The whole concept of freedom and democracy comes from our land, the confederacy of the Six Nation Iroquois law, the Constitution of the United States, the belief that every person has a right to do what they want as long as they don’t hurt someone else in the process, and so long as they don’t destroy the common things that the Creator imbued us with: the right to enjoy the earth and nature. –David Hill, Choctaw
Excerpts here from David Hill’s guest blog about AiM:
…the American Indian Movement is a verb, not a noun.
It is my firm belief that the Movement started in 1492 with the first mistreatment of indigenous people by Columbus and his entourage.
The Movement is an expression of desperation of our people.
The Movement has people on all levels of involvement and it encompasses all our people.
… I can remember prayers and the talks we had, the stories we shared by people who had been mistreated, and most of all I can remember the commitment of people who were willing to die to make a difference for the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
… the Movement of our people attempting to make a change for the future for our people a change that would bring the right to have Native American entrepreneurs and businesses, and further the sovereignty that was guaranteed to us by treaty.
… Everywhere I look I can see those successes: businesses on reservations, increased availability of resources for our people.
However, the struggle is still here.
We are still the poorest group in America.
Still the highest level of suicide rates, 2 and 3 times the national average for adults,
4 and 5 times the national rate for youth in some areas, some even higher than that.
Our sovereignty is still not won, it is a continuing struggle;
the Lakota still embroiled in a struggle to regain their Black Hills;
the Choctaw and Chickasaw embroiled in a law suit struggle to retain their water rights for various lakes in their areas.
The Six Nations have forever been involved in retaining their rights trying to reclaim their lands and most tribes throughout America are continually at odds with the states that surround their respective areas.
We still, in most of those areas, have the highest prison population per capita.
Our youth are 3 times more adjudicated as adults and stand trial as such.
The list goes on and on.
There will always be a need for the American Indian Movement because of the way people who came here from other lands seek wealth and take more than they need.
These things I just spoke of are views that are shared by all Movement people
throughout the Americas, which includes North, South and Central America.
Being a member of the American Indian Movement isn’t something that requires sewing a patch on your jacket or placing a poster on your wall, or a document in a frame.
It is a place in your heart and a commitment of your spirit to make a difference.
And when you do you will in your own way represent the Movement of our people that started in 1492.
The Movement of our people in South America that died fighting the exploitation of their forests.
The Movement of our people fighting for their lands in the east and the west and in the north, our people who fought against Pizarro, the ones who fought against Ponce de Leon, De Soto and Custer and a host of others who have killed our people;
and… I should not forget the ones who gave out poison blankets.
… We as a people have made great gains in the last 30 something years,
however the enemies of our people are still strong, and their commitment is still the same.
… In the book The Art of War, by Lao Tzu, a main theme is the concept of ‘destroy the infrastructure or gain control of it.’ If we start accepting federal aid as AIM people, if we start running to their police programs to turn each other in or against each other, then we strengthen their hold over us.
You cannot talk of sovereignty then ask the ones who would take that away to solve your problems or to dispense their level of justice on our people.
We have the capacity to solve our own problems;
we have the capacity to met out justice within our own culture.
When we seek approval of our enemy and turn against one another, then we lose for sure.
… There are people past and present among our ranks who have sought to denigrate the efforts of Movement people and to discredit Movement people,
especially those who were overtly active and difficult for the enemy to control.
For the American Indian Movement people our value system for the most part is tied to our cultural values and our relationship to the earth.
One of the greatest things I’ve seen happen as a result of the American Indian Movement has been the recognition by the world that our prophecies are coming true regarding the earth and nature, our greatest manifestation of the Creator we have to relate to.
It has been my observation that a lot of religious leaders want to relegate God or the Creator to the supernatural and totally ignore the natural magic of the Creator all around us.
The magic of the sun coming up every morning, or a tree, or a flower,
or a deer running across the road, or any measure of existence that is all around us represents the handy work of the Creator.
… The whole concept of freedom and democracy comes from our land,
the confederacy of the Six Nation Iroquois law, the Constitution of the United States, the belief that every person has a right to do what they want as long as they don’t hurt someone else in the process, and so long as they don’t destroy the common things that the Creator imbued us with: the right to enjoy the earth and nature.
… If you stand strong in the circles of the Movement, some or someone will no doubt condemn you and they will seek to render you as ineffective as possible.
When you hear one of these stories about somebody, it might be worth your while to investigate the claims of the accuser and also the motives of the accuser.
I know none of our people are perfect, anyone knows that.
Nor is anyone else.
We are all human, with all the positive and negative things that make up our life.
But standing together in every way we can, seeking to identify the things we have in common, and working out the things we disagree on, will serve us much better than wasting our time on name calling.
We are all children of the Creator and for you that are parents,
think how disheartening it is when your children quarrel with one another.
… “We are like a large family; we don’t always get along but we are still family. Throughout the North Central and South Americas we are one people.
We may have somewhat different languages and cultures, but we are still one people with one enemy: those who would take more than they need.”
… Whether you agree with me or not, I do hope in some way it might help you resolve some of your differences because we need each other and that is a fact.
The world needs American Indian people and our culture
and our view of how to live upon this earth.
… We have a rich heritage, a rich culture and at one time, this was the richest land on the face of this earth. And I’m not talking about money,
I’m talking about a relationship with the Earth and the resources the Creator gave us.
May the Great Spirit bless you with the things you need and may you enjoy the life you have and know fulfillment in doing what’s right and righting what’s wrong.
- Your brother in the movement,
Choctaw from Oklahoma