Seeing hope at the edge of the distant horizon

  1. Right now the future looks very discouraging and hope is just barely visible on the far distant horizon. I have come to the conclusion that the only thing that might save us – the world – is a massive and unified uprising of people in revolution – standing together at all times, in all ways, and in all places for what is good and what is true.

    My prayer is that I may be remembered as one who stood at the heart of the beginning of that revolution – one who cared and believed enough to devote the remainder of my life to that cause. I do not have money, I do have a disabling medical condition, there are many things that I no longer am able to do which for many years I basically took for granted.

    I proudly bring my Native American heritage to this cause in memory of the many years that our Native American sisters and brothers have endured continuous oppression and hate – always being pushed to the edges of life where they become for the most part – invisible. We the people must move from the fringes of visibility to the core of humanity – coming together to save life as we know it and as it may become in the future.

    I also bring my artist’s view of the world to this cause! Without art moving the soul, no amount of scientific data and facts will save this planet. Revolution begins in the heart and in the soul of the human being and becomes most powerful when it is given space and support to involve all of the human senses together in a unified expression of love, justice, and mercy.

    One nice thing about the form of the disease that I have – it does not effect the heart or the lungs – and, so far anyway, not the brain. So – I do have a heart, I do have a brain, and I am able to breathe well and so today I dedicate those things to the beginning of the revolution that is required to save this planet!

    God, hear our prayer!!

    See More

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

And then . . .

When this blog site was started a number of years ago, I gave it the title Human Beings Anonymous. That title was also the intended title for a book that I had started to write at that time – basically a Twelve Steps book for people who seem to believe that they do not have any addictions or attachments. That book is yet to be completed.

This blog site has had several beginnings and restarts during those years, and has addressed a wide variety of topics – some more effectively than others. It has also  had several false starts – just like the one that brought me back to writing just a few weeks ago.

Over the years I have never found a center to give this blog site a focus and a true reason to be. That all changed the morning of Wednesday, November 9, 2016 – the morning following the recent election.

That morning I was convicted to change this blog site to one that tells the stories of people who made left invisible by society – the true anonymous human beings – women, people of color, LGBTQ people, senior citizens, ethnic and religious groups that society has  forced to the fringes of existence, and for me especially, our Native American sisters and brothers who continue to exist with the oppressions that have existed since the very earliest days of this country – and I know that this is not a complete list.

From this point forward this site will be dedicated to telling the stories of those who find it difficult for their voice to be heard. This site will be a communication ally for the marginalized, the oppressed, the hurting, and the invisible anonymous human beings that share life with us on this planet.

If anyone knows a story that needs to be told, or if you have a story that you need to tell, please be in contact with me so that we might find the most effective way to assist you in moving from anonymous and invisible to a place of love, respect, and compassion.

i know that there is some risk in committing to this work, but it is my calling, and I must begin this part of my life adventure!

Grace, peace, and love

Tom

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your assistance is needed

I just signed the petition to President Obama to join us in taking the important step to STOP the Dakota Access Pipeline. The text of the request from CREDO follows and I have also reposed this request on my Facebook page. I encourage everyone to sign this petition and lend your support to this important cause for all of humanity.

Tell President Obama: Stop the Dakota Access pipeline.

It’s Keystone XL all over again: The Dakota Access pipeline would carry 450,000 barrels of dirty oil per day from North Dakota to Illinois and cut through fragile wildlife habitat, environmentally sensitive areas and sovereign tribal property. Worse, the pipeline would cross under the Missouri River, threatening drinking water downstream if a catastrophic oil spill occurs.

The Army Corps of Engineers granted the Dakota Access pipeline’s permits using a controversial fast-tracking process called “Nationwide Permit 12.” This allows the Corps to essentially rubber-stamp pipeline projects on private property or Native American lands with little environmental review and no meaningful public input.

The Corps incorrectly applied this fast-track process in conflict with numerous federal laws and agreements, including the “Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, as well as federal trust responsibilities guaranteed in the 1851 and 1868 United States treaties with the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes.”

Tell President Obama: Stop the Dakota Access pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux have been protesting for months in peaceful prayer camps in North Dakota, and farmers and landowners in Iowa have been fighting to stop the pipeline there for more than two years. Now, thousands of people have joined in solidarity. In recent days, activists in Iowa and North Dakota have been arrested for physically blocking the pipeline’s construction, with more protests planned in the coming weeks and months.

We must stand with the local leaders and communities who are holding the line against this dirty and dangerous oil pipeline.

This fight is winnable. Hundreds of thousands of CREDO activists, along with our allies across the country, applied massive public pressure on the Obama administration and stopped the Keystone XL pipeline. We can – and must – do it again.

Tell President Obama: Stop the Dakota Access pipeline.

Grace and peace

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Sad and Tragic History

Today, I dedicate this space to the writing of Kahentinetha Horn from 2005. It offers a sobering summary of some of the darkest times in the history of this country.

More tomorrow

Grace and peace

The North American Indian Holocaust
Kahentinetha Horn

 The “final solution” of the North American Indian problem was the model for the subsequent Jewish holocaust and South African apartheid.

      Why is the biggest holocaust in all humanity being hidden from history? Is it because it lasted so long that it has become a habit? It’s been well documented that the killing of Indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere since the beginning of colonization has been estimated at 120 million. Yet nobody wants to speak about it.

      Today historians, anthropologists and archaeologists are revealing that information on this holocaust is being deliberately eliminated from the knowledge base and consciousness of North Americans and the world. A completely false picture is being painted of our people as suffering from social ills of our own making.

      It could be argued that the loss of 120 million from 1500 to 1800 isn’t the same as the loss of 6 million people during World War II. Can 6 million in 1945 be compared to 1 million in 1500?

      School children are still being taught that large areas of North America are uninhabited as if this land belongs to no one and never did. The role of our ancestors as caretakers is constantly and habitually overlooked by colonial society.

      Before the arrival of Europeans, cities and towns here were flourishing. Mexico City had a larger population than any city in Europe. The people were healthy and well-fed. The first Europeans were amazed. The agricultural products developed by the Indigenous people transformed human nutrition internationally.

      The North American Indian holocaust was studied by South Africa for their apartheid program and by Hitler for his genocide of the Jews during World War II. Hitler commented that he admired the great job Americans had done in taking care of the Indian problem. The policies used to kill us off was so successful that people today generally assume that our population was low. Hitler told a past US President when he remarked about their maltreatment of the Jewish people, he mind your own business. You’re the worst.

      Where are the monuments? Where are the memorial ceremonies? Why is it being concealed? The survivors of the WWII holocaust have not yet died and already there is a movement afoot to forget what happened.

      Unlike post-war Germany, North Americans refuse to acknowledge this genocide. Almost one and a quarter million Kanien’ke:haka (Mohawk) were killed off leaving us only a few thousand survivors.

      North Americans do not want to reveal that there was and still is a systematic plan to destroy most of the native people by outright murder by bounty hunters and land grabbers, disease through distributing small pox infested blankets, relocation, theft of children who were placed in concentration camps called “residential schools” and assimilation.

      As with the Jews, they could not have accomplished this without their collaborators who they trained to serve their genocidal system through their “re-education camps”.

      The policy changed from outright slaughter to killing the Indian inside. Governments, army, police, church, corporations, doctors, judges and common people were complicit in this killing machine. An elaborate campaign has covered up this genocide which was engineered at the highest levels of power in the United States and Canada. This cover up continues to this day. When they killed off all the Indians, they brought in Blacks to be their labourers.

      In the residential schools many eye witnesses have recently come forward to describe the atrocities. They called these places “death camps” where, according to government records, nearly half of all these innocent Indigenous children died or disappeared as if they never existed. In the 1920’s when Dr. Bryce was alarmed by the high death rate of children in residential schools, his report was suppressed.

      The term “Final Solution” was not coined by the Nazis. It was Indian Affairs Superintendent, Duncan Campbell Scott, Canada’s Adolph Eichmann, who in April 1910 plotted out the planned murder to take care of the “Indian problem”.

      “It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by habitating so closely in these schools, and that they die at a much higher rate than in their villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is geared towards the final solution of our Indian Problem”. (DIA Archives, RG 10 series).

      In the 1930’s he brought German doctors over here to do medical experiments on our children. According to the study the majority of the lives of these children was extinguished. School children are taught his poetry with no mention of his role as the butcher of the Indian people.

      Those who carried out this annihilation of our people were protected so they could declare full-scale war on us. North Americans as heirs of the fruits of this murderous system have blood on their hands. If people are sincere about preventing holocausts they must remember it. History must be told as it really happened in all its tragic details.

      It’s not good enough to just remember the holocaust that took place during the lifetime of some of the survivors. We have to remember the larger holocaust. Isn’t it time to uncover the truth and make the perpetrators face up to this?

      In the west there are a whole series of Eichmanns. General Amherst ordered the distribution of small pox infested blankets to kill of our people. But his name is shamelessly preserved in the names of towns and streets. George Washington is called the “village burner” in Mohawk because of all the villages he ordered burnt. Villages would be surrounded. As the people came running out, they would be shot, stabbed, women, children and elders alike. In one campaign alone “hundreds of thousand died, from New York across Pennsylvania, West Virgina and into Ohio”. His name graces the capital of the United States.

      The smell of death in their own backyard does not seem to bother North Americans. This is obscene.

By Kahentinetha Horn, MNN Mohawk Nation News, kahentinetha2@yahoo.com
First published in
Akwesasne Phoenix, Jan. 30, 2005 issue

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breaking news . . .

The world is a mess! That may even be an understatement. I have been hoping that it would not be necessary for me to break our current focus, but the time has come and I can no longer stay silent.

For years, many many years – since before the beginning of this country our Native American brothers and sisters have been treated as less than human. The following words appear four paragraphs from the end of the Declaration of Independence:

He [the present King of Great Btitain] has executed insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontier, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Our Native American ancestors are excluded by name, “merciless Imdian Savages, from the beloved words found in the early part of the document.

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I WRITE THIS POST IN SUPPORT OF THE BRAVE NATIVE AMERICANS WHO ARE CURRENTLY TAKING A STAND TO PROTECT THEIR LAND AND WATER FROM LARGE COMPANIES AND MAJOR BANKS WITH THE COMPLICITY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA. THIS IS YET ANOTHER OCCURENCE OF THE RICH AND POWERFUL TREATING THE NATIVE PEOPLES AS THOSE WHO REMAIN SUB-HUMAN.

Following is some more information to help our understanding of this outrageous situation.

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution officially abolished, and continues to prohibit, slavery, and, with limited exceptions, prohibits involuntary servitude. Prior to its ratification, slavery remained legal only in Delaware and Kentucky, everywhere else; the slaves had been freed by state action and the federal government’s Emancipation Proclamation executive order.

The 14th Amendment is one of the post-Civil War amendments, also known as the Reconstruction Amendments that was first intended to secure rights for former slaves. It includes the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses among others. It was proposed on June 13, 1866, and ratified on July 28, 1868. It is perhaps the most significant structural change to the Constitution since the passage of the  Bill of Rights . . . This Amendment provides a broad definition of national citizenship, and overturned the Dred Scott case, which excluded Blacks. It requires the states to provide equal protection under the law to all persons, not just to citizens, within their jurisdictions and was used in the mid-20th century to dismantle legal segregation, as in Brown v. Board of Education. The Due Process Clause has driven important and controversial cases regarding privacy rights, abortion, and other issues.
The 15th Amendment is the last of the three “Reconstruction amendments” that passed after the Civil War. This amendment prohibits the states or the federal government from using a citizen’s race, color or previous status as a slave to be a voting qualification. Its basic purpose was to enfranchise former slaves who weren’t allowed to vote and weren’t even considered American citizens prior. The first person to vote under the provisions of the amendment was Thomas Mundy Peterson who cast his ballot in a school board election held on February 4, 1870, the day after the 15th Amendment was ratified. But it was not really until the Voting Rights Act in 1965, almost a century later, that the full promise of the 15th Amendment was actually achieved in all states.
After the passage on a per capita and absolute basis, more Blacks were elected to political office during the period from 1865 to 1880 than at any other time in American history. Although no state elected a Black governor during Reconstruction, a number of state legislatures were effectively under the control of a substantial Black caucus. These legislatures brought in programs such as, universal public education that are considered part of government’s new duty, but at the time were seen as radical. They also set aside all racially-biased laws, even those prohibiting interracial marriage, or miscegenation. (http://www.blackhistory.com/content/60916/13th-14th-and-15th-amendments).
Sadly, however, Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924, because the reservations and territories of the Native peoples were not considered to be part of the United States. Also, voting rights and qualifications remained under the prevue of the individual states. Native Americans who resided in New Mexico and Arizona still had not been granted voting privileges as late as 1948.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 should have solved the problem, but it was not until a 1976 amendment of that act that Native Americans were designated as a group that could no longer suffer from voting exclusion.
And that is not the end – the Supreme Court gutted many provisions of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 when it ruled that certain sections were not constitutional because the provisions were ruled to “no longer be responsive to current conditions.”
In a related situation my own ancestors were part of the forced relocation later known as the Trail of Tears. I will speak to that matter in my next post.
Grace and peace

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Either or . . . or both

Over several years of living I have learned that many people choose to be efficient at the cost of not being effective. I also know many people who choose to be effective at the cost of not being efficient. I have always thought that there must be a way to be effective without losing efficiency. I believe there is.

Many years ago I first encountered The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic* by Stephen R. Covey. My first copy had a copyright date of 1989. My current copy, which has a new Foreword and a new Afterword by Covey, lists a copyright date of 2004.Over those many years and multiple copies of the book – I keep loaning people my copy without noting where it is or when I loaned it – I have worked my way through the book a number times, and each time have learned something new.

My most recent revelation presented itself to me shortly after I retired from full-time work. For some reason I started reading and working beginning with the Acknowledgments at the very beginning of the book. That section begins with these words: Interdependence is a higher value than independence (Covey, 3). I was amazed! I had never seen those words before, and they have made a huge difference in the way I live and manage my life and time. None of us are our best when we are alone or isolated.

Without fail, however, the most convicting part of the book for me has always been the section that includes the Covey Time Management Matrix.**

Merrill Covey Matrix Four Quadrants Urgent Important

Just this morning I did some re-reading and realized the importance of including the following words in this post. Stephen Covey writes:

As a longtime student of this fascinating field, I am personally persuaded that the essence of the best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase: Organize and execute around priorities. That phrase represents the evolution of three generations of time management theory, and how to best do it is the focus of a wide variety of approaches and materials.

Each generation builds on the one before it – each one moves us toward greater control of our lives. The first wave generation could be characterized by notes and checklists, an effort to give some semblance of recognition and inclusiveness to the many demands placed on our time and energy.

The second generation could be characterized by calendars and appointment books. This wave reflects an attempt to look ahead, to schedule events and activities in the future.

The third generation reflects the current time management field [Current in 1984]. It adds to those preceding generations the important idea of prioritization, of clarifying values, and of comparing the relative worth of activities based on their relationship to those values . . . many people become turned off by time management programs and planners that make them feel too scheduled, too restricted, and they “throw the baby out with the bath water,” reverting to first or second generation techniques to preserve relationships, spontaneity, and quality of life.

But there is an emerging fourth generation that is different in kind. It recognizes that “time management” is really a misnomer – the challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves . . . rather than focusing on things and time, fourth generation expectations focus on preserving and enhancing relationships and on accomplishing results (Covey, 149-151).*

For an unknown period of time I am going to move from an every other day post to a daily post in order that we might move more quickly through some information that I believe is required for us to continue an intelligent conversation that results in ways to be helpful to all of us. Tomorrow’s post will focus on the importance of quadrant 2 time and activities.

Grace and peace!

* – Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. New York: Free Press (A division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.), 1998, 2004.

** – https://sidsavara.com/personal-productivity/prioritization/nerdy-productivity-coveys-time-management-matrix-illustrated-with-xkcd-comics

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Managing Time or Attempting to Manage Time

Every week we have seven days, each day has 24 hours or 168 hours each week, and each hour has 60 minutes for a total of 1,440 minutes per day and 10,080 minutes per week.

I have a pastor friend who spent a great deal of time studying the various time management tools that are available in preparation for writing his own book on time management. At the end of his study he remarked that most, if not all of the tools he studied taught a person how to do more in less time and to feel guilty about the things that do not get accomplished. At that point he knew that his book was going to teach  a person how to do less in more time and not feel guilty about the things that do not get done.

I have another pastor friend who would divide each day into three sections – morning, afternoon, and evening. He then scheduled his time making sure that no more than three days each week had something scheduled for the evening, and that each of those three days had nothing scheduled for both of the remaining two time blocks. Finally he made sure that one day each week had nothing scheduled.

Each week was divided into 27 blocks – one day each week with nothing scheduled, 3 days each week with nothing scheduled in the evening, and 3 days each week when things were scheduled in the evening but with nothing schedule in one of the remaining 2 blocks – morning and afternoon. Out of 27 blocks of time each week one whole day had nothing scheduled in any block, six days where things were scheduled in only two blocks also preserving the rule of nothing scheduled more than 3 evenings a week. This yields a total of 18 blocks each week when things might be scheduled and 6 blocks each week, including three evenings, when nothing could be scheduled, and one entire day each week when nothing was scheduled.

Early in my adult life I was trained in the method of time management devised and taught by Stephen Covey. Finally, a few years ago I devised a unique system that works for me, when I take the time to do it. It combines the Covey system with some of each of the two examples outlined in this post. In my next writing I will outline what works for me and the reasoning I used as I planned my system. It enables me to make good use of my time most of the time, and I think that is what matters. At least it keeps me sane at least most of the time.

Grace and peace!

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment