events and news of the Inali Dancers, an intertribal native dancing, singing, and culture group in western illinois

Friday, October 27, 2006

season of giving

It's that time of year, when we need to stop and think of those who have less than us, in many cases a lot less. There are many charities that help the native community this time of year, with food, heating and gifts, both on and off the rez. I know many are questionable, but a lot aren't. We all need to take a few minutes to stop and think about how we can help out, every little bit helps.
I'll probably bring this up every year, so get used to it.
Don't forget the group party tommorrow at noon at Dinah's house in Alpha. Call someone if you need directions. Also, the powwow at the women's prison Nov. 18th.
We don't have much else scheduled right now, but we probably will.
Keep in mind the winter gathering in Hamilton in January. Let's all be really hyped for it!
See you tommorrow.

Friday, October 20, 2006

golfing in a church

This is rather disturbing:

Ohio's Newark Mounds, still sacred to Native Americans, date back some 2,000 years. The site's circular and octagon mounds are now part of a golf course.

Two thousand years ago, Ohio's Newark Mounds were at the heart of the Hopewell civilization, a sophisticated culture that stretched from New York to Missouri. The mounds, the most extensive prehistoric geometric structures in the United States, were also probably the most sacred sites in the Hopewell world. The massive earthworks that remain include a 20-acre circle and a 50-acre octagon. Both are now in play at the Par 71 golf course of Newark's Mound Builders Country Club.

The tenancy of the private club over the years has been, not surprisingly, a source of controversy. Tensions boiled over last year in a disagreement between the club and Native Americans seeking access to the mounds to watch a moonrise that aligns with the octagon every 18 years. The club canceled a planned moonrise event because it feared rainfall, combined with the presence of crowds, would damage the greens. But as many as 100 celebrants snuck onto the course in defiance of the club. Since then, the controversy has ratcheted up. Recent negotiations between the Ohio Historical Society (OHS) and the club for a similar moonrise event broke down. The club plans to go ahead with an event this October, but the OHS withdrew official participation, citing differing views on the level of access the public should be granted.

The site has a complicated ownership history. The citizens of Newark originally purchased the mounds, then on private farmland, in 1893. The city leased the earthworks to the Mound Builders Country Club in 1910 and the site has been a golf course ever since. In 1934, when ownership of the site was transferred to the OHS, the country club stayed. Its lease runs until 2078 and stipulates that the club "shall not mar the beauty of the mounds," and insures that the public will have reasonable access to the site. But there's considerable disagreement between Native Americans and the country club as to what that means.

"The public has access to the site more than 127 days a year depending on weather," says club president Mark Walters. "We want to make sure everyone can see it, but we have to balance our needs too. We pay a lease."

According to Barbara Crandell, a Cherokee who was arrested in 2002 for trespassing at the mounds, access is usually limited to an observation platform near the clubhouse parking lot. "And when we do have full access to the site it's the day they spray the herbicide," she says. "I asked them if they had any smallpox blankets." She also maintains that in the past, golfers have gone out of their way to make visitors uncomfortable at the site. While some members may be annoyed by visitors to their course, Walters says many are volunteering for the moonrise event this fall.

The OHS is in a delicate position. Its mandate is to ensure reasonable public access to the site, but it has to respect the rights of the club as well. Passions run high on both sides. "The mounds need to be a public site and the club needs to relocate," says Richard Shiels, a history professor at the Ohio State University Newark. "I've even heard club members say they should be bought out." The state or the National Park Service would be the likeliest candidates, but no effort to purchase the site has ever been made. Full public access to the mounds might have to wait until 2078.

What would people say if we drove a golf ball through a babtist church?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mt. Pisgah again

I wanted to add to the last post, despite the cooler weather saturday,we had some good crowds, and managed to hang on to them a while. That's not easy on the scenic drive.
We got many compliments, with many people who been there since we started telling how good we have gotten over the years. Even Fred, who knows good singing, complimented us.There is a rumour that next year might be not just the last for Mt. Pisgah, but for the whoe Spoon River Drive. We have been performing one place or another on the drive for more years than I can remember right now, if it is over I surely will miss it.
I also want to correct some misunderstandings about why I was gone the first week. I was at a science fiction convention down by St. Louis, if I wanted to see many of my old fan freinds it had to be that weekend. I talk about it more at my personal blog.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mt. Pisgah

This is the same post I put up on my personal blog. I guess I'm getting lazy:

It really felt good singing at Mt. Pisgah today, we had a lot of energy, and we were on!
The other guys did spend a lot of time throwing hawks, I guess I better get one if I want to be part of this group (I borrowed one and managed to stick it a few times, wow).
Fred Warbonnet was there doing his fancy dance thing, just a great time.
We did learn that next year may be the last year for Mt. Pisgah. Well, what a ride!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


At least that's what some people want, making the same day as Columbus day a celebration of native cultures around the world. I like the idea, but I'm not sure about the date. After all, Columbus, though a great explorer and navigator, was terrible to the indians he found. Everything from stealing and slavery to outright murder. H went so far that he got in trouble with the Spanish crown over it, and how many spanish conquerors managed that. I know the idea is to turn a negative thing into a positive celebration, with a little irony thrown in, but I can't help thinking there must be a better date somewhere.
I had a great time on my weekend trip, and found time to visit Cahokia Mounds. Every time I go there I am awed. Some people still call indian cultures primitive! I got some good pictures, I'll try to share some of them.
Don't forget Mt. Pisgah this saturday at 10:30 or so, no practice this friday, and the picnic at Dinah's the 28th, at noon.

Friday, October 06, 2006


I'M not usualy political, but everyone should read this fro Gary Kielor:
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Keillor: No need to worry about human rights - we're doing just fine
Garrison Keillor
Syndicated columnist
I would not send my college kid off for a semester abroad if I were you. Last week, we suspended human rights in America, and what goes around comes around. Ixnay habeas corpus.
The U.S. Senate, in all its splendor and majesty, has decided that an "enemy combatant" is any non-citizen whom the president says is an enemy combatant, including your Korean greengrocer or your Swedish grandmother or your Czech au pair, and can be arrested and held for as long as authorities wish without any right of appeal to a court of law to examine the matter. If your college kid were to be arrested in Bangkok or Cairo, suspected of "crimes against the state" and held in prison, you'd assume that an American foreign service officer would be able to speak to your kid and arrange for a lawyer, but this may not be true anymore. Be forewarned.
The Senate also decided it's up to the president to decide whether it's OK to make these enemies stand naked in cold rooms for a couple days in blinding light and be beaten by interrogators. This is now purely a bureaucratic matter: The plenipotentiary stamps the file "enemy combatants" and throws the poor schnooks into prison and at his leisure he tries them by any

sort of kangaroo court he wishes to assemble and they have no right to see the evidence against them, and there is no appeal. This was passed by 65 senators and will now be signed by Mr. Bush, put into effect, and in due course be thrown out by the courts.
It's good that Barry Goldwater is dead because this would have killed him. Go back to the Senate of 1964 - Goldwater, Dirksen, Russell, McCarthy, Javits, Morse, Fulbright - and you won't find more than 10 votes for it.
None of the men and women who voted for this bill has any right to speak in public about the rule of law anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third Reich, or to wax poetic about the American Idea. Mark their names. Any institution of higher learning that grants honorary degrees to these people forfeits its honor. Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Burr, Carper, Chambliss, Coburn, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeMint, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Frist, Graham, Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Isakson, Johnson, Kyl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Lieberman, Lott, Lugar, Martinez, McCain, McConnell, Menendez, Murkowski, Nelson of Florida, Nelson of Nebraska, Pryor, Roberts, Rockefeller, Salazar, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Specter, Stabenow, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Thune, Vitter, Voinovich, Warner.
To paraphrase Sir Walter Scott: Mark their names and mark them well. For them, no minstrel raptures swell. High though their titles, proud their name, boundless their wealth as wish can claim, these wretched figures shall go down to the vile dust from whence they sprung, unwept, unhonored and unsung.
Three Republican senators made a show of opposing the bill and, after they'd collected all the praise they could get, they quickly folded. Why be a hero when you can be fairly sure that the Court will dispose of this piece of garbage.
If, however, the Court does not, then our country has taken a step toward totalitarianism. If the government can round up someone and never be required to explain why, then it's no longer the United States of America as you and I always understood it. Our enemies have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They have made us become like them.
I got some insight week before last into who supports torture when I went down to Dallas to speak at Highland Park Methodist Church. It was spooky. I walked in, was met by two burly security men with walkie-talkies, and within 10 minutes was told by three people that this was the Bushes' church and that it would be better if I didn't talk about politics. I was there on a book tour for Homegrown Democrat, but they thought it better if I didn't mention it. So I tried to make light of it: I told the audience, "I don't need to talk politics. I have no need even to be interested in politics - I'm a citizen, I have plenty of money and my grandsons are at least 12 years away from being eligible for military service." And the audience applauded! Those were their sentiments exactly. We've got ours, and who cares?
The Methodists of Dallas can be fairly sure that none of them will be snatched off the streets, flown to Guantanamo, stripped naked, forced to stand for 48 hours in a freezing room with deafening noise, so why should they worry? It's only the Jews who are in danger, and the homosexuals and gypsies. The Christians are doing just fine. If you can't trust a Methodist with absolute power to arrest people and not have to say why, then whom can you trust?
Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country.

If natives ran the country, this wouldn't happen.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mt. Pisgah and a picnic

We've got a few things coming up, nothing high pressure. First, the next two saturdays, the 7th and the 14th, we will be singing at Mt. Pisgah for the scenic drive. We want to start about 11:00, and be done by 4:30 or so both days. We don't have a formal commitment for this, it's just fun, so show up when you can.
We are going to have a group hot dog roast and pot luck saturday oct. 28th at Dinah's house in Alpha, starting at noon or so. If you want, bring a covered dish or a snack or whatever, the dogs and fixings will be supplied. The address is 314 N. Scandia, two blocks east of the highway and the second house south of the grade school, on the west side.
Because of these things we won't have practice friday the 13th or 27th (I'm not supersticious, it just worked out this way).
We also have prison dates, the womens in november, the men's in december, but I don't have them with me right now, I'll put them up later.
Apperently a number of our people made it up to the soarring powwow in Naperville last weekend. I haven't been there often, but I remember it as a fantastic powwow. It's always great to see people from our group going different places, we need to remember there is more than just local powwows out there. If anyone goes somewhere and wants it in the blog, just let me know.