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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Potlatch

Daily Draw: Native American Tarot ~ 6 of Coins

Both Canada and the US outlawed our North Coast Indian tribes potlatch gatherings in the late 1800's, where the wealth of the few was freely gifted and redistributed to the all with the resulting assurance that everyone had food and blankets to survive the winter and tribal positions were strengthened.

I'm reminded by this card, again, of old white men who can't conceive of any society except a self-nest-feathering one in which communal principles be dammed. The missionaries who did everything they could to destroy the ancient cultures by forcing assimilation have much to answer for.

"The ideal of a single civilization for everyone, implicit in the cult of progress and technique, impoverishes and mutilates." ~ Octavio Paz 1914-1998

3 comments:

  1. I had no idea the US outlawed this practice - that makes no sense! Did they hope the people who didn't receive any gifts would die from the cold or hunger? That kind of thinking blows my little mind...

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  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_assimilation_of_Native_Americans

    It was all a part of the missionaries efforts to eradicate all of the North Coast indians culture and practices. I expect it was nationwide and certainly Canadian wide, but we got the brunt of it because the government and white population had had time to grow powerful.

    The children were forcefully removed from their families and boarded elsewhere and were not allowed to keep their given names or speak their own language.

    The Potlatch laws were not repealed until 1951 and I personally know many of the children who grew up under this tyranny of assimilation. Mi-Shell is one of them.

    Sharyn

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  3. Definitely an on-going issue. The apology in 2008 by our Prime Minister to the residential school children taken from their families was a long time coming although nothing can make up for what "we" have done. Nothing.

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I welcome your thoughts. Good bad or indifferent; opinions are the lifeblood of conversation and I always learn something from anyone with a new point of view. Thank you for visiting, Sharyn