A Little Humility

In today’s article about rediscovering 13th century Puebloan agriculture, Indian Country Today speaks of the “sophisticated environmental understanding” and “acute observational skills” required in order to prosper in the harsh environment of the American Southwest. ICT’s Stephanie Woodard notes that this level of awareness gave the Pueblo tribes “a different way of looking at life.”

In 1996, Center for World Indigenous Studies Chair, Rudolph Ryser, presented at the University of Victoria on the topic of the Anti-Indian Movement in Canada. In this talk, Dr. Ryser discussed the war between indigenous nations and modern states over land and resources. He also observed that 90% of the varieties of corn, rice, and potatoes had become extinct, making world food supplies dangerously vulnerable.

Watching last week’s food riots — brought on in large part due to industrial agriculture’s mono-cropping for First World consumption habits — reminded me of the connections so clearly understood by indigenous peoples long before there were such things as scientists, free markets, or modern states. With forest destruction worldwide accelerating to satisfy biofuel consumption, aboriginal Fourth World leaders are the only ones left capable of addressing this catastrophe intelligently, effectively, and ethically. Seems like time for a little humility on the part of dominant societies, don’t you think?

~ by Jay Taber on May 15, 2008.

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