A week ago I wrote about some diagrams I’ve been working on. The intention was to visually represent things I’ve been learning about indigenous culture and the complex interactions between native people and the White settlers.
As usually happens, as you think about the systems being modeled, the need for changes is revealed. Some things might be simplified, some expanded. Other parts of the model are added. But that is one of the main reasons I like to work on models. A good model can help you understand and explain the subject better.
This earlier model was focused on what I had been learning about the tragedies of the Quaker Indian boarding schools, and the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW).
It is clear to me that we have to transition away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible, and native ways of living within sustainable boundaries was how to do so. As had done for thousands of years.
I knew more than the environmental and agricultural practices needed to be addressed. Those additional pieces needed to be added to the model. This is the updated, current version of the model further explained below.
When I became old enough to think about it, I found the capitalist model didn’t fit with my spiritual (Quaker) values. Its basis is in materialism and a dominating view of natural resources and people as commodities for production. Production of things that don’t have real value.
This pandemic has forced us all to fundamentally re-evaluate what is important to us. And see how broken the capitalistic system is. When the only way we can get necessities is with money, and our source of money is taken away, we experience what those who have been left out of this system live with every day.
When, in this time of a medical crisis, we lose our health insurance, we experience what is the norm for millions of people who have been left out.
When schools close we question our educational models. We realize our children are not being prepared with life skills, as we had not been, either. We rejoice in being present when something new is learned. When we can pass some of ourselves to the children. Our own joy in learning and discovery is renewed by what our children pass to us.
The pandemic heightens our awareness that these systems are operated for the wealthy. The political and economic systems feed off each other in a spiral that takes more and more for those who get increasingly wealthy. Far beyond any possible need for more wealth. Leaving less and less for the rest of us.
Most fundamentally, most of the people invested in these corrupt political and economic systems have lost touch with their spirituality. That has allowed them to accept the tenets of these systems. And leaves them helpless to know what to do now.
My recent experiences with indigenous peoples have given me many of the insights I’ve tried to express in the model, and shows me it is much more than sustainable practices that we need to learn. We need to return to a subsistence economy. We need to return to our spiritual roots. We need to build the communities of our dreams.
As my friend Ronnie James wrote:
I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.
So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”Ronnie James
As we stand on the precipice of the climate crisis, it is vital that we turn to Indigenous Nations around the world for guidance on how to move forward. Traditional ecological knowledge, Indigenous cosmologies, and societal structures can help stop the self-destructive model of colonial-capitalism.
However, our people can’t help make this transition happen if we are still fighting oppression and ongoing poverty. It’s past time to break the money cycle that stays in White circles, which is why we were at SOCAP advocating for an Indigenous led regenerative economy next week in occupied Ohlone land (so-called San Francisco). Listen as our board member and movement auntie Ladonna BraveBull Allard shares her thoughts on colonial capitalism on Randall’s Island in NYC during #IndigenousPeoplesDay!
Thank you to our beautiful collective member Fintan for this beautiful video, to @IPDNYC, auntie Ladonna, and all those who continue to grow these movements and our communities together. #IndigenousSOCAP19 #SeedingSovereignty #OhloneLand #climatecrisis #capitalism #decolonize #colonialcapitalism #SanFrancisco #bayarea