MY COMMITMENT TO THE LAND AND MY ANCESTORS
(Speech given at FHSAM BoD Meeting June 2001 -- Written 4/3/01)
This statement to clarify my position with relevance to Mother the Earth and her people, here on Turtle
Island in relationship to development upon her.
Prior to the invasion of the Europeans, our people walked in balance with the Earth and the Creator.
Disrespecting our Mother brings unnatural and negative thinking into existence and creates an opposite
path than what I was put on this Earth to walk. Consequently, born of a positive spirit, this opposite and
unnatural thinking becomes adversarial to my being. The result is WAR. Call it conflict if you like, but it
still smacks of war, because it then becomes a war of words, thought, reaction, and death to the original
way of thinking and being.
We cannot compromise our Mother. We cannot prostitute our Mother. We cannot RAPE our Mother.
To do so, would be risking life itself. Yet, this is expected of us, the original peoples of this land. This is
contrary to our natural way of existence. How can we be expected to look at our Mother's face while she is
being raped over and over again; while we are forced to stand there doing nothing?
For the most part, past experience has taught us that archaeologists do not want to learn from us, they
want to tell us what they think they know. From their analytical, statistical schooling, they expect us to
learn from their findings what we need to survive. Their digs have not taught us how to live, saved lives, or
cured illnesses, but made profits for them and those who would buy and sell our past.
My grandmothers and grandfathers never had to dig around to know where they came from to validate
their existence, or what diseases we had, how we died, where we were buried. Our DNA calls to us and
gives us the answers, if we seek it. We were taught not to destroy the remnants of the past, but to cherish
them and respect them. Our stories have been told from the beginning of time that teach us and guide our
paths. I personally know that some of the stories that are published by the anthros and so-called 'friends'
are made-up stories, half-stories, just to keep them happy, thinking that they have found a gem of
information. I have read some of these publications and wonder if they know that this is not all of it, or
that it was twisted in some way. Some of their resources were not even indigenous people, who had heard
half stories and repeated and even modified them for the interviews.
The only benefit I see at this time in my life of having archaeologists sitting at the table with the
developers, is to identify ancient sites prior to development since development is so rampant, and should
any remains be deliberately or accidentally unearthed, they can push to repatriate them to the original
peoples and rebury them in the exact spot (further down, so as not to ever have them disturbed again).
Finding a sensitive site, gathering site, or remains, should prompt one to abandon the project and move on
to another location. That is why we have EIR's to learn about the conditions of the area prior to
Holding our lands sacred enables the population growth to be governed by the available lands that are not
sensitive and also allows open space for rejuvenation for everyone. If we didn't respect these sensitive
sites, the land would be overrun by opportunists, gravediggers, and money-hungry developers. Our
countryside would and is beginning to look like Hong Kong or Taiwan, with little regard to letting our
Mother breath. Where does one go for a weekend get-a-way, or vacation, if it isn't either to the ocean, hills,
or the countryside?
I personally will never condone the digging up of any site around this area of FHSAM's concern, much
less allow the digging up of our ancestors' remains for all the previously mentioned reasons. I agree that
archaeologists are good to have on staff to pinpoint the sensitive areas, mark them off-limits and move on.
The indigenous believe that the curiosity to delve further on a site will bring them more trouble or harm
than what they are bargaining for; as they endanger their lives and those of their relatives and friends, due to
the negative impact.
Anthropologist on the other hand, have tried to help us to preserve our languages and culture by putting
into writing what they have learned from the people, thus passing it on to others to learn from. We, as
indigenous peoples, are falling short of our obligation to pass on to the next 7 generations, what we know
due to the homogenizing of the primitive brain into an industrious and ambitious, money hungry people,
neglecting our youth by not sharing our knowledge and wisdom. But there are some of us reverting back to
the old ways of thinking and living, which in turn will enable us to survive.
My mission in life is to live and walk a straight path, as my ancestors would want me to and reflect their
concerns with my actions and commitment. I therefore cannot walk hand in hand with those who would
tear up our sacred sites for the sake of development. If I stand alone, so be it.