Pagan Community Notes: Week of February 15, 2021

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Legal Gavel – Image credit: Blogtrepreneur – WikiCommons

PHOENIX, Ariz. – A new ruling has been issued in the ongoing battle by members of the Apache tribe to preserve the sacred land of Chi’chil Bildagoteel.

Last Friday, Judge Steven P. Logan of the U. S. District Court for the District of Arizona, Ninth Circuit of Appeals, denied one of the legal cases brought by the group Apache Stronghold in an attempt to halt the land swap of Chi’chil Bildagoteel (Oak Flat) to Rio Tinto and Resolution Copper Mining.

While acknowledging the proposed mine would completely destroy the site sacred to the Western Apache and several other tribes in the region, Judge Logan ruled the suit brought before the court did not have legal standing in part because it represented only individual tribal members and not a tribal government.

Part of the basis of the case argued was that the proposed land swap violated the 1852 Treaty with the Apache, and would violate the First Amendment religious liberty, in addition to the government committing a breach of trust with the tribe and denying them due process rights by rushing through approval.

Judge Logan wrote in his decision clarifying the point, “Here it is immaterial that Apache Stronghold members are direct descendants of the signatories to the 1852 Treaty because the Treaty only grants tribal rights, not individual rights. Although the Plaintiff argues the Apache people were not a ‘tribe’ when the Treaty was signed, it is clear from the plain language of the Treaty that the signors bound the Western Apache people as a whole. The Treaty consistently refers to the Apaches as a ‘nation or tribe’ in the Treaty. In the preamble, the Treaty provides that the individual Apache signatories were ‘acting on the part of the Apache Nation of Indians.'”

“Stated differently, Plaintiff has not shown the treaty–or any other source of law–creates an individual trust duty the United States breached by authorizing the land exchange. The individual Western Apache members therefore lack standing to assert a breach of trust.”

On the matter of violating the First Amendment rights of tribal members, the court’s ruling cited previous rulings by the Supreme Court as they pertain to similar cases under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and Free Exercise Clause and that the U.S. District Court must abide by those rulings. 

With this case settled, there are no more legal barriers to prevent the transfer of the Chi’chil Bildagoteel to Rio Tinto subsidiary, Resolution Copper Mining.  There is another case pending on the question of mining that will continue to move forward

There are also other challenges facing the mining project. The independent Advisory Council on Historic Preservation issued the following statement as part of a press release on the mining operation last week:

On February 11, 2021, after consideration and consultation with ACHP leadership, the ACHP notified the USFS of its decision to terminate consultation. Pursuant to its responsibilities under the NHPA and in accordance with its regulations, the ACHP will now move to develop its final advisory comments on this undertaking and proposed resolution of adverse effects on historic properties, which will be provided to the Secretary of Agriculture. As part of this process, the ACHP will seek the comments of the USDA, TNF, all consulting parties, and the views of the public. Upon receipt of the ACHP’s comments, the Secretary must respond to them prior to reaching a final decision on the undertaking.

Additionally, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced legislation in 2019 that would reverse the land swap. With more public attention being focused on the deal, it is possible that the proposed bills may now get more traction than previously.

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HARLEM, New York – Artist Kendrick Daye has designed a new, Queer Black Tarot that is in the process of being produced. Daye characterizes his deck as “imagining worlds where Black queer people are not just living–we’re thriving.”

In an interview with PRIDE Daye said, “Black queer people are forced to play catch-up in a sense to get truer reflections of ourselves in media form. I feel like not seeing yourself represented definitely plays a role in your idea of self-worth.”

Daye cited his motivation for creating the deck were due to the lack of choices when he began looking for a new deck for himself, “The choices I saw were either overwhelmingly white or if they were Black-themed, they geared towards cis people or were worse, made by white people, which I found strange.”

The artwork featured in Daye’s deck is collage work and focuses on inclusivity, and also the diversity found within the Black queer community. He said, “I wanted to make sure every Black queer person who picked up this deck could see themselves reflected at some point in the artwork. I was very aware of this throughout the casting process, but I never wanted to come across as tokenizing people. But I did want and look to include as many body types, gender expressions, sexual orientations, ages, and skin tones as possible that could reflect the widest range of our beauty as Black queer people.”

The estimated released date is July 2021 for those who have signed on as funders.

In other news:

  • Earlier this month the government of the Netherlands established guidelines designed to return artifacts acquired during the colonization of indigenous lands be returned to their land of origin. A report compiled by an advisory committee composed of experts from several museums last October that outlined a process for “recognition that an injustice was done to the local populations of former colonial territories when cultural objects were taken against their will,” with recommendations for those artifacts be returned to the former colonies. The Dutch government is developing a committee to help institutions determine whether artifacts were obtained involuntarily and whether restitution should be considered. In a statement issued the government makes clear its intent,“If it can be established that an object was indeed stolen from a former Dutch colony, it will be returned unconditionally. Cultural heritage objects that were stolen from a former colony of another country, or which are of particular cultural, historic, or religious significance to a country, may also be eligible for return.”
  • According to an article published by Modern Ghana, the World Animal Protection organization is concerned over the trafficking of African Grey Parrot bodies and body parts for magical purposes as found in ‘fetish’ voodoo markets in Togo, West Africa. Not only are the birds endangered, but there is also concern over the spread of zoonotic diseases. Wildlife Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection Africa, Edith Kabesiime said in a statement, “The dead parrots at this market would have experienced unthinkable cruelty, they are suffering and placing our health at risk. These highly intelligent, sociable birds that fly many miles each day and can sometimes live so long that they outlive their owners, are cruelly trapped, brutally handled, and slaughtered for their derivatives for unproven traditional medicines. What’s worse, is that untreated bird carcasses such as these, pose a serious health risk, as birds can carry numerous diseases. We must remember the lessons of the past and consider that COVID-19, SARS, Ebola, bird flu, swine flu, and many other zoonotic diseases all originated from animal exploitation, so this is a risky business.”
  • British musician and actor, Olly Alexander recently revealed in an interview that he identifies as a Wiccan, and was a practicing Witch long before he identified as gay. Alexander stars in the U.K. TV series, “It’s a Sin” that follows a group of friends through the 1980s AIDs crisis, and performs with the pop band Years & Years. Prior to his entertainment career, Alexander worked in a shop that sold magical supplies and books, saying the décor in his flat reflected his time working at the store and that he owns quite a few tarot decks.

Crossings of the Veil

[courtesy Cherry Hill Seminary]

Dr. Wendy Griffin (1941 – 2021)

Griffin’s list of accomplishments and the impact she had on the Pagan community are long and varied. She was most recently retired in 2018 from serving as the first permanent Academic Dean for Cherry Hill Seminary.

Prior to her position as Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary (CHS), Griffin served as Chair of the Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University (CSU), Long Beach, where she taught for 26 years. During her time at CSU, she was presented with the award for Excellence in Teaching from the Friends of Women’s Studies in 1988, and from the College of Liberal Arts in 1993.

The CHS Votaries alumni group had recently created the Wendy Griffin Professor of the Year award, which will be presented for the first time on February 27 in a public virtual ceremony.

Griffin was the co-editor with Chas Clifton of the first academic series in Pagan studies, by AltaMira Press, and the founding co-chair with Michael York of the Contemporary Pagan Studies Group for the American Academy of Religion.

Over her long career, Griffin was considered a pioneer in the study of Goddess Spirituality and Wicca and published numerous academic articles on Pagan women’s groups and edited Daughters of the Goddess: Studies of Healing, Identity and Empowerment, a 13-essay survey of contemporary Feminist Witchcraft and Goddess Spirituality by British and American writers. She was also an active member of the American Academy of Religion and served on the editorial board of The Pomegranate: the International Journal of Pagan Studies.

Griffin spent her pre-academic years traveling through much of Europe and performing in a variety of jobs that ranged from folk singer to diamond courier before finally returning to the U.S. and embarking on her academic career.

Her many friends and colleagues remember her as being an eloquent and passionate scholar, as having a bright and indomitable spirit, as well as an incredible force and figure within the Pagan Community. CHS has a set up a tribute page for Griffin that includes a number of remembrances that are a testament to a life well-lived and well-loved.

What is remembered, Lives!

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via Legacy

Stuart R. Kaplan (1932 – 2021)

Kaplan passed away on February 9 and leaves a legacy that has helped shaped the Pagan community when it comes to divinatory tools. Kaplan after first bringing a sample deck back with him from the Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany in 1968, the Swiss 1JJ Tarot and would ultimately end up being responsible for placing the Rider-Waite deck in the hands of many in the U.S.

His fascination with the tarot would result in the founding of U.S. Games, Inc., which goes on to become one the most distinguished publishers of tarot and oracle decks in the world.

Kaplan also wrote The Encyclopedia of the Tarot (Volume I-IV) which describes and illustrates more than 1,000 different Tarot decks from over the last 600 years and is considered one of the most extensive bodies of work on the Tarot. He was also committed to making sure the story of Pamela Coleman Smith, the creator of the artwork of the Rider-Waite deck would be told.

Kaplan was passionate in his interest in the tarot and is largely responsible for many of the decks that are widely recognized and used within the Pagan community, and classics like The Aquarian Tarot, The Sacred Rose Tarot, The Native American Tarot, and Tarot of the Cat People, not to mention the many other newer other decks U.S. Games, Inc. continues to develop and offer to the community.

Kaplan’s family and friends suggest the best way to honor his memory is to “follow your passion and never quit, and please do something kind for someone else.”

What is remembered, Lives!


Positively Noteworthy

This video of Emma Stevens singing The Beatles’ song, “Blackbird” in her native tongue of Mi’kmaq (Micmac) is absolutely spellbinding. The video was recorded and published in 2019 by students at Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni, Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, in celebration of the United Nations observance of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

 

 

Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte

Deck: Modern Witch Tarot Deck by Lisa Sterle, published by Sterling Ethos, Sterling Publishing Co, Inc.

Card: Six (6) of Pentacles

The week ahead is likely to focus on matters of finance and money, and possibly a bit of good fortune. It is also a good time to examine and reevaluate attitudes connected to money and spending. Generosity is highlighted, but with the caveat of avoiding bad spending habits, and not promoting behaviors that are unhealthy.

 

Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.