[R-G] Lupus and Natives, Natives and Hunting
hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Sat Jan 3 11:33:52 MST 2004
Note by Hunterbear:
As my subject title suggests, this is my beaded leather bag full of several
things: Lupus [the incurable and murky auto-immune body-attacking disease
"of many faces" whose rare, sometimes lethal super systemic variant now
afflicts me]; Laguna Indian pueblo [Western New Mexico]; personal bear
hunting for traditional purposes.
First, this short three paragraph excerpt from an on-going study begun in
incidence of all varieties of Lupus among Native Americans. Although some
may see the Ten Times figure as a bit high, it's obvious that the disease is
hitting Natives harder than other ethnic groups in the Western Hemisphere.
In addition, of course, many Native Lupus cases are given other origins --
e.g., witch craft [ of which I, BTW, do not make light] -- or are in remote
reservation regions and remain undiagnosed. Hunterbear
"It is, however, thought that in some tribes lupus occurs as much as 10
more often than in the European American population."
"The Lupus Genetic Linkage Study has recently announced The National Native
American Lupus Project (NNALP). This project is a newly developing venture
between scientists, geneticists and anthropologists from the University of
Oklahoma, OMRF and Native American Tribal Communities in Oklahoma as well as
across the United States. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
the project has both short- and long- term goals. In the short term the
NNALP has already begun developing a culturally sensitive outreach and
education program regarding lupus and its effect on Native American peoples.
Like some other indigenous populations of the world, the incidence of lupus
in Native Americans, though suspected of being high, is not precisely known.
It is, however, thought that in some tribes lupus occurs as much as 10 times
more often than in the European American population. This incidence is more
than twice the incidence of that in the African American population.
Finding the genes that predispose one to lupus is an extremely complicated
task. A nation built predominantly of immigrants, American populations tend
to be very diverse genetically due to mixed ethnic origins. This genetic
diversity can make it more difficult to find groups of people similar enough
to easily identify common genes, let alone those that predispose to lupus. .
Certain Native American populations are more geographically isolated than
other American population groups, a factor that also contributes to a
smaller amount of genetic variance."
[Full article at:
an.asp [You may have to type out this Link to get it. -- H]
So far, very little Federal money indeed is allocated to study and actively
the various forms of Lupus.
Laguna Pueblo, like all human settings, produces its share of gifted
people. Among them are the notable poet, Paula Gunn Allen, and the splendid
writer, Leslie Marmon Silko. [I know some of the relatives of each and
knew Leslie Marmon when she was a baby.]
Among her many fascinating poems, Paula Allen has one, "Dear World," which
addresses the terrible struggle a mixed blood [Native and Anglo] mother
has with Lupus:
"A halfbreed woman" . . . can hardly do anything else / but attack herself."
". . . eyes burn, / they tear themselves apart . . . / her joints swell to
point / of explosion, eruption," . . . . "when
volatile substances are intertwined, / when irreconcilable opposites meet, /
the crucible and its contents vaporize."
Paula Gunn Allen, Skins and Bones: Poems 1979-1987 [Albuquerque: West End,
various editions including 1988.]
[My variety of Lupus, although frequently lethal, is only moderately
painful. Personally, I'm feeling better these past several days. Let's just
hope it holds.]
Paula Gunn Allen tends to see a mother's dichotomous ancestry [Native and
Anglo] as being at perennially cutting loggerheads [ in addition,
complicated by demanding gender responsibilities] and also sees the
body-attacking Lupus in the same basic vein. No question about Lupus, and
in no way am I questioning Paula Gunn Allen's assessment of the mother and
family situation, but mixed bloods have been very common in Native circles
very long time indeed -- centuries in some cases -- and discrimination
against them by other Native people is rare.
And I also strongly recommend Leslie Marmon Silko's literary works. In
Ceremony [New York, Viking/Penguin, 1977 -- and many subsequent editions],
the chief protagonist, Tayo, a Laguna, and a recently returned World War II
vet, reflects on the hideous damage done to Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
"Even if he [Tayo] could have taken the old man [Ku'oosh, the Elder] to see
areas, even if he could have led him through the fallen jungle trees and
muddy craters of torn earth to show him the dead, the old man would not have
believed anything so monstrous. Ku'oosh would have looked at the dismembered
corpses and the atomic heat-flash outlines, where human bodies had
evaporated, and the old man would have said something close and terrible had
killed these people. Not even old time witches killed like that."
Like the Navajo, the Lagunas have been hit in deadly fashion by the effects
of uranium mining, milling and refining. Hunterbear
>From Hunterbear on traditional Native -- including Laguna -- hunting:
Emphasizing that a certain animal -- e.g., Whale or Bear or Deer -- has
especial significance in the framework of its specific Native cultural
setting, I point out that, when the respective animal is taken, all its
meat is eaten and nothing is wasted. On the general matter of hunting, I'm
personally very critical of people who hunt for trophies -- and I see
hunting primarily as a matter of securing meat in the context of outdoor
adventure and challenge.
As is generally known, I grew up in Northern Arizona and Western New
Mexico -- very
much in a Navajo framework but with close family ties to many Hopi people
and to a great many people at Laguna Pueblo. In the latter setting, our
relationship with families based in one particular clan structure was
especially close and we attended many of its functions -- both at the Laguna
villages in New Mexico [near Grants, between Gallup and Albuquerque] and at
the Laguna colony in the western edge of the railroad town of Winslow,
Arizona which is about 55 miles east of Flagstaff on what used to be Highway
66. In the Winslow setting, the Lagunas have traditionally been Santa Fe
railroad workers and their families. In return for letting the railroad
cross the Laguna reservation in N.M. [based on very old and enduring Spanish
land grant title], the Santa Fe agreed to give hiring preference to Laguna
men in many job categories and it honored its commitment.
In the "old days," the leading, traditional hunter for the Laguna clan with
which our relationship has been very close was Juan Carillo -- who was
one-half Apache [Mescalero/Chiricahua] and the direct nephew of Geronimo.
His father was a Castilian Spaniard who came to Southern New Mexico and
established a ranch and married Geronimo's sister in the framework of the
Catholic Church. Because of the virulent Anglo hostility directed toward
Geronimo and all members of his family, Juan Carillo wound up being
partially raised at Laguna for reasons of safety -- and, even though the
Lagunas and the Apaches had frequently been antagonists, most Native people
were standing together in those very tough days! He married into the Laguna
tribe and lived out his life in that setting. He was a tall man and an
excellent hunter. Juan Carillo, his son Richard, and Margaret Beardsley
Carillo --Richard's wife -- and various others in that and closely related
families were very old and enduring friends of our family. The younger
people are to this moment. Juan Carillo, very much a traditionalist, hunted
with a Winchester 1873 44/40 lever action and consistently used old-time
When Juan Carillo killed the first buck mule deer for this large extended
family network -- in the Fall hunting season -- that deer was taken into a
special family place at Laguna, hung in the shade, and decorated
extensively. Many came to pay their respects and to honor the deer. In due
course, the women of this clan grouping prepared a massive feast: the deer,
plus the great loaves of bread via outdoor clay ovens for which Laguna is
rightly well known, and much more -- including super hot chili. Our family
attended these very important affairs with regularity. Once gathered,
certain religious functions would be performed. Then, the clan grandmothers
would bring in a steaming pot containing the deer's cooked head, with the
horns sticking well up. Everyone would be given a piece of the meat from
the head -- with the eyes considered very special. I was once given an eye
and found it delicious. The rest of the food -- including all of the body
meat of the deer -- was then brought in. Chili soup, with various
vegetables, had a base of cooked, cracked bones. Virtually everything
relating to the deer was prepared and consumed. And the deer was frequently
thanked for his signal contribution.
In more conventional hunting situations, nothing was wasted either. This is
true in all Native tribal nations.
When I killed my first bear -- a critically important coming-of-age ritual
done as a lone hunter -- I shot an extremely large male black bear down in
the very vast and rugged Sycamore Canyon wilderness region southwest of
Flagstaff, Arizona. I used an old Winchester 1894 lever action 30/30 with a
24" barrel. The bear, which we had to pack out in sections over a two day
period [I went back to Flagstaff and got my Dad and an adult family friend],
had a closely estimated [by various adults] live weight of 650 pounds.
Nothing was wasted. [ We did lose most of the hide, the last thing we took
out on the final day, to green October blow flies. We were able to save some
pieces of it.]
The several hundred pounds of bear meat, in fine shape, were totally
consumed over some years. [My mother immediately bought an especially huge
freezer for the Bear.] I ate very large portions of it before I went off to
the Army -- and I ate much of it when I finally returned. The skull hangs on
my office wall to this very day and can be seen on the very front page of
our large social justice website. And I always wear a bear claw
around my neck.
Finally, with a full-blooded Native father and a Scottish-American mother, I
occasionally refer to myself as a "half-breed." In the long course of my
life,virtually no Native people have ever been pejorative toward me on this
matter. I have no objection to a friend calling me "half-breed" -- but I
don't like non-Indian strangers doing it. I become angry if referred to as
a 'breed. Only non-Indians have done that.]
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR]
Micmac / St Francis Abenaki / St Regis Mohawk
>From the mountains of southeastern Idaho
It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one
lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.
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