By Zig Zag
There are those in the movement ‘who understand the responsibility of being a warrior, who understand what the movement is, and why it is. Just as most people, including most Indians, are trapped within the confusion maintained by the colonizer, so too are many in the Indian movement.
Participating in the struggle for one’s peoples does not free one of the confusion, for decolonizing one’s mind requires inner strength and a commitment to spiritual ceremonies. The movement is full of people who allow their egos, greed and petty power struggles to dominate them.
Personality conflicts between those who would assume to be “leaders” is not uncommon. There are many in the movement who are good with words. They are eloquent speakers for their people. But that is all. By their ‘conduct and how they treat others, one can see they, are good deceivers and manipulators. Many do not see this and are instead mesmerized by how these people look, how they present themselves! and their words.
In truth, they are motivated by their egos and selfishness.
There are many tough warriors in the Movement, fiery talkers who might tell you about really heavy situations they’ve been in. They are false warriors. The false warriors look down on any movement’ work that needs to be done, unless it promises conflict. Of course, if weapons were e ve r used such people would be nowhere to be found. They too are motivated by ego and selfishness. The false warrior compensates for inner weakness by projecting false’ strength.
Th e r e are also those in the movement who possess a great amount of cultural knowledge. Some may know their language, songs and even ceremonies. They have a great knowledge but instead of using it in a good way, they use it to manipulate and deceive others. It is difficult for many to see through the cultural strength to the spiritual weakness within.
This is the sheep that would assume to run with the wolves. Some even go about raising funds and asking for handouts wherever they go, for their own profit. They are the sheep that despoil the righteousness of our struggle.
By far the most easily deceived are the non-Indian peoples. But Indian people too are drawn in. These deceivers in our midst can be seen through by listening to your heart and not being mesmerized by outward appearances and rhetoric, Yet, even the deceivers who participate in the movement, O~I present themselves to, have the potential to’ see truth and change their ways. Such is the strength that flows from the righteousness of our struggle. It is the Great Mystery, working in mysterious ways, that brings these people to our movement.
In truth, every’ one of us as people play these roles, some more often than others. Just to be a real person is a struggle in itself. A few of the more confused will even be infiltraitors and informants, for police and “intelligence” agencies are always trying to solve the Great Mystery, the essence of our Indian movement. Those who stand and defend the people are to be honoured for what they have done, but we must remember they are also real people. They are fulfilling their responsibilities, which is good, but that is all.”
False heroes, those whose egos are fed by unnecessary or undue praise, contribute nothing to our movement. l must not glorify the warrior or the use of weapons, for this only creates false warriors. Many of our people especially youth, can easily fall victim to their egos and the image of a “warrior” Holding a rifle and engaging the enemy does not mean one is strong; strength comes from within. From one’s spiritual center.
“People must be so dedicated -to the movement that they’re willing to die… to fight against, overwhelming odds, willing to go hungry or starve and out In the cold and do things that are generally considered impossible. These people can be developed and motivated by having a very strong spiritual centre.” – AIM member in Wounded Knee,
Any, person, under the right circumstances, can find the courage to. stand and fight and those who have stood and fought will know this is true more than anyone else” for they know just how human they are.
Yet being so overwhelmed by the state’s military police forces, and by the conditions which we must survive under, how can we as a movement, as a people, resist the destruction? Aren’t we just a tiny people, overwhelmed even by the settler European population?
THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE Empires do not last forever. Every empire falls. From the Roman empire to the British empire. It is natural. Darkness does not last forver. The morning always comes. It’s natural too. Many people look at the way we live today and say “it’s always been like this. n’ But that is not true.
No people in history have ever lived in a time comparable to that which we presently live in. In no time in history was the destruction of life brought to such a level of “effeciency’tthat now there are holes in the sky, that now the weather becomes more extreme and Violent.
At no time in history have people ever endured near-constant visual and audio information and technology. Nor has there been a world humanity so dehumanized and terrorized and so disconnected from their own spirits, as there, is now, There has never been a time when so many were addicted to mind-numbing drugs, or immersed in alchohol. or consumed by materialism.
This is why it will change. Because everything will have to change in order that life can continue. The will of life, the power of life will force this change. We have been told of these things through our ancestors and by our spiritual leaders.
There is great change occurring all around us right now, Think about how much this country called Canada has changed since the standoff at Kanehsatake in 1990. Think about 1995 andthe siege at Gustafsen Lake (Ts’peten) and the killing of Dudley George in Ipperwash (Aazhoodena).
This is not history repeating itself. It is reality, and it’s always moving to a future. Many are uncertain of what that fut,ure will be. During these times of great change, it becomes harder for us as Indian peoples to remain who we are.
Each generation becomes more and more disconnected from the original ways in which we lived. And yet we are still stronger than all the peoples that have left their lands and come here to our lands. Look around at these people. Their confusion is great; they run around aimlessly”, seemingly going nowhere in a hurry. They make up for their lack of life by consuming more and morematerial goods. They make up for their lack of life by watching other’s lives on tv soaps, videos and movies. ‘You can travel all around these lands and it’s all the same: every city is the same; every McDonalds; every mall. Their spirits are dying as they live the lives they have been told to live. Many of our own people are the same way.
We keep telling ourselves “We’re still-here!” after over 500 years of colonization, but we need to look at what this system has done to us, and what it is still doing. “They want to destroy our spirit. They want us to not understand our natural relationship to the earth and our relationship to our’ spirit.
They want us to continue to give respect a nd v a l i d t t y to their forms, of power… ” AnnaMae Pictou Aquash, . Statement to .the court of South ‘Dakota, September 1975
We have to understand that our enemy does not have power, does not have spiritual power. To understand your connection to the spiritual means you understand that ‘you are sacred. To know that you are a sacred being means you know the power of truth; to live in a truthful way means you honor the life you have been given.
That truth is the one thing we have as a movement, as a people. Living truthfully means you are following the path that is meant for you, because it is what is meant to be. It is the same for our movement. It must be based on truth.
We must turn away from the ways of the colonizer, the ways of lies and deception and materialism. Our movement is nothing more than the people who are in it. Use deception, look at others as people to be manipulated or exploited or as sexualobjects and you weaken our movement.
You weaken our ability to carry out our responsibilities to defend the people. Nor will the people move in our circle if we are seen as weak in our conduct, if we do not conduct ourselves in a good way.
We have been indoctrinated by this system and have taken their ways of conduct as our own. We must return to, our ceremonies and medicines.
We need to purify ourselves and find our spiritual powers; our powers which have not been lost only forgotten. It is tight there, in that sweatlodge, in that vision quest, in the song and drum.
It’s their-in our hands, in that tobacco, in that sweet-grass, sage and cedar. It’s In the land, away from the cities. It’s in our dreams only we’re too confused to see what we are being told. The ceremonies .and medicines can clear away that confusion and give us strength. That is their purpose, and that is why our people must return to them. Many will not. There are forces at work at this time that we cannot comprehend. Some of these are manipulations and deceptions from our enemy. Others are erninating from the spiritual, from Wakan Tanka- the Great Mystery.
Those from our enemy are difficult to see clearly because that is the way of deception, yet we know what their goals are and. that is to control and dehumanize all peoples, to further the destruction of life.
Those from Wakan Tanka are not always meant to be understood and analyzed and puzzled over. They just are. One of these forces that we can understand is the great numbers of our youth. At the present time (1997) some 65% of the Indian population will be under 30, some 57% of which will be under 25. This will be a generation that has not been broken by the residential school regimes, and which can learn from the resistance of the 19705 .and from the experiences and knowledge of movement veterans.
They will have the ability to see through the illusions and the new confusions created to dtstract the previous generation. They will have a burning desire for change, just as the previous generation did. They will naturally have a great distrust of present-day. organizations and leaders, including those in the Indian movement. At the same time there is a fighting spirit amongst these youth. Many will involve themselves in defending their people and their territory when such a situation arises.
The movement of youth is of great concern to the Canadian state, because through its analysis it knows that the economic conditions under which these youth will live will be harder, that the situation can change’ very quickly from a situation such as that at Kanehsatake in 1990. This is why the Assembly of First Nations is now pushing a more “militant” and “aggressive” direction AFN chief Ovide Mercredi began in 1995 to talk about civil disobedience, about protests and how this might be the path the AFN will have to take because the government just doesn’t listen.
It is a weak attempt to divert the movement of the youth away. from the spiritual movement, the Indian movement, theresistance. This too is a tactic of colonization, to create false movements which divert and confuse the people. ‘As with everything based on deception, it too will fail.
We have been told of all these things. We are still being told. Vve know what our responsibilities are. we know what truth is. We must begin to live that truth, to find in it the powers of all of Creation that are right here in front of us. It is time to return to our ceremonies, medicines and prayers to purify our hearts and minds. We must remember what true power is; that it is not economic. political or technological:
“True power is natural. A blizzard is true natural power, a tornado and a hurricane and an earthquake. These things of natural power that come from earth are powers that man cannot control.
The federal government does not wan t us to recognize that as people we carry this natural power within us.” – Anna Mae Pictou Aquash Statement to the court of South Dakota September 1975
Our movement is based on this natural power, its based on the truth of our connection to the spiritual to the Great Mystery. And that is why it, is so seemingly mysterious, and yet so beautiful.
These things that we have forgotten only serve to weaken us and draw us further into the enemy’s confusion. There we have no power, nor do we have any hope for the future or the generations to come. Yet look at how strong our people once were, that in the midst of the destruction and the darkening of their world. They would leave to us the future generations a vision of hope in the Ghost Dance:
The father will descend The earth will tremble Everybody will arise Stretch out your hands We shall live again We shall live again