Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Grasshoppers Eat Corn, Let Them Plant It

1) When I was young and playing if it came time to play Cowboys and Indians, I was always an Indian. It didn't change when I grew up.
2) I was a terrible reader in school. Grade school I had to go to "remedial reading room". Slow. Trouble with comprehension. Dyslexia. Didn't matter, I clutched and carried Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee as long as it took to finish it. This book set me on a quest to understand why we ever started farming in the first place. My boyfriend,Stagg, also was really affected and loved this book in high school.
3) I've always wondered why there wasn't a movie made of this book. Finally HBO, executive produced by Dick Wolf (creator of Law and Order) made a fine version.
4) The book was on Best Seller Lists for over a year and has stayed in print since it's original publishing.
5) I didn't know anything about the author, male female? I had assumed that Dee Brown was a Native American, but no. Brown was an agriculture librarian for the University of Illinois.
6) Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee is considered a revisionist western which sprang up in popular culture in the 1960's: often defined by stronger portrayals of women, sympathetic to Natives and Mexicans, and critical of the government. Since the 1960's we are familiar with the genre through the movie Unforgiven, the novel Blood Merdian, and the tv program Deadwood.

7) The New York Times did not like the movie version Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, they thought it was too "movie-of-the-week. But I loved it. I found the battle enactments excellent and a great use of CG. The acting was incredible and there is one scene where calvary calls Sitting Bull on the spiritual reputation for peace among Native Americans. Very risky and very powerful.
8) My suspicion of totalitarian agriculture grew out of my passion for the book Bury My Heart At Wound Knee...through it I knew there other ways to make a living. Other ways to get food. The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race.
9) A continuing exploration of the loss we have experienced by trying to kill off pre-agricultural economies like Hunter-Gatherers is found in the stunning The Other Side of Eden: Hunters, Farmers and The Shaping of the World.
10)from the publisher: Hugh Brody first encountered hunting peoples when he lived among the Inuit of the High Arctic, who instructed him not only how to speak but how to do and be Inuk-titut, "in the manner of an Inuk." Since then he has spent nearly three decades studying, learning from, crusading for, and thinking about hunter-gatherers, who survive at the margins of the vast, fertile lands occupied by farming peoples and their descendants, now the great majority of the world's population.

In material terms, the hunters have been all but vanquished, yet in this profound and passionate book, Brody utterly dispels the notion that theirs is a lesser way of life. Drawing on his experiences among indigenous peoples as well as on the work of linguists, historians, and fellow anthropologists, he reveals the systems of thought, belief, and practice that distinguish the hunters from the farmers. Whereas the farmers are doomed to the geographical and spiritual restlessness embodied in the story of Genesis, Brody argues, the hunters' deep attachment to the place and ways of their ancestors stems from an enviable sense, distinctively expressed in thought, language, and behavior, that they are part of a web of relationships in the natural and spiritual worlds. Brody's aim, however, is not to elevate one mode of being over another; rather, it is to suggest that we might move beyond the familiar dichotomies and become more fully human.

11) The extremely HOT Adam Beach in BMHAWK...who starts a starring role in Law and Order: SVU next fall.
12) Sitting Bull. WORD. Although the new government forced Natives to change their names to European/Christian sounds, to stop speaking their own language or change their religion...the most pressing goal for the government was to alter the way Native Americans and Canadians made their living. The major difference between cultures is NOT skin color or is how they make their living, either by farming or hunting. That difference defines all the other actions of our minds and lifestyles. Farming is about controlling. The reason the New Economy"(European farmers) wanted to exterminate the buffalo was because that was the food source for hunters. Getting rid of the buffalo economy made room for the farm economy. There is a scene where a government agent is pressuring and harassing Sitting Bull to plant crops. The government agent wants Sitting Bull to plant corn. Sitting Bull says, "Grasshoppers eat corn, let them plant it."

13) It takes a half gallon of oil to grow a bushel of corn. The petroleum oil is used in manufacturing the chemical fertilizers popular with industrial agriculture. Why not eat something grown organically?
Find out more about Thursday Thirteen:it's a lot of fun, meet cool folks online blogging!


Martha Elaine Belden said...

thanks for your sweet comment today :)

and i really like this post. you've made me want to read that book... i'll have to look into it.

Anonymous said...

I remember when one of my art teachers, Robert Markle wrote up a reading list with Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee right at the top. He said it would break your heart if you had one. Another great and heartbreaking book was by Peter Matthiessen: "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse", about the 1975 version of Wounded Knee, and the framing of Leonard Peltier. The author was in litigation for years because the FBI blocked its publication, and Peltier is still in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Robert Redford made a movie called "Incident at Oglala" in 1992 based on those events. (haven't seen it yet, but I will take your recommendation and will rent the movie version of Bury My Heart)

Underground Baker said...

You know, I don't think I have read this book.

This seems like a large gap in my reading career - how did I miss it in high school?...oh, ah, it must have been on the reading list of that grade I, uhhhm, failed.

Anonymous said...

It is way too political to be included on school reading lists. (I read my copy in art school because Markle was Mohawk)

Forgot to mention that I downloaded Deadwood season 3 from bitTorrent and I have one more episode of it's greatness to enjoy. (I think I'll drop everything and watch it right now.) (ya, why not? Thanks Candy for the slightest excuse.)

Chelle Y. said...

My dad loves westerns! The only movie I ever liked was Tombstone. :)

Anonymous said...

Fascinating TT. I hadn't heard about this books, so thank you for pointing it out. We really spend so little time studying Native American culture in school or at least we did when I went. It's a gap I need to rectify.

Happy TT.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, what a wonderful TT! Like you, I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee years ago, and it made a tremendous impression on me. And just the other day, hubby and I watched the HBO movie. We both thought it was excellent. Love the quote "Grasshoppers eat corn, let them plant it." And also like you, I was always an Indian in games of Cowboys and Indians.

Thank you so much for your nice comment on my blog post from yesterday, and I want to say, too, I just love your blog! It's not just food for thought, it's a whole darned buffet!

Happy TT to you! :)

Janet said...

awesome post; I always identified with the Indians, too. I read this book in's damn sad.

Wylie Kinson said...

I always wanted to be the Indian, too! As an adult, I learned that I'm 1/8th Sioux. Now it all makes sense!
And LOVE the quote "Grasshoppers eat corn, let them plant it."

(Mmmmm popcorn. There's an idea...)


Read 'wounded Knee'. Great book.

Personally i eat bacon butties

EHT said...

Very familiar with the book and I admire your tenacity in reading it. This was a very interesting and worthy 13 to read. Thanks!

Margaret said...

I'm not so sure about corn, but I wish they would allow hemp for oil, paper products and many other things. Great 13, very original.

Candy Minx said...

Martha, hi thanks for stopping by...this is a very sad book...but worth the read. Actually, I better go make sure I add it to my list if it's not on there!

L.M. Robert Markle...I know that name, hmmm. Actually, you know my sister and I (Underground Baker) went to school westcoast...and it's a whole different kind of curriculum...artsy, alternative. At least it was depending on certain teachers. Isn't DEADWOOD the best!? And how how is the sherrif? I love all the women, Joanie, Jane (who appeared on LOST a few weeks ago) and Trixie.

Underground Baker, what? I am sure you must have read this one? No? I'll find ya a copy and send it to ya. OH I was crying and crying last night.

Chelle, TOMBSTONE is HOT! I love Val Kilmer in it "I'm your huckleberry".

Gabriella, if you have time, read each of the three books I mention in this post...your lack of Native American history will be rectified and then some.

Thomma Lyn, Awesome, I'm glad to hear someone elses opinion becauase I was really disappointed at the NYT's review.

Janet, yep, sad is right...frustrating heartbreaking. But Sitting Bull also rocks...he's kind of like "Braveheart" character. FREEDOM!

Wylie cool family connection...and after all we are all from the first parents in Africa...and all ultimately cousins. That is cool you are 1/8th Native!!!

Four Dinners, are bacon butties anything like pork rinds? I love pork rinds, drives every one I know nuts.

Elementary History Treacher, Thanks for stopping by! And for thinking I was tenacious, I guess I was...finally I learned how to read and now am quite fast too.

Margeret, yes I love hemp products. I think we will see more and more of them. Look how many organic food products are in regular grocery stores now competeing with health food stores and Whole Foods. People really do have the power to demand better products, foods, and packaging.

Anonymous said...

YOU always make me think. I have never read this book. I have read a lot of other books about the Native Americans and they, overall, blow my mind.

Anonymous said...

This made me think as well! And the book? It made me so curious I am looking for a copy now. I will definitely read that book! :)

Happy TT! Mine's up now, my very first one :)

mister anchovy said...

l.m. I am so impressed that Robert Markle was your teacher. A friend of mine once said that he was a 'minor master' and I have to agree.

mister anchovy said...

That corn looks tasty by the way. I can hardly wait to dig into a few cobs of fresh Ontario sweet corn. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

pussreboots said...

Great list. Very interesting. Happy TT.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised by 13 - it takes a half gallon of oil to grow a bushel of corn? I never would have guessed.
Thanks for sharing.
And have a marvelous Thursday,

Anonymous said...

As always, a thought-provoking TT. I would have never guessed you were a remedial reader in grade 1 . . . nor did I know about the half gallon of oil to grow a bushel of corn.

This week I'm all about angels, art and a poem by yeats.

Raggedy said...

very thought provoking TT
Happy TT'ing
I am posted

Tink said...

Interesting stuff, I didn't know all of that!
My TT shares 13 things about the blue moon.

samulli said...

Interesting TT. I have read that book ages ago, but I have to admit I can't for the life of me remember much about it. Maybe I should check it out from the library again...

Darla said...

I've been remiss in not having read this before--I've heard of it, but I don't remember anybody ever telling me why it was famous, or what it was about. I'm going to have to check it out. I suspect my older son will want to read it, too--it reminds me of some of our conversations.

Anonymous said...

Point #13 is also elaborated upon in a great 2004 cover story from Harpers called The Oil That We Eat (Candy has probably read it too)

Red said...

That looks like the very same edition of BMHAWK I have. I started reading it months ago, but I found it very, very, VERY sad and couldn't go very far into it. But I might have to pick it up again one of these days.

And of course, it doesn't surprise me one bit that you would choose to be an Indian! I did too -- even before I knew anything about how they were driven from their own land: cooler lifestyle, cooler clothes, cooler sounds, cooler hairdos! And the more I know, the more I admire Native Americans, and the relationship they have with the earth and every living thing.

Joy Renee said...

I read this book in Jr. High. It broke my heart and woke me up to the relevance of current events and their roots in history. The headlines at that time were: Watergate, Vietnam, Kent State and Wounded Knee 1973.

OK. I just wrote for over an hour on this comment before I realized it needed to be a post instead. Watch for it in the next few days. I'll HT you.

Meanwhile, great TT.

Mine is based on that silly game, 13 things Google thinks Joy needs.

fyi, my husband is 1/8 Lakota and got to meet Sitting Bull's grandson at some Title IX function in High School. He says he was the kindest, wisest, most gentle man he'd ever met--has ever met.

Gardenia said...

Loved this post. The whole Wounded Knee thing from the actual event affects us to this day - to those who remember whether by writing, a movie, or from their hearts, remain bruised by even knowing about what happened there.

In Wyoming there are now lots of Buffalo, unfortunately many of them are on "farms" managed by man and sold for Buffalo burger meat. Now, perhaps that's what they were intended for, but with the American Indian, there was no waste when one was taken down, and it was taken down with respect and awe.

Your theory about the hunting/gathering etc. intrigues me - made me think back to Europe and the "fiefs" - the land barons and the land workers - big class differences - is this where "class" originated?

Anyway, WONDERFUL post.

Loved the photo of Sitting Bull. Great Man.

Have you ever read about the Trail of Tears? Do.