THIS WHAT IT IS ABOUT-NOT THE ONE BELOW
I’ve noticed what I’ll characterize as a micro trend of sorts lately, a cosmetic moderation of the rapes and abuse our women face on and off the rez. An attempt to alter the face of such occurrences and cast them in a different light.
It is usually accompanied with explanations of the effects on men of rez life, how they are victims, and as result are “driven” to such acts by a lack of self esteem.
This to me isn’t much different than the classic battered woman defense- the woman who will not only accept, but promote the concept that she is responsible for what is inflicted upon her-that she failed to do something right-she had it coming because she made her man mad, he had a bad day at work, laying around the house, car problems, he didn’t get the respect he thinks he deserves, or whatever.
Try telling that to a woman or child who has been raped or beaten-tell her if it isn’t her fault then neither is it the perpetrators, or the impact is mitigated in some nebulous way because he has low self esteem, he’s a victim victimizing others, and somehow it is understandable, it makes sense, it is excusable. Almost a certainly in a majority of the cases alcohol is involved.
Incredibly despite the well established connection between domestic violence and rape there have been, and remain, those who want to legalize alcohol on the rez -notwithstanding that some have sought to open a liquor store in Whiteclay, like Russell Means, with a convoluted plan that in addition to the profit that would accrue a “treatment” center for alcoholism could be established in PR. I leave it to the reader to determine the value of such an idea.
Well here’s the wake up call-men, “warriors”, don’t do any of the above for any viable, defensible, reason-and any attempt to “explain” such things away only re-enforces them.
Every man, woman, and child of us on or off the rez is a victim, and I fail to see how a lack of self esteem is an acceptable mea culpa for abuses, would mitigate them, or justify the creation of others in any way.
Such an attempt is for the most part being spoken by women, and may be well intentioned- but also predictable in a way as this isn’t something men want to confront or discuss.
They don’t want to accept the responsibility for engaging in such things, or standing by mute and inert in the midst of such things within their communities-and in that fail miserably.
I know many fine men among the nations-and I know plenty of dogs as well- I have some of that us against them mentality, but not enough to defend the indefensible.
Not enough to say that each person isn’t responsible for what they do, that it isn’t about choices made, or that they don’t all come with a price tag in some manner or another.
My “against them” position is “tradition against them”-and “them” is anyone who disrespects, sells, or abuses tradition and the fundamental nature of who we have been, who we should be.
Men have it tough? In many ways we do, but there is more to this world than men, there are women and children standing next to us who experience the same inequities -but I think women in this present environment have it tougher, and I’m not looking for or accepting any Catholic Church style “apology” as they offered in the 2000 “Memory and reconciliation: The church and faults of the past.”
Apologies and explanations that do nothing to stem the tide of behavior or the ongoing abuses committed.
No single segment of any society can be elevated in and of itself-all must be in like fashion and concurrent-that requires a communal participation. If not then caste systems are created and inequities abound.
If we want our women to be subjugated and walk behind us with heads bowed then say so-if not then do something more than ramble on about matriarchy and traditions.
Equal respect, equal protection, and equal goals-lacking that apologies and explanations will remain the way of it.
It’s so bad even The Society of Friends (Quakers) have lobbied for legislation to address the problem while “liberators”, “patriots”, and “walkers”, sit on their ass talking about matriarchy and loving all women.
So what is this-something we will wait for others than ourselves and our own to address through legislation, new laws? Doesn’t sound much like sovereignty does it?
Doesn’t sound like tradition, respect, or matriarchy does it? But then I suppose it doesn’t have a commercial value.
Do circumstances contribute to these sorts of things? Of course they do-but the key word is contribute-not mandate, not compel against one’s will.
Personally, as an indigenous man I expect more of us.