SAGE BRUSH AND NATION: SOME CONTEMPORARY ISSUES [HUNTER GRAY AUGUST 15 2006] AND -- NOTES ON A FIRST RATE DOCUMENTARY: WATERBUSTER [HUNTER GRAY SEPTEMBER 5 2006]
Hunter: I always thought you were dangerous. (More
power to you.) Steve
Steven F. McNichols [Civil Rights and Liberties Attorney]:
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503
NOTES BY HUNTER BEAR:
First: Since this
past late winter, we have been having strange
problems with our telephones and especially computers -- leading us to
wonder if the older patterns of some "lawmen" harassment which
greeted us upon our arrival in Idaho in the summer of '97 may, at least in
some part, be resuming. Footprints in the snow appeared in our back yard
area -- obviously a night thing -- and, a couple of nights later, Cameron
[with Josie] driving up to our place, spotted a man coming out of our back
area and climbing over our fence and quickly disappearing. There have been
a number of other odd things, including midnight visits to our main power
pole on the edge of our darkened property. There has been some surveillance.
Well, hard to tell, but we do think something is underway.
Our neighbors have certainly always been most friendly and supportive.
And now, on
the Bigger Picture:
Many of our good readers
have histories that involve fighting
against such evils as racism and cultural ethnocentrism -- and for a full
measure of social justice for all. Some of us have had intensive and direct
experiences with the old Southern Closed Societies [not restricted, I should
add, to Mississippi alone] and/or with the equally poisonous versions in
other parts of this country and Canada as well. So, as have others, we can
only stand appalled at the depth, breadth and intensity of anti-Muslim
prejudice and discrimination presently so rampant across the land -- and
abroad as well -- encouraged by media bias, both open and implicit, and
demagogically so by much of "our" national leadership.
Without carrying any brief for the kind of sanguinary and indiscriminate
"propaganda of the deed" openly espoused by Osama & Co. and attributed,
sometimes accurately and sometimes not, to Wannabees, the current
media/politico use of the term, "terrorist", is now blatantly and callously
current in virtually all mainline media presentations of "the situation."
Now and then, to be sure, there is an occasional hint that the root causes
of this Bloodshed are complex and lie deep in social injustice, but it's a
very rare public "authority" who chances that venture.
Geronimo [not to ever be confused with Osama] is held, like Sitting Bull and
a myriad of other Native patriots, in very high esteem by any Hemispheric
Native American who has heard that Name and those other Names. [Our family
certainly does.] But the great Apache guerilla fighter who held off for
years thousands of venomous U.S. Army troopers and many more akin
adversaries as well, was, with his kindred fighters across all tribal nation
lines, regularly and consistently denounced by virtually all American media
and much more in this country by such terms as "terrorist" and "butcher."
Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, champions of the profoundly impoverished
Métis of the Central Provinces, were duly reviled by most of Anglo Canada.
Now Geronimo and Sitting Bull and Joseph Brant [Thayendanegea] and
comparable others are sometimes found in the "respectable" frameworks of
even some mainline films and books -- and, ninety years after Canada hanged
him on a trumped up charge, a postage stamp was issued by Canada
commemorating Louis Riel. [But the Métis and all other Natives must and do
continue to struggle always for a genuinely full measure of Food and
In a message to the Europeans, Joseph Brant, Mohawk, commented:
"Our wise men are called Fathers, and they truly sustain that character. Do
you call yourselves Christians? Does the religion of Him who you call your
Savior inspire your spirit, and guide your practices? Surely not . . ."
Current efforts to interpret the Koran as "terroristic" sound like the rants
of the [white] Citizens Councils and even Klaverns. As some thoughtful
critics of this approach have suggested, look at candid zealotry in certain
historical portions of the Holy Bible of the Judeo/Christian tradition.
Even more alarming would be the sadly not surprising national poll results
provided recently [August 12] by national NBC which showed deep and
pervasive anti-Muslim racial and cultural prejudices held by a large number
of Americans [roughly two out of five in some instances, three out of five
in others -- with a very heavy proportion not wanting a Muslim as a "next
door neighbor." [Israeli leaders, when interviewed frequently by national
media, are invariably well dressed, articulate in English, and "white." We
hear little on television from the many Israeli people-of-conscience who
oppose this militaristic Madness.]
A parenthetical aside: While I probably know many more American "Black
Muslims" than I do people of Middle Eastern Muslim background, our family
gets along well with just about everyone. In the spring of '91, when I
strongly sensed eventual flood problems with the Red River of the North, and
moved our family well to the west of Grand Forks, N.D., we purchased the
nice home being vacated by Dr. H, a fellow University of North Dakota prof
who was moving to Maryland. This was in the Glow of the First Iraq War. Dr
H was originally from that general region and we were contributing what we
could to the work of the broadly based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee, headed by Lebanese-American and former U.S. Senator James
Abourezk of South Dakota, whose wife is Sioux. In any case, we found Dr H
and family to be just fine and our new home very satisfactory.
We assumed the H family was Muslim and that was confirmed, some months after
we moved in when a family of out-of-town Middle Eastern folk arrived at our
address, seeking the Hs. I indicated they had moved on and was happy to
oblige these visitors with the use of our phone so they could reach other
local contacts. They were politely curious about us [without asking
questions] and about the inside of our home: a conservative Catholic
crucifix on the wall, the large and ancient and impressive stone Toltec head
on the New England red dresser, our very very old Onondaga [Iroquois] beaded
shell belt depicting the structure of the Great Confederacy, and much more.
Then suddenly, the man of the family understood -- and smiled. He spoke to
the others -- who then smiled. We had a pleasant visit and it developed our
house had been for years a religious Muslim meeting location. Soon
thereafter, another always cordial Muslim prof moved in across the street --
and the periodic religious gatherings occurred there. Those attending, not
many but an obviously cohesive group, were consistently friendly as we were
to them. In this same enclave, a Sioux family lived across from a Sikh
professor. And there were diverse others in that outlying and isolated
little neighborhood which, perhaps thanks to the all-embracive Creator,
spared us by 300 yards when the Red flooded in April of 1997 and forced more
than 50,000 others out of a much destroyed Grand Forks.
The obviously deeply rooted and flaring bigotry afoot in the land -- coupled
with hysterical violations of the civil rights and liberties of its
targets -- strikes us as more of an infinitely profound and sadly enduring
threat than any military or quasi-military challenges abroad.
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
Honored with The Elder Recognition Award by Wordcraft Circle of Native
Writers and Storytellers:
NOTES ON A FIRST RATE DOCUMENTARY: WATERBUSTER [HUNTER GRAY SEPTEMBER 5 2006]
FROM HUNTER TO BOB GATELY:
Bob Gately comments:
Hunter, Indeed you caught the essence
of Carlos work
and your blessing will be well received by him. It has
been forwarded, he too will be well informed by your
thoughful read on the work. Thanks for the read,
thoughts. We pray it will give comfort to the people
of the Three Rivers and give them resolve to right the
injustice imposed upon them by government inepitude.
You sound so strong, the spirit of the bear echoes
through the canons....
HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]
Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´