Re: Amerindian resistance mode (was: amerindian an offensive

Gerold Firl (
21 Aug 1996 19:52:10 GMT

In article <>, (Mark K. Bilbo) writes:

|> In article <4uavpa$>,
|> (Gerold Firl) wrote:

|> >Whether indians want it or not, and whether they ackowledge it or not,
|> >traditional indian values are influencing western cultures in a way
|> >which will help to make the transition to sustainible development. Many
|> >indians are uncomfortable with the idea of whites adopting their
|> >beliefs;

|> With my psychotic servers, I just now saw this. My immediate response,
|> though, was you *have to be kidding.
|> The trendy "adoption" of "Indian values" is merely the projection of some
|> Euro-American pastoral ideal that can be traced back to Rousseau that is
|> being *imposed on Indian cultures for validation (the odd reasoning
|> appearing to be that only what can be linked to "antiquity" has value).

It doesn't look that way to me. How many copies of _black elk speaks_
have been sold in the US? Millions? Why do you think people read it?

If the "new agey" drift in american spiritualism is headed towards a
reverance for nature and all forms of life, together with a more
diffuse idea of a spiritual reality underlying the physical world (as
opposed to the anthropocentric judeo-christian tradition), wouldn't you
say that is moving towards the native american point of view?

|> Indians oppose what's going on in their names because what's going on is a
|> deception. What my mixed blood mother raised me to call a "lie." A very
|> Politically Incorrect term these days it seems.

Why is it a lie?

Of course, one area where there is a difference is in the attitude
towards race. New Age adherants are strongly non-racist, while some
native americans are not. Eric Brunner has written here that it's
impossible for him to be a racist, since he doesn't have a seat on
the new york stock exchange; a very convenient position for someone
who quacks and waddles just like a racist.

Racism is the natural state of man. cultures which are not racist are
the exception. The deliberate and conscious attempt by the west to
eliminate racism is a recent and unprecedented event. If racism is what
divides native americans from spiritual seekers with similar interests
but different genetic backgrounds, I see that as temporary.

|> Traditional native values don't even *translate into a consumerist culture.
|> The idea that they are "influencing" US culture is amusing. US culture
|> isn't even culturally equipped to *understand traditional native values.

Remember that US culture is made up of close to 300 million
individuals, each of which have different levels of understanding about
different aspects of reality. Some of them can even understand
traditional native values, and by understanding them, you learn from

There is no special gene required to understand the value of preserving
our natural landscape and ecosystems. You can argue that it wasn't the
influence of the indians which brought about the changes in attitude
which led to the environmental movement; you may be right, I haven't
looked into the history of how people like john muir formed their love
for the wilderness. But you might be interested in a book by jack
weatherford called _indian givers_ which examines the huge array of
more material influences, including a possible connection between the
design of the US constitution and the political structure of the
iroquois confederacy.

I'm not suggesting that the US is going to "go native". Indian culture
is not going to be adopted lock stock and barrel; people pick-up on the
aspects that appeal to them, and leave the rest. Maybe that is why you
call the native american influence on US culture a "lie"; it is
selective. I would agree with that. However, I think that there are
areas where native american influence is genuine, and is having a
positive impact on western culture.

I think that your sense of exclusivity was a valuable defense mechanism
during the forced assimilation period, but it may not be applicable
now. American and native culture have mutually influenced each other;
what is the point of denying it?

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf