Saturday, February 5, 2011

Honoring the Ancestors - Speaking the truth about cultural genocide 1862-3


Here is the photo of the Dakota Concentration Camp that was built by the dominant white culture for the Dakota in 1862-3 when some 1800 or so elders woman and children were herded into this stockade after a miserable walk from Mankato (Maka = earth, to = blue) , where 38 of their male relatives were hung the day after Christmas in 1862 in a mass execution, still the largest ever witnessed in the US of A, I am told. I have learned the the Germans of the 20th century have admitted their wrongs for the Holocaust of non Arians - Jews, Gays, Jahavoh's Witnesses, and have memorials to address their compassion as well as the films like Shindler's List to tell the story for healing. The Dakota People are asking for an apology and recognition by calling the event by the shadow of what really happened. Like the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota, it is important to understand the blatant racism and disrespect to mend the hoop and honor all humans is relatives, to love each other, as Jesus supposedly said do to, at least in the 4 Gospels I was taught be in my Episcopal Christian basics. This display is tastefully done in the visitors center overlooking the site below Ft Snelling near the B'dota, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. Mendota is the english translation of the Dakota word.

Here is a recent artists view of what it likely looked like to be an inmate in the camp in the winter of 1862-63. I understand the
Dakota Oyate, the people were given only thin army blankets and had simple fires to stay warm with, and the soldier were free to "make their way" with the Dakota women, in this camp that is a reflection of disrespect of human rights no different from Abu Ghraib in the Allies treatment of Iraqi prisoners recently. Where is the justice and where is the healing? I man from Crow Creek, who carries the eagle staff for the Crow Creek Horse riders who ride back to this site and support the Mendota Dakota, talked of the continued affects of this racist abuse in the low self esteem on the SD Reservation that has led to series of suicides by young mothers, who have hung themselves. it was suggested that through prayer and reconciliation now, much like has been done through leaders like Nelson Mandala and Desmond Tutu in South Africa with the perpetrators of Apartheid, much can be don NOW in America with recognition of this and action by our politicians and church leaders who have the courage to share from their hearts for healing. The drum and the pipe ceremony lead here by Jimmy Anderson-Dakota and Arvol Lookinghorse- Lakota modeled how the hoop can be healed with the 50-60 of various ethnicities attending. I remember last year, my son Jesse and his girlfriend Amy attended this ceremony for which I am grateful.

Here is the view from the sculpture labeled in Dakota "Remembering and Honoring" those that died here. In the foreground is a circle of prayer ties (tobacco ties) that honor each direction and each of the four races of skin color on Mother Earth. All ceremonies that I have attended in D-Lakota tradition honor all our relations, two leggeds and our plant and animal allies as well.

Taken from where I was sitting at the drum, Jimmy Anderson, Dakota history leader with the feather fan, and with the eagle bonnet, Arvol Lookinghorse with the altar and fire prior to the pipe and prayer ceremony for the honoring of the ancestors and healing of the hoop. We gathered for our feast-Wopida at the Minneapolis Indian Center on Franklin afterwards with a planning for a world peace day event here on June 21st. Wichozani!

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