Let's stick in this canoe

Hunter Gray HUNTERBEAR at SPAMprodigy.net
Sat Jan 6 07:46:38 MST 2001

Comrades, Fellow-Workers, Friends:

I, myself, am generally inclined to see my own comment in our excellent
discussional setting [OK Corral?] as akin to chili pepper: use it,
strategically placed, in a well-timed fashion.  But that's my personal
thing.  Others, often from  their experiences  and virtually always from
their "good hearts and minds,"  certainly proceed in their respective ways
and I very much respect that.  My own comments on the Native situation were
made on this list most recently on January 4th ["A few Native thoughts on
current controversies"] and earlier, on November 5th, at some length and
detail ["Natives, Resistance, Nader etc. et al."]  For the moment at least,
that is all I have to say except  to reiterate my basic  and life-long
support for the forces of grassroots Native traditionalism and  for vigorous
preservation of  Native treaty rights and for Native sovereignty and Native
control of cultures and  natural resources and Destiny.

A working organizer since I was a kid -- Native rights, radical labor, civil
rights -- I've often been drawn (as have many of us) into the academic
Groves [some of us remember Mary McCarthy's excellent little novel]  -- and
I've  always continued to organize in and from those settings as well
[challenging as that will always be.]  Most recently, I completed a thirteen
year stint as a full professor [and former departmental chair]  -- in an
Indian Studies department  -- in a state university where I was the only
full-time, tenured Native person.  As academia is generally for anyone with
strong  ["controversial!"] social justice views, it could certainly be
frustrating as pure Hell [ and let me hasten to say, once again,  before a
fire starts on that little issue, that I don't believe in that place
literally.] If you're deeply involved on behalf of your students and
enmeshed in a variety of community concerns and issues, you can only wish
your hands were larger and your hide a little tougher.

But one learns in those crucibles where genteel machiavellianism lurks in
every shadow, to stand strong and keep moving ahead -- and to learn
everything you can that's useful for the advancement of your particular
struggle commitments and vision.  [I learned early on -- decades ago -- that
most students, regardless of their ethnicity, are just fine; many faculty
are; and most administrators certainly are not fine.  But, in any event, you
learn to bounce back and keep learning and fighting and learning and
fighting.  Paul Robeson put it well at his historic Peace Arch Concert in
1952 -- organized by the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter
Workers and particularly by that "wild, Mine-Mill Red," the super-negotiator
and great all-around social justice activist, Harvey Murphy of Canada, when
neither Federal government  [especially that of the U.S.] would permit
Robeson to travel out of the States and into Canada and the concert was held
right on the border with 40,000 from both countries in attendance [and done
again the following year] -- "But I keep planting instead of crying / I must
keep fighting until I'm dying..."

In this fine Marxism Discussion, there is infinitely more social justice
sensitivity, philosophical kinship, and inherent congeniality -- and just
plain, downright positive commitment -- than one could ever find in any
academic institution.  We can -- and I'm sure we do -- learn much indeed
from one another.  In a word, let's stick with this fascinating and
thoroughly colourful canoe on  the wild and rugged  River of No Return.

Fraternally/In Solidarity -

Hunter Gray (Hunterbear),  Idaho

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