ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the June 6, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] gingicat. It also fills the "lifestyle changes" square in my 3-1-17 card for the Disability Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Changes Over Time"


Turq was out collecting
some broken glass bottles --
you couldn't get a deposit back
from them, but you could take them
to the recycling center and get a dollar
for a five-gallon bucket of glass bits.

Doing that earned him a little cash,
it cleaned up the gutters some,
and it kept him out of trouble.

"Hey, Turq," called Ansel.
"Do you have a minute?"

Turq glanced at him across
the winter-brown grass of
the Soda Spring Park, then
walked over to meet Ansel.

"What do you need?" Turq said.

"An ear on the street, if you don't mind,"
Ansel said. "The Wasape town council
just voted to retire the Brave Bears as
their high school football team, and
choose a new mascot. People are
restless, and I'd like to know if anyone
here is likely to cause problems."

Wasape was close enough
to Bluehill that a lot of people
had relatives in both towns.

"I haven't heard anything major,"
Turq said. "I think Allinda came
from there, before she moved here
for college and then washed out of it.
She mentioned people arguing over
the mascot before, but she's not
really the sort to start trouble."

"Anyone else?" Ansel said.

Turq thought about it, tapping
his fingers on the bucket, then said,
"Lelon loves sports. Most of the time,
he hangs around parks playing or
watching a game. He's not
a fighter either, though."

"Okay, thanks for letting me
know things are quiet," Ansel said.
He bent down and picked up a chip
of green glass to add to the bucket.

Turq tensed. If he had to split
the take, he'd need twice the time
to earn enough for a sandwich.

"I can do it myself," he said.

"Your bucket, your buck,"
Ansel said. "I was just trying
to be neighborly, but if it makes
you feel uncomfortable, then
I can butt out. It's your call."

Turq sighed. He didn't
really mean to be antisocial.
People were just ... hard, now.

"You can help," he said.
"Thanks for pitching in."

"I like to keep my hands busy,"
Ansel said. "Walk and talk?"

So Turq resumed his sweep
of Soda Spring Park, and Ansel
tagged along beside him.

"If you really want to know
where the rumbling is, check
the Bucks Lodge," Turq said.
"It's not the people on the street
you need to worry about, it's
the ones behind the walls."

He didn't think anything
would come of that, though.
The Bucks were too influential
in town, because people didn't want
to piss off such a lively service club.

"But not the Does Parlor?"
Ansel asked, tilting his head.

"Nope, the Does are great," said Turq.
"They do this thing for women on the street
where they'll loan out their bathroom and
give clothes to help someone clean up
before a job or housing interview.
The Bucks, not so much."

Ansel grimaced. "I'll see if
anyone is willing to take a look,"
he said. "The Bucks aren't as
fond of me as they used to be."

"Sorry to hear that," said Turq.
"So what are people doing
about the mascot situation?"

"Well, they finally got smart and
hired a mediator, who is trying
to help people on both sides
work through this," Ansel said.

"Yeah, sometimes that works,"
Turq said with a nod.

"The Osage folks who started
the removal petition will donate
a room within their historic museum
to feature retired mascots," said Ansel.
"The school will donate some of
the remaining merchandise,
then sell the rest of it."

"That would be something
to see," Turq said. "Ask Lelon.
If anyone knows where to find
old mascot memorabilia, it'll be him."

"Thanks for the tip," said Ansel.
"I'll see what he has to say."

"Aside from the usual problem
of people not wanting to change,
were there other serious objections
to retiring the Brave Bears?" Turq said.

"The most credible is that there
aren't any other representations of
tribal people in Wasape," said Ansel.
"So the mediator suggested that they
pool funds to syndicate City Indians."

Turq laughed. "That is one of
my favorite cartoons in the Blue Streak."

It featured a number of native characters
living in River City rather than a reservation.
It was drawn by an Osage and written by
a Missourian, and they got their inspiration
from contemporary issues facing tribal people.

Sometimes the comic strip was
irreverent, but it was always relevant.

"Who's your favorite character?"
Ansel wondered. He spotted a bit
of glass and added it to the bucket.

"Bums a Smoke," said Turq.
"He's such a good scrounge, and
I can really sympathize with him."

"I like Crashes Buick," said Ansel.
"He reminds me of some of my relatives,
you know? All the EMTs know him.
Two Alley Cats Singing is fun,
though. I enjoy her sass."

The two young men in the strip
were cousins, who had grown up
together on the Missourian reservation
and then moved to River City in
search of some excitement.

Two Alley Cats singing was
an Illini girl born in the city and
recently aged out of foster care.

"I like Plastic Shaman,
too, but sometimes she
makes me sad," Turq said.

"Me too," Ansel said. "It's
hard enough to hold down a job
and a home when you feel like you
fit in. When you're different and
your spirituality is too and you're
moving around all the time,
then it's just impossible."

Plastic Shaman was an old woman
with mostly Osage ancestors who was
sometimes homeless and other times
stayed in public shelters or with
an endless list of relatives.

As a technomage, she could
put energy into plastic instead of
natural things like wood or feathers,
so that was the way she made
all her medicine bags and such.

"Yeah, I can relate to that," Turq said.
"Some strips just hit a little too close
to home for me. I hope that folks
in Wasape like the new cartoon."

"It might be a little touch-and-go
at first, but I think it'll grow on them,"
Ansel said. "City Indians focuses on
changes over time and how people adapt
to those -- or don't -- so it's highly relevant
to Wasape's experiences right now."

"Do you think this will help?"
Turq said. "I've seen other cases
where people tried to replace a mascot,
and it just turned into a disaster."

"I've seen that too," Ansel said.
"When people just demand to get
their own way, and don't care who
gets hurt, that rarely ends well. It tends
to work better when people on both sides
actually reach out to solve the problem."

"That sounds good, if you can get
them to agree to it," Turq said.

"The Sankofa Club in Wasape
is working on it," said Ansel.

"That's a good sign," Turq said.
He put a half-bottle in his bucket,
then gave it a shake to settle the glass.
"Somebody always has to disagree, though."

"Well, times change, but not everyone
changes with them," Ansel said. "I think
it's like our Confederate soldier statue."

"What statue?" Turq said, looking around.
"I haven't seen anything like that in Bluehill."

"That's the point," Ansel said. "When it was
first commissioned, the sculptor installed it
in the large monument circle on Main Street.
Eventually, people started feeling uncomfortable
about Missouri's racist past. So we replaced
the statue with a fountain instead."

"Did they destroy the statue?" Turq said.

"No, that's not a good idea," Ansel said.
"We moved it inside a walled garden in
Bouchet College, where nobody has to see it
if they don't want to, and it has a plaque
about learning from past mistakes."

"I like that idea," Turq said as he bent
to pick up the neck of a brown bottle.
"People who don't learn from history
are doomed to repeat it."

"That's how I feel too," Ansel said.
"Some people were upset at the time,
but they've calmed down. It's not good
to leave outdated things where folks might
mistake them for current customs, but they
shouldn't be destroyed or forgotten."

"Do you think that will happen
to our super ball monument, too?"
Turq said. He looked over his shoulder
in the direction of the plaza that held
a huge metal sphere with a hole through
the center, relic of a long-ago soup fight.

"I don't know," Ansel said. "Superpowers
are pretty new, on a historic scale, at least in
terms of people knowing about them openly.
Society is still mulling over how to handle
all the implications. Maybe our descendents
will decide that cape trophies are vulgar,
and maybe they won't. Either way,
it will be interesting to find out."

"Yeah, I think so too," Turq said.
"Prejudice isn't good for anyone,
even if some people believe it is.
The ball doesn't bother me, but I
could see how other supervillains
might feel differently about that."

"Lifestyle changes are hard,
even when they're for the best,"
Ansel said. "It's why people need
to stick together and support each other
in times like this, rather than just fighting."

"And nobody likes a sore winner,"
Turq said, shaking his bucket again.
"I'll keep an ear out in case I hear
anything else about the mascot."

"Thank you," Ansel said as
they finished looping around
the sand volleyball courts.

He picked up the broken base
of a clear bottle, then had to try
several positions before he found
a place where it would fit.

"It's nice of you to help,"
Turq said with smile.

"Your bucket's full," Ansel said.
"Could I offer you a ride over
to the recycling center? I can
spring for lunch afterwards."

Turq laughed. "I was actually
gathering glass so I could earn
enough to afford a sandwich."

"So? Put the dollar in your wallet
for a day when you don't feel up to
eating with a friend," Ansel said.
"It's good to have options."

"Yeah, okay," Turq agreed as
they headed for Ansel's car.
"Options are good."

* * *

Notes:

Allinda Lott -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and long straight brown hair. She is 25. She came from Wasape and moved to Bluehill for college, but washed out and got stuck living on the streets. In harsh weather she often camps under bridges. Allinda feels like a worthless failure and doesn't interact with people much, but will pitch in if she sees people working.
Qualities: Good (+2) Endurance, Good (+2) Helpful, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Quiet
Poor (+2) Ex-College Student

This is a closeup of Allinda's face. She was previously seen under a bridge in "Under Her Coat."


Lelon Atchison -- He has chocolate skin, brown eyes, and short nappy brown hair. He is 18. He lives in Bluehill, Missouri but is homeless. He often hangs around the parks playing or watching sports.
Qualities: Good (+2) Athletic, Good (+2) Kinesthetic Intelligence, Good (+2) Sports Fan
Poor (-2) Homeless

* * *

"There is harm," Tewksbury resident Linda Thomas, who requested the legislation, told WBUR before the hearing. "And Native Americans have been saying that since the 1960s. Also language changes over time. I mean there's a big difference in our culture of the past 20, 30 years in terms of how we talk about minority groups."
-- Native American Mascots Legislation

Litter causes expensive problems. Picking up trash is one of many ways to make money without a dayjob.

Container deposits have only lukewarm support in local-America, but they are pretty effective at reducing litter and raising recycling. Various things can be done with used bottles. Scrap glass has different grades which can be used for crafts, landscape glass, or blocks such as these pretty ones.

Soda Spring Park is west of Concord Boulevard, and across Main Street from the YMCA. This formally landscaped park contains a traditional bathhouse, a full court basketball court, two sand volleyball courts, an interactive water fountain with a paved plaza, pavilions, picnic tables, benches, and gardens. See the site plan and the central plaza.

L-Missouri has no federally recognized tribes. T-America has a Missourian reservation in Adair county, one of the poorest, in northern Missouri.

Original Missouri tribes include Chickasaw, Illini, Ioway, Missouri, Osage, Otoe, and Quapaw tribes. Forced migrations through Missouri include Cherokee, Delaware, Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, and Shawnee tribes.

Black Bear
Osage: wasape (pronounced wah-sah-pay)
-- Missouri Animals Vocabulary

The T-American town of Wasape is near Bluehill, both in Iron County. A football team there is called the Brave Bears, and their mascot wears feathers in his hair. Indian mascots have caused much controversy. Such mascots reinforce stereotypes. Sometimes museums get involved. Chief Illiniwek is one such example, living on despite a ban.

Social clubs and service clubs include a variety of women's organizations and gentlemen's clubs. Lions, Tigers, and Elks are a few examples. There has been some pressure to give up single-gender clubs and other organizations, which are under attack from various angles. However, some other places are seeing a rise instead. A majority of T-American social clubs are mixed-gender now. Private clubs may set their own rules so long as they operate on private property and do not use public funds. Public amenities are generally expected to admit everyone, unless a compelling case can be made that a mixed facility does not meet the needs of members. For instance, some support groups about racism are single-race, and some gyms are women-only, because plenty of those people just don't feel safe in a mixed group, for reasons that are sadly easy to validate by looking at crime statistics. But organizations that exclude people remain vulnerable to lawsuits against discrimination.

Diversity has many benefits, particularly in public places. However, you can't force tolerance, and attempts to do so often backfire. There are ways to capitalize on diversity at work and in communities. Explore some diversity skills.

These periodicals come out on paper and are widely available in Bluehill:
The Ledger-Gazette -- a T-Missouri daily newspaper with objective coverage
The Morning Informer -- main daily Bluehill newspaper, moderately conservative
The Evening Freeman -- a daily African-American newspaper
The Blue Streak -- a weekly alternative newspaper with a wild bohemian flair

"City Indians" are tribal people who live in urban areas instead of on reservations. This relates to a key goal of the boarding school branch of genocide: separating individuals from their tribe and culture, then dispersing them into mainstream society to be assimilated without a trace. It didn't always work out that way, and has left a lot of cultural tensions.

Car crashes kill a disproportionate number of Native Americans.

Smoking is another killer. This is especially ironic given the traditional reverence for tobacco in tribal cultures. Like most entheogens, it has serious protections.

Stray cats and dogs pose problems on some reservations.
http://fourcornersfreepress.com/news/2008/020802.htm

"Plastic shaman" is a term of derision typically used to scorn people interested in shamanic practices who do not have sufficient blood quantum to be pleasing. While there are certainly fakes in the world, this insult is also hurled at people with a tribal identity, and there is debate about who "owns" a culture in the first place -- not everyone agrees that it even can be owned. Also, plastic is a particular challenge in tribal life, addressed in such things as the Beautiful Midden project. Historically, people just chucked their trash off the edge of the mesa or into a convenient ravine, where most of it would biodegrade leaving a few clean remains such as pot shards. But with the advent of plastic and other modern materials, this became less feasible and more of an eyesore. People are still trying to figure out how to fix that.

See the Bluehill Confederate soldier statue. This is the big fountain in the monument circle at the east end of Main Street, which replaced the statue. Public art, like any art, can change with changing tastes. It's okay to move monuments to a museum or other location if they no longer reflect current culture. But destroying things just because you don't like them leads directly to this. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Richmond, Virginia has the best solution I've seen: adding new monuments and fresh context to old ones, so that you can see the whole history of the city like a palimpsest in granite. This is facilitated by a substantially black city council and ongoing discussions about race and history.

This metal ball is a souvenir from the soup fight that broke up some buildings in Bluehill years ago. It stands on a round monument pad near the middle of the large plaza. Photos by Sami Morgan, permission granted to use them.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-02 07:55 am (UTC)
kengr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kengr
>> "The Wasape town council
just voted to retire the Brave Bears as
their high school football team, and
choose a new mascot.<<

Ah yes, mascots can be problematic. Fortunately, the high school I spent the most time at was the "Highlanders", and the one I graduated from was the "Lancers" (think "knight" theme). Though I hear the original choice of the students had been "Rebel" which the school board vetoed.

On the other hand, as far as I know the minor league baseball team is still the "Spokane Indians" which the tribe has never been all that thrilled with.

>>Container deposits have only lukewarm support in local-America, but they are pretty effective at reducing litter and raising recycling.<<

Oregon's bottle bill actually had a clause to raise the deposit if recycling fell below a certain percentage. and it *was* raised from 5 cents to 10 cents back on June 1st.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-02 09:57 am (UTC)
we_are_spc: (Default)
From: [personal profile] we_are_spc
Ours is the Indianapolis Indians (Minor League)...as we are not really acquainted with any Native Americans beyond the fest (Which we missed this year, poo) I don't know the status )Status=their feelings on the matter) of that mascot.

-Fallon~
Edited (clarification) Date: 2017-07-02 10:00 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-07-02 11:37 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat
"What to you need?" --> "What do you need?"

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