Friday, September 30, 2011

More Murder: Criminal Minds, The Tribe

Bones: The Skull In The Desert

A garden variety murder mystery.  The big thing here for me is Kalani Queypo, who is a interesting mix of Native American/Native Hawaiian and Swedish, not unlike Michael Horse, but with the addition of the Polynesian bloodline.


Supernatural Native Episode 2

Episode:  Wendigo

This one the earliest episodes of "Supernatural"...actually the second; and, I think, one of the scariest!  Wendigo is another one them Algonquin words, it is a kind of "manitou,"  though it is also what my dad would have called a "booger story" meant reinforce the serious cultural shame that cannibalism would bring (what Polynesians called "tabu" aka taboo).  It may seem like this concept would be obvious, but the farther north you go, the harder the winter were, and agricultural land gets more and more scarce.  The temptation to eat the dead during winter months, when the ground was too frozen to bury them, and when serious hunger set in, would have been great.  I personally think that is why so many Algonquin cultures in the frozen north had a serious practice of burning the dead on a funeral pyre---that removed any cannibalistic temptation.  Just a thought.

More Unloved X-Files...Shapes

Episode:  Shapes

Another "stand alone" episode of the X-Files, this time from season 1, that gets routinely trashed by hard core X-Files fans, I was happy to see that when I looked it up on IMDb this evening, it had some geniune advocates....otherwise I might have been tempted to brand said hard core fans with a "Shawn Spencer label" of "hatin' on the Indians."  This is one Jimmy Herman's earliest television appearnaces.  He's one of those guys that looked really old when he was pretty young, so by the first season of "Supernatural" he didn't look any different!!

As far the Native monster realm goes, the term Manitou is used here to describe a werewolf like creature.  Within the writing of the episode it is described as coming from the "Algonquins"--which it does, in a BIG way.  What is strange about that for me, is that I always associated the "tribe" in this episode with the Blackfeet, themselves an Algonquin group.  Well I suppose that they could be taken for Absaroke or Crow peoples (there's the reservation on the Little Big Horn, or the sight of Custer's last stand).  Truthfully the various Algonquin languages had closely identifiable variations on the word manitou, and none of them are referred to evil beings that possess or take over people.  In a strange kind of way, the creatures in this episode are more associated with Shape Shifters mixed with the dreaded cannibal Wendigo.

Just for the hell of it, I'm including a You Tube clip of a Native boogey man song by one of my favorite Native American musicians Robert Mirabal:  Skinwalker's Moon.

Uber-Cheese!! Track Of The Moon Beast (1976)

This "B" movie is super well known to those of us who subscribe to the "so bad it's good camp."  It is even the inspiration for the theme recipe for today.  Basically  it features some made up monster that supposedly can be traced to Native petroglyphs in the Four Corners area, involves some meteor action, and a guy that gets exposed to it...and presto changeo, you have yourself a bonefide Indian Moonbeast, all explained by a Navajo Prof. by the name of John Salinas aka Johnny Longbow.  It was actually filmed on location, and it does feature, for like a minute, some actual Navajo Dineh singers (!)--but nothing can prepare one for the music that shows up later!  Hear below....if you dare.  And, oh, I am trying to bring on the Halloween spirit.  Technically this is the beginning of the Countdown To Halloween!!  This year I get one extra day!! 

Oh that Sexy, Sexy Moonbeast!!

Kolchak And Bad Medicine

Episode:  Bad Medicine

Supernatural Native Episode 1

Episode:  Bugs

One of two American Indian themed episodes from the 1st season, this is the only one to actually feature Native American actors.  This one feature Dineh [Athabascan] actor Jimmy Herman, who hails from Canada.  He is supposed to have knowledge of a curse put on the land his people once lived on after they were mostly killed off or driven off the land in massacre after massacre in the 1800's.  

Jimmy Herman

The action in this episode takes place in Oklahoma (which roughly translates from the Mvskogi language as "home of red people").  Although there were Native Americans occuping tranditional lands in Oklahoma of course (there are numerous Mound complexes in the east, the largest of which is Spiro), it is a state that is mostly known as place where they (meaning the US government and the Army) relocated Indians to in the 1820's and 1830's.  Known The Trail of Tears to southeastern nations, truthfully, tribes from the four corners were sent there.  Some didn't stay, most did.  

Sam and Dean are sent to Sapulpa Oklahoma, which is indeed where "they" "keep" what is left of the Yuchi tribe.



Supposedly Cherokee's curse the Tennessee River


Weird Travels: The Mystery Of The Mayas (2006)

Episode:  Mystery Of The Mayas


My favorite Maya city:  Tulum

The so-called "Pyramid of the Niches" Veracruz, Mexico.  This is probably a Huastec building

The Nammys

"Nammys" stands for Native American Music Awards.  Voting is underway at the Nammys website, so go take a look and a listen.  They have several categories of music that are exclusively Native American, like Powwow, NAT chants, Waila (aka Chicken Scratch), etc. and also all the regular categories that anyone would expect to have in a music award show. There is even a special category for non-Natives who enjoy performing native music:  Native Heart.  New category this year:  Native Latin Music Award

They are holding the award show a whole month early this year, so voting will close soon. The award ceremony will stream live on the web site on Friday October 7 from the Seneca Entertainment Center in New York (if you happen to be in the area, tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster).  This year's host is Ted Nolan, an Anishanabe (Ojibwe) hockey coach and inspiration speaker, I'm guessing that he also has a sense of humor, one has to, to host this show!  He currently the head coash for the Latvian national hockey team in Europe.  Some well known names in Native music that will be there include:  Janice Marie Johnson, Pipestone, and Montaukett tribal teen sensation Dylan Jenet Collins, who is also nominated.  Native music giants Keith Secola and Nokie Edwards of Ventures fame (you know, the Hawaii Five-O theme!) are being inducted into the Native American Music Hall of Fame.  Host Ted Nolan will be presented with the Jim Thorpe Sports Award. 

So, go listen, enjoy and vote!  Wado (thanks).

X-Files: Teso dos Bichos

Episode:  Teso dos Bichos

This is the "X-Files" yage episode.  Various concoctions that pass as "yage" in South America, but they all cause extreme hallucinations and not recommended for use by non medicine people or without the supervision of a medicine person.  Evidently Dr. Alonso Billac (Vic Trevino) didn't get that memo.  In any case, something is killing off members of an archaeological dig from the highlands of Ecuador who dug up the remains of a very revered medicine woman and transported them back to DC.  There is talk of a Jaguar Spirit... 

A lot of X-Files fans HATE this episode, but then again, a whole lot of hard core X-Files fans hate most of the stand alone episodes that deviate from the conspiracy plot that ran through the 9 seasons that it was on the air.  I don't find it boring, badly written, badly acted or stupid at all.  The one that that the show did not back away from was Native American issues and traditional Native American monsters.  The Jaguar Spirit is one of the oldest, most wide spread of those spirits.  I know, it is a stretch that the Jaguar Spirit decides to kill people through the medium on house cats, but nothing is perfect really.

An "Olmec" Jaguar Spirit

Pardon the Scandanavian subtitles!

The Aztec Mummy vs. The Human Robot

This is high in the running for silliest movie of all time!!  As I have pointed out in the past, there were NO Aztec mummies, but then again, there also were NO human robots either; so I'm sitting back and enjoying the cheese of it all!  Since it such a silly film, I'm not bothering, at least today, to view it in the original Spanish--dubbed English just adds another layer of funny to the whole affair!

Native American Day

It's a pumpkin!  Really!
Sometime a couple of decades ago Congress declared that the last Friday of September is National Native American Day, these days that has shifted to the Thanksgiving season, but techinically, the September date still stands.  So around here, every last Friday of Sept. is the annual Native American Fright Night.

Modern depiction of an Inua spirit (Inuit)

Various Native myths have plenty of monsters, spirits and ghosts.  There is no lack of spooky stuff to celebrate from an "American Indian" perspective.  Probably the most famous monster is the Wendigo (from Algonquin Cree), a cannibal spirit that roams the woods in search of people to eat.  On the other end of the spectrum, we have fun but completely made up monsters, like the Aztec mummy.

One imagining of a Wendigo

Below are just a few homegrown monsters, spooks and weird beings.


Actual illustration of Native American pendant of a Thunderbird, or even a Mothman

Feathered Serpent
Tezcatlipoca, God of Darkness and Sorcery

Shark Amakua


Tzitzimitl or Aztec Star Demon

Uca Pacha, Incan God of Death
Aztec Mummy
A Skinwalker