Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 15, 2002
Start listening to Fourth World voices
Ever since the beginning of globalization some 500 years ago, we have made it a point to ignore the aboriginal peoples. We didn't even know who they were.
We just clambered ashore with our grubby little hands looking for gold and hauled out our buckets of holy water for a major Baptism blitz.
Sign up the heathens before the competition arrives.
You're all familiar with the history if you ignored what you learned in school, but read Ronald Wright's Stolen Continents or Galleano's Open Veins or Memory of Fire.
Father Bartolome de las Casas reported we treated the New World inhabitants "worse than dogs' excrement."
Things have not changed all that much.
Chief Phil Lane writes: "The indigenous people of Mother Earth, who still have a connection to their land, language, culture, history and spiritual traditions, are the poorest and most socially and politically marginalized people in every country in which they reside.
"They have the poorest health, the worst levels of infant and child mortality, they are the most exposed and vulnerable to environmental pollutants, they have the lowest levels of education and the highest levels of powerlessness, political oppression and frustration.
"At the same time, indigenous peoples and their lands are a primary source of natural resources, agricultural products, herbal wellness and cosmetics, art, ingredients for pharmaceuticals and cheap labour."
First Nations people become easy targets for various wars on terrorism, in the Philippines, Guatemala, Colombia, Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Amazon and other exotic places.
Closer to home, the school experiment ground to an unfortunate halt and our jails are booked to the maximum. Privatization of these services has been suggested as a viable solution.
There's nothing like making a profit from the misery of others.
The civilization process of imposing western values is now better known as globalization.
But Lane said the forces of globalization "centred in institutions and programs of the IMF, the World Bank and large, mostly U.S. corporations, as well as funds flowing through aid and development programs such as CIDA, reinforce and drive the policies of the wealthy and powerful who are creating and perpetuating the intolerable conditions with which indigenous people are now living."
Hence, a recipe for popular uprising.
For the native person the options are few:
For those of us who run the world, the options are also limited:
This might surprise you, but our Western values expressed in the National Security State, the priority of wealth and private property, and the supremacy of the market ideology, are identified in aboriginal communities as idolatry.
They suggest there is a fourth way in this clash of civilizations: Start listening to the excluded Fourth World peoples.
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