Thursday, May 1, 2008
The Native American Bind
The Native American Bind: How have the Native Americans found themselves in a serious bind today? Well, if we look to history, we find that there was not much a choice for these people. Native Americans, on the whole, see themselves as integral parts of the land, not as superior beings who challenge nature through reason, science, and the will to power. Right here, we find our first fundamental tenet of Native American culture which appears to be at odds with the Western (Christian) world. Whereas Christians view the world and everything in it, including plants, animals, and other resources, as existing for man's use; Native Americans attempt to live in harmony with the Earth by not altering it in any significant fashion. An example that speaks greatly to this contradiction is the natural phenomenon in weather known as a drought. When a drought, or lack of water, becomes a problem in the Western world, rivers are dammed, canals are constructed, and aqueducts are laid so as to prevent any sort of recurring water shortages. For Native Americans, a drought is a natural component of the land, and therefore, it should be handled in a harmonious manner. Although Native American methods for managing natural catastrophes tend to be labeled as "primitive," many of the so-called environmental crises in the Western world, like toxic waste, are complete non-issues for Native peoples. Thus, Western man has in fact created a lot of his own problems.