Thursday, October 26, 2006

It Came in the Mail

When I came home from work and saw the small parcel on the table, I knew what it was. It was the shirt I'd ordered online; a t-shirt with the image below imprinted on it...

I stumbled across the site that sells this shirt while looking up information on the DHS (Dep't. of Homeland Security).

I'd been eagerly anticipating its arrival since I had already received a very personalized e-mail from the company that makes the shirt. This was something I hadn't really expected. How often do you get a personal note from a company thanking you for purchasing their product?

In addition to the wonderful t-shirt, they sent me a piece of sage that had been picked from the site of Wounded Knee.

With permission of the author, I've reprinted the e-mail that was sent to me by Colleen-Lloyd, representative of West Wind World...

O-si-yo, we sent an order to you today. Thanks for getting the real Homeland Security shirt, the authentic original native-made I created years ago, handprinted by Dineh Designs, a great Navajo family in Blanding, Utah, and also by other people like Chris (Tsa-la-gi) sometimes here in Tennessee, who work hard to get it out to you . You are helping support many causes and people by buying native, since we are devoted to the "red road" and keeping that life going, and you are part of keeping so many people provided with work and opportunity and hope in this way and we thank you for blessing us with something good to do.

Johnny Depp -- seemes like everyone's fave actor including mine nowadays --(who is Cherokee), produced a movie called The Brave that is native-related which you may want to see. Interesting how that's about the only one he does you can't find, though. Also, War Party, Smoke Signals, Wounded Heart, Incident at Oglala, Trudell and 500 Nations are excellent films you can order or get at powwows or festivals or trading posts which you may like if you haven't seen them. There are some great statements on my Inca friend Wakay's beautiful shirts also, which you can see at We are trying to get all the great stuff up on the site we have been behind on for years now, so thanks for your patience in waiting for your orders…we are on Indian Time. Get out to your local powwows and be part of the family.

The sage in your package I gather at Wounded Knee. It grows in the area of the creek where many ancestors of the local Lakota people I have had the pleasure of knowing ran to get away from the soldiers on that terrible day. That is why people need to think about this message you have bought and will wear -- we need to think about what we are doing and why before we take action in war. We need to remember there is always an agenda by someone behind the scenes and they influence us our whole lives, and we need to learn to think freely of those forces, and get away from the voices that do not come from a place of peace and wisdom for all people, listen to our own child's spirit inside us and do not fear. There is more wisdom in one leaf than all of Congress put together.

One day when I was there gathering a handful of sage, a young man came and asked if I needed some tobacco for my offering. He told me he was a descendant of Red Cloud, as many people here are. He told me the story of his two grandmothers, and how they ran all night long in the freezing December air along the creek bed, to the agency at Pine Ridge, and it is because they did this and escaped that he was born. I hope you will think of them as real people, and not just sad or noble pictures in books, when you hold this sage in your hands. It is because of their sacrifices and desire to survive that their descendants are here today and carrying on in their spirit.

The Pine Ridge reservation is the poorest place in this country, with one of the highest rates of alcoholism, abuse, and death. These are the people Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and Gall and so many great leaders loved and fought to help. Please visit the Wounded Knee Visitors Center when you go to South Dakota, snd the Wounded Knee Museum, and the reservations there and everywhere, and look for what the reality of these people is, good and bad, and make them your friends.Watch the great artists like Robert Mirabal and actress Irene Bedard when you can, read poet Ron Colombe, writer Vine DeLoria, Jr., a great thinker, who just passed away. Visit and, the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee sites, there is so much happening now. They have a lot to teach us.

We are not in history books, we are here in our time to keep the joy of life and the love of nature strong for everyone.The days when we used to sing around the campfires to John Denver and Peter, Paul, and Mary were the good times, and we need to take the time to just be ourselves that way as much as we can, in these times of computers and cameras everywhere and materialism and changes too fast to understand sometimes.

Many of you have native blood or feel a desire to express the love for the culture, and the more you seek it out, the more you will find that the people are out there full of life, and making a great comeback. It is a great day to be part of it, and to use our education to protect Mother Earth for our children, protect our happy way of life in this land, do the great things we are destined to leave behind for the future I hope you will feel the power and honor that comes with sharing this message, and know you are making a difference that will go on longer than you will, and put it in your prayers and hearts to do whatever you can to sacrifice the good things you have been blessed with to give something back to the native people who are almost invisible as the buffalo but whose energy and strength still makes this nation great.

Protect our sacred sites…the whole earth is a temple.

Free Leonard Peltier


And my response...

I received my Homeland Security shirt in the mail today. I like it so much that I'm wearing it right now as I type this letter. Thank you for such prompt service and for the piece of sage. And the e-mail you sent is a very nice, personal touch. I wish more people did business the way you do.

I'm not Native American myself, but I have a profound respect for your culture and a debt of gratitude. You see, back in the 1840's my ancestors, the people of Ireland, were starving to death due to the potato crop going bad. Potatoes were all they had to eat, and when the crop went rotten, there was nothing for the people to live off of. When relief did arrive, it came in the form of Native American corn. And if that weren't enough, the
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma donated $710 to the starving people of Ireland; a gift that Irish historians describe as "both the most unlikely and the most generous contribution to the effort to relieve Ireland's suffering".

I would like to humbly ask your permission to use the e-mail you sent me for an article in my blog. You can view the blog by clicking on
this link.

Thank you very much.

NOTICE: Due to Presidential Executive Orders, the National Security Agency may have read this email without warning, warrant, or notice. They may do this without any judicial or legislative oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of the current President.

As you can imagine, I'm very proud of my purchase.


At October 26, 2006 8:38 AM, Blogger Peacechick Mary said...

Wow oh, wow, oh wow! I'm heading over to that site this very minute.

At October 26, 2006 1:17 PM, Blogger azgoddess said...

me 2 peacechick...thanks for the info PT...beautiful shirt!

At October 26, 2006 1:52 PM, Anonymous D.K. Raed said...

Such a moving & beautiful post, PT. I saw the picture from your t-shirt mounted on a small wooden plaque at an antique shop in Cedar City Utah a few months ago. On the back was something about being produced on an original wooden grape crate from the san joaquin valley. Nothing about the picture itself. I'm sorry I didn't buy it, although I marveled at the sentiment & image. Now I'm wondering if this image has indeed been picked up & is being marketed without permission. It's quite powerful.

BTW, are you SURE you don't carry any native american blood? My ancestors are also mostly scots & irish, so it doesn't show on the surface, but I'm very proud of my 1/16th Moapa Paiute blood. ~~ D.K.

At October 26, 2006 6:25 PM, Blogger teh l4m3 said...

Heh. I have a poster that says that -- a Nomlaki friend gave it to me.

At October 26, 2006 7:25 PM, Blogger PTCruiser said...

I had the "wow" reaction, too.

I wear it with pride.

Thanks and welcome. It is a powerful image and message. I'm sure there's some bootlegging of it going on out there. As for the bloodline, I'm the first generation born in the U.S. so I'm pretty sure I'm 100% Irish.

I'm wearing my posters out in public now. The Nomlaki are from the Sacramento area. See? This whole experience has made me a little more aware of what goes on around me. Everybody wins.

At October 27, 2006 2:44 AM, Blogger sumo said...

I'll check it out too...nice post about it all.

At October 27, 2006 5:48 AM, Blogger pissed off patricia said...

I've had that sweatshirt for about three years now and I have received some tsk tsk when I've worn it. I LOVE IT!

At October 27, 2006 5:55 AM, Blogger PTCruiser said...

Thanks, Sumo. They have a lot of great links to other sites as well.

As long as I'm following in your fashion footsteps, then I know I'm doing something right.

At October 27, 2006 6:56 AM, Blogger Human said...

dk - It is being marketed w/out permission. I did not know that when I bought it mail order last year. Mine is a bit different though. It has Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Cochise and my favorite Chief, Chief Joseph on it.

Now that I know, I'll buy an original.

Patty - I get a few of those tsks too. The take the cake moment was when one Bushusefool, angerly and asked if I was part Indian.

PT - Great post man.
My "breakthrough" on deprograming the myths and prejudices that were instilled im me was the book, "Black Elk Speaks".


At October 27, 2006 7:13 AM, Blogger Human said...

Oh man I just went to the West Wind site. Tears of laughter are running down. I can't stop laughing.

I saw the t-shirt, "Im Part White, But I Can't Prove It.". That's the funniest thing I've seen in a while.


At October 28, 2006 9:42 PM, Blogger Snave said...

That Homeland Security t-shirt is one I have long considered buying from, which is my favorite place for left-wing t-shirts, bumper stickers and other merchandise.

I have a fun bumper sticker that is one of my favorites ever:

In 1492, Native Americans discovered Columbus lost at sea.

At October 29, 2006 7:42 PM, Blogger PTCruiser said...

Thanks for the t-shirt link, Snave. I'm always looking to increase my collection.

At October 30, 2006 12:08 PM, Blogger dada said...

PT....nice shirt. I bought this one a couple of years ago, but I don't think it's as "authentic" as yours...(I don't recall where I got it). I love t-shirts as a way to instantly share with the public who you are, grab the attention of the feds, get you removed from your planned airline flight, or ejected from a gathering for one of your *favorite politician's* appearances or speeches and your ass hauled off to jail. T-shirts, somewhat like freeway blogging, can be powerful in saying something without speaking.

And since we're into t-shirt websites, another of my faves is: (heavy, good quality shirts)

I have their Huey P. Newton and their Black Panthers shirts. The Panthers you know, that organization that, after appearing over in Sacramento at the capitol with their guns is rumored to have caused J. Edgar Hoover to spend the rest of his days in *Depends*!


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