from the Ahnishinahbæótjibway (We, the People)
Dear Javier Perez de Cuillar,
There is unrest around the world – South Africa, Central America, the Middle East. Wherever Europeans have gone, they have forced their laws, their economic system, and variations of European Apartheid on the Indigenous peoples who were one with the land that European colonists invaded. Virtually all of the World’s present-day unrest stems directly from the Europeans’ invasions and colonization of Indigenous peoples’ lands, and its consequences.
The United Nations was supposed to be founded on International Law. We see one of the problems which makes the U.N. less effective than it should be, is that the “International Law” that it’s based on represents only the law, world-view, and religious perspectives of the Europeans and European colonies. The entire written history of Europe and EurAsian “civilization” is filled with wars and exploitation. How can a body of law which is founded on warlike hierarchical thinking lead to world peace?
We, the Anishinabe Ojbway people, and our brothers the other Indigenous peoples of these Continents and of the World, never had war before the European “explorers” blundered violently onto our land. The descendents of the Europeans have written volumes and volumes of legislation which they call “Indian law” although it’s written by Europeans, for Europeans, in European languages. They have created libraries full of fantasies and lies about who and what kind of people were – it needs to be stressed that we are not warlike and never have been; we were initially hospitable to these invaders because we were a peaceful people. If we had been warlike, our Indian Continents would have already been plundered like Europe, and the Europeans would have turned their boats around and gone back. There would have been nothing left to steal. We have to debunk all of the pejorative propaganda that Europeans have written about us.
The Anishinabe Ojibway and almost all other Indigenous peoples are non-hierarchical, egalitarian societies whose religion stresses generosity and harmony with each other and with the Earth. The European language, culture, and religion is totally the opposite: the emphasis even in the Bible is on domination and hierarchy. We are not contesting what the Europeans to do themselves in Europe, that is their business. But we very strongly object to the continued efforts of the Europeans to force their language, religion, culture, warlike laws, economic system, forms of government, etc., onto our Continents.
Hierarchical ways of thinking have dishonesty built right into them: they have to in order to justify one artificial “class” of human beings oppressing and stealing from another. English and other European languages are crooked, they are structurally hierarchical – this includes the Russian language and the Communism [which came from Capitalist thinking] that it molded. All of these languages have “inferiority and superiority” built right into them; when one analyzes the World thinking in these languages, authoritarianism and militaristic thinking are almost impossible to escape. Revolutions, civil wars, and rebellions can happen until doomsday, and with a hierarchical language it always comes back to the same ugly thing that caused the revolution to begin with. If we are going to preserve this planet, this kind of thinking has to change – nonviolently and with ongoing dialogue. We must work together, with respect and harmony, to undo the horrendous and terrible damage that has been done to all people.
The laws which the Europeans have written on our Continent are crooked. They are designed for stealing: to take from us and give to them. “Democracy” has its roots in slave states, and the kinds of representative democracy that is being violently promoted by the United States and their allies is not at all egalitarian, and in fact enables the ruling European and Euro-colonial elite to continue stealing from Indigenous peoples. There is no other reason why the Europeans would force their religion, their economic system, their laws, their language, and their forms of government on us – if they were honest we would be accepted as the sovereign and truly civilized owners of this land that we always have been. There is no honesty at all in the structures created by European hierarchical thinking; the foundation is oppression, exploitation, and lies about the nature of the world and humanity.
We have been reading “International Law” – the Nuremberg Principles, the Rules of War, the International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. The Indigenous peoples of the world have had no input into this body of “International Law.” Indeed, there are sneaky phrases like “internal affairs” carefully inserted in these laws which exclude us from protection by these laws. These are not “International Law,” these are European laws based on European hierarchical thinking and extended by violence around the world. This violence is evidently justified by “International Law,” this is clear from the ongoing treatment of all Indigenous peoples. Our language, our culture, our resources, our land, our religion, right here and on all Indigenous peoples’ land, are still under attack. If International Law were written to apply to Indigenous peoples, what is happening right now would be blatantly in violation of International Law. We see what is happening to Indigenous peoples as ongoing war crimes, ongoing crimes against humanity, ongoing genocide even though your laws are written to exclude us.
Dialogue between the Indigenous peoples of the world and the hierarchical peoples is nowhere mentioned in “International Law.” In our experience, the Europeans have consistently avoided dialogue, preferring to use violent means which further entrench their hierarchical system and create more unrest. A recent example of this use of violence is the situation in Panama: a situation which was created and molded by European hierarchical thinking. Where was the dialogue between the United States or General Noriega’s Government and the Cuna and other Indigenous people who own the land called “Panama.” There wasn’t any. There must be dialogue, not only regarding Panama but including all Indigenous peoples and our land.
One of the questions which must be asked is “what are you doing on our land?” The Europeans and their heirs must come to terms with reality before they write any more laws. When the Europeans came onto our land, they had larceny in their hearts; they cannot “turn over a new leaf” and be honest without facing why and how they care here, and what they have done. Until the Europeans are completely honest about themselves, until they admit they are still Europeans and not “Americans” or “Australians” or “Afrikaners” or whatever, until European languages and religions become honest, all of their laws will remain crooked and nothing will change.
Isolationism is another part of the tactics of the Europeans, another means of avoiding dialogue with and between Indigenous peoples. For many years, Indian and other Indigenous peoples have asked the United Nations for representation as the Sovereign peoples that we are. For many years, we have been refused; it seems to us as though the United Nations represents a club of European-schooled elites. We Indigenous peoples have much to contribute to this world, but we have been silenced, held virtually incommunicado, by European economic systems, European political systems and “democratic” European-style governments forced on our own land, European apartheid and racist hierarchies, Indo-European religion, and European law. How can the United Nations claim to be a “world body” when the original and still legitimate owners of more than two-thirds of the world’s land are not represented, still isolated and not heard from? The European strategy of keeping Indigenous people isolated is no excuse – our Traditional trade routes have been blockaded, destroyed, and polluted. If “money” is the problem, the United States dollar and most other world currencies are based on the blood, slave labor, and stolen land and resources of Indigenous peoples, including ourselves. There have never been reparations paid to the descendents of the Africans who were kidnapped and enslaved. All of the European-controlled Nation-States who have ever profited from slavery should join in paying these people just compensation. We Indigenous people have been paying for our own destruction, losing our land and resources to the crooked European schemes of “money” for nearly five hundred years, and this has to stop. It has come to the point where the Europeans should realize that by destroying the land they are also destroying themselves; but the European people can’t see it or do anything to stop it because of the inferiority / superiority factor, the European hierarchical structure, because they have been programmed to mindlessly follow the European elite like sheep. This kind of blind adherence to a self-proclaimed elite is the way of thinking that allowed Hitler to do what he did – and until this rigid militaristic hierarchical thinking changes, regimes like Hitler’s will happen over and over again. Although a dictator is unseated, his chair remains.
It is obvious to us that these hierarchically-thinking European elites have no compassion. Food is used a weapon; little children are kidnapped by compulsory education to be brainwashed into European ways of thinking. Much of the “environmental policy” which we see seems to come directly from “scorched Earth” European military thinking. Germ warfare has been used against us since the international smallpox epidemics (Europeans are much more resistant to smallpox than our people are) which were started with “smallpox blankets,” etc. Germ warfare is still blatantly used in the Amazon, it is still used on all Indian peoples’ land, along with many other forms of oppression.
What is happening in the Amazon basin is a good example of Europeans forcing European-style governments onto Indigenous peoples. What right to Portuguese and other European immigrants – and their descendants wherever they were born – have to come onto Indian peoples’ land and say, “we are the government, we have the right to cut down your forests and tear up your land for minerals, we have the right to put disease-carrying Europeans in close proximity to your people, to kidnap your children into ‘school’.” How can you call yourselves the “United Nations,” protecting International Law, when this kind of thing is allowed to go on? By adhering only to European and other hierarchical forms of “law,” you are protecting international banditry instead of promoting true justice and peace.
We are enclosing documentation of the initial formulation of the genocide polices that the United States still uses against Indian people. We are telling you, formally, in our capacity as a Sovereign People, that the United States, specifically the Europeans who call themselves “Americans,” has and is still committing genocide against the American Indian people. We are telling you formally that genocide is still going on against Indigenous peoples all over the world.
We are also telling you that “democracies” forced on American Indians or any other peoples are not representative legitimate governments; that they only work for people who bring them in and continue to control them. We do not need “democracy” from the European point of view – it only serves the interests of the European elite. For example, the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (I.R.A.) governments imposed on American Indian reservations are not legitimate Indian governments. Our Traditional government, which still exists, is not recognized by the United States Government or the United Nations. The only reason that we were “recognized” was for the convenience of the United States Government in stealing or land and resources and destroying our culture, brainwashing our children.
Here and on nearly all other Indian reservations, the people who hold the power in the 1934 I.R.A. governments are not Indian people. Some of them are “meti,” “mesdizo,” or “half-breeds” who have neither Indian values nor any Indian Clan; they do not recognize the Indian religion which is the foundation of our government, our Sovereignty, and our way of life. Some of them are “Indians” with European values, and some of them are Europeans who fraudulently claim to be “Indian” although they have no Indian ancestors and no Indian values. The Europeans in the U.S. Government are, under European-based U.S. law, the ones who “appoint Chiefs” and also who decide who is “Indian” and who is not, under the United States’ European definitions. We Traditional Indian people are outnumbered by fake U.S.-appointed “Indians” on the United States Government’s “Indian” enrollment records, and thus on the voter registration lists used in electing the U.S.-created I.R.A. “democracies.” We are outnumbered and outvoted in our own land. Democracy, whether “majority rule” or “minority rule” (e.g., South Africa) is a European concept and has no place on our land. All over the world, European governments use genetic, “Christian” and cultural engineering, to create classes of people without a place in the world who are used by the European invaders for their own crooked purposes. The centralized structure, authoritarian chain-of-command from the politically-appointed U.S. Cabinet and underlying premises of the 1934 I.R.A. governments are antagonistic to the egalitarian, respectful, consensus-based structure of Traditional Indian government.
European historians claim that the “sovereignty of the elite” is accountable to “the lower classes” through the Magna Carta, etc. From Indigenous peoples’ perspectives, there is no accountability. The World’s (mostly European) artificially created elite operates in a state of anarchy. We have seen no evidence of any laws governing or constraining the elite; no accountability or accepting of responsibility by this elite (and their “corporations” which further insulate them) for the massive destruction and suffering created by their greed. We see no legitimacy for the “eminent domain” over land, resources, human beings and other living beings claimed by this man-made European “sovereignty.” In order to have a peaceful, harmonious and just world, International Law must include provisions both for dialogue, and to hold these European elites accountable – as individual human beings – to all who their actions and violence affect.
Under Traditional Indian law, land cannot be sold. It is impossible for any Traditional Indian to sell land. There is absolutely no way that Indian land can be sold. I any land was “bought” by Europeans, it was either under false pretenses, or from somebody who did not own it. France could not sell our Indian land; the Louisiana Purchase is invalid because it wasn’t France’s land to sell. Russia cannot sell Indian land; the Alaska purchase is invalid because Russia never owned Alaska. Even Manhattan Island was “sold” by people who did not own it (they were visiting), could not sell land, and did not understand what “selling land” meant. All of the land and resources claimed by Europeans and European-Americans on these two continents is stolen Indian property. The ruling European elite has no right to claim it, nor does the U.S.A. nor does anyone else, except the Traditional Indian people who own it jointly (not “in common” as is sometimes suggested). The 1934 I.R.A. “Tribal Councils” have no right to sell or lease anything belonging to Traditional Indian people; neither does nay branch or agency of the U.S. Government. “Trusteeship,” European-style “land title,” and “representative democracy” are fraudulent concepts under Traditional Indian law. The Traditional Indian people to whom the land and resources belong, cannot sell them if they are Indian, and if they are not Indian they do not own them. The land and resources belong to the Traditional Indian people through the Indian religion, and cannot be bought or sold. These two Continents are all sacred Indian land – that’s why the land was kept by Indian people the way the Europeans found it: pristine, abundant, cherished, and beautiful. How can the Christians build a church in a stolen corner of our sacred land, and then preach “thou shalt not steal”? This is one of the subjects that the Europeans avoid dialogue about; we have told them for hundreds of years that our land cannot be sold, so they have used violence, lies and deception to take it anyway.
The United Nations sits on stolen Indian land, maybe this is why Traditional Indigenous peoples are not recognized by the U.N. as Sovereign people. We are kept out of your “International Law”; because we are not hierarchically regimented Nation-States, we are kept vulnerable to aggression, oppression, and even genocide by the Europeans and their colonies.
There is no provision for “declaring peace” in the rules of war which were written by Europeans. The time has come to declare peace. We are asking you to live by the egalitarian rules of Traditional Indian civilization that come with the land that the United Nations building sits upon. We are also strongly recommending that you open dialogue with the Traditional religious leaders of our Continents; that you recognize our Sovereign Traditional people rather than the “leaders” appointed for us by the Europeans including the U.S. Government. Indigenous Traditional religious leaders are entrusted by the Creator – along with all Traditional Indigenous people – to take care of the land, which cannot be sold.
We are further strongly recommending that the United Nations recognize all Indigenous peoples as Sovereign peoples on an equal basis with the Nation-States of the world. The United Nations must include the Traditional religious leaders of each Indigenous people from all over the world, as full members of the U.N. Assembly. This includes ALL Indigenous peoples who have survived the Europeans’ Holocausts: the Indigenous Siberians, the Laplanders, all of the Indian tribes of Brazil and the rest of these two Indian Continents, the Indigenous Tribal peoples of Asia, Australia, and Africa – all of us. We do not recognize representation by the European colonies that have been established on our land. We do not believe the fiction that “corporations” absolve individuals from responsibility for what is done under a corporate name. We do not accept “lack of funding” as an excuse for delaying – the World’s currencies are based on the stolen resources of Indigenous peoples, and there urgently needs to be dialogue about unilaterally converting our resources into European currencies. We all live on this Earth together, and time has run out. The irresponsible abuse of this planet by the Europeans and their cohorts has to stop. There is an enormous pool of talent among Indigenous people that humanity can no longer afford to oppress and to waste.
The Europeans have had nearly five hundred years to show us the benefits of their kind of “civilization.” We have seen many peoples and other species slaughtered into extinction; we see ecological mayhem that threatens life itself on this planet; we have seen inconceivable violence and injustice perpetrated by Europeans and Euro-colonials across the entire planet. We see the bitter, brutal dead end that the European way of thinking is pushing us toward.
Right now is the only time that remains. Violence only creates more violence, and is always a dead end; it always has been and always will be. Egalitarian and open dialogue – between all Peoples – is our only hope.
(Francis Blake, Jr.)
cc: World Court; Nelson
Mandela; Dr. Noam Chomsky, Peoples
Republic of China; Kurt Waldheim; Pravda; Dennis Banks; Native American
Foundation; Chief Louis Stevenson; Dr. Jean Houston; Ojibway News;
Press; Jesse Jackson; World Council of Churches; Pope John Paul