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 15, 2010

I must have missed something

When did this battle to defend our economies become a fight for the right to buy from New York State wholesalers? I thought the whole reason for shifting to Native brands was to strengthen our position. There doesn't seem to be any voices out there fighting for our right to ship Native products from Native wholesalers to Native retailers from territory to territory. All the "legal" challenges are to fight the State from depriving us of their licensed wholesalers. Are we suggesting that the only way we can buy and sell Native brands is through the State? Are we stupid? How did we create a situation where all these Native brands were developed and then box ourselves in so we can't distribute them to each other with out the State? And why isn't this issue being argued? The only mention of shipping Native products has been around shipping product only to the "tribal leaders" or a "tribally run enterprise". When the "recognized leader" of the Tuscaroras was asked recently by one "his" people to allow electricity to a warehouse that was built, he said he only allows power to residences. So are we supposed to fight for "leadership" to be the supply line for our economy when they wield this kind of power? This goes way beyond the regulation of commerce. This isn't the freedom that is the foundation of what it means to be Ohnkwe Ohnwe. This isn't what it means to be Haudenosaunee where the "chiefs" possess this kind of power. When the private sector of the Seneca Nation built this industry and agreed to allow a mechanism to give back to the community, I don't think they had in mind giving complete control of their supply line to the Nation. They wanted to give back not give in. But perhaps we are back where we were in '97 when many thought we couldn't win so the prevailing thoughts were around getting the best possible deal out of the State. I must have missed something because as I recall, we pushed back even as the the governor was inking deals with "tribal leaders" and proved there was no deal to be had. Did all the success we have had make us stronger or weaker? Clearly, I must have missed something.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Gathering to Support the Sovereignty of First Nations

On Tuesday, September 14, 2010 starting at 5:00 PM there will be a gathering along the New York State Thruway where it passes through the Seneca Nation Territory of Cattaraugus. The gathering site can be accessed at the Big Indian Smoke Shop and Fuel Station on Mile Strip Road in Cattaraugus. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come and bring as many friends as possible. The gathering will be a family friendly event to support the People of the First Nations. Our non-native support is both appreciated and important. The gathering has the potential to not only show support for Native Sovereignty and Autonomy but to protest the over reaching of authority by the State and Federal governments into the lives of individuals. It is important that people realize that attempts to cause economic harm to Native economies are not just attacks based on race but on class. Big business and wealthy politicians are waging war against anyone they can marginalize; whether it is based on the color of our skin or the size of our wallets.

Join us to send a message to those that want to keep blaming us for their own incompetence. See some friends and make some new ones. Stand up and be recognized and find out who really will have your back when things get tough.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The 5 "Indian" Policies of the US

I did a show last week on those 5 policies. Thomas Jefferson, who is considered the most enlightened political philosopher of all US presidents, captures the intent and strategy of the US from its start in the paragraph below. Assimilation, Removal, Termination and Extermination are laid out in a single statement. His comments show his deceit and his utter lack of honor or integrity. Enlightened; my ass.
Jack Ahasteen captures the US concept of Self Determination in the cartoon below that.

"To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands.... In this way our settlements will gradually circumscribe and approach the Indians, and they will in time either incorporate with us as citizens of the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi. The former is certainly the termination of their history most happy for themselves; but, in the whole course of this, it is essential to cultivate their love. As to their fear, we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only. Should any tribe be foolhardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi, as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation." - Thomas Jefferson.
Self Determination on a Chain

Cartoon by Jack Ahasteen