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"Indigenous History is American History” | Books Uncovered podcast




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Kateri Kramer

Hello and welcome to the Books Uncovered podcast, a podcast from Fulcrum Publishing where we explore the world of books and the people who make up the publishing industry. I'm Kateri Kramer, Fulcrum's marketing director, and I'm joined today by my co-host, Maya Roberts, Fulcrum's community outreach and marketing associate. This is Maya's first November, slash Native American Heritage Month at Fulcrum. Have you been working with anybody or seen any cool or interesting ways that readers or folks in the book industry have been celebrating.


00:00:42 Maya Roberts

Yeah. Kateri. I've actually been really impressed by all of the indie bookstores dedicating space and resources and time to Native American Heritage Month displays. I've been doing outreach for some of our recent native and Indigenous titles, so Our Way, On Indigenuity, God Is Red and time and time again I'm hearing from folks Oh yeah. Of course, we'll add that to our Native and Indigenous display for the month. And so that makes me happy to hear and has just been fun to yeah, have folks giving us that feedback. And then when you walk into your, many of the bookstores I've been in recently have had displays and usually they're up front, which is also exciting to, to see the space dedicated to native and indigenous books and stories. So that's what I've been enjoying this month. How about you, Kateri?


00:01:30 Kateri Kramer

Yeah, I would. I would second that. And I think that coming from like the indie bookselling world. You can't underestimate how much having a book like face out or on a center table, or having like a shelf talker on it or something like that means so I'm just hopeful that all those books are getting into hands and into readers laps and that kind of thing. It's also just fun to see, like what people are doing on social media and e-mail newsletters and that kind of thing.

And today, we're kind of jumping in as well with the perfect guest for Native American Heritage Month, Julie Cajune, whose book Our Way just came out with us, is joining us today. Julie, a Montana State University, Billings Education Master's degree, transitioned from teaching on her home reservation to become her tribes education director, recognized with awards like the Milken Educator award and Montana Governors Humanities Award Julie collaborates with indigenous scholars to create diverse media, including DVD's and children's books, working to integrate native voices into the broader narrative of American history. Her efforts have earned her two lifetime achievement awards highlighting a lifelong commitment to education and cultural representation, thank you so much for joining us today, Julie.


00:03:00 Julie Cajune

Oh, I'm happy to be here with you today.


00:03:02 Kateri Kramer

Yeah, I'm really excited to jump in and talk about the book as well as your experience in the education world. Can you start by talking a little bit about how the idea for this book kind of came about and then what the process for choosing either the authors or the type of essays that you wanted to include?


00:03:25 Julie Cajune

Well, I I started as a teacher. In a bilingual program and it was my first-year teaching. I am not a fluent speaker of my language and bilingual programs are often focused on English literacy, but this program was looking at using our language to inspire kids to get interested and and so I worked with a couple of fluent speakers.

And then I was also expected to teach, you know, tribal history at an elementary level. And of course, there was nothing. There was no material. So I literally had people giving me handwritten Salish. We didn't have a font on the computer at that time, and so it was very homemade. Everything that I was doing was like the week before. And and then I, you know, I thought well, I'll include some things from other tribes in the state because on our reservation, we have a lot of other tribes who go to our tribal college, so lots of other tribal members from Browning, Northern Cheyenne, all over. And so our schools are pretty multitribal. But I don't know why I thought things had changed for materials in school, you know, because my kids, obviously I've got two kids and they went through school and they they got very little native history. And so I started developing things for myself as a classroom teacher.

And then I was. I did some other projects. Our state has a law. It's called Indian education for all. I'm not really fond of that name, but the law interprets our state constitutional language that says the state is, you know, committed in its educational goals to the preservation and the cultural integrity of American Indians.

That's a paraphrase that's not exact, but that language was interpreted, and then there was an Indian studies law where they encourage teachers to take one's native studies class. Well, there weren't a lot in the 70s, and then it was reinterpreted and into a more, I guess, rigorous law. That said, educational institutions will teach about tribes in the state and then nationally and so that law passed, and there were a few things done, but the legislature finally decided to really support implementation, and so they gave some funding and all of the reservations in Montana have a tribal college. So that funding went through the office of the Commissioner of Higher Education to tribal colleges.

We got some funding. I was working as a school administrator then where I had been a teacher and I was recruited from that job, from the school to do a two year tribal history project to take this money, produce some materials for classrooms. And so I had two years, which is not a lot of time. It's a pretty quick piece of time. You know when you're trying to do history and writing and edit and all of that sort of thing and so. You know, and as as I kept experiencing these opportunities, but also seeing again the void, you know, and I could probably. Ask the both of you what. Did you learn, about American Indian people in your K12 education, you know or or even in a college education?

That, you know, kind of set me on a different path. And so I started developing materials before I was the director of my Tribes education department. I served five years as a curriculum specialist, and I was on call kind of for, you know, all the public schools on a reservation to support teachers. And I would do model teaching. I'd develop units with them. I'd find resources for and so our tribe has been really supportive because teachers that go through a program, they don't get this information either. So now there's a law that says you have to teach us content, but in your studies, we're not going to give you that content. You're going to have to find out where to get it and then if you go and look at mainstream publications that there's some really bad stuff, you know. And then there's kind of the, you know, the plateau, the woodland, you know, the plains Indian, that kind of generic stuff that you know that stereotypical at best and so you know, I I I really tried. Our tribe has really tried to support teachers. We started doing a training one day a year where we hosted over 400 teachers and to provide them content and have conversations with them and you know you can't be critical if you're not willing to be part of the solution and the problem and support. And so I'm I'm really proud of my tribes efforts to do that. But you know then then you get to talking with other people and you see that it's still kind of a national issue.

[00:08:49] And that, you know, is this happening anywhere? Is any school doing, you know, is anybody getting this information? And then just in, in my work at national conferences and participation, you know, I would always end up with a group of people saying, well, tell me about this, you know? And so then I'm getting an impromptu native, you know, lecture on American Indian sovereignty at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Conference in Baltimore. You know, so. So I I I could see that that there was a void and you know, I think all children have a right to see themselves represented in the curriculum at some point at several points and so. You know, I think it can make a difference that child's identity development and how they feel like they belong at the school and honestly you know for everybody who lives in the United States, it's it's part of being literate about where you live, right? And so of course, I kept working with folks. We did native theater, I worked with a colleague, Jennifer Finley, who's an amazing poet. She is now a tribal Councilwoman, but she's a very good writer. And she did a play on our treaty, and that was really powerful. We did several staged readings of it. So we I started looking at other ways of getting this information out there. She took stories of Salish Women, Salish and other women, and wrote from their voice. These are historic people. And then we did music and I made CD's. You know, I'm trying to think of how could I get young women in my community to access this. You know, they're, you know, what? If they're not really interested in looking at a book. And so we did theater. I've done videos, filmed lectures. Then, you know, tried to do lots of different media to reach, you know, a large number of people and and teachers like films, they like using them. And so some of the films we did, I did a four-part lecture series with a tribal attorney on different things - sovereignty, tribal government, federal policy here, and those are on our tribes Education Department website. So some of those things are available, but there's still a lot missing and. And so, of course, I had always thought of and then, you know, as native studies programs developed then you start seeing these kind of survey books for Native history 101, you know and, but they were primarily being written by non-native people. Not that the scholarship was bad. I mean some of the books are are very well researched. But it's different.

It's really different when you're telling your own history and and that's when I really got the idea. And then there were books where people were writing about their own tribes history, but then that's a single book. And so I I always thinking of something that a U.S. history teacher could use to supplement their book, or somebody who's teaching U.S. government. You know, and in Montana. I thought, you know, an anthology would be useful, really, in every classroom and and I think it the book that we produced would be useful in a native studies class at a college level too.

You know, I I went to Hawaii when I worked for my tribe's education department and got there and we were hosted by Kanaka Maoli people at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and immediately. I I felt so illiterate I realized, Oh my gosh, I don't know anything about the history here. I'm an educator. I have a master’s degree. You know, I'm supposed to be kind of culturally literate and sensitive, you know, to other cultures and. And I felt I realized that I was missing a big piece. Of knowledge and so spend some time visiting with educators there and looking at materials and thinking how we could bring that back. And we actually developed a relationship with some folks from the Big Island who came to our tribal school. Then we brought some students over there and so developed some relationships and realized, well, that's another missing.

Yes, because when in those survey books do you see Hawaiian Native Hawaiian Kanaka Maoli people? Not very. Much you know. And then I. Ended up in Alaska few times realized also. So for Alaska Native, it's a very different history. You know, Alaska native people. And I was fortunate to meet the late Oscar Kawagley when he was doing work trying to improve teaching the same thing that we were doing here in Montana. There's Alaska Native Knowledge network and they're doing fabulous things. And and I met him and he really taught me a really good lesson. About working with teachers. This and and I I took his model and I couldn't do it as fully and deeply as he did. But we started like a culture camp week with teachers where we brought teachers out on the land, different places, working with elders. And and getting history and knowledge and more of a natural setting. Doing things than sitting in a classroom, you know, with papers and a book. And bringing different, you know, tribal member experts in. And so I've really learned a powerful lesson from him about building relationships and connecting people because, on our reservation, there are very few native teachers. So you have almost all non- native teachers and then. Anyway, so that that's a long that's. A long part to where I'm getting. So when I was doing this native the two-year history project with funding from the state legislature. Legislature there, Joan Melcher, who's the daughter of? One of our. A A politician from Montana that passed away, Senator Melcher. So I recognized her name. She contacted me and she said she read some news article and she wanted to do a magazine story. So I'm like, yeah, fine. And so.

She took my picture and talked to me a little bit and I didn't think anything of it. And then a few months later I got a phone call from the Kellogg Foundation and it was a program officers assistant. And she said that her the program officer had read this newspaper article. And she was very interested in native history because she had just read Howard Zinn's book a People's history of the United States. And she was had a citizenship party. She's Chinese American. And somebody gave her that book as a gift. And she read it and she thought, wow, I thought that in the United States that all of this history would be taught. And then she read that article, and so her program officer called me and she said, we want to support this work that you're doing. And it was like, wow, OK. And and honestly, that is how I was able to do this. And I, you know knew that I needed to do a fuller picture and include folks from Alaska and Hawaii.

And then I just started talking to people I know my sister Lawanna is an academic and has worked around the country at Berkeley and UC Davis and the University of Washington.

[00:16:55] And so she knew a lot of folks. I knew some people. So we I just started asking and inviting people and and really wanted to gather and meet with people and imagine the book collectively, you know, instead of the common way these things happen, you put out an invitation and then people submit. And so it was a very different way to do things. I rented houses. And we all met together in one big house. And we ate Buffalo meat and had Huckleberry treats and some of our sacred foods and shared stories and songs and prayers, and it was a very different way to imagine a book. And that's kind. Of how it how it came about and through this funding I was able to bring people 3 summers. We were here, we met in the summer here. The best time to come to Montana. Unless you're winter sports person. But you know it it. Was just, I think the best way to do something and I know that people can't. You know, I I had the resources, the funding to do it and so. That's kind of how the book came about and then people submitted. So much more than what is in this book, you know and. They said, you know, you have so many pages and I had a lot of pages and so I had to sort and categorize because as if you've looked at it, it's very eclectic and it's not arranged linear in a linear fashion. It's thematic. And so we really, I really wanted to start. Also with oral history. And our traditional knowledge. And so that's the first part of the book, but it's not set in the past because that knowledge continues. And so some of those things are things from the past, but then some of them are. Ippo is talking about her Tutu and he was a traditional healer and how she's carrying that. On today so. So that's a. Long story about how I got to be here, you know.

[00:19:02] I it's a blessing. Honestly, I am a blessed person that, you know, I think sometimes when you're doing what you're supposed to be doing, things happen and doors open and that's kind of how how it's been for me.


00:19:16 Maya Roberts

Yeah, what a beautiful story, Julie, of how this book came to be in the process and the experiences that you and the contributors got to have in community and and coming together and sharing all of these and this actually leads into one of the the quotes from you in the book is, I believe, this collection of history, story and reflections provokes and invites us to think and feel deeply about what it means for all of us to be human in our communities, nations and beyond, after all, that is what a good story does, and it sounds to me like that really was a focus in the creation of this book. And maybe you can speak a little bit more to why you decided to make it that way and what that process has kind of meant to you?


00:20:04 Julie Cajune

Well, when when we met and gathered I asked them a couple of questions and tried to bring some inspiring quotes after we had really good food and we're all sitting together. And and ask the question of if you could only share two or three stories with your family and your community, what would they be? And we got to really talking about that and and one of the things that came up was. Sometimes when in a native history collection. There's a lot of loss, which certainly there was, but but the missing part of that are the stories of agency. Because of that agency and vision and and really brilliance and strength, that's why I'm here today, you know, because of what my relatives and ancestors did and and I think that's a missing piece and I we really wanted all of the young people in our community to see that and. Feel that? So we really talked about telling stories that that share that you know that that very human part of this story of hundreds of years of history on this land and relationship with place that we really wanted that to come across. And for young people to say to see that we were active forces in our lives and that people made sacrifices for their people. And that they fiercely loved their people and their homelands, and that because of that, we we still exist today. So that that was a big conversation that first time that we came together. We're we're stories like them. People told stories. And then you know, some of those stories I said, would you consider writing that story for for the book? And one of those was Annette Reed’s story about the Tolowa, where her, the leaders say we have to. They were dispossessed from, you know, their land, where they had all their traditional fisheries. So they kept sneaking back. So she was just telling it very informally and how they they would get caught and get in trouble. And the military was trying to, you know, keep them corralled. And and their leaders decided, we're going to go home. We we're all going home and I that was just really a powerful telling in in that setting. So she was gracious and wrote that was one of her chapters.


00:22:41 Kateri Kramer

I think that like one of the greatest strengths of the book is obviously this ability to tell stories. But in lots of different ways. Like we have very traditional storytelling and then you've got some personal essay, and then you have pieces that are maybe like slightly more academic in nature, but all of them are really rooted in narrative. And there's a personal element, no matter what. I'm curious what the process of dividing it into the three sections was. Did you know that you wanted to have these three sections before you got the essays in, or was that? Did that come after?


00:23:24 Julie Cajune

I knew that I very much wanted the book to start with oral history. And in our traditional knowledge and and I think that often other books start at contact and then you miss all of this all of these beautiful things. And so we talked a lot about that and it was it's challenging for native historians working in the Academy because oral history is often marginalized in the collective memory of native people is challenged and delegitimized and. You know, my tribe has, we have an amazing archive of audio archive of elders who sat with the old cassette recorder on the table, you know, and and told everything they were telling everything they knew because they were so afraid of things being lost. And and if you think of people being connected to that collective memory and having history. This this intelligence that's different. That like my great uncle Charlie had that. Kind of intelligence and memory that was so specific when the first home I bought on a little piece of land, he said. Hey, I heard you bought a place and I said yeah, and I told him where it was. He goes. Ohh he goes, you know, I know where there. There used to be an old wagon trail that went through there and he told me all the history. Of this place, his memory was like that. You know, he could remember seeing someone on a high mountain trail and tell you what they were doing and what kind of horse they were on. And it might have. Been 60 years ago. But people had that kind of memory and collective memory and so. When we talked about the first part of the book, it was a little bit challenging for people. And I and I had to really persuade, be persuasive on that part and and then, yeah. But I knew that I wanted to start there. I didn't want to start with. OK, we're going to start with contact because our story started. It's a lot. Longer before then. And so I I knew that I wanted that, but I hadn't realized the other parts. Until you know the last summer that week that we were together, that's when we could kind of see that it was melding into those parts and and the one thing that and the scholars named the book. And they named the sections so so that.


00:26:05 Kateri Kramer

But that's also that like that pre-contact part. I mean not that we're getting much of it anyway in school, but that pre-contact part is completely like you, you're not getting any of that whatsoever and I think that's another reason that the book is so unique and so special and important.


00:26:25 Julie Cajune

Yeah, yeah. And I'm. I'm grateful for that and. Oscar Kawagley's piece was published in the Journal of American Indian Education, you know, and since I had met him and knew him immediately when I found out this was going, you know, I had an idea that I could do this. I contacted him, but he was quite ill then. And so through a colleague, I sent a letter to him. I was able to send a letter to him. And I just wanted to thank him and and let him know how, you know, how blessed I was by meeting him the times that I did and what I learned from him. And then his colleagues said, you know, here's that here is this essay that was published. But it may be useful. And it absolutely was. It's beautiful because he's so powerfully shows how we look at the world, how his people look at the world. And while cultures are diverse there are some common things that we hold in how we see the world as animate and that we don't see ourselves as being separate from nature because we are part of nature also, and I think that's and being in relationship with the land is a different way of looking at being on the land being where you are in relationship with it and I think that's an important perspective to consider today because it's one of the crises we face is our failed relationship with the with the land and now we're kind of in trouble. And so I I think that's an important contribution and I think people can understand that just they can understand that in a philosophical way for native people, they're going to understand it in a spiritual way. But you can also understand that in a scientific way, I mean it just makes sense that that we're all connected and that everything we do impacts everything else. And so we are in relationship whether we recognize it or not. So I I was really grateful for that contribution, you know and and Epos piece. Speaks to that too. So I think that was important. We we talked about some really important things that we wanted people to know, you know, and. And the the you know the idea that democracy was already here, you know, in in Oren Lyons, you know his interview. Bob Miller, who's the law scholar in the book. He said, hey, we interviewed all these tribal leaders. Why don't you come over to Portland? And and get. All those interviews, he said. They're they're collecting dust. You know and. And you could repurpose them. So I thought I wasn't thinking for this book, but I got him. And I started watching all these DVD's of interviews. And there was. The late Billy Frank junior, you know. Who was is a hero to? Me and and I. I was it was just such a stunning, compelling interview and I thought I'm I'm putting this in the book if they'll let. Me. So I got permission and then when I listen to Oren Lyons say we didn't learn about the great law of peace. We lived it. And such a beautiful compliment to Donald Grinde's very academic account of the Iroquois Confederacy. And so I transcribed. So it was kind of. Serendipity, I think. Or you know. You could describe it in a lot of different ways how things came to be and on my way to get those DVD's in Portland, I met Joe Whittle. Who's a native journalist? And we had a really good conversation and I was in the middle of this. And I said, well, maybe you might consider writing something for this project. And his story is we almost forgot who we are. And it's a really personal story about identity that I think is important to tell because I think there are a lot of people. That will resonate with a lot of people. For different you know for. Different reasons and I I don't think it's a story that's told and it's just very honest and and intimate and. And brave I I just admired him. And so I just. Had an e-mail. With him the other day. So. And I was just thanking Renya Ramirez about for sharing her grandfather's story because I used the Miriam report. I've got an old dog yard copy of the Miriam report. The problem with Indian administration, you know, that was published. In what, 1928 or something. But her grandfather Henry Roe Cloud was a co-author of that. And it was. You know, you know kind of like a Bible for people writing grants, doing research on boarding schools and Indian policy. I mean, it was a very important publication. But also his, you know, she writes about him as looking at identity, because that's a big issue in Indian country right now. Identity. What does it mean to be an Indian? You know, who who is an Indian are you, do you have to be enrolled? All of those questions about native identity and. He talks about being. She talks about being progressive. How you can be progressive and still be an Indian, you know, and and as there's there's kind of a people have funny perceptions of Indian people and and we often get left out of the intellectual philosophical you know personality to where it's where you know, I don't know. It's, you know, it's kind of that heroin holiday thing with multicultural e d and and I think with publications that exist. So I I really appreciated her work he was such. An important man. You know, I think he was the first, native person to graduate from Yale. You know, he was such an intellectual, but such an activist. And and deeply rooted in his culture. And so I. It it's an important time that that a native person at that time period, I just think he was. Pretty bold and courageous. You know, if you think of everything happening, you know. So I yeah, I just. I was they have done a documentary film that she's going to share with me. So I was, yeah. So it was just a a really and telling it from your grandfather. You know, being the granddaughter of someone who was like, geez, he was like a hero. To me, and he looked like. A movie star. If you see. His portrait in there, you know, I was pretty awestruck with people at that. You know, at that time, native people who were really visionary and really pushing things, you know, reform in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and really, you know, really getting into positions where they had a seat at the table and some power.


00:33:33 Maya Roberts

Yeah. And and Julie, for that reason and for I think the reasons of everything you've explained in our conversation so far just highlights and underscores the importance of what you've done with this book and what the contributors have done and and the importance in bringing this into the world because I'm going to go back to that question you asked at the beginning here of, you could ask Kateri and I what we learned in school and the answer on my part. Unfortunately, is not much and I feel like I've been trying to play a game of catch up. And as a citizen of the United States, that just shouldn't be the case. And so I think that this book and the stories and the ways that you've compiled it and the contributions from the variety of different cultures, the importance of that really can't be overstated. And so a question I have for you is how can? What can we do personally to become more educated as citizens who need this knowledge?


00:34:35 Julie Cajune

You know, I I think one of I was trying to think about what are the most important learnings. And and I I was, you know I'll I'll go through that in my book list because I think one thing that I'm constantly telling people is that American Indians are unique as a minority in the United States because of our political status. And so just an understanding that American Indian people. Our sovereignty has been diminished, but we still govern ourselves and our homeland, so my tribal Council meets we have a government, we make laws, we have a jail, we have a, you know, we have a natural resource department, we have funding. It's a government that supports people. We do roads and bridges and economic development. You know, we're doing all the things that a government does weare doing. We give $750,000 I think a year, 725 for scholarships. We're in education, we have social services, we have all the services of a government. So American Indian people are functioning governments. So and our sovereignty, you know, it's. It's based on the United States Constitution. So I think if people just always challenge people when they say I'm a constitutionalist. I'm saying, well, what about Article 6? And they're like, well, they'll probably go to the Bill of Rights, you know. And and that that's what you know. But they haven't read the actual core of the Constitution. You know which says that treaty law is a supreme law of the land. So I think getting some basic understandings of that native people are. You know, we're we're still sovereign governments and we're still caring for our people and our homelands. That's a really important foundation. And and that we persist into modernity with our languages and our cultures and our songs. And that's just a bit miraculous, you know, to me and and I think reading novels I, you know, there's some so many good novels that that give you insight to native thought. About history and contemporary things, poetry. Joy Harjo's, the poet. Our poet laureate. You know, and so I think reading things that native people have authored. Is a really good way and it doesn't have to be a thick history text. You know it can be poetry you know, or or novels. And I think those there's so many amazing writers out there today. You know, Simon Ortiz is an amazing poet. Louise Erdrich her book Plague of Doves is probably one of my all time favorite novels. You know, if you want to, Ella Cara Deloria. I wrote a book. Waterlily. You know, if you want to get a glimpse into traditional lifeways for, for her, for women in her community there's so many books out there that are accessible. You know if if you just want to read some fiction that has some historic pieces in it, or just poetry. Native people talking about their experiences in in homes, I think is a great way to access this. So there, there's so many fabulous writers. You know and now. I'm getting into books, so I'm. Going to stop.


00:38:03 Kateri Kramer

But that's perfect because that's where we're going at. Yeah. So I think you've just done the perfect segue of all time. And why don't you just tell us what your book recommendations are? Because now I have to know.


00:38:15 Julie Cajune

OK.


00:38:17 Kateri Kramer

I'm wondering now if we have one of the same ones well.


00:38:20 Julie Cajune

First I want to start with poetry and novels, and so I would suggest poetry. And I have to admit that Joy Harjo, and Simon Ortiz are some of my favorite poets, but they're classics, and there are some newer people and there's a guy. And I was going to write his name down because I just read one of his poems. But I thought well. I'll just have to go with. What I know but poetry and Plague of Doves, Fools Crow by James Welch. Which is the epic historic fiction novel that is based on. I mean, that has so much history of the Blackfeet in there. I got that book and I read it in one sitting. I sat up until about 4:00 in the morning. I started it and I was transported. It's so powerful. Yeah. James Welch was an amazing writer. Power by Linda Hogan. Linda Hogan is an unused author in high schools and her book power. It it's it's a fabulous book and I I have supported local teachers and we bought classroom sets for teachers here. So that's kind of where I would start with, you know, with poetry and there's Lawana Trout did a great anthology. I I would use her anthology. I like her anthology. For American Indians and you know, looking at the Constitution and Federal Indian law, there is Exiled in The Land of the Free - Oren Lyons, John Mohawk, Vine, Deloria. Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law - David Wilkins. Native America Discovered and Conquered - Robert Miller. Miller, you know, he talks about westward expansion in the doctrine of discovery, and people need to know about the doctrine of discovery. That is how European nations colonized all over the world, so that, that's. You know, it's important to know, I think. To be literate. About the global world, history and and global issues today. Contemporary Commentary - Vine Deloria is still anything he anything he's written. I once there was an Indian Ed conference and I was with some teacher colleagues and I'm like, Oh my gosh, that's VIne Deloria. See, these are my movie stars. And they're like, who and? I'm like, that's Vine Deloria, I said. I'm going to go over. And meet him. And so I did. I went over and introduced myself and. And and at his talk he he gave a challenge to all the young native people there. He said we are passing the baton to you do something, do something and and I'll never forget that. And I'm so glad. But I use his book Spirit and Reason a lot because it has the essay “Low Bridge, Everybody Cross” that talks about the Bering land bridge theory and so I've used that with teachers a lot. Also, Elizabeth Cook Lynn you know who who passed away. But I had a chance to meet her. You know her contemporary commentary is intelligent and brilliant and provocative. And I I love all of her work. New Indians, Old Wars: Why I Can't Read Wallace Stegner and Other Essays, you know, looking at how the American West is written about? She's wonderful. The book I'm just starting is The Rediscovery of America by Ned Blackhawk. Very, very good, very good book. I'm just getting into it. The Alaska State Library and the Alaska Native Knowledge Network have great lists of native authored books. And of course. Oscar's book A Yupiaq World View is on there and and Velma Wallace's book who I. Got to meet Velma Wallace, 2 old women. A classic - Raising Ourselves, her biography. Aloha Betrayed by Noenoe Silva great book for from folks from Hawaii. Dismembering lehua. By John Osorio. Another good book on Hawaii. I will not say the Lakota title because I kept trying to get Ed Vilandra to talk. To me on the phone. To help me. But it's Black Hills Dream, edited by Craig Howell, Lydia Whirlwind Soldier. It's it's a really great book that looks at.

The 1851 and 1868 Fort Laramie Treaties and the Black Hills. You know, the ‘98 Supreme Court ruling, United States versus Sioux Nation of Indians and both the Treaties and that Supreme Court ruling are at the end of the book. That's a great thing for teachers. You know, if you're in high school or college. Because they're your primary sources. They're already there and you have all the history and all the contemporary issues, and I love it when things connect because some people say, well, that treaties way in the past. But treaties are by the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. And here's how tribes are dealing with that. Today, you know, we bring our treaty to court. So those are. Those are are some of my favorites.

And I I didn't want to do a a long list, but I did want to quote Luther Standing Bear, who published a book in 1933, which is pretty remarkable. And and, he said, America can be revived, rejuvenated by recognizing a native school of thought. And I thought, wow, he said that, you know, how long ago? And and I think that that's a pertinent and provocative statement for today. That people have something to offer. You know, and and as we think about all this and talk about that, it's not just about being literate, as you know about the people that live here and the history here, but it's about who we are as a nation and our identity, our national identity and kind of that to me it, you know it's it'll be like a rite of passage for America. When when you know our history of of everybody is fully embraced, I think it will make us more humane. I think it will make us. Better human beings as all. The folks in Indian country say it will help us to be a good relative with each other and to be a good relative with this beautiful country that we live in, so I I think native history has so much to offer for them, for for how we see ourselves. As all these disparate groups of people, but what can connect us? And how we can learn from each other and and what our stories have to offer. So I'm hoping for that day, my sisters and I've got. Quite a few sisters and we talk about it a lot. You know, we talk. About. Gee. Do you think I thought maybe my grandkids and it's like, that's probably not one. You know, my oldest ones in college. The middle one is a senior and then the youngest is in the eighth grade. And I don't think it's going to happen. In their generation, but maybe the next, because I think we've come a long way, at least we have here in Montana, I think most kids graduating from a school in Montana, I hope would know something about treaty law. I hope they might have read a treaty, you know, I mean, read a treaty, get online and look one up and just read it and and think about it and think, what did? What did that mean? You know, who are these people? I mean, it's to me, it's fascinating, you know, so of course I read our treaty over and over and I read it with students and we talk about it. So the you know, there's there's all of these entryways. Reading our Constitution, reading a treaty, reading poetry, finding a novel. Finding some good contemporary commentary. God Is Red You know, Vine Deloria was a hero to me. I, you know, these were trailblazers people, you know who were writing when very few native people were, and he was also supporting and mentoring other native writers. So you see him writing by himself. Then you see him writing with other people and lending his name recognition to emerging scholars. And that was such.


00:47:17 Kateri Kramer

And some of those people were on your list. David Wilkins being one of them.


00:47:22 Julie Cajune

Wilkins, yes.


00:47:23 Kateri Kramer

Yeah, he was one of Vine’s students.


00:47:26 Julie Cajune

Yeah. So you can see what you know what an impact he had. But how that mentoring you know, and we say here that that each of us is born with a generational responsibility. You know, as each of you are, you know, Maya and Kateri, you each have a generational responsibility. You know, you have a gift, you know, to give and. And to make something better. And to make you know, we're supposed to be becoming good people, good human beings. You know, in in our traditional education, the the ultimate was goal was that you helped this young person become a really good human being, you know. Yes. You want them to be smart and know these things. But the ultimate goal of that is not just to have all this knowledge But it's to be a good human being. And so I I think that. A lot of these writers have exemplified that, and they've left an impact and kind of paved a way for people like me. To be able to do things like like the project of this book, and so I I appreciate all that they did and I, you know, I didn't read a book by a native person till I was an adult and and then it was like it was The Man to Send Rain Clouds a little anthology. My sister and I just. Wore it out over. Anna Lee Walters. I remember her short story in there, but. It it was, it's hard to even explain what it is like when you read a book that is so similar. There are things that are similar and familiar to you that are so deeply intimate you know and connected with your identity to finally read something like that. You know, I I didn't have a great education. And so when I finally read a book that was so profound that way, it was pretty transformative for me. And I set my mind that I was going to read books by women because by women. And so I started reading women authors and. But now look at look. At what's out there?


00:49:41 Kateri Kramer

There's so much there's. probably not as large as it should be, but the options are there, and they're for every like level of reader like you've got picture books all the way on which I think is really nice. You also mentioned one of Maya's picks, so I'm going to have her go next because it's. It's perfect because we we talked about it already.


00:50:11 Maya Roberts

You you did, Julie. You took it. And that's and that's a good thing. That means we're on the same page here. But I was gonna recommend. Vine Deloria’s God Is Red. I just feel like Vine was such a catalyst for the American Indian Movement and what he contributed and and we just recently at Fulcrum this summer, it was the 50th anniversary edition that went out. It's got a beautiful new cover. There's input from a couple new contributors and so including David Wilkins, also Vine’s son Philip, and then as Dan Wildcat on that one. Yeah. So really just some powerhouse thinkers. So that was going to be my suggestion because it's it's just a. It's a great read.


00:50:51 Julie Cajune

It is, yeah. Yeah. He was really a visionary. A visionary man, you know. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So you keep looking for those leaders, you know, keep looking for those leaders, for people to. Step up and and I love.That the one time I got to to hear him speak that that's what he said to and he named. Some of his students. What are you doing? What?


00:51:17 Kateri Kramer

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, that's.


00:51:17 Julie Cajune

What are you doing?

What are? What are we doing to make things better? Everybody has a place to do that. You know, and writing Elizabeth Cook Lynn talks about that a lot, about how writing, you know, writing can be an act of resistance. It's bearing witness. It's giving testimony, you know, it's sharing. It's putting something out there that may not be there. Yeah. It's it's such a powerful tool. And it's been so great to work with you guys. You know, from Sam to Allison, all you guys a very supportive network. In a publishing group to work with.


00:51:58 Kateri Kramer

Thank you. I'm so glad.


00:52:00 Maya Roberts

We always love to hear that feedback, we really do.


00:52:03 Kateri Kramer

It's just been wonderful to work on this project as well.


00:52:07 Julie Cajune

It's been wonderful for me and and really supportive and we had our great little book launch at the university and they sold books and.


00:52:16 Kateri Kramer

Well, and I think what we're going to have to do is we'll pull this list from the podcast and I think it belongs on a list online along with some of your other suggestions about, like, reading and trade. You read the Constitution so that folks have this place that they can kind of go to. And they don't have to question like, where do I start? Like, here's. Where you start? Our Way will probably be the top of. The list so.


00:52:42 Maya Roberts

Definitely our way. First one when.


00:52:45 Kateri Kramer

Thank you. So so.


00:52:46 Julie Cajune

When you buy the book. You support the Salish Institute because any royalties from the book, go to the Salish Institute, that horse camp with kids, Coyote story camp, all these great things. So that's a little added incentive


00:52:54 Kateri Kramer

Which is amazing.. That's cool. Yeah, exactly. That's great. I'm so grateful that you joined us today and I think we're going to definitely need to have a follow up conversation at some point. I have lots more questions and I want lots more book recommendations and that kind of thing, but keep an eye out for lots of other programming that we do with Our Way or newsletters. Reviews that come out, other events, that kind of thing, and we'll keep kind of pushing it out into the world.


00:53:33 Julie Cajune

OK. OK. Thank you.


00:53:35 Kateri Kramer

Thank you again, Julie.


00:53:37 Julie Cajune

Lem lemps. Thank you in our language.

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