Wondering why on a Thursday morning

Bird Droppings October 21, 2021
Wondering why on a Thursday morning

I watched the debate roughly a year ago from our condo on Pawleys Island. My wife and I escaped for a long weekend. It was to give her a break from a hectic clinic schedule and me from the solitude of being retired. We went out on a boat to see parts of the island only reachable by boat in a few hours. I was hoping for some great bird pictures and some shelling. I was able to get several photos of bald eagles and found numerous larger shorebirds and a few nice shells that made for a great day.

But as I got up this morning early, the first thing on the news was how many people tested positive for Covid 19. The rate is improving, fortunately. I heard some vocalizations from the former president saying he would have handled the pandemic differently and would have everyone vaccinated by now. Even though he waited to tell his followers he was vaccinated until after the election; people would listen to him. I still recall how we had two very different campaigns, one saying the virus is going away and one wanted 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 many other subjects. I have found many authors; the late Wilma Mankiller, a former Cherokee chief, 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 thinking again and believe in ourselves enough to think that we can articulate our vision of the future and then work to make sure that that vision becomes a reality.” Chief Wilma Mankiller

I found a small book several years back written by Wilma Mankiller, Gloria Steinem, and Vine Deloria. 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. The book’s title, Every day is Good Day, is an 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 reread this quote, it hit me. The quote could apply to almost anyone. So many have fallen into the trap of societal following the leader. That charismatic voice is screaming loud, garners listening even when often fictitious. Surprisingly, many follow usually, even knowing the words are wrong or misleading. As a country, we are often told what to do not in a dictatorship but more subtlety as legislators convene and pass laws providing 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 for 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, might be more familiar to Daniel Day-Lewis and The Last of the Mohicans. 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 anymore. Even in education, we have set 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 party lines, personalities, and sadly race. One writer commented in a blog that while they thought a particular 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 a near end, and again I ask you, please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts.

My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)


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