Artful Land Care

Off by One

In JustLiving Farm on December 26, 2021 at 10:23 am

My count was off by one.  Here it was the first day of the year and I had lost a cow.  The night of solstice had been long, but well worth it.  Some time ago we had let the calendared new year go in favor of what is natural to our place.  The evening lacked the neighbor’s fireworks but the clear starlit night was fair compensation.  Mutuality lies in a night sky.  If one takes the time to look, stars strut their brilliance and give us an amazement than cannot be rocketed into the sky.

I had put off feeding until morning light.  I was to wean calves and separate them from their mama’s this morning and doing so prior to feeding is easier.  The morning had gone well.  Cows were in their winter pasture and calves just across the fenceline in the weaning pasture.  Having finished feeding cows and weaners, I stood near the fence and took a count.  One off.  Counting again I got the same number.  One more counting and arriving at the same number again had me climbing into the pickup bed, standing, and counting again.  Surely a different perspective would come up with the correct number. It didn’t.  That left scanning all the pastures in the back forty.  Sure enough, in the far southwest corner stood a single cow.  Just standing.  Her not moving indicated one thing.

Beloved Identity

In Christianity, YCM on December 1, 2021 at 11:42 am

Indigenous Month #5

Grasping one’s identity is never easy in today’s systemic market driven world.  Anyone who is tied to a cherished institution, like a church, synagogue, or mosque, knows the institution, to some extent, shapes their identity.  When one’s relationship with an institution becomes generational, the shaping of identity is all the greater.  More so, institutions shape family and community identity as well.  This is why community must constantly question institutional structure.

In generational institutions, like that of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), sorting out problematic identity is not easy.  Typically, US institutions, over generations, have built walls to mask the intent or the beneficiaries of their original formation.  Not surprising, many of today’s constituents who most benefit from institutional values of an earlier era are not aware of their advantage because of the masking.   One way to break through the mask is to observe the institution through a set of non-constituent lenses.  For the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) one set of lenses that have yet to be used is that of indigeneity.

Misshaping Created Identity

In Doctrine of Discovery on November 25, 2021 at 2:47 pm

Indigenous Month #4

There are many reasons to remember, tell stories, teach, and learn history.  Of them all, one, is to learn the mistakes of our parents.  For therein lies the why of who we are.  To know their mistakes does not negate their gifts or strong points.  Rather, they allow us to understand our own better.

Those who live in the US and Canada often find truth-telling, that breaks through nationalistic history, hard to hear.  When considering the public education system, it is little wonder we do not hear our stories of atrocity.  For the full truth rubs the national system—who does the teaching—the wrong way.  For instance, we are taught of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, however, most of us were never taught of his support for the greatest mass lynching of Indigenous people in US history.  Quiet, hidden, truth gives US and Canadian citizens a false sense of superiority.  If our American History teacher taught the bad, ruthless, corrupt, and regretful stories—Sand Creek, Manzanar, exactly what chattel slavery means, the Dakota 38 plus 2—alongside the good, we would be a better people.