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Archive for August, 2019

“It was good for the skin to touch the earth.”

Luther Standing Bear – Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief

There were very few Native American leaders who were able to occupy the rift created between the traditional way of life for the indigenous cultures and the new way of life forced upon them by the arrival of European pioneers and explorers.

However, that doesn’t mean it never happened. People like Black Elk, Charles Eastman, and Gertrude Bonnin knew what life was like in the Great Plains before the Europeans arrived and they saw what it was like afterwards as well.

Another prominent figure who lived through the transition is Luther Standing Bear. He was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who was raised in the traditions of his people until he was 11, then he was then educated at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School of Pennsylvania, where he learned how to speak English and learned the European way of life. (Carlisle is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, but still remains as a place of controversy in Native circles.)

Like his contemporaries whom we mentioned above, Luther Standing Bear had deep native roots. This left him as a unique conduit between two cultures. He was extremely successful in the white man’s world; he landed numerous roles in Hollywood films, but his enduring legacy was the protection of the way of life of his people. By the time he had passed on, he published 4 books and had become a leader at the forefront of a progressive movement which focused on preserving Native American heritage and sovereignty. Here are 10 quotes from the great Sioux Indian chief known as Standing Bear that will be sure to disturb much of what you think you know about “modern” culture:

  • Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
  • Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.
  • Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.
  • We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.
  • Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
  • This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
  • It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
  • Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.
  • …the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.
  • Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.”

H/T Wisdom Pills

Image: Kirby Sattler

Thank you to my good friend Erika Kolod for sharing this with us

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Trump recites from the teleprompter (what was written for him) about the recent mass shootings.

 

“Trump doesn’t just pollute the social environment. He is the environment.”

George Will

      Pulitzer Prize Writer and Demoralized Republican

“On May 8, 2019, Donald Trump laughed when someone in his audience shouted in response to his shouted questions about would-be immigrants at the southern border. His question was, ‘How do you stop these people?’ The shouted answer was, ‘Shoot them’. Trump with a grade-schooler’s delight in naughtiness, broadly smiled and replied, ‘Only in the Panhandle can you get away with that statement.’ But does what happens in the Panhandle stay there?” asked George Will.

 

Certainly not. The people who marked their ballot for Trump along with his groupies throughout the country are all compliant. His refusal to condemn extremism is fueling White Supremacists and they loyally stand by him. When he won in 2016, Richard Spencer, White Nationalist leader said, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory.” David Duke, neo-Nazi leader exclaimed, “This is one of the most exciting nights of my life…Our people played a huge role in electing Trump.” When asked to condemn the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Trump refused and instead said he thought there were “good people on both sides.”

 

The resurgence of white supremacy has been startling. Hate-based terror and crimes across the nation for the past three years, which also coincides with Trump’s campaign and presidency, has increased at the rate of 2,026 % . In 2019 alone, there have only been 218 days, but there already has been 250 mass shootings in our country.

 

 

Yes, you read these statistics correctly. I’m not surprised. Trump has demonized immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Guatemala and complains they are “invading“our country. He called Mexicans “rapists”. He refuses to denounce hate crimes, yet glibly denounces African “shithole countries”. He issues executive orders to bar all Muslims from entering this country. He is the master of division.

 

Not all mass shootings are a result of racist sentiments. Some, like Newtown and possibly the recent slaughter in Dayton, are the result of mentally ill men who are angry for whatever reason and Trump knows how to tap into peoples’ most basic fears and angers. Anger turns to hate and hate to violence. His rhetoric inflames the hatred and gives permission for violence. The mentally ill and racists alike are empowered by his words . . . and his followers never question, but keep blindly following.

 

We are now all aware how the Justice Department under Trump is eviscerating the enforcement of our nation’s civil rights. The Republican Senate led by Mitch McConnell, who panders to the gun lobbyists and the NRA, has repeatedly refused to entertain common sense gun laws, which would so clearly help quell some of this violence.

Just read Heroes and Cowards to see the astounding statistics.

 

Ho-hum . . .

 

Polls indicate that approximately 40% of Americans are more than willing to overlook and disregard all the hateful rhetoric, playground insults and name-calling, the spiteful bullying, and the infantile mocking of the handicapped. They made excuses for him when he admitted to being a sexual predator grabbing women’s pussies “whenever he wanted” and were not disturbed when he openly prowled the dressing rooms of the Miss Teen America dressing rooms. They insisted his attacks on the four Congress women of color were not racially motivated. In fact, most jumped on board with him. Only one kind of person could think his statement of “Go back to where you came from” wasn’t rooted in racism.

 

Additionally, Will adds, “Polls indicate that approximately one third of Americans, disproportionately including religiously devote warriors about the coarsening of America’s culture, are also merely content with this, “because they do nothing but complain with one another as they fiendishly absorb the controversies which the media doles out to the public like chum to sharks. Are they not as accountable as those who are mesmerized and easily manipulated by this grotesque spectator sport called the presidency?

 

Will states, “It is quite another thing to have a president who does not merely pollute the social atmosphere with invectives directed at various disfavored minorities; he uses his inflated office not just to shape this atmosphere, but to be this atmosphere.”

 

Will concludes, “When Gerald Ford became president after Richard Nixon’s resignation, he told the nation, ‘Our long national nightmare is over.’ Today’s long – and (increasingly) lethal – national embarrassment will continue until at least Jan. 20, 2021. If it continues longer, this will be more than an embarrassment to the nation, this will be an indictment of it.”

 

We the people are either a part of making this a better world or we aren’t. At any moment, we are either creating connection or separation, win/win or win/lose, respect and common decency, or hateful rhetoric that demeans some and empowers others.

 

“We have met the enemy and the enemy is US!”

 

If you want a better world, do something about it. Speak up. Show up. And for the sake of all those who have been abused, demonized and killed for their race, religion, gender and sexual orientation . . . or simply killed out of rage . . . don’t do what you usually do and finish this article and go back to whatever you’re doing!

 

Right NOWcontact your Congressional representatives and tell them to enact gun laws that protect its citizenry and be very, very careful how you mark your ballot in 2020!!!

 

 

Will concludes, “When Gerald Ford became president after Richard Nixon’s resignation, he told the nation, ‘Our long national nightmare is over.’ Today’s long – and (increasingly) lethal – national embarrassment will continue until at least Jan. 20, 2021. If it continues longer, this will be more than an embarrassment to the nation, this will be an indictment of it.”

 

We the people are either a part of making this a better world or we aren’t. At any moment, we are either creating connection or separation, win/win or win/lose, respect and common decency, or hateful rhetoric that demeans some and empowers others.

 

“We have met the enemy and the enemy is US!”

 

If you want a better world, do something about it. Speak up. Show up. And for the sake of all those who have been abused, demonized and killed for their race, religion, gender and sexual orientation . . . or simply killed out of rage . . . don’t do what you usually do and finish this article and go back to whatever you’re doing!

 

Right NOWcontact your Congressional representatives and tell them to enact gun laws that protect its citizenry and be very, very careful how you mark your ballot in 2020!!!

 

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