Tag Archives: environment

Thanks?

Native

“To understand the magnitude of the genocide, it is instructive to lay out the pre-colonial sophistication of indigenous societies in the Americas. Not only were their agricultural systems highly developed to coexist with natural systems, they even invented methods of mass food storage, and charted trails within and between territories, many of which form the basis of the modern freeway system. Additionally, American Indians “were very healthy [and] lived long lives,” said Dunbar-Ortiz, “partly supported by excellent hygiene, which the Europeans always noted with some suspicion.” Many American Indian forms of self-government were matrilineal, which, explained Dunbar-Ortiz, was not simply “the opposite of patriarchy”; rather, it was a democratic form of government. In fact, “women were in charge of the food supply and the distribution of food.” There was also a rich and vibrant system of trade. These facts about pre-colonial Native American history “[don’t] make it out of the technical and archaeological journals,” she lamented.”

-Sonali Kolhatkar

I’m was still in bed when I read this article on my phone a few days ago. My husband and I had already received two early morning “Happy Thanksgiving” texts. Instead of going on a rant of resistance on my phone, I just texted the same in return to someone I know full well knows better than to think I take the ideas behind Thanksgiving seriously. But I get it. We just wanna wish each other and our families well and there’s no harm in that.

I was home schooled up until about seventh grade. Yes, I’m one of those children whose mothers took it upon themselves to educate my brother and I through correspondence course. And I remember reading for the first time about the great Thanksgiving feast that the Pilgrims made to thank the Native Americans for basically teaching them everything they needed to know to survive life in a “harsh” and foreign new land. On the next page they killed all the Native Americans they could. I literally remember looking back at the Thanksgiving Page and then at the massacre page. That just happened? I even remember sharing it with my parents and pointing out the obvious problems and they were like yeah, that’s what happened.

mmmkay…

Do  they still teach that history in schools now? WAIT! Don’t answer that question. I’m still in bed. Haven’t eaten my fourth round of leftovers yet.

But when I read the passage above in the two page article, I sort of sat back and ruminated a bit on these facts. Whenever I try to imagine a time on our planet when any Native peoples existed whose agricultural systems did not spoil and deplete the earth and had matrilineal forms of self-government, i just have to take a moment. Because to me it just sounds like a completely different world than what early American settlers had in mind and what was ultimately forged through murder, rape, slavery, genocide, brainwashing and historical whitewashing. How can I be proud of that? How can anyone?

You wanna talk about systems that work? How about a system where what is needed from the land to survive does not irreparably destroy that land? Who would fuck that up?

Sigh…nevermind.

Hope you and your family had a good one.

 

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Lessons in Non-equality and Why Segregation Often Works: Part 1

Earth Life

Have I lost you already?

Well if not just bear with me. It’s going to take me a few entries to work up to my point here (and I do have one) and when discussing touchy subjects like segregation and “equality I’m a fan of starting out with relatively simple examples that are easy to grasp and that most of us would agree are typically universal truths.

Let’s start with life forms and eco systems. Most of us can agree that different life forms, plants, animals, trees, reptiles, insects require different sources of energy and environmental sustenance to survive and thrive. Right? There are some plants and animals that have been imported and breed in non-native regions so we also know it’s possible to see life which had its genesis in one region, say South America growing and thriving in another region of America.

When you visit most any major Botanical Garden in America you will see the hot climate desert plants in the greenhouse where the environment is kept arid and moist. Domestic Cacti plants are perhaps the easiest plants to take care of because they need very little water. You over water a cactus and you could kill it. On the opposite spectrum are those plants that have very specific needs. It may not be enough to just water them every day or twice a day and leave them in the sun. The Phalaenopsis Orchid is such a life form. It’s rumored to be the easiest orchid to care for but you do have to pay considerably more attention to caring for it than you would a small domesticated cactus plant.

Now let’s consider a root vegetable like the Beetroot. Root vegetables rely very heavily on nutrients that come from the earth so it can be naturally assumed that the soil they live in is treated differently than the soil in which Orchids and Cacti or generally grown.

Years ago, when I lived with my family in the Bronx, we had a nice sized plot of earth in the back yard in which we planted tomatoes and peppers and squash among other things. And I remember that because we did not plant the squash far enough away their long tangled vines choked out a lot of the tomatoes we had planted. We weren’t experts and hadn’t anticipated it. Squash needs a lot of space. Certain varieties have vines with fine and curly creeping tendrils. It’s not like they mean to suffocate other plants. It’s just the nature of the way they grow.

Now, those examples being given, can we agree that Orchids, Cacti and Beetroots are not equal? Yes, they are all plant life forms, but they require very different nutrients, amounts of light, water and food to survive.  I’m certain that any skilled botanist and or farmer would not advise planting cacti, orchids and Beetroot side by side either. But! They could probably survive under the same roof.

Okay, I’m going to give you the rest of the day to let all this sink in and then return tomorrow with part two.

You might be thinking: Is this chick really going to compare people to plant life?

Maybe…Stop jumping ahead!