By Cheryl Morgan
BWHL is proud to share excerpts from Cheryl Morgan’s book, Ottissippi. To purchase a copy of Cheryl’s book in its entirety, click here.
JOE GREAUX, METIS WOODLAND PEACE CHIEF OF THE BLACK RIVER BANDS, 2014 INTERVIEW
Joe Greaux – Minnwaasenieta – Joseph O. Bennett Greaux, was a “tunnel rat” in Vietnam, rising in rank to Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines. His health was affected by Agent Orange. He worked for and retired from the Port Huron Area School District in maintenance, plumbing, and repairing audio visual equipment. He also repaired technical equipment as a side line.
Joe wants to have an all culture get-together to share common bonds, promote goodwill, and exchange cultural traditions. God bless you, Joe, and thanks for serving our country and being a proud and patriotic American and Marine.
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Joe was born October 23, 1950 and passed to eternity on February 5, 2017. He was honored with a celebration of life at the Pow Wow grounds on Black River, near Wadhams Michigan, on August 12, 2017. An Eagle soared over the Black River nearby. He was an elder and spiritual leader, Peace Chief and a Medicine Man, of the Woodlands Ojibwe. He loved to share with and teach younger people the Ojibwe language and culture. Joe headed the Black River Pow Wow for many years; he was a singer-drummer with other local men who won awards for their drumming. Joe was of Ojibwe and Seneca ancestry.
The first Blue Water Pow Wow Celebration was held in 1995. Joe, was instrumental in organizing it. Sharon Kota, taught the culture and language also, and was a founding Pow Wow member.
“We need to stop disrespecting ourselves and one another. People need to have respect for themselves and others, being kind, courteous, helping one another. Like any culture, there are good and bad. There are those that are polite and those that are not polite.
We are still here. There were many battles and important meetings on Black River. Many of our kids went to Indian schools. This almost destroyed our culture. We were to be annihilated. Our lifestyle, customs, language, and religion were nearly destroyed. But the people survived. We went underground; together we overcame the cloak of darkness.
The records of atrocity were burned, hiding the truth. The rich man had to get rid of the people to fill their pockets. Most wars are based around money, oil—wherever you look, everything is based on money.
In the 1920s and 1930s, we were a mixed people. After the first child the government tied [the] tubes. The truth is hidden. Before 2006, it was against the law to speak our language off-reserve. In 2006, George Bush restored Indian American rights to freedom of religion and other traditions.
At one time, the St. Clair River was much shallower. Our people dried fish at the lake. The racks were stacked eight feet high. At lakeside, the shoreline was another 150 feet out. Dams from hydro companies and dredging has made it deep. At Pine Grove Park, the shore was 75 to 100 feet farther out. The stumps of trees that were cut are still there in the original bank of the St. Clair River.
General Custer was a bad sicko.
Our language is pictorial; you see it at the same time you speak it. Some words have different meanings for men and women.
In a lot of Indian cultures, the women made the decisions.
Pow Wows are family reunions open to everybody; everyone comes – they come from all over.
The Boy Scouts started with Indians.
This was a great trading area; all Native tribes came to trade in this area.
The Tobacco and Neutral nations are totally extinct.
Some of our people helped the slaves from the south; Natives were a part of the Underground Railroad. This was one of the biggest points, a lot came through for freedom.
Our people, we worked as loggers.
We were soldiers for the best-paying country at war.
The Indians thought they were suckering Europeans into giving them money because the Earth belongs to all, the Earth is the Lord’s. It belongs to God and cannot be bought, as the sky, water, [and] sun also belong to God.
There were four races in the same boat: eight people.
In the beginning of time, the Creator had five sons: A Black son to give the gift of strength to share with all the world, a Red son given the gift of taking care of Mother Earth and all our relations, the Earth and all it entails. The Yellow son was given the gift of patience, the White son the gift of fire. The fifth son had no color because he turned away and called himself God.
An old man said this at the Fire Teaching, the Elder said: “The Black is strong but didn’t share his gift, or he would teach all the people to be strong inside. The Yellow didn’t share, or you wouldn’t have suicide, because people would have patience. (The Lodge got more quiet.) The Red man, if he kept his word, you wouldn’t have pollution or sickness. The White brother kept his word – light on in the morning, electricity for cooking food, heat, cars, everything, has to do with fire. Even the giisis – sun. Dobeka, even the moon reflects that fire at night. No Color was cast out; we don’t talk about him, he has no meaning – shunned.”
White sage bandaged over a cut and it will heal, bed sores are healed this way. The Sarnia Ojibwe are a quiet people; they keep to themselves.
Sweet Grass has tons of uses, as a smoke or smudge, in teas, for gall stones, kidney stones, urinary tract infections.
This is Mount Pleasant Territory, Mt. Pleasant Reserve Territory.”
The Canadian Truth Commission was an act to search out the reasons for Indian discontent following the Camp Ipperwash Protest Picnic. In 1995, the Truth Commission issued their report which outlined the abuse inflicted upon Indians since the 1800s and reservation era and boarding school experience of atrocious abuse.
“For 500 years, our people’s spirituality and way of life have been recorded from the Eurocentric point of view. The Europeans who came to our country had no comprehension of our lifeways. Our people have suffered greatly during the past 500 years. Our elders and ancestors have made many sacrifices for us. Despite all the new resources, our people are still haunted by the oppression and colonization endured at the hands of American society. Many more generations will pass before our people recover from the traumas of boarding schools, substance abuse, racism, and prejudice. Many have overcome debilitating social scourges” (Ziibiwing).
The Indian population of Michigan in 1980 was 40,038 by census figures. The Michigan Department of Education school count was 60,374.
Indians have a destiny: to save the Earth from the evil that would attempt to destroy it. We are all children of the Universe with a responsibility to save it, each other, and all that is in it (Frazier/Cameron).
White government ignored centuries of acquired skills, values, spiritual beliefs, and lifestyles practiced by the tribes. Cultural genocide destroyed the Anishinabe trade, social, political, and economic systems. There is cultural amnesia, a void. The people are reintroducing traditional models of leadership. This builds ownership, self-identity, and self-esteem.
Colonial oppression has transformed what was a bottom-up structure to Western top-down structure, often filled with nepotism, favorites, and corrupt and coercive leadership. This system perpetuates disempowerment of the Anishinabe. Coupled with historic trauma, this engenders self-oppression and social dysfunction. Youth are starving spiritually (Flocken, UMN. 2013).
The Ojibwe of Southeast Michigan and Southern Ontario were never removed, as so many other tribes have been, but by successive treaty sales were restricted to reservations within this territory with the exception of a few families who moved to Kansas.
The Black River Reservation was sold in 1836. Three hundred and sixty of the people stayed on the land until after 1838. A few went to the Wesleyan Mission near Port Sarnia.
“Port Huron has been the place for paying the annuity to the Swan Creek and Black River Chippewa’s.
The Black River Indian place of residence are nearly the same that they ever have been since the ancestors of the present chiefs, the brave Mashkeos at the head of the Algonquin, drove the Iroquois Confederacy from the Peninsula now called Michigan.
In the sugar-making season, most of them may be found at their old sugar camp in what is now called Lexington and Burchville. They plant upon Mill Creek in Clyde Township and in Burchville. In the hunting season, they and many more are scattered through the forests of this and the adjoining counties. At other seasons, they may be found at Port Sarnia, just opposite this place in Canada, where they have friends (and) relations and where they receive religious instruction. Most of them are professing Christians of the Methodist persuasion. Many give satisfactory evidence of being truly pious and enlightened Christians. I have often preached to them on both sides of the River St. Clair and have baptized a few. They attended my school while I had the means to continue it, and their progress in learning at that time was rapid.
Under the supervision of Colonel Bunce in Clyde, several have become tolerable farmers. There also I have often preached to them by the help of their Chief Nagezhik, Andrew Yates, who will hear me speak rapidly for more than half an hour, then rise and interpret the whole discourse faithfully and in a beautiful stile of language. Something less than a half a dozen of this kind are still unconverted to Christianity” (Norman Nash Port Huron to Robert Stuart, 1844 NAMIR.56; 145-147. Ziibiwing).
In the 1840s, the Black River Society Methodist Church was a great help to the Ojibwe peoples.
Many bought land and homes to stay on the original indigenous homelands. They are our neighbors, working, school, college, and church, living, loving and raising families.
As of the year 2000, there are 2.45 million Native Americans in the U.S. with 58,479 in Michigan. We survived and are hungry to reconnect with our cultural and spiritual heritage.
Modern day pirates on the border smuggle goods across to Canada. Tobacco is the main product in a very lucrative trade, (along with) whiskey and illegal immigrants. The St. Clair River is a smuggler’s paradise (Belfy).
A prayer to Gitchi Manito, the Great Spirit: “Teach us honor, humility, love, and respect, so that we may heal the Earth and heal each other” (Ziibiwing, Saginaw Chippewa).
In 1924, all Indians were made full American citizens. There was also a law against identifying one’s self as an Indian in Virginia; this law was overturned in 1967.
In 1940, hundreds of Indian tribes were eliminated as political entities when the termination policy began. The U.S. terminated numerous tribal rights and Indian treaties.
In 1941 to 1978, Whites adopted 35% of American Indian children in the U.S., and 67% in the Western States.
In 1979, the Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed as law.
Incest is a European tradition (Metis Timeline, www).
Exploitation by large corporations often in collusion with politicians at local, state, and federal levels with Indian governments continues today. To prevent general public outrage and demand, Indian history is written out of existence and the people kept ignorant. To be honest, the people are required to know their history and assume responsibility. The Indian heritage is hidden by those who seek to obscure it (The New Indian).
The Canadian Constitution was amended in 1982 as part of the process of completing the evolution of Canada as a self-governing nation, recognizing and affirming Aboriginal and treaty rights, including the right of Aboriginal self-government within the Canadian Constitution.
NATIONAL AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH
On August 3, 1990, November was officially declared National American Indian Heritage Month in the United States of America.
In 2009, June was declared National Aboriginal History Month in Canada.
Indian Day, an act established in 1974, is set aside on the fourth Friday in September to honor and celebrate Native Americans in Michigan.
The Native American Graves and Protection Repatriation Act was passed by Congress on November 16, 1990 and signed into law by President George Bush. Hundreds of thousands of pieces of Native American human remains, cultural pieces, and funeral objects are being returned to tribal lands. The remains are held in museums and universities across the country. The return is ongoing at government expense.
In 1879, the Carlisle Indian Boarding School opened in Pennsylvania. By 1884, there were 200 Indian schools operating in the U.S. and many more in Canada. Indian schools were built to civilize the people. Children were forced to attend; they were taken away from their families, kidnapped to live at boarding schools. The teachers at most of the schools were former rejects who were unwanted elsewhere. The Catholic Church was a large holder of Boarding Schools. One school had 62 sex offenders out of 63 employees.
The Federal Government operated 48 Indian schools in the country. Of all the nation’s Mission and boarding schools for Indians, Michigan had 21 Indian schools. These schools were notorious for abuse. The children were not allowed to speak their own language and were punished for using it. Their culture was stripped away from them. They were not well cared for or fed. Physical, mental, and spiritual abuse was rampant at these schools.
The heinous abuse and genocide perpetrated on Native Americans by the U.S. lasted until the late 1900s. Violent methods of educating Native American children included murder, with no repercussions. The Isolation Policy of the BIA gave Carte Blanche Authority. The most extreme forms of child abuse resulted in permanent psychological and emotional injuries. (Isolated on reservations away from white society, and scrutiny of the public, who were kept ignorant of the illegal activities)
The Mission schools did teach many trades and provided a place where the children didn’t face virulent racism and discrimination, a haven where they could learn. Indian agents complained that the children did not learn much at school because they had to leave school to hunt, fish, and gather crops with their parents and the language at home slowed their education. Some went on to public schools but had difficulty and were ridiculed by White students. Many grew up without any education. Being scattered over a large territory, the government could not afford to build a school at every settlement. By 1884, the Federal Government operated 81 boarding schools and six industrial or manual labor schools. All of the Mission schools, were closed in 1889.
Mount Pleasant, Michigan Indian Boarding School children endured school policies, and a sense of brotherhood and solidarity was created. The children learned trades, mechanics, farming, nursing, and home economics. They did most of the work at the schools and farms to support them.
Thousands of children attended Mt. Pleasant Boarding School, having 300 to 375 students at a time. It had eleven brick buildings. Many children never saw their families while they attended school; there was great culture shock both going to school and returning home. There was great heartache and homesickness. Many students ran away, attempting to return home. It was a military school: the students marched, wore uniforms, had a strict schedule and rules. They woke at 4:00 AM. School employees were quick to punish students who broke the rules. Discipline and work were the curriculum. The school prepared them for low-paying, menial jobs.
Many people believed they received a good education, had fond memories; the band and football teams were favorites, friendships made were treasured. Other schools had horror stories; sexual abuse was rampant. Rejects were sent to teach at the Catholic Schools, and many children were beat to death, heads were slammed into the walls. The children were rented out to farmers and others during the summer. One young woman in Ontario was slapped every day for speaking her own language, and when she grew older, she finally stopped the teacher, holding her arms, and asked how would you like to be slapped for speaking your own language. The slapping stopped.
Basil Johnson (Ojibwe author) said, “As long as language exists, it enables men to understand and appreciate their ideas and philosophies and to share in their humor, so long do they adhere to their way of life. Once language disappeared, men began to forget their former purpose of life and ideas; they could only understand the thoughts of the adopted culture” (Schmaltz).
Letters home had to be in English as well, as all appliances supplied, except stamps (which many could not afford), and the family could not read.
The children were comfortable neither in the White Man’s world nor in the Indian’s world, and their self-esteem and self-respect were shattered.
Sexual abuse of the children by ministers, priests, nuns, and teachers was widespread. Since the abused are inclined to become abusers, reserve life was influenced adversely by these experiences (Schmaltz).
Some were sterilized at the school’s hospital. Many were not treated for ailments and died from disease or the flu and common cold. It was a hell for many. Many will not speak about their time at boarding school. In Ontario and other places, the truth is coming out. The Catholic Church was known for great abuse at their schools. Many lawsuits are still ongoing. Many have been paid something for their abuse; many never did, as they are now dying off. The latest is the Catholic Church is claiming bankruptcy in their lawsuits and not paying anything.
In 1928, Merriman’s scathing report led to the Wheeler Howard Reorganization Act which returned some of the power back to the Indians, more self- government and responsibility.
The Wheeler Howard Act created Red Apartheid in America; it was passed by corruption and fraud. 80% of billions of dollars were used for administrative costs (Means).
Secularization was used as a tool to cover great theft and genocide (Means).
Schools whipped, kicked, beat, raped, and sexually abused, many students were made to eat their own vomit, used the electric chair, a funny sight for missionaries, laughing as a child was given the treatment with legs waving. Violence and intimidation to silence those who complained. The last boarding school closed in 1978. Some had a 50% death rate, and some students were beaten every day for speaking their own language (Metis Timeline, www).
“The children were told that their language was the Devil’s tongue, a sinful way to talk, that their cultural practices and teachings were wrong. They were told they were dirty Indians and stripped, then disinfected by alcohol, kerosene, or DDT poured on them. They were renamed, their hair cut, personal belongings taken and never returned” (Ziibiiwing, Saginaw Chippewa). The people were chronically, desperately sick after over 100 years of reserve life. The medical profession was well aware, but consider it normal for the race (Metis Timeline, www).
There was a boarding school at Sault St. Marie, one in Carlyle, Pennsylvania; and at Haskell in Kansas, where many Michigan children were taken. Ontario also had boarding schools. Disease, poor housing, poor food, sexual abuse, and beatings were the norm. The children were not allowed to speak their own language and were beaten if they did. Most of the schools were operated to destroy Indian culture in the children who were the future Indians. So, the schools also destroyed the tribal culture and home. Many schools, it seemed, were there to destroy the Indians as a people. The abuse suffered has caused generational trauma, along with the historic trauma of the Indian people. There is great abuse of alcohol and drugs, physical abuse, drug abuse, and hopelessness. On the Rez (reservations), there are not many jobs; there is yet great abuse by Whites who come to sell alcohol and take women. Sex abuse, kidnapping, and murder are rampant in Canada.
The Mount Pleasant Indian School, a manual labor boarding school, was home to many Anishinabe children from across the Great Lakes region from 1893 to 1933. The children were taken from their parents, often at a very young age, to attend government-run boarding schools intending to separate children from Anishinabe culture and assimilate them into White culture.
Some of the schools did better at teaching the kids life skills than others. Mostly they were used to do the work for the school, upkeep and growing crops. Some were boarded out for summer work. The death rate at some Indian schools in the U.S. and Canada was 50%. Medical care was insufficient, food was poor, and abuse was much.
Canada has formally apologized for the abuse of Native Children in their provinces. They are trying to change the educational system to have respect for the Natives. There have been major lawsuits settled on behalf of abused boys and girls.
Apology to the Native American Indian, by Dr. Mary Harmer M.D. (2009), is a long letter written to a Walpole Indian detailing abuses to Natives. It is found at Countercurrents.org/harmar081209.htn.
The Canadian Truth Commission had a report about boarding schools. They have issued a public apology to Native Canadians for the atrocities committed against them. There are many reverberations in Canada with abuse in Indian communities: there are many suicide epidemics in Canada, the North and West particularly. Many Native women disappear; many are raped and abused. Human trafficking is rampant in Michigan, Ontario, and on reservations. One in three Native Women will be raped. Eighty-eight percent of rapes are by non-native perpetrators.
The website Students on Site is a good resource for learning about boarding schools and Mission schools. There are many others across the Internet. The Canadian Truth Council’s website is also a great source for further information.
CANADIAN TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION REPORT
The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Council Commission sought out the truth of the Indian situation for six years, from 2008 to 2015. The idea was modeled after a study in South Africa.
In Canada, 150,000 children were removed from their communities to residential schools. There were 139 schools in Canada; 60 of these were run by the Catholic Church. More than 6,000 children died at these schools. The record-keeping of these horrors was very poor.
In 2002, nuns in Canada received eight months prison time for beating children. Indians never raised a hand to any child.
The schools operated from 1883 to 1996, the children were dying like flies. Sexual assaults were rampant by dormitory supervisors and others. There are 80,000 former students living today. 2.8 billion dollars have been paid in claims to victims of abuse to 36,000 people or 48% of the children at these schools. The number does not include former students who died prior to 2005 (Students on Site, Native American Missions and Schools).
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples in 1996 recommended ethical principles respecting aboriginal cultures and values, the historical origins of aboriginal nationhood and inherent right to Aboriginal self-determination, health and healing strategies, and public education to promote understanding.
The Catholic Sexual Abuse Survivor network of those abused by priests and others was first publicized in 1985. In 2002, minors came forward. A cover-up pattern was exposed. It became a crisis for the Catholic Church globally. There were hundreds of millions of settlements with 80% of the sex abuse of minors in the United States. It was about 4% of the priests, 4,392 men during 1950 to 2002. Many schools and parishes closed. It was a huge cover-up involving other churches and Protestant-run schools; there was over 25 billion awarded in lawsuits. 166.1 million dollars was awarded to Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, 660 million in Los Angeles, and 198 million in San Diego.
The denial of the problem is over the reluctance to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem. Pressuring students into silence, the schools were the dumping grounds for problem priests and teachers. Children were beaten at home and school by paddle and fist.
Half of all Natives suffer abuse. It is not if raped, but when. The murder rate is 10 times the national average. There is no law enforcement at the federal level. 86% of crimes by White people against Natives go unpunished (Students on Site, Native American Missions and Schools).
The trauma of child abuse, brutalizing emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually, has been manifested in rampant suicide, alcoholism, drug abuse, and domestic violence that plague Indian country. The unrelenting tragedy of suffering, the ruin of lives, shame, despair, and violent death, poverty, ignorance, and disease have been the products of the BIA agencies work.
In the United States, the rampant abuse of the Natives by the authorities of the BIA, by schools, and by medical systems instituted by the government to abuse and destroy Native culture and people is atrocious, from outright theft to huge bribes to stealing resources belonging to the Natives. To sterilization of women to exterminate their unborn. Every evil tactic and vice has been allowed to perpetuate the extermination policy of the United States against the indigenous peoples. The continued exploitation is an evil that is just now being addressed; there are major lawsuits against the BIA and their exploitation of the Natives from its inception.
In the West, there is finally coming an accounting of the BIA and the great fraud and abuse against Indians and their land. Billions of dollars have been stolen from Indian land resources, and there are many lawsuits ongoing to regain land, resources and reimbursement for untold abuse.
There is hope in returning to the Indian values which are a great asset to humanity. The truth is finally coming out about the lies, racism, disease, alcohol, and propaganda used against Natives to take their great riches, their religion, and loving culture.
President Obama has made an apology in 2009 that has been kept quiet. This is an outrage. The American people are being kept dumb and uninformed.
Enos Whiteye of Walpole Island wrote a book about his experience in boarding school in Ontario. In A Dark Legacy, he tells his story: many were repeatedly raped, many were beaten daily.
Our Seventh Prophecy gave us new reason for hope; it told us we could become a New People. Many are returning to our culture and traditions, restarting clan relationships. Our nation is being reborn. The sacred fire is being revived through diversity, acceptance, and equality in our own communities.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has issued an apology. It can be found on the Internet at Tuhtonka, World Future Feed. The BIA has had a covert policy toward Indians; a policy of ethnic cleansing has been in effect since the 1830s. A less than human stereotyping that leads to shallow and ignorant beliefs. A policy of grand theft of resources designated for Indian benefit and use. A policy of hate and violence, destruction and annihilation. Their language, religion, and tribal ways were taken from them for a long time. Their children were seized and taken from them; they were taught to be ashamed of who they are.
Hitler used North American Indian policy as his model of holocaust. The 500 Year War against the Indians has been called “The American Indian Holocaust”. The world’s longest holocaust in the history of mankind and loss of human lives—500 years of hate crimes. It was mass death and mass evil. The bodies were used for dog food. Sterilization and poor medical care had been used into the 1970s.
The time of dying is at its end. Shame and fear are over. We are replacing anger with hope and love. There is a rebirth of joy, freedom, and progress.
Most young people with Indian Metis (mixed-blood) or full Indian-blooded were taught that the Indians were bad. Many were not told that they had Indian blood to keep them from the stymie and racism that was rampant in White schools. Their parents did not claim their heritage to protect their children from boarding schools and other traumatic ways. They were told a lot of nasty things about Indians, mostly lies. Many adults will not talk about their experiences at these boarding schools, as they were a horror to live and witness, nor will they share much about the Indians’ history. They were brought up to be ashamed of being an Indian. There were actual laws made that a person could not say they were Indian. Many, many people were Metis in Ontario and along the waterway borders. Many Indians were threatened by authorities and other figures to never talk about being an Indian, speak the language, or practice any traditional ways.
On the reserves, they were not allowed to earn a living as they wished, but often were dictated to as to what they could do and were opposed in every way in doing it. They were not to be tradespeople. Many were soldiers for the U.S. and Canadian governments, for it is a privilege and honor to the Indian to do difficult assignments without complaint.
The Indians were erased from modern society; they were invisible, excluded, silenced. In fact, most people hardly knew they were living amongst them. There has been a revisionist history by the Europeans and has been perpetuated as a nostalgic past. It has hidden the brutal and genocidal legacy of U.S. history. The Indians were reduced to tenants on their ancestral homelands. Congress was given absolute power over Indian lands and lives without their consent, and in opposition to the purpose of hundreds of treaties, under the rhetoric of benevolence and civilization (Decolonization, www).
The Natives are reclaiming their culture with self-determination, taking control of their own schools and communities. The Indian agents are losing their grip over Native lives.
Here are some Internet sites for further study: MIIBS, Attiwapiskat, NABS; National healing coalition, Russel Means; Indian Boarding Schools, Auschwitz in Canada and the U.S, Newsvine, Grisham; White Bison, WKAR survivor stories, Detroit, and 10 lies about Indians, K Porterfield; Counter currents.org, Apology to The Native American Indians, by Dr. Mary Harmer, M.D. dedicated to Onikwit, Ojibwe from Walpole Island, Ont. Canada; an apology from the BIA at Tuhtonka, World Future Feed; Ancestry free page, School Records.
There are 1,500 projects across the country, a healing movement of 100 years of forced institutionalization. It was not until 1965 that Michigan, under special Federal and State legislation, had legal rights for any dealing with its Native Americans. Congress and the War Department were over the Bureau of Indian Affairs. One of the Bureau’s responsibilities was to direct procedures for Indian treaties. In 1849, the Bureau was moved to the newly established Department of the Interior where it has remained.
Tens of millions of dollars were spent on anthropologists to make reports, to reduce the people they study to objects, instead of treating them as human beings. This is scientific racism (Russell Means, Where White Men Fear to Tread).
A huge hoax was perpetrated upon Michigan and the nation when men, Scotford and Soper, tampered with original artifacts, adding a cuneiform style and mystic symbol. They made claim that these were relics unearthed, when in fact many were manufactured. These relics were sold as artifacts. Some were crowns said to be lifted from the heads of ancient kings and copies of Noah’s diary. In 1911, they were determined to be a hoax of the lowest order. Their aim was to convince people that the Phoenicians had in fact been in America thousands of years before Columbus was born. Many priests believed the ruse, lending credence to the hoax (Nailhed, www).
The problem of stereotyping is not so much a racial problem as it is a problem of limited knowledge and perspective. “And who, down to the lowest idiot, will not think blind and downright malicious those who dare to spread this belief and defame so many people, saying Indians need tutors because they are incapable of organization, when in reality they have kings and governors, villages, houses, and property rights” (Fray Bartolome De Las Casas, Spanish Missionary, 1511).
The Indians contributed much to our modern life, (the following is a) a partial list of products: corn, popcorn, wild rice, squash, pumpkins, peanuts, cranberries, chewing gum, chocolate – cacao, tapioca, beans, maple syrup, potatoes, tomatoes, pineapples, avocado, turkey, clam bakes, pemmican, jerky, vanilla, cotton, rubber, quinine, and tobacco, to name a few. In addition, over 1,000 types of pharmaceuticals, freeze dried food, syringes, root beer, rubberized clothing, peppers, strawberries, many tenants of the Constitution, the number zero, and interstate highways over Indian trails (K. Porterfield, “10 lies about Indigenous Science).
The indigenous people were experts in plant breeding and genetics. Over half the world’s present food supply comes from the American Indians’ agriculture, primarily corn and potatoes (Antell/MCGAA DSS, Publication 137, St. Paul Minn. /Library of MI).
What cannot be obtained by moral right is being achieved by legal right (Metis Timeline, www). The journey for Forgiveness Marches begin the healing process in 2009; the White Bison Group lead a local march at the Mount Pleasant Boarding School (Ziibiiwing).
The Indians survived. They were determined to save their race and their nations. They held their treaty documents, and the Federal Government was forced to explain, justify, or rescind their actions (Herman Cameron).
The Ziibiwing Cultural Center, is in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways and Tribal Museum is the Midwest’s premier American Indian Museum. There is a permanent display and a changing display of history and artifacts, art and archival documents. The Nindakenjigewinoong Research Center, is a wonderful place for research, it is located, in the Ziibiwing Cultural Center. There is a Gift Shop with books, and much more. It is located east of Mount Pleasant Michigan, adjacent to the Soaring Eagle Casino, and the Tribal Offices.
The Saginaw Chippewa operate, Soaring Eagle Casino for entertainment. It is east of Mount Pleasant, Michigan on tribal land. There is a hotel on the property and many others nearby. The Saganing Eagles Landing Casino in Standish, Michigan is also a Saginaw Chippewa Casino.
The Saginaw Chippewa currently maintain and utilize 6 cemeteries throughout the Central Michigan area. They also work with the State of Michigan to care for the Sanilac Petroglyphs, where cultural teachings and ceremonies are conducted.
“Not to know is bad; not to want to know is worse” (Metis Timeline, www).
“It is from understanding that power comes. Nothing can live well except in a manner suited to the way the Sacred Power of the world lives and moves.”
“Whenever the truth comes upon the world, it is like rain. The world is happier after the terror of the storm.”
“Truth comes with two faces: one sad and suffering, the other laughs.”
“Give me strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that is. Give me eyes to see and strength to understand, that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds.”
“Once we were happy on our own country and seldom hungry. The many came, dirty with lies and greed.”
“The fighting was about the yellow metal that they worship and that makes them crazy.”
“My father is with me, and there is no great father between me and the Great Spirit.”
“Men get fat by being bad and starve by being good” (Crazy Horse).
“Understanding – with this on Earth, you shall undertake anything and do it” (Sacred Flames).
“Whosoever controls the education of our children controls the future” (Chief, Wilma Mankiller).
“Almost always the creative dedicated minority has made the world better” (Martin Luther King).
“True power does not amass through the pain and suffering of others” (Jay Harjo).
“The Indian was despised for his poverty and simplicity; our culture forbade accumulation of wealth and enjoyment of luxury. It was considered a snare and burden, a needless peril and temptation. The Indian kept his spirit free from the clog of pride, cupidity, or envy and carried out the Divine Decree, a matter of profound importance to him” (Charles Eastman, The Soul of the Indian).
The first effects of Whites, was an increase of cruelty and barbarity. Even the Sun Dance was perverted and abused; it became a horrible exhibition and was prohibited by the government.
The Church spoke of the spiritual, seeking only the material, bought and sold everything. The lust for money and power and conquest was in contrast with the spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus, the unwritten scripture, a living Bible sowed as precious seed, as Jesus told the parables to each as necessary. The whole created universe is a sharer of God’s Spirit, of the immortal perfection of its Maker (C. Eastman).
The Church, education, and the government colluded to wipe out the Anishinabe Constitution, to assimilate and erase our language, spirituality, and world views. We became a magnet for predators in a vortex of sexual, economic, land, and resource exploitation. The ongoing historical trauma has created self-oppression and social sickness and dysfunction (Flocken, UMN, 2013).
The last of the Mohican is alive and well, West of Green Bay Wisconsin (Iroquois Whoa, www).
“Don’t knock a man down and ask why he lives in the dirt. Don’t strip a man of clothing then ask why he is naked. Don’t filch him of authority and the right to rule his home, his dignity as a man, and then ask why his culture is substandard” (Chief Dan George 1966).
“No European language has more sweetness and greatness than the Indian. There are 147 sounds in the whole language God gave to them” (William Penn 1900. Metis Timeline, www).
“The False Faces brought greed and destruction of the Earth; the rivers run with poison, the fish are unfit to eat” (Ziibiwing).
The seven teachings that the Creator gave us (are) love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, wisdom, and truth. The Creator gave us the Seventh Fire, seven teachings – values to the world. The Creator has given great healing, courage, strength, and protection of our beautiful way of life.
“Fly like a butterfly and stand firm like a bear” (Ziibiwing).
“The principle of direct action is the defiant insistence on acting as if one is already free!” (David Graeber, The Guardian).
From the Democracy Project: “the democracy of riot squads, corrupt politicians, magnate-controlled newspapers, a surveillance state is as phony and fragile as East Germany 30 years ago.”
“As long as you fear you cannot experience true freedom” (Russel Means).
“Black means cleanliness and purity, as the thunder clouds are black and bring the cleansing, purifying, and life-giving rain. One of the holy paint colors” (Means).
“Silence is a sign of respect” (Means).
“Christopher Columbus, the exterminator, said, ‘they are a people so peace-loving and generous as if to a fault. Therefore, they would make excellent slaves’” (Means).
“We, in endeavoring to assist you, it seems we have wrought our own ruin.” – A Wea Indian after the 1783 British surrender of U.S. lands.
THE NATIVE INDIAN PRAYER
“Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world – hear me – I come before you, one of your children. I am small and weak. I need Your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things You have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my people, the lesson You have hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength not to be superior to my brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself. Make me ever ready to come to you, with clean hand and straight eyes, so when life fades as a fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame” (Yellow Hawk, Sioux Chief).
“Great Maker pity us, your two-legged creation” (Tunkashila).
“The world is one; we are all connected” (Tunkashila).
Part 1 of Ch. 16 will be published in two days. Until then, check out Cheryl’s previous excerpts here.
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This book came about after a visit to the library where I could not find local Indian History. I grew up in the St. Clair and Black River area of Michigan, fishing on all the area waters with my father and brothers. I loved books, libraries, horses and puzzles; I was not a tech person. I love to cook, garden, travel, and camp. I was determined to find and share the truth. This has been a difficult journey in every way. I give you, the reader, the truth and blessings I also reaped. Cheryl Morgan
Cheryl Morgan lives near Port Huron, Michigan with her husband Tom and dog Fred.
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