Personal Testimonies by Yagniza:
Introduction Career_Day Contemporary_Native_American_Issues Cultural_Racism My_Journey The_Amphitheater The_Designer The_Sacred_Trust Notes_on_Navajo History Racism_Institute Spanish_Poetry El_Cuartocentenario El_Inca_ Garcilaso_de_la_Vega The_Best_Is_Yet_To_Come
Introduction | Center for the Healing of Racism | Dialogue: Racism Series | Cultural Racism | Boarding School Experience | 1950's Assimilation Policy | Internalized Racism | How Do We Heal Cultural Racism? | How Do We Change Our Behavior? | Family History | Culture and History | Be Part of the Solution| Navajo Culture |
Introduction of Who I Am
Thank You For Inviting Me To Share My Story With You. In My Cultures, We Identify Ourselves Through Our Families. My Dad Is Navajo From Lukachukai, Arizona In The North East Corner Of The Navajo Nation And My Mom Is Spanish From Coyote In Mountainous Northern New Mexico. (Poster)
CENTER FOR THE HEALING OF RACISM
Along With Being An Attorney, I Am Also On The Board Of Directors Of The Center For The Healing Of Racism In Houston. The Center Is An Educational, Multi-Ethnic, Grass Roots, Non-Profit Organization Focused On Healing Racism, A Disease Of Ignorance. We Believe That Increased Awareness Of The Development And Perpetuation Of Racism Will Lead To Its Eventual Elimination And That The Struggle Is First And Foremost Waged In The Heart.
DIALOGUE: RACISM SERIES
The Center Sponsors A Free Series Focusing On The Categories Of Racism: Unaware, Blatant, Cultural, Institutional And Internalized.
Dialogue: Racism Series Affect On Me
The Messages I Took From Dialogue: Racism Are That Racism Is Real, That I Didn't Cause It, That I Don't Need To Be Afraid Of It, And That It Is As Important To Understand It As It Is To Be An Ally Against It. I Internalized Its Powerful Message Of Self-Acceptance On An Equal Footing With Everyone Else.
WHAT IS CULTURE? WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY DEFINES IT AS THE TOTAL PATTERN OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR AND ITS PRODUCTS EMBODIED IN THOUGHT, SPEECH, ACTION AND ARTIFACTS AND DEPENDENT UPON MAN'S CAPACITY FOR LEARNING AND TRANSMITTING KNOWLEDGE TO SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS THROUGH THE USE OF TOOLS, LANGUAGE AND A SYSTEM OF ABSTRACT THOUGHT.
I THINK OF CULTURE AS A MOSAIC, A PATTERN OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR - WHAT A PEOPLE THINK AS EVIDENCED THROUGH THEIR ORAL OR WRITTEN TRADITION, WHAT THEY SAY, WHAT THEY DO, AND WHAT THEY PRODUCE. TO ME THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF CULTURE IS THAT IT HAS A CONTINUITY, THAT IT MUST BE TRANSMITTED TO SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS OR ELSE IT IS ALTERED OR LOST. THAT TRANSMISSION OCCURS THROUGH TOOLS, THROUGH LANGUAGE, AND THROUGH THOUGHT.
IF THE TOOLS OR THE LANGUAGE NEEDED TO TRANSMIT PART OF A CULTURE ARE TAKEN AWAY OR DESTROYED, THE ABILITY TO TRANSMIT THAT PART OR A CULTURE IS DISRUPTED OR DESTROYED.
I SEE CULTURE AS THE FINGERPRINT OF A GROUP. IF THE WHORLS ON THE FINGER ARE ALTERED OR COMPLETELY ERASED, THAT FINGERPRINT IS COMPLETELY CHANGED OR DESTROYED. WE HAVE HEARD OF CRIMINALS DOING THIS SO THAT THEY CAN'T BE IDENTIFIED THROUGH THEIR FINGERPRINTS. THIS CAN HAPPEN TO A CULTURE AS WELL.
WHAT IS RACISM?
THE CENTER DEFINES PREJUDICE AS AN EMOTIONAL COMMITMENT TO IGNORANCE AND RACISM AS PREJUDICE COUPLED WITH POWER.
WHAT ARE ITS CHARACTERISTICS?
RACISM IS MARKED BY AN IMBALANCE IN ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, AND SOCIAL POWER IN FAVOR OF SOME GROUP AT THE EXPENSE OF ANOTHER.
HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED?
THE PATTERNS OF THINKING AND BEHAVING THAT CONSTITUTE RACISM ARE TAUGHT AT HOME, AT SCHOOL, AT CHURCH AND IN OUR SOCIETY.
WHAT ARE ITS EFFECTS?
IT VIOLATES THE DIGNITY OF HUMANKIND
IT IMPEDES THE FULL DEVELOPMENT OF ITS VICTIMS
IT PREVENTS ITS PERPETRATORS FROM REALIZING THEIR HUMANITY
IT STIFLES HUMAN PROGRESS
WHAT IS CULTURAL RACISM? PREJUDICE BY WITH THOSE WITH POWER AGAINST ANOTHER RACIAL, RELIGIOUS OR SOCIAL GROUP DEMEANING THEIR CULTURE, AT TIMES ATTEMPTING TO CHANGE IT, SUBSTITUTE THEIR OWN OVER ANOTHER OR ERADICATE IT.
BOARDING SCHOOL EXPERIENCE
In The White Man's Image Is A Video About The Native American Residential Boarding School Experience; Why It Was Established And How It Affected The Lives Of Native Americans Across The United States. It Is About The First Residential Boarding School In Carlisle Pennsylvania. Seven Navajos Were Among The Early Enrollees, Including Two Sons Of Manuelito, A Famous War Chief Of The Navajo. Of The Seven, Six Died At Carlisle, Including Manuelito's Sons. One Of The Young Men Shown In The Video Is Tom Torlino, A Navajo. We need to bring our children, that died at Carlisle and are buried there, home.
1950's ASSIMILATION POLICY
The Story Didn't End With The Indians Being Sent Home And Picking Up Where Their Lives Had Left Off. Their Cultures And Families Had Been Forever Disrupted By The Reservation System And The Continued Educational Process. The Federal Government Vacillated In Its Policies About Indians And In The 50's Again Reverted To The Policy Of Assimilation As The Answer To The Indian Problem. Through Job Relocation, Many Indians Were Encouraged To Settle In Urban Areas, Learn Vocational Skills And To Become Part Of The Melting Pot.
MY DAD's INTERNALIZED RACISM
I Learned From My Dad Who Attended Chinle Boarding School, Fort Wingate And Santa Fe Indian High School, That Whites Were Smarter And Better.
My Internalized Racism
By The Time I Got To High School I Had Learned His Message Well. I Wanted To Be White. I Wanted To Be From A White, Middle Class, Educated Family. I Didn't Want To Be The Daughter Of An Indian Maintenance Man And A Spanish Waitress That Lived On Second Street.
It Wasn't Until I Went Through Dialogue: Racism That This Internalized Racism Healed. I Didn't Even Know What I Had.
HOW DO WE HEAL CULTURAL RACISM?
One way is through empathy, through learning about cultural racism to see how it has impacted the livesfor the Healing of Racism recommends the following:
Ways of Being an Ally for Healing the Effects of Racism and Overcoming Racist Conditioning as suggested by The Center for the Healing of Racism
1. Intervening in a situation where something racist is happening or interrupting it. (Allport, simple response is most effective, "That isn't very American.")
2. Taking the time to review one's own personal history with regard to race, maybe alone, with a friend or in a workshop group, bring to consciousness how present behavior and thought patterns were established.
3. Making the decision of taking action to establish meaningful relationships of friendship with people of different racial, ethnic, religious backgrounds; overcoming the societal pattern toward separation.
4. Developing the ability to listen objectively to the anger and hurt of another person without taking it personally, knowing that the feelings come from a long history of injustice and that getting it out to a true listener is in itself healing.
5. Making a commitment to correct missing and incorrect information one's been given with regard to race, ethnicity and particular groups and their history and culture, through reading, study and investigation.
6. Seeking out positive aspects of one's own heritage; identifying true heroes and heroines from one's own background, in order to take complete pride in one's own heritage.
7. Becoming aware that unaware racist patterns exist and making a consistent effort to bring them to consciousness and overcome them.
8. By learning how to risk making mistakes and to change mistakes into growth experiences.
9. Continuing to educate one's self on what is currently happening with others in our world through their newspapers, magazines, listening to their leaders, etc.
10. Forming multi-cultural support groups.
11. By taking an attitude regarding people who have been hurt, that their inherent nature wants closeness with our inherent nature, and by not taking a cautious response as rejection or cause to give up efforts in forming a relationship.
12. By being able to listen and find the fear in a person who is acting out his or her racial conditioning rather than just blaming or getting mad at them; thinking of such people as "recovering" from racial conditioning.
HOW DO WE CHANGE CULTURAL RACISM?
Every day, one day at a time, we commit to changing our behavior, to letting go of our past social conditioning.
I Followed The Recommendations Of The Center, I Begin Learning And Writing About My Individual And Family History. I'm Sharing With Each Of You Stories From A Collection About My Mom And Dad Called The Sacred Trust, A Collection Called The Amphitheater About Sacred Places From My Childhood And A Collection About My Sister Jeanie That Died As A Result Of The Disease Of Alcoholism Called The Designer. I Have Tried To Show You The Beauty Of The Indian And Spanish Cultures That My Mom And Dad Didn't Get To See.
CULTURE AND HISTORY
I Also Begin To Learn About Navajo And Hispanic Language, Culture And History, Again Getting To See A Beauty That Wasn't Taught To Me. Tomorrow I Will Talk About This History, About My Heroes And Heroines. I Became More At Ease With Myself, More At Home In My Own Skin, More Centered In My Own Life.
BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
The Most Important Thing I Learned Along The Way Is To Be Part Of The Solution, To Be Focused On The Solution - That Is Why My Commitment To The Center Is So Important. Instead Of Asking "When God When?" And "Why God Why?" And Most Importantly, "What About Me?", I Can Focus My Energy On Sharing My History With Others In A Way That Will Hopefully Have A Positive Effect. I No Longer Feel Hopeless, That The Future Will Be No Different Than The Past, And That It's Just Too Hard To Deal With. Instead I Am Part Of A Fellowship Committed To Equality And Social Justice. I Am Looking To Today And Tomorrow And Not Mired In The Past. I Hope You Will Find The Same Opportunity.
This Poster Contains Certain Elements Of The Culture, The Mosaic, The Fingerprint Of My People, The Dine, The Navajo. The Behavior And The Products Of A People Shown Through Their Values, Beliefs, And Artifacts. One Of The Most Fundamental Beliefs Of The Navajo Is Part Of Their Language - The Recognition That Each Part Of Life Has An Outer Form And An Inner Form - The Inner Form Being The Spirit Of Life. This Belief Is Reflected In The Everyday Behavior Of The Navajo. This Is Crucial To Understand Because It Determines The Relationship Of The Individual To Every Other Form Of Life. It Affected The Fabric Of Their Society, How They Would Order Their Lives. Their Existence Was Predicated On A Spirituality Conveyed Through Thought, Through Language, Through Their Artifacts.
ART MUSIC, DANCE, CRAFTS, ETC.