The White Man's Dreams

by Mitakuye Oyasin

In the mid-1900s, Chief Seattle wrote mournfully of the passing of his culture because of the invasion of the white man. "A few more hours, a few more winters, and none of the children of the great tribes that once lived on this earth, or that roamed in small bands in the woods, will be left to mourn the graves of a people once as powerful and hopeful as yours."

"The whites, too, shall pass‹ perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your own bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste."

"And what is it to say farewell to the swift and the hunt, to the end of living and the beginning of survival? We might understand if we knew what it was that the white man dreams, what he describes to his children on the long winter nights, what visions he burns into their minds, so they will wish for tomorrow. But we are savages. The white man's dreams are hidden from us."

Any criticism of the white European transplants and their technology and progress usually evokes a heated response. The most common rejoinder includes, "What about the field of medicine? Surely you don't belittle the vast improvements in healthcare? Consider the antibiotics, inoculations against communicable diseases, transplant surgery, and all the other lifesaving accomplishments brought by technology and progress."

Medicine has created the opportunity for longer life (in some cases) but the lack of spirituality has stripped life of its quality. Knowledge of facts abounds but without wisdom. Religion flourishes but without power. Sex rampages everywhere but without commitment. Timesaving devices have so multiplied into every field that one might conclude that people have time to live but no one seems to have time for anything worthwhile. People don't have time for being with their children. They don't have time to meditate, to read, or to listen to one another. Life has been transformed into mere existence, or, as Chief Seattle put it, Into "survival."

There is something to be said for medical technology but forgive me for failing to join in the applause. For starters, it is hard for me to shiver in awe at something out of my reach. I am only one of 40 million Americans without the magic card that allows me to enter into the arena of modern health care. I can't buy a medical policy because of past medical problems. Even if I could, the cost would be out of reach. Finally, assuming I could secure a policy and pay for it, if it left me with 20 percent of any serious bill to pay after treatment, I couldn't afford that, either. So I am not impressed‹ and I am not alone.

That should partly explain why I can view the "civilized" world of white European transplants with something less than enthusiasm. But there is more. It is no little thing that the diseases which Neo-Europeans are so proud of wiping out, and which killed more of Turtle Island's original inhabitants than all of the long-knives and bluecoats put together, were brought here by them in the first place.

And while I can't prove it, I do believe that most of the diseases which threaten life today are spawned by the dis-ease of trying to grab a piece of the "American Dream." Ask any physician in touch with the general populace and he will tell you that probably 85 percent of the cases he treats have a somatic origin. The disease is real enough but the source of it is the patient's own disease.

Let me put it this way. The body is an amazingly complex and adaptable organism which, given half a chance, is equipped to defend itself from invaders of all kinds. Weaken it with constant fear, distress, depression, and/or resentment, (the badges of civilization, American style), and individual cells begin to lose their defensive capabilities. This opens the door to everything from cancer to clogged arteries.

Contrary to popular opinion, It is not what you eat that kills you; it is what is eating you. In this "high tech," "cutting edge," "state of the art," computer-driven, internet-addicted, video-sated existence, people are being eaten alive by the environment they have created. Talk about a non sequitur, I read last week about holistic health on the internet. That is like going to the riverboat to find spirituality.

A sign on a dairy farm In Wisconsin says, "Our cows are not contented. They are trying to do better." How aptly put! In a society where restlessness abounds and contentment is served in Xanax pills prescribed at the local pharmacy, people with dis-ease are lining up to get diseased.

Restlessness is only a symptom, of course. Behind the wave of restlessness lies the culprit of boredom. Americans become quickly bored because they are so manifestly boring. They are so devoid of depth that they make millionaires out of people who can put a ball through a hoop and build a profitable industry from quarters placed in machines in arcades. They beat their children and pet their cars. They speed through everything all day so they can vegetate in front of alleged entertainment by surfing through 150 different channels in the evening. Then, as though no one had ever seen the crotch of another human before, they make a thriving industry out of "show and tell" with body parts.

The solution is not a simple matter of giving everybody free medical Insurance. In fact, with no place to hide, any answer to living in this neo-European world today must be found within. Resigning as General Manager of the universe is a start. I like the saying, "Live and Let Live." Don't try to be God. The job is taken. If change is called for, then change the only things you can: your own thinking and your own behavior.

Transforming the inside storms of war into serenity is a matter of living in harmony with the Great Spirit and all of his creation. It is not a matter of worshipping all living things, as we are so often accused. It is a matter of doing what the white man has so often failed to do. It is a matter of respecting and being at-one with all living things.

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