American Apartheid by Stephanie Woodard #Review @Igpublishing

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I’ve always loved learning about Native American tribes and cultures, but most of that learning was about the past, rather than the present. The protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe remained in my thoughts long after the protest came to an end, and I wanted to learn more about the modern-day struggles of the various Tribes—not an easy task, given the lack of adequate (if any) media coverage on anything of importance related to Native Americans. So when I saw this book, I was eager for the opportunity to learn more about the issues faced by the Tribes, and began reading it as soon as possible.

The book consists of six chapters, focusing on a selection of issues. These issues include:

  • poverty and the lack of economic opportunity on reservations
  • voting rights (including easy access to polling places, translators, etc.)
  • land rights (including the preservation of sacred sites), and the way Native concerns for the land are typically ignored in favor of money-making opportunities that benefit non-Natives
  • police shootings resulting in the deaths of Natives, and unfair justice practices applied only to Natives
  • the removal of Native children from their parents and the devastating effects it continues to have (from boarding schools to foster home placements and adoptions to non-Native families)
  • the importance of traditional ways, their connection to the land/water, and passing their traditional ways on to younger generations

I was expecting to learn things that were disheartening (to say the least), but I couldn’t have foreseen the level of outrage I felt upon reading this book. I was well aware of the way the federal government often disregards what is in the best interests of the Tribes, but the lengths officials were willing to go to in order to do what they wanted, and to hinder the Tribes when something became a legal matter, was staggering.

Much of the information in this book was upsetting to me, particularly having to do with Native children who were forcibly taken from their families for no reason. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine such a horrific thing happening. It was equally difficult to read about the men and women who were killed by police (again, without reason), and the devastation their loved ones were forced to endure as a result. A particularly distressing story was about Jeanette Riley, a 36 year old pregnant woman who was mentally ill and threatening suicide. The police were called, and shortly after they arrived, she was shot and killed. (The shooting was later ruled as “justified” in this case.)

Distressing portions aside, reading about the connection Natives feel with the land and water was beautiful. I was particularly interested in reading about the ancestral Pueblo gardens in New Mexico, which were constructed in such a way as to preserve moisture in the soil—which is quite important in an arid climate. Another enjoyable story was about a Shoshone grandfather teaching his seven-year-old grandson about flintknapping (shaping stone into a useful object) as they sit in an area located in their ancestral homelands.

This review cannot begin to detail everything in this book. What I’ve shared above is but a snippet from the wealth of information it contains.

If you’re interested in current social issues regarding Native American tribes, I’m sure you’ll find this book as fascinating as I did. I feel this is an important work that will enable people to learn about and understand the struggles Tribes are still dealing with in the 21st century, and I highly recommend it!

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I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Ig Publishing via Edelweiss.

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Author: Stephanie Woodard
Title: American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion
Genre: Politics & Current Affairs
To Be Published: June 5, 2018 by Ig Publishing
Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

In recent years, events such as the siege at Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline have thrust the plight of Native Americans into the public consciousness.
Taking us beyond the headlines, American Apartheid offers the most comprehensive and compelling account of the issues and threats that Native Americans face today, as well as their heroic battle to overcome them.
Stephanie Woodard details the ways in which the government curtails Native voting rights, which, in turn, keeps tribal members from participating in policy-making surrounding education, employment, rural transportation, infrastructure projects, and other critical issues affecting their communities. This system of apartheid has staggering consequences, as Natives are, per capita, the population group that is most likely to be shot by police, suffer violent victimization by outsiders, be incarcerated, and have their children taken away. On top of this, indigenous people must also fight constantly to protect the sacred sites and landscapes that hold their cultural memories and connect their spirituality to the nation’s mountains, plains, waterways, and coastlines. Despite these many obstacles, American Apartheid offers vivid pictures of diverse Native American communities that embody resilience, integrity, and the survival of ancient cultures.
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Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf #MiniReview @jweisswolf @skyhorsepub

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Half of the people in the world have periods. Menstruation was once a taboo topic associated with superstition and prone to stigma, but in the 21st century it is still a taboo topic associated with superstition and prone to stigma.

Wait, what? Unfortunately, it’s true.

Periods Gone Public touches on this subject, as well as the lack of access to menstrual products in some parts of the world (something that disrupts education for girls, as they have to stay home each time they have a period due to the lack of sanitary items and/or no private area in which to tend to their needs). Problematic issues closer to home include the lack of menstrual products for the homeless, as well as an inability to acquire these necessities. Pads are rationed for women in some prisons, and the inadequate supply is often of inferior quality, leading to soiled clothing the inmates have no choice but to wear—leading one to the obvious conclusion that the subsequent humiliation is used as another form of control over the already powerless.

These are but a few of the issues discussed in this book. Most of the topics included are things that I was completely unaware of, and made me realize that, for some, being on their period caused a great deal more disruption in their lives than I ever thought possible.

Final Thoughts

I enjoy books that make me think, and this one certainly gave me a lot to think about. I was completely unaware that “period activism” was even a thing, but after reading this book? I can see why it’s needed.

 I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Arcade Publishing via Edelweiss.

 

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Author: Jennifer Weiss-Wolf
Title: Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity
Genre: Nonfiction, Women’s Studies
Published: October 10th, 2017 by Arcade Publishing
Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

The first book to explore menstruation in the current cultural and political landscape and to investigate the new wave of period activism taking the world by storm.
After centuries of being shrouded in taboo and superstition, periods have gone mainstream. Seemingly overnight, a new, high-profile movement has emerged—one dedicated to bold activism, creative product innovation, and smart policy advocacy—to address the centrality of menstruation in relation to core issues of gender equality and equity.
In Periods Gone Public, Jennifer Weiss-Wolf—the woman Bustle dubbed one of the nation’s “badass menstrual activists”—explores why periods have become a prominent political cause. From eliminating the tampon tax, to enacting new laws ensuring access to affordable, safe products, menstruation is no longer something to whisper about. Weiss-Wolf shares her firsthand account in the fight for “period equity” and introduces readers to the leaders, pioneers, and everyday people who are making change happen. From societal attitudes of periods throughout history—in the United States and around the world—to grassroots activism and product innovation, Weiss-Wolf challenges readers to face stigma head-on and elevate an agenda that recognizes both the power—and the absolute normalcy—of menstruation.

My Days: Happy and Otherwise by Marion Ross #Review

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Marion Ross said she would never write a book about her life. Luckily for fans, she had a change of heart about that. In My Days: Happy and Otherwise, Ross shares stories about her life and six decade career acting in film in television.

Watching Happy Days was a big part of my childhood, so it’s no surprise that I immediately wanted to read this book. I love finding out behind-the-scenes details of television series I love(d), and it was a lot of fun to read about Ross’ memories of working on the show. There were a few surprise (such as her difficult relationship with Tom Bosley in the early days of the show), but most of the memories she shared were quite pleasant and enjoyable to read about. As an added bonus, there are also interviews with her former Happy Days cast members, including the late Erin Moran.

This was an enjoyable read, and I think fans of Happy Days would definitely be interested in this one!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Kensington Books via Netgalley.

 

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Author: Marion Ross
Title: My Days: Happy and Otherwise
Genre: Autobiography, Nonfiction
Published: March 27, 2018 by Kensington
Rating: 3 stars

About the Book

For eleven seasons, Marion Ross was head of one of America’s favorite television households. Now meet the lovable real-life woman behind the Happy Days mom . . .
 
Before she was affectionately known to millions as “Mrs. C.,” Marion Ross began her career as a Paramount starlet who went on to appear in nearly every major TV series of the 1950s and 1960s—including Love, American Style, in which she donned an apron that would cinch her career. Soon after came the fateful phone call from producer Garry Marshall that made her an “overnight” success, and changed her life . . .
In this warm and candid memoir, filled with loving recollections from the award-winning Happy Days team—from break-out star Henry Winkler to Cunningham “wild child” Erin Moran—Ross shares what it was like to be a starry-eyed young girl with dreams in poor, rural Minnesota, and the resilience, sacrifices, and determination it took to make them come true. She recalls her early years in the business, being in the company of such luminaries as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Noel Coward, yet always feeling the Hollywood outsider—a painful invisibility that mirrored her own childhood. She reveals the absolute joys of playing a wife and mother on TV, and the struggles of maintaining those roles in real life. But among Ross’s most heart-rending recollections are those of finally finding a soulmate—another secret hope of hers made true well beyond her expectations.
Funny, poignant, and revealing—and featuring Garry Marshall’s final illuminating interview—as well as a touching foreword from her “TV son” Ron Howard, and a conversation with her real-life son and daughter, Marion Ross’s story is one of inspiration, persistence, and gratitude. It’s also a glowing tribute to all those who fulfilled her dreams—and in turn, gave us some of the happiest days of our own lives.