Thursday, March 9, 2017

Russell Means: a Native American legend walks on

Russell Means 1939-2012
Russell Means  was an activist, a musician, an actor, politician and a writer and  led protests that called attention to the nation’s history of injustices against Native Americans. Russell – named  Wanbli Ohitika by his mother, which means "Brave Eagle" in the Lakota language-- was born in Porcupine, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. His mother was a Yankton Dakota from Greenwood, South Dakota, and his father was an Oglala Lakota.

Russell was active outside of the United States helping other indigenous peoples in Central and South America, and worked with the United Nations for their rights. In 1992 he appeared on numerous television series and in several films, including The Last of the Mohicans, and released his own music CD. He published his autobiography: “Where White Men Fear to Tread” in 1995. Russell walked on in 2012, less than a month before his 73rd birthday.

When Russell walked on ABC News said he "spent a lifetime as a modern American Indian warrior, railed against broken treaties, fought for the return of stolen land and even took up arms against the federal government, called national attention to the plight of impoverished tribes and often lamented the waning of Indian culture."   The New York Times said Russell " was as well-known a Native American as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse."

Being famous didn’t prevent him from being mistreated like many other Native Americans.  While at the Rosebud Indian Reservation in south-central South Dakota, he developed severe vertigo – he couldn’t walk straight. Doctors at the reservation clinic thought he was drunk. They refused to examine him for several days. Then they said he had a concussion probably due to a fight in a saloon. A visiting specialist later found that the reservation doctors missed the real diagnosis: a common ear infection. This stereotyping and neglectful behavior cost Russell the hearing in one ear.

The ashes of Russell Means were sprinkled throughout the sacred Black Hills, SD. Ruth Hopkins writing in the Indian Country Media Network (2014) about the Black hills: “To say that the Black Hills hold special significance for the Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation) is an understatement. They’re not only our traditional homelands, where our ancestors once lived, they’re sacred. The Black Hills (K?e Sapa) are the birthplace of our Nation, where we rose from Mother Earth’s womb. Our legends took place there. The Black Hills itself is a terrestrial mirror of the heavens above and thus forms the basis of our ancient star maps and Lakota astronomy. The entirety of K?e Sapa is a sacred site. Our rituals observe the natural cycles of the planet and our Universe. There are ceremonies that we must conduct at specific locations within the Black Hills. These ancient ceremonies benefit the whole of humanity. No, we aren’t talking about dirt protected by ‘No Trespassing’ signs. K?e Sapa is holy ground. It is where we are meant to pray.”

Listening to Russell Means talk about his people ( can only put some humanity in our hearts – it should go viral; share it with everyone you know.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pope Francis creating a child abuse scandal

Be careful what you ask for Pope Francis

Back in December 2016 the Pope told the world that bishops should enforce a zero tolerance policy for any priest who sexually abuses a child. The hidden truth is that Francis doesn’t treat all priests who abuse children equally.  Some are punished, some are not.  What happens depends on whether the priest has friends in high places.

According to Gilion Dumas, an Oregon attorney for abuse survivors: “In this Pope we have a master communicator who knows how to offer the right sound bite and the perfect photo-op. When the surface is scratched, the picture isn’t so pretty.” 

In an article published in The Week magazine, writer Michael Brendan Dougherty says that “cases of priestly abuse in Rome are now known to have two sets of distinctions. The first is guilty or innocent. The second is "with cardinal friends" or "without cardinal friends."  An example is a priest, Mauro Inzoli, accused of sexually  abusing children and defrocked by Pope Benedict in 2012. However, in 2014, Pope Francis restored Inzoli to the priesthood after Inzoli’s cardinal benefactors Cardinal Coccopalmerio and Monsignor Pio Vito Pinto both intervened on behalf of Inzoli. Pope Francis, reversing the defrocking, invited Inzoli to a "a life of humility and prayer."  I won’t bet that is what he has and will be doing while he is loose in the streets. Pedophiles are never cured, but what does Francis care?  His clergy buddies are more important.

Dougherty couldn’t believe that after giving in to the unjust requests by Coccopalmerio and Pinto that the pope then handed over authority for some child abuse cases to Pinto.  So Francis thinks that a pedophile enabler like Pinto is a good choice to protect children.  That makes Francis the chief enabler and the enemy of the children.

Civil authorities tried Inzoli, convicting him of only eight offenses because another 15 crimes hit the statute of limitations wall. Civil authorities knew what was going on with the old boy network and slammed the church for their dishonesty. The Italian press hammered the Vatican, specifically the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), for not sharing the information they had found in their own trial. “Of course, the pope himself could have allowed the CDF to share this information with civil authorities if he so desired,” said Dougherty. But he didn’t.  Of course, the pope can’t be held in contempt of court.

Remember, it is not what Pope Francis says, it is what he does – and for the abused that is worse than nothing because he is putting criminals back on the streets.