Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lakota Truth Tour

I hitch-hiked into Rapid City, South Dakota last Wednesday, now at the house of the Lakota elder, Canupa Gluha Mani in Custer, for the Lakota Elders' Truth Tour.

From Moab to the Land of the Lakota

Before leaving Moab, a guy named Edgar came to visit me from Salt Lake City and spent a couple days hanging out with me.  I feel we became very good friends.  Since I had been planning to hitch to Rapid City, he decided to take me back to Salt Lake City with him, meet his wife Leslie, stay the night, then drop me off in Park City to start hitching.  It took me two days and several rides to go 64 miles to Evanston, Wyoming, and I was getting discouraged, thinking I wouldn't make it to Rapid City in time.  Then I went 600 miles in two rides all the way to Rapid City, several days earlier than expected.

In Rapid City, I found some woods to camp in, ready to wait days until anybody I knew showed up.  But the next day Carolyn and Thembi and their friend Naomi arrived and whisked me away to Canupa's house here in Custer!

Red Cry, the Documentary

Carolyn (my good friend of several years), her boyfriend Thembi, and Naomi have worked the past year with the Lakota making the documentary, "Red Cry" is about the ongoing genocide against the Lakotas.  It is to be shown in each city along the Truth Tour.  I have now seen the documentary and am totally blown away by it.  It tells truths never before told, exposing lies and corruption.  "Red Cry" is more powerful than I'd imagined, and all the Lakota elders I've seen it with are equally pleased with it.  "Red Cry" is their documentary, in their words, not candy-coated or white-washed (by whites), raw and shocking, as it should be!  Finally, natives get to be heard, in their own words.  It is planned to be posted free to all on You Tube in a week or two, so all of you can see it.  Meanwhile, here's the trailer again:

Lakota Elder's Truth Tour Mission 

Wagunpi Woashake Ikickupi (Lakota Elders Take Back Their Strength) is a grassroots movement to end the genocide of the Lakota people and support the full renewal of matriarchal leadership by Lakota Grandmothers on Pine Ridge and across the Lakota Nation.  The movement also works to educate non-Natives about the situation of the Lakota, mobilize long-term solidarity networks to benefit Lakota Elders, and build solidarity with other indigenous resistance movements worldwide.
The Lakota Solidarity Project is an all-volunteer group of people and organizations who work in togetherness with traditional Tetuwan Lakota Elders, warriors, grassroots activists, and Oyate (people)- led by the Grandmothers.  Find out more here.

The Lakota Grandmother's Truth Tour starts in Rapid City tomorrow, going from city to city until the march to the United Nations in New York City, then on to Washington DC.

My Feelings About This

I can't help but feel this is something big, and can't express how honored I feel being a part of this.

And his isn't just about taking part in an activist movement.  This is becoming a major step in my spiritual journey.  I am meeting a grand guru in my life's path, and that guru is the Lakota nation.

I'm glad I'm here early, because I'm going through my time of intense psychological preparation with
Canupa.  And intense it is.  And humbling is an understatement of what I'm going through. Canupa is a traditional tribal leader (not a government lackey) who tells it like it is with us white folks.  It's not easy to take, but something we need to hear and absorb.  He's brash and crude and angry and funny, gentle and harsh and totally not P.C.  I'm sweating.  Just when I think he's a hateful asshole, a compassion deeper than I can imagine shines from his eyes into me, and the deep pain of centuries of white oppression against the Lakotas and against the earth.  And there's more to come for me to learn. I have a long ways to go, when I thought I had come so far.  Okay, I still feel he's also intensely racist and full of shit, too, encrusted over his compassion for all living beings.  That's part of his trickster persona, shocking us out of our minds like a harsh Zen master.

I have also gotten a chance to meet Charmaine, Earl, and Leo, so far, Natives also in the film.  Now I am so looking forward to meeting and traveling with the Lakota Grandmothers, matriarchs of the Lakota nation. 

After the Tour

I can't really think too much about after the tour right now.  I am, of course, thinking about the moneyless tribe idea, but feel this will be confirmation or not about #2 in the 2-fold mission of it.

Prayers For Me

I know there are people praying that I fail in my walk.  They have let me know this.  And I know there are people praying for my walk's success, who have also let me know this.  Which will win?  Neither, I say.  I ask both groups to pray neither for my success or failure.  Pray that if it is the Divine will that I fail, let me fail.  And if it is the Divine will that I succeed, let me succeed.  Make no presumptions of Divine will, or of what is "success" or "failure."  If your god is a genie in a bottle who conforms to your demands, to your will, your god is a petty demigod, no matter what you call your god.  The prayer of no presumption is the most powerful prayer in the Universe and can never fail.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin!

Happy Resurrection Day, when the new life of Spring springs up from death.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Visions of a Moneyless Tribe

Writing this post is scaring the caca out of me.
Then I think:
If it is meant to be, let it be.
If not, let it be not.
Ultimately, the flow of the river is out of my hands,
so why worry?
Only trust, trust.
Then I feel peace, whatever happens.

In Fruita

Last week I hitched here to Fruita, Colorado to visit my parents... rather, I should more accurately say, the parents of this body I ride in.  I am finding really good new friends in Fruita, feeling a developing sense of community, that I'd never found here before.  It makes the idea of possibly moving here someday a joyful possibility, as I may have to live with and take care of the parents, who are both 85 years old.

But, right now, I can't let what could be or should be keep me from my walk.  Cross bridges when they come.

Possible Moneyless Tribe

Thus, I'm still brainstorming with some friends about beginning a moneyless tribe soon, inshallah:  we are envisioning a walking pilgrimage, in open invitation to all who are willing to give up all money to their name.  It can't be half-way, half-hearted.  The hearts of those who join must be fully here and now, not somewhere else.  Only then can our hearts be exactly where our treasure is, within us (here in heaven), fully committed to our present walk.

Two-Fold Mission:

I'm thinking this moneyless tribe might officially begin at the national Rainbow gathering, a place to meet and rally others, and its mission two-fold:

1) To walk to cities, towns, organic farms, intentional communities, monasteries, ashrams, and churches across the country, and do service, raising awareness of gift economy, infecting the nation with freely giving, and freely receiving.

2) To walk to native reservations in an act of repentance to heal wounds and raise our nation's awareness.  This means bowing before native elders and presenting them with our statement of repentance for the atrocities we as a culture and a religion have committed against them: our genocides, our robbing of their lands and homes, our destroying their food sources, our stripping them of their livelihood, our stealing of their children to be indoctrinated in our schools, our breaking of nearly every treaty we ever made with them, etc., etc.

I had this inspiration at the very time my friend Carolyn released the trailer for this film she and her friends have been working on, and I took it as confirmation:

Daring to be Adults, Dare to Repent

I myself have been finding myself really sick of religion and often wonder why I bother with it, feeling on the verge of giving up on it.  But I keep feeling a glimmer of hope, and perhaps this is a last chance to salvage good hidden beneath its hypocrisy.  Actually, I'm not sensing just a good, but a powerful good, hidden.

Are you with me?   Do you dare hear me out?

In short, professed Christianity has done so much harm something must be done to find healing.

Here's how:
we would bow to Native elders and own up to being hypocritical Christians and repent for not following the core teachings of our own religion, which we have insisted on cramming down Native throats.  Jesus clearly taught giving up possessions, sharing all things, freely giving and freely receiving, and we have not only done totally the opposite, but persecuted any who have even hinted at practicing such teachings!  Sharing things in common has been a principle of Native religion, making it more Christian than our own religion.  As long as professed Christians don't practice these teachings, we continue our genocide.

"Repent" is the very first recorded commandment of Jesus.  To repent means "to turn, to change."  It means action, not just words.  Our call for repentance cannot work until it is more than words, backed by action.  Our religion has been notorious for talk: very, very loud talk which does not listen. By giving up our money, giving up "our" possessions, which were never ours in the first place, we make our quiet statement of repentance with powerful sincerity, heard above all the loudness.  By giving up possessions, we give up being possessed, freeing ourselves into powerful love.   We must own up to our genocide, not as something our ancestors (they) did in the past, but that this genocide is ours, a spirit and mentality as alive and strong today as it was in the past.  Nothing will ever change until we own up, become adults, take responsibility, and stop blaming some "them".

We don't think it odd that a warrior leave home and give up everything to go to war.
What if we did the same for a greater cause: truth and justice and peace?

Repenting for our arrogance, 
which breeds genocide

Our very mentality of thinking our religion is right and all others are wrong will always breed genocide.  Egotism can breed no good, any more than a bad tree can bear good fruit.  We must repent for not keeping the Golden Rule, Rule above all rules.  We must repent of our arrogance in thinking our religion is right and all others are wrong.  Only then will we be able to do unto others as we would have them do unto us: listen, and consider that they could be right.

Why Christianity:
hasn't it done enough harm?

Self-proclaimed Christianity has done enough harm, this is my point.  But I have also seen good Christianity, a small and hidden remnant, easy to not spot.  I bring up Christianity because it is our culture's dominant religion (in word, not in deed), and our culture's religion is our nation's heart.  Cosmopolitan city dwellers out of touch with rural religious America don't realize how true this is.  No action will be lasting until it pricks our culture to its very heart!  Those who control a nation's religion have power over the nation, whether or not many citizens are religious.  Our politicians know this.  Hitler knew this, using Christian lingo, placing his Nazi flag in churches across Germany.

Now, in the US, greed-heads have hijacked and control Christianity.  Recognize them by their zeal, yet notice how they won't touch Jesus' basic teachings with a 10-foot pole (see Here's the One Point We Know the World's Religions Agree Upon), even as they harp on Jesus being the only way.  Religion is a powerful tool, under our very noses, that few who care about social justice and truth are using!

This movement must be ecumenical, open to people of all faiths and to those who aren't religious.  Its purpose is not to convert people to Christianity or to create a new religion (the last thing on earth we need).  Its purpose must be to use what already exists, to put a mirror up to our nation's self-professed Christianity, and for those who identify with Christianity to repent as Christians, and for those who don't identify as Christians to stand in solidarity with us.  Martin Luther King's movement was open to all, but his Christianity was his driving force.  Imagine Christians bowing before Native peoples, us repenting for our atrocities against them, repenting for our hypocrisy, not somebody else's.  We have been masters of harping on splinters in other culture's eyes, never seeing the lumber yard in our own.  Who is willing to say "our hypocrisy"?  Can you imagine something more powerful and healing and awareness raising?  Imagine us bowing before Native peoples, not arrogantly trying to "help" them in our usual self-righteous condescension, but admitting that we are the ones who need help!  Only then can the division between us and them dissolve.

The few examples of good religion 
have eclipsed the many bad examples

David Walker, William Lloyd Garrison, Harriet Beecher Stowe, 
Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, John Brown
Yes, our culture's deepest heart is its dominant religion, Christianity.  This is why, in this country social movements (e.g., the suffragists and abolitionists--such as Quaker movements and movements led by folks like Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglas--and the Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King) were so effective, because they took back a Christianity hijacked by nationalist greed-heads.  We saw the same happen in India, led by Gandhi using Hindu ideals, and we saw the end of Apartheid in South Africa taking back Christian ideals stolen by the racists.  People can find flaws or sins in Gandhi and Martin Luther King, but neither Gandhi nor MLK claimed to be a saint, and the people who find flaws in them can't see the forest for the trees, the greatness of Gandhi's and King's actions, despite their sins.

The small walking in truth
overpowers the huge walking in lie
as a small lamp lights a room of dark

A small group of admittedly imperfect people walking in truth and love is more powerful than a whole nation walking in hypocrisy.  The tiny overpowers the huge, the David conquers the Goliath, the small hero conquers the huge dragon, the stone that the builders reject becomes the chief capstone, and the tiny cottonwood seed becomes a giant tree: this is the theme of the world's myths, the theme of all biology, all life.

The faith of the tiny mustard seed: the driving principle of all nature.

Secular activist movements are good, 
and we must work with them

Secular activist movements are good, and I can in no way knock them, and we must work with them.  But movements that use the tool of religion are more powerful and lasting, because they are etched into the deepest consciousness.  Their purpose is not just ending an injustice, but ending the root of that injustice.  This is a risky proposition, because religion is usually used for bad.  What I am proposing is dangerous, risky, and could get us imprisoned or killed.  This is why the Cross is such a powerful symbol, once taken back from the greed-heads.  The Cross means giving up fear of death, standing for truth, even if it gets you crucified.

Having no overseer or ruler, 
but led by consensus

And what if, this time, it were led by no single person, but a movement of consensus, like, as Jewish scripture says, "ants, having no overseer or ruler"?  People often see ant colonies as models of conformist tyranny, but in reality they are perfect models of anarchy at work.  Each ant, by following its own instinct, not the dictation of anyone, works in perfect harmony with the other ants.  The "queen" is not a ruler dictating, but a mother laying eggs.

Can a group move as one mind, in consensus?

According to the scriptures of our culture, the secret of a group having one mind in consensus is revealed.  But we don't know whether or not that secret of one mind is true because nobody practices it, nobody dares prove it!  It might be a sham, but we don't know until we take a chance and practice it!

That secret is giving up all possessions and sharing all things communally!  You would never know it, looking at today's conventional  Evangelical, mainline, and Mormon churches, which emulate private property and capitalism as if God-ordained!  But this communal principle is taught as the ultimate model in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.  Here are the scriptures:

The Bible:
Acts 2:44-46,
Acts 4:32.

Book of Mormon:
4 Nephi (the first half of this short book)

Maybe it's bogus, maybe not.  We'll never know until we practice it.  It's risky business.  But in our hearts we understand, and are at peace.  Anybody want to take the plunge with us?