from the Ahnishinahbæótjibway (We, the People)
On Wednesday, April 22, 1992, the State of California executed the son of a Cherokee Indian woman, Robert Alton Harris. The vicious stereotypes and labels of Indians have done their dirty work. The media avoided saying that Robert Harris was an “Indian,” although an in-depth article from the Los Angeles Times mentions that Harris fantasized about “mystical Indians.” There were no Indians here before the White man invented them, and Harris paid with his life in the gas chamber of San Quentin, for trying to live out the White man’s nightmare and scapegoat projections of “Indian” identity: drunken Indian, lazy Indian, dirty Indian ... As long as a person is caught in the identity of “Indian,” there is no escape from these stereotypes. An extremely high percentage of “Indians” are in prison—because of their identity of Indian. They don’t need to follow that vicious, self-destructive path. The Indian identity is a diabolical tool of genocide invented by the White man. There is absolutely no way anybody can base a good life on this insane European racism, and too many people have died trying. It’s too late to turn the meaning of “Indian” into something else; the genocide cannot be erased.
I, myself, have tried to fill the Indian stereotypes and live the roles defined by the labels the White man created: the drunken Indian, the lazy Indian, the dirty Indian, the born loser. I was forced into the Boarding Schools at Red Lake, and I went through the brainwashing process that both the Churches and the U.S. Government used to try to turn Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples, as well as Metis Peoples, into “Indians.” I speak from experience. My advice to you young Metis who want to be “Indian,” is forget it. It isn’t worth it. No human being can fill out the stereotype, anyway. My children and my grandchildren are not Indians, they are Anishinabe Ojibway People with a Clan and a Dodem. If you’ve lost your Clan and Dodem, find out who you really are. Metis people have their own identity and their own history, although they are not Aboriginal Indigenous peoples of this Continent. Metis do not need to be the White man’s caricature.
I went into the St. Mary’s Mission School, under the genocidal Compulsory School Education Act, speaking the Ojibway language. Every time I said a single word in my own, ancient and beautiful language, I would get physically beaten that night. They said that this was to “civilize” me. (Now, the Red Lake Schools are teaching “Chippewa,” which is not the same as the Anishinabe Ojibway language. The Chippewa language is a creole language, with French, and English, and a lot of other things all mixed up together; it’s a mutated language and does not have the strength and power of the Anishinabe Ojibway language.) To replace the language they beat out of me, they gave me four hundred words of broken English. The nuns told me “you are the vanishing American.” They said “your grandparents are dirty Indians,” and advised me to abandon my Anishinabe Ojibway heritage. They told me I was a “savage, dirty Indian, and the Europeans have a God-given right to destroy you [Manifest Destiny].” They brainwashed all of us young Anishinabe Ojibway children into believing we were “no good,” so we could fill out their stereotypes, provide cheap labor and cannon fodder, and so they could steal our land and resources. (Their ancestors had already plundered their own land in Europe through their greed.) After they got done with me, I didn’t have much of any language at all. I didn’t have much of anything: low self-esteem, a fake identity, and a lot of anger because it’s difficult to express yourself in four hundred words of Broken English. It’s difficult to even think clearly, without any language at all.
I left the boarding school when I was fifteen years old. In order to be an “Indian,” a person had to drink. I was given “home brew” (home-made beer). The people who gave it to me said, “Have a drink, Nii-jii! You are no friend of mine unless you have a drink.” The family violence, the fights, the car-wrecks, the broken marriages, were all a part of the “drunken Indian” stereotype. How many of our people have died from this vicious projection of the White man, “drunken Indian.” Alcohol had no place in the Anishinabe Ojibway community, and alcohol and drugs still do not belong here. Alcohol is the “sacred drug” of the Europeans, and was brought into the Anishinabe Ojibway Nation with the intended purpose of destroying us as a People, which it does.
The subject peoples who were relocated from the East Coast, the Metis or Chippewa Indians, many of them were already alcoholics when they were packed onto the Enrollments at Red Lake. The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, an Euro-American genocide organization, controls who is recognized as “Indian,” who can be Indian and who can’t be Indian. These people of European patrilineal heritage were adopted into the “Indian” tribe by the colonizers, but they were not adopted by the Anishinabe Ojibway People who own the land.
These White Indians are the people who are the most outspoken about “Indian” culture. These are the people who told the Anthropologists about “Indian culture,” they are the people who sit on the “Indian boards,” and they are all over the Media, promoting Indians. But, they are not Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples, and they do not know anything about Anishinabe Ojibway culture. Although several books have been written about “Chippewa Indian religion” some of them by “Indians,” these Metis people cannot go into the Midewiwin and do not know anything about our Anishinabe Ojibway religion. The Big Chippewa Indians leaders are “faking it,” and adding “authenticity” to the Europeans’ stereotypes.
It’s more than a full-time job filling out the stereotypes of “Indian.” The projections and the scapegoats and the labels have already done their dirty work. There are now people out in the front, Indian spokespeople to the Media, trying to change the label from a bad label to a good label, but the damage has already been done. They can’t un-do it. The Media are scrambling, promoting and cheer-leading their Indians, trying to prevent the day of reckoning that must come. The United States, and all of the other Euro-American States on these Continents, are founded on the genocide tradition of Western European so-called Civilization. Their roots and their way of thinking are the same as Adolf Hitler’s. They come out of the same mold, and they are going to have to come to terms with it.
Robert Alton Harris filled out a role and a stereotype, and he paid with his life for it. The prisons are filled with Indians—and there were no Indians here before the Europeans got here. These Indians are trying to live out the stereotypes: Dances with the Wolves, Billy Jack, Tonto and all of that other crap. All of the Hollywood role models that Indians are so desperately trying to follow are all the White man’s bullshit. Indians and Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples are two entirely different groups of people.
To you people in the Euro-American prisons, how are you going to live out all of these Indian stereotypes? You can’t do it, nobody can do it. You would be better off finding out who you really are, and throwing the White man’s garbage identities into the trash; they are more pollution, worse than the Nuclear Bomb they dropped on the Japanese.
At last January’s Super Bowl football game, a lot of Wanna-Be Indians got on T.V. They thought they were protesting the racist slur used by the United States Capitol City’s football team—but what it amounted to was free promotion (unless some of the Indian leaders got paid—and they probably did get paid from the Churches), international Media coverage that there are really colorful Indians in Minneapolis. The football team got free advertising, and the Indians got used and shafted by these snake-oil salesmen, again. There are real, serious problems in both the Metis and Aboriginal Indigenous communities in Minneapolis. There needs to be serious questions directed toward this “Indian identity,” and the Indian leaders are not helping their people. They are caught up in an ego trip where they are promoting racism and the very identity that’s destroying people, along with the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, which has been trying to annihilate all of the Aboriginal Indigenous Nations ever since it was founded in the United States War Department in the early 1800’s.
The Euro-Americans have written what they think is a practically airtight maze of statute laws, bureaucratic regulations, and court decisions for their “Indians.” They call it “Indian law,” even though it is imported European Roman Statute Law and British Common Law written for their subject peoples, the people they call “Indians.” When Indian Law is applied to Aboriginal Indigenous People, it is in violation of International Law—and it is genocide. Aboriginal Indigenous Sovereignty on these Continents takes precedence over any European-derived laws, it supersedes “Indian Law” any day of the week, and it also supersedes the Papal Bulls and other Judeo-Christian laws.
In my research into the genealogy and in writing the history of the Anishinabe Ojibway, of the more than twenty-one original Clans of the Anishinabe Ojibway, there are only five Clans and Dodems remaining in Red Lake. There are three Clans and Dodems which have disappeared recently; the last person of these Clans and Dodems has died. These are the Lynx Clan, the Beaver Clan, and one of the fish Clans and Dodems, and these Anishinabe Ojibway People who are now gone are my relations. This is genocide. It is an extension of Western European Civilization, just like the Nazis.