Modern and Indigenous Psychological Differences: The Indigenous Worldview, Part 10

The Indigenous Worldview, Part 10

 by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at one of the five worldviews: Indigenous Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
  … Ancient Proverb

Modern and Indigenous Psychological Differences

The psychological changes that accompany modernization are perhaps the most unsettling for indigenous people who must modern values instead of traditional values that have served the community for generations. Probably the most significant change in values is the increased focus on self-orientation and individualism—the modern individual—rather than a focus on the collective or group orientation of indigenous peoples.

07 Saami peopleThe modern individual is socialized to be independent, active, and open to new experiences, interested in public policies and cultural matters, and to think about long-term, future plans. Traditional individuals are socialized to be passive and accept traditions of the group, think in the present and short-term, defer decisions to group leaders, and are rooted in their local place.

Modern individuals have a mobile personality and readily adapt to a rapidly changing world, even if it means relocating to a different place apart from their family. Modern 04 Beja Nomads, northeast Africaindividuals are socialized to strive for an achieved status—through education and hard work—and understand that there is the potential to become something different in the future. Indigenous individuals, on the other hand, willingly follow their ascribed status, to which they are born.

An indigenous person often experiences the disruptive forces of modernization which tend to produce alienation, anomie, and psychological disintegration. Alienation is the state in which individuals feel separated or detached from their past experiences, family, or group. Teyuna 3They are forced or pressured to create a new modern identity which can lead to physiological stress, often resulting in an increase in violence and conflict. For example, the increased incidences, especially among indigenous men, of alcoholism, drug addiction, and abuse of family members repeatedly accompany the transition from traditional to modern societies.

One source of violence in societies making the transition from traditional to modern is the gap between new aspirations that individuals strive for and their ability to satisfy these aspirations because they remain marginalized from mainstream society.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a eight “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

wviewscoverFor more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, indigenous, perspectives, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Modern and Indigenous Political Differences: The Indigenous Worldview, Part 9

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at one of the five worldviews: Indigenous Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
  … Ancient Proverb

Modern and Indigenous Political Differences

The political changes experienced by indigenous peoples as they modernize are quite disruptive. These changes involve replacing the traditional religious, family, and ethnic political authorities with a single, secular, national political leader. 02 Family by House in Taiwan 1945,A decentralized, local political system is replaced with a modern, highly centralized government, complete with a large bureaucracy and written laws.

Loyalty to the extended family and tribe shifts to an allegiance to state and political parties. A modern political system requires diverse social groups to come together to form working coalitions of different political parties.

07 Saami people

Indigenous Saami Family

These parties then compete in a voting procedure for political rule with the winner selected as the elected leader.

A large centralized government requires a large bureaucracy in order to function smoothly. Workers in the bureaucracy are formally educated in the functions of a modern state system. Often this education is obtained overseas in 09 International FolktalesWestern educational institutions, such as in the United States or Europe. The educated elite return to their country of origin intent on changing the indigenous political system to what they consider a superior, modern one.

An impersonal, legal structure is typical of modern political exchanges, which is usually alien to indigenous peoples. Untold numbers of indigenous people have had their land swindled by intricate legal technicalities that they are unfamiliar with or that are not compatible with their worldview as to how agreements are conducted. In the United States in the 1890s, for example, native people, known as the Five Civilized Tribes, were displaced onto reservations in Oklahoma, according to the provisions of the Dawes Act of 1887. Eager white settlers rushed onto the tribes’ territory to stake a proprietary claim on what they deemed “unsettled” land. Native people faced additional pressure to “give up” their land when oil was discovered on the Oklahoma parcels that were previously thought to be of no value. Lawyers descended like locusts on Tulsa, Oklahoma, to defraud tribal people of their claim to land according to a corrupt legal system. Of course, the lawyers made a great deal of money in their deceitful endeavors.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

wviewscover

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

Posted in awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, History, indigenous, perspectives, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Modern and Indigenous Religious: Differences: The Indigenous Worldview, Part 8

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at one of the five worldviews: Indigenous Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
  … Ancient Proverb

Modern and Indigenous Religious Differences

Religious functions in indigenous societies are integrated into all aspects of community life and serve people in closely-knit villages and families.

08 Hamatsa shaman

Indigenous Shaman, India

Shaman or healers traditionally perform religious rituals, healing ceremonies, and guide the practice of ancestor worship. In modern societies, religious functions are the responsibility of institutions outside the family who train religious leaders.

Modernizers have often ridiculed indigenous medicines and healing practices as superstitious and unscientific, while modern medicines and practices are promoted. This mockery has been changing in recent decades, as practices such as Chinese medicine, acupuncture, massage, and shamanic healing have been beneficial to some patients.

08 Yupik shaman

Yupik Shaman, Alaska

Modernizers have sought for hundreds of years to rid indigenous peoples of their traditional religions and impose one of the universal religions, such as one of the forms of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism. In order to appease their conquerors, many indigenous peoples have blended their traditional animistic beliefs with one of the universal religions, a process called syncretism.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

wviewscover

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

Posted in awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, indigenous, perspectives, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Indigenous Worldview, Part 7

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at one of the five worldviews: Indigenous Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
  … Ancient Proverb

Modern and Indigenous Social Differences

Indigenous people also experience profound change in their social relations. For example, in traditional societies social relationships tend to be personal and emotional,

07 Youth in Kalahari

Youth in a !Kung Village, Botswana, Africa

and interaction is face-to-face. Economic negotiations are conducted with the implicit purpose of maintaining social associations and a person’s word or handshake is a ritual for an agreed-upon transaction or agreement. In modern societies social relationships are neutral, impersonal, detached, and indirect. These social relations make it possible for efficient market associations to take place, while legal, written contracts replace the handshake or a verbal agreement as a way to seal a transaction.

 

The indigenous family has many responsibilities. The family provides emotional support for all members, oversees marriage and reproduction, performs informal socialization and education, cares for the welfare of the elderly and young, and performs religious

07 Saami people

Saami extended family, northern Scandinavia

functions. The modern family is small and nuclear and has very different and reduced functions and responsibilities compared to indigenous families. Education, religion, care of the elderly, and medicine are four areas in which traditional and modern people differ.

For the modern family, care of the young is shared with specific institutions that take over the responsibility of formal education, preparing children for work in a market economy. Schools, either private or state-sponsored, provide care and education for

07 Hadzabe youth learning to hunt

Hadzabe youth learning to hunt, Africa

children who are sometimes as young as a few weeks old to young adults in graduate schools who are well into their twenties and beyond. Modern, formal education practices, such as the push to eradicate illiteracy and introduce the young to scientific principles and Western values, are an effort to inculcate indigenous people with modern ideals. Indigenous education that emphasizes self-sufficiency, traditional crafts, and how to function in a traditional society has been devalued.

Indigenous families care for the elderly. The elderly are highly regarded for their wisdom and experiences and are leaders in the community. In contrast, modern societies have created the concept of retirement for the elderly. Around the age of sixty-five, the elderly retire from their work and pursue a life of leisure and hobbies if financially able. Some head off to “retirement communities,” where they live with other retirees, not their children, in a separated cocoon from the outside world. For some the retirement years are banal and unfulfilling and many yearn to be more productive members of their communities.

18 !Kung Elderly Woman

A !Kung Elder

Modern society emphasizes youth and youthful beauty, and often seniors are publicly ridiculed as senile or “out of touch.” Older seniors are often separated into state or private corporate facilities designated especially for their care, often called nursing homes, where they are largely forgotten. The elders’ years of experience, leadership, and wisdom go largely untapped by modern society.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

wviewscover

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

Posted in awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, History, indigenous, perspectives, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Indigenous Worldview, Part 6

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at one of the five worldviews: Indigenous Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
  … Ancient Proverb

Clashing Worldviews: Modern and Indigenous: The Mexican Fisherman Story

An American banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

06 yellow fin tuna

Yellowfin Tuna

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” The American then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish. The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

06 fishing business

Fishing Business

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.” “But what then?” asked the Mexican. The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!” “Millions – then what?”

06 A Mexican fishermanThe American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Indigenous people have been under pressure over the last hundred years, and especially since the end of World War II, to change their way of life to conform to modern ways of living, a process often called modernization. Although on the surface this seems like a simple switch, with traditional people acquiring a few additional material possessions that would presumably make their life more comfortable. However, modernization efforts profoundly change the indigenous deep-seated way of life.

The following blog posts will look at the economic, social, religious, political, psychological, and environmental changes that traditional people undergo when adapting a modern way of life. A comparison of the modern and indigenous worldview highlights the stark differences between the two worldviews. With this comparison, we

02 Maya Family in Guatamala

Villagers in Guatemala 

can better understand both the indigenous and modern ways of living and why many indigenous people have resisted modernization, and for those who have accepted modernization, the difficulties they face in making the transition to a different way of life.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

wviewscover

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95

 

 

 

Posted in awareness, cultural divide, diversity, indigenous, perspectives, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Indigenous Worldview, Part 5

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at one of the five worldviews: Indigenous Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
  … Ancient Proverb

Modern and Indigenous Economic Differences

Modernizers pressure indigenous people to change their economy in several ways. The use of machine power instead of animal or human power illustrates moving from the

06 Cooperative farming on ejido land, Mexico

Farming ejido land in Mexico, photo Denise Ames

simple use of technology to the complex use of technology. Since many indigenous people are farmers, there is a push for them to substitute tractors and gas-powered machines to do the work they traditionally did through their own human labor and harnessed animal power.

Modernizers want farmers to become more productive and efficient in their farming methods and produce a more abundant crop, usually a commercial crop for the world market. But for small farmers to be more productive, one of the changes they must 06 plow agricultureundertake is to use modern, labor-saving machinery. However, tractors and other farm machinery need technical expertise to maintain operations; therefore, farmers must be trained as mechanics or rely on outside mechanics to maintain the machinery for them. Also, fuel for the machines and the machines themselves must be purchased at world market prices; hence, farmers participating in the market place to obtain cash to purchase these items.

Cash is usually earned by converting subsistence crops to growing cash crops. The cash crops are sold on the world market for market prices that fluctuate dramatically from year to year and even month to month.

06 Perusivan potato farmerThe self-sufficient farmer does not need cash for farming and, therefore, does not borrow money from banks or other money lenders. But if the farmer participates in the global economy, cash is needed for machinery, seed, pesticides, fertilizers and more land to expand farming operations. To borrow money the farmer needs some type of collateral for the bank loan. The only collateral available is usually the land that is probably part of collective land held communally by the group.

Modernizers push traditional farmers to privatize their communal land into individual plots that have a monetary value and can be bought and sold. If a farmer uses privately held land for collateral for a loan, he faces the risk of losing it if his crops fail to bring in

06 Communal land ownership, South Africa

Communal land ownership in South Africa

the needed revenue for repayment of the loan’s principal and interest. Now, the formerly self-sufficient farmer is transformed into a farmer dependent on the world market and credit system for his livelihood.

Since market farming favors economies of scale, many small farmers are not able to make a living as market farmers and end up losing their land. Without a way to make a

06 woman farming in Zambia

Subsistence farmer in Zambia

living, many reluctantly move from their traditional rural villages to large urban centers for jobs, and, most likely, from self-sufficiency to poverty status. Other desperate small farmers seek work on large agricultural plantations that grow cash crops on a vast scale. They earn a low wage for their labor and live in housing, often squalid, provided by absentee landowners.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95wviewscover

 

 

 

Posted in awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, economy, History, indigenous, perspectives, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Indigenous Worldview, Part 4

by Dr. Denise R. Ames

Why can’t we just get along? This is a question that I have been working on in my new book, Divided: Colliding Ways We See the World. In the next several posts in this blog series I am looking at one of the five worldviews: Indigenous Worldview. I would like to share with you some ideas that I have been exploring.

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.
  … Ancient Proverb 

Characteristics of Indigenous People

One characteristic of indigenous people is that they reached a social and technological plateau hundreds to thousands of years ago, although many have recently adopted modern technology so this characteristic may no longer apply. Many indigenous groups rely upon subsistence-based production based on pastoral (herding), horticultural

04 Peruvian potato farmers

Peruvian potato farmers

(simple agriculture) and/or hunting and gathering techniques. Many live in non-urbanized societies, although this is changing as well. Indigenous societies may be either settled in a given locale or region or follow a nomadic lifestyle.

A few indigenous people continue to observe an ancient hunting and gathering or foraging way of life in which their material possessions are few. Following a nomadic way of life, they must rely on nature for all of their material wants and needs. Their social structure is usually egalitarian with women having equal status, their kinship bonds are strong, and elders are respected as wise leaders. This all but disappearing way of life is

04 Beja Nomads, northeast Africa

Beja nomads, northeast Africa

practiced by people such as the !Kung in southwest Africa and Mbuti in the forest regions of the Congo who have continued their traditional ways for thousands of years. Other examples of indigenous peoples include herders who move their camps in order for their animals to feed on fresh pastures. Some still survive on the Mongolian steppes, but their way of life is also rapidly changing.

Many traditional agricultural people have historically been self-sufficient in supplying their own food and other needs but this way of life is being eroded by the increasing commercialization and globalization of agriculture and animal husbandry. As a result, many traditional people have migrated to cities from “underdeveloped” areas of the world.

04 Mbuti, Flickr site, McMarc Louwes Mbuti mother and child

Mbuti mother and child, central Africa

Some people in villages and herding camps have been able to survive but also work at jobs that pay a wage in order to purchase basic needs in a cash economy. Even though this “hybrid” approach does not replicate agriculture or herding people of the last several thousand years, many are able to preserve their cultural traditions, close family networks, and indigenous religious traditions as much as possible in face of mounting pressures from the “outside,” globalized world.

About the Author

Dr. Denise R. Ames is a long-time educator, grade 7-university, author of seven books, and president of an educational non-profit, Center for Global Awareness, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. CGA provides books, resources, and services with a holistic, global- focused, and perspective-taking approach for their three programs: Global Awareness for Educators, books and resources for educators and students grade 9-university; Gather, Global Awareness Through Engaged Reflection, a self-organizing study and conversation program for adults focusing on seeing different perspectives of pressing global issues; and their most recent program Turn, Transformative Understanding and Reflection Network, which encourages lifelong and transformative learning to help us arrive at a place of personal and global well-being using a seven “path” approach.

Please email info@global-awareness.org or visit www.global-awareness.org for more information.

For more about worldviews see Dr. Ames’ book Five Worldviews: How We See the World. $9.95wviewscover

 

 

Posted in awareness, cultural divide, differences, diversity, indigenous, Uncategorized, worldviews | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment