Monday, October 21, 2013

Aretha Franklin and The Native Americans.....

With RESPECT…….For Native American People and Their Traditions…

By Brother Tracy Gibson…..

No ethnic group in North America has been treated as harshly—with almost total annihilation at one point and with repugnance, hatred, discrimination, murder and lies at other times—than the Native American People.

According to their own written material from the Scholarship Committee of the American Indian Education Foundation, of which I have been asked to be a part and for which I graciously accept, and I quote: ``Centuries before the first European settlers reached North America, American Indian communities were thriving. Indian communities built advanced systems of tribal government, developed sophisticated methods of engineering and farming, and nurtured cultures of astonishing depth and beauty.  American Indians revered the natural world around them, treasured their Elders, cherished their children, and passed their values from generation to generation.’’

``But when the white man arrived, the lives of American Indians were changed forever.  Whole nations vanished, decimated by disease, warfare, and environmental destruction.  Millions upon millions of acres of tribal land were taken away.  Treaty upon treaty was broken.  Centuries of language, culture and learning disappeared.’’


There were short times where Native People were utilized by the U.S. military for help with certain wars, to break and create military codes such as during the Civil War and at other times, but mostly they themselves, the Native American People,  were the enemy of the U.S....  But they have not always been our enemy, as Africans and African Americans. I strongly suggest, and have quietly worked for our building new ties between Native American and African, Caribbean and African American Peoples. Often Native Americans were allied with Black African slaves and or runaway slaves.  The Native Americans stood with us against the treachery, hatred and mistreatment of their people and ours.  They actually helped hide and care for runaway slaves at some points especially in the State of Florida.

But at other times, the Buffalo Shoulders, black Union solders, took up arms for the White man and actually destroyed Native Americans.  This, I feel, is NOT something to be proud of and is, in fact, a sad part of our own history as Black People...

Today Native Americans are living on their own reservations mostly.  They still have not totally integrated into mass Western society in the U.S. and elsewhere. They mostly don’t want to because they value their own traditions and Ways and find European ways destructive, unethical , unsustainable and not based in moral, ethical or financial reality for the masses of People. Native People also feel European culture goes against the grain of the environment as well as humanity.  Some Native Peoples have accepted North American culture, but most have not. [This is something We, as Africans, should have learned from them 250 years ago.].  There are Native American colleges and universities which, I feel, give their people a chance for bright futures.  I have supported them with donations as I have been able. They generate support through an organization called the American Indian College Fund and other funds and foundations, including The  American Indian Education Fund, which I have been asked to be a part of. . .

I suggest we as African Americans support them because we will learn from them and reap benefits we can’t see right away, but those benefits are real. Often they will be of the heart and Will reflect the taking on of a better value system, not only financial or material benefits.

Still, Native Americans suffer from high rates of alcoholism and have problems among their youth that stem from the inabilities of our federal government to treat them fairly by adhering to the treaties and agreements the U. S. government signs. The U.S. signs treaties, but often turns their backs on those treaties...  to give them the land they want, need and deserve and all the other legal modalities that our government agrees to, but never go through with, I suggest we support organizations such as the Native American Rights Fund….  Our government is still reneging on treaties and other legal documents they signed or have signed with supposed good intensions.  The Native American Rights Fund which I have wholeheartedly supported, even though I have criticized them in the past for not having at least a few Black people on their staff, continues to fight righteously for Native American’s rights in many, many legal cases and in many instances where Native people come up against our U.S. government. Again, I whole-heartedly support them and suggest those among us who have the financial where-with all do the same.  If you don’t have money to support them, support them with your prayers.  I often include Native People and their positive tribal Spirits in my Grace when I am about to eat a meal especially.

My feeling is the Native Americans MUST not only be treated with respect and dignity, but MUST be first in line for REPARATIONS, just as Doctor Malana Keringa—who bought us Kwanzaa-- [Check Spelling of His name] has said.

Native Americans are a profound and ole people with rituals and traditions that could NOT be washed away by the White man and his culture.  We as Africans, must re-establish our own African culture, re-fresh ourselves with our history, and bring together our elders and our youth to take part in celebrating the miracle of our existence here in North America.  The Native American People can help us on this journey.

I also want to suggest that as the African American Smithsonian Museum opens next year, we not only go visit it, but we also take in a day to enjoy the incredible history, cultures, traditions and Ways of the Native American People by visiting the American Indian Museum at the Smithsonian also. I have visited there twice and have never been disappointed.

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