Writing about Native Americans now for me is almost a reciprocity for my own ignorance. In my childhood in Russia I used to watch the movie about Indeizi, Native American Indians in Russian. That is the only knowledge about Indeizi I had - from the movies where cowboys always win. 25 years living in New York City did not add to my knowledge even a bit, as if Natives were un-existed like Santa Claus from my childhood's innocent illusion. That is how suppressed the information about Native Americans is here, in United States. The only association I could make to Natives is through the sweat lodges I attended, still as I was not open to SEE them. I have heard about Indian reservations, but it was an empty concept to me.
Sometime ago I drove through Apache land in Arizona, and I remember peering in the car window in hope to see Apache man from the movies, almost naked, with feathers on his head, and on a horse! The land was so unbelievable in it's pristine untouched beauty, I noticed no electric wires, which is an element that present almost everywhere in the US. Driving for long time through the land brought my memories of fascination with Indeizi, their strength of body and spirit.
My oblivion lasted until I met my partner, Native American from Amah Mutsun tribe that populated the vast land, just north of Monterey, California. it's not only stories I heard, there are boxes and boxes of documented truth, including birth certificates and all the documents pertaining his tribe's origin, the photographs, the maps of the land, the names and all, that exists, but the government still postpone with the recognition of this tribe. It has been many years, and he is afraid that they will postpone the recognition until the blood is diluted to the point that their tribe will be pronounced an extinct and no recognition will ever be granted. As they never existed here in a first place.
Smithsonian Institute documented all about this tribe, and it is in archives, but US government doesn't care about all that, and people don't know about sorrow of Natives who are loosing their identity, when they already lost their land and their ways of living.
One day me and my partner went to the grave of his great grandmother, who was a Noble woman, an elder, a medicine woman of the tribe. We call such people enlightened. She is buried behind San Juan Bautista mission that spaniards built when they took the land and tried to convert everyone to Christianity. The entrance clerk tried to charge us money to enter the mission. Even though I explained to him we are going to the grave of my partner's great grandmother, he said: "Everyone pays to enter, its a museum". My partner was counting money to pay 12$ to visit the grave of his grandma on his ancestors land! Seriously?! I started to be so laud and created a commotion, people present there all turn to us to see what's going on, and the clerk decided to get us in, just to get rid of me. This encounter, though it shook me to the core, was just a drop what Native people have to live with.
Thanks to Standing Rock couple of years ago that brought attention to Native people and the injustices that they are encountering from the times of Columbus. Thank you every one for attention to this matter.
My partner at the grave of his great grandma Ascension:
Ascension. Pictures from the mission museum:
J.P. Harrington from Smithsonian Institute that documented the ways of Amah Mutsun tribe:
Mutsun tribe land:
The personal account of my partner. Spontaneous Awakening:
Articles on Amah Mutsun tribe:
California bishop apologize to Mutsun tribe:
Mutsun return to their sacred mountain:
Open Letter to Pope Francis: