Hi friends. Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhain. To find out more about this wonderful and magick time of the year, check out my "Earth and Spirit" page. I am decorating our yard to get into the spirit of this special time.
Last week was very busy for me and Liz. I celebrated my 51st birthday and we spent a lot time in nature: a cruise to the barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico and kayaking in the mangrove and estuary near our home on the Calusahaatchie River.
Saturday, Oct 25th we joined thousands across the country to say No to the Iraqi occupation and to bring the troops home now. We joined with about 30 peace demonstrators in Naples, the town just south of us. I was dissappointed to see that the numbers were not as high as expected in Washington DC and San Francisco, where many of our friends marched. What are we, the people, going to do to stop this madness? Yesterday many more US troops were killed and maimed and Bush says that's proof that our policies there are working. I don't get it. When asked today when he thought the occupation would be over his brilliant reply was "That was a trap question". How can the US people continue to support this lying idiot? I have been reading my old friend, Daniel Ellsberg's new book about the Pentagon Papers, "Secerets". It is inspiring to read what one man's truth telling can lead to. Reading the book makes me think that we need a few whistle blowers now to really blow this administration's tricks and lies wide open.
Meanwhile, fires are raging in Southern California and many of my friends and family are affected. My friend Sydney, who is fighting against over-development and exploitation of the wonderful Joshua Tree area just sent me a note, which I am posting below. My prayers are with you all! Please do read Sydney's note below which tells about the struggle of Blackmountain, and the Cahuilla Indians there.
How is your family doing in the fire - we were almost caught literally in the middle of the Old Fire/Grand Prix on our way to interview someone for the
documentary on the destruction of the park, but we escaped unscathed.
Mother nature is reclaiming what is hers and hopefully we will start to listen to her screams this time as I believe she is telling us something very significant and if we open our hearts & minds we will get the message, if we don't already know it.
If the fire hops the SB Mtns., JT park is going to be rock only environment, as there is now desert grass knee high as far as you can see across the Mojave
and the trees just innocently stretching their branches in every direction must sense a perilous time is upon them again.
Blackmountain, one of the surviving Cahuilla Native Indians spoke extensively with me this weekend and I need to share some of his story.
Last year, California Child Protection Services came and removed all the children from the Cahuilla's Reservation, primarily reason given was the kids weren't wearing shoes in the desert, but this gathering tribe has survived in the desert that is becoming a golf course for more years than we can envision. The parents were arrested and charged with Child Endangerment for living their native lifestyle.
The children were "arrested" into Child Protective Services - children who had not seen a city (yes, this just happened last year and yes people are still hiding from encroachment/death in the United States). So with their children under the supervision of unknown entities and the parents of the children in jail, the elders of the tribe stayed on the reservation, but as winter moved in, in their gathering tradition they moved to their next seasonal site.
During their absence at this sacred site, helicopters were brought in and in a very coordinated effort the jumbo rocks the JT area is so known for were lifted off into space and probably now reside in many "collector's" hidden backyards of shame. These were not just rocks, they contained petroglyphs, rock art and definitely the spirit of the Cahuilla people.
The parents were forced to cop a deal. They agreed to be forced to live in an apartment complex (with a lush grass lawn to play barefoot on in the desert). They are discovering air conditioning, McDonald's, Starbucks and everything else that is unconditionally marketed at us. They are also getting sick and they are dying young, as their elders are quite up there in age and Blackmountain has also noticed other significant changes I cannot quite discuss in depth.
Since their culture has been disconnected, we are partnering with the elders of the Cahuilla Tribe and Blackmountain to record their stories, their songs and their culture that has been ripped from indigenous people once again, only this happened in 2003, not 1893. This is a long path, but a necessary one and we are excited and feel slightly daunted by the task at hand, but this is another form of conservation we must be listening to as Mother Earth is in flames.
Blackmountain also ministers to his Tribe that their path to Indian Gaming is the new firewater, just another means to assimilate the few remaining holdout cultures that have not become extinct, so his Tribe is deciding not to go the gambling route at this point, which I think shows a very responsible attitude toward the restoration of a fractured culture.