Surprises from My 2017 Blog Review

Carol A. Hand

So much has changed since I began this blog in February of 2014. It’s fascinating to look back on the past year, 2017, to discover the most visited posts. Most were originally posted during 2017, a year when the majority of the work I shared was poetry. The four most frequently viewed posts, though, were published earlier in my blogging adventure.

The top ten are listed below in ascending order.

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# 10.  Somedays I Wonder What Is True (February 1, 2017)

Wikipedia – Sky Over Washington Monument

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….A strange message passes through my mind as I greet the morning.

“I sent my children, prophets, to many nations. They walked the earth teaching peace and love, working miracles to show the power you have within to heal others and create beauty….”

 

# 9. Looking Up (July 2, 2017)

Carol A. Hand – photo by Jnana Hand

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…. Peace – I look up and stand steadfast, an elder

My spirit one with soaring eagles

knowing no matter what comes

I’m not standing alone ….

 

# 8. History Keeps Repeating (April 19, 2017)

Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Wikipedia photo

***

…. As I work on editing the book manuscript I wrote about my research [on Ojibwe child welfare], I can’t help reflecting on our inability as a nation to learn from history….

A few days ago, the U.S bombed Afghanistan again with “the mother of all bombs.” Operation Enduring Freedom? Other choices are possible and far more likely to be successful if that really is the goal of U.S. international actions….

 

# 7. Integrity vs. Despair (March 30, 2017)

Dancer

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…. Each one of us who resists despair

adds a bit of light to the world….

 

# 6. Signs of These Times (February 11, 2017)

February 9, 2017

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…. Over the years, I have learned to view so many of you as beloved friends. I look forward to your posts and your kindness. I don’t know how many of you know that I always try to reciprocate. I try to return every visit to my blog with a like, and sometimes when I can find the words, a comment. I do take the time to read what you write before doing so….

 

# 5. Reflections about Then and Now (September 6, 2017)

Lake Superior Shore – 2017

***

Let me take just a moment

to put aside the chaos of the world

seeping into my soul

Remembering ….

 

# 4. Context Matters when Teaching Diversity (January 6, 2015)

Photo Credit: Diversity Tree

***

…. Final Thoughts. Critical self-awareness is an essential foundation for effective social justice work practice. Before one can “shift center” as Andersen and Collins (2004) recommend, one must be aware of one’s center. Yet critical self-awareness is but one of many steps in the complex, life-long process of understanding and embracing diversity. Relating to diversity is a multi-dimensional endeavor that involves seeing not only one’s position at present, but also reflecting on one’s experiences within the contexts of personal and world history, power differentials, and socially-constructed meanings of difference. It requires understanding one’s privileges and oppression. And it requires the courage to make mistakes and to look foolish, the grace to face conflict, and the desire to find common ground based on honoring the richness of others’ experiences and perspectives.

 

# 3. Circle the Wagons – The Natives Are Restless (January 1, 2014)

Wagon Train by C.C.A. Christensen – Wikipedia

…. I have tried to use Facebook periodically as a medium to heighten awareness about Native American issues, but invariably the superficiality of exchanges has convinced me that it’s a waste of my time. Yet there are occasions when I cannot refrain from commenting on blatant and dangerous information. The result, of course, is predictable. The wagons circle to protect the comforting illusions that expressing white guilt and denying any complicity for past atrocities is enough. The ultimate show stopper is to call the one Native voice “racist.” ….

 

# 2. The Fool’s Prayer (January 3, 2014)

Me playing the Jester in My Youth

***

…. Presentation day was one of nervous anticipation for me. I was excited to share what I thought was an important message with my classmates. But my anxiety grew as I sat through the recitation of nursery rhymes and “Twinkle-twinkle little star.”

Oops,” I thought, “Maybe I made a mistake, but it’s too late now.” ….

 

# 1. When You Think of “Health” What Comes to Mind? (March 6, 2015)

Carol A. Hand – Community-University Partnership – 2007

***

…. One of the participants prophetically predicted the outcome of this hopeful project.

“Power sources are experts at turning us against each other, then they walk right over us. We are all like a circle, the non-profits working for Indian people. I try to tell people that the money-people toss a dollar bill in the middle and we all scramble for it. And I tell people we cannot do that anymore. When the money-people throw the dollar bill into the center of the circle we have to say “NO.” We must lock arms in the circle and ask for something more. We need to improve all of our lives, not just a handful of our lives. If we could just all get on the same page. It’s not about who is in charge – we are equals. But the power sources would prefer to have us at each other’s throats.”

Sadly, those in power at the county and federal levels were able to divide the community….

***

I am deeply grateful to all of my virtual friends who have been with me throughout the years, and appreciative for newer friends and followers. You have all enriched my life. I am excited to see what the coming year will bring. I send my blessings and wish to say chi miigwetch to all (Ojibwe “Thank you very much”).

 

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33 thoughts on “Surprises from My 2017 Blog Review”

  1. Chi miigwetch to you as well, Carol!

    Happy New Year!

    I hope, as weak as my hope is right now, that something will happen in the new year, to change the seemingly disastrous course that all of humanity is on at the moment.

    And that’s about as positive and hopeful as I can be right now.

    Thank you, Carol, for remaining who you are in this difficult time. You uplift, by spreading your love, knowledge and wisdom, and I’ll continue to be the raving mad man. Is is a deal?;-)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you for this review, Carol. It took me into your “circling the wagons” post that I had not seen before. As highly educated professionals in the social sciences, it was drummed into us that we had to remain “objective” and to bow to the “scientific research paradigm” which invalidates or dismisses our personal, emotional responses to an issue. And even when our audience is not highly educated, an angry tone often results in defensiveness, referred to as “that tone in which it was said”. This immediately nullifies whatever truth may have been carried in our words because the “tone” was not acceptable. As if certain truths were ever heard in any form, tone, or manner by the privileged ones….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your important discussion, Annette, about the role education plays in indoctrinating students to believe that “objectivity” and “science” are the one true path to knowledge. As someone who was raised to see the world from two very different cultural perspectives, I questioned the unproved notion that there was one truth and one set of methods to get there. I wrote more about this in an old post, Reflections about the Power to Shape Knowledge.

      Even with extra safeguards, such as asking some of the key Ojibwe people to review what I write prior to publication to check for accuracy, the power of ethnographers to frame other cultures still makes me uncomfortable. As Crabtree and Miller (1999) point out, even with the best of intentions, our gaze is still limited by the lenses we look through. Through the processes of education, socialization, and mass communication, the citizens of nations are programmed to accept the prevailing order, to spontaneously consent “to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group” (Gramsci, 1999, p. 12). Despite reflection, I know I still carry years of indoctrination that color what I look for, what I understand from what I see, and the meanings I attribute to what I hear and observe.

      …. For me, the roles of teacher and researcher are humbling reminders of how little I really know, and reminders of the need to honor the sacred obligations embodied in the responsibilities these roles represent. I am reminded of the need to be truthful and compassionate, and to give voice to the strengths, hopes, and visions of those who share their lives with me during our collective journey. Research, a neutral tool, can be used as a force to promote understanding and liberation. Even though the type of research I do is not seen as “scientific” by many in the academic community, it does have the potential to inspire people to envision new possibilities, realize their own strengths, and gain the skills and confidence to transform their lives and communities.

      Reading the work of Robin Wall Kimmerer, an Indigenous biologist, has helped me realize that a richer, more complete way of knowing can result from the blending of different cultural perspectives.

      “There was a time when I teetered precariously with an awkward foot in each of two worlds – the scientific and the indigenous. But then I learned to fly. Or at least try. It was the bees that showed me how to move between different flowers – to drink nectar and gather pollen from both. It is this dance of cross-pollination that can produce a new species of knowledge, a new way of being in the world. After all, there aren’t two worlds, there is just this one good green earth.” (p. 47) ( From Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.)

      Yet as you accurately point out, others need to be open to learning even if it means discarding cherished assumptions and taken-for-granted beliefs.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Carol – thank you so much for taking the time to prepare this thorough response to my comment. I was recently introduced to Robin’s writing (Braiding Sweetgrass; Gathering Moss) and I am enjoying her writings, coming from her “conjoint” consciousness. That word just popped in my mind to describe the blending of right and left hemisphere thinking and experiencing, and, ultimately, her sublime blending of indigenous and modern technologies.
        I recently read an essay by Lyla June Johnson, the young Dine (Navajo) woman who turned down her admission to Harvard Business school so she could dedicate herself to immersion and promotion of her Dine culture. In this essay, she honored both of her European and Native roots, embracing the best of both, recognizing the suffering and pain in both. Wise beyond her years, an important cultural mediator.
        I have lots of stories from my time in grad school about clashes with the scientific paradigm (never mind that I produced a dissertation that contained 80 pages of statistics – total madness!); but also from my years as a clinician working with inner-city African Americans constantly looking for ways to reach them (non-verbal art therapies, sports and walks, creating income opportunities for the teenagers, etc) while the Freudian psychiatrists in charge peddled their superior “talk therapy” that the kids hated while dismissing my approach as “not really therapy.”
        So many memories coming up now…. including the big knock on my German-educated analytical brain when, as a very young woman, I was immersed in Afro-Caribbean culture and witnessed voodoo rituals and a person possessed by a demon spirit. As hard as I tried, I could not find any “scientific” causes of what I witnessed and then decided that I needed to leave a space in my brain for things I did not/could not understand. It later led to an interesting paper in grad school attempting to find similarities between hypnosis, witchcraft, and shamanic work.
        Though not focused on cultural differences per se, I am reminded of Carol Gilligan’s work on Women’s Ways of Knowing, challenging Kohlberg’s model of moral development (based on white male thinking). Many of the concepts we study in the social sciences need to start from the position that there are gender and cultural differences (minimally) and engage collaborators from the various groups that can help formulate the questions/concepts/study methods involved and help interpret the findings. We have so many blind spots imposed by our own cultural and educational upbringing that shape our ways of thinking. We just don’t know what we don’t know.
        Ah, the scientific paradigm – as highly defended as any fundamentalist religion!

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Thank you for such a thoughtful response, Annette, and for sharing your broad range of experiences and crucial insights about diversity and the “scientific paradigm.” I rarely have the opportunity to engage in these kinds of dialogue these days and I am deeply grateful to you for the depth and breadth of your reflections. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Carol, we both thank you for your kind and beautiful wishes! WD has been experiencing great excitement since yesterday. Yesterday, my another earthling friend Steinbrecher said that after 16th February, the Chinese would celebrate the entering to the dog year (I do not know what the details of it, but it could be a different calendar) WD has taken it seriously and is waiting for that day, to establish his own dog kingdom that he always desired. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Happy New Year, Carol 😊 I never have enough hours to read everything I want to, but I try to read your posts which are always inspiring and beautiful and make me take the breath I have been holding. 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sending wishes for a happy new year to you, too, Chris, and your lovely family. And thank you for such kind and lovely comments. I look forward to your posts as well, and love reading about your adventures and family.

    As I read your comments this morning, I was reminded of the creative gift you give to others with your painted stones. One of the reflections I wrote many years before I began blogging, and later posted, is about my musings while washing stones. I have included a link and would love to hear your thoughts about the reflections if you have time: https://carolahand.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/musings-while-cleaning-rocks/.

    I am so grateful for your friendship. ❤

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Natalie.

      In terms of the review, it was quite easy. I have often wondered about the viewed posts & pages that are listed on the stats review “traffic” page. If you click on the heading “Posts & Pages” you are able to see all viewed posts for the day and sort posts visited during different timeframes by selecting among a number of options listed above the list. I waited until late on December 31, 2017, and looked at the list for the year. It was interesting to for me to know that longer, more academic posts were among the most often viewed during the year.

      Like

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