Only love can stop war: a Northern Cheyenne chief’s call to the world

The Guardian – By Heove ve ‘keso (Yellowbird), Chief Phillip Whiteman Jr – 6/17/2022

At the Battle of the Little Bighorn, 146 years ago, my ancestors defeated the US army’s Seventh Cavalry led by George Armstrong Custer, who had previously massacred Cheyenne people.

This 25 June, on the anniversary, I will make a call to end genocide to protect diversity. I do not make this call lightly. Rather, I am speaking with a great sense of urgency from lived experience.

For the Cheyenne, the genocide started with what the US army wrongfully called “the Indian wars”, when it was nothing more than the slaughter of our people, buffalo and horses to exterminate our way of life. It is this very genocidal mindset which now produces the climate crisis, further genocides, even the threat of nuclear war.

I want to share with you the story of how my people and my family survived through generations – despite many attempts to exterminate us. The fact that we survived is a lesson in resilience, and I know that we also survived for a reason: to protect and share our teachings for a time such as this.

My late father Chief Phillip Whiteman Sr was a descendant of chiefs. We are peace chiefs – we never provoke war, our main role is to steward our people and way of life.

After their defeat at Little Bighorn, the US army made exterminating us their number one priority.

Within two years of the battle, our ancestors were forced to Oklahoma from our homelands in the north, even though they had been promised to us under their own treaties.

Upon suffering starvation and sickness as they witnessed the genocidal mindset being implemented, our chiefs took our peoples’ lives into their hands by leading them back north.

The US army hunted us like animals. Dull Knife’s followers were caught and imprisoned at Fort Robinson. On 9 January 1879, after days without food, water and heat, they broke out. Many were slaughtered right there and then.

The few who lived, later reunited with Little Wolf’s band, ancestors on my father’s side, who had made it home and secured the survival of the Cheyenne people in the north.

Despite the prohibition on practicing our ceremonies and on speaking our language at the schools, my parents and grandparents raised me in both, and I inherited and earned the responsibility to maintain our lifeways.

The fact that we have survived this genocidal onslaught with our language, ceremonies and teachings is nothing short of a miracle. We were not supposed to survive, still we did.

Have you ever asked why? We know. We survived because these teachings, passed on from generation to generation, connect us to the land and the universe. They are the best counter-remedy to the intergenerational effects of genocide. One of my teachings is that the Creator shows her love for diversity in her creation. Without the understanding of diversity there is no unity, and without unity there is no oneness with Creator.

If western thinking could have solved these life and diversity-threatening conflicts, it would have been done by now. In 1946, Albert Einstein made a call to “let the people know that a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels”. Cheyenne teachings elevate our thinking, whereas western genocidal and exploitative thinking has brought us all to the brink of extinction. I call it a mind virus: it is oppressive and does not value diversity.

We will never end war and genocide unless we change the mindset that created it. War cannot defeat war, only love can stop war.

Read entire article here

PS Native American’s have a matriarchal system. Women were the center of society, before agriculture, women generally raised children, cooked, gathered fruits, vegetables, etc. Men hunted. Wonder why the Catholic Institutions were so intent on stamping out the Native Indian culture–Women were exalted.

Posted by Teri Perticone

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