The movie follows a group of pioneers, beginning with the critique of Charles Dickens of a group of Mormons on ship in London.
The presentation does not end here.  During the World Wars, the Church in England was on its own.  After WWII converts were instructed to remain in England, and build the church in their home country.  This included the establishment of a temple in England, and continued Church growth.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

California Governor Culbert Olson

Culbert Olson was governor of California from 1939 to 1943.  He was a self proclaimed progressive and atheist.  He was my great-great uncle through marriage on my mom's side.
History has to judge whether Olson was a good governor or not.  He had been in politics in both Utah and California.  He was a staunch supporter of President Franklin Roosevelt.  Being an atheist he refused to say, "So help me God," as part of being sworn in.  Instead he said, "I will affirm."  Being a supporter of Roosevelt, he favored the forced removal of all Japanese from coastal areas, and relocation to inland camps.  "Testifying before a U.S. House committee on March 6, 1942, Olson, a longtime supporter of nearly every Roosevelt position on economics, politics and foreign policy, supported the move wholeheartedly. "Because of the extreme difficulty in distinguishing between loyal Japanese-Americans, and there are many who are loyal to this country, and those other Japanese whose loyalty is to the Mikado.  I believe in the wholesale evacuation of the Japanese people from coastal California." (Wikipedia quoting the United Press)
Olson lost his reelection bid to Earl Warren.  During his period as governor he battled with the Republican controlled legislature and the Roman Catholic Church.
Culbert Olson


Family of Culbert Olson with President Roosevelt

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Chief Dan George: Speech at BYU 1976

Talk by Chief Dan George BYU 1976
Was it only yesterday that man first sailed around the moon?  You and I marvel men should travel so far and so fast.  Yet if they have traveled far then I have traveled farther and if they have traveled so fast then I faster, for I was born as if it were a thousand years ago, born in a culture of bows and arrows.  But within the span of half a life, I was flung across the ages to the culture of the atom bomb, and from bows and arrow to atom bombs is a distance far beyond a flight to the moon.
I was born in an age that loved the things of nature and gave them beautiful names like les will-u-wit, instead of dried-up names like Stanley Park.
I was born when people loved all nature and spoke to it as though it has a soul.  I can remember going up Indian River with my father when I was very young.  I can remember his watching the sun light fires of brilliance on Mount Pay-Nay-Ray as it rose to its peak.  I can remember his singing thanks to it, as he often did singing the Indian word "thanks" so very, very softly.
And then the people came.  More and more people came.  Like a crushing, rushing wave they came, hurling the years aside.  And suddenly I found myself a young man in the midst of the twentieth century.  I found myself and my people a drift in this new age, not part of it.
We were engulfed by its rushing tide, but only as a captive eddy going round and round.  Oh, little reservations on plots of land. We floated in a kind of gray unreality, ashamed of our culture that you ridiculed, unsure of who we were of where we were going, uncertain of our grip on the present, weak in our hope of the future, and that is where we pretty well stand today.
I had a glimpse of something better than this for a few brief years.  I knew my people when we lived the old life.  I knew them when there was still dignity in our lives and a feeling of worth in our out-look.  I knew them when there was unspoken confidence in the home and certain knowledge of the path we walked upon.  But we were living on the dying energy of a dying culture that was slowly losing its forward thrust.
I think it was the suddenness of it all that hurt us so.  We did not have time to adjust to the surprising upheaval around us; we seemed to have lost what we had without a replacement for it.  It was forced feeding from the start, and our stomach turned sick, and we vomited.
Do you know what it is like to be without mooring?  Do you know what it is like to live in surroundings that are ugly and everywhere you look you see strange and ugly things?  It depresses man, for man must be surrounded by the beautiful if his soul is to grow.
What did we see in the new surrounds you brought us?  Laughing faces, pitiful faces, sneering faces, conniving faces.  Faces that ridiculed, faces that stole from us.  It is no wonder we turned to the only people who did not steal and who did not sneer, who came with love.  They were the Christian missionaries; they came with love, and I, for one will ever return that love.
Do you know what it is like to feel that you are of no value to society and those around you?  To know that people came to help you but not to work with you, for you know that they knew you had nothing to offer?
So you know what it is like to have your race belittled and to come to learn that you are only a burden to the country?  Maybe we did have the skills to make a meaningful contribution, but no one would wait for us to catch up.  We were shoved aside as if we were dumb and could never learn.
So you know what it is like to be without pride in your race, pride in your family, pride and confidence in yourself.  Do you know what it is like?  You don’t know, for you have never tasted its bitterness.
I shall tell you what it is like.  It is like not caring about tomorrow, for what does tomorrow matter?  It is like having a reserve that looks like a junkyard because the beauty in the soul is dead and why should the soul express and external beauty that does not watch it?  It is like getting drunk and for a few brief moments escaping from ugly reality and fooling a sense of importance.  It is most of all awaking next morning to the guilt of betrayal.  For the alcohol did not fill the emptiness, but only dug it deeper.
And now you hold out your hand and beckon to me to come across the street.  Come and integrate, you say.  But how can I come?  I am naked and ashamed.
How can I come in dignity?  I have no presents.  I have no gifts.  What is there in my culture you value?  My poor treasures you only scorn.
Am I then to come as a beggar and receive all from you omnipotent hand?  Somehow I must wait.  I must delay.  I must find myself.  I must find my treasure.  I must wait until you want something of me, until you need something that is me.  Then I can raise my hand and say to my wife and family “Listen, they are calling, the need me, I must go.”
Then I can walk across the street and hold my head high, for I will meet you as an equal.  I will not scorn you for your seeming gifts, and you will not receive me in pity.  Pity I can do without; my manhood I cannot.
I only come as Chief Slaholt came to Captain Vancouver, as one sure of his authority, certain of his worth, master of his house, leader of his people.  I shall not come as a cringing object of your pity.  I shall come in dignity or I shall not come at all.
Society today talks big words of integration.  Does it really exist?  Can we talk of integration until there is integration of hearts and minds?  Unless you have this, you have only a physical presence, and the walls are as high as the mountain range.
I know you must be saying, “Tell us what you want.”  What do we want?  We want first of all to be respected and to feel we are people of worth.  We want an equal opportunity to succeed in life, but we cannot succeed on your terms; we cannot raise ourselves on your terms.  We need specialized help in education, specialized help in the formative years, special courses in English.  We need counseling.  We need equal job opportunities for our graduates; otherwise our students will lose courage and ask what is the use of it all. 
Let no one forget it, we are a people with special rights guaranteed by promises and treaties.  We do not beg for these rights nor do we thank you; we do not thank you for them, because we paid for them and the great God knows that the price we paid was exorbitant.  We paid with our culture, our dignity, and out self-respect.  We paid, and paid, and paid, until we became a beaten race, poverty-stricken and conquered.
But you have been kind to listen to me.  I know that in your heart you wish you could help.  I wonder if there is much you can do, and yet there is a lot you can do.  When you meet my children, respect each one for what he is; a child of our father in heaven and your brother.  I think it all boils down to just that.
I would like to say a prayer that once was spoken, with little differences in working, all across North America by the many Tribes of our people.  This was long before the white man came.
“Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds, whose breath gives life to the world, hear me.  I come to you as one of you many children.  I am small and weak.  I need your strength and wisdom.  May I walk in beauty?  Make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.  Make my hands respect the things that you made and me ears sharp to hear your voice.  Make me wise so that I may know the things you have taught your children, the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.  Make me strong, not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself.  Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes, so that when life fades as the fading sunset, my spirit will come to you without shame.”

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Movie Review: Ken Burns: The West: Speck of the Future

Vallejo
For the most part this movie tells the story of the California Gold Rush.  First off, I did not like the way they explained the discovery of fold, only giving credit to James Marshall, and leaving out the contribution of the Mormon laborers.  It also does not tell the trepidation John Sutter had at the thought of the gold rush, nor that the family of Caleb Rhoades had been mining gold for at least six months before the official discovery of gold.  However, it does talk about the role of Sam Brannon in the gold rush.  It was he that spread the news verbally in San Francisco and sending copies of his newspaper with news of the discovery, to the East in hopes of increasing financial prospects in California.  His plans worked better than he expected. San Franciso was a community of maybe three families when Brannon arrived with the Ship Brooklyn.  Within five years it was a community of some 50,000.  This show does not talk about the fate of John Sutter, but does talk about General Mariano Vallejo.  Both had large land holdings, which were lost to squatters.  Basically their financial empires were destroyed as a result of the Gold Rush.  The show also mentions White/ Native American relationships.  It talks of the Lakota, who finally signed a peace treaty.  (Treaty of Fort Laramie 1851)  However it wasn't but a few years until the treaty was violated and the Lakota representative who signed the treaty had been killed in a battle.  This created an atmosphere of mistrust.  However the story of the California Indians is even worse.  At the start of the Gold Rush, 1849, there were 150,000 thousand Native Americans in California.  There was a policy of extermination, some cities paying a bounty for an Indian scalp or head.  They were often reimbursed by the state.  Within twenty-five years the Native American population in California was 30,000.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Flag Day

Flag Day recognized the day we accepted out flag, June 14, 1977.  In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. (Wikipedia)
Betsy Ross made the first flag in May1877 and it was accepted by the Continental Congress June 14.  Prior to this our flag had stars and stipes, and the Union Jack in the corner. 

The Betsy Ross flag initially added stars and stripes for each state.  The stars were in a field of blue in a circle.  Now there is a star for each state and thirteen stripes for the original colonies.  The colors for the flag did not have meanings when it was originally made.
http://www.usa-flag-site.org/history.shtml

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Down Winders

After reading about the death of John Wayne, maybe partially being attributed to nuclear exposure, I have been thinking of the "Downwinders."  Areas of Southern Utah, as well as Nevada and Arizona were subject to nuclear exposure from testing in Nevada.  Also areas of Eastern Washington, the Columbia River Basin and surrounded areas were exposed due to processing of Plutonium at the Hanford Site.  Subsequent issues with cancer occurred as a result.  Although the government, through court procedures was never held liable, Congress did enact a fund to compensate victims.  Even though tests were conducted in rural areas, there still were many exposed.  Some were exposed deliberately (such as military personnel) to test the effect of exposure.  Many were exposed through mining of uranium.  In all hundreds of thousands were exposed. 
The sign of problems with exposure was the deaths and problems with sheep in iron county. Many sustained burns on their lips and faces from eating grass tainted with radiation.  Many died.  Many had stillborn or deformed sheep.  The herds in this area suffered a decrease of almost a third as a result. 
Over time, it became known that exposure lead to cancers in humans.  Thyroid cancers and leukemia were the most common.  For many years the government covered up this information, and claimed there were no negative effects from exposure.  However, congress eventually set up some compensation, when information became known through information releases.
http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/utah_today/nucleartestingandthedownwinders.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downwinders

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Movie Review: ****9/11 2002

This is a 2002 made for t.v. movie which I have watched through Netflix DVD.  It is a bit graphic, and the language is not always great, but it is an important movie.  Two French film makers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, brothers, were making a documentary of a rookie firefighter, Tony Benenatos, and were embedded with a fire station close to the World Trade Center, Engine 1 Ladder 7 in lower Manhattan.  The rookie had only had one fire in his few months with the department, and that was a car fire.  And then when 9/11 came he was not out with the unit, but at the station.  A fire truck from the unit, was at a call when the first plane struck.  The photographer actually recorded the plane flying into the WTC.  He also recorded the team when they moved to respond, and there is actually footage from inside the WTC lobby.  One thing he noted is that even though the plane hit many stories above, the lobby looked damaged.  This is because burning jet fuel had come down the elevator shaft with such force that people burst into flames, and all the windows were burned out.  The photographer stayed in the lobby, and recorded as people came down the stairs.  He also recorded the sound people were making as the jumped from the windows above.  There was lots of debris falling as well, but people jumping from the tower made the loudest bump as the hit the ground.  Jules recorded what happened in the North Tower when the South Tower collapsed.  The dust was incredible.  Everything went dark.  He used the light on his camera so people could see.
His brother, Gedeon, meanwhile recorded events outside.  He recorded the second plane hitting, the collapse of the towers, people running from the wall of dust, the effects of the dust.
After the second collapse, the next line of business was to gather back at the station, and make sure everyone was all right, and count those that were not.  Gedeon thought Jules was dead for sure, but they got out of the lobby before the collapse.  Miraculousy, all members of the station escaped.  They last to report was Tony, as he was looking for survivors.
During the next few days they helped with rescue efforts.  Hardly anyone was rescued from the mess.  They found one person alive.  Mostly they found body parts.  Finding a body in tact was very rare.
The interviewed the rookie at the end of the show.  He said in essence, that even though he liked his new job, he would go to the military if asked and fight against those who had done this.