White Giving 101

I have been trying for twenty years to popularize the term white giving. The derogatory term “Indian Giving” is not only offensive to me, but completely based on lies that go back generations. The “Earth Religions” know many things that whites may never learn. Native people in the Amazon Basin, the Steppes of Mongolia, Island Cultures, or the Arctic, are adept at being human (humane). Part of their world view includes honoring one another, revering our ability to speak truth and live according to one’s word. Everything that is done, including the making of promises, is done with a sense of deep knowing that technocracy cannot fathom.

It is easier to take what you want, promise the world and reneg on those promises at our convenience. To be human requires much more discipline and accountability. We must first determine what, in fact, has value, what we understand, believe and treasure then become adept at living in accordance to that reality, not one based on expediency and the “flavor of the day” mentality that white men bring to the table. The past few weeks I have been struggling with a dark and frightening reality that needs to be brought into the open and discussed at length. Why, after centuries of exploitation, genocide, broken promises and deception, should native people worldwide be willing to share openly with the white colonialists? When we have experience with the people who commodify everything they touch, how can we allow them to have access to our most sacred principles?

Notice how I took on the voice of the native person. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not native to the place on the planet that I find myself upon. My ancestors were buried on Sicily and near the Eck in what is now called Germany. Some of my ancestors were Norse, but each in their own region was native. Developing a sense of place can be hard when you come to this Earth as a cultural mutt, born of Rom blood, the blood of Saladin, paupers and princes from all over, it seems that the only place we are native to is the world. I do not wish to steal the cultural aspects of native people, but to claim them as my own. As difficult as it may be for some to understand, I too am native, but have been cut off from many of the roots that would normally give me strength. Rather than stealing power from native peoples, I seek the strength and power of my own people and want it to be reflected through my actions for the next seven generations. (sorry to “steal” that phrase)

We can look to the sites upon which great Cathedrals sit, places that are now covered by mosques, temples and religious sanctuariesworldwide and know that those auspicious places were identified and utilized by civilizations that predate our own. We can look to them as power centers, places of communion with all that is and Creator and we have to see them as assaults on native ways that resoundingly demonstrate the term white giver for all to see and understand. Imagine what angst would come up for people who have had their families raped, tortured, sent to prison camps and been terrorized just because of the color of their skin. Imagine that they had been displaced a dozen times and only allowed to live at all because of the tenacity and strength of their ancestors and the relationship they had with Creator. Then, the oppressors come with open arms and say, “We wish to discover the truth of “your ways”. How many of us would line up to share our most sacred relationship with Creator with the children of those who killed our grandmothers and grandfathers? How many of us would be willing to help the morally bankrupt “civilization” that tried for centuries to subjugate our people? We must honor and respect the hurt that we have foisted upon the native people around the planet and begin to redefine concepts and characterizations that have led to and confirmed for us the “reason” behind abuses that have continued to flow from misunderstanding and hate.

Play it as it lays. If we truly want to get out of the bind we find ourselves in, we need to change not just who we say we are, but who we truly are. In the hope of creating a more civil society, let’s get our definitions straight. We cannot convey ownership of nature, especially once we have understood that we are, in fact, part of it. Namaste’


About otherfishwrap

One of the last of the Baby Boomers, I remember where I was when JFK was shot. Good story. Born during the Cuban Missile Crisis, my life has been spent studying, practicing skills and attitudes that reflect justice and the sanctity of Earth, Air, Fire, Water & Spirit. Trained as an educator, my life has been devoted to cultural development and social justice.
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