March against Violence and Racism in Gallup, NM & #Caravana43 for Ayotzinapa Students

turtle island

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It may be that the Gallup even won’t resonate as strongly with some of you as it does me, but it’s been a continuing story in border towns across the Southwest for a long, long time.  It’s all rooted in colonialism, of course, which requires the colonized to be considered second-, or even third-class citizens, essentially with no recourse to local law enforcement or the courts to defend them.  The exceptions are First Americans who’ve reached ‘the pinnacles of success’, of course; the Ben Nighthorse Campbells of the nation (ptui).

When we moved to the Four Corners in 1973, we were flipped out when we discovered that there was a blatant two-tiered pricing system in Cortez at many of the businesses that could get away with it.  One was sometimes quoted a price ‘for Whites’, and a higher one ‘for Navvies (Navajo/Dinehs) or Utes’.  Ah, and especially for pickup trucks, the modern-day ‘Indun ponies’.  Part of it was likely due to the fact that an entire segment of the redneck population erroneously believed that Utes, for instance, received large monthly stipends by the ‘federal gummint’.  It wasn’t true then, nor is it now, but one thing was true: enrolled tribal members had money paid into interest-bearing accounts that were given to them on their 21st birthdays, and most of them wanted: pickup trucks.  Hence, the rationale to gouge the young adults for them.

But that financial racism pales in comparison to our eventual discovery that ‘rolling drunk Induns in the parks’ (beating them senseless) or outright murdering them was almost a redneck rite of passage for some of the white supremacists coming of age.  It’s undeniable that alcoholism is endemic among some Native tribes, and I strongly suspect that more research needs to be done on the biochemical links between the Indigenous being so prone to both diabetes and their craving for alcohol, while being at the same time allergic to it, but that’s a whole separate conversation.

One such killing in the late 70s was said to have been committed by the local sheriff’s son, and I don’t find it at all hard to credit.  At the time, the sheriff was finally found to have been running his own drug ring out of an eight-sided house at which many dead bodies were discovered, and at least that fact finally caused the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to get involved.

During the same time frame and extending for years, sincerely ugly things were happening to First Americans in Farmington, NM, some of which was chronicled in former journalist Rod Barker’s book ‘The Broken Circle’, with its own brand of magical realism stirred in.

It may have been the militant Indigenous ‘riots’ in Farmington that finally caught the attention of the CO civil rights commission, perhaps even the New Mexico one, but those good folks did come to Cortez to hold hearings on the issue eventually.  As so often happens, fearing local reprisal, few First Americans were brave enough to testify about the many beatings, murders, and (I assume) brutality by police that went on, but eventually the practices slowed down, if not stopped altogether.  Who in the Anglo/Bilagnna world can say for certain?

How many, for instance, know how harassed and spied upon the Tohono O’odhom and other Indigenous near the Mexican border are by the ever-more militarized Border Patrol agents cum Homeland Security?  Or how many times, and in how many ways the United Nations Declarations of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples have been either ignored, or worse, scoffed at?  Or care how about the over 1000 aboriginal women who’ve been murdered in Canada since over the past two decades, or the many who’ve simply disappeared?  (Hint: not Stephen Harper)

Or of the relentless resource grabs, including Indigenous land, water, and minerals all over Turtle Island, far too many to single out, but most recently Arizona and Utah seem to be riding the crest of that wave.  But really, the Indigenous struggle against genocide, ecocide, and sociocide is global and interconnected by corporate capitalism and corruption.

Yes, it’s good to see civil actions protesting these issues, including the recent US #Caravana43 weeks-long (iirc) tour to protest the still-missing 43 Ayotzinapa teacher training students kidnapped by alleged drug lords at the behestst of the local Federales. (Background of the politics of the story here, including ‘US Collaboration in Mexico’s New Dirty War’)  Many of the students are Guerrero Indigenous. Stops in San Francisco, Sacramento, Kansas City, Philly, Birmingham, Chicago and other cities to come, brought concerned activists out to the streets to join their budding ‘next Mexican revolution.

In Spanish, with English subtitles, this may make you feel the tragedy.

Now let’s turn to the march against indigenous racism and violence in Gallup on April 4.  In his photo essay on the event, UNM professor David Corriea has captions under some of his photos, including these:

“The Red Nation, an Albuquerque-based group of indigenous activists and allies, prepared a march through Gallup, New Mexico on Saturday, April 4, 2015. Marchers demanded an end to racist violence against Native people in Gallup. Since 2013, when a detox center closed, more than 170 Native people died unnatural deaths in Gallup. The names of those people were printed on yellow signs and carried by marchers.”
“A 2008 Congressional investigation found that there was one payday lender in Gallup for every 500 residents, and 70 percent of the customers for these payday lenders were Native American. A New Mexico legislative investigation noted that some payday lenders and pawn operators charged interest rates greater than 1,500% APR

Yes; Indun farming.
You might enjoy nuestro amigo ChéPasa’s ‘Down Country and the Persistence of Colonialism in New Mexico’ for his deeper and unconventional considerations on the subject.

The Red Nation also did a photo and video essay.

A dark and horrid statistic:

A Dineh song of resistance

‘Upon suffering beyond suffering, the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world.   A world of broken promises, selfishness and separations, a world longing for light again.

I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colours of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole earth will become one circle again….

I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at that centre within you, and I am at that place within me, we shall be one.’

 ~ Chief Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux, 1877

31 responses to “March against Violence and Racism in Gallup, NM & #Caravana43 for Ayotzinapa Students

  1. we’re going to see how allowing nested comments works again; i forget why i’d turned them off long ago, to tell the truth. anyway, if it doesn’t work well, i’ll switch it back again.

    i still have a few tax things to figure out, but i’m zeroing in on them, and needed a break from tax-form speak. do crack addicts write the damned things?

  2. Another great report, WD but I wonder what gave you the impression that alcoholism is endemic among some tribes or that Native American people are allergic to alcohol, I could find no facts or statistics that support either of these claims. In fact the frequency of use of alcohol among NA people is less than the general population although binge drinking is more likely. Alcoholism is only about 2.5% higher among NA people than the general population. Poverty and unemployment are certainly endemic on many reservations and this certainly leads to more drinking especially among the young people of these tribes.

    The genetic link to alcoholism has been studied and it affects all ethnic groups. NA people are no more or less influenced by these alcohol metabolism differences than Swedes or Koreans are.

    If someone is truly allergic to alcohol they can’t drink it, the results are similar to a peanut allergic reaction, extreme symptoms and possible death.

    I hope the Tax Man didn’t take too large a bite from your earnings. The Beatles song Tax Man was a good tune but on reflection it was four rich hypocrites whining about paying their share to support the social contract although they were very clear about not wanting any Revolution that might interfere with their accumulation.

  3. well, i scored some resources; you decide. i think you’re quite incorrect on all counts from what i’ve read over several decades. i admit to having needed to learn a whale of a lot about fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effect, both of course related.

    yep on the beatles, but they all came from working class backgrounds, iirc.

    more on first americans not having the gene for Acetaldehyde production

    There has been found a physiological relationship between alcoholism and Type II Diabetes. Both are related to problems in blood sugar regulation. An elevated insulin response to carbohydrates exists in both the pre-diabetic and the alcoholic. Most people are unaware that between 75% and 95% of alcoholics are hypoglycemic. (It should be noted that not all people who are hypoglycemic are or will become alcoholic or diabetic.) Dr. Joan Larson, author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety has written that Native Americans are particularly vulnerable to adult-onset diabetes when associated with drinking. Although long considered a moral weakness and still treated as an emotional problem, alcoholism, like diabetes, is a physical disease. There are mental, emotional and spiritual components to all illnesses, but at base, alcoholism is a physical disease.

    Alcoholism in Native Americans is partly related to an allergic response. American Indians are allergic to a number of the foods brought by Europeans and especially to grains (e.g., wheat, barley, oats, etc.) Food allergy symptoms include fatigue, mental confusion, depression, physical aggression and suicide attempts. After repeated exposure, intense cravings for the allergen and physical addiction resulting in withdrawal symptoms are the maladaptive responses. This allergy was demonstrated by the initial reaction of Indians to grain alcohols described in historical accounts.

    According the Indian Health Services, the rate of alcoholism among Native Americans is six times the U.S. average.

    “Native Americans are one such group. Their rate of alcoholism is much higher than the rest of the population, and one in 10 Native American deaths is alcohol-related [three times the average for the broader population].”

    “The newness of the substance had a great influence on the Native American culture. But researchers over the years have shown that the effects of alcohol on this culture are also due to genetics.”

    and i might just regret the time this took. the sole exceptions i could find were some SE tribes and alaskan ones.

  4. oh, and food allergies don’t necessarily lead to anaphylaxis or anything. they can bring other dysfunctions and weird reactions. the dude who wrote the ‘eat for your blood type’ books maintained that most often, we crave exactly what we’re allergic to, and in my own case, he may be right. he says all the yellow food i eat is gonna kill me. oh, well.

  5. amy goodman had two relatives of one of the missing students on yesterday, a father and a cousin.

    but i went back five months and found a much more probative interview on the Merida initiative spiking the murder numbers, and why nieto and obama are referenced so often in the signs and posters the Caravana protestors display.

    key quotes, and only too familiar to us, from the transcript:

    “I think what happened speaks to two things. One, it shows the full merger between police forces and local governance and organized crime. I don’t think it’s possible anymore to talk about corruption. The idea of corruption no longer has any kind of descriptive power. But what we have is two sectors of an industry that have fully merged—the police and the drug or organized crime gangs themselves—and the confluence of two forms of violence—the classic state violence of repression and the kind of newish forms of narcobrutality, the violence associated with organized crime organizations here.”
    Laura Carlson, speaking on US funding of the Merida Initiative as at least partially causative:

    “So, right now, first of all, in the United States, all funding to these police and military forces through this drug war model, which has militarized the country and created a new model for repression against youth and against opposition, must be cut off immediately, or we’re directly responsible for future crimes which will occur. And on the Mexican side, the call in all these marches—and I’ve been to giant marches, 50,000, 100,000. There’s assemblies in UNAM. We’ve been to four or five in which students are already planning what to do to force the resignation of Peña Nieto. The idea is, if there’s a country where there can be mass graves, if there’s a country where 43 students can go missing at the hands of state agents, then something is so deeply wrong that the government needs to be changed completely and the whole system needs to be changed. So there are constant discussions to try to figure out how to do that. But there is a very firm commitment on the part of these protests that whatever happens in terms of the fate of the students right now, it will not end there.”

    Well, she gets even more explicit about the joint US/Mexico joint fukkery re: oil, military hardware, quashing protests, etc.

    it’s clear they all seems to believe that the students are alive, and i do wonder why that is.

  6. Wendy, thanks for showing me where you found your information and I agree with some of the information on the effects of alcoholism on the NA population but there are some errors I will address, last first.

    The IBTimes article claim that NA alcoholism is five times the GP is just wrong, either an error from poor research or intentional to emphasize their ” NA Tragedy” headline. The accurate data can be found @ wiki/Modern Societal Statistics of NA Alcoholism Rates, NA 10.7% US 7.6%. The rates may be higher in areas such as Pine Ridge due to the concentrated poverty and isolation of that group.

    The genetic studies are interesting if somewhat confusing for a non geneticist but the most recent conclusions I could find are at wiki/Alcohol and Native Americans under Contributing Factors referencing the research @ [11] . Their conclusion is ” there is a substantial genetic component in Native Americans” but those factors are ” similar in kind and magnitude to the genetic influences contributing to the liability for these phenotypes in other ethnic groups” This supports my conclusion that you can’t say that NdNs have bad genes that cause alcoholism because they are no different genetically than the rest of us and if they were different how would you explain the fact that almost 90% of NA are not alcoholics while many of them do drink alcohol and have this genetic component just as in the general US population.

    Alcohol/ethanol allergy is extremely rare and is what I addressed earlier. Grain allergies may be more common but still only affect a small population and the theory that they cause alcoholism in NA is an interesting but poorly researched assumption. The link to Vitaklise is again interesting and seems to offer some useful information but fails almost immediately when claiming that distilled grain alcohol caused allergic reactions in NA when they first consumed it. There are no allergens in 190 proof grain alcohol, it is almost pure ethanol with a small amount of pure water. I read the recipe used for Indian Whiskey sent to the Rendezvous at Green River Wyoming during the beaver trade and it may explain why those people who consumed it for the first time were so quickly overcome by it and then became violent and insane. The recipe’s main ingredient is grain alcohol to which is added water for dilution then tobacco is added for coloring then red chile is added for spicy flavor. The last ingredient added was as insane as this concoction made those who consumed it, it was strychnine added to produce a special kick to this drink not enough to kill the victim but enough to explain the described reactions of those who consumed it. The Mountain Men may have developed a higher tolerance for this drink but they also were overcome by it and became crazed, murdering their best friends and others under its influence.

    Another large hole in this theory is that many alcoholics especially NA drink fortified wine which also has no grain allergens in it. Beer drinkers could possibly be affected by allergens but it’s the alcohol they are addicted to and the allergen addiction theory seems to me to be a bit far fetched especially when applied to the whole population who wouldn’t be eating so many Navajo Tacos if it was valid.

    The genetic factor In diabetes is well documented but if NA people eat a balanced diet and stay active they reduce their risk of developing the disease just as other ethnic groups do.

  7. oh, bother. i just lost my comment as i was trying to enter a link at the end. time to shape my bread loaves, and i will try to come back, but i thank you for your diligence even while i did laugh about the wiki piece being the ‘accurate source’, which disagreed about NA women on your second wiki, i f my scanning was anything close to what was there.

    but for now, on your first link, i was struck by the first americans seeking help for marijuana addiction (it’s not addictive) and the source was…the DOJ. be back soon.

  8. i should have noted that marijuana isn’t inherently *physically addictive*. but i agree that many drinkers drink because they are self-medicating due to poverty, joblessness, hopelessness. and pine ridge fits that model in spades.

    now as to your section on grain alcohol and allergens, clearly it must have been other factors that caused cravings early (and the formula additives for ‘craziness’ as well), but much of the literature notes that many NAs don’t process alcohol (or other sugars, for that matter) as most people do.

    the ‘alcoholism as a disease’ with the ‘allergen theory’ stirred in was brought to me by a non-practicing alcoholic friend who got her ph.d in alcohol counseling. i was a tough sell, but then, she hadn’t explained any of the biochemical mechanics of it then. but i did go looking for the theory, and oh, boy, i landed on the ‘discussion’ page of the wiki, and are there food fights there, with charges and counter-charges flying!

    but this is the doc who’s referenced by the AA people, although one line says that his theories aren’t in the big book, much like bill wilson’s discoveries that niacin, etc., are crucial to recovery, since they aid depression, which many alcoholics interpret as need for more alcohol, and the resultant dopamine created by the limbic system, if i’m reading right..

    but aren’t the alcohol ‘choices’ rather linked to affordability and whoop-woop factors for immediate effect after a time? i could guess that might be the case.

    i agree that many diabetics can ameliorate their type II diabetes with proper food and exercise, and some say the amino acid L-arginine, which the one link implied was released with others in the lime-soaking of dried corn for tortillas. avoiding processed food is a hard one, though, especially on reservations. some tribes have turned to traditional methods of treating both alcoholism and diabetes, but i dunno how successful they’ve been, or indeed what protocols were followed. sadly, our local rez seat, towaoc, they serve the fresh corn the tribe grows. ;-) but at least it’s not gmo corn.

    anyway, we just might not be able to convince one another on this one, peter. i regret bringing it up at all, since it’s served to derail the civil protests i’d meant to highlight.

    but threads go…where they go. ;-)

  9. I hope you will accept the statistics on NA alcoholism in the wiki even if someone made that judgment about pot.

    The rest is debatable and I think the genetic and even the allergy research might help in treatment but using it to pigeonhole the problem I think is a distraction from the social and economic factors that can be changed.

    Man and to a lesser extent Woman have craved the effects of alcohol and other mind altering substances probably since they observed a drunk elephant gorging on rotten fruit at the dawn of humanity if not before. NA just as the rest of humanity still like to get a buzz but some of them also can’t handle access to a endless supply and for a variety of reasons become addicted. We can’t change human nature or genetics, yet, but we could change some of the risk factors that we created.

  10. while i respect you for trying to find some common agreements, have to say that no, i won’t accept the wiki statistics, nor do i think the truth is in any way ‘a distraction’. look, wayoutwest, i’ve been communicating with tribal clinics, experts of all sorts on NA alcoholism stats, FAS stats and manifestations, the dynamic association of reactive attachment syndrome, for decades.

    why would i accept those wiki ‘facts’ over the NIH IHS (edited), which i confess, looking at their website, under-reported rather than over-reported, as so many NA never even visit docs or IHS clinics?

    i believe that the socio-economic reasons are also important, but that ‘getting a buzz on’ isn’t close to what this is about. and i don’t mean at all be paternalistic toward First Americans in any way; i live and have traveled among many SW tribes. i’ve just listened to so many of their takes on alcohol and diabetes as scourges to their biological traits to be sanguine about it. in the same way, many blacks are genetically prone to sickle cell anemia.

    but please, that’s enough for me. sleep well. maybe after the revolution we and they will all live in a better world.

  11. Seems to me its not either/or it is both or something else entirely…
    On one hand, much of Pre-Colombian NA culture north of Mexico is lost, but I don’t know of any that regularly used alcohol. So there could easily be an inherent unreadiness in genotype, pheotype and social preparation and constraint that leads to overuse. Native Americans don’t have the resistance built up in Eurasians through thousands of years of natural selection via alcohol.
    On the other hand, Johann Hari makes a strong argument that it is the rats’ cage that determines the addictiveness of the drugs available to the rats. It’s not morality, the brain or the drug, it is the cage.

    Please note the general absence of ‘rat parks’ all across America.
    On the gripping hand, give John Trudell’s take an open listen. One can be sure that the actual people in question should have at least some input into the final say:

    John, of course, is crazy, but his story is alot closer to Johan Hari’s.

    • well, hola amigo, and welcome back. thanks for the hari piece; i’d read some pieces riffing it off it, but never watched him speak. he’s become quite the rock star, hasn’t he? dunno but what he’s under-counting the viet nam vets who returned and stayed addicted, but then it wasn’t long before reagan shut down all sorts of mental hospitals, ordered docs to give ptsd-damaged soldiers prescriptions, and all the hideous consequences of that.

      but yes, decriminalization would also pretty much end the violence, but it’s not at all clear if the ptb want that ended (see the merida initiative), prison industrial complex, tra la la.

      but the trudell piece, i dunno. i wish he’d have asked the interview what he *had said* about drunken induns in minneapolis, so we’d know what he seemed to be trying to repair. i love trudell, and most of his monologues, all of his prose-set-to-music, but this one sounded like gibberish to me. his contention that drunken induns were *hidng their indunness* seemed silly. had he said they self-medicated to dull the pain, yes, i’d agree.

      now i have no idea how he survived the pain he’s been through, but he’s one of the clearest beacons for turning poison into medicine i can think of. he’s always assumed, and it’s easy to believe, that it was the fbi who burned down his house with his family inside just hours after he burned an amerikan flag on the steps of the DC fbi building. how does one even imagine surviving that horror, pain, and rage? i reckon if i had to pick one of his songs as favorite, this would be the one.

      thanks for coming, lemoyne. oh, and i saw your avatar on banksy’s twitter account? did he originate it?

      added: pre-columbian: pulque, yes? and a more illustrative point hari might have used over his billie holiday one would have been whichever acronym agency (allegedly) flooded black inner urban areas with crack cocaine, imo.

      • Most functional and good-hearted people would balk at JT’s opinion that the ‘drunken indian’ of the early to mid 20th century saved ‘the people’. I see what he is pointing to though: the refusal to capitulate and the ensuing continuous struggle to avoid the many force-joins into the predator culture. That has been a hallmark of my life. For me, the drinking just made it too easy to fall into self-blame and slide back into the abyss of capitulation. (And they will fall on their knees and worship the Beast saying: ‘Who is like unto the Beast? Who can stand against it?’ — Revelations snapped me out of that once I caught on.)

        I have been rocking the ” $ ” avatar since Occupy or so – mid-2011? Banksy is a copycat B-p (joking of course).

        • his body language spoke volumes to me, although i wish he hadn’t been wearing shades. yes, i see that you are projecting a bit, and can relate. “the era of dunken induns” is over? well, my love to him, but: no, john. i feel your pain, as well as your apologies and rage.

          i’ll add to your ‘rocking’ theme:

          sorry to be short; i’m exhausted.

          • No need to apologize -brevity is the soul of wit an’ if I start apologizing for being short I will have start every post with it ;-)

            John was talking about the pre-AIM period when the modern stereotype was established so I referred to that – no intent to imply the stereotype and reality are long past. I live and walk in the alleys of Albuquerque, not too far from Central and close to the liquor store across from the graveyard. Hundreds of NA ethnicities here and I have seen the spark to which John refers in more than one set of eyes across more than a few years. Not always about dulling the pain or escaping the physical circumstances, drinking can also be about forgetting the way we are supposed to be in a predator culture… for us short-legged, long-haired white guys too.

            • he’d actually referred to ‘the era’, and yes, i got that he meant pre-AIM. i do know about self-medicating in order to not be oneself (due to toxic parenting, grand-parenting, and so on), but your (and his) contention about doing so ‘to forget the way we’re supposed to be’ is a new one on me. your putting yourself in their places, and seeing the sparks i know you must have, is a generous and worthy way of allowing one to imagine them.

              sleep well, lemoyne.

  12. One last comment on this subject. The data at the wiki came from The National Survey on Drug Use and Health an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. @[33] I know statistics are cold and impersonal and that surveys probably underestimate the problem both in NA and the whole US but they are all we have to judge the extent of this problem. These facts do not in any way minimize the evidence of greater damage from alcoholism to NA compared with the GP.

    I do have a more positive story about the Alamo Band Navajos and the creative thinking they are using to counter the negative affects of unemployment and lack of positive activities for Navajo youth.

  13. Le Moyne, thanks for the Johann Hari story on the “cage” I read about this improved experiment some time ago.

    Actually we do know that most if not all NA tribes throughout the Americas made and consumed some type of Maize Beer sometimes to excess, binge drinking, it was called chicha, tiswin and probably many other names. They didn’t have distilled spirits or package stores so alcoholism was not an option. You cant use all the food stores to make beer and just making a living took up most of their time.

  14. Throw this into the mix:

    Native Foods for Pueblo Peoples Project:

    Good Meat (the Movie):

    Anecdotal to be sure, but returning to something closer to pre-Euro-contact diets seems to have a strong effect on Native health and well-being.

    There are definite aspects of intolerance, allergy and addiction that factor into Indian adoption of European foods and alcohol (forced or unforced) and the health consequences thereof.

    Rez foods — frybread, Del Monte canned peaches in heavy syrup, condensed milk (sweet or unsweet), refined sugar, canned beef and pork products, etc. — were/are among the worst offenders, almost as if it were planned that way.

    Throw in some alcohol (rotgut preferably, but a 24 pack of Bud will do just fine) and it’s easy to produce a health crisis in Indian Country.

    To tie all this into the topic, we can see that the supposed justification for mistreatment of Indians in Gallup and the Four Corners, Albuquerque, too, is their “behavior” (“Drunken Indian,” yadda yadda) that in so many cases is driven by loss of land/culture, destructive imposed diets, and uncontrolled diabetes and alcoholism.

    First things first, tho. Stop the killing. Then fix the other things…

    (Hi Mz!)

  15. er…that’s miz rock to you, amigo. ;-)

    yes, miz swentzell is saying much the same thing about so many indigenous failing to metabolize insulin-spiking foods, including most grains and processed foods. interesting list she gave. i reckon it was summer when they began foraging? but still, some small cottage industries could spring up in saving foods for winter and spring.

    Buffalo, deer, elk, antelope, mountain sheep, rabbits, fish, duck, geese, turkey, squirrels and other rodents, small birds, eggs, grasshoppers, grubs, eel, piñón nuts, wild plums, currants, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cactus fruits and pads, Indian tea, wild onions, wild parsley, juniper berries, wild spinach, osha, cottail, watercress, chokecherry, mushrooms, Indian rice grass, wild asparagus, purslane, serviceberry, sumac, mint, rosehips, corn (non-GMO), beans, squash, seeds, sunflowers, tomatillos, amaranth and quinoa.

    heh. when we did the ‘eat for your blood type’ diet, we had two Os (oldest blood type) and two Bs. oddly, mr. wd is an O, and one of the indigenous chirren is a B; go figure. but both required meat, he said, and buffalo was ‘the one’. i did go down to the local p & d grocery to see if they could score me some. nope. but they reckoned the author was hired by the buffalo meat council, or some such. ;-)

    yeah, the diné in the videos said that gallup had been closing alcohol treatment centers. and think how many are dying of exposure each year. same happens in cortez, even with a new shelter. some folks just can’t sleep indoors after years of being homeless. my.stars. but i like your formula a lot:

    “First things first, tho. Stop the killing. Then fix the other things…”

  16. Here we go again, well meaning White folks, telling the Natives how to solve the problems we caused by offering a fantasy solution. Eating a well balanced diet based on what foods are available and sustainable is a solution to everyone’s dietary health problems.

    Some simple math shows just how impractical this idea is. There are about 35,000 Puebloan people, just forget about the 350,000 Navajos and if they ate .5 lb of deer meat a day they would need to hunt, kill and process about 35,000 deer a year, the sustainable yield of deer in NM is about 8,000 per year. Even if they relied on other wild meat animals all of them would be eaten in a few years and then they would be reduced to eating those tasty gophers and grubs, it’s interesting that these nice people are telling the Natives to eat mice and rats. The basis for the pre-Columbian NA diet was Maize supplemented by all the other food sources listed in this article and it should have been listed first. Now offer these test subjects a diet of mostly corn bread, soups and porridges, a high carbohydrate diet supplemented with whatever they could catch or collect and then check their health, if they lasted that long.

    The people who suggest these types of solutions don’t seem to have any grasp of reality then or now or don’t care so long as they appear to be doing good.

    The estimated population of the Desert SW before the Conquest was less than 5,000 people in an environment vastly different from what we see today, Huge herds and flocks roamed vast grasslands, the primeval forests teemed with wildlife and all the excellent foods listed were bountiful, none of this exists today.

  17. your math is excellent, peter, but miz swentzell is santa clara puebloan, not a ‘well-meaning white folk’. and a big proponent of permaculture, and idea whose time has come again.


    • Oh thanks, mz rock, I was gonna say something prolix about Roxanne-who-is-of-the-Santa-Clara-Pueblo-persuasion and not all that white last I checked.

      She’s been a permaculture maven for many a long year.

      Her son, Porter, is also a native foods/permaculture advocate, whose testimony is part of the Green Fire Times article, and he’s told stories of how they raised their own food when he was a boy, and it was just normal. It’s what you did, especially when you were dirt-poor the way they were at the time, and living on the Pueblo rez. They were living in a shack built by his grandmother; eventually, his mother built her own adobe house there, one brick at a time.

      This was before she became… famous.

      Then Porter got all rebellious and wanted to go to boarding school. Military boarding school.

      As he told it, he got his wish. Decided it was the wrong choice somehow….

      • yes, traditionally adobes are built: two courses, let them rest for two weeks, at least as they said in northern new mexico.

        roxanne’s permaculture tab shows (what they pronounced was called in NM) an ‘orno’. but when we went to stay with a family for night dances at zuni pueblo once, and were invited early to help build a feast for many, many guests, after making multiple dozens of bread loaves and rolls, we went out to the courtyard.

        once there, and having seen the half dozen beehive-shaped clay ovens with their companion long-handled wooden paddles, i asked the woman nearest me, “what do you call these?” as i gestured to the ‘ornos’.

        “ovens”, she beamed.

  18. i don’t know much about permaculture techniques, but it does seem that there are many variations. but for saving water and reducing the need for fertilizers, holding down weeds (i mean ‘plants whose value we have yet to recognize’) it sounds great. unless, of course, one’s gardens are already established in the old way. some guy at fdl says he’s been buying #25 sacks of cornstarch to put on his garden, as it holds in water well. i can’t quite imagine it, myself, but old dogs, new tricks, and all that…

    but we use tons of organic mulch, and it seems to have built up moisture retention. soaker hoses were in vogue once, but man, our gardens didn’t have the right shapes for them.

    i was going to quip to wayoutwest that we’d send some of our prairie dogs for the ‘other rodents’, but i know some folks like the little buggers.

  19. I should have just laughed at this fad diet story but something about getting older and not suffering fools gladly got in the way. Little Flowering Tree does good work by promoting permaculture and vintage seed saving at the Pueblos but as suspected there is a Gringo involved who probably read the fad diet book Caveman Diet, paleolithic diet, which this story seems to be about not the Neolithic diet the Pueblos subsisted on before the Conquest.

    This article did leave out the only domesticated meat source the Pueblo people had at the time of the Conquest, canis familiaris. It would have been priceless to see the expression on the face of a test subject when they were served braised puppy with grub stuffing.

    You don’t need to send any of your varmits down here we have plenty of the noisy little doggies who stand on the side of our main road and watch the traffic.

    If you are interested in permaculture methods The Ruth Stout No-Work Gardening Book and Masanobu Fukuoka’s The One-Straw Revolution are excellent.

    I buy salt bread from the nice Isleta Pueblo ladies that is baked in a Horno, a Moorish invention built with adobes , an Egyptian invention, remember the Moses myth movie, the part about making mud bricks was accurate. My house was built with Terrone Adobe which were cut from clay with grass roots binding them another type of building material introduced by the Spanish and adopted by the Pueblos.

  20. ha! how did i know that you’d find a way to be correct, wayoutwest? thanks for the spelling of ‘horno’, as well as ruth stout; i remember her from the old days.

    just a small hint as you’ve displayed a strong interest in feminism: the term ‘ladies’ connotes gloves, hats with veils, and proper sitting postures. most of us like being referred to as ‘women’, or variants of that. that said, i’m only an accidental feminist, not a card-carrying one. ;-)

  21. OK, I’ll try addressing these women as women the next time I interact with them and see if they respond differently to my “how are you ladies today?” greeting. The businesswomen who manage and operate this multi-million dollar Tribal enterprise, I haven’t seen a man involved since they ran off the original Gringo owner, are high-class even if they don’t wear white gloves and it will be interesting to see what they think about Anglo PC.

    I live in a unique crossroads of cultures and history and this has helped me overcome some of the myths and conditioning about NA peoples and the people who later settled here.

    My southern neighbor is Hungarian/Hispanic/Yaqui Indian, his 92 year old grandfather, the Yaqui, came by one day, after I bought my house from his grandson, and wanted to know what I was doing to “his house” This steely eyed old renegade, who harassed my other neighbor for 30+ years, left me with visions of scalping knives and war lances even though he only carried a cane.

    My other neighbor, Raphael is the best neighbor I’ve ever had and an invaluable source of local history. His grandmother, who also owned my house. was a Navajo, actually a Navajo slave emancipated form her Hispanic masters long after the Civil War. This group of freed Navajos, called Genzarios, I’m not sure about the spelling, settled in my area after they were freed because they couldn’t return to the Rez, most were captured as children and had lost that culture and language. At the time of the Long Walk about half of the Navajo population was in bondage. When the Navajos signed a treaty and left the Bosque Redondo to return to the Rez they demanded the return of their children but were ignored.

    My Isleta friend and fellow Muscle Car collector worries are political/cultural, his son can’t inherit his Tribal business because his mother is Hispanic and the Pueblo could cease to exist because of intermarriage unless this very conservative rule is changed. Isleta Pueblo welcomes visitors but their religious ceremonies are closed to the public, they even close the main highway during the ceremonies and no photography is allowed anytime unless it is strictly monitored.

    My most recent NA acquaintance is of Apache/Maori decent and a Iraq war vet. A very friendly young fellow but extremely intimidating in appearance , only in Amerika, the melting pot.

    Now you might better understand why I reacted negatively to this moronic fad diet being offered as a solution to my friends and neighbors as a cure for their health problems.


  22. Good to know definitively, once and for all, that Roxanne Swentzell and her family at Santa Clara Pueblo, with their deep roots in Pueblo culture, are nothing more than Gringo Food Faddists like all the other Gringo Food Faddists who try to impose their rigidity and stupidity on everyone else.

    Flowering Tree seemed like such an innocent project. Not anymore!

    As for that bison business in that moronic movie about “Good Meat” it’s just more Gringo Food Faddist bullshit, right?
    Funny thing though. Ms Ché (Cherokee) has had a life-long issue with diabetes, as do a whole lot of Indians including members of her own family, and she’s had to strategize ways and means to mitigate it somehow. Medications can only do so much. Diet and exercise are keys to controlling her diabetes. And for her, after years of experimentation, mitigation means eating healthy mostly Native foods and limiting or eliminating much of the Rez diet she ate when she was little.

    Whole grains, nuts, corn, beans, fresh vegetables and fruit of many kinds, including the squashes, tomatoes, potatoes, and others native to the Americas, and yes, bison in small quantities now and then, or turkey (which was semi-domesticated and raised for feathers, eggs and meat by Pueblo and other tribes) together with as much exercise as she can manage, has done wonders.

    The last time she was at the First Nations clinic in ABQ, she was at a diabetes counseling session and she reported her latest numbers and described how and what she was eating and what kind of exercise she was doing, and while her numbers are still above optimal, they’re well within a normal range. This contrasted markedly with her condition when she was eating typical “American” foods or when she was a child living on mostly Rez type food — all that sugar, reflined flour, lard (makes such goood frybread!) canned milk, canned peaches, canned meats. The counselor was impressed and said she would really like to have the rest of her patients follow a similar model of diet and exercise, but she said they wouldn’t do it. And for so many of them, their diabetes was out of control.

    I suppose Ms Ché is nothing but a Gringo Food Faddist, too, but she’s alive and remarkably well for an elder diabetic. Which she probably wouldn’t be if she had stayed on her previous “American” or Rez food diets.

  23. I’m glad to read that Ms Che is using a locally available diet to help with her diabetes, this is an idea I support because it is available, American and doesn’t require her to kill our last few mountain sheep or eat bugs and rats.

    Your listing of the diet she grew up with is informative because it is a US Govt commodities poverty diet and they had little choice but to eat what was available. Now that she is more affluent she can choose and afford to eat more healthy foods but old habits and modern convenience foods make that difficult for many people. The sad fact is that poorer people, of all ethnic groups, eat poorer quality foods because many healthier foods are more expensive and less available.

    Roxanne Swentzell, from what I read, does great work promoting healthy eating and locally grown food including Old World varieties but even NA can succumb to stupid fads. New World foods are excellent, you should include chile, but most grains, except maize, most nuts, most fresh veggies and fruit and even maters and taters are not native to the SW.

    The Cave Man diet, actually Nomad diet, was a diet of about 50% meat, the Neolithic diet, the diet that NA ate when Europeans arrived contained only about 10% meat protein and these settled people were shorter, weaker and more prone to mineral deficiencies and starvation that their Nomadic ancestors avoided by following their main food source.

    Some cuts of Bison meat are delicious but most is sold as hamburger often mixed with beef and all are expensive so unless people who want this meat get their camping gear and follow Ted Turner’s Bison herds it is not readily available or affordable and Ted might have some problems with that idea.

    It is ironic that Old World foods and technology along with native foods doubled the NA life-span, dramatically increased their general health and robustness while modern convenience foods and a sedentary lifestyle are undermining their health. There is actually a simple if difficult to implement solution, eat healthy food and exercise. Fad diets and the nimrods who propose them will always be with us but they can be ignored and useable ideas can be pursued.

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