Wednesday, December 20, 2006

John Mohawk, Iroquois Leader and Scholar, Dead at 61

Rest in Peace, John Mohawk.

I was fortunate enough to see John Mohawk at the Bioneers conference, at a "Kitchen Table Conversation" entitled Race, Class and Power, where he spoke alongside Paul Hawken, Aqeela Sherrills, and Akaya Windwood. This was a powerful workshop, which was so packed full there were people crammed in, sitting on the floor (You can buy a copy of the CD or MP3 from this session. It's worth a listen). I always have soft spots for historians, since history is one of my passions, but I have to tell you John Mohawk gave off such an aura of wisdom and gentleness. He also had very important things to say.

The 20th century saw the rise of Stalinism, of Hitlerism, of Fascisms of all kind all over, I mean not just Europe but in many places has led to holocausts, exterminations, extinctions.

In each and every case it was started by a people who felt like the Germans did, that they were somehow left out, somehow not given their due. People who took a conscious effort to reform their culture, and in so doing gave themselves permission to commit murder. That has been accelerating in this century and I think it will continue to accelerate into the next century.

That is going to be a result of the side effects of the combination of the globalisation of economy and all the social changes that have diminished the value of human labour and diminished the value of people's relationships and their symbiotic relationships with land.
Read or listen to the rest of this interview with him regarding the future.

Yesterday's Democracy Now also featured an excerpt from a talk he gave at a teach-in last month.
the American civilization has a rationalization for a lot of bad things, things like the removal policy and things like the Indian war thing, and things like the forced assimilation policy.

All of those flow from an ideology of white supremacy, which was the dominant ideology of race theory in the United States in the 19th century. I point this out, because it seems to me that the moment we're looking at is a proposal that peoples of the world, distinct peoples of the world have a right to a continued existence as distinct peoples. And I point to you that the white supremacy argument offers no such rights. It doesn't offer any rights to a distinct existence -- a continued existence of other species, of birds, animals, plants and whatever, fishes. It is a theory that says that one group has the absolute unhindered right to do what they need to do to get what they want.
Listen, read, or watch the whole thing

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