Tuesday, 8 March 2011
On The Inevitability of Somebody Coming To Ruin Everything
I have just finished reading The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World by Wade Davis - the book of his 2009 Massey Lectures. In it he outlines what he feels we lose when indigenous cultures and languages disappear, lost to the relentless encroachment of the modern world. I sympathize with the struggles of Amazonian tribes, Australian Aborigines and Pacific Northwest First Nations to hold off this onslaught but am left with the sad feeling of the inevitability of it all. As tragic for the indigenous peoples of North America as 'First Contact' was, somebody from across the seas was eventually going to come. I grew up thinking that progress was being made on almost every front - treaty rights, civil rights, women's rights, the environment etc - and that we wouldn't backslide. But in the 1980s there was a 'reaction', which seemed to start with Reagonomics. Now it no longer surprises me that there are people out there trying to roll back union rights; that our airwaves are filled with one-trick ponies whose solution to every problem is "reduce taxes"; and that Wall Street gamblers get away with privatizing profits and socializing losses. The triumph of Social Darwinism? Hopefully not. Regardless, any First Nations community which can stop the next golf course or monster-home development being built gets my support. And that's what I've been thinking about today.