This past weekend I attended a Decolonization dialogue. The presenters were Ana and Chanupa. Chanupa is a Lakota man who is a warrior fighting for his people against the forces of genocide. I don’t use the term genocide casually. It is accurate. It has happened right here in America. It is ongoing.
I challenge all of you to watch the documentary “Red Cry” on YouTube.
I visited Pine Ridge in 1992. I can assure you the poverty and acts of genocide are far worse than is shown in this documentary. The film makers did not rub our noses in it. They just show a small bit of the surface of it. I couldn’t believe this was “America”. It is far worse than anything you have seen in even the decaying urban landscapes across this nation.
I also challenge everyone to read this essay on Capitalism.
I think it vital for anyone who walks a nature-based spiritual path to be confronted with what the forces of Capitalism, Ownership, Right of Rule based on a monotheistic patriarchy are doing in the name of Freedom, with your tax dollars.
When I do ritual here in Maine or anywhere I’ve been across this country, the land cries out with the memory of genocide. Yes, there are places of exquisite beauty where my soul finds peace. But always, there is the memory. When calling to the ancestors of the land, they are not white. They are indigenous. And they don’t come to the circle in joy and peace. They come to stand watch, guarding the land as best they are able. We have felt this over and over again. And we have worked to craft peace. We have shifted our minds and hearts to own our part in the subjugation of the First Nations peoples and the ongoing exploitation of the land, of the Earth who is our mother and our home. Through dedicated effort, we have improved our relationship to the ancestors of this place, the Saco River Valley, natively called Shawakatoc. But that healing is just the very beginning, an opening, an opportunity, not the end of the work.
I keep coming to the same questions. How do we reconcile our heritage of genocide with our supposed love of this land? The First Nations peoples and the land are one in the same. They are still suffering at the hands of our system, the great memes called “Civilization” and “America”. So how can I say I love this land and be blind to the suffering of the First Nations peoples? How do I find a way to stop putting energy into this system of exploitation and destruction? How do I find a path in life that is in right relationship to the Earth? As I type this, a power station is burning fossil fuels or damming a river so that the salmon cannot go home to give birth to their children. Even our best intentions seem to drive destruction. That is the power of the system we have created.
What do we do about all the broken treaties our government has consciously circumvented in order to remove the Native way of life as it is in direct opposition to the concepts of ownership and Capitalism? What heritage will we gift our children if we keep going down this road of technology, Capitalism, and Civilization? We all know the road we are on ends in catastrophic devastation, desecration and death. What are we going to do about it?
I point out the Capitalism, Ownership and Civilization. I challenge the very memes we all seem to accept as a part of Nature, as simply part of evolution and as the natural progress of humanity. This is all bunk. They are made up human constructs. Nature doesn’t subscribe to these. The trees, rivers, animals, mountains, sun and moon don’t subscribe to these. We all know these memes lead to death so we can choose to continue them and deal with the consequences, or we can consciously change them and find a better relationship to the land, to each other, to the gods. We cannot escape consequence. What consequences we have to face is our own choice.
In “Red Cry”, and in the presentation I attended, Chanupa uses of the phrase “you people” in reference to “America”, the government, Corporations, and all the destructive forces of Capitalism and all of us participating in it. He isn’t saying, “Your ancestors”. He is pointing a finger directly and saying, “You”. This might be an affront to many. We instinctively wanted to say, “But I am against all that! It isn’t me!” But the truth is we are all supporting these forces everyday with our consumerism, labor, taxes, and our willing participation in a system that is at war with Nature, seeing our Mother Earth as only a resource to drive ownership and profit. We spend our time insulating ourselves from the horrors these forces unleash. We export consequence. But the Earth is limited and the consequences keep getting closer to home. Most people are completely in denial. We can’t even question the memes of Capitalism and Profit, of Progress, Technology and Civilization. The indigenous peoples and other minorities are living the nightmare all the time. As a culture we don’t want to acknowledge that. We are saying, “Well if you become like us, you will do better. Join the system and you can get ahead and have time and money to avoid the harsh reality as well.” It is all completely and thoroughly corrupt. It is the antithesis of freedom.
The biggest single question for me at the moment is, “do I stop paying taxes?” By paying into the system, I am complicit and I can’t deny it. Yes, government does some good things. But those good things are simply to prop up the system that is at war with Nature.
So anyway, I look forward to working with others who are willing to confront their complicity, share constructive dialogue, put our hearts and minds together and begin to dream a new way of being in the world. And then we must act. So please watch the documentary and read the essay. These types of things always lead to defensive reactions. They did in me. But look from where the defensiveness arises. Practice listening. Then see how this sits in your soul.
Blessings of peace,