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#3720 - Friday, November 20, 2009 -
Editor: Jerry Katz
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Today's feature is from the Facebook page of Eric Gross, who authored Liberation from the Lie.
Why the Indian (Native American) Pities the White Man: Words from an Old Lakota
Thursday, November 12, 2009 at 11:31am
When I was 19 had a remarkable conversation
with an old Lakota (Sioux) man at the Crow powwow.
It was dusk, on a hill above the Little Big Horn River, right where Arapaho, Lakota, and Cheyenne warriors wiped out Custer and his men 94 years ago (at that time).
He liked to speak to me by posing questions, which I later learned is a fairly common way of teaching in the Indian way. He had previously told me many tall tales and then would ask me, "Eric do you believe this is true?" Usually, I would politely reply that I didnt believe it to be true and he would chuckle good-naturedly. On this day, he was more solemn and he said that he was going to tell me a different sort of story. He wondered if I might believe this tale.
He asked, Do you know why we Indians view white people with pity and contempt? his question confused me. I didnt know what he was referring to, nor what he was trying to tell me. So I answered, is it our obsessions with money, material things?
He smiled and then asked me to look around and tell him what I saw. I told him that I saw hills, grasses, sky, and the river below us.
He nodded in agreement. Then he said, Where are the wolves Eric?
They are gone. I answered. Where are the bears - Where are the buffalo? and he asked about many animals that are now gone. He asked me, Were they all here, before your people came to this land?
I hesitantly nodded yes.
Did not the white people kill the wolves, the bears, the buffalo and all the other animals that once lived here? Is this a story you can believe Eric? I said, Yes, I can believe this.
Then he asked me to look down at the river and he asked me, Eric, would you drink from that river? I answered no. He then asked, where are the many fish that use to fill that river? Isnt it true that the white man killed them all? Do you believe that to be so? Yes, I said, I believe that to be so. I was growing increasingly sad and forlorn.
Then he asked me to look up at the sky. He said that before the white man there were many more birds. He asked if I knew why there were so many fewer birds now than then. I said that I didnt know. He explained to me that birds feed on the grasses, but that the white man did away with the wild grasses and covered the land with plants that need poisonous chemicals to live. The plows and chemicals of the white man destroyed the original vegetation, which killed off many of the birds. Poison and death everywhere. He said softly.
He paused and then he looked at me sadly. The white man kills anything that is wild. Do you believe that Eric?
He paused again and peered pensively into the darkening sky. He was very serious now, as if he was unsure how to present his next question.
Then, full of sadness, he asked, Where are the wild people that filled this land before the white man came? I then pointed out all the Indians who were attending the powwow. They are here, I said eagerly - hopefully. But he responded with a quiet, No, these are not the wild Indians, these are the reservation Indians, these are the conquered Indians.
He then asked again, Eric, where are the wild Indians now? I said very softly, They are gone with all the rest. I had to hold back tears.
What has the white man killed? he asked. I reluctantly uttered the long list we had now amassed the animals, the fishes, the grasses, the birds, the wild people, and even the earth itself. For each increasingly heavy category of life now destroyed, he would tirelessly repeat the question, Do you believe this to be true Eric? And for each point, I had to say yes, this is true.
Now I will ask you again, why do the Indians have pity on the white man? Confidently I replied, because of the killing. The white man is a heartless killer, I answered thinking that I was definitely on the right track. He said that was part of it, but not the whole story.
What is it the white people kill? he asked. I answered, "Anything that stands in his way." He said can you be a little clearer? I became confused and wasnt sure what he was trying to get me to say. I really was confused and didnt know where he was taking this conversation.
He then answered his own question, The white man kills anything that is wild. More than anything else, the white man fears anything that is wild. He paused, The white man depends on control. Anything that he cannot control, he must kill or control in some extreme way. But that is not the answer to my first question.
He then asked, Do you know the answer now Eric? I was frustrated with myself, because I just couldnt figure out what he was to getting at.
There was a long pause. I felt he was frustrated with my slowness. He then said the answer. If it were only the killing, if that was the only issue, we would not pity the white man. We would think that he is crazy, but we would not pity him. We pity the white man because this killing gives him pleasure." There was a long pause. He wanted me to fully absorb the word "pleasure". "He loves to kill. The killing gives him a sense of accomplishment. The white man looked out onto this wild land and saw it as useless the way God made it. He had to fashion it in a way that served his interests. That meant that his pleasure became killing the work of God - Great Spirit. We Indians lived in peace with God since the beginning of time. Your people have no peace with God. Your people are in love with death."
He continued, "Eric, everything is alive - everything, but to your people being alive is the same as being wild. So they kill everything and they keep on killing. They are a people at war with life." The old man was so sad and pensive.
There was a long silence. I too was so sad. He put his arm on my shoulder and said, Its okay Eric, this too will pass. Life is a much longer journey than we can possibly imagine and I have faith in you. Youll be different. He smiled and we walked down to the river together. I never saw him again.
I've posted a follow up to this post at my site. You can find here:
This post is from http://liberationfromthelie.com/blog. The love of control and discipline originates with the negation of our original self. We take a very big step to our own liberation when we see how this love contorts our being. We are, ultimately, another wild animal.
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