Meaningful Black Friday
Monday I attended a spirited protest at Oakland’s
Children’s Hospital. Healthcare workers
mingled with Palestinian-American people, as well as Jews, such as myself and
others, many relatively young adults.
As it always is for me, it was encouraging to not feel alone.
Friday, November 24th – was sunny and
pleasant – gradually warming up. There
was a substantial attendance, including a lot of young children with their
parents, supporting our local Native Community. It was the second annual rally and march
from one former shell mound site in Berkeley to a remaining part of the shell
mound in Emeryville.
I was very impressed with the Native leadership of the
initial rally. A variety of Native Women
blended noting the colonialism and other oppression of Native People in the
United States with the Genocidal assault currently of Palestinians in the
Middle East along with the general oppression they face.
The drumming, music and Native dancing was most
impressive! Two girls were most talented,
along with the adults. It was much more
than their technical abilities in expressing their cultural traditions. They were expressing themselves – it was
clearly important to their identities as Native People.
Before things started, I talked with a woman, who
explained a lot about how hard it was growing up (with her father a Native man –
her mother white) – in a very white world.
Her words and her heart – helped me appreciate the entire event significantly.
It was wonderful, as it always is, to hear why people
were present and some of what it meant to them. I met a number of older people – speaking with
me in ways that were slightly different from the energetic young people[GM1] .
My experiences related to Native People have been quite
limited. I have experienced land
acknowledgements feeling like sometimes they are most relevant, while at other
times they seem like a stock – routine -with little or no meaning.
In my men’s work – there was quite a bit of “Native
ManKind Project - https://mkpusa.org/mens-group/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Brand&utm_content=mankind%20project&utm_term=mankind%20project&gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAiA04arBhAkEiwAuNOsIqHDILFJwSUd9OuamAiuTOEGDQIm485SDWdqGO.wfFnTKxPad71Jy5RoCvXcQAvD_BwE
I have long wondered how much was “real” and “valuable”
and how much was appropriation – essentially – “cultural stealing”.
Seeing real Native Ritual – reiterated my concerns –
as it made so much of what I’d experienced almost seeming like images – for example
– of white people in Black Face – though it’s probably not quite that bad.
While walking the roughly three mile walk to the
Emeryville Mound, I very much enjoyed talking with a fellow marcher. I can appreciate and learn so, so much from
so many wonderful people.
While out for this Meaningful Gathering, I read an
email from Fida
Jiryis – https://www.georgemarx.org/2023/03/stranger-in-my-own-land-fida-jiryis.html
which was both wonderful in hearing that she is
getting by, and horrible in hearing how horrible it is to hear the shelling
(she is near the Israeli-Lebanese border in a Palestinian village (Fassuta –
where her father grew up and lives (after his own exile)) in Israel. Is she “lucky” in not being where she’s been
living in Ramallah?
Genocide is Genocide!
I also got an email – declining my seeking –
supportive listening dialogue – NOT convincing – debate with a strongly Zionist
woman – whose writing, I read on Medium.
I’m sad – thinking of this gulf – not just with her – someone I don’t
know, but with so many USian Jews.
I’m sad! I’m
angry! I’m grieving!
I repeat- my appreciation – during the walk – of S –
who shared and listened and dialogued with me.
It is so much better – having allyship!
After time for a nap, lunch and more food, and time to
be off my feet, our houseguest, B, and I
went to be the first in line to see Tuck and Patti – at the Freight and Salvage
(Coffeehouse) in Berkeley.
Cave-living George – somehow thought that Tuck and Patti
were a Black-Lesbian – duo who sang together!
I learned! They were wonderful! They are very nice people and wonderful
musicians! Patti – is especially special! The first row seat was great!
Again – there were wonderful, wonderful people we met
before the show!
It was a most meaningful Black Friday!