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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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Don't Need Leadership; We Need Participation

I have had this title posted on the top of my blog for several months. It couldn't be a more appropriate expression now. Tomorrow the people will show themselves. In Tuscarora the people will continue what they started yesterday, standing out on the street making themselves seen and heard. In Cattaraugus the people will gather at the Big Indian and at Native Pride. There too the people will be seen and heard. Some will grab the microphone, I may myself, but don't for a minute think that anyone is any more important than anyone else. We may not always agree, and that is OK. We aren't soldiers all marching in step looking to some fearless leader. We are the People. Before we were Senecas and Mohawks we were "The People of the Mountains" and "The People of the Land of Flint". We were "The People of the Marshlands" and "The People of the Hills. We were "The People Where the Stones Stand" and we were "The People of the Cypress". We weren't 5 or 6 Nations nor were we 50 or 52 Chiefs. We were the People of the Longhouse. We need to stop looking for a savior, for the One with all the answers, for a leader. We need to step up and get involved. I have another favorite saying: "The best way to prevent the abuse of authority is to not give it; the second best way is to take it back". This isn't necessarily a slap at tribal government, I'm talking about the State, but if the shoe happens to fit; wear it. At times such as these we have three choices: we can do nothing, we can expect others to fight for us or we can all do our share. Showing up for a rally or a demonstration isn't exactly hard work and no one is really expecting conflict, at least not tomorrow. Certainly no one will be putting their life on the line. Stand up and be accounted for. See some friends and make some new ones. No one needs to lead a charge.

We don't need leadership; we need participation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is really sad that more didn't turn out for the gathering at Cattaraugus today. There were as many people gathered last week in Tonawanda at a similar event. Tonawanda a community of only about 500 people and less than a dozen businesses. The Seneca Nation claims over 7000 people and over 150 businesses. The common thread that wove through the 70 or so people that showed for today's gathering was "you can bet our people would show in numbers if anything were to go down with the outside authorities". Still, I'm not sure if I should be proud of the people of Tonawanda or ashamed of those from Cattaraugus. I certainly have nothing but praise to all those who have come out and that includes those who have taken to the street in Tuscarora. All those who sit back bitching but are not willing to stand up owe you all Big Time.