9-11 and Native America @ChaseIronEyesTweet
What does 9-11 mean to Native America? Native America should think carefully about 9-11 and the reasons it happened. It did not happen just because all those Muslims are jealous of our “freedoms.” If we consider that to be a possible explanation, then we should also consider what our American Empire has done, and continues to do, in the world as possible explanations.
We must consider the hell we have created for the Muslim community in this country since 9-11 as do we need to consider the hell we created prior to 9-11 in the Muslim world outside the US. In considering this hell, we must not fail to address who asserts the right to define the other, define the terrorist, define the patriot, legislate the contours of national-state policy and who should be considered terrorists for not complying with those definitions and for challenging those policies. Each community or demographic can ascertain for itself the dangers present when a racist-fascist leaning government does what it pleases to whomever it wishes to control. Most notably the caging of Indigenous children and the deportation of Indigenous people who have a prior right to exist, pursue destiny and avail of rights in places now militarily controlled by the US, like Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah and so forth but let me talk about Native America and 9-11.
The whole country should know by now that Natives loyally join the U.S. armed forces at higher proportions than any other population. I have close family members who gave their blood for U.S. imperialism and the lies it propogates: that our loved ones are protecting our freedoms when really they are protecting Bush and Cheney oil money, they are protecting extractive industries right to condemn other populations to death, genocide, ecocide and endless agony. This is our war machine. I have many friends that are currently serving in American armed forces. So it is with tangible ambivalence that I write this. I do not know all the reasons Indigenous people join the colonizer’s military so eagerly. Maybe it’s our warrior spirit; maybe it’s the poverty conditions imposed on us as a slow genocide; maybe it’s our duty to defend our continent; maybe we love America. What I do know is that few of us, especially our leadership, make a conscious effort to understand the American Empire and discern for ourselves whether we should align our national choices and policies in lock step with U.S. imperialism. Its always a good time some of us start pushing us in different directions
I am not advocating for anything “radical” unless you’re one of those “they say jump we say how high … would you like your flag to fly above ours” kind of people. I am advocating for each of us to use our critical thinking abilities to decide for ourselves whether we should blindly wave the flag of the United States before our own Native national flags. No doubt, this is what all the American institutions train us to do, including the media, institutions of law, sport, government, education, school books, literature, fiction, non-fiction, radio, hollywood etc. Yet, I know the basic creator-given right to national Native self-determination lives in us and will never die. No doubt Native Americans, who are also proud Americans because America forced itself on us and imposed “citizenship” on us in 1924 like it was something good, will continue to sign up to fight beside other proud Americans because they believe the lies or have no other conceivable choice. That is not necessarily a bad thing, in totality, for us as our lives as Native Americans are so inextricably entwined with this imperial war machine that we celebrate genocide, ecocide and this hollow assigned patriotism at every powwow, every organizational gathering, tribal council events, every gotdam thing, every gotdam time. Never do we very officially and publicly honor those vets of the American Indian Movement, Oka, #NoDAPL or any of our vets who risked life and limb to protect our original sovereignty, not that of colonial derivations, nor do we very publicly, at our conventions, question why they send ours sons and daughters to die. Yes, our sons and daughters who serve deserve all the honor we can give. Questioning why our kids have to die should not mean we are then considered unAmerican; that is the same faulty logic that says if you are for Palestinian liberation you are against all the Jews in the universe. Nor do we need to continue to equate the exercise of our creator-given sovereignty with the right to distribute whatever welfare the US is handing over to us even if it’s pursuant to Treaty obligations. It is our right, our duty to redefine success, progress and civilization. I cannot realistically envision a world, in the next 50 years, that does not involve Native America aligning itself, willingly or not, to a very significant degree, with what the American Empire is doing in the world; what I am saying is that Native America should think before it acts, regardless of that action.
Native America should elevate our own individual and collective national esteems with that of other nations of the world community. I am Lakota first, then American, for example. By this, I do not mean to say that we should only strive to succeed by bettering the “quality/standard of life” indicators employed by “developed nations.” It does us no good to do that. Our people and our leaders should be thinking and doing anything necessary to provide for our own food, clothing, shelter, water and energy needs on a local level, preferably from the land we are already on. We do not need to be “rich”; we just need to sustain ourselves. This return to dignity obviously includes practicing our Native languages and instructions. Identifying ourselves as our own people will work wonders for our self-esteem; we do better when we are happy with who we are as indigenous peoples and we have a lot to share with the world.
Native America needs to start demonstrating to the United States a different way of living on earth, a non-western way; a world where the Koch brothers, ALEC, Sinclair Media, Big Pharma, Wall Street, Raytheon, Professional Football, Playoffs, Masters, Reality TV, Social networks, Commercialized religions, Coopted and Commodified dissent (Still Kaepernick for President) and Consumer-sheepdoms created by extractive-financial corporations and within which we are compelled to participate in our own destruction, continue to define what our culture is. Is that really possible? I do not know. But I do know, for my children’s sake, we need a new way.
I have faith that most people are good; I have more faith that more people will keep performing their current functions, as I do, taking us on a path that leads to where no one wants to go. I am hopeful that we, as Indigenous people, will consider the direction of the United States and whether we keep blindly supporting the spread of the military-industrial-financial-extractive complex and corporate-consumer way of the world. This way of life only mandates that we keep creating enemies (who are doing the same thing to other people in the world) and devouring human and natural resources. Native Americans and Native Nations should lead by example and take our American experiment in new directions. We should be part of the solution, not part of the problem.