People in a Hurry: an indigenous perspective of why working with well-intentioned White people is so damn difficult. A thread...
I was interviewed for a book once. It was exciting and flattering; I’d been interviewed for magazines before, but there’s something about winding up in a book that’s just different somehow. The high didn’t last long...
Like most books about the food system, this one was being written by a journalist. She came to our house. She talked fast. She had an agenda (tech in food production). She wanted us to fit into it...
She asked (in that declarative kind of way) if I could ever see a future where robots were incorporated into an ecological farm, measuring the health of plants with sensors or whatever. She seemed excited by it. I’m polite, by Indianness & by Southernness. I lied, “sure why not.”
The book was published with my farm’s story shoehorned in as a kind of noble savage paean to the inevitable triumph of technology in a world undergoing ruin (apparently also by technology). It was a little weird and more than a little infuriating...
After the publication, she was a flurry of activity. Book tours and TED talks and talks of conferences and the like. She’d often hit me up for commentary on various things. As I contemplated them to give thoughtful answers, her deadlines or interest would pass...
This relentless, steamrolling speed and hopping from one thing to another is the most common and discomforting attribute I’ve found in every. single. shëwanàkw (White) person I’ve ever encountered who writes and publishes about food and farming...
Always moving. Always hustling. Always doing. Always scheduling. Always reading. Always becoming. Always optimizing. Even rest & love are things crossed off a list of accomplishments, commodified in the relentless pursuit of perpetual growth; their own personal capitalism...
I have trouble with Shëwanàkw because, when you’re with them, it feels like they aren’t... there. Like they’re looking past you toward some future object; living outside their own bodies & spirits to better see the chessboard and make the next best move before the clock runs out.
In the Indian mind there is neither clock nor chessboard. You feel your way through creation with your heart and the confidence that comes with the spirits of a thousand thousand grandmothers at your back. Your life is an extension of theirs; time and life are infinite...
In the Indian mind, plans serve intuition instead of the other way around. Time does not exist; things happen as and when they must, and there are consequences for rushing them. Inspiration is born in silence. Stillness IS activity. Emptiness is its own fullness...
There is no constant moving from one physical/intellectual/spiritual frontier to the next, setting up new, shallow colonial outposts to extract money, social proof, self-fulfillment (or all three).

But in Shëwanàkw culture this frenetic busy-ness is the very meaning life...
Extractive capitalism has metastasized, from a top-down economic system to a bottom-up state of mind that governs how individual Shëwanàkw lives their life, derives value from & satisfaction with it, & interacts with creation - from the soil to the trees to their human family...
It’s why Shëwanàkw is always moving forward. Sees elders as liabilities. Obsessed with newness and youth. Untethered from both nature and history. It’s why they are never “with” you: for Shëwanàkw there is no past or present, only a future to be willed into being...
Shëwanàkw’s heart, mind, and spirit dwell in the future, a place that doesn’t exist, leaving their bodies here to reap the violent consequences of neglecting a present they barely recognize, much less value...
The chronic, foreboding anxiety we see in our people - from the Berniest Bro to the MAGAest Trumper - is the predictable result of a culture utterly unmoored from anything real, left instead to trade in a fiat currency of its own wildly divergent imaginings of what comes next...
And as the present is ignored, our imaginings of the future become increasingly terrifying, spurring ever more anxiety, movement, frontier-seeking, and compounding of the problems that got us here in the first place...
It’s that low hum of internalized foreboding that makes Shëwanàkw difficult to make council with; and it’s the (seeming) detachedness from what appears to be the inevitable ending of the world that makes the Indian unpalatable to their restless minds...
I think it would make a good practice for my Shëwanàkw relations to examine just how much the colonial ethic has invaded their minds, right down to the neuron, and make a kind of medicine from excising it day by day...
To value the life in today’s breath; to seek wisdom in places and stillness; to wait; to take joy in uncertainty; to glory in slowness; to be deep instead of broad; to take root, not wing; to become more by seeking to be less.

Do this, and we are not doomed.

That is all.

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More from @SylvanaquaFarms

2 Jul
So, in case you don’t know, some more people who can’t do math are releasing a book and documentary about how cows are going to save the planet or whatever. This one’s called “Sacred Cow,” and it’s by nutritionist and non-farmer Diana Rogers of @SustainableDish fame... THREAD
I have no idea what’s in either except, presumably, recycled ideas about carbon sequestration and various unripe mental cherries plucked from America’s most racist farmer:

thelunaticfarmer.com/blog/11/22/201…
I have no idea, either, if Rogers is including her notion that the size of America’s beef herd could not only remain the same, but increase, under an all-grass-fed regime...
Read 17 tweets
26 Jun
If you want to be vegan, that’s fine. But you guys have absolutely go to stop doing this part... [THREAD]
It isn’t anything new for certain vegans - especially white ones - to compare livestock husbandry to the enslavement of Black people. In fact, White folks make this comparison to all kinds of things...
I’ve heard White folks compare the Black/Brown experience in America to a whole range of their pet issues: vaccinations, gun control, abortion, capitalism, communism, taxes, public schooling, eating meat, wearing masks...
Read 11 tweets
20 Jun
A Letter to BIPOC farmers: White people are going to laugh at your ideas to decolonize agriculture. You have to be ready for this, and be prepared to brush it off... [THREAD]
You, BIPOC farmer, are descended from the best food producers in history. Emancipated slaves were the best farmers in the world and poised to take over American agriculture forever in 1865. White America literally waged a 100 year race war to keep this from happening...
Indigenous people, meanwhile, had created a great continental food forest so vast that White folks didn’t even realize the whole New World around them was cultivated. They booted us off our land, plowed it up, and stuffed us in boarding schools to make us forget...
Read 19 tweets
17 Jun
Whitetail populations are completely out of control and they’re doing a dance with climate change to drive the surge in tickborne illnesses and it’s really time to discuss returning them to the food supply in a thoughtful way to offset beef
My downfall will be people deciding I’m a quack farmer because my proposed solution to global meat addiction is teaming up cultured meat and a restoration of managed wildstocks to the meat supply...
There are wildstocks all over the world that indigenous people are expert at managing, and I don’t think it’s remotely absurd that reductions in domestic, heavy feeding livestock could be offset by resurgence of an indigenous-sourced semi-wild meat supply...
Read 12 tweets
17 Feb
He’s not... wrong. Grain farming isn’t that hard. There aren’t that many steps, and a lot of what happens in terms of your success or failure isn’t really up to you...
Most young aggies want to farm grain because that’s the empire. They wanna be like the old timers sitting on a 7 figure net worth, driving tractors, making good money in good years, and receiving UBI (in the form of insurance and subs - or unemployment) in bad years...
Read 12 tweets
15 Feb
Remember that thing I said about a bunch of White people discussing sustainability (in anything, including farming) being a terror cell? Well here’s this whole thread, then.
Let’s just talk about what socialism actually is: it’s the idea of distributing the spoils of White supremacy’s war against creation more evenly among its soldiers. That’s all it is and that’s all it’s ever been...
Nothing about it addresses the White worldview that’s set humanity against life itself; so, just like with capitalism (which prosecutes the same war) this is simply a case of garbage in / garbage out...
Read 8 tweets

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