DOMESTIC SERVITUDE

“war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength” – George Orwell

THE DOMINANT CULTURES AND THE ULTRA RICH OF THE WORLD WANT YOU TO SERVE THEM.

I take offence to speak about industrial civilization as the end all to an evolutionary process, especially when the shark or certain other animals have not changed…a big snicker at the overgrown academics and there wannabes!

You are allowed to outgrow people and their institutions, to embrace Animality, free-living peoples and The Earth – Misanthropy, Antinatalism, Animal liberation and the philosophy and the practise of rewilding/horticulture – let your spirit run free with the possibility to enable all of us to be free!

The supposed progress that civilization made – LOOK at it, for what it really is, death and destruction, for the free living and the domestication of plants, animals and people, all sanctioned by science-technology, governing politics, organized religion and then we are educated and put to work, enforced by police and military, coerced by authority figures, intimidation tactics that are accepted as the norm by the working class.
A Barbarian invader culture with an advanced technology and science – governing politics to back, with millions of mindless police, soldiers and workers, has taken the planet hostage, and now we have to negotiate our rights with this unscrupulous group, when they have no interest in granting anyone the right to live free. I am not interested their version of freedom – a utopian society they see fit for thier purpose, their version is my dystopia, a version that is obviously unfit for the all animals and all people, of course there are the exception, those who are dependent on the state and willingly choose to be servant-slaves to the current capitalist system!

THERE IS NO PATH TO THE TRUTH, IT’S WITHIN YOU THE FREE-LIVING PRIMITIVIST, it’s the way we lived for most of our existence, up until a hundred years ago with the onset of the industrial revolution, when the indigenous peoples of north america were forced onto small reservation that were really prisoner of war camps. The destruction of a way of life that was hail as a victory, millions of bison were executed and millions of indigenous people subjected to the act of genocide.

NOW, SURVIVAL OF THE UNFITTEST – I am not pointing at one group or another, I am referring to everyone who depends on industrial society !

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Wabeno a Mystic or Shaman- both?

The wabeno is an ancient Mystic-shamanic personality that was formally found among several Algonquian groups. The wabeno shamanic art is performed singly or in a society composed of both men and women. The Ojibway wabeno is first described in Jesuit relations as healing by means of fire manipulations and erotic dances. Named by the French as “jugglers”, these wabeno handled live coals and then rubbed their heated hands over the patient while chanting their vision songs. Another wabeno specialty is divining, which they accomplish by gazing into glowing coals until inspiration moves them to respond to questions. In addition, the earlier wabeno held a healing ritual in which naked shaman danced around the ailing patient. These wabeno practices where at time condemned by European observers which often led to conflict between tribal shamans and European missionaries. By exhibiting his pyrotechnics, the wabeno evokes the hypnotic mystery of fire and the mood necessary to his passage into trance. Herbal preparations are used to protect wabeno from the coals that they handle. “By the use of plants, he is alleged to be enabled to take up and handle with impunity red hot stones and burning brands and without evincing the slightest discomfort it is said that he will bathe his hands in boiling water or even boiling maple syrup. These protective practices are openly known. The wabeno skills lies not merely in herbal preparations but also in the effect he or she creates on the patient to be healed, in his or her own movement into trance and in the dramatic spectacle that the audience witnesses.
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By means of sustained concentration on the glowing embers the wabeno evokes his manido patron. The patron who bestows the wabeno vocation is described as a fiery figure with radiant horns. The whole complex of the wabeno ceremony, including the fire handling, naked dance, drumming, rattling and chanting is devoted to the frenzied encounter with the horned manido. After summoning the manido and passing into an altered psychic state the wabeno conveys the manido presence by rubbing the patient with his heated hands. The fire’s juggling seems to demonstrate his authentic contact with the spirit world. Mastery over fire, insensibility to heat enhance the mystical heat that renders both extreme cold and the temperature of burning coals supportable is a magical virtue that translates in sensible terms the fact that he has passed beyond the human condition (and is already in spirit condition). Thus, the Ojibway wabeno passes into the other world by virtue of his pyrotechnics. His techniques using fire help to create a mood in which his vision can structure a healing rite.
Like fire manipulation, the wabeno erotic dance mediates the healings energies given him/her in dreams or vision. The psychic techniques of naked dancing practiced by the wabeno also harks back to the ithyphallic pictographs found throughout Ojibway territory. These rock paintings and carvings depict the Ojibway understanding of the manido force inherent in the male sex (opposite ?). More than mere graphic arts, these image render visible the hidden meanings in nature whose significance it has been the wabeno task to conjure up and capture on stone. Just as Ojibway visionaries conjured up their power dreams to execute this phallic art, so also the wabeno channels a vital healing force through his or her nacked ritual dance.
The major wabeno ceremonials are usually performed by a group of them. In many respect, the development of the wabeno shamanic groups paralleled the formation of the mide society responded to the tribal need by structuring ancient shamanic trance techniques into a community experience of the manido presence. Thus, the wabeno trance not only healed individual patients but also revitalized individual participants.
The wabeno cult did not gain a lasting position in the Ojibway tribe, partially because of its frenetic trance techniques. The cult did not have the wide appeal to the various Ojibway bands that the more mythologized midewiwin did. It also focused too exclusively on the trance as an end in itself. Spirit possession is not an acceptable technique among the Ojibway (wrong understanding/accusation).Such loss of control because of the spirit possession is comparable to the most deadly illness conceived by the Ojibway, namely : the Windigo.
Wabeno dancing2
The following contemporary account of a wabeno reflects the later, subdued practice of this cult. Although the practice of fire manipulation and frenzied dance are not mentioned, the trance experience via dream evocation is still evident. The name of this female wabeno is Eternal Man. The wabeno practice had become suspect among the Ojibway bands because they had developed into cultic-spirit possession performances by both men and women. Changes during the 19 and 20 centuries in the wabeno trance state reasserted both the norm of traditional “shamanic” activity and variations in accordance with the shift in Ojibway societal values.
This practice it still going on  in isolation, away from the contemporary norms of the assimilated indigenous society – those who have embraced industrial society and fashioned their spirituality after the influences of western cultural oppression.
wabno
Morningstar at the lodge of the Midewiwin Society

 

Oral Cultures

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Art by Atjecoutay
Oral culture differs very much from literate culture which is in possession of alphabets, writing, print and electronic media. In a tribal culture which is primarily an ‘oral’ culture, the knowledge needs to be organized in such a way that it is easy to recall. In a tribal culture, which is deeply embedded in an oral intellectual structure, sound, speech and memory play a fundamental role. Thus, knowledge is stored and retrieved in and through memory. Things have to be committed to memory and then recalled.
Unlike literate cultures, given the interpersonal immediacy that is required in orality, oral/tribal cultures show a remarkable tendency towards conformity to the group and adherence to tradition. In oral cultures people tend to solve problems by common consensus and in the tradition of the tribe. Oral cultures also institutionalize public pressure on individuals to ensure conformity to tribal modes of behavior. Orality tends to encourage personality structures which manifest strong kinship patterns. Given the close-knit tribal kinship pattern, conformity to the tribe is seen as an important value.
Orality, which organizes its complete supply of knowledge around memory, speech and personal immediacy, entails certain characteristic features. Oral cultures prefer a descriptive approach in their interpretation of reality. This interpretation tends to reflect their proximity to the life-world with which they are most familiar. Further, given the interpersonal immediacy that is required in orality, oral cultures tend to have a strong ‘communitarian’ dimension. Instead of abstractions and analytical categories we find in oral cultures a basic orientation towards descriptive approach to reality in the form of myths, stories, and songs. Vast amount of descriptions arranged according to formulations of memory skills are possible in oral cultures. Thus, oral cultures show predominantly descriptive tendency, which is close to the life-world.
In the above context, Plato’s lamentation over the disappearance of orality and the use of script is highly significant: “The discovery of alphabet will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust external written characters and not remember of themselves… You give your disciples not truth but only the semblance of truth; they will be heroes of many things, and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will gradually know nothing” (McLuhan et al. 1967: 113). Oral world of Plato is a lively world full of epics, verbal contests, debates, rhetoric, and dialogues – all spoken words. Written and printed word is inert, it is tucked away in manuscripts and books. It does not have the same dynamism of the spoken word.
Tribal myths, which embody a significant portion of tribal worldview, follow the same patterns exhibited by the predominance of oral-aural culture. The same is true of epics, which are prime examples of oral structures. Originally they were either sung or recited by specialists who did not ‘memorize’ verbatim, they rather assimilated the narrative in terms of themes and formula. They used striking visual symbols in their narratives. If the poets did not engage in the activity of repetition, saying things again and again, then, much of the knowledge in an oral-aural culture would disintegrate. The mystery of the universe and the wonder of the world are what speak to us through all myths and rites.
Literally when a worldview is established in written form, most will take this as the ultimate truth. Thought out written history we find that it is usually the oppressor who writes the stories for the ones who have been oppressed, we can find the evidence of this manipulation of the written word, in the Aryan invasion of india or the bering strait theory, these are examples of the inconsistency in the literate cultures, that have no truth in the oral history of tribal peoples of the world !
Tribal-oral cultures have coexisted with the natural world for millions of years, whereas the literate cultures in comparison have only existed for a very short period of time, and in doing so have managed to destroy most of the natural world, in its effort to dominate, subjugate and to tame the wild, though this domestication of people, animals and land, we have the current dysfunctional condition of our species, who will eventually destroy its ability to live with the earth, in other words most of us have been coerced through the written word to cooperate and then to collaborate with this destruction.
Though our eating habits – monoculture plants, animal agriculture where the deforestation happens to accomodate these industries, ocean fishing industry, gas and oil and other products that need the natural resources to feed an industrial society, who depends on them for survival. All this effort have written policies in government that make the destruction legal and acceptable.

The Reason Why?

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Art by Atjecoutay
Animal agriculture is one of the reasons, beside the cruelty committed by industrial “civil” society, the consciousness of the people are in this form of a trap, or a mold if you like, created by the dominant culture. Animal agriculture dominates the landscape of the Great Plains of North America, my homeland. For me this is an obvious occupation of land, most people don’t see that, what they see is progress and thier food – I see degradation, environmentally and socially. Living on the reservation, we are surrounded by monoculture and factory farms, we are coerced into eating the domesticated animal, the packaging of meat allows for the people to believe they have a luxery, of course this is an illusion, suffering, sickness and torture candy coated with sanitary sometimes beautiful packaging, this is progress – capitalism.

“Of all the panels Rivera made for The Museum of Modern Art, Indian Warrior reaches back farthest into Mexican history, to the Spanish Conquest of the early 16th century. An Aztec warrior wearing the costume of a jaguar stabs an armored conquistador in the throat with a stone knife. The Spaniard’s steel blade—an emblem of European claims to superiority—lies broken nearby. Jaguar knights, members of an elite Aztec military order, were known for their fighting prowess; according to legend, their terrifying costumes enabled them to possess the power of the animal in battle. The panel’s jarring vision of righteous violence offered a Mesoamerican precedent for Mexico’s recent revolution, as well as its continuing struggles.”
Realizing that we are surrounded by industrial society, and the majority of my people in a way both accept it and “protest” against it, a contradiction and or a conflict of interest, when referring to spirituality, in a sense a hypocrisy – a disconnection from the natural reality and of course we all are….This is why I became a “sober anarchist vegan”, but I realize that I am only practising in a philosophical-intellectual sense, the reality of anarchism is smothered in my reliance on this society, I would rather be somewhere else….if not death or to the freedom of Nature!
I feel that my struggle with society is rather a drudge through a thickness of spiritual emotional – psychological and material collaboration, a cohorted collaboration, like I stated we are surrounded, and yet this sense of pessimism that I have, not an entire loss. I still have one thing, that is my newly learnt ability to write in a language that is not mine, I fight with this new weapon, safe and peaceful without physical violence, safe not for my purpose, but safe for the others who support industrial society, over time I have become inherently aggressive as a result of domination and the occupation of my homeland – A forced re-education. I write to inform others, not to debate or argue what is right or wrong, I am not interested in this at all…to inform!.. And yet what I write here, is only the basic reasons why, in depth the reason for all should be acknowledged, simple just look at us, we are but children, misguided and misdirected, and deeply rooted in our psyche a mass manipulation and only very few of us can actually “THINK” OUR WAY THROUGH THIS, but yet we are stuck with limited tools to perform, for the good of all beings I feel and not an anthropocentric notion and yet a contradicting thought, in the “old ways” the world view was that the physical body is not what’s important, but the spirit was to be free from the confinement of our body – Shapeshifting…
Honestly what I am saying is that extinction does not exist in the mind of the tribal person nor does anarchism or veganism or any other “ism” at that!
TO ALL MY RELATIONS – THE EARTH IS SACRED
“It is one of the fallacious concepts that man is free. Of course, man is free to choose, but when he chooses he is already in confusion. When you see something very clearly, then you do not choose. Please look at this fact in yourselves. When you see something very clearly, where is the necessity of choice? There is no choice. It is only a confused mind that chooses, that says, ‘This is right, this is wrong, I must do this because it is right,’ and so on, not a clear precise mind that sees directly. For such a mind there is no choice. You see, we say that we choose and therefore we are free. That is one of the absurdities we have invented, but we are not basically free at all. We are conditioned, and it requires an enormous understanding of this conditioning to be free.”
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

The Return of the Brutal Savage and the Science for War by STEPHEN CORRY

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 Art by Atjecoutay

The last few years have seen an alarming increase in claims that tribal peoples have been shown to be more violent than we are. This is supposed to prove that our ancestors were also brutal savages. Such a message has profound implications for how we view human nature – whether or not we see war as innate to the human condition and so, by extension, broadly unavoidable. It also underpins how industrialized society treats those it sees as “backward.” In reality though it’s nothing more than an old colonialist belief, masquerading once again as “science.” There’s no evidence to support it.

The American anthropologist, Napoleon Chagnon, is invariably cited in support of this brutal savage myth. He studied the Yanomami Indians of Amazonia from the 1960s onwards (he spells the tribe “Yanomamö”) and you’d be hard pressed to find a book or article on tribal violence which doesn’t refer to his work. Popular writers such as Steven Pinker and Jared Diamond frequently make much of Chagnon’s thesis, so it’s worth giving a thumbnail sketch of why in reality it proves little about the Yanomami, and nothing about human evolution.
First, it’s important to dispatch a red herring from the murky cauldron being cooked up by the brutal savage promoters: They often point to Darkness in El Dorado, a book by Patrick Tierney, which attacked Chagnon’s work, but went too far. Tierney raised the possibility that one of Chagnon’s colleagues may have deliberately introduced a deadly measles epidemic to the Indians. That simply wasn’t true: In fact, the epidemic was inadvertently started by American missionaries. That Tierney was wrong on this single point is now used to claim that all his and other writers’ criticisms of Chagnon have been discredited. They haven’t. In any case, were a single error deemed to negate a whole thesis, then pretty much all science, as well as journalism, the law and a lot else, falls apart.
Anyway, let’s set Tierney aside. For decades, Napoleon Chagnon’s findings have been rejected by almost all of the many other anthropologists who have worked with the Yanomami, and in most countries his work simply isn’t taught. He had rather faded from anthropology in the United States too, until his recent resurgence as the darling of establishment attitudes.
According to Chagnon, brutality is a key driver of human evolution. How did he come upon such a disturbing “discovery”? Basically, he counted how many Yanomami men boasted that they were unokai and he told us this means they’ve killed people. He then crunched the numbers to show that unokai are similarly successful in love as they are in war, and that by fathering more children than non-killers, they ensure the next generation is as murderous as they are.
As with any sweeping conclusion in human sciences, there are numerous known unknowns. For example, did Yanomami raiding in the 1960s increase through growing pressure from settler or missionary incursions? (After all, Chagnon used the extremist New Tribes Mission to get into the Yanomami.) Did the influx of outside trade goods, including guns, play a role? Such impacts are difficult to analyze, though some believe they were clearly significant.
But the most significant fact, the extraordinary single error that, in this case, does destroy Chagnon’s thesis in one swoop, is something Chagnon doesn’t tell us – unokai does not just mean “killer.” It’s also the status claimed by everyone who’s ever shot an arrow into a dead body during an inter-village raid (most raids stop after one killing). It describes many other individuals as well, including men who’ve killed an animal thought to be a kind of shamanic embodiment of a human, as well as stay-at-homes who try and cast lethal spells. It even includes those who’ve participated in a ritual during their future wife’s puberty (she also becomes unokai). In other words, many unokai haven’t killed anyone. With this simple fact, every one of Chagnon’s conclusions about “killers” falls apart.
But supposing he was right after all, what would his figures show? What percentage of the population are we talking about? Here the brew gets fishier: Chagnon plays fast and loose with his own data. His autobiography, “Noble Savages,” says that “killers” number “approximately 45 percent of all the living adult males.” Yet even according to his own (shaky) data, that is simply not true: Chagnon’s own figures do not show that 45 percent of men are unokai. He has grossly inflated his percentage by ignoring everyone younger than 25, an age group with far fewer claiming unokai status. Were they included, his percentage would plummet.
Chagnon has been asked about this manipulation for years. When he bothers to reply, he claims he’ll publish new supporting data. We’re still waiting.
So there you have it: That’s the poster boy of the “scientific proof” behind the myth of the brutal savage. The fact that Chagnon’s thesis has been repeatedly demolished in scholarly publications for decades is simply ignored by those who want him to be right. For them to dismiss the many Chagnon critics, to pretend that science is on their side, and to chorus sneeringly “noble savages” whenever Chagnon is criticized, is just facile propaganda.
By the way, if you want to know how many unokai (supposed “killers”) Chagnon managed to winkle out during a quarter century of fieldwork with one of Amazonia’s largest tribes – numbering several thousand – the answer is just 137 men. They could all comfortably fit into a single car on the New York subway. How many of those were actually killers? We’ll never know.
That’s the size of the sample group supposedly proving that tribal peoples live in a state of chronic warfare and, by throwing in more red herrings, that our ancestors did so too. The latter assertion is widely promulgated. It goes like this: The Yanomami are a small-scale tribal (non-state) hunting society, our ancestors were the same, so the Yanomami can teach us about our ancestors because they live in a similar way. And yet the theory fails on several points: For example, no one knows the degree to which our distant ancestors scavenged for meat, rather than actively hunted it. That’s quite a different approach to life, and the Yanomami wouldn’t dream of doing it. In any case, a moment’s informed reflection tells you that no one who inhabited the ice age plains of Eurasia, for example, lived remotely like the tropical rainforest Yanomami of Chagnon’s 1960s.
The real story is more obvious, prosaic and simpler than the Chagnon-created “fierce people” and their supposed “chronic” warfare. The truth is that there are some tribal peoples who have a belligerent reputation, others known for avoiding violence as much as possible, and lots in between. That’s nothing to do with any grasping at mythic noble savages, it’s what anthropologists have actually found.
Despite the growing mythology, the archeological record reveals very little evidence of past violence either (until the growth of big settlements, starting around 10,000 years ago). Researchers Jonathan Haas and Matthew Piscitelli studied descriptions of 2,930 earlier skeletons from 900 different sites worldwide.[1] Apart from a single massacre site of two dozen people in the Sudan, they found “but a tiny number of cases of violence in skeletal remains,” and noted how just four sites in Europe “are mentioned over and over by multiple authors” striving to demonstrate the opposite of what the evidence actually reveals. The archeological record before 10,000 years ago, they conclude, in fact “shows that warfare was the rare exception.”
Much of the other “proof” for the brutal savage advanced by Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond, and other champions of Chagnon, is rife with the selection and manipulation of facts to fit a desired conclusion.
To call this “science” is both laughable and dangerous. These men are desperate to persuade us that they’ve got “proof” for their opinions, which isn’t surprising as they’re nothing more – opinions based on a narrow and essentially self-serving political point of view. They have proved nothing, except to those who want to believe them.
Does it matter? Yes, very much. How we think of tribal peoples dictates how we treat them. Proponents of Chagnon seek to reestablish the myth of the brutal savage which once underpinned colonialism and its land theft. It’s an essentially racist fiction which belongs in the 19th century and, like a flat earth, should have been discarded generations ago. It’s the myth at the heart of the destruction of tribal peoples and it must be challenged.
It’s not just deadly for tribal peoples: It’s dangerous for all of us. False claims that killing is a proven key factor in our evolution are used to justify, even ennoble, the savagery inherent in today’s world. The brutal savage may be a largely invented creature among tribal peoples, but he is certainly dangerously and visibly real much closer to home.
Stephen Corry has worked with Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, since 1972. The not-for-profit has a San Francisco office. Its public campaign to change conservation can be joined
 atwww.survivalinternational.org/conservation. This is one of a series of articles on the problem.

END CIV Resist Or Die (Full)

END:CIV examines our culture’s addiction to systematic violence and environmental exploitation, and probes the resulting epidemic of poisoned landscapes and shell-shocked nations.

Based in part on Endgame, the best-selling book by Derrick Jensen, END:CIV asks: “If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air, and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?”

Directors: Franklin Lopez
Language English
Studio: Mvd Visual
Release Date: 25 Jan 2011
Run Time: 75 minutes

“What Is Civilization?” by Aric McBay

 

If some people hear that people want to “end civilization” they automatically respond in various negative ways because of their positive associations with the word “civilization.” This piece is an attempt to clarify, define and describe what I (and many others) mean by “civilization..”

The source: http://www.sodahead.com/living/what-is-civilization-by-aric-mcbay/blog-282673/

If I look in the dictionary to find out what the commonly used definition of civilization is, here’s what it says:

civilization

1: a society in an advanced state of social development (e.g.,
with complex legal and political and religious organizations); “the
people slowly progressed from barbarism to civilization” [syn:
civilisation]

2: the social process whereby societies achieve civilization [syn: civilization]

3: a particular society at a particular time and place; “early Mayan civilization” [syn: culture, civilization]

4: the quality of excellence in thought and manners and taste;
“a man of intellectual refinement”; “he is remembered for his
generosity and civilization” [syn: refinement, civilisation] [i]

The synonyms include “advancement, breeding, civility, cultivation,
culture, development, edification, education, elevation, enlightenment,
illumination, polish, progress” and “refinement..”

It goes without saying that the writers of dictionaries are “civilized”
people – it certainly helps explain why they define themselves in such
glowing terms. As Derrick Jensen asks, “can you imagine writers of
dictionaries willingly classifying themselves as members of ‘a low,
undeveloped, or backward state of human society’?” [1]

In contrast, the antonyms of “civilization” include: “barbarism,
savagery, wilderness, wildness.” These are the words that civilized
people use to refer to those they view as being outside of civilization
– in particular, indigenous peoples. “Barbarous”, as in “barbarian”,
comes from a Greek word, meaning “non-Greek, foreign.” The word
“savage” comes from the Latin “silvaticus” meaning “of the woods.” The
origins seem harmless enough, but it’s very instructive to see how
civilized people have used these words:

barbarity

1: the quality of being shockingly cruel and inhumane [syn: atrocity, atrociousness, barbarousness, heinousness]

2: a brutal barbarous savage act [syn: brutality, barbarism, savagery] [ii]

savagery

1. The quality or condition of being savage.

2. An act of violent cruelty.

3. Savage behavior or nature; barbarity.. [iii]

These associations of cruelty with the uncivilized are, however, in
glaring opposition to the historical record of interactions between
civilized and indigenous peoples..

For example, let us take one of the most famous examples of “contact”
between civilized and indigenous peoples. When Christopher Columbus
first arrived in the “Americas” he noted that he was impressed by the
indigenous peoples, writing in his journal that they had a “naked
innocence. … They are very gentle without knowing what evil is,
without killing, without stealing..”

And so he decided “they will make excellent servants..”

In 1493, with the permission of the Spanish Crown, he appointed himself
“viceroy and governor” of the Caribbean and the Americas. He installed
himself on the island now divided between Haiti and the Dominican
republic and began to systematically enslave and exterminate the
indigenous population. (The Taino population of the island was not
civilized, in contrast to the civilized Inca who the conquistadors also
invaded in Central America.) Within three years he had managed to
reduce the indigenous population from 8 million to 3 million. By 1514
only 22,000 of the indigenous population remained, and after 1542 they
were considered extinct.. [2]

The tribute system, instituted by [Columbus] sometime in 1495, was a
simple and brutal way of fulfilling the Spanish lust for gold while
acknowledging the Spanish distaste for labor. Every Taino over the age
of fourteen had to supply the rulers with a hawk’s bell of gold every
three months (or, in gold-deficient areas, twenty-five pounds of spun
cotton; those who did were given a token to wear around their necks as
proof that they had made their payment; those did not were . “punished”
– by having their hands cut off . and [being] left to bleed to death.. [3]

More than 10,000 people were killed this way during Columbus’ time as
governor. On countless occasions, these civilized invaders engaged in
torture, rape, and massacres. The Spaniards made bets as to who would slit a man in two, or cut off his head at one blow; or they opened up his bowels. They tore the babes from their mother’s breast by their feet and dashed their heads against the rocks . . . They spitted the bodies of other babes, together with their mothers and all who were before them, on their swords.. [4]

On another occasion:

A Spaniard . . . suddenly drew his sword. Then the whole hundred
drew theirs and began to rip open the bellies, to cut and kill – men,
women, children and old folk, all of whom were seated off guard and
frightened . . . And within two credos, not a man of them there remains
alive. The Spaniards enter the large house nearby, for this was
happening at its door, and in the same way, with cuts and stabs, began
to kill as many as were found there, so that a stream of blood was
running, as if a number of cows had perished.. [5]

This pattern of one-way, unprovoked, inexcusable cruelty and
viciousness occurred in countless interactions between civilized and
indigenous people through history..

This phenomena is well-documented in excellent books including Ward Churchill’s A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present, Kirkpatrick Sale’s The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy, and Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. Farley Mowat’s books, especially Walking on the Land, The Deer People, and The Desperate People
document this as well with an emphasis on the northern and arctic
regions of North America. There is also good information in Howard
Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present and Voices of a People’s History of the United States. Eduardo Galeando’s incredible Memory of Fire
trilogy covers this topic as well, with an emphasis on Latin America
(this epic trilogy as reviews numerous related injustices and revolts).
Jack D. Forbes’ book Columbus and Other Cannibals: The Wétiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism and Terrorism is highly recommended. You can also find information in Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, although I often disagree with the author’s premises and approach..

The same kind of attacks civilized people committed against indigenous
peoples were also consistently perpetrated against non-human animal and
plant species, who were wiped out (often deliberately) even when
civilized people didn’t need them for food; simply as blood-sport. For
futher readings on this, check out great books like Farley Mowat’s
extensive and crushing Sea of Slaughter, or Clive Ponting’s A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations (which also examines precivilized history and European colonialism)..

With this history of atrocity in mind, we should (if we haven’t
already) cease using the propaganda definitions of civilized as “good”
and uncivilized as “bad” and seek a more accurate and useful
definition. Anthropologists and other thinkers have come up with a
number of somewhat less biased definitions of civilization..

Nineteenth century English anthropologist E.B. Tylor defined
civilization as life in cities that is organized by government and
facilitated by scribes (which means the use of writing). In these
societies, he noted, there is a resource “surplus”, which can be traded
or taken (though war or exploitation) which allows for specialization
in the cities..

The wonderful contemporary writer and activist Derrick Jensen, having
recognized the serious flaws in the popular, dictionary definition of
civilization, writes:

“I would define a civilization much
more precisely, and I believe more usefully, as a culture-that is, a
complex of stories, institutions, and artifacts-that both leads to and
emerges from the growth of cities (civilization, see civil: from civis,
meaning citizen, from latin civitatis, meaning state or city), with
cities being defined-so as to distinguish them from camps, villages,
and so on-as people living more or less permanently in one place in
densities high enough to require the routine importation of food and
other necessities of life..” [6]

Jensen also observes that because cities need to import these
necessities of life and to grow, they must also create systems for the
perpetual centralization of resources, yielding “an increasing region
of unsustainability surrounded by an increasingly exploited
countryside..”

Contemporary anthropologist John H. Bodley writes: “The principle
function of civilization is to organize overlapping social networks of
ideological, political, economic, and military power that
differentially benefit privileged households..” [7] In other words, in
civilization institutions like churches, corporations and militaries
exist and are used to funnel resources and power to the rulers and the
elite..

The twentieth century historian and sociologist Lewis Mumford wrote one
of my favourite and most cutting and succinct definitions of
civilization. He uses the term civilization

.to denote the group of institutions
that first took form under kingship. Its chief features, constant in
varying proportions throughout history, are the centralization of
political power, the separation of classes, the lifetime division of
labor, the mechanization of production, the magnification of military
power, the economic exploitation of the weak, and the universal
introduction of slavery and forced labor for both industrial and
military purposes.. [8]

Taking various anthropological and historical definitions into account,
we can come up with some common properties of civilizations (as opposed
to indigenous groups)..

* People live in permanent settlements, and a significant number of them in cities..

* The society depends on large-scale agriculture (which is needed to support dense, non-food-growing urban populations)..

* The society has rulers and some form of “aristocracy” with
centralized political, economic, and military power, who exist by
exploiting the mass of people..

* The elite (and possibly others) use writing and numbers to keep track of commodities, the spoils of war, and so on..

* There is slavery and forced labour either by the direct use of
physical violence, or by economic coercion and violence (through which
people are systematically deprived of choices outside the wage
economy)..

* There are large armies and institutionalized warfare..

* Production is mechanized, either through physical machines or the use
of humans as though they were machines (this point will be expanded on
in other writings here soon)..

* Large, complex institutions exist to mediate and control the
behaviour of people, through as their learning and worldview (schools
and churches), as well as their relationships with each other, with the
unknown, and with the nature world (churches and organized religion)..

Anthropologist Stanley Diamond recognized the common thread in all of
these attributes when he wrote; “Civilization originates in conquest
abroad and repression at home..” [9]

This common thread is control. Civilization is a culture of control. In
civilizations, a small group of people controls a large group of people
through the institutions of civilization. If they are beyond the
frontier of that civilization, then that control will come in the form
of armies and missionaries (be they religious or technical
specialists). If the people to be controlled are inside of the cities,
inside of civilization, then the control may come through domestic
militaries (i.e., police). However, it is likely cheaper and less
overtly violent to condition of certain types of behaviour through
religion, schools or media, and related means, than through the use of
outright force (which requires a substantial investment in weapons,
surveillance and labour)..

That works very effectively in combination with economic and
agricultural control. If you control the supply of food and other
essentials of life, people have to do what you say or they die. People
inside of cities inherently depend on food systems controlled by the
rulers to survive, since the (commonly accepted) definition of a city
is that the population dense enough to require the importation of food..

For a higher degree of control, rulers have combined control of food
and agriculture with conditioning that reinforces their supremacy. In
the dominant, capitalist society, the rich control the supply of food
and essentials, and the content of the media and the schools. The
schools and workplaces act as a selection process: those who
demonstrate their ability to cooperate with those in power by behaving
properly and doing what they’re told at work and school have access to
higher paying jobs involving less labour. Those who cannot or will not
do what they’re told are excluded from easy access to food and
essentials (by having access only to menial jobs), and must work very
hard to survive, or become poor and/or homeless. People higher on this
hierarchy are mostly spared the economic and physical violence imposed
on those lower on the hierarchy. A highly rationalized system of
exploitation like this helps to increase the efficiency of the system
by reducing the chance of resistance or outright rebellion of the
populace..

The media’s propaganda systems have most people convinced that this
system is somehow “natural” or “necessary” – but of course, it is both
completely artificial and a direct result of the actions of those in
power (and the inactions of those who believe that they benefit from
it, or are prevented from acting through violence or the threat of
violence)..

In contradiction to the idea that the dominant culture’s way of living
is “natural”, human beings lived as small, ecological, participatory,
equitable groups for more than 99% of human history. There are a number
of excellent books and articles comparing indigenous societies to
civilization:

Chellis Glendinning’s My name is Chellis and I’m in recovery from western civilization
is an amazing and readable book, and it’s one of my favourites. You can
also read an excerpt of the chapter “A Lesson in Earth Civics” online.
See http://www. eco-action. org/dt/civics. html. She has also written several related books, including When Technology Wounds: The Human Consequences of Progress..

John Zerzan’s Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections composed of excerpts from the works of a wide range of authors..

The Culture of Make Believe by Derrick Jensen chronicles the
violent hatreds that have been overwhelming our planet, tracing them
back through their sources in imperialism, slavery, the rise of global
capitalism, and the ideologies of possessiveness and consumerism..

Marshall Sahlin’s Stone Age Economics is a detailed classic in
that same vein. You can read his essay “The Original Affluent Society”
online at numerous places, including: http://www. primitivism. com/original-affluent. htm

Anthropologist Stanley Diamond’s book In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of Civilization

Richard Heinberg’s essay “The Primitivist Critique of Civilization” is
also highly readable, and available online in many places including http://www. eco-action. org/dt/critique. html. Other good reading is at http://www.primitivism.com and http://eco-action.org/

What these sources show is there were healthy, equitable and ecological communities in the past, and that they were the norm for countless generations. It is civilization that is monstrous and aberrant..

Living inside of the controlling environment of civilization is an inherently traumatic experience, although the degree of trauma varies with personal circumstance and the amounts of privilege different people have in society. Derrick Jensen makes this point very well in his incredible book A Language Older than Words, and Chellis Glendinning covers it as well in My name is Chellis..

The inherent ecological unsustainability of civilization is another

important point. That issue will be expanded on in writings here, in
particular in the writings on the city and industry..

Related: See Ran Prieur’s Critique

of Civilization FAQ for related information and critiques.

[1] Jensen, Derrick, Unpublished manuscript..

[2] I owe many of the sources in this section to the research of Ward

Churchill. The figure of 8 million is from chapter 6 of Essays in
Population History, Vol.I by Sherburn F. Cook and Woodrow Borah
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971). The figure of 3
million is from is from a survey at the time by Bartolomé de Las Casas
covered in J.B. Thatcher, Christopher Columbus, 2 vols. (New York:
Putnam’s, 1903-1904) Vol. 2, p. 384ff. They were considered extinct by
the Spanish census at the time, which is summarized in Lewis Hanke’s
The Spanish Struggle for Justice in the Conquest of America
(Philapelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1947) p. 200ff.

[3] Sale, Kirkpatrick. The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus

and the Columbian Legacy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990) p. 155.

[4] de Las Casas, Bartolomé. The Spanish Colonie: Brevísima revacíon (New York: University Microfilms Reprint, 1966).

[5] de Las Casas, Bartolomé. Historia de las Indias, Vol. 3, (Mexico City: Fondo Cultura Económica, 1951) chapter 29.

[6] Jensen, Derrick, Unpublished manuscript.

[7] Bodley, John H., Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States and the Global System. Mayfield, Mountain View, California, 2000.

[8] Mumford, Lewis. Technics and Human Development, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1966. p. 186.

[9] Diamond, Stanley, In Search of the Primitive: A Critique of

Civilization, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, 1993. p. 1.

[i] WordNet ® 2.0, 2003, Princeton University

[ii] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000, Houghton Mifflin Company.

[iii] Ibid.

Indicators of Cultural Crisis | Deep Green Resistance

Government Corruption

There were 237 millionaires in the US Congress as of late 2009 – that is 44% of the body. Seven lawmakers each have over $100 million in assets. President Barack Obama has a net worth of roughly $4 million. Overall, 1% of Americans and 0.001% of people worldwide are millionaires.1

Last year, corporations, unions, and other organizations spent $3.5 billion lobbying member of Congress and federal agencies in the United States. There are over 10,000 lobbyists in Washington DC.2

Government officials often leave their posts and go to work for the corporations which they regulated or oversaw in their official duties. This is called a “revolving door,” and is one of the primary ways that power circulates between the government and corporations.3

The United States began as a colonial operation for resource extraction and profit making. The original 13 colonies were each “crown-chartered corporations.” Since the early 1800’s, corporations have gained rights and protections under the US constitution. These laws have allowed corporations to dominate political, economic, and social spheres, to a greater or lesser degree, for nearly 200 years. An example of corporate power: Regulatory law, meant to restrict corporate practices and protect people, non-humans, and the environment, is often written by the corporations that are being regulated.4

The US military maintains a network of over 1000 military bases and outposts worldwide.5

via Indicators of Cultural Crisis | Deep Green Resistance.

Participating in the disaster…

The Earth will save her self, To believe that a consumer or a group of… can save an entity more powerful then the motives of a political movement is egocentric, it is evident that the superior and highly evolved civilizations are responsible for the disaster, abducting and then coercing the natural peoples, who are now assisting in the disaster, how can the Occidental-consumer save the earth when it is them who are the disaster.

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.

 

 

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,

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.”

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”

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.

 

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.

THE WARRIORS and the THUNDERERS

Based on a true story of my people

 A young man named Watakwuna sorrowed because of the  repressions  his people were suffering at the hands of their more powerful enemy. So sad was he that he blackened his face with charcoal and retired to an isolated spot to fast and pray. His entreaties reached the ears of the sun and his relation the Morningstar. According to their instructions, the Inamaki- wuk, or Thunderers, took pity on him, and sent him word to come to them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Interior_Seaway

 He was told to take a straight course westward across the ocean until he came to an island of rock projecting high above the surrounding waters. (this would be the time of the inland sea of what is now called North Amerca and the island of rock would be the Rocky Mountains)

Here the vision told him he would find the Thunderers. When Watakwuna awoke from his vision he was overjoyed, but yet afraid. He made a sacrifice to the Thunderbirds and to the offering he invited seven pure young men who had never used a vision quest to seek truth or never journeyed or struggled. When these youths were gathered in his medicine lodge Watakwuna burnt an offering to the Thunderers as a preliminary service and then explained the purpose of the ceremony to his guests, relating his dream and his subsequent fears. The revelation made a profound impression upon the young men, who believed his words, and after some discussion, they resolved to accompany Watakwuna on his westward journey to the home of the Thunderbirds. Accordingly, the little party, headed by Watakwuna, set forth for the west. The journey was toilsome and the way beset with perils. Often the adventurers were tempted to turn back, but always, when it seemed as Watakwuna, Club-in-his-hand, a “brave name,” one of the type bestowed on valiant warriors. though human strength and courage could hold out no longer, spirits would appear to them and lure them on, until at length they reached the shore of the Western Ocean. Here they paused, unable to proceed, for they did not know how to go across the water. At this point the Thunderers appeared again to Watakwuna in a vision and instructed him to build an elm bark canoe, the first one ever known to man, and the prototype from which all subsequent canoes were modelled.

When the boat was built by Watakwnua and his seven helpers, they launched it and paddled out to sea. They soon passed beyond sight of land, and for days they were frightened because they could see nothing. Yet invisible spirits accompanied and encouraged them until at last they reached their goal. Here were gathered a great number of Thunderbirds in human form, waiting for them. As soon as Watakwuna had landed, accompanied by his followers, the chief of the Thunderers who was greater and handsomer than all the others, came forward and addressed him as follows:

No’se (grandchild) you have come to me according to my command.

I was troubled in my heart when I saw you fasting and suffering, growing light in flesh and thin in body. Now you have gained great honour,  I have taken pity on you. I am going to give you this protector bundle to use upon the earth. You shall feed it, and give sacrifices to it for my sake and in my behalf. You shall be empowered to use this thing at your need. It shall empower you, and your children and grandchildren, so that you and they shall live to see your gray hairs. I command you to use it in the way which I shall make clear to you, and if you obey me, it shall grant  you the protection you need.

Bear-berry smoke shall be the chief thing to please it, and when you give the Bear-berry smoke you will delight us. You shall take these things which I have here back to your land again, and when you reach your home, you shall make some others according to my instructions.

Here is an egg (flint in the shape of an egg), put that in the bundle. Here is a powder, put that in the bundle. These two articles shall enable you to set fire to the earth at your desire. Here is a little bow so that you can preform the Crazy Animal Dance as to release the spirits to take form, the image of an arrow, and a scabbard to carry. Here are all the birds of the air, that are like my kind. They will lend their assistance when trouble overtakes you. Take this red paint along, that you may apply it to your men who accompany you when you battle, and the sight of it will please me. It will put new life into you and your men. Through my spiritual power I gave you the dream that called you here to see me, through it you shall be able to protect yourself and other from the oppressors that intend to harm or kill you. You shall conquer, and victory will always be yours. The enemies that you shall slay will be food for me and for the bundle.

When you return you shall carve my image upon a board and place it in the bundle, in order to please me. You must take two plain  blocks, and upon each of these outline my figure in sacred red paint, one shall represent me as a Great Powered Bird, and one shall represent me as a man with a great lighting-bolt in my hand.

“I am of dual nature. I can change myself into either a bird or a man at will.”

  And indeed the Thunder-bird-beings have been known to come to earth in human form. They have appeared as homely men, short and thick-set, with heavy muscles in their arms and legs, and bearing a bow and arrows and or a club in their hands. Ordinary persons can scarcely recognize them as Thunderers, but those who have received power from them in their dreams, know them at once for what they are.

I give you the power to know and see me in your night dances. You shall be forewarned of your enemies plans. You shall know beforehand whether you shall win or lose your battles. You shall do all your fighting at night, and you shall destroy your enemies during their sweet sleep.

Before you go out to battle you shall first prepare and give feasts to the bundle. You shall sacrifice to it in behalf of the Thunderbirds. You shall receive that for which you ask us, for I shall assist you. Call on me through those sacred things which I have given you, and you shall have the thick fog settle down and hide you from the enemy so that you may escape under its cover. You shall have the lightning and hail to cripple the wicked foe when he troubles you.

You shall seek your enemy in the night through this bundle. You shall approach him with the stealth of the Underwater Serpent in pursuit of its prey, and encircle his village. Let each fighter carry the image of one of the medicine birds with him, with a single quill feather fastened in his hair, and as the Humming bird is so small in flight that none can hit, so shall each fighter be. As it is impossible to strike the edge of a knife blade ground sharp and held off edgewise from the body, so shall you and your fighters be.  These things I say to you that you may understand the power of the spirit medicines that I have placed in the protectors bundle.

You shall make incense of a portion of each of the sacred roots that I have included, and you shall purify yourselves with the fumes. You shall carry a little of each in your mouth, and you shall chew some of them and spray yourselves and your fighters with your saliva, that they may elude the keen vision of the oppressor, for the eyesight of the enemy shall be destroyed when they approach.

When you have drawn near and surrounded the village, you shall signal on the battle whistle, and you and your fighters shall rush to attack. You shall destroy the sleeping enemy with knifes and battle clubs that have been kept in the powerful spirit-medicine until they are saturated. Those who awake shall try to escape, but cannot, for the spirit medicines which I have given shall zap their strength and benumb their minds. When a fighter takes a scalp he shall swig it about so that the fresh blood from it shall splatter every where, this he must do as a sign that the oppressors are devoured in behalf of us, the Thunderers.

When the fighting is over, then you shall make a great ceremony with dancing, for the war bundle and for us, the Thunderbirds, or Thunderers. You shall thank us for the assistance which we have rendered you. Then you shall sing  for the scalps that have been taken with valor.

Always respect the Protectors bundle which we have given you, commanded the Thunderbird-beings. Be careful to keep it tied with a string, and keep it hung in a place by itself, outside of the house, away from the young, and the maidens who are just arrived at the threshold of womanhood. Especially keep it concealed from those women who are having their monthly courses for those women are far to powerful as they are. The bundle must never be opened or nothing, as that would be a serious offense to it, and to us, the Thunderbirds. It may only be opened in time of peril, or when you sacrifice to it in the spring or in the fall of the year for our sake. Yet this I say, in case of an accident, even in peace it may be opened and the roots it contains may be used to stop the bleeding, but you shall not forget to pay us in Bear-berry smoke for our help.

“And this is not yet all that I have to say,” said the chief of the Thunderbird- beings to Watakwuna. “One thing that you must make when you get home, or which the women may make for you, is a pack strap (or belt),’ This you shall make of course long beads, It shall be put in the bundle to be kept as a reward for the brave fighter who kills a chief or leader among your oppressors. It shall be given to him as a great honor.

When the Thunderer had finished speaking, he called to his warriors to fetch food, prepare it, and place it before Watakwuna and his fighter. The warriors departed immediately and soon returned bringing a quantity of sturgeon which they cooked and set before their guests.

“Now, eat and depart,” said the chief of the Thunderers. “This is the only food we can offer you. For ourselves, we may not touch it, for we feed upon the horned snakes/underwater serpents and the pale and translucent animals of the under world, which in their turn cannot be food for you.”

So Watakwuna and his fighters obeyed and when they were filled they took their leave of the islet and its enchanted inhabitants. As they entered their canoe the water lay still as glass, the sun shone brightly, and they soon reached the shore from whence they started. The overland journey from that point was equally devoid of its former perils. Food was abundant and they had never need to draw their bows, the four-legged that they met offered them selves before them, so powerful was the spell cast by their protector bundle. So at length they arrived among their own people again and imparted to them the story of their successful venture and from that day to this, the bundle has been on earth among men and its powers are granted to the worthy in the tellings of their dreams.

AKAtjecoutay

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.

http://kredart.tumblr.com/