Thursday, June 22, 2006

Technology Lecture Series to Youth

From my many lectures and talks my furthest will be in Alaska. Ok it is not the furthest place I have given a presentation at but it may well be the most remote. The NIEA (National Indian Education Association) is its 37th Annual Convention: Anchorage, Alaska. October 19th through the 22nd to celebrate NIEA's 37th Annual Convention!

For the Youth Track I am contemplating giving a "Rap" of Indigenous Technology. Ok lets get a couple things on the table.

First Im not Black (although my little brother Bobby is, true story my family adopted him at age two) He taught me how to breakdance, how to moonwalk, and all this not because my brother is African American - but because we were just kids.

Second, I'm not young anymore. I didnt even have a MySpace account till a few months ago (I didnt think I was cool enough). So I suppose I am trying to reach out to a younger generation. One time I gave a talk on Indigenous Techology it was to the ITCN (InterTribal Council of Nevada). My talk mainly was talking about Technology but I always had to refer or bring back the audience to how it related to them , to thier tribes at thier point in time. The next day I had given a talk on the same subject of Indigenous Technology, followed by a lecture on Tribal Parental Technology to the Native Wellness Institute. And it went over quite well with people asking questions and relating that as an interactive conversation to the audience of Tribal Leaders, Tribal Educators, and local government officials requesting I speak at thier councils and conferences as well.

So what it comes down to is Audience. So this is an excercise in Poetic Justice or outreach to the our Tribal Youth.

Indigenous Technology (NIEC Lecture, Alaska USA)

The way we think and the way we comprehend stems from trained cognitive senses from which we learn from pre-school, kindergarten, and secondary schools. To think the way we are thought, to do the way we are shown.

Or is it?

Cognitively we learn by shear recognition, we remember by touch and sense of feel. Heuristically we feel what feels natural or “second nature” because of a comfort zone in our patterns to welcome in what we are sensing. It goes deeper by what we sense. Your sensory thoughts are seeing what is interpreted.

For example, you use a mouse, common task - yes? with a computer to command a - “One and a Zero” from an “X and Y” coordinate. To the pre-history Indian, this would seem magic. To the common man it would seem like rocket science, to the computer programmer of today - it is a simple task, understood, carried out, and simply taken for granted as a day to day task.

To the Native American Indians, our people have been using tools of Indigenous Technology. Herbology, medicinal plants, solar energy, wireless communications for thousands of years. In the Indigenous sense there is something about Indigenous Technology that draws us all. To the Shaman, it is understood, carried out but different, it was respected as a day to day task. Not taken for granted.

What is Indigenous Technology? Indigenous is knowing where you came from. Where you belong in a sense. In Chairman Brian Wallace’s quote: “History is more about place than it is about time”. I say it is so, it continues to be so as being present in the moment. Indigenous Technology is knowing and respecting the tools, instruments, process of where modern technology comes from.

Wireless telecommunication has been with Native American Indians for thousands of years. Smoke Signals of messages traveling mountain top to mountain top. How is this reflected to us? It is common in our comics or cartoons but taken for granted in the sense of “smoke”.

Smoke signals which were given at distances were created by men of responsibility (communication is key to any organization, including tribes of the time). This smoke signals were messages of:

“enemy coming”,
“a marriage or union of people - in Native Terms”
“herd or hunt here”

There are two facets, one is that it is seemingly unobtrusive. To the common man it is just smoke. To todays telecommunications engineer it is a variety of signals. In Alaskan Native culture Ice has 60 different names. To with wireless engineer of today there are different signals. For which we take for granted. Cell Phones, Radio Signals, Television Signals, wireless wifi signals. 802.11 and 802.20.

We must take a hint from what Native American Indians did. they did not have every tribal member sending signals. If they did it could most likely look like Los Angeles SMOG. If you could see the wavelength and frequency polution today it would astound you. I am not saying to take away signals, frequency or limit wavelengths, just observe what is happening today. With Indigenous Technology, observe what has happened culturally and historically. Remember the place and time. Albert Einstien and Chairman Brian Wallace had a number of things in common, time is relative.

Solar Energy Generation
The sun is a powerful source. Giver of life and livelihood. As it is praised or cursed by man. The world we live in has learned to harness the Sun’s energy, not in the atomic sense, or the solar wind sense, but the basic sense of the shared livlilihood of the hunter and the gatherer.

A hunter fells a deer after he prays for its brother among the flora and fauna. After it is skined the sun drys and with plants it cures on a rack post to dry. Different angles of the post are positioned to get the most viable use of the stretched skin.

The sun has important values of the local community. Solar salt mining. Salt is in the waters but also, spots of concave areas inbedded in rocks which the Washoe Indians of California gathered the salts in these indentations as the sun evaporated the water from thier rock vessels. Solar Generation is just as important on a grand scale.

Tribes like the Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California has implemented its own Solar Array. With the combined efforts of the Washoe Environmental Protection Department and Sierra Pacific, the tribe now generates electricity which time powered thier Environmental Building, the Washoe Utilities & Maintenance Authority, the Planning Department, as well as thier own servers, communications, and wireless prototype antenaes.

Todays modern tribe sees the Indigenous Technology and observes its cultural importance and modern respect of its own place. In the socio-economic sense, to be both wireless and “off the grid” is proving true tribal soveriegty and self determination.

Solar technology is a shared tool as well as a shared responsibility learned from Native Americans. Leave the land as you arrive. Share what you have, for it is not yours. In Dine (white men commonly know as Navajo) , there is no word for I, or Me. Only we or us.

On this shared sense of the planet the Shingle Springs Tribe. The band of Miwoks hold two distinct facets of culture. Hawaiian and American Indian. In development is the use of a 100% Renewable energy plan for its hosting servers and collocated facilities. The tribe does not have much land base, so collocation is key to the tribe. Co-location because it can not house at this time the Solar Array nor the wind generation needed to power its facilities. The servers use 99% power of Solar generated renewable energy and 1% of Wind generated power. The partners which have been sought out are A socially responsible and like minded company who is very “Tribe Friendly”.

Our Indigenous Technology track takes us on a path of shared resources, off-shore production, and truly a global partnership with Native American Indians and East Indians. (Dots-not-feathers). The founder of happens to Indian himself. So Ironically we will take this step to be outsourcing to off-reservation entities while on-reservation we will design and develop the Environmental website and its tribal members who will maintain the content.

This realm of computers, of technology, of ones and zeros is at a point that we must remember that it is a tool. As the tribal youth of today are tomorrows storytellers and leaders, they are also the communicators. Technology of today, the Final Cut Pro, the DVD Studio Pro, the Adobe Illustrators, and Macromedia Dreamweavers, are todays modern storytellers.

These modern storytellers are now part of the collection of DVDs, of MP3s, they share. Share not only as the value of a story or song they share with one another at the tribe. But it also means a great deal to those off-reservation. Those urban indians who are away from the reservation, those away to school.

The process which they are retooled with is two main points which can not be learned or not not commonly taught in todays schools. Something I teach our children as the first thing on a Tribal Retreat or Conference:
How to Listen & How to Hear.. (next)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Native American Films

These are a listing of Native American Films shown throughout the seasons at our Washoe Tribe's Film Nights, Film Festivals, our Washoe Tribe Native Visions Film Festival, and our retreats and outings.

We host a number of Film venues throughout the seasons here but we also care to extend ourselves to off-reservation Tribal Members as well as our Native TANF program (for all Native Americans and thier decendents).

- Johnny Tootall (Feature Film)
- Don't Call Me Tonto
- Dreamcatcher
- Skins
- WashoeTribe Film Academy Films (7) Shorts
- Today is a Good Day: Remembering Chief Dan George
- Hank Williams First America (1)Feature Film
- Cowboys & Indians ( Short ) **NDN Comedy
- Black Cloud (Feature Film)
- Snowball Effect (Feature Length Documentary)
- Trudell (Feature Length Documentary)
- Edge of America (Feature Film)*** Indian Basketball Movie
- Homeland (4 Short Documentaries (Feature Length Documentary))

New Movies we will be showing will be:
- Christmas in the Clouds
- New World
For Example This was our Movie Listing from last year's Native Visions Film Festival Schedule:

Friday, June 17, 2005 ( 8 p.m.)

AIFI Tribal Touring Program (Youth Films)

Hoopa Reservation: "Hoopa Valley Cops" 10 min.

Hoopa Reservation: "Confessions of a Bigfoot Hunter" 8 min.

Yakama Nation: "A Typical Day" 13 min.

Yakama Nation: "Admirational" 11 min.

"Tribute to Chief Dan George" James Fortier, director 10 min.

"Today is a good Day: Remembering Chief Dan George" Loretta Todd,
director 44 min.

"Don't Call Me Tonto" Alan Smithee, director 83 min.

Saturday June 18, 2005 - 8 pm

AIFI Tribal Touring Program (Youth Films)

Hoopa Reservation: "Frog's Love Medicine" 9 min.

Hoopa Reservation: "Chahl Love Medicine" 7 min.

Susanville Rancheria: "Never Say No" 7 min.

Susanville Rancheria: "The Diamond Girls" 6 min.

"Raven Tales" Simon James, director 23 min.

"Athlii Gwaii: The Line at Lyell" Marianne Jones and Susan Underwood,
directors 46 min.

"Edge of America" Chris Eyre, director 103 min.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tribal Film Festivals (Indigenous)

Normally at one of our Tribal Film Festivals we prepare. We have it now down to Mini-Film Festivals of 45 minutes of set up time with about a week of advanced notice. With larger film festivals we prepare months in advance. This explaination is for a "Mini-Film" Festival Venue Format & Setup).

We gather the resources needed for the technical portion. (LCD Projectors (we use InFocus) , Backlit Screens [a wall will do fine in a gym], Speaker units (we use a Peavey System), DVD & VCR combo Player, DVD enabled laptop, and flashlights.

One mini-film festival we had a "Bake Sale" where one of the tribal members was setting up drinks and selling baked goods. In conjunction to that was a Spagetti Dinner. Other venues can be added.

In parallel there was the Tribal Wellness Center giving information about the Health Clinic and Wellness Centers outreach booth. From that was a door prize and drawing for those who stayed for the movies. This was to keep the audience awake as well as something to look forward to something at the end. This was a deep incentive to not only watch the movies but also to get information from our Wellness Center and the valuable giftcards from local merchants they were handing out.

Community announcements were made. This is important because during our Tribal Councils mainly adults attend these. With the community announcements we kept it to what is important to the Children and Teens. (We did have Community Leaders there in the audience ( Vice Chairman Tony Smokey of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada & California as well as Rebecca Smokey one of the Community leaders of the Dresslerville Community of the Washoe Tribe). This is important to let the Tribal Youth voice thier opinions and give feedback (in this feedback we also took a Wellness Center Survey - which was part of the incentives to stay).

For the films (in the above photo) we are archiving all photos and materials on our secure servers as much as we can. It is a Three Terrabyte Server in which we hold a vast amount of large format (high resolution) digital photos and multimedia.

Before we begin with the main films of the evening we started with short movies (6 - 10 minutes each) this let the crowd get comfortable and situated. Some sat on the pulled out gym bleachers, some brought thier own Pow-Wow chairs. The got rugged by just laying on the gym floor.

(22 min) The Washoe Tribe Film Academy "Youth Films" will show various films created in conjunction with the American Indian Film Institute. These 6 Films depict the humor of Tribal Reservations through the childrens eyes and told through film as a story format of thier own interpretation. These mini-films dealing with Meth & Drugs, Stewart Indian School, and normal living on the Reservation just outside Lake Tahoe (less than 40 minutes away)

We talk about the next film and give a brief narative on what will be previewed. After the movie we commonly have an open discussion of the movie and in this case we have people who were in the production in the audience comment about the experience of making the work.

(15 min) "2007 Indigenous Games Introduction" By Chairman Brian Wallace. The Tahoe Baikal Association in conjunction with Lake Baikal have on ongoing relation of the Indigenous Games in Russia. These are a series of Lake Baikal photos which are integrated with our Washoe Tribal Lands showing many indigeous similarities between our two living bodies of waters. Washoe Creation story by Cristy Tom (Tribal Youth Film Academy), Dinah Pete (Speaking in Native Washoe Language), and Chairman Brian Wallace providing an introduction to the Indigenous Games.

We have a brief break on the end and introduce the next move after the narative of the movie is made. In the Snowball Effect, the Washoe Traditional Homelands are nested along the Lake Tahoe's Sierra Nevada mountain range. And we talk about the tribes and the use of the mountain. For the elders in the audience we talk about the migratory traditional trade routes.

(56 mins) “The Snowbowl Effect” which documents the Native American struggle to protect Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks from Corporate owned Ski Resorts. The Snowbowl Effect explores the controversy surrounding the recently proposed ski resort expansion and snowmaking with wastewater on the San Francisco Peaks as Native American tribal officials and spiritual leaders, Forest Service officials, and concerned citizens discuss the issues: sacred lands protection, public health concerns associated with groundbreaking studies on wastewater, economic misconceptions, threats to the environment, global warming and a small community caught in the conflict.

During another Film Festival , Winona La Duke was deeply a part of the Native American environmental effort, in that- we respect and encourage all Tribal Environmental groups to watch this film. In our Washoe Tribe we have Tribal members organizing and running our Washoe Environmental Protection Department and the next movie shows the reason why our Tribal Environmental Department works so hard to take care of what we have.

(90 min) “Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action”
One of the most critical but least known human rights stories in America is the savaging of Native American lands and its impact on Native peoples. Nearly all Indian nations sit on land threatened by ruinous environmental hazards - toxic waste, strip mining, oil drilling, and nuclear contamination. The realities that the tribes live with are bleak - children play near radioactive waste, rivers that tribes depend on for food are poisoned and reservations are completely surrounded by strip mines and smoke stacks spewing noxious fumes.

At the end of the movies we have announcements, transportation for the children back to thier communities as well as Tribal Police coming around to do a safety check around the area.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Washoe Storytelling Book Project

The Washoe Storytelling Project had a grand kickoff at its initial meeting. This Storytelling Project not only is about Washoe Traditional stories but its about life. The lives and livelihood that are remembered through storytelling brings about not only sharing traditions but sharing community. The Stewart Community kindly hosted the event in conjunction with Tribal Administration, Washoe Cultural Resources, as well as the Washoe Tribal Youth Council.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

V Portfolios

Looking to add more information about Scott Lankford and the V Portfolio Projects. What are called Virtual Portfolios (V Portfolios) More to add to this evolution of V Portfolios as well as Video Blogs abit later.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Washoe Storytelling Book Project

Storytelling • Art • Culture • Technology

The Washoe Storytelling Book Project is to create a published book of children’s art (Ages 5 - 13), hear stories & traditions from Our Elders. Bringing together the stories of our Washoe Elders & the Art of our Washoe Youth in the form of a Washoe Tribal Book. This book will be a children’s illustrated book including history, language in published Book & DVD format.

All communities are welcome to listen. Also attending are Tribal Headstart, Washoe Tribe Film Academy & Washoe Tribe Youth Councils. Saturday night following the book project is a Pow Wow in the Washoe Carson Colony Gym (Pow Wow ends at 10pm). Email Joseph Arthur for more information,

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Film Festival

I just got asked to be on the Board of Advisors for the Reno Tahoe International Film Festival. I will be doing the Indigenous Section of the American Indian films.

This will be a new location Washoe Tribe. The Washoe Tribe has land around Lake Tahoe in particular Incline Village and Meeks Bay Resort. The new multimedia section will house the DVD production lab, HD Equipment and Conference Rooms for the Washoe Tribe Film Academy.

Tahoe/Reno International Film Festival
948 Incline Way
Incline Village , NV 89451

Tribal Websites

I am starting to revamp all our Washoe Tribal Websites, So get ready for a big change. Environmental Department is one of the first. Shown here is our Environmental Solar Array which powers our Washoe Environmental Protection Department, The Servers, and the Wireless Broadband Prototype.

Indigenous Games: Archery Location

From the area of the sport portion of the Archery Program I would like to designate the Ranch (Business Development or behind Tribal Police) as a placesetting for our new sport.

I think it would be good to house it at Environmental as well as Tribal Police is located very near its location. The Tribal Police can house the Armory with a checkin and checkout process for this. And Tribal Police can add to its time. A designated person would be Elliot Aguilar (Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Member) as well as Ike Bennett (Washoe Tribal Member).

Wireless Broadband Initiative

I am leading our Wireless Broadband Initiative across our Washoe Tribal Lands. I am glad to be a part of something with a vast potential to connect the unconnected. Culturally & Technologically alike, our Washoe Tribe has a great depth of potential to use the the technology in its communication infrustructure.

Washoe Tribal History: Archery

There are many references of Washoe Tribal history and culture dealing with Archery. Among them are materials and resources used by the Washoe Tribe in the Traditional Homelands of the tribe in Lake Tahoe and its surrounding areas.

Page 13. Hunted Best Animals
Page 14. Survival Methods & Stalking Prey
Page 16. Respecting the Hunt
Page 21. War Arrows
Page 23. Hunting & Activities
Page 24. Hunting & Rights of Passage
Page 25. Archery Contests
Page 26. Prayer Before Hunting
Page 35. Story of Ong the Bird (Story Linked Above)
Page 41. Story of Fremont and Melo
Page 45. Hunter Graphic

EarthDay Film Festival

I have a line up of films that we will be showing for that day: (getting event approval from Directors themselves)
For the Tribal Elder, I will ask both Dinah Pete & Linda Shoshoni. I still have yet to hear
from other Indian Taco Vendors, but I will put the word out again in our Washoe Communities.

- Johnny Tootall (1) Feature Film
- WashoeTribe Film Academy Films (7) Shorts
- Hank Williams First America (1)Feature Film
- Cowboys & Indians (1) Short
- Snowball Effect (1) Documentary Feature Length

“Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action” Roberta Grossman
One of the most critical but least known human-rights stories in America is the savaging of Native American lands and its impact on Native peoples. Nearly all Indian nations sit on land threatened by ruinous environmental hazards: toxic waste, strip mining, oil drilling, and nuclear contamination. Homeland tells the stories of five remarkable Native American activists in four communities who are fighting these “new Indian Wars”—dedicated to protecting the lands against disastrous environmental hazards, preserving their sovereignty, and ensuring the cultural survival of their peoples. (US, 2005, 90 min.)

Aboriginal Dolls

I found a wonderful friend from Canada (First Nations Native, Cree) We began a path of knowing one another through a project called the Aboriginal Doll project. Its quite interesting because of storytelling for our Tribal Elders to our Tribal Youth, in particular the Headstart kids. We are also working on a book project for our Tribe. But more about that later.

The Doll project is part of a Kookum doll. Kookum means Grandmother in Cree.

Indigenous Games: Archery

I continued my quest for wanting to involve the Tribe in Indigenous Games. So far I am getting support from our Tribal Environmental Department. Ike Bennett, whom I dearly admire for his authenticity of heart, will be leading this area. I am providing a resources and materials for this effort. There are many facets.

- Ethnobotany Resources
- Sports
- Mind , Body, Spirit
- Hunting / Survivalism
- Equipment (Bows, Arrows, Targets, Quivers, Instructions)

I would like to have the instructions of the class given by Ike. But the commands I would however like to see in Washo language. I have referenced our Wa She She Et Deh book quite a few times. Just to give a reality check on what we are doing. As well as primarily going to the Elders for thier guidance and support of the Culture, Language, and historical perspective.
There is a reference I will be using which is "The Rabbit Boss" which tells about the Rabbit drive that the tribe has. This also relates to a boys coming of age ceremony I am researching.

Rabbit Boss (Excerpt from Video)

Rabbit Boss is a short documentary exploring an important dimension of American Indian life in the Great Basin. Every autumn, in sagebrush valleys east of the Sierra Nevada, Washoe Indians renew a connection with their natural environment. When the time is right, a leader known as the "rabbit boss" assembles a group of hunters to move through the brush, driving jackrabbits before them. As in the past, the rabbits are killed for their meat and pelts. Rabbit Boss follows the current leader, Marvin Dressler, on three rabbit drives in the basin-and-range country of the Washoe homeland. On-site footage and historic photos show how the rabbit drive has survived the twentieth century transformation of Washoe life, and excerpts from a decades-old home movie record the making of one of the last of the rabbit skin blankets.

Marvin Dressler (the Boss) is the principal narrator of the documentary, and his words are his own. Although he speaks English, his is an authentic Washoe account of the rabbit drive, the weaving of a rabbit skin blanket, and the importance of rabbits in Washoe life. In a world of social uncertainty, Rabbit Boss captures the strength of an enduring tradition. Its production was made possible in part by a grant from the Nevada Humanities Committee.

Rabbit Boss was recently chosen for screening at the 1998 American Anthropological Association Meetings in Philadelphia. It has also won awards at the New York and Columbus International Film Festivals and has been selected for screening at the following additional festivals:
21st Annual American Indian Film Festival
1997 Smithsonian American Indian Film and Video Festival
University of Montana Film Festival