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Op-Ed Column

When the Wind Blows: Indians and the Environment

by David Yeagley · December 7, 2008 · 2 Comments ·

Are Indians mistaken about the wind? Do Indians have the truth about climate? Do Indians have the final word?

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Chief Bill Erasmus of the Dene nation in northern Canada
stops for a photo during the U.N. Climate Change Conference
in Poznan, Poland, Friday, Dec. 5, 2008. Erasmus came to the
conference bringing a stark warning about the climate crisis.

Some American Indians are adding their voices to the supposed global climate crisis. Some, like Chief Bill Erasmus of the Dene nation in northern Canada, (unrecognized as a people), aspire to world status by blessing advocates of the theoretical climate crisis—that is, the UN, the Liberals, and the Democrats of the world. Intentional or not, the Indian voice counts on the liberal side of this recently fabricated political issue. In spite of the fact that liberals have never really helped Indians, some Indians find themselves closely associated with far left Democrats—the environmentalist wackos.

Despite the fact that Russell Means and the Sioux voted Democrat Tom Daschle out of office and put in his place Republican Tom Thune, the Democrat manipulators of the country still want to claim Indians are on their side.

But this Indian support of the fabricated climate crisis seems a little too convenient. Early on in the political war, liberals enlisted the Indian image to validate virtually every position liberals could slap the Indian image on. Like it or not, Indians have long been associated with liberal causes.

Erasmus is now saying “abundant herds of caribou are dwindling, rivers are running lower and the ice is too thin to hunt on.” Of course, the AP wire sites no statistics or scientific studies verifying anything it quotes Erasmus as saying. All that is of interest here is that Indians are saying it—there is global warming, and it is adversely affecting their hunting life. (Again, no statistics offered as to how many families, if any, actually subsist on the innumerable caribou.)

And you thought liberals didn’t want Indians killing any animals, like whales, for any reason.

What’s happening here is Indian politics. Indians are seeking political status in the world, one way or another. Many tribes are hard at the door of the UN. Is the UN more than happy to recognize Indians? Not really. The anti-Americanism of that gang of Third World agonizers has only a tiny place for Indians. Like most liberals, the UN has no real respect for Indian nations at all.

But international political status is what Erasmus wants. That’s legitimate. Indian people, as we insist on sovereignty, must insure the power of autonomy. For Indians, it doesn’t matter whether there is climate change or not, global warming or not. Many Indian leaders are set to take whatever position they have to take to procure, protect, and maintain that sovereignty.

Of course, Canadian Indians don’t really share the same relationship with their government that American Indians have with ours. They have their own story, a different story. So the stereotypes of history bequeath.

But they’re in the ice. Many of the Canadian tribes are closer to the wild, in that there are so fewer people living in the northern regions. Canadian Indians can say anything about the ice lands, and there is little dispute.

Scientists are in space, however, and they know about the climate, and the wind. Scientists say there is no global warming. There is no catastrophic climate change. The ocean way has not changed. The ebb and tide of statistics, so to speak, never indicate cause, but only result. Cause is usually theory, not fact, in these matters.

Furthermore, there is a new school of scholars (anthropologists and ecologists) who say that Indians never were the dream-world “Mother Earth” preservers that the liberals have presented them as. Today’s “indigenous” concern about animal and plant life, on land and in the sea, is not connected to any tradition of the preservation of either. This is a cultural myth, created by liberals—using Indian images in the white man’s mind.

Richard Chacon, anthropologist at Winthrop University (South Carolina) is the one of the ‘spearheads’ of this myth-breaking academic enterprise. He and Ruben Mendoza, professor of social and behavioral sciences at California State at Monterey Bay, have edited the latest in a series of studies on the indigenous peoples of the Americas: North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence (University of Arizona Press, 2007). It seems Indians just are the lovey-dovey creatures liberals want them to be after all. No people are, in fact.

Chief Erasmus’ observations may be true, but it does not follow that there is global warming due to the oil industry. It only means Erasmus seeks political power—to preserve his people’s way of life. That we can understand.

Posted by David Yeagley · December 7, 2008 · 6:52 am CT · ·


Tags: American Indians · Land · Op-Ed Columns · Politics · Race · Reservations




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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 powwowtime // Jan 23, 2009 at 3:41 am   

    The liberal stereotype that presents us American Indians as an ecological wonder race really puts unreasonable expectations on us. I find the falsely flattering new age concepts about us to be just as “racist” as any discrimination we’ve faced over the years.

    Our religions do teach respect for the Earth. But do we ever wonder why that concept is part of our sacred ways? Worldwide, spiritual teachings are generally meant to address problematic behavioral issues and encourage change. Our ancestors made mistakes and acted as irresponsibly as we can ever claim “white people” to have done; no man is perfect. These teachings have been put in place by wise old men and women, helped by spirits or not, who understood the need to continually hold the people to a higher ideal than our current behavior. It’s called raising the bar. But somehow, that higher ideal has been mistranslated into our actual history. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside that someone might think of us that way, but it is simply not reality. A drive through tribal housing on the average reservation will reveal that. Many people have cluttered yards, some because of lack of time and too much work and others because of too much time and lack of worth. In either case, I wish people would stop trying to use us as a standard to measure others by. If there could be a such thing as third-party hypocrisy, that exactly would be it.

  • 2 David Yeagley // Feb 2, 2009 at 9:11 am   

    Probably one of the most insightful remarks about Indians and Earth I’ve every seen.

    Thank you, Powwowtime!

    The lastest in academic “conservative” research is that there is no evidence that Indians were really earth tenders at all. They did not consciously practice conservatism or “sustainable” environmentalism.

    This, of course, would only be on account of a relatively small population in comparison to the enormous geographic spread.

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