In the waning months of 2016, as the Standing Rock Sioux’s protest raged against the Dakota Access Pipeline (NODAPL), an arduous, historic Back To The Future journey was begun anew for the entire human race to ponder. This journey wasn’t just about Climate Change and how to more quickly convert the world from fossil fuels to renewable energies. It was about an ancient conflict within the human mind and soul that has existed since time immemorial and resurfaces with a vengeance the moment the human culture of the Old World collides again with those of the New World. This very old story speaks to the heart of what happens every time the sacred world view of indigenous peoples in the New World, like the Sioux, clash with the profane world view of those from the Old World, like the Americans and their European forebears, who have long since lost any sense of their own ancient indigenous nature. It provides a template for how America and every other country in the Old World first came to be, then continued to expand in the New World, and how they all can expect to evolve in the future if the world’s minions and their politicians don’t somehow start to once again fundamentally respect the sacredness of the Earth and all its waters, lands and natural resources. This tattered, time-worn tale serves as an ultimate challenge to once more ponder the historical record and the many successful survival strategies that the sacred world view of indigenous peoples have used for thousands of years when compared to the profane world view of those whose only sacred, inviolate thing, since before and after their invasion of the New World, has been the constant acquisition of money, capital, power and use of questionable survival strategies that in only a few hundred years has led to so much violence and destruction against the human race and Planet Earth.
During the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, the Sioux’s NODAPL uprising against the Dakota Access Pipeline was roundly ignored by presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. When President Obama finally showed the courage to call a temporary halt to its construction, it was only a brief Pyrrhic victory for native peoples, environmentalists and Climate Change proponents that amounted to nothing more than an interlude now that President Donald Trump, who has personal investments in the Dakota Access Pipeline, and his administration, packed as it is with billionaire climate change deniers who favour more oil pipeline construction, fossil fuel-nuclear energy development, has taken hold of the reins of America and begun to plot a vastly different course of action for DAPL, America’s unsustainable energy philosophy, the fate of Climate Change and very survival of the earth as we now know it.
In North America, neither Democrats, Republicans, Liberals nor Conservatives were able to really grasp the deeper world view underlying the Sioux’s protestations about the sacredness of the waters of the Missouri River and the hallowed, inviolate nature of their ancestral homelands and so, for months, did nothing to intercede on behalf of the Sioux and their supporters while they were violently set upon by the political, law enforcement and military forces of the United States Government and North Dakota authorities. As the Sioux and others steadfastly sought to peacefully block construction of DAPL through their homelands, the politicians disgracefully allowed the chaotic turn of events to escalate to the point where innocent men, women, children and elders were put in harm’s way and subjected to some of the most inhumane, brutal physical assaults committed against hapless, innocent civilians since the atrocities perpetrated by American political and law enforcement authorities during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s & 70’s.
Before the political decision was finally made to withdraw DAPL’s construction permit to continue, America’s mainstream press did little to truthfully bring to the American public’s attention the real facts and world-shaking significance of what was going on. This wasn’t by accident it was an intentional news black-out by what could be characterized as the ignorance of the profane world view’s civilization and inherent bias of its over-arching, money-obsessed belief system.
For months many horrific things transpired that remained all but invisible to the outside world until independent, alternative journalists took it upon themselves to become the sources of breaking news stories. They were the kind of horrific stories one normally expects to see or hear happen in fascist, banana-republic police states rather than in the heart of America itself. Vicious attacks perpetrated by the Wall Street conglomerate behind the Dakota Access Pipeline’s, military-like defended, construction project, and a host of ruthless bankers and petroleum moguls in their New York, Washington D.C. and Texas boardrooms, directed the DAPL operations to proceed irrespective of the potential cost to human life and limb that was intentionally perpetrated against the protestors. Right-wing politicians in North Dakota, hordes of state police brought in from four surrounding states, and U.S. National Guard troops committed violent attacks against the human and civil rights of the NODAPL protestors; often indiscriminately spraying or shooting, at point-blank range, the peaceful protestors with every conceivable weapon short of heavy combat assault weaponry; ranging in everything from MACE, Pepper Spray, Taser darts, rubber bullets, bean bag projectiles, concussion grenades, high-powered water cannons to ear-busting acoustic sound cannons.
Such atrocities were repeatedly covered up by a sea of lies made to the public by American politicians, police and military authorities who spun the violence as being reciprocal between the Sioux who were, according to the spin, irresponsibly vandalizing private property and obstructing legally-approved construction while the authorities were simply doing their job to prevent the wilful destruction from continuing to occur. This official spin sought to mask what, in reality, is America’s heavily-militarized police state’s ever-present, ever-growing, iron-fisted control over the people that makes its presence known whenever the people ever dare to take it upon themselves to prevent illegal or wrong things from continuing to happen. Throughout all the lies and violence, America’s mainstream press and media did little to ever counter fiction with fact and point out that even as the North Dakota prairie weather continued to plummet to life-threatening lows, the Sioux demonstrated remarkable, Mahatma Gandhi-like, forbearance and restraint in their refusal to match the brutality being committed against them by the American Government.
But before this barbaric historic event in American history finally came to an end, reactionary elements within the U.S. Government and military were on the verge of officially declaring “illegal”, and forcibly shut down, the Sioux’s sprawling Oceti Sakowin DAPL Protest village, evict everyone and transport thousands of its resident protestors to so-called isolated free speech zones. The utter chaos would have been immense. Coverage of the ensuing spectacle would have become a nightly televised feature on the world’s news networks and a colossal embarrassment for America if President Obama hadn’t wisely cut it short when he did; especially given that a column of seasoned U.S. military war veterans already was assembling to rush to the aid and defence of the Sioux. Events would have undoubtedly led to an even uglier moment in American history than it already was and still could become now that President Trump is America’s new Commander-in-Chief and has declared his government’s mindboggling arrogance to proceed with the renewed construction of the XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.
Horrific images come to mind of the Sioux and protesters of other mass movements in the future being kept out of sight and out of mind in the U.S. government’s new Orwellian free speech zones prepared for them where they either will be left to endure the brutal harshness of the elements, suffer the lack of basic amenities or finally give up in despair in the face of the hostile military elements on land, air and cyberspace massed against them. Whoever the protestors may be, isolated in these bizarre zones, they won’t actually ever be able to see who or what is the source of their protest. Equally as critical, they won’t be able to be seen by the world while attempting to block or protest against whatever is the issue of their concern. Hence, a non-news event with no photo ops and no story!
Such cunning ways to muzzle social, environmental, political movements and protests could be described as the world’s new makeshift 21st Century ‘concentration camps’. But this isn’t anything new. It actually represents a throwback to the U.S. Army’s concentration camp concept of Indian Reservations that the Sioux’s ancestors, a century before, were likewise forced onto to remove them from obstructing the imperialism of the White Man’s civilization; Canada’s concept of Reserves no different in their purpose and intent.
Now that President Trump and his administration have assumed office the final solution for those like the Sioux and the XL-Dakota Access Pipelines no doubt will become an everyday, business-as-usual reality to ensure Wall Street, the Fossil-Fuel industry, Big Banks, their stockholders and the ‘New Normal’ of Donald Trump’s ultra-right supporters can continue to make record profits while seizing control of every last remaining vestige of human life while reinforcing their dominion over all other species and natural resources on Earth. The 1%ers will remain happily sedated by fat tax cuts, dodgy money havens and generous corporate deregulations while their commodity portfolios continue to sky-rocket as they sip their martinis aboard some palatial cruise ship and flick through soft-porn fashion images in Elle, Vogue or CR while headed for yet the next exotic ‘Club Med’ playground to experience what they’ve been conned into believing is the ultimate “good life”.
Meanwhile, in the future, America’s brand name will continue to evolve into the New Normal ways of ever more ruthless, corrupt commerce and business that now are being planned and promoted in every country by ‘The Donald’ billionaire clones of the world. All the American and foreign wars fought in the past, or yet to be in the future, will continue to remain part of the same unbroken chain of violence, duplicity, betrayal and hypocrisy that, in modern historical times, began with a vengeance once new Western European brand names first began to emerge in the New World and all the hype began by those who sought to market themselves as: ‘America The Beautiful’; ‘The American Dream’; ‘Land of the Free & Home of the Brave’, or; the ‘Shining City Upon That Hill’, as prophesized in a biblical parable by none other than Jesus Christ himself during his Sermon on the Mount.
With President Trump and his administration now in place, the bottom line will be kicked into high gear. Whatever clever marketing ploys are yet to be crafted in the future by Trump and his successors to further promote the American brand name won’t change the course and direction of its civilization’s profane way of life; now embodied within its most-favoured empire-building document: A Project For a New American Century (PNAC). President Donald Trump isn’t the main culprit but merely a symbol and symptom of the latest manifestation of moral and ethical decay that was set into motion at the moment of its birth as it was for every other rebranded European name in the New World, much to the regret of its indigenous, aboriginal peoples and the inviolate sacredness of their homelands. Donald Trump isn’t about to radically remake the American brand so much as serve as its latest, best and brightest, cheerleader-salesman who will greatly speed up the decadent evolution of its brand in ways that only ‘The Donald’ can. Trump simply a continuation of the American brand that, at its core, never has fundamentally believed in the philosophy of a true democracy that advocates on behalf of lofty principles like: caring for one’s fellow man or woman; unionism to protect ordinary worker’s rights; the right to a liveable hourly wage; universal health care, or; the sacred protection and preservation of the natural world. What Donald Trump presages for America is what Karl Marx predicted one-day would simply happen to Western capitalistic countries like America.
Given this reality, one could argue that this is why newcomer cultures, like those of the Americans and other Western Europeans in the New World, and their political-military-corporate-class systems, have, since the beginning, been so fundamentally opposed to indigenous, aboriginal cultures and their socialistic, communalistic ways of life that practice values, principles and beliefs that seek to keep life sacred and in balance. The reality is that after over four centuries of so-called ‘discovery’ in the New World, the newcomers still haven’t been able to grasp the sacred world view of life that believes in being one with all that is and constantly give back to it in gratitude, rather than persist with the profane world view that perpetually seeks to take and acquire all that is for itself while giving back nothing of equal value in return.
Too many newcomers fail to see that in each unique place in the New World, such as on the ancient continent of Terra Australis, there are those special chosen ones, like its Kookaburra Clan, who are the first to awaken each morn to faithfully fulfil the sacred charge given to them by Creation to herald each new day, with great gusto and joy, as if it was the very first dawning of life; to remind all living things, newcomers and old-timers alike, of the unique sacred duty every living being has been given to fulfil to ensure the continuation of life as it was originally intended to be. Then, at the end of each day, to put everyone to bed, as the Kookaburra Clan does, with an exclamation point to note, “My and Your Job Now Is Done! Sleep Well!” In Asia, the Chinese have the Rooster to remind them of these same things, as do the peoples of every continent in the New & Old Worlds also have their own unique awakeners. While most old-timers or ‘old souls’, as some call them, already know this to be true, fewer newcomers or so-called ‘new souls’ are yet able to heed such simple wisdoms.
But perhaps this line of thought is a fruitless one to ever try to make, and simply too much to ever ask or hope that any foreign race, culture or civilization – that hasn’t ever had the same formative, maturing benefit of the thousands of years of relationship with or connection to all the lands and life forms that indigenous peoples have had – would ever evolve the same sacred view of life and ability or capacity to see things in quite the same way; the still unresolved problem that has existed for some five hundred years ago between the indigenous mentality and that of the invader still exists today, albeit in a multitude of new and different forms.
To breach this impasse is the obvious ultimate solution, but of course the perennial problem is that the belief system of the invader mentality – fuelled by the insatiable drive of self-serving private enterprise, constantly fed by human greed and the other seven deadly human sins, has been predicated, since day one, upon perpetual growth and ever-larger consumptions of energy and resources, where the constant unsustainable explosion of human populations is now the single most, driving cause behind every deteriorating crisis on earth. Among some of the many calamitous crises that continue to unfold are: the rapid depletion of fish stocks and other food sources in the world’s oceans due to the unrelenting pressures of ever-greater human demands; the disappearance of vast tracts of prime farmlands for ever-larger, sprawling urban and rural housing developments; the loss of vast tracts of pristine forests destroyed for the raw materials demanded by ever-burgeoning home, industry and mega-agricultural projects; the ever more rapid loss of potable water sources destroyed by the continued mining-fracking-extraction of a host of diminishing natural resources, and; the wholesale loss of modern civilization’s unique architectural heritage, time-honoured traditions and cultural practices impacted by the chaos of a tidal wave of immigrants, akin to the invasions of the Vikings and Huns of old, that continues to destroy whatever host country’s former way of life to the detriment of the entire human race; not to mention the all but impossible task of trying to create ever more well-paying jobs for an ever-burgeoning host of the unemployed and unemployable. Little serious, meaningful discussion is ever raised by world leaders and their governments to address the ultimate source of these crises and, hence, no one has yet to come up with any answers or solutions how to ever stop or even slow them down, other than allow for the constant proliferation of world war, pandemic disease and endless economic expansion.
The indigenous sensibility of those who contend we humans have instead been created to maintain a small eco-footprint on the earth, and serve as caretakers of legacies we’re obligated to bequeath intact to future coming generations of human and non-human species of life, is a sensibility still totally alien to the invader’s belief system. Such beliefs remain light years away from the original grandiose dreams and ambitions of the invader mentality in the New World, and today’s even more grandiose, all-consuming world view of all ‘The Donald’s’ who instead look upon themselves as the ordained dominant species whose God has decreed to them total dominion over all forms of life; imbuing them with the arrogant belief that whatever actions they take aren’t the source of whatever unsustainable population explosion, unlimited economic growth or human-caused climate change.
However, for better or worse, as our tiny Earth-orb continues to hurl through the distant reaches of the universe, this new-old Star Wars mentality, like it or not, is going where it’s going and taking the whole lot of us with it for the ride; until, or unless, the penny finally drops and the reality dawns that the tragic direction and savage ending towards where the invader mentality continues to point humanity is heading towards an inevitable massive head-on collision somewhere down the road against the fateful solid brick wall that awaits.
So here we all are, still in the blush of 2017, having now anointed what some would call, “the most powerful man on Earth”, who will usher in yet another much-touted ‘new world order’ that, “Will Make America Great Again”; yet, as many fear, will also sound the death knell to whatever free, brave, beautiful, shining dream that America’s brand names once promised it one day would become but lied because it never will.
To know all this to be true, one need only reconsider what the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies were up against as they resolutely stood together, in the face of brutish oppression and terrorizing, locked arm-in-arm in solidarity on the distant, frigidly-cold prairies of North Dakota, while attempting to cry out loud enough “NODAPL!”, in the hope that the rest of America and the world would hear their pleas and echo even louder the prayer and chant their cry represents for the future.
So, now it’s up to Canada’s First Nation peoples to resume the Sioux’s prayers and chants. How will Canada’s Liberal Government, its Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and the Canadian people respond to their fresh pleas? Will Canada come up with a ‘Final Solution’ to their own XL, Trans-Mountain, #3 Pipeline problems, and PM Trudeau duly fall in-line with President Trump’s vision for the future? Or will Trudeau and the Canadian people demonstrate the courage to go their own way? What of other countries in the New World like Australia who, by and large, already is on Trump’s climate change denial, greed-based wavelength? Will they hear in time the morning cries of their Kookaburra Clan or will they passively accept the demise of their Great Barrier Reef and the critical part it plays in Planet Earth’s ability to sustain itself; solely for the mundane sake of mining and shipping still more coal and fossil fuels to China? Will a similar ‘Trump-Style’ revolution now explode among the world’s other governments or will they instead listen to, and take to heart, before it’s too late, the sacred wisdoms of their own aboriginal peoples or those indigenous mentors and wise ones from among the 194 signatories to the Paris Accord? Or will the future’s new suicidal norm now be Trump’s Way or the Highway and that solid brick wall that inevitably awaits us all? A lot of unanswered questions and unknowns beckon in 2017 and yet another arduous yesteryear’s journey Back to the Future. Let’s hope it proves to be not only the Chinese Year of the Rooster and the Australian Year of the Kookaburra but the Year of the Awakener for us all.
Jerome Irwin is a freelance writer and author of “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey” (www.turtle-island-odyssey.com), a three volume account of his travels as a spiritual sojourner, during the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s, among Native American & First Nation nations in North America. It encompasses the burgeoning Spiritual Renaissance & Liberation Movements among native peoples throughout North America that occurred at the height of its civil rights movements. More recently, Irwin authored a series of articles that covered the “NODAPL” Sioux Protest in North Dakota. Irwin also is the publisher of The Wild Gentle Press. Jerome_irwin@yahoo.com