I learned something I didn’t know from my tribal newspaper. That’s why you read a newspaper, but the thing you learn about is normally current events and this is history.
The Cherokee Phoenix announced that it will reprint some of the first stories published in the Cherokee language in 1828. What’s the big deal about old stories?
It turns out that when the Phoenix published in English and Cherokee, it did not at first publish the same things in both languages. Modern translator David Crawler found the discrepancy when reading some very old issues of the Phoenix and made a pitch to Executive Editor Brandon Scott to publish some very old stories that have never seen the light of day in English.
Phoenix readers will get some slices of life in the early 19th century. In the 21st century, stories are normally written in English and translated directly into Cherokee, so readers in either language get the same content.
I also learned things I didn’t know watching a press conference put on by White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller, unveiling Trumpian plans to cut the number of immigration green cards issued in half. Miller claimed that recent immigrants not yet citizens were taking advantage of programs I always understood were for citizens only.
Miller had to duck questions about The Trump Organization’s long-standing practice of hiring foreign workers. The presser ended on an exchange with CNN’s Jim Acosta that Politico described as “fiery, bizarre, combative and confusing.”
Acosta, the son of immigrants, hurled the iconic words of Emma Lazarus:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
Miller lectured Acosta that the Lazarus poem was “not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.” This is new information to me.
The Statute of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886; Emma Lazarus wrote the poem inspired by the outsized pieces of the statute touring the country to raise funds for the installation on November 2, 1883.
But what do I know? Miller works in the White House and I don’t. I always thought they were as proud of being immigrants as we are proud of not being immigrants, but I learn something new every day since the U.S. took up government by billionaires.
There is one small drawback to government by billionaires besides their determination not to pay taxes. They expect the taxpayers to support them in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed.
So, President Trump has made it clear he prefers Mar-a-Lago to Camp David. He prefers the TrumpJet to Air Force One. And this week, according to Sports Illustrated, the POTUS referred to the residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue popularly known as the White House as “a real dump.”
In the first 195 days of Trump, the POTUS spent 58 days at Trump properties and 43 of those days were at Trump golfing properties. I am not informed whether the taxpayers are billed for use of the Trump properties, but during the campaign Trump billed his use of his own properties and didn’t even offer himself a discount.
This week, it came out that the Secret Service detail charged with protecting the POTUS and his family had to move their command center out of Trump Tower and into a trailer on the street below…because the Trump protectors got in a dispute over how much rent they should pay to Trump’s business.
It’s an insult to offer public facilities to a man of Trump’s stature, so we the taxpayers will be writing big checks to Mar-a-Lago. However, the communications systems require that the POTUS lower himself to ride in Marine One and Air Force One rather than his own more luxurious aircraft.
My Republican cousin Ray Sixkiller was snickering. “I don’t expect we could sell very many tickets to that pity party.”
Oh, I forgot something about the Miller-Acosta contretemps. The ultimate insult hurled at Acosta was when Miller accused the reporter of “cosmopolitan bias.”
Cousin Ray said he had nothing against cosmos, but his bias was towards margaritas.
In the strangest political tactic since U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) faked a filibuster by reading Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor, a bipartisan group of Texas treehuggers did their own impression of Dr. Seuss.
KXAN reported that Rep. Wayne Faircloth (R-Galveston) and Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) did a public reading of The Lorax under a historic oak tree on the Texas capitol grounds.
The Lorax is an environmental classic in which the title character speaks for the trees. Faircloth and Alvarado were demonstrating against the latest instance of the Tea Party, avatars of local control, moving to take away local control—in this case, local ordinances intended to protect local trees.
These are the same folks who passed a state law to invalidate local bans on fracking and the same folks who want a tiny federal government as long as it’s big enough to make sure every pregnancy in the nation is carried to term.
The legislature is currently controlled by crazies so the tree protection ordinances are as doomed as the anti-fracking ordinances. But there is good news that GOP politicians at both the state and federal levels have figured out that the crazies are not in fact Republicans.
Cousin Ray was doing his happy dance. He’s a long-suffering Republican of the old school, a Cherokee who will tell you he has to be a Republican because Andy Jackson was a Democrat.
Cherokees take a lot of ridicule for holding Jackson against modern Democrats, and I got past the stink of Jackson and became a Democrat, but I must ask my non-Indian friends: if a policy cost the life of at least one person in every family you know, how long would it take you to “get over it?”
“It” was Indian removal, and the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa is opening a new exhibit called After Removal: Rebuilding the Cherokee Nation. The Gilcrease holds an extensive collection of historical and anthropological materials in addition to its legendary art collection. Documents at the Gilcrease range from Spanish materials starting in 1494 up though manuscript collections from Choctaw Chief Peter Pitchlynn and Cherokee Chief John Ross.
Thomas Gilcrease, who started the core collection, was a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation. The new Cherokee exhibit will be celebrated on “Cherokee Day,” September 24, when enrolled Cherokees will have free admission.
The Cherokee exhibit comes during the tenure of the Executive Director hired in 2015, James Pepper Henry, a citizen of the Kaw Nation.
“What a concept,” Cousin Ray marveled. “Indians telling their own story!”
The Washington Post reported that Anthony Scaramucci AKA “Mooch” is listed as deceased in the Harvard Law Alumni directory. This report came out the same day Mooch was shown the White House door after only 10 days as White House communications director, a job in which his principal accomplishment was familiarizing the American people with the word “autofellatio” as a euphemism.
Cousin Ray asked if that was the same outfit that listed Elizabeth Warren as an Indian?
No, that was the faculty directory, but I had to admit that listing a guy making front page news as dead was not doing anything for Harvard’s credibility.
Cousin Ray said there’s no truth to the rumor that Harvard is the latest booking on the Jimmie Durham tour.
CNN reported that the Missouri NAACP has issued a travel advisory for the entire state, suggesting that nonwhite persons should make sure they keep in touch with family and have access to bail money.
The travel advisory came after Missouri passed a law making civil rights cases much harder to prove. I can see very little connection between this law and a travel advisory. Civil rights cases arise after the denial of rights has happened and the advisory cautioned that rights of nonwhite persons may be denied. Nothing in the law changed makes a denial of rights more or less likely unless there were enough civil rights lawsuits to cause snakes with badges to look over their shoulders.
Speaking of snakes, the Elyria, Ohio Chronicle-Telegram reported that a 45-year-old woman called 911 to say she had a boa constrictor stuck to her face:
Please hurry. He has a hold of my nose.
Oh God, hurry, please. He’s around my waist and he has my nose.
Responding firefighters, sure enough, found the woman lying in a puddle of blood, with a five-and-a-half-foot snake around her body and her nose in its mouth.
Unable to make it let go, one of the firefighters used his pocket knife to cut the snake’s head off. The woman was taken to a hospital with superficial injuries.
There was no word on what, if anything, happened to her other boa constrictor or her nine pythons.
The Bangor Daily News reported that John Chipman Jr., captain of the Theresa Anne, and his sternman, Kevin Meany, ran across a bald eagle swimming in the ocean. The eagle was using both wings in a sort of avian butterfly stroke but he was plainly tiring.
The Maine lobstermen slowed down and rigged a life raft from a bait box and a life preserver. The bedraggled bird got on their device with no prompting. The eagle actually allowed himself to be touched. He stood up on the gadget and waved his wet feathers in the breeze.
Chipman’s wife Theresa called a game warden, who agreed to meet the lobstermen at Bunkers Harbor and take custody of the distressed eagle.
Before they made Bunkers Harbor, the eagle managed to dry himself and took flight. The good Samaritans watched the bird land safely on the shore and called the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to say, “Never mind.” They went back to work with a story to tell and photographic evidence to convince doubters.