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History Repeats - Five Faces of Oppression

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Oppression is a fight for justice. Being a womyn of color adds more heat to the pot of the oppression which we stir, day and night. Since the beginning of time, the Five Faces of Oppression has affected every womyn on this planet. Through, Exploitation, Marginalization, Powerlessness, Cultural Imperialism, and Violence, the oppressor has been able to control and manipulate the law in order to remain the successor. I am sure that history repeats itself. Through reading all of the books and articles from womyn of color, I have noticed that there is one oppressor who has affected the lives of many. Institutional power and control used by the white man to create social reconstruction is what separates all people of color. What holds everyone together? The womyn of Reinventing the Enemy's Language remind all Natives of "the privilege to be Indian". The links of oppression between women, race, and class provide restrictions which make it harder to develop and live as citizens; these womyn use their pen and paper to integrate their beliefs and anger as a Native womyn. Unlike the Vietnamese, Chicana, and African American womyn, Natives were stripped of their land, their Home. Indians were not running from war or famine, they were invaded by men with white skin, and then they were segregated. Through the Marginalization of those who live in the reservations, the native women experienced powerlessness. The jobs American society chose for womyn are gentle and nurturing, womyn are the healers, like medicine. This medicine is what holds everyone together.

The women of Reinventing the Enemies Language wrote to those who are Native. These stories were not written as a form of entertainment, for those whom are non-native. This literature was a way to bring awareness to only those who can understand and relate. The enemy's language was used in order to spread the word and stories, which is very important to the Indian community. It was a space for all natives to remember their history and their ancestors. These experiences were very similar to the lives of Vietnamese, Chicana, and African American womyn, but to the Indians, the lives of the natives did not compare. Life equals Nature. The nature in which was stolen from them was the Land, and that


made most Indians angry.

Natives were forced out of their own land and the oppressor tried to destroy their history. Children were taken and forced to attend U.S. government boarding schools under contract. "The people felt that the government not only wanted their land they also wanted their children."(Levchuk p.179) The "outings", which was slave-like labor, reinforced the idea that work is the most important factor of life; because of the policies and laws, these exploitations were common. While Indians were continuing their traditions with mud houses and mesquite sap candy, Native children were branded as poor class living in a rich country. The traditions and ceremonies which the Native community performed were not appreciated by the non-native population. There was anger expressed through the readings and it reminded me of Audre Lourde. The white man was the main oppressor, which all womyn of color agree with. The animosity which the native womyn have, had the most affect on me. Indians used the life which surrounds them, in order to eat, during ceremonies, and as medicine. The honors of those traditions provided proof of the privilege those womyn had to be Indian. The unique, authentic, pure, essence of nature did not require large amounts of money. Just like it was said in the film And Still I Rise, "society envy blacks can enjoy life without money. Blackness is like a badge." Do Vietnamese, Chicana, and African American womyn wear that same badge?

Everyone has the right to be free and equal. The separations of people due to race were taught from our ancestors. In We Aim to Please, the author states, "I think it's significant that in many Indian languages a black is called a "black white man." The blacks want what the whites have, which is understandable. They want in. We Indians want out!"(Bird p.340) The fight for equality is fought separately, not as a whole. I have realized that within the feminine community lies color lines. These lines consist of pride. Womyn of all ethnicities hold on to their own traditions in order to differentiate themselves from other womyn of color. The Asian, Chicana, African American, and Indian womyn should come together to share one voice. Every culture has been affected by the Five Faces of


Oppression. There is one oppressor whom we all are fighting to conquer, the white man. Indians main goal was to honor their ancestors and being white was taboo. Unlike Cherrie Moraga in "La Guerra and Susto", Yvonne Lamore Choate was not favored for her light skin. Yvonne's grandfather was ashamed because she did not have dark skin. She resembled her biological father, "her father was half Maricopa and the other half she didn't claim." (Harjo, Bird p.213) The small portion of her that was white no longer existed. A part of her was automatically destroyed because of hate. The oppressor is what causes the color lines to hold so strong. As long as every race continues to fend for themselves, then history will continue to repeat itself. Every race has a story to tell.

The government has repeated history by using power and control as a form of violence towards people of color. This Land and Nature is what Indians call home. We as the non-natives have destroyed precious burial grounds and sacred land so that we can shop and swim. We are unaware of the life and death which was we have built our houses on. The womyn of these readings used their words to inform those that are ignorant. This land and nature is what inspires these womyn to write. The image of an Indian has been destroyed by what the oppressor has taught us to believe. With the simple reminders of cleansing ceremonies like the "Hanblechia", and remedies of common dandruff with the mud turbine, the womyn of Reinventing the Enemy's Language wanted to bring awareness to the Indian community. These common practices are actions which we as the non-native take for granted. The Indians are the originators of this place we also call home. The medicine we take, the dandruff shampoo we use, the water parks we visit, and the food we eat, have all been Americanized because of the Indians. Why is the presence of Indians in the media so scarce? Where did all the Indians go?

Ancestors are greatly valued to the Indians. Each ancestor became a part of nature. With nature, there is always a beginning and there is an end. Life



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