Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hot Rocks and Rain, and a Request for Shares


Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
Today at The NDN Silver Blog, it's the final entry in Wings's most recent collection in miniature — his newest work, and all of them showpieces of substance. Of course, there's also a little on culture and symbolism and art generally in there, too.

And I'm going to plead outright for shares. The corporate retailers, of course, have a vested interest in reporting unusually high sales for this Black Friday weekend, in no small part because of organized attempts to shut down their influence. The media are dutiful stenographers, as usual, reporting record sales with no word of margins or of the effects on the employees. All that said, this is normally one of our biggest weekends of the year (with the vast majority of our business conducted online, and with no employees to take away from families and celebrations). It's also the one that launches the season that gets us through some very harsh, very lean winter months. And it's the worst we've ever had: not one sale thus far this weekend. That has never happened, not that I can recall.

So please: Take a moment to share the links. Not the link to the this post, and not the Facebook link, but this link. And more importantly, this one, to Wings's main page. Better yet, if you own some of Wings's work (or work from one of our other artists), send the link around with a testimonial. You have our profound thanks.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Going for Water

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
Today at The NDN Silver Blog, it's Wings's latest, along with links to coordinating pieces. It's an homage to history, a prayer for the present, a tribute to the life-sustaining element of water in the desert.

It's officially the holiday season, and holiday sales are what get us through the colder, harder, leaner months of winter yet to come. Shares are thus much-needed right now, both of the post and of Wings's main page, and are welcomed with our thanks.

Friday, November 28, 2014

[Black] Friday Feature: Art On Native American Heritage Day

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

It's our weekly Friday Feature at The NDN Silver Blog, but today, it's also a little something extra. It's Black Friday, of course, the start of the holiday shopping season, but it's also Native American Heritage Day. So we've decided to combine the two, featuring "Black Friday" Native art in very literal terms.

It's also a hugely busy day here, although you won't catch me anywhere near a store, much less a mall. Holiday sales would be welcome, of course, so shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are likewise welcomed with our thanks.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

#TBT: Mourning, Remembrance, Celebration, and Giving Thanks

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
It's #ThrowbackThanksgivingThursday at The NDN Silver Blog, and today, there are no featured items, just a meditation on the day. We're often asked about whether we celebrate it, and how. I deconstruct the frame a bit and put it into our context: one of mourning, of remembrance, of celebration, and, yes, of thanksgiving.

Perhaps it will explain how we approach this day, and help non-Indians to understand it a little better. Shares are welcomed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Calling the Rain

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

It's something we need desperately right now — rain, that is. I'd prefer snow, but with a projected high of 46, I'll take what's feasible. Of course, nothing's predicted anytime soon, but that won't stop me from trying to invoke the rains.

That's what we're doing today at The NDN Silver Blog, with an otherwise-straightforward feature of Wings's newest: a pair of earrings that are part of a collection in miniature, with another pair of coordinating earrings and a simply gorgeous coordinating necklace. 

Take a look, join us in praying for moisture, and please share both the post itself and Wings's main page. As of tomorrow, the holiday season is officially here, and time is short. We need shares to make sales.

Thanks, everybody.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Turquoise Tuesday: "The Border Crossed US."

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
It's still Turquoise Tuesday at The NDN Silver Blog, and at long last, today's post is up. Today, it's the arbitrariness of borders; the stone doesn't care, though. If I'm feeling better physically next week (and if I have more time; always doubtful this time of year), next week's entry may have a bit more depth.

As always, shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are welcomed with thanks.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Gifts: A Hoof Clan Visitor

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
It's Monday, and that means it's the latest in our holiday feature series at The NDN Silver Blog on small gifts for the holidays. Today, it's an all-new piece, and a really beautiful one (modestly priced, too).

It's also four degrees here, with a layer of ice over everything. Which means I need to get started on the day, because it's going to be another busy one, and everything takes at least twice as long in these conditions.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, welcomed with our thanks.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ajijaakwag

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Ajijaakwag, for whom I am named, arrived today.

Four flocks, we believe. We don't often get to see them arrive for the winter, headed for their migratory home in the mountains just north of us here. In years that we're lucky, we may get to see a few of them leave.

They haven't been around much in recent years anyway; climate change, probably. So this was a special blessing, on top of the snow that's still coming down. I went out a little while ago, into the cold, no jacket, no gloves, no boots, and burned some cedar.

To say thank you.



A Metaphorical Medicine Wheel

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

Now up at The NDN Silver Blog, it's a musing on medicine wheels, literal and metaphorical. It's also a feature of the latter form.'

It's snowing and sleeting here, and we have another busy day ahead, so I'll just add our usual request for shares of the post itself and of Wings's main page, with our thanks in advance.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gifts: Enculturation.

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

Now posted at The NDN Silver Blog, it's the last in our small series on the gifts of Spirit, mediated through one of Wings's silverwork series. It's not the last in logical terms, merely in how they've been covered; the reasoning is explained in the series posts themselves. It's also a beautiful piece that stands on its own.

It's going to be another hugely busy day, and we're both still recovering, so I'll check in when I can. Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are welcomed with our thanks. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Feature: Mountain Lion Medicine

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Today's Friday Feature at The NDN Silver Blog is a piece you've seen before, by an artist who is very special to us. But it's a piece so gorgeous that it deserved to be featured on its own. There's a little about the animal who inspired the design, too.

We;re still recovering, so the post is relatively short, and responses may be delayed; its taking everything just to get through the basics right now. In the meantime, shares are much needed and welcomed, both of the post itself and of Wings's main page.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

#TBT: The Runner

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
It's #ThrowbackThursday at The NDN Silver Blog, at today, it's runners, racers, rattles, and whips. Our own version is a little gentler than all that, but his identity is simultaneously funny and stern.

Still recovering here, so today's piece is shorter. Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, welcomed with our thanks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One Year — In a Good Way. A Not-So-Shaggy Dog Story.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
Today is an important day: it's the one-year anniversary of She-Wolf's diagnosis with diabetes. Yeah, it's a disease we both know all too well, but in dogs, it tends to have graver consequences much faster, and that's what's significants about today.

You see, on this date last year, as I stood holding her on the table in the vet's office, I was told that she would be fully blind within two months. Questioned closely, the vet conceded, "Four months at the very outside." Unfortunately, he was projecting from the date, and we knew, in retrospect, that she'd been living with the disease anywhere form two to four months already. Her symptoms simply progressed slowly enough that it wasn't obvious — except, of course, in hindsight, at which point we kicked ourselves for not getting it earlier.

So the upshot is that, according to his basic estimate, she should already have been fully blind; with good prospects, possibly by late January; at the very most, by late March.

Exactly one year later, She-Wolf still has her sight.

[Knocks wood] 

Yes, she has developing cataracts. The one in her left eye is very small yet; the one in her right doesn't obviously appear to have progressed much beyond what it was a year ago. It's taken work. It's also taken a willingness to listen to our instincts and our own knowledge of this disease, rather than the conventional wisdom. It's taken dedication, because no matter how tired we are or how terrible we fell, the fact of the matter is that she has to have her blood tested (yes, with a lancet) twice a day, and she has to get insulin injections twice a day. We monitor her food intake, we mix diabetic dog food with good-quality regular dog food in various proportions, we feed her at odd times as well as usual ones; we give her supplements every morning — three of them — designed to preserve her eyesight; we adjust her insulin levels up and down based on her numbers, rather than following the accepted protocol for a dog of her weight. In short, we manage it much as Wings manages his own, understanding that many variables go into it, and that we must be flexible enough to respond to fluctuations and changes.

And She-Wolf is the best patient anyone could have. If, at 9AM, I haven't yet called her in to have her blood tested, she comes to the door on her own. She comes willingly to get jabbed, twice in the morning and twice at night, because on some level she put it together immediately — that those jabs with the needles at the vet's office made her feel good again, when she'd felt miserable for weeks.

A rescued rez dog, a Pueblo dog, abandoned and starving, who showed up at the gallery one freezing cold late autumn morning in 2008. She had no commands, no nothing, but she figured out "sit" and "lie down" on the very first try. She went home with us the day before Thanksgiving that year, and she'll be coming up on her six anniversary with us next week (the 26th).

There will come a day when the disease takes its toll. We'll make whatever adjustments and accommodations she needs at that point. For now, it's enough to celebrate a full year in which our little girl can still see her world.

Evoking the Elemental Spirits

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

New at The NDN Silver Blog, it's a straightforward feature today, of one of Wings's newest (and most spectacular) showpiecesI am still very sick, and so it's short and to the point.

Shares very much needed, especially considering how late I've been forced to post it, both of the post itself and of Wings's main page, and welcomed with thanks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Turquoise Tuesday: The Mines of New Mexico

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

It's still technically Turquoise Tuesday, and so today's entry is finally posted at The NDN Silver Blog. Today it's New Mexico's mines. 

Shares of the post, and of Wings's main page, are welcomed with thanks. 

Apologies for the delay and the dearth of information; I am sicker than I've been in some time, and it has taken everything I have just to get this much posted after a day of indescribable physical pain. I don't even have it in me to bother with Facebook and Twitter tonight; I'll take care of those tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pilar Slate Animal Spirits

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

All new at The NDN Silver Blog, it's another entry in our current Monday series on smaller holiday gift ideas. Today, it features three really remarkable pieces; pay particular attention to the last one, which is also the newest(hint: it's the one shown above). I love these.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are welcomed with thanks.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hoop Dancing

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
I held off on posting this here, because I wanted people to focus on the post immediately below this one, for RachelBut it's evening, and I think it's probably safe to put today's pointer here now.

Today at The NDN Silver Blog, it's hoop dancing. As usual, a little history, a little story, and one simple little piece, modestly priced. Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, welcomed with thanks.

When There Aren't Enough Spoons In the World: Helping a Friend Dig Out

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

On Friday, a member of the community at the GOS posted a diary. It was a very quiet, unassuming post, one that clearly sought not to be the center of attention even though it needed to be: So. Um. I need some help.

It reminded me of how I felt as a child, when I needed something but was afraid to say so, sitting at my schooldesk and barely raising my hand, then putting it back down again promptly and sort of hoping against hope that no one had noticed. It's a horrible feeling. It's what happens when you live in a society that doesn't take care of its own, and when circumstances combine in the worst ways to leave you hanging off the ledge by two fingertips, no safety net to break your fall a hundred stories down.
First, the important part: At the time she wrote that Rachel had admitted that she needed a good $1,900 to get her electricity back on (and keep it on). It's the middle of November, for heaven's sake; she can't head into winter with no power. I'm sitting here right now looking at four inches of snow, all dropped since 10 PM last night; tonight it's supposed to get down near zero. It's probably a bit milder where she is at the moment, but that won't last, and she certainly can't depend on the good graces of the weather to keep her warm and safe.
But yesterday, DallasDoc wrote a diary on her behalf, and it became clear that he'd wormed more of the real situation out of her. He set a goal of $4,500, which probably lowballs it a bit, based on her subsequent comments, it looks like something approaching $6,000 is closely to what she really needs to get completely caught up, forget about having any sort of breathing room. It appears that they were able to raise something over $1,300 toward that goal yesterday, but more is obviously needed.  
You can donate via PayPal here:  tiarachelgordon [at] gmail [dot] com

If that's all you need, you're set; you've helped someone in a very real, very tangible way. But if you need to know more about why her situation is so complex, so vexedly difficult, follow me over the jump, because I think this is where I come in.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gifts: Integration.

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
Now posted at The NDN Silver Blog, it's the latest in our current Saturday series on gifts of Spirit. Today, it's integration.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are welcomed with our thanks.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Feature: Kewa Pueblo Beadwork Jewelry

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
Now posted at The NDN Silver Blog, it's our Friday Feature, and today, it's traditional beadwork jewelry from Kewa Pueblo. Three gorgeous pieces, two in denim lapis and one in apple coral.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, welcomed with thanks.

Also, if you haven't seen it, a Kossack friend is in a bind. Late autumn is no time to be without electricity.  Please share this link, and if you can, maybe kick in a little, too. Thanks.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

On Sentries and Sacred Spaces, and Giving Thanks for Both

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
Today at The NDN Silver Blog, it's an all-new piece by Wings, one that takes an unusual form. It's also a musing on the sentinels that stand guard over our daily lives and the sacred spaces therein, that extend their shadows to bring us within their protective embrace — and on the need to remember to give thanks.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are welcomed with our thanks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Turquoise Tuesday: Heading to Colorado

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
It's Turquoise Tuesday at The NDN Silver Blog, and today, we travel to Colorado, where we encounter lost tribes and labor strife (all from a safe vantage point of a century-plus down the road).

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, welcomed with our thanks.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Day Early: An Introduction to a Friend, an Artist, a Native Vet

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Veterans' Day is tomorrow, but Tuesdays at The NDN Silver Blog are already taken up with a regular series. Mondays, though, are devoted right now to small items by other artisans, and so it seemed like the perfect time to introduce you to the work of one of those artists who is also a Native vet

Wilson does small items across a wide variety of artistic genres, mostly in traditional "vintage" style. We've carried his work for years, but at the moment, we have only three of his pieces in inventory, all of them pictured above. So come and take a look, read a little (very little; just a few musings) on our vets and their rights and how the world treats them, too.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, welcomed with thanks. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Of Honor and Long Days and Seventh Generations

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
Today at The NDN Silver Blog, it's a meditation on Mother Earth, and our responsibilities to her. It's also a fantastic piece, with a truly incredible stone.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, welcomed with thanks.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Come, Let Me Tell You How We Live

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

The title is a riff on the Agatha Christie memoir. Hers was an account of her time on a dig in Syria in the 1930s, with her husband, archaeologist Sir Max Mallowan, a twinned query: her own account of how she and her husband lived on the dig itself, what their daily lives were like; and her account of what they were able to ascertain about how the ancient people in question lived, those whose daily lives were being "dug."

I think it's time for a little excavation of my own, but one controlled by its object, not imposed invasively from without by a dominant culture that neither understands it nor cares about that fact. I think it's time for me to uncover a bit of what daily life is like here: here, on our own little bit of earth in Indian Country, in our own specific circumstances. Perhaps telling you how we live, from one day to the next, will shed a little light on a lot of things that the dominant culture (and those a part of it) really needs to learn. And perhaps it will help people understand a bit better why I so deeply resent the constant demands from the standard-bearers of that culture for money, particularly when they handle politics and governance with such venal incompetence; why I so deeply resent the "special rules for special people" attitudes  and dynamics that reward the lies of colonial behaviors at the expense of its victims; why I so deeply resent the grasping faux-victims with their hands constantly out, the same people who blame and shame others in actual dire straits and who do their level best to doom efforts on their behalf; why I so deeply resent the false prophets of the so-called "law of attraction," a twinkie colonialist lie itself, used to justify more taking by those who least deserve it at the expense of those who can least afford it.  

This is going to be a rant of a very personal nature. You've been warned. 

Synthesizing Sacrilege: Slutwear, Scalps, and Sacred Objects. #NotYourRedskin.

Image Credit:  facebook.com/leilanidowdingofficial

Just when you think you've seen it all . . . .

Comes now yet another celeb, this time an Anglo-Filipina model from the U.K. who stars on a Miami-based U.S. "reality show," tarted up for Halloween in redface both metaphorical and literal.

Via ICTMN, we learn that she posted her selfie to her Facebook page, captioned:
"I just got massacred by a cowboy. Note Fur is FAKE!!!"
Good for you, dearie. So glad to see that you're so concerned about the possible hurt feelings of animal-rights activists — and presumably about the pelts of the animals themselves.

About the "pelts," the scalps and skins, of our ancestors — you know, actual people, actually massacred — notsomuch, apparently.

[Sigh . . . .]

The Pocahottie (or Pocahotass, take your pick; we use either, and not as a compliment) "costume" is bad enough. You know, Native women are not sex objects and sluts. We're really, fully three-dimensional, fully-actualized human beings. Your equal. We walk every conceivable road, every life path, career, vocation or avocation your imagination can summon. And this is what your brain comes up with?

I'm a little past the sex object age now, but I remember a time when white men thought I'd be flattered by their "squaw" fantasies. You've just played into that whole racist, misogynistic, genocidal slur, but with all the consequences borne by our women, not by yourself. [And if you don't know what that word means, go here and scroll down near the bottom; it's all there.]

But you just had to add the warbonnet, didn't you? A sacred object — and one identified, in actuality, by only a small fraction of our peoples, Hollywood's errors notwithstanding. Yeah, I know, it's a fake "warbonnet." It's still sacrilege to the people to whom that cultural imagery and object belong. It's also not something ever worn by a woman (although you should not make the mistake of thinking that the women of those tribal nations have no power entwined with it, because they most certainly do; power of a sort you clearly have no hope of understanding, much less attaining).

One would think that all of this would be more than enough offense for one Halloween.

One would be horribly, terribly, tragically wrong.

"Redface" is a term I've used probably my whole adult life to describe the practice of non-Indians dressing up in "costume," whether for Halloween, as actors in roles that should be filled by actual Indians, as so-called "fans" of racist mascots, or as out-and-out frauds of the sort that pretend to equally fraudulent "shamanism." It's minstrelsy. And it's racist. If you do it, you're engaging in racist behavior, and your "intent," however you pretend to articulate it, is utterly and completely irrelevant to the racist nature of your conduct.

And so you, Leilani Dowding, have engaged in Redface already, with your skimpy little buckskin fringes and your fake feathers and your sacrilegious headdress. But I guess you just felt compelled to take it to a literal level?

Because what explanation can there possibly be for you to have painted one side of your face, you know, actual red?  Worse, for that actual red to represent blood: the blood of scalping, of having one's hair and skin torn from bone like a pelt, for a bounty, and then drizzling the blood "artistically" down your slender throat to run in rivulets over and between your breasts.

I'm rarely speechless about this sort of racism, but I'm having trouble finding the words for this one.

Leilani Dowding, your "apology" in the comments section at ICTMN shows that you still don't get it.  So perhaps, from one mixed-blood woman to another (of another different ethnic background), I can break it down for you.

Because this? This is a horror show, but not the fun Halloween kind.



Gifts: Cultivation.

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

Now posted at The NDN Silver Blog, it's the latest in our series on gifts, as seen through the lens of one small collection of Wings's work.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, welcomed with thanks.

Friday, November 7, 2014

SALE! $100 Off Selected Inlay Earrings.

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

This week's Friday Feature at The NDN Silver Blog includes something we almost never have: a sale! We're featuring the last few remaining pairs of free-from inlay earrings that we have in inventory. They're by a friend from Kewa Pueblo, and they're both very unusual and very beautiful. We originally had some two dozen pairs, but we're now down to only five, and it's time for them to find their homes, so we're offering them at $100 off.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are of course welcomed with thanks.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sneak Peek: Earrings On Sale! Updated With Links!

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

Note: Each item is now posted; I've indexed the direct links to each itme at the bottom of this post.

This is an early-bird special just for those of you who check in here periodically — I don't even have them up on the Web site yet.  [That's my task for tonight, actually.]

In going through some stored items, we came across some miscellaneous jewelry pieces by other artisans. They're beautiful earrings, but they need to find a home. Some are from Wings's personal collection, items pawned or traded by other Native artists; two pair are by one of his young artist relatives; and five are by an artisan from another pueblo whose work we've carried off and on for many years now. 

The latter artist does beautifully expensive inlay work, and the stones and craftsmanship are both valuable in their own right. But space is scarce and it's time to make room, so right now, we're offering her earrings at $100 off: regular price $235 a pair, now $125 a pair (+ s/h/i, of course). We have the lapis/spiny oyster shell pair shown above; a pair of green serpentine and coral; one pair of pipestone triangles with malachite inlay; and one pair each of pipestone and blue turquoise chip inlay with sterling silver heartlines. 

We also have a pair of plain green turquoise drops; a pair of repouss√© concha-style drops with turquoise accents; and two dangly pairs of Pilar slate earrings, one carved into feather shapes. And although they're not on sale, we have three necklaces to be added, as well, each slightly longer than choker-length: two lapis lazuli; one apple coral. I'll have everything posted at the Web site later this evening, preparatory to being featured tomorrow, but if you're interested in a particular pair and want an advance viewing, e-mail me at Ajijaakwe [at] gmail [dot] com.

UPDATE: Each of the items described above is now posted in the Other Artists: Miscellaneous Jewelry Gallery of the Web site. Each link is indexed below:

SALE INLAY EARRINGS



OTHER EARRINGS



GEMSTONE BEAD NECKLACES




#ThrowbackThursday: A Hoof Clan Visitor

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.
It's #TBT at The NDN Silver Blog, and today, it's a visit from an old spirit friend of the season. We have a lot for you, including a photo of the herd from several years ago, but only one item still in inventory. It's a beautiful one, though.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are very much needed right now, and welcomed with thanks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Dance

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

There's no point to tarting up what this day is. It's unrelievedly, irredeemably awful. Piled on top of the challenges of daily life right now, it's more than I can take. I can't (won't) detail what last night's results will mean for our situation, which is already something I'm not prepared to describe. The last few years have been endlessly destructive, and after yesterday's culmination of an utterly worthless campaign season, I now know that expecting anything from the dominant culture's political institutions and infrastructure is worse than a fool's errand. 

And so, as always, I turn to something much older. I don't know what the answer is. I only know that I got an answer. Maybe you will, too.

You can find it at The NDN Silver Blog. Shares of the post, and of Wings's main page, are needed more than I can say right now, and welcomed with our thanks.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Turquoise Tuesday: Farewell to Nevada's Blues (and Greens)

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

It's Turquoise Tuesday again at The NDN Silver Blog, and we're at long last wrapping up our Nevada visit. Today's summary in no way approaches the remaining major turquoise mines in the state, much less all such mines, but it probably will introduce you to a few you've never heard of. It also includes photos of pieces made with some really incredible stones.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are of course welcomed with our thanks.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Holiday Gifts: Turtle Medicine

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

Now up at The NDN Silver Blog, it's the second installment in our new "Holiday Gifts" series — a seasonal Monday morning feature of smaller, modestly priced items suitable for gifts (and some even for stocking stuffers) for friends and loved ones.

Today's item is one that sat in Wings's private collection for years. It's a beautiful piece, one that is fine in form and detail, and feels wonderful to the touch. Even more beautiful yet? The story she embodies and what she represents. It's a reminder that a lot of us need from time to time, particularly when we're feeling small or insignificant.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are welcomed with our thanks.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Kachina." An exclusive new figurative piece by Wings.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Yesterday, I promised that one more new piece by Wings would be forthcoming. We weren't able to get photos of it yesterday, but today is another matter. It's posted at the Web site, and it's something truly breathtaking.

Wings has often rendered small collectibles in silver over the years: miniature pottery, small spoons, an occasional thimble or other item. Figurative pieces from him, though, are exceedingly rare. But today, he has one such piece, and it's sensational.

It's entitled, quite simply, Kachina. It's a mixed-media figure, built around a central core of sterling silver but incorporating a diversity of natural materials and textures, all mounted on a modest cedar base. And, yes, you can own it with the feather: It looks very much like the small barred down feathers from hawks and some young eagles, but it was helpfully provided by our Barred Rock chicken [no, not plucked; it's molting season, and the winds literally, and I do mean literally, blew it up and into his hands.]

Go take a look. Be sure to scroll down, so you can see the close-up detailing. It's pricey, of course; it's also truly phenomenal. And if you know of people who find such things of interest, please share it.

Thanks.

Gathering Storms and Electric Skies

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

Multiple storm fronts looming this morning, at The NDN Silver Blog, outside the window, and to points much further north. However electric our own air is here right now, it's nothing compared to what's going on in Minneapolis. There's a link at the bottom of the post that will take you to the gathering storm of Native power there.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are of course welcome. But today, our thoughts (and spirits) are with the protestors in Minnesota, and we hope you'll support them, too.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

"So What Should We Call You?"

Image Credit:  Mother Jones Magazine.
It's the first day of Native American Heritage Month. It's also the day before the largest-ever Native rally against racism, the upcoming warriors' cry against Dan Snyder's (and others') ongoing racist exploitation of the [ongoing] attempted genocide of our peoples.

So it seems like as good a time as any to talk about names. After all, this is a question (or set of questions) we encounter constantly, and so it seems worthwhile to answer them.   

Note:  Three points. 1) In this post, I am going to use certain slurs, wholly uncensored, solely for discursive purposes. Normally, I would use asterisks, but for purposes of this discussion, I want their full violent and painful impact to be felt. My use of them here is not a license for anyone else to use them in any way whatsoever. 2) I speak here only for myself and for Wings. With every definition and every opinion that follows, I can point to numerous Indians we know who feel similarly, but I'm not going to invoke anyone else's name here. I'm only giving you our very specific perspective, which arises in a very specific and highly personal set of contexts and experiences. 3) Because I am speaking for us, and only us, comments will be closed. Nothing in here is up for debate: not from Indians whose views differ (see that whole "speaking only for us" thing again), and certainly not from white folks, because they don't get to weigh in on the facts of our lived experience. This is not a discursive project, and devil's advocacy is most decidedly not needed; we've heard all the oppositional arguments before (yes, ALL of them), and not one of them holds a single drop of water. This is offered purely for informational purposes for people of good will and an anti-racist activist bent who genuinely want to learn how their own words are perceived. And again, as I say ad nauseum throughout, other Indians will have other opinions, and can and will speak for themselves when they feel so inclined.

Names.

Indigenous. 

First Nations. 

Native American. 

Native.

American Indian. 

AmerIndian. 

Indian. 

Injun. 

Brave. 

Redskin. 

Skin. 

Squaw.

This is the basic spectrum. It's not precisely linear. There isn't a definitive ranking to some of them — although clearly, some are more or less neutral, and some are so clearly racist that there is no place for them in civilized society. 

There are so many misconceptions and generalizations out there about what we "prefer to be called," as though there's one and only one opinion among all of us. And, of course, that "one opinion" is virtually always one that belongs to a non-Indian, and projected onto another population and culture and used to justify that person's preferred practice. In these days of organized, broad-based campaigns to overturn the use of slurs as mascots and the institutionalization of racism and appropriation, the question in the title is one we hear a lot.

Privately, among ourselves, we sometimes use certain terms that we would never countenance from outsiders. We also often use the names of our respective tribal nations (which themselves can vary depending on usage and context, and increasingly, we're seeing people revert to their names for themselves in their own languages, rather than accepting the labels put on them by others). But discomfiture often arises on both sides when outsiders presume to use one name or another for us. 

We have a unique window, having spent years operating a gallery visited by [mostly white] tourists. Tourists who say all kinds of things.

So what should people call us?

It's complicated. It's also simple.


All new! Seven exciting new pieces by Wings.

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.
I've been promising new pieces all week, and we have them for you now over at Wings's site. Seven total, one of which, a rolled cuff, I featured on Wednesday at The NDN Silver Blog. The other six include the necklace shown above (it's a showpiece, believe me); another hand-rolled cuff; two rings, and two pairs of earrings. The bracelets are all sterling silver, simple and simply elegant; each of the other items features some truly incredible stones.

For ease of access, the links are here:

We have one final eighth piece to show you — one of Wings's rare non-wearable collector's items, something truly amazing — but we don't have photos of it yet. I'll try to remedy that before the day is over. Meanwhile, shares of each of the above from their individual pages are much needed, and welcomed with thanks from both of us.

Gifts: Transfiguration.

Photo copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

It's dawn, and it smells like rain. We got nothing more than a little thunder, but there are storms on the peaks, and the weather is changing. More on that later, in very real terms.

For now, there's a new post at The NDN Silver Blog, one featuring a piece already sold, but a meditation suitable for this day.

Shares of the post itself, and of Wings's main page, are welcomed with thanks.