The United States of America runs on a legal system NOT a justice system. That is the plight of Chase Iron Eyes, one of the water protectors. (I just read a story about him in Native Sun News Today (Aug. 28-Sept. 3)
On a most basic level the contextualizing of peoples experiences, and the perspective from which they take an action matters. The narrative matters. Everyone’s voice matters. A legal system utilizes many cloaking systems to hide parts of a narrative. I always find a holistic narrative more helpful than a compartmentalized manipulation of partial facts in a partial story.
Years ago I had a superintendent of schools use his legal power against me. I wasn’t even looking at possible bodily harm or prison time for the action I took, an action that I felt was for important reasons and for my child’s best interests. I am hoping that by writing this letter I can offer some support, in even this small way, to Chase Iron Eyes and all the water protectors and environmentalists who are taking action to benefit all of us, and our children, and our children’s children. We all share earth’s resources and on them we ALL depend. I also want to say Thank You. No citizens in a non-violent action should ever be subjected to mercenary assault fighters.
Just to let you know the end of my story… the superintendent did lose his job. Of course there were even cloaking systems in place for that. We need holistic narratives for hearts that want to know and souls that want to see so that we can protect the innocent.
There is a book out now with an intriguing title, “Dying of Whiteness”. It is about self sabotage in the name of supremacy. That is really all I know so far since I haven’t read it, but being a white woman myself I would ask all white people to give that idea a thought and find their voices. There is a lot of talk now about “white privilege” and a fear based movement toward “white supremacy” to keep that “privilege”. Long story short… we need to re-evaluate.
There is a reply from Chief Seattle that is quite famous that he gave to President Franklin Pierce in 1854. It is titled “We May Be Brothers After All” So I just want to share some small parts of that.
“Every part of this earth is sacred to my people… and you must teach your children that it is sacred… teach your children that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must hence forth give the rivers the kindness you would give my brother… We know that the white man does not understand our ways… The earth is not his brother but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on… He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother the sky as things to be bought, plundered, sold… His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert… The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers… If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected… Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself… Our God is the same God… This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.”
I also want to share something from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“All life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you or what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
Essentially earth is a reflection of humanity’s spiritual well-being. Religious script and spiritual stories teach us, with nature as our example for us to learn.
Because I am a Baha’i and that is where I find hope for a justice to come, I want to end with something from the Baha’i writings.
“We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved… Man is organic with the world. His innerlife molds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one axe upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.”
“The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”