10 Books in 10 Days Challenge, Day 4

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown

I came up in a time when there was no political correctness, the Civil Rights Act of 1967 had me at 11 years old. The hippy movement started to embrace the “getting back to the land” thing that was still a bit alien to me. The only “land” I saw outside of Chicago was the ride up Highway 12 to Wisconsin once a year when my pa got his vacation.

I HATED the American Cowboy heroes categorically: John Wayne was a lout, Gene Autry a square, Roy Rogers didn’t even seem like a cowboy! I played cowboys and Indians only a little bit; I didn’t see why the cowboys had to have such a beef, but bought into the “cowboys vs Indian” theme as much as I bought into the Laurel and Hardy, Three Stooges, or any other television programming concept! Teevee was new and my family never went to the movies!

So when I came across Dee Brown and the correct historical perspective of the genocide of what I came to realize was the native population, I read it almost cover to cover. It was yet another arrow in my radical quiver, as I realized the way the real world was “ordered”, and that we were living what the Buddha called “life, as an illusion”. I am an unusually empathetic person by nature, and this book hit me hard , and right in the solar plexus.

From the fact that Leonard Peltier still sits in a Federal Prison for a crime that was never proven he committed, to the Oil Pipeline horrors in the Pine Ridge Reservation and onward, the AIM Movement and its heroic leaders still endure. The poetry and prose of John Trudell and Sherman Alexie, the abstract jazz version of Witchitai by Native American saxophonist Jim Pepper, or the iconic rock guitar solo by Jesse Ed Davis (also Native American) on Jackson Brown’s hit record, ”Doctor My Eyes“, the voices and songs of Native Americans persist, even though not only the ignorant, but also the current “hash tag social movements“ choose to ignore them.

Blessings to the spirituality of the Native American culture. They, like the Sufi, I mention in my last book post, show me the righteous path to live.

Listen to: Jim Pepper, Witchitai-to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2YeEUlyhQw