Believe What You Like But Know What You Must

People are free to be consumed with contemplating their existence, their origins, the origins of the universe, supreme beings, controllers of destiny or anything else. But solving "the Great Mystery" is neither a requirement of being Ohnkwe Ohnwe nor does it provide a path to righteousness. I maintain that spirituality does not require faith or the leaps that faith requires but rather awareness. If it helps to believe that "God has a plan" and we just must have faith that "He" knows what "He" is doing, then walk that path. My interest is in taking the mystery out of life by pointing to the obvious that is ignored everyday in the midst of fanatical ideology and the sometimes not too subtle influences of promoting beliefs over knowledge. I have said it before: “beliefs are what you are told, knowledge is what you experience”. I support a culture that prepares us to receive knowledge and to live a life with purpose. I am certainly not suggesting there is only one way to do that.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Center for Public Intoxication

The latest installment from the "Tobacco Underground" (see the side bar) was released last week from a group called the Center for Public Integrity. Now don't let the name fool you; the only place integrity shows up is in the name. The series is "generously" funded by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As most Native people know, New York City Mayor and billionaire, Michael Bloomberg condemns only one thing more than "Indians" and that's the cigarette business. By "generously" supporting this project through his School of Public Health he gets to hire journalistic hit men to assassinate both. All that had to be compromised was journalistic integrity, fairness and the ethics of using a School of Public Health to criminalize and slander the most marginalized people in the hemisphere.
As we have seen in the past with this group through the use of: ....."was not available for comment" or ...."was unwilling to comment" they get to tell a very enhanced, one-sided story of the Native involvement in the cigarette business. Back in November of 2008, I posted on the Native Pride blog, an email I sent to the Center for Public Integrity. I followed up that email with a phone call to one of their reporters offering an intelligent rebuttal to their slanted coverage and a challenge to their use of the word "integrity" in their name for not interviewing anyone to balance their obviously opinionated stories. The reporter confirmed receipt of my email and took my contact information assuring me that they would contact me for their next article. Clearly the two morons in Kahnawake (Kirby and Splicer), who obviously loved the spotlight, suited their needs better than an intelligent explanation of Native issues.
There is some truth to what was reported. The integrity of the reporting is missing not because of what was exposed, but because of what was not. In previous articles specifically dealing with tobacco sales by Native retailers in New York, the Tobacco Underground repeatedly referred to the trade as illicit or illegal and never once suggested that State and Federal authorities failed to stop it simply because they couldn't. And that was becaaaause IT'S LEGAL , you morons! The process of criminalizing Native commerce has been underway for a long time. Canada is just a little better at it than the US. I might add that they were better at the criminal use of residential schools and promoting racism against Native people as well, but then again Canada didn't have as many black people so we became Canada's Niggers. This series of articles does nothing to resolve any of the conflict that exists because of the tensions over Native sovereignty and our cultural distinction. It does nothing to address our right to conduct trade and commerce from and between our Native communities. It fails to confront the historical issues that bring us to where we are now. And it absolutely refuses to recognize anything positive about our communities or our people. It simply goes on and on about smuggling, gangs, mobsters, guns, drugs and illegal sales and manufacturing of cigarettes. All of that comes from your people. It comes from your dirty cities, your corrupt politicians and your greedy corporations. Tobacco is the only thing that came from us and you turned it into something sinful. You stole most of our land and polluted what you didn't. You tried to shove your religion, your laws and your phony democracy down our throats. You criminalized even the sale of our labor. As our men built your cities and your bridges they were condemned as tax evaders. You carved lines through and around our land, trying to cut us off from our friends and families from other communities. You tried to segregate us and limit our travel. You backed us into what's left of our communities with no means to survive except on your hand outs and when we push back and defend our right to exist and support our families, you criminalize us some more. So who makes it easy and morally effortless for Native people to cross those blurry lines into the "real" nefarious activities? You did. So if the Center for Public Integrity is going to offer it's skewed snapshot of our people to the public, then tell them how we got here. And put it in perspective because the streets of Kahnawake, Akwesasne, Cattaraugus and Tuscarora are still by a huge magnitude safer that those of Montreal, New York, Buffalo and Washington, D.C.. I will not defend those who bring harm to our communities. Our history does not justify or vindicate bad behavior, but it may explain some of it. To the Center for Public Integrity I ask; what's your excuse? Perhaps a better examination of the causes and roots of the problem would lead the way to solutions. Condemning and slandering our people and communities by suggesting that we represent all that is wrong with yours is wrong and serves no public interest.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that you say. Was riding through Maine today looking at the dirt and sadness. Thinking how it must have looked before WE as white people got here. The whites see power and try to destroy it. That is reason for the persecution of the Native and Irish populations. The federal reserve is going under now. Things will change fast. Grow a good garden this year. Respect and peace.

Anonymous said...

There is no peace without forgivness, there can be no forgivness without correction. The correction is upon us. I am old now. What has been done in my name as a white person and as an American is beyond shameful. Whatever comes will be cleansing.Truth is coming out every day.

Anonymous said...

OH ! you god you I too am at fault for not killing more of these bastards??Shall we play my favorite game it's called who's the better killer?? Sounds like fun wanna play!? But then again It will have to stay in my mind I guess the only thing I've ever really killed is flies and time while relaxing on the beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands while on work leave. But its a beautiful thought guess they live ???Perhaps nothing will ever be done about it any way until we handle our own corrupt leaders until then I shall stay in school! Among upping my standards who know maybe I can learn to run Big Casinos and embezzle just like the big dogs.!olollll How does that sound ! I will finish my project first then go from there!

SimonRaven said...

Amazing, very well said. All of it true, brother.

-- simon
a Mi'kmaq (L'nu) man

ohnkwe ohnwe said...

What worries me about articles like these are their purpose. One of the important steps to perpetrating genocide is demonizing or better yet dehumanizing the intended targets. This last article from this group ran in the Montreal Gazette. The article literally taunts Canadian law enforcement into taking action. Like those nuts need much inducement(remember Oka?) L. Frank Baum, the autor of the "Wizard of Oz", wrote editorials in a paper he ran calling for the extermination of Indians before and after the Massacre at Wounded Knee. Governments need this kind of propaganda put out there before they act. I'm not naive enough to believe that these articles come from someone's genuine concern for the public's right to know. This series was written with intent. Someone with a lot of pull is trying to associate any and all Native development with international criminal organizations and terrorism. We need to get our voices out there. Compliance with anyone that has issues with us will not secure us or our future. It is just assisted suicide. We have to control our image and not let them do it.