working together for social inclusion in America

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Curating Social Knowledge

One of my colleague's students asked if I found my indigenous associates to have a different philosophical perspective. I responded by noting that their cosmology and epistemology was in sharp contrast with dominant society views, and mentioned an interview with Richard Atleo they might find helpful.

Making a connection with philosophies indigenous to the landscape we inhabit could be exciting to students and others feeling adrift in the modern world. Looking at methods of curating social knowledge over long time frames gives one a sense of adaptation and evolution of such things as morality -- processes that apply to the European diaspora as well as Native Americans.

This is perhaps a way of introducing non-indigenous Americans to researching sacred dimensions of their own ancient cultures that have much in common with American Indians. I am often amused that Euro-Americans often adopt Asian philosophies, when they can discover philosophies more appropriate to who and where they are by simply looking around.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Perpetuating Lies

All studies done since the GOP started grandstanding on immigration three years ago show that the taxes paid by undocumented laborers far surpass the cost of public services they absorb. The only stealing of taxes going on is through the fraudulent programs of Homeland Security itself. The lies about immigration are perpetuated by cowardly media, corrupt politicians, and citizens too lazy to get informed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Arguably Infantile

There's a tendency among progressives to conflate reform with revolution. One often overhears liberals discussing how to overcome American fascism through the non-profit sector, or through the established political system. This is, of course, nonsense, but a persistent delusion among the innocent.

As corporations themselves -- corporations dependent on the for-profit sectors' propensity to launder monies through them for the purpose of tax evasion and co-optation -- non-profits support the illusion of inclusion in the public mind. Expecting those dependent on the largesse of inherited or otherwise unearned wealth to lead a revolt against their benefactors is ludicrous. Yet we hear it repeated ad infinitum.

While one might say that Americans are culturally imbeciles, in politics they are arguably infantile.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Planning for Panic

Operating from the assumption that government and industry will continue to make our lives worse, what might we do in our own communities to inoculate our neighbors and ourselves against panic? Can we finally begin having discussions based on the future we expect, rather than on the future we hope for? Is anyone already doing this?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Compliance or Defiance

Noblesse Oblige

Friday, June 13, 2008

Good News Day

Some days the good news just pours in. Today in Ireland, the Irish people demonstrably defeated the neoliberal EU treaty. In the US, the National Congress of American Indians dropped out of its annual meeting with the National Conference of State Legislatures to be held in Maine, due to the state's bad faith relations with the Wabanaki tribes.

As Cobell v Kempthorne enters the final judgment phase, hopefully ending a century of swindling by the US Department of Interior, a new day appears upon us. Turning the tide on corporate colonialism won't happen over night, nor will it be easy, but celebrating victories and recognizing those who have the courage and tenacity to fight back is both a pleasure and an honor.

Hats off to Sinn Fein, NCAI and Blackfeet Nation warrior Elouise Cobell.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Wonder of the World

On June 13, 1940, ten thousand Native Americans gathered on the Columbia River at Kettle Falls for a three-day Ceremony of Tears to mark the end of their way of life.

Located near the Canadian border, Kettle Falls ( Shonitkwu in Salish language) was second only to Celilo Falls as a salmon fishing and gathering place along the Columbia. In June 1940, these ancestral fishing grounds were about to be flooded by what was at the time described as "The Eighth Wonder of the World"--the Grand Coulee Dam. The U.S. Department of Interior had ordered the closure of the Kettle Falls fishery; the Spokane and Colville Confederated Tribes had weeks earlier been forced to leave their homes.

Last month, the Spokane Tribe student choir joined the Spokane Symphony in a dramatic presentation to illustrate values of the river in pushing young salmon out to the sea, asking the river to give us life and carry us through life, and hope that the river in the future will bring salmon back.

[Thanks to Historylink and Indian Country Today.]

Monday, June 09, 2008

Metaphysical Docility

Americans are metaphysically docile; they can't even imagine acting outside the prevailing elite consensus. Taking any risk -- no matter how small -- toward freeing themselves from the anguish of moral conformity, is not an option they even consider.

Non-cooperation with authoritarians, non-compliance with tyrants, non-collaboration with despots--these acts are not only off the table, they are outside their perceived options. They are so intellectually helpless that they can't imagine they have any independent choices.

Self-esteem, dignity, resolve--these notions are so removed from their imagined reality that they appear to them as historical fictions. Were they not so complaisant, they might surprise themselves with the results of small efforts.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Centrist Position

Centrist is a concept used by the liberal elite to marginalize authentic activists. Their access to resources used to promote this concept allows them to penetrate a broad swath of popular opinion. Most Americans do not bother to think for themselves, but rather shop for opinions that either reinforce their existing prejudices, or otherwise comfort them in their ignorance.

The lineal spectrum analogy supporting the centrist position is just one of many conceptual fabrications describing society; another view is that liberalism and conservatism are two aspects of a synthetic culture, indigenous values forming the underlying authentic bedrock culture.

From the indigenous perspective, the values of dominant societies worldwide are shallow, even hollow. Readers might find interesting The Values Orientations Method located under Communication and Pedagogy in the Skookum sidebar.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Corporate Toadies

Some people are confused by the phrase social inclusion. It doesn't mean substituting a black warmonger for a white warmonger; the corporate toadies are already included. Who isn't included in the discussions and decisions that control our lives are the independent individuals who still have the personal integrity and human dignity to pursue an authentic democracy, admittedly a dwindling social milieu.