We Have The Right To Exist, by Wub-e-ke-niew:  Chapter XV -  Language - Reality and hierarchy - The abstract -Abstracts - Language and identity - The Chippewa language - The English language
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We Have The Right To Exist, by Wub-e-ke-niew


- Chapter XV -
        Language

            Ahnishinahbæótjibway language is more than words.  It is the totality of communication in several dimensions of reality.  Our language is in living time with Grandmother Earth, rather than in a mechanical and abstract time.[i]  All languages have embedded in them the ways in which the native speakers of that language understand and interact with the world.  Each language contains the history and the values of the people whose language it is.  Aboriginal Indigenous languages are the joint property of all those who are native speakers of the language.  Aboriginal Indigenous languages are the living past and present, embodying the values, the consensus harmony, and the meaning of life and death of those peoples whose ancient heritage these languages are.  The Aboriginal Indigenous peoples of this world have within their languages their understanding of the nature of humanity.  Each language contains a legitimate and crucial piece of the knowledge necessary for humanity to survive.  Over the past hundred years, the English-speaking peoples and their subject mixed-bloods have been systematically destroying non-Lislakh languages, trying to eliminate everything but their own hierarchical Utopian world-view and ideology.  The languages of the Western European Nation-States are controlled by a centralized élite, and are imposed on their lower classes, who ain't got no choice.  To elucidate this in the vernacular, English ain't my kinda talk, neither.

            The Ahnishinahbæótjibway language is balanced, both male and female, non-violent, egalitarian.  Our Aboriginal Indigenous language is the compiled wisdom of hundreds of thousands of generations of our people.  It is a powerful tool for understanding the world, a guide for our behavior, and an interpretation of our harmonious inter-relation­ship with Grandmother Earth and Grandfather Midé.  Ahnishinahbæótjibway contains our eloquent oral history; the blueprints for our gift economy based on generosity; our social structure expressed in terms of Dodems and family; and our holistic and balanced relationship to the Universe.  When a person fully understands another language, they also can see into the heart, mind and spirit of its native speakers.

            The American English dictionary definition of language[ii] did not include the concept of communication[iii] before the Cold War,[iv] and hints at the usage of language as an intellectual prison.[v]

            We talked about this dictionary definition of language to other Ahnishinahbæótjibway.  One elder of the Wolf Dodem said, "Ah!  That's why they tried to beat our language out of us. ... The purpose of English is to oppress, not communicate.  That makes sense."  The Euro-Americans tried to take away our Ahnishinahbæótjibway language and replace it with Chippewa, a hierarchical Creole language with an Lislakh structure.

            The languages of Western European civilization are abstract[vi] systems of symbols, which have been influenced into their deep structure by professional philosophers, the literate priesthood, and writers patronized and acclaimed by the élite.  English, which is the most widely spoken of the Western European languages, is inherently linear, compartmentalized, and based on dualism.[vii]  The roles and identities readily available to an English-speaking person, their connotations, their relative hierarchical ranking and the constant struggle to attain higher rank,[viii] are all inherent in the English language.

            Linguist, politician and educator S.I. Hayakawa observed, "even when we act without thinking, our actions are likely to follow the lines laid down by our patterns of thought, which in turn are determined by the language we use,"[ix] and quoted Dr. Alfred Korzybski, who founded the theory of general semantics:[x]

                        A language, any language, has at its bottom certain metaphysics, which ascribe, consciously or unconsciously, some sort of structure to the world ...

                        Now these structural assumptions are inside our skin when we accept a language, any language ...

                        We do not realize what tremendous power the structure of an habitual language has.  It is not an exaggeration to say that it enslaves us through the mechanism of semantic reactions and that the structure which a language exhibits, and impresses on us unconsciously, is automatically project­ed upon the world around us.

I disagree with Korzybski only about egalitarian Aboriginal Indigenous languages, which have fluid, organic deep structure, rather than an eternal, abstract, and transcendent one.

            My native Ahnishinahbæótjibway language, and at least some other Aboriginal Indigenous languages, are not structured with reference to the abstract, or the ideal.  We look at the world differently, and I have never read a description written by any White or Indian, of our language, our culture or our history, which has not imposed Western European hierarchical structure (and other preconceptions) upon us.  Because of the strictures imposed on these people by their language, White and Indian writers see Aboriginal Indigenous people through their abstractions.  The Indian identity is such an abstraction, enabling them to disavow the consequences of their actions of the past, and deny the reality of peoples whose egalitarian cultures operate with an entirely different world-view than theirs does.

            The consistency with which Western European social scientists and other learned men manage to dismiss Aboriginal Indigenous world-views as inconsequential or invalid is impressive.  In an introduction to semantics, Dr. Anatol Rapoport categorically rejects Aboriginal Indigenous religion with a statement which reveals his lack of understanding:[xi]

            The shaman of a prescientifically oriented tribe and the demagogue of the modern national state both hold their power because people react to words as if they were facts.  Both word magic and demagogy aim to channelize the reactions of people to symbols, so as to make responses automatic, uncritical, immediate (what Korzybski calls 'signal re­actions').

Dr. Rapoport and almost all of his colleagues have not examined their deeply held assumptions that Aboriginal Indigenous people are ignorant, and that our world-view is inferior rather than different;[xii] and he projected his linguistic structures of manipulative control and hierarchy onto a group of people who were almost certainly egalitarian.  If the Western European scholars had understood the reality of what they call shamanism, which English and other European languages have neither the words nor semantic structures to describe, the European immigrants would be treating this land a lot differently.

Reality and hierarchy

            The concept of hierarchy, which is entrenched in Lislakh reality through their languages, culture and religions, is alien to the Ahnishinahbæótjibway.  Rather than acting upon the world, in Ahnishi­nahbæótjibway one acts in concert with the other beings with whom one shares Grandmother Earth.  There are no objects of verbs in the Ahnishinahbæótjibway language.  A person harmoniously "meets the Lake," rather than "going to get water."

            We have a very ancient oral tradition.  Ahnishinahbæótjibway talk about something that happened three generations ago--or about the mountains that used to be here--describing that which happened in an accessible and connected time.  Ahnishinahbæótjibway language describes our relationship to time in ways which are not readily translatable into English.  We are inseparable from our holistic time: the living harmony of the rising and setting of the sun, the cycles of the seasons, the phases of the moon, the concert of the Universe.  We are not in the same kind of compartmentalized mechanical linear time as Lislakhs.

            This book has been quite difficult to write, in large part because English-language words have a pre-conceived idea of the nature of the world embedded in them.  The template for this conceptual boilerplate is Judeo-Christianity, and the Indo-European and Semitic languages upon which this religious philosophy is based.  People whose native language is English (or any other Lislakh language) are caught up in a regimented, fragmented hierarchical world-view which masquerades as reality.  Their language tells them, and very few question it, that "this is the world," and at the same time their language misrepresents the nature of reality.  Most English-language words do not refer to reality.  When I had difficulty communicating, I used to think that it was because I did not know enough English.  Although this is sometimes the case, it is also because the English language, with all of its half a million words, is a very poor medium with which to express Ahnishi­nahbæótjibway thoughts.

            Even the word, reality, is ambiguous.  The New Century Dictionary defines reality (a word inherited from the Roman Empire) as "the state or fact of being real, having actual existence, or having actually occurred... also, resemblance to what is real ... also, that which is real..."  The English-language "actual existence" to which the dictionary refers is not reality, but is a hierarchical, verbally-mediated idealization of reality.

            In the Western European linguistic rendition of reality, even physical pain becomes unreal.  The immense pain inflicted by the violence of war and peace is real, and as an Aboriginal Indigenous person, I feel the pain inflicted on another.  But, from the context of a hierarchical illusion of reality, the connections between living beings are broken, and the pain of another becomes unreal.  Members of society are conditioned by the nation-state as children to become insensitive to others' pain.  It has been this way since Sparta and Plato, and present-day examples include the expected applause as Indians are killed in Cowboy-and-Indian movies, the violence presented every week to Sunday-school children of a man being tortured and nailed to the cross, the violence of children's programming on TV, etc.  This disconnection from reality is a brutal, terrible way to structure a society.

            The Puritans ran away from Europe to escape from the inherent brutality of hierarchy, but because they continued to use the English language as the vehicle for their self-definition, they could not see the violence in themselves, and re-created what they had run away from.  The smooth functioning and perpetuation of the hierarchical structure requires that people be desensitized to violence, and be willing to blame scapegoats.  In order for the parasitic relationships of hierarchy to continue, the social background has to be the violence of war and peace.  As Machiavelli explains, managed chaos is a fundamental pre-condition for continuation of the hierarchical structure.  When a community of the lower echelons becomes too harmonious, the people near the top of the hierarchy must destabilize it and start factions.  The history of the U.S. Government's interactions with the Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway shows this manipulative destabilization and factionalization.  From a broader perspective, the history of Western European civilization is a chronicle of their precarious social balance on the razor's edge between totalitarianism and civil war.

            The word realize, from the same Latin root as real and reality, is defined in part as "to present to the mind [and only to the mind] as if real, or to bring vividly before the mind ...."   Some might find it significant that the same Roman Imperial word, real, also came to mean money for some who were once at the crest of another expansion of the Lislakh colonizing/exploitation paradigm.  There is no hierarchical language, as far as I know, which deals with reality.  I can stand in either the Ahnishinahbæótjibway or the Euro-American culture, and  when I look at Lislakh history, the shattered ecology they have left in their wake and their abandoned cities beneath the drifting sands of man-made deserts, the nature of their relation­ship to reality is clear.

            Diogenes went about looking for an honest man with a lantern, but he couldn't see the truth right in front of him (even when Maxmilian got out of his light), because he couldn't see outside the constraints of his language.  He couldn't smell truth, he couldn't taste it, he couldn't hear it, he couldn't touch it--he couldn't find it and he couldn't do anything with it.  All he had was an insubstantial word, which was useless without the badge of authority.  Gandhi sought non-violence, but he was trapped by the violence of the abstract hierarchy embedded in the Indian languages.  The Christians say that they are looking for peace, but the Christian nations keep ending up with war, because war and peace are part of the same paradigm in their linguistic structure, inseparable from each other and both violent.

            For more than two thousand years, the intellectual élite have claimed their man-made symbols are Divine in origin, the essential template of God-given pure reasoned truth, compared to which living reality is an imitation, "the appearance of reality," and human use of language "thrice removed from the king and from the truth."[xiii]  Plato, as rendered by Socrates, was trying to describe reality and couldn't do it.  He was trapped by abstract ideas of truth, and the structure of his hierarchical language, and could see only the manipulative distortions and illusions of his own society.  He could not get out of the box of his own linguistic structure, and see from another vantage.  What looked like truth to Classical philosophers, looks like unreal deception from the outside.  The words that the cultural heirs of these philosophers repeat over and over like mantras: truth, love, freedom and peace, are cruel illusions.  Western European languages will not let their speakers touch these elusive dreams for even a brief moment--although the living reality which such abstract English words seek to evoke is accessible through Aboriginal Indigenous ways of being, living as an inseparable part of Grandmother Earth.

            From an Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective, the purpose of our language is communication in inter-connected natural reality.  Because of our Aboriginal Indigenous language, it is our pleasure and responsibility, each and every one of us, to take care of Grandmother Earth and cherish the other living beings who share this Earth with us, to keep the environment for the generations to come, and that is why our land was an abundant paradise when the Europeans got here.  The deep structure of our language was reflected in everything around us, just as Europe reflected the Lislakh languages.  Our language is in harmony with nature, while the hierarchical languages alienate their native speakers from reality, and lead them to destroy the very things that sustain their life.[xiv]

              According to linguist and professor[xv] Dr. Harvey Sarles[xvi], the purpose of the languages of Western European civilization is "taking us out of nature."  Dr. Sarles explained that, for the Western Europeans, language is that which sets humans apart from other living beings, and further, artificially "separates the mind from the body."  He described the abstract ideal of the Lislakh languages as unchanging, claimed to be of divine origin,[xvii] in dialectical opposi­tion to life, the body, and all that which changes, which is catego­rized as corrupt.

            If purportedly unchanging, unchangeable ideal reality, separate from experienced reality and inaccessible to the uninitiated, is built into the language, then the speakers of that language will find it extremely difficult to think about possibilities of deep structural change in their society,[xviii] values, and ways of thinking.  If reality cannot be changed, and is by definition immutable, then change in the power structure (as opposed to the particular individuals in power) becomes unthinkable, by definition eternally unchangeable, even with a revolution or a civil war.  If ideal reality is static, and doesn't flow, then it's compartmentalized, deliberately disconnected, existing as something which is inaccessible and lifeless in the void.

            The structure of the Lislakh languages makes fundamental change to the hierarchy inconceivable to people within the structure, controlling them in ways that are difficult for them to see and nearly impossible for them to resist.  And, it is applied to people outside the language with arrogance.  I remember the Ahnishinahbæótjibway being told by the speakers of English and French, "We are superior.  We are civilized.  Our culture is so much more intelligent than your culture."  Built into their abstract was an ideal empire that would last forever, but because of their language, they did not see the inevitable reality of depleted resources.  They had been disconnected from reality for so long that most of them are stuck, hypnotized by their language.  They have not understood that in order for their society to endure, when they take something, they must put something back.

            The carnival huckster's pitch, the auctioneer's chant, the revival preacher's sermons, as well as political oratory and church-choir songs, all use the cadence of language to grab onto a person's unconscious[xix] mind, and lull them into uncritical acceptance of what is being done to them.  European and Euro-American music also uses rhythm and patterns of tone to mesmerize people into an externally regimented state.[xx]  For me, Ahnishinahbæótjibway music is different, inseparably a part of myself, the land, the forests, and all living beings.

            Taking human beings out of nature, through their languages, takes away their humanity.  The Western European hierarchical languages have been developed over the generations to fit the needs of the élite, and I have watched and heard this process in action as the Euro-Americans have tried to mutate the Ahnishinahbæótjibway language into Chippewa.  I have listened to European Indians make up Chippewa words, and from my childhood, I remember older Ahnishinahbæótjibway laughing at how foolish what the Indians said in Chippewa sounded to them.  I have watched as professors of so-called Indian languages[xxi] have tried to restructure our egalitarian and living grammar to fit their own agenda of what a language is supposed to be.  I was there, when the United States Government paid the Catholic Church (with money from the sale of my resources) to physically beat my ancient Aboriginal Indigenous language out of me, and I am still here as my language is coming back to me.

            In the late 1930's and early 1940's, going to the movies was a big deal, and many of the movies shown on the Reservation were cowboy and Indian propaganda films.  When the cavalry and the cowboys massacred the Indians, all the little French Métis kids clapped and cheered.  Now, some of these very same French people who applauded the slaughter of Hollywood Indian savages, assume the celluloid identity of Indian, dress themselves and their children in stereotypical feathers, turquoise and beadwork, and tell me in clipped Hollywood Indian accents that they are "looking for their traditions."  Most of them do not realize that those Indians they seek to emulate were in complicity with the United States Government in the genocide of the Aboriginal Indigenous people.

            Although we the Ahnishinahbæótjibway have had writing for millennia, we have not confused our symbols with what they represent.  We have not limited our understanding of language to spoken and written words, nor have we used it to set ourselves apart from other living beings.  I remember my grandfather talking with his horses in Ahnishinahbæótjibway; he and the horses communicated with each other.  He never spoke Chippewa, and he never spoke English, and he looked at the world from an Aboriginal Indigenous perspective: in an egalitarian harmony.

            During my grandfather's lifetime, from the 1850's to 1936, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway were beset by immigrant Europeans and their Chippewa Indians in our own land.  I have lived in the context created by White (which includes Chippewa Indian) society.  In order to function surrounded by Western European culture, I have had to understand the White man from his own perspective, and learn these immigrant peoples' English language.  I have asked a lot of questions, and have heard a lot of lies, nonsense, evasive answers and comments like "what do you want to know that for?"  What is being done on Ahnishinahbæótjibway property is my business.

            For years, I carried a dictionary with me wherever I went, and looked up every word I did not understand.  I had a difficult time learning English, due to its hierarchical structure.  I have needed to step outside of my Aboriginal Indigenous thinking, because to speak English, and particularly to write in English, I have been compelled to force myself to stand temporarily in the void of Western European abstraction.  In order to survive, I had to communicate with the White man, so I have learned to see the world through his artificial, hierarchical structures, and to participate, however superficially, in a system which, according to Ahnishinahbæótjibway values, is un-natural, strange and foreign to this Continent.  It is very difficult for me to find words and grammatical structures within the English language, which accurately and clearly express Aboriginal Indigenous thoughts.

            I have learned English within the constraints of its circular definitions of abstract and disconnected words, and have also learned to understand English from within the conflict-laden status and control connotations of its grammatical structure.  The Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective of language is: as interactive communication with the world.  Clearcutting the forest is Lislakh language, inseparable from the English words which name this devastation "scientific forest conservation."  I have taken photographs as bulldozers scraped into the denuded earth, where I walked as a young boy on a soft carpet of pine-needles through a community of pines which had grown there for millennia.  I still feel sad and numb when I drive by that demolished place, where the White B.I.A. had an unnecessary, and ugly, school built.[xxii]  I feel a big ache inside of my chest when I see what has been done to the forest, the flying squirrels, the birds, and everyone else whose home was there.  The Europeans who came here, homeless, two centuries ago, now have homeless people in the cities they have built here.  By cutting down the forests they have made the birds, and the bears, and everyone else homeless, and have also destroyed the food chain and the water cycle, which is the foundation of survival for us all.  The Europeans do not have the right to come into the land of people who are living in harmony and destroy what we have cherished for millennia.  The Europeans write in their Bible that the Judeo-Christian God created all living things.[xxiii]  If they really believe this, why all of the destruction?

            In the Ahnishinahbæótjibway language we do not speak with the meanings embedded in grammatical structure, subject acting upon object, but we see the consequences of English-language thinking all around us.  The streams and lakes were crystal-clear forty years ago.  I remember looking down through twenty feet of limpid water to watch the big snapping turtles and the schools of fish.  The waters are all polluted now, green and slimy, and contaminated with mercury,[xxiv] sewage and agricultural chemicals.  When I was younger, the Indian Agency built homes for the B.I.A. employees at Redlake.  The sewer lines ran directly into a creek where we used to fish.  That's insane, flushing their toilets right into Pike Creek, a few hundred yards upstream from the largest lake claimed by Minnesota.  To us, doing something like that was inconceivable.  In English words, they said, "we are here to help you become civilized," but their actions translated into pollution and disrespect.  The Europeans are replacing what the Ahnishinahbæótji­bway maintained for a hundred millennia, with the artifacts of their hierarchical thinking, with contemptuous disregard for the Ahnishi­nahbæótjibway whose land this is.

The abstract

            The Lislakh languages are a crucial key to understanding the White man.  English, German, and rote Catholic Latin (which are the European languages I know) are made up of abstract words, which are defined by Judeo-Christianity as being the only valid basis of reality, Divinely ordained, God Himself:

            In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God[xxv].

The abstractions of which these languages are constructed seem to me to be illusions within a void which is spiritually dead.  The inner sanctum of these abstractions is an exclusive private club: White, male, and upper-class.  There is social hierarchy within the abstract: the hereditary élite are the ones who are served by the structure and who dominate it.  Beneath them, in a subordinate role as second-class members of the club, are the intelligentsia; lettered craftspeople and social engineers who work with abstract concepts within the language to serve the needs of the self-proclaimed aristocracy.  Many of the intellectuals who participate in the abstract maintain their personal sense of integrity by compartmentalizing their thinking, relegating awareness of their linguistic and social shackles to their unconscious minds.  They know that there are rigid constraints on free and independent thinking, so they focus their attention on what they call beauty in the abstract, rather than on the inevitable consequences of what they are doing as servants of those who are obsessed with power and control, never realizing that somebody outside of their system may be watching them.  I have listened to intellectuals who live for the abstract tell me with near rapture about their theoretical art.

            The abstract has, over the millennia, developed many levels of complexity sufficient to divert those who would seek truth into a lifetime of delving into illusory human constructs.  For the genuine seeker of truth, the abstract is one of the many blind alleys built into any enduring hierarchical system, sustained by the structure of the Lislakh languages.

            The abstract is presented to the uninitiated masses as the high priests' hotline to God, as ultimate truth.  Whether scientific or theological, the experts' erudite statements about theoretical, dogmatic ultimate reality are based on reasoning inaccessible to those who do not know the specialists' language.  Many of the Western Europeans' assertions about reality seem counter-intuitive in the limited languages of lower social ranks.  This reinforces the Classical assertion that only the abstract ideal is real, that perception is illusory, and:[xxvi]

            ... every sort of confusion is revealed within us; and that is the weakness of the human mind on which the art of conjuring and of deceiving by light and shadow and other ingenious devices imposes, having an effect upon us like magic.

Most of that presented in the media, particularly television, is illusion in the abstract which depicts, redefines and promotes what the aristocracy believes is necessary to maintain their version of an hierarchical Utopia--in which they live at the present moment, in the abstract as well as in the real, while most of the rest of the human beings in the world are kept as their de facto slaves through the artifice of Lislakh languages.

            The abstract patterns and sustains the class system upon which hierarchical governments are structured, whether such government is categorized as monarchy, democracy, communist or totalitarian.  The land, the resources, and the living time of human beings which is called labor, are real.  It is said, as though it were inevitable, "the poor will always be with us."[xxvii]  The old European feudal abstract has evolved a mercantile Machiavellian superstructure, and uses language to disempower any potential threat to the entrenched élites.  The abstract is designed so that the invaders could steal the land, resources and time from the autochthonous people and a few people can usurp the autonomy of everybody else.

            The literal translation of the English-language expressions, "free market economy," "democracy," and "communism" are entirely different from their English connotations in an egalitarian language.  One of the reasons why Ogden and Richards' dream of a clear universal language, Basic English, gathers dust on university library shelves, is because the elusive ambiguity of slogan-concepts like "freedom," needed to maintain the power of the hierarchical abstract, disappeared when such words were translated into the 800-word vocabulary of Basic English.[xxviii]

            The abstract Lislakh languages ultimately hide reality even from the leaders and their expert counselors.  When the European emigrants left home, they were fleeing the decimation of their own homeland, and the violent chaos and repressive totalitarian phases of Lislakh social structure.  They said of our Ahnishinahbæótjibway land, in their European languages, "there is nothing here," and then proceeded to destroy what we had, re-creating that from which they had fled.  They say, "Empires rise and fall," but the paradigm of imperialism is built into the Lislakh languages (rather than reality).  It will continue to wreak havoc until speakers of those languages can lay their abstrac­tions aside, and understand the artificial molds into which they are being forced from a grounded perspective, meaning that they put their feet on the ground and understand that they come from Grandmother Earth.  If they can take a handful of Earth, and feel the harmony and the connection: that this is where we all come from and where we all return, that this Earth is life itself, and that death and going back to the Earth is a part of life.  Only then will they return to their roots as human beings, and then they will understand.

            When I turned my back on the Indian identity and Western European materialism, then I became free--again, because I was born free.  I could feel the weight lift from my shoulders, and my hands become untied, as I left the shackles of Western European civilization behind me.

            I have suggested to Aboriginal Indigenous people who have asked my advice, "learn to speak and write in English, so you can communi­cate, so you can defend yourselves with clarity, so you can understand the White man."

Abstracts

            Indians are an abstraction, an artificial identity.  When the English conquered the French Métis people, they turned them into Indians as a part of the spoils of war.  At the same time, they  applied their abstract identity to the Aboriginal Indigenous people.  The only thing the French Métis give up under the imposed Indian identity is their self-respect and who they really are.  But, Aboriginal Indigenous people who accept the Indian identity give up our land, our children, our religion, our ancestors' graveyards, all living things that sustain us and even the air that we breathe.  We give up everything by allowing ourselves to be put into an Indian identity: Grandmother, Grandfather, our Dodemians and ourselves.  Indians use the slogan, "Indian and Free," but assuming the White man's abstract Indian identity means giving up all freedom for Aboriginal Indigenous people.  There are some Aboriginal Indigenous people who say they are Indians, but they are quoting their ancestors who did not understand English, and who did not understand the implications of the English word, Indian.

            Chief Joseph did not understand the details of Western European abstract thinking, although he knew quite clearly the reasons that the gesture meaning English in Aboriginal Indigenous peoples' universal sign language signified speaking with a forked tongue.  Because he could not speak English, he could not defend himself against the abstract Indians and the abstract laws which were used to steal his land.  The United States Government gave Chief Joseph four artificial identities: Chief, Nez Percé, Indian, and Joseph.  (In the genealogies we have done, the Euro-Americans gave a lot of people the name Joseph.)[xxix]  This is the way Chief Joseph was interpreted as describing what happened--I don't know what was lost in translation:[xxx]

            Suppose a white man should come to me and say, 'Joseph, I like your horses, and I want to buy them.'  I say to him, 'No, my horses suit me, and I will not sell them.'  Then, he goes to my neighbor, and says to him, 'Joseph has some horses.  I want to buy them, but he refuses to sell.'  My neighbor answers, 'Pay me the money, and I will sell you Joseph's horses.'  The white man returns to me and says, 'Joseph, I have bought your horses, and you must let me have them.'  If our lands were sold to the government, this is the way they were bought.

The neighbor that Chief Joseph describes as selling things which do not belong to him, was not an Aboriginal Indigenous person.  Neither Joseph, nor any other Aboriginal Indigenous person, can sell land.  Abstract Euro-American land titles do not, and cannot, change the reality of Aboriginal Indigenous connection to the land.

            European land title is an abstraction, which is probably why legal documents relating to land titles are called abstracts.  Europeans and Euro-Americans base their land title on abstract Judeo-Christian dogma.  As explained by one real estate attorney:[xxxi]

            I acknowledge your letter inquiring as to the title of the ... property prior to the year 1803.  Please be advised that in the year 1803 the United States of America acquired the Territory of Louisiana from the Spanish Crown by conquest.  The Spanish Crown had originally acquired title by virtue of the discoveries of one Christopher Columbus, sailor, who had been duly authorized to embark upon the voyage of discovery by Isabella, Queen of Spain.  Isabella, before granting such authority, had obtained the sanction of His Holiness, the Pope; the Pope is the Vicar on Earth of Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ is the Son and Heir apparent of God.  God made Louisiana [territory] ...

This is an imported European perspective which has no jurisdiction on this Continent.

            The symbolic solvency of the U.S. dollar has depended on revenue from Aboriginal Indigenous peoples' land and resources since the first European refugees got off the boats: as collateral and security;[xxxii] as a political lever via kickbacks from the railroads, mining interests, timber companies, and other resource corporations;[xxxiii] and as a source of tax revenue.  This is the origin of the American money slang, "one red cent," and the racist pun, "a buck."  Although the paper upon which money is printed is real, the value ascribed to it is an abstrac­tion.[xxxiv]  Outside the imaginary realm which is the context of Lislakh languages, their money has no real value.

Language and identity

            A formal European language is really a group of dialects, jargons and cants which reflect and reinforce social stratification.[xxxv]  There is a jargon for each different class of people defined within the language.  There is low German, and high German.  The lawyers and the doctors each have their own languages, and within their professional realm they rank each other with varying degrees of status.  Truck drivers have their own jargon.  There is street language, and prisoners have a certain language that they use, talking to one another without moving their lips.  The people who are in prison are there because of language: the role they are living out as criminals is linguistically defined, and the police know just what they are going to do.

            The way that a person uses language identifies them as belonging to a particular class; it cements them into an identity, both bonding them together as a group and dividing them into caste levels within the group.  When I was in the White world, I had to function as a truck driver, and I spoke the jargon of the truck drivers.  Teamster's Union Truck Driver was an identity which I took on in the White world, although because of English-language racism, I remained an observer outside of the drivers' hierarchy.

            When I quit driving truck and helped found the American Indian Movement to work for social change, I left my truck driver identity, and took on the White Indian identity of a militant, dressed in cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, an Indian bandanna, blue jeans, dark glasses, headband and long braids.  Since Indian is a mythological identity, we initially took our cues from Hollywood.  The news media defined us, a process of interaction in which the people who fit the White media's preconceptions of what a Real Indian was supposed to be, were the ones featured on the news.  We wanna-be's played back into the stereotype, adopting the images in the media.  The original goals of A.I.M. got lost in the abstract.

            The English language played an important part in the failure of A.I.M.  Many beautiful goals and objectives were written up by the American Indian Movement, identifying the problems in the community.  As a young man with idealism, I believed that using the Euro-American paradigm of social change was workable, and that the militancy of A.I.M. was a vehicle through which we could solve the problems confronting the Indians and the Aboriginal Indigenous communities.  When, after Wounded Knee and the takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, social change did not happen, I proposed that we take a different approach, and use community-owned economic development.  The Euro-Americans who had become recognized as Indian leaders, in part through the media and in part because of external White support, disagreed and said they were going to demonstrate some more, drawing media attention to themselves and feeding their egos.  I resigned as treasurer of the American Indian Movement, because although they said they were going to make social change, it did not happen, and could not happen in the way they were going about it.  It still has not happened, and can not happen from within the Indian identity, which is a proprietary identity of the White man.  Most of the people who were demonstrating did not know who they really were or where they were going, and did not have a clear vision of what they wanted to accomplish.

            Within the constraints of abstract language structure, the militant Indian movements did establish some organizations which were supposed to address the problems within the community.  But then, the language fooled us again, because these organizations did not--and could not--address the problems.  The conditions which were documented in the early 1960's are still there.  There have been a few new buildings and other cosmetic changes, which address the social problems only symbolically.

            In fact, going about social change in the ways we could talk about it in English, entrenched the problems of the community.  Some of the individuals who were involved with A.I.M. moved up in the White man's social hierarchy, often as professional token Indians, but the overall conditions in South Minneapolis are no better now than they were in 1968.  The doors that were opened, opened to individuals rather than to the community.  After I resigned, I found that doors which had been open to me as treasurer of A.I.M., were once again slammed in my face.  The structure of the English language, like fractal equations in mathematics, simultaneously generates the social problems; and molds peoples' perceptions and ideas, which leads their thinking to prescribed solutions which maintain the overall social structure.  I see the problem as being in the language, which is inherently and by definition hierarchical at its abstract foundation.  Within the context of Lislakh languages a person is not free.  They are caught in a parasitic web.  The social problems can be solved, but not within the definitions and paradigms provided by English and other Lislakh languages, and not while using the stereotyped identities created by the speakers of those languages, such as being Indian.

The Chippewa language

            During my formative years there were four languages in common use on the Red Lake Reservation: the Lislakh languages of English, French, and Chippewa; and the Aboriginal Indigenous language, Ahnishinah­bæótjibway.  My mother was called an Indian woman, although according to her genealogy, she was a French Métis.  I don't remember if she spoke French, because she died when I was three years old, but I remember her talking to me in English.  She probably spoke some of three languages: Chippewa, English, and French.

            Chippewa is an hierarchical Creole language, a hybrid language of the French Métis, which was worked over into a Christian language by the missionaries.  The book which is mislabeled A Dictionary of the Ojibway Language[xxxvi] is really a Chippewa dictionary,[xxxvii] and has the tracks of missionaries all over it.  Their pious linguistic and social engineering was intentional:[xxxviii]

             ... The experience of the missionary societies the world over is that, beginning with the conscience and hearts of men, they must be reached through the language which they spoke in their childhood.  Hence the first thing the missionary does in going to a pagan people is to get hold of their language, to reduce it to writing and make a vocabu­lary and then put in it some portion of the word of God.  That is the missionary rule the world over. ...  Quite a number of languages have been enriched with portions of the word of God.

Chippewa began as a barter and trade pidgin, used by the Europeans and Métis, and became a language of colonizers, commercial hunters and trappers, and fur traders.  Its structure reflects its French feudal and mercantile heritage, overlaid by the work of Baraga and his colleagues.  Chippewa has never been an Aboriginal Indigenous language.

            Ahnishinahbæótjibway has always been an egalitarian language.  The way that we kept the ecosystem typifies our language.  Chippewa, English, and French have been the major languages spoken on the Reservation for the last sixty years, and during this time the Ahnishinahbæótjibway forests have been demolished.  Destroying the forests is beyond the bounds of thinkable thought, in my language.  The Ahnishinahbæótjibway thought the Euro-Americans were crazy, ruining the ecosystem upon which our lives depended, but at that time there was no way of stopping them or the Indians they were using as a part of the process of deforestation.  When we did not speak English, we could not explain what was happening in a way that others would understand.  The U.S. policy was to annihilate us by destroying our food supply.  I don't see any difference between cutting down our forests, and burning Euro-Americans' grain fields and shooting their cattle.  Both are violent destruction of a peoples' subsistence.

            The White man said we were crazy for not plundering and looting our ecosystem to "make money."  There has been no communication with the policy-makers, no dialogue, no rebuttals, not even a rap session about what is going on here.  The U.S. Congress legislates in the abstract, then uses their statutes to cut down Ahnishinahbæótjibway forests and turn them into paper money owned by the White man.  After the Euro-Americans steal or destroy everything we value, then they tell us, "you are poor, and you don't have anything ... and because you have no money, you are at the fringe of respectable society."

            The missionary Blackrobes were sent here at considerable expense as a part of the colonization process.  Were they really converting people to Christianity?  In one dimension, conversion to Christianity involves symbolic magic, transformation with the sprinkling of water, but I have always thought that holding a religious philosophy requires understanding that philosophy.  The concepts of Christianity have never been in the Ahnishinahbæótjibway language.  There is no word for sin, and neither God nor the Devil exists in my language or culture.  Our fundamental relationship to the Universe is different from that of the Judeo-Christians and their Indians.  In the Mission School, we were not taught enough English to understand Christianity.  I still wonder about missionaries going into other countries, and saying they are converting people.  How can you convert someone, if you can't communicate in their language, and vice versa?  The missionaries have converted Métis people, because these people already had Lislakh values--but in my way of thinking, these converts were already assimilated and belonged to the Judeo-Christian states, because of their White patrilines.

            The Missionaries claim they learned the Aboriginal Indigenous languages.  I remember the Catholic priests preaching in Chippewa, and what they said didn't make any sense--in Latin, in English, in Ahnishinahbæótjibway, or as I understood it, even in Chippewa.  I don't know what language the priests thought they learned.  The Missionary Societies have yet to hear the other side of the story from the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples against whom they have sent their missionaries.

The English language

            Although the Catholics gave sermons in Chippewa, they battered the Ahnishinahbæótjibway children for speaking our Aboriginal Indigenous languages, both in the Government School and in the Mission School.  At the same time, they told us, "God is Love."  Such violent sado-masochistic practices of love are very different from the harmonious Ahnishinahbæótjibway understanding.  When the Euro-Americans talk about "Peace and love around the world," I have learned to expect more violence, because of the unresolvable dualism in their language.  I do not understand how violence could possibly be considered love, but one of the Christian Métis preachers at Red Lake used to take his wife down to the lake, and beat the Devil out of her.

            Western European scholars write that their grammar is inherent in Man's brain, and the Judeo-Christians claim that the structure of language comes from God.  They recognize only their own violent concept of God, so in rigid linear abstract thinking it might seem reasonable that there should only be one linguistic structure, their own, which (not incidentally) sustains the hierarchy.  The present English First movement apparently follows the same logic.

            The annihilation of the ancient egalitarian languages of the Aboriginal Indigenous people was an explicit policy of the United States Government.  Using Indians to get at Aboriginal Indigenous people, this policy was discussed in detail at the Lake Mohonk Conferences in conjunction with the Dawes Allotment Act.  In 1887, General Whittlesey said:[xxxix]

            ... The reasons for desiring the Indians taught in the English language are so self-evident and apparent that it was supposed every friend of Indian education would gladly co-operate with the government in the good work.  ... These Indians ought to be English-speaking Indians to-day.  The Seneca language should be a dead language to-day, just as much as the language in which the Elliot Bible was printed has become a dead language.  There should not be a tribe of Indians that had to be addressed in the native tongue after sixty years of missionary work.  Judge Draper told us the other day that the majority still speak their own dialect and hold to their traditions and superstitions in the State of New York.  ... We have heard it said in this room that we do not want to raise any more Indians; we shall keep it up, as long as we keep teaching them their own language.  ... They have found that the way to educate and civilize is to teach them English, so we shall find it all over the country.

In 1888, the Reverend Lyman Abbott said:[xl]

            ... The impalpable walls of language are more impenetrable than walls of stone. ... If the Government were at once to assume the entire work of educating the Indian children of school age in the United States, and of compelling them to attend the schools, and of furnishing them thereat with sufficient knowledge of the English language, the methods of industry and the moral laws to fit them for civilized life, the churches ... could bend their energies to the twofold work of the higher ethical and spiritual culture of the Indians ...

And, in 1890:[xli]

            As to the subjects taught, there must, in the first in­stance, be the English language, which should be required of every pupil.  Their own tongues tend to narrow the intel­lect, and are not fitted to impart and express the ideas which expand the mind and excite higher aspirations.  ...

For Aboriginal Indigenous people, compulsory education was designed to teach the minimum amount of English necessary to function as a Helot laborer, and completely destroy Aboriginal Indigenous languages.

            The way the nuns at St. Mary's Mission School dealt with Ahnishinahbæótjibway children was not to teach us English in a kind and considerate way.  They called us "dumb little savages," and gave us tests in English, which only the Métis children understood.  They would make us get up in front of the class to read out loud.  We didn't know what the English words meant nor how to pronounce them, and they would make fun of us for being ignorant.  We left the eighth grade with a vocabulary of less than 400 words of English, shattered self-esteem, and our Ahnishinahbæótjibway language beaten into hiding deep inside us, although not repressed in our subconscious.

            I lived for ten years without much language: nine years as a political prisoner in the Mission School, and a year as a farm-hand in the Red River Valley, learning rudimentary English.  Without a language, one is scared, and has no confidence.  It's like being dropped into a country where nobody speaks your language and you only speak a few halting words of theirs, only know a few letters of their alphabet.  I spent a lot of time listening to the way people used their words.

            At the Mission School, there were a lot of gestures, facial expressions, fist-waving and other non-verbal communication.  Many people, French Métis as well as Ahnishinahbæótjibway, were so trauma­tized by their compulsory education that they never have learned much language.  There is a broken English called "Reservation English," which has a vocabulary of about four hundred words.[xlii]  This fragmen­tary dialect is spoken here and in the "red ghettos" in the cities.  Reservation English limits communication just as Chippewa did, and without a verbal language, minor disagreements escalate into the body-language of fist-fights.  A person can function without a language, but only within very narrow limits.  Instead of talking, people will snap their eyes, or look off into the brush when they meet somebody on the road.

            When I was young, there was a lot of name-calling, labeling and stereotyping in the Mission School, which was not discouraged by the Nuns.  Promoting racism, hatred, and conflict was a part of their agenda.  I often wonder about all the non-Whites in prison who do not have full use of the language.  Many of them were told by their teachers at school, "you are no good," and they have lived out the White man's stereotypes, and have not been able to defend themselves because they do not know English.  They get trapped by the White man's violence, because they do not have access to enough language to define themselves.  They cannot find out what the laws are,[xliii] and without a language they are ripe for victimization and exploitation.

            It has taken me at least thirty years of concentrated study to teach myself English.  It was difficult because of the hierarchical thinking, abstractions, and ambiguities embedded in this Western European language.  I had to learn English one word and one sentence at a time, because I could not find an analytical structure that made any sense to me.  I kept asking people whose native language was English, what the key to their language was.  What was crucial to my understanding--that it is an abstract hierarchical language, was not important enough for them to think of mentioning, because they were looking at it from the inside.  I still have trouble with their linear thinking, especially when writing, and their abstractions never cease to amaze me.  People arguing about things that aren't real seems very strange.

            Under the misnomer of Chippewa,[xliv] the Guinness Book of World Records lists the Ahnishinahbæótjibway language as the most difficult in the world.[xlv]  This classification is from an English-language perspective, and reflects the differences between the structure and world-view of the two languages, rather than the inherent complexity of my own language.  My grandfather raised me with Aboriginal Indigenous values, and my mind was structured in my formative years by the Ahnishinahbæótjibway language.  This is why I had such trouble with English.  It was a real struggle to look at the world through the White man's eyes.  I left the Reservation for years, to get away from the distortions and barriers created by the B.I.A. and their Indians, to study the Whites and their social engineering in other contexts.  In order to understand English, I had to study the history, the philoso­phy, and the religion of the people who developed English, including their endless wars which raged back and forth across Europe.  I had to learn about Euro-American politics and social engineering.  I studied the White man's values, ethics, and abstract thinking, in his language, in order to understand the way the English language works.  I was greatly amazed when I comprehended that the Indians didn't know about either English or Ahnishinahbæótjibway.  After researching the genealogy and the history of Red Lake, everything crystallized, and I finally began to see the full picture.

            I have come to the realization that language is the key to understanding between the Ahnishinahbæótjibway and the Euro-Americans.  In order to live harmoniously on this Continent, all who call themselves Americans need to learn to put their feet on the ground, and overcome their culturally imposed terror of that which is beyond the rigid boundaries of the ideal abstract underlying their language.  To understand Aboriginal Indigenous people, they need to learn our languages and interact with us in our context, rather than creating a buffer like the Chippewa and other illusions of Indians so they don't have to deal with reality.

            The Aboriginal Indigenous peoples of the world have given the Europeans many things.  Now, we would like to give you something else: another way of looking at the world, a way to live in harmony, the freedom that many immigrants were looking for when they came here.  It was said that the First World War was the "war to end all wars;" but violence leads only to more violence.  Maybe we can, yet, recreate what was once here, a harmonious society in which everyone respected one another, where the ecosystem was intact and abundant, and there wasn't even a word for war or peace in the language.  Aboriginal Indigenous philosophy and reality is a new frontier, of freedom and spirituality.

            Women and non-Whites have been excluded by the patriarchal structure of the American English language.  As long as this language is on this Continent, the grammar and the vocabulary need to be re-organized and restructured, and new categories of words need to be brought into the language to fit the needs of the changing world, including a word which means harmonious co-existence, instead of peace.  Lislakh history has come full circle, and the old paradigms of Manifest Destiny, plunder, and corporate feudal structure must be trashed.  We are at a moment in history when humanity has the capability of moving into other dimensions and a new paradigm, a world of egalitarian harmony, regeneration of Grandmother Earth, and respect for one another.  The prophesied time of change is here, calling from deep within the land, and every person has something valuable to offer.


Notes for Chapter XV

[i].Ahnishinahbæótjibway language is harmonized with the seasons.  All language exists in time, but the Western Europeans have defined themselves in terms of artificial hours and minutes.  This time is formally defined on the basis on the abstract precision of a rate of laboratory radioactive decay, but originated from the measurement of one person's labor for another.

[ii].The New Century Dictionary, 1952, The Century Co., pages 919-920.

[iii].The Webster's New World Dictionary, College Edition, World Publishing Co., 1957, page 821, mentions communication in the first definition of language, subsidiary and as an alternative to "the expression ... of thoughts and feelings" and limits language to human beings.

[iv].That the Cold War and subsequent definitions of language include the idea of communication has something to do with a change in the meaning of the word, communication.  The 1988 Webster's New College Dictionary, page 282, includes a second definition of communication which was not there 36 years earlier: the unilateral transmission of signals or messages, as opposed to the older meaning of interchange or sharing.

[v]."The pupil had permitted his escape, only because, in his own language, 'for such a bird he had no convenient cage.'" The New Century Dictionary, Op. cit., after Motley's "Dutch Republic."

[vi].Many of the deceptions of the English language are sitting right in the open, hidden from people only by the mental compartmentalization created by the language.  The New Roget's Thesaurus of the English Language, New York, 1961, page 3, documents in detail how the word "abstract" is used to steal awareness of reality, in the lists of synonyms for this word, which include: "difficult, impractical, theoretical ... withdraw, remove, take away, carry off, appropriate, loot, rifle, burglarize, rob, lift (THIEVERY), abridge, digest ... "

[vii].English-language dictionaries set the context of many definitions with the polarity of synonyms and antonyms.  Hegel's dialectic is an extension of dualism.  Much is made of the multi-dimensional capabilities of the Information Age--limited by the binary logic of computer design.

[viii].Who's going to be top dog, rule the roost, be cock of the walk, run the show?

[ix].S.I. Hayakawa, editor, The Use and Misuse of Language, Fawcett, 1962, page viii.

[x].Ibid, page ix.

[xi].Anatol Rapoport, "What is Semantics," in S.I. Hayakawa, Op. cit., pages 24-5.

[xii].They also have apparently not scrutinized the abstract underlying their academic discipline, including the linear, hierarchical hypothesis that cultures change over time by evolving from primitive to advanced.

[xiii].For example, Plato, The Republic, Jowett Translation, Vintage Classics Edition, 1991, pages 364-5.  Socrates' dialogues, as posthumously recorded by Plato, took place during and immediately after two hundred years of domination by the militaristic Greek nation-state of Sparta--the Circle had come around from the Athenians' own violent expansion.

[xiv].The English-speaking peoples' distrust and hostility toward the environment is built into their language.  Roget's Thesaurus, Op. cit., page 155, includes among the synonyms for the word environment:  phantasmagoria, girdle, beleaguer, belt, beset, besiege, bound, box, cincture, entrench, siege, hem in, and engulfing, and among the cross references are included RESTRAINT and WALL.

            Linguistically, the environment becomes an enemy which may militaristically outflank them and penetrate their rear.

[xv].Anthropological linguist and philosopher, student of the Mayan language and non-verbal communication, and professor of cultural studies and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

[xvi].Personal communication, October 6, 1993; in the context of language we also thank him for suggesting that we scrutinize Plato's Republic.

[xvii].Dr. Sarles noted that seeking the nature of God by divining grammatical structure has been an Indo-European tradition since Sanskrit-speaking people colonized India.

[xviii].For example, St. Paul Police Chief William Finney is quoted in the December 17, 1994 Minneapolis Star Tribune as saying, "I think we ought to measure community satisfaction. No police department is going to cure crime.  Crime has been around since Cain and Abel, or maybe Adam and Eve.  The issue is, can we address it in a fashion that makes our citizens feel safer?"

[xix].The sub-conscious and unconscious minds are cultural artifacts of hierarchi­cal language.  The being of an unacculturated Ahnishinahbæótjibway is neither compartmentalized into mind, body, and soul; nor separated into conscious and unconscious.  Hierarchy is so alien to us that it is nearly impossible to translate concepts such as "this is better than that" into Ahnishinahbæótjibway, and thus we do not see the world filtered through linguistic value judgments that one thing is worth attention, while another is below the level of awareness.

            Although Ahnishinahbæótjibway have used ideographic writing for millennia, most of our communication is interaction between beings who are present in reality, and our socially reinforced conscious awareness is much more than words.  The linguistic map circumscribed by the Lislakh ideal excludes vast territories of reality.  Because the conscious thought processes of native speakers of English are in terms of words, there are for these people large areas of their being which are inexpressible and unthinkable.  Most of these aspects of their human experience, including the pre-verbal life of an infant and semi-verbal childhood before what the Catholic Church categorizes as the "Age of Reason," are remembered only in the Lislakh subconscious.

            The bicameral schism between conscious and subconscious also has to do with dichotomy and the attribution of good and evil, the "good news and the bad news," darkness and light, God and the Devil, Heaven and Hell, sinful guilt and redemption.  Every moment of an Euro-American person's life has, because of their dichotomy in their abstract ideal, value-laden judgments attached to it by their language.  In the process which Gregory Bateson has eloquently described as schismogenesis (Naven, Cambridge University Press, 1938), their perception of life-experience separates into diametrically opposed linguistic compartments.  Some of one half of this polarized dichotomization of life is linguistically categorized and remembered as symbols in the conscious mind, while the balance is consigned to the unconscious or forgotten.

            Mind-body dualism also pertains to Lislakh subconsciousness.  Because their languages are designed to detach them from nature, separating the abstract purity of the mind from what they understand as corruption and obscenity of the body, much of their conscious awareness is in terms of mental abstractions. Their awareness of self as a corporal living being is often subconscious, and many Euro-Americans get sick because they have no accessible means of understanding what their body is saying.

            Social hierarchy also engenders subconsciousness and unconsciousness because of the master-servant relationships which are an inherent part of class stratification.  Many Euro-Americans live much of their lives without awareness, detaching their conscious selves from the routine things which they must do to survive within their society.  Instead of consciously growing and gathering their own food in a harmonious natural environment, they labor for another in often unpleasant, noisy, smelly and physically painful settings, so that they can do their food-gathering in grocery stores.  In these regimented places they are sold "the sizzle not the steak" abstract food, the reality of which is disconnected from the land and contaminated with additives.

            Ahnishinahbæótjibway have tried living according to the Euro-Americans' directives: disconnected from nature, from ourselves and from our Dodemian.  Much of our traditional permacultural infrastructure has been destroyed, and for a century we have been told by the White man, "you have to do it our way."  Their way doesn't work.  To survive as human beings, we need to go back to our traditional way, replant our gardens, and restore our permaculture and our self-sufficiency.

[xx].What Western European civilization categorizes as beautiful, Classical, popular, etc., is determined and promoted by mechanisms which are external to the majority of their people.

[xxi].It is no accident that the Star Trek language of Klingon, coined by Indian languages scholar Marc Okrand, is a violent language.

[xxii].This ten million dollars fortress of a school building was funded with school bonds levied by outsiders against my land.  There already was a fine school building at Red Lake.  The new building is unnecessary and does not improve the educational curriculum at Red Lake.  Most of those parents who can managed to do so, send their children off the Reservation to the Bemidji Public Schools.

[xxiii].The Holy Bible, Genesis 1:1-25, Op. cit.

[xxiv].In an article, "Great Lakes legislators want cuts to environmental programs restored," the Bemidji Pioneer, March 22, 1990, mentions "a report by the Sierra Club" which "cites findings from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency documenting mercury contamination of fish."

            Anastasia M. Shkilnyk, in A Poison Stronger Than Love, The Destruction of an Ojibwa [sic] Community, Yale University Press, 1985, writes of the devastation of the Grassy Narrows, Ontario community: through relocation, mercury poisoning, and alcohol and drugs.  The author of this sympathetic and meticulously researched book notes that the symptoms of chemical abuse can mimic or mask the symptoms of mercury poisoning (page 195), but instead of exploring the ways in which social engineering promoted alcoholism and drug use for precisely this reason, blames "the way in which Indians use alcohol" (page 20, ff).

            Anastasia Shkilnyk mentions working with "Melva Zook, one of the resident Mennonite missionaries, in a genealogical mapping of Grassy Narrows clans since the treaty of 1873."

[xxv].The Holy Bible, King James Version, licensed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to William Collins and Co., Ltd., 1957, the Gospel According to St. John, Chapter 1, Verse 1.

[xxvi].Plato, The Republic, Op. cit., pages 371-2.

[xxvii].I first heard this pronouncement from the nuns at the Red Lake Mission School.

[xxviii].The General Basic English Dictionary; and Basic English and Its Uses, I.A. Richards, 1943, W.W. Norton & Co., New York.  On pages 124-125, he translates the words totalitarianism and democracy into his Basic English.

[xxix].Ahnishinahbæótjibway genealogy, Op. cit.  I don't know why so many people got named Joseph.  Maybe the Euro-Americans who did the naming were evoking the Lost Tribes of Israel.

[xxx].Oral history.

[xxxi].Real Estate Principles and Practices, Alfred King, 1972.

[xxxii].The abstract market value of Aboriginal Indigenous peoples land claimed by the U.S. Government, Reservation land under Trust Title, Bureau of Land Management Land, National Forest Land, and other so-called public lands, is still greater than the national debt.  I make a prediction: watch what happens to the U.S. Dollar if the national debt exceeds the book-value assets of this stolen property.

[xxxiii].In part:

            The American Revolution left a large public debt.  The 1803 Louisiana Purchase was paid for under with same piece of legislation as the Cherokee Removal, i.e. the sale of Cherokee land.

            The debts of the War of 1812 were paid for in part by the sale of Creek Land.

            The Civil War was accompanied by a large number of Indian Treaties (including one in 1863-4 illegally alienating Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway land).  The profits from the sale of lands stolen under these treaties not only paid Civil War debts, but also for the 1867 Alaska purchase.

            The 1898 Spanish American War was largely paid for by the sale of what were called "surplus Indian lands," alienated under the General Allotment Act.

            The Great Depression, and the need to recoup the expenses of World War I, played a large role in the specifics of the 1934 Howard-Wheeler Indian Reorganization Act, which gave the U.S. Government access to profits from the sale (by the Indian Tribal Councils it created) of Aboriginal Indigenous peoples' timber, grazing rights, and mineral rights.

            The Korean War was accompanied by the U.S. policy of Indian Termination, under which more land was stolen into the public domain and sold at a profit.

            The Vietnam War was accompanied by U.S. claims of jurisdiction over so-called Indian water rights, and consequent income from the sale and lease thereof.

            Most of the first two centuries of United States fiscal policy were characterized by a spoils and booty economy based on the land and resources belonging to the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples of this Continent.  Now that the resources are gone, the paradigm may shift.

[xxxiv].When the illusion of value attributed to a specific currency collapses, as it did with German marks after World War I and Reichs marks after World War II, what was once coveted as valuable money becomes perceived as so much useless paper, although the illusion of money in the abstract remains.

[xxxv].For those of the "lower" classes, whose language does not approximate Standard English, Constitutional guarantees of Freedom of the Press are nearly moot.  Without what is categorized as grammatically correct English, access to the press is very sharply curtailed.

[xxxvi].Frederic Baraga, Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1992 reprint of 1878 original, A Dictionary of the Otchipwe Language, Montreal.

[xxxvii].For example, ibid, page 230, Small venial sin, batâdowinens, a concept which did not exist in the Ahnishinahbæótjibway language, and for which the Chippewa Métis probably had very little use without missionaries.

[xxxviii].5th Lake Mohonk Conference transcripts, page 44, Ex-Commissioner Price.

[xxxix].Transcripts of the Lake Mohonk Conference, pages 46-48.

[xl].September 26, 1888, in the paper, "Education for the Indian," read by Rev. Lyman Abbott, D.D., Lake Mohonk Conference transcripts, pages 11-12.

[xli].Proceedings of the 8th Annual Lake Mohonk Conference, 1890, page 16.

[xlii].Including the one well-developed category of vocabulary, the so-called Anglo-Saxon Street Language.

[xliii].For people in the Indian identity, finding out what the laws are can be a real problem.  Neither the legal system nor the governmental system is taught in the Red Lake Reservation schools.  In 1985, I asked Rex Mayotte, who at that time was B.I.A. Superintendent at Red Lake, for a copy of the Red Lake Codes.  He promised to mail them to me, but never did.  There are myths and folklore in the community about what the laws are supposed to be, which bear little resemblance to the actual statutes.  These statutes have only a minimal relationship to the legal system enforced on the Reservation: some laws are never applied, some are applied only to certain people, and arrests are made on the basis of laws invented on the spot.

            Part of the problem is that the U.S. Government is using what they call Indian law to try to bring non-violent Aboriginal Indigenous people under the jurisdiction of their Rules of War, as well as their imported Roman Statute Law and English Common Law.

[xliv].Neither the broken word Anishinabe, nor the word Ahnishinahbæótjibway has been in the English language.  As a part of obscuring the Aboriginal Indigenous people within the category of Indian, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway are erroneously referred to as Chippewa Indians in most anthropological writing, in bibliographic classifications, in the Smithsonian Institution, in the National Archives, in the Library of Congress, and in scholarly writing describing the languages of this Continent.

[xlv].1992 edition.


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