Metal in itself has been a way to empower those on the fringes of society. A person who’s lived their life in the shadows can make themselves heard via blazing guitars, amps tuned up to 11 and screaming vocals that make your neighbors loathe the day you were born. It’s the music that says, “If you try to push me against a wall, I’ll push you off the nearest cliff. If you ignore me, I’ll give you something you can’t ignore. My fist.”
If you want to talk about a group on the fringes of society, let’s talk about Native Americans. They are a people who used to be 60 million strong in this country, but now number only 500,000. They have been pushed out and replaced in their own home land, and given some of the worst land to eek out an existence as a token for their troubles. Today many are plagued by alcoholism and some of the worst poverty/unemployment rates in the nation.
This video tracks the life of a Native American boy: getting bullied at school, dealing with parents who don’t want him to date their daughter and seeing the Earth his ancestors lived on getting sold away to the highest bidder. Yet the boy draws strength from his struggles. His voice will be heard. He will draw power from his Native Blood and heritage.
Testament made this video on behalf of the singer Chuck Billy’s own Native American heritage, tracing back to the Pomo line of Northern California. The video itself was filmed on the Hopland Indian reservation in Hopland, California.
The goal of this blog is to embrace Earth Based Culture. Natural cultures of the Earth. Earth based spirituality and wisdom. Not only must Native Americans rise up and defend their mother Earth, but all cultures can learn from their struggle. Your heritage can be a source of history, knowledge and power. In many of the Epic Legends of old, heroes not only named themselves, but they named their fathers, and their father’s father’s, and the line of their people as far back as they could remember. They didn’t do this to be boring (although it may seem pointless to the modern reader), they did it because they shared a collective ancestral memory and destiny with their kin.
Up until the modern age, a person’s culture was something that sprung up from the Earth. Festivals revolved around the rotations of the sun and the phases of the moon. “Where is now the intricate richness of traditional costume, in which every folk could express its own nature, on its own landscape? (Ludwig Klages, Man and Earth).”
Being proud of your heritage doesn’t mean avoiding all other people who don’t conform to that heritage. Rather, it means understanding where your forefathers have been in order to know where you yourself are going. Yet the trouble in this day and age is that many people are lost. We don’t know who our ancestors were. Some people have a vague idea of what country their forefathers may have come from. But when it comes to the stories, the traditions, the folk lore of our people – we are clueless. We are like a tree without its roots, and without roots such a tree will be blown around in the breeze without direction or purpose.
Some people came to America out of desperation. Others were kidnapped or coerced. Yet the commonality that most Americans have with one another is that the rich bank of lore that connected them with their ancestors was a slate wiped clean. That deep knowledge was replaced with Pepsi jingles and the latest story on Snooki’s baby. We are a country with shallow roots and shallow values. Through the imperialistic American agenda, we have succeeded in spreading these values to most quarters of the globe. And what do we have now to show for it? The idiotic idea that we have an endless supply of resources to consume. We need this endless train of gizmos to fill the void within ourselves, because our lives have no real meaning.
Yet nature is persistent. Like weeds beginning to grow in a well manicured garden, something is happening in the subconscious mind of people around the world. Our ancestors are knocking – no pounding on the door. They are telling us to wake up from this mindless destruction before it’s too late.
People are becoming interested once again in ancient cultures. You can see this every where. From music, to movies, to the interest in Eastern and Native American spirituality, to the popularity of a show like Spartacus on television. It’s all pointing to a re-emergence of Earth based spirituality.
Eastern spirituality is popular because many of their ancestral traditions are still alive and thriving. Compare this to the West where Ancestral Traditions were burned, destroyed and oppressed in every way the Christian Church could possibly think of for hundreds of years. In terms of ethnic heritage, I am mostly a Celt. I am a mix of Irish, Scottish, French blood with a few other things thrown in like Croation and the possibility of Native American blood. Yet do I know anything about my own ancestors? Their traditions? Their fights? Their rituals? Aside from what I can read in a textbook or website about the matter, No. Yes, the information is out there, but there is a thousand year gap of distortion in the way. Compare that to India where you can go to a Hindu Guru who’s learned directly from a master, who learned from another master, who learned from a chain of masters that could date back for a thousand years.
Some people say that White People don’t have a culture and I blame Christianity and Capitalism for that fact. Much was also done to African American slaves to annihilate all traces of their ancestral memories, and replace their traditions with Christianity – a religion of subversion. Is it no small wonder that slavery worked better in religious, puritanical America than it did in other places around the world?
So what do we do now? Our roots have been cut, how do we grow them back? I think so much has happened that it is nigh impossible to revert back to whoever our ancestors may have been. And many Americans will never truly know who they were. At this point our ancestors are a silhouette in the dark.
As trees without roots, we line the canopy of the forest floor and have become rotting logs. Our only purpose being to take up space until some forest fire burns us away. It may take some large wave of destruction/global warming/man made disaster to clear away the debris of this toxic culture so a new and better society can grow out of the ashes of the wake.
But there is another option. That option is that we can rediscover our roots. Much like the Native American boy of this video who was clutching his necklace as an emblem of power. I don’t mean that we should rediscover our roots in a racist way – excluding others who don’t match our ancestral path.
Let me put it this way. All successful ecosystems are diverse. The rainforest itself is a testament to that fact, with the largest number of plant and animal species surviving together. So let us become like the rainforest and find a common ancestry in the Earth. I have a Celtic ancestry and as you can see, I post a lot of Celtic Pagan material on this blog. Yet I also learn lessons from Norse, Roman, Hindu, Buddhist and Native American cultures. If a healer has medicine to offer me, I’m not going to decline based on the color of his hand.
So what is my Native Blood? It is dirt. It is clay. It is twig. It is vine. It is an endless message sewn within the seams of time. It is the wind, the fire, the air and water of the Earth. It is the cosmic heritage that spawned my birth. I am particles, stardust, universal DNA – intertwined. I am a messenger of ancient truths communicated online. I am the seeds of Yggdrasil. The rings of a redwood tree. I am the echoes of decimation that proceeds eternity. I am the thunderbolt that bleeds electric from the darkening sky. I am the prophet that breathes great happenings are nigh. I am the voice that calls to you from the void in your sleep. I am everything because I can be nothing. I am Metalgaia, harbinger of destiny.
John Trudell and Elder Red Crow speak – Native Wisdom
We humans are a disease, even we do not find a cure, Earth will provide the antibiotic. If we continue to pollute, the ozone will open up and kill off the polluters if necessary. We should find ways to work with the Earth rather than focusing on the political abstractions that got us into this mess. We should consider all possibilities instead of working in the narrow framework of Democracy.
Native American Wisdom
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”