She’s only fifteen but she is already an advocate for her people. Perhaps she inherited some of her great-grandfather’s wisdom for she already understands the need to know intergenerational stories. How easy it would be for researchers who prepared documents for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples to make their reports accessible in every possible format so that young people like her could learn and be proud. She emailed me with this request:

Well I am very curious about his because Robert was my great gran father he has now passed on, and I’d really like to read more of this because the reserve we are now in Tsulquate; and the town we live in has really seperated our families with all of the alcoholism and addiction to drugs that has been introduced to us over the years has now grown on the children, youth and has had a very large impact on our elderly that have passed over the years due to being torn from there homeland. I am sure that the elders of our community would be very greatful to get a response as to what was said by my great gran father Robert Walkus Sr. who was a very wise man and a prayer warrior one of the few who has tried to change the future for our youth. I am only fifteen years old but I am very interested in what had gone on back then when our people were forced from our homeland. I honestly think that the youth and children would know more about our own culture, language, and alot of our elderly would still be alive today if we hadn’t been relocated. Thank you ever so much for listening and if you would please get back to me . . .

Speechless

December 11, 2006


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Somewhere on the Pacific a small lifeboat shared by two unwilling and unlikely passengers rolled with the waves. Pi knew he could do more than just survive once he realized that Richard was dependent on him. Pi could fish. A Bengal Tiger, king of his own ecosystem, would die at sea without the help of the seventeen-year-old. The book really ended there; it didn’t matter after that what was truth or fiction. Pi’s understanding of power in everyday life was his new reality.

Speechless refers to both the writer and reader. At one level it’s about a writers’ block being blogged. At another level is refers to deafening silence that occurs when one speaks with too much feeling or mentions an uncomfortable idea in a nice place, a unpleasant reminder in polite company, a divergent idea in a space of group think, another perspective than the Renaissance perspective. But it also refers to robust conversations among political philosophers who understand the power of language and everyday life. Socrates, Plato, Derrida called for renewals in philosophy. They examined what we do with words, the role of memory. Speechless alludes to Derrida’s urgent appeal for a renewed democracy, for a revitalized philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view.

The human eye can distinguish 16 values of grey but that’s not including the subtle differences in the colours of grey. We just don’t have the time to see the variations.

I began speechless on October 16, 2006. Two months later I have learned what a permalink is and how to make one. It’s the equivalent to the old web page’s index.html. Now I have to learn where to use it.

https://oceanflynn.wordpress.com/index.php/2006/12/11/speechless

The cloud of tags below has grown organically since I first began using WordPress as my main blog host on October 16, 2006. I am building my customized clouds of folksonomies by working on and learning from a number of Web 2.0 feeds. This includes a Flickr account for photo blogging which attracts alot of viewers. I have only a couple of dozen images but one image alone uploaded on October 22, 2006 was viewed 1,179 times over a period of 64 days! I reworked this image again and posted it on speechless under “Wave Algorithms.”

Featured folksonomy:

Benign colonialism is a term that refers to an alleged form of colonialism in which benefits outweighed risks for indigenous population whose lands, resources, rights and freedoms were preempted by a colonizing nation-state. The historical source for the concept of benign colonialism resides with John Stuart Mills who was chief examiner of the British East India Company dealing with British interests in India in the 1820s and 1830s. Mills most well-known essays (1844) on benign colonialism are found in Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy. Mills’ view contrasted with Burkean orientalists. Mills promoted the training of a corps of bureaucrats indigenous to India who could adopt the modern liberal perspective and values of 19th century Britain. Mills predicted this group’s eventual governance of India would be based on British values and perspectives. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for indigenous peoples as settlers, merchants and administrators also brought new industries, liberal markets, developed natural resources and introduced improved governance. The first wave of benign colonialism lasted from c. 1790s-1960s. The second wave included new colonial policies such as exemplified in Hong Kong (Liu 2003)), where unfettered expansion of the market created a new form of benign colonialism. Political interference and military interference (Doyle 2006) in independent nation-states, such as Iraq (Campo 2004 ), is also discussed under the rubric of benign colonialism in which a foreign power preempts national governance to protect a higher concept of freedom. The term is also used in the 21st century to refer to American, French and Chinese market activities in countries on the African continent with massive quantities of underdeveloped nonrenewable envied resources. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized.

For more see Flynn-Burhoe (2007).

There is a widespread Canadian mythology that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are among those who benefited from settler colonies prempting, improving, managing and governing aboriginal lands, resources and educating, training, developing, serving, monitoring and governing its peoples. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for the indigenous peoples since the arrival of settlers. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) addressed these claims but the term benign colonialism is still a convenient truth for many. Celebratory and one-sided social histories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the RCMP, and various government leaders such as John A. MacDonald or civil servants such as Indian Agents, northern adventurers, when viewed through the lens of settlers while ignoring the perspective of First Nations, Inuit and Métis contribute to on-going dissemination of distorted histories. Museums, maps and census contribute to these distorted histories by grave omissions.

Related citations:

“Today, Mill’s most controversial case would be benign colonialism. His principles of nonintervention only hold among “civilized” nations. “Uncivilized” peoples, among whom Mill dumps most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are not fit for the principle of nonintervention. Like Oude (in India), they suffer four debilitating infirmities – despotism, anarchy, amoral presentism and familism — that make them incapable of self-determination. The people are imposed upon by a “despot… so oppressive and extortionate as to devastate the country.” Despotism long endured has produced “such a state of nerveless imbecility that everyone subject to their will, who had not the means of defending himself by his own armed followers, was the prey of anybody who had a band of ruffians in his pay.” The people as a result deteriorate into amoral relations in which the present overwhelms the future and no contracts can be relied upon. Moral duties extend no further than the family; national or civic identity is altogether absent. In these circumstances, Mill claims, benign colonialism is best for the population . Normal relations cannot be maintained in such an anarchic and lawless environment. It is important to note that Mill advocates neither exploitation nor racialist domination. He applies the same reasoning to once primitive northern Europeans who benefited from the imperial rule imposed by civilized Romans. The duties of paternal care, moreover, are real, precluding oppression and exploitation and requiring care and education designed to one day fit the colonized people for independent national existence. Nonetheless, the argument also rests on (wildly distorted) readings of the history and culture of Africa and Asia and Latin America. Anarchy and despotic oppression did afflict many of the peoples in these regions, but ancient cultures embodying deep senses of social obligation made nonsense of presentism and familism. Shorn of its cultural “Orientalism,” Mill’s argument for trusteeship addresses one serious gap in our strategies of humanitarian assistance: the devastations that cannot be readily redressed by a quick intervention designed to liberate an oppressed people from the clutches of foreign oppression or a domestic despot. But how does one prevent benign trusteeship from becoming malign imperialism, particularly when one recalls the flowery words and humanitarian intentions that accompanied the conquerors of Africa? How far is it from the Anti-Slavery Campaign and the Aborigine Rights Protection Society to King Leopold’s Congo and Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

Here Doyle is referring to John S. Mill cited in “A Few Words on Nonintervention.” . 1973. In Essays on Politics and Culture, edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, 368-84. Gloucester, Peter Smith.

See also WordPress featured blogs Benign colonialism.

Related tags: Tom Kent Royal Commission on Newspapers, Hackett and Zhao, economic efficiency, Power and everyday life, ethical topography of self and the Other, teaching learning and research, wealth disparities will intensify, C.D. Howe, Cannibals with Forks.Selected annotated webliography

Campo, Juan E.  2004. “Benign Colonialism? The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue.” Interventionism. 26:1. Spring.

Doyle, Michael W.  2006. “Sovereignty and Humanitarian Military Intervention.” Hoover Institute.

Falk, Richard. Human Rights Horizons: the Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World. New York & London: Routledge.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Benign colonialism. >> Speechless. Uploaded January 14th, 2007

Liu, Henry C. K. “China: a Case of Self-Delusion: Part 1: From colonialism to confusionLiu 2003.” Asia Times. May 14, 2003.

Kurtz,Stanley. 2003.”Lessons from the British in India.” Democratic Imperialism: A Blueprint. Policy Review.Mill, John Stuart. 1844. Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy.
Of these Essays, which were written in 1829 and 1830,

Current debates on colonization and human rights (Falk 2000) raise questions about the notion of benign colonialism. The dominant language, culture and values of colonizers imposed on colonised peoples is often narrated as salutary. Dominant social and cultural institutions contributed to faciliating the entry of indigenous peoples trapped in unsustainable subsistence economies. Previously colonised peoples claim that the colonization process resulted in a parallel process of the colonization of the minds of indigenous peoples. The process of decolonization of memory (Ricoeur 1980), history and the spirit is crucial for the social inclusion (OECD) of indigenous peoples and nations within nations, such as Canada.

 


Fantasy Palace, Iqaluit, Nunavut June 27, 2002

Fantasy Palace, Iqaluit, Nunavut June 27, 2002@ Flickr

This is a partial truth, more like a flicktion, or a dream, or the virtual than the real. It’s not science or art, more like an invention or innovation. Pieces of this a flicktion are scattered throughout my semi-nomadic cybercamps like tiny inukshuk on a global landscape. It mimics visual anthropology but isn’t. It imitates ethnography but lacks the objectivity. There are words written, pictures taken of events, dates, settings, stages and characters without an author. Maybe it’s the wrong venue in a photo album of beaming faces, stunning scenery, professional photographers, travelers, techies, retirees. But we can all choose to follow each others sign posts in this cyberspace or move on. This is the power of this new social space spun in CyberWeb 2.0.

Cultural ethnographers are supposed to return to their academic spaces, sharpen their methodological tools to a tip that almost cuts the paper they write on (and too often the culture, pop or otherwise they are writing about). You’re not supposed to return from the field with their your mind numbed from the frosted words of those who were seduced by the gold mine of benign colonialism, their voices confident, mocking, paternalistic, jaded by years, or decades of northern experience (1970s-2002). Your were supposed to leave the field with the pace of your beating heart uninterrupted inside your embodied self. You weren’t supposed to leave your a chunk of your soul in that graveyard in Pangnirtung on the Cumberland Sound. This is just lack of professionalism. Get a grip. Just write that comprehensive, proposal, dissertation. Move on. It’s just the way it is.
In this coffee shop sipping a cup of freshly brewed French Roast, (better than a Vancouver Starbucks!), SWF listened with her eyes. She was compassionate but ever so slightly distant. She doesn’t seem to realize how much others from the outside can perceive her knowledge. It is what at times makes her intimidating. Her three generation life story is the stuff of Inuit social history. She seems to almost be unaware of how important that story is. She was surprised that the First Nations cared about the creation of Nunavut. I remember our first class together. She spoke so softly but she was so firm, so insistent, modest and dignified. The wails I had heard by the open graves that still echo in my mind, were all too familiar to her. Slowly, insistently she explained to me as if I really needed to listen, remember, register this.

“We do not need your tears. We have enough of our own. We do not need you to fix this. We need your respect. We need you to not make it worse. We need you to listen to us, really listen. Alone, with no resources an elder has been taking them out on the land. She gets no funding. What she has done works. The funding is going elsewhere on projects that are promoted by the insiders. Inuit like her are not insiders.”

Fishbowl writing

November 13, 2006


Fishbowl reflections

The fishbowl often half-filled or empty reflecting my own image and the subtle changes in light of my embodied living space became a visual metaphor for the complex reflexive way I see and live the world. I took this image on April 15, 2006 from our Cowichan Bay home which looks out over Mount Tzuhalem, Saltspring Island, the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers watershed which feeds into Cowichan bay. In April I was barely beginning to identify places through maps, naming, etc. It was the first image I uploaded to Flickr on September 12, 2006 when I registered with their free online digital image-sharing service. I called it
“Mirrored mountain, marina and clouds” and the text I inserted was a paragraph copied from the home page of the Hul’qumi’num First Nations. I began to seriously explore the customized features of Google Earth on August 8, 2006 after returning from an overwhelmingly beautiful, stimulating Sea-to-Sky-to-Sea road trip. I wanted to relive the entire experience virtually learning by navigating through search engines. Then my real world entertainment technical tools gave up the ghost in unison: TV, VCR and digital camera all within ten days! So I switched from blurking other people’s blogs to making my own. 772 people have viewed Speechless since I uploaded my first blog entry 2006/10/03 entitled “Navigation Tools for the Blogosphere.” 574 people have viewed the 17 images I posted through Flickr over the past two months, 66 people viewed this one alone.

Today I would like to send out a message to embodied friends in the real world, that I need a drive to the gym; or a visit from an embodied person. I have a goal to return to my three-times-a-week gym sessions. I will begin today by packing my gym bag ready to go. My walking buddy cannot walk anymore because of her knee condition.

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My contributions to Wikipedia: Memory work

See also Memory work resource pages @ oceanflynn.wordpress.com

citationography
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I wrote this a few weeks ago as part of another entry. I am learning how to better use the artful science of folksonomy, so I separated the two entries to fit the tags. Do I train my tags or do they train me?

Strange it is that I am still unable after all these months to pick up the phone to call a dear friend or family member or to write them a personal email but I feel safe, solitary and satisfied while growing this strange, organic rhizome of virtual synapses from the security of my fish bowl here in this tiny but stunning island village. It is easier for me to compose the bulk of this reference letter as a blog than it is to open an MS Word document and write it. How can I be so verbiose and speechless at the same time?

Well, I’ve just gotten off the phone with a lawyer whose daughter was a former student. She’s now applying for law school and needs a reference. The letter would have written itself since she has such a stellar personality but I had asked to talk with someone who knows her well so I could refine adjectives and situate the fine qualities I had come to know within the broader framework of where she has been and where she is going. I had cautioned her that I am on medical leave and have not been doing teaching or research since 2005 and a letter from me might have no academic capital. But she still preferred to ask me. It is a bit ironical because that class was the last I taught at the university that turned me into a ghost, a non-entity in the department. Talking to her father reminded me of why I loved teaching so much. With or without my letter this young woman will become a fine lawyer with a fresh approach who will examine the law from a broader perspective. She isn’t afraid to ask “Why?” Her creative, original arguments will make judges blink without being disrespectful. Her clients will be in excellent hands. She will model ground rules of fair play by debating her arguments skillfully and forcefully without belittling her opponents or making personal attacks. She recognizes her God-given talents but they have not made her arrogant or boastful. Although she is a strong advocate of human rights she has a heightened sense of inclusivity and is therefore not blind-sided by the ‘we’ question. While she has the courage to take risks she is not rash or imprudent as it is in her nature to be reflexive in her thinking.

Her father acknowledged that the law itself is not rigid and timeless but organic and changing as we evolve. I understood that he was reminding me that something might be legal without being ethical. I found these useful citations through Google which I have added to my del.icio.us bookmarks.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. Jacques Anatole François Thibault) (1894) The Red Lily

What does it profit a poor and ignorant man that he is equal to his strong antagonist before the law if there is no one to inform him what the law is? Or that the courts are open to him on the same terms as all other persons when he has not the wherewithal to pay the admission fee?” Vance, William (1926) “The Historical Background of the Legal Aid Movement,” The Annals from the National Equal Justice Library

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

del.icio.us | swicki | Technorati Profile | wordpress | Flickr | blogspot | photoblog | gather | thinkfree | Picasaweb | Carleton homepage
My contributions to Wikipedia: Memory work

See also Memory work resource pages @ oceanflynn.wordpress.com

citationography
My Dashboard
papergirls.wordpress.com > my .rss feed news @ Digg
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