Tuesday, July 3, 2018
She was the only brown person there
I may have mentioned that Ms Ché spent the last three weeks at the Naropa University Summer Writing Program ("The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics"). She just returned yesterday, her flip phone (sometimes called a Rez phone) loaded with photos of her adventure, her bags filled with papers and books from her workshops and instructors. She did not visit Allen Ginsberg's grave (well, the depository of a third of his ashes on the Shambhala mountainside two hours from Boulder.) She's an Old Lady, aka Elder, now. Climbing that mountain was not either necessary or physically possible for her. Oh well!
On Saturday, students from the Summer Writing Program assembled on Pearl Street in historic Boulder, Colorado, to participate in the nationwide -- actually international -- demonstrations: "Families Belong Together."
It's been a long time since she took to the streets -- I've been much more active on that front, though not lately. She said she looked around and realized she was the only brown person marching and carrying signs that morning in Boulder, though the Latino garbage collectors tooted their horns as the modest multitude of mostly Anglos marched by. I've seen reports that that was the case in many other locations too -- Anglo allies marching and chanting on behalf of the mostly Central American families separated at the border by order of the regime in Washington, an order carried out by the more and more notorious Gestapo-like border patrol and immigration cops who seem to relish their freedom to harm their victims.
Given the tensions of the time, it's understandable if brown people chose to stay away from some of the demonstrations. They might be targets. When Ms. Ché stopped for a moment along the route of the march in Boulder, a man sidled up to her and whispred, "Better watch out that some yahoo doesn't run his car into the march." Yep True enough. These are the times we live in.
There's been some discussion about why some -- or many? -- Native Americans have been supportive of the migrants who have been so cruelly abused in the current roundups and family separations. After all, weren't the Indians overrun by immigrants back in the day? Shouldn't they want to keep them out now? (Besides, Hillary!, Obama!, etc.)
Ms. Ché's father was a non-white immigrant; her mother was full-blood Cherokee. Her mother was sent to Indian boarding school from the first to the eighth grade. Her father faced the kind of racial and new-comer discrimination that has infected this country from the outset. Many Natives do support the current migrants ("legal" or not) because they understand the suffering so many have experienced, and because so many of those are being abused at the southern border are indigenous peoples. There were no borders before the white folks invented them.
People migrated from place to place throughout the Americas before the white folks came and divided the land into countries with secure borders. People who needed help got help in most cases. People from elsewhere were often integrated or adopted into the tribes who offered them assistance. This is not to over glamorize Native society. It wasn't necessarily rainbows and unicorns, but there wasn't the routine sorts of cruelty we've been seeing from the Trump government (and previous ones.)
So Natives are not inclined to follow the government's lead regarding the current migrant crisis. Regardless of who occupies the White House.
Colorado still has a lot of cruel history to deal with, and progress hasbeen slow. The demonstration in Boulder was small, but the one in Denver was huge. For Ms. Ché, her participation in the Boulder demonstration was an important statement. She has plenty to say about the bullshit infecting the country. And she'll do her part...
[Meant to post this yesterday, but life intervened ... 😎😎]