Zombie Walks and Ghostdances

Six Nations is organizing a Zombie Walk fundraiser on October 4th to help Jada’s family pay for medical costs as they battle leukemia and as they battle the system. What an amazing way to pull together as a community! The first Zombie Walk happened 14 years ago in Milwaukee at a Gen Con gaming convention when 60 gamers decided to patronize the Vampire LARPers by dressing up as zombies and shambling about the exhibit hall. These protesters were arrested and questioned by security then released and told to disband (LOL).

The idea of zombies has captured the hearts and minds of North American culture and is evident by the success of AMC’s Walking Dead. This TV series is about a small group of people who are trying to survive an onslaught of the undead. Why is this seemingly ridiculous concept so popular?

Maybe because an apocalypse has happened here before. The stereotype of the “haunted Indian burial ground” is ingrained into the minds of Canadians and Americans and for good reason – our people are buried everywhere. If 120 million of us existed pre-contact and our population is now 4 million, that means there’s quite a few bodies in the ground.

The unspoken guilt of this holocaust must be expressed in some form and what better way than to imagine the dead coming back to life. The whole mascot issue with the Cleveland Indians and the Washington Redsk*ns can be easily explained if we understand that common Americans believe the ‘real Indians’ have all died and become extinct like the dinosaur. Dressing up as a ‘Native American’ for Halloween doesn’t seem so offensive if they are a mythical creature just like a hobbit or a ghost.

Last week, a special segment of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart aired that tackled the whole mascot issue and the discomfort of the Redsk*ns fans was priceless as they looked into the eyes of some living Onkwehon:we people. They were not willing to call these people “Redsk*ns” to their face and nor should they. It was like the dead had been raised.

A certain man named Wovoka from the Paiutes Nation was considered a prophet in the late 19th century. Faced with an unstoppable horde of mindless enemies surrounding him he received a vision from the Creator. It was a ceremony called the Ghost dance or better translated as Spirit dance and he taught it to his people and also other nations such as the Lakota.

It was said that this round-dance would bring all of our ancestors back to life and they would help us win the war against the swarms of walkers who were devouring our land and our culture. The US military greatly feared this ceremony and as the story goes, they opened fire upon men, women and children as they were in a giant circle performing the dance. The date was December 1890 and the place was called Wounded Knee.

We hope to see you all on the First Annual Zombie Walk/Run at Chiefswood Park. Registration begins at 8:30am and the event starts at 10:00am.

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