Thursday, 02 February 2023

Montoliu: Why we should change the name of Kelseyville

The proposal to change the name of the town of Kelseyville appears to arouse strong reactions on the part of local residents.


Some present themselves as American Indians, and insist that they cannot understand why the Kelseyville high school mascot name, the "Kelseyville Indians," was changed. You will notice if you read their letters that they never specify their tribal affiliations, perhaps because they do not know

them or do not care, which would explain why they took pride in a mascot representing a generic 1940s "Hollywood Indian," and felt honored by such things as the "tomahawk chop" that was done by the audience, or by such encouragements for the other team as "Kill the Indians!"


Some residents say that history cannot be rewritten, and so the past should be forgotten ... If the past is to be forgotten, why remember Kelsey at all with a town named after him? Is not the point of naming a town after an individual to honor him or her? How can a murderer, a child molester, someone who abused, starved, provoked the Pomos to the point of driving them to kill him, be so honored?


It seems these people wish to forget the part of history that makes them uncomfortable, that is to say the mistreatment of Native people by Indo-Europeans. They want to replace this true history with the kinds of fairy tales they call history, educational establishments call history, our government calls history: Columbus was a "gallant hero," this continent was mostly "empty" when "discovered," it was "settled" by courageous "pioneers" who wanted nothing more than to practice their religion freely, and the Native people just "vanished"... apparently all according to "God's plan," since it is also said, even to this day, by some prominent Americans, that "God gave us this country." The stamp of "God's approval" is always very convenient to attempt to validate or whitewash the worse possible crimes against humanity.


This resistance to the name change is wholly hypocritical and irrational, based on the desire by the most cowardly and morally bankrupt among us to keep denying and burying historical truths. I would understand a logical argument about costs, such as the cost to businesses, school, etc. ... but to say that there is an emotional "attachment" to the name of Kelseyville that cannot be overcome, particularly by a woman who left decades ago after graduating from high school to live in the Carolinas (one of the letters recently published by the main Lakeport newspaper, whose advertisers seem to pressure the editors to mostly print letters that oppose the change) is completely ludicrous.


Let me explain: Indo-Europeans came to this continent uninvited, as "conquerors," took it by brutal force or by constant deception, whichever was cheaper and more expedient, as they took other continents such as Australia. They would have taken Japan, India, China and kept Africa if these continents had not already been quite densely populated, because they appeared by their actions to be the most aggressive, arrogant, dangerous and driven people in the world, having waged devastating wars against each other for many centuries, having depleted their state coffers, and thirsting for new riches such as gold, diamonds, and land.


Because their cultures were unsustainable, based on endless growth, they grew like cancer cells and

overtook the planet. The world we know today, with for example China having forgotten its own 1,000-years-old sustainable culture and polluting its own land and water to the point of national suicide, is the outcome of this cultural disease known as western civilization, which worships "progress" at any cost, even at the cost of the eventual death of much of humanity.


Read any book on history, and you will quickly notice the difference in the way the conquests of Mexico and South America are portrayed, as opposed to the conquest of North America. Simply put, Spanish conquerors "bad," Anglo-Saxon conquerors "good." The Spanish came for land, gold and slaves, and the Anglo-Saxons came for ... let me see ... oh, yes, they received the divine call of Manifest Destiny to relieve the "savage heathens" of their lives and their property. The Anglo-Saxons were of the "superior race," destined by "God" to conquer and rule the world and establish a "superior" civilization, while the Spaniards were merely brutal and immoral adventurers. This is how history is written. No wonder there is resistance to the change of the name of the town of Kelseyville, because there is much resistance to the truth.


The point of telling the truth, however, is not to inflict guilt. The past, the present and the future are directly and tightly connected. The native people of this continent were decimated by European kingdoms and empires, and later by America itself, because our western (and now global) civilization never has enough, being as unsustainable today as it was 500 years ago. Indigenous people all over the world are still loosing their cultures, their resources, their lands to what is still called progress but is nothing more than a pathology to consume all that can be consumed to extinction, so that an egotistical civilization can become ever more inflated and arrogant, like the Roman Empire, while it is progressively choking on its own wastes and toxicity.


The past is not only a matter of history but of culture. Simply put, we, people of European decent, are here, and everywhere else that is not our original native land, because we created cultures that were not sustainable on our own continent. America kept breaking all the treaties it signed with native people, that is to say breaking the law, and expended west because it could not sustain itself in the east, and was desperate to find gold and other resources to overcome numerous economic depressions, such as the one that occurred before Custer's last stand.


When the past is forgotten, there is no direction to our current path and no visible pattern of behavior, and we come to believe that we just invented the world, and that all knowledge of history is useless. And then we cannot understand why we have problems, such as the ones that occur as a result of having waged a brutal war against nature for centuries, so that we could keep growing forever, a truly

utopian, unrealistic and absurd concept.


This western civilization committed global genocide against indigenous people all over the world because is was unnaturally hungry, and still is. We are in the Middle East because we do not have sustainable technologies and a sustainable economy. The Pomo people of this area were targeted by an

official state policy of extermination because they were living on a rich land that an unsustainable American culture sought to acquire by any means.


Kelsey acted according to the doctrine of Manifest Destiny, which conceptually and legally elevated Indo-Europeans above all other races and gave them license to commit the most abominable acts, with the blessing of land speculators, investors, bankers, politicians, other would-be settlers, slave traders or gold-seekers, and all in the federal government who wanted the so-called "Indian problem" to disappear. In the same manner, land in the Amazon basin of South America was sold, in the 1970s, to ranchers or investors as "clear" or "as is" ... "clear" meant that mercenaries, some of them Vietnam vets, had liquidated the Native Indian population, often with napalm.


An unsustainable civilization is a monster, like a cancer cell or a super virus, that destroys everything it touches. Failing to connect the dots between the past, the present and the future, there is no doubt that we will be doomed. To change the name of the town of Kelseyville might seem completely irrelevant to those who do not see a greater pattern in the crimes this civilization committed against the native people of this continent.


To change the name is, however and beside the many obvious reasons, also saying that these crimes were not unavoidable as is often postulated, that there is another way of life, of being, that we do not need to perpetuate the same patterns of conquest, of world domination, of the endless exploitation or destruction of the natural world and of those few who, not as demented as we are, continue to live traditionally in harmony with the earth.


Raphael Montoliu lives in Lakeport.


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