Since we don’t have Elephants on this continent, David Vanderhoop and I (Saskia Vanderhoop) propose to have a conversation around the Mastodon in the room.
Recently, you may have seen some email trains zoom by that were prompted by an anti-racism training and resulting in a bunch of intense conversations around racism, decolonization and cultural appropriation. With many perspectives fresh in our mind and hearts, David and I would like to turn to our Nature Connection Network for a related conversation about the following:
(1) David – with the support of a panel – is going to lead a workshop on cultural appropriation during our upcoming Nature Connection Leadership Conference, in the assumption that it is time to address the Mastodon in the room. The room being our approach and our teachings that heavily “borrowed” from natives, and the Mastodon being cultural appropriation versus appropriate cultural sharing.
(2) We would like to invite all to a webinar style conversation on that same topic to allow us to kickstart conversation prior to the conference, AND to allow those, that are not able to join the conference, to participate. For this webinar – or zoom call – David and I hope to be supported by several others that have shown up passionately during the recent conversations and are committed to doing this work. (Below is a recording of that webinar.)
(3) We welcome all of us to start another email train conversation, so we can begin to exchange the work we do at home and in our organizations. We recognize that this is a sensitive, deep-rooted, and complex topic, and we encourage conversation as we are trying to figure out what this Mastodon is really like, up close and personal.
We’d like to reiterate a few things that were mentioned during the call:
1- Please consider becoming a member of the Nature Connection Network.
Your membership is vital to support our collective work, it provides you with access to our listserv, materials gathered from multiple years of the Nature Connection Leadership Conference, and future webinars.
2- Please send us your feedback and responses to the call/recording.
You can email us directly or use the comment/contact form at the bottom of this page.
We would also love to read any guidelines/content/actions/debrief of actions, that you or your organization may have created with regard to the Cultural Appropriation ‘Mastodon’ topic.
Without further ado, here are the recording from the video call:
3- Looking to learn more?
Here is some suggested reading/watching:
Authors Note: I’m not an Elder or Medicine Person, so I’m aware I have no authority to say who’s allowed to use our medicines and in what way. I simply want to explain how I feel and why. I’ve noticed a lot of well-meaning non-Indigenous people have really taken a liking to our traditional Ceremony.
And here are some helpful definitions:
White privilege (or white skin privilege) is the societal privilege that benefits people whom society identifies as white in some countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
Decolonization ( American English) or decolonisation ( British English) is the undoing of colonialism: where a nation establishes and maintains its domination over one or more other territories. The term refers particularly to the dismantlement, during the second half of the 20th century, of the colonial empires established prior to World War I throughout the world.
Indigenous decolonization describes ongoing theoretical and political processes used to contest and reframe narratives about indigenous community histories and the effects of colonial expansion, genocide, and cultural assimilation. Indigenous people engaged in decolonization work adopt a critical stance towards western-centric research practices and discourse and seek to reposition knowledge within indigenous cultural practices.
A microaggression is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group. The term was coined by psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester M.
Cultural appropriation, at times also phrased cultural misappropriation, is the adoption of elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. Because of the presence of power imbalances that are a byproduct of colonialism and oppression, cultural appropriation is distinct from equal cultural exchange.
Historical trauma ( HT), a term used by social workers, historians, and psychologists, refers to the cumulative emotional and psychological wounding of an individual or generation caused by a traumatic experience or event. Historical trauma response (HTR) refers to the manifestation of emotions and actions that stem from this perceived trauma.