Artful Land Care

A Sunday of Profit and Death

In Doctrine of Discovery, Peace & Justice, Reservation on January 31, 2020 at 6:52 am

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

I am afraid this comment might feel like a barb and a bit hard to hear.  However.  As you know, the two teams in this Sunday’s Super Bowl game are the “49ers” and “Chiefs.”

I’ve a friend who died years ago.  He was nothing if not a 49er fan.  Didn’t much matter what else was going on, when the 49ers played he was in front of a TV or at the stadium.  There are many reasons not to watch football these days, but in deference to the love and memory of my friend, I would watch the 49ers this Sunday.

That is, until the Chiefs made it to the Bowl.  Surely, I should have been convinced sooner.  However, when the 49ers and Chiefs were lined up side by side, it was apparent this is one straw too many.  One injustice too many: Chiefs—a business using its institutional power (and name) to profit on the deaths of our ancestral Indigenous siblings, the Chop—analogous to the Hitler salute—both ignores current era deaths of our indigenous siblings, and is a back run around the on-going deaths of our siblings of color for whom Kaepernick took a knee.  One only needs to look at the photo and imagine what the Chop might mean to our indigenous siblings as it drops again and again and again.

Do as you may this Sunday.  Yet know, I believe justice calls us to “Take a Knee” and remember our relations who died at “Wounded Knee.”  I believe justice calls us to turn off the TV and reduce profiting on the backs of Indigenous and lives of color.  I believe we tell our people, no more:  Tweet if you’re a tweeter, share on Facebook, be incredibly risky and speak-out/pray-out this Sunday morning, risk a comment with your neighbor.  I believe my friend might agree.

American Progress

In Doctrine of Discovery, Peace & Justice on November 28, 2019 at 10:18 am

I like the idea of Thanksgiving as much as the next white guy, I imagine.  I like it as much as most of my Indian, Native American, and Indigenous friends.  Only a fool thinks there is no need for thankfulness for having this shot to live out our particular existence within and of creation; having the chance to wonder—in our particular human way—what it means to think and ponder our connection—from earth dust to star dust—and imagine what has been, what is, what will be.

Thankfulness should matter.  We should remember this life is nothing without relationship: with humans, with water, with animals, with plants, with wind, with microorganisms, with stars, with dirt.  We should remember we are little without the fullness of creation.

In thankfulness though, we should take note of what intrudes upon the wellbeing of creation.  In our comfort we need to voice that which shatters relationship, kills, damages generationally, and hinders creations wellbeing, wonderment, imagination, and spirit.

To Be Better Than We Are

In Landscape, Reflections, Theology on September 29, 2019 at 12:32 pm

“It is not from ourselves that we will learn to be better than we are.”
Wendell Berry

The canyon was tuff.  Sometime ago, long before my memory or that of my parents, a volcano erupted and spread ash across this New Mexican landscape.  When the hottest of ash returns to land it welds itself to one another and creates welded tuff rock.  Over time, the not so hot ash slowly compacts itself into consolidated tuff rock.

We walked the sand wash upstream to the mouth of the canyon.  Unlike the wide open sage canyons of our youth, this canyon is no more than forty or fifty feet wide at the mouth.  Unremarkable, Belinda and I walk past the mouth’s vegetative slopes.