Reflections on Wounded Knee and the Current State of Chicanx Identity: What are YOU doing about it?
The United States takes great privilege in claiming independence as part of it’s founding ideals pero, if you stop and take a look at its history, you’ll find que es puro pedo. In addition, we’ve never once been independent since we became a country; and even before that. We can always take a look back on US History and find oppression and deviousness; the massacre at Wounded Knee is no different. A brief history …
Wounded Knee was the slaughter of Lakota Natives who occupied land the US Government desired because gold had been found in the Black Hills there in 1890. An initial scouting party composed of the 7th US Cavalry was met with push back from the Lakota and after losing that battle, they came back with reinforcements to take what they wanted. After an accidental discharge, thousands of Sioux died.
In US History courses, people of color, brown and red particularly, are often criminalized as savages and delinquents as explained in this article . Even as a child, I was learning what I thought was true. “The land needed to be ridded of these uncivilized populations” I remember my 3rd grade teacher Ms. Davis saying in a Collins Garden classroom (it was my first attempt at the 3rd grade). I thought to myself, “I like them though.” I wasn’t about to challenge her lecture because I didn’t feel like getting another “lick” from the Assistant Principal; my nalgas couldn’t take it anymore. But the remnants of Wounded Knee aren’t in some far away place in time. They are very much near us today. The oppressive forces just look a little different than those vatos on horses with guns assassinating us in plain sight.
Pretty basic actually … the Lakota had something the US wanted, gold. In a Post-Industrial Revolution era, the idea of capitalism was on the rise and nothing would deter its determination for growth and prosperity. Much like the US sought advancement then, they still do today and Mexicanxs are at the giving end of that dynamic. Our ancestral inheritance has been robbed from us though. The currency Mexicanxs posses today no es monetary, es part of the fabric de nuestra identidad, our labor. We have been the foundational support for a majority of the industries in this country; agriculture, factory, service, warehouse, and domestic servitude are some. Pero because we don’t contribute in terms of feria, our contributions are pushed into shadows. Ever seen “A Day Without a Mexican?” It seems kind of silly to consider but it’s a reality we live everyday. We aren’t being physically annihilated the way the Sioux were though. Today, that form of murder looks different.
The lack of presence of Mexican Americans in history books our kids learn from is an indirect way of disenfranchising our experience. When a majority of Raza lacks formalized education, we tend to listen/follow/believe popular trends in mainstream media and perpetuate it’s messages. In other words ... because a lot of Mexican Americans are not educated, we believe anything we see on the TV/Radio/Internet. When those messages are ridiculing immigration (and this is just one example), we believe ALL immigrants are to blame.
So the sad part is that those in power only need gives us the tools to decimate one another and we do the work for them. The Lakota at least stood up for themselves, today a majority of us are rolling over and taking it or worst, WE’RE PERPETUATING IT!!!
So while we’re not being physically slayed (although some would argue given the current state of police encounters with POC), the memory of our ancestors and heritage is being forgotten. We are being taught to place value on things that do nothing to elevate our thinking and heighten our consciousness.
What we need to realize is that we have currency, valuable currency to contribute. It’s our presence … our labor, and there’s no price in the world that can validate the treatment we’ve received as a people over the years. But first, we have to learn to value ourselves and stop feeding the Chisme Mill con pedo that damages all of us. All that kind of unedited mierda does is validate internalized racism in those who wish to do harm to us and justify the discriminatory behavior that will surely ensue.
We may not be the richest people in the world but we are descendants of royalty … KNOW THAT! It’s time we begin to recognize that part of ourselves, honor the sacrifices of our predecessors and act accordingly. Orale … Palánte!
Born in San Anto, raised by the barrio, educated by both.