No white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the territory, or without the consent of the Indians to pass through the same.
– TREATY OF 1868
We want no white men here. The Black Hills belong to me. If the whites try to take them, I will fight.
– TATANKA YOTANKA (SITTING BULL)
One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.
– TASHUNKA WITKO (CRAZY HORSE)
Crazy Horse died that night, September 5, 1877, at the age of thirty-five. At dawn the next day the soldiers presented the dead chief to his father and mother. They put the body of Crazy Horse into a wooden box, fastened it to a pony-drawn travois and carried it to Spotted Tail agency, where they mounted it on a scaffold. All through the Drying Grass Moon, mourners watched beside the burial place. And then in the Moon of Falling Leaves came the heartbreaking news: the reservation Sioux must leave Nebraska and go to a new reservation on the Missouri River.
Through the crisp, dry autumn of 1877, long lines of exiled Indians driven by soldiers marched northeastward toward the barren land. Along the way, several bands slipped away from the column and turned northwestward, determined to escape to Canada and join Sitting Bull. With them went the father and mother of Crazy Horse, carrying the heart and bones of their son. At a place known only to them, they buried Crazy Horse somewhere near Chankpe Opi Wakpala, the creek called Wounded Knee.
– pgs. 312, 313, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE, by Dee Brown, Henry Holt and Company, 1970
The relationships between men and women represent a core issue where the achievement of harmony (wa, in Japanese) and happiness in a society is concerned. In Christian societies, such as Belize broadcasts itself to be, the religiously mandated ideal is monogamy – one man (husband), one woman (wife). This family ideal is based on the premise that most human beings want to procreate, that is to say, have children and watch their children grow and mature even as they, as parents, are peaking and then beginning to decline.
It takes many years to rear a child properly. Human beings are born as totally vulnerable creatures. Even after they learn to fend for themselves somewhat, children have to learn certain things within a family setting where they have a father and a mother. Children have to be nurtured emotionally , psychologically and culturally, in addition to just being fed, clothed, and housed. If children are not properly reared, if they are not brought up in an appropriate setting, if they enter the jungle that is the streets at too early an age, then such children are likely to become anti-social, as we would say, and create all kinds of problems, for mainstream, “respectable” society.
So then, the various people (or leaders) who are responsible for building communities and societies, look to the family as the foundation building block. In societies like the United States, politicians all have to pay service to what are called “family values.” In the United States, male politicians who keep mistresses (or live gay lives secretly) are in great danger of losing their elected positions if their infidelity is ever discovered and exposed, whereas in Europe the electorates are more tolerant of such sexual adventures. The United States and the nation-states of Europe are Christian societies. They are committed to monogamy.
In Africa and Asia, there are a lot of nation-states which are Islamic, and that is to say that they allow polygamy. A man who can afford it is allowed, within the religious precepts of Islam, to have as many as four wives. I suppose that Islam takes into account the fact that men are often under different kinds of pressure or experience different issues of temptation which lead them to depart from monogamy. Islam, hence, says to the male, since you are always having this problem with monogamy, take more than one wife. Keep your business inside a home. It is said that this is also a way to adjust to war-torn situations, where male casualties may be high and the male population depleted.
Christianity says no, men, you absolutely cannot have more than one wife. In the real world, there are a lot of Christian men who violate the precepts of monogamy, but they have to hide in order to have more than one woman, and the result of their adulteries is that many, many Christian marriages crash. It is safe to say that monogamy dooms some of these marriages, from the get go.
It is not as if just allowing polygamy means that Islamic marriages are 100 percent successful. It is for sure that there is often conflict among the wives in Islamic arrangements. The bottom line is that whenever there is conflict between (or among) the parents in a home, whether that home is Christian, Muslim, or otherwise, the children in such homes experience all kinds of pain and suffering. No parent really wants to cause such pain and suffering to his or her child. Our children are our future. Our children are ourselves. Our children are so precious.
Now, as we consider the crime, violence, and overall social problems that we, as communities and as the larger Belizean society, are facing today, there is a school of thought which would have us blame everything on sin, as Biblically defined. The solutions proposed by such schools of thought, or churches, are moral in their analysis. They are basically saying: get rid of sin, you get rid of problems.
There are various domestic incentives offered to such schools of thought. For example, churches in Belize do not have to pay any kind of taxes to the state. And, many of these churches have access to international funding and personnel expertise. “International” in Belize, with reference to churches, mostly means European or neo-European.
There is another school of thought which says that a kind of economic oppression remains in place which contributes greatly to our sociological dysfunctions in Belize. The historical facts are that four, five centuries ago, the Europeans conquered our African and Indigenous societies, enslaved them, and degraded them. In those conditions of subjugation, was it easier for an African or a Maya to be a man or to be a woman? The question may be purely academic, but let us frame it in a different way: about whom would the conqueror be more concerned or nervous – the African/Maya man or the African/Maya woman? I ain’t saying: I’m just asking.
Fast forward to 2016. Can anyone prove that the damage to the African and the Maya occasioned by European conquest, enslavement, and degradation has been repaired or reversed? We Africans and Maya send our children today to schools owned and operated by churches which are supported by Europe. We send our children to these church schools so that our children can learn, ultimately, to be European. We reason that if our children learn to be like the Europeans, perhaps our children will become as productive as the children of the Europeans.
Many of our children have rebelled. But a few of our children learned that they could become rich and powerful by behaving like the Europeans and by collaborating with the Europeans. The original paradigm, the original thesis, of conquest, slavery, and degradation, has remained in place at the base of our socio-economic pyramid. And that original paradigm, that original thesis, is white supremacy. There are some of our people who hold in awe those of us who are collaborating with the Europeans. But there are more of us who remain true, even if only privately, to the original, instinctive reaction code of our ancestors to conquest, slavery, and degradation. That code called for resistance, resistance to emasculation, resistance by any means necessary.
In Belize, there are many churches. They say that our problem is sin. In Belize, there is only one Kremandala. We say that our problem is oppression.
Power to the people. Remember Danny Conorquie. Honor Staff Sgt. Richard Lambey. Big up, Wil Maheia. Salute SATIIM!