Indigenous People’s Day Counts Only When We Become Human Beings

Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesnt make a corporation a terrorist.

–Winona LaDuke, “Canadian Oil Companies Trample on Our Rights” by Winona LaDuke, June 18, 2013.

Water is life. We are the people who live by the water. Pray by these waters. Travel by the waters. Eat and drink from these waters. We are related to those who live in the water. To poison the waters is to show disrespect for creation. To honor and protect the waters is our responsibility as people of the land.

–Winona LaDuke, “The Winona LaDuke Reader: A Collection of Essential Writings”, p.55, Voyageur Press (MN)

I just caught the First Voices Radio show with Marley Shebala (Diné and A:shiwi) — investigative journalist, photographer, videographer and blogger. In the Diné way, she is Tó’aheedlíinii (Water Flows Together clan), her mother’s clan, and born for Cha’al (Frog clan), which is her father’s clan. Her mom is from Lake Valley, New Mexico, which is in the eastern part of the Navajo Nation and next to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Her father is from the Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico. And so her home towns are Lake Valley and Zuni. “Marley Shebala’s Notebook” is her website where she provides current news coverage of the Navajo government and Navajo communities on and off the Navajo Nation.

She talked about her work as a journalist and activist. There were some comments included near the end from Native folk about exactly what this Columbus-Indigenous Day means. It’s a start, a way to ask Native Americans what it means to be in this country now, and the history of their treatment. Listen to it on this “indigenous people’s day, official federal holiday called Columbus Day!

She talks about uranium on her Navajo land. I know of another source of that uranium that murdered Japanese in World War Two:

“The word Shinkolobwe fills me with grief and sorrow,” says Susan Williams, a historian at the UK Institute of Commonwealth Studies. “It’s not a happy word, it’s one I associate with terrible grief and suffering.” (source).

Here’s a history of Navajo mining. I’ve been there as a reporter a very long time ago.


The host of the show, Tiokasin:

We have to stop with the idea of creating peace on earth and begin with creating peace with Mother Earth. We’ve tried the first alternative for thousands of years, but look where that has led us; now is the time of the Original Ways, the Native ways, after all … it is coming this way – that we all must make peace with Mother Earth – there is no more altering the native way.

Marley talks about the uranium coming from her tribe’s lands, and how the people of her tribe were told “the uranium would give people jobs.” Nothing about those bombs being developed to drop on two Japanese cities not to win a war, so to speak, but to tell the Soviet Union who is the big, bad toxic kid on the block.  She states that when that immolation occurred, the elders and others were totally distraught about what they played a part in, and that that scar is evident today, generations later.

Then there is the Congo — “The forgotten mine that built the atomic bomb”

[During the Cold War, the US supported a military coup by Mobutu Sese Seko as it was eager to prevent Shinkolobwe falling into Soviet hands (Credit: Getty Images)]

The story of Shinkolobwe began when a rich seam of uranium was discovered there in 1915, while the Congo was under colonial rule by Belgium. There was little demand for uranium back then: its mineral form is known as pitchblende, from a German phrase describing it as a worthless rock. Instead, the land was mined by the Belgian company Union Minière for its traces of radium, a valuable element that had been recently isolated by Marie and Pierre Curie.

In no other mine could you see a purer concentration of uranium. Nothing like it has ever been found – Tom Zoellner

It was only when nuclear fission was discovered in 1938 that the potential of uranium became apparent. After hearing about the discovery, Albert Einstein immediately wrote to US president Franklin D Roosevelt, advising him that the element could be used to generate a colossal amount of energy – even to construct powerful bombs. In 1942, US military strategists decided to buy as much uranium as they could to pursue what became known as the Manhattan Project. And while mines existed in Colorado and Canada, nowhere in the world had as much uranium as the Congo.

This says it all now, no, about how horrific the Anglo Saxons are, were, and will be, having treated the so called underdeveloped world, which is really the overexploited world, as slaves, lab rats, nobodies.

The Nobodies by Eduardo Galeano

Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will suddenly rain down on them–will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way.

Who are not, but could be.
Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.
Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.
Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have faces, but arms.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.

My own state, Oregon:

For thousands of years, more than 60 Native American tribes lived in Oregon’s diverse environmental regions. At least 18 languages were spoken across hundreds of villages. This civilizational fabric became unraveled in just a few short decades upon contact with white settlers in the 19th century.

And now, the ZioLensky is demanding from those underdeveloped Black nations fealty:

African nations [must] stand by international law, territorial integrity, and peace,” not only by condemning the strikes on Kiev, Odessa, Dnepr, Kharkov, Rovno, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankovsk, but also by opposing with a UN vote Moscow’s “annexation” of the formerly Ukrainian territories, his message demanded. (source)

Now, again, bears repeating, how the USA is part of that global terror network, working with UK, Five Eyes. Native Americans have paid the ultimate genocidal price of the Anglo Saxons:

The longest war in history, as we see it as America’s real longest war, was the conflict against Indigenous Americans, called the American Indian Wars, which most historians characterize as beginning in 1609 and ending in 1924 or 313 years, mainly over land control.

The USA-UK is in on the killing machines, dropping nukes on civilians, the bombing of civilians in Germany, and Japan.

In February 1942, the British abandoned their “precision bombing” strategy. For the rest of the war, the British concentrated on the systematic widespread destruction of German cities by RAF nighttime air raids, a strategy called “area bombing.” One reason the British took this fateful step was to “dehouse” the German people, which hopefully would shatter their morale and will to continue the war.

The clearest demonstration of the destructiveness of British area bombing occurred in 1943 during three night raids on Hamburg, Germany. On the second night of bombing, something unexpected happened. The fire bombs dropped by 731 RAF bombers started thousands of fires. They merged to create a huge firestorm, sucking up oxygen and generating hurricane force winds. Many who did not burn to death were asphyxiated in underground bomb shelters. The firestorm killed more than 40,000 people in one night.

When the United States entered the war in Europe, its Army Air Corps had better fighter-plane support and bombsights than the RAF. It could maintain its longstanding policy of daytime precision bombing. The Americans believed that the most effective way to destroy the enemy’s ability to continue the war was to strike specific targets like aircraft factories and oil refineries.

Following German rocket attacks against London late in the war, almost 800 RAF bombers bombed Dresden, a center of German art, architecture, and culture. It had been untouched by previous Allied bombing raids. The attack’s stated purpose was to disrupt German troop transports to the Russian front. But at least 35,000 civilians died, mainly by inhaling toxic gases created by the second major firestorm of the war. American bombers killed more civilians the next day when they had difficulty hitting their targets through all the smoke.

Firestorms in Japan

After Germany surrendered in May 1945, America wanted to quickly end the war against Japan. As plans went ahead for a costly invasion of the Japanese islands, Major General Curtis LeMay took command of the bombing campaign against Japan, which had started in late 1944. Having studied British area-bombing tactics, LeMay decided to adopt them in a final effort to force the Japanese to surrender.

On the night of March 9-10, 1945, LeMay’s B-29 bombers attacked Tokyo, a city of 6 million people. Nearly 600 bombers dropped 1,665 tons of fire bombs on the Japanese capital, destroying 16 square miles of the city. The resulting firestorm killed 100,000 people, more than died at Hiroshima or Nagasaki from atomic bombs a few months later. Most of the victims were women, children, and old men. The B-29 crew members put on oxygen masks to keep from vomiting at the smell of burning human flesh.

LeMay’s planes continued firebombing Tokyo and more than 60 other Japanese cities in the following months. He thought he could end the war quickly by destroying Japan’s economy and crushing the morale of the Japanese people. LeMay argued against using atomic bombs. He believed that his firebombing tactics would force Japan to surrender before American forces were scheduled to invade the homeland. (source)

So, there is not much to celebrate when we think about this Anglo-Saxon world dominating (sic), and we know the British were in on bombing the bridge in Crimea, and who did the bombing of the Nord Stream 1 & 2? All part of the treatment of indigenous people in India, Amazon, Congo, Turtle Island, wherever. Russians are their nobodies!

Before Ukraine blew up Kerch Bridge, British spies plotted it.”

On Becoming Human: This discussion was conducted in 2005 for The 11th Hour by Leila Conners. The discussion covers Trudell’s worldview that encompasses his call for humans to return to their intelligence and their humanity to forge a pathway forward. His responses to the questions now seem prophetic.  John Trudell was a Native American author, poet, actor, musician, and political activist. He was the spokesperson for the United Indians of All Tribes’ takeover of Alcatraz beginning in 1969, broadcasting as Radio Free Alcatraz. During most of the 1970s, he served as the chairman of the American Indian Movement, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After his pregnant wife, three children and mother-in-law were killed in 1979 in a suspicious fire at the home of his parents-in-law on the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Nevada, Trudell turned to writing, music and film as a second career. He acted in films in the 1990s. The documentary Trudell (2005) was made about him and his life as an activist and artist.

Here, the Anglo-Saxons, the USA, out of balance with not just nature, but against humanity!

U.S. laboratories created, developed and operating under Pentagon leadership are scattered throughout Africa, Latin America and practically all the countries that made up the former Union of Socialist Republics. It is estimated that at least 200 biological research laboratories worldwide are financed by Washington.

The presence of U.S. specialists in the construction of chemical and biological weapons, especially in post-Soviet territory, is part of the evidence of the objectives of U.S. administrations to carry out a policy of maximum pressure against the Russian Federation. In these facilities, U.S. agencies are working on creating and modifying pathogens of deadly diseases, for their probable use, either in the military field or in sabotage actions within the broad field of the so-called hybrid wars. Both the UN and various international conventions, aware of their capacity and ease of destruction, have established regulatory agreements to prevent their use and proliferation. However, this decision does not prevent Washington from plaguing the world with research centers aimed at creating weapons of mass destruction (WMD). (source)

And then, on the same community station, I heard a piece about water, man, on the Food Sleuth show, Melinda Hemmelgarn’s show,  and I interviewed her a long time ago on my show: Tipping Points: Voices from the Edge (scroll down and see it and listen to it!). “Did you know that bottled water purchases can predict political involvement? Join Food Sleuth Radio host and Registered Dietitian, Melinda Hemmelgarn, for her interview with Manny Teodoro, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author of The Profits of Distrust: Citizen-Consumers, Drinking Water, and the Crisis of Confidence in American Government. Teodoro discusses the connections between the rise of the commercial drinking water industry, distrust in and failure of government, and broader withdrawal from civic life.”

We are talking about just the metal lead in our water pipes. There are over 50,000 water districts in the USA, and they are all messed up, and the poor communities, well, underserved, dirty, toxic, killer water in some cases. And, a trillion dollars to fix those pipes and systems. The worst water is on reservations in the USA. Forget about those overexploited peoples, those indigenous peoples.

Historically speaking, we went from being Indians to pagans to savages to hostiles to militants to activists to Native Americans. Its five hundred years later and they still cant see us. We are still invisible.

–John Trudell

“When Columbus got off the boat, he asked us who we were. We said we’re the Human Beings, we’re the People.

Conceptually the Europeans didn’t understand that, it was beyond their conceptual reality. They didn’t see us. They couldn’t see who we were.

Historically speaking, we went from being Indians to pagans to savages to hostiles to militants to activists to Native Americans. It’s five hundred years later and they still can’t see us. We are still invisible.

They don’t see us as human beings, but we’ve been saying to them all along that’s what we are.

We are invisible to them because we are still the Human Beings, we’re still the People, but they will never call us that. They taught us to call ourselves Indians, now they’re teaching us to call ourselves Native Americans. It’s not who we are. We’re the People.

They can’t see us as human beings. But they can’t see themselves as human beings. The invisibility is at every level, it’s not just that we’re tucked away out of sight. We’re the evidence of the crime. They can’t deal with the reality of who we are because then they have to deal with the reality of what they have done. If they deal with the reality of who we are, they have to deal with the reality of who they aren’t.

So they have to fear us, not recognize us, not like us.

The very fact of calling us Indians creates a new identity for us, an identity that began with their arrival. Changing identity, creating a new perceptual reality, is another form of genocide. It’s like severing a spiritual umbilical cord that reaches into the ancestral past.

The history of the Indians begins with the arrival of the Europeans. The history of the People begins with the beginning of the history of the People.

The history of the People is one of cooperation, collectivity, and living in balance. The history of the Indians is one of being attacked and genocide, rather than a history of peace and balance. The history of the People under attack, the Indians, in an evolutionary context, is not very long, it’s only five hundred years.

The objective of civilizing us is to make Indian history become our permanent reality.

The necessary objective of Native people is to outlast this attack, however long it takes, to keep our identity alive.”

John Trudell, Happy Columbus Day Everybody.

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.