answering Bohunk – Finding Balance Between the First Nations and Western Land-Ethic


Objections to Transferability

Objection 1

Population Density: How can indigenous environmental principles be transferred considering they were developed and practiced in smaller, more dispersed populations? If we all decided to harvest food naturally, then the natural populations of most species would be eradicated, especially in the immediate vicinity of cities.

answer – canadians prefer cities, only a limited number of us wish to live indigenously, there is more than enough land available, and on the ground that aboriginal man (or functional equivalent) is THE keystone species, we in fact have an obligation to repopulate these areas.  the current government might possibly be able to excuse it’s ignorant antecedents, but it cannot logically deny it’s responsibility now.

Objection 2

Loss of Subsistence Culture/Knowledge: Over the last 100 years, indigenous people have themselves stopped living off the land in their traditional way for various reasons. What are these reasons? If they cannot do it, what makes us think we might find any value in trying to apply these traditional principles?

answer – there are only two impediments – the first is legal – the traditional way was outlawed, and aboriginal rights are now implemented in modern replacements, and the traditional way is now interpreted as vagrancy.  the only other impediment is will – the modern way of life is not only mandated by law, it is generally desired, by most.  put it all back the way it was, before smallpox, and of course it works – but that structure has been entirely decimated, and without it, unfortunately, we have an enormous amount to cover.  but clearly it did work, and it will again, of this there can be no logical doubt.

Objection 3

Reliance on Market Economies: People in our society are not self sustaining, but maintain specialized professions. The average person can no longer hunt, fish, clothe, and provide for themselves. Furthermore, if we tried to do this as individuals, societal momentum would be against us. How can we overcome this problem

answer – the average person did not hunt, fish, clothe or provide for themselves in the past either – at least not as atomic families, let alone all-knowing individuals.  aboriginal peoples had professions also, from shaman through outcast, and just like us they depended on each other, and a viable social structure, for everything.  yes, most could hunt and gather and generally feed themselves, but most of us can do this too, with very little training.  it has been demonstrated across history that a population of about one hundred and fifty is an ideal self-sustaining society – my hand is up, are we there yet?

Objection 4

People in today’s society are desensitized from the source of their food and essentials. eg eggs come from the grocery store and milk does too. Many of us never even think about the source of our meat, and how it was obtained. If we all were to witness the killing of an amimal, we would appreciate meat more. Natives pray every time they kill something, and they were not able to engage in the excess consumption that we are capable of engaging in. This mentality is not easily reversed.

answer – nor should it be – is very important, again, to understand that the bulk of humanity, at least unless the alternatives become very seductive indeed, do not wish to live this way.  the bulk of humanity, in my estimation, is headed straight off the edge of the evolutionary cliff, in that it has proven entirely able to wantonly destroy not only itself, but the entire ecosystem it depends on.  this mentality reverses itself – the trick is to make sure it doesn’t reverse the whole planet, in the process.

Objection 5

There is ingrained economic, and political momentum to be short sighted towards making dramatic changes toward environmental sustainability. The powers to be are not ready to make dramatic changes readily.

answer – yes – this is what white south africa believed, what east germany believed, what russia believed.  dramatic changes are not made, they happen – the trick is to be prepared.  canada is very not prepared, possibly the least prepared of all.

Objection 6

Despite the growing awareness toward environmental reform and sustainability issues, First People’s do not have a mainstream voice with which to make their opinions heard. The press, and industry still hold most of the clout and power in our modern society.

answer – the press is only entertainment now, it is not a power, and industry is an employer.  the power is in the people, at least all over the rest of the world.  in canada, i think, hockey is the real power, and maybe beer, because nothing else seems to penetrate the skull, here.  therefore i say it is not about first people at all, and the common herd do not care, so it is not about them either – it is simply about real people, and there are precious few of us left.

all we have to do is join hands, count to a hundred and fifty, and step forward.


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