A dear friend and exceptional artist, Anja Hovland (www.hovlandart.com) sent an important note, worthy of quoting:
It is correct, as you mention, that the Native Americans, referred to in error as Indians do not refer to themselves as Indians.
Columbus assumed that he had arrived in India. The aboriginal peoples of the American continent do not call themselves by that name. It has too long been used derivatively and derogatorily.
Among the natives, they call themselves by the tribe. We know many tribal names in North America, and South America, like the Incas in Peru, and more. There is a discussion among the South American Natives as to how they would like to be referred to, but being identified as Indians is erroneous on many accounts and most object to that name.
I have a negative feeling also about the American Continent because it originates with the Amerigo Vespucci. Granted he was an explorer of some merit, but in my opinion, a soul name must evolve from the new awareness of the numerous inhabitants encountered by Columbus. What did they call themselves? Somewhere in the many historical landmarks left by the peoples of Central and South America found by Columbus, somewhere there exists a name. We just have not found it yet.
You are on target, Robert! We have to discover the soul of the Native Americans. Or maybe they
like Native American?
–Thank you, Anja. Yes, we shall speak from now on of Native Americans. Beautiful, and revealing of the tremendous importance of words. One of the great challenges faced in this writing is to speak to, to address the Soul of America, being aware as possible of imposing now habitual and unconsciously used words.
America – The Land of Golden Opportunity
America is still, surprisingly, for many people, the land of golden opportunity. That is why so many people have emigrated here. It’s about gold – or various versions of gold – opportunity, where I can make money, support my family, have a home, good school for my children, etc. Very wonderful ideals, corrupted, though, by greed, collective greed. The archetypal background of these honorable desires is gold lust.
Gold lust in relation to America – starts with the Spanish Conquistadors.
Cortez told envoys of Montezuma – “I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart that can be cured only with gold.”
They found this gold, first, through the invasion of Central America, conquering the Aztecs and the Incas. This invasion was in 1519. Montezuma was the Aztec ruler. Then, the Conquistadors invaded this land seeking the seven (golden) cities of Cibola ( a fantasy).
For the Aztecs, gold was not an economic commodity. Its value was not economic but ritualistic, honoring the gods. How this emblem of honoring their gods became corrupted is a subject of greatest importance. (Rudolf Steiner wrote about this corruption in a lecture on the “Mexican Mysteries”.)
The sacrificial offering of gold to the gods became degraded as the Aztecs became fearful of continuing to survive. The degradation took the form of a ritual. The Aztecs had a terrible way of ritual killing. It was a ritual form of initiation in which a victim would be laid on a stone, and the heart and intestines would be cut out by the initiate and offered to the gods, with an expectation attached.
The tearing out of the heart of the victim which was then offered to the sun-gods carried the expectation of the perpetuation of humanity in a materialistic state rather than honoring the gods. Two powers were attained by the initiates, who took these powers into the community:
a) through this kind of corrupted sacrifice humans would become disinterested in the soul of others – We would be out for ourselves, even in those matters that seem to care for others, for some kind of return is involved — such as feeling good.
b) The person initiated also became connected with the victim in another way. The person initiated could, at any time he wished, ‘depart’ from this world and go into a seemingly ‘spiritual state’, totally remove from everyone and from the earth. Spirit-presence was ‘privatized’.
These two corruptions form the archetypal background for two unconscious assumptions of this country:
(a) The absence of true community (disinterest in the soul of others – though unconscious) and individual, private spirituality (institutional religion actually fosters private spirituality while seeking public results of that spirituality according to the precepts of the religion; church on Sunday, seeking gold during the week). We are caught forever searching for how to develop community, but it does not have to be developed, it is already present, beneath the now primary desire for material existence.
(b) We are caught forever searching to enter into spiritual development through various practices and then find we cannot live what has been privately developed readily in the outer world, when actually ‘spiritual development’ is right beneath our feet along with being right beneath the feet of everyone.