I'm wondering what springs to mind when you hear Evo Morales speak about Mother Earth? I’m sure that for each of us it means different things. For my part, I don’t consider the Earth as “Mother Earth”. I think of the notion of Mother Earth as a tradition of others. However, I do consider the Earth as sentient, with it’s own intents, needs and purposes.
From the linked article:
“In her study of these notebooks, Christine Ward Gaily states that where such archaic forms persist, Marx depicts them fundamentally “as evidence of resistance to the penetration of state-associated institutions,” which he views as intrinsically oppressive. The clear implication is that such archaic survivals should be defended and developed.”
It’s colonialist to perceive Indigenous traditions as needing to be defended, and also disconcerting, developed. I’d like to note that Indigenous traditions were just as dynamic as any modern social construct. And if given a proper place in a modern context, would provide a more substantial intellectual contribution than the presumptions the intellectual juggernaut of modernism could interpret on behalf of Indigenous thought.
One of the reasons that Indigenous intellectual thought had persisted is this notion of human responsibilities. The preservation of knowledge was important to Indigenous culture. Like any other gift of our environment, knowledge didn’t belong to any individual. It belonged to the past, present and future. The Elder, knowledge keepers, were obliged to preserve the memory. Were obliged to transfer that knowledge, and obliged to stay true to the knowledge. In other words, those who did so felt this immense responsibility and respect for the knowledge.
This idea of a “resistance to penetration of state-associated institutions” sounds a little too romantic for my liking. In a practical sense this “resistance” had more to do with a commitment to the environment, Creator and the generations than it was a simply rejection of the other. Certainly, there are generations of Anishnabek who’d been forced into a rejection of their culture. But luckily there are those who’d shared in the commitment to preserve it too. I’m a little lost as to what may be meant by “state-associated institutions”. But this may simply be period perspective.
I suppose what concerns me most is that Indigenous worldviews will get lost among western ideologies. I respect the thoughts shared at the end of the article. But I do worry about colonialism and what it’s done to Indigenous thought. I perceive that Indigenous thought is still treated as a rustic cousin of so-called modern ideologies. The political traditions of what I understand to be Anishnabe is very different from this framework of western traditions.
I think that Indigenous thought needs to be given the independence and intellectual legitimacy it deserves. And not left to find that legitimacy in the concepts of others. So, when Evo Morales refers to Mother Earth in a speech, I think that there is an important concept with consequences that are little appreciated.