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Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder
Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder
by Kent Nerburn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.29
74 used & new from $6.88

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dealing with Injustice, February 19, 2013
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Mr. Nerburn uses the testimony of a Native American elder named Dan to deal with the difficult history of injustice and oppression suffered by Native American peoples at the hands of European colonizers. The brutal conquest and theft of lands inhabited by Native American and First Nations tribes over the course of history is to a great extent still ongoing today. Dan struggled with the anger and resentment this burdened him with but ultimately came to a very wise conclusion, more or less to the effect, that the suffering endured by his people at the hands of a violent, dominant and conquering culture, was something that cannot really be answered, at least not in worldly terms. Instead he found peace in realizing that it is the conquered who in the end prevail morally. The conqueror and any who treat others in such a way as to dehumanize them, are only destroying their own humanity, and not the personhood of their victim. In this way we see that a nominally Christian society such as produced the European conquistadors, often acted in complete opposition to the teachings of Jesus Christ, whereas those they treated with brutality, contempt, and hatred, prove the truly Christ-like ones. Not giving in to hate, but embracing a sacrifice which was made on behalf of all people and the earth, Indigenous communities all over the world are truly walking in the footsteps of Jesus. Right now First Nations communities in Canada, along with Native American tribal communities in the United States, and many others here and around the world, are fighting expansion of the petroleum industry with its accompanying destruction of remaining wilderness areas and also farmland. Even today a huge effort must be mounted politically simply to include Native American women in an act of protection from violence against women. Still today the most vulnerable among us, those who live with outrageous injustices, slights, absurdities, and insults at the hands of a supposedly "superior" culture, must heroically fight for the most basic rights and freedoms this nation was founded upon. Mostly the problem is, those who have never experienced first hand the boot on the neck cannot imagine it, and they view accounts of oppression and injustice as exaggerated or "romanticized". Yet these same individuals who have seldom experienced any true deprivation or exploitation, will rise up with all their social power and might if anything they view as threatening to their own interests impinges upon their own zealously protected rights and priveleges. For an example, in a documentary of the difficult and sometimes violent land re-distribution process in South Africa after the end of apartheid, an Africaaner landowner bitterly protests the violation of his property rights. What is wrong with this picture? Perhaps this man has a legitimate complaint, but he is simply incapable of placing his loss in the context of the decades and decades long history of atrocity, torture, violation of human and civil rights committed by his own people against Africans. Why does this injustice not bother him when it is against others he doesn't identify with, or even looks down upon, while when he must face consequences and make sacrifice, he screams bloody murder? Conservatives are incapable of putting themselves in the shoes of others, and they justify their own vested interests and greed through absorbing only what tends to support their views. Something like this is what plagued Dan through much of his life: a feeling of helpless rage against hypocrisy and injustice that he could never find an answer for. Many of us feel the same. We, like Dan, can only take consolation in the fact that we would never want to be like those who have harmed us, and instead, seek a higher plane of spiritual maturity in which we forgive, recognizing the inherent moral decrepitude and sickness of the conquerors of this world. If you struggle with hatred and resentment against hypocrisy and injustice, read this book. Remember that Jesus taught that those who are first will be last, and those who are last, shall be first. Jesus Christ never packed "heat"! His battle is spiritual and waged with spiritual weapons. Those who seek to defend themselves with arms, those who dehumanize others, who deny the injustice in the world, who wage war against nature, and who live only to seek their own interests, can never truly call themselves followers of Christ.


The Lost Universe: Pawnee Life and Culture
The Lost Universe: Pawnee Life and Culture
by Gene Weltfish
Edition: Paperback
Price: $24.37
57 used & new from $4.40

5.0 out of 5 stars A Universe Not Lost, February 19, 2013
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Although its title suggests that Pawnee culture as documented in this fascinating account is "lost", the fact we can still read the book means perhaps such is not the case. This work is encyclopedic and painstakingly detailed in its description of every aspect of Pawnee life and social relationships. Often there is cynicism regarding white anthropologists' study of Indigenous cultures (I am making an assumption that Mr. Weltfish is a white anthropologist). However, sometimes books are the only way to access this knowledge, and the vast majority of these efforts indicate a tremendous respect, awe, and even wistful appreciation of the Indigenous way of life as found in various tribes. To me, the very title suggests a deep, mournful regret on the part of the author that the society he documents could be a thing of the past. I would argue this is not the case: as long as we can access this knowledge through surviving elders of tribes, the archeological record, and the books even of white witnesses, then such a way of life is not indeed gone forever. The knowledge contained in this book is still applicable today. Methods of hunting, crop raising, food storage, and the inherent wisdom and respect of human relationships as described in this book, are a treasure we can still use to enrich our lives. Despite its density and sometimes dated use of language, this is not a difficult book to read. The glimpse it offers of a time when people lived as partners of, rather than as the enemy of, nature, is so compelling you will find it difficult to put down. Such books are classics and can be read over and over without any lessening of interest. If you never read another book about an Indigenous culture, read this one. The Pawnee universe is NOT lost!


All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice
All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice
by Robert Jensen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.15
45 used & new from $0.01

7 of 69 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars He is missing the point, July 29, 2009
Mr. Jensen and all secular humanists are missing the point entirely. Of course Christianity has the Truth, but not in the way you hope. You hope that Jesus Christ is not True God and True Man, you hope He is not God, you hope...But you are wrong, and there can be no justice, no goodness, no love, and no peace, without Jesus Christ. Mankind surely has failed to prove he is capable of any goodness outside of divine intervention or assistance. How then do you propose this makes any sense, that you can use the truths and morals of Christ's teaching for yourselves, without contending with His claims? If you honestly contend with those claims, and are sincerely seeking Truth, even at the cost of accepting your own wrongdoing, then you will surely arrive at not just belief but knowledge of Jesus Christ's complete and total divinity. The reason you are hoping it isn't so, is the self-indulgent and intellectually dishonest attempt to avoid personal responsibility for your own sins. The only reason people are so ardent to avoid Truth is, it convicts them. So wake up and smell the undeniable: you can't use the teachings of Christ without submitting to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, who gave His life, once and for all time, as an atonement for mankind's sins, including yours, which you in all your wise philosophy, cannot nor ever will be able to, accomplish.
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