One of the beauties of Butterfly Against the Wind is how the camera that is usually used to capture and freeze into icons, images of the people of indigenous America or the pen of the uninvited conqueror who would surreptitiously sign away indigenous America and rewrite the facts to t the deed, are here in the hands of Jadina Lilien and Tiokasin Ghosthorse to the contrary letting everyone remember that the true indigenous soul of a people’s land cannot be captured nor held captive, and while you can force people out of the land and lifestyle they love, nothing can take away the love that the Land has for the people who truly belong to it.
I grew up with Pueblo Indian people on a New Mexico Reservation. For them the Past was never in the past! Their Past was never gone or invisible.
For them the “bad things” that happened in the past had nothing to do with the Past that was never gone.
For them the Past is a thing of right now; it is the firm, healthy bone of life upon which the moving muscle of the visible present moment attaches and molds itself, continuously in motion toward another unique moment that will someday itself be the kind of spiritual past that holds up the eternal present.
Modern folk, on the other hand, have come to regard the past as long gone, a vague sack of confusing details called history, something studied from afar, but never as part of your own core being, much less the bone foundation upon which the present walks.
It seems that people have been conditioned to accept the past as dry fragments of disjointed episodes that float unconnected in a sea of badly taught history, bits of which are sometimes romantically enshrined in 2 dimensional accounts as movies. Most people though, more energetically are proud to deny any knowledge of the past, shunning it all as something best jettisoned from the memory as representing the painful ignorance of a “less evolved” time.
I wonder if it is not possible that people who are part of this time of mechanized madness haven’t talked themselves into feeling that they are somehow superior to their past, that they’ve outrun the past with their technology, and don’t need it anymore. After all don’t they say “Don’t dwell on the past, that was then this is now.”?
But like Carl Jung said “Anything not committed to consciousness, will show up in life as Fate.” While others have warned: “a people who refuse to know the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them.”
Any willingness any of us have to forget, flee away from, or dismiss as useless the wild, ironic, terror and beauty, the tragic and mysteriously amazing realities of what happened to the world’s people before our parents were born, leaves us endorsing cultural Amnesia and makes us ignorant and dull.
By forgetting the realities of the past, we remain in collusion with the weirdness of the very past we seek to avoid. People seem to want to stay “suspended” in a drug-like bubble of would be child’s comfort with no past and no anxiety of future. But real children are fast becoming scarce because in this suspended state there is no growing, therefore no real adults, and without adults, no young people will ever be young enough to be kids, to grow into adults who know the world.
Natural people worldwide are extremely knowledgeable about what they consider their past and the past of the world they live in. But it is not the past they are so concerned with. They know that their awareness of the past gives them the only capacity any of us have to see the real nature inside of what is going on right now.
It is a very interesting phenomenon to realize that an ignorance of what happened before our parents were born, makes us incapable of truly recognizing what goes on right now around us.
I’ve always taken the bold stance that all things have an indigenous soul, humans in particular. I think in all modern people, whether or not they are conscious of it or not, there rolls out an indigenous wilderness where the culture of the indigenous soul tries to live as far away from the wants, fears and machinations of the modern mind as it can. Like the indigenous peoples of the world, even the unseen souls of the descendants of the world’s would-be conquerors, have been mentally confined on the same spiritual reservation as those the governing entities would dominate and erase.
But in Butterfly Against the Wind we see very well that the Lakota did not disappear when they were cruelly pushed into different land and cultural constraints. Like many Native Peoples the world over, contrary to all predictions they have continued to culturally gestate and grow by allowing the original land they always loved, to run free through them and their many spiritualities no matter where they live.
The souls of the descendants of the inventors of pens, cameras, reservations and bad history are more homeless than the cultures their ancestors ignorantly smashed and swindled, and then forgot.
Butterfly Against the Wind is one good and honest motion in trying to gently thaw the old ice of ignorance that keeps all peoples souls homeless, and seems to say that even in the reservations of the modern mind, way deep beneath, inside the beautiful wildland of the indigenous soul a flower of hope could still blossom on the roots of the real Past.
Gavilan, New Mexico
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