April 2012 Archives

Injustice: When Native Becomes Foreign

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This week, "Crossing the Globe" will focus on a topic quite different from its typical content: the Native American. As to be expected, many readers may stop and think, "Wait a minute- Native Americans? They aren't foreign!" My response is simple. The Native American who continues to live the traditional lifestyle of his/her people, has become so ostracized that they may as well be foreign. The people who are the original inhabitants of the United States have not only had their lands taken away, but many have been robbed of their culture. Today, descendants of Europeans- the real foreigners, if you think about it- make up the majority of America and are now considered "the norm."

However, to avoid turning this blog into a space for ranting and personal opinions, I seek to inform readers of an important event occurring on the IUP campus. Multicultural student organization Mosaic, which seeks to spread a message of equality among students, will host an event for "Stand Against Racism." Stand Against Racism is a national movement created by YWCA, a 154 year-old organization for American women.

Mosaic's event, to be held on Friday, April 27, at 2:30 p.m., involves a human chain which is set to encircle the Oak Grove. After the chain, Navajo Jean Whitehorse will take center stage at the HUB Susquehanna Room. Whitehorse has been described by the Navajo Times as a storyteller; on April 27, she will take on the role of activist. The event page describes her upcoming presentation as touching upon "issues such as boarding schools, sterilization, relocation and the American Indian Movement."

whitehorese.jpg(Navajo Jean Whitehorse, Courtesy of Censored News Blog)

Whitehorse's people have certainly received the short end of the stick, beginning with the 1864 deportation of the Navajo from their land. Now referred to as the "Long Walk," it claimed the lives of roughly 200 Navajo. In the years since the "Long Walk," the United States government has forced the Navajo into boarding schools where they suffered from abusive "teachers." Slowly, but surely, the Navajo were conditioned to become "normal," whitened, American citizens.

Whitehorse herself has had experience in these boarding schools and became heavily involved in the American Indian Movement (AIM), which seeks to address and fix issues affecting the Native American community.

For those interested in Jean Whitehorse's presentation, below is a link to a YouTube-hosted video featuring an earlier speech from the activist.


Finally, my question to any and all readers of "Crossing the Globe" is, do you think Native Americans continue to be treated unjustly?

Tibetan Lama Kathy Wesley Visits IUP

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The Indiana County Karma Thegsum Choling (KTC), a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center located on Philadelphia Street, and IUP organization Friends of Himalayan Buddhism hosted a series of talks with Lama Kathy Wesley. Wesley was a student of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, who is a highly-regarded Buddhism instructor.

Wesley is a native of Columbus, Ohio, and has been practicing Tibetan Buddhism since the late 1970s. Her recent visit to IUP marks her third.

Beginning on Friday, April 20, Wesley delivered a speech in the HUB Monongahela Room regarding the effects of devoting oneself to one's community, the planet and themselves. The following day, Wesley presented a second talk followed by a Life Release ceremony.

Life Release is a practice central to Buddhism, which involves saving animals that are set to be killed. During Wesley's presentation, she offered Indiana residents to bring their pets in order to receive a blessing.

After a third set of speeches on Sunday, Wesley conducted a brief meditation session before concluding her visit with a prayer ceremony for Earth Day.

The Indiana KTC's presentation of Lama Kathy Wesley coincided with a series of Tibetan Buddhism Earth Day ceremonies. The center plans to host Wesley's instructor, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, next fall. Until then, the center offers a series of meditation sessions for anyone interested in the practice.

(Screenshot of Indiana County KTC's Meditation Fall 2011 Meditation Schedule; Courtesy of Indiana County KTC website)

Slideshow Featuring Images From Wesley's Visit, Informational Photos

Hey IUP Students! Need to Escape for a Day?

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The IUP Committee for the Study of Culture and Religion (CSCR) will sponsor a trip to Pittsburgh's Hindu Jain Temple at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 22. 

(Hindu Jain Temple of Pittsburgh, courtesy of PittsburghIndia.com)

According to the the Hindu Jain Temple website, the temple "provides a place for Hindus and Jains to worship while providing religious, humanitarian, cultural and educational resources to our members."

Hinduism and Jainism are both religions hailing from India that promote peace. While Jainism preaches non-violence against any and all creatures, it's practiced much less than Hinduism. The latter religion happens to be the main religion throughout the entire country of India, and has a multitude of different traditions. Hinduism is polytheistic, meaning that more than one deity (god) is worshiped. Neither religions have a single founder, and Jainism is taught to have always existed.

The Hindu Jain Temple of Pittsburgh opened in September 1990 and, since, has frequently played host to many different organizations. The temple offers an opportunity for non-Hindu/Jain visitors to gain a sense of understanding as to what the religions teach.

The CSCR's trip not only includes a visit to this beautiful place of worship, but, according to the event website, it also includes lunch at "a local Indian restaurant" before the group embarks on a trip to Monroeville's Sri Venkateswara Temple.

CSCR will meet at the HUB at 9 a.m. and return between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

A Mid-August Lunch in Mid-April

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mid august lunch.jpg

The Office of International Education at IUP will continue its Foreign Film and Music Series by screening Italian film Mid-August Lunch on Sunday, April 15, at 5:30 p.m. in Sprowls Hall's McVitty Auditorium. The film will follow in the footsteps of previous films in this series and will be shown in its original Italian language accompanied by English subtitles.

Writer/director Gianni Di Gregorio stars in this quirky tale of an Italian slacker who lives with his elderly mother. In the story, Di Gregorio's character (also named Gianni) has failed to pay the rent on the run-down apartment he shares with his mother. Gianni is hit with a stroke of good luck when, during Italy's largest summer celebration, the Ferragosto, his building manager offers to forgive Gianni's debt. In return, Gianni must care for the manager's mother.

The Ferragosto is, quite literally, a Catholic holiday marking the Virgin Mary's entry into heaven. The festival is celebrated in over a dozen countries, where it's observed as a public holiday. The Ferragosto is celebrated every August 15, hence the film's title.

Upon the release of "Mid-August Lunch" in 2009, critic Philip French of British publication The Guardian, hailed the film as a "delightful and witty homage to older people." While the film may not have garnered any Academy Award nominations, it has received a number of awards from various film festivals. "Mid-August Lunch" is a treat, however, because it provides an opportunity for audiences to take a respite from everyday life to partake in a light-hearted cinematic experience.

Meditation Invasion

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Each semester, while students are bombarded by stressful schoolwork and difficult classes, the Ascension Meditation and Yoga Association at IUP (AMYA) holds a weekly meditation/yoga session.

Meditation is individually-based and has been practiced for thousands of years. Perceived widely as a practice linked to religion, meditation has a place in nearly every religion still practiced today. Meditation acts as a personal stress-reliever and teaches people to broaden their mental capacity. 

Yoga, on the other hand, is rooted in India and, therefore, is mostly associated with eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Yoga combines the capabilities of a person's physicality, mentality and spirituality, with a goal of reaching immaculate spiritual balance. Yoga sometimes involves practitioners contorting themselves into difficult positions for long periods of time; however, long-term practitioners typically receive health benefits such as increased flexibility, better posture and greater strength.

At no cost, AMYA invites IUP students to improve their overall well-being by joining the group in the HUB Susquehanna Room, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for a spiritually-beneficial session.

On April 11, the group gathered together to practice four distinct forms of yoga. According to the The IUP Student Organizations news page, attendees engaged in roughly 10 minutes' worth of laughter yoga, which involves exactly what it insinuates. Laughter yoga requires practitioners to laugh for, literally, no reason while incorporating pranayama, the yogic art of controlling your breathing.

Next, the group did a physical/hatha yoga exercise, which seeks to join the mind and body through exercises geared toward improving posture.

"I used to go to hatha yoga classes and they were really good," Lopa Chatterjee (junior, biochemistry major at New Jersey's Rutgers University) said. "Positions varied from easy, intermediate, to expert. It was a nice workout and it improved my posture."

(Woman performing hatha yoga; courtesy of ABC-of-Yoga.com)

Following the physical yoga, AMYA led the group in a five-minute pranayama exercise which promotes the control of breathing. The session concluded with meditation/dhyana yoga, which requires practitioners to focus on a solitary object and successfully enter a tranquil state.

AMYA's decision to hold weekly yoga sessions is quite possibly one of the best student-run events to occur on IUP's campus- but why is yoga such an important practice? The answer is quite simple. The western world, largely, seems to be influenced minutely by eastern countries. One of the best exports the east could have given the west, therefore, is a simple method of achieving tranquility amidst the stress constantly placed upon most western nations. It's a common fact that many Americans tend to drown themselves in their careers and other work; for this reason, yoga remains an imperative and highly useful tool that continues to edge its way into the west.

I'm in the Mood for... Hungarian Food?

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If this doesn't get your mouth watering, nothing will.

The Department of Hospitality Management at IUP will host an event called "21 Magyar: A Hungarian Bistro" on Thursday, April 5, at The Allenwood.

The Allenwood is a restaurant, frequently student-run, located on the lower level of Ackerman on the IUP campus. Beginning at 11:45 a.m. and concluding at 1 p.m., guests will be able to dine on an all-inclusive Hungarian meal for no more than $6.95. Reservations and take-out orders can be placed by calling 724-357-2626.

Magyar, a term which refers to the people of Hungary; however, in The Allenwood's terms, it's a three-course meal. The meal commences with a cucumber salad, seasoned with spices and vinegar, before the main entree of chicken paprikash is served.

4023311760_6a0ccdaf6d.jpg(Courtesy of Hummingbird Appetite)

Chicken paprikash is a traditional Hungarian dish that provides diners with an enticing blend of paprika, sour cream and other ingredients to give the chicken a bit of a spicy kick. The Allenwood plans to serve this dish with a side of potato latkes (cakes of fried potatoes) and rolls of Hungarian cinnamon bread.

To conclude the Hungarian feast, The Allenwood will feature dessert choices of either a chocolate-walnut torte or apple-filled palacsinta; the latter of which is described by the event page as "fresh apple pie filling wrapped in a delicate crepe."

palacsinta.jpg(Courtesy of Cafe Liz)

In terms of current events, Hungary appears to be a fairly stable country. When searching Google News for articles regarding the eastern European nation, results included fairly light-hearted stories. The top articles mainly discussed the recent resignation of a university president due to plagiarism accusations, as well as the Hungarian citizens' push to get their president to step down from his duties.

The country as a whole, however, is one of stable civility- a peaceful nation that, based on the cuisine featured in the aforementioned event, has a knack for making delectable food.

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This page is an archive of entries from April 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2012 is the previous archive.

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