April 5, 2018
Hello to everyone reading this blog. It has been over a month since I last wrote something for you. As usual, my book, Sky Woman Lives in Me, is available for purchase at 25% discount on Lulu.com. You can also purchase my book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. if you want to pay more money to read it.
Sorry this blog is so late. I have been out of town for baby showers, birthday parties, weddings, funerals…events that are part of our Circle of Life here on Earth. I hope all had a wonderful Easter. My first photo honors Martin Luther King. Yesterday, April 4th, we celebrated this courageous man, who tried to get peace,rights and equality to everyone. I sincerely thank, Brings Plenty Band, for posting this photo of Martin Luther King on Facebook.
In my book I share what happened to my Oneida relatives that has left a lasting effect today, not only my indigenous Oneida Tribe, but all Indigenous tribes here in the United States. Before the 1990’s, Native Americans were not considered citizens! My Grandma Millie and Great Grandmother Sophia Huff-Powless weren’t allowed to leave their reservations until 1924, after the Indian Citizen Act was signed. Not only were we indigenous people considered savage and inhuman, we weren’t allowed to vote in all 50 states until 1965, when the Voting Rights Act was passed. Now, here it is April 5th 2018, and politicians are still trying to mess up voting with gerrymandering, and requiring all sorts of certain ID’s just to vote! We even have polling stations that have broken machines! When Great Grandmother Sophia finally was allowed to vote, she was 48 years old! Though this is the year 2018, things really haven’t changed much for indigenous people, nor minorities and others here in our country.
On the positive side, the glass half full…we as Native Americans are able to practice our indigenous languages once again. This came about as a result of the 1990 Native American Languages Act. When Sophia was a child, she and her relatives were encouraged to speak only English. At the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School where Sophia was sent to be assimilated ‘Euro-white’, she was given lye soap to chew on because she was caught speaking Oneida. She had other punishments as a result of speaking her native Oneida tongue, but you will find that in my book! A second photo is of Sophia in her Carlisle uniform in 1891.
The third photo is my Great Aunt Lily Huff. It’s interesting how my great great grandmother, Elizabeth Hill-Huff-Denny was told by the government and Carlisle that her daughters, Lily and Sophia, were to be at Carlisle for two-three years to learn English and become educated to better themselves in this world. Well, Lily was only at Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School for three days! She was sent out to the countryside in New Jersey to become a servant for a white family. She never went back to Carlisle; her family never knew she was not attending Carlisle; they never knew she was a servant out in the countryside sending part of her earnings back to Carlisle! And, our government was paying money to Carlisle for educating Lily! What a racket!
The fourth photo is my great Grandfather, Theodore Hyson Powless when he was a young man attending the Hampton Institute in Virginia. He and his siblings were forced to attend Hampton, another boarding school to assimilate Native American Indians to become Euro-white. He also worked out of school as a farmhand or servant and never graduated from Hampton. He was learning a trade of printing at Houghton-Mifflin Riverside Press for five years. He left Hampton, with their permission (can you imagine that!) and headed back to Wisconsin to find work as a printer. Naturally the Oneida Reservation had little or no work for anyone. But, sad to say, Hyson couldn’t get hired off the reservation because he was an Oneida Indian. Now, if Hyson was non-Indian, his experience at Houghton-Mifflin Riverside Press would have landed him a job immediately! Sad that his indigenous Oneida Race played into Hyson not getting hired off the reservation!
Well, like I mentioned earlier in this blog, this is the year 2018! Sadly, Racism is alive and well. We are all human beings, no matter what color, race, creed! We are all children of God, Our Creator! Guess what…we all bleed red!
My last photos show the cover of my book: Sky Woman Lives in Me, me holding a picture of the book’s cover at Indian Summer Festival in Milwaukee, WI and it’s summary. Thank you for reading my blog. Please share this if you wish. Sincerely, Roberta Capasso, a proud member of the Oneida Indigenous Tribe of Wisconsin.