Notable Blogs 11/06/2010

Late Fall, Lake Champlain

This week’s Notable Blogs come mostly from WordPress. We are still settling in from our India trip, and time to search out, and read, blogs has been at a premium. Still, I have seen many splendid posts. Here are a few. I hope you enjoy them.

Shaman-Ism has an extensive site about Hmong shamanism. This week he tackled the tricky issue of who are shamans, and what does one call them.

Whenever Lee and I have spoken openly about Hmong Shamanism, one point that has consistently eluded me (and I suspect her as well) has been just how exactly are we to refer to the adherents of that religion. If followers of Buddhism are Buddhists, and Hindu are Hindi, and Christianity are Christians, then, I wonder, would it not be logical for Shamanism’s followers to be Shamans?

Shamanismandyou quoted M.J. Slim Hooey, echoing of many wise ones.

I have come to terms with the future. From this day onward I will walk easy on the earth. Plant trees. Kill no living things. Live in harmony with all creatures. I will restore the earth where I am. Use no more of its resources than I need. And, listen, listen to what it is telling me.

Antinuclear posted an article from The Hindu about the efforts of Indigenous people and others, to put the above philosophy into practice by blocking the building of a nuclear plant in India. As so often happens, in countries around the world, the concerns and needs of local populations, regarding this project, have not been addressed by either government or industry. Too often, “progress” means the endangerment or displacement of Native people and other communities.

Protest against Jaitapur nuclear power project, The Hindu, 31 Oct 10, Hundreds of villagers on Friday staged a silent protest against the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Ratnagiri district and courted arrest at Madban near the project site. According to local activists, nearly 3,000 people staged protests and were picked up by police.The police also prevented activists from entering the project area, with Admiral (retired) L. Ramdas and Justice (retired) P.B. Samant being prevented from going to Madban…..

On Thursday, a 14-member expert appraisal committee for nuclear projects visited Madban. The committee, which was under heavy police escort, did not meet any of the local villagers.

Another face of colonialism is the ongoing efforts of governments everywhere to control the lives of First Nations people. These efforts are almost always disastrous for the people.  Margotbnews discussed recently released statistics about the decline living standards of many people living on reserves in Canada. Her conclusion: A large and growing industry of (mostly non-Native) consultants and helpers “has emerged amid the wreckage of many Canadian reserves.” While the focus of the post is on Canada, the problem is global.

Mismanagement and poverty have long been problems on many reserves. As has the reality that the daily efforts of the country’s fifth largest bureaucracy — Indian and Northern Affairs — have failed to better the lives of the 430,000 status Indians on those reserves, many of whom live in Canada’s most deprived communities.

And now, Indian Affairs statistics show the gap in quality of life between those living on reserves and the rest of Canada is getting worse.

Ending this week’s Notable Blogs on a brighter note, Bergiespace wrote about a recent photography workshop he attended on Mount Desert Island, a land sacred to the Abenaki and other Eastern tribal peoples. The accompanying photos are magnificent.

During the second week of October I attended a workshop on Mount Desert island in Maine under the guidance of two nationally renowned nature photographers and writers, Ian Plant and Richard Bernabe.  I am in awe of their work,  and one hopes that something will rub off onto a struggling wannabe.

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