Sunday, May 12, 2024


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,


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? 

 (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!"


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? 



ABOVE: My graphic novel

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:

Barns & Noble:

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?


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? 


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.


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”.