November 2013 Archives


The Seventh U.S. Cavalry Charging into Black Kettle's Village at Daylight, November 27, 1868, from Harper's Weekly

Today marks an interesting historical anniversary given the closeness of the Thanksgiving holiday and the end of Native American Heritage month. 145 years ago, General Custer (yes, that General Custer) led an attack on a Cheyenne camp, now known as the Battle of the Washita or the Washita Massacre. In August of that year, some Native war parties, originally formed to battle the rival Pawnee, had instead attacked white settlements in Kansas, Colorado, and Texas. Some of the members of this war party, when it disbanded, joined up with the Cheyenne camp led by Chief Black Kettle.

General Custer himself had just been reinstated from a suspension (having been convicted of desertion and mistreatment of soldiers) by Philip Sheridan, so that Custer could lead a winter campaign against the Cheyenne. Custer's blundering as a commander proves truly tragic in this case, as when he finds Black Kettle's encampment (mostly made up of peaceful Cheyenne, including many women and children), he does not attempt to identify them in any way. The land upon which the village rested was actually reservation soil, where the Native peoples were promised peaceful living by the commander of Fort Cobb.

Ignorant of this, Custer planned a daybreak assault, charging in with little to no reconnaissance done. His main strategy was to capture women and children hostages to force the warriors to surrender, which worked but not without Custer and his men killing many women and children in the assault as well. His troops took some fifty women and children hostage, and those Cheyenne warriors who did not escape were all killed. Even chief Black Kettle himself, attempting to flee across the river, was fatally shot in the back. A chief now praised as a peacemaker between the US government and Native tribes, killed by Custer's men in the most dishonorable way.

While the number of the dead are now in dispute (in part because Custer deliberately lied in official reports to make the battle sound like a valiant victory), the evidence all point to this moment as a tragic massacre of innocent Native Americans by an incompetent soldier sent on a mission born out of a desire for vengeance. Just one of many terrible tragedies visited upon the Native American peoples by the US government. Today, the site of the battlefield is a National Historic Site, where you can learn more about the battle and the people who lived there.

Here in Milwaukee, you can check out books on Black Kettle, General Custer, or even the Cheyenne for more information and learning, and perhaps gaining a bit of understanding as well.

knit penguin.jpgBring your needles and/or hooks, your yarn and your enthusiasm to share and learn with others who knit and crochet. Central Library's fantastic collection of books and DVDs on the fine art of how to knit and crochet await you. Join us this Saturday for this wonderful opportunity to network with other crafters and make some progress on your knitting projects. There is free 2-hr. street parking on Saturdays.

Location: Mozart's Grove in Central Library (across from the media room)
Date: Saturday, November 30th, 2013
Time: 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is a Native American-controlled nonprofit organization who's mission is to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities. First Nations plays an important role in advocating for and providing training and grant support to Native community organizations.
First Nations.pngFor Native American Heritage Month, the staff at First Nations have compiled a list of essential reading for those interested in the Native experience. The list includes categories such as History, Politics, Culture, Imagery, Novels/Fiction, Reference Books, Academic Journals, Legal Resources and more.

To view the Native American Heritage Month Reading Recommendations by First Nation click here.

50th Anniversary of JFK's Assassination

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President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy arrive at Love Field, Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was assassinated later in the day. Photo by Cecil W. Stoughton

John F. Kennedy was shot and killed 50 years ago today as his motorcade drove through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the shooting, but never went to trial as he was also shot and killed, by a man named Jack Ruby, while he was being transported to the Dallas County Jail.

President Johnson assembled the Warren Commission (named after Chief Justice Earl Warren) to investigate the assassination. Although both the Commission and the FBI concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, there are still many people who believe in one of the several conspiracy theories that give alternate explanations as to who shot and killed the 35th President of the United States.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29th, 1917. During World War II he served in the Navy as a Commander of PT-109 and PT-50 (Motor Torpedo Boats) in the South Pacific. PT-109 was sunk on August 2, 1943. Despite being injured himself, Kennedy managed to pull a badly hurt crew member through the water by holding the man's life jacket strap in his teeth, first to one island and then to a second, where he and the rest of the surviving crew were rescued. Kennedy went on to serve in the House of Representatives from 1946 to 1952, and in the Senate from 1952 to 1960. During the 1960 Presidential election debates, the first to be televised, Kennedy famously dazzled those watching the televised debates, coming off much better (in their opinions) than his opponent, Richard Nixon. Kennedy went on to win the election, and was sworn in as the 35th President at noon on January 20, 1961.

Kennedy's presidency was filled with high notes (his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis) and some low notes (Bay of Pigs Invasion). He was a man of strong moral convictions, lending his support to the Civil Rights movement, but he was far from perfect in his personal life (his alleged infidelities are the stuff of legends). He remains to this day one of the most popular presidents in United States history.

Holiday Closings at Milwaukee Public LIbrary

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Photo by Ben Franske

All Milwaukee Public Libraries will be closed Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th for the Thanksgiving holiday. Regular library hours resume on Saturday, November 30th. Central, Capitol and Zablocki are open on Sunday, December 1st from 1pm to 5pm.

While we are closed, check out the Milwaukee Historic Recipe collection. It has several Thanksgiving-themed recipes.

We Call It 'The Stick'

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Ball-play of the Choctaw--Ball Up by George Catlin

So you're sitting there, watching the hit MTV series Teen Wolf, and suddenly you're struck with the most pressing question. "Where exactly did lacrosse come from?" you wonder, momentarily distracted from the cornucopia of drama and angst associated with juvenile lycanthropes. Well here you are now, your question about to be answered. And for those of you who have no idea what lacrosse even is, well we might just answer that too.

Lacrosse has its origins with the Native Americans of the Algonquin tribe, though there are many tribes that played similar sports and so an exact origin is hard to pin down. Early forms of the sport were played with balls of wood (eventually deerskin), goals of natural origin (often trees), and open fields that could be as large as a few miles (suddenly football stadiums seems quite small). The first written historical account came in the 1630s when a French missionary, Jean de Brébeuf, witnessed the game being played by members of the Huron tribe. Jean is the one who actually labeled the game lacrosse, from 'la crosse' in French which means 'the stick'.

Yes, the game is literally just called 'the stick', based on the fact that the game is played with sticks with nets on the end, used to move the ball about the field (hands are not permitted to touch the ball, like in soccer). Lacrosse (or in actuality, the variety of names the sport had among individual native tribes, as none of them were referring to it by the name the white Frenchmen came up with) actually played an important role in the lives of these tribes, as a sport that trained young men for battle, as well as recreation, religious reasons, and even gambling (much like the role professional sports play in American society today).

Popularity amongst other people began in the 1800s in Canada after a demonstration by the Caughnawaga Indians in Montreal, and lacrosse eventually became an Olympic sport in 1904. The sport continues to spread and grow in popularity today. A sport, originating with the natives of the land, labeled forever with a name from the first white guy to write about it, and now seen more often on MTV than actual musical videos. So why not check out any of the numerous books we have in the library system to learn more about this American tradition that goes back even before our Thanksgiving favorites, the Plymouth Pilgrims?

index_jfk.gifJohn C. McAdams, professor of political science at Marquette University, is featured in the November 25th special double issue of Time magazine in the article "The Debunker Among the Buffs" by Jack Dickey. Professor McAdams has also been consulted recently in several other national news stories discussing his theory on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He was interviewed by CNN and USA Today and featured on the PBS television show "NOVA: Cold Case JFK."

McAdams will speak at Central Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Avenue, on Saturday, November 23rd at 2:00 p.m. in the Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room. He will present a logical examination of the evidence of conspiracy in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

McAdams has a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is the author of JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think About Claims of Conspiracy as well as articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Sociological Quarterly, and Law and Contemporary Problems.

Call 286-3011 to register for this program or sign up online.

Street parking is free on Saturdays. Time limits apply. (See signs on each block for details.)

book sale.jpgTake advantage of incredible book bargains! Browse through a great selection of new and used children's books. Friends members may enter sales 30 minutes before the general public with a current membership card. Please use the 8th Street entrance and present your card. This book sale is sponsored by the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library. Proceeds from sales benefit Milwaukee Public Library.

Date: Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
Time: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (Friends members can enter 30 minutes early through 8th St. entrance with current membership card.)
Location: Central Library's Meeting Room 1

Statistics to Know for Native American Heritage Month

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native american census.jpg
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, the U.S. Census Bureau has released the following statistics for American Indians and Alaska Natives:

5.2 million
The nation's population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including those of more than one race. They made up about 2 percent of the total population in 2012.

11.2 million
The projected population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, alone or in combination, on July 1, 2060. They would comprise 2.7 percent of the total population.

Number of states with more than 100,000 American Indian and Alaska Native residents, alone or in combination, in 2012. These states were California, Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Washington, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Alaska, Michigan, Oregon, Colorado and Minnesota.

Number of federally recognized Indian tribes.
Data courtesy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives alone or in combination 5 years and older who spoke a language other than English at home in 2012.

The number of single-race American Indian and Alaska Native veterans of the U.S. armed forces in 2012.

View all Census statistics for American Indians and Alaska Natives here.

National Museum of the American Indian

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex. The NMAI cares for one of the world's most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere, from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego.

If you're heading to the East Coast, celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a visit to NMAI on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. or NMAI-New York, the George Gustav Heye Center. If you're sticking closer to home, explore NMAI's website, which is rich with details, articles and photographs representing the museum's collections, exhibitions, and programs. While you're on the site, take time to explore the many interesting and informative videos on the Multimedia page.

Yemeni Women's Poetic Traditions with Dr. Najwa Adra

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poeticvoices_najwa.gifYemeni Women's Poetic Traditions with Dr. Najwa Adra
Sunday, November 17 at 2 p.m.
Central Library, Centennial Hall
733 N. 8th Street

Dr. Najwa Adra is a cultural anthropologist who traveled to Yemen to explore and record women's songs, short poems, and rhyming proverbs from rural areas to illustrate the ways in which poetry is integrated into village life. She describes how verse is used by women as a socially acceptable way to express their feelings and opinions, even expressing how they feel about prospective suitors for marriage. She also discusses the impact that economic and social change along with recently imported conservative interpretations of Islam have had on these traditions.

Yemeni Women's Poetic Traditions is part of the Poetic Voices of the Muslim World exhibit and program series. Milwaukee Public Library is proud to be one of six public library systems in the nation to participate in Poetic Voices of the Muslim World, a National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures initiative in cooperation with Poets House, City Lore, and the American Library Association. NEH developed Bridging Cultures to engage the power of the humanities to promote understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.


Pullman Porter helping a woman with her bags, c. 1880

In collaboration with Blk-Art, History & Culture, the Washington Park Library will present a Fall Film Series. Award-winning documentaries highlighting African American history and achievement will be presented with discussion sessions. Screenings are free and open to the public. This presentation is intended for an adult audience.

Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle discusses the struggle of black Pullman Porters to unionize, even though rebuked by white organized labor, and the eventual formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters under A. Philip Randolph. It also explores the impact of this group on the American civil rights movement.

Where: Washington Park Library - 2121 N. Sherman Blvd.
When: Wednesday, November 20th at 6pm

Willing to Serve: American Indian Veterans

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Photo by Mark Pearcy

While Veterans Day may have just passed, we do not just honor the veterans of the armed forces on just that one day of the year. As part of Native American Heritage Month, why not check out part of The Library of Congress' Veterans History Project dedicated to Native American veterans? While the most famous of contributions of Native Americans to the United States war effort were the Navajo Code Talkers, that only scratches the surface of the role that these men and women have played in protecting this country and the freedoms we enjoy each and every day.

Take a look into the site today, and maybe you'll learn something new. We also have great resources at your local library branch, as well, so stop in any time (that we're open, of course).

gavel.jpgThe Milwaukee Legal Resource Center, located in Room G10-1 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse, offers free access to HeinOnLine on all three of its public computers. Additionally, if you are an attorney or government employee, you have free access to HeinOnLine through your Milwaukee Legal Resource Center library card.

This class will enable you to learn about the materials available through the HeinOnLine database which provides access to:
• full-text law reviews and bar journals,
• selected primary federal law,
• congressional and federal agency documents, and
• sources of federal legislative history.

This database is too good to miss! Learn about HeinOnLine and how you may access this subscription service for free at the Milwaukee Legal Resource Center or anywhere you may need it.

Date: Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
Time: 12:00 PM to 12:50 PM
Location: Meeting Room 1 in Central Library

Registration is required, and space is limited. Please call the Ready Reference Line at (414)286-3011 to register. This is a demonstration class. One CLE credit is pending for attorneys.

JFK Assassination Logic author talk Nov. 23rd

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Meet John McAdams, the author of JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think About Claims of Conspiracy.

Saturday, Nov. 23, 2-3:30 p.m.
Central Library - 814 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room

Call 286-3011 to register or sign up online.

John C. McAdams, professor of political science at Marquette University, presents a logical examination of the evidence of conspiracy in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

McAdams has a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is the author of several articles in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Sociological Quarterly, and Law and Contemporary Problems.

Street parking is free on Saturdays downtown. Time limits apply. (See the signs on each block for details.)

The Bdote Memory Map

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The Bdote Memory Map is an amazing resource available on the internet: an interactive guide to the Native American history of our neighboring state of Minnesota. Bdote is a Dakota word, meaning "where two waters come together". On this site you'll find a wealth of information, encapsulated in a digital interactive map of the Dakota lands in what would become Minnesota. Sites are highlighted on the map, and you can click on these sites to see pictures, read more information, and view video files of the oral history of these important places.

The site originated as part of a "City Indians" media installation in Minneapolis in 2005. It has grown and evolved, but the intention remains the same: a way to imagine learning from the Dakota people. The site encourages not only going through the interactive map, but also going to the sites in person as well. While perhaps the start of winter is not the best time to trek through Minnesota, perhaps you might use the site to help plan a future spring vacation while learning much about a different culture and its history.

A Brief Lesson in the Ojibwe Language

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Scroll-Hoffman-1885.PNGOjibwemowin is an indigenous language spoken by the Anishinaabe, or Ojibwe people. (Ojibwe tribes are also often referred to as "Ojibwa," "Ojibway," or "Chippewa.") Ojibwe tribes live in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Because of the wide expanse of Ojibwe territory, there is not one single standard form of the language. Instead, there are related dialects that vary in sound, vocabulary, and grammar. The Ojibwe culture and language is traditionally oral, but some hieroglyphic images on birch bark teaching scrolls do exist. During the 1970s, a double-vowel alphabet and writing system were developed.

The Ojibwe alphabet consists of 23 letters:

a, aa, b, c, d, e, g, h, ', i, ii, j, k, m, n, o, oo, p, s, t, w, y, z

And seven vowels that sound different than their English counterparts:

a as in "about"
aa as in "father"
e as in "café"
i as in "pin"
ii as in "seen"
o as in "obey" or "book"
oo as in "boot" or "boat"

Let's look at some words about animals, or "awesiiyag," common to Wisconsin:

deer: waawaashkeshi (waah-waah-shkay-shee)
bear: makwa (mah-kwuh)
wolf: ma'iingan (mah-ing-gun)
fox: waagosh (waa-gush)
squirrel: ajidamoo (uh-jih-duh-moo)
rabbit: waabooz (waa-boose)
bird: bineshiinh (bih-nay-shee)
snake: ginebig (gih-nay-big)

This is just a small amount of insight into Ojibwemowin, a language with limitless possibilities....

In 1992, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Ojibwemowin as one of the "most complex" languages in the world. Today, the Ojibwe language is considered "endangered" due to the declining numbers of fluent speakers. Language revitalization programs are becoming more common throughout Ojibwe country as fluent speakers are recorded, immersion programs are developed, and teachers work with children and adults in schools and language tables on a regular basis to promote Ojibwemowin, the heart and soul of Ojibwe culture and heritage.

If you are looking to learn more about the Ojibwe language, check out some of these resources:

A Concise Dictionary of Minnesota Ojibwe
Ojibwewi-Ikidowin: An Ojibwe Word Resource Book
Living Our Language: Ojibwe Tales and Oral Histories
Ojibwemowin: The Ojibwe Oral Tradition, Language (DVD)

Submitted by Hayley @ Central

wisconsin tribes.pngWisconsin is home to eleven tribes: the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, the St. Croix Chippewa Community, the Forest County Potawatomi Community, the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, and the Ho-Chunk Nation.

You can learn about the history and governance of these Wisconsin Tribes with the online reference resource, Tribes of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin State Tribal Relations Initiative also contains information on the land holdings of Wisconsin Tribes, viewable on their Where Are the Tribes? page.

Find even more information on Wisconsin tribes with books like Like a Deer Chased by the Dogs : The Life of Chief Oshkosh, Wisconsin's Tribal Nations, and many more available at your Milwaukee Public Library.

House History 11/2 - spaces still available!

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Saturday, November 2
9:30-11:30 a.m.
Richard E. and Lucille Krug Rare Books Room
Central Library
MPL event calendar listing
This program is free. Call 414-286-3011 to register until 5:00 p.m. Friday 11/1. If you are seeing this post after that time, know that we currently expect to be able to accommodate attendees on a walk-in basis, so please join us on Saturday morning. Street parking is free on Saturdays (2-hour time limit).

This event presents an overview of the Milwaukee house history resources available at the Central Library. Learn how to use library resources such as fire insurance atlases, city directories, census records, and city of Milwaukee tax rolls to research the history of a house. Presented by architectural historian Traci Schnell from Historic Milwaukee, Inc. and by librarians from Humanities and from Art, Music and Recreation.

Rouse_Simmons_1913_Photo_from_the_Marine_Review.jpgThe Wisconsin Marine Historical Society will be laying a wreath at the anchor of the Schooner Rouse Simmons on Saturday November 9th at 9 AM to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of "The Big Blow of November 1913".

Date: Saturday, November 9th at 9 AM
Location: Anchor of the Schooner Rouse Simmons
Milwaukee Yacht Club
1700 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
From November 7th through the 10th of 1913, a storm raged across the Great Lakes region, reaching hurricane conditions on the evening of the 9th. By the following morning, the toll taken was catastrophic.....19 ships sunk, 19 ships stranded, and over 250 people lost.

The wreath laying will remember those lost in this "White Hurricane" as well as all those lost at sea, including the Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down on Lake Superior on November 10th 1975, and the Rouse Simmons (The Christmas Tree Ship) which sank on November 23, 1912 off of Two Rivers, WI.

The Wisconsin Marine Historical Society was founded in 1959 to support the Great Lakes Marine Collection located in the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room at the Milwaukee Public Library as well as to promote our State's vital maritime heritage.

For additional information, please contact the Society at 414-286-3074.


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