Yesterday, after sleeping quite late, I had enough time to wander into the communal area, snag some coffee, and cozy up to the council fire. Everyone started moving to the main camp road, and Rick was off, giving another walking stick, so I went walking too. People were walking (and some driving) the 20 miles to the site of the desecration. When Rick tried to find me and didn’t, he thought “crazy woman of mine, she’s probably walking, and ran a long way to catch up. Crazy man of mine. Lots and lots of photos here, and this is the walk to, not the full walk. (Click da images for full size.) In the 2nd photo, over to the left, you can see Joan Baez still hanging, and she went on the walk. In the 7th photo, the elder in the gray T-shirt leading is the elder of the Tonoho O’odham runners, who ran 1500 miles to join us.
I want to take some time to address someone who was being very idiotic, ignorant, and disrespectful in a thread over at Pharyngula. This person wanted to know if there were photos of the sacred sites before they were bulldozed, because there wasn’t any evidence they were actually there, and this was probably just a story people made up. All the land in these photos alone, and much more, is history. These are history books, so to speak. I have given photos, so to that person, I say, can you read the history that is there? Just because you cannot read that history does not mean it doesn’t exist. All history is not contained inside the texts that colonialists wrote. Little history is there at all. This is a land where many, many massacres took place. Hundreds upon hundreds of dead. There were no formal, white-type cemeteries set up and built, that is not the way Indigenous people did things. No temples, no cathedrals. That is not the way of this land, of these people. Back then, with massacres happening so often, many ancestors were barely buried, maybe three feet down. Not all of these sites are specifically known, but many are, because of the history carried forward through generations. To that person in the thread, I would ask what did you think you would see? Because nothing they saw would constitute proof in their mind, because they carry no learning, and no understanding. To understand, you need to break yourself out of that colonial box that has commandeered minds all over the land, all over this earth. It’s a greedy, uncaring, disrespectful way of thinking and living, and it is time for all people to break the chains of colonialism. Teach your children the necessity of respect, for all life, for our earth, rather than colonial thinking. This can end, if people care enough.
Someone else in that thread spoke of disliking seeing people in traditional dress, because it made them look like stereotypical Indians. If that sort of idiocy pops up in your head, please, shut up. Ask yourself, do I know an Indian? Do I know anything about their way of life, their culture, their language, or traditions? If you don’t, please, don’t spill ignorance. Ask, learn. We are people who live in this world, who also have thousands of years of culture and tradition with them. In that, we are no different from any other people, except perhaps, in our refusal to lose our traditions.
When we reached the site of the desecration, it was time again to shut down all recorders and cameras. The actual site which was bulldozed is not pictured, it’s up on a hill past the tipis in the last photo. After the Chief spoke, many elders spoke. One of the elders was speaking, and turned about and asked “is there a baby here, a young one? Bring them up” Several people got up and took their very young children to the center of the circle. The elder held one baby girl, and said to everyone there “remember this – today, you are standing in this girl’s past. She will remember this, and she will tell the story of this day, this time, all you standing here. She will tell this story, and her children, and grandchildren will tell this story. We stand in the children’s past, and we must stand strong and right, we are the history of their future.”
I think this is extremely important. It does not matter if you have children, I don’t, but every single one of us, we are all standing in the children’s past. All over the world. We must stand up, we must rise for what is right. We must make our voices strong, we must make a history that is strong and right for all the children to build on, to provide them with a strong and true foundation. This provides the continuing foundation for the next seven generations, and the seven to come after that. All of us adults, we are living history at this moment, and our actions, our words, they will continue on, echoing far into the future. Never think, “oh, there is nothing I can do.” Yes, there is much you can do, right where you are, no matter in the world. Be strong. Stand. Add your voice. Refuse to stay in a colonialist box. Raise your children and grandchildren with a mind to the past and the future, be a bridge. Start a garden, even better, start a community garden. Pull people in, remind them, we are meant to be a community, we are not meant to be isolated and alone. When we are good, we are great, but it must be remembered that that goodness starts with community, with care. Caring for our neighbours, caring for our elders, caring for our young people. Care for the earth, the air, the water, where ever you live. Be a protector, refuse to passively accept the lies, disregard, and disrespect of corporations who do nothing but destroy. We have this strength. We have this power. We have this voice.
There were ceremonies, but I’m not going to speak about them in any detail. The ancestors were honoured. Then we started the walk back to the second site, where there would be more ceremonies, and that will be part 2, tomorrow. I’m a bit shaky today, and back home, because there was a whirlwind in camp yesterday, and I had a tent pole frame slam into my thoracic vertebra at around 40 miles an hour. So, more tomorrow, and I’ll probably think of everything I forgot and meant to write today, yeah? I’m sure I will. :D Oh, for anyone sending supplies out – please, no more plastic utensils or styrofoam cups. Right now, the plastic utensils are being washed, because around a hundred thousand of them are being going through in a week, and while many have been sent off for recycling, we don’t want to be part of the problem in using these things. The major need right now is for wood, and I know that’s something which can’t be sent through the mail. So money is probably best, if you can part with a dollar or two, or blankets and quilts for winter. Thoughts are now on planning for the winter, which is descending quickly. We’ll be taking wood out over the next couple of weeks. For those of you who have things to send, this is where:
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