Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blog #3

I just finished reading "Ojibwa Warrior," the story of Dennis Banks, founder of AIM. The American Indian Movement is a non-profit organization, that aims to get the rights of Native Americans recognized (pun intended.) The central idea of Dennis Banks' story is: No matter how many things life throws at you, if you work hard, and continue to push on, you will succeed. Dennis and his friends spent a month petitioning the government on "Wounded Knee." Although they faced many struggles, and didn't succeed in the government's eye, Dennis says: "Wounded Knee was the greatest event in the history of Native America in the twentieth century. It was our shining hour, and I am proud to have been a part of it" (209.) I have often felt like Dennis did. I can remember that earlier in the year I was struggling in math, and I was frustrated about not having an "A" in the class. Finally after working hard, I got a good score on a math test. Even though it wasn't 100%, and something that others would see as a normal score, I was proud to have gotten it. After Dennis came back from Japan, he was in a really bad place, and began to drink. "We were all drinking in those years, not really caring what the booze was doing to our health, sometimes going on binges for days and even weeks" (58.) Dennis was definitely in a bad spot around this time, however he was able to pull himself out of it, and become sober, so that he could start AIM. I have faced challenges in my life too. One challenge I will never forget was getting my adenoids removed when I was in first grade, it was a scary experience for a first grader, and I couldn't talk for a while afterword, which made school difficult. However, I got through it, and Dennis did too. I really liked the fishbowl discussion, and found them interesting. Three things that I heard being said that made me think are: "He had self control while being beaten," "It was interesting to see how his past affected his future," and "It is important to get your opinion out and have courage." I could never not stand up for myself, or at least speak up if I was being beaten, and I found it interesting that Peter didn't, and how that affected his future. 
The Central Idea of the blog I follow is: Life before, while, and after being in a foster system is very different from everyday life many people experience, and people can learn a lot from them. On the home screen, there is a message from the author that says: "My life before, during, & after foster care taught me a lot. Here's insight into the lives of the foster kids and foster parents of foster care." The featured article right now is one that I wrote about in my previous blogs, from the perspective of a child in foster care getting their driver's license. This article can teach people not to give up on something that is important to you. All throughout the blog are different personal stories on the lives of foster kids, one of them is about animal assisted therapy. "From leaving my foster home and aging out of foster care into becoming a man, struggling to overcome emotional, financial, and social struggles. I’ve gone from being alone renting a house that was falling apart to buying my own home and now having a family." The story of this person's life in foster care was hard, but they overcame it with the help of an animal. 
A modern example of discrimination against Native Americans is written into the sports culture of our nation. With popular teams having the name "Indians" or "Chiefs," Native Americans are starting to speak out about it. The owner of the Redskins, Daniel Snyder, has publicly spoken out about how he will "Never change the name of the team. NEVER- you can use all caps."
If Dennis were too react to this modern day problem, he would come at the sports world with full force. Dennis has notoriously taken every opportunity he can to stand up for American Indian rights, and this would be no different. Perhaps he would start a boycott of games, a protest on the "Redskins" football field, or started a twitter hashtag/ account, like some teens did to speak out. 
I personally think that it is incredible disrespectful to have a sports team discriminate against a group in this way. An argument of Dylan Snyder was that he "grew up with the mascot." Sports play a huge role in the lives of Americans, and by having these team names is indirectly telling people that it is okay to say these things. Team names can have a huge impact on our culture, so we should change them to impact culture for the better. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blog 2: 

A quote from the blog I am following: 
"I'm sure they also used that to control from me being able to leave the house as well. They said I didn't behave well enough to get my permit and would have to earn it. The problem was no matter what I could never do good enough to earn it... I do want to point out that even though it took me three times to pass, I have 0 accidents and 0 tickets. I had many obstacles on my path to getting my driver's license. Many foster kids face the same situations sometimes with more difficulty.
Mean: A girl is talking about her experience with abuse, and how her parents used her permit as a tool to control her. After getting put into foster care, she was able to get her drivers license and permit. 
Matter: Even when it seems like nothing good will come into your life, the ability to find hope and keep trying can be the difference between living and surviving. The harder you work at things, will directly affect the outcome. And, even when one feels like it's time to give up, go a step further and see where it takes you. 

One accomplishment that I'm proud of is the team that I made for synchro. This year, I am on varsity, and after being thrown in with all the other varsity kids I was really worried about what team I was going to make. Synchro is different than many other sports because it is divided not only into JV and Varsity, but into three divisions (short, long, and extended,) and even more teams within that. I knew that I would be competing on short this year, because of the amount of time I've been doing synchro. However, it is normally the biggest division with the widest range of skill. Getting back into the gist of figures and routines was difficult, and retraining myself to hold my breath, and skull (a form of swimming and a way to stay on top of the water.) Finally after two weeks of captains and two weeks of regular practices, and our coach told us what teams we were on. I had made the team that I'd hoped too, even after not swimming in a year. I learned that if I work hard for something anything is possible, and I can apply this hard work to future struggles that I may face. 

A theme statement that I really like from "Ojibwa Warrior" is: It is important to surround ourselves with people who can make and impact in our lives. This is a theme that has been restated many times throughout the book. An impact it can have on readers is to reexamine the kind of people that are prominent in their life. For example looking at who they surround themselves with and figure out if these people are making an impact on their lives, and make them better people. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In The System 
The blog that I'm following is called ¨I'm a foster." The author of the blog is a girl who went into the foster system after her father abused her and her brothers (she decided to keep her name private.) The purpose of this blog is to inform readers on children's lives in the system, and after foster care. Also, it helps gives parents tips on being a good foster parent, or parent after a child was in foster care. 

The beginning of Ojibwa warrior was interesting but slow moving. It makes me think of a field trip I went on when I was little, to see how Native Americans lived on a reservation. Much like Dennis believed, I think the attitude of having a "uniform" society exists today, everyone has to be exactly the same and like the same things, and wear the same clothes, especially in Edina. Some characteristics of a person who can make a change in the world are passion, drive, willingness to work hard, the ability to empathize with others, and an extrovert. Off the top of my head, I can't think of many people who have this amount of drive, or all of these characteristics. I'm sure there are people out there trying to make a change.

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