Navarro’s beautifully brutal burning sculptures are breathtaking. I am mostly a pen/pencil/ink artist, which means I’m stuck in 2 dimensions. I love it when artists surprise me by working outside the norm and do the unexpected. I look forward to seeing more of Navarro’s work and all the wonderful virtual events leading up to the COP26.
I’ve always thought that dams looked like big creepy mouths. After researching the sources of hydroelectric power for the CMP Corridor/New England Clean Energy Corridor, my outlook hasn’t changed much.
The above piece was an idea that didn’t make it into my infographic because I ran out of space, so I made it a stand alone piece. As I started drawing, it took on the vibe of an old Megaman villain crossed with that weird fuzzy red Looney Tunes character whose name escapes me… The dead Brook Trout and Catfish among the dying and polluted vegetation really finishes it well, I think.
Here are some things to consider before supporting the corridor…
1. The CMP Corridor / NECEC is illegal.
• In August 2021, ‘Maine Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy terminated CMP and NECEC land leases in a ruling ‘that state agencies broke the law and ignored the Constitution by keeping Maine people and the Legislature in the dark about leases given to CMP to cross public lands’(Murphy, 2021); and that the State of Maine ‘had no authority to lease public land for CMP corridor’ (Shepherd, 2021).
• The Penobscot Nation also opposes the project. In 2020, Chief Kirk Francis requested an Environmental Impact Survey from the Army Corps of Engineers.
2. The CMP/NECEC Corridor does not supply any energy to Maine. (NRCM, 2021).
3. 25 Maine towns and 6 major organizations have opposed or rescinded their support for the project.
4. The energy passing through the CMP/NECEC Corridor isn’t Clean, Green, or Sustainable.
• Hydro power supplied by Hydro Quebec through the CMP/NECEC Corridor, has flooded hundreds of acres of Indigenous ancestral homelands and caused methyl mercury poisoning in the local watersheds (Hongoltz-Hetling & Seamans, 2019).
• this has destroyed access to livelihoods, foods, fisheries, and ecosystems.
• CMP proposes Clearcutting 53 miles through 263 wetlands, across 115 streams, fragmenting the largest contiguous temperate forest in North America. (NRCM, 2021).
• Includes “areas where public agencies and private citizens have spent millions to protect brook trout.”
Today is Indigenous People’s Day in the lands now known as the United States. I wish to express Gratitude to my Indigenous relatives. I recognize that my (mostly) European ancestors would have died had they not been shown mercy. Because of those first acts of kindness, I exist here. Anyone who is a descendant of Los Conquistadores, and/or the ‘founding fathers’ of the ‘13 original colonies’ wouldn’t exist. Even our Constitution largely borrows from the governance of the Eastern Woodland Tribal nations. The United States government and citizenry owe so much to our Indigenous allies, yet our government has left behind a Trail of Broken Treaties in its destructive wake as Colonialism, Capitalism, and Centralized Banking have taken root.
In the first few months during the Pandemic, I decided to learn more about the tribal nations located closest to me. I have learned that I live in the Dawnland, and that my neighbors, the Passamaquoddy and the Penobscot in the Wabanaki Confederacy, have continuously cared for these lands for at least 10,000 years. I learned that 400 years ago in 1621, my English ancestors on the Mayflower met Samoset, a Wabanaki diplomat who was the first Indigenous person to make contact with the ship. This really intrigued me because for the last 8 generations my family has lived in Texas. It makes me wonder if it was really random chance that I have returned back to the Dawnland now 14 generations later…
I recently listened to an interview with the now Secretary of the Interior, the Honorable Deb Haaland, who in a 2020 video interview said that, “I am the person that my Grandparents dreamed of,” as she recollected her family’s history surviving the genocidal practices of the United States, the Boarding School era, her mother’s military service, and her personal journey to being elected into Congress. Please listen to her interviews if you get the time. She is an amazing person.
Her statement resonated with me. It made me think about my grandparents and who their grandparents were. Through a combination of genetic testing, Ancestry.com, and old family bibles, I found out that if all my grandparents and their ancestors got together in one room, they would look like a UN assembly and would represent 5 continents. If they could speak to me, what would they say?
I am a child of Colonization, but I am learning to live a better way. Please forgive me for supporting a harmful system. I didn’t understand that there could be another way. I have learned that the version of history I was taught in school is a whitewashed fable of America. We desperately need the perspectives of those born outside the system in we ever wish to escape the abusive cycles of Colonization that are destroying our world. We must acknowledge our failures if we are to live up to the idea that “All (People) are created equal” and we must make sure their voices are heard if we wish to live in a real Democracy.
The more perspectives we hear, the more dimensions of history can be studied. We aren’t getting the whole story if we only listen to the European American sources. This is called Critical Race Theory, or CRT, by some, but I just call it good research.
Here are some of the resources that are helping me learn along the way (in no particular order):
Every once in awhile I come across a project that reminds me that the internet can be an extraordinary medium for the spread of peace. Songngutaitram is a poetry and art blog that gracefully explores war, peace, disaster, plague, and hope in ways that are haunting, raw, and devastating. This voice needs to be heard. These are the voices of peace and survival. If we listen, maybe we can learn how to prevent future atrocities.
I dedicate this digital painting to the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Boarding School Era Children. September 30th is recognized as ‘Orange Shirt Day’ to remember this national tragedy. I was drawn to colors of the Monarch Butterfly to represent the spirits of the lost children in the physical plane, but as I completed the painting, I discovered that hidden in the center was the shape of a woman with outstretched arms. Maybe you will see her too…
I honor the sorrow and the strength of the Childless Mothers and Grandmothers, those who were victims of the Boarding School Era and those who are still fighting for the custody of their children today. How have these brave people endured? My heartaches are just a drop in the ocean compared to what they have experienced. We can’t avert our eyes and ears from their stories.
Sometimes my work is heavy. Sometimes my work is a visual prayer. This theme is very dark, but I am hoping that you don’t avert your eyes if it makes you uncomfortable. This has been difficult for me to write, but it is something we must talk about.
Motherhood is sacred. It is a blood sacrifice in hope for the future. Some run toward this experience with open arms and some run away in fear, doing anything to avoid it. Both are valid responses, as the path of Motherhood is indescribably beautiful and incredibly dangerous for both Mother and Child. Even in this age of CRISPR, designer embryos, and IVF for those who can afford it, there are no guarantees the grand experiment won’t end in death. Even after the arrival of a healthy child, there are no guarantees of survival to adulthood. In the best of circumstances, Motherhood seems an equal balance of love and terror.
There are no right words to describe child loss. I endured multiple miscarriages before complications made it impossible for me to carry a child. I thought my grief would swallow me. It has taken me 15 years to climb out of the emotional wreckage and find my voice. Time heals and I’ve realized that my experience with Motherhood wasn’t the worst outcome. Not even close. While I was recovering from my losses, I read anything and everything I could about Women from all over the world and the experience of Motherhood. Learning to recognize others’ grief is what helped me learn to cope with mine and to become human again.
I recently learned about the Boarding school programs run jointly between religious institutions and the governments of the United States and Canada. These institutions conspired to take children from Indigenous families under the guise of charity, religion, and assimilation. These ‘Boarding Schools’ were little better than concentration camps, where the children were stripped of their families, language, and culture for years. Some never returned. This government and church-sanctioned human-trafficking was perpetrated over several generations from the late 1800s until the 1990s. Many indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families by the Government, then adopted into middle class and affluent white families, often never to find their way back.
To learn more, and to support the ongoing effort to identify and repatriate the remains of the lost boarding school children, please visit the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition here https://boardingschoolhealing.org/
We cannot heal as a Nation until the governments and religious institutions acknowledge their roles in human trafficking and abuses. We cannot stop these abuses from occurring unless we talk about them. We have to take care of the Mothers.
The first thing that came to mind, after seeing the chilling images of how refugees are being treated on the border, was “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus written in 1883.
The New Colossus
BY EMMA LAZARUS
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Source: Emma Lazarus: Selected Poems and Other Writings (2002)
This is why we need poetry! This is why we need humanities and the arts in schools, because it teaches us HOW to be humane to one another!
Human beings (Homo sapiens) and our ancestors have been walking the earth for at least 3 million years. All of our ancestors were refugees at one point or another. The only reason we are alive as a species is because of compassion and symbiotic relationships. We embraced the Neanderthals and the Denisovans. Evidence of these relationships and migrations are woven into our DNA. We can prove that we are all related. This is a revolutionary idea because colonization and racism are built on the ‘us vs them’ worldview. It‘s only ‘just us’.
Some humans have the power to destroy the world many times over and are currently in the process of destroying Earth, our only home. The only way we can save our home, and the lives of all the species on it, is with compassion. Stop making decisions based on fear. Put people over profit. Be kind. Learn to listen.
I read a copy of the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget to see how the budget for national defense compared to all the combined climate change mitigation and renewables programs. For every dollar we spend on defense, we’re only spending a nickel on the programs that would reduce our fossil fuel addiction. This is like paying a drug dealer to help you stay sober. Please wake up, America.
The comics I make here are based on hours of research and finding trustworthy resources is a challenge. Tracking down source documents is time consuming, but necessary when working with numbers and facts on any topic. It is my goal to make smart art/info comics that make people think and ask questions.
One topic area I’m researching is The Landback movement, which includes honoring the Treaties the US Government made with the Sovereign Indigenous Nations that were here for ten thousand years or more before the first European settlers arrived. So it’s also about going back to the source documents.
For anyone who has ever taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution (military, police, lawyers, judges, politicians, postal service, and government workers) the Treaties are recognized in Article VI as ‘supreme law of the land’- meaning those treaties are on the same level as the constitution. No State government or Corporation can change that.
“This Land” is a podcast that delves into US and Tribal case law and the modern-day implications. It’s produced by Crooked Media and hosted by Rebecca Nagle, of Cherokee Nation.
Nagle is both thoughtful and thorough in her podcasts, making sense out of the complex legal system we’ve inherited. The episodes are packed with information but are only 30-45 mins, so it’s a little easier to digest. Everyone associated with this podcast is deserving of high praise. I really look forward to catching up to the current season.
I hope to draw out the lessons I learn about the Landback movement. I learn by drawing and maybe I can help others learn along the way.
I should add that I’m neither affiliated with Crooked Media, nor am I getting paid to promote anything. I do this as a labor of love for sharing knowledge and hopefully building bridges to peace.
The US State of Maine says the Penobscot River that runs through the Penobscot Nation doesn’t belong to the Penobscot people, despite the fact that they’ve lived there for at least 10,000 years and are a riverine culture. The Penobscot people, however, maintain that they never ceded their rights under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement act. The case is going to the US Supreme Court to decide.
Sunlight Media Collective has made a number of outstanding videos on the topic and I really encourage everyone to check them out.
This is a design I made for a rally for the Penobscot River in August. I had it made into a cloth banner very affordably at Fine Art America online. It features people from the four corners of the world holding hands around the Penobscot river basin.
The rally had a long list of amazing speakers, my favorite being Sherri Mitchell, a local author, academic, and activist for Indigenous rights. Mitchell wrote a fantastic book called Sacred Instructions, which was my first introduction to Critical Race Theory, the Maternal Gift Economy, Decolonization, and the Landback movements.
There are so many examples around the world of Indigenous communities having to standing up against the multinational corporate extractive industries. This isn’t a coincidence. There is a large-scale natural resource/land grab going on and the industrial complex is hoping the majority of Americans aren’t paying attention to what is happening out of sight, out of mind.
My humble suggestion is that landowners need to form alliances with their local tribes to protect against eminent domain and the divisive tactics used by the extractive industry. It’s easier for the industry to plunder our resources if we don’t trust our neighbors. Indigenous rights are human rights. Let’s stand together and try to learn something along the way.
This illustration was the original background for the piece I did earlier called “You can’t drink the oil”, but it was too pretty to cover up with all the stats. I carried over the theme of the Crow being the harbinger of doom calling attention to the dangers to our drinking water, fisheries, and wild rice beds. The poem reads,
‘They’ll pump out all the oil never asking “At what price?”
While they’re stacking up their money, They’re killing off the wild rice
And when you see the bloated Catfish rotting iridescent in the sun
Know that You can’t drink the OIL
when the WATER is all gone’
Wild rice and catfish are sacred foods to millions of people who live in and around the Mississippi River basin. Pipeline projects like Line 3, are putting our sacred food and water sources in jeopardy.
The text from the comic below- sorry for the all caps…
IN JUNE 2021, DURING A RECORD-BREAKING HEATWAVE WITH MUCH OF THE WEST AND UPPER MID WESTERN US IN DROUGHT (DI LIBERTO, 2021 JUNE 3) , THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF RESOURCES (MN DNR) ENDORSED AN AMENDED CONSTRUCTION DEWATERING PERMIT IN A LETTER TO ENBRIDGE, A FOREIGN OWNED MULTI NATIONAL ENERGY CORPORATION,
FOR 4.98 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER TO COMPLETE WORK ON LINE 3, WHICH ONLY COST ENBRIDGE $150.00 (MN DNR, 2021 JUNE 4).
WHY IS THE MN DNR ALLOWING A FOREIGN ENERGY CORPORATION TO PLUNDER SO MUCH PRECIOUS WATER DURING A DROUGHT?
4.98 BILLION GALLONS OF WATER IS ABOUT WHAT THE 5.7 MILLION POPULATION OF MINNESOTA USES FROM THE PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY IN 10 DAYS. THE USGS ESTIMATED IN 2015 THAT MINNESOTA’S PEOPLE USE 515 MILLION GALLONS OF WATER A DAY FROM THE PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY (USGS, 2015). THAT’S 4980000000/515000000= 9.67 DAYS OF PUBLIC-SUPPLY WATER USE.
$150 IS EASILY WHAT A US HOUSEHOLD WOULD PAY FOR 2 MONTHS ON THE PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY USING AROUND 20,000 GAL OF WATER – ESTIMATED FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR PEOPLE.- BASED ON US EPA (2015) ESTIMATES THAT AMERICANS USE 82 GAL OF WATER PER PERSON DAILY. THE AVERAGE AMERICAN HOUSEHOLD SPENDS ABOUT $73 PER MONTH ON THEIR WATER BILL (TISEO, 2019),
4.98 BILLION GAL OF WATER WOULD COST THE AVERAGE PERSON AT LEAST $25 MILLION DOLLARS ON TAP
THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH (2020) ESTIMATES THAT TAP WATER COSTS BETWEEN A QUARTER AND A HALF CENT PER GALLON, ON AVERAGE, WHILE BOTTLED WATER COSTS BETWEEN $1.00 AND $7.50 PER GALLON NATIONALLY, ON AVERAGE.
THE VERY CHEAPEST RATE AT HALF A CENT PER GALLON 0.005 PER GAL X 4.98BN GAL= $24,900,000/ $24.9 MILLION.
ABOUT 11,500 GALLONS OF CONTAMINATED “DRILLING MUD” HAVE BEEN “INADVERTENTLY RELEASED” IN 2021 FROM LINE 3 , CURRENT AS OF AUGUST 5TH, PER “WATCH THE LINE MN” BLOG, WHICH SUPPORTS INDEPENDENT OBSERVATIONS/ CITIZEN SCIENCE ALONGSIDE OFFICIAL SOURCES.
TWEETS FROM THE MINNESOTA POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY (2021, AUGUST 9) INDICATE THAT KNOWN “INADVERTENT RELEASES” HAVE OCCURRED AT 12-14 OUT OF THE 23 SITES FOR LINE 3.
A MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET (MSDS) FOR DRILLING MUD ADDITIVE (USGS, 2011) NOTES THE HAZARDS TO HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT, SPECIFICALLY STATING IN THE ‘ACCIDENTAL RELEASE MEASURES’ TO, “PREVENT FROM ENTERING SEWERS, WATERWAYS, OR LOW AREAS,” AND THAT THE CHEMICAL, “MAY CAUSE EYE AND SKIN IRRITATION” “AIRBORNE DUST MAY BE EXPLOSIVE. DECOMPOSITION IN FHEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT, “
With just one F-35 aircraft we could provide food or shelter for an entire city for a whole month, or pay college tuition for 16,500 students…
“DOD plans to acquire nearly 2,500 F-35 aircraft for about $400 billion. It projects spending another $1.27 trillion to operate and sustain them—an estimate that has steadily increased since 2012” (US GAO, 2021)
The money to produce one F-35 can pay the rent for an entire city (90,000+ families).
-US Typical Monthly Rent = $1,704 (Zillow, April 2021)
$160 million could feed ~230,000 families, or about a million people, for a month in the US.
-A family of 4 on a ‘Thrifty Budget’ = $687/month avg grocery bill (USDA, May 2021)
…or pay tuition for 16,500+ college students.
-2020-2021 Average In-State Tuition at a Public University = $9,687 (Powell & Kerr, 2020)
Powell, F., & Kerr, E. (2020, September 14). See the Average College Tuition in 2020-2021. US News & World Report.