The Great Smoky Mountains

As many of you have undoubtedly heard, last week the Great Smoky Mountains and the towns nearby were struck by tragedy.  The Chimney Tops fire only eight miles away from Gatlinburg were spurred on by winds that reached up to 90 miles per hour, and consumed the town in the space of fifteen minutes.  The tragedy didn’t stop there.  The fire continued to rage and crested the ridge as it approached Pigeon Forge. These photos were posted to Facebook.

car-caught-fire

as-night-began-to-fall
park-closed
The fire approached and endangered Dollywood and Dollywood DreamMore Hotel Resort.  While Dollywood and the hotel were spared, a number of their cabins were burned to the ground.

dollywood-dreammore-hotel-1 dollywood-parking-lot
Lives have been lost.  People are still missing.  Active fires continue to burn.  Winds are expected to pick up again over the next day.

But even though the people of the Great Smoky Mountains have been living this disaster for days now, and even though about 14,000 people are displaced and living in shelters and motels, everyone is pitching in to do what they can to help their neighbors.  What’s more, people from other towns and cities in Tennessee and from other states are doing whatever they can to help.  This is what community and fellowship is all about:  Helping those in need.  To those who are giving of themselves, please know that everything — no matter how big or how small — is appreciated.

Midweek, Dolly Parton announced that the “My People Fund” through her Dollywood Foundation will be providing $1,000 USD per month for six months to families that lost everything, or whose homes were left uninhabitable, due to this fire.

dollywood-foundationAs devastating as this has been, the area is open for tourism and business.  The spirit of the people is mountain strong.  In spite of the tragedy, people and businesses are welcoming visitors and family with open arms.  Tourism will help rebuild this area, and the heartwarming, generous nature of Tennesseans will make your visit a wonderfully memorable (in a very positive way) visit.

A little over two years ago, I posted a video to YouTube.  The photographs were taken on the Chimney Tops trail.  Take a moment to watch it, and take heart knowing that even with the destruction we’ve experienced, the Great Smoky Mountains are still beautiful, still strong, and still breathtaking.

Amazingly Talented

People often talk about how remarkable or talented someone is when that person has mastered a skill or art, and without a doubt, such people are absolutely remarkable or talented.  And every once in a while, you hear or read about someone who take remarkable and talented to the next level.  Today’s entry is one that is sparse on words because the video speaks for itself.  Feel free to share this video with others on  your social media accounts because it truly is worth sharing.

Turn Off, Tune Out, And Drop Back In

The more society is tied to technology, the more society seems either unwilling or unable to communicate.  If you step away from technology for a moment and observe those around you, it’s amazing how few social interactions seem to be happening despite the fact that most of society believes meaningful communication is going on.

How Connected Are We?

Government statistics for the U.S. indicate that 90% of all Americans (children and adults) have a cellphone.  If Americans aged 45 and older are removed, that number jumps to 97% of Americans 44 years of age and under who have a cellphone.

How Connected Are Minors?

Those between the ages of eight and eighteen spend a large segment of the day connected to technology fromTumblr and  Snapchat to the latest social media platform preferred by the age group.  In fact, according to a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, they spend nearly eight hours a day tied to technology.

That’s more time than they spend at school, and more time than they spend engaged in extracurricular activities.  It’s more time than they invest in their immediate and extended family relationships.

Are We Addicted To Technology

The most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) lists Internet Gaming Disorder as a mental illness.  The National Center for Biotechnology Information at the U.S. National Library of Medicine recognizes Internet Addiction Disorder (also known as Problematic Internet Use, Internet Dependence, or Pathological Internet Use) as a real health condition.

Medically speaking, when doctors and medical researchers use the term disorder, they mean a physical or mental condition that isn’t normal or healthy.  Not being a licensed or accredited medical practitioner, I’m in no position to say more on the subject than what I’ve stated.  These conditions, according to doctors and medical researchers, exist and are very real problems for a segment of society.

What Does This Have To Do With Business

Many people in their personal and professional lives are struggling with information overload as a result of their intense interactivity with technology.  Connected to social media platforms and online sources with up-to-the-minute information (some of it accurate, some of it less so) via multiple devices from cellphones to tablets and more, the importance of meaningful communication is suffering.  When a person suffers from information overload, the tendency is to manage the overload either by shutting down completely (which isn’t the best option in business) or to avoid that which makes the person uncomfortable (which also isn’t the best option in business).

Manage Technology Effectively

Technology isn’t the enemy.  How technology is managed is makes the difference between efficiency and overload.  Pare down your social media presence to a level that’s easily managed.

Have set hours when you use mobile devices.  Turn them off and walk away from them for a few hours a day.  Trust me when I say that the world won’t come to an end for the short while you’re disconnected from virtual reality.

Set limits on how much time you’re willing to invest in virtual reality, and increase the amount of time you spend interacting on a face-to-face basis.

Does Face-To-Face Interaction Really Matter?

As a matter of fact, it is.  Believe it or not, studies have proven that face-to-face interactions lead to decreased violence, and builds trust between individuals.   It creates stronger team dynamics and creates positive learning engagement.  All of these are sharply decreased when personal interactions are ignored in favor of technological connections via virtual reality.

Final Note

The art of conversation is a lost art among many these days.  Conversation is more than just the exchange of words.  Conversation is the exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, ideas, and more, and the spoken word is how those sentiments, observations, opinions, ideas, and more are shared, not merely transmitted.  Conversations are colored with tone and intonation, pitches and passion, motion and emotion.  All of these can be easily misunderstood or misread or quite simply missed when reading texts and memes on the Internet.

Back in the 1960s, Timothy Leary encouraged people to turn on, tune in, and drop out.  In the 2010s, it’s time to turn off, tune out, and drop back in.  You’ll be amazed at how much balance your life will have once you do this.

Elyse Bruce

SUGGESTED READING

COMPUTER AND INTERNET USE IN THE UNITED STATES
http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-569.pdf

HOW TECHNOLOGY AFFECTS HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
http://www.business2community.com/tech-gadgets/how-technology-affects-human-relationships-01326003#IG3CHDzwLwmYKl8d.97

INTERNET ADDICTION: A BRIEF SUMMARY OF RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3480687/

INTERNET GAMING DISORDER FACT SHEET
http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/Internet%20Gaming%20Disorder%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

IS AMERICA AT A DIGITAL TURNING POINT?
http://worldinternetproject.com/_files/_Published/_oldis/622_10_year_report_final_release.pdf

IS FACEBOOK MAKING US LONELY?
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/

MORE THAN 90% OF ADULT AMERICANS HAVE CELL PHONES
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/06/more-than-90-of-adult-americans-have-cell-phones/276615/

TECHNOLOGY’S IMPACT ON SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS
https://www.calsouthern.edu/content/articles/psychology-articles/technology-impact-on-social-relationships-surprising-data

WHY WE ARE WIRED TO CONNECT
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-are-wired-to-connect/

America’s Baseball Style Politics

With the results for the U.S. election confirmed, and Donald Trump emerging as the President-Elect, the last three days in the real world as well as in the virtual world has been fraught with divisiveness.  A great deal of the problem seems to be the lack of understanding about how someone who didn’t get the popular vote (Trump had one percent less than Clinton) could become the President-Elect.

World Series Had An Electoral-Style Win

It was the bottom of the ninth, the last game in the best-of-seven playoff, and the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians were staring each other down.  Home-field advantage went to Cleveland.  The Cubs were hoping to break a 108-year drought.

Game 1  Cleveland: 6 Chicago:  0
Game 2  Cleveland: 1 Chicago:  5
Game 3  Cleveland: 1 Chicago:  0
Game 4  Cleveland: 7 Chicago:  2
Game 5  Cleveland: 2 Chicago:  3
Game 6  Cleveland: 3 Chicago:  9
Game 7  Cleveland: 7 Chicago:  8

With that the Chicago Cubs were proclaimed the winners of the 2016 World Series, and America cheered!  Over the seven game series, Cleveland scored 27 runs to Chicago’s 27 runs.  But even if Chicago had scored fewer runs than Cleveland, winning four games is what it took to be the winners of the 2016 World Series.

And so the Chicago Cubs were the 2016 World Series champions!

What’s That Got To Do With Politics?

In the American Presidential Election held on November 8, 2016 Trump won the presidency and Clinton conceded to Trump.  She got more runs (popular vote), but in the end the popular vote isn’t what counted.  The number of games won (electoral votes) determines who wins the election.

That Doesn’t Make Any Sense

I’ll simplify the example so it’s easier to follow.  Let’s say Cleveland had won three games with three runs in each game and Chicago had scored only one run in each of those three games.  Cleveland would have nine runs to Chicago’s three runs.

Now let’s say that Chicago won the next four games with one run in each game and Cleveland score no runs in each of those four games.  Cleveland would still have nine runs and Chicago would have seven runs.

Chicago would still be the World Series champions even though they had two fewer runs than Cleveland overall.

But Politics Isn’t Baseball

No, it isn’t but the concept of winning the World Series Championship is the same as winning electoral votes in each state (with a couple of exceptions, of course, but let’s not muddy things up).

Hillary had the home-field advantage.

Hillary had forty-eight percent of the popular vote (nine runs) to Donald’s forty-seven percent (seven runs).  In the end, however, Donald won more electoral votes (290 confirmed) than Hillary (228 confirmed), and that’s how he won the presidency.

He hit that magic number (270 electoral votes to win) that determined that he had won the World Series of politics in America for 2016.

What All This Means

It means there’s no reason for discontented people who didn’t get their candidate elected to office to riot and protest and demand the results be thrown out.  This is how politics works in America.  In baseball terms, it’s fair.

Celebrities Moving To Canada As Threatened

Alas, except for mainstream media reporting that Snoop Doggy Dogg is house hunting in Toronto (Ontario, Canada), other American celebrities and sports figures who said they would move to Canada if Hillary didn’t win don’t seem to keen on making good on their threats.

Americans Moving To Canada As Threatened

Everyday Americans who threatened to move to Canada if Hillary didn’t win were greeted with a crashed website for Immigration Canada on election night.  However, had the site not crashed, they would have quickly learned that immigrating to Canada isn’t as easy as they imagined.  There’s no quick border crossing solution that will fast-track them to resident status in Canada.

The Solution Is Simple

In four more years, the United States of America will hold another election.  That’s how it’s done in the U.S.  Presidential candidates will fight for the right to spend four years (or four more years) in the White House.

Perhaps by then, Americans and foreigners will remember that the presidential election is a lot like baseball’s World Series.  The popular vote (the number of runs your team gets) is always a nice thing to look back on, but in the end, it’s the electoral votes (the number of games your team wins) that determines who is announced as the winner of the series.

Elyse Bruce

Fly Like An Eagle

Those of us who grew up in the 1970s recognize “Hotel California” by The Eagles.  It was a haunting song that stalked the radio waves, and more than a few discussions erupted about what the lyrics meant and what the references were. The song was, in a word, hypnotic, both musically and lyrically.

The band burned bright and then burned out with members going their own way.  But the music continued to be an important legacy for musicians who followed in their footsteps.

Over the years, artists took to creating their own renditions of “Hotel California.”  Some were traditional while others were more adventurous.

NOTE:  This video is misattributed to Bob Marley.  The vocalist is actually Majek Fashek.

Recording artist TQ grabbed the song and pulled it into the 2010s with his version of “Hotel California” that still had The Eagle’s signature sound stamped all over it.

Musicians from Cuba and South America decided to infuse the song with their own arrangements.  The Gipsy Kings brought an energetic, spicy passion to their version in Spanish.

The Cubans Acapella brought vocal heat with their version in English.

Even Marc Anthony did homage to The Eagles with his rendition.

But when all is said and done, one of the most beautiful renditions is the acoustic version by The Eagles from 1994 with new ideas woven into the well-known arrangement we’ve loved over the years.

Nearly thirty years after the song was first released, the song still inspires and fires up audiences around the world, proving once again that a well-crafted song is a song that speaks to music lovers across the generations as it is embraced the world over.

Elyse Bruce

Idle No More: Reverse Racism Recoil

In the U.S. the one-drop rule has been around since 1662. Back then, every individual had to be classified as either black or white.  Anyone with a black ancestor, regardless of how many generations one had to go back to find that black ancestor, was automatically disqualified from being white.

How this affected the way people were listed in the American census even into the 1940s — including those who were of Native American Indian descent — was that a great many Indigenous peoples found themselves listed as black with complete disregard for any other culture or heritage that were part of who they were.

Many mistakenly believe that the law has long since disappeared into the mist of days gone by, but not that long ago, the one-drop rule was used in a legal proceeding in Louisiana.  In 1985, a Louisiana court ruled that a woman could not identify herself as “white” on her passport because her great-great-great-great-grandmother was black.

But surely in the thirty years that have passed, no one subscribes to the one-drop rule anymore.  Or do they?

Research has proven that both whites and non-whites perceive biracial individuals as being members of the lower-status group of the two races.  In other words, if someone has an African-American parent and a white parent, the child is perceived as being African-American with no acknowledgement of the child’s white heritage.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about white privilege — what it is and what it isn’t.  In cases of biracial individuals, it would seem that white privilege is disregarded by those categorizing those of mixed heritage.

And in Canada, among some First Nations peoples, it would seem that not only is the one-drop rule applied to the Métis, but the white heritage is considered to be the lower-status, and there’s nothing the Métis can do about it.

Over on social media, there’s a nasty situation brewing — one that threatens the well-being of a young mother and her children.  Some Idle No More supporters are saying that her Hallowe’en costume was racist and that she appropriated Indigenous culture.

She’s Métis.  Her children are Treaty. For Hallowe’en, she dressed as a Native.
He’s white.  For Hallowe’en, he dressed as a cowboy.

This blog entry doesn’t address what they chose to wear. This blog entry addresses the nasty comments that have been made about her heritage and her right to claim her Indigenous culture.

In Daniels v  Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), the Supreme Court of Canada determined that Métis, non-status Indians, and Inuit are equal to Treaty Indians in the eyes of the law.

This means we are considered full status as distinctive rights-bearing peoples, and our integral practices are entitled to constitutional protection under s. 35(1).

definition-per-cdn-government
In 1705 (50 years after the one-drop rule was established), the U.S. established blood quantum law for Native American Indians.  The law wasn’t applied across the U.S. until the Indian Reorganizations Act of 1934 (also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act) when the U.S. government insisted that only persons with a specific blood quantum could be recognized as Native American Indian so they would be eligible for financial and other benefits under the treaty agreements.

The Dawes Commission Enrollment Records referred to registered Indigenous peoples as “Indians by Blood” and between these two Acts, Native American Indians found themselves forced to abandon their claims to Indigenous heritage.

Native American Indians were registered in the census as black (if they had an African-American ancestor) or white (if they had a white ancestor and no African-American ancestor and were sufficiently light-skinned as to pass), causing them to lose part of their identity due to the Racial Integrity Act.  So did all their descendants.

But in Canada, there were no blood quantum laws.  There was no Racial Integrity Act. There was no Dawes Commission Enrollment Records. There was no Indian Reorganizations Act.

What we do have in Canada is the Supreme Court of Canada definition of what a Métis is, and whether the Métis are recognized as Indigenous peoples.

who-are-the-metisBut it would seem that the one-drop rule that exists in the U.S. is also alive and well and living in Canada among some of the First Nations peoples.  To them, someone who is Métis has no right to claim their Indigenous heritage as the are white by virtue of being  half-bloods, half-breeds, mixed bloods, bois brûlés, chicots … Métis.

Thanks to the English and French who ruled what eventually became Canada, the Métis as an identifiable culture sprang up that drew heavily on our First Nations lineage with touches of our European  heritage.  We were not white then even though we had white blood coursing through our veins.  We are still not white even though we have white blood still coursing through our veins.  We are Métis.

Daniels v Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

                             Daniels v Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Yes, there were attempts to eradicate our Indigenous heritage by such legislation as the Dominion Lands Act of 1879.  Our ancestors were offered scrip which was then written up on the government rolls as an Indigenous person’s agreement to opt out of Treaties.  But those who were lost their status persevered as Métis and raised their children according to their ancestors.

But the Métis existed long before the late 1800s.  When the French explorers arrived in the early 1600s, they took First Nations women as their wives and together they had children. Distinct communities with mixed-blood children of Algonquin women and European men were being raised by the late 1600s.  These communities relied heavily on their Indigenous heritage, history, and culture while blending in European traditions for flavor.

They were neither solely European nor First Nations.  They were Métis, and they were Indigenous peoples.

Heháka Sápa also known as Black Elk (1 December 1863 – 19 August 1950) is oftentimes quoted with regards to what it is to be an Indian.  Black Elk was the second cousin to Crazy Horse.  He witnessed the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, and fought in the Battle at Wounded Knee at 1890.  He traveled to Europe with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show in 1887, and created his own Indian show held in the Black Hills to teach tourists about the Lakota culture and traditional rituals in 1934.

When asked, Black Elk said, “If you have one drop of Indian blood in your veins, then you are Indian.”

There are some First Nations peoples in 2016 who berate Métis peoples for being who they are.  They accuse them of cultural appropriation of Indigenous culture for daring to honor what they have a right to lay claim to by way of their birthright.

They tell them that because they have at least one white ancestor (the one-drop rule), they cannot say they are anything other than white.

And that, is a racist comment.

Perhaps in stretching the rubber band of political correctness so much, we are overlooking the fact that at some point that rubber band will snap.  The recoil will smart.

Perhaps it’s time to put an end to comments and beliefs that negate who each of us are as individuals.  Perhaps it’s time to be respectful of each other’s beliefs and realities.

It is definitely time to put the one-drop rule to rest, and to be accepting of who we and others are.

Elyse Bruce

SUGGESTED READING

AN OPEN LETTER TO NON-NATIVES IN HEADDRESSES
http://apihtawikosisan.com/hall-of-shame/an-open-letter-to-non-natives-in-headdresses/

DANIELS v CANADA (INDIAN AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT): SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT
https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/15858/index.do

IS ONE-DROP RULE OVERRULED?
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-09/news/ct-oped-0509-page-20120509_1_indian-heritage-indian-blood-dawes-commission

MEASURING BLOOD: THE AMERICAN INDIAN BLOOD QUANTUM
http://www.native-languages.org/blood.htm

PRESERVING POSITIVE IDENTITIES: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE REGARD FOR ONE’S INGROUP AND SUSCEPTIBILITY TO STEREOTYPE THREAT
http://gpi.sagepub.com/content/13/1/55.abstract

REGINA v POWLEY: SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT
http://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/2076/index.do

REPORT OF THE MINISTER’S SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE ON RECONCILIATION WITH MÉTIS: SECTION 35 MÉTIS RIGHTS AND THE MANITOBA MÉTIS FEDERATION DECISION
http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1467641790303/1467641835266

Idiomation Takes A Bite Out Of The Big Apple

Some people do what they do because it comes easy to them.  Some people do what they do because they love doing what they do.  I happen to do what I do because I’m one of those people who loves to do what I do:  Research.  Create.  Share.

When others acknowledge what you do, and acknowledge that what you do, you do well, words can’t begin to describe how amazing it is.  That’s why today I’m choosing to share this Press Release with you on Business Tuesday.  Please feel free to share this on your social media accounts and if you aren’t already subscribed to my blog, “Idiomation: Historically Speaking” please take the time to do just that.

idiomation_1

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