Words

Sacred Ground

Unite the tribes to save the world

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

“Climate change arrives in a world primed for crisis,” Christian Parenti writes. “The current and impending dislocations of climate change intersect with the already existing crises of poverty and violence. I call this collision of political, economic and environmental disasters the catastrophic convergence. By catastrophic convergence, I do not merely mean that several disasters happen simultaneously, one problem atop one another. Rather, I argue that problems compound and amplify each other, one expressing itself through another.”

The great danger, Parenti argues, is that societies, like people, react to crisis in a manner conditioned by past traumas.

For the United States, trauma is shaped through a military response that extends back beyond wars hot and cold into the genocidal conquest of the American West and the plunder of its resources. The military itself labels climate change a “threat multiplier,” a great pressure to respond to a changing tactical situation with imperfect information. Terrible things have been wrought in the urgency of the expedient.

In a sense, as resources dwindle and options narrow, we come full circle on that crisis of the West; and perhaps the tribes and their treaties provide a path for a different outcome.

In May of last year, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, representing 57 Native American groups in the region, put forward a resolution opposing export of fossil fuels in the region. In numbers, they are strong. Only the Crow Nation refused to sign, and they had their reasons. For them, coal is life.

“The Absaalooka were not born coal miners,” Winona LaDuke says of that nation. “That’s what happens when things are stolen from you—your land, reserved under treaty, more than 30 million acres of the best land in the northern plains, the heart of their territory. This is what happens with historic trauma, and your people and ancestors disappear.

“In economic terms, essentially, the Crow are watching as their assets are taken to benefit others, and their ecology and economy decline,” she notes. Crow Nation needs a friend, and with that friendship comes a bond that can benefit all.

In a sense the final two speakers of the 2014 Fairhaven College World Issues Forum bookend not only the broad topics of climate change and social justice the forum explored, but they bookend each other. In a series of presentations, the forum has addressed the complex, evolving but undeniable science of climate change and its impacts to the natural world and human experience. At the end comes an apocalyptic warning, followed by the offer of a narrow path through the apocalypse.

Through a special film project she helped produce, LaDuke—an activist, environmentalist and author of Anishinaabe descent—and others studied several indigenous communities around the world to learn how they respond to threats to their health, their livelihood and cultural survival.

“In the United States and around the world, indigenous people defend human rights and restore the environment in their sacred places, the original protected areas,” LaDuke notes. “In a growing worldwide movement, their resistance provides the path to our common future.”

The series of films premiered in October 2013. One is featured this week at the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival.

In recent writings LaDuke has suggested the task of fully uniting the Crow Nation with Lummi and other northwest tribes suggests a model for how to ignite a global grassroots response to the mounting chaos Parenti describes, displacing the expedient with the durable and the sacred.

“So it is that the Crow Nation needs a friend among the Lummi and is having a hard time finding one,” she observes. “In the meantime, a 40-year-old coal-mining strategy is being challenged by Crow people, because culture is tied to land, and all of that may change if they starting mining for coal.

“On one level, you want to tell them that what they’re doing is so wrong,” LaDuke continues, “in its spiritual terms, in terms of their own relationship to Mother Earth, and in terms of their denial of people’s humanity. Another facet that I always want to say is: Your plan is bad. You cannot continue to build a society that is based on conquest. We have run out of places to conquer, places to put our flags, new places to mine, new places to dam.

“At a certain point, you have to bring your world into some sort of economy that is durable and you need to do it sooner rather than later because the more you compromise ecosystems and spiritual recharge areas, the harder it will be for us all to recover.”

Christian Parenti and Winona LaDuke will speak at the Fairhaven College World Issues Forum on Climate Change and Social Justice. LaDuke’s film Standing on Sacred Ground screens this week at the 14th Annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival. See page 24 for more details.

SVCR Live Music
More Words...
The Last Ballad
Finding the courage to create change

Working the night shift six nights a week to support her four kids (with another on the way), Ella May Wiggins is tired, and desperate, and her $9-a-week paycheck barely keeps enough food on the table.

Her oldest daughter, Lilly, takes care of the younger children while Ella is at work.…

more »
Skillshare Faire
Give as good as you get

Got a skill? Want a skill? Got a thing? Want a thing?

Skill-sharing is about teaching and learning all kinds of useful, handy and practical skills. Bartering is about offering things you have and know to receive things you do not have and do not know.

“Years ago, lots of people knew how…

more »
The Upcycle
From words to action

In The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability; Designing for Abundance, architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart continue the work begun in Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, where they set forth various ingenious schemes for recycling, endlessly, everything humans…

more »
Events
Today
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Lynden Farmers Market

12:00pm|Front Street

Together for Peace

6:00pm|Majestic

Stream Tour

6:00pm|Whatcom Creek

Day of Peace observes those displaced by war

6:00pm

Trash Talk

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Travel Talk

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Chuckanut Radio Hour with Nancy Pearl

7:00pm|Village Books

Authentic Illusionist Jay Ownehouse

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Ferndale Farmers Market

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Foof Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Last Outrageous Women

7:00pm|Village Books

7-Day Dance Festival Finale

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Bellingham Farmer’s Market 2020 Solutions Sept 2017
Saturday
Eat Local Month

10:00am|Whatcom County

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

The Addams Family Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Oktoberfest Cruises

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Forever Plaid

7:30pm|Conway Muse

The Mousetrap

7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Welcome Back Students Shows

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Figmentally, Circus for All

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

South Whatcom Birding Walks

8:00am|South Whatcom Library

Harvest Happens

8:00am|Bellewood Acres

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Southside Rummage Sale

8:30am| Our Saviour's Lutheran Church

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Make It and Take it

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Twin Sisters Farmers Market

9:00am|North Fork Library, Nugents Corner

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Little Mountain Trail 10K

10:00am|Carpenter Creek Winery

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Salmon Sighting

10:00am|Thompson Creek Bridge

Pesto Perfecto

11:00am|Ferndale Library

Council of the Animals

11:00am|Boulevard Park

Trial Vineyard Open House

12:00pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Sedro-Woolley Brewfest

2:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

The Art of Living

3:00pm|Deming Library

River Walk

3:00pm| Horseshoe Bend Trailhead.

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Kulshan CLT Community Party

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Democrats Dinner

5:30pm| Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa

BowEdison Anniversary Party

5:30pm|BowEdison

Fall Demo Derby

6:30pm|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Moment

7:30pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Village Books Trove 2020 Solutions Sept 2017 Bellingham Farmer’s Market MBT Janis Joplin BOB_2017