That was my thought when I read about the funeral.
End of story.Except that last week the NYTimes printed a lovely “equal times” article about the story.
So when I read about the funeral service, it peaked my interest, since right now there is a struggle for recognition by many Eastern tribes who have long been assimilated but who want recognition (as a way to to revive their culture, but cynics say partly to reap casino money).
Several other hints that there was no “native American” connection is that his photo showed him holding a can of beer. Native Americans are well aware of how drugs and alcohol destroy a person’s spirit and the harmony of the circle of life. Show a photo with a can of beer? I don’t think so.
Yet the eclectic burial “celebration” of this poor boy suggests that instead of finding the roots of spirituality in their own ancestors and their parents religion, they chose to simply replace these lessons with an eclectic religion of vague “spirituality” that has neither the depth of experiecne nor the piety of tradition nor the recognition of how to cope with the negative side of life. Is this the root of the anger behind the killing? For only someone with a deep abiding anger against authority would repeatedly provoke local policemen with disrespect to the point of assault.
So instead of an abusive police man arresting someone for “driving while Indian”, the story seems to be merely what it was originally: A cop stops a known druggie for a traffic violation, and the druggie kills him.
Luckily Catholics believe in Purgatory, where lost souls can find healing before entering the narrow gates, and indeed perhaps these two enemies will understand and reconcile with the grace of God.
So I will remember both of these men in my prayers tonite.
Such prayers are “old fashioned” for even Catholics, but like most wisdom that has roots deeper than the drug culture of 1969, the idea has a comfort in it.