1a : unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power b : something that oppresses especially in being an unjust or excessive exercise of power
2: a sense of being weighed down in body or mind :
There should be a designated blank space in this definition as presented in Webster’s labeled add name here-it would be a long and revealing list. Five hundred plus years of it, entire nations gone, languages lost, traditions and cermonies undergoing change, the ongoing theft of land.
Everyone is well aware of the familar antagonists-the government, the church, and hopefully an awareness of the new oppressors. Those who ransack and pillage communities like Wounded Knee and then flee the destruction while pointing the finger of blame everywhere but it’s righful place-themselves.
During one of Russell’s homilys about AIM, retirement, etc he made the statement he was proud of what AIM had “accomplished”, of his association with it. By extension that can only mean pride in the misery visited upon the Lakota people, pride in the suffering visited upon those of WK2 at his hands and those of AIM during that period.
That raises the question for me is there also pride in the abduction, beating, rape, and murder of Annie Mae? Is there a sense of pride for the murder of Ray Robinson and those who lie in unmarked graves? Was it pride that precluded attendance at Annie Mae’s burial and the ensuing decades of silence? What manner of pride motivated AIM to gather huge amounts of money in donations and what amounted to little more than coercion
in playing upon guilt and from which no real tangible results can be seen?
Is Dennis Banks proud of his association, his “service” as well? Is he proud of his silence on the issue of Annie Mae? Or his well known reputation for running when trouble comes? How about the children left behind, is that a source of pride, or the placing of women in harms way? Is he proud of the legacy of AIM, this entity he helped to create?
There is oppression and oppressors, both equally recognizable. In the desperation born of centuries of neglect and oppression trickster insinuated himself in the guise of those many self proclaimed heroes and did what he always does.The question is were the lessons learned?
AIM has never realized it’s potential and there is a great tragedy in that, not only for the people, but for the good hearts who labor anonymously within it’s ranks. When you find these good hearts among you offer them the praise and expressions of gratitude they so richly deserve, be supportive of them-for those others rebuke them and look away, close your ears to them and offer what they so richly deserve-nothing, save justice. As Joann Spotted Bear said-” to hell with Russell Means”, and I would add to hell with the entire bunch.