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.

"Let's Talk Native..." on the LTN Radio Network

"Let's Talk Native..." on the LTN Radio Network
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Monday, December 17, 2012

Move Over "Occupiers"! We Are "Idle No More"

We have gone from more than the 99% to the 1%. No, we have not become is the privileged 1% that the OWS crowd railed against. We are the survivors of the largest and longest continuous act of genocide the world has ever known.

Perhaps December 21,2012 is the end of the world after all, at least the end to a world of occupiers trampling those people closest to the very Earth we cherish as our own mother. We are "Idle No More". We don't need your Zucatti Park or Berkley  or D.C. or Ottawa. We'll fight you from home. Who would have thought that a handful of dedicated Native women would decide when enough was enough?

Thank you, Canada for getting so lost in your arrogance that you have finally awakened those of us charged with protecting our mother from you and your kind. Pass your Bill C-45 and all your acts of pretend legislation and watch us shut down your highways and your rail and your inland navigation. We have endured your broken promises, your residential schools, your racist policies, your "Indian Act" and, of course, your apologies; but we are "Idle No More".

Watch as your American Idol to the South ratchets up its attention to the Warrior Flags. Watch as they cling to their 9-11 rhetoric, their PATRIOT Act and their hope that their border will protect them from a movement they hope they can blame on you. Oh how they long for that "pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them". We are "Idle No More".

The season that has seen the largest mass execution in the history of the US at Mankato, the murder of Sitting Bull and the massacre at Wounded Knee finds us "Idle No More". Follow this movement at or at or on Facebook at

You won't find the mainstream media covering this so look for it. Look here. "Let's Talk Native..." will follow the growth of this and will help give it voice. We look to those who praise the UN and its Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to step up. Don't allow the US and Canada to "support" its aspirations provided it does not conflict with their laws. Stand with us as we clearly show that their laws DO conflict with what the World has called the "minimum standard" for treatment of an abused people. Our people are committed to peace but we are not pacifists. We are "Idle No More".

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Let's Talk Native..." Needs Support

"Let's Talk Native..." has been on the air for almost 2 1/2 years yet it is still not sustainable. With only a handful of dedicated supporters and a smaller group yet that has done the heaviest lifting when it comes to footing the bill to stay on air, I question both the effectiveness of the show and whether a strong enough need or even a desire for what I am attempting to provide exists. 
I have no real product to sell and the service may not be perceived as a daily essential. While I do believe that there has been real and tangible benefit to people today for the work I do on LTN and elsewhere, advocacy is really about trying to prevent the next crisis and less about repairing the ones of the past. 
I don't know if advertisers or sponsors on my show get a good return on their investment, in terms of marketing dollars, but what I do know is that those businesses tell my listeners that they care about getting our issues out there. They tell the public that they are committed to advancing the Native conversation and refuse to allow us to be marginalized.
"Let's Talk Native..." is not a weapon. It's purpose is not to create enemies with harsh words and war cries but a tool to win people over with education and insight. There certainly are those who would like to see the show gone but they will not determine the success or failure of the program. Nor will the current supporters. They may keep the show afloat but the success of the show will be determined by new support and those who want the show on the air, those who are glad someone is doing what I am doing but have still not stepped up to support it. 
"Let's Talk Native..." needs more support to continue. The show is paid programming on commercial radio in a significant urban market. The 50,000 watt signal of WWKB 1520AM may be sketchy for some listeners in Seneca territory but it blasts strong enough fanning out to the East that it is heard from Montreal to Washington D.C. (on good nights). The show streams live on-line and on the Tunein app for smartphones. Past shows are listened to after airing thousands of times on my blog, including by all the major agencies in Albany and Washington. 
Bill and Melinda Gates or the Carnegie Foundation won't give us a voice and all the proclamations, resolutions and declarations from the White House, the US Capital or the United Nations won't assist us in educating ourselves and those around us. It is on us. 
Comment your thoughts here, message me on Facebook for suggestions or contact me at

Sunday, December 2, 2012

November was what? Our month? Really? Who knew?

I was asked to speak on the importance of National Native American Heritage Month. Uh...? We had a month? Did I miss the "Dances with Wolves" marathon or "Pocahontas" running continuously on one of the half dozen Disney channels? Nope, never happened. No one bothered. No one really took notice.

On November 1st, President Obama even made a public "Proclamation". Look! it's on the White House website and everything. So how did we miss it? The fact is that every November since 1994 has been proclaimed by US Presidents as such. 
But like with most things Native, we continue to be invisible. Of course, we only seem to be invisible when there is something positive to say. Blaming Senecas for the City of Niagara Falls' financial woes is always news worthy. I even had someone from one of the mainstream media outlets suggest that it was too bad we didn't put out local press releases on the subject. I responded by saying I thought the President of the United States issuing a statement would have been enough.

Now I don't want to suggest that everyone was oblivious to "our" month. Certainly, some took the opportunity to bring speakers to a variety of events and I believe those that had an opportunity to learn some of our history are better for it. But getting back to the original request...

It is hard to make much of a case for the importance of such a thing if barely anyone even knew. But like many of the things I write and speak about, this too can create opportunities. We need to be honest about our histories; shared and distinct. We also need both Native and non-native people understand how we got to today; for better and for worse. There needs to be an acknowledgement that our people are not just suffering from "historical trauma" but from policies that continue today.

Assimilation is not a period of American history. It is a policy that begins with Christian missionaries and continues with ATF and BIA agents today. The President's proclamation even included a National commitment to ensure "equal opportunity to pursue the American dream". This too is assimilation. Our lives were pretty good before the American Holocaust, before 6 centuries of genocide ranging from the slavery to gold of Christopher Columbus to the small pox blankets of Lord Geoffrey Amherst and George Washington's security in the "terror with which the chastisement they (Senecas) receive will inspire them". Does it come across as ungrateful to not want to embrace this fairy tale that is the "American Dream"? If so, too bad. Keep it. Keep it with your George Washington and his cherry tree, the Christian Discovery Doctrine, Manifest Destiny and White Man's Burden. All lies! Let's tell the truth.

November should be an opportunity to shine a little more light on who were are. I know most would rather talk about who we were, but we are still here. And no matter how much time goes by, how many overtures, apologies and proclamations are made, there is still no basis in any one's law to suggest that we no longer have claim to our lands, our distinction and our autonomy.

The truth is that we gave the world more than a "dream". We showed a world without dictators or monarchs, a world without standing armies and prisons and a world where liberty was a reality not just a concept. What became of that "dream", our reality, has been a systematic dismantling of a way of life that 18th century philosophers only "dreamed" about.

Perhaps next year when President Obama issues his proclamation, he'll offer more than the opportunity to dream about being rich Americans and he will begin to understand that our dreams are not "American". And perhaps the media, academia and civic leaders will notice.