By Marty Liboff
(Love to John & Anna Haag)
For countless millennia the Chumash, Tongva, Kizh, Gabrielino – the People danced, prayed and sang on our beaches. The rivers ran to the sea watering the lands around Venice and Santa Monica. The men smoked pipes and sang songs of peace and plenty to the great spirits. They enjoyed roasting fish, clams and abalone along our shores. They built long boats and sailed to our islands catching tuna and halibut. Their beautiful topless ladies wore lovely necklaces of shells and seeds. Men tended wondrous rose gardens and everyone wore flowers and ate the hops. Women gathered acorns and made delicious foods. The marshes around Venice and the Marina had an abundance of deer, ducks and elk. Fighting was rare and it was good times. They revered the magic owl and the swimming porpoise people. Then one day a gigantic canoe was sighted off our shores. They sailed out to greet these very strange men from a distant world, but they were unfriendly. One day more of these strange ones came riding beasts and carrying sharp long knives and spears and fire sticks and ordered them to move from the rivers and their rose gardens. The next day these new settlers put a dam in the river to crow crops. The Venice marshes dried up. The fox, deer, rabbits and ducks lost their homes. The People were told to work building their missions and homes and tending their crops. The women were forced to wear cloths even in the terrible heat. They were ordered to stop singing and dancing to their ancient gods and to only pray to someone called Jesus. They were told Jesus was love, but these strangers didn’t seem to hear their own words. Used and abused, killed and forgotten, tens of thousands died. Disease and unhappiness filled their lives. Some hid in the hills, but were hunted and murdered. Soon their garden of Eden passed out of memory. Cattle, sheep and farms replaced the sacred trees and marshes. Even the great grizzly bear disappeared forever. The songs and dances and drums and flutes were forgotten. Time passed and giant cities fouled the land and even the fish were poisoned. Millions of strangers from unknown worlds far, far away replaced the People and their rose bushes and their topless maidens. These strange ones called it the New World, but wasn’t it their old lands? Then one day a giant space canoe came down from the heavens from a distant world with new strange settlers from a distant galaxy. The next day we were ordered to move and we too became as the Gabrielino, Chumash and the grizzly bear…
Categories: History, Marty Liboff, Venice
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