INDIGENOUS WISDOM & REALITY (moments in time)
Honour Each Other ~ Honour Mother Earth
“I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more.”
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce
What follows is a common story of many tribes of the indigenous people
of North and South America; indeed, of all over the world.
And mother earth herself… the struggle continues.
Part One: the Nez Perce
Big Hole National Battlefield near the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana
In the long summer of 1877 nearly 800 Non-Treaty Nez Perce fled nearly one thousand miles from the United States Calvary and their Nez Perce traditional homeland on the Columbia River plateau. They refused to be placed on a reservation and they were trying to reach the camp of Sitting Bull. He and his people had found refuge from war with the White Mother at Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills of Canada. After the five day Battle of Bear Paw that ended in a bitter early autumn snow storm, the survivors were captured by the American military only forty miles south of the Canadian border. On the early morning of October 5, Chief Joseph sent this message to the U.S. commanders:
Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before I have in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are dead. Looking glass is dead. Tu-huh-hul-sote is dead. The old… are all dead… It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are – perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Here me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I shall fight no more forever.
Chief Joseph with a U.S. officer
(two photos of photos)
From the Nez Perce Historical Park at Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana
Part 2 – Occupying Alcatraz and John Trudell
A mural located at the San Francisco Art Institute:
For a period from late 1969 to mid 71’ a group of young activists, The Tribes of All Nations, occupied the former penitentiary of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.
1969 Proclamation to the Great White Father and All His People
From the Indians of All Tribes
We, the native Americans, re-claim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.
We wish to be fair and honourable in our dealings with the Caucasian inhabitants of this land, and hereby offer the following treaty:
We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for twenty-four dollars ($24) in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man’s purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago. We know that $24 in trade goods for these 16 acres is more than was paid when Manhattan Island was sold, but we know that land values have risen over the years. Our offer of $1.24 per acre is greater than the 47¢ per acre that the white men are now paying the California Indians for their land…. We offer this treaty in good faith and wish to be fair and honourable in our dealings with all white men.
We feel that this so-called Alcatraz Island is more than suitable for an Indian Reservation, as determined by the white man’s own standards. By this we mean that this place resembles most Indian reservations in that:
1. It is isolated from modern facilities, and without adequate means of transportation.
2. It has no fresh running water.
3. It has inadequate sanitation facilities.
4. There are no oil or mineral rights.
5. There is no industry and so unemployment is very great.
6. There are no health care facilities.
7. The soil is rocky and non-productive; and the land does not support game.
8. There are no educational facilities.
9. The population has always exceeded the land base.
10. The population has always been held as prisoners and kept dependent upon others.
Further, it would be fitting and symbolic that ships from all over the world, entering the Golden Gate, would first see Indian land, and thus be reminded of the true history of this nation. This tiny island would be a symbol of the great lands once ruled by free and noble Indians.
Left to right – John Trudell with fellow musicians Bob Dylan, Jesse Ed Davis,
and below, George Harrison.
Ephemeral Wildflowers keep returning to the site of the Battle of Big Hole
The land near the Bitterroot Mountains and the Big Hole National Battlefield
We did not travel here; we are of this land.
We did not declare our independence;
we have always been free.
~ Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee ~
We are Butterflies In Spirit
My indigenous First Nations niece, Maranda, is in the front row on the left. She is part of a Vancouver dance troupe, Butterflies in Spirit, which raises awareness to Canadians of tens of hundreds of missing indigenous women. A similar campaign is known as No More Stolen Sisters and facilitated by Amnesty International. Two more of my nieces are with me below.
John Trudell was a key spokesperson for the American Indian Movement (AIM) during the 1970’s. His pregnant wife Tina, all four of their children and John’s mother-in-law were murdered by an arson fire in 1979. Evidence at the site of the fire (their home on a Northern Nevada reservation) was destroyed and later covered up by American government officials, who called it accidental. It is memorialized in Trudell’s song But This Isn’t El Salvador.
In our ongoing global chorus towards world wide liberation and justice for the earth and her people, let us believe less and think more, says Trudell.
You can watch the beautiful and powerful documentary film ‘Trudell’, here, created by Heather Rae.
Another link and very detailed review about John Trudell’s life including an interview, was written by Tamra Spivey here at Newtopia Magazine, a wordpress blog.
Trudell continues to speak out fearlessly against the present world dis-order of oppression and ecocide. He is “extremely eloquent… and therefore extremely dangerous,” said an FBI memo. As Tamra Spivey points out, this speaks as much about government control as it does about Trudell.
Such attitudes, I might add, are become more prevalent through the world. Canada’s recent Bill 51, the so-called anti-terrorism act, gives CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Agency) broader power and moves us towards a police state mentality.
Are you listening CSIS? Recently I’ve discovered you have information on file about me.
Here is some more!
~ I give this in love and peace for all ~
~ Bruce ~
Honour each other… honour mother earth.