Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at hunterbear.org
Fri Apr 12 08:27:54 MDT 2013


It's difficult to see signs of "economic recovery", at least in these parts.  And this dearth is hitting very close to home.  In a few days, Cameron (Josie) will be traveling to Bismarck to take the North Dakota Master Electrician exam.  Although it's in our same Western region, North Dakota's capital is pretty far from Pocatello.  Cameron, a Master Electrician in Idaho, and a long-time IBEW member, has been unable to find anything around here since he was laid off some months ago when his old firm hit rough economic water.  He's far from alone and a lot of Idahoans are going to our former state of residence -- despite its often challenging weather.  His brother is already commuting back and forth from North Dakota.  Drawing people from much of the country, the "oil boom" via fracking in the western part of that state has resulted in a significant shortage of electricians "up there".  We expect Josie and the Babies (three) to be over here a good bit.  They all keep us young.

I've had a fair amount of very interesting correspondence.  Much of this concerns "social justice movement".  And a significant piece of that involves, as it so often has recently, Mississippi matters.  In various ways, I'm focusing -- without spending too much time -- on developing an accurate understanding, even a deeper comprehension, of those dramatic events half a century and more ago in which I was privileged to play a key role.  A problematic factor is the relatively new "moderate orthodoxy" which seeks to downplay the more hideous elements of the Old Order -- and which shies from anything it deems "too radical" and "too militant" both in historical and contemporary-challenge frameworks.  A related problem is the obvious effort to canonize murdered Medgar Evers, a good man for sure -- but an elevation that goes beyond reality and downplays the contributions of a vast throng of courageous grassroots people who risked much by their roles in the Jackson Movement.  In that saga, the conduct of the National NAACP, and the shadow of the Kennedy administration were, to understate it, quite negative as things turned out.  Much media in Mississippi echo and reflect the foregoing "moderation" positions.  In addition to all of this, some works -- not by Movement veterans -- have appeared which, however inadvertently, have succeeded in garbling various components of reality.  It is sometimes difficult to understand why and how they have -- but, frankly, I don't feel inclined to comment on any specific books.

Nissan, which is presently doing its most to resist a hard-hitting UAW campaign to unionize its plant at Canton, Mississippi, has, according to the Clarion-Ledger in nearby Jackson, just donated $100,000 bucks to the official Medgar Evers Commemoration.

Since I'm not in Mississippi, my own book -- fortunately out in its new and enlarged edition -- will have to speak for me.  If it isn't in the major "silk stocking" bookstore in Jackson, it is in some other places in the state.  And, of course, there are its two previous editions, 1979 and 1987, which got around well in Magnolia-land -- and over turf far beyond Mississippi.

But Mississippi now remains for me a secondary dimension.  We have our own social justice challenges in the always mysterious Gem State.  And we have some of another kind in our own backyard -- preventing a little landslide and thinking about the coming forest/brush fire season.  Readers of this will recall that, last summer, sixty-six homes not far from us were totally burned in minutes.

Our health is OK.  I am writing much now on topics other than the Old Movement Days. Native rights, civil rights and civil liberties, union labor, and organizing approaches remain my top issue priorities.

And very recently, tying up some loose ends in another Idaho context, I wrote this update to an old Movement friend:

"When we came here to Idaho -- a strange place always -- we were greeted by harassment from "lawmen" and outright racists.  Thoughtfully, we had put all of our savings -- such as they were -- into a good house on high ground (with a good view) and only a stone's throw from USFS and BLM public lands. We own that outright.  A lawman early on drove by us, yelled "We'll have you out of there in a month!"  This went on for several years, then faded -- although there are still "things" and I continue to keep a couple of loaded firearms in the house.  We also have a huge dog -- Aussie Cattle Dog mixed with something else -- that sounds downright ferocious.  We've now been here 15 1/2 years -- a long "live-In."

Enough for now -- more in due course.

In Solidarity,

Hunter (Hunter Bear)

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk 
Member, National Writers Union AFL-CIO
www.hunterbear.org  (social justice)

See the new expanded/updated edition of my "ORGANIZER'S
BOOK." It's the inside story of the rise of the massive Jackson
Movement -- careful grassroots organizing, bloody repression, sell-out 
and more.  It also covers other organizing campaigns of mine through
 the decades since Mississippi. It's replete with grass-roots organizing
examples and "lessons."  And it has my new 10,000 word 
introduction.  Among a myriad of positive comments and reviews:
 ". . .a local activist's important account of the deleterious effects
the involvement  of national organizations can have on indigenous
protest movements."  (Historian David Garrow.)

See the related:  http://crmvet.org/comm/hunter1.htm

Stormy Adoption of an Indian Child [My Father]:

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