Red Alert – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge
by Daniel R. Wildcat
128 pages Paperback 7.9 x 5 x 0.5 inches
Published by Fulcrum Publishing, November 1, 2009
ISBN 978-1555916374

"What the world needs today is a good dose of Indigenous realism," says Native American scholar Daniel R. Wildcat in this thoughtful, forward-looking essay.

The book is part of the Speaker's Corner Books series of Fulcrum Publishing, which aims to stimulate and foster discussion of important issues affecting our society.

Red Alert seeks to debunk the modern myths that humankind is the center of creation and that it exerts control over the natural world, and this is a good thing too for too much does modern man think that the world and Mother Earth revolves around him.

An indigenous inheritance exists for humankind that takes many forms from many places and peoples regarding how humankind might reexamine lifeways that suggest in practical terms how we might adopt life-enhancing cultures situated in a symbiotic relationship of nature and culture. Will this indigenous inheritance be denied and go unclaimed? I hope not, for the sake of the rich diversity of life we share this planet with and for the sake of our human selves. It is time to issue a Red Alert.

Taking a hard look at the biggest problem that we face today – the damaging way we live on this earth – Daniel Wildcat draws upon ancient Native American wisdom and nature-centered beliefs to advocate a modern strategy to combat global warming. Inspiring and insightful, Red Alert! is indeed a stirring call to action.

Daniel R. Wildcat is a Native American scholar and activist. he is of the Yuchi and Muscogee tribes, and is currently the director of the American Indian studies program and the Haskell Environmental Research studies center at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas.

His new book, ‘Red Alert! Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge’ is a powerful call both to action against climate change, but first to listening to and engaging with indigenous peoples.

While I do not agree with everything that the author puts forward, especially through use of the regurgitated arguments of scientists as to global warming being entirely due to man's actions, many of which are very doubtful now in the light of Climate Gate, the essence of the book humankind would do well to heed.

It is, however, not just the American Injun and the Alaska Natives that hold the key, and that is also something that we have to look at in the proper light of day. Other groups of people too have a similar connection with Mother Earth, in other places. Their wisdoms and knowledges too must be considered.

Indigenous peoples elsewhere, be they so-called Gypsies in Europe and elsewhere, those of Romani origin, the Sinti, the Roma and the Kale, and related, and in the related we must see the Domari as well as the Zabbaleen, the Inuit in Canada and the North Western Territories, or the Bedouin (often called Bedu) of Israel’s Negev desert and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, and also, I should say, the Bantu peoples of Southern Africa and the Aborigines of Australia and many others in between.

They all have Earth wisdoms and knowledges that we must look to in order to get the planet sorted out.

As Daniel Wildcat says, it is not about being Luddites, as no one is talking about going to live again in tepees or caves without modern convenience. The past is gone; we cannot go back to the past.

However, we can use proven ways from the past, combines with modern ways, to sort things out and hopefully clean up Mother Earth and stop Her from wobbling.

Modern man has the attitude that he is the center of the universe and that the Earth must revolve around him; it does not. Man is but a part in the web of life be he is the one that is also the weakest link, namely the link that could destroy the fragile web that b inds us all.

Modern man talks about battling the elements, fighting Nature, and such like without realizing that should he ever win he will have lost and every thing will be lost.

We must, all of us, once again, learn to live with Nature and learn to live lightly on the land, on Mother Earth.

Daniel Wildcat makes a great call for that in the book and we would all do well to heed the advice.

© 2009