|Nov 30, ’07 4:19 PM
THE GREEDY AND THE TREATY
As we enter this holiday season it is hard to find joy when people are in the midst of struggle. The fact an Arizona auction house, (Allard Auctions, Mesa AZ.), could consider auctioning off Sioux Scalps on ebay has spoken volumes about our reality. It is absolutely appalling that we (Native Americans) are still more a curio and a novelty item rather than human beings. Our women are still considered sexual items rather then givers of life by non Native men. With statistics where 7 out of 10 assaults on Native women are perpetrated by non Native men, it is hard to ignore. This statistic is shared in Canada as well. How could anyone be so callous and have total disregard for the remains of human beings? How could you place a price tag on the dismembered remnants of a person who was butchered in cold blood?
Then there is the on going struggle of the Western Shoshone Nation with the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1865 which includes Mount Tenabo. They have been under assault over tribal land for many years as it is. Now a most sacred site, Mt. Tenabo, is under assault as gold fever enters the mix. I still think it’s ironic the company who wants to mine tribal land is named Cortez Mining Company though. As if the Shoshone Nation does not exist, this company is trying to influence the US Government into simply tossing out the Treaty of 1865. It’s only a bunch of Natives so why should we honor this silly obsolete document anyway? There is gold in them there hills and no sacred ground or ancient traditions should stand in the way.
Seems the policy of lying and reneging on treaties has been the norm since the time our people made first contact with these immigrants from across the Great Pond. Unfortunately for us, we actually took them for their word and thought they would honor this funny piece of paper called a treaty. Black Kettle, with the US Flag and the Flag of truce waving in the air, held up a treaty with “The Great White Fathers” signature on this paper. But Chivington and his band of drunken soldiers killed and butchered my people in a little place called Sand Creek, CO. Later our people were almost exterminated along the Washita River OK., by George Armstrong Custer. The atrocities told from our oral tradition is far more perverse and bloody then you will ever read in history books. Cutting the bellies open of expectant mom’s and carving out the still born infant then cutting them to shreds to the joy of his soldiers while saying, “Knits make lice” was bad enough. But for soldiers to take infants who still could not speak, have sex with them then cut them to pieces was yet another part of our oral history not in all the history books. And it gets much worse indeed.
And here we are in the 21st Century and the Shoshone people are fighting to make the US Government honor their treaty. It is absolutely appalling they should be struggling with this issue in the first place. How can this be happening when civilization is supposed to be so advanced and educated? How can this nation call themselves leaders of the free world when Native people are being subjugated, lied to and left to live in third world conditions? How can they save the world from tyranny when their actions mirror that of Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein in the treatment of Indigenous people within the confines of these boarders?
How could we possibly forgive and forget when we are still under assault from Corporate America and the public at large? Some people tell us to get over it and quite being such a baby. How can we forget the many treaties that never were honored or simply cancelled? How can we forget the billions owed our nations that simply have disappeared? Our children are dying of despair and found Meth and Alcohol to self medicate the PTSD’s that haunt every Indigenous person with the America’s and possibly the world.
Oh Canada and their judicial folly of dropping charges on 18 RCMP Constables for raping Native childrensimply because of the statute of limitations last year. I remember the case very well since there were protests in Vancouver over that issue. But to the chagrin of tribal leaders the Crown dropped all charges. Ask Salish tribal member and activist Kate Norris who rallied for justice there. The list of atrocities in Canada alone are outrageous to say the very least fore these are contemporary times we are speaking about. The redistribution of Natives kids to foster homes was a crime unto itself.
Then there are the Me’tis of Black Tickle Labrador, they have no running water or sanitation. Their entire economy thrust into limbo and all they wanted was access to the Trans Labrador Highway so they could spur tourism. Their location would have made a perfect tourist and sports destination if they were provided a link to this highway. They wanted to have a piece of the budding tourism industry Labrador and New Foundland are currently promoting. I find this quite odd since it would appear the government are purposely trying to squeeze these people out because they live on prime land for development. To think Canada is catering to the big bucks tourist industry at the expense of this humble community is simply obscene. Why does progress have to be at the expense of Indigenous people world wide?
Take a long hard look at that diamond ring on your finger. Now take a long hard look at the workers in South Africa who’ve slaved in grueling inhuman conditions. The reward for their efforts may be a meal or two for their families. The real bounty is sold for nothing less than a king’s ransom. The World Bank had gleaned a handsome profit as rain forests disappeared in South America destroying traditional tribal land for Natives in that region. When they protested, they simply were machine gunned down and buried in mass graves. Their struggle never made public or in the mainstream media. Dare I mention the struggle of the good people of Ireland?
So it is not so easy to be joyous let alone forgive and forget when we are still under assault. We are the Indigenous people of the world and we come in all races and nations. We are dying from the ill effects of greed, cultural and religious differences as an ambivalent world looks on. And I am the voice of the voiceless.
Your Devil’s Advocate