AniaLian post

carter pate (CPATE@UTCVM.UTC.EDU)
Wed, 1 Mar 1995 12:08:54 EST

one. Your points are well taken. I guess I want to move the commentary a
little beyond in one direction. You seem to imply a concept similar to that
of "natural law". Since I feel that idea has been so thoroly contaminated by
medieval and post-medieval theology, I prefer not to use it, but admit to a
similarity to what I call a "natural logic of human experience." The tendency
of most people who have domesticated plants and/or animals to expand into
adjacent (or accessible) territories which they can exploit, and eventually
to push out or dominate those who practice other forms of subsistence therein
is pretty evident in the cultural record. "Accidents" of particular cases lead
to variations, but there is extensive evidence of extensive "colonialism" of
this sort. Similarly, urban life styles have tended to expand their control ov
er adjacent or accessible areas with resources they would like to utilize--the
wider colonialism of which recetn "western" forms are merely a variation, much
more intensive because of industrial technology. Ability to remain in some per
manent "residence" and relatively higher birth rates have been among the
factors promoting the "domestication" pattern; specialization and an acceler-
ation of technolgical and other types of change have been among those which
have urban "colonization" to be so rapid, so massive, and so destructive of
whoever we define as "aborigines" --and despite the limitations of reaching
limitation in their exploitation of environment, of intrusive "nomads" who
sometimes remain to assimilate and lead, of differential demographic factors
which mean that the central cities of enduring states seldom replace them-
selves by their own reporduction. (I won't go into other arguments now, for
this concept of a "natural logic of human experience," except to sug-
gest that it operates not through deterministic "cause and effect," so much as
through environmental, social and cultural pressures, ussually from multiple
sources, which sometimes combine strongly enough to OVERDETERMINE not the
details or outcomes, but the occurence of significant events.)

Rather than "aborigines" or "Native Americans," I rather like the term
"First Nations" now widely used in Canada to refer to peoples descended from
the preColumbian inhabitants of the Americas. Civility and humanity seem to
require that we respect the identities and ways we vary in doing things purely
within the boundaries of our own societies, that we struggle to remove the
remaining barriers against those who have been pushed aside and exploited in
the past, and offer correction or restitution for many grevious ill-treatments
which have occurred. But complete "aboriginal sovereigny" is no more a
solution, than is "national sovereignty" which continues to lead larger powers
into destructive warfare! Let's get on with the business of how we can all
all coexist, negotiate the conflicts which will arise out of some of our
differences, and survive as a species in a multicultural and increasingly
global society.

Anybody else thinking along similar lines?