POW WOW

Kahnawake 20 years later. Many folks at the recent pow wow, myself included, said: “20 years after what?” The Oka crisis. Oh. I remember, I was a teenager then and it was on the television all the time. What can I say? Thinking about it now and every time I go to Kahnawake I tear up. I am sensitive. And there is a lot to say. It just doesn’t feel productive for me to go on and on about native land issues and human rights issues so I’ll just say this so you can know where I am coming from before I go on about how this does relate to sustainability:


Not all that much has changed in 20 years in terms of native land issues and basic human rights. Do your own research on this one.

What has changed in 20 years is the wonderful marketing of native, aboriginal, first peoples etc. medicines, creams, beauty and health products in the natural trade industry. And like it or not lots of folks are cashing in on this trend, and it was indeed, apparent at the pow pow in Kahnawake last weekend. So if we support the concept of seven generations that stems from this tidy marketed package of native sweetgrass incense, sage body oil and natural arthritis relief salve, then do all these products really support this philosophy from harvest to sold profit? By the looks of the pow wow vendors wares apparently not. Not all, but many products were packaged in the very overtly non-seventh generation compliant plastic and much over-packaging was abound with not a recycle bin in site.

So what to do? Does this mean that my beloved pow wow is not sustainable? Well, I guess not entirely (and as we go on it seems not much really is “enitrely”!), but supporting this event and maybe encouraging organizers to look at event criteria and re-igniting the native land issues conversation with those willing IS definitely encouraging a more sustainable me. It gets me thinking and questioning myself, which to me is what becoming more sustainable is all about. Why I am attracted to the snazzily packaged native sweetgrass incense? Isn’t the real sweetgrass that I learned how to harvest ethically and spiritually enough anymore?
I think it is.


Kahnawake 20 years later. Many folks at the recent pow wow, myself included, said: “20 years after what?” The Oka crisis. Oh. I remember, I was a teenager then and it was on the television all the time. What can I say? Thinking about it now and every time I go to Kahnawake I tear up. I am sensitive. And there is a lot to say. It just doesn’t feel productive for me to go on and on about native land issues and human rights issues so I’ll just say this so you can know where I am coming from before I go on about how this does relate to sustainability:


Not all that much has changed in 20 years in terms of native land issues and basic human rights. Do your own research on this one.

What has changed in 20 years is the wonderful marketing of native, aboriginal, first peoples etc. medicines, creams, beauty and health products in the natural trade industry. And like it or not lots of folks are cashing in on this trend, and it was indeed, apparent at the pow pow in Kahnawake last weekend. So if we support the concept of seven generations that stems from this tidy marketed package of native sweetgrass incense, sage body oil and natural arthritis relief salve, then do all these products really support this philosophy from harvest to sold profit? By the looks of the pow wow vendors wares apparently not. Not all, but many products were packaged in the very overtly non-seventh generation compliant plastic and much over-packaging was abound with not a recycle bin in site.

So what to do? Does this mean that my beloved pow wow is not sustainable? Well, I guess not entirely (and as we go on it seems not much really is “enitrely”!), but supporting this event and maybe encouraging organizers to look at event criteria and re-igniting the native land issues conversation with those willing IS definitely encouraging a more sustainable me. It gets me thinking and questioning myself, which to me is what becoming more sustainable is all about. Why I am attracted to the snazzily packaged native sweetgrass incense? Isn’t the real sweetgrass that I learned how to harvest ethically and spiritually enough anymore?
I think it is.


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