Indigenous Commonwealth
July 21, 2015

In this blog I decided to focus on 2 commonwealth assets that have an alternative meaning from an indigenous standpoint. Although the alternative ideas described arent practiced by all tribal members today, they were practiced daily by our ancestors and these ideas are being kept alive through the younger generations. Taos Pueblo Young Growers is designed to educate the participants about these alternative ancestral commonwealth ideas so they may have a holistic view of “education” rather than just believing what today’s mainstream society dictates to them.

Renewable Energy:

When one hears the term “renewable energy”, one cant help but think of solar panels, geothermal, wind power, and other types of “renewable energy”. This type of “energy” is needed for a highly developed global society that is dependent on electricity, gas, and other types of finite energy resources. If we cant find renewable energy resources we wont be able to live this awesome and comfortable life full of luxuries we take for granted.

I want to step back and offer an understanding of what “energy” was to people even just a century ago. This type of “energy” is, was, and always will be a “renewable energy”. I am talking about communities of People, Animals, Seeds, Land, and Sun. People in small communities can live in a sustainable way and collaborate to accomplish common goals for prosperity and survival. Domesticated animals and wild animals either used for food or draft animals will always exist if properly maintained by individuals. The crops that grow from the Seeds sown in the Land will always grow since the Sun rises every day and food is grown on a sustainable scale without exhausting the land. To me, “renewable energy” is not silicon waferboards, hot water at the center of the earth, gusts of wind……..it is the seed that feeds us, the sun that warms us and allows food to grow, the animals and people that agree to live together with a common goal of prosperity. I guarantee that people, animals, and seeds reproduce much faster than panels, turbines, and pumps can be built.

Education:

As a young person I was always told to get a “good education” but this meant that the only way to get an “education” was to finish high school, graduate ┬ácollege and maybe seek “higher education”. According to societal standards, this “education” is the way to have a successful and prosperous life. I have observed this not to be true in all cases, some of the most “educated” people in our nation have the most problems with health, family, and lifestyle.

But in my Indigenous community there is a completely equivalent type of “education” being taught by the land we live on. An education that can be valued for its lessons in subsistence, preservation, community, and nutrition.

These types of lessons are not taught by our national institutions, there is no focus on a holistic sustainable education, only pressure to learn highly specialized information that has no value to an individuals life.

I believe that the education my tribe’s elders and our homeland have to offer is more important for our development and prosperity than specialized information that is only designed to give us a menial duty in the workforce.

Almost always one can learn more about themselves and the world around them in one morning working in a crop field than a whole semester of college sitting inside sterile classrooms.

I am not discouraging a modern education by any means, I am only trying to help others recognize what it means to have a holistic education that is applicable in daily life rather than a specialized education that limits your possibilities in lifestyle.