Ivan F. Star Comes Out
Finding it hard to stand for 'Star Spangled Banner'
By Ivan F. Star Comes Out There was a time in my life when I actually felt relieved as I cheered for the cavalry riding in, bugle blaring, to save the settlers and their wagon trains. I practically grew up in a parochial boarding school where I was taught discriminatorily about Christianity and America, along with the usual gamut of academics. As a result, I was convinced that there was a participatory role for me in this society. I was unaware of the cruel purpose that was being carried out in that school. Due to the harsh treatment, I quit school but not before being effectively programed into not wanting to be “Indian.” However, my life after school was nothing like all those biased things I was taught. So, I spent my life rethinking everything and relearning my true identity. As a young man, I wanted to know more about my own people thus my life has been one long self-study. Unfortunately, I learned just as much about the newcomer. I learned that these light-skinned “discoverers of everything” were highly materialistic and had used Christianity to feed that greed. Their history is one war after another. They did these things in “the name of God.” At the same time, I can see that “the Word” is good, their Bible is good but these people took it, altered it, and abused it for their own gain and benefit. I learned that their parochial school lied to me by telling me that my ancestors were “savages” and “heathens.” It wasn’t long before I saw that it is they that are barbarous, devious, and deceitful. Their history presents a dark portrait of killing other human beings, stealing land, brutally abusing small children, and racially elevating themselves to a superior status. Adding to that is the ideology of Americanism. Under this banner, I was taught a very biased American history. It is easy to see that this new history inaccurately portrayed the “Indian.” Actually, the native of this land was relegated to a lowly subhuman status and their story has been adeptly altered, distorted, or simply omitted. So what does Americanism mean? According to ancient world history, the term was first used in 1507 on a map defining the “new land” in honor of Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512), an Italian explorer. Today his name is used to define a native or citizen of the United States. Another definition alludes to a person born, raised, or living in North or South America. It is also defined as the attachment or allegiance to the traditions, interests, or ideals of the new America. Again, the political principles and practices essential to American culture did not truly include natives of the land. The native was minimally included in a horrendously distorted form. It was inevitable for native people to resist this biasness and its resulting maltreatment. Thus was born what is now known as Native Americanism, characterized by resistance and loathing toward all the principles and policies of the 19th century. I saw the name America spelled with three Ks and all of us know what those letters mean. Adherents to what is known as the “KKK” believe in violence and hold white supremacist or anti-immigrant views. This philosophy continues to make it its appearance in racist attitudes and behavior within this country’s government institutions like law enforcement, law administration, and in other public service organizations, as well as on an individual basis. On a personal basis, I enlisted in the military for the primary purpose of escaping the extreme poverty on my home land. However, as a naïve young man, I also held a trace of patriotism. Then in later years, I realized that I was never ever an essential part of the so-called modern “American” society. I am considered subhuman and am thus reviled by a significant portion of modern population. With these revelations came confusion. Initially, my life was chaotic but I gradually found my footing, as one would say. However, I find myself standing out from the rest. For instance, I find it awkward to stand to the Star Spangled Banner at events or gatherings. I feel a strong sense of embarrassment, knowing what I know about this new society. For example, I visited the renowned Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in 1969. I had just returned from the war in Vietnam and still wore my uniform. The most unsettling memory of that visit was the obstinate staring from the mostly wasicu crowd. I have to assume disbelief and perhaps even disapproval was behind that blatant staring. I believe that was the beginning of my search for my true self. Mount Rushmore is supposedly a symbol of egalitarianism or a “Shrine of Democracy.” However, that perception changed gradually to ‘Shrine of Hypocrisy.” Based on the things I learned about my existence and place in this country, I find it awkward when saluting the red, white, and blue. I can genuinely salute the flags of our deceased war veterans, especially during local gatherings where families fly their deceased family member’s memorial flags. Actually, I respect and honor the memories of those veterans who gave their lives in defense of this country whose citizens are still trying to understand what equality means. At the same time, I see the practice of using the flag to promote personal, biased, and often hostile attitudes towards minorities. More accurately, this is an advancement of the belief, theory, or doctrine that white people are inherently superior to all other racial groups, and are therefore rightfully the dominant group in any society. This is a serious deviation from what democracy really means. We must always remember that this particular Democracy is indigenous, as opposed to what this country’s educational system has taught millions of youth since 1492. When the United States Constitution is juxtaposed with the Iroquois’ Great Law of Peace, they are identical paragraph per paragraph. The Great Law of Peace is 1,500 years old while the constitution is only 500. With everything I learned in my life, I have to say that there is a sinister purpose for hiding such history from the America public. This type of teaching may be the underlying cause of this rampant nonconformity from the true definition of equality. I am also aware that things will not change anytime soon. It up to every individual, regardless of race, to realize these truths. Meanwhile, I will continue my struggle to find a niche in the hostile environment. (Ivan F. Star Comes Out, POB 147, Oglala, SD 57764; (605) 867-2448; email@example.com) Copyright permission Native Sun News
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