LAND OF THE RED GIANTS OF IXTLAN Chapter 12 continued, page 2 Gramma Thundershield proudly watched her 3 sons Sundancing

in the night in a thunderstorm flashing wild white bursts of lightning all around us all all night, and I proudly sat on the hot dry dirt watching her in her plastic lawn chair and the central Tree framed in the flashes behind her, towering with red capes of cheap cloth tied to the branches by long strings of tobacco ties in tiny bundle-offerings to the thunderbirds, exploding. I was out on bail, that my father had wired to my lawyer. Gramma watched the dance intently, in the storm, and I laid myself out as bait for the warthog who had betrayed all of us, getting a number of us busted by ratting to the Pigs. Gramma's sons were good boys, young men who were friends of mine, Paul, Willard, and Dallas Thundershield, pinned to the pine trees of Pine Ridge like bait, like Prometheus or Jesus John nailed to his rock-tree waiting to draw in Satan's vulture to eat his liver and thereby grabbing the scavenger even as he picked our meat, and not letting go. They'd been pierced by sharp sticks on their breast muscles, after a year of fasting and learning the right prayers and songs, waiting for elders like Chauncy Dupree, Low Dog, Ed Clown, and Stanley Looking Horse to teach them how to be worthy to earn, deserve, their own sacred Canumpa Pipes. Chauncy told me in Green Grass, "That Canumpa, it is a buffalo bone, the femur leg bone, of the White Buffalo. When we smoke Her, she sings 'With Visible Breath I am walking, I am walking'." Dallas had already been killed, trying to escape from Lompoc Prison in California with Leonard, both of them set-up for assassination, but Dallas took the bullet that was meant for his Brother. Leonard was captured in a nationwide manhunt several days later, many cops screaming foul curses at him and itching to blow him away. The family was dancing in his honor at Oglala, where the 2 FBIs had been blown away instead, as part of the bloody sacrifice. Many of us would be torn, over the years, by loyalty to the warrior who had defended the Helpless Ones from the police attack that day, and the fact that we had found out through pipe ceremonies and our own AIM Security investigations that the real killer, for whom Leonard Peltier was taking the fall, was an FBI double-agent. It wasn't a pine tree I was pining for, of course, in the course of that cottonwood Sundance in 1983, but the ceremony of prayerful insights was still a damn good way to grab a passing demon. Fools Crow often said the thunderbirds laid eggs in the Holy Land at the point where lightning bolts struck, and he (and I) had just such of those stony eggs tied in our medicine-bags like the umbilical cords of tobacco offerings in the Tree of Life to work oracular miracles. They were light little stones that felt hollow, with crystal chicks inside ready to hatch. They move on their own. I swear to Goddess, when tied to pendulums of buffalo-gut, like baby gods they wiggle around inside. That was only one part of the ceremony that was anything but simple. Early the next morning, Gramma Thundershield died. She just fell over in her chair, with a look of the greatest peace on her face, happy, to see her sons returning to their traditional ways. It was the finest death I ever saw. John and his warrior society played a drum in their tipi, and Steve took her to the emergency room at the hospital in Rapid

City, praying over her with the eagle fan, and smudging her with sage and sweetgrass smoke, much to the consternation of the ER nurses with all that oxygen all around about ready to explode. "Hau, Gramma died happy, with all her sons around her, returning to their Canumpa. Wakan Tanka, Tunkasila, pilamaya wastelo." "Hau!" we all exclaimed like an Amen. Her young grandsons were thinking, "What did we do wrong?" The sundance had stopped at dawn when the matriarch fell over, at the foot of the Tree. It was a stunning reversal of the Sun as it Rose in the heavens after the rainclouds (that never rained) cleared at dawn, promising another scorching day of struggling for your breath. "Visible breath, walking." When I told Leonard about it, he told the boys not to worry, for it was no one's fault; they were not to blame for the sacrifice, and that maybe it had been necessary. "Lela wakan," he said. Holy. The revelation of the Canumpa here written down for the first time, after another generation of prophecy. The bait was set. We waited for the jackal to come sniffing around. After a few weeks, after Steve had boogied to Seattle when he made bail, and I was in Denver, he called me, and asked, "What's Ward Churchill got against you?" "What? Nothing, that I know of. Why?" "He's calling up everybody and saying you're a Fed." "What?!" Steve laughed it off nervously. "Sounds like a Provocateur somewhere. Yeah. Bill Wahpepah in San Francisco called me and said Churchill had called him too, badmouthing you. John called from L.A. and said he's got all the Peltier Support Groups out there suspicious of you too." "Calling me a Fed?" "Yeah. An FBI agent, that's what he said to me. I told him it was bullshit, but he was pretty adamant about it." "I barely even know the guy." "Don't worry about it. We're all getting bad-jacketed like that all the time. It's par for the course." "Shit." I knew in my gut we'd found the covert operative posing in our midst. Unknown to Steve, I'd already set up a trap, with the help of Chauncy and some other elders I'd known from the old Pedro days, with some of our unconfessed "crimes" that only a cop would know. I called an emergency AIM Security meeting at Green Grass, and ended up getting interrogated all day by some bad-asses who'd also heard the rumors from colorado and california, and didn't know whether to believe it or not. I'd been involved in acts of ecosabotage and political robbery since 1973, and they didn't know what to think about my impending arraignment and major charges of felonies. It was a very tense and terrible time. I'd already learned that jail was death. The loss of freedom, I'd learned, was my greatest fear. It loomed like the blackest cloud of my life. "I left out one charge," I explained to the grim, dark faces glaring at me. "A bank robbery only a cop would know, and not even a local or state cop at that. Only a fed

would know it. I didn't even tell my lawyer, when we went in to plead guilty to the police station and enumerate all the other charges, so they might go easy on me. I pled guilty." "You didn't confess to this one job?" "No. No one knew about it but me." "But Ward Churchill knows it?" "Yeah." "But how does he know it? How could only a Fed know it?" "Because they were watching the Peltier House. For criminals or frame-ups or whatever." "Crimes?" "And now look at this whole Nicaragua mess he's gotten involved in, along with Russell Means." "Yeah, we know Russ is dirty, since he skipped out during Wounded Knee and went ass-kissing in Washington D.C." "Yeah, they're screwing up the Bros down there, in Central America, big time. I was going back and forth between the Peltier House and the Black Hills Alliance office all the time, in Rapid City. You know that. I'm on the BHA board of directors, and editor of both newspapers 'Paha Sapa Report' and 'Crazy Horse Spirit'. I've also used the stolen money to publish my book 'The Powwow Highway' because no one else would publish it, to get out the truth of what we're doing here." "Yeah," they smiled for the first time. "That's a decent book. You published it yourself?" "With contraband. Anyway, I'm also writing a big novel 'Thunder Nation' right now, and this Churchill character up in Boulder, at the University of Colorado I guess, must think he's a bigshot writer or something, and jealous maybe. I don't know." "No one even knows him," another guy realized, also softening up a little, "not that I know of." "He's no one. No one knows him, except Rascal Means." "Shit." "Here, read this about Nicaragua, and then I'll show you what Churchill's been writing about it in some obscure scholarly journals, total bullshit": During the Somoza era an indigenous organization called Alliance for Progress of Miskitu and Sumu (ALPROMISU) was initiated by a Moravian pastor concerned about commercial opportunities for the Indians. ALPROMISU continued up until the time of the insurrection and was never considered a serious threat by the Somoza regime. After the Sandinista victory the people wanted to retain ALPROMISU but the FSLN was concerned that it would not fully cooperate with plans to finally integrate the Atlantic Coast with the rest of the country. This caused some friction, but it was finally agreed to change the organization's name to Misurasata (Miskitu, Sumu, Rama and Sandinistas together). Steadman Fagoth, a young Miskitu from the Rio Coco area who had studied at the university in Managua, was elected head of Misurasata. The organization

operated freely for over a year, growing rapidly in size and influence among the people, and Fagoth became Misurasata's representative on the Council of State. Certain tensions between the Sandinistas and Misurasata emerged, however, stemming from the FSLN's tendency to analyze problems from a class perspective and view ethnic distinctions as being possibly separatist in orientation, and Misurasata's view that certain government programs and policies were assimilationist in character. For example, the government saw education as a priority and in 1980 the Council of State passed a law authorizing bilingual education (English-Spanish and Miskitu-Spanish) in Creole and Miskitu communities. Misurasata expressed concern that the rural school through its methods, program and language was outside the people's cultural reality and looked to change the children into a type of Mestizo without definition or personality. - 'The Nicaragua Reader' "Sounds familiar," one lady smirked. "Now here's what Churchill has written. We get some of these things at the BHA office. He says Steadman Fagoth is a CIA Agent, or FBI -- " "What's the difference?" " -- and screwing over the people. Just like he says I am. And that a guy named Brooklyn Rivera is the real right-on Bro and head of Misurasata. But the marxists in Denver, I went to one of their meetings recently when all this Nicaragua and Contra shit was coming down, about Reagan's Iran-Contra missile sales {this investigation went on for several years, into the mid-80s, before my name was cleared, both by the elders and in the U.S. Courtroom}, told me that Brooklyn Rivera was the CIA operative, not Fagoth! They were real damn adamant that Churchill was a pig himself, going around badmouthing them too, especially the most active Bros in their movement. Yeah. Now, Russell Means has also defended Riviera, and denounced Fagoth. Remember when he and Churchill went to Washington, and actually had a meeting with that snake in the State Department Elliot Abrams? Yeah, Russell Means and Ward Churchill having cosy meetings with Reagan's worst Indian-hating anti-Sandinista in the government. Elliott Abrams. And he was working with Bud McFarlane and Oliver North, the original pointmen on that bullshit sale of Iranian missiles to nail the Sandinistas through the fucking anti-Communist "Contras"." "Oh yeah?" "It's dirty as hell. Well, we know that. Means also had meetings with Caspar Weinberger, Reagan's right-hand. He's been talking out of both sides of his tongue from the beginning. The CIA Director William Casey was quoted in Bob Woodward's book 'Veil' about secret guerrilla manuals teaching the fuckers how to torture and murder, assassinate, leaders of foreign governments." "They've been doing it to us for hundreds of years." "It makes me sick."

I squeaked out of the interrogation rooms within an inch of my life, aware, once again, of the complex dangers of all sorts in the efforts to overthrow the USA "way of life". Like all warriors, I was learning to live with death at my side at all times, and it was, oddly, liberating, and exhilerating. The good clean air of the northern plains had never felt so good as those days when the elders let me go free again, and even a US judge in the 7th Judicial gave me a suspended imposition of 3 years in the Penitentiary. The threat hung over me all the time, for years to come, and every moment, but I was starting to know a little bit what it was like for Leonard Peltier in the Joint, and the thousands of other innocent men and women filling the horrible cells of El Norte. [end of Chapter 12]

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