Monday, March 24, 2008

About the Book List

I have been meaning to explain my book list, because some of the titles may seem confusing. American Indian Thought: Philosophical Essays, ISBN 0631223045 is loaded with Native American thinking and Philosophy, and is extremely enlightening reading. It has several essays I find empowering. All of the Gregory Cajete books detail native science and aboriginal teaching methods, so are a staple on my shelf. the ISBN numbers are Native Science: 1-57416-035-4. Igniting the Sparkle: 1-882308-66-2, and both add a pedagogical component to the list. David Abram's "Spell of the Sensuous" is a sociological and experiential look at the human need to be in touch with the environment. In the February 25, 2008 edition of People Magazine, Page 53 it seems that Ellen Page is reading this book, ISBN 0-679-77639-7. This is one of the books that truly made an impact on what I do in teaching and day-to-day life. Many of the things i take for granted it seems others must tune out. A huge MUST read book. I like only certain philosophies, and Taoism fits with my thinking nicely. I'm a Gemini, and have always faced this sort of dichotomy in almost everything I do. The Benjamin Hoff books using Pooh and Piglet to illustrate various principles are great books to read, even for casual interest. The Tao of Pooh is ISBN 0140067477 and the Te of Piglet is ISBN 0140230165. No indigenous Science bookshelf would be complete without Blackfoot Physics By F. David Peat, ISBN 1578633710. It is truly a great explanation of native science and thought. Chemtrek is a laboratory text, written by Dr Stephen Thompson at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. The ISBN is 0-205-11913-1. This whole laboratory series is presented in a way that allows students to learn in many different modes with inquiry, action-based experiences. This author is not a native (He's British); but he thinks and teaches like one. I know Dr. Thompson personally, and he puts his student's education before anything else. While Chemtrek is a College-level text, the other title, Small-scale Chemistry Laboratory Manual by Thompson and Waterman is designed for High School level courses. That ISBN is 0201250071, and is somewhat harder to find. American Indian Contributions to the World by Emory Dean Keoke and Kay Marie Porterfield , ISBN 0816040524 is a super-duper reference to all kinds of native inventions that have changed the world. The Joseph Campbell and J.F. Bierlein books help bridge stories to science, and help understand the roots of our past. ISBN numbers are 0385418868 and 0345381467 respectively. I think I have listed all of the pertinent information for the book list, and hope it benefits you. Xest Xalxa, (Good Day, in Salish)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Knowing By Listening

How much do you know by what you have listened to? I mean really know? I know sometimes that my car needs a quart of oil, just by the sound of the engine. I know that the dog next door has been stepped on by the horse -AGAIN. I know that the car that drives by needs the brakes fixed. Can you tell how the forest feels by the way it sounds? Can you tell the water in the creek is polluted by the song it sings? Sometimes you can, sometimes not. Do the little birds that are now starting to return sing a song that is sad and needs care? I have listened to people walking by in the mall and heard angry, happy and sad footsteps, tired, old and young footsteps. It is very funny to have your eyes closed and look up and see old steps on a young person, and vice versa. The sound tells a little story about that person, as do the sparkle in their eyes, the way they hold themselves, their dress, and even their choice of shoes. I have heard women with voices like nails on a chalkboard, silk, a small stream, hoarse, husky, hard, sad, righteous and pitiful, as well as hundreds of other things. Men have the same voices, but all different. How many people can you identify in three spoken words or less?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Knowing- the Native Way.

Epistemology, or how do you know what you know. An interesting idea, this. Hmm, how do I know what I know? I know because I've studied it, done it, experienced it, tasted it, loved it, hated it, listened to it, taught it, and lived it. To quantify and question a person's knowledge seems a poor way to honor the person, if you ask me. If anyone asks my help, it is freely given, with what facilities I have at my disposal. Sometimes it is merely a shoulder to cry upon, moral support, or simply leaving a message. The occasional tire changing, faucet fixing, and quick jewelry repair are also included in that help. Sometimes the help is in the form of a refusal, as well, such as not lending someone beer money. I've helped people build their houses, paint their cars, and watch their children. I've also had to rely on others for those same things. Every one of us is the best at what we do in at least one thing. I try to empower others with that phrase. Think about that, really exceptional at one thing. It sounds like a PhD in some phase in life, doesn't it? I know a woman with 6 children, and she has a PhD in Patience, with special honors. Never loses her temper. I know another who tans and scrapes hides, she deserves a PhD in that. I know a man who can dry meat (sort of jerky, but not quite) and can cut meat like no tomorrow who deserves a PhD for that knowledge. The west is concerned with a piece of paper that informs others of your prowess in some field. All you really need to do is talk to people, most will tell you what they are passionate about, and what they do. I think that to test what people know is a hard business, and will continue to be a challenge for the west. Indigenous peoples look at a person with wrinkles and grey hair and see a library of life lived, with many lessons to be shared. The west seems to discard these like paperback books, a sad commentary if you ask me. The volumes of knowledge walking among us may never be truly realized.