Submitted by lettuceLeafer in indigenous

In the history of colonization of the modern day area of US and Canada there was a specific effort to otherwise and see all the local people's as one group probably called some derogatory term. It was an outright effort to conflate all the different groups cultures and different ways of living. To help exterminate the different groups culture an existence from reality. It was one important part of the genocides that took place. It was a pretty effective tactic at that.

So for me personally I try to learn about the indigenous groups separately and try to not take assumptions about how they act bc they are indigenous. Now for most this is not possible as for so many groups the knowledge is basically all lost. And even the more well recorded groups not a ton is known and most info comes from a colonialist perspective trying to come to a certain conclusion. It is still useful but a problem to be aware of.

Now for practicality purposes most of my knowledge is on local groups. And even in the close region it gets really diverse. Like the closest group was a literal civilization Cahokia. It was possibly one of the biggest cities of it's time. Complete with significant portion of deforestation and lots of water pollution and being completely reliant on getting food through trade or the outside rural area.

So let's get to my complaint. So many times when indigenous cultures gets brought up it's not much more diverse than this cool way how the indigenous people did cool environmental thing that we could do now.

Now I will admit using the term indigenous to talk about colonization and it being a vector of oppression is very useful. But like using it to refer to what some groups of people do seems kinda outright harmful.

It reminds me a ton of how neck rings are talked about in the states or drinking blood with milk. Oh the Africans and their big ol gold neck rings. Or oh the Africans sometimes drink blood with milk. Like wtf. Hey I'll be the first to admit that neck rings or blood recipe are interesting. But like it's not the Africa that does it. If fact most people in Africa don't do that. It both hegomizizes all the cultural groups in Africa and takes a cultural action away from the original group.

Like it would be so much better if people would say something like "some of the people in massai drink blood with food". Clarification I like in a weird family and this has been brought up a couple times due to discussion about the how drinking blood is actually a pretty smart idea in many situations. More a damn some those people are brighter than most Americans as Americans are too blinded by taboo to logically think about when drinking blood is a good idea.

So my complaint is how about just like say what region or group of indigenous people is doing rather than say the indigenous people do this. It's way more clear and makes it a fuck ton more for finding out more about the thing and the group as a whole.

Like when u say indigenous people that really doesn't narrow it down at all. Like basically that narrows it down to the entire landmass of the world minus Europe and Antarctica. Wow so clear.

Like this meme for instance

https://raddle.me/f/memer/135299/can-i-copy-your-homework

I have no idea what this means. The horticulture practices of where? What horticulture practices? Like indigenous horticulture could mean basically anything tbh.

I have to assume it means horticultural practices which are actually sustainable. Now that makes sense. But also not all indigenous groups practiced sustainable or eco friendly food production.

Also I feel like a lot of the use of indigenous comes from stereotyping and racism a bit. Sure many indigenous groups did live lives that I think are very helpful in learning from and immitate in trying to live a life which can actually exist without causing climate armeggedon. But like not all indigenous groups are anti civ idols.

Like no one seems to say it but I think in green spaces as a whole a fuck ton of stereotyping of indigenous people as eco warriors. It's especially apparent in video media. The amount of time I've seen a music video or TV where they need someone to care about the environment so they get a indigenous person pit a feather in their hair and have them wear mocasins is pretty often.

I feel like I've made my point very badly and I'm not exactly sure what I'm criticizing either. It started as a PSA that it's way better to actually use a groups name or say what region they are from when talking about an indigenous group. But I added a greatly complaint about my racism detector goes off a little when people use the term indigenous people rather than just saying who did it.

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lettuceLeafer OP wrote

Oh /u/Kinshavo I just figured I'd mention u since I did link to a thing u posted. Not really calling u out or anything. The meme itself just reminded me a bit of a more poinient issue. U seem cool so I wouldn't want to accidentally make it look like I was upset with u or talking behind ur back.

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Kinshavo wrote

Don't worry :)

I like when you react to something I post even if it ain't oc

I have no idea what this means. The horticulture practices of where? What horticulture practices? Like indigenous horticulture could mean basically anything tbh.

I think this the point of the meme, how appropriation occurs and instead of praising the native culture (or helping it regain it's space) they just profit from it..

I get your argument in two ways, first how the generalization of the concept like indigenous are harmful and tend to homogenized a whole set of diverse cultures and how we can fetishize a native culture in an anticiv discourse. And I think I agree with you.

I read the meme in a way that was criticizing permaculture for taking ancient\native knowledge and rebranding it as green technology. And I think there's difference in the interpretation bc of cultural context too.. for example, I guess that in the US, all the black diaspora culture is not considered native or indigenous but the only accepted bits of their culture is what the white civilization recuperated, music, language, etc.

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halfway_prince wrote

This example I think illustrates the potential issue with the woke-policing of language especially when it comes to indigenous people. /u/ulettuceLeafer is using language-policing to critique a meme that is facilitating dialogue on how some indigenous agriculture practices are being appropriated and erased by western environmentalists.

I think the actual impact of this (intention aside) is to divert the conversation's focus and make it more difficult to engage with critiques of cultural appropriation and erasure.

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lettuceLeafer OP wrote

Am I language policing? I never told or asked kinashavo to change the meme. I just questioned the assumptions in the meme makers head that determined what word choices they make.

I think the actual impact of this (intention aside) is to divert the conversation's focus and make it more difficult to engage with critiques of cultural appropriation and erasure.

I literally said that grouping all indigenous people under the term indigenous is useful when talking about oppression. But us stereotyping when using the term to talk about what one cultural group does and making the assumption that all of them do similar things.

Using the term indigenous to talk about cultural erasure is useful but isn't good to use it to do cultural erasure.

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halfway_prince wrote (edited )

Ehhhh I think i was just trying to say that from my perspective the flow of this conversation illustrated something potentially detrimental: the diversion from the actual issue of indigenous erasure which was put forward by Kinshavo's meme toward a discussion of what word choice "we anarchists" should use, which functionally subsumed the previous conversation.

Look i don't think you shouldn't have brought this topic up, nor do i think that you were caused any great harm or were aggressively policing language. I think it's valuable to have these conversations and i respect your opinion greatly. I'm just offering my perspective which is a frustration with an over-emphasis on the left's (or post-left lol) ever-changing rules of language choice which often dominates the conversation and makes it easy to virtue signal without actually doing anything about the problem at hand.

edit: whoops ya just re-read and i definitely said you were language-policing in my original comment. sorry i think that was too strong an assertion!

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lettuceLeafer OP wrote

Yeah I agree with everything u said.

Tho as I'm still used to the more progressive anti racist politics I lead more towards the lib over police just to be safe. So I really do appreciate critique of when the line is and when it's gone too far. Bc I'm not really sure where the line is exactly.

I know saying the n word is too far and apologizing for being white is too far too but I'm not sure where the in-between is that.

I think we are overall on the same page tho. If u do have advice in what a better line is regarding this issue I would appreciate the discussion or more critique in the future.

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halfway_prince wrote

i'm sure we'll keep chatting, sharing feelings, and learning from one another in the future ¯\_ (ツ) _/¯

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lettuceLeafer OP wrote

Yeah I understood the meaning of the meme. I was more being a bit critical. I understood what was meant by indigenous horticulture. I was then questioning why I instantly drew the conclusion of oh indigenous horticulture that's eco friendly sustainable horticulture. Then I asked myself why that was my assumption bc indigenous horticulture could mean anything. So then came the logical conclusion that the use of the term indigenous horticulture has some level of stereotyping of cultural practices of tens of thousands of indigenous groups.

I think we are in the same page. And I took some time to respond to think of what a good solution for this meme would be. Bc I think the message is a good one. I took some time trying to think of a good solution and couldn't think of one then I was like. What if it said some indigenous horticultural practices. And like it's just not a issue anymore.

Tho I think such changes aren't really important. I was more concerned with the underlying assumption in people's brains that cause them to make such language decisions than going "akscuse me not all indigenous people change the meme rn".

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Kinshavo wrote

Is not easy to make good memes, and I think political or philosophical memes are a disaster in being anything but flawed food 4thought

But tho the point you raised is very valid, even in other instances where people engage in woke virtue signaling or woke policing I think something can be learned or at least Improved in th public discourse. So many anarchists or leftists belittle "Identity Politics" as being liberal and not critical enough but we can't forget this is the entry point for many, and what is in need is not try to erase the liberal discourse, but the better the white discourse, the male discourse, the cis discourse, the hetero discourse, etc..sometimes I thinks this is the Lifestylism debate transfered to Liberal politics

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lettuceLeafer OP wrote

Since I've never been a liberal I find this point interesting. I only ever got into identity politics through raddle. So from my perspective I am into identity politics because I see it as somewhat valuable from an anarchist framework.

I think we shouldn't erase the liberal discourse because there are good ideas that can be taken from liberalism. Refusing to use ideas from other ideologies seems a little against the anarchist tradition of getting our ideas by taking what we like and discarding the rest. Anarchism, the political raccoon.

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Kinshavo wrote

This can be one solid argument. Usually we will hear the opposite from ML or more hardcore ultra-left/Marxists.

I only got a grasp of the whole issue after reading internet comments, IRL there's only fighting against Nazi prejudice, blatant homophobia, misogyny, racism etc. So I never thought of idpol as bad. I must remember that Yankee politricks is kinda weird for me, and very unique dynamics going on.

Since class reductionism is a real issue within leftist discourse, I found out later that intersectionality was a thing and the discourse got even more complicated for me to understand all the subtle implications, post modern/post structuralism, and etc.

My current position is to deepen my understanding of Nihilism and all the wonderful stuff people have been writing about queer, gender, race, colonization, etc. Probably at one point I will review this thread and I will wrap a better argument. And there's ideology, even the most staunchest nihilist are choking in ideology if they don't are careful enough

Anarchism, the political raccoon

:3 love this

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lettuceLeafer OP wrote

That's interesting to hear. It reminded me of my relation to idpol.

So I grew up in one of those German towns in the US which is like 99.9% white. I was also pretty socially isolated so I didn't really encounter the need for idpol besides feminism as I was surrounded mostly by cishet white men.

I was always really annoyed by the girl boss, bring back gender segregation, apologize for being white kinda liberal idpol. So overtime as I studies history I started to understand shit like how racism effects the modern day. Plus I knew lots of white supremacists but no black people so I kinda understood how racism was a thing..

So until I was on raddle I was kinda anti idpol. Now due to my libertarian values I would tick up for people on some level. Like I woul have lots of fun responding to some old man telling me about the horrors of trans women in women's bathroom and I would just say I don't care let trans people live their life. I kinda thought it was mysogynistic due to my misunderstanding that trans people though it was the clothing and presentation that makes them their gender.

While I thought I was anti feminist because I hated gender segregation, [we should have equal amounts of women and men president] and girl bosses I was very simpathetic to when women would tell me about their struggle.

Now I was a teenage white dude prick so I was always really offended when women would say they hate men or whatever but other than that I was sympathetic.

Tho I still am disappointed in myself as I would pretend to be a bigot to own the libs or thought it was okay to say the n word if I was making fun of racists. I only mention this to say how I was someone anti idpol for most of my life.

When I came on raddle I got into idpol pretty quickly because I was all reasonable stuff. Like can you put content warnings as it's more polite for people who have been traumatized. Ok no problem. Black separationists would want to live away from white people so they don't have to deal with racism. "Okay I'm sad people feel like they have to do that but it's reasonable to feel that way." And most of the idpol stuff I like is along those lines. It's just rules to set for yourself to be more polite to people. And I like being polite and making people feel safe to talk to me so pretty quickly I moved from anti idpol to pretty into idpol.

I think the weird "I'll shame myself for being white, girl boss shit of idpol should be passed on" the elements of idpol that make people better accomplishes for other marginalized groups and more polite to each other a really good.

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lettuceLeafer OP wrote

Hmm, I haven't thought about this before. I'll have to think on it some..

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Exlurker wrote

Here in New Zealand, the Maori chose the word as a pan-tribal label to differentiate themselves from Europeans who they call Pakeha. I Don't see how that would be disrespectful in our case.

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kokoaitu wrote (edited )

I should light myself on fire.

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lettuceLeafer OP wrote

? for many areas fires are a good thing. I'm not sure why you are being so dismissive of a group of people who almost certainly have a vastly better understanding of ecology than u.

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halfway_prince wrote (edited )

I find that this critique doesn't resonate with me since I can't find much evidence (or direct critiques from indigenous folks) that brings up the issue of anarchist usage of the term indigenous of as a major factor in erasing individual indigenous community identities.

I totally agree that the hypothetical scenario where if any time that indigenous anything comes up it's discussed only in broad sweeping terms that can lead to erasure and homogenization. However, in my experience, when the word "indigenous" is employed broadly, it's used to refer to shared experiences dealing with state oppression, racism, etc. which are inherently general experiences disconnected from the nuances of unique individual communities.

I guess I agree with what you're saying - that when referring to more niche behaviors or characteristics of specific communities use the specific name to identify them. But, honestly when you put language in your post like

my racism detector goes off

my woke-police radar goes off as well lol. I believe your underlying motivation here is well-intentioned and potentially on to something, I just question whether this is actual a problem that results in harm or just another iteration of the language that leftists develop to out-woke one another.

Anyway, I would like to acknowledge that what I'm putting out here follows the pattern of dissenting argument that comes up whenever anyone critiques language as problematic. As well, it's based on my personal experience and research that has failed to show any indication that this is an actual issue. I'm totally open to that being flawed or countered with other people's experiences.

tl;dr - is this really a problem? Idk...but i'm not convinced

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JoeK wrote

Yes, the noble savage trope needs to stop, especially around here.

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