Thursday, August 1, 2013

Two People and One Path...Why the Colonial Mind Must Go

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My mind was filled with many thoughts today.  I thought a lot about my father.  I'm contemplating taking a course of action that I have previously fantasized about but never acted upon.  For all those who know me you can rest assured I am not conceiving of anything harmful.  Instead I am considering the possible actions I could take to find some measure of justice for the little boy I once was whose trust was violated repeatedly.  I also thought about a dear mentor of mine.  Her name is Pamela Colorado.  I first met her nearly ten years ago.  Meeting her changed the course of my life.

I believe it safe to say that my father is very much an old school type of man.  He seems to believe white men are the great gift of the world and that those many instances throughout history of European males conquering and subjugating other cultures are not really that problematic.  I do believe that my ancestors derive from cultural backgrounds that have contributed much to the world over the centuries.  Yet I would be a fool to assert a Eurocentric view of the world is completely warranted.  Peoples throughout the world and throughout the centuries have contributed much to the human experience as a whole.  Despite this reality there is still an abundance of ignorance, hate and lovely warped conceptions of Christianity out there being perpetuated by the all knowing old white man.  I may be a white man but  that doesn't mean I have to agree with what the men of my father's generation have been a part of in this country and in others.  I have always found it particularly odious when my father has told jokes or otherwise expressed his less than welcoming views about people of other backgrounds.  He seems to have forgotten our own ancestors are not from this continent.  White amnesia abounds.

In 2003 I met one of the most influential mentors I have been blessed to find in my life.  Little did I realize how profoundly I would be influenced by meeting Dr. Pamela Colorado.  I still keep in touch with her ten years later.  Dr. Colorado comes from a mixed background.  Part of her heritage derives from the Oneida Nation.  She has lived the experience of being both native as well as white.  Such an interesting mixture of backgrounds can make for a challenging and weird journey.  It's not surprising when people of mixed heritage struggle to puzzle out where they ultimately belong.

I speak of these two people in my life today because I recognize that I might very well have never met Dr. Colorado if the mentality espoused by all too many people (including my father) had prevailed more and wiped out more of those supposedly lesser cultures of the planet.  And I might not have been open to having a mentor with native heritage had I never spent time living on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota earlier in my own life.  As I noted in a previous entry that time in my life proved very formative.  Yet my father and so many other white men in this country simply cannot understand the perspective I developed as a result of this experience.  They live in a myopic world.  Their mythology of the evil immigrants hell bent on stealing those high quality minimum wage jobs that many Americans would raise their noses at is quite amusing indeed.

Individuals can develop their own case of PTSD due to events beyond their control.  And then there is the analogous experience of entire cultures.  Genocide must be one of the greatest evils human beings unleash from the darkest confines of the human heart.  I suppose you could call genocide what occurs when nearly an entire culture is oppressed or destroyed and the few survivors left have a collective case of PTSD.  I can only imagine what that must feel like.  I am grateful such horrors have not destroyed more of the peoples of this planet.  Had this happened I might not have seen the beauty of the Lakota people.  I also might never have met my friend and mentor, Dr. Colorado.

I dream of a time in which I will move beyond my PTSD diagnosis and no longer feel encumbered by the past.  I also dream of a world in which hatred will end.  I dream of a world in which we will collectively come to appreciate the beauty and gifts of all people.  This is the greatest dream that humanity could one day realize.  I want to build such a world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!