I’ve stated many times my belief, right or wrong, that what’s happening in the Black Indian Freedmen world is a microcosm of what is happening in the Black community as a whole. The censorship, marginalization, abuse, disrespect, murder (physical, emotional and spiritual), disregard, and countless other ugly forms that racism manifests itself is prevalent in both spheres. Sometimes subtle, hidden, intrinsic and casual. Other times brazen, lethal and unapologetic. However, it is presented, more public sentiment is leaning toward its existence, that it’s been around a long time and dealing with it’s eradication is a major quandry.
I, too, like many thousands of other reasoning folk, have stumbled upon the answer to the quandry that’s been dragging on for generations. The process must include elements from both the white and Black communities. First, White people coming to grips with certain realities that may not be pleasant to deal with. There are some deep-seeded “traditions” and convictions that just aren’t so. And though “that’s the way it’s been” its still not necessarily right. In Indian/Freedmen country, many tribal by-bloods have taken on just such attitudes of the white/European stance.
I do not want to discount the importance of all peoples coming together and building relationship. In the 30+ years of my working vocation, there was opportunity to interact with many varieties of peoples and personalities. There were rough spots, but all in all, the acts of relating and working together had more good than bad. And sometimes the bad had something good come out of it. Just recently, my wife and I were at an event at a winery. We sat at a table with an older and energetic couple. Both were retired educators. She was a teacher with a somewhat demure personality and he was an administrator and staunch conservative. Our conversations covered a myriad of topics from grandkids to politics, to medications, religion, and aging pains. Wasn’t long we were laughing comfortably and he even commented that he was beginning to talk like a liberal. Taking time to genuinely get know each other will generally open up the realization that we have more in common than not.
For Black America, there are some uncomfortable realities also. It can be very disturbing to research and read about some of the atrocities that one’s ancestors had to endure. Or even the fact that ancestors were not considered important enough to be named or have their birthdate documented. In Indian country, the tribes have went so far as to re-write their constitutions disenfranchising Black tribal citizens. This, in effect, attempts to write off the existence and legacies of the ancestors of today’s descendant freedmen.
One answer for gaining proper recognition for the Black community is to BREAK THINGS DOWN TO ITS SIMPLEST FORM. Like early math class when we learned division, they said find the common denominator. I’ve attended more meetings, think tanks and bar room discussions than I can remember. Most have included a list of priorities needed in the Black community. (On the aside, priorities seems wrong to begin with. Shouldn’t there just be a priority? But, that’s another discussion). I’ve seen so many gifted and articulate persons do their spin on this list of priorities and all the subtitles under each one.
My thought is that we in the Black community find one priority… and then we all put our energy, talents and focus into bringing that into fruition. And what might that priority be?
In Indian country there is a lot of talk and banter about the term Sovereignty. We as African-Americans are the only group of people that came to Amercan shores as forced immigrants. All others came voluntarily. Although African in nature, we represent a mixture of African nations, customs, and languages. Because of our dark skin, we were lumped together as 1 people. We’ve been forced to lose whatever conscious cultures of our past and to learn a new language while adopting another culture(s) that were sometimes contrary to our natural inclinations. Over the past 400 years, our histories and cultures have bred out to a large extent. Our DNA has been interfered with and now we have developed a new brand as a nation inside of a nation. So it is a new concept to think of African-American Sovereignty. What is sovereignty? It is defined as a group or body of persons possessing power or authority. I was in a meeting at a conference of American Indians (I was the only Black person in the vicinity) and the breakout session I was in dealt with the topic of sovereignty. The facilitator was an American Indian who represented the Indians at the U.N. His definition of sovereignty (loosely recalled) was the stance or position of a body that is publicly proclaimed by that group and all laws, efforts and intentions of that group go to promote that position.
This is why I support one main priority of/for the African-American community and then all the talents, energies and efforts funnel into that. Its like in the spiritual realm. We have one priority, Salvation. Faith, prayer, good works, fruits all work together to that end, but salvation, the saving of the soul, is job 1.