A Homage to the Petroglyphs

She quakes, she churns and she howls

By Roberto Rodriguez & Patrisia Gonzales
Published on LatinoLA: November 10, 2005

A Homage to the Petroglyphs

Pacha Mama bleeds. Her veins are wide open. Yet, she is not bleeding. She is hemorrhaging. How long before the gush becomes a trickle? ? before the trickle dries up?

Not a day goes by that Abya Yala does not speak to us.? that she does not plead with us. ? that she does not call out to us and warns us.? she quakes, she churns and she howls. And she always reclaims.

Turtle Island is in peril. Its places of worship are being defiled & desecrated daily. Spiritual bulldozers have paved the way for the mechanical ones. The gods of greed are coming. They continue coming. They bring with them more civilization, now called growth & development.

The bulldozers. They not only scar, but they destroy the sacred. They also destroy memory as they compel us to forget. Just what is it precisely that they want us to forget? And what instead do they want us to honor, to remember?

Forget the bulldozers. Drive a knife through our sacred mother. Not through her guts, but through her back. The knife always goes through the back. If not, use a drill or perhaps a stake.

Oil, gas, uranium, coal, water. Animals, plants & medicines. Power stations, telescopes & real estate. Now it is roads. For progress and to link up with civilization.

In New Mexico - as throughout the continent -- they pay homage to many conquistadores, settlers, land thieves, murderers, rapists & slavers. They honor the so-called bringers of civilization. They build statues to them and many monuments. And they name their buildings after them.

In New Mexico, in the Land of Enchantment, they exploit Indians. They're great for tourism. Great for museums and as relics. They are great to be seen? behind displays. Just don't let them come alive and most of all, don't let them speak.

In New Mexico, there's been a ten-year struggle against real estate and road developers to keep the sacred petroglyphs (north of Albuquerque) intact. After all these years, the developers have won in the courtroom. But what have they won? To build their roads, they still need to consult with the Pueblos, yet as Laurie Weahkee of the Sage Council says, they will not sign off. They will have to build their roads without the blessing of the Pueblos. The Pueblo governors have told the city: "We will not take part in our own desecration."

All these years, the Pueblos - in unison -- have spoken clearly and unambiguously. And yet the developers and their political allies have disingenuously wondered out loud that they don't know what it is that the Pueblos really think. One has to wonder what it is that they do not understand? Perhaps they need to learn the languages that have been on this continent for thousands upon thousands of years. Or perhaps, they should simply take the time to view the close to 20,000 messages inscribed at the 17-mile National Petroglyph Monument. They too speak clearly.

To the north, the Gwich'in Nation has made similar pleas over the proposed oil drilling at ANWR (the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge). The U.S. Senate has now given their approval? or the death sentence to not just the Gwich'in way of life, but to the planet itself.

But what does it matter? There's not that many of them, right? There's really not that many indigenous peoples left anywhere on the continent, right?

To the south, Indigenous nations speak. They call out to all their relations. To all our relations -- for a continental cultural uprising.

In New Mexico, native peoples have been uprising since the arrival of those that have been trying to do this thing called civilization (they forgot to civilize themselves before attempting to take on this project).

Laurie Weahkee says of the struggle over the petroglyphs: "I still think we had the better case.... We are now turning the struggle over to our ancestors. We've done the best that we could. It is [now] they who will have to make the decisions."

We also pay homage and remember the spirit of Bill Weahkee of Cochiti, who first took us to the petroglyphs some ten years ago and explained their importance and sacredness to the Pueblos. He too did speak clearly. His spirit still does.

* The Sage Council, invites everyone on Nov. 20 to come pay homage to the petroglyphs. For info on this march and prayer: -- or 505-260-4696.

? Column of the Americas 2005

About Roberto Rodriguez & Patrisia Gonzales:

We can be reached at: 608-238-3161 or or Column of the Americas, PO BOX 5093 Madison WI 53705. Our bilingual columns are posted at:

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