[Marxism] Is high school really necessary? Not always by any means.

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 12 13:25:43 MST 2004


>From Hunter Bear -- February 12  2004

The other day I happened to mention that my father, a full blood American
Indian, had no high school whatsoever -- but wound up with three higher ed
degrees:  BA from the Chicago Art Institute, MA from University of Iowa --
and then, a year and a half beyond that, an MFA from Iowa.  I also indicated
that two of our kids did not complete high school and one of those, John
[Beba], only went as far as seventh grade.  Maria got through her sophomore
year. Both did very well at university -- as did those who finished high
school: Peter [Mack], Josie, and Thomas.

Is high school always critical?  Not always, in my opinion.

I finished high school -- Flagstaff -- but, frankly, almost all I learned I
drew from my on-going family environment:  newspapers and magazines,
discussions, and a million or so good books.  If I read the Nation and the
Atlantic Monthly from childhood on, I also went through Gone With The
Wind -- every damn word of the Great Fantasy -- when I was in the third
grade.  And much, much more.

And there were always all sorts of visitors to our home on the far north end
of Flag -- many of whom camped there:  Native leaders [for example, Sam
Akeah, chairman of Navajo Nation frequently stayed at our house when he was
in town]; Native arts and craft people [Fred Kabotie, the Hopi artist and
his family -- and our dear friend Ned A. Hatathli, Navajo]; artists of
revolutionary Mexico [Jean Charlot and his family -- old, old friends]; the
anthropologist Ned Danson -- also known as Ted's father; Richard and
Margaret Carillo, Laguna leaders; civil rights people -- including
Flagstaff's own Wilson Riles; Bill and Rosalie Bonnano -- up from Tucson,
and their by then conventional business enterprises, for a nice rented
summer home at Flag and cool  air and to take [in basic anonymity] many art
classes from Dad at Arizona State [one of my brothers was Bill's chauffeur
that summer].  My Navajo brother, Lee Taylor Benally [Benaali], from the
Shiprock area, lived with us for long periods of time as we both wended our
way through public schools at Flag.

Well, you learned a lot indeed in that family -- including how to argue and
fight.  And our kids have certainly learned a great deal in this one:
books, magazines, typewriters everywhere and then computers all over, all
sorts of visitors -- heavy on the Native rights and radical activist and
organizing sides.  Lots and lots of books: at least 200 fine Indian books
and more than that in the Left radical and labor genre [not counting copies
of my own book, Jackson Mississippi]; signed first editions of all of the
works of William James; Parkman; Gibbon; Western history books; Southern
books; hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of books.

I also have the complete works of Lenin -- 45 volumes [no index].  I had
wanted that ever since I saw It All at the Utah home of my old Army buddy,
Jay Talbot.  Jay was Mormon and, with one exception, so was everyone else in
his family.  His Dad, however, W.W. Talbot, a former cowboy from Kanab on
the Arizona border and a copper miner at Bingham, was head of the Communist
Party of Utah.  He had the Lenin collection, hardbound in Red -- which I
admired hugely -- and he strongly advised me to get it when I could.  In
time, I did -- and, when I look at it, I always remember the very good
"Wally" Talbot, a four packs per day chain smoker, who sadly died of lung
cancer when he and much of the family moved to Los Angeles.

Our kids here have read a fair amount of our massive library.  They have not
read any of my 12 volumes of Stalin's Works [Volume 6 is missing.]  A friend
of mine, Mike Blumenthal, sells books on e-bay.  He got me a Complete Run of
the really excellent Labor Fact Books -- 17 compact volumes plus Index,
1931-1965 [New York, Labor Research Association/Oriole Edition/International
Publishers, 1972.]  And I paid only 35 bucks for the entire set!

Then he sort of wondered if I could do him a favor -- and take JV Stalin off
his hands.  In the end, I gave Mike 20 bucks or so for that set [including
heavy postage.]  It's ponderous stuff, which we immediately segregated.  I
asked Josie just today if she'd like to explore His take on eliminating
various deviationists -- right and left and many other kinds -- but she
declined, smiling politely.

By the communalistic Will we all in this  family drew up in a hospital room
early last September -- with family consensus as the basic process in all
decisional matters, this house [or whatever final house] remains always in
the hands of our family as a whole. That also holds true for our very large
historical and contemporary Native arts and crafts collection; my radical
labor collection drawn mostly from the United States and Canadian West [and
Sudbury, Ontario]; my organizing collection; and my huge library.  And some
other things.  We'll pass these traditions on to succeeding family
generations.

Yeah, and we'll probably keep Stalin, too.  Come to think of it, though,
I'll bet ole JV was Real Strong for heavy-handed compulsory public school
education.

HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR]  Micmac/St Francis Abenaki/St Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
In the mountains of eastern Idaho.

When you cut to the bone  and cut away the college degrees, academic and
other titles, published books and articles, ours is essentially a working
class and Indian family.  We consistently join unions  -- and we always
support them with the greatest vigor.

It's critical to always keep fighting -- and to always remember that, if one
lives with grace, he/she should be prepared to die with grace.






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