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The Mississippi Corpse - CyberCorpse 12

From: "David M. Kenyon" <rinchendorje@earthlink.net>

Why is that Americans don't make any note of the historical significance of the Mississippi river prior to 1812, or at least prior to European conquest? That is bizarre to me. No one thinks of the Nile that way. The Nile still evokes stories of the pharoas, Alexander the Great, Ceasar, Islam and the like. But when Americans talk about the Mississippi they talk about white people. It is like a glacier melted in Minnesota in 1800 and poured down a valley all the way to the gulf.

I live in St. Louis and just a few miles from here on the rich flat bottom land are two rectangular hills. They seem oddly located in a landscape that is otherwise a sea of flatness. They arepyramids built 10,000 years ago by an ancient native American culture. The larger pyramid has shape reminicent of those found in South and Central America built by the Mayans and Aztecs. At this site called Cahoakia Mounds there was once a celestial clock that functioned similar to Stone Hendge. Scientists estimate that up to 10,000 people lived in the surrounding city. All this at a time when the people in Europe were still living in caves and beating each other with clubs. A few years ago the highway department lopped off a chunk of one of these pyramids to build a freeway.

The culture that built these pyramids has virtually no importance to most modern Americans. The vast majority of Americans would be quite surprised to learn that there are pyramids in the center of the United States. While not particularly estranged from our own genetic history we are estranged from the history of the place where live. It is a history that happened to some other race. Our history is that we came, we saw, we conquered. There hasn't been a native American (even that term seems to me to be insulting - "native people of theplace named after the European man who first drew a map of it") in the St. Louis area since Buffalo Bill brought a few plains indians into town with his road show.

When the Romans conquered Egypt, it did not erasethe history of the Nile. In fact, if anything, the Romans, in their zeal to prove how great they were, celebrated the history of Egypt as if to say "here is this great and mighty culture and we have conquered and it, it is now part of us, its history is our history." It is as if the Roman Empire in its obsession with itself had found a way to extend its own history back in time before the first Roman donned a toga. There is something imminently ruthless in stealing another culture's history, but something also compellingly humanitarian. It is to say in the same breath, "we have kicked your ass because because you were worthy of our conquest and we now make you one with us." There is both the arogance of domination and the philial compassion of adoption combined in one cultural expression.

But what about a race that finds its adversaries so insignificant as to ignore their history? There is no assimilation of these people. They are not treasured as an object of conquest, they are despised as an obstacle to expansion. There is something almost honorable in conquest and assimilation as the Romans practiced it and something completely vulgar in the erradication of the American Indian. Here in the Mississippi River valley it was just genocide, worse yet, ethnocide. We did not fight, conquer and assimilate thereby adding the value of another culture's history to our own, we exterminated people we considered to be vermine burying them in an unmarked graves. We not only took their lives, we deleted their history.

This utilitarian approach to genocide is a cornerstone of modern American culture. The age of the cultural machine. Making way for the next best new thing.

Not too far from the Cahoakia Mounds is another bigger pyramid. In fact, I believe, that from the top of this man-made mountain you can see the ancient pyramid at Cahoakia. This new pyramid has four corners just like the one made 10,000 years ago, but is much, much higher. From it future archeologists will find a record of our lives. It is the landfill serving the St. Louis metropolitan area.

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