Monday, June 21 2021

Quote of the Day

Life could not be lived making decisions at each juncture.

Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer

In Her Own Words, This Time

Living Earth 2019: Roxanne Swentzell

In this segment, Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo) of the Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute, speaks on “Reclaiming Native American Foodways.” She talks about the institute’s research into sustainable living in the high desert environment of New Mexico and a project that challenged community members to eat only traditional indigenous foods for 90 days as a way of alleviating and reversing heart disease and diabetes that plague Native peoples in the United States.

YouTube Video description, Smithsonian NMAI

Listening to what they did was incredibly overwhelming. They didn’t just approximate their native diet, they recreated their food culture from stories, from 30 years of seed saving and permaculture gardens, from archeologists. They made adobe ovens. They planted and harvested heritage crops. They learned to butcher buffalo. They threw pottery pots to cook the traditional way. They chiseled out traditional hand-grinding tools to mill their corn.

They, they, they, they. It also hurts my heart, not a little bit, that they get to try this out in community, and that’s something that doesn’t look to be in the cards for me. Still bitter, it seems.

In any case, I’m going to take this slow. Ingredient by ingredient slow. And I’m starting with….


Corn.

This was not an easy one to start with. Over the past couple of weeks, here are the links I’ve amassed about Algonquins and corn:

So I can find authentic Narragansett Indian corn, but it’s ground up in local stone mills with no nixtamalization. Which is a problem, if corn is your staple crop. It would be, if I didn’t have a mix of other heritages, so I’ll also be working with other grains, like oats and barley. Not sure if the nixtamalization is more important or less important than eating the exact product grown in the exact place of my ancestors. I suspect in the end I’ll have to buy both and just see how eating them feels.

Note: I still need recipes. I also need the Narragansett stories about corn, which might not be as easy to find.


Well That Was Depressing

1Dime, “The Burnout Society: Hustle Culture, Psychopolitics, and Social Control”, YouTube

Even the ostensibly more “wholesome” self-help content that involves self-actualization, pseudo-philosophy, new age philosophy, positive psychology, and wellness culture more generally, seems harmless, right? But they all perform a similar indirect function of psycho-political social control. In contemporary self-help content, the magic word is “healing.” The term refers to self-optimization that is supposed to therapeutically eliminate any and all functioning weaknesses or mental obstacles in the name of efficiency and performance. The neoliberal imperative of self-optimitization serves only to promote perfect functioning within the system.

Basically Americans don’t need to be under totalitarian control, because the soft power systems in place that make us slaves to capitalism are so much more efficient! We brainwash ourselves into the single goal of growing the capitalist economy through individualistic hustle culture. Awesome. I mean, this is nothing I haven’t heard before, but this video doubles down on how comparison and social media mean we are policing ourselves and each other to work harder forever. That’s…ya know….not good.

Update: I’ve had more time to think about this video, and I’ve decided that I need to spend less time watching and reading about the myriad ways in which capitalism sux and read and watch a lot more things about ways to fix or replace it. Just talking about how bad it is is low-hanging fruit. I’m sure it’s good for the algorithm. But just sitting with all these feelings of hopelessness churned up by random content makers is not helpful for anyone. I went back to this video, and here’s all it had to say about fixing this problem it has pointed out:

Capitalism by its very nature always demands upward economic growth. More productivity, more profit, and higher investment returns. Capitalism will not automatically lead to a better society unless people demand changes. This requires people to take action and seize power. To join together with others to explore and fight for socialist alternatives. Now the specificities of how such a society would work and how we can achieve it are far beyond the scope of this video, but it is a topic we eventually plan to explore….

1Dime, “The Burnout Society: Hustle Culture, Psychopolitics, and Social Control”

Just “seize power,” huh? From people who have systematically schemed to keep power, working in concert, for centuries? I am doubt. Won’t they just seize it back? We thought the white supremacists were done, and look where we are now. Where is all the solar punk, YouTube?