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Time Loves The American Indian

The American Indian would be the first to say there’s far more pressing problems on every inch of every reservation from sea to shining sea than suing the U.S. Parks Service over a National American Indian Monument.

Never mind a historic ground-breaking at Staten Island’s Fort Wadsworth in 1913 for Rodman Wanamaker’s original concept of a National American Indian Monument with President William Howard Taft and 32 tribal leaders from across the country wielding a genuine buffalo axe.

A presidential groundbreaking ceremony that, oh by the way, took an Act of Congress to sanction – the same Act of Congress it took for a Declaration of Allegiance to grant full United States citizenship to this country’s only true Americans.

When it came to actually building the monument, the rest of America went off to World War I and forgot all about Rodman Wanamaker’s quest, Rodman Wanamaker specifically, and Indians in general for the next 105 years and counting.

Today the American Indian remains the Great American Secret – tribes of conquered sovereign nations swept under the rug of a casino-driven reservation, the same reservation system that piqued Hitler’s inspiration for concentration camps.

Monuments are reserved for Washingtons, Jeffersons, the Robert E. Lees and even the Custers of this country’s history. Even Nathan Bedford Forrest, the human template for the Ku Klux Klan, is honored with a monument on a national highway just outside Nashville, Tennessee.

And once one is up, God help you if you think about taking it down. Just the hint of taking down a monument to Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va., turned the city into a white supremacists’ war zone.

Once upon a time when the buffalo roamed freely, Lakotah Nation had its own monument. Paha Sapa, or Khe Sapa in the Black Hills, served as Lakotah holy land where life is believed to have been created .

Then the government moved in. American Indian men, women and children were rounded up onto reservations, or at least the American Indians who survived the Trails of Death and Tears marches. Paha Sapa was carved into a tourist attraction defaced with the stone images of four conquering presidents.

The words of one of those presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, sums up the sentiments behind Mount Rushmore perfectly: “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of 10 are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.”

The proudest of all American cultures was left with an alcohol-soaked 47-year average life span existing in subhuman squalor on the Pine Ridge Reservation where scraps of government cheese are considered a square meal and sweat lodge provides the only sanctuary – if the feds don’t trample over prayers to make an arrest.

The American Indian screams for help every single day, but there’s no government around to listen unless there’s an oil pipeline to be laid or uranium to mine. The scream is so covert, it took a movie to out this country’s heroic Code Talkers, the Native American military radio specialists who saved this country’s ass in two world wars and Korea just by talking their own language.

The country Indians defend to this day in numbers that top all ethnic groups is the same country that beat the language and culture out of Indian children in boarding schools. It’s the same country that continues to mock the heritage with cartoonish sports mascots. The same country that bulldozes sacred burial grounds and sends troops of police SWAT and military tanks into Standing Rock armed with guns, grenades, mace bombs and powerful water hoses shooting water into tipi camps in subzero temperatures at night to keep Indians from protecting the planet’s most crucial life source – water.

All for their monument to greed, an oil pipeline.

Did anybody notice Indian women at Standing Rock protecting the river armed with nothing more than sage, tobacco and prayers, yet getting rousted, maced, manhandled and handcuffed like they were the terrorists?

Apparently not. When the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota broke recently and spilled 210,000 gallons of oil into the soil causing the largest oil spill to date in the state’s history, Winona LaDuke may as well had been a tree falling in the woods with nobody around when she cried, “We told you so.”

But there’s not a whole lot anybody with the slightest respect for life can do when this president proclaims “it’s so sensible” to shrink 2 million acres of sacred Indian land at the Bear Ears National Monument in Utah by 85 percent, a natural Indian monument that was declared protected by President Barack Obama in 2016.

Five tribes are suing this president from turning their natural monument to Mother Earth out to uranium miners and oil drillers, arguing that while Congress delegated President Obama presidential power to designate national monuments under the Antiquities Act, it did not give this president power to revoke them.

But house money says some federal judge won’t give a flying rat’s nut about any Antiquities Act or whether this president can get out of his own way or not.

Which is why Margie and Robert Boldeagle need much more than the Antiquities Act, much more than luck, much more than money, much more than the spirits of every tribal leader present at the original groundbreaking looking down on them when they sue the U.S. Parks Service for approval to finally build a smaller, long overdue National American Indian Monument overlooking New York Harbor.

They need a dream catcher full of miracles.

The Parks Service wouldn’t even waste a federal breath of comment on a television news segment that spotlighted the Boldeagles’ cause. Meaning, it’s painstakingly obvious the Parks Service couldn’t care less that a National American Indian Monument would be a badly-needed bright and positive light shining on this country’s First Americans and their plight. The American Indian is doing fine rotting on the rez for all they care.

Funny how the original National American Indian Monument was tabbed to be built to honor what was believed in 1913 to be this country’s vanishing race.

Now it’s Jan. 1, 2018, and guess what? The American Indian is still here.

No other conquered nation could survive such overwhelming third world conditions that suck all life from hope and leave nothing but smoldering remnants of culture, language, and profound ghosts of a proud heritage for so long. But the American Indian has always been as strong and resilient as the human condition can get.

For that alone this country should build a National American Indian Monument.

It’s why we are still beating our drums, singing and dancing in ceremony at pow wows, which have become popular summertime fests enjoyed by everybody throughout the entire country.

It’s why we continued to educate our children spiritually through the cultural sanctity of sweat lodge even before the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed in 1978, as if anybody ever needed a law for permission to pray.

It’s why today we are politicians, such as Tom Cole, Chickasaw, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma. It’s why today we are federal judges, like the Honorable Diane J. Humetewa, Hopi, in the U.S. District of Arizona. And it’s why we have our own place among the United Nations, where Keith Harper, Cherokee, serves as U.S. Representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council.

It’s why, in the southwestern/northwestern corridor of the Michigan/Indiana border in the Lake Michigan region known as Michiana, nobody is creating more jobs than the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Tribe. Four area casinos provide employment for hundreds, and the Pokagons also serve as the region’s number one land developer creating hundreds more construction opportunities every year.

It’s why a National American Indian Monument should be the first monument seen when entering New York Harbor. Not the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France.

A National American Indian Monument – a Native-born gift in honor of Margie and Robert Boldeagle’s ancestors those first immigrants saw before it was called New York.

Its place on Staten Island has certainly been earned.

 

 

O’ Beautiful for Racist Skies

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They abuse their children, smack their women for sport, French kiss their pit bulls, call their sister “mom,” count all their teeth on one hand, and they’ve been hanging around backwoods cross burnings and blaming America’s problems on every other race, creed, ideology, and most recently the media, ever since they were old enough to perpetuate the twisted delusion that the white race is the master race.

No, I’m anything but sorry for casting stereotyped dispersions on the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazis and every other so-called white nationalist waste of human excrement who dumped their fascist load of hate and murderous terrorism on Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend.

This is not the American dream, people, and those weren’t patriots. Mere “Deliverance” comparisons are too warm and fuzzy.

That was a stone waste of white that invaded Charlottesville carrying tiki torches, flying Confederate flags and waving swastikas under the red, white and blue camouflage of the American flag in the name of Hitler and Trump.

Make America great again? Botched Mengele experiments parading around town like there’s a casting call for a Leni Riefenstahl movie never made America anything except a backwoods outhouse.

Hard to say which was more unspeakably unnerving: A car driven by a pea-brained inbred speeding down a narrow street and slamming into a group of counter protesters killing Heather Heyer; or neo-Nazis using flagpoles as spears and slamming women to the ground in a show of pure white chickenshit force while being allowed to trample over this otherwise beautiful Southern college town without one police officer stepping in to protect and serve.

When American Indians and thousands of real Americans, including veterans, armed with nothing more than sage and prayers banded together last year at Standing Rock to try and stop an oil pipeline that threatened the drinking water of 18 million Americans living along the Missouri River, police rolled in from several states with SWATs and National Guard attacking men, women, children and praying elderly with tanks, attack dogs, chemical sprays and high powered hoses raining down a monsoon of freezing water on the camp at night in subzero temperatures.

Not in Charlottesville. Unlike the Indians at Standing Rock who had their sacred burial grounds dug up and chemical spray splashed in their faces by police as they prayed peacefully, unarmed and openly vulnerable while standing in water, the Klan and the Nazis and the rest of this scum-sucking Hitlerized dog pound were allowed to take over Emancipation Park and rally around the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee then turn the city into a violent battleground as Virginia State Police troopers and Charlottesville police all dressed for the occasion in protective gear watched silently from behind metal barricades.

Robert E. Lee? Really? What was that Trump said about not liking losers?

It’s not like Virginia police didn’t know ahead of time that violent trouble was on the way. Neo-Nazis spent months brazenly planning for war in Charlottesville. Their website, The Daily Storm, put out an open call daily for their thugs to bring shields, pepper spray, and fascist flags and flagpoles. One prominent racist podcast urged listeners to show up armed with guns.

When they did show up, they wore helmets, carried clubs, and medieval round wooden shields and rectangular plexiglass shields – the same plexiglass shields used by riot police. Birds of a feather in this case is just too frightening to fathom.

And what did this gathering of subhuman racist filth accomplish?

Twenty people were injured and Heather Heyer, 32, was killed by a speeding car driven by a Nazi maggot- no offense to actual maggots which have a rightful place in the natural order of the food chain. Two Virginia State Patrol troopers’ lives were also lost in a helicopter crash while on duty monitoring the situation from the air.

“Go home,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told all the racist freeloaders. “You are not wanted in this great commonwealth. Shame on you.”

Better yet, they can really make America great again by taking their white powered load of steaming crap that has strangled this country since 1492 back to wherever their chicken fried, banjo plucking, hayseed spitting brood makers came from.

America does not belong to them. America is too beautiful, decent and welcoming for them, anyone like them, and anyone who defends them.

Oh say can you fucking see.

Rest assured, Brother Gregory

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So, here I am trying to come up with the words to describe my sadness since Gregory Lenoir Allman began his journey into the spiritual realm last week.

Reflecting back to the first time I heard that soul-piercing voice just annihilating Sonny Boy Williamson’s “One Way Out” and punching me in my 15-year-old gut that music was gonna be my road that goes on forever, on the true blue real.

Turning the clock back to the “Enlightened Rogues” tour of ’79 into ’80, on that bus with Red Dog, Buford Smith, Robert the guitar tech and the rest of a road bunch traveling city to city learning the nuts and bolts of the music business loading equipment in and out for the greatest live band that ever took a stage… and smiling remembrance to our sacred mantra, what goes on the road stays on the road.

Stepping back into my buddy’s kitchen after a show in Fort Lauderdale recalling Gregory and I chatting about blues, rough gravelly singing voices, playing music, life in general, and names in his little black book of home phone numbers that included Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, President Jimmy Carter, and Stevie Nicks… “She’s so fine!” I can still hear Gregory vocalize his own star crush on the lovely Ms. Nicks with seven, yes, seven young beautiful ladies who had followed him back to my buddy’s home for a dip in the pool.

Recalling the nickname Gregory tagged on me – Grizz.

Transporting back to that Holiday Inn lounge hanging with the road crew plus Gregory, Dickey, Butch and Danny Toler with a schlock top-40 band on a cheesy tinsel-lighted stage suddenly breaking into “Stormy Monday.” “C’mon, Grizz,” was all I heard as I followed Gregory and Dickey into the first and only takeover of a stage I’ve ever been party to where an awestruck band just surrendered their guitar, keyboard, and drum sticks on the spot.

The last time our paths crossed, in 1994 the very day the Allman Brothers had been told they were being inducted into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, I had just stepped off Dickey’s bus into a hallway behind the old Sunrise Musical Theater in Fort Lauderdale when I spotted Gregory walking toward the dressing rooms. “What’s happenin’, Grizz?” stopped me in my tracks. Thinking how my idol still remembered me after at least a dozen or so years of meeting thousands of strange faces every night still sends a chill through my soul.

No words needed. Not now, two days into Gregory’s spiritual transition. I’m on my deck at home in South Bend under a beautiful blue sky that Dickey himself may have sung about. Steaks are on the grill, and “Midnight Rider” has just come on Pandora when a little cloud appears directly overhead and shares my tears with a gentle strain of rain drops sprinkling down as if they are meant just for me.

“Keep on keepin’ on, Grizz…”

I’m on it, Brother, in your spirit, gypsy flyin’ from coast to coast…

Just Build It Already

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Ground has already been broken by a United States president wielding an ancient axe-head made from a buffalo bone, no less.

After President William Howard Taft plus a delegation of 32 Indian tribal leaders and other dignitaries broke ground for a monument to honor the American Indian at Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island, overlooking New York Harbor from the New York City banks of Staten Island in 1913, the American flag was raised while the Indian leaders signed a “Declaration of Allegiance to the United States.”

On that day, the leaders of 32 tribes of First Americans from around the country agreed to join a New America.

Never mind that this New America had already ripped away the land the First Americans worshiped, tried to wipe the First Americans off the face of the planet with a genocidal law called “Manifest Destiny” that allowed bounty hunters to kill First Americans and exchange “redskin” body parts for money, and herded First Americans into the Trail of Death march onto reservations where they were greeted with blankets carrying disease and fed starchy, sugary food that would cripple future generations of First Americans with inherent bodies susceptible to alcoholism.

Those 32 First American leaders that day,104 years ago, thought the new America would finally put a chill on any lingering hostilities with a National Indian Monument that would greet immigrants as they entered New York Harbor on a boat.

But all New America did that day was leave a hole in the ground.

Today, First Americans continue to live on reservations in Third World conditions where the average income is below that of Haiti, and the life expectancy rate is 47 years in a so-called civilized country where the average life can live to be near 80.

Suicide on “the rez” is most prevalent. And the once-proud culture of a First America that respects Mother Earth and all of life’s natural resources, even praying over the sacrifice of the mighty buffalo for food, clothing and lodging, is now denigrated and mocked – sprayed with chemicals, water cannons in subzero temperatures, and bombed with grenades by police in riot gear as First Americans pray to protect life’s No. 1 resource – water – when oil companies feel the greedy need to trample on Indian land, desecrate sacred burial grounds, and plant a pipeline.

A National Indian Monument ready to be erected for the past 104 years?

Forget it. No kidding. Even though Margie Boldeagle, her husband, Robert, and the Red Storm Drum & Dance Troupe are proposing a much smaller statute than the massive monument originally drawn up in 1911, a statue they will pay for themselves out of money raised by New Americans who believe in their cause, the National Parks Service, which has maintained Fort Wadsworth since 1994, has joined the long line of excuses by claiming the original declaration issued by Congress authorized the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy to construct the monument – not the National Parks Service.

Forget about an actual monument to honor First Americans. New America already honors American Indians with racist names for football teams.

But here’s a stone cold fact that not even New America can shake. The first monument was to be set in stone in honor of this nation’s first culture that, in the early 1900s, was thought to be a vanishing race. Since then, New America has thrown entire armies at the American Indian, not to mention guns, governments, courts and a legal system that only serves up convenient justice for white authority, all in an effort to wipe the First Americans away for good to be left dead for some movie based on whimsical, romantic stereotypes in a feathered headdress.

Well, guess what?

The American Indian is still here, still standing strong in honor of Tashunke Witko, Tatanka Iyotake, Red Cloud and Russell Means, still burning with the fire of Dennis Banks, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Winona LaDuke, Chase Iron Eyes, Arvol Looking Horse – modern-day keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, Clarence Syrette, Andy Jackson, John Warren, Bob Moody and his wife Beth Earl-Jones Moody, Jake and Mary Pine, Kookoosh, and, of course, Margie and Robert Boldeagle.

So screw your excuses, New America. The American Indian has always been the true keeper of this country’s flame, since before Day One.

Build the National Indian Monument. It’s the least you can do.