“We have never been able to understand the white man, who fools nobody but himself.” —Chief Plenty Coups, Crow
It was the founders’ aptitude for greed masked behind the colorful eloquence of Thomas Jefferson’s quill which sowed the seeds for the U.S. demise. In 1803 Jefferson unveiled the U.S. policy of debt enslavement to conquer, assimilate and ultimately decimate the Indigenous who would pursue their own cultural way of life. As Jefferson penned in private with contextual incoherence as well as modeled thought befitting of Orwell’s 1984 to then Governor of the Indiana Territory, William Henry Harrison:
You will receive from the Secretary of War … from time to time information and instructions as to our Indian affairs. These communications being for the public records, are restrained always to particular objects and occasions; but this letter being unofficial and private, I may with safety give you a more extensive view of our policy respecting the Indians … To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands. At our trading houses, too, we mean to sell so low as merely to repay us cost and charges, so as neither to lessen or enlarge our capital. This is what private traders cannot do, for they must gain; they will consequently retire from the competition, and we shall thus get clear of this pest without giving offence or umbrage to the Indians. In this way our settlements will gradually circumscribe and approach the Indians, and they will in time either incorporate with us a citizens or the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi. The former is certainly the termination of their history most happy for themselves; but, in the whole course of this, it is essential to cultivate their love. As to their fear, we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only. Should any tribe be foolhardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi, as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation. [Documents of United States Indian Policy, pg.22]
Indeed, the Empire has no throne if justice is not blind. The golden dreams of the “City on a Hill” have been weighed in the balance, says the cliché, and they have been found parched, famished, penniless.
What the founders did not perceive, much as their more jingoist-centered posterity refuse to recognize, the more the Empire perpetrates violence under the guise of providing for the common defense, the more Empire and its citizenry will reap. The U.S. was founded sowing animosity into generations of the indigenous tribes, and truthfully, has been sowing the same animosity worldwide for generations.
The founders, again by the quill of Jefferson, seeded the frontier fear-mongering attitude, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian,” when the founders opted for that propagandistic eloquence over substance in concurring with Jefferson and addressing the “savages” within the Declaration of Independence as “…the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions…” The U.S. political tone of indigence which plots and strikes the other in modes inflicting the U.S. masses into almost incurable frenzied vitriol and hatred has been the beacon of U.S. politics and war efforts.
The timely aligned case in point would be the Chilean September 11th. As the U.S. aligns the mass mentality on this day to “Never Forget” and be psychologically exploited for the 14th anniversary, Chileans remember for the 42nd year how the U.S.–backed coup d’état on September 11, 1973 killed 3,000 of its citizens and imprisoned 27,000.
This is but one biting example. Preferentially sooner, rather than later, the citizens of this land will have to come to terms with how the policies of their government have instilled hatred and birthed acts of revenge.
As for the founders, I’ve beheld the same song repeated ad nauseam regarding the founders being men of their times. However, this mantra does nothing to excuse both the founding and steadfast approach of imperialistic economic policies of debt enslavement the world over. It’s more a way to overlook genocide and consecutive levels of corporate and Wall Street exploitation whilst maintaining a negative positivism in the ill-begotten pursuit of confounding father worship—as though the U.S. has detached itself from the policies of past follies.
To borrow the system’s atrocious Bushism lingo, citizens of the U.S. live under an Empire of “evildoers” who have set themselves juxtaposed to humanity instilling in us from our youngest days how to slay our human element in exchange for an external existence of malnourished pride. Tossing opinion to the purifying flames of reality, the fact is, what the institutionally devoted masses bow before with patriotic chills, so much of the world cringes before—having been witnesses and bearers of the deathly ills.
The Empire was all fun and games when the golden resources were on Indian land. Now that the seat of Empire has more prominently cast its net over the whole of Turtle Island’s populace, the people possess the gold, and the people are finding that they themselves have been the resource to be exploited for the ever-expanding corporate beast of politics. The jig is up, and the game is no longer fun because the mutation of Empire is doing to its own what it has done to the indigenous for centuries. The citizens are waking up to some degree; and while it is a negative to note North Americans are doing so because they are now paying more of the burdensome price, I still recognize the positive aspect and acknowledge humanity is broadening its ranks and boldly deepening its voice.
The answer to ‘1984’ is not 1776. The solutions will not come from the past within a U.S. context, unless those solutions begin addressing and righting the wrongs of colonial aggression and treaty obligations. There is no life, liberty and pursuit of happiness if the indigenous of these lands are not permitted to live by tradition without the constant threats of resource excavation, exploitation and being held to third-world reservation standards.
The past only buried the seeds, and the present serves to water what the United States has sown. The citizens are in dire need of diverse opinions to spark conversations on a human level and set ablaze these tares that have infected the organics of the human element.
When I look at the United States from conception to the confusion of today, I’m not filled with hate and I’m not conquered by dismay. Hatred blinds the tactician, and dismay only impedes our ability to coherently respond. No. I’m inspired. I’m inspired to be what I believe in the face of a system that chooses its words deftly, while perpetuating war crimes so craftily.
The United States was a stillbirth that thrives in a state of mummification, filing down its horns and concealing its forked tongue. But no longer. This is our time. Humanity is rising. History will note, and posterity will see, that the example of what not to be has been irrevocably set in stone. There are no Saviors under Empire. There is no white Jesus coming in the clouds to wash it all away with misguided apocalyptic force.
There is “We the People” the world over. Divided by false borders and yet persevering with our cultures of existence on the ground and coming together online, to keep each other inspired. Indeed, the only chance the people have is within themselves, and amongst themselves, by community-based solidarity.
Pride comes before the fall. Pause and reflection are escape routes from pride. Will you pause with me?
“…We must consider the Spiritual genocide that they commit against us. The spiritual genocide that the white people have been victimized by for thousands of years…” —John Trudell, Santee Sioux
Storm is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, documentary photographer, and freelance journalist. Originally written for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Reprinted with permission.
The Pinochet File: How U.S. Politicians, Banks and Corporations Aided Chilean Coup, Dictatorship »—› [HERE]
The Other 9/11: A CIA Agent Remembers Chile’s Coup »—› [HERE]
How [North] America’s War Machine Turns On Itself »—› [HERE]