Message from the Mayan Elders of the Eagle Clan,
Friday, September 19 2003
Contributed by: Admin
It is not our possessions, nor our actions that determine who we are. It is our decisions that make us. And if in this reality, with the divine power of life we have been given which is not defined, the destiny of our life is marked by its transience.
Wise elder of the Kekchi Maya
Throughout thousands of years, the traditional Mayan world has preserved the ancestral knowledge. This legend has been transmitted throughout different clans or groups that follow the highest Mayan spirituality - which is where the purity of the ancient wisdom has been maintained. Today we are living in prophetic times. Various prophecies of the Maya as well as other traditions point to these times. This transcendental time is where the changes are manifesting. Humanity needs to see these changes with respect to themselves and towards the whole of the sacred mother earth. We are at the doors of change for the structures of the system that we know both economically and socially, which need to be transformed towards something that is more just and balanced. The Mayan prophecies are a mixture of scientific/technological knowledge based on the sacred Tzolkin calendar and the visionary powers of the Chilanes Balanes (shamans/prophets). To date, all of the prophecies they made have been realized with a high degree of precision. The prophecies are the foundation of the Mayan world, which is based on the sacred calendar. In the Mayan world, this reality exists in the Najt (space-time), and is an infinite spiral in which cycles and events are repeated with a certain correlation to a previous/future time, corresponding to similar events. This is why each person has a sign inside of the cycles of the Winales (period of twenty days). This will mark their destiny regarding events that occur during different periods of their lives. Every human brings a certain energy and purpose to their life.
When a wise one speaks, it is not to convince the incredulous. They do it to guide and awaken the consciousness of those that follow the path towards consciousness. Their words are not only for intellectual debate or for the nourishment of the spirit. In actuality, the spirituality of these prophetic times are not limited to contemplation and meditation. Today spirituality is synonymous with action; and action is every act of your life, in harmony with Mother Nature, and most importantly the harmony within ourselves, and in relation to the way in which we live.
Wise elder of the Mam Maya
This message begins from being with the elders and Aj'qij'ab (Mayan priests) of the Quiche Maya people on the Cerro Turkaj of Chichicastenango in the highlands of Guatemala on April 9th, 2002, at the start of the celebration for the beginning of the cycle of the sacred Tzolkin, known as the sacred Mayan calendar of 260 days. We received a phone call from a spiritual brother, Dr. Marco Cagastume G., that transmitted the words of the eldest wise one from the town of the Mam, member of the council of the grand confederation of Ajq'ij'ab, wise-ones, elders and Mayan principals. His call was of simple but very strong words. There was a tone of desperation, incredulousness; his strength and desire was to shake us from unconsciousness. He told us, "Enough is enough! Don't you realize the damage that you are doing to your home? When did you loose your sense of reason? When did you loose the respect for our mother earth?" He would ask, "Why haven't we taken action towards the implacable destruction we make every day, all the contamination? How is it that you can sleep at night, having this knowledge? Is it that perhaps we don't feel a responsibility for what is happening? The reality is we do have a responsibility, a very big one. By our permitting a few others who have suspect economic interest to do what they want without our putting a stop to this action, we become equally responsible. Is it not enough to see how the climate has changed? How the earth is contaminated, as well as the air? How the rivers are poisoned, and without mentioning, the oceans as well? Where are our green Mountains? Where did the spiritual guardians run off to? Where will the jaguars, the birds and the flowers inhabit? And the rest of the brothers and sisters that gives joy and balance to life? Why have we let mother earth dry up? And then we become frightened of the floods, the plagues and the earthquakes? All of this, WHY? You know the answer. It seems we only live for the moment. We only live to obtain the material illusions, the uncontrollable consumerism of things that don't serve us. Things that pacify us, distract us and make us feel as though we are somebody. What to say of the spiritual guides? This call is primarily for them, and for all the beings that are working for the light. Let's take awareness - it is time to assume the role that they are responsible for. It can all be put into one simple word: UNITY! Let it bring us harmony and a return of consciousness. Harmony with mother earth, respect for each other, respect to our brothers and sisters the animals, towards the plants and most of all, toward ourselves. Ask your grandmother, your grandfather, the elders? they have the peace and the wisdom, the awareness. Listen to the wind. Hug the ancient trees and ask them. Listen to the river or simply quiet your mind. You will see that the answer, the truth is within yourself, in the depth of your soul ? then you will know that you are a warrior of the light, of the peace, of love and of harmony. And then raise your voice ? without violence, but with strength. All of us united will reconstruct the wonder of life. Please, let's return to be human beings!"
Today, one year after this phone call, after the prophetic warning, (about the war in Iraq and what this encompasses with this charge of violence and death. In spite of these unfortunate events, there was good fortune that the war began in March rather than April, because there could have been more tragic consequences. Before the start of the war, the visionaries and the prophets had begun to talk) we have received the messenger from Xibalbay, known as the underworld. This has nothing to do with the inferno of other traditions. It is a subterranean world where humanity lived for a long time, after a cataclysm that made it impossible to live upon the surface of the world. There are still some powerful magicians/beings of Xibalbay that live in the depth of this world and they have sent this messenger.
Cablicot is the name of this messenger. Its origin is as ancient as the night of time and has as its companion Camalzotz. Cablicot is the owl with two heads and Camalzotz is the bat with two heads. Today, Cablicot has come and its words are a warning; it is of the prophetic memory for these times during which various prophecies converge, be they from Mayan or other traditions. Because of its own dualistic nature, its words came with the war, like a preamble. This is a special messenger that looks towards the darkness. Its head turns three hundred-sixty degrees. Each of its faces looks with indifference towards the two polarities. Its words bring a call without charge, almost like a recording. Its own essence of polarity is the message.
The Mayan prophecies speak to us of the changes towards the fifth Ajaw (fifth sun), on the famous date of December 21, 2012. This date begins the period of 5,200 years. This is a cycle of wisdom, harmony, peace, love, of consciousness and the return of the natural order. It is not the end of the world as many from outside of the Mayan tradition have misinterpreted it to be. The first cycle (Ajaw/sun) was a feminine energy and its element was fire. The second cycle (Ajaw/sun) was of masculine energy, and its element was earth. The third cycle (Ajaw/sun) was a feminine energy and its element was air. The fourth cycle (Ajaw/sun) is a masculine energy and its element is water. The fifth cycle (Ajaw/sun) will be a fusion of both feminine and masculine energies. It will be a transition where there won't be any more confrontations between the polarities. It will bring balance and there won't be hierarchy of one over the other. Both energies will support each other. It is why this period is called one of harmony, the kingdom of love and the return of consciousness. Its element will be the ether. This fifth Ajaw/sun comes with the power of transmutation. To reach this state of supreme harmony, it will be necessary to create the balance of the forces of the light and the dark. This is where the importance of the call of the Mam elder comes into place ? the quest for the unity, the return of the natural order. This call is urgent in the face of the prophetic times in which we are living ? principally for the spiritual guides and conscious people. At this time, we need to unite and create a belt of light that will contrast with the negativity.
Those working with the negativity are clear in their purpose. They are the owners and lovers of the material world. They govern with their power and with the illusions that they create. They have most of humanity half asleep. A human being has become an object for the purpose of production, to generate certain output during their lives. Today, s/he is a number, and object which creates necessities and useless gratifications that fills the void of their unconsciousness. Those working with the negativity are clear in their roles ? they don't discuss hierarchy, they know who the boss is in the different levels of power and they do their job with precision. The contrary exists in the side of the light. Here there is no idea of hierarchies ? every person goes off on their own, each one with their own ego. They believe they are the owners of the truth, the wisdom and in their egoism scream to the four winds that they are the path of salvation. Many don't have a sense of what is happening. They have sold the knowledge that has been given to them. One of the gravest situations is that many cults and "new age" movements have emerged. Let it be clear that we are not against their work, but we are suggesting they return to the origin where their techniques came from. Many of them were taken from ancestral traditions ? but only in bits and pieces, not in their entirety. Although it may work for specific aspects, the most essential elements have been left aside - the integral and harmonious development. We know that they are necessary steps for development and are a bridge or a path towards the essence of the great traditions, but it is important to recognize the origin of their techniques and to guide the persons towards the depth of the highest spirituality. The call is for unity, to leave aside all differences, to find respect and tolerance, to create the balance. It is true that when a white magician is born, a dark magician is born as well. The ones that are being born now are not wasting any time and they are clear on their mission.
They prefer to destroy the planet (something which we can not deny nor close our eyes to) before the moment of the fusion arrives, rather than relinquish their position of power as owners of the material world. "We are living in dangerous times, my son" my teacher don Pascual would tell me. "If there is no clarity, if there is no unity, if we do not return to the natural order, if we do not reach harmony amongst ourselves we are condemned as a species to disappear as a result of our own madness."
This is the call to spread, the cry of hope, of returning to the brothers and sisters to create balance based on consciousness, love, the surrender and above all the clarity that we don't have time to play around anymore. This is the time of action! When we talk about not having any more time left, I am referring to the prophetic projections of the ancestral science of the Mayan world, and of our own intuitions in conjunction with our work with the visionaries, the diviners. This has given us the message of Cablicot. This makes us see a close future of great danger. This is a cycle that starts in mid August and lasts until mid-December of this year (2003). This period is of instability, destruction and confrontation and natural catastrophes can emerge: droughts, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes ? like we have never before seen ? bringing the consequences of death's appetite. The most difficult confrontations are with intolerance as well as the economic interests. The most delicate confrontation is of the religious fundamentalists, guided by the negative forces that can provoke great conflicts. This is a tendency, an energy that is gestating, which does not mean that we can not change or minimize it on the level on which we are affected. At this moment, the elders and the shamans of the Mayan world are making fire ceremonies daily, without end, in a manner similar to the Native Americans who are working hard with their own ceremonies. This is true of our brothers the Hopi, the Huichol elders, the powerful Taitas throughout the Amazon, the great wise ones of the eternal snows of the Andes, the Ayamaras, our brothers in the Sierra Nevada, the great Tibetan wise ones and all others that don't have a visible form. Each one with their own tradition and mystical knowledge and sciences, are working to create this balance that has been denominated "El K'uxaaj Saq' Be'" - the path of the positive energy / the white path of the good heart. This is where the two poles intersect over the west coast of the American continent, touching the continent's energetic centers simultaneously reactivating the positive flow of energy.
The call is so that we may all work together? the elders, the shamans, the wise ones and all of the people that have the awareness in order to change the negative force. It is about reaching all of the people with an urgency, to counteract the events that are juxtaposed to this period of August to December. The elders are making a call for the balance that needs to exist, with the intention of calling all leaders as well as all of the people that have the desire to achieve the balance.
As an immediate action, it is important to meditate at sunset (if this is not possible i.e. work, then as close as possible), placing the focus on harmony, reconnecting with Mother Earth, asking for forgiveness for the damage we have done to her, for our own personal responsibility and for other peoples and institutions that are repeatedly destroying her. Then we can place the intention on sending a message to the negativity to let it know that we are active, that there is an awakening, that there is unity and that we will no longer permit the destruction of mother earth or of humanity and that we are conscious of the importance of this moment and to project to the transition of the date of Dec. 21 2012. For this, it is suggested that you light two candles? one white, that represent peace, harmony, the positive thought - one red that represents the force, the light, the energy of a new dawn and the action. The reason for doing this at sunset is because this is the time of transition from day into night and it is the moment to create the balance and to send positive energy. As inheritors of an ancient civilization, the Mayan elders make us reflect upon the need and the urgency for creating this path of positive energy. The events of the cycle between August and Dec of this year can be extreme expecting plagues, natural phenomena, (such as hurricanes, earthquakes, drought and floods, overheating and the melting of the glaciers), if we don't create that strength of peace , harmony and balance with mother earth and between human beings. There is also a possibility of creating a major warlike conflict. Theses cycles have occurred in the past with other humans (civilizations) and also at the end of cycles of the Ajaw, cycles of 5,200 years. We are now at the end of the fourth cycle Ajaw that will end Dec 20, 2012, and the fifth Ajaw enters Dec 21, 2012, a date that is known to be catastrophic by people outside of the Mayan tradition- which in reality marks the beginning of changes in the way we see and live life, focusing more on harmony, the key word for existence in this reality.
FROM DECEMBER 4- TO DECEMBER 7 OF 2003
Inside the charge of these cycles of changes, there are vortexes that open up a space. After the red planet distances its charge, there is a subtle convergence between the cosmic and telluric forces, a time that lasts four days. This openness gives us the opportunity to create the force and balance. It is a sublime space that will allow us access to Jun'ab'ku, heart of the heavens. This is a good time to ask for the internal strength, strength for the community, for the consciousness and to synthesize balance. This is the moment when the strength of all those beings of light, are needed. If possible, it is asked to fast, perhaps on fruit, to remain abstinent for at least four days prior and to do ceremonies at sunrise and sunset. It is important to work from sunup to sunset on both the 4th and the 7th, because this is the opening and the closing. The point of focus is to create the longing desire to awaken the south. Beginning from the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, to the Amazons, to the mountain range of the eternal snows of the Andes and carry that energy to the most ancient mountains on this part of the world in Cordova, Argentina. The transcendence of this moment is of much importance for our beloved mother, PACHAMAMA. It is also the survival of this "fourth humanity".
The day of the 4th brings to us the energy of the Nawal Tzikin, the great intermediary between the heaven and the earth. It is the messenger and the eagle-quetzal-condor that will create the unity between the north and the south. This will permit us willingly if we joined our forces together throughout the continent and around the world to awaken the Saq' Be', the white path. On this day we focus on the divine messenger that carries our prayers, our feelings and the drumming of our hearts. Let it be that on this day there is only one heartbeat, one sound of drumming calling to the four corners of the universe and at last finding Great Spirit. In the north it is the Eagle, in the center it is the Quetzal and in the south it is the Condor, (the ancestral messengers between the human and the divine). So, lets have just one heartbeat, one fire, a simple ceremony but very majestic. Let's travel to the sacred places and reclaim the harmony.
The day of the 5th brings to us the energy of the Nawal Ajmaq, the keeper of the sin and forgiveness. This is a day to reflect upon our lives, to be in silence and to go within, to look at the damage we may have caused consciously or unconsciously, to forgive and be forgiven, to forgive ourselves, but most of all to ask forgiveness for the damage we have caused mother earth. We also need to ask for forgiveness for those that destroy without conscience but only for the madness or for riches. This is an internal ceremony we do. The elders will be having their fires and ceremonies, but our connection (be it through ceremony or meditation) will be channeled towards the south to awaken the force and the return of the wisdom of the condor. This is the moment of the return of the kingdom of TIHUANTISUYO, the giant panther. As of now it is called the kingdom of INCARI. As a day of duality, the energy gives way to balance between the polarities, so this is what we need to focus on.
The day of the 6th, brings us the energy of the Nawal No'j. This is the keeper of the wisdom, the harmony, the balance and the understanding, the power of the mind and of the imagination. This is a day to use the energy of the mind to create the power of balance. On this day we need to practice internal peace as well as peace with the community. The polarization based on religious fundamentalism is reaching its unsustainable limits and it depends on beings that are committed to the essence of the real spirituality and the survival of the human race and of mother earth, to help stop this energy. Let's not forget that this thing we call reality is mental, the "great illusion", and the one that commands this force is the Nawal No'j. It is recommended to light white candles, to create chains of meditation and raise our words to the heart of the heavens and to the Great Spirit. We need to purify internally and check our own existence so we can do away with that which no longer serves us; to be free of antagonizing forces so we can then create the force that needs to govern now, which is harmony.
The day of the 7th brings us the energy of the Nawal Tijaax. This day is the culmination of this cycle that opens with the intermediary between the earth and the sky, followed by the forgiveness and the sin, then followed by the purification of the mind (creator of all illusions). Tijaax is the double bladed knife. It is the energy that opens up dimensions and the vortex on this day, creating a space extremely subtle and only perceptive to sensitive spirits. To us humans it gives us the opportunity to cut the negativity, to let go of that which holds us back to the vain illusions, to open up our hearts, to awaken and be able to create the balance between the polarities. We need to ask for all the spiritual guides, so they can leave behind their personal importance, so they may know how to guide us without competition and to be united and so they may not forget they are not the keepers of the truth. Each and every one of us brings a force and internal power and that all the truths are part of one manifestation of reality and this is how we'll be able to face the changes we are about to encounter. This will allow us to reach the date of Dec. 21, 2012, with much harmony. This is the purpose of Tzacol, the planet being alive, to then be able to transcend to the 5th Ajaw.
THE YEAR 2007
As of February or maybe sooner, according to the sacred books, the sacred Tzi'te and the projections of the wise visionaries, this seems to be an extremely delicate year. Again this has to do with us reaching peace and harmony. As of now the economies can start to deteriorate, we can see that it is based on an illusion. We have seen the real value of things have disappeared many years ago. Today the economic value, money as we know it, is an electronic fantasy and if the socio-economic systems doesn't return to being human and to the real value, the actual system is condemned to extinction. This is the unconsciousness, the senseless race in the world that continues without stopping, without going anywhere. It is escapism to live an experience in such an accelerated manner. The fear of destruction and the instant gratifications we experience on a daily basis either help us to carry out our existence or to live alienated.
This year will be hard and bring us natural disasters, warlike confrontations and disaster in the world economy. Like with all prophecies and visions of the future, there is the ability to minimize things and in some cases even change them. Although this year is of much concern, we must focus on the present which is where we will define the balance. The period of now to the end of 2007 is of much importance to maintain the balance. We will be living in a very dangerous time that this humanity has not lived before. It is within each and every one of us to reach balance and change. The focus must be on the energy that got stuck in Panama, which, because of the canal, didn't allow the energy to reach south. This is where the work will be the most revealing, which doesn't consist only of these four days. It is urgent to activate the base of the spinal cord of the continent of the mountain range of the Andes and the ancient mountains of Cordova. To bring on the change and as the wise Mam elder said: "PLEASE LET'S RETURN TO BEING HUMANS!"
Carlos Barrios is a Mayan Ajq'ij, who originates from and resides in Guatemala. Carlos has been given the mission by his elders to begin sharing the prophecies and teachings of the Mayan peoples with the rest of the world. Carlos travels internationally to share these teachings and to generate awareness and support for the rescue and preservation of the ancient Mayan tradition in his homeland. Carlos is also the author of "Kam Wuj: El Libro del Destino", and out of print book on the astrology and prophecies of the Mayan peoples. Carlos is presently working on a revised edition which is to be translated to English.
Saq' Be': Organization for Mayan and Indigenous Spiritual Studies is a non profit organization based in New Mexico, US. Saq' Be' works to bring people, especially young adults, together with ancient traditions for the purpose of cultural and spiritual preservation and to open the doors of opportunity for those traditions to share their teachings with the rest of the world. Preservation programs include Radio broadcast capacity for the Native community in Chichicastenango, Guatemala and support for filmed documentation efforts of elders and guides of the Mayan tradition. Meetings programs include trips to Native communities in Guatemala (next trip is for the Mayan New Year, June, 2004) and arranging for travel and teachings for the keepers of this ancient wisdom to the US and abroad.
In these times, there are feelings that stay in the Heart; they Last
because of our Sense of Justice and Truth. Mario Savio was a great orator
and mind of the Sixties as well as Bob Dylan and Abbie Hoffman and of course
countless others have Voiced this Echo of Our Inner Self.
These artist and speakers Clarified the Need of the Public and did so out loudly!
The Gifts of Openess and Directness are an important element of the Sixties.
Since it was on December 3, 1964 a revelent reminder does Ring the Bell that
carries the sound of this country's traditions and the constant need to fulfill
the essence that We proclaim.
My own Hope is to pass on some of these "Cries of Freedom" and the call for
an "honest" government that Will Live Up to the Respect We Offer.
The Odious Machine
"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious,
makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively
take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels,
upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop.
And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it,
that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"
-- Mario Savio, Sproul Hall Steps, U of CA, Berkeley, December 3, 1964
We are here to make a better world.
No amount of rationalization or blaming can preempt the moment of choice
each of us brings to our situation here on this planet. The lesson of the 60's
is that people who cared enough to do right could change history.
We didn't end racism but we ended legal segregation.
We ended the idea that you could send half-a-million soldiers around the world
to fight a war that people do not support.
We ended the idea that women are second-class citizens.
We made the environment an issue that couldn't be avoided.
The big battles that we won cannot be reversed.
We were young, self-righteous, reckless, hypocritical, brave, silly, headstrong
and scared half to death.
And we were right.
-- Abbie Hoffman
Masters of War
by Bob Dylan
Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks
You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly
Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain
You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud
You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins
How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do
Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul
And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead
It is therefore recommended... to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next,
for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may
express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their
-- Samuel Adams
November 1,1777 (adopted by the 13 states as the first official Thanksgiving Proclamation)
"Our wise men are called Fathers, and they truly sustain that character. Do you call yourselves Christians? Does the religion of Him who you call your Savior inspire your spirit, and guide your
practices? Surely not. It is recorded of him that a bruised reed he never broke. Cease then to
call yourselves Christians, lest you declare to the world your hypocrisy. Cease too to call other
nations savage, when you are tenfold more the children of cruelty than they.
No person among us desires any other reward for performing a brave and worthwhile action,
but the consciousness of having served his nation. I bow to no man for I am considered a prince
among my own people. But I will gladly shake your hand." Joseph Brant to King George III
-- Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea), Mohawk - 1742-1807
"When we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots, we make little holes.
When we build houses, we make little holes.
When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don't ruin things.
We shake down acorns and pine nuts. We don't chop down the trees.
We only use dead wood.
But the white people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything.
... the White people pay no attention. .
...How can the spirit of the earth like the White man?
... everywhere the White man has touched it, it is sore."
-- Wintu Woman, 19th Century
"There are many things to be shared with the Four Colors of humanity in our common destiny
as one with our Mother the Earth. It is this sharing that must be considered with great care
by the Elders and the medicine people who carry the Sacred Trusts, so that no harm may come
to people through ignorance and misuse of these powerful forces."
-- Resolution of the Fifth Annual Meetings of the Traditional Elders Circle, 1980
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE FIRST THANKSGIVING
by James W. Loewen
Over the last few years, I have asked hundreds of college students,
"When was the country we now know as the United States first settled?"
That is a generous way of putting the question. Surely "we now know
as" implies that the original settlement happened before the United
States. I had hoped that students would suggest 30,000 BC, or some
other pre-Columbian date. They did not. Their consensus answer was
Part of the problem is the word "settle." "Settlers" were white.
Indians did not settle. Nor are students the only people misled by
"settle." One recent Thanksgiving weekend, I listened as a guide at
the Statue of Liberty told about European immigrants "populating a
wild East Coast." As we shall see, however, if Indians had not
already settled New England, Europeans would have had a much tougher
job of it.
Starting with the Pilgrims not only leaves out the Indians, but also
the Spanish. In the summer of 1526 five hundred Spaniards and one
hundred black slaves founded a town near the mouth of the Pedee River
in what is now South Carolina. Disease and disputes with nearby
Indians caused many deaths. Finally, in November the slaves rebelled,
killed some of their masters, and escaped to the the Indians. By now
only 150 Spaniards survived, and they evacuated back to Haiti. The
ex-slaves remained behind. So the first non-Native settlers in "the
country we now know as the United States" were Africans.
The Spanish continued their settling in 1565, when they massacred a
settlement of French Protestants at St. Augustine, Florida, and
replaced it with their own fort. Some Spanish were pilgrims, seeking
regions new to them to secure religious liberty: these were Spanish
Jews, who settled in New Mexico in the late 1500s. Few Americans know
that one third of the United States, from San Francisco to Arkansas
to Natchez to Florida, has been Spanish longer than it has been
"American." Moreover, Spanish culture left an indelible impact on the
West. The Spanish introduced horses, cattle, sheep, pigs, and the
basic elements of cowboy culture, including its vocabulary: mustang,
bronco, rodeo, lariat, and so on.
Beginning with 1620 also omits the Dutch, who were living in what is
now Albany by 1614. Indeed, 1620 is not even the date of the first
permanent British settlement, for in 1607, the London Company sent
settlers to Jamestown, Virginia. No matter. The mythic origin of "the
country we now know as the United States" is at Plymouth Rock, and
the year is 1620. My students are not at fault. The myth is what
their textbooks and their culture have offered them. I examined how
twelve textbooks used in high school American history classes teach
Thanksgiving. Here is the version in one high school history book,
THE AMERICAN TRADITION:
After some exploring, the Pilgrims chose the land around Plymouth
Harbor for their settlement. Unfortunately, they had arrived in
December and were not prepared for the New England winter. However,
they were aided by friendly Indians, who gave them food and showed
them how to grow corn. When warm weather came, the colonists planted,
fished, hunted, and prepared themselves for the next winter. After
harvesting their first crop, they and their Indian friends celebrated
the first Thanksgiving.
My students also learned that the Pilgrims were persecuted in England
for their religion, so they moved to Holland. They sailed on the
Mayflower to America and wrote the Mayflower Compact. Times were
rough, until they met Squanto. He taught them how to put fish in each
corn hill, so they had a bountiful harvest.
But when I ask them about the plague, they stare back at me. "What
plague? The Black Plague?" No, that was three centuries earlier, I
"THE WONDERFUL PLAGUE AMONG THE SAVAGES"
The Black Plague does provide a useful introduction, however. Black
(or bubonic) Plague "was undoubtedly the worst disaster that has ever
befallen mankind." In three years it killed 30 percent of the
population of Europe. Catastrophic as it was, the disease itself
comprised only part of the horror. Thinking the day of judgment was
imminent, farmers failed to plant crops. Many people gave themselves
over to alcohol. Civil and economic disruption may have caused as
much death as the disease itself.
For a variety of reasons --- their probable migration through
cleansing Alaskan ice fields, better hygiene, no livestock or
livestock-borne microbes --- Americans were in Howard Simpson's
assessment "a remarkable healthy race" before Columbus. Ironically,
their very health now proved their undoing, for they had built up no
resistance, genetically or through childhood diseases, to the
microbes Europeans and Africans now brought them. In 1617, just
before the Pilgrims landed, the process started in southern New
England. A plague struck that made the Black Death pale by comparison.
Today we think it was the bubonic plague, although pox and influenza
are also candidates. British fishermen had been fishing off
Massachusetts for decades before the Pilgrims landed. After filling
their hulls with cod, they would set forth on land to get firewood
and fresh water and perhaps capture a few Indians to sell into
slavery in Europe. On one of these expeditions they probably
transmitted the illness to the people they met. Whatever it was,
within three years this plague wiped out between 90 percent and 96
percent of the inhabitants of southern New England. The Indian
societies lay devastated. Only "the twentieth person is scare left
alive," wrote British eyewitness Robert Cushman, describing a death
rate unknown in all previous human experience. Unable to cope with so
many corpses, survivors fled to the next tribe, carrying the
infestation with them, so that Indians died who had never seen a
white person. Simpson tells what the Pilgrims saw:
The summer after the Pilgrims landed, they sent two envoys on a
diplomatic mission to treat with Massasoit, a famous chief encamped
some 40 miles away at what is now Warren, Rhode Island. The envoys
discovered and described a scene of absolute havoc. Villages lay in
ruins because there was no one to tend them. The ground was strewn
with the skulls and the bones of thousands of Indians who had died
and none was left to bury them.
During the next fifteen years, additional epidemics, most of which we
know to have been smallpox, struck repeatedly. Europeans caught
smallpox and the other maladies, to be sure, but most recovered,
including, in a later century, the "heavily pockmarked George
Washington." Indians usually died. Therefore, almost as profound as
their effect on Indian demographics was the impact of the epidemics
on the two cultures, European and Indian. The English Separatists,
already seeing their lives as part of a divinely inspired morality
play, inferred that they had God on their side. John Winthrop,
Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, called the plague "miraculous."
To a friend in England in 1634, he wrote:
But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for
300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by the small
pox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared
our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in
all not fifty, have put themselves under our protect....
Many Indians likewise inferred that their God had abandoned them.
Cushman, our British eyewitness, reported that "those that are left,
have their courage much abated, and their countenance is dejected,
and they seem as a people affrighted." After all, neither they nor
the Pilgrims had access to the germ theory of disease. Indian healers
offered no cure, their religion no explanation. That of the whites
did. Like the Europeans three centuries before them, many Indians
surrendered to alcohol or began to listen to Christianity.
These epidemics constituted perhaps the most important single
geopolitical event of the first third of the 1600s, anywhere on the
planet. They meant that the British would face no real Indian
challenge for their first fifty years in America. Indeed, the plague
helped cause the legendary warm reception Plymouth enjoyed in its
first formative years from the Wampanoags. Massasoit needed to ally
with the Pilgrims because the plague had so weakened his villages
that he feared the Narragansetts to the west.
Moreover, the New England plagues exemplify a process which antedated
the Pilgrims and endures to this day. In 1492, more than 3,000,000
Indians lived on the island of Haiti. Forty years later, fewer than
300 remained. The earliest Portuguese found that Labrador teemed with
hospitable Indians who could easily be enslaved. It teems no more. In
about 1780, smallpox reduced the Mandanâ€™s of North Dakota from nine
villages to two; then in 1837, a second smallpox epidemic reduced
them from 1600 persons to just 31. The pestilence continues; a fourth
of the Yanomamos of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela died in the
year prior to my writing this sentence.
Europeans were never able to "settle" China, India, Indonesia, Japan,
or most of Africa because too many people already lived there.
Advantages in military and social technology would have enabled
Europeans to dominate the Americas, as they eventually dominated
China and Africa, but not to "settle" the New World. For that, the
plague was required. Thus, except for the European (and African)
invasion itself, the pestilence was surely the most important event
in the history of America.
What do we learn of all this in the twelve histories I studied? Three
offer some treatment of Indian disease as a factor in European
colonization. LIFE AND LIBERTY does quite a good job. AMERICA PAST
AND PRESENT supplies a fine analysis of the general impact of Indian
disease in American history, though it leaves out the plague at
Plymouth. THE AMERICAN WAY is the only text to draw the appropriate
geopolitical inference about the importance of the Plymouth outbreak,
but it never discuses Indian plagues anywhere else. Unfortunately,
the remaining nine books offer almost nothing. Two totally omit the
subject. Each of the other seven furnishes only a fragment of a
paragraph that does not even make it into the index, let alone into
Everyone knew all about the plague in colonial America. Even before
the Mayflower sailed, King James of England gave thanks to "Almighty
God in his great goodness and bounty towards us," for sending "this
wonderful plague among the savages." Today it is no surprise that not
one in a hundred of my college students has ever heard of the plague.
Unless they read LIFE AND LIBERTY or PAST AND PRESENT, no student can
come away from these books thinking of Indians as people who made an
impact on North America, who lived here in considerable numbers, who
settled, in short, and were then killed by disease or arms.
ERRAND INTO THE WILDERNESS
Instead of the plague, our schoolbooks present the story of the
Pilgrims as a heroic myth. Referring to "the little party" in their
"small, storm-battered English vessel," their story line follows
Perry Miller's use of a Puritan sermon title, ERRAND INTO THE
WILDERNESS. AMERICAN ADVENTURES even titles its chapter about British
settlement in North America "Opening the Wilderness." The imagery is
right out of Star Trek: "to go boldly where none dared go before."
The Pilgrims had intended to go to Virginia, where there already was
a British settlement, according to the texts, but "violent storms
blew their ship off course," according to some texts, or else an
"error in navigation" caused them to end up hundreds of miles to the
north. In fact, we are not sure where the Pilgrims planned to go.
According to George Willison, Pilgrim leaders never intended to
settle in Virginia. They had debated the relative merits of Guiana
versus Massachusetts precisely because they wanted to be far from
Anglican control in Virginia. They knew quite a bit about
Massachusetts, from Cape Cod's fine fishing to that "wonderful
plague." They brought with them maps drawn by Samuel Champlain when
he toured the area in 1605 and a guidebook by John Smith, who had
named it "New England" when he visited in 1614. One text, LAND OF
PROMISE, follows Willison, pointing out that Pilgrims numbered only
about thirty-five of the 102 settlers aboard the Mayflower. The rest
were ordinary folk seeking their fortunes in the new Virginia colony.
"The New England landing came as a rude surprise for the bedraggled
and tired [non-Pilgrim] majority on board the Mayflower," says
Promise. "Rumors of mutiny spread quickly." Promise then ties this
unrest to the Mayflower Compact, giving its readers a uniquely fresh
interpretation as to why the colonists adopted it.
Each text offers just one of three reasons---storm, pilot error, or
managerial hijacking--to explain how the Pilgrims ended up in
Massachusetts. Neither here nor in any other historical controversy
after 1620 can any of the twelve bear to admit that it does not know
the answer---that studying history is not just learning answers--that
history contains debates. Thus each book shuts student shout from the
intellectual excitement of the discipline.
Instead, textbooks parade ethnocentric assertions about the Pilgrims
as a flawless unprecedented band laying the foundations of our
democracy. John Garraty presents the Compact this way in AMERICAN
HISTORY: "So far as any record shows, this was the first time in
human history that a group of people consciously created a government
where none had existed before." Such accounts deny students the
opportunity to see the Pilgrims as anything other than pious
"IT WAS WITH GOD'S HELP...FOR HOW ELSE COULD WE HAVE DONE IT?"
Settlement proceeded, not with God's help but with the Indians'. The
Pilgrims chose Plymouth because of its cleared fields, recently
planted in corn, "and a brook of fresh water [that] flowed into the
harbor," in the words of TRIUMPH OF THE AMERICAN NATION. It was a
lovely site for a town. Indeed, until the plague, it had been a town.
Everywhere in the hemisphere, Europeans pitched camp right in the
middle of native populations---Cuzco, Mexico City, Natchez, Chicago.
Throughout New England, colonists appropriated Indian cornfields,
which explains why so many town names---Marshfield, Springfield,
Deerfield--end in "field".
Inadvertent Indian assistance started on the Pilgrims' second full
day in Massachusetts. A colonist's journal tells us:
We marched to the place we called Cornhill, where we had found the
corn before. At another place we had seen before, we dug and found
some more corn, two or three baskets full, and a bag of beans. ..In
all we had about ten bushels, which will be enough for seed. It was
with God's help that we found this corn, for how else could we have
done it, without meeting some Indians who might trouble us. ...The
next morning, we found a place like a grave. We decided to dig it up.
We found first a mat, and under that a fine bow...We also found bowls
, trays, dishes, and things like that. We took several of the
prettiest things to carry away with us, and covered the body up again.
A place "like a grave!"
More help came from a alive Indian, Squanto. Here my students are on
familiar turf, for they have all learned the Squanto legend. LAND OF
PROMISE provides an archetypal account"
Squanto had learned their language, he explained, from English
fishermen who ventured into the New England waters each summer.
Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, squash, and pumpkins.
Would the small band of settlers have survived without Squanto's
help? We cannot say. But by the fall of 1621, colonists and Indians
could sit down to several days of feast and thanksgiving to God
(later celebrated as the first Thanksgiving).
What do the books leave out about Squanto? First, how he learned
English. As a boy, along with four Penobscots, he was probably stolen
by a British captain in about 1605 and taken to England. There he
probably spent nine years, two in the employ of a Plymouth merchant
who later helped finance the Mayflower. At length, the merchant
helped him arrange passage back to Massachusetts. He was to enjoy
home life for less than a year, however. In 1614, a British slave
raider seized him and two dozen fellow Indians and sold them into
slavery in Malaga, Spain. Squanto escaped from slavery, escaped from
Spain, made his way back to England, and in 1619 talked a ship
captain into taking him along on his next trip to Cape Cod.
It happens that Squanto's fabulous odyssey provides a "hook" into the
plague story, a hook that our texts choose to ignore. For now Squanto
walked to his home village, only to make the horrifying discovery
that, in Simpson's words, "he was the sole member of his village
still alive. All the others had perished in the epidemic two years
before." No wonder he throws in his lot with the Pilgrims, who rename
his village "Plymouth!" Now that is a story worth telling! Compare
the pallid account in LAND OF PROMISE. "He had learned their language
from English fishermen." What do we make of books that give us the
unimportant details--Squanto's name, the occupation of his
enslavers--while omitting not only his enslavement, but also the
crucial fact of the plague? This is distortion on a grand scale.
William Bradford praised Squanto for many services, including his
"bring[ing] them to unknown places for their profit." "Their profit"
was the primary reason most Mayflower colonists made the trip. It too
came from the Indians, from the fur trade; Plymouth would never have
paid for itself without it. Europeans had neither the skill nor the
desire to "go boldly where none dared go before.|" They went to the
"TRUTH SHOULD BE HELD SACRED, AT WHATEVER COST"
Should we teach these truths about Thanksgiving? Or, like our
textbooks, should we look the other way? Again quoting LAND OF
PROMISE. "By the fall of 1621, colonists and Indians could sit down
to several days of feast and thanksgiving to God (later celebrated as
the first Thanksgiving)." Throughout the nation, elementary school
children still enact Thanksgiving every fall as our national origin
myth, complete with Pilgrim hats made of construction paper and
Indian braves with feathers in their hair. An early Massachusetts
colonist, Colonel Thomas Aspinwall, advises us not to settle for this
whitewash of feel - good - history.
"It is painful to advert to these things. But our forefathers, though
wise, pious, and sincere, were nevertheless, in respect to Christian
charity, under a cloud; and, in history, truth should be held sacred,
at whatever cost."
Thanksgiving is full of embarrassing facts. The Pilgrims did not
introduce the Native Americans to the tradition; Eastern Indians had
observed autumnal harvest celebrations for centuries. Our modern
celebrations date back only to 1863; not until the 1890s did the
Pilgrims get included in the tradition; no one even called them
"Pilgrims" until the 1870s. Plymouth Rock achieved ichnographic
status only in the nineteenth century, when some enterprising
residents of the town moved it down to the water so its significance
as the "holy soil" the Pilgrims first touched might seem more
plausible. The Rock has become a shrine, the Mayflower Compact a
sacred text, and our textbooks play the same function as the Anglican
BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER, teaching us the rudiments of the civil
religion of Thanksgiving.
Indians are marginalized in this civic ritual. Our archetypal image
of the first Thanksgiving portrays the groaning boards in the woods,
with the Pilgrims in their starched Sunday best and the almost naked
Indian guests. Thanksgiving silliness reaches some sort of zenith in
the handouts that school children have carried home for decades, with
captions like, "They served pumpkins and turkeys and corn and squash.
The Indians had never seen such a feast!" When his son brought home
this "information" from his New Hampshire elementary school, Native
American novelist Michael Dorris pointed out "the Pilgrims had
literally never seen `such a feast,' since all foods mentioned are
exclusively indigenous to the Americas and had been provided by [or
with the aid of] the local tribe."
I do not read Aspinwall as suggesting a "bash the Pilgrims"
interpretation, emphasizing only the bad parts. I have emphasized
untoward details only because our histories have suppressed
everything awkward for so long. The Pilgrims' courage in setting
forth in the late fall to make their way on a continent new to them
remains unsurpassed. In their first year, like the Indians, they
suffered from diseases. Half of them died. The Pilgrims did not cause
the plague and were as baffled as to its true origin as the stricken
Indian villagers. Pilgrim-Indian relations began reasonably
positively. Thus the antidote to feel-good history is not feel-bad
history, but honest and inclusive history. "Knowing the truth about
Thanksgiving, both its proud and its shameful motivations and
history, might well benefit contemporary children," suggests Dorris.
"But the glib retelling of an ethnocentric and self-serving falsehood
does no one any good." Because Thanksgiving has roots in both Anglo
and Native cultures, and because of the interracial cooperation the
first celebration enshrines, Thanksgiving might yet develop into a
holiday that promotes tolerance and understanding. Its emphasis on
Native foods provides a teachable moment, for natives of the Americas
first developed half of the world's food crops. Texts could tell
this--only three even mention Indian foods---and could also relate
other contributions form Indian societies, from sports to political
ideas. The original Thanksgiving itself provides an interesting
example: the Natives and newcomers spent the better part of three
days showing each other their various recreations.
Origin myths do not come cheaply. To glorify the Pilgrims is
dangerous. The genial omissions and false details our texts use to
retail the Pilgrim legend promote Anglo centrism, which only handicaps
us when dealing with all those whose culture is no Anglo. Surely, in
history, "truth should be held sacred, at whatever cost."
from: t r u t h o u t 2001 ©
I ask you to Bless the white man,
He needs your wisdom, your guidance.
He has tried for so long to destroy my people
And only feels comfortable when given power.
Bless them with wisdom.
Show them the peace we understand.
Teach them humility
For I feel they will destroy themselves and all our children
As they have done for so long with Mother Earth.
I plead, I cry.
They are my brothers and sisters."
-- Sandy Kewenhaptewa, Hopi
"The white people, who are trying to make us over into their image,
they want us to be what they call "assimilated," bringing the Indians
into the mainstream and destroying our own way of life and our own
cultural patterns. They believe we should be contented like those
whose concept of happiness is materialistic and greedy, which is very
different from our way.
We don't want any part of the establishment, we want to be free to
raise our children in our religion, in our ways, to be able to hunt and
fish and live in peace. We don't want power, we don't want to be,
We want freedom from the white man rather than to be integrated
congressmen, or bankers....we want to be ourselves. We want to
have our heritage, because we are the owners of this land and be-
cause we belong here. The white man says, there is freedom and
justice for all. We have had "freedom and justice," and that is why
we have been almost exterminated. We shall not forget this."
-- From the 1927 Grand Council of American Indians
Until the philosophy which holds one race
Superior and another inferior
Is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war, me say war
That until there is no longer first class
And second class citizens of any nation
Until the color of a man's skin
Is of no more significance than the color of his eyes
Me say war
That until the basic human rights are equally
Guaranteed to all, without regard to race
Dis a war
That until that day
The dream of lasting peace, world citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain in but a fleeting illusion
To be pursued, but never attained...
-- Bob Marley, from the song WAR
How amazing that an elite privileged human being would consider this methodology of "care"
for mankind! Just a few days ago Ken, a brother and friend, brought to my attention to a
very disturbing article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Feelings of shock, rage and disgust
began running through me. The flood of anger was one that is not easy to remove from my
heart! Remembrance of my youth, as an "army brat" in Bavaria, echoed through my head.
One of the memories that remains forever etched into my past was in southern Germany in
a city near Munich. It is known to many people around the world, that town is Dachau!
Yes, the notorious place of the Third Reich's "extermination camps".
The town of Dachau has maintained this concentration camp as a vigilant reminder of one
of the faces of "darkness" residing in man's heart.
Vivid tales of the experiences that my "aunt" and teacher come to mind. She was one of
the survivors of this former entrance to the "gates of hell"! When she arrived at Dachau with
her family and folks, gathered from many locales, herded and stuffed into the box cars; she
came with her family. Only her younger brother and her had lived through this camp!
Hearing of her experiences came out little by little, shocked and scared me to the core of
my being! To date, those memories of the camp serve as a constant reminder and served
me well in preparing for our future return to the states. She didn't know about how her eye
opening experiences had prepared me for living in the U.S.!
Those recounts of the sick inhumanities of a "master race" delusional activities returned as
i read this article. This irrational view held by those mentioned in this article must end now,
because of the first hand accounts will not leave my heart!
Of course this country also has a long history of this same pattern of human degradation!
Most noticeable during the first arrivals of the "Euro-peons". Strange that this barbaric
energy was brought about by those seeking refuge in this "New World" in order to live in
a place where they could practice their own forms of religions.
The history we have been "taught" or rather indoctrinated in is a distortion, not the whole
truth nor the reality of those times. A "white washing" of events in order to maintain a
concentration of controlling influences on the lens of Our Souls!
The first "slaves" of the "New World" were the residents - Indians and then came the
Africans. Captured in their own "Mother Lands" and brought over as "human livestock".
Least we forget another aspect; the majority of the "Euro-peons" who first came here
were termed "indentured servants"! Of course during this time period the majority of the
"Euro-peons" held no rights and zero in rights for their own woman and children.
The article below will clarify the influences of this "lucky sperm club" and their views,
projects and causes that persist; even to date a foundational and remain heavily
entrenched within our lives! How did this "elite class" choose their bodies; you know...
to be in the cosmic flow to select a specific body, family and area as entry to this earthly
plane? To assume dominance and total understanding of their "master" plan for every-
one! As they pose as powerful, as they play with human life, as they self declare them-
selves as the anointed ones - at what point do we continue to allow this psychosis to
continue to infect the young with these grand delusions?
My deepest prayers holds Hope, Respect, Understanding and Harmony for mankind
as a Human Family Living in Balance with the Great Mother Earth!
All Life is Given through the Creator. All Life is Sacred... aho
All My Relations
Eugenics and the Nazis -- the California connection
from the San Francisco Chronicle - 11/9/03 by Edwin Black
Hitler and his henchmen victimized an entire continent and exterminated millions in his quest for a so-called Master Race.
But the concept of a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed master Nordic race didn't originate with Hitler. The idea was created in the United States, and cultivated in California, decades before Hitler came to power. California eugenicists played an important, although little-known, role in the American eugenics movement's campaign for ethnic cleansing.
Eugenics was the pseudoscience aimed at "improving" the human race. In its extreme, racist form, this meant wiping away all human beings deemed "unfit," preserving only those who conformed to a Nordic stereotype. Elements of the philosophy were enshrined as national policy by forced sterilization and segregation laws, as well as marriage restrictions, enacted in 27 states. In 1909, California became the third state to adopt such laws. Ultimately, eugenics practitioners coercively sterilized some 60,000 Americans, barred the marriage of thousands, forcibly segregated thousands in "colonies," and persecuted untold numbers in ways we are just learning. Before World War II, nearly half of coercive sterilizations were done in California, and even after the war, the state accounted for a third of all such surgeries.
California was considered an epicenter of the American eugenics movement. During the 20th century's first decades, California's eugenicists included potent but little-known race scientists, such as Army venereal disease specialist Dr. Paul Popenoe, citrus magnate Paul Gosney, Sacramento banker Charles Goethe, as well as members of the California state Board of Charities and Corrections and the University of California Board of Regents.
Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America's most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics' racist aims.
Stanford President David Starr Jordan originated the notion of "race and blood" in his 1902 racial epistle "Blood of a Nation," in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.
In 1904, the Carnegie Institution established a laboratory complex at Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island that stockpiled millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation's social service agencies and associations.
The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, confinement or forced sterilization.
The Rockefeller Foundation helped found the German eugenics program and even funded the program that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.
Much of the spiritual guidance and political agitation for the American eugenics movement came from California's quasi-autonomous eugenic societies, such as Pasadena's Human Betterment Foundation and the California branch of the American Eugenics Society, which coordinated much of their activity with the Eugenics Research Society in Long Island. These organizations -- which functioned as part of a closely-knit network -- published racist eugenic newsletters and pseudoscientific journals, such as Eugenical News and Eugenics,
and propagandized for the Nazis.
Eugenics was born as a scientific curiosity in the Victorian age. In 1863,
Sir Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, theorized that if talented people married only other talented people, the result would be measurably better offspring. At the turn of the last century, Galton's ideas were imported to the United States just as Gregor Mendel's principles of heredity were rediscovered. American eugenics advocates believed with religious fervor that the same Mendelian concepts determining the color and size of peas, corn and cattle also governed the social and intellectual character of man.
In a United States demographically reeling from immigration upheaval and torn by post-Reconstruction chaos, race conflict was everywhere in the early 20th century. Elitists, utopians and so-called progressives fused their smoldering race fears and class bias with their desire to make a better world. They reinvented Galton's eugenics into a repressive and racist ideology. The intent: Populate the Earth with vastly more of their own socioeconomic and biological kind -- and less or none of everyone else.
The superior species the eugenics movement sought was populated not merely by tall, strong, talented people. Eugenicists craved blond, blue-eyed Nordic types. This group alone, they believed, was fit to inherit the Earth. In the process, the movement intended to subtract emancipated Negroes, immigrant Asian laborers, Indians, Hispanics, East Europeans, Jews, dark- haired hill folk, poor people, the infirm and anyone classified outside the gentrified genetic lines drawn up by American raceologists.
How? By identifying so-called defective family trees and subjecting them to lifelong segregation and sterilization programs to kill their bloodlines. The grand plan was to literally wipe away the reproductive capability of those deemed weak and inferior -- the so-called unfit. The eugenicists hoped to neutralize the viability of 10 percent of the population at a sweep, until none were left except themselves.
Eighteen solutions were explored in a Carnegie-supported 1911 "Preliminary Report of the Committee of the Eugenic Section of the American Breeder's Association to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means for Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasm in the Human Population." Point No. 8 was euthanasia.
The most commonly suggested method of eugenicide in the United States was a "lethal chamber" or public, locally operated gas chambers. In 1918, Popenoe, the Army venereal disease specialist during World War I, co-wrote the widely used textbook, "Applied Eugenics," which argued, "From an historical point of view, the first method which presents itself is execution . . . Its value in keeping up the standard of the race should not be underestimated." "Applied Eugenics" also devoted a chapter to "Lethal Selection," which operated "through the destruction of the individual by some adverse feature of the environment, such as excessive cold, or bacteria, or by bodily deficiency."
Eugenic breeders believed American society was not ready to implement an organized lethal solution. But many mental institutions and doctors practiced improvised medical lethality and passive euthanasia on their own. One institution in Lincoln, Ill., fed its incoming patients milk from tubercular cows believing a eugenically strong individual would be immune. Thirty to 40 percent annual death rates resulted at Lincoln. Some doctors practiced passive eugenicide one newborn infant at a time. Others doctors at mental institutions engaged in lethal neglect.
Nonetheless, with eugenicide marginalized, the main solution for eugenicists was the rapid expansion of forced segregation and sterilization, as well as more marriage restrictions. California led the nation, performing nearly all sterilization procedures with little or no due process. In its first 25 years of eugenics legislation, California sterilized 9,782 individuals, mostly women. Many were classified as "bad girls," diagnosed as "passionate," "oversexed" or "sexually wayward." At the Sonoma State Home, some women were sterilized because of what was deemed an abnormally large clitoris or labia.
In 1933 alone, at least 1,278 coercive sterilizations were performed, 700 on women. The state's two leading sterilization mills in 1933 were Sonoma State Home with 388 operations and Patton State Hospital with 363 operations. Other sterilization centers included Agnews, Mendocino, Napa, Norwalk, Stockton and Pacific Colony state hospitals.
Even the U.S. Supreme Court endorsed aspects of eugenics. In its infamous 1927 decision, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough." This decision opened the floodgates for thousands to be coercively sterilized or otherwise persecuted as subhuman. Years later, the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials quoted Holmes' words in their own defense.
Only after eugenics became entrenched in the United States was the campaign transplanted into Germany, in no small measure through the efforts of California eugenicists, who published booklets idealizing sterilization and circulated them to German officials and scientists.
Hitler studied American eugenics laws. He tried to legitimize his anti- Semitism by medicalizing it, and wrapping it in the more palatable pseudoscientific facade of eugenics. Hitler was able to recruit more followers among reasonable Germans by claiming that science was on his side. Hitler's race hatred sprung from his own mind, but the intellectual outlines of the eugenics Hitler adopted in 1924 were made in America.
During the '20s, Carnegie Institution eugenic scientists cultivated deep personal and professional relationships with Germany's fascist eugenicists. In "Mein Kampf," published in 1924, Hitler quoted American eugenic ideology and openly displayed a thorough knowledge of American eugenics. "There is today one state," wrote Hitler, "in which at least weak beginnings toward a better conception (of immigration) are noticeable. Of course, it is not our model German Republic, but the United States."
Hitler proudly told his comrades just how closely he followed the progress of the American eugenics movement. "I have studied with great interest," he told a fellow Nazi, "the laws of several American states concerning prevention of reproduction by people whose progeny would, in all probability, be of no value or be injurious to the racial stock."
Hitler even wrote a fan letter to American eugenics leader Madison Grant, calling his race-based eugenics book, "The Passing of the Great Race," his "bible."
Now, the American term "Nordic" was freely exchanged with "Germanic" or "Aryan." Race science, racial purity and racial dominance became the driving force behind Hitler's Nazism. Nazi eugenics would ultimately dictate who would be persecuted in a Reich-dominated Europe, how people would live, and how they would die. Nazi doctors would become the unseen generals in Hitler's war against the Jews and other Europeans deemed inferior. Doctors would create the science, devise the eugenic formulas, and hand-select the victims for sterilization, euthanasia and mass extermination.
During the Reich's early years, eugenicists across America welcomed Hitler's plans as the logical fulfillment of their own decades of research and effort. California eugenicists republished Nazi propaganda for American consumption. They also arranged for Nazi scientific exhibits, such as an August 1934 display at the L.A. County Museum, for the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.
In 1934, as Germany's sterilizations were accelerating beyond 5,000 per month, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe, upon returning from Germany, ebulliently bragged to a colleague, "You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people."
That same year, 10 years after Virginia passed its sterilization act, Joseph DeJarnette, superintendent of Virginia's Western State Hospital, observed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "The Germans are beating us at our own game."
More than just providing the scientific roadmap, America funded Germany's eugenic institutions.
By 1926, Rockefeller had donated some $410,000 -- almost $4 million in today's money -- to hundreds of German researchers. In May 1926, Rockefeller awarded $250,000 toward creation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Psychiatry. Among the leading psychiatrists at the German Psychiatric Institute was Ernst RÃ¼din, who became director and eventually an architect of Hitler's systematic medical repression.
Another in the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute's complex of eugenics institutions was the Institute for Brain Research. Since 1915, it had operated out of a single room. Everything changed when Rockefeller money arrived in 1929. A grant of $317,000 allowed the institute to construct a major building and take center stage in German race biology. The institute received additional grants from the Rockefeller Foundation during the next several years. Leading the institute, once again, was Hitler's medical henchman Ernst RÃ¼din. RÃ¼din's organization became a prime director and recipient of the murderous experimentation and research conducted on Jews, Gypsies and others.
Beginning in 1940, thousands of Germans taken from old age homes, mental institutions and other custodial facilities were systematically gassed. Between 50,000 and 100,000 were eventually killed.
Leon Whitney, executive secretary of the American Eugenics Society, declared of Nazism, "While we were pussy-footing around ... the Germans were calling a spade a spade."
A special recipient of Rockefeller funding was the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics in Berlin. For decades,
American eugenicists had craved twins to advance their research into heredity.
The Institute was now prepared to undertake such research on an unprecedented level. On May 13, 1932, the Rockefeller Foundation in New York dispatched a radiogram to its Paris office: JUNE MEETING EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NINE THOUSAND
DOLLARS OVER THREE YEAR PERIOD TO KWG INSTITUTE ANTHROPOLOGY FOR RESEARCH ON
TWINS AND EFFECTS ON LATER GENERATIONS OF SUBSTANCES TOXIC FOR GERM PLASM.
At the time of Rockefeller's endowment, Otmar Freiherr von Verschuer, a hero in American eugenics circles, functioned as a head of the Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics. Rockefeller funding of that institute continued both directly and through other research conduits during Verschuer's early tenure. In 1935, Verschuer left the institute to form a rival eugenics facility in Frankfurt that was much heralded in the American eugenics press. Research on twins in the Third Reich exploded, backed by government decrees. Verschuer wrote in Der Erbarzt, a eugenics doctor's journal he edited, that Germany's war would yield a "total solution to the Jewish problem."
Verschuer had a longtime assistant. His name was Josef Mengele.
On May 30, 1943, Mengele arrived at Auschwitz. Verschuer notified the German Research Society, "My assistant, Dr. Josef Mengele (M.D., Ph.D.) joined me in this branch of research. He is presently employed as HauptsturmfÃ¼hrer (captain) and camp physician in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Anthropological testing of the most diverse racial groups in this concentration camp is being carried out with permission of the SS ReichsfÃ¼hrer (Himmler)."
Mengele began searching the boxcar arrivals for twins. When he found them,
he performed beastly experiments, scrupulously wrote up the reports and sent the paperwork back to Verschuer's institute for evaluation. Often, cadavers, eyes and other body parts were also dispatched to Berlin's eugenic institutes.
Rockefeller executives never knew of Mengele. With few exceptions, the foundation had ceased all eugenics studies in Nazi-occupied Europe before the war erupted in 1939. But by that time the die had been cast. The talented men Rockefeller and Carnegie financed, the great institutions they helped found, and the science they helped create took on a scientific momentum of their own.
After the war, eugenics was declared a crime against humanity -- an act of genocide. Germans were tried and they cited the California statutes in their defense -- to no avail. They were found guilty.
However, Mengele's boss Verschuer escaped prosecution. Verschuer re- established his connections with California eugenicists who had gone underground and renamed their crusade "human genetics." Typical was an exchange July 25, 1946, when Popenoe wrote Verschuer, "It was indeed a pleasure to hear from you again. I have been very anxious about my colleagues in Germany . . . I suppose sterilization has been discontinued in Germany?" Popenoe offered tidbits about various American eugenics luminaries and then sent various eugenics publications. In a separate package, Popenoe sent some cocoa, coffee and other goodies.
Verschuer wrote back, "Your very friendly letter of 7/25 gave me a great deal of pleasure and you have my heartfelt thanks for it. The letter builds another bridge between your and my scientific work; I hope that this bridge will never again collapse but rather make possible valuable mutual enrichment and stimulation."
Soon, Verschuer again became a respected scientist in Germany and around the world. In 1949, he became a corresponding member of the newly formed American Society of Human Genetics, organized by American eugenicists and geneticists.
In the fall of 1950, the University of MÃ¼nster offered Verschuer a position at its new Institute of Human Genetics, where he later became a dean. In the early and mid-1950s, Verschuer became an honorary member of numerous prestigious societies, including the Italian Society of Genetics, the Anthropological Society of Vienna, and the Japanese Society for Human Genetics.
Human genetics' genocidal roots in eugenics were ignored by a victorious generation that refused to link itself to the crimes of Nazism and by succeeding generations that never knew the truth of the years leading up to war. Now governors of five states, including California, have issued public apologies to their citizens, past and present, for sterilization and other abuses spawned by the eugenics movement.
Human genetics became an enlightened endeavor in the late 20th century. Hard-working, devoted scientists finally cracked the human code through the Human Genome Project. Now, every individual can be biologically identified and classified by trait and ancestry. Yet even now, some leading voices in the genetic world are calling for a cleansing of the unwanted among us, and even a master human species.
There is understandable wariness about more ordinary forms of abuse, for example, in denying insurance or employment based on genetic tests. On Oct. 14,
the United States' first genetic anti-discrimination legislation passed the Senate by unanimous vote. Yet because genetics research is global, no single nation's law can stop the threats.
Edwin Black is author of the award-winning "IBM and the Holocaust" and the recently released "War Against the Weak" (published by Four Walls Eight Windows), from which this article
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