working together for social inclusion in America

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Traditional Knowledge

As with all Native American cultures, traditional knowledge is central to Hopi culture. There is no more rewarding method of learning than the original "interactive method," speaking and listening. For the Hopi, traditional knowledge explains not only the origin of all peoples but provides lessons for how to live today.

Multi-level learning

Most of us know at least one children's fairy tale that has a moral lesson in it. Although the story is meant to be entertaining, it is also supposed to be educational. Hopi traditional knowledge is encoded in this way and contains messages on many different levels. In this way, listeners learn new and important lessons as their own understanding deepens. The strength of traditional knowledge lies in its ability to convey a deeper truth. Seen in this light, traditional knowledge is more than just the retelling of events, names, and dates. In this way, traditional knowledge differs from written historical accounts in style and purpose.

The Emergence Story

Hopi traditional knowledge begins with the emergence story. The world we live in now is the fourth way of life that the Hopi have lived. Different Hopi clans and animals emerged from the third into this fourth way of life. Hopis tell how the people of the world were offered ears of corn by Ma'saw. Many jumped in ahead of the Hopi and picked large ears of corn and left Hopis the smallest ear. This symbolizes the difficult but enduring life the Hopi live in the arid Southwest. Along with each ear of corn, the various peoples of the world inherited homelands, cultures, and responsibilities from the rest of creation. The Hopi fulfill their responsibilities through their daily life and ceremonies. Hopi life revolves around agriculture, in particular, corn. The Hopi way of life is the corn -- humility, cooperation, respect, and universal earth stewardship.


Because each story contains information meant specifically for one group of Hopi people, the Hopi learn only the story of their clan. The oral tradition entrusted to each Hopi is more than enough to consider and meditate upon during a lifetime. By pursuing their own understanding, it is natural that the Hopi respect the privacy and sacred nature of the traditions entrusted to other Hopi, as well as other cultures. For more about privacy and other issues affecting the Hopi today, visit our Current Issues page.

(Thank you to the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office for making this available.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Intelligence Useful

Anger drives passion, but intelligence makes it useful.

--Jay Taber

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Overcoming Social Exclusion

Learning the skills and developing the tools of effective organizing like investigative research, grassroots communication, and principles of psychological warfare (my hedge school idea) should not be conflated with progressive opportunism or liberal elitism. Progressive careerists posing as community activists are as much a hindrance to democracy as their authoritarian brethren known as neo-conservatives.

Pedagogy (the science of teaching), developed by and for the marginalized themselves, is the only means of overcoming social exclusion.

Native American tribal schools are one example of this. These and other hedge schools both change and preserve consciousness, as well as build political autonomy and economic independence.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Essential and Urgent

As indigenous peoples worldwide look to Bolivia's elected president Evo Morales as guarantor to the world indigenous movement, it is indeed a task requiring the combined efforts and support of millions. With the morphing of the global colonial project into the institutional globalization initiative backed by the US, EU, and UN, indigenous leaders know they have more on their hands than they can handle alone.

For those who want to see a more sane and humane element remain a part of our planetary society, assisting indigenous civilizations in their fight against extermination by these institutions is both essential and urgent.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Personal Affront

Consumerism is inextricably wedded to militarism. Consume a continent -- murder Indians. Consume fossil fuels -- murder Arabs.

As a yuppie, Obama understands this. That's why he and his supporters disparage hippie philosophy and indigenous spirituality.

Sacrifice and simplicity are not yuppie values; yuppies want to eat the whole planet while the rest of us starve. As a hippie, I take that as a personal affront.