Human Trafficking Is Not Traditional, Except When It Is

One of the myths about human trafficking is that it’s not traditional. However, the phenomenon of human trafficking, particularly that of children and women from Indian Country, is entwined in the histories of indigenous peoples all over, including those in North America. That we’ve put them ‘out of sight, out of mind’ physically, educationally, and historically does not help modern victims, perpetuates the roles of traffickers and law enforcement, and negatively impacts those rescued who are not believed or cannot find resources for healing and recovery in their communities.

Long before the Spanish flooded Mexico and other Europeans made it to the mainland of what is now the United States and Canada, indigenous peoples stole women and children for labor, for sex, and for trade for goods–to other tribes and then to the Spanish, French and English. We can’t approach the healing of communities or eradication of the modern practice without understanding the larger and historical context.  The methods of abduction and modes of travel may have changed but the basics remain the same; exploitation of vulnerable communities and individuals, the routes used to transport, and sale to the highest bidder for the maximum profit.

Andrés Reséndez’s work called The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, from which I’ll be quoting heavily, traces the historical movement of Indian slavery across the Caribbean and North America. It’s a fascinating, mind-numbing (not the prose but the scope) and heart-breaking accounting of how so many communities were decimated, not just by the diseases that we are told about in history lessons but by the theft and sale, particularly of women and children.

He begins with this:

The beginnings of this other slavery are lost in the mists of time. Native peoples such as the Zaptocs, Mayas, and Aztecs took captive to use a sacrificial victims; the Iroquois waged campaigns called “mourning wars” on neighboring groups to avenge and replace their dead; and Indians in the Pacific Northwest included male and female slaves as part of the goods sent by the groom to his bride’s family to finalize marriages among the elite. Native Americans had enslaved each other for millennia, but with the arrival of Europeans, practices of captivity embedded in specific cultural contexts became commodified, expanded in unexpected ways, and came to resemble the kinds of human trafficking that are recognizable to us today.

By historians estimation, based on a variety of documents available to them, in the America’s alone, between 1492 and 1900, there were between 2.5 and five million Indian slaves.  These numbers do not include those shipped from the east coast of what’s now the United States to Europe; the numbers of which are not known beyond estimates. What is known is that this particular phenomena began by Indians offering their own slaves to Europeans in exchange for goods like food, weapons, metalwork and more. Reséndez shares this:  “What started as a European controlled enterprise, however, gradually passed into the hands of the Native Americans. As Indians acquired horses and weapons of their won, they became independent providers….In the Southwest, the Comanches and Utes became regional suppliers of slaves to other Indians as well as to the Spaniards, Mexicans, and Americans.  The Apaches, who had early on been among the greatest victims of enslavement, transformed themselves into successful slavers.”

Things were only slightly different in the Eastern part of the new country. “Between the period between 1670 and 1720, Carolinians exported more Indians out of Charleston, South Carolina, that they imported Africans into it. As the traffic developed, the colonists increasingly procured their indigenous captives from the Westo Indians, an extraordinarily expansive…militaristic slaving societ[y]….”   The Westos and others roamed from Virginia to Florida taking captives to sell to other Indians and to Carolinians.

I knew when I was in the desert two years ago some of the historical context but sometimes when Ancestors attempt to explain things in a manner for which I have no context, I can’t grasp the Bigness or Oldness of a thing. Then, I was thinking 40 years ago, going back maybe a half a century, not four or five centuries. I remember driving south on Arizona Highway 85 into Ajo, feeling similar to how I’ve felt at other places; the slow-slog travels of long ago, the feeling of lostness and displacement from the places and people that mattered most, much newer fear layered on top of that, and only then began to recognize the length of time they were trying to express. It didn’t begin to become clear until I began researching.

It was not lost on me that the center of this network, though it may stretch to Australia and South Korea, is in the Phoenix metro area. Phoenix has only been a city since 1868 but the history of those who lived and moved through there predates our written recordings. Maps before modern borders came into being show trade and seasonal migration routes from what is now Central Mexico and into Colorado, Idaho, California, Illinois, and more. Linguists trace the same from Western Mexico along the Gulf Coast as far east as Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. Before we carved up the land with imaginary lines and paved highways, people moved much farther that we’ve been taught in school and, in doing so, stole, traded and sold much than we’ve been taught as well.

The beginnings of Indian enslavement in the Southwest have direct ties to sex trafficking today and The Fuckery’s hub in Phoenix. The relationships built over time by families, lawful businesses, criminal organizations, militaries, traders and travelers, particularly along the country’s borders, have been evolving since long before white faces showed up on the continent. However, the Spaniards discovery of silver and the labor necessary to mine it and refine it, created a mass-commercialization of trafficking that survived it’s illegality and royal antislavery activism and has morphed into it’s current state. The illegality that made it difficult for Spanish slavers to work created an avenue for Indian traffickers to fill the void. “Thus new traffickers, new victims, and new slaving routes emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.”

One incident cited by several historians seems to exemplify in rather gross way how these factors came together. “In 1694, barely two years after the Spaniards had retaken control of the province, a group of Navajos arrived [in a market in New Mexico] with the intention of selling Pawnee children. The Spanish authorities initially refused to acquire the young captives [because Indian slavery was illegal by royal decree]…The traffickers proceeded to behead the captive children within the Spanish colonist’s sight. In the short term, the Utes lost their “merchandise”. But in the longer term, the stratagem prompted New Mexican officials to reconsider the ban against “ransoming” Indian captives…In effect, the Navajos, Utes, Comanches, and the Apaches forced New Mexican authorities to break the law and accept their captives.”  Reséndez adds, “By the middle of the eighteenth century, these commercial and diplomatic relations had become normalized.”

Archives like government treaties and mission and military communications related how the expansion for more human ‘goods’, particularly by the Comanche, refashioned the livelihoods and ‘neighborhoods’ of desert, Plains and Plateau tribes. As horse-heavy Comanches and Utes repeatedly raided, people moved to escape and, when family was captured, often moved to join other bands. And those that were captured, if not sold, were married into or enslaved for life in other communities. “The Comanches took many of their captives to New Mexico, where…in the absence of money or silver, women and children constituted a versatile medium of exchange accepted by Spaniards, Frenchmen, Englishmen, Pueblos and many other Indian groups in the region.” The flow of the Indian slave trade then saw Apaches sold by Comanches to French colonists in Quebec to the extent that the Apaches came to comprise as many as one quarter of all Indians slaves of known origin in New France.” The opening up of California and the expansion of Europeans across the West only expanded the practice again with new traffickers, new routes and new victims. Navajo, Utes and others sold captives to those moving westward and resupplied traffickers when they made their way back to the east.

Now as then, multigenerational rivalries, intertribal animosities, military history, other ties to ancients and lost ties to lands and resources still fuel the trade.

Stolen and sold for labor and to increase tribal populations, Indian women and children were the most often taken. Their value was nearly double that of adult males. I don’t know how much a young woman’s ‘value’ is determined by traffickers these days. I’m going to assume it’s a lot more than the $150-200 from the 1850s.  I do know that the ‘return on investment’ now exceeds what anyone imagined then. With the advent of modern technologies, the ease of intercontinental travel, and the myriad of ways and number of times a young person’s sexuality can be exploited, the amount of money brought in by thousands of disappeared young people is staggering.

And, in my opinion, the trafficking of women and children for the labor of sexual exploitation, is indeed, normalized. It’s so ‘normal’ that when someone sees something, they don’t say something.  It’s so ‘normal’, that the political infrastructure of bringing new Indian casinos into being, long before construction has begun, includes plans for how to incorporate the sale of sex by slaves in new communities, with new victims, new routes and notso new traffickers.

Human trafficking in Indian Country is, in many parts of the continent, traditional. Now though, maybe, people will stop long enough to say something; say something to their tribal council and white legislators, say something to victims, those who pimp and pander, ask questions, demand accountability, and openly challenge the practices and people that allow it to flourish and rip communities apart. This is one tradition that needs to be eradicated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Indian Gaming and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

 

The Fuckery, the name I’ve given this sex trafficking network, would not exist without the active participation of Native American-owned casinos. According to the National Indian Gaming Association’s Fact Sheet from 2015, in 28 states there were 317 Indian casinos with Class II and Class III machines and they reported revenues of $29.9 Billion dollars. The Fuckery operates in 174 of them.

They are:

  • Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale AZ (Salt River Pima Maricopa)
  • Wild Horse Pass, Chandler AZ
  • Desert Diamond-3 locations
  • Chumash Casino Resort
  • River Rock Casino, Geyserville CA
  • Graton, Rohnert Park CA
  • Table Mountain, Friant CA
  • Cliff Castle, Camp Verde AZ
  • Dakota Magic, Hankinson ND
  • Dakota Sioux, Watertown SD
  • Northern Lights, Walker MN
  • Prairie’s Edge, Granite Falls MN
  • Shooting Star, Mahnomen, MN
  • Sky Dancer, Belcourt ND
  • Prairie Knights, Ft Yates SD
  • Warroad, Warroad, MN (+2)
  • Spirit Lake, St Michael ND
  • Four Bears, New Town, ND
  • Mystic Lake, Prior Lake, MN
  • Fort Randall, SD
  • Downstream, Quapaw, OK
  • Apache Nugget, Dulce and Cuba, NM
  • Red River, Devol OK
  • Kiowa, Devol OK
  • Cherokee, Ramona OK
  • Black Hawk, Shawnee OK
  • Seven Feathers, Umpqua, OR
  • River Bend, Wyandotte OK
  • Wind River, Wind River WY
  • Ilani, Ridgefield WA
  • Red Wind Casino, Olympia WA
  • Chinook Winds, Lincoln City OR
  • Win-River, Redding CA
  • Angel of the WInds, Arlington WA
  • First Council, Newkirk OK (+2)
  • Indigo Sky, Wyandotte, OK
  • Spokane Tribe, Airway Heights WA
  • Goldsby Gaming, Norman OK
  • Riverstar, Terrell OK
  • Riverwind, Norman OK
  • Lucky Eagle, Rochester WA
  • Red Hawk, Placerville CA
  • Isleta Resort, Albuquerque NM
  • Wild Horse, Pendleton OR
  • Colville 12 Nations, Omak WA
  • Eagle Mountain, Porterville CA
  • Colusa, Colusa CA
  • Bucky’s, Prescott AZ
  • Flowing Water, Fire Rock and Twin Arrows
  • San Manuel, Highland CA
  • Choctaw, Durant OK
  • Blue Lake, BLue Lake CA
  • Viejas, Alpine CA
  • Cache Creek, Brooks CA
  • Three Rivers, Coos Bay OR
  • Quil Creek, Tulalip
  • Casino Pauma, Pauma Valley CA
  • Muckleshoot, Auburn WA
  • Pala, San Diego CA
  • Thunder Valley, Lincoln CA
  • Sycuan, El Cajon CA
  • Jamul, Jamul CA
  • Morongo, Cabazon CA
  • Agua Caliente, Rancho Mirage CA
  • Chicken Ranch, Jamestown CA
  • Spirit Mountain, Grand Ronde OR
  • Cities of Gold, Santa Fe
  • Buffalo Thunder, Santa Fe
  • Silver Reef, Ferndale WA
  • The Point, Kingston WA
  • Clearwater, Suquamish WA
  • Blue Water, Parker AZ
  • Seven Cedars, Sequim WA
  • Hon-Dah, Pinetop AZ
  • Tachi Palace, Lemoore CA
  • Little Creek, Shelton WA
  • Chukchansi Gold, Coarsegold CA
  • Cherokee, Ramona OK
  • Northstar, Bowler WI
  • Two Rivers, Davenport WA
  • The Stables, Miami OK
  • Quinault Beach, Ocean Shores WA
  • Legends, Toppenish WA
  • Shoshone Rose, Lander WY
  • Ohiya, Niobara NE
  • Choctaw, Durant OK
  • Skagit, Bow WA
  • Hard Rock, Tulsa OK
  • Tonkawa Hotel/Casino, Tonkawa OK
  • Seneca, Niagara Falls NY
  • Saganing Eagles Landing, Standish MI
  • Soaring Eagle, Mount Pleasant MI
  • Swinomish, Anacortes WA
  • Santa Ana Star, Bernalillo NM
  • Emerald Queen (Fife and Tacoma, WA)
  • Barona, San Diego
  • Mazatzal, Payson AZ
  • Apache Gold, San Carlos AZ
  • Apache Sky, Dudleyville AZ
  • Mountain Gods, Mescalero NM
  • Winnevegas, Sloan IA
  • Kwataqnuk, Flathead Lake MT
  • Sands, Bethlehem PA
  • Akwesasne Mohawk, Hogansburg NY
  • Del Lago Resort, Waterloo NY
  • Kewadin Casinos, Sault Ste. Marie
  • Firekeepers, Battle Creek MI
  • Odawa, Petosky MI
  • Four Winds, New Buffalo MI
  • Northern Waters, Watersmeet MI
  • Paiute Palace, Bishop CA
  • Diamond Mountain, Susanville CA
  • The Mill, North Bend OR
  • Kla-Mo-Ya, Chiloquim OR
  • Indian Head, Warm Springs OR
  • Cache Creek, Brooks CA
  • Mole Lake, Crandon WI
  • Gray Wolf Peak, Missoula MT
  • Stonewolf, Pawnee OK
  • Twin Pine, Middletown CA
  • River Spirit, Tulsa OK
  • Osage Casino and Hotel (3)
  • Treasure Island, Welch MN
  • 7th Street, Kansas City
  • Avi Casino Resort, Ft Mohave AZ
  • Coushatta Casino Resort, Kinder, LA
  • Gun Lake, Wayland MI
  • Coeur d’Alene Casino, Worley ID
  • Sandia, Albuquerque NM
  • Dancing Eagle, Cibola NM
  • Santa Claran, Espanola NM
  • Sky City, Acoma NM
  • Casino San Pablo, San Pablo, CA
  • Cypress Bayou, Charenton LA
  • Choctaw Pines, Dry Prong LA
  • Paragon, Marksville LA
  • Winstar, Thackerville OK
  • Wind Creek Casinos, Alabama (3)
  • Fort Hall, Pocatello ID
  • Mohegan Sun, Uncasville CT; Pocono,NY
  • Meswaki, IA
  • St. Croix, Turtle Lake WI
  • Grand Casino, Hinckley MN
  • Lucky Star, various locations OK
  • Grand Casino, Shawnee OK
  • Thunderbird, Norman OK
  • Menominee Casino, Keshena WI
  • Seminole Hard Rocks, Florida (2)
  • Seminole Immokale and Coconut Creek
  • Sky Ute, Ignacio CO
  • Ute Moutain, Towaoc CO
  • The Artesian, Sulphur OK
  • the to-be built Pamunkey casino, Norfolk VA*
  • the to-be built Legends Casino and Resort, Russelville AR*

These casinos and resorts in the United States are not the only ones involved with this network.  There are others in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Prince Albert, Winnipeg, Montreal and the Toronto areas that are active participants.  This list does not include over 60 casinos and resorts that are owned and operated by private corporations and public interests in other parts of the continent.  In addition, this list does not include those corporate participants across Europe, Russia, Asia, and Africa.

 

**These casinos have not been built yet. However, the parallel political maneuvering, consulting and lobbying processes outside the legitimate legislative negotiations, have included discussions between partners and participants of The Fuckery to expand the movement of current trafficking flow to be incorporated as new revenue streams.  Let that sink in for a minute. That is how institutionalized and ‘normalized’ the gaming industry’s involvement in sexual trafficking is.

 

 

 

 

We’re the Dark Force

There is no secret occult, invisible evil, or supernatural Dark Force spinning a web of entrapment and sexual slavery.

It’s us. Solid human beings that actively choose to create harm; some in what they weigh as ‘small’ ways, like creating a ‘friendship’ online that leads to a meeting in person and drinks with a drug in it.

It’s the mother whose son hears, “That girl! Look, she’s nothing but a tramp, she’s worthless!” It’s the girl who hears that–maybe from her own mother, who may or may not know that her father has been raping her since she began to toddle.

It’s the human need for connection and the capacity of other’s to exploit that, as well as economic poverty and other forms of lack.

It’s the collective agreement that the election of a mayor, tribal council person, school board, preacher or President who ‘grabs ’em by the pussy’ or ‘just takes what he/I wants’ is okay.

It’s the sexualization of children without teaching them about sex and all that it really is; it’s about hiding our own sexuality and need for intimacy behind porn and paywalls to substitute for connection. It’s about turning a blind eye to those who look, speak or behave differently than us because they are ‘other’.

For many of us, it’s the unwillingness to acknowledge our own privilege, the damage our forefathers wrought and our shared responsibility in fixing their fuck-ups. And, boy howdy, did they ever fuck some things up.

It’s the persistence of cynicism and sarcasm, taking the easy way out. It’s the unwillingness to challenge ourselves to do things differently–to see *others* differently, to move into active loving.

Love isn’t everything. It’s a magnificent foundation but requires effort.

Love also requires the effort (and it does take work) to understand that the phenomena of sexual slavery and that of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is not easily divided into black and white, good and bad, righteous and evil. It requires understanding that even those who cause great harm mow the neighbors yard without asking, feed strangers, love their children, do good works for their communities.  They exist together in the same way we each do; masked and visible selves that need to be heard, seen and healed.

 

While You Were Paddling

Say Something

While you were paddling, making your way to the Lummi Nation, what was going through your mind?  What were your prayers?  To whom did you sing? What did you hear beyond the sound of your own heart beating?

How much of your thoughts were centered on”ohshitohshitohshit. Oh. Shit! Now what do I do?” When your conscience has been calling?  When you’ve watched those you call relatives enslaved in the place you work? When you’ve judged them for being ‘just whores’ or thought something more like ‘well, everybody’s got to work’ and not thought more about it? How often have you covered up the signs when you’ve cleaned the room or served the drinks? How often have you seen the makeup run and know she’s not 18 or 21, but maybe 16? How often have you seen a madam talking up security, laughing as if it’s business as usual and business is good?

When you first read what I wrote about this, did you think “that’s not happening where I work” or did you already know and just keep you mouth shut? How often has ‘see something, say something’ slipped through your mind without a thought getting attached? How often have you actually detached because ‘it’s not of my business’?

What happened when you showed others the post?  When you thought someone else would say something? Were you surprised at the shrugged shoulders? Did the one who gave the vibe that he was part of it frighten you?

When will you say something? When will you do something?

It’s not enough to put on a red dress or paint across your face and say you’re an advocate.

Say something.

Reach out.

 

Government Cheese and Truth

“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” 

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ― Audre Lorde

In My Secret is Safe with Your Secret, I wrote this:

We cannot talk about the disappearances of indigenous children and women without honestly addressing these incredibly painful things. For those  unaware of the legacies wrought by the plundering of the continent’s first peoples, these things may seem like the distant past, far removed from any modern view or experience of the world. They are not. They are right here, right now and must be faced because the intentional disappearing of indigenous women and children are inextricably entwined within these layers.

Here, ‘these incredibly painful things’ is about our own individual sexual abuse. I left it at that because it seemed enough in the moment to let it sit there alone for a bit. Even more, after the swift blowback from Indian Country when The Mystery of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women was published, I was afraid to continue speaking aloud.  However, after reading Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, I feel emboldened again. Her powerful voice and courage has shored and renewed both of mine.

Not only is keeping ‘my secret safe with your secret’ something we need to address as individuals, internally and aloud, it must happen at the community level and it must occur in the ways that allow people to be heard and for responsibilities to be acknowledged.

It requires, within indigenous communities, acknowledging a shared responsibility for effectively addressing the sexual abuse of children, leadership’s role in the trafficking of young people, the current effects of historical trauma; not in a few decades, maybe figuring it out as we go along, but now. We can’t wait another generation and hope that things return to something resembling balance without purposeful and direct intervention. And that intervention must happen within the communities themselves, not be clouded or coerced by individual or institutionalized power structures that have historically preyed upon these same communities and currently continue to do so.

We need to speak our personal truths that include our own victimizations and, in addition, to dig deeper into how the silence around how that, over time, has contributed to the harm of others.  How many times has our own silence and our own shame led to the judgment of others as ‘whore’ or suggestion that ‘she had it coming’? How many times have men and boys heard that come from a woman’s mouth and bought it as truth?  How many times have we as individuals and a collective not believed our daughters, sons, nieces, or brothers, about teachers, preachers, neighbors, fathers and uncles?  How often have we seen the signs but chosen to ignore them? How often have we claimed ‘he’s just a man’, ‘that’s how they are’, or called a man by another name if he wasn’t ‘manly’ enough, hadn’t exhibited traits associated with violence?  How have these things contributed to young people making the active choice in walking away from family? How does the culture that accompanies fear, silence and unacknowledged betrayal, that we perpetuate, combine with lack of inner and external resources contribute to the ease of predators distorting hope for the future into pimp-slave relationships?

Personal story-telling isn’t isolated to Self, it’s bound up in immediate and extended family as well as the larger community. Community, in this discussion, means more than the more obvious. It means that of the ‘near-culture’, a chapter or neighborhood on a reservation for instance, and the larger dominant culture and power-structures within both. The truth-telling is a process that is important in and of itself but there is a shared responsibility in story-telling–one that also requires active listening and a willingness to hear that which (I hope) is hard on the heart.  After hearing and responding to the stories, there must be action and it must come from a collective sense of responsibility, justice and deep compassion.

The telling and the hearing does not bring healing in and of itself. It is merely the start. It’s one of the reasons I scoffed at Senator Tester’s self-congratulatory email after I’d reached out for the sixth time about the Fuckery.

That is why I introduced the Studying the Missing and Murdered Indian Crisis Act (S. 336).  This bipartisan bill would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a full investigation of how federal agencies respond to reports of missing and murdered Native Americans and recommend solutions based on their findings.  It also directs the GAO to make recommendations on how to address economic, social, and other underlying factors that are fueling this crisis.

I wanted to shout “Bully for you! Want a gold star?!” in his ear and follow it with this:  “Are you and your colleagues actually ready to hear, really hear, the truths that need to be spoken, and accept the responsibilities that come with it?”  I wanted to say it in the Jack Nicholson tone that says, “The truth? You can’t handle the truth?”

The truth is that while there are individual responsibilities to be owned, they are enmeshed within local and federal government and religious policies that continue to perpetuate ‘out of sight out of mind’, ‘take what we want (treaties or ethics be damned)’,  ‘kill the Indian but save the man (or his soul)’ and fuel the need for young people to seek escape from inner turmoil and communities that cannot provide options for therapeutic intervention, basic health and human services appropriate for those communities.

The federal government must be willing to be an active participant in learning how the past is directly influencing the present, how the violence begat in this country’s formation was a catalyst for the violence being suffered by indigenous women now, and be willing to help heal it in a meaningful way–government cheese isn’t healing (hell, it’s not even cheese) but the government can–and, in my opinion should–play a significant role in the healing of Nations.  The truth requires current government actors, with their inherited greed, bias and privilege, not just acknowledge but apologize formally with words, funds for deep healing, and legislated (read enforceable) respect for physical, spatial and spiritual relationships with lands unceded and those agreed upon under duress and threat of death.

All of these things are so entwined together that no single thread can be separated. However, it’s not as difficult as our bureaucratized brains would like to think. Education, openness, honesty, compassion, righteous and safely expressed anger and grief, and apologies–those things of love– begin the process. In our individual homes and hearts, within local communities and the institutions that we’re each tied to.

Borrowing a phrase here, leaning into this, requires a broad scope that most American’s don’t yet seem to have the intellectual bandwidth or the curiosity enough to wholly engage in the process; it requires more than just data, it requires basic understandings of power structures, sociology, trauma, institutionalized violence and systemic oppression, resilience, restoration, medicine ways, love, and more. An expanded education on these things may not be necessary but a mind opened enough to trust that those things exist and are part of the world we share is.

If the, in any, government decides to get actively involved in eradicating sexual slavery that is knotted up in a historic past such as ours, it’s a long slow slog through bureaucracy.  It will result in a report that may or may not provide the whole truth and may, may not provide resolution and may or may not be read.

However, while governments may try to chug along, other key players have the capacity to engage, even semi-heartedly, in a way that can create immediate and lasting change; to hear, to heal, to eliminate a scourge on humanity.

I have hope, though. I have hope.

 

 

 

 

Talking about Worship of Idols and Sexual Abuse

Gentlemen, we need to talk.

We need to talk about your worship of the Virgin (she wasn’t), the Holy Mother, Durga, Shakti, Tara, Kamadhenu, Kali and other female deities on whose necks you lay garlands, whose feet you touch, and from whom blessings you beg.

Why do you hold the plaster and paint as more holy than Her human embodiment?  The alabaster and jade less human and her flesh less goddess? Is She more sanctified than the womb you were birthed from and those from which your progeny will presumably arise?

Why is it you hold the image of the unreal Goddess as blessed and not the flesh of Her breath, those answered prayers born unto you?

Why do you worship at Her feet but slay Her Embodiment, Her Born Blessings with the dull strikes of your penis?

Do you not see the contradiction? The hypocrisy?

Is the silver you receive from allowing another to purchase the Virgin’s Child not the same as Judas’ betrayal?  It is certainly the same crucifixion.

Except it’s the legs splayed, not the arms.

Why can you not see that the idol you beseech is has been born, is right in front of you? Underneath you.

Why do you pray your prayers to the hardened Divine and then corner Her twelve-year old soft Self to maim as if her body and existence is an invitation for your rape-ture?

Why can you not see?

 

 

 

“Hááji nihi Diné asdzáni dóó at ééké?”

“Where are Our Women and Girls?”

On May 25, the Farmington Daily Times, wrote an article featuring an awareness raising walk in Shiprock, NM, focused on Missing and Murdered Women and Girls. T-shirts read: “Hááji nihi Diné asdzáni dóó at ééké?”

At least three are buried south of Shiprock along a stretch of rural road; two young women along with one male near the evidence burned after I reported it. Others, no longer alive, are buried in unmarked individual and mass graves across the continent; in Wyoming, Navajoland, Sioux Country, Montana, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Manitoba. They’ve been shot, drowned, strangled, and burned alive.

Those alive are being forced to work in a variety of outlets that include sex cam work, live and recorded pornography and rape, massage parlors, and out of casinos and resorts across the globe.  These young people are being held against their will and sexually enslaved in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Nuremberg, Seoul, Hong Hong, Singapore, Australia’s Gold Coast, Marrakesh, Dubai, Baghdad, Moscow, Riga, Israel, St. Petersburg, Bellingham, Renton, Winnipeg, Newark, Flushing, Brooklyn, Toronto, Mississauga, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis, Pensacola, Jacksonville, Dallas, Seattle, Berlin, Stockholm, The Hague.

They are in Kuala Lumpur, Santa Fe, Gallup, Tokyo, Chiyoda, Delta Charter Township, Rio Rancho, Denver, Des Moines, Beijing, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Rioja and Rome.

They are in Phoenix and its suburbs, Mexico City, San Diego, Baja, Westchester, Dallas, Little Rock, Atlanta, Surrey, Rio, Balleymoney, Cork, Buffalo, Port Coqitlam, Port Angeles, Milan, Macau and Manila, Victoria, Cheyenne, Wind River, Kracow, Bangkok, and Dusseldorf.

They are in Laos, Kiev, Spruce Grove, London, Edinburgh, Johannesburg and Durban.

They are. They exist. They are real and they pray for freedom.

Their prayers have been heard.

You know all of this to be true. It rings in your heart in just the right way.

 

 

(So have yours.)