What could the modern western world learn from indigenous peoples?
This question is born from three recent events.
I published a hub (Return to the River of No Return) on my experience in remote wilderness. While writing I relived my connection with the People of the Sun.
Last night we watched an episode on DVD from 'The Waltons,' a TV series from the 70s. It was about an old Cherokee who walked back to the mountain of his ancestors to die.
This morning, when Kati returned from her night shift as a nurse, we talked about the ways of indigenous people. I have my thoughts on it, of course, and would like to read yours.
Growing up, I didn't have much of an opinion of my own. Most of what I understood came from history books of that era. How sad! I would say, honestly, that I still do not know much about indigenous peoples around the world, but I do know this: their connection to the earth is so much richer than that of non-indigenous people. Their spirit, which seems purer because they often have a focus on the connections that matter; to a source of all being; to each other; and to the universe around them.
I am grateful to be remotely connected, even in the smallest aspect, to that portion of humanity with lessons still to teach that come from that connection to Source and can help us return to that connection.
Great question Emanate Presence and I would be grateful to hear more.
This is an excellent question Gary. Thanks for providing the opportunity to share and to read as the answers come in.
I spent three months in Papua New Guinea in the early 80s and that experience has played a significant part in the development of my world view since then. Most of my time was among primitive people living along the Fly River. I won't spend time here trashing modern society for not living like a primitive society. We are who we are, but there are things to learn from the primitive cultures.
1. An appreciation for food-They grew their own food in family gardens. For the most part, meat came by hunting as a group and sharing the kill.
2. An appreciation for shelter-Homes were functional. They were constructed of natural materials which everyone helped to make. For example, women and children collected and weaved the reeds which became walls and sleeping mats.
3. An appreciation for craft-bows and arrows, axes, digging implements, clothing, cooking utensils, dugout canoes, billum bags which were used for carrying everything from garden produce to babies.
4. An appreciation for family-No one worried about retirement. Families took care of their own elderly members.
These are a few of the ways modern, western societies could learn from indigenous peoples. There is no need for us to discard our whole way of life, but certainly many of the elements of primitive cultures could be rediscovered and used to make our lives more meaningful and less stressful.
What a rich experience you had in New Guinea! Any plans to write a hub on it if you haven't already? I agree not to trash modern society. You put it wisely, we are who we are. I like to put out who I *really* am, and to read real words such as yours.
I have not written a hub on my PNG experience yet. All of my photos are on slides, so I would need to have a few digitalized for the hub. Thanks for the thought.
To mind their own business, stay out of the affairs of others.
Good morning, Emanate Presence, and thank you for your thought-provoking question.
I come from a family of origin that lived just a shade above absolute poverty in a sugar cane plantation labor camp on the island of Kaua'i.
What I bring to the current table set before me from that experience is a sense of nostalgia and tremendous appreciation for the greater interdependence among family members that have very little in terms of material possessions. One learns to be more grateful for the living one can scratch from the earth or harvest from the sea. There is a greater exchange of goods and services than in an overly credit-driven society.
Most of all, had I not had that kind of upbringing, I don't believe I would have retained in my seventh decade of life a sense of respect and dignity in the way I view and treat others. More importantly, I have a legacy that I can pass on to my children, grandchildren, and other descendants that has, at the very least, trace remnants of what it means to be a significant and contributing member of the global village.
Aloha from SE Washington!
What a wonderfully complete sentiment! "be a significant and contributing member of the global village." I look forward to the day when we all share this consciously!
Thank you Joe, for sharing!
Being free from material overload has enabled us to be more present to the moment and to the land. The Hawaiian islands gave us many rich and magical moments. You may enjoy our video hub, Hawaii O Hawaii. I appreciate your answer. Mahalo.
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