Urracá—The Power of Unity

How one persons efforts can affect history—Preserving a beautiful way of life

The Indigenous Peoples March in Spokane happened over the weekend. Latinagem (my wife) was invited to attend, while others from tribes across the US, Latin America, and the world marched for indigenous preservation and awareness (D.C. we witnessed how far we have yet to go).

On the way home, she stopped by the grocery store wearing her Ngäbe-Buglé native dress from Panama 🇵🇦 and the seas parted. People opened doors, paid respect, made way, complimented her politely, and extremely courteouslike a royal. That, got me to thinking (of course) about the colonials need to assimilate the natives and erase their histories. Other than outright theft of wealth, but because they naturally commanded respect in their own element—a threat.

Post script: The man I encountered was a magnificent-looking fellow—John Dunbar – Dances With Wolves

I realize that’s a book and movie, but the words ring true—only propaganda of the ‘savage redskin’ relegated them to sub-human.

The attack on an encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians by Colorado volunteer soldiers that left an estimated 200 dead in 1864. In 1890, the Seventh Cavalry butchered 300 Native Americans at Wounded Knee—and on and on it went.

In Latin America it was no different. Propagandizing and stereotyping among humans is as old as religion. Justifying your cause by demonizing the “enemy” gets volunteer recruits to do your killing.

Atrocities too numerous for a blog post, Bartolomé de las Casas recorded—”We can estimate very surely and truthfully that in the forty years that have passed, with the infernal actions of the Christians, there have been unjustly slain more than twelve million men, women, and children. In truth, I believe without trying to deceive myself that the number of the slain is more like fifty million”.

They brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features...They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane…They would make fine servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want“—Christopher Columbus

This weekend the plight of the American Natives continued. A history, culture, and language erased, with permanent cultural and genetic erasure on the horizon through DNA testing. We all share 99.9% DNA. It’s .1% that separates us all. With Native American sampling’s extremely low (distrust) it is in the near future that, because the history of mankind is one of migration, eventually it comes full circle and there will be no classified native anything. Now the tribes are fighting for their identity and land based on culture and tradition. They know who they are, we just have no use for that any longer.

“Crows, they are fearful. Mighty warriors too. In my opinion Crows is the handsomest Indians there is”—Bear Claw – Jeremiah Johnson

“They strive after a sincere honesty, hold strictly to their promises, cheat and injure no one. They willingly give shelter to others and are both useful and loyal to their guests. . I once saw four of them take a meal together in hearty contentment, and eat a pumpkin cooked in clear water, without butter and spice. Their table and bench was the bare earth, their spoons were mussel-shells with which they dipped up the warm water, their plates were the leaves of the nearest tree, which they do not need to wash with after the meal, nor to keep with care of future use. I thought to myself, these savages have never in their lives heard the teaching of Jesus concerning temperance and contentment, yet they far excel the Christians in carrying it out”.—Francis Daniel Pastorius, founder- Germantown, PA (1700)

The conquest of Panama was more political tale. After beating back of the Spaniards for several years by Urracá (who succeeded in making alliances with tribes that had been traditional enemies) Bought the Ngäbe-Buglé enough time to relocate to the mountainous regions of Panama to preserve their way of life. Only in In 1997, after years of struggle with the Panamanian government, the Ngäbe were granted a comarca, or semi-autonomous area. The majority now live within its boundaries with about 250,000 native speakers. A success story how one mans ability to unite, was able to hold back the tides of assimilation for 500 years. Finally captured by conquistadors and heading out of port on a Spanish ship, Urracá escaped heroically to continue the struggle to preserve old Panama.

This is my wife’s heritage surviving and thriving on the Azuero Peninsula where Urracá called home. This is my home. The fortitude, tenacity, and genius of the men and women is still amazing as it was 500 years ago. American natives south, central, and north—a heritage worth preserving.

Slave Ship Haikus

Wet clad irons shackled—

Chains rattle through scuttles grate—

Peering through portals—

Mephitic mass longing thirsts—

Vanishing homeland—


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

20 thoughts on “Urracá—The Power of Unity”

  1. Thank you for sharing and attending the march. People think the genocide is over but all over the world indigenous people continue to die protecting the earth and their way of life.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It was an amazing event! In trying to “help” indigenous people, Christianity has abandoned their cherished “golden rule” even now in modern times. It’s all in the way they look at it. It should read “do unto others as they would prefer to have done to them. Here’s a short video Ark shared with me that illustrates that beautifully.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Thanks for the reminders, Jim, and glimpses into cultures I have never experienced. I am Metis, half original North American, and half white conqueror of North (and South) America. My blood boils within me. But in my heart, and in my mind, the aboriginal prevails. Why did the Christians have to destroy our cultures in order to take what we were willing to share? Arrogance, greed, fear! They knew they could not be trusted to be kind, so they turned their fear of themselves into fear of us.
    I will do unto others only that which I would willingly allow others to do unto me.

    Meanwhile, the Christians believe they can do unto others anything that stops others from doing unto them what they themselves would do to those others. May their god bless them for that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yep. In this case it “do unto others” would definitely be to leave one well-enough alone. That’s what most people want but rarely get the chance in our “free” society.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Like everything else in christian culture, even the golden rule is an order or command handed down from one age to the next. It does not require individual thinking, although it certainly allows for brutal actions.
        This is basically why I hate governments, someone is always telling others how to run their lives. There is no “freedom” to act as one would desire. Self-responsibility is forbidden. People are not brought up to trust.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. “…….these savages have never in their lives heard the teaching of Jesus concerning temperance and contentment, yet they far excel the Christians in carrying it out.”
    —Francis Daniel Pastorius
    Great quote, Jim. If only this guy had opened his mind and realized that maybe, just maybe, his Christian ‘ideals’ weren’t quite as ideal as he’d thought, there might have been one less proselytzer in the world and that can only be seen as a good thing.
    P.S. I like your new photo!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So many thoughts! Please pardon the following word jumble.

    Story from my youth:

    In the Mormon faith, years ago, there existed the Indian Placement program and, for a short time, I had a Navajo uncle. He was only a couple years older than me (my mom being the eldest of 9, and Norman – not his Navajo name- being about the same age or between the ages of Mom’s two youngest brothers, only a couple to 5 years older).

    In the guise of helping, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was actually helping erase a culture. Not only that, innocent children were placed in homes where they were often abused, physically and sexually. Research will uncover recent legal action regarding this mistreatment of former placement students.

    My own two cents on the OP is that after Homo Sapiens transitioned from Hunter-gatherer to living an agrarian life style there arose the idea of tribalism. Maybe it existed to a lesser degree as Hunter-gatherers, because we humans seem to need community, but the advent of an agrarian life style certainly enhanced it!

    I wonder why we cannot live and let live, appreciating the larger human tribe while keeping the smaller cultures alive, too?

    My two cents, and probably worth just that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did a post about the monochrome world a while back. It’s so bland from coast to coast. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to embrace all the colors and traditions? Latin America is still colorful and interesting in many ways outside the big city.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There are people who post about Indigenous people and people of color seeing themselves as victims. To them I say that they should count themselves as blessed for not being able to relate, understand or empathize. They will never know what it is like for us. They can only imagine, give their best guess as to what it could be like. When they say that we should just get over it, stop acting like victims it’s insulting. White privilege for sure. Telling us how to feel? What we should think?
    Please stop, you’ve done enough. Do not try to dictate how we should feel.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was raised *to discriminate*, so I understand where you’re coming from. Much of our culture is designed to create a mental hierarchy which demeans anyone who doesn’t fall into the mould of the controllers of power. Once I became aware of that I realised that much of what we say and do is precisely to reaffirm those ideas and assure spots in the hierarchy.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. My mother was raised in Mississippi. Born in 1935, she passed on a lot of racist thoughts to us boys—typical stuff, comments, beliefs about black, and the general distrust and dislike. It never resonated with me but the well had been poisoned. I raised my kids differently and ended it in a generation. It’s amazing though how underhanded racism can be, and even though now I considered myself ‘not a racist’ I was until I lost faith. When you allow an idea to hijack your mind, virtually everything said and felt is not really you until you have control of your own core thoughts. Many still hang on to all the ideals of their religion and think they have made the switch, but really until one severs all ties with the old can they see the depth of the programming. I see it here on WP as well. They say they aren’t racist or anti gay, but the tone and politics say different.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. My upbringing was just the opposite (might have something to do with the fact I was raised in California). Race (“colored people”) really wasn’t discussed all that much in my family, but the very firm impression I carried with me was that we’re all people. Period. And I still feel that way today. Sure, there’s some real stinkers … but they come in all “shades.” It’s just a matter of seeing beyond prejudices and biases.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Sub-conscious racism is extraordinary and exists in ways people rarely realise (or understand.) That compounds the issue because people don’t even know what they’re doing. Locking a car door when someone approaches, clutching a bag a bit harder, walking a bit faster. The other day there was a black person on our street and I caught myself wondering “where’s he going?”. It wasn’t malicious, I didn’t think he was a criminal, but something clicked in my head. A message was formed telling me there was something unexpected or unusual with what I was seeing.


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