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Est. April 5, 2002
Apr 8, 2021 - Issue 860
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We Americans-of-color need to have an epiphany, an edification, alas enlightenment. The 50,000 watt light needs to come on and “we” need to realize and agree upon one thing – we have an historical common oppressor, exploiter, and abuser – and it is the White male power structure that has pimped, punished, and pummeled people of color for the last half-a-millennium...and that’s just the ice-cold truth baby.

I just spent a few days at one of the jewels of the US National Park system, Lake Powell, with more shoreline than the state of California. It is an outdoor person’s Disneyland, a sportsman paradise, and water-sport capital: Houseboats, speed boats, Jet-skiers, hikers, campers, and folks fishing. I had another great vacation there. It’s located across Northern Arizona and Southern Indian Country.

Indian Country…” ain't “denial” something? I thought the entire nation was “Indian Country.”

But what struck me again was the stark differences between the haves, the have-nots and the have not a … thang American Natives. The National Park borders and parts of it are located within the Navajo Indian Reservation. May I state the obvious sharp and blunt truth: these people, the proud Navajo and Apache people who were hunted like the buffalo to almost the point of extinction – call it genocide - the conditions they survive in is, to me...insulting, degrading, unfair and reflects a blatantly racist and elitist mindset.

The exploitative scene was so reminiscent of the Caribbean and Central America, White folks own everything, and folks of color do all the heavy lifting.

This is the American Indian’s land, they were robbed, at gunpoint by the Great White Fathers up on Mount Rushmore...and by the like’s of General John Powell, whom the giant twisting lake is named for, and whose views towards the Native populations, along with his scientific approach, was built on social Darwinist thought; he defined Native Americans as ‘barbaric’, placing them above ‘savagery’ but below ‘civilized’ white Europeans. His words, not mine.

Let’s change the name of Lake Powell to Lake Apache, Lake Navajo, or Lake Geronimo – just based on decency and common courtesy – two noble concepts lacking today in Trump’s ignoble America. Half the nation would agree with the change, and that other half, you know who would vehemently oppose it. How predictable!

Look, let’s not play games: Unquestionably settlers, pioneers, and cowboys were the “bad” guys, while American Indians were the “good” guys – homeland security, the “little people” who got “shafted,” “screwed,” “used” and “left to die” by the diabolical forces of European Colonialism, so-called American Exceptionalism and the contrived notion of Manifest Destiny – which all these big pretty words translate into is “all I see is mine, the world is mine, and all these red-skinned savages need to be eradicated and erased in the name of… white domination and supremacy”

It sure seems that way, yes?

Trump’s America, mainstream USA wants Indians/injuns to get the hell out, to go back to where they came from... But wait, they are America! They deserve their piece of the pie, a pie they provided the essential ingredients for. Being caged on urban and rural reservations isn’t enough, being permitted to stay isn’t rough, they deserve what we all know they’re due Reparations. Indians, like Black Americans, are due payment for the generations of our families which made White folks here in America “rich” in so many ways.

In the construction of this shameless empire sits two groups – American Natives and enslaved Africans who paid for it, and paid for it with interest. Indians provided the land and natural resources to exploit and maximize. The Natives fought back resisting white colonization of their homeland in the Southwest with all they had, to the point where we see them today almost caged.

Enslaved Black people provided endless stream-of labor; the backbone, the blood, sweat, tears, and the agriculture expertise to quickly craft the infrastructure and foundation of what is White-man Land. An empire where the game-of life is unquestionably “rigged” - White folks seem to have endless access-to all matters which matter, and have monopolized everything: security, prosperity, good health, a solid education resulting in occupation choices which underwrite home options that produce “wealth” which is passed on from generation to generation. ….. While the majority of both Black folks – the direct descendants of slaves dwell in poverty on Urban Reservations, and American Indians, the vast overwhelming majority live in obsequious poverty on Indian Reservations.

Forgive me...I don’t believe this extreme contrast in the quality of life is merely coincidental, or simply happenstance. No, I believe it’s somewhat orchestrated. The horrific conditions are the logical outcomes for people whose genocide was waged-upon, who have been deliberately treated like subhumans and denied their human-hood and the civil rights which come with it, for a half-a millennium.

What also struck me as I traversed the majestic Rockies and the high deserts of the Southwest from Denver to Lake Powell, was the Trump Flags I saw flying high all along the road there, and then a-top million-dollar Houseboats at Lake Powell’s Wahweap Marina. It seemed striking and contradictory in so many ways: these wealthy, country club fat-cat Trump backers living well n’ swell on Indian land along with the rank and file rednecks, the good ole boys who’re playing hard in their dune buggies...while the structural and systematic inequalities were so-very vivid and undeniable, the winners and losers all so clear, the oppressors and the oppressed far beyond obvious.

Trump was unquestionably anti-Native Indian, from attacking water and mineral rights to opposing their operations of casinos to using them as props to enhance his political fortunes. All those Trump cult members I saw understand and still support that bigoted mindset and mentality. The whole scene just screamed of the hypocrisy.

I could only think how both Black Americans and American Indians are due, long due, “overdue” reparations for the hell we were put through, and for far-too-many who still endure today. Our ill-treatment both warrants and demands acknowledgment and economic compensation. Correcting what can only be described as wrongs committed against a whole class of people - today in 2021 demand restitution and redress for well-documented injustices which have generated consequences and negative repercussions across generations of Native and Black Americans.

By the way, I’m an absolute fan of the US Calvary's mighty Buffalo Soldiers, but I do understand they were sadly manipulated as desperate pawns pitted against other oppressed people. Columnist, Desi Cortez, who also writes for &, was hatched in the heart of Dixie, circa 1961, at the dawning of the age of Aquarius, the by-product of four dynamic individuals, Raised in South-Central LA, the 213. At age 14 transplanted to the base of the Rockies, Denver. Still a Mile-Hi. Sat at the foot of scholars for many, many moons, emerging with a desire and direction… if not a sheep-skin. Meandered thru life; gone a-lot places, done a-lot of things, raised a man-cub into an officer n' gentleman, a "man's man." Produced a beautiful baby-girl with my lover/woman/soul-mate… aired my "little" mind on the airwaves and wrote some stuff along the way. Wordsmith behind America's Ten Months Pregnant . . . Ready To Blow!: Even Trump Can't "Make America White Again." A New, More Inclusive, Diverse 21st Century America - Love It . . . Or Get The Hell Out!. Contact Mr. Cortez and BC.

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