Silence is Complicity

I had a meeting two weeks ago with a Blackfeet 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 by 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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