Native Roots

In terms of world views, when you come from a Judea-Christian worldview you accept the premise that there is the god of good and the god of evil and that evil is a dynamic force. In the Indian worldview, there was no such thing as that. There was not this dichotomy of good and evil, they were not opposite and equal forces, there was no idea of sin.
Phil Lucas

What is essential to the story is the notion of freedom in native peoples. In the native world the good of the group and the needs of the individual so coincide and intermesh that they imply one another. When an individual does what is best for himself it almost automatically means that he or she is doing what is best for the group as well. At the same time when the group’s interests are looked after by the collection of individuals that make up an Indian community with a focus on community of interest above all else, the value of cooperation, the value of sharing rather than the hoarding of wealth, that when the one acts normally it is almost always to the benefit of the other. And that is the finest kind of freedom you can have. What makes native communities work is this notion of freedom.

This is important because if we don’t sell the notion of freedom as it was developed here I fear we won’t be able to sell much else.. We’ve got to be very clear on this absolute cornerstone about what it means to be American. If we can’t make the case for the likelihood it came from the native peoples and that everyone else has polished it, I fear they won’t accept what else we might say about the other things however well we say it.

Alfonso Ortiz

The simple story on the segment on agriculture is the story of how all the foods from the Americas spread around the world. That is an important story in its own right, but another layer of it, from a different view, is about the different philosophy and system of agriculture.

The Europeans took the crops and created more food and changed the world but it created more problems because they didn’t take the understanding of how these crops could flourish together. This is a different philosophy, a different system, based on diversity and on finding the right mixture, and a different way of relating, not only to the plant, but to the whole earth and to the other people around you.

When they took only one potato and that potato had a problem then the whole economy crashed and millions starved to death and I think that is a good analogy for us today. The principle of diversity was not appreciated in the old world because they wanted uniformity and because they could yield more crops.

Jack Weatherford