top of page
Wild Horses in Black & White

Thoughts on farming, education and Indigenous cultures in America.  

Business Title

  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

I heard this from my friends' parents growing up. Both my parents were teachers so it hurt. I knew all too well that teachers didn't make a whole lot of money. We lived on a budget. Dad made sure we had a roof over our heads and the household bills were paid. He always set aside something for the future. Sometimes "our future" got spent on emergencies like doctor visits. Too many of those and the budget got really tight. Birthday parties were the worst because Mom always bought a hairbrush as the gift I gave at the party. At the time, she was a stay-at-home mom. She never exceeded the amount dad planned in the family's budget. "Everybody needs one," was her explanation although I knew it was because it was all we could spend.

Eventually, I outgrew the need for a 'party" to validate the passage of another year. Once I began paying my own bills, I grew to appreciate a new hairbrush.

As I look back at the things that truly impacted my life, I've come to appreciate good teachers. I remember the bad ones equally well, of course. The skinny old maid who taught geometry and either never knew or never cared that once we figured out how a "theorem" was supposed to look, we copied the format over and over, switching out a few words before turning each assignment in for a check mark in her grade book. Got an "A" in geometry...a third grader can do more with geometry skills than I"ll ever do.

But there was another skinny old maid who taught Latin. Trust me. She cared what we learned. She cared THAT we learned. We translated Julius Caesar. The entire book. From Latin. We conjugated verbs. We did reports. We read books aloud in Latin in front of the classroom. And then told our classmates what we had read. We learned because that teacher cared that we learned. To this day, I can derive the meaning of almost any unknown word simply by thinking about the Latin root it is derived from. Talk about a blessing in the fields of science and agriculture.

Over the years, I've come to really appreciate Dad's version of that old saying:

"Those who can, teach.

Those who can't, do some other less significant work."

55 views0 comments
  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

I've heard this for most of my life, usually in reference to a friend who's been unkind or said something hurtful. It was always soothing to know Karma would avenge my sadness without any effort on my part.

I can't help but compare the modern fight over school curriculum and policy to a touch of Karma for the people who tried to obliterate an entire civilization by "educating" indigenous youth away from their own cultures.

As early as 1776, Congress encouraged church pastors to teach the Indians the white man's ways.

By the mid-1800's, Congress was spending massive amounts of money on Indian education. Politicians thought it would be cheaper to educate them than to fight them.

The Indians of North America had fought bitterly for their land and way of life. By requiring attendance of all Indian children from the ages of 6 to 14 and eventually to 18 and above, the government essentially removed all opportunities for children to learn their culture and language from their elders. By threatening their parents with the loss of much needed rations and supplies, the government held the students as a captive audience in the schools. Native language was forbidden, the children's hair was cut and styled in the white man's way, their names were changed to words the teachers could pronounce. Although some learned job skills and moved away from their native homes, many children suffered terrible abuse or died of disease and heartbreak.

The Indian Industrial Schools, as many of them were called, made it their business to "Kill the Indian, Save the Man." What goes around, comes around.

To learn more about life in the Indian Education Program, check out "My Place Among Them", my latest book. (Publication date 08/23)

#indigenousrights #firstnations #nativeamericans #nativeculture

  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

Updated: Jan 8

I bought a lottery ticket today.

In fact, by the time I'd spent the twenty bucks in my pocket, I'd bought two. Five shots each at one-point-one billion - with a "B" - dollars. I figured why not, it's just me and three hundred million other people with twenty bucks in their pockets hoping for a lucky shot. I took about an equal number of bourbon shots on New Year's Eve, playing one of those silly games you play to pass the time until the ball drops and everybody starts kissing and hugging and toasting to a future none of us knows.

Couple years ago, I took a single shot. A vaccine that could have had almost as great an impact on my life as one of those numbers on my lottery ticket. Hurt like you know what. Made me sick for days. Not quite as sick as the virus but sick enough to know I wasn't taking another one. I had to have it to visit my mom so it was worth it. Been well ever since too although I can't say if it was the virus or the shot that made the biggest difference. Maybe it was just following mom's advice and staying away from people and washing my hands a lot.

My best shot though is the one I take every day at enjoying life. A steaming mug of cappuccino in the darkest hours of the early morning, several minutes brushing dirt and stray bits of hay off the horses as they munch contentedly on buckets of warm grain mash, then a dribble of pellets for the three barn cats who wrap themselves around my ankles and purr their thanks. Later, I drop by the farm shop to see what's going on. Sometimes they're busy planning which acreage to work first or how to get machinery from one field to another. Sometimes there's the clang and rattle of wrenches on bolts, and sometimes nothing but an empty silence hangs over the oil spots on the floor. There's no point in tracking them down, they'll call if they need something. The road gets busy about that time as most of the folks head to work in town, speeding past the farm without a thought about how their breakfast gets from here to that restaurant in town, Watching carefully so as not to pull in front of one of those folks, I head back to the house to cook lunch. There's time to read or write or pay bills until my husband and I enjoy a home-cooked meal and time to make plans for whatever project comes next. After the dishes are done, there's still time for a little more writing (or bill paying) before it's time to visit the horses, feed everybody dinner and settle in for the evening. It's a good life. Slow. Quiet. But good.

#farmlife #horselover #booklover

2 views0 comments
bottom of page