Corine Fairbanks in Native Condition. Discussion »
Corine Fairbanks on Pier 33
I attended the Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights on Sunday December 18 in San Francisco and I appreciated the messages of unity, peace and hope from the Elders that spoke on Alcatraz Island and again at the press conference on Pier 33. However, sometimes I find myself becoming angry at these types of events and these are a few reasons why.
The American Indian Movement has been fighting the New Age movement for over 30 years now. This business supports a billion dollar industry. For all of the rhetoric that these New Age predators use, such as: "love and light," and "be the change you want the world to be," they execute strategic marketing plans to profits from selling and desecrating our ceremonies, sacred objects, and medicines.
These New Agers are white collar pimps that prostitute our spirituality and culture to whoever has a buck. In doing so, they export it all over the world, yet never once take a moment to identify American Indians as real people with real needs and real life and death issues.
Then there are costume companies and clothing companies that capitalize on cheap imitations of American Indian regalia. You know the kind I am talking about, the "Native Poca-Hottie" Halloween costumes that non-Natives seemed determined to where. Even famous actresses wearing cheap mock war bonnets think it is chic and sexy.
Here again, how much of the profits go back to Native people?
All of the billions of dollars generated by both of the above business ventures and nothing comes back to our Native communities. None of their profits comes back to our food and Social Service programs, veteran programs, let alone to Leonard Peltier and his defense committee or legal fund. Our communities are in need of funding; whether they be in an urban setting struggling with poverty, or with our relatives still back in our homelands, some of them freezing to death because they cannot afford to heat their homes.
We need to pin these "pimps" to the wall! We need to make them accountable to the appropriation and exploitation of our culture and spirituality - and make them hurt where it can only hurt with these predators - through their wallet. At the end of the day, how many of them laugh at us while counting change from all the sales they have made?
Most of them claim to be Native or Indigenous, yet why have they not participated or demanded Peltier's release? Even one dollar from a thousand people could move mountains on some of these issues and help educate more people in who Leonard Peltier is. How many "Native" or "Indigenous People" have even ever heard of Leonard Peltier? How many know of the personal sacrifices this warrior and his family have made and the outcome of these sacrifices?
The FBI, CIA and United States government don't want you to know who he is;
They want us to forget.
They want us to forget we are still at war.
They want us to forget we are still kept as hostages in our own lands.
They want us stuck being worried on our 9 to 5 jobs.
They want our people sedated on video war games.
They want us preoccupied by fluff "media" - random facts and trivia keeping our communities anesthetized
He is a warrior.
He is a political prisoner.
He is a prisoner at war.
Through our social media AIM Southern California and AIM Santa Barbara site we have literally thousands of "friends" yet why were they not at launch of the Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights event?
If you say you are American Indian, or Indigenous, you have a responsibility to do something to make our communities better. We have a responsibility to become the media. We have a responsibility to be present, work in the NOW and educate our communities. We need to come together and brainstorm in what WE can do to catapult our issues up and into the arena where dominant non-Native society will be forced to deal with it and come to the table to help problem solve.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a good tool we can start using to implement change in our communities. We can use the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples document to stop pollutions and toxins being dumped or mined on our lands, stop gang injunctions, and we can use this tool to free Leonard Peltier.
Individually and as people, we have to make this commitment of ACTion. We need to follow the examples and the role modeling that the elders who launched the Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights have done for us. We are elders in training and they are showing the way to keep our cultures alive and thriving. Our Elders, our ancestors, our languages, our ancestral ways are the key to our survival and our success in the present and future.
What can you do to demand Leonard Peltier's release? How can you help these walkers and runners of the Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights with their prayer in motion? Even a dollar is a blessing. Think about it: If everyone gave $1, it would be enough to move mountains.
Corine Fairbanks is Oglala Lakota and is the director for the American Indian Movement Southern California Chapter. Ms. Fairbanks is a proud mother of five children. She is active on the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union Affiliate Santa Barbara chapter and also on the Grant Making Committee for the Fund for Santa Barbara.
posted December 27, 2011 6:00 am est
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