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“ThanksTaking” from Genocide to Bad Design, the real Thanksgiving

First we give credit to our ancestors and listen to the Earth. My consciousness has shifted from baring witness to the problems and negativity of the world to actually seeing in full vision what are the “opportunities.” And what is left after that? Nothing but positive growth… This piece is taking a true look at the history of genocide of indigenous people through the lens of design.

I had a long philosophical discussion with my good friend Josh Applebee.  We had some time to kill before I was to go on stage to perform for an amazing event at Eat Gallery in Houston Tx.  What you first have to understand is that my dear friend Joshua is the best example of looking for the positive.  Our conversation somehow lead us to the topic of History, and how important it is for us to know history and not only that but accurate history filled with well rounded facts.  Then I took it a step further to say what is more dangerous than not knowing your history or where you came from is actually believing in a false history or choosing to believe a false history.  For example, the case of our beautiful indigenous “American Indian” tribes, whom were all but wiped off the face of the landscape.  The story that has been perpetuated by materialistic American culture is a complete mockery of what actually marks the date of a massive plague genocide that swept across this Home Land we call US.  My dear friend Joshua, searching for the positive, as the noble man he is, presents this idea:  To me, “sometimes it’s not so important what is the truth, what is more important is what you believe in.” He continues, “Now in this case would it be better to focus on all the horrific facts of Thanksgiving or would it be more beneficial to our culture to focus on the joining and coming together of two people.”

What two Peoples coming together looks like...

I took a deep breath and it hit me instantly.  ”I suppose that would be valid if the indigenous people of this land were completely exterminated, I mean not a single Indian person native to this land still living.  Then we may be able to take the history and distort it to serve a bigger view of thankfulness and well wishing.  However, these peoples still exist and they are one of the most marginalized and oppressed people in our Nation of the so called US.  Therefor, this is not a Historical event, this genocide is still taking place.  These indigenous people have been driven into infertile lands, and they are suffering from: diabetes, drug addictions, depression, marginalization, and no form of big business or government has their best interest in mind.  This modern day genocide is a continuation of the slaughter and colonization of this nation.  These facts have absolute purpose in the design of our mental capacity.  We cannot understand where we have come from or where we are going in this country of the US until this gruesome fact is analyzed.  Further more, even if there were no indigenous peoples left in this land, it’s still of utmost importance that their heritage and legacy live on in the hearts of those who wish to carry it–the burden of the lost souls of our true brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons.  This is our true heritage, and it has been suffocated by colonization and the stamp of the oppressing grid.

Our colonized heritage begins

Now where are we left?  My programing tells me to enjoy Thanksgiving, to gather with my family and cook, tell stories and live in sentimentality.  And my conscience… that part of me that is cracking with awareness begins to question.  What are we celebrating here?  Who was involved?  What was the real story?  and most importantly… What should we do now?  John Trudell said, “Asking American Indians to celebrate Columbus Day is like asking US citizens to celebrate Osama Bin Ladden day.”   That pretty much sums it up!  You see, Columbus really represents a virus… a plague that swept across what is truly a sacred land.  And now what have we done?  We’ve taken that virus and just transformed it, and bred it into a different species.  And the original American People are still under attack.

John Turdell, Shepherd of Indigenous Peoples, Poet, Icon

They are still oppressed and marginalized and made slaves to a political system that doesn’t care about them.  Should I celebrate Thanksgiving?  Should we reflect on the positive of gathering as a people?  Well that just presents more questions to me… How do we celebrate?  And do we even gather?  We celebrate capitalism and materialism.  Let’s just set it straight.  The fact that the day after Thanksgiving is the most chaotic shopping day of the entire American year is a testament to the fact that we have severed ourselves from the duty to our spiritual connection to what Thanksgiving really represents and really stands for… And do we even gather?  Most people I speak to during the holidays tell me, “Oh I can’t wait to get this weekend over with so I can get away from my crazy family.”  Again a further testament to a design that has failed us.  We are raised and bred as slaves of separation.  We don’t want to know our neighbor or involve ourselves in our family life.  What is the so called “American Dream?”  A picket fence and a house of separation… Mine!  Don’t cross this line!  We’ve put barbed wire and barriers all across this sacred landscape claiming and owning the ground that is by design supposed to be the right of the People and all living beings of Earth.  This is our land, which means we have a responsibility to take care of it.  How can we celebrate and give thanks with such desecration of land that is meant to provide our needs?  This destruction is inward also.  We’ve been bred into chaos and confusion, depression and pain.  We are programmed to believe that we always have to seek externally for happiness, when all the while happiness is within grasp.  The design of life is within sight, just go outside and listen to the trees the Earth and the ground, observe how creation interacts with Itself.  Once you do this, your sight improves… your eyes open, your heart tunes with the rhythm of the Creator.  One thing that quickly becomes clear is the overall fragility of life.  The plasticity of the modern system, and the drive toward confusion and consumption.  You can see it, like a world wearing a mask.  What is underneath bares the answer.  You see, you can’t blame the system, it’s a product of years of perpetuation of a very small demographic of people.  We can’t expect that the design of the privileged few would represent the needs of the great oppressed majority.  It’s not their fault it’s just bad design…

A grid design system that is not sustainable and doesn't promote community or creativity.

Now that you’ve made it through all the gritty details of our history, you know why we are spinning in this current state of consumerism and waste.  These root issues are what is driving us further way from our duty as shepherds of the land that is here to provide for us.  This leads you to my third question, what should we do?  How should we act?  What is to be done with all this madness?  The answers are quite simple, and you have to take this journey of understanding for these systems of design to resonate with you.  First you really do have to understand the state of the world and what got us here, and then you have to open your heart and listen to the needs of the Earth and the majority of the peoples walking on Her soil.

Mayan Aquaponics Farming

It’s really interesting that most of the answers to our modern dilemma reside in the teaching of indigenous peoples… not just from the Americas but around the world.  We have severed our connection to true integration in understanding and living with the Earth.  The introduction of the grid style housing, and monoculture agriculture is a huge root in the problems of the modern world.  Now that we’ve seen these systems fail and create more problems of instability the solutions make so much more sense.  Those solutions are found in our ancestors and indigenous peoples of the Earth.  They knew what the Earth wanted, and they also knew how to cultivate the Earth for the benefit of the People, it was a truly harmonious and symbiotic relationship with the Earth.  Now I feel like it’s my duty to become a shepherd of the land, just as they were.  Now we have a great opportunity to merge the principles of indigenous peoples with the positive advancements of modern day science.  This is our future, and for me the only work worth getting involved in.

I won’t outline all the solutions in this breathy blog, and still there is a little opportunity to give some examples here.  We are clear now that when looking for solutions we first have to understand the root of the problem.  One very large root in our modern world is our food system.  Growing monoculture farms, shipping it on trucks, using fuel and energy, buying it in a grocery store that takes fuel and energy and arguably creates more waste than growth.  It’s clear that this is not a sustainable system… again the solution is simple.  Localized farming.  One might argue that if everyone grew their own food then what would be left of the farming industry and all the jobs it may or may not create.  Well, now that we have a new perspective of life we can see that with the shift of consciousness so comes the sift of our ideals and needs.  One also has to take into consideration the quality of life and sustainability a concept like localized farming represents.

Indian Manual Water pump farming no electricity or gas used

The human being is an adaptive species and any limitation is only in the mind.  If we transform the food system to a more sustainable one, it is a guarantee that more and more creative ideas will blossom and the Earth will provide the answers we need to carry on.  How many lot’s do you see abandoned when you are driving through a city?  How many empty spaces of just grass is growing all over medians along highways and roads?  How much space and opportunity do we have even within our own yards?  There is more than enough landscape and more than enough resources to grow food locally.  My parents entire subdivision could be feed from a food forest if done properly in the park connected to their neighborhood.  And the people in the neighborhood would then have a new reason to gather and congregate around a system that is designed to benefit them, not drain them of their energy time and money like so many of our modern recreational activities.  It’s all about the design systems.  We have the power to make the change.  We have the knowledge of our true history to guide us toward our higher purposes.  We just need to change the focus of the design and make for certain that the “designer” has the Earth and the People in their best interest, and from then on the Earth does the talking.  We are not special, everything we need is giving to us by the Creator and it’s time to connect to that idea and start giving back…

Wandering, Observing, Integrating, Learning, Understanding

Since going through the process of writing this blog and putting it together I’ve decided to make a Part 2 that is mostly solution based so that we can take the understanding of the past and apply it to the needs of our People in the modern world so that we get back to integration with the Earth.  And I’ll start with a story about these kinds of experiences:

Ravi from Urban Permaculture Farm, Dharmalaya, in Eugene Oregon, and me having an apple from his tree, nice and warm from the sun, sweet and juicy

Permi Designer in training... until next blog...