Sapa Dawn - Native Movement
February 1977


A BIRDS' EYE VIEW OF THE NATIVE MOVEMENT


The two hundred year resistance of the native people against the powerful forces of the United States government has never really ended. That resistance has lain dormant and deeply submerged in the hearts and minds of our people; now is the time of its re-emergence! It began in 1948, in the small villages of the Hopi Nations on top of the high mesa in the land now called Arizona. The Hopi elders became alarmed when they sensed the wholesale destruction of the land and life that had taken place in the small island of the people of the Rising Sun, (Japan where the atom bombs where dropped). The Hopi elders are wise in the laws of the natural world, laws which affect all living beings. They still know and use the ancient cosmic calendar. They have a deep understanding of human nature and they know the ancient history of humanity. They see the danger signs manifested everywhere that will lead to the eventual destruction of all life upon this planet Earth if the peoples' direction is not changed.

They began in 1948, to send our messengers to all Native Nations, warning them to stop following the white brother. The Hopi elders further stated that the white brothers are following a path that could only lead them to decay, death, and final destruction, and all who followed them would be equally doomed. furthermore, they stressed the importance of all Native Nations to revive and follow their own traditional ways of life.

The Hopi Elders also sent their messengers and Kikmongis (religious leaders) to the 'House of Mica' (United Nations Building), in accordance with their ancient instructions. For it had been foretold long ago by their ancestors that this 'House of Mica' would one day be built on the eastern shores of this land. And there they would find the leaders of all nations gathered. They were to warn these leaders that they were following a path leading to only destruction. They must stop the plundering of the resources in Mother Earth for the purposes of building destructive devices which were being used to destroy land and life. They should strive for peaceful ways to settle disputes and they should respect all life and all nations' cultural way of life.

Three times, since 1948, the Hopis have tried to meet with leaders of all nations, but the doors of the 'House of Mica' have remained closed to the indigenous peoples and nations of the Americas. Their last attempt was in 1976, at the United Nations 'Habitat' Conference in Vancouver, Canada. But the so-called United nations were too busy shouting and fighting with one another to listen to the Hopis and no time or place was allocated to them.

The Hopi Independent Nation joined hands in unity, with the Iroquois Nation of eastern United States. They compared and shared knowledge. They discussed the sad plight of all indigenous people throughout this hemisphere. As well as the broken treaties, promises, and continued predatory actions of the people and bureaucracies of the United States government.

The League of Iroquois Nations still follow the ways of their ancestors. They still speak their native language. They still have the traditional form of a true democratic government. The Chiefs are installed by the 'Clan Mothers' - who are better qualified than the women, who mold the character of the youth, who watch them grow from their first steps till the coming of manhood? They see their weaknesses and strength. The ancient history of the native people has been kept alive, handed down from generation to generation by oral tradition. They have seen the impending warning signs to all life. The white race was leading humanity to destruction!

The same year over two-hundred Chiefs and native leaders organized a show of unity in front of the White house in Washington D.C.. There they presented to the United States president a long list of grievances and demands for reform and correction. They quietly, with solemn dignity, met with the few congressional leaders in D.C. who were at least gracious enough to hear their words. And only when it became painfully obvious to all that no positive response would be forth-coming from the leaders of the United States, did they finally leave.

They did not give up. Safe in the homelands of the Iroquois Nations, they met and planned their future actions. They began the now historical journey which was to last over a decade and which was to take them for thousands of arduous miles. They visited almost every native community within the United States. They warned the native people to turn away from the way of anti-life of the white people and to begin the task to reviving their own native ways of life. Their words of wisdom fell upon the hungry hearts of the demoralized native people and a few began to heed their warnings. The gestation period of the rebirth movement at long last began.

Slowly and painfully the minds of some of the native people cleared; no easy task when you consider the two-hundred years of intense forced indoctrination. They brushed the cob-webs from their eyes , and began to relearn their true identity.

An old tradition that continues to exist is the use of a tree as a symbol of their nation. The Iroquois used the Pine Tree which they called "The Tree of Peace" as a symbol of the unity of the Six Nations. The Cottonwood was the sacred tree used in the Sundance as a symbol of the unity of the Sioux Nation. The Cedar Tree was the grandmother that lovingly protected and nourished the native nations of the Northwest.

The Iroquois leaders tell us that when the white brother first came they welcomed him as a long lost brother. They fed and sheltered him. They listened in sympathy to his sad tales of oppression. They shared all that they owned freely with him. but soon the numbers of the white brother grew to alarmingly large numbers. They began to demand more and more. they began to push the native people out of their homelands. And though the natives valiantly resisted, the whites continued to push westwards -- chopping down all the mighty trees.

The fruits of the mighty trees were freely given to the depressed nations of Europe, and the hundreds of varieties of different foods, painstakingly developed through eons of time. Medicines, sports, great artifices and multitudes of useful crafts, knowledge on various subjects, including the true democratic process of governing (which the United States copied) were freely given. The fruits from these mighty trees temporarily revived the dying European cultures during a period now called the Renaissance. The European nations greedily stripped the trees bare and then proceeded to chop them down. They planted millions of their own trees, seeking to establish permanent roots in their stolen land. They claimed ownership of all the land as well as the possessions and knowledge of the native nations.

Nevertheless, the roots of the mighty trees did not die. Now the new young shoots have sprung up and they are sustained by the ancient roots buried deep in the Mother Earth.

The native way of life is one which constantly strives to retain balance and harmony with their environment. The native societies, in their traditional state, were neither patriarchal, nor matriarchal, leaders emerged naturally out of both sexes and none attempted to dominate the others. The people lived harmoniously in a natural socialistic order, all gathered resources were evenly shared and the work load equitably distributed. They took only what was necessary from the animal, bird, and plant kingdom to sustain their lives and no more. Waste was unknown even in the midst of plenty. they respected the right to live and survive of all other species of life. They never dreamed that any human being could claim to own the Mother Earth.

The native women were free souls and the complete mistresses of their bodies. They were not 'beasts of burden' (a popular misconception) nor were they merely breeding machines. There were no "Witch Doctors" to order them "to be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth". They had small families, one or two children in order not to over-populate their given territory. The children belonged to the mothers clan lineage. the care of the children was mostly in the hands of the grandparents, who instructed them in the ways of their people. Child abuse was a crime against the whole nation.

All the basic necessities of life were free for the taking. Food, fuel, and shelter as well as human companionship or solitude were freely given. Because of the native peoples respect for all forms of life there was a great abundance and little time and effort was needed to gather the necessities of life. Imagine a largely stocked free supermarket, that was the way it was. In those days the people had time to ponder the great mysteries of life, they could expand their knowledge of self and the universe and fulfill themselves as total human beings. There was no need for prisons, mental institutes or hospitals.

Today the re-birth of the native nations has taken place and the new tender shoots are striving for light, hungry for knowledge and they struggle to grow. A.I.M. is looked upon as the new warrior shoots. The final labor contractions of the birth was witnessed at Alcatraz, at the Trail of Broken Treaties, and finally at Wounded Knee. The present quiet period is merely a time of rest and introspection for it was a long painful labor with much opposition to obstruct its birth. As the new shoots grow into tall trees again, new ideologies will bloom as the consciousness of the young develop and expand. The injured roots of the mighty trees of the old will heal, those roots which are also buried deep in the hearts of every native people. The minds of the different nations are continuing to come together in unity, their differences diminish. Let us hope that this unity will grow with the young into one strong nation, so that the native people can once more take their rightful place in this land and world.

This is the time for all larger sympathetic movements here and abroad, to help those new young shoots to grow, help them to remain free. help to stop the present persecutions and incarcerations of many of our new young shoots. The A.I.M. Warriors are being hunted down, imprisoned, and often times sadistically tortured and in some extreme cases killed. Help them especially for if they are destroyed we too must die.



To