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Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Two teepees at the Crow Fair and Powwow, Crow Agency, Montana. Copyright 2013, Kim Cotton.
Two teepees at the Crow Fair and Powwow, Crow Agency, Montana. Copyright 2013, Kim Cotton.

Today, most of the United States is celebrating Columbus Day by shopping sales or getting other errands done if they are lucky enough to work someplace that still takes the day off.  For some, it’s just another day, or if one is Italian, there might be a parade or family gathering to celebrate their heritage in the name of a famous Italian.

However, in my neck of the woods, many choose to honor the people that lived in the Americas long before Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492 (and I’m not talking about the Vikings).  The movement started in Berkeley, the city just north of my own home base, which is well-known for their, shall we say, radical political leanings.  In 1992 the Berkeley City Council approved a city wide holiday to coincide with the federal holiday of Columbus Day, naming it Indigenous Peoples’ Day.  Wikipedia can give you more of the scoop. In recent years, other cities have joined in such a name change. We welcome Minneapolis and Seattle to the list of those who celebrate the cultures that were here before Columbus even set foot in the Americas.

Personally, I’ve been tickled to see the worthy albeit slow transition toward the better understanding of the contributions of Native Americans and rejection of Columbus as our national hero. Having studied Native American art, history, and culture in college and beyond, I’m grateful to see others appreciate the history of those who existed on this land before it was “discovered.” Though the classic genealogical tall-tale of a Cherokee Princess never existed in my own family, my DNA results actually does show some connection to Native Americans. However, the paper trail  does not yet support those results, and I make no claim to be anything other than respectful.

To those who grasp on to the Columbus Day as a celebration of Italian heritage, may I nominate April 15th as Leonardo Day. As a nation, we need another focus for our attention on that day each year, but as a civilization, we can all support the contributions of Leonardo Da Vinci. I’d applaud such a symbol of Italian heritage.

But I am not so delusional as to think that anyone will dismiss Columbus Day without local support, nor do I believe we are likely to see a significant movement to rename this day on a national level any time soon. But as you go on about your day, please take time to honor the first residents of the land we love.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Week 1

I love the idea of weekly blog prompts. I rarely expect to actually write on any weekly topic (it was only a few days ago I made a goal of monthly posts). Yet something about Amy Coffin’s series for 2012 captured me. It’s probably the concept of abundance. We are in a time of scarcity…economically, ethically, nutritionally. We are also soaked in abundance…of information. How we deal with that abundance is up to us. With that in mind, I have to consider what blog is my favorite, when I have so many to which I return, again and again, and so many that I read once and move on. Continue reading 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy – Week 1

Writer or Business on Google+?

It appears the google+ profile of a well known genealogist and blogger has been disabled because she was deemed to be a business.  Where I appreciate the lack of businesses on google+, particularly at this early phase, it begs the question: When does a writers business overtake their own humanity according to Google?  Since writers and professional genealogists are often self-employed, how can they continue to do their business and interact with friends, colleagues, and readers in the google+ sphere?  And why should media outlets like Mashable News get a free pass to fill up my Stream while an individual writer who happens to do her professional writing under a nom de plume is banished?

If you are a google employee or know a google employee, can you help get the word to the right people that DearMyrtle is in fact an actual person and needs her account reinstated?  Pretty please?

What should be the dividing line for person vs business on Google+?  How do news outlets and professional writers factor in to that view?