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Old 12-11-2017, 09:51 AM   #46
OLChemist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalako View Post
I'm a bit of a romantic soul who thinks that the past was better then the present.
This is not a surprising revelation, LOL :)

I do wonder if people who tell me things like this -- over the internet, typed on their cell phone or computer -- have really thought about the implications of living in the past. In my experience, they have blissfully turned a blind eye to outhouses, tetanus and dysentery. My grandfather told me his grandmother's stories of virgin field epidemics. The second hand tales of the deaths of 4 close family members in one day from cholera will make one a big fan of modern sewage and water treatment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalako View Post
Why is "Living in harmony with nature" a red flag expression.If people would do it now, the world would be a better place.
You need to understand, you're not the first non-Indian enamored with Indians that I -- or most any other Native person -- has met. Almost universally, they cling to a romantic ideal of mystical, eco-hippy in buckskin, walking with their pet wolf and singing with the trees. Their idea of a Native person is often part Gandhi, part Timothy Leary, part Rousseau/Dryden's Noble Savage. No matter the mix, it isn't a real person.

When confronted with a too real, too human, contradictory Native person, they are disappointed. After the initial shock, they have two choices: their conception of Native people is wrong, or the Native person is flawed. Nobody likes to admit they're wrong, so the Native must be at fault. Heck, they must not even be "really" Native. They must be a disgrace to their ancestors.

Here's a prototype of that conversation:

Life without hospitals

The phrase "Living in harmony with nature" tends to be spoken by folks who hold this kind of romanticized image. To me, it is a warning that very likely I will fail to met this person's expectations and it will not come out well.

Before you tell me to give the speaker the benefit of the doubt, please consider how many times Native people confront stereotypes and the consequences on a daily basis. I'm a fair skinned mixed blood woman, with all the credentials and trappings one would expect of a research scientist. I can choose to close my mouth and pass, as it were. Thus, I don't get subjected to the experience anywhere near as often as someone whose phenotype fits the dominant culture expectations of Native appearance. But, it still happens on a near daily basis. And when I do open my mouth -- something for which, you may have noticed, I have a propensity -- I can watch non-Indian folks try to fit me in their mental box labelled "I for Indian" and fail. Worse, I've seen my little nieces and nephews experience the same thing and seen them struggle with being judged inauthentic, in a world were being Indian is hard enough.

Last edited by OLChemist; 12-11-2017 at 05:41 PM..
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