hecheto welo! (It is Good.)

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!! Oh, yes, how could you not expect that from me? 😉

I’m so glad that some places in America have come to their senses to change “Columbus Day” to Indigenous People’s Day, yet here I sit in my hometown with everyone educating their youngsters on Columbus. Oh, lord help me.

You see, when spreading this news I’m encountering a lot of people who say, “Why are we just now changing it after all these years? Why not leave it be?” I translate that to, “I have this massive tumor growing on my back, but why take it out after all this time? Why not just leave it be?” Does that make sense? No. When did doing the right thing become exhausting, or not worth doing after quote “all this time?” Why change this to Indigenous People’s Day? “To reflect upon the ongoing struggles of Indigenous people on this land, and to celebrate the thriving culture and value that Dakota, Ojibwa and other indigenous nations add to our city.”

You see, people can argue all they want, but Columbus didn’t discover anything other than Native Americans who had been living on this beautiful land for a while. And it wasn’t just “Pocahontas” and the one tribe wearing warbonnets running around. It was countless Natives, very different by the numbering cultures and tribes that occupied this land. It amazes me to this day how we can continue to bury our head in the sand when it comes to Native culture. Its “weird”, “Makes no sense”, its “intense”, and to some people its just a fashion statement or trend. That buckskin dress? It was hand-made by the woman wearing it, and she earned if after hours of butchering that meat. Its bead-work is a symbol of her strength, her relationships, or her beliefs. The paint, feathers, or warbonnet? They all have specific symbolism, strength, and a sacred meaning to each tribe. Native American extends past the surface of “dressing up and looking cool” into a way of life, the only way of life they knew. Your Halloween costume, “Aztec” print/thunderbird/”Indian headress” shirt is not cute. Bottom line; the Holocaust of Native Americans was and is a very real thing. Millions were murdered, slaughtered, taken away, and forced into civilization. It’s not a joke, and despite how much your history book tries to cover up, it happened.

“By awakening the Native American teachings, you come to the realization that the earth is not something simply that you build upon and walk upon and drive upon, and take for granted. It is a living entity. It has consciousness.”

This was their land, their life, and many of their ancestors were buried here. Then, their children were buried in mass graves after they were slaughtered. You’d think America would provide one holiday for this amazing culture to gain more awareness and strive, but no. We gave it to Columbus who “discovered” this land?

foundingfathers

“Columbus did not embark on a simple voyage of exploration — it was always intended as a voyage of conquest and ultimately colonization. Columbus indicts himself in his journal as one of the most prolific slave traders in human history, buying and selling more than 5,000 indigenous people, and helping establish a brutal system of forced labor. Just decades after Columbus’ arrival, the indigenous population had been reduced by as much as 90 percent. This city should not honor a man who played a pivotal role in the worst genocide the world has ever known. Transforming this day into a celebration of indigenous culture and social justice is not merely educational in nature–it also allows us to make a connection between this painful history and the ongoing marginalization and discrimination and poverty that indigenous communities face to this day.”

Call me crazy, but I just don’t feel like celebrating a Holiday one in which Banks use an excuse to close, to honor a slave trading and racist man. Now Italian-Americans are deeply offended, and feel like they have lost a piece of their heritage. Yea, I know what you mean. By seeing everyone dress up on Halloween as an “Indian”, or not respect a culture that was here longer than the people of today, I feel like I lost my culture too…one that your dude took…not to point fingers or anything. I’m sure that Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, among every woman slaughtered and raped felt deeply offended too.

columbus

You can turn your head and teach the “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” crap, or you can teach, and know what needs to be taught. A beautiful culture that was taken from the land that you are living on. Natives were intense, but among those intense people (just like we have intense people today) they had some very wise and on-point views on life. Not to get biased about my own culture, but the way they treated this earth, and respected it, it always provided for them in return and they lived fulfilled, and enriched lives. They were in tune with their creator, they danced, they prayed, they believed in doing what made them happy while keeping close with their love and families. They were very focused on the proper upbringing, and belief in their children’s potential. “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” -Sitting Bull. All of this is merely scraping the surface into this amazing culture. Oh, how different life would be if things would’ve never changed, or at least people were taught these same values. Life was based on thanking the creator rather than taking. Prayer rather than hateful words, and dance instead of destruction. Tell me that is weird, intense, or unrealistic? Sounds a lot like what we should be doing as Americans. Praying, dancing, remembering our creator (for those who want to) and respecting this great Mother Earth who is constantly giving such beautiful and healing things to us.

“Regard Heaven as your father, Earth as your mother, and all that lives as your brother and sister.” Native Wisdom

Happy Indigenous People’s Day.

indigenous

Song of the Week is Red and White by Northern Cree to honor my beliefs and heritage! Hit play, and indulge yourself in a different culture. It will be something you aren’t used to, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. 🙂

-haley.

NATIVE PRIDE.

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