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Lilly

The Woman Who Chose to Plant Corn

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http://charleseisenstein.net/the-woman-who-chose-to-plant-corn/

Not long ago, a Diné (Navajo) friend of mine, Lyla June Johnston, sent me a one-line email: “I am not going to Harvard… I am going to plant corn.”

Her statement signals a profound divergence from the path she’d set out on when she was an undergraduate at Stanford University. She is choosing instead to learn the lifeways of her culture, to become fluent in her language, to relearn traditional skills, to be intimate with the land. The dominant American culture does not encourage such a path.

We’d talked about it before, her decision to take a prestigious graduate course at Harvard. The usual themes came up: the doors that might be opened, the credibility that might be turned towards a good cause. I remember observing how common it is to adopt the values and mindsets of the environment in which one is immersed – to become a creature of the very system one sets out to subvert. We appreciated the toxicity of the story, “See, a Native American woman can make it big too and go to Harvard.” Toxic, because it celebrates the very same system of status and privilege that has marginalized the worldview, culture and value system she comes from.

It is often said that people like Lyla are role models for others of like background. Role models for what, though? For being bribed into complicity with the oppressor? For joining the world-devouring machine? For sacrificing local relationships and culture to the melting pot? [more]

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Thanks Lilly!!  Very good read,  I want to add the bottom paragraph of the article as well. 

When I say I hope that many others follow Lyla’s example, I do not mean to offer her as an ideal of impeccable integrity. Like many of us, she has no map to follow into this uncharted territory of our civilisation’s transition; she has only a compass and, if my own experience is any guide, it is a wobbly one at that. It points towards a healed and just world, and guides us into its service. When enough of us follow it, however imperfectly, we will cut new trails leading out of the maze that entraps our civilisation

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It's so true. There is no one perfect way to slay the beast, we all do the best we can.

The whole piece brought to mind one of my favourite books - My Ishmael. Highly recommend it :)

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