North (and Central) American Indigenous Tribes pre-1492

How the Mighty have fallen.

Final Chapter: There goes the Neighborhood! #8 By Haida Guy

There goes the Neighborhood! #8  By Haida Guy                 Oct-2/15

At this point, it’s prudent to add that there is one celebrated and esteemed Native Canadian who HAS had his/their say and being on the National Top Sellers Book lists certainly got the attention of the great unwashed public so Good on Thomas King and his ‘The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America’; there’s more from him but that’s yours to ‘discover’.

 

It’s to Canada’s credit that the stalwarts in Ottawa allowed Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and company to remain unmolested in our country following the Custer muster. Old Bull thought it right as well since the Sioux had once turned over an American cannon to the Queens Cowboys (Red Coats) and  British forces (The Grandmothers Army) to help further their cause, so… debt paid.

 

This defiance drove the Americans a bit mad as all they wanted was for the tribes to cross the border to their awaiting forces and become ‘good*’ Indians.

 

*The only Good Indian is a deadIndian..Generla Phil SheridanCivil War vetteran is said to have spoken after being approached by an indian identifying himself as a 'heap good indian' tho has denied saying it altho it caught on life wildfire, an axiom frequently spoken by Frontier Intelligencia Hmmm, not as inclusive as might be hoped for?

 

For all their determination to ‘kill the Indian and save the man’ (if somebody’s watching) even the high & mighty United States Army in the most expensive Indian Campaign in history ($1 Million+) could not run Geronimo to  ground, they could not. He came in on his own (Maaaaan, this is getting old! He might have said, speaking in the first person as 1st People are wont to do.) and surrendered. The Government made Hey! On that and he never got a penny for all the times American Armed Forces shouted his name as they bailed out of an airplane. Somebody did write a song about him in 1972 by Michael Martin Murphy ‘Geronimo’s Cadillac’ it was; no royalties there either.

 

Oddly enough, a bit later on the Americans would elevate one Indian, Jim Thorpe, to the very top of the Sports world, then bring him crashing down. Cigar, Jim?

The Iconic, virtually indelible image of the American soldiers raising the flag on top of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima in the Pacific near the end of World War II included one Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona that pulled and pushed together with the other soldiers to get that flag up, no question of minorities, just get the job done, and they DID it, together.

Back at home after the War, it was a different war he had to face, not unlike the Colored U.S. servicemen who also, once having risked their lives for liberty (and equality?) and white people, were denied it by the same people that sent them away and the principle they fought for and had to go back to being second class people; nice.

THE Ultimate Irony: I have a picture of an American ‘Indian Head’ nickel dated 1923, and by the date is the word ‘Liberty’; by that date they were all basically confined to living on reservations.

That’s a history of pretty rough treatment, why would an Indian stand for that, would you?

 

(See Photo) 

How the Mighty have fallen.

I ‘discovered’ this Native work of art outside a Pizza shop in Oliver BC, dangerously close to the Osoyoos tribe. This is a better representation of a Plains Native, but really, where is the Dignity in shilling slices of Pizza?

 

About the Author~

 

Klahowya!

            While I am aboriginally from Haida Gwaii back when it was more commonly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands (Queen Charlotte was said to be England’s first Regent of color), I am not a Native of it, I am Haida Guy instead.

 

            Mine is not a popular perspective, but neither is it a campaign, it is growing awareness. This essay is a work of some passion and while not Fiction it will evoke Friction in some quarters, so..Science Friction then?

 

            As a point of interest, historian Allan W Eckert wrote a series of books (the ‘Narratives of America’/’That Dark & Bloody River’ and would be invaluable to read, along with Dee Browns ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’ if anybody gives a shit.

*This writing is in Memory of Linda Sparrow, a friend*

 

                                                Ray Ramsay                                                

                                                            Author of ‘I Heard the Cuckoo Call My Name’

 

The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.

 

There goes the Neighborhood! (#7) By Haida Guy

There goes the Neighborhood! (#7) By Haida Guy                           Oct-2/15

Nearly a Century later when the Americans called Hitler on his treatment of Jews and other ‘Untermenchen’, he was confused, citing their own policy on treatment of their own Natives.

Ahoy Metis!

            These are not sea farers, but as a people they were set adrift from the White European and Native populations in Canada as they were a combination of both but members of neither, and somewhat like the French Canadians (here we go!) were quite distinct as they had few rights and less respect as a culture, predominantly in Western Canada. Perhaps the most well-known Metis was Louis Riel who got himself into a spot of trouble in what’s known as the Red River Rebellion in 1870 jousting against the Canadian Government for Rights & Recognition and in recognition of his efforts, hosted/hoisted a neck-tie party in his honor and hanged him as a traitor, to a country that didn’t recognize him as a citizen?

            The Metis have since been lumped in with the other ndns for convenience, the Governments, not theirs.

In Kanata, we have a wealth of 1st People Personalities that have risen above their lot and become leaders for everyone.

In Music and Cultural Pride and Education there is the Cree Ma Donna Buffy Sainte-Marie.

In the South Okanagan, there is the entire Osoyoos tribe that pulled itself up by its own will and developed N’kmip Winery & properties creating a self-supporting thriving enterprise from the desert floor itself, so GOOD on those guys.

Locally, The Tsawwassen First Nations (Salish: ‘Facing the sea’) have likewise stepped forward and upward with two new shopping malls on their land, both partnerships; Tsawwassen Mills/covered (Ivanhoe Cambridge) and Tsawwassen Commons/outdoor/open (The Property Development Group), both adjacent to each other.

 

I’m just citing a few examples that I’m aware of, they’s more but I don’t get out much so bear with me.

I can’t forget the solitary Independent, who just happened to be Native, the single feather that broke the back of Brian Mulroney’s Meech Lake accord, Elijah Harper, I can forgive the last name, back then it stood for something.

There’s Actor Adam Beach who has played a number of memorable parts, the one that stuck with me the most was his role as a Navajo ‘Wind Talker’ that spoke the Navajo tongue in the field and thoroughly confused Japanese code-breakers.

Graham Greene also stands out for his multi Acting performances, I thought he was great in ‘Dances with Wolves’ myself.

Chief Dan George was a local North Shore Vancouver Native (Coast Salish) and appeared in too many films to mention altho I cannot forget his role in ‘Little Big Man’ with Dustin Hoffman, I can still hear him say ‘My heart soars like a hawk’ don’t recall if it was in that film but it was a great line and credibly spoken wherever he did it.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900 there was Pauline Johnson who was part Mohawk and who’s Mohawk father was an hereditary chief, famous for her poetry and later Confections bearing her name & likeness, she was the Shania Twain of her time, and speaking of her, there is another star that had no reservations about how big she would be in the Music world, no denying that. Born white but her mother remarried an Ojibway and he adopted her and her sister, it’s a bit of a stretch but I felt I should include that, you decide if it’s merited.

Another white that was born in England as Archie Belaney was as white as my beehind but came to Kanata and adopted Ojibway culture, became a noted author and cultural apostle in the early to mid 1900’s.

There are many Aboriginal Artists that have distinguished themselves, Bill Reid the master carver whose mother was Haida comes to mind.

You don’t hear too much about Natives that have enlisted in the Armed Forces and risen above all, but one unsung War hero, Tommy Prince is a stand-out. He was one of THE Most Decorated soldiers in the Canadian Army in WWll, and then re-upped and went to fight in Korea, then later dying of consumption; one too many.

A mystery to many would be the New Hazelton Native Simon Gun-a-noot who was accused of killing two white wastes of skin that hadn’t yet been hung, and then had to lam it for his life, he was later acquitted, unusual for an Indian in a White Court, the story is documented in ‘Run, Indian, Run’ by Thomas P Kelley; a worthy read.

Let’s not overlook perhaps one of the most famous Native Canadian actors for the ages, Jay Silverheels from the Six Nations in Ontario who portrayed the Apache side-kick Tonto, of the Lone Ranger (known in Japan as Kemo Wasabi) series on TV and Film for many, many moons. ‘Tonto’ is the name of an Apache tribe, for the record.

At this point, it’s prudent to add that there is one celebrated and esteemed Native Canadian who HAS had his/their say and being on the National Top Sellers Book lists certainly got the attention of the great unwashed public so Good on Thomas King and his ‘The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America’; there’s more from him but that’s yours to ‘discover’.

 

 

The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.

 

 

There goes the Neighborhood! (#6) By Haida Guy

There goes the Neighborhood! (#6) By Haida Guy

 

 

In the early 1980’s, a friend of mine living in Kelowna when calling for a Cab, the last name was ‘George’ and she had to add ‘not an Indian’ as it was felt she wouldn’t be picked up for hours, if ever, otherwise. This gives a pretty distinct indicator of how low in esteem the local natives sat on the community Totem Pole when it came to equality. How much has changed in 35 years?

As we grew up, Natives were represented in the popular culture through the media by the Hank Williams song ‘Kawliga’ who was a wooden Indian as well as carved wooden Cigar store Indians themselves which is/was pretty demeaning to Natives (not unlike the wooden Negro Lawn Jockey) and they were the 1st People to say so, altho the early significance was representing the Indian as the giver of Tobacco to white people, who might then die of Cancer, so if you can’t get rid of them one way….kind of a tit for tat for receiving all those Small Pox infected blankets from whites; early Germ Warfare.

There were also Pop Music songs like ‘Running Bear’ (loved little White Dove…) Longfellow’s ‘Hiawatha’ marathon poem and earlier literary efforts from the likes of James Fennimore Cooper who introduced ‘Lo’ the Noble Savage from his Provincial American Leatherstocking tales featuring the Last of the Mohiquans Chingachgook and Leatherstocking hero Natty Bumpo.

The entire thing was a Culture Crash: A European Christianized Industrial State vs the sylvan, stone-age tribal culture, but make no mistake, they were both cultures, white disdain aside.

The early Spanish Conquistadors were reportedly appalled by what they saw as Mayan/Inca bloodthirstiness before putting them to the sword or in chains so I’ll take ‘Pot/Kettle’ for 500 on THAT one Bob!

No question, the natives were wild (by White/European standards) making them ‘savage’ in their eyes and they could BE savage too but that was their culture. Mind you I wouldn’t want to be on the business end of their ‘culture’ when they got their sap up, Lord T’underin’ Jesus! They could find more ways to skin a cat, especially if that ‘cat’ was you, or one of yours.

Noted Pioneer and Neighborhood BlockBuster Daniel Boone told how his son James, was captured by the Shawnee confederacy and heard him scream in tortured agony for three days before going silent as a warning to Whites to stay out of Indian land; dire indeed.

Different tribes had different customs and as bad as the Apache appeared to be (and were) they were Choir Boys compared to the Comanche, and some weren’t violent at all; the farther south you went, the hotter things got.

Our teachers would tell us ‘oh, they’re not like that!...and you know that, how? She did have a wooden leg but I had attributed that to being captured by Pirates, not Indians, she was old enough.

 

The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.

There goes the Neighborhood! (#5) By Haida Guy

There goes the Neighborhood! (#5) By Haida Guy                           Oct-2/15

‘Do not look for me, I will not be there, I shall rise and pass, bury my heart at Wounded Knee’ Stephen Vincent Benet.

Indeed.

So, we Canadian kids fell for the Manifest Detestiny hype and played Cowboys and Indians rather than the more historically correct Army & Aborigines as Cowboys had far less to do in treating with the Indigents than the US Army which acted as the Enforcement Arm of the Governments (pick one, any one) Genocide Policy.

Nearly a Century later when the Americans called Hitler on his treatment of Jews and other ‘Untermenchen’, he was confused, citing their own policy on treatment of their own Natives.

Ahoy Metis!

            These are not sea farers, but as a people they were set adrift from the White European and Native populations in Canada as they were a combination of both but members of neither, and somewhat like the French Canadians (here we go!) were quite distinct as they had few rights and less respect as a culture, predominantly in Western Canada. Perhaps the most well-known Metis was Louis Riel who got himself into a spot of trouble in what’s known as the Red River Rebellion in 1870 jousting against the Canadian Government for Rights & Recognition and in recognition of his efforts, hosted/hoisted a neck-tie party in his honor and hanged him as a traitor, to a country that didn’t recognize him as a citizen?

            The Metis have since been lumped in with the other ndns for convenience, the Governments, not theirs.

 

In the early 1980’s, a friend of mine living in Kelowna when calling for a Cab, the last name was ‘George’ and she had to add ‘not an Indian’ as it was felt she wouldn’t be picked up for hours, if ever, otherwise. This gives a pretty distinct indicator of how low in esteem the local natives sat on the community Totem Pole when it came to equality. How much has changed in 35 years?

 

The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.

 

There goes the Neighborhood! (#4) By Haida Guy

There goes the Neighborhood! (#4) By Haida Guy                        Oct-2/15

I didn’t really start to get wise until my early 20’s when I ‘discovered’ (take THAT, Columbus!) Dee Browns Masterpiece ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ then I was able to have the smokescreen lifted from my eyes and see clearly the true story, the Indians story, told by a white man (named Brown). This dealt more specifically with the American Indian. I’ve read this many times and while it’s great in its depth and breadth, it’s as sad a story that could bring a tear, and has.

 

But we treated them well in Canada, eh?

You must be new.

To 5 year old Canadian white kids, the problem with Canadian Indians, notably West Coast Natives was that playing Red Coats and Red Skins (Hey! Who’s the Home team?!) didn’t hold your attention long, not enough blood (‘Red’ blood) and outrage, I mean, what kid wants to spend the afternoon getting along with each other, albeit at  a fringed arm’s length, BORING!!!

After all, Canadians robbed the natives with a pen, not a sword like somebodies Uncle we know.

Fact: ‘Canada’ is an Indian word, Iroquois actually, reportedly used in 1575 as they were giving explorer Jacques Cartier directions (away from them and not knowing the way to Hell) to ‘Kanata’ which meant ‘village’ in this case the Native village of Stadacona.

At this point, I am reminded of a significant event around the time I was 4 or 5, a long ago memory when I was taken to a REAL Indian celebration somewhere in the wilds of North Vancouver; Wow! REAL wild Indians I must have thought, altho I don’t know WHY I’d be excited about that, being comfortable IN my own skin and all.

It was marvelous, and not one of them harmed a hair on my head. I didn’t then realize that for the most part, what I was seeing was a Hollywood out-turning of the homogenized native; safe as milk.

The centerpiece was a gent all tricked out in a magnificent Eagle feather headdress, spotless beaded shirt, trous & mocs.

He was the epitome of the PLAINS Indian, a Sioux or Cheyenne perhaps, but not a Pacific Coastal Native like Salish or Hiada that wore animal hides but more likely clothing woven from Cedar bark including umbrella shaped hats with nary a scalp insight, THOSE were our Native people.

However, those other rowdy guys got all the press, the Sioux in particular as they were the only tribe that very nearly ended the Louis & Clark expedition before it could reach the West Coast and the very same Native brothers that stopped Custer dead in his tracks. In fact, it was that exact shortcoming, the fact that they DIDN’T kill that pompous ass Custer that kept our 1st Nations in the background, while the other guys were portrayed on kids lunch boxes seething and swarming over the hapless 7th Cavalry with that brave, noble Lieutenant Colonel being overcome by Indians who were actually sneak-attacked first and fighting for THEIR lives, but that’s not how it played out on the lunch boxes. We were told they killed/massacred him/them when he really killed himself and about 200 good men by falling off his not inconsiderable ego in a race to the White House.

What a lot of people don’t know is that he wasn’t scalped or mutilated as was the native custom with slain enemies and as happened to virtually ALL of the other fallen soldiers that day, as he was identified as actually being one of them (Son of the Morning Star), having an Indian wife/woman and child by one of his captive prisoners of war! All in the family I suppose.

There he lay, in his arrow shirt, the fool on the hill, the Man who would be King.

Such was Custer’s last Grandstand.

Wounded Knee would be the balm, revenge for the Little Bighorn, how proud they must have been!

‘Do not look for me, I will not be there, I shall rise and pass, bury my heart at Wounded Knee’ Stephen Vincent Benet.

Indeed.

The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.

 

There goes the Neighborhood! (#3) By Haida Guy

There goes the Neighborhood! (#3)   By Haida Guy         

They were disadvantaged that way and it wasn’t until caring, interested white people came along and wrote their languages down phonetically, and what they meant, that natives had any credible written language and while many could speak it, few could read it or English, and fewer still could write it.

Finally, when the ‘Red’ man did get to speak for himself, his words fell on deaf ears as in the case when the U.S. Government/Army staged a Public Relations spectacle by arranging for Sioux Chief Sitting Bull to speak directly to a delegation of Whites and state his case (simply put…Fuck OFF!).

As Messer Bull spoke little English (He could understand it somewhat, but was more comfortable speaking in his Native tongue, not unlike being in Richmond or Quebec today) it was necessary to have an Army Interpreter to translate his Vitriol into English.

THIS was Bulls big chance and he took it by the tail.

He took the stage, and being greeted and recognized by the assembly, he began in Sioux… I HATE ALL White people (with a smile)… and went on from there in that vein….to the utter astonishment and extreme amusement of his Interpreter who, knowing how all this was supposed to play out as the beginning of better relations between the White and Native people, at Bulls opening line, didn’t know whether to shit or wind his watch but stepped up and ad-libbed his face off, quite contrary to what Bull was saying, to the wild applause of the gathering.

Semantics.

This may have been the Genesis of another PR term ‘Spinning the Indian’ and truly was a classic case of putting words in someone else’s mouth.

Bull (Tatanka Yotanka) was somewhat amused by all this (altho not so much by the White man’s chicanery) but had his say, he was Sitting Bull but he wasn’t Bull Shitting as would be borne out by the final acrimony on the Little Bighorn.

Without question, we kids bought into the Great American Bulloney we were fed, the term ‘Manifest Destiny’ was unheard by our age group.

White/Right, Red/Wrong, is pretty much what it amounted to.

Savage/Civilized are comparative terms with the bias going to the upper White/Right hand.

When I was around 5 years old, it was common to see/hear Natives referred to as savagely drunk, lazy savages, all a result of being the butt end of white peoples policies which brought on them being indolently depressed…and the wheel in the sky goes round and round!

I didn’t really start to get wise until my early 20’s when I ‘discovered’ (take THAT, Columbus!) Dee Browns Masterpiece ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ then I was able to have the smokescreen lifted from my eyes and see clearly the true story, the Indians story, told by a white man (named Brown). This dealt more specifically with the American Indian. I’ve read this many times and while it’s great in its depth and breadth, it’s as sad a story that could bring a tear, and has.

 

The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.

 

There goes the Neighborhood! Part 2……By Haida Guy

I found this Gentleman outside an Antique store in Summerland BC. The head dress might suggest he may be from San Salvador and one of the West Indians that Columbus might have met. Didn’t your Momma tell you not to talk to strangers? Now look what happened!

There goes the Neighborhood!  Part 2……By Haida Guy                Oct-2/15

  

As a white kid, my early impressions of ‘injuns’ was as ignorant as that word and delivered to us by American TV, Saturday Matinee Movies, comic books and lunch boxes, more on the latter later.

I went to an Elementary school named after a Shawnee Chief ‘Tecumseh’ who was an ally of the British against the Americans. All I knew of him was that he was in this gigantic mural on the main floor wall and that was it. I learned his exploits from Allan W Eckert MUCH later in life. Don’t forget, Tecumseh fought against the Americans so no point in their glorifying him tho they took great satisfaction in killing him altho he was killed in battle and not otherwise murdered; small graces.

Being the ‘superior’ / victorious white race, we wrote the history, or most of it. Indigents had language, mostly localized and vocalized, no written alphabet, no written history as we knew it except for pictographs which still required deciphering or interpreting.

They were disadvantaged that way and it wasn’t until caring, interested white people came along and wrote their languages down phonetically, and what they meant, that natives had any credible written language and while many could speak it, few could read it or English, and fewer still could write it.

 

The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.

 

There goes the Neighborhood! (#1) By Haida Guy

There goes the Neighborhood! (#1) By Haida Guy                           Oct-2/15

 

…let sleeping dog soldiers lie!

 

North American ‘Indians’ have long taken a bad rap, the American cousins in particular.

 

The Genesis of this started in 1492 of course, when Columbus arrived NEAR, but not ON ‘America’ what is now American soil, or more properly North America.

 

He actually stumbled upon the islands of San Salvador first and was preceded to North America by Vikings no less who knew of the natives and called them ‘skraelings’ a disparaging slur, don’t forget these were white Europeans, BUT they had the uncommon good sense to take their Leif and go.

 

Christopher Columbus didn’t ‘discover’ a goddam thing, it was there all the time, did the inhabitants ever claim to ‘discover’ him? It lay there until he blundered upon it and that would be a special day for, but more of a Chris Mess in the long run than Christmas for the natives that ran afoul of his landings ever after, amen.

 

There goes the neighborhood.

 

The material herein remains the property of Ray Ramsay / ALadinLadner Publishing:The Written Werd and Dirty Book Store is not intended for Publication, Reproduction, or Broadcast without the Authors permission. Yeah.

 

Where the beard stops and the Dog starts.