Don Jacobs (Four Arrows) on Native American Heritage Month
Categories: Indigenous Cultures & Anthropology Interview
Don Jacobs (Four Arrows) is the co-editor of Restoring the Kinship Worldview.
“[Settlers] must support the sovereignty of such people who still know their language, their ceremonies and the generational knowledge of flora and fauna. And this should not be just for one month!”
What advice do you have for Indigenous folks looking to reconnect with their ancestry and heritage when living away from their Indigenous land or if their Indigenous nation was forcibly assimilated?
I would tell them to consider all the reasons why wanting to reconnect is important to them. I would suggest that they consider everything from reclaiming a stolen sense of belonging to realizing how “Indigenous worldview” is vital for future generations, whether we can turn things around or have to rebuild. It is also important for them to recognize that it is very likely the traditional ways they may wish to embrace may no longer be practiced by those on their original lands, and especially among those assimilated. They should expect that some folks will embrace them and others won’t, but that what counts is their own determination. Finally, I would focus on being a “human being” and let the Indigenous worldview precepts seek complementarity with the damaging dominant one in ways that do not pit people against one another.
Is there anything you want settlers on Indigenous land to have top of mind when learning about Native American Heritage Month?
Using the attached worldview chart, study it and use metacognitive reflections to understand why they think as they do and how it contrasts with the Indigenous moral precepts. This should be done with non-dualistic thinking as sort of a union of opposites that is important in the Indigenous worldview. Making a distinction between worldview and traditional Ecological Place-based knowledge, I would encourage settlers to look at the research about how 80% of the biodiversity on Earth is on the 20% of the landmass that traditional Indigenous cultures manage. They must support the sovereignty of such people who still know their language, their ceremonies and the generational knowledge of flora and fauna. And this should not be just for one month!
Is there anything specific that you’d like to share with Indigenous folks, both to those living on and away from their ancestral lands?
Although “Indian country” is divided on this, everyone should be learning to restore the original kinship worldview. Appreciating that there are reasons not to let non-Indians teach Indigenous ways if they do not speak the language and know the ceremonies, good hearted allies are needed. Fools Crow says anyone who does not share this medicine does not know it. Study the worldview precepts and use trance-based learning (Self-hypnosis as with ceremonies, et al) to move back into balance with the 40 precepts in the chart.