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, November 14, 2011

The Tale of Two Tribal Conflicts

Two controversies involving tribal government have made the non-native or mainstream media recently. As the host of the only Native radio show in Western New York I made a decision to cover only one of them. While the Seneca Nation with 7000 strong and billion dollar businesses dominated TV, radio and the newspapers I chose to shine a light on the 700 people on the Tuscarora territory.

Here is why:

It is plenty sensational to scrutinize the Seneca situation. After all, what could be more intriguing than the first Harvard educated president of the Seneca Nation getting fired from controlling one of the largest economic engines of the area. The problem for me is that it is an internal issue that needs no outside interference. The Senecas are quite capable of handling these kinds of internal disputes and when we live in an era where news is no longer reported but rather forcefully opined on. I question the value or relevance of those opinions.

The story surrounding the controversies on Tuscarora, on the other hand, is all about outside influence. The people have no say on who their "leaders" are. The "federally recognized leadership" is borne out of a combination of the "boy's club" claiming to be the "Confederacy" and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA says if you are going to keep your heathen ways and stick to a "traditional" form of government, then we are putting our blinders on and don't want to know nothing about how it is supposed to work; just tell us who the "leaders" are. Of course, that cannot be determined by Tuscaroras, only the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee can confirm such a distinction. So ask Oren Lyons, from Onondaga to get Audrey Shenandoah, the secretary of the Haudenosaunee from Onondaga, to write a letter and get Sid Hill, the Tadodaho from Onondaga, to sign it; and there you have it, Tuscarora "leadership". Now give these guys and their lawyer $100 million from the New York Power Authority and the power to dictate every aspect of Tuscarora life from who can have electricity, or can use the health clinic, or can get an ID card and you see the reason why this corruption needs to be exposed to everyone. Most of the problems in Tuscarora are not internal but stem from outside influence, outside authority and outside money.

Catch this week's "Let's Talk Native... with John Kane" as I welcome Mike Hudson from the Niagara Falls Reporter into the studio. There is no TV, no major news broadcaster and no major newspaper covering this story; only this small newspaper from Niagara Falls. Don't get me wrong, Hudson and the Niagara Falls Reporter are making waves in spite of the story being ignored by the rest of the mainstream media. Mike's stories are roaming the internet on sites like and other Native news networks and this week he joins "Let's Talk Native...".

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