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On Ceremonial Meetings and Great White Fathers – Native News Network

On “Ceremonial Meetings” and Great White Fathers

Lee Sprague in Native Condition.

A ‘Ceremonial Meeting’ has two meanings: When a colonial government describes a meeting as ceremonial, it is a meeting of no substance. You show up; admire the quaint costumes; and get your required photo-op with the Natives. You try to assuage their troubled native souls as the Great White Father. You may give them a medal, yet still keep their lands, tax their steps, move them to another location until the government finds something the Indian has that the government must have. The government always seems to want what the Indians has left, including our dignity. Not saying they will get it, just that they covet what the Indian has.

Lee Sprague, Little River Band of Ottawa IndiansLee Sprague Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

So since “ceremony” is an English word, its meaning can change. We witness this when we look at the words on paper, and then 150 years later, the government tells us what it means now. The other words supposedly are dead and have become meaningless. The fact that the government is persistent in changing the meanings of words is a characteristic we have identified, we are not dull.

On the other hand, when the American Indian has a ceremonial meeting, it is a meeting of substance, of consequence, as it should be if you lead a ceremonial life.

Midewiwin is our spiritual way of life among American Indians in region of Indian country. It is the way that you live, wonder at the great mysteries of life, and clearly see those who disregard those mysteries of life. Not a ceremony just on a weekend day or during a ‘Meeting with the Natives’.

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence – who today is in Day 35 of a hunger strike – having a ceremonial life understands the difference. Prime Minister Harper obviously does not understand a ceremonial life.

Prime Minister Harper knows his status in history depends on not caving in to the First Nations peoples is substance, while getting signatures on a piece of paper that become dead words as soon as the ink dries.

The Great White fathers of a colonial state is not a racial or gender position or designation. Black or female would not change how the Great White Father operates.

The Great White father is a position that must covet what the Indian has.

Here in the United States, President Obama is a Great White Father – even though his skin pigmentation is darker than his predecessors. American Indian concerns about the Keystone XL pipeline have not been properly considered. The State of Nebraska concerns have been. American Indian concerns on water, air and the condition of our forests, our clan relations are diminished.

The Great White Father is more than racial or gender. We do not escape the Great White Father if a black person, or female person holds the Power of the Great White Father. Great White Father has more than one meaning it appears and I am not fooled. Great White Father is colonial in nature as it manifest itself in our lives. The Great White Father is continually, pervasively, undermining American Indian sensibilities as it must. The position of Great White Father is in turn coveted, and by more than white men.

With Deep Concern.

Lee Sprague is a tribal member of Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, based in Manistee, Michigan. He currently serves on the Tribal Council.

posted January 14, 2013 8:10 am est


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Consent of the Governed and Jill Stein on Obama from Tikkun

I just received the below, after spending time avidly defending my President on a discussion group where I read of a purported plan to inaugurate John Boehner as President and Ron Paul as Vice President this week instead of the people we actually voted for.

I have not read the details of this plan as it comes from a source that began as another of the endless free money and an end to tyranny by backroom deals “insider” revelations that seem to sprout from the internet much the way mushrooms sprout from old logs on the forest floor. I may be wrong-perhaps we will all wake up next week with John Boehner as our President and a fount of revelations about the conspiracies and backroom deals that led to our current corrupt corporate run country/planet.

Perhaps the many suppressed technologies that would enable us to leave behind tar sands, fracking and other nastiness will actually be revealed at the inauguration, and perhaps there will be a full explanation of UFO’s and the government’s knowledge of and dealings with etc-Other than the Boehner as Pres part, I will eat my rants and celebrate along with everyone else;-)

IF however we wake up as we have so far, completely responsible for fixing all the messes ourselves, then this missive I just received from Tikkun may be of some importance to how we set about that.

I voted for Obama, and I did what I could for his campaign. I believe in him in spite of the ready evidence of corporate collaboration and not doing what we want, what he said and what we voted for.

Why? Because I know how politics works, and I know just how very much real power the corporations, “shadow government” and other behind the scenes string pullers really have.

I don’t LIKE what he is doing, especially the drones. But something he said in the early days has stayed with me; he KNEW how things worked too and he told us he would do his best but he could not do it alone. He said WE had to work with him and had to”hold his feet to the fire” when he let us down.

On the occasions when we have come out in force to get his toes toasty with our very loud and obvious demands-he has delivered-as on Keystone XL.

My personal theory. which may make me as wacky to most people as the Boehner-free money deal, is that the people who shot President Kennedy did so to get the power they still have. They shot a LOT of people to get it, so it stands to reason they are not the least bit worried about shooting a few more.

When he has loud clamoring crowds of citizens making it plain that whatever corporate nastiness we are protesting very much LACKS the CONSENT of the GOVERNED, then he can act *without getting shot* or threatened with it.

If we don’t have his back, if we don’t demonstrate the withdrawal of consent from the corporate agenda then he has to be the corporate puppet-or they will simply kill him and use the next in line.

Don’t take my word for it-look it up.President Eisenhower warned us about them in a public speech-remember the “military industrial complex”?

It wasn’t just in our country either, Bobby and John Kennedy were in the middle of a pretty large crowd of murdered politicos who stood up for the People. The latest casualty may yet be Mr Chavez of Venezuela, but the list goes far back into the misty past- it includes Abraham Lincoln.

Whenever something doesn’t make sense, follow the money.

When you see who benefits from a situation you can almost always tease out how it came to be and how it is maintained.

This is a nice tool for discernment too-instead of taking all the random conspiracy theories as totally insane, or alternatively accepting them at face value as true-follow the money. Look not just at money as cash, or banks, look at resources, at control of resources, of land, of production etc. Look at who gets the benefit and who gets screwed by the situation in the LONG view.

Don’t be taken in by the slick media spin that tries to convince you for instance that the poor get the benefit and the middle class pay-THAT is a trick and its so old it’s got green hair. Look DEEPER, and keep looking til you see the patterns.

And most importantly don’t be led around by your emotions, don’t ignore evidence that shows people or ideas you are fond of in a bad light. Nobody is perfect, and sometimes people and institutions we believe in have been used by “the bad guys”.

Sometimes people look bad because they are a fall guy, a patsy as Oswald famously called himself(most likely very accurately as it turns out). Sometimes they are led by greed to becoming bad, others they are forced thru threats or violence. But until you know what is REALLY going on, you can’t deal with it very effectively.

Luckily the answer to all of it lies with you and me. We have all the power even tho millions have been spent to convince us we have none.

Consent of the Governed.

Look it up, read Chomsky and Zinn, read Crimethinc Collective and then get together with others-there are groups working to overturn Citizens United, and groups for every cause you can think of from the environment to human rights to fixing infrastructure before another tragedy, and of course things like Occupy and IdleNoMore.

Find the things that sing to you, that set you on fire-and then get involved! Get your friends and family involved, tell your neighbors and the people in line with you at the grocery, the bank and the school.

We’ve got OUR man in the white house, all we have to do is make it SAFE for him to act on our behalf, make it plain to him and to the people pushing him to do what they want-that what WE want is now the order of the day.

No more Keystone XL, No more drones, no more cuts to self sufficient Social Security(it pays for itself and always has), Demand the Green New Deal from the essay below-it is up to us, but we have to MAKE it happen.

The good thing about this is that if enough of us come together across the old false divisions, then even if Obama really is “one of them” and only tricking us into believing in him, withdrawal of consent STILL works.

Perhaps if ALL the people, not just First Nations people, choose to be Idle No More-a whole lot more that we agree with and want will start getting done.

The text below is taken verbatim from an email from Tikkun, I would love to read responses of what my readers think of this, and what we can do.

Editor’s note: In her Tikkun interview in the Fall,2012 issue of Tikkun magazine, Green Party presidential candidat Jill Stein predicted Obama’s betrayal of the interests of poor and working people (the “middle class”) which she now documents in her analysis of “the compromise” between Obama and the Republicans which was worked out as the alternative to “the fiscal cliff” two weeks ago. “Obama better than Romney?” In regard to the economic interests of the poor and working class, almost certainly.

But for those of our NSP members who voted for Obama (and our information leads us to believe that most did) the ethical question that emerges is: “knowing who he was after close to four years in office, and choosing to vote for him rather than a protest candidate (even in states where the election wasn’t close), what level of responsibility do we have for the programs he is now enacting when they hurt the poor and the most vulnerable in our society, when he continues to support drone killings around the world, when he refuses to push for a carbon tax or other measures appropriate to saving the planet, when he continues to support the jailing of people who use marijuana, when he continues….well you can add your own here?

If we voted for him, then isn’t there a very strong responsibility to confront him over policies that seem to favor America’s wealthy and their corporate empires? And if we accept this, and we still don’t find time to create a local chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressives or some other mechanism of sensible non-violent action, what is our level of collaboration with evil policies if only by having empowered them by re-electing him? Can we separate our responsibility to defend him when he draws irrational (and probably racist-motivated) attacks from the Right form our responsibility to confront him and the Democrats who support his approach when they confirm policies that seem tone-deaf to the suffering of so many Americans who have been deeply hurt by the workings of the global and local capitalist economy over the course of the past few years?”

We are not answering the question, but only posing it. As always, the articles we send out do not necessarily reflect the position of Tikkun or the NSP–but they do represent a position with which spiritual progressives should engage, if only to challenge them!!!

Jill STEIN: The real Obama emerges, again
ON JANUARY 17, 2013

other_words_logo.gif [ http://otherwords.org/the-real-obama-emerges-again/ ]If you’re having political déjà vu as Obama’s second term in the White House gets underway, you’re not alone.

The supposedly populist candidate – who won re-election promising to tax the rich, protect Social Security, and make the economy fair – has morphed back into an invaluable ally of the economic elite. Yet again, he’s willing to let you fall under the bus.

In carving out 2013′s first round of self-inflicted budget pain, President Barack Obama has laid the groundwork for much worse to come. By making most Bush tax cuts permanent, he gave away the massive bargaining chip he could have used to protect safety net programs in the next negotiating round. Now, thanks to his pre-emptive capitulation, austerity advocates hold all the cards.

While the deal extends unemployment insurance, this temporary relief is overwhelmed by massive, permanent gifts to the super-rich. Estate taxes have been repealed for all but the wealthiest 0.1 percent with a whopping $10.5 million per couple exemption. The agreement also locks in low capital gains and dividends rates of 15-20 percent, ensuring that billionaire bosses everywhere will pay lower tax rates than their secretaries.

Among new corporate favors, the deal retained one of the loopholes that multinational firms are using to dodge taxes on their foreign subsidiaries – an incentive to export jobs that cost us $1.1 billion in 2012. Meanwhile, vulnerable workers are hit with a big increase in Social Security payroll taxes, as rates revert to 2010 levels. barack-obama-second-term

The fig leaf Obama provided to cover this surrender is a token tax increase on wealthy households earning over $450,000 per year. This marks a brazen retreat from his promise to raise taxes on those earning over $250,000, a meager reform to begin with in a tax system already rife with favors for the rich.

In this past round of budget bargaining, Obama proposed alarming cuts to key safety net programs [ http://www.thenation.com/blog/171840/why-democrats-must-break-obama-social-security-cuts ] that will be considered in upcoming negotiations. This tossed aside another key promise: to protect Social Security. It comes as nearly half of Americans are either low-income or living in poverty [ http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57343397/census-data-half-of-u.s-poor-or-low-income/ ], and one in three seniors relies on Social Security to stay out of poverty.

Obama also offered to slash needed reductions in bloated military spending from $500 billion over 10 years, the amount included in the 2011 budget deal, to a mere $100 billion.

Obama’s abandonment of his progressive base repeats 2008 post-election history, when the hope-and-change candidate suddenly devolved into a fearless defender of economic privilege. His early White House appointments of Wall Street darlings Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner were followed, with breath-taking irony, by the naming of General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, America’s leader in layoffs, to head the jobs council.

Team Obama then led the charge for trillions in Wall Street bailouts, corporate-driven trade agreements that send jobs overseas and depress U.S. wages, health care reform that locked public options out of the debate, drill-baby-drill energy policies, the sabotage of international climate accords, foreclosure neglect, surging immigrant deportations, drone attacks, assaults on civil liberties, and more.

As Obama’s second term begins, he’s again undermining the progressive base, paving the way for more austerity, disparities, war and corporate power.

Washington’s failure to deal justly and effectively with the fake fiscal cliff calamity leaves little hope it will resolve the real looming crises – the unraveling economy and accelerating climate catastrophe. The enormity of these threats compel solutions of equal magnitude – like the Green New Deal I promoted [ http://www.jillstein.org/green_new_deal ] as the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2012. It would obliterate the fiscal cliff while putting America back to work, greening the economy, cutting the oversized military, saving trillions through Medicare for All, and taxing the wealthy.

Fortunately, grassroots movements and non-corporate political parties have begun to lead the way. It’s time to join them while we still can, putting our voices, bodies, and votes behind real solutions that can truly deliver a peaceful, just, green future for us all.

~ Jill Stein won half a million votes as the Green Party’s presidential candidate in 2012. Distributed via OtherWords [ http://otherwords.org/ ] (OtherWords.org) for publication in newspapers internationally.

*If you haven’t joined the NSP (Network of Spiritual Progressives, please do it this weekend in honor the memory of Martin Luther King, jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel whose memory we honor by carrying on their work and their ideas. **www.spiritualprogressives.org [ http://www.spiritualprogressives.org ]. With membership comes a free subscription to Tikkun magazine.


What Would a Down-to-Earth Economy Look Like? by David Korten – YES! Magazine

What Would a Down-to-Earth Economy Look Like?

How did we end up with Wall Street when models for a healthy economy are all around us?
by David Korten
posted Jan 17, 2013

Tree Branches photo by Thomas Hawk

Photo by Thomas Hawk.

With proper care and respect, Earth can provide a high quality of life for all people in perpetuity. Yet we devastate productive lands and waters for a quick profit, a few temporary jobs, or a one-time resource fix.

Our current expansion of tar sands oil extraction, deep-sea oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing natural gas extraction, and mountaintop-removal coal mining are but examples of this insanity. These highly profitable choices deepen our economic dependence on rapidly diminishing, nonrenewable fossil-energy reserves, disrupt the generative capacity of Earths living systems, and accelerate climate disruption.

A global economy dependent on this nonsense is already failing and its ultimate collapse is only a matter of time. For a surprisingly long time, we humans have successfully maintained the illusion that we are outside of, superior to, and not subject to the rules of nature. We do so, however, at a huge cost, and payment is coming due.

To secure the health and happiness of future generations, we must embrace life as our defining value, recognize that competition is but a subtext of lifes deeper narrative of cooperation, and restructure our institutions to conform to lifes favored organizing principle of radically decentralized, localized decision making and self-organization. This work begins with recognizing what nature has learned about the organization of complex living systems over billions of years.

Our Original Instructions

Some indigenous people speak of the original instructions. Chief Oren Lyons, of the Onondaga Nation, summarizes the rules in Listening to Natural Law in the anthology Original Instructions:

Our instructions, and Im talking about for all human beings, are to get along with [nature’s] laws, and support them and work with them. We were told a long time ago that if you do that, life is endless. It just continues on and on in great cycles of regeneration. If you want to tinker with that regeneration, if you want to interrupt it, thats your choice, but the results that come back can be very severe because the laws are absolute.

Decision-making would be local and the system would organize from the bottom up.

Modern neuroscience affirms that the human brain evolved to reward cooperation and service. In other words, nature has hard-wired the original instructions into our brain. Extreme individualism, greed, and violence are pathological and a sign of physical, developmental, cultural, and/or institutional system failure. Caring relationships are the foundation of healthy families, communities, and life itself.

We are living out the consequences of our collective human failure to adhere to the original instructionsthe organizing principles of healthy living systems readily discernible through observation of nature at work. These are the principles by which we must rethink and reorganize human economies.

So how would nature design an economy? An economy is nothing more than a system for allocating resources to productive activitypresumably in support of life. In fact, nature is an economy, with material and information exchange, saving, investment, production, and consumptionall functions we associate with economic activity. Absent human intervention, as Lyons says, It just continues on and on in great cycles of regeneration.

Nature surrounds us with expressions of the organizing principles that make possible lifes exceptional resilience, capacity for adaptation, creative innovation, and vibrant abundance. Earths biosphere and the human body are two magnificent examples.

Wall Street


Defining value Money Life
Primary performance indicators Growth, financial returns, flows, and assets Life’s abundance, health, resilience, and creative potential
Primary dynamic Competition to maximize self-interest Cooperation to optimize self- and community interest
Decision-making power Global, top-down, centralized, and concentrated Local, bottom-up, and distributed
Time frame Immediate return Sustained yield
Local character Uniform Diverse
Resource control Monopolized Shared
Resource flows Global, linear, one-time use from mine to dump Local, circular, perpetual use, zero waste
Deficits of concern Financial Social and environmental
Measure of efficiency Returns to financial capital Returns to social and natural capital
Growth Infinite growth of money and material consumption A stage in life’s endless regenerative cycles of birth, growth, death, and rebirth

The Economy of the Biosphere

Earths exquisitely complex, resilient, and continuously evolving band of lifethe biospheredemonstrates on a grand scale the creative potential of the distributed intelligence of many trillions of individual self-organizing, choice-making living organisms. Acting in concert, they continuously regenerate soils, rivers, aquifers, fisheries, forests, and grasslands while maintaining climatic balance and the composition of the atmosphere to serve the needs of Earths widely varied life forms. So long as humans honor the original instructions, the biosphere has an extraordinary capacity to optimize the capture, organization, and sharing of Earths energy, water, and nutrients in support of lifeincluding human life.

In nature, species and individuals earn a right to a share in the bounty of the whole as necessary to their sustenance through their contribution to the well-being of the whole. Over the long term, those that contribute prosper, and those that do not contribute expire. The interests of the whole are protected against rogue behavior by natural limits on the ability of any individual or species to monopolize resources beyond its own need to the exclusion of the needs of others.

Individuals and species may compete for territory and sexual dominance, but the amount of territory or number of mates nature allows an individual or species to claim is local, limited, and subject to continuous challenge. Until humans began to create the imperial civilizations characteristic of our most recent 5,000 years, the idea that any species, let alone a few individual members of a species, might claim control of all of Earths living wealth to the exclusion of all others was beyond comprehension.

The Economy of the Body

The human body is a more intimate demonstration of the creative power of lifes organizing principles. The individual human body comprises tens of trillions of individual living cells, each a decision-making entity with the ability to manage and maintain its own health and integrity under changing and often stressful circumstances. At the same time, each cell faithfully discharges its responsibility to serve the needs of the entire body on which its own health and integrity depend.

Working together, these cells create and maintain a self-organizing human organism with the potential to achieve extraordinary feats of physical grace and intellectual acuity far beyond the capability of any individual cell on its own.

Each decision-making, resource-sharing cell is integral to a larger whole of which no part or system can exist on its own. Together they create regulatory mechanisms internal to the whole that work to assure that no part asserts dominance over the others or monopolizes the bodys stores of energy, nutrients, and water for its exclusive use. Resources are shared based on need.

All the while, the bodys cells self-organize to fight off a vast variety of viruses, cancer cells, and harmful bacteria, adapt to changing temperatures and energy needs and variations in the bodys food and water intake, heal damaged tissues, and collect and provide sensory data to our conscious mind essential to our conscious choice making.

Another of the many impressive expressions of the bodys capacity to self-organize is the process by which our cells continuously regenerate while maintaining the bodys integrity as a unified organism. The cells lining the human stomach have a turnover of only five days. Red blood cells are replaced every 120 days or so. The surface of the skin recycles every two weeks. The cells of the body are constantly reproducing, growing, and dying.

A Human Economy Based on Nature

If nature were in charge of creating an enduring human economy, she would surely apply the same principles she applies in natural systems. Her goal would be a global system of bioregional living economies that secure a healthy, happy, productive life for every person on the planet in symbiotic balance with the non-human systems on which we humans depend for breathable air, drinkable water, fertile soils, timber, fish, grasslands, and climate stability. Each bioregional economy would meet its own needs for energy, water, nutrients, and mineral resources through sustained local capture, circular flow, utilization, and repurposing. Decision making would be local and the system would organize from the bottom up. Diversity and redundancy would support local adaptation and resilience.

Soul of Autumn photo by Vladimir Konovalov
To Change Our Direction, It’s Time to Follow Nature’s Lead

It takes humility to recognize that what weve called progress isnt always for the better. Sometimes natures original idea was a better one.

This should be our goal and vision. With the biosphere as our systems model, we would design our economic institutions and rules to align with natures rules and organizing principles. We would replace GDP as the primary measure of economic performance with a new system of living system indicators that assess economic performance against the outcomes we actually wanthealthy, happy people and healthy, resilient natural systems. These indicators might be based on Bhutans Gross National Happiness Index. We would redirect the time, talent, and money we currently devote to growing GDP, material consumption, securities bubbles, and Wall Street bonuses to producing the outcomes we really want.

We would favor local, cooperative ownership and control. Organizing from the bottom up in support of bioregional self-reliance, our economic institutions would support local decision-making in response to local needs and opportunities. Cultural and biological diversity and sharing within and between local communities would support local and global resilience and facilitate life-serving system innovation.

The result would be an economy based on a love of life that honors the original instructions and conforms to the organizing principles of nature, real markets, and true democracy. The challenge is epic in its proportion and long overdue.

We are Earths children; she is our mother. We must honor and care for her as she loves and cares for us. Together we can forge an integral partnership grounded in the learning and deep wisdom of her 3.8 billion-year experience in nurturing lifes expanding capacities for intelligent self-organization, creative innovation, and self-reflective consciousness.