Like the talons attached to an otherwise, free bird;
A catch of its jagged edges, never we mind;
The snagging of a delicate thread – loss for word;
The snuffing out of the scent we’ve scattered to find.
The upheaval of oceans otherwise, swallowed depths;
The crash of its tumbling ledges, never we satisfy;
The repetitive histories of nations – not too many left;
An evolution into something born and bred of genocide.
Beneath the shifts in the shelves of the Earth,
Fed by the deepest roots of each living, breathing tree;
Beneath the magma and beyond the light of time’s birth,
Lays a carbon copy of everything we think and see.
A paper fortress twisted in the twirl of a tumbleweed;
Laced with spores off the floors that we stand in line to lick clean,
We are filthy – this thing called “humanity” – there’s no denying;
Our demise is solidified as deeply as the Mariani.
“With all things and in all things, we are relatives.”
~ Arapaho Proverb (Native American)
I chose today’s proverb simply because it chose to grab me when I came across it in a book about Colonial times in the US. I know I am not the only one who has noted the trends amongst native leaders during those times to urge unity and humanity in the face of life-altering impositions and strife; and the above quote is just another example of the tribal tendency to relate with a stranger who is fundamentally different.
Just some super random thoughts:
My father always teased me while I was growing up about certain things I had done during toddler-hood, or earlier; he claimed to adore my prematurely acquired sense of humor, despite the things it often reflected back onto him with my ever-inappropriate joke-telling in an out-of-turn setting. One thing that he never let me live down was the self-proclaimed affinity that I announced having to “God’s People from the Holy Land” when I was barely able to string sentences together yet – approximately age three-ish.
He brought it up until the day that he died whenever he got the chance to reminisce upon the story with family or friends, reminding me of my earliest ‘ah-ha moments’ without skipping a beat at the opportunity. My older set of brothers (“the originals”), of course was on board also, and chimed in just as often over the family favorite of my youthfully profound closeness to Jews. I had never even met a Jewish person before making the statement with the utmost certainty to both my father and my Papa (grandfather) from across the room.
I am not sure if I actually recall this detail or if the story has been told so many times over the years of my life that it’s become an implanted thing; but I do have a “photographic memory” to an almost autistic degree, so I think that I truly remember. I recall how hurt my feelings were when they both laughed heartily at my words, and I recall being somehow very aware at that moment that they were not like me – that my set of brothers and I were not the same as the rest of our family unit. I do not remember ever harboring any true expectations after that instance of either of them to really appreciate, nor respect, my native blood.
I had no idea back then that two of my brothers and I are half-breeds; no tickle of any notion behind why I felt the things I did – in contrast to the men (and ONE grandmother) who raised me collectively; I had no concept of the ties that bind by nature just as strongly as by nurture. It’s only been since I grew older, that I fully understand the affinity to the Jews that I was struggling to recognize and verbalize at a very young age; and now it seems blatantly obvious in its cause:
the worst genocidal executions in the history of humankind belong to the separate populations that make up Jews and Native American Indians by a landslide.
And somehow, the very un-tuned but already empathic blood in my veins was trying to speak to me about such truths and realities way back then. Just some thoughts…
“Upon suffering beyond suffering the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world; a world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations; a world longing for light again.” – Crazy Horse, Oglala
The Oglala Lakota people are collectively interchangeable with the descendants of the one of the worst National Memories belonging to the US: Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to the National Memorial Site of the notorious massacre of over 250 Lakota, at Wounded Knee Creek in 1890. They represent a long history of violated treaties and broken promises on the part of US government. In 1980, after the longest-running court case in US history, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Black Hills territory, land sacred to the Lakota, had been seized illegally after gold was discovered there in 1874. The court awarded a compensation payment of US$ 106 million, but the tribe refused the money and demanded return of the lands, instead. This is a tribe that has endured against the most tremendous of odds throughout history, and one that I deeply respect and admire as a whole.
“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.” –Navajo Proverb
The Navajo, or Naabeehó
This tribal population likely makes up the most diverse tribe in modern day US; they originally hail from the Southwestern United States, and are the largest federally recognized tribe of the United States of America (with over 300,000 enrolled members).
In this modernized, techno-tycoon day and age,
in which illumination shines from an LED console;
a robotic voice sounds disturbingly soothing to me,
the i-Appleseed: now a weed growing out of control.
data plans – print or scan –
my fucking attention span –
is well beyond over-full…
watch me start the Modern American Revolution,
by simply pulling out the Ethernet cord;
In this bullshit “civilized” Yankee culture,
in which you are either poor or filthy rich;
we stand in the sun all day, in line
to gladly pay the outstretched hand –
strip down for the Man –
and once again, here we stand…
watch us smile as we hand over our last dimes,
Divided from the government
united, we can reclaim the orchard again.
As our super-horribly-awful holiday known as Valentine’s Day draws nearer:
Okay so a lot of you may be offended by my concept and I truly apologize to anyone who takes offense at my attempt to kill two birds with the one stone…but:
Instead of Valentine’s Day on February 14, I suggest that February 19 become National “No Donner for Dinner Day” in celebration of the long-overdue rescue efforts made by Californians to get the Donner Party to safety from the Pass.
I really dislike the concept of Valentine’s Day and always have – not sure why besides the fact that it’s just flat-out dumb in my opinion. St. Valentine was executed by the Pope in return for his defiance of the catholic marriage laws, his story is nowhere near “romantic”.
NOTE: I realize that not everyone made it out alive and I am in no way making light of the tragedy surrounding this bit of humor; but I do, however – feel that if we are going to demand a holiday for every month and need one for February, it should be something worthy of a National Holiday, for Christ sake…I mean, when was the last time anybody wrote a biography on Cupid or even the good Saint, for that matter?…some guy from medieval Europe celebrated as an American holiday, really? It’s just not worthy.
The rescue of the surviving members of such a horrific, VERY American historical tragedy is quite worthy as a celebratory memorial holiday, in my opinion. I mean, can you imagine anything better to celebrate besides the Donner Party (as well as several attachment families and various individual travelers) exiting a winter-long living, freezing, starving Hell. The losses of these people were difficult to comprehend from my warm bedroom in sunny Nor-Cal, but I know that at least one of the survivors one time made the statement in an interview with a reporter that he’d preferred to have died up on the Pass in the snow with his brother…a statement that gives one pause to think a little longer about the endurance of those who came down the Pass and carried on with life afterward.
““So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion;respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,even a stranger, when in a lonely place.Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” ”
“A twig breaks, but a bundle holds strong.”
“When the legends die, the dreams end…there is no more greatness.”
-Tecumseh, Shawnee Leader
Not sorry, this my opinion – like it or don’t:
As a (half-bred Shawnee) Native-American, Thanksgiving as Holiday has always brought seriously conflicted sensations up from the deepest recesses of my blackened heart, without fail. I have never been able to really put a finger on why…but the older I get and the more that I recognize the bullshit “history” we are taught as “Americans” in school, the more clear it becomes to me.
I wasn’t there, obviously; I have NO clue what REALLY went down between two highly on edge and vigilant parties that supposedly bonded over a huge and plentiful turkey feast at a picnic table somewhere in the country, way back in the day – but I can say with certainty that it COULD NOT HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN THE WAY IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN DESCRIBED TO CHILDREN IN GRADE SCHOOL.
Come on, now…we’re all adults here now…
You expect me to believe that there were not tribe folk scattered thoroughly amongst the trees surrounding the picnic table to which their kinsmen/women were likely being forced to “share” a meal of their own with strangely clothed white folks that seemed to appear out of nowhere? I don’t.
You expect me to believe that the Tribes tell a story anywhere similar to the Americanized version of what was more accurately a strong-armed robbery in some sense or another? I don’t. I have thoroughly researched the OTHER SIDE of the coin on this topic; I have heard the words with my own ears – coming from people who pump the same blood as my own.
This holiday should be renamed as: “Gimme that. That’s Mine Now, Bitch.”
It’s a fabricated BULLSHIT HOLIDAY that epitomizes American Capitalization at it’s very bluest and whitest. Fuckers.