Speech Peacewalk: Pete Last Walking Bear Depoe, A Nothern Cheyenne.
Today is a day to stand still by the past and the future. We have to learn from the past and to looks towards the future. Discrimination and Racism is something to be aware of your whole life. It will come around the corner when you don’t expect it. And sometimes when you expect you get surprised that it is not there.
I see already a lot of difference here in Holland than in the USA where I come from.
In the States are a lot of things out of the question when it comes to different races and things are already possible here. But also here in Holland it is still not perfect.
As a native American I have been a victim from racism and discriminated my whole life. My people are treated bad and slaughtered since the white men came in 1492. And somehow Indians has always been seen and treated like people who are less worth, less than a beast. The white men wanted more and not only more, they wanted everything for themselves. More than they needed. They destroyed more than they needed. That’s something real different than the native American believes in. We honor mother earth the land the people on it and everything that lives on it, walks on it.
We honor the water, the sky the stars the universe, Our ant sisters and the great spirit. There have been mayor massacres in the past . And I am a Sand Creek survivor.
I will tell you about the Sand Creek History. My tribe the Northern Cheyenne lived in Sand Creek.
Before dawn on November 29, 1864, more than 700 soldiers, mostly volunteer Colorado state militia, attacked an Indian encampment on Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado, killing old men, women, children, and babies, while most of the men of the village were away hunting. Leading the attack was Colonel John M. Chivington, a former Methodist preacher known as the "Fighting Parson." Chivington was already on record as saying his mission in life was "to kill Indians."
At Sand Creek, he ignored peace signals, an American flag and a white flag hanging from the lodge of Black Kettle, chief of the Southern Cheyenne. the massacre lasted six to eight hours. Two hundred Cheyenne men, women and children were slaughtered, and their corpses often grotesquely mutilated.
U.S. soldiers mutilated Native American women, cutting away their breasts and removing all other sex organs. After the Massacre, soldiers displayed the women's severed body parts on their hats and stretched them over their saddle-bows while riding in the ranks. The sex organs of every male were removed in the most grotesque manner. One soldier boasted that he would make a tobacco pouch with the removed privates of White Antelope, a respected chief and elder and my great great uncle.
Round 1875 the Indians where almost all put away in reservations. Not always tribe by tribe, but forced to live on pieces of land no matter if you where a plain Indian a farmer or a fisher men. A big tragedy and depressing situation.
The federal government began sending American Indians to off-reservation boarding schools in the 1870s, when the United States was still at war with Indians. The government operated as many as 100 boarding schools for American Indians, both on and off reservations. Children were sometimes taken forcibly, by armed police.
They were taken away from their Parents and brought to boarding schools and into white family’s to learn how to be not Indian.
Students at federal boarding schools were forbidden to express their culture, the Indian ways has been beaten out of them — everything from wearing long hair to speaking even a single Indian word.
"For many communities, for a variety of reasons, federal school was the only option, "Public schools were closed to Indians because of racism."
At boarding schools, the curriculum focused mostly on trades, such as carpentry for boys and housekeeping for girls. So the start of killing a whole native people and culture was almost completed.
But my people is strong and we will fight for our own ways. For our own way of life . And bit by bit we grow strong again.
In 1969 4 young men who had always been treated as the lowest from the lowest, because we where Indians formed the first native American Rock band Redbone. And we showed in our own way where we stood for. Music saved us and with our music we got fame and got the chance the tell the people all over the world about our people, our life as Indians and made them interested in my people. You can hear the native American influences especially in our fist albums.
here in Europe we got the big hit We were all wounded at wounded knee.
The song that was not allowed to be played and listened in the States. It was to Political. But over here it became big hit. Here in Europe we were not seen as lower people. That was so great that we could be proud of who we really where.
You can break the people but you cannot break our spirit! We are still not wanted in our own country and you can feel it in many ways.
It hurts to see that the young ones don’t see a future and hide themselves in alcohol and drugs. Overdose is killer nr one of the youth. So the massacres go still on even in these days. But as long as we stay together we stay strong.
A good and safe future and you know there is still a long way to go before for my people and the young ones have find their own heritage back and be proud of who they are. But that is what I wish for the young people these days. Peace and Power to my people.
With our music we made activists stand up for my people and they still do. Like for Leonard Peltier my cousin, a native American activist and a member of the American Indian movement who is already for 35 years in prison and his guild is never proved.. But he is an Indian so he is guilty and it became a political statement.
There is already al lot changed but there are also a lot of Native Americans living in poverty. The Pine Ridge Reservation is a poignant sorrow example. It is one of the poorest places in the USA. A lot of people have to get through the winter without descent food, water, cloth, housing and gas to heat the houses. No future for the youth.
I am tired of hearing the white red and black men leaders telling me or us that your times will get better. Well they won’t unless you make them better. The Creator tells us to obey the law and to carry yourself in a proud native American way. And brother if any one puts their hand on you you do the best you can to see that they don’t put their hand on anyone else again.
Peace and Power to my people. Thank you for listening.
Peace Walk 21 maart 2012 The Hague