Biosphere Earth — 8: Indigenous Reality

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I’ve mentioned Indigenous Peoples are our primary guide for understanding how to think- and take care-of our life-support system. Their importance to our survival and Civilization’s continued improvement cannot be over emphasized. But, especially since yesterday was Thanksgiving in the USA, we need to talk about the condition of Indigenous Peoples around the world.

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Uncontacted & Nomadic Indigenous populations. Dark green = +1 Million. (Survival Intl.)

The Indigenous Condition

The inclusion and elevation of Indigenous Peoples into the Economy is a cornerstone of the paradigm shift, which successfully tansforms the most destructive elements of globalized Industrialization.

Why? We learn from Indigenous People we are not seperate from our biosphere; that stewardship of our life-support system is achieved not through technology or business, which doesn’t even value the biosphere. Stewardship is about relationships. Not control.

But Indigenous Peoples are suffering now. They’re dying and they’re struggling around the world because our financial system values their possessions over their lives.

Indigenous People occupy lands and waters protecting at least 80% of global biodiversity and the majority of forest-stored Carbon. Most importantly, they are the stewards of the world’s most bio-productive ecosystems.

We depend on bioproductive ecosystems. So, we depend on Indigenous people. And aftfinancial system that destroys Indigenous peoples destroys us, too.

I want to share with you a quick overview of topline Indigenous concerns. I’m not deep in this world, i’m embarrassed to say, it’s almost direspectful for me to share so little. But I feel compelled to emphasize the need for addressing these concerns immediately.

Here are the main issues i’m aware of:

1. Survival & Basic Safety. The most important thing to know about Indigenous Peoples today? They’re still fighting to survive. Columbus got to Cuba 500+ years ago and yet here we are. Native peoples around the world are still under attack. Since 2010 more than 330 Indigenous American women have gone missing or been murdered in the USA and nothing has been done. Meanwhile, as a nonmaterialistic “poor people” in a wealth-centric global economy, Indigenous people are disadvantaged and generally have very little influence over the governments determining their future. Worse, economic players are murdering dozens to hundreds of Indigenous people in the Tropics and around the world every year. These are horrors greater than anyone i know can imagine.

2. Rights & Reparations. Land rights are the first priority if we are to keep the world’s Indigenous peoples intact and capable of maintaining stewardship of our life-support system. Indigenous communities still living on native lands too often need land occupation and land ownership rights. Reparations-wise, obviously, here in the United States there’s been roughly 500-years of annihilation, atrocities, betrayals, tragedies, violence, intimidation, fragmentation, de-culturalization, and intentional disempowerment. This is how we got the modern US economy though — it’s built on top of the destruction of Native peoples and their naturalist economies. We need to deal with all of this, in the USA and around the world.

3. Identity & Opportunity. Obviously Indigenous identities are threatened. Imagine a well-funded and coordinated effort to erase your culture, however you define it, via total annhilation of your cultural leaders and starving and constraining your basic cultural practices and beliefs. Whether living on “The Res”, defending traditional borders, or trying to get recognized by governmental agents, Indigenous communities and cultural identities have been in the state of fighting-back collapse for 100s of years. And, Opportunity… Oi vey... I come from a white middle class family. Safety nets and great expectations are a fact of life for us, but who’s looking out for Indigenous people? Who’s creating opportunities, which support and maximize potential?

4. Destructive Development. Our economy’s “wealth before life” ethos is driving the physical destruction of ecosystem integrity and Indigenous Peoples. The continuation of the Western-European model of colonization is modernizing everything it can get to and in the process destroying these Peoples and the life-support system of our planet. There are, however alternatives — economic models growing in popularity today for community-based development and stewardship-based development. In these models investments and partnerships are designed to grow the wealth and well-being of the local community, as first priorities. In a nutshell, the community is seen as the primary partner carrying-out project goals. Profit-sharing, information-sharing, property-sharing, sustainable entreprenuership, village loans, regenerative agriculture, and other methods of growth, which enrich local wellbeing and cohesion and empower the community’s ability to choose what is brought into their domain, are first-order priorities.

5 Indigenous Rights Groups worthy of your support
(there are 100s of good groups):
Amazon Watch
Borneo Project
Cultural Survival
Survival
National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition

I appreciate any comments, enlightenments, or suggestions.

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South American girl (Wikicommons)
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Bush family (Wikicommons)
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South Asian people (Wikicommons)

More soon! Thanks

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Citations

This blog is part of a series on Biosphere Earth.
Read the previous blog: The Forgotten Memory.
To review other posts, please
visit the TOC.

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