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Re: <nettime> ICT and Aboriginal Peoples
Benjamin Geer on Tue, 27 Nov 2007 10:50:39 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> ICT and Aboriginal Peoples


On 26/11/2007, Christiane Robbins <cpr {AT} mindspring.com> wrote:
> You know, I'm unfamiliar with the evidence cited in your post,
> however I am a bit more familiar with the embedded myths/biases that
> are positioned with in this "evidence."   Oh yes ... I recognize at
> least one ... the all encompassing resurrection of the " noble savage. "

I'm not sure I've understood you correctly, but Krech's book, _The
Ecological Indian: Myth and History_, is indeed directed against the
concept of the noble savage, which he sees as a dehumanizing myth.

It's common to find similar essentialist myths (e.g. "the Arab mind")
championed by racist colonisers and by their nationalist opponents,
the only difference being that the same myth is presented as negative
by the former and positive by the latter. For a critique, see, for
example:

Sadiq Jalal al-'Azm, "Orientalism and Orientalism in Reverse,"
Khamsin, 8 (1981): 5-27.

> Perhaps another one is that all aboriginal peoples gathered under
> the rubric of " The Ecological Indian" are one and the same. No
> issues of cultural, tribal or geographic diversity were ever raised
> amongst those darn "Indians," I'm sure!

Exactly. Krech tries to show that there were differences in ecological
behaviour between different groups of native Americans.

Jared Diamond has argued that some pre-industrial societies (e.g. the
one on Easter Island) disappeared because they caused the ecological
collapse of the environment they lived in:

http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/anthro/bec/papers/Diamond_Ecological_Collapses.PDF

> I'm able to infer a few more which I believe are rather easily
> apparent, especially in Point 2 of the abstract, i.e " inefficient
> extraction technologies and the lack of profitable markets for
> extracted resources."

The idea here is that differences in ecological behaviour can't be
explained by "indigenousness", but rather by social and material
factors, i.e. the same sorts of factors that determine the
sustainability of any society.

Ben








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