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.