Story Of The Chief

Do you want your name on the site picture , with the American flag, our nationalk pastime and an image that is ridiculous of a proud people,m who walked the land we shared for ages before the most recent immigrants arrived? We can and must do better. In the interest of keeping things all right here I am including the Story Of The Chief on the site. The anme and logo of the Cleveland Major League baseball team both have to change. Here is the Chief's perspective:

The Story of the Chief 


S. A. Noble

Once upon a time there was a very funny looking man.  His skin was cherry red, his nose jutted far out of his face, and he always smiled a big foolish grin.  He wore a red feather behind his left ear.  Many people thought they knew and loved him. But only he knew his secret.

Years back some people had named him “Chief.” His people had others called “chief” in their languages but these were not the kind of leaders who gave orders forcing others to follow them.  They had respect, he did not.  They had honor, he did not.  They had dignity, he did not.  But he did have his secret, buried deep inside, hidden well under his polite outside.

A long time ago his people had lived free and easy where the Creator had placed them on Mother Earth.  They ate what the men hunted, the bounty women and children gathered from the woods and fields.  Some grew their own foods.

Their homes varied, depending on the weather and land where they lived.  Some were long wooden houses, some were round homes, some were even built of mud bricks.  They lived mostly in large families, with the aunts, uncles and children of several generations all together.  Young children were treasured, raised by all the adults present. Children never knew violence against themselves. All the people knew they were the future for all.  They were taught by example, mostly all the time since life happened all the time. Their play grew them happy, strong and skilled.   Should it be necessary one of the older men or women would take aside a child and explain why something they had done was not good or right, for themselves and for others.

Traditions and the old histories were shared by gifted storytellers. Some of his people still lived in these ways, knowing their truth and integrity. Others lived in large communities, sharing the joys of the variety in the world.

Chief’s people had governed themselves by what he had heard now named consensus. The grandfathers and the grandmothers would sit together and talk over whatever events were important.  After many hours of discussion the entire group would find an agreement.  If no agreement could be reached then no action would be taken unless it was a true emergency. Then those experienced and with the most needed knowledge were respected and they led wisely.  It was a way to live that had worked well for many generations of his people. Emergencies were rare, daily life thrived on the abundance of Mother Nature through endless moons.

In fact it had worked so well that when other men, men with white skins, eventually came to their land the newcomers had taken many of these ways and made them their own.  They wrote it down in a long paper which their leaders signed and on which many of what they called their laws were based. The people studied and agreed with the writing before the laws it held in the words could be made real.  Their rules for emergencies were different though and some of the laws were what had placed him now in front of all people smiling day and night.

The land when the elders’ elders’ elders’ had walked through the tall grasses had been everyone’s.  The Chief still wondered at someone claiming to own the land.  Wasn’t that like believing you could own the wind or the sky?  All were given by the Creator for the use of all men, women and children together.  It was important always to take care with the land and waters though, no matter who now controlled or owned them.  Chief well knew the gifts of nature are still necessary this day for all people to continue to live.

For many ages there were not enough men, women and children to harm the land.  The knowledge of this day now and the mechanisms’ the people built to use the gifts from the land did not exist until the dust hidden sun of today was hanging high overhead.  Now people were everywhere, mingling in ways unimagined when he was young.  Now when Chief looked, silent, into the high sky. It was not often clear blue and sometimes his eyes burned.  When he would breathe the dark air his throat felt on fire.  Chief knew people were always in the sky, had walked on the moon, learning more, teaching every day. He wondered when it would come that all learned what his grandfather’s grandfather, his grandmother’s grandmother had known: all the Creator’s creatures must live in balance with Mother Earth and Father Sky or eventually all will die.  What would the thing so many called “progress” finally bring upon people?

Remembering the stories of his grandfather and grandmother Chief felt a wet tear at the corner of his eye.  He blinked it away, keeping the huge grin he was supposed to always show unmoved.  His grandparents had talked of people, many with whiter skin than theirs, loud guns, and promises no sooner made than quickly broken.  His grandfather and grandmother, and their parents too, had moved many times. Some of the moves had been ordered and managed by those with guns and uniforms.  After each promise they were told the move would be the last. Where were the children’s children’s children of those who had herded his people with the guns long ago now living today?

His grandfather’s father had used a gun too, to try to force the men with white skin to keep their latest promise to his family and people.  He and the others of his people had fought well enough that the white men and newcomers had, finally, been forced to leave.  His grandparents and their families and communities had lived on the little land they could control. Some of the white people with guns had brought in others, with some food and their medicine but both were often stolen, the food sometimes rotten and some of the medicines made his family and their friends very sick.

Yet today Chief saw that the promises were being broken again.  Instead of living where they had been born his people lived where those with guns made them go.  Instead of on land from endless water to endless water, land with wind blowing through forest treetops filled with animals for hunting and bounty to gather, mountains for protection, and bubbling rivers to walk through every day as they lived their lives by the rising of the sun and the setting of the moon they lived on waste land where even food would not grow. Often water was scarce and animals few.   With courts and laws the new decisions now were taking what their own grandfathers and grandmothers had been promised, changing the lives of the people he knew yet again. Change was part of life yet laws were made by men and women. Better laws could become real.

Today too many of the children of his people lived in desperate conditions.  Little food, few doctors, bad schools were the truths of their lives.  Many children the Chief knew no longer lived with their families. Life had never been completely easy Chief knew. He also understood it could be made better or worse by people and their choices.

Many years in past times the men with guns had taken the small ones and placed them in places named boarding schools and orphanages or had given them to other families far from their own.  If the children spoke their languages, wore their traditional clothes or tried to pray their prayers they were beaten.  Again and again they were beaten.  The children had their hair all cut short, something they would only have done in their families if someone had died and they were to show their mourning.

When the little ones gave up and did what the outsiders demanded but later tried to return to their families, often no longer would their fathers and mothers take them in.  They had become too much the outsiders themselves, forgetting or never learning all they needed to know to live their ways.  Even forgetting their own languages.  The children growing up now did not know the beliefs of their fathers or the traditions of their mothers.

After the newcomers destroyed the families they had almost accomplished what the men with the guns had not been able to do. Some families had travelled far into remote lands to stay safe and some lived there still.  The young men the Chief knew now could find few jobs.  Laughed at in school, mocked in the streets, on the television in sports, in movies, the strong, fine young men and women were angry and often hopeless.  A thing unheard of in the past times was now a regular event.  Some young people saw nothing but pain in their lives and desolation in their futures.  They used every kind of medicine to ease their pain but their days grew dark, their eyes hollow, their pains reaching the deepest roots of their spirits. Some gave up, going to sleep in Mother Earth many years too early. A few joined together to fight back only spreading pain throughout the communities as their violence created more violence, never finding ways to heal the past instead only repeating the dying.

Some of his people, a wonderful and special few, did find a way to better lives.   Often though their lives changed to become those almost of an outsider in dress, in work, in family living and even in religion.  Some denied their heritage.  Some, the very few who walked well in both worlds tried to bring their brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunties and uncles, the elderlies along but the fear ran deep, the distrust too real for many to succeed.  Those who did walk in both ways, the men and women with skill, wisdom and heart, were the leaders now, the only hope the Chief saw for the future. Chief had noticed the seasons changing, slowly.  No one could stop time, control all the power coursing in all of life.  His people knew this, too.

Other people different from those with the guns had endured some of the same hardships as had his people.  They had the same problems and the same few successes, until recently.   Lately the others, especially those with brown or black or yellow skin had claimed their heritage, culture and traditions with pride.  Their early successes had been mostly in sports and music but now they covered any and all activities and professions. People from around the world were learning the ancient truth, they all shared home in one world. He saw leaders of all colors now, men and women talking and deciding new things. But he still had his secret.

A few laws written and approved by some honest and good men and women in the not too distant past had made a major difference for them all, had given hope to many people of all colors of skin, in many places they created real chances to finally grow and prosper. Mostly white people had voted for these laws because it was mostly white people in power around him, then and still now.  But these wise and brave people valued respect and understood this: freedom to live good and happy lives requires dignity for all.  Those who had found better lives for themselves now were passing on their lessons to others.  No longer would they accept the arrogant slander, lying stereotypes, humiliating and degrading humor.  These few strong leaders had sufficient importance, and their people and friends were big enough in numbers that, with the new laws, they had forced new and real changes into the world, mostly without guns.  Eventually they had, throughout their teachings, examples and actions led many men and women, of all skin colors, to change their ways.  Unfortunately Chief did not see the same new ways growing strong enough or quickly enough in his people.  He knew that their pain, their few numbers and the destruction of the families were the main causes of their continued sufferings. All too often the poverty of their lands held them captive. They also struggled to find the honesty and courage to combine the old ways with the new, to support the good and solve the bad things in their communities.

Still, looking into the world he knew: His people, his secret.  His terrible secret was that Chief himself was also a very important part of the humiliation, failure and disappearance of his own people. White men and women, even some of his own people, who saw his smile almost always missed noticing that he teeth were clenched shut.  He had to grind them together to keep from screaming in rage.

Watching the mostly white men and women, and even the white children pantomime his people’s traditions and create false actions in mocking play pushed his blood in pounding torrents through his temples. Seeing deeply into the questioning eyes of his own people and their children as they looked at him when others told them that he was an ‘honor’ to them, broke his powerful  heart in sorrow.  Chief knew his existence had nothing to do with honor.  He knew his people did not look like him. In fact, with his pointy eyebrows, vacant eyes, and outsized grin he resembled nothing so much as a perpetual fool in front all who looked his way, everywhere.

When he thought of the red feather the white man made him wear, a symbol to his people of sacred significance and high dignity, passed only through holy elders to honored warriors, his very spirit shattered. And still he grinned, buffoon that he was made to be.

The Chief longed to run, with all his being, to flee to the peace and freedom of the hills of his fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers.  He could neither run nor hide.  Like other slaves before him he was bound, paraded before the entire world, to be seen, to be judged, to be used.  His chains were not made of steel, his were fashioned of silver and gold.  The silver and gold Chief earned for his masters.  Money was their god and he was their sacrifice.

Would that they should give him a voice, even for one small moment.  Change was not easy, Fear and anger trapped many. In the hunts of his ancestors success was impossible to predict or guarantee. The future always uncertain.  Chief held these truths deep in his heart.  Still, he had decided, long ago--if given the chance he would call to the wide soaring skies and all beneath their glistening cover the cry of all slaves:

Set The People Free !