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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Thursday, March 7, 2013

MY Sovereignty is not YOUR American Dream

I often hear people say that standing on your birthright is too idealistic, to claim sovereignty sounds good but you can't defend yourselves with sovereignty; it won't hold up in court. I don't even know how to respond to this fully but let me start by saying this:
Sovereignty, our birthright, is not our defense; it is WHAT we defend! I don't fight for money or cigarettes or casinos. I fight for our right to live our lives and provide for our families and communities. I defend the right to speak and teach the truth. I defend our right to trade and work independent of state and federal regulations. I don't want to look for a loophole in state or federal regulations that a profitable Native business can slip through. I don't want to "smuggle" my belongings from territory to territory to trade with my relatives and the people I share 10,000 years of history with just because the recent occupiers of our lands protest it. I can also no longer allow a land we were once willing to share, be destroyed by those who never understood the concept.
My birthright was not stripped by the children who escaped the oppression of their parents. Time did not erase my sovereignty. I was not conquered nor was I bought and paid for. I did not pledge allegiance to your flag or to the republic for which it stood. Your courts did not and cannot make me theirs. Your legislatures cannot declare me one of them. No chief, no council, no president, no king, no state, no province and no nation can simply claim my birthright. My sovereignty comes from Creation. It doesn't come from a treaty, a handshake, a church, a crown or even a wampum belt. No army defends my right to speak or provides for my freedom. My freedom only ends when I stop defending it. And just because my defense may not appear to have held once, doesn't mean I won't defend it again and again. My freedom surely does not give me the right to infringe upon the freedoms of others but likewise nor can a foreign authority assume the just power to regulate the metes and bounds of my freedom. My freedom, my birthright and my sovereignty may be infringed upon but it is not lost until I say so. No "deal" from the past and none in the present or future can sell out the freedoms of others.
Nowhere in, what some call, “our original instructions" do the words "American Dream" appear. This is neither a part of our history nor our future. The pursuit of this fallacy is destructive. It includes greed, fraud, racism, exploitation, treason and the loss of everything that creation provides to us all at birth. It equates wealth with success. Wealth is determined by how many more THINGS can be accumulated or consumed by one man compared to his neighbor. Quality of life is replaced by quantity of things. The almost complete disregard for the toll of consumption on the planet, our neighbors, our friends and our families shows on the climate, in the suicides, the cases of depression and on the consumption of drugs and alcohol. The next shiny object is the pursuit; the gold, the diamonds, the boob jobs and blow jobs. Isn't that right, Columbus? Ain't that the truth Governor Spitzer? President Clinton? The American Dream is not in our vessel; it was placed in yours. It is not on our path; it is what leads us off it.
So the let the 44th Rahnatakaias (the Mohawk word for the US President, which means Town Destroyer) in Washington, and all those that will come after him, keep their "equal opportunity to pursue the American Dream" for the American dreamers. As Native people, we need to look to each other, not to defend our collective sovereignty but to defend our sovereignty collectively. No lawyer in any court; ours, theirs or the world’s, can do it. A birthright cannot be won in court. It was already awarded at birth; by Creation.
There have always been those of us carrying this message. Generation after generation has had true Warriors. The difference today is that in a world of Arab Springs and Red Winters, there is hope in resisting. We are not minorities clamoring for civil rights. We are sovereign Peoples on sovereign lands but we are also in every city, state and province.