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Differences are meant to be celebrated and shared and highlighted as the beauty that makes the world spin around. Each of us and our cultures are different and unique. Please join Blupela in celebrating the uniqueness of your life and heritage by sharing it as a spotlight on Light of Culture.

Create a Light of Culture Spotlight and show the creativity of your people to the world. It can be a photo or video of anything that represents who you are and who you see yourself to be within your communities and cultural background. Art, music, dance, food, clothing, worship, sports, anything that is unique to YOU!

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North America

The Cajuns

Bernard Asper
The Cajuns are descendants of Roman Catholic French Canadians whom the British, in the 18th century, drove from the captured French colony of Acadia (now Nova Scotia and adjacent areas)who settled in the fertile bayou lands of southern Louisiana. The Cajuns today form small, compact, generally self-contained communities. Their patois is a combination of archaic French forms with idioms taken from their English, Spanish, German, American Indian, and African American (usually “Creole”) neighbors.
Pres. Teddy Roosevelt was a proponent of the ‘melting pot’ philosophy. The movement was led by people in Louisiana such as Progressive Luther Hall, elected governor in 1912. In July of that year, the legislature passed an act allowing the Department of Education to select all books and curricula for public schools. Starting the next year, English was stressed throughout the curricula, essentially banning French from the schools. In 1916, the state legislature approved Act 27, which required that all children attend public school where English was to be the language. This implicitly meant that the Cajun children that were brought up speaking French in their homes would have to learn English. The events were completed in 1921 when the Louisiana Constitution was changed so that all school proceedings had to be conducted in English. This succession of events led to many Cajuns growing up without learning their ancestral language. Stories abound of Cajun children being punished for speaking French at school.
Most of the parents of children in school for the first few decades of the century had grown up speaking French and still spoke it in the home. Children would learn English at school, but still learned some French in the home. As that English-educated generation grew up and had their own families, the use of French in the home was decreased with each generation. Some Cajun families, especially in more rural areas, continued to pass along the Cajun French language throughout the twentieth century.
Things began to turn around in the 1960s. Faced with the prospect of losing their language, CODOFIL (Council for the Development of French in Louisiana) was established in 1968 to help bring interest in the French language back to the educational system. Less than 5% of Cajuns born in the last fifty years speak French as their primary language. The French being taught by CODOFIL was not Cajun French. Still, it was a move leading to French language preservation amongst the Cajuns. French immersion programs can now be found across Acadiana, Cajun Louisiana.
Zachary Richard founded Action Cadienne to advocate for the Cajun French language. The group maintains that the language is integral to the continuation of Cajun culture.
Cajun cuisine reflects the mixture of cultures in Louisiana. Among its classic dishes are alligator stew, jambalaya, gumbo—actually a Creole dish, made with a roux—and crayfish (or other seafood) étouffée, served over rice. Many dishes are prepared with some variety of sausage, such as boudin or andouille (a smoked sausage made with pork), and tasso (a pork shoulder preparation borrowed from the Choctaw). Essential seasonings include filé powder (made from sassafras leaves), cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Cajun music likewise shows a blend of several influences, including French, Creole, and Celtic songs. Cajun songs are usually sung in French. Typical ensemble instruments are the fiddle, the diatonic (button) accordion, the guitar, and spoons or the triangle. Tempos can range from a mournful waltz to a lively two-step, but, whatever the tempo, Cajun music is meant to be danced to.
Article mostly from http://www.acadian-cajun.com/clang.htmin content and http://www.britannica.com/topic/Cajun

Votes7 DateSep 1, 2015

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North America

Jordan Danielsen Music

Jordan Danielsen
A native of Denver Colorado but raised in the Iowa heartland on the banks of the Muddy Mississippi, Jordan Danielsen grew up with guitar in hand and a harmonica on his neck. He has spent over a decade hosting open mics, performing in wineries, casino's, pubs, restaurants, festivals and everywhere imaginable from Madison, WI. to St. Louis, MO.
A wandering loner at heart, Jordan has spent much of his musical career as a solo act. However he has also played with some of the finest musicians in the Midwest to create two full length albums and do a bit of touring as well.
In 2011, Jordan released his debut CD Night Alone in the City; an album very diverse from start to finish. Chalked full of soulful horns, electric guitars, acoustic ballads, blues and a tiny bit of hip hop. Jordan's lyrics tell the story of his life growing up in Davenport, IA., and at times borders on the hilarious.
2014 brought the release of Old Soul, an album much different than it's predecessor. Jordan spins his musical tales of river's, road trips, and great grandfathers in the civil war. Sleek piano, organ moans, and haunting fiddle make this collection of songs very soothing yet exciting, and tend to take you along for the ride.
Always on tour and never without a song in his throat, Jordan writes from his life experiences and reflects his personality through his music. With many more songs to record and endless gigs to play, he continues to strive for new audiences every day.

Votes5 DateOct 1, 2015

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North America

Olmo Ling July Events

Olmo Ling
Ancient Tibetan Thrul Khor Yoga Retreat
With Tempa Dukte Lama and Geshe Chhembel Gurung
July 30-31 at Olmo Ling Bon Center, 1101 Greenfield Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Join us for a special weekend Workshop on the ancient Tibetan Yoga practice of Thrul Khor, the “wheel of miracles”, with Tempa Lama and Geshe Chhembel. Thrul Khor is the training of harmonizing our body, mind and energy. The harmonious state of our being is a manifestation of joy, peace and prosperity of our body, mind and energy. This state manifests when we clear obstacles, obscurations and blockages of our energy, as well as blockages of mental clarity and wisdom due to agitation, dullness and drowsiness. Thrul Khor utilizes gentle physical movement, breathing and visualization to clear our mind so that we can abide in natural clarity and insight. Through this yogic practice we can transform conditioning that causes disturbances and imbalances in the three humors of wind, bile and phlegm and thus maintain a healthy body.
Mental stability, gentle physical movement and proper circulation of the vital breath will be the focus of this yogic training.
Olmo Ling Monthly Youth Sangha Program – Summer Meeting July 2
The Olmo Ling Youth Sangha meets once a month (during the regular school year) on a Friday evening with activities for both younger (0-10) and older (11-17) children beginning at staggered times. From 6-7PM activities will be geared towards the younger children with the teens welcome to come as well to assist. From 7-8PM activities will become a little more advanced, but related to what has already been taking place with the younger children able to leave if necessary for earlier bedtimes. Parents and friends are always welcome and we specifically request that parents of children birth thru 5 years of age plan on staying. Children 6 and up may be dropped off if they desire more independence although families are always welcome to attend.
The Friday evening Youth Sangha is a mindful way to end the school week and begin the weekend. This Program is free and open to all, and newcomers are always warmly welcome. Gatherings include a snack, meditation, and an art activity such as calligraphy, music & literature or discussions and service projects. Tempa Lama will join some of the sessions to lead creative and mindful activities.
2016 Summer Program: Saturday July 2
We will meet from 6-8PM to print prayer flags. Youth Sangha coordinator Bonnie Weiss will guide the children in meditation, chanting and stories in addition to the block printing. We will also have a potluck for snacks, so please bring something small to share (NO NUTS PLEASE). Tempa Lama will be away traveling.
We will be selling the cloth prayer flags to raise funds for the young nuns at Redna Menling Monastery in India, as well as to help fund the Youth Sangha. We do have all five colors of paper and any family who wants to print a set of these to take home for indoor use will be welcome to do so. As always, if anyone can sew on a machine and is willing to take some sets home to complete by September when we resume regular meetings, your help would be greatly appreciated.
Please RSVP with the Youth Sangha coordinator Bonnie Weiss at Bonnie or 412-877-4049, to ensure adequate materials are available for class as well as to advise about any food allergies or special accommodations that might benefit your child.
Bon Ngondro Retreat with Tempa Lama at Alma Yoga Center
Saturday, July 16, 2016, 9:30am-5pm, Sunday, July 17, 10am-1pm
Alma Yoga, 67 Pennsylvania Avenue, Hancock, NY 13783-1037
During this special weekend, Tempa Lama will continue teaching the ancient Tibetan preliminary Bon practices known as “Ngondro”. He will begin with review of the 1st part, taught last year. If you didn’t participate in last year’s retreat, please feel free to participate this year.
Ngondro practice is very beneficial for our life. It helps us connect deeply with our spiritual teachers and cultivate and stabilize the heart and mind that wish to benefit all beings. Ngondro is a powerful practice for purifying our karmic tendencies and negativities, cleansing our body, speech and mind and preparing us to recognize our true nature.
The Heart Mantra for Healing and Transformation with Tempa Dukte Lama
A Humla Fund event to benefit the Humla medical clinics
Saturday, July 23, 2016, 9:30am-5:30pm
Sruti Berkshire Yoga Center, Great Barrington, MA
In this daylong workshop Tempa Dukte Lama will give the transmission and instruction for the contemplative Tibetan Bon practice of the Heart Mantra, Du Tri Su for healing and transformation. he Heart Mantra is the heart essence of the teaching of the Bon Buddha Tonpa Shenrab.
Public talk with Tempa Lama: The Authentic and Compassionate Self Revealed
Thursday July 28, 7pm.
Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt Royal Blvd, Glenshaw, PA 15116.
Join us for a public talk with Tempa Lama in the Art and Inspiration series at Shaler North Hills Library, entitled “The Authentic and Compassionate Self Revealed”. The Art and Inspiration series is facilitated by artist William Rock as a forum for artists, poets, writers and musicians to discuss creativity and dialogue on the ways in which creativity and spirituality inform each other.
Suggested donation: $5.
To Learn More About Any Program, please visit:
www.OlmoLing.org
Tempa and the Olmo Ling Staff and Community Thank You

Votes2 DateJun 30, 2016

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North America

Maine Acadians

Bernard Asper
Maine's Franco-American heritage dates back to early French explorers, Acadian settlers and French missionaries. Today, Franco-Americans are Maine's largest ethnic group.
Maine's Acadian heritage can be traced to 1604 and a scrap of rock and timber in the St. Croix River—right between what is now Maine and New Brunswick. Tiny St. Croix Island held France’s first settlement in l'Acadie—Acadia in English—a colony on America’s North Atlantic coast. The St. Croix Island settlement didn’t last, but Acadia grew until it included much of today’s Atlantic Canada.
War ended the colony and exile scattered the Acadians. In 1785, 16 Acadian families fled Fredericton, New Brunswick—pushed out, ironically, by American Tories (American Loyalists) who’d fled the American Revolution. The Acadian families traveled up the St. John River and resettled in St. David, in northern Aroostook County.
There are a number of Acadian heritage sites throughout the St. John Valley. At The Acadian Village in Van Buren, you'll find 16 reconstructed buildings dating from 1785 to the early 1900s.
Edited from: https://visitmaine.com/things-to-do/arts-and-culture/acadian-culture

Votes3 DateNov 9, 2017

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North America

The Cherokees

Bernard Asper
The Cherokees settled in the American Southeast portion of the country. The tribe was of Iroquoian descent. They had originally been from the Great Lakes region of the country, but eventually settled closer to the east coast. They were a strong tribe with several smaller sections, all lead by chiefs. The tribe was highly religious and spiritual. When the American Revolution took place, the Cherokee Indians supported the British soldiers, and even assisted them in battle by taking part in several attacks. The Creek and Choctaw tribes also assisted in the battles on the British side.
Eventually around the 1800s, the Cherokee Indians began to adopt the culture that the white man brought to them. They began to dress more European, and even adopted many of their farming and building methods. In 1828, gold was discovered on the Cherokee’s land. This prompted the overtaking of their homes, and they were forced out. They had been settled in Georgia for many years, but were now being made to leave and find a new place to settle. This is the origin for the historically popular Trail of Tears, where men, women, and children had to pack up their belongings and find new homes, marching a span of thousands of miles. When all was said and done, about 4,000 Cherokee lost their lives on the journey.
Sequoyah also called George Gist was born about 1775 in Taskigi, North Carolina and died in August 1843 near San Fernando, Mexico. He was the creator of the Cherokee writing system (see Cherokee language). Sequoyah was Cherokee on his mother's side. He was an accomplished silversmith, painter, and warrior and served with the U.S. Army in the Creek War in 1813–14.
Sequoyah became convinced that the secret of what he considered the white people’s superior power was the written language, which enabled them to accumulate and transmit more knowledge than was possible for a people dependent on memory and word of mouth.
Accordingly, about 1809 he began working to develop a system of writing for the Cherokees, believing that increased knowledge would help them maintain their independence. He experimented first with pictographs and then with symbols representing the syllables of the spoken Cherokee language, adapting letters from English, Greek, and Hebrew. His daughter helped him to identify the Cherokee syllables. By 1821 he had created a system of 86 symbols, representing all the syllables of the Cherokee language.
Sequoyah convinced his people of the utility of his syllabary by transmitting messages between the Cherokees of Arkansas (with whom he went to live) and those of the east and by teaching his daughter and other young people of the tribe to write. The simplicity of his system enabled pupils to learn it rapidly, and soon Cherokees throughout the nation were teaching it in their schools and publishing books and newspapers in their own Cherokee language.
Sequoyah’s name (spelled Sequoia) was given to the giant redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) of the Pacific Coast and the big trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) of the Sierra Nevada range. The Cherokee rose is now the state flower of Georgia. Today, the largest population of Cherokee Indians live in the state of Oklahoma, where there are three federally recognized Cherokee communities with thousands of residents.
Adapted from http://www.indians.org/articles/cherokee-indians.html and http://www.britannica.com/biography/Sequoyah

Votes1 DateSep 22, 2015

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North America

Oneg Shemesh

Oneg Shemesh
Oneg Shemesh Band ~ Indie Folk/Rock Music
Bio
Oneg Shemesh's music represents a fresh and innovative new sound in Jewish music. His engaging and interactive style is sure to invigorate your soul and your feet!
Oneg Shemesh, whose first name means “utmost joy”, is an Israeli-born guitarist and singer known for positive, well-crafted songs, and genre-blending, innovative work that blends the spiritual aspects of the Modern Orthodox culture in which he was raised with a folk rock sensibility.
Whether singing about “shining the light forward” or one’s personal responsibilities in “Only I”, Oneg Shemesh’s music is at times evocative, inspirational, and powerful while always remaining upbeat.
Oneg was raised in Israel on Moshav Modi’im near Tel Aviv. After completing his army service, he joined The Moshav Band as a founding member, an Israeli American-Jewish folk rock band, they combine Jewish music with elements of alternative rock, folk, and reggae. Shemesh toured with them throughout Israel, the United States and Canada.
When he is not creating and performing music, he likes to spend time with his 3 beautiful children, hike, rollerblade, bike & workout at the gym. He currently resides in West Hempstead, NY.
I'm so grateful to my amazing fans! With your help the song & music video called SOME DAYS in memory of my Mom O.B.M. has been completed & released! Check it out below!
Check out his live shows
This song is dedicated to my Mom A”H ברכה בת חונה יואל הכהן וזלטא
I had the privilege of writing this song & performing it for my Mom before she passed on FEB 5, 2017.
Here is the clip she took on her phone & this is what she wrote about the experience.
This is a beautiful song that my son Oneg Shemesh wrote with me in mind. He really nailed it perfectly. He totally captured in the simple lyrics, exactly how I’m feeling these days. Every time I hear him singing this, I am moved to tears and at the same time filled with joy!
Please share this song with anyone you know who is fighting cancer or who needs to hear this message of HOPE!
To buy the song go to https://onegshemesh.com/track/1542488/some-days
Listen
Oneg Shemesh Programs


Check out my merchandise page! With your support we are able to continue releasing music & spreading the joy!!


Check out my store !
Every purchase you make helps me to raise the funds to cover the costs of marking & promoting my music.
BE MY PARTNER!
LET'S GET THE MUSIC OUT TO THE WORLD!
Contact


Votes1 DateSep 5, 2018

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North America

Votes3 DateJul 10, 2017

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North America

Artist Manifesto - Santa Fe Street Performance

Issa Nyaphaga
- Artist Manifesto -
Santa Fe Street Art Performance:
Artist Performance "The Walk of the Water Carrier", Issa Nyaphaga an artist from Cameroon (West Africa) in Residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute for the Water Rights Residency, will perform in Santa Fe on Friday, May 5th, 2017. Issa grew up in the rural African village of Nditam, Cameroon where he carried water twice a day before and after school. The artist will reprise the walk carrying a bucket of water on his head from his studio at SFAI to the Mill Contemporary Gallery on Canyon road where the opening of his exhibition, the Sanctuary Show, will be taking place.
Issa Nyaphaga alias ‘Artoonist’ was imprisoned and persecuted in Cameroon for his political cartoons. Issa paints his body as a way to find resilience. Issa will build a costume out of recycled plastic bottles for his Friday performance. Issa Nyaphaga was selected by SFAI for his award winning project “Water for Social Peace”.
Open to the public - for a fun Friday Art Walk.

Votes4 DateApr 29, 2017

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North America

Lincoln's Jewish Generals

One World Blue, LLC
Reference:
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- AT the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, the United States Army was pitifully small.
It consisted of 1,108 officers and 15,269 enlisted men. Of the thousand-odd officers, more than a third resigned their posts to join the Confederacy. To lead the millions of men who ultimately fought in the Civil War would take a lot of generals, and ultimately more than 1000 were appointed by the Union alone. Of these, at least seven were Jewish.
The Civil War produced the most renowned generals in American history. No other war before or since then has even come close. Apart from Teddy Roosevelt - and he was only a colonel - do we remember even one general of the Spanish-American War? Besides Pershing and, perhaps, MacArthur, most Americans are hard-pressed to name another American general of WWI fame.
The Civil War, on the other hand, produced Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan, George Custer, George McClellan, and Ambrose Burnside, to name just a few well-known Union commanders.
The Jewish generals in the Union Army were not well-known and almost have been lost from the history books. The highest ranking Jewish officer in the Union Army was Hungarian-born Major General Frederick Knefler. He was commander of the 79th Indiana regiment. Knefler was promoted to brigadier general for his performance at the Battle of Chickamauga and then to major general during his service with Sherman on his march through Georgia.
Leopold Blumenberg was a lieutenant in the Prussian Army in 1848. Because of antisemitism he immigrated to the United States in 1854. An avowed abolitionist, he narrowly escaped lynching by a secessionist mob in Baltimore in early April 1861. With the start of the war, Blumenberg helped organize the Maryland Volunteer Regiment and fought with it in the Peninsular campaign.
He was severely wounded in the Battle of Antietam in 1862, and subsequently was appointed a brevet brigadier general. A brevet military appointment is a commission usually granted as an honor, carrying the rank of the new office but without an increase in pay or authority. Many officers were given brevet commissions during the Civil War.
There were actually two ways of being appointed a general during this period. The first was through politics, where men were appointed because of their political influence rather than their military ability. Most of these "generals" proved to be costly misfits for the Union forces. The second method of assuming a general's office was through winning their stars on the battlefield by superior performance. Fortunately, all the Jewish generals described here attained their high rank through the latter procedure.
One Jewish officer who only made it to general's rank posthumously was Lieutenant Colonel Leopold Newman of New York. He distinguished himself at the First Battle of Bull Run, which was a defeat for the Union. Newman was subsequently severely wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863, and he died in a Washington hospital before President Abraham Lincoln could present him with a commission to brigadier general.
Perhaps the most notable of the Jewish generals was Edward S. Salomon of Illinois. Salomon emigrated from Germany to Chicago in 1854, where he became a law clerk and a minor functionary in the newly formed Republican Party. He was elected to the Chicago City Council at the age of 24, the youngest member of that body.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Salomon enlisted in the 25th Illinois Infantry as a second lieutenant and won quick promotions for battlefield bravery. At Gettysburg in 1863, he was colonel in command of the 82nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry, which had over 100 Jewish personnel. His unit fought at Cemetery Ridge and was one of the principal Union forces which successfully repulsed Pickett's charge. Salomon received a commendation for bravery and was breveted a brigadier general.
Salomon served with General Sherman in the Battle for Atlanta and was cited as "one of the most deserving officers." After the war he led his men in a six-hour victory parade in Washington D.C., a commanding general at the age of 29.
President Ulysses S. Grant recognized Salomon's administrative capabilities and, in 1869, appointed him as governor of the Territory of Washington, where he served with distinction for four years. After leaving his post, Salomon settled in San Francisco. He was the district attorney of San Francisco County and twice served in the California legislature, devoting most of his life to public service.
Brigadier General Alfred Mordechai graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1861, following in his father's footsteps. He joined the Army of Northeastern Virginia and received high commendations for his conduct at the Battle of Bull Run. He became the chief ordnance officer in several Union regiments and, in 1865, was appointed instructor of ordnance at West Point.
Among the other Jewish generals in the Union forces were Phineas Horowitz of Baltimore, who was appointed surgeon general of the Navy during the war, and General William Meyer of New York, who received a letter of thanks from President Lincoln for his efforts during the New York draft riots. There were no Jewish generals with the Confederate forces during the Civil War, but that's another tale.
Jewish historian, cultural maven, and JWR contributor Herb Geduld lives in Cleveland.

Votes2 DateMay 24, 2016

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