Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: The World of North American Indians

The World of North American Indians: Passport to the Past, Michael Stotter, Rosen Central, New York, 2009.

This book is pretty shallow in terms of content, it allows only a couple pages for each subject.  However it does include some craft projects which seem nice.  Of course you are not making authenticate items, but mostly making things out of paper.
This book is more an anthropological description of Indian life from new born to death and how these things are dealt with by various different tribes.  It includes communication, shelter, transportation (horses) and other topics.  However being as brief as it is it is hard to get a full picture. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: The Mormons

The Mormons, Jean Kinney Williams, American Religious Experience, Franklin Watts of Grolier Books, New York, 1996.
This book has a picture of the Washington, D.C. temple on its front.  This is a more recent temple and this seems to represent when the book was written.
This book is a brief description of Mormons and their history.  It has some good points, and some errors.  As far as I can tell it was not written by a Mormon.  Someone in the book has penciled through that 15 percent of Mormon families were polygamous and written in 3 percent.  (The actual answer is difficult to come by and depends on the year that is researched.)  Polygamy was really a rare thing over all, but mostly practiced by the leadership of the church so was widely known.  Its practice was also reserved for those who were called upon by church leadership.
However getting away from polygamy, this book describes adequately the coming forth of the Church of Jesus Christ, with Joseph's first vision and his subsequent translating of the Book of Mormon.  It describes the persecution against the church, and explains that this was mostly due to the economic influence of the Mormons.  The book talks of Joseph's murder, with his brother Hyrum.  It further explains the rise of Brigham Young, and the westward trek.  The book talks of the church history in  Utah and statehood in 1896.  I didn't see anything written about the Utah War.  The book does talk of the persecution against the church because of polygamy, that church property was confiscated, and then the church members had to pay the federal government to use their churches and tabernacle.  Also Congress would not seat the individuals elected by Utah because they were polygamous.  They were even weary to seat non-polygamous Mormons.  This resulted in a second proclamation by the church against polygamy.
The book follows the church up through the time of President Hinckley, when the book was written.  It also notes that the church is now international, with a quarter of its members in Latin America.

Book Review: Amazing Native American History

Amazing Native American History, The New York Public Library,: A Book of Answers for Kids, Liz Sonneborn, A Stonesong Press Book, New York, 1999.
This book has some excellent information, but I feel it is a bit too broad to cover everything it tries to cover.  It starts with ancient Indians in the United States, including Mound Builders and cliff dwellings.  It then skips to Mexico and ancient ruins there.  It then goes through different regions of Native Americans and their history.  Unfortunately it skips the mountain region as it skips from the Plains Indians to the Southwest Indians and then the California Indians.  I like to hear about those form the intermountain area.  
My other complaint is the way it is set up, presenting a question and then answering the question.  In fact the best information I gleaned from this book was the side information in boxes.  There I learned of women warriors and artists and city populations and many other fine things.  
This book helps my continuing study of Native Americans but is a bit broad in some areas, and narrow in others. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Washakie, Utah: Ghost town

Washakie, Utah was named for the Shoshone chief Washakie, however Washakie never lived there.  This town was inhabited by Sagwitch and his people.  It is located off of I-15, in Utah but close to the Idaho border near Plymouth, Utah.  It was a farming community.  Most of the original buildings are now gone.  At one time there was a thriving branch of the  church hear, and in fact a ward at one point, with the first Native American bishop, Moroni Sagwitch.  I was able to get some pictures of the town and the cemetery.  I was looking for the resting place of Sagwitch, but was not successful.  The cemetery was made where he passed away and was buried.  The cemetery is very rustic, but it shows a great deal of pride, especially for those who served in the military.
Cemetery pictures

Washakie ghost town pictures

plaque commemorating a fort which was located near Washakie

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Book Review: Main Battle Tanks

Main Battle tanks, Melissa Abramovitz, Capstone High-Interest Books, Mankato, MN, 2001.
I learned a couple new things about tanks.  The first is that tanks no longer have rifled shells.  For a time all tanks had rifled barrels because the spin on the shell lead to more accurate shooting.  However now accuracy is developed by having finned shells.  The are shot from smooth bored barrels which shoot the ammunition at a higher speed.
I also learned why tanks are called tanks.  During WWI tanks were developed as a way to defeat trench warfare.  When they were first built, the tank was a secret.  Those building them were told they were building water storage devices, and thus the were given the name tank.
I knew tanks had night vision.  However in the Gulf War night vision was used during the day because visibility was low due to oil well fires.
Tanks today are built so they can stay on target even when the tank is moving.
This book is lacking in describing advances in tanks outside of the United States.  It would have been fun to hear about nazi tanks during WWII because they were larger than American tanks.  That said the M1 Abrams model tank is a mean tank, and proved the superior weapon in the Gulf War.

Black Indian: Bill Pickett: Rodeo Star

Proudly Red and Black: Stories of African and Native Americans, William Loren Katz and Paula A. Franklin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 1993.
Bill Pickett: Rodeo Star
I had heard of Bill Pickett because one of the featured individuals in the Legends of the West set of stamps released by the U.S. Post Office, however the picture initially used was that of his brother rather than Bill Pickett.  Both versions were released.  However I didn’t know much of him.  Again Pickett has been identified more as an African American, however his father was African American, White and Cherokee.  His mother was also a blend, Black, Mexican, White and Indian.  Bill Picket is most known for bull-dogging.  He initially bull-dogged biting the lip of the steer.  However he let this go over time.  It is because of him that bull-dogging is part of rodeos.  He also performed in a wild west show, The 101 Ranch Wild West Show.  This was the Miller ranch hands performing in the off season, but it was popular and traveled through out America and South America.  With the advent of motion pictures, wild west shows became less popular.  However Pickett also performed in early movies, including the movie “The Bull-Dogger.”  Others who made this jump were Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson, Will Rogers and  Tom Mix.  Bill Pickett died and is buried on the Miller Ranch.  He was kicked in the head while he was trying to rope a bronco. 

Chapter Review: I Did not Kill Armstrong: The story of Edwin Howard Armstrong: Radio Pioneer

Dreamers and Deceivers: True Stories of the Heroes and Villains Who Made America, Glenn Beck with Kevin Balfe, Threshold Editions, Mercury Radio Arts, New York, 2014.

“I Did Not Kill Armstrong”: The War of Wills in the Early Days of Radio.
Edwin Howard Armstrong was a genius.  Radio was his passion, that and heights.  But it was radio where he made his mark.  He developed an oscillation system which advanced radio.  This used putting the sound through the radio many times to increase the sound.  It worked.  He was using however an Audion tube, Which was the invention of another party, Lee DeForest. 
Armstong shared his invention with David Sarnoff of the American Marconi Company.  This company would eventually evolve into RCA.  Armstrong helped solve many problems with reception and sound, which resulted in RCA being able to sell hundreds of thousands of radios.  However he also became embroiled in legal issues.  DeForest claimed he was the inventor of radio. 
When WWI started, Armstrong loaned his patents to the military, and volunteered himself.  He was a major and helped greatly with communications.  DeForest also helped the war effort, if he was paid. 
After the war the court case went through the courts all the way to the Supreme Court, who ruled for DeForest. 

However by this time, Armstrong was developing the next thing, FM radio.  This was an attempt to make radio more clear, and less subject to environmental conditions.   He was successful.  He developed radio which was much clearer.  At this time he worked for  Sarnoff and RCA.  When the idea was introduced, which Sarnoff had requested several years earlier, it was an obvious success.  FM Radio was much clearer with less interference from the elements.  However, Sarnoff had gone the way of AM radio.  There were hundreds of thousands of people listening to, and networks producing to AM radio.  Sarnoff suggested putting FM aside.  This was not acceptable to Armstrong.  At this time they split company, Armstrong being kicked out of his office within a day. 
Now Armstrong plowed ahead on his own, with only the support of his wife, and developed a network of FM stations on the east coast.  In the meantime, Sarnoff tied Armstrong up in court in legal battle after legal battle, and claimed RCA was the legal owner of FM radio.  WWII was a reprieve, as both Sarnoff and Armstrong participated in the war effort.  However the legal battles continued after the war.  Sarnoff at one point offered $1,000,000 to buy Armstrong out, but this wouldn’t even pay for the equipment. Sarnoff, in court, later denied ever making such an offer. When Sarnoff could not win, he lobbied the FCC to change the frequency of the FM signal, and overnight all the FM radios were obsolete.   
Armstrong finally gave in, and began smashing his awards, as the tyrants would never let him be.  His wife was struck in this episode, and he never saw her again.  Two months later he jumped out of his apartment to his death.  Upon hearing this, Sarnoff instinctively said, “I did not kill Armstrong.”  (He must have felt guilty.)  Armstrong’s name is enshrined by the International Telecommunication Union. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Black Indian Biographies: George Henry White: Militant Congressman

Proudly Red and Black: Stories of African and Native Americans, William Loren Katz and Paula A. Franklin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York, 1993.

George Henry White: Militant Congressman. 
When George White left congress in 1901, no African American would serve in congress for nearly thirty years.  Twenty men served between 1870 and 1901.  White was the only African American in congress during his second term.  As such he says re represented 9 million Americans.  White identified as a Black man, although he did have some Native American ancestry.  He did not shy away from speaking his mind.  Among other things he introduced legislation to outlaw lynching.  It failed.  He was elected through an alliance between Black Republicans and more liberal Democrats.  However, the majority of the Democrat Party despised the service of African Americans, and used racist threats and innuendo to drive Blacks out of Congress.  They also used Jim Crow and Black voting laws to make sure Blacks could not serve. 
White was from North Carolina.  However after his service he did not return, but lived in Washington, D.C. where he worked as a lawyer.  He was a contemporary of Booker T. Washington, but they had different philosophies about how to in interact and work for Black rights.  White was much more vocal.  This chapter says militant, but I don’t see him as being militant, just persistent. 
He is well noted for his farewell speech to congress, “This, Mr. Chairman, is perhaps the Negro's temporary farewell to the American Congress, but let me say . . .he will rise up some day and come again.  These parting words are in behalf of an outraged, heartbroken, bruised, and bleeding, but God-fearing people, faithful, industrious, loyal people—rising people, full of potential force.”

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Chapter Review: Grover Cleveland: The Mysterious Case of the DIsapearing President

Dreamers and Deceivers: True Stories of the Heroes and Villains Who Made America, Glenn Beck with Kevin Balfe, Threshold Editions, Mercury Radio Arts, New York, 2014.

Grover Cleveland: The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing President.  I am sure if this is not the first time a president had lied about their health, and it definitely wasn’t the last time.  In this case, presumably President Cleveland wanted to keep his health out of the public eye to not interfere with his chances of negotiating through Congress legislation to change the silver standard.  He felt this was contributing to depression.  Of course it was also felt the president’s health was important so as not to instill panic or fear in the general populace. 
President Cleveland had cancer, a tumor in his jaw.  He went aboard a boat, and had surgery at sea.  He was basically overdue by four days, and people began to notice his absence.  He was out of touch with people for five days.  The story given is that he went on a fishing trip, had rheumatism, and had teeth extracted.  His health was fine.  Rumors abounded, but this was the official story and it stuck.
However a reporter uncovered the truth.  Two months later E.J. Edwards reported for the Philadelphia Press,  “The President a Very Sick Man.”  He had discovered the story from one of the doctors, an anesthesiologist.  However the president continued to deny, and none of the five doctors who attended the president came forward.  Instead of the reporter having a scoop, he became a fall guy as the president and his staff questioned his integrity. 
It wouldn’t be for twenty-five years, and after President Cleveland’s death, that the truth would finally come out.  E.J. Edwards was an honest man and reliable reporter, while it was President Cleveland who was not truthful. 

This is a very short version of this story.  The Glenn Beck version has many more details.  I also understand there is a book about the same story, “The President Is a Sick Man” by Matthew Algeo.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Movie Review: Hillary's America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party (2016)

Viewed this as the theater yesterday.  It is Dinesh D'Souza's work.  He is the filmmaker who was imprisoned for an illegal cash donation to his friend.  It is a must see.  It really presents many things I have been thinking.  I have had these questions for so long.
How can the party of the Indian Removal Act (Trail of Tears), slavery, Jim Crow, the Klu Klux Klan, racist after racist, Black lynching, voting against Civil Rights (in 1886), Japanese relocation ( I added this one), President Woodrow Wilson reinvigorating the Klu Klux Klan with showing "Birth of a nation" in the White House (the first movie screened in the White House), against women's suffrage, eugenics, and so many other abuses.  
They promote the line that the parties shifted places; that the racist switched parties.  D'Souza refutes this claim.  However for some reason, under Lyndon Johnson the Democrat Party took over the moniker of being for the minority.  Could that be true.  Her is a quote form President Johnson from the movie website.  
Although seen in a positive light for signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, Johnson had other motives behind supporting the civil rights legislation. He is known to have said to Sen. Richard Russell "These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don't move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there'll be no way of stopping them" in regards to the Civil Rights Act of 1957. But, by giving blacks just enough, he would have "them niggers voting Democratic for two hundred years."
D'Souza then goes back and takes a look at Hillary Clinton, and all the things she has to hide.  The most disgusting to me is how she was able to use her government positions to enrichen herself.  That is not  suppose to happen.  However it happened time and again, and we as a country have been compromised as a result.  Bill Clinton would give a speech, and Hillary would give a favorable recommendation.  This has resulted in our technology being given to the Russians, and uranium as well.  Many people have become rich as a result, including the Clintons.  Their foundation is a front also for making themselves rich.  The collected money for Haiti, and upwards of 90 percent of the money has gone to administration costs.  With Hillary Clinton we have a known commodity; someone who will sell out the American people; someone who is racked by scandal after scandal.  
Of special note is the portrayal Ida B. Wells.  I was not familiar with her story.  It seems it is lost in history because she was a Black woman who was  also Republican.  She was a reporter, and not afraid to speak her mind in her paper.  She often opposed lynching, but was put down by the local Democrats who controlled the police.  She advocated for Black second amendment rights which were taken away by Jim Crow laws and Black Codes.  On the website for the movie it states, "She denounced the Democratic Party because they treated blacks like chattel, not as human beings with equal rights to whites."
D'Souza also presents the Democratic Party as a gang of cons who are playing the biggest con with the stakes being our country.  They support the poor, for their votes, with the promise of using money through taxes so they can give to so many and get their votes.  However as in any con, you offer something up front, and take more later.  The take our freedom with their taxation policies.  (not part of the movie, but I hear Hillary Clinton is now planning to increase taxes on the middle class.)  Both Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton came up through the study of Saul Alinsky, who bragged of his ability to con and taught others this same practice.
D'Souza uses actors in many prominent roles to tell his story.  Of course the attitude of the actors is reflecting an agenda rather than what really may have taken place.  But his point is made.  Andrew Jackson, the founder of the Democratic Party was a slave holder, who had sex with his slaves, who was opposed by Davy Crocket in his Indian Removal Act (Andrew Jackson needed the land to give to people who would then back him politically) but never the less, caused the forced migration of hundreds of Native Americans, many of whom passed away enroute.  The Republican party claim as their first President Abraham Lincoln.  The Civil War in many  respects was a war between Democrats and Republicans.  Democrats wanted to keep slavery in place.  D' Souza makes the statements that no republicans ever had slaves.
Democrats just seem to have been wrong for America through history, and in my opinion, they are still wrong.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Black Native American: Edmonia Lewis, Sculptor

Edmonia Lewis attended Oberlin College, a school and town known for abolitionist activity.  She was of Chippewa and African American descent, her mother being native American and her father a freed former slave.  While at school she was accused of poisoning two classmates with wine.  They both became ill after drinking wine she had given them.  However she was found not guilty as her lawyer argued there was no evidence that the women were poisoned.  Lewis moved to Boston after the trial, without graduating.  She says she always wanted to make the forms of things.  With a letter of introduction to William Lloyd Garrison, a famous abolitionist she told him of her desire to "make forms."  Garrison in turn introduced her to Edmund Brackett, a Boston Sculpture.  Brackett took her under his wing, and slowly her work showed promise.  She made a medallion with the bust of John Brown.
Then she made a bust of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who had led a regiment of Black soldiers.  She sold 100 copies of this sculpture.  She relocated to Rome, Italy in 1865, where she would live the remainder of her life.  She visited America frequently.  She continued to make sculptures that appealed to an American audience.  she used the neoclassical style, an updated version of classical art.
"Forever Free" is a famous work showing the emancipation.
Her most famous work is "The Death of Cleopatra."
She also took on Native American subjects, including "The Old Arrow Maker and his Daughter."  She also did a version of Hiawatha.
Moving to Rome allowed her to pursue her art as a woman, as their were a group of women there who supported each other.  Also her African and Native heritage was not a roadblock there.

Information is gleaned from the book Proudly Red and Black: Stories of African and Native Americans, William Loren Katz and Paula A Franklin, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1993.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Book Review: Sacagawea: Westward with Lewis and Clark

Sacagawea: Westward with Lewis and Clark, Native American Biographies, Alana J. White, Enslow Publishers, Springfield, NJ, 1997.  In this book we have not only a biography of Sacagawea but also a history of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  Sacagawea was 16 when she joined the expedition.  Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were glad to have her as part of the team called Corp of Discovery because she knew the territory, could serve as interpreter, and also because she could help them negotiate with Indians when they would need to trade for horses.  Even thought she was 16, and had a new born baby to care for, which she carried in his cradle board, she was an important asset.  Sacagawea had been stolen from her people about six years previous.  She then became the husband to a french Canadian, Toussaint Charbonneau who either bought her as a slave, or won her in a poker game.  Whatever he married her.  Sacagawea was not his first wife, but the only wife on the journey with him.  Sacagawea's knowledge of local plants, and which were good for food was invaluable information.  Also she helped with directions and her knowledge of the land.  They did find her people, and Sacagawea was able to help Lewis and Clark purchase horses.  Her brother was the chief.  However Lewis and Clark were not as pleased with Charbonneau.  He let the canoe sink, and did several other things through carelessness.  However the entire family, Sacagawea, Charbonneau and their son Jean Baptiste (nicknamed Pomp by Captain Clark) all made the trek both ways, to the Pacific and back again.  They were exploring the Louisiana Purchase, and trying to determine if there was a water crossing across the continent.  This there was not, but they proved it was possible to cross the continent by overland travel and water.  There were many perilous times on the trek.
William Clark befriended Sacagawea's baby.  He offered to raise him.  It appears Charbonneau and Sacagawea took him up on this.    They traveled to Saint Louis where he lived.  There is an indication that Sacagawea died young.  A note says the wife of Charbonneau had passed away and was buried at Fort Manuel in South Dakota.  However as Charbonneau had more than one wife this is confusing.  The Shoshone have her returning to them and living a long life.  She told of the whale carcass she had seen while along the coast, and many other strange things.  This tradition has Sacagawea passing away in 1884 on the Wind River Reservation.  Since she was 16 when she started the trip with Lewis and Clark in 1804, she would have been well in her 90s when she passed away.  The result is that there are two burial sites for Sacagawea.  Whatever the truth, she was a remarkable woman, and her knowledge and fortitude helped Lewis and Clark return successfully from their mission across the continent.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Review: Moho Wat: Sheepeater Boy Attempts a Rescue

Moho Wat: Sheepeater Boy Attempts a Rescue, Kenneth Thomasma, illustrations by Jack Brouwer, Grandview Publishing Company, Jackson, WY, 1994.  With this book I am introduced to a new author.  This author writes children's books, based on Indian stories.  Many of these stories are passed down verbally.  This story is very old, in the 1700s.  It tells the story of the Shoshone Indians who were living in Yellowstone at the time.  The were known as the Sheepeater people.  This is a fascinating story about a boy, and is father.  Moho Wat discovers a sheep in a hot spring of Yellowstone.  The hot water has changed the ram's horn, making it into a material which would be very good for a bow.  That is what they do, they fashion a bow for his father and one for himself.  They now have bows superior to that of those around them.
However, just as things are going well, tragedy strikes.  A mountain lion gets Moho Wat, as he comes to close to her den.  It grabs his hand, and although his father saves him with the new bow, he does not save his hand.  It is indeed a tragedy to not have a hand, and at first Moho Wat reacts this way, his life is done.  However he begins to see that there are ways to overcome this.  He learns to shoot his bow with his feet.  He is convinced he can provide for a wife.
At the religious ceremony, held at the sacred medicine wheel, in the big Horn Mountains, far from their native, a young woman is kidnapped.  Moho Wat had seen her, and was stricken by her beauty.  He goes after her to rescue her.  This effort is very complicated.  He follows them many miles.  He finally develops a plan, and it works.  However he is now pursued.  They make their escape, and at one point a flash flood would have taken Moho Wat except for the girl hangs from a tree branch and saves him.  She is injured in the rescue, but heals quickly.  How surprised the family of both individual is when they finally arrive home.  
Aside from the story, the cultural information provided about the Sheepeater people is incredible.  They were a mountain people, who rarely traveled to the valley.  Their method of hunting as a team, the grieving for a brother, and other details of family life were insightful.  The are now mixed with the Shoshone of Fort Hall.
My only complaint about this book is the pictures make the couple look too Caucasion rather than Indian.  I really enjoyed the story.

Chapter Review: Shay's Rebellion, Glenn Beck

Miracles and Massacres: True and Untold Stories of the Making of America, Glen Beck with Kevin Balfe and Hannah Beck, Threshold Editions, Mercury Radio Arts, New York, 2013.
This chapter tells a story I was not familiar with, but was mentioned in the Revolutionary War exhibit at the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls.  Of course Glen Beck has many more derails.
What would become known as Shay's Rebellion, had its spark and birth in rural Massachusetts.  Taxes and debt were killing the rural farmer, while those in rural areas saw the wealthy bankers getting rich.  This was ten years after the Americans had won their independence.  It seemed. The courts were to blame, as they were used to collect debt and enforce rates.  So this rebellion from several rural counties set out to shut down the courts, and this they did, staging gatherings around the court houses.
Daniel Shays had been in the Revolutionary. War, and was drafted to be the leader.  Once in Shays was committed.  The government was able to regain some control using local militias.  However more assistance was needed.  The rebellion's goal was to take the federal armory in Springfield, MA which held guns and ammunition.  Although federal troops had been sent to support the local militia, they had not arrived.  The people of the rebellion had planned attack from three sides, however the leader of one side had second thoughts, and they were not there.  The defenders also had cannon.  When the attack came, cannon fire chased them off, killing four men.  The rebellion men retreated a couple miles.  When the Federals arrived, they pursued to mop things up.  Shays was captured.  The men of the rebellion were pardoned, except two young men who were stealing supplies after hostilities were over.
Shay's Rebellion became motivation for a Constitutional Convention, to shore up the government and prevent further deterioration of the government.