Pite Sámi Wheel of the Year

For some time now, I have been asked how our calendar correlates to neo-wiccan, neo-pagan, reconstructionist, and modern-day calendars. It’s difficult to correlate some of the neo calendars, because they are based largely on a Gregorian calendar, which is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who, in the great Christian way of peace and love, plotted to dethrone and excommunicate Elizabeth I of England, chartered mercenaries to kill Irish Protestants, celebrated and feasted after the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in France, and is responsible for countless atrocities against indigenous people throughout the world. Not a very pleasant guy to be around.

Pope Gregory XIII

For some reason, many neo movements base their Sabbat(h)s on Gregory’s calendar, which has always resonated as a little weird with me, as the guy liked to kill pagans. They likely base their Sabbat(h)s on this calendar because of modern convenience and work/life schedules. It’s the same calendar most of the modern world uses. Beltane, Imbolc, Samhain, and Lughnassadh end up on the same days every year for many neo practitioners, and that makes it easy to plan things on your iPhone or Android, but may not really be when these events were traditionally celebrated.

While the Gregorian Calendar can make things convenient for neo practitioners, it is certainly not what my people followed, and likely isn’t what was followed for the neo-practitioners Gaeil ancestors either, if their ancestors even were Gaeil and they haven’t just appropriated the names and customs for a holiday that aren’t theirs, which also happens a lot within neo groups.

The Pite Sámi, along with many other indigenous people, use a solar/lunar/stellar calendar. We watch the moon and the sun and the stars and how they relate to the Earth. We watch the migrations of our reindeer, our salmon, our birds, we observe what the trees and plants are doing, and that is our calendar.

Sámi local community – Siida

We follow an eight season calendar. That does not mean that all Sámi do, it means that we do. We live a bit further south than other Sámi, so their seasons may be different from ours, and there are some Sámi people that live even further South than we do, and their seasons may be different. Where you stand on the planet changes what you see above you.

There are four primary seasons for us, and four secondary seasons that are transition points between the primaries. The primary seasons are marked by solar events. The Earth changes position, and the sun begins to appear in a different part of the sky. This happens at the same time every year, unless you use a Gregorian Calendar, then it’s between the ~20th and ~24th of December, March, June, and September-ish. Today they are called Solstice and Equinox. They are easily observed with no equipment needed.

The other easily observable thing in the sky is the moon. We base all of our months off of the lunar cycle, and our secondary seasons are marked by observable transitions. New moon, full moon, first quarter, last quarter. There are no tools needed to see when the moon is half illuminated and half shaded, our smallest children can do this. We also know that during certain moons after a certain solstice or equinox mean that a certain type of bird is returning, or that a specific tree will be pollinating, or that salmon are returning, or reindeer are mating, when we need to make candles, when we need to feast, when we need to hunt, so we name our lunar months after these things, Mating Moon, Pine Tree Moon, etc.. These are the things that keep us alive, and we use these things combined with the moon phase, in a 28 day month, 7 days per week, 4 weeks per month, and a 52 week 13 month 364 day year.

It is how we tell ‘time’, how we know what season it is. What day it is, even what week, are generally things we don’t care about unless we are living among the non-indigenous and have to interact with that world. We have incorporated modern language names for weeks and days, but they are not traditionally used. It should also be noted, that the majority of Sámi today wear wristwatches and also use a Gregorian calendar for most functions in their lives. But, for me, I observe season changes in the old ways, and I use the old calendar to do this

Wheel of the year with Gregorian Dates in the inner blue ring, as well as Sámi Runic Calendar days of the week in the green inner ring. Click for larger image

One of my biggest tasks within these neo circles was to be able to explain why I was observing what they considered Imbolc on a completely different day than they were. I had to correlate our “wheel” to what neo-pagans/wiccans see as their wheel of the year.

It turns out, this isn’t all that hard, except that pesky lunar season thing, which apparently causes some contention in some circles because they insist that those secondary seasons are always on the same date on a Gregorian Calendar, while others -a minority- insist that it follows a lunar calendar. We agree with the minority, and the importance of lunar cycles.

We will start with Winter, everyones favorite season. Full of gifts and family, hot chocolate, and snuggling up with family and lovers. It’s also night time, all day in the Arctic, our days of darkness. We call this season Dállve, Winter. The lunar month at its heart is Jávvlámánno, the Jol Moon, roughly a Gregorian December, what most neo groups would call ‘Yule”, and Christians call Christmastime.

The next primary season is Girra, the Spring, with Njuktjamánno, the Swan Moon, or a Gregorian March-ish, a neo-pagan Ostara. After that is Giesse, Summer, with Biehtsemánno, the pine tree moon, or a Gregorian June-ish, Litha. Then Tjakktja, Autumn, Ragatmánno, the mating moon, Gregorian September-ish, Mabon.

In between those, are our secondary seasons. We did not get creative or fancy in our names for these seasons. Between Winter and Spring, we have Girradállve, Spring-Winter. After Spring, we have Girragiesse, Spring-Summer. After Summer, we have Tjaktjagiesse, Autumn-Summer, and after Autumn, we have Tjaktjadállve, Autumn-Winter.

Each of these is observed as reaching their peak season with the moon. Girradállve is with the first quarter moon in Gávvámánno, a neo-pagan Imbolc. Girragiesse is the full moon in Márbmesmánno, Beltane. Tjaktjagiesse is the last quarter moon in Ragatmánno, Lughnassadh. Tjaktjadállve is a new moon in Bássemánno, Samhain.

Pretty simple. In the image I created above, at the center are pictographs from a Sámi drum which marked the season transitions and noted the events that happened in each season which were important to the family which owned that particular drum, before the Christians stole it from the family and made it forbidden to own or possess a drum out of the rightfully placed fear that we can control the weather with them, and speak to the dead, and that we had the power, if we chose to use it, to defeat them in ways unimaginable. That’s another story to be shared some day, but not today.

If you look closely at the images, you will see a hunter on skis with a bow, reindeer in different migrations, a house like structure in the depths of Winter, another with light coming out of it around when people made candles, plants beginning to grow, fish and meat being cured and dried, and one showing the shift in axis of the Earth in the Summer. These are things we knew before “science”, before telescopes, before a compass, and we are pretty accurate with it all, even with alder ink on a reindeer hide, these things are our common knowledge, because our survival depending on knowing it.

Appropriation vs Dissemination

A man with an Indian coloring and feathers on his head embraces a woman dressed in Indian style in the woods

In the work that I do throughout the world, I find myself in many neo-pagan/wiccan circles and groups. Among these groups, I see considerable appropriation of indigenous peoples customs and languages into what they do. It’s rampant. The amount of white people that I hear saying “a’ho” or “hihanni waste” in the United States is immeasurable, burning white sage, running “native sweats”, building “native drums”, singing “native songs”. I can go to a grocery store and find sage, cedar and sweet grass for sale. You won’t find these in grocery stores that most indigenous people can afford to shop at, you will find them in places like Whole Foods, PCC, Co-Ops, and any high end “white” grocery stores. Safeway, Winco, Albertsons, Dollar General, or Krogers. Your chances are pretty low to find them there, and they shouldn’t be there in the first place, but that’s an entirely different conversation to be had.

Appropriation is inherently evil and is a bad thing. Yes, I said that. There is no such thing as good or honest appropriation. Today, in the United States, we generally hear about appropriation in the context of white or white presenting people taking culture, customs, and clothing from the Indigenous people of North America, and incorporating them into what they do. Pretendians. Lakota-Dakota-Nakota people would likely brand them all Wasi’chu, ones who take the fat, greedy.

The exchange of knowledge among peoples, particularly those who are on the same land mass, has been a way of human evolution since time immemorial. It’s how we developed our languages, how we survived the coldest winters and blistering hot summers, plagues, famines, and how we became who we are today, indigenous or not.

Right now, you have a garden (you better have one), and it’s doing okay, it produces just enough for what you need, but that’s the limit of it. You travel to a friends house and see their garden exploding with abundance. Food is twice the size of yours and they have five times the crop yield. Chances are, you’re going to want to find out what they did and how they did it. You’re going to ask them, and they will probably teach you. You will learn new language, words like ‘loam’ or ‘vermiculite’ or ‘ericaceous’. You will learn chemistry that you didn’t know before, and discover tools that you may not have known about until they showed you. You will gain skills and knowledge to take home and make your garden abundant just like theirs. You will then take that knowledge and apply it your garden and feast for years to come on your bounty. Then you’re going to teach your children how to do it, and they will teach their children. Your neighbor will come over and ask you to teach them, and in turn, they will teach their neighbor, and soon, all of you will have abundant and beautiful gardens all because that one person figured it out, shared, and contributed to the evolution of the species.

Fake Sámi in Finland, can you see how we know they are fake?

This is dissemination, not appropriation.

Appropriation is the ugly side of it all. Wearing a headdress or traditional ceremonial clothing, running rituals that aren’t yours, or claiming you are indigenous to somewhere that you aren’t. Breaking into someones office and taking their invention before they patent it, and filing your own patent claiming you invented it. Going to that same friends home, reading their gardening journal without permission, and then marketing all of the ideas as your own. Appropriation is what Christians have done to indigenous people all across the globe, and it is what colonizers and imperialists have done throughout time.

We, as indigenous people, are a little bitter about it. We don’t like it very much, and we have pushed our awareness about it to new levels. We have been oppressed, murdered, raped, and had our culture ripped away from us only to watch much of it turn into white culture. It’s kind of a thing for us. We do however, love to teach and share, we love to disseminate to those who don’t show up expecting that they are owed the knowledge.

We indigenous people have also appropriated. We have taken things from our neighboring peoples and incorporated it into our own ways without permission. We have murdered, raped, and stolen too. Yes, it’s bad when we do it, we are not exempt from committing evil acts because we are enlightened and connected to the world and the spirits and our ancestors, we are completely capable of, and have demonstrated, being monsters long before empires or white people showed up.

It’s bad when we do it. It’s bad when anyone does it.

I often hear the “white” argument justifying what they have done by comparing what we have done to our own people, as if that makes it any better or somehow acceptable. It doesn’t. Bad is bad. It’s pretty much a universal rule.

Two wrongs thinking doesn’t make you right, it makes you white.

My people, the Sámi, have been mingling and disseminating with the Germanic tribes for over a thousand years, we picked up a few things from them, they picked up a few things from us, and those Germanic tribes had been mixing with each other for even longer than when they ‘discovered’ us. Disseminating (and appropriating).

Tribes of North America have done the same thing Today, you will find cedar, sage, tobacco, and sweet grass being used in places where it doesn’t grow by people who had ancestors that never used it, let alone having ever seen it or even heard of it, but there it was at the pow-wow yesterday.

World Sweet Grass Distribution – Indigenous locations

While at Standing Rock, I had a member of a tribe get mad at me for using sweet grass, which grows abundantly where my people are from along the Pite River in modern Sweden, but doesn’t grow where this tribal member was from in the Southeastern United States. He insisted that I appropriated from his culture, from “Indian ways” and after I listened to everything he said, he refused to listen to the story of my people, to learn what sweet grass is to us, and how we use it and have always used it. Instead, he called me white and wanted to fight me about it. Eventually, after leaving because he wasn’t getting anywhere with me in an argument, he calmed himself and came back to apologize after he was spoken to by a few elders in the camp about who I was. He finally sat down to learn my ways with sweet grass. His understanding of this plant has expanded so much beyond what little he knew about it before, it blew his mind to learn that it was even in Europe to begin with, and not a unique plant to just this continent. This initial reaction is common among indigenous people, that knee-jerk “you stole from us” mentality, and it is well justified, even if wrongly placed at times.

Cultures who disseminate can unify over dissemination. This is happening in North America. Some customs and traditions of one tribe, are being universally recognized by all of them across the continent. It has begun to unify the indigenous people of North America so that they can fight the bigger shared common threats together, as a united Indian Country rather than individual small tribes taking on the United States or Canada. This is what causes fear among colonizers, indigenous people uniting in a fight for their rights, bucking the divide and conquer imperial ways.

This unification can be good, but it can also be bad.

Real Sámi

For the Sámi, in particular smaller and nearly extinct Sámi people like the Pite, the influx and colonial recognition by Norway, Sweden, and Finland for higher population Sámi peoples’ language, customs, and traditions, like the Northern Sámi, further pushes us into obscurity, while being rejoiced by the majority of Sámi people as we are finally being recognized as an indigenous people.

But our languages aren’t all the same. Just like tribes in North America have different languages, even neighboring tribes can differ. Government offices have recognized one Sámi language as “official” and not others, even in areas where there are no Sámi who use that particular language, we are forced to use one that isn’t ours. We become homogenized, because that’s what colonialism and empires do to people, even when they are trying to do good, they aren’t. We all look the same and dress similar, and might sound the same to these outside colonizers, so they lump us all in the same category, assuming that we all herd reindeer and only live in the snow where no one else would want to live. We couldn’t possibly be farmers or fishers or engineers.

Bottom line: Appropriation = bad. Dissemination = good. That’s what I am doing here, I am disseminating, because we are dying, and if we take this knowledge with us, then it is gone forever, lost to the ages, lost to our oppressors.

Day of the Sámi People

Poulsbo, WA – On December 1, 2018, I petitioned the Mayor of the City of Poulsbo to make a proclamation that February 6th be named the Day of the Sámi People in the city.

Viking Fest Parade, Poulsbo, WA – Sons of Norway

Poulsbo proudly calls itself Viking City, and takes great measures to recognize and honor their Scandinavian roots. They have statues of Leif Erikson, signs welcoming visitors in Norwegian, and they even hold a bon fire ceremony on Solstice, complete with “Viking” reenactors.

Flags from all Scandinavian countries can be seen throughout the city, on official government buildings, and private citizens. Norwegians Only parking signs are not an uncommon sight. Businesses named Valhöll Brewing, and Viking Feat Ice Cream, and a shopping center called Viking Village are easily found throughout the landscape.

The Guardian Stone, Poulsbo, WA Waterfront Park

But, there was no recognition of the indigenous people of the lands they so proudly hail. The Sámi People, who, like the indigenous people of this continent, underwent, and continue to undergo the struggles of colonization, appropriation, genocide, culturecide, environmental destruction of traditional lands, forced education and Christianization, imprisonment for living by traditional ways, and the annihilation.

Many Sámi face complete extinction, entire distinct language and cultural groups are critically endangered, some are now completely gone. For my people, the Pite Sámi, there are less than 50 native speakers of our language left in the world.

Day of the Sámi People Proclamation

The Mayor’s office responded positively to my request, and asked that draft a proclamation for Mayor Becky Erickson to sign. I was elated that there was such a positive response from the City of Poulsbo, and began working on my draft. A few days later, I was ready to send it off to the Mayor’s office, not entirely certain how they would respond to what I had written.

I called out the colonizing governments of Norway, Finland, Russia, and Sweden. The discrimination, prejudice, and the violation of indigenous rights.

For a week, I didn’t hear anything.

Then, an envelope arrived in the mail from the City of Poulsbo. It contained my proclamation, as written, signed and sealed by the Mayor.

Today, the City of Poulsbo will be flying the Sámi National Flag at City hall, and this evening, Mayor Erickson will be reading my proclamation at the Poulsbo City Council meeting at 7PM.

Thank you to the City of Poulsbo, for standing up and recognizing the Sámi People.

Liberty Bay Auto Center, located in Poulsbo, WA

It should also be noted, that on December 9, 2018, 3 days after petitioning the Mayor’s office, I reached out to Liberty Bay Auto Center, who flies flags from every Scandinavian country on their building, encouraging them to join the City of Poulsbo in honoring the Sámi people and fly the Sámi National Flag on their building. I never heard back from them. I even went in to their office, since we are also in search of a 15 passenger van, and mentioned that I had reached out regarding the matter. The salesman pulled up my name on the computer and I was listed, as I had sent the inquiry through their website, but there was never a follow up by anyone.

Norway – The Colonial Power

Imagine this. Close to a small lake, there is a little building. It has stood there for 120 years ever since your ancestors, who lived off fishing and foraging, built it. Your grandmother brings you to this place to pass your people’s traditions on to you. You go there in order to preserve knowledge, language, and cultural practices that have been passed down through generations, and that are at risk of being lost. Then one day, the state decides that this little, but important, building is built illegally. They set it on fire, and you have to see it burn to the ground.

In the beginning of April, the Swedish enforcement agency set fire to a Sami peat hut, and by doing so they set the blood boiling in many Sámi individuals, on both the Norwegian and the Swedish sides of Sápmi. There was a storm on social media, with posts marked with hashtags such as #colonialism and #ThereIsNoPostColonial.

The artwork named Pile O’ Sápmi

This is not the first time Sámi activists have used the term ‘colonialism’. When the young Sámi reindeer herder Jovsset Ánte Sara met the Norwegian state in the Supreme Court in December last year, his sister, Máret Anne Sara, set up an artwork consisting of 400 reindeer skulls in front of the Norwegian parliament. The artwork was named Pile O’ Sápmi, and one of the slogans associated with it was exactly ‘There is no post-colonial’. In support of Sara, the Sámi artist Sofia Jannok performed in front of the parliament. During her performance, she did not hesitate to label Norway a colonial power. The president of the Sámi Parliament, Aili Keskitalo, has also been known to use the term ‘colonialism’. Last autumn, she called the plans for what could become Norway’s second largest wind park ‘green colonialism’.

A pile of American bison skulls in the mid-1870s. Photo: Wikipedia

The average Norwegian might see this as an example that identity politics has gone too far, that the language is being used out of proportion and that it should be sufficient to speak about respect for Sámi rights. We are used to thinking of colonialism as “the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically”. The relationship between the Norwegian state and the Sámi people does not seem to fit within this definition.

In principle, the process is the same: one state’s exploitation of the resources in territories that have traditionally belonged to another people, without their consent.

But considering that under international law, indigenous peoples have special rights to land and natural resources that have traditionally been used by them, it becomes apparent that, in principle, the process is the same: one state’s exploitation of the resources in territories that have traditionally belonged to another people, without their consent. Therefore, from a Sámi perspective, the use of the term colonialism to describe the relationship between the Sámi people and the Nordic states is not that difficult to understand.

Sometimes it seems as if the Norwegian authorities lack both the willingness and the ability to familiarize themselves with Sámi perspectives. The Sámi Parliament is continuously ignored when it comes to questions regarding resource extraction and industrialization. Arguments in favor of creating employment opportunities and accruing wealth that will benefit the majority population are given more weight than Sámi rights.

Sámi traditional knowledge, cultures and languages are closely tied to the use of nature; losing the right to land and water could mean that we lose everything

Piece by piece, land is expropriated for new holiday cabins, roads, railways, mining and wind power, while local management of resources is replaced by stricter government control. It is not one single case, but the sum of all these cases that leads many of us to fear what future we will wake up to tomorrow. Sámi traditional knowledge, cultures and languages are closely tied to the use of nature; losing the right to land and water could mean that we lose everything.

It is not only Sámi activists that criticize the Norwegian authorities. Last month, the UN Human Rights Committee came with its concluding observations to the periodical report on Norway’s compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Protecting and fulfilling the rights of indigenous peoples is one of the areas in which Norway has been asked to improve, for instance with regards to discrimination, lack of language training, and insufficient protection of Sámi rights to land, fishing and reindeer herding. The Committee expressed concern that the right to free, prior and informed consent, which is a fundamental principle for the fulfillment of other rights of indigenous people, is neither protected by law nor ensured in practice.

Norway may well be one of the best in its class, but that counts for little when the majority of the class is failing

This shatters the image of Norway as a staunch protector of the rights of indigenous people. Norway may well be one of the best in its class, but that counts for little when the majority of the class is failing. So, to those that think the use of powerful words like ‘colonialism’ might lead to more conflict and division, rather than dialogue and understanding, I say this: the conflicts are there already, it is only a matter of opening your eyes. Perhaps it is precisely this that the term ‘colonialism’ can achieve.

This op-ed was originally published in Norwegian in the newspaper Klassekampen on 11 May 2018: 'Kolonistaten Norge'.

Germanic Feathers

Since time immemorial and throughout Roman and Christian empire expansion between the 2nd Century BC and the 12th Century CE into Germania, many Germanic and Celtic Tribes wore feathers (not horns) of sacred and revered birds into battle, and these feathers symbolized their prowess, honor, and bravery.

These feathers were bestowed upon warriors by chiefs or spiritual elders within the tribe, or by other tribes, bearing similarities to the use of feathers for indigenous peoples of North America. Eagle feathers were used by Germanian Tribes, but the eagle became a symbol of Rome, and with the expansion and atrocities committed against the Tribes by Rome, the veneration of the eagle faded.

Feathers were sacred items, and the misuse and misrepresentation of earning them was a severe crime in “Barbarian Law”, and would often be considered treasonous, punishable by death.

The use of these feathers persisted until the nearly complete Christianization of the Germanic Tribes, and the feudal system replaced the indigenous tribal cultures, and they became “white”.

Also, despite what you may see in popular media, all Germanic Tribes focused on extensive personal hygiene and grooming, and were rarely seen dirty or unkempt. One would be an outcast if they did not bathe or dress impeccably.

The portrayal of the indigenous Germanic people as dirty and filthy added to the fear being spread by the Romans, and later, Christians. Rome and the Church were clean and pure, while the evildoing pagan Barbarian savages lived in filth and in the woods like animals, and were a threat to all that is pure and just.

The Northern Tribes were especially known for their hygiene, and some stories remain from the British Isles between 793 and 1066, considered the Viking Age, about how the women there looked forward to raiding season, because the men coming were so much cleaner than the men of the isles.

This tactic was also used in American expansionism, and is referenced in its earliest foundational documents, calling the indigenous people of the land, “Merciless Indian Savages” in the Declaration of Independence.

One Germanic tribe is still honored for their hairstyle: The Suebenknoten, the Suebian Knot. The more elaborate the knot, the higher status one has Although this hairstyle is named for the Suebi, also sometimes called the Suevi, it, and similar hairstyles are used by a majority of the tribes.

These knots and hairstyles kept hair off the back of the head, and orderly. Sometimes, they were adorned with beads, fabric, and feathers. Hair on the back of ones head in battle could be used against you, it makes a great handle to control your opponent with, like reins.

Modern American football players, with long hair out the back of their helmets, would be laughed at in Germanic combat.

Having your long hair down when at home with family or in non-combat situations was acceptable, but it must be combed and kempt. Grooming tools were common among the indigemous Germanian people, combs, picks, tweezers, and even ear spoons (like a reusable Q-Tip) are often found in burial sites.

Ceremony and ritual often accompanied the grooming of hair before combat, is was often done by the wives, partners, slaves, children, or spiritual leaders of the tribe.

Beards were also often groomed and adorned before battle or ceremony.

Germanic Law

In Germanic Tribal Law, which could vary from tribe to tribe, and as with all cultures, evolved over millenia, was largely based on a compensation practice around the first century.

The majority of crimes, including murder, were settled through compensation for damages, and it generally frowned upon a revenge approach. Damages were largely determined by the victim, and ordered, if decided fitting for the crime, by the chiefs or by law speakers, who held the oral legal traditions for the tribes.

For much of Germanic Tribal history, only three crimes resulted in death.

– Treason – betraying your chief, family or fellow warriors.

– Incest – A forbidden act under all Germanic beliefs.

– Rape – A truly despicable act, with its own unique punishment, but typically only applicable upon the rape of fellow tribal members or other Germanic tribal members.

Treason was dealt with by hanging, as was incest, unless it was rape.

For rape, the perpetrators hands and feet would be bound, and they were thrown into peat bogs, as they see these crimes as being so heinous, that the evil of the perpetrators must be buried in the earth, never to return or be able to be honored by their families. Some of these criminals are found today, and are known as bog bodies, or bog people.

The excavation of these bog people would be seen as the reason why there is such a prevalence of rape and pedophilia in modern culture, their evil has been released from where it was sealed thousands of years ago.

For all other crimes, such as bodily injury, standard values were set for each body part, and an entire life was set with a weregild, also known as a man price. The average starting weregild for a freeman was equivalent to two hundred shillings of the time. Social status, rank, and amount of possessions would increase the weregild. Chiefs and nobles were often valued at twelve hundred shillings.

The weregild of all women was twice that of a man of equal status.

Early Roman and later Christian expansion from the sixth century onward, gradually replaced the compensation system with broader capital punishment for lesser crimes. Rape and incest were also transitioned to compensation offenses, but only if perpetrated against a Roman or Christian. It generally did not apply the other way.

These Roman and Christian policies continued in the empire scheme throughout Europe, and were also applied in American expansionism against the indigenous tribes of the North American continent.

Interpretatio Christiana

Interpretatio christiana – adapting non-christian elements of culture and historical facts into the worldview of Christianity.

Conversions were easier if people were allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditions while changing the object of their veneration to the Christian god.

Change calendars, manipulate the meaning of feasts, remove sacred places and objects and build churches where they once stood. Take their artifacts until they are lost from memory, and then reintroduce them with a Christian story.

In Sulpicius Severus’ book on the life of Saint Martin of Tours, he writes of the dedicated destroyer of pagan sites:

“wherever he destroyed heathen temples, there he used immediately to build either churches or monasteries”

Pope Gregory I wrote to Mellitus, first Bishop of London:

“that the temples of the idols in that nation ought not to be destroyed; but let the idols that are in them be destroyed; let water be consecrated and sprinkled in the said temples, let altars be erected, and relics placed there. For if those temples are well built, it is requisite that they be converted from the worship of devils to the service of the true God; that the nation, seeing that their temples are not destroyed, may remove error from their hearts, and knowing and adoring the true God, may the more freely resort to the places to which they have been accustomed.”

This can be seen in this image. This is a Menhir, a sacred standing stone to the pagans. When Christian missionaries arrived, they affixed a cross on top of it, and made it a sacred Christian site.

Most of the indigenous Germanic Tribal beliefs and values were forcibly evolved into Christian values through reinterpretation by missionaries, and with it, the Christian narrative also changed to incorporate the long held pagan values that many Tribes could not let go of, the natural world would not allow for it.

Germanic deities were converted into Christian demons, festivals and feasts were changed into celebrations of prominent Christian figures, dates of Christian births and deaths were adjusted to match the pagan dates. Miracles and magic of the pagan world also entered into the Christian narrative.

Any elements that could not be made to fit into Christianity, or that Christianity could not adjust itself to incorporate, especially the darker side of pagan practices like sacrifices and shadow work, were labeled as works of the Christian devil and were being propagated to undermine and corrupt Christianity. They could then be used to manipulate newly converted Tribal people from reverting back to the ways of their ancestors with terrorism and fear of eternal damnation.

Those pagans who would not let go of their traditional and indigenous beliefs would be executed for heresy and witchcraft.

Interpretatio graeca and Interpretatio romana, are similar concepts: associate or compare another cultures traditions and customs with the beliefs of the Greek and Roman Empires.

This practice is what we call “Cultural Appropriation” today and is a key element in becoming “White”.

This obliteration of our indignenous Germanic Tribal beliefs, the white washing of our culture, and incorporation of our people into the Holy Roman Empire system of governance, gradually evolved many of our ancestors into becoming the perpetrators of the same atrocities, which were unleashed upon their expansion onto the North American Continent. Thousands upon thousands of sacred sites to the indigenous Tribes of North America have been wiped out, replaced with Christian buildings, symbols, and graveyards.

Massacre of Verden

Verden an der Aller. A town of just over twenty six thousand people today, located in Lower Saxony, Germany, on the Aller river, has been the site of many happenings throughout its long history.

One of those happenings is known as the Massacre of Verden.

In the year 782, near Verden, at the confluence of the Aller and Weser rivers, Charlemagne, the Roman Catholic King of the Franks, King of the Lombards, and eventual Emperor of the Romans, ordered the mass execution of four thousand five hundred Germanic Tribal chieftains and heads of families who were said to have been leading the revolt against Charlemagne’s forced Christianization of the Germanic Tribes to Roman Catholicism in Saxony. All of them were executed in a single day.

In the Royal Frankish Annals of 782, these Tribesman are labelled as “Evildoers”, today, a familiar term in modern American politics.

Ten years prior, in the winter of 772, the Saxons raided, sacked, and burnt a Frankish Christian church in Deventer -which had been built by Lebuinus in 768- as a preemptive strike against a hostile invading Christian Frankish force and to prevent the annihilation of their indigenous cultural ways, which were growing and expanding in Germania, pushing into the expanding Roman Catholic Empire of the Franks.

Lebuinus, an Anglo-Saxon born missionary, wanted to follow the example of Saint Boniface, who had felled Donar’s Oak in Germania a few decades prior.

He devoted his entire life to the conversion of the indigenous Germanic Tribes from their Pagan ways, to Roman Catholicism. Lebuinus founded the town of Deventer, and built the church which was eventually burned by the Saxons four years later, on the east bank of the river IJssel.

In retribution for burning Lebuinus’ church, which was built without permission on Saxon lands, Charlemagne destroyed the Irminsul, a sacred tree and grove to the Saxons, a location as important and sacred to the Saxons as Yggdrasil is to the Northern Tribes. It was the pillar believed to support all of the skies, the tree of life. It was the center of all indigenous Saxon culture and belief, comparable to the importance of the Vatican or Salt Lake City to some Christians today.

There was no holier place for the Saxons than the Irminsul.

The destruction of the Irminsul sparked the thirty two year long Saxon Wars and the forced Roman Catholic conversion of the Saxon Germanic Tribes.

Hundreds of thousands of indigenous Germanic Tribesmen would walk away from their ancestors, their traditions, their songs and stories, and convert to Christianity, becoming “white” and joining the Empire, choosing to no longer be victims, and instead, become perpetrators.

Even more would refuse to convert, and would be executed for the crime of Paganism, often at the hands of their own Christian converted family members or friends.

Charlemagne, in 785, created the Capitulatio de partibus Saxoniae, “Ordinances concerning Saxony”, or “Saxon Capitularies”, generally considered to be Charlemagne’s rules for forced Christian conversion of pagans through the use of terrorism.

In the Capitularies, he wrote:

“If any one of the race of the Saxons hereafter concealed among them shall have wished to hide himself unbaptized, and shall have scorned to come to baptism and shall have wished to remain a pagan, let him be punished by death.”

The Masacre of Verdan is seen to be the precursor to the official policy of Charlemagne’s Frankish Empire, and it is a policy that has been continued into our very recent histories on the North American continent, and a policy of Christian churches and governments throughout the world.

Convert, or suffer and die.

In the mid-1930s, a memorial was constructed near the possible location of the massacre, called the Sachsenhain, the Saxons Grove.

It became a meeting place for the Schutzstaffel. The Nazi SS.

Charlemagne wasn’t always seen in a positive light in Germany due to his brutal campaigns against the Germanic Tribes and forced conversions, but Hitler, along with Joseph Goebbels, rehabilitated Charlemagne into a positive influential figure, using growing positive public opinion in order gain favor among French Nazi sympathizers and volunteers, even going as far as incorporating French Militia units into the Nazi army, naming them The 33rd Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Charlemagne.

Members of The Charlemagne Regiment were defending the Führerbunker during the Battle in Berlin until the end of the war.

The city of Aachen, where Charlemagne resided and died, holds an annual award, known as the Charlemagne Prize. It is awarded to people who contribute to the unity of Europe.

It honors Charlemagne, King of the Frankish Empire and founder of what became the Holy Roman Empire

Winston Churchill, Pope Francis, and Bill Clinton are among the recipients of this prize named for the brutal anti-indigenous terrorist and tyrant, King Charlemagne.

Teutonic Fury

Barbarian – a person in a savage, primitive state; indigenous; uncivilized person; a person without culture, refinement, or education; a non-Greek; a person living outside, especially north of, the Roman Empire; a person not living in a Christian country or within a Christian civilization.

Two thousand one hundred years ago, the Romans were suffering through a series of defeats at the hands of the three major Germanic Tribes of the time, collectively called by the Romans: The Barbarians.

The Teutons, the Ambrones, and the Cimbri. A confederation of indigenous Germanic and Celtic people, under the leadership of King Teutobod, whose name means “Raven People” in the ancient Celtic language, Gaulish.

Rome decided to place Gaius Marius in command of its forces, naming him General and Consul, a position he held an unprecedented seven times during his life. Today, he is sometimes referred to as the “Third Founder of Rome”.

The Battle of Aquae Sextiae took place in 102 BC, after the Teutons and Ambrones split from the Cimbri. This split would be a tragic decision that resulted in a Roman “divide and conquer” strategy still used today to subdue uprisings.

One hundred twenty thousand Teuton and Ambrones Tribal Warriors, led by King Teutobod, stood against six Roman legions, accompanied by cavalry, as well as auxiliary units, totaling forty thousand Roman soldiers.

The Romans were outnumbered three to one, and had been defeated by Teutobod time and time again. But Gaius Marius was about to change all of that. He was brutal, decisive, and had revamped the Roman military and its tactics.

Gaius enticed Teutobod to attack his front line, and he took the bait, but Gaius had hidden a force of four thousand men, led by Claudius Marcelus, his second-in-command. They circled behind the charging Barbarians, and slaughtered them.

Of the one hundred twenty thousand Germanic Tribesmen, ninety thousand were killed, and twenty thousand were captured, including women and children. Some of the prisoners were later forced to be Gladiators, slaves, and concubine to the Roman Empire.

The Romans only lost one thousand soldiers.

Among those captured, was King Teutobod himself, who was shackled in irons, and brought to Gaius to negotiate the surrender of his people and of Germania.

As part of the conditions of surrender, three hundred married prominent Tribal women were to be given to the Romans to serve as concubines.

The matron women begged to meet with Gaius to request that they instead be allowed to serve in the temples of Ceres and Venus rather then become concubine.

Gaius denied their request.

When the three hundred women heard this news, they killed all of their children.

The next morning, all of the women were found dead in each others arms. They had strangled each other in the middle of the night in mass suicide, rather than become sex slaves to the Roman Elite.

After this single battle, and the resulting prolicide and suicide, the Teutones and the Ambrones were virtually wiped out.

This paved the way for massive Roman expansion into Germania, the annihilation of Tribal culture and indigenous belief systems, and the assimilation of the Germanic Tribal people into Roman culture. Whitewashing began.

It set back all significant Tribal resistance for nearly six centuries.

Sacred Groves of Germania

The Germanic Tribes, since time immemorial, hold forests, groves, and sometimes, individual trees, as sacred places.

Conducting rituals, holding gatherings in these places, and at times, thousands of people from the regional Tribes come together, and hold a Ding (þing, assembly of chieftains and families).

One such place was known as Donar’s Oak, in the region of what is today Hesse, Germany.

Donar, known later to the fleeing Northern Tribes as Þórr, and who many non-tribesmen today call Thor, is a powerful and revered entity to all Germanic Tribesmen.

This grand and ancient Oak tree was a sacred place for all of the Tribes, and for a thousand years, it stood as a symbol and a ritual gathering place in honor of the great Donar.

As Christianity and the Empires spread throughout Europe, it was necessary to remove what was considered Pagan or Heathen sacred places, and replace them with Christian ones. Allowing a nature based culture to flourish did not align with the mission of Imperial Christianity.

In the 8th Century, Wynfryth, an Anglo-Saxon Christian, born in England, went on a mission to Germania. His primary objective: To root out all Pagans and convert them to Christianity.

Near the present day town of Fritzlar, one hundred miles north of today’s Frankfurt, at the crossroads of several important trade routes for all of Europe at the time, stood Donar’s Oak.

Wynfryth, who was later sainted and became known as Saint Boniface, could not convert the Germanic Pagans as long as this great Oak stood. It was a living symbol of the power that the revered Donar possessed among the Tribes.

More commanding, more visible, and much older than any single god of the Christians, who did not embody any living thing in nature that could be pointed to, witnessed, and worshiped. All that the Christians had were symbols, books, and buildings made by man. Donar’s Oak stood in view of all who were traveling along the trade routes, and Boniface knew that he could not compete with this massive, ancient, storied tree.

Boniface announced a gathering around the sacred Oak, and many of the tribal Chieftains and heads of families came. It would be considered highly rude, and possibly criminal under what the Romans called “leges barbarorum”, the laws of the Barbarians. Not attending a summoning to Donar’s Oak, no matter who called it, may result in loss of status, of chiefdom, and possible banishment from the Tribe.

When the Chieftains and people assembled around Donar’s Oak, Boniface, along with his band of Christian missionaries, began chopping down the sacred Oak.

As the great Oak was being felled before symbols of Christianity, Boniface announced that the power of Christ and his god was greater than that of Donar. To the dismay of all who gathered, Donar did not strike Boniface down, and it is told in some accounts, that a wind blew, and the giant Oak fell to the ground.

In shock, horror, and amazement that Boniface was not struck down by Donar while committing this sacrilegious act against Donar, the people converted to Christianity.

To add further insult, and seal the fate of the Pagans in Germania, and ensure their conversion for generations to come, Boniface used the wood from Donar’s Oak to construct a chapel on top of where the mighty Oak once stood, dedicating it to his apostle, Saint Peter.

Donar’s Oak no longer stood as a highly visible symbol to all who traveled through the region along the trade routes, the power of the Germanian Tribesmen and the Pagans was striped away in one moment as the ancient Oak that stood for a millennia, fell before the axes of Boniface and his men.

The era of Germanic Pagans was over. Now, a Christian church was seen by all, and word spread quickly throughout Germania:

Donar was dead, Christ lived.

The tribes of Germania have been fighting Empires and Christianity for thousands of years, their fight is no different than the ones we see today with the indigenous peoples of North America, it’s just been going on much longer, and, unfortunately, many of the descendants of those Tribesmen who witnesed the fall of Donar’s Oak, have joined the expansion and domination of Christianity and the Empire across the globe.

How long must these invading belief systems be allowed to prevail?

Why do we continue to allow and tolerate the destruction of sacred places?

Why is the world always at war with nature based belief systems?

As descendants of the converted Tribesmen, how do we come to terms with being the oppressor, servants of the Empire our ancestors capitulated to?

We played a key role in establishing white privilege, and continue to benefit from the decision of our ancestors today.