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Land, Water, and Language Printer friendly page Print This
By Mankh (Walter E. Harris III), Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Saturday, Dec 3, 2016

While the sacred waters deservedly are the center of attention at Standing Rock, they are not separate from the land.
What’s happening in North Dakota is an attempt by Fascist Global Corporate Empire (FGCE) aka militarized police (state) trying to protect a pipeline (corporate), and then, according to Attorney Daniel Sheehan, their plan is to ship the oil away.[1] This plot has no allegiance or respect for the land and waters and those who have lived with the land and waters for thousands and thousands of years. The FGCE and its minions (banks, media, politicians, etc.) are attempting to continue genocidal policies and to hoodwink any Americans who think they will benefit greatly from the pipeline.
Because of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 and 1868, the land in question is Native land, but because of the limited colonial-settler mentality it is considered Army Corps of Engineers land.
Colonial-settler psychology is shaped by language and the language reflects a disconnect. The word “land” has roots mentioning “come to shore, go ashore, disembark.” Who but colonial-settlers came ashore with a psychology separating land and water? And who but colonial-settlers made-up “territory marked by political boundaries”?[2]
While the phrase “common ground” speaks for itself, many of the words/phrases of colonial-settler English show disrespect for the land aka Mother Earth, reflecting a punitive way of being, or the words/phrases are divisive.
When a teenager behaves poorly enough to warrant discipline, parents say he/she is “grounded.”
When a couple doesn’t get along and wish to separate, there are “grounds for divorce.”
One can “land a job” but typically that’s without much consideration if that job is good for the land, and too often a job becomes a kind of ‘law of the land’ or godhead of self-identity. While many colonial-settlers have justifiably protested and raised their voices over the years – and continue to do so – for higher wages and such like, their demands reflect job and economy as number one importance rather than working with Mother Earth.
To overwork someone is to “run them into the ground.”

There's “plot of land” as if there is "a secret, plan, scheme” behind it, which the history books and current storyline regarding the disrespectfully named Dakota Access Pipeline aka poisonous black snake pipeline will tell you there too often is.

An acre, numbers by which many colonial-settlers measure wealth with a psychological braggadocio  akin to penis-size, is a colonial word: “tilled land, an enclosed or defined piece of land” or “the amount of land a yoke of oxen could plow in a day.”

To “colonize” has roots meaning, "tiller of the soil, settled land, farm, landed estate.”
When first seeing a comfy dwelling place, a friend may comment, “nice digs,” and while “digs” may be needed for a structure’s foundation, the emphasis is on digging into the earth rather than living with it.
The roots of “dwelling” mention “dwell” as "to mislead, deceive," originally "to make a fool of, lead astray."
To “reside” is to "sit down, settle; remain behind, rest, linger; be left,” in other words, take sides or 'side again' where someone else once lived.
To excavate is to “unearth.” Unearth is physically impossible because anything you take out of or from the earth is still made of earth-energies so you can’t unearth it. Despite the seeming logistical impossibility, a deliciously sweet strawberry, for example, cannot be unearthed!
As for water, a word that stands out is “lifeguard.” For colonial-settlers, when it comes to playing or exercising with water, saving a human being’s life is paramount. But as Standing Rock is showing the world, life is about saving the life of water itself.
Historically the Dawes Act 1887 and Allotment Act 1891 divided land into subplots as a means to break up the Native Peoples’ connection with Mother Earth as a whole as well as their way of living communally.
By changing our wordplays we can help change our minds and presumably our actions and treatment of Mother Earth, the Waters of Life, and all beings who live here, there, and everywhere.
The following is from a wonderful book of writings and art which conveys the Lakota way of being and living: “Butterfly Against the Wind” - writings by Tiokasin Ghosthorse, artwork by Jadina Lilien, foreword by Martín Prechtel.
“Up until now, the history of the Original Nations of this land called America were hidden, veiled from the consciousness of the people who lived there.
“Though, when you walk among the grasses along the coulee, and wade through the cattails listening to the thrushes, you often hear memories which are not so much of the past but of the future. The lands, Turtle Island, keep these memories and if you listen without imposing thought, you can hear them. ...
“I think it was only a few minutes later but you know when you’re that young, time is forever. He [an old man dressed in ragged clothes] reached down and scooped a reality of earth into his hand, looked at me and gently said, “This is who you are.” He then sprayed the earth over the pool, and I watched the sparkles and tinier circles emanating within circles reflecting inner lights into stars. I watched as a five year old behind the sense of knowing and wonder, mesmerized by all that was happening.”
For info about Interfaith Day of Prayer, December 4, 2016, and more, see here.

1. “Update From #NoDAPL Civil Rights Attorney Daniel Sheehan: Sign Our Petition to OBAMA!

2. Online Etymological Dictionary

Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. His new book of genre-bending poetic-nonfiction is “Musings With The Golden Sparrow.” You can contact him via his literary website.  

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