Protocols of Human Diversity

Protocols of Human Diversity

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June 22, 2012
 

Indigenous peoples are diverse: some live tribally; others do not. Some are mostly urban, others mostly rural. Some use their own language exclusively, while others are bilingual or multilingual.

When it comes to governance, few Indigenous societies are able to exercise their own system without interference by modern states and international institutions, but many still conduct traditional governance, often in parallel to systems imposed by states. All have been impacted in some way by the experience of colonialism, religious coercion, and globalization.

Like all humanity, Indigenous peoples have migrated, claimed and lost territories, and eventually settled within generally recognized domains. Their journeys are part of the history of humankind.

As the root nations from which we all derived, Indigenous societies contain the customs and values and relationships we see in altered and adulterated forms in modern states. Some are still valued, others are not. In terms of gender roles, Indigenous societies can be matriarchal, patriarchal, or egalitarian. Often, as a result of state intervention, they are hybrid, and sometimes dysfunctional.

While their treatment by modern states has varied, all Indigenous nations have been at one time treated with contempt, and consequently have endured discrimination, dislocation, and industrialized violence. As such, they frequently have to deal with post traumatic stress disorders the rest of us do not. Added to the frantic vertigo of modern life, this trauma can be overwhelming, and have demonstrably unhealthy consequences.

As human beings, Indigenous peoples are responsive to positive protocols like recognition, respect and reciprocity. When modern states that covet their resources engage them in a hostile or arrogant manner, they naturally defend themselves. While modern states and ignorant peoples frequently construe human diversity as intolerable, it is the only way to live in peace.

When all is said and done, the shock and awe of military devastation, economic deprivation, and cultural annihilation — supported by the Government/Wall Street/BINGO Axis — is not conducive to harmony between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

 

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