The Light of the Oracle by Victoria Hanley

The Light of the Oracle (Healer and Seer, #3) by Victoria Hanley ...

The Light of the Oracle is another older book I decided to give some love and attention to, as it is one of the most beautiful fantasy stories I have ever read. It is listed as a companion to Victoria Hanley’s other books, The Seer and the Sword and The Healer’s Keep, both also incredible works. Last year was Light of the Oracle’s tenth birthday, it being originally released in 2005. I was in sixth grade, and was immediately bewitched by the haunting tale of Bryn, an oracle with an affinity for Wind.

In this world Hanley has created, oracles are chosen in a ceremony by a certain kind of bird, but to be chosen by Wind itself is a very rare and dangerous gift. Bryn must overcome many trials, betrayals, and even a curse, while also attempting to keep certain individuals from taking advantage of the Temple and using its power for evil. Her story is one of love and endurance, as she falls for Kiran, a swan-chosen stable boy who can speak to animals. Everyone seems to be out to get Bryn, and she has to really struggle to survive and succeed at the Temple of the Oracle.

The story speaks to me on many levels, and has since I was a child. I have reread it many times, as it is one of my favorite tales. Bryn has a certain innocence about her, even in the end of the story she retains a purity and a curiosity that most fifteen year olds have long since grown out of. It is one of the most appealing things about her. She is also very clever and humble, two qualities that are often lost in teenagers. Looking back, I think this book taught me a lot on what personality traits I wanted to nurture within my own life.

I give this book 4 out of 4, as it is beautifully written and easy to read, the plot is wonderful, the characters are dynamic and each one is unique, and the setting is vividly described. The only negative thing I could say about this story is that there is a large number of struggles that Bryn has to go through, which has caused me a quite a bit of anxiety because Hanley gets you to become so emotionally invested in Bryn as a person and character. That is not really a negative thing, is it? Hanley’s skill as a writer really wraps you up in Bryn’s plight, getting you to care about it as if it was your own struggle. I highly recommend this book to readers young and old who enjoy fantasy. It’s a fantastic, timeless story.

Buy it here!

Little Sister by Kara Dalkey

Little Sister by Kara Dalkey.

Little Sister by Kara Dalkey is one of my favorite books. It was published way back in 1996, so not a lot of people remember it. It follows the story of Fujiwara no Mitsuko, a Japanese child of a noble family in the 9th year of Emperor Shirakawa’s reign.The setting is beautifully painted in watercolor strokes by the author, who writes as Mitsuko. We follow her as she and her family go through fires and scandal, and she befriends Goranu, a Tengu. Tengu are a particular kind of Japanese Oni, or demon, that can shape shift, but are most often shown in paintings as men with the head of crows.

This book is particular in the way it describes daily life in feudal Japan, and is careful to pay homage to how things were and are. The Japanese mindset are very different from western mindset, but somehow the author conveys it purely and clearly. The mythology and religion in both Shinto and Buddhism is referenced constantly, as in Japan the religion is more of a lifestyle and therefore are integrated into all parts of every day life. From the haiku poems that her sister exchanges with suitors in the Imperial court, to the furisode kimono sleeves she hides her face behind, the setting of Mitsuko’s world takes center stage in this hauntingly beautiful story.

Mitsuko is such an interesting and dynamic character, who sees herself as nothing more than a dutiful sister and daughter. She embarks on a journey into the underworld to save her sister with the help of Goranu. But Mitsuko is so much more, and Goranu sees that. She is brave and creative. Their relationship goes from being a reluctant partnership to a willing friendship-and later much more. The interactions between the two are definitely my favorite thing about this book, aside from the historical and vivid setting.

The author is a master of immersion, and it is not difficult to get lost in the story and forget reality for a while. It falls just short of 200 pages, and is easy to breeze right through. To this day, I wish it was longer. The first time I read it, I was in middle school, and now at age 22, I still reread it once a year. It never gets old, and the story stays with you. It is a truly beautiful tale of honor, love and duty, with the added splash of historical accuracy and regional beliefs.

I give it a 5 out of 5 and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Japanese culture and is curious to learn more about their mythology from a fictional character’s point of view. It is a truly amazing book! Please consider looking it up and giving it a read. It is always a sad thing when such a lovely piece of literature is left to gather dust in the annals of time.

Buy it here!

Dust by Joan Frances Turner

Vamps R Us: Book By Its Cover - Dust

Dust by Joan Frances Turner is not your typical zombie book. Yes, there is the blood, gore, flesh eating delight that comes with every zombie work of fiction-but there is so much more than what meets the eye in this novel. Turner creates a post apocalyptic world and a brand new mythology surrounding the undead. They have lives, gangs, friends, emotions, their own language. It is so incredible!

I give this a 5 out of 5. I really, really enjoyed it. You get to see the main character–Jessie– go through the process of dying, undying, and dying, and then undying again. You feel her emotions, care about the things she cares about, and see the things that she sees. The author is incredibly clear, crystal clear, in her descriptions, making it very easy to let your imagination inhabit this world she has built for us to explore.

The story is easy to follow, and the writing flows so well. The characters are colorful and well thought out, making them very real considering they are supposed to be the dead walking and talking. I will admit I had a huge hankering for close-to-rare steak after reading this, as her description of the creatures consuming raw meat actually made it sound appealing (not the human bits, of course).

Turner gives zombie books everywhere a run for their money in this comedic, wonderfully written and vivid depiction of plague-ridden Michigan, and the events that caused it all. I personally am not much of a fangirl when it comes to zombie themed supernatural or paranormal novels– the walking dead and world war z just are not really my cup of tea, ya know? But this book is so much more complex and involved than rotting undead monsters. They are an actual species with behaviors and feelings, which puts a whole new spin on the mythology than anything I have every seen before.

If given the chance, anyone who likes horror, paranormal or macabre, bloody humor should definitely check this book out. It’s to die for. :wink:

Buy it here!

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

Crazy Brave

This is a book that I have reread multiple times. Joy Harjo is like the voice in my heart that I never knew I had. This book recounts her life growing up as a Muscogee in Oklahoma (just like me!) through her poetry. She paints pictures with her words, describing different events in her life that changed her and shaped her. She uses many poems from her other books, as well as some new ones, and fits them in with stories about her journey from Oklahoma to Arizona for school.

I think I would go as far as to say that this is like a combined memoir and poetry anthology, because even when she is just talking about her life, it sounds like a poem. She had a very hard life growing up and yet her poetry had become renowned as some of the most well known Native American poetry ever written. That must make her so proud. She had been writing poetry since before I was even born.

I read this book when I am sad, or when I need to feel some sense of purpose. Because it gives you that. This book has a power and life all it’s own and it challenges you to take the rough patches in your life and make them into something beautiful, to learn from them and to move forward with your head held high. She is an incredible poet and often writes historical poems about the Trail of Tears and life as a Muscogee native. She often writes about music and how it is like the breath and the heartbeat of our people. I have so much respect for her, because she puts into words the way I feel when my people stomp dance at pow wows, and I never thought I would have words for that feeling.

I highly recommend ALL of her work to any Natives out there. We need to read these things. We need to know more about where we came from and the traditions of our people. I also recommend her work to any non-natives as well, because everyone should be able to appreciate and admire a culture, even from afar. Her writing is so beautiful and haunting. Everyone should read it. It is truly amazing.

Buy it here!

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

BOOK REPORT for The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden is a true work of art. It is set in post-storm New Orleans (Arden does not name this storm, so I deduce that it is based on Katrina but is a fictional storm) and the main character is a young lady named Adele. This book had two arcs actually, one in present day New Orleans, and the other in the past following a group of young girls making the Atlantic crossing a few hundred years ago.

All the characters are very well written. Adele, specifically, is such a real character, the emotions and the thoughts that Arden gives her are so believable and convincing that it is not at all difficult to put yourself in her shoes. There is a lot of diversity too, many of the main characters are people of color, and as a Native American it was really nice to see a character who quite possibly could have been from my tribe actually play an important part in the goings-on of the plot. (I am Muscogee and pre-colonization there were tons of Creeks in the south).

The atmosphere is breathtaking. I was actually in New Orleans for New Years a few weeks ago and purchased a signed copy of this book from Boutique du Vampyre (GREAT shop!) and I read it about a week after I got home. I immediately had the most intense longing to return to the city. The book is so descriptive and immersive. You feel like you are really there in NOLA. The sights, sounds, smells, it is all so vivid. It was also super cool to know exactly where and what she was talking about when she mentioned landmarks like Jackson Square, Café Du Monde, St. Ursaline’s Convent and the LaLaurie Mansion. At one point one of the characters, Ren, leads a ghost tour, and I actually got to go on one of those! It was such a treat to relive and revisit the city through Adele’s eyes.

This story is about vampires and witches, so if that is your cup of tea, this book is right up your alley! There’s a lot of history in this book, but I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to spoil anything! I loved this book and could not put it down, if you like magic, witches, vampires, history, fantasy, New Orleans, voodoo, art, fashion, murder, romance, mystery, comedy or horror-then this book is a must read! It’s SO good! Alys Arden is a wizard. This book has become one of my prized possessions and I have recommended it to all of my friends, because I just love it that much! It’s exciting, sexy, cute, funny, scary, intense, immersive and downright awesome. It has a little something for everyone and it is written SO well, almost like a poem.

Thanks for reading! Please consider supporting this amazing author and reading her book!

You can buy the book here!

 

Just for fun, here’s some selfies of me in front of St. Ursaline’s Convent!

and some of the places I visited in the French Quarter:

and of me and my hubbie at the New Years Eve Parade!

 

Preserve Triple Blade Razor Review

Brands Preserve Preserve Recycled Plastic Eco Friendly Triple Razor

So, recently I’ve been trying to go more eco friendly. Turning off the AC, using reusable bags when shopping, recycling everything that I possibly can, etc etc. Razors and menstrual related waste are two of the biggest throw-aways as far as hygiene goes for me. So, I’ll be switching to a menstrual cup (either the Vida cup or the Blossom cup since they are both in my price range) and doing reviews of those as well.

Anyway, to the point! I recently purchased a Preserve razor because it was the most eco friendly razor I could find without switching to a straight razor (I’m so clumsy that there’s no way I would make it out of that alive) or to a safety razor (which can get kind of expensive and again, they are crazy sharp and I am a clutz).

Preserve makes their handles from recycled plastic from yogurt cups and other sources, and the only part that you need ever replace are the razor heads. With proper care, a single razor head can last for months.

They also have a program called Gimme 5, where if you recycle 5 preserve products, you get a razor free.  Now, Preserve makes way more than just razors. They make toothbrushes, kitchen ware, tote bags, and much more. On their website, a Preserve razor goes for 8.50, and you get to pick the color as well as getting 2 blade heads. I bought mine off of ebay for 6.15. I also plan to buy one of their toothbrushes as soon as I can afford it.

They recently came out with a 5 blade razor, but I have the triple blade razor and I’ve got to say that performance-wise it is pretty amazing. It’s sharp but not to the point where I’m afraid I’ll cut myself, comfortable to hold, and overall just a quality product. It works great, getting even those stubborn hairs. And I get to feel good about having helped the environment in some small way, too. I highly recommend these razors to anyone who is eco-conscious but like me, not really brave enough to try a straight razor.

Overall, I give it a 4/5. The only reason it doesn’t have a 5/5 is that it isn’t the cheapest razor out there. But all in all its pretty fantastic for the price.

An Ongoing List of Native American Racial Slurs

This is just going to be something I will be adding on to as I collect things that are slurs towards indigenous and ndn peoples. It’s going to pain me to even write these words down, but this is for the education of non-native people so that they can cease using these racist terms. They are extremely hurtful, insulting and racist towards native people. These are just the ones I heard in high school and college…

Racial Slurs//

  • Squaw
  • Redskin
  • Chief
  • Feather
  • Injun
  • Indian (unless used by a native american for reclaimation purposes)
  • Red
  • Savage
  • Scalper
  • Seal Clubber
  • Squanto
  • Big Red
  • Squaw Hopper
  • Indian Giver
  • Honky
  • Pocahontas
  • Indian Brave
  • Indian Princess
  • Red man/woman

 

Phrases to Avoid//

  • “Don’t be an Indian Giver!”
  • “Let’s Have a Pow-wow!”
  • “Low on the Totem Pole..”
  • “That’s my stomping ground!”
  • “Hey, Chief!”
  • “We’re even! They have Casinos now!”
  • “How Indian are you?”
  • “You don’t look Indian to me!”
  • “Hold down the fort.”
  • “Maybe I should do a rain dance, this drought is awful!”
  • “Do you live in a teepee?”
  • “I’m going to scalp him!”
  • “That was savage!”
  • “My great great grandma was an Indian Princess!”
  • “Go Big Red! Go Redskins!”
  • “Get over it, already.”
  • “What makes the red man red?”
  • Pretty much the entire Peter Pan movie
  • Anything to do with the Washington Redskins
  • Anything at all to do with Columbus or the Vikings ‘discovering’ the Americas

 

A Brief Timeline of Mvskoke Historical Events

And I do mean brief.

10,000 BCE: First known evidence of Native Americans living in the Southern US.

1000 BCE: The Woodland period, evidence of horticulture and pottery developed.

800 CE: Mississippian Civilization emerges, known for mound building and complex cities.

1500 CE: Mississippian culture has disbanded and specific location oriented tribes form.

Original Mvskoke territories

1513: First known European contact with the Mvskoke, when Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida.

1526: Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón lands in South Carolina and makes contact with both the Mvskoke and Cherokee tribes.

1539: de Soto arrives and executes 200 natives. Known as the Napituca Massacre.

1539-1543: Hernando de Soto’s cruel invasion of Mvskoke territory.  Introduces Smallpox, which wipes out 90% of the original native population, as well as slaughters several thousand native people he came across during his invasion.

1596: de Soto’s example of massacre and enslavement of the Native peoples takes off and the Indian Slave Trade becomes more prominent.

1599: Juan de Onate massacres 800 in the Acoma Massacres of January 1599.

1670: English Traders form Charles Town in Carolina. They begin to push the Cherokee south.

1704: 1000 Apalachee natives killed and 2000 enslaved.

1715: Cherokee mass murder of Creek mission at Tugalo. Creeks begin killing traders.

1754: Sided with the British in French and Indian War

1763: Forced to Cede the Eastern territories.

1778: Sided with the British in Revolutionary war.

1813-1814: Red Stick War/Creek Civil War. Over 3000 dead.

1814: Lower Creeks broke away and formed the Seminole tribe.

1821: Treaty of Indian Springs ceded 5 million acres in Alabama.

1825: Second Treaty of Indian Springs ceded the last of the Lower Creek lands.

1826: Treaty of Washington, Muscogee confined to a small strip of land in Alabama.

1830: The tyrant Andrew Jackson passed and signed the Indian Removal Act.

1832: Muscogee forced to cede last of their lands east of Mississippi.

1834-1838: Trail of Tears, Tens of thousands of natives die.

1838: Jackson sends 7,000 troops to force the remaining Muscogee and Cherokee to relocate to Oklahoma. 20,000 Muscogee people were removed.

1861: Lower Creeks and Seminoles side with the south in the Civil War, while Upper Creeks side with the north.

1866: Slavery Abolished, new government established in new Muscogee territory, Okmulgee made the capitol.

1867: New Muscogee constitution ratified.

1898: Congress passes Curtis Act, which dismantled all tribal governments at an attempt at further assimilation, and passed the Dawes Allotment act which broke up tribal lands into family allotments and required all Muscogees by blood and Muscogee Freedman to register on the Dawes Roll. The Muscogee lost over 3.2 million acres in land during this time, over half the original promised land.

1907: Oklahoma approved for statehood.

1924: Native Americans are recognized as citizens of the United States

1936: Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, many Muscogee tribal towns reform their own governments and become federally recognized.

1970: Muscogee Creek Nation becomes federally recognized, and officially reorganizes its government as a whole.

1971: Muscogee people are allowed to vote for and freely elect their own chief without presidential approval for the first time in a century.

1979: Muscogee tribe ratifies new constitution to replace the dismantled constitution from 1898.

2004: Muscogee Creek tribe founds their Tribal College.

2016: Muscogee Creek tribe passes a resolution to support the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. 100 tribes stand together united against the ‘black snake’.

 

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You are not "Honoring" us. You are Hurting us. 

Today I heard that the Coweta public schools made a horrificly racist homecoming float. I didn’t believe just how racist it was until I saw it myself on the news.


I was so disgusted that I nearly vomited.

My hometown is the ‘Catoosa Indians’. And in Tulsa, the Union Public schools is the ‘R*dskins’. Both are racial slurs.

Now I’ve openly displayed my disgust of these mascots because they reinforce racist stereotypes, contribute to further cultural genocide, and teach children that racism, hatred, appropriation and annihilation of a race is acceptable, along with telling kids it’s okay to objectify and fetishize an entire group of unique cultures and peoples. 

It’s not okay. It’s unacceptable. But as a young adult in a world of middle aged white people who refuse to listen to me, an actual native person, it’s really hard to make a change. But this recent development sent me over the edge. I did what little thing I could to try to make a difference.

So, I’ve created a petition to ban all Native American mascots in Oklahoma. Other states have done it successfully and good things have come out of it. One would think that ‘Indian Territory’ would have been one of those states. And while Oklahoma City has passed legislations and ordinances to make changes, and have made positive changes, the rest of Oklahoma sits on its racism with an extreme amount of appropriative ignorance.

These racist mascots do not promote peace, they promote hatred and violence towards indigenous peoples. You are not honoring our cultures, you are mocking them and offending us. 

It’s time to change the mascots, guys.

If you are reading this, thank you so much for reading my blog. Please consider offering your support to the indigenous people of Oklahoma who are so desperately trying to preserve our traditions and cultures and sign the petition here.

A Cultural Appropriation Masterpost

This will be an ongoing list of informative and educational posts by not only myself, but other members of the POC community. They are all properly credited and when you click on the link, it will take you to their post and their blog. Please support POC bloggers and give them a follow!

Also, if you have made posts or know of really good cultural appropriation posts that you would like for me to include in this post (because my search skills can only extend so far haha), please shoot me a message with a link! Since I make posts only on ndn issues (since I am ndn), there might be a few more posts on that subject until I can find more posts to even it out! Thank you for reading!

 

The Basics//

 

First Nations and Native American Cultures//

Central and South American Cultures//

Pasifika Cultures//

Black and African Cultures//

Asian Cultures//

Roma Culture//

 

 

 

Indigenous Art is Medicine