August 5, 2012
Right now… it is so early on. Our continued prayers for those directly concerned, which in the final analysis, may be all of us. All we know is that in Wisconsin, there has been a mass shooting. Another shooting… People are hurt. Three in hospital. One gunmen ‘down’. No one knows how many gunmen or if it was just the one, how many wounded, how many anything. This cowardly action occurring in a house of worship; sacred ground. And whether it’s your definition of sacred ground or mine, it should…not…matter. Life is sacred ground. Can we not allow people just to be of their own beliefs, their own lives, their own ways? We have no right to judge one another. Why can we not understand this very basic principle?
Prejudice is so strong in the United States. Racism is so strong in these, the United States of America and all that this country is supposed, supposed to stand for. It is as if there are those who endeavor to prove to others who do not share their exact belief systems, that the ‘other’ is wrong. And to some, apparently it warrants actions such as these today. This day’s shooting, as all shootings – this day is so very wrong. There is no honor here. There is no honor in the absence of understanding, compassion, tolerance, valued diversity; only cowardace.
I heard an interview the other day, in which the guest was asked if he thought racism was more prevalent since the election of President Obama. The answer came back as ‘no’. Perhaps. What was not brought out - the veil has been lifted off the face and implementation of racism. Actions such as today, or in the shootings of the recent past, show everything from levels of racism, to the extent to which we have lost measures of tolerance for those who believe differently than we do. And of course, certainly the intolerance is not confined to the United States.
I wonder about perpetrators such as these. What has gone wrong in the evolutionary growth from a child who played to a person who kills? What turn did their lives take that an adult comes to the conclusion that the only answer is one of such violence? Shooters and victims have families. Shooters and victims have legacies. Shooters and victims have for such a time as this, a message that is heard around the world.
Was there a difference to be made in someone’s life that could have changed this moment? Was there some conversation that could have been had, some wisdom that could have been shared, some act of kindness that would have given someone pause to reflect upon is deadly violence the only way?
We need to listen to one another. We need to give, and receive, encouragement. We need to understand that we can live together with our differences. We need to proactively hear one another, forgive one another, tolerate one another. This doesn’t mean we don’t work for reconciliation or change or peace. It is the manner in which we move through these objectives that counts. With our children, our families, our colleagues and the strangers amongst us.
Rodney King, wasn’t it him who so simply yet profoundly in the backdrop of extreme injustice said, ‘Can’t we all just get along?”
Prophet after prophet, leader after leader, always saying the same thing, asking us to love first.
Another Tomorrow / The List
July 24, 2012
We’ve witnessed another mass shooting in recent days, this time (again), in Colorado. We are in the shadow of the Trevon Martin case. Facebook is carrying the debate regarding the right to bear arms verses no one should have guns, and everything in between. Surely it does raise some attention when someone buys 6,000 rounds of ammunition and protective gear for the entire body… or maybe not. Is this what the founding fathers had in mind for the constitutional right to bear arms? George, Benjamin, James, Alexander - where are you when we need you. Perhaps still sleeping with your slaves or murdering those who got in the way of so called – destiny.
Here’s what I know for sure. A little girl, just six years old, has been taken from the world. Another little girl died from a mass shooting in Tucson not so very long ago. We hear a nation’s outcry at these deaths, as well as the passing of the adults involved in those incidents, as well as so many others. We mourn the loss of their potential gifts to the world, as well we should.
And yet, exactly where is the equivalent outcry from Euro-Anglo America about the thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of Native Americans / First Nations peoples who were systematically the victims of genocide in the United States and Canada? Where is the equivalent outcry about the continuation of racism against the Nations’ peoples? Where is the equivalent outcry for the poorest of the poor in the United States and Canada? Where is the equivalent outcry at the lack of basic necessities and infrastructure for the tribes? Where ... the list is endless of questions that not only speak to an absence of compassion, but an absence of core respect and morality.
All about numbers isn’t it. There isn’t the steady stream of migration of Native Americans / First Nations people into their respective countries to cite and demand action because – selah – they were here first. This is and already was, their land. The dominator culture just decided that didn’t matter.
Where is the formidable outcry at the injustice of a priest involved in the victimization of children receiving punitive incarceration of 3 to 6 years? Really? Not 10 years? Not 20 years? Not life? Victims of molestation live with their personal hell for a lifetime sentence. No one has suffered more at the hands of power than Native American / First Nations children. No one.
Greed, power, lust, violence, notoriety, racism, poverty, victimization, the have and the have nots.
Exactly which century’s actions am I referring to? Surely we have evolved since the times of inhumane treatment of humanity.
Not so much. We just hide it better now. Or not... as those who live with 'the list' daily, could tell you.
The Honor to Vote
May 24, 2012
In politics it takes much research to truly understand the current challenges facing our country and those in elected positions.
For example, considering the debt - starting with the Reagan era you need to see what happened - he... tripled it. Bush doubled it etc. Current legislators of all parties have inherited a mess - and there are many reasons for the mess we are in. And there are those in both parties who really are trying to do the best they can. At least I'm pretty sure. (a little humor there).
The fact is - politics in this country by its very definition is a partisan animal. At this stage in our country's development - now addressing people running for office - how about a little less mud slinging and more concrete plans with clarity about what you are going to DO to remedy the given challenges we face. Is there no other way to get elected than false claims which seem to run rampant against any incumbant, any party, Anytown, USA?
And for that matter - as a voter you will have my respect much more if I see that you seek the country's best interests and how to gather consensus for mutual work that fosters RESULTS, than the current nonsense. The reality is the office of President - there's a whole lot of checks and balances that can paralyze given initiatives as President Obama has learned. If you wonder why some of his campaign stands have not occured - look to your own elected state officials first, not last. What has their voting record been and do you agree or disagree with the actions, their votes?
You have power in your hands with your own vote. 50 faxes or emails (let alone more) can get their attention and have the potential to change votes in Congress or state legislatures. Why? Beause they want to keep their jobs, like anyone else. Vote! Register others to vote! Study hard the issues - nothing is EVER what it seems to be on the surface. As someone who works with my own state's legislators, I know that we can have influence.
Just for the record - I am not advocating any one candidate on behalf of Whisper n Thunder. We are a nonprofit and therefore cannot recommend any one candidate over another. However! We can take stands on issues, and we sure as hell can lift the 'ask' to get out and VOTE.
Please do so with a completely informed voice - and that takes work. But its worth it. Participate in your state elections - all elections - but your state and municipal elections are critical. Know who the candidates are, their voting records!!!!, and what they stand for.
I believe in grassroots organization. Why?
It’s Been A While…
May 14, 2012
A considerable amount of time has passed since I’ve been this offended. Well, at least a week. But as I struggle to read the book Conquest, by Andrea Smith, I came across a passage today that sent my blood pressure flying.
I should clarify ‘struggle to read.’ This is a great book. A must read if you will. The author is addressing violence against indigenous people – sexual violence as it relates to genocide. I struggle because basically every page makes me ill in terms of the heinous levels of atrocity. Published in 2005, it’s a fairly recent work. And she covers many topics that affect Native Americans and First Nations peoples.
Today I read the following:
“The US government has often offered financial compensation to tribes to compel them to extinguish land claims. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, the US government pursued a policy of “termination” against Native nations, which was designed to eliminate the tribal status of Native peoples and therefore end their collective control over their lands…”
OK – we know this. No new news.
Smith goes on to introduce the birth in 1946 of the Indian Claims Commission (ICC), which was designed to make final judgments regarding land claims. It was this next part that took my attention to a different and definitive level.
“The ICC’s bias was clear from the start, when it became apparent that the agency could deduct money spent by the US government to massacre that tribe, or kidnap its children and put them into boarding school, from the tribe’s award.”
I bolded the text. It’s the closest thing I can do right now to screaming out that statement. Somebody tell me I’m interpreting this wrong.
Except we both know – I’m not.
So they could kill the tribe, which of course had all kinds of costs to it – from the cost of guns and ammo to the soldiers’ pay to whatever else. So they could kidnap over 100,000 children from parents with the intent that they not be allowed to come home til adulthood – that was the INTENT whether it happened or in some cases, not – and even though so many of these children had to go to work to pay for the school’s food or teacher’s pay or devices used to punish them… these costs and those of the soldiers who kidnapped children and all related costs... could now be deducted from financial compensation due and awarded to the tribe? Am I reading this correctly? Are you serious ??? (I write leaving out more than a few adjectives.)
So yes… the dates that she is referring to this particular sequence of events happened before I was born.
What’s happening now that somehow isn’t coming to light? We all could name a host of issues. And we need to keep posting, writing about them, reading about them, and doing all we can to work for change, for justice, for land and resource rights and so much more.
My hope is you’ve read this, you’ll go back on the social networks and comment, but that you’ll also take time to read the rest of this magazine.
I’ll be posting on here periodically. Will announce on the social networks or just come back now and then and have a look.
Deduct from the tribe’s award. What a U.S. crock.