Saturday, May 27, 2006

Our Native Brothers and Sisters

To many Black folks (including Black Latinos) the claim "I have Indian in my family" or some variation there-in is common. Rather than demand DNA tests, I'd encourage folks to read things by Tiya Miles or just read some of the recent stories that display some important happening and commonalities that matter for all of us... other than your long flowing hair ;)

Native Health and Education...
If you've been keeping your ears to the streets (or just have a good informant like I do) you've heard about the Bush Administration's attempt to completely cut the Urban Indian Health Program as well as some educational funding. Thankfully, due to great advocacy and organizing, that is not going to happen and the new budget is looking better, though there is still a ways to go.
By a 293-128 vote, the House passed Interior's fiscal year 2007 budget bill on Thursday. The measure funds Indian programs at a total of $5.9 billion, $204 million above current levels and $62 million above the amount the White House requested in February.

For a more detailed picture of what's been going on, check out this story at

Them bones...
Margaret Kimberly provides a nice commentary at on the Bushs' lineage and George's ancestor's pillaging of Geronimo's bones. It's actually pretty funny (and dare I say refreshing) to hear a genetic argument about the deviance of the Bush family!

Mascot Madness...
And as you probably know already, but if you didn't here is a link, the NCAA declined three schools' appeals to use Native Mascots at the end of April. Of course this is not the last that we will hear of this, particularly from the North Dakota, where letters of support and disagreement were issued by native communities. The article has a decent summary on past happenings, so I'll let you read it.

Lastly, shout out to Heather "Unbreakable" Brink for keeping me updated and staying on me to post. Now only if she would stop playing sports and sending the national healthcare situation into crisis ;P

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Just coming up for air...

So easily this is the busiest I've been in all of my graduate years, but it's a good busy. But as Sherri-Ann taught me years ago, "Big tings a g'waan." With that said here a couple of things are recently on my desk and of interest.

New polling numbers show continued loss of support for the MCRI which will be on the November ballot. Of course the (biggest) change is in the "undecided" voters, so there is still much to be decided. Story here.

The students in Baltimore are making big moves to demand their education from the State Board of Education. Biggup to the Algebra Project and their work out there. I'm loving the use of the constitution.

And for those who don't know, it looks like my hard drive may have fried on my desktop, so that's been an influence on my absence too.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

what the hell are we gonna do with these kids?

hey all! it's quite the pleasure to be a guest on blackatmichigan, a blog that has offered dumi and fellow scholars the opportunity to voice their much needed opinion regarding pertinent issues. i am no writer, but i do talk up a storm, so if this reads more like my diary than a professional piece, it's probably because it is.

my thoughts...
this title was meant to address the urban youth of today, specifically drawn from the panel of students that i (along with fellow peers) hosted last week. i pondered this very question when i saw that, of the hour long panel [comprised of seven students: 3 athletes, one frat member, one law school student, one politically active student, and one "general" student] approximately 57 1/2 minutes were dedicated to the athletes. my blood boiled at the thought that this group of 7th and 8th graders from detroit would be so concerned NOT with what law firm the 3L law student is looking into, but with what league the football players played for in middle school. understandably, the media has a tremendous monopoly on our babies, with such focus being on entertainment, specifically, music and sports. we all know the drawn out story of the inner-city dreams of quick cash and immediate gratification - hell - with our generation being called "generation me", there's no question that we could care less about the welfare of all people, as long as "i get mine". but i can't be told that there's no stop to this cycle. there HAS to be a way to end the drug-selling, basketball-shooting, rhyme-spitting imagery that encapsulates the thoughts of the children from my hood.

see? that right there. my hood. i'm not saying that i came from the most shoot-em-up run-for-your-God-forsaken-lives type of place, but the fact remains that i am the only one from my neighborhood that left out of the neighborhood for college, that doesn't have kids, that has never had, dealt, or been shot over drugs, and will be leaving. yes, i'm abandoning my neighborhood, of which i am fully aware of the problematic middle-class exodus - no need to remind me. don't judge me too quickly though: i am not only headed to another inner-city to 'do my part' there (atlanta), but i'll be back someday/somehow/someway to work with detroit. back to the point, the old adage states, "if i can do it, so can you." what was the main factor that separated me from my peers? well, this little exam that i took in the second grade allowed me to be placed on a track that veered right of my neighbors. this gifted and talented program that i was accepted into put me on the path of academic success. this alone, however, would not be adequate enough to get me through. had my mother not specifically given me the encouragement by normalizing the pathway to higher education, my dreams may have ended in high school. fortunately, college was not a question in my home, so making sure that grades, extracurriculars, and personal pursuits were in-line with this ideology was not hard at all.

so, what am i suggesting? that we take an entire group of parents, force-feed them with statistics and pamphlets that suggest it is all their faults that their children are suffering? that we level the "playing field" for k-12 schools so that everyone has the opportunity to succeed? that we, as college students, do a better job in mentoring and show students alternate routes and definitions to what success truly is and how to acquire such paths? you're darned skippy.

we, as a society, do have a right and responsibility to make sure that our community is making it. too often we hear "it's not my problem" or "maybe later", but the time is now and the urgency is extreme. a statistic reports that only 11% of the population of detroit has a bachelors degree. 11%. it blows my mind that i just received mine on saturday, yet the vast majority of my fellow residents cannot say the same. how can the children know which way to turn if their maps are only limited to their parents experiences? we must provide outlets and information that better equip our children for their potential. affirmative action is no longer cutting it. vouchers is not going to cut it. and testing our children for the "no child left behind" bull will not give them the know-how for the remedy to this systemic problem. neighbors must demand more and better use of funding for schools from the state, and we must encourage our children to explore various routes to economic stability, not acquisition. rightfully so, i am an optimist, and i do believe in the power of mentorship, communication, and community upliftment. do i have specific plans? not now - i don't think God has given me the blueprint yet. but i do know that the middle class and those with the education can no longer sit around and wait for those without the resources to help their children. we must take a stand and get our hands dirty, because if we don't, who the hell will?

...///tomorrow///what the hell are we gonna do with these kids part 2: invisible children and international woes

Monday, May 01, 2006

Guest Contributor: Riana Anderson

Since you all have been clicking on her profile to figure out who she is and/or when she'll be posting... I now introduce to you Riana E. Anderson. Riana is recent (like a few days ago) alum of U of M. Riana is a renowned U of M figure, having been president of the school's chapter of the NAACP and spear heading a number of campus dialogues and political actions. But I can't do her justice with these few words. I'll let her speak for herself. Be on the look out for her post coming soon!!!