Daily Archives: March 20, 2018

Taking ownership of words

A block or so away from the Huron Cemetery sits the best bookstore in Kansas City Metro area.   Prosperos.   If you click the link below you can access a lot of photos to explain why it’s the best bookstore hereabouts.

https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/prosperos-books-kansas-city

https://www.yelp.com/biz/prosperos-books-kansas-city

Run by nice folks…. the sort of place that helps local artists and writers, has local musicians and even the occasional poetry reading.

But guess what!    They published a sticker that proclaimed the store to be the Kansas City Indigenous Bookstore.     And it stirred up a storm of outrage even among the writers and artists who’ve benefited from the store’s support.

The word, ‘indigenous’, which is one anyone can claim if they’re natural, if they’re born here, if they can’t be accused of being from somewhere else they could be sent back to, the word, ‘indigenous’ I was going to say, is now the personal property of a group of people who had ancestors somewhere on the continent before my own ancestors got here a couple of hundred years ago.

And if a bookstore has the brass to call itself ‘natural’, a ‘native bookstore’ of KC, it’s surprising how many people who had ancestors out, say, in Arizona or New Mexico feel themselves being robbed of the meaning of the word.    And are supported by various frizzly headed folks with ancestors more recently arrived [though many probably have no idea when, nor from where ] ….

So, if you dislike seeing this sort of bullying by grabsters of the English language, if you preferred it back when people couldn’t snag a word to hold to their chests and warn off all competition for its use, next time you are in KC, visit Prosperos Book Store.

Go there and buy a book to show how damned independent and ambivalent you are about the building of barbed wire fences around words and a willingness to forsake friends,  to fail to remember favors, to go into righteous battle should anyone trespass on the use of someone else s word.

Old Jules

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Huron Indian Cemetery, downtown Kansas City

I’ll readily confess my lack of enthusiasm when Jeanne, miles off in Missouri during one of our motor adventures of exploration, suggested we head in to Kansas City.    We’d had an interesting time, visited a 19th century school-church-cemetery, and Watkins Wool Mill museum.   We’d pulled into the urban hell surrounding the Jesse James Museum and farm, noted the $8 plus change fee for entry, and retreated as befits citizens who donealready seen and heard the endless yarns of the James-Younger gang.

But, there’s a nice book store, Prospero’s, we could visit if we wished, I figured.   And a Vietnamese restaurant I hungered for during the weeks I was across the street in the KU Hospital for the Not-Necessarily-Sane a few months ago as a consequence of a condition appropriately labelled, Guillam Beret Syndrome or something of that nature.

But Jeanne had cemeteries in mind.   Particularly the Huron Indian Cemetery sitting on prime development soil occupying an acre or so between the KC Police HQ and the KC Library.

 

Helena Conley – Floating Voice – Wyandotte National Burying Ground
“Cursed be the villain that molest their grave”
Eliza Burton Conley – departed this life May 28, 1946 – Attorney at Law – Only woman ever
admitted to the United States Supreme Court
http://www.kansastravel.org/kansascitykansas/huronindiancemetery.htm

Turns out there are somewhere between 700 and 1000 graves in that acre of ground.    It’s been fought over by two branches of the tribe, one wishing to sell for development, or for a casino, the other wanting to hold it sacred as a burial ground.    Salivating developers spent nearly a century hoping if it were vandalized enough, if enough stones were lost, broken, stolen, they could build their offices, bars, porn shops, or fast food joints where those 1000 bodies lie.

200 here, 500 over there, 700 that way, the acre is Grand Central Station of the dead. http://www.kansastravel.org/kansascitykansas/huronindiancemetery.htm

In service to their country
The William E. Connelley Survey of 1895-1896 indicates a large grave in
this area. By tradition, Union dead were buried in this part of the Huron Indian
Cemetery following the Battle of Westport, October 21-23, 1864. http://www.kansastravel.org/kansascitykansas/huronindiancemetery.htm

http://www.kansastrave
History of Wyandot
l.org/kansascitykansas/huronindiancemetery.htm

We didn’t go to Prospero’s, but we did have some great Vietnamese.    And we found a place I plan to return to sometime and sprinkle some tobacco around that acre of dead folks, just in case it matters.

But hell, that’s just me.

Old Jules

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