See these two images and remember what the REAL relationship is between DOG and people. Just as dolphins have been trained (forced) to be used in naval warfare, so too has DOG been misused and abused to separate him from his sacred relationship with the Standing Rock People. This is truth and it should be known.
Energy Transfer Inc. and invested owners of the proposed North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), have begun psychological warfare against peaceful protestors near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. It will be a challenge for the persecuted to stay vigilant, stay strong and stay true to their beliefs. So far the People have remained nonviolent in the face of dog attacks on their bodies and their horses, while facing extreme psychic trauma in the form of desecration of graves and sacred sites. On Saturday “sacred places containing ancient burial sites, places of prayer and other significant cultural artifacts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe were destroyed by Energy Transfer Partners,” Tribal Chairman David Archambault II said in a press release.
This new article by Georgianne Nienaber reminds me of her superb coverage of the cholera outbreak. Evidently, things are no better. Via The World Post: The Deadly Cholera Book of Numbers Swells in Haiti. Excerpt:
It has been four years since I have been in a cholera treatment center in Haiti and five years since the United Nations infected the Mirebalais River by dumping raw sewage from the Nepalese encampment into the waterway. The river system is forever contaminated and cholera will never be eradicated from this island nation that had never before experienced the deadly disease. What followed was lying, an attempted cover-up by the United Nations, and a slow response to a disease which has now killed almost 10,000 and infected 731,000 since October 2012. But truth won out with the help of a courageous Brazilian Ambassador who was fired from the Organization of American States for speaking out.
I stood outside the Nepalese camp on the banks of the Mirebalais River in 2010 and saw the sewage pipes before they were buried with rock. We knew then what was going to happen and also knew we were completely powerless to stop this new plague.
So I found myself again this morning feeling completely helpless as I stood before THE BOOK of numbers at the hospital in St. Marc’s, where five years previously I walked through buckets of bleach to disinfect my boots before entering and leaving cholera ward. The ward is still there and it is still receiving patients—196 admissions so far this November and two deaths. The book holds twenty names per page and is several inches thick. I hate that book. It is an evil book, and I walked through bleach again today on my way to see it.
The charge nurse and I were looking through the names and dates and adding numbers when my friend and translator, Andre, called me into the ward. A young girl suffering two days into the disease told Andre, in Creole, that she wanted the angel (me) to come and speak with her because God sent the angel and if she could only speak with the angel she would be healed.
For only the second time in my career of witnessing these things I felt emotion. Usually I feel none and fear there is something wrong with me because I am numb most of the time. Maybe it is a blessing for those who are sick and dispossessed and wounded that witnesses do not cry. The last things they need are more tears.
Seeing someone on a cholera cot is to see someone completely exposed and vulnerable. There is a hole cut in the center for the constant and interminable diarrhea and a bucket nearby for the vomiting. The hospital gown is stained because it cannot be changed fast enough.
All I could do was hold her hand and say that there was nothing I could do, but that I would tell her story. There was nothing, nothing I could do and I looked her straight in the eyes and said so. She said it was OK and that she felt better already. Maybe a lie; maybe the truth; I don’t know.
I am fulfilling my promise by telling you.
Millions and millions of dollars sent to Haiti and a few boxes of rehydration fluids stand between these people and the morgue.
American Airlines flight 201 is boarding at Gate D24; Miami International. Complete and creative chaos ensues as no one pays attention to boarding order or seat assignments. Flight attendants are in a frenzy of activity, shifting people around to their assigned seats and a woman refuses, saying it will be too difficult for her to move, so negotiations begin with the person who had the “right” to the choice seat in hopes he will accept lesser seating. He defers to the very ample woman who took his seat and accepts another. It is clearly a capitulation to age and perhaps the look on her face---meaning the woman who pilfered his seat.
While all this is happening, an elderly man slides into the seat next to me. I am on the aisle in 12C. He takes the middle, 12B, and the flight attendant moves him to the window, 12A. He seems nervous. I can’t tell if he is embarrassed he was asked to move, or just unfamiliar with the particulars of flying. We greet each other with smiles and quickly determine that we will have no verbal means of communication. He speaks only Creole, so we do not have the option of struggling through my pigeon Francais.
As the 737 rumbled down the runway, St. Justaine, as I learn later is his name, makes the sign of the cross. He is as nervous as I am, so after greeting the Bird Nation and asking permission to be in their space, I hedge my bet and kiss the crucifix I wear. St. Justaine’s gesture to the Trinity gave me permission to do the same.
I try to assess him. He has a tremor. Very slight in build. Old, but impeccably maintained clothes and shoes. The fabric of his brown trousers is shiny with age and he wears a black watch cap and a wedding ring. I wonder if his wife is still alive. We both try to sleep. He nudges me awake and is gesturing to me; asking for something. He moves his hand back and forth, back and forth. I think maybe he needs a pen and I produce one. He smiles. I found the answer. Not quite. He needs help filling out the customs and immigration forms. He cannot read. Now we are stuck because we need to communicate verbally and have no way to do so. He hands me his ID and that is when I learn his name. St. Justaine.
I flag down a weary flight attendant, and she does the paperwork. St. Justaine keeps thanking me, but I have really done nothing.
Time to land. As we bump through the clouds on the final descent, St. Justaine is gripping the edges of his seat. I am nervous also and we smile our way through it.
The usual mad scramble ensues to disembark and the ample woman, who could not move, moves swiftly enough into the aisle and disappears.
I finally make it to the jet way and feel a tap on my shoulder. It is St. Justaine saying goodbye.
Welcome to Haiti.
Greed is on my mind today, and it has nothing at all to do with the stock market. It has to do with a bone.
Perhaps this bone is the bleached pelvis of a young deer. I don’t know. What I do know is that the bone, exposed by the morning sun in the dry August grass of a prairie dog town in the North Dakota badlands, became an object of desire. As I picked it up and examined its inner and outer structure, the calcified inner layer of trabeculae unveiled a previously unseen world; triggering vivid thoughts of the life sustaining blood that once ran through the chambers.
This piece of bone provided life and structure to a perfectly complete creature that ran beside its mother for only a brief time before something took it down. I felt connected, and as a result, I wanted more bone. Prairie dogs screeched alarm calls as I fruitlessly searched for more remnants of the pelvis. Was there not a rib, or a skull to be found nearby? A skull would be fine. But the broken piece of pelvis was my only prize.
I felt disappointment and greed. I was hungry for more bone. Why was this happening? I do not have bones scattered about my office, or dangling from a string attached to the rear view mirror in my car. My most precious artifact is a large piece of mica found at an abandoned mine in South Africa. I do not collect bones, but the broken piece of pelvis now rests next to the mica and a ceramic snail that once belonged to Dian Fossey.
I think about the bone and wonder why I still want more bones. Isn’t one bone enough?
The bits of chemicals and salts that form the bone are not alive, but they were molded at creation and endure-- a monument to a once-living creature.
Bone also provides structure to this consciousness I call “me.”
I do not need more bone. But need and desire are opposing forces. I know this. But I still want.
Science offers many explanations for the existence of Wind Cave, one of the longest and most complex cave systems in the world. Only five to ten percent of the system has been explored and mapped, making it truly an experience that can be called “otherworldly.”
But science offers a sterile explanation.
Consider the location of Wind Cave, in the heart of the Black Hills; land sacred to the Lakota. Look at the LANDSAT satellite imagery and see the image of a heart. Wind Cave breathes and Mother Earth’s heart pumps a life force for the PEOPLE who had this sacred land stolen from them. I am saddened when I read “official” National Park Service publications that say no one knows who discovered Wind Cave!
The Lakota have centuries of oral history, and a creation story that has survived. Oral tradition offers meaning and a preternatural prediction of what would happen to the people of the spirit world when they ventured through the opening of Wind Cave into what promised to be a good life on earth.
“In the beginning, prior to the creation of the Earth, the gods resided in an undifferentiated celestial domain and humans lived in an indescribably subterranean world devoid of culture.” ~~ Lakota Wind Cave Story
Inktomi, the Trickster, travels beneath the earth in the form of a wolf and convinced the people to follow him to the surface. The majority stayed behind, because this was against the wishes of the Creator, who wanted to prepare the people for life on earth. It was not yet time.
When this first group arrives, it becomes obvious that Inktomi has tricked them. They cannot return to Wind Cave, there is no food, and they starve.
The group that remained was blessed by Creator and finally led to the surface by a new leader. Tatanka was the gift of survival, but life outside of the spirit world remained difficult.
Creator gave Tatanka (bison) to the people with the promise that if the people cared for Tatanka, they would have all that they needed in terms of food and shelter. Then the whites killed Tatanka, broke treaties, stole land, and life outside of the spirit world became rife with misery.
The stories vary in detail, and I have combined some of them to create my own meaning. I am not a part of Lakota culture, but I can learn from the teachings.
When we turned out the lights in Wind Cave and experienced total darkness and silence, it was easy to imagine the people being led through this impossible labyrinth by a trusted leader who was in harmony with Creator.
We all must find our moral compass to lead us through the treachery and trickery of this world. Some of us will make it, and others will not. What is truth is that we cannot survive alone as we wander through the darkness.
The Lakota Sioux were promised, by treaty, to have the sacred Black Hills forever. After gold was discovered, the US government broke that promise. Now the images of five dead presidents loom over this sacred land at Mount Rushmore. Imagine how the people feel!
If you visit out here, avoid the carnival atmosphere of Mount Rushmore, and go instead to the Crazy Horse Memorial.
As Crazy Horse said, “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”
Reflect on Wind Cave and in this coming election cycle remind your people in government what the broken Treaty of 1868 promised:
“As long as rivers run and grass grows and trees bear leaves, Paha Sapa, the Black Hills of Dakota, will forever be the sacred land of the Sioux Indians.”
Find your moral compass and mentally put your hand on the beating heart of Mother Earth. Feel her breath, take it in, and then humbly pray to find your way through the darkness.
I met a great lady today. The Grandest of Grande Dames. Her name is Dorothy Cramer, “Cramer with a ‘c,’” if you please. Dorothy is the docent at the New Madrid Historical Museum, but to me she is much more than that. I think I found my soul mate. I found her by taking the road I had not planned to take. A detour off the Avenue of the Saints, just inside the Missouri State Line, offered a psychic pull. I had been on the road for five days and even a three-mile detour can seem like too much, but two factors intervened to make me take that exit. One, I have always been fascinated by the story of the New Madrid earthquake, and two, after what has happened in Nepal, earthquakes are front and center in my cerebral cortex.
First stop was at the levee and the historical marker that delineated the fault line in 1811-1812. 2000 shocks rocked the area in five months and five of those were 8.0 or more in magnitude. The Mississippi River reversed course and church bells rang on the eastern seaboard due to the massive movement of the earth. The New Madrid Museum that Dorothy reigns over documents the event and much more; including seismograph recording of continuing activity.
Dorothy was alone in the little museum when I walked in the door. I introduced my self as a traveling photojournalist. “Five dollars and take as many photos as you want. I have two movies I can show you also.”
I demurred on the movies and went on my way, exploring the dark rooms and artifacts including many relics from the Civil War. Most interesting was a truly “petrified” snake, forever preserved in a strike position and unearthed from an Indian mound. It has been dated to the time of the quake and speculation remains whether it was coiled and ready to strike because of the quake. Either way, the snake is oddly preserved behind its Plexiglas exhibit space, and whether petrified by time or emotion is all in the mind of the beholder.
Dorothy was waiting for me as I rounded the corner near the seismographic exhibit space. “In 2102 we might have dodged a big one.” She pointed to a chart on the wall that indeed indicated that experts picked that year as part of an “earthquake cycle.”
Yeah, Dorothy knows everything there is to know about earthquakes and keeps tabs on even minor tremors. “There was a 3.3 a few days ago. The local paper prints the events.”
We were bonding over earthquakes. I liked her. She liked me.
“You from here?” I asked.
“Now, yes, but I was born in St. Louis and lived in New Orleans.”
“Well, just remember Cramer with a ‘c.” People can’t find me in the phone book if they use a “K.” “My maiden name was Baker, everyone could spell that---well except for one teacher who asked me how to spell Baker.”
And, so the conversation rambled from this to that in a simple, easy flow. Dorothy reminded me of the Grandmother I wished I had, but I am too old to have a living Grandmother. I wanted to sit at her knee and have her tell me stories forever. I wanted to experience an earthquake with her.
Dorothy said she hoped I would come back when she noticed me getting fidgety about hitting the road. I shook her hand and sincerely said, “I am so happy to have met you.”
Dorothy beamed. “I am happy to have met you too,” she said. “You are a kind lady.” “A very nice lady.”
My turn to beam. No one ever called me a lady before. And, I am not always kind.
“You are the best, Dorothy. A great lady.”
With that, she blew me a kiss as I went out the door.
I will be back.
Dauphin Island, Alabama, is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico.
With more irony than is possible, today (Monday) residents are dealing with another disaster. Despite high seas and wind, the U.S. Coast Guard is continuing to search local waters for four lost sailors who were participating in the annual sailboat race on Saturday. A severe storm cell that was completely unexpected capsized and/or damaged ten boats. Three of the boats were participating in the race. Two people are confirmed dead, according to local reports. This story is too sad to pursue, so after stopping for a quick chat with the NBC News crew, I went on down to Sea Lab. More about Sea Lab later.
Authorities have asked all “good Samaritans” to stay of the water, since it is too dangerous for non-professional search and rescue personnel. The wind was so strong today that it was impossible to video without a tripod.
Sometimes, exposure to sorrow is just too much to bear and there is no point in a freelancer unnecessarily questioning rescue workers and family members. Family, especially, should be off limits in these kinds of situations. Maybe I am getting soft, but lately sorrow has become an emotional ball and chain for one who is losing the ability to be the phlegmatic observer.
I had a short chat with a municipal police officer at the marina. He was not here for the Macondo Disaster, but the past three days certainly took a comparable toll on him. Grief is howling on the wind here.
Been a long day.
I saw an alligator in a tree this morning. While taking my morning walk/jog through the wildlife refuge, I saw it. Just a nose and ping pong eyeballs poking through the branches, but the creature was certainly there. That is what my eyes saw. I am certain of it. But then something happened to alter my reality. Something whirred and clicked in my brain, switches were thrown in my cerebral cortex, and perceptual awareness kicked in, much to my dismay. Rods and cones in my eyes plastered the image of the alligator in the tree to the neurons covering my optic nerve, but those images were over-ridden by something called thought. I had no control over this bullying by the gray matter and the neurons that reside there in the outer layer of my brain. All neurons are not created equal, and the bullying neurons insisted that the alligator was not frolicking in a buttonwood tree, but was, instead, floating in a reflection in the Sanibel River.
But what would have happened if I had chosen to believe that the alligator was lounging in the tree?
Last week I stood at the Petit border that separates the neighborhoods of Gisenyi, Rwanda from the squalor of Congo. I could not see this border, but was told there was a line in the dirt that defined this border. I believed this even though I could not see it. I could not take one step over this line without committing an international crime, so I stood there and offered homage to the imaginary line in the volcanic soil while Mount Nyiragongo belched disapproval on the horizon.
I can’t believe there is an alligator in a tree, but I can believe that there is a line in the dirt that separates family from family, and brother from brother.
I wonder if I need to see a brain surgeon?
Two weeks ago I walked across a Canopy Bridge, stretched across the treetops in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest, and believed that I could fall to my death. My eyes told me that that I was 60 meters above the ground and I believed it. It scared me.
Why could I not believe that I was suspended a mere centimeter above the ground, or better yet, why could I not believe that I could join the Bird Nation and soar through the canopy, supported by nothing more than feathers attached to bone.
What can we believe, anyway?
All of this time I have been walking, when I could have been flying.
What if all of the trees have been really holding the skies up?
What if alligators lived in trees?