Sunday, March 14, 2010

Native languages hold the key to saving species

"Indigenous people often have classification systems that are often more fine-grained and more precise than what Western science knows about species and their territories."
An example of local knowledge was shown by the Musqueam people of British Columbia in Canada, who have fished the local rivers for generations and describe the trout and the salmon as belonging to the same group.
In 2003 they were vindicated when a genetic study revealed that the"trout" did in fact belong to the same group as Pacific salmon, Dr Harrison said. "It seems obvious that knowing more about species and ecosystems would put us in a better position to sustain those species andecosystems," he said.
'That's my argument, that the knowledge gap is vastly to the detriment of Western science. We know much less than we think we do.

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George Carlin speaking on the topic "Indians"

"Now the Indians...I call them Indians because that's what they are. They're Indians. There's nothing wrong with the word Indian.
First of all, it's important to know that the word Indian does not derive from Columbus mistakenly believing he had reached ' India .' India was not even called by that name in 1492; it was known as Hindustan. More likely, the word Indian comes from Columbus 's description of the people he found here. He was an Italian, and did not speak or write very good Spanish, so in his written accounts he called the Indians, 'Una gente in Dios.' A people in God. In God. In Dios. Indians. It's a perfectly noble and respectable word.
As far as calling them 'Americans' is concerned, do I even have to point out what an insult this is? ----- We steal their hemisphere, kill twenty or so million of them, destroy five hundred separate cultures, herd the survivors onto the worst land we can find, and now we want to name them after ourselves? It's appalling.
Haven't we done enough damage? Do we have to further degrade them by tagging them with the repulsive name of their conquerors? You know, you'd think it would be a fairly simple thing to come over to this continent, commit genocide, eliminate the forests, dam up the rivers, build our malls and massage parlors, sell our blenders and whoopee cushions, poison ourselves with chemicals, and let it go at that.... But no! We have to compound the insult.'...
I'm glad the Indians have gambling casinos now. It makes me happy that dimwitted white people are losing their rent money to the Indians. Maybe the Indians will get lucky and win their country back. Probably wouldn't want it. Look at what we did to it."