Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

What Are You Grateful For?   Leave a comment

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Posted November 26, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in culture

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Happy Valentine’s Day   3 comments

On Monday, I made it pretty clear that I think Valentine’s Day is a farce designed by Hallmark and the department stores to get American consumers to consume more, preferably on credit because VISA and its ilk need our money too.

Brad gave me a Valentine’s Day gift last night.

Image result for image of red ford taurus covered in snowMy car has been down during the most recent cold snap, but on Monday, it started warming up and yesterday it made it into the 20s. Brad got my car running. No big deal, he said. It started up pretty well, what with it being warm and all. But why did it stop working during the cold snap?

He got down on his knees and figured it out. Apparently, the electric cord that attaches to the car had come loose so that the engine warming devices were not able to function. It’s subtle. You can’t see it unless you kneel in the snow, which he did. He then fixed it so that it wouldn’t happen again.

Image result for image of valentines dayThat’s my Valentine’s present. Cost – about $1 in parts that were kicking around our garage and about 45 minutes of his time. Value – well, I like my independence, made possible by my car and Brad doesn’t have to get up earlier than he would prefer to take me to work and then quit work earlier than he would prefer to come drive me home.  So there’s the whole marital peace angle. That’s love rather than consumerism. He gave me something I needed rather than something I might not even want.

The flowers will be dried up and thrown away in a week. A working car can be around for a good long while.

Posted February 14, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in culture, Uncategorized

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Mark of the Beast?   1 comment

This is not new to me nor is it original to me. My friend Jon, who arguably has the spiritual gift of prophesy, suggested this 20+ years ago when pet microchipping for came out … that the day would come when it would be a widespread technology for humans and Christians would have to decide whether to submit to it or not.

Wisconsin firm Three Square Market (32M) announced a voluntary initiative last month for its employees to have microchips implanted in their hands. The company sells kiosks designed to replace vending machines. It’s beta testing this technology on its employees to show its kiosks’ ability to handle cashless transactions. Instead of paying with a credit card or a smartphone, a consumer could simply wave their hand across a scanner.

Related imageYup, a little voice in my head whispered “Mark of the Beast.”

One analyst called 32M’s initiative a PR stunt. If that was the intention, it worked, because the initiative sparked headlines worldwide.

“Chipping” has numerous benefits. You wouldn’t have to carry cash or a credit card to make payments, there’d be no need to carry keys, fobs or pass cards to enter secure areas, and presumably hackers wouldn’t be able to access the information on these encrypted chips.

Implantable microchips are experiencing increased acceptance world. Implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are routinely embedded in domestic animals. An FDA-approved implantable microchip is available for Alzheimer’s patients and other persons deemed incapable of caring for themselves. In Sweden, Epicenter, a hub for high-tech start-ups, has made implantable microchips available for its workers and the employees of companies headquartered there. Several of my friends have considered chipping their children so they can be tracked if they are kidnapped.

It’s so very sci-fi to simply wave your hand across a scanner to pay for goods or services, open the door to your home, or identify yourself when you cross an international border. The technology for that future already exists, courtesy of a patent recorded by IBM. The patent application describes a process under which every manufactured product contains an RFID tag with a unique identification number. Each number is registered to the person who buys it. IBM also proposed that the government track people through their RFID tags using a “person tracking unit.” This device could zero in on RFID tags and track people in any public place.

An implantable microchip is an obvious person-tracking unit. When these technologies converge, we will have developed something that begins to resemble a Borg technology prototype … or the Mark of the Beast.

Consider the convenience! Microchips would replace all current forms of ID, so you would identify yourself at an airport or border crossing simply by swiping your hand across a scanner. Your chip would be tied to your bank account, so you would no longer need to carry cash. The chip could also include data on your family history, address, occupation, criminal record, income tax information, etc. An advanced microchip could be equipped with a satellite modem to allow you to browse the Internet anywhere on earth.

Now consider how that convenience would serve the ultimate police state. At the touch of a button, your assets could be frozen, medical treatment denied, etc. Instead of putting you in prison for crimes against the state or just holding the wrong opinions about some subject, the government could simply deactivate your chip and you would no longer exist in an official capacity. All personal and financial interactions would require verification of identity and confirmation of sufficient assets to be completed. You couldn’t buy groceries, take public transit, get in and out of your home or make your car start.

Proponents of implantable microchips tell us these concerns are fantasy. After all, our smartphones and other mobile technology are already collecting and sharing our personal data. It’s silly, they say, to believe such a nightmare scenario could happen because implantable chip use is voluntary. How voluntary will they be when they are required to access all the services you need to access to go about your day? I have options for when I want eat during the day, but eating really isn’t voluntary.

And voluntary could easily become involuntary. Maybe the government will decide to require all sex offenders to receive RFID microchip implants as a condition for avoiding prison or being paroled. The sex offenders could then be tracked by satellite. That sounds good, but then we’ve stepped onto a slippery conveyor belt that will be nearly impossible to reverse.

Related imageLobbyists might begin to funnel campaign contributions to politicians, urging them them to expand chipping to all parolees as a condition of release. Well, then after that successful initiative, they’ll argue that society would be safer if all convicted criminals had a chip implant. Pretty soon even jay-walkers and people who turned the wrong way on a one-way street are “voluntarily” chipped. Next, lawmakers will require workers in high-risk or high-security occupations – soldiers, police, prison guards, drivers transporting hazardous materials, etc. – to submit to chipping. But, wait, for safety’s sake, we really ought to chip anyone meeting a certain profile – gun owners, conservatives, persons working with children, etc.

And, remember, during all this currently-fictional-but-entirely-plausible buildup toward involuntarily chipping the entire population, there will be all those folks who “voluntarily” chip themselves for the convenience. The person who chooses not to be chipped will find it increasingly difficult to refuse to comply, until eventually, they find that they can’t refuse to comply.

Remember, when the government and do-gooders begin proposing chipping to track society’s “undesirables”, you may well be witnessing the birth of the Mark of the Beast.

Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast–that is, his name or his number. Revelation 13:17

Jon has offered several prophesies over the years and they have so far all come true, including a personal one that I am not free to share the details of, but made me a believer not in Jon, but in God’s ability to work through Jon.

Posted October 20, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in culture

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Taking A Knee … or Not   Leave a comment

I stopped saluting the flag about four years ago when someone I respect pointed out that it really does look like idolatry. I thought about it a while and agreed with her, so ….

I still stand, in deference to my fellow Americans and respect for veterans like my brother. I hold my hands respectfully in front of me, but I don’t speak the oath and I don’t cover my heart. I am respectful to those who respect the flag, but I’ve drawn a line on idolatry and that includes the flag. I never really cold sing the National Anthem, as I’m sure Robert Goulette and a host of other famous singers who muffed the Star-Spangled Banner can agree. I do still sing the Alaska flag song because it’s a cool song written for people who aren’t opera stars and nobody is asking me to swear allegiance to it.

When Colin Kaepernick took a knee rather than salute the flag last year, I was irritated by it not out of any respect for the flag or disagreement with free expression, but because he was protesting “white privilege” in America while earning more per year as a professional athlete than I will earn in a lifetime. I was born in poverty and that was with a father who was so white he made Casper look tanned. We may have “wealth privilege” in this country, but poverty hits all colors of skin. And, clearly, wealth is also visited upon quite a number of people of color. Is there some sort of black privilege going on with the NFL? Ever look at the starting lineup of any team? Yeah … I’m just saying.

And, Kaepernick himself has ZERO room to complain. He was raised in an upper middle-class family and went to a good college. Clearly, being half-black didn’t hurt his prospects in life. Maybe he’s pissed off at his white adoptive parents or his white biological mom because he doesn’t feel it’s acceptable to be pissed off at the black father who abandoned his bio mom when she got pregnant, but news flash, other white people didn’t do that. And, ultimately, Kaepernick  was rewarded for being a big strong, part-black athletic male with $39 million dollars over a three-year career of declining performance. While I’m sure he’d like to blame his not being called out of free agency on racism, I suspect it has more to do with stunts like his girfriend’s tweet comparing Ray Lewis, owner of the Baltimore Ravens, to a slave owner while Kaepernick was in negotiations with the team. Slaveowners don’t give you millions of dollars to run an oddly-shaped ball up and down a field and, any sane person, when compared to Simon Legree, will chose to gift some other, less contentious athlete with those millions.

Trust me, if someone had given me $39 million when I was 25 years old, I’d not have to worry about money for the rest of my life because I know a thing or two about living in poverty. I could live a nice, comfortable, middle-class existence on $39 million dollars and probably leave more than that to my heirs.

So, Kaepernick has ZERO room to complain about “white privilege”. His kneeling is about wanting attention and nothing more, from a young man who may see racism behind every bush because he’s been taught to look for it, but who has never experienced a hard day of living in his life. Notice that he didn’t do his kneeling under the presidency of Barack Obama. It’s not about racism. It’s about politics.

Now, if he’d been protesting the killing of civilians of all colors by police, then he might have had my support … I who have been quietly not participating in flag worship for nearly a half-decade now.  But as long as he’s only upset when cops kill black people, I think he’s showing his racist knickers and I’m not going to stand … or kneel … with him.

That said, President Donald Trump needs to learn to control his comments about other people’s right to free expression. Kaepernick has a right to protest. So do other NFL players. They have the same right as Trump supporters do to put their opinions out into the public square … to be challenged or supported as the case may be. That’s how freedom of speech – a cornerstone of liberty — works. I am free, even as one who declines to worship the flag, to criticize Colin Kaepernick for his motivations. He’s welcome to an opinion, but others are welcome to point out the fallacies on which his opinions rest.

 

Posted September 25, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in culture, Uncategorized

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Slavery Was Always and Everywhere   Leave a comment

Image result for image of walter e williamsToo many people believe that slavery is a “peculiar institution.” That’s what Kenneth Stampp called slavery in his book, “Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South.”

But slavery is by no means peculiar, odd or unusual. It was common among ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians and many others. Large numbers of Christians were enslaved during the Ottoman wars in Europe. White slaves were common in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages.

It was only after A.D. 1600 that Europeans joined with Arabs and Africans and started the Atlantic slave trade. As David P. Forsythe wrote in his book, “The Globalist,”

“The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom.”

While slavery constitutes one of the grossest encroachments on human liberty, it is by no means unique or restricted to the Western world or United States, as many liberal academics would have us believe. Much of their indoctrination of our young people, at all levels of education, paints our nation’s founders as racist adherents to slavery, but the story is not so simple.

At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slaves were about 40 percent of the population of the Southern colonies. Apportionment in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections would be based upon population. Southern delegates to the convention wanted slaves to be counted as one person. Northern delegates to the convention, and those opposed to slavery, wanted only free persons of each state to be counted for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. The compromise reached was that each slave would be counted as only three-fifths of a person.

Many criticize this compromise as proof of racism. My question to these grossly uninformed critics is whether they would have found it more preferable for slaves to be counted as whole persons. Slaves counted as whole persons would have given slave-holding Southern states much more political power. Or, would the critics of the founders prefer that the Northern delegates not compromise and not allow slaves to be counted at all. If they did, it is likely that the Constitution would have not been ratified.

Thus, the question emerges is whether blacks would be better off with Northern states having gone their way and Southern states having gone theirs, resulting in no U.S. Constitution and no Union?

Unlike today’s pseudo-intellectuals, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was “a downright disability laid upon the slave-holding states” that deprived them of “two-fifths of their natural basis of representation.”

Douglass’ vision was shared by Patrick Henry and others. Henry said, expressing the reality of the three-fifths compromise, “As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition.” With this union, Congress at least had the power to abolish slave trade by 1808. According to delegate James Wilson, many believed the anti-slave-trade clause laid “the foundation for banishing slavery out of this country.” Many of the founders abhorred slavery. Their statements can be read on my website, walterewilliams.com.

The most unique aspect of slavery in the Western world was the moral outrage against it, which began to emerge in the 18th century and led to massive elimination efforts. It was Britain’s military sea power that put an end to the slave trade. And our country fought a costly war that brought an end to slavery. Unfortunately, these facts about slavery are not in the lessons taught in our schools and colleges. Instead, there is gross misrepresentation and suggestion that slavery was a uniquely American practice.

Source: Slavery Was Always and Everywhere

Posted August 24, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in culture, Uncategorized

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Take Responsibility   Leave a comment

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/08/the-real-legacy-of-crazy-horse/534924/

It’s not our fault,” Jacob Rosales said. I had asked the recent high-school graduate what he wants people to know about life on the reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. “There’s a liquor store right across from the border,” he continued after a pause, pointing off into the distance. “Right over there.”

Okay, so this Indian is going to say what nobody else says. It’s true that you cannot, at 17 years of age, control the circumstances surrounding your life. To a certain extent, it’s true at any age. Life happens while you’re making other plans and you’re going to get creamed by it if you turn your back on it.

But the choices you make are 100% your fault.

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is a striking 3,469-square-mile expanse of sprawling grasslands and craggy badlands that sits in the southwest corner of South Dakota, touching Nebraska’s northern edge. Traversing the reservation by car, along its rugged matrix of two-lane highways and unmarked roads, reveals just how vast it is.

It is, actually, beautiful. I’m not Lakota Sioux, but the culture on the Pine Ridge Reservation is not all that different from on my tribe’s rez. The decaying trailer homes are familiar as are the men in braids, jeans, and Indian Pride hats waving at each other across the street. My rez is a bit richer than Pine Ridge because we have a casino and some Wyandot are married to Cherokee and Cherokee have oil wealth. The two reservations are right next door to one another. It is completely true that the 20,000-member Oglala Lakota Nation is one of the poorest, and most underdeveloped, places in the country.

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Unemployment and gang violence are rampant. The life expectancy for men is just 48. A youth-suicide epidemic has plagued the reservation in recent years, with a cluster of nearly 200 teens killing or attempting to kill themselves in the span of a few months starting in late 2014. And even though Pine Ridge remains a “dry” reservation, alcoholism is widespread. Until recently, residents could easily drive just a few miles south into Whiteclay, Nebraska, to buy booze. Mary Frances Berry, the former chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, once remarked, “Whiteclay can be said to exist only to sell beer to the Oglala Lakota.”
Of course, nobody forced anyone to drive to the liquor store. It is 100% your fault if you find yourself in the parking lot. It’s not your fault that one-third of Pine Ridge youth drop out of school, but it is your fault if you drop out of school. It’s not Rosales’ fault that Pine Ridge residents participate in the labor force at a lower rate than any other racial group, but it is the fault of many on the reservation who refuse to get up off their rusty dusties and look for work. It’s not the fault of the youth of Pine Ridge that Indian men are incarcerated at four times the rate of their white peers. It is only the fault of the individual Indians who decide to commit crimes and a criminal justice system that may or may not treat them with less deference than it does white folks.

Those realities help explain why, as Rosales explained, “it’s kind of unheard of for Native kids to go far and be successful.”

Students like Rosales see education as the key to reclaiming Native identity and culture. He’s spending the summer at the National Institutes of Health in Washington D.C. before heading to college at Yale University. He’s an incredibly bright young man, having been accepted at seven Ivy League schools. A graduate of the Red Cloud Indian School (a private school on Pine Ridge Reservation) he’s the best the rez has to offer and they should be extremely proud of him. He plans to go to medical school and then to return to the reservation as a primary-care physician. I hope he manages it, though working as a BIA doctor with huge medical school debt might be a problem.
But, hey, he can say that “isn’t my fault” and maybe get someone to pay it for him. At some point, Indians have to wake up and smell the coffee. Yes, there have been injustices in the past and, yes, the paternalistic government system under which reservations exist prevents them from growing an economy, which makes employment difficult to get, which leads to cultural problems that must be addressed. But Indians have to stop blaming white society for that because in blaming the whites, we give ourselves a really good excuse to embrace the hopelessness and helplessness that are the real drivers of reservation poverty.  
If it’s not my fault, it’s also not my responsibility to fix it.
It’s great that a school like Red Cloud, a K-12 Jesuit private school, exists on Pine Ridge. Many of the staff are alumni of the school and it focuses on Lakota culture. I don’t object to that, except that the new wave of activism seems poised to destroy any hopes of growing an economy which would make living on the reservation viable. Activism against the Dakota Access Pipeline, for example, was just plain dumb. It wasn’t on reservation land and five other pipelines are in the area, so the environmental argument was null and void. Reservations officials had ample opportunity to have their concerns addressed in nearly 200 public meetings in the five years prior to construction starting. They didn’t go to any of them. I’ve blogged on this before.

“We are part of the Seventh Generation … prophesied to be the generation that creates those individuals that will spearhead the economic, spiritual, and social renewal,” Rosales said. The tall, slim 19-year-old sported a sharp haircut, Nike skate shoes, khaki-colored jeans, and a thick, crew-neck sweater when we spoke. Rosales was referring to a prophecy made by the Oglala Sioux leader Crazy Horse, who shortly before his death in the late 1800s predicted that a cultural renaissance was afoot. “We are going to be that group of people that makes that prophecy come true,” Rosales said. “Red Cloud is helping us to do that.”

I hope Rosales is right that this is a generation of renewal for Native Americans, but I think the major stumbling block for him and all of his fellow students is that “it’s not our fault” mentality. In order to fix anything, you have to start with the assumption that you are responsible for your own mess. No, you can’t fix everything and there are a lot of things you’ll encounter in life that are indeed someone else’s fault … the fault of the person who chose to drink or not work or not finish school. Rosales is making good choices. Those choices are his. When we acknowledge ownership of good choices, we accept as a corollary that we also own bad choices.
The Atlantic article spends an inordinate amount of time talking about how bad it is when Native youth leave the reservation. We see that here in Alaska too. Kids who grew up in a village of 200 come to Fairbanks to attend the University of Alaska, get overwhelmed and quit mid-semester to go back home. That’s partly because they’re homesick, but white kids get homesick too. Now time for another of my politically incorrect statements. It’s also evidence of a Native cultural attribute — when the going gets tough, our Native youth tend to go home. While there are certainly some Natives who grasp that you have to set a goal and stick with it if you hope to achieve it, many Natives think there’s something wrong with a long-term focus. They want to go hunt caribou (or deer on Pine Ridge). They want to drink beer and smoke pot and just sit around watching the sun go down. They don’t like schedules and deadlines. And, so, college quickly becomes something too hard to do, so they go home.
The article also points out the intense pressure these kids are under to come back to enrich their community … even though there are no jobs on the rez and the culture they somehow managed to avoid long enough to get a degree is rampant on the rez … alcoholism is a spectator sport that allows participants to drag you into the action. I get why reservations want their young people to return and improve life on the rez, but the elders have got to stop fighting against the outside world and trying to preserve the culture as if it is sacred. Things have to change if things are going to get better, but often the elders fail to understand that. It’s the same on Pine Ridge, the Wyandot Nation or Tanana Village in Alaska. 
For example, sitting across from me at a table in the principal’s office at Red Cloud, Mills recalled a former student who had just finished his first semester at a small, liberal-arts college in Pennsylvania. After returning to campus from Pine Ridge following his first winter break, the student told Mills that he wasn’t fitting in at college, that he wanted to come home. “I was trying to get him support … to try and get him to just wait,” she said. “I told him: ‘This is part of the process. You’re homesick. This is gonna happen every time you get back to school. You just gotta get out, get involved, do things.’ Blah, blah, blah.” Mills even connected the student with someone on campus who took him out to dinner. “Come to find out, his mom ended up buying a plane ticket home for him that weekend,” she said, “so he withdrew.”
Whose choice was that? I don’t think you can blame anyone else but the student.

Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, a local nonprofit, strives to fill in the gaps for non-college-bound young people and to empower Lakota families with a grassroots approach. Working in seven core themes, from language revival to food sovereignty, Thunder Valley steps in where, and when, schools fall short. Its slogan: “Native youth on the move.”

One of Thunder Valley’s programs focuses on workforce development by engaging young adults ages 18 through 26, many of whom dropped out of high school, in construction. They’re in charge of building a housing development with energy-efficient townhomes and rentals that could eventually serve as many as 900 people. But the 10-month program involves much more than a vocational-training course: Built into the model is an emphasis on social-emotional health and cultural revitalization, with activities such as trauma-sensitive yoga and equine therapy complementing the workforce-development projects.
“We really try to arm them with not just construction skills, but [also] coping skills,” Andrew Iron Shell, Thunder Valley’s community-engagement coordinator, told me as he showed me around the construction site in the town of Porcupine one blustery morning. “Yeah, it’s nice we’re going to have a physical structure, but the process is way more powerful … That just gives people something to hang on to. There are not a lot of success stories that people here see every day.”
The workforce-development program has swelled in popularity over the years: For this class of participants, according to Iron Shell, it received more than 100 applications for its 15 spots. Perhaps that is in part because it’s a paying gig—participants get paid $6.25 an hour plus bonuses. But the demand can also be explained by one of the program’s core goals: to not only to give students job training, but also to give them the confidence and financial savvy to become homeowners themselves.

“They come in with a deer-in-the-headlights look because a lot of them—maybe it’s their first job or they grew up not seeing people get up and go to work—don’t really understand the work culture,” Iron Shell said, pointing out his favorite highlights as we toured the lot—the chicken coop, the greenhouse, the bright mural of two Lakota children surrounded by dragonflies. “My sales pitch to the community is that the young men and the young women building these houses could technically buy one of these houses.”

The article writer talks about a man named David Espinoza. Espinoza is a Lakota Indian who was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation, which sits just east of Pine Ridge, and who co-founded a group called Boys With Braids that promotes cultural pride in Native youth.

“This cultural shame, it was a tool designed to dehumanize us,” he told me, “to basically just destroy our idealism, the foundation of who we are as people.” He spoke of the “intergenerational trauma” that has permeated reservations over the centuries—of his mother who abandoned him when he was 15, of his time spent in federal prison, of all the Lakota people who end up lost or in trouble because they don’t know how to deal with the stress that’s ingrained in them. “We’re operating out of pain,” he said. It’s not our fault.

What happened in the past is not your fault. How you react to that history is. My mother’s family chose to get up off the ground and assimilate while still retaining some aspects of their cultural roots. I am a tribal member who has never lived on a reservation, though I’ve visited. What appears to separate me and my non-rez cousins from our rez cousins is that we don’t blame others for our decisions. We take ownership of our good choices and our bad choices. Yeah, things in history sucked. Get over it. Move on. Make better choices. Choose not to be like your parents and grandparents or your siblings and aunts and uncles. What they do is not your fault. What you do, very much is.

Cultural Appropriation is Applause   2 comments

Image result for image of wyandot indianHave you heard about the United Nations decision to discuss a ban on so-called cultural appropriation? It’s been a thing for a while. Apparently it’s wrong for a white chef to cook Mexican food or to wear “insensitive” Halloween costumes. So, at the insistence of indigenous groups, including the Canadian branch of my tribe, the UN is considering expanding intellectual-property regulations to protect Indigenous designs, dances, words and traditional medicines.

So, I felt the need to point out the logical fallacy here. These First Nations groups seek to ban appropriation of their culture, but they don’t want to ban all cultural appropriation. Of course they don’t. They would have to forego every single technological advance imported into the North American continent since Columbus’ first voyage. I can’t speak for every Native person in North America, but I personally don’t want to give up mathematics, writing, metal forging, money, English/Spanish/American Sign Language, modern medicine, melodic music, perspective painting, modern construction, modern transportation, … ah, heck, there’d not be much left if I insisted upon assuaging all cultural appropriation. I’d be living a Stone Age existence if I refused to culturally appropriate everything that is not First Nations’ derived.

Brad would disagree with me on this because he has an invention he’s seeking a patent for, but “intellectual property” is not truly property. It’s the idea that you can create a monopoly for an idea … to keep someone else from thinking. It leads to such morally questionable attempts as trying  to patent genes to keep anyone from researching it for a given period of time.

Culture constitutes “the habits, beliefs, and traditions of a particular people, place, or time.” Outside of the forced assimilation of indigenous peoples by Americans, Canadians and Australians in past centuries, a culture is adopted voluntarily by individuals. The voyageur who was the first white man to join my ancestral tribe apparently liked what he saw and stayed with his Indian wife for 17 years and produced five children … until he died from some sort of infection. He adopted the Wyandot culture because it served his individual self-interest. His great-grandson Joseph assimilated into white culture almost a hundred years later because that choice served his individual self-interest. That’s how cultural assimilation works.  There were more barriers for Joseph to join white culture than for Barasallai to join the Wendat culture, but they both chose that path voluntarily because it served their personal choices. By the way, I used the two forms of designated my tribal culture deliberately because when Barasallai joined our tribe, we were still Wendats, but by the time Joseph assimilated into the larger white culture, we were Wyandots.

And through contacts with other people from other cultures, any given cultural idea or tradition has become better. Think about all the different cuisines that make up “American food.” Think about all the different musical styles. My favorite cuisine is Oriental food. That’s a broad category that includes Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Japanese dishes. Of course, being the daughter of a chef, I have learned how to make my favorites at home. But none of those dishes are native to me. My mother the Indian with Irish blood cooked a mean colcannon, but so did my father whose ancestors come from Sweden. I’m glad our diet wasn’t restricted to corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers, deer, wild turkeys, small game, and fish.

My father, living in the United States, would have found limited work if he’d insisted upon cooking only Swedish dishes.

Keeping “non-Natives” from using traditions not typically associated with them means that only a handful will be exposed to that culture. Fewer people showing an interest means that the products and ideas of Natives will get less exposure and will become a sociological or archaeological artifact rather than a living idea, limited to a few multicultural festivals.

Emilee WillsNatives and people from all over the world should embrace cultural evolution – appropriation has this negative connotation of force. Since humans form a single species, it is pointless to isolate a set of ideas just because “your people” discovered or named it. You should instead dream of seeing your culture emulated by others because it might might lead them to be curious about its origins and eventually come and visit you, bringing their tourist dollars with them.

It may (probably will) enrich your own culture. One could say that cultures which “evolve” and change as they encounter other cultures are the strongest ones. Despite all the complaints about how mixed-up the English language is, its flexibility has allowed it to borrow foreign words to describe what the old Anglo-Saxon language couldn’t. It has grown and adapted and is now the preferred language of commerce all over the world. We all know what traditional British cuisine is like. Would anyone want to eat in England if you removed curry from the landscape? Or just limited its cooking to people of east Indian descent? British wouldn’t even have tea to drink if they hadn’t appropriated it from somewhere else. Bangers and mash would have to be bangers and turnips, because potatoes are assimilated. Americans would literally starve. We’d have clam chowder, anadama bread and a lot of junk food.

And doesn’t Emilee Willis, Wyandot Princess, look more comfortable in her shorts and t-shirt than the woman in traditional dress at the top of the article? Emilee is appropriating. Why is that right when a white chef making Mexican food is wrong? I don’t know, probably because neither is wrong. The sincerest form of compliment is imitation.

Posted July 18, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in culture, Uncategorized

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Fairfax and Glew

Vigilante Justice

The Wolf's Den

Overthink Everything

SaltandNovels

Sprinkling wonder into writing

Remmington Reads

A book enthusiast bringing you all things bookish

MiddleMe

Becoming Unstuck

Magical BookLush

A New Dimension to Explore!! Love for books and series is all we need. Life can be lonely without books. All I love is books, series, and talking about serious causes like bodyshaming. Do join me if you love to live your life to the fullest

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

It's All about the Romance 💕💕💕

Not Very Deep Thoughts

Short Fiction and Other Things

Ediciones Promonet

Libros e eBooks educativos y de ficción

the dying fish

Book info, ordering, about me etc. in upper right

STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

Never underestimate the power of a question

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