My new book

“The Eastons: Five Generations of Human Rights Activism, 1748-1935”

 

This is a non-fiction, biographical book about some of my direct ancestors and their relatives who stood up for justice and equality and against racism and oppression, between the years of 1748 and 1935. The topics include: Indigenous land rights struggles; the original spirit and egalitarian goals of the American revolution (before that movement was co-opted and sabotaged by the plantation aristocrats and capitalists); the anti-slavery movement; race theory and racial identities; and the ever-present American anti-racism and equality movements. Most of the action in these stories took place in southeastern Massachusetts, our Wampanoag homelands, but also in other New England locations, and in Texas, New Orleans, and California. Many of these complex identity people of color were abolitionists, before the Civil War. This is some very important, foundational, working class, intersecting American history, with many stories that never get told in our schools but should, and hopefully now will. Did you know that the earliest known sit-in protests in American history were against racially segregated seating in a couple of different Massachusetts churches? Those protests were led by James and Sarah Easton. Did you know that nearly half of the Revolutionary War soldiers in Massachusetts were people of color–indigenous American, indigenous African-descended and mixed? Did you know that during the early, post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow era, the Republican Party in Texas was the progressive, equality-advocating party of the people, in which many of the leaders of that party were people of color, and the Democrats there were largely white supremacists who terrorized and persecuted those Texas Republicans? Those are just a few of the many stories and facts that you will find in this book. Here is a brief description of the six chapters of the book and some of its other contents:

Chapter One, The Origins of the Easton Family and Their Activist Tradition

      This chapter includes the early history of African/Native American relations in       southeastern Massachusetts, origins of the Easton family, some history of Native American resistance to colonialist land-stealing, focused on the Wampanoag and Massachuset people of the Titticut Indian Reservation, and the Easton family’s role in that struggle.

Chapter Two, James Easton: Living the Ideals of the American Revolution

      This chapter covers the early and middle life of James Easton, including his service in the American Revolution, the several protests that he and his wife, Sarah, led against segregated seating in two churches, between 1789 and 1826, and his ascending regional reputation as a skilled blacksmith and producer of iron implements.

Chapter Three, James Easton & Sons: the business, the school, and their opposition

      This chapter details the Easton family’s struggle against racist opposition to their increasing success in the iron implements business, and to their founding of one of the earliest vo-tech type of trade schools in America, founded specifically for young men of color, to address the lack of opportunity for apprenticeships in the skilled trades.

Chapter Four, Hosea Easton: Forgotten Abolitionist “Giant”

        This biographical chapter covers the life and contributions of the best-known Easton family member, the Rev. Hosea Easton—abolitionist, uplift activist, founding member, along with David Walker and others of the Massachusetts General Colored Association, co-founder of the National Convention of Free People of Color, frequent contributor to The Liberator, author of other publications, and frequent public speaker.

Chapter Five, Benjamin F. Roberts and the Battle for School Integration and Equality in Nineteenth Century Boston

          This chapter covers the life of Benjamin F. Roberts, a grandson of James and Sarah Easton, best known as the initiator of the Roberts v. City of Boston (1849) Massachusetts Supreme Court school integration case, but also a significant activist on several other fronts. Benjamin Roberts was a long time self-employed printer who employed and apprenticed many young men of color over the course of his career, contributed essays to The Liberator, published two of his own newspapers (the Anti-Slavery Herald and the Self-Elevator) and helped organize and publicize many activist meetings, mostly on school integration.

Chapter Six, William Edgar Easton: Still Fighting the Unfinished Revolution

      This chapter provides the first chapter-length scholarly biography of a man who was a very well-known and highly respected civil rights activist in his day and for decades afterward. William Easton was the great-grandson of James Easton’s brother, Moses Easton, who left Massachusetts in his early twenties to commit his life to “racial uplift”work—first as a teacher, then a newspaper editor, playwright and Republican Party leader in post-Reconstruction Texas, and later, after fleeing Texas for his life, as a writer and political activist in California.

 

The Appendix of the book includes a transcription of the Petition of Wampanoag sachem and preacher, John Simon of Titticut, for protection from the Massachusetts government against land stealers; a detailed list of Wampanoag and Massachuset families and individuals residing at Titticut and Assawompset who sold land, from 1732 to 1786, with Plymouth County land deed file numbers; an impressive list of Easton family property confiscated by the Bridgewater sheriff in 1819, for which the family successfully appealed for restitution in the Plymouth County court; a reproduction of a published account, written by abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, describing some of the details of the Easton family church seating protests; and a few other interesting items.

I also include a section in the book, “Some Notes on Research Methods, Sources, and Interpretation,” in which I provide some useful advice on doing biographical research on historically marginalized and omitted people of color in America.

The price of this paperback book is $24.00 plus a shipping cost of just enough to partially cover my mailing costs, which I will estimate right now to be an average of $4.00 per book. If that shipping charge changes after I have had a little more experience with sending these books to various places for various postal charges, I will update any revisions on this page. I will do my best to make this book affordable to as many people as possible, while recovering the initial cost of self-publishing. Purchasers can pay by credit card, using Venmo, @Barbara-Price-38, or by mailing a check to me at:

George Price

11486 MT Hwy 200

Dixon, MT 59831

Your questions and thoughts can be left in the comments below, and I can also be reached by email at, george.price@mso.umt.edu

Easton book back cover, smaller

 

Buffalo, Llama, Eagle, Condor

Buffalo, Llama, Eagle, Condor

The harvest is in now, so it is time to give something back to the Mother of our corn and all the other gifts of Life. We were blessed this year to be able to trade with a new friend for Llama manure, as well as with our old friend for the Buffalo manure that we have been using for many years. As I was shoveling it into the wheel barrel today, I was reminded of the joining of the peoples of the Eagle and the Condor, of Northern Turtle Island and Southern Turtle Island, which includes the people of the Buffalo and of the Llama. What future gifts can we bring to each other and to our greatly endangered world? What will our story become?

Buffalo (American Bison) manure
Llama manure
mixed together

Blog improvement announcement

I just added a new page to this blog’s menu, a table of contents. Right now, it is just a list of titles and dates in chronological order, but I will add descriptive comments to each item, soon. You can just click on the title in the table of contents and it will take you right to the article!

As of 1-13-19, I just upgraded my account with WordPress to remove all advertising from my blog. I basically started paying them an annual fee for what I have been getting for free for the last six years, so that you, the reader can have one more place to go to on the internet where you will NOT be bombarded with disgusting and invasive, predatory capitalist advertising. If you ever see any advertising on this blog, please let me know and I will see to it that WordPress treats us right. So far, they’ve been great.

Who is the “Baby?”

(I posted the following on my Facebook page in early October, 2018. It seemed to resonate with many people, so I decided to post it here, too. I am transitioning toward spending more time with the blog and less time on Facebook, even though my FB posts seem to reach more people. I think that can change, and the blog will attract more people who want to engage these topics in more depth.)

Who is the “Baby?”

I attended a workshop on alternative eco-friendly communities at the Permaculture Convergence in Hot Springs a couple of weeks ago and the discussion moved around sustainable, Earth-friendly alternatives in farming and building. I suggested that we add alternative, sustainable economics and currencies, or natural economics without currency, to the discussion. I then went on to say that, rather than seeking to raise funding for green projects like these from wealthy corporate agents of the current economic system that is destroying life on Earth, we should work towards shutting that system down while we simultaneously create new, local, Earth-centered economic systems and cultures.

Soon, one of the other participants was evidently agitated by my suggestions and cried out that we should “not throw out the baby with the bathwater,” and then explained that we still need money and charitable funding from corporations for our green ventures at this point in time, implying that at some unknown point in the future we would somehow become able and willing to magically wean ourselves from dependency on corporate grants.

As often happens, I was unable to formulate an adequate “comeback” or useful response at that moment, but thought of something later, after the conversation was long past. My thought was, who is this precious “baby” that we must cling to and protect, without question, no matter what the consequences may be? The toxic, life-destroying, military/industrial capitalist system? Or is the ancient “baby” that we really must protect and serve our only source of healthy life—Mama Earth/Water’s interconnected natural systems? It can’t be both, because one will ultimately destroy the other.

baby and bathwater

Sources for Healthy, Non-GMO, Heirloom, Organic and Indigenous Seeds

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It is that time of year again, and many people are wondering where to go to get seeds that they can be sure are healthy and do not support toxic, industrial chemical agriculture, especially the GMO companies like Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont and Bayer. Those companies have secretly bought out most of the popular seed companies that put their seeds in the major retail outlets, without changing those companies names, while replacing those old companies’ seeds with their own patented, toxic, pesticide and herbicide-compatible, genetically modified frankenseeds. I do not want to focus on them right now, since this is really a post about where to find the natural, healthy alternatives, but here is one good, reliable link to information on the above:   https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/sites/default/files/Monsanto%20Seed%20Subsidiaries%20FS%20June%202014.pdf   (this is a downloadable pdf document) I will post a couple more links to sources at the bottom of this post.

Healthy and Indigenous, Organic, Non-GMO, Heirloom Seed Sources

(For the list of Indigenous-only seed companies , scroll down a ways.)

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.

We really like this company and they have the best catalogue, in which they give credit to individuals, by name, for many of their sources for their seeds, especially Indigenous people. Lots of other good general background information on the seeds and their fruits, too.
2278 Baker Creek Road
Mansfield, MO 65704 non-GMO Safe Seed Pledge http://www.rareseeds.com/

Seed Savers Exchange (We have bought heirloom seeds from these people for years.)

http://www.seedsavers.org/

FEDCO Seeds      An organic and non-GMO seed co-op

https://www.fedcoseeds.com/

The Populuxe Seed Bank – Acquires, grows out, and redistributes heirloom and open-pollinated varieties to gardeners around the world; Documents seed histories to preserve the stories associated with the variety; Helps to educate other private growers on how they can save their own seeds, and start their own seed bank to help preserve biodiversity.    http://theseedbank.net/

Hudson Valley Seed Library (http://www.seedlibrary.org/) – We offer heirloom and open-pollinated seeds for vegetable, flower, and herb varieties. We have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, and we adhere to Vandana Shiva’s Declaration of Seed Freedom. As of May 2013, we are both a Certified Organic farm and a Certified Organic Handler (both by NOFA-NY LLC).

Eden Brothers
500 non-GMO veggie & herb varieties http://www.edenbrothers.com/

Garden Harvest Supply
2952W 500S
Berne, IN 46711

all of our herb and vegetable seeds for sale are certified organic and are non-GMO http://www.gardenharvestsupply.com/

Renee’s Garden
6060 Graham Hill Rd.
Felton, CA 95018 organic, Safe Seed non-GMO pledge http://www.reneesgarden.com/about/

The Natural Gardening Company
P.O. Box 750776
Petaluma, CA 94975-0776 organic, Safe Seed non-GMO pledge http://www.naturalgardening.com/

Territorial Seed Company
P.O. Box 158
Cottage Grove, OR 9742 organic and open-pollinated sections of catalog, Safe Seed no-GMO pledge, Salmon-Safe certification http://www.territorialseed.com/about_us

Seeds of Change, “100% certified organic”

http://www.seedsofchange.com/donation.aspx

High Mowing (www.highmowingseeds.com ) – (25 packets/$5, 50/$10, 75/$15, 100/$20)  We have a friend who sells the corn he grows through this company

http://www.highmowingseeds.com/machform/view.php?id=7

Peaceful Valley (www.groworganic.com) – can request amount and specific types of seeds; should also request other tools/supplies they may donate as budget allows.

 

The following organizations work with Indigenous tribal peoples in helping to preserve and propagate their traditional heirloom seeds. Some of them also sell seeds and some of them don’t, so check out their websites to see if they are selling any now.

Upper Midwest Indigenous Seed Keepers Network – contact via http://welrp.org/

Dream of Wild Health – http://dreamofwildhealth.org/contact_information.html , Seed-Saving Our collection of more than 300 varieties of indigenous seeds were gifted to us by Cora Baker, a Potawatomi elder and Keeper of the Seeds.

– Terrylynn Brant at Mohawk Seedkeepers sometimes has traditional seeds to share (Six Nations Reserve): https://www.facebook.com/groups/846377065399516/http://www.mohawkseedkeeper.com/

Skaroreh Katenuaka Seed Bank https://www.facebook.com/SkarorehKatenuakaSeedBank/?fref=ts

– Indigenous Seedkeepers Alliance
https://www.facebook.com/IndigenousSeedKeepersAlliance/

Native and Heirloom Seed Confederation
https://www.facebook.com/groups/NativeAndHeirloomSeedConfederation/

Native Seeds Search     http://www.nativeseeds.org/

Really Cool Old Squash (the Gete Okosomin seeds, ONLY available in Canada from this source)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/112324438936493/

Northern Indigenous Seed Sovereigntynorthern-indigenous-seed-sovereignty@googlegroups.com

 

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For more information on the GMO seed companies to avoid:

http://deeprootsathome.com/4-ways-to-keep-monsanto-out-of-your-home-garden/

http://gardenseeds.org/monsanto-owned-seed-companies/

https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/where-to-buy-non-gmo-seeds

http://realfarmacy.com/printable-list-of-monsanto-owned-food-producers/

 

 

What do farmers do in the Winter?

This short video shows a couple of our Fall/Winter activities. It is our time to give something back to Mama Earth/Water for all the life that she freely gives to us. I will write about other things that we do in the Winter later.

One of our other Winter activities is pulling the kernels off of our dried corn, usually while watching movies or listening to music. Then we put the corn into containers and label them. The popcorn is usually dry enough first, and it is important to put that away before it gets too dry. It needs to have a little of its inner moisture remaining in order to pop. The red corn is ready next (about two to two and a half months after harvest), followed by the blue corn. One of our other Winter activities is grinding the blue corn and the red corn into flour and then putting it into storage containers. Some of it we put into paper bags for the market or for gifts to people, but most of the food we grow we just grow for our own consumption.

Thinking about the corn makes me want to insert here some of the beautiful photos of this year’s red corn that I posted on Facebook last Summer.

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LifeGiving Farm Mid-Summer Update, Part 2

As promised, an update on the older, more diverse part of the farm, that we did not show in part 1. I meant to talk more about the importance of biodiversity in this video, but sometimes I become so immersed in the now that I forget what I had planned to say. I’ll just say a little now. Nature is extremely diverse and everything is interconnected, which is how life is nurtured. There are no monocultures (vast areas of one species only, as in American commercial farming) in the natural world. That’s why monoculture has to be supported with chemical supplements (usually toxic) and why it works against life (including causing cancer), because it is the opposite of natural life. On a practical level, if we grow a wide variety of crops, not only do they increase each other’s health, but if one of them has a hard season, disease, or setback of any kind, you still have many other crops that are doing fine. You will not starve or “go broke.”

Extra bonus: beginning at 16:54 of the video you can see some unexpected bear/dog interaction that broke out during the filming!

Sorry about my memory lapse when I was talking about the many beneficial aspects of the wild plant in our garden called purslane. Here are a few online articles about the many health benefits of purslane that should make up for the lapse.

http://shareably.co/weed-to-harvest-not-kill/?utm_source=ltbl&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=ltbl

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/power-packed-purslane-zmaz05amzsel
http://wimastergardener.org/article/common-purslane-portulaca-oleracea/

 

Farm Update, July 2017, part 1

Well, its about time I posted some more examples of Earthways. In this real time, natural sound video you will learn more about the three sisters corn-planting techniques, the importance of having wildland interfaces next to your cultivated crops, welcoming and interspersing wild plants among your cultivated plants, and more. This video only covers about half of our cultivated land and a smaller portion of our crop diversity, since it shows the large corn areas. Part 2 will show the more diverse older part of the farm, along with a hugelkultur update. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and share your own stories about natural, sustainable, joyful, harmonious cultivation of crops.

Here is the link to the video on YouTube:

 

Hugelkultur Update, Early Summer, 2016

I am writing this on June 27, 2016. As a point of reference, here is a photo of our first hugelkultur mound at about this time last year (actually about the first week of July). (Sorry if it is disorienting for anybody that I put the captions up above the photos, instead of the usual below. It just seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I wonder.)

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After harvest and removal of the stalks and plant remainders, the terraced shelves kinda broke up and some of the soil slid down the sides. Our next task, then, was to rebuild and improve the mound.
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 Instead of the improvised, multi-level terraced arrangement we had before, I decided to go with a more structurally stable,simple, two-tiered system–just one upper level or shelf at the top and one lower shelf all the way around it. We also had previously decided last Summer to build the whole thing a little taller, to further reduce the need to bend over while working.
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So, we began with the lower shelf first, shaping and building throughout the winter, whenever the ground was thawed out enough to work with it. We had a climate change-enabled mild Winter.
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Lower shelf shaped and ready to be built up higher.
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Once the lower tier had acquired the desired height, I began raising the upper, center level. For both of these shelves, I built them up using only a combination of compost, fill dirt and bison manure. I also scraped down the sides of the mound with a shovel and moved some of that soil to build up the top and make the whole mound narrower.
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A narrower mound makes it possible to step closer to the growing crops, again reducing the need to bend and reach as much.
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Remodeling of mound #1 complete.
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Once we had hugelkultur mound #1 in shape, we were ready to go back to building mound #2 (on the left).
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A nice assortment of cottonwood and birch logs, plus plant scraps, moss and field dirt to build up the height of the mound and fill it with sponge-like absorbent material. More nutrient soil will be added when it gets to be about a foot and a half from the desired maximum height.
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We are shaping mound #2 to become taller and narrower than mound #1.
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Mounds 2 and 1 at present.
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Close up of part of the growing plants on mound # 1, so far this year: kale and radishes. Comfrey, catnip and other wild plants fill the sides of the mound and prevent erosion. When I trim those plants on the sides, I just toss the scraps on to mound 2, or drop them on the ground around mound 1 as a mulch. What a beautiful, easy, multi-nurturing system!
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Wetland Hugelkultur Mounds: a new experiment

Another thing that we began last Winter was building two new hugelkultur mounds in a shallow ditch-fed wetland area in the field to the east of our main crop growing area. I have not seen or heard of anyone doing hugelkultur in wetlands before, but I think it should work great. We’ll see. We have a connected network of ditches and little trenches and small ponds connected to our irrigation water source, the J Canal (administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs). These photos were taken back in December, 2015 and February 2016. (Sticking with the captions above the photos format, for now.)

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Here are a couple of photos of the birch and cottonwood that we used, which we found by a river. We did not cut down any trees, just selectively gathered some of the old, fallen wood from the ground, here and there, leaving some for the other species and for the land itself. As you can see, older wood that is already starting to decompose works best. As I mentioned last year, trees that grow by waterways which have soft wood that decomposes quickly after it is cut make the best wood for hugelkultur beds. Such trees include the cottonwoods, poplars, willows, quaking aspen and birches.

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Here is a video that I made on the day that I took these photos in December, 2015, which I had forgotten about until a couple of days ago (August of 2017). It will add some additional information that is not in these photo captions, plus a rare moment of me in front of the camera, with Barb’s help.

 

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The next three photos show one of the sources of dirt for the hugelkultur mounds, which is an overflow ditch from the spot where our irrigation pump picks up water from the canal. Besides the dirt, I also gather a spongy type of moss that looks like tangled tree roots. Not knowing its proper name, I call it “root moss.” I have to chop and dig through the root moss to get to the dirt, so it occurred to me very naturally to use the moss in the mounds as an additional means of holding moisture.

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Another angle…

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Due to the re-freezing of the ground and then having an extremely busy Spring semester, I was not able to work again on the wetland mounds until early June. It was at that time that I was able to dig some shallow little trenches to pull water from the wetland area over to and around the mounds. The mountains in the background hold the water supply for the whole Summer and early Fall.

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The water trenches, right after completion.

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From the other direction, facing west.

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Close up, showing the spongy “root moss.”

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One more angle, from the north.

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These two hugelkultur beds will be built up much higher throughout the Summer, in the two-tier style of the two beds shown earlier. I will update this again at the end of the Summer. I welcome any questions or discussion.

Here is a video that I made on the same day that I took the photos above, in June, 2016. Sometimes it gets very windy in western Montana. If the sound of strong wind on microphones outdoors is painful or very disturbing to you, please do not watch this video. I do not want to cause anybody any pain or make anybody more disturbed than they already are. But, if you are interested enough in hugelkultur that you think that you might be able to move past the wind noise and find something useful here, then go ahead and give it a try.