I only have 2 days of classes left and one final test next week (lets not forget I have 2 final papers due Fri and Mon)! My bloggy themed paper is coming along well. It was really fun to write this paper because I had a great excuse to wander the archives of my favorite blogs. Unfortunately it will not be as comprehensive as I originally planned. My instructors felt that I had too much data to work with and that with what I had I could start a dissertation! The paper is only 5-7 pages (very short for college papers) and I dont have enough space to write out everything. I dont know why I am complaining... this means less work right?
Crafting time comes when I cannot fathom reading another sentence that sounds like this, "These conditions forge labor's critical consciousness, encompassing, on the one hand, a negative immanent critique of state socialism for its failure to live up to its claims of superior efficiency and equality, and, on the other hand, a positive vision for an alternative order based on worker self-management." Blah blah blah blah... reading this stuff is one way to cure insomnia...
I promise that in a week I will be talking all about crafting an no school until Jan 7th when we start a new quarter. I am super excited about my next series of classes! I am taking Multimedia Ethnography (an exciting emerging field), Anthropological Folklore (sounds interesting since I love myth) and Anthropology of Religion (we are learning about all sorts of great things here).
I am already working on my idea for Multimedia Ethnography. My plans are to show how Native American peoples from reservations are attempting to acclimate to the United States while still maintaining their cultural heritage. I emphasize attempting because the Native Americans are now considered a 4th world country, which is a relatively new term describing a culture that is directly oppressed by another political power within their native homeland. Tibet is another example (China claims Tibet as part of their country, but folks from Tibet claim otherwise. Mongolia too, except Mongolia is being ripped apart by Russia and China).
I could go on for pages about the wrongs that the US government is still doing to the Native Americans but that is for another day. One thing I want to make clear is that reservations are not considered part of the United States. Reservations do not get the "perks" that a city gets. Many people in reservations do not have access to schools, hospitals, hot water, or in many cases electricity or gas (means no heat). Native peoples are dying of starvation hours from major cities.
The best example of Native American poverty is Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The population of the Reservation is around 30,000 with Shannon as the poorest county in the nation (the US nation), with an average annual family income of $3,700. Unemployment hangs around 80%, and life expectancy is 48 for men and 52 for women. About half the people over age 40 have diabetes, tuberculosis is common and the alcoholism rate is the highest in the United States.
If you would like to know more about Pine Ridge, here is a great site.
I did not mean for such a huge rant but I am very passionate about this and I dont feel like it is okay for the US to sweep the Native people of this country under the carpet just because we wiped them out and took over their country. Did you know that Europeans killed (directly and indirectly through previously unknown diseases) an estimated 50% of the population of North and South America in only 4 years! (this is supported by archaeological data and this occurred in the 1500-1600s. I would have to look up the exact dates). But there are written logs of explorers who visited , Cahokia, near modern day St. Louis and described a massive city of 40,000 with earthworks larger then anything north of the Aztec pyramids. Monks Mound at Cahokia was once larger then the pyramids at Giza! When the explorers came back a few years later the city was in the stages of collapse and many of the people fled because of disease (smallpox), which the explorers had brought with them the first time they came. Those who fled Cahokia spread the disease everywhere they went.
Could you image the terror a woman must have felt when an unknown disease wiped out your entire village... then you and the 4 survivors run to the next village and bring smallpox with you, killing their entire tribe of hundreds in a matter of 2-3 weeks.
There used to be a charity that sent handmade items to Pine Ridge but they closed because they didn't have the money to continue. I have a great friend who visits reservations and brings what he can. Maybe next year I will be able to coordinate a handmade item drive for them.
Ok I am going to stop now... I had intended on showing what I had finished this week and some of our Yuletide decorations but I think I am going to save those for the next post.