It’s Columbus Day here in the US, the day the banks and post office close their doors to commemorate Christopher Columbus’s colonial exploits in the New World. As Wikipedia neatly summarizes:
“Columbus directly brought about the demise of many Taino (Arawak) Indians on the island of Hispaniola and the arrival of the Europeans indirectly slew many indigenous peoples by bringing diseases previously unknown in the New World. An estimated 85% of the Native American population was wiped out within 150 years of Columbus’s arrival in America, due largely to diseases such as smallpox, which were both accidentally and deliberately spread among Native American populations. Additionally, war and the seizing of land and material wealth by European colonists also contributed to the decline of the indigenous populations in America.”
Many Indigenous people around the world have taken to renaming the holiday “Indigenous Peoples Day.” Venezuela, in fact, recently took the political step of officially celebrating the holiday as el D a de la Resistencia Ind gena. This is a loud signal to the West of the change in global consciousness regarding the true cost of the capitalistic expansion of the Empire.
It is commonplace – at least in the US – to think that the displacement of Indigenous peoples is ancient history. In fact, many of the First Peoples who are still living in traditional ways are – today, right now – under constant threat by global economic pressures to give up their livelihood. The Taino are still amongst us, and they are one of thousands of unique voices against the monocropping of culture that comes with globalization. They are not victims, but active players in the shift in global consciousness.
Given my recent airings on the Conquistadors of Consciousness, I figured that we can also celebrate the holiday in our dreams. In honor of the Indigenous peoples around the world, I suggest we celebrate tonight as el Noche de la Resistencia de los Sonadores. The Dreamers” Resistance.
After all, our dream figures quietly mount the revolution every night as we drift off to sleep. They have something to tell us. They are becoming more insistent with each passing night. At first, we have to listen carefully because our dayworld consciousness is so loud and convinced that it is in control. And they speak in whispers, in riddles, and in images. This isn’t irrationality, but an entirely different way of thinking and being in the world with its own logic and its own rules.
By making the comparison of Indigenous Peoples to our ignored dream characters, I run the risk of romantizing real people and projecting on them the qualities of the despised, the forgotten and – especially – the primitive. That is not my intention or my belief. I mean only to suggest that, like the Indigenous resistance to globalization, our dream characters speak languages that are not born of run-away rationalism and the right to have dominion over nature.
If you are interested in reading more of what Indigenous Peoples have to say about the current global scenerio, I heartily recommend Paradigm Wars: Indigenous Peoples” Resistance to Globalization. (2006), edited by Jerry Mander and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz. Also check out the International Forum on Globalization.
And, tonight, let the Dreamers Unite!