Monday, February 25, 2008

Indigenous Thought!

A basic underpinning of indigenous thought is the realization of the interconnectedness of all things. Deep ecology comes to my mind as another sort of explanation, but as a thought process. If you are truly connected to the place you live, you can look and see where one thing depends on another for its being there. We have Rough-legged hawks that winter here in the valley, because we have a good supply of small rodents. We have a good supply of rodents because we have grain and grasses the grow here in plenty. In order to have grasses, we have to have the right rain and sun patterns that allow them to grow here. We also have the whitetail deer, who also have a great love for grasses, so we can count ourselves lucky to have those beings here as well. To me, philosophically, this is a great place to live because you can still see things connecting without much human damage. But the damage is happening, places traditionally used for food gathering and other cultural traditions are being used for housing sites, plowed under, and trampled by improper livestock practices. I see use of the land making certain places tired. It is something to drive by a piece of property (I truly mean in the western sense, fences and all.) and see and/or feel that it needs a break from the constant winter pasturing of x numbers of cattle. I like beef as much as the next omnivore, but there has to be a better way. Always, always always, Is man a part of nature or are we above it?

That is my thought for today.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Buckskin Encampment: Want to join?

How about the concept of a "Buckskin Encampment"? This ideology would allow for multiple learning styles, all within the autochthonous milieu, and also would foster the idea sharing among many, as well as knowledge in return for becoming a part of the community. This is where we need to go as natives involved in education, learning, science and community. All peoples need to learn how to connect with the world around them. For the most part, those who have maintained as indigenous as possible still teach and live this way, from what I've seen and heard. I am using this as a counterpoint to the "Ivory Tower" syndrome prevalent in western education. It is changing, but institutions change glacially. As far as where you come from, it could be a wigwam, igloo or even a cave. I think the concept really depends on the place you are at, and then further defined by the group of people. If someone acquires the first and most basic understandings of native thought, the rest should be guided in a good way. As we know, the west does not want to wait to gain understanding, they want it right gosh-darned-to-heck right now. Understanding takes time and observation as well as patience. Native traits would better serve the world!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Navigational Narration or Native Navigation

I'm writing a supplement to the Geocache post, and adding the term NN, for Navigational Narration or Native Navigation. This refers to the process of creating a story to get from one place to another, hence the update. If you don't use a formal written language, and rely on oral history communication, a story of getting from place to place is a logical outcome. As this all refers back to caching, think of a story of the things you would find from your recliner to the cookie jar. I myself would emerge from my chair and turn towards the mountains, and cross the linoleum expanse of the plains of the gathering zone, passing by the canine font and eatery, along the cliffs of despair, past the frozen food repository and near the bread burning device to find the receptacle of sugary goodness. (the cliffs of despair would be on the counter where the bills accumulate! You should be able to figure out the rest of the landmarks.)

Just remember, every where you go, a story is just waiting to be recorded and told!

Sunwise or antisunwise, that is the question.

Deiseil or Widdershins? With the sun or against it? I have a great love for archaic and older words, because they tend to be more descriptive than the tripe we see most of the time. I had read the word widdershins in a murder mystery some time in the past, and found that it meant dancing in an anti-sunwise direction. I thought to myself, “There has to be another old word to describe the opposite. Hmmm.” I looked in my old dictionary from my parents’ house; you know the type, about 8 by 10 by about a foot thick? My mom purchased it because it was the first on she had found with the word “antidisestablishmentarianism.” My three siblings and I had to learn to spell this word because some girl had won a spelling bee on television with it at some point. In this monster of a dictionary it said under widdershins, see also deiseil. These words are of meaning to me because at our war dance celebration in July, and all other pow-wows, we (Salish, Kootenai, Pend d’Oreille people) dance deiseil. Our neighbors across the mountains, the Blackfeet, dance widdershins. As you may have been able to deduce, sunwise and anti-sunwise also mean clockwise and counterclockwise. Other terms might include sinistra and destra. More familiar than that might be dextrous, or ambidextrous, meaning right-handed or either handed, but both with the root right handed, and sinister, meaning left handed and also evil. Do we really think anymore that left-handed people are sinister, and evil, or is it just an arbitrary trait we have specifically bred for?