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I wanted to share this TEDx talk because it spoke to me. From a Navajo educator to the world about systems that have worked for thousands of years.

I'm sad that there has been a tremendous lack of understanding and misunderstanding of the history of native peoples around the world, especially in the USA. This lady gives a small window into a worldview that is a little bit different than the normative one we learn and hear about the most. I hope you give it a listen.

I'm posting here in the cider press because it touches on areas that will provoke a lot of people, especially those sensitive to social justice. I still think it's worth sharing here.



A little background on my perspective.

I'm a white guy, descendant of early american settlers from England. My family has been in the US for longer than the US was a country. I've personally heard all kinds of things about native americans from stereotype to romantic ideals to raw stories of reservation life. I used to think I was part native american, which seems to be a common theme among us long-term settler descendants. Turns out it's totally not true. I'm just white. We did a DNA test to confirm that. The first real Native American I met, I met in Japan. She's into fashion, especially using native traditional techniques in fashion. Way cool.

I'm also a linguist. I teach language now, but I studied "language" in university. One of my professors was Jack Martin. He works with Muskogean languages. I learned more about native culture through my linguistics studies than any other way because language is a key to culture. It preserves ideas and ways of thinking that get distorted or appropriated in society. I've come to believe that listening is the best way my people, white settlers, can approach social justice.

You may have different feelings. But I encourage you to listen to this TEDx talk and talk about it! Because I think it's great.
 
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L. Johnson wrote:those sensitive to social justice



I like this phrase specifically because I don't know which side of the issue it refers to. Will this provoke outrage among those opposed to social justice or will it provoke empathy and action among those who seek social justice?

Anyway, I'm not really sure what to say about her talk as a whole, with a permaculture frame. Mining native stewardship practices for tools to add to our own tool boxes seems like an unambiguously good idea, but it's also something she was explicitly opposed to since her goal was land rematriation, so it feels funny to advocate for it.
 
L. Johnson
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I think inviting native people into conversations where either of those is taking place is a pretty good place to start. That said, I'm also a believer that an idea, once released upon the world, is untameable and uncontrollable. Attributing sources and paying respect is another matter.

I do think it's a pity that in both cultural appropriation as well as copyright violation innovators and other rights holders often lose out unless they guard their ideas like secrets, doled out only to paying subscribers or inner circle members. Alas that seems to be the way of the world. I long for a more generous, benevolent, and diverse commons.
 
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