Bird Droppings October 24, 2020
Wondering why on a Saturday morning
I watched the debate from our condo on Pawleys Island. My wife and I escaped for a long weekend to give her a break from a hectic clinic schedule and me from the solitude of being retired. In a few hours we will be going out on a boat to see parts of the island only reachable by boat. I am hoping for some great bird pictures and some shelling. But as I got up this morning early the first thing on the news was how many people tested positive for Covid 19. We have two campaigns one is saying the virus it is going away and one which seems to follow the science, and news that numbers are highest ever and now hospitals are filling up again. Over the years I have read many volumes of education, philosophy and so many other subjects. I have found many authors, Wilma Mankiller intrigued me. First her name and then what she has done and what she said.
“I think the most important issue we have as a people is what we started, and that is to begin to trust our own thinking again and believe in ourselves enough to think that we can articulate our own vision of the future and then work to make sure that that vision becomes a reality.” Chief Wilma Mankiller
The late Wilma Mankiller was the first woman elected chief of the Oklahoma Cherokee Tribe and she became a national speaker on the rights of Indians. I found a small book several years back written by Wilma Mankiller, Gloria Steinem, and Vine Deloria. The book’s title Every day is Good Day, is a effort to portray in perspective the thoughts of the indigenous women who provided the thoughts and articles for the book. The book encompasses women from across the America’s.
The quote I started with today was directed at Indians as a whole and the Cherokee tribe who were uprooted from their ancestral homes in the southeastern US by Andrew Jackson in the infamous Trail of Tears and moved to the Indian Territories of Oklahoma. As I read this quote again it hit me this could apply to almost anyone as so many have fallen in the trap of societal follow the leader. That charismatic voice screaming loud garners listening even when often fictitious in nature. Surprisingly, many follow often even knowing the words are wrong or misleading. As a country we often are told what to do not in the manner of a dictatorship but more subtlety as legislators convene and pass laws providing us with guidance and parameters. Along this line I was thinking back to Indian reservations where humans were forced to submit to cultural extermination and the Indian schools like Carlisle in Pennsylvania where Indian children were taken and stripped of their heritage
“I’d like to talk about free markets. Information in the computer age is the last genuine free market left on earth except those free markets where indigenous people are still surviving. And that’s basically becoming limited.” Russell Means
“In the government schools, which are referred to as public schools, Indian policy has been instituted there, and it’s a policy where they do not encourage, in fact, discourage, critical thinking and the creation of ideas and public education.” Russell Means
One of the American Indian Movement founders and its first leader Russell Means name might be more familiar to fans of Daniel Day Lewis and The Last of the Mohicans in which Means stars as Chief Kingachcook, the last of the Mohicans. Means was born on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Russell Means has been actively working for Indian efforts for nearly fifty years and often is a very outspoken figure as various legislation and agendas are thrown at reservations and tribes.
“I don’t want to talk about the environment and the American Indian viewpoint; I hate the word Native American. It’s a government term, which was created in the year 1970 in the Department of the Interior, a generic term that describes all the prisoners of the United States of America.” Russell Means
“The one thing I’ve always maintained is that I’m an American Indian. I’m not politically correct. Everyone who is born in the Western Hemisphere is a Native American. We are all Native Americans” Russell Means
I find interesting his viewpoint that anyone born in the Western Hemisphere is a Native American.
“So, I’d much rather get across the concept of freedom. It’s what’s important to Indian children. The only way you can be free is to know is that you are worthwhile as a distinct human being. Otherwise you become what the colonizers have designed, and that is a lemming. Get in line, punch all the right keys, and die.” Russell Means
Watching Fox news and listening to some of the conservative commentators I can envision the masses of lemmings running off the cliff following right along. It seems so few think for themselves any more. Even in education we have gone with standards for what is to be taught and then test kids based on standards. Effectively we have been eliminating the development of critical thinking and imagination. That is to be squeezed in along it is not about the actual issues but about party lines, personalities and sadly race. One writer commented in a blog that while they thought a certain politician was not knowledgeable about being president, they liked her and so would vote for her for that reason. She stands for what I stand for. Many of these same politicians stand for what makes the most money for them at that time. Politicians change their minds significantly on immigration and others have gone from pro-health care reform to repeal health care reform.
“It does not require many words to speak the truth.” Chief Joseph, Nez Perce
Sadly, most will never use a few words but embellish and go far beyond the truth. A week is near end and again I ask please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)