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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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No, Really! It’s OK to Watch Al Jazeera America

Previously published in the September 25, 2013 issue of The Two Row Times - By John Kane

I am amazed at the displaced loyalty to all things "American" that far too many Native people have. Whether it is getting all ”patriotic” every time 9-11 is mentioned or supporting American political candidates or voting in their elections or even enlisting in their armed forces. Have we forgotten that we are survivors of the most monstrous and prolonged act of genocide the world has ever known? Do we forget that for more than 100 years our children were stripped from our homes, stripped of their identities, languages, cultures and dignities while being abused and crippled physically and mentally? Do we fail to acknowledge that policies exist to this day designed to conform us and assimilate our people to their laws and customs? Can we not see that in 2013 we have become so marginalized in our own lands that the occupiers can actually get away with using our images for sports mascots as though we are not real people or no longer exist?

What's worse, I think, is that so many are fine with all of this.

The mere mention of a country or nation that the U.S. or Canada deems "unfriendly" sends far too many Native people scurrying to their oppressors’ teats. Venezuela, Iran, Palestine — countries whose people have never harmed our own invokes an – almost – involuntary response due entirely on the propaganda we have been fed.

No matter how many times ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX or CNN portray us as pitiful creatures incapable taking care of ourselves in the land of milk and honey, we still flock to them or to their affiliates for our basic windows to the world and what can only be described as funhouse mirrors to view ourselves.

When I mention a viable alternative to such blather, such as Al Jazeera or Al Jazeera America, it is actually comical to view the responses. Big eyes and "Whoa there, terrorist" are not just written on their faces but are actually uttered through the mouths of some people. Mention that I have done an interview for them and a step back has even been witnessed.

Dianne McNair, Bureau Coordinator/Assistant to the Bureau Chief, Al Jazeera Network, Washington, DC Bureau and Abderrahim Foukara, Al Jazeera Bureau Chief, Washington, DC and New York with a Unity Flag from yours truly. Al Jazeera network is committed to the voices of the voiceless. Sign me up! No buffalo speeches. Just the hard truth and how WE see things.
(Photo by L. Hill)
I am not suggesting that anyone gets our story entirely right. However, until there is an Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) in the U.S. market and perhaps, more importantly, in the international market, we need to examine more critically the ridiculous talking heads that currently dominate the mainstream media. For me, Al Jazeera is the only hope on the horizon.

With the launch of Al Jazeera America, this news channel has committed itself to giving a voice to the voiceless and therein lies our best opportunity to be heard. But we have to be willing to at least utter a few sounds first and stop running from those the U.S., Canada and the rednecks in both countries that would love to see us silenced. As we make noise in our own territories we need to help this new network stay true to its word by telling our stories and providing feedback. My conversations with the folks from Al Jazeera have stressed our plight in the context of many conflicts around the world and throughout history.

There is little point in waging war against the “Washington Redskins” if we are only suggesting that a name change “will make America better.” That is ridiculous! It won’t! Mascots are not the real issue here – racism and genocide are. If no other network ­– sports, news or talk — is willing to have a serious discussion on how the true heirs to this continent still battle everyday to survive, not just as individuals but as peoples, then I am all in for giving my new best friend “AJ” a shot.

Let’s get a conversation going on the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Let’s expose the Doctrine of Christian Discovery as the racist foundation the U.S. and Canada is built upon. Show the poverty, the suicides, the violence and corruption that exist on Native lands – but this time show why. Show the federal policies, state sponsored racism and crimes against humanity that continue to this day in the land of “truth, justice and the American way.”

I don’t mind for a minute telling our story from a studio devoid of fake patriotism, flag lapel pins and pro-America spin on every turn. Let’s give Al Jazeera America a chance. What the Hell! They even have “America” in their name – for all of you who need that sort of thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So true about how many Native Americans
(not all, but quite the few) have allowed themselves to become brainwashed and stupidized by
mainstream culture and some false propagandas. Wake up Red Nations, it's time.

Al Jeezera is not the best outlet. It's like the BBC -

Press TV and that's closer to reality.
Great comments by some of the readers to.
(Iran owned with International news)

Not all are perfect, but so far, press tv
comes the closest.

Ken O Keefe is a frequent guest speaker
on their interviews who says it like it is.

Thanks to John Kane who goes beyond
the truth but to reality.