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Splitting the Sky

Indigenous peoples, two hundred fifty million, or more, and the most endangered of the human species have had three roads open to them these last fifty years. They could disappear into the larger societies being careful to leave no trail to their past, their ancestors, culture and spiritual values. They could enter the prisons of the body, mind and souls constructed for them from concrete, steel, alcohol, drugs, violence, segregation and cruelty. Or they could resist, assert their dignity, their equal worth and struggle for the survival of their people and all they have to offer humanity, at their peril.

John Hill, as I first knew his name, Dacajeweiah, Splitting the Sky, has lived these last fifty years in prison, part time and too long, but in the struggle always. A First American, his people have been here since millennia before the Conquistadors, Jamestown, the Mayflower, the slave trade, the Irish potato famine, the California gold rush, the Chinese Exclusion Act or George Armstrong Custer. For half a century, he has painfully experienced at the cutting edge, the worst that immigrant waves, overwhelmingly Caucasian for centuries, had to offer those who stood in their way to all the riches of the western continent. Born among the poorest, street lived in the slums of Buffalo, "incorrigible," legally underage Attica inmate, in the biggest prison rebellion and most deadly police assault in U.S. history. Growing, learning, committed advocate and activist far the north American Indian from the Atlantic to the Pacific, emerging leader in a worldwide movement, observer, strategist and chosen Sundance Chief at the time of the Gustafsen Lake confrontation in British Columbia in which Canada employed all the violence, deception, wiles and corruption learned from five hundred years experience in crushing Indian peoples.

It is a life - a history - we need desperately to know. It has been told: The Autobiography of Splitting the Sky: From Attica to Gustafson Lake written with his wife Sandra Bruderer. If you are concerned with human destiny, you must read it.

Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney-General

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