I’ve gotten into many arguments over the years with people
who think their children, or poor people, or even their own selves are
struggling to ‘survive’ – the amerikkkan nitemare being understood if not
spelled out in that understanding of survive – and therefore should not be
asked to sacrifice their pursuits for ‘survival’.
It has been difficult to urge people they should not pursue
the ‘benefits’ brought to us by the amerikkkan nitemare, especially those
people outside this country who didn’t grow up with clean water, a change of
clothes, extra food in their cupboards for tomorrow, and a roof over their
But putting those people – 85% of the world’s humans – aside
for now & just focusing on those of us in the u.s.ofa. who’ve had &
have those 4 things, it has been difficult to convince people of the dire need
for us to ‘sacrifice’ our amerikkkan nitemare benefits.
I want to share a story I heard last weekend from an
indigenous person whose daughter worked with an elder along the coast of
Canada. The elder told her of the time her people were looking forward for the
return of the salmon, a yearly occurrence timed to the day!
The salmon didn’t return on the day they were supposed to;
nor did they come the next day. The following week, the salmon still hadn’t
arrived and every day the people went to the river to wait.
Finally, on the very last day of the season, the salmon
returned, but there were only a handful. The people all gathered together to
decide what to do.
For the sake of the next year, they decided not to harvest
any salmon but to allow the salmon to complete their cycle of life so they
could be plentiful in the following seasons.
That winter over half of the people died of starvation. But the
next season, the salmon returned – and her people survived.
She told us this story to attempt to explain our need to
embrace short term loss for long term gain.
As most people raised in this country, we intensely believe
in our right as individuals to do and have whatever we want without
consideration for either the impact on other people on the planet or the
consequences for the next generations.
This indigenous womon stated that her people have to
consider the next 7 generations whenever they do anything.
We rarely consider this generation, let alone our children
or their children – except when gathering and hoarding things, resources,
status for us and them.