Friday, December 4, 2009
‘“Who is a father here this evening?”…all raised their hands…[i] picked one of them and asked him,
“How many children do you have?”
“Would you be willing to sacrifice two of them, and make them suffer so that the other one could go to school and have a good life, in Recife?...”
“Well, if you,… a person of flesh and bones, could not commit an injustice like that---how could God commit it?”
A scilence… Then:
“No, God isn’t the cause of all this. It’s the boss!”’
--Freire (1994), p. 48.; Hardcastle, 2004.
I wonder… does the world need a social revolution?
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
"...The garden of the brain never ceases being pruned and newly planted... Thus, the old adage 'use it or loose it' is brought soundly home."
While contemplating the plasticity of the brain, I began to think of the plasticity of culture.
There are several schools of thought that believe Indigenous America was an example of a morally superior culture colonized by a technologically superior one.
Agree, disagree, to each their own conceptualization of history
(after all, everyone has the right to be wrong).
In the wake of colonization
as I bear witness to a time of duress for even mainstream America
I wonder if confronted with the kind of devastation that Indigenous cultures have had to endure… could the mainstream/dominant culture survive?
Somehow, I doubt it.
Cultures are kind of like the mind; people are like synopses constantly firing and dying. New ideas are like signals trying to get from one place to another, one period of time to the next. Ideas use the various channels open to them, but should those channels disappear, ideas reroute or simple stop.
In this model the structure of the mind symbolizes culture itself.
The package that contains all the various interacting parts:
Parts that bloom because they are needed, remain because of electrical current and die by lack of use.
Cultures have the ability to constantly adjust, and amend accordingly…
But, use it or loose it.
So the idea of culture can be likened to a mind.
But the indigenous reality of culture includes the concept of the soul-
Built into Indigenous cultures are our dreams and our dreamers.
Even when our languages are stamped out for generations, even when our religions are not accessible to the all tribal members-
We have our dreamers and our dreams.
People who regain desire for knowledge, and who understand knowledge can be transferred from one species to another, one physical thing to an animate one, one spirit to a spirit in a body…
Indigenous worldview is like a physical brain, sans dead ends.
No signal can be lost.
Culture beares of the future can be born blank slates, and live within cultures that don’t belong to them- for years… but when the culture calls them into action, they will act. And when they understand, they will explain. And when they are honest, others will listen and will follow them back to balance.
Sometimes I wonder if some of our dreamers aren’t getting medicated in order to avoid the responsibility that comes with dreaming back. Watching my children grow however, I know not all dreamers run from their responsibilities. Indigenous world view: sans dead end.
“Social workers must be visionaries and risk takers, able to formulate fresh approaches and challenge the status quo (Hardcastle, 2004, pg 211) .”
Social workers are at our optimum potential when we can dream.
In mainstream American culture we incorrectly apply the term community to any clustering of individuals “a town, a church, a synagogue, a fraternal organization, an apartment complex, a professional association—regardless of how poorly those individuals communicate with each other. It is a false use of the word (The Different Drum, Schulz, 2006).” American Indian definitions of community are much more group oriented, steeped in family ideas/ideals and cultural ties and norms that originally provided the people with “rules to live by.” Within American Indian communities there were networks of support systems that enabled each generation to help, catch, and even uplift members of the next or previous generation (when the need for support emerged by any individual or cluster of individuals within the group).
“If we are going to use the word [community] meaningfully we must restrict it to a group of individuals who have learned how to communicate honestly with each other, whose relationships go deeper then their masks of composure, and who have developed some significant commitment to ‘rejoice together, mourn together,’ and to ‘delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own.’ (The Different Drum, Schulz, 2006).” This is close to an Indigenous concept of community.
“Once we allow that all clients are ‘nested’ in community, we can entertain the idea that all (or at least most) client problems (be they physical, psychological, economic, or social) are ‘nested’ in communities as well. This realm of community problems (the environmental component) is what Schwartz (1969) called the ‘public issue’ side of a ‘personal trouble.’ (Group Work: Strategies for Strengthening Resiliency, Mondros, 2001).” At this point and time American Indian populations are suffering from inter-generational posttraumatic stress disorder. After centuries of systematic attempted genocide, followed by the constant onslaught of culturally bias laws thrust upon Native families with the intent to destroy the Indian concept of family itself, tribal members today are finding themselves surrounded by a legacy of self destruction instead of a system of love and familial support.