Patriotism, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is, “love that people feel for their country”. Though honestly, in my opinion, the patriotism that Americans feel for this country is false, because this country is not theirs. No matter how many buildings you own, and no matter how many cars you drive on this land, you do not automatically get to claim this country as your own. It is not your country, and I am not willing to share. Every thief in the world has believed the same lie that if they steal something belonging to someone else, that it belongs to them by default. I think that this is a direct cause from an ideology based on the brainwashed view of patriotism. Patriotism is quite literally, a cult. On almost every corner, front yard or business parking lot, I see an American Flag waving high above the streets. Unfortunately, I also see this very often on my own reservation. Many of we Indians have become far too influenced by the patriotic-cult, which I call, “America”.
Before continuing, let me explain a little bit about cults. In June 2014, The Atlantic posted an article about religious cults, and explains some of the telltale signs of a cult. I will quote them (and will site the article at the bottom of this column). Although these are the signs of a religious cult, I decided to quote this list from their article, because I am going to break it down into comparisons. The Atlantic wrote:
“Written down, the signs seem clear:
1. Opposing critical thinking
2. Isolating members and penalizing them for leaving
3. Emphasizing special doctrines outside scripture
4. Seeking inappropriate loyalty to their leaders
5. Dishonoring the family unit”
1. Opposing critical thinking: It’s very clear that patriotism in America opposes critical thinking. The amount of knee-jerk murders committed by one of the most patriotic groups in America, the Police force, is proof that no critical thinking is allowed, and is most likely frowned upon.
2. Isolating members and penalizing them for leaving: How many people enrolled in the military who opposed a command or opinion of their overseers have been dishonorably discharged? And how many of you who are not patriotic have been fired from a job because you weren’t “American enough”? On top of that, why is it that so many families complain that their loved ones, who are political leaders, spend so much time away from them? Sounds like forms of isolation and penalization, to me.
3. Emphasizing special doctrines outside scripture: We all know that America’s motto is, “In God We Trust”. However, why is it that a government who claims to have been founded upon Christian principles is the same government that has started so many wars, have killed so many innocent people, and turns their heads when a fellow patriot does something that is so un-christian? There are plenty of politicians who do the exact opposite of loving their neighbors as they love themselves.
4. Seeking inappropriate loyalty to their leaders: How many scandals must we see on the news before we see that there is a gigantic and enormous amount of people who are very inappropriately loyal to political figures? "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
5. And lastly, dishonoring the family unit: The moment that a child is born into a christian and patriotic home who opposes his family’s beliefs, they are typically labeled as the “black sheep” of the family. They are also often excluded from family matters, sometimes to the point of the child eventually contemplating or committing suicide. With patriotism, unless you all believe the same way, there is no family unit, whatsoever.
America, no matter what you believe, was not founded upon freedom or morality. Nor was it founded upon the Constitution; if this was the case, the US Government would live up to it. America was not America before the settlers came here. Just because someone sticks a flag in the ground, defiles and genocides a whole race of people living there before and comes up with a name for the land under the flag, it does not make it something different than it was. Rene Descartes once said, “I think, therefore I am.”. Anyone who thinks they are something will not be able to change their DNA. I guess this is why so many wannabes never wake up one day with darker hair or a better understanding of themselves. However, this sort of thought process can indeed change how someone acts; how someone acts defines their personality.
To me, patriotism is everything that is wrong with the way people act. Everything from giant trucks cutting people off on the roads due to napoleon syndrome, to the KKK not being defined as a terrorist group, patriotism is at the root of these very things. Patriotism is the world’s largest cult, and I believe that patriotism holds America in its grip stronger than in any other country. The reason why many of our own Native peoples consider themselves to be patriotic is because many of them have fought wars for the United States Government. And even if they don’t know it, they were not fighting for our people. They were fighting to protect American militants and political figures in higher ranks. While our men were dying overseas, the politicians were sitting on their asses, safe in America, while continuing to kill off our people. This is a tough truth, but it stands to be a reality, regardless of your opinion. Good intention won’t get you very far in a patriotic society, because at the root of the patriotic belief is self-sacrifice, and political worship at any cost. And it has come at almost every cost for our people and our lands. Although America may think it’s great, even most European countries scoff at and look down upon America and its disgusting obsession with tailgates, dirt biking, fake wine and faker breasts. Why would anyone be proud of America, because America doesn’t even exist outside of its beliefs. They not only have Napoleon syndrome; they have Descartes syndrome.
Many of our people, including myself, hang the American flag upside down. But, I often ask myself “Why?”, because although a flag upside-down a sign of distress, the government is still sitting high on the hog, living off of our people. This nation isn’t in distress-just the majority of its inhabitants are. And the inhabitants of these lands include the animals, plants, trees, water and “minority” races. We are in distress, not the political figures. So, why would I want to hang the flag upside down, let alone display any sort of American flag, whether upside down or right-side up? It’s not my country, and it never will be. America is fake, but these lands are not. This is not my country, but it is my land. The same stands for any Native reading this.
On top of all of this, patriotism also goes well with patriarchy, the very opposite of matriarchy. Now, although matriarchy may be a European word, for a lack of better terms, I will use it. Matriarchy was truly at the root of our people before the settlers killed off our way of life. We used to honor our mothers, but now my generation of Native males degrade women with their words, calling them “bitch”, “hoe” or “mama”. What in the world has happened to our men? And what has happened to the women of our tribes? We Native men have begun to see the women of our tribes as objects of desire, sex-playthings and slaves. I cannot stand the fact that so many of us have forgotten that they are the backbone to our society. How many of you have seen a body standing without a backbone? We Native men have allowed patriarchy and patriotism go to our heads to the point to where we don’t even acknowledge the strong women in our lives who have raised us, taken care of us and fed us when our fathers were out of town, or out of our lives in general. We have forgotten how to respect the women, so we have forgotten how to respect ourselves. Women are seen as nothing more than concubines in America, and I am sick of seeing our men degrade the beautiful women in our lives in the same way the white man treats his slaves! This must stop!
Before I continue on my rant and end up running circles around the room, I am going to silence myself so I can really allow what I have written to sink in to your, the reader’s, mind. But, before I sign off, I want to say that I don’t expect anyone to agree with me on this topic, in fact, I expect the majority of you to disagree. That’s what brainwashing does: it washes your brain clean of anything normal or true. But from where I stand, America will always be a cult, and our people need to wake up so we can educate the minds of all people who considers themselves to be an American.
"I am not a patriot to a flag; I'm a patriot to a land.” - Winona LaDuke
Micah is a Blackfoot Indian of the Siksika Nation. His mother and grandparents raised him traditionally, so it has always been his above-most goal to honor his ancestors in any way possible. He enjoys writing, doing beadwork, preserving his people’s language and of course, loves to cook fry bread.