Thank You, But No More
 ~ Orannhawk 

Historically, we are in uncharted waters.

Shark infested waters. Water so tainted

it reeks of toxins, yet thousands upon

thousands stand ready with packets of

poisoned kool-aid, ready to drink. Propaganda runs rampant feeding the illusions, wrapping them in red ribbons, broadcasting vitriol and fear.  

Meanwhile, thousands of our people, our loved ones, lay in hospital beds and nursing homes, or isolated at home; alone. Funerals and wakes are limited or postponed. Our safety is compromised daily. Our water, our land and natural resources are threatened with the prospects of oil and gas drilling on lands supposedly protected. Our doctors and nurses and essential personnel are overwhelmed and going beyond
to overcome the pandemic. And yet, all too many individuals refuse to wear a mask to protect themselves or others around them. Frankly, that is not about freedom; that is wallowing in selfishness. As Indigenous people, giving is a natural way of who we are; however, that should never include giving the virus to others.  

When I see and hear of those who refuse to comply with this simple act of owning responsibility by wearing a mask and gloves, I see them standing there with infected blankets. Declining that ‘gift’ thank you, but no more.  

Everyone wants to talk about when we go back to normal. The concept of ‘when things go back to normal’ is a lesson in absurdity. It wasn’t normal to begin with. When Indigenous people are living in abject poverty, when the priority of the government is to ignore treaties and tribal policies and leadership, in favor of what can be taken by force, whitewashing the past and the future; there is no normal there.  

There is no normal in any community. Growing up in a small town, leaving and then coming back to the same, I have seen the discrepancies and the variables of racism. In some respects, it was subdued, although the ugliness of it would seep into our daily lives much like the giant water bugs that creep into the house in hot, dry weather seeking water and cooler temperatures. I don’t want a normal where it is accepted as 
the norm to abuse, bully, rape, maim, assault and murder anyone based on their race or ethnicity. 

There is no normal in that. 

Over the past four years, the shift has accelerated, with the mindset of masochistic attitudes, white supremacy, bullying, inciting, and eliciting ideas of violence and racism to the point where citizens are geared up, armed to the teeth, and just waiting for an opportunity to lash out. One group has chosen to meet locally each week to celebrate their proclaimed status quo as patriots. At some point, a patriot was one who was willing to serve one’s country and protect it from enemies. Not unlike our Ancestors 
protecting the tribal family and camp from a raiding party. However, this is very different from the camouflaged racists who sit in their jacked-up trucks on the town square, waving their flags as if they can’t be touched. 

These are some of the same who sat, armed, and unmasked, during a recent peaceful rally for BLM, undoubtedly waiting for any hint that could be self-defined as a trigger to literally pull the trigger.  

Despite many who decry facts, we live in what is supposed to be a democracy. One that was built upon the principles of the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations. Democracy is meant to be by the people, for the people. Democracy should mean the recognition of the fundamental worth and dignity of every individual, respect for equality of all, faith in the majority rule with an insistence upon minority rights, accepting the necessity of compromise and insistence on the widest possible degree of individual

We have drifted into a maelstrom bordering more on autocracy as opposed to democracy. If you are unfamiliar with autocracy, it is a system of government where one person holds absolute power and is unaccountable to any laws or the citizens of said country.     

As the elections grow closer, it is vital for our votes to count, and even more so, that we have a safe way to express our voice and be heard.  

Padding the pockets of the elite is not going to alleviate any of the issues faced by Indigenous people. We are facing unprecedented challenges with health care, climate change, and police and civilian brutality, the abuse and unsolved murders of Native people, and hate crimes that rival any of the riots of the news in the past. We need mail delivery. We need to feel safe when we go out for groceries or to even sit outside 
our own homes. We need accountability for the leadership of this country.   

We have a voice, and we need to be heard. Be wary of the diatribe on social media. Do not assume if it is said on television or inked in a fancy poster on Facebook that it is true. Be diligent about checking the facts. It is our right to do so and our right to make our own choices. Make yours based on truths, on the changes we need as Indigenous people, for our country. The rest of the world is watching and waiting for our truth to emerge. 

" We have a voice and we need to be heard." 

            ~ Orannhawk