Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Published: March 26, 2011, Author: JayTaber

How many times have you heard people say nothing ever changes? How often
does this fatalistic attitude serve as an excuse to be lazy, cowardly,
or otherwise self-indulgent, rather than responsible, upright good
citizens? How does this philosophy enable dominance?

I’ve written
extensively about applying the public health model to societal
maintenance — a system where contributions include regularized
research, education, organizing, and community action — but it seems
the notion of social engagement requires more than a mechanical formula
for some. Motivation, in a world that is often overwhelming, appears to
be a threshold too high for many. Dominance, in this frame of mind, is
accepted as part of unchangeable reality, and thus left unchallenged.
Compliance is the convenient alternative.

But let’s examine the
underlying hypothesis. Has nothing ever changed? Do we not have such
hard-earned liberties as civil and human rights? Do we not have
fought-for equalities like Social Security and Medicare? Do we not have
labored-over fraternities such as environmental and world indigenous
peoples movements? Did these not all come about as a result of unified
challenges to dominance? Through solidarity?

Leaving aside the
rhetorical, humankind has met many challenges in overcoming dominance in
the economic, political, and personal realms. We haven’t always won the
battles, but in the war of ideas, we have secured a place for
consciousness of the human condition. Building on this achievement may
require diligence, but what doesn’t? Should we devote less to the health
of our society than we do to the health of our families?

— be it based on gender, race, state or religion — is a disease, one
that threatens life itself. Rooting it out in our schools, our
governments, and in our relations with others, is a task that can be
accomplished. I’ve seen it happen. But like public health or personal
health, social health has to be maintained. If we rest on our laurels,
or those of others, it will rapidly erode.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

access here