One of the most riveting and frightening books I have ever read is Leslie Marmon Silko‘s Almanac of the Dead.” Granted, this was back in 1991. Ghosts and ‘weird stuff’ used to freak me out.
I prefer the simple cardboard spinning ones.
The ‘thing’ about Silko’s epic tale, what most academics now refer to as a “novel of 21st century dystopia,” or some kind of indictment on Larry McMurty, (the “Lonesome Dove” novel and TV mini-series author), remains the fact was what she wrote about has come true. This is WAY before the internet (a ‘long long time ago’ according to anyone born after 1991).
You get the idea.
Think about it: The black market organ harvesting thing, more treaties broken on Indian land, the increase of violence against women and children, bad things happening in ‘South America,’ the Mexican drug cartels’ full-scale war, and the Chiapas uprising on New Year’s day in 1994.
What we did before Facebook was invented.
It’s not because I have organs
This book sent chills down my spine; AND IT’S NOT “because I am Native American,” or “because I am Chicano,” or “because I have organs.” It set me back for several reasons. It was such an amazing piece that I find parts that I keep reading over and over and still think to no end…wow...I am staying away from Tuscon, Arizona. It’s kinda the same reason I will not set foot in the state of Maine.
I am afraid to do his BaZi consultation.
Know your past, Know your future.
This is not a pitch for some kind of web-based genealogy company. History repeats itself. We as a people do not change. You need to understand who you are at least, according to the algorithms set forth in these ancient books. With the corrective mechanisms of ‘positioning and scheduling’, within BOTH the Tonalpouhuali and the Wan Nian Li, we are able to understand the corrective actions and remedies that have occurred in our timeline. With further consultation and study, we as a species develop systems of calculation over the last millennia to further our understanding of human nature with our interaction with nature. These systems include the calculations used in the BaZi Suan Ming as well as the system of Cura in my family line.
Back on the Apacheria, as we would jokingly call our ‘homeland’ of South Texas at times, we would tell Ghost stories. It would then follow up with some variations of the La Llorona story. The conversation would turn to the usual ‘roll call’ of births, deaths, who is in prison, how they got to prison, what is their cousin doing now, so on and so forth. BUT EVENTUALLY it would move onto the never-ending conversation, of what I call, “Will the real Geronimo Please Stand Up?” You see on my mother’s side “Geronimo” is a family name, passed on from generation to generation. This has been part of our family heritage since the 1830s. In our family history, we have been told at one time, there were several dozen Geronimos. These great war chiefs roamed the Apacheria and Comancheria of the Southwest, from the Gila Bend area in Arizona to the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. My own family’s personal historical interactions with the War Chief Geronimo, (as well as our blood relations to another famous Apache warrior, Colorado Mangas), makes this area of Native American history a close interest of mine, both culturally and historically.
Band of Apache prisoners at rest stop beside Southern Pacific Railway, near Nueces River, Texas, September 10, 1886. Among those on their way to exile in Florida are Natchez (center front) and, to the right, Geronimo and his son. Photo courtesy National Archives.
In Leslie Marmon Silko’s book Almanac of the Dead, there is a character by the name of the Barefoot Hopi. In the book he is a Vietnam war vet returned to ‘the Rez’ full of poverty and broken dreams. At one point in the book, he shoots down a helicopter of Hollywood film makers illegally filming a Hopi Snake Dance ritual. While no one is killed, the pilot and several passengers are injured. The Barefoot Hopi is sent to prison. In prison, he finds his calling to educate and lead his former fellow inmates to a rebellion.
The World Today
Our world today, whether it be “Indian Country” or a “Country of (East) Indian buffets” (I prefer the one locally here in SW Portland), is in a state of crisis that has not been seen in what seems ‘a long long time.’ The dystopia of today may be slowly turning into a reality of darkness, but this does not have to be.
We have to remember that we need to do is go back to basics. We should not identify ourselves with who we voted for in the last election or what color we choose politically. While we may be in ‘war-time‘ again, this is a very different terrain of war and politics where no one answer seems clear.
And maybe there never was a clear answer.
These are times where the importance of the almanacs of East Asia and the Americas need to be reflected on. Do we need the Barefoot Hopi? Maybe. But in this case, hopefully it’s for the experiences and insight of the Hopituh Shi-nu-mu people during an era where the Vietnam War is still very much alive. We do need the Barefoot Hopi, for his cultural and educational insights from what he or she has experienced rather than ‘just’ advice on the use of firearms.