This is one of those things that make me SO glad that Obama is our President. And it is the kind of thing that most people won't even be aware of, but it will help some of America's most victimized people.
Most Americans barely realize the levels of rape and domestic violence directed against Native American women. In some cases it is violence committed within the tribal community. But all too often it is rape committed by outsiders, a major problem that Amnesty International drew our attention to some years back. Too often the criminal justice system makes it impossible for rapists from outside the tribal community to be brought to justice. From Amnesty International:
"Maze of Injustice: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women from Sexual Violence in the USA"
A Summary of Amnesty International's Findings read more »
I have been reading two books that deal with pre-Columbian America: 1421 by Gavin Menzies and 1491 by Charles Mann. Both present controvesial but interesting theories of what happened before Columbus in the Americas. I find my self only partly convinced by each book and, in fact, think that the two theories wind up, in their extreme forms, to be mutually exclusive.
My mother was an Anthropologist and as a kid we often went to museums of all sorts. I was exposed to pre-Columbian art and archaeology, but never found it as compelling as European and Asian art and archaeology. Looking back, I felt little connection with pre-Columbian cultures. I had more connection to modern Native American culture than ancient, as if in some ways I bought the olf fallicy that Native Americans didn't really have a history of their own. I think I first awakened to the pre-Columbian cultures in graduate school when I was lucky enough to see the Treasures of Sipan exhibit at UCLA (the only US museum that got to display the exhibit...it is permanently housed in Peru). This was billed as being as spectacular as the Treasures of King Tut which I had seen and was amazed by as a kid. I scoffed at that, but still went to see it. It was just as spectacular as any ancient art and I was blown away. The Treasures of Sipan showed artifacts from a nearly untouched tomb from the Moche culture in South America. It made me appreciate just what the ancient Andean cultures were really like and was the first time I felt an affinity with a pre-Columbian culture. read more »
Perhaps more than anything, Obama inspires us to want and dream of more.
Today is a big push to try and save Pretty Bird Woman House, a women's shelter on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. I have brought up the Pretty Bird Woman House Woman's Shelter before when I discussed the horrific Amnesty International report on the high incidence of rapes of Native American women by outsiders who seldom get procecuted. This shelter's sad story has continued. It was vandalized and is not being sold off. This will leave many women on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation with no support system. On Daily Kos a fundraiser is ongoing to raise enough money to buy the property and set it up to be a safe and secure women's shelter again.
I am asking you to help out. I donated $100. Some are donating as much as $500. This is pure, old fashioned good works in keeping with the holiday season. read more »