Wednesday, March 30, 2016

American Indian Biography: Cher - Half Breed [Official Music Video]

Cher is a performer of world renown.  She has sung since she was a child, and then became a serious actor.  Her mother was of Cherokee and French descent, and consequently her song, "Half-breed."  As a younger man, I remember watching the Sonny and Cher show.  Sonny Bono, and Cher were a husband and wife team, that had been performing together for many years before they were part of the variety show.  Sonny and Cher's first big hit was "I Got You Babe" which was always their trade mark.
However after eleven years of marriage, they divorced, but remained friends.  With their separation their singing group also broke up as did the variety show.  Sonny Bono went into politics.  Cher continued as a performing artist, but also became a movie star with "The Witches of Eastwick," "Moonstruck" and "Mask."  She won an Oscar for Moonstruck.  She also became heavily involved in humanitarian causes including the International Carniofacial Foundation which was the theme of the movie "Mask."
Sonny Bono turned to politics.  He became a congressman.  He died in a skiing accident.  Cher appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and presented a short biographical picture of her life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Native American Biographies: Amos Bad Heart Bull

This information is taken from "American Indian Biographies."  Amos Bad Heart Bull was somewhat a self appointed historian for the Sioux people.  He was too young to fight in the Battle of Little Big Horn, but he was a witness to the events.  The battle started with an attack on an Indian encampment.  Bad Heart Bull drew pictures of this event, as well as several others which told the Sioux history during a very rough period.  His father and older family members also related to him many of the things that happened during this time.  His pictures go from before his birth, telling of Sioux battles with the Creek, and providing a general idea of Sioux life.  It continues until the Sioux are all confined on reservation, and includes the Battle of Wounded Knee.  The record includes over 400 drawings.  The originals were buried with his sister, however Helen Blish studied and photographed the collection and put them into a manuscript form.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Biographical Book Review: Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of his People

Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and Defender of his People by S.D. Nelson, Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York, 2015.
This book gives a very good history of Sitting Bull.  However it presents it in the first person, and this gives the sense of a historical novel rather than history.  The story includes quotes from Sitting Bull and others which add to his life.  Sitting Bull was an interesting man.  He proved his bravery when he was young.  Sitting Bull is a name of honor and signifies that he would not give in.  Sitting Bull made fun of the “Hang Around the Forts” or people who were dependent on the White Government for handouts.  He did not agree with the Treaty of Fort Laramie.  In this treaty much of the Indian land was given away. 
This treaty guaranteed the Black Hills for the Sioux.  However, after General George Armstrong Custer discovered gold in this area, even that part of the treaty was not followed.  This lead to the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  Sitting Bull did not participate directly but was the general chief over the operations.  Crazy Horse carried out the on the field leadership. 
After this battle, the Sioux were marked.  They were pursued.  Crazy Horse was killed.  Sitting Bull and his band headed north to Canada where they could be safe for a time.  They did not return until they were starving and they had no other choice.  They were then placed on the reservation and dependent on the white men.
Sitting Bull was part of the traveling show of Buffalo Bill.  Sitting Bull would meet a violent death.  During the time of the Ghost Dance the Indian superintendent thought Sitting Bull should do more to repress the people.  Sitting Bull did not want to interfere with their religious rituals.  His arrest was ordered.  Forty Lakota policeman came for him.  In the scuffle Sitting Bull was killed.  His son Crow Foot was also killed, and six members of his band and six Lakota policemen.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Indian Biography: Kiowa Five/Six:

Spencer Asah
From the Jacobson House website a brief history is provided of these innovative artists.  "THE KIOWA SIX:  The Native American artists; James Auchiah (1906-1974)Spencer Asah(1905/ 1910-1954)Jack Hokeah (1902-1969)Stephen Mopope (1898-1974), and Monroe Tsatoke (1904-1937) and Lois (Bougetah) Smoky (1907-1981) were young and they [were]Kiowa Tribal members from the Anadarko area of Oklahoma. Because of their talent and the opportunities afforded them at The University of Oklahoma, they became international celebrities. It is well-remembered that these young Kiowa artists were occasionally homesick for their Kiowa cultural heritage and that during those times they would gather at the Jacobson House to sing, dance and tell Kiowa stories.
Oscar B. Jacobson, a Swedish art professor at the University of Oklahoma sponsored them, but he did not want to overly teach them for fear he would effect their style.  Instead he provided the place for them the flourish.  Many of them were experienced dancers, or drummers and their art reflected this. These artists were using palettes and water color, which was a variation form the traditional native American style.
Lois Smoky
The reason they are sometimes listed as the Kiowa Five is that Lois Smoky left the group early.  She struggled against tribal tradition that frowned on women doing painted art.  She returned home and married, but still expressed herself through beadwork.  Her art is the most coveted.  
Kiowa Five without Lois Smoky
James Auchiah was the last to join the group.  He was talented form childhood, and became more interested in art over the years.  he was glad to join the group in 1927.  
Spencer Asah was the son of a tribal medicine man.  He grew up hearing tribal legends stories, which is reflected in his work.  He was also an accomplished dancer.
Steven Mopopo was perhaps the most prolific of the Kiowa Five artists.  He was the oldest of the group.  He was observed drawing designs in sand, so was taught to draw on tanned skins in the tribal fashion.  His art caught the eye of Jacobson and he was invited to be part of the group with four other tribal members.  
Jack Hokeah was raised by his grandmother and was talented form a young age.  He was conflicted between art and dance.  In his later life he did artwork on pottery produced by Maria Martinez.
Monroe Tsatoke was also very talented.  He was also a native singer.  He was very prolific as an artist, but became sick and he died young.
Steven Mopopo, Anadarko, Oklahoma Post Office
These six made a very large contribution to Native American art and there works are much in demand.

Indian Biographie: Arpeika: Seminole

Arpeika (Sam Jones) is known as the only Seminole leader to not be removed from Florida.  He was a medicine man, and he and his people stayed in Florida.  The story is told in the Orlando Sentinal:
The U.S. Army captured and banished from Florida the resistance leader Osceola, the defiant young chief Coacoochee and nearly all of the Seminoles.
But not the medicine man Arpeika, the last of the major Seminole leaders to avoid capture.
Besides eluding the Army, Arpeika infuriated U.S. Army Gen. Thomas Jesup by joining Osceola to liberate (some historians say coerce) 700 Seminoles from a camp near Fort Brooke (Tampa) where the general had steamers ready to haul them to the Mississippi River and Western reservations.
The general, realizing he had been tricked, ordered officers to seize Osceola and others.
Soldiers arrested Osceola when he came to a truce meeting carrying a white flag - actually plumes of white crane feathers. Coacoochee, known to the Army as Wildcat, was captured by the same trickery.
Osceola accepted his fate. Arpeika did not.
After Coacoochee escaped from the old Spanish fort at St. Augustine and told Arpeika how he had been captured, the medicine man never again risked attending talks with the Army or federal agents, writes Michael Gannon in The New History of Florida.
Arpeika, known to the military as Sam Jones, rallied Seminole resistance.
Arpeika, Coacoochee and another leader called Alligator led the Seminoles who fought the Army to a draw at Lake Okeechobee in the largest single battle of the Seminole wars.
Osceola, whose popularity was spread by exaggerated - and sometimes fabricated - newspaper accounts, thrived in the spotlight. George Catlin, one of many artists who painted Osceola, displayed his portrait in New York and the galleries of Europe.
By contrast, the Florida State Archives does not have a single likeness of Arpeika.
Historians haven't even agreed on a spelling. Recently written history books include these alternative spellings: Arbiaka, Arbieka or Abica.
``Arpeika'' is the spelling used by Gannon.
The man behind the name, however it is spelled, never sought personal recognition.  
Billy L. Cypress writes in Perspectives on Arbiaka (Sam Jones), ``There were a number of leaders like Osceola who were better known by the Europeans, but Arbiaka played just as great a role in keeping the Seminole people together and surviving through war times to peace times.''
``Jones,'' writes West, a historian for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, ``was a powerful religious leader and his career ... far eclipsed Osceola.''
She adds, ``There would be no Seminoles and Miccosukees left in Florida were it not for the strength and determination of this one individual.''
He preferred a role in the background. Cypress writes that Arpeika escaped the notice of officers.
``A leader such as Arbiaka could do his work without their knowledge and awareness,'' Cypress writes.
Gannon writes that not even Coacoochee, coerced into helping the Army, could persuade Arpeika to surrender.
An August 1850 edition of a St. Augustine newspaper set a $1,000 bounty for dead warriors and a $500 reward for the capture of Seminole women and children. Some Seminoles also accepted government offers of cash to accept resettlement.
``Sam Jones never came in,'' Gannon writes. ``He died in Florida at an estimated age of 111.''  The book American Indian Biographies estimates his age at death as being 100; 1760-1860.

Indian Biographies: Arapoosh: Crow

Arapoosh's shield is at the Smithsonian

Arapoosh was a fierce Crow warrior, who could not be defeated in battle.  Quoting the Smithsonian website, "Arapoosh, also known as Sore Belly, was a prominent River Crow chief who lived in the first half of the 19th century. As a young man, while fasting, he received a shield, which gave him spiritual protection and the power of prophecy."  Represented on the shield is a hero twin Thrown Intho the Sky.  Arapoosh had powers of battle, as well as of prophecy.  The book American Indian Biographies say the symbol on his shield was "Man in the Moon."  Arapoosh would use the shield to show the outcome of coming battles.  During a war between the Crow and the Blackfeet, Arapoosh prophesied his own death, saying if the shield rose into the sky, he would be killed.  The shield rose and he was killed.  
 Taken from American Indian Biographies and Smithsonian website.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Indian Biography: William Apess: Methodist Preacher

William Apess is most noted as he wrote one of the first published autobiographies written by a Native American.  An Indian of mixed blood, he was of the Pequot Tribe, descended through his mother of King Philip, a prominent chief.  He married his first wife, Mary Wood another Pequot Indian of mixed blood and they had four children.  After she passed away, he felt it his duty to preach.  He preached at white and Native American services.  He published his autobiography during this period.  "I felt convinced that Christ died for all mankind – that age, sect, color, country, or situation make no difference. I felt an assurance that I was included in the plan of redemption with all my brethren." – A Son of the Forest"
Over time he became more bitter about the way Indians had been treated by whites.  This showed in his preaching, as well as in tracts he wrote.  His second autobiography, The Experiences of Five Christian Indians" represented this change.  Among other things he wrote about King Philip as a leader equal to Washington, and talked about his murder.  As a result he was much less popular as a preacher.  He remarried and moved to New York were he died form a stroke.   
Material taken from WIkepedia and "American Indian Biographies"

Indian Biography: Juan Antonio, Cahuilla (Southern California) Indian

Juan Antonio was the chief during the time that whites were entering California.  He took a roll in protecting white encroachers, either from the military or settlers.  When Edward Beale of the U.S. Army came on an exploration mission, he granter permission for him to cross the Chihuilla territory.  He also defended Beale's men from the Ute Indians lead by Walkara.  Beal gave Juan Anontio a couple epaulets for his efforts.
During the Mexican American War he lead, with the Californios, and attack on the Luiseno.  The ambushed the Luiseno and killed about 40 warriors.  This became known as the Temecula massacre of 1847.
When the outlaw Irving gang began attacking and killing white settlers, Juan Antonio and his band took it upon themselves to hunt them down and kill them.  Instead of being thankful, this brought persecution against the band as people didn't know what to make of Indians tracking down and killing whites.  However, when the Mormons came to San Bernadino, some of the persecution against the Indians was relieved and directed towards the Mormons.
Juan Antonio further helped the local settlers as Antonio Garra, a Cupeno came to Juan Antonio seeking his help to drive whites from the region.  Instead Juan Antonio captured Guerra and turned him over to authorities.  Antonio did move his band farther East to avoid encroachments and persecution.  However they were eventually overtaken by a small pox epidemic and much of the group decimated.  the numbers after this were very few.  Today the Cuihuilla occupy 10 villages or bands in Southern California.
Information form Wikipedia and "American Indian Biographies" edited by Harvey Markowitz.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Native American Biography: Alexie Sherman Author

Sherman Alexie rose from a childhood of poverty to became an honored Native American author.  He has written screen plays, books and poetry.  He is from Coeur d. Alene tribal affiliation and many of his stories revolve around the area where he grew up.  More recently his work has changed from the reservation to the Seattle area.  Many of his personal characteristics show up in his work.  He wrote the screen play for the first all Native American movie "Smoke Signals" which is based on one of his books of short stories "The Lone ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven."

Native American Biography: John Lynch Adair, Cherokee

John Adair is of Cherokee and Irish descent.  When he was ten years old, his people were removed from their native lands and moved to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.  John Adair was important in the new community as he provided leadership.  When he was older, he penned the Cherokee Constitution which came out of a convention for that purpose.  After declaring that the East and West Cherokee were now unified, the constitution continues, "We, the people of the Cherokee Nation, in National Convention assembled, in order to establish justice, insure tranquility, promote the common welfare, and to secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of freedom—acknowledging with humility and gratitude, the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, in permitting us so to do, and imploring His aid and guidance in its accomplishment—do ordain and establish the Constitution for the government of the Cherokee Nation.'
The constitution was published when Adair was already older, 1893.  Adair passed away in 1896.  The Constitution would remain in effect until the statehood of Oklahoma in 1907.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Eliza R. Snow

Eliza R. Snow is best remembered for her poetry, at least one of which has been put to music, "O My Father."  This beautiful description of our Heavenly Mother, and eternal realms is a Mormon gem.   However, a book I am now reading, "Signs, Wonders, and Miracles"  it points to her as a widow of the martyred prophet Joseph Smith.  She had asked the Lord to take her as well.  However the prophet appeared to her from beyond the veil, and told her that was not God's intentions for her.  The prophet told her to "be of good courage and help to cheer and lighten the burdens of others."  Eliza was later asked by Brigham Young to organized relief societies in the local units of the church.  She then became the second general president of the relief society. 
Although  "O My Father" is a poem well revered, I like another even better: A Word To Saints Who are Gathering
by Eliza R. Snow
Think not, when you gather to Zion,
Your troubles and trials are through--
That nothing but comfort and pleasure
Are waiting in Zion for you.
No, no; 'tis design'd as a furnace;
All substance, all textures to try--
To consume all the "wood, hay and stubble,"
And the gold from the dross purify.

Think not, when you gather to Zion
That all will be holy and pure--
That deception, and falsehood are banish'd
And confidence wholly secure.
No, no, for the Lord our Redeemer
Has said that the tares from the wheat
Must grow; until the great day of burning
Shall render the harvest complete.

Think not, when you gather to Zion
The Saints here have nothing to do
But attend to your personal welfare,
And always be comforting you.
No, the Saints who are faithful are doing
What their hands find to do, with their might
To accomplish the gath'ring of Israel
They are toiling by day and by night.

Think not, when you gather to Zion,
The prize and the victory won--
Think not that the warfare is ended,
Or the work of salvation is done.
No, no; for the great Prince of Darkness
A tenfold exertion will make
When He sees you approaching the fountain
Where the truth you may freely partake.  (LDS Women)

Now, recently in the media we are made aware of another way to think of Eliza R. Snow, as a survivor of gang rape.  This knowledge helps me to appreciate this woman even more.  Two times she has to pick herself up, and go on.  I noted in the "Liahone September 1987" this story about Eliza Snow>  With the expulsion of the Saints "a man taunted Eliza R. Snow, saying, “Well, I think this will put an end to your faith.” She replied, “No, sir, it will take more than this to put an end to my faith.” He humbly responded, “I must confess you are a stronger person than I am.”  Eliza R. Snow is a person among people.  A person who overcame hardship, and was able to help many others.  A woman who fought for women's suffrage and women's rights.  (Utah had women's suffrage long before any other state or territory, but it was taken away by the federal government.)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Book Review: A Time It Was Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties

A Time It Was Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties photographs and text by Bill Eppridge, essay by Pete Hamill, Abrams, New York, 2008.
 This is a photographic history of Bobby Kennedy, his campaign and assassination.  Bill Eppridge was attached to the campaign as a photographer for LIFE magazine.  This is a fascinating documentary of why Kennedy decided to run, and of his last night in California.  Turns out Sirhan Sirhan was Lebanese, and was getting back at Booby Kennedy for his brother's stand on Israel.  Bill Eppridge too the famous photos of the busboy holding up Kennedy's head after he had been shot.  This book is fascinating, and moving.  I remember living through those events.