Buffalos and Sweetgrass

There was an Idea thrown around during our mock debate of the Lynn White vs. Pope Francis arguments. The idea that indigenous people had managed to find a balance between their self expansion and preserving the environment. We brought up this idea in regards to the wester colonizers, who believed in Christianity, and who obviously were not able to find a balance between themselves and the environment because that’s where we are now. In the dystopian earth threatening future created by the colonizers. In a world where there aren’t herds of wild buffalos roaming free across the countryside’s. What I find so fascinating about this thought we had in our mock debate is that its the main topic of Kyle Whyte’s article Our Ancestors’ Dystopia Now: Indigenous Conservation and the Anthropocene.

In his video interview he brings up that climate change is not a new thought for the indigenous people. They have been recording through their stories and culture the interactions that indigenous people have with the plants and animals around them. One modern work that I keep thinking of which showcases these interactions is Braiding Sweet Grass by Robin Kimmerer. It is a fascinating collection of indigenous folklores that cornicle the scientific interactions with various plants and flora across the country. A specific example is the way that indigenous people would use sweet grass to braid and create their objects, and through this relationship the sweet grass actually would benefit. Then once the natives were removed from their lands these populations of sweet grass that once were harvested and braided where now left untouched. I’m pretty sure this very negatively affected their population but I don’t recall how. The book is filled with these interaction of well recorded environmental changes and balancing, where indigenous people were able to create symbiotic relationships with the environment around. This kept their respect for the environment and the world higher overall which if left to rule North America may have never led to the dystopia that we are in now.

All these messages are now being brought up for one purpose, and that’s to protect ALL of the earth, not just the parts of it we like the most. In this day and age with all our technology and actions with unknown consequence’s its so hard to be aware of how just one individual affects the world around them. Just buying one water bottle could trace back to endangering thousands of species, so where at this point where humans are no longer being held accountable for their actions since so much of them are near impossible to account for. We are in a dystopian future where so much of our earth is in danger, and as much as we would like to there is no way to go back. So we have to move forward doing as much as we can to make the change we want for our earth.

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