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Protecting Indigenous Languages Is Protecting Biodiversity

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/11/30/protecting-indigenous-languages-protecting-biodiversity


When two people tell each other that they love one another in a “strange” language it may sound like grunting to us. Silly us.

I’ve noticed the use of these terms here:

What does Kemosabe mean in Navajo?

soggy shrub (I’ve also heard this as “doesn’t know” too)

In Navajo, on the other hand, “ kemosabe” translates as “soggy shrub.” If this seems an odd thing for faithful friend Tonto to call the Lone Ranger, perhaps he was just repaying the Ranger’s long-standing insult. “Tonto,” after all, is a Spanish word meaning “stupid.”

I guess you could say, there rides doesn’t know and stupid.

Credit given to Charlie Hill it is his story.

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You speak of a show well before my time but your comment shows how deep and well thought out some of the communication was even back then in the early days of television. Progressive even?

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Indeed, I am from that time, but limited to one hour a day viewing time. It is interesting, the importance of language in communication. I like Charlie Hill because he liked to have fun with it although his message was still to the point.

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It is very hard to think about something you don’t have a word for. Our language has a strong influence on how we think. Diversity of languages is vital.


Hi Hen’sTeeth:
"Diversity in language is vital. "
YES! Remember how valuable the Navajo Code Takers were to America. : )

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If you want to do something specific today join with the Indigenous groups trying to stop a devastating tar sands oil pipeline that got the green light for construction:—

“This is not just a Minnesota issue. National audiences need to know: The Line 3 pipeline has not yet received the national attention that DAPL (530K BPD) or KXL pipeline (840K BPD) have gotten. However, if built, this pipeline is proposed to carry 720K BPD and will have a maximum carbon footprint of 273 million tons annually (or 50 coal plants worth) of carbon emissions per year. State agencies have failed Minnesotans, and now our Indigenous partners are being pushed ever closer to direct action to protect their sacred tribal lands and water.”

Ashley fairbanks ~https://twitter.com/ziibiing

Yesterday the final permits were approved for the expansion of Enbridge’s Line 3.

This pipeline will endanger lands, waters, wild rice beds—and people. It runs through Ojibwe homelands.

In my belly, it feels like an attack on us.


I don’t think we are going to hear from the new “climate envoy” John Kerry about how devastating this is.

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Hi again Carol. Not to get into the whole “noble savage” argument which I’ve grown weary of as ecosystems collapse around us . . . . I just want to point out a piece that I believe dovetails nicely with this article from someone who you have recommended to me-----Derrick Jensen:

Excerpt from his piece ~https://derrickjensen.org/2009/11/playing-for-keeps/

The other difference I want to mention — and essentially every traditional indigenous person with whom I have ever spoken has said that it is the fundamental difference between western and indigenous peoples — is that even the most open Westerners view listening to the natural world as a metaphor, as opposed to something real. I asked American Indian writer Vine Deloria about this, and he said, “I think the primary thing is that Indians experience and relate to a living universe, whereas Western people, especially science, reduce things to objects, whether they’re living or not. The implications of this are immense. If you see the world around you as made up of objects for you to manipulate and exploit, not only is it inevitable that you will destroy the world by attempting to control it, but perceiving the world as lifeless robs you of the richness, beauty, and wisdom of participating in the larger pattern of life.” That brings to mind a great line by a Canadian lumberman: “When I look at trees I see dollar bills.” If when you look at trees, you see dollar bills, you’ll treat them one way. If when you look at trees, you see trees, you’ll treat them differently. If when you look at this particular tree you see this particular tree, you’ll treat it differently still. The same is true for salmon, and, of course, for women: if when I look at women I see objects, I’m going to treat them one way. If when I look at women I see women, I’ll treat them differently. And if when I look at this particular woman I see this particular woman, I’ll treat her differently still.


Well said. I would agree with Vine Deloria on this, and Carol on how this has become blurred. It is the very essence of understanding. In my opinion, it is also why non-indian people do not understand or value indigenous practice. All things are connected, that is not a rhetorical embellishment. Some people have this understanding and some don’t.

Thank you


“All things are connected.” I put it this way: I believe in evolutionary continuity of mental, emotional, moral, and social experience of all sentient other-than-human animals. I see all the other other-than-human animals as EQUALS embracing differences sans constructed anthropocentric hierarchies of value. In other words, differences that do not exclude equality with fellow sentient beings. I do not devalue others who are different from myself, they are equals. The Golden Rule.

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