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A Haudenosaunee Observation of Occupy Wall Street

A column by Op-Ed Editor Ray Cook on his observations of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
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The children of the West (Americans) are fighting amongst themselves (again) over distribution of a wealth that does not belong to them, a wealth derived from Indigenous lands. The opportunity to redefine wealth based on a more realistic view of the earth and an understanding of man’s place may be now.

There is a very old Iroquois prophecy called the The Two-Headed Serpent.

Stuart Myiow of the Mohawk Traditional Council of Kahnawakeh told this prophecy, as did our ancestors. He’d say, “This is the Two-Headed Serpent Prophecy. We must remember this prophecy was told to the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy before the coming of the white man with his church and state [and the dispossession of the authority of women], so any rational person should contemplate what the next state of the prophecy is.”

“One day, a boy found a two-headed serpent whose skin had beautiful gold and silver stripes down its back; it was unable to care for itself; it was dying. This was because one head wanted to go left while the other wanted to go right.

The young boy brought the serpent to his village. The elders were very cautious of it but everyone loved its beautiful colors. The young ones said, "It's so poor. How will it survive? Surely it will die with the coming of winter." The elders said, "If you want to keep it, you will have to feed it!"

The children fed it insects but the snake wanted more so they fed it field mice, but the snake wanted more. They fed it rabbits and small birds but it wanted more! Finally, with this serpent getting so big, the elders began hunting our brothers, the beavers and otters, to feed the snake; but it didn't get enough.

The serpent began eating our dogs, then our food—the gardens and the deer, then all our spirit guides. That was not enough. The serpent began eating people. It ate children, the elders and any who could not get away. So horrible was it that it even ate our dead.

Soon, two-headed serpent began enslaving people. Along the way, it started eating the forest, and all the animals.

It ate holes through mountains and poisoned our waters with its defecation.

After Mother Earth there was nothing left for the two-headed serpent to consume, it started to eat into the Sky World. It was said that it would make its way out to our Grandmother, the night-time sun, and that from there it would attack our cousins, the stars.

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It was also said that when the serpent would be near the end of its destruction, the Earth would fight back to cleanse herself.

At this time the serpent will be weakened by the natural powers released from our Mother's revolt, revealing what it really is.

Through its greed and insatiable appetite for destruction, one head would begin to eat the other and it would destroy itself and all it has enslaved to keep it alive, will revolt against it.

Then young boy would come and address the Clanmothers with a vision how to destroy the Serpent. With the power of the hair of the Clanmothers he would make a bow that would thrust his arrows straight and true into the heads of the serpent. When the serpent dies the young boy will climb atop the huge monster's belly and in slicing it open, the real people who were eaten up will be released.

When the serpent is destroyed, life will again be the way the Great Spirit intended and creation will blossom with a new vibrancy that has not been seen since the coming of the serpent.”

A scholar of the Haudenosaunee, John Mohawk, wrote in 1977: “A strategy for survival must include a liberation theology-call it a philosophy/cosmology if you will-or humankind will simply continue to seek more efficient ways to exploit that which they have come to respect. If these processes continue unabated and unchanged at the foundation of the colonizers’ ideology, our species will never be liberated from the undeniable reality that we live on a planet of limited resources, and sooner or later we will exploit our environment beyond its ability to renew itself.”

I don’t hear that kind of thinking among the “Occupy Wall Street” activists. Their concern is money, its accumulation and its distribution. All derived from extraction economies and the economy of war.

Do not expect to see many Haudenosaunee people at Zuccoti Park except as non-committed observers.

Before the Revolutionary War a policy decision was made among the Haudenosaunee Confederacy; we should not interfere in this domestic dispute, it’s like a fight between a father and son.

While we observe this family dispute, we should seek the diplomatic opportunities to argue for our own justice and our own restitution.

Predictably, allies will be sought; the demonstrators and their fathers will look for friends. Our response, in diplomatic terms, should be, if we become your friends do not ask us to hate your enemies; we have our own concerns.