I have watched the twin towers of commerce on the eastern shores of America destroyed by fire. I have witnessed a takeover of the presidency by an oil family who are determined to own every drop of oil in the world, and control all the lands and peoples because they are superior; they have white skin and Christianity. The presidency is allied with Christian extremists who don’t consider themselves extremists, rather Christian soldiers working to claim all this for their God, a god who gave them the right to kill Indians and gives them the right to takeover the Middle East. Christian and Muslim fundamentalists over the globe now battle for control. A giant tsunami swallowed and destroyed the coastline of Thailand, and other parts of Asia, killed thousands. Last week Hurricane Katrina destroyed the coastal south of the U.S.. New Orleans, a major city of over a million is underwater. The refugees of the tragedy are those without money or means to get out. Most are black, or poor whites. They are without food, water or shelter. We watch them die on the streets. Corpses swell and float in the water with trash and offal. We watched the explosion of the chemical plant in the ruins. Angry clouds spewed from the wound. A voice of authority on the storyteller box: the television, tells everyone that the fumes are not poisonous. We saw the smoke rear back and search the city for lungs. It takes four days for the feds to send assistance. The president is golfing.
I don’t want to hate Christianity. I loved the Book of John in those years I took myself to church. There is wisdom there, and Jesus is a medicine man. I believe he is a son of god, and so are you, and so am I. We are sons and daughter of a father/mother God. I also loved the love poems in Song of Solomon.
Yesterday I went to church with my friend at the pueblo. I haven’t been inside a church to a service in years. I decided to attend in the right spirit. I respect my friend and I respect what takes people to religion. It’s often that need to attend to spiritual matters, to find comfort and direction. Sometimes it’s fear. It’s fear that established churches and religion in our native communities. We were forced to bow down to their Christianity. We were forced to their religious schools and beliefs. Force has now turned into habit.
What I appreciated and took part in was that sense of community, of love and compassion. Prayers filled the church and hung there. Some had the force of will and light and they traveled. That’s what I took with me.
Then we went out into the plaza for the dances; these were the Indian expression of that community, that love. The difference? A single white man was the authority in the church. It was an authority invested in him by a council of other males. The only female acknowledge was Mary, as a mother of the divine. In the plaza the female earth was the primary force. Men and women were in balance for the service of love.
I am trying to remember everything. To take in every detail of wherever I am of whatever I hear because that articulation will translate into a depth of articulation of meaning in all layers of consciousness. At least that’s what I believe at the moment. I also want to sing about it but must get the last nasty sting censor out of my head, my hands, my voice, and my heart. It is gone. I thank you censor of the gift you have given me. Now, leave.
A highlight in the gift of the day of yesterday took place in the kitchen, between serving the people who came to the house to eat a feast of posole, chile stew, potato salad, bread, desserts, fruit drink, and tea. We turned up the radio and danced in the kitchen on the linoleum floor. We turned and rocked to rock oldies, disco and bluesy heartbreak. We know those songs, the articulations of them in our souls and know what those songs are born from—like us they have emerged from the depths of raw knowledge, pain, from every social and spiritual ill that has been catalogued in Indian country, all over the world. I brought out my saxophone and wailed. I played by heart, or by ear. We're still dancing.
Today is Labor Day, so I will work. Of course there is a history, a story behind the dedication of this day as a national holiday. I don't mean to belittle it. Our labor is our gift, our service. Here it goes. Sing it to: Love and Happiness by Al Green. A classic. We wouldn't have Al Green without the musical caldron of New Orleans. Wouldn't have most of our music. Mvto.