[Marxism] Ward Churchhill on Colonialism...

debs4prez at comcast.net debs4prez at comcast.net
Mon Apr 20 19:44:22 MDT 2009

Thanks for your post, KDP. 

Personally, I found your subjects very engaging as my mom's family comes from the UP (Upper Peninsula of Michigan, one of the U.S.'s last frontiers) via Irish Quebec City and Indian Voyaguer Canada and my father's family comes from Nev York via Jewish Belarus.  

Last summer I serendipitously made a valuable friend with a Jewish Indian from Northern Minnesota.  This summer we're planning on going on a great canoe/fishing/plant foraging/petroglyph viewing trek. 

Dave is a non-Indian Indian in a way that many of us here are non-Jewish Jews.  While his brother is included as an enrolled Ojibwe, Dave is excluded by deadline and blood quantum, a system set up by the same U.S. government that committed genocide against his tribe.  At the same time, Dave is probably more traditional than most Ojibwe in his relationship to the land, but critical of the narrow, corrupt practices of the tribal council.  His father was also past President of the reservation. 

One comment that my friend Dave made in answer to a question stuck with me.  I saw at the Mille Lacs Tribal Museum in the immediate post ww2 period that the Ojibwe were starving.  When I asked an Ojibwe how this could be, given the centuries long traditions of hunting and gathering, he gave me some vague answer about the federal gov being focused on the transition after ww2.  When I asked Dave, his answer made more sense.  He said that prior to ww2, most of the tribal elders had died.  Thus, by the time the tribe made it to 1947, they had lost the traditions of hunting and gathering in an organized, collective fashion. 

One valuable contribution Dave and few others like him are making is rediscovering and reviving traditional skills such as plant foraging, hunting, preserving, fishing, ricing, etc.  He also helps to lead projects that reintroduce extinct fish species, such as the whitefish in the Minnesota St Lawrence tributary (must be the Jewish heritage working on the whitefish).  Much like the Irish petit bourgeosie in the 19th century that lead a revival of sorts of a traditional Irish culture of sorts. 

At the same time, I was also heartened to hear from Dave that his interest in things Indian is not just a narrow interest in the Ojibwe, but in a pan-Indian movement.  I encouraged him to check out Evo Morales and Bolivia, Chavez and Venezuela for models and contacts. 



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