Our staff is constantly educating themselves and striving to have a more full understanding of the worlds we walk in. We will be starting a new blog post type, called a Book Talks. These will feature important books, zines, articles, and other media that our team recommend and have personal connection to. We hope that this expands the conversation about the plethora of important knowledges at many of our fingertips, and maybe provides a recommendation for folks looking to pick something new up!
Below is a quick write up from Outreach Director Rob Kinneen about his recent read of “Notable Native People” by Adrienne Keene.
I first posted about this book when I saw it at a local book vendor, Sassafras on Sutton, in Black Mountain, NC. How lucky was I that it ended up in my stocking from my sister this Christmas!! “Notable Native People” seems casual and accessible with a graphic novel feel. I truly was impressed with the depth of knowledge and history, as well as the amazing list of historical and contemporary change makers in the Indigenous culture…Jim Thorpe, Wilma Mankiller and Edmonia Lewis, delivered without feeling too “academic.” It was truly a welcoming, enjoyable read.
I was excited to see folks I know! Holly Nordlum is a friend of mine, we spent a working week remote in King Salmon, AK, talking to her about her ink stitching ideas and project. Soon after, she had gotten her tavlugun (Indigenous Chin Tattoo) – how striking and confident she looked! I also got a chance to meet Nick Hanson a couple of times: once I was in Unalakleet and saw his driftwood American Ninja set up.
As an Alaskan, it brings me great pride to read about Elizabeth Peratrovich. Elizabeth is Tlingit born in Petersburg, raised in Sitka. She followed her parent’s activist footsteps by working with the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Sisterhood. She grew up with segregated movie theaters, schools, and hospitals on her ancestral land. When attending a Territorial legislative hearing, the senators questioned “Who are these people, barely out of savagery, wanting to associate with us whites with 5,000 years of recorded history behind us?”
Her response “I would not have expected that I, barely out of savagery, would have to remind the gentlemen with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind them of our Bill of Rights”.
This led to the nation’s first Anti-Discrimination Act. It passed February 16th, 1945, fourteen years before Alaska became a state and 20 years before the federal civil rights act became law in 1964.
Keene is a smart writer, and also a host on one of my favorite podcasts “All My Relations.” This pod is like hanging with some really smart cousins, talking story. Each episode invites guests to delve into different topics facing Native American peoples today.
Rob has also included some links to a podcast about Elizabeth Peratrovich, the All My Relations podcast, and to purchase the book Notable Native People from one of our favorite local Indigenous bookstores, Birchbark Books.
She’s History-Who was Elizabeth Peratrovich? A Conversation with Historian Holly Guise
All My Relations Podcast