In a previous post, we mentioned education. Let's get right to the point: education as it stands in this country (america), not only doesn't educate, but stands as the last tattered remnants of colonialism and conquest: education as little more than enculturation and indoctrination. Think about it. Think about how from the moment we first set foot in school we're bombarded with "america: land of the free, best country in the world, can do no wrong, etc. etc." and the doctrine of exceptionalism that should be our nation's shame, that is itself the child of manifest destiny, thereby reinforced. On top of that, too many of our children are graduating not able to read and think critically about anything and standards of higher ed have been dumbed down to ridiculous levels (but that's another argument....starting with the fact that the powers that be don't WANT an educated populace).
Well, it seems we're not the only ones to have come to the aforementioned conclusions about the American education system past and present. There is a new documentary coming out called "Schooling the World" that looks promising and here, we give you a brief (less than three minutes) taste: http://youtu.be/Y5OJQGnjp64
It's food for thought at the very least and that's what we should all be doing: THINKING.
As part of their agenda of spiritual impoverishment, groups like the New Apostolic Reform (the people behind the DC40 campaign) also find the idea of female Divinity immensely threatening. In recent months, there have been murmurings and even a book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1585020168/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thewildhunt-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=1585020168) attacking the "Queen of Heaven." Goddesses are commonly venerated across indigenous traditions, and that certainly holds true for the European polytheisms that the spread of Christianity destroyed. In the ongoing onslaught against indigeny and contemporary indigenous restoration, it's no surprise then, to see female Divinities coming under attack. This is nothing new.
In light of this, however, we encourage readers to send us your prayers and invocations to the Queen of Heaven (be it Isis, Inanna, Astarte, or any other great and gracious Goddess who bears that name). Let us spend the last couple of weeks of the Turtle Island initiative giving praise to these Deities, pouring out offerings to Them, and sharing poems, prayers, and invocations of adoration. Let the praises of the Queens of Heaven be sung loudly and high, and one day soon, perhaps Their rites will drown out the turgid buffoonery of monotheism.
So send us your prayers: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we'll post them here, that the Queen of Heaven --every Goddess who ever bore that title--may again be praised and honored. We'll post them here as we continue this virtual offensive against the poison and conquest-born agenda of the DC40 program.
(As to the bible, the authority so often called upon in condemnation of various Goddesses: As educated and multi-lingual human beings, we find this misogyny utterly ridiculous. The very bible that these groups so enshrine (often over and above their own God--Jesus said love your neighbor, folks, not bludgeon him into ideological submission) uses terminology in the original Hebrew that translates not only as male AND female, but as a plurality of divinity ('elohim,' the word used for 'God' in Genesis comes to mind). Humanity is said to have been created in the image of God "male and female they were created, in the image of God, they were created." Moreover, the Bible is a polytheistic text. It nowhere denies the existence of other Gods, rather giving the mandate to the Hebrew tribes that they ought to have no other Deity before YWHW. That's henotheism, not monotheism. Monotheism came later. It wasn't until Christianity began to gain political power that other Deities were actively and successfully demonized. It was part of the early Christian agenda in co-opting Pagan spiritual language and turning Latin and Greek into languages of conquest. I think what it comes down to is that the concept of a female divinity or divinities is one that cannot be so easily twisted to support the paternalistic, (often white), male privilege that these people so often enshrine as holy).
Think for a moment about how you interact with your world. What are you doing to make it a better place? That is the big question facing all of us: how are you bettering that which you will pass on to those who come after you?
There is often a feeling that to make a change the gesture must be large and grand. That isn't so. Sometimes the most enduring changes happen by being built upon the small, seemingly insignificant life choices. We have said elsewhere on this blog that pouring out an offering to the ancestors, deciding to engage with them is a powerful and potentially revolutionary act. That is a small, very personal thing but it has world-changing potential. Each person who honors his or her dead, who doesn't hide that connection, to integrates that sacred awareness into his or her everyday life is reclaiming space. That person is taking a firm stand against the depredations of monotheism and all it has wrought. Don't be afraid to go there. We firmly believe that it is possible to change the world one ancestor offering at a time.
Beyond that, as you go out and about your day, think about how you choose to interact with people. People by the way includes the homeless man on the street begging for change. What can you do, as you move through your day, to foster the dignity within every person you meet. How can you move from a place of centered engagement into every single interaction and what might that mean for you and those you encounter? The greatest changes begin by consciously changing ourselves and the way we relate to *everything*.
Ideologies like the DC40 campaign aim to beat us down. They are ideologies founded in fear, intolerance, and hatred. they are ideologies aimed at sucking the authenticity out of life and most especially out of spiritual engagement. it rests upon each and every one of us to ensure that this doesn't happen. It is incumbent on each and every one of us to be the antidote to this poison, wherever it may rear its head.
Do not be afraid to speak up and out. Be the voice of compassionate reason. Be fierce in your committment to this work because in the end, if each and every one of us doesn't rise up to counter this assault and others like it (and whether we like it or not, that is exactly what campaigns like DC40 are: assaults) we will find ourselves once again in the position of our ancestors: of finding ourselves in a war of conquest, this time ideological but no less damaging, too late to muster the approproriate resistance--because conquest like this is all but incomprehensible to the sane, connected, spiritually engaged being.
The resulting world is not what we want to leave to our children. What about you?
We are in a world that requires revolution. We are in a world where religious fanatics seek domination of our minds, hearts, and most of all our spirits. We are in a world where 1% of the privileged few feed on the blood of the poor and the sweat of the strong. We live in a world whose lifeblood is being crushed by the claw of monotheism and its children: greed, the corporatocracy, misogyny, racism, prejudice, callousness, and hate. We live in a world that is crying out for help; most of all, we live in a world where everyone is called to make a choice and make a stand.
What *do* you stand for? Which side of the equation do you support and favor? I hear many Pagans and even Heathens talking about peace. Peace does not come through non-involvement. Peace does not come through closing one’s eyes and accommodating the status quo. Peace does not come from swallowing injustice after injustice. Peace is the outgrowth of engagement. It rises up from the hearts of men and women deeply, compassionately, fiercely engaged with the pain and suffering of their world. It rises up from the efforts of those engaged to change their world for the better. Peace is the child of those who stand up and say ‘no more. No more.” It is not complaisance. It is not ennui. It is not un-involvement.
In this world, the very act of reconnecting with our ancestors is a vital and revolutionary one. We are in a war and it will be won not with bombs and guns and armaments but with the force of thousands and thousands of minds, hearts, and spirits turning back to the nourishment of their ancestors, reclaiming the filter of their own inherent indigeny, and casting off the mental and spiritual chains of monotheism and conquest. Those chains run deep. They hold us tightly. They have wound their way through every aspect of our modern world. They are imbued with the poison that threatens even the process of reconnection. Let us be its antidote. Let each one of us, supported by our dead, in line with our Gods, be the antidote to two thousand years of spiritual oppression. Do not compromise. There is no room for compromise here. Do not sell yourselves into mental slavery. Do not collaborate with those who would and who do.
That is precisely what people like the DC40 group, the New Apostolic Reform movement, and many members of our Republican controlled congress (who, as of this writing, have just passed the ‘let women die’ bill, because obviously in their dominionist inspired world, women don’t really count) are doing: they are enslaving us, chipping away at our rights and freedoms little by little. We have all, as Americans, been sold the idea of freedom. We’ve never been taught, however, or encouraged to ask what that really means, and what safeguarding it on a personal level entails. While our government is sending us overseas in defense of “liberty,” we’re losing what few liberties we have right here at home. We are being kept so numb and dumb that far too many of us don’t even know when the chains are tightening about our spirits, our minds, our civil liberties. We do not realize that we are slaves to the machine. We do not realize that we have no more liberty than a cow being led to the slaughterhouse.
I end many of my emails with a quote from the great abolitionist Frederick Douglas: "Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without planting up the ground. They want the rain without thunder or lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
He was right. We are living in exactly that kind of struggle. We must be harsh. We must be uncompromising. We must never, ever, ever stop speaking truth to power. Most of all, we must never retreat, not a single inch, not a millimeter in this fight because no matter how hopeless a fight it seems, not a single one of us is in this alone. Our ancestors are gathered behind us urging us on; the spirits of all those who will come after us are desperately begging us to never give up, and across this sad and sorry world, more and more people are waking up. Resistance is our hope. It is the gift we give to the future.
We live in a world that requires revolution. Resistance starts by the willingness to examine one’s filter. How have you been taught to see and engage with the world? What have you been taught to value? To whom have you been taught to pray? Why? Resistance begins by tearing down the mental bricks and mortar of that filter and seeing the world clearly. Reject the filter of conquest, most especially your own. THIS is why connecting to one’s ancestors is crucial: they can and will help each and every one of us do just this thing. They are aching for the opportunity because we were not meant to be slaves.
The Saxon polytheist who laid down his life rather than convert, the European Pagan tortured to death rather than abandon his ancestral ways, the Taino woman who took up arms to protect her people, the Apache man who fought the white soldiers to keep his people free, the African woman ripped away from her people and forced into the terror of the middle passage who kept alive the sacred stories of her tribal Gods, and thousands and thousands of men, women, and even children just like them did not sacrifice and suffer so that we could go to our deaths not knowing who we are and where we come from. We not only owe them better than this; we owe it to ourselves too.
Because persecution of indigeny did not stop with modernity. It is not a thing of the past. We are not only still reaping its consequences but it continues today more hidden perhaps, but on no less detrimental a scale. How many evangelists went to Haiti after the recent earthquake, bullying survivors into accepting their God? How many times have tele-evangelists referred to indigenous peoples as ‘savage’ and in need of being ‘conquered for Christ’? How many Pagans have had their children taken away in custody cases for no other reason than that they were Pagan? These are religions struggling to reconnect with their indigenous traditions. They may not be *there* yet, but they’re trying and in many cases experiencing a backlash. I could fill pages with contemporary examples.
The only requirement to change this is courage and a willingness to act. Look upon the world we have inherited as it is without flinching, and decide for yourselves if it is the kind of world you wish to leave your children.
Writer and Ancestor worker Laura Patsouris was recently interviewed about ancestors, ancestor work, and indigeny. This is a wonderful and informative interview and I encourage people to set aside time to listen to it. Toward the end, Laura talks about indigeny and how, if you go back far enough, all of us come from indigenous cultures. She talks about the effects of conquest and how the ancestors can help every single person overcome.
The interview is here: http://lamyka.libsyn.com/weaving-ancestor-worship-with-laura-patsouris
You have to scroll down a bit to get to it, but it's well worth it.
If you're looking for a way to get started in honoring your ancestors, if you're looking for a way to strike the first blow against the effects of conquest: here it is.
By Laura Patsouris
Today I want to honor all those heroes whose struggles for freedom, justice and equality have given us the tools to carry our own struggles forward. Their bravery and eloquence lights the way:
"I think that an objective analysis of events that are taking place on this earth today points towards some type of ultimate showdown. You can call it political showdown, or even a showdown between the economic systems that exist on this earth which almost boil down along racial lines. I do believe that there will be a clash between East and West. I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation."
"If you're not ready to die for it, put the word 'freedom' out of your vocabulary."
"We declare our right on this earth...to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary."
"I'm just a human being trying to make it
in a world that is very rapidly losing its understanding of being human."
“Do you see law and order? There is nothing but disorder, and instead of law there is the illusion of security. It is an illusion because it is built on a long history of injustices: racism, criminality, and the genocide of millions. Many people say it is insane to resist the system, but actually, it is insane not to.”
-Mumia Abu Jamal
“The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.”
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.”
“The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.”
We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.
“We are not myths of the past, ruins in the jungle, or zoos. We are people and we want to be
respected, not to be victims of intolerance and racism.
As our conquerors pray to exert religious dominion over us, let us not forget that, despite 500+ years of oppression and slavery, the indigenous mind continues to think and plan, the indigenous heart continues to heal and to love and the indigenous spirit may be bloodied but it is unbowed. Though they would like to take my freedoms and my choices away, today I choose NOT to yield to their pressure and manipulation. Today I choose to honor the faith and the strength of my ancestors and their sacred ways. Today I will NOT pray to the God of my enslavement.
Today I will honor my dead and I will honor the spirits of the land I walk on. I will honor my sacred stories, sing the songs of my grandmothers and pray to my Gods for the strength and the will to walk on this Earth with integrity, respecting the rights of all the inhabitants of Turtle Island. Today I will pray for the healing of Turtle Island herself…she has been brutalized and exploited and abused.
Today I will tear away the filter of Conquest and stop seeing myself as my oppressors would define me, but rather I will know myself as the walking embodiment of all the power of my ancestral lines. The time for silence is past. We owe it to ourselves, to the ancestors who gave us this life and to the next seven generations to stop this political and spiritual juggernaut of Biblical fascism that threatens all freedom loving people on this hemisphere.
Yesterday, Montana had the dubious fortune of being the focus of the DC40 campaign and today it's South Dakota. Pour out an offering to the Gods and ask that such spiritual poison gain no foothold and no purchase in the hearts of those who dwell in those states. Be strong, Montana. Be strong, South Dakota. You're not alone. Resist. Resist. Resist.
This campaign goes well beyond simple proselytizing. It is blatant attack on spiritual freedom. It is the use of spirituality as a weapon. I read a story today in the news about Air Force Cadets who feel so pressured by fundamentalist Christians that they are forced to hide their faith and pretend to be Christian. You can read that story here: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/10/13/111125/16
Reading this made me sick to my stomach. This, dear Readers, is terrorism pure and simple. It is spiritual terrorism. This is the type of thing that we are committed to fighting and this is precisely the type of thing that you would never find within an indigenous world-view.
We are charged, each and every one of us, with reclaiming the filter of our indigeny. What does that mean exactly? Well, for starters, American "secularism" isn't. It's a very Protestant Christian Weltanschauung and over the past decade has grown more and more reactionary and fundamentalist. The filter of monotheism, rooted as it is in that reality, is far older. The filter of monotheism has its roots in colonialism and conquest. it is a lens through which our every interaction in the world is filtered. It colors everything. It breeds intolerance, fear, hatred, and poverty--physical and spiritual (the first corporation, as I was recently reminded by one of my students, was, after all, the Church).
The filter of indigeny is different. It is rooted in a glorious multiplicity of ancestors and Holy Powers, of an awareness of the sacredness of the land and our interconnected relationship with all life. It is rooted in responsibility and respect. You may see conquest within indigenous cultures, but you'll not see the type of religious totalitarianism that you find with the history of monotheism; and everyone has indigenous roots. Every single person born on this earth, if they go back far enough comes from an indigenous culture. He or she has a tribe. Those of us coming from European descent have just forgotten that.
I maintain that the genocide and conquest of the Americas could never, ever have happened if Europe hadn't first been overrun by monotheism. The spread of monotheism across Europe brought with it a cultural and religious destruction. It destroyed our native traditions and then, in some sort of cultural Stockholm Syndrome, we fell into line and came across the ocean and did the same thing to others. It's time to wake up and realize what we lost the moment we laid down the threads of responsibility, obligation and connection to the ways of our ancestors. It's time to reclaim our traditions.
This is a frightening thing. It means first becoming aware of the filter so many of us wear. It means confronting privilege (white, Christian privilege), it means being willing to tear that filter off and step away from that and look at the world in a whole new way. It means questioning everything. But you know what? It needs to be done. Our ancestors are crying out. our world is suffering. The alternative is the poison of spirit, heart, and mind proferred by the DC40 and folks like them.
Our ancestors did not suffer, they did not fight and die, and sacrifice and hope and dream and work hard to see us walk willingly into spiritual slavery. THAT is not the legacy they left for us. Fight that filter, even when it's difficult--most especially when it's difficult. In this we must all be warriors.
The DC40 Initiative concerns us all. It concerns the policy makers that the initiative hopes to influence. It concerns the potential victims of the initiative should this its proponents get their way. It concerns the safety and abilities of minority religions, including
Jews and Muslims, to practice as they see fit, should the deeper goals of the DC 40 Initiative prevail. Should those goals prevail, the rights of atheists as well as other denominations of Christian (like Catholics), will be in question.
The DC 40 Initiative seeks "to change the atmosphere over the city of Washington D.C. through our worship, preparing the way for our legislators to function on a different playing field as we release 40 days of light over the city". Off-hand, this does not sound all that threatening. For the more naive it could be dismissed as a bunch of people gathering to pray for the good of the country. It could be easily dismissed as a bunch of kooks gathering in various states to pray at people. After all, by-and-large, that's what the movement is. What's the threat of a bunch of small-sect Christians gathering to pray in the states' capitals? What could be threatening with Christians seeking to influence their elected representatives through prayer and religious exaltations?
It would not be half so threatening if members of such movements, including this one, did not hold the ears of many prominent politicians. It would not be half so threatening if Christianity did not so often form a silent litmus test for office. It would not be half so threatening if such movements fell on deaf ears, or were only heard by a minority of our elected representatives. Such is not the case. The threat of these movements are the momentum they're building behind themselves to generate the changes they seek. The threat of this movement is in the final ends it seeks, even if its ways of getting there seems hokey or foolish to outsiders. What starts as prayer meetings and prophets in small churches, prophesying from their God that "This is the year of the signet ring; during this season God has raised up warriors. You have great authority!" (1) can and has become, in short order, a rallying cry to change the nation into a theocracy.
The primary progenitor of this movement is Prepare the Way Ministries, the Reformation Prayer Network led by Cindy Jacobs, and the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network led by John Benefiel. Any cursory look at the Prepare the Way Ministries' website will reveal many interesting insights into what the end-goal seems to be of this Initiative and its members. From the triumphalist imagery of a roaring lion above the Capitol, a cross covering the Statue of Freedom (2), the symbols these Christians use is clear: the usurpation of our nation's Freedom for their Cross. One of the three prayers of the Prepare the Way Ministries' website directly states the following: that "Our assignment at Prepare the Way is the Heart of America", that they will "bathe their strategy sessions and policy choices with intercession, praying the wheels off of any anti-Christ agenda and asking God for anointed thoughts and ideas to manifest."(3) and "Let us pray that this group of men and women will govern beyond themselves. May a spirit of righteousness reformation overtake them."(4) The reformation that they seek is explained by Dr. Marlene McMillan, one of their supporters:The Bible is the first book of law, government, history, economics and education. We need THE GOSPEL; the HEALING of the brokenhearted, the proclamation of LIBERTY to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and the bound set FREE. We need You.
This is NOT about keeping the status quo. It’s NOT about saving the economy, electing a new leader or having a religious experience. It’s NOT Sunday morning churchianity, it’s a lifestyle. It’s about being transformed into the image of the Son.It’s about returning to YAHWEH. The prodigals are coming home.
They do not seek cohabitation; they seek others' submission. They do not seek respect; they expect conversion. They do not seek compromise; they seek their Will imposed on the world around them. They see anyone outside of their spiritual locus as captives. They see anyone not of their way as blind. They see anyone not of their way as brokenhearted. They may be a minority in this nation, but they are loud, and well-heard by the politicians who seek their vote. As C. Peter Wagner, of Global Harvest Ministries has written, Religion, Family, Education, Media, Arts and Entertainment, Government, Business. If we are to see sustained social transformation, each one of these cultural molders must be changed simultaneously. We must have Kingdom minded and Kingdom motivated leaders at the top of each mountain
Although he claims he is not directly involved with the DC 40 Initiative, he has said to NPR that: I must say that both John Benefiel and Cindy Jacobs are very close to me. They're both aligned apostolically with me, so I am part of what they do and they're part of what I do. I have not been part of the development of these 40 Days Over D.C., but because I'm so close to Cindy and John, I have given my tacit affirmation to what they're doing, and I still do that.
They do not simply seek control of the government, they seek nothing less than total domination over the major facets of American as well as other societies. They seek to bend indigenous peoples, Pagans, Heathens and other minority faiths to their Will, to wipe out their cultures and subvert whoever they can to their religion. Dominionism is not just some catchy buzzword, it is a description of their entire philosophy. This is why I stand with the Turtle Island Initiative. This is why, as a shaman, and a Pagan priest, I cannot be silent about this.
They make war upon us as people, and they make war upon our Gods and spirits that we hold dear. Whether or not we ask for a war, we have one. Whether or not we would like to deal with this threat, they are doing everything in their power each and every day to deal with us. We need to bring our courage to face them, to present others the truth about them: these are people who would take our rights and in their place give us an edict that we must all follow their way. They do not want to live in harmony, but as masters. Our Gods, and our spirits are threats to them. They seek to 'cast them out', to exorcise them from the land. Even the land spirits, the landvaettir
, they seek to cast out. They view people of indigenous cultures, minority religions, and atheists as the enemy.
We need do nothing more than exist
for them to see us and treat us as enemies. We need raise no voice, no hand, no spell, no cry to our Gods or spirits, no message of solidarity against them. We exist, and we believe differently from them, and that is enough. So I invite each and every person of good will who believes in rights of those who follow religion and those who do not alike, in the rights of indigenous people to follow their cultures, religions and pathways, in the rights of people to follow their faith, in the right to one's gender and expression of that gender, for people to love and marry who they will: Stand up and make your voice heard, or pass this along, or do your part to be sure your rights and your person are kept safe. Bibliography
1 Prepare the Way Ministries, International . (2011). Prophetic insight. Retrieved from http://www.ptwministries.com/prophetic/5769-2009.htm
2The statue of freedom. Architect of the Capitol, 2011. Prayer. Retrieved from http://www.aoc.gov/cc/art/freedom.cfm
3Prepare the Way Ministries, International. (2011). Prayer. Retrieved from http://www.ptwministries.com/teaching/prayer_9.htm
4Prepare the Way Ministries, International. (2011). Retrieved from <http://www.ptwministries.com/teaching/prayer_9.htm> 10-10-2011.
5 Centruth. Declaration of dependence. (2011). Prayer. Retrieved from
6Prepare the Way Ministries, International . (2011). Prophetic insight. Retrieved from http://www.ptwministries.com/prophetic/5769-2009.htm
7Gross, T. (Interviewer) & Wagner, P. (Interviewee). (2011). A leading figure in the new apostolic reformation. [Interview transcript highlights] . Retrieved from NPR.org Fresh Air Website: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/03/140946482/apostolic-leader-weighs-religions-role-in-politics
This article was actually something we were going to post yesterday, but weebly was updating their servers so toward the end of the day, we couldn't post. So, here you go now: Some Thoughts on Columbus Day
By Laura Patsouris
"In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue"...
There is so much history we are not taught. We are not taught about the rich cultures that were destroyed in the Conquest, we are led to believe that Columbus "discovered" the Americas when it already had a population of 100 million inhabitants. We are not shown the lithographs and artwork done *by Spaniards* documenting how they tortured and murdered Arawak, Caribe and Taino people and hacked up the limbs of the women and children to sell as *meat* to feed their hunting dogs. Instead we get a whitewashed version of history that glorifies Conquest and "Manifest Destiny" and gloss over inconvenient facts about genocide and slavery.
The truth of the story is ugly. The truth is painful. But the only way to heal the pain and wounds of the past is to look it square in the eye. Because whether you are descended from the Conquerors or the Natives or the enslaved Africans on whose backs the Americas were built,(or if you're descended from all those groups combined like me) this is your History. You live in a land steeped in blood, whose soil holds the bones and the stories of all these people. Looking away and trying to think pretty thoughts will not undo reality or lance wounds that have festered. If we are all truly the walking incarnations of our ancestral lines (as I believe we are) then we are obligated to look at the past honestly and mourn it, lest we repeat those terrible errors.
Atrocities happened. And we have inherited a world built on its foundations. The question now is, what are we going to do with it?
From Galina: Here is an excellent article (hosted by MIT) on Columbus’ Legacy of Genocide: http://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v9/9.11/1columbus.html
And from Ukumbwa, another good suggestion for this particular day: we should boycott companies that hold Columbus day sales.
I (Galina) recently learned from one of my students that there is a push in some circles to rename Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This apparently (and unbeknownst to me) began in Geneva, Switzerland in 1977 at a UN conference on exploitation and oppression of indigenous peoples in the Americans. I’m very grateful to my student for alerting me to this. A name change is a start. Granted, it’s nowhere near enough. It’s not enough to pay lip service to the idea of indigenous rights. There must, in some way, be apology and reparation. Moreover, the continued oppression of indigeny must be stopped.
The story of the ‘discovery’ of America is a story of greed, religious fanaticism, and conquest. This type of conquest began with the destruction of European indigenous traditions. First, monotheism in the form of Christianity spread from the Mediterranean into Europe. It fostered the forced eradication of indigenous religions and spiritual traditions. It brutally changed the cultural paradigm and destroyed and then replaced the dominant operating “filter.” Then, having succumbed and in some cases learned to collaborate in the destruction of their own ways, Europeans, in some weird cultural Stockholm syndrome, came across the ocean and did exactly the same thing to the Native nations here. Like any cycle of abuse, it just kept on going.
It’s about time we as a people and a nation take a good long look at where that cycle has brought us, because we can change it and it begins with little steps, sometimes seemingly insignificant ones. It begins with examining our own filters and being willing to admit our privilege. That’s no small thing but it is an essential starting point.
This is one of the reasons that ancestor work, honoring our dead, is such a vital step right now. They can help. We all have ancestors who lived through these times of conquest. We all have ancestors who lived organically those traditions that were destroyed. Even those ancestors who knew only monotheism can help us, for often with death and contact with elder kin, greater understanding and awareness is gained. They can help us all remove the destructive filter that has become our baseline operating system. We need only honor them and ask. There is a Lithuanian proverb: “the souls of the dead are the guardians of the living” and that is so very, very true. Especially here. Especially now. We cannot afford to forget that. The tremendous lack of balance in our world is going to take both sides living and dead working in tandem to correct. The souls of the dead truly are the guardians of the living. Honor them.
In the meantime, think about what you can do to honor your own indigenous roots, to honor the Native cultures of this
land, and to begin to enter into this fight, which is, as a colleague of mine recently called it, a fight for the soul of this nation. It doesn’t matter how small the action. Something is always better than nothing and we all have to start somewhere. Here are a few simple ideas: Nine things that you can do instead of celebrating Criminal Columbus Day:
1. Hold a ritual honoring the land, Turtle Island, her spirit, and the ancestors of this place. Pour or lay out offerings.
2. This one is just for the DC40 folks, who are horrified by the idea of Goddesses who hold the title “The Queen of Heaven.” Hold a ritual honoring one of those Goddesses. Set up a small shrine and maintain a regular devotional practice. (More on the current attack on the “Queen of Heaven” in a day or so. It is going hand in hand with these predators’ attack on religious freedom, human intelligence, and Turtle Island) and it’s a part of many ancient traditions, a part that was early, often, and vociferously attacked. Let’s take it back.
3. This was another suggestion that I got from my student: several states (New Mexico, South Dakota, Alabama and Hawaii) have renamed Columbus Day. Do some research and find out if there has been any movement to do so in your state. If not, start one.
4. Go visit a local Native American museum (like the Museum of the American Indian in NYC). Educate yourself about First Nations’ peoples and cultures. If you have children, take them along.
5. Push for and/or organize a presentation in your local school touching on indigenous cultures and the real story of Columbus. Bring in Native presenters (because their story is not anyone else’s narrative to tell).
6. Take this a step further and (again a suggestion from my student) push to find out what children are learning about in school about Columbus and the Conquest of the Americas. This book can provide useful resources: http://www.amazon.com/Rethinking-Columbus-Next-500-Years/dp/094296120X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1318217963&sr=8-1
7. Have a movie night and discussion with friends and acquaintances. Choose something like “Rabbit Proof Fence,” (not American, but a story of horrors perpetrated against Australian aborigine tribes. They got the idea from the Americas). “Incident at Oglala,” “Columbus Day Legacy,” or, if you want to talk about the destruction of European traditions, ‘Agora.” There are many good and pointed films on the market, these were just a few that came immediately to mind that might prove somewhat salient on the topic of destruction of indigeny.
8. If you haven’t begun honoring your ancestors regularly, now is a good time and excuse to begin. There are several good articles here: Http://krasskova.weebly.com/blog/html
under the tag ‘ancestors’ that can get you started.
9. Donate to Cultural Survival at http://www.culturalsurvival.org
. This organization’s specific goal is the protection, preservation, and growth of indigenous cultures as well as fighting for their rights.
A big thank you to C.A. for some of the above suggestions and many blessings to you all.