Thursday , February 22 2024
Not much has changed in the past five hundred or so years of them taking from you and giving nothing in return, has it?

Gifts Are Given, Not Stolen

Four hundred years ago you welcomed some strangers into your homes. You showed them how to survive, where to find food, how to build shelter, and what plants were good for fighting off sickness. At first they seemed pretty grateful and appreciated the help. But then their extended families began to show up and instead of being polite and asking for help, they began demanding you give them what they wanted.

At first you went along with it but eventually you said enough is enough, you guys are on your own. Unfortunately by that time they were pretty well established and were able to start pushing you around. They forced you to leave your homes so they could use the land they were built on for themselves.

Well that was okay; you had cousins on the other side of the mountains you could go and live with. But it seemed there were a lot more of those strangers than you first thought and they had lots of friends and family who wanted places to live as well. Eventually there were just too many of them and they took all the land for themselves, leaving little pieces for you to try and scratch out a living on.

If that wasn't bad enough they decided that what you believed in and the language you spoke wasn't what they wanted you to teach your children so they took them away from you too. When and if they came home, they didn't know who they were anymore. The strangers didn't want them and they didn't know how to live with you.

Finally, and only in the past little while, your people have begun to figure out who they are again and are trying to reconcile that with the world as it is today. Some of you have started learning the ways of the new people and are using that knowledge to help your people get back some of what they had lost.

Children are learning the language of their grandfathers, and singing the old songs again. The stories that you used to tell each other to help you understand the world and teach you how to live a good life are being told again and the dances and songs that celebrated your way of life are being sung at gatherings of the people. Some tongues have been stilled forever and some stories will never be told again, but a lot has been saved.

When you consider that history, and the many attempts that have been made to eradicate you and your way of being from the face of the earth, recent events are even more disquieting. There has always been the occasional one of them who has appreciated your way of life and emulated it. Some of them have even been stupid enough to pretend to be one of you, like that English guy who called himself Grey Owl.

But now things are getting really out of hand. First of all, the same people who had tried so hard to summarily obliterate all that you stood for have taken to setting you up on pedestals as the epitome of harmony with nature. You have become a bizarre mixture of Rousseau's Noble Savage, St. Francis of Assisi, and pagan environmentalist.

Your women are being treated like they are some sort of Earth Mother/Goddess creatures who know all the secrets of creation. Your men are all depicted as deep thinkers and brave warrior types who are stoic in the face of any danger or pain. Being merely human and alive don't seem like sufficient justification for your existence.

If your grandparents had wondered about Grey Owl's sanity in choosing to portray himself as one of you, what would they think of the crop of folk who are either passing themselves off as being descended from your blood or as having been taught your "secrets" to a better life by people unnamed?

What makes all this especially nauseating is that these people are doing this all in the name of their twin gods, Money and Ego. They write books and teach and turn a quick buck and make themselves out to be something special. Who knows what kind of misleading ideas they are filling people's heads with about you and your people while raking in the dough and looking great in tailored deerskins?

Some of the things you read are so incredible that if you hadn't read them you wouldn't believe them. That anybody would make claims such as they are direct conduits for people who lived hundreds of years ago is astounding. They call it "channeling" but you can think of quite a few words that are far more descriptive than that to describe what you think of it.

The irony of the situation hasn't been lost on you. All that you've struggled so hard to reclaim from the times that nobody approved of you is now being stolen from you again. A culture that evolved over thousands of years has been reduced to being packaged as Enlightenment: It's Yours In Twelve Easy Steps or variations on that theme.

Those doing the selling all have impressive sounding names that mean nothing to anyone but themselves and their publishers. But they can call themselves "Where The Sun Don't Shine" and still not come close to understanding anything about who you are and what your experiences have been.

Isn't it bad enough that they tried to destroy your culture by tearing it out of the hearts and minds of your children for three generations? But now they want to claim it for their own selfish uses and diminish you and it in the process. Some people say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and that maybe so in terms of some things. But when you imitate a people's belief system it's nothing but disrespect and theft.

They can talk about being "gifted" with special abilities all they want, but under normal circumstances gifts are given, not stolen. That's not something any of them seem to have grasped yet.

Not much has changed in the past five hundred or so years of them taking from you and giving nothing in return, has it?

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

Check Also

The New Crusades: Islamophobia and the Global War on Muslims.

Book Review: ‘The New Crusades: Islamophobia and the Global War on Muslims’ by Khaled A Beydoun

'The New Crusades: Islamophobia and the Global War on Islam' by Khaled A Beydoun is a powerful and telling story of hate fuelled by policy.