A point by point response to the OSIA.org flyer, Why We Should Celebrate Columbus Day, prepared by: The Order of the Sons of Italy in America in Washington, D.C. Telephone: 202/547-2900 Web: http://www.osia.org (update: the flyer has been condensed into a page.) Continue reading “Why We Should NOT Celebrate Columbus Day”
With the recent deaths occurring in an Arizona sweat lodge, three so far, many Indigenous Americans are rabidly repeating the mantras “That’s what you get when you mess with things you have no right to mess with”, “Non-natives have no right to participate, let alone conduct sacred native ceremonies” and “The spirits are clearly expressing their disapproval, when will non-natives learn?”
These are sad, angry and fear filled sentiments with which I do not agree. They weigh in my heart as I hear my relations repeat them at family events, powwows and even sacred gatherings. I have shared my feelings before pertaining to the separatist attitudes my relations have regarding our spirituality. Yet, further understanding compels me to revisit the issue and clarify, albeit to myself, this particular concern. Although I still do not agree with the segregationist views, I do believe my relations have some very good points and real reasons for concern. However, I suggest pause and deliberation lest our fears overcome and misguide us. By clarifying to ourselves exactly what it is that is really important, we can better express our concerns to others without sounding like rabid, bigoted hypocrites.
This is important because no one listens to rabid, bigoted hypocrites except other rabid, bigoted hypocrites and you end up preaching to the choir.
…Reply to a Critic
Recently, I received a response to the book review I posted on Ivan Van Sertima’s, They Came Before Columbus. This person was very passionate about defending the Afrocentric version of alternative history and emailed me an excerpt from his later book, Early America Revisited, in which Van Sertima replies to his critics: scientists, archeologist and professionals from different, but related, fields of study. I must say that his rebuttals prove quite an interesting read and encouraged me to further research, which I enjoy immensely. However, I must also say that the additional information just didn’t help Ivan’s case.
Although at the present moment we have no Authority on the Taino language, let’s pretend we do. Imagine we have a group of people who are recognized as the Authority on the Taino language by a great majority of the Taino people and organizations. And that this Authority has created the ultimate Taino Dictionary…
Wisegeek.com states “A dead language is a language which is no longer learned as a native language.” Wikipedia says that a dead language has no competent speakers and that an extinct language is one that has no speakers at all, be that by language replacement or language evolution. Examples of these are Modern English having evolved from the Old English spoken in Medieval times and the death of the Taino language of the Caribbean when replaced by Spanish and French.
The discussion I was participating in on the UCTP forum regarding the Taino language, inspired me to further research other indigenous peoples who may be like us; folks struggling with their own individual decolonization while trying to help heal that of their people, reviving the culture and those things that are important to it, making it all work together- past, present and future-in balance. A people that may be similar to my own, in the ways I feel are important. My priorities lie in relationships; how we relate to ourselves, how we relate with each other, with the community and with the world at large. This to me, is the basis of society, and everything else depends on it.
These questions have been running around my head for a couple of weeks now… I had to put them out there. Just thoughts to ponder…
Is the good that a person does reason enough to accept abuse and disrespect from them?
Does the fact that a person chooses to sacrifice and give so much of his/her time and effort to a people, compensate for that person becoming dictatorial or tyrannical?
Do great strides allow a government the freedom to trample upon rights they claim to defend?
Should we over look the violations committed by leadership because of the “good” that leadership does for the people as a whole?
Continue reading “When is abusive behavior acceptable?”
There has been an uproar in the Taino community recently with regards to the word “tau” being used as a greeting. Apparently this word has not been found in any of the resources we have for Taino language, nor has it been found in any of our cousin languages… those that have been looked through, anyway. Added to this, is the growing trend in alarmist conspiracy theories that are weaseling their way into the heart of our people. I find this trend somewhat sad since herd mentality will encourage people who are scared to follow most anyone who’s calm under pressure and speaks authoritatively. Spook a herd of buffalo and they will stampede following the herd who in turn, is led by a buffalo that’s just as lost, but looks like he’s got a plan- even if it’s one that takes them all over a cliff. As if that weren’t enough, it seems that the personal choice to use the word “Tau” as a greeting has been made into yet another reason for hostility and disunity- a political controversy. Now it’s use has been made into a political statement that identifies a person as being with one faction of the Taino Movement or another. As if these flimsy organizational labels were of great importance! Continue reading “Some thoughts on the word “Tau””
I was recently in a conversation with a Taino gentleman who’s passion for the Taino Nation was so strong it was admirable. He was intelligent and seemed well read and interesting. Personally, I believe he had some very good points at times, but sadly, his truth was hidden in thorns which made it difficult to want to listen.
One loves to hear power and passion in the youth and future of the Nation but this brother’s fires raged unchecked. His words were weapons and he wasn’t afraid to use them. His diatribes were a chaos of topics; a snarl of conspiracy theories jumbled with some historical truths, sprinkled with concern for the future of the Nation. His anger would lead him to rants that would become demeaning, aggressive, divisive and ultimately destructive. At times one had to wonder if the conversation was still on topic and sometimes brother got so deep, I don’t think even he understood himself. Initially, I avoided sharing my opinion for fear of becoming a target for his rage if he didn’t agree, but this didn’t last very long.
He initiated a discussion on a topic I thought was really important, one I thought we agreed on; figure we could start on common ground. Sadly, the conversation ground to a halt and we were never able to continue after that. His questions and commentary were replies to this essay.