The expience of Tachia Hawks at the Protest
the All Nations/Four Directions march, Transform Columbus Day .. was an awesome experience .. i felt honored just to be a small part of it .. there were over 500 people that participated this year .. four groups marching in to the capitol from each of the four directions .. we were in the group marching in from the south, to the north, carrying the white flags .. when i get the pictures up you will see that each group carried the flags representing their direction (white, red, yellow, black) as well as all the banners and signs .. led by an Elder with an Eagle Staff .. it was a powerful site to see those flags billowing in the wind, eagle feathers fluttering, the banners and signs being carried with pride, and all the people marching in solidarity and unity behind them ..
the day began early .. with the sun just rising as we all met at our respective directions .. our group met at "The Four Winds" .. where they had coffee and donuts/bagels for us and handed out bottled water .. (nice!) .. glen (morris) and a few others spoke to us, we had songs and prayers, then we set off to converge for the Four Directions Ceremony near the capitol building ..
i have no words with which to describe the feelings of being connected to so many peoples .. a mixture of all nations, of all races, come together, as if we were all one peoples .. a shared purpose .. in unity and solidarity .. many peoples coming together for a just and noble cause .. seeking justice and truth .. seeking an end to the celebration of Genocide .. many peoples marching with one heartbeat, in rhythm with the drums, in rhythm with the heartbeat of our sacred Mother ..
our group was the last to arrive at the convergence point, close to the capitol building, for the four directions ceremony .. marching into the joining of the directions, amid the thunder of the drumming, the trilling of women's voices and the cheering crowds .. again words fail me .. amazing, inspiring, powerful, awesome .. and still these words cannot do justice to the awe i felt .. we truly were "Walking in Beauty" .. all four directions together now, we turned as one, and marched to the capitol building, up the steps to the front .. with our Leaders and Elders marching those last few steps to the very doors of this government building .. law enforcement officers quickly filed in all around us .. looking up we could see that even the balconies held officers .. and over 500 people standing as one in front of the capitol building! .. i cannot possibly describe how that felt! ..
several of our respected leaders spoke to us, gave very moving, impassioned speeches, and gave us the specific directions and information needed for the demonstration to go smoothly and peacefully .. our respected Elders then gave us their prayers .. then we were off, marching together along the 16th street mall, our Four Direction Flags, Eagle Staffs, Elders, Leaders and many Banners out in front .. to where we would make our stand, the beginning point of "their" parade honoring the savage columbus .. we marched, holding our flags, banners, and signs high, while chanting "hey hey, ho ho, columbus day has got to go" and "there is no pride in genocide" ..
we made our stand, a wall of peoples over 500 strong .. the "un-arrestables" in the safety zone on the sidewalks .. and others of us in the "red zone" in the street, blocking the parade route .. law enforcement quickly initiated confrontation with those of us in the "red zone".. coming in from all sides, forming a line in front of us, moving in amongst us, with their clubs and guns, and warning all of us to clear the street .. to move to the sidewalks, to step up on the curbs, to get behind the yellow police tape .. we all knew that law enforcement would give those of us in the "red zone" three warning before taking any action against us .. some of us (myself included) in the red zone were also "un-arrestables" and we waited until after the third warning to step aside .. in order to stand as long as we dared with our brave and courageous brothers and sisters .. who were willing to sacrifice their freedom for Truth and Justice ..
blood was spilled across the street .. in the no mans land between our wall and the law enforcement line .. symbolic of the blood of all our ancestors that was spilled .. blood with props to resemble ndn baby parts, all the babies that were murdered on orders from columbus, all the babies that were murdered following his "discovery" of our lands .. shortly after the blood was spilled, as arrest was imminent, those of us unable to risk arrest stepped into the safety zones, on the sidewalks ..
soon after, the first arrest was made .. we cheered our peoples and booed the officers .. chanting "let him go", which quickly changed to "let them go" as more and more arrests were being made .. the officers came out in teams of 3 or more, in force, armed to the teeth, threatening physical harm with gestures, using non-lethal, yet quite harmful and unnecessary, methods of removing and arresting our peoples .. as well as being just downright nasty and disrespectful .. flags, banners, signs (and even eagle staffs ripped away!) and thrown to the ground and left there, personal belongings, back packs and articles of clothing ripped off and thrown in the street .. sunglasses, cell phones, etc. stomped on and left lying in the street ..
use of unnecessary force, etc. ..
our peoples, of many nations and many races, offered passive resistance to being hauled off the street .. civil disobedience without a hint of violence .. the joining of arms, legs, bodies into a circle .. becoming dead weight in an attempt to hold ground a little longer .. as far as i could see, our peoples just held their ground as best they could without offering active resistance .. those of us on the sidewalks chanted, yelled for the officers to stop being so brutal, to let our people go and just offered as much passive resistance and support as we could .. many of us even talked to the officers, reminded them of our common humanity ..
[i want to say here that a few of the officers had good hearts, one incident that i was involved in .. the woman next to me spotted her little sister (about 10 years old) across the street, they had gotten separated .. she and i were able to convince this one officer (after 3 others ignored us) to ask his sergeant to escort the little girl across the street for us, which he did for us .. another incident i was involved in, the young man i was with, (my partner, friend and the caretaker of my land) was being baited by an officer .. the officer grabbed his backpack, then yanked his arm, was verbally baiting him and actually pulling him further into the street .. i stepped between them and told the young man to step back .. hey i am an old woman i can get away with it .. the officer let go of my friend and was not real sure what to do .. i read his name badge and realized he had the same last name as the young man he was accosting .. i told him that and said "this could be your relative" .. from that point on the officer was no longer aggressive towards anyone ..]
after the first round of arrests of the people in the "red zone", those of us on the sidewalks (on both sides and in back of the "red zone") began spreading out and moving east towards where the "parade" was lined up ready to begin .. many of us were back in the street again (yep, me included) as we spread out towards the front of the parade .. once we stopped, it took the officers some time to herd us all back onto the sidewalks and at least make an attempt to string up their yellow tape .. then they formed a line in front of us .. or at least attempted to, they were spread a bit thin now .. at this point they drove in the SWAT trucks .. one of which parked directly in front of us and another on the opposite side of the street .. as law enforcement were moving us back onto the sidewalks they were shoving and grabbing us .. trying to incite us into fighting back, both physically and verbally .. other than exchanging some words we remained peaceful and non combative ..
as we got into position again on the sidewalks .. more of our peoples moved into the street further up, closer to where the "hate" parade was lined up to begin .. a second wave of protest .. this is where Russell Means, Glen Morris, and many, many more were arrested ..
in both waves of arrests, in the course of the officers prying people apart, dragging them off the street, etc. we witnessed many cases of unnecessary brutality and abuse .. i saw a young girl rendered unconscious by one officer (who used the pressure points in her neck, restricting the blood flow to her brain), while two others were prying her from a circle (this one i know a friend has pics of) .. with three or more officers to just one of us .. our peoples were shoved hard into chain link fences .. forced brutally to the ground .. pinned down with unnecessary brutality, full weight of officers on them, knees in their backs, put in choke holds, unnecessarily hog tied, etc. .. especially with the second wave the brutality and violence by the officers escalated, it got ugly real quick .. a lot of pics and videos will be posted in the days to come .. i will let you all know about them ..
the "parade" itself was, in the words of many, by far the shortest, least participated in and silliest to date .. so we are having an impact! ..
our people who were arrested were loaded into buses and the parade was soon over .. at this time many of us marched to the city/county building that they were taking the buses to .. to show our support for our friends, loved ones, and all our relations who were arrested .. to drum and sing and wait for word of what was going to happen to those arrested .. "Food not Bombs" brought us food, juice and water .. we had four of the Four directions flags, our signs and banners .. i was sitting down holding up the white flag when we heard something a couple of feet behind us that made us turn around .. a couple of our brave warriors were bringing down the american flag from its pole, they turned it upside down and ran it back up the pole then padlocked it in place .. lol .. it flew upside down for many hours, and we were long gone, before someone discovered it! .. the statue of columbus, in the park across the street, was hung with a banner that detailed his 515 year legacy of genocide and the hands were painted blood red .. ..
after several hours of waiting and getting word that the 'processing" procedure for 88 people was going to take many more hours .. it was decided that we would all go to "The Four Winds" to wait it out and try to chill for a while .. take some time to talk with old friends, make new ones and relax a bit .. they had stews, frybread, wojapi, bagels, cold drinks, more "food not bombs" fare and much more for us all .. just more evidence of the unity of the whole day .. after this great down time, most of the people headed back to the jail for more songs, support and waiting .. at this point though i was wiped out and we went back to our friends house where we were staying ..
well .. these are my feelings and experiences of the day .. sorry this is so long, yet stories have a need to be told .. thank you all for your support, thoughts, prayers and being with us all in spirit .. ..