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link post: wolves, Barbie, and ancestors
Third Quarter Moon Feature
New here: Monthly, on the third quarter moon post I’ll be posting links. I try out writers on Substack frequently to see what I think and sometimes after I get to know them a bit—through their writing—I share them with you. Hence some of the links below are from folks that I’ve gotten to know like that.
Gathering together some links about wolves.
When driving back from our road trip along I94 in Northern Minnesota I saw a billboard proclaiming “Minnesota Nice. Wolves keep our wilderness wild.” It was an ad for a Minnesota advocacy group called Howling for Wolves. They want to minimize conflict between wolves and humans and have started a program to pay ranchers for their losses rather than taking a lethal approach. Initially I thought that connecting treatment of wolves to Minnesota Nice was a kind of humorous juxtaposition. It did get my attention. According to me, Minnesota Nice is taking a friendly attitude while holding another at arms length. Seeing how this group wants to minimize conflicts between the animals and humans, I see how it may be an apt metaphor.
Here is a recent Minnesota Reformer article about the USDA being the biggest cause of death for wolves in Minnesota in 2022. Read for a quote from the founder of Howling for Wolves in the article and also some of the realities wolves face here in Minnesota. Also an update from Minnesota Reformer Reporter Christopher Ingraham about why federal wolf hunts are a form of handout to ranchers (from the Daily Reformer Newsletter on 8/21/23).
If you want to study what happened to native people, then study what happened to wolves. If you want to know what happened to wolves, study what happened to native people.
This resonated with me when I first heard it and then I ran into that idea again when reading An Irritable Métis, see link below.
But first, did you know that Chris La Tray is the new Montana Poet Laureate? Here is the post where he shares the news. Below is a post from earlier this year in which he shares stories about wolves from the Lamar Valley, about the manipulation of language for both beauty(bright bison calf color!!) and ugly, and an Anishinaabe story of wolf and man.
Initially the Barbie movie was not on my radar until suddenly it was. Everyone around me was making plans to see Barbie with someone special and then my 21 year old daughter asked me to go with her. And then we coordinated our viewing with her best friend (since 2 years old) and her best friend’s mom too.
Our families have been bonded ever since the two girls met boot skating out on the ice at our neighborhood’s winter festival. These now young women know how to “play too hard” (this is a reference to the movie) and perhaps would have had “weird Barbies”(they are the result of “playing too hard”) in my basement, but, like my mom before me, I did not “allow” Barbies in the house. I put “allow” in quotes because I was never really tested in this rule. Not sure my daughter — nor myself — ever really wanted to play with them.
Prior to going, I read a couple reviews. The FIELDTRIP post by Susannah Felts is posted below, with gratitude, because it is her writing that allowed my way into writing about the movie. My experience of the movie was much like hers as was my response to the reviews. You can find The Unpublishable’s Barbie Post by Jessica DeFino linked within Felts review and is amazing. I’m thankful for how DeFino pushes hard for integrity, and calls out the hypocrisy between the message of Barbie and the merchandising of Barbie. Read that one to see greed in action.
I knew my daughter loved the movie and wanted me to see it and love it too. So I did my best to reserve judgement. And in the end, I loved. What did I love most about the Barbie movie? It was the sense of play — with gender roles, with the meaning being made, with the relationship to the viewer herself — and the idea that it is the player that brings the best to Barbie and not Mattel, the company that makes the money off the doll. The movie was as fun as heck and I recommend it if you haven’t seen it already (most everybody has, right?), and I also recommend Susannah Felts Substack (want to join me and help her get to 500 subscribers?).
I must say, I had a small cringe when we arrived at the speech that I had read the critique of before hand. And also it hit home. Sometimes, most times, it is important to spell things out, especially in a movie for all ages. Let me know if you have seen the movie and what you thought of the speech.
The early bird special for Sebene Selassie’s workshop, Ancestors to Elements, ends TODAY(3rd Quarter Moon as it is). It’s a 6 week ancestor workshop that is paired with the elements. Her workshop goes hand in hand with the writing that I am working on. Meditation/writing/art for exploring generational wealth and poverty and healing, things that I have been focussed on for a good long time now. Why aren’t I taking it?!? Check it out below or even just sign up for her newsletter.
I am always noticing how people ask you to follow them. A new guy I follow on Substack is a comedian (and I found him through On Substack as many others did). His posts regularly make me laugh and I like that. I also really like how he asks for money. He says, “I am a writer and this newsletter is how I make money. Consider supporting my work.” I like how blunt that is. I want to copy him.
But there is more I want to say when I ask (and I find it hard). I want my writing to inspire you to be your best self, to take care of yourself and to help you in taking care of the other humans around you. And more. To quote Sebene Selassie from her workshop post above, I aspire to create deep impact. I need to acknowledge some cognitive dissonance here, because I find it so presumptive to want that. And yet I continue to be compelled to put this writing stuff out here. Working on letting go of the struggle and being more playful with this.
I love to highlight process, which is moon inspired, over perfection. And the moon is my process. So I prioritize sending you notice of the moon’s phases. That means I sometimes send out things that are rough around the edges. Like last week. The beginning of a longer project, I sent it out unfinished with a paywall in the middle. I will be continuing to work on that amalgamation of stories. Until new moon when my words fall on you again, much love — Tina.
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