Oceans of Love

It often feels impossible to describe the love contained within me. Even when I cannot give it words, it frightens people. They seem to be confused that the course of love would somehow find them beyond their beliefs or behaviors, that they would be missed or their cry for help would be unheard, and that kind of love would just appear, even unbidden.

It courses through every fiber of my being, slips from the pores into the spaces between grains of sand, dances on the wind, drops roots under lake beds, and glides through tears to the waters everywhere. The enormity of it is staggering, even to me, sometimes because I don’t control it. I just am.

It is uncontainable, unstoppable and touchable, visceral, thick power and peace.

It means I feel it all and am given the blessing of knowing the pain and the benediction brought by beauty, the lies beneath the scars, and the truths of the heart.

In moments of deepest despair, it is the buoy and the life raft. For all of us.

For this, I was made.

For you, I was made.

You are so loved.

Be not afraid.

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Corruption on the Southern Border and Missing, Murdered Women and Children

Riding the tail of the El Chapo trial, the New York Times just published a story on the corruption of police along the US southern border linking the now well-known bribery schemes of the Sinaloa cartel leader in Mexico to similar machinations in the US. I was hoping to read more about the connection between bribery schemes and the political theater surrounding the ‘national emergency’ and The Wall. However, the article didn’t go there and I’m only going to touch on it in one sentence. Common sense, data, history and experts have made it clear that a wall isn’t going to stop the flow of migrants, drugs, weapons, cash or sex slaves. And while President Trump has mentioned sex trafficking as a way to engage his audience and paint a picture of horror, he’s missed the mark by a long shot and, beyond mischaracterization, is part of the problem

This movement, across the continent, of children and women who have been or will be sold for commercial sex, doesn’t just involve a few cops along the southern border. And, though it most definitely involves Customs and Border agents who prefer the bribe over the bullet, the wheels of the system are greased at the Northern and Southern borders, at airports, sea ports, and all of places in between the initial place of disappearance and the final resting place.

The mechanics of it all aren’t complex. Built on existing infrastructures of human behavior, trade routes, emerging technologies, and old-fashioned greed, the Fuckery is pretty darn simple.

Nearly every non-profit based in the United States that claims its focus is the direct interdiction of sex trafficking or rescuing of victims actually operates somewhere else on the globe in places like South Asia and Central America. Mission statements and explanations often state that the organization operates outside of the US because law enforcement agencies here have resources those in developing countries don’t, are not subject to the vagaries of despotic or poorly funded governments, including the standard operational normality of criminal collusion.

That is far from the reality. Our nearly nine thousand miles of perimeter and mental disconnect may lend to a false sense of moral superiority however it doesn’t isolate any citizen, officer of the peace or the court, from the human condition.

There is no corner of the globe that doesn’t influence or isn’t influenced by the collusion between law enforcement and sexual slavery of children and women. In the US, there isn’t an aspect of the disappearance of indigenous children and women that isn’t influenced by global economies. While a girl in the heart of Navajo country is being groomed on social media by a ‘friend’ or recruited directly by a boyfriend or teacher, the drugs used to subdue her originated in another part of the world, the broker may be an Apache who came into the business while flying Apaches in Afghanistan, and the ultimate buyer may be someone close to home-grown, but connected to global criminal networks.

The relationships between corrupted law enforcement, non-corrupted law enforcement and the organized crime that bridges the two are symbiotic, cross state and international boundaries. As are those relationships between this organized criminal network and tribal, local, and state politicians and jurists from thirteen Southern and Northern border states, eight border states for which there are no national boundaries, and eleven states in the interior; governors, mayors, chiefs, representatives in state houses, local judges and those on court of appeals benches, councilmen and women all working in partnership to perpetuate sexual slavery and murder of children, young men, and women. Sexual slavery doesn’t offer a way out. Very few get out of the system alive. There are mass graves sprinkled across the country filled with bodies of children and adults who could not be sold, who died of drug overdoses or reactions to drugs they were subdued with, suicide, some literally fucked to death over time, some killed during the act of fucking itself, and some, dumped and buried only after sellable organs have been removed.

There is no wall to stop it, no law to stop it, no border to stop it, no moral boundary that hasn’t been crossed to keep it going and help it prosper.

Think about that for a minute when you read stories about law enforcement and other officials who explain that more data, more awareness, and more timely reporting of disappearances will stop it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Law enforcement corruption and missing, murdered Indigenous women

This is the second in a multi-part series that will chronicle my journey into the world of sex-trafficking and murder in Indian Country and beyond. The first can be read here. If you’ve already read it, scroll until the font change. 

Headlines, hashtags, and public service announcements don’t provide a way to explore the nuances, relationships and historical responsibilities involved in the discussion and eradication of the trafficking of vulnerable Native American children and women for sexual exploitation. I hope this series does that and more. 

I became consciously involved with the subject in September 2017 when I was called by Ancestors to find a young Navajo woman who had been disappeared from the reservation and was believed by a Navajo cop to be in the Phoenix Metro area. I didn’t know it at the time but finding a body dump on the same reservation in 2014 and my presence at Standing Rock in 2016 laid the groundwork for me to walk into a multinational sex-trafficking operation with connections that span 45 countries. Telling how this story unfolds requires discussion of history and the repercussion arisen out of it, trauma experienced and held by peoples and the natural world, realities of misogyny, sexuality, institutionalized racism, the reemergence of what I call ‘the medicine way’ and where all those things converge in our current era. There will be no naming and shaming here but there will be solutions offered.

 

So, one cop said to another, “Someone is telling Ingrid too much.”

I was left alive last winter because folks were trying to figure out who was telling me what. How was it that I knew what I knew when I wasn’t supposed to know anything? Two sets of folks, law enforcement and not-law enforcement, who may or may not have known their watching was a mutual effort. The kicker of it all, is that for all the Facebook-cloning, electronic surveillance and geo-locating, physically threatening, and the flying-clone at the bedroom window, it appears that no one has considered that my information comes from exactly the place and in the manner I say it does.

Perhaps, though, two people do. I landed in Phoenix on September 14, 2017. By the morning of September 18, I was at the local FBI office with what I thought was actionable information (and I the time I knew nothing of what I do now). After being interviewed for nearly two hours, I went on my way. My way was south, following the pull of the eagle from two days prior.

On the sixteenth, I drove into a village that visions had been insisting I get to. It’s a relatively small place and I drove each street looking, listening, asking wide open for clarity. Birds had nothing to say. The few cottonwoods were quiet in the light desert breeze and the sand kept it’s secrets so I decided to leave.  Driving back, thinking of lunch, a set of eagle talons grabbed my left arm and pulled back hard. “Come back!!” Unmistakably asking for me to return.

For those few readers who do not understand my relationship with things of the invisible world, I feel the need to clarify that the eagle wasn’t visible. However, it’s identity, strength, power and plea were undeniably solid. If you ever have the opportunity to have a large raptor park itself on your arm, you’ll learn exactly how I knew. When I have confounding experiences with the spirit world in an indigenous context, particularly when specifically localized, it’s a proper and often necessary to elicit the help of a local expert. So I did.

I left the Phoenix-FBI office and went to find a local person of the medicine way. And, everyone I talked to sent me to one man; “he knows everybody”, “you’ll love him”, “he’s been around forever and works with everyone”, “he’s amazing”, “he’s so nice”, “you should hear him tell the Old stories”, “He’ll know exactly who to connect you with. Here’s his number”. So I called.

And with the help of two other Elders, including a lovely woman who said, “This is definitely beyond my level, he’s the one for you to talk to”, I was introduced to the man whose community loves and reveres him. And I told him the story. The whole story…why I was in the desert to begin with and my experience with his community’s Ancestors, their visions directing me to the same, and my experience with the eagle. As I sat across the table from he and his assistant, asking for help connecting me with an appropriate person and an education on local protocol for such things he looked me straight in the face and said, “I don’t know anyone like that.”  I didn’t need his assistant’s head whip to tell him me he lied. I also didn’t need anyone to tell me why he lied or that I’d walked into a perfectly laid set up just as I was supposed to and that what I thought I knew, what I’d reported to the FBI hours earlier, was merely the tip of a desert iceberg.

And I tried to report that. And before I gave up entirely on attempting to report anything, I had a conversation with another FBI agent, three weeks after I’d initiated contact via a non-profit and governmental consortium. After he said, “We won’t do anything without a victim” and I wondered if I might well become one soon just to help the agency out, I sent the obligatory email and forgot about another fucking FBI agent.

I forgot about that FBI agent until I learned I was under electronic surveillance by the FBI and those definitely not the FBI.  It’s an odd experience to be confronted with a) your own ignorance of things that might get you killed, and b) a solid thing, a stalwart symbol of safety and justice in your mind that suddenly isn’t safe or a representative of equitableness at all. It’s even more odd to understand prior neat dividing lines of good guys and bad guys are no longer useful tools.

I’d had hints of things sort of odd with my computer but I chalked it up to it’s age and an unfortunate incident with a car tire a year prior at Standing Rock. I didn’t understand that my computer and phone had been hacked until I was met in the dark by someone making a point that I had been seen and that I ought to be scared, ought to be scared off. The message was hard to miss when an SUV driver turned off his headlights as he approached slowly, then stopped to take flash photographs of me at 11:00 at night. A few minutes before that sphincter-tightening experience, while trying to find my car in a very, very large parking lot, I noticed that my Google maps was showing me forty-five miles away in a place I wasn’t and had not been.  That GPS had either imbibed the drink I was craving or my phone was trying to tell me something. The fat photographer in the Suburban? He told me very clearly what the GPS message was. We’re following you. We’ve been following you. We know exactly where you’ve been, where you are down to the very path you’re walking in the dark. Alone.

I tried to review everywhere I’d stayed, where I’d moved, with whom I spoken, and always came back to September 18, 2017, and the two separate conversations I had–one with the presumed good guys and one with an otherwise-revered not-so-good guy.

Nearly one year later, I was again reminded those who I’d spent years working with, trusting, and loving as brothers and lovers and partners, toe that blue line of ‘protect and serve’ while serving those who commit the most heinous acts upon children and women, all while in uniform. Someone who was responsible for my safety and that of victims chose to make traffickers safe instead.

State troopers, county deputies, tribal police; blue, brown and green uniforms and those with a pantyhose or tie. Safety, security, justice, trust us, my ass.

I’ve watched cops chat it up with pimps, I’ve cut contact with someone I love and respect because I was afraid his tribal colleagues would create a convenient line of duty death, I know an entire department that will need to be taken over by the federal government when it comes out how many officers and command are involved in harboring of hostages, as well as producing and selling child pornography. I’ve been ignored except when I was being surveilled (odd, no?), and the one who facilitated the price on my head? None other than the federal agent to whom I considered sarcastically offering myself as a victim to get someone to listen to me. My thought at the time was maybe the death or disappearance of a middle-aged white woman will inspire someone to care about the death and disappearance of some brown skin girls. Little did I know. 

This winter, I’m alive despite the fact the good guys and not-so-good guys have decided it doesn’t matter how I’m getting my information and someone within one of those blurry-lined camps thinks the reward for my head would make a nice chunk of change. Someone is telling Ingrid too much.

Even now, nearly a year and a half since this unfolding began, it’s not clear who is who, who fits into what camp, and how often they hurriedly blur across the lines. What is clear is that there is enough money moving into the hands of law enforcement officials and respected elders across the country that the trafficking of children and adults will not be enforced away.  

 

More than Mournable Bodies

They are more than mournable bodies whether disappeared or reinvented in a pimp’s image, no less an image of God, in case you thought otherwise.

Children of blood and bone, certainly; but beyond the skin they are or were in, they breathe fire and thread sinew. Sometimes, dripping it between the grains of sand they are buried in.

They carry their own heartbeats and that of another generation, they sing unto themselves and sisters far into the beyond that is beyond.

Birthing while chained, birthing while buried in that copse over there. They move into the heart of the root and are blown through the breeze, treed tendrils across the crown.

You thought they were drowned, too. The lake and sea may have accepted their bodies but they’ve thrown back the soul bathed in the clarity of the Mother.

Their blood and bone has sown a different kind of power. It is incorruptible. It is  freedom.

You did not bury them.  You’ve rebirthed them.

And unleashed their fury.

We rise.

Prayerfelt

The prayers come

like flowing skeins of hope

landing on a morning dew-kiss

 

The prayers come

crash landing on

energetic waves of rage

 

The prayers come

with stories of love

and yearnings for tomorrow

 

The prayers come

with deep desperation

and the tightness of held breath

 

The prayers come

on the wind and water

and Gabriel’s trumpet

 

The prayers come

and weave around the legs

touch the arms

climb onto the lap

and are received into the heart

 

The prayers are heard

The prayers are felt

The prayers are answered.

I hear you.

I see you.

I love you.

I know.