(Source: buddhabrot, via throateyeandknucklebone)
(via M. Peinado)
If you have $1 and three years to spare, do we have a deal for you!
Buffalo, NY’s Urban Homestead Program will sell you city-owned properties for just $1.00 plus closing costs, demanding only that you live there for three years and bring the property up to code. Buffalo, Detroit and other cities that are experiencing dramatic population declines are trying innovative, low-cost programs like these to revitalize urban centers. We think it’s just a swell idea.
Read about UHP success stories at Buffalo Rising. (Bonus points if you build a chicken coop or urban farm on your new property!)
(Photo: Views of Buffalo. H/t RootSimple)
oh wow I love Buffalo
first kale (etc.) smoothie!
my fella in yella
beautiful lady, dear friend
thrift score(s)! I also got an
espresso machine for $10 that gets pretty good reviews; my fingers are crossed…
May/December romance: Luigi & Carmelita
i feel like people who eat breakfast really have their lives together
In last week’s “How hipster can I look”, I decided to take a photo of myself wearing my South Saami tjohpe and holding a reindeer antler that I’m going to use for knife handles later this summer, all this in front of the lake next to our summer house.
Turns out the answer is hipster as fuck.
No, but seriously, this photo is part of something bigger I guess — I have this thing where I now and then take ironic pictures of myself, making fun of stereotypes of indigenous peoples and at the same time criticising and questioning them. Last summer I took a picture of myself where I covered my shoulders in moss and put ferns in my hair, making fun of the trope that indigenous people are somehow deeply connected to the earth, to the point where we can ‘communicate with nature’ and god knows what other things people say. Instead of looking away from the camera and becoming ‘one with nature’, however, I was staring down the camera lens, silently asking the colonial gaze if it’s as comfortable looking at an indigenous person that questions it’s status as an object.
The problem with tropes like the one mentioned above is that they’re intrinsically harmful regardless of the intent behind them, as they ultimately present indigenous peoples as neolithic creatures belonging to the past, thus stripping us of our right to be included in current affairs and being given the right to voice our concerns when matters relating to our lands, livelihoods and futures are being decided by the colonial states that continue to occupy our lands. Whether indigenous peoples are presented as noble savages or as brutal neanderthal communities, the ‘nature trope’ makes us out to be little more than animals that either have to be brought to modernity through enforced ‘development’ or silenced by force, due to our non-humanity which to the colonial power is manifested through our attachment to the lands we inhabit and the coloniser seeks to conquer, with or without our consent.
In this picture I’m making fun of the Saami reindeer trope - the fact that 90% of all Saami in Sweden don’t herd reindeer is something that has escaped many, and the majority of Swedes do not understand the complicated history of reindeer husbandry in this land.
A reindeer herder is a Saami to the non-Saami, and someone who doesn’t survive off reindeer husbandry is somehow considered less Saami by outsiders who are too lazy to take the time to actually try to understand what Saami identity politics actually entail. There is not a single documentary about the Saami produced by a non-Saami that won’t show a picture of a reindeer, or mention the Saami’s nomadic life-style; the fact that more and more of today’s Saami lead urban lives is rarely mentioned.
Conflating Saaminess with reindeer husbandry is not only naïve and wrong, but harmful to us as a people, as it fuels racism and discrimination against us. And thinking that these tropes aren’t circulated by mainstream media is wrong; on Saturday, the day before our Saami Parliament elections, one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers featured an editorial in which the editor called for the abolishment of our democratic rights as practiced through the Parliament, based on a childish and racist misunderstanding of Saami identity politics and reindeer herding rights.
Am I only Saami if I wear Saami accessories or walk around with reindeer? The answer is an obvious no, but sometimes it feels as if I am expected to walk around with a herd of Rudolphs parading behind me to be authentic enough to outsiders, and this photo is a piss-take of that feeling.
Good food for thought here. I’ve been reading Rebecca Solnit’s _A Book of Migrations_, & wanted to share this paragraph, in which she’s talking about a particular Shoshone guy who rejects the Bering land bridge theory because it suggests that the Great Basin, which the Shoshone occupied for hundreds of years before the arrival of Europeans, had even earlier inhabitants : “Politically and spiritually, such an approach declares that the relationship is untransferable, that they did not adapt but originated as they are, and therefore that there can be no replacement, no new home. There is a sense in which both versions can be true: the evidence of ancient migrations means one thing, a material history; and the relation of the people to their land means another, a cultural history. As long as their identity is so profoundly situated in their landscape, it is impossible to say that they were that people before they were in that landscape. If it is the genesis and face of their identity, it is literally where they are from, where they were created - which makes the rest of us rootless by comparison.
Even recognizing the existence of indigenous people in the Americas raises a lot of difficult questions about belonging for those Americans who descend from historical emigrations: questions about what it means to be and whether it’s possible to become native; about what kind of a relationship to a landscape and what kind of rootedness it might entail; and about what we can lay claim to at all as the ground of our identity if we are only visitors, travelers, invaders in someone else’s homeland. Some of the most literal minded Euro-Americans have decided simply to become Native Americans, as though identity and heritage could be picked up in a process as simple as shopping, and the very shallowness of such methods of impersonation undermines the sense that there is something at stake.
A lot of Native Americans respond that Euro-Americans have their own cultural traditions, which they should recover rather than appropriating someone else’s, and this too seems to simplify the matter. Many of us are children of refugees from countries that no longer exist, from atrocities no one spoke of, from traditions that had been trampled over earlier by the same forces; and in living on a new continent, most of us have begun to be something else, transplanted and hybridized. This evolving something else has never been resolved adequately, and perhaps it is irresolvable - unless resolution itself returns to its linguistic roots, which meant to unloose or dissolve, to clarify by liquefying, not solidifying. If being local is a matter of forgetting what came before, then the journey is completed by severing precious ties. Naturalization, the term for becoming a native, suggests this process of adapation - and perhaps suggests that forgetting rather than remembering is central to an identity resolved like rain from a passing storm sinking into the soil.”
This raises more questions than it offers answers, obviously, but they are questions worth thinking about. I have never felt particularly American, but in the other countries I’ve traveled to, it became apparent that American culture has influenced me more than I suspected. My grandfather left Northern Ireland because his house was burned down by the British, not by choice, but that doesn’t give me a right to claim inherent Irishness in more than a bloodline sense, because I’ve never lived in Ireland. (That said, being second generation, Irish culture & music influenced me considerably and was part of my upbringing, so there was an initial familiarity there that I didn’t have with other European cultures.)
Now, having been to the Nordic countries five times, I feel more of a draw to them and their landscape than to any other part of the world, but I still struggle to understand - and to some degree, accept - many of the social mores of Sweden, and as my sole Swedish relative is even more removed (my great-grandfather, Fredrik Lind), I feel entirely like a fraud claiming to be anything but a white American. This is an identity which carries enough privilege, it must be said, that any whining about not having an genuine identity to claim is unbearably trite, & surely rings hollow for the many Americans who - having been forcibly removed from their native and non-native homelands alike - are relegated by circumstance to being out of touch both with the cultural traditions of their ancestors and with the access to those privileges which are afforded white Americans.
Alas, I digress - what I’m thinking about can be summed up thusly: is cultural identity shaped more by landscape or bloodline? Can an ethnic identity - and particularly an indigenous identity - ever be deliberately assumed, particularly by a member of colonizing/oppressing ethnicity? How many generations must pass, should this happen, before the assimilation is complete? Conversely, can identity usually attributed to birthright be definitively cast off? Is one’s culture necessarily a confluence of identification with both landscape _and_ bloodline? Does the loss of the former ever, then, call that culture into question?
Like Solnit, I have no answers.