Friday, October 26, 2012

Russell Means || The Shiny Object At the Bottom of the Dark Pit

Means speaking at Harvard Law School
around 1979. || ©2012 by Turtle Heart.

26 October. Italy

The article below is a repost from about a year ago...when the world first heard that Means was seriously ill. Now, he is dead. He passed away some days ago in close company with his fellow gangster and bully Leonard Crow Dog.

The two of them showed such enormous promise 30 years ago. In the memorials being passed around the country, it is this young Rusell Means that is being remembered.

Over those years many American Indians have stayed inside their lives and said all the things Means is celebrated for saying. There were no cameras and reporters around to make a record of what they said. The burning question for me has always been why the Main Stream Media only followed, reported on and quoted this American Indian above all others. That remains the question.

As Means life de-evolved into drunkenness, abuse of women, lies, embezzlement, and probably homicide, only the other American Indians seemed to notice. The media continued to allow themselves to be flim-flamed, seduced and made fools of. From the New York Times to Indian Country Toady, American culture has been slightly desperate for a hero American Indian, for all the wrong reasons. Means was handsome and photogenic, a natural sociopath who easily was able to dominate all the attention in any room he entered.

The Mainstream Media has shown itself as shallow and uninterested in any substantial issue represented by any American Indian anywhere, except for Russell Means. This folly, this absolute failure of investigation and interest in the real truth is alive and well, and still the status quo for American Indians and the American attention span.

For most American Indians there is no life to be mourned in the passing of Russell Means. There is only a sense of relief...and sorrow for the deception he presses onto the American scene even in death.

the earlier article...

In the beginning, his life seemed promising. He ascended into the mainstream media as  articulate, knowledgeable and charismatic. It did not take very long for him to be corrupted, for his dark side to become the boss of his life. Through decades of lies, criminal acts, abuse of women, of the truth and in supporting of murder of innocents, Means has come at last to the end of his broken journey.
For reasons that have never been quite clear, the limited attention the world’s media pays to any kind of American Indian issue, was directed mostly at this man. He has seemed to have what some call a “gift” for getting media attention. Of all the American Indians, living or dead, Means got the most media attention, worldwide. Every moment of this coverage was dedicated to Means love of himself, and nothing at all to do with any issues affecting American Indians. It is partly the media’s fascination with its own fantasies about American Indians and a general indifference to any issue affecting American Indians. Means was a product of this media void, somewhere near the middle of fantasy and indifference.
Many years ago….I am not good with dates: I was present as the Keeper of the Sacred Pipes of the Eastern Gate when Means, and the Bellecort brothers, addressed Harvard University Law School. It was a spectacular speech. It was well attended, but not by the Harvard Law School population. Most of those present were other American Indians from around the Boston area. There was some curiosity. This was just before the scam the world came to know as “Wounded Knee”.
These days we have some evidence that the Means story is winding down. If we can believe what is being written, he claims to have cancer and is in the situation of greeting his own mortality. Any words about Means published in the national media must be viewed with some suspicion. You absolutely cannot believe, in the case of Means, that what you are hearing is the truth.
Some of us imagine that right now there could be a sort of Means awakening. A moment in his long life of lies and crimes and bullshit where he decides to do the right thing, one time, before the end. 
There is much he could and should and might yet tell us regarding the murder of Anna Mae Aquash, for example. There are other crimes he could illuminate. There might even be a justice department willing to grant him some favors if he tells society the truth about his long-standing criminal enterprise.
If he actually cared about any American Indian on this earth, he would want to tell the truth at the end of his life. He knows how to do it. I have seen him speak truth to power. After so many decades of his little game, he could stand right up and tell us the truth. He might then realize that his many American Indian relatives did not ever stop loving him…they just preferred to stay sober.
There are two ideas about what is a good Indian.
One… is that he is dead. A good Indian is a dead Indian. A dead, lying Indian. Go ahead. Whine and cry and keep asking for money.
The other is that he looked into the clouds and sings the song of his death, the last song of a Lakota Man, a child of the Sacred Pipe, the male child of his male ancestors, a Grandchild of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and all the other Grandfathers who held their sacred and spoke the truth in the face of their deaths.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mormons, Catholics and the American Indian Experience || Oppression Through Faith

Sadly, for American Indians, the history of the Mormon Church’s destructive programs directed for generations against American Indians is apparently unknown. Romney, the Romney males, the father and grandfather, as ranking officers of their faith have supported and formulated the Mormon programs targeted at American Indians.

For generations, decades, Mormons systematically removed, by various means, American Indian children from their tribal families and communities to raise them as Mormons. One of these severely brainwashed children, for a time, was the central American Indian of the Federal government, overseeing all American Indian programs. Heralded as a great breakthrough in the high appointment of an “American Indian”, this man, Larry Echo Hawk, after a very short time, proved he knows nothing about his own ancestors and communities, leaving his elevated federal position to become a high-ranking officer for the Mormon church…not American Indians, but the Mormon church. His distaste and incompetence in actually meeting with and understanding American Indian questions was proven very quickly. He is solidly a Republican…a member of the New Extreme Bat Shit Crazy Political Right.

American churches like to promote their humanitarian assistance to tribal communities. The poorest communities in America are more often than not American Indian reservation communities. Yet, the price for their “assistance” requires that they not speak their languages, wear traditional dress, or, in particular, conduct their ancient, honest religious ceremonies and beliefs. Yet, nowhere is this suppression of tribal identity more polished, quiet and persistent than i8n the Mormon community.

Visit this blog space, American Indian Media Research, and go through the details of the poverty, violence, unemployment, abuse, rape, suicide and chaos on American Indian reservations.

The Salt Lake Tribune this week endorsed Obama for United States President, over its most famous Mormon resident, on Millard Romney, Mormon Bishop. Yet, one cannot but worry what a Romney presidency might look like for American Indians.

Romney is wearing a mask. A Coyote Mask. He works, rather desperately, to convince voters that he is not against women, Latinos, Black Americans, American Indians, the working poor, and students struggling for an education. Because of the miracles of technology and the art of Spin, he has fooled many people, hiding his empty soul behind this mask. 

It is also true, that the rabid, racist political right, championed by the Lord of the Southern Racists, Mitch McConnell of the US Senate, would vote in an “empty chair” against the first African American/American Indian US President. Yes, do not forget that Obama is part American Indian and was formally adopted by the great Crow Nation in 2008. This adoption by that tribe is a very serious, ancient, highly respected sacred ceremony. It is not something done casually.

The best we can hope for in a Romney presidency is that he will rubber stamp all the extreme proposals of the extreme right….breaking unions and workers rights, lowering the basic wage, blocking access by women to health care, rolling back affirmative action, making abortion and even contraception illegal, raising taxes on the working poor while lowering taxes on the insanely rich, and on and on….Romney and his Mormon faith present the most depressing, oppressive, reactionary collapse of the great American Opportunity than any high public official in my lifetime, at the very least. And this is the best case scenario! At the other end, he may propel us into a deadly war with Iran and foster the complete collapse of the American economy.

The political right, in the most vivid and scary detailed view possible, have shown that they have no hesitation to destroy the economy, the environment and world peace if it means getting a black man out of the white house.

Somehow, in the face of these toxic lies, the Coyote Candidate stands a chance of winning this election. Yes, this seems utterly incredible.

I hope all  of Americans, when it comes down to the day of the VOTE will understand what is at stake here, understand how dangerous and fatally flawed and just rotten the GOP is, from its Presidential candidate, to its Tod Akins Allen Smith (a black man wearing a white fascist mask).

On the 21st of October, the so-called Pope of Rome is making an American Indian an official “saint” in the catholic Church. Tens of thousands of American Indians are opposed to this insult to tribal culture. Even more than the Mormons, the effect the Catholic Church has had on American Indians is tragic and brutal. The Vatican still has on record a Papal Bull which states that American Indians have no souls. This was signed by the Borgia Pope so that American Indians could be sold into slavery. It has never been rescinded. The history of oppression, murder, and violent conversions of American Indians by the Catholic Church is one of the great shames of history. Like most issues affecting American Indians, it is an invisible fact among the MSM. Not one media outlet ever considers talking to American Indians to see how they feel about these issues.

From the political right, to the Vatican, to the halls of Federal Government, the oppression and abuse suffered by American Indians everywhere in the United States is of no interest, and receives no attention. It seems little has changes, as America positions a Mormon to be US President, and a distant, deeply disliked Pope insults American history by exploiting yet another American Indian, the MSM, whom we hope to believe keeps us informed, has nothing to say. Nothing at all.

American Indians have their own ancient and honorable religions. Like every other issue related to American Indians, this fact is invisible to American society.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sacred Pipe Goes To Italy: Part One || Falling Down In the Garden of Ulysses

I left behind the United States, my art gallery, and my long life in my country in 2004. This is why.

In the Summer of 2004, I was invited to Italy. The year before I had shared an open ceremony with a group of Italian visitors, 18 of them if I recall correctly. I found their comportment, respect, and intelligence a really refreshing experience. When, a year later, I was invited to come and share some of my ideas and a few of the open ceremonies of my culture, I was very pleased to accept. That meeting took place in August. By November, I was living on the small island of Pantelleria. Italy and Italians were a revelation to me. 

The old Indians who were my Grandfathers and Teachers had asked me, in the early 1980s, to consider taking the bundle (gathered collection) of Sacred Pipes that I carry, out into the world. In 2004 the door opened for me to keep the promise I made at that time to those beloved and wise American Indians. When I left my home in Taos, New Mexico, in 2004, my intention was to keep moving and complete a circle of ceremonies, specific ceremonies with the sacred pipe, in a circle around this Mother Earth.

When I arrived on Pantelleria island, the energy and spirit, the force, that came up from the land there had a powerful affect on me. For weeks and weeks it affected my dreaming, my waking thoughts and my emotions. I felt such a strong affection for these peaceful, creative, polite and loving Italian people. It was irresistible. Almost as if, at least as clearly as, a voice I trusted spoke to my inner soul and said to me, “Bring all your sacred objects and ceremonies to Pantelleria.” At that moment I made the choice to move the headquarters or home of my sacred bundles from Taos to Pantelleria.

That decision changed my life forever. The first thing that happened was that I became seriously ill, for some years. For four years I was in a sort of waking coma, with little detailed memory of where I went or what happened. This illness was triggered by a traumatic accident which injured my left eye. It quickly escalated into a full blown crises that affected my entire body. It kept me isolated inside my new island home, away from light, away from the wind, staying as still and quiet as possible and hope for healing.

Yes, the decision I made to change my life was an explosion…an explosion in my body, but in my heart and soul as well. As I healed and waited and asked questions, I understood how stressful, traumatic and dangerous my life had been in the USA. America does not love its American Indians. Being an American Indian in America is dangerous. Being an American Indian in Italy is a blessing of peace and tolerance, and opportunity.

Coming to Italy saved my life. When, as a young, wounded, angry Vietnam Vetran, I came to the old Indians with fury, rage and confusion about that war, about America, about our lives as American Indian people, they saved my life at that time as well. The sacred Pipe has saved my life many times. By trusting those old Indians, I reached for the teachings, silences and ideas of that ancient spiritual education, the ceremonial life of my Ojibway ancestors…I reached into that rich resource through my anger and pain and desire and learned to trust the voice of love in my own heart. I learned to listen to that voice when I stumbled a broken old soldier, who before had been but a boy, into the arms of the old Indians. I listened to that voice when it told me to fall in love with Italy and bring my life-long work with American Indian ceremonial teachings out into the world.

The old Indians told me if I could get these sacred pipes in a circle around the Mother earth, that it would change everything. My heart believed them. And so I fell in love in Italy, with Italy and with this little island.

In this series of writings I will share my experiences with the Italian people who have shared in the many ceremonies, over 100, that we have made together, learned together, here in Italy.

"I am the one who made this life, my life
With my two hands I have made it
Going in eight directions I have made it
Standing Stone and Brother Mysteries I have made it
It was I who made this life
With my two hands I put it on the earth
I lived it, it is right here
I have taken it
Inside my song I will carry it
I will show you, my friend,
The open heart of the earth"

|| --- Nagamowin Gashk'ewizi || Turtle Heart

(Part Two in Two Weeks: The Awakened Dreamers

Friday, October 05, 2012

Sicilian Austerity Crushes Little Pantelleria But Armani Parties On

Port of Scauri, Pantelleria Island. ©2012 Turtle Heart

Armani's black yacht at Pantelleria port,  Summer 2012 ©2012 Turtle Heart
....special, from the Home of the Four Directions Unity Bundle....
I live on the little Mediterranean island of Pantelleria. It is an island of gardens and farmers, rather than fishermen. It is 25 miles north of Africa. It is a sweet and charming place. It produces the world's best capers, as well as a unique sweet wine called Passito. It is a wine made entirely by hands, without machines.

Armani and other so-called celebrities like Carol Bouquet of France talk about, exploit and seem to cherish their vacation homes on the little island. You can rarely read an article about Armani which does not mention is Pantelleria home.
In 1974 Pantelleria produced 2.6 million bottles of wine.
In 2012 Pantelleria produced 300,000 bottles of wine.
The 2013 wine production (now) looks to be less, far less.
The Sicilian government took away one of the two transport ferries that serve Pantelleria from Sicilia. The other boat is available only four days each week, providing the sea is passable. So this year, as the trucks carrying grapes to go to Sicilia lined up to get on the one boat, there was no space. So the grapes were eventually put in the trash. This was in August and September.
Now, in October, the dried grapes used to make Passito are being left on the earth.
There are only a few very small facilities on the island for fermenting and bottling Pantelleria wine. All over the island grapes are in the trash or going brown on the vine.
On the other hand, Armani, Bouquet, the clueless Bishop of Trapani, and all the other rich one per cent vacation home owners celebrated, recently, the opening of the beautiful new international airport….and the Pantesche were not invited, not one of them. The local people were surrounded by Italian National Police officers, armed with rifles, and kept standing in the sun and told to say not a word for the hours during which Armani and other self-satisfied celebrities were entertained in the air-conditioned spacious new airport. The Bishop of Trapani, wearing his sunglasses and Armani designed phoney priest robes blessed the rich celebrities, politicians and engineers of Italy and said not one word to the people and population of Pantelleria Island.
The island has lost most of the emergency services at the little worthless hospital. For a while there was a helicopter to take emergencies to Trapani….that is being pulled out in a few weeks. Leaving us with no emergency services at all beyond the basic broken bone.
The contrast between the rich and selfish elite of Italy going into the airport in their fine clothes, arriving in helicopters, private planes and private yachts….while the people who live here every day were kept standing in the sun, bullied by the police is really stark. The rich people who “love” their vacation island give nothing at all to the island. They only take, and then take some more.
Now, today, the island has lost its most important treasure, its rare and unique double-harvest grapes which make one of the world’s most interesting wines, all gone, put into the trash.
This portfolio of bad news came shortly after the Governor of the island was arrested and removed from office for being a criminal.
Italy’s path to auesterity has apparantly been engaged with the idea of crushing the economy and life of its smallest islands.
What is next?

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