In my local paper there was a very interesting article about Greenland becoming the new suicide capital of the world. Here is the article: http://www.adn.com/3437/story/967507.html

Here is a quote from that article:

Jack Hicks, a Canadian researcher, says rampant suicide among indigenous Arctic peoples started in Alaska. "It's not the people who were coerced into the communities as adults who began to exhibit elevated rates of suicidal behavior -- it was their children, the first generation to grow up in the towns.

And I believe it is an important one to begin to understand the devastating effects that Western culture and being forced to live by it has on Indigenous populations, in Alaskan and other Arctic peoples. What do you do when confronted with the bare facts that the Western world does not care about you as a culture and forces you to live by it's (lack of a) value system? What do you do when you realize that for hundreds of years the American indigenous peoples have been fighting this and yet nothing has changed for them due to Westerners unwillingness to recognize the truth about themselves and their effects on other cultures? Notice the word they used " coerced " and understand it's full meaning. 'To coerce' is to force someone against their will and is a bad thing in case that is unclear to you. But Westerners will not see themselves in a bad light if they can help it and will instead look for excuses to avoid accepting responsibility for their actions and it's consequences.

I know it seems I am forever going on and on about "Westerners" but someone must, however unpopular it makes them... When will things change? There is so much talk of "change" and how things are different now but one must ask "Different for who?!" when seeing how things have not improved for the indigenous cultures. I once tried to give an example to a western friend of mine to make it clear as to why there is so much resistance to becoming 'westernized' by the indigenous population but it sort of freaked her out big time so I do hesitate to use it here... I wanted to give an example of extreme opposites so it was clear at a glance without having to think about it at all as to why there is resistance...

For the indigenous "spirit" I asked her to picture Arwen from Lord of the Rings when she is riding up on her horse after Frodo is stabbed by the Mordor blade and she is all glowing and beautiful. I hoped to show it is a natural beauty that is just there, it just "is"... and as a opposite image to that I asked her to picture a scene from an older movie called "Arachnophobia" when the photographer from the beginning of the movie dies and is shipped home. When the mortuary guy opens the coffin and sees the "desiccated corpse" from the huge spider that hitched a ride in it and says something like 'their preservation methods are different then ours." Such opposite images that you can tell at a glance that the substance of each culture is different without having to stop and think much about it. Not that I believe the differences are that extreme, of course, but to show why there is resistance to becoming 'Westernized'... I haven't thought of a less drastic image for the differences yet but hopefully that does help to show why the indigenous do not want to become 'western'...

But to continue with those images, for now, would not suicide while living under that first image seem like a better alternative to becoming that other image? What we need to do is reach out to our indigenous populations with empathy and understanding of this difference in attitudes and beliefs.

To stop the coercion of a peoples is a must, but how to convince westerners that this is so?

I mean, honestly, it has been going on for several hundreds of years in America already without any real significant progress being made. I do believe that the time is coming when this will change, in a real and meaningful way. We must convince our indigenous youths that this is so and our spirit and pride is as strong as ever and just a little more patience is needed...

I hope you find the article and underlying themes as fascinating as I do!

and as a p.s.) my daughter said I sound a bit impatient and like "Why can't you get it through your thick skull.." and I do not mean to at all! But like I told my western friend, it is such a 'head banging against the wall feeling' for me that I do get a bit frustrated at what I see as a lack of real and meaningful changes happening... So sorry if I come across a bit too strongly but this is something I do feel passionate about and it shows...

Maria

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Hi Maria! I'm in solidarity with you! I'm not really familiar with the specific reasons of suicide incidence among indigenous people in Greenland . I'm going to read more on it. Though, I believe indigenous or native peoples around the world have been continuously marginalized by what so called "global powers that be". As Filipinos, we are already losing our real identity as a people. We are being Westernized since the 16th century up to the present. We were colonized for more than 300 years of Spain, more than 50 years of America and 3 years of Japanese governments. Our medium of instruction in school is English. We are losing our identity as Filipinos. In fact, the term Filipino is Spanish in origin. We were called Indios by the Spaniard when they colonized us. American military troops called us Filipino women as " Little Brown Fucking Machines" .

I'm thinking of you and your people . We have common history of how the "White Superior Men" with their swords and cross took our land, our identity and our dignity. But, we should not allow them to take our hope for a better world. We should not allow them to take our will to survive and struggle for justice. Yes, I believe, we must educate our youth, we must help them find their roots and find their way home. Teaching them the historical struggle of American Indians - how they fought for their lands and preserve their identity - I remember the movie " The Last of the Mojicans".

I am with you Maria and your people! Let your tribe live what your elders had fought for.

Keep up the spirit and more power!

hugs and warm handshake!

malaya

I think it was in one of my first posts on here where I talked about it and how I believe a lot of the resistance to making these changes happen is the fear that it will mean exclusion and isolation for the 'westerners'. I wrote how I believe most do believe in an inclusive idea where our world views can embrace and co-exist alongside others that differ. If you stop and think about it, we already co-exist now so it would be more of a changing things to be more Just and Equal then it is now then sending them all packing...

It kind of makes me smile a bit when I read once about some Arabian culture where the custom was to send a few woman from a tribe to live as the wife of the guy and to avoid sex with the guy they smeared themselves with some foul-smelling oil. I guess it is because part of the traditional diets include some rather strong smelling oils that our woman up here were not turned into 'fucking machines' like happened to so many others! Though sexual assault and rape of Alaskan Native/American Indigenous woman is at a rate of "more then 3 of 4will experience this in her lifetime" statistic. You hear how many men desire an Asian wife because they are thought to be meek and sex kittens who wont try to be treated as a real person... So sad that it happened and hopefully it is changing! Though I read of a change where it is 'Russian Brides' as the current flavor of the day so a lot of work still needs to be done to highlight and counter this!

Hugs and it is really great to connect with woman all over like this. It is one thing to think it but another to actually talk to a woman from another land and say person to person how you support and care about them!

love,

Maria