While searching for my articles of travels with the Zapatistas, I stumbled across one of my most censored articles written in December of 2001. At the time, I had shared the article with Noam Chomsky, and had since forgotten about the note he sent back. Noam Chomsky wrote, “Interesting and eloquent. Thanks for sending."
Simon Ortiz is now an Arizona State University Regents' Professor. Arlene Bowman continues as a Dine' filmmaker living in Vancouver BC. John Benally's brother Leonard Benally, Dine', and his wife, Arlene Hamilton, both instrumental in the Peabody Coal protest at Lehman Brothers in New York, have both passed to the Spirit World. The struggle continues.
Afghanistan to Big Mountain, Censored Native voices
Native Americans say it is time for America to re-examine itself
By Brenda Norrell, Independent journalist Original date: December, 2001
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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Native American poets, filmmakers and spiritual leaders say America is being deceived by the national media about the intent behind the bombing of Afghanistan.It reflects the deception and murder of the voiceless that Indigenous peoples have long known.
Simon Ortiz, Acoma Pueblo N.M. poet and professor in Canada, said images of the bombing of Afghanistan are the nightmares Indigenous peoples have always lived with.
Ortiz said it is now carried out in the conquest for oil.
"When I've seen the few photos of the destruction and killings caused by U.S. bombs in Afghanistan, I immediately think of what Acoma and the other Pueblos would look like if the same hellish madness were ever visited upon them," Ortiz said.
"People standing amidst the ruins and rubble of their adobe and stone homes. Children and old men and women stunned, weeping quietly. It is horrible to envision.
"This is victory over the enemy?
"And then I think of January 1599 when Acoma was laid to waste and hundreds of Acomas died at the hands of Spanish conquistadors under Don Juan de Onate. "That was victory over the enemy?
"No, that was an obscenity of death and conquest committed so that Native land and its resources could be gained, just like what is taking place now in Afghanistan and the Mideast -- obscenity of death and conquest committed so that control over oil resources can be gained."
Ortiz, internationally-known author of "Woven Stone," and dozens of other books of poetry and essays, like Navajo filmmaker Arlene Bowman, relocated to Canada because of professional opportunities for Indigenous peoples.
Bowman, independent filmmaker living in Vancouver, British Columbia, said the war on Afghanistan is an energy war and at home, President Bush is rapidly undoing the preservation of sacred lands put in place by the Clinton administration."I observe mostly the drive by the federal government to get to the energy sources in Canada and the United States fast!"
"Bush is definitely a redneck of a president."
Bowman, producer of "Navajo Talking Picture," shown in international film festivals and "Song Journey," shown on PBS, was born in Fort Defiance and grew up in Phoenix. She is concerned for Navajos at home and elsewhere.
"Probably Bush doesn't care about Aboriginal peoples and is racist. What else is new?
"He doesn't care if the Dineh people will not get enough water on their land and if digging for uranium will affect Dineh people, leaving them with cancer and radiation.
"It's not his brain and body or children. Has anything really change for us?"
Bowman said Bush has become an opportunist by way of the tragedies of others, "ramming through" his energy policy while the mainstream media has acted with complicity in a crime against humanity.
"The opposition voice is censored out literally. The United States is becoming a 'banana republic,' a police state."
Bowman said racism towards people of color has not diminished, but major networks refuse to cover America as it is.
"Just observe the major television news networks. It's all 'Rah! Rah!' for the flag and gun-ho flag waving.
"The censorship bothers me a lot. Big Brother is watching and it's real."