Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Power Down

Published: November 26, 2012, Author: JayTaber

Conservation is more than a sound social practice; to indigenous peoples it’s a law of nature. Common sense terms like waste not want not no doubt have roots in tribal societies.

In fact, conservation, cooperation and reciprocity represent the core values of indigenous nations–something settler societies based on consumption, competition and larceny have a hard time getting their minds around. Observing how the settlers squander finite energy resources like coal, oil and gas, it’s a wonder they’ve managed to survive.

Of course, settler societies were built the world over on other peoples’ land. Their relationship with the resources vital to sustaining life are profane, not sacred.

As the settlers bleed the earth dry of fossil fuels for export, extravagance and warfare, indigenous peoples suffer disproportionately. Their traditional foods, cultural values and sacred sites are diminished if not obliterated.

Insanity is sometimes described as continuing to do what didn’t work before in the hope that maybe it will next time. Carbonizing the Tar Sands oil and Powder River coal energy reserves of North America in Chinese industrial ovens is perhaps the only thing crazier than burning a million barrels per day of our fossil fuel invading Asia and Africa to plunder theirs. If humans are going to survive climate change, we need to power down in more ways than one.

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.

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