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Where There Was No Concept of Race
Ron West on Amerindian Culture and the Concept of The Black White Man

Hello, James

Saw your ‘white supremacist’ blurb and thought to send these along; the original Native American ‘tribal’ thought relating to race, followed with a related satire

-Ron West

"The history of the great events of this world are scarcely more than a history of crime"


Ron, thank you so much for this. I have repeatedly come across such references to culture, tradition and behavior trumping race-consciousness among various North American tribes. Most of my reading is on the Eastern Woodlands. Indeed, during a siege of a Tennessee station [settlement] in the 1750s, the white riflemen left the women and children behind when the situation became hopeless, confident that the mixed-race enemy would adopt the children and women into their tribe. If the handful of surviving men stayed they would have been killed, as they had expressed full participation in the invading "white" way of life. Thus far the evidence that Eastern Woodland tribes were mixed-race communities through the entire period of English-speaking colonization, is strong. I will tag this under White Indians and Yellow Negroes, as an appendix, reference. I will be working on a glossary of Amerindian terms for whites and blacks and other insane folk. I personally now numerous "black folk" from Maryland and Virginia, locally called "Red Bones" by blacks in Baltimore, who have tri-mixed Indian-black-white ancestry. Of course it is hard to ignore Washakie's account of meeting with and consulting a white elder on Medicine Wheel Mountain in the early 1800s.

Additionally, Ron, as you point out that modern academics of aboriginal descent are using European thought constructs on race, I would like to point out that these racial constructs did not exist among the ancient Hellenes and were quite weak among the Romans. The division of the human world into zoological notions of race seems to have come from a transference of the medieval European notion of Christendom, into the modern notion of rigid meta-racial morality, occurring at the very point of contact with Atlantic Islanders and Native Americans from about 1450 through 1680. In 1500, European invaders saw America and its inhabitants in terms of Christendom and Heathenry. By 1800 Europeans invaders saw the world clearly in terms of racial zoology. I am exploring these developments in The 13th Tribe, in which Christianity is focused through the lens of mercantile capitalism and beamed condemningly upon the peoples and habitat of a newly exploited world.


There is No Native American Concept of Race

A Native American concept of race never existed as we know the idea of race in the modern world.

The term for a Black man translates from Blackfoot language as “Black White Man” and the thought behind this is completely alien to modern western ideation. The Blackfoot “Black White Man” derives from interaction with the Black cavalry regiment stationed north of Browning during the military occupation of the Blackfeet reservation (into the 1930s.) “Black” is descriptive solely in a superficial sense and when coupled to “White”, points directly to European mentality or state of mind and is not primarily concerned with skin color. This is reinforced with the Cree translation for White Man being essentially identical concept: “Not like us” in a sense of thought process. This again loops back in identical sense in the proper Blackfoot term for a White Man per se: ‘Napi Kwan’ or “White Man” refers to someone who is crazy from a cultural perspective and figures in the Blackfoot proverb “Everyone knows the White Man is crazy.” All of the translations taken with the proverb point to color as superficial or descriptive only, with the emphasis on state of mind or thought process. This is clearly reinforced by the noted action anthropologist Karl Schlesier when he states:

“In the old world of the tribes skin color never mattered; what mattered were the expressions of one’s spirit and the voice of the heart”

Karl has spent most of his life in close association with the Southern Cheyenne, and is honorary son, brother and father to three generations of Cheyenne Holy Arrow Keepers and most certainly would be in a position to know this as well. Karl, like myself, is a White Indian and we are not discriminated against in the culturally intact Native community on account of our skin color. If it were a Black Man had achieved the old, culturally intact thought process, their welcome into the Native community would be no different to our own; complete, warm and integrated.

In the present times, when we see modern academics discuss Race in relation to Native America, particularly when those academics skins are Red, we are witnessing European mentality co-opting original Native thought. Were there to be an original native thought assessment of today’s politically correct arguments over race in stereotype such as team sport mascots, terms such as ‘Indians’, ‘Redskins’ and ‘Braves’ would be patently meaningless in any sense of insult. Wilma Mankiller, past chief of the Cherokee, drove a Jeep “Cherokee Chief” and I am certain her choice would have been deliberate and taken in a sense of Native American humor. In the more traditional Native communities, you have “Redskins” memorabilia and fans, the politically correct arguments simply do not apply and in fact are never given a second thought.

The modern racial stereotypes are so patently preposterous to the original Native American mindset, the racial ideas are not worthy of consideration beyond Indian humor:

Why don’t Indians marry Blacks? Because we’d have children too lazy to steal!

Of course Native Americans do sometimes marry Blacks. The point of the humor is actually built into world-view where human experience has an aspect that is a cosmic joke, in a mental construct that does not suffer ego in a sense of the western mentality. The preceding joke is actually funny in the original Native context and its only bearing on Race is pointing out the idiocy of racial stereotype and the falseness of any cultural ego behind the very idea. The American Indian deity of many tribes, ‘Old Man’, serves as an ego buster in a culture where ego as the western personality knows it, is historically considered to be more than undesirable, it is a mental disorder based in self-illusion:

When Old Man knelt to drink, he saw cherries over his head and forgetting he had knelt to drink, he reached for these cherries in the reflection!

Of course Old Man, fooled by the illusion and consequently wet from head to toe, looked like an idiot.

Racial affronts are grounded in the ego of non-indigenous cultures and the essential concept in and of itself, cannot find traction in original Native worldview and thought. The very idea of Race is equivalent to reaching for cherries in the reflection. The alien concept of self-importance is the ultimate underlying cultural principle in the Blackfoot proverb Everyone knows the Whiteman is crazy. Old Man the fool, Napi to the Blackfeet, and the ‘Napi’ in the Blackfoot expression ‘Napi Kwan’ that translate as White Man, are one and the same.

Were original Native thought process applicable to African origins, Chimpanzees, Gorillas and Baboons would be perceived in the community as magnificent creatures. The stupid primates would be those people who were possessed of European mentalities looking down on these sentient beings which, in Native view, possess a greater practical social intelligence than those who would consider these creatures as lesser to humans.

That all life stands on par with humanity is not exclusive to original Native American philosophy it would appear; this author has read of a Black African tribe, living in proximity to Chimpanzees, know the Chimpanzees as “people of the forest”, indicating other ‘non-mainstream’ cultures perceive their living surroundings in a similar, non-egoic light.

A different perception to the modern, for certain.

Note: Authentic Native American philosophy has, for the most part, been boarding schooled, uncle tom-tom’d (stereotyped), and ‘native studied’ out of existence (in precisely that order.) In the present time, relating to any politically correct western anthropology program with the ‘native studies’ euphemism, it is the western ideas are coming to dominate the native perception of themselves. With the loss of language & oral tradition in the original form (‘Native Studies’ in the western university system reflects this loss), these people don’t even know who they were anymore.

The Great Oxymoron

Lester Log Roller was from a family of Indians named for a drunken forebear who had been ‘challenged’ by some White loggers in the Pacific Northwest to participate in the “Logger Olympics” of sport unique to their profession. Lester’s forebear actually had brought off his performance quite well, while keeping his balance on a log in a pond which he managed to roll with agility, both forwards and backwards… his fame for the event however, was the wild look of panic on this Indians face with his braids flying askew, because this Indian did not know how to swim.

The Indian’s champion log rolling performance was purely survival driven which made the event all the more hilarious to the redneck Whites that had sent him onto the log at gunpoint. The chief of this White Redneck tribe’s sense of honor, his name was Lucious Ludicrous Bean, declared Log Roller should be allowed to live for his amazing ability to mimic the loggers in the sport (“Damn, who’d believed”), but the Indian would hereafter have to be known by the new name and answer to it.

The Indian agreed to the terms required to save his life while still on the log, and was subsequently fished out of the pond both before he had drowned and nearing sobriety, because he had finally fallen into the water from pure exhaustion. Log Roller’s descendant, Lester Log Roller, subsequently was from a family of Indians that did not drink. They knew better. He went to Law School instead

Nobody in the White Academic world knew how to create a Native Studies Program because in fact to postulate a program as such in the western classroom was oxymoron. Hell, they did not even know that. Native Studies, if it was Natives doing the studies, would be non-interfering in Nature, observing the processes from which all Native intelligence had been drawn. Lester Log Roller did not know that, because he had been off to Boarding School from age five and then off to University in Kanadada.

By this time, Lester had mastered the provincial English linguistic trick of stating the just so “Eh?” after postulating something as mundane as “How aboot (yucky pronunciations) we run to the trading post for some smokes. Eh?” And his Blackfoot language was rusty, such as the time he was home from boarding school to visit and his Aunt told him to go back out (he had just come in the door) and bring in the “Napi-aki.” Lester started to go back out, he was confused, but then resolutely faced his Aunt and told her “I don’t have a White woman!” She laughed and said in English “I’m not talking about White women, I want you to bring in the milk jug.” Lester felt dumb. Napi-aki could mean either milk jug or White woman, but he did not get the context. He had been too long away at school

Lester was a conscientious sort, and so when his undergraduate major in ‘Native Studies’ was decided on, he returned home in summers and brushed up on his Blackfoot Language. But he did not realize that the answer to bring his university into line with the political correctness of the new times had been to establish a White Anthropology program staffed by White-educated mentalities in people with Red skins and call it ‘Native Studies.’ And so, Lester, like the now countless other Red skinned people of Native descent, thought this was real. He should have remembered the Blackfoot proverb “Everyone knows the Whiteman is crazy.” But Lester could not know this now applied to himself. So Lester questioned his former people’s elders to get ideas for his papers he would need to write in the discipline of anthropology disguised with the ‘Native Studies’ euphemism. And thought he was Indian

Lester went on to Law School and eventually became Director of ‘Native Studies’ at a great university which had been duly impressed with his achievements in the Whiteman’s so-called field of ‘Indian Treaty Law,’ having nothing to do with actual Aboriginal Laws of past times, but which combined with the idea he spoke Blackfoot, seemed to make him eminently qualified to run their program.

Here at university he met the great White theoretical physicist David Bohm and they had discussed David’s curiousity as to why it had been noted as early as the 1920’s the Native American languages seemed to have no problem describing many phenomena of the new theoretical physics, which western languages had difficulty coping with. Lester had no idea why either, but it seemed there must be something to it and so they began a dialogue… and eventually Lester became a god. To at least three or four people.

Lester, later on retired and living in a townhouse in the better part of Lethbridge, Kanadada, had continued with his anthropological interest in studying his former people and was particularly interested in their form of government before they had been conquered. His anthropological studies got him up and running on three legs in Blackfoot ways, like the proverbial wild dog that had chewed off one leg to escape a trap… and that was about it

Lester had by this time taken over the dialogue and thought he had some things figured out: Like how the old time chiefs circle of oratory had worked. Not. What he attempted to replicate in fact became a lunatic caricature of what had been his ancestral wisdom. It was not meant to be evil and in fact it was not evil. It was merely stupid. But Lester could not know that

By this time, these dialogues, with David Bohm now dead, had become sponsored by a ‘Wannabee Indian’ organization called ‘New Age in Native America’ run by an anal-retent-hyper-liberal White intellectual who fancied himself an enlightened feminist man. Though one might suspect otherwise, this man was not ‘bi,’ neither bi-sexual, nor bi-cultural

Narcissus Yabadabadoo Montenegro was a “Coyote” in the strict local Hispanic sense of the term, that is a ‘Spanglo.’ You would never know to which community of his ancestry he was loyal to, because this sort of Coyote could only be loyal to himself. His ego was of a soft burnished sort, the kind of lovely passive-aggressiveness whose nasty aspect was presented in the effeminate dark side aroma of the flower he was named for. As a real Indian, you just did not want to get too close to Narcissus if you were to enjoy the genuine natural beauty of his expression. And so it also was with the NANA sponsored dialogues he so expertly organized for the world to know the truth of the New Age in Native America

When Narcissus gazed into the reflective pool of the soft loveliness in his ego, he could detect no offensive aroma. His ethnocidal nuance as applied to Native American thought and philosophy was of a much prettier and more refined sort than that established for his intellectual forebears in the psychological literature developed by Erich Fromm: who postulated the Nazis much enjoyed the smell of their own farts.

A far cry from the camps and ovens, the ethnocidal ‘thrust’ of Narcissus’ ego priapismic tendencies was to bring about the immolation of the Indians beliefs and thinking with grandiose graphics of Taoist imagery superimposed on Native American fruits and vegetables extrapolated to western print: advertising the many ‘Red Skinned [Elmer] Fudds’ (PhDs) he would gather alongside White skinned western scientists in a grand orgy of psyco-somatic ego-stroking masturbation in high intellectual workshops of inter-racial discourse

Napi fell for it in the beginning. It was attractive, because Lester, a Blackfoot Indian who could speak his language was master of ceremony and that fact, taken together with the promoted agenda of Native America’s relationship to an observational philosophy of Quantum Mechanics, convinced Napi at the start he would learn something. Well, Napi did learn some things, he just did not learn what he had expected, like a wider understanding of Native Quantum Reality. Napi learned about Quantum Mechanics in the laboratory from the White scientists and absolutely nothing at all from the many PhD Native Americans because they had no idea at all of how Native Quantum Reality functionally worked.

Damn, it was sad. Not one PhD, not a single PhD from either side of the Racial divide, understood that to be Native American in thought and philosophy had absolutely nothing to do with Race. PhD. Wow. The White western scientists were sometimes frustrated with the Red western scientists who could only tell stories from anthropology that were totally out of context and consequently nonsensical. That fact only made the Red western scientists equal to the White western scientists totally out of context with Nature and nonsensical lab experiments

Napi simply observed the first year he attended. The second year he contributed a little bit of real Indian thinking and freaked out Lester because it looked as though the entire event could be shown up as a case of ‘The Emperor Has No Clothes!’ The third year Napi had tried to explain to Narcissus and had approached Lester directly about making a contribution, how some things could change to open up the dialogues to real learning, but Napi was frozen out instead. No upsetting the gravy train of ego allowed here!

Rather the ‘face’ of the event was to be preserved at all costs, a portrait of the mysterious and knowledgeable Indian, Lester, presiding over an event that might one day yield his great secrets held in abeyance: to his lesser Native beings and the handful of toadying sycophant Whites who peered upon his Native holiness with expressions of Heavenly reverence as though they were alter-boys seated upon the left and right hands of God. In fact, it appeared to Napi that Lester didn’t know shit. Lester only knew how to rest on his laurels from his former Native Studies program directorship at Harvard, look important, and otherwise act cool and all knowing. That’s it.

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Add Comment
Ron WestSeptember 26, 2017 1:20 PM UTC

Hi James.

My sense is, you'd have done well in the Native environment of former times. I should mention, and you might stumble across this in your reading, 'captive' whites, those who'd integrated, when offered choice of staying on in the Indian community or returning to European society, nearly without exception chose to remain Indians.

And what does it say to you when Native history recalls a Cheyenne war chief, a woman, was named "Yellow Hair"?

Speaking of the Native women, if the men were ever recalcitrant in matters of war, the women would shame them and threaten to go to war themselves (and sometimes did) ... and these women expected (demanded) a sort of bravery and related assertiveness (that was not braggadacio) from their men that makes today's males look like kids whose balls hadn't dropped yet.

By comparison, the Blackfoot name for White women, Napi Aki, is a synonym for breast, in modern dialect canned milk, or perfectly useless except for nursing babies (the idea behind the expression.)