Tuesday, January 16, 2007

C.G.Jung in the Upper Rio Grande

"On my next trip to the United States I went with a group of American
friends to visit the Indians of New Mexico, the city-building Pueblos...
There for the first time I had the good fortune to talk with a non-
European, that is, to a non-white. He was a chief of Taos pueblos, an
intelligent man between the ages of forty and fifty. His name was
Ochwiay Biano (Mountain Lake). I was able to talk with him as I have
rarely been able to talk with a European. To be sure, he was caught up in
his world just as much as a European is in his, but what a world it was! In
talk with a European, one is constantly running up on the sand bars of
things long known but never understood; with this Indian, the vessel
floated freely on deep, alien seas...

"See," Ochwiay Biano said, "how cruel the whites look. Their lips are thin,
their noses sharp, their faces furrowed and distorted by folds. Their eyes
have a staring expression; they are always seeking something. What are
they seeking? The whites always want something; they are always uneasy
and restless. We do not know what they want. We do not understand
them. We think that they are mad.:

I asked him why he thought the whites were all mad.

"They say that they think with their heads," he replied.

"Why of course. What do you think with?" I asked him in surprise.

"We think here," he said, indicating his heart.

I fell into a long meditation. For the first time in my life, so it seemed to
me, someone had drawn for me a picture of the real white man. It was
as though until now I had seen nothing but sentimental, prettified color
prints. This Indian had struck our vulnerable spot, unveiled a truth to
which we are blind. I felt rising within me like a shapeless mist something
unknown and yet deeply familiar. And out of this mist, image upon image
detached itself: first Roman legions smashing into the cities of Gaul, and
the keenly incised features of Julius Caesar, Scipio Africanus, and Pompey.
I saw the Roman eagle on the North Sea and on the banks of the White
Nile. Then I saw St. Augustine transmitting the Christian creed to the
Britons on the tips of Roman lances, and Charlemagne's most glorious
forced conversions of the heathen; then the pillaging and murdering bands
of the Crusading armies. With a secret stab I realized the hollowness of
that old romanticism about the Crusades. Then followed Columbus,
Cortes, and the other conquistadors who with fire, sword, torture, and
Christianity came down upon even these remote pueblos dreaming
peacefully in the Sun, their Father. I saw, too, the peoples of the Pacific
islands decimated by firewater, syphilis, and scarlet fever carried in the
clothes the missionaries forced on them.

It was enough. What we from our point of view call colonization, missions
to the heathen, spread of civilization, etc., has another face -- the face of
a bird of prey seeking with cruel intentness for distant quarry -- a face
worthy of a race of pirates and highwaymen. All the eagles and other
predatory creatures that adorn our coats of arms seem to me apt
psychological representatives of our true nature."

- Ochwiay Biano (Taos Pueblo Chief 1924) to C. G. Jung in MDR, pp.247-49

Individuation, Seeing-through, and Liberation:
Depth Psychology and Colonialism

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