Chillaxin’ in California

by Denise Minor

When people learn that I teach Spanish linguistics, there is often an automatic assumption that I am a strict grammarian. They picture me drilling students on the correct verb conjugations and becoming exasperated with their lack of comprehension of the difference between subject pronouns and indirect object pronouns. Sometimes, just to make conversation and show their commiseration, they complain about the way kids these days talk and their declining knowledge about proper language use.

In that moment I often have to weigh whether or not to reveal the truth. I have to decide whether it is worth telling them that I actually love to listen to the way kids these days talk and that I care very little about proper language use in conversation. I DO care about teaching them “proper” language for academic writing and classroom presentations. Without mastery in those formal writing and speaking skills, many professions will be closed to them.

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Excavations Disturb Sacred Maidu Land

Maidu_400_339

photo by Jennifer MacDonald

Wayne Nine, a member of the Konkow Valley Band of Maidu, analyzes stone tools that were used by Native peoples, possibly thousands of years ago, that were uncovered recently at an Oroville dig site. 

by Jennifer MacDonald
The hike to the archeological dig site is long, dusty and steep.

Scaling down the embankment on this winter afternoon, we see a dozen scientists hard at work hundreds of feet below, digging at what was once a thriving Native American village. The site is usually under the water of Lake Oroville, but the water level drops at this time of year, helping to uncover artifacts from a civilization lost long ago.

Anthropologists and archaeologists use shovels to sculpt deep but perfectly rectangular holes. Then they screen the dirt looking for artifacts. Arrowheads and stone tools lie just below the ground’s surface. The items they find are placed in plastic bags, tagged and shipped away.

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Cabral Spared Prison

by Leslie Layton

Reynaldo “Reny” Cabral was placed on probation Friday for an assault on his girlfriend that landed him in the Glenn County Jail – and ultimately, in a wheelchair.

Cabral, a 24-year-old Orland man who suffered a spinal-cord injury at the jail and is now a quadriplegic, was sentenced to four years probation and ordered to attend a class for batterers. The sentencing gave some closure to Cabral’s frightening 16-month journey in the Glenn County criminal-justice system.

“I’m very excited,” Cabral said late Friday. “It all turned out well and my family is relieved.”

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Maidu leader seeks stronger tribe Patsy Seek fights for culture, unity

Patsy Seek and teepee

photo by Jennifer MacDonald

Konkow Maidu leader Patsy Seek shows one of the traditional huts she’s built out of tree bark along the Feather River in Oroville.

by Jennifer MacDonald

Patsy Seek combed the banks of Northern California’s Feather River, scoured the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and made house calls in Oroville searching for Native American children skipping school.

“I’d drag ’em out of bed,” she says. “They’d hide in the mountains and I’d go find them.”

Seek could relate to the troubled students. Herself a Maidu woman, Seek dropped out of high school during her first year.

In Oroville and surrounding Butte County, the Native American population is mostly Maidu. The Maidu were among the largest of the California tribes, occupying large parts of Northern and Central California before white settlers came. 

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Cabral enfrentará juicio por cargos criminales

Reny and Torrie at Enloe Rehabilitation Center

por Leslie Layton

Temprano una mañana de invierno, en una celda de aislamiento de la cárcel del condado de Glenn, Reynaldo “Reny” Cabral se puso en posición de velocista, una posición que había tomado frecuentemente cuando jugaba para el equipo de fútbol americano de la escuela preparatoria de Orland. Luego se abalanzó, chocando su cabeza contra una capa de hule que cubre la pared de la llamada “celda de seguridad” en la cárcel.

Ahora recuerda el sentimiento de sorpresa que tuvo mientras estaba tirado en el piso de la celda al darse cuenta que estaba paralizado. En un esfuerzo desesperado de liberarse de su prisión — No solamente de la celda de 5 por 8 pies, pero además de la prisión creada por sus alucinaciones y su temor de ser nuevamente lastimado por los policías que ya habían usado contra él dardos “Taser” — había roto su cuello.

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