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A World Ruled by Cannibals

The Wétiko Disease of Aggression, Violence, and Imperialism

By: Jack D. Forbes — Professor of Native American Studies and Anthropology – University of California, Davis

Any man who is attached to the senses and to the things of this world, is one who lives in ignorance and is being consumed by the snakes which represent his own passions . . . [Such a person is] one who is distracted, who is ruled by his senses, and who lives for himself rather than for his people. [From The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk's Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux, recorded and edited by Joseph Epes Brown. Copyright 1953 by the University of Oklahoma Press, pp. 4n, 7n.]

* * *

An Indian who is as bad as the White men could not live in our nation; he would be put to death, and . . . [be eaten] up by the wolves. The White men are bad school-masters; they carry false looks, and deal in false actions; they smile in the face of the poor Indian to cheat him; they shake them by the hand to gain their confidence, to make them drunk, to deceive them, and ruin our wives. We told them to let us alone; but they followed on and beset our paths, and they coiled themselves among us like the snake. They poisoned us by their touch. We were not safe. We lived in danger. We were becoming like them, hypocrites and liars, adulterers, lazy drones, all talkers, and no workers. [Speech of Black Hawk, 1832, in Forbes, The Indian in America's Past. p. 64.]

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Central Problem of Human Life Today

Chapter One: Consuming Another's Life: the Wétiko Cannibal Psychosis

Chapter Two: Deception. Brutality, and Greed: the Spread of the Disease

Chapter Three: The Structure of the Cannibal's Insanity: Arrogance, Lust, and Materialism

Chapter Four: How People Become Insane: the Process of Corruption

Chapter Five: The Mátchi Syndrome: Fascination with Evil

Chapter Six: Colonialism, Europeanization, and the Destruction of Native (Authentic) Cultures

Chapter Seven: Savages, Free People, and the Loss of Freedom

Chapter Eight: Organized Crime: Planned Aggression

Chapter Nine: If Jesus Were to Return

Chapter Ten: Seeking Sanity: Reversing the Process of Brutalization

Chapter Eleven: Finding a Good Path, a Path with Heart



It is always very difficult to live in this life so as to not be a damaged person or one who damages others. The successes which we may achieve, in terms of being a good person, a person living in beauty, justice, and compassion, are successes which we do not achieve by ourselves.

In the same way, those concrete accomplishments which we gain, we do not gain alone. This book, like everything else I have ever done, has many authors. I must give credit to my father, an honest, compassionate, just man who provided me during my first twenty-one years with living proof that a person can grow straight as a pine tree without bending to even the slightest degree to hustling, deceit, or shallowness. His intellectual curiosity, his love of knowledge, and his appreciation of the natural world all greatly shaped my life. He was a hard working man who never achieved material success but he gave me a legacy of authenticity which I hope to pass on to my children.

It is hard to separate my mother from my father because both shared the same values of honesty, compassion, and fairness. But my mother, especially, is a lover of plants and growing things. She and I both find it hard to cast aside a single plant, even a single cutting. We are both perpetually sticking things into the earth to grow (which is one reason why I am a farmer of sorts by avocation).

But my human parents and grandparents, and aunts and uncles, have not been the only authors of the pages which follow. From a very early age the struggles of my Native American, Scottish Highlander, and Swiss ancestors to achieve justice and to resist imperialism inspired me with a vision of what constitutes the good life in a political sense. I cannot overemphasize the way in which the stories of Powhatan and Opechkankanough, and of Sir William Wallace and Arnold Winkler, formed my early sense of rightness. I can still see pictures of the aged, captive Opechkankanough being murdered by an English soldier, of peasants and clansmen raising their swords and scythes in support of Wallace, and Winkler leading Swiss peasants in a charge through the phalanx of Austrian spearmen.

I must also acknowledge many other authors, including the goats, ducks, geese, dogs, cats, and other animals who have taught me a great deal about the joy and spontaneity of authentic life free from the pettiness or evilness found sometimes in the human world. Trees and plants have also been my great friends, especially a giant oak tree which sheltered me during many difficult years when I felt oppressed by alien schools and mean children. And also the sagebrush-covered hills, and canyons, and bare rocky desert gorges, they too provided shelter, learning, and the love of Mother Earth.

It is hard to be an Indian in the white world but it is easy to be an Indian in nature because the Earth, the plants, the animals, and the winged-creatures provide companionship, love, or just authentic spontaneity unmarred by hate, jealousy, or greed.

Many other relatives have helped me write this book, too many to name, but I do wish to mention my adopted "uncle" Antonio delBuono, an Otomi-Italian-Chicano farmworker organizer and activist in the struggle for justice. His honesty, frankness, and optimism, and absolute immunity to pettiness or corruption, will always serve as an example to those who become discouraged by sophisticated deceit and rip-off.

My wife Carolyn has also been a co-author of this book, in part because she has helpfully criticized the contents, but even more because she has helped me to come to a better understanding of many of the things about which I write. Her spirituality, vigorous sense of justice, and deep understanding of pain and suffering have had a lasting impact upon my consciousness. Writing is not Carolyn's normal manner of self expression but through my words perhaps some of her insights have found a voice.

To all these ancestors and relatives and others unnamed I give thanks. Wanishi!

Jack O. Forbes


The Central Problem of Human Life Today

For several thousands of years human beings have suffered from a plague, a disease worse than leprosy, a sickness worse than malaria, a malady much more terrible than the smallpox.

A woman is attacked by men who brutally rape her and leave her for dead.Indians are murdered in order to force impoverished mixed-bloods to gather rubber in the forest under conditions which doom the rubber-hunters themselves to miserable deaths.

Small countries are invaded so that an entire people and their resources can be exploited. Human beings of all colors are seized or ensnared in debts and are forced to live out their brief lives as slaves or serfs.

Boys are raised to obey orders and serve as cannon-fodder while girls are raised to give their children over to armies, factories, or plantations. People and other living creatures are tortured in the most fiendish ways imaginable.

The "cult of agression and violence" reigns supreme, and the prisons and insane asylums are full to bursting. Imperialism, colonialism, torture, enslavement, conquest, brutality, lying, cheating, secret police, greed, rape, terrorism – they are only words until we are touched by them. Then they are no longer words, but become a vicious reality which overwhelms, consumes, and changes our lives forever.

This is the disease, then, with which I hope to deal - the disease of aggression against other living things, and more precisely, the disease of the consuming of other creatures' lives and possessions.

I call it cannibalism, and I shall try to explain why. But whatever we call it, this disease, this wétiko psychosis, is the greatest epidemic sickness known to man.

* * *

Jorge Amado, in his novel Tereza Batista, describes for us the manner in which the rich and the powerful of northeastern Brazil fatten themselves on the very flesh of the poor, like parasites who slowly suck away the vital juices of their host. And Amado also shows us how so many of the oppressed become fully as shallow and brutal as their oppressors.

Tereza Batista helps us to understand why the Amazonian Indians must die. Why? Because many of the "Brutes" who speak Portuguese (whatever their color) cannot spare their own women, their own weak, their own poor! How can an Indian receive justice from a man who cannot give justice to his own kind?

The rape of a woman, the rape of a land, and the rape of a people, they are all the same. And they are the same as the rape of the earth, the rape of the rivers, the rape of the forest, the rape of the air, the rape of the animals.

Brutality knows no boundaries. Greed knows no limits. Perversion knows no borders. Arrogance knows no frontiers. Deceit knows no edges. These characteristics all tend to push towards an extreme, always moving forward once the initial infection sets in.

From the raping of a woman to the raping of a country to the raping of the world. Acts of aggression, of hate, of conquest, of empire-building. Harems of women and harems of people. Houses of prostitutes and houses of pimps.

* * *

Many centuries ago a Mexican (Aztec) father said to his son:

My son, my jewel, my quetzal plumes beyond value; you have come into life, you have been born, the Master and Ruler of Creation has brought you into the world. . .  Very well: for a short time you have come to contemplate the world, you have come evolving, you have come to grow, to thrive. . . So you will succeed? Will you live on the earth? May you grow in inner peace and calm! . . .

If you act badly, if you lie and are false, nothing of God will remain in your face and heart, you will pervert your own inner being and will fall into the vices of drunkenness and drugs . . .  You will cast yourself into traps and nets and nothing more will await you but stakes and rocks and you will fall into the trashpit or dunghill.

Unhappy you shall be if you do not grasp to you the teachings your mother and father give you, if you do not grasp to you what must be the sustenance and guide of your life. . . .

You will fall far from here, you will fall into the claws of the jaguar and coyote, you will be insensitive to your own faults, always behind, always in conflict, if you do not receive the teaching, . . .  and even the cries of your elders, as you should . . .  If you live well, if you live as you have been shown to live, you will be loved and your life will serve as an example to others. [Angel M. Garibay K., La LiteraturadelosAztecas, as translated in Hugh Fox, First Fire, p. 283-5J.]

* * *

Many people have examined the subjects of aggression, violence, imperialism, rape, and so on. I propose to do something a little different: first, I propose to examine these things from a Native American perspective; and, second, from a perspective as free as possible from assumptions created by the very disease being studied. Finally, I will look at these evil s, not simply as "bad" choices which men make, but as a genuine, very real epidemic sickness.

Imperialists, rapists, and exploiters are not just people who have strayed down a wrong path. They are insane (unclean) in the true sense of that word. They are mentally ill and, tragically, the form of soul-sickness which they carry is catching.

* * *

In many respects, the twentieth-century has been the most disappointing period in modern human history. We have witnessed the failure of the so-called "western democracies" to solve their most-pressing internal problems, the failure of Marxist-Leninism, the failure of so-called mass education, the failure of technology, the failure of organized religion, the failure of the most highly-trained and "educated" generations of human beings in all of history to do more than paper over the great problems facing the world.

We have witnessed devastating wars, the deaths of millions upon millions, the squandering of the earth's resources, and the continuing exploitation of the smaller nationalities (especially of folk peoples) and of the politically weak in general.

The brutality and hypocrisy of the twentieth-century would not be so frightening if, indeed, the leadership of the world were in the hands of uneducated soldiers (of the IdiAmin type) or of openly criminal elements. But by and large such is not the case.

People like IdiAmin cannot stay in power without "Technocrats" and trained civil servants who collect necessary revenues and maintain a structure of governance. Neither Joseph Stalin, nor Adolph Hitler, nor Huey Long could govern without the active support or cooperation of many thousands of "educated" experts, technicians, and bureaucrats.

All of the modern secret police of the world depend upon well-trained personnel, scientific equipment, advanced social science studies of human behavior, and bureaucratic management systems (either pre-computer or post-computer). Even "organized crime" (at least in the United States) depends upon college-trained lawyers, administrators, and executives, and upon the technology of modern society.

The people who rule the world today are, on the whole, highly educated (or at least highly trained). They are graduates of the "great" military schools or the elite universities of their respective countries. They have (by and large) "refined" tastes and cultivate the "finer" things of life (at least for public consumption). In spite of this, they have given us the most brutal epoch in history and, currently, a collection of military dictatorships, totalitarian societies, racist-exploitative "representative" republics (e.g. South Africa), and resource-gobbling states of such a nature as to lead one to predict that there may soon be very few places in the world where a non-aggressive person can survive except as a lackey or a slave.

The truth of the matter is that Harvard or Cambridge graduates, for example, are quite capable of lobbying for a "concession" of territory in Brazil, or Colombia, or Bolivia, the development of which will mean the utter annihilation of thousands of Native Americans. Of course, the refined gentleman will not personally order the liquidation of the Indians but they will set in motion a chain of events leading inevitably (under conditions current in South America) to the enslavement, removal, and death of the indigenous tribes.

"Education" of the kind we know in the modern world usually has little to do with ethics or with "bringing forth" the individual potential of the learner. On the contrary, it is largely technical in nature (whether in natural science, social science, or whatever) and seldom (in and of itself) serves to alter the class and ethnic "interests" of the graduates.

In any case, the wétiko disease, the sickness of exploitation, has been spreading as a contagion for the past several thousand years. And as a contagion unchecked by most vaccines it tends to become worse rather than better with time. More and more people catch it, in more and more places, and they become the true teachers of the young.

Thus the youth in twentieth-century societies are taught not primarily by underpaid public school teachers or "ivory-tower" professors but by their parents, by movies, by television, and, in fact, by what they observe in the society. And this type of learning is often reinforced by the structure and content of school disciplines such as history which exalt the aggressive and the exploitative (Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Cecil Rhodes, James K. Polk, and Thomas Jefferson – who was both a slave-owner and an insatiable imperialist against Native Americans) and tend to categorize as "backward" or "uninteresting" peoples or persons who do not conquer others or acquire vast amounts of stolen property.

In any case, the great human problems of imperialism, colonialism, exploitation, and greed have not been brought under control. Ask the Latvians, or the Kirghiz, or the Bretons, or the Welsh, or the Basques, or the Sioux, or the Eskimo, or the Ache, or the Aymara; or ask the migrant farm workers of the United States, or the rural Blacks of the South, or the near slave-laborers of South Africa; or ask the terrorized populations of Uganda, or Chile, or Brazil.

And in the United States and other so-called "advanced" societies billions upon billions of dollars must be spent on prisons and mental institutions and still crime rates climb upward and more and more peopl e go "crazy." On top of that, the pornography "industry" thrives and "liberated" sexual attitudes seem to go hand in hand with rape, child abuse, child pornography, sadism, and a hatred for women.

Exploitation, in other words, is thriving. The exploitation of children, of love, of women, of old people, of the weak, of the poor, and, of course, the intentional commercial exploitation of every conceivable thing from the hair around women's vaginal areas (e.g., Playboy), to worry over natural body odors, to adolescent insecurity, to the fear of growing old, to thirst (e.g., persuading people to drink liquid "chemicals" and sugar, in place of water or "natural" beverages).

This is a no-holds-barred modern society in which college graduates are expected to be willing to "give their all" to developing or selling a product even if the product is harmful or worthless, where technicians are expected to kill and torture captive animals because they are ordered to do so by some government experimenter or paper-producing professor, and where the opportunities for being "one's own boss" in a non-exploitative, non-crooked, or non-demeaning role are precious few indeed.

People who are concerned about violence, about the environment, about decency, and about human authenticity must have the means for analyzing the objective conditions which today surround us all. It is my hope that by presenting the concept of the wétiko disease and by discussing its origin, epidemiology, and characteristics that I can be of some help to such people. I will also try to present some ideas relating to antidotes for the disease but I cannot pretend to have all of the answers for the most fundamental problem of human life.

"How to live in this life" is the real question we all face. All other subjects are insignificant when compared with this one.

Jack D. Forbes

Chapter 1

Consuming Another's Life: the Wétiko Cannibal Psychosis

Native American traditions point out to us that all forms of life, including humans, animals, birds, plants, and insects, are all children of the same parents. The earth is our mother and the Great Mystery or Great Creative Power, in its male aspect, is our father.

Is not the sky a father and the earth a mother, and are not all living things with feet or wings or roots their children? . . . the earth, from whence we came and at whose breast we suck as babies all our lives, along with all the animals and birds and trees and grasses. [Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks, p. 3.]

It is certainly an empirical, observable fact that we are all totally and absolutely dependent on our earth-mother and on the water, air, sun and other elements for every moment of life.

The Great Spirit made the flowers, the streams, the pines, the cedars – takes care of them . . . He takes care of me, waters me, feeds me, makes me live with the plants and animals as one of them . . . All of nature is in us, all of us is in nature. [Pete Catches, Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, pp. 137-9].

At the same time that we are all children of the same parents it is also true that the nature of life involves eating one another. In some manner or another all forms of life eat some other living thing and then, in turn, are eaten by someone else. Our deaths are usually always sad for ourselves but, as Juan Matus, the Yaqui nagualli, points out so well, our deaths are also always gifts for someone else.

The rabbit hung limp in my hand. It was dead . . . [Juan] said that the powers that guided men or animals had led that particular rabbit to me, in the same way they will lead me to my own death. He said the rabbit's death had been a gift for me in exactly the same way my own death will be a gift for someone or something else. [Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan, pp. 87-8].

Human beings, for example, stalk and eat all manner of plants, animals, and birds, but we in turn are hunted and eaten by other animals as well as by bacteria and other tiny living things. Ultimately, of course, worms, bugs, and plants will feed upon our
bodies and help our mother, the earth, to digest us.

The surface of our mother is largely comprised of the transformed bodies of our relatives who have been dying for millions of years. "Soil fertility" is, in large part, nothing but a measure of the extent to which a particular bit of ground is saturated with our dead ancestors and relatives. Death, then, is a necessary part of life.

Most living creatures show no evidence of cruelty or greed (except some "domestic" animals who may become cruel or gluttonous). Generally, they inflict pain upon another creature only when necessary as a part of eating. Very seldom do the vast majority of creatures ever interfere with the free movement or "freedom" of other creatures except for the moment of direct killing. Normally also. they do not kill or feed upon their own kind.

Native Americans, and many other "folk" peoples, have struggled long and hard with the contradiction inherent in eating other living creatures. Very simply, Native philosophy, based upon the recognition that all living creatures are brothers and sisters came to the conclusion that killing and eating, while unavoidable, can be done in such a way as to make it less ugly and less brutalizing.

But we must be on good terms with all the living things of the world. This is the reason why we must talk to plants we are about to kill and apologize for hurting them; the same thing must be done with the animals we are going to hurt. [Juan Matus, in Castaneda. A Separate Reality. p. 226.]

* * *

To be a hunter means that one knows a great deal . . . In order to be a hunter one must be in perfect balance with everything else. otherwise hunting would become a meaningless chore. For instance, today we took a little snake. I had to apologize to her for cutting her life off so suddenly and so definitely; I did what I did knowing that my own life will also be cut off someday in very much the same fashion, suddenly and definitely. So, all in all, we and the snakes are on a par. One of them fed us today. [Juan Matus. in Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan, p. 53.]

Native American philosophy recognizes the right of every living creature to life and to live its own life without interference. For this reason Native People avoid the killing of living trees, avoid trampling on plants, and seldom. if ever, kill any creature except for food. Fallen wood, for example, is usually used for firewood, house timbers. et cetera.

I wish all to know that I do not propose to sell any of my country, nor will I have the Whites cutting our timber along the rivers. more especially the oak. I am particularly fond of the little groves of oak trees. I love to look at them, because they endure the wintry storm and the summer's heat, and – not unlike ourselves – seem to flourish by them. [Sitting Bull, in T.C. McLuhan, Touch the Earth, p. 47.]

When a plant. tree, or animal is to be killed, first. the need must be great; second, permission is asked for, if time allows; third, the creature is thanked; and. fourth. dances, prayers. and ceremonies are used to further thank the creatures so killed and to help those that are alive grow and prosper.

The White people never cared for land or deer or bear. When we Indians kill meat. we eat it all up. When we burn grass for grasshoppers. we don't ruin things. We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down trees. We only use dead wood. But the White people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything. The tree says, "Don't. I am sore. Don't hurt me."  But they chop it down and cut it up. The spirit of the,land hates them. The Indians never hurt anything but the White people destroy all . . . How can the spirit of the earth like the White man? . . . Everywhere the White man has touched, it is sore. [Wintun Woman, in McLuhan, Touch the Earth, p. 15.]

In short, Native people do not just go out with a high-powered gun, kill an animal, take off its head as a trophy, and throw the body in a dump (as do many White hunters).

Native people are not barbarians or savages who kill for "thrills" or for "showing off."

Killing is a serious business and it requires spiritual preparation. Moreover, one should feel the pain and sorrow of killing a brother or sister, whether it is a weed, a tree, or a deer. If one does not feel that pain one has become brutalized and "sick." One is, in short, out of harmony with the Universe.

In any case, Native Americans, with rare exception, were (like most other creatures) careful in their killing. As Juan Matus points out to his apprentice, Carlos Castaneda, it is better to eat two quail and let three go free, than to eat all five like a glutton.

To be inaccessible means that you touch the world around you sparingly. You don't eat five quail; you eat one [even if you happen to have caught five! . . . You don't use and squeeze people until they have shriveled to nothing . . . It means that you are not hungry and desperate, like the poor bastard that feels he will never eat again and devours all the food he can, all five quail! . . . A hunter uses his world sparingly and with tenderness, regardless of whether the world might be things, or plants, or animals, or people, or power. A hunter deals intimately with his world and yet he is inaccessible to that same world. . . He is inaccessible because he's not squeezing his world out of shape. He taps it lightly, stays for as long as he needs to, and then swiftly moves away leaving hardly a mark. [Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan, pp. 94-95.]

Greed and gluttony, along with the cruel using of other's lives without remorse, is seen as destructive of one's own spiritual potential as well as a form of sickness.

The cruel exploitation of other creatures is also not usually found among animals or among tribal, traditional peoples. For example, Old Man Hat, a Navajo elder, spent many months teaching his nephew, Who Has Mules, how to care for livestock:

After you've raised everything, sheep, horses, and cattle, and have gotten lots of property you shouldn't cuss and swear at your properties and stock . . . these things are like your children. You've got to go easy with them, then you'll have something all the time . . . And don't talk roughly. If you do you won't get these things, because all the stocks and properties will know that you'll be rough with them. They'll be afraid and won't want to come to you. If you think kindly and talk in the kindest manner then they'll know you're a kind man, and then everything will go to you. [Dyk, ed., Son of Old Man Hat, pp. 75-81.]

The life of Native American peoples revolves around the conception of the sacredness, beauty, power, and relatedness of all forms of existence. In short, the "ethics" or moral values of Native people are part and parcel of their cosmology or total world view. Most Native languages have no word for "religion" and it may be true that a word for "religion" is never needed until a people no longer have "religion."  As Ohiyesa (Charles Eastman) said: "Every act of his [the Indian's] life is, in a very real sense, a religious act." [Eastman, Soul of the Indian, p. 47.]

"Religion" is, in reality, "Living." Our "religion" is not what we profess, or what we say, or what we proclaim; our "religion" is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think - all of these things twenty-
four hours a day. One's religion, then, is one's life, not the ideal life but the life as it is actually lived.

"Religion" is not prayer, it is not a church, it is not "theistic," it is not "atheistic," it has little to do with what White people call "religion." It is our every act. If we tromp on a bug, that is our religion; if we experiment on living animals, that is our religion; if we cheat at cards, that is our religion; if we dream of being famous, that is our religion; if we gossip maliciously, that is our religion; if we are rude and aggressive, that is our religion. All that we do, and are, is our religion.

Thus New York City with its dirt, its slums, its crime, its violence, its greed, its wealthy elite, its tall buildings, its ~lafia, its crooked leadership, and its art galleries - all of New York City - is the White society's "church." In the same way the massive federal center for experimentation with animals on Staten Island is a church, the Pentagon and CIA complexes near Washington D.C. are churches, et cetera. Many people often pretend that they can escape from the consequences of their own acts but Native philosophy teaches differently. We create our own reality. Perhaps the acts of creation are our "religion" and the creations are our "churches."

An old Leni-Lenape (Delaware) prayer begins with:

Truly we are thankful that we have lived long enough to see the time come when these our grandfathers, the trees, bloom forth, and also the coming up of vegetation.

Now as well for this water and for him our Grandfather fire, and again this air, again this sunlight. When everyone has been blessed with such gifts it is enough to make one realise what kind of benevolence comes from our father, because he it is who has created everything . . . [Witapanoxwe, in Margot Astrov, ed., American Indian Prose and Poetry, p. 166.]

Many centuries ago White Buffalo Woman visited the Lakota people and gave them a special smoking pipe. She said:

With this pipe you will be bound to all your relatives: Your Grandfather and Father [Wakan-Tanka], your Grandmother and Mother [the Earth] . . . All of this is sacred and so do not forget!

Every dawn as it comes is a holy event, and every day is holy, for the light comes from your father Wakan-tanka; and also you must always remember that the two-leggeds and the other peoples who stand upon this earth are sacred and should be treated as such. [Black Elk, Sacred Pipe, p. 7. Copyright 1953 by University of Oklahoma Press.]

The "cosmology" or "world-view" of a people is closely related, of course, to all of their actions. The world-view influences action and, in turn, actions tell us what the world-view really is! In short, one must judge "cosmology" by actions as much as (or more than) by listening to words. As Lame Deer says:

You can tell a good medicine man by his actions and his way of life. Is he lean? Does he live in a poor cabin? Does money leave him cold? [Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, p. 168.]

When Christopher Columbus reached the West Indies he found a people who practiced a radically different way of life from that of Europe

 . . . since they have become more assured, and are losing that terror, they are artless and generous with what they have, to such a degree as no one would believe but him who had seen it. Of anything they have, if it be asked for, they never say no, but do rather invite the person to accept it, and show as much lovingness as though they would give their hearts. . . . And they knew no sect nor idolatry; save that they all believe that power and goodness are in the sky. . . . And this comes not because they are ignorant: on the contrary, they are men of very subtle wit, who navigate all those seas, and who give a marvelous good account of everything. . . . And as soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island that I found, I took some of them by force. . . . Their [Spanish] Highnesses may see that I shall give them [The Spanish Crown] as much gold as they may need. . . . and slaves as many as they shall order to be shipped, – and these shall be from idolators. [letter of Columbus in Forbes, The Indian in America's Past, p. 9.]

Columbus proceeded to enslave these "loving" people, shipping hundreds of them to Europe for a profit. Then he and his European cohorts enslaved tens of thousands of others and liquidated, several millions of similar humans in the islands within a

Now, were Columbus and his fellow European exploiters simply "greedy" men whose "ethics" were such as to allow for mass slaughter and genocide?

I shall argue that Columbus was a wétiko, that he was mentally ill or insane, the carrier of a terribly contagious psychological disease, the wétiko psychosis. The Native People he described were, on the other hand, sane people with a healthy state of mind. Sanity or healthy normality among humans and other living creatures involves a respect for other forms of life and other individuals, as I have described earlier. believe that that is the way people have lived (and should live).

On the whole, the history of the Americas (prior to European conquest) reveals a land where most human groups followed, or tried to follow, the "pollen path" (as the Navajo people call it) or the "good, red road" (as the Lakota call it). The "pollen path ll and the II red road" refer to living life in "a sacred manner" with continual awareness of the inter-relationships of all forms of life. Unfortunately, the history of much of the rest of the world, and of modern times everywhere, reveals something different.

It is quite clear that in modern times we have witnessed the widespread brutalization of human beings. The history of Europe in the last 1500 years and the history of European imperialism in Africa, Asia, and the Americas reveal atrocities of almost unimaginable proportions. The brutality of the "religious wars" in Europe, the unrelenting exploitation of Indians in the Americas, the sacrifice of tens of millions of Africans and Indians in order to obtain slaves or peones, the genocidal policies of the English toward the Irish, of Europeans generally towards Indians, of the Nazis towards Jews, Slavs and Gypsies; represent only a few examples of large-scale cruelty, aggression, and exploitation almost beyond belief.

Various terms, such as "wild," "savage," and "barbarian," have been used frequently to refer to violent, crude, brutal, cruel, and destructive aggressive behavior. Ironically, such terms have often been used by European writers to refer to non-European peoples whose customs were different and were, therefore (because of that element of difference) called "wild" or "savage." The irony stems from the fact that few, if any, societies on the face of the earth have ever been as avaricious, cruel, violent, and aggressive as have certain European populations. Luther Standing Bear, a Native American thinker, summarized the more correct state of affairs in the following revealing passage:

We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and the winding streams with tangled growth, as 'wild.'

Only to the White man was nature a 'wilderness' and only to him was the land infested by 'wild' animals and 'savage' people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it 'wild' for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from his approach, then it was, that for us the 'wild west' began. [Luther Standing Bear, in T.C. McLuhan, Touch the Earth, p. 45.]

The "west" of the United States became "wild," then, only when European imperialism commenced the annihilation of the Native People, of the buffalo, and of the social and cultural structures of the Native nations. The hordes of aggressive, armed White intruders, backed by supporting "regular" troops and government functionaries, in short, made the region "wild."

I am quite sure that Native People in the Amazonian basin, in Peru, and elsewhere in the Americas, would heartily agree with Standing Bear. Everywhere the European brought unimaginable death, destruction, exploitation and greed. Tragically, many South American Native groups are currently experiencing the birth of "wildness." The Amazonian basin is only now being completely reduced to the state of a"wilderness."

The kind of greed, exploitation, imperialism, and duplicity which together forms a sort of "culture" of evil has been in the past referred to by the term "Machiavellian."

I have so used the latter concept and have suggested that "Machiavellianism" originated (probably) in the Middle East some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago when the first systems of oppression and exploitation appeared in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. (See Forbes, "Self-Determination and Captive Nations" in Reghaby, Ed., Philosophy of the Third World).

Now, however, I believe that the term "Machiavellian" does not adequately describe the nature of what we are dealing with. Thus I now wish to introduce the wétiko concept. Wétiko is a Cree term (windigo in Ojibway, wintiko in Powhatan) which refers to a cannibal or more specifically to an evil person or spirit who terrorizes other creatures by means of terrible evil acts including cannibalism. Wétikowatisewin, an abstract noun, refers to "diabolical wickedness or cannibalism."

I have come to the conclusion that imperialism and exploitation are forms of cannibalism and, in fact, are precisely those forms of cannibalism which are most diabolical or evil. Traditional ritualistic "cannibalism" (so-called) found among many folk peoples was essentially an act of eating a small portion of a dead enemies' flesh in order to gain part of the strength or power of that person or to show respect (in a spiritual way) for that person. (Thus, usually, only a respected enemy warrior was so used.)

Cannibalism, as I define it, is the consuming of another's life for one's own private purposes or profit.

Thus the slaver who forces Blacks or Indians to lose their lives in the slave-trade or who drains away their lives in a slave-system is a cannibal. He may "eat" other people immediately (as in the deaths of tens of millions of Blacks in the process of enslavement or shipment) or he may "eat" their flesh gradually over a period of years.

Thus also the wealthy exploiter eats the flesh of oppressed workers, the wealthy matron eats the lives of her servants, the imperialist eats the flesh of the conquered, and so on. Nazism, for example, may be described as a German form of cannibalism designed to consume Jews, Gypsies, Poles, and other Slavs in order to fatten Germans. Anglo-American imperialism is a form of cannibalism designed to eat Indians and also to consume the Native People's land and resources.

It should be understood that wétikos do not eat other humans only in a symbolic sense. The deaths of tens of millions of Jews, Slavs, etc. at the hands of the Nazis, the deaths of tens of millions of Blacks in slavery days, the deaths of up to 30 million or more Indians in the 1500's, the terribly short life spans of Mexican farm workers in Texas and of Indians generally (today), the high death-rates in the early industrial centers among factory-workers, and so on, all clearly attest to the fact that the wealthy and exploitative literally consume the lives of those that they exploit.

That, I would affirm, is, truly and literally, cannibalism – and it is cannibalism accompanied by no spiritually-meaningful ceremony or ritual. It is simply raw consumption for profit, carried out often in an ugly and brutal manner. There is no respect shown for a peon whose life is being eaten. No ceremony. No mystical communication. Only self-serving consumption.

Chapter 2

Deception. Brutality, and Greed: the Spread of the Disease

Many thinkers have concerned themselves with the problem of oppression and with the viciousness and brutalization accompanying it. One of the most perceptive of these thinkers has been Paulo Friere, a Brazilian. Friere uses the concept of "dehumanization" for what I refer to as the we'tiko psychosis and the idea of "humanization" for the restoration or maintenance of a healthy state of existence.

While the problem of humanization has always been man's' central problem, it now takes on the character of an inescapable concern. Concern for humanization leads at once to the recognition of dehumanization, not only as an ontological possibility but as an historical reality. . . .

But while both humanization and dehumanization are real alternatives, only the first is man's vocation. . . .

Dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it, is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human. . . . dehumanization, although a concrete historical fact, is not a given destiny but the result of an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors, which in turn dehumanizes the oppressed. [Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, pp. 27-28.]

I agree fully with the thrust of Friere's analysis except that I feel it may be a Europeanist error to speak of "humanization" as man's "central problem." Europeans seem to live in a world where other living creatures are merely a part of the "environment."

Native People, on the other hand, believe that we are all children of the same parents and that humans can learn a great deal from animals which will result in better behavior.

For example, male wolves or dogs may fight but almost always the weaker can yield and the victor will spare his life and let him go, a free animal. Humans, unfortunately, often kill, enslave, or imprison the one who is defeated. Whose behavior is ethically better? Animals and humans are part of the same "community," the earth and the universe can accept "humanization" as an ideal only if it embraces the concept, to be discussed later, of becoming aware of one's relations and learning to live in a non-exploitative manner towards all living things.

Many White people, including certain scientists, believe that human beings are descended from "killer apes" and/or that it is the nature of humans to be aggressive, violent, and exploitative. This viewpoint is not new, of course. It has been put forward in different epochs, under different names, by whatever social classes or groups were engaged in imperialism and exploitation. Thus ideas of the "survival of the fittest," "social Darwinism," humans as being incapable of "civil" society unless controlled by authoritarian governments, and human life as essentially evil have been put forward frequently by those whose own greed, aggression, ambition, or social position is dependent upon, or profits from, violent or exploitative acts carried out against others.

Modern capitalism has been a major source of such negative appraisals of human life, but Soviet-style communism, Calvinistic and Lutheran protestantism, Roman Catholicism, and many other European or Euro-mediterranean systems of thought have also viewed humans in a negative way, to one degree or another. Another powerful source of such thinking is (or has been) authoritarian political agencies and hierarchical social systems (ranging from fascism-nazism to the ancient cult of empire to the NKVD-FBI-CIA right-wing police officer syndrome).

And, of course, if one only looks at European history or the history of Europeans in Africa, Asia, and the Americas one might indeed become persuaded that the machiavellians and wétikos are correct in their judgements. European history is replete with almost continuous examples of human depravity – epoch after epoch of imperialistic wars, frequent examples of the systematic murdering of followers of different religions or members of different ethnic groups, almost continuous campaigns to liquidate or forcibly assimilate this or that nationality, rigid systems of class exploitation, the brutal subjection of peasants, slaves, and workers, and, finally, literally thousands of examples of lying, deceit, poisoning, duplicity, torture, and sadism, ranging from the murders of Byzantine monarchs to the atrocities of the inquisition to the Italian renaissance assassinators to the ruthless Bismarks to the individually depraved Marquis de Sade types.

But it is not logical to allow the wétikos to carry out their evil acts and then to accept their assessment of the nature of human life. For after all, the Wétikos possess a bias created by their own evil lives, by their own amoral or immoral behavior. And too, if I am correct, they were, and are, also insane.

Many people have labeled Hitler a "madman." But what they fail to see is that Hitler's behavior was not really different from that of numerous popes who authorized "crusades" against heretics, or of Ferdinand of Spain who tortured and murdered thousands of ex-Jews and caused the murder of millions of Americans, or of Charlemagne who systematically slaughtered the Saxons, or of many English kings who caused the death and exploitation of thousands of Irishmen, Scots, Americans, and others. What makes Mussolini different from Julius Ceasar or Alexander the Great? Only that he was not so successful and that he is closer to us in time.

Winston Churchill, the supposed antithesis of Hitler, was really a product of the same kind of thinking. Churchill was an avowed imperialist, a man very unwilling to end British rule over India, the African colonies, and so on. True, Churchill did not kill as many people as Hitler but then, again, he was defending an already established empire, not trying to carve out a new one. The latter process is usually apt to be much more openly violent and repulsive to those who view such things from a distance.

It is very sad but the "heroes" of European historiography, the heroes of the history textbooks, are usually imperialists, butchers, founders of authoritarian regimes, exploiters of the poor, liars, cheats, and torturers. What that means is that the wétiko disease has so corrupted European thinking (at least of the ruling groups) that wétiko behavior and wétiko goals are regarded as the very fabric of European evolution. Thus those who resist wétiko values and imperialism and exploitation specifically, such as the Leveller rebels in England, St. Francis of Assisi, Swiss mountaineers, or Scottish clansmen, are regarded as "quirks," "freaks," or rude democrats ("peasants") who could never exploit enough people to build a St. Peter's Cathedral or a Versailles palace.

We must keep all of this in mind because if we continue to allow the wétikos to define reality in their insane way we will never be able to resist or curtail the disease.

I believe that this form of insanity originated long ago in several places, but principally in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Subsequently it appeared in India and northern China and much later in Mexico and Peru.

To a considerable degree the development of the wétiko disease corresponds to the rise of what Europeans choose to call "civilization." This is no mere coincidence.

Why is this so? Because many or most European writers are themselves infected by wétiko values. Thus they regard a wétiko-dominated society as being "civilized" and a non-wétiko society as being "barbaric," "primitive," or "backward."  Why?  Because European historians, anthropologists, cultural evolutionists, "statesmen," and so on, are first of all, materialists. (It does not matter if they profess to believe in God or if they are a priest or a pope, they still are usually materialistic in that what they spuriously consider to be "things spiritual" are only manifested in material forms or are only valued when they are reflected by impressive material monuments.) Thus a society is only highly esteemed by them when it produces huge monuments, impressive public works, accumulates great surplus wealth, and has a "leisure" class.

The creation of such material "products" or their accumulation is, of course, closely associated with imperialism and stratified social systems. Therefore, the European thinker tends also to greatly admire "empires" and authoritarian societies. Now it is precisely these kinds of societies which are wétiko. They are the ones where exploitation of others is accepted, at least by the "rulers," as a "proper" or at least "necessary" way of life.

Over and over again we see European writers ranking as "high civilizations" societies with large slave populations, rigid social class systems, unethical or ruthless rulers, and aggressive, imperialistic foreign policies. Conversely, societies with no slaves, no distinct social classes, no rulers, and no imperialism are either regarded as insignificant (not worth mentioning) or primitive and uncivilized. This weird method of evaluating human cultures reaches the ridiculous when we discover European historians of the Southwestern United States continuously exhalting the Spaniards as representing "civilization" while the democratic, non-aggressive Native people are "barbarians." The "civilized" Spaniards burn, loot, rape, exploit, deceive, and massacre but it is always the Native defenders who are cast in the role of "savages" and villains.

It is very clear, incidentally, that Yeshwa ben Yusef (better known as "Jesus") has been "saved" from being regarded as a "savage" or a "primitive" only by virtue of the popes and Christian archbishops who managed to pervert his teachings into a materialistic, wétiko series of cults. Yeshwa benYusef (Jesus son of Joseph) was an "Indian." That is, he was a non-White (brown skin, black and probably curly hair) of very poor origins who worked as a craftsmen or carpenter for many years, retired to the desert or mountain peaks to seek visions, never built any monuments, never saved any money, challenged the wealthy and the powerful, and publicly condemned greed, dogmatism and the acquisition of wealth. He bears no resemblance whatsoever to most later Christians but it is the latter who have made him famous.

A Presbyterian missionary, living among the Lenape and Mahikani peoples of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in the 1740's, wrote:

I have met with great difficulty in my work among these Indians . . . They are not only brutishly stupid and ignorant of divine things, but many of them are obstinately set against Christianity . . .  This aversion to Christianity arises partly from a view of the immorality and vicious behavior of many who are called Christians. They observe that horrid wickedness in nominal Christians, which the light of nature [natural reason] condemns in themselves; and not having distinguishing views of things, are ready to look upon all the white people alike, and to condemn them alike, for the abominable practices of some. ~ They have observed to me that the white people lie, defraud, steal, and drink worse than the Indians; that they have taught the Indians these things, especially the latter of them; who before the coming of the English, knew of no such thing as strong drink; that the English have, by these means, made them quarrel and kill one another; and, in a word, brought them to the practice of all those vices which now prevail among them. So that they are now vastly more vicious, as well as much more miserable, than they were before the coming of the white people into the country. These, and such like objections, they frequently make against Christianity, which are not easily answered to their satisfaction; many of them being facts too notoriously true.

The only way I have to take in order to surmount this difficulty, is to distinguish between nominal and real Christians; and to show them, that the ill conduct of many of former proceeds not from their being Christians, but from their being Christians in name, not in heart. To this it has sometimes been objected, that, I fall those who will cheat the Indians are Christians only in name, there are but few left in the country to be Christians in heart. . . .

The white people have come among them, have cheated them out of their lands, and driven them back to the mountains, from the pleasant places they used to enjoy by the sea-side; that therefore they have no reason to think the white people are now seeking their welfare; but rather they have sent me out to draw them together, under a pretence of kindness to them, that they may have an opportunity to make slaves of them, as they do of the poor negroes, or else to ship them on board their vessels, and make them fight with their enemies. [Jonathan Edwards, Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, pp. 342-344].

Where would we go today if we were looking for people living like Yeshwa? Not to the European Christian world, that is clear. Also not to the East Indian "gurus" who have to have their photograph on every piece of publicity their cult-followers publish. Not to the "Holier-than-thou" sanctimonious cults who display the intolerance and aggressiveness of wétikos.

The people who live most like Yeshwa, and who still seek visions in the desert and on mountain peaks, are traditional (non-Christian) Native Americans and other folk or tribal peoples. "The primitives!"

In any case, somehow, someway, the first wétikos appeared in the Middle East long ago. Probably the disease developed little by little over a long period of time. We know from modern study of the process of infection that a person is usually corrupted gradually, step by step. By the time of the rise of the first empires, however, a complete wétiko system had evolved.

Somehow the wétiko  believes that he has a right to "use" another human being (or his property) in a manner which is decidedly one-sided and disadvantageous to the victim. Thus a businessman may sell an article of inferior quality for an inflated price. The difference between a truly fair price and the inflated price is not really profit, because the fair price probably also included a reasonable profit. Instead, the "excess profit" is a form of theft, and theft compounded by deceit. The businessman must mislead the purchaser in order to obtain the "excess profit." Thus lying is an essential factor in this form of thievery. Lying is also almost always a factor in wétiko  behavior and, in fact, may represent a key strand in the entire epidemology of wétikoism.

When people learn to "lie" they no longer have a "face." That is, they do not have a single "personality" and "character." They become like a chameleon, changing color as opportunity or circumstances demand. Such a person cannot have any moral strength because the latter demands a unified "face." This, incidentally, is what some modern psychology teaches – accomodation, learning how to disguise or even destroy one's own self in order to become acceptable to one's corporate supervisors, colleagues, spouse, children, neighbors, et cetera.

One cannot be "authentic," however, and lie or deceive. Yeshwa died because he would not "lie a little" on his own behalf. Thousands, or millions, of Indians have died or suffered because of their frankness, honesty, and lack of deception. On the other hand, Yeshwa was "authentic." Traditional Indians are "authentic." They are Real!

Most people in the Capitalist and Communist worlds are not Real. . . . They are puppets or pimps, whose strings are pulled by others or who follow a life-path dictated by others. Thus they are ripe for the wétiko infection.

The oppressed suffer from the duality which has established itself in their inner-most being. They discover that without freedom they cannot exist authentically. Yet, although they desire authentic existence, they fear it. They are at one and the same time themselves and the oppressor whose consciousness they have internalized. . . [Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, p. 32.]

Lying and petty thievery, "hustling," "wheeling and dealing," cheating, usury, etc., are all symptoms of a wétiko. From small wétikos big wétikos are made! The Nixons, Erhlichmans, and Deans are, after all, only large-scale counterparts of the local used-car hustler, dope-peddler, crooked cop, or dishonest auto-repairman. The factory worker who steals a wrench from his job is on the way. Who knows, he might become a Teamster official someday!

But it is also true that big wétikos are often trained right from the beginning to be completely wétiko by big wétiko parents or by a sub-culture. This usually happens in ruling families, wealthy-class families, plantation or landlord-agricultural systems, military officer families, or in extremely corrupt and brutal societies (as in Porfirio Díaz's Mexico, Chiang Kai-Shek's China, contemporary Brazil, Hitler's Germany, and so on).

In any case, the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, et cetera, spread the wétiko disease throughout the Middle East. The Persian tribes caught it and lost their freedom while gaining an empire. The Greeks caught it and became corrupted. The Macedonians and Greeks under Alexander spread it still further. The Carthaginians caught it and, spread it. But it remained for the Roman Empire to really expand the wétiko infection.

Nation after nation of Celtic, Iberic, Germanic, and Slavic, Arabic, and Finno-Ugric peoples were contacted or conquered by the Romans and taught how to plunder, how to setup colonial sytems, how to exploit slave and peasant labor,how to set up combined church-state systems of control (especially after 300 A.D.), how to tax, how to create a vicious class of so-called merchants, and how to develop a corrupt and immoral ruling class with alcoholic, sexual, and sadistic debauchery.

Of course, the wétiko historians love the Roman Empire because it "gave" the Mediterranean world "law and order," the Latin Language, Roman roads, Roman aqueducts, and triumphant arches. The "wild" tribes resisting the Romans, be they Scots, Basques, Arabs, or Berbers, and the rebel "malcontents" such as the Jews, were, or course, freedom-loving "primitives." They did not have rich rulers to build palaces or, like the Jews, they had learned to distrust those who chose to build such places of splendor.

So the wétiko historians despise those who fought for freedom and, instead, try to make us believe that living as a slave in Italy or a castrated Briton in England-to-be would be ideal because our unwilling labor would finance the palace-building and revelry of the educated rulers who could also occasionally write books or, at least, have Greek slaves write them.

In any event, the Romans were good teachers of wétiko ways. The German tribes soon became infected and when they took over they became Romans, not only in name but also in values. Need we go on? The English became Romans, the French became Romans, the Spaniards became Romans, the Arabs became Romans, the Turks became Romans, and so on; and when the English "colonists" reached Virginia they were Romans - avaricious, lying, cheating, stealing; in short,"civilized" wétikos.

The English of John Smith told the Powhatans of Virginia: "We only want to be your friends; we just need a little land to build a place where we can trade with you. We "only want some corn and squash so that we can keep ourselves alive."  All the while, of course, the English had a grant for all of the land "from sea to sea" from the king of England. They had, as is well-known, every intention of taking whatever they pleased.

John Smith and his successors were, clearly, liars. They were openly out to steal someone else's land (and hopefully, gold). They were planning to use Indian bodies to produce a new, transplanted wealthy class. That failing, they stole African bodies and erected perhaps the most vicious long-term form of cannibalism the world has ever known, the slavery system of the United States.

Tragically, the history of the world for the past 2,000 years is, in great part,the story of the epidemology of the wétiko disease. We see it spread not only to the Americas but also to almost every corner of Africa, Asia and the Pacific. The Europeans are, of course, the major transmitters but the Chinese Empire, Japanese Empire and the corrupted Mongols and Manchus are also carriers in Asia, albeit of slightly different varieties of the disease.

In recent years we have seen honest, spiritually-oriented Vietnamese, Khmer, and Laotian peasants corrupted in a severely intensive form. People before our eyes were converted into murderers, pimps, prostitutes, black marketeers, spies, mercenaries, torturers, thieves, and avaricious exploitative "officials." We see the same thing today in Brazil where spiritual, honest Native people are being liquidated or transformed into alcoholics, prostitutes, or murderers of other Indians. And we see the "civilizados," the "civilized Brazilians" (usually of Indian blood or Indian, Black and White mixture) becoming torturers, murderers, spies, and so on, in the same process of creating a totally wétiko society.

In Brazil Native people are often called "bugres" (buggers) and always "savages" while their oppressors and murderers are called "civilized." So again we see that what the wétiko means by "civilization" is something terrible indeed: a civilization is (it would appear) a society in which there are so many evil or violent or dishonest people that the police, soldiers, and other armed forces of control must almost equal the total population in numbers.

On the other hand, I believe that a true civilization is a society where people are "civil ," that is, where they behave so well towards each other that they do not need police or other armed systems of control.

By this definition most Native American societies, and many other so-called tribal societies, were civilized. In Brazil today it is the surviving 50,000 free Indians who are the civilized. Their oppressors, conversely, are both uncivilized and, as torturers, murderers, and thieves, are brutes as well (although I hate to use the word "brute" in such a way because it reflects White stereotypes about animals. But to me animals are almost never "brutes;" wétiko humans are the true "brutes" of the world)!

What we have actually seen in the past 2,000 years is not the "rise of civilization" but the "rise of brutality and barbarism" with, of course, numerous resistance movements led by such diverse people as Buddha, Yeshwa, Tecumseh, Handsome Lake, Crazy Horse, Chitto Harjo, Emiliano Zapata, and thousands of other forgotten, important and less, important, non-wétiko, "sane," human beings.

If we are to understand history from a "sane" perspective we must be prepared to challenge the evolutionary schemes, heroes, and themes promoted by wétiko thinking. This is not going to be easy. In California, for example, the two greatest "heroes" of the media and the establishment are John Sutter and Father Junipero Serra, both wétiko.

Sutter, for whom the state maintains a memorial and in whose memory streets, towns, and a county are named, was a completely immoral (or amoral), avaricious, and deceitful man.His life was a record of shady deals and quick departures until he finally managed to build a fort at what is now Sacramento. There he established himself as an absolutist potentate using Indian peon and slave labor as his major source of income. His record includes the murder of numerous Native people, raping many Indian girls (including very young ones), forcing his native workers to eat out of hog-troughs, selling liquor to Indians, and selling Indian slaves to pay his numerous debts. Sutter was without honor, willingly betraying the Mexican government to whom he had sworn loyalty, yet this wétiko is northern California's greatest hero.

Junipero Serra was a different kind of wétiko but even more dangerous to the lives of other human beings. Having taken a vow of poverty (as a Franciscan) he could not accumulate personal wealth but he could arbitrarily deprive thousands of Native People of their freedom and directly cause the deaths of 40,000 or more in the system of totalitarian missionization which he initiated and controlled for many years. Serra became a near-absolute dictator, ruling Indian people as if they were mere slaves and forcing them to work to maintain an economic-military system whose sole purpose it was to control them, change their culture, and seize their land.

Some people might wish to excuse Serra on the grounds that he never personally "profited" from the system of oppression he created. On the other hand, a ruthless wétiko may seek "profit" in many ways. He may create an "empire" for his children's benefit, for his church, for his relatives, or for his nationality. Personally Serra remained "poor" but he accumulated wealth and power for his religious order and the Spanish nationality, all at the expense of other human beings. Most importantly, he helped to serve as an example for imperialism and exploitation. He believed that he was justified in depriving other people of their land, lives, and freedom because he possessed a "superior" culture and "the truth." What more does a wétiko need?

The Japanese occupation of Korea, the British seizure of India, the German eastward drives against the Slavs, and the U.S. destruction of the first Filipino Republic were all "justified" by very similar reasoning. "Might makes right" is the wétiko slogan, but it is often accompanied by self-serving doctrines of "divine will," "manifest destiny," "providence," "the march of civilization," or "doing God's work."

Chapter 3

The Structure of the Cannibal's Insanity: Arrogance, Lust, and Materialism

The overriding characteristic of the wétiko is that he consumes other human beings, that is, that he is a cannibal. This is the central essence of the disease. In other respects, however, the motivation for and foms of cannibalism may very. For example, the Turkish sultans who castrated large numbers of males to serve as "eunuchs" in the palace were motivated differently from the popes in Rome who reportedly castrated young boys for their choirs, but in each case other human beings were deprived of their freedom, their authenticity, and their right to live as a nonnal human being. All were equally consumed by cannibals whose high degree of derangement cannot be denied. In any event, the wétiko psychosis is a very contagious and rapidly-spreading disease.

It is spread by the wétikos themselves as they recruit or corrupt others. It is spread today by history books, television, military training programs, police training programs, comic books, pornographic magazines, films, the John Birch Society, various communist movements, and such agencies as the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the FBI, the Soviet secret police, the CIA, and many church organizations.

It is now very clear, for example, that the FBI and the Mafia, for example, are ethically or morally merely two sides of the same coin. The Mafia uses violence and armed force to control and "tax" various "industries" (gambling, prostitution, et cetera) for the purpose of taking money away from one group in order to transfer it to another group. To do this the Mafia resorts to lying, threatening, beating people up, and killing.

The FBI, it is now clear, is not a "law enforcement agency." It enforces laws when it is convenient and breaks them when it is convenient. What is the FBI then? It is nothing more than a part of the armed forces used by powerful wétikos who seek to control the United States for their own private purposes. Thus, in the San Diego area, the FBI appears to have financed and supported an illegal terrorist group which sought to destroy the anti-Vietnam war movement in that area. Thus, in the South, the FBI clearly became a partisan agency seeking to destroy the Black civil rights movement.

And, very recently, the FBI at Pine Ridge and elsewhere was actively seeking to destroy Native American movements and to jail, intimidate, and silence Indian people. Why? Undoubtedly so that the agricultural and mineral resources of Native People can continue to be appropriated by Whites or by White agencies.

Thus the FBI constitutes one element of the "hit men" and "enforcers" for despots and thieves. Little wonder, then, that the FBI has never destroyed the Mafia. Their values, methods, and purposes are not at all opposed – they just prey on different sectors of the population.

Native people have almost always understood that many Europeans were wétiko, were insane. Many years ago one of the Arapaho songs of the Ghost Dance said:

My children,
When at first I liked the Whites,
I game them fruits,
I gave them fruits . . .
I 'yehe! My children-
My children,
We have rendered them desolate.
The Whites are crazy – A he yuhe yu.
[Astrov, ed., American Indian Prose and Poetry, pp. 143-4.]

When Black Hawk was captured (1832) he said:

Black Hawk is a true Indian. . . . He cares for his nation and the Indians. They will suffer. He laments their fate. The White men do not scalp the head; but they do worse – they poison the heart, it is not pure with them. His countrymen will not be scalped, but they will, in a few years, become like the White men, so that you can't trust them, and there must be, as in the White settlements, nearly as many officers as men, to take care of them and keep them in order. [Forbes, The Indian in America's Past, p. 65.]

Black Hawk's astute analysis was, of course, correct. He understood that the "poisoned hearts" of the Europeans (the wétiko disease) would soon spread to the Native People, and that a wétiko society with large numbers of police would ensue.

Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota holy man also understood the illness of the Whites.

That fall [1883], they say the last of the bison herd was slaughtered by the Wasichus [Whites]. I can remember when the bison were so many that they could not be counted, but more and more wasichus came to kill them until there were only heaps of bones scattered where they used to be. The wasichus did not kill them to eat; they killed them for the metal that makes them crazy, and they took only the hides to sell. Sometimes they did not even take the hides, only the tongues. . . . You can see that the men who did this were crazy. . . .

In 1886 Black Elk visited Chicago and New York.

I could see that the wasichus did not care for each other the way our people did. . . . They would take everything from each other if they could, and so there were some who had more of everything than they could use, while crowds of people had nothing at all and maybe were starving. . . . There was a prisoner's house on an island where the big water came up to the town, and we saw that one day men pointed guns at the prisoners and made them move around like animals in a cage. This made me feel very sad, because my people too were penned up in islands, and maybe that was the way the Wasichus were going to treat them.

[Neihardt, ed., Black Elk Speaks, pp. 63, 217-218.]

Clearly, then, many Indians perceived that European behavior was not that of sane, rational, normal persons but of people with "poisoned hearts" who were made crazy by a lust for material goods (money). Lame Deer, another Lakota holy man, has written:

If this earth should ever be destroyed, it will be by desire, by the lust of pleasure and self-gratification, by greed for the green frog skin [money], by people who are mindful only of their own self, forgetting about the wants of others. [Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions, p. 252.]

Let us look at an ancient Mexican poem and the ideals it expresses:

Those of the White head of hair, those of the wrinkled face, our ancestors. . . .
They did not come to be arrogant,
They did not come to go about looking greedily,
They did not come to be voracious.
They were such that they were esteemed on the earth:
They reached the stature of eagles and jaguars.
[Miguel Leon - Portilla, La Filosofia Nahuatl: Estudiada en sus Fuentes, pp. 237-238, my translation.]

Now if we were to change that poem to suit the wétiko we would have to say:

They came here to be arrogant;
They were seeking;
They were greedy.
They were such that they were hated and feared;
They came to be parasites and cannibals.

There are many psychological traits which help to form the wétiko personality. Greed, lust, inordinate ambition, materialism, the lack of a true "face," a schizoid (split) personality, and so-on, are all terms which can be used to describe most wétikos. But one of the major traits characterizing the truly evil and extreme form of wétikoism is arrogance. Father Junipero Serra, for instance, was a supremely arrogant man. Tens of thousands of Indians died because he and his fellow Spanish Franciscans assumed that they, even though they were fallable human beings, had the supreme wisdom and supreme right to forcibly assume direction over other human lives. Over and over again we find the trait of arrogance associated with British colonialists, Japanese imperialists, White racist bigots in the U.S., FBI agents, communist messianic "saviors" of the masses, John Birch Society leaders, Nazi officers, social workers who shame and demean the poor, police officers who strut about with their over-stuffed para-military unifonns and billy-clubs, and so on.

Unfortunately, arrogance is a trait which plays an important role in the behavior of the elite sectors of the European ruling classes everywhere (or their ruling counterparts in many non-European societies). Isn't it rather arrogant for Soviet and U.S. officials and scientists to spend hundreds of billions of dollars not their own on space research (military and non-military) when the other people of the earth are also "coowners" of the sky but have not been consulted? By what grant do the Anglo-Americans and Russians presume to control space? The answer, of course, is "might makes right." The Soviets and the Anglo-Americans do not restrain themselves because their arrogance is such that they believe they do not have to consult with anyone else.

And it is not merely the military bureaucrats who are arrogant. Scientists in many fields recognize no societal obligations restraining their experimentation, least of all any restraints imposed by "the lower classes" or less powerful nationalities. Space research, genetic research, animal experimentation, et cetera, proceeds according to rules imposed only by the scientists themselves and by the military-industrial complexes which they work for and help to create. Many modern scientists are the precise counterparts of Christopher Columbus, and not merely by way of analogy. They will pave the way for new imperialism and new systems of coercion and will themselves economically participate in the fruits of the new "discoveries."

Suppose that other forms of life were to be found by U.S. or Soviet space ventures on some distant solar body. Is their anything in the current behavior of these Earth People which would lead one to expect that such forms of life would be treated justly? If Indians cannot be treated justly in the Amazon or in the Arizona desert then how can we expect non-human forms to be recognized as having any rights at all?

Let us hope, for their sake, that the first space people contacted possess adequate means of self-defense against our intrepid space colonizers!!

Arrogance is a key trait of the wétiko or of a person liable to become a wétiko. On the other hand, humility is an essential value of traditional Native American life.

Ohiyesa said: "The first American mingled with his pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching . . . " [Soul of the Indian, p. 88]

Pete Catches, a widely-respected Lakota man, says:

I don't even want to be called a medicine man, just a healing man, because this is what I am made for. I don't ask for anything. A White doctor has a fee, a priest has a fee. I have no fee. A man goes away from me healed. That is my reward. . . . [Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, pp. 137-8].

Black Elk said ". . . no good thing can be done by any many alone . . . "

Juan Matus, the Yaqui nagualli, tells his apprentice:

The world around us is a mystery; and men are no better than anything else . . . As long as you feel that you are the most important thing in the world you cannot really appreciate the world around you. You are like a horse with blinders, all you see is yourself apart from everything else . . . Self-importance is another thing that must be dropped . . .  [Journey to Ixtlan, pp. 35, 42, 45.]

Juan, as a noted teacher, had several apprentices and he might have been tempted, like a Christian evangelist or Hindu guru, to have acquired fame ("Juan Matus International University?") but he chose instead anonymity and humility. An apprentice once asked him what it felt like to be a "master" (a guru). He replied:

I'm not a master, I'm only a warrior. So I really don't know what a master feels like . . . A warrior takes his lot, whatever it may be, and accepts it in ultimate humbleness. He accepts in humbleness what he is, not as grounds for regret but as a living challenge.

It takes times for everyone of us to understand that point and fully live it. I, for instance, hated the mere mention of the word 'humbleness.' I'm an Indian and we Indians have always been humble and have done nothing else but lower our heads. I thought humbleness was not in the warrior's way. I was wrong! I know now that the humbleness of a warrior is not the humbleness of a beggar. The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn't permit anyone to lower his head to him. The beggar, on the other hand, falls to his knees at the drop of a hat and scrapes the floor for anyone he deems higher; but at the same time, he demands that someone lower than him scrape the floor for him.

That's why I told you earlier that I didn't understand what masters felt like. I know only the humbleness of a warrior, and that will never permit me to be anyone's master."

[Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power, pp. 16, 27.]

Juan helps us to understand one of the essential characteristics of wétikoist imperialistic societies: each social class seeks to exploit those below it. This is, of course, one of the vicious characteristics introduced by the wétiko disease and, at the same time, one which helps to maintain the status quo. "Beggars" who scrape the floor for those above and who kick those below are in no position to alter the system.

Paulo Friere, in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed, makes it very clear that this is why isolated, individual actions of upward mobility (or even group actions) in a wétiko society usually fail to alter that society. Those who squirm upwards are, or become, wétiko, and they only perpetuate the system of corruption or oppression. (Thus the communist leaders in the Soviet Union have been at least as vicious, deceitful and exploitative as their czarist predecessors. They obtained "power" without changing their wétiko culture.)

The very structure of their (the oppressed's] thought has been conditioned by the contradictions of the concrete, existential situation by which they were shaped. Their ideal is to be men; but for them, to be men is to be oppressors. This is their model of humanity. Thus, the behavior of the oppressed is a prescribed behavior, following as it does the guidelines of the oppressor. [Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, p. 30, 31.]

Ultimately, humility is the basis for democracy just as arrogance is the basis for authoritarianism. Let us contrast the values of Lame Deer and Junipero Serra. Lame Deer says:

To us a man is what nature, or his dreams, make him. We accept him for what he wants to be . . . The Great Spirit wants people to be different . . . Even animals of the same kind – two deer, two owls – will behave differently from each other . . . The Great Spirit likes it that way. He only sketches out the path of life roughly for all the creatures on earth, shows them where to go, where to arrive at, but leaves them to find their own way to get there. [Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, pp. 149,156-7.]

This kind of thinking, non-interference in another's life, is based ultimately upon humility and the sense of the relatedness and equality of all creatures (but not equality sameness). Democracy can only exist with such a philosophy.

In contrast, Serra and the other Spanish Franciscans uniformly sought to force other people to change their total behavior to suit another's fancy. This even extended to changes in names, changes in dress, changes in diet, changes in marriage patterns, changes in place of residence, and so on, as well as changes in forms of worship and political organization. The missionized Indian was virtually allowed no room for "nature, or his dreams." And, of course, this pattern of coercion has also been typical of Calvinistic-controlled areas, Catholic areas generally, Nazi-Fascist states, communist states, and so on. Arrogance and authoritarianism run hand in hand.

As Juan points out the humility of a warrior, of a free man, must not be confused with the humility of a beggar. The beggar only appears to be humble when, in fact, he is merely fearful or curryi ng favors. Thus a1 so the outward humil ity of oppressed peasants, workers, or lower-middle class bureaucrats in a wétiko society may only mask fear. True humility does not arise from fear but from a profound sense of one's place in the universe. As Black Elk said:

When we use the water in the sweat lodge we should think of WakanTanka, who is always flowing, giving His power and life to everything. . . . The willows which make the frame of the sweat lodge are set up in such a way that they mark the four quarters of the universe;  thus, the whole lodge is the universe in image, and the two-legged, fourlegged, and winged peoples, and all the things of the world are contained within it, for all these peoples and things too must be purified before they can send a voice to Wakan-Tanka. . . . The round fire place at the center of the sweat lodge is the center of the universe, in which dwells Wakan-Tanka, with His power which is the fire. All these things are Wakan [holy and mysterious] and must be understood deeply if we really wish to purify  ourselves, for the power of a thing or an act is in the meaning and the understanding. [Sacred Pipe, pp. 31-32.]

Thus the Indian's sweat lodge, a Native "church," is not simply for one man or a group of men. It symbolizes the entire creation and when the humans are sweating there they are suffering with and for all their relatives. Among the Lakota each entrance and exit, each prayer, each drink of water, and each pipe-smoke offering is completed with the words "all my relatives," meaning all of one's human, animal, insect, vegetable, and other relations.

The humility of the Native American is a humility based upon an awareness of one's own lack of strength and knowledge and also upon one's awareness of being only one member of a huge universal family. With this kind of humility comes respect for other creatures' lives and dreams.

But I also want to draw attention to several other things. First that the temaskalli (the sweat lodge), like most other Indian "churches," costs no money to build. It only takes twelve or sixteen willow poles, some rocks, and some hides or old blankets and canvas to make. Of course the temaskalli cannot be compared with Notre Dame Cathedral as an architectural wonder but what about as a spiritual wonder? Traditional Native people are very wise in that they know that money corrupts and that money can corrupt worship as well as other aspects of life. The inipi (sweat ceremony) can provide a truly spiritual experience. Notre Dame was built to provide a spectacle for men.

Second, I wish to draw special attention to Black Elk's final words, that the "power of a thing or an act is in the meaning and the understanding." This is very important since, in the wétiko world, it is widely believed that God can be fooled even as one can fool other human beings. Thus the Mafia gangster may attend Mass or give money to his church, or the Bible-Belt White racist may piously sing hymns in his church every Sunday (and even go to Bible Meeting on Wednesday nights). But for Indians doing things without authenticity, without sincerity, and without understanding is useless.

Black Hawk said:

We can only judge of what is proper and right by our standard of what is right and wrong, which differs widely from the Whites', if I have been correctly informed. The Whites may do wrong all their lives and then if they are sorry for it when about to die, all is well, but with us it is different. We must continue to do good throughout our lives. If we have corn and meat, and know of a family that have none, we divide with them. If we have more blankets than we absolutely need, and others have not enough, we must give to those who are in want. [In Margot Astrov, ed., American Indian Prose and Poetry, p. 140.]

Thus it is meaningless to sweat in the inipi ceremony unless one understands. The "power of a thing or an act is in the meaning and the understanding." Thus also, one's intention and one's motivations are crucial. This is what I mean by authenticity and sincerity. Indians believe that one cannot fool the spiritual world by uttering words that contradict what is in one's heart, what one "intends." Indian's often pray silently, with their thoughts, because they believe that, in effect, our thoughts are what we are.

It is said traditionally, when anyone meditates on Good in his heart, there is formed the thought. And when he thinks of Good it is easy to behave well, but when he misbehaves it is the Evil that a person seriously thinks about as concerns his life. [Witapanoxwe, in Astrov, American Indian Prose and Poetry, p. 168.]

. . . Authenticity and intention or motivation cannot be ignored. This is closely related also to having a "face" as discussed above.

The wétiko world believes, however, in the use of "tricks," constant opportunism, "situational ethics," "life adjustment," "personality adjustment," wheeling and dealing, double standards, and plain fakery. Such a life of deception and rootlessness leads easily into pimpery.

Carlos Castaneda and Juan Matus were once discussing the question of whether or not they were "equals." Juan's response was that they were not, Juan being a warrior and Carlos a pimp.

When a man decides to do something he must go all the way, but he must take responsibility for what he does. No matter what he does, he must know first why he is doing it, and then he must proceed with his actions without having doubts or remorse about them. [Journey to Ixtlan, p. 61.]

A pimp, on the other hand, is someone who follows other people's orders, follows someone else's path, and who refuses to take responsibility for what he does. Such a person cannot be authentic (real). Such a person is not merely a pimp, he is also a ghost as it were, a mere imitation of a person. His life is an imitation of life, lacking solidity and realness. But the wétiko world is full of such pimps and ghosts.

And they do get promoted, they do get better salaries, and they do get testimonials (and a gold watch) when they "retire." But their life is less than that of a wild (free) animal who is, after all, always authentic. They also are the hosts for the wétiko parasites (for, after all, as Friere points out, oppressors could not exist without their host's consent). They are also candidates for the wétiko disease themselves.

The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility. Freedom is acquired by conquest, not be gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion. [Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, p. 31.]

One of the tragic characteristics of the w6tiko psychosis is that it spreads partly by resistance to it. That is, those who try to fight wétikos sometimes, in order to survive, adopt wétiko values. Thus when they "win" they lose, or, at least, the people lose. Mariano Azuela, in his novel The Underdogs, as well as in his short stories, shows how Mexican campesinos became sucked up in the revolution against Díaz, fighting for "land and liberty." Some, however, became mere killing machines duplicating the brutality of the porfiristas. Others became new caciques (bosses) exploiting the masses. Still others lost out to wétiko opportunists who were ready to sieze control of the revolution as soon as they were sure of a campesino victory. Brutality is catching and it feeds on prior brutality and hate.

Recently a United Press International news story featured the life of a Chicano will reproduce part of the story to illustrate the life of a wétiko, substituting "Lopez" for his real name.

Guns for hire are a big business in a world fragmented by hatred.

That's Lopez's ace in the hole, hatred. It's what makes him tick. Lopez is Mexican-American, raised in a small town in Wyoming.

"There was a lot of prejudice," he said. "I guess it was the way I way brought up. That's where it started." [He then served 9 years in the army, serving in Vietnam, but couldn't go on because of war injuries.]

"A major I know approached me then and asked me if I wanted to do the same type of thing. He gave me $2,500 cash and a plane ticket and I was on my way. [He then fought as a mercenary in Africa, Arabia, Jordan, and Israel]. . .

"I used to get paid by the head. I learned that in Vietnam."

"By the head" means he brought back from raids a part of the kill, usually a hand, and was paid on the spot.

"Sometimes we would bring back two hands and use the other one later," he said," but they got wise to that. . . ."

"I've got to get moving. I'll do it until I get this hate out of me. I fight a lot. I can't control my temper."

"All my life I was taught if you want something, go fight for it. I've fought for everything I've had."

["Hatred and wars payoff for LA mercenary," Sacramento Bee, Dec. 31, 1975, p. B2.]

It's hard to add much to this, a classic picture of how an oppressed person (oppressed by wétikos) adopts the values of wétikos as he "rises" in position. The wétikos have taught him well but they have taught him falsely. He naively believes that he can get "the hate" out of himself by means of killing people he doesn't even know, solely because he has been hired as a "hitman." His tortured life will doubtless continue along its brutal path in ugliness and hate to the very end. Tragic, but he is an essential tool for even bigger wétikos. It's killers like "Lopez" who do the dirty work of the "big shots," the people who plan the wars, make the deals, and reap the profits

Chapter 4

How People Become Insane: the Process of Corruption

B. Traven, in his historical novels relating to the Native People of Chiapas (the so-called "Jungle Novels"), provides many interesting insights into how wétikos behave and how they are created. Chiapas, under the Díaz dictatorship, was largely ruled by Spanish-speaking people of mixed race called "ladinos." The big landowners and major officials tended to be light-skinned and predominantly European in descent. They were relatively few in number, but occupied a privileged position based upon the raw exploitation of the Native masses. In Government Traven more or less sketches out the life of one Gabriel Ordun'ez, a ladino wétiko who had been a cattle dealer but had gambled away almost all he possessed and drunk up what was left. Then he had opened a shop – until one day it was closed down by his creditors.

Ordun'ez was, however, a friend of the "political chief" of the district and was offered the chance to serve as "secretary" (Indian agent) at the Indian village of Bujvilum.

"If you'd like to go there, I'll make you local secretary. You open a tienda, a little store. And I'll give you an exclusive permit to sell brandy. You have a lockup – a prison, in fact. I needn't say more. . . .

Don Gabriel had a good revolver and he could shoot as straight as the next man. The Indians had no revolvers and could not buy any either; they had no money and, in any case, it was strictly forbidden to sell them revolvers or rifles, apart from muzzle-loaders for game. . . .

[The cabildo of the village contained a prison.]  The prison was very important – as everywhere on earth. Everywhere the building of a prison is the first step in the organization of a civilized state. . . .

The secretary could not live and support a family on his paltry salary, and the government did not expect him to. He was, after all, the secretary of a place inhabited by active and industrious Indians. . . .

Don Gabrie'l gave each man who had worked on the cabil do acopita – a nip of brandy. The jefe [native leader] refused. He never touched aguardiente, he said.

That night Don Gabriel said to his wife, "I say, the viejo [elder], the cacique, doesn't drink. I don't like the looks of it."

"He'll drink quick enough," his wife replied reassuringly. "He'd be the first I've known who didn't. Try him when he's alone with you."

[B. Traven, Government, pp. 3-15.]

And thus Gabriel Ordunez and his wife set themselves up to steal, intimidate, tax, and coerce every centavo and peso possible from an already poor but legally defenseless native community. And how did they manage to do this? Because they could use alcohol as a tool for both bribing and breaking down resistance and because they could call upon the help of every persona de razon ("civilized person") in Chiapas to help them kill or enslave the Indians if they rebelled. And the vast majority of these ladinos who would come to Ordunez' aid would be themselves of Indian blood, and very poor, but somehow they had learned Spanish, acquired some real or fictitious European ancestry, gotten a horse and a gun, and imagined themselves to be "superior" to their Indian relatives.

Above all they had become wétikos.

This is the secret of colonialism, how to divide the conquered masses (who are usually the majority population) into rival groups, with a small sector (the ladinos, or mestizos, or light mulattoes in the plantation south of the United States) being used to kill, lash, and control their more oppressed relations.

A colonial system almost always assigns low status to all Native customs and, if racial differences are apparent, also assigns low-status to the physical characteristics of the conquered population. The conquered people are made to feel inferior and this inferiority is used as a weapon of psychological warfare to control them. . . .

The low status assigned to the Native culture and race is used as a weapon against all persons of "mixed" ancestry or all Natives who seek to "rise" in status. Such persons must deny and denigrate Native values and characteristics if they wish to escape from the lowest, most exploited sectors of the society. . . .

In the most "astute" colonial systems the masses of Native origin will become divided into numerous castes and sub-castes [i.e., Indios, Mestizos, ladinos, et cetera] . . . In most such systems it is the hope that the different castes will come to act as distinct social units opposed to each other. . . .

[Jack D. Forbes, "Colonialism and American Education," in Miguel Trujillo, ed., Perspectives on Contemporary Native American and Chicano Educational Thought, D-Q University Press, pp. 20-21.]

This is the "secret" of how the Bureau of Indian Affairs operates today at Pine Ridge Reservation (and elsewhere). Marty tribal chairmen, their ladino relatives (English-speaking mixed-bloods of Indian descent) and the "goon squads" ("coyotes" in Mexican terminology) are the Lopez-style mercenaries, "hit-men," or intimidators used to keep the true native masses in a state of fear and passivity. Of course, the "ladinos" and "coyotes" are also rewarded with a share of the "profits" and special privileges (e.g., being able to beat up an enemy without going to jail, or to rape a woman without fear of prosecution, etc.). Thus the "ladinos" are brutalized as they brutalize. They are steadily more corrupted until finally an Indian machete or bullet ends their career.

Alcohol is, of course, a universal weapon of the wétiko.

Amalio was the cacique of the Pebvil Indians. . . . Amalio was a drunkard. Another failing he had was that he allowed himself to be influenced by Don Abelardo the secretario. Don Abelardo had contrived little by little to bring the chief entirely over to his side. . . .

With the help of the casique, who was not intelligent enough to see through the tactics of the secretary and who also was of weak character and could not resist brandy when he saw it in front of him, the secretary succeeded in greatly extending his influence. . . The governor received complaint after complaint about the secretary's unscrupulous administration. . . . but the money [gained illegally] was shared by the governor. . . .

[Traven, Government, pp. 178-181.]

When the Pebvil Indians rebelled they were, of course, crushed by ladino troops and then sold to the mahogany-cutting camps (where they would likely die) by ruthless ladino coyotes. The Native villagers, naturally, came to hate the ladinos of Indian blood or near-Indian status even more than they hated the Europeans or near-Europeans who were their ultimate oppressors. The Indian's "dictator" (in the mahogany camps as well as on the coffee plantations),

whom they knew and saw, was the capataz [overseer]. They could reach the capataz. To implore him to be less cruel, never occurred to them for a moment. In most cases it would have been to implore a stone. A. stone perhaps could be moved if you stood close enough and shouted loud enough.

But the capatace, who in their majority came from the same blood and the same social stratum, the Indian peasant, denied all blood relation and, even more strongly; all common solidarity. Just as the corporal believes himself closer to the commissioned officer than to the soldier, the enlisted man, whenever he abuses him, so the capataces thought that they were socially closer to the ladinos, the agents and the contratistas [labor contractors], the more brutally they treated the peons and the more mercilessly they helped their master to catch new victims.

[B. Traven, March to Caobaland, p. 159.]

The owners of the mahogany-cutting camps, the coffee· plantations, et cetera, have always been, of course, the big profiteers in systems of exploitation, and they usually are White or near-White, or are Europeans living in palatial homes in London, Paris, or New York. To do their "dirty work," however, they need "goons" or "coyotes" who are willing to carry guns, and to beat and kill their fellows, for a few dollars or a few cents depending upon their position in the hierarchy of exploitation.

This system can be seen clearly in any specific case, such as the way in which Black slaves were captured, shipped, sold and resold in order to provide cheap labor for the George Washingtons and Thomas Jeffersons of North America. It.can also be seen in the sale of Chinese or Hindu "coolie" labor or in the seizure and sale of Native American campesinos in Mexico.

To hook again workers who had finished their contracts was the business of human parasites, the so-called coyotes. . . . They were scavengers, feeding on carrion left over by the big labour agents who hooked their men in the far interior of the state. . . .

It was comparatively easy work to catch men again who had finished their contracts, catch them through fraud, tricks, alcohol or with the aid of harlots from the under most strata, whores so low that the only place they could hope to do business was a monteria [mahogany camp]. . . .

The captives were tied up so well and guarded so closely that it would have been easier for them to escape from a well-built prison than from these man-hunters. . . . The least infringement on any order during the march got them such a lashing that they barely had a shred of skin left whole when they arrived at the monterias. [Those who tried to escape were hung by the arms and the legs and were tortured, but not to the death, because dead workers brought no money].

The regular labor agents, who were usually Europeans or lighter-skinned ladinos brought Indians from prisons in the villages by paying the fine for the Indian to the mayor of the village or to the secretary. . . . The fines imposed upon the Indian population were considered one of the main sources of a secretary's income. [And these fines were set high so that the Indian could never pay it himself. Thus he had to be sold to a labor contractor]. . . . The coyotes, to put the fear of God into the prisoners, told them that, unless they came along voluntarily to the monterias, they would denounce them to the judge for breaking jail. . . . The Indians knew perfectly well that the judge would believe the coyote who was a ladino and that everything had happened exactly as told by the ladino. Aladino always spoke the truth whereas an Indian always lied.

[B. Traven, March to Caobaland, pp. 65-67]

The difficult, and tragic thing, about such systems of inhuman exploitation is that they are usually directed by innocent-looking, "suave" wétikos whose offices in New York City or Antwerp are never contaminated by the sweat, blood, and dying flesh of murdered Indians, Blacks, "coolies," or factory workers. As Traven points out, the Native workers, if they had been taken to New York

and been shown there the offices of the Central American Hardwood, Chicle and Fruit Corporations they would never have believed that such a small army of amiable men, girls, and office boys lounging around desks were the power which had condemned them to the inferno of the monterias, the chicle camps and coffee and fruit plantations. . . . [Traven, March to Caobaland, p. 155.]

But this we must emphasize over and over, that the wétiko disease is not limited to the brutes and goons who handle the gun, the lash, or the instruments of torture. The "nice" people in the offices, the typists, the lab technicians, the clerks, and, of course, the "owners," directors, stockholders, senators, generals, and presidents who use, profit from, and feed on human exploitation are also cannibals to one degree or another. The most guilty of the wétikos are, I would think, those who mastermind, justify, and profit most from such systems.

In any case, in Brazil today (for instance), or at Pine Ridge, the wétikos who are murdering, beating, castrating, and torturing Indian people are themselves only flunkies or pimps. They may be Indians themselves, they may be Afro-Native mixed-bloods (Cafusos) or Portuguese-Native Caboclos in Brazil, or they may be poor Whites recruited into the U.S. Army, or they may be middle-class Whites wearing the various uniforms of the FBI whatever, they are all equally fools because they (doubtless) will never share in the real profits being extracted from either coal-bearing Indian reservations or Amazonian forests. These goons will have to live with the blood on their hands. They will have nightmares, or they will become ever more degraded and brutalized. They may die a death like those which they inflict. But they will never really share in the wealth and power which they are transfering into the hands of the big wétikos.

On the other hand, even the goons do reap some profit, and we shouldn't be naive about that. The FBI man who gets the "thrill" of bashing down people's doors and forcing the inhabitants to cower with eyes full of fear, or the Brazilian torturer cutting off the testicles of captured Indians, or the Chilean police investigator sticking objects up women prisoners' vaginal openings is reaping a reward. His reward, of course, is to satisfy cruel and sadistic desires which have been somehow cultivated in him by centuries of exposure to wétiko socialization.

Recently an agricultural fraternity at the Davis campus of the University of California had one of its "songs" exposed to the public eye. This "song," forced on all new initiates, is as follows:

Way down in Cunt Valley where red rivers flow, Where Whore Mongers flourish and Cock Suckers grow, That's where I met Lupe, the girl I adore, She's my hot Fucking, Cock Sucking Mexican Whore.

She got her first piece at the young age of eight, While swinging out front on the old school yard gate, The crossbars went out and the uprights went in, And ever since, Lupe's been living in sin.

She'll hug you, she'll squeeze you, she'll gnaw at your nuts, She'll wrap her legs around you and squeeze out your guts, She'll love you so hard that you wish you could die, But I'd rather eat Lupe than blueberry pie.

Now Lupe is dead and lies still in her tomb, The maggots crawl in and out of her desecrated womb, You can tell by her smile that she still wants some more, She's my hot Fucking, Cock Sucking Mexican Whore.

What can be added? This "song" is that of mentally-deranged people. It expresses deep sadistic, racist, and sexist attitudes. It is the "song" of potential torturers and goons. And what about this "old" song, popular among some White males for many years.

Once there was an Indian maid who said she wasn't afraid
to lay on her back in a little brown shack and let a cowboy ram it up her crack;
one day she was surprised when her belly began to rise
and out of her cunt came a little black runt with his ass between his eyes.

And, of course, there are many more such filthy, racist "songs" and jokes which could be cited.

Many of our wétikos, then, are socialized by a society which has extremely negative attitudes towards sex (and which sees sex as a form of aggression, principally against women), and which cultivates various forms of cruelty and sadism. Such persons, however, are clearly mentally ill and their desire to commit sadistic acts (such as rape) makes them very, very vulnerable to becoming wétikos. A potential sadist cannot satisfy his cruel, perverted desires unless he undertakes aggression against another living creature.

Tragically, the Catholic inquisition and "crusades," the Muslim's "holy wars," the imperialist's wars and systems of exploitation, and the Fascist-Communist secret police, concentration camps, and so on, all provide opportunities for "approved" aggression.

Before we stop, however, let us also ask to what extent "scientific" experimenters on animals, social workers intimidating poor people, bureaucrats being rude to "common" people who dare to approach their desks, teachers treating pupils (or selected pupils) with mental cruelty, and so on, are not also using disguised means of expressing the same sadistic derangement apparently fostered by the wétiko world?

Chapter 5

The Mátchi Syndrome: Fascination with Evil

Sadism and cruelty are indeed ugly things. And it is frightening to live in a society where few neighborhoods are safe from rapists, pathological "sport" murderers, child abusers, and so on. We appear to live in a strange society where not only is such "non-economic" violence relatively commonplace, but where also known Mafia gangsters live in mansions at desert spas and where one's neighbor in a wealthy suburban enclave may be a major pornography dealer, or a "hit-man," or a "narcotics distributor."

But these things are not new, even though the scale may have changed. Wealthy criminals and industrial robber-barons have often lived in mansions, and the non-white and poor have frequently known fear and violence. What is new is that the middle-class is not always "safe" anymore, perhaps because of the constant spreading of the wétiko disease (but also because the military-corporate rulers of modern states possess such great organizational and propaganda power that even the loyalty of the middle-class is no longer perceived as being as important as it once was).

In any case, sadism and cruelty are closely related to wétiko behavior and to a peculiarity of the European and Overseas European character which deserves some special attention. We will call this phenomena the mátchi syndrome, derived from an algonkian term found in the Powhatan, Delaware, Massachusett, Ojibwe, and Cree languages. Mátchi means evil or bad and is used in various forms to refer to evilness of the mind, evil speech, evil acts, and so on.

European scholars have delighted in descriptions of "witchcraft," "sorcery," paranoia, suspicion, fear of the dark, et cetera, found among folk peoples in Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas. Many shelves could be filled with anthropological and popular works dealing with the alleged Navajo fear of witches, African "witch-doctors," Haitian "voodoo," and similar non-white concern with the "bad" side of life. Such beliefs have, however, little impact upon the modern world, whereas the mátchi strain in the European heritage is of great significance indeed, especially among peoples of Germanic-Teutonic origin.

This mátchi phenomena, which may take either a neurotic (mild) or a psychotic form, has manifested itself historically in many areas. Let us list a few and then discuss their significance.

(1) The transformation of Christianity into an anti-nature and anti-human tradition, by means of the introduced and non-Judaic ideas of "original sin" and "Satan," is perhaps of fundamental importance. This places orthodox Christianity in the posture of regarding all humans as being sinful at birth and sinful by nature (unless "saved" by subsequent conversion in certain sects). Similarly, the natural world and all other living creatures are essentially viewed as negative aspects of life, and frequently as an antagonistic force or environment. (Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Europeans often appear to be "driven" to achieve "success," i.e. to overcome the guilt of being born in sin)

Before I can give a relation of their [the Indians'] fall from God, I am obliged to make a large digression, in order to give an account of the original and circumstances of their tempter, his capacity of assuming the shape of a serpent, from his being a spirit without a body, etc. Hence I go on to show, the ruins of our fallen state, the mental blindness and vicious dispositions – which our first parents [Adam and Eve] then contracted to themselves, and propagated to all their posterity. . . . and the exposedness of the whole human race to eternal perdition. . . .

It is next to impossible to bring them [the Indians] to a rational conviction that they are siners by nature, and that their hearts are corrupt and sinful, unless one could charge them with some gross acts of immorality .... But if they cannot be charged with such scandalous actions, they seem to have no consciousness of sin and guilt at all. . . .

The method which I take to convince them that "we are sinners by nature," is, to lead them to an observation of their little children, how they will appear in a rage, fight and strike their mothers, before they are able to speak or walk. . . . As the children have never learned these things, they must have been in their natures. . . .

Further; in order to show them that their hearts are all corrupted and sinful, I observe to them, that this may be the case, and they not be sensible of it through the blindness of their minds; and that it is no evidence that they are not sinful, because they do not know it and feel it. . . . [Johathan Edwards, Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, pp. 354-356].

(2) The concept of "The Devil" or "Satan," as an anthropomorphic evil force opposed to God, introduces a decidedly unsavory element into the European Christian's world, especially since Satan is historically often closely identified with all deviations from cultural "normalcy," frequently with the natural world itself, and, ironically, with most "spiritual" experiences.

There were some times when this spirit came upon him [a Lenape man] in a special manner, and he was full of what he saw in the great man [God]. Then, he says, he was all light, and not only light himself, but it was light all around him, so that he could see through men, and knew the thoughts of their hearts. These depths of Satan I leave to others to fathom. . . . [Jonathan Edwards, Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, Missionary to the Indians, p. 350].

(3) The conversion of Europeans to Christianity was apparently accompanied by a transformation of the pre-Christian spirit-realm from a generally positive world into a negative, "devilish" influence. That is, pre-Christian "spirits" continued, as it were, to haunt the forests, the moors, and the darkness of night, but instead of being beneign they became an evil threat to the good Christian's salvation.

(4) Many Christian sects, especially those of a Calvinistic bent, refined the notion of "original sin" and coupled it with doctrines of pre-destination and "the elect" so as to create an extremely fearful, guilt-ridden, melancholy climate in which humans are perceived not only as being inherently "sinful," but also incapable of achieving "salvation" on their own.

(5) The Europeanist fascination with the torture of "condemned souls" in purgatory and Hell is a most revealing phenomena, unique perhaps in the world. It may be that envisioning one's enemies or adversaries as being tortured in Hell forever is a projective device (a substitute for impotent or unfulfilled hate and aggression) but it reflects a mátchi-minded view of the Creator.

(6) If Hell is the fate the Christian God has in store for human beings born in original sin by His own act of eternal punishment for Adam's first sin, then we must admit that that God is not an enemy of Satan but an accomplice (as it were) who supplies Satan with multitudes of subjects for the latter's sadistic tastes. More significantly, an angry and punishing God, terrible in his wrath, is quite clearly not a pleasant being to live with. The world, for many, becomes a threatening place where only strict obedience to disputed rules (disputed by the various sects) can save one from one's own evil and the evil and "temptation" in the environment. The repressive, authoritarian character of many European homes has reflected this reality, the wrathful father standing in God's place.

(7) The nature of European warfare and oppression must surely depress one who manages to realize that the slaughter of 70,000 Saxons, or of 200,000 Cimri and Teutons, or of 1,000,000 Albigensians, or of 75,000 Parisian Protestants, or of 20 million Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs, and so on, ad infinitum, is not a recital of mere numbers but of millions upon millions of cases of individual humans suffering from the wounds of death or the tortures of imprisonment or the trauma of losing loved ones. It is apparently easy for European historians to treat such gross horrors as if they were merely part of a dramatic scenario which never actually took place, but if we pause to assimilate the fact that, indeed, each brutal killing or burning at the stake or rape did occur, then we must understand perhaps the morbid, fearful strain in European culture. The fear of evil, in other words, should be understood as being based upon no mythical character (Satan) but rather upon the European's justified fear of his own kind.

(8) The sado-masochistic strain in Euro-mediterranean and European life, which appears so frequently in refined tortures, elaborate dungeons, pogroms against minorities, the abuse of women, and in homosexual and even heterosexual intimate behavior (and, of course, commonly appears in modern pornographic movies, books, and magazines) must be an outgrowth of the above and also a contributing factor to further evil-mindedness.

My wife and I recently had the rather upsetting experience of being in a New Jersey motel room when we heard the most frightening moans, sobs, ahd pleadings coming from a female voice in a nearby room. The cries continued for some time while a man walked up and down outside the row of rooms with a club or a stick in his hand. I called the desk clerk to report the incident and-soon two men and a woman walked to a nearby car, having overheard my voice. Whether the woman was,a prostitute only pretending pain to provide erotic stimuli for a sadist, or whether she was actually being tortured I will never know but either circumstance reflects the strange association of sex and aggression found in Euro-mediterranean cultures.

I contend that the werewolves, vampires, goblins. trolls, ogres, witches, dangerous ghosts, haunted houses, sadists, murderers, rapists, satanists, inquisitors, calvinistic puritans, sexually "messed-up" people (sex-haters, sex-chasers and so on), crusaders against non-conformists, and enslavers of human flesh are all part of this mátchi (evil) world-view (or element) in the European heritage.

The forest must be cut down because it is evil, pagan, almost satanistic. Non-Europeans can be murdered or enslaved because they are "tawny serpents" (Indians), or children of the Devil. Women can be raped and abused because they reflect sexual temptation, Eve's seduction of Adam, and are referred to often by "macho" males as "broads" (walking asses), "cunts" (vaginas with torsos attached). and "pieces." (Indian slaves were also called "piezas de chusma" by Spaniards in the Southwest). A recent Hollywood movie where suburban husbands conspired to have their wives transformed into "androids" (love-making and working machines) is not at all far-fetched, in that it reflects the reality in most authoritarian traditions.

In recent years movies such as "The Exorcist," "Carrie," "Rosemary's Baby" and numerous others have reminded us that many Euro-Americans either cannot conceive of "supernatural" phenomena except in the context of Satanism or evil, or that they are, at least, fascinated by that manner of thinking. And the same tendency is reflected by most of the earlier "horror" movies (voodoo pictures, vampire stories, ghost movies, little men who come up out of the fireplace scenarios, et cetera). Perhaps the theme goes back to "Hansel and Gretel," evil trolls living under bridges, and to the satanistic imagery of the middle ages.

In any event, this mátchi syndrome has had dramatic and traumatic consequences in the modern world. The desire of white settlers to "subdue" nature (as well as the natives) in the Americas, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and so on, cannot be separated from their view of cities, manors, and human-created things (machines, for example) as being part of God's world, while the "wilderness" (nature in all of its beauty and splendor) is "untamed" and, like a woman, has to be overcome or destroyed. Now it is "Outer Space" that must be penetrated and conquered, along with, of course, the remaining relatively unaltered areas on Earth (such as the Arctic and the Amazonian Basin).

The quest of many Europeans to totally penetrate, subdue, and change the natural world must be viewed in part as a psychological phenomena, that is, as a need-fulfillment or compulsion which is non-rational or irrational in character. Thus, it can be argued (rationally) that it is harmful to destroy the Amazonian eco-system because of certain likely results (e.g., soil turning to hardpan; erosion; pollution and muddying of the river; and a possible adverse impact on worldwide precipitation rates and percentages of oxygen in the atmosphere). Such rational arguments will not, however, stop the Brazilian government or the Bank of America or the U. S. Department of the Interior, since the "conquest" of the Amazon combines a "rational" drive for profits and an "unrational" need to subdue the selva and the humans living therein.

Free "savages" and untamed forests cannot be tolerated by the arrogant conquerers or equally arrogant Christian missionaries. Both Indians and trees must be "civilized," that is, turned into stumps.

In recent times also the rise of Nazism must be viewed as the politicization of Satanism on a grand scale. That many of the Nazi leaders were sadists and experimenters in all forms of evilness cannot be denied. But Nazism also sought to elevate mátchi-mindedness to a total system wherein aggression, murder, torture, genocide, and nightmarish behavior (stealing gold from dead Jew's teeth, using human flesh and body fat for commerical purposes, experimenting on imprisoned "patients," and so on) was a major focus of the Nazi cult if not of the entire society.

Modern satanist cults, military dictatorships, and even some motorcycle or other gangs also reflect this tendency of the Europeanized sectors of the world to "flip" over, as it were, into the mátchi realm. It is almost as if the European heritage, with its dualistic God and Devil, Good and Evil view of reality encourages many people to choose the Devil (like Dr. Faustus).

Maybe this is why an Army General can choose to seize power so as to prevent peasants from getting enough food, or why a "scientist" can choose to torture involuntary subjects (human or animal), or why a government bureaucrat can choose to approve a construction project without adequate drainage or sewage facilities, or why Soviet or U.S. high officials can choose to spend billions on space research while millions starve or are deprived of basic human necessities, or why a missionary can choose to teach Indians that they are evil, sinful, and guilty because they were born and because they are Indians.

The option of being mátchi is available to people in the wétiko world, and what is more, being mátchi can even be made to appear as being patriotic, good, or even pious. Thus the sane become insane and the crazed become rulers!

In all fairness, however, we should note that many people (scientists, generals, and missionaries even) who choose aggression, who choose to violate the higher ethical teachings of their own tradition, often do so in ignorance, or in small steps, without fully understanding what they are doing. But is that, in the final analysis an excuse that a "rational" man or woman can use?

The mátchi tendency in the European heritage is not, of course, reflective of that entire legacy, nor does it affect all European persons. Clearly, there are large numbers of European peasants, mountaineers, city workers, librarians, scholars, and all manner of other people who have rejected the concepts of an evil world, of evil nature, of sinful babies, and of a "beastial" humankind. And it is these "good-minded" people who have made the positive contributions of Europe possible.

Nonetheless, the mátchi phenomena must be viewed as a powerful thread running hand in hand with the wétiko disease throughout the modern European experience. Why do Europeans have such foul and obscene swear-words and curses unknown in most (or all) Native Almerican cultures? Why do words for sexual intercourse become "dirty"? Why are women (and men) referred to by sexual terms which are also felt to be obscene ("cunt," "prick," etcetera)? Why are classes of people frequently referred to (collectively) as sheep, snakes, brutes, vermin, pigs, beasts, heifers, stallions, studs, and so on?

The mátchi syndrome brings ugliness into the mind and makes it grow there, even as it perhaps reflects the real but human-created ugliness of the wétiko world. Ugliness of the mind and ugliness of behavior feed upon, and reinforce, each other.

It is significant to call people "sheep" or "beasts" when one is aware of what many (or most) Europeans think of sheep and beasts. It makes humans slaughterable, it makes them suitable objects to be consumed by wétiko cannibals. When people become beasts one can eat them!

When people are born in sin, are basically evil. and wétikos rule what ethical standards are left that one is obliged to follow? Is it little wonder that the "profit motive," "the will to power," and "self-interest" have become the real ethics of so many people in the contemporary world?

The Ten Commandments, As Revised*

1. Thou shalt make a profit.

2. Thou shalt disown thy parents when they become old and send them away to perish alone; but thou shalt put on an expensive funeral for them for appearances sake.

3. Thou shalt deceive with false looks and flattering words, for appearances are everything.

4. Thou shalt gather to thyself alone as many material things as thou can obtain.

5. Thou shalt save and hoard, sharing not with others unless for thy own self-interest.

6. Thou shalt adulterate the foods which people eat, and deprive them of healthy sustenance.

7. Thou shalt take whatever thou can from the forest, from the earth, from the air, or from the defenseless and weak.

8. Thou shalt kill whenever it profits thee, and thou shalt exhalt killing and violence since all progress results therefrom.

9. Thou shalt be arrogant, aggressive, and bold since such qualities insure success.

10. Thou shalt not worry about thy sins for the Almighty has arranged a means whereby thou can be forgiven, even at thy death bed.

*[by the Ecumenical Council of Tulsa convened by the Archbishop of Oil and attended by distinguished theologians from the following orthodox rellgious orders: the Society of Bible-Belt Racists, the Order of Secret Police, the Brothers of Military Glory, the Captains of Industry, the Society of Extortionists, Pornographers, and Hit-men, the Sons of Apartheid, the High Priests of the CIA, the Improved Order of Successful Medical Doctors, the Mystic Order of International Bankers, and sundry other respected, powerful, and wealthy bodies.]

A great debate has developed over whether or not the violence depicted in motion pictures and television contributes directly to violent behavior. Does television merely reflect the nature of the society? More significantly, why do so many people apparently want to watch violence or be frightened by the alleged evil nature of supernatural phenomena?

Violence has been a part of the wétiko world for a long time, and on a larger scale before television then since. What is significant is not merely continuity of violence in the European heritage (and especially in the U.S.A.) but rather that is has become a bigger and bigger business to cater to the mátchi needs of people, for the sake of profits.

From the "dime novels" and exaggerated "Indian captivity tales" of previous  centuries, to the "westerns" of the pre-World War II period, to the nightly television violence of today, to the sado-masochistic pornographic literature now openly produced, we see the willingness of businessmen to capitalize upon the mátchi syndrome.

It is a dangerous game but what can one expect where "the profit motive" has become the First Commandment?

We must bear in mind. however, that the capitalistic system is not, in and of itself, the cause of either the mátchi syndrome or the wétiko disease. Both of these phenomena antedate capitalism as such and are so firmly imbedded in European (and similar) cultures that they seem to form an integral part thereof.

When Joseph Stalin and the Communist hierarchy saw fit to murder perhaps 5.000,000 small farmers in the Soviet Union it reflected not only a mátchi view of human life but al so a wétiko desire for power and "profit." The so-called "state farms" which replaced the independent farmers do not belong to the Soviet people but to the elite Communist Party hierarchy which inordinately profits from the Soviet system. Most property, in the Soviet Union, does not belong to "the people" but to "the State" and "the State" is the Communist bureaucracy.

Marxist-Leninism, at least as we have seen it unfold, does not eliminate sadism, cruelty, aggression, inordinate ambition, or the search for material aggrandizement. As a European ideology, full of ethnocentric European conceptions, Marxist-Leninism merely provides a new, highly-disciplined and rigid, structure in which older cultural realities continue to be expressed.

The movie "Rosemary's Baby" is a myth. Mothers do not give birth to "devilish" babies but rather it is the mátchi heritage and wétiko disease which snatches children from their innocence and sometimes changes them into fearful creatures. But perhaps "Rosemary's Baby," in an allegorical sense, is a real reflection of the modern mother's fear of her own offspring.

Chapter 6

Colonialism, Europeanization, and the Destruction of Native (Authentic) Cultures

Colonialist-imperialist systems seek to create wétikos. They recruit them because colonialism is maintained by means of properly-controlled wétiko behavior. More especially, they need to recruit wétikos from within the native population in order to keep that group divided, exploited, and in a hopeless frame of mind. Carter Wilson in a recent book about Tzotzil people in Chiapas provides some perceptive, specific examples of how an Indian can become a wétiko. Juan.Lopez Oso has been asked to serve a term as President (chief). His brother Miguel, a Europeanized Tzotzil, advises him on how to become a corrupt official.

"They want to make me President out there," he said slowly. . . .

"Do it," [Miguel] said finally.


"You want to make money, don't you? Those people are sheep to be sheared, Juan. "

"I don't need more money."

Miguel dropped the thong from between his teeth and laughed. "You haven't thought about it, Juan. Or you still think of money like an Indian does. Look, I can help you, show you how – what do you think you can make as President out here in a month?"

Oso picked at the hairs on his chin and then said, "Three or four hundred pesos."

"Eight hundred, a thousand I say."

"No," Oso laughed. His brother had been reckoning money too much as Mexicans did. He had forgotten what Indians had. . . .

"Look," Miguel said, "think of it this way. Every day the President of Chomtik [Chamula] listens to how many cases? Three? Four? That's a lot of work for him, a lot of talking. And what does he get for it?. . . . But what if the President charged each side in a case something small two or three pesos – six pesos in all? Not a lot of money, six pesos. But the President puts it in his pocket, and in a month he has nearly five hundred pesos or more just from cases. You see?"

"Yes, I see."

"Or what about this, Juan? Men come to the President to get a release from the national conscription so they can go away to work on the plantations. . . . What if the President charges each of these men five pesos for their papers? You see? . . ." [Wilson, Crazy February, pp. 165-166]

When conquered people are reduced to a state of impotency, poverty, and despair certain individuals will "decide" that survival depends upon "cooperation" with the exploiters. At first their "'decision" may lead them only to become (for example) a convert to Christianity, or to cut their hair short, or (for example) to agree to join the "Indian Police" and thereby help to control their fellow tribesmen.

Slowly but surely, however, if they are especially aggressive or ambitious, they may come to see that there are ways to make money, get favored jobs, or obtain jobs for relatives, by becoming dishonest and corrupt. They then begin to join the Indian agent or other Whites in the systematic program of fleecing Indians. Thus, as in Oklahoma, circa 1907, these wétiko Indians joined with White oil operators, land sharks, avaricious lawyers, bankers, and corrupt politicians to gobble up other Indian's allottments, trust funds, and so on. Almost everywhere one can find al least several Indian families whose current wealth and "superior" position is based upon one of their ancestors having "Shrewdly" joined in the "great fleecing." Almost always these are "Christian" Indian families whose members wear suits and ties, or expensive cowboy-style clothing, and whose "culture" is little different from that of the "Christian" Whites who taught them what to do.

Many Indian tribes in the U.S. are today controlled by the descendents of these "Christian" (also called "progressive") Indians whose "Christianity" clearly brought them very real material rewards. These are the people who run most tribes for the BIA, who work for the BIA at the higher levels, and who have college degrees. These are the Indians (usually) who control large herds of cattle, control Indian business enterprises, and are appointed to represent Indians by the U.S. government. And, as has been shown at Pine Ridge, these are the kind of people who, when challenged, will not hesitate to recruit goons and bring in White "allies" (FBI, John Birchers, etc.) to ruthlessly maintain their system of privilege.

It should be borne in mind that not all Christianized Indians are wétikos, but conversion to Christianity can be said to make a person especially vulnerable to the disease. Why? Because conversion to Christianity (for Native People, Africans etc.) has almost never meant simply changing one's form of worship. White missionaries almost always seek conversion to European culture because, to them, a Christian is a European, i.e., a person who possesses the values, the habits of dress, kind of hairstyle, types of housing, and so on, popular among whatever group of Europeans is doing the proselytizing.

. . . . no White American ever thinks that any other race is wholly civilized until he wears the White man's clothes, eats the White man's food, speaks the White man's language, and professes the White man's religion. [Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery, p. 68.]

Thus a Christianized Indian tends also to be a Europeanized Indian and as he enters the door of European culture he also enters the realm of the wétiko psychosis. (This is, of course, not to say that all Europeans are wétikos but only that expansionistic European cultures have been among the major carriers in modern times.)

Many European Christian missionaries have themselves been infected with the wétiko disease in addition to being deranged in the specific sense of being racist, haters of nature, and so on. The following words of an English missionary in the Congo are highly revealing in this context:

Shortly after crossing into the Congo we entered the forest, and for the first time I felt real fear. . . . For the forest was evil. I felt it as soon as I saw it. . . . It was everywhere. . . .

I made up my mind that I would make it my work to bring the heathen out of the forest, to give them sunlight, to show them how to live in God's open world. . . .

The missionary, Rev. Spence, was shocked to find that the mission sat in a small clearing, surrounded by trees, and the buildings were like native houses. He did not wish to live in such structures! Still further, he developed the notion that the natives were possessed by Satan and that they were horribly immoral because of plural marriage, "heathen rites," and "sexy" dances.

Rev. Spence started immediately to try to change all of that, aided by Amboko, a Christianized assistant who he treated with suspicion and contempt. He was especially irritated because Amboko "misinterpreted" the Bibl e and on one occasion even dared to argue with the infallible missionary. Good work, Amboko!

The missionary was endowed with absolute authority and the corruption of power trapped him thoroughly. In an authoritarian manner the reverend proceeded to translate his personal psychosis into a new, grim reality.

It was wonderful to see the forest coming down on all sides. I could feel the power of Satan receding as every tree fell. In a matter of months we had about ten acres cleared completely, and God's sunshine lit on the land for the first time. In the evenings I worked on my plans for the buildings. I wanted them to be as different from the heathen huts as
possible, but Amboko put up an objection to almost every plan I made. He did not even like cutting down the forest, he said it would bring misfortune, unless we were going to use the ground for plantations. . . . He said we should leave at least some trees standing for shade, and for the protection of the soil, and I suppose he was right, but I just felt that wanted every tree down. . . .

The Mission grew and flourished. . . . We tried to make gardens and fill them with flowers, but they soon withered and died. The baked earth made admirable tennis courts, though, and this became a welcome relaxation for the staff. I knew I was living well, probably in far greater comfort than I could have afforded at home. But I felt this wa s deserved. . . . And it was good to be able to relax and forget for a while that one was in Africa, surrounded by heathens. I had tried to make friends with them but that was impossible, and it always will be, at least for many years to come. Also I began to find just how little I could trust them. . . .

In the kitchens they used to give away food without my permission, to all their friends and relatives. When I chided them they asked me if I had not taught them to share whatever they had, that more would always be given them by the Lord. . . . And above all, although every single person on the station was a Christian – it was a condition of employment – I had to threaten to fine them if they did not come to church. . . .

As far as possible I try to keep the children from their parents, because I know that we can trust none of the older ones. If we are to save the children at all we must give them a chance to grow up among true Christians, even if it means parting them from their heathen families. . . . I know that my job is to bring the Word to the children, to make them understand. If they ignore the Word they deserve to be damned. . . . If they choose to reject it, their blood is not on my hands but on theirs, and on the hands of the Evil One who is in them all.

[Rev. Henry Spence, in Colin M. Turnbull, The Lonely African, pp. 73-83.]

This represents a rather lengthy excerpt from the English missionaries' story but have chosen to present it because it so "nicely" conveys the spirit of bigotry, narrowness, authoritarianism, arrogance, and sheer stupidity which I have seen often in the diaries, letters, and reports of Catholic and Protestant missionaries in the Americas. But the excerpt is not only revealing as to missionaries. It also reflects the hostility towards nature and the forest evident in the attitudes of many European frontier people in North America and in Brazil today. The forest must be destroyed, even if the result is soil made so hard (or eroded) that a desert is produced.

In any event, the missionary clearly possesses many symptoms of the wétiko sickness, in addition to his delusions about the forest being Satanic. He is a liar and hypocrite (teaching a doctrine of sharing, love etcetera but not practicing it himself). He is arrogant, he never listens to others. He manipulates other people's lives. He attempts to consume their souls as if they belonged to him. He exploits other people, such as Amboko, and always treats him as an inferior being. (He also, no doubt, supported European "secular" imerialism which consumed the flesh and the resources of the Native Congolese and guaranteed the "safety" of missionaries.)

In 1716 a Spanish Jesuit missionary, Father Luis Velarde, wrote:

It is really because of Divine Providence that these Indians [The 'O'odham or Pima-Papago] have diminished because of the continuity of epidemic diseases, for among such a multitude of different characters there are many restless, hauty and seditious elements. [In Jack D. Forbes, Warriors of the Colorado, p. 131.]

Thus the deaths of tens of thousands of Indians in the missions of Sonora did not distress Velarde because too many living Natives posed a threat to the political interests of the Spanish Empire.

Unfortunately the spread of the wétiko disease seems to accompany almost all forms of Europeanization. In Nairobi (Kenya) a few years ago there developed a class of missionized,
urbanized Blacks whose lives revolved around prostitution and "vice." One such person was William, a male prostitute who had been born in Nairobi of parents who had since returned to the rural area. William called them "savages" because they were still traditional people. In turn, they rejected his way of life, but he said that the English had taught him "so it must be good." He had come to hate his secretive white customers, his parents, and, most of all, missionaries. William had gone to Mission School and had learned his parents were "savages." Later he discovered the same about the missionaries. Does this not duplicate the rise of similar urban groups in the United States? [Turnbull, The Lonely African, pp. 87-89].

In the Americas the European invasion has almost everywhere created a class of persons called mestizos, half-breeds, caboclos, and so on, persons either of mixed-race or of detribalized native background and always of semi-Europeanized culture. Gregory Reck in a recent study of Jonotla (Mexico) notes:

. . . a mestizo and an indio do not necessarily look different from one another, but they do dress differently, speak differently, and behave differently. . . . [The indio] considers himself to be a participant in the given order of the universe, drawing his strength and security not from personal victory and acclaim, but from the belief that in subjugating self-assertion, control, power, and wealth, he will have realized and accepted his human limits, and thus his nature.

For the mestizo, life is combat – with others and with oneself. Life does not have troubles; it is trouble. . . . The mestizo does not attempt to accomodate himself to the world; rather, he defies it, challenges it, and fights with it. . . . [The contrast is seen] in interpersonal relationships, where indios are generally reserved and passive and mestizos are most often highly aggressive, surrounded by the demands of machismo. . . . As a result, indios are in fact becoming mestizos in their dress, their language, their behavior, and their view of life. [Gregory G. Reck, In the Shadow of Tlaloc: Life in a Mexican Village, pp. 15-17.]

In the eastern jungles of Peru, "mestizo" villages are gradually replacing "Indian" communities also. According to the Catholic Bishop of Pucallpa "the Indians . . . are in much better shape, morally and spiritually, than the mestizos."

In general, the majority of "mestizos" live lives which are much more ugly and disorganized than those of nearby traditional Indians, but

The distinction between the two peoples . . . is kept sharp and harsh by the stubborn mestizo notion that Indians are racially inferior . . . an Indian is deemed "inferior" because he speaks an Indian language rather than Spanish, and because he lives as an Indian. [Jack Mendelsohn, The Forest Calls Back, pp. 103, 175.]

Ironically, however, the Native culture is actually superior in significant respects to that of the mestizo class.

To begin with, the mestizo is unrealistic in conceiving himself as being more "civilized" than the Indian. Personal relationships between mestizo couples are strictly authoritarian, the male being dominant. The Indian family, by contrast, is "democratic" and cooperative. . . . The mestizo woman, on the other hand, is virtually a serf in the home. The Indian wife participates in the decision on when to have children, and how many [many tribes have used contraceptives for centuries]; the typical mestizo wife frequently gives birth to a dozen children . . . before she is thirty, by which time she may be a toothless hag. And, finally, the Indian is practical and philosophical in outlook; the mestizo is a ready victim of romanticism and irrationality. [Mendelsohn, The Forest Calls Back, pp. 175-177.]

It is interesting, and generally true, that Europeanization introduces the concept of male dominance and an authoritarian family structure, especially wherever Roman Catholic, Mormon, or other male-dominated sub-cultures are involved. On the other hand, a deeper truth is involved here: the subjugation of women and their use as means instead of ends is part and parcel of the wétiko psychosis. In a wétiko society there should be nothing strange about the denigration and exploitation of women, since all those who lack physical-material power will be exploited or abused. As Claudio Vilas Boas has said: "I know that the law of the civilized [i.e., the wétiko] is the law of the stronger, which gives no quarter. . . . "Lucien Bodard, Green Hell, p. 58.]

The so-called women's liberation movement should keep in mind that it is not enough merely to achieve "equality" with White men, for that might merely mean that the woman has as much right as the man to be a wétiko, to be an exploiter. Sadly enough, many European women who have risen to positions of power in the past have been as apt to be murderers, imperialists, torturers, and exploiters as their menfolk (e.g., Lucretia Borgia, Elizabeth I, and Isabella of Spain, not to mention millions of White women of wealth enjoying the luxury of having Black or Indian household servants as well as living off of slave or peon labor).

Perhaps there should be no women's liberation movement at all. What should exist, is a movement to end all wétiko exploitative – imperialistic behavior and to liberate all living creatures from the terror of being ruled by madmen.

In the case of the mestizos, ladinos, and caboclos of the Americas we are, in part, dealing with the universal phenomena of degradation through colonialism. Not only do the oppressed usually adopt the guidelines set by the colonizers (as pointed out by Friere) but these guidelines often embody the notion of racial and cultural inferiority.

Thus the conquered masses feel inferior to the ruling group and the in-between people, the mixed-bloods and the de-nativized, usually go to extreme lengths to identify with the rulers. As Frantz Fanon pointed out (in his studies of Antillean personality) the colonized people of color allow themsleves to be completely judged by the standards of the colonizer.

In the man of color there is a constant effort to run away from his own individuality, to annihilate his own presence. . . .

The Negro is comparison . . . that is, he is constantly preoccupied with self-evaluation. . . . Whenever he comes into contact with someone else, the question of value, of merit, arises. . . . The question is always whether he is less intelligent than I, Blacker than I, less respectable than I. Every position of one's own, every effort at security, is based on relations of dependence, with the dimunition of the other. It is the wreckage of what surrounds me that provides the foundation for my virility. [Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, pp. 60, 211.]

This serves to explain why such colonialized peoples often seem to delight in destroying each other by means of vicious gossip, or by other, more violent, means. It also helps to explain why "mestizos" and caboclos, as well as Europeanized natives, often are vicious enemies of everything non-European. It may also serve to clarify the rise of machismo (male arrogance) among oppressed peoples.

In any case, the relentless campaign to destroy the cultures of Native People continues, and still in the forefront are often White missionaries, in open alliance with Europeanist political systems. Jack Mendelsohn noted that in the western Amazon the Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc., known also as the Institute of Linguistics of Verona (and several other names), had a "sprawling base. About, three hundred men, women, and children were working on the conversion of the Ucayali Nation, making their planes available to the Peruvian army, and officials of capitalist enterprises. The base, he commented, had the character of "suburbia" in the jungle.

The Ucayli Nation has survived centuries of Spanish, Portuguese and Peruvian aggression rebelling in 1686,1695,1704,1742, and 1767, and then maintaining their independence until the horrors of the rubber-hunters' invasion (1890-1920). But now the Peruvian government and the North American protestant missionaries are seeking their final annihilation. Indeed, one gets the fleeting impression that these [Protestant fundamentalist] groups are determined to put a missionary in the field for each Ucayali Indian. The Indians resist as best they can. . . .

And how do these missionaries act, are they different from the English missionary quoted earlier? Absolutely not. Mendelsohn describes the case of a Shipibo boy named Pablo who was forced to marry, against his will, a Shipibo girl who was the daughter of a mission convert. The missionary and the Christian mother forced Pablo to consummate the marriage and then, when the husband ran away, he was told that if he divorced he would go to hell. [Mendelsohn, The Forest Calls Back, pp. 77,114,143-144].

It is clear that Christian missionaries, especially fundamentalist ones, have changed very little in four centuries. They still display the same arrogance and fascism as their forebearers and combine these characteristics also with an ill-disguised alliance with capitalist penetration, the establishment of state power, and Europeanization.

The effect of all the missionary activity is, of course, to help break up the Ucayali and Shipibo societies and to start the Indians on the road to either death or to a status as impoverished "mestizos." Of course, the Peruvian society as a whole is also a major force for deterioration. A few jungle Indians have had a chance to serve in the Peruvian armed forces.

'They have had an opportunity' [says Dr. Binder] 'to learn many new things, to pick up a degree of sophistication. But instead of wearing it well, they come back and become the same kind of exploiters of their people as the mestizos or whites.' [Mendelsohn, The Forest Calls Back, p. 140.]

"Sophistication" is a nice word, isn't it? It means "lacking natural simplicity or naivete" and is derived from "sophist: one who is skillful in devious argumentation."

Isn't it revealing that one of the favorite words of the European elites, used to describe themselves, points openly towards deviousness and falsity? To lose one's "natural simplicity,"
sadly, in the wétiko world, means to become a person who hides his true feelings behind a veil (a mask) which deceives.

she was so friendly when we first met
she was All Smiles
but she Smiled so sarcastically
cynically and cruelly
as her poisonous tongue
talked of others
and although i listened
i did not and could not
add to her vicious and
venomous gossip
she smiled when i left, and said
so Glad to meet you
and when i was gone
and behind my back
she spewed forth more poison
about ME
who she harady knew at all
and at whom she had Smiled
so Friendly, so Sweetly
and was All Smiles
[mo kaa, Smile Injun: A Spiral Psyche, p. 9.]

Unfortunately the new wétikos, whether created by missionaries, soldiers, colonialist landlords, rubber barons, or industrialists, often leave a record of murder and terror that is shocking in the extreme. And the people who usually suffer the most are the honest, "simple," democratic people of the world, the non-materialistic, the freedom loving, and the truly spiritual.

These people, whether Native flrnericans, Black Africans, European peasants, or Asian peasants, are precisely lacking in the insane desires and delusions which motivate the wétiko. {Non-wétikos may, at times, be cruel but their cruelty is individual and sporadic, not part of a system of cruelty.}

In Brazil the wétikoo hunters after diamonds, gold, slaves, and rubber derived from Indian lands

had to kill the Indians so as not to be killed by them. It was necessary, and it was al so absurd. For the Indians had no idea that the [rubber] was liquid gold. They had no notion of what gold was, or what it represented. . . . They were supreme innocents, impervious to the mental fever of the civilized, that crazy cupidity which drove the Whites, the less White, and the half-breeds of all colors, into the fabulous and fatal adventure of the jungle.

Claudio Vila Boas, one of two brothers devoted to helping Indians survive today in Brazil, says:

Yes, the Whites and all westerners have a passion which is stronger than all else – the passion to create, to exploit, to construct. A passion for wealth. It's a magnificent and terrible instinct.

Terrible, indeed, for all who do not possess the force to stop them.

The Indians [of Brazil], by a sort of aristocratic and frightful privilege, have a talent for unleashing the sadism of the Whites. What is the mystery of the Indians which inevitably makes them victims? They have physical beauty and a feeling for the beautiful, even for art, in their primitive life. They live only for a total and unrestricted liberty, created for their convenience. Their misfortune is that this degree of liberty looks like a defiance. It is not; it is the spontaneous, elemental, vital refusal of everything imposed upon them by nature and man. It is this natural, untamable liberty that enrages the Whites. The Indians are still Indians in the worst misfortunes; they are still Indians in resignation and in death.

To slap, and slap again, is the reaction of the civilized [sic.] man in the face of what is not a refusal but an impossibility. And to torture. There were tortures during the raids [for slaves] as well as on the great estates of the planters. Refinements of physical cruelty in an attempt to triumph over a will that could not be vanquished. . . .

To get something more from them, a comprehensible reaction, to obtain obedience and servility, in short, their adaptation, the Whites burnt them, hung them by their feet, cut them in pieces, gutted them, impaled them on stakes, fed them to ants and other creatures, and availed themselves of the tronco – two planks, with three semicircular holes, which were put together in such a way that the Indian's neck, anns and feet were sueezed, and he was suffocated from all sides at once.

[Bodard, Green Hall, pp. 59, 70-71, 107.]

The same hatred, of course, has existed in North America. In 1864 Colonel J. M. Chivington led 1,000 White soldiers and civilians in a surprise attack upon a friendly Cheyenne village located on land designated for their use. The Cheyenne numbered 500 to 600, only about 100 of whom were warriors.

. . . . in going over the battleground the next day I did not see a body of a man, woman or child but was scalped, and in many instances their bodies were mutilated in the most horrible manner – men, women, and children's privates [sexual organs] cut out, etc.; I heard one man say that he had cut out a woman's private parts and had them for exhibit on a stick. . . .

I heard of one instance of a child of a few months old being thrown in the feed-box of a wagon, and after being carried some distance left on the ground to perish; I also heard of numerous instances in which men had cut out the private parts of females and stretched them over the saddle-bows, and wore them over their hats while riding in the ranks. [Testimony of Lt. James D. Connor, in Forbes. The Indian in America's Past. pp. 46-47.]

The mutilations described above, with their perverted sexual character, remind one of the fraternity song cited earlier. Again we see that the wétiko psychosis includes, or is closely intertwined with, sexual abnormality and also a hatred for, or aggressive attitudes towards, women. White women liberationists should take heed for again we see the close relationship of wétikoism and the abuse of women.

In 1872 General Francis C. Walker, then U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, said: "There is no question of national dignity, be it remembered, involved in the treatment of savages by civilized powers." [Quoted in Forbes. The Indian in America's Past. p. 113.] Could any Brazilian exterminator of Indians have said it better? Could Pizarro? Could Cortes? It sounds like Hitler talking about Jews. Clearly, the wétiko disease produces similar men, and similar behavior, in many settings.

"The only good Indians I ever saw were dead." [General Philip Sheridan. United States Army, January, 1869, in Moquin and Van Doren eds. . .  Great Documents in American Indian History. p. 106.]

Again. however. the tragedy is that the wétikos constantly contaminate others with their disease and compound evil.

It is a remarkable fact that it was the "almost Indians" who were to become the seringueiros – the "bloodletters" of the rubber trees – and who were to shed so much Indian blood.

These mestizos and detribalized Indians, called caboclos in Brazil, were primarily from the "sertao," a desert-like area in northeast Brazil where life was very hard.

The Indian ancestors of the sertanejos had lived in the "land without evil," where magic assured their happiness. But their half-caste descendents were overwhelmed by the miseries brought by the Whites.

In the latter part of the nineteenth-century a "rubber boom" developed. as the United States and Europe began to use rubber (discovered by Native People). But the Indians of the lower Amazon had been virtually exterminated by earlier slave raids. and thus the seringal istas (contractors or "coyotes") were sent to the sertao to recruit caboclos. The recruits then went to

Belem [which] was organized to cheat them. It was the usual game. [They] were going to be propelled into an absolute slavery, by an implacable system which permitted everything to be extorted from a man until his last breath. . . . At the top of the ladder were bankers and exporters, unctous bourgeois gentlemen in collar and tie. These were the chief beneficiaries of crime. . . . At the bottom there were veritable gangsters. . . . These were the seringalistas, the contractors for the gun, the killers and gentlemen in one.

Once the caboclo became enmeshed in the system (trapped by means of contracts and debts, fair or otherwise) he could not escape, because the rubber industry controlled everything, police, courts, and so on.

He was given ready money, lots of it, for his pleasures in Belem. . . . Two weeks of alcohol and girls, Belem girls whom the Sertanejo would never see again, because the promissory note that he gave them would make him a serf for life.

Once up the Amazon the caboclo was viciously exploited and cheated so that he never could get out of debt. "In this way, within some ten years or so, 500,000 to 1,000,000 men of the sertao perished." Escape might have been possible,

if they had remained Themselves. If they had remained those halfcastes of Indian blood, who, wildly, ferocious and implacable though they were, still had in the darkness of their souls true passions, as it were, and a sense of their own worth . . .

but the isolation of their individual circuits to look for rubber trees, the climate, and the grinding exploitation broke their spirit.

These degenerates reached the point where they didn't even help one another. . . . Victims of force, they were also its instruments. They killed if they were told to, they tortured if so ordered. . . . 

Some of them survived long enough to become acclimitized and hardened.

This happened to certain seringueiros; while their conscience atrophied, their body hardened. . . . These were the peopl e whom the seringalistas made their capataz – their overseers, spies, killers, henchmen, their slaves who ruled over slaves.

The Native People of the Amazon Basin tried to resist this invasion of their homeland.

The Indians had to be killed, because, although they were indifferent to the borracha [rubber], they were certainly not indifferent to what it entailed – the White invasion. . . . The Indians didn't manage to kill many, but they themselves were killed in abundance, because they were confronted by a formidable and systematically organized apparatus.

Into this system of annihilation the exploited caboclos were drawn.

Genocide – a necessity and a pleasure. The seringueiros delighted in killing. . . . They liquidated the primitives as if to prove to themselves that they were "civilized." They refused to see their own image in these naked and barbarous creatures of the jungle. So they exterminated, while being themselves condemned to a slow death.

Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans died between 1880 and 1920, including at least 40,000 exterminated by the activities of an English company in the Rio Putumayo area alone. [Bodard, Green Hell, pp. 89-117.]  Innumerable entire nations were exterminated in Amazonia while others, such as the Huni Kui (Amahuaca), were decimated but regrouped in the heavy forest, many day's travel from their previous river-front homes. The Huni Kui were fortunate in having a leader, Xumu, who searched out all of the survivors and brought them together. Xumu said:

Our people suffered innumerable raids and atrocities at the hands of the rubber cutters when we lived on the Tarauaca River. Men were murdered, women raped and killed, children carried off. Why would they carry off our children, except to eat them?

You remember the old woman who wanted to kill you when you first arrived? . . . She lost her whole family in the last raid before we moved to the center of the forest . . . . Most of the atrocities have not been avenged in anyway. The only way we can avenge ourselves for the past horrors of the loss of our children is by what these men have done [killing rubber cutters]. To stop it will mean waiting until all the old people who have lost part of their famlies are gone, or at least have forgotten. You know by now that they do not forget easily or soon.
[Lamb, Wizard of the Upper Amazon, p. 154.]

Revenge can, of course, become a curse among the victims of imperialism because the fulfillment of that desire can lead to incessant warfare, great cruelty on all sides, and eventual annihilation for the weaker party.

In the 1760s many Natives sought to resist British expansion in the Pennsylvania – western Virginia area. Their resistence led General Jeffrey Amherst, British commander, to write to Col. Henry Bonquet in 1763:

"Could it not be contrived to send the small pox among the disaffected tribes of Indians?" [Bouquet answered that he would try to start an epidemic and mentioned a wish to hunt "the vennin" with dogs. Amherst replied:]  "You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets [in which smallpox patients have slept], as well as by every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race. I should be very glad if your scheme of hunting them down by dogs could take effect. . . " [Howard H. Peckman, Pontiac.and the Indian Uprising, pp. 226-7]

Chapter 7

Savages, Free People, and the Loss of Freedom

In any case, the onslaught against Native People and those of mixed race in the Americas has been continuous – relentless is a better word. Murder, torture, and enslavement are still common in Latin America and violence also exists in North America whenever Native Americans choose to stand in defense of their land and resources (as in South Dakota today). But the onslaught has always been psychological as well, and it is here that the wétiko does his greatest damage. The colonialists spread their notions of racial and cultural superiority and transform hitherto free people into super-chickens (as it were) with an especially intensive and brutal pecking order. This pecking order (ranks, social classes, castes etc.) is, of course, what maintains the system of exploitation and degrades the masses who become its victims.

As was pointed out earlier, Indians (and other folk peoples) are the targets for intensive programs of social change engineered by "cooperating" teams of missionaries, annies, pacification squaas, so-called "developers," and others. Tragically, European academics very often not only form a part of these teams but also help to provide the intellectual rationalizations sometimes used by imperialists. For example, the anthropologist Francis Huxley visited the Caapor-te of Brazil in 1951 and then wrote a book called Affable Savages. He says:

Compared to us, Indians have little shame, . . . and it may well seem that Urubu life is basically ignoble, and the Indians are aptly described as savages. Indeed, though this is something of a rude word, it is no use denying that the Urubus are savage. They were well known for their cruelty and vindictiveness in war, in the days before they were pacified; their rites, among which was the killing and eating of an enemy prisoner, were savage with a vengeance; and their manners are oftep both crude and barbarous. But – leaving aside their saving virtues of hospitality, courage and honesty – this is by no means all that can be said of them. An Indian may well be a savage, but this does not mean that he is unprincipled. [Huxley, Affable Savages, pp. 12-13.]

This is, of course, a very clever passage written by a European who, clearly, does not imagine any Indians to be among his readers, least of all any Urubus (who may, indeed, be destroyed safely because, after all, even a British anthropologist agrees that they are savages). More significant, however, is the incredible cultural chauvinism which blinds Huxley to the realities of Portuguese (and British) behavior and leads him to ignore almost 450 years of European aggression against the Americans of that part of Brazil. Huxley imagines that he can deal with the Caapor-te, as of 1900-1951, as if they never had experienced centuries of slave-raiding, invasions by gold-seekers, invasions by rubber-cutters, and so on. If the Urubu (as he calls them, a name to which they object) were vindictive warriors in the 1920s might that not be explained, in part, by their tragic history?

Huxley himself notes that, about five generations before, the Portuguese began pushing into the forest, forcing tribes to retreat into other nation's territories. He says "The Urubus seem to have been caught in the middle of these movements, and lived in such fear of raids, both from other Indian tribes and from the advancing Brazilians, that they took to the woods. . . . " [becoming nomads for a time]. In fact the present Urubu tribe, he says, is descended from only two surviving Urubu men who stole women from a neighboring tribe. [pp. 103-104.]

Incredible! So we find that these "savages" are, in fact, only a mixed remnant of hundreds of years of warfare, involving direct aggression by Europeans, and yet their character and their culture is forever defined as "savage." But then Huxley also says such things as "Sex among indians always tends to become licence, . . . " [po 119] and this kind of nonsense reveals for us clearly the one-sided, anti-American character of this Englishman's propaganda. We could safely ignore it except for one thing: such propaganda kills. It not only "justifies" the genocidal policies of the Brazilian government but it provides ammunition for racist teachers, missionaries, and so on; bullets which they can use to destroy a people's pride, dignity, and psychological means of survival. "Your people are savages. . . . "

I would say that here we are dealing with another kind of wétiko, one who consumes a people's culture and history for his own purposes and then spews forth poison to destroy those who treated the wétiko as a guest in their very own homes. Not all European scholars are racists or chauvinists, of course. A much more objective person, although also using the term "savage" occasionally, is Claude Levi-Strauss. He writes:

Our great Western civilization, which has created the marvels we now enjoy, has only succeeded in producing them at the cost of corresonding ills. . . . The first thing we see as we travel round the world is our own filth, thrown into the face of mankind.

He later says:

I fully grasped the historical privilege that tropical America (and to some extent the whole of the American continent) still enjoys through remaining completely, or relatively, unpeopled. Freedom is neither a legal invention nor a philosophical conquest, the cherished possession of civilizations more valid than others because they alone have been able to create or preserve it. It is the outcome of an objective relationship between the individual and the space he occupies, between the consumer and the resources at his disposal. . . . What frightens me in Asia is the vision of our own future which it is already experiencing [i.e., overpopulation]. In the America of the Indians, I cherish the reflection, however fleeting it may now have become, of an era when the human species was in proportion to the world it occupied, and when there was still a valid relationship between the enjoyment of freedom and the symbols denoting it.

[Levi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques, pp. 38, 149-150.]

Levi-Strauss, of course, has seen and felt the beauty of this American land as cared for by Native People, and he has also seen the freedom made possible (or at least enhanced) by modest population. But was this a result of mere chance? Levi-Strauss himself notes that: "the Nambikwara do not have many children. . . . Sexual intercourse is forbidden between parents until the youngest child is weaned, that is until about its third year." [p. 282]. This same characteristicis, or was, true of most American cultures and, coupled with the wide use of contraception, is undoubtedly one of the reasons America was not overpopulated until recently.

It is wrong to believe that "open spaces" alone produce freedom. The Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, and other groups with authoritarian backgrounds did not create "free" societies in Siberia or the Americas even when population was sparse. On the other hand, it is perhaps true that overpopulation is a characteristic of wétiko societies. As we have seen in reference to eastern Peru, the people living an Indian way of life have small families while their Europeanized brothers have very large ones. Native People were often very much aware of the relationship of freedom and open space. In 1867 Ten Bears, a Comanche man, told a U.S. representative:

You said that you wanted to put us upon a reservation, to build our houses and make us medicine lodges. I do not want them. I was born upon the prairie where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun.

I was born where there were no inclosures and where everything drew a free breath. I want to die there and not within walls. . . .

[Moquin and Van Doren, Great Documents in American Indian History, p. 209.]

Overpopulation is, no doubt, a very dangerous phenomena from the viewpoint of freedom and sanity. It also would appear to be a direct result of the creation of wétiko-dominated societies, or at least correlates nicely with the latter. Perhaps this results from the degradation of women in a wétiko system, or perhaps it correlates with the disintegration of traditional folk values, or perhaps it is stimulated by the need of industrialists, generals, and dictators for continual supplies of cannon-fodder and cheap labor.

In any case, the wétiko disease, like so many Eurasian epidemic diseases, seems to flourish in overpopulation. And in the slums, factory towns, and crowded countrysides babies, violence, hustling, prostitution, hunger, malnutrition, alcoholism, dope addiction, and fear often live side by side in a fertile culture of demoralization controlled only by prisons and monstrous armed forces. But of course the "Big Iktikos" do not live in these slums, rural or urban. They live, as they always have, in fancy houses or apartments, guarded by the "security forces" whose salaries they pay.

Needless to state, it is very, very easy to become a wétiko. One does not have to be brutalized and impoverished, like the poor caboclos of Brazil, the mestizos of Peru, or the ladinos of southern Mexico. There are many other ways of either becoming a wétiko or, at the very least, an accomplice of, or host for, the wétikos.

One of the essential characteristics of free, democratic, non-imperialistic societies is that all people – the young, the old, and the "odd" – are equally respected. Gene Weltfish, after years of working with the Pawnee people said:

They were a well-disciplined people, maintaining public order under many trying circumstances. And yet they had none of the power mechanisms that we consider essential to a well-ordered life. No orders were ever issued. . . . Time after time I tried to find a case of orders given, and there were none. Gradually, I began to realize that democracy is a very personal thing which, like Charity, begins at home. Basically it means not being coerced and having no need to coerce anyone else. The Pawnee learned this way of living in the earliest beginning of his life.

In the detailed events of every day living as a child, he began his development as a disciplined and free man or as a woman who felt her dignity and her independence to be inviolate. [Gene Weltfish, The Lost Universe, pp. 6-8.]

Unfortunately, while Native American societies tend to cultivate self-disciplined but non-coerced individuals who have a right to follow their own paths certain other societies very often seek to train their youth to "follow orders" and to confonn to rules formulated by others, whether moral or immoral, logical or illogical. Thus Admiral Yamamoto of the Japanese Navy, although personally opposed to a war with the United States (for ethical as well as tactical reasons) accepted his orders and "obeyed his emperor." He planned the secret attack upon Pearl Harbor in 1941 and then proceeded to vigorously lead Japan's naval war, all because he was "obeying orders."

Yamamoto appears to have been a deeply sensitive man, a man who could have set an example for those Japanese who despised militarism and imperialism. Instead he became a high-class pimp, killing tens of thousands in a cause in which he did not believe.

Needless to say, wétikos love just such a man! Without them the Hitlers, Stalins, Westmorelands, and so on, would have trouble keeping armies in the field. Many "Big Wétikos" are loyal to very little, except their own self-interest, but their success often depends upon convincing others that "loyalty and obedience" are life's highest virtues.

Many churches and sects, especially in the so-called Christian world, have developed elaborate systems of indoctrination designed to thoroughly control the minds of young children and adults. Of course they are afraid that their children might be "contaminated" by contact with "alien" ideas, forgetting that a spiritual path charted and controlled by another is not a path at all – it is instead nothing but a maze which leads nowhere.

Children controlled by their parents (and both controlled by their sect) are like rats in a carefully-created, endless maze. The very purpose of the spiritual life is defeated, it seems to me, by such a denial of individual freedom and responsibility.

In any case, authoritarian churches train their followers to "obey orders" and "follow rules." Thus they often can be recruited to kill under orders, and especially to kill people who are "savages," "different," or "alien." Significantly also (as shown earlier) such churches are often extremely imperialistic themselves.

A case in point is the Mormon Church which today is actively seeking to "convert" Native People. The Mormon culture is, in most respects, the very opposite of Native American, being despotic and rigidly patriarchal. It is also very aggressive and expansive. The proof of this is to be seen in Utah and nearby areas of Idaho, Nevada, and Arizona where Mormon White colonies have succeeded in gobbling up vast areas of Native land.

All one has to do is to examine maps of the "Mormon zone" to discover that the native Shoshone, Southern Paiute, and Ute tribes of that area have received abnormally small reservations, or none at all. Or one can go to the Phoenix region of Arizona and learn how Mormon colonies settled on Pima land and appropriated the water of the Salt and Gila rivers, or how Mormons went to Navajo, Apache and Zuni lands in the area south of Gallup, again acquiring vast acreages.

And everywhere in Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Nevada the Mormon power structure today resists the assertion of Native rights. But Mormons do not merely take Indian land and water, or resist Native political power, they also seek to take Indian children to Mormon homes or Mormon-controlled schools where the young people can be thorougly indoctrinated. Tragically, many impoverished Indian families are being persuaded to give up their children (so that they won't starve) only to find them returning years later as confused alcoholics or anti-Indian supporters of Europeanization and colonialism.

Mormon doctrine teaches that all of the great accomplishments of Native People were really the contributions of "White" peopl e (Israelites, whom the Mormons imagine to have been White). The Native People's brown color is a result of a curse and will be removed (after death) if they are converted to Mormonism. Tragically, this extremely racist doctrine is not that different from similar teachings appearing in other White sects, including fundamentalist protestant ones which have on occasion preached that an Indian can become White if he is "saved."

In any case, wétikos or supporters of wétikos can be created by systems of socialization which develop "followers" rather than free human beings and which preach doctrines of racial or cultural superiority.

"You are like you are, because you tell yourself that you are that way." [Juan Matus, in Castaneda, Tales of Power, p. 40.]

But wétikos can also be made in many other ways. Today, for example, the governments of the United States and Canada are both actively seeking to corrupt Native (and Black) people through federal grants, federal subsidies, easy money, federal jobs, government "per diem," and the illusion of power. This is, of course, nothing new but since about 1965 the opportunities for corruption have vastly increased.

Let us imagine, for example, a young Indian receiving his college degree. Usually he will be a product of sixteen or more years of education in a White-dominated environment. He may also be a member of a Native community where there are Indians who have "gotten ahead" in the past by making crooked deals or by working for the government. In any case, our young man is not himself dishonest. In fact, he is probably naive, since little in his White education will have prepared him for the realities of the wétiko world.

Perhaps he is invited to a government-sponsored Indian conference held (as usual) in some fancy White motel or hotel. There he finds that the Commissioner of Indian Affairs has rented a motel room which no one occupies but which is filled with liquor and is open to all of the Indian leaders. Many leaders get drunk and either sleep out the key meetings or go to bed with another delegate. In any case, he learns rapidly that the decisions are not made in open meetings but in closed rooms or by a few key people.

I should interject here that it has been standard BIA policy to use liquor in the above way. I myself have seen just such a room, in a hotel where we were meeting to decide how the U.S. Office of Education was to spend about $500,000 on Indian education research. The BIA commissioner was there and he had supplied the liquor, with the expected result. We also learned that USDE had already decided to give the money to Professor Robert J. Havinghurst of the University of Chicago (and to one other professor) and that we were called to the meeting only to rubber-stamp the plan. (This was in 1967, but the same thing happens regularly.)

Our young Indian is a bright and ambitious person. Thus he perceives that people are "rewarded" in so far as they "go along" with bureaucratic interests and don't rock too many boats. He may also be taken aside by a more experienced person who "trains" him in wétiko procedure: how to collect "per diem" and consultant fees; how to scratch other people's backs and get favors in return; how to team up with directors of this or that Indian program in order to form a kind of a junior Mafia group; how to make pro-Indian speeches and keep a good image going in public while being very cooperative with oppressive agencies in the back room; and, finally, how to become "buddies" with the people who control grants, jobs, etcetera, on a particular reservation or with a particular agency.

Gradually our young Indian comes to believe that there is no honesty in the Indian world. He has little to do with traditional people. He spends most of his time with Indian bureaucrats or with White counterparts. His life revolves around meetings in hotels, informal sessions in bars, bed-jumping with alcoholic female delegates, and "wheeling and dealing." In this atmosphere our young man loses his face and is in danger of losing his sanity.

Many such people are led easily into outright corruption. Cases are known where a program director used project money for pleasure trips, for paying rent on a private home, for buying clothes, for buying alcohol, or for other illegal forms of rip-off.

The Big Wétikos don't mind this – in fact, they may encourage it. Why? Because then our young man has lost his "balls." He has become a captive, either of the "Indian boss" or of the federal government. They can crack down on him or expose him whenever they want to. As long as he remains their flunkie, of course, they will leave him alone (unless they need a scapegoat, in which case he may be the sacrificial lamb).

Our young man, now older and corrupt, may remain a flunkie for the rest of his life. He may also, however, choose to become a "Big Wétiko." This requires a lot of back-scratching, back-stabbing, drinking, and manuevering. It also requires the corruption of other young men (and women) who, in turn, will become "hooked" into the system.

This kind of a scenario can be written for Chicanos, Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and for any other human group. The details vary, but the essence is the same – ambition for power, wealth, or material things coupled with a weak, or confused, set of personal ethics. And the tragic thing is that such persons, whether wétikos or supporters of wétikos, make it possible for colonialism and oppression to continue.

Chapter 8

Organized Crime: Planned Aggression

The twentieth-century has witnessed increased concern about the phenomena called "organized crime" largely because of the activities of international or national organizations devoted, in part, to extortion, the exploitation of prostitutes, drug traffic, gambling, pornography, and so on.

It is grossly misleading, however, to think of organized crime as being synonymous with the Sicilian Mafia or similar groupings of "gangsters." To begin our analysis we must first distinguish between three types of organized crime:

1. state-approved or state-initiated organized crime;

2. state-tolerated organized crime;

3. state-prohibited organized crime.

We must bear in mind that "illegal" acts and "crimes" are not the same thing. Some "crimes" may be perfectly legal, depending on the time or place, and some non-crimes may be acts for which people can be punished by the state. Historically, many highly laudatory activities (such as worshipping the creator in one's own way) have been prohibited by someone's law. A crime, however, is an aggressive act which results in harm to another person, group, or entity.

Until recently it has ordinarily been the state (that is, governments) which have been engaged in organized crime, either directly themselves or by sanctioning (or licensing) their subjects to engage in criminal acts. Some states (such as perhaps certain "pirate" kingdoms) were expressly organized for the purpose of stealing, looting, extorting, enslaving, and so on. But many larger states have also engaged in extensive activities of a similar nature, activities of such economic significance as to suggest that "armed robbery" was, in effect, the state's major activity (overseas, at least).

The British, Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch empires, for example, were (at various times) extensively engaged in the crime of seizing persons and selling or using them as slaves. This slave-trade cannot be viewed as ethically being in any way different from Mafia kidnapping, murder, or extortion except in the sense that it was infinitely more bloodthirsty, profitable, and vicious.

The leaders of the Sicilian Mafia must appear as mild-mannered, almost decent persons when compared with the Liverpool, London, Boston, Lisbon, and Cadiz dealers in human flesh and butchers of entire nations.

Thus true organized crime commences with the state or with state-approved aggression. In the 1880's the United States adopted the "Dawes Act" and thereby enabled appropriately placed white citizens to systematically steal land and oil from Native Americans who were supposedly under the "guardianship" of the United States. This organized thievery, accompanied by threats and murders, was never corrected and never halted, until virtually all parcels of value had been secured by white people.

Similar examples of state-initiated or approved organized crime include the U.S. war with Mexico (designed to steal California and New Mexico), the U.S. seizure of the Filipino Republic, and the City of Los Angeles' acquisition of the water of eastern California (Owens Valley and Mono Lake Basin) in order to make land speculators rich by SUbdividing the San Fernando Valley.

State-sanctioned organized crime also includes passing laws which give highly unfair advantages to the wealthy as opposed to the poor, as in making corporations "persons" in the eyes of the law and making the owners of a corporation not liable for debts, losses, et cetera; or in allowing income tax deductions for fictitious losses (e.g., accelerated depreciation on apartment houses or oil depletion allowances).

It is clear, then, that we live in a world where many states, especially the larger imperial powers, have been or are now formidable forces in the realm of crime. Significantly also state-initiated organized crime must surely set a pattern of behavior which will be imitated at various levels by private persons. Historically then the state itself, and especially the European-type expansionist state, is one of the major corrupters of human morals (although it is itself a creature of the wétikos who have seized control of its power apparatus).

Many states also tolerate a great variety of organized crime which, although not directly sanctioned, is in some manner profitable to the ruling classes. Thus many large corporations (such as the Standard Oil Company before 1910 or the Southern Pacific / Central Pacific Railroad) have often operated as organized criminal syndicates. That is, the purpose of such bandit corporations has been to secure the greatest possible "profit" (or resources for producing "profit") even if illegal or unethical activities have to be used. The state usually winks at such large-scale thievery because it is convenient to do so (the rail road will be useful to the state so what does it matter if a few people get rich siphoning off government grants or bankrupting farmers?); or because the state's leaders (congressmen, for example) are sharing directly in the loot.

The State of Nevada tolerates gambling casinos which are well-known as being largely controlled by Mafia or Mafia-related syndicates because it is profitable to Nevada-based land speculators, contractors, businessmen-in-general, and public officials to have such businesses in what would otherwise be a very poor and sparsely-populated region.

A recent example of this type of organized crime occurred during the oil crisis of the 1970's when U.S. oil companies tremendously increased their profits, using the Arab oil embargo as an excuse. This activity, although publicized by many writers, is an example of how certain types of organized crime can be both "legal" (since "conspiracy" to set high prices is so hard "to prove") and profitable.

Finally, we have organized crime which is supposedly illegal in most states, such as the narcotics traffic in the U.S. In point of fact, however, we can seriously question whether much of these kinds of activities are actually vigorously prohibited by law enforcement agencies. That the FBI, with all of its manpower, resources, and willingness to use spies, informers, infiltrators, and electronic surveillance, has not yet brought the Mafia under control suggests, of course, that the latter is a very low priority target (much lower than the very small Socialist Worker's Party or the equally small American Indian Movement).

It is reported that the drug traffic in New York City actually declined during a police strike of a few years ago. But what can we expect in a wétiko world where the state itself sets an example of aggressive, criminal, immoral and even brutal acts (such as the Vietnam War or the blatant suppression of dissent on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation) ?

In any event, it seems clear that we must broaden our conception of organized crime to include acts of aggression, robbery, looting, and thievery carried out by governments and large corporations. And we must also recognize that state-initiated or state-tolerated aggression is the most dangerous type of crime because it usually gains a certain amount of social approval among the citizenry of the successfully aggressive country. Organized crime is designed to produce profits and although the greater portion goes to the ruling wétikos a certain amount is allowed to reach the middle-classes at the very least.

Thus it is that exploitative and imperialistic programs may become very popular in countries where an improved material standard of living is believed to be dependent upon aggression. Similarly, most states seek to control or regulate the extent of the internal exploitation engendered by organized crime since they do not wish influential sectors of the citizenry to become angry enough to rebel or to oust the incumbent political leaders.

In the United States a great deal of internal oppression, violence, and exploitation is tolerated so long as Indians, poor Blacks, Chicanos, et cetera, are the primary victims. These people are generally perceived as being incapable of mobilizing sufficient unrest to disturb the status quo. Thus it is all right to illegally sterilize large numbers of poor Indian, Black, and Chicano women (without their knowledge or consent) because middle-class white women will not identify with them or rise up on their behalf. In fact most middle-class white women will doubtless support sterilization of non-whites as a device for preventing the rise of a non-white majority in the United States.

Nonetheless, violence and crime do occasionally get "out of hand." But governments and law enforcement agencies will generally focus attention on individual criminals or low-income crime in order to create the impression that they are "fighting crime."

Legalized or tolerated organized crime will not be greatly affected, however, since the very fabric of the economy in many states or regions is dependent upon planned aggression,
exploitation, or secret price-fixing and. gouging.

The tragic thing about all this is that most ordinary citizens will ultimately suffer in such societies, regardless of the temporary benefits received by them. Thus Black slavery and Indian removal in the U.S. South did not ultimately benefit the working-class white population. Instead it led to the creation of an oligarchical ruling class which has, even to this day, often depressed wages and living conditions for both poor whites and poor Blacks.

Similarly, the wealth created by the British Empire means very little today to the average Briton who must put up with a declining standard of living made worse by the overpopulation of the British Isles. This overpopulation, and the depletion of many original natural resources, has been, in part, the result of early industrialization controlled by "robber-barons" and overseas imperialism controlled by the same class of people.

The United States, too, will witness the same decline in the not-too-distant future. An aggressive foreign policy will keep oil, aluminum, uranium, and other essential raw materials coming in for a few years more but corporate control of the economy and rising prices will ensure that the profits reach the ruling class primarily. In the meantime, the artificial standard of living created by overseas investments, raw materials, and the exploitation of low-wage labor in South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, China, Mexico, South Africa, et cetera, will gradually be eroded from within.

Imperialism creates the illusion of wealth, in so far as the masses are concerned. It usually serves to paper over, or hide, the fact that the ruling classes are gobbling up the natural resources of the home territory in an improvident manner and are otherwise utilizing the national wealth largely for their own purposes. Eventually, the general pUblic is called upon to pay for all of this, frequently after the military machine can no longer maintain external aggression.

Agood example of how this works, on a small-scale, occurred after World War II when a front corporation controlled by General Motors, Standard Oil, and a tire manufacturer bought up most of the electric railway transportation systems in the United States. This corporation promptly allowed streetcar service to deteriorate, tore up tracks, and sold themselves buses, rubber tires, and diesel fuel. The new bus lines contributed greatly to air pollution and traffic problems and when patronage declined the all-bus systems were sold to the public. So "socialism" was used to unload unprofitable businesses onto the public while a continuing purchase of buses, tires, and diesel fuel was guaranteed. (No prosecutions have taken place for this organized conspiracy to destroy rail mass transit systems).

On a micro-scale then this illustrates what happens to entire economies under imperialism. The wealthy classes accumulate wealth, leaving the masses to suffer the consequences of the loss of basic resources, overpopulation, air pollution, environmental contamination, and, more significantly, a society and culture distorted in the value area by decades or even centuries of state-approved violence and aggression.

In the United States today it is the masses, and especially the poor and workingclass, who are paying for the Vietnam War. That war wasted many tens of billions of dollars (creating an inflation which has eroded the earnings of the poor) and incredible quantities of petroleum and other basic resources (which precipitated shortages in the U.S., an adverse balance of payments, et cetera). But the rich have not suffered from the Vietnam aftermath because they have the means to raise their incomes to keep ahead of inflation and being the owners of multinational corporations they can obtain resources from many quarters.

Organized crime, in its many forms, is the most important manner in which the wétiko disease finds concrete expression. It is true that individual wétikos, operating on their own, may cause great misery at times, but it is much more common for the most brutal aggression to take place as a part of an organized, systematic assault. In the Americas, for example, the terrible Portuguese attacks upon Native People in Brazil, the actions of Spanish conquistadores, the expansionist pushes of Anglo-Saxon "pioneers," and the operations of all manner of exploiters from fur traders to rum sellers to slave hunters took place within imperialist systems whose over-all objectives revolved around the central purpose of seizing Native lands, resources, and lives for the profit of the system.

Even today an Indian's life is worth very little in the Americas, because the organized criminal syndicates posing as governments in many areas still regard the exploitation of the Indian and his resources as a legitimate activity. Aché Indians could not be sold as slaves today in Paraguay without the existence of a pro-Nazi government controlled literally by gangsters. Indians could not be murdered in South Dakota, with no thorough investigations and prosecutions, unless the terrorizing of Indians was indeed a continuing state-approved objective.

In the United States many white people and government agencies are still actively seeking possession of Native land and resources. If this were a part of a general campaign to break up large landholdings, create small farms, and open up resources for development we could at least see it as a non-racial, non-imperialist issue. But when low-income, land-poor Indian people are the sole target and large landholding corporations (such as the Southern Pacific Railroad) and government agencies (e.g., the Bureau of Land Management) experience little pressure we can be sure that the Native American is still officially and socially perceived as a "legitimate" victim.

The federal government of the U.S. is very aggressive in seeking to condemn Indian land for dams and is extremely reluctant to return even admittedly-stolen land. On the other hand, that same government gave the S. P. Railroad (and Central Pacific) fantastic quantities of Indian land, land which was to be sold to pay railroad construction costs. Much of the land is still, however, owned by the S. P. (11% of California) and the latter will not sell any of it. Some of this land was obtained by fraud (e.g., claiming that the Sierra Nevadas extended to Utah in order to get a larger land grant) but the federal government has never taken any land back from the S. P. on legal grounds.

The S. P. Railroad, for some reason, is not perceived by European-Americans as being a fitting target for their animosity but Washington State Indians (with virtually no land-base left, in most cases) are. So are the Sioux, the Yavapai, the Pit River Indians, and so on. The words of Claudio Vilas Boas, cited earlier, are worth repeating here:

"I know that the law of the civilized [sic.] is the law of the stronger, which gives no quarter."

Another facet of organized systems of aggression is that the governments, syndicates, corporations, or groups controlling or profiting from such behavior also control the greater part of the organs of public opinion modification. Historically the state, the Christian churches, powerful newspapers, et cetera, have conspired frequently to use patiotism, sectarian fervor, and news propaganda to not only justify aggression, genocide, slavery, and torture but also to make the masses willing (or even anxious) participants. More significantly (as indicated earlier) the entire national culture becomes pervaded by myths, values, and habits of action and thought conducive to the perpetuation of a wétiko society.

Thus in much of the Euro-Mediterranean world, in Europeanized areas overseas, and in certain other mass societies the common training of large numbers of people is that of a hustler. The individual may learn to be a hustler in business, or in school, or in scientific research, or in politics, but his basic attitude is one of fierce competition to "get ahead" of other people. The Hollywood movie industry frequently exhalts the "two-bit" hustler (as in the popul ar movie "Paper Moon"), as well as racketeers, gangsters, "hit-men," violent secret agents (a la James Bond), violent cops, and so on.

Movies may occasionally oppose such behavior but usually after making it clear that money and the "good things of life" are frequently to be found in close association with crime, crooked business deals, big-time politics, Las Vegas gambling, and so on. In any case, the wétiko world creates an intensive propaganda system designed to perpetuate the values of such a system. And I say "designed" because wétikos and those accepting the ethics of a wétiko world would find it hard to avoid mirroring those values in their work.

The material prosperity within successfully imperialistic societies, especially for middle-class and upper-class citizens, unfortunately serves to hide not only internal decay but also to blunt people's desires for truth, justice, and personal authenticity. Even when obvious examples of wrong-doing appear, or even evidence of unspeakable atrocities, the bulk of the citizenry will refuse to take any action, in some cases because of a fear of reprisal but more commonly because of a desire to continue to enjoy their prosperity without being disturbed. Thus the German people's acceptance of Naziism, the South African white's acquiescence in wholesale exploitation of the non-white majority, and the tolerance of racism, discrimination, and injustice in the United States.

The wétiko world is one of dramatic contrasts: the wealth of the oppressors and the poverty of the oppressed; the modern buildings of Brasilia and the bodies of Indians dumped into the river to make the new capital possible; the great museums and art collections in European cities and empty tombs or looted archaeological sites in non-white regions.

Organized crime is indeed profitable. But it is also ugly, corrupting, and brutal.

All of us should remember that the terror and suffering lurking just beyond the curtain of wealth ultimately enters into even the gardens of the affluent; and, more importantly, that material wealth and power seldom seem to bring to their possessors the spiritual and psychological nourishment which human beings truly need.

Organized crime robs the oppressed, but it also, finally, robs the oppressor as well.

Chapter 9

If Jesus Were to Return

I have read that at the beginning of the twentieth century the world was full of "optimists" who believed that science and technology, representative forms of government, and political reform movements promised a new, brighter day for all human beings. Of course, I am sure that these optimists were White people and not Indians, Blacks, or Asians, for whom life was going down-hill and not up. But in any event, at least the White ruling classes could be optimistic. Now, hoever, after another three-quarters of a century of butcherings, dictatorships, and destruction of the environment, it is clear that the world faces either destruction or an era of super-police states (very much as Orwell predicted in 1984). Afew years ago I wrote:

A "machiavellian" mass society valueing wealth - acquisition and typified by exploitative relations.must, inevitably, be a violent society, using force to protect the "haves" and the "hope to haves" from the "have-nots" and outsiders. Such a society will destroy itself because its greed will cause it to consume its own resources and even its own people. No self-restraints can effectively be imposed because the society's very nature, its internal dynamic, is to consume. Its voracious appetite will cause it to literally eat itself. When sufficiently weakened, other similar social monsters will finish it off - if anything remains. [Jack D. Forbes, "Why DQU?" in Aztecas del Norte: The Chicanos of Aztlan, Fawcett, 1973, pp. 255-8.]

And so it is. The wétikos destroyed Egypt, and Babylon and Athens, and Rome, and Tenochtitlin, and perhaps now they will destroy the entire earth. But neither the "junkie" looking for money for a shot of heroin nor the New York capitalists destroying the Amazonian forests for big profits are able to stop their own socially destructive behavior. They are diseased people, the one a petty thief or murderer because of a chemical insanity and the others crazy with the wétiko psychosis – cannibals.

Can the wétiko sickness be brought to a halt? Labor unions are created and then become corrupt, reform movements appear and then are crushed or subverted, radical parties develop and then create dictatorships, and so on. And the society around us tends to be so mercenary and so superficial that almost every "counter-culture" will become only a new way for the media or the clothing-manufacturers to reap profits.

And if Yeshwa ben Yusef were to return? If he had returned, in Europe, anywhere from 300 A.D. to perhaps 1800 A.D. he would have been very likely burned at the stake. Perhaps he did and was. How many times have the Christians killed Jesus? Everytime they have murdered a "heretic" or a heathen, every time they have killed one of their own sons in a senseless war, everytime they have worked to death or starved to death a victim of their oppressive colonialism. The Christian churches, by and large, long ago rejected the real Yeshwa, as pointed out earlier.

You've made a blondie out of Jesus. I don't care for those blond, blue-eyed pictures of a sanitized, cloroxed, ajaxed Christ. . . . Jesus was a Jew. He wasn't a yellow-haired Anglo. I'm sure he had black hair and a dark skin like an Indian. The White ranchers around here wouldn't have let him step out with their daughters. . . . His religion came out of the desert in which he lived, out of his kind of mountains, his kind of animals, his kind of plants. You've tried to make him into an Anglo-Saxon Fuller Brush salesman, a long-haired Billy Graham in a fancy night shirt, and that's why he doesn't work for you anymore. He was a good medicine man, I guess. [Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, p. 162.]

The Christian churches, for the most part, confuse people's values and make it easier for materialism, confonnity, and the wétiko psychosis to control human beings.

A big Catholic church is being built for Indians on one of our Sioux reservations. It is shaped like a giant tipi. Over its altar hangs a huge peace pipe together with the cross. . . . I don't like it and many others besides me don't like it. It is dishonest. Because there is a difference, and there will always be a difference, as long as one Indian is left alive. Our beliefs are rooted deep in our earth, . . . and if you leave all that concrete unwatched for a year or two, our plants, the native Indian plants, will pierce that concrete and push up through it. [Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, p. 163.]

You see, the Catholic Church, just like the Pepsi-Cola advertisers and the clothing manufacturers, is always looking for new ways to "capture a market," to sell something, by disguising its product in such a way that people are fooled. In the same way, the Mormons sponsor Native dance groups to travel around as "the Laminite Generation." But to them its just a "come on," because the spiritual meaning isn't there. Its just a "side-show" to attract confused Indians. Then the "hard-sell" comes later. Neither Mormonism nor Catholicism have much in common with Native American philosophy. The big Catholic "tipi" cathedral and the huge, ornate, plush Mormon temples are ail monuments to material splendor and to religions which seem to purposely shut out the natural World – the earth, the plants, the sun, the cold, the heat, yes and even the flies and ants, which are, to the Indian, all sacred (wakan).

There were no temples or shrines among us save those of nature. . . . He would deem it sacrilege to build a house for Him who may be met face to face in the mysterious, shadowy aisles of the primeval forest, or on the sunlit bosom of virgin prairies, upon dizzy spires and pinnacles of naked rock, and yonder in the jeweled vault of the night sky! He who enrobes Himself in filmy veils of clouds, there on the rim of the visible world where our Great-Grandfather Sun kindles his evening camp-fire, He who rides upon the rigorous wind of the north, or breathes forth His spirit upon aromatic southern airs, whose war canoe is launched upon majestic rivers and inland seas – He needs no lesser cathedral! [Ohiyesa, Soul of The Indian, pp. 5-6.]

Even the pyramids and temple-mounds built by some Native People were not designed to close man off from the visible universe but, in fact, to imitate a mountain-top, to bring the worshipper closer to the elements of the world.

And, indeed, it may be that the development of massive, enclosed temples and churches of whatever size, in Asia and Eurpe, correlates very well with the rise of the wétiko sickness. Why? Perhaps because the temple or cathedral clearly serves to separate the sacred from the profane, the religious from the secular, the realm of worship from the realm of work, money-making, and killing. The wétikos perhaps want people to box up their "religion" in little buildings, where it can be isolated from the rest of life. Then "religion" comes into existence as a concept separate from "life," worship can be largely centered in one place, and priests and preachers can make their living and gain great power by controlling the use of the little boxes where that which is "sacred" is stored away. But Native American beliefs are very different.

But our Indian religion is all one religion, the Great Spirit. We're thankful that we're on this Mother Earth. That's the first thing when we wake up in the morning, is to be thankful to the Great Spirit for the Mother Earth: how we live, what it produces, what keeps everything alive. . . . This land, we appreciate that. When the eye of the Great Spirit rises in the morning, we stand and worship and thank him for that wonderful land that we're living in. Anything that's pretty we use to pray with because the Great Spirit made that. [Joshua Wetsit, in Morey, Can the Red Man Help the White Man, pp. 47-48, 15.]

Like Yeshwa and Buddha, Indians seek wisdom in nature. As Igjugarjuk, a Caribou Innuit (Eskimo) doctor says:

When I was to be an [angatkut or doctor], I chose suffering through the two things that are most dangerous to us humans, suffering through hunger and suffering through cold. . . .

True wisdom is only to be found far away from people out in the great solitude, and is not found in play but only through suffering. Solitude and suffering open the human mind, and  therefore an angatkut must seek his wisdom there.
[Quoted in Astrov, American Indian Prose and Poetry, pp. 297,300.]

Perhaps this is why Black people in the United States have developed the most authentic forms of Christianity, because, even though they have been limited by the sectarianism and forms of church building, etc., brought over from Europe, they have succeeded in developing a "spirit of living," based upon suffering, sharing, and humility, which permeates their faith. If you have ever heard a song sung in a Black church, like "If I Can Help Somebody," or if you have ever heard the late Martin Luther King speak, you must know that you are experiencing the peak of Christianity in the United States.

And perhaps that is why M. L. King was harassed by the FBI and finally murdered, because religion was, for him, living every moment of the day according to his deepest convictions.
Such men are dangerous in a wétiko world. The Billy Grahams and the Oral Roberts support the status quo, they sell religion instead of used cars, but their world is comprised of the Nixons and the Tulsa oil barons, and they thrive on it.

The "churches" offer no answer to the wétiko psychosis, by and large. Yes, even the Black church, because the beauty and power of Black Christianity has really evolved in spite of the Black churches – it is carried by Black people in their collectivity and not primarily by their preachers (who all too often have been materialistic, or corrupt, or weak). Organized Black sects can easily lend themselves to dogmatism, narrowness, and a concern with the petty and the superficial. Black Christians would do well to look to their African and Native American origins instead of being dominated by the theology of their European oppressors.

Count Zinzendorf, a Moravian Church leader, attempted to convert Kakowatchiky, a Shawnee man of Pennsylvania, to Christianity in 1742. Kakowatchiky thanked the count for his concern and said:

He himself was an Indian of God's creation and he was satisfied with his condition and had no wish to be a European. . . . He liked the Indian way of life. God had been very kind to him even in his old age and would continue to look well after him. God was better pleased with the Indians than with the Europeans. It was wonderful how much he helped them. [Paul A. W. Wallace, Conrad Weiser, p. 144, as quoted in Paul A. W. Wallace, Indians in Pennsylvania, p. 123].

Chapter 10

Seeking Sanity: Reversing the Process of Brutalization

The wétiko psychosis, and the problems it creates, have inspired many resistance movements and efforts at reform or revolution. Unfortunately, most of these efforts have failed because they have never diagnosed the wétiko as an insane person whose disease is extremely contagious. Nor have they, generally, understood that the nonwétikos, whether flunkies, pimps, or the most oppressed are often "secret carriers" of the disease. Such people become active wétikos only when conditions are favorable (such as when power is seized during a revolution).

Quite clearly there are many "fronts" on which one can become engaged if one's goal is to help bring about a just world. In his Pedagogy of the Oppressed Paulo Friere has described a method of revolutionary education designed to help oppressed people develop a "critical consciousness," an ability to perceive their objective conditions, to analyze why they are oppressed, and to comprehend that dehumanization is at the root of all oppression. Friere's method helps the oppressed to see that "love" and humanization are the proper goals of social change and that any adoption of the values of the oppressors merely insures the continuation of dehumanization.

The development of a "critical awareness" on the part of the oppressed is certainly a necessity and, of course, it is not a new approach. Tecumseh and his brother Tenskatawita ("the Shawnee Prophet") were engaged in just such an effort in the period from 1802 to 1814. Tecumseh and other teachers traveled from Canada to Alabama and the lower Mississippi Valley, attempting to help Native people to grasp fully the implications of U.S. imperialism.

But Tecumseh's movement differed from Friere's ideas in several important respects. First, Tecumseh did not hope to "humanize" the oppressors because he recognized that that was beyond the Native People's capabilities. Second, Tecumseh sought to separate the Indian from the White by preserving native independence and keeping White people out of native territory. (This would be impossible in a situation where the oppressors comprise a ruling class living in the same territory as the oppressed).

Finally, and most significantly of all, Tecumseh's movement possessed a "spiritual" base. The native teachers recognized that men have to be "cured" of their spi ritual sicknesses before they can build a just society. Thus Indians gathered together at Tippecanoe village to purify themselves, cleanse themselves of alcoholism and alien habits, and learn how to live once again as responsible, authentic people.

Friere's methodology – helping people to understand the social-political world around them – is vital – and yet something is missing. The flavor is European and if it has a "religious" element it consists in a kind of humanism. Humanism represents, of course, an admirable philosophy within the framework of European materialism and agnosticism. On the other hand, a critical method limited to the arena of socio-political human behavior as perceived through materialism is one which will never solve the problem of wétikoism. Why? Because one must take "critical awareness" beyond the limits of purely human situations in order to fully grasp the milieu in which we humans actually have our existence.

I believe that efforts to achieve justice in the socio-political arena of life are essential. But the basis for those efforts, if they are to be successful, must rest on the spiritual regeneration of each of us who are engaged in such struggles.

If the wétiko psychosis is to be overcome, and, if we are to be cured of the disease, the answer lies in what I call religion, which is following the "good, red road" or the "pollen path" for all the days of our lives. This is not to say that a person has to become an Indian, or follow Native American ways. No, because when we pull away the Wétiko sickness from our eyes and look at things in honesty and humility we find that the teachings of the great medicine-men, the great holy men, of the world are actually similar – they point in the same direction. They may not be identical, but that is okay because they all provide us with examples only. I don't believe they ever meant for us to become robots, duplicating every act of their lives, or phonographs, repeating every word of their prayers, or imbeciles, refusing to use the miracle of our own minds, or clods, failing to dream our own dreams, or blobs, never seeking our own visions.

Other people's visions are their own, not ours; and it is wrong to use them as an excuse for not finding our own if we can.

The way I look at it our body is the only thing which truly belongs to us. . . .

The difference between the White man and us is this: You believe in the redeeming powers of suffering, if this suffering was done by somebody else far away, two thousand years ago. We believe that it is up to every one of us to help each other, even through the pain of our bodies. . . . We do not lay this burden onto our god, nor do we want to miss being face to face with the spirit power. It is when we are fasting on the hilltop, or tearing our flesh at the sundance, that we experience the sudden insight, come closest to the mind of the Great Spirit. Insight does not come cheaply, and we want no angel or saint to gain it for us and give it to us second hand. [Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions.]

What this kind of perspective might mean in terms of everyday life is expressed by Cesar Chavez, the great native organizer of farmworkers:

When we are really honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us to be men. [Ahora!, V. Ill, no. 3, Jan. 28, 1972, p. 1.]

Most of the great teachers of the earth have taught things, or set examples, which can help us overcome the wétiko psychosis. "Psychosis" means "sickness of the soul or spirit." And so it is that we must turn to those things which have to do with the spirit or soul when we seek to find a cure. "Pragmatism" and opportunism offer no answers, nor does the psychiatry or psychotherapy of the usual kind. Wétikos can be very "pragmatic" at times and people treated by psychologists or psychiatrists can learn to "adjust" or "accept themselves."

"Adjustment" and "self-acceptance" is not what is needed. To adjust to a wétiko society is to become insane. To accept one's self is bad if it means accepting personal behavior which is ugly, exploitative, or which represents a surrender of the need for freedom, change or growth. Juan Matus teaches us that we have the power to change and that no matter how oppressed or abused we have been we, at some point, have to assume responsibility for our own acts.

Siddartha Gotama (the Buddha) taught more than 2,500 years ago that humans can break away from the wétiko disease and from other barriers to a satisfying life by following an individual path wherein they steer clear of dogmatism, sectarianism, greed, and "organized religion" in the normal sense.

The religious life, Malunkyaputta, does not depend on the dogma that the world is eternal; nor does the religious life . . . depend on the dogma that the world is not eternal. Whether the dogma obtain, Malunkyaputta, that the world is eternal, there still remain birth, old age, death, sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief, and despair, for the extinction of which in the present life I am prescribing. . . .

This is well to keep in mind in a world where Christian missionaries fight with each other over "full immersion" versus "partial immersion" in baptism, where scientists spend vast amounts of the people's money to artificially create life or to explore space or to invent weapons, and where some academics devote their lives to squabbling over abstract theoretical conceptions which have no bearing on the suffering of mankind. None of these things help us to solve the basic questions of each and every human life, but by diverting our energies, or our resources, or by creating hate and fear, they serve to doom millions of people to ugly or unhappy lives.

Accordingly, Malunkyaputta, bear always in mind what it is that I have not explained, and what it is that I have explained. . . . I have not explained . . . that the world is eternal; I have not explained that the world is not eternal; I have not explained that the world is finite; I have not explained that the world is infinite; I have not explained that the soul and the body are identical; I have not explained that the soul is one thing and the body another. . . . And why; Malunkyaputta, have I not explained this? Because . . . this profits not, nor has to do with the fundamentals of religion. . . .

And what, Malunkyaputta, have I explained? Misery, Malunkyaputta, have I explained; the origin of misery have I explained; the cessation of misery have I explained. . . .

Now this, monks, is the noble truth of the cause of pain: the craving which tends to rebirth, combined with pleasure and lust, finding pleasure here and there; namely the craving for passion, the craving for existence, the craving for non-existence.

Now this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of pain, the cessation without a remainder of craving, the abandonment, forsaking, release, non-attachment.

A very specific part of Gotama's teachings had to do with the elimination of hatred and selfishness and the cultivation of love and sharing. "Hatred is not appeased by hatred. Hatred is appeased by not-hatred alone."

May creatures all abound in weal and peace;
may all be blessed with peace always;
all creatures weak or strong,
all creatures great and small;
creatures unseen or seen,
dwelling afar or near,
born or awaiting birth,
– may all be blessed with peace!
– an all-embracing love
for all the universe
in all its heights and depths
and breadth, unstinted love,
unmarred by hate within,
not rousing enmity. . . .

Gotama insisted that each person had to follow his own path, because enlightenment is a personal experience, unique for each individual. "Therefore . . . be ye lamps unto yourselves. Rely on yourselves, and do not rely on external help." [Burtt, The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha, pp. 30-49.]

Of course, when the teachings of Gotama become possessed by "Buddhism," a church or sect, they are as liable to perversion as are the teachings of Yeshwa, Juan Matus, Black Elk or any other holy man. Why does this happen? In the case of Buddhism perhaps it was because the wétikos who dominated India, China, and Japan could not tolerate the notion of having societies comprised of free human beings seeking their own fulfillment in beauty and love. Instead, for example, the ruling classes of Japan wanted samurai who were willing to die for their masters, peasants who were passive and exploited, and a rigid system of exploitation which made it possible for the "lords" to live in splendor.

In Japan, and elsewhere, Buddhism has often been corrupted into a mere recital of formulas or the perfunctory perfonnance of well-regulated ritual. This type of "canned religion" gives the masses some sense of participation in the religious life while at the same time keeping them in their roles as peasants, servants, soldiers, and functionaries.

A wétiko society seeks, it would appear, to prevent the people (except for a select few) from pursuing their own spiritual fulfillment since the economy and the politics of such a society requires masses of laborers who live a regulated, predictable, conformist life.

Needless to state, the evolution of Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, and most forms of Protestantism is virtually identical with the above, and apparently developed for the same reasons.

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit; if there is but one religion, why do you White people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book? . . . .

Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion, or take it from you. We want only to enjoy our own. . . .

Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to White people in this place; these people are our neighbors, we are acquainted with them; we will wait a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest, and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again what you have said. [Red Jacket's reply to Missionary Cram, 1805, in Forbes, The Indian in America's Past, pp. 58-59.]

So the real test of a spiritual path is not to see how many monuments result, or how many converts are obtained, or how many prayers are repeated over and over again by imitative voices, but rather the test is: How do people who follow that path behave? How do they behave towards other humans? How do they behave towards the earth? How do they behave towards other living creatures? Are they doing evil? Are they free men and women who will stand up to evil? Or are they passive foot-soldiers trained to surrender their minds and hearts to their masters?

But how difficult it is! We are asked to "Honk if you love Jesus." We are asked to be "born again" and yet it is precisely in those areas with the most "born-again" people (Texas, Oklahoma, and the rest of the "Bible Belt") that racism, bigotry, exploitation, corrupt politics, militarism, and showy super-consumption occur most frequently.

But you shall know a tree by its fruits, and by its fruits the wétiko world stands condemned.

"Animism" is the somewhat derogatory term that European scholars have used for decades to refer to the native, folk religious beliefs of Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

"Animism" is a "nice" way of saying "heathen," "pagan," or "primitive." But maybe, after all, animism is not such a bad word, for it has to do with life, it means "life-ism."

Perhaps that is what we need, "life-ism," more respect for life, more respect for the living, more respect for all forms of life. That is a tree that has borne good fruit. That is a tree that still bears good fruit.

But "animism" is not a "religion," or a "church" or a "sect" or a "movement." It is a direction, a tendency,a pointing towards, a feeling – and that is good because by the time "a religion" has a "name" and a structure and a fixed creed it is probably no longer religion at all.

We should understand well that all things are the works of the Great Spirit. We should know that He is within all things: the trees, the grasses, the rivers, the mountains, and all the four-legged animals, and the winged peoples; and even more important, we should understand that He is also above all these things and peoples. When we do understand all this deeply in our hearts, then we will fear, and love, and know the Great Spirit, and then we will be and act and live as He intends. [Black Elk, Sacred Pipe, p. xx.]

* * *

I met a medicine man, one of my uncles. "Tell me about the Great Spirit," I asked him. "He is not like a human being, like the White god. He is a power. That power could be in a cup of coffee. The Great Spirit is no old man with a beard." [Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, pp. 39-40.]

Chapter 11

Finding a Good Path, a Path with Heart

How does one get on a good path? Gotama tried in his teachings to help his listeners discover their path by understanding that pain and misery arise from grasping and self-centered craving. Native American teachers often begin with helping others to understand their relationship to the entire world. It is interesting that the methods used by both Gotama and Native American teachers are essentially empirical, that is, are based upon observation or direct perception (either in the form of "common-sense" direct experience by way of the "senses" or by means of dreams, visions, and other "non-ordinary" experiences).

For example, the fact of our absolute, utter, complete dependence upon the earth is used by Native teachers as a part of self-understanding. It is empirically obvious that we are not only children, sucking at our earth-mother's breast all of our lives, but that we are also mixed with, and part of, that which Europeans choose to call "the environment." For us, truly, there are no "surroundings."

castaneda quote-01-smI can lose my hands, and still live. I can lose my legs and still live. I can lose my eyes and still live. I can lose my hair, eyebrows, nose, arms, and many other things and still live. But if I lose the air I die. If I lose the sun I die. If I lose the earth I die. If I lose the water I die. If I lose the plants and animals I die. All of these things are more a part of me, more essential to my every breath, than is my so-called body. What is my real body?

We are not autonomous, self-sufficient beings as European mythology teaches. Such ideas are based upon deductive logic derived from false assumptions. We are rooted, just like the trees. But our roots come out of our nose and mouth, like an umbilical cord, forever connected with the rest of the world. Our roots also extend out from our skin and from our other body cavities.

Nothing that we do, do we do by ourselves. We do not see by ourselves. We do not hear by ourselves. We do not breathe, eat, drink, defecate, phiss, or fart by ourselves. We do not think, dream, invent or procreate by ourselves. We do not die by ourselves. That which the trees exhale, I inhale. That which I exhale, the trees inhale.

Together we form a circle. When I breathe am breathing the breath of billions of now-departed trees and plants. When trees and plants breathe they are breathing the breath of billions of now-departed humans, animals, and other peoples.

"A human being, too, is many things. Whatever makes up the air, the earth, the herbs, the stones is also part of our bodies. . . . [Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, p. 149.]

Who was my mother? An egg? Who was my father, a little animal called a sperm? But where did this egg and this sperm come from? They grew inside a woman and inside a man, but they had their own life-paths distinct from those of the man and the woman. Their bodies, that flesh, my ancestor, grew inside of them and what was it? It was the earth, it was the sky, it was the sun, it was the plants and animals. (We are very lucky to have so many wonderful mothers and fathers!)

I live in a universe, am a point of awareness, a circle of consciousness, in the midst of a series of circles. One circle is that which we call "the body." It is a universe itself, full of millions of little living creatures living their own "separate" but dependent lives. They live, fight, "make love," split, and die independent of my consciousness, most of the time. If some of them get disturbed or get hurt they might tell me about it so that I can help them, so that I can get them some food, or scratch them, or get rid of their left-overs.

Another circle is all of the other things which I am completely dependent upon the air, the water, and so on. Another circle is all of the things which fill my consciousness – the things I see, smell, hear, and so on. Another circle is the source of my dreams, consciousness, insights, gifts or powers, ideas, and "intuitions."

But all of these "circles" are not really separate – they are all mutually dependent upon each other, they are all mixed up with each other, they all overlap and move in, and out, of each other.

And that mutual dependence blurs into the circle of "love," that mystery, that "glue" that holds all of this together. Scientists may call it "attraction," or "affinity," or "magnetism," or "gravity," as well as "affection," "symbiosis," "kinship," "community," "family," "compassion," or whatever. But there is that circle, that mysterious circle, that makes life possible.

But Europeans of modern times, and other materialists or dogmatists, seldom undertake this kind of analysis, an analysis based upon empirical frankness and an honest desire to learn. Instead they allow myths and dogmas to distort or predetermine their conceptions.*  (*I do not pretend that my "thoughts" as such, are "true" but merely that they express my feelings and perhaps point in a direction which others might find helpful.)

Maybe it's this: the European cannot tolerate mystery, especially mystery in the "real world." Native people, on the other hand, admit that there is mystery, and accept joyfully the task of living in such a wonderful world.

"Love" is another thing. Modern Europeans and wétikos everywhere do not love the earth. The earth is dead they say, just a kind of a big rock, and besides, even if it were alive it has no "soul," or "mind," or "spirit," So why love it? Why love anyone or anything? Why love one's wife? Do you love her because she is alive? Do you love her because she has a "soul?" Do you love her because she has a vagina which makes your penis happy?

Love is a mystery. So it does not matter whether the earth is alive or not. Our love for her is something we give. And in return she gives us her love. Does she ask if we are alive or have a "soul?" How do we know that we are alive? We move, but everything moves. We change, but everything changes. We breathe, but everything breathes, each in its own way. We procreate but so does everything else, "inorganic" or "organic."  (What is procreation? The process of producing "youngsters?" Then perhaps the planets, moons, and so on, are children of some departed sun who gave its life in childbirth. Then we are the "youngsters" of the earth. Ah, but the earth cannot produce us by herself alone. But who can produce "youngsters" by themselves or by itself? Not humans! Without food, air, water, and heat there's not going to be any sexual intercourse or any new little babies. We cannot reproduce by ourselves. Nothing can.)

And death; death is another circle that affects all things. How can a sun die if it never had life? All things participate in the circle of death. but as mentioned earlier. death is life. The egg died (or changed) to give us life. The sperm died to give us life. We all die to create life.

And so we learn. if we are willing to travel a path of knowledge. something about ourselves. which is to say that when we study ourselves we are studying the entire universe and we are studying the Great Creative Power. and when we study the world we are also studying ourselves. But to follow this path one does not study like a dogmatist.

A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war, wide awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. . . . For me there is only the traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to travel its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly. . . . Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. . . . Does this path have a heart? It if does, the path is good, if it doesn't it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. [Carlos Castaneda. The Teachings of Don Juan, pp. 43, 105-106, 194-195.]

It is the consistent choice of the path with heart which makes a warrior different from the average man. He knows that a path has heart when he is one with it, when he experiences a great peace and pleasure traversing its length. [Castaneda, A Separate Reality, pp. 217-218.]

Following a path of knowledge is not a matter of dogmatism, it is not a matter of surrendering one's life to someone else, nor is it a matter of ambition or gratification.

. . . you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any conditions. To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life. . . . But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition.

The path with heart

. . . . makes for a joyful journey, as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.
[The Teachings of Don Juan, pp. 105-106.]

Native American teachers also look to the universality of death and to the impermanence of all material things as a source for guidance in conducting one's life and finding a good road to follow.

Is it perhaps true that one lives on the earth?
Not for always on the earth:
only a little here.
Although being jade it shatters;
Although being gold it breaks;
Although being quetzal plumage it tears,
Not for always on the earth:
only a little here.
[Miguel Leon. Portilla, La Filosofia Nahuatl, p. 60, my translation.]

* * *

Let us see, is this real,
Let us see, is this real,
This life I am living?
Spirits, who dwell everywhere,
Let us see, is this real,
This life I am living?
[Pawnee song, in Astrov, American Indian Prose and Poetry, p. 109.]

Juan Matus tells us that

Death is the only wise adviser that we have. Whenever you feel. . . . that everything is going wrong and you're about to be annihiliated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you're wrong; that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will tell you 'I haven't touched you yet.' [Journey to Ixtlan, p. 55.]

But while your death can reassure you and make you strong, helping you to realize that you still are alive in this marvelous world, one's death also teaches us to gain control over our own lives. We do not have time to live as pimps for wétikos. We do not have time to engage in petty jealousies or inconsequential, directionless acts.

In a world where death is the hunter, my friend, there is no time for regrets or doubts. There is only time for decisions. . . . You must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it. . . . Whatever you are doing now, may be your last act on earth. It may very well be your last battle. There is no power which could guarantee that you are going to live one more minute. [Journey to Ixtlan, pp. 62, 107.]

Knowledge of death helps us also to find a good road, because perhaps it can bring us to deep considerations of our place in nature. Black Elk said:

It is good to have a reminder of death before us, for it helps us to understand the impermanence of life on this earth, and this understanding may aid us in preparing for our own death. He who is well prepared is he who knows that he is nothing compared with Wakan-tanka, who is everything; then he knows that world which is real. [SacredPipe. p. 6.]

A predilection with death alone, though, without other understandings, might be injurious.

Thus to be a warrior a man has to be, first of all, and rightfully so, keenly aware of his own death. But to be concerned with death would force anyone of us to focus on the self and that would be debilitating. So the next thing one needs to be a warrior is detachment. The idea of imminent death, instead of becoming an obsession, becomes an indifference. [A Separate Reality, p. 180.]

The fundamental message of one's own imminent death is to live a life that is worthwhile, one that is filled to the brim with precise acts, beautiful acts, meaningful acts, that help to take one along the pollen path, the path that only a warrior can travel. And what is a warrior?: A man or a woman who fearlessly seeks to be truly authentic as he or she travels onward in beauty and humility seeking knowledge.

A voice said [to lame Deer] "You are sacrificing yourself here to be a medicine man. In time you will be one. . . . You will learn about herbs and roots, and you will heal people. You will ask for nothing in return. A man's life is short. Make yours a worthy one. [Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions, pp 15-16.]

Sadly, the world of the wetikos tends to divert us from our authenticity, tries to degrade us, tries to fool us with the false masks of arrogance, sophistication, and hedonism, tries to lure us off our road with the temptations of greed and materialism, and teaches us to quest after victories which are hollow or meaningless.

Your friend [an old, wealthy man] is lonely because he will die without seeing. In his life he just grew old and now he must have more self-pity than ever before. He feels he threw away forty years because he was after victories and found only defeats. He'll never know that to be victorious or to be defeated are equal. . . .

Our lot as men is to learn and one goes to knowledge as one goes to war. . . . And so you're afraid of the emptiness of your friend's life. But there's no emptiness in the life of a man of knowledge, I tell you. Everything is filled to the brim. . . . I am not like your friend who just grew old. . . . For him, his struggle was not worth his while because he was defeated; for me there is no victory, or defeat, or emptiness. Everything is filled to the brim and everything is equal and my struggle was worth my while. . . .

[Castaneda, A Separate Reality, p. 88.]

It is not the concrete, material results of one's life that are important, for all such things can be destroyed, lost, or dissipated rapidly. It is rather the quality of our acts, of our struggle, of our motives, of our love, of our perseverence which are truly significant. As Black Elk said, "the power of a thing or an act is in the meaning and the understanding."

The spirit of a warrior is not geared to indulging and complaining, nor is it geared to winning or losing. The spirit of a warrior is geared only to struggle, and every struggle is a warrior's last battle on earth. Thus the outcome matters very little to him. . . . [A Separate Reality, pp 217-218.]

The wétiko psychosis is a sickness of the spirit that takes people down an ugly path with no heart. They may kill, but they are not warriors. They may learn skills, but they acquire no wisdom. They may be surrounded by death but they do not, or cannot, learn its message. They chase after the riches or rewards of a transient world and delude themsleves into believing that big tombs and munoments can make it permanent. Above all, the wétiko disease turns such people into werewolves and vampires, creatures of the European's nightmare world, and creatures of the wétiko's reality.

They have taken their Satan to the four-corners of the world, and they have made him their God.

But this earth of ours is not ugly. Nor this sky, nor this sun, nor this moon. Nor are the animals and the plants ugly. We live in a mysterious, marvelous universe and it offers us a chance to be cured by its loving embrace.

Peace. . . . comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells WakanTanka, and that this center is everywhere, it is within each of us. [Black Elk, in John Epes Brown, "The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian," Tomorrow, Autumn 1964.]

* * *

"The life of a warrior cannot possibly be cold and lonely and without feelings. . . . because it is based on his affection, his devotion, his dedication to his beloved. And Who, you may ask, is his beloved? . . . [Genaro, a Mazateco warrior, then became a ball of luminosity swimming on the earth.] Genaro's love is the world. . . . He was just now embracing this enormous earth but since he's so little all he can do is swim in it. But the earth knows that Genaro loves it and it bestows on him its care. That's why Genaro's life is filled to the brim and his state, wherever he'll be, will be plentiful. Genaro roams on the paths of his love and wherever he is, he is complete. . . . This is the predilection of two warriors," he said. "This earth, this world. For a warrior there can be no greater love. . . . This lovely being, which is alive to its last recesses and understands every feeling, soothed me, it cured me of my pains, and finally when I had fully understood my love for it, it taught me freedom." [Juan Matus, in Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power, pp. 284-285.]

* * *

It is above that you I shall go;
Along the Milky Way you and I shall go;
Along the flower trail you and I shall go;
Picking flowers on our way you and I shall go.
[A Wintu poem, Bierhorst, In the Trail of the Wind: American Indian Poems and Ritual Orations, p. 100]


Astrov, Margot, Ed. American Indian Prose and Poetry. New York: Capricorn Books, 1962.

Azuela, Mariano. The Underdogs. New York: Signet Books, 1962.

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Black Elk. The Sacred Pipe. Ed. by John Epes Brown. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1971.

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Burtt, E. A. The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha. New York: Mentor Books, 1955.

Brown, John Epes. "The Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian" in Tomorrow, Autumn 1964, pp. 297-307.

Castaneda, Carlos. A Separate Reality. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971.

Castaneda, Carlos. Journey to Ixtlan. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.

Castaneda, Carlos. Tales of Power. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974.

Castaneda, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan. New York: Ballantine, 1969.

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Dyk, Walter, Ed. Son of Old Man Hat. Lincoln: University Qf Nebraska Press, 1969.

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Erdoes, Richard, Ed. Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin, White Masks. New York: Grove Press, 1967.

Forbes, Jack D. Aztecas del Norte: The Chicanos of Aztlan. New York: Fawcett, 1973.

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Forbes, Jack D. Warriors of the Colorado. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965.

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900-999 – History

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Contents: 900 – History