Hey America… We have no National Identity! That’s no Bueno. Part 1.
I wish I can say that I was as consumed with the Presidential election as some Americans were, but I wasn’t. Honestly I checked out when Bernie was disallowed to represent the DFL. Instead I invested my time in understanding the happenings at Standing Rock.
If you’re just hearing about this topic. It is a big deal. Bigger than most people are aware of to be honest.
There’s an oil pipeline that is moving forward through contested land. Potentially putting the Missouri river -our 5th largest river in America- at risk. The Standing Rock Tribe of North Dakota has spearheaded a movement calling everyone to stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline in favor of protecting a vital water source for over 17million Americans. Since the beginning, hundreds and hundreds of protectors have been arrested, attacked by dogs, assaulted, lied to, face militia, without any major attention by the media. Not to mention that the company known as DAPL has ignored Presidential orders, and Army Corp to stop digging because of lack of legal authority to do so.
While I was there, I was challenged to question whether or not this pipeline was in tune with my personal beliefs. Which it wasn’t. This, then made me look at our national identity… Those that I expect to represent the highest standard for life, i.e. the president and soon to be elected, have been mute about this value being compromised. I was crushed to say the least. Not because I haven’t had conflict with my country before, but not supporting Standing Rock went up against an ethical value for me. And this value I feel is a responsibility a human with a spiritually guided identity would uphold without batting an eye. But, did I have the courage to go up against the Bankrupt soul of America? And, how far would I go to protect the Water?
So what did I do? I cried. I had a break down. I cried because I couldn’t commit my soul to the cause like the warriors at Standing Rock do everyday.
Isn’t your soul the most important thing that makes us who we are? My life certainly didn’t seem like I was soul-less. I mean, I have a girlfriend and a caring family… wouldn’t they have told me?Did that mean I was soul less?
So there I was, having a face to face encounter with my soul, and truly for the first time. Not that it was a sorrowful realization. It was a moment of discovery. A moment of questioning.
I wasn’t afraid, but I was taken over by unexplainable emotion. Those tears weren’t from the pain I felt, or regret, sadness, or shame of who I was, but growth. Growth that I’m thankful to have.
I wish life would pause for these Pixar moments, but it doesn’t. There was a conflict I was currently having and growth was triggered by my decision to acknowledge this conflict. Standing Rock challenged me to look deeper than it being an issue based debate.
There were a handful of moments that led to this breakdown but one in particular had me reeling. How does a people (who go under many different titles of identification) have the strength to look past 500 years of identity genocide and respond to this conflict with love and prayer? How could these people identify with a person like me, but I, not with them? From what identity did they draw that allowed them to call me and many other white people their Relative? Now I’m not the greatest linguistic, nor have a great mastery of grammar, but I do capitalize Relative because they used this word as a Proper noun. Perhaps because they spoke to me in a sacred voice? That’s what I believe anyway.
It was here that I began a self-transformation from a technology dependent citizen to a spiritually driven citizen. But I’ll address that more in part 2.
My tears were the exiting of a virus. A sickness that I or my parents perhaps never did intend for me. It was extracted only because I let it so.
After (for better words) my Awakening. I felt a new void in me. A void that I understood had the potential to be replaced with an identity. One that no one can ever take. One like a Native American possess, but not necessarily indigenous.
My understanding from these events is that all humans must come to know their personal identity and collectively share a relatable national identity. It is a life force, and sustains ones soul when conflict arises. There are some at Standing Rock who are examples of people who need nothing more than their Spiritual identity to combat any opposition. Conversely, to not have this relationship makes us ill equipped to coexist with the world.
Perhaps I was lucky that my void at an early age was not filled with energy of the likes of a Trump or a Hillary. However, my experience confirms that I have been spiritually bankrupt. And you can see the hunger for better identity, culture, and more humane story to share then Slavery, Murder, theft and corruption.
But how did I… We… get here? Where better to begin to unravel our mess of a culture then at the beginning. When the first Europeans encountered a civilization of indigenous people in 1492. Their spiritual void is proof by their actions.
And, from that day forth, this bedrock of murder, deception, theft and greed has been our identity still to today.
It is why our suicide rate is so high. It’s why we have more mental break downs today than any other nation. It is why depression is so high. Unprecedented violence. It’s why we as a nation are so disconnected in unfathomable ways.
So here today I write from Standing Rock. My fourth trip from Minneapolis to do my part in changing our national identity. Because I do not accept this inherited narrative. No matter how complex, and how inconceivable the notion is. Our nation must reinvent its identity. It is the only way.
And there will be hundreds of thousands that will be consumed with a paradigm that is not spiritually driven. And that will mean conflict. But knowing what I know now.. is it worth the fight? Is it worth giving your life to change? Yes. It is. And if my words make you feel that I’m an extremist, then you have forgotten the responsibility that comes with being a Relative, or Protector. For they are the words used by spiritual beings who understand that life is the reward for protecting sacred resources such as water. Not just for themselves but for their Relatives that they are in conflict with. And THAT… is as sane of a human as there ever will be. No matter what their heritage may be.
written by Peter Erik Pawlowski. Founder of thelocksleyproject.com
Support his crowd fund campaign here for Oceti Sakowin Camp in Standing Rock : https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/oceti-sakowin-s-camp-security--2/x/10069378