Resurrecting Ancient Wisdom and Worldview by Randy S. Woodley

downloadThere are stark differences between the worldviews of Indigenous peoples and those whose worldviews developed with the influence of Western Europe. The “age of discovery” brought the Europeans to our Indigenous shores. Many of those theologians and discoverers attributed their discoveries to God and then immediately acted in the most ungodly manner. I am willing to concede that the Creator had a hand in the meeting of the two worlds but I think it has been largely misinterpreted by the Western nations and Western religious bodies. These so called “discoveries” created not only wealth by extraction in previously co-sustained Indigenous lands, labor and resources, but they also created perverted national myths and twisted theological accounts of conquest. These myths have continued to be told time and time again, and with each generation they are reified, built upon and codified into our society’s collective mythologies and memories.

The Europeans came to many of our Indigenous shores at a time when their resources were fading away.[1] Their oak forests were decimated in order to satisfy their desires for projects like castles, forts and churches. Continue reading

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Violence and Becoming the Myth We Perpetuate

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Violence and Becoming the Myth We Perpetuate

Violence and Becoming the Myth We Perpetuate

by Randy S. Woodley

We know them by name, almost like sports teams who have grown to have so many new franchises we can’t keep up with them: San Bernardino, Roseburg, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Columbine, and so many more. All tragic. All nationally lamented. All such events continuing to grow exponentially. In a recent poll, over half of all Americans favor sending ground troops to Syria or Iraq to fight Isis.[1] Picture the Roman Coliseum with 54% of the people standing, crying for blood and you have a idea (yes, slightly exaggerated but think more “Hunger Games”) of how much America craves violence to solve its problems, all in the name of righteousness, national security and defenders of the global helpless. But this is a myth.

thThe American Myth is embedded with notions of all sorts of violence. The myth includes mega-violence. Our national budget, our money…our taxes, largely go to support violence and greed through war.[2] War against “terror.” War against “the other.” Well, a history of war against almost everyone.  New wars are fought through “fair trade agreements,” through world banking systems, through militarized police, against the homeless, against the poor, the immigrant, against ourselves… Violence against so many. The American Myth is also about micro-violence, hand gun violence, assault rifle violence, violence against women, violence against Black folks, violence against Native Americans, violence against Queer folk, and many more… Every week violence in America is like walking through a revolving door, until it happens to you.  Then, I suppose, it’s like no other day you’ve ever known and, no other day you will ever know again. Continue reading

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Pope’s Hypocritical Stance Towards Indigenous Americans Opens New Wounds by Randy Woodley

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Pope’s Hypocritical Stance Towards Indigenous Americans Opens New Wounds by Randy Woodley

In speaking of immigration to US Congress today, Pope Francis said:

Tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us were not always respected. For those people, and the nations, from the heart of American democracy, we affirm my highest esteem and appreciation. Those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but…” lifting his face from the script and looking out into the crowd he said, “ we know it’s very difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present.” The, wait for it…yes, the congress applauds.

Honorable Pope Francis, may I express to you the age-old lesson that history repeats itself? People and governments repeat the “sins and the errors of the past” by not fully dealing with their responsibilities in the past. Your casual reference to the sins of America’s past, never even naming our peoples as First Nations, Native Americans or Indigenous peoples, only helps to justify and reinforce to the body to which you addressed, our continued mistreatment and our relegation to their intentions for us to fade into quiet oblivion. Your references to Jesus’ words to “do unto others as you would want them to do to you” is mere hypocrisy after such an affront to Indigenous peoples. Each congressional applause only added an exclamation point to your propaganda and props up their justification for not dealing with America’s genocide. Continue reading

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From the Post-Colonial Peanut Gallery: “Aloha”

Film review by Daniel Fan

“Sometimes you have to say goodbye before you can say hello.”

“Aloha:” a traditional Hawaiian word which is used both as a greeting and a send off.  And now, it’s a mid-sized romantic-comedy starring a pretty much all-white cast.

Aloha is the story of Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a washed-up, blown-up former US Air Force officer and private military contractor working a last-chance gig for billionaire Carson Welch (Bill Murray as an interesting amalgamation of Richard Branson and Dick Cheney, with a little Jim Carrey goofy-ness mixed in).  Serving as romantic opposites for Gilcrest are Rachel McAdams portraying Tracy Woodside (honest, hardworking, but longsuffering former flame of Gilcrest) and Emma Stone as the straight-laced Air Force rising-star Captain Allison Ng.

[Spoilers ahead] Continue reading

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On Food and Giving Thanks for Neoliberalism: Taking the Capital out of Thanksgiving by Matt Cumings

Tis the season for turkey, and  I just really want to talk about food!  Mmmmmm, yummy food my favorite of which, like a teenager, is still the turkey leg! Speaking of turkeys, here’s a nice letter from your last local turkey farmer. Or how about pumpkin pie, I really don’t eat it any other time of the year, the same thing with cranberries and persimmons. Persimmons are such a strange fruit, much like the strange fruit the american empire continues to bear:

“Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they?  In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.” – Jesus

As much as we may complain about having to put up with our racist right wing Fox watching uncle during thanksgiving everyone looks forward to the meal time at least. If you do want to learn to learn to engage constructively with the “Christian Right” you should check out Andrea Smith’s Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances. The table ethic is the liminal space that embodies the idea of shalom in one event. Food, shelter, and community and enough for everyone.  Native Americans approach every meal with the sort of thankfulness we are often intentional about only one day a year. Of course, we have a tendency to commodify holy days and appropriate others’ spirituality, one could make a case that Thanksgiving is an appropriation of not even Indigenous spirituality but that actually embodiment of a people. You can get educated on Native appropriations at Dr. Keene’s blog if you’d like. Or you can read about the eurocentric mindset firsthand from different perspectives!

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