Carlisle Journeys: American Indians in Show Business

carlisle journeys1

Image from


How The Carlisle Indian School Influenced The Entertainment World Yesterday And Today

The Cumberland County Historical Society is planning the first in a series of “Carlisle Journeys” biennial  conferences for the Fall of 2014 entitled “Carlisle Journeys:  American Indians in Show Business.”   The Carlisle Indian School students who made their way into films, shows, and theatres will be discussed by their respective biographers.  The influence and banning of the Wild West Shows is another area to be explored in the conference.  Contemporary entertainers will also share their own experiences, including the influence of the Carlisle and other boarding schools, on their craft.  

Speakers at the conference include:

  • The 1941’s, a Native American sketch comedy group
  • John Sanchez who recently served as the Academic Director of the American Indian Leadership program at American University in Washington, DC.  He now teaches in The College of Communications at Penn State University where his research interests are focused primarily at the intersection of contemporary American Indian cultures and the American News Media. 
  • Larry Sellers who is a Native American actor/stuntman.  He commonly portrays Native American characters such as his role on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as Cloud Dancing.
  • Dovie Thomason, a storyteller of traditional stories that are the cultural “heartsong” of community values and memory.  Dovie unfolds the layers of her indigenous worldview and teachings with respect, humor and rich vocal transformations.  Her work, “How the West was Spun” will be featured at the conference.      
  • Linda M. Waggoner is an independent historian and former lecturer in American Multicultural and Native American studies at California State University Sonoma.  She is the author of books and publications focused on Native American history.

The conference is to be held October 10-11, 2014 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  Attendance to the conference and tours are free, but registration is required.

For more information, please click on the link to Carlisle Journeys:

New rules proposed by Obama administration would help more tribes become federally recognized

 thunderbird1Image from

There are currently 566 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.  However, there are still well over 200 tribes that remain unrecognized by the federal government.  That might change under the proposed new rules by the Obama administration that would give more tribes a faster track at joining the ranks of the recognized by making it easier to prove their legitimacy.

For more information, click on the link to the Seattle Times to read the full article:

Street newspapers

real change

Image by Jerry Gay from

I love street newspapers.  The definition of street newspapers, according to Wikipedia, is that they are newspapers or magazines sold by homeless or poor individuals and produced mainly to support these populations.  In addition to being sold by homeless individuals, many of these papers are partially produced and written by them.  

Most street newspapers provide coverage about homelessness and poverty-related issues, although the local street newspaper here in Seattle, which is called Real Change, also covers local, regional and sometimes even national and international stories.   The quality of journalism of a street newspaper may surprise you and they cover interesting stories from a different perspective that may not get much attention from the mainstream media.  

I have found the street newspaper vendors that I have come into contact with to be friendly, courteous and grateful.  I always buy a copy of the local street paper when I can because not only is Real Change a great newspaper, I also am helping a fellow human being create a better life for himself or herself.  

So the next time you see a person selling a street newspaper, consider buying a paper.  You can enjoy reading the news and also feel really good inside, knowing that you were part of a constructive avenue for a struggling person to provide for themselves.         

Click on the link to access the website for the Seattle street paper, Real Change:

Native American architect to receive National Humanities Medal


Seattle architect Johnpaul Jones (Choctaw and Cherokee) 
Image from The Seattle Times

As reported by Melissa Davis of The Seattle Times:

Seattle architect Johnpaul Jones is one of 10 winners of the National Humanities Medals, the White House announced.  The medals will be presented at the White House on Monday, July 28.

Jones was singled out for “honoring the natural world and indigenous traditions in architecture.  A force behind diverse and cherished institutions, Mr. Jones has fostered awareness through design and created spaces worthy of the cultures they reflect, the communities they serve, and the environments they inhabit,” according to the announcement.

He drew national attention for his work (and that of his firm, Jones & Jones) on the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., but his work is also an integral part of the regional landscape.  Among his many projects: Woodland Park Zoo Gorilla Habitat; Gene Coulon Park, Mercer Slough Nature Park and Environmental Ed Center; University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture and Native Longhouse; Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort; and the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial.

For more information on this year’s National Humanities Medal ceremony and the winners of the medals, click on the link below which will take you to the press release for the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Native American Keith Harper to serve as U.N. Human Rights Council ambassador

keith harper ambassadorCherokee Nation citizen Keith Harper will be the first Native American from a federally recognized tribe to serve as an ambassador for the United States after being confirmed in June 2014 by the Senate as the country’s representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya who was killed in the September 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, was the first Native American to serve as an ambassador who is from a tribe which is not federally recognized, the Chinook Indian Nation.

Click on the link below for more information from

Carlisle Indian Industrial School Farmhouse

carlisle farmhouse

Image from Elizabeth Gibson, The Patriot-News

The building known as the Old Farmhouse at Carlisle Barracks that once was part of the former Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was slated to be demolished in the fall of 2012 to make room for housing needed for the families of military officers who attend the U.S. Army War College on the barracks.  

Word of this plan sparked an outcry from descendants of Carlisle Indian Industrial School students, which prompted the Army to reexamine the history of the farmhouse at 839 Patton Road and its significance to the school.

The result was a recent study by the Army Corps of Engineers that recommended the farmhouse be added to the existing National Historic Landmark district of the main Carlisle Indian School campus.  

I have a personal special interest in the fate of the Carlisle Indian School Farmhouse because I have blood relatives that were sent to Indian residential boarding schools, and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the school that my grandmother attended.  

We can all learn from the past but only if the past is acknowledged and preserved.  Designating the Carlisle Farmhouse as a historical landmark and thus saving it from destruction is a good step in the right direction.  I look forward to seeing the Farmhouse restored as a reminder of what was and also as a symbol of hope for the future.   


The link below will take you to The Senteniel,, an April 27, 2014 article explaining in more detail the good news that Carlisle Indian School Farmhouse will be saved and the future proposed use of the farmhouse.