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Author Topic: Wasase: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom
Babbler # 560

posted 04 July 2008 05:27 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An interesting book - here's the review.

Taiaiake Alfred's Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom is a powerful tool in the struggle for Indigenous autonomy. Wasáse reflects on the struggles faced by Onkwehonwe (indigenous) peoples and charts a path for transcending colonialism. It offers, ultimately, a vision for a new, post-colonial society. Though written within the Canadian context, Wasáse is relevant to Indigenous peoples around the world who are looking for creative, non-violent ways to confront Western imperialism and strengthen traditional cultures.

Wasáse is a Rotinoshonni (Six Nations) word referring to the Thunder Dance or War Dance. Alfred, however, does not advocate a war of guns and bombs. Instead he encourages "spiritual revolution," in which change is brought about not by a small band of reformers or revolutionaries, but emerges as an expression of a more enlightened and involved population. Alfred describes his vision as "a sort of spiritual socialism," quoting the former president of Czechoslovakia Václav Havel, who wrote that a just political system "is something no revolutionary or reformer can bring about: it can only be a natural expression of a more general state of mind.... Without such a mentality, even the most carefully considered project aimed at altering systems will be for naught."

To bring about this fundamental change in Western society, Wasáse calls for the formation of a socio-political movement grounded in an "indigenous warrior ethic." The ethic is informed by what he terms "anarcho-indigenism": "How might this spirit be described in contemporary terms relating to political thought and movement? Two elements that come to mind are indigenous, evoking cultural and spiritual rootedness in this land and the Onkwehonwe struggle for justice and freedom, and the political philosophy and movement that is fundamentally anti-institutional, radically democratic, and committed to taking action to force change: anarchism."

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