Raven Wisdom

Just twenty pages in and I was reflecting on how Christianities and the cultures they cultivated have caused so much suffering in the world.  Assuming there is only one way to be, and that way is pink, European, and monotheistic, has led to so many displaced people thrown aside as collateral damage.  Ernestine Hayes’ The Tao of Raven is a remarkable book.  A native Alaskan, Hayes participated in the colonialist venture of higher education to try to also participate in the “American dream.” If this book doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, I don’t know that you’re human.  As I mentioned in a recent post, I have a deep interest and lasting guilt to learn about indigenous peoples of the country where I was born.  About the culture that is so Bible-driven it can’t see the human beneath.  The capitalism that takes no prisoners.

The Tao of Raven is one of the most honest books I’ve ever read.  Hayes refuses to sugar-coat the alcoholism, the broken promises, the poverty offered to native Alaskans.  Even as Trump’s final rages go on, he has opened the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge for drilling, to the highest bidder.  Apart from those whose wealth will increase as a result, we will all suffer.  Those who lived in Alaska before the colonists arrived the most.  The idea of colonizing, without which capitalism just can’t work, reveals its evil here.  When a voice like that of Hayes is able to make itself heard we cannot but feel the condemnation.  When over seventy-million people vote for a hater, we all tremble.

The book ends much as it begins.  A sincere regret for those who’d been fed the contradictory messages of missionaries.  Those told to accept suffering on earth so that they could go to the white person’s Heaven, while those inflicting the suffering lead comfortable lives with modern conveniences.  The double-standards that allow people to die on the street like dogs.  The double-standards that can’t see that you need not be Christian to upend the tables of money-changers.  Indeed, the last time someone dared to such a thing was two millennia ago.  When Christianity slipped its fingers between those of capitalism a monster would surely be born.  The cost would come in human lives, even as a quarter-million lay dead in this country from a virus a rich man can’t be bothered to address.  Do yourself, do the world a favor.  Read this book.  Read it with your eyes open and learn from Raven.

5 thoughts on “Raven Wisdom

  1. Pingback: Raven Wisdom | Talmidimblogging

  2. Hi Steve,

    Living in Canada, Montreal, for that matter, has been one long and arduous learning experience. After attending many indigenous ceremonies and teachings, they tell us this one piece of historical advice.


    In my religious studies in University, and later in my own community, and then reading folks like Jared Diamond and Yuval Noah Harari, and Ben Ehrenreich, for starters, and Peter Frankopan, conquest and conquering those who were there first, began colonization.

    White people never think about those who were here first. Even the Pilgrims learned that lesson the hard way. Throughout history, you know, even before the white man set foot in new territory, disease ran rampant through the world and killed a copious amount of people. Blankets sodden with lice and disease (read small pox) were handed out in gestures of kindness, and with that disease began to be spread through items then through transmission from the conquering armies.

    In Canada, what the church did to indigenous communities country wide are at the top of the list for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee here in Canada. Every single religious order founded to convert and proselytize did irreparable harm to generations of families and their children.

    Ask ANY indigenous person, no matter where they physically stand, in whatever province they or you are in, and the story is the same across the board. Alcohol and drugs are the scourge on the masses, both for the white man and more so deeply, our indigenous communities country wide.

    The white man has much to answer for. Because if the world was learned in the stories that I have heard from my people here, they’d never darken a church door again in their lives. You think that sexuality and abhorrent proclivities were one problem, add to that the sins against humanity men AND women of the cloth did to unsuspecting indigenous populations around the world. And their CHILDREN. Abhorrent abuses, sexual and physical abuse, many did not survive the Residential School Experience.

    All to DE-Indigenous the native species and make them WHITE.

    The eradication of all things indigenous was a Clerical and Holy Mother Church decision. An every Church decision. Across all denominations. Everybody is guilty. EVERYBODY !!!

    Holy Mother Church started this problem with the men on those ships who came to the new world to find riches, but along the way, they met those who were here first and decided that they were expendable and not very useful to them religiously, but they either converted the lot or killed them outright for shits and giggles.

    We see homeless on the street and we call them poor. Yes, they might be poor but that is just one of maybe 50 other things wrong with them. And we walk by then with turned eyes saying, “But for the Grace of God go I.” Pity the poor intoxicated and downtrodden indigenous man and woman lying on the sidewalk outside the mall or inside a Metro Station in Montreal.

    There are not enough hours in the day to pay recompense to all of them. And white people live in their ivory towers, and never venture far enough to witness the injustices done to the many in the name of Religion and Capitalism.



  3. Ernestine Hayes

    Gunalcheesh for your words, Steve Wiggins. I have long believed that writing is a transaction not complete until a reader picks up the page, a belief that finds evidence in your words. Thank you for completing my words with your own. Gunalcheesh


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