America, Countries, Culture

Native American signs point the way

I’d advise anyone who is thinking about taking a summer out before work to spend it in ‘At or about the great hill’. Or Massachusetts to you and me!

You see, we all know more Native American language than we thought.

Always in the big tent

But imagine if somebody came to your country and changed all the names of the places which the settlers did.

AIANTA, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, have got us on board for their initiative Mapping Indigenous Place Names.

Where is..?

Do you know the way to?

Now as the United States took shape and they formed new settlements they went for names from the Old World and then just put New in front of them.

Some though were more inventive and took Native American names.

So, let’s play a game of what does that American state mean?

Rivers run through it

All kinds of everythng with Carol Dana, language master for Penobscot Nation

Starting with A, of course, and Alaska is from the Aleut word alexsxaq, meaning ‘the object towards which the action of the sea is directed’.

K is for Kentucky, a hallowed place in American Country music, is Iroquoian for ‘at the meadow’ or ‘on the prairie’.

While Michigan who we met up again with this week at MTM21 and are close to welcoming us all back, nods to the Ottawa mishigami, ‘large water.’

Dressed to thrill

Our magical Mississippi, whose old man river just keeps rolling, is derived from the Algonquian language Ojibwe. meaning ‘big river’…

And yes, there’s a theme here.

Utah, another we caught up with at MTM21 and where we’ll visit after the American Travel Fair, IPW, means ‘high up’. Naturally!

Follow the trail

They were here first

When we all get travelling again we should definitely add Native American experiences to our lengthening list.

Helpfully AIANTA has done the heavy lifting for us and pointed these information packs our way.

That bbbbbuckin’ Bronco

Top Ten Experiences: https://www.aianta.org/ten-native-american-tourism-experiences/

Pre-Columbian Sites:  https://www.aianta.org/pre-columbian-sites-in-the-us/

Native American Tours: https://www.aianta.org/native-american-tours/.

Must fly, I’m being called back to ‘the Place Where The Scary One Breathes Fire’, sometimes called ‘Home’.

America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Hungry and Thursday – Lobster for Thanksgiving

It was a time of plague and pestilence when frontiersmen reached out to new peoples in an act of trust.

And it is the best of America, its Thanksgiving Day.

Clouded in myth from what I can see there are two main contenders.

The 1619 religious feast on the English Puritans’ arrival in Berkeley Hundred, Virginia.

And the 1621 shared harvest meal between the settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts and the Native American Wampanoag people.

Mass gathering

The indigenous people had helped the incomers get through the previous harsh winters.

The feast is akin to a Christmas meal with roast turkey the centrepiece.

And didn’t we all see the turkey get a pardon at the White House last week?… they’re coming back for the bird today.

But while you may go for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, and cranberry sauce if you want to be really authentic then here’s how to party like it’s 1621.

Walk like a Puritan

And If you want to walk like a Puritan then you need to get your hands on waterfowl, venison, lobsters, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin snd squash.

Now because Thanksgiving is a celebration of Settler and Native-American unity, a fairly rare occurrence these 500 years let’s focus on the First Nations.

And other than getting out on a reservation (and I will) their representative body and my pals, AIANTA are the folks to go to for everything you need to know.

While the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC is the Smithsonian Museum which chronicles their history.

The pipes of peace: In Denver

The American story belongs to all those who have settled, been settled or resettled including more than a couple of Murtys and McNultys (my Mum’s people).

While not all got out to the Wild West, I did, as did Buffalo Bill Cody and his Plainsmen. Chief Sitting Bull was already there.

Wild West Road Trip

My friends at American Holidays know the way already.

And they are offering a Road Trip through Wyoming and my fave Colorado, who both claim Buffalo Bill’s bones, the two Dakotas, Montana and Utah.

All from €1499. They’ll give you 15 days RV rental with unlimited mileage, flights from Dublin to Denver and return from Salt Lake City.

With two nights in Mile High City, Denver, before your trip.

Buffalo Bill’s graveyard: Golden, Colorado

You’ll also get a Vehicle Provisioning Kit of cookware, crockery and utensils.

And personal kits for four people – bath towels, pillows and bedding.

And maybe in the spirit of Thanksgiving leave room for some lobster, venison, waterfowl and pumpkins.

America, Caribbean, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Deals, Ireland

Holiday Snaps… why we don’t want 24/7 sunshine

Yes, you read that right, as 24/7 sunshine like we had been getting in the UK means the world is dying that little bit quicker.

While strewth, at the other end of the world, our Australian cousins have been shivering.

And that includes their kangaroos… and snowllabies.

Kangaroos in Australia www.bbc.co.uk

No, best keep the hot places where they’ve always been and the cold ones too.

Imagine Barbados, Tobago and the Caribbean and its people without their sunny disposition.

Thankfully we don’t have to…

Woooah, we’re going to Barbados

With Sandals offering seven nights from £2375pp with travel dates May 1-June 30 at the Sandals Royal Barbados.

You’ll be staying in a south sea crystal lagoon club level Barbados suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub. With flights from Virgin Atlantic,

And I know a thing or two about Tranquillity Soaking Tubs.

A welcome from the Nations

And I’m channeling the good guys

We’re on the eve of the 400th anniversary of the First Thanksgiving Dinner in Plymouth, New England next year.

When the Pilgrims and the Natives shared harvest.

And that alas, if it happened like that at all, is when the sharing stopped and the newcomers took their land and sent them packing.

The pipes of peace

Which is probably where the Choctaw Indians and the Irish were sent to Hell or Connaught by the same British forged their links.

The Choctaw sent money to the starving Irish during the Famine and the Irish reciprocated during these COVID times.

And that’s the subject that remains hanging in the air from the last AIATA webinar.

I’ll return to it and my Native American friends whom I first met in Washington DC and then again in Denver and LA

Wigwam Jim

When I’ll get me the American Travel fair that COVID robbed me of in Vegas.

AIANTA’s will come from Albuquerque next month and will reach us all virtually with the organisers waiving the registration fees.

I’ll be there to bring you all the news.

And it’s gentle cruising

Aran Islands

The sea oh the sea is the gradh geal mo croide. Long may it stay between England and me. It’s a sure guarantee that some day we’ll be free. Oh thank God we’re surrounded by nothing. – The Dubliners

And for the uninitiated those strange Irish words mean ‘sweet love of my heart’.

The song is a celebration of Irish waters.

Including my favourite Meeting of the Waters in my erstwhile County Wicklow home which was immortalised by poet Thomas Moore.

My old friends at Travel Department are used to taking us to exotic places near and far.

Connemara’s old sod

And now in Ireland too.

Galway, Connemara and the Aran Islands is from €599pp for three nights including 3* B&B hotel, transfers, excursions and local guide.

Depart October. Ring (00353) 1 637 1600.

MEET YOU ON THE WATER (AND LAND)

 

America, Countries, Cruising, Culture, Europe, Ireland, UK

Holiday Snaps – we’re cruising again

If I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor

So sang the rock band James, which is why I’m so excited that we’re cruising again.

My friends MSC took me to the Norwegian fjords around this time of year.

Their flagship MSC Grandiosa is to welcome back guests in the Western Med, a route I know well, from August 16.

And MSC Magnifica in the Eastern Med from August 29.

They are offering seven-night cruises with the opportunity to visit five different destinations.

MSC are going beyond the guidelines with enhanced measures including universal testing for all guests and crew.

As well as safe ashore visits at each port.

And still flying

In the frame: Rembrandt’s Night Watch

Now I’ve been trying to keep away from the cash machine.

But with my favourite kebab shop needing cash here in North Berwick I pulled a couple of twenties out and was left with change.

What to do? Well, Ryanair have 250,000 seats only €14.99 one-way, with the sale ending tomorrow at 12midnight.

I’m loving Amsterdam and Hamburg, both on the UK exempt list and I notice too that one of my fave cities, Edinburgh, is there too.

Which is OK for you, but I live here.

Ode to safe camping

There is a corner of some Selkirk land

Oh to be wandering lonely as a cloud around William Wordsworth’s favourite Scottish Borders inn.

But normally sensible day trippers have been doing a Jekyll and Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson was a regular too) by turfing up in Selkirk around the Tibbie Shiels Inn.

Armed with crates of beer at sites at St Mary’s Loch, the Loch o’ the Lowes and Cafe Green, a former picnic site.

The inn was most recently used as a seasonal hotel but was closed in 2015.

Tibbie was a small woman with a great sense if humour… she wouldn’t have seen the funny side of this.

The Native Americans rising again

My Native American name is Farts of Thunder

I showed early signs of being a rebel as this picture of me with my childhood friend, Peter.

The son of the former Scotland and Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty.

We were channeling our inner Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

I spent this weekend in the company of the friends I made from IPW, the American Travel Fair in a webinar for AIANTA (American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Agency).

They also look out for the interests of Native Hawaiian tourism too but I guess they’re worried about running out of letters on the acronym

pexels-photo-3431567
Sitting Pretty

Anyways AIANTA are pretty much sensibly keeping to their reservations for just now while they wait for COVID to abate.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not in business.

And we’ve been encouraged to stay engaged with the tribes through all of this by spending money on their art and their jewellery.

Now I know from visiting the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC how stunning the tribes’ artefacts are.

And I know the Scary One is looking for a scene to go next to our Venice painting on the wall of her new home.

And a pair of dreamcatchers for the lobes of her ears.

MEET YOU ON THE RESERVATION

America, Countries, Culture

Give us this Day – Native Americans and pandemics

Rather than the White Man civilising the Red Indian he all but obliterated him… and not at the point of a gun but through disease.

From 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the indigenous peoples of the land mass we now know as America have had to endure…

The importation of smallpox, bubonic plague, chicken pox, measles, cholera and malaria among others.

Bandanaman and his cheerleaders at Denver Broncos’ Mile High Stadium

All of which they had no immunity to, whereas the Europeans had built up a resistance to many diseases.

Shamans

Smallpox was particularly rampant with the Lakota people calling the outbreak of 1518 ‘the running face disease’.

And their belief in shamanism proved unsatisfactory in confronting this assailant.

On the range… in Colorado

Today’s Native American and Alaska Native is more likely too to contract our latest pandemic because of their poorer socio-economic status.

Their struggles though drew them instinctively to others in trouble.

An Irishman’s friend

And the Choctaw Indians who suffered in the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma donated money to the Irish in the Great Famine of 1847.

Buffalo Bill’s grave in Colorado

The Irish, of course, have never forgotten and are now contributing to a fund for Navajo and Hopi communities hit by Covid-19.

An act which the Native Americans call iyyikowa.

Just the job

We can learn more about the First Nation from visiting their reservations, their association’s website www.aianta.org where they have a vacancy just for me.

Tee-hee, tepee… at the Mile High Stadium

And the best Smithsonian in Washington DC, the American Indian Museum https://americanindian.si.edu and Easy DC.

I knew I was in the America of my childhood Saturday movies when I walked through Denver Airport and was met by Freckled Face and Eats No Meat… Go West.

And went on to see the Native Americans at dance at Mile High Stadium http://www.denver.org and https://www.denverbroncos.com/stadium/.

And me as a Bronco

Before paying tribute to the Native Americans’ favourite White Man (before me) Buffalo Bill… http://www.buffalobill.org.

And rode off on the Plains www.colorado.com and The New Frontiersmen.

MEET YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE