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How Would JFK Deal with the Dakota Pipeline War Criminals?

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#1 Charles Drago

Charles Drago


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Posted 24 November 2016 - 06:05 PM

The following is an excerpt from my published essay "In the Blossom of Our Sins".


The John Fitzgerald Kennedy I know, respect, honor, and love would be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our Lakota brothers and sisters.  As president, he would have done to the water Fascists what he did to the steel Fascists.


The Mt. Rushmore National Monument is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. To the tribe commonly referred to by its vanquishers as the "Sioux," the Black Hills, or Paha Sapa in the language of the Lakota peoples, remains among the most sacred of places – like the Vatican to Roman Catholics. Assayed and determined to be worthless wilderness by the high priests of Mammon-on-the-Potomac, the Paha Sapa were recognized formally as sovereign Lakota "property" (a European concept to be sure) in a legally binding treaty ratified by Congress. 

Shortly thereafter, in 1874, a certain young conquistador named Custer led a U.S. Army expedition into the area. Two millionaire miners were with the noble band of explorers. They discovered gold in them thar hills. And faster than you can say Eureka! the treaty was unilaterally abrogated. War was manufactured [1]. The Lakota were cast out.

Then – this is rich – to add insult to the injuries of grand theft, genocide, and cultural annihilation, one of the sacred peaks of Paha Sapa was desecrated with the carvings of the likenesses of the leaders of the cutthroats and thieves.

It is as if barbarians had occupied post-Renaissance Rome, put its citizens to the sword, looted the Vatican, and on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, over Michelangelo's masterpiece, painted craven images of their chieftains.

Some years later, a Polish immigrant [2] decided to balance the books by carving on a nearby summit the gigantic likeness of the Lakota war leader Teshunka Witko, or Crazy Horse. Today the artist's heirs struggle to complete his daunting project. Tourists visit the site each year, although in nowhere near the numbers who regularly flock to Mt. Rushmore. Which I've visited. Where the symbolism and savage irony hang thick and dank in the poisoned air.

As dusk falls, hundreds gather in the amphitheater at the foot of the monument to watch a documentary film about the great sculpture's creation. At the appointed time all rise and sing their national anthem, and as the lyric "brave" echoes through Paha Sapa, immense searchlights illuminate what I prefer to appreciate as the memorialized prototype for a later, equally portentous (if understandably less overtly celebrated) summit meeting of true American power-brokers: the Appalachin Conference.

[1] Was there a "Gulf of Tonka" resolution?

[2] Korczak Ziolkowski, a self-taught sculptor who had worked on the Mt. Rushmore abomination. The idea for the Crazy Horse monument originally was proposed to him in 1939 by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear. Work began in June, 1948, and continues today, decades after Korczak's death. With some of the more than $20 million raised through donations and tourist fees, the Ziolkowski family has purchased the mountain and hundreds of surrounding acres from a semiotically- challenged U.S. government. Yet continued funding is by no means guaranteed. Korczak twice declined $10 million in federal funds, unwilling to give up the nonprofit status of his work and thus jeopardize plans for a medical training center and university for Native Americans envisioned for the base of the fully realized monument. Not to mention the fact that to have taken the cash would have allowed the original thieves to assume control of the project.

"[Y]ou can't blame the innocent, they are always guiltless. All you can do is control them or eliminate them. Innocence is a kind of insanity." -- Graham Greene, The Quiet American

"If an individual, through either his own volition or events over which he had no control, found himself taking up residence in a country undefined by flags or physical borders, he could be assured of one immediate and abiding consequence. He was on his own, and solitude and loneliness would probably be his companions unto the grave." -- James Lee Burke, Rain Gods

a wind has blown the rain away and blown
the sky away and all the leaves away,
and the trees stand. i think i too have known
autumn too long
-- e. e. cummings

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