Indigenous Peoples: Who Cares? #OakFlat

The above question in the title, posed as it is, may appear callous but at times the plight of indigenous peoples around the globe seems so perilous that there seems little hope of reversing the systematic destruction of their populations and habitats. However, there are signs of resistance and hope. One example of this is the current battle to save Oak Flat, Arizona. San Carlos Apaches are protesting the dubious selling-off of lands in Arizona, land that is sacred to their tribe, and this combined with an online petition and growing media coverage of the situation may well strike a blow at the heart of Washington by forcing the bill to be overturned.


Indigenous Americans, Native Americans, American Indians, whatever term we may wish to use, have been treated appallingly over the years and a good deal of misinformation exists around who these people are, and about how they came to be marginalised within U.S. society. The San Carlos Apaches are just one small community, but it seems that their efforts at halting a corrupt deal may well come to fruition. The reason that the words ‘dubious’ and ‘corrupt’ have been used here is to do with the fact that the bill that allowed such lands to be sold off for mining purposes was pushed through without due diligence, and was actually attached to an unrelated defense bill concerned with military spending. Further reasons for using such words has to do with the fact that the land being sold off is public land that is supposed to have special protections as enforced by Eisenhower and Nixon governments, respectively. However, such ‘protections’ do not always carry much weight where future profits are concerned and so the need to act is of the upmost importance. An online petition, currently with over 1,000,000 names added to it, will help demonstrate to policy makers in Washington that this deal should not and cannot go ahead. Please sign the petition here:

For more information, please visit the following links where there are a number of news items covering the San Carlos Apaches’ plight: The New York Times, The Guardian, and Al Jazeera America.

For anyone interested in learning about past atrocities, betrayals, and the general maltreatment of indigenous peoples there are a number of easily accessed items of popular culture. Two such items that spring readily to mind are Johnny Cash’s 1964 recording of Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (recently revisited by artists such as Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, and David Rawlings on the tribute album Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited), and Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the Indian West.

For those interested in a more in-depth discussion of the wider problem of the systematic genocide of indigenous peoples, refer to Benjamin Madley’s paper, “Patterns of frontier genocide 1803–1910: the Aboriginal Tasmanians, the Yuki of California, and the Herero of Namibia,” in Journal of Genocide Research (2004), 6 (2), June, 167–192.

And for those sitting on the fence and not sure of whether there is a need to act or not, given that there are so many names added to the petition already, please take a look at the following letter released by Apache Stronghold concerning the treatment of Apache women who have tried speaking with Arizona congressman Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ, 4th Dist.) whilst in Washington as recently as July 23rd 2015:

Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar Orders Apache Stronghold Visitors Removed by Capitol Police, Threatens Grandmothers With Arrest

July 23. 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Yesterday afternoon, following the successful completion of Apache Stronghold ( “Caravan to D.C.” and their “Save the Oak Flat Act Rally” on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building, some Apache Stronghold members – mostly grandmothers and young women – went to visit their Arizona representatives in Congress and talk with them about the Apaches national stand in defense of their sacred place known today as Oak Flat. Oak Flat was named earlier this year as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in the United States by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Among those that the Apache Stronghold contingent visited was Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ, 4th Dist.). The purpose of their visit was to address a “Dear Colleague” letter that Rep. Paul Gosar recently sent out to fellow House members regarding the “Save Oak Flat Act” introduced by Rep. Raul Grijalva, with 17 bi- partisan co-sponsors. In his letter, Rep. Gosar insulted the Apaches and called them “liars.”

Mrs. Vonda Cassadore of Bylas, Arizona, requested that Rep. Gosar come out of his back office briefly so that Mrs. Cassadore could ask him some questions about his “Dear Colleague” letter. Rather than speak with Mrs. Cassadore and the other ladies and Apache Stronghold members with her, Rep. Gosar responded by hiding behind a locked door and calling the Capitol Police, threatening to have Mrs.Cassadore and her friends immediately arrested. Rep.Gosar had the police escort Mrs.Cassadore and her Apache Stronghold associates and friends entirely out of the Cannon Office Building. Mrs. Cassadore stated that, “we’ll remember this when Election Day comes around. Sacred land means more than money.”

“Rep. Gosar has a record of intolerance and saying vicious things against Native Americans, but his behavior has now become stranger than ever,” said Apache Stronghold spokesperson Wendsler Nosie, Sr. “There is no excuse for his mistreatment of the Apache grandmothers and young ladies who came to his office. Cowering behind a locked door, refusing to come out, and then calling a squad of policemen to sweep those gentle ladies away is just terrible. Rep.Gosar should apologize for that, as well as for his strange and insulting ‘Dear Colleague’ letter.”

Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Spokesperson, Apache Stronghold

“Grijalva’s Save Oak Flat Bill Boosted by Historic Preservation Listing” http:// preservation-listing-161136

H.R. 2811 (“Save Oak Flat Act”)

Earlier, Gosar had called American Indians “wards of the federal government” in a roundtable discussion about the controversial Arizona land deal. See “Congressman’s Native American remark causes outcry,” Associated Press (December 10, 2014) 2014/12/11/congressmans-native-american-remark-causes-outcry/20258071/

Where are all the Flags and Where is the Booze? @england women #WWC2015 #lionesses

Only once in my lifetime have I witnessed an England team reaching the semi-final of the World Cup, and that was during the Italia ’90 campaign (the one where Gazza cried). That World Cup, like most, (maybe with the exceptions of U.S.A ’94 and Japan ’02 because the matches were played so late in terms of G.M.T.) was everywhere – in the sense that not only was it on the T.V., but shops and cars and people were all displaying football related stuff. And in fairness, England didn’t qualify for U.S.A. ’94, so that’s perhaps an odd one to judge by, but there was the same merchandising and fervor surrounding England’s Japan ’02 Quarter-Final appearance (the one with Beckham’s mohawk), where people stayed up late to watch important matches.


So, where is the fervor surrounding the latest England team to reach a World Cup semi-final? I know all the matches are on late because it’s being played in Canada, but the supermarkets that are usually so quick to pounce on merchandising ideas have not done so on the occasion of the England Women’s team reaching the last four. If it were the men’s team the whole of the aisles as you walk in the store would be awash with booze, flags, t-shirts, barbecue stuff (cos when you’re drunk you’ll eat any old half-cooked rubbish). There’s not a lot of stuff around, so if you didn’t know, you’d think there was nothing much going on. This seems bizarre to me. Having watched all of England’s matches, with the exception of the French match, they’re a really good team that plays good football and they have a pretty good chance of beating the current holders, Japan.

So I ask: are flags and booze reserved for men only?


Elshender – 50% Discount Code (VG84H) #smashwords

Edinburgh Advertiser newspaper report, 13th November 1840:

Apprehension of a Desperate Robber

‘Our readers will recollect, that on the 23rd of last month, James Alexander, or Elshender, a notorious robber who had earned himself the sobriquet of “The Modern Rob Roy,” had broken out of Lanark jail, where he was incarcerated, charged with a desperate act of highway robbery; and that £20 was offered by the authorities there for his apprehension. Since then the police have been on the alert, to discover the daring freebooter; and having got a hint that he was likely to visit Hallow Fair, Sergeant-Major Colquhoun traced Elshender on Wednesday afternoon to a house in Bruntsfield Links, where, assisted by the criminal officers of the Establishment, and Mr Currie, Chief Officer of Police at Lanark, they pounced upon him and a confederate named Somerville. Both Elshender and Somerville are strong and desperate men, and they made a powerful resistance, but Colquhoun and his party succeeded in overpowering them both, and in dragging, or almost carrying them bodily, to the cells of the Police Office, where they were safely lodged, to be dealt with according to the law. The farmers in the west of Edinburghshire, as well as those of Lanark and Linlithgowshires, will, we believe, feel relieved by the knowledge that Elshender is at length in safekeeping.’


Get 50% off Elshender: A Tale of a Poor Man here by using the Discount Code – VG84H at Smashwords

Mr. Holmes and the Inclusion of an Iconic, if Horrific, 20th Century Event

Sir Ian McKellen‘s (@IanMckellen) newest film, Mr. Holmes (@MrHolmesMovie), is an interesting take on the all too familiar Sherlock Holmes tradition of super-sleuth-doing-super-sleuthing kind of stuff, albeit as he’s nearing the end of his life and suffering the effects of old age. However, having just watched the film, I’m left somewhat perplexed at the inclusion of a direct reference to the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’m perplexed because I guess I’m meant to be. What I mean by this is that the film-makers obviously meant this aspect of the film to have such an effect, because it jars one’s sensibilities at the point of reference, causing one to perform a kind of cinematic double-take, where you’re sitting in your comfy cinema chair, feeling all caught up in the scenes of England-of-yesteryear, what with steam trains and old cars and men in hats and women in gloves and apiaries and stuff, and then you catch a glimpse of a Japanese woman with horrific scarring to her face, just before you see the sign for Hiroshima Station and the scorched landscape beyond.


And I guess my problem with feeling perplexed about this is that it’s just way too oblique as a reference, and as such can be readily disposed of before we set our minds to work on the purpose of its inclusion, and believe you me, there is a purpose to its inclusion, it’s just that it’s way too disjointed from the rest of the film to make itself known readily or to haunt us in the way that such an event should haunt us. Whilst still in the midst of my perplexity, I feel it’s a little too soon to come to any sort of conclusion (so watch this space), but wanted to give mention to a Hiroshima reference that works exactly as intended in describing the sense of horror that accompanies the senseless use of an horrific weapon on hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The reference to which I allude is Georges Bataille’s “Concerning the Accounts Given by Residents of Hiroshima” (1947), trans. Alan Keenan, in Trauma: Explorations in Memory, ed. Cathy Caruth (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 221-235. Perhaps the film-makers should read it, then reflect on their use of such an event?

James Ellroy: Visions of Noir


A must for fans of James Ellroy’s work…

Originally posted on English Postgraduates:

‘James Ellroy: Visions of Noir’, 2nd July 2015, will be held at the University of Liverpool and sponsored by the Department of English. This conference will examine Ellroy’s influence on the genre, his inspirations as a writer and his achievements in forging an idiosyncratic and unique style. We seek to foster an interdisciplinary approach in order to explore subjects such as Ellroy’s reinterpretation of the history of Los Angeles and the United States, as well as the connections between genre fiction and cinema through film noir. Our keynote speaker is journalist and critic Woody Haut, who has written on how Ellroy’s work has led to a reassessment of crime fiction as ‘at its most subversive not when it retreats into the confines of the genre, but when it stretches its narrative boundaries and rules regarding subject, style and plot.’ His works include Neon Noir: Contemporary American Crime Fiction (1999)…

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Walter Mosley Event – 2nd July


A great event to attend for anyone interested in crime fiction…

Originally posted on English Postgraduates:

Walter Mosley heads to the city from New York for a rare UK appearance. Hosted by Writing on the Wall, the event will explore a shared literary heritage and transatlantic experiences of race, class and equality. Walter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired writers in America today. He is the author of more than 43 critically acclaimed books, including the major best selling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins and Devil in a Blue Dress. His work has been translated into 23 languages and includes literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, and a young adult novel. He is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Click the image below for a link to ticket sales for this event.

Madeline Heneghan Co- Director, Writing on the Wall says:
‘It’s a real coup to have such an iconic…

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Top-Knots, DFW, Men’s Fashion

A radio interview with David Foster Wallace’s sister, Amy, hears her tell of DFW wearing his hair in a top-knot and being discouraged to do so by his family, sensitively, so as not to hurt his feelings. Amy’s explanation of why DFW should not be wearing his hair in a top-knot was that it’s kind of the thing that little girls do – I’m paraphrasing here – and that the reason the family had to be so sensitive about breaking this news to him was that he had a problem with feeling that he wasn’t ‘masculine’ enough. But DFW was obviously rocking this look at a time when others weren’t – and fair play to him for that. Doing anything that makes you stand out is kind of tough, and wearing a top-knot sometime in the 80s, I’m guessing from Amy’s recollections, must have been a pretty hard look to pull off for a guy from the Mid-West. Fair enough, you might say, but, what of the current surge in top-knot wearing?tumblr_mwypodYTTl1s968ago1_1280

The current trend for top-knot wearing is interesting, and controversial. It doesn’t always work, but don’t knock a person for trying. Anyhoo, here are a couple of links to do with men wearing top-knots – although the New York The AWL feature has lots of pictures of ones worn at the back of the head – surely not a top-knot by its very definition (a top-knot should be worn above the occipital bone, and preferably above the recession, IM humble O).


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