A MESSAGE FROM GANIENKEH
INDEPENDENT NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN STATE
NO. 44 MARCH/APRIL, 1981
OH, TO COMMUNICATE!
To be uninformed is everybody's right. However, it doesn't look good. The unkind can and will call you ignorant if you're uninformed. A hint to the wise ought to be sufficient. Again, very often, it takes more than just a hint to make people see and understand. The very people who are most concerned and to whom it should be most important and to their interest to understand, seemingly cannot.
About 300 years ago, a curious European asked the Iroquois what they called their union of nations. The spokesman said, "Kanonsonnionwe".
It's natural for the white man to take the credit for the new title of the Iroquois Confederacy, after all, he takes great joy in recreating people to his own image. Even wants Indians to join him and become white people. Didn't he depict the Creator God in his own image in paintings? No one ever saw God, but the white man takes the liberty to assume that God looks like him. So, Sir Caucasian goes all over the world and changes the names of people and places. Of course, it's pleasing to the Senecas to have a great ancient society renamed in their own dialect, which is a broken Iroquois language. Hodenosaunee it is to the white man, so it should be to the red man. The correct title in the Iroquois language is Kanonsonnionwe. So many of our people no longer speak the language and don't give a damn how it's further broken up. The hope of this unhumble scribe is not only to check the breaking up of the language, but also to have all the Iroquois people return to the original Iroquois language as it is still spoken by the Mohawks. Yes, the trouble makers as we Mohawks are called, have preserved the language. Instead of thanking us, they call us names. My bosom pals tell me: "Write down the words and tell everybody. Don't just complain." So, friends and enemies, here it is and may you not be too apathetic to be concerned.
Our old friend Russ Means broke into the columns of at least two slick magazines lately. "For the world to live, "Europe" must die". A particularly interesting point he makes is: "There is also some confusion about the word Indian, a mistaken belief that it refers somehow to the country, India. When Columbus washed up on the beach in the Caribbean, he was not looking for a country called India. Europeans were calling that country Hindustan in 1492. Look it up on the old maps. Columbus called the "tribal" people he met "Indio", from the Italian "in dio" meaning "in God."
The reason Columbus called the Onkwehonwe "Indios" (in God) was because of their great friendliness, generosity, good behavior, love for each other and for the wayfaring stranger. To prove his great, momentous discovery in Europe, Columbus seized six of the angel-like people, put them in chains and kidnapped them to Spain. That's the white man's way. Got a treasure? Wrap it up in chains and lock it. It's mine and get outta here. Thank ye, O Russ, for the "in God" information. Maybe we natives should now call ourselves InGodians instead of Indians. What say, O Red Men and Red Women??!!
Read of one criticism against the thoughts of Russ in the articles. It came from a group in British Columbia called Troopers Commune. "Russell Means is a loud voice within the American Indian Movement. His speech at the Black Hills Survival Gathering talks about revolution as a spiritual movement, something beyond human control. We on the Troopers Commune believe that human beings will be responsible for the destruction or rebuilding of society. Means says that Nature will turn against mankind, destroying everybody except a few isolated native people who will magically survive by studying "the hoop, the four directions, the relations"; and other spiritual matters related to their culture. It sounds like that old Bible story where the chosen few will be saved by an unseen force. "
Perhaps Russ ignored the necessity of growing food and struggling for economic self sufficiency because that's such a natural thing to do and needs no mention. It's true that for the InGodians to survive as a distinct people, they must depend on themselves for food and other economic necessities. It's just as important as having a good, moral government and just laws. The spiritual side is good too, as the sacred dances make people happy. Waiting for miracles and prophecy realizations can be very frustrating. The Jews waited 3,000 years for their prophecies to come true. They got tired of waiting in 1949 and grabbed the bull by the horns. Made their prophecies come true. Grabbed Israel and presto! prophecies according to Moses, Abraham et al realized. Lots of Indian nations gone. Extinct. We cannot afford to wait 3,000 years. We may be all extinct by then. We are not as aggressive as the Jews economy wise. It kept them alive. So, we InGodians have to make our own prophecies come true. It's quite a job but it can be done.
Francis Parkman, noted twhistorian, said in his book, "Cartier set out to visit this greasy potentate... ", in reference to Jacque Cartier visiting "King" Donnacona at Stadacone now known as Quebec City. Francis X. had a low opinion of InGodians, saying they're dirty, unkempt, uncivilized savages. In his story, Parkman tells how Cartier and his men lay dying of scurvy where cured by Indian medicine. After being cured of diseases caused by lack of personal hygiene, Cartier and his men departed for France only to return in the middle of August, breaking out of the ship and reeking to high heaven. The InGodians, not knowing the paleface language, could only rum into the water and hope that by imitation, the white men would wash the dangerous disease bearing filth off their bodies. The motions of washing one's self was so foreign to the foreigners that Cartier reported to Europe that the Indians ran into the water and went through a pagan rite of throwing water on themselves to indicate great happiness in seeing them again! Another account would have it that the Indians tired of waiting for the Europeans to take to the water to clean themselves, came out of the water, seized Cartier and his men, stripped off their clothes, dragged them into the water and washing them with strong soap, while the Indian women washed the white men's clothes. Verily, it was Cartier and his men who were the greasy ones. In his twhistory (twisted history), Francis X. even has the nerve to say that a couple of months before Cartier and his men got so sic, Cartier cured a line of sick, lame, blind and maimed Indians just by touching them.
The religion of Europe forbade education and bathing in the year 400 A.D. and it brought on the Dark Age in Europe. It was also known as the Age of Faith and the Golden Age for religion in Europe. It was to be well over a thousand years before the European could take a bath again with impunity. If Cartier had reported his enforced bath in Europe, he very likely would have been burned at the stake for heresy. Queen Isabella became the Indians' friend. She couldn't save their bodies (more than 12 million slaughtered in the first 20 years of the Holy Spanish Crusade in America) but she could save their souls. She ordered the Spanish soldiers to stop the pagan habit of the Indians who took a bath once or twice a day. She herself took a bath only twice in her life. In 1805, Beau Brummel of England made the British take a bath. He was a fop who invented and put men in long pants, vest, ties and other accouterments for the men of style. He was the best dressed man in his time and greatly imitated. He wrote a column in a leading London newspaper on clothing styles, social situations and etiquette. He evaded a certain question for a while. "Since you so obviously don't use perfume, how do you avoid the offensive body odors which seem to be the lot of everyone else?" When he said: "I bathe," he caused a sensation and shocked the British nation. That year in Britain, 35,000 people died after taking a bath. The new fad of bathing quickly spread all over Europe. The Dark Age was also a great age for epidemics. The bubonic plague, yellow plague. It came in all colors and flavors. Europeans developed immunity to these great diseases and carried it to America and infected the natives. An estimated 90% of the population perished. Made it easier for the Europeans to take over the land.
MESSAGE FROM GANIENKEH