Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rotting Heads - But Not Zombies

Respect? Or White People Values?
Okay, I'm giving my neighbors the benefit of the doubt. The house always has teenage boys running in and out. The person in charge has a laid-back attitude about kids. Yeah, I had to tell them their kids were jumping out of the ditch to run at a car; I really don't want my insurance rates raised when I make red paste out of a little boy. Which is a TAD too laid-back for me, thank you. I'm not paid to raise other people's kids (and I have a contract for that).

So - you tell me what this photo says:

1. Is it an old symbol of respect for an animal people who die - a lot - so we can eat? As in: returning the heads to the woods?

2. Is it trying to get the skulls clean (and I have no idea if respect was shown or not, beforehand).

3. Or is it kids defying the game warden, as one passing biker suggests?

At Ivar's Salmon House this year, a little girl was asking her mother what the First Nations art meant. I asked her mom if I could explain. It went sort of like this:

"Those are spirits."

Her eyes bulged. "EVIL spirits?"

I took a moment to remember what modern religion has done, and said, "No, powerful spirits. See that one? That's a salmon. That one's a bear. If you go into the woods and show respect, they'll feed you. If you disrespect rivers and forests, someday they'll go away, and they won't come feed you. You'll starve. Do you understand?"

She did. Her mom didn't look happy; in our religion, we have a god and a demon (although the western god was originally just one person in a good or bad mood), and one is loving and the other is mean. But when people really live close to nature, if you disrespect nature, the food goes away. This is true. Unfortunately, we've brought in our own selfish beliefs and spread them around.

People up here think they're living "close to nature," but they're what Dan says: "Industrial workers in the woods." Every year they're buying all the things they need to survive while short trips into the woods. They're pretending.*

The woods are full of food, fuel, shelter, medicine, time and quiet. I'm not afraid of them. I circle if I'm "lost," with the natural instinct to find my troop. If I'm hungry or thirsty or need shelter, it appears. I don't run or panic or scream or threaten. It took me ten minutes to make one of those little rock-splinter knives that have been found at a camp on the Hoko River, out of what I found lying around. I'll eat fern roots, if I have to.

Disrespect is death. We've treated the Earth like dirt for several centuries, now. Soon, we shall be reaping our harvest of pride and short-sightedness, and returning to the dirt, ourselves.

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.

*First Nations people are trying to get their old ways back, mostly realizing we're about to shoot ourselves in the feet. With the clearcut next to our neighborhood, cutting right into the flood and wind tunnel, there will be whining and wailing to their godlet about "WHY?" next typhoon season. Rather than sniffing, "I told you so," I should be getting business cards from a hungry lawyer, for the class-action suite? Hey, the logging companies harvest everything and everybody else - so it's their turn. What goes around, comes around. Call it recycling.

Latest note: evidently somebody must have read this and missed the point entirely, because they've stuck a hunting permit around one of the antlers of the more lifelike of the two rotting heads. Yeah, making sure we all know it's legal - that's the point of how to treat animals. In some states, cock- and dog-fighting are still legal, too. 

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