Appropriate Appropriation and Ancestral Technology
A Panel with Peter Bauer and Eric Bernardo
There is growing interest in using ancestral technology as a mechanism for living more sustainably, connecting with ancestral heritage, and providing for yourself with things from nature, or the simple enjoyment of crafting with your hands. While all humans have used various forms of these technologies, there is often friction between Native Americans and non-natives in the United States. This friction stems from the misappropriation of these technologies by non-natives, the privileged position non-native people have of being able to do these things at all (i.e. financial access to schools and gatherings), and a general lack of knowledge of traditional “prehistoric” European traditions among both Native Americans and non-natives. There will never be one right way to practice ancestral technology in a way that appeases everyone’s sensibilities. However, we must spark this discussion on a larger scale to increase the number of people working together and to reach a deeper understanding between different cultures in order to have mutual respect. This panel discussion is a step in that direction.
Questions to be discussed:
Where is the line between reclaiming your own ancestral heritage and culturally appropriating from Natives?
Is there a way to appropriately appropriate? What technologies have been shared by all human cultures?
How does entitlement fit into this discussion?
How does privilege fit into this discussion?
How do we go about creating alliances and allies between Native Americans and non-natives in using ancestral technologies?
BIOS: Eric Bernardo is a member of the Watlala Band of Chinuk of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. He received my Masters Degree in Education in 2009 from the University of Oregon and a Bachelors of Arts: History from PSU back in 2008. Go Blazers! He is currently teaching his tribe’s indigenous language at their office in Portland and at a community centre in Eugene.
Peter Bauer (formerly writing under the moniker “Urban Scout”) is a multi-disciplinary artist and environmental educator. During his time as urban scout he received local press in the The Oregonian, Portland Mercury, Willamette Week, national press in ReadyMade Magazine and international press in Positive Living Magazine (UK) and Chain Reaction (AU) for his efforts to create and promote the culture of rewilding. He loves basketry, playing the banjo, and is a fluent speaker of Chinuk Wawa (Chinook Jargon), the Native trade language of the Pacific Northwest. During the summer of 2012 he attended Lynx Vilden’s Stone Age immersion program. Bauer has been an environmental educator for over a decade, working with local organizations like Cascadia Wild, Friends of Tryon Creek, Audubon Society, Portland Waldorf, Shining Star Waldorf, Cleveland High School, and is the executive director at Rewild Portland, a non-profit that he founded. Aside from running Rewild Portland, he currently works at Shining Star Waldorf School in Portland as an instructor for their Nature Immersion Program.