#270: Language Keepers
Happy Thursday, loyal readers, and thank you very much for opening up today’s issue of The Highlighter. I’ve officially declared myself exhausted after eight-plus months of mostly-quarantine. Are you? Whenever I slide into a very mild bout of despair, though, I remind myself to express gratitude: to my family, friends, and this reading community. As we head into Thanksgiving week, my hope is that you are safe and taking good care of yourselves.
Now let’s get to this week’s articles, shall we? This week’s issue starts strong with “Language Keepers,” a comprehensive six-part multimedia series that explores the commitment of Indigenous peoples in California to promote their languages and culture, despite hundreds of years of colonization. Then comes “Dirty Kitchen,” which extends the theme, focusing on the family recipes of a Filipina woman as she tries to maintain her Indigenous roots. After the photo break, I’ve included two pieces that challenge or add nuance to narratives about police defunding and Christian evangelicalism. Please enjoy, and thank you for reading!
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To commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month, Emergence Magazine dedicated this six-part multimedia experience to share the stories of four Indigenous communities in California that are working to revitalize their languages before it’s too late. It is outstanding. My favorite chapter, “Wukchumni,” tells the story of Marie Wilcox, 85, the last speaker of the language, who has devoted the past 20 years to compile a dictionary to preserve Wukchumni for future generations. (45 min)
+ Social studies teachers in California, you could plan a mini-unit on this inquiry-based resource. Let me know if you want to brainstorm together.
With delicious tinola and sisig recipes serving as her foundation, Filipina writer and filmmaker Jill Damatac explores her Indigenous roots, the centrality of family, and the effects of colonization in this beautiful essay. Though she writes lovingly about her Lola Rosing, the malunggay tree, and the dirty kitchen where the real cooking happened, Ms. Damatac also acknowledges the loneliness and loss of culture she’s experienced through war and immigration. She writes, “We transform to survive, but we still bear the boiled, charred, gristled remnants of our past. I will continue to exist in a hungry space between longing and belonging, for my body, exported from its country of birth, deported from its country of growth, now has only sense and memory to call home.” (18 min)
Loyal reader and VIP Angelina did so much reading last week in her Highlighter T-shirt that now she is plumb tuckered out and needs a good snooze. (Notice though how she clutches her Highlighter highlighter firmly.)
Oakland Pledged To Cut Its Police Budget In Half. Then Homicides Surged.
Like Minneapolis, Oakland wants to defund its police department but faces challenges figuring out how to implement its vision. One major problem is that the majority of Black and Latinx people in East Oakland want more police officers, especially given the city’s recent spate of murders and its distrust of white leadership. John Jones III, who lives in the Fruitvale neighborhood, says he feels queasy seeing the “100 new white folks” arguing that police are “harmful to Black and Brown people.” (14 min)
+ But I also got a vibe this reporter is biased. You?
The Real Origins Of The Religious Right
Like many people, I used to think that evangelical Christians, when they coalesced as the Moral Majority, emerged as a conservative political group shortly after Roe v. Wade, in order to protest abortion. Not so, argues historian Randall Balmer, who follows the evidence that shows Jerry Falwell and other leaders cared much more about maintaining segregated schools and white supremacy. (12 min)
+ Thank you to VIP Peter for sharing this article. If you’ve read something great, recommend it!
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