WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT NATIVE AMERICAN CEMETERIES?
“America is not a young land, it is old and dirty and evil. Before the settlers, before the Indians… the evil was there… waiting.”
William S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch”
There is nothing more exciting as driving across the beautiful American country roads, experiencing the touch of history, mixed with wild nature and forgotten old traditions. It is a journey of life, the alphabet of adventure, the spiritual roll coaster. The book of American identity has no thousand pages but it is still breathtaking since it is written with the love, passion, pain and hope of so many cultures. Among all of them, the Native Americans have imprinted the most effective pictures, the strongest feelings and the unforgettable voices of the past times.
The ancient folklore of Native Americans have influenced many layers of the modern American society and reshaped the cultural perspective of Americans. Only in America could be found so many footprints that speak their own story and lead us into the universe of mystical traditions and archaic myths. The portrait of the Native American spirit is somehow merged with the urban world and its own pulse. Nevertheless, if we dig under the surface of legends, facts and memories, we will come to the point to conclude that the American society is obsessed with paranormal and supernatural stream. The psychologist explain it through the needs of people to escape the monotony of daily lives and to jump into the dangerous ocean of fear. In the case of Americans, the haunted houses and the walking dead are the relief button for the accumulated stress but also the relicts of the Native American core beliefs. This applies especially on the popular haunted places investigations and the cursed areas that are directly linked to the Indian burial sites and their significance.
The Anglo fascination with Native American burial lands goes back to the 18th century. Even the poet Philip Frenau was writing about the Indian spirits that still hunt, feast and play on the ground. He believed that life still moved there. Very soon, the idea of haunted places has been adopted as the inspirational pattern for books and movies. The Indian burial site has been always found in the background of horror events: “Its popularity stems almost entirely from Jay Anson’s 1977 massive bestseller, The Amityville Horror and the genre-defining horror film based on it. Anson’s book, advertised as a true story, was based on testimony from George and Kathleen Lutz, who claimed to have undergone a harrowing experience in the Long Island, New York, hamlet of Amityville. When the Lutzes bought their dream home, they knew it had been the site of six murders: In October of 1974, twenty-three-year-old Ronald DeFeo, Jr., shot his father, mother, two sisters, and two brothers in the house. Deciding not to let this factor influence their decision, the Lutzes bought the house just over a year later. But a host of unexplained occurrences took place as soon as they moved in: George began waking up every morning at 3:15 a.m., the time that the DeFeo murders had happened, and the Lutz children began sleeping on their stomachs, the same pose in which the DeFeo victims had been found dead. The children began acting strangely and claimed to see a pair of red eyes hovering outside their bedroom. In less than a month, the Lutzes abandoned the Amityville home, leaving their possessions behind.” The couple tried to find out why the house is cursed and they witnessed the records of paranormal investigations and medium project. At the end of the day, the house was built on the Indian burial ground, and it was stated that Shinnecock Indians have used the area of the Amityville House for their sick, mad or dying people. That would mean a lot of negative energy has been vacuumed in one place so the channels of bad vibrations have been opened and have further emitted the malign emotions. The researcher Ric Osuna has finally denied the myth and wrote that there are no Native Americans capable to do so brutal things to each other’s as the modern people usually do. Beside it, based on his study, the human remains have not been discovered under the house ground but miles away.
What is so sacral and dangerous about the Native American burial lands? The simple fact that they speak about the taken land, destroyed lives, killed hope of the non-white people. One journalist has written that legend of the Native American cemeteries is a reminder that middle-class Americans don’t own anything they believe they do and that the ghosts of revenge will never give up to fight for the people that have been forgotten in Indian Wars. The majority of people are aware of the injustice that has been done to the Native American tribes and if they think deeper about the Indian mystical religion, they cannot think rationally but irrationally, seeking for a dangerous unrest soul. The burial grounds that are signed by Native Americans are so popular among people that are attracted to the spiritual mystery of undefined and unexplained burial traditions. The ordinary people love to believe in the never-ending dimensions of Native American stories of supernatural. They are known to be spiritual people and somehow, their relations with the world of spirit and nature is something that turns their death into the soul journey. Their souls live forever because they do not believe in death itself.
I don’t believe that Native Americans have cursed any land or caused the spiral of violence. Their deep wisdom and high spiritual energy have been always interpreted as the synonym for mysticism and esoteric practice. Unfortunately, when people cannot explain or understand something, they plot the irrational fear and cover it with illogical theories. The reason not to build houses on the former burial land is not that the angry spirits will come and revenge but because there must be a social respect for the places where rest those who died. The negative forces always come from those who live and never from those who are dead.
The holy ground of Indian cemeteries must be protected as the element of Native American culture that has been denied for years in America. Pre-Columbian time is very important to be integrated in the mosaic of American identity and people should be informed about the hell that Native Americans experienced battling for their basic rights. Even now, the government is not capable to ensure the territories of tribes and protect them from corporative greed of industrialization. Denial of human rights of Native Americans will not wake up their evil ghosts but will corrupt our sense for justice and fair play. They deserve to be respected, the dead as well as those who live. The Native Americans have always tried to make a harmony between life and death and they believe that reincarnation is key answer to our ongoing cycles. Their hyper sensibility comes from their spiritual awareness that life is just a stage in between. It further means that world of spirits is very strong within Native American system of religions but it doesn’t mean that angry ghosts are hunting and haunting people.
We see the Native Americans the way we are, through our own visions of life after death. We should see them, as they are, eagles that fly over the sky, conquering the storm, living for a moment, being prepared for an eternal journey through the centuries, through the many lives at once.