Sunday, July 12, 2009

Conservation of Life

iktomi: [ick-toh'-me] literally means spider in the Lakota language. In Lakota legends Iktomi is a spider-trickster, and the stories about him are meant to teach.

I have it! I finally have it! I've been in and out of the same antiquarian bookshop a hundred times looking at the same book for months, just to make sure that it had not been sold. Everytime I told myself 'it will not get sold, who buys these kinds of books anyway. Besides me..' (to my misfortune, I could never afford the book). But experience taught me that it is not the right attitude when you really want something (that experience had me on the verge of tears, I remember). So I did what every person in their right mind would do; I haggled the price. In that moment I hoped that the man I was negotiating the price with, had not been in the shop half the times I had left the place empty-handed. 5 minutes later I left the shop with a smile that would have seemed to scare every stoic Dane passing my way.

As soon as I had found the most desolate corner in the metro I pulled out my copy of America Needs Indians! by Iktomi Hicala from 1937 and turned the dry pages of the book.

The man was truly wise but I could barely find anything on him. My first problem was whether his name is Iktomi Hicala or Iktomi Lila Sica. He introduces the book with a letter to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, signed Iktomi Lila Sica, and when you turn the page and read above the title of the book, it states: "Blame only Iktomi Hicala and thank The Indians and their friends who were of aid to This World's Worst Book."
The only useful information on the internet is a fascinating passage from a book called Conservation Refugees: the Hundred-Year Old Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples by Mark Dowie where it says that Lakota Chief Iktomi Lila Sica made a proposal in 1930 to have their own Community Conservation Area in South Dakota which would hold an Indian University that would teach Lakota ecological knowledge and culture. The proposal was rejected but the idea was carried through in the 70s by the Blackfeet, Ogala Sioux and Havasupi reservations which established parks within or close to their land. 40 years. I wonder how the land and the conditions for the Lakota people and others had been today if they were given the acceptance to fulfill their ideas.

Ikotomi writes in the spirit of Iktomi, the spider-trickster. He writes on subjects so serious and crucial, for example the rightful 'owners' of America, politics, economy, race, civilization and culture; subjects which may evoke anger, but are handled with such a wit and straight, profound seriousness that leaves you wondering, thinking and soaking up all his words and drawings.

His purpose with the book, as he wrote in the letter addressed to John Collier, is to prove he doesn't know a thing and at that point he has already won a hundred battles.

Iktomi's book is a collection of thoughts and 'non-art', however, the product of one man's creativity woven together into a whole, like a spider web, of significant threads.
A people cannot live on its history alone, and Iktomi has the insight of history and economy to provoke and question the shaky foundations of America.
On top of that, he made that effort to try to gain an area for conservation and education, a solid foundation for a people with so much to teach and so much to defend and protect.

"I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. And I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...but anywhere is the center of the world."

Black Elk - Oglala Sioux

Photo

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Two poems by George Moses Horton; "On Liberty and Slavery" and "To Eliza"

George Moses Horton was born in Northampton County, North Carolina, approx. 1797 (d. 1883), as a slave of the Horton family. He learned to read and write while being hired out by his master to the president of Chapel Hill and he was a campus character there. He wrote love poems for the students at 25 or 50 cents a piece according to the degree of ardor desired. Then fugitive poems by him crept into print and in 1829 his first volume titled The Hope of Liberty was published in Raleigh, which made him the first southern black to be an author. The same piece of work was later republished in Philadelphia in 1837 as Poems by a Slave but he did not earn enough to buy his freedom. However, he escaped to the North when the Northern troops occupied Raleigh in 1865, and he became a free man, and during that same year he published another work called Naked Genius.

Here is "On Liberty and Slavery":

"Alas! and am I born for this,
To wear this slavish chain?
Deprived of all created bliss,
Through hardship, toil and pain!

How long have I in bondage lain,
And languished to be free!
Alas! and must I still complain -
Deprived of liberty.

Oh, Heaven! and is there no relief
This side the silent grave -
To soothe the pain - to quell the grief
And anguish of a slave?

Come Liberty, thou cheerful sound,
Roll through my ravished ears!
Come, let my grief in joys be drowned,
And drive away my fears.

Say unto foul oppression, Cease:
Ye tyrants rage no more,
And let the joyful trump of peace,
Now bid the vassal soar.

Soar on the pinions of that dove
Which long has cooed for thee,
And breathed her notes from Afric's grove,
The sound of Liberty.

Oh, Liberty! thou golden prize,
So often sought by blood -
We crave thy sacred sun to rise,
The gift of nature's God!

Bid slavery hide her haggard face,
And barbarism fly:
I scorn to see the sad disgrace
In which enslaved I lie.

Dear Liberty! upon thy breast,
I languish to respire;
And like the swan unto her nest,
I'd to thy smiles retire.

Oh, blest asylum - heavenly balm!
Unto thy boughs I flee -
And in thy shades the storm shall calm,
With songs of Liberty!"


"To Eliza":

"Eliza, tell thy lover why
Or what induced thee to deceive me?
Fare thee well - away I fly -
I shun the lass who thus will grieve me.

Eliza, still thou art my song,
Although by force I may foresake thee;
Fare thee well, for I was wrong
To woo thee while another take thee.

Eliza, pause and think awhile -
Sweet lass! I shall forget thee never:
Fare thee well! although I smile,
I grieve to give thee up for ever.

Eliza, I shall think of thee -
My heart shall ever twine about thee;
Fare thee well - but think of me,
Compell'd to live and die without thee.
"Fare the well! - and if for ever,
Still for ever fare thee well!*""

* Last two lines is from "Fare thee well" by George Gordon Byron.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Songstress Marsha Moyo

Zambian Marsha Moyo is a powerful singer, author (of a book called Zambia: Women Celebrated) and advocate for Zambia concerning the UN millennium development goals. She extols women worldwide which is heard on her album Women Celebrated which is recorded in different musical versions for each continent. She has performed at the sixth African Development Forum on Gender Equality, Empowerment and Ending Violence against Women in Africa. An inspirational woman.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"The Black Mother"

The Black Mother written by Marcus Garvey.

Where can I find love that never changes
Smiles that are true and always just the same,
Caring not how the fierce tempest rages,
Willing ever to shield my honored name?

This I find at home, only with Mother,
Who cares for me with patient tenderness;
She from every human pain would rather

Save me, and drink the dregs of bitterness.

If on life's way I happen to flounder,
My true thoughts should be of Mother dear,
She is the rock that ne'er rifts asunder,
The cry of her child, be it far or near.

This is love wonderful beyond compare;
It is God's choicest gift to mortal man;
You, who know Mother, in this thought must share,

For, she, of all, is Angel of your Clan.

My Mother is black, loveliest of all;
Yes, she is as pure as the new made morn;
Her song of glee is a clear rhythmic call
To these arms of love to which I was born.

I shall never forget you, sweet Mother,
Where'er in life I may happen to roam;

Thou shalt always be the Fairy Charmer
To turn my dearest thoughts to things at home.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"A summer's dream"


A Summer's Dream. A poem by Marcus Garvey which he wrote on the 24 February, 1927.

A poem so dear to me because it tells of the fear of loosing. Still, a sweet, old love poem.

"As I lay asleep at midnight,
A thought came stealing over me:
A shadow of a great disaster,
The passing of my Love at sea.


I heard the chimes of Angelus,
It sounded sad but ringing clear;
I had a glimpse of dear heaven,
For my Love was a-going there.


The ship was lost in the ocean,
As the storm had raged and past;
Every soul was clothed in sadness,
But my Love was firm to the last.


I stretched my arms out to rescue,
But my Love was already gone:
A burning light stopped my vision,
It was like shining glare at morn.


There were Angels in the Heavens,
And sunny flowers strewn around;
The singing of Royal Cherubs
Had a pleasing Heavenly sound.


I can almost see how clearly,
There is a passage made above;
The angels are a-welcoming
The spirit of my dearest Love.


I am left with my dreams, alone,
In a cold world of sin and care,
For my Love is gone forever,
With happy Angels, bliss to share.


I tried to enter into Heaven,
But the gates were closed to me;
The Guardian of my destiny
Had not then set my spirit free.


I struggled still with the vision,
For it was a-torturing me;
My Love was taken to Heaven,
And the sweet face I could not see.


At last I came to my senses,
I found it was a summer's dream;
My Love was still right beside me,
A creature perfect as could seem."

Monday, January 12, 2009

An ill world?

It hit me hard when my father became ill last year in the middle of December. It made me think a lot about health and how highly exposed we are to ads. How big a threat are they to us?
They have the cure for an easy meal in our stressed day, and an unhealthy way to perceive humans as merely markets which equals an ill body and mind. Western people with money live in a so-called priviliged society but still I cannot skip the pictures of western people dying of heart diseases and so on as a result of a wrong lifestyle, and girls starving themselves to resemble manipulated models in advertisements on bus stops. Not only becomes this carrier-centered, fast-living life normal but it also sneaks the unnessary luggage with it.

That led me to....millions and millions people suffering from chronic starvation.
White people have led a biological warfare and dehumanization against people who lived on land which had a certain value to newly capitalist Europe. They brought diseases intentionally to every continent they sat foot on. 90% of the population in Central and South America died in less than a century. Some from diseases which were endemic in Europe. That does not mean the native population was particurly weak, they were just not used to the kind of diseases which the Europeans had plenty of.
Europeans brought animals to South America which decreased the value of the hunters in some societies, and thereby destroyed them piece by piece. The native Americans were wiped out on purpose because they were in the way. First they were used as slaves, when that did not work out they were to no use.
Tribute to be paid to the 'masters' of the colonies is an obvious sign of oppression and later assimilation, when the colonialists moved away from products as payment (such as raw materials etc) to money which meant the native people had to work in an European sense where they receive a salary.

Africa, South America, continents considered underdeveloped are not weak, behind or any of the bad images Europeans try to put onto them through the media. There are horrible problems in Africa but they were caused by, firstly, centuries of 'trade' that led to an extremely low population compared to pre-slavery and secondly, colonialism which stole the natural resources and changed the diet of innumerous people that led to the poor state of health.

Today the target group is practically everyone falling for the inventions of supposedly smart men making money. Money bills made of cotton, such a perfect way to illustrate slavery.

To be a healthy human has just as much positivity in it as it has a good diet.
'Good news' do not seem to survive their journey to the surface of the media, but positivity is an element desperately searched for in this ill world. Positivity is an act which starts from within as well. A positive spirit does not fall for negativity.

Are we independent in a society where we need voices, not our own, to pave our way?



Wipe your mind once a week and enjoy a fully home-cooked meal. It can do wonders.

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