Wed, 30 Sep 2020

Inflexibility of 'the white man' laid bare

(Op-ed) Jerome Irwin
15 Feb 2020, 06:02 GMT+10

The controversy now erupting throughout Canada over the construction of the Coastal Gas Pipeline & TransMountain Oil Pipeline is an old one that once again reveals a fundamental unresolved impasse that has existed since first contact in the New World between the opposing philosophies and rules of law of the New Worlds traditional indigenous peoples and the colonizers of the Old World, Europeans or otherwise, who since have arrived on the shores of what traditional peoples otherwise still refer to as Turtle Island, Gondwana, Azatlanand still many other ancient names.


This writers recollection of what life was like, fifty years ago, when he first became introduced to traditional Native American & First Nation peoples, defined the chief differences that then existed between those deemed to be traditionals or non-traditionals. The traditionals were those who were chiefly wedded to the old ways, predicated upon self-reliance and independence from, what then was commonly referred to as the white mans ways of thinking, doing and being. The old ways had less to do with the need to find a job, because a job was simply what one did to live a well and full life, feeding and caring for ones family while prospering and flourishing, as their ancestors once had done in a more inter-dependent way with all of nature; whereas what prosper meant to non-traditionals back then, as it still does today, is to be more reliant and beholden to an outside job in what still is commonly referred to as the white mans world & way of life.

This also applied to the differences between them when it came to selecting their leaders. The one group followed those leaders who emerged from a complex circle of hereditary clans where, through time-honoured practices, the most able among them were selected as leaders. While those who followed the new ways of the colonizers adhered to a more foreign bureaucratic system introduced and totally controlled by the new-comers and processes beyond the control of the people.

Those described as traditionals were, on the whole, those who were the more pure-bloods among their people and consequently darker-skinned than their mixed-blooded relatives. The old saying back then was that in the white mans world they were generally said to be the last ones hired and the first ones fired because they didnt fit in as well with the modern outside worlds ways of thinking, being and doing.

With that, in regard to the context of the current dispute between the Government of Canada and the traditionals among the hereditary chiefs among the Wetsueweten First Nation and their dispute over the continued construction of the Coastal Gas Pipeline, this controversy brings into focus certain fundamental, seminal issues such as: the major differences between the two groups regarding the meaning and purpose of existence, life and the future survival of all living beings, and Mother Earth herself. Once again what is revealing itself in the bush, in hamlets, towns, cities and urban areas all across Canada are some of the same certain basic issues. For starts, the name Canada, itself, is an Iroquoian word (Kanata) that simply means Home.This same controversy also continues to ripple around the world among Climate Crisis advocates of a diametically different way of life and thinking to the white mans modern corporate world and a similar meaning of what HOME ON MOTHER EARTHmeans for them now and inthe future.


More and more native and non-natives continue to be drawn to the ancient wisdoms of traditional indigenous peoples that all over the New World commonly use the traditional expression KEEP IT IN THE GROUND that represents a more traditional world view based upon a deep respect and reverence for the sanctity of the earth and its preservation.

Of course this ancient philosophy and way of seeing life in a more constant, stable state of being forever flies in the face of those forces in the corporate world of commerce and business who represent a diametrically opposite mind-set and world view that long before the Old Worlds discovery of the New World, and ever since, has advocated an opposite philosophy that believes that for the human race to perpetually grow and expand human society, it must constantly MINE IT, PUMP IT & EXTRACT IT to keep up with an endless, unstoppable population expansion and growth model of ever greater dimensions in all its forms and shapes. The one view believes in leaving as its legacy to their descendants, in as pristine a way a possible, a world that has been bequeathed to them by their ancestors. While the other view believes in the legacy that chooses to forget the legacies of those ancestors who followed this ancient philosophy; instead choosing to believe in those other ancestors of a different mind who otherwise advocated, Bigger is Better and More of Everything is Even Better Still.

For over two hundred years the dialectic art of thoroughly investigating and discussing the truth that lies beind the opposite opinions of both these New and Old World views has never yet been fully aired in the general society. Nor have the courts and legal systems of the colonizers anywhere in North and South America, or in Australia and the South Pacific, ever held a full inquiry into the fundamental contradictions between these two world views and their potential solutions, or how the actions of the opposing social, political, cultural and legal forces and concepts of each can co-exist.

But now, front and centre before Canada and the world is the challenge to try to grapple with this basic issue being caused by the impasse of the current Coastal Gas Pipeline between the Wetsuweten First Nation and Government of Canada. The earlier Dakota Access Oil Pipeline Crisis between the Lakota Sioux Nation and the U.S. Government was a precursor but instead of opening up this much needed dialectic instead led to more of the same kind of brutality and savagery that the Americans, historically, have had a propensity to perpetrate against so many traditional indigenous peoples of previous centuries.


The ideological war that is unfolding between the Wetsuewwten Nation and Government of Canada, the rest of British Columbias governing bodies and the general mainstream corporate, political and cultural concept of what the world should look like, is once again creating still more opening salvos as nations like the Wetsueweten, Lakota and others continue to single=pointedly press forward for the sake of their own survival and that of their people. If the world will truly listen carefully to what these salvos represent they will better understand how that the battle is for them as well.

It should be a wake-up call to the world, as well, that these same issues are part and parcel of the many contentious Climate Crisis rebellions that already engulf the world, but that the mainstream media tries to avoid as if it was the plague. Its a universal struggle begging the question of how much more will the leaders of the world and their followers continue to MINE IT, PUMP IT & EXTRACT IT before its all gone and life on earth is but a figment of what it once was?


Constant attention needs to be paid to such absurd hypocrisies in the mainstream world as those that pay lip service to wanting to do something progressive to positively address climate change, yet, at the same time, on every television set around the world, every minute of every day and nighttime, during every sports cast, sports match, sit-com or major cultural event, and in every movie theatre around the world during every pre-show, when moviegoers are a captive audience, numerous slick, sophisticated commercials continue to woo and brainwash the people to buy every larger, more expensive, more resource development driven flashy automobiles and unnecessary products that need more and more oil to produce and run.

Yet while many average citizens in the general populace continue to moan and complain about the many inconveniences that are being caused to their daily lives by what those like the Wetsuewwten First Nation, Lakota Nation and Climate Crisis rebels are seeking to do, they need to keep in mind that many others like the Wetsuewwten, Lakota Nation and their allies in the Climate Rebellion Movement continue to serve as critical point men and women who are showing us all the way forward, if, indeed, the Survival of All of Life is what is to be the operative directive of the future.

Resistance and hostility to their efforts represents the clearest example of the inflexibility of the white mans way of life that is intent upon continuing the rapacious way of life of the worlds colonizers of whatever color, race or creed.

To close this dialectic here between traditional and non-traditional people its important to note that the bottom line of it all is that if the ultimate goal is a healthier and more balanced planet earth, and more liveable way of life in the 21st century and beyond, the human race is going to have to yet suffer and endure a helluva lot more major privations and serious inconveniences than the few road and rail blockades or traffic snarls then those thus far caused by the dispute between the Wetsueweten Nation, Canadian Government and Corporate-Business world. Someone who has the ear of the worlds political and corporate leaders has to talk to them like a Dutch Uncle and get them all to realize what must be done.

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Bio Note: Jerome Irwin is a Canadian-American activist-writer who, for decades, has sought to call world attention to problems of environmental degradation and unsustainability caused by excessive mega-development and the host of related environmental-ecological-spiritual issues that exist between the conflicting philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Irwin is the author of the book, "The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey", a spiritual sojurn among the native peoples of North America, and has produced numereous articles pertaining to: Ireland's Fenian Movement; native peoples Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Movement; AIPAC, Israel & U.S. Congress anti-BDS Movement; the historic Battle for Palestine & Siege of Gaza, as well as; innumerable accounts of the violations constantly waged by industrial-corporate-military-propaganda interests against the World's Collective Soul

1398 Hope Road, North Vancouver, B.C. Canada V7P1W7,

Tags: Sacredness of Water & Earth, Climate Crisis, Canada's TransMountain Pipeline, Anthropcene Epoch, Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, Occupy Wall Street, Global Strike Actions, Wetsuweten Nation protests

(Photo credit: Jennifer Gauthier | Burnaby Now).

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