DOGS DAY AFTERNOON
A COLONIAL STORY: DOGS DAY AFTERNOON
MNN. May 25, 2007. The colonists keep saying we and our ways are finished! They are 3rd generation immigrants who think they belong on Turtle Island keep trying to find ways to force us to join them and to be pawns in their games. Even after killing off over 100 million of us, we and our memories are still alive.
Let's compare. There are two kinds of dogs. There are wild dogs that are free and part of the "natural world". They have the memory of running, playing and exploring vast territories.
Then there are “domesticated” dogs, those pampered pooches that wait for the sound of the can opener so they can beg for their bacon. They won’t turn against their masters even when abused and beaten by them. They just keep wagging their tails harder and harder trying to be liked. It’s a kind of “wife” syndrome. They can’t even shit where they want. If it wasn’t for “pooper scoopers”, they’d be extinct.
Today most dogs are domesticated and tied up. If they are let loose, watch out! They’re angry. They go crazy and they’re dangerous. Some don’t know what to do because there are no rules or enforcers for them. They just lie down and die.
Sometimes the natural dogs try to break the kennel chains and invite them to “come run with us, doggie”. The domestics are trained to stay in the yard. Some get away and enjoy freedom. Some are too old and beaten down even though freedom feels good. The domestic dogs have litters that are content, well behaved and bred to live with chains on them.
The master goes to dog shows and says, “I have a proven method to make them subservient”. They talk about new dog foods, new breeds, better security fencing, muzzles, the future of their kennels and the problem about those “wild” dogs that are giving their dogs complexes.
They come up with ideas to get rid of the wild dogs. “Let's kill them all”. They really want to trek out onto their territory to expand their kennels. They try to breed the wild ones with the domestics. They are the authorities on how dogs are supposed to act. They surmise that those wild ones are not dogs at all. So what are they? Maybe they’re wolves!
This story has something to tell us. It shows the underside of the thinking of the people who invaded Turtle Island. They saw us as people living in the natural world who operated by keeping our instincts intact. We functioned well and reproduced ourselves. Living within our environment we were safe, could not be attacked and could protect ourselves and our young.
After the invasion, some of our people were forced into the cage that the white people brought with them from Europe. 1500 years of what they call “civilization” in Europe [not including Egypt] developed a system of control where everybody except the oligarchy lived in boxes. Their minds were controlled. After a while they could not think freely. When they came here and saw us, they were envious of and perplexed by our freedom and our ability to think for ourselves. This was something they would never dream of doing.
Some thought, “Hey! We want some of that too”. Some thought we were the devil. So they decided to bring us under their control, study us and try to become like us. At the same time, they tried to take away the very thing they envied most. One of our pastimes is to watch them watching us trying to figure us out.
We operate from a deep knowledge of who we are. It is spontaneous, not contrived, not controlled. It expresses itself in freedom of the mind. We do not identify ourselves in relation to the materialistic world around us. The Six Nations people who are taking back our lands on the Haldimand Tract do not want money. We want our land and our freedom. This is something the colonizers can’t understand.
The non-native way requires “touchstones” of material things around them as a base for their identity. They’re always talking about “my car”, “my house”, “my wife”, “my tv”, “my cd player”, “my Blackberry”, “my kids”, “my vacation”, “my”, “my”, “my”, “my”, “my”! They can only tell who they are by what they own.
Some colonists come out and try to romp around with us and act free. They become confused and revert back to re-attaching themselves to their material possessions. Rules, regulation and government are all set up to reinforce this.
Our identity comes from our being tuned in to the world around us. When the food we eat is proper and nutritious, we function quite well. When the “visitors” force us into their cage, they want to control what we eat, how we speak, dress and think. This almost kills us.
Why are the visitors so envious of us? They covet something we have, besides our land and resources. It’s a natural human instinct to want freedom. Equality and freedom evolved out of the Onkwehonweh’s mind. The world is trying to emulate our democratic form of government known as the Great Law of Peace. The leadership is the servant, not the dictator. Their role is to help people be free and to work for the common good of all.
We are part of the natural world and live with the environment. Our visitors brought an artificial environment here which we refuse to adapt to. We are watching their false environment starting to expire. They’re destroying nature. Soon the earth will be in such bad shape, no one will be able to survive.
They fear us because they’re afraid of the unknown. They are like the dog that has been domesticated. He can only survive when his master is there to tell him what to do.
Like the bears in Jasper National Park, who come in from the wild, the tourists are destroying them. They throw scraps and garbage at them to eat. They lose their instincts to survive in the wilds and become dependent. The bears are losing their eyesight, become overweight, sick and mentally chemically imbalanced. Sound like anyone you know? When they have been taken out of their natural habitat, they become domesticated and dangerous.
This was the plan for us, to remove us from our natural state, bring us into the cage so we could lose our bearings and our natural ability to survive as we were meant to.
They looked through the bars of their cages at us running around free. They became jealous, “We have to pull them in here with us”. They convinced themselves they’re perfect and their system is the best. They think the cage is the only way people should live. Large urban areas in Canada are prime examples of this. The developers are placing condos, houses and apartment buildings inches apart. They’re eliminating yards and green spaces. They are actually promoting this as a conservation measure that prevents urban sprawl! They want to push more people onto smaller pieces of land for higher prices. They want us all to live in boxes stacked on top of each other. What the hell kind of life is this? Is this what we’re put on the earth for?
When our people move in from our natural environment into cities, many wind up sleeping alongside the Don Valley Parkway or on the street. We are showing that we cannot function in these unnatural cages that white people think they are comfortable in.
The settlers are envious that we can still live and be happy in the natural environment. They think that once a year for a week they’re Indians when they go to the parks with their RVs and campers. They bring along their televisions, cell phones, computers, and battery operated vacuum cleaners. Of course, they would not want to live our reality – the one they created for us - bad water, confinement and social problems.
In the great scoop of the 1960s, our babies were raised in middle class white society. Some adoptive parents got a $20,000 incentive grant to take our children. Until about age 13, the Onkwehonweh was quiet and tried to fit in. When they hit puberty, a time when youngsters are striving for an identity, their natural instincts for survival kicked in. The relationship between them and their adoptive parents broke down. This led them to find their own people. Somehow when they are with their own people they become sane again. They innately want their freedom. That is what the world wants and seeks too. White society is fearful that this desire for freedom might infect their kids. Control freaks fear losing their control.
Something’s missing. They want to destroy the very thing they envy most. It’s sad. How do we cure this disease? They can’t allow us to be ourselves. We have to go around wearing masks to hide our faces, our feelings and our true identity.
In the past our people told us what was coming. They saw these ships coming to bring over some strange people. They would try to seduce us to change and become like them. Our ancestors told us, “No”. That is why all the treaties were meant to keep our peoples and our cultures apart from them. The Two Row Wampum agreement between us provided that the white man’s ship shall remain separate from our canoe. We would travel in parallel paths with everything that belongs to us. We cannot become part of them as it is destructive. They violated this agreement by kidnapping our young people and putting them in residential schools. They beat and molested them like they beat and molested their own children, or worse.
Their policy was, “We want you to be like us, subservient to authority and in every other way”. Every time an Onkwehonweh child ran away, trying to go back to their natural community, they sent the police and search dogs to find and bring them back to the residential schools. They told them, “This is where you belong. To survive, you have to become like us”.
They were really saying, “We cannot allow you to spread that disease of freedom. It will destroy our whole civilization”. In the colonists’ way there is a lord and master that dictates everything that people do. They cannot have their own mind. They have to be dominated. They think the alternative to hierarchy is chaos. So they set out to crush the spirit of freedom in the minds of the Onkwehonweh and inkling of it in their own people.
For their own sake, instead of destroying and controlling us, the colonists have to set us free and give us back what is ours. We are not greedy for this freedom. We want to share it with everybody. That’s what the Tree of Peace is all about.
Kahentinetha & Katenies
MNN Mohawk Nation News