Cowboys and Indians: Dismantling the Western, Settler-Colonial Worldview (PART IV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This text on “Shifting Worldviews and Indigenous Empowerment” is the final in a 4-part sequence to deconstruct the Western, settler-colonial worldview and to #ResurrectEloheh

Worldviews will not be immutable, however they’re troublesome to alter as a result of they’re “caught more than taught.” However as a lot as potential, they could even be taught.

Worldviews are primarily taught by what I name, “bad narratives.” Unhealthy narratives uphold the fallacies listed above. As I said earlier, maybe one of the best ways to right a nasty narrative is to supply a greater, extra true narrative.

At this time, it’s Indigenous individuals, ladies, individuals of coloration, the poor, the marginalized and different oppressed peoples, who’re in a position to supply up a greater, extra true narrative than these for whom the West has justified as heroes in pursuit of capitalistic and imperialistic objectives.

The Western worldview has not solely helped to destroy tribes, nations, and entire individuals teams, however it’s destroying the earth itself. Within the Pacific Northwest, the world by which I stay, this damaging worldview was apparent from first contact.

Within the early days of the fur trappers within the Pacific Northwest, my spouse’s individuals group, the Shoshone, inhabited a lot of Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and elements of Montana. They made their dwelling primarily by searching massive sport comparable to deer, antelope, bison, and bighorn sheep. Within the early a part of the 19th century, fur corporations from Britain, the USA, and Canada started sending out fur trappers and establishing forts as facilities for enterprise. As these Europeans traveled the Indian trails and adopted rivers and streams, the Shoshone (and different Indians) couldn’t imagine what they noticed. The malicious destruction of huge sport for no different cause however sport was inconceivable to the Shoshone and different tribal peoples who, themselves, trusted nature’s abundance for his or her survival. However for the Westerners, so long as there have been animals left to kill, they’d kill all of them the day lengthy and go away nearly all of the meat to rot on the prairie. The Shoshone and different tribes understood the disruption and knew, if left unchecked, finally such practices would result in hunger. Their assaults on the newcomers have been most frequently merely to protect their very own survival.

This identical sample was repeated in varied types all through historical past and no matter geographic location. Nevertheless, as a result of hubris of the Westerners, solely false narratives have been constructed framing the Indigenous peoples as blood-thirsty, homicidal savages. The tribes grew to become the bane of the settler’s reviews merely for making an attempt to make sure their very own survival. Within the phrases of Main James Mcloughlin, “I have never known an Indian to kill a game animal that he did not require for his needs. And I have known few white hunters to stop while there was game to kill.” The identical wonton perspective towards our pure setting nonetheless exists at this time within the Western worldview.

There seems to be a correlation between treating nature because the “other” and treating individuals in an identical method. These practices, successfully stemming from what we’d later name “white supremacy,” started with the earliest explorers and pilgrims within the Americas and in most elements of the world.

One native Northwest instance is that of a fur trapper, Jim Beckwourth, who recorded his occasion taking 488 Bannock Indian scalps in in the future, of all ages and genders, leaving not one man, girl, or little one alive. Beckwourth, wrongly assumed, he had worn out the entire Bannock tribe. This sample of the destruction of Indigenous peoples has been repeated each earlier than and after Beckwourth everywhere in the world. When Indigenous individuals resist their very own destruction, subjugation, or the theft of their lands, they’re thought of to be an issue.

Those that oppress others create narratives that justify their very own actions, and these narratives grow to be myths which inform the worldview of the colonizer. The tried genocide of Indigenous peoples naturally incited resistance and retaliation. The West and the Western Church should personal its horrible participation within the historical past of genocide of assorted individuals teams, tried genocide on the group of creation, the oppression of girls, and so on.

Time for restoring our place on earth is working out.

At this time, all creation is demonstrating that the enemy of the Western worldview is extra formidable than the Indigenous tribes, and this enemy doesn’t discriminate between the harmless and the responsible. The Western worldview and its sample of destruction has created a lot injury that it has brought about the earth herself to struggle again — to defend herself from humanity and from all the present injury happening on earth, within the waters, and within the skies. Earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and forest fires are all growing in frequency and severity as a result of people, who up till not too long ago have been solely tertiary customers of power, at the moment are the main customers.

To be able to save herself, the earth should destroy those that try to destroy her. What I imagine we’re witnessing is our Mom Earth “spitting out her inhabitants,” related to what’s described in Leviticus 18:25. This whole imbalance have to be corrected shortly and drastically. That is the place the earth knowledge and other people knowledge of Indigenous peoples is so wanted.

Indigenous individuals of the world supply conventional information and knowledge which have helped to maintain them on the earth for untold millennia. I’m reminded that we’re all Indigenous from someplace, in some unspecified time in the future in historical past, however a lot of the perception that was gained prior to now has been misplaced. Amongst many Indigenous peoples of the world, this perception in nonetheless intact. We should avail ourselves to it earlier than this present to humanity is finally misplaced to the planet. Not solely ought to Indigenous peoples be proven “special care,” however they have to be restored to grow to be the West’s main academics.

Many of the capital which the West — together with the Church — now possesses, comes because of the oppression and tried destruction of Indigenous peoples. The debt owed to Indigenous peoples not solely consists of “special care” however empowerment to positions of authority. The priority now goes properly past Indigenous sovereignty, restitution, and restoration, as elementary as these points are, and with out which makes the method meaningless. Indigenous peoples have to be positioned in positions of decision-making in terms of securing humanity’s privilege as the first caretakers of the earth and in serving to to resolve the opposite issues humanity faces.

Randy Woodley and his spouse Edith are co-sustainers of Eloheh/Eagle’s Wings, in Oregon. He has written a number of books together with Shalom and the Group of Creation: An Indigenous Imaginative and prescient. The Woodleys are at present campaigning to “Resurrect Eloheh” to allow them to buy land within the American Southwest for the brand new Eloheh Farm, an Indigenous studying heart and religious group. Please think about supporting their efforts at


Leave a Reply