Believe What You Like But Know What You Must

People are free to be consumed with contemplating their existence, their origins, the origins of the universe, supreme beings, controllers of destiny or anything else. But solving "the Great Mystery" is neither a requirement of being Ohnkwe Ohnwe nor does it provide a path to righteousness. I maintain that spirituality does not require faith or the leaps that faith requires but rather awareness. If it helps to believe that "God has a plan" and we just must have faith that "He" knows what "He" is doing, then walk that path. My interest is in taking the mystery out of life by pointing to the obvious that is ignored everyday in the midst of fanatical ideology and the sometimes not too subtle influences of promoting beliefs over knowledge. I have said it before: “beliefs are what you are told, knowledge is what you experience”. I support a culture that prepares us to receive knowledge and to live a life with purpose. I am certainly not suggesting there is only one way to do that.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

What Do We Do About These People?

In January of this year(2009), a group of Mohawk men, fed up with the unending bureaucracy and politics of “land claims”, took back a parcel of land, clearly within the community of Akwesasne. (See the post from February, "Land Claims; Mohawk Style".) The land, which is undeveloped, has been illegally under non-native control for quite some time, dating back to a time when White people could lease land, pretend they own it and the State and counties were fine with that. In this era of economic melt down; home foreclosures through the roof, a plunging stock market and scam artists like Bernie Madoff, it is important to put this land dispute in perspective. The self described "land owner" is a speculator. He has no ties to this land other than his hope to cash in on it. He “purchased” control of the land fully expecting to “sell” it back to the Mohawks for an obscene profit. Not even the Senecas would buy a parcel of their own land for $4 Million. Any judge, legislator or other official that hears this man’s sob story needs to put this complaint in its proper perspective. The man took a gamble and LOST. Sorry about your luck. Perhaps you should have speculated in the Catskills. The State and local officials would do well to stay clear of this one. There is no up side for you here. To all the so-called “tribal leaders” and their lawyers who are scared by what this could mean for them and their precious land claims, you better be careful in any condemnation of the actions of the people, especially when you know damn well they are right. Any native person who can't support this move likely has what they perceive as a competing interest. Everyone should support this because it is right and, yes , it’s fair. No money to fight about here, no courts, no lawyers; what could be better? If the speculator thinks he was sold something that was misrepresented, then let him sue the seller. To suggest that finally one of these land grabbers, who sits behind his grand oak desk on top of his fat checkbook, who lost a few dollars speculating on a real estate deal, is a victim is ridiculous. Remember; no one was evicted, no one’s home was taken, no one was run off or threatened. The only property of the speculator that was over taken was the “For Sale” sign with his New Jersey phone number brandished across it. Many of us realize that perhaps all land disputes can't be settled this way, but maybe many of them can.

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