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A Matter of Time
What is time? It can be defined as the passage
of microseconds to years, but there is, of course
much more to it. Where did the concept of time
come from? Frankly, I don’t know.
What I can say is that time, like all things foreign to the Indigenous mind, is as strange, and as full of cognizant dissonance as selling the land, water, and (leaving it up to the greedy) even air. Time is, in essence, a “reservation/reserve of the mind”; a concentration camp of the spirit in which everyone has been trapped.
Time, in the Euro-American sense, is not kind. It is not gentle, and under ongoing abuses, does not heal all wounds.
Almost everyone has heard the term “Indian time”, but very few understand what that truly means. It is not “doing something whenever you care to do something”. The concept of time in Indigenous, or Earth-based, Life Ways, time is based on cycles of the Earth, the Sky, and of All Our Relations upon the Earth. It is Natural time, not clock time.
In times of old, because our Ancestors observed Natural time (a.k.a. “Indian time”), they worked less hours than our European-American Relatives do, produced more in one day than the 16-hour-a-day American worker makes in a week (which brings up the concept of money, but that is a different article), and had more leisure time to spend with family and friends.
The concept of time in the Euro-American perception is cold, rigid, strict, and unforgiving. It is a curse that terrifies the average person, worrying whether they are “on time”, or if they have enough of it to “get things done”. Time, in its artificial construct, oftentimes brings regrets for things done, or things left undone. Time ends with death, what many Indigenous peoples consider the journey, and that is the most terrifying of all things within the known concept of time.
Time is measured in the strangest ways. Breakfast at six a.m., lunch at noon, dinner at six p.m., whether one is hungry, or not – that is the unforgiving structure of the European concept of time. I think that this is one reason why so much food is wasted. People eat according to the mandates of the clock, rather than when they need nourishment. When our European Relatives were tribal/Earth-based peoples, their relationship to time was probably based on the same principle as our own, here on Turtle Island. Something went terribly wrong…
For millennia Indigenous peoples measured time according to events that marked places; the stories told through special markings, drawings on Grandfather Rocks, hides, lodges, and in the Plains traditions (i.e. the Lakota), even on their horses. Time was marked according to the spiritual and natural cycles of life. When the Europeans came to our land, they imported a concept of time that that became our greatest enemy. A deadline was set by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Their policy actually states that its sole purpose is to entirely exterminate us, even from the very annals of what passes for “American history”. They will use all means possible to achieve that goal. It is just a matter of time, if we, the Indigenous peoples of this hemisphere do not take a stand.
We, of Indigenous blood cannot just lie back, and allow the genocidal policies of the United States government to succeed. If we can return to the teachings of our Ancestors, honoring the Sacred Life Ways handed down from generation to generation, we can turn time around, as in making time retreat.
I ask: Do we really need to be “recognized” by governmental entities that did not make us who we are? If “recognized”, what “benefits” are received for that card that only we are required to carry?
Over time, corruption has permeated tribal societies at an alarming rate. Tribal societies on the reservations have developed their own “one percent oligarchy” that steals from the poor, and gives to the rich. Over time, our peoples have learned all the wrong things, and tribal leaders take their greed out on the people that depend on them to protect and to serve them. Over time, we have become as corrupt and as spiritually disconnected as our oppressors. The time has come to stop the abuses. If tribal leaders cannot be trusted, who, then, can the people turn to?
If we do not return to the spiritual Life Ways that have kept us alive and strong for thousands of years, it is just a matter of time before we will be no more. Our disconnection from Spiritual and Natural Laws will be the end of us, unless we change what we have become back into the people we are meant to be. We do not need the approval of genocidal policymakers to live our lives in a Good and Sacred Manner. We need to remember our leaders of old; those who sacrificed everything, in order that we might live. Remember the seasons of Anacaona, Enrique, Metacomet, Tecumseh, Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Chief Victorio, Chief Joseph… and John Trudell. Count the seasons of battles won against tyranny and injustice. Remember the seasons of times when tribes came so close to uniting to fight the plague of genocide, yet learning, and utilizing, the mistakes made, in order to not repeat them. Remember the season when tribes from all over the world came to our desecrated land to battle the black serpent at Standing Rock.
Do not count these as “periods of time”, but rather, as seasons of major events that can change our destiny for the better, if we remember our connection to The Creator, and to the Great Sacred Powers.
Is it really a matter of time? That is up to us, the sons and the daughters of Earth and Sky. The sons and the daughters of greed; those who have forgotten their tribal roots, and whose spirits have been darkened by their lust for the things that not only do not matter, but also destroy everything in their path in the course of what they call “progress”, and brutal perceptions of “civilizations.
May we learn the lessons needed to be learned. May we return to Sacred Ways, despite the influences of the unsacred. We must learn, and soon, for if we leave our existence in the hands of those that do not care about anything but their own gratification, time will tell… until time is no more.
A’ho, All my Relations.