Monday, October 11, 2021

Indigenous Peoples' Day and #WEPFF #WEP SCREAM

Considering my own blood, I feel that it is of the utmost importance that I publish this post TODAY. 

I'd also like to take a moment to remind everyone that the Vikings sailed to North America almost 500 years before an Italian. If you happen to like math:
2021-1492= 529 years ago
2021-1000= 1021 years ago
So the time between the Vikings getting to North America and an Italian getting to North America is roughly the same amount as the Italian getting to North America and our present day. How much more do we know now than we did in 1492? How much more advanced is our travel now? Imagine if our current modes of travel were finally as good as the modes of travel from about five hundred years ago. 

But never forget that in Europe at the time anywhere that wasn't Christian-ruled was fair game to be "discovered." That was it. That was the baseline for if a place and people existed or not. Anywhere not practicing Christianity was "undiscovered" and meant to be conquered and all non-Christians were non-humans meant to be slaves (though a few were allowed to convert instead, and sometimes Jewish people were exempt). Thus the technology of the Vikings, despite being five hundred years ahead of the curve, didn't count. (That's simplifying the logic.)

Imagine if another religion of sorts comes to power and in five hundred years from now someone invents the computer, the Internet, and bunches of digital media devices. The thing you're using right now to read this doesn't count. It wasn't created by a follower of that religion. Sorry Gates and Jobs, you should have signed up for something you hadn't heard of in your lifetimes! Uncivilized heathens.

The WEP flash fiction I'm offering up is NOT to be considered true or accurate, nor is it meant to reflect anyone who may or may not have existed, and the antagonist certainly isn't Queen Isabella I or King Ferdinand II or Henry VII or any other real royal. And the people the protagonist is talking about are entirely fictional. The images/ memes/ infographics provided are just for fun. The way someone might draw a 🚦 light next to an excerpt of the Great Gatsby. 

#WEP 2021 Artistic Inspiration for October - THE SCREAM! #wepff

Savage Findings

I hold my findings close to my chest as I am marched down the corridor. The guards open the doors and I am announced.

"Well? What news have you?"

I am not given the courtesy of a glance. To them, I am a replaceable servant. I reference my precious findings as I speak, hoping they will understand.

"The land he found was populated. Not by a handful of people, but by a booming population."

They snort. "Booming? Have you sworn your allegiance elsewhere?"

"Of course not, Majesties. I seek only to fulfill the directive to report in detail." I am waved to go on, the amusement dying down.

"Our weapons are superior, far stronger than their own. However, ammunition must be adequate, for they have an endless supply and we will have only what we transport."

"So they are the ones We told you not to speak of to anyone? Is that how they defeated the historic heathens?"

"I feel assured these are the same the others encountered long ago. Or perhaps are a related colony. I believe the peculiar weather and knowledge of the land were larger factors in that defeat."

They look at me. I know I must turn my gaze downward, to show obedience, but I do not.

"Lower your eyes and your voice! What proof have you that they are the same?"

I page through my findings and hold up a drawing of one man I met. "This one spoke our language. The dialect was outdated, but we were able to communicate."

They slam goblets and whisper an argument before I am addressed again.

"It means nothing. We are superior. There are birds that mimic our language, it does not mean they are intelligent."

"Of course, Majesties." They motion for me to go on. 

I tell them about the library with more books than their own. They denounce it as works of the Devil or markings of fools, saying even a child could create something that resembles a book. I tell them about the economy.

"No poverty? No slaves? How do people know how valuable their leaders are if they do not pay tribute? That is a ridiculous economic system. Do the castles run themselves? Can you imagine if I had to clean the floors?" They laugh at this idea. I am foolishly trying to explain a concept beyond their imagination. 

"Your Majesty, they have no castles. All live among each other. Each person does what they are best at doing, each contributes and shares. A collective of the wisest does not just advise a leader who has inherited a position."

"We rule as appointment by The Almighty."

I bow my head lest They order it removed. "Yes, of course. My reference was to other realms you have had me study, of course. How they differ from those places."

After considering this, I am allowed to continue. I detail the infrastructure. How roads have been created to blend with nature, giving them camouflage. I discuss the trade network that exists, even with others who have such a different economic structure from our own. It is difficult to explain that our precious metals, our gold and silver, mean nothing to them.

"They must have mines deeper than the deepest valley! Why else would they pretend to have no interest in the pittance We gave you for trade?" Another concept I cannot convey. 

I talk about the food, how they have mastered farming in ways of which we have yet to dream. I show my drawings of the clothing, how it suits the environment. They laugh at how little is worn in the summer and ask questions mostly about my crude sketches of breasts. 

"Both sexes prance around topless? Such savage impropriety." 

"Your Majesty, they know not of modesty. Also, they believe in more than two sexes."

Long minutes pass as They laugh about that observation. I am implored to show a drawing of this, asked to sketch one now for Them. 

I do something I have never done before. I lie to Royalty. "With regret, Majesties, I did not encounter one nor any artists renderings, so I am unable to do as you request."

As They are already displeased, I opt to talk about the waste systems. How they lack garbage, how they deal with excrement, and about the elaborate bathing. I show drawings of fountains and of bathing areas. "It is like a waterfall, or like a steady rainshower. Yet the water is warm."

"Every savage brought here is starved and stinks. You describe a people that do not exist." 

I bow low. "Forgive me. When I arrived on the dock this morn, I stank. While I was to report to you immediately upon return, I admit to first having a bath and putting on proper attire so as not to offend."

"You bathed and dressed because you are not a savage."

"With respect, I also did so because I could. No chains kept me from such a choice. I walked free from my ship cabin, where I had been afforded a bed and decent meals. They are in the cargo hold and given just enough to survive, sometimes less. How you see what arrives in port is not accurate to those who live on that land."

The Majesties all rise. One approaches me. Instinctively, I drop to my knees. I hope to return to the land, which means staying alive.

"Savages are what We say they are. We say they stink, therefore they offend the nose. We say they have no language, no literature or art, no culture of which to speak. They lack a functional government or economy. Without Our rule, they will not survive. We say the savages are lower than dogs."

My findings, years of work, are gathered and tossed to the fire. I scrabble to the flames, but it is no use. My ash-covered hands slap my cheeks as I scream.

They command, "Be silent or be next."

Savage Findings by

 J Lenni Dorner

#tagline = A fictional 15th-century anthropologist delivers his findings, then screams when ignorant royalty destroys his work.

Word Count = 999 ~ FCA

Please also check out the GIVEAWAY on Operation Awesome:

You could win a book from your local indie shop or Audible, or a $5 Amazon e-giftcard from me!

Finally, I'd like to share something that I am internally screaming about:


  1. 😱 Excellent story. Have a good Indigenous Peoples' day. And yeah, sorry, I wasn't expecting your reaction to the book thing.

  2. Amazing story. You have a way of grabbing at the heart of things. It invoked great emotions, outrage at the royals and sorrow for the individual who isn't listened to and loses all their work.

  3. Thank you.
    I am screaming for the work wasted, and for the wisdom of indigenous people (the world over) ignored, dismissed, destroyed.
    Your internal scream resonates too. I am sorry.

  4. Thank you JLenni for all this information that reminds us of all the wisdom lost at each civilisation revolution. In Europe, we also massacred people who had created communities built on sharing and trust. The Roman Empire was the first to turn the European continent upside down, North Africa and the Middle East equally and set the precedent for further exploring and destroying all over the planet. Asia also played a part in grinding free tribes into the ground. Sadly, we have not learnt a thing as we continue to drown the means of the human race's subsistence in concrete and hazardous substances.

  5. Oh, my heart.
    I've never understood why cultures want to be predominant. We lose so much when cultures fade away or disappear - whether it be through plague or natural disasters or violence or forced assimilation... The true beauty of humanity is the diversity of us.
    The residential schools showcased the worst of humanity. I can only hope our species has learned and won't make those mistakes moving forward...

  6. Very powerful rendition of a historical truth.

  7. Such a tragedy that advanced civilizations are lost, because others seek to conquer and suppress. Thank you for this excellent historical insight!

  8. I totally felt the frustration of the scholar--seems to sort of remind me of some folks these days... aw, no, couldn't possibly be that :D

    Great little tidbits about history, too.

  9. That poor researcher. Of course they burnt his papers. They want power; the truth doesn't matter to them.

  10. Humans in their lust for power and arrogance keep reinventing the wheel losing the collective wisdom of centuries.
    The Indus Valley Civilisation had sanitation too. Makes sense that indigenous peoples living in warm climates would have worked out hygiene, sanitation, waste disposal and environment management better than people inhabiting the colder regions.
    The anthropologist's scream totally resonates! And I loved the historical snippets as well. A wonderful entry for WEP and an awesome take on the prompt. Thank you.

  11. Happy Indigenous People's Day J Lenni! Your entry is just one of the reasons I love WEP and make sure it doesn't die out! Through your story, such a lot of information to glean about history, attitudes, discoveries, beliefs... Past cultures have done a lot more than they're given credit for - we still scratch our heads about how the ancient pyramids were built and so many things like that. Most western civilizations have subjugated their First People's and discarded their ancient wisdom. Our Australian aborigine's fire practices were denigrated, too, and now we suffer horrendous bushfires every summer because of the failure of land clearing. Go figure.

  12. Hi,
    I am a history lover and I remember studying about the reactions of the royalty when Columbus finally returned home to give a report. You have done an outstanding job of painting a picture of how it could have been. I enjoyed reading this.
    Shalom aleichem

  13. Hi J Lenni - yes the indigenous peoples must be remembered, and must be learnt from ... thank you for reminding us. I knew about the Vikings and their explorations between the various islands in the north Atlantic - eventually reaching NewFoundland. Thank you for the entry too ... desperate to lose one's research and wealth of knowledge. All the best - Hilary

  14. I am still shocked and amazed by all the atrocities that occurred, but horrified on a much deeper level because they are still happening. The human race is the most inhuman - the more power they are given the more inhuman they are. Destroying all that is good, insures remaining in power through fear. We watch it happen daily. Your writing on this is flawless, heartbreaking, and a reminder - forget the past, and repeat it. Is that our destiny?

  15. Humanity has a long history of dehumanizing others to justify conquest. It's such a sad reality. You wrote a compelling story, and while it contains fictional characters, the truth you communicated through your words was profound.

  16. You’ve written a powerful story that speaks to the historical reality of man’s need to conquer and rule without giving thought or credence to the magnificence of other cultures. It’s sad for the researcher who spends years learning about those cultures and is summarily dismissed when reporting his findings. Thank you for this meaningful story.

  17. An amazing POV. Truth is not welcome in royals who wish to rule and squash the rights of others. They believe to be deities of God and place on a higher level above all. How would they survive and show power without enslaving others. Horrid times that seem to be repeating themselves in other lands such as Afghanistan. I enjoyed your piece!

  18. I loved the tension. I imagine a similar conversation did truly occur. I like that your story is carried by dialogue. Your subject is also very important to me. Thanks for writing!

  19. Gosh, J, that was so powerful.

  20. It is such a shame that the so called superior race was blinded by their own ignorance and didn't appreciate what native Americans could offer. I hope we've learned a lesson, but there are some, I fear, who will never learn. Well done.

  21. Thank you for sharing this powerful piece of writing. How sad that such a rich culture can be denied and erased by those who want to control and exploit it. Sorry for the loss of your family member.

  22. That is such a powerful story, and not hard to imagine being close to the truth of what happened, because it is still happening today.

  23. Unfortunately, history does repeat itself. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we'd actually learn from our past and not exploit and subjugate the "other"? Instead, how about something called inclusion and collaboration? Stories like yours need to be told as often as possible in hopes of changing the way humans operate on the planet. Thanks for yours today.

  24. You have written a wonderful story and I wish it was only fictional. But the sad truth is that there's a lot that is based on the truth. It's truly tragic that human beings have to think of themselves as belonging to the most superior race and are shaken instead of curious when they meet people of another race.

  25. You have written a wonderful story and I wish it was only fictional. But the sad truth is that there's a lot that is based on the truth. It's truly tragic that human beings have to think of themselves as belonging to the most superior race and are shaken instead of curious when they meet people of another race.

  26. What incredible insights. Thank you for a really well told story that is so realistic, it probably happened! Mankind is not kind and the human race is inhuman. Power, greed, a false sense of self worth... these things make us blind to beauty and ignorant of invention. This is a great link to next month's prompt on Narcissus

  27. That's a powerful story. I wish humanity would learn from the past and not repeat the same mistakes.


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