Musician Taboo performs at the Native Nations Rise rally at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Opinion

Ray Cook: Our indigenous freedoms are directly tied to the freedom of the Earth





Ray Cook, a citizen of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and the opinions editor at Indian Country Media Network, reflects on freedom, redemption and Mother Earth:
What is our song of freedom? Ours are songs of acknowledgments, prayer and thanksgiving. All of them are forms of redemption songs.

Why is freedom an illusion?

Freedom is an illusion in the contemporary sense because the definition of freedom now means free from obligation, free of restraints. Free of consciousness, free of ownership from bad or horrible actions.

That’s the reasoning that makes clear cutting possible, and what makes dams possible. That misguided thinking is what makes strip-mining of uranium and coal, and fracking possible. It is the thinking that made concentration camps and their forefather the American reservations possible. If you don’t see it, it does not exist. This is what industrial minds define as freedom…ignorance (freedumb). Billions are spent each year to market a message meant to tell you to live in the moment and ignore the past and future.

What keeps us from ever truly achieving that kind of freedom? Our weaknesses. We, and all the creatures of Creation, need clean air. We need clean water to hydrate and cleanse. We need healthy foods and medicines. We need healthy minds and humble spirits. Natives in general understand our place as being on a web that is made up of independent strands. If your actions weaken or break enough of the stands than the web will fail us. That is natural law.

Read More on the Story:
Ray Cook: Freedom v. Redemption (Indian Country Media Network 8/6)