Decolonizing the "Primitive Skills" Movement
Decolonizing the "Primitive Skills" Movement
Good thing Facebook is not a privately owned corporation intent on monetizing the digital portion of the lives of its users because that seems to be where all the conversations are going to happen.
Also, in the words of Mark Twain, “sarcasm is the worst kind of violence”.
This article brought up some great points. For the unfortunate colonizer majority in the primitive skills movement, it is, at the very least, important to be aware of this heritage. However, where do we move forward from this? The author makes a good point that it would be a contradiction for most settlers to stay on this land. But I feel like I have a deep connection to this land, and I certainly wouldn’t want to leave it. That may be selfish, but also think of how some non-native plants have been introduced to the land and have helped the land instead of harming it. Rewilded settlers who have a positive impact on the land and a relationship with the native peoples could remain…
I have been in these forums with contributing a few posts, but I lost access as the site wasn’t now recognizing my password with the account I used, I post now after starting a new account for it. I wish to respond to this subject with the thought that if it is possible, couldn’t people, who are descended from those who were foreigners centuries ago who emigrated to these areas, if they come to living on the land in a compatible way with how it was before, mix with others who are descendents of the native people of the land, if they see this and would willingly include those wanting to live that way, if they can be where land supports that?
Colonialism isn’t a white problem, we’re just the most recent.
If “I” cannot connect with the earth where I am what’s the point?
IF evolution is correct then it’s survival of the fittest ( Homo sapiens vs Neanderthals vs cro-magnon) right? The whole circle of life thing.
Decolonization is just self defeat from a guilty conscious complex, because unlike Nazi Germany the indigenous cannot kick out us undesirables. It all sounds like racism to me. You stay with your race and beliefs and I’ll stay with mine bullshit.
It’s why half breeds have to create their own culture ( like the Metis) not fully white, and not fully red, is it culture appropriation if they wear blue jeans AND feathers?
What is the percentage of Americans that have “Indian” blood in them?
I must be having a disconnect in my thought process of what decolonization has to do with rewilding/primitive skills, I’ve read the essays and it sounds more like " go back to Europe you white pigs" or " I’m sorry I’m a white pig let me desecrate my ancestors and spit on my heritage".
In trying to understand my “primitive” ancestral history ( Germanic ) and to not culturally appropriate ( rejecting my Cherokee heritage ) I find that going “viking” is in my blood, which includes colonizing land so that my family/tribe/race will survive.
But… I’m a "standard " mongrel American I proudly proclaim that I have Cherokee in me (no not from a princess lol ) if I choose to wear the regalia and practice their “primitive” skills of my ancestors is that appropriation because of my Germanic “race”?
Hitler wanted all "Aryans " to come back to their ancestral homeland and to decolonize and separate the races ( neither the twain shall mix) so what am I an AryaNDN ?
Mimicry is the highest from of flattery I’ve heard .
And I know that many anarcho-primitivists/rewilders have fought for and taught decolonization, but to me at this point of my understanding it is offensive and racially (against whites) divisive.
Having said all that, I believe that love should be our guiding principle ( love your neighbor just like you love yourself )
Cause just living will cause somebody to be offended at you, and you will be offended at somebody. You can’t control the offense, but you can control your reaction to it.
So I will continue to practice the "primitive " skills as they are taught knowing that unity with God/dess is all that matters, cause the same Sun shines on us all regardless of how easy we burn or not. Lol
And like I said this is just my current understanding, if it can be shown as inclusive and healing then I will change my stance on it.
Twice a year, I attend two pow-wows in Wisconsin sponsored by several Native American tribes in the state (the state of Wisconsin historically was a “dumping ground” for Native Americans and has many reservations). I have been accepted and am well-liked by many of the Natives there, and we talk about these issues.
allisanarchY, I agree with you. When I talk with my Native brothers at the pow-wows, we share the same ideas. We respect our differences and they respect my preferences to stay within civilization with my family, but I enjoy the time I spend with them and their respective families. Trying to “fight back” against whites gets us nowhere, in my opinion. When we discuss our cultural differences, we discuss them in a context of understanding and acceptance. When I make a social mistake, I am corrected properly and adjust my behavior (one time, I told a Native in “regalia” that he was wearing a “costume,” a disrespectful thing to say, but we moved on when we got to learn about each other’s differences).
The question, I think, that needs to be asked is–does one try to “play Native” with other whites, or do we work with Natives to achieve our goal of developing “primitive skills?” When I go to the pow-wows, I meet Natives who happily interact with many ethnicities, and we all talk and learn from one another. I have talked with them about many aspects of their culture.
I also have autism. Many elements of Native and primitive cultures are very autism-friendly, and I discuss this in detail at the pow-wows. We talk about how our cultures differ, and I talk about how I have adapted many of their values in my life related to autism. But is this “appropriation?” I am lucky that I have found Natives I have connections with who see this as learning from one another. I hope other’s can too. Love, as you said, should be our guiding principle. And you can control your reaction to what offends you.
A man walks into a house, kills the owner and starts living in it. The relatives of the previous owner finally capture him and haul him in front of a judge. “This man killed our grandfather!” they cry. “He’s even living in grandfather’s house.” The man responds in the following manner:
“I did this deed long ago. Who cares anymore? It’s been too long.”
“I was stronger than their grandfather so I took it. It’s my right, because it’s natural for me to get what I want.”
“He was not the only owner of the house, so why does it matter anyway?”
“As some point, there wasn’t even a house on this spot; there was just land, so in the end, it doesn’t matter where I live, right?”
Does anyone honestly think this man has a case? That he should not be tried and convicted for the murder of an innocent man?
Time and time again, I see these same justifications in threads just like these. Justifications about how it’s just natural or it’s too tough or I’ve already done the work.
This conversation is -meant- to be uncomfortable. It’s based on genocide --which is STILL going on-- cultural theft and resource exploitation that is destroying a continent. There are post-apocalyptic novels that are less grim than our reality.
So you want to explain away what’s gone before? So you want to make it all better? Tough! Not your call. You are in the wrong because you are the invader. Admit it and work --forward–
What does that work look like? The article spelled it out. Being an ally, working to repatriate tribes, working to stop genocide, healing the land, withdrawing from the destructive system and being hyper-aware of our own appropriation. Maybe your work will only be a fraction of it. That’s fine. But it’s not whining and it’s not guilt to engage in the struggle to stop genocide.
re: whites, there is no such thing. I worked with the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere and they had delightful resources dissecting whiteness as a class of privilege and empire. Another term for it I’ve heard used in the native communities is wetiko behavior.
What is offensive is that genocide is occurring right now, that ecocide is occurring right now and these are not exaggerations or reactions to the past but an issue --right-- --now-- and people are afraid to talk about the fact that they are still Imperial Stormtroopers, even if they take the armor off. They join the Rebellion / Resistance when they actually start talking and working with the people already in it.
I reacted similarly to @yhcranasilla (Keith Hart) when I first read a bunch of the decolonization stuff. So I hear where you are coming from. There is a lot of complexity to this conversation, and I think some of us white folks are jumping into the middle of an age-old conversation in Native communities, without the Native context. To us, it can feel very off-putting to have people identify you as “white” and then go on to say that white people need to “go back to Europe” or some more extreme versions of decolonization. There are absolutely decolonization essays/movements that are on the more radical end of forcing white people off of this continent. I’m still wrapping my head around the entirety of decolonization, in that is is similar to rewilding; there are many different thoughts and ideas about what it means, and how to go about doing it. For a lot of us people who have been acculturated as “white,” it is difficult for us to start out in these “advanced” conversations about race and privilege. I say advanced, because there is a whole pre-contextual conversation and understanding that needs to take place before we jump into the depths of decolonization. I was initially very put off by it, and thought of it as “racist.” It took me a good long while of talking with Native people and other People of Color, as well as taking a step back and just observing before really starting to understand the whole picture of it.
For the sake of discourse, I would like to respond to a few things you (Keith) said specifically.
“IF evolution is correct then it’s survival of the fittest”
This is a very out-dated perception of evolution. While it persists in the mainstream consciousness, it is not accepted as the reality of evolution by biologists. It most likely persists in the mainstream because it translates the older mythology of Divine Right into modern “Science.” Instead of White Christians believing god gave them this land, we now have atheists believing that it is the natural process of evolution. This is just not the case. In order for organisms to survive in the long run, they must “fit” into their ecosystems and not destroy them. Civilization is more akin to Cancer, which is a malfunctioning immune response that causes cells to reproduce at a rapid rate that eventually kills its host. Thinking that civilization is more “evolutionarily fit” because it murdered everything in its path, is like thinking that cancer cells spreading through a body are more evolutionarily fit. It doesn’t make sense. Evolution is a process of “organisms finding ways to fit together through environmental changes” (aka natural selection). I wrote about how civilization does not “fit” and how this is not an example of evolution a long time ago in this chapter from my book: http://www.urbanscout.org/civilization-vs-rewilding/
Racism isn’t just a person from one race hating another. Racism is a word that describes race on a systemic level. 58% of the US prison population are people of color, even though they are only 25% of the entire US population (http://www.naacp.org/pages/criminal-justice-fact-sheet). That’s racism. 80% of people in power are white in the United States (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/01/05/the-new-congress-is-80-percent-white-80-percent-male-and-92-percent-christian/). That is racism. Native Americans suicide rates are higher than other populations (http://time.com/4054087/suicide-rate-american-indians/), that’s current racism, that’s current colonialism.
Racism isn’t just using the N word, or flying a confederate flag. Racism is a systemic reality that equates to privileges within civilization. It is a sub-section of the class system. Just because we have had a black president, doesn’t mean racism doesn’t exist. In fact, the more we equate racism with people who use the N word, the more systemic racism continues to be invisible. We live in a racist system, where white people are in power and people of color are not. Therefore, a person of color cannot be a “racist” because the label falls on those who are in power, exerting that power over people of color. This power isn’t seen by an individual, because it’s not just something an individual does, it’s a power that is held collectively among people who pass as white. Being born white in the US or anywhere in the world really, gives you more power than other people. This doesn’t mean that all white people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths (I certainly wasn’t) or that all white people are both with an able body (I wasn’t) or that all white people receive this privilege all the time (I haven’t). But generally speaking, whiteness is a huge privilege. This is a great article on this topic: http://everydayfeminism.com/2012/12/how-to-talk-to-someone-about-privilege/
Vikings didn’t colonize because it was “in their blood.” They did so because of a cultural system. Not DNA.
Please refrain from using the term “mongrel” on this site. Mixed race or Multi-racial are preferred terms. Mongrel is considered a pejorative by a lot of people, and while you may be okay with using it, we are creating a space here where people who may be triggered by that word can feel safe.
Hitler was a nationalist who created a mythology of “German People” based on Roman propaganda (Tacitus’ “Germania”). He used this mythology to gain power as a fascist, among the disenfranchised German population. When I read a lot of the decolonization stuff, I can see how it could be perceived as “white people go home.” and lead to similar analogies to the rise of National Socialism, but it isn’t. Decolonization is about indigenous people gaining sovereignty & control over their traditional territories. Which, who can really argue with that? While it isn’t rewilding per se, and isn’t anti-civ per se, it’s along the same thread. There is a de-programming of race and systemic racism that is central to decolonization, and I think central to rewilding as well. If we want to dismantle the power structures of civilization, in order to rewild, we need to decolonize our minds first. There seems to be this idea that Native Americans are completely colonized and have nothing to teach us about sustainability or what it means to be indigenous, and it stems mostly from white people who can’t figure out how to make friends and allies in the Native community (HINT: I used to be one of these people).
That’s all the time I have to respond for now. Here are some further thoughts on this subject:
Thanks for listening.
This is a sincere concern for anyone who doesnt want to be profiled for their beliefs in the “land of the free”
It is such an established site / stable hub on the internet for anyone who might be looking into or living an alternative lifestyle. This would make a good thread on its own considering the title of this would probably get flagged on facebook for the key word “movement”.
I know of a few alternatives to facebook but theres usually a drawback like smaller user base or site focus / function to support just one common goal. I’m happy to have found a site literally titled rewild, pretty hopeful that others will find it too.