The Unknown Children
Spring 2021 Tour
Spring 2022 Tour
March 20th, 2022 - The Unknown Children Tour
The Unknown Children, US Embassy - London, England
This is a tribute to Pocahontas (Matoaka) of the Pamunkey People, the #MMIWG movement, Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, Indigenous Peoples, the Unknown Children traumatised in abusive systems under the guise of benevolence and the benevolent abusers.
This story has reminded me how important it is to love ourselves unconditionally. Pocahontas was one of the first #MMIWG, Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Contrary to the Disney romantic portrayal of Pocahontas, she was a victim of child trafficking. She was kidnapped at the age of 16 and converted to Christianity under duress. She was trafficked to England. Her life afterwards is unclear, her captors wrote the mainstream narrative. It was far from a love story. She was married under duress, had children, and died in her early 20’s.
When Europeans came to the Americas, many had been conditioned to persecute women over centuries of subjugating women in Europe. Subsequently, their contempt for women unleashed countless atrocities on Indigenous Women and Girls. Indigenous Women and Girls became the spoils of colonisation, #Missing or Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls became a thing. Hundreds of years later #MMIWGs is still a thing.
There is a trauma associated with colonisation and enslavement that is seldom spoken about, it is the trauma of supremacy. Wreaking so much havoc and devastation on indigenous communities for centuries has debilitating side effects. During and after the colonial atrocities, the conscience of the colonists had to be protected. Hence narratives of savagery, heathen, uncivilised animals, primitive people, human sacrifice and cannibalism were promoted. This allowed the colonist to overlook atrocities and reinforce supremacy values. Dehumanising narratives gave colonists the license to treat Indigenous People like animals, with little to no remorse. The consequence of having a superiority complex is the loss of humility, respect and the ability to love others. Self-love is also compromised. This is a traumatic state of being that people are conditioned to inherit.
The Disney portrayal of Pocahontas is an example of how the colonial dehumanising mentality has evolved unabated over generations. The misery of Indigenous People was romanticised in a cartoon, it served to enrich the sexual objectification of Indigenous Peoples and the #MMIWG condition. The rampant atrocities have subsided over time, but subjugation continues. Most atrocities in residential boarding schools are unreported or covered up. In Canada they found a pile of burnt foetuses buried on the grounds of a residential boarding school, these were the aborted foetuses of Indigenous Children who were violated by priests in the boarding schools. The church was responsible for running most of the residential boarding schools. I feel it is unfair to refer to them as schools, they were assimilation concentration camps. Children were taken by force away from their families and subjected to horrific violations and abuse. Children were flogged for speaking their native language. In Australia, they buried indigenous babies up to their necks and played games of kicking their heads off alive. Assimilation meant destroying elements of Indigenous families, culture and traditions. The morality of the church must be questioned. A lot of horrific practices took place while they were praising God. Contrary to their doctrine and laws of the land there has been little to no atoning for their crimes against humanity. The residential Indigenous concentration camp schools were closed less than 30 years ago, no one has apologised, and no one has been held accountable.
To the Indigenous Peoples
Stand strong and proud, reclaim your heritage and traditions, and honour benevolent ancestors. When you honour your benevolent ancestors, you honour your benevolent self. Love yourself unconditionally. Appreciate those colonial nations create illusions that they care about your well-being, they do not. The abuse injected into Indigenous Communities in colonial nations was calculated and deliberate, contrary to the mainstream narrative of retrospective mistakes. Colonists invested in destroying the spirit of indigenous peoples. That abuse manifests in Indigenous communities in many ways. Now suicide rates, depression, drug abuse and substance abuse are disproportionately high and families are fractured. Now the abuse is self-perpetuating within Indigenous communities and the colonists sit back and say what happened. Land theft was at the forefront of the colonist's moral values. Nothing has changed today. The US, Canada, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand have a vested interest in keeping the land and keeping control. It’s fair to say all the ‘help’ they give indigenous people is tainted with negativity. Do not get taken in with the aid given to indigenous communities as benevolence. It was part of their plan to make indigenous people dependent on their colonial masters, that is how control and land is kept. Injecting abuse into generations to promote dysfunctionality and distractions in Indigenous communities was their method of operation in the USA, Canada, Australia, and other places. Any help which does not help to address land theft is not benevolent.
If colonists cared about the well-being of Indigenous People they would acknowledge their disenfranchisement and historical abuses are directly linked to the problems Indigenous Peoples face in their communities today. Colonists would do everything to repair the damage they have caused. However, the dehumanising narratives continue to grease the wheels of colonial oppression, easing the conscience of the descendants of colonists to justify the theft of land. How difficult is it to understand that Christopher Columbus only discovered his ability to rape, murder, violate, steal, and subjugate in 1492? How many decades of political correctness do people have to go through to be compassionate and understand that Columbus Day is a horrible day for Indigenous Peoples. Or even Columbus ‘anything’ is a projection of hatred? And how many well documented extreme human rights abusers like Columbus need to be held in the highest esteem in colonial nations?
I feel it is important to appreciate colonist and their descendants have been conditioned to dehumanise Indigenous People. The whole of the Americas has been stolen by colonists. When you feel the colonial mentality disrespecting and subjugating Indigenous Peoples, appreciate that it is an expression of the colonialist’s unapologetic stance, and their unwillingness to atone and give back the land. To some extent, it is understandable why the colonist of today would not want to render themselves homeless. In response to the colonialist projection of hatred, give them love and simply remind them that their morality is warped because of their traumatic state of supremacy. Their lack of atonement and lack of apologies impact their ability to respectfully engage with indigenous peoples. Without apologies the collective psyche of colonists thinks nothing wrong has happened, this breeds a warped sense of morality and gives people a blinkered view of history.
During and after these atrocities, the conscience of the colonists had to be protected. Hence the narratives of savagery, heathen, animals, primitive and cannibalism were promoted. This allowed the colonist to ignore atrocities and adopt supremacy values.
Use your anger to uplift yourself and indigenous communities. Protagonists are empowered by the anger of their victims; it keeps the colonial wars perpetuating on some level. These simple words will hold up a metaphoric mirror for the colonial mentality to see their gruesome evolution, “I see your pain, you are acting that way because the colonial governments have not apologised for their malevolent ways, you are operating for an unapologetic colonial mentality that has warped your sense of morality”. You may be presented with a warped rationale, such as should the Romans or Vikings apologise for their colonial invasions. In response answer yes if their victims are still suffering. Do not entertain them for too long, do not feed the colonist’s contempt. Heal regardless of whatever colonialists do and stand strong and proud.
Love yourself unconditionally and honour your benevolent ancestors and traditions. Indigenous people cannot depend on the colonists to fix the problems in their communities. Until colonists apologise, everything they say or do is tainted with a negative essence of forgetting about theft, brutality, true justice and forgetting about their deliberate injection of abuse into indigenous communities.
US Embassy, London
Australia House, London
To the Colonisers and descendants
Think about all the narratives which stop you from being compassionate to the victims of genocide, abuse, disenfranchisement and Resident Concentration school camps. Many of you were born in the Americas and by default contribute to the continual subjugation of Indigenous Peoples. This is a horrible position to be in, some recognise this and will actively do something about it.
Love yourself unconditionally and appreciate we are all the same. You will love yourself more if you can love others. Whenever you feel angry about Indigenous Peoples, your fundamental need for safety, security and property may be influencing that anger. Once you recognise this, find a way to deal with it in a different and positive way. Allow Indigenous Peoples the scope to heal beyond the confines of what Colonial Governments provide. Honour the benevolent spirit of your ancestors regardless of what they have done, there is something to love about everyone who has ever lived. When you stop operating from a colonialist mentality you heal yourself and your ancestors and your ability to love is illuminated.
To the descendants of Enslaved Africans
We cannot fully heal our ancestral horrors without honouring indigenous peoples first. The genocide and theft of lands paved the way for the enslavement of our ancestors. Our ancestral plights are linked, we must support the Indigenous Peoples first. Many of you are living on Indigenous lands by no fault of yours or your ancestors. Indigenous Resident Permits can still apply for you, or you can find your way to honour Indigenous Peoples. Sankofa. Look backwards before you go forward. Look at the conditions which led to the enslavement of our ancestors and the genocides of Indigenous People.
To the people of Mixed Heritage or others in Colonised lands
I have ancestors who were enslaved and were enslavers.
Honour, apologise, atone, uplift and find something to love about all of your ancestors.
Apologies and Reparations
I am not a fan of pointing the finger at the protagonist to say they must fix my pain and sorrow. It means my well-being is dependent on the protagonist being remorseful. Indigenous People must find a way to solve their issues of, #MMIWGs, loss of land, culture... www.IndigenousPeopleEmbassy.com, is an initiative I came up with to address the land and culture loss. It is not a quick fix, it may take generations. It is not operating fully yet, please add your name to the mailing list. One of the aims is to issue Indigenous Resident Permits to the descendants of colonists. The funds will go directly to the matriarchs of Indigenous communities to promote healing in their communities. This will squash dehumanisation, nonchalance, and anger toward Indigenous Peoples as a response to feeling their fundamental needs of safety threatened. This initiative will also encourage people to leave the land in trust to Indigenous Peoples in their will. It may take centuries for Indigenous Peoples to regain full custodianship of their lands, but it's a step in the fair, loving and enriching direction.
Indigenous People are generally offended by non-indigenous people drawing images of their culture. I apologise if you are, my intentions are pure. I processed my trauma by commissioning this art and writing this piece.
I was traumatised watching Cowboys and Indians when I was growing up. I identified with my ancestors being labelled as savages, just like the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. I acknowledge the atrocities perpetrated on Africans through enslavement by Europeans would never have happened without the genocides of Indigenous people to enslave Africans on plantations. I embraced the traditions of the Indigenous People of Turtle Island as a means to understand my African traditions. This was at a time when they were not many books or documentaries about African traditions. I honour the Indigenous Peoples and benevolent Ancestors of Turtle Island. The Portrait of Pocahontas will be gifted to the Pamunkey People.
Thanks to #pamunkey #amonute, #matoaka, #pocahontas, #mmiwg, #powhatan, #pocahontasdisney, #turtleisland, #benevolentancestors. Big thanks to Jessica Smiley Artist for coming out on an adventure and for taking the photos.
Love is the Answer, the Questions are Infinite
Spring Tour 2021
The Unknown Children was inspired by the plight of @herstorylondon. This Pyramid of Love honours the Unknown Children, past and present, traumatised through abusive systems under the guise of benevolence.
@herstorylondon's birth mother was banished from her community in Ireland because she was unmarried and pregnant. She fled from Ireland to London to give birth to @herstorylondon. @herstorylondon was adopted. Many children have had similar traumatic experiences.
This is a portable pyramid that can be taken to various sites to bring awareness of abusive systems which have traumatised children.