Saturday, July 05, 2014

A Plea for Indigenous Realism

Red Alert!: Saving the Planet with Indigenous KnowledgeRed Alert!: Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge by Daniel R. Wildcat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Our climate emergency (the author calls it "global burning") is becoming impossible to ignore, and it is already too late to avert some catastrophic effects in 2014, and yet there is much to do and important reasons to do it. This book is an argument for important principles to be learned from indigenous peoples: "American Indian and Alaskan Native wisdom is a cooperative construction built on generations of attentive interaction between humans and the diversity of life found in the unique ecosystems and environments we call home."

This is, as repeatedly emphasized, not a call for a rejection of technology or a reset to some idealized past stage of development, but an argument for an "indigenous realism" in which "the value of technology is...a function of the symbiotic relationship between environment and culture."

It is effectively an extended introduction to an important topic, with some historical detail and a cursory presentation of some guiding principles that can be learned from Native approaches to technology and ecological balance, from the past and also the present. It is, however, not an academic work and does not go into these in depth, but urges the reader to consider and study this perspective more deeply.

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