James Giago Davies. Photo: Native Sun News Today
About that black snake prophecy
Fantastic assertion followed by a ceremony
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Columnist
nativesunnews.today Thunder, that’s not caused by lightning heating air to 54,000 °F, and then the air contracting rapidly as it cools, no, thunder is some god or spirit getting angry. Outlandish beliefs are very low maintenance, and they cost almost nothing to dream up. You take some fantastic assertion, and then you honor it with some sacred ceremonies, respected holy men talk it up for decades, generations, even millennia, interweave it into a collective narrative, and that produces some pretty convincing depth and detail. Easy to scoff at other people’s beliefs but we tend to get deeply offended if they scoff at ours. A real problem develops when people start to see their beliefs as something special and unique, with sacred, even privileged insight into reality or nature, ignoring the very real possibility much of it is superstitious hooey. This produces a distorted perspective of reality that limits, not enhances a culture. Not that there won’t be legitimate differences on how we perceive reality. One time I stood on a hill overlooking a valley and I told the rancher, “This is quite a sight,” and he thought I was talking about his livestock processing plant, not the bend of the forested river shadowed by rugged bluffs where eagles nested. All of that nature was just an afterthought to him. All he could focus on was what that land meant to his cattle operation. Was he wrong? He was in the sense I could understand and admire the success of his business and marvel at the beauty of the land he operated that business on. He could not do both. The trick always is to be able to do both, to see your own perspective, to weigh your own involvement, association, and interest in something against a realistic appraisal of how other, alien perspectives view it. After a half century in Lakota Country I can tell you, not only is that not one of our strengths, it is one of our weaknesses. It leads to believing foolish things that hamper our ability to protect our culture from the threat posed by Wasicu development and greed. Up at the DAPL protest we fight an enemy determined to force his environmentally destructive pipeline into existence. That enemy can be exposed and defeated by just sticking to honest principle. We don’t have to misrepresent who he is or what he does, because he is plenty bad enough without our creative help painting him out as such.
Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: About that black snake prophecy (Contact James Giago Davies at firstname.lastname@example.org) Copyright permission Native Sun News
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