We, who take ourselves to be the most intelligent form of life…

The Earth is now the seemingly helpless victim of a feeding frenzy motivated by the greed and arrogant stupidity of one species, the civilized man. We, who take ourselves to be the most intelligent form of life so we beLIEve? are in fact committing acts of spiciesism and multiple genocide against those who are no threat whatsoever to our undeniably obscene and perverse  strength. Often this killing is the thoughtless by-product of a multiplicity of actions that we see as being in our best interest, or providing us with what we want and which we regard as ours by right.

 

 

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About Deep Green Resistance

http://deepgreenresistance.org/en/who-we-are/about-deep-green-resistance

Why Deep Green Resistance?

  • Industrial civilization is killing all life on our planet, driving to extinction 200 species per day, and it won’t stop voluntarily.
  • Global warming is happening now, at an astounding speed. The only honest solution is to stop industrial civilization from burning fossil fuels.
  • Most consumption is based on violence against people (human and non-human) and on degrading landbases across the planet.
  • Life on Earth is more important than this insane, temporary culture based on hyper-exploitation of finite resources. This culture needs to be destroyed before it consumes all life on this planet.
  • Humanity is not the same as civilization. Humans have developed many sane and sustainable cultures, themselves at risk from civilization.
  • Most people know this culture is insane and needs radical change, but don’t see any way to bring the change about.
  • Unlike most environmental and social justice organizations, Deep Green Resistance questions the existence and necessity of civilization itself. DGR asks “What if we do away with civilization altogether?”
  • Unlike most environmental and social justice organizations, DGR asks “What must we do to be effective?”, not “What will those in power allow us to do?”
  • DGR offers organized, reliable ways to promote sane ways of living and surviving the ongoing crisis.
  • DGR has a realistic plan to stop the insanity,

Farm to Fridge

Multinational-science and technology spreading control within society.

“We think that anyone serious about confronting domination as it stands today will sooner or later come to the questions of science and technology. It’s clear how both have an increasingly vital role to the ruling order by creating, managing and spreading control within society and over the rest of an earth we’re falsely separated from. By investigating the development of these powers in the region and who makes it possible, we came to Vinci.

In the U.K, the French multinational energy and construction giant Vinci carry out specialist construction services for the police, Ministry of Defence and prisons, earthworks for motorways, railways and quarrying, power stations, offshore rigs and nuclear new-builds, as well as shopping centres and the like.

Worldwide this corporation and its subsidiaries are active in many fields: dam building, private security, airports, uranium mines; these scum have no problem with inflicting carnage on the earth and us as part of it, raising an industrial cage around us both figuratively and literally, and feeding off the labours of their workforce while the bosses line their pockets and move on to the next contract. In these respects we attack Vinci anyway, but one of our main motives for targeting them is because they’re responsible for building the new Biological Life Sciences Centre soon to open at the University of Bristol. We set off an explosive at Vinci’s offices at Vantage business park, north of Bristol, at approximately 3:45 yesterday morning (6th January). It was placed with the aim of cutting off power lines, scorching the exterior and starting a fire inside.

We considered the resident company in the next-door part of the unit a worthy secondary target in any damages (Whitehead, another construction and building servicing group who do commissioned work for Vinci). A £54 million facility, the Biological Life Sciences Centre will offer courses for “the next generation of biologists” as well as current specialists, aiming to improve collaboration with the university’s nanotechnology centre and just across from the Medical School’s genetic engineering, vivisection and animal breeding labs.

The world capitalist system sees advances in fields like this as key to the next round of discovery, enclosure and wealth creation. As the area around Bristol and Bath houses the biggest hi-tech design cluster in the world after America’s Silicon Valley, this “revolution” is happening on our doorsteps, “with Bristol being an exciting and ideal place to carry out research over the coming years.” (This is in the words of Professor Gary Foster, whose work at the University of Bristol in genetic-modification and other biotechnologies feeds the noxious pharmaceutical industry such as GlaxoSmithKline.

The university breeds genetically-altered mice, for example, then morbidly subjects these living creatures to extensive nerve damage and hand the results to drug companies.) One of the main thrusts of this drive is synthetic biology, a disturbing practice using the latest technology for “rewriting and rebuilding natural systems to provide engineered surrogates.” In 2012 a conference at the University of Bristol stated that synthetic biology “could become a driving force of the national economy,” and the government have declared it a top research priority. The European Union has now awarded £3.3 million to the University of Bristol just to create “public awareness” promoting the practice. The logic of these kind of sciences has, as its primary goal, attempted control over everything.

They reduce knowledge, that might be more deeply gained in wild relationships of interaction and interdependence, to a detached universe of obsessive measurement and objectification, arrogantly separating parts from the whole that gives them meaning as if everything were merely a machine to dismantle.

This scientific tradition is closely tied up with the worldview that emerged during the early formation of commercial capitalism, which sought and still seeks to adapt lifeforms to the drive for profits, justify the domination and destruction of the living world, and implement a macho uber-rationalism scornful of everything fragile and organic on which all species depend. Right now, plant and animal genes are broken down and optimised in labs so they suit productive standards and to create new private property through patents. Where we might see the unique leaves, seeds, bodies and m inds of ourselves and our fellow creatures, this science (if not necessarily each scientist, the results are the same) just sees lifeless objects to pick apart, study and sacrifice on the altar of economic usefulness to their paymasters who reap the benefits from this sick and sickening society.

For instance we can see the current push for genetically-modified (G.M) food in the U.K by the media, industry and government, for which these research institutions play an important part: such as advances in biotechnology for crops thanks to the Long Ashton Research Station run by the University of Bristol in the past. Scientists like Gary Foster are well aware of the dangers from G.M genes “leaking into the natural world” (again, his own words) but apparently the money and prestige from their mastery are worth more than our insignificant lives. A decade ago the first wave of G.M trials was slowed here by sustained pressure and crop-trashing; today sabotage continues from Holland to the Philippines, and others like us also won’t be accomplices to these developments or their agents through inaction.

It’s necessary to attack the new wave of so-called ‘life’ science facilities at the root (those who design them, those who construct them) not just criticize the more well-known p roducts of their research: because to these institutions all knowledge becomes another opportunity for control and exploitation, so extending the scope of a system that’s in reality annihilating and artificialising life in all it’s beauty. Abroad, plant and animal die-offs as well as increased allergies and intolerances are already being attributed to G.M. With the bio-tech industry nonchalantly unleashing its monsters, especially across lands in the global south where patented G.M seeds that must be re-bought yearly exert a stranglehold, it many take generations to show some of their effects on infinitely complex webs of life that evolved over millions of years. That is, before civilised cultures began intensively manipulating them, today even down to the nano-scale.

With the like of synthetic biology we’re moving fast into a future where even lifeforms “in nature” are the products of laboratory experiments, and nothing remains that isn’t engineered somewhere along the line by a human-centred system of scientific totalitarianism. For obvious reasons as people turning against laws and domination in more than words we also stand against new policing and identification controls enabled by more forensics, biometrics etc. and the introduction of their common use in the information-age social prison (mobile fingerprinting, facial recognition systems, D.N.A swabs etc. – they didn’t stop us yet though…). This isn’t Vinci’s only U.K venture into this lucrative field either.

They’ve also undertaken future expansions in science, technology and engineering departments at Swansea University. They’ve commissioned Whitehead for the job too, their neighbours at Vantage business park, who are now also marked by our attack. This will be the result for as long as society steps in line to realise the fantasies of a despotic science, reaching for their dreams which are our nightmares. So what about the ‘benefits’ that these hi-tech institutions want to sell us, founded as they are on massive energy consumption and resource extraction, on the authority of a specialist caste’s somehow-unreproachable meddling with our environments, and on the domestication of wild spaces and the torture of other animals?

They promise us advances in (human) health, food and technology, fostering the illusion that science can fix all the damage incurred by the dominant ways of living. They expect us to forget how many of the diseases, disorders and cancers are directly caused by the same industrial output, globalised mass society, psychologically and physically unhealthy habitats and toxic workplaces of a culture which goes toward these labs and more in the first place. They expect us to forget that agri-monoculture production led to an anti-nutritious diet of manipulated short-term energising/comfort food at an escalating cost to the land, while diverse wild plant and animals species we used to coexist with get wiped out by the system’s endless expansion and pollution. (Vinci’s works being a prime example.)

They expect us to forget how it’s precisely the advances in complex technological systems that generate our dependance on their designers and manufacturers, alienation from ourselves as well as the earth as a whole and each other at the personal level, and increased efficiency in achieving the goals of society’s rulers: profit and power, through misery and exploitation, pushing the planetary ecology toward collapse. In short the sickness is civilisation itself, including its false solutions to its chronic problems steadily impoverishing survival for human and non-human populations alike, an unacceptable transgression on our intent to live freely.

Choosing direct action over despair we declare our part in a low-intensity urban war in its early stages across Bristol against the many faces of the system, with stones, paint or fire and with the plans, debates and daily refusals; sometimes almost imperceivable, sometimes devastating. In Britain’s ugly cities and intensively-managed countryside a determined minority of rebels and wilderness-lovers sporadically take the offensive: some striking anonymously, some forming one-off action groups, and some having tested the open proposal of the Informal Anarchist Federation; not only in the south-west but Nottingham, Cambridge, London and now Glasgow.

Everything is at stake to us and we ourselves have no time to waste. Toward recovering our own volition and finding affinities for rebellion, our methods shall include intractable conflict without pause or negotiation: and much more besides, breaking with this miserable civil order with a wide variety of experiments and the full scope of our imaginations. Destruction is just another indispensable side of creation (and vice versa) not an opposite, we’re now sure of that. Our insurgency would be justified as an end in itself in the face of this life we’re raised into, but it’s beyond only being reactive. It acts to solidify that we’re already taking back in our face-to-face encounters and in our minds. It allows potential space for new and stronger relationships chosen by aware individuals mindful of all lifeforms, through actively weakening the current modes. Until some point of breakdown where whatever comes next is out of any society-wide control and reasoning, and so beyond society. Liberation can mean nothing less; tending toward the wild.

The international and internal battleground between anarchy and domination holds both losses and gains, of which some are known and some unknown to us. With this is mind we start the new year by celebrating the release of Braulio Duran (an unrepentant eco-anarchist who was held by the Mexican State) last October, albeit into the wider prison-society. When we discover solidarity with a locked-up comrade through their attitude and words, it doesn’t diminish when they get ‘out’; it just creates more grounds to keep fighting toward our mutual goals. Still ‘inside’, we remember the total-liberationist Adrian Gonzales and anarchist bandits of the Kozani case as well as Babis Tsilianidis; and Marco Camenisch, denied parole once again. Respect to the Mi’kmaq Warriors engaging the Canadian State/petro-industry aggressors in incendiary clashes, a renewed phase of indigenous militancy, and to the ones consistently defending both Khimki forest and the land of Notre-Dames-Des-Landes from Vinci’s developments.

A raised fist above the prison walls for Nicola Gai and Alfredo Cospito aka F.A.I/F.R.I Olga Nucleus, until cellblocks are rubble and jailers are ash.

On a sadder note, 2012 ended with the anarchist Sebastian Oversluij being fatally shot in Santiago while trying to collectively seize back some of what the banks extract every day from the exploited.Neither a victim or a martyr, we simply see someone who didn’t bow their head and accept the system’s rules, and we are glad to have such people as comrades.Even within this nonsensical, resigned and cynical modern culture, every action demands a reaction. When they kill one of the resisters, our enemies must pay in any way. This is how our struggle leaves behind empty gestures and keeps the dead from falling into oblivion. Blackened offices won’t replace split blood, but they signal that same social war isn’t finished, and our grief births rage.

Informal Anarchist Federation (F.A.I) Insurgents: Bristol North”

the source BITE BACK MAGAZINE  http://directaction.info/news_jan09_14.htm

Environmental Veganism-Vegetarianism

is the practice of vegetarianism or veganism based on the indications that animal production, particularly by intensive agriculture, is environmentally unsustainable. The primary environmental concerns with animal products are pollution and the use of resources such as fossil fuels, water, and land.

Environmental vegetarianism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_vegetarianism

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The education system is look at as the problem, by some groups who notice that there are many issues that all beings face here on earth, if it where set-up to create coherent thinking graduates then we would not be forced into solving the current problem of global degradation, of which needs immediate attention , there are not many in the education system who come in to the working world willing to support the many causes that are now in operation, these individuals will become to busy, working and to busy running to pay their debt created by higher education and feeding their addiction for “material object”. What is over looked is their individual ability, to begin  changing this situation, by not consuming certain product, for example Factory Farmed Animal Flesh, It is one of the largest contributors to pollution disease’s and social degradation all over the global, and one insight is truly misunderstood, that in this day and age we do not need animal protein to live, it is merrily a desired taste, and don’t confuse your self with animals and tribal peoples who are still living free, they are self-reliant and coexist with nature, as we are not, we are depended and domesticated just like the animals that are consumed.

Most of the time people who choose to become vegan are frowned upon because the miseducated consumer is obviously ignorant to the reasons why, for me to become vegan is addressing my deep concern for the Animals, Indigenous people and of course the earth, and this is considered extreme – you would think, that the consumer who insist on eating animal flesh is extreme? and if not then that person is not thinking coherently, considering the facts that have been presented!

Environmental impact of meat production: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_vegetarianism

Main article: Environmental impact of meat production

The predictable increase in animal product proportions on the plates of people living in developing countries will bring new challenges to global agriculture.

Interior of a hog confinement barn or piggery
Industrial monoculture is harvesting large quantities of a single food species, such as maize, or cattle. Monoculture is commonly practiced in industrial agriculture, which is more environmentally damaging than sustainable farming practices such as organic farming, permaculture, arable, pastoral, and rain-fed agriculture.

According to a 2006 Food and Agriculture Organization report, industrialized agriculture contributes on a “massive scale” to climate change, air pollution, land degradation, energy use, deforestation, and biodiversity decline. The FAO report estimates that the livestock (including poultry) sector (which provides draft animal power, leather, wool, milk, eggs, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals, etc., in addition to meat) contributes about 18 percent of global GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions expressed as 100-year CO2 equivalents. This estimate was based on life cycle analysis, including feed production, land use changes, etc., and used GWP (global warming potential) of 23 for methane and 296 for nitrous oxide, to convert emissions of these gases to 100-year CO2 equivalents. Some sources disagree with some of the figures used in arriving at the FAO estimate of 18 percent. For example, the FAO report estimates that 37 percent of global anthropogenic methane emissions are attributable to the livestock sector, and a US NASA summary indicates about 30 percent.[5] Because of the GWP multiplier used, such a difference between estimates will have a large effect on an estimate of GHG CO2 equivalents contributed by the livestock sector. Livestock sources (including enteric fermentation and manure) account for about 3.1 percent of US anthropogenic GHG emissions expressed as CO2 equivalents. This estimate is based on methodologies agreed to by the Conference of Parties of the UN FCCC.[6] Data of a USDA study indicate that about 0.9 percent of energy use in the United States is accounted for by raising food-producing livestock and poultry. In this context, energy use includes energy from fossil, nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, technological solar, and wind sources. The estimated energy use in agricultural production includes embodied energy in purchased inputs.

Another agricultural effect is on land degradation. Much of the world’s crops is used to feed animals.[8] With 30 percent of the earth’s land devoted to raising livestock, a major cutback is needed to keep up with growing population. A 2010 UN report explained that Western dietary preferences for meat would be unsustainable as the world population rose to the forecasted 9.1 billion by 2050.[8] Demand for meat is expected to double by this date; meat consumption is steadily rising in countries such as China that once followed more sustainable, vegetable-based diets. Cattle are a known cause for soil erosion through trampling of the ground and overgrazing.

The environmental impacts of animal production vary[clarification needed] with the method of production. A grazing-based production can limit soil erosion and also allow farmers to control pest problems with less pesticides through rotating crops with grass. In arid areas, however, it may catalyze a desertification process.[citation needed] The ability of soil to absorb water by infiltration is important for minimizing runoff and soil erosion. Researchers in Iowa reported that a soil under perennial pasture grasses grazed by livestock was able to absorb far more water than the same kind of soil under two annual crops: corn and soybeans. Corn and soybean crops commonly provide food for human consumption, biofuels, livestock feed, or some combination of these.

The FAO initiative concluded that “the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”

Treating Water in a Survival Situation

WATER

Your body is 75% water by weight. This water is needed for circulation and other bodily processes including respiration and converting food to energy. Your body loses water through sweating, urinating. defecating and breathing. The fluid your body loses must be replaced for you to function properly. So, one of your first objectives is to obtain an adequate supply of water in a survival situation. You can’t live long without it, especially in hot areas where you lose so much through sweating. Even in cold areas, you need a sufficient amount of water a day to maintain efficiency. People can survive without food for weeks or even a month, but go without water for even just one day and it will decrease your ability in doing even the simplest task. A lack of water causes dehydration, which may result in lethargy, headaches, dizziness and confusion. Insufficient water will also increase your susceptibility to severe shock if you get injured. You will easily be vulnerable to the effects of cold or heat. Morale will drop and a host of other problems ensue.

Thirst is no indication of how much water you need. Even when you are not thirsty, drink small amounts of water regularly to prevent dehydration. Dark yellow or brown urine is a diagnostic indicator of dehydration. If you are exerting a lot of energy or are under severe conditions, increase your water intake. You should be drinking 2 to 3 quarts of water daily or 1.90 to 2.83 liters .

If water rations are insufficient, then movement should be reduced to the cool times of the day or night. Stay in the shade as much as possible. This will reduce the water lost by excessive sweating. Move slowly to conserve energy. In very hot areas, it is better to take smaller quantities of water more frequently. To maximize your water intake, drink slowly and in sips. Don’t eat anything if you don’t have water to drink with it. By consuming food you’ll burn up your body’s supply of the vital fluid all the quicker. Do not remove your clothing, even in the sun. Loose layers of clothing help to control sweating by keeping the humidity near the skin to maximize the cooling effect.

The best place to keep water is in your stomach. When you get to a water source, start treating your water. Keep hydrated and drink as much water as needed. Fill your water containers and drink your fill of water before departing.

Basic filtering is the first step in removing particulate matter in the water. Three sticks can be lashed together near the end of the sticks to form a tripod. Tie a piece of cloth or your T-shirt under the lashed area of the sticks. If you have four corners on your cloth, bind two of the corners together. You will now have three corners. Tie each corner to one of the three sticks. The cloth should not slide downwards on the stick. Use cordage if necessary to secure the cloth to the sticks. Water from a stream, pond or any water source is poured into the cloth to filter out any debris or mud in the water. Additional pieces of cloth can be tied under the first cloth to create a multi-layered filter. A container is placed under the last cloth layer to catch the dripping water.

A plastic water or soda bottle can be made into another filter system. Cut off the upper top portion of the plastic bottle. Perforate the bottom of the plastic bottle with small holes. Place a layer of grass in the bottom, followed by a layer of sand, layered with many pieces of very small charcoal, another layer of sand and a final layer of grass on top. The five separate layers should fill up your plastic bottle. Water is poured into the plastic bottle filter and allowed to drain out of the small holes at the bottom of the plastic bottle into a water container. Take the water from the container and filter the water as many times through the plastic bottle until it comes out clear.

Filtering water doesn’t purify it, but it reduce particles, sediment and makes the water taste better.

Consider water from any source as contaminated with pathogens, like Giardia lamblia or Escherichia coli, that can cause an upset stomach, dysentery or even worst. The danger from these disease causing organisms is fluid loss due to diarrhea and vomiting. To be on the safe side, boil your water or use purification tablets before drinking.

Two methods for boiling water:
1. If you have an Army canteen metal cup or a soup can, you can use it to boil water and cook your food over a fire. The metal container is light and has more than one use.

2. In a wilderness situation, hot rocks can be used to boil water in a container. A plastic tarp can line a deep depression in the ground to provide a container for boiling water with heated rocks. Place some unheated stones in the bottom of the plastic container to keep the hot rock from touching the plastic surface. The water will quickly heat up as the hot rock transfers its heat to the water. When the hot stone begins to cool off, take it out with green sticks and replace the stone with another hot rock. Continue the process until the water is at a rolling boil.

You can also create a wooden bowl with a knife and coals for a container. Peck out a sandstone cup with a small, harder rock. Heated pebbles can be placed in the rock cup to boil water. Hollowing out a wooden bowl or sandstone cup takes a lot of your energy and time to make the container. Take this into consideration and your immediate situation when thinking of ways to boil your water.

Water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) will kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So, in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed. Let the water boil rapidly for one minute at higher altitudes, since water boils at a lower temperature. At sea level, the boiling point of water is 212° F. For every 500 feet increase in elevation, the boiling point drops one degree. For example, if your campsite is 5,000 feet above sea level, then water boils at 202° F. The only reason you typically get water up to the boiling point is you probably do not have a thermometer handy to measure the water temperature. When the water is boiling, you know it is hot enough and the disease causing organisms in your water were killed quite some time earlier. When the water has reached a full rolling boil, you do not have to boil it any further. Water temperature cannot get any higher than its boiling point no matter how much heat is applied. You will gain nothing by boiling the water longer. You’ll be wasting fuel and evaporate more water. After you remove the water from the heat source, it will take another period of time for the water to cool down enough for you to be able to drink it, during which it continues to remain hot enough to eliminate pathogens.

Boiling only kills living contaminants like parasites, bacteria and viruses. Chemical contaminants (e.g. heavy metals, toxins produced by rotting material, sewage, etc.) will not be affected. If possible, it’s better to spend a little bit of time finding a clean water source (running water) than trying to purify a dirty one (stagnant water).

Three techniques for obtaining water (if a creek, river, lake or any major water source is not available):
1. A solar still can be constructed with a plastic tarp. This is a system to extract water from the soil. A hole is dug where there might be moisture in the soil. A water collecting container is placed in the middle of the pit. The plastic tarp covers the hole and is lined with heavy rocks to seal the perimeter of the pit. A small stone is placed in the center of the tarp over the container in the hole to create a funnel. Create an angle of about 45-degrees from the edge of the hole to the center on the tarp. Water condenses into droplets on the underside of the tarp and gradually drips into the container. Crushed herbaceous plants can also be placed in the pit to increase the still’s output. Be careful to use only edible plants as many poisons will evaporate from toxic plants and drip down into your water container. You can also pour impure or filtered water into the solar still pit and allow it to evaporate and condense into your container.
2. A branch with foliage or a small shrub enclosed in a plastic bag can be used to obtain water. Plants loose water vapor into the atmosphere through a process called transpiration. The water vapor will condense on the inner surface of the bag and slowly flow towards the lowest part of the bag. Angle the bottom of the bag to capture the water droplets. This installation should work for a few days as long as the plant is not too exposed to the sun. Avoid killing the plant from overheating in the bag. Never use plants that may be poisonous. It takes a long time to collect liquid from a plant. This method is best used to stay the pains of thirst or to obtain temporary, “quick relief” emergency water.

3. Water can be collected from early morning dew. Also, a depression in a rock or the nook of a tree or a stump may contain water. Soak up the water from the catch with a piece of cloth or some dried grasses, wring it into a container, then filter and boil the fluid.

A Large oven bag  purchased from the grocery store makes an ideal plastic bag for boiling water with hot rocks, for enclosing plants using the transpiration/condensation method and making a small solar still. The oven bags are made to withstand heat (not to exceed 400° Fahrenheit). Store an oven bag in your emergency kit.

Source of knowledge come from Primitive Ways and my own experience of spending time in the bush.

Three Sisters: Corn, Beans and Squash

According to Iroquois legend, corn, beans, and squash are three inseparable sisters who only grow and thrive together. This tradition of interplanting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, widespread among Native American farming societies, is a sophisticated, sustainable system that provided long-term soil fertility and a healthy diet to generations. Growing a Three Sisters garden is a wonderful way to feel more connected to the history of this land.

Corn, beans and squash were among the first important crops domesticated by ancient Mesoamerican societies. Corn was the primary crop, providing more calories or energy  than any other. According to Three Sisters legends corn must grow in community with other crops rather than on its own – it needs the beneficial company and aide of its companions.

Three sisters garden corn

The Iroquois believe corn, beans and squash are precious gifts from the Earth Mother, each watched over by one of three sisters spirits, called the De-o-ha-ko, or Our Sustainers”. The planting season is marked by ceremonies to honor them, and a festival commemorates the first harvest of green corn on the cob. By retelling the stories and performing annual rituals, Tribal peoples passed down the knowledge of growing, using and preserving the Three Sisters through generations.

Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. Beans fix nitrogen on their roots, improving the overall fertility of the plot by providing nitrogen to the following years corn. Bean vines also help stabilize the corn plants, making them less vulnerable to blowing over in the wind. Shallow-rooted squash vines become a living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating, thereby improving the overall crops chances of survival in dry years. Spiny squash plants also help discourage predators from approaching the corn and beans. The large amount of crop residue from this planting combination can be incorporated back into the soil at the end of the season, to build up the organic matter and improve its structure.

 

three sisters garden squasgh

Corn, beans and squash also complement each other nutritionally. Corn provides carbohydrates, the dried beans are rich in protein, balancing the lack of necessary amino acids found in corn. Finally, squash yields both vitamins from the fruit and healthful, delicious oil from the seeds.

Indigenous peoples kept this system in practice for centuries without the modern conceptual vocabulary we use today, i.e. soil nitrogen, vitamins, etc. They often look for signs in their environment that indicate the right soil temperature and weather for planting corn, i.e. when the Canada geese return or the dogwood leaves reach the size of a squirrels ear. You may wish to record such signs as you observe in your garden and neighborhood so that, depending on how well you judged the timing, you can watch for them again next season!

Early European settlers would certainly never have survived without the gift of the Three Sisters from the Tribal peoples.

Success with a Three Sisters garden involves careful attention to timing, seed spacing, and varieties. In many areas, if you simply plant all three in the same hole at the same time, the result will be a snarl of vines in which the corn gets overwhelmed!

Instructions for Planting Your Own Three Sisters Garden in a 10 x 10 square

When to plant:
Sow seeds any time after spring night temperatures are in the 50 degree range, up through June.

What to plant:
Corn must be planted in several rows rather than one long row to ensure adequate pollination. Choose pole beans or runner beans and a squash or pumpkin variety with trailing vines, rather than a compact bush. At Renee’s Garden, we have created our Three Sisters Garden Bonus Pack, which contains three inner packets of multi-colored Indian Corn, Rattlesnake Beans to twine up the corn stalks and Sugar Pie Pumpkins to cover the ground.

Note: A 10 x 10 foot square of space for your Three Sisters garden is the minimum area needed to ensure good corn pollination. If you have a small garden, you can plant fewer mounds, but be aware that you may not get good full corn ears as a result.

How to plant:
Please refer to the diagrams below and to individual seed packets for additional growing information.

1. Choose a site in full sun (minimum 6-8 hours/day of direct sunlight throughout the growing season). Amend the soil with plenty of compost or aged manure, since corn is a heavy feeder and the nitrogen from your beans will not be available to the corn during the first year. With string, mark off three ten-foot rows, five feet apart.

2. In each row, make your corn/bean mounds. The center of each mound should be 5 feet apart from the center of the next. Each mound should be 18 across with flattened tops. The mounds should be staggered in adjacent rows. See Diagram #1

Note: The Iroquois and others planted the three sisters in raised mounds about 4 inches high, in order to improve drainage and soil warmth; to help conserve water, you can make a small crater at the top of your mounds so the water doesn’t drain off the plants quickly. Raised mounds were not built in dry, sandy areas where soil moisture conservation was a priority, for example in parts of the southwest. There, the three sisters were planted in beds with soil raised around the edges, so that water would collect in the beds (See reference 2 below for more information). In other words, adjust the design of your bed according to your climate and soil type.

3. Plant 4 corn seeds in each mound in a 6 in square. See Diagram #2

4. When the corn is 4 inches tall, its time to plant the beans and squash. First, weed the entire patch. Then plant 4 bean seeds in each corn mound. They should be 3 in apart from the corn plants, completing the square as shown in Diagram #3.

5. Build your squash mounds in each row between each corn/bean mound. Make them the same size as the corn/bean mounds. Plant 3 squash seeds, 4 in. apart in a triangle in the middle of each mound as shown in Diagram #4.

6. When the squash seedlings emerge, thin them to 2 plants per mound. You may have to weed the area several times until the squash take over and shade new weeds.

Diagram showing Three Sisters Garden spacing

 

Links to Legends about the Three Sisters:

1. Bird Clan of E. Central Alabama: The Three Sisters
http://www.birdclan.org/threesisters.htm

2. Cornell University Garden Based Learning: Three Sisters Garden- A Legend
http://blogs.cornell.edu/garden/get-activities/signature-projects/the-three-sisters-exploring-an-iroquois-garden/a-legend/

3.Three Sisters (agriculture) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaReferences and Further Reading;  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_(agriculture)1. Creasy, Rosalind, “Cooking from the Garden”, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1988

2. Dodson, Mardi, “An Appendix to Companion Planting: Basic Concepts & Resources – Ancient Companions. ATTRA: National Center for Appropriate Technology, 2002. Available at http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/complant.html#appCultivation.
3. Eames-Sheavly, Marcia, “The Three Sisters, Exploring an Iroquois Garden”, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell U., 1993
4. Hays, Wilma and R. Vernon, “Foods the Indians Gave Us”, Ives Washburn, Inc. NY, 1973

Genocide and those who play the part

Many people do not understand the legal definition of genocide, nor are they aware of how genocide is considered internationally. Many are of the misunderstanding that genocide is the mass murder of millions of people all in one shot — something akin to the holocaust. In fact, genocide is defined in the United Nations Convention on Genocide as follows:
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

That is the definition. In Canada and the United States, settler governments have committed genocide against Indigenous peoples, not under just one category, but under every single category noted above. We all know it, but the reality stands in such stark contrast to the mythology created by government about what Canada stands for, that many people resort to denial. Indigenous peoples who have raised the subject have been referred to as “nutbars”, “whackos”, “conspiracy theorists”, “radicals” and “terrorists”.
The issue of genocide is radical — not because it is not true, but because it stands so far outside the realm of humanity and human rights that the tendency is to save the term for only the most obvious, horrific, well-known instances of genocide committed in places far away from Canada.
The term genocide is usually saved for instances where the victims are considered to be humans — and Indigenous peoples have long been characterized as non-humans for centuries. Aside from the historical depictions of Indigenous peoples as “savages”, “heathens” or “pagans”, they have also been treated by governments as “dangerous and sub-human.” The myth of Indigenous peoples being sub-human allowed governments to steal Indigenous lands under the legal fiction of “terra nullius” (lands belonging to no one). They knew better of course, but it allowed them to justify not only the theft of lands from Indigenous peoples, but the brutal acts of genocide which were committed upon them.

As of now all peoples that live within the confines of civilization are contributing directly or indirectly to this status including the descendants of tribal peoples who are indigenous to particular lands and who benefit and sustain off of foods and other so called natural resources coming from third wold countries of south america, Africa and other lands,
who´s indigenous peoples are experiencing a conflict with the encroachment of corporate-government who are exploiting there resources to feed the people in the First Worlds like canada United State European union and Switzerland, poor and rich alike.

THE CORPORATE GOVERNMENTS OF CIVILIZATION WILL NOT HALT TILL ALL THE LANDS HAVE BEEN ACQUIRED AND ALL THE PEOPLE INCLUDING THE ANIMALS WILL HAVE BECOME THE SERVANT SLAVES TO THE UPPER ECHELONS OF CIVILIZED SOCIETY.

One of the most simplest and effective ways to resist and to hinder this civilizing progress is to not buy their products that keep them in political and economic power, and there are four major commodities not to mention gasoline and oil.

Refined tobacco – that is offered up the spirits

Alcohol – including your fine wine

Pharmaceutical drugs – that keeps the people sedated and dependent, including marijuana

and

Factory Farmed Meat – of which is cruel and extremely unhealthy for the earth, people and the animals, the eating of this flesh go’s against all spirituality’s that identifies the earth as their mother and the animals that are the guiding sprits to the metaphysical world of the Manitous, that have kept the natural balance of the world in check for tens of thousands years since before the invention of lineal time .

These four product and not to mention the many that are consumed every signal day require the animals and indigenous peoples lands to harvest, grow and to make a profit so that some can have a job to feed their families and the greed that the ultra rich are addicted to.

As of now we are all contributing to the current condition of the world, of which
is extremely POOR

The dark (disgusting) side of Brazil: Congressman receives Survival’s ‘Racist of the year’ award – Survival International

Deputy Luis Carlos Heinze made racist comments about Brazilian Indians, homosexuals and black people.

The dark side of Brazil: Congressman receives Survival’s ‘Racist of the year’ award 20 March 2014

Continue reading “The dark (disgusting) side of Brazil: Congressman receives Survival’s ‘Racist of the year’ award – Survival International”

Hypothetical methods real by playing with dead bodies.

http://directaction.info/news_oct28_13.htm

“The current SAG [Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero = Agriculture and Livestock Service] exhibition in the Valparaiso Museum of Natural History is a tribute to how science views the world dismembered, and how it makes its hypothetical methods real by playing with dead bodies, immortalizing in others the darkest part of the human being: their thirst for knowledge, violating fundamental laws of respect. What disturbed morbidity do they try to provoke in children? Will we dismember nature in order to experience it?

The display cases that they have filled with dead animals are disgusting, and not because of the animal’s bodies, but because of their morbid form of displaying them. The idiot who founded taxidermy like other scientists was motivated by an obsessive type of knowing. Scientists know: a body doesn’t need to be opened to understand its inner workings; there are other ways of understanding reality such as contemplation, personal relationships, interactions and more. They should also know that their concept of health will never be healthy while there is someone trapped in their fucking cages or in those jars of toxic liquid. These ‘specimens’ that are in the ‘main room’ are an insult to the earth.

Why encourage with images something that they supposedly prohibit? What is the difference between the cadavers they say were confiscated at the border and the chinchilla fur farms (for example) that SAG authorizes and protects in export? Is it the revenue? Or is it that they need to prohibit something in order to justify the useless work that the state gives them, so that each SAG worker can take bread to his family table stained with blood and suffering.

This attack brings to life our hatred of the SAG, for being the state organization responsible for animal handling, transport of laboratory animals, weak oversight of slaughterhouses, zoos and animal fairs, for perpetuating its ‘normal’ functioning of sales of blood per liter, and for having their own breeding vivarium. These little known facts must be attacked, they should know that there are those who are opposed to this slaughter and this way of knowing the lives of the other species.

Finally, it’s good to clarify the fact that the fire that was started frees an ancient curse. Vibrations of those dead animals and the pain of captivity remain forever attached to those who have manipulated them. Because we are the ones who daily watch their acts of vandalism against respect for living things. You will never be forgiven and you know it, because each of you lives a life of shit and you know it. Sooner or later you will pay for your putrid acts. Until then!

If you don’t want to share the earth, you will have to die!

Animal, human and earth liberation
ALF . ELF

ps: thanks for putting your disgusting exhibition in a building owned by the state.”

Spanish:
“la exposición actual del sag del museo de historia natural de valparaiso es un tributo a como la ciencia sabe lucirse con sus descuartizamientos. y a como hace verídicos sus métodos hipotertricos jugando con cuerpos ajenos muertos inmortalizando en otros lo mas oscuro del ser humano: su sed de conocer transgrediendo leyes de respeto. ¿que perturbada morbosidad pretenden provocar en los niños? ¿descuartizaremos para conocer la naturaleza?

esa cajonera que tienen llena de animales muertos es un asco, y no por el cuerpo del animal, sino por su morbosa forma de almacenamiento. el imbecil que fundo la taxidermia al igual que otros cientificops eran motivados por una obsesiva forma de conocer. sépanlo científicos: un cuerpo no necesita ser abierto para conocer su funcionamiento interno, hay mas formas de conocer la realidad como la contemplación, la relación personal, la interacción y mas. sepan también que su concepción de salud jamas sera sana mientras quede alguien encerrado en sus putas jaulas o en esos tarros de liquido inhóspito. esos ‘ejemplares’ que tienen en la ‘sala principal’ son un insulto a la tierra.

¿porque incentivan con la imagen algo que supuestamente prohíben? ¿cual es la diferencia entre los cadáveres que dicen confiscar en la frontera y los de los criaderos de piel de chinchilla (por ejemplo) que ustedes como sag autorizan protejen y cooperan en la exportación? ¿el impuesto al fisco? ¿o es que necesitan prohibir algo para justificar el trabajo inútil que el estado les dio? para que cada trabajador del sag lleve el pan a su mesa familiar manchado de sangre y sufrimiento ajeno.

este ataque manifiesta las pésimas voluntades que han sido enviadas hacia el sag por ser la organización estatal responsable del manejo de animales, del transporte de animales de laboratorio, de fiscalizar positivamente a mataderos, zoológicos y ferias de animales perpetuando su ‘normal’ funcionamiento, de ventas de sangre por litro, de tener un bioterio de cria propio. estos hechos poco divulgados deben ser atacados, sepan que hay quienes se oponen a esta masacre y a esta forma de conocer la vida de las otras especies que vivimos por aca.

por ultimo esta bueno aclarar que el hecho de que el fuego haya sido iniciado libera una maldición antigua. las vibraciones de esos animales muertos y el dolor del cautiverio quedaran eternamente estancados contra quienes los manipulan. por que habemos quienes acechando cotidianamente sus actos vandalicos contra el respeto de los seres vivientes. jamas serán perdonados y lo saben, porque cada uno de ustedes lleva una vida de mierda y lo saben. tarde o temprano les llegara la cuenta de sus pútridos actos. hasta entonces!

si no quieren convivir tendrán que morir!

liberación animal, humana y de la tierra
ALF . ELF

pd: gracias por poner su asquerosa exposición en un edificio propiedad del estado.”

Dishonest Identity

Dishonest Identity.

 

Dishonest Identity

DSC00279

The Occidental created the allegory of Indians, and whatever tall tales they want to tell in their childern are their business. But–concealed behind the illusion of Indians is the archetype of modern ethnic cleansing: the near extinction of more than forty percent of the world’s peoples; and these heinous crimes obscured by the nearly complete extirpation of the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples from the annals of Western civilization. We are consigned to the terra incognita of their linguistic maps: there is not a single word in the English language which means “the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples of this Continent or any continent .” Neither the Euro-Americans know who the Aboriginal Indigenous people really are, and they will not say our real names. The Indians know that they have a dishonest identity, and that they are trying to steal what belongs to the Aboriginal Indigenous people. Inescapable evidence of our very real past and present existence is masked by the Indian mythology, reinterpreted to fit the Indian stereotype, distorted, destroyed, and denied. The Indians serve the convenience of Western Civilization: by deliberately confusing the Ahnishinahbæótjibway and other Aboriginal Indigenous people with their figment of Indians, the Euro-Americans hope to fill the void of exterminated peoples, deny the genocide of many millions of Aboriginal Indigenous peoples, evade the responsibili­ty for the rape and plunder of our Continents, and justify their theft of the land.

 

How the Conquest of Indigenous Peoples Parallels the Conquest of Nature

By John Mohawk : John Mohawk is a Professor of American Studies at SUNY Buffalo. His books include: Exiled in the Land of the Free (written with Oren Lyons), A Basic Call to Consciousness, and The Red Buffalo
For some twenty years I’ve been doing a range of writing, including journalism, as a hobby. As a writer I have brought people a lot of bad news. Describing the fortunes of this hemisphere’s and to some degree other hemispheres’ indigenous peoples provides an endless sequence of bad news. At one time I was the editor of the largest American Indian publication in the Americas, Akwesasne Notes, which dealt with ideas that at the time were definitely not mainstream. I remember putting out issues in which we raised questions about the nature of the relationship of the human spirit to the natural world, and we broached the idea that human-created societies are inappropriately distanced from the physical realities of the world. We talked about areas of philosophical thought that have not been explored to their depths in the English language, although I imagine they’ve been explored at some depth in other languages.
Lately, though, my thinking has been shaped by my official career. I teach social history, a subject not usually associated with ecology, although I think it’s high time to make that connection. But first let me mention some of the issues I find myself grappling with in social history, which deals broadly with people’s everyday lived experiences in different cultural contexts and also with how people come to think and feel the way they do about what they encounter in the world.
I became interested in social history when I was in college, a small and conservative and Eurocentric college. In those days undergraduates were required to take a course in philosophy; in the course I signed up for I learned that there was really only one genre of philosophers, who occupied a narrow niche in the world of thought: they were all Western European, they were all male, they were all from what we would describe as the elite privileged classes, and as a whole they stayed within a set of boundaries they defined for themselves. They belonged to a club, as it were. Each one was required to know what was said by the preceding one, and each one was required to build on that. If a student asked the professor, for example, Were there any philosophers in China or Africa?, the more or less curt reply was, Not that I know of, and stick to the book.
Having been exposed since then to the ideas of people of many different cultures, I ask myself why these ideas are not part of the overall survey of philosophy even though the profession has loosened its collar a little bit in the thirty years since I was a student. After all, there certainly can’t have been only one stream of knowledge in all of history. I think we need to study Western civilization in order to understand when certain narrow and limited ways of thinking first appeared and where we went wrong. Therefore, I dutifully went back and started reading about the foundations of Western thought, trying to understand it in the light of other cultures.
As I studied Greek philosophy, I asked myself, Who were these Greeks, who gave us what we think of as the foundation of our thought, of our culture, and gave us our ideas about nature and society? I soon made a distinction between what the Greeks said and what they did. My philosophy professor had described a group of men sitting under a tree philosophizing; I saw them as an arrogant bunch who thought they had a new and better way to think about the world. But what were the Greeks actually doing? They were the creators of the most astonishing military organization in the world, building on centuries, even millennia, of military experience. Some clever people with good administrative and organizational skills put together armies that were able to march across the world and defeat everybody in their path relatively easily.
Classical Greece is taken as the starting point of European history, but actually Greece was old by the time of the classical Greeks. Over thousands of years the populations of the Mediterranean had been conquered numerous times before the formation of the Greek city-states we associate with classical Greek culture. By the time we get to the Romans, all of the peoples had been Hellenized. It is difficult to find anything resembling the remains of an indigenous Mediterranean culture.
This lack of indigenous culture leads me to William McNeill’s observations in The Rise of the West. He points out that the utopian religions which appeared in the two centuries before and after Christ arose out of rootless urban populations who had no consciousness of place. Successive waves of conquest destroyed any continuity of culture. This tied in with my reading of Isaiah Berlin’s The Crooked Timber of Humanity, in which he points out that episodes of horrific human slaughter and devastation throughout history often are the product of utopian ideologies.
Utopian ideology in the context I’m using the term means that people have an idea, they have a plan, and according to their plan a utopian society is at the end of their path. All of humankind’s problems are going to be solved by reaching this goal. But usually while they’re pursuing their goal, they discover that there are other people who are standing in their way or at least occupying ground needed for them to carry it out. You can’t have a utopian society unless you’re willing to crack a few eggs, as it were, and it’s almost always necessary to crack other people’s eggs to get there.
Understanding the nature of utopian ideology helps us find answers to certain troubling historical questions. In Hitler’s Willing Executioners Daniel Goldhagen asks, How could average everyday ordinary churchgoing Germans, who we all know were fully acculturated twentieth-century Western civilization people, get up in the morning, walk outside, shoot women and children in cold blood, and then come back in the evening and have supper as though they were doing nothing more than making widgets? How could people act in such a cold-blooded manner? Well, all we have to do is follow the real story of Western civilization and we’ll see that there has been episode after episode after episode of people getting up in the morning, going out, and murdering people. I think it started in what we call the modern era at that moment when Western Europe exploded out of Europe and expanded all over the world, beginning in the 1450s when the level of intolerance in European societies rose enormously. Pogroms were started against the Jews, and then in 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain. What we have is a pattern of behavior of utterly unbelievable cruelty in a society that claims to be civilized.
Another example of the consequences of utopian ideology is the campaign against magic during the three hundred years starting around 1450. Individuals who had a spiritual relationship with plants or animals were considered to be practicing magic. In the 1600s it was believed that these people had renounced Christ and were in league with the devil, who promised them the powers of nature in return, and they then used these powers against their enemies. This same belief that people making use of the powers of nature must be getting their magic from the devil prevailed in New England: when John Mason or Cotton Mather railed against the practices of the Indians, they were really railing against nature as an evil power, an evil power that must be controlled, overcome, and stamped out.
Witches weren’t going to admit to using magic, so a certain amount of coercive force was required, and the Inquisition was invented in order to drag people into dungeons and twist their limbs until they confessed and even named their neighbors, who were then brought in and treated similarly. That was the beginning of the witchcraft trials—for the most part involving women, by the way. According to some accounts, millions of people over three centuries were accused, tortured, and burned at the stake. What were they guilty of? They were herbalists; they were herb doctors who believed that the powers of nature could heal the human body. This belief was a direct threat to the power of the Church, which proclaimed that when Christ ascended to heaven, God the Father and the Holy Spirit went with Christ. Until they returned to earth, the Church was the only possible intermediary between humans and supernatural powers. The success of herbalists in curing their patients contradicted this faith in the sole power of the Church.
The war on magic was a psychological war on nature. It wasn’t waged by individuals but by the major institutions in Western culture, by the Church and the state in collusion with each other. They were not only making war on nature, they were also cracking eggs along the way. People accused of being witches were frequently selected because they had property that was desired by the local authorities, so quite often doing away with a witch proved profitable for the coffers of both town and Church. They took the property, including the land. Multiplied by hundreds of thousands or even millions of people over centuries, the plunder must have amounted to a great deal. You might say that the witches provided the early capitalization for the formation of European nation states.
Classical Greek philosophy also rejected nature-based religion. Let’s turn to Socrates by way of example. What did Socrates say about the people who were in the temples interpreting dreams and making forecasts and telling fortunes? He said it was all nonsense that should be replaced by rational thought. Socrates argued that the world must be based on reason, not on dreams and myths and the like. As far as I am concerned, one of the great fountainheads of Western civilization’s understanding of the human spirit is actually the old Greek myths that Socrates disparaged. They are among the most interesting artistic forms ever produced by the West.
I gradually came to believe that it’s not enough to study the history of philosophy, because what the philosophers are saying is entirely different from what is happening. Socrates lived at a time when the major form of social organization could best be described as either military oligarchy or military dictatorship. That is what the Greek city states really were. As I kept delving deeper, I found that in the history of philosophy the part that deals clearly with what’s really going on is something we don’t ordinarily read in social history, and that is military history. Military historians don’t shrink back from talking about political agendas. A military historian comes right out and says, The agenda here was to plunder; the plan was to use so many cannons, so many of this and that. When military historians study human behavior, they come to the conclusion that the purpose of organized armed aggression is to plunder. Now, that’s something which should be inscribed on the library wall at Columbia: the purpose of organized armed aggression is plunder!
I believe that philosophy was used by Western civilization to obscure the act of plunder by cloaking it in fancier terms. Aristotle could have said, We’re evil exploiters, and we’re going to conquer these people; we have the arms to do it, and we’re going to do it without any bad conscience whatsoever because we have the power and we can get away with it.
He could have said that, but he didn’t. Instead, he developed a rationale for one culture ruling another. What he said was, We’re a community of very bright people, and we need someone to do all the drudgery. We’ll make these other folks do it because if they don’t, we real bright people won’t have any time to sit under a tree and think about how smart we are. We’d have to be hoeing the garden, washing the dishes, and all the rest. But we need time to think, and if we think long and hard enough, we’ll come up with all the answers. In fact, the future of the world lies in the governance of the intelligent people of the world, and the project we will set for ourselves is to define civilization. It’s a project of organized thought that will lead us to solve all of humankind’s problems in science, in engineering, in art, in every arena.
Columbus Day was observed recently. For me Columbus Day is a reminder of the Spaniards’ behavior in the Caribbean between 1492 and 1516. Apologists for the Spanish say the decline in the Indian population was not great because there weren’t that many Indians there. However many Indians there were, by 1516 they were almost all dead. Whether there were 800 thousand or 800 million, let’s not lose track of the point here: there was a catastrophic decline in the Indian population on the major islands the Spanish were occupying. Another point needs to be made: one of the books I read said that the Indians were killed off by diseases. No they weren’t. They were not killed off by diseases. The viral diseases the Spanish had that devastated Mexico didn’t reach the Caribbean islands until 1518 or 1519.
What happened during that generation-long occupation of Hispaniola, Cuba, Puerto Rico? In his book The Conquest of America, Stzvetan Todorov raises the question of how the Spanish could be so callously indifferent to the lives of the Indians on the Caribbean islands. The same question applies to the Spanish on the mainland of Central America and South America and to the English and then the Dutch in North America. How could they? How can there be greater indifference to human life than was exhibited in the African slave trade? Western civilization is filled with such episodes.
Let’s consider the Caribbean islands. What do the major works (excluding Kirk Sale’s book, The Conquest of Paradise) say about the Caribbean islands? Samuel Morison says in Admiral of the Ocean Sea that it was unfortunate the Indian population declined at that time; the Spanish didn’t want the Indians to disappear, it just happened. Or take Lewis Hanke’s book, Aristotle and the American Indians. Hanke reports the existence of torture factories on the Caribbean islands. The purpose of such cruelty was not merely to extract wealth, although wealth was certainly one of the prospects; it went way beyond that. There were torture manuals that recommended using green wood instead of dry wood to prolong the time it takes to burn somebody to death.
In the late sixteenth-century the Dutch artist Theodor De Bry did a series of illustrations based on the reports of Bartholomé de Las Casas, a priest who was offended by the torture. Las Casas wrote thirty pages describing what was happening on the islands. I have to tell you it’s gut-wrenching stuff. Read his descriptions; then read the chapters in Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners and tell me there is a difference between the psychology of those Germans and those Spaniards. The same thing is going on, only the Spanish are a little more artistic. The Germans tended to torture people more at arm’s length, whereas the Spanish were up close and personal about it. And it went on and on for twenty-five years, but it’s essentially an unknown story. You won’t find it in any American history textbook.
The King of Spain was embarrassed by all the reports about the cruelty of the conquistadors. He wasn’t happy that they were getting out of hand and escaping the crown’s control over them, so in 1550 he called for a debate. Juan Gines de Sepulveda and Bartolomé de Las Casas, two priests who were also lawyers, stepped forward to make the arguments. Sepulveda took the point of view of the conquerors. He’s called the father of modern racism because of that. He concocted every excuse he could think of to explain why it was all right for the Spanish to do what they were doing to the Indians, and of course he started off with what the Indians were not—they were not Christian and they were not civilized; therefore, the Spanish were justified in treating them as they did.
Sepulveda would have used pretty much the same language and the same reasoning to explain why the Spanish were justified in doing what they did to the parrots, to the trees, to the fish, to every living organism on those islands: they were all biologically inferior beings lacking the consciousness and culture of Spaniards. They didn’t have any rights and therefore could be enslaved and subjected to whatever the Spanish felt like subjecting them to—and the Spanish didn’t need to have a bad conscience.
I think we look at this kind of racism from the wrong perspective in our culture. The real issue here is not Spanish racism toward the Indians. It’s the Spanish claim to superiority over every group, whether human or nonhuman.Once you believe that one group is better than all the rest, murder is justified, genocide is justified; in fact, any act against nature is justified. The only thing that matters is the aggrandizement of Spanish culture.
In all of the literature about what’s happening to indigenous peoples Victims of Progress, John Bodley’s book on the conquest of indigenous peoples in South America today, seems to spend the most amount of time looking at how people rationalize to themselves their right to seize land, to move other people out of the way, to move plants and animals out of the way—all in order to meet the development needs of modern industrial society. They can do this because of their belief system that says what they are doing is not only not wrong, it has to be done in order to create a world which will be able to solve all of humankind’s problems in the future.
What will the payoff be? One view is that through science we will someday conquer the major diseases of the world, and we’ll be able to live forever. How you get from that idea, by the way, to the idea that it’s all right to bulldoze huge areas in the name of curing cancer is a tremendous leap. Curing cancer has nothing to do with plundering. There’s not a single thing in the way of plundering the earth or destroying peoples that is necessary in order for scientists to be doing research on cancer. The two aren’t connected at all, although when you talk to people, right away they say, Well, we have to do this because we have to cure cancer. What? You have to be two hundred miles from the nearest road killing trees in order to cure cancer?
Think about the Germans in World War Two and the fact that not only were they willing to kill people but they were completely without conscience about it. Most of us look back at that period with horror and ask, How could they have done that? And we say, Well, they were just a little clique of criminals at the top of an aberrant order who had this crazy idea for a while. I encourage people who believe this to read Goldhagen’s book, which claims they weren’t a little clique of criminals at all. According to him, the whole of German society was in on it because they had so valued themselves and so devalued everyone else, not just the Jews. Given that pervasive mentality long enough, most of us would be affected by it too.
The core of Hitler’s message was that Germans as the privileged few deserved to have the fruits of the earth. All the others were in the way, taking up space and resources that should be Germany’s rightful inheritance. So this was not only about race; it was one of the largest projects of armed plundering in world history. But people can’t get up in the morning and say, Oh, we’re pirates and thieves and murderers, and we’re out to plunder. You can’t say that, and the Germans couldn’t either. The Germans said, We’re the master race, we’re the perfect example of humanity, and we’re going to solve all the world’s problems. The same thing the Spanish said.
Those Germans never stopped to reflect about what they were doing, never asked themselves if what they were doing might be wrong. Those Spaniards never stopped to reflect, either. All through history, groups who plundered—like the American miners in California and the American military in the northern Great Plains—never reflected. They built up utopian ideologies that protected them from their conscience. This raises the question in my mind, What about us? Are we like that? Are we blind? Do we have no conscience? Are we so sure we’re on the right path, the right and necessary path, that we have no choice but to follow it and sometimes crack a few eggs? Do we share that attitude?
Every day about forty thousand children die worldwide from preventable causes. You have to look hard to find the literature about it, but there are publications like the United Nations report The Fate of the Earth’s Children and Frances Moore Lappé’s Hunger: Twelve Myths. Some of these children die from diarrhea, which can be caused by bad water, but usually it’s assumed that the major cause is the lack of enough food in the world to sustain the poorest people. Lappé says that’s not true. There is enough food, but poor people don’t have the money to buy it. It’s a question of distribution.
What should we do? We should find a way to get food to poor people, shouldn’t we? But that’s not happening. What is in fact happening is that the major financial institutions in the world are imposing something called Structural Adjustment Programs on governments in poor countries. These programs are designed to create hunger. They specifically forbid countries that have a lot of poor people from subsidizing food, and they demand that measures be taken to drive down wages in those countries. The point is to make the poorest people in the world subsidize the richest people in the world by keeping labor at the lowest possible cost. We know that for every percentage point of deprivation they suffer, a number of people will die.
We know this, but we’re willing to live with it. We’re willing to be consciously ignorant. Beyond the fact of hunger is the fact that the engine driving it is the same engine—the same thinking, the same structured institutions—that is driving the destruction of forests and the extinction of animal species, that is at this very moment driving the extinction of the great fishes of the sea, of whole species of plants and animals in many parts of the world. But this is happening far from our vision. Here in New England reforestation is actually taking place. We’re not cutting our trees because we’re cutting somebody else’s. We don’t notice that our newspapers still come from trees, because they don’t come from trees here. For a long time I believed the problem was that people don’t have enough of a connection with nature, and that’s why they’re able to do the things that they do. I don’t believe that anymore.
I publish Daybreak, a magazine in which you’ll find stories about indigenous people trying to think through the issues of free trade and globalization, trying to figure out where they stand, what action they should be taking. Essentially, the purpose of the politics of the intellectual movement of the American Indians in the hemisphere as a whole and certainly in the southern hemisphere is to encourage biological diversity and encourage local food production for local consumption—the kinds of things Schumacher talked about.
Indians understand that self-sufficiency is the antithesis of the global economy. And I think we need to understand that the global economy is playing a major role in the destruction of our natural resources and of species and is rationalizing that destruction in terms of John Locke’s definition of what is rational. According to John Locke, rational thought leads you to do that which produces the maximum amount of money for you. This means even down to the last tree, down to the last fish. As a result of rational thought you try to transform nature into money. Locke argues that it’s a wonderful thing to have money because it transforms our wealth derived from nature into something solid and concrete. Of course, money is not solid and concrete anymore; it’s not even plastic anymore. It’s electronic money we’re dealing with now.
I propose to you that we live in an age of utopian excess that is driving us away from doing what would be sustainable and survivable and is diverting us into participating, in ways we’re not even conscious of, in activities that are destructive in the long term. A good example of this is the electronic information revolution. This revolution will sweep most of us along, whether we want to go or not—in the same way that my ancestors were dragged kicking and screaming into the print revolution. We’ll have to join it because it’s a way of communicating. Some people think the electronic information revolution is going to solve all our problems—the same kind of utopian stuff I’ve been talking about.
Read Wired magazine. It reads as though people have lost their minds. It asks questions like, Is the world growing a brain? No! But our brains are going dead! People who think in the wired mode see a marvelous world of opportunity, without asking themselves, opportunity for whom and opportunity to do what? The information age is concentrating wealth in the hands of the few who have access to and control of resources. The American middle class is being dismantled and it’s even cooperating; it’s going quietly to its death!
The plan is to make everyone part of a worldwide web, a worldwide marketplace. Internet users have the same capability to communicate with people in another part of the world as with people right in their home town. This means, for example, that you’re not going to need accountants from North America anymore. You can buy accountants for six dollars a day in Calcutta. You’re not going to need engineers from North America any more because you’ll be able to get all the engineering skills you need on the other side of the world. The idea is to have fewer people doing more things more cheaply, and the cheapest labor of all is on the other side of the world from us. That’s the long-term prospect. But in fact cheap labor does not solve our problems. The things that really matter in human society are not in computers, and they’re not in any utopian vision about solving all the world’s problems.
We are not going to make it to that place called Utopia, folks. It’s not going to happen. The reality is that for all of our ego, which seems to me colossally large, our life span and the space we occupy are incredibly small, and the distance between here and Utopia is insurmountable.
Human cultures have an enormous capacity to reframe things. Part of our problem in Western culture has to do with how we reframed nature. Cultures that are nature based have reframed nature in ways that have given it life and color and energy and excitement. I went to visit a particular group of Indians living on what you might call a gravel pit. No trees, no grass. Why don’t they plant some grass? The place is a desert as far as the eye can see. You’d look at that landscape and think to yourself, My God, this is one of the most depressing places I’ve ever been; it never rains, it’s always so dry. Then you talk with the Indians, and they bring that place to life for you. The place is full of things you can’t see. Live with the Hopis for a little while; their world is full of spirits that come in from the sky, from the ground. Almost every few days the Hopis perform a ritual of one kind or another to acknowledge the spirits of their place. And what a wonderful world they have.
Once I visited a tribe on the northern Great Plains. I was just sitting there with members of the tribe. I looked around and thought, No trees. But they have something else: a culture, built by the creative internal aspects of human society, that establishes a beneficial relationship between the society and nature. Not between the individual and nature. An individual can’t practice Lakota culture or Hopi culture. You need a whole group of people for that. When that culture exists, it has a sort of magic. You can find people who are part of it and who don’t have very much money, but they are living more happily than the people living in California’s affluent Marin County. Of course, the people in Marin County are trying to find that happiness; they’re trying to find that connectedness, that essence which makes your lived human experience truly lived and human. It exists among Buddhist communities throughout the world, it exists among the Australian aborigines, it exists among Indians in the deep rainforest. These are happy, adjusted people who are not destroying their environment, who are in fact celebrating their environment because they aren’t engaged in utopian thinking. They’re reliving a cycle instead.
To have a utopian vision you must believe that time is linear, that someday life will be better than it is here and now, and you have to sacrifice others in order to make it happen. I think this has been, if I may say so, the history of the West, a series of competing ideas about how we are going to get there. When we get there, we’ll all be happy. And where is there? It may be heaven, for example, or it may be a machine paradise.
The actual trend over the centuries has been toward a politics of conquest and plundering. And we have rationalized our behavior in the context of that conquest and plunder. Most of us don’t ask ourselves, when we make choices about what we’re going to buy, How does this purchase implicate me in the plunder? Most of us don’t talk to people who are from Indonesia before we go and buy our Reeboks. Instead, we listen to Michael Jordan saying, I wear these shoes, and he’s a great basketball player, so they must be good. Most of us don’t ask ourselves, What’s behind my purchase? Could there be military dictatorship behind it, exploitation of people, destruction of towns and villages, pollution?
In choice after choice that people make, they tend to buy things that come from places which create social orders they’d prefer not to support, but in fact they do choose those products because they can claim innocence of the underlying conditions. So people commonly will buy things in the grocery store that were grown 3000 or 4000 miles away. Most people I know can’t tell me where the clothes they wear were manufactured, who manufactured them, or what the conditions were under which they were manufactured. We’re all like the television star Kathie Lee Gifford, who started her own line of clothing, which is produced in the Third World; we don’t know anything about it.
I think this kind of information is part of social history. Social history has to do with where the things in your life come from and what the conditions are that produced them and how the conditions that produced them contribute to the life you’re living. It also has to do with what expectations you have concerning the kind of life you might live, with what options you have for choosing the quality of life you want. This kind of information is not offered to people in college. Where do you find courses on values? Show me a course about choosing your options. You can say, Well, of course, it’s not there because if the college offered a course like that, its funding would be jeopardized.
I began by saying I wanted to emphasize the connection between ecology and social history. Once we recognize this connection, we are led to obvious choices. I don’t believe it’s necessary to cut down the rain forests to satisfy consumer demand for cheap lumber. I don’t believe it’s necessary to create conditions that kill 40,000 children every day in order to maintain the world market economy, which in my opinion shouldn’t be retained in its current form. If you believe that’s necessary, then you can support the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. But I personally don’t believe we have to take steps to starve people in the Third World in order to drive down the price of labor. I don’t believe it was necessary to murder all those Indians in the Caribbean. We should step back and ask ourselves some serious questions: Just how much of that world market economy do we really need? What costs are we paying for what we get?
Thank you for your kind attention.

John Mohawk is a Professor of American Studies at SUNY Buffalo. His books include: Exiled in the Land of the Free (written with Oren Lyons), A Basic Call to Consciousness, and The Red Buffalo

Speak to me with out your institutionalized view.

I do not speak what you call “the language of my people” and I am happy with it. I am me, simply me, I am from my time, not from your linear timeline, not form your vertical system of value. I do not speak my language because the words that are referring to my people no longer exist in reality.

We have to come back to the natural reality, a coherent thought, as I have said, there are others who do not speak thier language as well.

This language is preached in Native American Studies, where our red intellectuals are bred today. I am not the educated ndn, no true people will accept the trap of such social classes. Our language is the pemmican. Our language is the People. Animals are language, the Tellings are alive. It seemed simple, but recently it became complicated. Nowadays the pemmican is the pig, the cow, the chicken and as they are today we have to recognize our food. Our spiritual food, our physical food.

It is difficult to write to you; words have constantly to be defined.

De-finition. Words were animals as they were complete, Nature was the Being, and then you gave her a name. What you call god gave a name to Day, so it could separated him from Night so there, It separated the Sun from Moon, us from the Mother and Earth. What you call “my world” was created trough a separation. This is why we have disappeared today, The original People, into our schizophrenic desperation. We are no longer mystical, we never were shamanic; we are shy-zo-phre-nic. But this is why I tell their stories, these neo-sacred animals, the pig, the cow, the rabbit, the chicken, the donkey, the sheep: so that the People may live.

My people are the ones that are weaving blankets to its mangy dogs. My family carries an inverted thunder-bow. But we still need more humor. It is that, the Neechee Spirit. One can throw pigs in the air to heal them or “jump their bones” one can melt luxurious flowers under a slick of oil, one can do all of that in the White World. But don’t forget the beauty. I tell that the civilized world is a reservation. There is progress for everyone. Dead-alive, the ameriKKKans have gorged themselves with cheep meat; the cow replaced the bison where 400 billion of fish and 56 billion of factory farmed land animals are killed every year. The contemporary NDN is like anyone else, he belongs to Mac Donald & KFC. The farm factories are the main employers on the global reservation: the world biggest hen concentration camp is implanted on the land of our beautiful enemies the Sicangu Lakotah and our Amazonian cuz’ no longer know how to recognize the Puma as he takes shape in the weakened body of a life-stock beef. The Natural People were led to the brink of extinction by the killing of their sacred animals and are maintained in ignorance by the food imposed upon them.

The question of what “They” forced us to call food is essential: it is something that obligates us to take a decision at many times of the day. Determinant choices. People keep asking why I talk about domesticated pets rather than wild animals. But I talk about Genocide. There is a strange and unsustainable silence around the question of meat. Meat is no animal: as for myself I do not eat the flesh of a tortured domestic animal and neither do I want to hunt in the context of a “civilized man”- Giiwosewinan to coexist is not the question here – so I am called a vegetarian because I refuse to eat the flesh of a spirituraly tortured domesticated factory farm animal. But am I a oonabaaW? I adhere to the duty of histories; I know that histories meet animals who allow them to live and to express themselves.

We have to pay attention to what we accept in us, to the amount of suffering and injustice that we ingest. There is an essential affiliation between the enslavement of animals on an industrial scale and the permanent genocide of a people. I tell that civilization has intentionally made dependent people that were self-sufficient. The schools are responsible for that huge lost of knowledge: people brought themselves to underestimate the notion of the People. By this way we became domesticated animals. In order to survive, we had to adapt to something that slipped out of the Natural Reality: we have changed our original language to some kind of verbal incarnation with whom we now manage global worlds. It is an illusion to believe that we will be able to regain the land without the animals, because the animals are our language, they are the natural language of all People. We will begin to consider ourselves, as we did before, when we have understood the essence of those who we eat, those spirits in our bellies. Yes, the domesticated animals do have spirits, they are in the caves and they are waiting. The People also are waiting.

It is time for me to be as real as possible. I tell the words of Tashunka Witko “We are living in the shadow of reality”. Civilization imposes its unique aesthetic choice to the people. Civilization wants to erase the notion of tribe, the fact that we are a contemplative one. We do not believe in what you call “Creation”. As for myself, I am working to preserve the Natural Reality. It is not because no one cares anymore about reality that the reality ceases to exist. She changes forms, as she always has. This is shape-shifting. We didn’t loss the Earth. They want us to believe that we have lost her and are destroying her, but she is still there and will survive beyond us an “egocentric priorship” , she will not leave. It is not because the mother of a little native child is drinking that the motherhood ceases. We must realize that nothing can be lost. The pain, yes, is present. But remember: civilized man cannot destroy the earth, only man’s ability to live with her. The disaster is happening right now and the animal people are going, protected by the shackles of radiations. Protected in the caverns of Nookomis waiting for a parasite to exhaust its self and to retrun one day without the assistance of a terminally-uniqe and egocentric civilized man.

Am I of Contrary Society, I tell that if we keep staying dazzled by the fire of progress we will disappear.

I talk for the Thunderers: “Porc”, “Cow”, “Chicken”. So that the People may live agian.

COLUMBUS, THE INDIANS, AND HUMAN PROGRESS

Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:

They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable (European observers were to say again and again) for their hospitality, their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that marked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus.

Columbus wrote:

As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.

The information that Columbus wanted most was: Where is the gold? He had persuaded the king and queen of Spain to finance an expedition to the lands, the wealth, he expected would be on the other side of the Atlantic-the Indies and Asia, gold and spices. For, like other informed people of his time, he knew the world was round and he could sail west in order to get to the Far East.

Spain was recently unified, one of the new modern nation-states, like France, England, and Portugal. Its population, mostly poor peasants, worked for the nobility, who were 2 percent of the population and owned 95 percent of the land. Spain had tied itself to the Catholic Church, expelled all the Jews, driven out the Moors. Like other states of the modern world, Spain sought gold, which was becoming the new mark of wealth, more useful than land because it could buy anything.

There was gold in Asia, it was thought, and certainly silks and spices, for Marco Polo and others had brought back marvelous things from their overland expeditions centuries before. Now that the Turks had conquered Constantinople and the eastern Mediterranean, and controlled the land routes to Asia, a sea route was needed. Portuguese sailors were working their way around the southern tip of Africa. Spain decided to gamble on a long sail across an unknown ocean.

In return for bringing back gold and spices, they promised Columbus 10 percent of the profits, governorship over new-found lands, and the fame that would go with a new title: Admiral of the Ocean Sea. He was a merchant’s clerk from the Italian city of Genoa, part-time weaver (the son of a skilled weaver), and expert sailor. He set out with three sailing ships, the largest of which was the Santa Maria, perhaps 100 feet long, and thirty-nine crew members.

Columbus would never have made it to Asia, which was thousands of miles farther away than he had calculated, imagining a smaller world. He would have been doomed by that great expanse of sea. But he was lucky. One-fourth of the way there he came upon an unknown, uncharted land that lay between Europe and Asia-the Americas. It was early October 1492, and thirty-three days since he and his crew had left the Canary Islands, off the Atlantic coast of Africa. Now they saw branches and sticks floating in the water. They saw flocks of birds.

These were signs of land. Then, on October 12, a sailor called Rodrigo saw the early morning moon shining on white sands, and cried out. It was an island in the Bahamas, the Caribbean sea. The first man to sight land was supposed to get a yearly pension of 10,000 maravedis for life, but Rodrigo never got it. Columbus claimed he had seen a light the evening before. He got the reward.

So, approaching land, they were met by the Arawak Indians, who swam out to greet them. The Arawaks lived in village communes, had a developed agriculture of corn, yams, cassava. They could spin and weave, but they had no horses or work animals. They had no iron, but they wore tiny gold ornaments in their ears.

This was to have enormous consequences: it led Columbus to take some of them aboard ship as prisoners because he insisted that they guide him to the source of the gold. He then sailed to what is now Cuba, then to Hispaniola (the island which today consists of Haiti and the Dominican Republic). There, bits of visible gold in the rivers, and a gold mask presented to Columbus by a local Indian chief, led to wild visions of gold fields.

On Hispaniola, out of timbers from the Santa Maria, which had run aground, Columbus built a fort, the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. He called it Navidad (Christmas) and left thirty-nine crewmembers there, with instructions to find and store the gold. He took more Indian prisoners and put them aboard his two remaining ships. At one part of the island he got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail for the Azores and Spain. When the weather turned cold, the Indian prisoners began to die.

Columbus’s report to the Court in Madrid was extravagant. He insisted he had reached Asia (it was Cuba) and an island off the coast of China (Hispaniola). His descriptions were part fact, part fiction:

Hispaniola is a miracle. Mountains and hills, plains and pastures, are both fertile and beautiful … the harbors are unbelievably good and there are many wide rivers of which the majority contain gold. . . . There are many spices, and great mines of gold and other metals….

The Indians, Columbus reported, “are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone….” He concluded his report by asking for a little help from their Majesties, and in return he would bring them from his next voyage “as much gold as they need … and as many slaves as they ask.” He was full of religious talk: “Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.”

Because of Columbus’s exaggerated report and promises, his second expedition was given seventeen ships and more than twelve hundred men. The aim was clear: slaves and gold. They went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives. But as word spread of the Europeans’ intent they found more and more empty villages. On Haiti, they found that the sailors left behind at Fort Navidad had been killed in a battle with the Indians, after they had roamed the island in gangs looking for gold, taking women and children as slaves for sex and labor.

Now, from his base on Haiti, Columbus sent expedition after expedition into the interior. They found no gold fields, but had to fill up the ships returning to Spain with some kind of dividend. In the year 1495, they went on a great slave raid, rounded up fifteen hundred Arawak men, women, and children, put them in pens guarded by Spaniards and dogs, then picked the five hundred best specimens to load onto ships. Of those five hundred, two hundred died en route. The rest arrived alive in Spain and were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town, who reported that, although the slaves were “naked as the day they were born,” they showed “no more embarrassment than animals.” Columbus later wrote: “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

But too many of the slaves died in captivity. And so Columbus, desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, had to make good his promise to fill the ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.

The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were killed.

Trying to put together an army of resistance, the Arawaks faced Spaniards who had armor, muskets, swords, horses. When the Spaniards took prisoners they hanged them or burned them to death. Among the Arawaks, mass suicides began, with cassava poison. Infants were killed to save them from the Spaniards. In two years, through murder, mutilation, or suicide, half of the 250,000 Indians on Haiti were dead.

When it became clear that there was no gold left, the Indians were taken as slave labor on huge estates, known later as encomiendas. They were worked at a ferocious pace, and died by the thousands. By the year 1515, there were perhaps fifty thousand Indians left. By 1550, there were five hundred. A report of the year 1650 shows none of the original Arawaks or their descendants left on the island.

The chief source-and, on many matters the only source-of information about what happened on the islands after Columbus came is Bartolome de las Casas, who, as a young priest, participated in the conquest of Cuba. For a time he owned a plantation on which Indian slaves worked, but he gave that up and became a vehement critic of Spanish cruelty. Las Casas transcribed Columbus’s journal and, in his fifties, began a multivolume History of the Indies. In it, he describes the Indians. They are agile, he says, and can swim long distances, especially the women. They are not completely peaceful, because they do battle from time to time with other tribes, but their casualties seem small, and they fight when they are individually moved to do so because of some grievance, not on the orders of captains or kings.

Women in Indian society were treated so well as to startle the Spaniards. Las Casas describes sex relations:

Marriage laws are non-existent men and women alike choose their mates and leave them as they please, without offense, jealousy or anger. They multiply in great abundance; pregnant women work to the last minute and give birth almost painlessly; up the next day, they bathe in the river and are as clean and healthy as before giving birth. If they tire of their men, they give themselves abortions with herbs that force stillbirths, covering their shameful parts with leaves or cotton cloth; although on the whole, Indian men and women look upon total nakedness with as much casualness as we look upon a man’s head or at his hands.

The Indians, Las Casas says, have no religion, at least no temples. They live in

large communal bell-shaped buildings, housing up to 600 people at one time … made of very strong wood and roofed with palm leaves…. They prize bird feathers of various colors, beads made of fishbones, and green and white stones with which they adorn their ears and lips, but they put no value on gold and other precious things. They lack all manner of commerce, neither buying nor selling, and rely exclusively on their natural environment for maintenance. They are extremely generous with their possessions and by the same token covet the possessions of their friends and expect the same degree of liberality. …

In Book Two of his History of the Indies, Las Casas (who at first urged replacing Indians by black slaves, thinking they were stronger and would survive, but later relented when he saw the effects on blacks) tells about the treatment of the Indians by the Spaniards. It is a unique account and deserves to be quoted at length:

Endless testimonies . .. prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives…. But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy; small wonder, then, if they tried to kill one of us now and then…. The admiral, it is true, was blind as those who came after him, and he was so anxious to please the King that he committed irreparable crimes against the Indians….

Las Casas tells how the Spaniards “grew more conceited every day” and after a while refused to walk any distance. They “rode the backs of Indians if they were in a hurry” or were carried on hammocks by Indians running in relays. “In this case they also had Indians carry large leaves to shade them from the sun and others to fan them with goose wings.”

Total control led to total cruelty. The Spaniards “thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades.” Las Casas tells how “two of these so-called Christians met two Indian boys one day, each carrying a parrot; they took the parrots and for fun beheaded the boys.”

The Indians’ attempts to defend themselves failed. And when they ran off into the hills they were found and killed. So, Las Casas reports, “they suffered and died in the mines and other labors in desperate silence, knowing not a soul in the world to whom they could turn for help.” He describes their work in the mines:

… mountains are stripped from top to bottom and bottom to top a thousand times; they dig, split rocks, move stones, and carry dirt on their backs to wash it in the rivers, while those who wash gold stay in the water all the time with their backs bent so constantly it breaks them; and when water invades the mines, the most arduous task of all is to dry the mines by scooping up pansful of water and throwing it up outside….

After each six or eight months’ work in the mines, which was the time required of each crew to dig enough gold for melting, up to a third of the men died.

While the men were sent many miles away to the mines, the wives remained to work the soil, forced into the excruciating job of digging and making thousands of hills for cassava plants.

Thus husbands and wives were together only once every eight or ten months and when they met they were so exhausted and depressed on both sides … they ceased to procreate. As for the newly born, they died early because their mothers, overworked and famished, had no milk to nurse them, and for this reason, while I was in Cuba, 7000 children died in three months. Some mothers even drowned their babies from sheer desperation…. in this way, husbands died in the mines, wives died at work, and children died from lack of milk . .. and in a short time this land which was so great, so powerful and fertile … was depopulated. … My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I tremble as I write. …

When he arrived on Hispaniola in 1508, Las Casas says, “there were 60,000 people living on this island, including the Indians; so that from 1494 to 1508, over three million people had perished from war, slavery, and the mines. Who in future generations will believe this? I myself writing it as a knowledgeable eyewitness can hardly believe it….”

Thus began the history, five hundred years ago, of the European invasion of the Indian settlements in the Americas. That beginning, when you read Las Casas-even if his figures are exaggerations (were there 3 million Indians to begin with, as he says, or less than a million, as some historians have calculated, or 8 million as others now believe?)-is conquest, slavery, death. When we read the history books given to children in the United States, it all starts with heroic adventure-there is no bloodshed-and Columbus Day is a celebration.

Past the elementary and high schools, there are only occasional hints of something else. Samuel Eliot Morison, the Harvard historian, was the most distinguished writer on Columbus, the author of a multivolume biography, and was himself a sailor who retraced Columbus’s route across the Atlantic. In his popular book Christopher Columbus, Mariner, written in 1954, he tells about the enslavement and the killing: “The cruel policy initiated by Columbus and pursued by his successors resulted in complete genocide.”

That is on one page, buried halfway into the telling of a grand romance. In the book’s last paragraph, Morison sums up his view of Columbus:

He had his faults and his defects, but they were largely the defects of the qualities that made him great-his indomitable will, his superb faith in God and in his own mission as the Christ-bearer to lands beyond the seas, his stubborn persistence despite neglect, poverty and discouragement. But there was no flaw, no dark side to the most outstanding and essential of all his qualities-his seamanship.

One can lie outright about the past. Or one can omit facts which might lead to unacceptable conclusions. Morison does neither. He refuses to lie about Columbus. He does not omit the story of mass murder; indeed he describes it with the harshest word one can use: genocide.

But he does something else-he mentions the truth quickly and goes on to other things more important to him. Outright lying or quiet omission takes the risk of discovery which, when made, might arouse the reader to rebel against the writer. To state the facts, however, and then to bury them in a mass of other information is to say to the reader with a certain infectious calm: yes, mass murder took place, but it’s not that important-it should weigh very little in our final judgments; it should affect very little what we do in the world.

It is not that the historian can avoid emphasis of some facts and not of others. This is as natural to him as to the mapmaker, who, in order to produce a usable drawing for practical purposes, must first flatten and distort the shape of the earth, then choose out of the bewildering mass of geographic information those things needed for the purpose of this or that particular map.

My argument cannot be against selection, simplification, emphasis, which are inevitable for both cartographers and historians. But the map-maker’s distortion is a technical necessity for a common purpose shared by all people who need maps. The historian’s distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interests, where any chosen emphasis supports (whether the historian means to or not) some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial or national or sexual.

Furthermore, this ideological interest is not openly expressed in the way a mapmaker’s technical interest is obvious (“This is a Mercator projection for long-range navigation-for short-range, you’d better use a different projection”). No, it is presented as if all readers of history had a common interest which historians serve to the best of their ability. This is not intentional deception; the historian has been trained in a society in which education and knowledge are put forward as technical problems of excellence and not as tools for contending social classes, races, nations.

To emphasize the heroism of Columbus and his successors as navigators and discoverers, and to de-emphasize their genocide, is not a technical necessity but an ideological choice. It serves- unwittingly-to justify what was done. My point is not that we must, in telling history, accuse, judge, condemn Columbus in absentia. It is too late for that; it would be a useless scholarly exercise in morality. But the easy acceptance of atrocities as a deplorable but necessary price to pay for progress (Hiroshima and Vietnam, to save Western civilization; Kronstadt and Hungary, to save socialism; nuclear proliferation, to save us all)-that is still with us. One reason these atrocities are still with us is that we have learned to bury them in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth. We have learned to give them exactly the same proportion of attention that teachers and writers often give them in the most respectable of classrooms and textbooks. This learned sense of moral proportion, coming from the apparent objectivity of the scholar, is accepted more easily than when it comes from politicians at press conferences. It is therefore more deadly.

The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks)-the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress-is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders. It is as if they, like Columbus, deserve universal acceptance, as if they-the Founding Fathers, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, the leading members of Congress, the famous Justices of the Supreme Court-represent the nation as a whole. The pretense is that there really is such a thing as “the United States,” subject to occasional conflicts and quarrels, but fundamentally a community of people with common interests. It is as if there really is a “national interest” represented in the Constitution, in territorial expansion, in the laws passed by Congress, the decisions of the courts, the development of capitalism, the culture of education and the mass media.

“History is the memory of states,” wrote Henry Kissinger in his first book, A World Restored, in which he proceeded to tell the history of nineteenth-century Europe from the viewpoint of the leaders of Austria and England, ignoring the millions who suffered from those statesmen’s policies. From his standpoint, the “peace” that Europe had before the French Revolution was “restored” by the diplomacy of a few national leaders. But for factory workers in England, farmers in France, colored people in Asia and Africa, women and children everywhere except in the upper classes, it was a world of conquest, violence, hunger, exploitation-a world not restored but disintegrated.

My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been, The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.

Thus, in that inevitable taking of sides which comes from selection and emphasis in history, I prefer to try to tell the story of the discovery of America from the viewpoint of the Arawaks, of the Constitution from the standpoint of the slaves, of Andrew Jackson as seen by the Cherokees, of the Civil War as seen by the New York Irish, of the Mexican war as seen by the deserting soldiers of Scott’s army, of the rise of industrialism as seen by the young women in the Lowell textile mills, of the Spanish-American war as seen by the Cubans, the conquest of the Philippines as seen by black soldiers on Luzon, the Gilded Age as seen by southern farmers, the First World War as seen by socialists, the Second World War as seen by pacifists, the New Deal as seen by blacks in Harlem, the postwar American empire as seen by peons in Latin America. And so on, to the limited extent that any one person, however he or she strains, can “see” history from the standpoint of others.

My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present. And the lines are not always clear. In the long run, the oppressor is also a victim. In the short run (and so far, human history has consisted only of short runs), the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims.

Still, understanding the complexities, this book will be skeptical of governments and their attempts, through politics and culture, to ensnare ordinary people in a giant web of nationhood pretending to a common interest. I will try not to overlook the cruelties that victims inflict on one another as they are jammed together in the boxcars of the system. I don’t want to romanticize them. But I do remember (in rough paraphrase) a statement I once read: “The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.”

I don’t want to invent victories for people’s movements. But to think that history-writing must aim simply to recapitulate the failures that dominate the past is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat. If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, occasionally to win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past’s fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.

That, being as blunt as I can, is my approach to the history of the United States. The reader may as well know that before going on.

What Columbus did to the Arawaks of the Bahamas, Cortes did to the Aztecs of Mexico, Pizarro to the Incas of Peru, and the English settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts to the Powhatans and the Pequots.

The Aztec civilization of Mexico came out of the heritage of Mayan, Zapotec, and Toltec cultures. It built enormous constructions from stone tools and human labor, developed a writing system and a priesthood. It also engaged in (let us not overlook this) the ritual killing of thousands of people as sacrifices to the gods. The cruelty of the Aztecs, however, did not erase a certain innocence, and when a Spanish armada appeared at Vera Cruz, and a bearded white man came ashore, with strange beasts (horses), clad in iron, it was thought that he was the legendary Aztec man-god who had died three hundred years before, with the promise to return-the mysterious Quetzalcoatl. And so they welcomed him, with munificent hospitality.

That was Hernando Cortes, come from Spain with an expedition financed by merchants and landowners and blessed by the deputies of God, with one obsessive goal: to find gold. In the mind of Montezuma, the king of the Aztecs, there must have been a certain doubt about whether Cortes was indeed Quetzalcoatl, because he sent a hundred runners to Cortes, bearing enormous treasures, gold and silver wrought into objects of fantastic beauty, but at the same time begging him to go back. (The painter Durer a few years later described what he saw just arrived in Spain from that expedition-a sun of gold, a moon of silver, worth a fortune.)

Cortes then began his march of death from town to town, using deception, turning Aztec against Aztec, killing with the kind of deliberateness that accompanies a strategy-to paralyze the will of the population by a sudden frightful deed. And so, in Cholulu, he invited the headmen of the Cholula nation to the square. And when they came, with thousands of unarmed retainers, Cortes’s small army of Spaniards, posted around the square with cannon, armed with crossbows, mounted on horses, massacred them, down to the last man. Then they looted the city and moved on. When their cavalcade of murder was over they were in Mexico City, Montezuma was dead, and the Aztec civilization, shattered, was in the hands of the Spaniards.

All this is told in the Spaniards’ own accounts.

In Peru, that other Spanish conquistador Pizarro, used the same tactics, and for the same reasons- the frenzy in the early capitalist states of Europe for gold, for slaves, for products of the soil, to pay the bondholders and stockholders of the expeditions, to finance the monarchical bureaucracies rising in Western Europe, to spur the growth of the new money economy rising out of feudalism, to participate in what Karl Marx would later call “the primitive accumulation of capital.” These were the violent beginnings of an intricate system of technology, business, politics, and culture that would dominate the world for the next five centuries.

In the North American English colonies, the pattern was set early, as Columbus had set it in the islands of the Bahamas. In 1585, before there was any permanent English settlement in Virginia, Richard Grenville landed there with seven ships. The Indians he met were hospitable, but when one of them stole a small silver cup, Grenville sacked and burned the whole Indian village.

Jamestown itself was set up inside the territory of an Indian confederacy, led by the chief, Powhatan. Powhatan watched the English settle on his people’s land, but did not attack, maintaining a posture of coolness. When the English were going through their “starving time” in the winter of 1610, some of them ran off to join the Indians, where they would at least be fed. When the summer came, the governor of the colony sent a messenger to ask Powhatan to return the runaways, whereupon Powhatan, according to the English account, replied with “noe other than prowde and disdaynefull Answers.” Some soldiers were therefore sent out “to take Revenge.” They fell upon an Indian settlement, killed fifteen or sixteen Indians, burned the houses, cut down the corn growing around the village, took the queen of the tribe and her children into boats, then ended up throwing the children overboard “and shoteinge owit their Braynes in the water.” The queen was later taken off and stabbed to death.

Twelve years later, the Indians, alarmed as the English settlements kept growing in numbers, apparently decided to try to wipe them out for good. They went on a rampage and massacred 347 men, women, and children. From then on it was total war.

Not able to enslave the Indians, and not able to live with them, the English decided to exterminate them. Edmund Morgan writes, in his history of early Virginia, American Slavery, American Freedom:

Since the Indians were better woodsmen than the English and virtually impossible to track down, the method was to feign peaceful intentions, let them settle down and plant their com wherever they chose, and then, just before harvest, fall upon them, killing as many as possible and burning the corn… . Within two or three years of the massacre the English had avenged the deaths of that day many times over.

In that first year of the white man in Virginia, 1607, Powhatan had addressed a plea to John Smith that turned out prophetic. How authentic it is may be in doubt, but it is so much like so many Indian statements that it may be taken as, if not the rough letter of that first plea, the exact spirit of it:

I have seen two generations of my people die…. I know the difference between peace and war better than any man in my country. I am now grown old, and must die soon; my authority must descend to my brothers, Opitehapan, Opechancanough and Catatough-then to my two sisters, and then to my two daughters-I wish them to know as much as I do, and that your love to them may be like mine to you. Why will you take by force what you may have quietly by love? Why will you destroy us who supply you with food? What can you get by war? We can hide our provisions and run into the woods; then you will starve for wronging your friends. Why are you jealous of us? We are unarmed, and willing to give you what you ask, if you come in a friendly manner, and not so simple as not to know that it is much better to eat good meat, sleep comfortably, live quietly with my wives and children, laugh and be merry with the English, and trade for their copper and hatchets, than to run away from them, and to lie cold in the woods, feed on acorns, roots and such trash, and be so hunted that I can neither eat nor sleep. In these wars, my men must sit up watching, and if a twig break, they all cry out “Here comes Captain Smith!” So I must end my miserable life. Take away your guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy, or you may all die in the same manner.

When the Pilgrims came to New England they too were coming not to vacant land but to territory inhabited by tribes of Indians. The governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop, created the excuse to take Indian land by declaring the area legally a “vacuum.” The Indians, he said, had not “subdued” the land, and therefore had only a “natural” right to it, but not a “civil right.” A “natural right” did not have legal standing.

The Puritans also appealed to the Bible, Psalms 2:8: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” And to justify their use of force to take the land, they cited Romans 13:2: “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”

The Puritans lived in uneasy truce with the Pequot Indians, who occupied what is now southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. But they wanted them out of the way; they wanted their land. And they seemed to want also to establish their rule firmly over Connecticut settlers in that area. The murder of a white trader, Indian-kidnaper, and troublemaker became an excuse to make war on the Pequots in 1636.

A punitive expedition left Boston to attack the Narraganset Indians on Block Island, who were lumped with the Pequots. As Governor Winthrop wrote:

They had commission to put to death the men of Block Island, but to spare the women and children, and to bring them away, and to take possession of the island; and from thence to go to the Pequods to demand the murderers of Captain Stone and other English, and one thousand fathom of wampum for damages, etc. and some of their children as hostages, which if they should refuse, they were to obtain it by force.

The English landed and killed some Indians, but the rest hid in the thick forests of the island and the English went from one deserted village to the next, destroying crops. Then they sailed back to the mainland and raided Pequot villages along the coast, destroying crops again. One of the officers of that expedition, in his account, gives some insight into the Pequots they encountered: “The Indians spying of us came running in multitudes along the water side, crying, What cheer, Englishmen, what cheer, what do you come for? They not thinking we intended war, went on cheerfully… -”

So, the war with the Pequots began. Massacres took place on both sides. The English developed a tactic of warfare used earlier by Cortes and later, in the twentieth century, even more systematically: deliberate attacks on noncombatants for the purpose of terrorizing the enemy. This is ethno historian Francis Jennings’s interpretation of Captain John Mason’s attack on a Pequot village on the Mystic River near Long Island Sound: “Mason proposed to avoid attacking Pequot warriors, which would have overtaxed his unseasoned, unreliable troops. Battle, as such, was not his purpose. Battle is only one of the ways to destroy an enemy’s will to fight. Massacre can accomplish the same end with less risk, and Mason had determined that massacre would be his objective.”

So the English set fire to the wigwams of the village. By their own account: “The Captain also said, We must Burn Them; and immediately stepping into the Wigwam … brought out a Fire Brand, and putting it into the Matts with which they were covered, set the Wigwams on Fire.” William Bradford, in his History of the Plymouth Plantation written at the time, describes John Mason’s raid on the Pequot village:

Those that scaped the fire were slaine with the sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escaped. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fyer, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stincke and sente there of, but the victory seemed a sweete sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to inclose their enemise in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enimie.

As Dr. Cotton Mather, Puritan theologian, put it: “It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day.”

The war continued. Indian tribes were used against one another, and never seemed able to join together in fighting the English. Jennings sums up:

The terror was very real among the Indians, but in time they came to meditate upon its foundations. They drew three lessons from the Pequot War: (1) that the Englishmen’s most solemn pledge would be broken whenever obligation conflicted with advantage; (2) that the English way of war had no limit of scruple or mercy; and (3) that weapons of Indian making were almost useless against weapons of European manufacture. These lessons the Indians took to heart.

A footnote in Virgil Vogel’s book This Land Was Ours (1972) says: “The official figure on the number of Pequots now in Connecticut is twenty-one persons.”

Forty years after the Pequot War, Puritans and Indians fought again. This time it was the Wampanoags, occupying the south shore of Massachusetts Bay, who were in the way and also beginning to trade some of their land to people outside the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Their chief, Massasoit, was dead. His son Wamsutta had been killed by Englishmen, and Wamsuttas brother Metacom (later to be called King Philip by the English) became chief. The English found their excuse, a murder which they attributed to Metacom, and they began a war of conquest against the Wampanoags, a war to take their land. They were clearly the aggressors, but claimed they attacked for preventive purposes. As Roger Williams, more friendly to the Indians than most, put it: “All men of conscience or prudence ply to windward, to maintain their wars to be defensive.”

Jennings says the elite of the Puritans wanted the war; the ordinary white Englishman did not want it and often refused to fight. The Indians certainly did not want war, but they matched atrocity with atrocity. When it was over, in 1676, the English had won, but their resources were drained; they had lost six hundred men. Three thousand Indians were dead, including Metacom himself. Yet the Indian raids did not stop.

For a while, the English tried softer tactics. But ultimately, it was back to annihilation. The Indian population of 10 million that lived north of Mexico when Columbus came would ultimately be reduced to less than a million. Huge numbers of Indians would die from diseases introduced by the whites. A Dutch traveler in New Netherland wrote in 1656 that “the Indians … affirm, that before the arrival of the Christians, and before the smallpox broke out amongst them, they were ten times as numerous as they now are, and that their population had been melted down by this disease, whereof nine-tenths of them have died.” When the English first settled Martha’s Vineyard in 1642, the Wampanoags there numbered perhaps three thousand. There were no wars on that island, but by 1764, only 313 Indians were left there. Similarly, Block Island Indians numbered perhaps 1,200 to 1,500 in 1662, and by 1774 were reduced to fifty-one.

Behind the English invasion of North America, behind their massacre of Indians, their deception, their brutality, was that special powerful drive born in civilizations based on private property. It was a morally ambiguous drive; the need for space, for land, was a real human need. But in conditions of scarcity, in a barbarous epoch of history ruled by competition, this human need was transformed into the murder of whole peoples. Roger Williams said it was

a depraved appetite after the great vanities, dreams and shadows of this vanishing life, great portions of land, land in this wilderness, as if men were in as great necessity and danger for want of great portions of land, as poor, hungry, thirsty seamen have, after a sick and stormy, a long and starving passage. This is one of the gods of New England, which the living and most high Eternal will destroy and famish.

Was all this bloodshed and deceit-from Columbus to Cortes, Pizarro, the Puritans-a necessity for the human race to progress from savagery to civilization? Was Morison right in burying the story of genocide inside a more important story of human progress? Perhaps a persuasive argument can be made-as it was made by Stalin when he killed peasants for industrial progress in the Soviet Union, as it was made by Churchill explaining the bombings of Dresden and Hamburg, and Truman explaining Hiroshima. But how can the judgment be made if the benefits and losses cannot be balanced because the losses are either unmentioned or mentioned quickly?

That quick disposal might be acceptable (“Unfortunate, yes, but it had to be done”) to the middle and upper classes of the conquering and “advanced” countries. But is it acceptable to the poor of Asia, Africa, Latin America, or to the prisoners in Soviet labor camps, or the blacks in urban ghettos, or the Indians on reservations-to the victims of that progress which benefits a privileged minority in the world? Was it acceptable (or just inescapable?) to the miners and railroaders of America, the factory hands, the men and women who died by the hundreds of thousands from accidents or sickness, where they worked or where they lived-casualties of progress? And even the privileged minority-must it not reconsider, with that practicality which even privilege cannot abolish, the value of its privileges, when they become threatened by the anger of the sacrificed, whether in organized rebellion, unorganized riot, or simply those brutal individual acts of desperation labeled crimes by law and the state?

If there are necessary sacrifices to be made for human progress, is it not essential to hold to the principle that those to be sacrificed must make the decision themselves? We can all decide to give up something of ours, but do we have the right to throw into the pyre the children of others, or even our own children, for a progress which is not nearly as clear or present as sickness or health, life or death?

What did people in Spain get out of all that death and brutality visited on the Indians of the Americas? For a brief period in history, there was the glory of a Spanish Empire in the Western Hemisphere. As Hans Koning sums it up in his book Columbus: His Enterprise:

For all the gold and silver stolen and shipped to Spain did not make the Spanish people richer. It gave their kings an edge in the balance of power for a time, a chance to hire more mercenary soldiers for their wars. They ended up losing those wars anyway, and all that was left was a deadly inflation, a starving population, the rich richer, the poor poorer, and a ruined peasant class.

Beyond all that, how certain are we that what was destroyed was inferior? Who were these people who came out on the beach and swam to bring presents to Columbus and his crew, who watched Cortes and Pizarro ride through their countryside, who peered out of the forests at the first white settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts?

Columbus called them Indians, because he miscalculated the size of the earth. In this book we too call them Indians, with some reluctance, because it happens too often that people are saddled with names given them by their conquerors.

And yet, there is some reason to call them Indians, because they did come, perhaps 25,000 years ago, from Asia, across the land bridge of the Bering Straits (later to disappear under water) to Alaska. Then they moved southward, seeking warmth and land, in a trek lasting thousands of years that took them into North America, then Central and South America. In Nicaragua, Brazil, and Ecuador their petrified footprints can still be seen, along with the print of bison, who disappeared about five thousand years ago, so they must have reached South America at least that far back

Widely dispersed over the great land mass of the Americas, they numbered approximately 75 million people by the time Columbus came, perhaps 25 million in North America. Responding to the different environments of soil and climate, they developed hundreds of different tribal cultures, perhaps two thousand different languages. They perfected the art of agriculture, and figured out how to grow maize (corn), which cannot grow by itself and must be planted, cultivated, fertilized, harvested, husked, shelled. They ingeniously developed a variety of other vegetables and fruits, as well as peanuts and chocolate and tobacco and rubber.

On their own, the Indians were engaged in the great agricultural revolution that other peoples in Asia, Europe, Africa were going through about the same time.

While many of the tribes remained nomadic hunters and food gatherers in wandering, egalitarian communes, others began to live in more settled communities where there was more food, larger populations, more divisions of labor among men and women, more surplus to feed chiefs and priests, more leisure time for artistic and social work, for building houses. About a thousand years before Christ, while comparable constructions were going on in Egypt and Mesopotamia, the Zuni and Hopi Indians of what is now New Mexico had begun to build villages consisting of large terraced buildings, nestled in among cliffs and mountains for protection from enemies, with hundreds of rooms in each village. Before the arrival of the European explorers, they were using irrigation canals, dams, were doing ceramics, weaving baskets, making cloth out of cotton.

By the time of Christ and Julius Caesar, there had developed in the Ohio River Valley a culture of so-called Moundbuilders, Indians who constructed thousands of enormous sculptures out of earth, sometimes in the shapes of huge humans, birds, or serpents, sometimes as burial sites, sometimes as fortifications. One of them was 3 1/2 miles long, enclosing 100 acres. These Moundbuilders seem to have been part of a complex trading system of ornaments and weapons from as far off as the Great Lakes, the Far West, and the Gulf of Mexico.

About A.D. 500, as this Moundbuilder culture of the Ohio Valley was beginning to decline, another culture was developing westward, in the valley of the Mississippi, centered on what is now St. Louis. It had an advanced agriculture, included thousands of villages, and also built huge earthen mounds as burial and ceremonial places near a vast Indian metropolis that may have had thirty thousand people. The largest mound was 100 feet high, with a rectangular base larger than that of the Great Pyramid of Egypt. In the city, known as Cahokia, were toolmakers, hide dressers, potters, jewelry makers, weavers, salt makers, copper engravers, and magnificent ceramists. One funeral blanket was made of twelve thousand shell beads.

From the Adirondacks to the Great Lakes, in what is now Pennsylvania and upper New York, lived the most powerful of the northeastern tribes, the League of the Iroquois, which included the Mohawks (People of the Flint), Oneidas (People of the Stone), Onondagas (People of the Mountain), Cayugas (People at the Landing), and Senecas (Great Hill People), thousands of people bound together by a common Iroquois language.

In the vision of the Mohawk chief Iliawatha, the legendary Dekaniwidah spoke to the Iroquois: “We bind ourselves together by taking hold of each other’s hands so firmly and forming a circle so strong that if a tree should fall upon it, it could not shake nor break it, so that our people and grandchildren shall remain in the circle in security, peace and happiness.”

In the villages of the Iroquois, land was owned in common and worked in common. Hunting was done together, and the catch was divided among the members of the village. Houses were considered common property and were shared by several families. The concept of private ownership of land and homes was foreign to the Iroquois. A French Jesuit priest who encountered them in the 1650s wrote: “No poorhouses are needed among them, because they are neither mendicants nor paupers.. . . Their kindness, humanity and courtesy not only makes them liberal with what they have, but causes them to possess hardly anything except in common.”

Women were important and respected in Iroquois society. Families were matrilineal. That is, the family line went down through the female members, whose husbands joined the family, while sons who married then joined their wives’ families. Each extended family lived in a “long house.” When a woman wanted a divorce, she set her husband’s things outside the door.

Families were grouped in clans, and a dozen or more clans might make up a village. The senior women in the village named the men who represented the clans at village and tribal councils. They also named the forty-nine chiefs who were the ruling council for the Five Nation confederacy of the Iroquois. The women attended clan meetings, stood behind the circle of men who spoke and voted, and removed the men from office if they strayed too far from the wishes of the women.

The women tended the crops and took general charge of village affairs while the men were always hunting or fishing. And since they supplied the moccasins and food for warring expeditions, they had some control over military matters. As Gary B. Nash notes in his fascinating study of early America, Red, White, and Black: “Thus power was shared between the sexes and the European idea of male dominancy and female subordination in all things was conspicuously absent in Iroquois society.”

Children in Iroquois society, while taught the cultural heritage of their people and solidarity with the tribe, were also taught to be independent, not to submit to overbearing authority. They were taught equality in status and the sharing of possessions. The Iroquois did not use harsh punishment on children; they did not insist on early weaning or early toilet training, but gradually allowed the child to learn self-care.

All of this was in sharp contrast to European values as brought over by the first colonists, a society of rich and poor, controlled by priests, by governors, by male heads of families. For example, the pastor of the Pilgrim colony, John Robinson, thus advised his parishioners how to deal with their children: “And surely there is in all children … a stubbornness, and stoutness of mind arising from natural pride, which must, in the first place, be broken and beaten down; that so the foundation of their education being laid in humility and tractableness, other virtues may, in their time, be built thereon.”

Gary Nash describes Iroquois culture:

No laws and ordinances, sheriffs and constables, judges and juries, or courts or jails-the apparatus of authority in European societies-were to be found in the northeast woodlands prior to European arrival. Yet boundaries of acceptable behavior were firmly set. Though priding themselves on the autonomous individual, the Iroquois maintained a strict sense of right and wrong…. He who stole another’s food or acted invalourously in war was “shamed” by his people and ostracized from their company until he had atoned for his actions and demonstrated to their satisfaction that he had morally purified himself.

Not only the Iroquois but other Indian tribes behaved the same way. In 1635, Maryland Indians responded to the governor’s demand that if any of them killed an Englishman, the guilty one should be delivered up for punishment according to English law. The Indians said:

It is the manner amongst us Indians, that if any such accident happen, wee doe redeeme the life of a man that is so slaine, with a 100 armes length of Beades and since that you are heere strangers, and come into our Countrey, you should rather conform yourselves to the Customes of our Countrey, than impose yours upon us….

So, Columbus and his successors were not coming into an empty wilderness, but into a world which in some places was as densely populated as Europe itself, where the culture was complex, where human relations were more egalitarian than in Europe, and where the relations among men, women, children, and nature were more beautifully worked out than perhaps any place in the world.

They were people without a written language, but with their own laws, their poetry, their history kept in memory and passed on, in an oral vocabulary more complex than Europe’s, accompanied by song, dance, and ceremonial drama. They paid careful attention to the development of personality, intensity of will, independence and flexibility, passion and potency, to their partnership with one another and with nature.

John Collier, an American scholar who lived among Indians in the 1920s and 1930s in the American Southwest, said of their spirit: “Could we make it our own, there would be an eternally inexhaustible earth and a forever lasting peace.”

Perhaps there is some romantic mythology in that. But the evidence from European travelers in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, put together recently by an American specialist on Indian life, William Brandon, is overwhelmingly supportive of much of that “myth.” Even allowing for the imperfection of myths, it is enough to make us question, for that time and ours, the excuse of progress in the annihilation of races, and the telling of history from the standpoint of the conquerors and leaders of Western civilization.

Activists Evict pro-GMO Food Authorities from EU Offices | Earth First! Newswire

Activists Evict pro-GMO Food Authorities from EU Offices

EFSA-slams-door-on-probiotic-health-claims-again-Prunes-pass_strict_xxl

from Earth First! Newswire

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in Parma, Italy, was taken over by activists yesterday, who demanded that staff leave the building.

According to Jan Op Gen Oorth, EFSA’s media officer, “EFSA’s building was stormed today by anti-GMO activists and we had to leave the building.”

The group decried the EFSA’s approval of GMOs in Europe.

EFSA released a public statement insisting that it appreciates all freedom of speech, but deplores the methods used by the activists.

Chocolate Genocide, The visual imagery of AKAtjecoutay

Snake Dog

SNAKE DOG

SNAKE DOG
 The sacred food prepared by the Hohnuhka society to feed  the mayiun consists of 3 plants symbolically representing all wild fruits. Dog is invited because the underwater serpent cannot be found.

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THE MAN DOG

Attenti al Lupo

  (This is my first attempt to literary glory at age 16. I just translated in English. I hope you will enjoy it).

The Man Dog.

I

After his wife died Gipo was alone. But it wasn’t until after the funeral that he was able to embrace solitude. During those first unreal days he had, for the first time in his life, felt truly important. All his friends (few) and relatives (too many) were trying to outdo each other in the attention and consolation they gave him.

It was a few days before the gravesite would be ready so that the heavy mahogany casket was placed in its final waiting room at the cemetery that Gipo went through a liberating experience. In that surreal room, were tears flowed and took with them the pain of regret, of love, where his feelings traversed the entire rainbow of sentiments from hypocrisy…

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NASA-funded study says “irreversible collapse” of industrial civilization likely in coming decades

By Nafeez Ahmed / The Guardian

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:

“… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

The study challenges those who argue that technology will resolve these challenges by increasing efficiency:

“Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”

Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from “increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput,” despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.

Modelling a range of different scenarios, Motesharri and his colleagues conclude that under conditions “closely reflecting the reality of the world today… we find that collapse is difficult to avoid.” In the first of these scenarios, civilisation:

“…. appears to be on a sustainable path for quite a long time, but even using an optimal depletion rate and starting with a very small number of Elites, the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society. It is important to note that this Type-L collapse is due to an inequality-induced famine that causes a loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature.”

Another scenario focuses on the role of continued resource exploitation, finding that “with a larger depletion rate, the decline of the Commoners occurs faster, while the Elites are still thriving, but eventually the Commoners collapse completely, followed by the Elites.”

In both scenarios, Elite wealth monopolies mean that they are buffered from the most “detrimental effects of the environmental collapse until much later than the Commoners”, allowing them to “continue ‘business as usual’ despite the impending catastrophe.” The same mechanism, they argue, could explain how “historical collapses were allowed to occur by elites who appear to be oblivious to the catastrophic trajectory (most clearly apparent in the Roman and Mayan cases).”

Applying this lesson to our contemporary predicament, the study warns that:

“While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing.”

However, the scientists point out that the worst-case scenarios are by no means inevitable, and suggest that appropriate policy and structural changes could avoid collapse, if not pave the way toward a more stable civilisation.

The two key solutions are to reduce economic inequality so as to ensure fairer distribution of resources, and to dramatically reduce resource consumption by relying on less intensive renewable resources and reducing population growth:

“Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”

The NASA-funded HANDY model offers a highly credible wake-up call to governments, corporations and business – and consumers – to recognise that ‘business as usual’ cannot be sustained, and that policy and structural changes are required immediately.

Although the study is largely theoretical, a number of other more empirically-focused studies – by KPMG and the UK Government Office of Science for instance – have warned that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a ‘perfect storm’ within about fifteen years. But these ‘business as usual’ forecasts could be very conservative.

From The Guardianhttp://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists

Giant Telescope Threatens Sacred Mountain and Lake in Hawaii

by Tim Reynolds / Two Row Times

Hawaii's sacred Mauna Kea is threatened by a proposed 30 meter, 18 story telescope.

Hawaii’s sacred Mauna Kea is threatened by a proposed 30 meter, 18 story telescope.

At the Anishnabek Educational Institute on Muncey Delaware Territory I met up with a Hawiian woman named Waimakalani Iona. She described a scenario all too familiar to Onkwehon:we people: the encroachment of her lands, a disregard for environmental issues and an ethnocentric and dismissive attitude towards her cultural beliefs.

The most sacred place in all of Hawaii is a mountain named Mauna Kea. It is the peoples Kupuna meaning something that is alive and fully interconnected to their lives. A place where you must approach the Ahu (Sacred Altar) to make an offering to Wakea (Skyfather) to show respect and ask permission before approaching Mauna Kea. It is considered to be the birthplace of Hawaii and where the first rainstorm(Wakea) and first sunlight came to be.

 

High atop of the mountain is Lake Wai’au where each family has a particular place for their childrens Piko (umbilical chord that falls off the childs belly button) to be placed in the lake. Piko is also the name of the summit Mauna Kea which connects all to their creation and ancestors. There is also ancient burial grounds on Mauna Kea. It is a rare place where Papahanaumoku (The mother goddess who gave birth to the islands), Mo’oinanea (the water spirit), and Wakea (The skyfather) meet as one.

In 1961 Mauna Kea was declared a protected place for its watersheds, ecological significance, culturally sacred value. Lake Wai’au is the only glacially formed lake in the mid-pacific.

What is pending now is a clear destruction of all of the above. Canada, France, and the University of Hawaii are planning a $1.3 Billion, 10 year construction project of an 18 floor, 30 meter telescope on 5 acres of land on Mauna Kea. Now the Ku Ching, Kalani Flores and 4 other families have pettioned the Board of Land and Natural Resources to the fullest extent and all bureaucratic steps have been taken to stop this potential desecration and genocidal act. Waimakalani Iona said “Its like an orange talking to an apple about who we are and what we believe in. The TMT (thirty meter telescope group) group didn’t even ask our permission to do build this telescope.” The TMT claim it will not interfere in cultural practices; but other telescopes throughout Hawaii have interfered either from noise or physical placement.

Since 2010 Lake Wai’au has been disappearing drastically. It was 10 feet deep now it is 1 foot deep. Waimakalani Iona said the lake is saddened at what is going on and the lack of respect for what is proposed at the summit, which is named Ho’ohokukalani (where the children descend and return to the stars). Many concessions have been made throughout Hawaii with other telescopes but she, Mauna Kea, is saying no to this one.

24 Mind-Blowing Facts About Marijuana Production in America | Mother Jones

“At one time marijuana grew freely and naturally and now it is exploited, like many aspects of life, our civilized progressive way of “being” is responsible for every category of degradation the natural reality is experiencing, and the slaves will come up with as many excuses as possible to justify their simplistic lifestyles. Cvilized progress is responsible for this, simply, because the upper echelons of society have establish this, to benefit from the working servants we are today, they don’t have to think, just believe and work, produce more workers for the future, and if they begin to think coherently, if that is possible at all, then, are fed more pot, meat alcohol, entertainment and many other consumable products, then, certain liberties are taken from us, we need to work more and harder, so therefore we need to sedate ourselves of the pain we are experiencing effecting our simplistic way of being, how we live now compared to the people who where and maybe still self-sufficient is simplistic,we just go to work, consume and reproduce, and just that has a complex and devastation effect on all that is natural”

The only thing green about that bud is its chlorophyll.

—By , and 

You thought your pot came from environmentally conscious hippies? Think again. The way marijuana is grown in America, it turns out, is anything but sustainable and organic. Check out these mind-blowing stats, and while you’re at it, read Josh Harkinson’s feature story, “The Landscape-Scarring, Energy-Sucking, Wildlife-Killing Reality of Pot Farming.”

Nationwide grows
California seized
Trespass grows
San Francisco water
Indoor crop
Refrigerators
California electricity
Power plants
Carbon dioxide
Car emissions
Single joint

Sources: Jon Gettman (2006), US Forest Service (California outdoor grow stats include small portions of Oregon and Nevada), Office of National Drug Control Policy, SF Public Utilities Commission, Evan Mills (2012).

UPDATE: Beau Kilmer of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center argues that the government estimates of domestic marijuana production used in this piece and many others are in fact too high. Kilmer’s research, published last week, suggests that total US marijuana consumption in 2010 (including pot from Mexico) was somewhere between 9.2 and 18.5 million pounds.