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review 2017-09-21 17:02
The Specter of the Indian: Race, Gender, and Ghosts in American Seances, 1848-1890 (Hardcover) by Kathryn Troy
The Specter of the Indian: Race, Gender, and Ghosts in American Seances, 1848-1890 - Kathryn Troy

I am thrilled someone has finally decided to explore the Native American side of the United States story. This is the spectral side of their story. The Indians had a hard way of life even before the White Man came along and tossed them off their lands and took away not only their livelihood but also their lives. In this book we get to explore how after death the Native's let their thoughts and feelings be known to early spiritualists. Native's have always believed in the spiritual side of life. This book will show you they were right. If you believe.

 

Kathryn Troy has done an outstanding job with this book. I was so into this book I couldn't put it down. This book gives you so much history, so much research, and so many point based facts. It is not over the top mind blowing though. She has written it all out with the perfect amount of information that it does not bog your brain down. The research she has done must have been astronomical. Everything in the book is backed up with documentation so you know this is not just her opinion of the facts. I love how she takes you back in time to the seance as it is happening. She lays it all out for you to the point your mind will actually take you the seance. You can feel the power around you.

 

I was given a copy of this book to read by the author for review.

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text 2017-09-21 05:52
Tree Therapy, Indian Summer - Facebook vignettes

 

Tree Therapy

Most days I get ahead of the morning. I’m up and busy with the mindless tasks that paradoxically fill my mind. It’s good to be engaged, interested, anticipating the challenges and rewards of the day unfolding.

 

Then there are days I awake anxious and for no particular reason. I don’t indulge these moods but despite my best efforts they prevail. I become disconcerted and irritable. Little things seem difficult, difficult things seem insurmountable.

 

On days like these I’m more keenly aware of intolerance and bigotry, of ignorance. I despair at people’s motives and am appalled by their actions. Frustration gives way to anger, gives way to cynicism, gives way to a feeling of hopelessness.

 

I’m running out of optimism. I know for a fact that everything is not going to be all right.

I would surrender, but to whom? I would retreat, but to where?

 

Nothing constructive or creative will happen until I shake this pall of despondency. I gear up and head out.

 

Even as I approached them my mood begins to lift.

 

The Maples of Kensington. Eight stately giants – so huge, so proud, so magnificently impersonal.

 

These are Bigleaf Maples (Acer macrophyllum), the largest of the Maple family perhaps 300 years old, maybe 50 metres high. Being tightly clustered they have developed a narrow crown supported by a trunk free of branches for about half its length.

 

I stand beneath them, I press my palms against their bark, I take a deep breath and listen.

 

And they speak to me.

 

High in their lofty branches the leaves rush and whisper and their sound soothes and reassures. Slowly their benign energy renews my confidence and restores my vitality. The desolation passes, and I feel unburdened, at peace and prepared.

 

 

 

 

Indian Summer

 

The summer had inhaled
And held its breath too long*

 

A strange mood ascends on me as summer slowly draws to an end.

 

The days have a listless quality, time seems suspended. There’s a feeling of deja vu – though not of an experience, rather an emotion, a dream sense, vague and inarticulate.

It’s like a lost memory – tinged with warning.

 

It’s about ending – something good, something sweet and easy. It’s about something approaching – new, different, challenging. The anticipation of change sends a ripple of foreboding, but I feel resigned, accepting.

 

One afternoon I find myself at Trout Lake, the local swimming hole.

 

When I was a kid the entire family would walk here from our home on East 4th. Sometimes I’d go with my neighbourhood buddies. It was a different world then, no structured play dates, we roamed free seeking and finding adventures. Most of these people are gone now, yet standing on the shore I can hear their happy voices, catch glimpses of them splashing into the green water.

 

This lake was witness to many rites of passage and figures prominently in my writing. The beach is small and less crowded than I remember. The raft I nearly drowned trying to swim to is not so far. Could it possibly be sixty years since I swam here?

 

Suddenly I’m enveloped in a sense of longing for a phantom life that almost was, but never will be.

 

I run across the hot sand, splash through the shallows and dive in.

 

The water is cool, slightly murky, exactly as I remember it and for brief seconds it washes the years away. I kick hard, go deeper, then roll over. Up through the depths the sun sparkles, shards of diffused light. I’m eight years old until I break the surface and look back to shore.

 

They’re gone.

 

And I’m still here.

 

 

 

*From Coming Back to Me, written by Marty Balin,
On Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow, 1967

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6HEU

Facebook https://www.facebook.com

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review 2017-08-05 18:54
Histories and stories that are just not taught.
This Indian Country: American Indian Activists and the Place They Made - Frederick E. Hoxie

Had this book for awhile and decided to finally knock it off my list. Author Hoxie looks at the stories of Indian activists and figures that are simply not taught in the US school system unless you take a specific class, have a particular area of study or have a special interest. It's really quite terrible.

 

Each chapter looks at different people (mostly specific individuals but the fight of the Ojibwe to stay on their land at Mille Lac, Minnesota) and their lives. From their upbringing to what they chose to do plus the historical context and how these individuals were perceived. Some stories are quite sad and it's clear that *many* of the same tactics that one can see being used today towards activists or particular famous figures have been used throughout history, although perhaps not quite in the same form due to the changes in technology and communication.

 

The information was interesting but the reading was very, very dry and academic. Hoxie's a professor and it shows. While the stories themselves were interesting (especially when placed in context of US history that often ignores these stories), I found the writing really hard to get through. I wonder if maybe I had more knowledge in general it might have helped me.

 

That said, I don't regret reading it. There are very unfortunate reasons as to why we often don't hear of these struggles and why these names are not as well known to many US people. Just keep in mind that if you're going into this book as a non-specialist you may feel a bit lost/also struggle with it.

 

I bought it as a bargain book. I'd probably borrow it from the library instead if I did it again but for the right person it probably wouldn't be a bad purchase. I'd also expect it to show up in a syllabus/course/talk on Native Americans, activism, examining the role of the US government, etc.

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review 2017-06-17 22:49
Needed historical information that doesn't get covered elsewhere.
The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America - Andres Resendez

The histories of the indigenous peoples of the Americas do not get the coverage they deserve. Author Reséndez presents the book discussing the enslavement of the Natives and that, rather than the introduction of European diseases was the cause that eventually killed the Indians (which is the term Reséndez uses).

 

The reader explores the history of Indian enslavement, traveling from the beginning in the Caribbean and traveling into the 20th century. How Indians made the "reverse Middle Passage" as he calls it from what would become the United States to Spain and other European countries. How the practice of enslavement began to take hold and maintained itself and simply changed as time marches on.

 

It's hard for me to review this book. It's an interesting premise and it seems he's done quite a bit of research but I'm absolutely not knowledgeable enough to say whether he's right or he's wrong or how to weigh the evidence. It's also difficult to assess because I think the book is a little too long: sometimes he's more interested in the history rather than focusing on the topic at hand. As other reviewers wrote sometimes the book feels episodic and it's not exactly about "the other slavery."

 

I do think it's absolutely a topic that should be explored more. It's part of dismantling the myth of those friendly Thanksgivings or that the Natives are part of a long dead culture that can only be seen in museums. Reséndez makes the very good point that when slavery is discussed in the US, it's more about black people, the Civil War, etc. The enslavement of American Indians was not certainly not something I learned about in school and I'd bet it's probably not unless you take particular classes at the college level or have a teacher at the grade school level who has it in the curriculum.

 

If it interests you I'd recommend you read it but I'd say try the library or see if you can get it as a bargain buy.

 

 

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