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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

JUNE 2011

 

 

 

Manataka receives hundreds of letters each month. Space does not allow us to publish all letters but we make a concerted effort to print letters that are representative of a majority. Let us know if there is a topic you feel needs to be addressed.

 

Geronimo Is Not Osama Bin Laden

Osiyo Manataka,

 

I think all of us have been completely frustrated with how the European-American does not recognize that Indian names, nicknames, logos, and mascots are extremely racist. Many, in fact will insist they are compliments. For example, the Cleveland Indians logo is clearly the Indian version of Sambo. However they will not recognize it as such. How is it then that they recognize Sambo as being racist, but do not recognize the Cleveland Indians' logo as racist. Well the answer is colonialism. They have defined themselves as superiors by using our people as inferiors, in law and in history. This all goes back to the "Christian Doctrine of Discovery". This is what scholars of post-colonial studies call the image of the inferior savage other embedded in the consciousness of the dominant culture.

 

Well, I thought I would help them out. I have started calling Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland Indians' logo, red sambo. I am hoping that by doing this we can help them to make the connection. We could have hats and shirts made with the logo inside a circle and a line through it, with the words, no red sambo printed on the shirt or the hat. If this catches on, then people will begin to associate the the two and they will be shamed into giving it up.

 

It is now powwow season, and people could have shirts and hats made in this manner for sale. Hopefully it catches on and they begin to see how very racist this logo is.  Wado.  ~Richard Wilson

 

Archeological Find at Manataka

Hello Manataka,

 

Great to hear that evidence was found to demonstrate that Native Peoples occupied the land well before any Europeans even ventured toward what is now called the Americas.   It is likely other such "workshop" or campsites exist within the area.    For 26 years, I have been conducting a survey in Eastern Kentucky to demonstrate that Native Peoples had occupied the area and used the many resources located there.  To date, 288 such sites have been found.  Unfortunately, due to site looting and development most sites have been damaged or destroyed.  However, many have now been protected to preserve the true history of the United States  -- YOUR HISTORY.  Wishing you all the very best, Matt Maley

 

Manataka is truly a Sacred Site

O'siyo My Brothers and Sisters,

 

Manataka is truly a Sacred Site. Many hundreds of years they have tried to destroy us and our Sacred Places. But we know they can not know matter how much they try. The Creator is on our side and time has come when he knows who is Sacred and what Places are Sacred. Try they may but they will fail. The Creator in my vision has chosen us as the ones to begin the Great Spiritual Gathering and it can not be stopped by man or beast. I have seen these things and your Elders know this is true. I will help as I can, we have many powers of protection, United We Stand, Divided we fall, we will Unite and we can not be Divided. The Creator will be with us. Peace is all we ever wanted, but they would not let us have it, well the time has come, continue the Gathering's  not just one year but everyday from now on. It is a Great Honor that we have been chosen, let it begin. Peace my Brothers and Sister's. ~Bill Little Eagle.

 

Manataka is Sacred

 

Hi there Manataka!

 

I sorta scanned through the article and it doesn't surprise me how the non-indigenous of Turtle Island will 'insist on improving' on what is already there OR have to have tangible proof of what we say.  If they can't hold it in their hands, take a picture of it or 'paint' their take on what we do or say, it isn't real.  This is evidence that they have the mindset of those who inhabited Atlantis and are proof that they are descendants of the same ---->>> scientific mind that absolutely 'must explore' until they can't explore anymore or until they are taken out of the equation; such is the case in point of Atlantis demise (sic)

 

Those of us who are 'in the knowing' never question our Elders and I'm happy to say, that I enjoyed as a tiny little lady, to sit and listen to them talk about the same stuff over and over again when they gathered at our home. What is even more disturbing, is that in our quest to access the hidden treasure of black gold in our mountains and streams, they insist on desecrating our grounds by any means, including fracking - destroying the terrain and possibly ruining our waterways for decades to come.  They do so without any conscience or ethics.

 

The article was equally interesting to note that they said (admitted) that there were horses running around, when we've been bombarded with statements from archaeologists that continually say that horses were not here until the Spaniards and others brought them.  Hmmmmm  I can go on and on, but you get my drift.   Be Blessed and thanks for posting this info in the newsletter

Huggz  ~Xielolixii

 

Lost Indian Child

Dear Manataka Editor,

 

As a child who was adopted before the prohibition of 1973, I wonder what avenue is left for us. If genetics prove us to be Native American, but we have no tribe, then we are truly lost. This argument is not about money. I know of several "Native Americans" receiving benefits that have little or no Native traits. How do you answer to those of us who were "misplaced" and can no longer access birth records. We are not on Dawes Records because we do not exist. We have no name to compare. But we ARE yours. What will the Native American Community do to reclaim its own?

 

Time Off - For Good Behavior

Dear Editor,

 

I once attended a Boy Scout Jamboree. It was hosted by Aksarben, a now defunct horse race track in Omaha Nebraska. There were many remarkable sights during the day. I met boys of every color and every imaginable background. One of my favorite events was the archery contest. However another event left a permanent imprint on my mind. As a guest of the host I was centrally located in the grandstands that contained several thousand onlookers. The last event of the day was a one mile foot race around the dirt race course. There were maybe fifty contestants. The soft dirt was difficult to walk on, let alone run. One of the entrants was a handicapped youth confined to a wheelchair. The race commenced and of course the wheelchair bound scout was left far behind but he didn’t give up. As the runners crossed the finish line, some of the boys continued on and fell in with the wheelchair and escorted, without assisting him to the finish. A bit later there was an Olympic style award ceremony, with the winner standing on top of a pedestal and the second place and third place finishers to his left and right. The boy in the wheel chair was positioned in front and recognized as the “Honorary Mention” for his sheer tenacity. The Scout Master placed medals around the necks of the first, second and third place finishers as the crowd applauded. Suddenly the winning Boy Scout jumped down from the platform and took the medal from around his neck and placed it around the neck of the boy with no legs. The crowd fell silent for a moment before cheering wildly. As I looked around at the people I couldn’t see a dry eye, except one. I happened to be standing near the winner’s family. His mother was standing there proudly smiling. She already knew character of the fast runner.  As I age, I occasionally long for the days of my youth. The memory of this experience prompts me to reflect. I cannot return to my strong, healthy, youthful body, but I can retain the virtuous, moral and charitable integrity that we are all born with, but sometimes lose along the way.  ~Laughing Crow

 

Union of Polarities

Magdala Rameriz,

 

I just picked up you "Sacredness of the Union of Polarities" book and am well on my way through it. You offer incredible insight! I absolutely love your work- it makes so much sense. I was curious as to see if you would be doing any book tours or workshops in the mid-west region of the USA? I'm from Akron, OH and would love to hear your insight. Thank you for your time, Sincerely, Jeff Schleis
 

The Pointing Finger of Crazy Horse

 

Dear Manataka,

With all due respect to Chief Crazy Horse, and his people, let us not presume that his statue will be here for eternity! Our God, or, your Great White Father,  has his own plans for this Earth. HE has said that mountains will be leveled, monuments will be destroyed and all this will come to pass before his coming. So, let us all remember that whatever we build for our own glory,  will come to pass, just as sure as the sun rises. Let us not be concerned with things of this Earth!! There is no "Universal" time,...as the Universe always was and always will be. This is something that some of our "brilliant minds" here on Earth cannot comprehend. But they will once the meet their Creator.  If man cannot explain the beginnings of the universe why should they question it, after it has been told them? 


 

The Chief Crazy Horse Monument is the largest in the world, dwarfing Mount Rushmore and other manmade wonders of the world.  It is a source of pride for indigenous people even though it is being created by a European family who failed to understand that Crazy Horse would not point with his finger even at his enemies – a glaring curse and no-no among Crazy Horse’s people. 

 

Yes, it will be there for eternity --- because its form and magnificent dimensions are indelibly imprinted on the souls of many spirits – for as long as man exists on this earth, for as long as our spirits shall exist by the Creators will, the monument will exist.  Other great monuments of mankind may dissolve into dust, as surly the Crazy Horse Monument will one day, but they will not cease to exist because they live on in the soul and spirit created by the Great Mystery.

 

Chief Crazy Horse did not nor do we refer to your God as the “Great White Father.” 

 

There are many Gods, but there is only one Creator, one Great Mystery, the One.  Our Creator is not male or female as you insinuate.  The term “Father” is a male designation --- a direct endearment of the greedy male ego.   The Creator is not “White” as you allege.  The Creator is not Red, Black, Brown, or Yellow.  The Creator is all there is.

 

The term “Great White Father” came out of Hollywood as a reference allegedly used by real Indians to the President of the United States.  We have never heard of a real Indian use that term – maybe someone once did, but real Indians referred to the President with many words, not all of them nice.  Remember, no indigenous language contains curse words – otherwise, those kind of words may have been used instead.

 

Eating Bugs

Hello there Manataka,
 

I just wanted to thank you first off for posting and sharing the information that you have on your site. Its been very informative.  I am looking forward to all else you have to share. I am actually going use some of your recipes for my sisters bizarre foods dinner in July.  Do you know where I can find mosquito or ant larvae to cook with? I saw a really cool recipe from Peru involving mosquito eggs in an omelet and would love to cook it but its hard to find any.  Many Blessings and Thanks.  ~Jay Hughey
 

Long Hair

 

Dear Manataka,

These aren't really "truths" about hair, but my observations - even after reading and thinking about Samson and Delilah (who were both very human). Hair is also a distraction, and in the wrong situations can get you killed or badly maimed if you're not careful. (Operating machinery, fleeing an attacker - if you have long hair and it is not tied up or back, it can easily be grabbed or get caught.)  It can be a useless vanity: men lament their hair loss and are judged by it, some women will notice another woman's graying hair instead of her personality or her words. If a woman's "roots" are coming in (after hair dyeing), some women will notice that first and judge her accordingly. 

 

Some cultures valued aging and graying hair was respected (with age comes wisdom). I had a dream years ago to this effect (Black Elk stroked my prematurely graying hair and said, "Wisdom" and then he spoke to my family in the dream). Dominant society does not respect gray hair or age. It only profits from it.  Many spend more time on their hair's appearance than they do on personal growth and spiritual character - or on contribution to community. Yes, that is a judgment call and criticism on my part .... and an observation from "walking some roads."

 

I cannot say this from personal experience, but I learned this and it always stuck with me. Lakota children placed in boarding schools - had their hair cut forcibly en masse. In Lakota culture, hair was only cut when in mourning - when a relative dies, and it was done in ceremony. So they would think their families had died because they all had their braids cut off at the same time - mass, forced assimilation. (I think that's why I never forgot it.) This is one of the bits of history and struggles I thought of when reading the article. (Also military, conformity, removal of unique abilities and gifts.)  It responds to electromagnetic changes, temperature/humidity changes, emotions, thought projections, etc. Hair is an indicator of health and well-being, shows age, and apparently holds and transmits energy. [Hair responds to the unseen all around us.]  Beyond that .... I'm going to think about it. I will read the references and think about the meanings before I answer further. ~Kim Summermoon Wilson

 

US Bank NOT Native Friendly

Greetings Manataka:

 

Although Native people have made significant contributions to this country, and continue to demonstrate unusual courage by volunteering for the armed services at a higher rate than any other racial/ethnic/cultural group, the boot heel of oppression is ever there to remind us we are less than the average US citizen. This became quite apparent to me when a friend tried to open an account at a US bank in Southwestern Ohio.

 

Barriers to Native people who are migrating to US cities from reservations can be quite insurmountable at times. I met a very nice man from the Lame Deer Reservation who has had to deal with this recently. He is attempting to relocate to Southwestern Ohio. This of course means that he needs to find work, get a bank account, find an apartment, etc. When institutions have discriminatory or racist practices, this can become very difficult.        

 

Our friend needed to open a bank account, so he went to a US Bank. The only identification he had at the time, was his Tribal ID. Although Tribal ID in a Federally Recognized Tribe is listed on the I9 Federal Government Form as acceptable evidence for US citizenship, they would not accept it. They did state that their branches in Western states accepted Tribal ID, but branches in the East did not accept it as proof of US citizenship. During this exchange, some of the Bank employees started laughing at them in a demeaning manner. They were given the phone number for the district manager, Susan Wilson. She stated that the only reason the Western states accept the Tribal ID is because that is where "those people" live, and they are not going to change their policy to accommodate one person. This is very clearly a case of institutional racism.

 

The district manager, as well as the author of this policy, seemed to make certain presumptions about Native people which simply are not true. Some of these presumptions are also clearly tinged by a racist attitude toward Native people. There seems to be a presumption that Native people are confined to reservations. Clearly, there was a time when this was in fact true, but Native people can travel and live anywhere they choose. This is not only ignorant, but it is scary, because it seems there is an acceptance of this as being ok, as when the district manger said that "those people" live there. The use of the racist code words "those people", spoken by people when they are speaking of people they believe to be the "inferior other", demonstrated a significant amount or racial/ethnic/cultural insensitivity on the part of the manager. The fact that the employees at the bank laughed at my friends, also suggests that this is a problem which is institutional, rather than the problem of an individual.

 

There also seems to be a presumption that Native people only live in Western states where there are reservations. Well, Native people live in all of the states, and there are reservations in the East as well. More than 50% of Native people live outside of reservations.

 

The other thing, is that they seem to treat the Tribal ID as though it is of less value than any of the other documents. What I mean to say is, that they don't refuse a drivers license or other form of id if it is from another state. An Ohio branch doesn't turn down a Kentucky drivers license, for example.

 

I would respectfully request that NCAI look into this. The Corporate office phone number is: (651) 466-3000. There also could be other banks or other institutions which do create similar barriers to Native people who are moving from the reservation. I believe it would be helpful if it could be communicated to the general Native community that this bank has a policy that is discriminatory.

 

Tribal Governments and other Native organizations could also complain to the bank, and if they have accounts with the bank they could cancel them and do business with a bank that is more Native friendly. Perhaps, if it hurts their pocket book, it could result in the necessary development of some degree of racial/ ethnic/ cultural sensitivity.

 

I thank you very much, if you could give this some of your valuable time. This is just one of the many unnecessary barriers Native people face. ~Richard Wilson

 

Wilma Mankiller's Legacy

Dear Manataka,

 

I write to you today, a little over a year since the passing of my wife and Former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation Wilma Mankiller, to tell you about a movie in the works that will honor Wilma’s legacy.  

The movie is called The Cherokee Word for Water and it tells the story of the Bell Waterline Project, a successful self-help project that Wilma and I directed in rural Oklahoma nearly thirty years ago.   Because she believed strongly that public perception shapes public policy, I’d like to ask for your help today in honoring and extending Wilma’s legacy through this movie.  To do so, we have developed a relationship with a new and creative way to fund worthwhile projects.  It's called KICKSTARTER and you can find our support page here:  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/126630283/the-cherokee-word-for-water-first-day-of-filming

We have set a goal of raising $25,000 in the next month.  We are very close to meeting our budget for this film and are eager to begin production on location in Oklahoma this year.   Every dollar counts!   


Wilma worked for decades to improve the quality of life for Indian people in this country.   She cared deeply that Native and non-Native people see the positive in Native communities and wanted to leave this legacy to show the resilience of Indian people.  It is my hope that you will join me to support the film’s mission to do just that.   We just launched our KICKSTARTER page today, so we would be honored if you would be among our first supporters.   And of course, please feel free to share this email far and wide!   Thank you for your time and consideration.  Sincerely,   Charlie Soap
 

Bacone College Discrimination

Dear Manataka,

O'siyo. My name is James Austin, a Retired Disabled Native American Veteran who would like to ask if you would be interested in doing a story about discrimination of Native American students or faculty at Bacone College who have disabilities. I was going to Bacone College here in Muskogee, Oklahoma earning my Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice with the minor in Native American Indian Studies when one night when I had class, I was called out, given a notice stating that I was being suspended for verbal/hostile behavior which was beyond me. I attempted to do the appeals the next day only to be ignored. I was even told to go through Mental Health. The following week when I attempted to have it put in the Tulsa World about this suspension, little did I know that the college along with the paper stated that I made an alleged comment threat against a local Congressman and yet it didn't say what the alleged threat comment was. This college has taken away my freedom of speech, my due process, they profiled me because of being Native American who has disabilties and yet the college says they accept students but don't have standard programs for those that have emotional or behavioral disabilities. This college only has one elevator on campus. There is an article going back to 2004 reflecting how this colleges President is a racist and how many staff/faculty who were Native American with Disabilities were suspended or fired with no just cause. If need to, I can provide the site to prove what I'm stating is true. Any questions, I can be reached at 918 682-4519. I would like to get the word out as this is wrong and we must take a stance against discrimination due to being Native American with disabilities.  WaDo. James Austin  

 

Cherokee Nation NOT representative of the people

Dear Takatoka of Manataka,

 

By way of introduction, I am David M. Wolfe,  AniYunwiyahgi;  freely understood as; [of]  the Real or Original people. This reference indicates who, not what.

 

However, that is apparently a point of knowledge much over looked by many “Cherokee” of the present that seem intent upon re-defining the term and peoples thereof.

 

As clarified by yourself, within your web site or in particular that section dealing with “Who Is Cherokee? Will The Real Cherokees Please Stand Up?”; there exist today a select exclusive number of persons that are seemingly bent upon the expeditious purging of any and all persons that relate themselves as “Cherokee” but who are not accounted [credentialed] for within the two exclusive "Tribal"-entities related to the U.S. Government.

 

Firstly I do wish to express my gratitude to your efforts at bringing some level of clarity to bear on this [what has become] egregious Indigenous Identity issue.

 

Now, will admittedly there exist any number of self-styled red messiahs, medicine men and in general, charlatans expressing themselves as  “Indigenous” [as in the context of being an Indigenous person of the “Americas”]; one ought to be able to expect ones common sense or at least, intuitive instincts, to alert one to such a person. However, I am likely expecting far to much as common sense seems to be a unique quality escaping most of the present human design.

 

That said, my own views on how to effectively address this “identity” issue begin with what I term, original ways of knowing.

 

Succinctly, only within original indigenous ‘standards’, can one assess such concerns.

 

In the case of the C.N.O. [Inc.], has no one noticed that this referent corporate body does not, within original indigenous standards, qualify as [a] representative of “Indigenous persons”; as stated within the letter from the CNO of  January 4, 1992 directed towards the Governors of 27 states, as written by [the then]  “Principal Chief” “Wilma Mankiller”;  “The Tribe has an extensive treaty making history with the United States and is today governed by a tripartite constitutional form of government, democratically elected and approved by the President of the United States.”  [Underline added]

 

Summarily stated, any official statements such as the preceding, issuing from such “referent” and “exclusive tribal” source regarding what is and what is not authentically- Indigenous, would be believable only, if said sources were informed and guided by original ways of knowing.

 

That said sources are demonstrably,  not of “Original ways of knowing”, is a fact endorsed by their own admission of deferral to, in this instance, the “the President of the United States’ “and thus by inference, the U.S. Government. Need I point out the obvious?

 

Since the “Cherokee Nation,” before and after the infamous Removal era, [ca.1830s AD.] had already altered [its] original form of governance, from “original ways of Knowing” to alien governmental standards”, it was, is not, nor cannot be truly representative of the AniYunwiyah as originally defined by the “Original people”.

 

Thus, if not the original  person; “Whom”, one may inquire, does [it] speak for and just as importantly, who does it defer to?

Additionally, I continue to be amazed at the assumption inferring any or all non-credentialed Indigenous person[s] are after select “Federal Indian dollars”.  Were one to take an account of the alleged gratuities / ear marked federal [Indian] dollars that presumably flow from an equally presumed Government largess then, it becomes laughable.

 

In ending, I commend you for your honest efforts to address such a personal and admittedly soul rending issue. Staiyu’ Wahya, AniYunwiyahgi. ~David M. Wolfe

 

 


 

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