Avalon is a very special American blogger buddy I met in the blogosphere thanks to our common interest in BBC Robin Hood and , especially,  in its leather- clad baddie, Guy of Gisborne. Read through her interview and leave your comment and your e-mail address to get the chance to win a DVD of one of her favourite films,  Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee  

Welcome on Fly High! And thank you Avalon for being my guest, I’m very happy and honoured to meet  a special person like you. Would you mind starting with a short self –introduction?

I live in the southern section of the U.S.A. on a horse ranch. I am the mother of two little boys who are pow wow dancers and historical re-enactors, which means we get to travel frequently. We are enrolled members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. I have a degree in American History and work in Native American Preservation. I am also a volunteer genealogist and the owner of a quaint antique shop located in The Great Smoky Mountains. I have a very large close-knit family. My mother is an anthropologist, my father is a large animal veterinary, and I have five siblings, seven nieces and nephews, two great nieces, and over thirty cousins. I like to hike, river raft, and hang glide. I also love reading and history. I am interested in the Medieval Era, America's Civil War, and Native American History. And I like Ben Barnes and Richard Armitage.

 I love your name. It makes me think of King Arthur and its legend. Did it have a special value for yor parents?

My parents are history fanatics and named each of us after an historical person or place. I was named for Avalon and Michelle for Michele De Nostredame. My brothers are Tsali (Cherokee Warrior) Lancelot (Arthurian), Aramis (Musketeer) Victorio (Apache Chief), Ottawa (Native Tribe) Capulet (Shakespeare's Juliet's last name). My sisters are Nazareth (biblical) Isis (Egyptian Goddess), and Scarlett (Gone with the Wind) Josephine (for Napoleon's Josephine). And yes everyone teases us.
 I would never do that , better , I find them all wonderful names. Listen Avalon, reading your self – introduction I couldn’t believe my eyes. Everything sounds terrific: The Band of the Cheeroke Nation, your sons are pow wow dancers, you live and run a shop at the Great Smoky Mountains… so American, so fascinating! And you work for the Native American Preservation. What is it exactly that you do?
My family is from the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, which is sovereign nation. I have a shop there but I live in North Georgia which is about 3 hours from our Cherokee home.
I do different types of work; the exact job depends on who hires us out. Last month I had to travel and visit some ancient mounds and write up a report. Sometimes we work with Native children, Indigenous Education is very important to our youth. My more experienced co-workers have overseen documentaries and movies dealing with Native History. We took part in the documentary We Shall Remain. This summer I may be lucky enough to tour Canada's First Nations for an upcoming documentary. Much of our work is nonprofit and I often volunteer my time for events benefiting Native Children. We are not limited to locality as we are a continental organization.

 Great. The History of your people must be preserved and I think you do priceless work, precious indeed. And I think you should blog about these things you do more and more, Avalon. So, here we are at blogging. You’ve started only recently but you’ve made great progress with your lovely Avalon’s Blog. How did you start? How has blogging changed your life?
Thank you. My nieces are bloggers which encouraged me to blog. I met Natalie (RA Fan Blog) and decided I wanted to try Blogspot. I have made several interesting friends and it has been a fun hobby.

 You’ve got lots of other hobbies apart from blogging! What is your favourite one?
River rafting...such an adrenaline rush . Last year we started skyflying (a thrill ride) and since then it has become my thing.

Gosh Avalon! Great! You are a brave girl! We have a beautiful river here in my place and there are young people canoeing and going rafting. A couple of years ago, our school organized (I did it) a rafting event for a group of Belgian students we were having as guests: my students went, the Belgian students went, my Belgian colleagues went but … I didn’t dare! I was petrified only to think about it. Let’s say … water is not my element. But books are. So, next question … you are a historian and love reading. What is/are the best historical fiction book/s or essay/s you’ve read and would recommend to our readers? What are your favourite authors and genres?

The Anasazi Mystery Series and The First North American Series by Michael and Kathleen Gear. The authors are archeologist, something I have always wanted to be.
I also so like Lucia St. Clair Robson's novels. My favorite of her's is Ride the Wind which is based on the life of Cynthia Ann Parker. She was captured by the Comanche and adopted into the tribe. Years later the army "rescued" her and after several failed attempts to return to her Comanche husband, she died of a broken heart. Captive tales is something that has always intrigued me.
I also like John Jakes, Sue Harrison, and Joseph Marshall.

I know you like actor Bern Barnes much but , to be honest, I’ve seen very little of him. I’ve actually seen him only as Dorian Gray at the cinema. Have you seen him in that role? Did you like him? What is the movie with him you prefer? What do you most like in him?
As a child I was a Narnia fan of the books so of course as an adult I loved the movies. I fell in love with Ben as soon as he opened his eyes in the first scene of Prince Caspian. I have every movie he has ever played in, including Dorian Gray but Prince Caspian is my favorite. As hopelessly obsessed as I sound, I really do not know that much about Ben (my nieces do though) but I would like to think Ben is a bit like Caspian in real life; chivalrous, honorable, and a seeker of justice. You know those traits we only find in books, lol.
I am not quite sure what attracted me to him. He is one of the few non-native men that I find attractive.

You are an expert of the legend of Robin Hood. Why do you like it so much? Have you seen many of the film versions? Have you seen the latest one with Russel Crowe? What is your favourite version?
Thanks for the compliment, but I am in no way an expert of the legend of Robin Hood. I think I like it because I am a dreamer, silly-hearted as some has so amply put it. I love heroes; Robin Hood, King Arthur, Jesse James, Crazy Horse; small people who sacrificed themselves to stand up against powerful tyranny.
I think I studied the legend for so long because I want proof that he existed. Native people use oral stories to tell history and I would like to think that Europeans are not that much different then us, and that the legends of King Arthur and the ballads of Robin Hood originated from truth. It is sad when I hear people say they are fables used to entertain children and it is even sadder when those same people exploit Native Lore.
I have seen probably every version of Hood and I did not approve of the 1992 version of Robin Hood (with Kevin Costner). I am excited about Robin Hood 2010 and hope to see it soon.

 I know you appreciate BBC 2006/2009 Robin Hood series and that, just like me, you were quite hooked by the baddie in the series, more than by the hero. Why is Richard Armitage’s Gisborne so fascinating, according to you?

You mean my second non-native crush, lol. But seriously it was Guy's arrogant attitude and predominate allure that turned me onto him. I like that alpha male type.
As the series progressed, Guy revealed that he was not really a sadist killer but a man that had been driven into the monster that he was. There are two types of villains; those who hurt others simply because they enjoy seeing others suffer (like the sheriff) and then there are those like Guy, someone that has been wronged and gave up on the idea that good always prevails over evil, so they embrace sadistic behavior in hopes to triumph.

I have always had a soft spot for those of the second type because these types are usually conceived from Native Americans in books and movies, examples; Geronimo, Crazy Horse, and Magua from the Last of the Mohicans. Some claim these men were cold-blooded killers, but what had turned them into the men they were? What had been done to them for them to seek revenge in such a monstrous manner? It is the same with Guy. We know Robin wronged him by taking his lands, we know he entered adulthood on the streets of France, and it is up to the audience to imagine what else he might have endured.

 If you could go back in time and stop the action at series 2 ep. 13, just few seconds before Guy commits the infamous crime and makes himself and all of us terribly sad, what would you write in your own personal finale? I am not so sure that I would change it. I admired Marian and cried my heart out when she was murdered but it was her death that set the path for Robin and Guy's reconciliation. Maybe I would have had Prince John murder Lady Marian or threaten her so that she would be forced to remain in the Holy Land until Guy and Robin freed England.

 Your twist with Prince John killing Marian would have been good. Guy and Robin would have had a reason to join forces and their reconciliation would have been less unbelievable. Have you seen series 3? What do you think of Guy in it? And what do you think of his radically changed relationship with Robin?
Season 3 was a bit more mature and I liked the change. I only wished the writers would have done a few seasons with Guy fighting beside Robin, think of all the plots they could have dreamed up, it would have been entertaining.
I was disappointed to see the series end. It nearly broke my heart watching Allen, Robin, and Guy perish. Robin and Guy had an honorable death, it was Allan who was cheated. Allen deserved better, he should have gone out fighting by Robin's side.

 You are ready to a very generous and exciting giveaway. Do you want to tell about it yourself? Why did you choose to give away just this DVD?

For hundreds of years there has been countless massacres inflicted upon Native Americans and Wounded Knee is one of the more famous accounts because it occurred recently, at the dawn of the 20th Century. Wounded Knee was just another tragedy to the Native Tribes of America but it was something more to United States Citizens. Before when soldiers attacked and killed the red race, it was an honorable act, even commendable because the citizens saw us as the predator, because there were no reporters on site, no pictures that revealed the remains of murdered Indian mothers and scalped babies. That changed at Wounded Knee, when those heart-wrenching photos revealed the true horror of ethic genocide, Americans felt our pain and shared our grief and for the first time they felt ashamed and guilt.
I chose to give-a-way Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee because I do not think we should forget the past and what our ancestors have been through. It is one of the few movies told from the eyes of the red race. I hope the person that receives it learns something for our side of the story.

 My last question is … What would you like our readers to contribute in their comments?
Your readers are welcomed to ask me anything they choose.
And thank you for having me. I have always enjoyed your blog and our RA conversations.

It’s been a real pleasure Avalon and , of course, I too enjoy reading your blog and our RA conversations. Till next one , then. Thank you!

And  good luck with the giveaway, everybody!
Winner will be announced on Monday 7th June
The giveaway is open worldwide!


Linda Henderson said...

We have Cherokee in our family on my father's side. We have tried unsuccessfully to do some research into our family tree, but really don't know how to research Native American ancestors. I have always been interested in the Native American culture and have read Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. It was a very powerful accounting of a dark part of our history. Creek Mary's Blood is another good book on Native American heritage. Thank you for the great giveaway.

seriousreader at live dot com

mulubinba said...

Fantastic interview Maria. Thank you so much, Avalon, for sharing with us!!

Mary Gray said...

It was great to learn more about you, Avalon. Maria, thanks for doing this! I, too, love John Jakes. North and South (the civil war version...as well as the british story) is a wonderful book.

Traxy said...

Thanks to MG for the interview! Wonderful to learn more about you, Avalon! :) Such great names you and your siblings have, but I can understand that children weren't perhaps that understanding of them!

I watched "Zombieland" earlier today, and there's a scene in there, where they're in what seems to be some sort of Native American gift shop, and I thought of you. When they started smashing it up, however, I thought it was in very poor taste. The film-makers might've perhaps just seen it as "smashing up some random deserted shop in the middle of nowhere", but it felt as if it was symbolic - and not in a good way! :/ Sure, there are many heritage things that have succumbed to commercialism (Dublin is one of them!), and maybe it's a statement about that, but considering the relationship between Native and "imported" Americans' past, I just found it very disrespectful.

The movie sounds really interesting. It's awful how things can be allowed to go on and be justified until evidence of what's actually going on gets out. Then it's a "oh, well, we won't stand for that anymore!" - but for the past 50 or 100 years, it was perfectly okay?! And the only thing that's changed is that you've now seen pictures? Sounds hypocritical to me! Like with the Nazi death camps: "well, we didn't know what was going on in there" - yeah right! How come humanity can be so inhumane?

...Changing subject, trying to get off the Rant Train, the Kevin Costner version. The Sheriff (Alan Rickman) was fab, but a Robin Hood with a heavy American accent? That's just wrong on so many levels!

I hope to go to America one day. There's so much incredibly beautiful nature over there, and such diverse geography. Definitely more to see than Disneyland!

Avalon said...

@Linda Henderson - You should try the Indian rolls. I suggest the Dawes Roll first. Your local library should have this book. Native blood is hard to trace. I volunteer in genealogy and people with mixed heritage struggle to find proof of their native ancestry, especially if their family did not reside on the reservation. You are more then welcome to email me (my email is located at my blog) and I can check some rolls for you. I own copies of several native censuses and blood rolls.

Avalon said...

Traxy, very thoughtful of you to feel the way you did about the shop, more evidence of your sincere humanity and compassionate nature...which is why I awarded you the Humanity Award a few months ago. I only wish there was more people like you in this selfish world.

My rez doesn't allow imports (on Native American merchandise), everything is authentic and made locally by the Cherokee. Maybe one of these days I will do a give-a-way, I am sure someone in Europe would appreciate an authentic Native dreamcatcher or necklace.

Wounded Knee is interesting but not very entertaining, which earned it several negative reviews. I think critics forget this is a film about the atrocities of Wounded Knee seen through Native eyes and not an Hollywood action-adventure flick.

Our names weren't too bad..lol...I go by Avalon and Tsali Lancelot goes by Tsali so not many make the Arthurian connection. It is actually my sister that gets the most teasing (Scarlett) because we live in Georgia and speak with a southern accent.

Judy said...

Enjoyed reading this fascinating interview, thank you very much, Avalon and Maria Grazia. I've read the book 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee', which I found very powerful and a real eye-opener - I haven't seen the movie yet but can borrow the DVD from a friend, so no need to enter me in the giveaway.

Jackie said...

what an interesting review. i love reading and i hope i can win this.

tyme_4_t said...

Thank you for the interview MG & Avalon!

@Avalon - you mentioned you may be visiting some areas of Canada's First Nations. What part of Canada / which of Canada's First Nations are you planning to visit?

DEZMOND said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Avalon said...

tyme_4_t, You know I am not quite sure, the package is in the office and I will have to sit down and really look at it. I really want to go but when I travel, especially long trips, I take my children with me and my boys have a long list of day camps and lessons and pow wows they have signed up for. I will know by Thursday. I do know Alberta is a priority.

Even if I am not able to tour, we will be in Brantford toward the end of July for a pow wow. I have never been to Brantford but am very much looking forward to it. Do you know where this is?

MaryKwizMiz said...

WOW. Only got past the first 4 paragraphs, will read all later tonight.
thanks MG and Avalon for sharing, so very insightful and fascinating. I look forward to the "full story"

Phylly3 said...

Hi Avalon!
I thought I had commented here already, but I must not have pressed the right button. Oops! I hope it's not too late for the draw?
This was a great interview, MG and it's nice to learn more about you Avalon!

Phylly3 said...

I just read your comment about where you will be visiting in Canada. Brantford is in southern Ontario (too far away for me to visit, unfortunately).
It was named after Joseph Brant, a famous Canadian native leader. I have always wanted to visit the museum there.

Anonymous said...

Richard Armitage and Ben Barnes, Wonderful!
Who was it that said all Englishmen were ugly?