Restoration and the development of Pan-Indigenous consciousness
By L. Patsouris
Indigeny is afoot. Around the globe as indigenous peoples fight to preserve their traditions and ways, many are beginning to turn their heads and look at how these groups, with their original instructions intact, are able to live respectfully and sustainably on the Earth. Many are beginning to realize that modernity as it is being expressed currently is not sustainable and they are looking to indigenous traditions to see how their worldview leads to partnership with the ecosystem instead of destruction. Moreover many whose indigenous traditions were sundered are taking steps to actively reclaim and restore those traditions.
If you go back far enough, we all come from tribal peoples. We all had indigenous traditions and knew at one time how to live in balance on the Earth without destroying Her. Indigeny is the birthright of humanity and the hope of people who wish to restore the balance and live in harmony with the planet. While each culture is unique, there are 3 main themes that seem to be universal and can be found in all indigenous cultures.
1. Ancestor veneration. All indigenous cultures have a sense of intimacy and continuity with their ancestors. They all have rituals around honoring their ancestors and understand that they are part of a line with obligations to those who came before as well as to those who come after.
2. The Land. All indigenous cultures have a sense of belonging to the land and being caretakers of their land. There is a conscious sense of the holiness of the Earth and living as part of rather than as separate from nature and a sense of communication and interaction with the spirits of the land.
3. The Gods/Holy Powers. Indigenous cultures have a sense of connection to their Deities or Sacred Powers and a sense of place and purpose within their own unique cosmologies.
By looking at the commonalities we can see that while each culture was unique, there are certain unifying principles behind the indigenous worldview.
Recently I was fortunate to be a presenter at a conference where there were several speakers and attendees who are all working actively to restore, reclaim and to preserve their indigenous spiritual traditions and lifeways. Although we all came from different cultures, we had a strong sense of all working towards the same goal. There was a palpable sense of solidarity among us as we all wove this theme of restoration and indigeny into our classes. We all knew and understood the need to break free of the modern, predatory power-over consumerist paradigm to reclaim our essential humanity. We all saw our indigenous paths as roads back to something vital and essential that had been attacked and ruptured and required healing to regain our own wholeness of spirit. In this light we were able to encourage and support one another and celebrate the steps each of our groups are taking to reclaim and carry out our original instructions. We came from different backgrounds but had a common language and desire: indigeny. Reclamation. Renewal.
Thinking of how Native Americans of all tribes and nations worked together in the American Indian Movement and how Pan-African consciousness spurred the fight against colonialism in Africa and the Civil Rights struggle, I hope to see the emergence of a Pan-Indigenous consciousness. Colonialism visited us all and the beast was successful because it picked us off individually as tribes. It happened to the Gauls, Celts, Saxons, Yoruba, Igbo, Mende, Lakota, Navajo and Cherokee. I do not have space enough and time to list all the tribes and nations who were visited by conquest and whose traditions and lifeways were viciously targeted for eradication by the machine of conformity and obedience to Church. This machine rolls on today, bent on consuming and destroying the resources that could sustain us all if we would dare to walk in balance and take only what we need.
Indigeny calls for us to realize that we as humanity are all in this together, this fight for redemption, reunion and sustainability. It reminds us that we are our brother’s keeper and we have an obligation to each other, the four footeds, the winged ones, the trees, the waters and this Earth that we all call home. We are all related. What impacts one of us impacts us all. It allows us to celebrate the diversity and beauty of our cultures while acknowledging our shared humanity so we can work together to bring healing to our world. Our ancestors, the spirits of the land and the waters and our Holy Ones are calling out. This is the eleventh hour and humanity has hard choices to make. Do we continue our descent into alienation, greed and destruction? Or do we rise up to meet our challenges in the spirit of reconnection and community? Which side are you on?
Turtle Island has initiated a process of social changes not defined by, but informed by the destructive forces of colonialism and capitalism set in motion by the likes of Criminal Columbus, Spain, the roamin catholic church, christianity in general and the heaving throngs of settler-colonists that would spawn further destruction on people, culture and land. The initiation that one can receive when fully engaged in the spirit of place, the power of land and the energetics of life, real life, is one that can not be forsaken. Even with the continued onslaught of predatory christian initiatives, oppressive missionary positions and the pathologies of the Columbian era, we are part of a steady stream of Ancestral spirits cycling through this dimension to bring the world to higher levels of clarity, higher vibrations and deeper universal connections. So many of us are called back and forward, in continuity, to our indigenous roots, through the trunk, into the branches, out through the leaves and then to fall back to earth and feet the roots again...the cycle, the circle - unbroken.
And we are a part of that cycle....the cycle of life....living....sentient....like All That Is....the circle - unbroken.
Indigeny and Energetics, a study of indigenous culture and spirituality that has led to the conceptual reconfiguration of the historical framework of human life on earth, has brought an understanding of the unquestionable longevity and continuity of indigeny on this earth, dwarfing the adolescence of monotheism and modernity and reductionist capitalist euro-science in space and time. Indigeny has given life to us all, has sustained life through it all and gives us grounded knowing as to the direction our thoughts and actions must go to make it intelligently into the future of our time on earth.
"Initiatives" like DC40 are also adolescent, arrogant and ultimately imperialistic in nature (recent past communications with missionaries on the Pathways International website blog confessed to this inevitable characteristic of christian missiology) and give us no functional means and cosmological view for sustainable living in the community of nature, spirit and humanity. It was exceedingly difficult to get even the "open" ones (missionary christians) to have a cogent and honest conversation about the real nature of their work in the world. So there is no reason to hold out hope for any redemptive dynamics in the like of DC40.
And just as we know the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, Pathways International, the Joshua Project, Summer Institute of Linguistics and others of their ilk will go on assaulting the sacred nature of humanity, social justice work, indigenous peoples and the fight against colonialism, so will the spirit and work of the Turtle Island Initiative and those who so powerfully and graciously contributed to this body of work and prayer and invocation and spiritual, ritual work on behalf of Turtle Island, its inhabitants and the world community. In addition, the community of the indigenous and indigenizing world is joined by a population so immense and powerful that there is no question that we have the support to bring the core healing and reconciliation of this humble, but important initiative to robust fruition - the Wakale, the Egungun, the Ancestors.
And it is these Ancestors, our community of empowered Spirit embodied in us, that we give deep gratitude for in the spirit of oneness in the Ancestral continuum, the cycle of our lives. Without them we would have no guidance, no mandate for life and living, we would be fallen leaves adrift on the wind-whipped waters leading nowhere. But for our powerful Ancestral traditions, we have rich cultures of intelligence and creativity, of courageous resistance to that which would seek to stamp us out, just as religious imperialism and predatory christianity seeks to do.
But we will persist. We will continue to grow, to sink our roots deeper and deeper into the earth that gives us life, drinking in the life-giving waters of peace, reaching our familial branches into the winds that carry the voice of Spirit across the sacred lands, across all quarters of the sacred, living earth - and across Amerrique, Land of the Winds, Turtle Island.
Well, dear readers, technically today marks the culmination of the Turtle Island 42 Initiative. Thank you all for staying with us for the past forty two days. Thank you to all those who contributed articles, prayers, invocations, and other useful information. We appreciate your support throughout this project.
Indigeny is essential, it truly is and it's right there waiting for us to open up our eyes and claim it. It can be terrifying work. You are all being asked, as we were asked, to let go of the filter of conquest and monotheism, to drop it and stand vulnerable and naked before some unknown thing that people you've probably never met before tell you is a blessing. But claiming it requires a radical shift in everything you thought you knew, in your entire outlook, in the way you relate to every single thing in your world. Moving from one state of being to the other can involve a seemingly insurmountable chasm.
Your ancestors can help bridge that chasm. Remember them. They're there for you and want you to be healthy, engaged, and whole--something the post-conquest filter will not foster.
Moreover, you have the capacity to do this. It requires courage, yes, but each and every one of you is capable of making this leap. Do it for your ancestors. Do it for yourselves. Do it for your children. Do it for their children. They (and you) deserve a much better world than what you've been given. You can each make a difference. It may seem insurmountable but it begins one person at a time, one single mind, heart, and soul committed to the struggle at a time. You can all do this thing because that indigenous filter is not out of reach at all. It's right there, your birthright; and readers, it changes *everything* for the better.
Once you've seen through indigenous eyes (and we all have indigenous roots. Our people come from somewhere.) you may become angry. In fact, you may look at the world and become enraged. Good. That is the appropriate response. Understand that: how can anyone look at this world awash in the depredations of monotheism and its children and NOT be enraged. Use that anger. Allow it to inspire you, fuel you and move you into a deep committment toward healing our world. It needs healing, and that call to arms is also our birthright.
Even though the TI42 Initiative is over, we shall continue posting here over the next few months. We still welcome contributions, and this archive will remain up and active. We won't be posting every day as we did through the initiative, but we will still be active here. So check back and keep on keeping on. Every single one of you is needed in this struggle.
May the ancestors inspire us.
May they strengthen and guard us.
May they help us remain firm in our committments;
and may we, in our words, our hearts, our actions,
ever do them honor.
In the United States today is Veterans Day. It is a day to honor our living Veterans. I think this is a good and gracious thing to do. It's not about whether or not one supported the war in which said Veterans fought, but about honoring human courage, honor, and sacrifice.
Each and every one of us, no matter how indoctrinated we may have become by modern and post-modern pseudo-ethics come from ancestral lines which included warriors: men and women who --often out of brutal necessity--chose to take up arms to defend their families, their villages, their people, their nations. they chose to engage and to try to make their world a better, safer place for the rest of us. We are here because our ancestors had the courage to make those hard choices. They waded through terror, pain, shit, and blood so that we could have a chance for something better. They did their duty, as they understood it. How many of you reading this can say that today?
Warrior medicine is one of the many things which has become corrupted in our contemporary world. Not only is this no longer viewed as something which should be respected and honored, but we've lost even an understanding of what it is or why it's important. it is NOT synonymous with conquest. Those who carry this gift, this 'medicine' protect their people, their traditions, their children and ensure that there is a future. They are the ones who do the work no one else wants to touch. They are the ones who make sometimes horrific sacrifices so no one else has to. they are the ones who do these things and rarely if ever ask for anything in return. they do it because it needs to be done. they do it so others won't have to.
So regardless of what you think of our armed forces today (and I, the daughter and granddaughter of a soldier, and one who carries warrior medicine herself find them despairingly un-warrior-like), if you know a veteran honor him or her. When you see older men in uniform, men who fought in WWII or Korea, or maybe Vietnam, go up and shake their hand and let them know that you recognize the worth of their sacrifices.
In the meantime consider this: why is it that our government is allowing or encouraging the rabid Christianization of our armed forces? There have been numerous stories, some of which I have posted here, of fundamentalist Christian proselytizing and harassment within the American Armed Forces in a way that has made a very hostile atmosphere for non-Christians. Consider why this is?
I do not believe this is an accident. As a student of history, I believe we should be watching this situation very carefully and doing every single thing we can to block it's progress. Why? Because if I wanted to effect a fundamentalist Christian take-over of this country, if i wanted to try to create a theocracy by force (and they do, make no mistake), i'd first want a strong, indoctrinated military to be the muscle behind my mania. Paranoid? maybe. But possible? Absolutely.
i strongly suggest going here: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/
. These people are doing good work in the face of tremendous opposition. They are protecting our men and women in uniform --something the government seems unable or unwilling to do.
Today, we're posting a call for assistance. Peter Dybing, a Wiccan clergyman who has done amazing work in trying to further the rights not only of Wicca, but of all polytheisms and Paganisms as well, has been working with the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. Here is his link: http://paganinparadise.blogspot.com/2011/11/pagan-request-for-help-in-haiti.html?spref=bl
. This is a worthy cause and Peter a man of absolutely integrity. Please consider helping him if you can.
For every predatory evangelical missionary, of which there were many, who went down to Haiti in the wake of the earthquake trying to bully, shame, terrorize, and harass people away from their indigenous ways (namely Voudoun), consider making a donation.
Then consider this: why isn't missionary work of that nature, the type of that aims not to provide food and build houses but to destroy indigenous traditions and co-opt people away from their native Gods, considered a human rights violation?
it is you know, a human rights violation. Why is it tacitly sanctioned?
Indigeny is about celebrating the dignity of every living being on this planet. It is about recognizing that we are indisputably connected to the earth and the land. It is about recognizing that we are our ancestral lines walking -- for good or for ill--and owning the responsibilities, sometimes great, for doing that in a healing, healthy way.
The indigenous mindset rests on acknowledging our own responisibility for every thing we do, every interaction, every foot that we place upon this earth. It is about rejecting that which would poison and corrupt our connections with the land, with our dead, with our Holy Powers. The indigenous mindset recognizes that sustainability will not be found in the dubious wisdom of disconnected governments and corporations but in listening once again to the call of our ancestors, and the admonishments of our Gods. ..our Gods, not the malignant presence behind monotheism, a creed that seeks to sever all healthy connections with the holy, with the world, with each other, with ourselves.
reclaiming indigeny means confronting priviledge. It means actively engaging with difficult and tremendously uncomfortable ideas and concepts. It means engaging instead of play acting. It means accepting the discomfort of the process and forging ahead mindfully, respectfully, instead of the sham of pretending a committment to some nebulous idea of diversity simply so one can feel good about oneself...without ever actually confronting or changing anything.
most of all it means never giving up, no matter what the hostility or what the pressures we might face. We are warriors in a struggle that has spanned generations. We have inherited the medicine of our ancestors. We shall pass this on to our children. We will not be legislated, 'educated,' starved, murdered, shamed, or prayed out of existence. Many things can be taken from a person through the generations long process of conquest. Indigeny however is not something that can be taken away. It flourishes in the soil on which we walk. It is hidden in our skin and blood and bones, in the connection from parent to child to grandchild and beyond. It is there. All we have to do is wake up and claim it.
that time is now. We do not do this alone. We have an army of the dead at hour backs. Those who would underestimate this do so in foolishness. We shall indeed overcome. Because this world cannot afford another generation or two of monotheistic "enlightenment."
Below our feet, while in our hearts, looking up at us
Sensing our presence, in compassion and abundant reply
We live in abject ignorance of her energetic contributions to our lives
We must remain open to her many feelings, her many moods, her multiplicitous voices
Talk to Her people, her children, those to whom she has given birth
If we are to truly understand her, love her, care for her, for ourselves
We must know the stories of her that come through her children's wisdom
The human stories of indigeny, in all their groundedness, glory and recent historical tragedy
We must be willing to hear these stories of life, death, imbalance and harmony
For we will not, for we will never know sustainability without the indigenous intellect come alive in our very beings
Without which we will never know clarity
Without which we will someday, maybe soon, be buried by her in the cemetery of modern time and space
Configured on the day of it's own unholy birth
Let us strip ourselves of the shod safety of scientific insecurity
And walk upon her sacred, beloved countenance
Bearing our indigenous soles to her beauty
For the sake of our indigenous souls.
Feet on the ground - hand in hand with the Ancestors.
We have overcome.
To quote a recent statement made by Ukumbwa:
Trees breathe out what we breathe in. We breathe out what trees breathe in. We should do more to preserve the life and safety of trees.
American Education and Fetishizing Mediocrity
Democracy is predicated on an educated and well-informed populace. With this in mind, we see in our domestic and foreign policies the effects of having underfunded education for many decades. Certainly education has not been a priority for government funding. Has this been done on purpose? There has certainly been a shift from teaching critical thinking skills to teaching to test outcomes and along the way many necessary components for educating an engaged and informed populace have been left by the wayside as money is funneled to bank bailouts and to the ever growing military-industrial complex. On a side note, as a result of this we as a society seem ambivalent about the value of education in and of itself and view it as something to do so we can go and earn and consume more goods.
This has grave implications for our political discourse, if you can call media sound-bites as discourse. Many people seem to fear anyone who is to overly educated, terming them “elites”. People vote for folks who have remarkably few actual qualifications besides being photogenic or “relatable”. We sit by as religious zealots shout down scientists over school curriculum and try to enshrine their creation stories as science in text books. It now no longer matters what the truth may be, just what the majority or privileged special interests wish it to be. This is evident in the “News” that is a watered down spin of opinion masquerading as fact, serving more as an advertisement for government policy wrapped in entertaining graphics. Anyone else miss the days of Woodward and Bernstein and real reporting done by a free press not owned by corporate interests?
There is little in the way of engaged political discourse happening in the mainstream media. Every one of our major “news” outlets is owned by large corporations who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Therefore opinions that dissent too much are barred from the conversation. In the political arena we are given very limited choices, or rather, the illusion of choice. In our foreign policy it matters little what facts are in evidence, just what the news sound bites are. The government depends on a dumbed-down nation to fall into line and accept its actions because what matters is not truth but the public perception of reality. We live in Orwellian times.
Religious discourse is also watered down, with no one daring to ask the obvious hard questions about the creeping influence of the Religious Right and what that spells out for America’s future. We look at the nation moving in a direction of political, religious and economic totalitarianism and comfort ourselves with the pablum the media spoon feeds us. We don’t ask the right questions:
*Why does education get cut when we hemorrhage billions of dollars fighting unnecessary wars?
*How is the massive military expenditure impacting domestic funding?
*Why don’t we prioritize providing universally accessible and affordable health care to our citizens when to do so would be covered by a week of the military budget?
*Why are we as an ostensibly free society voting for candidates who openly seek to subvert the Constitution and supplant our choices and diversity with a theocracy?
*Why do we as a nation have so much poverty in the midst of extravagant wealth?
*Why is national sovereignty a concept that applies only to us and who gave us the right to impose our views on the rest of the world without their consent?
*Where did our retirement money go?
*Why is a college education increasingly out of reach for our youth? Where is the funding for education?
*Why is homelessness such a burgeoning problem and who is making money off of foreclosures?
*Why do we have 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners?
This is just a small sampling of the questions that need to be addressed, there are hundreds more. What we need is an expansion of our national discourse to address issues of intolerance, of poverty, of economic inequality, racism, sexism, homophobia, militarization, education, health care and housing. We need to expand the discourse to include all voices, especially dissenting voices. We need to break out of this box of mediocrity and complacency and fight.
"The western construct of The Doctrine of Discovery permeated lawmaking in the New World and justified the dehumanization of non-Christian people. It served as the Europeans rationale for the violation of indigenous people’s human rights for hundreds of years. What they did not realize is the higher guiding spiritual principles of Creation have developed throughout our environmental evolutionary biology for thousands of years—and these understandings have yet to be re-interpreted into western concepts.
Christopher Peters reminded us of our spiritual purpose at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) last year, “…It is through ceremonies that the earth is healed and renewed. It is our responsibility. We were put on earth for no other reason than to heal the earth and make it new. That life of world renewal, those ideas and concepts were impacted in such a brutal way that we are still recovering.”,,,
It has become today’s challenge to help heal the earth from domination and its inherent disrespect. Steven Newcomb addressed the way to “recovery from discovery” as spiritual (see “UNPFII Panel Discusses Doctrine of Discovery
”): “Spirituality, the ceremonies are so important, that grounding that we need each and every day, the offerings. By renewing the world, by doing that in a prayerful way, this can go forward.” This entails a return to sacred balance, by honoring both male and female genders, each being the embodiment of male and female principles throughout Creation."http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/ict_sbc/praise-for-the-circle-of-violence-series/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=praise-for-the-circle-of-violence-series&utm_campaign=fb-posts