Autobiographical Writing For Reality: It's A Damn Good Thing For All Of Us

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 9 07:33:51 MDT 2002


Note by Hunterbear:

This is a Marxmail post but, since I've mentioned ASDnet a few times, I'm
posting this there as well -- apropos of the "Mormon War."

Doesn't look like we're going to mix very well on this one, either, Mr
Keaney.  You obviously are still rankling, a year later, about my jaundiced
comments regarding the Swedes-in-Finland -- and you've drawn in the very
recent Big Mormon Fuss once again.  A few thoughts.

I may be a self-unfrocked sociologist, but I retain enough from that
arrogant Priesthood -- and certainly from Life -- to recognize the dangers
of stereotyping.  Please back away on that.

First,if I recall correctly, I didn't write off the existence of poverty
among some Swedish Finns -- but I did make the point, which I think is very
valid, that as a group the Swedish Finns -- who largely have chosen not to
assimilate into the mass of "indigenous Finns" -- have also as a group been
quite successful in taking over much in Finland.  I'm talking about taking
the economic dimension and its substantial political implications and
ramifications.

[A Swedish Finn recently responded to my Finnish Page on our large website
by shooting at me for indicating that Saami [Lapp] and related Mongoloid
strains are found in many Finnish people.  This -- a well known and often
obvious fact -- troubled her no end.  She wrote extensively about Blond
Finns.]

My [rather dark] wife, Eldri -- Saami and Finnish -- became
uncharacteristically and justifiably angry on that one.

Your critical reference to my presumed role as "one who goes to great
lengths to parade his heritage on-line" vis-a-vis your commitment to the
Swedish Finns is obviously a reference to the fact that I'm an American
Indian.  If you'd troubled yourself to read some of the things -- including
a couple of substantial and recent articles that I've print-published --
which I've also posted on Native  challenges  and goals and aspirations,
you'd realize that few  Native Americans have wanted to take over
Anglo-capitalist-dominated and hideously messed-up USA.  Drive the "bad
Anglos" Into the Sea [letting the nice ones remain, of course]?  Probably
not going to happen any time soon -- unless, say, Gluskap comes out of
Ktaadn with His arrows.

Obviously, no Native people sought the European incursion -- and, just as
obviously, virtually all of we Native people much prefer to retain that
which is ours:  societies, cultures, land and resources, inherent
sovereignty.  But land/resource- coveting predatory capitalists -- and those
who want to end the Federal treaty obligations to the Native nations -- are
using every resource at their command to  seek to eliminate us in various
ways including their continual effort to force genocide via socio-cultural
assimilation.

And we are not letting them accomplish that and we never shall.

The primary commitment of virtually all Native people is to
family/clan/tribal nation and culture -- and land and resources.  And to
self-determination in the context of treaty rights and related formal and
legal Federal obligations to the Native tribal nations.

Of course, as a Red Red Indian, I am obviously very much indeed committed to
the Workers of the World [and others "of the fewest alternatives"] taking
over the machinery of production and distribution -- and I'm fundamentally
convinced, always, that global socialist democracy is in the best interests
of All People -- Native and Otherwise.

Basically, Natives want to be left alone -- with those important things
we've retained.  Historically, the Swedes entered Finland and largely "took
over."  And they still retain much.

The "Mormon War" began when I mentioned in passing, two or three times in
the context of a piece dealing with my grandson's finally -- finally --
landing a dependable used vehicle [a Jeep], that we as a family, trusting
both groups,  take our business to Natives [first] and also to Mormons. In
connection with that emergent controversy, I also posted a piece I'd written
some time before attacking an obviously poorly-done money-making book
trashing Mormons. All of this touched off a surreal experience here on
Marxmail -- pieces of which were taken by Red-baiting critics on ASDnet and
planted there in their continued and on-going effort to discredit me in that
DSA setting. [I handled that just fine.]

Briefly, since I grew up in the Mountain West around Mormons and have had a
good deal to do with them for many decades, I'm not a damn bit apologetic
for making and putting forth judgments based on my considerable experience.
If you -- probably quite unaware that there are tons of stuff  constantly
put out by hard-line fundamentalist Bible-Belters attacking Mormons and
Catholics and Jews and Islam et al. with totally ungrounded poison -- and
that your avowed Research Well, Google -- overflows with those canards, then
you have heavy problems as a "researcher."  [Much of this defamatory Google
stuff, BTW, was introduced into the ASDnet setting against me.]

[As a flexible Catholic, I'd hate to be held fully responsible for
everything propounded by our current Papal Authority. Among other things,
some of us strongly support Women's Ordination -- to say nothing of Free
Choice.]

At ASDnet, I made this offer:

If any genuinely interested and reasonable person wants to seriously ask me
something about the LDS church and Mormons on an off-list basis -- I
repeat, off-list -- please feel free to do so. Bear in mind, of course,
that I'm a flexible Catholic and not LDS -- but I have had exposure to
Mormonism on a life-long basis, There's nothing mysterious about it at all.
No cult in any sense, it's a uniquely American church, very new, quite large
and growing rapidly on a global basis. From its very outset, it's been
deeply involved with Native Americans and those relationships have
traditionally tended to be mutually very strong. Much of that is central to
Mormon theology -- and I know something about that dimension.


But no one contacted me.

 I had wanted to mention that the LDS church, beginning in the context of
literally murderous persecution, drew heavily from American utopian
traditions and was for generations pervasively communalistic
[communistic] -- and that a good deal of that remains today.

I was also prepared to point out that, for generations, large numbers of
Mormons were very vigorously and vocally opposed to the relegation of Blacks
to second-class citizenship in the church -- something which was finally
ended in the '70s.  Some Blacks had always belonged to the LDS church -- but
understandably not many. [And, of course, the Black population in
traditional Mormon country -- Intermountain West and Southwest -- has never
been heavy at all.]  When the status of Blacks changed in a positive way,
many have now joined.

 I was also inclined to point out that most genealogists, the whole world
over, use the vast LDS genealogical archives [which are virtually free.]

And I wanted to indicate, too, apropos of comments on Marxmail and
elsewhere, that the LDS church operates no elementary or secondary school
systems [as in the Catholic or Anglican/Episcopal sense] and, with the
possible exception of the very earliest days in the Beginning, never has.
[It does have one major university, BYU with several branches, and a handful
of colleges.] Public schools began coming 150 years ago to all of Mormon
Country.

I could have also said that, in late 1964, I was up from the Deep South and
on a civil rights speaking trip in the Western states.  In the course of it,
I and my local supporters  at various points fought off John Birchers,
right-wing socialists, Young Americans for Freedom,  the [Red-baiting]
Anti-Defamation League, and much more.  I was scheduled to speak at
University of Utah [Salt Lake.]  Word came to me while I was wrapping things
up nicely in Colorado that Birchers were making a major effort to prevent my
appearance in SLC.  I said that, in such an event, I'd speak outside.  And,
as the train wended its way across Wyoming, and I played Five Card and Black
Jack with  cowpunchers and a sheepherder, I also planned my Outdoor Event.

I didn't have to speak outside.  The Anthro department, which included a
very old family friend of ours from Arizona State at Flagstaff, and a whole
slew of professors [many of them LDS] and the very predominately Mormon
student body, came together, fought off the Baddies, made damn certain I had
a huge [inside] auditorium -- which then filled, overflowing.  Great
meeting -- great experience.

I'll take experience, Mr Keaney.  I do read. Among other things, believe it
or not, I've even taught Political Theory.  But I've also had a great deal
of rich experience, field experience, and that's served me in very good
stead -- as it has many others..  And their experiences have certainly
served me  very well.

And I'll toss this out generally:  No one should expect to ever organize
anything worthwhile at the grassroots if attacking religion is one's
priority.  I can certainly think of few things more counter-productive than
that to bona fide radical social justice work.

Semper Fi --

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (strawberry socialism)
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´


----- Original Message -----
From: "Keaney Michael"
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2002 3:44 AM
Subject: RE: Autobiographical Writing For Reality: It's A Damn Good Thing
For All Of Us


>



~~~~~~~
PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.



More information about the Marxism mailing list