How many promises broken? How many people killed? How much culture - tradition, stories, ceremony, family units desecrated? How many words spoken with actions that did not follow suit? How many apologies necessary? What is an apology? How do the actions that follow an apology reflect whether it is a true apology or not? Perhaps the words of apology are irrelevant. Perhaps it is only in actions that we can reflect apology. It is like in Alcoholics Anonymous, there is a step of recognizing that an apology is owed, of recognizing the pain and suffering that you have caused people in your life for your addiction. We are a nation based in the addiction that is, obtaining land for the sake of increasing our power, money, “progress”, status, and all the things/products/symbols that communicate we have it...When will we reach that step in our recovery? 

Only once we are truly sober. Having a drink of hypocrisy juice here and there - indulging our obsession/addiction with fame and fortune but “only socially”, on the weekends with friends. And then smoking that cigarette of reinforcement, thickening the smoke screen, so that our rational mind can keep us further from our hearts, but comfortably in bed with our illusion of righteousness. Patriotically supporting not the people and the land, but an empire of illusion. This is not sobriety - “only on the weekends” is enough to keep our hearts poisoned and our words speaking apologies while our actions reflect nothing but disregard. “Only socially?” There is ONLY socially. There is nothing but socially - so whatever you do socially, you do to society, to the people, to the land. They cannot be separate. Every moment is connected. A string of moments that make up the circle that is our life. Not just your life. Not just my life. Our life. The life of the planet - of Mother Earth - who tries so hard to sustain us. Give your mother a break. Give her a helping hand. She created you. She carries you. Apologize to her, but through your actions. Sober yourself.

The American leaders/colonists had taken to calling Indians “children” and the President their “father”. But, “Not all the Indians responded to the white officials' common designation of them as "children" and the President as "father." It was reported that when Tecumseh met with William Henry Harrison, Indian fighter and future President, the interpreter said: "Your father requests you to take a chair." Tecumseh replied: "My father! The sun is my father, and the earth is my mother; I will repose upon her bosom."”

Andrew Jackson, as the President, refers to himself as the father of the Indians. 
"These are his instructions to an army major sent to talk to the Choctaws and Cherokees:

"Say to my red Choctaw children, and my Chickasaw children to listen-my white children of Mississippi have extended their law over their country. .. . Where they now are, say to them, their father cannot prevent them from being subject to the laws of the state of Mississippi. . .. The general government will be obliged to sustain the States in the exercise of their right. Say to the chiefs and warriors that I am their friend, that I wish to act as their friend but they must, by removing from the limits of the States of Mississippi and Alabama and by being settled on the lands I offer them, put it in my power to be such-There, beyond the limits of any State, in possession of land of their own, which they shall possess as long as Grass grows or water runs. I am and will protect them and be their friend and father."

That phrase "as long as Grass grows or water runs" was to be recalled with bitterness by generations of Indians. (An Indian GI, veteran of Vietnam, testifying publicly in 1970 not only about the horror of the war but about his own maltreatment as an Indian, repeated that phrase and began to weep.)"

"Under Jackson, and the man he chose to succeed him, Martin Van Buren, seventy thousand Indians east of the Mississippi were forced westward. In the North, there weren't that many, and the Iroquois Confederation in New York stayed. But the Sac and Fox Indians of Illinois were removed, after the Black Hawk War (in which Abraham Lincoln was an officer, although he was not in combat). When Chief Black Hawk was defeated and captured in 1832, he made a surrender speech:

"I fought hard. But your guns were well aimed. The bullets flew like birds in the air, and whizzed by our ears like the wind through the trees in the winter. My warriors fell around me.. . . The sun rose dim on us in the morning, and at night it sunk in a dark cloud, and looked like a ball of fire. That was the last sun that shone on Black Hawk. ... He is now a prisoner to the white men.. .. He has done nothing for which an Indian ought to be ashamed. He has fought for his countrymen, the squaws and papooses, against white men, who came year after year, to cheat them and take away their lands. You know the cause of our making war. It is known to all white men. They ought to be ashamed of it. Indians are not deceitful. The white men speak bad of the Indian and look at him spitefully. But the Indian does not tell lies. Indians do not steal.

An Indian who is as bad as the white men could not live in our nation; he would be put to death, and eaten up by the wolves. The white men are bad schoolmasters; they carry false books, and deal in false actions; they smile in the face of the poor Indian to cheat him; they shake them by the hand to gain their confidence, to make them drunk, to deceive them, and ruin our wives. We told them to leave us alone, and keep away from us; they followed on, and beset our paths, and they coiled themselves among us, like the snake. They poisoned us by their touch. We were not safe. We lived in danger. We were becoming like them, hypocrites and liars, adulterous lazy drones, all talkers and no workers. .. .

The white men do not scalp the head; but they do worse-they poison the heart.. . . Farewell, my nation! . .. Farewell to Black Hawk.""

The creation of states and state law and federal law was the perfect displacement of responsibility. Its affects are rampant now. So few people actually have ownership in a company, that they do not claim responsibility for their actions. It is passed off on their superior who passes it off on their superior and finally we get to the place of laws, state and federal and we are bound to these laws as though they are laws of life, not laws created by people, claiming to be in support and protection of people. It becomes very challenging to relate on a basic level with another human being, to engage in a real exchange when “doing business.” Well, turns out it stems way back to our "founding fathers" and the tactics they chose to support their addiction to power and fortune:

“It was a neat illustration of the uses of the federal system: depending on the situation, blame could be put on the states, or on something even more elusive, the mysterious Law before which all men, sympathetic as they were to the Indian, must bow. As Secretary of War John Eaton explained to the Creeks of Alabama (Alabama itself was an Indian name, meaning "Here we may rest"): "It is not your Great Father who does this; but the laws of the Country, which he and every one of his people is bound to regard."

Andrew Jackson was the “Great Father” that John Eaton was referring to. “Jackson was a land speculator, merchant, slave trader, and the most aggressive enemy of the Indians in early American history. He became a hero of the War of 1812, which was not (as usually depicted in American textbooks) just a war against England for survival, but a war for the expansion of the new nation, into Florida, into Canada, into Indian territory.

"Jackson's 1814 treaty with the Creeks started something new and important. It granted Indians individual ownership of land, thus splitting Indian from Indian, breaking up communal landholding, bribing some with land, leaving others out-introducing the competition and conniving that marked the spirit of Western capitalism. It fitted well the old Jeffersonian idea of how to handle the Indians, by bringing them into "civilization."

"Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief and noted orator, tried to unite the Indians against the white invasion:

"The way, and the only way, to check and to stop this evil, is for all the Redmen to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first and should be yet; for it was never divided, but belongs to all for the use of each. That no part has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers-those who want all and will not do with less.""

"Jefferson's talk of "agriculture . . . manufactures . . . civilization" is crucial. Indian removal was necessary for the opening of the vast American lands to agriculture, to commerce, to markets, to money, to the development of the modern capitalist economy. Land was indispensable for all this, and after the Revolution, huge sections of land were bought up by rich speculators, including George Washington and Patrick Henry. In North Carolina, rich tracts of land belonging to the Chickasaw Indians were put on sale, although the Chickasaws were among the few Indian tribes fighting on the side of the Revolution, and a treaty had been signed with them guaranteeing their land. John Donelson, a state surveyor, ended up with 20,000 acres of land near what is now Chattanooga. His son-in-law made twenty-two trips out of Nashville in 1795 for land deals. This was Andrew Jackson."

It is what was lost in our conquest for power and money by acquiring land and its natural resources (even human resources) that must be spoken to. We must not assume that because our "founding fathers" seemed to have an inherent desire for power and fortune, that it is just "human nature" to lust and hoard, destroy and acquire. Because that is not what the European conqurerors/colonists discovered when they discovered "the Americas", it was not the human nature of the people who were living well here in conjunction with the land, on Turtle Island, to take more than they needed for survival, nor to take/kill/use anything without respect and gratitude. 

Here Lewis Cass--Secretary of War, governor of the Michigan territory, minister to France and presidential candidate in the 1830's said: 
"A principle of progressive improvement seems almost inherent in human nature. . .. We are all striving in the career of life to acquire riches of honor, or power, or some other object, whose possession is to realize the day dreams of our imaginations; and the aggregate of these efforts constitutes the advance of society. But there is little of this in the constitution of our savages."

Can you hear the addiction reflected in his righteousness? He made a critical observation about the Native Peoples and yet he missed the lesson. We have the opportunity to learn that lesson now. We must get sober. We must apologize. I believe it so strongly that I will keep saying it. But most importantly, I will keep working at sobering myself. 

Rosannah Riess
12/22/2011 03:06:28

I love your writing Candace! Brilliant ... once again! xoxo
I was wondering about what forces must have shaped the minds of the white men who plundered 'righteously'? how horrific. what energies are creating such sickness in our world? the 'old-world' that they came from was clearly no better than they. from the inequity of mediveial times, plauge and filth ridden - post crusade era - corrupt church influenced - monarch dominated... Europe was already cesspool of false beliefs. the 'founding fathers', though relatively educated men, were already hopelessly lost in the social programming of the era. A man raised in a system based on power and ego has already been conditioned to break the world apart with his mind. they were simple rebels and their lives became dim mirrors of what they rebelled against. anger or disenchantment propelled them to the new world and there they succeeded only in deepening the lie. The United States of America has been doomed from the start. sorry - but it's my opinion.
I'm gonna load my covered wagon and paint a sign to hang on the back: "Transformation or Bust." It's time for a new Gold Rush. We're at the doorway of a new era!

So much of what you (Candace) are bringing to light here - through your reading and writing - is explaining a deep seated discomfort that has bothered me for years. I've been carrying an invisible guilt... not from my actions, or even the actions of my blood ancestors (most came in the early 1900's) but the very land itself is covered in a foggy blanket of past sentiments. I feel anger when I consider paying money to buy land. I don't want to continue the legacy of lying. The blood in my veins knows the flavor of the sweet Pacific air. When my plane lands at the San Francisco airport, my entire body soaks in the curve of the coast and I feel as if a thousand tiny magnets energize my skin and soothe my head. I was born in California and I feel love for her wild places... but I've never felt like I belonged there. I am really torn. My precious family is there... but I am wandering the whole earth with a sense of homelessness....My body connects to the land and yet I am simultaneously recoiling in horror at the thought of being owned by the system of death that we call "society."
A confused mixture of feelings led me to begin my conquest of the old-world. In my own small way, I am trying to run my inner history backwards. I want to feel where things went wrong. I want to feel the soil of Europe and know what makes me a young, white, American woman.
What I've found is that Europe has the same disease that we do. The soil is dead, the trees are quiet and the mountains sitting sadly like an old man forgotten in the waiting room at a doctor's office. Of course, there are veins of life here as well. Each place and each country is a different mixture of health and disease. I've decided it's important not to subscribe to the mentality of any place. The disease is too pervasive. To compare countries and lifestyles is to miss the point. Don't get caught in their chatter - that is the ruse of their distraction. Look deeper, look higher... look farther back into history. I want to be sober. No more programming. I won't buy in. I am a citizen of a new life. This means I'm going to go WAY back... WAY back in time... to a period in our history of which written record has been forgotten... but it is written in each of us. If you are human, you carry a record of this history within your own DNA.

So, I wander the cobblestone streets of Germany and I pass McDonald's sitting in the shadow of ancient gargoiled churches and I marvel at my dear friend Candace who is unraveling threads in our common cloth ... understanding our 'founding falters'.
Do I know where I belong? No. Do I know how to contribute to the healing in the world? Not exactly... but I'm looking. I'm looking. We've all got quite the puzzle in front of us....

It will not serve us to rebel from our past, or react to our society or furiously condemn those around us or those who came before us. I am human, therefore I carry the capacity of both Hitler and Mother Theresa. I cannot spend my life traversing this spectrum and repeatedly assessing my performance or progress. It is time to put down the binary system. It is time to stop the clock pendulum from it's inssecant swinging. It is time to completely transform!

S o m e t h i n g c o m p l e t e l y n e w i s o n t h e
h o r i z o n !

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