“Native Elders will ask for spiritual help on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013, at noon in Winnipeg and Minneapolis (CST). In Winnipeg, Albert Taylor, 85, will sing the death song used by the 38 Dakotas who were hanged in Mankato, Minn., in 1862. Blockade in Manitoba on Wed., Jan. 16 2013. “We know that we are still alive today because the Dakota Ghost Dancers prayed for us, now we must pray for the future generations.”
The Elders are asking for time to consider the spiritual side of our understanding. On Saturday January 19th, we gather to protest at the RCMP station in Winnipeg but for one hour from noon to one, our Elders will take over and remind us of the spiritual part of our people. Midewiwin women (a secret Ojibway medicine society) have been walking for years praying for the water, they walked across North America and around the Great Lakes but few know of their strength. The Midewiwin women will join the ceremony at noon, bringing their power to help and they will pray for the water. Many whites and some of our own people do not understand this and will be like Diego De Landa thinking that this is only superstition. As more people become victims of hurricanes and weather disasters, they may yet come to understand that our Mother is conscious and aware of us, even if some are not aware of her.”
~ First Nation Ojibway Terrance Nelson
You probably know the history of the Dakota 38 (video movie trailer here), being the largest mass extermination on American soil ordered by Abraham Lincoln who was making sure that those pesky Redskins would be subjugated once and for all by this example. The 38 were hung on Dec. 26, 1862.
You may or may not know that the Ghost Dance movement was brought to the Lakota and other tribes by Northern Paiute Wovoka, whose vision showed him that if Indians would live in harmony, meditating, chanting and round dancing, the dying earth would be reborn cleansed of white men, and inherited by Native Americans; buffalo would again roam the long-grassed plains. White man’s ways were to be utterly shunned, especially the destroyer, alcohol. Wovoka’s vision spread like wildfire across the Great Basin.
Terrified by the rapid pace at which the movement had spread over two years, when it hit the great plains and thousands began participating in round dances, the government outlawed the Ghost Dance on the Lakota reservation in 1890. Bigfoot, Sitting Bull and Red Cloud figure prominently in the tragic history. Briefly, troops moved onto the reservation when in defiance of orders, the next dance was held for several different bands. At one point the 350 Lakota fled north, but they were soon under the control of the Seventh Cavalry, and were ordered to set up a camp on Wounded Knee Creek. You know the rest: at least 150 Lakota men, women and children were massacred. Of incalculable symbolic value for First Americans, in 1973 the site was occupied by AIM in answer to the failure to impeach corrupt tribal chairman Dickie Wilson; his re-election was instrumental in events that led to the shoot-out with the FBI at Pine Ridge which led to political prisoner Leonard Peltier’s decades of incarceration.
The Idle No More movement has already spread like wildfire to hundreds of locations around the planet where the Indigenous have long been subjugated by colonizers and neo-colonizers alike. Begun as Indigenous protests to Stephen Harper’s corporate profiteering C-45 bill that was passed in mid-December In the cold winter of December.
Lower Nicola Indian Band Executive Director Arnie Narcisse spoke to the Merritt Herald recently:
He likened the relationship between First Nations and the federal government to a buffalo jump, with the First Nations treaty and land rights as the buffalo driven over the cliff by the Harper Government, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan, and pipeline proponents.
The Jobs and Growth Act basically (C-45) gives the government the excuse to run roughshod over our right and title to this land,” he said. “All of these things are designed to sucker us into economics, if you will, at the cost of protecting the environment and all of the other things that matter to us.
Yes; can you see that we are they, and that they are we now, as our civil rights, the fruits of our labor, and the well-being of our planet are stolen by the capitalist greed of the corporate-entwined federal government? The Indigenous have suffered far longer under the yoke of colonialism, but many of us in the 99% have died ‘from the gravy spills of the Priests of the Golden Bull’, but our banana republic ‘leaders’ are catching us up at an alarming rate.
In Edmonton, on the Solstice:
By now, people all over the US and Canada and around the world are performing round dances with hand drums and First Nation songs … close your eyes and feel the heartbeat, feel it deep in your bones … feel your head nod to the drum…and your feet wanting to move … feel your heartbeat, and the heartbeat of the planet … lub-dub … lub-dub….breathe in the faint wafts of burning sage and sweetgrass…lub-dub….lub-dub….
The colonized Indigenous have been silently building a movement in the shadows, abjuring the First Nations tribal leaders they believe have sold out to the corporate white man. Deep at the core of INM are radical women who have long been critical of the ‘pragmatism’ of their male brothers. They have been calling out to First Nation youths to participate in the struggles for true democracy, justice and resource use (or abuse). Already the youth are responding, and seem eager to embrace tribal teaching and traditions that they may have ignored earlier in their lives. As in the US, the Canadian government fears native peoples, and as with the American Indian Movement (think: COINTELPRO), over-reacted to signs of resistance outside of mainstream, veal-pen social movements. Journalist Murray Dobbin who writes at Rabble.ca has a good piece on the history of the movement, its strengths and the formidable dangers it faces in the coming days, given that they mean business, and are aiming to Stop the Corporate machine and power structure (especially the Mohawk nation).
It seems that the movement is twigging to the fact that their radical aims to slow down or halt Canadian resource fascism will entail some formidable bravery, solidarity, and prayerful conscious directed energy, as their many actions on the Dec. 16 showed. Hence, the plea for one hour on Saturday, that we might blast the airwaves and noosphere with helpful images of healing for the earth, and strength to all both in the INM movement, OWS and all who Resist the Machine, and people everywhere on Turtle Island (North America) who are awakening to the fact that we must act soon lest we lose…it all. We cannot let that happen, as daunting as the task appears.
Calling out from the earth to us Indigenous people are 150 million of our men, women, children and babies who were murdered by the white race for our lands. They are urging us to bring back natural law and order for the sake of the future generations, who are waiting to be released to us by our great Mother Earth. [snip]
Idle No More is the worldwide freeing of indigenous people. Listen to the thunder of the masses. We are destroying the dungeons of oppression, heading for the higher hills of freedom. This Tsunami is the beginning of the greatest liberation in history.
Corporate murder, aggression and colonialism are over. All wars will stop. The earth will be fairly distributed. Our Mother is reminding us of our birthright, to shake off the colonial bondage, to strike the death blow to fascism.
Our greatest weapon is truth and courage. Anyone who continues to turn a blind to genocide is guilty of complicity, according to the UN Charter. Corporations and artificial people will become nothing but faded memories.
The Maya have taken a heap of disrespect for the false ‘the end of the Mayan calendar signals the end of the world’ misinterpretation of the Mayan 13 Ba´ktun. No matter how many videos and messages they created, the MSN wasn’t about to let go of such a ‘Wow; are those stupid Indians crazy, or what?’ distraction while the Marauding Meatheads further crimped our futures and the planet’s health. What they meant, of course, was that on the Solstice, a new world would come into being, one of higher consciousness, in which swords would be turned into ploughshares, and The People’s needs would be dominant, their dignity restored; resources would be shared, not commodified and sold to the highest bidder.
In that spirit, on December 21, at least 40,000 masked Mayan Zapatistas came out of the jungles, forests, and canyon country in utter silence…boots and bare feet silent, and four abreast walked to the towns in which their 1994 armed insurgency in protest of NAFTA failed. Their silence and moral authority, as Tim Russo writes so evocatively, will remind the recently inaugurated President Enrique Peña Nieto and his PRI party that they (the EZLN) intend to be a force to be reckoned with. Russo says that this message from Zapatista rebel leader Sub-Comandante Marcos, El Sup has gone viral:
Did You Hear?
That is the sound of your world falling apart.
It is the sound of our resurgence.
The day that was the day, was night.
And night will be the day that will be the day.
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
~ Langston Hughes
That’s solidarity! And so is this song from Todd Snider, bless his pea-pickin’ heart!
(A good video on the history of the Ghost Dance is here; so-so music by Robbie Robertson. ;o)
You can read more and see heart-stopping photos on the Zapatistas Marching at tshaneke here.