Silence is Complicity

I had a meeting two weeks ago with a woman, a tribal leader respected enough to be elected into a state legislature to speak for her tribe.

In the same manner that I am directed by Ancestors to others, I was sent to her and shared as much. At the start of our meeting I was up front when I said I wasn’t certain why Ancestors wanted me to meet her, because there are generally three reasons I am connected to someone. However, it seemed to me that an obvious place to begin was the connection of her tribe to that of my investigation of sex trafficking of indigenous women and children.

She was kind, she was open enough to give me a hug when we first met rather than a handshake, and listen without interruption.

I shared no details but gave a general picture as to the kind of information I had about other elected officials involvement in sex trafficking across the continent and mentioned a direct connection to another person in tribal leadership.

What struck me most was the lack of curiosity. I had hoped, while keeping expectations low, that my interaction with a Native American woman in a position of power and leadership would be dramatically different then the interactions I have had with men in tribal leadership and law enforcement positions.  However, her response was largely the same.

This time last year when this unfolding that I call the Fuckery began, even before I had any idea of what I was being woven into, I was told to buy those in roles of community spiritual leadership to keep my mouth shut. I was told that they, these people, the living kin of the Ancestors who had directed me to them, would not be able to tell anyone else about me. I was also told that should I be invited into a sweat lodge, and I was to go so far as to keep my prayers to myself.

Other tribal leaders have chosen another tack; to remain silent when I have reached out for assistance, fully aware that I’ve done so  at the direction of their Ancestors.

The elected official I spoke to this time did not suggest my silence (but did clarify her own in more ways than one). She shared that it seemed to her I’d become the voice for the voiceless.

And that to speak for them, those without a voice, the past and future victims, I should write a novel. “The story already reads like a thriller! If you change the names, even those you mentioned will know you are talking about them!”

In her apparent excitement, she missed the irony of that advice coming behind the piece of our conversation on the use of lies and omissions on the part white colonizers to create a convenient and fictionalized narrative that suited them.

I’ve said before that there is no apparent political will on the part of federal law enforcement to intervene in the sale of indigenous women and children for the singular purpose of sex, unless they happen to be an end to other means. I could be wrong about that. Institutionalized racism may not play that role in institutionalized predation. May not.

It now also seems clear to me that there is no political will to intervene in institutionalized predation on the very fields from which these young people are disappeared. I could be wrong about that, too. Institutionalized predation, woven into the fabric of marginalized communities, may not play the role in silencing leadership. May not.

The truth will be told. There is no thrill or fiction that can hide the truth that silent leaders are as complicit in the act of young women and children being fucked to death as the brokers and buyers and middle men.

That the tribal spiritual and political leadership response is damn-near identical to that of white federal law enforcement should not surprise me. It does.

It also reminds me that no government and certainly no criminal organization will seek to change the ways that allow it to maintain its money and power and access to legitimacy until the people choose to change it.

While I may remain in hiding, I cannot remain silent. I will speak for those voices have been silenced by death, the threat of death; by fear of family and loss of freedom brought by trust in the familiar.

Their story will be heard as loudly and clearly as their prayers.

There is no fiction that needs to be added to the horror of the truth; that young indigenous people are easily disappeared into the depths of human depravity. To be sold for the sexual pleasure of others. Sometimes repeatedly, sometimes only once. And, unless they are of the fortunate few, to the death. That is not fiction.

It’s a reality supported by a status quo that there is little political will to change and plenty of economic (and political) reason to maintain.

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Star Stirring

In the light,
my hair looks like
It’s been streaked
by fire.

I wonder what
it’ll be like
after its tendrils
have stirred
the stars.

For the Love of a Girl with a Pink Rose in Her Hair

Her name isn’t Asifa

Though it could be. She could be eight years old, too.

She likes to fuss over her own hair, the rose placed just so. Not the rough, any ol’ way She does.

She might be ten. That rose makes her feel pretty.

Until the pretty of the pink gains weight as the head is bowed between another’s to take

him

a breath

them

To be parted like that is to

be scalped

By the highest bidder

Who likes them young enough to bend but not break

The spirit…

Of that little girl. She waits.

Asifa, Layla, Paula, Patrice, Denitra, the young might-be-a-little-Frida.

They could be. They Were.

They are no longer.

Sold to the highest bidder.

Sold out to the gravest sin.

For a bottom dollar,

no longer.

But still a vision with a pink rose in her hair.

Four Months into The Fuckery

The Fuckery is what I’ve named this unfolding that began last September.  It’s the most apt description and, at this point, I no longer refrain from using it with those who might be offended. Because that’s what this is. There is no way to pretty it up; not only is that like putting lipstick on a mud-covered pig but, in my view, there is no other way to adequately express the institutionalized system that exists solely to pad the pockets through selling sex with children and young people. From medicine men to the medical community, Mexican cartel and Indian gaming, tribal law enforcement and those who turn not a blind eye, but fully seeing eyes, so many people get a slice of the pie. So. Many.

January 14 marked the four-month anniversary of arriving in the Phoenix metro area. This past Monday was the four-month anniversary of finding where young people are held for sex trafficking in Phoenix and the beginning of much frustration–with law enforcement, competing bureaucracies and ideas of ‘proof’, and the intricate dance between past and present. It also happened to mark the two month anniversary of realizing that I was actively followed and targeted by those involved in the network. Safeguards were put into place once I realized the how close they were (enough to take photographs of me at night!) and how they found me (nothing is as secure electronically as you think it is!). I’m now more careful about how I poke the proverbial bear in the eye or otherwise stir the pot!

Almost one month ago, I had a vision. I mean, I have them all the time but this one was just of flowers or the same flower multiple times. I saw it, I wrote it down (and tried to draw it) gave it the eyebrow and thought nothing more until the next morning when I opened Airbnb to find another place to stay. I’d known for a few days that I was heading south but I made sure that my passport was handy because I didn’t know how far south I might be going. Turns out I wasn’t led to south of the border but merely a brief jaunt down a highway that’d shown up in another vision a few weeks prior. Because those freaking flowers?  A bedspread pattern. Uh huh.  A bedspread attached to an Airbnb homeowner who, when I walked in the door, said “So, how’d you find me?”  And, when I told her the truth, she didn’t flinch but gave her own eyebrow. And, the next morning, when I didn’t know where I’d go or how I’d get there, because getting to the vision-place left me three dollars, she said, “You just need to pull your car into the garage and not worry about that.”

I was led right to the heart of help! Just in the nick of time, too, because within a few days of arrival, the flu hit me like a freight train and knocked me out for just over a week!  Since then, we’ve struggled with balancing patience (right?!) and safety and the need to engage with things connected to The Fuckery. Because half a mile from from here is the specific truck that’s been seen in dreams of others since August.  Five miles away is a transfer point and fifteen…? Not only was I sent directly to help, I was brought to the outer edges of the network.

However, this past Monday was also the day I decided to pull the plug on my involvement in this unfolding. The toll on mind, body and spirit has been enormous, depression a close friend,  and there was a request from Helena, MT, to for a month-long dog sit.  While blessings do come, often in spectacular fashion like landing where and when I did a few weeks ago, there hasn’t been more than $100 income for weeks and a few hundred dollars seemed like a good idea. The phone has been off for nearly three weeks, Tater has been uninsured for two months, and thyroid medication ran out ten days ago. The shame and guilt associated with even thinking of abandoning those I’ve been sent for kept me tears moving during the day and brought sleepless nights. Visions of youngsters asking for help and their voices singing the refrain from Pink’s “What about Us?” gnawed at my heart and until two experiences yesterday, I’d swung back and forth from ‘leaving’ to ‘not leaving’.
Yesterday, I followed a ten day vision-string to another Indian reservation. In those three hours of driving through desolation, the tainted ground talked and a young girl trying to thrive in the shadow of human cruelty reminded me that to leave would violate my own oaths and go against every fiber of my being.  They didn’t actually say those things. The judgement never comes from outside my own heart. What they did was ask for help and help me understand (again) the why and what I am.
When I crawled into the vision-flower covered bed last night, I was too tired for more tears and too tired for immediate sleep. While I waited for the eyelids to facilitate sleep I had a visitation from not-quite-a-virgin Mother Mary. I’ve met her before. In fact, I met her while standing in the kitchen of the woman in Helena who asked me to come dog sit. However, last night’s appearance was more than an introduction. She didn’t drop in for a cuppa or conversation. She came to bless and to beseech me to not give up or give in. Who am I to deny the Mother or any mother?
So, I will carry on. But I need help. I need to be able to call 911 when necessary, I need an oil change and gasoline, as well as some acupuncture or other medical care to help the body manage the constant energetic overload. I would also like to give some to the woman who, by giving me her Airbnb room for a month (at $50/night), will struggle after making her mortgage payment.
I know not everyone can give financially and not everyone is going to hear Spirit say, “Give Ingrid ten percent of the windfall that is coming your way” (which did happen last October and came to fruition in December!) but if you would consider sharing this story with others who may be able to help sustain me if you cannot give, I would greatly appreciate it.
I do not know how much longer this will take but, I made a promise to the Old Ones in October 2015 and repeated it to The Mother last night:  “I will never deny you.”  To her, I added this: “I will bring them home.”
If you can help financially, please send via PayPal to paypal.me/IngridOliphant
The photo above is of the most recent painting Jayme Hopkins did for me last night.When I can’t pick up what Ancestors and others are trying to say to me, they go to her to paint the messages or the beings who are trying to engage. In this one, The Mother and more appear.  I’ve overlaid one of my favorite poems.

Because I Believe

Because I believe the

Heart of a sister

The touch of the Ancestors

The presence of the beloveds

and elephant trunks kissing

my face.

Because a giraffe isn’t just a giraffe. She’s called April and speaks herself into my existence.

Because the heart knows what it knows.

Because I trust the faith of those that guide and those who step in to face the threat with me

And remind me between each breath to become that which has been prayed for;

I am the called and the response.

Speak Now or Forever…

The weight of this sad time we must obey

Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.

The oldest hath borne most, we that are young

Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

~ King Lear Scene 5, Act 3

 

Oh, my love. In the midst of despair I only heard “Don’t say anything to anyone. I cannot tell anyone who you are or why you are here. You must keep you mouth shut, not even share your prayers with anyone. When you give your prints in a sweat, hold your tongue. Do not say what you are praying for or who you are to be working with. Say nothing. Hold everything inside.”

Behind those words were deeply held fears passed down to you by those who ‘taught these things’. There was a time, not as long ago as many may think, that holding everything inside is what kept individuals alive and communities intact; when the threat of the ‘savage’ accessing the powers that be and to Be as they were meant to meant death for those who spoke allowed, sang and danced with the rhythm of the heart of all that is.

Those who taught you these things were taught by others who tried desperately to erase your families from their own identities, histories, stories and, for some, existence.

However, we face something very similar now and to not speak truths of things; truths of things of spirit, the spirit of nature and nature of spirit, and our relationship with all those things. To hold our tongue still and heart closed will continue the process of losing identity, history, story, and, yes, for some, existence.

For two years, I’ve not known what to say when the Ancestors and Others who walk with me have shouted, “SPEAK!” with an occasional, more gentle, “Speak, child. Speak.”  I’ve asked again and again, “What would you have me say?” not in such a gentle way. Now I know.

Now I will hold neither my tongue nor my heart. There is no turning back. When They ask me to go find those disappeared at the hands of others and being disappeared because their sight and their voices, too, are being blinded and shuttered, I will. I will find them to bring them home; some to their families and some to their own hearts, their own nature. I will speak so their truths may be heard.

I will be quiet no more and ask you, my kind sir, do the same for we must do this together. No one of us can do this alone. We were never meant to.

In Telling the Holiness, I wrote :

In the Apache tradition, storytelling is to ‘tell the holiness’.  The myths that speak to the holy are “performed only by medicine men and women for the purposes of enlightenment and instruction.”

We may have finally come to the time where many  realize that storytelling isn’t only for medicine-people to tell; the truths of all things holy come from each of us, as much as we draw breath our own stories give us life.

In the time before we were not separate from ourselves and the places we stood upon and looked up into, we were a people so connected to the earth that the earth took our pain in the same manner it gave us life.  Absorbed it like a rare rain in the desert and held onto it like it was holding onto their dear lives. At one point, back in our time, we were each those people.  And, now they are mere remnants of our fabric; tossed and hidden away when not murdered from existence, removed from the collective conscious except when it appears to serve our romantic nature or reliance on greed.

I listen to those struggling to maintain communities in a good way fight to keep parking lots from plowing over medicines. My heart breaks when I’ve brought a 40 year old man back to his tribe but the 15 year old sitting next to him is desperate to escape “because I can’t be me here. I’m not safe. I’m not ready to kill myself, though. Yet.”

And in the places where we have shoved those people who represent the past that we have collectively deemed unworthy of our attention, we die along with them. As they bleed the interest in life, the earth withholds it–for them and for us. There’s no need to feed & give life if life is no longer lived in the manner it was made to support.  And this is repeated around the globe, again and again, even as we struggle to manipulate natural and created systems to feed our futures.  This cycle will be repeated as if a contagion until we vanish.

Like those before us who were starved of connection to their sacred places & spaces, we disconnect even further from each other.  Some run in any number of ways to escape, some escape to feel free yet yearn to come home.  Those who have walked before and those now.

I have felt the lost.   I have held their hearts in my hand and I have stood in the spaces where the ancients realized all that is was no longer; that relationship with the ground, that relationship with each other, the ties that bind us as a people, that relationship between spaces below and above; the very representations of all that is home.

To walk onto home and feel the defeat between the highs and to hear the kindness of strangers turn to meanness to kin who aren’t enough of any measure to be accepted by family or community, reveals that same lostness, but not of the Ancestors but in the hearts of those beating now. “How can I be me if I can’t be seen?” “All this talk about spirits, why am I called crazy for seeing these things?” “I can’t tell anyone the trees speak to me.” “I could just die.”

Oh, love. Please stay. I hear you. I’m coming. I feel you. I’m coming.