Monday, December 1, 2014

The Identity Imperative by Serge Kahili King

As I watch from afar the inane antics taking place in Ferguson, Mo I am struck by how ignorant and fruitless the effort to destroy has become. These otherwise intelligent Black people who  have hearts and souls can let themselves become so out of control is a source of wonder to me that I have a hard time understanding.  They have done more to set themselves back into a 1950's mentality and environment in this one act of oppressive violence and that it is condoned by so called self-proclaimed moral leaders of their race  than any other act they have done in the last 100 years.

Being from a minority race I find myself wondering what would cause this reaction in one race that doesn't necessarily happen in another. I know Black people to be kind and decent folk most of the time and what I believe is one way of viewing this is that the Black people are not at a geographic advantage. They do not have a sense of place like Native Americans do because they are not on their own land. Scoff if you will but there can be much said about being connected to the land.

I have spent much time studying the ancient Hawaiian path to Spirituality and have come to respect a major proponent of the HUNA path, a man named  Serge Kahili King! He wrote an opinion of why people react in various ways as a group and I thought I would share it here as a probable explanation of why Ferguson is happening. In order to solve an issue one has to understand the driving forces of the issue and it goes much deeper than being imaginably oppressed by people who are actually trying to help. - Hope you gain a better understanding of these happenings after reading what Serge has to say. - Redhawk

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The Identity Imperative
by Serge Kahili King

As we listen to and look at national and world news reports we see evidence of enormous conflicts between people who have identified themselves with very different ways of thinking and feeling and behaving. People who identify with different religions are at war with each other; people of the same religion who identify with different interpretations of it are at war with each other; people who identify with different political systems are at war with each other; people who identify with different interpretations of the same political system are at war with each other.

On a more local level, people who identify with different athletic teams in the same sport seem to be getting into sometimes serious fights with each other more frequently; people who identify with specific groups called gangs often have serious fights with each other, as well as with non-gang members of the society around them; and identity conflicts of a serious nature often arise between families or even individual strangers.

Two important questions that come out of this observation are: "Is there a fundamental urge to identify with something - an 'identity imperative,' so to speak - that is more powerful than other urges?" and "why does such identification so often lead to conflict?"

To answer the first question, the urge to identify with something - an idea, a belief, a philosophy, a religion, a way of life, a political system, a group of some kind, a territory, or even another person - is no more nor no less than a combination of the two fundamental urges to connect and to be effective.

We have an initial urge to connect because feeling connected, feeling ourselves to be part of something else, is a source of pleasure. By itself this leads to pleasurable relationships with people, animals, plants, and other aspects of the world around us. When the thing we connect to also helps us to feel more effective or powerful, another source of pleasure, then we have a strong tendency to identify ourselves with that thing, to consider it and us to be virtually identical. That's why so many people proudly declare that they are "members" of something or other (the word "member" means a "limb" or an integral part of something). It's also why people like to wear clothing, costumes, badges, pins, and tattoos that help them feel more connected and powerful.

The answer to the second question above is that the more insecure we feel about our connection and our effectiveness, the more fearful we become about their loss, which leads to painful feelings of isolation and helplessness. When this insecurity and its related fear become intense enough there may be a very strong suppression reaction. A common effect of this reaction is to perceive contrasting or opposing forms of identity as a threat to one's very existence. So a losing sports team, or its fans, may feel compelled to fight the winners, or their fans, and even destroy anything associated with them. Do something that an insecure identifier interprets as an insult to his or her source of identity and you may receive a death threat, or worse. In some cases people become willing to sacrifice their lives to maintain their own identity as well as the "life" of what they identify with. That will not happen, however, unless such people have decided that their own lives have no worth in any other context. Self sacrifice with the intention to harm members of another identity is therefore a desperate attempt on the part of extremely insecure people to maintain a sense of belonging and personal power.

The more secure you feel about your identifications, the more tolerant you naturally are of other identifications. If you have no doubts about the goodness or rightness of your ideas, beliefs, or behaviors, then you tend not to care about the ideas, beliefs, and behaviors of others (as long as they don't physically threaten you, of course). On the other hand, the more insecure you feel about your identifications, the more you will react with fear and anger and the desire to destroy anything and and anyone that doesn't agree with your way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Unfortunately, although this is essentially a position of weakness, it can cause great damage among those who are basically more tolerant, but not yet secure enough or wise enough to realize that tolerance is not the same as unbounded permissiveness.

Nevertheless,

Ma'alahi ka ha'ina, pu'ika'ika hana
"Simple the explanation, difficult the execution

Friday, November 28, 2014

EPA overrides Congress, hands over town to Indian tribes | The Daily Caller

Note: Have you ever heard of the Law of Reciprocity? Well apparently the whites of Wyoming have not nor do they wish to follow it as usual. However they are now finding out what it feels like to have what they considered theirs taken away from them. Very much like what they did to the Native People a 100 years or so ago. Greed is never permanently rewarded no matter what your color. If you do wrong it’s going to come back on you. Leave no footprints…… “What goes around, comes around!” - Redhawk
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Have you heard the story of the residents of Riverton, Wyo.? One day they were Wyomingans, the next they were members of the Wind River tribes — after the Environmental Protection Agency declared the town part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, undoing a 1905 law passed by Congress and angering state officials.

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The surprise decision was made by officials of the EPA, the Department of Interior, and Department of Justice early last month, and has invoked the ire of Gov. Matt Mead, who has vowed not to honor the agency’s decision and is preparing to fight in court.
“My deep concern is about an administrative agency of the federal government altering a state’s boundary and going against over 100 years of history and law,” Mead said in a statement. “This should be a concern to all citizens because, if the EPA can unilaterally take land away from a state, where will it stop?”
The EPA declared that Riverton was part of the Wind River Indian Reservation after granting a “Treatment as a State” application from the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes. The tribes submit such applications to get funding for air quality monitoring under the Clean Air Act. However, this seemingly innocuous application ended up undoing the tribal boundaries set by a 1905 congressional act.
The EPA granted the tribes’ claim that the Wind River reservation extended over one million acres of land beyond what the 1905 Congressional Act established. By doing this, the agency effectively overruled an act of Congress, state officials charge.
The worry by state officials is that turning Riverton, a town of over 10,000 people, over to the tribes will come with a slew of tax and law enforcement complications. Since Riverton is now part of the Wind River reservation, it is technically no longer eligible for state services and no longer falls under local law enforcement. Mead, however, has ordered that state agencies conduct “business as usual” in regards to Riverton, meaning state services, law enforcement and regulations will continue.

“This is an alarming action when you have a federal agency step in and start to undo congressional acts that has really been our history for 108 years … with the stroke of a pen without talking to the biggest groups impacted,” state Sen. Leland Christensen told The Daily Caller News Foundation, “and that would be the city of Riverton and the state of Wyoming.”
According to the Mead’s office, the EPA’s decision came as a surprise to him, and he only found about it from the media — not the EPA itself. This comes after Mead wrote to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy last August detailing his concerns about the implications of granting the tribes’ request to effectively override the 1905 act.
The tribes remain adamant that Riverton and the one million acres of land is theirs, arguing that state officials once supported such a conclusion. Tribal officials have criticized tthe governor’s office for changing its tune on Riverton and the reservation’s boundaries.
“Now that the [Interior Department] and EPA have issued their determinations, state officials have changed their tune, claiming to be outraged by the decision and suggesting that the federal government has no say in such matters,” the Northern Arapaho Business Council wrote in a letter to Mead, adding that the state’s shift in rhetoric could hurt tribe-state relations.
The dispute has received little national attention as of yet, but the Wyoming congressional delegation has written the EPA on the issue.
“The EPA’s decision has in effect overturned a law that has been governing land and relationships for more than 100 years,” wrote Wyoming Sens Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, along with Rep. Cynthia Lummis. “We are also very concerned about the political ramifications this decision could have for the tribes and the state of Wyoming.”
The boundary dispute between Wyoming and the tribes has been going on for some time now. It arose from a 2009 tax case that the state urged the courts not to drop because of the “implications of ruling on a boundary without the federal government and Eastern Shoshone being involved in the case,” reports the Casper Star-Tribune.
“We don’t have a fully binding decision,” Deputy Attorney General Marty Hardsocg in 2009. “We do in the state, but the state is then put in a position of having to rely on the federal government’s view for its direction.”
“At the end, of the day state lawyers acknowledge that this determination is a federal question and must be determined to a final point in the federal courts,” Mark Howell, the lobbyist for the Northern Arapaho tribe, told the Star-Tribune. “That’s what this EPA decision will allow all parties to do.”
State courts have heard at least two cases on the boundary in the last three decades — one 1980s Wyoming Supreme Court case found that Riverton was part of the reservation, and another state high court case in 2008, which found that the town was in Wyoming.
The only problem is that the state court decisions don’t set a solid precedent, since neither case involves both tribes living on the reservation, nor the state and the federal government all at once, Howell told the Star-Tribune.
The EPA did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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Tags: Department of Interior, Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, Mike Enzi, Wyoming
EPA overrides Congress, hands over town to Indian tribes | The Daily Caller

Friday, November 7, 2014

Tiny Horrors: A Chilling Reminder of How Cruel Assimilation Was—And Is

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Tiny Horrors: A Chilling Reminder of How Cruel

Assimilation Was—And Is

For such small objects, the child’s handcuffs are surprisingly heavy when cradled in the palms of one’s hand. Although now rusted from years of disuse, they still convey the horror of their brutal purpose, which was to restrain Native children who were being brought to boarding schools. “I felt the weight of their metal on my heart,” said Jessica Lackey of the Cherokee tribe as she described holding the handcuffs for the first time.

Lackey, an alumnus of Haskell Indian Nations University, was working at the school’s Cultural Center & Museum when the handcuffs were unwrapped last spring after being kept in storage for several years. I had heard rumors about the existence of the handcuffs during visits to Haskell over the years and had made numerous inquiries to school authorities about them, but people seemed very reluctant to discuss this touchy artifact. This past summer, however, Haskell agreed to allow a public viewing of the handcuffs. Andy Girty, one of the elders who first blessed the handcuffs when they were given to Haskell in 1989, helped unwrap them for me.

Known as the Haskell Institute in its early years, the school opened its doors in 1884. It was originally founded as an instrument of the final solution to this country’s “Indian problem”; Haskell Institute’s mission then was embodied in the now infamous motto of Captain Richard H. Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School: “Kill the Indian, Save the Man.” This mind-set led to decades of forced acculturation through brutal military-style incarceration cloaked as education in U.S. Indian boarding schools.

Although begun as a model for assimilation, native students have, over the years, transformed Haskell into a model for self-determination. The school’s early curriculum featured training in domestic and farming skills but has since evolved into four-year university.

Haskell’s Cultural Center & Museum, located on campus, tells the full—and often cruel—story of Haskell’s painful past as well as providing a venue to showcase Native art, culture from the past and present. Opened in 2002, the center features the permanent exhibit Honoring Our Children Through Seasons of Sacrifice, Survival, Change and Celebration, featuring artifacts, photos and letters from the school’s early days.

 

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Among the artifacts currently on display is a heavy iron lock and key for the school jail, which held unruly students. Letters, photographs, copies of early school newspapers and daily menus are among the more commonplace artifacts of early daily life displayed at the museum. One display includes a heavy lock and key from the small on site jail used to punish unruly students. Soon, perhaps, the handcuffs will be included among these artifacts, adding its chilling testimony regarding the practices used by early educators to kill the Indian and save the child.

Not much is known about the diminutive handcuffs, which were donated to the Cultural Center in 1989 by a non-Indian man who described their use to Bobbi Rahder, former director of the Haskell Cultural Center & Museum. “He told us they were used to restrain captured Indian children who were being taken to boarding schools,” says Rahder. The middle-age white man said his father had the handcuffs for years but that he no longer wanted to have them in his possession. “He seemed relieved to get rid of them,” Rahder recalls.

I made many phone calls, but was unable to track down the man, who is said to have lived in Lawrence. According to Rahder, he failed to respond to messages they had left him over the years, and he has not been seen at Haskell since the day he brought the handcuffs to the Cultural Center. “It was all very vague. He didn’t tell us how his father came to have the handcuffs. He showed up one day and donated them to the Center,” she says.

Mysterious donations are common at the Cultural Center. Rahder has witnessed scores of non-Indian donors dropping off important—and often poignant—historical artifacts relating to Haskell. Last year, Roger Bollinger of Pennsylvania donated an 1880s leather-bound photo album containing photos and corresponding identifications of Haskell’s very first students in 1884. This album represents the only known identifiable photos from that inaugural class. Bollinger knew little of Haskell and had no idea how the album came to be in his family’s possession. A supporter of education and cultural understanding, he decided tom donate the album to Haskell.

The handcuffs, however, were different, notes Rahder, who took them from the man. “I was shocked and afraid to touch them,” she recalls.

She says she immediately contacted administrative and spiritual leaders at the school for guidance on handling the handcuffs. Leaders at Haskell were overwhelmed by the brutality of the tiny handcuffs, she noted.

Girty, of the Cherokee Nation, who is a Cherokee language instructor at Haskell and a number of other elders and leaders, conducted a modest ceremony the next day at the school’s medicine fire. His wife, Frances, of the Creek and Choctaw Nations, provided a tiny handmade quilt in which the handcuffs were reverently wrapped before being stored in the Cultural Center’s archives. The handcuffs remained in storage for more than 20 years.

Although the Cultural Center displays a number of artifacts related to the harsh treatment of early Indian students at Haskell, the handcuffs were simply too painful to be addressed, opined Rahder. She says elders blessed the handcuffs and instructed her to put them away. She did as she was told, trusting that students and faculty would one day decide on the appropriate treatment of this painful artifact. The handcuffs languished in the archives of the center until this past summer.

As word of the handcuffs began to leak out over the past few years, students and faculty began discussing the importance of acknowledging their existence and putting them on display. For whatever reason, no one at the school has been willing to take the lead in the handling of this powerful artifact, but with the approval of Haskell administration, Girty agreed to unwrap them for ICTMN.

For Lackey the handcuffs are a tangible example of the painful history between Native people and the U.S. “The history of our genocide has been so swept under the rug by the mainstream. People need to see the impact that these policies had on us,“ she says.

According to Girty, who was a student at Haskell in 1959, there are many stories of the brutal means used by authorities to bring and keep students at school in its early days. For instance, reservation authorities would hold back Native families’ food rations if they refused to allow children to be sent to early boarding schools, he noted. “If those handcuffs could talk, they would tell some terrible stories,” he says.

Steve Prue, spokesman for Haskell, says there are no immediate plans regarding how the handcuffs will be presented to the public, nor how they will be displayed. He agrees with students that the handcuffs are an appropriate item to be included in displays of other Haskell artifacts at the Cultural Center. “It’s good to have these sorts of things on display in the Cultural Center,” he says. “They tell the story of who paid the price for us to be here now.”

Full Name:

Mary Annette Pember

Source URL: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/tiny-horrors-chilling-reminder-how-cruel-assimilation-was%E2%80%94and-146664