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I am now Engaged!

You read right, I proposed to Jared on the 28th of December back home on my reservation and he said YES!!! The following is a little insight into our relationship, a little message for Jared, and details about our rings and what the symbols on them mean. If you want the story on how I proposed and Jared’s reaction, you’ll have to watch the video on my channel!

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When did I know I wanted to ask him to become my husband??? … I’ve been picturing a future with him from this past summer, at least in a more serious manner. I was certain since Thanksgiving. after he took me to officially meet his relatives.  🙂 Did I know that I would be the one to propose? Yes, I’ve always known that I would be the one to ask. 🙂 Jared, if you’re reading this, you know it to be true! ❤

If you are new to following me, Jared and I have been together since June of 2016. We had our first date after connecting on a gay dating app. I promise you nothing naughty happened on our first meet up! This particular app just so happens to have a certain reputation within the gay community, but both of us weren’t looking for a hook up.  After two weeks of seeing one another, I knew that I wanted to make our relationship official.  We both were able to connect through the subject of music, and with him being from New Mexico, he already had an idea of what my cultural life was like. It would be a little later that I would discover his interest in learning about Hopi culture and art. (which of course I am also a Hopi artist)

With just over a year and a half of being together (and six of those months living together) I am happy to say that there has NEVER been one argument or an episode of drama between us. We both carry our own ways of creativity and while we respect the boundaries of the other’s time of focus while working, we both have come to appreciate, support, and best of all share our own worlds of art with the other. He has shown me a whole new perspective into the world of music (he’s close to receiving his PhD in musical composition) and I have shared with him my passion of activism though YouTube, as well as given him the opportunity to witness various ceremonial dances back home. My family has welcomed him with open arms since day one of meeting him. 🙂

He has taken me to New York for a concert in which he was a featured composer at St. Johns University School of Music. Just a few weeks after meeting me, he has seen me go to VidCon as a featured creator and an invited guest to the YouTube Space LA for a summit on accessibility. He also went with me when I was invited to speak at our Hopi Education summit to share my story of receiving special services for my low vision while attending school on the reservation. We both have performed together in a concert and of course we both are proud daddies of our dog Spike. ❤

Jared, with you I have found the perfect balance in what qualities you have as my partner that make me happy. You make me laugh in a way that nobody has ever appealed to a special sense of humor we have come to share. You always encourage me to go with my gut and to take every moment, even the little ones, of opportunities to have an adventure or to treat ourselves. You support my decisions and do your best to take care of me by doing the little things. I am happy that you love Spike just as much as I do and even more happy that my family also loves you. I am the luckiest man alive to call you my future husband. Thank you for everything, and for somehow finding a way to put up with my stubborn personality. 🙂 I love you!

For those of you wondering and who most likely came from the video, both of our rings are very unique in that they are made by the same Hopi jeweler with cultural symbols on them. Mine is the simpler of the two and has four humps on the band which is a Hopi symbol for a rain cloud. (see above) On both sides of the cloud there are three vertical lines to symbolize rainfall. Being that Hopi is located on the Colorado Plateau in Northeast Arizona, the elevation makes my reservation a very dry climate and the importance of rainfall for survival is the primary focus of prayer in our ceremonies.

 

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Jared’s ring is much more detailed and has five different symbols across the band.

 

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If we start on the left side, we have three similar symbols of which, again represent water. Some would say that they look similar to the special flutes used in the annual Flute Dance, a very special ceremony. Because the symbol is vertical I take it to be a another symbol of a rain cloud. To the right of this you have two corn stalks, a main crop farmed by Hopi men that is the very symbol of Hopi life and culture. Then, perhaps a more familiar native symbol, a depiction of Kokopeli. His story is that he had a hunched back and was a flute player. On his back he carried seeds which he planted wherever he went, playing his flute to help them grow. Just behind him there is a smaller symbol which is a mound with two pahos (eagle prayer feathers) on top. This is a small representation of a prayer shrine where various pahos are gathered from the community or a family. The last design on the far right can be interpreted in various ways. Most geometric designs are used to decorate pottery pieces and depending on the artist, can serve various meanings. I like to see it as sun rays reaching down upon the shrine, carrying prayers to the heavens. We pray to Dawa, our father the Sun.

Jared hasn’t stopped looking at the ring since I placed it on his finger. Again, if you wish to know how and where I proposed, you will have to watch a video which will be uploaded to my channel soon! Thank you to all who have sent their congratulations and best wishes for our future! Your support means everything! I am ready to have many adventures with someone who cares for me and makes me very happy. I love you Jared!

blind love

 

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Activism is for those who CARRY the label, not those outside of the community

Hey internet, man this has been one hell of a year for public opinion. This is the year I have taken a look at myself as an Indigenous person. (To those of you who are quick to call out my skin color, my body does not produce much melanin. I have albinism.) Not only the label Indigenous, but also the fact that I continually need to mention my genetic condition to set people straight about my ethnicity, has become increasingly annoying. If you’re subscribed to my channel http://www.youtube.com/jddalton you may have seen my latest upload This has been the most traffic my channel has received in one week since half a year ago. Why all the views? Because I wanted my voice heard in response to another YouTuber’s video where they spoke about Indigenous cultural appropriation. This YouTuber however, is not Indigenous.

Instead of making this post super long and explaining what happened, I will leave a link at the bottom of this post for you to watch the video for yourself. The point of this blog post is to discuss further why I called out this person for how she approached this subject with her audience. First of all, I understand that my voice alone does NOT represent the Indigenous community as a whole. We are all individual thinkers and our own experiences with our ethnic culture are going to be different just like our opinions about this other creator’s video. Second, I would like to address some comments I made about this creator in my response video. I mentioned that it appeared to me that she is only on the platform for the business part of it, along with mentioning her subscriber count, and the fact that no other YouTubers seemed to be featured on her channel tabs. I had mentioned this because as a person wanting to spread awareness, her own channel page did not appear to be set in a way that emphasized “networking with others.” I mentioned subscriber count because I felt it was important to at least give my viewer an idea of how many people could have watched her video I was discussing.

Back to my point (see title). You have every right to call yourself an ally to any community that is a minority. We will always welcome those who wish to spread awareness and participate in being educated about socioeconomic issues that minority communities face. But let’s get one thing clear, EVERY community has a voice. And as an ALLY, you recognize that you are not included in that community and the experiences that people OF said community face.

You want to help educate? Feel free to do so, but when using a platform it is basic respect to turn the attention to a voice FROM the community you wish to have represented. If you do not carry a certain label, show respect for those who do carry the label, by referring other viewers to their channel, or extend the courtesy of inviting a person on your channel to collaborate with. Regardless of intentions, know that taking the mic on issues that personally do not affect you, is not only disrespectful, it’s disparaging to that particular community.

Indigenous voices are present on the YouTube platform, but yet our number of subscribers does not even compare to that of other creators from other ethnic backgrounds. Why? Many topics related to the Indigenous community are still discussed today. (Dakota Access Pipeline, 45 mocking us by using Pocahontas’s name at an event honoring Native Veterans) These are issues that WE are able to speak to ourselves. Instead of having outsiders comment on our OWN history and experiences of cultural appropriation, we need to call them out by telling them that their voices are not what we need. We need you to support the voices of the community. Who better to speak about the issues we face than those who LIVE the experience and those who are AFFECTED by these forms of oppression???

Apparently, this other creator was asked to make her video from a viewer who identifies as Indigenous. Her viewers are using this fact as an excuse for her covering the topic in the way she did. Another Native also commented on my video saying that she is excused because she used humor in her video to send the message. Had she been a Native creator, those of us calling her out would more than likely have no issue with the video. Does her ethnicity matter?? In this matter I say YES it does. There have been several other Native YouTubers who have done this concept on their own channels. These videos have been up for a while now, before she uploaded her own version. I will conclude that she did not know of these videos existing before she published her own version. But I still say that she COULD have thought about collaborating with a Native creator. This would have been seen as respectful and would have shown that she truly values the voices of Indigenous people.

My response video can be seen by clicking here.

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Native American YouTubers

This is my call to ALL Indigenous YouTubers. If you’re a creator, viewer, or if you want to start your own channel, please read this article because I have something important to share.

So awhile ago I was chatting on twitter with two fellow Native vloggers, Honmana and Susie, about how much I want to see a panel of Indigenous creators at VidCon next year. This has been something I have envisioned ever since I attended my first VidCon in 2016 as a featured creator.

There are all types of content that relate to our communities and many ways that we embrace our cultural heritage through creative media online. What if we were able to come together to start a network with other indigenous creators out there? What if we could help build our audiences by working together on projects? What if we could talk about ways to preserve our historical knowledge and language using platforms like YouTube? What if we could support Indigenous brands of fashion, art, music, and film?

I know very well that many of us from both urban communities and on the reservation consume a lot of YouTube media. What if we were able to channel that focus so that we were able to inspire younger Native youth to be creative, to want to learn about their indigenous identity, and to have pride in their tribal heritage?

In those tweets I had also tagged VidCon’s profile. And just a couple days ago, I received a twitter message from VidCon saying that they are interested in this idea and told me to submit a proposal for a panel at VidCon 2018. So, this is something that could potentially happen! To ensure that it does we need the community to play its part. If you would like to see a panel of indigenous creators at VidCon in 2018 your voices need to be heard.

We are a community of creative people, and we have the ability to show the world that we are still here, our languages have the ability to continue through online media lessons and discussions. We can come together to address certain issues and challenges we face in our communities. For those who are away from home, we can find the support and find familiar tones of humor from other native voices and share our stories. We can unite together as an indigenous community from various nations.

Do you watch YouTube? Are there creators you like to watch who are also from Native American heritage? Are you a YouTube creator or wish to start making content? If you are interested and would like to have a network of other natives to ask questions, get inspiration, work on projects together, then let it be at VidCon 2018. Let’s show YouTube that we are a community worthy of representation at their annual event! Use the hashtag #WeRIndigneous to show your own creativity, share work from other Native people, and to have your voice heard by telling VidCon you want a panel of Indigenous creators next year.

Here is a collaboration project I put together a while back with other Indigenous Vloggers.  

Indigenous21 Podcast

logo_transparent_backgroundWhat’s up awesome readers of the internet! So, a few days ago I launched my new project for the #indigenous community. In my last post I had expressed how I still wanted to create digital content, but the feeling of making videos for my YouTube channel has started to feel like “too much” work. Mainly due to the fact that I now am working two jobs, I have a wedding coming up, and with the Holiday season approaching, things will be getting busy with events at work.

Indigenous21 is my new podcast which can be found on anchor.fm. My first episdoe I introduce myself and what my goal is through the platform. Earlier today I’ve uploaded my second episode to the podcast where I discuss Native Culture on digital media with my sister DeeDee. I also talk about what I have been able to achieve by uploading content to my YouTube channel and where I have been invited to speak about representing my communities.

The ultimate goal is to have submissions from listeners who also would like to contribute their thoughts on topics discussed on the podcast. I would very much like to build a network of indigenous leaders and scholars, activists, artists, or people who are proud of their culture and want to share and preserve it. I encourage you to have a listen and join me at the talking table. I’m still getting a feel for what my schedule will be, but for now my mission is to bring awareness of the podcast to the indigenous community.

What are some topic suggestions you would like to hear? The main direction I am wanting to go with this podcast is to have interactions with the community, conversations, bring these discussions to the people and give them an opportunity to engage and share their own perspectives and ideas. Look for the following profile image of the podcast to listen!

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Launching a New Project!

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Sneak Peak at the logo!

Hello awesome readers of the internet! I would like to begin this post by letting you all know how excited I am for this announcement! Well… more of a teaser really. But if you have been watching my recent uploads on my YouTube channel, I have been expressing that my presence within online media has not been that prominent the past few months. The reason for this? Over the summer I decided that I no longer wanted to mindlessly scroll though my phone when I am bored, I was also working at a summer youth program in which I was talking to my youth group about the negative side affects of social media. I then decided to set an example and made the move to delete both my Facebook and twitter accounts. I still have been using Instagram, but since I have left the other two platforms, I have noticed a change in my habit of digital media interaction. I was no longer interacting with other individuals, but only consuming media. I have not used my phone at work to check certain sites, and I have felt really good about this.

However, just yesterday I did the unthinkable and caved! I am BACK on Twitter and have been growing restless with not creating any content over the past two months. Why am I no longer creating YouTube videos? Well, I will still be uploading video content, but not as often anymore. I think that for the time being, I need to take a break from video media and see what new ideas come to mind for my channel in the future. I do want to make content!

Because of this urge to start creating again, I have now been working on launching a new project on a completely NEW platform! This media style will be completely new to me and I am so eager to get to work on the MANY ideas I have inside my head! I am hoping that I will be able to launch this project within the week and I plan to start networking with others to contribute and build onto the discussions I am wanting to host for my community. I hope that you will join me once I share the first published product of this new venture, and I hope that you will also share with others as well.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT!!!

Life is Chaos and it Never Stops

Hello readers of the internet. These past several months have come and gone so quickly the Holiday season is almost upon us! So many things are going on for me now that I have began to notice my absence from online digital media lately. I am still a consumer, but I have not really made a video in quite a bit and to be completely honest, I want to produce content, but my usual method of recording and editing the material would just pull more time for me in terms of “taking it easy”.

I do however need to get a video promotion done which should have been done at least a week ago! I think that I need to revise my method of uploading and producing content for my channel. Because I certainly WANT to make more content, but I just don’t want to have to put in the “work” to get these projects done. Work, meaning something that will drain me of brain power, and editing on a computer screen for several hours does impact my vision and eye strain after a while. The amount of potential stress I could have, with having a second, part time job, planning a wedding…. yes I did say wedding. 🙂

I proposed last December on the 28th, and we’ve decided to have our wedding on Dec 29th. Nothing too fancy, and we will do our best to keep it small, but come one, family is family. All of these changes happening, new responsibilities, I’m adjusting to all of this and would like to keep my sanity, Or maybe I do need a bit of a break??? from the channel that is. I have ideas but would like them to be presented in a way that I am satisfied with the quality of the content.

Maybe since leaving both twitter and facebook I have felt that making my presence known on digital media isn’t the highest priority for me, but to find a balance in not only consuming content, but actively learning and discussing certain topics with others. Maybe I’m at a point where I would like to hear more of what others are contributing to the online community. I’ve enjoyed seeing the success of friends and others that I follow. I’ve been active in a more local sense lately. and maybe that’s enough for me right now.

I do want to make videos, but I don’t want to stress about it. Let me know your thoughts if you are a fellow creator or if you follow me and my content. Thanks for reading and I hope all is well.

Life Update

Hello readers of the internet!

It had been quite some time since I last posted here, or even uploaded a video to my YouTube channel. Summer was EXHAUSTING! He have high temps, I was working, I’m back at the normal job, and I also have a part time job still with the place I worked at during the summer. SO with two jobs and also incorporating gym time back into my schedule, I now only have the weekend to record videos. At the moment I don’t have any footage to edit so you will have to wait more than likely another week.

Hows my life? Well my AC went out just this past weekend and I had to get a room Sunday night to keep my sanity and catch some sleep I missed. That is now fixed. I also have an audition coming up in September for a local TEDx talk in 2019. I am now just jotting down notes and starting to compose my speech. Maybe I can upload a video discussing my topic for the talk.

I also have received an invitation to apply for a scholarship to attend a week long summit at MIT for Disabled Activists in Digital Media. The application deadline is also in September so I am doing my best to brush up my resume and compose a letter of interest. The actual event will be held in May 2019.

I am still without facebook and twitter! I have survived a month without either account. At times I do feel the urge to “share” or browse through the feeds to catch up with all of the people I was following. I satisfy my scrolling needs through instagram, but I hardly interact with other people though comments. I just like the posts! 🙂 I now find myself at times feeling like “okay, this is when I would be on twitter and fb, but I don’t have them anymore….. what to do???” Silly I know, like there are SO MANY things I could be doing, but yet my brain misses looking through the feeds of social media.

Am I Lost???

I have lived this entire week without two social media apps I have used almost everyday for over the past five years! I deleted both of my Facebook and Twitter accounts (although I still have another week to change my mind before they are erased) I have felt weird wanting to “check in” with others but I now only have YouTube and Instagram. I wonder what relatives are up to, what old friends are doing….

I’ve also realized how often I feel the urge to “share” something or want to scroll through some feed to feel updated on everything. I like the fact that I am pulling my phone out less during the day. I still watch the same amount of YouTube videos on my phone, but I also think that I have been using Instagram more to satisfy my urge to scroll on posts. With the introduction of ITV and the slight changes made to YouTube…. it has been interesting to me in thinking about how these platforms continually transform themselves to keep users on their sites and innovate ways for creators to “work” more using new developments for followers to consume content.

I am also bummed that I am missing out on another year of VidCon for a second year in a row. But I think not seeing posts on Twitter and FB help. 🙂 I want to “talk” to people who I could normally communicate through messenger on those apps. I hope this feeling of want to post and scroll will pass after more time. My brain still needs to adjust. It’s a challenge to keep “connected” to my audience when I limit myself to interact with them to only two social media sites. But I also have Patreon and you can always email me! 🙂

I’m Deleting Facebook and Twitter Profiles

Whats up readers of the internet! I know I have not posted to this blog in quite some time. And I wanted to post here before I edit the video about this topic for my YouTube channel. As you’ve read in the title, I’m leaving Twitter and Facebook.

Why? It’s my choice, and I feel that making this decision will help me to gain more focus on what truly matters to personal achievements. I don’t need to play the “numbers game” of social media to find my happiness and to feel productive. I can devote my time wasted on these apps to get more important things done. I can focus less time in a virtual bubble and hopefully not be as distracted by notifications or feeling the need to check in on these sites.

But I’m not leaving social media all together. I am a YouTuber after all, and as a visual creative person (who is visually impaired) I love seeing posts on Instagram! I will still be using these two platforms to share my creativity with others and to connect with those who live far and wide.

What are your thoughts about social media? Is it good or bad? Are we addicted to these apps?