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These days, Native American Flute Players perform at music festivals across the globe. But few belong to any tribe or nation, something that troubles Darren Thompson, a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in northern Wisconsin and an award-winning flutist.
This week, he is performing at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in New York, sharing stories and music that speak to the history, trauma and resilience of the Ojibwe people. And of course, to the instrument itself, which the Ojibwe call “bibigwan.”
“The Native American Flute’ is the name of the instrument, so anybody who picks one up and plays it can call himself a Native American Flute Player,'” said Thompson.
Technically, playing an inauthentic flute violates the U.S. Indian Arts and Crafts Act, passed in 1990 to ban the sale of goods falsely labeled “Native American. But there is nothing to stop non-Native performers from falsely claiming Native American heritage.
“It’s not so much the fact that they are playing the flute that bothers me. It’s the fact that a lot of them are non-Native and try to play the part of a Native, wearing what they think is Indian’ attire. It’s offensive, and it perpetuates the stereotype that Native Americans are still running around as they did in the past,” said Thompson.
Thompson grew up hearing traditional Ojibwe music, but it wasn’t an important part of his life until he left the reservation.
“I went to Marquette University, where there weren’t any other Native kids,” he said. “I was still in Wisconsin, but it was a foreign environment.”
Homesickness led him to the music of Navajo/Ute flutist Raymond Carlos Nakai, which evoked memories of his childhood.
“One of the first stories I ever heard came from the elders, who talked about trees,” Thompson said. “I remember them saying trees sing to us and give us guidance.I think I was four, and that story came to mind 15 years later when I first heard Nakai playing.”
It was then, he said, he understood what the elders had been trying to tell him: Trees do sing — through flutes carved from their wood.
Thompson bought his first flute from a non-Native vendor at a cultural festival. He taught himself to play, and as he learned, he felt moved to connect to the music of his ancestors — music that preceded government assimilation policies that nearly killed off the Ojibwe language, culture and religious traditions.
“I went out to museums to research actual instruments that were seized 200 years ago and taken into collections,” he said. “Store-bought “Native” flutes are similar in construction, but they are tuned to a minor Western music scale. But an authentic one would be tuned to the maker himself.”
Traditionally, players carved their own instruments from a single piece of wood — cedar, for example, or ash. Each flute would have two chambers, which allowed the player to breathe, Thompson explained.
No two instruments would have been alike.
“The length of the instrument would be the distance from that person’s armpit to his first knuckle,” he said. “The width would be the same as the width of his thumb. Even the spacing of the finger holes is calibrated to the player’s body.”
The number of open holes carved into the flute varies.Thompson owns several flutes, some he made himself and others custom made. Some have only four holes, which can produce eight notes. Others have five and six holes, allowing for greater range in melody.
The result is a sound unique to each player — a deep and clear tone that Thompson says “touches a lot of people.”
He has wanted to perform at NMAI for at least a decade.
“NMAI has a program called The Art of Storytelling.” My performance is unique, in that I try to reintroduce stories and music from history. Songs I’ve learned that were recorded in the early 1900s, before our culture got erased,” Thompson said.
The stories don’t just speak to what was lost, but what has survived. And some carry messages that are universal:
“If you take all the four-leggeds, those who walk on all fours, from the Earth, life on Earth would not be able to sustain itself.
“If you take all the winged ones, those that fly in the sky, life on Earth would not be able to sustain itself.
“If you take away all the plants from the Earth, life on Earth would not be able to sustain itself.
“If you take away all the water, and those that live in water, from the Earth, life on Earth would not be able to sustain itself.
“If you take away man from the Earth, life on Earth would flourish.” (VOA)
Remember, the right language is what matters for your app in the first place.
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By- Joseph Collins
An energy meter, also known as a Watt-Hour Meter, is a device that monitors the level of electrical energy or gas consumed by users. Utilities are among the agencies that place these devices in various locations such as houses, businesses, organizations, and commercial properties to charge for the power consumed. You can always know how much is gas or electric cheaper by contacting a utility company.
Electronic Energy Meters
When compared to traditional mechanical meters, these types of measuring equipment are more accurate, have a faster processing time, and are more trustworthy. When attached to a source, it uses less power and begins measuring immediately.
Analog or digital meters are both possible. Analog meters transform energy to proportionate frequency or pulse rate, which is then combined by counters inside the device. A high-end processor directly calculates power in a digital electric meter.
Logic circuits combine the power to obtain the energy as well as for testing and certification purposes. The frequency or pulse rate is then calculated.
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Smart Energy Meters
It is a cutting-edge metering technique that entails installing intelligent meters that read, process, and relay information to clients. It monitors energy usage, changes the supply to consumers remotely, and digitally manages the maximum energy usage.
For greater performance, smart metering systems make use of modern metering infrastructure system technology. These meters limit the number of times you have to go to the place to get your monthly reading.
In these smart meters, modems are utilized to enable communication technologies like phone, wireless, fiber cable, and power line communications. Another benefit of smart metering is that it eliminates the possibility of tampering with energy meters, which could lead to unlawful power usage.
An energy meter, also known as a Watt-Hour Meter, is a device that monitors the level of electrical energy or gas consumed by users. | Wikimedia
Working of The Meter
The conventional electric meter looks like a clock and keeps track of how much electricity you consume. A series of microscopic gears inside the meter moves as your home takes electricity from the power wires. The numbers on your meter that you notice when you look at it indicate the number of revolutions.
The quantity of electricity utilized determines the speed at which the rotations occur. The velocity of moving gas in the pipeline is measured by a gas meter. As the gas flow rate increases, the dials speed up.
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How Often is Meter Read?
Unless the meter is a consumer-ready meter, the government will demand utility companies read user meters quarterly. If the consumer checks the meter, the utility is asked to read it at least once a year. Almost every month, many utilities try and read their customers' meters.
If the meter isn't read, the utility might issue an estimated charge based on the previous usage. Keep bushes and plants away from the meter and allow access to the meter reader if your meter is within your home. All utilities demand their meter readers to have an employment ID as a security measure.
Smart meters limit the number of times you have to go to the place to get your monthly reading. | Wikimedia
Responsibility of Meter
The utility provider is in charge of meter installation as well as the gas and electric lines that go up to the meter. The wires from the meter to the customer's premises are his responsibility.Please call your gas or electric utility if your meter is broken or displays evidence of tampering. Manipulation with a meter is prohibited and may result in service termination, legal punishment, or both.
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A hilarious rhyme that children often chant cheerily while jumping around, Jack and Jill is another example of the dark history covered up in light-hearted rhyme. Instead of England though, this is a rhyme that sheds light on the history of France.
Unlike other rhymes, the rhyme is part fiction and part history, since only the first two lines can be taken as an allusion to the past.
"Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water,
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after."
King Louis XIV ruled over France in the late 18th century and was called out for treason. He had failed to uphold the economy of France. His spouse Marie Antoinette was an equally powerful influence in the monarchy but could not do anything when her husband was convicted.
King Louis XIV of France Image source: wikimedia commons
The French are famous for the guillotine, and Louis XIV was beheaded on this device. This act of executing a monarch is why the rhyme has the line "Jack fell down and broke his crown". The guillotine, at this point in history, was kept outside the city, and the journey to it was long and tedious. It was ideally located on a hill, so that the entire city of Paris could witness the execution of the accused.
Louise XIV is believed to have been dressed and taken on the long journey up to the guillotine, where his hair was cut off and he had to renounce his authority. He bid farewell to his friends and was followed up the hill by a crowd holding pikes and bayonets, to prevent his escape. He was then executed as the last monarch of France.
Death by guillotine was the most terrifying way to execute a criminal Image source: wikimedia commons
A few months later, when the hue and cry of Louis XIV's death has died down a little, but the political situation of France was no better, his wife, Marie Antoinette was also executed at the guillotine for her role in the fall of France. And this event alludes to the line, "Jill came tumbling after".
The rest of the rhyme is a fictional account of a moralistic idea for children, as a way to tell them to be careful of where they engage in play. Since a large part of the rhyme seems like a story of two children who have had an accident in play, that is how the rhyme has survived and the history behind it, has been forgotten.
Keywords: Marie Antoinette, Louise XIV, Guillotine, France, Nursery Rhymes, Monarchy