The best business model is stealing.Murder is often necessary to facilitate this, including genocide.Curiously, many such actions are often technically legal or else not central to the docket of judicial concern.Who in the United States knows this better than Native Americans?
Let’s assume for a moment that the worst of this history is old news, water under the bridge.Let’s even assume for a moment that Native Americans are a lesser people, that there are not that many of them left anyway, and hey, look at how much they benefit from all those Indian casinos.
When it comes to best business models, stealing from Native Americans is insufficient.Business bottom lines need to steal from a broad base of poor people, including much of the middle class, which is increasingly closer to poor than they are to rich.Come to think of it, corporations, by definition, don’t mind stealing from rich people either.
Stealing from future generations especially fits in our short sighted, comfortable-enough corporate-manipulated brains. By definition, all that really matters is money.
At the 8th Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, there will be a program of Native American films.Compelling, well-made films like “American Outrage” and “Homeland: Four Portraits of Native Action” and “Manoomin” and “In the Light of Reverence” showcase many exploitations, many injustices.More than that, they showcase an enduring spirituality, respectfulness and resilience from a people who have much to tell us about sharing what does not really belong to anybody.They have much to tell us about not consuming more than we need.
What continues to be done to Native Americans is being done to all of us. The thefts involve pollutions and depletions of many kinds that include “legal” encroachments onpeople’s land and health.No disrespect to disproportionate exploitation and suffering intended, but we are all indigenous people.
Films like these not only infuse necessary indignation, and they inspire a soulfulness that needs to trump money matters.
= = = = = Q and A with Tsi Akim Maidu Tribal Chairman, Don Ryberg = = = = =
Chuck Jaffee: You say in the film, “Uma Tododum” which means “Gathering Together” that 33 organizations officially recognize the existence of the Tsi-Akim Maidu. Why doesn’t the Federal Government recognize your people?
Don Ryberg: They don’t want the responsibility. If they say you’re recognized, then whatever they say didn’t happen [the genocide and such] happened.
CJ: “The Indigenous Days” events, going on for 10 years now, has healing at its core. What do Native and non-Native people need to do to make healing happen?
DR: Non-native people need to apologize, sincerely apologize on a personal level. We need to do projects together, where we look into each others’ eyes [like current projects of restoring salmon and addressing mercury contamination].Native Americans need to forgive. I’ve had people apologize to me.I’ve felt their pain, and it was not one bit different than my pain.
CJ: It’s probably safe to say that indigenous and other poor people continue to feel the most painful assaults of horrible environmental policies. Even if we put aside the mighty and continuing injustices to Native Americans in particular, why is it that our leaders and most of the population doesn’t understand that we are abusing and killing everybody’s grandchildren?
DR: It’s a white-man thing; instead of honoring a homeland forever, everybody’s after this thing, money. They’d rather own the land and rape the land for profit.
CJ: What is the monument referred to in the film, and where and when will it happen?
DR: It would be at Broad and Union streets [Nevada City, CA], not off in some swampland or wherever tribes usually get land. It’s on hold now. We want the community to pay for it.We want the community, when they drive through the center of town, to say look what the community did. It may take a few more years.