The Truth vs. Twilight: Quileute Website Explores Reality and Fiction
Quileutes do not turn into wolves.
Quileute culture has no references to vampires or Cold Ones.
Quileute men are not shirtless and prone to violent resolution of disputes.
Quileute women are not passive and subservient (three of five members of the Tribal Council, including the chair, are women).
And you can find a lot of Native and non-Native people who are financial equals.
For all of its popularity, the Twilight book and film series promotes several misconceptions about Quileute culture, Native people and women. The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, in collaboration with the Quileute Nation, has launched a website, Truth versus Twilight, to counteract those misconceptions.
The site explores the class and race stereotypes, antiquated and unequal representations of gender roles, and misappropriation and alteration of cultural symbols in Stephenie Meyer’s teen paranormal romance series. The site also explores the historic misrepresentation of Native peoples in advertising, film and media.
The website is one of several efforts born out of an idea session between friends after the first Twilight film was released in 2008; the group included Barbara Brotherton, curator of Native American Art at the Seattle Art Museum; Dr. Deana Dartt-Newton, Chumash, curator of Native American Ethnology at the Burke Museum; Jackie Jacobs, Lumbee, a public relations consultant; filmmaker Tracy Rector, Seminole, of Longhouse Media; and photographer Matika Wilbur, Swinomish.
One result was the year-long exhibit, Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves, hosted by the Seattle Art Museum from Aug. 14, 2010 to Aug. 14, 2011. The Truth versus Twilight website launched Nov. 9 after two years of development.
The opening scene of Breaking Dawn, Part 1, the fourth film in the series, underscores the disparities. It opens with an aerial view of Quileute fictional character Jacob Black’s home: in need of repair, free weights holding down a tarp covering a leaky roof. Black emerges from the home shirtless and smoldering over Bella’s upcoming wedding to his nemesis, Edward Cullen. Next scene: the affluent vampire Cullen family in their upscale home. Bella will get married here and be whisked off (by sports car, plane and boat) to a honeymoon on a private island. Not bad for an 18-year-old.
Dartt-Newton said reaction to “Truth vs. Twilight” shows the importance of the site and other cultural education efforts. In the Quileute community, the site is viewed as a scholarly work. But among Twilight fans, it’s viewed as “making a mountain out of a molehill,” she said. “They say Twilight is just a fantasy.”
But in the Quileute rainforest community of La Push, home of the fictional Black family, some Twilight fans don’t always separate fact from fiction. Noted fiber artist Eileen Penn said Twilight fans have knocked on her door, asking if they can come inside and see her home. Others have knocked on neighbors’ doors, asking where Jacob, the fictional character portrayed in the film by actor Taylor Lautner, lives.
Chris Morganroth III, a Quileute carver and storyteller, was on the Tribal Council when the first film was released. He remembers receiving letters from Twilight fans saying they planned to visit La Push because they wanted to meet the characters in the film.
Morganroth, who was a consultant on “Truth vs. Twilight,” is disturbed by the misconceptions in the Twilight series. But he said the Twilight spotlight has given the Quileute people a broader audience to tell their story to. Dartt-Newton, who consulted with Morganroth in developing the “Truth vs. Twilight” site, agrees. “It’s enabled us to educate people we wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”
Morganroth was raised by his grandmother, who spoke only the Quileute language and imbued in his memory nearly 50 stories that are important to the Quileute culture. He said the best tellers of an indigenous people’s story are the people themselves.
“All Native peoples have tried hard to have our stories correctly told, so people understand we are who we are,” said Morganroth, who had a role in the 1992 Discovery Channel environmental film Oceans of Air.
The real Quileute creation story doesn’t resemble anything from Twilight. According to Morganroth, the Creator sent K’wati, the Transformer. K’wati changed wolves to the ancestors of the Quileute people at First Beach in present day La Push, and taught them how to live in their environment as people. Other spirit beings — Dask’iya (kelp-haired monster) and T’ist’ilal (Thunderbird) — shaped the Quillayute River and the local land forms into its present-day appearance. Thunderbird saved the Quileute people from starvation during the last Ice Age by bringing them a whale.
The Quileute people went on to flourish in a territory that extends from the isle-strewn Pacific Coast to rainforest rivers to the glaciers of Mount Olympus. “Today, Quileutes need only lift their eyes to see the burial place of chiefs atop James Island, or A-Ka-Lat,” the Quileute Nation website states. “This sense of cultural continuity is their birthright and heritage.”
Morganroth said exposure to the real Quileute culture gives a richer experience to all who are interested. Quileute leaders agree. Asked for comment, the council issued this statement: “During our travels as a collective, individually and with our youth, it has been our experience that most people are ‘in awe and thrilled’ to meet a ‘real Quileute.’”
Former Quileute chairman Russell Woodruff said the Twilight era has boosted tourism and given the local economy a shot in the arm. His daughter started Jacob’s Java, a coffee stand named for Jacob Black.
But Woodruff said the Quileute culture presented in the book and film “doesn’t fit our culture. It’s a different version altogether.” While he’s an advocate of strengthening the tourism sector of the local economy, he said he “wouldn’t go across the street” for the film.
The qualities of Quileute — its rich culture, forest, mountains, ocean coast, wildlife refuges and namesake river – stand on their own.
“A lot of people tell me this is prettier than the Oregon coast,” he said.
I think burn out
must taste of
of convincing people
that I’m human.
the cover letter i wish i could write:
dear hiring officer:
my name is racially ambiguous, yes. i hope that this means that you’ll at least read my whole cover letter and resume — i worked very hard on both of them. i am only mildly interested in the position that you need to fill, as your advert on craigslist or idealist is poorly done. let me guess: the person who’s leaving this vacancy did not write the job description. i can tell, because the advert is vague but stresses professionalism. this must mean to you that professionalism equals not defending oneself when you (or other staff members) do some fuck shit that everybody knows is wrong. it’s unfortunate that you list the requirements for this job without including any information about the organization you run — it would help you find people who are better fits for the job. but, you claim to want someone who’s well-versed in MS office, so i guess that means you typed this bullshit yourself.
i have had a string of office jobs — including a five year stint in government human resources — that overqualify me for this position, so i hope you understand that when you see i have not listed the completion of any bachelor’s degree. i didn’t need it to answer phones or file, and i’m fucking insulted that you or any of these other fucks would suggest that i need one to do that shit now. simply put, i am self-taught. i learned how to work by working. do you understand that? the fact that you seem to think that i need a degree (IN ANYTHING! NOT EVEN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION OR ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT!) to direct phone calls and schedule conference rooms pisses me the fuck off. it also disenfranchises people like me — people who can and are willing to do the work not just because of student loan debt or because we swore to ourselves we’d move to NYC and be fabulous — because it tells us that we need to go to school to do the same work that we have already fucking been doing. it means that if i take your advice and go back to school, i’ll be putting myself 60 to 80 thousand dollars in debt to come out of school and then be told to get a master’s (or two) or a ph.d. when ALL I FUCKING WANTED WAS AN ADMIN GIG WITH GODDAMN BENEFITS.
you’re wasting your time with that. don’t you know that a good chunk of the people with bachelor’s degrees who work bullshit admin jobs like this are only doing it until something better comes along or they go to grad school?
oh. that’s what you’re doing?
i shoulda known.
anyway, i hope you find what you’re looking for.
i’ll be temping in the meantime, and trying to get myself an appointment at columbia dental school. cuz i don’t have benefits.
flask motherfucking gordon
when elizabeth hasselbeck cried on the view over “how do i explain to my children why they and only they cant say the n-word” like it was a tragedy for them to be denied that word…
i never got over it.
and the fact most of white america sympathized.
you fucking scare the fuck out of me, for real.
This actually happened?
i didn’t know this happened either. and reblogging because this post needs to be all over tumblr.
Jennifer was threatened with deportation after her mother and she were pulled over in a routine traffic stop in Palm Beach county, where she lives with her younger siblings — who are U.S. citizens with health problems that require Jennifer’s ongoing care and attention. Immigration officials let Jennifer’s mother go because she was recently able to attain resident status that Jennifer could not be included in because she had “aged out” of the visa process (a painful experience that throws many immigrant youth into legal limbo when they turn 21).
Now, Jennifer’s family and legal counsel are calling out for help after she was taken into DHS/ICE custody and threatened with the possibility of deportation away from her mother, siblings, and future in this country.
Like DREAMer Manuel Guerra, Jennifer should not be a priority for deportation under the new ICE/DHS guidelines. Instead, she should be granted a type of status that allows her to contribute to the country she calls home. Jennifer has lived in the U.S. for a decade and completed high school through a GED program in order to help her mother and siblings.
In fact, Jennifer’s deportation would be doubly devastating — not only would it cut her dreams and future plans short, it would rip her away from a family that depends on her care. Jennifer’s younger sister, Ashley, a 5-year-old U.S. citizen, has been diagnosed with a blood clot, requiring her to be in observation for 3 months in the hospital, and to wear a special “boot” to get around. Her brother, also a citizen, appears to be losing his vision. Jennifer’s mother has been diagnosed with a tumor in her knee, which required knee reconstruction. On top of all of this, Jennifer and her mother have NO criminal record and have been paying taxes for more than 8 years.
please sign and/or pass this around if you can. thank you.(via numol)
Týden: Towns, activists sponge on EU subsidies to Roma
Prague, Sept 12 (CTK) - Some Czech towns and activists controversially profit from EU subsidies designed to improve conditions for local Roma, such as housing and employment, weekly Tyden writes Monday.
It names Ostrava, north Moravia, and Kladno, central Bohemia, among the towns that have used the subsidies to upgrade town centres, create pedestrian zones and build car parks and other projects not directly related to Roma.
An official document drafted by the Centre for Regional Development says the subsidies should be used to “solve [problems of] Roma communities threatened with social exclusion,” Tyden writes.
Kladno has such a dilapidating locality, called Masokombinat. The town worked out a project securing an EU subsidy worth 250 million crowns in support of Masokombinat. However, it included in the project Krocehlavy, an adjacent neighbourhood inhabited by the majority population, Tyden writes.
In doing so, the town met the condition of “helping a Roma community threatened with social exclusion” and, at the same time, it gained money to repair houses and build a pedestrian zone in the Krocehlavy housing estate.
Only three million crowns of the subsidy were spent on the Roma-populated Masokombinat, Tyden points out.
“Krocehlavy does not rank among socially excluded localities, but its location next to Masokominat does influence its life,” Tyden quotes Daniela Zanakova, who is in charge of EU projects at the Kladno town hall.
In Ostrava’s Vitkovice district, a car park worth 1.6 billion crowns was built last year within a programme “primarily focusing on pilot projects aimed to solve problems of Roma communities threatened with exclusion,” Tyden says.
A part of the subsidy was spent on the reconstruction of a nearby road that had never been part of a socially excluded locality that is situated not far away.
The EU subsidised the project with 180 million crowns, while another 120 million were added by the town, Tyden writes.
“If you want to attract majority population families to Ostrava-Vitkovice in order to prevent its ghetto-like character, you must offer something,” Ostrava deputy mayor Martin Stepanek said, referring to the new car park and road reconstruction.
Apart from towns, people from pro-Roma organisations profit from funds and subsidies designed for Roma as well, Tyden continues.
It mentions a critical statement that Lenka Balogova, head of a civic and human rights centre in north Bohemia and deputy head of the government council for Roma affairs made in August along with other Roma members of the council.
Large sums designed to cover Roma integration activities have ended up with experts from the majority population’s organisations and agencies without any effect for the benefit of Roma, the critics said in the written statement.
“Roma integration and social exclusion is thus becoming a lucrative business,” they added, Tyden writes.
i should’ve reblogged this earlier.
especially for michiganders…
image in text reads:
Find your legislators’ name & phone number on these websites:
If you need help or don’t have computer access call Debra Eaton in the church office, 313-965-5422.
Crowd sourcing for a little help
I’m writing something up and I was wondering if anyone had a good place to link people to on the topic of “It’s not the oppressed’s duty to educate the oppressor- the oppressor needs to educate themselves”? I don’t know if the audience is familiar with the concept, and the writing is only tangentially about this concept so I didn’t want to spend the post writing about it THEN getting to my point.