Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Spider-Man’s Son

Ticky-Ticky’s Adventures 


A time to move on.


Above: Anansi the Spider-Man with his Ghanaian children and their names associated with their abilities, None of them came to the Americas.

Q What is Anansi’s legacy in Jamaica?


A: There are numerous stories about Kweku Anansi the Spider-Man. They originated in Ghana among the Asanti. He was once a man who disrespected his father, N’yame the Great Sky God. His mother was Assase Ya, the Earth Goddess. For his slight against his father, N’yame turned his son into a small Spider-Man. In the Akan language, ananse means “spider”. Now a small creature suspended in a web between his mom, the Earth, and his dad, the Sky, this event made Anansi have to use his brain to survive larger animals and humans out to get him for his pranks. This is why children and the less fortunate have identified with him.


Arrival in Jamaica 


He came to the Americas during the African Slave Trade and was known by many names. So Anansi spent centuries in the Jamaican psyche as Brer’ Annancy. Although he had a wife named Aso in Ghana, called Cookie in Jamaican lore, they had many children. But, only one child appears with Anansi in the island with him in Jamaican folklore. His son, Intikuma, is called Bra’ Takooma in local stories. 

Intikuma Anansi or Ticky-Ticky, Anansi's youngest Jamaican son, with ancient Amerindian spider images around him.


As a writer and storyteller, I decided to make this son have his own adventures. So, this is my version of the young Spider-Boy’s adventures. It introduces the reader to the Caribbean’s other ancient folkloric stories. This is Part 1 of a trilogy, set in the Taíno’s Bagua of the Caribbean Islands. In Parts 2 & 3 he travels by a time and reality transporting Bat-Canoe, with Opiyel, the Search-Dog of the Afterlife, loaned to him by Guyaba Maketaurie, God of Those Absent on Coabey, the Taíno Island of the Dead. 


The Book 


Above: Part one of the only novel on one of Anansi's sons, Toicky-Ticky.

A Reader’s Comment 

Spiderman’s Son

by Hugh Stringer

(For more on Anansi, go to anansistories.com)


"Ticky-Ticky’s Quest tells the story of a boy’s search for his father. The father, Anansi, was West African [the son of N’yame the Great Sky God of the Asanti]. The son, [Anansi] disrespected [N'yame] and was turned into a Spider-Man. Ticky-Ticky’s mother was a full-blooded woman, but she became progressively more spiderlike after the birth of each of her children. This is the first of a trilogy by Michael Auld.

It begins a year after Anansi leaves home and Ticky-Ticky embarks on a search to find him. His search takes him from Jamaica to Haiti to Florida. On his way, he learns Caribbean geography, history, linguistics, and folklore, and by dealing with the adversities of his quest he becomes a man. As a young man, Ticky-Ticky decides who he can and cannot trust and learns to distinguish right from wrong. His education is more consequential because he sees the world, for the first time from his own perspective: As a one-quarter spider, he must deal with the questions of identity that most full-blooded people never need to ask themselves. Before he sets out on his journey, he feels he must hide the fact that he is a “quarter spider.” He’s embarrassed by four legs. This is a story of how during his journey “living in a world of full-blooded humans,” he learns to forget he is a one-quarter spider.

His quest takes him to meet the characters that figure in Caribbean folklore. He sees and hears them in his mind’s eye and ear. Their images and voices pop into his head. In one episode, Ticky-Ticky hears the voice of the goddess of wind [Guabancex] and learns how hurricanes clean house: The Herald god [GuatuaBA!] announces the coming storm, and the Wind and Rain [Coatrisque the Deluge] gods clean up the “planetary trash” humans have left behind.


In another episode, on an island inhabited only by women [Matinino], Ticky-Ticky, “for the first time in his life, was accepted without judgment or questions.” He becomes so enamored of one of the women [Anacaona, future queen of Ayti's Haragua province] that for a time he forgets he is on a journey to find his father. Ticky-Ticky’s Quest is a compelling story from many perspectives: It is the story of what it means to be a boy, a man, and a human being capable of accepting people “without judgment or questions.


The Plot


Ticky-Ticky is a twelve-year-old with a secret: The youngest son of the infamous trickster Anansi the Spider-man. Hiding in the human world, Ticky-Ticky fears his father’s enemies will recognize and punish him for being the butt of Anansi’s embarrassing pranks. Now, the joke’s on Ticky-Ticky.  A school incident forces him to follow his missing father’s footsteps on a dangerous quest across time and reality. Riding a magical ghost-bat canoe with a dog of the dead as his guide, Ticky-Ticky encounters Anansi’s folkloric foes out for revenge. After a lifetime of avoiding his father’s legacy, can Ticky-Ticky find his father before he loses his life or even worse: becomes just like him? 


THE YOUNG QUARTER SPIDER-BOY’S DILEMMA 


  


Ticky-Ticky sits in his Coromanti High School daydreaming about his life in his classroom. The teacher confronts him, ruler in hand, ready to smack the desk… or him!


“Mr. Ansnsi! Wake up!” She says in a stern voice. Mrs. Jellywoman is not having her students wander off into La-La Land in her class. Ticky-Ticky’s daydreaming was becoming a habit. So, having warned him before, she sends him to the headmaster for discipline with a cane beating on the bent-over buttock.


The British headmaster disciplines Ticky-Ticky and says.

“Don’t come back to school without your father!”


Holey crap! Ticky-Tivky’s dad, as Anansi had been off on an adventure for a year now!


Seeking Help 



Ticky-Ticky confiding with his best buddy, shape-shifting, Iggi Iguana under a Duppy Balloon tree whose air-filled fruits, pop like a balloon, expelling its floating seeds.


Ticky-Ticky seeks advice from his best friend, Iggy the shapeshifter iguana.


“Man, you must try anything to find your dad!”

Iggy advises.



Osebo coming after Ticky-Ticky

To make things worse, on his way to get help, Ticky-Ticky runs into Osebo the Terrible Leopard who is doing the same thing. Searching for Anansi for payback! He escapes Osebo’s claws!


Cuffy the Obeah-man, just caught puffer fish.

                             

Ticky-Ticky sought out Cuffy the Obeah-man who used the puffer fish’s toxic flesh to turn victims into zombies. He could also give a cohoba potion to visit the spirit world.


Guayaba Maketaurie, God of the Afterlife. The sweet guava fruit behind him is his symbol and namesake.

The young Spider-Boy is sent to Coabey to visit Guayaba, Lord of the Afterlife via a Cuffy the Obeah-man's induced cohoba trance, and as the son of a god, is Guyaba's relative. 


Opias, or the Spirits of the Absent hang on the cave's ceiling like bats that represent them.

                        

Visiting the Afterlife, he didn’t see his dad among the opias, the spirits.


Ticky-Ticky comes from under seagrape leave with Opiyel the Afterlife's Search Dog. An albino bat materializes out of Coabey, the Caribbean Island of the Afterlife.

 Guayaba loans Ticky-Ticky his search dog, Opiyel, and a Bat-Canoe that can travel across time and realities. But Haitian canoe-jackets attempt to hijack the canoe to Florida.


The hurricane is called Guabanxex, not any other imported names. Here she is as the Angry Woman Goddess, Rider of the Winds with her two accomplices, the roaring Herald and the devastating Deluge. 

Guabancex and her twin accomplices, GratauBa! the Herald thunder and lightning, and his brother, Coatrisque the Deluge,  blow the Bat-Canoe off course.


Young Anacaona also falls for Ticky-Ticky after his Bat-Canoe was blown off-course on his way to North America where he was told that his dad went. Historically, she became the Queen of Jaragua in Ayti Bohio (Haiti).


They crash land on the twin Island of Woman, called Matinino or No Fathers where he meets and falls for Anacaona the Golden Flower.


Anansi is not there! But, could he have gone to America to find his rich Spider-Relatives there?


This storybook can be inexpensively bought at Amazon and Barnes & Noble at  Amazon.com and 

Barnes&Noble on how to purchase the digital or printed version.


A SNEEK PEEK AT THE NEXT NOVEL

Cover of Part 2 of the trilogy.

Here the Bat-Canoe escapes Florida's alligator attack!

Ticky-Ticky's visit to an American relative, the Cherokee's Grandmother Spider.

Oh boy! Ticky-Ticky finds out about his cross-dressing spider-woman"Aunt Nancy" of the Sea Island people of South Carolina. Here she's caught by a tar-man trap.

Brer' Rabbit's daughter. Bunny,  is skeptical about Ticky-Ticky's authenticity as a folkloric descendant.

Michabo the Great Hare's daughter Oginiminogawon questions Ticky-Ticky on his travels. 
But, there's lots more to come!

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Blood Sacrifice

 Crucifixion as a Sacred Blood Offering

I’ve had two vivid spiritual experiences in my life. One was in Jamaica when an entity tried to smother me in a bed in my brother’s home. The same thing happened earlier in that guest room to his visiting sister-in-law. But, this is not that story.

Above: “Honoring Rasa Tafari”, a welded bicycle steel, etched and colored Plexiglass inlay sculpture, honoring Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. The images are of the Ethiopian Coptic cross and an likeness of the Emperor on a pedestal with the Ethiopian and Rastafarian colors.

My artworks can take various forms as in the above “Honoring Ras Tafari” a welded steel bicycle and etched Plexiglass work on Jamaica’s religious movement which was part of Bob Marley’s belief, while the piece below honors the Caribbean’s goddess, Itiba Cahubaba as the Fifth Earth Mother giving “Birth to the Four-Fathers of Humankind“
Above: Itiba Cahubaba the 5th Earth Mother birthing Deminan (father of the Taino) and his three brothers, as the “4-Fathers of Humankind”, made from laminated and carved wood, shells and wisteria vines.

However, my next art piece is in a category by itself.
 

A Washington, DC Visit by an Akan Deity

My artworks are mostly based on research, then execution. However, there is one piece that was based on a sacrifice which I experienced in my side yard in Washington, DC. The work does not seem to be finished, since it continues to paint itself blue. I did not use that color. I had painted the Ethiopian cross in silver. However, I have come to realize that my interpretation of a goat sacrifice to an Akan god, created a spiritual experience. Here is the stretched skin of the sacrificial goat I named "Sacrifice". 


 

All I wanted was a curried goat for my birthday. But DC did not sell mutton in the supermarkets. My wife’s uncle had a source. I knew that he was an apprentice to a medicine man in Ghana where he also had a second home. He did sacrifices and libations for both Africans and other clients in the city. Depending on the requirements of the ceremony the deity may require gin or palm wine libations, at other times a deity required the blood of a living chicken or larger animal which he got from Amish farmers in Southern Maryland. So, he got me a live goat.

A large goat was brought to my DC side yard and tied to a large black walnut tree.

“Since we have the goat, let’s do a little thing with it, “ he offered.

“A little thing?” I asked not knowing what he had meant.

He took out a carved icon and placed it against the root of the large black walnut tree, cut the goat’s throat, and spewed blood on the icon. Suddenly a calm spread over the entire scene. 

I was ten yards away from the sacrifice. Behind me on my left was my parked 1965 Ford Mustang. A sparkling firefly-like cloud caught the corner of my eye. I turned to see an expanding sparkling cloud rising over the Mustang up into the leaves of the huge sacred Catawba tree next to my back fence. A presence appeared and emanated an unexpected feeling of calm spread over the scene. The Trinidadian neighbor across the street, selling ganja out of his front window, exclaimed,

"Oh, my god!" But, I never asked him what he saw from over 200 feet away.

“What the heck is that!” I said in shock to the "butcher".

“It’s the deity coming for the blood,” he casually replied.

I stretched the skin and dried it on my roof. When sun-dried, I painted and drew with ink and acrylic, a modern image of a crucified brown man on a silver Ethiopian cross. I made the cross Ethiopian since my student/friend from that Coptic culture, made ink drawings on dried goatskins, just like the bibles from his homeland.


The Painting

The goatskin continues to turn blue where I had used silver sprayed acrylic through as cut mask of the cross, then sealed it with a clear lacquer finish.


Traditional Blood Sacrifices

The use of blood for religious purposes is ancient, and widespread. Christians, such as me, observe the most sacred event in Christianity, the ritual drinking of the Blood of Christ, in the form of wine or the blood of the grape's juice. "Christ shed his blood for us," the religious leader chants, a reference to the Crucifixion. This is what I recognized during the goat sacrifice, and I assume that when Jesus the Christ was beating the money-changers in the Jewish temple, doves were then used for a blood ritual. In the Old Testament, Isaac was about to sacrifice his brother, when an angel showed him a ram caught in the bushes by its horns. Christianity is well versed in sacrifice. Yet, when others do the same thing, it is chastised as "heathen".

Bloodletting


When the Spanish Cristianos arrived in Mexico, they denounced Aztec and Maya blood sacrifices. Bloodletting was performed by piercing a soft body part, generally the tongue, and scattering the blood or collecting it on amate, which was subsequently burned. The act of burning the sacrificed blood symbolized the transferral of the offering to the gods via its transformation into the rising smoke. However, both animals an humans were also sacrificed.

However, the crucifixion and the Blood of Christ is the most sacred icon for Christians. And I have taken part in the ritual drinking of his blood in the form of the "blood of the grape", both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Above: A commercial Christian icon of the Crucifixion and the Blood of Christ.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Reparations?

Yes, but for whom?

Copyright by Michael Auld
And how does one pay humans back for a horrific history? 

Although it’s a hot topic in some quarters, here is the reparations story we are NOT told!


The first impacted!

ABOVE: Spanish print of "The Martyrdom of Anacaona", (Golden Flower), the Taíno Queen of Haragua, Ayti Bohio (Haiti) 1504.


The onslaught against the Indigenous people of the Americas began in the Caribbean island of Guanahani (Island of the Iguana) in th Lucayan Bahamas in 1492 when Cristopher Columbus (Latinized, or a.k.a. originally, Cristoforo Colombo in his Italy, and Cristobal Colon by Spain), who was the first European to land there. He took. some Lucayan Taíno back to Spain to prove that he had arrived in India.


"They would make good servants," the Admiral of the Seas hastily said about the small Bahamian islanders.

He was then unaware of the larger and politically organized, savvy Amerindian civilization, organized into cacicazgos (districts with caciques or kacikes, of which the island of "Hispaniola" was divided, their villages with hundreds of sub-kacikes, just a short step away from becoming city states as on the mainland Central American empires with whom they traded.

However, this scene above is twelve years later when he had been kicked out of the governorship of Ayti Bohio/Kiskeya, renamed "Hispaniola", by territorial thieves from Europe. Murderous governor, Nicolas de Ovando replaced the believed "incompetent" Colon, for being too soft on the "Indios".

So, when Kacike Anacaona (Golden Flower) invited the new governor to a reception with 100 of her sub-kacikes, Ovando, upon arriving on his white horse and a contingent of crossbowmen, surrounded the large bohio (round house). dragged Anacaona out, set the bohio on fire, killing anyone trying to escape. Anacaona refused Ovando's offer to become his concubine, and so, was hanged on the spot. This demonstration was later replicated throughout the Americas by both the Spanish and other European arrivals.

Next in line for assassination, was one of Anacaona's sub-kacikes from the next door island of Gonive. Late for her reception, he fled to Cuba, to warn the Cubanakan Taínos, to "throw away their gold into the rivers, since it was the Cristianos' god, whom they loved so much."


This is a sculpture of Hatuey, a Ayti Bohio (Haitian) Taíno martyred in Cuba
on February 2, 1512. He is a National Hero in Cuba. 
Wood sculpture by the author,



WHAT HAPPENED AT THE FIRST ENCOUNTER IN THE AMERICAS?

A somewhat popular sentiment in the Black community is a concept of the payment for the horrific European institution of African slavery, a Crime Against Humanity. How should those Europeans, beginning with Spain, then England, Portugal, France, and Holland pay the descended victims of the African Slave Trade? By giving billions of dollars overseen by the United Nations and the World Bank? All of the above perpetrators would go broke.

However, on the other hand, for a greater number of over 100-million Amerindian Holocaust victim’s survivors the payment amount would be even more massive! What would this reparation look like?
(a) Give back the gold, precious jewelry, metals, oil, foodstuffs, and lumber? 
Naah!

 (b) What about stolen territories which you and I now “own”? Houses, apartments, land, farms...? And the list goes on!

Incidentally, where I'm from in the Caribbean, one old saying goes, "The receiver is worst than the thief!"

CORRECTING THE PAST?

Q: So, what is Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and now the USA doing about Indigenous reparations?
A: Only giving the “spoken word” in the form of Land Acknowledgments! ... A speech in America given by or for named Native Americans on whose territory one’s organization now stands.

Returning stolen goods, anyone? 

Naah!

THE AFRICAN STORY


ABOVE: My graphic novel 
http://anansistories.com/How_Anansi_Came_book.html




This is the result of my 1970s research on Africa slavery. I used our folkloric character, Kweku Anansi the Spider-Man in telling how West Africans came to the Americas via the European/African Slave Trade. The comic strip story pulled no punches and was published in Jamaica’s Gleaner newspaper. Later, in 2019, it was published as a novel, picked up by an Advanced Placement (AP) company for multiethnic course. Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/How-Anansi-Came-Americas-Africa/dp/154540660X

Barns & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-anansi-came-to-the-americas-from-africa-michael-auld/1127753697



However, this is the story we are all told.

EXERPT # 1: SLAVERY, the Myth is that only Europeans captured Africans for enslavement in the Americas. From the graphic novel, "How Anansi Came to the Americas from Africa" by the author.   

But, here are the facts we’re not told.

EXERPT #2:Another illustration from my graphic novel, originally published as an Anansesem folkloric comic strip,


My Jamaican multiethnic boys high school was named for a notorious Nigerian slave port by the island’s British  Baptist founders. So, if some graduates wanted reparations, shouldn’t we get the money from both Britain and Nigerian accomplices? This sentiment was recently made about an upper crust Nigerian woman in London. She was the recipient of slave trade wealth while her subjects back home go hungry today. 


So, what's the truth?


 WEST AFRICAN SLAVERY


Exerpt # 3: The continued Anansesem story.

Reparations for African slavery is s two edged sword. The African Slave Trade could not have been as successful if rulers on the West Africans coastline did not participate in the trade in human lives. Portuguese captains at Fort Elmina  could not go inland to steal people. These coastlines were occupied by small nations while large empires were located more in the interior. So, coastal regions were ruled by middlemen during the Slave Trade.

The Devastating Enterprise

Elmina Fort, Ghana.

The Portuguese "Elmina Fort and Cape Coast Castle in Ghana were just two of over 50 slave holding castles on the West African coast that held thousands of enslaved people, mainly POWs, on their way across the Atlantic Ocean" to Portuguese and British colonies in the Americas.

Given this fact that European cannons were aimed out to sea to ward off European competitors, their friendly co-conspirators were their African neighbors. So, who are responsible for the African Slave Trade? 


AN EXCUSE 

We can see what one West African professor at Howard University said in his class concerning why his people exported their own.

“We sent only criminals into slavery. That’s why America has so many Black criminals,” he justified.

“So, women and little children were also criminals?” A student challenged.

Embarrassed, he gave this bright student a low grade for speaking out.


Sunday, May 5, 2024

Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier”:

  A Misguided Song?

The “One Love" movie poster of a love story between Bob and Rita Marley, which, to me, is a tribute by Ziggy Marley to his mom and dad. 

However, there is no history of the suspected murder of Bob Marley here.


“Buffalo Soldier”: Why we can’t blame Bob!

The issues around Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” song depends on how you view the men who joined white US Army soldiers after the American Civil War to hunt down and kill Native Americans in their own lands to expand American imperialism. Or idealizing those enslaved Africans who sided with their former masters as Bob Marley sang, “dreadlock Rasta, fighting for survival”. 


The facts: 

After the American Civil War, when the US Army on the Western Front, tried to enlist recently enslaved Africans in the South to help them in  expanding their stolen unseeded Native American territories in the West by attacking and killing hundreds of Native Americans to grab more territories from a large number of Western Indians, some Blacks called “Buffalo Soldiers” by Natives who compared their woolly hair to that of the buffalo, joined in the massacres of many tribal warriors and their families. In all fairness, some enlisted enemy tribal members, also joined in the efforts. This was no Eurocentric belief of equality, but the successful Divide and Conquer colonial tactics.

However, not so, for another large segment of the enslaved Africans. They chose not to turn on the Indigenous people who had helped hide them and guide them North through the woods to freedom on the Underground Railroad to the free North and to Canada. These, sometimes Native relatives, via marriage, chose to run to Mexico where they were welcomed and still live today. 

So, choose your heroes.

Bob, seemingly ignorant of American history, and only seeing some US soldiers of the 1800s wearing “dreads”, assumed that they were fighting the white American oppressors.

My homeboy, Bob Marley was a natural genius who was murdered for his revolutionary lyrics which scared the annoyed CIA and the Eurocentric “World Order” adherents. This is what some Jamaicans at the time of his untimely death believed. 


“Who dies from kicking a football and catching cancer of the toe?” My Jamaican friends said at Bob’s mysterious death. “Besides, they tried to kill him in his home before.”

As a dangerous and popular 1970s revolutionary as Bob Marley was through his lyrics, whose messages against murderous and stunting Colonial racism challenged, I, however, question only one of his songs, “Buffalo Soldier”.


The Song and it’s Lyrics

A cover for Bob Marley's song. But, who are these guys shooting at? Definitely not at "The Oppressor"!

I love  the melody! But, the lyrics? Not so much! 

To be honest, Bob Marley lived in America for a short time with relatives in Delaware, around the time of the Black Power Movement. So, he experienced American racism, first hand.


The Buffalo Soldier Lyrics

“Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock Rasta
There was a Buffalo Soldier
In the heart of America
Stolen from Africa, brought to America
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival
I mean it, when I analyze the stench
To me, it makes a lot of sense
How the dreadlock Rasta was the Buffalo Soldier
And he was taken from Africa, brought to America
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival
Said he was a Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock Rasta
Buffalo Soldier, in the heart of America
If you know your history
Then you would know where you coming from
Then you wouldn't have to ask me
Who the heck do I think I am
I'm just a Buffalo Soldier
In the heart of America
Stolen from Africa, brought to America
Said he was fighting on arrival
Fighting for survival
Said he was a Buffalo Soldier
Win the war for America
Said he, woe yoy yoy, woe yoy yoy yoy
Woe yoy yoy yo, yoy yoy yoy yo
Woe yoy yoy, woe yoy yoy yoy
Woe yoy yoy yo, yoy yoy yoy yo
Buffalo Soldier, troddin' through the land woah
Said he wanna ran, then you wanna hand
Troddin' through the land, yeah, yeah
Said he was a Buffalo Soldier
Win the war for America
Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock Rasta
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival
Driven from the mainland
To the heart of the Caribbean
Singing, woe yoy yoy, woe yoy yoy yoy
Woe yoy yoy yo, yoy yoy yoy yo
Woe yoy yoy, woe yoy yoy yoy
Woe yoy yoy yo, yoy yoy yoy yo
Troddin' through San Juan
In the arms of America
Troddin' through Jamaica, a Buffalo Soldier
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival
Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock Rasta
Woe yoy yoy, woe yoy yoy yoy
Woe yoy yoy yo, yoy yoy yoy yo
Woe yoy yoy, woe yoy yoy yoy
Woe yoy yoy yo, yoy yoy yoy yo.”


Who Were the Buffalo Soldiers?


A Buffalo Soldier with Apache scouts.



"They were ”fierce fighters" of “the all-Black 9th and 10th [US] Cavalry Regiments who were dubbed 'buffalo soldiers' by the Native Americans they encountered.”  Some Native enemies scoffed that they were proof that the woolly-haired soldiers was evidence that they were the result of copulation between a Negro and a buffalo. 

Rastafarian Bob Marley, however believed that Jah (Jehovah) made two animals with woolly hair, the sheep and the African. Jesus the Christ, a shepherd, was biblically called “the Lamb of God”. So, God’s chosen people (black Africans) also had wool as their hair. Like Sampson in the Bible, whose strength was in his uncut hair, so too the Rasta’s “dreadlocks” was their strength.


Who did the Buffalo Soldiers Fight Against?

“The Buffalo Soldiers, as African American soldiers, fought against many Native American tribes, including the warriors of the Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, Lipan, Mescalero, and Warm Springs Apache. They also fought in major wars against other Indians, including the Cheyenne in Kansas after the Civil War. On the other hand, the Buffalo Soldiers also defended Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Creek farmers from raids by the Comanche or Kiowa.  And, 23 Buffalo Soldiers received the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars, including the 9th U.S. Cavalry, which was awarded for their service at Fort Union. 

A Hot Mess

The history of Native Americans and enslaved Africans is a hot mess. Outsider Europeans arrived late to the game in a 1492 continent of age-old competition, old empires, and conflicts for territories. Over around 50,000 years, not all Indigenous people populated the Americas at the same time, and like the Navajo and Inuit to the north had come later. Like many humans there were conflicts, alliances and disagreements. Both Spanish and English took advantage of this familiar  human trait. Empires, paramountcy and alliances were formed for protection against all encroaching outsiders. (Incidentally, this phenomenon continues today, especially in Washington, DC where Maryland Piscataway and other outsider newcomers, are trying to capture territory from current Powhatan Paramountcy descendants who have been here for thousands of years, and claiming the unneeded Powhatan Territory (namely, that of the Dogue/Tauxinent, and Pamunkey).

There were ancient cooperative Amerindian unions, pyramids, cities like Tenochtitlan in Mexico built, with at least 200,000 to 400,000 inhabitants and one of the largest cities in the world. Also, Cahokia near St. Lewis. Some were major crossroads for trade in grain, salt, furs, copper, silver, gold, obsidian certs, pearls, emeralds, turquoise, exotic shells, and more. Others like the Pueblo of Chaco in the Southwest had around 4,000 to 6.000 people.


What of Bob’s Lyrics?

As a Jamaican who is married into and deeply involved in some Native American cultures, my sentiments are different from Bob’s knowledge of Amerindians. So, I don’t automatically support people with dreadlocks, by thinking that they have Rastafarian beliefs. Dreadlocked Buffalo Soldiers we’re just as oblivious of African resistant movements as the persons now wearing the popular commercialized hairdo. The Buffalo Soldiers essentially were fighting for white imperialistic expansion and against the Native Americans who owned the land.

Were the Buffalo Soldiers dreadlocked, honored heroes fighting for survival? Or were the Buffalo Soldiers co-conspirators used to exterminate Native Americans in the West?

Fighting on the Wrong Side?

Fom the beginning in our hemisphere. Indigenous People have often helped escaped Africans. Seminole society had blacks of every status – free born, slave, and fugitive. Some were more equal in this society than others. Bilingual blacks participated in council meetings and interpreted for Indian leaders at treaty negotiations. Osceola, a Seminole leader in Florida is a case in point.

Osceola

His mother was Muscogee, and his great-grandfather was a Scotsman, James McQueen. Osceola was married to a woman whose father was a Seminole chief and whose mother was a runaway African slave. After the Civil War when the US Army tried to get enslaved Africans to join the Army in killing Western Indians in exchange for their freedom, a large group of Black folks resisted. Instead, this group refused and had joined the people like Miccosukee or Seminole leader Osceola, then fled to Mexico where their descendants still live. In 1996, I met a contingent of Black Mexicans on the Mall at the Annual Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival in its African Diaspora section. 


They had said, “He’ll no!” to the racist US Army’s genocidal campaign to rid the West of Indigenous Peoples during America’s Manifest Destiny campaign.

The proud genocidal painting, by John Gastpromoted in 1872  and titled “Manifest Destiny”.