Winnemem Wintu - The Journey to Justice

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Location: Redding, CA, United States

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Red Rider, The Virginian, Hoss Cartwright, Hondo

Red Rider, The Virginian, Hoss Cartwright, Hondo. Characters on TV shows running the range free and easy, killing when necessary, sanitary, no fuss no muss. Indians and Mexicans need not apply … unless you wanted to live in the High Chaparral.
I wondered as a child who my heroes might be: Gene Autry back in the saddle changing with time to Willie Nelson singing about mammas and their babies growing up to be cowboys and such. I marveled at the fool on the hill, Tonto (Spanish for fool) for those who speak the southern tongue, riding with the Lone Ranger, chasing the bad guys, knowing the signs and speaking a very clean, yet stilted version of English. Was he my hero? I’m not sure, was he yours?
I wonder why it is today people get up in arms and offended by a cartoon version of the herstory of Virginia (Pocahontas) yet allow Turner Network Television to present the worst in stereotypical caricatures imaginable. Have you seen the transformation of a rabbit into an Indian or for that matter a shufflin’ black man from the south? How about the daffiest of ducks “woo wooing” around in a war bonnet on his mallard head? Do you see the cartoons everyday or do your kids hide them from you?

TV images that no one really sees and TV images that cause every one to see. Why worry? It all comes out in the wash … I know this from the commercials on the box. Lately an Indian in a cupboard had the attention of folks. How racist they say. “Buy the video and have your own Indian!” I hear what people say and have to laugh, not so much at them, but at the idiocy of the arguments. We have people, Indian people, dying from the effects of poverty, cold weather, indifference, apathy and every other unspeakable act you can imagine.

We have California Indian people, terminated at the hand of a malevolent-benevolent government, denied services essential to their well being. And we have people dying, no longer recognized as Indian, but being buried in a cemetery sanctified by an act of congress for those very same Indians. Buried so close to their ancestral lands, now under the water of another Lake Perfidy, holding in their cold, still hands the papers, signed by President Grover Cleveland, allotting them tracts of land … and people are more concerned about an Indian and a key and a cupboard.

In this day and age, we the people need to get on the right page of the TV Guide. We need to reevaluate our thinking and forget the images we have seen residing within the magic box. We need to see what needs to be seen and not ignore it but act upon it! Forget the previous images, those that showed you a noble Redman or the one that shows the Redman drunk or dead in the gutter. Look at the people as people … do what we can and what needs to be done. Our old people are crying for us: the Indians, the white people, and all those of the other colors of the sacred circle. The old people are crying for us because we have too long been accustomed to seeing an image and allowing that image to color over the actual picture within our heart’s eye.

I see so many people in trouble, so many people with little hope and when I speak of these things I see the images coming from the mouth of those I speak with. Visualize a TV set with hair and eyes showing only the same picture over and over again. I don’t get the reaction that one would expect from such a caring, loving society … yeah right … America first brother, keep out the immigrant. Good thinking, only 500 hundred years too late.

You can read the future history of the United States by looking at the way it has treated the

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Cremations and Tribal sacred landscapes

Why is it that folks find it necessary to dump their cremated remains in tribal springs and places that have been, unfortunately, revealed as sacred to Indian people?

I hate to report, again, that the Winnemem spring on Mt Shasta has been visited by the grim reapers again, with, I'm told 3 new cremains left since the Forest Service, unadvisedly I must say, opened the meadow to people this week. Readers will remember that we had to have the area closed off a few years back to remove remains that permeated the walls and earth around the spring and refused to come pout of the springs was disheartening them, as now, to watch bone fragments swirl around in our Genesis place, like debris in a washing machine. Back then the Forest Service to us, "those are animal bones!" Well, when we started pulling teeth, bridgework, gold crowns and metal tabs from Levi's, they changed their tune and closed the water area off because of the health hazard it posed.

Japanese people who came all the way here were appalled when we told them remains were in the water that they were reverently drinking. I wonder if other "pilgrims" to the spring feel the same way.

I took a cruise around the web and found sites that advocate spreading your dead at sites sacred to "Indians", because it will get your relative closer to "God". I don't think that god or the Creator, would want one of their creations (clean, pure water), defiled in this manner.

So, if you see stuff like this happening, in Winnemem Territory or anywhere tribes stand humble and reverent, ask the folks with the urns to think about what they are doing. I believe that good old Uncle George or Aunt Sue, would rather be anywhere else then stuck in the spin cycle of someones washing machine.

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