There are no words for what I am feeling right now. Powerless tears and anger are flooding my being. Yet words are the only power I have in this moment. Just finished watching Aaron Huey deliver a TED talk about the Black Hills and the Lakota Tribe and am overcome with sadness and disbelief. Not because this information is shocking or new, but more the opposite. It is so old it makes me sick and numb. So deeply rooted in the lies that our foundation of this country has been built upon that we are blind to the truth of its origin. How can we call ourselves “The Land of The Free” and “The Home of The Brave” when this is what we have created and continue to ignore?! It makes a mockery of their life and history, as well as a lie of our own. We are not heroes or discoverers. We are greedy, self-serving, callous, undeserving people if we let this continue year after year. Isn’t each generation born with hopes of healing the wounds our ancestors endured? Why is this taking us so long?! Have we given up? Are we even trying?! Are we all just waiting for the next “Great Hope” to come to our rescue and forgive us for our sins?! How can we ignore our own suffering here at HOME, while we go and try to “fix” another country, nation or “tribe”? Who the hell do we think we are, anyway?! God?! Haven’t we learned anything from these massacres and dis-service, the wars and the suffering? We should mind our own fucking business..... but that is the real issue. We, the people, think EVERYTHING is our business. We need to focus on healing our root structure first and then we will truly be in a position of power to aid and nurture the rest of the world. We are hypocrites if we ignore the Lakota and other abandoned tribes.
I feel guilt and honor course though my veins simultaneously. It has been said that I have Indian blood in my own, on my grandmother’s side, from the Mic-Mac tribe of Canada. It has been said in a connotation of “coolness” minus the sacred. Being a sacred seeker, I want to know more. This discovery has haunted me lately and now I gain clarity as to why. I have forgotten, abandoned and been left as an illusion of my own heritage, with my Irish and German roots taking center stage like weeds in my garden of life. I have recently begun to investigate this fiction to find the facts, only to be left with similar questions that I imagine the Lakota and others are asking (or once did, but now feel so hopeless that they don’t even bother anymore). Where has my history gone? Why hasn’t it been preserved as the abundant harvest that it is, for all generations to be fed and nourished by? Why am I left in the dark when I am craving to be shown the light? Why is being Irish and German more accepted and valued than being “Native American” in this country? Irish are native to Ireland. Germans are native to Germany. How much more native can you get than being an Indigenous American?!
Native:being the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being: one's native land.
belonging to a person by birth or to a thing by NATURE; inherent: native ability; NATIVE GRACE(=DISGRACE?)
belonging by birth to a people regarded as indigenous to a certain place, especially a preliterate people
4.of indigenous origin, growth, or production: native pottery. (art)
5.of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the indigenous inhabitants of a place or country: native customs; native dress.
Americans, or American people: [loosely based on Wikipedia’s explanation] the citizens of the United States-- home to people of different national origins. As a result, Americans do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with citizenship. Aside from the Native American population, nearly all Americans or their ancestors immigrated within the past five centuries. (i.e. NOT NATIVE)
A cultural “melting pot” or pluralistic salad bowl, describes the way in which generations of Americans have celebrated and exchanged distinctive cultural characteristics (excluding indigenous ones.....they don’t matter anymore in the “New World” and neither do sacred rituals, ancient ceremonies or civil rights).
I am so upset right now and feel so fucking powerless! Writing is my only nourishment. I can only imagine the sadness and rage that has been building in their blood, our blood, after years of oppression. Here I am in my warm home, a full belly of fresh baked banana bread and coffee, sitting at my brand new MAC with a full day of freedom before me. I feel guilty that I have no more than words and love to send out in this moment. Do words even mean anything anymore? If I, like many of these tribes, was told of the collective salad bowl theory through words, but through actions fed government cheese and welfare checks that turn into six-packs of Budweiser, I may stop eating up all the bullshit and have a drink too. I may face the East, West, North and South in a questioning disbelief and despair that this is what our elders lived and died for. I might pray for a “spirit” to come and take away all my pain. I would search and pay anything I had for that spirit, giving thanks for its wet kisses of hope on my lips and its lies that comfort me to sleep each time we meet, only to be rudely awakened to my reality again the next morning, from my cot in a moldy room that I share with five other families. My tribe.
“First Come, First Serve”...... Where did this come from? If we can adopt that as truth, why not a tribe who WAS here first?!
Where would we be now if we would have only asked to SHARE the land and learn from the wisdom within their community? How could we force ourselves upon them, thinking we knew better about something we had never seen and somewhere we had never been...their home? How would you feel if someone came into your home and acted that way? Would you call the police? Where were the police in the 1800’s? Oh, yea...we were not only the thief but also the chief, of police. They had no hope of victory. No chance. We call ourselves heroes? We were cowards. I say “WE” because WE still look the other way. WE still allow this shit to continue while praising private policies of white tribes for building backyard gardens and “helping the poor” so we can claim we are “Evolving” and “Changing” for the better. That is not evolution, it is cyclical trickery and avoidance tactics we eat up like our organic salads grown from suppressed soils (pay no attention to the void of nutrients....look at all the pretty flowers I just planted!).
I feel ashamed when I watch this talk that I don’t know more. That I haven’t done more and that I have ever been proud to call myself “American”. That I could have had any tie to this massacre of MY ancestors makes me sick. Ignorance is NOT bliss.
I contemplate these veins of shame, guilt, anger, and fear that run thorough us all like water trickling through cracks in the dam. How much more can we take before this levee breaks?!
These cracks in this system of freedom and justice FOR ALL are the spaces in need of repair if we truly want growth, evolution and change. I guess that is the real question.....do we? Patches of denial, hopelessness and greed will only feed the flow and soon this water body will have nowhere to go. It will have no choice but to flood us with the truth of our blind eyes, in the end leaving us dry as bone, thirsty for the synovial fluid that will return our strength, flexibility and freedom. Why do we Americans wait for disaster to hit in order for repair to begin? I will never understand it. I will never buy in. It is true, but not my truth.
You can “love” this story or not and I love it if you do, but I didn’t write it for you. I wrote it for them. Our tribe. The ones without voices or the freedoms we have. It takes a village and I am offering myself to be a voice for this tribe that I can barely make out a whisper of anymore. Our weakest link could be our greatest strength, but how will we know if we just continue on like it isn’t there in need of our aid?! The aid is giving these humans who SHARE this Earth with us, back their GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS of happiness, health, freedom and peace, or at least the chance to experience them and choose.
To all tribes I shout out: “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”!
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
lokah: location, realm, all universes existing now
samastah: all beings sharing that same location
sukhino: centered in happiness and joy, free from suffering
bhav: the divine mood or state of unified existence
antu: may it be so, it must be so
Does the truth hurt or set us free? That is up to us, the collective, and the consciousness that runs through it from all spaces and all times. It is a CHOICE. Our choice.
Aaron Huey, you are a blessing to humanity and you have been heard, seen and felt. Thank you for being a fearless white man for the greater good cavalry, leading our collective forward in this battle of equality. Where do we go from here? I wish to surrender to this cause with the hope of creating something my Mic-Mac Grandma Pat would have been proud to be a part of.
Grandma Pat, I promise to honor you in this deeper discovery of my roots and the return of their importance to my own tribe, as they are blessed to be born into a future of freedom.