Imagine your little female cousin got arrested at a party for public intoxication. The cop that arrested her and threw her in the drunk tank where she is now laid out, goes and changes into his street clothes and signs her into his custody. He unlocks the holding cell, throws her over his shoulder, then carries her out to his car, takes her to his home and does who knows what to her.
Then, fearing for their own jobs, two fellow police officers go to his house and ask him if he’s done. Maybe they never even went to stop him. Maybe they got cold feet. How would you feel?
That really happened with an RCMP officer at the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation, near Thompson, Manitoba in 2011.
If that was my daughter, I would be riding around with a half bald scalp hanging from the rear view mirror of my rusted out rez bomb. So what stopped that officer from going and dumping her in a field or river? I’m sure this scenario has played out a lot over the last twenty years. I bet a lot of the aboriginal women found murdered in some snowy isolated place or rez in Canada or in a major city, seen government-issued steel toed boots walk away while they took their last gasp before moving on to the land of the creator.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. These police officers have the power over life and death. Sometimes they kill with impunity in major urban centres and reserves where the income tax bracket is so low that you’re not even worth the bullet.
Yes, it’s true and you know it, and I know it. When a young brown woman was raped and murdered by six thugs on a city bus, the government of some poor overpopulated country issued 250,000 paring knives to young women with the orders to use them with deadly force if ever accosted in the same situation.
That’s the same advice I gave my own teenage daughter. I even told her to stab a pumpkin with the blade I gave her just to see, and told her to say no means no. I told her if she ever gets in a bad spot to use it as a last resort, and do her time chin-up and mouth shut.
Most of these situations and murders happen around some kind of substance. It’s hard and some red nations have been crushed worse than others. The trauma is in different degrees amongst all red men and women on Turtle Island. We are all suffering to a degree.
The way back home is the culture. Follow the roots to the tree of peace. The tree is your spirit, your heart, your feelings. When we quit feeling and caring, that’s called the place of big trouble. You have to care about something. Sometimes it’s easier not to care. That’s not going to help us one bit. That’s the purpose of rape – to sever your connection to your ohnikonra, the voice inside your heart. In some people it’s destroyed. They are hurt so much that they don’t care who they hurt or if they hurt themselves.
In Mohawk culture we have a lot of interpretive meanings. Seven generations, follow the great roots back to the source. We also have 13 levels/dimensions. The two row wampum, skin seven spans thick of hardened rawhide. That’s thick skin.
The old people told me always go see for yourself, don’t believe me, go see. So I went on a wild ride for a long time to do just that and what I found and what that meant to me might be different, but it’s all spiritual, truthful natural laws that are unchanging.
The seven spans thickness of skin were things in my life. Bumps in the road, storms and valleys – and they’re not over. Things that touch your spirit and that rock you to your foundation. Seven spans could be birth, death, sickness and handicaps.
That’s why we are to only say niaweh/thanks for life: because the pure love of the creator is in every breath, leaf and molecule in the universe. There is no separation. Life is the creator, so to destroy living things is to remake them into dead things. To destroy life is to destroy the breath of life in all things. It is to destroy ourselves.
The web of life is connected to humanity. If you look around – murdered aboriginal peoples, open pit mining and oil extraction – that is death/ohtkoh. A newborn baby is orenda/love/life.
The Creator’s voice is in us, telling us this is so wrong. Stand up protect our earth mother the way we would protect our birth mother. She is calling out to those with ears, but don’t believe me. I’ll tell you what a strong Mohawk women told me: go see for yourself. Arise.