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Dear Brothers and Sisters:  Gender and Its Responsibility

Friday, January 7, 2011


Today’s essay will continue offering examples of the understanding of the indigenous people of the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific concerning gender and spirituality. To give yourself a measuring stick for the next several essays I ask that you refer to my essay Cubists, which I have linked HERE.

The emphasis of this essay focuses on American Indian opposition to ownership, especially ownership of land; a value structure opposite to that of Western and Asian thought.

Below are American Indian views on ownership.

Some of our chiefs make the claim that the land belongs to us. It is not what the Great Spirit told me. He told me that the lands belong to Him, that no people owns the land; that I was not to forget to tell this to the white people when I meet them in council.


No tribe has the right to sell even to each other much less to stranger. Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn’t the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?


This is what was spoken by my great-grandfather at the house he made for us. These are the words that were given him by the Master of Life: “At some time there shall come among you a stranger, speaking a language that you do not understand. He will try to buy the land from you, but do not sell it.”

Red Lake Ojibwe

Look at me—I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.

Red Cloud

Once I was in Victoria, and I saw a very large house. They told me it was a bank and that white men place their money there to be taken care of, and that by and by they get it back, with interest.

We are Indians and we have no such bank; but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them, with interest, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank.

Nootka Chief

One does not sell the earth upon which people walk.

Crazy Horse

The white man’s desire for possessions is like a disease.

Sitting Bull

My reason teaches me that land cannot be sold. The Great Spirit gave it to his children to live upon and cultivate as far as necessary for their subsistence and so long as they occupy and cultivate it they have the right to the soil, but if they voluntarily leave it then any other people have a right to settle on it. Nothing can be sold, except things that can be carried away.

Black Hawk

The greatest object of their (white people) lives seems to be to acquire possessions—to be rich. They desire to posses the whole world.

Santee Sioux

That last statement sums up the activities of the Western world. Not only does it have a desire to possess the whole world—it already owns it.

Every American grade school child learns that early European settlers bought the island of Manhattan from the Indians for $24 worth of trinkets. The inference is made that the Indians had no concept of value in letting the island go so cheaply. The Indians on the other hand wondered why the settlers would want to buy something that could be utilized freely.

European thinking obviously prevailed, and eventually Brooklyn, Queens, and all the other boroughs were purchased; then the states of New York and New Jersey. Eventually the whole country was purchased. The land of other countries was purchased as well. Now international financial interests own the entire world. Tecumseh’s question, “Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth?” has become a reality. Do you know of any free access to drinking water? All of the land and potable water of the world is now owned. The territorial control of the waters of the oceans includes 12 mile zones to 200 mile zones. Gifts from God have been taken from us by Euro-Asian thought and we have become indentured servants working for the right to get our daily sustenance of food and drink from those who own the world.

To all who read this essay regardless of where in this world you stand; realize that you toil more and more each day because the price of the world continues to rise. Each time world financial markets rise it means the value of the land and water has increased and you must work more in order to survive. The financial interests of this world have become your God. You must serve them or you will not eat.

We have accepted this way of life and adapted to it well. The major concern of the world is money, the economy, finances and ownership. The social and spiritual well-being of people has become irrelevant and does not garner mention in the media. Our interests focus on material matters; all other matters occupy a distant second place.

“What does it serve a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” The indigenous people of the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific understood the meaning of that message. They also understood the meaning of Paul’s message “There is no single gift that you have not received.” Too bad most of the Eurasian world can’t or won’t.


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