kinship networks

Cross-cultural hallmarks of slavery in antiquity: 

  • Separation from birth family/kinship network (natal alienation)
  • Forced renunciation of birth ties, incorporation into master’s household
  • Shorn head/ distinctive haircut, new uniform  

“It is not unreasonable to conclude that the shorn head of a slave was one aspect of a stark symbolic statement the man who was enslaved was in a permanent condition of liminailty and must forever mourn his own social death” Orlando Patterson, “Slavery and Social Death” 

I can’t believe this is in the same movie that gave us Jar-Jar

but so like

try to imagine, in a community whose relationship with these caribou extends over centuries, who conceptualise the hunt as a reciprocal relationship where shooting these animals is at the same time a gift of meat and skin to meet essential needs

(and yes, even with other food available that’s still a vibrant and pressing source of food, i have kids in my classes who have no food at home except for caribou in the freezer)

what it must mean to kill them as a small gesture of mercy while they’re falling through ice made too thin because of human actions

not even human actions in general but by the hold that the commodification of fossil fuels occupies within a mode of production that concentrates surplus-value in a southern elite and effectively distributes environmental disruption over a latitudinal gradient

what it must mean if someone’s first caribou kill, an important rite of passage, is no longer nourishing the family and extended kinship networks, but a somewhat desperate way to show respect for the animals in the face of climatic changes driven by what is ultimately a foreign set of economic structures/imperatives

since the election of the new liberal (LITERALLY THAT IS THEIR NAME not that the last batch was any less so) government canadians are hearing a lot of good talk on the importance of reconciliation with first nations but surely one of the most pressing tests of that commitment is whether we’re willing to shift gears wrt the entrenched mechanisms that are so viscerally disrupting these specific communities’ relationships with these specific animals

if our representatives keep defaulting to a discourse of global-scale climatic systems and displacing the voices most intimately en jeu then that to my mind is the most explicit indictment imaginable of the limits and blinders inherent to representative liberal democracy