In solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux I share this memory of my first time listening to Jim Pepper’s Witchi Tai To.
It was a transformative moment for me. It was 1969 and the healing powers of Witchi Tai To reached over the air waves on my $10 radio. I was 14 years old.
The song is a healing song based on ancient chants of the Kaw Nation which was once located south of North Dakota in the lands that became the state of Kansas in 1850. The Kaw are a southern Sioux people and the name means “south wind.”
But the ruthless, genocidal policies of US presidents like Andrew Jackson (Treaty of 1826 )and those that followed, the Kaw were forced to Oklahoma by white settlers and the US Army, railway building and cattle ranging and then when oil was found in Oklahoma the Kaw lands were again severely reduced and many Kaw were displaced
and Jim Pepper who was a hereditary chief was born in Oregon.
Today its pipelines.
Somethings don’t seem to change, but they must change and the rights of human beings to their lands and water must be upheld.
Wounded Knee in 1892; Pine Ridge in the 1970s and today Standing Rock. One day, why not today, justice will win over raw brutality.
The decision not to proceed with the pipeline is great news. Now let’s stand firm and make sure Trump doesn’t undo the Obama decision.
I know this is sacrilegious in our western-biased mind set…but what the US has done to the world e.g. Korean, Vietnam, Chile, Latin America, Central America, Africa, Middle East, Iran, Kuwait,Iraq…it did to the Native Americans first and continues to do so.
America, you are not exceptional…you are merely one of us.
Stand together, stand strong. People over pipelines. Human Rights over American wrongs.